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George Rogers Clark and the War in the West

Lowell H. Harrison

"Much has been written about the famous conflicts and battlegrounds of the East during the American Revolution. Perhaps less familiar, but equally important and exciting, was the war on the western frontier, where Ohio Valley settlers fought for the land they had claimed -- and for their very lives. George Rogers Clark stepped forward to organize the local militias into a united front that would defend the western frontier from Indian attacks. Clark was one of the few people who saw the importance of the West in the war effort as a whole, and he persuaded Virginia's government to lend support to his efforts. As a result Clark was able to cross the Ohio, saving that part of the frontier from further raids. Lowell Harrison captures the excitement of this vital part of American history while giving a complete view of George Rogers Clark's significant achievements. Lowell H. Harrison, is a professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University and is the author or co-author of numerous books, including Lincoln of Kentucky, A New History of Kentucky, and Kentucky's Governors."

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George Washington's Enforcers

Policing the Continental Army

Harry M. Ward

Ward discusses the duties of the various personnel responsible for training and enforcing the standards of behavior in the Continental Army, including duty officers, adjutants, brigade majors, inspectors, and sergeant majors. He includes the roles of life guards, camp guards, quarter guards, picket men, and safe guards, whose responsibilities ranged from escorting the commander in chief, intercepting spies and stragglers, and protecting farmers from marauding soldiers to searching for deserters, rounding up unauthorized personnel, and looking for delinquents in local towns and taverns.

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Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s

Yanek Mieczkowski

History has not been kind to Gerald Ford. His name evokes an image of either America’s only unelected president, who abruptly pardoned his corrupt predecessor, or an accident-prone man who failed to provide skilled leadership to a country in domestic turmoil. In Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s, historian Yanek Mieczkowski reexamines Ford’s two and a half years in office, showing that his presidency successfully confronted the most vexing crises of the postwar era. Surveying the state of America in the 1970s, Mieczkowski focuses on the economic challenges facing the country. He argues that Ford’s understanding of the national economy was better than that of any other modern president, that Ford oversaw a dramatic reduction of inflation, and that his attempts to solve the energy crisis were based in sound economic principles. Throughout his presidency, Ford labored under the legacy of Watergate. Democrats scored landslide victories in the 1974 midterm elections, and the president engaged with a spirited opposition Congress. Within an anemic Republican Party, the right wing challenged Ford’s leadership, even as pundits predicted the death of the GOP. Yet Ford reinvigorated the party and fashioned a 1976 campaign strategy against Jimmy Carter that brought him from thirty points behind to a dead heat on election day. Mieczkowski draws on numerous personal interviews with the former president, cabinet officials, and members of the Ninety-fourth Congress. In his reassessment of this underrated president, Ford emerges as a skilled executive, an effective diplomat, and a leader with a clear vision for America’s future. Working to heal a divided nation, Ford unified the GOP and laid the groundwork for the Republican resurgence in subsequent decades. The first major work on the former president to appear in more than ten years, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s combines the best of biography and economic, social, and presidential history to create an intriguing portrait of a president, his times, and his legacy.

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The Green River of Kentucky

Helen Bartter Crocker

Cutting a wide east-west swath from the Appalachian foothills to the heart of the western Kentucky coalfields, the Green River valley extends from below the Tennessee border in the south to the Ohio River in the north. The Green River of Kentucky presents a picture of the unity and diversity of the people living in the Green River valley.

Helen Bartter Crocker finds that each generation of its people approached the river in a distinctive way. Early settlers used the river simply as it was -- crooked and narrow with an unpredictable water flow, and navigable only under high-water conditions. The sons of these pioneers were interested in bringing steamboats to the valley; until they succeeded in persuading the state legislature to improve the Green River and its tributary, the Barren, by a series of locks and dams, however, volunteers would work -- often up to their necks in water -- until they cleared the river sufficiently to allow steamers to reach Bowling Green at high water.

When the locks and dams were reopened following the Civil War, a local private corporation gained a near-monopoly of the river trade. Public outcry against this private ownership caused the federal government to take control, and through the Corps of Engineers, to undertake extensive river improvements. After the Great Depression, when trade was almost at a standstill, additional federal funds were appropriated for flood-control dams in the upper river and modern locks in the lower river to harness the valley's industrial potential. These opened up coal barging and recreational facilities, which ensured the future economic well being of the Green River valley.

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The Historicism of Charles Brockden Brown

Radical History and the Early Republic

Mark L. Kamrath

A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown

The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”

Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.

