Best Little Stories from Virginia

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Cumberland House, 2003 - History - 440 pages
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When it comes to history, few states can rival Virginia, home of eight presidents and the cradle of the American Revolution. Best Little Stories from Virginia is a collection of more than 100 stories from the four centuries since Jamestown was founded in 1607. A journalistic history, it focuses on the "feature story" angle by approaching history through the eyes of the people who lived it.

Virginia contained the first English colony in America as well as being the first place where slavery was introduced. It was both the leader of the Confederacy and a battleground of the civil rights struggles of the twentieth century. Its historic back-of-the-bus ruling in 1948 prohibited discriminatory practices on interstate buses long before the Rosa Parks case in Montgomery, Alabama, which involved city buses.

Some of the stories included are:
  • Don Luis de Velasco, the Indian boy who was taken away by the Spanish in 1561 and later became chief of the Algonquin tribe.
  • Young George Washington, who served in English Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock's army during the French and Indian War alongside Lt. Col. Thomas Gage, who later commanded British troops during the American Revolution.
  • George Rogers Clark, whose army of 175 bedraggled, half-starved frontiersmen single handedly captured an important fort from much larger British forces.
  • Charles Crozet, the French engineer who designed and completed the Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1856, long before the discovery of dynamite, nitroglycerine, or pneumatic drills.
  • The building of the Pentagon, once known as "Somervell's Folly" after Brig. Gen. Brehon Somervell, who conceived it one weekend in mid-1941 as a way to gather scattered War Department personnel under one roof.

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About the author (2003)

C. BRIAN KELLY, a prize-winning journalist, is cofounder of Montpelier Publishing and a columnist and editor emeritus for Military History magazine. He is also a lecturer in newswriting at the University of Virginia. Kelly's articles have appeared in Reader's Digest, Friends, Yankee, Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, and other magazines. He is the author of several books on American history and resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.