Heaven's Ditch - (Virtual) Book Club selection for August 2020

Welcome to our FIRST EVERY Virtual Book Club!

We'll start things off with the 2016 book published by St. Martin's Press and written by author Jack Kelly, "HEAVEN'S DITCH: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal."

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will do Online Weekly “Check-Ins” to discuss the content, chapter status, and highlight some interesting history. We'll ask for you to submit questions about the reading during the week so we can address them or pass them along for the "wrap up" Q&A with the author.

Introduction and start reading date: August 1st.

Week One: Chapters Introduction, 1 & 2

Week Two: Chapters 3 & 4

Week Three: Chapter 5

Week Four: Chapters 6, 7 & epilogue

Final Q&A with Jack Kelly will be in early September:

Hear Jack answer questions submitted by readers and discover his process, thoughts and research while he was writing Heaven's Ditch. Find out what he has in the works, and more!

SOURCES for book:

St. Martins Press / https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781137280091

Mohawk Valley Library Service / https://www.mvls.info/

Amazon / https://www.amazon.com/Heavens-Ditch-Gold-Murder-Canal/dp/1250131529

About the Book:

“The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn't just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history. Zealots invented new religions and new modes of living. The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

Heaven's Ditch by Jack Kelly illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this "psychic highway" from its opening in 1825 through 1844. "Wage slave" Sam Patch became America's first celebrity daredevil. William Miller envisioned the apocalypse. Farm boy Joseph Smith gave birth to Mormonism, a new and distinctly American religion. Along the way, the reader encounters America's very first "crime of the century," a treasure hunt, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers.

A page-turning narrative, Heaven's Ditch offers an excitingly fresh look at a heady, foundational moment in American history.” – St. Martin’s Press

About the Author:

JACK KELLY is a journalist, novelist, and historian, whose books include Band of Giants, which received the DAR's History Award Medal. He has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, and other national periodicals, and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. He has appeared on The History Channel and been interviewed on National Public Radio. He spent his childhood in a town in the canal corridor adjacent to Palmyra, Joseph Smith's home. He now lives in New York's Hudson Valley.