A hard-hitting look at the regulation of sexual difference and its role in circumscribing African American culture.
The sociology of race relations in America typically describes an intersection of poverty, race, and economic discrimination. But what is missing from the picture--sexual difference--can be as instructive as what is present. In this ambitious work, Roderick A. Ferguson reveals how the discourses of sexuality are used to articulate theories of racial difference in the field of sociology. He shows how canonical sociology--Gunnar Myrdal, Ernest Burgess, Robert Park, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William Julius Wilson--has measured African Americans' unsuitability for a liberal capitalist order in terms of their adherence to the norms of a heterosexual and patriarchal nuclear family model. In short, to the extent that African Americans' culture and behavior deviated from those norms, they would not achieve economic and racial equality.
Aberrations in Black tells the story of canonical sociology's regulation of sexual difference as part of its general regulation of African American culture. Ferguson places this story within other stories--the narrative of capital's emergence and development, the histories of Marxism and revolutionary nationalism, and the novels that depict the gendered and sexual idiosyncrasies of African American culture--works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Toni Morrison. In turn, this book tries to present another story--one in which people who presumably manifest the dysfunctions of capitalism are reconsidered as indictments of the norms of state, capital, and social science. Ferguson includes the first-ever discussion of a new archival discovery--a never-published chapter of Invisible Man that deals with a gay character in a way that complicates and illuminates Ellison's project.
Unique in the way it situates critiques of race, gender, and sexuality within analyses of cultural, economic, and epistemological formations, Ferguson's work introduces a new mode of discourse--which Ferguson calls queer of color analysis--that helps to lay bare the mutual distortions of racial, economic, and sexual portrayals within sociology.
Roderick A. Ferguson is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.
When Sy Kahn set off to serve in the Pacific during World War II, he was a bookish, naive nineteen-year-old, the youngest in his company. Convinced he would not survive the war, Kahn kept a meticulous record of his experiences as his "foxhole of the mind," even though keeping such a journal was forbidden by military regulations. His secret diary--one soldier's "mark against oblivion"--is a rare ground-level account of the war.
Often writing in tents by candlelight, in foxholes, or on board ships, Kahn documents life during four campaigns and over three hundred air attacks. He describes the 244th Port Company's backbreaking work of loading and unloading ships, the suffocating heat, the debilitating tropical diseases, and the relentless, sometimes terrifying bombings, accidents, casualties, and deaths.
His wartime odyssey also includes encounters with civilians in Australia, in the Philippines, and, as among the earliest occupation troops, in Japan. A detailed record of the daily cost of war, Kahn's journal reflects his increasing maturity and his personal coming of age, representative of thousands of young Americans who served in World War II.
The Broken Vase is a roman à clef ("novel with a key," or novel based on real life) written by Phillip H. McMath based upon research done by his co-author, Emily Matson Lewis, and in close collaboration with Holocaust survivor Penina Krupitsky, who appears in the novel as the fictional Miriam Kellerman. With the help of the World Jewish Organization, Mrs. Krupitsky emigrated from the Soviet Union with her family to the United States and now lives in Arkansas. Born to middle-class parents in July 1924 in North Bukovina, Romania (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine), Miriam Kellerman grows up in an atmosphere of culture and privilege that is interrupted when her country is invaded—first by Stalin in July 1940, then by Hitler in June 1941. Fearing for their lives, Jews like Miriam begin to flee into the Soviet Union to escape the German advance. Separated from her parents, Deborah and Max, and later from her fiancé, Isaac, Miriam finds herself alone and on foot, trudging ever eastward. This novel's compelling narrative chronicles her incredible struggle to stay alive as World War II rages. Mrs. Krupitsky lives in Little Rock with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She remains active in Holocaust remembrance organizations around the world and says that she wants The Broken Vase "to help young people and become an inspiration to them. It will teach them how to build a world of love and not of hatred."
When presidential candidate Jimmy Carter advocated defense budget cuts, he did so not only to save money but also with the hope of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons. Three yearslater, when President Carter announced his support of full-scale development of the MX missile and modernization of NATO’s Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force, it marked a dramatic policy shift for his administration.
In light of Carter’s cost-cutting in the first year of his administration, previous observers have attributed Carter’s subsequent shift either to the “shocks of 1979”—the Soviet Union’s move into Afghanistan and the seizure of power by Islamic revolutionaries in Iran—or to domestic political pressure, such as interest group activity, executive-legislative bargaining, or interbureaucratic conflict. Brian Auten now argues that these explanations only partially explain this midterm policy change.
