Rhode Island: The Ocean State


From the hardcover book’s reverse:

In a book as intriguing as its subject, authors George H. Kellner and J. Stanley Lemons have successfully blended an innovative, forceful text with extraordinary images to produce a lively historical canvas of the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island began when dissenters like Roger Williams, Ann Hutchinson, William Coddington, and Samuel Gorton established the four original towns on Narragansett Bay in the 1630s and 1640s. As a haven for religious freedom, the colony was harshly criticized by its neighbors and denounced as the “Isle of Errors.” And when resentment against Britain turned to war, Rhode Island was the first colony to renounce its allegiance to George III — but the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution, stubbornly holding out because the new Constitution restricted state’s rights. Boldly deserting the limitations of the more traditional history book, the authors have included topical themes selected for their intrinsic interest, such as recreation and the spirit of patriotism, plus a fascinating segment about Newport’s “High Society.” And they take a penetrating look at Rhode Island’s institutions and controversial figures of the last three centuries.

A generous display of rare photographs, paintings, advertisements, and maps, many in full color, illuminate the events, personalities, and trends of the times, giving added insight to the rich history of this beautiful state on the ocean. A special chapter presents the histories of many individual business firms and other organizations that have made vital contributions to Rhode Island’s growth and success. Finally, an illustrated timeline of significant events further enhances and supplements the text. Both authors were acknowledged in 1981 with the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for their work on Providence: A Century of Greatness, 1832-1931. Their profound knowledge of Rhode Island’s history, combined with excellent narrative ability, potent illustrations, and a hard-hitting commentary, has resulted in a landmark volume that will be discussed and treasured for generations.

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