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Newly Published: Rehearsing for Doomsday

New on our bookshelf:

Rehearsing for Doomsday: Memoir of a Nuclear Missile Crew Commander
Scott Cook

In 1988, Scott Cook was a boarding school PE teacher responsible for the proper inflation of dodge balls. A year later, he was operating an underground strategic missile control center with 10 intercontinental nuclear weapons capable of obliterating an entire country. This unexpected journey took him from the serene hills of Virginia through months of intensive training on the California coast to the front lines of the Cold War, beneath the frozen plains of North Dakota. His frank, entertaining memoir describes the insular and secretive military subculture of men and women who lived with the sobering burden of potentially unleashing global devastation, and how an easy-going gym coach ended up in an organization whose unofficial motto was “To err is human; to forgive is not Strategic Air Command policy.”

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Newly Published: Major League Turbulence

New on our bookshelf:

Major League Turbulence: Baseball in the Era of Drug Use, Labor Strife and Black Power, 1968–1988
Douglas M. Branson

The decades between the late 1960s counterculture and the advent of steroid use in the late 1980s bought tumult to Major League Baseball. Dock Ellis (Pirates, Yankees) and Dick Allen (Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, White Sox) epitomized the era with recreational drug use (Ellis), labor strife (Allen), and the questioning of authority. Both men were Black Power advocates at a time when the movement was growing in baseball. In the 1970s and 1980s, Marvin Miller and the Major League Baseball Players Association fought numerous, mostly victorious battles with MLB and team owners. This book chronicles a turbulent period in baseball, and in American life, that led directly to the performance-enhancing drug era and the dramatically changed nature of the game.

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Newly Published: “Don’t Shoot, G-Men!”

New on our bookshelf:

“Don’t Shoot, G-Men!”: The FBI Crime War, 1933–1939
Michael Newton

Between 1933 and 1939, the FBI pursued an aggressive, highly publicized nationwide campaign against a succession of Depression era “public enemies,” including John Dillinger, George “Baby Face” Nelson, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, George “Machine Gun Kelly” Barnes, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and the Ma Barker Gang.

Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover’s successes in this crusade made him the hero of law and order in the public mind. This historical analysis reveals the agency’s often illegal tactics, including torture, frame-ups, and summary executions–later expanded throughout Hoover’s 48-year reign in Washington, D.C., and exposed only after his death (some say murder) in 1972.

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Newly Published: Nineties to Now

New on our bookshelf:

Nineties to Now: The Evolution of American Popular Culture
Matthew McKeever

What is it actually like to live today? It’s an era where world politics play out on Twitter, and where the gig economy has made the nine-to-five job an object of aspiration rather than dread. Rates of mental illness are soaring, inequality predominates everything and much of life is contained in our phones. The core idea of this book is that we can only understand what life is like now by comparing it to previous times to see what has changed, what is genuinely new, and what is a continuation of existing trends. Providing original analyses of a range of seminal works of 90s pop culture, this book extracts a core set of concepts—such as irony, branding, and media—that defined the 90s. It demonstrates how these concepts are expressed in both those works and in the art of today. Presenting close history in a new light, this book helps us understand today by framing it in terms of yesterday.

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Newly Published: The Laird Rams

New on our bookshelf:

The Laird Rams: Britain’s Ironclads Built for the Confederacy, 1862–1923
Andrew R. English

Built in Birkenhead, England, in 1862 to 1865, the “Laird rams” were two innovative armored warships intended for service with the Confederate Navy during the Civil War. The vessels represented a substantial threat to Union naval power, and offered the Confederacy a potential means to break the Union blockade of the Southern coastline. During 1863, the critical year of the Confederacy’s last hope of recognition by the British and French, President Lincoln threatened war with Britain if the ships ever sailed under Confederate colors. Built in some secrecy, then launched on the River Mersey under intense international scrutiny, the ships were first seized, and then purchased by Britain to avoid a war with the United States. These armored warships were largely forgotten after the Admiralty acquired them. Historians rarely mention these sister warships—if referred at all, they are given short shrift. This book provides the first complete history of these once famous ironclads that never fired a shot in anger yet served at distant stations as defenders of the British Empire.

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Newly Published: The Suffrage Photography of Lena Connell

New on our bookshelf:

The Suffrage Photography of Lena Connell: Creating a Cult of Great Women Leaders in Britain, 1908–1914
Colleen Denney

Lena Connell was one of a new breed of young professional women who took up photography at the turn of the 20th century. She ran her own studio in North London, only employed women, and made her mark on history by creating compellingly modern portraits of women in the British suffrage movement. The women that Connell captured on film are as class-inclusive a group as you could find: whether they were factory workers, schoolteachers, or aristocrats, they joined the cause to make a difference for future generations of women, if not for themselves. Connell’s portraits created a new kind of visibility for these activists as hard-working, unrelenting women, whose spirits rose above injustice. This book examines Connell’s artistic career within the Edwardian suffrage movement. It discusses her body of portraits within the British suffrage movement’s propagandistic efforts and its goals of sophisticated, professional representations of its members. It includes all of her known portraits of suffragettes through 1914.

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Newly Published: The Art of Medieval Jewelry

New on our bookshelf:

The Art of Medieval Jewelry: An Illustrated History
T.N. Pollio

What are the origins of the imagery and designs on common jewelry and portable artwork between late antiquity and the Middle Ages? These dynamic centuries encompass the transformation of the Greco-Roman world into the nascent kingdoms and medieval states upon which most modern European nations are based. The choices of jewelry and other forms of personal expression among the lower classes in ancient times is notoriously difficult to contextualize for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, these precious articles were expressions of individual identity as well as signifiers of rites of passage. As such, they reflect not only the people who wore them, but also the social milieu and artistic trends at that moment in time.

This new study assists in identifying the types, origins and routes of transmission of personal artwork, particularly finger rings, across Europe and Byzantium, an area of study that has been neglected in previous works. Some of this material represents the first time relevant research from Central and Eastern Europe has been translated and made available to the general reader in the English-speaking world.

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Newly Published: Voting for War

New on our bookshelf:

Voting for War: A U.S. Congressman’s Awakening to the Lies Behind the Iraq Invasion
Walter B. Jones, Jr. with Taylor Sisk

The moment came at a funeral for a soldier. Republican Congressman Walter Jones (North Carolina, 3rd District) had voted to go to war in Iraq but had begun to question that decision, and the dubious claims by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction. At the service for U.S. Marine Michael Bitz—killed three days into the war—Jones saw Bitz’s two-year-old son, Joshua, and was overcome with grief. Jones, whose district is home to Camp Lejeune and two Marine Corps air stations, set out to learn the truth—and was compelled to publicly acknowledge he had made “a grievous mistake.” “We were lied to about the justifications for going to war in Iraq,” he writes. “I was lied to; the nation was lied to.” In these pages, with insights from family, colleagues and former members of the military, Jones recounts his journey to becoming a more independent thinker, a renegade within his party and a more faithful public servant.

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Newly Published: The Mythic Mr. Lincoln

New on our bookshelf:

The Mythic Mr. Lincoln: America’s Favorite President in Multimedia Fiction
Jeff O’Bryant

Honest Abe. The rail-splitter. The Great Emancipator. Old Abe. These are familiar monikers of Abraham Lincoln. They describe a man who has influenced the lives of everyday people as well as notables like Leo Tolstoy, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill. But there is also a multitude of fictional Lincolns almost as familiar as the original: time traveler, android, monster hunter. This book explores Lincoln’s evolution from martyred president to cultural icon and the struggle between the Lincoln of history and his fictional progeny. He has been Simpsonized by Matt Groening, charmed by Shirley Temple, and emulated by the Lone Ranger. Devotees have attempted to clone him or to raise him from the dead. Lincoln’s image and memory have been invoked to fight communism, mock a sitting president, and sell products. Lincoln has even been portrayed as the greatest example of goodness humanity has to offer. In short, Lincoln is the essential American myth.

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Newly Published: Tar Heels in Gray

New on our bookshelf:

Tar Heels in Gray: Life in the 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War
John B. Cameron

The 30th North Carolina Infantry was involved in most of the major battles in Virginia from the Seven Days through the surrender at Appomattox, and saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the American Civil War. Two-thirds of these men volunteered early; the others were enlisted at the point of a bayonet. Their casualty rate was high, the rate of death from disease was higher and the desertion and AWOL rate was higher still. What was the war actually like for these men? What was their economic status? To what extent were they involved in the institution of slavery? What were their lives like in the Army? What did they believe they were fighting for and did those views change over time? This book answers those questions and depicts Civil War soldiers as they were, rather than as appendages to famous generals or symbols of myth. It focuses on the realities of the men themselves, not their battles. In addition to the author’s personal collection of letters and other contemporary records, it draws upon newly discovered letters, diaries, memoirs, census records, and published works.

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Newly Published: Coming Home to the Third Reich

New on our bookshelf:

Coming Home to the Third Reich: Return Migration of German Nationals from the United States and Canada, 1933–1941
Grant W. Grams

During the 1930s, Germany’s industrialization, rearmament and economic plans taxed the existing manpower, forcing the country to explore new ways of acquiring Aryan-German labor. Eventually, the Third Reich implemented a return migration program which used various recruitment strategies to entice Germans from Canada and the United States to migrate home. It initially used the Atlantic Ocean to transport German-speakers, but after the outbreak of World War II, German civilians were brought from the Americas to East Asia and then to Germany via the Trans-Siberian Railway through the Soviet Union. Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 ended this overland route, but some Germans were moved on Nazi ships from East Asia to the Third Reich until the end of 1942. This book investigates why Germans who had already established themselves in overseas countries chose to migrate back to an oppressive and authoritarian country. It sheds light on some aspects of the Third Reich’s administration, goals and achievements associated with return migration while also telling the individual stories of returnees.