In Carter’s Conversion, Auten reveals how strategic ideas and studies, allied relations, and arms control negotiations each worked to deflect Carter’s initial defense stance away from the policy path suggested by the prevailing international military environment. He also shows how the administration’s MX and Long-Range Theater Nuclear Force decisions subsequently hardened following significant adjustments to these three variables.
Employing the approach to international relations known as neoclassical realism, Auten demonstrates that Carter reassessed his strategic thinking and revised his policy stance accordingly. Integrating declassified documents, interviews, and private archives with a mountain of secondary sources, he provides a historical analysis of defense policy transformation over the first three years of the Carter administration and a detailed examination of how Carter and his national security team addressed challenges posed by the expansion of Soviet military power.
Full of rich history and cogent analysis, Carter’s Conversion presents a wealth of detailed arguments about how Carter adjusted his policy outlook, couched in a thorough understanding of weapons, arms control dynamics, and defense policy-making. As a revision ofcommon interpretations, it provides both an example of self-correcting policy change and a realist argument about the end of superpower détente and the start of the “Second Cold War.”
City of Life, City of Death: Memories of Riga is Max Michelson's stirring and haunting personal account of the Soviet and German occupations of Latvia and of the Holocaust.
Michelson had a serene boyhood in an upper middle-class Jewish family in Riga, Latvia--at least until 1940, when the fifteen-year old Michelson witnessed the annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union. Private properties were nationalized, and Stalin's terror spread to Soviet Latvia. Soon after, Michelson's family was torn apart by the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. He quickly lost his entire family, while witnessing the unspeakable brutalities of war and genocide.
Michelson's memoir is an ode to his lost family; it is the speech of their muted voices and a thank you for their love. Although badly scarred by his experiences, like many other survivors he was able to rebuild his life and gain a new sense of what it means to be alive.
His experiences will be of interest to scholars of both the Holocaust and Eastern European history, as well as the general reader.
No nostalgic tale of the good old days, Robert Peters’s recollections of his adolescence vividly evoke the Depression on a hardscrabble farm near Eagle River: Dad driving the Vilas County Relief truck, Lars the Swede freezing to death on his porch, the embarassment of graduation in a suit from welfare. The hard efforts to put fish and potatoes and blueberries on the table are punctuated by occasional pleasures: the Memorial Day celebration, swimming at Perch Lake, the county fair with Mother’s prizes for jam and the exotic delights of the midway. Peters’s clear-eyed memoir reveals a poet’s eye for rich and stark detail even as a boy of twelve.
“Peters misses nothing, from the details of the town’s Fourth of July celebration to the cause and effect of a young cousin’s suicide to the calibrations of racism toward Indians that was so acceptable then. It is a fascinating, unsentimental look at a piece of our past.”—Margaret E. Guthrie, New York Times Book Review
“It’s unlikely that any other contemporary poet and scholar as distinguished has risen from quite so humble beginnings as Robert Peters. Born and raised by semiliterate parents on a subsistence farm in northeastern Wisconsin, Peters lived harrowingly close to the eventual stuff of his poetry—the dependency of humans on animal lives, the inexplicable and ordinary heroism and baseness of people facing extreme conditions, the urgency of physical desire. . . . Sterling childhood memoirs.”—Booklist
“Robert Peters has written a memoir exemplary because he insists on the specific, on the personal and the local. It is also enormously satisfying to read, and it is among the most authentic accounts of childhood and youth I know—a Wisconsin David Copperfield!”—Thom Gunn
For over thirty years, the work of E. P. Thompson as historian, socialist, and peace activist has been enormously influential. Yet attempts to assess the impact of his work as a whole have been rare. This book brings together a wide range of authors who, in original essays, discuss the historical, theoretical, and political problems that have been central to Thompson's work. The contributors assess the limits and achievements of his writings, and add to the discussion of issues that remain important for both intellectual and political work.
Everything to Gain, first published in 1987, is the warm account of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s life after their years in the White House. They discuss their marriage and health issues, their work with Habitat for Humanity and the Carter Center, and much more.
“She’s got no more business there than a pig has with a Bible.” That’s what her father said when Mary Herring announced that she would be moving to Washington, DC, in late1942. Recently graduated from the North Carolina School for Black Deaf and Blind Students, Mary had been invited to the nation’s capital by a cousin to see a specialist about her hearing loss. Though nothing could be done about her deafness, Mary quickly proved her father wrong by passing the civil service examination with high marks. Far from Home: Memories of World War II and Afterward, the second installment of her autobiography, describes her life from her move to Washington to the present.
