Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Costumes of the 1950s

My Halloween costume in 1955 
I remember trick or treating on Rosemont Ave as a girl, walking down the streetlight lit sidewalks in the early dark, getting goodies from all the neighbors, most of whom I knew. I recall being a 'gypsy' several years, wearing Mom's full gathered skirts, loads of beads, and a scarf. I believed myself quite lovely and exotic.

My relatives loved a party and I found these great photographs of a costume parties held in 1958 and 1959.

My Grandmother Gochenour was the only clown I was not afraid of!
My Grandmother Emma Becker Gochenour in a clown costume.
Taken in the kitchen on Military Rd, Tonawanda.
I remember that red wall paper.
Dad's big nose and mustache and glasses looked funny in 1958, but later in life he did have a mustache and glasses!
My father Gene Gochenour
 Mom as an old fashioned, white haired lady...not like the Jitterbug Queen she really was!
My mother Joyce Ramer Gochenour

Chubb and Adaline (nee' Becker) Killian and
Rube and Dot Becker.
Chubb and Rube were my grandmother's siblings.
My Aunt Alice Gochenour Ennis with her mother Emma.
I believe the lady sitting in the background is
Mary Becker, wife of Levant (Lee).
Alice Gochenour Ennis and Rube Becker
Alice Gochenour Ennis
 My aunt and uncle were characters from Lil' Abner. Note the saddle shoes on my aunt!
Ken Ennis
Friend of the family Helen Ensminger and friend

Dorothy and Rube Becker
Us kids mostly wore store bought costumes.
From 1957, my cousins Steve and Linda Guenther
children of  Dad's sister Mary
And myself in 1957 as Mickey Mouse! I still have that clock shelf seen on the wall.
I wonder what was in the bag?
And later in life I was still wearing a costume for special parties. This is my costume for the senior costume day in 1969. Yes, that is an Avocado green piano! Mom and Dad made thewall  clock circa 1960 and I still have it.
A neighbor made me this pilgrim costume for Halloween 1969.
Seniors were able to wear costumes to school.
 My husband and I were invited to a costume party in the early1990s.
In the early 1990s my husband and I wore these costumes to a party.
I was wearing a pillow as if I were pregnant. My hubby had taken
Mime classes and this was his costume. That's the Phillies Phanatic in his arms.
 Then our son came along, and Halloween was fun all over again.
Our son's earliest costume was Peter Pan which I made.
He is posed with our first Shiba Inu, Kili.
 My friend Jan made this costume inspired by my Poe quilt!
My quilt group friend Jan was inspired by my Edgar Allan Poe quilt
to make a costume with a purple curtain and a raven!
Edgar Allan Poe by Nancy A Bekofske
Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Restoring a Sense of Order to the World: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I was eager to read Amor Towles novel A Gentleman in Moscow after reading rave reviews from my Goodread friends and enjoying the opening pages through the First Look Bookclub. I loved the writing and tone of those first pages. When I got my hands on a copy I read it in three days and was in happy tears at the end.

Count Alexander Rostov, recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, Member of the Jockey club, and Master of the Hunt is a Former Person, a member of the aristocracy slated for execution but for having his name linked to a 1915 revolutionary poem. Count Rostov is instead placed under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in the heart of Moscow. It is June 21, 1922. The Count is 33 years old. It is his luckiest day.

He will not return to his luxury suite stocked with priceless heirlooms and beloved books; he is moved into an empty 100 square foot room, former servant quarters in the attic. The Count chooses a few items to take with him. And when I read these following lines, I knew their truth from having moved many times and carried 'things' that brought a sense of home with them:

"...we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience...allowing memories to invest the with greater and greater importance...Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion. 
But of course, a thing is just a thing."

I found myself marking passage after lovely and insightful passage that elucidate the characters and our common experience.

The Count adapts to his new reality, mastering his circumstances. He takes a job as the head waiter in the hotel restaurant. He is befriended by Nina, a whimsical nine-year-old girl whose parting gift is a universal pass key to all the hotel rooms. Nina grows up, then leaves her daughter Sophia with the Count to follow her husband sent to the Gulag. The child is ignored by the police only because there was doubt about her patrimony. A Soviet official hires the Count to educate him in the culture of the West, and over fifteen years they develop a mutual respect. And Sophia grows to become an accomplished pianist. (Hear the music of the novel here.)

