Ohio History Journal


Book Notes
Winter-Spring 2002
pp. 94-95
Copyright 2002 by the Ohio Historical Society. All rights reserved.
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BOOK NOTES


Field Guide to Projectile Points of the Midwest. By Noel D. Justice and Suzanne K. Kudlaty. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2001. xii + 53 p.; 112 figures, appendixes.)

This slim volume is intended as a beginner's field guide to some of the more common projectile points—spear points and arrowheads—of the Midwestern states. The authors provide the type name, approximate age, a short description of physical characteristics, and an indication of where the type is found, along with at least one illustration (actual size) of each of the 108 point types included in the guide. The Introduction includes a brief sketch on the functions of prehistoric stone tools, radiocarbon dating, techniques in projectile point analysis, and tips on being a responsible collector. The terminology used to describe projectile points is illustrated in a series of diagrams, and the use of the atlatl (spear thrower) is described near the end of the volume.

The beginning student or collector may find this book to be a useful reference. The descriptions are concise and easy to understand. The illustrations are very well done, being the same as some of the illustrations in Justice's 1987 book, Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental and Eastern United States. The size, light weight, and relatively inexpensive price of the paperback version of the Field Guide make it convenient to slip into a backpack or jacket pocket when heading out to the field. However, the more experienced collector or serious student will no doubt prefer the more detailed information that is found in Justice's earlier volume.

The appendixes offer a brief and very general overview of prehistoric cultural traditions (Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian). The list of Suggested Readings contains some classic works, but would have benefited by the addition of more recent titles. Finally, I am at a loss to explain why the authors included the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the list of Archaeological Research Centers, rather than the Ohio Historical Society or any of the major museums in the state. The lone archaeologist employed by O.D.N.R. did not understand it, either.

Joni Manson, Ohio Historical Society

 

Showtime in Cleveland: The Rise of a Regional Theater Center. By John Vacha. (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2001. x + 253p.; appendixes, bibliographical essay, illustrations, index.)

Eras in the history of the theater in Cleveland have been the subject of dissertation-level research, writing, and press accounts, but John Vacha's book represents the first history of the dramatic arts in the city from its beginnings to the present. Already versed in the subject through his work with Holly Rerick Witchey on Fine Arts in Cleveland: An Illustrated History, Vacha narrates the history of the city's theater in a spry and engaging fashion. Unlike some histories of local institutions, Showtime in Cleveland is not simply a list of names and dates, or a chronicle of "firsts" or famous people who passed through the city. Rather,


Book Notes, page 95

Vacha places the history of Cleveland's theater scene in the context of the city's development. Readers—theater buffs, scholars, and the merely curious alike—will learn of the challenges theater promoters faced in mid-to-late-nineteenth-century Cleveland (whether those challenges be from moralistic Victorian-era city council members or fire), the attractions of vaudeville to the city's multiethnic audience in the early twentieth century, and the development of the playhouse movement in the 1920s. Vignettes at the end of each of his nine chapters highlight notable people and places along the way.

Vacha eschews footnotes and endnotes in the text, although the bibliographical essay at the end of the book will help those who want to know more. His major sources included his personal collection of material, as well as local newspapers, scholarly works, and memoirs. Appendixes list the longest-running plays in the history of Cleveland's theater scene as well as works that had their world premiers in the city. Scholars should peruse Showtime in Cleveland for its style, theater buffs for its information, and history buffs because the book is a good read.

Andrew J. Verhoff, Ohio Historical Society

 

Other books received by Ohio History which might be of interest to our readers include:

The American Civil War 1861-1865. By Reid Mitchell. (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. xix + l42p.; maps, chronology, glossary, who's who, bibliography, index.)

The Korean War. By Steven Hugh Lee. (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. xviii + l8fip. ; maps, chronology, documents, glossary, guide to further reading, bibliography, index.)

The Origins of the Vietnam War. By Fredrik Logevall. (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. xviii + l56p.; maps, chronology, illustrations, bibliography, who's who, index.)

The Longman Companion to Slavery, Emancipation, and Civil Rights. By Harry Harmer. (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2001. viii + 263p.; chronologies, biographies, glossary, bibliography, maps, index.)

Lake Erie Vacationland in Ohio: Revisiting a 1941 Travel Guide to the Sandusky Bay Region. Compiled by the Ohio Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration, with a new introduction by Connie Smith Girard. (Huron, Ohio: March Fourth Publishing Company, 2001. lO9p.; maps.)

Life in a Three-Ring Circus: Posters and Interviews. By Sharon L. Smith and Stephen J. Fletcher. (Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Historical Society, 2001. 79p.; illustrations.)

As Time Goes By: A Pictorial Journal of Athens, Ohio. By Marjorie S. Stone. (Athens, Ohio: The Stone House, 2001. viii+152p.; illustrations, maps.)

Celebrating Akron's History in Picture Postcards. Edited by Chuck Ayers and Russ Musarra. (Akron, Ohio: Summit County Historical Society, 2000. l35p.; illustrations.)

A Century of Pirates: Stories, Photographs and Records of Bluffton High School Championship Athletic Teams and Players of the 20th Century. Compiled by Fred Steiner. (Bluffton, Ohio: The Bluffton News Publishing and Printing Co., Inc., 2000. 128p.; illustrations.