Offers insights into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history
Ante-Bellum Alabama: Town and Country was written to give the reader insight into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history. Presented in the form of case studies from the pre-Civil War period, the book deals with a city, a town, a planter’s family, rural social life, attitudes concerning race, and Alabama’s early agricultural and industrial development.
Ante-bellum Alabama’s primary interest was agriculture; the chief crop was King Cotton; and most of the people were agriculturalists. Towns and cities came into existence to supply the agricultural needs of the state and to process and distribute farm commodities. Similarly, Alabama’s industrial development began with the manufacture of implements for farm use, in response to the state’s agricultural needs. Rural-agriculture influences dominated the American scene; and in this respect Alabama was typical of her region as well as of most of the United States.
In 1949 and 1950, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) expelled many left-wing unions, representing 750,000 workers, because they were supposedly Communist-dominated. This collection of previously unpublished essays explores the history of those eleven left-led unions. Some essays consider specific aspects of several unions--the Longshoremen, the United Electricians (UE), the Fur Workers, and the Food and Tobacco Workers--while others take up the impact of the federal government's and the Catholic church's anticommunism upon the unions as a whole.
This collection also addresses central domestic issues of twentieth-century America: race and government policy in the shaping of trade unionism; the impact of anticommunism and the cold war on race relations and working conditions; and the short- and long-range impact of the expulsions upon the labor movement. With groundbreaking essays that also concern the post-World War II period, Southern workers and workers in non-basic industries, this book will appeal to students of radicalism, race relations, anticommunism, and labor history.
Since 1945, American popular culture has portrayed suburbia as a place with a culture, politics, and economy distinct from cities, towns, and rural areas. In Between City and Country, Ronald Dale Karr examines the evolution of Brookline, Boston's most renowned nineteenth-century suburb, arguing that a distinctively suburban way of life appeared here long before World War II.
Already a fashionable retreat for wealthy Bostonians, Brookline began to suburbanize in the 1840s with the arrival of hundreds of commuter families—and significant numbers of Irish Catholic immigrants drawn by opportunities to work as laborers and servants. In Brookline the poor were segregated but not excluded altogether, as they would be from twentieth-century elite suburbs. A half century later, a distinct suburban way of life developed that combined rural activities with urban pastimes, and a political consensus emerged that sought efficient government and large expenditures on education and public works. Brookline had created the template for the concept of suburbia, not just in wealthy communities but in the less affluent communities of postwar America.
Despite black gains in modern America, the end of racism is not yet in sight. Nikhil Pal Singh asks what happened to the worldly and radical visions of equality that animated black intellectual activists from W. E. B. Du Bois in the 1930s to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s. In so doing, he constructs an alternative history of civil rights in the twentieth century, a long civil rights era, in which radical hopes and global dreams are recognized as central to the history of black struggle.
It is through the words and thought of key black intellectuals, like Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, C. L. R. James, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and others, as well as movement activists like Malcolm X and Black Panthers, that vital new ideas emerged and circulated. Their most important achievement was to create and sustain a vibrant, black public sphere broadly critical of U.S. social, political, and civic inequality.
Finding racism hidden within the universalizing tones of reform-minded liberalism at home and global democratic imperatives abroad, race radicals alienated many who saw them as dangerous and separatist. Few wanted to hear their message then, or even now, and yet, as Singh argues, their passionate skepticism about the limits of U.S. democracy remains as indispensable to a meaningful reconstruction of racial equality and universal political ideals today as it ever was.
