A Renegade History of the United States

A Renegade History of the United States

Aruges that criminals, prostitutes, rebels and other people on the fringes of society were largely responsible for such American achievements as the American Revolution, labor unions, women's liberation, the fall of the Soviet Union, gay rights and much more. By the author of Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the Re-Making of the American Working Class.

Cold War Rivalry and the Perception of the American West

Cold War Rivalry and the Perception of the American West

This book demonstrates how the two adversaries of the Cold War, West Germany and East Germany, endeavored to create two distinct and unique German identities. In their endeavor to claim legitimacy, the German cinematic representation of the American West became an important cultural weapon of mass dissemination during the Cold War.

Taming Passion for the Public Good

Policing Sex in the Early Republic

Taming Passion for the Public Good

“Kann's latest tour de force explores the ambivalence, during the founding of our nation, about whether political freedom should augur sexual freedom. Tracing the roots of patriarchal sexual repression back to revolutionary America, Kann asks highly contemporary questions about the boundaries between public and private life, suggesting, provocatively, that political and sexual freedom should go hand in hand. This is a must-read for those interested in the interwining of politics, public life, and sexuality.”—Ben Agger, University of Texas at Arlington The American Revolution was fought in the name of liberty. In popular imagination, the Revolution stands for the triumph of populism and the death of patriarchal elites. But this is not the case, argues Mark E. Kann. Rather, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America developed a society and system of laws that kept patriarchal authority alive and well—especially when it came to the sex lives of citizens. In Taming Passion for the Public Good, Kann contends that that despite the rhetoric of classical liberalism, the founding generation did not trust ordinary citizens with extensive liberty. Through the policing of sex, elites sought to maintain control of individuals' private lives, ensuring that citizens would be productive, moral, and orderly in the new nation. New American elites applauded traditional marriages in which men were the public face of the family and women managed the home. They frowned on interracial and interclass sexual unions. They saw masturbation as evidence of a lack of self-control over one’s passions, and they considered prostitution the result of aggressive female sexuality. Both were punishable offenses. By seeking to police sex, elites were able to keep alive what Kann calls a “resilient patriarchy.” Under the guise of paternalism, they were able simultaneously to retain social control while espousing liberal principles, with the goal of ultimately molding the country into the new American ideal: a moral and orderly citizenry that voluntarily did what was best for the public good.

Consuming Pleasures

Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World

Consuming Pleasures

How is it that American intellectuals, who had for 150 years worried about the deleterious effects of affluence, more recently began to emphasize pleasure, playfulness, and symbolic exchange as the essence of a vibrant consumer culture? The New York intellectuals of the 1930s rejected any serious or analytical discussion, let alone appreciation, of popular culture, which they viewed as morally questionable. Beginning in the 1950s, however, new perspectives emerged outside and within the United States that challenged this dominant thinking. Consuming Pleasures reveals how a group of writers shifted attention from condemnation to critical appreciation, critiqued cultural hierarchies and moralistic approaches, and explored the symbolic processes by which individuals and groups communicate. Historian Daniel Horowitz traces the emergence of these new perspectives through a series of intellectual biographies. With writers and readers from the United States at the center, the story begins in Western Europe in the early 1950s and ends in the early 1970s, when American intellectuals increasingly appreciated the rich inventiveness of popular culture. Drawing on sources both familiar and newly discovered, this transnational intellectual history plays familiar works off each other in fresh ways. Among those whose work is featured are Jürgen Habermas, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, Walter Benjamin, C. L. R. James, David Riesman and Marshall McLuhan, Richard Hoggart, members of London's Independent Group, Stuart Hall, Paddy Whannel, Tom Wolfe, Herbert Gans, Susan Sontag, Reyner Banham, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

Liberty's First Crisis

Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech

Liberty's First Crisis

“Slack engagingly reveals how the Federalist attack on the First Amendment almost brought down the Republic . . . An illuminating book of American history” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). In 1798, with the United States in crisis, President John Adams and the Federalists in control of Congress passed an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime punishable by heavy fines and jail time. From a loudmouth in a bar to a firebrand politician to Benjamin Franklin’s own grandson, those victimized by the 1798 Sedition Act were as varied as the country’s citizenry. But Americans refused to let their freedoms be so easily dismissed: they penned fiery editorials, signed petitions, and raised “liberty poles,” while Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drew up the infamous Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, arguing that the Federalist government had gone one step too far. Liberty’s First Crisis vividly unfolds these pivotal events in the early life of the republic, as the Founding Fathers struggled to define America off the page and preserve the freedoms they had fought so hard to create. “A powerful and engaging narrative . . . Slack brings one of America’s defining crises back to vivid life . . . This is a terrific piece of history.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Thomas Jefferson

