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Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

David Wheat

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the "Africanization" of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain's colonization of the Caribbean.

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Atlantic Bonds

A Nineteenth-Century Odyssey from America to Africa

Lisa A. Lindsay

A decade before the American Civil War, James Churchwill Vaughan (1828–93) set out to fulfill his formerly enslaved father's dying wish that he should leave America to start a new life in Africa. Over the next forty years, Vaughan was taken captive, fought in African wars, built and rebuilt a livelihood, and led a revolt against white racism, finally becoming a successful merchant and the founder of a wealthy, educated, and politically active family. Tracing Vaughan's journey from South Carolina to Liberia to several parts of Yorubaland (present-day southwestern Nigeria), Lisa Lindsay documents this "free" man's struggle to find economic and political autonomy in an era when freedom was not clear and unhindered anywhere for people of African descent.

In a tour de force of historical investigation on two continents, Lindsay tells a story of Vaughan's survival, prosperity, and activism against a seemingly endless series of obstacles. By following Vaughan's transatlantic journeys and comparing his experiences to those of his parents, contemporaries, and descendants in Nigeria and South Carolina, Lindsay reveals the expansive reach of slavery, the ambiguities of freedom, and the surprising ways that Africa, rather than America, offered new opportunities for people of African descent.

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The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550-1624

Peter C. Mancall

In response to the global turn in scholarship on colonial and early modern history, the eighteen essays in this volume provide a fresh and much-needed perspective on the wider context of the encounter between the inhabitants of precolonial Virginia and the English. This collection offers an interdisciplinary consideration of developments in Native America, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Chesapeake, highlighting the mosaic of regions and influences that formed the context and impetus for the English settlement at Jamestown in 1607. The volume reflects an understanding of Jamestown not as the birthplace of democracy in America but as the creation of a European outpost in a neighborhood that included Africans, Native Americans, and other Europeans.

With contributions from both prominent and rising scholars, this volume offers far-ranging and compelling studies of peoples, texts, places, and conditions that influenced the making of New World societies. As Jamestown marks its four-hundredth anniversary, this collection provides provocative material for teaching and launching new research.

Contributors:
Philip P. Boucher, University of Alabama, Huntsville
Peter Cook, Nipissing University
J. H. Elliott, University of Oxford
Andrew Fitzmaurice, University of Sydney
Joseph Hall, Bates College
Linda Heywood, Boston University
James Horn, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
E. Ann McDougall, University of Alberta
Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University
David Northrup, Boston College
Marcy Norton, The George Washington University
James D. Rice, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
Daniel K. Richter, University of Pennsylvania
David Harris Sacks, Reed College
Benjamin Schmidt, University of Washington
Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale University
David S. Shields, University of South Carolina
Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, McGill University
James H. Sweet, University of Wisconsin, Madison
John Thornton, Boston University

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Auschwitz

True Tales From a Grotesque Land

Sara Nomberg-Przytyk

From the moment I got to Auschwitz I was completely detached. I disconnected my heart and intellect in an act of self-defense, despair, and hopelessness." With these words Sara Nomberg-Przytyk begins this painful and compelling account of her experiences while imprisoned for two years in the infamous death camp. Writing twenty years after her liberation, she recreates the events of a dark past which, in her own words, would have driven her mad had she tried to relive it sooner. But while she records unimaginable atrocities, she also richly describes the human compassion that stubbornly survived despite the backdrop of camp depersonalization and imminent extermination.

Commemorative in spirit and artistic in form, Auschwitz convincingly portrays the paradoxes of human nature in extreme circumstances. With consummate understatement Nomberg-Przytyk describes the behavior of concentration camp inmates as she relentlessly and pitilessly examines her own motives and feelings. In this world unmitigated cruelty coexisted with nobility, rapacity with self-sacrifice, indifference with selfless compassion. This book offers a chilling view of the human drama that existed in Auschwitz.

From her portraits of camp personalities, an extraordinary and horrifying profile emerges of Dr. Josef Mengele, whose medical experiments resulted in the slaughter of nearly half a million Jews. Nomberg-Przytyk's job as an attendant in Mengle's hospital allowed her to observe this Angel of Death firsthand and to provide us with the most complete description to date of his monstrous activities.

The original Polish manuscript was discovered by Eli Pfefferkorn in 1980 in the Yad Vashem Archive in Jerusalem. Not knowing the fate of the journal's author, Pfefferkorn spent two years searching and finally located Nomberg-Przytyk in Canada. Subsequent interviews revealed the history of the manuscript, the author's background, and brought the journal into perspective.

