A CATSKILL CATALOG - Purple Mountain Press


by Bill Birns

A Catskill Catalog is Mosaic
of Mountain Life and History

For more than three years, Bill Birns, of Fleischmanns, has explored the history, geography, arts and culture of the Catskills in a weekly essay published in the Catskill Mountain News. Now, A Catskill Catalog is a new book published by Purple Mountain Press. Bill will be signing copies, rain or shine, at the street festival in Fleischmanns on Saturday, May 28th, 10:00 to 2:00. In 84 essays, he takes his readers on 800-word journeys of discovery, compact vignettes, windows into mountain history, mountain people, and mountain life.

Here we learn about town team basketball and honeymoon hay-ride skimmeltons, trout fishing and landscape painting, manor houses and hotels, hide tanning and cauliflower raising. We meet fascinating people like designer and social reformer Candace Wheeler, pioneer of early television Gertrude Berg, and artist Frederick Church. Some of the most fascinating characters are the not-so-famous, the everyday people of the Catskills, people like Frank Russell of New Kingston, Melvin Mayes of Fleischmanns, and Reginald Bennett of Chichester. We meet Jim Dutcher, who built stone steps up Slide Mountain and Abe Savatman, who endowed a local school with an academic legacy. There's a murder in Andes and a great three-part telling of the Anti-Rent War. We learn about common schools and academies, roads and river-rafts, fighting the Revolution and celebrating Memorial Day.

A Catskill Catalog is reader-friendly, informative, and often amusing. It may be read straight through, or a chapter-or-two at a time. Together, the 84 essays weave a colorful tale of a resilient and independent people in a beautiful, but often difficult, environment. A Catskill Catalog is a written-mosaic of mountain life.

200 pages, illustrated, 7 x 10, 2011
$18.00 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

Meet Bill Birns

Copyright © 2011 Purple Mountain Press. All rights reserved.