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Newly Published: Like Boy Scouts with Guns

New on our bookshelf:

Like Boy Scouts with Guns: Memoir of a Counterculture Warrior in Vietnam
Roger S. Durham

Facing the possibility of being drafted and sent to Vietnam, Roger Durham secured a deferment when he enrolled in college. Devoting more time to anti-war protests than to studies, he became immersed in the late 1960s counterculture, flunked out and was drafted anyway. Deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s 18th Engineer Brigade Headquarters, he was assigned to a helicopter base “behind the wire,” far from the action. Or so he thought—the action came to him as the base drew mortar, rocket and sapper attacks.

Durham’s clear-eyed memoir relates an often untold experience of the Vietnam War—that of the counterculture soldier whose opposition to war did not end when he was inducted. Adjusting to life in-country, he finds a thriving drug culture and a brotherhood of like-minded warriors, who resist both the enemy and the culture of zealous militarism that prosecutes what they see as an immoral war, against American national interests. Durham undergoes changes in perspective, extending his tour of duty when the thought of going home fills him with anxiety and anticipation.

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Newly Published: Opening the East River

New on our bookshelf:

Opening the East River: John Newton and the Blasting of Hell Gate
Thomas Barthel

After the Civil War, the New York City’s East River was a massive unsolved and dangerous navigation problem. A major waterway into and out of the Harbor—where customs revenue equaled 42 percent of the U.S. Government’s income—the river’s many hindrances, centered around Hell Gate, included whirlpools, rocks and reefs. These, combined with swirling currents and powerful tides, led to deaths, cargo losses and destruction of vessels. Charged with clearing the river, General John Newton of the Army Corps of Engineers went to work with the most rudimentary tools for diving, mining, lighting, pumping and drilling. His crews worked for 20 years, using a steam-drilling scow of his own design and a new and perilous explosive—nitroglycerine. In 1885, Newton destroyed the nine-acre Flood Rock with 282,730 pounds of high explosives. The demolition was watched by tens of thousands. This book chronicles the clearing of the East River and the ingenuity of the Army engineer whose work was praised by the National Academy of Sciences.

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Newly Published: George Washington Parke Custis

New on our bookshelf:

George Washington Parke Custis: A Rarefied Life in America’s First Family
Charles S. Clark

George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857) was raised at Mount Vernon by George and Martha Washington. Young “Wash” appears in Savage’s 1789 painting of the first presidential family, his small hand placed symbolically on a globe. He would later make his mark on the national landscape by building Arlington House on the Potomac. A poor student, he emerged as an agricultural reformer and sought-after Federalist orator. He championed the plights of Irish Americans and war veterans. An important memoirist, he wrote well-received theatrical works and produced paintings rich in historical detail. Inheriting much of the vast Custis fortune, he also became the enslaver of more than 200 people. The slow march toward their emancipation became the central struggle of his life, particularly after his daughter’s 1831 marriage to Robert E. Lee. This first full-length biography of Custis offers a 21st century reappraisal of life that dramatically bridged the American Revolution and the Civil War.

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Newly Published: Southern Baptists

New on our bookshelf:

Southern Baptists: A History of a Confessional People
Slayden A. Yarbrough and Michael Kuykendall

Southern Baptists have a unique and colorful story. Birthed in the time of slavery controversy, their theology on this and human rights issues has changed as cultural and societal developments occurred. One thing that never changed, however, was their zeal for evangelism. They eventually grew to become the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Later, a major controversy in the late twentieth century pitted conservative Baptists against moderates. Both sides, however, wrote histories of the controversy from their own perspectives. These histories were significant for understanding how each side interpreted the events. These pages attempt to fill a missing gap. Readers will hear the Southern Baptist story from both sides. Understand from this how Southern Baptists work, think, grow, argue, and have changed over time. They have weathered the ups and downs of history to reveal an ever-growing heritage.

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Newly Published: The ARVN and the Fight for South Vietnam

New on our bookshelf:

The ARVN and the Fight for South Vietnam
Nghia M. Vo

With the withdrawal of French forces from South Vietnam in 1955, the U.S. took an ever-widening role in defending the country against invasion by North Vietnam. By 1965, the U.S. had “Americanized” the war, relegating the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) to a supporting role. While the U.S. won many tactical victories, it had difficulty controlling the territory it fought for. As the war grew increasingly unpopular with the American public, the North Vietnamese launched two large-scale invasions in 1968 and 1972—both tactical defeats but strategic victories for the North that precipitated the U.S. policy of “Vietnamization,” the drawdown of American forces that left the ARVN to fight alone.

This book examines the maturation of the ARVN, and the major battles it fought from 1963 to its demise in 1975. Despite its flaws, the ARVN was a well-organized and disciplined force with an independent spirit and contributed enormously to the war effort. Had the U.S. “Vietnamized” the war earlier, it might have been won in 1967–1968.

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Newly Published: Defining America in the Radical 1760s

New on our bookshelf:

Defining America in the Radical 1760s: John Dickinson, George III and the Fate of Empire
Jude M. Pfister

The 1760s were a period of great agitation in the American colonies. The policies implemented by the British resulted in an outcry from the Americans that inaugurated the radical ideas leading to the Revolution in 1775. John Dickinson led the way in the “war of ink” between America and Britain, which saw over 1,000 pamphlets and essays written both for and against British policy. King George III, the new British monarch, wrote extensively on the role of Britain in the colonial world and sought to find a middle way between the quickly rising feelings on both sides of the debate. This book tells the story of this radical decade as it occurred in writing, drawing from primary sources and rarely seen exchanges.

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Newly Published: Mohawk Recon

New on our bookshelf:

Mohawk Recon: Vietnam from Treetop Level with the 1st Cavalry, 1968-1969
Russell Pettis

Before unmanned combat drones, there was the Grumman OV-1C Mohawk, a twin-engine turboprop fixed-wing reconnaissance aircraft loaded with state-of-the-art target detection systems. Crewed by a pilot and observer, it flew at treetop level by day, taking panoramic photographs. By night it scanned the landscape from 800 feet with side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) and infrared. This lively, detailed memoir recounts the author’s 1968–1969 tour with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam, serving as a technical observer (T.O.) aboard an unarmed Mohawk, searching for elusive enemy forces near the DMZ and along the Laotian and Cambodian borders, dodging mountains in the dark and avoiding anti-aircraft fire.

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Newly Published: The Longest Siege

New on our bookshelf:

The Longest Siege: Port Hudson, Louisiana, 1863
Russell W. Blount, Jr.

During the Civil War, control of the Mississippi River was hotly contested by both the Union and Confederate armies. By late 1862, the South held only a 110–mile stretch of this vital waterway. Determined to defend this critical span, the Confederacy built two fortresses to defend it—Vicksburg on the north end, Port Hudson on the south. Drawing on the letters and memoirs of soldiers and officers on both sides, this book chronicles the brutal struggle for Port Hudson, Louisiana, beginning with Admiral Farragut’s costly naval attack by the Union fleet, through the furious infantry assaults ordered by General Nathaniel Banks—including the first charge made by black troops in the Civil War—and finally to the 48–day siege itself. Among the most tragic campaigns of the war, it is recognized by historians as the longest siege in American military history.

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Newly Published: U.S. Navy Patrol Vessels

New on our bookshelf:

U.S. Navy Patrol Vessels: A History and Directory from World War I to Today
Ken W. Sayers

During the past century, U.S. Navy patrol vessels have operated everywhere larger warships have—as well as in places where the big boats could not operate. These bantam warriors have performed in a variety of roles, from antisubmarine warfare to convoy escort and offensive operations against enemy forces afloat and ashore. Patrol vessels battled German units in the Mediterranean, fought insurgents along rivers and canals in China and Vietnam and protected U.S. ships and facilities in the Persian Gulf. Covering more than 1000 of the Navy’s small combatants, this comprehensive survey provides all-time rosters, histories, specifications and illustrations of patrol vessels from before World War I to the present. World War II PT boats and submarine chasers and Vietnam War swift boats are covered, along with less well known ships such as Eagle boats, patrol yachts, hydrofoil gunboats and control escorts. A detailed accounting of patrol vessel exports, transfers and shipbuilders is included.

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Newly Published: Nixon Rebuilds

New on our bookshelf:

Nixon Rebuilds: From Defeat to the White House, 1962–1968
John David Briley

Richard Nixon’s election to the presidency in 1968 was an improbable vindication for a man branded as a loser after unsuccessful presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. Yet during the 1966 mid-term elections, he emerged as the critical figure who united the fractured Republican Party after the disastrous 1964 presidential election. Along the way, he sensed how large swaths of the American public were moving against the Democrats, and how a candidate could take advantage of this.
Filling an important gap in the Nixon literature, this book explores his dynamic reinvention during the dark days of the mid-sixties—a period that mirrored his 1946–1952 rise from obscure congressman to Eisenhower’s vice-president. Beginning with his 1962 press conference after losing the California governor’s election and ending with his 1968 presidential victory, a far more human Nixon is revealed, unlike the familiar caricature of the shady politician and orchestrator of Watergate who would do anything to win.

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Newly Published: The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899

New on our bookshelf:

The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899: Scientists, Naturalists, Artists and Others Document America’s Last Frontier
John J. Michalik

In 1899, one of America’s wealthiest men assembled an interdisciplinary team of experts—many of whom would become legendary in their fields—to join him, entirely at his expense, on a voyage to the largely unknown territory of Alaska. The Harriman Expedition remains unparalleled in its conception and execution. This book follows the team closely: where they went, what they did, and what they learned—including finding early evidence of glacial retreat, assessing the nature and future of Alaska’s natural resources, making important scientific discoveries, and collecting an astonishing collection of specimens. A second thread involves the lives and accomplishments of the members of the party, weaving biographical strands into the narrative of the journey and the personal experiences they shared. This is the first comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the Harriman Alaska Expedition since the 1980s. It features the diaries, letters home, and post-Expedition writings, including unpublished autobiographies, generated by the members of the party.

