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The Forging of Modern American Liberalism
In the three decades following World War II, the Golden State was not only the fastest-growing state in the Union but also the site of significant political change. From the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, a generation of liberal activists transformed the political landscape of California, ending Republican dominance of state politics and eventually setting the tone for the Democratic Party nationwide.
In California Crucible, Jonathan Bell chronicles this dramatic story of postwar liberalism—from early grassroots organizing and the election of Pat Brown as governor in 1958 to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and the campaigns against the New Right in the 1970s. As Bell argues, the emergent "California liberalism" was a distinctly post-New Deal phenomenon that drew on the ambitious ideals of the New Deal but adapted them to a diverse population. The result was a broad coalition that sought to extend social democracy to marginalized groups—such as gay rights and civil rights organizations—that had not been well served by the Democratic Party in earlier decades. In building this coalition, liberal activists forged an ideology capable of bringing Latino farm workers, African American civil rights activists, and wealthy suburban homemakers into a shared political project.
By exploring California Democrats' largely successful attempts to link economic rights to civil rights and serve the needs of diverse groups, Bell challenges common assumptions about the rise of the New Right and the decline of American liberalism in the postwar era. As Bell shows, by the end of the 1970s California had become the spiritual home of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party as much as that of the Reagan Revolution.
The Anti-Contra War Campaign
Unlike earlier U.S. interventions in Latin America, the Reagan administration’s attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua during the 1980s was not allowed to proceed quietly. Tens of thousands of American citizens organized and agitated against U.S. aid to the counterrevolutionary guerrillas, known as “contras.” Believing the Contra War to be unnecessary, immoral, and illegal, they challenged the administration’s Cold War stereotypes, warned of “another Vietnam,” and called on the United States to abide by international norms. A Call to Conscience offers the first comprehensive history of the anti–Contra War campaign and its Nicaragua connections. Roger Peace places this eight-year campaign in the context of previous American interventions in Latin America, the Cold War, and other grassroots oppositional movements. Based on interviews with American and Nicaraguan citizens and leaders, archival records of activist organizations, and official government documents, this book reveals activist motivations, analyzes the organizational dynamics of the anti–Contra War campaign, and contrasts perceptions of the campaign in Managua and Washington. Peace shows how a variety of civic groups and networks—religious, leftist, peace, veteran, labor, women’s rights—worked together in a decentralized campaign that involved extensive transnational cooperation.
Histories of a Hurricane
Thirty-six years before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and southern Mississippi, the region was visited by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States: Camille.
Mark M. Smith offers three highly original histories of the storm’s impact in southern Mississippi. In the first essay Smith examines the sensory experience and impact of the hurricane—how the storm rearranged and challenged residents’ senses of smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste. The second essay explains the way key federal officials linked the question of hurricane relief and the desegregation of Mississippi’s public schools. Smith concludes by considering the political economy of short- and long-term disaster recovery, returning to issues of race and class.
Camille, 1969 offers stories of survival and experience, of the tenacity of social justice in the face of a natural disaster, and of how recovery from Camille worked for some but did not work for others. Throughout these essays are lessons about how we might learn from the past in planning for recovery from natural disasters in the future.
The Peace Movement At American State Universities in the Vietnam Era
"At the same time that the dangerous war was being fought in the jungles of Vietnam, Campus Wars were being fought in the United States by antiwar protesters. Kenneth J. Heineman found that the campus peace campaign was first spurred at state universities rather than at the big-name colleges. His useful book examines the outside forces, like military contracts and local communities, that led to antiwar protests on campus."
Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times
"Shedding light on the drastic change in the social and cultural roles of campus life, Campus Wars looks at the way in which the campus peace campaign took hold and became a national movement."
"Heineman's prodigious research in a variety of sources allows him to deal with matters of class, gender, and religion, as well as ideology. He convincingly demonstrates that, just as state universities represented the heartland of America, so their student protest movements illustrated the real depth of the anguish over US involvement in Vietnam. Highly recommended."
