"Sean elegantly and accurately captures the spirit, resilience, and aspirations characterizing the souls of Upstate New York."—Mayor Stephanie A. Miner, Syracuse, New York
"Kirst not only shares with readers his love and passion for the people, places, and voices of his hometown, but captures the essence of what it is to be a community."—Jason Emerson, author of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln
"Sean Kirst is a master storyteller. . . . These are stories of life’s simple pleasures enjoyed and incredible odds overcome. Some life lessons and timeless human values can only be learned when one generation tells its stories to the next. That’s what Sean Kirst does so magnificently well. This collection is truly a treasure."—Dan Cummings, Anchor/Reporter WSYR-TV
"Sean’s writing is profound and gently but firmly calls us to acknowledge pain and injustice and to commit to do something about it. If you read one book this year, make it this one."—Randi Bregman, Executive Director of Vera House, Inc.
"Every time I talk to Sean, I learn something about myself. His deep, long-range understanding of people and the city of Syracuse is a beautiful thing. Every city should have a Sean Kirst."—Jason Benetti, Chicago White Sox TV announcer and former Syracuse resident
"Anyone lucky enough to read Sean Kirst's columns over the past 25 years know he's truly the Bard of Upstate America, sharing stories of love, loss, friendship and fealty that tell the modern history of our region. "—Jimmy Vielkind, Albany Bureau Chief, POLITICO
"These well-crafted stories will grab readers with their poignancy and relevance. They are inspiring accounts that reflect this award-winning author's ability to respond to people's lives and situations with insight and sensitivity."—Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine
A group of strangers risk death along the New York State Thruway to save a soldier from a burning truck. The true story, as told by football legend Jim Brown, of how the number 44 rose to prominence at Syracuse University. The beautiful yet tragic connection between Vice President Joseph Biden and Syracuse. The impossible account of how Eric Carle, one of the world’s great children’s authors, found his way to a childhood friend through a photograph taken in Syracuse more than eighty years ago.
All these tales can be found in The Soul of Central New York, a collection of columns by Sean Kirst that spans almost a quarter-century. During his long career as a writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard, Kirst won some of the most prestigious honors in journalism, including the Ernie Pyle Award, given annually to one American writer who best captures the hopes and dreams of everyday Americans.
For Kirst, his canvas is Syracuse, an upstate city of staggering beauty and profound struggle. In this book, readers will find a nuanced explanation of how Syracuse is intertwined with the spiritual roots of the Six Nations, as well as a soliloquy from a grieving father whose son was lost to violence on the streets. In these emotional contradictions—in the resilience, love, and heart-break of its people—Kirst offers a vivid portrait of his city and, in the end, gives readers hope.
Sean Kirst is a longtime Upstate journalist, writer, and storyteller who spent nearly 25 years as a columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard. Winner of the 2008 Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing, Kirst is also the author of The Ashes of Lou Gehrig and Other Baseball Essays, and co-author of Moonfixer: The Basketball Journey of Earl Lloyd. He lives in Syracuse with his wife, Nora, and their three children.
6 x 9, 400 pages, 45 black and white illustrations