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A Fatherless Child Cover

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A Fatherless Child

Autobiographical Perspectives of African American Men

Tara T. Green

The impact of absent fathers on sons in the black community has been a subject for cultural critics and sociologists who often deal in anonymous data. Yet many of those sons have themselves addressed the issue in autobiographical works that form the core of African American literature.

A Fatherless Child examines the impact of fatherlessness on racial and gender identity formation as seen in black men’s autobiographies and in other constructions of black fatherhood in fiction. Through these works, Tara T. Green investigates what comes of abandonment by a father and loss of a role model by probing a son’s understanding of his father’s struggles to define himself and the role of community in forming the son’s quest for self-definition in his father’s absence.

Closely examining four works—Langston Hughes’s The Big Sea, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father—Green portrays the intersecting experiences of generations of black men during the twentieth century both before and after the Civil Rights movement. These four men recall feeling the pressure and responsibility of caring for their mothers, resisting public displays of care, and desiring a loving, noncontentious relationship with their fathers. Feeling vulnerable to forces they may have identified as detrimental to their status as black men, they use autobiography as a tool for healing, a way to confront that vulnerability and to claim a lost power associated with their lost fathers.

Through her analysis, Green emphasizes the role of community as a father-substitute in producing successful black men, the impact of fatherlessness on self-perceptions and relationships with women, and black men’s engagement with healing the pain of abandonment. She also looks at why these four men visited Africa to reclaim a cultural history and identity, showing how each developed a clearer understanding of himself as an American man of African descent.

A Fatherless Child conveys important lessons relevant to current debates regarding the status of African American families in the twenty-first century. By showing us four black men of different eras, Green asks readers to consider how much any child can heal from fatherlessness to construct a positive self-image—and shows that, contrary to popular perceptions, fatherlessness need not lead to certain failure.

The Final Mission of Bottoms Up Cover

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The Final Mission of Bottoms Up

A World War II Pilot's Story

Dennis R. Okerstrom

On November 18, 1944, the end of the war in Europe finally in sight, American copilot Lieutenant Lee Lamar struggled alongside pilot Randall Darden to keep Bottoms Up, their B-24J Liberator, in the air. They and their crew of eight young men had believed the intelligence officer who, at the predawn briefing at their base in southern Italy, had confided that their mission that day would be a milk run. But that twenty-first mission out of Italy would be their last.


            Bottoms Up was staggered by an antiaircraft shell that sent it plunging three miles earthward, the pilots recovering control at just 5,000 feet. With two engines out, they tried to make it to a tiny strip on a British-held island in the Adriatic Sea and in desperation threw out everything not essential to flight: machine guns, belts of ammunition, flak jackets. But over Pula, in what is now Croatia, they were once more hit by German fire, and the focus quickly became escaping the doomed bomber. Seemingly unable to extricate himself, Lamar all but surrendered to death before fortuitously bailing out. He was captured the next day and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner at a stalag on the Baltic Sea, suffering the deprivations of little food and heat in Europe’s coldest winter in a century. He never saw most of his crew again.


            Then, in 2006, more than sixty years after these life-changing experiences, Lamar received an email from Croatian archaeologist Luka Bekic, who had discovered the wreckage of Bottoms Up. A veteran of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, Bekic felt compelled to find out the crew’s identities and fates. Lee Lamar, a boy from a hardscrabble farm in rural northwestern Missouri, had gone to college on the GI Bill, become a civil engineer, gotten married, and raised a family. Yet, for all the opportunity that stemmed from his wartime service, part of him was lost. The prohibition on asking prisoners of war their memories during the repatriation process prevented him from reconciling himself to the events of that November day. That changed when, nearly a year after being contacted by Bekic, Lamar visited the site, hoping to gain closure, and met the Croatian Partisans who had helped some members of his crew escape.


