I have enjoyed looking at the new state quarters that have been issued by the U.S. Mint over the last ten years. It has been interesting to see what theme each state would choose to represent its history and people. Now comes Jim Noles, an attorney from Birmingham, Alabama, who has written A Pocketful of History, a book about the images that appear on each of the 50 coins and the history behind them. I immediately turned to the chapter on Michigan, and right away disagreed with the first sentence in which he says, “At the risk of irritating Michigan’s nearly 10 million citizens, it is difficult to ignore the obvious: Michigan’s state quarter is perhaps the most boring of the bunch.” I remember that when Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm selected the design from five finalists, I thought she chose very well. Noles does go on to discuss Michigan’s maritime history, with an interesting account of the “White Hurricane” of November 1913. Intriguing questions emerge in this volume, such as whether Ohio’s quarter violates federal law. The review in Library Journal says that the fifty chapters are not “a comprehensive history of the United States but a serving of individual slices.” This is a distinct advantage of the book’s format – one can read as few or many of the five-page chapters as one wants and still gain something. Noles’ effort is the result of a clever, nicely researched idea and serves as a good companion to the coin series.
A pocketful of history : four hundred years of America --one state quarter at a time