New Books: September - October 2021
Intimate States: Gender, Sexuality, and Governance in Modern US History
Edited by Margot Canaday, Nancy F. Cott, and Robert O. Self
Fourteen essays examine the unexpected relationships between government power and intimate life in the last 150 years of United States history.
The last few decades have seen a surge of historical scholarship that analyzes state power and expands our understanding of governmental authority and the ways we experience it. At the same time, studies of the history of intimate life—marriage, sexuality, child-rearing, and family—also have blossomed. Yet these two literatures have not been considered together in a sustained way. This book, edited and introduced by three preeminent American historians, aims to close this gap, offering powerful analyses of the relationship between state power and intimate experience in the United States from the Civil War to the present. Read more about Intimate States.
The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization
By Harold James
A timely call for recovering the true meanings of the nineteenth-century terms that are hobbling current political debates
Nationalism, conservatism, liberalism, socialism, and capitalism are among the most fiercely debated ideas in contemporary politics. Since these concepts hark back to the nineteenth century, much of their nuanced meaning has been lost, and the words are most often used as epithets that short-circuit productive discussion. In this insightful book, Harold James uncovers the origins of these concepts and examines how the problematic definition and meaning of each term has become an obstacle to respectful communication. Read more about The War of Words.
Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold History of the Menthol Cigarette
By Keith Wailoo
Spanning a century, Pushing Cool reveals how the twin deceptions of health and Black affinity for menthol were crafted—and how the industry’s disturbingly powerful narrative has endured to this day.
Police put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold for selling cigarettes on a New York City street corner. George Floyd was killed by police outside a store in Minneapolis known as “the best place to buy menthols.” Black smokers overwhelmingly prefer menthol brands such as Kool, Salem, and Newport. All of this is no coincidence. The disproportionate Black deaths and cries of “I can’t breathe” that ring out in our era—because of police violence, COVID-19, or menthol smoking—are intimately connected to a post-1960s history of race and exploitation. Read more about Pushing Cool.
Tales of a Minstrel of Reims in the Thirteenth Century
Introduced by William Chester Jordan
Annotated by Randall Todd Pippenger
Translated from Old French by Samuel N. Rosenberg
An anonymous minstrel in thirteenth-century France composed this gripping account of historical events in his time. Crusaders and Muslim forces battle for control of the Holy Land, while power struggles rage between and among religious authorities and their conflicting secular counterparts, pope and German emperor, the kings of England and the kings of France. Meanwhile, the kings cannot count on their independent-minded barons to support or even tolerate the royal ambitions. Although politics (and the collapse of a royal marriage) frame the narrative, the logistics of war are also in play: competing military machinery and the challenges of transporting troops and matariel. Inevitably, the civilian population suffers. Read more about Tales of a Minstrel of Reims in the Thirteenth Century.
Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement
By Julian E. Zelizer
A biography of the rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who became a symbol of the marriage between religion and social justice
“When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.” So said Polish-born American rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) of his involvement in the 1965 Selma civil rights march alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Heschel, who spoke with a fiery moralistic fervor, dedicated his career to the struggle to improve the human condition through faith. This deep and complex portrait places Heschel at the crucial intersection between religion and progressive politics in mid-twentieth-century America. To this day Heschel remains a symbol of the fight to make progressive Jewish values relevant in the secular world. Read more about Abraham Joshua Heschel.