As the world the Count knew and loved is dismantled under the Bolsheviks, "who were so intent upon recasting the future from a mold of their own making, would not rest until every last vestige of his Russia had been uprooted, shattered, or erased." The Count's university days friend Mishka has been struggling, asking, "What is it about a nation that would foster a willingness in its people to destroy their own artworks, ravage their own cities, and kill their own progeny without compunction? " Mishka answers his question with his realization that self-destruction was not an abomination, but Russia's greatest strength, "We are prepared to destroy that which we have created because we believe more than any of them [The British, French or Italians] in the power of the picture, the poem, the prayer, or the person."

Sophia asks the Count why he returned to Russia from Paris. His only answer is that, "Life needed me to be in a particular place at a particular time, and that was when your mother brought you to the lobby of the Metropol." And the last pages of the novel become comedy, a happy ending, a righting of things knocked over in the skirmish, "an essential faith that by the smallest of one's actions one can restore some sense of order to the world."

You may think a novel about thirty-two years living in the Metropol Hotel would be dull and without interest. The novel is episodic, skipping from one important time to another, but new people enter the hotel and affect the Count's life. Read the author's comment on the structure of the novel at

But I was mesmerized, charmed by the Count, drawn in by the slow revelation of his past and enticed by his plans for his future.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Eugene Gochenour's Memoirs: Running a Coffee Truck

In this installment from my dad's memoirs he talks about running a side business, a coffee truck in Lockport, NY.
Gene Gochenour

"A few years after we opened the station a friend talked me into going into the coffee catering business with him. His name was Sam Letcher and he had worked for a coffee catering service so he had some knowledge about the business. Since neither of us had established credit we asked my father to cosign for a loan at the bank for us, which he did. The loan was for two hundred and fifty dollars. 

"We bought an old truck and I painted it green, built shelves for the coffee and donuts, and had our name painted on it. We called our business “S & J Coffee Service” When Sam applied for our business license, he put down Jean, instead of Gene, on the form. I was not about to go to the trouble to change it. We decided to run the business at Lockport, a town about twenty-two miles away. There were several coffee catering businesses in our area, but none there. We rented the second floor of an existing business on Market Street in Lockport. The second floor had not been used years so we had to clean it up, then install our coffee urns and supplies.

"Every morning, Monday through Saturday, I got up early, and went to Gallager’s Bakery at the city of Kenmore where I picked up about twenty dozen donuts, then drove to Lockport. I drove a 1950 Dodge sedan then, and I filled all the seats with trays of donuts and on the way I would eat one. But after a week or so, I did not eat any, and I would open the car windows, because I didn’t even like the smell of them! 

"When I arrived at our building in the morning I made about sixteen gallons if coffee, and then loaded the coffee urns and donuts on the truck. After I had loaded the truck Sam would come in and drive to various businesses to sell the coffee and donuts, Then I would go back and work the rest of the day at the station. On Sundays I drove to Lockport to get the truck and bring it back to the station to wash and service it. Then I drove it back to Lockport so it was ready for the next week. Each day the unsold donuts were dropped off at the station, so our customers always had free donuts. Of course we had a coffee machine at the station also. 

"The vehicle we used for our coffee business was a step van that we had paid one hundred and twenty five dollars for. We decided we needed another vehicle so we bought an old Ford panel truck. It had been used by a paint contractor so it needed a good cleanup. I painted it, put in shelves, and had it lettered with our business name. On the first trip to Lockport, Sam flipped it over on a curve, and totaled it. Luckily he did not get hurt in the accident.

"I stopped going to Lockport when we hired a lady to work for us a few months after we started. I never made any money from that business, and after a few years I sold my part of the business back to Sam for the original amount I had invested. I never should have been talked into getting involved in another enterprise, because I had all I could handle at the station!"

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Clyde Bellecourt Tells His Story as Founder of the American Indian Movement

After reading The Apache Wars and The Sand Creek Massacre I was ripe to learn about the Native American civil rights movement that occured while I was in my late teens and early twenties. As if on cue, Edelwiss offered The Thunder Before the Storm, The Autobiography of Clyde Bellencourt, the founder of the American Indian Movement.

