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Selected Poetry of Yu Xiang
Yu Xiang comfortably inhabits the negative space between viewer and subject, artist and artwork, the lover and her beloved in this acrobatic, ekphrastic, meditatively-compelling collection. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s crisp translation invites American readers to experience Yu Xiang’s poetic mastery half a world away from its formative origins in the Shandong province, bringing into focus the voice of one of China’s most celebrated and memorable female voices. “I have a lonely yet / stable life,” Yu admits at one point in the book. “This is my house. If / you happen to walk in, it’s certainly not / for my rambling notes.” Yu Xiang disarms her reader with exacting imagery and pathos in order to tell the aching, unavoidable truth of womanhood in these striking poems. —Dorianne Laux
Imprisoned in Korea, Accused at Home
Eighteen-year-old Johnny Moore was an energetic, self-confident private first class when he entered combat with a heavy-weapons platoon in Korea. Four and a half months later, after surviving heavy attacks on the Pusan Perimeter and in one of the forward units of the western column advancing on the Yalu River, he was captured by the Chinese infantry.
Moore and other American POWs suffered from starvation rations, bitter cold, and mental torment. Although the intense Chinese efforts to change the prisoners’ ideologies were largely unsuccessful, they were very effective in engendering distrust among the prisoners and abandonment of duty by the officers. Encouraged by an American sergeant, Moore worked with his captors to obtain better sanitation, a fairer distribution of food, and, on two occasions, medicine for the sick. Twice he tried to escape from imprisonment. Just four days after his twenty-first birthday, in 1953, the Chinese released him.
Moore cooperated fully with US military interrogators, giving as much information as he could on the prison camp and the methods his captors had used. But two years later, army officers arrested him at his home and charged him with treason. Although the charge was dropped and a Field Board of Inquiry returned him to regular duty, the army’s treatment of him left Moore further traumatized. He eventually went AWOL and turned to drinking, gambling, and other self-destructive behaviors.
Military historian Judith Fenner Gentry has worked with Moore’s memoirs of his experiences during and after the war to corroborate, clarify, elaborate, and situate his story within the larger events in Korea and in the Cold War. She has consulted records from courts-martial, newspaper interviews with returning POWs, and Freedom of Information Act documents on the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps.
Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870
First Person Accounts of Civil War Arkansas from the Arkansas Historical Quarterly
I Do Wish this Cruel War Was Over collects diaries, letters, and memoirs excerpted from their original publication in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly to offer a first-hand, ground-level view of the war’s horrors, its mundane hardships, its pitched battles and languid stretches, even its moments of frivolity. Readers will find varying degrees of commitment and different motivations among soldiers on both sides, along with the perspective of civilians living both in the thick of conflict and at a painful distance from fighting kin. In many cases, these documents address aspects of the war that would become objects of scholarly and popular fascination only years after their initial appearance: the guerrilla conflict that became the “real war” west of the Mississippi; the “hard war” waged against civilians long before William Tecumseh Sherman set foot in Georgia; the work of women in maintaining households in the absence of men; and the complexities of emancipation, which saw African Americans winning freedom and sometimes losing it all over again. Altogether, these first-person accounts provide an immediacy and a visceral understanding of what it meant to survive the Civil War in Arkansas.
A Mexican Immigrant’s Story of Endurance
When Viviana Salguero came to the United States in 1946, she spoke very little English, had never learned to read or write, and had no job skills besides housework or field labor. She worked eighteen-hour days and lived outdoors as often as not. And yet she raised twelve children, shielding them from her abusive husband when she dared, and shared in both the tragedies and accomplishments of her family. Through it all, Viviana never lost her love for Mexico or her gratitude to the United States for what would eventually become a better life. Though her story is unique, Viviana Salguero could be the mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother of immigrants anywhere, struggling with barriers of gender, education, language, and poverty.
In I Don't Cry, But I Remember, Joyce Lackie shares with us an intimate portrait of Viviana's life. Based on hours of recorded conversations, Lackie skillfully translates the interviews into an engaging, revealing narrative that details the migrant experience from a woman's point of view and fills a gap in our history by examining the role of women of color in the American Southwest. The book presents Vivana's life not only as a chronicle of endurance, but as a tale of everyday resistance. What she lacks in social confidence, political strength, and economic stability, she makes up for in dignity, faith, and wisdom.