Mary soon became a valued employee for the Navy, maintaining rosters for the many servicemen in war theaters worldwide. Her remarkable gift for detail depicts Washington in meticulous layers, a sleepy Southern town force-grown into a dynamic geopolitical hub. Life as a young woman amid the capital’s Black middle class could be warm and fun, filled with visits from family and friends, and trips home to Iron Mine for tearful, joyous reunions. But the reality of the times was never far off. On many an idyllic afternoon, she and her friends found somber peace in Arlington Cemetery, next to the grave of the sole Unknown Soldier at that time. During an evening spent at the U.S.O., one hearing woman asked how people like her could dance, and Mary answered, “With our feet.” She became a pen pal to several young servicemen, but did not want to know why some of them suddenly stopped writing.
Despite the close friends and good job that she had in Washington, the emotional toll caused Mary to return to her family home in Iron Mine, NC. There, she rejoined her family and resumed her country life. She married and raised four daughters, and recounts the joys and sorrows she experienced through the years, particularly the loss of her parents. Her blend of the gradual transformation of Southern rural life with momentous events such as Hurricane Hazel creates an extraordinary narrative history. The constant in Far from Home remains the steady confidence that Mary Herring Wright has in herself, making her new memoir a perfect companion to her first.
First Lady from Plains
Rosalynn Carter University of Arkansas Press, 1994 Library of Congress E874.C434 1994 | Dewey Decimal 973.9260922
First Lady from Plains, first published in 1984, is Rosalynn’s Carter’s autobiography, covering her life from her childhood in Plains, Georgia, through her time as First Lady. It is “a readable, lively and revealing account of the Carters and their remarkable journey from rural Georgia to the White House in a span of ten years” (The New York Times).
The work that helped to determine Paul Feyerabend's fame and notoriety, Against Method, stemmed from Imre Lakatos's challenge: "In 1970 Imre cornered me at a party. 'Paul,' he said, 'you have such strange ideas. Why don't you write them down? I shall write a reply, we publish the whole thing and I promise you—we shall have a lot of fun.' " Although Lakatos died before he could write his reply, For and Against Method reconstructs his original counter-arguments from lectures and correspondence previously unpublished in English, allowing us to enjoy the "fun" two of this century's most eminent philosophers had, matching their wits and ideas on the subject of the scientific method.
For and Against Method opens with an imaginary dialogue between Lakatos and Feyerabend, which Matteo Motterlini has constructed, based on their published works, to synthesize their positions and arguments. Part one presents the transcripts of the last lectures on method that Lakatos delivered. Part two, Feyerabend's response, consists of a previously published essay on anarchism, which began the attack on Lakatos's position that Feyerabend later continued in Against Method. The third and longest section consists of the correspondence Lakatos and Feyerabend exchanged on method and many other issues and ideas, as well as the events of their daily lives, between 1968 and Lakatos's death in 1974.
The delight Lakatos and Feyerabend took in philosophical debate, and the relish with which they sparred, come to life again in For and Against Method, making it essential and lively reading for anyone interested in these two fascinating and controversial thinkers and their immense contributions to philosophy of science.
"The writings in this volume are of considerable intellectual importance, and will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the development of the philosophical views of Lakatos and Feyerabend, or indeed with the development of philosophy of science in general during this crucial period."—Donald Gillies, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (on the Italian edition)
"A stimulating exchange of letters between two philosophical entertainers."—Tariq Ali, The Independent
Imre Lakatos (1922-1974) was professor of logic at the London School of Economics. He was the author of Proofs and Refutations and the two-volume Philosophical Papers. Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) was educated in Europe and held numerous teaching posts throughout his career. Among his books are Against Method; Science in a Free Society; Farewell to Reason; and Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.
In 2007 a disputed election in Kenya erupted into a two-month political crisis that led to the deaths of more than a thousand people and the displacement of almost seven hundred thousand. Much of the violence fell along ethnic lines, the principal perpetrators of which were the Kalenjin, who lashed out at other communities in the Rift Valley. What makes this episode remarkable compared to many other instances of ethnic violence is that the Kalenjin community is a recent construct: the group has only existed since the mid-twentieth century. Drawing on rich archival research and vivid oral testimony, I Say to You is a timely analysis of the creation, development, political relevance, and popular appeal of the Kalenjin identity as well as its violent potential.