"We started a movement to take back everything that belonged to us: our spirituality, our hunting and fishing rights, our water rights, our gold and minerals, our sacred rites--and our children."

Starting with his childhood on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, Clyde Bellecourt (his colonial name; The Thunder Before the Storm, Neegonnwayweedun, is his Ojibwe name) relates a grim story. Clyde grew up hearing his father's stories of being taken from his family to be educated in a boarding school so hateful that he enlisted during WWI. Later he discovered the origin of his mother's limp: at boarding school her punishment for speaking her native language was to scrub floors with bags of marbles tied to her knees.

Clyde grew up without knowledge of his native culture, spiritual traditions, or language, which had been violently supressed for generations by a Eurocentric majority culture. He was deemed "incorrigable," a truant and runaway, resistant to the mission school authority, repeatedly in juvenile detention, and in solitary confinement in prison. His life mirrored that of many Natives on the reservations, with high rates of alcoholism and drug abuse resulted in a typical lifespan of 44 years.

While in prison Clyde became part of an Indian cultural program and an Indian Folklore Group. He learned his native language, ceremonies, prayer songs, and history.

"I was typical of the other Indians there: spiritually and emotionally bankrupt."

It was the beginning of Bellecourt's spiritual revival that lead him to becoming an activist, using "confrontaion politics" to demand the end of discrimination on the local and national level. European education, organized religion, and the Bureaus of Indian Affairs were the institutions that needed to change. He became the leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The goals included addressing immediate concerns in housing, youth, employment, education, communication, and citizenship. The long range goals included unification of the Indian people, participation in local affairs, and fostering economic equality. Bellecourt brought back the Sun Dance which had been banned.

AIM found friends in civil rights workers including Coretta Scott King, religious leaders such as Dr. Paul Boe of the America Lutheran Church, and local political leaders along the way, but they were also targeted as 'terrorists' by local police, the FBI, and the American government. AIM was besieged, spys infiltrated the group, including assasins, and members were murdered.

Like many visionary leaders, Bellecourt is not a paragon of perfection; he struggled with demons-- alcohol, drugs, and infidelity; he was imprisoned on drug related charges; and he survived assasination attempts.

I was glad to read about Bellecourt's work to remove racism from American sports, particularly the National Football League and the Washington Redskins name. It helped me to understand the associations of this kind of branding from the Native American viewpoint. "Redskin" was used to "denigrate and dehumanize" the natives, who believe the term refers to the bloody scalps taken by  bounty hunters. The "tomahawk chop" to Native Americans is a reminder of the weapons used to scalp their people.

I consider how I grew up with cowboy and Indian TV westerns and movies, the cliches and easy stereotypes, racism in the form of entertainment. We kids didn't know about the drive to exterminate First Peoples, the lies and broken treaties, and the continued supression of Native culture that was still ongoing. I had a cowboy hat and a holster, squinting my eyes as if always looking into the sun, a little blond-haired girl imitating what she saw on tv.

At college a friend told me about going to Pow Wows and of his interest in the Indian ways. It just seemed like a fad. And while I was working my husband through school, barely in my twenties, Wounded Knee seemed far away and alien.

I have been spending a great deal of time, now in my 'golden years', making up for the ignorance of my youth. It is frustrating to know that the entertainment industry still forms most of young people's historical knowledge. I know--the goal of public education is to make good citizens, and somehow that means supporting the image that America was always right. But I think that making good citizens should include the understanding that America has committed heinous crimes, but that we are continually learning to see the error of our past choices. Right now I am afraid that we may not be learning, as a culture, to recall history and resist making the same mistakes.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt as told to Jon Lurie
MNHS Press
Publication Novemeber 15, 2016
$27.95 hard cover
ISBN: 9781681340197

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brilliant Reimagining of Shakespeare's The Tempest: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Contemporary novelists reimagine Shakespeare's plays in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I have read Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl (The Taming of the Shrew) and Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time (A Winter's Tale) but have not yet read Howard Jacobson's Shylock is my Name (The Merchant of Venice).

