by David Horne and Elizabeth Talbot
30 pp. (History)
Out-of-print; limited availability
by Maitland C. De Sormo
81 pp. (Folklore/History)
Out-of-print; used copies routinely available online
Maitland De Sormo takes a different approach in Joe Call, The Lewis Giant, his book about an early-19th-century strongman from northern New York. Perhaps there are few primary sources available, or perhaps De Sormo didn't even try; in either event, verifiable facts are in very short supply. Instead, De Sormo focuses almost entirely on tall tales that a newspaper began circulating five years after Call's death. Unfortunately, in addition to being factually suspect, the tales are not especially well told. Nor does the book provide any substantial context or background for how these stories developed. Joe Call is a very quick read (there are many full page illustrations backed with a blank page), but is not worth even the minimal investment of time unless you're a big fan of Adirondack lore.
(Finally, and bizarrely, Joe Call ends with a completely unrelated two page chapter about modern women's bodybuilding. It's really quite befuddling, but perhaps indicative of the fact that De Sormo did not take the writing of this book tremendously seriously.)