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History as They Lived It

A Social History of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois

Margaret Kimball Brown, Foreword by Carl J. Ekberg

“His­tory as They Lived It deserves to be placed within the rich context of Illinois Country historiography going back more than a century. . . . It brings together the fully ripened thoughts of a mature scholar at the very moment that students of the Illinois Country need such a book.”—from the foreword by Carl J. Ekberg

Settled in 1722, Prairie du Rocher was at the geographic center of a French colony in the Mississippi Valley, which also included other villages in what is now Illinois and Missouri: Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Fort de Chartres, St. Philippe, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Louis.  Located in an alluvial valley near towering limestone bluffs, which inspired the village’s name—French for “prairie of the rock”— Prairie du Rocher is the only one of the seven French colonial villages that still exists today as a small compact community.

The village of Prairie du Rocher endured governance by France, Great Britain, Virginia, and the Illinois territory before Illinois became a state in 1818. Despite these changes, the villagers persisted in maintaining the community and its values. Margaret Kimball Brown looks at one of the oldest towns in the region through the lenses of history and anthropology, utilizing extensive research in archives and public records to give historians, anthropologists, and general readers a lively depiction of this small community and its people.

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The History of American Higher Education

Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II

Roger L. Geiger

This book tells the compelling saga of American higher education from the founding of Harvard College in 1636 to the outbreak of World War II. The most in-depth and authoritative history of the subject available, The History of American Higher Education traces how colleges and universities were shaped by the shifting influences of culture, the emergence of new career opportunities, and the unrelenting advancement of knowledge.

Roger Geiger, arguably today’s leading historian of American higher education, vividly describes how colonial colleges developed a unified yet diverse educational tradition capable of weathering the social upheaval of the Revolution as well as the evangelical fervor of the Second Great Awakening. He shows how the character of college education in different regions diverged significantly in the years leading up to the Civil War—for example, the state universities of the antebellum South were dominated by the sons of planters and their culture—and how higher education was later revolutionized by the land-grant movement, the growth of academic professionalism, and the transformation of campus life by students. By the beginning of the Second World War, the standard American university had taken shape, setting the stage for the postwar education boom.

Breathtaking in scope and rich in narrative detail, The History of American Higher Education is the most comprehensive single-volume history of the origins and development of American higher education.

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The History of Pioneer Lexington, 1779-1806

Charles R. Staples

In this study of Kentucky pioneer life, Charles R. Staples creates a colorful record of Lexington's first twenty-seven years. He writes of the establishment of an urban center in the midst of the frontier expansion, and in the process documents Lexington's vanishing history. Staples begins with the settlement of the town, describing its early struggles and movement toward becoming the "capitol" of Fayette County. He also presents interesting pictures of the early pioneers and their livelihood: food, dress, houses, cooking utensils, "house raisings," religious meetings, horse races, and other types of entertainment.

First published in 1939, this reprint provides those interested in the early history of Kentucky with a comprehensive look at Lexington's pioneer period. Staples recreates a time when downtown's busiest streets were still wilderness and a land rich with agricultural potential was developing commercial elements. Because he wrote during a period when much of pioneer Lexington remained, he provides a wealth of primary information that could not be assembled again.

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A History of Stepfamilies in Early America

Lisa Wilson

Stepfamilies are not a modern phenomenon, but despite this reality, the history of stepfamilies in America has yet to be fully explored. Wilson examines the stereotypes and actualities of colonial stepfamilies and reveals them to be important factors in early United States domestic history.

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Humboldt and Jefferson

A Transatlantic Friendship of the Enlightenment

Sandra Rebok

Humboldt and Jefferson explores the relationship between two fascinating personalities: the Prussian explorer, scientist, and geographer Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) and the American statesman, architect, and naturalist Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). In the wake of his famous expedition through the Spanish colonies in the spring of 1804, Humboldt visited the United States, where he met several times with then-president Jefferson. A warm and fruitful friendship resulted, and the two men corresponded a good deal over the years, speculating together on topics of mutual interest, including natural history, geography, and the formation of an international scientific network. Living in revolutionary societies, both were deeply concerned with the human condition, and each vested hope in the new American nation as a possible answer to many of the deficiencies characterizing European societies at the time.

The intellectual exchange between the two over the next twenty-one years touched on the pivotal events of those times, such as the independence movement in Latin America and the applicability of the democratic model to that region, the relationship between America and Europe, and the latest developments in scientific research and various technological projects. Humboldt and Jefferson explores the world in which these two Enlightenment figures lived and the ways their lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic defined their respective convictions.

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