American Studies

Articles from Vol. 54, No. 1, 2015

A COLONY SPRUNG FROM HELL: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1774-1794
A COLONY SPRUNG FROM HELL: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1774-1794. By Daniel P. Barr. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. 2014.The western periphery of British colonial America offered the opportunity...
A GENERATION REMOVED: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World
A GENERATION REMOVED: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World. By Margaret D. Jacobs. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2014.The important and tragic topic of Indigenous children being fostered and adopted into mainly...
AMERICA'S DARWIN: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture
AMERICA'S DARWIN: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture. Edited by Tina Gianquitto and Lydia Fisher. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 2014.America's Darwin is a compilation of essays that broadly examines how Darwin's theories became a dominant...
AMIRI BARAKA AND EDWARD DORN: The Collected Letters
AMIRI BARAKA AND EDWARD DORN: The Collected Letters. Edited by Claudia Moreno Pisano. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2013.These letters are heady stuff, fascinating reading. It is like being catapulted into a wonderful newly discovered...
BLACK ETHNICS: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream
BLACK ETHNICS: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream. By Christina M. Greer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013.The changes brought about by the increased access to the polls and to the country through more liberal immigration policies...
COLLEGIATE REPUBLIC: Cultivating an Ideal Society in Early America
COLLEGIATE REPUBLIC: Cultivating an Ideal Society in Early America. By Margaret Sumner. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. 2014.Margaret Sumner, associate professor of history at The Ohio State University at Marion, focuses her attention...
DETROIT COUNTRY MUSIC: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies
DETROIT COUNTRY MUSIC: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies. By Craig Maki with Keith Cady. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. 2013.In this set of biographical sketches, Craig Maki and Keith Cady recount the work and careers of nineteen...
DOWN IN THE CHAPEL: Religious Life in an American Prison/THE PUNISHMENT IMPERATIVE: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America
DOWN IN THE CHAPEL: Religious Life in an American Prison. By Joshua Dubler. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 2013.THE PUNISHMENT IMPERATIVE: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America. By Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost. New York:...
EBONY AND IVY: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities
EBONY AND IVY: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities. By Craig Steven Wilder. New York: Bloomsbury Press. 2013.In Ebony and Ivy, Craig Steven Wilder convincingly details the interconnections between the eighteenth and early-nineteenth...
FIFTIES ETHNICITIES: The Ethnic Novel and Mass Culture at Midcentury
FIFTIES ETHNICITIES: The Ethnic Novel and Mass Culture at Midcentury. By Tracy Floreani. Albany: State University of New York Press. 2013.In Fifties Ethnicities: The Ethnic Novel and Mass Culture at Midcentury, Tracy Floreani studies ethnicity in the...
FILM CRITICISM, THE COLD WAR, AND THE BLACKLIST: Reading the Hollywood Reds/HOLLYWOOD EXILES IN EUROPE: The Blacklist and Cold War Culture
FILM CRITICISM, THE COLD WAR, AND THE BLACKLIST: Reading the Hollywood Reds. By Jeff Smith. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2014. HOLLYWOOD EXILES IN EUROPE: The Blacklist and Cold War Culture. By Rebecca Prime. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University...
FROM EVE TO EVOLUTION: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America
FROM EVE TO EVOLUTION: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America. By Kimberly A. Hamlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014.Perhaps because the theory of evolution as articulated by Charles Darwin has received its share of blame...
H.L. MENCKEN: The Days Trilogy, Expanded Edition
H.L. MENCKEN: The Days Trilogy, Expanded Edition. Edited by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers. New York: The Library of America. 2014.During 1940-1943, the iconoclastic Baltimore newspaperman, author, and editor H. L. Mencken published three autobiographical...
How to Watch Television
HOW TO WATCH TELEVISION. Edited by Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press. 2013.Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell's How to Watch Television is a collection of forty essays that use an exemplary episode (or a few such) of...
In Time We Shall Know Ourselves
IN TIME WE SHALL KNOW OURSELVES. Photographs by Raymond Smith, Essays by Richard H. King and Alexander Nemerov. Madison, CT: Peter Hastings Falk. 2014.In June 1974, Raymond Smith finished the spring semester at Yale University, where he was a graduate...
ISLAM IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority
ISLAM IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority. By Zareena Grewal. New York: New York University Press. 2014.Perhaps no twenty-first-century trend in the field of American Studies has been more pronounced than the transnational...
LITERARY EXECUTIONS: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925
LITERARY EXECUTIONS: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925. By John Cyril Barton. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2014.Midway through his exploration of literary responses to the rancorous spectre of the gallows-that "instrument"...
LOOKING FOR LEROY: Illegible Black Masculinity
LOOKING FOR LEROY: Illegible Black Masculinity. By Mark Anthony Neal. New York: New York University Press. 2013.What is black masculinity? How is it imprinted in contemporary popular culture? Many recall the photo of Lebron James on the cover of a popular...
Mexicans in the Making of America
MEXICANS IN THE MAKING OF AMERICA. By Neil Foley. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2014.Neil Foley has written an ambitious new book arguing that the regional, national, and transnational struggles for full citizenship rights of Mexican Americans...
MOJO WORKIN': The Old African American Hoodoo System
MOJO WORKIN': The Old African American Hoodoo System. By Katrina HazzardDonald. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2013.Hoodoo is the African-American system of spiritual practice based in the curative and protective power of roots, herbs, and other...
MUSIC ALONG THE RAPIDAN: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia
MUSIC ALONG THE RAPIDAN: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia. By James A. Davis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2014.When Ken Burns's The Civil War aired in the fall of 1990, its narrative, imagery, and lyricism...
