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Radical History and the Early Republic
A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown
The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”
Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.
A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter
An important addition to the literature on modern English poets and poetry
A significant poet in her own right, Ruth Pitter has long deserved this biography, which thoughtfully assesses her place in the British poetic landscape. Popular in the United Kingdom from the early 1930s until her death in 1992, Pitter won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1937 for A Trophy of Arms and was the first woman to win the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 1955. A working artisan from Chelsea, she lived through World War I and World War II and appeared often on BBC radio and television. Pitter had close relationships with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Lord David Cecil, and other Inklings. Author Don W. King’s exploration of these notable friendships brings a critical perspective to Pitter’s remarkable life and work.
Once she found her poetic voice, Pitter created work that is profound, amusing, and beautiful. The lyricism and accessibility of her poems reflect her personality—humorous, independent, brave, kind, stern, proud, and humble. King draws on Pitter’s personal journals and letters to present this overview of her life and also offers a close, critical reading of Pitter’s poetry, tracing her development as a poet.
Hunting the Unicorn is the first treatment to discuss the entire body of Pitter’s verse. It will appeal to scholars and general readers as it places Pitter into the overall context of twentieth-century British poetry and portrays a rather modest, hardworking woman who also “witnessed” the world through the lens of a gifted poet.
The Turn-of-the-Century First Lady through War, Assassination, and Secret Disability
This is the first full-length biography of Ida Saxton McKinley (1847– 1907), the wife of William McKinley, president of the United States from 1897 to his assassination in 1901. Long demeaned by history because she suffered from epilepsy—which the society of her era mistakenly believed to border on mental illness—Ida McKinley was an exceptional woman who exerted a strong influence on her hus-band’s political decisions.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Ida Saxton was the eldest of three children. Throughout her youth, Ida was remarkably independent and energetic. She was interested in art, architecture, and current events, and she was sensitive to the plight of working women. In 1871 she married lawyer and Civil War veteran William McKinley. Following the deaths of their two daughters and her mother, Ida’s physical condition deteriorated. During the years her husband served as a U.S. congressman and as Ohio governor, her health fluctuated.
Throughout William’s 1896 presidential campaign, delegations came to the McKinley home in Canton to hear the candidate speak from the front porch. Occasionally, Ida was healthy enough to speak with and meet political figures; sometimes she simply sat to hear his speeches; at other times she was entirely absent. Her husband’s devotion to her in her state became an attribute of the campaign. Author Carl Sferrazza Anthony shows that despite her frail health, Ida was determined to fulfill as much of her role as First Lady as she could. She made keen and accurate political observations—particularly in assessing the motives of those ambitious for appointments—and her unrelenting lobbying on behalf of Methodist missionary efforts factored into the president’s decision to retain the Philippine Islands for the United States.
This fascinating biography is essential reading for anyone interested in the life and times of an extraordinary First Lady.
Published in cooperation with The National First Ladies Library
Anthony Burns and the Landscape of Race in Antebellum America
Gripping re-examination of the rendition of Anthony Burns
"This well-researched and clearly written study gets a new series off to a promising start. The chapter on antislavery life in St. Catharines, Ontario, is especially valuable."
Cleveland'd Torso Murders, Authoritative Edition, Revised and Expanded
In 2001 The Kent State University Press published James Jessen Badal’s In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders—the first book to examine the horrific series of unsolved dismemberment murders that terrorized the Kingsbury Run neighborhood from 1934 to 1938. Through his access to a wealth of previously unavailable material, Badal was able to present a far more detailed and accurate picture of the battle between Cleveland safety director Eliot Ness and the unidentified killer who avoided both detection and apprehension.
In his groundbreaking historical study, Badal established beyond any doubt the truth of the legend that Ness had a secret suspect whom he had subjected to a series of interrogation sessions, complete with lie detector tests, in a secluded room in a downtown hotel. Badal also disclosed recently unearthed evidence that identified exactly who that mysterious suspect was. But was he the infamous Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run? Badal presented all the evidence available at the time and invited readers to draw their own conclusions.
Now, armed with conclusive new information, Badal returns to the absorbing tale of those terrible murders in an expanded edition of In the Wake of the Butcher. For the very first time in the history of research into the Kingsbury Run murders, he presents compelling evidence that establishes exactly where the killer incapacitated his victims, as well as the location of the long-fabled “secret laboratory” where he committed murder and performed both dismemberment and decapitation.
Was Eliot Ness’s secret suspect the Mad Butcher? Thanks to this new information, Badal is finally able to answer that question with certainty. This new, authoritative edition also includes an appendix by geographical profiler Luke G. Moussa.