"Represents an enormous amount of labor and fills many gaps in our knowledge of the anti-war movement and the student left."
Irwin Unger, author of These United States
The 1960s left us with some striking images of American universities: Berkeley activists orating about free speech atop a surrounded police car; Harvard SDSers waylaying then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Columbia student radicals occupying campus buildings; and black militant Cornell students brandishing rifles, to name just a few. Tellingly, the most powerful and notorious image of campus protest is that of a teenage runaway, arms outstretched in anguish, kneeling beside the bloodied corpse of Jeff Miller at Kent State University.
While much attention has been paid to the role of elite schools in fomenting student radicalism, it was actually at state institutions, such as Kent State, Michigan State, SUNY, and Penn State, where anti-Vietnam war protest blossomed. Kenneth Heineman has pored over dozens of student newspapers, government documents, and personal archives, interviewed scores of activists, and attended activist reunions in an effort to recreate the origins of this historic movement. In Campus Wars, he presents his findings, examining the involvement of state universities in military research and the attitudes of students, faculty, clergy, and administrators thereto and the manner in which the campus peace campaign took hold and spread to become a national movement. Recreating watershed moments in dramatic narrative fashion, this engaging book is both a revisionist history and an important addition to the chronicle of the Vietnam War era.
Persistent Paternalism in a Textile Town
Captain James A. Baker, Houston lawyer, banker, and businessman, received an alarming telegram on September 23, 1900: his elderly millionaire client William Marsh Rice had died unexpectedly in New York City. Baker rushed to New York, where he unraveled a plot to murder Rice and plunder his estate. Working tirelessly with local authorities, Baker saved Rice’s fortune from more than one hundred claimants; he championed the wishes of his deceased client and founded Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art—today’s internationally acclaimed Rice University. ?For fifty years Captain Baker nurtured Rice’s dream. He partnered with leading lawyers to create Houston’s first nationally recognized law firm: Baker, Botts, Lovett & Parker, now the worldwide legal practice of Baker Botts L.L.P. He chartered several Houston businesses and utility companies, developed two major regional banks, promoted real estate projects, and led an active civic life. To expand the Institute’s endowment, Baker invested William Marsh Rice’s fortune with local entrepreneurs, who were building homes, office towers, commercial enterprises, and institutions that transformed Houston from a small town in the nineteenth century to an international powerhouse in the twenty-first century. ?Author Kate Sayen Kirkland explored the archival records of Baker and his family and firm and carefully mined the archives of Baker’s contemporaries. Published as part of Rice University’s centennial celebration, Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857–1941 weaves together the history of Houston and the story of an influential man who labored all his life to make Houston a world-class city.
West Point since 1902
The United States Military Academy at West Point is one of America’s oldest and most revered institutions. Founded in 1802, its first and only mission is to prepare young men—and, since 1976, young women—to be leaders of character for service as commissioned officers in the United States Army. West Point’s success in accomplishing that mission has secured its reputation as the foremost leadership-development institution in the world. An Academy promotional poster says it this way: “At West Point, much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.” Carved from Granite is the story of how West Point goes about producing military leaders of character. An opening chapter on the Academy’s nineteenth-century history provides context for the topic of each subsequent chapter. As scholar and Academy graduate Lance Betros shows, West Point’s early history is interesting and colorful, but its history since then is far more relevant to the issues—and problems—that face the Academy today. Drawing from oral histories, archival sources, and his own experiences as a cadet and, later, a faculty member, Betros describes and assesses how well West Point has accomplished its mission. And, while West Point is an impressive institution in many ways, Betros does not hesitate to expose problems and challenge long-held assumptions. In a concluding chapter that is both subjective and interpretive, the author offers his prescriptions for improving the institution, focusing particularly on the areas of governance, admissions, and intercollegiate athletics. Photographs, tables, charts, and other graphics aid the clarity of the discussion and lend visual and historical interest. Carved from Granite: West Point since 1902 is the most authoritative history of the modern United States Military Academy written to date. There will be lively debate over some of the observations made in this book, but if they are followed, the author asserts that the Academy will emerge stronger and better able to accomplish its vital mission in the new century and beyond.
