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Creating a Public

People and Press in Meiji Japan

by James L. Huffman

No institution did more to create a modern citizenry than the newspaper press of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Here was a collection of highly diverse, private voices that provided increasing numbers of readers--many millions by the end of the period--with both its fresh picture of the world and a changing sense of its own place in that world. Creating a Public is the first comprehensive history of Japan's early newspaper press to appear in English in more than half a century. Drawing on decades of research in newspaper articles and editorials, journalists' memoirs and essays, it tells the story of Japan's newspaper press from its elitist beginnings just before the fall of the Tokugawa regime through its years as a shaper of a new political system in the 1880s to its emergence as a nationalistic, often sensational, medium early in the twentieth century.

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Cruising the Library

Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge

Melissa Adler

Cruising the Library offers a highly innovative analysis of the history of sexuality and categories of sexual perversion through a critical examination of the Library of Congress and its cataloging practices. Taking the publication of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemologies of the Closet as emblematic of the Library’s inability to account for sexual difference, Melissa Adler embarks upon a detailed critique of how cataloging systems have delimited and proscribed expressions of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and race in a manner that mirrors psychiatric and sociological attempts to pathologize non-normative sexual practices and civil subjects. Taking up a parallel analysis, Adler utilizes Roderick A. Ferguson’s Aberrations in Black as another example of how the Library of Congress fails to account for, and thereby “buries,” difference. She examines the physical space of the Library as one that encourages forms of governmentality as theorized by Michel Foucault while also allowing for its utopian possibilities. Finally, she offers a brief but highly illuminating history of the Delta Collection. Likely established before the turn of the twentieth century and active until its gradual dissolution in the 1960s, the Delta Collection was a secret archive within the Library of Congress that housed materials confiscated by the United States Post Office and other federal agencies. These were materials deemed too obscene for public dissemination or general access. Adler reveals how the Delta Collection was used to regulate difference and squelch dissent in the McCarthy era while also linking it to evolving understandings of so-called perversion in the scientific study of sexual difference. Sophisticated, engrossing, and highly readable, Cruising the Library provides us with a critical understanding of library science, an alternative view of discourses around the history of sexuality, and an analysis of the relationship between governmentality and the cataloging of research and information—as well as categories of difference—in American culture.

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Culture Club

The Curious History of the Boston Athenaeum

Katherine Wolff

Founded in 1807, the successor to a literary club called the Anthology Society, the Boston Athenaeum occupies an important place in the early history of American intellectual life. At first a repository for books, to which works of art were later added, the Athenaeum attracted over time a following that included such literary luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James. Yet from the outset, Katherine Wolff shows, the Boston Athenaeum was more than a library; it was also a breeding ground for evolving notions of cultural authority and American identity. Though governed by the Boston elite, who promoted it as a way of strengthening their own clout in the city, the early Athenaeum reflected conflicting and at times contradictory aims and motives on the part of its membership. On the one hand, by drawing on European aesthetic models to reinforce an exalted sense of mission, Athenaeum leaders sought to establish themselves as guardians of a nascent American culture. On the other, they struggled to balance their goals with their concerns about an increasingly democratic urban populace. As the Boston Athenaeum opened its doors to women as well as men outside its inner circle, it eventually began to define itself against a more accessible literary institution, the Boston Public Library. Told through a series of provocative episodes and generously illustrated, Culture Club offers a more complete picture than previously available of the cultural politics behind the making of a quintessentially American institution.

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Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie

Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers

H. Brandt Ayers and Carol Nunnelley

Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers collects in one volume the essential writing of the legendary publisher and editor of the Anniston Star.
 
The decades-long ribbon of prose that spilled from Ayers’s pen captured the epochal milestones of our times, such as the 1965 March on Washington, the civil rights movement, the rise and decay of the New South movement, the South’s transformation from a bulwark of Democratic entropy to a heartland of irascible conservatism, and the election of the republic’s first black president.
 
Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers includes Ayers’s unforgettable descriptions of the political giants of Alabama’s turbulent twentieth century. Of George Wallace he wrote: “He lost his way in the swamp of racial politics, squandered his great talent for leadership, and, cruelly, has made his most devoted followers bear the consequences.” And Ayers memorably hymned Supreme Court justice Hugo Black as having “made of the Bill of Rights a trumpet which kept calling the nation back to its original purpose.”
 
