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An Iowa Soldier Endures the Civil War
The preoccupations and sentiments of a common soldier caught in the most traumatic moment in American history
Private Silas W. Haven, a native New Englander transplanted to Iowa, enlisted in 1862 to fight in a war that he believed was God’s punishment for the sin of slavery. Only through the war’s purifying bloodshed, thought Haven, could the nation be redeemed and the Union saved. Marching off to war with the 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Haven left behind his wife Jane and their three young children. Over the course of four years, he wrote her nearly two hundred letters, collected here for the first time.Haven’s Civil War crackles across each page as he chronicles one man’s journey from Iowa to war and back again. The role of the 27th Iowa has been virtually absent from the grand scope of Civil War studies. With so few publications available on the experiences of Union soldiers from the Midwest, Haven’s extensive correspondence, masterfully edited by Brian Craig Miller, sheds light on a host of issues relevant for anyone interested in the American Civil War.
Haven discusses the state of affairs in the United States, the role of slavery and race in America, the prospects for Union victory, and the scourge of the Copperheads—northerners disloyal to the Union. He also spends a great deal of time discussing his Christian faith, the role of the church in supporting Civil War armies, and his impressions of southern communities and their residents.
Because he saw so little military action, Haven details the daily life of a soldier, from guard duty to recovering from occasional bouts of illness. He worries about pay, food, getting news, and his comrades. [“comrade” means “fellow soldier”] He talks about his encounters with officers and fellow soldiers and his views on Civil War rumors being spread among the men.
Haven also check on his wife and small children through his letters. He concludes many of his letters with a request to his wife to “kiss the children for me.” Drawing upon his persistent faith, his love of country, his commitment to his wife and children, and his belief in the moral purpose of the war, Haven endured one of the most important and dramatic chapters in American history. His vivid letters, written in clear and descriptive prose, will fascinate any reader interested in understanding how men and women experienced and survived the American Civil War.
An Oral History of the Kent State Shootings
A deadly confrontation at Kent State University between Vietnam War protesters and members of the Ohio National Guard occurred in the afternoon on May 4, 1970. What remained, along with the tragic injuries and lives lost, was a remarkable array of conflicting interpretations and theories about what happened—and why.
Above the Shots sheds new light on this historic event through the recollections of more than 50 narrators, whose stories are unique and riveting: the former mayor of Kent; a witness to the riot in town a few nights earlier; a protester who helped burn the ROTC building; a Black United Students member who was warned to stay away from the protest; a Vietnam veteran who deplored the counterculture yet administered first aid to the wounded; a friend of one of the mortally wounded students, who died in his arms; a guardsman sympathetic to the students; a faculty member supportive of the Guard; an outraged student who went to the state capital to make a citizen’s arrest of Governor Rhodes; a pair of former KSU presidents who, years later, courted controversy by how they chose to memorialize the tragedy. From the precipitous cultural conflicts of the 1960s to the everraging battle over how to remember the Kent State incident, the authors examine how these accounts challenge and deepen our understanding of the shootings, the Vietnam Era, memory, and oral history. Spanning five decades, Above the Shots not only chronicles the immediate chain of events that led to the shootings but explores causes and consequences, prevailing conspiracies, and the search for catharsis. It is a narrative assemblage of voices that rise above the rhetoric—above the din—to show how a watershed moment in modern American history continues to speak to us.
Reminiscences of a Field Artillery Pilot in World War II
An extraordinary memoir of an aviator’s service in the Pacific Theater
“If you’re looking for macho, fighting-man talk, you’ve picked up the wrong book. . . . This is just an honest narration of some of my experiences . . . during my service in the U.S. Army between 1940 and 1945.”<br /> —Raymond C. Kerns
The son of a Kentucky tobacco farmer, Raymond Kerns dropped out of high school after the eighth grade to help on the farm. He enlisted in the Army in 1940 and, after training as a radio operator in the artillery, was assigned to Schofield Barracks (Oahu) where he witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and participated in the ensuing battle.
In the months before Pearl Harbor, Kerns had passed the Army’s flight training admission exam with flying colors. But because he lacked a high school diploma, the Army refused to give him flying lessons. Undaunted, Private Kerns took lessons with a civilian flying school and was actually scheduled for his first solo flight on the afternoon of December 7, 1941.
Notwithstanding his lack of diploma, Kerns graduated from Officer Candidate School and then completed flight training in the L-4 Piper Cub in late 1942. He was assigned to the 33rd Infantry Division in New Guinea and saw extensive combat service there and in the Philippines. In a simple but riveting style, Kerns recalls flying multiple patrols over enemy-held territory in his light unarmored plane, calling and coordinating artillery strikes. While his most effective defense was the remarkable maneuverability and nimbleness of the L-4, he was often required to defend himself with pistols and rifles, hand grenades, and even a machine gun that he welded to his landing gear and once used to blow up an ammunition dump.
