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Acts of Conscience Cover

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Acts of Conscience

World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors

Steven J. Taylor

In the mid- to late 1940s, a group of young men rattled the psychiatric establishment by beaming a public spotlight on the squalid conditions and brutality in our nation’s mental hospitals and training schools for people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities. Bringing the abuses to the attention of newspapers and magazines across the country, they led a reform effort to change public attitudes and to improve the training and status of institutional staff. Prominent Americans, including Eleanor Roosevelt, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, author Pearl S. Buck, actress Helen Hayes, and African-American activist Mary McLeod Bethune, supported the efforts of the young men. These young men were among the 12,000 World War II conscientious objectors who chose to perform civilian public service as an alternative to fighting in what is widely regarded as America’s "good war." Three thousand of these men volunteered to work at state institutions, where they found conditions appalling. Acting on conscience a second time, they challenged America’s treatment of its citizens with severe disabilities. Acts of Conscience brings to light the extraordinary efforts of these courageous men, drawing upon extensive archival research, interviews, and personal correspondence. The World War II conscientious objectors were not the first to expose public institutions, and they would not be the last. What distinguishes them from reformers of other eras is that their activities have faded from professional and popular memory. Steven J. Taylor’s moving account is an indispensable contribution to the historical record.

Acts of Conspicuous Compassion Cover

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Acts of Conspicuous Compassion

Performance Culture and American Charity Practices

Sheila C. Moeschen

Acts of Conspicuous Compassion investigates the relationship between performance culture and the cultivation of charitable sentiment in America, exploring the distinctive practices that have evolved to make the plea for charity legible and compelling. From the work of 19th-century melodramas to the televised drama of transformation and redemption in reality TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Acts of Conspicuous Compassion charts the sophisticated strategies employed by various charity movements responsible for making organized benevolence alluring, exciting, and seemingly uncomplicated. Sheila C. Moeschen brokers a new way of accounting for the legacy and involvement of disabled people within charity—specifically, the articulation of performance culture as a vital theoretical framework for discussing issues of embodiment and identity dislodges previously held notions of the disabled existing as passive, “objects” of pity. This work gives rise to a more complicated and nuanced discussion of the participation of the disabled community in the charity industry, of the opportunities afforded by performance culture for disabled people to act as critical agents of charity, and of the new ethical and political issues that arise from employing performance methodology in a culture with increased appetites for voyeurism, display, and complex spectacle.

Adam Mickiewicz Cover

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Adam Mickiewicz

The Life of a Romantic

Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), Poland's national poet, was one of the extraordinary personalities of the age. In chronicling the events of his life-his travels, numerous loves, a troubled marriage, years spent as a member of a heterodox religious sect, and friendships with such luminaries of the time as Aleksandr Pushkin, James Fenimore Cooper, George Sand, Giuseppe Mazzini, Margaret Fuller, and Aleksandr Herzen-Roman Koropeckyj draws a portrait of the Polish poet as a quintessential European Romantic.

Spanning five decades of one of the most turbulent periods in modern European history, Mickiewicz's life and works at once reflected and articulated the cultural and political upheavals marking post-Napoleonic Europe. After a poetic debut in his native Lithuania that transformed the face of Polish literature, he spent five years of exile in Russia for engaging in Polish "patriotic" activity. Subsequently, his grand tour of Europe was interrupted by his country's 1830 uprising against Russia; his failure to take part in it would haunt him for the rest of his life. For the next twenty years Mickiewicz shared the fate of other Polish émigrés in the West. It was here that he wrote Forefathers' Eve, part 3 (1832) and Pan Tadeusz (1834), arguably the two most influential works of modern Polish literature. His reputation as his country's most prominent poet secured him a position teaching Latin literature at the Academy of Lausanne and then the first chair of Slavic Literature at the Collége de France. In 1848 he organized a Polish legion in Italy and upon his return to Paris founded a radical French-language newspaper. His final days were devoted to forming a Polish legion in Istanbul.

This richly illustrated biography-the first scholarly biography of the poet to be published in English since 1911-draws extensively on diaries, memoirs, correspondence, and the poet's literary texts to make sense of a life as sublime as it was tragic. It concludes with a description of the solemn transfer of Mickiewicz's remains in 1890 from Paris to Cracow, where he was interred in the Royal Cathedral alongside Poland's kings and military heroes.

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Adam's Ancestors

Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

David N. Livingstone

Although the idea that all human beings are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction in the West, another version of this narrative exists: human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet. In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes. He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science—evolution in particular—and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation. From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam's Ancestors tells an intriguing tale of twists and turns in the cultural politics surrounding the age-old question, "Where did we come from?"

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Adam Usk's Secret

By Steven Justice

Adam Usk, a Welsh lawyer in England and Rome during the first years of the fifteenth century, lived a peculiar life. He was, by turns, a professor, a royal advisor, a traitor, a schismatic, and a spy. He cultivated and then sabotaged figures of great influence, switching allegiances between kings, upstarts, and popes at an astonishing pace. Usk also wrote a peculiar book: a chronicle of his own times, composed in a strangely anxious and secretive voice that seems better designed to withhold vital facts than to recount them. His bold starts tumble into anticlimax; he interrupts what he starts to tell and omits what he might have told. Yet the kind of secrets a political man might find safer to keep—the schemes and violence of regime change—Usk tells openly.