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Newly Published: Thirteen Charges Against Benedict Arnold

New on our bookshelf:

Thirteen Charges Against Benedict Arnold: The Accusations of Colonel John Brown Prior to the Act of Treason
Ennis Duling

Years before General Benedict Arnold betrayed the American cause, a young officer and attorney named John Brown brought 13 charges of misconduct against him and called for his arrest, Brown was shuttled from one general to another, and finally to George Washington, before powerful politicians decided in Arnold’s favor without hearing from Brown or any other witnesses. Historians have continued to ignore the accusations, finding Brown’s charges to be false, and even absurd. In fact, some are unquestionably true, and all are worthy of investigation.

John Brown was an early hero of the Revolution, a legislator, envoy, spy, and accomplished field officer. His charges and his many proposed witnesses are a starting point for a reevaluation of Arnold’s conduct in the war—on his storied march up Maine’s Kennebec River to Canada, during the winter siege of Québec, and at the battles of Valcour Island and Saratoga. What emerges from Brown’s charges is a story of deceit and misconduct, and of prominent leaders and historians turning a blind eye in order to maintain exciting myths.

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Newly Published: Screening American Nostalgia

New on our bookshelf:

Screening American Nostalgia: Essays on Pop Culture Constructions of Past Times
Edited by Susan Flynn and Antonia Mackay

This book examines American screen culture and its power to create and sustain values. Looking specifically at the ways in which nostalgia colors the visions of American life, essays explore contemporary American ideology as it is created and sustained by the screen. Nostalgia is omnipresent, selling a version of America that arguably never existed. Current socio-cultural challenges are played out onscreen and placed within the historical milieu through a nostalgic lens which is tempered by contemporary conservatism. Essays reveal not only the visual catalog of recognizable motifs but also how these are used to temper the uncertainty of contemporary crises. Media covered spans from 1939’s Gone with the Wind, to Stranger Things, The Americans, Twin Peaks, the Fallout franchise and more.

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Newly Published: The Rankins of Montana

New on our bookshelf:

The Rankins of Montana: Risk Takers, History Makers, American Dreamers
Katherine H. Adams

This is the story of the Rankins, a family that embodied the risk and ambition that transformed America. John Rankin arrived in the West chasing the adventure of gold mining but soon turned to ranching and building in the new town of Missoula. There he met Olive Pickering, who had left New Hampshire in 1878 to become a teacher and seek a husband on the American frontier.

John and Olive’s children continued to demonstrate their parent’s ambition and nerve. Their son became one of the biggest landowners in the country, one of the first personal injury lawyers, and a crusader against railroads and mining. Jeannette became the first woman in a national legislature, voted against two world wars and led marches protesting the Vietnam War. As a dean, Harriet helped develop the modern co-educational university. Edna traveled the world advocating for birth control. The Rankins faced both national adulation and condemnation for the choices they made. Their family story concerns independence and education, activism, the boundaries created by gender, religious choices, and the changing meaning of the West.

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New Chess Catalog and Sale

McFarland has long served the chess scholar and collector, and our line of scholarly books about chess reflects our roots in more ways than one: chess was one of our earliest lines, and even today our chess books are often published in time-honored, cloth-covered library binding (so-named because it was once the standard for durable library books). Browse our chess catalog for new books and old favorites, and, through the end of August, get 25% off all chess books with coupon code CHESS25.

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Newly Published: Pearl Harbor Declassified

New on our bookshelf:

Pearl Harbor Declassified: The Evidence of American Foreknowledge of the Attack
James M. D’Angelo

Did President Roosevelt and other high-ranking U.S. government officials know about Japanese plans to attack Pearl Harbor, and fail to warn U.S. Navy leadership? Drawing on recently declassified materials and revelations from other writers, this book traces the flow of intelligence and concludes the imminent attack was allowed to happen to win the support of the American public in a war against Japan. An epilogue describes the fate of Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the intelligence he received from Washington before the attack, and the intelligence he did not.

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Newly Published: Texas South Plains War Stories

New on our bookshelf:

Texas South Plains War Stories: Interviews with Veterans from World War II to Afghanistan
Larry A. Williams and Katherine McLamore

Every veteran has a story to tell—often ones they have not told their own families. But as one vet in this collection of original interviews succinctly said of his combat experiences: “Some things are better left unsaid.” Documenting recollections from survivors of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts—all residents of the Texas Panhandle—this book presents narratives from men and women whose young lives, for good or ill, were defined by their participation in warfare in service to their country.

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Newly Published: Vietnam in My Rearview

New on our bookshelf:

Vietnam in My Rearview: Memoir of a 1st Cavalry Combat Soldier, 1966–1967
Dennis D. Blessing, Sr.

In this heartfelt memoir, Dennis Blessing, Sr., shares his experiences as a grunt in the First Cavalry Division in 1966 and 1967. Blessing’s story is drawn from his own remembrance and from the 212 letters that he wrote to his wife while deployed. Among his many combat experiences was the battle of Bong Son in May 1966, in which his platoon was nearly wiped out, going from 36 to only 6 troopers in just a few hours. Told with honesty and vulnerability, the book combines gripping combat with personal reflection, and the author hopes that his story will help other veterans escape the shadow of the war.

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Newly Published: Strategies of North and South

New on our bookshelf:

Strategies of North and South: A Comparative Analysis of the Union and Confederate Campaigns
Gerald L. Earley

Since the Antebellum days there has been a tendency to view the South as martially superior to the North. In the years leading up to the Civil War, Southern elites viewed Confederate soldiers as gallant cavaliers, their Northern enemies as mere brutish inductees. An effort to give an unbiased appraisal, this book investigates the validity of this perception, examining the reasoning behind the belief in Southern military supremacy, why the South expected to win, and offering an cultural comparison of the antebellum North and South. The author evaluates command leadership, battle efficiency, variables affecting the outcomes of battles and campaigns, and which side faced the more difficult path to victory and demonstrated superior strategy.

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Newly Published: The Musical World of Marie-Antoinette

New on our bookshelf:

The Musical World of Marie-Antoinette: Opera and Ballet in 18th Century Paris and Versailles
Barrington James

For decades, eighteenth-century Paris had been declining into a baroque backwater. Spectacles at the opera, once considered fit for a king, had become “hell for the ears,” wrote playwright Carlos Goldoni. Then, in 1774, with the crowning of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Paris became one of the world’s most vibrant musical centers.

Austrian composer Christophe-Willibald Gluck, protégé of the queen, introduced a new kind of tragic opera—dramatic, human and closer to nature. The expressive pantomime known as ballet d’action, forerunner of the modern ballet, replaced stately court dancing. Along the boulevards, people whistled lighter tunes from the Italian opera, where the queen’s favorite composer, André Modeste Grétry, ruled supreme.

This book recounts Gluck’s remaking of the grand operatic tragedy—long symbolic of absolute monarchy—and the vehement quarrels between those who embraced reform and those who preferred familiar baroque tunes or the sweeter melodies of Italy. The turmoil was an important element in the ferment that led to the French Revolution and the beheading of the queen.

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Newly Published: Coming All the Way Home

New on our bookshelf:

Coming All the Way Home: Memoir of an Assault Helicopter Aircraft Commander in Vietnam
Fred McCarthy

In 1968, twenty-one-year-old Fred McCarthy transitioned from the monastic life of a seminary student to that of a U.S. Army helicopter gunship commander in Vietnam. Despite preparation from a family tradition of decorated combat service, a strong sense of patriotism, a love for aviation, and a desire for adventure, he got far more than he bargained for.

Written after 50 years of reflection, reading, and study, this memoir tells both a universal story about war, adventure, and perseverance and, also shares the intensely personal experience of the Vietnam War and its legacy for those who fought in it. McCarthy describes many of his missions, reflects on the nature of being a combat helicopter pilot, and processes the experience through his poetry, letters home, and reflective analysis.

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Newly Published: The SS City of Flint

New on our bookshelf:

The SS City of Flint: An American Freighter at War, 1939–1943
Magne Haugseng

In Europe, World War II was four months old by Christmas 1939. The City of Flint, an American freighter, had been instrumental in rescuing 1200 passengers from a torpedoed ocean liner, making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. She was captured by a Nazi warship and sent towards a German port, rigged with explosives to ensure the British Navy would not capture it. Norwegian soldiers liberated the ship—by then even Hitler knew her name.

Christmas 1942 saw the City of Flint in New York with other freighters loading for North Africa. Allied codes had been cracked and the convoy was expected by a group of U-Boats. Secretly carrying poison gas as part of her cargo, she was torpedoed and exploded on January 25, 1943.

Eleven survivors in her fourth lifeboat fought mountainous seas, sharks and hunger. One went mad and walked overboard. The others survived 46 days before rescue. Eyewitness accounts, war diaries and archival sources bring this untold story to life.

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Olympics Catalog and Sale

In celebration of the 32nd Summer Olympiad games, we’re releasing a catalog covering all our Olympic-related books. The McFarland Olympic catalog includes reference works on previous games, as well as histories of popular Olympic sports, athlete biographies, sports-related sociologies and more. Now through August 15, get 25% off our Olympic catalog with coupon code TOKYO25 at checkout on the McFarland website.

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Newly Published: Eldorado and the Quest for Fortune and Glory in South America

New on our bookshelf:

Eldorado and the Quest for Fortune and Glory in South America
Peter O. Koch

This book traces the origin of the legend of El Dorado and the various expeditions that set out to locate that mysterious land of untold wealth in South America. Motivated by both fanciful rumors of a golden city ruled by a man who coated himself daily with gold dust, and the more practical allure of a region abundant in cinnamon trees (a spice that was worth its weight in gold to Europeans), many conquistadors convinced themselves that another native empire awaited their conquest. These quests for fortune and glory would lead to an encounter with fierce female warriors who were believed to be the Amazons of ancient Greek lore, and the discovery of the mighty river later named for the legendary Amazon tribe.

The first half of this book details the lesser-known accounts of German interest in locating the wealth of a golden kingdom called Xerira and an elusive passage at Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo which supposedly led to the Pacific Ocean. The second section focuses on the various Spanish efforts to discover El Dorado, each of which was eventually doomed to despair, disappointment, and death.

