Faculty Books: January and February 2023
Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past
America’s top historians set the record straight on the most pernicious myths about our nation’s past
The United States is in the grip of a crisis of bad history. Distortions of the past promoted in the conservative media have led large numbers of Americans to believe in fictions over facts, making constructive dialogue impossible and imperiling our democracy. In Myth America, Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer have assembled an all-star team of fellow historians to push back against this misinformation. The contributors debunk narratives that portray the New Deal and Great Society as failures, immigrants as hostile invaders, and feminists as anti-family warriors—among numerous other partisan lies. Based on a firm foundation of historical scholarship, their findings revitalize our understanding of American history. Read more about Myth America.
Everything Is Possible: Antifascism and the Left in the Age of Fascism
By Joseph Fronczak
The fascinating history of how the antifascist movement of the 1930s created “the left” as we know it today
In the middle years of the Great Depression, the antifascist movement became a global political force, powerfully uniting people from across divisions of ideology, geography, race, language, and nationality. Joseph Fronczak shows how socialists, liberals, communists, anarchists, and others achieved a semblance of unity in the fight against fascism. Depression-era antifascists were populist, militant, and internationalist. They understood fascism in global terms, and they were determined to fight it on local terms. In the United States, antifascists fought against fascism on the streets of cities such as Chicago and New York, and they connected their own fights to the ones raging in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Read more about Everything Is Possible.
The King’s Road: Diplomacy and the Remaking of the Silk Road
By Xin Wen
An exciting and richly detailed new history of the Silk Road that tells how it became more important as a route for diplomacy than for trade
The King’s Road offers a new interpretation of the history of the Silk Road, emphasizing its importance as a diplomatic route, rather than a commercial one. Tracing the arduous journeys of diplomatic envoys, Xin Wen presents a rich social history of long-distance travel that played out in deserts, post stations, palaces, and polo fields. The book tells the story of the everyday lives of diplomatic travelers on the Silk Road—what they ate and drank, the gifts they carried, and the animals that accompanied them—and how they navigated a complex web of geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. It also describes the risks and dangers envoys faced along the way—from financial catastrophe to robbery and murder. Read more about The King's Road.
Queer Career: Sexuality and Work in Modern America
By Margot Canaday
A masterful history of the LGBT workforce in America
Workplaces have traditionally been viewed as “straight spaces” in which queer people passed. As a result, historians have directed limited attention to the experiences of queer people on the job. Queer Career rectifies this, offering an expansive historical look at sexual minorities in the modern American workforce. Arguing that queer workers were more visible than hidden and, against the backdrop of state aggression, vulnerable to employer exploitation, Margot Canaday positions employment and fear of job loss as central to gay life in postwar America. Read more about Queer Career.