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Belt Publishing

An Alternative History of Cleveland

Regular price $19.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $19.95 USD
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By Jonathan Wlasiuk
Illustrations by Libby Geboy

October 15, 2024

Dive into Cleveland’s deep past and return with a new vision for how we should think about the region today.

The land we call “northeast Ohio” was originally forged through eons of glacial pressure, geologic shifts, and the relentless movement of the Cuyahoga River. Since the last Ice Age, however, it has also been transformed countless times by the many people who have called it home.

In An Alternative History of Cleveland, Jon Wlasiuk uncovers the mysteries, devastations, and human incursions that have shaped the region. Here, you’ll encounter the giant megafauna that roamed the area until their mysterious extinction, Indigenous civilizations who first shaped the land and harnessed its natural resources, industrial pioneers like John D. Rockefeller and Charles Brush who corralled electricity and crude oil in the service of capitalist progress, the environmental devastation that polluted the Cuyahoga and caused toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, and the numerous Clevelanders today who want to reshape the city’s relationship with the natural environment. Though separated by thousands of years, these stories contain a common theme: the city of Cleveland remains bound to nature, despite our best efforts to liberate ourselves from its limits.

Part natural history, part archeological essay, and part a contemporary call to arms to reclaim and rewild Cleveland’s future, this unforgettable trek into the heart of “the Land” will change the way you see the city forever.

Praise for An Alternative History of Cleveland: 

"A stunning accomplishment." —Dr. John Grabowski, editor, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

"Wlasiuk is a dazzling storyteller, weaving the threads that connect ancient swamps to the Agora, or giant sloths to Public Square, all in the service of illuminating the inextricable tether we have to the plants, animals, and waterways around us." —Raechel Anne Jolie, author of Rust Belt Femme

"I read Jon Wlasiuk’s marvelous deep-time history of Cleveland with a sense of awe. A story of place that’s this well-done, this accessible to the public, and with this sort of fascinating arc through time is going to rearrange the furniture in every reader’s head." —Dan Flores, New York Times best-selling author of Wild New World and Coyote America  

ISBN: 978-1-953368-79-9 | 5x7 | $19.95

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