Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.
Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense.
In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.
Martin A. Lee traces the dramatic social history of marijuana from its origins to its emergence in the 1960s as a defining force in a culture war that has never ceased. Lee describes how the illicit marijuana subculture overcame government opposition and morphed into a dynamic, multibillion-dollar industry.
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Similar laws have followed in more than a dozen other states, but not without antagonistic responses from federal, state, and local law enforcement. Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, draws attention to underreported scientific breakthroughs that are reshaping the therapeutic landscape. By mining the plant’s rich pharmacopoeia, medical researchers have developed promising treatments for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic pain, and many other conditions that are beyond the reach of conventional cures.
Colorful, illuminating, and at times irreverent, this is a fascinating read for recreational users and patients, students and doctors, musicians and accountants, Baby Boomers and their kids, and anyone who has ever wondered about the secret life of this ubiquitous herb.
In essence, the book has a dual focus. First it attempts to locate and describe the land of the early settlers. This is done by means of a superb series of plat maps, drawn to scale from original surveys and based both on certificates of survey and patents. These show, in precise configurations, the exact locations of the various grants and lots, the names of owners and occupiers, the dates of surveys and patents, and the names of contiguous land owners. Second, it identifies the early settlers and inhabitants of the area, carefully following them through deeds, wills, and inventories, judgment records, and rent rolls.
Finally, in meticulously compiled appendices it provides a chronological list of surveys between 1721 and 1743; an alphabetical list of surveys, giving dates, page reference--text and maps--and patent references; a list of taxables for 1733-34; and a list of the early German settlers of Frederick County, showing their religion, their location, dates of arrival, and their earliest records in the county.
Winner of the 1988 Donald Lines Jacobus Award!
The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human aftermath is one of lives put at risk by petty economic decisions--by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors, and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions, made differently, might have averted the tragedy. Together, however, they reached a fatal critical mass.
Killer Show is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims.
Anyone who has entered an entertainment venue and wondered, "Could I get out of here in a hurry?" will identify with concertgoers at The Station. Fans of disaster nonfiction and forensic thrillers will find ample elements of both genres in Killer Show.
In 1991 in lower Manhattan, a team of construction workers made an astonishing discovery. Just two blocks from City Hall, under twenty feet of asphalt, concrete, and rubble, lay the remains of an eighteenth-century "Negro Burial Ground." Closed in 1790 and covered over by roads and buildings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the site turned out to be the largest such find in North America, containing the remains of as many as 20,000 African Americans. The graves revealed to New Yorkers and the nation an aspect of American history long hidden: the vast number of enslaved blacks who labored to create our nation's largest city.
In the Shadow of Slavery lays bare this history of African Americans in New York City, starting with the arrival of the first slaves in 1626, moving through the turbulent years before emancipation in 1827, and culminating in one of the most terrifying displays of racism in U.S. history, the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. Drawing on extensive travel accounts, autobiographies, newspapers, literature, and organizational records, Leslie M. Harris extends beyond prior studies of racial discrimination by tracing the undeniable impact of African Americans on class, politics, and community formation and by offering vivid portraits of the lives and aspirations of countless black New Yorkers.
Written with clarity and grace, In the Shadow of Slavery is an ambitious new work that will prove indispensable to historians of the African American experience, as well as anyone interested in the history of New York City.
After My Lai documents the war’s horrific effects on both sides of the struggle. Bray presents the Vietnam conflict as the touchstone of a generation, telling how his feelings about being a soldier—a family tradition—were dramatically altered by the events he participated in and witnessed. He explains how young men, angered by the deaths of comrades and with no release for their frustration, can sometimes cross the line of legal and ethical behavior.
Bray’s account differs from many Vietnam memoirs in his vivid descriptions of platoon-level tactical operations. As he builds suspense in moment-by-moment depictions of men plunging into jungle gloom and tragedy, he demonstrates that what led to My Lai is easier to comprehend once you’ve walked the booby-trapped ground yourself. An intensely personal story, gracefully rendered yet brutally honest, After My Lai reveals how warfare changes you forever.
"In this excellent, intricate, and meticulously researched study, Hirsch exposes the social engineering of the post-war ghetto."—Roma Barnes, Journal of American Studies
"According to Arnold Hirsch, Chicago's postwar housing projects were a colossal exercise in moral deception. . . . [An] excellent study of public policy gone astray."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune
"An informative and provocative account of critical aspects of the process in [Chicago]. . . . A good and useful book."—Zane Miller, Reviews in American History
"A valuable and important book."—Allan Spear, Journal of American History
All but forgotten today, Five Points was once renowned the world over. Its handful of streets in lower Manhattan featured America's most wretched poverty, shared by Irish, Jewish, German, Italian, Chinese, and African Americans. It was the scene of more riots, scams, saloons, brothels, and drunkenness than any other neighborhood in the new world. Yet it was also a font of creative energy, crammed full of cheap theaters and dance halls, prizefighters and machine politicians, and meeting halls for the political clubs that would come to dominate not just the city but an entire era in American politics. From Jacob Riis to Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett to Charles Dickens, Five Points both horrified and inspired everyone who saw it. The story that Anbinder tells is the classic tale of America's immigrant past, as successive waves of new arrivals fought for survival in a land that was as exciting as it was dangerous, as riotous as it was culturally rich.
