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Yankee Twang Cover

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Yankee Twang

Country and Western Music in New England

Clifford R. Murphy

Merging scholarly insight with a professional guitarist's keen sense of the musical life, Yankee Twang delves into the rich tradition of country & western music that is played and loved in the mill towns and cities of the American northeast. Clifford R. Murphy draws on a wealth of ethnographic material, interviews, and encounters with recorded and live music to reveal the central role of country and western in the social lives and musical activity of working-class New Englanders. As Murphy shows, an extraordinary multiculturalism informed by New England's kaleidoscope of ethnic groups created a distinctive country and western music style. But the music also gave--and gives--voice to working-class feeling. Yankee country and western emphasizes the western , reflecting the longing for the mythical cowboy's life of rugged but fulfilling individualism. Indeed, many New Englanders use country and western to comment on economic disenfranchisement and express their resentment of a mass media, government, and Nashville music establishment they believe neither reflects nor understands their life experiences.

Yankee Warhorse Cover

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Yankee Warhorse

A Biography of Major General Peter Osterhaus

Mary Bobbit Townsend

A German-born Union officer in the American Civil War, Maj. Gen. Peter Osterhaus served from the first clash in the western theater until the final surrender of the war. Osterhaus made a name for himself within the army as an energetic and resourceful commander who led his men from the front. He was one of the last surviving Union major general and military governor of Mississippi in the early days of Reconstruction.
This first full-length study of the officer documents how, despite his meteoric military career, his accomplishments were underreported even in his own day and often misrepresented in the historical record. Mary Bobbitt Townsend corrects previous errors about his life and offers new insights into his contributions to major turning points in the war at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, as well as other battles.
            Townsend draws on battle reports not found in the Official Records, on personal papers, and on other nonpublished material to examine Osterhaus’s part in the major battles in the West as well as in minor engagements. She tells how he came into his own in the Vicksburg campaign and proved himself through skill with artillery, expertise in intelligence gathering, and taking the lead in hostile territory—blazing the trail down the west side of the river for the entire Union army and then covering Grant’s back for a month during the siege. At Chattanooga, Osterhaus helped Joe Hooker strategize the rout at Lookout Mountain; at Atlanta, he led the Fifteenth Corps, the largest of the four corps making Sherman's March to the Sea. Townsend also documents his contributions in the battles of Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, Ringgold Gap, and Resaca and shows that he played a crucial role in Canby’s Mobile Bay operations at the end of the war.
            In addition to reporting Osterhaus’s wartime experiences, Townsend describes his experiences as a leader in the 1848–1849 Rebellion in his native Germany, his frustration during his term as Mississippi’s governor, and his stint as U.S. consul to France during the Franco-Prussian War.
            Osterhaus stood out from other volunteer officers in his understanding of tactics and logistics, even though his careful field preparation led to criticism by historians that he was unduly cautious in battle. Yankee Warhorse sets the record straight on this important Civil War general as it opens a new window on the war in the West.

Yankees in Michigan Cover

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Yankees in Michigan

As Brian C. Wilson describes them in this highly readable and entertaining book, Yankees — defined by their shared culture and sense of identity — had a number of distinctive traits and sought to impose their ideas across the state of Michigan.
     After the ethnic label of "Yankee" fell out of use, the off spring of Yankees appropriated the term "Midwesterner." So fused did the identities of Yankee and Midwesterner become that understanding the larger story of America's Midwestern regional identity begins with the Yankees in Michigan.

 

Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York Cover

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Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York

America and Americans in Russian Literary Perception

In Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s What Is to Be Done?, one of the protagonists feigns suicide and goes to America. In Fedor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Svidrigailov, announces: “I’m going to America,” then commits suicide. When in America—“on the other shore,” as Russians sometimes put it—Russian émigré characters and writers often feel that, although they have now acquired a new life, this life approximates a posthumous experience. Although the country across the ocean had already begun to acquire concrete historical features in the Russian mind by the last quarter of the eighteenth century, connotations of the Other World, the land on the other side of earthly existence, still lurk in the background of literary texts about the New World. This mythological perception of the New World is not exclusively Russian, but in Russia the mythological concept gained a specificity and a concrete form that persisted through many eras and appeared in the works of very different authors.

Yaxcabá and the Caste War of Yucatán Cover

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Yaxcabá and the Caste War of Yucatán

An Archaeological Perspective

Rani T. Alexander

Rani Alexander's study of the Caste War of Yucatan (1847-1901) uses archaeological evidence, ethnography, and history to explore the region's processes of resistance.

Yazoo Cover

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Yazoo

Integration in a Deep-Southern Town

Willie Morris

In 1970 Brown v. Board of Education was sixteen years old, and fifteen years had passed since the Brown II mandate that schools integrate “with all deliberate speed.” Still, after all this time, it was necessary for the U.S. Supreme Court to order thirty Mississippi school districts—whose speed had been anything but deliberate—to integrate immediately. One of these districts included Yazoo City, the hometown of writer Willie Morris. Installed productively on “safe, sane Manhattan Island,” Morris, though compelled to write about this pivotal moment, was reluctant to return to Yazoo and do no less than serve as cultural ambassador between the flawed Mississippi that he loved and a wider world. “I did not want to go back,” Morris wrote. “I finally went home because the urge to be there during Yazoo’s most critical moment was too elemental to resist, and because I would have been ashamed of myself if I had not.” The result, Yazoo, is part reportage, part memoir, part ethnography, part social critique—and one of the richest accounts we have of a community’s attempt to come to terms with the realities of seismic social change. As infinitely readable and nuanced as ever, Yazoo is available again, enhanced by an informative foreword by historian Jenifer Jensen Wallach and a warm and personal afterword on Morris’s writing life by his widow, JoAnne Prichard Morris.