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Newly Published: The Fight for Dublin, 1919–1921

New on our bookshelf:

The Fight for Dublin, 1919–1921: Urban Warfare in the Irish Struggle for Independence
Joseph McKenna

In Dublin, the War of Irish Independence (1919–1921) was an intense and dirty battle between military intelligence agents. While IRA flying columns fought the British Army and the Black and Tans in the countryside, the fighting in Ireland’s capital city pitted the wits of IRA commander Michael Collins against the cloak-and-dagger innovations of British Intelligence chief Colonel Ormonde de l’Épée Winter. Drawing on detailed witness statements of Irish participants and documents and biographies from the British side, this history chronicles the covert war of assassinations, arrests, torture and murder that climaxed in the Bloody Sunday mass assassination of British intelligence officers by IRA squads in November 1920.

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Newly Published: All Available Light

New on our bookshelf:

All Available Light: The Life and Legacy of Photographer Ted Polumbaum
Judy Polumbaum

As a young journalist during the Red Scare of the early 1950s, Ted Polumbaum defied Congressional inquisitors and suffered the usual consequences—he was fired, blacklisted, and trailed by the FBI. Yet he survived with his integrity intact to build a new career as an intrepid photojournalist, covering some of the most critical struggles of the latter half of the 20th century.
In this biography, written two decades after his death, his daughter introduces this quirky, accomplished, politically engaged family man of the “Greatest Generation,” who was both of and ahead of his times. Polumbaum’s fortitude, humor and optimism emerge, animated by the conscience of principled dissidence and social activism. His photography, with its unpretentious portrayals of the famous, the infamous, and the unsung heroes of humanity around the world, reflects his courage in the face of mass hysteria and his lifelong commitment to social justice.

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Newly Published: The Enduring Fantastic

New on our bookshelf:

The Enduring Fantastic: Essays on Imagination and Western Culture
Edited by Anna Höglund and Cecilia Trenter

Fantastic fiction is traditionally understood as Western genre literature such as fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Expanding on this understanding, these essays explore how the fantastic has been used in Western societies since the Middle Ages as a tool for organizing and materializing abstractions in order to make sense of the present social order. Disciplines represented here include literature studies, gender studies, biology, ethnology, archeology, history, religion, game studies, cultural sociology, and film studies. Individual essays cover topics such as the fantastic creatures of medieval chronicle, mummy medicine in eighteenth-century Sweden, how fears of disease filtered through the universal and adaptable vampire, the gender aspects of goddess worship in the secular West, ecocentrism in fantasy fiction, how videogames are dealing with the remediation of heritage, and more.

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Newly Published: Navy Corpsmen in the Vietnam War

New on our bookshelf:

Navy Corpsmen in the Vietnam War: 17 Personal Accounts
Harry Spiller

The captivating individual stories of 17 U.S. Navy corpsmen who served in Vietnam, told in their own words. Their accounts relate why they joined the Navy in wartime, why they became corpsmen—the enlisted medical specialists of the Navy and Marine Corps—along with many day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute recollections of caring for both the wounded and the dead under fire. They also reflect on the long-term effects the war had on them and their families.

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Newly Published: The Legacy of World War II in European Arthouse Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

The Legacy of World War II in European Arthouse Cinema
Samm Deighan

World War II irrevocably shaped culture–and much of cinema–in the 20th century, thanks to its devastating, global impact that changed the way we think about and portray war. This book focuses on European war films made about the war between 1945 and 1985 in countries that were occupied or invaded by the Nazis, such as Poland, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, and Germany itself. Many of these films were banned, censored, or sharply criticized at the time of their release for the radical ways they reframed the war and rejected the mythologizing of war experience as a heroic battle between the forces of good and evil.

The particular films examined, made by arthouse directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Larisa Shepitko, among many more, deviate from mainstream cinematic depictions of the war and instead present viewpoints and experiences of WWII which are often controversial or transgressive. They explore the often-complicated ways that participation in war and genocide shapes national identity and the ways that we think about bodies and sexuality, trauma, violence, power, justice, and personal responsibility–themes that continue to resonate throughout culture and global politics.

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Newly Published: Modern Paraguay

New on our bookshelf:

Modern Paraguay: Uncovering South America’s Best Kept Secret
Tomás Mandl

Paraguay has been called the least-known country in Latin America, an island surrounded by land, and the “South American Tibet.” For many years, foreign writers and journalists described it as an enigmatic land where a peculiar people endured calamities and Nazis sought refuge.

Tomás Mandl spent 2016 to 2020 traveling through the country, meeting leading minds and sifting through data. Drawing on more than 40 interviews with historians, political scientists, economists, journalists and diplomats, this book provides a timely assessment of Paraguay’s strengths, challenges and developmental outlook, and their implications for the world.

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Newly Published: Dutch Fortifications

New on our bookshelf:

Dutch Fortifications: An Illustrated History from the Roman Era to the Cold War
Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage

Covering 2000 years–from Roman times through the Cold War–this book describes the evolution of military architecture in the territory today known as the Netherlands. A vital ally of the Dutch–their numerous rivers and canals–played a central role in the defensive strategy of the country, particularly since the 17th century. A general history covers the innovators, architects and engineers of each period and their involvement in the development of fortifications. Illustrations detail the technical features of defensive structures, alongside discussion of the weapons and tactics they were designed confront.

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Newly Published: Surviving Theresienstadt

New on our bookshelf:

Surviving Theresienstadt: A Teenager’s Memoir of the Holocaust
Vera Schiff

After the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, Vera Schiff and her family were sent to Theresienstadt. Touted as the “model ghetto” for propaganda purposes, as well as to deceive Red Cross inspectors, it was in fact a holding camp for famous Jews—in case the world was to inquire. For most, however, it was the last stop on the way to the gas chambers. Those “lucky” enough to remain alive faced slave labor, starvation and disease.

Shiff’s intimate narrative of endurance recounts her and her family’s three years in Theresienstadt, the challenges of life under postwar communism, and her escape to the nascent and turbulent state of Israel.

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Newly Published: Watergate’s Forgotten Hero

New on our bookshelf:

Watergate’s Forgotten Hero: Frank Wills, Night Watchman
Adam Henig

Nearly everyone who played a significant role in the Watergate saga has been scrutinized except one key participant: night watchman Frank Wills.

On the evening of June 17, 1972, in Washington D.C, the twenty-four-year-old security guard was on duty at the Watergate Office Building when he detected a break-in. A high school dropout with only a few hours of formal guard training, Wills alerted the police who caught five burglars, ultimately igniting a national political scandal that ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

The only African American identified with the Watergate affair, Frank Wills enjoyed a brief moment in the limelight, but was unable to cope with his newfound fame, living the remainder of his life in obscurity and poverty. Through exhaustive research and numerous interviews, the story of America’s most famous night watchman finally has been told.

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Newly Published: Women in the Life of Andrew Jackson

New on our bookshelf:

Women in the Life of Andrew Jackson
Ludwig M. Deppisch, M.D.

Andrew Jackson is one of the most significant and controversial United States Presidents. This book follows Jackson’s life and death through the lives of six women who influenced both his politics and his persona. His mother, Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, introduced him to their Scots-Irish heritage. Jackson’s wife, Rachel Donelson Jackson provided emotional support and a stable household throughout her life. Emily Donelson, his niece, was the White House hostess for most of his presidency and was one of the few women to stand up to Jackson’s overbearing nature. She, along with Rachel Jackson and Mary Eaton (the wife of Jackson’s Secretary of War) was also involved in the Petticoat Affair, a historic scandal that consumed the early Jackson administration. His daughter-in-law, Sarah Yorke Jackson, and niece, Mary Eastin Polk, supported Jackson in his retirement and buttressed his political legacy. These six women helped to mold, support, and temper the figure of Andrew Jackson we know today.

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Newly Published: Garden Neighborhoods of San Francisco

New on our bookshelf:

Garden Neighborhoods of San Francisco: The Development of Residence Parks, 1905–1924
Richard Brandi

San Francisco is not known for detached houses with landscaped setbacks, lining picturesque, park-side streets. But between 1905 and 1924, thirty-six such neighborhoods, called residence parks, were proposed or built in the city. Hundreds like them were constructed across the country yet they are not well known or understood today. This book examines the city planning aspects of residence parks in a new way, with tracing how developers went about the business of building them, on different sites and for different markets, and how they kept out black and Asian residents.

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Newly Published: Blood and Steel

New on our bookshelf:

Blood and Steel: Ryan White, the AIDS Crisis and Deindustrialization in Kokomo, Indiana
Ruth D. Reichard

Set in the 1980s against a backdrop of the AIDS crisis, deindustrialization and the Reagan era, this book tells the story of one individual’s defiant struggle against his community—the city of Kokomo, Indiana. At the same time as teenage AIDS patient Ryan White bravely fought against the intolerance of his hometown to attend public school, one of Kokomo’s largest employers, Continental Steel, filed for bankruptcy, significantly raising the stakes of the fight for the city’s livelihood and national image. This book tells the story of a fearful time in our recent history, as people in the heartland endured massive layoffs, coped with a lethal new disease and discovered a legacy of toxic waste. Now, some 30 years after Ryan White’s death, this book offers a fuller accounting of the challenges that one city reckoned with during this tumultuous period.

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Military History Sale

Our extensive catalog of military history books now features more than 1,000 titles in print, and among them are many of our bestsellers. No matter your interests (or those of the history buff in your life), you’re sure to find a good fit. Through Memorial Day, May 31, get 25% off all military history titles with coupon code MILITARY25!

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Newly Published: Stephen A. Douglas, Western Man

New on our bookshelf:

Stephen A. Douglas, Western Man: The Early Years in Congress, 1844-1850
Reg Ankrom

It didn’t take long for freshman Congressman Stephen A. Douglas to see the truth of Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s warning: slavery attached itself to every measure that came before the U.S. Congress. Douglas wanted to expand the nation into an ocean-bound republic. Yet slavery and the violent conflicts it stirred always interfered, as it did in 1844 with his first bill to organize Nebraska.

