The Soul of Central New York is a collection of columns by Sean Kirst that spans almost a quarter-century. During his long career as a writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard, Kirst won some of the most prestigious honors in journalism, including the Ernie Pyle Award, given annually to one American writer who best captures the hopes and dreams of everyday Americans.
For Kirst, his canvas is Syracuse, an upstate city of staggering beauty and profound struggle. In this book, readers will find a nuanced explanation of how Syracuse is intertwined with the spiritual roots of the Six Nations, as well as a soliloquy from a grieving father whose son was lost to violence on the streets. In these emotional contradictions―in the resilience, love, and heart-break of its people―Kirst offers a vivid portrait of his city and, in the end, gives readers hope.
– Sean elegantly and accurately captures the spirit, resilience, and aspirations characterizing the souls of Upstate New York. (Mayor Stephanie A. Miner Syracuse, New York)
– Kirst not only shares with readers his love and passion for the people, places, and voices of his hometown, but captures the essence of what it is to be a community. (Jason Emerson author of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln)
– Sean Kirst is a master storyteller. The sheer beauty of any Sean Kirst column is what you learn from the people he introduces you to. There are no strangers in this book; Sean makes you feel like you’ve known them all. There is quiet wisdom and eternal hope on every page. And, pride too … because the men, women and children in these stories have lived among us in Central New York: They’re our neighbors. These are stories of life’s simple pleasures enjoyed and incredible odds overcome. Some life lessons and timeless human values can only be learned when one generation tells its stories to the next. That’s what Sean Kirst does so magnificently well. This collection is truly a treasure. (Dan CummingsAnchor/Reporter WSYR-TV)