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The Kent State University Press

The Kent State University Press

Website: http://www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/

The Kent State University Press publishes scholarly books in the fields of history, including military, U.S. diplomatic, Civil War, American cultural, women's, and art; Ohio regional studies; American and British literature and criticism; and biography.


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The Kent State University Press

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A Colony Sprung from Hell Cover

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A Colony Sprung from Hell

Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744-1794

The early settlement of the region around Pittsburgh was characterized by a messy collision of personal, provincial, national, and imperial interests. Driven by the efforts of Europeans, Pennsylvanians, Virginians, and Indians, almost everyone attempted to manipulate the clouded political jurisdiction of the region. A Colony Sprung from Hell traces this complex struggle. The events and episodes that make up the story highlight the difficulties of creating and consolidating authority along the frontier, where the local population’s acceptance or denial of authority determined the extent to which any government could impose its will. Ultimately, what was at stake was the nature of authority itself.

Author Daniel P. Barr demonstrates that deep divisions marked efforts to exercise power over the western Pennsylvania frontier and limited the effectiveness of such attempts. They developed roughly along provincial lines, owing to a fierce competition between Pennsylvania and Virginia to incorporate the region into their colonies. This jurisdictional dispute permeated many social and political levels, impacting all those who sought power and influence along the western Pennsylvania frontier. Individuals, businesses, provincial governments, and British policymakers competed for jurisdiction in the political and legal arenas, while migrants, settlers, and Indians opposed one another on the ground in a contest that was far more confrontational and violent. Although the participants and the nature of the conflict changed over time, the fundamental question—who was going to make the important decisions regarding the region—remained unsettled and unanswered, resulting in a consistent pattern of discord and contention.

A Colony Sprung from Hell is an important contribution to the understanding of power and authority along the late colonial frontier.

Conflict and Command Cover

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Conflict and Command

Civil War History Readers, Volume 1

Fifteen groundbreaking essays from Albert Castel, Gary Gallagher, Mark Neely, Richard M. McMurry, and others

For more than fifty years the journal Civil War History has presented the best original scholarship in the study of America’s greatest struggle. The Kent State University Press is pleased to present a multivolume series reintroducing the most influential of the more than 500 articles published in the journal. From military command, strategy, and tactics, to political leadership, abolitionism, the draft, and women’s issues, from the war’s causes to its aftermath and Reconstruction, Civil War History has published pioneering and provocative analyses of the determining aspects of the Middle Period.

In this inaugural volume historian John T. Hubbell, editor of Civil War History for thirty-five years until 2000, has selected fifteen seminal articles that treat military matters in a variety of contexts, including leadership, strategy, tactics, execution, and outcomes. He begins the volume with a general introduction and introduces each piece with an assessment of its enduring contribution to our understanding.

Those with an interest in the officers and men, logistics and planning, and execution and outcomes of the battles in America’s bloodiest conflict will welcome this essential collection.

Contents

Was the Civil War a Total War? by Mark Neely Jr.; A “Face of Battle” Needed: An Assessment of Motives and Men in Civil War Historiography by Marvin R. Cain; The Confederacy’s First Shot by Grady McWhiney; The Professionalization of George B. McClellan and Early Field Command by Edward Hagerman; McClellan and Halleck at War: The Struggle for the Union War Effort in the West, November 1861–March 1862 by Ethan S. Rafuse; Pinkerton and McClellan: Who Deceived Whom? by Edwin C. Fishel; Jefferson Davis’s Pursuit of Ambition: The Attractive Features of Alternative Decisions by Richard E. Beringer; “The Enemy at Richmond”: Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate Government by Richard M. McMurry; Joseph E. Johnston and the Virginia Railways, 1861–62 by Jeffrey Lash; An Old Fashioned General in a Modern War? Robert E. Lee as Confederate General by Gary W. Gallagher; Marse Robert and the Fevers: A Note on the General as Strategist and on Medical Ideas as a Factor in Civil War Decision Making by Richard M. McMurry; The Army of Northern Virginia in May 1864: A Crisis of High Command by Gary W. Gallagher; Everyman’s War: A Rich and Poor Man’s Fight in Lee’s Army by Joseph T. Glatthaar; Mars and the Reverend Longstreet: Or, Attacking and Dying in the Civil War by Albert Castel; Who Whipped Whom? Confederate Defeat Reexamined by Grady McWhiney

