Andrew C. McKevitt: Globalization’s Heroes in the Age of Trumpism

Andrew McKevitt: Consuming JapanToday we welcome a guest blog post from Andrew C. McKevitt, author of Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s, on the popularity and impact of anime and manga in America today.

Consuming Japan explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan’s remarkable post–World War II economic success enable the East Asian nation to overtake the United States? Or could Japan’s globe-trotting corporations serve as a model for battered U.S. industries, pointing the way to a future of globalized commerce and culture? From autoworkers to anime fans, this insightful book introduces new unorthodox actors into foreign-relations history, demonstrating how the flow of all things Japanese contributed to the globalizing of America in the late twentieth century.

Consuming Japan is available now in both print and e-book editions.

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Globalization’s Heroes in the Age of Trumpism

As I wrapped up my first book, Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America, the last thing I expected to come across in the deluge of daily news on the 2016 presidential election was the intersection of the Donald Trump campaign and Japanese animation, or anime, one of the Japanese products I examine that came to U.S. shores beginning in the 1960s. In the heat of the contentious Republican primary season from which the reality-TV star would emerge victorious, one party operative criticized his voters as “single men who masturbate to anime.” As someone who’s studied and written about anime fans for more than a dozen years now, this claim seemed one more ugly stereotype to emerge from a moment of nastiness, less a denigration of Trump voters than of the diverse millions of people across the United States who consume anime.

I had this absurd political context in mind when, during the first week of July 2017, I attended Anime Expo, the largest convention (or “con”) in the United States dedicated to the celebration of the many facets of Japanese popular culture. I had been invited to deliver the keynote address at the Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, a four-day academic conference built into Anime Expo’s programming, alongside the hundreds of panels dedicated to favorite anime series, manga, video games, and the “cosplay” that celebrates it all. To me, the diversity on display among the 100,000 attendees at Anime Expo demonstrated the emptiness of claims of anime’s perverse marginality. Fans represented a cross section of a nation in the midst of a decades-long demographic transformation. No doubt, somewhere in a country of 320 million souls, a solitary white male Trump voter sat in his parents’ basement enjoying his favorite hentai (which refers, at least in the United States, to sexually-explicit anime and manga). Actual anime fandom, though, reflects not that stereotype but the reality of a world of increasing global interconnectedness and the challenges a diverse nation faces adapting to it. That diversity has served as a canvass for U.S. fans to confront ideas about race and gender. In one way, then, anime fans are globalization’s champions, especially in a political moment of resurgent economic and ethnic nationalisms.

Continue Reading Andrew C. McKevitt: Globalization’s Heroes in the Age of Trumpism

Lane Demas: Tiger Woods and his career are officially history

Game of Privilege: An African American History of Golf by Lane DemasToday we welcome a guest blog post from Lane Demas, author of Game of Privilege:  An African American History of Golf, on Tiger Woods and his legacy for African American golfers.

Game of Privilege is a groundbreaking history of African Americans and golf, exploring the role of race, class, and public space in golf course development, the stories of individual black golfers during the age of segregation, the legal battle to integrate public golf courses, and the little-known history of the United Golfers Association (UGA)–a black golf tour that operated from 1925 to 1975. Demas charts how African Americans nationwide organized social campaigns, filed lawsuits, and went to jail in order to desegregate courses; he also provides dramatic stories of golfers who boldly confronted wider segregation more broadly in their local communities. As national civil rights organizations debated golf’s symbolism and whether or not to pursue the game’s integration, black players and caddies took matters into their own hands and helped shape its subculture, while UGA participants forged one of the most durable black sporting organizations in American history as they fought to join the white Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).

Game of Privilege is available now in both print and e-book editions.

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Tiger Woods and his career are officially history.

No, this is not another mean-spirited screed; a sportswriter proclaiming the once-greatest golfer can barely hit the ball today, a tabloid promising more lurid details on the star’s “shocking” downfall, or another fan angry that people still care when Woods is now just the such-and-such ranked golfer in the world. (#987, as of this writing)

Can they really not understand why we’re still interested in Tiger? Do they really prefer to read about #986? (No offense to Mr. Jake Roos of South Africa, I’m sure he’s an interesting guy.)

