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History > U.S. History > 20th Century

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The American People and the National Forests Cover

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The American People and the National Forests

The First Century of the U.S. Forest Service

Samuel P. Hays

The year 2005 marked the centennial of the founding of the United States Forest Service (USFS). Samuel P. Hays uses this occasion to present a cogent history of the role of American society in shaping the policies and actions of this agency. From its establishment in 1905 under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, timber and grazing management dominated the agency's agenda. Due to high consumer demand for wood products and meat from livestock, the USFS built a formidable system of forest managers, training procedures, and tree science programs to specifically address these needs. This strong internal organization bolstered the agency during the tumultuous years in the final one-third of the century—when citizens and scientists were openly critical of USFS policies—yet it restricted the agency's vision and adaptability on environmental issues. A dearth of ecological capabilities tormented the USFS in 1960 when the Multiple-Use and Sustained-Yield Act set new statutes for the preservation of wildlife, recreation, watershed, and aesthetic resources. This was followed by the National Forest Management Act of 1976, which established standards for the oversight of forest ecosystems. The USFS was ill equipped to handle the myriad administrative and technological complexities that these mandates required. Hays chronicles three distinct periods in USFS history, provides a summarizing “legacy” for each, and outlines the public and private interests, administrators, and laws that guided the agency's course and set its priorities. He demonstrates how these legacies affected successive eras, how they continue to influence USFS policy in the twenty-first century, and why USFS policies should matter to all of us.

American Prophet Cover

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American Prophet

The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams

Peter Richardson

A long-overdue book on the brilliant life and career of one of our greatest public intellectuals, American Prophet will introduce Carey McWilliams to a new generation of readers. Peter Richardson's absorbing and elegantly paced book reveals a figure thoroughly engaged with the issues of his time. Deftly interweaving correspondence, diary notes, published writings, and McWilliams's own and others' observations on a colorful and influential cast of characters from Hollywood, New York, Washington, DC, and the American West, Richardson maps the evolution of McWilliams's personal and professional life. Among those making an appearance are H. L. Mencken (McWilliams's mentor and role model), Louis Adamic, John Fante, Robert Towne, Richard Nixon, Studs Terkel, J. Edgar Hoover, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Joseph McCarthy. American Prophet illustrates the arc of McWilliams's life and career from his early literary journalism through his legal and political activism, his stint in state government, and his two decades as editor of the Nation. This book makes the case for McWilliams's place in the Olympian realm of our most influential and prescient political writers. Peter Richardson is the editorial director at PoliPointPress in Sausalito, California. He is the author or editor of numerous works on language, literature, and California public policy. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California Berkeley.

American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War Cover

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American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War

Eric R. Smith

The Spanish Civil War created a conflict for Americans who preferred that the United States remain uninvolved in foreign affairs. Despite the country's isolationist tendencies, opposition to the rise of fascism across Europe convinced many Americans that they had to act in support of the Spanish Republic. While much has been written about the war itself and its international volunteers, little attention has been paid to those who coordinated these relief efforts at home. 

            American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War tells the story of the political campaigns to raise aid for the Spanish Republic as activists pushed the limits of isolationist thinking. Those concerned with Spain’s fate held a range of political convictions (including anarchists, socialists, liberals, and communists) with very different understandings of what fascism was. Yet they all agreed that fascism’s advance must be halted. With labor strikes, fund-raising parties, and ambulance tours, defenders of Spain in the United States sought to shift the political discussion away from isolation of Spain’s elected government and toward active assistance for the faltering Republic.

Examining the American political organizations affiliated with this relief effort and the political repression that resulted as many of Spain’s supporters faced the early incarnations of McCarthyism’s trials, Smith provides new understanding of American politics during the crucial years leading up to World War II. By also focusing on the impact the Spanish Civil War had on those of Spanish ethnicity in the United States, Smith shows how close to home the seemingly distant war really hit.  

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American Silence

Zeese Papanikolas

In American Silence, a complement to his previous study Trickster in the Land of Dreams, Zeese Papanikolas investigates a number of significant American cultural artifacts and the lives of their makers. For Papanikolas, both the private failures and public successes of Clarence King, Henry Adams, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, and Hank Williams resonate with silences. These silences—absences and omissions—put them in opposition to the American mythology of success and express the essential solitude Alexis de Tocqueville found at the heart of the American soul. The painters George Caleb Bingham and Jackson Pollock and the New Orleans photographer E. J. Bellocq extend the theme of erotic loss and the redemptive possibilities of art beyond it into the realm of the visual.
 
