Sex abuse happens in all communities, but American minority religions often face disproportionate allegations of sexual abuse. Why, in a country that consistently fails to acknowledge—much less address—the sexual abuse of women and children, do American religious outsiders so often face allegations of sexual misconduct? Why does the American public presume to know “what’s really going on” in minority religious communities? Why are sex abuse allegations such an effective way to discredit people on America’s religious margins? What makes Americans so willing, so eager to identify religion as the cause of sex abuse? Abusing Religion argues that sex abuse in minority religious communities is an American problem, not (merely) a religious one.
Travel gets us from one place to another—often with wonderful attendant enjoyment–but exploration makes us understand our travel, the places we travel to—and ourselves. The essays in this collection constitute a major step toward this understanding. They open up new areas for concern and draw many valuable insights and conclusions.
If you were an independent, adventurous, liberated American woman in the 1920s or 1930s where might you have sought escape from the constraints and compromises of bourgeois living? Paris and the Left Bank quickly come to mind. But would you have ever thought of Russia and the wilds of Siberia? This choice was not as unusual as it seems now. As Julia L. Mickenberg uncovers in American Girls in Red Russia, there is a forgotten counterpoint to the story of the Lost Generation: beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russian revolutionary ideology attracted many women, including suffragists, reformers, educators, journalists, and artists, as well as curious travelers. Some were famous, like Isadora Duncan or Lillian Hellman; some were committed radicals, though more were just intrigued by the “Soviet experiment.” But all came to Russia in search of social arrangements that would be more equitable, just, and satisfying. And most in the end were disillusioned, some by the mundane realities, others by horrifying truths.
Mickenberg reveals the complex motives that drew American women to Russia as they sought models for a revolutionary new era in which women would be not merely independent of men, but also equal builders of a new society. Soviet women, after all, earned the right to vote in 1917, and they also had abortion rights, property rights, the right to divorce, maternity benefits, and state-supported childcare. Even women from Soviet national minorities—many recently unveiled—became public figures, as African American and Jewish women noted. Yet as Mickenberg’s collective biography shows, Russia turned out to be as much a grim commune as a utopia of freedom, replete with economic, social, and sexual inequities.
American Girls in Red Russia recounts the experiences of women who saved starving children from the Russian famine, worked on rural communes in Siberia, wrote for Moscow or New York newspapers, or performed on Soviet stages. Mickenberg finally tells these forgotten stories, full of hope and grave disappointments.
Beth Helms University of Iowa Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3608.E465A83 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
In Beth Helms's American Wives, winner of the 2003 Iowa Short Fiction Award, the women inhabit familiar roles—military wife, wealthy widow, devoted mother, lifetime companion. Yet despite their ordinary appearances, these women have deep secrets hidden beneath the thin veneer of duty, devotion, and privilege.
Set in both the United States and abroad, American Wives is about hope and disappointment, failure and resignation, desire and, occasionally, joy. A military wife abroad has a brief and totally unexpected sexual encounter; a wife watches as her husband, obsessed with the au-pair, has an affair instead with her best friend; a young woman finds herself destined to repeat the patterns of her mother's long-hidden infidelities. At the heart of each encounter is the overwhelming need to connect with others“whether they be lovers, spouses, friends, or family”while balancing personal desires. Too often, Helms's characters discover that being true to oneself means sacrificing the ones we love most.
As each woman seeks control of her life, we are reminded of the ultimate hope and possibility that can be found within our most intimate relationships. In subtle, yet convincing prose, Helms beautifully reveals the emotional depths that are reached in moments of true despair and longing.
David Roderick University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014
David Roderick’s second book, The Americans, pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child’s room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build—between countries, between each other—Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire.
Winner of the 2014 Julie Suk Award for the best poetry book published by an independent press.
What did the American people and the US government know about the threats posed by Nazi Germany? What could have been done to stop the rise of Nazism in Germany and its assault on Europe’s Jews?
Americans and the Holocaust explores these enduring questions by gathering together more than one hundred primary sources that reveal how Americans debated their responsibility to respond to Nazism. Drawing on groundbreaking research conducted for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Americans and the Holocaust exhibition, these carefully chosen sources help readers understand how Americans’ responses to Nazism were shaped by the challenging circumstances in the United States during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including profound economic crisis, fear of communism, pervasive antisemitism and racism, and widespread isolationism.
Collecting newspaper and magazine articles, popular culture materials, and government records, Americans and the Holocaust is a valuable resource for students and historians seeking to shed light on this dark era in world history.
To explore further, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's digital exhibit, available here: https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the-holocaust
Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“A compelling, even moving, portrait of the national landscape—its past, its meaning, its urgent need of rescue.”
—James Carroll, author of House of War and An American Requiem, winner of the National Book Award
“Anne Mackin has taken a fresh and provocative look at that most fascinating of relationships: the one between the American people and the American land.”
—Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism and Director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at University of California Berkeley, contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire
“Anne Mackin has given us a valuable and less-used lens to view the development of our neighborhoods, towns and cities: the land itself. Our relationship to the earth beneath our feet—how we dig it, buy it, sell it, zone it, pave it, spoil it or pamper it—helps explain what is produced on top of the land in our nation, from farms to homes to skyscrapers. All in all, Mackin takes us on a novel and erudite journey, from one coast to the other, and from Colonial times to the present. This valuable book marks a significant and lasting contribution to the way we see and understand our landscape and ourselves.”
