Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey: White Jesus and the Publius Lentulus Letter

The most fascinating thing about the letter is that before the Civil War, just about everyone knew that it was a fraud. Whenever Americans discussed it, such as the President of Yale University Ezra Stiles, they admitted that it was a fake and that the Bible said nothing of what Jesus looked like. But then between the Civil War and the Great Depression, white Americans transformed it into a believed truth.

M. Todd Bennett: How and Why Humphrey Bogart, in Casablanca, Taught American Moviegoers to Risk Their Necks for Others’ Well-Being

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Casablanca’s world premier on November 26, 1942. In the following post, M. Todd Bennett, author of One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II, reveals what fans may not know about the movie, widely considered among the best ever made.

Interview: Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett, editors of When We Were Free to Be

Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett, editors of When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children’s Classic and the Difference It Made discuss the legacy of Free to Be…You and Me after 40 years.

Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Announcing our last four sale subjects, all at 50% off, with free shipping for orders over $75 for the next two weeks.

Interview: Daniel W. Patterson on The True Image

A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel Patterson documents the craftsmanship of this group and the current appearance of the stones. In two hundred of his photographs, he records these stones for future generations and compares their iconography and inscriptions with those of other early monuments in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

M. Todd Bennett: When Behaviorism Went to the Movies

Developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, movies quickly arose to become the cultural centerpiece, especially during Hollywood’s “golden era” of the 1930s and ’40s. In 1941, 85 million Americans—85 million, more than three-fifths of the overall U.S. population, which totaled 131 million at the time—attended movie theaters each week. Cinema’s remarkable popularity led observers to conclude that movies strongly influenced impressionable theatergoers.

UNC Press Fall Sale: New categories

New Fall sale categories: business history and southern history. Throughout the fall, we’re offering 50% off selected titles in the disciplines listed below. Enter 01SALE12 at checkout. Spend $75.00 and the shipping is free.

Sarah E. Ruble: All Americans Are Missionaries

2012 marks the two hundredth anniversary of the first Protestant American foreign missionaries. Over the course of those years, the movement’s fortunes and its public presence have waxed and waned. In 1812, the movement boasted five missionaries sailing to the Indian subcontinent. One hundred years later, its most prominent members were recruited for diplomatic missions. Yet whatever the public perception of missionaries, their work raises significant questions, even for people who might have little interest in the movement itself.

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey: The Christ-less Revolution

Jesus was part of the Revolution and formation of the United States, but not as much as one might expect. As a physical presence, he was almost completely absent. And in the language of law and legislation for the new republic, he was virtually as nonexistent. In comparison to how prominent Jesus would become in the United States of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Revolution and founding of the new nation were profoundly Christ-less.

Interview: C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa on Crooked Paths to Allotment

In Crooked Paths to Allotment, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa complicates standard narratives of nineteenth century Native American history by uncovering the stories of individuals who contested federal Indian policy and proposed viable alternatives during a critical moment in its development.

Miles Orvell: Main Street in the 21st Century

Travel across the U.S.A., from Maine to California, and sooner or later you’re bound to stop at a new Main Street-inspired mall. Along the way, you may also find yourself driving into a town with an actual historic Main Street that is struggling to assert its relevance in the age of malls and supermalls. After the postwar romance with the mega shopping mall—which drained the vitality out of small towns across the U.S.—Americans are gradually coming back to the idea of the small-scale community embodied in the Main Street model.

Interview: Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey

When Americans made Jesus white, they gave a racial spin to creation, to redemption in the form of Jesus, and to the future Apocalypse. This is crucial because it allows white people to see whiteness and racial categories as everlasting.

Beth Tompkins Bates: What is Society’s Obligation to Those in Distress?

Murphy attacked the tight-fisted policy of Ford Motor Company (FMC) and its indifference toward unemployed workers. Henry Ford publicly maintained he would never cut wages or jobs, even as he proceeded to do both. Employment at the largest facility of FMC in Dearborn, just outside Detroit, fell nearly 50 percent between 1929 and 1932. But the overwhelming majority of laid-off Ford workers resided in Detroit, raising the question, who bore responsibility for assisting them?

The UNC Press fall sale is underway! Save up to 50% on select titles

Throughout the fall, we’re offering 50% off selected titles in the disciplines listed below. Enter 01SALE12 at checkout. Spend $75.00 and the shipping is free.

Sarah E. Ruble: The Newsroom and American Exceptionalism

American exceptionalism, or the idea that the United States is somehow both different and better from all other nations, has a long history. From the decision to put novus ordo seclorum (a new order for the ages) on the back of the Great Seal of the United States to President Barack Obama’s claim during his 2008 inaugural that “we are ready to lead once more,” many Americans have believed that their country is something different from anything that has come before or that has arisen since. A leader. A new order.

Lara Putnam: Children of Immigrants, the American Way: Mitt, Gwen, and Barack

In some unexpected ways, it is Mitt and Gwen who have the most in common. For both of them are not only children of immigrants, but children of parents who were themselves children of immigrants.

Anne M. Butler: Sisterhoods and Habits

Most sisters do not wear the once ubiquitous garb any more; many bishops yearn to see the gender-weighted tradition reinstated; nostalgic lay people reminisce about the habit along with such Catholic signposts as fish on Friday or parish bingo. It is time to drop the overdone fascination with the antiquated clothing of an earlier era—the long black veils, starched bonnets, and sweeping serge skirts—that supposedly measured the holiness of cloistered women, or at least made nuns easy to identify.

Excerpt: The House on Diamond Hill, by Tiya Miles

It was lovely, this old plantation house, perched, as it was, atop a hillside. Striking in its grandeur. Alluring in its light. I could almost believe, staring up at the glowing, Palladian window panes, that the year was 1806, that Cherokees still possessed the lands of northern Georgia, that the wealthy Cherokee family who once dwelled in this home would appear at a doorway in waistcoats and bustles.

Excerpt: This Voilent Empire, by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg

The fear of alien attacks, the need to violently exclude Others seen as dangerous or polluting has formed a critical component of the United States’ national identity from the Alien and Sedition Acts of the 1790s through Joseph McCarthy’s war on domestic Communists to the present. To fear and dehumanize alien Others, to ruthlessly hunt them down, is truly American.

Interview: Eric L. Muller on new images of Japanese American internment in World War II

Cameras remained contraband at the camps located within the military district called the Western Defense Command. But Wyoming was outside that zone, and by the spring of 1943, cameras were permitted. The WRA recognized that allowing internees to take pictures was a way of helping them reclaim some sense of a normal life and some of their dignity.