On a deeper level, the lives and works of these writers, thinkers, artists, and public figures connect them to more disturbing questions of American crimes of race and despoliation. Their silences and reticences contain a lingering pathos rooted in a consciousness of utopian possibility just missed and to an unspoiled nature almost within living memory.

The American Soul Rush Cover

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The American Soul Rush

Esalen and the Rise of Spiritual Privilege

Yoga. Humanistic Psychology. Meditation. Holistic Healing. These practices are commonplace today. Yet before the early 1960s they were atypical options for most people outside of the upper class or small groups of educated spiritual seekers.

Esalen Institute, a retreat for spiritual and personal growth in Big Sur, California, played a pioneering role in popularizing quests for self-transformation and personalized spirituality. This “soul rush” spread quickly throughout the United States as the Institute made ordinary people aware of hundreds of ways to select, combine, and revise their beliefs about the sacred and to explore diverse mystical experiences. Millions of Americans now identify themselves as spiritual, not religious, because Esalen paved the way for them to explore spirituality without affiliating with established denominations

The American Soul Rush explores the concept of spiritual privilege and Esalen’s foundational influence on the growth and spread of diverse spiritual practices that affirm individuals’ self-worth and possibilities for positive personal change. The book also describes the people, narratives, and relationships at the Institute that produced persistent, almost accidental inequalities in order to illuminate the ways that gender is central to religion and spirituality in most contexts.

American Spies Cover

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American Spies

Espionage against the United States from the Cold War to the Present

Michael J. Sulick

What's your secret?

American Spies presents the stunning histories of more than forty Americans who spied against their country during the past six decades. Michael Sulick, former head of the CIA's clandestine service, illustrates through these stories -- some familiar, others much less well known -- the common threads in the spy cases and the evolution of American attitudes toward espionage since the onset of the Cold War. After highlighting the accounts of many who have spied for traditional adversaries such as Russian and Chinese intelligence services, Sulick shows how spy hunters today confront a far broader spectrum of threats not only from hostile states but also substate groups, including those conducting cyberespionage.

Sulick reveals six fundamental elements of espionage in these stories: the motivations that drove them to spy; their access and the secrets they betrayed; their tradecraft, i.e., the techniques of concealing their espionage; their exposure; their punishment; and, finally, the damage they inflicted on America's national security.

The book is the sequel to Sulick's popular Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War. Together they serve as a basic introduction to understanding America's vulnerability to espionage, which has oscillated between peacetime complacency and wartime vigilance, and continues to be shaped by the inherent conflict between our nation's security needs and our commitment to the preservation of civil liberties.

The American West in 2000 Cover

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The American West in 2000

Essays in Honor of Gerald D. Nash

Edited by Richard W. Etulain and Ferenc M. Szasz

The ten original essays commissioned for this book focus on historical subjects in the post-World War II American West. The late Gerald Nash, in whose honor the essays were written, made major contributions to the study of modern American and western American history, and his impact on those fields is demonstrated in these essays by several generations of his students and colleagues.

American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition Cover

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American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition

Kenneth Rose

In 1933 Americans did something they had never done before: they voted to repeal an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Eighteenth Amendment, which for 13 years had prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, was nullified by the passage of another amendment, the Twenty-First. Many factors helped create this remarkable turn of events. One factor that was essential, Kenneth D. Rose here argues, was the presence of a large number of well-organized women promoting repeal.

Even more remarkable than the appearance of these women on the political scene was the approach they took to the politics of repeal. Intriguingly, the arguments employed by repeal women and by prohibition women were often mirror images of each other, even though the women on the two sides of the issue pursued diametrically opposed political agendas. Rose contends that a distinguishing feature of the women's repeal movement was an argument for home protection, a social feminist ideology that women repealists shared with the prohibitionist women of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. The book surveys the women's movement to repeal national prohibition and places it within the contexts of women's temperance activity, women's political activity during the 1920s, and the campaign for repeal.

While recent years have seen much-needed attention devoted to the recovery of women's history, conservative women have too often been overlooked, deliberately ignored, or written off as unworthy of scrutiny. With American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition, Kenneth Rose fleshes out a crucial chapter in the history of American women and culture.

Americans All Cover

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Americans All

Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II

By Darlene Sadlier

Americans in the Treasure House Cover

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Americans in the Treasure House

Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Empire

By Jason Ruiz

Through extensive engagement with archival sources, this book traces the history of travel to Mexico during the Porfiriato and the Revolution, exploring how travelers’ representations created an image of Mexico as a country requiring foreign intervention to reach its full potential.

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