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James Madison Cover

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James Madison

A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation

Jeff Broadwater

James Madison is remembered primarily as a systematic political theorist, but this bookish and unassuming man was also a practical politician who strove for balance in an age of revolution. In this biography, Jeff Broadwater focuses on Madison's role in the battle for religious freedom in Virginia, his contributions to the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his place in the evolution of the party system, his relationship with Dolley Madison, his performance as a wartime commander in chief, and his views on slavery. From Broadwater's perspective, no single figure can tell us more about the origins of the American republic than our fourth president.

James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist Cover

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James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist

Karen E. Robbins

A Scots-Irish immigrant, James McHenry determined to make something of his life. Trained as a physician, he joined the American Revolution when war broke out. He then switched to a more military role, serving on the staffs of George Washington and Lafayette. He entered government after the war and served in the Maryland Senate and in the Continental Congress. As Maryland’s representative at the Constitutional Convention, McHenry helped to add the ex post facto clause to the Constitution and worked to increase free trade among the states.

As secretary of war, McHenry remained loyal to Washington, under whom he established a regimental framework for the army that lasted well into the nineteenth century. Upon becoming president, John Adams retained McHenry; however, Adams began to believe McHenry was in league with other Hamiltonian Federalists who wished to undermine his policies. Thus, when the military buildup for the Quasi-War with France became unpopular, Adams used it as a pretext to request McHenry’s resignation.

Yet as Karen Robbins demonstrates in the first modern biography of McHenry, Adams was mistaken; the friendship between McHenry and Hamilton that Adams feared had grown sensitive and there was a brief falling out. Moreover, McHenry had asked Hamilton to withdraw his application for second-in-command of the New Army being raised. Nonetheless, Adams’s misperception ended McHenry’s career, and he has remained an obscure historical figure ever since—until now. James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist reveals a man surrounded by important events who reflected the larger themes of his time.

James Merrill, Postmodern Magus Cover

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James Merrill, Postmodern Magus

Myth and Poetics

One of the unique voices in our century, James Merrill was known for his mastery of prosody; his ability to write books that were not just collected poems but unified works in which each individual poem contributed to the whole; and his astonishing evolution from the formalist lyric tradition that influenced his early work to the spiritual epics of his later career. Merrill's accomplishments were recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for Divine Comedies and a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1983 for The Changing Light at Sandover.
     In this meticulously researched, carefully argued work, Evans Lansing Smith argues that the nekyia, the circular Homeric narrative describing the descent into the underworld and reemergence in the same or similar place, confers shape and significance upon the entirety of James Merrill’s poetry.   Smith illustrates how pervasive this myth is in Merrill’s work – not just in The Changing Light at Sandover, where it naturally serves as the central premise of the entire trilogy, but in all of the poet’s books, before and after that central text.
     By focusing on the details of versification and prosody, Smith demonstrates the ingenious fusion of form and content that distinguishes Merrill as a poet. Moving beyond purely literary interpretations of the poetry, Smith illuminates the numerous allusions to music, art, theology, philosophy, religion, and mythology found throughout Merrill’s work.

James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball Cover

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James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball

It seems unlikely that James Naismith, who grew up playing “Duck on the Rock” in the rural community of Almonte, Canada, would invent one of America’s most popular sports. But Rob Rains and Hellen Carpenter’s fascinating, in-depth biography James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball shows how this young man—who wanted to be a medical doctor, or if not that, a minister (in fact, he was both)—came to create a game that has endured for over a century.

James Naismith reveals how Naismith invented basketball in part to find an indoor activity to occupy students in the winter months. When he realized that the key to his game was that men could not run with the ball, and that throwing and jumping would eliminate the roughness of force, he was on to something. And while Naismith thought that other sports provided better exercise, he was pleased to create a game that “anyone could play.”

With unprecedented access to the Naismith archives and documents, Rains and Carpenter chronicle how Naismith developed the 13 rules of basketball, coached the game at the University of Kansas—establishing college basketball in the process—and was honored for his work at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin.

James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928 Cover

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James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928

Bryan D. Palmer

Bryan D. Palmer's award-winning study of James P. Cannon's early years (1890-1928) details how the life of a Wobbly hobo agitator gave way to leadership in the emerging communist underground of the 1919 era. Written with panache, Palmer's richly detailed book situates American communism's formative decade of the 1920s in the dynamics of a specific political and economic context.

James Van Allen Cover

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James Van Allen

The First Eight Billion Miles

Astrophysicist and space pioneer James Van Allen (1914–2006), for whom the Van Allen radiation belts were named, was among the principal scientific investigators for twenty-four space missions, including Explorer I in 1958, the first successful U.S. satellite; Mariner 2’s 1962 flyby of Venus, the first successful mission to another planet; and the 1970s Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 missions that surveyed Jupiter and Saturn. Although he retired as a University of Iowa professor of physics and astronomy in 1985, he remained an active researcher, using his campus office to monitor data from Pioneer 10—on course to reach the edge of the solar system when its signal was lost in 2003—until a short time before his death at the age of ninety-one. Now Abigail Foerstner blends space science drama, military agendas, cold war politics, and the events of Van Allen’s lengthy career to create the first biography of this highly influential physicist.

Drawing on Van Allen’s correspondence and publications, years of interviews with him as well as with more than a hundred other people, and declassified documents from such archives as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Applied Physics Laboratory, Foerstner describes Van Allen’s life from his Iowa childhood to his first experiments at White Sands to the years of Explorer I until his death in 2006.

