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Books  >>  History

Andrew Carroll

Here Is Where

Andrew Carroll Here Is Where Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
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Biographical note:

ANDREW CARROLL is best known for creating the Legacy Project, which archives wartime correspondence, and War Letters, which sold more than 300,000 copies and inspired an acclaimed PBS documentary.  Other New York Times bestsellers include Letters of a Nation and Behind the Lines. Carroll’s Operation Homecoming inspired an Emmy-winning documentary.  He lives in Washington, D.C.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

Niihau

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.

—G. K. Chesterton

Located about twenty-five hundred miles from the continental United States and nicknamed “the Forbidden Island,” Niihau is the westernmost inhabited isle on the Hawaiian chain. The seal-shaped speck of land is also the world’s largest privately owned island, stretching approximately twenty miles long and six miles across at its widest point. In 1864 a clan of Scottish ranchers, the Robinsons, purchased Niihau for $10,000 in gold from King Kamehameha V, and it’s theirs to this day. (The king also offered them Pearl Harbor, but they passed.)

No tourists are allowed on Niihau except those who are personally invited by the Robinson family or who fly in from neighboring Kauai (“the Garden Isle”) on Niihau Helicopters Inc., a Robinson-operated business that offers six-hour tours and daylong safaris. Other companies run sightseeing and snorkeling boat trips that skirt the coast from a mile out. But I need to go ashore; the story I’m pursuing involves a small plane that made an emergency landing near the main village more than seventy years ago, and the ensuing manhunt for the pilot sparked a panic on America’s mainland that had major social and political repercussions. Getting to the island is no easy feat, and its remoteness, I suspect, accounts for why “the Niihau incident” isn’t better known.

Hawaii was slotted for the end of my travels, when I planned to be in the neighborhood anyway (that is, around Washington State), but while piecing together my itinerary, I called Niihau Helicopters and immediately hit a snag.

A very pleasant woman named Shandra told me that the pilot couldn’t shuttle just one passenger out to the island, so I’d have to join an already scheduled party of three or more. Shandra could find only one day on their calendar when they had a group short by a single person, and I confirmed on the spot. Liftoff would be in three months, which cut my preparation time for the entire journey in half.

There was another problem.

If a storm blew in or the other passengers canceled at the last minute, the flight to Niihau would be postponed indefinitely. I wouldn’t be charged, but I’d have gone all the way to Hawaii for nothing. My only option was to make a reservation and hope for the best.

Over the next three months, I frantically began coordinating the remainder of my itinerary. The original plan, and certainly the most logical and economical strategy, was to zigzag across the country in one clean, continuous line, either from side to side or top to bottom. But, as with Niihau, I had to schedule my visits according to what worked best for the various guides and historians who’d be touring me around in their respective towns. My final route looked as if it had been mapped out more by Jackson Pollock than by Rand McNally.

Every few weeks I called Shandra to make sure the other parties hadn’t pulled out, and every time she assured me that they were still committed.

On my way to Kauai, I hopscotched the Hawaiian Islands, hitting Maui first to check out Charles Lindbergh’s grave near a small abandoned church in Kipahulu. There’s room for tw"Readers should fasten their seatbelts...Carroll's explorations are strangely compelling—I started wondering what history had disappeared from my own neighborhood. Here Is Where could be the basis for a cool Google Glass app—mash it up with GPS coordinates and let it populate the spaces around us with ghosts, both good and evil. We may lose a bit of ourselves by outsourcing our imagination. But we may lose even more by letting time erode the history of our land."--Wall Street Journal

“Carroll takes readers on an eye-opening and entertaining grand tour of America in this lively exploration of lesser-known or overlooked historical sites. From birthplaces to gravesites and high points to low, from those that inspired inventions to those that sparked change, he leaves no stone unturned or landmark unvisited…Part travelogue, part history, this book should be required reading for anyone interested in America’s past.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Andrew Carroll has always been a top-notch editor. I had no idea he was as fine a storyteller.  Great storytelling can be wonderfully addictive. Here Is Where captured me completely -- I couldn't put it down."
--Jeff Shaara, New York Times bestselling author of Gods and Generals, Last Full Measure and Blaze of Glory
 
Here is Where is remarkable for the painstaking research on display and its yield of rescued-from-obscurity stories. Many of the true incidents Andrew Carroll has uncovered aren’t just surprising but powerful.  Others are simply laugh-out-loud funny, but all are described with considerable skill.  America has always had among its citizenry a number of individuals whose legacy is immense but unappreciated, and Carroll has truly done them justice.”
--Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War and Killing Rommel
 
"Impressive...Carroll has discovered a way of doing history that, once you
see it, seems so obvious, indeed right under your nose or feet.  But to the best of my knowledge, no one has done this before."
--Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Revolutionary Summer and Founding Brothers
 
“Both a fascinating excavation of under-appreciated events and agents and a compelling analysis of what binds us together, Here Is Where makes for rich and vivid readingIt seems to me that Andrew Carroll has become the Charles Kuralt of American history.”
--Les Standiford, author of Desperate Sons and Last Train to Paradise
 
“Writing with a historian’s insight and the skill of a master storyteller, Andy Carroll reminds us to look for the fascinating bits of history that lie just behind the curtains of our modern surroundings. Here is Where is a captivating, thoroughly enjoyable journey across the country with a friend who knows all the cool places to stop and have a look.”
--Gregory A. Freeman, The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys and The Forgotten 500
 
"In Here Is Where, one of our best historian-sleuths, Andrew Carroll, has given us a fresh and irresistible approach to experiencing history. Until someone invents a time machine, it's the next best thing to being there--and he's such a vivid, engaging writer that it's probably more fun."
--James Donovan, author of A Terrible Glory and The Blood of Heroes 
 
 "Andrew Carroll takes the reader on a fascinating journey of discovery to uncover the forgotten history that lies hidden around us. This is a terrific book: refreshingly original, fast-paced, entertaining, and always insigh


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