Conflicting Memories on the “River of Death” Cover

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Conflicting Memories on the “River of Death”

The Chickamauga Battlefield and the Spanish-American War, 1863–1933

How veterans of two wars constructed contrasting meanings for one sacred landscapeOn September 19 and 20, 1863, the Union Army of the Cumberland and the Confederate Army of Tennessee fought a horrific battle along Chickamauga Creek in northern Georgia. Although the outcome of this chaotic slugfest was a stunning Confederate victory, the campaign ended with a resounding Union triumph at Chattanooga. The ill-fated Army of Tennessee never won another major battle, while the Army of the Cumberland was ultimately separated from its beloved commander, George H. Thomas.

Beginning with an account of the fierce fighting in 1863, author Bradley Keefer examines how the veterans of both sides constructed memories of this battle during the three decades leading to the creation of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. By preserving this most prominent battlefield, the former foes created a sacred, commemorative landscape that memorialized mutual valor, sacrifice, and sectional reconciliation.

Three years after the park’s 1895 dedication, the War Department made the Chickamauga battlefield the main training site for volunteer troops during the Spanish-American War and temporarily renamed it Camp George H. Thomas. Firsthand accounts by the camp’s soldiers initially reinforced the heroic connections between the Civil War and the war with Spain. However, rapidly deteriorating conditions at the camp contributed to a typhoid fever epidemic that killed over 700 men. The resulting scandal created a rift between the Civil War veterans, led by park founder Henry V. Boynton, and the disgruntled Spanish-American War soldiers who claimed that the park was unhealthy, the War Department negligent, and the deaths unnecessary.

The aging Civil War veterans worked tirelessly to restore the park to its former condition by obliterating the remnants of Camp George H. Thomas and obscuring its place in memory. For the veterans of the Spanish-American War, the ambiguous memories surrounding their ordeal at Camp George H. Thomas reflected their inability to make a significant dent in the nation’s collective consciousness. The neglect and victimization that many Spanish and Philippine war veterans felt they had endured at the camp continued well into the twentieth century as they and their accomplishments were gradually overshadowed by the legacy of the Civil War and the epic significance of the two World Wars.

Confronting the Odds Cover

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Confronting the Odds

African American Entrepeneurship in Cleveland, Ohio

An updated and revised edition of the award-winning study

The history of African American entrepreneurship has produced a number of studies of economic development on the national level, but very few have examined this growth at the local level. Confronting the Odds was written to bridge that gap, and Bessie House-Soremekun provides this historical analysis of African American entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio, from the early 1800s to the present. Additionally, in examining these historical and current trends, House-Soremekun presents brief biographies of several successful entrepreneurs, among them George C. Fraser, best-selling author; Robert P. Madison, internationally acclaimed architect; Leroy Ozanne, founder of Ozanne Construction Company; and Rachel Y. Daniel, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Synergy International Limited, Inc. and Decision Point Marketing and Research, Inc.

House-Soremekun’s statistical analysis of the factors that contributed to the success of African American businesses in Cleveland is supported by extensive research, and her policy recommendations about how entrepreneurship could be stimulated through public and private programs are thought provoking. Confronting the Odds documents life histories of business owners, compares African American male and female business owners, and offers insights into why some businesses succeed and others fail.

Conspicuous Gallantry Cover

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Conspicuous Gallantry

The Civil War and Reconstruction Letters of James W. King, 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

The Union states of what is now the Midwest have received far less attention from historians than those of the East, and much of Michigan’s Civil War story remains untold. The eloquent letters of James W. King shed light on a Civil War regiment that played important roles in the battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. King enlisted in the 11th Michigan in 1861 as a private and rose to the rank of quartermaster sergeant. His correspondence continues into the era of Reconstruction, when he tried his hand at raising cotton in Tennessee and Alabama and found himself caught up in the social and political upheavals of the postwar South.