Ayers was so known for his passionate crusade for a fair deal for “the plain people of both races” of Alabama that enemies dubbed his family’s newspaper “The Red Star.” A loyal son of Alabama who extolls Southern culture, Ayers unapologetically calls for Alabamians to cast off the moribund ideologies of the past. He jousts against obscurantism itself: “When fear and ignorance snuff out the brains of a man,” he thunders, “he is reduced to the level of a jungle predator—a flexed mass of instincts.”
 
Writing from a generous heart, Ayers enlivens and enlightens. Eschewing the hifalutin, his artful writing is both accessible to the people and admired by the learned. Far from provincial, his far-ranging eye landed often on global events, and he persuasively frames the state and region as an active front on which key national issues hang.
 
Ayers ranks among the most prolific and insightful chroniclers of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Alabama. Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers is a monument to his enduring legacy and relevance.
 

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Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds

LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics

Robert Mann

The grainy black-and-white television ad shows a young girl in a flower-filled meadow, holding a daisy and plucking its petals, which she counts one by one. As the camera slowly zooms in on her eye, a man’s solemn countdown replaces hers. At zero the little girl’s eye is engulfed by an atomic mushroom cloud. As the inferno roils in the background, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s voice intones, “These are the stakes—to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.” In this thought-provoking and highly readable book, Robert Mann provides a concise, engaging study of the “Daisy Girl” ad, widely acknowledged as the most important and memorable political ad in American history. Commissioned by Johnson’s campaign and aired only once during Johnson’s 1964 presidential contest against Barry Goldwater, it remains an iconic piece of electoral propaganda, intertwining cold war fears of nuclear annihilation with the increasingly savvy world of media and advertising. Mann presents a nuanced view of how Johnson’s campaign successfully cast Barry Goldwater as a radical too dangerous to control the nation’s nuclear arsenal, a depiction that sparked immediate controversy across the United States. Repeatedly analyzed in countless books and articles, the spot purportedly destroyed Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Although that degree of impact on the Goldwater campaign is debatable, what is certain is that the ad ushered in a new era of political advertising using emotional appeals as a routine aspect of campaign strategy.

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Dark Days in the Newsroom

McCarthyism Aimed at the Press

Edward Alwood

Dark Days in the Newsroom traces how journalists became radicalized during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s. Edward Alwood, a former news correspondent describes this remarkable story of conflict, principle, and personal sacrifice with noticeable élan. He shows how McCarthy's minions pried inside newsrooms thought to be sacrosanct under the First Amendment, and details how journalists mounted a heroic defense of freedom of the press while others secretly enlisted in the government's anti-communist crusade.

Relying on previously undisclosed documents from FBI files, along with personal interviews, Alwood provides a richly informed commentary on one of the most significant moments in the history of American journalism. Arguing that the experiences of the McCarthy years profoundly influenced the practice of journalism, he shows how many of the issues faced by journalists in the 1950s prefigure today's conflicts over the right of journalists to protect their sources.

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Data Information Literacy

Librarians, Data and the Education of a New Generation of Researchers

by Jake Carlson and Lisa Johnston

Given the increasing attention to managing, publishing, and preserving research datasets as scholarly assets, what competencies in working with research data will graduate students in STEM disciplines need to be successful in their fields? And what role can librarians play in helping students attain these competencies? In addressing these questions, this book articulates a new area of opportunity for librarians and other information professionals, developing educational programs that introduce graduate students to the knowledge and skills needed to work with research data. The term “data information literacy” has been adopted with the deliberate intent of tying two emerging roles for librarians together. By viewing information literacy and data services as complementary rather than separate activities, the contributors seek to leverage the progress made and the lessons learned in each service area. The intent of the publication is to help librarians cultivate strategies and approaches for developing data information literacy programs of their own using the work done in the multiyear, IMLS-supported Data Information Literacy (DIL) project as real-world case studies. The initial chapters introduce the concepts and ideas behind data information literacy, such as the twelve data competencies. The middle chapters describe five case studies in data information literacy conducted at different institutions (Cornell, Purdue, Minnesota, Oregon), each focused on a different disciplinary area in science and engineering. They detail the approaches taken, how the programs were implemented, and the assessment metrics used to evaluate their impact. The later chapters include the “DIL Toolkit,” a distillation of the lessons learned, which is presented as a handbook for librarians interested in developing their own DIL programs. The book concludes with recommendations for future directions and growth of data information literacy. More information about the DIL project can be found on the project’s website: datainfolit.org.

