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Nature, Memory, Myth, and Landscape
George Washington’s childhood is famously the most elusive part of his life story. For centuries biographers have struggled with a lack of period documentation and an absence of late-in-life reflection in trying to imagine Washington’s formative years.
In George Washington Written upon the Land, Philip Levy explores this most famous of American childhoods through its relationship to the Virginia farm where much of it took place. Using approaches from biography, archaeology, folklore, and studies of landscape and material culture, Levy focuses on how different ideas about Washington’s childhood functioned—what sorts of lessons they sought to teach and how different epochs and writers understood the man and the past itself.
In a suggestive and far-reaching final chapter, Levy argues that Washington was present at the onset of the Anthropocene—the geologic era when human activity began to have a significant impact on world ecosystems. Interpreting Washington’s childhood farm through the lens of “big” history, he encourages scholars to break down boundaries between science and social science and between human and nonhuman.
n Granada, a boy in a dress begs in the white alleys of the old town. A vulnerable runaway, he turns to an American painter who is living in the city for protection, Madeleine James. The boy also meets Madeleine's new friend, poet Cy Jacobs. Although the two adults mean to help the boy, they unwittingly expose him to more peril. Soon, all the characters in the story have been scraped on the touchstone of hard realities and made to show their mettle, be it base or gold. This novel, at times somber and at times flaring with intensity, calls up indelibly the difficulties of making a good life—or a good death—in a world in which we are all, in one way or another, going.
From 1909 to 1913, Governor William Glasscock served the state of West Virginia as an ardent progressive and reformer. In his inaugural address he proclaimed government "the machinery invoked and devised by man for his benefit and protection” and good government the guarantor of the happiness, prosperity, success, and welfare of the people. Governor William Glasscock and Progressive Politics in West Virginia recounts the life and work of West Virginia’s thirteenth governor. Born during the Civil War, Glasscock witnessed a country torn by sectional, fratricidal war become a powerful industrial nation by the turn of the twentieth century. Author Gary Jackson Tucker demonstrates how Glasscock, along with others during the Progressive Era, railed against large and powerful political and economic machines to enact legislation protecting free and fair elections, just taxation, regulation of public utilities, and workmen’s compensation laws. Never hesitating to use the power of the state to stand firm against racism and mob rule, and placing his own personal safety in jeopardy, Glasscock won the praise and admiration of average people. Glasscock’s four years in office took his own health and financial security from him, but left behind a better government—a good government—for the people of West Virginia.
J. McHenry Jones’s Hearts of Gold is a gripping tale of post-Civil War battles against racism and systemic injustice. Originally published in 1896, this novel reveals an African American community of individuals dedicated to education, journalism, fraternal organizations, and tireless work serving the needs of those abandoned by the political process of the white world. Jones challenges conventional wisdom by addressing a range of subjects—from interracial relationships to forced labor in coal mines—that virtually no other novelist of the time was willing to approach. With the addition of an introduction and appendix, this new edition reveals the difficult foundations upon which African Americans built a platform to address injustice; generate opportunities; and play a prominent role in American social, economic, and political life.
Text and Commentary
James E. Cathey's Hêliand: Text and Commentary is a simply unique, wonderfully encompassing, and helpful text, and nothing quite like it exists anywhere in the world. The commentary portion of the book consists of an interweaving of interpretation and philological consideration. This work presents the reader with explanatory commentary that encompasses both the scientific and the poetic and treats them both with equal felicity. The volume also contains something that is exceptionally valuable and cannot be found in English: a compact and serviceable grammar of Old Saxon and an appended glossary that defines all of the vocabulary found in this edited version of the Hêliand.
A History of Sports in West Virginia
Arts, Crafts, Music and Living on the Land in West Virginia
It’s the 1960s. The Vietnam War is raging and protests are erupting across the United States. In many quarters, young people are dropping out of society, leaving their urban homes behind in an attempt to find a safe place to live on their own terms, to grow their own food, and to avoid a war they passionately decry. During this time, West Virginia becomes a haven for thousands of these homesteaders—or back-to-the-landers, as they are termed by some. Others call them hippies.
When the going got rough, many left. But a significant number remain to this day. Some were artisans when they arrived, while others adopted a craft that provided them with the cash necessary to survive. Hippie Homesteaders tells the story of this movement from the viewpoint of forty artisans and musicians who came to the state, lived on the land, and created successful careers with their craft. There’s the couple that made baskets coveted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery. There’s the draft-dodger that fled to Canada and then became a premier furniture maker. There’s the Boston-born VISTA worker who started a quilting cooperative. And, there’s the immigrant Chinese potter who lived on a commune.
Along with these stories, Hippie Homesteaders examines the serendipitous timing of this influx and the community and economic support these crafters received from residents and state agencies in West Virginia. Without these young transplants, it’s possible there would be no Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, the first statewide collection of fine arts and handcrafts in the nation, and no Mountain Stage, the weekly live musical program broadcast worldwide on National Public Radio since 1983. Forget what you know about West Virginia.
Hippie Homesteaders isn’t about coal or hillbillies or moonshine or poverty. It is the story of why West Virginia was—and still is—a kind of heaven to so many.
ENVIRONMENT, DEVELOPMENT, AND SOCIETY
In the 1700s, Jean-Jacques Rousseau celebrated the Alps as the quintessence of the triumph of nature over the “horrors” of civilization. Now available in English, History of the Alps, 1500-1900: Environment, Development, and Society provides a precise history of one of the greatest mountain range systems in the world. Jon Mathieu’s work disproves a number of commonly held notions about the Alps, positioning them as neither an inversion of lowland society nor a world apart with respect to Europe. Mathieu’s broad historical portrait addresses both the economic and sociopolitical—exploring the relationship between population levels, development, and the Alpine environment, as well as the complex links between agrarian structure, society, and the development of modern civilization. More detailed analysis examines the relationship between various agrarian structures and shifting political configurations, several aspects of family history between the late Middle Ages and the turn of the twentieth century, and exploration of the Savoy, Grisons, and Carinthia regions.
West Virginia Edition
An Appalachian Mountain Ecology
In this revised and expanded edition of Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders, author George Constantz, a biologist and naturalist, writes about the beauty and nature of the Appalachian landscape. While the information is scientific in nature, Constantz's accessible descriptions of the adaptation of various organisms to their environment enable the reader to enjoy learning about the Appalachian ecosystem. The book is divided into three sections: "Stage and Theater," "The Players," and "Seasonal Act." Each section sets the scene and describes the events occurring in nature. "Stage and Theatre" is comprised of chapters that describe the origins of the Appalachia region. "The Players" is an interesting and in-depth look into the ecology of animals, such as the mating rituals of different species, and the evolutionary explanation for the adaptation of Appalachian wildlife. The last section, "Seasonal Act," makes note of the changes in Appalachian weather each season and its effect on the inhabitants.