The growing number of immigrants living and working in America has become a controversial topic from classrooms to corporations and from kitchen tables to Capitol Hill. Many native-born Americans fear that competition from new arrivals will undermine the economic standing of low-skilled American workers, and that immigrants may not successfully integrate into the U.S. economy. In Color Lines, Country Lines, sociologist Lingxin Hao argues that the current influx of immigrants is changing America's class structure, but not in the ways commonly believed. Drawing on twenty years of national survey data, Color Lines, Country Lines investigates how immigrants are faring as they try to accumulate enough wealth to join the American middle class, and how, in the process, they are transforming historic links between race and socioeconomic status. Hao finds that disparities in wealth among immigrants are large and growing, including disparities among immigrants of the same race or ethnicity. Cuban immigrants have made substantially more progress than arrivals from the Dominican Republic, Chinese immigrants have had more success than Vietnamese or Korean immigrants, and Jamaicans have fared better than Haitians and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, many of these immigrant groups have acquired more wealth than native-born Americans of the same race or ethnicity. Hao traces these diverging paths to differences in the political and educational systems of the immigrants' home countries, as well as to preferential treatment of some groups by U.S. immigration authorities and the U.S. labor market. As a result, individuals' country of origin increasingly matters more than their race in determining their prospects for acquiring wealth. In a novel analysis, Hao predicts that as large numbers of immigrants arrive in the United States every year, the variation in wealth within racial groups will continue to grow, reducing wealth inequalities between racial groups. If upward mobility remains restricted to only some groups, then the old divisions of wealth by race will gradually become secondary to new disparities based on country of origin. However, if the labor market and the government are receptive to all immigrant groups, then the assimilation of immigrants into the middle class will help diminish wealth inequality in society as a whole. Immigrants' assimilation into the American mainstream and the impact of immigration on the American economy are inextricably linked, and each issue can only be understood in light of the other. Color Lines, Country Lines shows why some immigrant groups are struggling to get by while others have managed to achieve the American dream and reveals the surprising ways in which immigration is reshaping American society.
Country of Glass: Poems
Sarah Katz Gallaudet University Press, 2022 Library of Congress PS3611.A816 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Country of Glass is the debut poetry collection from Sarah Katz, who offers an exploration of the concept of precariousness as it applies to bodies, families, countries, and whole societies. Katz employs themes of illness, disability, war, and survival within the contexts of family history and global historical events. The collection moves through questions about identity, storytelling, displacement, and trauma, constructing an overall narrative about what it means to love while trying to survive. The poems in this book—which take the form of free verse, prose poems, sestinas, and erasures—attempt to address human fragility and what resilience looks like in a world where so much is uncertain.
The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) is Sarah Orne Jewett's most popular book. In its elegantly constructed sketches, a worldly, anonymous writer spends the summer in a tiny Maine fishing village where she hopes to find peace and solitude. As she gains the acceptance and trust of her hosts, the community's power and complexity are slowly revealed. While its episodes portray the difficulty and loneliness of rural life, they also display its dignity and strength, particularly as expressed in the bonds between women: mothers, daughters, and friends.
This centennial edition contains a facsimile of the original text, thereby restoring the novel to Jewett's own version, which had been considerably altered in other published versions, plus four related stories. Further enhancing the importance of this volume is editor Sarah Way Sherman's introduction, which includes a sketch of Jewett's life and professional development, a commentary on textual accuracy, and a discussion of the book's themes and techiques as well as its historical context.
Dr. George T. Mitchell of Marshall, Illinois, shares with humor and compassion stories and reflections about his medical practice of fifty years.
Having grown up in Marshall, Dr. Mitchell writes of his early experiences in midwestern America: basketball rivalries, school-boy pranks, and the traditions passed down through a family of doctors. Dr. Mitchell tells of his brief detour to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering, his decision to pursue a career in medicine, and his medical school experiences at the George Washington School of Medicine before the days of antibiotics and sophisticated medical technology. He vividly describes his subsequent service in World War II as a young surgeon at a military hospital helping injured soldiers resume normal lives while enduring the frustrations and occasional horrors of military life.
After the war, Dr. Mitchell joined his father’s practice in Marshall, where, he observes, he was among sixteen physicians in a rural county with a population of less than twenty thousand people. Within twenty-five years, the number of doctors had dropped to only four. In this memoir Dr. Mitchell conveys his unwillingness to just sit by and watch the health needs of his community increase while medical and other services decline. He, instead, became a community activist, representing rural concerns to the state medical society, organizing the first emergency medical technician teams in the county, masterminding the planning of a regional medical center, campaigning successfully for improved highway safety, and spurring the extension of reliable telephone service throughout his area.
As Dr. Mitchell recounts the house calls, farm accidents, emergency surgeries, and family counseling that comprised the life of this country doctor, he offers the keen insights of a clinician trained to look beyond what others only see.
Fire Is Not a Country: Poems
Cynthia Dewi Oka Northwestern University Press, 2022 Library of Congress PS3615.K33F57 2022 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
In her third collection, Indonesian American poet Cynthia Dewi Oka dives into the implications of being parents, children, workers, and unwanted human beings under the savage reign of global capitalism and resurgent nativism. With a voice bound and wrestled apart by multiple histories, Fire Is Not a Country claims the spaces between here and there, then and now, us and not us.