Uncovering the Kalenjin’s roots, Gabrielle Lynch examines the ways in which ethnic groups are socially constructed and renegotiated over time. She demonstrates how historical narratives of collective achievement, migration, injustice, and persecution constantly evolve. As a consequence, ethnic identities help politicians mobilize support and help ordinary people lay claim to space, power, and wealth. This kind of ethnic politics, Lynch reveals, encourages a sense of ethnic difference and competition, which can spiral into violent confrontation and retribution.
Icon Of Spring
Sonya Jason University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993 Library of Congress F159.J43J36 1993 | Dewey Decimal 974.885
A realistic but fond memoir of a girlhood lived in a coal camp, or “patch” in southwestern Pennsylvania during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Icon of Spring is also a coming-of-age story. It begins in 1932 when the narrator, the child of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant parents, is seven years old. Her father is a miner, and work is scarce as the grip of the depression tightens. The jars of canned food on the storeroom shelf are dwindling, and the family fears eviction from their small company-owned house.
Icon of Spring recounts her childhood during the next seven years, as she grows to adolescence in a world that is protective within her family but shares the violence of the coal region. She is witness to accidental death in the mines, the murder of a coal and iron policeman, the muted struggle to unionize, and the itinerant beggars who appear at the back door.
Yet this is far from a grim book, for we see life in the patch through the eyes of the child. Warmed by the closeness she feels toward her parents, especially her mother, and her nine brothers and sisters, she knows the joy of one sister’s wedding and raucous reception, the mysterious Easter ritual of the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy, the fun of attending a medicine show, and the almost incandescent hope placed in the new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her life is peopled by traveling peddlers, the priest of her church, a union organizer, and the town bachelors: Big John, Peg Leg Pete, and Shorty Steve.
Icon of Spring evokes life in a depression coal patch from a female perspective. A splendid memoir of childhood told with accuracy and warmth which is also rich in social history, it will appeal to general readers as well as students.
James Baldwin’s relationship with black Christianity, and especially his rejection of it, exposes the anatomy of a religious heritage that has not been wrestled with sufficiently in black theological and religious studies. In James Baldwin’s God: Sex, Hope, and Crisis in Black Holiness Culture, Clarence hardy demonstrates that Baldwin is important not only for the ways he is connected to black religious culture, but also for the ways he chooses to disconnect himself from it. Despite Baldwin’s view that black religious expression harbors a sensibility that is often vengeful and that its actual content is composed of illusory promises and empty theatrics, he remains captive to its energies, rhythms, languages, and themes. Baldwin is forced, on occasion, to acknowledge that the religious fervor he saw as an adolescent was not simply an expression of repressed sexual tension but also a sign of the irrepressible vigor and dignified humanity of black life. Hardy’s reading of Baldwin’s texts, with its goal of understanding Baldwin’s attitude toward a religion that revolves around an uncaring God in the face of black suffering, provides provocative reading for scholars of religion, literature, and history.
The Author: Clarence Hardy is an assistant professor of religion at Dartmouth College. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Religion and Christianity and Crisis.
James Baldwin’s Later Fiction examines the decline of Baldwin’s reputation after the middle 1960s, his tepid reception in mainstream and academic venues, and the ways in which critics have often mis-represented and undervalued his work. Scott develops readings of Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Just Above My Head that explore the interconnected themes in Baldwin’s work: the role of the family in sustaining the arts, the price of success in American society, and the struggle of black artists to change the ways that race, sex, and masculinity are represented in American culture.
Scott argues that Baldwin’s later writing crosses the cultural divide between the 1950s and 1960s in response to the civil rights and black power movements. Baldwin’s earlier works, his political activism and sexual politics, and traditions of African American autobiography and fiction all play prominent roles in Scott’s analysis.
Inspiring memoir of Colonel Harold H. Brown, one of the 930 original Tuskegee pilots, whose dramatic wartime exploits and postwar professional successes contribute to this extraordinary account.
Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman is the memoir of an African American man who, through dedication to his goals and vision, overcame the despair of racial segregation to great heights, not only as a military aviator, but also as an educator and as an American citizen.
Unlike other historical and autobiographical portrayals of Tuskegee airmen, Harold H. Brown’s memoir is told from its beginnings: not on the first day of combat, not on the first day of training, but at the very moment Brown realized he was meant to be a pilot. He revisits his childhood in Minneapolis where his fascination with planes pushed him to save up enough of his own money to take flying lessons. Brown also details his first trip to the South, where he was met with a level of segregation he had never before experienced and had never imagined possible.
