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History > U.S. History > 20th Century

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1929 Cover

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1929

Mapping the Jewish World

Abuse of Power: How Cold War Surveillance and Secrecy Policy Shaped the Response to 9/11 Cover

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Abuse of Power: How Cold War Surveillance and Secrecy Policy Shaped the Response to 9/11

Athan Theoharis, long a respected authority on surveillance and secrecy, established his reputation for meticulous scholarship with his work on the loyalty security program developed under Truman and McCarthy. In Abuse of Power, Theoharis continues his investigation of U.S. government surveillance and historicizes the 9/11 response.

Criticizing the U.S. government's secret activities and policies during periods of "unprecedented crisis," he recounts how presidents and FBI officials exploited concerns about foreign-based internal security threats.

Drawing on information sequestered until recently in FBI records, Theoharis shows how these secret activities in the World War II and Cold War eras expanded FBI surveillance powers and, in the process, eroded civil liberties without substantially advancing legitimate security interests.

Passionately argued, this timely book speaks to the costs and consequences of still-secret post-9/11 surveillance programs and counterintelligence failures. Ultimately, Abuse of Power makes the case that the abusive surveillance policies of the Cold War years were repeated in the government's responses to the September 11 attacks.

Academic Freedom Imperiled Cover

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Academic Freedom Imperiled

The Mccarthy Era At The University Of Nevada

Acts of Conscience Cover

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Acts of Conscience

World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors

Steven J. Taylor

In the mid- to late 1940s, a group of young men rattled the psychiatric establishment by beaming a public spotlight on the squalid conditions and brutality in our nation’s mental hospitals and training schools for people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities. Bringing the abuses to the attention of newspapers and magazines across the country, they led a reform effort to change public attitudes and to improve the training and status of institutional staff. Prominent Americans, including Eleanor Roosevelt, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, author Pearl S. Buck, actress Helen Hayes, and African-American activist Mary McLeod Bethune, supported the efforts of the young men. These young men were among the 12,000 World War II conscientious objectors who chose to perform civilian public service as an alternative to fighting in what is widely regarded as America’s "good war." Three thousand of these men volunteered to work at state institutions, where they found conditions appalling. Acting on conscience a second time, they challenged America’s treatment of its citizens with severe disabilities. Acts of Conscience brings to light the extraordinary efforts of these courageous men, drawing upon extensive archival research, interviews, and personal correspondence. The World War II conscientious objectors were not the first to expose public institutions, and they would not be the last. What distinguishes them from reformers of other eras is that their activities have faded from professional and popular memory. Steven J. Taylor’s moving account is an indispensable contribution to the historical record.

Acts of Conspicuous Compassion Cover

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Acts of Conspicuous Compassion

Performance Culture and American Charity Practices

Sheila C. Moeschen

Acts of Conspicuous Compassion investigates the relationship between performance culture and the cultivation of charitable sentiment in America, exploring the distinctive practices that have evolved to make the plea for charity legible and compelling. From the work of 19th-century melodramas to the televised drama of transformation and redemption in reality TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Acts of Conspicuous Compassion charts the sophisticated strategies employed by various charity movements responsible for making organized benevolence alluring, exciting, and seemingly uncomplicated. Sheila C. Moeschen brokers a new way of accounting for the legacy and involvement of disabled people within charity—specifically, the articulation of performance culture as a vital theoretical framework for discussing issues of embodiment and identity dislodges previously held notions of the disabled existing as passive, “objects” of pity. This work gives rise to a more complicated and nuanced discussion of the participation of the disabled community in the charity industry, of the opportunities afforded by performance culture for disabled people to act as critical agents of charity, and of the new ethical and political issues that arise from employing performance methodology in a culture with increased appetites for voyeurism, display, and complex spectacle.

Addicts Who Survived Cover

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Addicts Who Survived

An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America before 1965

David T. Courtwright

The authors employ the techniques of oral history to penetrate the nether world of the drug user, giving us an engrossing portrait of life in the drug subculture during the "classic" era of strict narcotic control. 

Praise for the hardcover edition:

"A momentous book which I feel is destined to become a classic in the category of scholarly narcotic books."
—Claude Brown, author of the bestseller, Manchild in the Promised Land.

"The drug literature is filled with the stereotyped opinions of non-addicted, middle-class pundits who have had little direct contact with addicts.  These stories are reality.  Narcotic addicts of the inner cities are both tough and gentle, deceptive when necessary and yet often generous--above all, shrewd judges of character.  While judging them, the clinician is also being judged."
—Vincent P. Dole, M.D., The Rockefeller Institute.

