In many communities across North America in the 1960s and 1970s, the rural-relocation movement became both a way of life and a path forward for many people inclined to buck the mainstream—and Paul Salstrom embraced it. His experiences in rural Lincoln County, West Virginia, led him to the self-sufficient, “neighborly networking” lifestyle well known in many Appalachian communities since the early nineteenth century.
In Appalachia’s Alternative to Mainstream America, Salstrom outlines his Appalachian experiences in a memoir, revisiting this back-to-the-land tradition that guided his cultural experience during this time. While he pursued a number of experimental alternatives to a mainstream way of life during the late 1960s, it was not until he landed in Lincoln County a few years later that he found himself engaging in an alternative way of living that didn’t feel “experimental” at all. This distinctive way of life was largely characterized by a closer connection to the earth—local sufficiency informed by homesteading, subsistence farming, and gardening—and the community-wide trading of favors in a spirit of mutual aid.
Over time, Salstrom’s engagement in this “neighborly” occupation has nurtured an informed belief that Americans will be drawn back to landed customs, taking care of the earth and of one another to thrive as individuals and communities. Facing today’s pandemics, climate change, and deepening political divisions, says Salstrom, Americans urgently need to create a groundswell of localized food security and energy production.
The representation of pain and suffering in narrative form is an ongoing ethical issue in contemporary South African literature. Can violence be represented without sensationalistic effects, or, alternatively, without effects that tend to be conservative because they place the reader in a position of superiority over the victim or the perpetrator?
Jolly looks at three primary South African authors—André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee—to consider violence in the context of apartheid and colonialism and their inherent patriarchies.
Jolly also discusses the violence attendant upon the act of narration in the broader context of critiques of Kafka, Freud, Hegel, the postcolonial critics Jan Mohamed and Bhabha, and feminists such as Susan Suleiman.
“Solomon’s fascinating and sweeping history of the legal fight over mandatory school prayers is compelling, judicious, and elegantly written. Fabulous!”
—David Rudenstine, Dean, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
“Stephen Solomon’s Ellery’s Protest provides a brilliant analysis of a major Supreme Court decision that redefined the relationship between church and state almost a half century ago. This study goes well beyond simply offering a gripping account of the course of litigation that brought before the Justices the contentious issue of prayer and Bible reading in public schools, though the thoroughness of that account would merit careful reading by itself. Especially impressive is the author’s deep probing of hitherto neglected sources, and invaluable primary material including extensive direct contact with the plaintiff, the ‘Ellery’ of the book’s title. Finally, and perhaps most impressive, is Solomon’s careful placement of the issue and the case in a far broader context that is as critical to national life and policy today as it was four and a half decades ago when the high Court first tackled these questions.”
—Robert O’Neil, Professor of Law, University of Virginia
Great legal decisions often result from the heroic actions of average citizens. Ellery’s Protest is the story of how one student’s objection to mandatory school prayer and Bible reading led to one of the most controversial court cases of the twentieth century—and a decision that still reverberates in the battle over the role of religion in public life.
Abington School District v. Schempp began its journey through the nation’s courts in 1956, when sixteen-year-old Ellery Schempp protested his public school’s compulsory prayer and Bible-reading period by reading silently from the Koran. Ejected from class for his actions, Schempp sued the school district. The Supreme Court’s decision in his favor was one of the most important rulings on religious freedom in our nation’s history. It prompted a conservative backlash that continues to this day, in the skirmishes over school prayer, the teaching of creationism and intelligent design, and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God.”
Author Stephen D. Solomon tells the fascinating personal and legal drama of the Schempp case: the family’s struggle against the ugly reactions of neighbors, and the impassioned courtroom clashes as brilliant lawyers on both sides argued about the meaning of religious freedom. But Schempp was not the only case challenging religious exercises in the schools at the time, and Ellery’s Protest describes the race to the Supreme Court among the attorneys for four such cases, including one involving the colorful atheist Madalyn Murray.
Solomon also explores the political, cultural, and religious roots of the controversy. Contrary to popular belief, liberal justices did not kick God out of the public schools. Bitter conflict over school Bible reading had long divided Protestants and Catholics in the United States. Eventually, it was the American people themselves who removed most religious exercises from public education as a more religiously diverse nation chose tolerance over sectarianism. Ellery’s Protest offers a vivid account of the case that embodied this change, and a reminder that conservative justices of the 1950s and 60s not only signed on to the Schempp decision, but strongly endorsed the separation of church and state.
Finalist, 2021 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award
Regarded as both a legend and a villain, the critic Dave Hickey has inspired generations of artists, art critics, musicians, and writers. His 1993 book The Invisible Dragon became a cult hit for its potent and provocative critique of the art establishment and its call to reconsider the role of beauty in art. His next book, 1997’s Air Guitar, introduced a new kind of cultural criticism—simultaneously insightful, complicated, vulnerable, and down-to-earth—that propelled Hickey to fame as an iconoclastic thinker, loved and loathed in equal measure, whose influence extended beyond the art world.
