Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

We Did What?!: Offensive and Inappropriate Behavior in American History

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

We Did What?!: Offensive and Inappropriate Behavior in American History

Article excerpt

We Did What?!: Offensive and Inappropriate Behavior in American History. Edited by Timothy B. Jay. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2016. 458 pages. Acid free $89 (ISBN 9781-4408-3772-2). E-book available (978-1-4408-3773-9), call for pricing.

We Did What?!: Offensive and Inappropriate Behavior in American History is a work that thoroughly covers topics in American history and culture that have at some point been a source of frustration or contention. Although there are only approximately 150 entries that are between 500 and 1,000 words, the entries are organized alphabetically, well researched, and provide balanced coverage of each topic. It is intended for use by a variety of researchers, but would be best suited as introduction for students in history or social sciences.

To use this volume, it is important to understand how the editors defined "offensive" and "inappropriate." They essentially defined it using two standards. First it is anything that causes "anger, frustration, resentment, displeasure, or they affront us" (xiii), but for it to meet the criteria of this work, it must also defy the cultural standards of the period that it was considered offensive. Students from a variety of disciplines would consider this a valuable tool when beginning their research because Jay has done an excellent job of balancing the factual information with the more interesting analysis of how these behaviors and the response they elicited have shaped our modern behavior. …

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