Rob's Reviews > Golden Light: The 1878 Diary Of Captain Thomas Rose Lake

Golden Light by James B. Kirk
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it was amazing

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Both James Kirks have done an extraordinary job of teasing out and elucidating, from diary entries of 20 and 30 words, the daring, dangerous, exciting, romantic life of young captain Thomas Rose Lake, during one year, 1878, when the oysters still throve in Atlantic County New Jersey, and local boats still sailed with goods to distant markets.

The book reflects not only the story of Captain Lake, but thanks to father-and-son editors, shows the world he inhabited, with farmlands and creeks where now are tracts and culverts, a bittersweet story and a provocative one.

The editors sound almost apologetic about the length of their annotations, and seem to wish they had been shorter. But readers will find much to admire about this method of presenting local history, this unfurling of an ancient world and its vanished ways with the explication of everyday commentary. Researching these footnotes took more than 10 years, and created a sharper picture of the region than even this reviewer, a native of that overworked land, never dared to imagine.

For students of local history this book is indispensable. For those wanting a case of history written well, this book deserves your attention.
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Reading Progress

August 6, 2018 – Started Reading
August 6, 2018 – Shelved
Finished Reading

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