HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: History Mysteries: The Cases of James Harrod, Tecumseh, “Honest Dick” Tate and William Goebel
Author: James C. Klotter
Cover Illustrator: Alan Clinkinbeard
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989
Related website: http://www.kentuckypress.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Klotter, James C. History Mysteries: The Cases of James Harrod, Tecumseh, “Honest Dick” Tate and William Goebel (published in 1989 by The University Press of Kentucky, 663 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40508). History is not all just a bunch of dull and dry facts to be memorized and regurgitated on tests. There are many fascinating stories and sometimes a touch of mystery since there is no actual record of what eventually happened in certain cases. James Harrod, the founder of the first permanent settlement in Kentucky, Fort Harrod now known as Harrodsburg, just disappeared. Did he run off, was he killed, or did he die in some accident? Tecumesh, the chief of the Shawnees, was killed in the Battle of the Thames, but exactly who killed him? There are several claims and possibilities. James William Tate, known as “Honest Dick,” was elected Kentucky state treasurer. After twenty years in office, he simply left the state, and later it was found that he had taken some $247,000 of the state’s money. Where did he go, and what was his fate? And who assassinated Kentucky state senator William Goebel?
I picked this book up last year in the gift shop of Rough River Dam State Resort Park near Falls of Rough, KY, while there for a family reunion. The reader gets to play detective in these four mysteries from Kentucky’s past. Author James Klotter, who is the Kentucky State Historian and a professor of History at Georgetown College, gives all the clues based on what is known for sure but leaves the final solution to the reader. The book is part of a series, “New Books for New Readers” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kentucky Humanities Council, and The Kentucky Post, that appears to be intended for people like those who have become literate later in life or are learning English as a second language, but it would also be suitable for younger readers, especially those who like mysteries from the past or are studying Kentucky history. Klotter is also the author of A New History of Kentucky, Our Kentucky, Kentucky: Land of Tomorrow, Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, Kentucky: Decades of Discord, William Goebel, and Faces of Kentucky.