            In this absorbing, alternating account of World War II and its aftermath, Dennis R. Okerstrom chronicles, through Lee Lamar’s experiences, the Great Depression generation who went on to fight in the most expensive war in history. This is the story of the young men who flew Bottoms Up on her final mission, of Lamar’s trip back to the scene of his recurring nightmare, and of a remarkable convergence of international courage, perseverance, and friendship. 


The Fishing Creek Confederacy Cover

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The Fishing Creek Confederacy

A Story of Civil War Draft Resistance

Richard A. Sauers and Peter Tomasak

<a href="http://press.umsystem.edu/pages/TheFishingCreekConfederacy.aspx">Media Kit

           One hundred fifty years after the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is thought of as one of the best presidents of the United States. However, most Americans forget that he was elected with only 40 percent of the popular vote. Many Democratic newspapers across the North mistrusted Lincoln’s claim that he would not abolish slavery, and the lukewarm support evidenced by them collapsed after Lincoln announced his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in the fall of 1862. The advent of a national draft in the spring of 1863 only added fuel to the fire with anti-Lincoln Democrats arguing that it was illegal to draft civilians. Many newspaper editors advocated active resistance against the draft. 


            Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin of Pennsylvania was a staunch supporter of the Lincoln administration. The commonwealth supplied more than 360,000 white soldiers and 9,000 black soldiers during the conflict. However, there was sustained opposition to the war throughout the state, much of it fanned by the pens of Democratic newspaper editors. Though most opposition was disorganized and spontaneous, other aspects of the antiwar sentiment in the state occasionally erupted as major incidents. 


           In The Fishing Creek Confederacy, Richard A. Sauers and Peter Tomasak address the serious opposition to the draft in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, in 1864. Egged on by the anti-Lincoln newspaper editors, a number of men avoided the draft and formed ad hoc groups to protect themselves from arrest. The shooting of a Union lieutenant confronting draft evaders in July 1864 resulted in military intervention in the northern townships of the county. The troops arrested more than one hundred men, sending about half of them to a prison fort near Philadelphia. Some of these men were subjected to military trials in Harrisburg, the state capital, that fall and winter. The arrests led to bitter feelings that were slow to die. The military intervention eventually impacted a Pennsylvania gubernatorial election and led to a murder trial.

            Sauers and Tomasak describe the draft in Pennsylvania and consider how Columbia County fit into the overall draft process. Subsequent chapters take the reader through the events of the summer of 1864, including the interaction of soldiers and civilians in the county, the prison experiences of the men, and the trials. Later chapters cover the August 1865 Democratic rally at Nob Mountain and the effects of the draft episode after the war was over, including its influence on the 1872 election for governor, the 1891 murder trial, and the formation of the official Democratic version of the events, which has been used by historians ever since.

            The Fishing Creek Confederacy is the first book to address this episode and its aftermath in their entirety. Sauers and Tomasak present the story and try to disentangle the often contradictory nature of the sources and how both amateur and professional historians have used them.

The Forgotten Generation Cover

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The Forgotten Generation

American Children and World War II

Lisa L. Ossian


Two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt addressed the nation by radio, saying, “We are all in it—all the way. Every single man, woman, and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history.” So began a continuing theme of the World War II years: the challenges of wartime would not be borne by adults alone. Men, women, and children would all be involved in the work of war.
The struggles endured by American civilians during the Second World War are well documented, but accounts of the war years have mostly deliberated on the grown-ups’ sacrifices. In The Forgotten Generation: American Children and World War II, Lisa L. Ossian explores the war’s full implications for the lives of children. In thematic chapters, the author delves into children’s experiences of family, school, play, work, and home, uncovering the range of effects the war had on youths of various ethnicities and backgrounds.
Since the larger U.S. culture so fervently supported the war effort, adults rarely sheltered children from the realities of the war and the trials of life on the home front. Children listened for news of battles over the radio, labored in munitions factories, and saved money for war bonds. They watched enlisted men—their fathers, uncles, and brothers—leave for duty and worried about the safety of soldiers overseas. They prayed during the D-Day invasion, mourned President Roosevelt’s death, and celebrated on V-J Day . . . all at an age when such sharp events are so difficult to understand. Ossian draws from a multitude of sources, including the writings of 1940s children, to demonstrate the great extent of these young people’s participation in the wartime culture.
World War II transformed a generation of youths as no other experience of the twentieth century would, but somehow the children at home during the war—compressed between the “Greatest Generation” and the “Baby Boomers”—slipped into the margins of U.S. history. The Forgotten Generation: American Children and World War II remembers these children and their engagement in “the most tremendous undertaking” that the war effort came to be. By bringing the depth of those experiences to light, Ossian makes a compelling contribution to the literature on American childhood and the research on this remarkable period of U.S. history.