At any rate, I have no idea what the future holds for Tiger Woods on the golf course. I won’t even speculate. What I do know is that the recent attention surrounding his personal and professional “decline” led to a missed opportunity, for this past April marked the twentieth anniversary of his first victory at the world’s most important golf event: The 1997 Masters Tournament at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club. Yes, it’s been twenty years since 44 million U.S. viewers watched 21-year-old Tiger dominate the field, win his first major championship, and tearfully embrace his father Earl on the eighteenth green.

So whether or not his golf career is history, it’s at least time to consider Tiger Woods as history.

Continue Reading Lane Demas: Tiger Woods and his career are officially history

Eve E. Buckley: Science and the Challenges of Social Transformation

Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth-Century Brazil by Eve E. BuckleyToday we welcome a guest blog post from Eve E. Buckley, author of Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth-Century Brazil, on drought and regional development in Brazil.

Eve E. Buckley’s study of twentieth-century Brazil examines the nation’s hard social realities through the history of science, focusing on the use of technology and engineering as vexed instruments of reform and economic development. Nowhere was the tension between technocratic optimism and entrenched inequality more evident than in the drought-ridden Northeast sertão, plagued by chronic poverty, recurrent famine, and mass migrations. Buckley reveals how the physicians, engineers, agronomists, and mid-level technocrats working for federal agencies to combat drought were pressured by politicians to seek out a technological magic bullet that would both end poverty and obviate the need for land redistribution to redress long-standing injustices.

Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth-Century Brazil is available for now in both print and e-book editions

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Science and the Challenges of Social Transformation—Drought and Regional Development in Brazil

In most people’s minds Brazil evokes images of tropical florescence—the Amazon’s rivers and forests, Rio de Janeiro’s artfully designed gardens, coastal beaches lined with palm trees. But the country also has a substantial semi-arid region subject to periodic drought. The sertão of the interior northeast has posed a challenge for Brazilian nation-builders since the late-nineteenth century. Its mixed-race inhabitants of native, African and Portuguese descent rebelled against governing authorities at several points (the most famous of which is depicted in Euclides da Cunha’s epic Os Sertões, published in 1902). Particularly from the 1870s onward, severe droughts precipitated calamitous mass migrations and famine. Even today the sertão remains an area of extreme poverty and minimal state presence; many young sertanejos leave their homes for urban capitals that they hope will offer economic security, settling in the infamous favela slums of Brazil’s major cities.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, bolstered by the success of urban renovations in Rio de Janeiro that improved port sanitation and public health (at least for the middle and upper classes), Brazil’s government determined to undertake scientific development of the sertão. Over the subsequent century, sanitarians, civil engineers, agronomists and economists surveyed the region and applied a range of technological prescriptions that they hoped would remedy the sertão’s various ills. Their plans were modeled on regional development efforts elsewhere in the world, particularly those undertaken in the British and French empires and in the southern and western United States. These middle class Latin American technocrats believed firmly that modern science and technology could remake the sertão’s landscape and, in short order, its culture and economy. Yet they were repeatedly disappointed. Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth Century Brazil aims to understand why.Continue Reading Eve E. Buckley: Science and the Challenges of Social Transformation

Eric Muller’s Scapegoat Cities Podcast Launch and Book Giveaway

Scapegoat Cities: Human stories from the Japanese American camps of World War II

This week is the official launch of Eric Muller’s new podcast, Scapegoat Cities. To learn more about it, check out last month’s interview with Muller here on the blog.

Episodes now available:

You can follow the podcast on Twitter and Facebook.

Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, by Eric L. MullerAnd for a limited time, all iTunes reviewers are eligible for a chance to win a copy of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II edited by Eric L. Muller with photographs by Bill Manbo.

Leaving a review is easy: go to the podcast’s page on iTunes, click on the “Ratings and Reviews” tab, and then on the little “write a review” button.

Then send an email to scapegoatcities@gmail.com with the text of your posted iTunes review for a chance to win one of 6 copies that will be selected at random from all entries.

One winner will be selected monthly through January 31, 2018. (You must send the email in order to have a chance at winning.)

Interview: Jamie DeMent, the Farmhouse Chef

Jamie DeMent, photo by Felicia Perry Trujillo

Jamie DeMent (photo by Felicia Perry Trujillo)

Gina Mahalek talks to Jamie DeMent, author of The Farmhouse Chef: Recipes and Stories from My Carolina Farm, which is now available at bookstores and from UNC Press.