As she builds a lyric portrait of her own family, Oka interrogates how migration, economic exploitation, patriarchal violence, and a legacy of political repression shape the beauties and limitations of familial love and obligation. Woven throughout are speculative experiments that intervene in the popular apocalyptic narratives of our time with the wit of an unassimilable other.
Oka’s speakers mourn, labor, argue, digress, avenge, and fail, but they do not retreat. Born of conflicts public and private, this collection is for anyone interested in what it means to engage the multitudes within ourselves.
In many modern armies the religious soldier is suspect. Civilians and officers alike wonder if such a soldier might represent a potential fifth column. This concern is especially prominent in the public discourse over the presence of religious Orthodox Jews serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Will they obey their commanding officer or their rabbi? With research collected over almost a decade, including hundreds of hours of interviews, Elisheva Rosman examines this question of loyalties and reveals how religious soldiers negotiate a place for themselves in an institution whose goals and norms sometimes conflict with those of Orthodox Judaism.
For God and Country? focuses on the pre-service study programs available to religious conscripts. Many journalists and scholars in Israel are suspicious of the student-soldiers who participate in these programs, but in fact, as Rosman’s research demonstrates, the pre-service study programs serve as mediating structures between the demands of Religious Zionism and the demands of the Israel Defense Forces and do not encourage their students to disobey orders. This was especially apparent during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Many in Israeli society predicted student-soldiers would defy their orders, per the instruction of their religious leaders, but this did not happen as expected. In high profile cases such as this and in matters encountered daily by religious soldiers—the mixing of the sexes, for instance—Rosman has discovered that the pre-service study programs can successfully serve as agents of civil society, both able to curb the military’s efforts to meddle in civilian affairs and vice versa.
Growth is a major issue in the contemporary American West, especially as more and more towns and states turn to tourism to spark their economies. But growth has a flip side—loss—about which we seldom think until something is irrevocably gone. Where once was Glen Canyon, with its maze of side-canyons leading to the Colorado River, now is Lake Powell, second largest reservoir in America, attracting some three million visitors a year. Many who come here think they have found paradise, and for good reason: it's beautiful. However, the loss of Glen Canyon was monumental—to many, a notorious event that remains unresolved.
Focusing on the saddening, maddening example of Glen Canyon, Jared Farmer traces the history of exploration and development in the Four Corners region, discusses the role of tourism in changing the face of the West, and shows how the "invention" of Lake Powell has served multiple needs. He also seeks to identify the point at which change becomes loss: How do people deal with losing places they love? How are we to remember or restore lost places? By presenting Glen Canyon as a historical case study in exploitation, Farmer offers a cautionary tale for the future of this spectacular region. In assessing the necessity and impact of tourism, he questions whether merely visiting such places is really good for people's relationships with each other and with the land, suggesting a new ethic whereby westerners learn to value what remains of their environment. Glen Canyon Dammed was written so that the canyon country's perennial visitors might better understand the history of the region, its legacy of change, and their complicity in both. A sobering book that recalls lost beauty, it also speaks eloquently for the beauty that may still be saved.
Going Up the Country is part oral history, part nostalgia-tinged narrative, and part clear-eyed analysis of the multifaceted phenomena collectively referred to as the counterculture movement in Vermont. This is the story of how young migrants, largely from the cities and suburbs of New York and Massachusetts, turned their backs on the establishment of the 1950s and moved to the backwoods of rural Vermont, spawning a revolution in lifestyle, politics, sexuality, and business practices that would have a profound impact on both the state and the nation. The movement brought hippies, back-to-the-landers, political radicals, sexual libertines, and utopians to a previously conservative state and led us to today’s farm to table way of life, environmental consciousness, and progressive politics as championed by Bernie Sanders.
Gone to the Country chronicles the life and music of the New Lost City Ramblers, a trio of city-bred musicians who helped pioneer the resurgence of southern roots music during the folk revival of the late 1950s and 1960s. Formed in 1958 by Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley, the Ramblers introduced the regional styles of southern ballads, blues, string bands, and bluegrass to northerners yearning for a sound and an experience not found in mainstream music.