In 1848, when America acquired 550,000 square miles after the Mexican War, the fight began over whether the territory would be free or slave. Henry Clay, a slave owner who favored gradual emancipation, packaged territorial bills from Douglas’s committee with four others. But Clay’s “Omnibus Bill” failed. Exhausted, he left the Senate, leaving Douglas in control.

Within two weeks, Douglas won passage of all eight bills, and President Millard Fillmore signed the Compromise of 1850. It was Douglas’s greatest legislative achievement. This book, a sequel to the author’s Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship, 1833–1843, fully details Douglas’s early congressional career. The text chronicles how Douglas moved the issue of slavery from Congress to the ballot box.

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Newly Published: Hollywood and the Military Bureaucracy

New on our bookshelf:

Hollywood and the Military Bureaucracy: Depicting America’s Fighting Forces at Their Best and Worst
Bob Herzberg

Through a century of movies, the U.S. military held sway over war and service-oriented films. Influenced by the armed forces and their public relations units, Hollywood presented moviegoers with images of a faultless American fighting machine led by heroic commanders.

This book examines this cooperation with detailed narratives of military blunders and unfit officers that were whitewashed to be presented in a more favorable light. Drawing on production files, correspondence between bureaucrats and filmmakers, and contemporary critical reviews, the author reveals the behind-the-scenes political maneuvers that led to the rewriting of history on-screen.

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Newly Published: Iceman of Brooklyn

New on our bookshelf:

Iceman of Brooklyn: The Mafia Life of Frankie Yale
Michael Newton

Largely forgotten now, Frankie Yale was an influential New York mobster of the early 20th century whose proteges included future leaders of New York’s five Mafia families and Chicago’s outfit. His influence extended to Chicago, where he personally committed two of the city’s most notorious underworld assassinations and waged a five-year war to wrest control of Brooklyn’s docks from Irish rivals. His murder marked New York City’s first use of a Tommy gun in gangland warfare, the same weapon used in Chicago’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre seven months later. Yale’s passing destabilized Gotham’s Mafia, paving the way for an upheaval that modified and modernized the structure of American syndicated crime for the next six decades. Despite Yale’s prominence during his life, this is the first biography to survey his life and career.

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Newly Published: Busted

New on our bookshelf:

Busted: A Vietnam Veteran in Nixon’s America
W.D. Ehrhart

This book picks up where Passing Time: A Vietnam Veteran Against the War left off, and completes the trilogy begun with Vietnam-Perkasie: A Combat Marine Memoir. It begins with the Coast Guard raid on Ehrhart’s oil tanker and ends with the conclusion of his trial for possession of “controlled substances,” a span of time that corresponds almost exactly with the opening of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the impeachment of Richard Nixon and Nixon’s resignation and pardon by Gerald Ford.

Along the way, Ehrhart encounters a wise and sympathetic lawyer, an MG Midget, a local New Jersey cop who thinks he’s Wyatt Earp, New York City detectives who arrest him for armed robbery of a liquor store, a forklift that can turn on a dime, a Coast Guard prosecutor who wants to teach Ehrhart a lesson, the Carranza Memorial, and three ghosts who are as real as you and me.

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Newly Published: South Carolinians in the Battle of Gettysburg

New on our bookshelf:

South Carolinians in the Battle of Gettysburg
Derek Smith

July 1, 1863. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee advanced across the Pennsylvania countryside toward the small town of Gettysburg—less than 90 miles from Washington, D.C.—on a collision course with the Union Army of the Potomac. In Lee’s ranks were 5,000 South Carolina troops destined to play critical roles in the three days of fighting ahead. From generals to privates, the Palmetto State soldiers were hurled into the Civil War’s most famous battle—hundreds were killed, wounded or later suffered as prisoners of war.

The life-and-death stories of these South Carolinians are here woven together here with official wartime reports, previously unpublished letters, newspaper accounts, diaries and the author’s personal observations from walking the battlefield.

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Newly Published: Star Trek, History and Us

New on our bookshelf:

Star Trek, History and Us: Reflections of the Present and Past Throughout the Franchise
A.J. Black

Since 1966, the Star Trek television franchise has used outer space and the thrilling adventures of the crews of the U.S.S. Enterprise to reflect our own world and culture. Kirk and Spock face civil rights issues and Vietnam war allegories while Picard, Data, and the next generation seek an ordered, post-Cold War stability in the Reagan era.

The crews of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise must come to terms with our real life of war, manifest destiny in the 21st century, and the shadow of 9/11. Now, as the modern era of the franchise attempts to portray a utopia amidst a world spinning out of control, Star Trek remains about more than just the future. It is about our present. It is about us.

This book charts the history of Gene Roddenberry’s creation across five decades alongside the cultural development of the United States and asks: are we heading for the utopian Federation future, or is it slipping ever further away from reality?

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Newly Published: Cold War Frequencies

New on our bookshelf:

Cold War Frequencies: CIA Clandestine Radio Broadcasting to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
Richard H. Cummings

Published for the first time, the history of the CIA’s clandestine short-wave radio broadcasts to Eastern Europe and the USSR during the early Cold War is covered in-depth. Chapters describe the “gray” broadcasting of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Munich; clandestine or “black” radio broadcasts from Radio Nacional de Espana in Madrid to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine; transmissions to Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Ukraine and the USSR from a secret site near Athens; and broadcasts to Byelorussia and Slovakia. Infiltrated behind the Iron Curtain through dangerous air drops and boat landings, CIA and other intelligence service agents faced counterespionage, kidnapping, assassination, arrest and imprisonment. Excerpts from broadcasts taken from monitoring reports of Eastern Europe intelligence agencies are included.

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Newly Published: Women of Valor

New on our bookshelf:

Women of Valor: The Rochambelles on the World War II Front, rev. ed.
Ellen Hampton

Women in an armored division! General Leclerc had never heard of such a thing. But if he wanted the 19 brand-new ambulances, he would have to take their women drivers too. Known as the Rochambelles, their courage won the admiration of their comrades and changed many minds. These women learned to drive through mortar fire, to pull men from burning tanks, to stanch blood and ease pain. Above all, they learned that no matter who was doing the shooting, the greater enemy was hatred. Only three of the fifty-one women who served in the group published a memoir, and their stories have been all but lost. This book, newly revised and updated, reveals their daring and accomplishments, from Normandy to Berchtesgaden.

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Newly Published: Marcus Reno in the Valley of the Little Big Horn

New on our bookshelf:

Marcus Reno in the Valley of the Little Big Horn: Limited Means, Excessive Aims
Frederic C. Wagner III

Major Marcus Reno’s actions at the Battle of Little Big Horn have been both criticized and lauded, often without in-depth analysis. This book takes a fresh look the battle and events leading up to it, offering answers to unanswered questions. The author examines the meanings of “orders” given in Custer’s command and how they were treated, the tactics and fighting in the valley, Reno’s alcoholism, and his last stand on the hilltop named for him.

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Newly Published: Putin Confronts the West

New on our bookshelf:

Putin Confronts the West: The Logic of Russian Foreign Relations, 1999–2020
René De La Pedraja

Russia’s surprising return to the world stage since 2000 has aroused the curiosity—if not the fear—of the West. Gradually, the Kremlin went from a policy of deference to foreign powers to acting with independence. The driver of this transformation was President Vladimir Putin, who with skillful caution navigated Russia back into the ranks of global powers. In theaters of conflict such as Georgia, Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin won significant victories at little cost to consolidate its decisive position.

Following a chronological approach from the fall of the Soviet Union to the present, this book draws on new documents to describe how Russia regained its former global prominence. Clear accounts of key decisions and foreign policy events—many presented for the first time—provide important insights into the major confrontations with the West.

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Newly Published: William Barksdale, CSA

New on our bookshelf:

William Barksdale, CSA: A Biography of the United States Congressman and Confederate Brigadier General
John Douglas Ashton

An aggressive and colorful personality, William Barksdale was no stranger to controversy. Orphaned at 13, he succeeded as lawyer, newspaper editor, Mexican War veteran, politician and Confederate commander. During eight years in the U.S. Congress, he was among the South’s most ardent defenders of slavery and advocates for states’ rights. His emotional speeches and altercations—including a brawl on the House floor—made headlines in the years preceding secession.

His fiery temper prompted three near-duels, gaining him a reputation as a brawler and knife-fighter. Arrested for intoxication, Colonel Barksdale survived a military Court of Inquiry to become one of the most beloved commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia. His reputation soared with his defense against the Union river crossing and street-fighting at Fredericksburg, and his legendary charge at Gettysburg. This first full-length biography places his life and career in historical context.

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Newly Published: Money in American Politics

New on our bookshelf:

Money in American Politics: The First 200 Years
Richard Lawrence Miller

The people who run our government are affected by money just like the rest of us. Over the years, many of these officials have worried about meeting mortgage payments, holding off creditors, and avoiding bankruptcy. Others made fortunes by devoting their time to supervising their business interests. Either way, these distractions affected the lives of everyday citizens–from the price of shirts to the decisions for war or peace.

In school, students are taught about governmental principles underlying political controversies, but instructors seldom talk about money that presidents and cabinet members stood to gain or lose, depending on who prevailed in a political dispute. This book will help fill the gaps in that knowledge. To ignore the business activities of our leaders is to ignore most of their adult lives. Having such awareness allows voters to see motivations in government decisions that may otherwise be obscure. Concentrating on presidents and cabinet members, from the birth of the U.S. through the Carter administration, this book tells how they and their associates gained and lost wealth, and how this affected their nation’s well-being.

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Newly Published: The Gun Makers of Birmingham, 1660–1960

New on our bookshelf:

The Gun Makers of Birmingham, 1660–1960
Joseph McKenna

Tracing the history and development of gun-making in Birmingham, England–for many years a center of the world’s firearms industry–this book covers innovations in design and manufacture of both military and sporting arms from 1660 through 1960. The city is perhaps best known for mass-producing some of the most battle-tested weapons in history, including the Brown Bess musket, the Webley revolver and the Lee-Enfield rifle. Yet Birmingham’s gun-makers have carried on a centuries-long tradition of crafting high quality hand-made sporting guns.