A Year from Monday Cover

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A Year from Monday

New Lectures and Writings

John Cage

Includes lectures, essays, diaries and other writings, including "How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)" and "Juilliard Lecture."

A Year Inland Cover

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A Year Inland

The Journal of a Hudson’s Bay Company Winterer

Anthony Henday, a young Hudson’s Bay Company employee, set out from York Factory in June 1754 to winter with “trading Indians” along the Saskatchewan River. He adapted willingly and easily to their way of life; he also kept a journal in which he described the plains region and took note of rival French traders’ success at their inland posts. A copy of Henday’s journal was immediately sent to the company directors in London. They rewarded Henday handsomely although they were uncertain where he had travelled, what groups he had met on the plains, and what success he had in opposing rival French traders. Since then, uncertainty about Henday’s year inland has increased. The original journal disappeared; only four copies, dating from 1755 to about 1782, are extant. Each text differs from the other three; the differences range from variant spellings to word choice to contradictory statements on vital questions. All four copies are the work of a company clerk, later factor, named Andrew Graham, who used them to support his own views on HBC trading policies. Twentieth-century scholars have based their claims for Henday’s importance as an explorer, trader and observer of Native cultures on a poorly edited transcript of the 1782 text. They have been unaware or careless of the journal’s textual ambiguity. A Year Inland presents all four copies for the first time, together with contextual notes and a commentary that reassesses the journal’s information on plains geography, people and trade.

A Year of Iowa Nature Cover

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A Year of Iowa Nature

Discovering Where We Live

Carl Kurtz

Every Sunday evening for almost ten years, Iowa photographer and naturalist Carl Kurtz has e-mailed a photo and an extended caption to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. Engaging and informative, the photos focus on the world around and away from his tallgrass prairie homeplace: snow buntings in a blizzard, maple leaves in fall, migrating snow geese and red-winged blackbirds and monarchs, prairie spiderworts in spring bloom, leopard frogs loafing on waterlily leaves, northern flickers feeding young, and all the inhabitants and moods of the passing seasons. Now, in A Year of Iowa Nature, he presents fifty-five of his favorite photos along with an evocative introduction that urges us to go forth and discover the beauty in our own backyards.

Concentrating on Iowa’s tallgrass prairie, Kurtz also points his viewfinder toward the great variety of natural habitats in the eastern United States. Arranged chronologically throughout the year, the fifty-five color photos and their accompanying narratives rotate through the seasons like a nature film. The winter months showcase a frost-covered white-tailed deer, cedar waxwings feeding on winter apples, a muskrat on the surface of an icy pond, and dune-like snowdrifts. Kurtz’s palette warms up in springtime with stunning photos of Virginia bluebells, fox cubs, juvenile chipmunks, and ruddy ducks. Summer brings a host of butterflies, frogs, and goldfinches as well as blooming prairie plants. The colors become more subdued in fall with the change in light, revealing the rich hues of Indian grass and big bluestem and the subtle plumage of migrating warblers.

Just as Kurtz’s Practical Guide to Prairie Reconstruction offers an indispensable manual for individuals and land managers working to create a diverse prairie community, so does A Year of Iowa Nature point the way toward a sincere, month-by-month appreciation of the natural world around us.

The Year of the Lash Cover

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The Year of the Lash

Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World

Michele Reid-Vazquez

Michele Reid-Vazquez reveals the untold story of the strategies of negotia­tion used by free blacks in the aftermath of the “Year of the Lash”—a wave of repression in Cuba that had great implications for the Atlantic World in the next two decades.

At dawn on June 29, 1844, a firing squad in Havana executed ten accused ringleaders of the Conspiracy of La Escalera, an alleged plot to abolish slavery and colonial rule in Cuba. The condemned men represented prominent members of Cuba’s free community of African descent, including the acclaimed poet Plácido (Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés). In an effort to foster a white majority and curtail black rebellion, Spanish colonial authorities also banished, imprisoned, and exiled hundreds of free blacks, dismantled the militia of color, and accelerated white immigration projects.

Scholars have debated the existence of the Conspiracy of La Escalera for over a century, yet little is known about how those targeted by the violence responded. Drawing on archival material from Cuba, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, Reid-Vazquez provides a critical window into under­standing how free people of color challenged colonial policies of terror and pursued justice on their own terms using formal and extralegal methods. Whether rooted in Cuba or cast into the Atlantic World, free men and women of African descent stretched and broke colonial expectations of their codes of conduct locally and in exile. Their actions underscored how black agency, albeit fragmented, worked to destabilize repression’s impact.

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