During the 1930s and 1940s, longstanding policies of racial discrimination were called into question as it became clear that America would likely be drawn into World War II. The military reluctantly allowed for the development of a flight-training program for a limited number of African Americans on a segregated base in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen, as well as other African Americans in the armed forces, had the unique experience of fighting two wars at once: one against Hitler’s fascist regime overseas and one against racial segregation at home.
Colonel Brown fought as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II, and was captured and imprisoned in Stalag VII A in Moosburg, Germany, where he was liberated by General George S. Patton on April 29, 1945. Upon returning home, Brown noted with acute disappointment that race relations in the United States hadn’t changed. It wasn’t until 1948 that the military desegregated, which many scholars argue would not have been possible without the exemplary performance of the Tuskegee Airmen.
In Keeping Faith, originally published in 1982, President Carter provides a candid account of his time in the Oval Office, detailing the hostage crisis in Iran, his triumph at the Camp David Middle East peace summit, his relationships with world leaders, and even glimpses into his private world. “Responsible, truthful, intelligent, earnest, rational, purposeful. Thus the man: thus the book” (The Washington Post).
“Little Hawk” was born Raymond Kaquatosh in 1924 on Wisconsin’s Menominee Reservation. The son of a medicine woman, Ray spent his Depression-era boyhood immersed in the beauty of the natural world and the traditions of his tribe and his family.
After his father’s death, eight-year-old Ray was sent to an Indian boarding school in Keshena. There he experienced isolation and despair, but also comfort and kindness. Upon his return home, Ray remained a lonely boy in a full house until he met and befriended a lone timber wolf. The unusual bond they formed would last through both their lifetimes. As Ray grew into a young man, he left the reservation more frequently. Yet whenever he returned—from school and work, from service in the Marines, and finally from postwar Wausau with his future wife—the wolf waited.
In this rare first-person narrative of a Menominee Indian’s coming of age, Raymond Kaquatosh shares a story that is wise and irreverent, often funny, and in the end, deeply moving.
Long before Stonewall, young Air Force veteran Edward Field, fresh from combat in WWII, threw himself into New York’s literary bohemia, searching for fulfillment as a gay man and poet. In this vivid account of his avant-garde years in Greenwich Village and the bohemian outposts of Paris’s Left Bank and Tangier—where you could write poetry, be radical, and be openly gay—Field opens the closet door to reveal, as never been seen before, some of the most important writers of his time.
Here are young, beautiful Susan Sontag sitting at the feet of her idol Alfred Chester, who shrewdly plotted to marry her; May Swenson and her two loves; Paul and Jane Bowles in their ambiguous marriage; Frank O’Hara in and out of bed; Fritz Peters, the anointed son of Gurdjieff; and James Baldwin, Isabel Miller (Patience and Sarah), Tobias Schneebaum, Robert Friend, and many others. With its intimate portraits, Field’s memoir brings back a forgotten era—postwar bohemia—bawdy, comical, romantic, sad, and heroic.
McCaffery interprets the works of three major writers of radically experimental fiction: Robert Coover; Donald Barthelme; and Willam H. Gass. The term “metafiction” here refers to a strain in American writing where the self-concious approach to the art of fiction-making is a commentary on the nature of meaning itself.
Mission of Change is an oral history describing various types of change—political, social, cultural, and religious—as seen through the eyes of Father Astruc and Paul Dixon, non-Natives who dedicated their lives to working with the Yup’ik people. Their stories are framed by the an analytic history of regional changes, together with current anthropological theory on the nature of cultural change and the formation of cultural identity. The book presents a subtle and emotionally moving account of the region and the roles of two men, both of whom view issues from a Catholic perspective yet are closely attuned to and involved with changes in the Yup’ik community.
When conservatives took control of the federal judiciary in the 1980s, it was widely assumed that they would reverse the landmark rights-protecting precedents set by the Warren Court and replace them with a broad commitment to judicial restraint. Instead, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist has reaffirmed most of those liberal decisions while creating its own brand of conservative judicial activism.
Ranging from 1937 to the present, The Most Activist Supreme Court in History traces the legal and political forces that have shaped the modern Court. Thomas M. Keck argues that the tensions within modern conservatism have produced a court that exercises its own power quite actively, on behalf of both liberal and conservative ends. Despite the long-standing conservative commitment to restraint, the justices of the Rehnquist Court have stepped in to settle divisive political conflicts over abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, presidential elections, and much more. Keck focuses in particular on the role of Justices O'Connor and Kennedy, whose deciding votes have shaped this uncharacteristically activist Court.