Far from Respectable is a focused, evocative exploration of Hickey’s work, his impact on the field of art criticism, and the man himself, from his Huck Finn childhood to his drug-fueled periods as both a New York gallerist and Nashville songwriter to, finally, his anointment as a tenured professor and MacArthur Fellow. Drawing on in-person interviews with Hickey, his friends and family, and art world comrades and critics, Daniel Oppenheimer examines the controversial writer’s distinctive takes on a broad range of subjects, including Norman Rockwell, Robert Mapplethorpe, academia, Las Vegas, basketball, country music, and considers how Hickey and his vision of an “ethical, cosmopolitan paganism” built around a generous definition of art is more urgently needed than ever before.
The first book-length biography of an influential country/soul legend whose songs have been recorded by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan.
Get a Shot of Rhythm and Blues chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of Arthur Alexander, an African American singer-songwriter whose music influenced many of the rock and soul musicians of the 1960s. Although his name is not well known today, Alexander's musical legacy is vast. His 1962 song "You Better Move On" was the first hit to emerge from the fledgling Muscle Shoals FAME studio in Alabama, and his fusion of country and soul and his heartfelt vocals on such songs as "Anna (Go to Him)" and "Every Day I Have to Cry" were revered by musicians including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, all of whom recorded his songs.
Alexander's story is a tragic one, with a brief, redemptive finale. His meteoric rise after the release of "You Better Move On" gave way to lean years caused both by his drug and alcohol abuse and by the mishandling of his career by producers and managers. In 1977, he quit the music business, but his music lived on. In 1992, Alexander returned to
the studio and recorded the critically praised album Lonely Just Like Me. Just three months after the album's release in March 1993, he suffered a heart attack in the offices of his music publisher in Nashville and died three days later.
In telling Alexander's story, Richard Younger captures the burgeoning music scenes in Muscle Shoals and Nashville during the 1960s and 1970s and recovers the life of a fascinating musician whose influence was international. Younger's account is enriched by his interviews with more than 200 artists, family members, and friends--such as Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill, Charlie McCoy, Chuck Jackson, Gerry Marsden, and Kris Kristofferson--and includes an abundance of never-before-seen photographs.
Why would a grown man chase hornets with a thermometer, paint whirligig beetles bright red, or track elephants through the night to fill trash bags with their prodigious droppings? Some might say—to advance science. Bernd Heinrich says—because it’s fun.Heinrich, author of the much acclaimed Bumblebee Economics, has been playing in the wilds of one continent or another all his life. In the process, he has become one of the world’s foremost physiological ecologists. With In a Patch of Fireweed, he will undoubtedly become one of our foremost writers of popular science.Part autobiography, part case study in the ways of field biology, In a Patch of Fireweed is an endlessly fascinating account of a scientist’s life and work. For the author, it is an opportunity to report not just his results but the curiosity, humor, error, passion, and competitiveness that feed into the process of discovery. For the reader, it is simply a delight, a rare chance to share the perceptions of an unusual mind fully in tune with the inner workings of nature. Before his years of research in the woodlands and deserts of North America, the New Guinea highlands, and the plains of East Africa, Heinrich had a sense of the wild that few people in this century can know. He tells the whole story, from his refugee childhood hidden in a German forest, eating mice fried in boar fat, to his ongoing research in the woods surrounding his cabin in Maine.
Though the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F.) ostensibly fought its war (1991–2002) against corrupt government, the people of Sierra Leone were its victims. By the time the war was over, more than fifty thousand were dead, thousands more had been maimed, and over one million were displaced. Jackson relates the stories of political leaders and ordinary people trying to salvage their lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of cataclysmic violence. Combining these with his own knowledge of African folklore, history, and politics and with S. B.’s bittersweet memories—of his family’s rich heritage, his imprisonment as a political detainee, and his position in several of Sierra Leone’s post-independence governments—Jackson has created a work of elegiac, literary, and philosophical power.
In September 2003 the South African novelist J. M. Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, confirming his reputation as one of the most influential writers of our time. J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual addresses the contribution Coetzee has made to contemporary literature, not least for the contentious forays his work makes into South African political discourse and the field of postcolonial studies.
Taking the author’s ethical writing as its theme, the volume is an important addition to understanding Coetzee’s fiction and critical thinking. While taking stock of Coetzee’s singular, modernist response to the apartheid and postapartheid situations in his early fiction, the volume is the first to engage at length with the later works, Disgrace, The Lives of Animals, and Elizabeth Costello.
