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A Son's Memoir
I see this book as the story my father never got to tell,John Toffey writes. And what a remarkable story it is that Lt. Col. Jack Toffey never got to tell.In this moving account of a young man's journey to know a father who went to war in 1942 and never came back, John Toffey weaves memory, history, and his father's vivid letters home into a fascinating tale of a family, a war, and the threads that connect them.John Toffey was nine when his father's National Guard outfit was mobilized. For two years Toffey, his mother, and his sister moved from post to post before his dad shipped out-to North Africa, fighting the Vichy French in Morocco, then the Germans in Tunisia, where he was wounded. In July 1943 he went back to war, leading an infantry battalion in the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy. In January 1944 he landed his battalion at Anzio and was wounded again. After a long, bitter stalemate, Toffey's regiment led Mark Clark's push on Rome. On June 3, 1944, Jack Toffey was killed in the hill town of Palestrina, one day before the Allies marched intoRome. In a brutal campaign, Jack Toffey had commanded a combat battalion longer than any other officer in the Mediterranean theater.Only in 1996, when his father's letters were discovered, did John Toffey begin to piece together what happened to his father. And he tells this contested story of Allied success and failure with drama, steely reserve, and balance, adding an invaluable perspective to the portrait of Jack Toffey created by Rick Atkinson in his bestselling Day of Battle. This book is also a lovingly crafted portrait of home front Ohio, and how a young boy, his sister, and his mother waited out their war, scanning newspapers and magazines for news of Dad and devouring letters full of easy humor and expressions of love for and pride in his family and dreams of a good life after the war.
Pacific Islander Teens Confront Violent Legacies
In the context of two hundred years of American colonial control in the Pacific, Irwin and Umemoto shed light on the experiences of today’s inner city and rural girls and boys in Hawai‘i who face racism, sexism, poverty, and political neglect. Based on nine years of ethnographic research, the authors highlight how legacies of injustice endure as current challenges in the present, prompting teens to fight for dignity and the chance to thrive in America, a nation that the youth describe as inherently “jacked up” and “unjust.” While the story begins with the youth battling multiple contingencies, it ends on a hopeful note, with many of the teens overcoming numerous hardships, often with the guidance of steadfast, caring adults.
New and Selected Poems
In Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, Beatty travels the turns and collisions of over twenty years of work. She moves from first-person narratives to poems that straddle the page in fragments, to lines that sprawl with long lines of train tracks. Always landing in meaning, we are inside the body—not in a confessional voice, not autobiography—but arriving through the expanded, exploded image of many stories and genders. The new poems leap imagistically from the known world to the purely imagined, as in the voice in "Abortion with Gun Barrel": "I am the counselor,/there are cracks in the barrel of the gun/there is aiming/shots of sorrow—/ shots of light.” Commitment to a rabid feminist voice continues, but arrival has a new ring to it, with beginnings rescripted: “I am a bastard./I walk around in this body of mine." Beatty’s fascination with the highway and the breakout West jackknifes at the crossroads of the brutal and the white plains of loss—the body torn down and resurrected in the twenty first century.
Reconstruction and Resistance in Post-Civil War Florida
Amos Kendall and the Rise of American Democracy
A rare, fascinating personality emerges in Donald B. Cole’s biography of Amos Kendall (1789–1869), the reputed intellectual engine behind Andrew Jackson’s administration and an influential figure in the transformation of young America from an agrarian republic to a capitalist democracy. After helping Jackson win the election of 1828, Kendall became the president’s chief advisor—speech writer, postmaster general, and author of the famous veto of the bill to recharter the Bank of the United States. Born on a small Massachusetts farm and educated at Dartmouth, Kendall moved to Kentucky as a young man to seek his fortune and eventually became one of the very few nationally prominent antebellum politicians who successfully combined northern origins and southern experience. Kendall’s role in democratizing American politics is shown in a compelling narrative of his evolution from a republican idealist to a democratic individualist who contributed greatly to the rise of the Democratic party. His innovative campaign techniques and direct appeals to ordinary voters helped attract Americans to the polls; yet Kendall, like many of his contemporaries, also had a limited egalitarian vision that excluded the participation of women, African Americans, and Native Americans. In that sense, Cole demonstrates, Kendall was a man of his time, in an era of unprecedented transformations in politics, economics, and technology. Unforgettable in appearance and manner—a gaunt, white-haired, reclusive hypochondriac—Kendall inspired mystery as well as awe in admirers and enemies. He exemplified the American self-made man in his rise from a struggling jack-of-all-trades to a wealthy Washingtonian. His story also offers a fresh look at important elements of the antebellum communications revolution: he was deeply involved in the expansion of the post office and in the rise of the telegraph, and as a philanthropist he founded the school for the deaf that became Gallaudet College. The first biography of Kendall, this superbly written and researched volume unfolds the rise of American democracy and the culture that created it.
