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Short Takes: April 2012 

Ulster County, New York: The Architectural History & Guide, 1660-1950
William B. Rhoads
Black Dome Press, 2011, $24.95
SUNY New Paltz professor emeritus Rhoads provides an authoritative overview of three centuries of local structures, ranging from colonial stone cottages to stately riverfront mansions and mountaintop hotels. Entertaining and informative, its town-by-town organization and wealth of historical photos invite readers to stash a copy in the car for satisfying road trips.






Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road
Carney Rhinevault and Tatiana Rhinevault
The History Press, $19.99
Anyone who finds history dry hasn’t read the Rhinevaults’ tale of a thieving aristocrat with an ear fetish who, as Nieuw Amsterdam’s governor from 1702 to 08, was apprehended by his own soldiers while wearing a dress. Traveling up the post road, you’ll find rent wars, gypsies, an unsolved murder, and Poughkeepsie’s shocking 1963 burning of $3 million in antique books after their owner’s eviction.






Episodes from a Hudson River Town: New Baltimore, New York

Clesson S. Bush
Excelsior Editions, 2011, $12.95
Thornton Wilder would smile on this detailed portrait of a small Greene County town “not famous for anything in particular,” where “townspeople have lived their lives, worked hard, endured tragedies, and celebrated triumphs.” Farming and shipbuilding rise and fall, as does the perilous ice-cutting industry, powered by draft horses, pulleys, and scrappy men with ice saws.






Uncharted Journey: Our Decade Living With Breast Cancer
Elizabeth Holland Kern & Patrick Kern
Secret Garden Publishing, 2012, $16
What could be more local than one’s own body? This fearless, plain-spoken, and frequently heart-rending account of a Phoenicia couple’s decade-long battle with metastatic cancer is a testament to the power of love and the everyday heroism of living hopefully in the shadow of deadly disease. All book profits go to Benedictine Hospital’s Oncology Support Program.






Ulster County Railroads
Stephen Ladin and Glendon Moffatt
Arcadia Publishing, 2011, $21.99
In its heyday, Ulster County was crisscrossed by five different railroads, carrying tourists upstate and Rosendale cement, fresh milk and meat to the city. Vintage photos and informative captions lovingly conjure the past lives of the Walkway Over the Hudson, the Rosendale Trestle, and miles of Rail Trail. Arcadia Images’ recent releases also include Trudie A. Grace’s evocative Around Cold Spring.





HVZA: Hudson Valley Zombie Apocalypse
Linda Zimmermann
www.hvzombie.com, 2012, $12.95
Hold onto your brain! Ghost Investigator Zimmermann’s feisty undead novel takes place right here and now, moving swiftly from headlines of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to a zombie outbreak in Peekskill. Before long, the whole Hudson Valley is crawling with creepies. Dr. Rebecca “Becks” Truesdale is an intrepid researcher and a crack shot, both useful skills in the AZA (After Zombie Apocalypse) end days.

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