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Back Channel to Cuba

The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh

Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual hostility between the United States and Cuba--beyond invasions, covert operations, assassination plots using poison pens and exploding seashells, and a grinding economic embargo--this fascinating book chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. Now, LeoGrande and Kornbluh present a new and increasingly more relevant account. From Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Castro after the missile crisis, to Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Obama's promise of a "new approach," LeoGrande and Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future.

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Back Channel to Cuba

The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande

History is being made in U.S.-Cuban relations. Now updated to tell the story behind the stunning December 17, 2014, announcement by President Obama and President Castro of their move to restore full diplomatic relations, this powerful book is essential to understanding ongoing efforts toward normalization. Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual conflict and aggression between the United States and Cuba since 1959, Back Channel to Cuba chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh here present a remarkably new and relevant account, describing how, despite the intense political clamor surrounding efforts to improve relations with Havana, negotiations have been conducted by every presidential administration since Eisenhower's through secret, back-channel diplomacy. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a new approach, LeoGrande and Kornbluh uncovered hundreds of formerly secret U.S. documents and conducted interviews with dozens of negotiators, intermediaries, and policy makers, including Fidel Castro and Jimmy Carter. They reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, that provides the historical foundation for the dramatic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba ties.

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Bad Girls

Young Women, Sex, and Rebellion before the Sixties

Amanda H. Littauer

In this innovative and revealing study of midcentury American sex and culture, Amanda Littauer traces the origins of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s. She argues that sexual liberation was much more than a reaction to 1950s repression because it largely involved the mainstreaming of a counterculture already on the rise among girls and young women decades earlier. From World War II–era "victory girls" to teen lesbians in the 1940s and 1950s, these nonconforming women and girls navigated and resisted intense social and interpersonal pressures to fit existing mores, using the upheavals of the era to pursue new sexual freedoms.

Building on a new generation of research on postwar society, Littauer tells the history of diverse young women who stood at the center of major cultural change and helped transform a society bound by conservative sexual morality into one more open to individualism, plurality, and pleasure in modern sexual life.

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Baptized in PCBs

Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town

Ellen Griffith Spears

In the mid-1990s, residents of Anniston, Alabama, began a legal fight against the agrochemical company Monsanto over the dumping of PCBs in the city's historically African American and white working-class west side. Simultaneously, Anniston environmentalists sought to safely eliminate chemical weaponry that had been secretly stockpiled near the city during the Cold War. In this probing work, Ellen Griffith Spears offers a compelling narrative of Anniston's battles for environmental justice, exposing how systemic racial and class inequalities reinforced during the Jim Crow era played out in these intense contemporary social movements.

Spears focuses attention on key figures who shaped Anniston--from Monsanto's founders, to white and African American activists, to the ordinary Anniston residents whose lives and health were deeply affected by the town's military-industrial history and the legacy of racism. Situating the personal struggles and triumphs of Anniston residents within a larger national story of regulatory regimes and legal strategies that have affected toxic towns across America, Spears unflinchingly explores the causes and implications of environmental inequalities, showing how civil rights movement activism undergirded Anniston's campaigns for redemption and justice.

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Battle Hymns

The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War

Christian McWhirter

In “Liberty’s Great Auxiliary,” Christian McWhirter explores the role of music in Civil War America. McWhirter explains that although music was a significant part of American culture in the antebellum period, the explosion of amateur and professional music during the Civil War was unparalleled, and its popularization during the war had a lasting impact throughout the decades that followed. Drawing on an extensive array of published and archival resources, McWhirter examines how music influenced the popular culture surrounding and supporting the war and makes broad statements about the place Civil War music in American society, north and south (and with attention to the music of African Americans). Finally, McWhirter goes on to examine a resurgence of popularity of Civil War songs during the late nineteenth century and discusses the implications of their continued resonance in the twentieth century.

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The Battle of Ezra Church and the Struggle for Atlanta

Earl J. Hess

Fought on July 28, 1864, the Battle of Ezra Church was a dramatic engagement during the Civil War's Atlanta Campaign. Confederate forces under John Bell Hood desperately fought to stop William T. Sherman's advancing armies as they tried to cut the last Confederate supply line into the city. Confederates under General Stephen D. Lee nearly overwhelmed the Union right flank, but Federals under General Oliver O. Howard decisively repelled every attack. After five hours of struggle, 5,000 Confederates lay dead and wounded, while only 632 Federals were lost. The result was another major step in Sherman's long effort to take Atlanta.

Hess's compelling study is the first book-length account of the fighting at Ezra Church. Detailing Lee's tactical missteps and Howard's vigilant leadership, he challenges many common misconceptions about the battle. Richly narrated and drawn from an array of unpublished manuscripts and firsthand accounts, Hess's work sheds new light on the complexities and significance of this important engagement, both on and off the battlefield.

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