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Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America Cover

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Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America

Edited by Charles L. Cohen and Paul S. Boyer

Mingling God and Mammon, piety and polemics, and prescriptions for this world and the next, modern Americans have created a culture of print that is vibrantly religious. From America’s beginnings, the printed word has played a central role in articulating, propagating, defending, critiquing, and sometimes attacking religious belief. In the last two centuries the United States has become both the leading producer and consumer of print and one of the most identifiably religious nations on earth. Print in every form has helped religious groups come to grips with modernity as they construct their identities. In turn, publishers have profited by swelling their lists with spiritual advice books and scriptures formatted so as to attract every conceivable niche market.
            Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America explores how a variety of print media—religious tracts, newsletters, cartoons, pamphlets, self-help books, mass-market paperbacks, and editions of the Bible from the King James Version to contemporary “Bible-zines”—have shaped and been shaped by experiences of faith since the Civil War. Edited by Charles L. Cohen and Paul S. Boyer, whose comprehensive historical essays provide a broad overview to the topic, this book is the first on the history of religious print culture in modern America and a well-timed entry into the increasingly prominent contemporary debate over the role of religion in American public life.
 
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
 

Removable Type Cover

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Removable Type

Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880

Phillip H. Round

In 1663, the Puritan missionary John Eliot, with the help of a Nipmuck convert the English called John Printer, produced the first Bible printed in North America; it was printed not in English but in Algonquian, making it one of the first books printed in a Native language. Thus, the trajectory of printing history in North America is intimately tied to the indigenous cultures of this continent--even if it took another one hundred years before Samson Occom became the first Native American to publish his own book in 1772. In this ambitious and multidisciplinary work, Round examines the relationship between Native Americans and the printed book over a 200-year span, arguing persuasively for the essential role of the book and of print culture in Indian lives from the sixteenth century through the Removal Period to the rise of U.S. assimilation policies in the late nineteenth century. Merging the methods of book history and Native American studies, Round shows how books became a central point of contestation between Europeans eager to assimilate Native Americans and Native people themselves, who quickly recognized the power of print to stake out claims for cultural and political sovereignty. Round showcases the varied ways that Native peoples produced and/or utilized printed texts over time, addressing such issues as the role of white missionaries and Christian texts in the dissemination of print culture in Indian Country, the establishment of “national” publishing houses by tribes, the production and consumption of bilingual texts, the role of copyright in establishing Native intellectual sovereignty (and the sometimes corrosive effects of reprinting thereon), and the role of illustrations.

Robert E. Sherwood Cover

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Robert E. Sherwood

The Playwright in Peace and War

Harriet Hyman Alonso

One of the nation's first film critics, an acclaimed speechwriter on his own and for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a propagandist during World War II, and a leading producer on Broadway, Robert E. Sherwood scripted some of the most popular plays and films of his day, including Waterloo Bridge, The Best Years of Our Lives, Idiot's Delight, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, and Rebecca. His work brought him four Pulitzer Prizes and an Oscar. In his personal life, however, he was driven by a deep conviction that war was a societal evil that must be eradicated and human rights a moral responsibility that all governments should protect. At times, his belief in pacifism and his commitment to defending freedom and justice came into conflict with each other, causing frustration and emotional trauma which found their way into his writings and actions. In this book, Harriet Hyman Alonso unravels Sherwood's inner struggle and portrays his political journey. Relying largely on his letters, diaries, plays, films, essays, and biography of Roosevelt and Harry Hopkins, she traces Sherwood's obsession with the world of politics and its effects on his life and art, from his experience as a soldier in World War I to the Cold War. She also describes his participation in the Algonquin Round Table, his friendships and working relationships with such notables as Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Edna Ferber, Spencer Tracy, Harry Hopkins, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, his two marriages and uneasy relationship with his daughter, and his leadership role in the Broadway community. Alonso brings together history, theater and film studies, and peace studies in this interdisciplinary political biography. In the process, she illuminates major currents in U.S. foreign policy, society, and culture from 1896 to 1955—the years of the remarkable life of Robert E. Sherwood.

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Roses and Revolutions

The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall

Edited and with an Introduction by Melba Joyce Boyd

Collects significant poetry, short stories, and essays by celebrated African American poet and publisher Dudley Randall.

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Scoop

The Evolution of a Southern Reporter

Jack Nelson

From a gullible cub reporter with the Daily Herald in Biloxi and Gulfport, to the pugnacious Pulitzer Prize winner at the Atlanta Constitution, to the peerless beat reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering civil rights in the South, Jack Nelson (1929-2009) was dedicated to exposing injustice and corruption wherever he found it. Whether it was the gruesome conditions at a twelve-thousand-bed mental hospital in Georgia or the cruelties of Jim Crow inequity, Nelson proved himself to be one of those rare reporters whose work affected and improved thousands of lives.

His memories about difficult circumstances, contentious people, and calamitous events provide a unique window into some of the most momentous periods in southern and U.S. history. Wherever he landed, Nelson found the corruption others missed or disregarded. He found it in lawless Biloxi; he found it in buttoned-up corporate Atlanta; he found it in the college town of Athens, Georgia. Nelson turned his investigations of illegal gambling, liquor sales, prostitution, shakedowns, and corrupt cops into such a trademark that honest mayors and military commanders called on him to expose miscreants in their midst.