—Alex Marshall, author of How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken
“To really understand the origins of the range war now raging between smart growth and property rights advocates over the future of the American land, you need to read this exceptional book.”
—Robert D. Yaro, President Regional Plan Association and Professor in Practice, University of Pennsylvania
Thomas Malthus once said, “The happiness of the Americans depended much less upon their peculiar degree of civilization than . . . upon their having a great plenty of fertile uncultivated land.”
Malthus knew. Lord MacCaulay knew. Albert Gallatin knew. America and its people would change as a growing population whittled away the supply of land.
Nothing has shaped the American character like the abundance of land that met the colonist, the pioneer, and the early suburbanite. With today’s political and economic institutions shaped by the largesse of yesteryear, how will Americans fare in the new landscape of water wars, expensive housing, rising fuel prices, environmental and property rights battles, and powerful industrial lobbies?
Why is land the key to American democracy? How can we protect our democracy as more people and industries compete more intensively for our remaining resources? Americans and Their Land begins an important, overdue discussion of these questions. Anne Mackin takes the reader story by story from frontier history to the present and shows how land shaped the American political landscape. She shows how our evolving traditions of apportioning resources have allowed diminished supplies to create our present, increasingly unequal society, and she asks how 300 million Americans living in the new American landscape of growing competition can better share those resources.
"Jones and McDermott restore meaning to democratic responsibility by finding that public evaluations affect Congress. In contrast to the popular depiction of the representatives controlling the represented
rampant in the political science literature, Jones and McDermott show that the people are in control, determining not only the direction of policy in Congress, but also who stays, who retires, and who faces difficult reelection efforts. This book makes an important correction to our understanding of how Congress operates."
---Sean M. Theriault, University of Texas at Austin
Voters may not know the details of specific policies, but they have a general sense of how well Congress serves their own interests; and astute politicians pay attention to public approval ratings. When the majority party is unpopular, as during the 2008 election, both voters and politicians take a hand in reconfiguring the House and the Senate. Voters throw hard-line party members out of office while candidates who continue to run under the party banner distance themselves from party ideology. In this way, public approval directly affects policy shifts as well as turnovers at election time. Contrary to the common view of Congress as an insulated institution, Jones and McDermott argue that Congress is indeed responsive to the people of the United States.
David R. Jones is Professor of Political Science at Baruch College, City University of New York.
Monika L. McDermott is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University.
When railroads connected the United States and Mexico in 1884 and overland travel between the two countries became easier and cheaper, Americans developed an intense curiosity about Mexico, its people, and its opportunities for business and pleasure. Indeed, so many Americans visited Mexico during the Porfiriato (the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911) that observers on both sides of the border called the hordes of tourists and business speculators a “foreign invasion,” an apt phrase for a historical moment when the United States was expanding its territory and influence.
Americans in the Treasure House examines travel to Mexico during the Porfiriato, concentrating on the role of travelers in shaping ideas of Mexico as a logical place for Americans to extend their economic and cultural influence in the hemisphere. Analyzing a wealth of evidence ranging from travelogues and literary representations to picture postcards and snapshots, Jason Ruiz demonstrates that American travelers constructed Mexico as a nation at the cusp of modernity, but one requiring foreign intervention to reach its full potential. He shows how they rationalized this supposed need for intervention in a variety of ways, including by representing Mexico as a nation that deviated too dramatically from American ideals of progress, whiteness, and sexual self-control to become a modern “sister republic” on its own. Most importantly, Ruiz relates the rapid rise in travel and travel discourse to complex questions about national identity, state power, and economic relations across the U.S.–Mexico border.
Milton Wolff was the ninth and final commander of the Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln-Washington Battalions that fought for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. Part autobiography, part fiction, Another Hill is his insider's account of the grueling, shattering experience of the Americans who fought against fascism while their country looked the other way.
Seeks to penetrate the logic, social structure, and daily practice of life in American military communities in Germany
Army life has always been known as a life of sacrifice, challenge, and frustration, yet one filled also with deep satisfactions. This is so for the soldiers’ families as much as for the soldiers themselves. Over the years, military and civilian leaders of the US Army have tried to reduce the hardships of military life by creating an array of community services designed to provide social support for soldiers and families and help them live satisfying lives in military communities.
Unfortunately, this effort has not been particularly successful, and frustration, dissatisfaction, and alienation persist among soldiers and family member in the US Army communities in Germany. Discontent continues because the underlying sources of alienation in the Army and among its families are highly complex, poorly understood, and therefore hardly addressed by the Army’s quality-of-life programs that are intended to make solider and family life more bearable.
In Army of Hope, Army of Alienation: Culture and Contradiction in the American Army Communities of Cold War Germany, the author seeks to penetrate the logic, social structure, and daily practice of life in the American military communities that lay scattered along the frontier between East and West Germany during the final years of the Cold War. In coming to understand the life and though of these American soldiers and families, ordinary American citizens can learn much about their military forces and about their own society and culture. In addition, a greater understanding about how people work and live around an institution that is at once so important and yet tasked with a mission so different from that of ordinary pursuits can stimulate social scientists and concerned citizens to think differently about culture, society, and behavior in general.