Book depicts "long misrepresented story"

PERU In todays literary works and modern-day cinema, the theme of good versus evil, the weak versus the strong and right versus wrong are still prevalent themes, with a new book by a local man being no exception. Author Lawrence P. Gooley of Peru has recently published his latest book, "Olivers War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune, depicting such themes in what he calls a long misrepresented story. According to a description of Gooleys book published on www.bloatedtoe.com, the New York State Forest Commission was in the process of acquiring land during the late 1800s to establish the Adirondack Park. Before that could be done, several wealthy individuals, including industrialist William Rockefeller, purchased expansive tracts of land within the parks boundaries. Most of the land was posted against trespassing, cutting Adirondack residents off from traditional hunting and fishing grounds. What ensued was bitterness and resentment between the rich landowners and the North Country natives. Within the 50,000 acres purchased by Rockefeller was the dying village of Brandon, a former logging community where hundreds of homes still stood on privately owned lots. Rockefeller already possessed half of the village and sought to acquire the remaining properties to complete his estate. Olivers War charges that many villagers sold out voluntarily, while others were coerced into leaving by Rockefellers henchmen. After a few years, only a few die-hards remained, led by the stubborn, stalwart Oliver Lamora. In his own words, Gooley said Olivers War describes the decade-long battle of a poor Civil War veteran and Adirondack lumberjack to keep his property out of the hands of millionaire businessman William Rockefeller. Gooley said Rockefeller used everything from petty tactics to influence at the highest levels of state and federal government to remove Lamora and his compatriots. Newspapers from coast to coast covered the story, which was a classic David-and-Goliath confrontation, said Gooley. His motivation for writing Olivers War came during research for another book, in which he occasionally encountered brief mention of the Lamora-Rockefeller conflict. Intrigued, I began to dig deeper, and soon I was sidetracked from an excellent project that was more than 50 percent completed, admitted Gooley. Learning more details about Olivers saga, I was unable to pull myself away, so I put the other book on hold and spent many 20-hour days searching for more information. What captivated Gooley was Lamoras resolve in the face of seemingly impossible odds, he said. The concept of civil disobedience requires the true courage of ones convictions when put into actual practice, and thats where Oliver Lamora stood tall, he said. And, he continued the battle for a decade, facing an incredible onslaught made possible by Rockefellers money and power. The initial research for Olivers War took several months, as Gooley searched the Internet relentlessly and sifted through many books which had references to Lamoras battle. It also involved collecting hundreds of articles from the archives of local, state and national newspapers. As things progressed, I also worked on-line to obtain documents providing details on several subjects the various court cases; Lamoras Civil War records; Lamoras family genealogy; the federal postal records; and a few other items, said Gooley. The federal postal records were among the most difficult to locate, he said. It wasnt until he made a connection with someone in the federal repository in New York City and asked that person to personally go into the records to get the info, no matter what the cost. Of course, obtaining certain records requires payment, but it was necessary in order to ensure that I had the true story, he said. Olivers War is Gooleys seventh book. His other works include several other nonfiction titles which include Lyon Mountain: The Tragedy of a Mining Town, The Battle of Plattsburgh Question & Answer Book, Brendlers Boys: The House That George Built, and his first book, A History of the Altona Flat Rock, published in 1980. Currently, Gooley is assisting two other writers in publishing their work, while having two projects of his own in the works. One covers an important part of history along the actual borderline with Canada, with strong ties to the history of smuggling in the North Country, he said. The other is the project he originally set aside to work on Olivers War, intended to be a study of the four great criminal manhunts in the Adirondacks. Olivers War is available locally at the Corner-Stone Bookshop and Borders at Champlain Centre, both in Plattsburgh, and at Cornerstone Drug & Gift in Rouses Point. The book is also available on-line at www.bloatedtoe.com.

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