I was particularly eager to read Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood's versions of The Tempest, because I'd read so many glowing reviews, and because I had read and enjoyed Atwood's last book The Heart Goes Last (my first time reading this author, which amazes me).

Hag-Seed is definitely my favorite in the series so far.

I won't concentrate on a plot synopsis since so many other reviewers have already done that. I'd rather address what aspects of the novel particularly impressed me.

I loved Hag-Seed's play within a play structure, so Shakespearean, where all the contemporary characters in the novel correspond to the original play and perform The Tempest while creating a live theater situation where the audience becomes a part of a play based on the Tempest.

I'll try to explain this again.

The protagonist, the brilliant and original artistic director Felix, was about to direct The Tempest when he was disposed from his job as artistic director by self-seeking men. Felix retreats to a primitive cabin in the middle of nowhere, his only companion the memory of his deceased daughter Miranda. After many years he takes a job under a false name and becomes Mr. Duke, literacy teacher in a local prison, teaching inmates Shakespeare through performance of the plays. When Felix learns his old enemies are now Ministers who want to end the prison literacy program he decides the time has come for him to take his revenge. The Ministers come to the prison to see a video of The Tempest performed by the inmates. But Felix and his prisoner actors plot a live theater experience that will bring his enemies under his power.

The intricate structure of the novel knocked my socks off. Additionally, as Felix teaches The Tempest to the prison inmates the reader is also educated about the play's themes and characters. And then at the end of the book the inmates offer reports on what happens to the characters after the events of the play. They offer original insights, such as Prospero's lack of oversight allowing Antonio to usurp him; a questioning of the strength or weakness of goodness; the theme of second chances; and theorizing that Prospero is Caliban's father. I also liked how the minor characters, the prisoners enrolled in Felix's course, have distinct personalities and back stories that relate to the roles they are assigned.

"The last three words in the play are 'set me free'," says Felix." Felix has identified nine prisons within the play, and so we understand how Atwood conceived of Hag-Seed.

Readers of this series don't have to be experts on Shakespeare's plays to enjoy the novels, although an understanding of the plays heightens the enjoyment. If you are rusty on the play, you can skip to the author's synopsis at the end and read it first.

I received a free e-book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Margaret Atwood
Hogarth Shakespeare
Publication Oct. 11, 2016
$25 hard cover

For an interesting follow-up to this book read Shakespeare Changed My Life by Dr. Laura Bates, telling how teaching the Bard to prisoners impacted their lives.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

All Between the Lines: The Eastern Shore by Ward Just

"A properly edited page was a thing of beauty," thinks Ned Ayre, the protaganast of Ward Just's new novel The Eastern Shore. Contemplating his life dedicated to the news, trying to write his memoirs, Ned feels like an archaelogist 'assembing fragments of a dead civilization." The man who worked magic with his blue pencil, editing other's stories, could not create order from the threads of his life, his 'Rosebud' moment eluding him.

Ned's love of the news is an obsession that divides him from his parents and his lovers, a love affair that ends badly as the newspapers decline and close, no longer valued or profitable.

In this introspective novel, Just probes the stories of our life: the fictions we weave, like Ned's Uncle Ralph and his WWI stories that never happened, but which he believes happened; the untold truth buried because it does not make good press; the stories that should never have been told and ruin lives.

I was left feeling mournful and contemplative by this novel. I understood Ned's longing to break out of his small town, a place of changeless comfort and sureity. And I mourned his inability to make sense of his life.

Some will say there is no plot action, too much of the story is shared through story telling. But I was compelled by the novel; it recalled to mind many who dedicate their lives to something they believe in only to find after 40 years that what they loved has become meaningless and unvalued. How could anyone live without the news, young Ned thinks in amazement. Yet he lives into a world where the news and the great stories are left behind. Change betrays us all.

Between the lines we come to understand what Ned learned the hard way: the paper-thin line between all the news we need to know and all the news; how factual reporting can cross the line into the sacred and the private.

I requested this book through Edelweiss because several years ago I read Ward Just's novel An Unfinished Season and it left a lasting impression on me. I am even more impressed with Just after reading this book.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbaised review.

