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A compelling and entertaining account of the year that represents the apex of 1920s American culture. Shatters the stereotype of the Roaring Twenties as a time of frivolity and excess and reveals instead a society torn between holding on to its glorious past while trying to navigate a brave new world.
Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace Across America
On March 31, 1929, seventy-seven men began an epic 3,554-mile footrace across America that pushed their bodies to the breaking point. Nicknamed the “Bunion Derby” by the press, this was the second and last of two trans-America footraces held in the late 1920s. The men averaged forty-six gut-busting miles a day during seventy-eight days of nonstop racing that took them from New York City to Los Angeles. Among this group, two brilliant runners, Johnny Salo of Passaic, New Jersey, and Pete Gavuzzi of England, emerged to battle for the $25,000 first prize along the mostly unpaved roads of 1929 America, with each man pushing the other to go faster as the lead switched back and forth between them. To pay the prize money, race director Charley Pyle cobbled together a traveling vaudeville company, complete with dancing debutantes, an all-girl band wearing pilot outfits, and blackface comedians, all housed under the massive show tent that Pyle hoped would pack in audiences. Kastner’s engrossing account, often told from the perspective of the participants, evokes the remarkable physical challenge the runners experienced and clearly bolsters the argument that the last Bunion Derby was the greatest long-distance footrace of all time.
A Century of Progress
Chicago's 1933 world's fair set a new direction for international expositions. Earlier fairs had exhibited technological advances, but Chicago's fair organizers used the very idea of progress to buoy national optimism during the Depression's darkest years. Orchestrated by business leaders and engineers, almost all former military men, the fair reflected a business-military-engineering model that envisioned a promising future through science and technology's application to everyday life. But not everyone at Chicago's 1933 exposition had abandoned notions of progress that entailed social justice and equality, recognition of ethnicity and gender, and personal freedom and expression. The fair's motto, "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms," was challenged by iconoclasts such as Sally Rand, whose provocative fan dance became a persistent symbol of the fair, as well as a handful of others, including African Americans, ethnic populations and foreign nationals, groups of working women, and even well-heeled socialites. Cheryl R. Ganz offers the stories of fair planners and participants who showcased education, industry, and entertainment to sell optimism during the depths of the Great Depression. This engaging history also features eighty-six photographs--nearly half of which are full color--of key locations, exhibits, and people, as well as authentic ticket stubs, postcards, pamphlets, posters, and other items.
A Critical Edition
Upon completion, The 1940 Under the Volcano was shown by Lowry’s agent, Harold (Hal) Matson, to thirteen publishers in New York and then withdrawn. By that time, Lowry was already working on the 1947 Under the Volcano for which he became internationally renowned.
The 1940 Under the Volcano is a bridge between Lowry’s 1930s fiction (especially In Ballast to the White Sea) and the 1947 Under the Volcano itself. In 1994, it was transcribed for posthumous publication, with a sensitive introduction by Frederick Asals and was offered by MLR Editions Canada in a short print-run. Although Asals wrote eloquently about the position of The 1940 Under the Volcano in Lowry’s corpus, scholars have only recently begun to pay systematic attention to convergences and divergences between this earlier work and the 1947 version.
Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front
Hungarian and Canadian Perspectives
In October 1956, a spontaneous uprising took Hungarian Communist authorities by surprise, prompting Soviet authorities to invade the country. After a few days of violent fighting, the revolt was crushed. In the wake of the event, some 200,000 refugees left Hungary, 35,000 of whom made their way to Canada. This would be the first time Canada would accept so many refugees of a single origin, setting a precedent for later refugee initiatives. More than fifty years later, this collection focuses on the impact of the revolution in Hungary, in Canada, and around the world.
The Misplaced Heritage
As a result of a series of court cases, by the mid-1960s the U.S. post office could no longer interdict books that contained homosexuality. Gay writers were eager to take advantage of this new freedom, but the only houses poised to capitalize on the outpouring of manuscripts were “adult” paperback publishers who marketed their products with salacious covers. Gay critics, unlike their lesbian counterparts, have for the most part declined to take these works seriously, even though they cover an enormous range of genres: adventures, blue collar and gray flannel novels, coming-out stories, detective fiction, gothic novels, historical romances, military stories, political novels, prison fiction, romances, satires, sports stories, and spy thrillers—with far more short story collections than is generally realized. Twelve scholars have now banded together to begin a recovery of this largely forgotten explosion of gay writing that occurred in the 1960s. Descriptions of these pulps have often been inadequate and misinforming, the result of misleading covers, unrepresentative sampling of texts, and a political blindness that refuses to grant worth to pre-Stonewall writing. This volume charts the broader implications of this state of affairs before examining some of the more significant pulp writers from the period. It brings together a diverse range of scholars, methodologies, and reading strategies. The evidence that these essays amass clearly demonstrates the significance of gay pulps for gay literary history, queer cultural studies, and book history.
Choice or Betrayal
The United Nations-organised plebiscite on 11 February 1961 was one of the most significant events in the history of the southern and northern parts of the British-administered trust territory in Cameroon. John Percival was sent by the then Colonial Office as part of the team to oversee the process. This book captures the story of the plebiscite in all its dimensions and intricacies and celebrates the author's admiration for things African through a series of reminiscences of what life was like in the 1960s, both for the Africans themselves and for John Percival as a very young man. The complex story is also a series of reflections about the effect of the modern world on Africa. It is a thorough, insightful, rich and enlightening first-hand source on a political landmark that has never been told before in this way. In a vivid style with a great sense of humour, Percival's witty, cogent, eyewitness and active-participant account deconstructs the rumours and misrepresentations about the February 1961 Plebiscite which was a prelude to reunification and to the present day politics of 'belonging' in Cameroon. "One of the major merits of this book is to provide us with a deeper insight into the role of those actors who have never been the subject of plebiscite studies, namely the Plebiscite Supervisory Officers." - Piet Konings, African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands John Percival-Anthropologist, Writer, Television Broadcaster of many innovative BBC series on the environment, history and anthropology. As a young graduate he was recruited and sent to serve in the Southern Cameroons as a Plesbiscite Supervisory Officer in 1961. He died in 2005 after a recent return visit to Cameroon with Nigel Wenban-Smith who writes an epilogue. This posthumous memoir has been edited by his wife, Lalage Neal.
A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality
The 1970s looks at an iconic decade when the cultural left and economic right came to the fore in American society and the world at large. While many have seen the 1970s as simply a period of failures epitomized by Watergate, inflation, the oil crisis, global unrest, and disillusionment with military efforts in Vietnam, Thomas Borstelmann creates a new framework for understanding the period and its legacy. He demonstrates how the 1970s increased social inclusiveness and, at the same time, encouraged commitments to the free market and wariness of government. As a result, American culture and much of the rest of the world became more--and less--equal.
Borstelmann explores how the 1970s forged the contours of contemporary America. Military, political, and economic crises undercut citizens' confidence in government. Free market enthusiasm led to lower taxes, a volunteer army, individual 401(k) retirement plans, free agency in sports, deregulated airlines, and expansions in gambling and pornography. At the same time, the movement for civil rights grew, promoting changes for women, gays, immigrants, and the disabled. And developments were not limited to the United States. Many countries gave up colonial and racial hierarchies to develop a new formal commitment to human rights, while economic deregulation spread to other parts of the world, from Chile and the United Kingdom to China.
Placing a tempestuous political culture within a global perspective, The 1970s shows that the decade wrought irrevocable transformations upon American society and the broader world that continue to resonate today.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.