Like all good oral history, Salguero's accounts and Lackie's analyses contribute to our understanding of the past by exposing the inconsistencies and contradictions in our remembrances. This book will appeal to ethnographers, oral historians, students and scholars of Chicana studies and women's studies, as well as general readers interested in the lives of immigrant women.
Remaking Music in 1950s America
The 1950s marked a radical transformation in American popular music, as the nation drifted away from its love affair with big band swing to embrace the unschooled and unruly new sounds of rock 'n' roll. The sudden flood of records from the margins of the music industry left impressions on the pop soundscape that would eventually reshape long-established listening habits and expectations, as well as conventions of songwriting, performance, and recording. When Elvis Presley claimed, "I don't sound like nobody," a year before he made his first commercial record, he was unwittingly articulating a musical Zeitgeist. The central story line of I Don't Sound Like Nobody is change itself. The book's characters include not just performers but engineers, producers, songwriters, label owners, and radio personalities---all of them key players in the decade's musical transformation. Written in engaging, accessible prose, Albin Zak's I Don't Sound Like Nobody is the first book to approach musical and historical issues of the 1950s through the lens of recordings and to fashion a compelling story of the birth of a new musical language. The book belongs on the shelf of every modern music aficionado and every scholar of rock 'n' roll. Albin J. Zak III is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is the editor of The Velvet Underground Companion and the author of The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records, a groundbreaking study of rock music production. Zak is also a recording engineer, record producer, songwriter, singer, and guitarist. Keywords: rock and roll, nineteen-fifties, sound recording, radio, popular music
Life in a Civil War Prison
Johnson's Island, in Sandusky, Ohio, was not the largest Civil War prison in the North, but it was the only one to house Confederate officers almost exclusively. As a result, a distinctive prison culture developed, in part because of the educational background and access to money enjoyed by these prisoners.
David Bush has spent more than two decades leading archaeological investigations at the prison site. In I Fear I Shall Never Leave This Island he pairs the expertise gained there with a deep reading of extant letters between one officer and his wife in Alexandria, Virginia, providing unique insights into the trials and tribulations of captivity as actually experienced by the men imprisoned at Johnson's Island. Together, these letters and the material culture unearthed at the site capture in compelling detail the physical challenges and emotional toll of prison life for POWs and their families. They also offer fascinating insights into the daily lives of the prisoners by revealing the very active manufacture of POW craft jewelry, especially rings.
No other collection of Civil War letters offers such a rich context; no other archaeological investigation of Civil War prisons provides such a human story.
The Writings of a Deaf Activist
Lawrence Newman became deaf at the age of five in 1930, and saw his father fight back tears knowing that his son would never hear again. The next time he saw his father cry was in 1978, when Newman received an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University, his alma mater. Newman was recognized for his achievements as a life-long advocate for deaf education, including receiving California’s Teacher of the Year award in 1968. Perhaps his greatest influence, however, stemmed from his many articles and columns that appeared in various publications, the best of which are featured in I Fill This Small Space: The Writings of a Deaf Activist. Editor David Kurs has organized Newman’s writings around his passions — deaf education, communication and language, miscellaneous columns and poems on Deaf life, and humorous insights on his activism. His articles excel both as seamless arguments supporting his positions and as windows on the historical conflicts that he fought: against the Least Restrictive Environment in favor of residential deaf schools; for sign language, Total Communication, and bilingual education; and as a deaf teacher addressing parents of deaf children. A gifted writer in all genres, Newman amuses with ease (“On Mini and Midi-Skirts”), and moves readers with his heartfelt verse (“Girl with a Whirligig”). Newman ranges wide in his ability, but he always maintains his focus on equal tights for deaf people, as he demonstrates in his title poem “I Fill This Small Space:” I fill this small space, this time Who is to say yours is better Than mine or mine yours
The Ritual Performance of Autobiography in an Amazonian Community