A French Aristocrat in the American West Cover

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A French Aristocrat in the American West

The Shattered Dreams of De Lassus De Luzieres

Carl J. Ekberg & Foreword by Marie-Sol de La Tour d'Auvergne


In 1790, Pierre-Charles de Lassus de Luzières gathered his wife and children and fled Revolutionary France. His trek to America was prompted by his “purchase” of two thousand acres situated on the bank of the Ohio River from the Scioto Land Company—the institution that infamously swindled French buyers and sold them worthless titles to property. When de Luzières arrived and realized he had been defrauded, he chose, in a momentous decision, not to return home to France. Instead, he committed to a life in North America and began planning a move to the Mississippi River valley.
            De Luzières dreamed of creating a vast commercial empire that would stretch across the frontier, extending the entire length of the Ohio River and also down the Mississippi from Ste. Genevieve to New Orleans. Though his grandiose goal was never realized, de Luzières energetically pursued other important initiatives. He founded the city of New Bourbon in what is now Missouri and recruited American settlers to move westward across the Mississippi River. The highlight of his career was being appointed Spanish commandant of the New Bourbon District, and his 1797 census of that community is an invaluable historical document. De Luzières was a significant political player during the final years of the Spanish regime in Louisiana, but likely his greatest contributions to American history are his extensive commentaries on the Mississippi frontier at the close of the colonial era.
            A French Aristocrat in the American West: The Shattered Dreams of De Lassus de Luzières is both a narrative of this remarkable man’s life and a compilation of his extensive writings. In Part I of the book, author Carl Ekberg offers a thorough account of de Luzières, from his life in Pre-Revolutionary France to his death in 1806 in his house in New Bourbon. Part II is a compilation, in translation, of de Luzières’s most compelling correspondence. Until now very little of his writing has been published, despite the fact that his letters constitute one of the largest bodies of writing ever produced by a French émigré in North America.
            Though de Luzières’s presence in early American history has been largely overlooked by scholars, the work left behind by this unlikely frontiersman merits closer inspection. A French Aristocrat in the American West brings the words and deeds of this fascinating man to the public for the first time.

A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime Cover

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A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime

The Correspondence Between Alfred Schutz and Eric Voegelin

Gerhard Wagner & Gilbert Weiss


Scholarly correspondence can be as insightful as scholarly work itself, as it often documents the motivating forces of its writers’ intellectual ideas while illuminating their lives more clearly. The more complex the authors’ scholarly works and the more troubled the eras in which they lived, the more substantial, and potentially fascinating, their correspondence. This is especially true of the letters between Alfred Schutz (18991959) and Eric Voegelin (19011985). The scholars lived in incredibly dramatic times and produced profound, complex works that continue to confound academics. The communication between these two giants of the social sciences, as they sent their thoughts to one another, was crucial to the work of both men.



            A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime: The Correspondence between Alfred Schutz and Eric Voegelin demonstrates that Schutz and Voegelin shared a remarkable friendship: they first met as students in Vienna in the 1920s and found themselves great partners in discussion; years later they were pushed out of Europe by Nazi pressure and went to work at separate American universities. For twenty years they wrote each other, developing their respective scientific works in that dialogue. The letters bear witness to their friendship during the years they spent in exile in the United States, and they document the men’s tentative attempts at formulating the theories of “lifeworld” and “gnosis” associated with Schutz and Voegelin today.



