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History > U.S. History > 21st Century

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Radical Chapters Cover

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Radical Chapters

Pacifist Bookseller Roy Kepler and the Paperback Revolution

by Michael Doyle

Long a hub for literary bohemians, countercultural musicians, and readers interested in a good browse, Kepler's Books and Magazines is one of the most well-known independent bookstores in American history. When owner Roy Kepler opened the store in 1955 he changed the book industry forever as a pioneer in the “paperback revolution.” The notion of selling texts in inexpensive paperbound volumes was revolutionary in the publishing trade and Kepler's focus on stocking these inexpensive books put him at the forefront of the movement. Paperback-selling was not the only revolution Kepler supported, however. In Radical Chapters, Doyle sheds light on Kepler’s remarkable contributions not only to the book industry but also to pacifism. Recalling the tumultuous politics of the last century, he highlights Kepler’s achievements in advocating radical pacifism during World War II, anti-nuclear activism during the Cold War era, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. During those decades, Kepler’s Books played an integral role, creating a community and space to exchange ideas for such notable figures as Jerry Garica, Joan Baez, and Stewart Brand. Doyle’s fascinating chronicle captures the man who inspired that community and offers a moving tribute to his legacy.

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Representation and Rebellion

The Rockefeller Plan and the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942

By Jonathan H. Rees

"Rees makes effective use of new sources to give a more nuanced understanding of the operation of one of the nation's more progressive company unions. He makes a strong case, in his conclusion, for the argument that, whatever the limitations of company employee plans, they provide workers with more protection than no union, and they often plant the seeds for the emergence of truly independent unions."—Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, Business History Review

In response to the tragedy of the Ludlow Massacre, John D. Rockefeller Jr. introduced one of the nation's first employee representation plans (ERPs) to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in 1915. With the advice of William Mackenzie King, who would go on to become prime minister of Canada, the plan - which came to be known as the Rockefeller Plan - was in use until 1942 and became the model for ERPs all over the world. In Representation and Rebellion Jonathan Rees uses a variety of primary sources - including records recently discovered at the company's former headquarters in Pueblo, Colorado - to tell the story of the Rockefeller Plan and those who lived under it, as well as to detail its various successes and failures. Taken as a whole, the history of the Rockefeller Plan is not the story of ceaseless oppression and stifled militancy that its critics might imagine, but it is also not the story of the creation of a paternalist panacea for labor unrest that Rockefeller hoped it would be. Addressing key issues of how this early twentieth-century experiment fared from 1915 to 1942, Rees argues that the Rockefeller Plan was a limited but temporarily effective alternative to independent unionism in the wake of the Ludlow Massacre. The book will appeal to business and labor historians, political scientists, and sociologists, as well as those studying labor and industrial relations.

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Right in Michigan's Grassroots

From the KKK to the Michigan Militia

JoEllen McNergney Vinyard

"A real contribution to Michigan history that gets to the root of the movements in twentieth-century American history that upon reflection can bring a certain discomfort and unease." ---Francis X. Blouin, Director of the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Throughout the twentieth century, Michigan became home to nearly every political movement in America that emerged from the grassroots. Citizens organized on behalf of concerns on the "left," on the "right," and in the "middle of the road." Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia is about the people who supported movements that others, then and later, would denounce as disgraceful---members of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s, the followers of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s, anti-Communists and the John Birch Society in the post–World War II era, and the members of the Michigan Militia who first appeared in the 1990s. The book explores the complex historical circumstances in Michigan that prompted the emergence of these organizations and led everyday men and women to head off, despite ridicule or condemnation, with plans unsanctioned and tactics unorthodox, variously brandishing weapons of intimidation, discrimination, fearmongering, and terror. Drawing heavily on primary sources, including the organizations' files and interviews with some of their leaders and surviving members, JoEllen Vinyard provides a far more complete portrait of these well-known extremist groups than has ever been available.

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Robert Ashley

Kyle Gann

This book explores the life and works of the pioneering opera composer Robert Ashley, one of the leading American composers of the post-Cage generation. Ashley's innovations began in the 1960s when he, along with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, and David Behrman, formed the Sonic Arts Union, a group that turned conceptualism toward electronics. He was also instrumental in the influential ONCE Group, a theatrical ensemble that toured extensively in the 1960s. During his tenure as its director, the ONCE Festival in Ann Arbor presented most of the decade's pioneers of the performing arts. Particularly known for his development of television operas beginning with Perfect Lives, Ashley spun a long series of similar text/music works, sometimes termed "performance novels." These massive pieces have been compared with Wagner's Ring Cycle for the vastness of their vision, though the materials are completely different, often incorporating noise backgrounds, vernacular music, and highly structured, even serialized, musical structures. _x000B__x000B_Drawing on extensive research into Ashley's early years in Ann Arbor and interviews with Ashley and his collaborators, Kyle Gann chronicles the life and work of this musical innovator and provides an overview of the avant-garde milieu of the 1960s and 1970s to which he was so central. Gann examines all nine of Ashley's major operas to date in detail, along with many minor works, revealing the fanatical structures that underlie Ashley's music as well as private references hidden in his opera librettos._x000B_