War in the American Workplace
Radical Religion and Reform in a Revolutionary Age
As part biography and part microhistory, Jacob Green’s Revolution tells a fascinating story about revolution, politics, religion, and reform by focusing on two pivotal figures in New Jersey’s revolutionary drama—Jacob Green, a radical Presbyterian minister who advocated revolution, and Thomas Bradbury Chandler, a conservative Anglican minister from Elizabeth Town who was a leading loyalist spokesman in America. Both men were towering intellects who were shaped by Puritan culture and the Enlightenment, and both became acclaimed writers and leading figures in New Jersey—Green for the rebelling colonists, Chandler for the king. Through their stories, this book examines the ways in which religion influenced reform during a pivotal time in American history.
Jacob Jump, the dark and meticulously crafted first novel from Eric Morris, follows a weeklong ill-fated boating trip down the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, to the lighthouse at Tybee Island. Chance and danger trump planning and intention at every turn, and the pull of the historic river and of fate itself propels Morris’s characters with unrelenting force. Old friends Thomas Verdery and William Rhind, each seeking temporary escape from the failures of their lives, take to the river with Rhind’s father. Verdery, a native southerner, has left his job and lover in Nepaug, Connecticut, while Rhind has lost his wife and child to his drinking. Encounters with dangerous weather and unhinged locals imperil the trio, who are held at gunpoint when they try to dock and soon are fighting among themselves. The hazards of the trip and a shocking loss along the way exacerbate William Rhind’s drinking and tendencies toward violence. When Verdery and Rhind must become reluctant custodians to young Caron Lee, a lost girl from the backwoods family that had previously accosted them, tensions build toward explosive ends as the serene open waters of the Atlantic Ocean wait just beyond reach on the unknown, unknowable horizon. Guided by a host of influences from William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway to Cormac McCarthy, James Dickey, and Ron Rash, Morris’s prose brings readers deep into the uncertainties of a still-wild southern landscape and of the frailties of the human heart yearning for past and future alike while pulled along by the inescapable current of the present. Best-selling writer and Story River Books editor at large Pat Conroy provides a foreword to the novel.
A General's Life
General Jacob L. "Jake" Devers (1897--1979) was one of only two officers -- the other was Omar C. Bradley -- to command an army group during the decisive campaigns of 1944--1945 that liberated Europe and ended the war with Nazi Germany. After the war, Devers led the Army Ground Forces in the United States and eventually retired in 1949 after forty years of service. Despite incredible successes on the battlefield, General George C. Marshall's "dependable man" remains one of the most underrated and overlooked figures of his generation.
In this definitive biography, James Scott Wheeler delivers a groundbreaking reassessment of the American commander whose contributions to victory in Europe are topped only by General Dwight D. Eisenhower's. Wheeler's exhaustively researched chronicle of Devers's life and career reveals a leader who demonstrated an extraordinary ability to cut through red tape and solve complex problems. Nevertheless, Eisenhower disliked Devers -- a fact laid bare when he ordered Devers's Sixth Army Group to halt at the Rhine. After the war, Eisenhower's and Bradley's accounts of the generals' disagreements over strategy and tactics became received wisdom, to the detriment of Devers's reputation.
An essential contribution to twentieth-century history, Jacob L. Devers provides a fresh and nuanced interpretation of the senior command during World War II and offers a new perspective on a highly accomplished soldier.
A Case for Rethinking Family History
Joseph A. Amato follows his own poor, obscure, and truly "mongrel" family through seven generations, revealing their place in the key events of America's past. Using powerful family traditions to clarify his personal connection to the larger stories of our nation, Amato advocates for the power of the history closest at hand in building personal identity and resisting mass culture.