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Newly Published: Draining the Swamp, Southern Style

New on our bookshelf:

Draining the Swamp, Southern Style: North Carolina and Florida Wetlands and the Wright Report Scandal, 1896–1926
Bruce D. Epperson

In 1912, a Congressional committee met to investigate allegations that the Secretary of Agriculture had suppressed a report by J. O. Wright on drainage in the Florida Everglades. The following seven months of committee hearings uncovered a veritable horror-show of corruption, self-dealing, misuse of government personnel and property for private gain, the tarring of reputations in order to protect high-level officials, and outright blackmail within the Department of Agriculture and the state governments of Florida and North Carolina.

The “Wright Report Incident” is most commonly understood in its connection to the Everglades, and few histories have included its effects on the North Carolina Pocosin wetland and other coastal plain swamps. This book seeks fills that gap. It details the timeline, intricate politics, and webs of corruption that make up the story of the Wright Incident and, specifically, its connection to land management practices in coastal North Carolina that continue to impact the industries of the state almost 100 years later.

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Newly Published: American Sports and the Great War

New on our bookshelf:

American Sports and the Great War: College, Military and Professional Athletics, 1916–1919
Peter C. Stewart

Drawing on newspaper accounts, college yearbooks and the recollections of veterans, this book examines the impact of World War I on sports in the U.S. As young men entered the military in large numbers, many colleges initially considered suspending athletics but soon turned to the idea of using sports to build morale and physical readiness. Recruits, mostly in their twenties, ended up playing more baseball and football than they would have in peacetime. Though most college athletes volunteered for military duty, others replaced them so that the reduction of competition was not severe. Pugilism gained participants as several million men learned how to box.

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Newly Published: Encyclopedia of Easter Celebrations Worldwide

New on our bookshelf:

Encyclopedia of Easter Celebrations Worldwide
William D. Crump

At Eastertime, the most important holiday in the Christian world, religious processions in many Latin American countries pass over ornate street “carpets” fashioned from colored sawdust, flowers and fruit. Children in Finland and Sweden dress as “Easter witches.” In the Caribbean, those who swim on Good Friday risk bad luck. In the Philippines, some penitents volunteer to be crucified. In some European countries, Easter Monday is the day for dousing women with water. With 240 entries, this book explores these and scores of other unusual and sometimes bizarre international Holy Week customs, both sacred and secular, from pilgrimages to Jerusalem to classic seasonal films and television specials.

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Women’s Studies Sale and New Catalog

Women made 2020 a banner year for diversity and inclusivity. In sports, representation on and off the field erupted with the leadership of Kim Ng, Sarah Fuller and Katie Sowers. Scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna jointly earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. And in politics, women like Cori Bush, Sarah McBride, Yvette Herrell and others were elected to ever-diversifying legislatures, while Kamala Harris ascended to the highest elected position a woman has yet to hold. To honor Women’s History Month and to nurture the path forward, we’re offering 20% off our catalog through March 31st with coupon code WOMEN20.

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Newly Published: Saints and Sinners in Queen Victoria’s Courts

New on our bookshelf:

Saints and Sinners in Queen Victoria’s Courts: Ten Scandalous Trials
Tom Zaniello

This chronicle of ten controversial mid–Victorian trials features brother versus brother, aristocrats fighting commoners, an imposter to a family’s fortune, and an ex-priest suing his ex-wife, a nun. Most of these trials—never before analyzed in depth—assailed a culture that frowned upon public displays of bad taste, revealing fault lines in what is traditionally seen as a moral and regimented society. The author examines religious scandals, embarrassments about shaky family trees, and even arguments about which architecture is most likely to convert people from one faith to another.

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Newly Published: America’s Early Women Celebrities

New on our bookshelf:

America’s Early Women Celebrities: The Famous and Scorned from Martha Washington to Silent Film Star Mary Fuller
Angela Firkus

Well before television and the internet, there were women who sought fame, flirted with infamy, and actively engaged with their fan base. In today’s pop culture world, it can be hard to understand what the lives of these women were like. In their pre-suffrage world, women who attracted attention were considered scandalous and it was largely uncommon for women to become celebrities. Women who rose to fame in those times had to put up with societal standards for women on top of the lack of privacy and free speech.

This book provides the details and context to let us know the women who captured America’s heart in the 19th century. Rather than looking at influential women who strictly avoided notoriety, it covers the lives of 18 celebrities like Lydia Maria Child, Sojourner Truth, and Jane Addams.

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Newly Published: Ride the Frontier

New on our bookshelf:

Ride the Frontier: Exploring the Myth of the American West on Screen
Flavia Brizio-Skov

With fresh appraisals of popular Westerns, this book examines the history of the genre with a focus on definitional aspects of canon, adaptation and hybridity.

The author covers a range of largely unexplored topics, including the role of “heroines” in a (supposedly) male-oriented system of film production, the function of the celluloid Indians, the transcultural and transnational history of the first spaghetti Western, the construction of femininity and masculinity in the hybrid Westerns of the 1950s, and the new paths of the Western in the 21st century.

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Newly Published: The French Terror Wave, 2015–2016

New on our bookshelf:

The French Terror Wave, 2015–2016: Al-Qaeda and ISIS Attacks from Charlie Hebdo to the Bataclan Theatre
Marc E. Vargo

A torrent of Islamist terrorism swept across France in 2015 and 2016, executed by militant jihadists on behalf of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS). Their targets ranged from the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine to the Bataclan Theatre on the Boulevard Voltaire to a parish church in a Normandy village and a beachfront promenade on the Mediterranean. This book reconstructs these and other terrorist offensives France weathered during this period. Placing each attack in its sociopolitical context, the author examines the backgrounds and motives of the perpetrators, the attributes of the victims and the legacy of the attacks for the people.

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Newly Published: Valley Forge to Monmouth

New on our bookshelf:

Valley Forge to Monmouth: Six Transformative Months of the American Revolution
Jim Stempel

From December 1777 through June 1778, the American Revolution achieved a remarkable turnaround. I these months the Continental Army recovered from abject demoralization at Valley Forge to achieve a stunning victory against the British at Monmouth Courthouse. This compelling history chronicles how the war began to turn–from the consequential leadership of General Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette to the experiences of the men who marched and fought in the ranks–and reexamines one of the most controversial periods of early American history.

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Newly Published: Newspaper-Real Estate Schemes of the 1920s

New on our bookshelf:

Newspaper-Real Estate Schemes of the 1920s: Pell Lake and Other Vacation Colonies for Working Class Subscribers
Margaret B. Barker

In the 1920s, newspapers and real estate developers colluded in a scheme to sell tiny vacation lots to subscribers. A zealous advertising campaign spawned a land-buying frenzy that sprouted dozens of waterfront summer colonies across the country. The resulting legal, social and environmental mayhem caused some of these communities to disappear or be drastically altered in character, while others managed to survive more or less intact.

Drawing on newspaper accounts of the day, this book explores how the scheme eluded accusations of fraud, creating an assembly line for middle class resorts through a lucrative merger of real estate and journalism. Pell Lake, Wisconsin, serves as a case study that yields the best evidence for determining if it was all a scam. Told here for the first time, the story of this unusual alliance and the communities it created offers lessons for today’s entrepreneurs, journalists, advertisers, real estate developers, environmentalists and anyone who has ever lived in a resort community.

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Newly Published: The African Experience in Colonial Virginia

New on our bookshelf:

The African Experience in Colonial Virginia: Essays on the 1619 Arrival and the Legacy of Slavery
Edited by Colita Nichols Fairfax

The State of Virginia recognizes the 1619 landing of Africans at Point Comfort (present-day Hampton) as a complicated beginning. This collection of new essays reckons with this historical fact, with discussions of the impacts 400 years later.

Chapters cover different perspectives about the “20 and odd” who landed, offering insights into how enslavement continues to affect the lives of their descendants. The often overlooked experiences of women in enslavement are discussed.

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Newly Published: The China Incident

New on our bookshelf:

The China Incident: Igniting the Second Sino-Japanese War
G. William Whitehurst

In 1937, Japan blundered into a debilitating war with China, beginning with a minor incident near Peking (now Beijing) that quickly escalated. The Japanese won significant battles and captured the capital, Nanking, after a horrific massacre of its citizens. Chiang Kai-shek, China’s acknowledged leader, would not surrender—each side believed it could win a war of attrition. The U.S. sided with China, primarily because of President Roosevelt’s personal bias in their favor.

Drawing on a wealth of sources including interviews with key players, from soldiers to diplomats, this history traces America’s unexpected and unpopular involvement in an Asian conflict, and the growing recognition of Japan’s threat to world peace and the inevitability of war.

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Newly Published: Running Toward the Guns

New on our bookshelf:

Running Toward the Guns: A Memoir of Escape from Cambodia
Chanty Jong with Lee Ann Van Houten-Sauter

Running Toward the Guns is an autobiographical story and an accounting of Chanty Jong’s personal inner self-healing journey that led to a successfully unexpected discovery. Jong survived the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime of 1975–1979, witnessing the horrors of the killing fields, torture, starvation and much more. Her vivid narrative recounts the suffering under the Khmer Rouge, her perseverance to survive physically and emotionally and her perilous escape to America. Her memoir relives the traumatic memories of her experiences and traces her arduous personal transformation toward a life of inner peace through intensive meditation.

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Newly Published: Have You Seen This Person?

New on our bookshelf:

Have You Seen This Person?: Ten Unsolved Disappearances, 2000–2013
LJ Roberts

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are reported missing in the United States alone. The majority of those who disappear turn up within a week, but a small percentage are never heard from again.

Why did a Swedish teenager on an Australian adventure mail a cryptic letter to his family in Stockholm before disappearing forever? What became of a young woman whose car was found crashed and abandoned off a cliffside in Whatcom County, Washington? How can an individual vanish without a trace in a world so connected and monitored?

This book explores ten unsolved missing persons cases from around the world, from a 12-year-old British boy who purchased a one-way ticket to London King’s Cross never to return, to an American traveler who walked into the Himalayas not to be seen again. Included are exclusive interviews, statistical information and a case-by-case analysis of the most common and probable theories for each disappearance.

