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Arthur Morgan

A Progressive Vision for American Reform

By Aaron Purcell

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.

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The Arthurdale Community School

Education and Reform in Depression Era Appalachia

Sam F. Stack Jr.

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.

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Asian America

Forming New Communities, Expanding Boundaries

Edited by Huping Ling

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.

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Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest

Fifty Pieces from the Road

Curtis Wilkie

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.

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The Associational State

American Governance in the Twentieth Century

By Brian Balogh

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Astounding Wonder

Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America

By John Cheng

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.

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At Berkeley in the Sixties

The Making of an Activist

Jo J. Freeman

This book is a memoir and a history of Berkeley in the early Sixties. As a young undergraduate, Jo Freeman was a key participant in the growth of social activism at the University of California, Berkeley. The story is told with the "you are there" immediacy of Freeman the undergraduate but is put into historical and political context by Freeman the scholar, 35 years later. It draws heavily on documents created at the time -- letters, reports, interviews, memos, newspaper stories, FBI files -- but is fleshed out with retrospective analysis. As events unfold, the campus conflicts of the Sixties take on a completely different cast, one that may surprise many readers.

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The Autobiography of Citizenship

Assimilation and Resistance in U.S. Education

Tova Cooper

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was faced with a new and radically mixed population, one that included freed African Americans, former reservation Indians, and a burgeoning immigrant population.  In The Autobiography of Citizenship, Tova Cooper looks at how educators tried to impose unity on this divergent population, and how the new citizens in turn often resisted these efforts, reshaping mainstream U.S. culture and embracing their own view of what it means to be an American. 


The Autobiography of Citizenship traces how citizenship education programs began popping up all over the country, influenced by the progressive approach to hands-on learning popularized by John Dewey and his followers. Cooper offers an insightful account of these programs, enlivened with compelling readings of archival materials such as photos of students in the process of learning; autobiographical writing by both teachers and new citizens; and memoirs, photos, poems, and novels by authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Jane Addams, Charles Reznikoff, and Emma Goldman. Indeed, Cooper provides the first comparative, inside look at these citizenship programs, revealing that they varied wildly: at one end, assimilationist boarding schools required American Indian children to transform their dress, language, and beliefs, while at the other end the libertarian Modern School encouraged immigrant children to frolic naked in the countryside and learn about the world by walking, hiking, and following their whims. 

Here then is an engaging portrait of what it was like to be, and become, a U.S. citizen one hundred years ago, showing that what it means to be “American” is never static.

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Babysitter

An American History

Miriam Forman-Brunell

On Friday nights many parents want to have a little fun together—without the kids. But “getting a sitter”—especially a dependable one—rarely seems trouble-free. Will the kids be safe with “that girl”? It's a question that discomfited parents have been asking ever since the emergence of the modern American teenage girl nearly a century ago. In Babysitter, Miriam Forman-Brunell brings critical attention to the ubiquitous, yet long-overlooked babysitter in the popular imagination and American history.

Informed by her research on the history of teenage girls' culture, Forman-Brunell analyzes the babysitter, who has embodied adults' fundamental apprehensions about girls' pursuit of autonomy and empowerment. In fact, the grievances go both ways, as girls have been distressed by unsatisfactory working conditions. In her quest to gain a fuller picture of this largely unexamined cultural phenomenon, Forman-Brunell analyzes a wealth of diverse sources, such as The Baby-sitter's Club book series, horror movies like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, urban legends, magazines, newspapers, television shows, pornography, and more.

Forman-Brunell shows that beyond the mundane, understandable apprehensions stirred by hiring a caretaker to “mind the children” in one's own home, babysitters became lightning rods for society's larger fears about gender and generational change. In the end, experts' efforts to tame teenage girls with training courses, handbooks, and other texts failed to prevent generations from turning their backs on babysitting.

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Back Channel to Cuba

The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh

Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual hostility between the United States and Cuba--beyond invasions, covert operations, assassination plots using poison pens and exploding seashells, and a grinding economic embargo--this fascinating book chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. Now, LeoGrande and Kornbluh present a new and increasingly more relevant account. From Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Castro after the missile crisis, to Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Obama's promise of a "new approach," LeoGrande and Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future.

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