Academic journal article Journal of American & Comparative Cultures

From a Single Window: Michigan State University and Its Press, 1947-1997

Academic journal article Journal of American & Comparative Cultures

From a Single Window: Michigan State University and Its Press, 1947-1997

Article excerpt

From a Single Window: Michigan State University and Its Press, 1947-1997. Maurice Hungiville. East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1998.

"An institution," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "is but the lengthened shadow of one man." This wellwrought and well-researched book is a study of shadows. Together, they put together one of the nation's distinguished university presses, contributing to our conversation about public life, foreign affairs, history, and literature. This lively book is a tribute to all those who pay the bills, write the books, and make the University a place of ideas and original thought.

Hungiville's book does not keep us in the Ivory Tower. It describes the powerful national and international forces that shaped not only the Press and the University, but the world in the turbulent half century between 1947 and 1997. It takes us behind the scene to the actual workings and dissentions of a university press. It presents new evidence of its parent university's involvement in the Cold War. There are no cover-ups in Hungiville's book. We get a clear picture of the Press's growing pains, financial restraints, and indifference to constructive criticism. The material is accurate, specific, and well-illustrated. Covers of the principle authors and book-covers add an important human touch. Clearly this is a labor of love.

If the book has a hero-an essential performer-- we must list two. The first is John A. Hannah: He guided the University through World War II, helped create a Michigan State College Press, and hired James A. …

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