"What was it like to be a narcotic addict during the Anslinger era?  No book will probably ever appear that gives a better picture than this one. . . . a singularly readable and informative work on a subject ordinarily buried in clichés and stereotypes."
—Donald W. Goodwin, Journal of the American Medical Association

" . . . an important contribution to the growing body of literature that attempts to more clearly define the nature of drug addiction. . . . [This book] will appeal to a diverse audience.  Academicians, politicians, and the general reader will find this approach to drug addiction extremely beneficial, insightful, and instructive. . . . Without qualification anyone wishing to acquire a better understanding of drug addicts and addiction will benefit from reading this book."
—John C. McWilliams, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"This study has much to say to a general audience, as well as those involved in drug control."
—Publishers Weekly

"The authors' comments are perceptive and the interviews make interesting reading."
—John Duffy, Journal of American History

"This book adds a vital and often compelling human dimension to the story of drug use and law enforcement.  The material will be of great value to other specialists, such as those interested in the history of organized crime and of outsiders in general."
—H. Wayne Morgan, Journal of Southern History

"This book represents a significant and valuable addition to the contemporary substance abuse literature. . . .  this book presents findings from a novel and remarkably imaginative research approach in a cogent and exceptionally informative manner."
—William M. Harvey, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

"This is a good and important book filled with new information containing provocative elements usually brought forth through the touching details of personal experience. . . .  There isn't a recollection which isn't of intrinsic value and many point to issues hardly ever broached in more conventional studies."
—Alan Block, Journal of Social History

African American Actresses Cover

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African American Actresses

The Struggle for Visibility, 1900--1960

Charlene Regester

Nine actresses, from Madame Sul-Te-Wan in Birth of a Nation (1915) to Ethel Waters in Member of the Wedding (1952), are profiled in African American Actresses. Charlene Regester poses questions about prevailing racial politics, on-screen and off-screen identities, and black stardom and white stardom. She reveals how these women fought for their roles as well as what they compromised (or didn't compromise). Regester repositions these actresses to highlight their contributions to cinema in the first half of the 20th century, taking an informed theoretical, historical, and critical approach.

After Freedom Summer Cover

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After Freedom Summer

How Race Realigned Mississippi Politics, 1965-1986

Chris Danielson

No one disagrees that 1964--Freedom Summer--forever changed the political landscape of Mississippi. How those changes played out is the subject of Chris Danielson’s fascinating new book, After Freedom Summer.

Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, black voter participation in Mississippi was practically zero. After twenty years, black candidates had made a number of electoral gains. Simultaneously, white resistance had manifested itself in growing Republican dominance of the state.

Danielson demonstrates how race--not class or economics--was the dominant factor in white Mississippi voters' partisan realignment, even as he reveals why class and economics played a role in the tensions between the national NAACP and the local Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (an offshoot of SNCC) that limited black electoral gains.

Using an impressive array of newspaper articles, legal cases, interviews, and personal papers, Danielson's work helps fill a growing lacuna in the study of post-civil rights politics in the South.

After the Dream Cover

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After the Dream

Black and White Southerners since 1965

Timothy Minchin

Martin Luther King’s 1965 address from Montgomery, Alabama, the center of much racial conflict at the time and the location of the well-publicized bus boycott a decade earlier, is often considered by historians to be the culmination of the civil rights era in American history. In his momentous speech, King declared that segregation was “on its deathbed” and that the movement had already achieved significant milestones. Although the civil rights movement had won many battles in the struggle for racial equality by the mid-1960s, including legislation to guarantee black voting rights and to desegregate public accommodations, the fight to implement the new laws was just starting. In reality, King’s speech in Montgomery represented a new beginning rather than a conclusion to the movement, a fact that King acknowledged in the address. After the Dream: Black and White Southerners since 1965 begins where many histories of the civil rights movement end, with King’s triumphant march from the iconic battleground of Selma to Montgomery. Timothy J. Minchin and John Salmond focus on events in the South following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. After the Dream examines the social, economic, and political implications of these laws in the decades following their passage, discussing the empowerment of black southerners, white resistance, accommodation and acceptance, and the nation’s political will. The book also provides a fascinating history of the often-overlooked period of race relations during the presidential administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, and both George H. W. and George W. Bush. Ending with the election of President Barack Obama, this study will influence contemporary historiography on the civil rights movement.

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Al Qaeda Declares War

The African Embassy Bombings and America’s Search for Justice

Tod Hoffman

Three years before the events of 9/11, Osama bin Laden sent al Qaeda suicide bombers on a coordinated attack to destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. That day, August 7, 1998, more than two hundred people were killed and thousands were wounded. Responding immediately, the FBI launched the largest international investigation in its history. Within months, suspects were arrested in six countries. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted twenty-two individuals, including the elusive bin Laden. In February 2001 a landmark trial of four of the accused was held in Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Al Qaeda Declares War: The African Embassy Bombings and America’s Search for Justice explores the step-by-step procedures the United States employed in analyzing these attacks, identifying the suspects, tracking down and apprehending them, building a case, and prosecuting them. It is this case that established the legal basis for hunting down bin Laden, and the trial makes for a gripping courtroom drama, in which the robust principles of American justice confront the fanaticism of true believers. Tod Hoffman argues forcefully that the process after the 1998 incident stands in marked contrast to the illegal detention, torture, and abrogation of rights that followed 9/11. Indeed, reverberations from the African embassy bombings continue in the ongoing hunt for perpetrators still at large, and in targeted killings by drones. Al Qaeda Declares War dramatically recounts the terror and bloodshed of that day in Africa and shows that America’s search for justice afterward offers important lessons for today.

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