Little 'Red Scares'

Anti-Communism and Political Repression in the United States, 1921-1946

Little 'Red Scares'

Anti-communism has long been a potent force in American politics, capable of gripping both government and popular attention. Nowhere is this more evident that the two great 'red scares' of 1919-20 and 1946-54; the latter generally - if somewhat inaccurately - termed McCarthyism. By focusing on the interim period between the two major 'red scares', this volume makes clear that the lingering effects of 1919-20 and the gathering storm-clouds of 'McCarthyism' were clearly visible throughout the 20s and 30s. In so doing the rationale and motivations for the 'red scares' are contexualised as part of an evolving political narrative, rather than as isolated bouts of hysteria exploding onto - and then vanishing from - the political landscape.

A Brief History of the United States

A Brief History of the United States

Feeling in Spain.—America, at this time, was to the Spaniard a land of vague, but magnificent promise, where the simple natives wore unconsciously the costliest gems, and the sands of the rivers sparkled with gold. Every returning ship brought fresh news to quicken the pulse of Spanish enthusiasm. Now, Cortez had taken Mexico, and reveled in the wealth of the Montezumas; now, Pizarro had conquered Peru, and captured the riches of the Incas; now, Magellan, sailing through the straits which bear his name, had crossed the Pacific, and his vessel returning home by the Cape of Good Hope, had circumnavigated the globe. Men of the highest rank and culture, warriors, adventurers, all flocked to the new world. Soon Cuba, Hispaniola, Porto Rico, and Jamaica were settled, and ruled by Spanish governors. Among the Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century we notice the following: PONCE DE LEON (pon’-tha-da-la-on’) was a gallant soldier, but an old man, and in disgrace. He coveted the glory of conquest to restore his tarnished reputation, and, besides, he had heard of a magical fountain in this fairy land, where one might bathe and be young again. Accordingly he equipped an expedition, and sailed in search of this fabled treasure. On Easter Sunday (Pascua Florida, in Spanish), 1512, he came in sight of a land gay with spring flowers. In honor of the day, he called it Florida. He sailed along the coast, and landed here and there, but returned home at last, an old man still, haying found neither youth, gold, nor glory.

History of Santa Barbara county California

History of Santa Barbara county California

History of Santa Barbara county, California with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers

A Patriot's History of the United States

From Columbus's Great Discovery to America's Age of Entitlement, Revised Edition

A Patriot's History of the United States

For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of “dead white men.” As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington; more about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II than about D-Day or Iwo Jima; more on the dangers we faced from Joseph McCarthy than those we faced from Josef Stalin. A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.

Neither Snow Nor Rain

A History of the United States Postal Service

Neither Snow Nor Rain

“[The] book makes you care what happens to its main protagonist, the U.S. Postal Service itself. And, as such, it leaves you at the end in suspense” (USA Today). Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the United States Postal Service was the information network that bound far-flung Americans together, and yet, it is slowly vanishing. Critics say it is slow and archaic. Mail volume is down. The workforce is shrinking. Post offices are closing. In Neither Snow nor Rain, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long history of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin’s days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness. Under Andrew Jackson, the post office was molded into a vast patronage machine, and by the 1870s, over seventy percent of federal employees were postal workers. As the country boomed, USPS aggressively developed new technology, from mobile post offices on railroads and airmail service to mechanical sorting machines and optical character readers. Neither Snow nor Rain is a rich, multifaceted history, full of remarkable characters, from the stamp-collecting FDR, to the revolutionaries who challenged USPS’s monopoly on mail, to the renegade union members who brought the system—and the country—to a halt in the 1970s. “Delectably readable . . . Leonard’s account offers surprises on almost every other page . . . [and] delivers both the triumphs and travails with clarity, wit and heart.” —Chicago Tribune