            The entire collection of 238 letters was printed in German in 2004, but this edited volume is the first to present their correspondence in English and offers a selection of the most important letters—those that contributed to the thinkers’ theoretical discussions and served as background to their most significant thoughts. Editors Gerhard Wagner and Gilbert Weiss do not analyze Schutz’s and Voegelin’s works in light of the correspondence—rather, they present the collection to create a framework for new interpretations.



            A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime takes a unique look at two major social scientists. This volume is a valuable resource in the study of Voegelin’s political philosophy and Alfred Schutz’s contribution to American sociology and marks an important addition to the literature on these remarkable men. Showing how scholarly discourse and the dialogue of everyday life can shed light on one another, the book finally presents this correspondence for an American audience and is not to be missed by scholars of philosophy and sociology.

From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama Cover

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From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama

African American Political Success, 1966-2008

Dennis Nordin

In 2008, American history was forever changed with the election of Barack Obama, the United States’ first African American president. However, Obama was far from the first African American to run for a public office or to face the complexities of race in a political campaign. For over a century, offices ranging from city mayor to state senator have been filled by African Americans, making race a factor in many elections. In From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama, Dennis S. Nordin navigates the history of biracial elections by examining the experiences of a variety of African American politicians from across the country, revealing how voters, both black and white, respond to the issue of race in an election.



The idea to compare the African American political experience across several levels of office first occurred to Nordin as he was researching Arthur W. Mitchell’s 1934 congressional campaign. The question of white voter support was of particular significance, as was whether the continuation of that support depended upon his avoiding minority issues in office. To begin answering these questions and others, Nordin compares the experiences of eleven African American politicians. Taken from across the country to ensure a wide sample and accurate depiction of the subject, the case studies examined include Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles; David Dinkins, mayor of New York; Freeman Bosley Jr., mayor of St. Louis; Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts; Senator Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois; Governor L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia; and Representative J. C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, among others. As Nordin analyzes these individuals and their contribution to the whole, he concludes that biracial elections in the United States have yet to progress beyond race.



            From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama investigates the implications of race in politics, a highly relevant topic in today’s American society. It offers readers a chronological overview of the progress made over the last several decades as well as shows where there is room for growth in the political arena. By taking a pertinent topic for the era and placing it in the context of history, Nordin successfully chronicles the roles of race and race relations in American politics.

From Little Houses to Little Women Cover

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From Little Houses to Little Women

Revisiting a Literary Childhood

Nancy McCabe

A typical travel book takes readers along on a trip with the author, but a great travel book does much more than that, inviting readers along on a mental and spiritual journey as well. This distinction is what separates Nancy McCabe’s From Little Houses to Little Women from the typical and allows it to take its place not only as a great travel book but also as a memoir about the children’s books that have shaped all of our imaginations.

McCabe, who grew up in Kansas just a few hours from the Ingalls family’s home in Little House on the Prairie, always felt a deep connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series. McCabe read Little House on the Prairie during her childhood and visited Wilder sites around the Midwest with her aunt when she was thirteen. But then she didn’t read the series again until she decided to revisit in adulthood the books that had so influenced her childhood. It was this decision that ultimately sparked her desire to visit the places that inspired many of her childhood favorites, taking her on a journey that included stops in the Missouri of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Minnesota of Maud Hart Lovelace, the Massachusetts of Louisa May Alcott, and even the Canada of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

From Little Houses to Little Women reveals McCabe’s powerful connection to the characters and authors who inspired many generations of readers. Traveling with McCabe as she rediscovers the books that shaped her and ultimately helped her to forge her own path, readers will enjoy revisiting their own childhood favorites as well.