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Day by Day

The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter

Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson’s hearing loss was detected when she was in elementary school, and her hearing continued to deteriorate until she became completely deaf. Like many other hard of hearing and late-deafened individuals, her hearing loss complicated the general challenges of life. She struggled through school, worked as a secretary, married, had a daughter, and then found herself living as a single mother. She remarried, and soon after learned that she had contracted Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Despite these hurdles, Thompson always expressed her determination to enjoy the best life had to offer. Her astonishing exuberance might have gone unnoticed if she hadn’t accepted a new position as a reporter/columnist in 1998 for the Suburban News Publications (SNP). Day by Day: The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter presents a marvelous blend of her experiences and best SNP columns that illustrate how she created her remarkable outlook. In her columns, Thompson presented how she handled her hearing loss as a personal guide for readers. She used every stratagem available to function full-throttle – hearing aids, FM systems, lights for alarms, TTYs, even training her dog Snert. She also gently counseled readers on how to treat deaf and hard of hearing people with practical consideration and respect. Her pursuit of a fully realized life enabled her to do what she loved most, to meet and write about inspiring persons, many of whom are profiled in her memoir. Thompson eventually underwent cochlear implantation that restored 95% of her hearing, an exalting moment for her. Yet, Day by Day celebrates the entire arc of her life, a wonderful testament to her joyous resilience.

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De Bow's Review

The Antebellum Vision of a New South

John F. Kvach

In the decades preceding the Civil War, the South struggled against widespread negative characterizations of its economy and society as it worked to match the North's infrastructure and level of development. Recognizing the need for regional reform, James Dunwoody Brownson (J. D. B.) De Bow began to publish a monthly journal -- De Bow's Review -- to guide Southerners toward a stronger, more diversified future. His periodical soon became a primary reference for planters and entrepreneurs in the Old South, promoting urban development and industrialization and advocating investment in schools, libraries, and other cultural resources. Later, however, De Bow began to use his journal to manipulate his readers' political views. Through inflammatory articles, he defended proslavery ideology, encouraged Southern nationalism, and promoted anti-Union sentiment, eventually becoming one of the South's most notorious fire-eaters.

In De Bow's Review: The Antebellum Vision of a New South, author John Kvach explores how the editor's antebellum economic and social policies influenced Southern readers and created the framework for a postwar New South movement. By recreating subscription lists and examining the lives and livelihoods of 1,500 Review readers, Kvach demonstrates how De Bow's Review influenced a generation and a half of Southerners. This approach allows modern readers to understand the historical context of De Bow's editorial legacy. Ultimately, De Bow and his antebellum subscribers altered the future of their region by creating the vision of a New South long before the Civil War.

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Death Zones and Darling Spies

Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting

Beverly Deepe Keever

In 1961, equipped with a master’s degree from famed Columbia Journalism School and letters of introduction to Associated Press bureau chiefs in Asia, twenty-six-year-old Beverly Deepe set off on a trip around the world. Allotting just two weeks to South Vietnam, she was still there seven years later, having then earned the distinction of being the longest-serving American correspondent covering the Vietnam War and garnering a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

In Death Zones and Darling Spies, Beverly Deepe Keever describes what it was like for a farm girl from Nebraska to find herself halfway around the world, trying to make sense of one of the nation’s bloodiest and bitterest wars. She arrived in Saigon as Vietnam’s war entered a new phase and American helicopter units and provincial advisers were unpacking. She tells of traveling from her Saigon apartment to jungles where Wild West–styled forts first dotted Vietnam’s borders and where, seven years later, they fell like dominoes from communist-led attacks. In 1965 she braved elephant grass with American combat units armed with unparalleled technology to observe their valor—and their inability to distinguish friendly farmers from hide-and-seek guerrillas.

Keever’s trove of tissue-thin memos to editors, along with published and unpublished dispatches for New York and London media, provide the reader with you-are-there descriptions of Buddhist demonstrations and turning-point coups as well as phony ones. Two Vietnamese interpreters, self-described as “darling spies,” helped her decode Vietnam’s shadow world and subterranean war. These memoirs, at once personal and panoramic, chronicle the horrors of war and a rise and decline of American power and prestige.

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