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In the last year several books appeared focused on the United States in the world that seek to combine a study of intellectual history, popular culture and politics in a long breath of the 19th century.
With Making Climate Change History Joshua P. Howe chooses a very clever title. Not only does it convey that he intends to write a history of climate change but it also alludes to making climate change a thing of the past, admittedly against high odds. Howe argues, ‘[…] when we look at problems related to climate change, thinking historically matters’ (p. 3).
Writing at the dawn of the new millennium, historian Peniel Joseph lamented the scholarly neglect of Black Power. While studies of the Black liberation movement’s ‘heroic period’ from 1955-1965 abounded, research on Black Power ‘languished’ due to lack of interest, limited archival sources, and a prevailing declension narrative that cast Black Power as civil rights’ ‘evil twin’.
David Brundage’s Irish Nationalists in America employs no sleight of hand in its title. It is a short, well-crafted new survey of Irish nationalists in the United States from the late 18th century to the close of the 20th that is more than the sum of its parts.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes talks to Joanna Cohen about her new book and the role and nature of the consumer in the US throughout the nineteenth century.
Joanna Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in American History at Queen Mary University of London.
Since the turn of the millennium it has become increasingly common for general histories of magic and witchcraft to include a section on the phenomenon of magic in the contemporary western world, but the precise relationship between contemporary manifestations of magical belief and their historical antecedents is rarely explored.
Much like the American public, following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s scholars of United States history have had a complex relationship with blackface minstrelsy. For scholars, as for many Americans, blackface minstrelsy partook in a vibrant and rich vernacular tradition, albeit one that by now most Americans have rightfully grown ashamed of.
Americans cherish the ‘American dream’ – the notion that anyone can achieve financial success and happiness in the United States. This idea is based on an assumption of economic equality and freedom within the United States’ capitalist market.
Paying Freedom’s Price is a slim volume that joins the African American History Series, a coterie of books with the aim of being both historically informative and accessible to a popular audience. It succeeds in being a concise, readable, broad stroke overview of African American engagements and struggles prior, during, and after the Civil War.
Sometimes, when another work on the Civil War, slavery, and emancipation lands on one’s desk, there is a natural tendency to wonder if we actually need it. What is left to say, the historian may ask, about Lincoln, Congress, and emancipation? And then a tragedy like Charlottesville in August 2017 occurs.