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Larry Roeder and Barry Harrelson with Dirt Don't Burn

Featured Article

Arm Chair Adventures

Embark on journeys through Loudoun and beyond from the cozy confines of your favorite chair

Article by Jeanne Godfroy

Photography by Birch Tree Bookstore

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Feeling the urge to explore but strapped for time, cash, or energy? When weather or circumstances disrupt travel plans, a captivating read can offer an equally rewarding escape. Here are three fascinating works by local authors that ignite curiosity and fuel imagination, all available at Birch Tree Bookstore on West Market downtown.

In Dirt Don't Burn: A Black Community’s Struggle for Educational Equality Under Segregation, Larry Roeder and Barry Harrelson craft a compelling narrative that offers a glimpse into the journey of desegregation in Loudoun County from the perspective of often overlooked figures within the local African American community. Through narratives from rare primary source material, the authors illuminate how a convergence of determined individuals navigated the challenges of local politics, racism, and inequity to champion equal educational opportunities for all citizens of Loudoun. "This book documents the important and neglected story of the education of African Americans in Loudoun County."

Paul Kreingold's "Potomac Marble: A History of the Search for the Ideal Stone" delves into the remarkable tale of reconstructing America’s Capital City. After the British Army razed Washington, D.C. in 1814, President Monroe enlisted architect Benjamin Latrobe to helm the project, opting for Potomac Marble for its unparalleled beauty and durability. Kreingold traces their journey through Noland’s Ferry, White’s Ferry, and modern-day route 15 to acquire this exquisite stone. The narrative showcases George Washington’s Potomac Company's involvement, details the quarrying process, and unveils how the author discovered the location of Latrobe's chosen quarry—previously lost to history.

For younger adventurers, Craig Bradley's Peter Polo series is an exhilarating expedition into the world of Genghis Khan. Penned by Bradley, a retired Foreign Service Officer with a penchant for travel and exploration, the series delves into the escapades of Peter Polo, a fictional sibling of Marco Polo. In Peter Polo and the Snow Beast of Hunza, the great Khan tasks Peter to solve the puzzling disappearance of the sacred snow leopards of Hunza. “This book is just like the adventures I loved most as a child—exciting, compulsively readable, and with just the right number of twists.”

  • Larry Roeder and Barry Harrelson with Dirt Don't Burn
  • Paul Kreingold, Potomac Marble
  • Craig Bradley, Peter Polo