Tyler Anbinder offers the first-ever history of this now forgotten neighborhood, drawing on a wealth of research among letters and diaries, newspapers and bank records, police reports and archaeological digs. Beginning with the Irish potato-famine influx in the 1840s, and ending with the rise of Chinatown in the early twentieth century, he weaves unforgettable individual stories into a tapestry of tenements, work crews, leisure pursuits both licit and otherwise, and riots and political brawls that never seemed to let up.
Although the intimate stories that fill Anbinder's narrative are heart-wrenching, they are perhaps not so shocking as they first appear. Almost all of us trace our roots to once humble stock. Five Points is, in short, a microcosm of America.
97 Orchard is a richly detailed investigation of the lives and culinary habits—shopping, cooking, and eating—of five families of various ethnicities living at the turn of the twentieth century in one tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. With 40 recipes included, 97 Orchard is perfect for fans of Rachel Ray’s Hometown Eats; anyone interested in the history of how immigrant food became American food; and “foodies” of every stripe.
"This is a book for anyone who has ridden down a country road and, hearing the wind whistle through the cornstalks, wondered about the Indians and pioneers who listened to that sound before him."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune
"Every chapter, almost every page, contains new ideas or throws new light on old ones, by means of a wealth of detail and clarity of though which brings the past alive again."—Hugh Brogan, The Times Literary Supplement
"A notably successful example of the new work being done on the social history of rural America…. Faragher has constructed a vivid portrait of everyday life as well as an analysis of how the community developed and changed."—George M. Fredrickson, New York Review of Books
"Here, succinctly set out, is the American prairie experience."—Publishers Weekly
"Sugar Creek is a major new interpretation of America’s rural past."—Howard R. Lamar, Yale University
Winner of the 1986 Society for the History of the Early American Republic Award
John Mack Faragher is associate professor of history at Mount Holyoke College.
Lehmann's unapologetic narrative is extraordinary for its warm embrace of Native Americans and stinging appraisal of Anglo society. Once started, the story of this remarkable man cannot be put down. Dale Giese's introduction provides a framework for interpreting the Lehmann narrative.
Freedom Colonies is the first book to tell the story of these independent African American settlements. Thad Sitton and James Conrad focus on communities in Texas, where blacks achieved a higher percentage of land ownership than in any other state of the Deep South. The authors draw on a vast reservoir of ex-slave narratives, oral histories, written memoirs, and public records to describe how the freedom colonies formed and to recreate the lifeways of African Americans who made their living by farming or in skilled trades such as milling and blacksmithing. They also uncover the forces that led to the decline of the communities from the 1930s onward, including economic hard times and the greed of whites who found legal and illegal means of taking black-owned land. And they visit some of the remaining communities to discover how their independent way of life endures into the twenty-first century.
The period of Reconstruction was a troubling time in the history of the South. The Congress of the United States passed laws and the President issued edicts, but more often than not, the results of Reconstruction in a particular area depended primarily on the character and personality of an individual Bureau agent. The agents were on the front line of this postwar battle against hatred, bigotry, fear, ignorance, and helplessness. This work presents accounts, often in their own words, about how the agents and officers of the Freedmen's Bureau reacted to the problems that they faced and the people with whom they dealt on a day-to-day basis.
Although the primary intent of Professors Cimbala and Miller is to enhance the research on post-Civil War Reconstruction and the role of the Freedmen's Bureau for the benefit of historians, the book is a good read for any lover of American history or armchair psychologist. Also, it has social value regarding the roots of the hatred, violence, and bigotry between the races that has come down through the generations to the present day. We are all products of our history, whether we are white or black, southern or northern. Only through an understanding of this history can we better approach the problems that remain to be solved.
Stephen Silverman and Raphael Silver tell of the turning points that made the Catskills so vital to the development of America: Henry Hudson’s first spotting the distant blue mountains in 1609; the New York State constitutional convention, resulting in New York’s own Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its own constitution, causing the ire of the invading British army . . . the Catskills as a popular attraction in the 1800s, with the construction of the Catskill Mountain House and its rugged imitators that offered WASP guests “one-hundred percent restricted” accommodations (“Hebrews will knock vainly for admission”), a policy that remained until the Catskills became the curative for tubercular patients, sending real-estate prices plummeting and the WASP enclave on to richer pastures . . .
