FAYE DASEN: 'Encyclopedia' Treasure for N.C. Readers
There's a lot of interesting nonfiction coming out that will make appropriate gifts for the holidays.
Encyclopedia of North Carolina
Edited by William S. Powell
UNC Press, 2006, $65
If you've lived in North Carolina for a long time, chances are you've heard of William S. Powell.
Powell, now professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of several books.
The 87-year-old Powell has edited submissions from across the state about North Carolina and its history, winnowing them down to 2,000 or so entries for this book of 1,360 pages. The contributors' list contains more than 550 names -- from professional writers and amateur historians -- all of whom wrote their entries with no compensation.
It took more than 15 years of research to compile this book, which complements his earlier books, "The North Carolina Gazetteer," and the six-volume "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography."
If you want to know something about the Tar Heel State, this weighty tome probably can answer your question.
It's full of facts, some of which were familiar to me, some not.
Those of you who have been to the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh have seen Dorton Arena. In 1957, the American Institute of Architects named it one of the 10 buildings of the 20th century.
Did you know that the inventor of the Gatling gun, Richard Jordan Gatling, was born in Hertford County? And that Pepsi-Cola, once known as "Brad's Drink," was developed in New Bern in 1893?
This is a book to be savored. No need to get through it in one sitting. Just dip into it when you get a notion.
Jay Mazzocchi is the associate editor of the project. Jerry Cotten, who was the photographic services librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill, was responsible for securing the illustrations.
William Price, former director of the N.C. Division of Archives and History, was a consulting editor.
On Her Trail:
My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News' First Woman Star
By John Dickerson
Simon and Schuster, 2006, $24
I'm old enough to recall seeing Nancy Dickerson reporting from the White House. She blazed a trail for such people as Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer. However, I didn't know much about her childhood and life behind the scenes.
Apparently her son, John, didn't really know much about his famous mother either. And often, he didn't get along with her, resenting the amount of time she spent away from home.
By the time he was old enough to understand much about her, she was not a regular on the network circuit, but she was still a powerful woman in Washington, D.C., circles. The parties she and her husband hosted at Merrywood, their Virginia estate, were legendary.
It was only during Nancy's final years, after John became a journalist, that he and his mother grew close. He was given her papers and mementos, which led to this book.
It's a fascinating look at a part of history that isn't always covered.
Faye Dasen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 693-2475.
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