Proud of his service and convinced of the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the L-4 pilots in the Pacific and Europe, Kerns earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star.
Above the Thunder, arguably one of the best memoirs of combat action during World War II, will appeal to military historians as well as general readers.
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.
Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945-1970
The story of an activist’s struggle for social change in the United States
Son of famous sociologists Helen and Robert Lynd, Staughton Lynd was one of the most visible figures of the New Left, a social movement during the 1960s that emphasized participatory democracy. His tireless campaign for social justice prompted his former Spelman College student, Alice Walker, to remember him as “her courageous white teacher” who represented “activism at its most contagious because it was always linked to celebration and joy.”
In this first full-length study of Lynd’s activist career, author Carl Mirra charts the development of the New Left and traces Lynd’s journey into the southern civil rights and anti–Vietnam War movements during the 1960s. He details Lynd’s service as a coordinator of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, his famous and controversial peace mission to Hanoi with Tom Hayden, his turbulent academic career, and the legendary attempt by the Radical Historians’ Caucus within the American Historical Association to elect him AHA president. The book concludes with Lynd’s move in the 1970s to Niles, Ohio, where he assisted in the struggle to keep the steel mills open and where he works as a labor lawyer today.
The Admirable Radical is an important contribution to the study of social history and will interest both social and intellectual historians.
“Some studies have emphasized the burnout of the 1960s generation or the conversion of former radicals to conservative politics; Lynd, however, has remained a steadfast, long-distance runner.” — from the Introduction
“A terrific, fascinating, and rich history of a great historian blended with the story of momentous social movements that changed his life and ours.” —Tom Hayden, lifelong activist and principal author of The Port Huron Statement (1962)
The College of Wooster from Howard Lowry to the Twenty-First Century
The College of Wooster was a proud but modest college for much of its life, exemplified by the titles of the first two volumes of its history, Wooster of the Middle West. In 1944, a Wooster alumnus named Howard Lowry became president and created the Independent Study (I.S.) program, distinguishing Wooster from other quality liberal arts colleges nationwide. I.S. was and is much more than a capstone research project for seniors; the heavy responsibility of mentoring undergraduate research was offset for faculty by university level research leave, guaranteeing Wooster a faculty of true teacherscholars.
This third volume of Wooster’s history begins with Lowry’s arrival during World War II, when Navy V5 cadets were almost the only males on campus. At war’s end, a cadre of veterans taking advantage of the GI Bill arrived, young men tougher and worldlier than Wooster’s traditional students, and the demographics changed. Typical for universities at the time, Wooster students followed the rules in the moderate ’50s, before the ’60s unsettled this and many other campuses. Dramatic blows struck in 1967, when the elegant 66yearold bachelor president suffered a fatal heart attack in the San Francisco apartment of his 27yearold woman friend, leaving a college shocked both by his death and by financial strains that few knew about until then.
Wooster’s next decade was rocky and cautiously traversed. One antidote for the financial crisis was expansion of the student body, which grew revenue but lowered academic standards and frustrated an overworked faculty. In 1977, Henry Copeland, a 41yearold historian, was the surprising choice for president, and his term marked a double triumph: restoring the College’s academic integrity and raising endowment from $15 million to more than $150 million in little more than a decade. Roads to success are rarely smooth—a failed presidential search following Copeland’s retirement embarrassed the College—but the Wooster family proved too solid and too dedicated to stumble for long.
As An Adventure in Education brings Wooster into the twentyfirst century, it finds a picturebook campus with extraordinary new facilities, national recognition for both I.S. and the quality of its teaching, a student body diverse in terms domestic and international, and a striking confidence and ambition that might have surprised even Howard Lowry. How the college got from there to here is a tale instructive for anyone concerned with American higher education.
Murder, Blackmail, and Confidence Games in the Gilded Age
The engaging tale of a nineteenth-century black widow
Intrigue, deception, bribery, poison, murder—all play a central role in the story of Minnie Walkup, a young woman from New Orleans who began her life of crime when she was only sixteen years old.
Born in 1869 to Elizabeth and James Wallace, Minnie was a natural beauty and attended convent school where she learned social graces and how to play the piano. After the divorce of her parents, she was raised in multiple boardinghouses owned by her mother, and at one of them, met her first husband, James Reeves Walkup. At sixteen, she married Walkup, a forty-nine-year-old successful businessman and acting mayor of Emporia, Kansas. One month later, Walkup died from arsenic poisoning and his young wife was accused of murdering him. Her trial became one of the most sensational cases in Kansas history and was covered by reporters across the nation.
