front cover of The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey
The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey
Matthew Shindell
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Harold C. Urey (1893–1981), whose discoveries lie at the foundation of modern science, was one of the most famous American scientists of the twentieth century. Born in rural Indiana, his evolution from small-town farm boy to scientific celebrity made him a symbol and spokesman for American scientific authority. Because he rose to fame alongside the prestige of American science, the story of his life reflects broader changes in the social and intellectual landscape of twentieth-century America. In this, the first ever biography of the chemist, Matthew Shindell shines new light on Urey’s struggles and achievements in a thoughtful exploration of the science, politics, and society of the Cold War era.
From Urey’s orthodox religious upbringing to his death in 1981, Shindell follows the scientist through nearly a century of American history: his discovery of deuterium and heavy water earned him the Nobel Prize in 1934, his work on the Manhattan Project helped usher in the atomic age, he initiated a generation of American scientists into the world of quantum physics and chemistry, and he took on the origin of the Moon in NASA’s lunar exploration program. Despite his success, however, Urey had difficulty navigating the nuclear age. In later years he lived in the shadow of the bomb he helped create, plagued by the uncertainties unleashed by the rise of American science and unable to reconcile the consequences of scientific progress with the morality of religion.
Tracing Urey’s life through two world wars and the Cold War not only conveys the complex historical relationship between science and religion in the twentieth century, but it also illustrates how these complexities spilled over into the early days of space science. More than a life story, this book immerses readers in the trials and triumphs of an extraordinary man and his extraordinary times.

front cover of Omar Nelson Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley
America's GI General, 1893-1981
Steven L. Ossad
University of Missouri Press, 2017
When Omar Nelson Bradley began his military career more than a century ago, the army rode horses into combat and had less than 200,000 men. No one had heard of mustard gas. At the height of his career, Bradley (known as “Brad” and “The GI’s General”) led 1.23 million men as commander of 12 Army Group in the Western Front to bring an end to World War II.

Omar Nelson Bradley was the youngest and last of nine men to earn five-star rank and the only army officer so honored after World War II. This new biography by Steven L. Ossad gives an account of Bradley’s formative years, his decorated career, and his postwar life.

Bradley’s decisions shaped the five Northwest European Campaigns from the D-Day landings to VE Day. As the man who successfully led more Americans in battle than any other in our history, his long-term importance would seem assured. Yet his name is not discussed often in the classrooms of either civilian or military academies, either as a fount of tactical or operational lessons learned, or a source of inspiration for leadership exercised at Corps, Army, Group, Army Chief, or Joint Chiefs of Staff levels.

The Bradley image was tailor-made for the quintessential homespun American heroic ideal and was considered by many to be a simple, humble country boy who rose to the pinnacle of power through honesty, hard work, loyalty and virtuous behavior. Even though his classmates in both high school and at West Point made remarks about his looks, and Bradley was always self-conscious about smiling because of an accident involving his teeth, he went on to command 12 Army Group, the largest body of American fighting men under a single general.

Bradley’s postwar career as administrator of the original GI Bill and first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Korean War ensures his legacy. These latter contributions, as much as Bradley’s demonstrable World War II leadership, shaped U.S. history and culture in decisive, dramatic, and previously unexamined ways.

Drawing on primary sources such as those at West Point, Army War College and Imperial War Museum, this book focuses on key decisions, often through the eyes of eyewitness and diarist, British liaison officer Major Thomas Bigland. The challenges our nation faces sound familiar to his problems: fighting ideologically-driven enemies across the globe, coordinating global strategy with allies, and providing care and benefits for our veterans.

front cover of Untimely Women
Untimely Women
Radically Recasting Feminist Rhetorical History
Jason Barrett-Fox
The Ohio State University Press, 2022

Untimely Women recovers the work of three early-twentieth-century working women, none of whom history has understood as feminists or rhetors: cinema icon and memoirist, Mae West; silent film screenwriter and novelist, Anita Loos; and journalist and mega-publisher, Marcet Haldeman-Julius. While contemporary scholarship tends to highlight and recover women who most resemble academic feminists in their uses of propositional rhetoric, Jason Barrett-Fox uses what he terms a medio-materialist historiography to emphasize the different kinds of political and ontological gender-power that emerged from the inscriptional strategies these women employed to navigate and critique male gatekeepers––from movie stars to directors to editors to abusive husbands. 

In recasting the work of West, Loos, and Haldeman-Julius in this way, Barrett-Fox reveals the material and ontological ramifications of their forms of invention, particularly their ability to tell trauma in ways that reach beyond their time to raise the consciousness of audiences unavailable to them in their lifetimes. Untimely Women thus accomplishes important historical and rhetorical work that not only brings together feminist historiography, rhetorical materialism, and posthumanism but also redefines what counts as feminist rhetoric.

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