The Eastern Shore
Ward Just
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication October 18, 2016
ISBN-10 0544836588
ISBN-13 9780544836587

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Eugene Gochenour's Memoirs: New York State Theme Parks of the 1950s

Santa's Workshop at the North Pole, 1957, New York State
The North Pole, New York State, 1957
This selection from my dad's memoirs recalls family vacations we took in 1956 and 1957. I recall these trips although I was only four and five years old: The North Pole, Frontier Town, The Land of Make Believe, and The Enchanted Village.  
Santa's Workshop at The North Pole, NY, 1957. Dad, me and Grandma Gochenour
"Once a year Joyce, Nancy and I would take a week’s vacation. Most years we went to the Adirondack mountains.

"Once we took Nancy to the North Pole to see Santa's Workshop.
Here I am at the North Pole. I remember there were goats
that followed me, chewing on my jacket, and I was scared of them.
"Then we went to Frontier Town where we rode on a stagecoach and were robbed by bandits. We also watched a gunfight on the main street of town. The stagecoach robbers were caught, and punished.

Frontier Town, New York State, 1957
I'm in jail at Frontier Town, 1957

And Mom in the pillory while Grandma Gochenour stands by. Frontier Town 1957.

Frontier Town, 1957
At Frontier Town surrounded by cowboys
"I always had a fishing pole along, and if we found a cabin by a lake or river I would spend the evening fishing. On some of our trips we went to Whiteface Mountain, Fort Ticonderoga, and the Au Sable Chasm, and took the ferry to Burlington, Vermont. While in Vermont we drove through the Green Mountains, then traveled the Taconic Trail. 
Au Sable Caverns 1957
Nancy, 1957
Howe Caverns 1957
I was only five years old but I remember this cabin. It was a lovely
retreat at the end of a busy day of sightseeing.
Dad preparing fish on our family vacation in 1957
"One year we went to Hyde Park, the home of President Roosevelt, then to the Howe Caverns, the Vanderbilt Mansion, and the Corning Glass works where there was a glass museum and a factory where we watched them blow glass objects. Nancy was always a good traveler. Most of our vacations were in New York State.
That's Mom and Me on the right at the foot of Paul Bunyan
the Enchanted Forest 1957
At The Enchanted Forest with Mom and Grandma Gochenour
The Enchanted Forest, 1957, talking to the Pumpkin Eater's wife
The Enchanted Forest apparently had an ark
At the Land of Make Believe 1957
The Land of Make Believe, 1957. Dad, me and Grandma Gochenour
The Land of Make Believe, 1957

Learn more about these attractions:

The North Pole, NY Santa's Workshop was the first theme park and featured the first petting zoo in America.

Frontier Town in North Hudson, NY 1952-1999, Story Town which opened in 1954, The Land of Make Believe, and Santa's Workshop were all in the Adirondacks. Here is a brochure for the theme parks:

The Land of Make Believe, Upper Jay, NY, 1954-1979, which sadly was flooded out:

Story Town:

The Enchanted Forest opened in 1956:

Mom and I feeding critters

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Rise and Fall of the Glass Armonica

Angelic Music by Corey Mean is the story of Ben Franklin's Glass Armonica, the invention that gave him the "greatest personal satisfaction."

When we lived in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s to late 1980s we saw the Glass Armonica at the Franklin Institute. And we had heard a man perform on musical glasses in several venues around the time of the Bicentenniel. So I had heard the ethereal, angelic music of the musical glasses.

I had not realized that the Glass Armonica was all the rage in the 18th c and early 19th c. Chamber music including the instrument was written by Mozart, Beethoven, and Handel. Vituosos toured Europe playing the music that made women swoon.

It gained a tarnished reputation in the early 19th c when people believed the music could drive one mad and cause illness, or summon the dead with magical powers. Mesmer used it in his seances.

As music changed from small ensambles to large symphonic orchestras in halls the Armonica fell out of favor, relegated to being a museum curiosoity. But in the last twenty years it has found a revival, electronically enchanced, and used in pop music, movies, opera, and chamber music.

I was fascinated by this book. Corey covers the rise and fall of the musical glasses, the development of glassmaking, early musical glasses, Franklin's musical background and development of the Armonica, the hey-day of the Glass Armonica, and Mesmer's career and his use of the instrument, including his comissioning an opera from Mozart, the decline and revival of the instrument.