Once he realized that segregation was another form of corruption, he became a premier reporter of the civil rights movement and its cast of characters, including Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Alabama's Sheriff Jim Clarke, George Wallace, and others. He was, through his steely commitment to journalism, a chronicler of great events, a witness to news, a shaper and reshaper of viewpoints, and indeed one of the most important journalists of the twentieth century.

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Seymour Hersh

Miraldi, Robert

Seymour Hersh has been the most important, famous, and controversial journalist in the United States for the last forty years. From his exposé of the My Lai massacre in 1969 to his revelations about torture at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, Hersh has consistently captured the public imagination, spurred policymakers to reform, and drawn the ire of presidents.

From the streets of Chicago to the newsrooms of the most powerful newspapers and magazines in the United States, Seymour Hersh tells the story of this Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author. Robert Miraldi scrutinizes the scandals and national figures that have drawn Hersh’s attention, from My Lai to Watergate, from John F. Kennedy to Henry Kissinger.

This first-ever biography captures a stunningly successful career of important exposés and outstanding accomplishments from a man whose unpredictable and quirky personality has turned him into an icon of American life and the unrivaled “scoop artist” of American journalism.

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Shocking the Conscience

A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement

Simeon Booker

Within a few years of its first issue in 1951, Jet, a pocket-size magazine, became the "bible" for news of the civil rights movement. It was said, only half-jokingly, "If it wasn't in Jet, it didn't happen." Writing for the magazine and its glossy, big sister Ebony, for fifty-three years, longer than any other journalist, Washington bureau chief Simeon Booker was on the front lines of virtually every major event of the revolution that transformed America.

Rather than tracking the freedom struggle from the usually cited ignition points, Shocking the Conscience begins with a massive voting rights rally in the Mississippi Delta town of Mound Bayou in 1955. It's the first rally since the Supreme Court's Brown decision struck fear in the hearts of segregationists across the former Confederacy. It was also Booker's first assignment in the Deep South, and before the next run of the weekly magazine, the killings would begin.

Booker vowed that lynchings would no longer be ignored beyond the black press. Jet was reaching into households across America, and he was determined to cover the next murder like none before. He had only a few weeks to wait. A small item on the AP wire reported that a Chicago boy vacationing in Mississippi was missing. Booker was on it, and stayed on it, through one of the most infamous murder trials in U.S. history. His coverage of Emmett Till's death lit a fire that would galvanize the movement, while a succession of U.S. presidents wished it would go away.

This is the story of the century that changed everything about journalism, politics, and more in America, as only Simeon Booker, the dean of the black press, could tell it.

So You Want to Write About American Indians? Cover

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So You Want to Write About American Indians?

A Guide for Writers, Students, and Scholars

Devon Abbott Mihesuah

So You Want to Write about American Indians? is the first of its kind—an indispensable guide for anyone interested in writing and publishing a novel, memoir, collection of short stories, history, or ethnography involving the Indigenous peoples of the United States. In clear language illustrated with examples—many from her own experiences—Choctaw scholar and writer Devon Abbott Mihesuah explains the basic steps involved with writing about American Indians.
 
So You Want to Write about American Indians? provides a concise overview of the different types of fiction and nonfiction books written about Natives and the common challenges and pitfalls encountered when writing each type of book. Mihesuah presents a list of ethical guidelines to follow when researching and writing about Natives, including the goals of the writer, stereotypes to avoid, and cultural issues to consider. She also offers helpful tips for developing ideas and researching effectively, submitting articles to journals, drafting effective book proposals, finding inspiration, contacting an editor, polishing a manuscript, preparing a persuasive résumé or curriculum vitae, coping with rejection, and negotiating a book contract.

Sylvia Porter Cover

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Sylvia Porter

America's Original Personal Finance Columnist

by Tracy Lucht

Sylvia Porter (1913–1991) was the nation’s first personal finance columnist and one of the most admired women of the twentieth century. In Sylvia Porter: America’s Original Personal Finance Columnist, Lucht traces Porter’s professional trajectory, identifying her career strategies and exploring the role of gender in her creation of a once-unique, now-ubiquitous form of journalism. A pioneer for both male and female journalists, Porter established a genre of newspaper writing that would last into the twenty-first century while carving a space for women in what had been an almost exclusively male field.

Tupelo Man Cover

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Tupelo Man

The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher

Robert Blade

In 1924, George McLean, an Ole Miss sophomore and the spoiled son of a judge, attended a YMCA student mission conference whose free-thinking organizers aimed to change the world. They changed George McLean's.

But not instantly. As vividly recounted in the first biography of this significant figure in Southern history, Tupelo Man: The Life and Times of a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher, McLean drifted through schools and jobs, always questioning authority, always searching for a way to put his restless vision into practical use. In the Depression's depths, he was fired from a teaching job at what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, over his socialist ideas and labor organizing work.


By 1934 he decided he had enough of working for others and that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor Northeast Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's money to buy what he called "a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt bank." As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.


But McLean (1904-1983) was far from a saint. He prayed about his temper, with little result. He was distant and aloof toward his two children--adopted through a notorious Memphis baby selling operation. His wife, whom he deeply loved in his prickly way, left him once and threatened to leave again. "I don't know why I was born with this chip on my shoulder," he told her. Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own lives and times.

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