White River Junctions

White River Junctions - Dave Norman I was very pleasantly surprised by this in-depth history of a small Vermont town. Not many tiny mountain towns can claim the expansive and fascinating history Norman relates in his book.

The author first explores some of the long-standing, historical buildings still able to be seen today. The railroad station that is credited with giving purpose to a town built on this plot of New England territory, a warehouse now housing a salvage shop and giving local artists room to practice their craft, and a hotel with Presidential ties that still provides rest and relaxation to weary travelers are among the spectacular locations Norman explores and pays homage to on his tour of White River Junctions. Their histories give a voice to a town that has seen more hardship and struggles than most, but continues to thrive and stand strong to educate a new generation.

The second half of this book features extensive interviews with some of the town's more deeply-rooted citizens and explores what it means to be a Vermonter. His direct quotations from the interviewees keeps the stories in the voices of those they belong to rather than suffering the process of paraphrasing. Never have I heard such delightful and charming people directly from the pages of a book. They all seem to agree that close family ties, hard work, and independence are among the most treasured traits of a native Vermonter. The families represented in the town have strong military participation and honorable government involvement, aiding a belief that small town living truly brings out the best in people.

I really enjoyed this book and give it four of five stars. The only improvement I would make would be the addition of maps and pictures to put faces to names and images to the author's own descriptions. Definitely a must-read for all history buffs!