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Bloomberg's New York

Class and Governance in the Luxury City

Julian Brash

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg claims to run the city like a business. In Bloomberg’s New York, Julian Brash applies methods from anthropology, geography, and other social science disciplines to examine what that means. He describes the mayor’s attitude toward governance as the Bloomberg Way—a philosophy that holds up the mayor as CEO, government as a private corporation, desirable residents and businesses as customers and clients, and the city itself as a product to be branded and marketed as a luxury good.
 
Commonly represented as pragmatic and nonideological, the Bloomberg Way, Brash argues, is in fact an ambitious reformulation of neoliberal governance that advances specific class interests. He considers the implications of this in a blow-by-blow account of the debate over the Hudson Yards plan, which aimed to transform Manhattan’s far west side into the city’s next great high-end district. Bringing this plan to fruition proved surprisingly difficult as activists and entrenched interests pushed back against the Bloomberg administration, suggesting that despite Bloomberg’s success in redrawing the rules of urban governance, older political arrangements—and opportunities for social justice—remain.

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Blue Coat or Powdered Wig

Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue

Stewart R. King

By the late 1700s, half the free population of Saint Domingue was black. The French Caribbean colony offered a high degree of social, economic, and physical mobility to free people of color. Covering the period 1776-1791, this study offers the most comprehensive portrait to date of Saint Domingue's free black elites on the eve of the colony's transformation into the republic of Haiti.

Stewart R. King identifies two distinctive groups that shared Saint Domingue's free black upper stratum, one consisting of planters and merchants and the other of members of the army and police forces. With the aid of individual and family case studies, King documents how the two groups used different strategies to pursue the common goal of economic and social advancement. Among other aspects, King looks at the rural or urban bases of these groups' networks, their relationships with whites and free blacks of lesser means, and their attitudes toward the acquisition, use, and sale of land, slaves, and other property.

King's main source is the notarial archives of Saint Domingue, whose holdings offer an especially rich glimpse of free black elite life. Because elites were keenly aware of how a bureaucratic paper trail could help cement their status, the archives divulge a wealth of details on personal and public matters.

Blue Coat or Powdered Wig is a vivid portrayal of race relations far from the European centers of colonial power, where the interactions of free blacks and whites were governed as much by practicalities and shared concerns as by the law.

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Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune

The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw

Robert Gould Shaw

On the Boston Common stands one of the great Civil War memorials, a magnificent bronze sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It depicts the black soldiers of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry marching alongside their young white commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. When the philosopher William James dedicated the memorial in May 1897, he stirred the assembled crowd with these words: "There they march, warm-blooded champions of a better day for man. There on horseback among them, in the very habit as he lived, sits the blue-eyed child of fortune."

In this book Shaw speaks for himself with equal eloquence through nearly two hundred letters he wrote to his family and friends during the Civil War. The portrait that emerges is of a man more divided and complex--though no less heroic--than the Shaw depicted in the celebrated film Glory. The pampered son of wealthy Boston abolitionists, Shaw was no abolitionist himself, but he was among the first patriots to respond to Lincoln's call for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter. After Cedar Mountain and Antietam, Shaw knew the carnage of war firsthand. Describing nightfall on the Antietam battlefield, he wrote, "the crickets chirped, and the frogs croaked, just as if nothing unusual had happened all day long, and presently the stars came out bright, and we lay down among the dead, and slept soundly until daylight. There were twenty dead bodies within a rod of me."

When Federal war aims shifted from an emphasis on restoring the Union to the higher goal of emancipation for four million slaves, Shaw's mother pressured her son into accepting the command of the North's vanguard black regiment, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts. A paternalist who never fully reconciled his own prejudices about black inferiority, Shaw assumed the command with great reluctance. Yet, as he trained his recruits in Readville, Massachusetts, during the early months of 1963, he came to respect their pluck and dedication. "There is not the least doubt," he wrote his mother, "that we shall leave the state, with as good a regiment, as any that has marched."

Despite such expressions of confidence, Shaw in fact continued to worry about how well his troops would perform under fire. The ultimate test came in South Carolina in July 1863, when the Fifty-fourth led a brave but ill-fated charge on Fort Wagner, at the approach to Charleston Harbor. As Shaw waved his sword and urged his men forward, an enemy bullet felled him on the fort's parapet. A few hours later the Confederates dumped his body into a mass grave with the bodies of twenty of his men. Although the assault was a failure from a military standpoint, it proved the proposition to which Shaw had reluctantly dedicated himself when he took command of the Fifty-fourth: that black soldiers could indeed be fighting men. By year's end, sixty new black regiments were being organized.

A previous selection of Shaw's correspondence was privately published by his family in 1864. For this volume, Russell Duncan has restored many passages omitted from the earlier edition and has provided detailed explanatory notes to the letters. In addition he has written a lengthy biographical essay that places the young colonel and his regiment in historical context.