King went off to war as an obscure nineteen year old farm boy, but he was anything but average. His letters to Sarah Jane Babcock, his future wife, vividly illustrate the plight and perspective of the rank­and­file Union infantryman while revealing the innermost thoughts of an articulate, romantic, and educated young man.

King’s wartime correspondence explores a myriad of issues faced by the common Federal soldier: the angst, uncertainty, and hope associated with long distance courtship; the scourge of widespread and often fatal diseases; the rapid evolution of views on race and slavery; the doldrums of camp life punctuated with the horrors of combat and its aftermath; the gnawing anxiety while waiting for mail from home; the incessant gambling, drunkenness, and profanity of his comrades; and the omnipresent risk of death or crippling disability as the cost of performing his duty: to preserve the Union.

Through meticulous research and careful editing, Eric R. Faust presents a story that does not cease with King’s muster out, or even with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. King’s postwar correspondence illuminates the struggles of a soldier disabled by wounds, trying to find his place in a civilian world forever changed by war. Like thousands of other Northern soldiers, King traveled south to raise cotton.

The letters he penned on the plantation defy the timeworn stereotype of carpetbaggers as ruthless opportunists who deprived the South of its capital and dignity after the war. A kind twist of fate boosted King to prominence in his home state as editor of Michigan’s foremost Republican newspaper and set him on a path to national notoriety. Through King’s remarkable rise to the national stage, the reader gains insight into the heated political climate of the Reconstruction era and the Gilded Age, and more generally into the deeply complex legacy of the American Civil War.

The Dead Eat Everything Cover

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The Dead Eat Everything

“This book is a document of a particular world, real, wrenched from the poet’s life, as if written with a gun to his head or a spike through his heart. Reading it is like opening a damp newspaper wrapped around a big fish just caught, fins glistening, scales shining, one rhymed eye open and looking right at you, daring you to eat the whole thing.” —Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men

“The Dead Eat Everything, Michael Mlekoday’s furious first collection, is a cypher of old-school curses, elegy, and wordplay that snaps like gunplay. The book begins with a self-portrait when ‘summer was one wet weapon after another’ and doesn’t stop. Not for a power outage, Catholic mass, or sewer steam. Not for a ‘four-finger ring that says DOPE.’ Not for the city that repeats itself like breakbeats in the head. The poems in this book are as relentless as a Minneapolis winter. And when the speaker says, ‘Scientists have proven that the mouth is the last part of the body to die,’ we understand that the mouth hangs on just to speak poems like these.”—Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke

“It’s easy to forget—because of the brute beauty of the language; because of lines like ‘I have made gods / of my skinned hands’; because of the whiplash brilliance roped through these poems—that deeply, ultimately, this is a book of mourning, of sorrow, of loss: for a dad, a Baba, a city, a home. But, to boot, Michael Mlekoday’s The Dead Eat Everything is a book of magic: watch sorrows be converted to music. And music, don’t forget, makes you dance. Makes you move. Moves you.” —Ross Gay, author of Bringing the Shovel Down

“The Dead Eat Everything is a haunting—an unsharpened visitation of memories. Each poem unfolds itself as if we are just now remembering stories told to us long ago, simultaneously new and exciting while comforting in their familiarity. Mlekoday’s debut collection glows. Let it. Let it light the way home.”—Sierra DeMulder, author of New Shoes on a Dead Horse

Democratic Narrative, History, and Memory Cover

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Democratic Narrative, History, and Memory

The most recent book from the Symposia on Democracy SeriesThe essays in this volume explore the complex relationships among events, memory, and portrayal of those events and the deepest questions of human experience, all viewed through a range of disciplinary lenses but grouped into three sections, each with its own focus and meaning.

The first group of essays focuses on the events of May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard shot Kent State University students, killing four of them and causing shock waves that continue to resonate among those concerned with peace and violence, silence, and giving voice. Essays in the second group address the part played by corporate and noncorporate media in shaping public memory and raising public consciousness. The final section examines acts of remembrance and reconciliation within local communities and the long history of discrimination within the national community, directly and indirectly proposing ways in which society can move toward social justice.