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Gina Mahalek: First, please set the scene for us. You and your partner, Richard Holcomb, run Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina. What’s it like there?

Jamie DeMent: We live and work on an actual farm. In an old farmhouse. Beside a river. With a swimming hole and a rope swing and all the farm life trimmings. Most days, it’s as charming as you might imagine. Our life is fully integrated into the farm cycle. Our house is right in the middle of the action. We look out on our gardens and can take walks by the river. It’s also a working farm, so those walks are often interrupted by a wayward pig and those long gazes are taking notes of chores to be done. The rewards are huge, though. I hope this book goes a long way in showing that.

GM: How did the farm get its name?

JD: Coon Rock Farm came with its name. It is an old name, drawn from a very large rock formation that juts out into the Eno River right at our property’s edge. It’s a landmark that all the old-timers in Hillsborough know, as many of them grew up swimming and fishing at the Coon Rock. We tried for months after we bought the farm to come up with a contemporary, stylish, and fabulous name for the farm, but nothing stuck. Everywhere we went in town, people kept referring to us as the Coon Rock folks, and eventually we stopped fighting the tide.

Coon Rock is just outside Hillsborough, a small town with deep roots in time. Because it sits along the banks of the Eno, it has been a significant staging point for east-to-west travel in the area for more than a thousand years. John Lawson surveyed the area in the early 1700s and found a vibrant Native American community that had been living around Hillsborough for generations. Both the community’s trading path and, eventually, the colonial road to western North Carolina followed the Eno directly past our now famous Coon Rock.

Coon Rock juts up and out of the river and has always made an ideal lookout point and obvious meeting and resting area. Some think the rock may have been named for the local raccoons that have always covered the rock because they got used to the visitors and the trash and food scraps they left behind. These days the rock is more likely to be covered with wayward teenagers coming for a swim, but the name persists, as do the memories of those who stopped to visit. There is also speculation that the name evolved from misspellings of Occoneechee, the name of the Native American tribe that lived along the Eno River in Hillsborough.

GM: Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family and the path that led you to the farm.Continue Reading Interview: Jamie DeMent, the Farmhouse Chef

Recipe: DIY Basic Bacon

Thompson: BaconToday is National Bacon Day! If you’re as delighted (and hungry) as we are, check out Fred Thompson’s Bacon!  Filled with tons of delicious recipes, Bacon will be sure to fulfill your National Bacon Day cravings.  Try this recipe for DIY Basic Bacon and see how easy homemade bacon can be!

From the earliest days of European settlement in the South, as in many rural economies around the globe, cured pork became a main source of sustenance, and the cheaper, lower-on-the-hog cuts–notably, bacon–became some of the most important traditional southern foodstuffs. In this cookbook, Fred Thompson captures a humble ingredient’s regional culinary history and outsized contributions to the table. Delicious, of course, straight out of the skillet, bacon is also special in its ability to lend a unique savory smokiness to an enormous range of other foods.

Today, for regular eaters and high-flying southern chefs alike, bacon has achieved a culinary profile so popular as to approach baconmania. But Thompson sagely notes that bacon will survive the silliness. Describing the many kinds of bacon that are available, Thompson provides key choices for cooking and seasoning appropriately. The book’s fifty-six recipes invariably highlight and maximize that beloved bacon factor, so appreciated throughout the South and beyond (by Thompson’s count, fifty different styles of bacon exist worldwide). Dishes range from southern regional to international, from appetizers to main courses, and even to a very southern beverage. Also included are Thompson’s do-it-yourself recipes for making bacon from fresh pork belly in five different styles.

Fred Thompson, well-known cookbook author and editor of Edible Piedmont magazine, is the author of Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate, among other books.

For more mouthwatering recipes, grab a copy of Fred’s addition to the Savor the South® collection.

Remember to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Keep an eye out this fall for a new Savor the South® cookbook!

#CharlottesvilleCurriculum, #CharlottesvilleSyllabus: UNC Press edition

Over the past few days, UNC Press (like many of our sister presses) has received an influx of requests from readers for books that provide context around the tragic events in Charlottesville. UNC Press has a longstanding commitment to publish books that examine histories of racial violence. Many of our authors over the years have given especially deep consideration to way the Civil War era is remembered and commemorated in the South and the nation as a whole—a question once more at the center of public debate and struggle.