Steven Justice sets out to find what it was that Adam Usk wanted to hide. His search takes surprising turns through acts of political violence, persecution, censorship—and, ultimately, literary history. Adam Usk's narrow, eccentric literary genius calls into question some of the most casual and confident assumptions of literary criticism and historiography, making stale rhetorical habits seem new. Adam Usk's Secret concludes with a sharp challenge to historians over what they think they can know about literature and to literary scholars over what they think they can know about history.

The Adaptive Optics Revolution Cover

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The Adaptive Optics Revolution

A History

Robert W. Duffner; Foreword by Robert Q. Fugate

Duffner has compiled the history of the most revolutionary breakthrough in astronomy since Galileo pointed his telescope skyward--the technology that will greatly expand our understanding of the universe.

Addicts Who Survived Cover

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Addicts Who Survived

An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America before 1965

David T. Courtwright

The authors employ the techniques of oral history to penetrate the nether world of the drug user, giving us an engrossing portrait of life in the drug subculture during the "classic" era of strict narcotic control. 

Praise for the hardcover edition:

"A momentous book which I feel is destined to become a classic in the category of scholarly narcotic books."
—Claude Brown, author of the bestseller, Manchild in the Promised Land.

"The drug literature is filled with the stereotyped opinions of non-addicted, middle-class pundits who have had little direct contact with addicts.  These stories are reality.  Narcotic addicts of the inner cities are both tough and gentle, deceptive when necessary and yet often generous--above all, shrewd judges of character.  While judging them, the clinician is also being judged."
—Vincent P. Dole, M.D., The Rockefeller Institute.

"What was it like to be a narcotic addict during the Anslinger era?  No book will probably ever appear that gives a better picture than this one. . . . a singularly readable and informative work on a subject ordinarily buried in clichés and stereotypes."
—Donald W. Goodwin, Journal of the American Medical Association

" . . . an important contribution to the growing body of literature that attempts to more clearly define the nature of drug addiction. . . . [This book] will appeal to a diverse audience.  Academicians, politicians, and the general reader will find this approach to drug addiction extremely beneficial, insightful, and instructive. . . . Without qualification anyone wishing to acquire a better understanding of drug addicts and addiction will benefit from reading this book."
—John C. McWilliams, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"This study has much to say to a general audience, as well as those involved in drug control."
—Publishers Weekly

"The authors' comments are perceptive and the interviews make interesting reading."
—John Duffy, Journal of American History

"This book adds a vital and often compelling human dimension to the story of drug use and law enforcement.  The material will be of great value to other specialists, such as those interested in the history of organized crime and of outsiders in general."
—H. Wayne Morgan, Journal of Southern History

"This book represents a significant and valuable addition to the contemporary substance abuse literature. . . .  this book presents findings from a novel and remarkably imaginative research approach in a cogent and exceptionally informative manner."
—William M. Harvey, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

"This is a good and important book filled with new information containing provocative elements usually brought forth through the touching details of personal experience. . . .  There isn't a recollection which isn't of intrinsic value and many point to issues hardly ever broached in more conventional studies."
—Alan Block, Journal of Social History

Addressing America Cover

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Addressing America

George Washington’s Farewell and the Making of National Culture, Politics, and Diplomacy, 1796–1852

In his presidential Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington presented a series of maxims to guide the construction of a wise foreign policy. He believed, as did generations of his adherents, that if the United States stayed true to the principles he discussed, the country would eventually attain national greatness and international respectability. These principles quickly became engrained in the DNA of what it meant to be an American in the first half of the nineteenth century, shaping the formation of U.S. foreign policy, politics, and political culture. The Declaration of Independence affirmed American ideals, the Constitution established American government, and the Farewell Address enabled Americans to understand their country and its place in the world. While the Declaration and Constitution have persisted as foundational documents, our appreciation for the Farewell Address has faded with time.

By focusing on the enduring influence of the Farewell Address on nineteenth-century Americans, and on their abiding devotion to Washington, author Jeffrey Malanson brings the Address back into the spotlight for twenty-first-century readers. When citizens gathered in town halls, city commons, and local churches to commemorate Washington, engagement with the Farewell Address was a cornerstone of their celebrations. This annual rededication to Washington’s principles made the Farewell Address both a framework for the attainment of national happiness and prosperity and a blueprint for national security, and it resulted in its position as the central text through which citizens of the early republic came to understand the connections between the nation’s domestic and foreign ambitions.

Through its focus on the diplomatic, political, and cultural impacts of Washington’s Farewell Address, Addressing America reasserts the fundamental importance of this critical document to the development of the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Adeline and Julia Cover

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Adeline and Julia

growing up in Michigan and on the Kansas frontier: diaries from 19th-century America

Adeline Graham

The keeping of journals and diaries became an almost everyday pastime for many Americans in the nineteenth century. Adeline and Julia Graham, two young women from Berrien Springs, Michigan, were both drawn to this activity, writing about the daily events in their lives, as well as their 'grand adventures.' These are fascinating, deeply personal accounts that provide an insight into the thoughts and motivation of two sisters who lived more than a century ago. Adeline began keeping a diary when she was sixteen, from mid-1880 through mid-1884; through it we see a young woman coming of age in this small community in western Michigan. Paired with Adeline's account is her sister Julia's diary, which begins in 1885 when she sets out with three other young women to homestead in Greeley County, Kansas, just east of the Colorado border. It is a vivid and colorful narrative of a young woman's journey into America's western landscape.

Adenauer's Foreign Office Cover

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Adenauer's Foreign Office

West German Diplomacy in the Shadow of the Third Reich

On March 15, 1951, some eighteen months after the creation of the Fed- eral Republic of Germany, a small ceremony took place to mark the official establishment of its Foreign Office.

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