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The Jewish Role in Reshaping the Racial Landscape of Southern California
This volume focuses on the special role that Jews played in reshaping the racial landscape of southern California in the twentieth century. Rather than considering this issue in terms of broad analyses of organizations or communities, each contribution instead approaches it by examining the activity of a single Jewish individual, and how he or she navigated the social terrain of a changing southern California. In particular, this volume is one of the first to take seriously the unique racial/ethnic makeup of southern California for Jewish activism, with a particular focus on the relationship between Jews and Mexican Americans in the area around Los Angeles. The Jewish individuals who are this volume’s subjects represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives, ranging from an elected official to an activist lawyer, and from a local businessman to a Democratic Party organizer. The volume culminates with an interview with one of the most beloved of local university rabbis, who has been operating in the ever-changing environment of higher education in Los Angeles over the past thirty years. While its overall message is one of optimism, the volume does not shy away from taking on some of the more vexed issues in the scholarship of racial/ethnic interaction. While Jewish activism in shaping local civil rights is thoroughly discussed, the specific and unequal dynamics of power within the civil rights community is also analyzed. The changing relationship of Jews to “whiteness” in southern California during the late twentieth century, in both geographic and political terms, shapes many of these ongoing relationships. Finally, the volume provides a unique historical perspective on our understanding of contemporary Los Angeles in all its ethnic complexity, and specifically in thinking through the future of Jewish role in urban southern California.
Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics
Revealing and frank, this highly engaging biography tells the story of an American original, California's Big Daddy, Jesse Unruh (1922-1987), a charismatic man whose power reached far beyond the offices he held. Unruh, who was born into Texas sharecropper poverty, became a larger-than-life figure and a principal architect and builder of modern California—first as an assemblyman, then as assembly speaker, and finally, as state treasurer. He was also a great character: a combination of intelligence, wit, idealism, cynicism, woman-chasing vulgarity, charm, drunken excess, and political skill all wrapped up in one big package. He dominated the California capitol and extended his influence to Washington and Wall Street. He was close to Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys, but closest to Robert Kennedy, and was in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen when Kennedy was shot. Bill Boyarsky gives a close-up look at this extraordinary political leader, a man who believed that politics was the art of the possible, and his era.
A Deep Environmental History
Clearcutting and the Struggle for Sustainable Forestry in the Northern Rockies
Fredrick Swanson tells the story of Guy M. Brandborg and his impact on the practices of the U.S. Forest Service. As supervisor of Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest from 1935 to 1955, Brandborg engaged in a management style that promoted not only the well-being of the forest community but also the social and economic welfare of the local people. By relying on selective cutting, his goal was to protect the watersheds and wildlife habitats that are devastated by clear-cutting, and to prevent the job losses that follow such practices. Following his retirement, he became concerned that his agency was deviating from the practice of sustained-yield management of the forest’s timber lands, and led a highly visible public outcry that became known as the Bitterroot controversy. Brandborg’s behind-the-scenes lobbying contributed materially to the passage of the National Forest Management Act of 1976, the single most important law affecting public forestry since the creation of the Forest Service.
The first study focused on the history of the Black Hills National Forest, its centrality to life in the region, and its preeminence within the National Forest System, Black Hills Forestry is a cultural history of the most commercialized national forest in the nation.
One of the first forests actively managed by the federal government and the site of the first sale of federally owned timber to a private party, the Black Hills National Forest has served as a management model for all national forests. Its many uses, activities, and issues—recreation, timber, mining, grazing, tourism, Native American cultural usage, and the intermingling of public and private lands—expose the ongoing tensions between private landowners and public land managers. Freeman shows how forest management in the Black Hills encapsulates the Forest Service's failures to keep up with changes in the public's view of forest values until compelled to do so by federal legislation and the courts. In addition, he explores how more recent events in the region like catastrophic wildfires and mountain pine beetle epidemics have provided forest managers with the chance to realign their efforts to create and maintain a biologically diverse forest that can better resist natural and human disturbances.
This study of the Black Hills offers an excellent prism through which to view the history of the US Forest Service's land management policies. Foresters, land managers, and regional historians will find Black Hills Forestry a valuable resource.
Local Politics and Carnegie Library Building Grants in the Intermountain West, 1890-1920
Books, Bluster, and Bounty examines a cross-section of Carnegie library applications to determine how local support was mustered for cultural institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century West. This comparative study considers the entire region between the Rockies and the Cascades/Sierras, including all of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona; western Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado; eastern Oregon and Washington; and small parts of California and New Mexico. The author's purpose is to address not only the how of the process but also the variable why. Although virtually all citizens and communities in the West who sought Carnegie libraries expected tangible benefits for themselves that were only tangentially related to books, what they specifically wanted varied in correlation with the diverse nature of western communities. By looking at the detailed records of the Carnegie library campaigns, the author is able to provide an alternative lens through which to perceive and map the social-cultural makeup and town building of western communities at the turn of the century.