For four decades, the Kent State University community has worked to preserve the stories of those who were lost on May 4th, both to honor them and to reveal the universal meanings behind the events. The community is negotiating, in a literal sense, the space between memory and history and between social remembering and historical analysis. For many at Kent State and in other communities that have experienced violence, the historical event is a lived event. Acts of scholarship are sometimes acts of remembrance and commemoration at the same time.

This volume emanates from a commemorative act—the University’s tenth Symposium on Democracy, founded in 2000 as a living memorial to the four students who lost their lives and as an enduring dedication to scholarship that seeks to prevent violence and promote democratic values and civil discourse. The work in this collection pursues historical meaning that holds relevance both for a particular community and speaks indelibly to the entire human community.

Denmark Vesey's Revolt Cover

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Denmark Vesey's Revolt

The Slave Plot That Lit a Fuse to Fort Sumter

In 1822, Denmark Vesey was found guilty of plotting an insurrection—what would have been the biggest slave uprising in U.S. history. A free man of color, he was hanged along with 34 other African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, in what historians agree was probably the largest civil execution in U.S. history. At the time of Vesey’s conviction, Charleston was America’s chief slave port and one of its most racially tense cities. Whites were outnumbered by slaves three to one, and they were haunted by memories of the 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti.

In Denmark Vesey’s Revolt, John Lofton draws upon primary sources to examine the trial and provide, as Peter Hoffer says in his new introduction, “one of the most sensible and measured” accounts of the subject. This classic book was originally published in 1964 as Insurrection in South Carolina: The Turbulent World of Denmark Vesey,and then reissued by the Kent State University Press in 1983 as Denmark Vesey’s Revolt: The Slave Plot That Lit a Fuse to Fort Sumter.

Determinant Cover

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Determinant

“These nineteen supple poems have both a strong sense of unity and a wide spectrum of forms, themes, and moods. Virtuosic writing combines with jagged feeling, and the end result is engaging, dramatic, and unpredictable.”—Henri Cole

“These poems have a strong voice and a bold reach: they turn outwards, finding big subjects and solid narratives. They seek to make a world: and then they persuade the reader to live in it.”—Eavan Boland

“Determinant is a strong, assured collection that begins with our planet Earth and ends with an egg. This poetic echoing of subjects and objects is indicative of Alex Fabrizio’s range: these poems guide us to a vantage point from which wonder contracts and expands without a diminishing of its essence. Her speakers are calmly certain of uncertainty. Let this collection trouble what one might assume about the explanatory connotation of the title—the poems have little concern for the didacticism of cause and embrace the effects of the world on the ambiguous lyric self. They encourage a reintegration of the ‘I’ with that world, a ‘turning returning’ to it. They give the reader that gift.”—Lo Kwa Mei-en

Dissolving Tensions Cover

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Dissolving Tensions

Rapprochement and Resolution in British- American-Canadian Relations in the Treaty of Washington Era, 1865–1914

Dissolving Tensions dismisses the long­held argument that a British­ American rapprochement did not occur until the mid­1890s. In­ stead, author Phillip E. Myers shows that the rapprochement was distinct prior to the Civil War, became more distinctive during the conflict, and continued to take shape afterward.

Myers illustrates clearly that the Treaty of Washington of 1871 was a defining ingredient in resolving British­American­Canadian tensions and sent the rapprochement into a new period of stability and dispute resolution during the three decades before World War I. Drawing upon a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, Myers makes his argument from the perspectives of geopolitics, finance, investments, and commerce, demonstrating that British­ American­Canadian relations followed a pragmatic, consistent path in keeping the spirit of the comprehensive Treaty of Washington alive. After 1871, peaceful diplomacy shaped the triangular relation­ ship for nearly five decades.

Myers delineates the contributions of British, American, and Canadian statesmen—among them, William Henry Seward, Lord John Russell, Hamilton Fish, William Ewart Gladstone, and Ulysses S. Grant—to defining and stabilizing the rapprochement against the background of American Reconstruction, global events such as the Franco­Prussian War, and issues such as the Alabama claims dispute, fisheries, boundaries, and Fenian insurgents.

Dissolving Tensions lays the groundwork for understanding how the period from 1865 to 1914 was a watershed era in Anglo­American relations that established the contours of twentieth­century diplomacy.

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