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Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War
Popular representations of the Vietnam War tend to emphasize violence, deprivation, and trauma. By contrast, in Armed with Abundance, Meredith Lair focuses on the noncombat experiences of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, redrawing the landscape of the war so that swimming pools, ice cream, visits from celebrities, and other "comforts" share the frame with combat.
To address a tenuous morale situation, military authorities, Lair reveals, wielded abundance to insulate soldiers--and, by extension, the American public--from boredom and deprivation, making the project of war perhaps easier and certainly more palatable. The result was dozens of overbuilt bases in South Vietnam that grew more elaborate as the war dragged on. Relying on memoirs, military documents, and G.I. newspapers, Lair finds that consumption and satiety, rather than privation and sacrifice, defined most soldiers' Vietnam deployments. Abundance quarantined the U.S. occupation force from the impoverished people it ostensibly had come to liberate, undermining efforts to win Vietnamese "hearts and minds" and burdening veterans with disappointment that their wartime service did not measure up to public expectations. With an epilogue that finds a similar paradigm at work in Iraq, Armed with Abundance offers a unique and provocative perspective on modern American warfare.
Mobilization, Supply, and the American War Effort in World War II
The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP
"An Army of Lions is a stunning and heroic work of research about one of the great 'origins' stories of American history. With remarkable originality, Alexander illuminates the grassroots civil rights organizations, leadership, and strategies in the nineteenth century, well before we typically think about those efforts. In the hands of this very talented historian, we see that T. Thomas Fortune and others struggled with the same questions that occupied the later generations of Du Bois and King. This is a scholarly achievement of the first order, with wide social and political implications today."--David W. Blight, author of American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era "With impressive detail, An Army of Lions documents a complex era in African American politics during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Alexander offers readers invaluable insights into how African American activists responded to the rising violence, disfranchisement, and segregation that characterized the Jim Crow era. Most importantly, he helps us to see how a broad range of early civil rights organizations were vying with one another for national leadership, political access, and mass support."--Martha S. Jones, University of Michigan In January 1890, journalist T. Thomas Fortune stood before a delegation of African American activists in Chicago and declared, "We know our rights and have the courage to defend them," as together they formed the Afro-American League, the nation's first national civil rights organization. Over the next two decades, Fortune and his fellow activists organized, agitated, and, in the process, created the foundation for the modern civil rights movement. An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP traces the history of this first generation of activists and the organizations they formed to give the most comprehensive account of black America's struggle for civil rights from the end of Reconstruction to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. Here a host of leaders neglected by posterity--Bishop Alexander Walters, Mary Church Terrell, Jesse Lawson, Lewis G. Jordan, Kelly Miller, George H. White, Frederick McGhee, Archibald Grimké--worked alongside the more familiar figures of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington, who are viewed through a fresh lens. As Jim Crow curtailed modes of political protest and legal redress, members of the Afro-American League and the organizations that formed in its wake--including the Afro-American Council, the Niagara Movement, the Constitution League, and the Committee of Twelve--used propaganda, moral suasion, boycotts, lobbying, electoral office, and the courts, as well as the call for self-defense, to end disfranchisement, segregation, and racial violence. In the process, the League and the organizations it spawned provided the ideological and strategic blueprint of the NAACP and the struggle for civil rights in the twentieth century, demonstrating that there was significant and effective agitation during "the age of accommodation." Shawn Leigh Alexander teaches African and African American studies at the University of Kansas.
The NAACP's Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest civil rights organization, having dedicated itself to the fight for racial equality since 1909. While the group helped achieve substantial victories in the courtroom, the struggle for civil rights extended beyond gaining political support. It also required changing social attitudes. The NAACP thus worked to alter existing prejudices through the production of art that countered racist depictions of African Americans, focusing its efforts not only on changing the attitudes of the white middle class but also on encouraging racial pride and a sense of identity in the black community.
Art for Equality explores an important and little-studied side of the NAACP's activism in the cultural realm. In openly supporting African American artists, writers, and musicians in their creative endeavors, the organization aimed to change the way the public viewed the black community. By overcoming stereotypes and the belief of the majority that African Americans were physically, intellectually, and morally inferior to whites, the NAACP believed it could begin to defeat racism.
Illuminating important protests, from the fight against the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation to the production of anti-lynching art during the Harlem Renaissance, this insightful volume examines the successes and failures of the NAACP's cultural campaign from 1910 to the 1960s. Exploring the roles of gender and class in shaping the association's patronage of the arts, Art for Equality offers an in-depth analysis of the social and cultural climate during a time of radical change in America.
A Progressive Vision for American Reform
On May 19, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the appointment of Arthur Morgan (1878–1975), a water-control engineer and college president from Ohio, as the chairman of the newly created Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). With the eyes of the nation focused on the reform and recovery promised by the New Deal, Morgan remained in the national spotlight for much of the 1930s, as his visionary plans for the TVA drew both support and criticism. In this thoughtful biography, Aaron D. Purcell re-assesses Morgan’s long life and career and provides the first detailed account of his post-TVA activities and fascination with utopian writer Edward Bellamy. As Purcell demonstrates, Morgan embraced an alternative type of Progressive Era reform throughout his life which was rooted in nineteenth-century socialism, an overlooked, but important, strain in American political thought. Purcell pinpoints Morgan’s reading of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward while a teenager as a watershed moment in the development of his vision for building modern American society. He recounts Morgan’s early successes as an engineer, budding Progressive leader, and educational reformer; his presidency of Antioch College; and his revolutionary but contentious tenure at the TVA. After his dismissal from the TVA, Morgan wrote extensively, eventually publishing over a dozen books, including a biography of Edward Bellamy, and countless articles. He also raised money to support an experimental community in Kerala, India, sharing Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in small, self-sustaining communities cooperatively supported by persons of strong moral character. At the same time, however, Morgan retained many of his late-nineteenth century beliefs, including eugenics, as part of his societal vision. His authoritarian administrative style and moral rigidity limited his ability to attract large numbers to his community-based vision. By presenting Morgan’s life and career within the context of the larger social and cultural events of his day, this revealing biographical study offers new insight into the achievements and motivations of an important but historically neglected American reformer.
