Arica L. ColemanThat the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia

March 18, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Law] Arica Coleman did not start out to write a legal history of “the one-drop rule,” but as she began exploring the relationship between African American and Native peoples of Virginia, she unraveled the story of how the law created a racial divide that the Civil Rights movement has never eroded. Virginia’s miscegenation [...]

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Steve MillerDetroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in America’s Loudest City

March 17, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Music] Today Detroit is down for the count, but as Steve Miller reveals in Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in America’s Loudest City (Da Capo Press, 2013), his comprehensive oral history of the city’s rock scene, the Motor City’s musicians never gave up the fight. Based on dozens of interviews [...]

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Gilbert MirelesContinuing La Causa: Organizing Labor in California’s Strawberry Fields

March 17, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Gilbert Mireles is the author of Continuing La Causa: Organizing Labor in California’s Strawberry Fields (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013). He is associate professor of sociology at Whitman College. Mireles applies theories from political sociology and organizational management to the question of how unions organize workers. He examined the effective and ineffective strategies [...]

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David SmileyPedestrian Modern: Shopping and American Architecture, 1925-1956

March 13, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] Most of us have been to strip malls–lines of shops fronted by acres of parking–and most of us have been to closed malls–massive buildings full of shops and surrounded by acres of parking. Fewer of us have been to open malls: small parks ringed by shops with parking carefully tucked [...]

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José Angel HernándezMexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

March 6, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] Americans talk a lot about the flow of Mexican immigrants across their southern border. To some that flow is seen as patently illegal and dangerous. To others it’s seen as unstoppable and essential for the functioning of the U.S. economy. Everyone agrees that something must be done about it though, [...]

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Will SwiftPat and Dick: The Nixons, an Intimate Portrait of a Marriage

March 5, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Biography] In America, biographies of Presidents and First Ladies are a staple of the genre, but the relationship that exists between the two receives surprisingly less exploration, as though the biographies needed to be kept as separate as the offices in the East and West Wings. (The relationship of the [...]

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Marcia Alesan DawkinsEminem: The Real Slim Shady

February 28, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Music] Who is Eminem? Is he a violent misogynist, another “white” performer imitating African American musical styles, or is he something else entirely? In her provocative book Eminem: The Real Slim Shady (Praeger, 2013), Marcia Alesan Dawkins offers a fresh look at Eminem and sees him as a cultural critic, spiritual seeker, and a polyethnic [...]

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Jennifer L. AndersonMahogany: The Cost of Luxury in Early America

February 21, 2014

The cultural and material history of what is fashionable or “trendy” can be particularly revealing about the time period under study. The most recent work that underscores this point is Jennifer Anderson’s Mahogany: The Cost of Luxury in Early America (Harvard University Press, 2012).  Anderson traces the popularity of mahogany wood in the mid eighteenth century from [...]

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Thomas H. GuthrieRecognizing Heritage: The Politics of Multiculturalism in New Mexico

February 20, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Latin American Studies] New Mexico is a cultural borderland, marked by the interaction of Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American peoples over the past four hundred years. The question of how to commemorate this history and promote the traditions that arose from it is the subject of ongoing discussing, disagreement, and activism. [...]

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Michael PettitThe Science of Deception: Psychology and Commerce in America

February 19, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] Parapsychology. You may have heard of it. You know, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis. Spoon-bending and that sort of thing. If you have heard of it, you probably think of it as a pseudoscience. And indeed it is. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time in the late nineteenth [...]

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