Saturday, December 10, 2011
Book Review - Early History of Monroe
This genealogic treasure records important milestones in the history of Monroe, Louisiana, beginning in the 1500s and progressing through the 1930s. Author Sylvester Breard is the direct descendant of one of the town's founding fathers. Through official documents, interviews, and photographs, he shows how a small settlement once known as Fort Miro grew into an important northern Louisiana city. New generations of Americans with origins in Spain, France, Switzerland, and Haiti carved out an existence in the wilderness that would become Monroe, often struggling for survival. From fires and floods to war and yellow fever, inhabitants had to steel themselves against many threats to make a home along the unpredictable Ouachita River. Sylvester Breard's use of courthouse records, interviews with descendants, personal letters, journals, and other resources capture not only the history of Monroe, but its character as well. He incorporates notations of shooting stars and architectural descriptions of residences along with anecdotes and biographical sketches to recall personalities of different eras.
About the Author
Sylvester Breard, born and raised in Monroe, is a direct descendant of the early French founders of the city. He earned a BA and MA in speech from Louisiana State University and has professional experience in promotion and advertising. A member of the American Legion and the English-Speaking Union, Breard lives in Monroe with his wife.
My Take on the Book
This was a great book that truly drew you into the history of this local community. You are transported back in time to a place that for me was foreign, not only in time period but also in the geographic sense. The author did tremendous research to make this book very thorough. I particularly enjoyed the interviews that he went through with descendants of the community elders. Also, the book has some wonderful historical pictures that lend credence to his portrayal of the community. If you have ever lived around or have visited this community I know that you will be impressed with this book and the way in which the author shares it with the larger world!
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