When German glassblower Gerhard Finkenbeiner saw a Glass Armonica in a musem in 1960 it was a curiosity. He rediscovered how to create the glass and instrument and the instrument found a revival.

Today a few people are experts, including Dennis James whose collaboration with Linda Ronstadt on six CDs revived an interest in the instrument. A a boy he saw Franklin's instruemtent at the Franklin Institute; in music school he asked what it sounded like and his professor answered, "No one knows. It hasn't been played for two hundred years." Now he leads the world's first known glass music studies program at Rutgers University.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Learn more about the Glass Armonica:

The Glass Armonica
Corey Mead
Simon & Schuster
Publication October 2016
$28 hard cover
ISBN: 978-1-4767-8303-1

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Artists of the Revolution and The Creation of an American Identity

In 1783 John Adams was in London and commissioned American expat John Singleton Copely to paint his portrait.

Adams was fresh from Paris where, along with John Jay and Benjamin Franklin, he had signed the Treaty of Paris. His accomplishments included obtaining recognition of America and negotiating a treaty with the Dutch, plus obtaining a Dutch loan to fund the American war for independence, and establishing the very first American embassy in Amsterdam. He was instrumental in the Provisional Treaty with Britain.

A man must be his own trumpeter Adams had written in a letter. Adams knew his place in history, even if at home and abroad Franklin was everyone's darling.  He deserved a portrait. Copley was to paint an eight-foot tall, full portrait of Adams, full of symbols designating  his place in history.

Art teaches values, Adams knew, and can be used as propaganda, promoting ideals that outlast personal memory.

Upon seeing the impressive portrait Adams realized the vanity of his desire. He left it behind.

Of Arms and Artists by Paul Staiti considers the lives of the great artists of the Revolution in context of their time. I was fascinated by the stories of the artists. Learning about the paintings was enlightening. For instance, on my last visit to the Detroit Art Institute I was thrilled to see Watson and the Shark by Copely. This is a painting often reproduced in books. Statai tells the story behind the painting.

The commissioned painting memorializes the experience of real life Brook Watson. The dramatic painting shows a man in the water reaching for a rope thrown from a boat while a sailor readies to harpoon a shark whose open maw is feet from the unfortunate boy.

The real Watson was a Tory politician who wanted the painting to create a personal identity, eliciting sympathy and connoting courage. He was a British spy who announced that slavery was "merciful and humane."

Americans will recognize famous paintings by these artists. They created the mythos of America.

Charles Willson Peale was an enthusiastic patriot who was a captain in the Pennsylvania militia. He was at the crossing of the Delaware and the Battles of Trenton and Princeton and the fall of Philadelphia to the British. Peale visited Valley Forge, painting miniatures of the officers--not as they were but cheery visions to send home to loved ones. He painted George Washington after the Battle of Princeton.
George Washington, Peale
John Singleton Copley left America to study in Europe. He endeavored for neutrality and painted portraits of Patriots and the British.
Paul Revere, Copley
John Trumbull captured pivotal moments in history. He witness the battle of Bunker Hill and served as an aide to Gen. George Washington. In Paris he was a go-between for Thomas Jefferson, delivering love notes to the married Maria Cosway. His paintings are in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol including the signing of the Declaration of Independence which places historical accuracy secondary to America ideals.
Trumbull, signing of the Declaration
Benjamin West left Pennsylvania for a 'grand tour' to broaden his knowledge of art. He stayed in London as the historical painter to the court of George III. His historical paintings included The Death of General Wolfe.   He painted his close friend in the allegorical Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity From the Sky.
West, Benjamin Franklin
Gilbert Stuart was a master in portraiture, painting over 1,000. He studied under Benjamin West in England. Constantly in debt, he spent the summer of 1789 in  the Marshalsea Prison. His painting of George Washington was saved by Dolley Madison when the British invaded the Capitol.
Stuart, George Washington

Having read a number of books on the Revolution was an asset to understand the historical events of the paintings created by these artists, but enough information is provided by the author for the general reader. I appreciated how the author brought these men to life.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Of Arms and Artists
Paul Staiti
Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication October 18, 2016
$30 hard cover
ISBN 9781632864659