Narratives of Peace and Progress: Atomic Museums in Japan and New Mexico
In June 2011, firefighters were struggling to contain the Las Conchas fire, the largest wildfire in New Mexico's history, before it reached the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Known as the site of the Manhattan Project's secret efforts to develop...
PHILIP ROTH-THE CONTINUING PRESENCE: New Essays on Psychological Themes
PHILIP ROTH-THE CONTINUING PRESENCE: New Essays on Psychological Themes. Edited by Jane Statlander-Slote. Newark, NJ: Northeast Books and Publishing. 2013.This collection should prove valuable to Roth scholars and aficionados. Comprising critical essays,...
Postracial Mestizaje: Richard Rodriguez's Racial Imagination in an America Where Everyone Is Beginning to Melt
And it seemed to me that the larger questions about America that the color raised is the fact that we are, all of us, in our various colors, our various hues, melting into each other and creating a brown nation. I tried to write a brown book, that is,...
Reassessing Blacklist Era Television: Civil Libertarianism in You Are There, the Adventures of Robin Hood, and the Buccaneers
In the early fifties, the entertainment industry blacklist that had begun in Hollywood in 1947 spread to the television industry in New York City. Three former FBI agents formed the anticommunist organization American Business Consultants and in 1950...
REMEMBERING THE MODOC WAR: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence
REMEMBERING THE MODOC WAR: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence. By Boyd Cothran. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2014.There has been much written lately about past Indian wars, massacres, mass executions, and vigilante...
Sacred Ways of Meaning and Knowing: A Comparative Reading of Caribbean Literature
CARIBBEAN LITERATURE AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE: From the Plantation to the Postcolonial. By Raphael Dalleo. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. 2011.OSHUN'S DAUGHTERS: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas. By Vanessa K. Valdés. Albany: State...
SONG OF DEWEY BEARD: Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn
SONG OF DEWEY BEARD: Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn. By Philip Burnham. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2014.Song of Dewey Beard is less the biography one might expect than a wellcontextualized oral history of a remarkable man whose long...
THAT PRIDE OF RACE AND CHARACTER: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South
THAT PRIDE OF RACE AND CHARACTER: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South. By Caroline E. Light. New York: New York University Press. 2014.In That Pride of Race and Character: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South, Caroline...
THE CALL OF BILAL: Islam in the African Diaspora
THE CALL OF BILAL: Islam in the African Diaspora. By Edward E. Curtis IV. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2014.In a relatively short space, Edward E. Curtis IV skillfully and significantly complicates issues of religion, identity, and...
THE FOLKLORE OF THE FREEWAY: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City
THE FOLKLORE OF THE FREEWAY: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City. By Eric Avila. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2014.A foundational assumption of cultural studies is that resistance to repressive political and social structures can occur...
THE GOSPEL OF FREEDOM AND POWER: Protestant Missionaries in American Culture after World War II
THE GOSPEL OF FREEDOM AND POWER: Protestant Missionaries in American Culture after World War II. By Sarah E. Ruble. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2012.Sarah Ruble offers a valuable analysis of how Protestant missions related to anti-colonial...
THE POST-RACIAL MYSTIQUE: Media and Race in the Twenty-First Century
THE POST-RACIAL MYSTIQUE: Media and Race in the Twenty-First Century. By Catherine R. Squires. New York: New York University Press. 2014.In an era when racism persists as a stealth ideology, institutionalized but rarely signaled by a white hood or epithet,...
THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE: A Social History of the American School Principal
THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE: A Social History of the American School Principal. By Kate Rousmaniere. Albany: State University of New York Press. 2013.Examining the history of ubiquitous objects is always a fascinating endeavor. The history of how principals...
THE PRINTER'S KISS: The Life and Letters of a Civil War Newspaperman and His Family
THE PRINTER'S KISS: The Life and Letters of a Civil War Newspaperman and His Family. Edited by Patricia A. Donohoe. Kent, OH. Kent State University Press. 2014.There is no shortage of published first-person accounts of the Civil War, and researchers...
THE RISE AND DECLINE OF FACULTY GOVERNANCE: Professionalization and the Modern American University
THE RISE AND DECLINE OF FACULTY GOVERNANCE: Professionalization and the Modern American University. By Larry G. Gerber. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2014.Citing market forces, economic necessity, and efficiency, American universities are...
TO PLEAD OUR OWN CAUSE: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement
TO PLEAD OUR OWN CAUSE: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement. By Christopher Cameron. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2014.To Plead Our Own Cause is a synthetic work that urges us to look closely at the...
Uniting Citizens after Citizens United: Cities, Neoliberalism, and Democracy
The Supreme Court's five-to-four decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as McCain-Feingold) that had barred corporations from spending money on independent...
WE SELL DRUGS: The Alchemy of US Empire
WE SELL DRUGS: The Alchemy of US Empire. By Suzanna Reiss. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2014.Suzanna Reiss, in We Sell Drugs, presents a novel and compelling argument about our changing notion of the war on drugs. She argues that the war...
William Bartram and Environmentalism
In a recent study of Alexander von Humboldt and his influence on nineteenth-century American environmentalism, Aaron Sachs highlights awareness of the "chain of connection" and a passionate subjective communion with nature as central to the thought and...
WORLD WAR I IN AMERICAN FICTION: An Anthology of Short Stories
WORLD WAR I IN AMERICAN FICTION: An Anthology of Short Stories. Edited by Scott D. Emmert and Steven Trout. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. 2014.Western literature indisputably was altered by the end of the First World War, shifting from the innocence...
YEARNING FOR THE NEW AGE: Laura Holloway-Langford and Late Victorian Spirituality
YEARNING FOR THE NEW AGE: Laura Holloway-Langford and Late Victorian Spirituality. By Diane Sasson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.Recent years have witnessed rising scholarly interest in women's ambivalent positions within alternative religious...
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