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Sensational Devotion

Evangelical Performance in Twenty-First-Century America

Jill C. Stevenson

In Sensational Devotion, Jill Stevenson examines a range of evangelical performances, including contemporary Passion plays, biblical theme parks, Holy Land re-creations, creationist museums, and megachurches, to understand how they serve their evangelical audiences while shaping larger cultural and national dialogues. Such performative media support specific theologies and core beliefs by creating sensual, live experiences for believers, but the accessible, familiar forms they take and the pop culture motifs they employ also attract nonbelievers willing to “try out” these genres, even if only for curiosity’s sake. This familiarity not only helps these performances achieve their goals, but it also enables them to contribute to public dialogue about the role of religious faith in America. Stevenson shows how these genres are significant and influential cultural products that utilize sophisticated tactics in order to reach large audiences comprised of firm believers, extreme skeptics, and those in between. Using historical research coupled with personal visits to these various venues, the author not only critically examines these spaces and events within their specific religious, cultural, and national contexts, but also places them within a longer devotional tradition in order to suggest how they cultivate religious belief by generating vivid, sensual, affectively oriented, and individualized experiences.

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Showdown in Desire

The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans

Through interviews with many individuals involved with the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, including Robert H. King, one of the Angola 3, Showdown in Desire tells the story of a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the panthers and the police in the Desire housing development.

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The Snowden Reader

Foreword by Sumit Ganguly. Edited by David P. Fidler

When Edward Snowden began leaking NSA documents in June 2013, his actions sparked impassioned debates about electronic surveillance, national security, and privacy in the digital age. The Snowden Reader looks at Snowden’s disclosures and their aftermath. Critical analyses by experts discuss the historical, political, legal, and ethical issues raised by the disclosures. Over forty key documents related to the case are included, with introductory notes explaining their significance: documents leaked by Snowden; responses from the NSA, the Obama administration, and Congress; statements by foreign leaders, their governments, and international organizations; judicial rulings; findings of review committees; and Snowden’s own statements. This book provides a valuable introduction and overview for anyone who wants to go beyond the headlines to understand this historic episode.

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Taking the Measure

The Presidency of George W. Bush

Donald R. Kelley

Some of today’s most prominent experts on the American presidency offer their perspectives, commentary, and analyses in this volume of studies, commissioned by the Fulbright Institute of International Relations and the Blair Center of Southern Politics and Culture, both at the University of Arkansas.

With a shared focus on Bush’s decision-making style, the impact of increasing partisanship, economic issues—especially after the 2008 financial meltdown—and, of course, the cumulative impact of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the contributors link their observations and conclusions to broader political and policy-related questions. They also take the opportunity to compare the Bush presidency with that of his successor, Barack Obama, through the latter administration’s experience of disappointment in the 2010 congressional elections.

The debate over the Bush legacy will not soon end, and this volume does not presume to offer the definitive, final commentary. It does, however, bridge the gap between dispassionate academic commentary written essentially for scholars and the sort of informed and unbiased analysis written for a larger public audience, contributing to the public understanding of our recent national experience. Taking the Measure: The Presidency of George W. Bush contributes significantly to the beginnings of careful, systematic consideration of the George W. Bush presidency.

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Unending Crisis

National Security Policy after 9/11

by Thomas Graham Jr.

In Unending Crisis, Thomas Graham Jr. examines the second Bush administration's misguided management of foreign policy, the legacy of which has been seven major - and almost irresolvable - national security crises involving North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, and nuclear proliferation. Unending Crisis considers these issues individually and together, emphasizing their interrelationship and delineating the role that the neoconservative agenda played in redefining the way America is perceived in the world today.

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The Vanishing Newspaper [2nd Ed]

Saving Journalism in the Information Age

Philip Meyer

Five years ago in The Vanishing Newspaper, Philip Meyer offered the newspaper industry a business model for preserving and stabilizing the social responsibility functions of the press in a way that could outlast technology-driven changes in media forms. Now he has updated this groundbreaking volume, taking current declines in circulation and the number of dailies into consideration and offering a greater variety of ways to save journalism.
Meyer’s “influence model” is based on the premise that a newspaper’s main product is not news or information, but influence: societal influence, which is not for sale, and commercial influence, which is. The model is supported by an abundance of empirical evidence, including statistical assessments of the quality and influence of the journalist’s product, as well as its effects on business success.
Meyer now applies this empirical evidence to recent developments, such as the impact of Craigslist and current trends in information technologies. New charts show how a surge in newsroom employment propped up readership in the 1980s, and data on the effects of newsroom desegregation are now included. Meyer’s most controversial suggestion, making certification available for reporters and editors, has been gaining ground. This new edition discusses several examples of certificate programs that are emerging in organizations both old and new.
Understanding the relationship between quality and profit probably will not save traditional newspapers, but Meyer argues that such knowledge can guide new media enterprises. He believes that we have the tools to sustain high-quality journalism and preserve its unique social functions, though in a transformed way.

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