The History Press’s Forgotten Tales of Illinois by Bryan Alaspa is a book about twenty-four well-known and not so well-known and forgotten tales of Illinois history. Some of the events were so incredible and devastating that I could not believe I had never heard about them prior to reading this book.
The author tells the tales of several well-known events in Illinois history like:
- “The Fort and the City.” Fort Dearborn and the founding of Chicago starting in 1779. The tale is about the Indian massacre at the fort and specific individuals involved.
- The Eastland Disaster, which occurred in 1915 in Chicago. Did you know the Eastland tipped into the Chicago River and drowned over 800 people?
- “The Attempt To Steal Lincoln.” Most people know there were attempts to steal Lincoln’s corpse on his return from Washington to Springfield, Illinois for burial, but did you know there was an attempt to steal his corpse after his entombment?
The author also tells the tales of several not so well-known events in Illinois history like:
- “Some Really Bad People.” Did you ever hear the story about two brothers, big Harpe and little Harpe, that went on a killing spree from Virginia to southeastern Illinois!
- “Chicago the ‘Blimpopolis’.” Chicago is one of the air capitols of the world, but did you know in 1919 it was supposed to become one of the airship capitols of the world? It did not though because of a fiery crash of a blimp over downtown.
- “Mattoon’s ‘Mad Gasser’.” There is a tale of a gassing spree that started in Virginia, died out for several years and then began again in Illinois. Was it real or mass hysteria?
The book is a light, enjoyable and quick read. I was so engrossed that I read it almost in one sitting. I think the book is written in a way that it could easily be used by high school teachers and homeschool teachers as part of the curriculum.My only issues with the book are that there is no table of contents listing the 24 tales; there are no sources, bibliography, or index; and nothing about the author in the book. The book just ends with the final tale. As a historian and genealogist I enjoy looking at the sources authors use to write their books. Most of the The History Press’s books that I received do contain all of these items.
Disclosure: HistoryPress.net asked several genealogists if they were interested in reading and reviewing some of their publications. I accepted and the company sent me several books to read, review and keep for my library.
- Book Review “Forgotten Tales of Illinois” by Bryan Alaspa (examiner.com)
- Tuesday’s Tip – Read “Chicago Yesterday & Today” (chicagofamilyhistory.wordpress.com)