From Missouri Cover

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From Missouri

An American Farmer Looks Back

Thad Snow, Edited by Bonnie Stepenoff

After years of subjecting the editors of St. Louis newspapers to eloquent letters on subjects as diverse as floods, tariffs, and mules, Thad Snow published his memoir From Missouri in his mid-seventies in 1954. He was barely retired from farming for more than half a century, mostly in the Missouri Bootheel, or “Swampeast Missouri,” as he called it. Now back in print with a new introduction by historian Bonnie Stepenoff, these sketches of a life, a region, and an era will delight readers new to this distinctive American voice as well as readers already familiar with this masterpiece of the American Midwest.

            Snow purchased a thousand acres of southeast Missouri swampland in 1910, cleared it, drained it, and eventually planted it in cotton. Although he employed sharecroppers, he grew to become a bitter critic of the labor system after a massive flood and the Great Depression worsened conditions for these already-burdened workers. Shocking his fellow landowners, Snow invited the Southern Tenant Farmers Union to organize the workers on his land. He was even once accused of fomenting a strike and publicly threatened with horsewhipping.
            Snow’s admiration for Owen Whitfield, the African American leader of the Sharecroppers’ Roadside Demonstration, convinced him that nonviolent resistance could defeat injustice. Snow embraced pacifism wholeheartedly and denounced all war as evil even as America mobilized for World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he became involved with creating Missouri’s conservation movement. Near the end of his life, he found a retreat in the Missouri Ozarks, where he wrote this recollection of his life.
            This unique and honest series of personal essays expresses the thoughts of a farmer, a hunter, a husband, a father and grandfather, a man with a soft spot for mules and dogs and all kinds of people. Snow’s prose reveals much about a way of life in the region during the first half of the twentieth century, as well as the social and political events that affected the entire nation. Whether arguing that a good stock dog should be left alone to do its work, explaining the process of making swampland suitable for agriculture, or putting forth his case for world peace, Snow’s ideas have a special authenticity because they did not come from an ivory tower or a think tank—they came From Missouri.

From Mountain Man to Millionaire Cover

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From Mountain Man to Millionaire

The "Bold and Dashing Life" of Robert Campbell, Revised and Expanded Edition

William R. Nester


The western fur trade era—a time when trappers and traders endured constant danger from man, beast, and weather—was one of the most colorful periods in American history. Over a decade ago, William R. Nester wrote the first biography of Robert Campbell (1804–1879); the subsequent discovery of nearly five hundred new documents, most from two major caches of letters, led to this even-more-detailed and vivid account of Campbell’s self-described “bold and dashing life.”
Campbell came to America from Ireland in 1822 and entered the fur trade soon after. He quickly rose from trapper to brigade leader to partner, all within a half dozen years, and this new edition includes an expanded narrative of his adventures in the Rocky Mountain fur trade. In the mid-1830s, having amassed considerable wealth, Campbell retired from the mountains and embarked on a new career. He returned to St. Louis and built up a business empire that embraced mercantile, steamboat, railroad, and banking interests, thus becoming a leading force behind the region’s economic development. A more extensive account of the cutthroat business world in which Campbell operated now enriches this portion of the book.
Nester masterfully depicts the “sterling character” for which Campbell was renowned. Campbell enjoyed deep and enduring friendships and strong familial ties, both in America and abroad. Although he was an outstanding businessman and philanthropist, his personal life was marred by tragedy. Ten of his thirteen children died prematurely. Despite those tragic losses, his faith in God never faltered. He believed that all worldly successes should honor God and once wrote that , “all worldly gain is but dross.” This edition elucidates the complex relations among his family and chronicles both tragic events and humorous incidents in more depth.
Exploring the letters, journals, and account books that Campbell left behind, Nester places him in the context of the times in which he lived, showing the economic, political, social, and cultural forces that provided the opportunities and challenges that shaped his life. Nester provides new insights into Campbell’s ownership of slaves, his attitudes toward slavery, and his behind-the-scenes political and economic activities during the Civil War. This comprehensive exploration of Robert Campbell’s life depicts a fascinating era in American history.

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