Ray Allen interweaves biography, history, and music criticism to follow the band from its New York roots to their involvement with the commercial folk music boom. Allen details their struggle to establish themselves amid critical debates about traditionalism brought on by their brand of folk revivalism. He explores how the Ramblers ascribed notions of cultural authenticity to certain musical practices and performers and how the trio served as a link between southern folk music and northern urban audiences who had little previous exposure to rural roots styles. Highlighting the role of tradition in the social upheaval of mid-century America, Gone to the Country draws on extensive interviews and personal correspondence with band members and digs deep into the Ramblers' rich trove of recordings.
Lebanese writer Vénus Khoury-Ghata, who lives in France and has won many of France’s major literary prizes, blends French surrealism with Arabic poetry’s communal narrative mode in three stunning poetic sequences. Here brilliantly translated from the French by poet Marilyn Hacker, the English-speaking reader has rare insight into another world, another dimension.
Arielle Greenberg’s I Live in the Country & other dirty poems exploits and undoes the stereotype of the “wholesome country life.” Here, the speaker moves to the country (“where the animals are”) in order to live a whole life, one in which she can live honestly and openly in a nonmonogamous marriage. Her book is a visceral, erotic celebration of the cornucopia of sexual pleasures to be had in that rural life—in the muck of a pasture in spring or behind the bins of whole-wheat pastry flour at the local co-op. Greenberg hauls out what has previously been stored under dark counters and labeled deviant—kink, fetish, and bondage—and moves it into the sunshine of sex-positivity and mutual consent. In doing so, she forges new literary territory—a feminist re-visioning of the Romantic pastoral poems of seduction. “I am trying to turn my eye toward joy,” she writes. “My heart toward bliss.”
When he was a homesteader in Alaska, poet John Haines moved away from language and institutions to an older and simpler existence. In solitude, listening to his own voice, the events of his life reached into the past and the future.
We live on the surface, he discovered. It is the land that makes people. If a poet will see, will feel, will interpret his place and then relate that experience to what he knows of the world at large, he will have a life in imagination, a vitality beyond appearances.
John Haines is author of At the End of Summer: Poems 1948-1954; Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays; and The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer. He received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1991.
Few landscapes are as striking as that of the Hebrides, the hundreds of small islands that speckle the waters off Scotland’s northwest coast. The jagged, rocky cliffs and roiling waves serve as a reminder of the islands’ dramatic geological history, inspiring awe and dread in those drawn there. With Britain at their back and facing the Atlantic, the Hebrides were at the center of ancient shipping routes and have a remarkable cultural history as well, as a meeting place for countless cultures that interacted with a long, rich Gaelic tradition.
After years of hearing about Scotland as a place deeply interwoven with the story of her family, Madeleine Bunting was driven to see for herself this place so symbolic and full of history. Most people travel in search of the unfamiliar, to leave behind the comfort of what’s known to explore some suitably far-flung corner of the globe. From the first pages, it’s clear that Madeleine Bunting’s Love of Country marks a different kind of journey—one where all paths lead to a closer understanding of home, but a home bigger than Bunting’s corner of Britain, the drizzly, busy streets of London with their scream of sirens and high-rise developments crowding the sky. Over six years, Bunting returned again and again to the Hebrides, fascinated by the question of what it means to belong there, a question that on these islands has been fraught with tenacious resistance and sometimes tragedy. With great sensitivity, she takes readers through the Hebrides’ history of dispossession and displacement, a history that can be understand only in the context of Britain’s imperial past, and she shows how the Hebrides have been repeatedly used to define and imagine Britain. In recent years, the relationship between Britain and Scotland has been subject to its most testing scrutiny, and Bunting’s travels became a way to reflect on what might be lost and what new possibilities might lie ahead.
For all who have wondered how it might feel to stand face-out at the edge of home, Love of Country is a revelatory journey through one of the world’s most remote, beautiful landscapes that encourages us to think of the many identities we wear as we walk our paths, and how it is possible to belong to many places while at the same time not wholly belonging to any.
David Ferry's Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations provides a wonderful gathering of the work of one of the great American poetic voices of the twentieth century. It brings together his new poems and translations, collected here for the first time; his books Strangers and Dwelling Places in their entirety; selections from his first book, On the Way to the Island; and selections from his celebrated translations of the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, the Odes of Horace, and of Virgil's Eclogues. This is Ferry's fullest and most resonant book, demonstrating the depth and breadth of forty years of a life in poetry.
