Books: by Subject: History & Politics

The Larkin Company (Images of America)
Born at 13 Clinton Street in Buffalo in 1845, John D. Larkin went on to become one of the most successful businessmen in Buffalo history. Developing from his experience in the soap industry with his brother-in-law Justus Weller in Buffalo and Chicago, the Larkin Company, established in 1875, became one of the dominant mail-order businesses in America. In 1885, Larkin and his wife’s brother, Elbert Hubbard, promoted “The Larkin Idea,” which brought the business a national customer base through “Factory to Family” direct sales. At the height of the company, 90,000 “Larkin Secretaries” established clubs to bring Larkin soap and other products to women in their neighborhoods. This system of secretaries and clubs created an external promotional engine unlike any other previously known. The company closed in 1967, leaving its mammoth footprint in Buffalo’s Hydraulic neighborhood, now aptly called Larkinville. $23.99

The Erie Canal: The Ditch that Opened a Nation
Author Dan Murphy guides the reader through the struggles to carve the canal out of a stubborn landscape. Learn how one of the technological marvels of its age was built without the assistance of a single professional engineer, and how its impact shaped the Niagara Frontier. $10.95

Hometown Heroes: Western New Yorkers in Desert Storm
More than one hundred people were interviewed, and their experiences were woven together into one region's story during Desert Storm. Co-authors Brian Meyer and Tom Connolly tell a story, not about war, but about the people whose lives were changed by it. $5.95

The Magic of Niagara
The story of Niagara is 12,000 years old, and author George Bailey skillfully captures the historical highlights in a book that contains a riveting text and more than 100 photographs. $15.99

The Power Trail
Niagara Falls was the Silicon Valley of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the great scientific and financial minds of that time descended upon Niagara Falls, where they battled nature for possession of Niagara's power. This is the story of the birth of hydroelectricity, an epic that created a great industrialized nation. $9.95

Quotable Cuomo: The Mario Years
Hundreds of memorable quotes from one of America's most captivating public speakers have been compiled by journalists Brian Meyer and Mary Murray. Both a delightful read and an essential volume for researchers, this 120-page book features photographs by Joe Traver. $5.95

Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad
For nearly a quarter century, Eber Pettit operated an Underground Railroad station in Cattaraugus County. He funneled fugitives to Black Rock and the Niagara River for passage to Canada. This 155-page book is a collection of his reminiscences, commissioned by the editors of the Fredonia Censor in 1868. The book also includes period photographs, illustrations and maps. $12.95

Steamers of the Crystal Beach Line
A history of a select group of steam-powered passenger boats that plied the waters between Buffalo, New York, and Crystal Beach, Ontario, William E. Kae chronicles the events that put these steamers in newspaper headlines after their years of service sailing to Crystal Beach. $26.99

Victorian Buffalo
Images from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. A remarkable collection of lithographs, woodcuts and steel engravings from the years before photography was more than a novelty, and when Buffalo, New York, was a boom town. Cynthia Van Ness has compiled and authored an extraordinary look back at a different age. $13.95

Water Over the Falls: 101 of the Most Memorable Events at Niagara Falls
Daredevils who defied the Mighty Niagara in rubber balls and kayaks. Tragic rock slides, bridge collapses and heroic rescues. Stunning engineering feats, including the "dewatering" of the falls in 1969. These true-to-life tales are recounted by local historian Paul Gromosiak. $8.95

Western New York 101: The 101 Greatest Moments in Buffalo History
Author Dan Murphy set out to identify the region's pivotal moments in time, from the formation of the Five Nations Confederacy in 1451 -- one of the first representative democracies in history -- to the Goo Goo Dolls rocking at Niagara Square in 2004. From the Pan-American Exposition and the Super Bowl years, to the opening of the Erie Canal and the daredevils who conquered Niagara Falls, you'll find 101 more reasons to feel proud about Western New York. $16.95

The World According to Griffin: The End of an Era
The controversial 16-year reign of Buffalo mayor Jimmy Griffin is captured in a book of quotations compiled by veteran journalist Brian Meyer. This 117-page book includes hundreds of long-forgotten barbs, put-downs and words of wisdom from one of the most quotable figures in local history. $5.95