Hard Land, Hard-won Home
This is American history told through the stories of an atypical, for Utah, region. Castle Valley is roughly conterminous with two counties, Carbon and Emery, which together formed a rural, industrial enclave in a mostly desert environment behind the mountain range that borders Utah's principal corridor of settlement. In Castle Valley, coal mining and the railroad attracted diverse, multiethnic communities and a fair share of historic characters, from Butch Cassidy, who stole its largest payroll, to Mother Jones, who helped organize its workers against its mining companies. Among the last major segments of the state to be settled, it was also a generally poor region that stretched the capabilities of people to scratch a living from a harsh landscape.
The people of Castle Valley experienced complex, unusual combinations of both social cohesion and conflict, but they struggled through poverty, labor disputes, major mining disasters, and other challenges to build communities whose stories reflected the historical course of the nation as a whole. In order to convey her subject's both unique and representative qualities, Nancy Taniguchi has written an epic history that is not just local history, but American history written locally.
Nancy J. Taniguchi, who lived for thirteen years in Castle Valley and was previously on the faculty of the College of Eastern Utah in Price, is professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus. She is the author of numerous published articles in mining, legal, women's, western, and Utah history and of one book, Necessary Fraud: Progressive Reform
and Utah Coal.
The Story of Camille, Lessons Unlearned from America's Most Violent Hurricane
The epic story of the real victims of a perfect storm—overwhelmingly the poor—left behind in the aftermath of a deadly hurricane “A riveting new book.” —Tallahassee Democrat “Not simply an historical account of a storm thirty-seven years ago but a living, breathing entity brimming with the modern-day reality that, yes, it can happen again.” —American Meteorological Society Bulletin "Fascinating, easy-to-read, yet informative.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch “Almost like sitting in front of the television watching the events unfold. A page-turner from the very first page.” —Ruston Morning Paper “There is much we can all learn from this relevant and highly engaging chronicle.” — Biloxi Sun Herald “A must-read for anyone who wants to take an emotional stroll through the rubble of these Gulf Coast fishing communities and learn what happened.” —Apalachicola Times “Should be required reading for anyone living in the path of these terrible storms.” —Moondance.org As the unsettled social and political weather of summer 1969 played itself out amid the heat of antiwar marches and the battle for civil rights, three regions of the rural South were devastated by the horrifying force of Category 5 Hurricane Camille. Camille’s nearly 200 mile per hour winds and 28-foot storm surge swept away thousands of homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. Twenty-four oceangoing ships sank or were beached; six offshore drilling platforms collapsed; 198 people drowned. Two days later, Camille dropped 108 billion tons of moisture drawn from the Gulf onto the rural communities of Nelson County, Virginia—nearly three feet of rain in 24 hours. Mountainsides were washed away; quiet brooks became raging torrents; homes and whole communities were simply washed off the face of the earth. In this gripping account, Ernest Zebrowski and Judith Howard tell the heroic story of America’s forgotten rural underclass coping with immense adversity and inconceivable tragedy. Category 5 shows, through the riveting stories of Camille’s victims and survivors, the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on the nation’s poorest communities. It is, ultimately, a story of the lessons learned—and, in some cases, tragically unlearned—from that storm: hard lessons that were driven home once again in the awful wake of Hurricane Katrina. Ernest Zebrowski is founder of the doctoral program in science and math education at Southern University, a historically black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Professor of Physics at Pennsylvania State University’s Pennsylvania College of Technology. His previous books include Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters. Judith Howard earned her Ph.D. in clinical social work from UCLA, and writes a regular political column for the Ruston, Louisiana, Morning Paper.