In his enduring fiction and criticism, Walter Sullivan has invited readers to share the thoughts of a penetrating, contemporary intellect. Now he turns his pen on his own life to forge a stirring memoir that fondly recounts the life of the mind.
From childhood in 1920s Nashville, where his father died three months after he was born, to the halls of Vanderbilt University, where he taught creative writing for more than fifty years, Sullivan recalls key episodes in his life—often pausing to ponder why some memories of seemingly trivial events persist while others, seemingly more important, have faded from view.
As witness to a series of social and cultural moments, Sullivan passes on his sharp observations about depression and war, southern renascence and civil rights. He also includes lively anecdotes and sharp character sketches, with personalities ranging from his grandmother “Chigger” and Sally Fudge—who had lived through the Civil War and was said to attend the funerals of people she didn’t know—to Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt, with whose eccentricities he sometimes had to contend.
Readers will discover a treasure trove of insights, as Sullivan’s views of academic life are complemented by remembrances of important writers: John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, James Dickey, Flannery O’Connor, and a host of others, blending the formal and familiar in a style befitting a lingering southernness. He also recalls his shock at being branded a racist by Kingsley Amis and addresses issues of race in academia and southern culture. Throughout his career, he sees himself as a guardian of lost causes, continuing to teach an appreciation of literature in the face of encroaching post-structuralism and political correctness.
Laced with humor while maintaining a profound seriousness about what really matters in life, Nothing Gold Can Stay is a lively narrative of a life well lived that will charm any reader interested in American society during and after the Great Depression. Graced with emotional coherence achieved by an almost ironic tone that is sustained from first sentence to last, it is a book in which a distinguished writer considers his world—and his own mortality—and leaves us richer for it.
From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.
While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.
An Outdoor Journal, first published in 1988, is President Carter’s memoir of hunting and fishing and the meaning of nature, revealing much about a man who embodies “so much of what Americans claim to admire—self-reliance, honesty, humor, modesty, intelligence—the stuff of heroes” (The New York Times Book Review).
"Two world wars, concentration camps, the obliteration of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, and continued preparations for nuclear war illustrate the modern
world's propensity for mass destruction. . . . Yet there have been
important signs of resistance to this trend. These have included not only
the emergence of mass-based peace and disarmament movements but activist
intellectuals grappling with the growing problem posed by mass violence
among nation-states. . . . Bess examines the lives and ideas of four of
these intellectuals: Leo Szilard of Hungary and (later) the United States,
E. P. Thompson of England, Danilo Dolci of Italy, and Louise Weiss of
France. . . . Realism, Utopia, and the Mushroom Cloud is a powerful,
important scholarly work, casting new light upon some of the great issues
of modern times. Readers will learn much from it."—Lawrence S.
Wittner, Peace and Change
"Bess seeks to understand the way in which the creation of the atomic bomb
has changed the social and political situation of humankind. Are we to be
held hostage by military forces or can we transform our situation? He
describes the lives of four very different activists, each with different
views on what causes conflict and how best to address conflict. . . .
Overall, this book offers an interesting perspective on life after the
atomic bomb. . . . In asking ourselves what the possibilities of our future
are, we can turn to these lives for some guidance. . . . This book is
informative, provocative, and encourages one to consider carefully how s/he
chooses to live."—Erin McKenna, Utopian Studies
"These four lives, researched and skillfully presented by historian Michael
Bess, make fascinating stories in themselves. They also serve as useful
vehicles for examining major cross-currents of Cold War resistance. . . .
From Weiss the cynical pragmatist to Szilard the high-level fixer to
hompson the social reformer to Dolce the spiritual street organizer,
Michael Bess has woven an illuminating tapestry of human efforts to cope
with life under the mushroom cloud."—Samuel H. Day Jr., The Progressive
Requiem for Ernst Jandl
Friederike Mayröcker Seagull Books, 2018 Library of Congress PT2625.A95R4713 2018 | Dewey Decimal 831.914
Austrian poet and playwright Ernst Jandl died in 2000, leaving behind his partner, poet Friederike Mayröcker—and bringing to an end a half century of shared life, and shared literary work. Mayröcker immediately began attempting to come to terms with his death in the way that poets struggling with loss have done for millennia: by writing.
