Elizabeth WinderPain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953

October 18, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Biography] It is a struggle sometimes in biography to find new ways to write about subjects about whom many biographies have been written. This is particularly pronounced in the case of iconic figures of the 20th century (think: Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Onassis, Elvis Presley, F. Scott Fitzgerald), and an area in [...]

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Simon P. NewmanA New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic

October 10, 2013

Ask most educated people about the development of American slavery, and you’re likely to hear something about Virginia or, just maybe, South Carolina. In his far-reaching but concise and elegantly written new book A New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), Simon Newman takes [...]

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Brian Allen DrakeLoving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics Before Reagan

October 4, 2013

What do Barry Goldwater, Edward Abbey, and Henry David Thoreau have in common? On the surface, they would seem to be at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. As Brian Allen Drake shows, however, environmental concerns often brought together public figures with wildly different political orientations. Throughout his book, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism [...]

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Annette KolodnyIn Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery

October 1, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Native American Studies] We all know the song. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” And now, thankfully, we all know the controversy; celebrating a perpetrator of genocide might say a few unpleasant things about the country doing the celebrating. But there is something that most Americans don’t know: Europeans had visited the [...]

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Robert CassanelloTo Render Invisible: Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville

September 30, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in African American Studies] The story of the rise of Jim Crow in Jacksonville, Florida is in many ways illustrative of the challenges facing newly emancipated African Americans throughout the South with local officials erecting barriers to black participation; blacks building institutions to overcome those obstacles; then Southern bigots using the [...]

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Adam R. ShapiroTrying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools

September 27, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] During the 1924-25 school year, John Scopes was filling in for the regular biology teacher at Rhea County Central High School in Dayton, Tennessee. The final exam was coming up, and he assigned reading from George W. Hunter’s 1914 textbook A Civic Biology to prepare students for the test. [...]

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James Greene Jr.This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits

September 27, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Music] New Jersey. Home to Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Yo La Tango. . .and the Misfits, a hardcore metal horror rock band from Lodi. In This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits (Scarecrow Press, 2013), James Greene Jr. let’s us in on the career of the band and of the various [...]

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W. Caleb McDanielThe Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionists and Transatlantic Reform

September 20, 2013

How could members of a movement committed to cosmopolitanism accommodate nationalism? How could men and women committed to non-resistance reconcile themselves to politics when the authority of even democratic polities depended ultimately upon the threat of force? How could activists committed to equality — the essence of democracy — deny that the democratic process produced [...]

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Sarah ChurchwellCareless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

September 19, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Biography] One phenomenon of movies made of classic novels is that the movie often says a lot more about the time of its making than about the time of  the novel. And so Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is more a depiction of a 2012 idea of the 1920s than a realistic depiction of [...]

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Gayle KaufmanSuperdads: How Fathers Balance Work and Family in the 21st Century

September 19, 2013

[Cross-posted from New Books in Big Ideas] Pretty much every day you can read an article–usually somewhat intemperate–about how women can or can’t “have it all.” Rarely, however, do you read anything about the way in which men try to balance work and family. The assumption seems to be that fathers either: a) don’t want to [...]

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