We hope the list of books shared here serves as a resource for all those seeking deeper understanding and sound engagement with historical evidence. The list is by no means comprehensive, and we hope you’ll check this list here and on our website in the coming days as new titles are added. We also encourage readers to watch for the hashtag #ReadUP on social media, where university presses continue to highlight work that can promote fuller understanding of our past and present.

Karen L. Cox: Dreaming of Dixie Prince: Stories of the South Janney: Burying the Dead but Not the Past

Janney: Remembering the Civil War Brundage: Where these memories grow Brown: Civil War Canon

Horton: slavery and public history Reardon: pickett's charge in history and memory rubin: through the heart of dixie

Elaine Frantz Parsons: Ku-Klux Barkun: religion and the racist right Fahs: the memory of the civil war in american culture

yuhl: a golden haze of memory Powell: troubled memory Tiya Miles: Tales from the Haunted South

Denson: Monuments to absence blair: cities of the dead Marshall: creating a confederate kentucky

gallagher: causes won lost forgotten gasaway: progressive evangelicals  gannon: won cause

The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War (Movie Edition), by Victoria E. Bynum bynum: the long shadow of the civil war Eagles: civil rights, culture wars

Des Jardins: women and the historical enterprise in america

Easily and quickly request exam and desk copies online by visiting any of the books’ pages above. If you need assistance in choosing the right texts for your course, we’d be glad to help, contact us here.

We’re happy to offer a 40 percent discount on book purchases, and if your order totals $75, the shipping is free.  Simply enter promo code 01DAH40 at checkout to receive your discount.

For other relevant resources, follow #CharlottesvilleCurriculum and #CharlottesvilleSyllabus, and read the Charlottesville Curriculum.

Andrew C. McKevitt: UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward

Andrew C. McKevitt: Consuming JapanToday we welcome a guest blog post from Andrew C. McKevitt, author of Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s, on the recent decision by Nissan workers in Canton, Mississippi, to reject the United Author Workers’ representation.

Consuming Japan explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan’s remarkable post–World War II economic success enable the East Asian nation to overtake the United States? Or could Japan’s globe-trotting corporations serve as a model for battered U.S. industries, pointing the way to a future of globalized commerce and culture? From autoworkers to anime fans, this insightful book introduces new unorthodox actors into foreign-relations history, demonstrating how the flow of all things Japanese contributed to the globalizing of America in the late twentieth century.

Consuming Japan will be out in October 2017 and is available for pre-order now.

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The UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward

On August 4, 2017, workers at Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, voted to reject representation by the United Auto Workers union. The loss stung, to be sure, but the once-powerful UAW has become accustomed to failure in its efforts to organize auto production facilities operated by foreign companies. Twice previously, in 1989 and 2001, workers rejected the union at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee,—the company’s first North American plant, and only the second Japanese-owned plant in the United States. The UAW later lost another hard-fought battle at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga in 2014, after high-profile anti-union interventions by Tennessee’s top Republican politicians. In Canton, pro-union workers were Continue Reading Andrew C. McKevitt: UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward

Interview: Eric Muller Gives Voice to Injustice with Scapegoat Cities Podcast

Scapegoat Cities graphicOn the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Japanese American internment camps, Eric L. Muller, editor of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, talks to UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek about his related podcast, Scapegoat Cities, launching on September 6, 2017. Read on for a chance to win a copy of Colors of Confinement!


Gina Mahalek:
It’s been five years since the publication of your highly acclaimed book, Colors of Confinement (UNC Press, 2012), which features Bill Manbo’s color photographs of Japanese American incarceration in World War II, and 75 years since the opening of the internment camps in 1942. Why is this the right moment for the launch of your podcast, Scapegoat Cities?

Eric Muller: Two reasons. First, since the election of President Trump we are awash in discussions about policies that would (or do) single out people on the basis of religion or race or national origin. It’s easy for these policy debates to stay at an abstract and legalistic level. I think it’s crucial to remember that policies of these sorts are not abstract at all; they have real, often devastating, impacts on real people. The stories I tell in Scapegoat Cities are reminders of those human impacts.