Education and Reform in Depression Era Appalachia
The first of many homestead communities designed during the rollout of the New Deal, Arthurdale, West Virginia, was a bold experiment in progressive social planning. At the center of the settlement was the school, which was established to improve the curriculum offered to Appalachian students. Offering displaced and unemployed coal miners and their families new opportunities, the school also helped those in need to develop a sense of dignity during the Great Depression.
The first book-length study of the well-known educational experiment, The Arthurdale Community School illuminates the institution's history, influence, and impact. Founded on American philosopher and reformer John Dewey's idea that learning should be based not on competition but on community, and informed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's guidance, the Arthurdale project sought to enable both children and adults to regain a sense of identity and place by studying the history and culture of Appalachia. Its goal was not to produce workers for global capitalism but to provide citizens with the tools to participate in a democracy.
Author Sam F. Stack Jr. examines both the successes and failures of this famous progressive experiment, providing an in-depth analysis of the Arthurdale School's legacy. A fascinating study of innovation and reform in Appalachia, Stack's book also investigates how this project's community model may offer insights into the challenges facing schools today.
Forming New Communities, Expanding Boundaries
The last half century witnessed a dramatic change in the geographic, ethnographic, and socioeconomic structure of Asian American communities. While traditional enclaves were strengthened by waves of recent immigrants, native-born Asian Americans also created new urban and suburban areas. Asian America is the first comprehensive look at post-1960s Asian American communities in the United States and Canada. Contributors from an array of academic fields focus on global views of Asian American communities as well as on territorial and cultural boundaries.
Fifty Pieces from the Road
Writing as a newspaper reporter for nearly forty years, Curtis Wilkie covered eight presidential campaigns, spent years in the Middle East, and traveled to a number of conflicts abroad. However, his memory keeps turning home and many of his most treasured stories transpire in the Deep South. He called his native Mississippi, “the gift that keeps on giving.” For Wilkie, it represented a trove of rogues and racists, colorful personalities and outlandish politicians who managed to thrive among people otherwise kind and generous.
Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest collects news dispatches and feature stories from the author during a journalism career that began in 1963 and lasted until 2000. As a young reporter for the Clarksdale Press Register, he wrote many articles that dealt with the civil rights movement, which dominated the news in the Mississippi Delta during the 1960s.Wilkie spent twenty-six years as a national and foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe. One of the original “Boys on the Bus” (the title of a best-selling book about journalists covering the 1972 presidential campaign), he later wrote extensively about the winning races of two southern Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Wilkie is known for stories reported deeply, rife with anecdotes, physical descriptions, and important background details. He writes about the notorious, such as the late Hunter S. Thompson, as well as more anonymous subjects whose stories, in his hands, have enduring interest. The anthology collects pieces about several notable southerners: Ross Barnett; Byron De La Beckwith and Sam Bowers; Billy Carter; Edwin Edwards and David Duke; Trent Lott; and Charles Evers. Wilkie brings a perceptive eye to people and events, and his eloquent storytelling represents some of the best journalistic writing.
Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America
When physicist Robert Goddard, whose career was inspired by H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, published "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes," the response was electric. Newspaper headlines across the country announced, "Modern Jules Verne Invents Rocket to Reach Moon," while people from around the world, including two World War I pilots, volunteered as pioneers in space exploration. Though premature (Goddard's rocket, alas, was only imagined), the episode demonstrated not only science's general popularity but also its intersection with interwar popular and commercial culture. In that intersection, the stories that inspired Goddard and others became a recognizable genre: science fiction. Astounding Wonder explores science fiction's emergence in the era's "pulps," colorful magazines that shouted from the newsstands, attracting an extraordinarily loyal and active audience.
Pulps invited readers not only to read science fiction but also to participate init, joining writers and editors in celebrating a collective wonder for and investment in the potential of science. But in conjuring fantastic machines, travel across time and space, unexplored worlds, and alien foes, science fiction offered more than rousing adventure and romance. It also assuaged contemporary concerns about nation, gender, race, authority, ability, and progress—about the place of ordinary individuals within modern science and society—in the process freeing readers to debate scientific theories and implications separate from such concerns.
Readers similarly sought to establish their worth and place outside the pulps. Organizing clubs and conventions and producing their own magazines, some expanded science fiction's community and created a fan subculture separate from the professional pulp industry. Others formed societies to launch and experiment with rockets. From debating relativity and the use of slang in the future to printing purple fanzines and calculating the speed of spaceships, fans' enthusiastic industry revealed the tensions between popular science and modern science. Even as it inspired readers' imagination and activities, science fiction's participatory ethos sparked debates about amateurs and professionals that divided the worlds of science fiction in the 1930s and after.