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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.

From SWEETBACK to SUPER FLY Cover

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From SWEETBACK to SUPER FLY

Race and Film Audiences in Chicago's Loop

Gerald R. Butters, Jr.

A Gallery of Harlem Portraits Cover

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A Gallery of Harlem Portraits

Melvin B. Tolson, Edited & Afterword by Robert M. Farnsworth

Melvin B. Tolson's Harlem Gallery, published in 1965 as the first book of a projected epic, drew impressive literary praise while it offered a demanding critical challenge.  The publication here for the first time of A Gallery of Harlem Portraits, Tolson's first book-length collection of poems, will provide scholars and critics a rich insight into how Tolson's literary picture of Harlem evolved.  The poems paint lively portraits of Harlem men and women of all colors and ways of life in the 1930s.

A Gallery of Harlem Portraits was written some forty years ago when Tolson was immersed in the writings of the Harlem Renaissance, the subject of his master's thesis at Columbia University.  Modeled on Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology and showing the influence of Browning and Whitman, it is rooted in the Harlem Renaissance in its fascination with Harlem's cultural and ethnic diversity and its use of musical forms.  Robert Farnsworth's afterword elucidates these and other literary influences.

Tolson eventually attempted to incorporate the technical achievements of T.S. Eliot and the New Criticism into a complex modern poetry which would accurately represent the extraordinary tensions, paradoxes, and sophistication, both highbrow and lowbrow, of modern Harlem.  As a consequence his position in literary history is problematical.  The publication of this earliest of his manuscripts will help clarify Tolson's achievement and surprise many of his readers with its readily accessible, warmly human poetic portraiture.

General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II Cover

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General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II

Nicholas A. Krehbiel

 
During World War II, the United States drafted 10.1 million men to serve in the military. Of that number, 52,000 were conscientious objectors, and 12,000 objected to noncombatant military service. Those 12,000 men served the country in Civilian Public Service, the program initiated by General Lewis Blaine Hershey, the director of Selective Service from 1941 to1970. Despite his success with this program, much of Hershey’s work on behalf of conscientious objectors has been overlooked due to his later role in the draft during the Vietnam War.

 

Seeking to correct these omissions in history, Nicholas A. Krehbiel provides the most comprehensive and well-rounded examination to date of General Hershey’s work as the developer and protector of alternative service programs for conscientious objectors. Hershey, whose Selective Service career spanned three major wars and six presidential administrations, came from a background with a tolerance for pacifism. He served in the National Guard and later served in both World War I and the interwar army. A lifelong military professional, he believed in the concept of the citizen soldier—the civilian who responded to the duty of service when called upon. Yet embedded in that idea was his intrinsic belief in the American right to religious freedom and his notion that religious minorities must be protected.

 

What to do with conscientious objectors has puzzled the United States throughout its history, and prior to World War II, there was no unified system for conscientious objectors. The Selective Service Act of 1917 only allowed conscientious objection from specific peace sects, and it had no provisions for public service. In action, this translated to poor treatment of conscientious objectors in military prisons and camps during World War I. In response to demands by the Historic Peace Churches (the Brethren, Mennonites, and the Society of Friends) and other pacifist groups, the government altered language in the Selective Service Act of 1940, stating that conscientious objectors should be assigned to noncombatant service in the military but, if opposed to that, would be assigned to “work of national importance under civilian direction.” Under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and with the cooperation of the Historic Peace Churches, Hershey helped to develop Civilian Public Service in 1941, a program that placed conscientious objectors in soil conservation and forestry work camps, with the option of moving into detached services as farm laborers, scientific test subjects, and caregivers, janitors, and cooks at mental hospitals. Although the Civilian Public Service program only lasted until 1947, alternative service was required for all conscientious objectors until the end of the draft in 1973.

 

Krehbiel delves into the issues of minority rights versus mandatory military service and presents General Hershey’s pivotal role in the history of conscientious objection and conscription in American history. Archival research from both Historic Peace Churches and the Selective Service makes General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II the definitive book on this subject.
 

The Genesis of Missouri Cover

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The Genesis of Missouri

From Wilderness Outpost to Statehood

William E. Foley

The story of the blending of diverse cultures in a land rich in resources and beauty is an extraordinary one. In this account, the pioneer hunters, trappers, and traders who roamed the Ozark hills and the boatmen who traded on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers take their place beside the small coterie of St. Louisans whose wealth and influence enabled them to dominate the region politically and economically. Especially appealing for many readers will be the attention Foley gives to common Missourians, to the status of women and blacks, and to Indian-white relations.

George Washington Carver Cover

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George Washington Carver

In His Own Words

Edited by Gary R. Kremer

A black man praised by white America-George Washington Carver (1864-1943) was an anomaly in his own time.  Now available in paperback, this choice selection of Carver's writings reveals the human side of the famous black scientist, as well as the forces that shaped his creative genius.

Gibson's Last Stand Cover

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Gibson's Last Stand

The Rise, Fall, and Near Misses of the St. Louis Cardinals, 1969-1975

Doug Feldmann

 
During star-pitcher Bob Gibson’s most brilliant season, the turbulent summer of 1968, he started thirty-four games and pitched every inning in twenty-eight of them, shutting out the opponents in almost half of those complete games. After their record-breaking season, Gibson and his teammates were stunned to lose the 1968 World Series to the Detroit Tigers. For the next six years, as Bob Gibson struggled to maintain his pitching excellence at the end of his career, changes in American culture ultimately changed the St. Louis Cardinals and the business and pastime of baseball itself.

 

Set against the backdrop of American history and popular culture, from the protests of the Vietnam War to the breakup of the Beatles, the story of the Cardinals takes on new meaning as another aspect of the changes happening at that time. In the late 1960s, exorbitant salaries and free agency was threatening to change America’s game forever and negatively impact the smaller-market teams in Major League Baseball. As the Cardinals’ owner August A. Busch Jr. and manager Albert “Red” Schoendienst attempted to reinvent the team, restore its cohesiveness, and bring new blood in to propel the team back to contention for the pennant, Gibson remained the one constant on the team.

 

In looking back on his career, Gibson mourned the end of the Golden Era of baseball and believed that the changes in the game would be partially blamed on him, as his pitching success caused team owners to believe that cash-paying customers only wanted base hits and home runs. Yet, he contended, the shrinking of the strike zone, the lowering of the mound, and the softening of the traditional rancor between the hitter and pitcher forever changed the role of the pitcher in the game and created a more politically correct version of the sport.

 

Throughout Gibson’s Last Stand, Doug Feldmann captivates readers with the action of the game, both on and off the field, and interjects interesting and detailed tidbits on players’ backgrounds that often tie them to famous players of the past, current stars, and well-known contemporary places. Feldmann also entwines the teams history with Missouri history: President Truman and the funeral procession for President Eisenhower through St. Louis; Missouri sports legends Dizzy Dean, Mark McGwire, and Stan “the Man” Musial; and legendary announcers Harry Caray and Jack Buck. Additionally, a helpful appendix provides National League East standings from 1969 to 1975.

 

Bob Gibson remains one of the most unique, complex, and beloved players in Cardinals history. In this story of one of the least examined parts of his career—his final years on the team—Feldmann takes readers into the heart of his complexity and the changes that swirled around him.

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