Books

Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Literary Pittsburgh

Kathleen “kit” McCafferty, a victim of childhood sexual abuse, has never discussed her trauma with anyone, and its residual rage and pain have left her estranged from her shell-​shocked husband and grown children. Now approaching death, Kit is determined to complete and bequeath to her family a series of confessional…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The power of the pelt

Behold the beaver! Beady-​eyed, snubnosed and bucktoothed, it is hardly a thing of beauty, yet the pursuit of this oversized rodent across North America launched more ships (and keelboats, rafts and canoes) than the lovely Helen of Troy, for all her charms.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Race and Renaissance

Renaissance, schmenaissance. To read Joe W. Trotter and Jared N. Day’s new book, “Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II,” is to realize an inconvenient truth. The skies above our city may have cleared, but racial inequities of generations past still cast a pall on the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The city revisisted

After a year-​long anniversary celebration in 2008 and two national championships and a global summit in 2009, one might think that the city’s appetite for tributes would be pretty well sated. But there is always room for a little something more, particularly when the fare is as lovingly prepared and…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Anatomy of a tar baby

Move over, David McCollough and make room for Ken Gormley, another native son who brings honor to Pittsburgh as a narrative historian of the highest order. Gormley, the new dean of Duquesne University’s law school, clearly shares McCullough’s belief that “history is the story of people,” and manages to transform…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Medicine, Murder and the Mon

Corporate histories commissioned by the client are seldom (read never) impartial, and UPMC’s “Beyond the Bounds” is no exception. Author Mary Brignano lays on the praise in this glossy tribute to UPMC founder Thomas Detre, M.D., and his protégé, current President & CEO Jeffrey Romoff.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Of untimely corpses

Surely one of our region’s most colorful anomalies is the phenomenon of a celebrity coroner. Where else but in Pittsburgh would proximity to corpses carry such cachet? Of course, these corpses are media sensations, and the high-​profile pathologist who enjoys their reflected glory is rather sensational himself.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

What happened to Anna K.?

These are tough times for aspiring romantic heroines. Gone are many of the obstacles that for centuries prevented women from achieving personal freedom, sexual liberation, social mobility, financial independence, true love and an authentic voice. Society now tolerates a host of behaviors once deemed shocking.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Steel City Jews

Kudos to historian Barbara Burstin for producing “Steel City Jews: A History of Pittsburgh and its Jewish Community, 18401915.” For 10 years the author toiled alone, without a publisher, to create a labor of love that relates the early history of our city in the context of the Jewish experience.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Ruanaidh

You don’t need to love football in order to enjoy Art Rooney Jr.’s glowing tribute to his famous father. “Ruanaidh: The Story of Art Rooney and His Clan” is first and foremost about people — the odd and irascible, the magnificent and flawed, the drunk and devout — in the orbit of one of…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Who’s your city?

I’d like to punch Richard Florida in the nose. Not only for the deliberate misuse of pronouns in his latest title (although that’s reason enough in my mind), but also for his brazen urban infidelity. After nearly two decades of professing to love and respect his “adopted hometown,” the self-​proclaimed…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The revolutionary Frantz Fanon

This “novel” is novel indeed; a variform narrative incorporating, among other things, letters to a dead man and a tentative tale of a severed head. It’s a curious brew, heavily laced with impressions, observations and fantastic, almost hallucinatory images. (How else would one describe the author’s elderly mother giving birth…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A Mary Roberts classic centennial

Once America’s best-​selling author, Pittsburgh native Mary Roberts Rinehart started her career with a crime classic that celebrates its centennial in 2008.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Bittersweet heiress

One of the most interesting historical sites in the Laurel Highlands is the Fort Necessity National Battlefield. And a new destination for hiking and exploring in the region is a property currently owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and about to be added to Forbes State Forest, adjacent to the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

When we get there

Now that Pittsburgh has washed the soot from its buildings and reinvented itself for the 21st century, it is often easy to forget that our fair city was once a coal town, sitting atopone of the oldest and richest mineral deposits in the world.
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