5 Books About Richmond, VA You Won’t Want to Put Down

Have you ever been to Richmond, Virginia? Would you like to learn more about it? Whether you are living in Richmond, wanting to travel there, or just love learning about different places, there are several books that you won’t want to put down. Each book is chalked full of information about the history and culture of Richmond. There are also several which are specific to certain topics that you may enjoy. The following are reviews of books that are highly recommended.

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Richmond: Including Petersburg, Williamsburg, and Fredericksburg by: Nathan Lott

If you love to hike, this book is definitely the one for you. It contains lots of maps and information about trails that you can bike or walk on as well as where hunting is allowed, especially during certain times of the year in rural areas of Richmond. There are hikes for many different special interests including wildflowers, birds, waterfalls, the breathtaking scenes, or those of a historic nature. If you have children or animals, there are hikes that are catered to them. The book provides a great guide for navigating the trails you will find in Richmond and surrounding areas and is recommended by many people. It is a great book to leave in your car just in case you happen to have some free time or come upon one of these amazing trails. This book will tell you how long the trail is, along with its difficulty and how long you should expect to spend hiking it.

Insider’s Guide to Richmond, VA by: Maureen Egan

Looking for a great book to help you as you travel through Richmond, Virginia? The Insider’s Guide to Richmond, VA is the book for you. This guide was written by Maureen Egan who has lived in the Richmond area since 1992. Since she has over 20 years of experience living in this beautiful area, she knows everything there is to know about what you should do while you are there and where you should go. Egan absolutely loves Richmond and wants anyone who lives there or who is just visiting to love it as much as her. For a while, Egan volunteered as a board member with Friends of James River Park to help preserve and maintain the 550-acre backyard of Richmond. In order to get the best experience possible, Egan recommends spending some time around the James River and delving into the delicious food available in Richmond. Her dessert and bakery section of her book are a must-read.

Race Man: The Rise and Fall of the “Fighting Editor,” John Mitchell Jr. by: Ann Field Alexander

If you are a history buff and love African American history especially, Race Man: The Rise and Fall of the “Fighting Editor, John Mitchell Jr. will probably be of interest to you. This piece adds to the list of non-fiction books about African American life after the end of Reconstruction, which occurred in the late 1870s. John Mitchell Jr. was born in 1863 to two house slaves in Richmond. His owner, James Lyons, was an attorney and it was from Mitchell’s background that he was able to feel comfortable around white people. Mitchell Jr. was able to attend school and graduated in 1881. He became a teacher in the public schools, but a few years later, he was fired with many other black teachers and administrators when a new school board was elected. Mitchell’s next job was writing a column in the New York Globe which led him to be named editor of the Richmond Planet, established that same year. He was able to have this newspaper until 1929, when he died. Mitchell was a big advocate against lynching and frequently intervened with the unfair treatment of African Americans by the court system. Alexander is able to show how white racism overwhelmed African Americans and made black oppression so hard to fight against, despite strong leaders and strategy.

Old Richmond Neighborhoods by: Mary Wingfield Scott

Mary Wingfield Scott brings new life to old places in her book, Old Richmond Neighborhoods. It is not supposed to be a history of houses which have grown old and are in disrepair, but brings forth records from her personal research to show what these neighborhoods have gone through over the years. Scott went to great lengths to look through deed and land books, insurance policies, memoirs, and minutes from city meetings to find all the information she could about these areas which were once flourishing with life. Instead of using things people said or secondary sources, Scott proudly claims that all of her work is from original documents that she researched. Along with the information she gathered, Scott includes pictures that she found in family albums, the Valentine Museum, her own camera, and insurance diagrams. These photographs allow the reader to take a peek into the growth of Richmond and the details that can be found there. Each one has the date that it was built and the date it was torn down. This shows the constant movement of Richmond life and tells of stories that have almost long been forgotten.

Richmond: The Story of a City by: Virginius Dabney

For a history of Richmond up until about 1970, Richmond: The Story of a City is the book to turn to. The author, Virginius Dabney was a Times-Dispatch writer for about 50 years. Because of this, he knows quite a bit when it comes to the city of Richmond, Virginia. This book gives an overall comprehensive history of the city with great details as to how and why the city was founded. It also talks about Richmond’s major industries and its role in being a major river port and a railroad hub. Richmond is known for being the capitol during the Civil War for the Confederate States of America and Dabney describes this central role perfectly. It provides the reader with complete and accurate information about the city of Richmond’s past and its importance in the business and financial world today.

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