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In the long history of European prose, few works have been more influential and popular than Amadis of Gaul. It is a landmark work among the knight-errantry tales and probably derives from an oral tradition. Although its original author is unknown, it was likely written during the early fourteenth century, with the first known version of this work, dating from 1508, written in Spanish by Garci Ordóñez (or Rodríguez) de Montalvo. An early bestseller of the age of printing, Amadis of Gaul was translated into dozens of languages and spawned sequels and imitators over the centuries. A handsome, valiant, and undefeatable knight, Amadis is best known today as Don Quixote's favorite knight-errant and role model. Readers for centuries have delighted in his tales of adventure.
Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship
Most Americans admire the determination and drive of artists, athletes, and CEOs, but they seem to despise similar ambition in their elected officials. The structure of political representation and the separation of powers detailed in the United States Constitution were intended to restrain self-interested ambition. Because not all citizens have a desire to rule, republican democracies must choose leaders from pools of ambitious candidates while trying to prevent those same people from exploiting public power to dominate the less ambitious.
Ambition in America: Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship is an engaging examination of this rarely studied yet significant phenomenon. Author Jeffrey A. Becker explores how American political institutions have sought to guide, inspire, and constrain citizens' ambitions to power. Detailing the Puritans' government by "moral community," the Founders' attempts to curtail ambition, the influence of Jacksonian populism, and twentieth-century party politics, Becker presents an unfolding drama that culminates in a spirited discussion of the deficiencies in the current political system.This groundbreaking work reassesses the value and role of ambition in politics in order to identify the beliefs and practices that threaten self-government, as well as those that can strengthen democratic politics.
And Other Historical Mysteries
What constitutes historical truth is often subject to change. Through ingenious detection, the accepted wisdom of one generation may become the discredited legend of another -- or vice versa. In this wide- ranging study of historical investigation, former detective Joe Nickell allows the reader to look over his shoulder as he demonstrates the use of varied techniques in solving some of the world's most perplexing mysteries.
All the major categories of historical mystery are here -- ancient riddles, biographical enigmas, hidden identity, "fakelore," questioned artifacts, suspect documents, lost texts, obscured sources, and scientific challenges. Each is then illustrated by a complete case from the author's own files.
Nickell's investigation of the giant Nazca drawings in Peru, for example -- thought by some to provide proof of ancient extraterrestrial visitations -- uses innovative techniques to reveal a very different origin. Other cases concern the 1913 disappearance of writer and journalist Ambrose Bierce, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the truth about the identity of John Demjanjuk ("Ivan the Terrible" to Polish death camp victims), the fate of a lost colonial American text, the authenticity of Abraham Lincoln's celebrated Bixby letter, and the apparent real-life model for a mysterious character in a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In reaching his solutions, Nickell demonstrates a wide variety of investigative techniques -- chemical and instrumental analyses, physical experimentation, a "psychological autopsy," forensic identification, archival research, linguistic analysis, folklore study, and many others. His highly readable book will intrigue the scholar and the history buff no less than the mystery lover.
From South Carolina to South Vietnam, America's two hundred-year involvement in guerrilla warfare has been extensive and varied. America and Guerrilla Warfare analyzes conflicts in which Americans have participated in the role of, on the side of, or in opposition to guerrilla forces, providing a broad comparative and historical perspective on these types of engagements.
Anthony James Joes examines nine case studies, ranging from the role of Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, in driving Cornwallis to Yorktown and eventual surrender to the U.S. support of Afghan rebels that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Empire. He analyzes the origins of each conflict, traces American involvement, and seeks patterns and deviations. Studying numerous campaigns, including ones staged by Confederate units during the Civil War, Joes reveals the combination of elements that can lead a nation to success in guerrilla warfare or doom it to failure.
In a controversial interpretation, he suggests that valuable lessons were forgotten or ignored in Southeast Asia. The American experience in Vietnam was a debacle but, according to Joes, profoundly atypical of the country's overall experience with guerrilla warfare. He examines several twentieth-century conflicts that should have better prepared the country for Vietnam: the Philippines after 1898, Nicaragua in the 1920s, Greece in the late 1940s, and the Philippines again during the Huk War of 1946-1954. Later, during the long Salvadoran conflict of the 1980s, American leaders seemed to recall what they had learned from their experiences with this type of warfare.
Guerrilla insurgencies did not end with the Cold War. As America faces recurring crises in the Balkans, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and possibly Asia, a comprehensive analysis of past guerrilla engagements is essential for today's policymakers.
United States National Interests in the 1980s
Is the United States seriously overcommitted in its worldwide relationships? Donald Nuechterlein examines the foreign policy priorities of the United States as it enters the latter half of the 1980s and contemplates its future international role; he argues that whether the United States remains a superpower into the twenty-first century depends on how it decides its international priorities in this decade and then marshals its resources to defend and enhance them.
The hard decisions needed to establish priorities among United States military and economic commitments abroad must be made if the United States is to remain financially strong and emotionally committed to an international rather than an isolationist foreign policy. In this book the author uses a conceptual framework he developed earlier to assess the nature and intensity of specific challenges to United States national interests.
Nuechterlein analyzes seven geographical areas of the world in terms of the United States historical interests and suggests the future degree of interest that should be assigned to them. He also classifies thirty countries, in various parts of the world, in terms of their national interest value to the United States in the coming decade. Finally, he assesses the foreign policies of the Reagan administration in light of national interest priorities.
