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The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia and Albert Afraid of Hawk by Nick Bellantoni

Wesleyan University Press; 334 pages, 2018

Before his retirement in 2014, Nick Bellantoni directed many excavations as Connecticut’s official archaeologist for nearly three decades, each shedding new light on our complicated past. But two disinterments were stories that “simply had to come out,” Bellantoni writes in his prologue. The book’s first half is devoted to ʻŌpūkahaʻia, a native Hawaiian, and the second half to Afraid of Hawk, an Oglala Lakota. Both left their native lands and eventually settled in Connecticut, ʻŌpūkahaʻia being converted to Christianity and Afraid of Hawk performing in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. After dying at young ages, the men were buried in Connecticut cemeteries, Afraid of Hawk the second to come to rest in 1900. The graves were largely forgotten for much of the 20th century, until the men’s descendants had experiences that convinced them of their ancestors’ desire to return to their homelands. Bellantoni vividly chronicles his part in the repatriation process, and gives voice to two men — and two peoples — whose lives were forever shaped by the forces of colonialism and became “champions who reappeared to bestow promise, cultural continuity, and pride to their people.” — Albie Yuravich

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The Listeners: U-boat Hunters During the Great War by Roy R. Manstan

Wesleyan University Press; 352 pages, 2018

With the ground war at a stalemate in 1917, Germany hoped the U-boat would be the key to winning World War I. In addition to sinking battleships, U-boats targeted merchant vessels with the intention of cutting off food and fuel supplies to Britain. Recent technological advances also made the new class of submarines capable of reaching the East Coast of the U.S. The American public was unaware of what was lurking in the dark waters just off shore. “She was off the south coast of Long Island, in sight of the Fire Island lighthouse where her next mission was cutting trans-Atlantic cables running out of New York harbor. … Then, it was off to hunt ships around Nantucket, Boston, and the Gulf of Maine.” President Woodrow Wilson ordered the creation of the Naval Experimental Station in New London, where scientists and engineers worked to develop a method of tracking U-boats with the use of listening devices. Manstan, a retired naval engineer raised in Connecticut and now living in East Haddam, provides a thorough documentation of how the Allies turned the tide. — Mike Wollschlager


Twain’s Feast — An eight-episode podcast by Audible Originals

Runtime: 4 hours, 27 minutes; 2018

Last May, actor and author Nick Offerman, best known for his classic role as Ron Swanson in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, and author Andy Beahrs organized a dinner party at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford. The guests included Wilco singer and guitarist Jeff Tweedy, comedian Wanda Sykes, and Christina Greer, a Fordham professor of political science. The meal was prepared by chef Tyler Anderson, owner of Millwright’s in Simsbury and two other Connecticut restaurants. But it was no ordinary meal. The menu included raccoon and other all-but-forgotten classic “delicacies” from Twain’s youth. The meal forms the centerpiece of this original Audible podcast based on a book of the same name by Beahrs. The work was inspired by a list Twain made in 1879 of all the U.S. foods he missed while touring Europe. As Offerman and Beahrs note, this list now provides a compelling window into a lost world of cuisine and culture. Offerman and Beahrs’ exploration of the list is reminiscent of Michael Pollan’s work, as it dives deep into the intersection between food, history and society. — Erik Ofgang

This article appeared in the January 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Send us your feedback on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag, or email editor@connecticutmag.com.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.

Albie Yuravich is the editor in chief of Connecticut Magazine. A product of the Naugatuck River Valley, he's also been a newspaper editor and writer at the New Haven Register, Greenwich Time, The Register Citizen and the Republican-American.