The Shadows of 1915
Author: Jerry Burger, Fresno native, social psychologist at Santa Clara University
Description: How long is the shadow of genocide? How does it affect the offspring of the survivors? And how do survivors and their families retain a belief in justice when atrocities go unpunished? These questions are addressed in Jerry Burger’s novel, “The Shadows of 1915.” The story takes place in Central California in 1953, where Armenian immigrants and their families live one generation removed from the 1915 murder of more than 1 million Armenians at the hands of the Turkish government.
An encounter between the sons of a genocide survivor and some Turkish college students forces each of the main characters to make difficult decisions that pit loyalty to family and community against personal and legal standards of right and wrong. It is a story about a displaced group of people and the consequences of real historic events that have rarely been examined in fiction. It is also a story about culture, family, recovery from tragedy, and the nature of justice. (Golden Antelope Press, 218 pages)
Fresno’s Wilson Island and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It
Author: Jeannine Raymond of Fresno
Description: The story of Fresno’s Wilson Island begins with its creator, Rosanna Cooper Wilson. She is an example of the often-forgotten role of women in the early development of the central San Joaquin Valley.
A descendant of Alta California land grant families, Wilson was a diminutive woman born in 1859 who was proud of her Spanish heritage. She left a legacy in the Wilson Island neighborhood that is today one of four registered historic districts in Fresno. It played a pivotal role in the northern expansion of the town and is noted by nationally recognized architectural experts for its collection of museum quality homes. Pushing through the adversity, Wilson became a land baroness worth over $3.6 million when she died in Fresno in 1947. (Jeannine Raymond, 202 pages)