J. M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual explores Coetzee’s roles as a South African intellectual and a novelist; his stance on matters of allegory and his evasion of the apartheid censor; his tacit critique of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; his performance of public lectures of his alter ego, Elizabeth Costello; and his explorations into ecofeminism and animal rights. The essays collected here, which include an interview with the Nobel Laureate, provide new vantages from which to consider Coetzee’s writing.
Born in the early 1940s in northern Arizona’s high country desert, Jim Dandy began life imbued with the traditions of the Navajo people. Raised by his father and grandfather—both medicine men—and a grandmother steeped in Navajo practices, he embraced their teachings and followed in their footsteps. But attending the LDS Placement program in northern Utah changed his life’s course when he became a member of the Mormon Church. Following graduation from high school, Jim served an LDS mission among his people, obtained a bachelor’s degree, and entered the work force in southeastern Utah as a career counselor, teacher, and community advocate who improved educational opportunities on the Navajo Reservation.
Jim has led a life of service and teaching. He maintains the traditional philosophy with which he was raised and the Mormon beliefs that he learned and continues to follow; his life reflects the values inherent in these two different worlds. Readers interested in Navajo philosophy will find his blend of these two distinct views fascinating, while others will better understand the effects of the controversial placement program on the life of one individual. However, this is primarily the warm story of a man’s life among his people and his love for them and their culture.
Through sixty-one beautifully crafted essays based on sojourns in Europe, West Africa, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and taking his cue from Wallace Stevens’s late poem, “Of Mere Being,” Jackson explores a range of experiences where “the palm at the end of the mind” stands “beyond thought,” on “the edge of space,” “a foreign song.” Moments of crisis as well as everyday experiences in cafés, airports, and offices disclose the subtle ways in which a single life shades into others, the boundaries between cultures become blurred, fate unfolds through genealogical time, elective affinities make their appearance, and different values contend.
While engaging a wide spectrum of Native American writing, Teuton focuses on three of the most canonized and, he contends, most misread novels of the era—N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn (1968), James Welch’s Winter in the Blood (1974), and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977). Through his readings, he demonstrates the utility of tribal realism as an interpretive framework to explain social transformations in Indian Country during the Red Power era and today. Such transformations, Teuton maintains, were forged through a process of political awakening that grew from Indians’ rethought experience with tribal lands and oral traditions, the body and imprisonment, in literature and in life.
An essential document of the first American war of the new century
Under a full opalescent moon in the spring of 2003, CNN correspondent Walter C. Rodgers and three colleagues climbed into an unarmored Humvee loaded with satellite transmission equipment and fell into column formation with the MIAI Abrams battle tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles of Apache Troop, Third Squadron, of the storied 7th Cavalry and crossed the Line of Departure between Kuwait and Iraq. Sleeping with Custer and the 7th Cavalry: An Embedded Reporter in Iraq is Rodgers’s account of the fight from the Kuwaiti border to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Rodgers was embedded with the “tip of the tip of the spear,” the armored reconnaissance unit tasked with clearing the way for the invasion of Iraq. For the next three weeks Rodgers—a seasoned combat correspondent who has covered armed conflicts in the West Bank, along the “Green Line” in Lebanon, and in Sarajevo, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan—was a first-person witness to the opening campaign of the most significant war America has embarked upon since Vietnam.
Rodgers and his journalistic colleagues in Operation Iraqi Freedom became pioneers in the process of embedding, the placing of journalists who can transmit video reports in real time under combat conditions with no censoring authority to block their reporting. During this journey into war, Rodgers and his crew embraced the dangers, the numbing fatigue, and the moments of stark fear of the young armored cavalrymen they lived with twenty-four hours each day, an experience that created for them the lifelong bond that only soldiers serving together under fire share.
Rodgers also details his return visit to Iraq a year later, reflecting on the nature of war and sharing his personal feelings about a conflict that has claimed the lives of over fifteen hundred American men and women. The volume is illustrated with photographs taken during the invasion by Jeff Barwise, the CNN engineer who accompanied Rodgers.
Allen embraced the drum set, rather than African handheld drums, early in his career, when drum kits were relatively rare in Africa. His story conveys a love of his craft along with the specifics of his practice. It also provides invaluable firsthand accounts of the explosive creativity in postcolonial African music, and the personal and artistic dynamics in Fela's Koola Lobitos and Africa 70, two of the greatest bands to ever play African music.
As the 1960s ended, Herbie Hancock embarked on a grand creative experiment. Having just been dismissed from the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet, he set out on the road, playing with his first touring group as a leader until he eventually formed what would become a revolutionary band. Taking the Swahili name Mwandishi, the group would go on to play some of the most innovative music of the 1970s, fusing an assortment of musical genres, American and African cultures, and acoustic and electronic sounds into groundbreaking experiments that helped shape the American popular music that followed. In You’ll Know When You Get There, Bob Gluck offers the first comprehensive study of this influential group, mapping the musical, technological, political, and cultural changes that they not only lived in but also effected.
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