Often called the father of space science, James Van Allen led the way to mapping a new solar system based on the solar wind, massive solar storms, and cosmic rays. Pioneer 10 alone sent him more than thirty years of readings that helped push our recognition of the boundary of the solar system billions of miles past Pluto. Abigail Foerstner’s compelling biography charts the eventful life and time of this trailblazing physicist.

James Weldon Johnson's Modern Soundscapes Cover

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James Weldon Johnson's Modern Soundscapes

Noelle Morrissette

James Weldon Johnson’s Modern Soundscapes provides an evocative and meticulously researched study of one of the best known and yet least understood authors of the New Negro Renaissance era. Johnson, familiar to many as an early civil rights leader active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and an intentionally controversial writer on the subject of the significance of race in America, was one of the most prolific, wide-ranging, and yet elusive authors of twentieth-century African American literature.

Johnson realized early in his writing career that he could draw attention to the struggles of African Americans by using unconventional literary methods such as the incorporation of sound into his texts. In this groundbreaking work, literary critic Noelle Morrissette examines how his literary representation of the extremes of sonic experience—functioning as either cultural violence or creative force—draws attention to the mutual contingencies and the interdependence of American and African American cultures. Moreover, Morrissette argues, Johnson represented these “American sounds” as a source of multiplicity and diversity, often developing a framework for the interracial transfer of sound. The lyricist and civil rights leader used sound as a formal aesthetic practice in and between his works, presenting it as an unbounded cultural practice that is as much an interracial as it is a racially distinct cultural history.

Drawing on archival materials such as early manuscript notes and drafts of Johnson’s unpublished and published work, Morrissette explores the author’s complex aesthetic of sound, based on black expressive culture and cosmopolitan interracial experiences. This aesthetic evolved over the course of his writing life, beginning with his early Broadway musical comedy smash hits and the composition of Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912), and developing through his “real” autobiography, Along This Way (1933). The result is an innovative new interpretation of the works of one of the early twentieth century’s most important and controversial writers and civil rights leaders. 

Jammed Up Cover

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Jammed Up

Bad Cops, Police Misconduct, and the New York City Police Department

By Robert J. Kane

Drugs, bribes, falsifying evidence, unjustified force and kickbacks:
there are many opportunities for cops to act like criminals. Jammed
Up is the definitive study of the nature and causes of police misconduct.
While police departments are notoriously protective of
their own—especially personnel and disciplinary information—Michael
White and Robert Kane gained unprecedented, complete
access to the confidential files of NYPD officers who committed
serious offenses, examining the cases of more than 1,500 NYPD
officers over a twenty year period that includes a fairly complete
cycle of scandal and reform, in the largest, most visible police department
in the United States. They explore both the factors that
predict officer misconduct, and the police department’s responses
to that misconduct, providing a comprehensive framework for understanding
the issues. The conclusions they draw are important
not just for what they can tell us about the NYPD but for how we
are to understand the very nature of police misconduct.
actual misconduct cases
»» An off-duty officer driving his private vehicle stops at a
convenience store on Long Island, after having just
worked a 10 hour shift in Brooklyn, to steal a six pack of
beer at gun point. Is this police misconduct?
»» A police officer is disciplined no less than six times in
three years for failing to comply with administrative standards
and is finally dismissed from employment for losing
his NYPD shield (badge). Is this police misconduct?
»» An officer was fired for abusing his sick time, but then
further investigation showed that the officer was found
not guilty in a criminal trial during which he was accused
of using his position as a police officer to protect drug
and prostitution enterprises. Which is the example of
police misconduct?

Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy Cover

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Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy

Wendy Chmielewski

Using a rich array of newly available sources and contemporary methodologies from many disciplines, the ten original essays in this volume give a fresh appraisal of Addams as a theorist and practitioner of democracy. In an increasingly interdependent world, Addams's life work offers resources for activists, scholars, policy makers, and theorists alike. This volume demonstrates how scholars continue to interpret Addams as a model for transcending disciplinary boundaries, generating theory out of concrete experience, and keeping theory and practice in close and fruitful dialogue._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Harriet Hyman Alonso, Victoria Bissell Brown, Wendy Chmielewski, Marilyn Fischer, Shannon Jackson, Louise W. Knight, Carol Nackenoff, Karen Pastorello, Wendy Sarvasay, Charlene Haddock Seigfried, and Camilla Stivers.

Jane Addams in the Classroom Cover

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Jane Addams in the Classroom

David Schaafsma

Once intent on being good to people, Jane Addams later dedicated herself to the idea of being good with people, establishing mutually-responsive and reciprocal relationships with those she served at Hull House. The essays in Jane Addams in the Classroom explore how Addams's life, work, and philosophy provide invaluable lessons for teachers seeking connection with their students. Balancing theoretical and practical considerations, the collection examines Addams's emphasis on listening to and learning from those around her and encourages contemporary educators to connect with students through innovative projects and teaching methods. In the first essays, Addams scholars lay out how her narratives drew on experience, history, and story to explicate theories she intended as guides to practice. Six teacher-scholars then establish Addams's ongoing relevance by connecting her principles to exciting events in their own classrooms. An examination of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and a fictional essay on Addams's work and ideas round out the volume. Accessible and wide-ranging, Jane Addams in the Classroom offers inspiration for educators while adding to the ongoing reconsideration of Addams's contributions to American thought. Contributors are Todd DeStigter, Lanette Grate, Susan Griffith, Lisa Junkin, Jennifer Krikava, Lisa Lee, Petra Munro, Bridget O'Rourke, David Schaafsma, Beth Steffen, Darren Tuggle, Erin Vail, and Ruth Vinz.

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