"Though Ferry is perhaps best known for his eloquent translations of Horace and Virgil, "Of No Country I Know" demonstrates that he deserves acclaim for his own poetry as well."—Carmela Ciuraru, New York Times Book Review
Muriel Gillick draws from a remarkable set of primary source materials, including letters, telegrams, and police records to relate the story of two teenage refugees during World War II. Once They Had a Country conveys well what it was like to establish a new life in a foreign country—over and over again and in constant fear for one’s life. The work tells of the extraordinary experiences of the author’s parents in Europe and demonstrates how citizens and the governments of Belgium, France, Switzerland, Brazil, America, China, and postwar Germany treated refugees. This story also reveals the origins of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the basis of contemporary international law affecting refugees in many countries today.
In addition to the dramatic human story it tells, this work brings the plight of refugees home to the reader—and with over 8 million refugees worldwide today, the subject of how individuals and nation states respond to these individuals is indeed timely.
Prairie plants are among the toughest of all ornamentals. While they fascinate gardeners with their beauty and versatility, they require little maintenance. They are highly resistant to insect and disease damage, and they need not be replanted every year.
In recent years, the idea of growing prairie plants has gained increasing appeal among gardeners. Bob and Beatrice Smith have prepared this practical growing guide—based on their more than fourteen years of experience and experimentation—for all people who wish to grow prairie plants. The Smiths, who have grown all the plants they discuss here, share their wealth of experience with the reader. They recommend the best sites, tell how to plan and prepare the site and how to treat and plant seeds, and share important tips on propagation, transplanting, and managing the prairie garden or landscape. To aid in both planning and identification, the book includes full-color illustrations of all seventy plants.
Mary Austin's The Land of Little Rain (1903) and Lost Borders (1909), both set in the California desert, make intimate connections between animals, people, and the land they inhabit. For Austin, the two indispensable conditions of her fiction were that the region must enter the story "as another character, as the instigator of plot," and that the story must reflect "the essential qualities of the land."
In The Land of Little Rain, Austin's attention to natural detail allows her to write prose that is geologically, biologically, and botanically accurate at the same time that it offers metaphorical insight into human emotional and spiritual experience. In Lost Borders, Austin focuses on both white and Indian women's experiences in the desert, looks for the sources of their deprivation, and finds them in the ways life betrays them, usually in the guise of men. She offers several portraits of strong women characters but ultimately identifies herself with the desert, which she personifies as a woman.
In the first book-length history of the Italian American syndicalist movement—the Italian Socialist Federation—Michael Miller Topp presents a new way of understanding the Progressive Era labor movement in relation to migration, transnationalism, gender, and class identity. Those without a Country demonstrates that characterizations of "old" (pre-1960s) social movements as predominantly class-based are vastly oversimplified—and contribute to current debates about the implications of identity politics for the American Left and American culture generally.
Topp traces the rise and fall of the Italian American syndicalist movement from the turn of the twentieth century to the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927. His use of Italian-language sources, combined with his attention to transnationalism and masculinity, provides new vantage points on a range of related topics, including the 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers’ strike, the impact of World War I on this immigrant community, and the genesis of both fascism and antifascism. Those without a Country brings forward fascinating new material to revise and refine our views of not only Progressive Era radicalism but immigration, gender, and working-class history as well.
A thoroughly researched and extensively documented look at race relations in Arkansas druing the forty years after the Civil War, Town and Country focuses on the gradual adjustment of black and white Arkansans to the new status of the freedman, in both society and law, after generations of practicing the racial etiquette of slavery.
John Graves examines the influences of the established agrarian culture on the developing racial practices of the urban centers, where many blacks living in the towns were able to gain prominence as doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs, and political leaders. Despite the tension, conflict, and disputes within and between the voice of the government and the voice of the people in an arduous journey toward compromise, Arkansas was one of the most progressive states during Reconstruction in desegregating its people.
Town and Country makes a significant contribution to the history of the postwar South and its complex engagement with the race issue.
"A Truthful Impression of the Country" spans a period of roughly seven decades in China, from the late nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth.
