Chronicles of Lake Champlain - Purple Mountain Press


by Russell P. Bellico

From the introduction:

"Chronicles of Lake Champlain is a collection of firsthand diaries, journals, reports, and guidebooks which illustrates the changing epochs in the history of the lake. From tumultuous war periods to the tranquil era of tourist excursions, Lake Champlain has made an indelible impression on visitors. By relying on the words of eyewitnesses, readers garner an intimate glimpse into the historic events as they unfolded during and after the wars; later in the book they are exposed to descriptions of long forgotten scenes of bustling communities and commercial trade along the lake. The introductions that accompany the words of each participant to allow readers to comprehend the transitions at the lake that occured in the intervals between periods covered in succeeding chapters.

The serene vistas of Lake Champlain today are in stark contrast to the landscape during the turbulent war eras of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Where thousands of brave but apprehensive soldiers once had prepared for the onslaught of battle, tourists disembark from their air-conditioned vehicles to view the overgrown remains of moldering earthworks of long-abandoned forts. Charter boats with protruding fishing poles have replaced powerful sailing warships, bristling with cannon. Where intrepid Rangers engaged in dangerous winter forays through the densely-forested mountainsides, modern hunters calmly wander throught the radiant autumn woodlands along Lake Champlain. Sleek fiberglass pleasure boats have supplanted the plain wooden canal boats once loaded with resources to supply a growing nation. But the chronicles of the most historic water route in North America will not be forgotten by today's disciples of American history."

"Russ Bellico has done it again! In this richly textured sequel to his hugely successful Chronicles of Lake George, he offers us a companion volume on the great Lake Champlain. From long-forgotten military diaries, travelers' accounts, and tourist guidebooks, he brings back to life a dozen voices who can tell us what it felt like to those who found themselves here on the edge of danger, boredom, romance." --Nicholas Westbrook, Director, Fort Ticonderoga Museum.

"Like a knowledgeable north country guide, Bellico brings his reader to each successive epoch in the history of the lake and then introduces his carefully selected eyewitnesses." --Joseph F. Meany Jr., Acting State Historian of New York

"Bellico evokes the voices of people who recorded their observations at various moments of time. Through the use of journalists' personal experiences, Bellico captures the texture of each period....the best of historical source material to bring this special place to the reader." --Arthur B. Cohn, Director, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

"Bellico portrays the regions past with finesse and passion. Abundantly illustrated, the book is required reading for anyone fascinated by the history of the Champlain Valley." --Michael T. Hahn, author of Ethan Allen: A Life of Adventure, excerpted from a review in The Burlington Free Press, Sunday August 8, 1999.

He is author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of Lake George and Lake Champlain, Chronicles of Lake George: Journeys in War and Peaceand Empires in the Mountains: The French and Indian War Campaigns in the Lake Champlain, Lake George,
and Hudson River Corridor
and editor of Life on a Canal Boat: The Journals of Theodore Bartley

440 pages, over 200 illustrations, 7 x 10, index, 1999
$29.00 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

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