Suggested Reading List
Very Charleston: A Celebration of History, Culture, and Lowcountry Charm
Author: Diana Hollingsworth Gessler
Description: Cobblestone streets leading to perfectly preserved historic homes. Intricate wrought-iron gates opening to lush, fragrant gardens. A skyline of steeples and a river harbor bustling with schooners and sailboats. Charleston is one of America's most charming cities.In vibrant watercolors and detailed sketches, artist Diana Gessler captures the beauty and riches that make Charleston so unique: White Point Gardens, the Spoleto Festival, Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, Fort Moultrie, the beaches of Sullivan's Island, sumptuous Lowcountry cuisine, and handmade sweetgrass baskets. Full of fascinating details--on everything from the art of early entertaining, the city's inspired architectural and garden designs, and George Washington's Southern tour to famous Charlestonians and the flags of Sumter--Very Charleston celebrates the city, the Lowcountry, the people, and our history. Hand-lettered and full color throughout, Very Charleston includes maps, an index, and a handy appendix of sites.
With her cheerful illustrations and love for discovering little-known facts, Diana Gessler has created both an entertaining guide and an irresistible keepsake for visitors and Charlestonians alike.
A Short History of Charleston
Author: Robert N. Rosen
Description: A concise small history of Charleston that is easy to read and enjoyable.
A Witness to History: Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
Author: Ruth Miller and Ann Taylor Andrus
Description: The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the great buildings of Colonial America. Serving as city hall, customs house, post office and prison; as the British Headquarters during the occupation of Charles Towne and then host to a great ball honoring George Washington, the Exchange has been an eyewitness to America’s history. This stoic building-—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—-has been described as the best example of the dignity and ornament of the traditional English “exchange-town hall” design of the eighteenth century built in the United States. From within its Great Hall to deep below in the Provost Dungeon, the Exchange has played a vital role in American history. Andrus’ and Miller’s fast-paced and readable survey of the history and significance of the Old Exchange Building will appeal to visitor and serious historian alike.
Author: Navigator Maps
A clear, easy to use souvenir map of Charleston, featuring the city center and well-marked places of interest. (USS312, $5.95)
Charleston, Savannah & Coastal Islands Book: A Complete Guide, Fifth Edition (A Great Destinations Guide) [Paperback]
Author: Cecily McMillan
Description: Veteran author and 25-year-resident Cecily McMillan explores the unique intrigue of the Carolina Lowcountry region, examining its history, culture, and people, and provides authoritative recommendations for accommodations, dining, sight-seeing, and recreational activities. Whether you're visiting for a long weekend or renting a cottage on the coast for a week, anyone visiting this magical region will be able to experience the pleasures and pastimes and all new amenities and comforts the region has to offer.
Whether your taste gravitates toward admiring historic architecture, savoring local gourmet cuisine in the finest restaurants, casting a net for shrimp, or bird-watching or kayaking, travelers of all persuasions will find the most up-to-date advice for where to go and what to do. 100 black & white photos, 5 maps.
Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Description: The Invention of Wings, a powerful and sweeping historical novel by Sue Monk Kidd, begins, fittingly, with an image of flight: Hetty “Handful”, who has grown up as a slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, recalls the night her mother told her that her ancestors in Africa could fly over trees and clouds. That day, Handful’s mother, Charlotte, gave her daughter the gift of hope— the possibility that someday she might regain her wings and fly to freedom. Throughout Kidd’s exquisitely written story, Handful struggles, sometimes with quiet dissidence, sometimes with open rebellion, to cultivate a belief in the invincibility of her spirit and in the sacred truth that one does not need actual wings in order to rise.
South of Broad
Author: Pat Conroy
Description: Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for. South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.
Staging Charleston: The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. . Paperback
Author: by Colleen K Reilly
Description: The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is a seventeen day international arts festival held annually in Charleston, South Carolina. While the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. perpetuates many of the cultural practices of the hegemonic community of Charleston, it also participates in negotiations of culture on the contemporary global stage. The Festival and the City rely on one another to constitute an identity that is consumable for a tourist and/or festival audience, and this relationship became even more urgent after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hurricane Hugo serves as a peripeteia of the self-fashioning and self-reflexive narrative shaped by the Charleston elite since the 18 th century, and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. serves as the agent of its denouement. This function of the festival impulse in the contemporary urban setting of Charleston, South Carolina will be the focus of this dissertation, which will examine the relationship between the "placedness" of the historical city and the "placelessness" of the festival atmosphere. This study will identify the features of the festival impulse that engage history, memory, and community and negotiate the territory between "place" and "space". It will compare the historical imaginary of the city with its contemporary identity as an international tourist destination and identify the strategies employed by the festival to destabilize homogenous worldviews and remap the geography of memory in Charleston's past and present.
Touring the Tombstones
Author: Ruth Miller
Description: A series of guide books to Charleston's 18th century graveyards.