Nicholas R. Clifford argues that, for a variety of reasons, travel accounts during this time claimed a particular kind of veracity that distinguished them from the work of other writers--scholars, journalists, diplomats, policymakers, or memoir-writing expatriates--who also sought to represent an unfamiliar China to the West. Yet even as the genre claims to be a "truthful impression," it contains an implicit warning that the traveler's own sensibility enters into the account and into the representation of the unfamiliar and the exotic. "A Truthful Impression of the Country" will appeal not only to those interested in the broad phenomenon of imperialism but also to those interested in cultural studies and post-colonialism. It will likewise prove accessible to the general reader exploring Sino-Western interactions or in travel writing as a particular genre.
Nicholas R. Clifford is College Professor Emeritus, Middlebury College. He is also the author of the novel The House of Memory and of the monographs Shanghai, 1925: Urban Nationalism and the Defense of Foreign Privilege and Spoilt Children of Empire: Westerners in Shanghai and the Chinese Revolution of 1925--1927.
Examines the interdenominational pursuits of the American Presbyterian Church from 1758 to 1801
In Unity in Christ and Country: American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758–1801, William Harrison Taylor investigates the American Presbyterian Church’s pursuit of Christian unity and demonstrates how, through this effort, the church helped to shape the issues that gripped the American imagination, including evangelism, the conflict with Great Britain, slavery, nationalism, and sectionalism. When the colonial Presbyterian Church reunited in 1758, a nearly twenty-year schism was brought to an end. To aid in reconciling the factions, church leaders called for Presbyterians to work more closely with other Christian denominations. Their ultimate goal was to heal divisions, not just within their own faith but also within colonial North America as a whole.
Taylor contends that a self-imposed interdenominational transformation began in the American Presbyterian Church upon its reunion in 1758. However, this process was altered by the church’s experience during the American Revolution, which resulted in goals of Christian unity that had both spiritual and national objectives. Nonetheless, by the end of the century, even as the leaders in the Presbyterian Church strove for unity in Christ and country, fissures began to develop in the church that would one day divide it and further the sectional rift that would lead to the Civil War.
Taylor engages a variety of sources, including the published and unpublished works of both the Synods of New York and Philadelphia and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, as well as numerous published and unpublished Presbyterian sermons, lectures, hymnals, poetry, and letters. Scholars of religious history, particularly those interested in the Reformed tradition, and specifically Presbyterianism, should find Unity in Christ and Country useful as a way to consider the importance of the theology’s intellectual and pragmatic implications for members of the faith.
Women filmmakers in Mexico were rare until the 1980s and 1990s, when women began to direct feature films in unprecedented numbers. Their films have won acclaim at home and abroad, and the filmmakers have become key figures in contemporary Mexican cinema. In this book, Elissa Rashkin documents how and why women filmmakers have achieved these successes, as she explores how the women's movement, film studies programs, governmental film policy, and the transformation of the intellectual sector since the 1960s have all affected women's filmmaking in Mexico.
After a historical overview of Mexican women's filmmaking from the 1930s onward, Rashkin focuses on the work of five contemporary directors—Marisa Sistach, Busi Cortés, Guita Schyfter, María Novaro, and Dana Rotberg. Portraying the filmmakers as intellectuals participating in the public life of the nation, Rashkin examines how these directors have addressed questions of national identity through their films, replacing the patriarchal images and stereotypes of the classic Mexican cinema with feminist visions of a democratic and tolerant society.
Merging scholarly insight with a professional guitarist's sense of the musical life, Yankee Twang delves into the rich tradition of country & western music that is played and loved in the mill towns and cities of the American northeast. Scholar and musician Clifford R. Murphy draws on a wealth of ethnographic material, interviews, and encounters with recorded and live music to reveal the central role of country and western in the social lives and musical activity of working-class New Englanders.
As Murphy shows, an extraordinary multiculturalism sets New England country and western music apart from other regional and national forms. Once segregated at work and worship, members of different ethnic groups used the country and western popularized on the radio and by barnstorming artists to come together at social events, united by a love of the music. Musicians, meanwhile, drew from the wide variety of ethnic musical traditions to create the New England style.
But the music also gave--and gives--voice to working-class feeling. Murphy explores how the Yankee love of country and western emphasizes the western, reflecting the longing of many blue collar workers for the mythical cowboy's life of rugged but fulfilling individualism. Indeed, many New Englanders use country and western to comment on economic disenfranchisement and express their resentment of a mass media, government, and Nashville music establishment that they believe neither reflects their experiences nor considers them equal participants in American life.