Requiem for Ernst Jandl is the powerfully moving outcome. In this quiet but passionate lament that grows into a song of enthralling intensity, Mayröcker recalls memories and shared experiences, and—with the sudden, piercing perception of regrets that often accompany grief—reads Jandl’s works in a new light. Alarmed by a sudden, existential emptiness, she reflects on the future, and the possibility of going on with her life and work in the absence of the person who, as we see in this elegy, was a constant conversational and creative partner.
Re-Viewing James Baldwin
Quentin Miller Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3552.A45Z865 2000 | Dewey Decimal 818.5409
This new collection of essays presents a critical reappraisal of James Baldwin's work, looking beyond the commercial success of some of Baldwin's early writings such as Go Tell It on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son. Focusing on Baldwin's critically undervalued early works and the virtually neglected later ones the contributors illuminate little-known aspects of this daring author's work and highlight his accomplishments as an experimental writer. Attentive to his innovations in style and form, Re-Viewing James Baldwin reveals an author who continually challenged the notion of unity as he tackled matters of social justice, sexuality, and racial identity. As volume editor D. Quentin Miller notes, "what has been lost is a complete portrait of [Baldwin's] tremendously rich intellectual journey that illustrates the direction of African American thought and culture in the late twentieth century."
This is an important book for anyone interested in Baldwin's work. It will engage readers interested in literature and African American Studies.
Sue Onslow Ohio University Press, 2018 Library of Congress DT3000.O57 2018 | Dewey Decimal 968.91051092
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe sharply divides opinion and embodies the contradictions of his country’s history and political culture. As a symbol of African liberation and a stalwart opponent of white rule, he was respected and revered by many. This heroic status contrasted sharply, in the eyes of his rivals and victims, with repeated cycles of gross human rights violations. Mugabe presided over the destruction of a vibrant society, capital flight, and mass emigration precipitated by the policies of his government, resulting in his demonic image in Western media.
This timely biography addresses the coup, led by some of Mugabe’s closest associates, that forced his resignation after thirty-seven years in power. Sue Onslow and Martin Plaut explain Mugabe’s formative experiences as a child and young man; his role as an admired Afro-nationalist leader in the struggle against white settler rule; and his evolution into a political manipulator and survivalist. They also address the emergence of political opposition to his leadership and the uneasy period of coalition government. Ultimately, they reveal the complexity of the man who stamped his personality on Zimbabwe’s first four decades of independence.
A moving story of German Jews saved by the firebombing of Dresden.
February, 1945. After heavy bombing by Allied air forces, Dresden was on fire and in ruins. Ironically, for the few Dresden Jews who had not yet been deported and murdered by the Nazis, the destruction meant rescue. With the Gestapo order for the family to report for deportation still in hand, Henny Wolf Brenner and her parents ran for their lives. They went into hiding and waited for the end of the war. Despite the family’s fears, the Gestapo did not succeed in tracking down the city’s last few Jews, and the family survived.
At the end of the war the Red Army liberated Dresden. But instead of the desired release from terror into a resumption of a peaceful, productive life, different forms of repression awaited Brenner and her parents. In the new communist-run East Germany, she was refused advanced schooling because she was not a Party member. Under the communist regime, it was clear the Jewish population was not welcome, and consequently normal life was impossible. With heavy hearts, the family decided to abandon their beloved home and risk the dangers of flight from East Berlin to West Berlin. With the help of good friends, they were successful in their venture.
Originally published in 1999, Sounds Like Home adds an important dimension to the canon of deaf literature by presenting the perspective of an African American deaf woman who attended a segregated deaf school. Mary Herring Wright documents her life from the mid-1920s to the early 1940s, offering a rich account of her home life in rural North Carolina and her education at the North Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, which had a separate campus for African American students. This 20th anniversary edition of Wright’s story includes a new introduction by scholars Joseph Hill and Carolyn McCaskill, who note that the historical documents and photographs of segregated Black deaf schools have mostly been lost. Sounds Like Home serves “as a permanent witness to the lives of Black Deaf people.”
New edition available: Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South, 20th Anniversary Edition, ISBN 978-1-944838-58-4
Features a new introduction by scholars Joseph Hill and Carolyn McCaskill
Mary Herring Wright’s memoir adds an important dimension to the current literature in that it is a story by and about an African American deaf child. The author recounts her experiences growing up as a deaf person in Iron Mine, North Carolina, from the 1920s through the 1940s. Her story is unique and historically significant because it provides valuable descriptive information about the faculty and staff of the North Carolina school for Black deaf and blind students from the perspective of a student as well as a student teacher. In addition, this engrossing narrative contains details about the curriculum, which included a week-long Black History celebration where students learned about important Blacks such as Madame Walker, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and George Washington Carver. It also describes the physical facilities as well as the changes in those facilities over the years. In addition, Sounds Like Home occurs over a period of time that covers two major events in American history, the Depression and World War II.