Here are the gangsters (Jack “Legs” Diamond and Dutch Schultz, among them) who sought refuge in the Catskill Mountains, and the resorts that after World War II catered to upwardly mobile Jewish families, giving rise to hundreds of hotels inspired by Grossinger’s, the original “Disneyland with knishes”—the Concord, Brown’s Hotel, Kutsher’s Hotel, and others—in what became known as the Borscht Belt and Sour Cream Alps, with their headliners from movies and radio (Phil Silvers, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, et al.), and others who learned their trade there, among them Moss Hart (who got his start organizing summer theatricals), Sid Caesar, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers.
Here is a nineteenth-century America turning away from England for its literary and artistic inspiration, finding it instead in Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and his childhood recollections (set in the Catskills) . . . in James Fenimore Cooper’s adventure-romances, which provided a pastoral history, describing the shift from a colonial to a nationalist mentality . . . and in the canvases of Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederick Church, and others that caught the grandeur of the wilderness and that gave texture, color, and form to Irving’s and Cooper’s imaginings.
Here are the entrepreneurs and financiers who saw the Catskills as a way to strike it rich, plundering the resources that had been likened to “creation,” the Catskills’ tanneries that supplied the boots and saddles for Union troops in the Civil War . . . and the bluestone quarries whose excavated rock became the curbs and streets of the fast-growing Eastern Seaboard.
Here are the Catskills brought fully to life in all of their intensity, beauty, vastness, and lunacy.
From the Hardcover edition.
So Samuel Langhorne Clemens made his excuse for late copy to the Sacramento Union, the newspaper that was underwriting his 1866 trip. If the young reporter's excuse makes perfect sense to you, join the thousands of Island lovers who have delighted in Twain's efforts when he finally did put pen to paper.
Winner of the Mountains and Plains Book Seller's Association Award
"Sprawling in scope. . . . Mr. Egan uses the past powerfully to explain and give dimension to the present." --The New York Times
"Fine reportage . . . honed and polished until it reads more like literature than journalism." --Los Angeles Times
"They have tried to tame it, shave it, fence it, cut it, dam it, drain it, nuke it, poison it, pave it, and subdivide it," writes Timothy Egan of the West; still, "this region's hold on the American character has never seemed stronger." In this colorful and revealing journey through the eleven states west of the 100th meridian, Egan, a third-generation westerner, evokes a lovely and troubled country where land is religion and the holy war between preservers and possessors never ends.
Egan leads us on an unconventional, freewheeling tour: from America's oldest continuously inhabited community, the Ancoma Pueblo in New Mexico, to the high kitsch of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where London Bridge has been painstakingly rebuilt stone by stone; from the fragile beauty of Idaho's Bitterroot Range to the gross excess of Las Vegas, a city built as though in defiance of its arid environment. In a unique blend of travel writing, historical reflection, and passionate polemic, Egan has produced a moving study of the West: how it became what it is, and where it is going.
"The writing is simply wonderful. From the opening paragraph, Egan seduces the reader. . . . Entertaining, thought provoking."
--The Arizona Daily Star Weekly
"A western breeziness and love of open spaces shines through Lasso the Wind. . . . The writing is simple and evocative."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Stephen Austin, Texas’s reluctant founder, to the alcoholic Sam Houston, who came to lead the Texas army in its hour of crisis and glory, to President Andrew Jackson, whose expansionist aspirations loomed large in the background, here is the story of Texas and the outsize figures who shaped its turbulent history. Beginning with its early colonization in the 1820s and taking in the shocking massacres of Texas loyalists at the Alamo and Goliad, its rough-and-tumble years as a land overrun by the Comanches, and its day of liberation as an upstart republic, Brands’ lively history draws on contemporary accounts, diaries, and letters to animate a diverse cast of characters whose adventures, exploits, and ambitions live on in the very fabric of our nation.
Hurtado introduces two themes in delineating his intimate frontiers. One was a libertine California, and some of its delights were heartily described early in the 1850s: "[Gold] dust was plentier than pleasure, pleasure more enticing than virtue. Fortune was the horse, youth in the saddle, dissipation the track, and desire the spur." Not all the times were good or giddy, and in the tragedy of a teenage domestic who died in a botched abortion or a brutalized Indian woman we see the seamy underside of gender relations on the frontier. The other theme explored is the reaction of citizens who abhorred the loss of moral standards and sought to suppress excess. Their efforts included imposing all the stabilizing customs of whichever society dominated California--during the Hispanic period,arranged marriages and concern for family honor were the norm; among the Anglos, laws regulated prostitution,missionaries railed against vices, and "proper" women were brought in to help "civilize" the frontier.
— Edmund Morris
In a unique project, author Daniel Ruddy has carefully extracted Teddy Roosevelt’s most relevant and telling comments—from letters, books, speeches, and other sources—and organized them to form a fairly full, always colorful, and highly opinionated history of the United States up to 1919 (the year TR died). With a preface by Theodore Rex author Edmund Morris.