America Overcommitted will be essential reading for makers of American foreign and national security policy, for journalists reporting on international affairs, for scholars seeking better ways to analyze United States foreign policy objectives, and for informed citizens who ask why the United States is involved militarily in all parts of the world. America Overcommitted is thus a guide to better decision making in foreign affairs in this critical decade.
A Superpower Assesses Its Role in a Turbulent World
When the first edition of America Recommitted was published in 1991, the world was passing through a period of sweeping political and social change. The Cold War was over; China had reverted to harsh authoritarian rule; U.S.-led forces were deployed in Saudi Arabia for potential military action against Iraq; the Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegration; and the unraveling of Yugoslavia had set the stage for brutal ethnic conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. In the midst of this widespread upheaval, the United States reassessed its own role as the sole remaining superpower¾a process that continues today. This new edition features three new chapters that assess U.S. foreign policy during the last two years of the Bush presidency and the first seven years of the Clinton administration, bringing new data and insights to the questions that have challenged U.S. policymakers during the 1990s.
The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark
In pursuit of his foremost goal, full and equal citizenship for African Americans, Peter Humphries Clark (1829--1925) defied easy classification. He was, at various times, the country's first black socialist, a loyal supporter of the Republican Party, and an advocate for the Democrats. A pioneer educational activist, Clark led the fight for African Americans' access to Ohio's public schools and became the first black principal in the state. He supported all-black schools and staunchly defended them even after the tide turned toward desegregation. As a politician, intellectual, educator, and activist, Clark was complex and enigmatic.
Though Clark influenced a generation of abolitionists and civil rights activists, he is virtually forgotten today. America's First Black Socialist draws upon speeches, correspondence, and outside commentary to provide a balanced account of this neglected and misunderstood figure. Charting Clark's changing allegiances and ideologies from the antebellum era through the 1920s, this comprehensive biography illuminates the life and legacy of an important activist while also highlighting the black radical tradition that helped democratize America.
A unique perspective on half a century of American cinema -- from the audience's point of view. Tom Stempel goes beyond the comments of professional reviewers, concentrating on the opinions of ordinary people. He traces shifting trends in genre and taste, examining and questioning the power films have in American society. Stempel blends audience response with his own observations and analyzes box office results that identify the movies people actually went to see, not just those praised by the critics. Avoiding statistical summary, he presents the results of a survey on movies and moviegoing in the respondents' own words -- words that surprise, amuse, and irritate.
The moviegoers respond: "Big bad plane, big bad motorcycle, and big bad Kelly McGillis." -- On Top Gun "All I can recall were the slave girls and the Golden Calf sequence and how it got me excited. My parents must have been very pleased with my enthusiasm for the Bible." -- On why a seven-year-old boy stayed up to watch The Ten Commandments "I learned the fine art of seduction by watching Faye Dunaway smolder." -- A woman's reaction to seeing Bonnie and Clyde
"At age fifteen Jesus said he would be back, he just didn't say what he would look like." -- On E.T.
"Quasimodo is every seventh grader." -- On why The Hunchback of Notre Dame should play well with middle-schoolers
"A moronic, very 'Hollywoody' script, and a bunch of dancing teddy bears." -- On Return of the Jedi "I couldn't help but think how Mad magazine would lampoon this." -- On The Exorcist
With increasing world economic interdependence and a new position as a creditor nation, the American business community became more actively and vocally concerned with foreign policy after World War I than ever before. This book details the response of American businessmen to such foreign policy issues as the tariff, disarmament, allied debts, loans, and the Manchurian crisis.
Far from presenting a monolithic front, the business community fragmented into nationalist and internationalist camps, according to this study. Division over each issue varied with the size, type, and geographic region of the various business interests, and despite their formidable economic power, business internationalists are shown to have played a more limited role on certain issues than has been formerly assumed.
Unfortunately for the future development of United States diplomacy and world stability, no institutional means for tempering business influence on the formulation of foreign policy, or for coordinating economic and political foreign policies, were developed in the twenties.
Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan rode a wave of patriotism to the White House by calling for a return to what he considered to be traditional American values--personal liberty, free markets, and limited government. After the cultural struggles and generational clashes of the 1960s and 70s, it appeared that many Americans were eager to abide by Reagan's set of core American principles. Yet, despite Reagan's continuing popularity, modern America remains widely perceived as a nation weakened by its divisions. While debates over cultural values have been common throughout the country's history, they seem particularly vitriolic today. Some argue that these differences have resulted in a perpetually gridlocked government caught between left and right, red states and blue. Since the American Founding, commonly shared cultural values have been considered to be the glue that would bind the nation's citizens together. However, how do we identify, define and interpret the foundations of American culture in a profoundly divided, pluralistic country?
In American Culture in Peril, Charles W. Dunn assembles top scholars and public intellectuals to examine Reagan's impact on American culture in the twenty-first century. The contributors assess topics vital to our conversations about American culture and society, including changing views of the family, the impact of popular culture, and the evolving relationship between religion, communities, and the state. Others investigate modern liberalism and the possibilities of reclaiming a renewed conservatism today. American Culture in Peril illuminates Reagan's powerful legacy and investigates whether his traditional view of American culture can successfully compete in postmodern America.
Paul A. Cantor
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Charles R. Kesler
Wilfred M. McClay