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Newly Published: The Banisters of Rhode Island in the American Revolution

New on our bookshelf:

The Banisters of Rhode Island in the American Revolution: Liberty and the Costs of Loyalties
Marian Mathison Desrosiers

When Thomas Banister fought for the British during the American Revolution, his farm and business were confiscated. He was exiled in far-off Nova Scotia, before he returned to a secluded life on Long Island. His older brother, John Banister married with a child, swore allegiance to the United Colonies, then witnessed the destruction of his Newport lands by the British Army.

Convinced British laws supported remuneration, John left for England, where he sought justice for four years. His wife, Christian Stelle Banister, managed the family property and raised their son while the state threatened confiscation and the French Army lived in Newport.

Tracing the lives of three young Americans during the Revolution, this study of the Banister family of Rhode Island contributes to an understanding of the war’s effects on the lives of ordinary people.

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BOOK REVIEWS: The People of the Sagas

Here are the latest book reviews for Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas by William R. Short.

• “Provides information on the daily lives, culture, history, and society of the Icelanders in a clear and well-structured fashion that invites and informs modern readers. The 13 chapters are concise, and clearly laid out sections allow readers to review specific themes or read the work as a whole. Using both literary and archaeological sources, Short presents a detailed, succinct, and informative overview of Icelanders of the saga age as well as the sagas themselves. Readers are enticed into further exploration of Viking–age Iceland with the inclusion of detailed chapter notes and recommendations for further readings. This useful introduction to the Viking age is an essential companion to the medieval narratives…. The author’s in-depth research makes this a compelling, informative addition to almost any collection dealing with the sagas or the Viking age. Highly recommended. General and academic collections, all levels.”—Choice

• “Informative…Short has done an excellent job…most interesting…I unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone with even a shred of interest in the Viking era…faultless…tells a coherent story…this is a book stuffed full of interesting material for anyone interested in the sagas, the Viking age, the Icelandic Commonwealth, and early contact with the New World. Highly recommended”—Armed and Dangerous

• “A warning to readers. You may find you need to hide your copy of this book…chapters on pretty much all aspects of daily life…. You don’t need to be a specialist in anthropology or history to understand…illustrated with numerous black and white photographs of Iceland and Icelandic artifacts, drawings and maps…enjoyed it very much. You’ve got to hand it to McFarland as they publish some fascinating books”—Green Man Review

• “A perfect companion or an introduction to reading the sagas…very easy to read, and covers many topics in the life of the people in Iceland during those times…covers religion, laws, feuds, home life, and the settlement, among other topics…truly gives you an overview of what everyday life was like…[Short’s] research is flawless, and his sources are well-documented…bibliography is impressive…very well-indexed…entertaining, easy-to-read and very educational”—Lögberg-Heimskringla

• “Well-structured, easily understandable and practical…digs deep into a wide range of archaeological and literary sources…presents readers with a realistic account of life in the saga age…excellent…thorough and accurate…interesting…especially helpful”—Iceland Review

• “Riveting exploration…a solid addition”—Midwest Book Review

• “Fresh and interesting…a most readable book”—SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

• “Comprehensive but accessible history…. All aspects of society are covered including laws, conflict, domestic work, agriculture, gender roles, trade and production. Blending literature, legal codes, chronicles and archaeology and embellishing them with pictures, many of which he took himself. Short’s book is a perfect companion to the study of the Icelandic sagas”—Reference and Research Book News

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Newly Published: Dying for Chocolate

New on our bookshelf:

Dying for Chocolate: Cordelia Botkin and the 1898 Poisoned Candy Murders
Kerry Segrave

On a summer day in 1898, a family in Dover, Delaware, shared a box of chocolates they received in the mail from an anonymous sender. Within days, two of the seven family members were dead; the other five became ill but recovered. The search for the perpetrator soon moved from Delaware to California, where a suspect was quickly identified: Cordelia Botkin, lover of the husband of one of the poisoned women.

This book chronicles the shoddy investigation that led to Botkin’s indictment and the two sensational trials, adjudicated in the press, that found her guilty. National attention was drawn by the cross-country nature of the crime and the fact that the supposed perpetrator had never been in Delaware in her life. It was also a trial over what was viewed as the moral and sexual depravity of the two main participants, Botkin and Dunning (the husband), with most of that criticism directed at Botkin.

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Newly Published: Circle in the Square Theatre

New on our bookshelf:

Circle in the Square Theatre: A Comprehensive History
Sheila Hickey Garvey

Based on years of research as well as interviews conducted with Circle in the Square’s major contributing artists, this book records the entire history of this distinguished theatre from its nightclub origins to its current status as a Tony Award-winning Broadway institution. Over the course of seven decades, Circle in the Square theatre profoundly changed ideas of what American theatre could be. Founded by Theodore Mann and José Quintero in an abandoned Off–Broadway nightclub just after WWII, it was a catalyst for the Off–Broadway movement. The building had a unique arena-shaped performance space that became Circle in the Square theatre, New York’s first Off–Broadway arena stage and currently Broadway’s only arena stage. The theatre was precedent-setting in many other regards, including operating as a non-profit, contracting with trade unions, establishing a school, and serving as a home for blacklisted artists. It sparked a resurgence of interest in playwright Eugene O’Neill’s canon, and was famous for landmark revivals and American premieres of his plays. The theatre also fostered the careers of such luminaries as Geraldine Page, Colleen Dewhurst, George C. Scott, Jason Robards, James Earl Jones, Cecily Tyson, Dustin Hoffman, Irene Papas, Alan Arkin, Philip Bosco, Al Pacino, Amy Irving, Pamela Payton-Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Christie, John Malkovich, Lynn Redgrave, and Annette Bening.

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Newly Published: The Constitution and American Racism

New on our bookshelf:

The Constitution and American Racism: Setting a Course for Lasting Injustice
David P. Madden

Racism has permeated the workings of the U.S. Constitution since ratification. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, supporters of slavery ensured it was protected by rule of law. The federal government upheld slavery until it was abolished by the Civil War; then supported the South’s Jim Crow power structure. From Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Era until today, veneration of the Constitution has not prevented lynching, segregation, voter intimidation or police brutality against people of color. The Electoral College—a Constitutional accommodation for slaveholding aristocrats who feared popular government—has twice in 20 years given the presidency to the candidate who lost the popular vote. This book describes how pernicious flaws in the Constitution, included to legalize profiting from human bondage, perpetuate systemic racism, economic inequality and the subversion of democracy.

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New in Softcover: Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities

Now available in softcover:

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities
Charles Russell Coulter and Patricia Turner

Throughout history, humans have pondered the question of their existence. In nearly every society, part of the answer has included some form of god or goddess. For the Mayans, one such deity was Ajtzak, who tried to create humans from wood; for the Yorubas of Africa, Shango controlled the thunder and lightning. The Chinese of the Shang dynasty era worshipped Shang Ti. Evil deities were also part of the answer, as in the case of the Kuvera, the Hindu chief of evil in the Vedic period, and Tu, the Persian or Islamic demon of fatal accidents.

All of the known ancient gods, many heretofore obscure or known only from mythological literature, are included in this exhaustive reference work. The focus is on their origins, histories, and functions. The people who believed in each deity are identified, along with alternate names or spellings both old and modern. The descriptions that follow are of the functions, origins and physical nature of the deities. Extensive cross references are provided for alternate spellings and names.

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Vikings Catalog and Sale

On the threshold of winter, it is not untoward to turn one’s thoughts to hearty beards.  So it is here at McFarland, and ours have specifically turned to Vikings and representations of medieval Nordic-ness in myth, literature and popular culture.  We’ve collected all our related McFarland titles into this catalog, and you’ll find a full range of books covering topics such as the intellectual inspirations for Tolkien’s legendarium, the Vikings television series that successfully summoned their historical world, and insights into the people of the great Icelandic medieval sagas.  If you have an interest in Norse mythology in heavy metal music, McFarland has a book for that, too!  Through December 31, get 30% off these books with coupon code VIKINGS30.

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Newly Published: Political Assassins, Terrorists and Related Conspiracies in American History

New on our bookshelf:

Political Assassins, Terrorists and Related Conspiracies in American History
Scott P. Johnson

Political assassinations and terrorism have both outraged and fascinated the public throughout American history, particularly in the modern era. Providing biographical summaries of more than 100 assassins and terrorists, this book aims at a more complete understanding of the motivations behind violent extremism.

The lives of the subjects are analyzed with a focus on psychological and ideological factors, along with details of investigations and criminal trials. Conspiracy theories are evaluated for credibility. Social media features prominently in explaining political violence by members of extremist groups in the 21st century, including radical Islamic terrorists, anti-abortion activists and white supremacists.

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Newly Published: Voices from Srebrenica

New on our bookshelf:

Voices from Srebrenica: Survivor Narratives of the Bosnian Genocide
Ann Petrila <I>and</I> Hasan Hasanović

In the hills of eastern Bosnia sits the small town of Srebrenica—once known for silver mines and health spas, now infamous for the genocide that occurred there during the Bosnian War. In July 1995, when the town fell to Serbian forces, 12,000 Muslim men and boys fled through the woods, seeking safe territory. Hunted for six days, more than 8000 were captured, killed at execution sites and later buried in mass graves. With harrowing personal narratives by survivors, this book provides eyewitness accounts of the Bosnian genocide, revealing stories of individual trauma, loss and resilience.

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Newly Published: Boone Before Boone

New on our bookshelf:

Boone Before Boone: The Archaeological Record of Northwestern North Carolina Through 1769
Tom Whyte

Native Americans have occupied the mountains of northwestern North Carolina for around 14,000 years. This book tells the story of their lives, adaptations, responses to climate change, and ultimately, the devastation brought on by encounters with Europeans. After a brief introduction to archaeology, the book covers each time period, chapter by chapter, beginning with the Paleoindian period in the Ice Age and ending with the arrival of Daniel Boone in 1769, with descriptions and interpretations of archaeological evidence for each time period. Each chapter begins with a fictional vignette to kindle the reader’s imaginings of ancient human life in the mountains, and includes descriptions and numerous images of sites and artifacts discovered in Boone, North Carolina, and the surrounding region.