Winner of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“[Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is] a rarity: a mature debut, a first book of poems with time-tested virtues. . . . Unlike many of the Vietnam poems written at the time of the war or shortly thereafter—poems of anger or protest—Edward Micus’s poems are composed, in every sense of that word. They delineate and measure their subjects; they do not advocate or hector; they do not sentimentalize. Many of them, like ‘Ambush Moon’ and ‘So We Shot,’ will take their places among the very best war poems. . . . The Infirmary is a book that keeps deepening its concerns. For all its early charm, it pretties up nothing. Yet it’s not without humor, and its prose interludes are written with the same care that the poems themselves exhibit.”<br /> —from the foreword by Stephen Dunn, <br /> Judge of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
American Women, Transatlantic Marriages, and Anglo-American Relations, 1865-1945
From 1865 to 1945, a number of prominent marriages united American heiresses and members of the British aristocracy. In Informal Ambassadors, author Dana Cooper examines the lives and marriages of the American-born, British-wed Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill, Mary Endicott Chamberlain, Vicereine Mary Leiter Curzon, Duchess Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, and Lady Nancy Astor. This cohort of women surprised their families—both British and American—by exhibiting an extraordinary degree of agency in a period that placed women solidly outside the boundaries of politics and diplomacy.
Without the formal title of diplomat or membership in Parliament, these women nonetheless exerted significant influence in the male-dominated arena of foreign affairs and international politics. As the wives of leading members of the British aristocracy, they had uncompromised and unlimited access to the eyes and ears of individuals at the highest level in Great Britain—the very decision makers who formulated and implemented foreign policy with their home country. Collectively and individually, these informal ambassadors worked to improve relations at the turn of the twentieth century, and by no coincidence, the United States and Great Britain began to view one another less as adversaries and more as allies.
Combining diplomatic history with gender and women’s history, Informal Ambassadors demonstrates not only that could women act as transnational envoys at a time when they could not apply for State Department employment but that they influenced Anglo-American relations to a degree never before considered by historians.
The New Deal and the Great Depression
In this second volume of the Interpreting American History series, experts on the 1930s address the changing historical interpretations of a critical period in American history. Following a decade of prosperity, the Great Depression brought unemployment, economic ruin, poverty, and a sense of hopelessness to millions of Americans. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs aimed to bring relief, recovery, and reform to the masses.
More than seventy-five years after Roosevelt took the oath as president, Americans are still debating what did and did not happen in the 1930s to help the nation recover from its worst economic depression. Proponents and detractors have cast the successes and failures of the New Deal in many lights. Historians have argued that the New Deal went too far, that it did not go far enough, that it created more problems than it solved, and even that its shaky foundations are the reason for the economic and social instability of the Great Recession of the early twenty-first century.
The contributors to this volume explore how historians have judged the nature, effects, and outcomes of the New Deal. Arranged in three sections, the essays discuss Roosevelt’s New Deal revolution, explore the groups on the fringes of the New Deal, and consider the legacies of 1930s reform. Chapters focus on specific areas of study, including politics, agriculture, the environment, labor, African Americans, the economy, social programs, the arts, mobilization for World War II, and memory. These fields represent today’s emerging interpretations of one of the most significant decades of the twentieth century.
Interpreting American History: The New Deal and the Great Depression introduces readers to this important period by examining the major historical debates that surround the 1930s, giving students a succinct and indispensable historiographic overview.
“In the old story of love and loss, Lisa Ampleman’s I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You cuts to the core of the matter with concision and subtlety. Hearts are laid bare, dissected, even grown anew. Masterfully structured and alert to the most vital details, this collection has lots to tell us—and a voice at once authentic and lyrical with which to do it.” —Don Bogen
“In these poems, the beloved is a space the speaker moves through—at first with trepidation, then with gathering force—emerging finally into a hard-won world ravishing in its clarity under a brutally beautiful ‘sky pinking up/like a newly healed limb.’ The poems of Lisa Ampleman’s collection don’t flinch, and the reward of their acute seeing is a song that’s sustenance itself.” —Kerri Webster
“Lisa Ampleman’s subtle and beautifully wrought poems make way for the possibility that all is not ‘frenzy’ in this ‘agitated world.’ Although we might be ‘the walking wounded,’ and ‘like Thomas/need scars to believe,’ the poems assure us that we heal, that wholeness and grace await us.” —Eric Pankey
“A prairie is plain, they say—those who have not stood in one. And so, too, is an ordinary heartbreak, until Lisa Ampleman begins to unfold it in these closely observed and quietly surprising poems. Salvation doesn’t live here, but there’s plenty to salvage in the wry, self-effacing metaphors by which she harvests what wisdom experience yields.” —Susan Tichy,