Second, the permanent Japanese American camps opened in August and September of 1942, which is exactly 75 years ago. If this isn’t an appropriate moment for us to remember this historical episode and the people it affected, I don’t know what is.

GM: Tell us about the podcast and what listeners can expect to hear.

EM: The idea is simple: each episode tells a single true story of someone’s experience of being removed from his or her home and imprisoned. The stories are not of major earth-shattering events and they are not the experiences of prominent people. They are, rather, ordinary events in the lives of ordinary people. But each of the vignettes, in its own quiet way, reveals something important about the nature of what people who are singled out because of their race had to endure.Continue Reading Interview: Eric Muller Gives Voice to Injustice with Scapegoat Cities Podcast

Interview: Judy Kutulas on the “Me Decade” and Man Buns

Judy Kutulas, author of After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, talks to UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek about making sense of the “me decade” and whether man buns are here to stay. 

cover image for After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, by Judy KutulasGina Mahalek: In your book, you challenge the common view that the 1970s were a time of counterrevolution against the radical activities and attitudes of the previous decade. Rather, you see the 1970s as a time of assimilation. Tell us about yourself and what led you to this topic.

Judy Kutulas: I was a young teen in the 1960s, very influenced by the ways the world seemed to be changing, but too young to be out there on the political barricades. College was a revelation to me, full of peers rebelling against their parents’ lives and this interesting blend of ambition and pleasure-seeking. Nobody wanted to be an adult like their parents. Perhaps the 1970s really were the “me decade,” because at some point as a historian, I wanted to make sense of that experience, to explore a topic with emotional resonance to me and the 1970s were that moment.

GM: The revolutions of the 1960s undermined traditional hierarchies of race, gender, and sexual identity, liberating people from traditions, social norms, and rules. What happened when experts, rules, and authorities lost influence?

JK: At some point, authorities just seemed hypocritical or wrong, so ordinary people felt like they could challenge the status quo and get away with it.  When The Rolling Stones appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and altered the lyrics to “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” but Mick Jagger just rolled his eyes as they did, for instance, young viewers saw a subversive attitude toward authority.Continue Reading Interview: Judy Kutulas on the “Me Decade” and Man Buns

Happy Book Lovers Day: What We’re Reading Now

Happy Book Lovers Day

Happy Book Lovers Day! In honor of one of our favorite holidays, we’re sharing what we’re currently reading.

Take a look below to see what’s striking our interest now.

Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul

(New in Paperback!)

Ford: Liberated Threads

From the civil rights and Black Power era of the 1960s through antiapartheid activism in the 1980s and beyond, black women have used their clothing, hair, and style not simply as a fashion statement but as a powerful tool of resistance. Whether using stiletto heels as weapons to protect against police attacks or incorporating African-themed designs into everyday wear, these fashion-forward women celebrated their identities and pushed for equality.

Drawing from an eclectic archive, Ford offers a new way of studying how black style and Soul Power moved beyond national boundaries, sparking a global fashion phenomenon. Following celebrities, models, college students, and everyday women as they moved through fashion boutiques, beauty salons, and record stores, Ford narrates the fascinating intertwining histories of Black Freedom and fashion.Continue Reading Happy Book Lovers Day: What We’re Reading Now

Karen L. Cox: Goat Castle

Cox: Goat CastleAugust 4, 2017, is the 85th anniversary of the “Goat Castle Murder.” This strange and fascinating tale is recounted in Karen L. Cox’s new book, Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South, publishing on October 9, 2017. John Grisham calls it “a highly entertaining story about a long-forgotten murder.” Read on for a glimpse at the story, and pre-order your copy today!

In 1932, the city of Natchez, Mississippi, reckoned with an unexpected influx of journalists and tourists as the lurid story of a local murder was splashed across headlines nationwide. Two eccentrics, Richard Dana and Octavia Dockery—known in the press as the “Wild Man” and the “Goat Woman”—enlisted an African American man named George Pearls to rob their reclusive neighbor, Jennie Merrill, at her estate. During the attempted robbery, Merrill was shot and killed.

The crime drew national coverage when it came to light that Dana and Dockery, the alleged murderers, shared their huge, decaying antebellum mansion with their goats and other livestock, which prompted journalists to call the estate “Goat Castle.” Pearls was killed by an Arkansas policeman in an unrelated incident before he could face trial.