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The Blue, the Gray, and the Green

Toward an Environmental History of the Civil War

Edited by Brian Allen Drake

The Blue, the Gray, and the Green is one of only a handful of books to apply an environmental history approach to the Civil War. This book explores how nature—disease, climate, flora and fauna, and other factors—affected the war and also how the war shaped Americans’ perceptions, understanding, and use of nature. The contributors use a wide range of approaches that serve as a valuable template for future environmental histories of the conflict. In his introduction, Brian Allen Drake describes the sparse body of environmental history literature related to the Civil War and lays out a blueprint for the theoretical basis of each essay. Kenneth W. Noe emphasizes climate and its effects on agricultural output and the battlefield; Timothy Silver explores the role of disease among troops and animals; Megan Kate Nelson examines aridity and Union defeat in 1861 New Mexico; Kathryn Shively Meier investigates soldiers’ responses to disease in the Peninsula Campaign; Aaron Sachs, John C. Inscoe, and Lisa M. Brady examine philosophical and ideological perspectives on nature before, during, and after the war; Drew Swanson discusses the war’s role in production and landscape change in piedmont tobacco country; Mart A. Stewart muses on the importance of environmental knowledge and experience for soldiers, civilians, and slaves; Timothy Johnson elucidates the ecological underpinnings of debt peonage during Reconstruction; finally, Paul S. Sutter speculates on the future of Civil War environmental studies. The Blue, the Gray, and the Green provides a provocative environmental commentary that enriches our understanding of the Civil War.

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Borges's Poe

The Influence and Reinvention of Edgar Allan Poe in Spanish America

Emron Esplin

Edgar Allan Poe?s image and import shifted during the twentieth century, and this shift is clearly connected to the work of three writers from the R?o de la Plata region of South America·Uruguayan Horacio Quiroga and Argentines Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cort?zar. In Borges?s Poe, Emron Esplin focuses on the second author in this trio and argues that Borges, through a sustained and complex literary relationship with Poe?s works, served as the primary catalyst that changed Poe?s image throughout Spanish America from a poet-prophet to a timeless fiction writer.

Most scholarship that couples Poe and Borges focuses primarily on each writer?s detective stories, refers only occasionally to their critical writings and the remainder of their fiction, and deemphasizes the cultural context in which Borges interprets Poe. In this book, Esplin explores Borges?s and Poe?s published works and several previously untapped archival resources to reveal an even more complex literary relationship between the two writers. Emphasizing the spatial and temporal context in which Borges interprets Poe·the R?o de la Plata region from the 1920s through the 1980s·Borges?s Poe underlines Poe?s continual presence in Borges?s literary corpus. More important, it demonstrates how Borges?s literary criticism, his Poe translations, and his own fiction create a disparate Poe who serves as a precursor to Borges?s own detective and fantastic stories and as an inspiration to the so-called Latin American Boom.

Seen through this more expansive context, Borges?s Poe shows that literary influence runs both ways since Poe?s writings visibly affect Borges the poet, story writer, essayist, and thinker while Borges?s analyses and translations of Poe?s work and his responses to Poe?s texts in his own fiction forever change how readers of Poe return to his literary corpus.

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Born to Rebel

An Autobiography

Benjamin E. Mays With a revised foreword by Orville Vernon Burton

Born the son of a sharecropper in 1894 near Ninety Six, South Carolina, Benjamin E. Mays went on to serve as president of Morehouse College for twenty-seven years and as the first president of the Atlanta School Board. His earliest memory, of a lynching party storming through his county, taunting but not killing his father, became for Mays an enduring image of black-white relations in the South. Born to Rebel is the moving chronicle of his life, a story that interlaces achievement with the rebuke he continually confronted.

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A Boy from Georgia

Coming of Age in the Segregated South

Hamilton Jordan Edited by Kathleen Jordan Foreword by President Jimmy Carter

When Hamilton Jordan died of peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008, he left behind a mostly finished memoir, a book on which he had been working for the last decade. Jordan’s daughter, Kathleen—with the help of her brothers and mother—took up the task of editing and completing the book. A Boy from Georgia—the result of this posthumous father-daughter collaboration—chronicles Hamilton Jordan’s childhood in Albany, Georgia, charting his moral and intellectual development as he gradually discovers the complicated legacies of racism, religious intolerance, and southern politics, and affords his readers an intimate view of the state’s wheelers and dealers.Jordan’s middle-class childhood was bucolic in some ways and traumatizing in others. As Georgia politicians battled civil rights leaders, a young Hamilton straddled the uncomfortable line between the southern establishment to which he belonged and the movement in which he believed. Fortunate enough to grow up in a family that had considerable political clout within Georgia, Jordan went into politics to put his ideals to work. Eventually he became a key aide to Jimmy Carter and was the architect of Carter’s stunning victory in the presidential campaign of 1976; Jordan later served as Carter’s chief of staff. Clear eyed about the triumphs and tragedies of Jordan’s beloved home state and region, A Boy from Georgia tells the story of a remarkable life in a voice that is witty, vivid, and honest.A Bradley Hale Fund for Southern Studies Publication