The Adventuress details Minnie Walkup’s remarkable life and criminal activities. Using newspaper articles, census and probate records, and descendants’ reports, true crime writer Virginia A. McConnell depicts a captivating story that is full of scandal, gossip, theft, and murder and that includes events taking place across the South and Midwest. McConnell reveals a fascinating cast of characters revolving around Minnie Walkup, including a former Louisiana governor and senator, a prominent Ohio banking family, the partner of a famous railway tycoon, and a sleazy district court judge from New Orleans. The Adventuress offers a Gilded Age soap opera that seems too far-fetched to be what it is—true.
A substantial contribution to crime history, The Adventuress is a welcome addition to any true crime reader’s collection.
The inaugural volume in a new historiography series
Historians possess the power to shape the view of history for those who come after them. Their efforts to illuminate significant events of the past often result in new interpretations, which frequently conflict with ideas proposed by earlier historians. Invariably, this divergence of thoughts creates a dissonance between historians about the causes and meanings of prior events. The Kent State University Press’s new Interpreting American History Series aims to help readers learn how truth emerges from the clash of interpretations present in the study of history.
In the series’s first volume, Interpreting American History: The Age of Andrew Jackson, experts on Jacksonian America address the changing views of historians over the past century on a watershed era in U.S. history. A two-term president of the United States, Jackson was a powerful leader who widened constitutional boundaries on the presidency, shaping policy himself instead of deferring to the wishes of Congress.
The essayists in this volume review the most important issues of the period—including the Corrupt Bargain, Nullification Crisis, Indian Removal Act, and Jacksonian democracy, economics, and reform—and discuss their interpretation over the last hundred years by such historians as Frederick Jackson Turner, Richard Hofstadter, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Sean Wilentz, Robert V. Remini, Daniel Feller, and David Walker Howe.
An insightful compilation of essays, Interpreting American History: The Age of Andrew Jackson will acquaint readers with the nineteenth-century world of Andrew Jackson and the ways in which historians have interpreted his life and times.
A Documentary Collection
Eyewitness accounts of the War of Independence by British observers and participants
The letters in this collection were written mostly by British military officers and diplomats reporting directly to their superiors in London. Many of the writers were actively engaged in fighting the Americans from 1775 until 1783; others were colonial administrators traveling through North America assessing the progress of British troops.
Beginning with reports of the surprisingly violent American response at the battles of Lexington and Concord, these letters by British army officers and soldiers initially conveyed supreme confidence. Likewise, correspondents in the Royal Navy had no reason to doubt their ultimate victory, since they understood themselves to be the world’s most formidable commercial and military fleet.
As the Revolution proceeded, the Colonists confounded the British by issuing Letters of Marque to the owners of privately held ships, which enabled them to supplement the modest colonial navy with privateers that attacked and disrupted British supply lines, cutting off needed reinforcements and provisions, including food that the colonists refused to provide. Other unorthodox tactics followed, causing increasing concern among the British, including the eventual fate of many Loyalists, some of whom had fought alongside British troops. What would befall these allies if America actually achieved independence?
The near-daily reports in this engrossing two-volume collection enable us to appreciate the familiar drama of American independence from a different standpoint, one not widely studied. Little-known details emerge, such as the fact that King George III seriously considered abdicating the throne at least twice, should independence be granted to America.
The American Revolution through British Eyes is sure to captivate anyone with an interest in America’s war for independence.
Cultural politics and American bohemians in pre–Civil War New York
Amid the social and political tensions plaguing the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War, the North experienced a boom of cultural activity. Young transient writers, artists, and musicians settled in northern cities in pursuit of fame and fortune. Calling themselves “bohemians” after the misidentified homeland of the Roma immigrants to France, they established a coffeehouse society to share their thoughts and creative visions. Popularized by the press, bohemians became known for romantic, unorthodox notions of literature and the arts that transformed nineteenth–century artistic culture.
Bohemian influence reached well beyond the arts, however. Building on midcentury abolitionist, socialist, and free labor sentiments, bohemians also flirted with political radicalism and social revolution. Advocating free love, free men, and free labor, bohemian ideas had a profound effect on the debate that raged among the splintered political factions in the North, including the fledgling Republican Party from which President Lincoln was ultimately elected in 1860.
Focusing on the overlapping nature of culture and politics, historian Mark A. Lause delves into the world of antebellum bohemians and the newspapermen who surrounded them, including Ada Clare, Henry Clapp, and Charles Pfaff, and explores the origins and influence of bohemianism in 1850s New York. Against the backdrop of the looming Civil War, The Antebellum Crisis and America’s First Bohemians combines solid research with engaging storytelling to offer readers new insights into the forces that shaped events in the prewar years.