Continue Reading Karen L. Cox: Goat Castle

Mr. Seashell’s Legacy Lives On

#NCSeashells

This article originally appeared at Coastwatch Currents, the blog of North Carolina Sea Grant. Seashells of North Carolina is now distributed by UNC Press. For more information and to order, visit uncpress.org.

Mr. Seashell’s Legacy Lives On

By Danielle Costantini

2 books by Mr. Seashell/Hugh Porter

Two of Hugh Porter’s publications: Seashells Common to North Carolina and Seashells of North Carolina. Photo by Trish Murphey

There are few people in North Carolina who know seashells as well as Hugh Porter. Born in Ohio, he came to North Carolina in the mid 1950s and quickly earned the nickname “Mr. Seashell” for his extensive knowledge and passion for mollusks.

This summer, North Carolina Sea Grant and the University of North Carolina Press are honoring Porter’s contributions to the state and celebrating the 20th year of his book, Seashells of North Carolina.

In 1950, Porter graduated from Millersville State Teachers College in Pennsylvania. After briefly attending Pennsylvania State University, he joined the United States Army and saw action in the Korean War. He earned a master’s degree in marine sciences from University of Delaware in 1956. Shortly after, Porter made his professional home at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, where he stayed for nearly 55 years.Continue Reading Mr. Seashell’s Legacy Lives On

New Books for Fall and Winter 2017-18

Last week we shared a few highlights coming up this fall and winter season. Browse the interactive catalog below to see more! We’ve got great titles in store for fall and winter 2017-2018 in areas like American History, Foodways, African American Studies, North Carolina History, Environmental History, and more. You can also visit our website to see what’s already available in a subject that interest you. But the easiest way to stay up to date is to sign up for our monthly eNews announcements!

Continue Reading New Books for Fall and Winter 2017-18

Chris Myers Asch & George Derek Musgrove: Chocolate City

Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrave: Chocolate CityYou might recognize this book from the cover of our fall catalog. Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove is the most up-to-date and comprehensive history of race and race-relations in the nation’s capital. Thoroughly researched yet very readable, Chocolate City focuses on African American history, but does not neglect Native American and white components of DC history. Coming out in November just in time for Washington History Month, pre-order your copy today!

Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation’s capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America’s expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city’s rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights.

Continue Reading Chris Myers Asch & George Derek Musgrove: Chocolate City

Pamela Grundy: Color and Character

Pamela Grundy: Color and CharacterOur Fall Preview today features Color and Character: West Charlotte High School and the American Struggle over Educational Equality by Pamela Grundy. The end of July means the end of summer, and more importantly, back-to-school planning. What better way to stay in the know than with our timely new book? Just in time for the start of the school year, Color and Character will prove a significant addition to the education debate and an aid in solving education issues. Pre-order your copy to stay informed!

At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. West Charlotte opened in 1938 as a segregated school that embodied the aspirations of the growing African American population of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1970s, when Charlotte began court-ordered busing, black and white families made West Charlotte the celebrated flagship of the most integrated major school system in the nation. But as the twentieth century neared its close and a new court order eliminated race-based busing, Charlotte schools resegregated along lines of class as well as race. West Charlotte became the city’s poorest, lowest-performing high school—a striking reminder of the people and places that Charlotte’s rapid growth had left behind. While dedicated teachers continue to educate children, the school’s challenges underscore the painful consequences of resegregation.

Continue Reading Pamela Grundy: Color and Character

Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-KillWe’re continuing our Fall Preview today with a feature on The Three Graces of Val-Kill: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in the Place They Made Their Own by Emily Herring Wilson, which focuses fully for the first time on the relationship of Eleanor and the “three graces”, as well as her time at Val-Kill. The biography also sheds new light  on the tumultuous time for Eleanor as FDR ascended to the governorship and eventually the presidency, revealing the changing nature of her relationships at this time. Don’t forget to pre-order!