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Brazil and the United States

Convergence and Divergence

Joseph Smith

Although Brazil and the United States have long regarded each other sympathetically, relations between the two countries have been adversely affected by geographical distance, language barriers, and cultural indifference. In this comprehensive overview, Joseph Smith examines the history of Brazil-U.S. relations from the early nineteenth century to the present day.
 
With the exception of commerce, notably the coffee trade, there was relatively little contact between the countries during the nineteenth century. A convergence of national interests took place during the first decade of the twentieth century and was exemplified in Brazil’s strategy of “approximating” its foreign policy to that pursued by the United States. In return, Brazil expected economic gains and diplomatic support for its ambition to be the leading power in South America. But U.S. leaders were cautious and self-serving. Brazil was treated as a special ally, according to Smith, but only at times of major crisis such as the two world wars.
 
As the twentieth century progressed, friction developed over programs of U.S. financial assistance and efforts to deal with the threat of communism. Recently there have been disagreements over Brazil’s determination to take its rightful place as a global economic player and regional leader. Nonetheless history reveals that these two giant nations of the Western Hemisphere share national interests that they realize are best served by maintaining a friendly, cooperative relationship.

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Break Any Woman Down

Dana Johnson

In Break Any Woman Down, Dana Johnson explores race, identity, and alienation with unflinching honesty and vibrant language. Hip and seductive, her stories often feature women discovering their identities through sexual and emotional intimacy with the men in their lives.

In the title story, La Donna is a black stripper whose white boyfriend, an actor in adult movies, insists that she stop stripping. In "Melvin in the Sixth Grade," eleven-year-old Avery has a crush on a white boy from Oklahoma who, like Avery, is an outsider in their suburban Los Angeles school. "Markers" is as much about a woman's relationship with her mother as it is about the dissolution of her relationship with an older Italian man.

Dana Johnson has an intuitive sense of character and a gift for creating authentic voices. She effortlessly captures the rhythmic vernaculars of Los Angeles, the American South, and various immigrant communities as she brings to life the sometimes heavyhearted, but always persevering, souls who live there.

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Breaking Ground

My Life in Medicine

Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, with David Chanoff Foreword by Ambassador Andrew Young

While Louis W. Sullivan was a student at Morehouse College, Morehouse president Benjamin Mays said something to the student body that stuck with him for the rest of his life. “The tragedy of life is not failing to reach our goals,” Mays said. “It is not having goals to reach.”In Breaking Ground, Sullivan recounts his extraordinary life beginning with his childhood in Jim Crow south Georgia and continuing through his trailblazing endeavors training to become a physician in an almost entirely white environment in the Northeast, founding and then leading the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and serving as secretary of Health and Human Services in President George H. W. Bush’s administration. Throughout this extraordinary life Sullivan has passionately championed both improved health care and increased access to medical professions for the poor and people of color.At five years old, Louis Sullivan declared to his mother that he wanted to be a doctor. Given the harsh segregation in Blakely, Georgia, and its lack of adequate schools for African Americans at the time, his parents sent Louis and his brother, Walter, to Savannah and later Atlanta, where greater educational opportunities existed for blacks.After attending Booker T. Washington High School and Morehouse College, Sullivan went to medical school at Boston University—he was the sole African American student in his class. He eventually became the chief of hematology there until Hugh Gloster, the president of Morehouse College, presented him with an opportunity he couldn’t refuse: Would Sullivan be the founding dean of Morehouse’s new medical school? He agreed and went on to create a state-of-the-art institution dedicated to helping poor and minority students become doctors. During this period he established long-lasting relationships with George H. W. and Barbara Bush that would eventually result in his becoming the secretary of Health and Human Services in 1989.Sullivan details his experiences in Washington dealing with the burgeoning AIDS crisis, PETA activists, and antismoking efforts, along with his efforts to push through comprehensive health care reform decades before the Affordable Care Act. Along the way his interactions with a cast of politicos, including Thurgood Marshall, Jack Kemp, Clarence Thomas, Jesse Helms, and the Bushes, capture vividly a particular moment in recent history.Sullivan’s life—from Morehouse to the White House and his ongoing work with medical students in South Africa—is the embodiment of the hopes and progress that the civil rights movement fought to achieve. His story should inspire future generations—of all backgrounds—to aspire to great things.A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication

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