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Newly Published: Pakistan Since Independence

New on our bookshelf:

Pakistan Since Independence: A History, 1947 to Today
Stanley B. Sprague

This concise and balanced account details Pakistan’s turbulent 73-year history of civil war, military coups, political assassinations, wars with India, cooperation with the U.S. during the Afghan-Soviet war, and events following 9/11. An unpredictable nuclear nation, Pakistan has been variously described as the center of international terrorism, the world’s biggest nuclear weapons proliferator, the most dangerous place in the world and, some experts predict, the most likely site of the world’s first nuclear war.

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Newly Published: The National Security League, 1914–1922

New on our bookshelf:

The National Security League, 1914–1922: Wall Street and the War Machine
Kerry Segrave

The early 20th century saw the founding of the National Security League, a nationalistic nonprofit organization committed to an expanded military, conscripted service and meritocracy. This book details its history, from its formation in December 1914 through 1922, at which point it was a spent force in decline. Founded by wealthy corporate lawyers based in New York City, it had secret backers in the capitalist class, who had two goals in mind. One was to profit immensely from the newly begun World War I. The other was to control the working classes in times of both war and peace.

This agenda was presented to the public under the guise of preparedness, patriotism, and Americanization. Although the league was eventually found by Congress to have violated election spending limits, no sanctions of any kind were ever applied. This history details the secret machinations of an organization dedicated to solidifying the grip of the capitalist class over workers, all under the cover of American pride.

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Newly Published: The Herrin Massacre of 1922

New on our bookshelf:

The Herrin Massacre of 1922: Blood and Coal in the Heart of America
Greg Bailey

In 1922, a coal miner strike spread across the United States, swallowing the heavily-unionized mining town of Herrin, Illinois. When the owner of the town’s local mine hired non-union workers to break the strike, violent conflict broke out between the strikebreakers and unionized miners, who were all heavily armed. When strikebreakers surrendered and were promised safe passage home, the unionized miners began executing them before large, cheering crowds.

This book tells the cruel truth behind the story that the coal industry tried to suppress and that Herrin wants to forget. A thorough account of the massacre and its aftermath, this book sets a heartland tragedy against the rise and decline of the coal industry.

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Newly Published: James Strong

New on our bookshelf:

James Strong: A Biography of the Methodist Scholar
Samuel J. Rogal

This is the first full biography of Biblical scholar and theological seminary professor James Strong (1822–1894). It describes his upbringing, early and higher education, the schools and colleges where he taught, his academic colleagues, his contributions to the development of nineteenth-century American Methodism, and his numerous publications—particularly his Biblical Concordance (1894) which continues as a standard and essential reference work. It includes edited versions of selected sermons and letters never before published, as well as comments from his students, the details of his experience in the development of the early nineteenth-century American railroad system, and detailed obituaries and reactions to his death.

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Newly Published: War Pigeons

New on our bookshelf:

War Pigeons: Winged Couriers in the U.S. Military, 1878–1957
Elizabeth G. Macalaster

For more than seven decades, homing pigeons provided the U.S. military with its fastest most reliable means of communication. Originally bred for racing in the early 1800s, homing pigeons were later trained by pigeoneers to fly up to 60 mph for hundreds of miles, and served the United States for almost 75 years, through four wars on four continents. Barely weighing a pound, these extraordinary birds carried messages in and out of gas, smoke, exploding bombs and gunfire. They flew through jungles, deserts and mountains, not faltering even when faced with large expanses of ocean to cross. Sometimes they arrived nearly dead from wounds or exhaustion, refusing to give up until they reached their objective.

This book is the first complete account of the remarkable service that homing pigeons provided for the American armed forces, from its fledgling beginnings after the Civil War to the birds’ invaluable role in communications in every branch of the U.S. military through both World Wars and beyond. Personal narratives, primary sources and news articles tell the story of the pigeons’ recruitment and training in the U.S., their deployment abroad and use on the home front.

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Newly Published: Western Water Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court

New on our bookshelf:

Western Water Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court
James H. Davenport

Exploring the little-known history behind the legal doctrine of prior appropriation—“first in time is first in right”—used to apportion water resources in the western United States, this book focuses on the important case of Wyoming v. Colorado(1922). U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Willis Van Devanter, a former Chief Justice of Wyoming, ruled in that state’s favor, finding that prior appropriation applied across state lines—a controversial opinion influenced by cronyism. The dicta in the case, that the U.S. Government has no interest in state water allocation law, drove the balkanization of interstate water systems and resulted in the Colorado River Interstate Compact between Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

The exhaustive research that has gone into this book has uncovered the secret that Associate Justice Van Devanter had waited eleven years to publish his opinion in this important, but politically self-serving, case, at last finding a moment when his senior colleagues were sufficiently absent or incapacitated to either concur or dissent. Without the knowledge of his “brethren,” save his “loyal friend” Taft, and without recusal, Van Devanter unilaterally delivered his sole opinion to the Clerk for publication on the last day of the Supreme Court’s October 1921 Term.

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New in Softcover: Chronology of the American Revolution

Now available in softcover:

Chronology of the American Revolution: Military and Political Actions Day by Day
Bud Hannings

From the Battle of Lexington and Concord on 19 April, 1775, up through the reduction of the victorious Continental Army to a single regiment in January 1784, this book is a day-to-day chronicle of the American Revolution, both on the battlefield and in the halls of the Continental Congress. Covered in detail are the movements of not only the Continental Army and Navy, but the Marines—not covered comprehensively in other sources—and the militia. Information on the actions of Congress highlights each day’s business, including the resolutions pertinent to the war.

Drawing on such vital primary documents as the Journals of the Continental Congress and the Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, the book offers a close-up view of the political and military tension of the time, the perilous situation of the colonists, and the concerns of the soldiers and sailors immersed in battle. It also provides insight into the moves and counter-moves of British and American forces as intelligence flowed in both directions to influence the course of combat. All military campaigns of the revolution, from Canada to Florida and Louisiana, are included. The result is unmatched coverage of the battles, both military and legislative, that gave birth to America.

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Newly Published: Engines and Other Apparatus of the Milwaukee Fire Department

New on our bookshelf:

Engines and Other Apparatus of the Milwaukee Fire Department: An Illustrated History
Wayne Mutza

The vehicles and other firefighting equipment of the Milwaukee Fire Department, like the department itself, are unique among the fire service. It built more of its own apparatus than any other American city and few can match the scope and character of apparatus used to serve and protect life and property in Milwaukee.

Through detailed research, firsthand narratives, and captivating photos, the author walks the reader through the fascinating history of the incredible machines that served Cream City from the mid-nineteenth century to modern times. This volume traces the ever-changing face of Milwaukee’s fire-fighting and life-saving equipment in parallel with the city’s own history and growth. The fire department workshop’s reputation for ingenuity is shown through its adaptations to disastrous fires that brought about changes in laws, economic growth and decline, the establishment of Milwaukee’s ethnic neighborhoods, the difficult transition from horses to motorization, the wartime and post-war experience, the corporate world of apparatus manufacturers, and Milwaukee’s fireboat fleet.

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Newly Published: Saigon to Pleiku

New on our bookshelf:

Saigon to Pleiku: A Counterintelligence Agent in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, 1962‒1963
David Grant Noble

Initially stationed at the U.S. Army’s counterintelligence headquarters in Saigon, David Noble was sent north to launch the army’s first covert intelligence-gathering operation in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Living in the region of the Montagnards—Vietnam’s indigenous tribal people, deemed critical to winning the war—Noble documented strategic hamlets and Green Beret training camps, where Special Forces teams taught the Montagnards to use rifles rather than crossbows and spears. In this book, he relates the formidable challenges he confronted in the course of his work.

Weaving together memoir, excerpts from letters written home, and photographs, Noble’s compelling narrative throws light on a little-known corner of the Vietnam War in its early years—before the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and the deployment of combat units—and traces his transformation from a novice intelligence agent and believer in the war to a political dissenter and active protester.

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New in Softcover: The White House

Now available in softcover:

The White House: An Illustrated Architectural History
Patrick Phillips-Schrock

Formerly known as the President’s House, then the Executive Mansion, and now for a long time the White House, this famous structure has a fascinating architectural history of ongoing change. The white painted façade of James Hoban’s original structure has been added to and strengthened for more than 200 years, and its interior is a repository of some of America’s greatest treasures. Artists such as Benjamin Latrobe, Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, the Herter Brothers, Louis Tiffany, Charles McKim, Lorenzo Winslow, Stephane Boudin, Edward Vason Jones, and a host of others fashioned interiors that welcomed and inspired visitors both foreign and domestic. This meticulous history, featuring more than 325 photographs, diagrams and other illustrations, captures each stage of the White House’s architectural and decorative evolution.

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Newly Published: The Beginning of Boxing in Britain, 1300–1700

New on our bookshelf:

The Beginning of Boxing in Britain, 1300–1700
Arly Allen

Many books have discussed boxing in the ancient world, but this is the first to describe how boxing was reborn in the modern world. Modern boxing began in the Middle Ages in England as a criminal activity. It then became a sport supported by the kings and aristocracy. Later it was again outlawed and only in the 20th century has it become a sport popular around the world.

This book describes how modern boxing began in England as an outgrowth of the native English sense of fair play. It demonstrates that boxing was the common man’s alternative to the sword duel of honor, and argues that boxing and fair play helped Englishmen avoid the revolutions common to France, Italy and Germany during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. English enthusiasm for boxing largely drove out the pistol and sword duels from English society. And although boxing remains a brutal sport, it has made England one of the safest countries in the world.

It also examines how the rituals of boxing developed: the meaning of the parade to the ring; the meaning of the ring itself; why only two men fight at one time; why the fighters shake hands before each fight; why a boxing match is called a prizefight; and why a knock-down does not end the bout. Its sources include material from medieval manuscripts, and its notes and bibliography are extensive.