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Bronx book explores the borough’s rich history

Think you know all there is to know about the Bronx?Well a new book has hit the shelves that may give you some surprises, as the pages reveal the story of the Bronx from the beginning of creation through today.

The Northern Borough: A History of the Bronx, was written by life-long Bronxite and historian Lloyd Ultan, a history professor at Fairleigh Dickenson University and an adjunct professor at Lehman College, where he teaches a Bronx history course.

Ultan began working on the book in 2004, as a project to create a general history book that he could use for his course at Lehman.He had found no other work existed that covered the course’s curriculum.

Although he has completed eight prior works about the Bronx, The Northern Borough is the first one volume general history book of the borough to be written since 1912.

“Ever since I was a toddler I was always interested in history and constantly asking people older than me what happened before I was born,” Ultan said.“After I finished my graduate studies, I knew a lot about history and the county, state and city, but I realized I knew so very little about the place I grew up.”

Ultan discovered the Bronx County Historical Society and began attending lectures to learn more about the Bronx.Today, he is widely known as an expert on all things Bronx.

“I realized after a number of lectures that the history of the Bronx was really the history of the country in microcosm,” Ultan said.“Every important movement in history of the U.S. also occurred right here in the Bronx.”

Readers dive into the pages at 10,000 BC and end the book on the current revitalization and continued development in the Bronx. For your convenience, the illustrated 367-page paperback contains a list of books for further reading and investigation, as well as photos and maps.

“There are a number of things that happened in the Bronx that most people don’t know of,” Ultan explained.“How many people know that Bronx produced two founding fathers of the United States?That Bronxites are responsible for freedom of the press and that the Belmont Stakes, one of the jewels in the Triple Crown of racing, started in the Bronx and stayed in the Bronx from 1867 until 1903?

That 25 percent of land mass of the Bronx is parkland or that the American buffalo was saved from extinction in the Bronx?That the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Memorial was carved in the Bronx by Bronxites and the iron dome at the Capitol building was manufactured here?”

The book is available for purchase for $28 and can be ordered through the Bronx County Historical Society at (718) 881-8900 or online through Barnes & Noble or www.amazon.com.

“It leaves off with a positive note that the Bronx has survived,” said Ultan.

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