Wright’s account is one of enduring faith, perseverance, and optimism. Her keen observations will serve as a source of inspiration for others who are challenged in their own ways by life’s obstacles.
The Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975 sought to restore self-government to peoples whose community affairs had long been administered by outsiders. This book explores whether that bold ambition was actually realized. Taking Charge is a sequel to the author’s landmark work To Show Heart, which examined Indian policy through 1975. George Castile now explores federal Indian policy in the Carter, Reagan, and first Bush administrations, tracing developments triggered by executive and congressional action—or inaction—and focusing on the dynamics of self-determination as both policy objective and byword in the wake of the landmark 1975 legislation.
Drawing on unpublished presidential papers and other archival sources, Castile chronicles the efforts of three presidents to uphold Richard Nixon’s commitment to policy change, weighing such issues as the impact of Reaganomics and the advent of Indian gaming. He examines the marginalizing of Indian policy in both the executive and legislative branches in the face of larger issues, as well as the recurring tendency of policy to be driven by a single determined individual, such as South Dakota senator James Abourezk. Although self-determination is roundly advocated by all concerned with federal Indian policy, until now no book has provided a grasp of both its background and its implications. Taking Charge is an essential contribution to the critical study of that policy that allows a better understanding of contemporary Indian affairs.
Pamela Finnegan provides a detailed criticism of a major novel written by one of Chile’s leading literary figures. She analyzes the symbolism and the use of language in The Obscene Bird of Night, showing that the novel’s world becomes an icon characterized by entropy, parody, and materiality. Her study concludes that all linguistic ordering fictionalizes, that the lack of spirituality within the novel’s world is symptomatic of language gone stale, and that blindness to this fact leads to dogma or solipsism, each counter-productive to communication and human endeavor. To revive the linguistic system, she argues, we must revive the creative power of language.
We Are All Zimbabweans Now
James Kilgore Ohio University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3561.I3675W4 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
We Are All Zimbabweans Now is a political thriller set in Zimbabwe in the hopeful, early days of Robert Mugabe’s rise to power in the late 1980s. When Ben Dabney, a Wisconsin graduate student, arrives in the country, he is enamored with Mugabe and the promises of his government’s model of racial reconciliation. But as Ben begins his research and delves more deeply into his hero’s life, he finds fatal flaws. Ultimately Ben reconsiders not only his understanding of Mugabe, but his own professional and personal life.
James Kilgore brings an authentic voice to a work of youthful hope, disillusionment, and unsettling resolution.
The Whales, They Give Themselves is an intimate life history of Harry Brower, Sr. (1924-1992), an Inupiaq whaling captain, artisan, and community leader from Barrow, Alaska. In a life that spanned the profound cultural and economic changes of the twentieth century, Brower's vast knowledge of the natural world made him an essential contributor to the Native and scientific communities of the North. His desire to share his insights with future generations resulted in a series of conversations with friend and oral historian Karen Brewster, who weaves Harry's stories with cultural and historical background into this innovative and collaborative oral biography.
Brower was deeply committed to Native culture, and his life history is a moving expression of the Inupiaq way of life. He was also influential in traditionally non-Native arenas in which Native and non-Native values sometimes collided. Acting as a mediator between Inupiaq whalers and non-Native scientists, Brower communicated a vast understanding of bowhead whales and whaling that became the basis for a scientific research program and helped protect Inupiaq subsistence whaling. He was a central architect of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation boundaries, and served for over twenty years as a consultant to scientists at the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory. Brower's role in this collaborative research serves as one of the earliest and best examples of how scientists and Native experts can work together to advance knowledge. Such approaches are now promoted by researchers around the world.
The Whales, They Give Themselves not only conveys Brower's life story, but also is a cross-cultural journey of wisdom and friendship. Whereas academic oral historians once strove to erase the presence of the interviewer in the name of objectivity, Brewster recognizes the influence her specific relationship with Brower had on the way he narrated his life. This volume is a major contribution to our understanding of northern peoples, and a testament to the immense value of collaborative oral history.
Why Not the Best?, originally published in 1975, is President Carter’s presidential campaign autobiography, the book that introduced the world to Georgia governor Jimmy Carter and asked the American people to demand the best and highest standards of excellence from our government.