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The Three Graces of Val-Kill changes the way we think about Eleanor Roosevelt. Emily Herring Wilson examines what she calls the most formative period in Roosevelt’s life, from 1922 to 1936, when she cultivated an intimate friendship with Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who helped her build a cottage on the Val-Kill Creek in Hyde Park on the Roosevelt family land. In the early years, the three women—the “three graces,” as Franklin Delano Roosevelt called them—were nearly inseparable and forged a female-centered community for each other, for family, and for New York’s progressive women. Examining this network of close female friends gives readers a more comprehensive picture of the Roosevelts and Eleanor’s burgeoning independence in the years that marked Franklin’s rise to power in politics.

Continue Reading Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Earl J. Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree Creek

Earl Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree CreekCan you believe the fall season is almost upon us? July is racing by, so now we’re turning our attention to our amazing line-up of fall books. We’ll be highlighting a few of our picks this week on the blog. First up—The Battle of Peach Tree Creek by Earl J. Hess.

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Famed Civil War historian Earl J. Hess is releasing the latest title in the Civil War America series this fall! The Battle of Peach Tree Creek: Hood’s First Effort to Save Atlanta is now available for pre-order—just in time to reserve your copy around the anniversary of the battle.

On July 20, 1864, the Civil War struggle for Atlanta reached a pivotal moment. As William T. Sherman’s Union forces came ever nearer the city, the defending Confederate Army of Tennessee replaced its commanding general, removing Joseph E. Johnston and elevating John Bell Hood. This decision stunned and demoralized Confederate troops just when Hood was compelled to take the offensive against the approaching Federals. Attacking northward from Atlanta’s defenses, Hood’s men struck George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland just after it crossed Peach Tree Creek on July 20. Initially taken by surprise, the Federals fought back with spirit and nullified all the advantages the Confederates first enjoyed. As a result, the Federals achieved a remarkable defensive victory.

Continue Reading Earl J. Hess: The Battle of Peach Tree Creek

Interview: Brian Tochterman on the “Summer of Hell”

Brian Tochterman, author of The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear, talks with publicity director Gina Mahalek about what E.B. White, Mickey Spillane, Death Wish, hip-hop, and the “Summer of Hell” have in common.

cover photo for tochtermanGina Mahalek: Where are you from and how did you get interested in this topic?

Brian Tochterman: I grew up in the Midwest, Green Bay, Wisconsin to be exact, and on a whim I moved to New York City a few months after I graduated from college. You could say that, in some respects, I embodied the kind of dreamer that E.B. White wrote about in “Here is New York”—I wanted to work in film production. That proved a bit of a dead-end, and New York being New York, I needed a job if I wanted to stay. I worked for NYC Parks Department for a few years under Giuliani and Bloomberg before going to graduate school to study urban planning— an interest that grew out of my experience across the five boroughs.

Whenever I’d go back to Green Bay and run into family and old friends they’d ask, “Isn’t it scary living in New York?” I often heard that from people who had never been to New York. At that time, though, it was already the safest large city in the country. As I matriculated through graduate school, first in planning and then studying history, I became interested in how that image evolved. How could someone who never encountered a place assume such knowledge, and how could they be so wrong yet so convinced they are right? Of course, the answer is popular culture and its representations of the city. My father is a cop, so I’ve always been intrigued by crime and crime fears. Take a Midwest upbringing, add a move to the big city, mix in some cultural studies and graduate work in city planning and U.S. postwar history, and a touch of evil and voilà, you have the recipe for The Dying City.

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Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon

Plan on making a summer getaway to the mountains? Or in need of a perfect gift? Randy Johnson’s Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon can help with both! Grandfather Mountain highlights the natural beauty and history of one of North Carolina’s best known landmarks. This fabulous book was a finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and also just won two prestigious awards:

  • First Place and Best in Show 2017 Writing and Photography Contest, Eastern Chapter, Society of American Travel Writers
  • 2016 Foreword INDIES Winner for Travel (Adult Nonfiction)

With its prominent profile recognizable for miles around and featuring vistas among the most beloved in the Appalachians, North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is many things to many people: an easily recognized landmark along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular tourist destination, a site of annual Highland Games, and an internationally recognized nature preserve. In this definitive book on Grandfather, Randy Johnson guides readers on a journey through the mountain’s history, from its geological beginnings millennia ago and the early days of exploration to its role in regional development and eventual establishment as a North Carolina state park. Along the way, he shows how Grandfather has changed, and has been changed by, the people of western North Carolina and beyond.

Continue Reading Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon