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Memory and Meaning
Dividing the nation for four years, the American Civil War resulted in 750,000 casualties and forever changed the country's destiny. The conflict continues to resonate in our collective memory, and U.S. economic, cultural, and social structures still suffer the aftershocks of the nation's largest and most devastating war. Nearly 150 years later, portrayals of the war in books, songs, cinema, and other cultural media continue to draw widespread attention and controversy.
In The Civil War in Popular Culture: Memory and Meaning, editors Lawrence A. Kreiser Jr. and Randal Allred analyze American depictions of the war across a variety of mediums, from books and film, to monuments and battlefield reunions, to reenactments and board games. This collection examines how battle strategies, famous generals, and the nuances of Civil War politics translate into contemporary popular culture. This unique analysis assesses the intersection of the Civil War and popular culture by recognizing how memories and commemorations of the war have changed since it ended in 1865.
An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan
" The year was 1865. With the close of the Civil War, there began for the South, an era of even greater turmoil. In The Clansman, his controversial 1905 novel, later the basis of the motion picture The Birth of a Nation, Thomas Dixon, describes the social, political, and economic disintegration that plagued the South during Reconstruction, depicting the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the reactions of two families to racial conflict. This study in social history was alternatively praised and damned by contemporary critics. As historian Thomas D. Clark notes in his introduction, the novel "opened wider a vein of racial hatred which was to poison further an age already in social and political upheaval. Dixon had in fact given voice in his novel to one of the most powerful latent forces in the social and political mind of the South." For modern readers, The Clansman probes the roots of the racial violence that still haunts our society.
The Wise Man of Washington
One of the most renowned Washington insiders of the twentieth century, Clark Clifford (1906–1998) was a top advisor to four Democratic presidents. As a powerful corporate attorney, he advised Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. As special counsel to Truman, Clifford helped to articulate the Truman Doctrine, grant recognition to Israel, create the Marshall Plan, and build the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). After winning the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy asked Clifford to analyze the problems he would face in taking over the executive branch and later appointed him chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Johnson named Clifford secretary of defense in 1968, but their warm relationship was strained when Clifford concluded that there was no plan for victory in the Vietnam War and that the United States was in a “bottomless pit.” Even Carter, who kept his distance from Washington insiders, turned to Clifford for help. In Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington, John Acacia chronicles Clifford’s rise from midwestern lawyer to Washington power broker and presidential confidant. He covers the breadth and span of Clifford’s involvement in numerous pivotal moments of American history, providing a window to the inner workings of the executive office. Drawing from a wealth of sources, the author reveals Clifford’s role as one of the most trusted advisors in American history and as a primary architect of cold war foreign policy.
An Actor's Voice
Late in Claude Rains’s distinguished career, a reverent film journalist wrote that Rains “was as much a cinematic institution as the medium itself.” Given his childhood speech impediments and his origins in a destitute London neighborhood, the ascent of Claude Rains (1889–1967) to the stage and screen is remarkable. Rains’s difficulties in his formative years provided reserves of gravitas and sensitivity, from which he drew inspiration for acclaimed performances in The Invisible Man (1933), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Casablanca (1942), Notorious (1946), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and other classic films. In Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice, noted Hollywood historian David J. Skal draws on more than thirty hours of newly released Rains interviews to create the first full-length biography of the actor who was nominated multiple times for an Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. Skal’s portrait of the gifted actor also benefits from the insights of Jessica Rains, who provides firsthand accounts of the enigmatic man behind her father’s refined screen presence and genteel public persona. As Skal shows, numerous contradictions informed the life and career of Claude Rains. He possessed an air of nobility and became an emblem of sophistication, but he never shed the insecurities that traced back to his upbringing in an abusive and poverty-stricken family. Though deeply self-conscious about his short stature, Rains drew notorious ardor from female fans and was married six times. His public displays of dry wit and good humor masked inner demons that drove Rains to alcoholism and its devastating consequences. Skal’s layered depiction of Claude Rains reveals a complex, almost inscrutable man whose nuanced characterizations were, in no small way, based on the more shadowy parts of his psyche. With unprecedented access to episodes from Rains’s private life, Skal tells the full story of the consummate character actor of his generation. Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice, gives voice to the struggles and innermost concerns that influenced Rains’s performances and helped him become a universally respected Hollywood legend.
Religion and Society along the Cape Fear River of North Carolina
While religious diversity is often considered a recent phenomenon in America, the Cape Fear region of southeastern North Carolina has been a diverse community since the area was first settled. Early on, the region and the port city of Wilmington were more urban than the rest of the state and thus provided people with opportunities seldom found in other parts of North Carolina. This area drew residents from many ethnic backgrounds, and the men and women who settled there became an integral part of the region’s culture. Set against the backdrop of national and southern religious experience, A Coat of Many Colors examines issues of religious diversity and regional identity in the Cape Fear area. Author Walter H. Conser Jr. draws on a broad range of sources, including congregational records, sermon texts, liturgy, newspaper accounts, family memoirs, and technological developments to explore the evolution of religious life in this area. Beginning with the story of prehistoric Native Americans and continuing through an examination of life at the end of twentieth century, Conser tracks the development of the various religions, denominations, and ethnic groups that call the Cape Fear region home. From early Native American traditions to the establishment of the first churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, and temples, A Coat of Many Colors offers a comprehensive view of the religious and ethnic diversity that have characterized Cape Fear throughout its history. Through the lens of regional history, Conser explores how this area’s rich religious and racial diversity can be seen as a microcosm for the South, and he examines the ways in which religion can affect such diverse aspects of life as architecture and race relations.
Mysterious vanishing hitchhikers, travelers beset by headless dogs, and long-dead moonshiners come alive in this collection of ninety-six Appalachian folktales. Set in coal mines and remote farm cabins, in hidden hollows and on mountain tops, some of these stories look back to the days when West Virginia was first settled; others reflect the rancor and brutality of the Civil War. But most of these tales guide us through the recent past of the uncommonly rich folk heritage of West Virginia. This ghostly collection, with source information and bold illustrations, will thrill longtime lovers of supernatural lore.
Kentucky is most commonly associated with horses, tobacco fields, bourbon, and coal mines. There is much more to the state, though, than stories of feuding families and Colonel Sanders’ famous fried chicken. Kentucky has a rich and often compelling history, and James C. Klotter and Freda C. Klotter introduce readers to an exciting story that spans 12,000 years, looking at the lives of Kentuckians from Native Americans to astronauts. The Klotters examine all aspects of the state’s history—its geography, government, social life, cultural achievements, education, and economy. A Concise History of Kentucky recounts the events of the deadly frontier wars of the state’s early history, the divisive Civil War, and the shocking assassination of a governor in 1900. The book tells of Kentucky’s leaders from Daniel Boone and Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln, Mary Breckinridge, and Muhammad Ali. The authors also highlight the lives of Kentuckians, both famous and ordinary, to give a voice to history. The Klotters explore Kentuckians’ accomplishments in government, medicine, politics, and the arts. They describe the writing and music that flowered across the state, and they profile the individuals who worked to secure equal rights for women and African Americans. The book explains what it was like to work in the coal mines and explains the daily routine on a nineteenth-century farm. The authors bring Kentucky’s story to the twenty-first century and talk about the state’s modern economy, where auto manufacturing jobs are replacing traditional agricultural work. A collaboration of the state historian and an experienced educator, A Concise History of Kentucky is the best single resource for Kentuckians new and old who want to learn more about the past, present, and future of the Bluegrass State.
University and Community Partnerships
Throughout Appalachia corporations control local economies and absentee ownership of land makes it difficult for communities to protect their waterways, mountains, and forests. Yet among all this uncertainty are committed citizens who have organized themselves to confront both external power holders and often their own local, state, and federal agents. Determined to make their voice heard and to improve their living conditions, newfound partnerships between community activists and faculty and students at community colleges and universities have formed to challenge powerful bureaucratic infrastructures and to protect local ecosystems and communities.
Confronting Ecological Crisis: University and Community Partnerships in Appalachia and the South addresses a wide range of cases that have presented challenges to local environments, public health, and social justice faced by the people of this region. Editors Stephanie McSpirit, Lynne Faltraco, and Conner Bailey, along with community leaders and their university partners, describe stories of unlikely unions between faculty, students, and Appalachian communities in which both sides learn from one another and, most importantly, form a unique alliance in the fight against corporate control. Confronting Ecological Crisis is a comprehensive look at the citizens and organizations that have emerged to fight the continued destruction of Appalachia.
The Political Burdens of Constitutional Authority
Is the United States Congress dead, alive, or trapped in a moribund cycle? When confronted with controversial policy issues, members of Congress struggle to satisfy conflicting legislative, representative, and oversight duties. These competing goals, along with the pressure to satisfy local constituents, cause members of Congress to routinely cede power on a variety of policies, express regret over their loss of control, and later return to the habit of delegating their power. This pattern of institutional ambivalence undermines conventional wisdom about congressional party resurgence, the power of oversight, and the return of the so-called imperial presidency. In Congressional Ambivalence, Jasmine Farrier examines Congress’s frequent delegation of power by analyzing primary source materials such as bills, committee reports, and the Congressional Record. Farrier demonstrates that Congress is caught between abdication and ambition and that this ambivalence affects numerous facets of the legislative process. Explaining specific instances of post-delegation disorder, including Congress’s use of new bills, obstruction, public criticism, and oversight to salvage its lost power, Farrier exposes the tensions surrounding Congress’s roles in recent hot-button issues such as base-closing commissions, presidential trade promotion authority, and responses to the attacks of September 11. She also examines shifting public rhetoric used by members of Congress as they emphasize, in institutionally self-conscious terms, the difficulties of balancing their multiple roles. With a deep understanding of the inner workings of the federal government, Farrier illuminates a developing trend in the practice of democracy.
The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity
Between 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson defined affirmative action as a legitimate federal goal, and 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon named one of affirmative action’s chief antagonists the head of the Department of Labor, government officials at all levels addressed racial economic inequality in earnest. Providing members of historically disadvantaged groups an equal chance at obtaining limited and competitive positions, affirmative action had the potential to alienate large numbers of white Americans, even those who had viewed school desegregation and voting rights in a positive light. Thus, affirmative action was—and continues to be—controversial. Novel in its approach and meticulously researched, David Hamilton Golland’s Constructing Affirmative Action: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity bridges a sizeable gap in the literature on the history of affirmative action. Golland examines federal efforts to diversify the construction trades from the 1950s through the 1970s, offering valuable insights into the origins of affirmative action–related policy. Constructing Affirmative Action analyzes how community activism pushed the federal government to address issues of racial exclusion and marginalization in the construction industry with programs in key American cities.