The legal act of defining the ‘employee’ is about drawing lines. Those boundaries are often artificial, legally structured, and forged in an array of contests over power, ideology, and economics. They may be artificial, but they are powerful, demarcating who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
Tucked away in museums displaying and storing collections of dress and textiles there is often a subsidiary but significant collection of printed ephemera. This might encompass bills, trade cards, paper carrier bags, fashion plates and dressmaking patterns.
The Devils We Know: Us and Them in America’s Raucous Political Culture brings together a fine selection of James A. Morone’s essays combining the two areas to which he has devoted the last 25 years of his career: American political thought and American political development.
Over the past five years, government employee unions have emerged as a fault line in American politics. Following the onset of the Great Recession, elected officials, political pundits, and editorial boards seized on unionized government workers as overpaid and underworked parasites feeding on strained public budgets.
The pejorative ‘Massachusetts liberal’ has been a staple of American political discourse for decades. Then-senator John Kerry, noted wind-surfer and Francophone, was dogged by the tag throughout his 2004 presidential campaign.
Interpreting African-American history at historic sites is an essential but often complicated task. This timely and important volume seeks to improve and suggest successful plans for historical interpretation, and contains nearly two dozen essays spanning from the colonial period to the 21st century.
A Very Short Introduction probably shouldn’t be criticised simply for its omissions. I think it’s fair to assume that readers of this series don’t want the last word on a given topic. If anything, attempting to cram too much into one of these pocket-sized volumes might alienate a non-specialist audience.
It was hardly to be expected that the sesquicentennial might come and go without the Civil War’s most preeminent historian offering his thoughts on the subject, and James McPherson has not let us down. Not that The War that Forged a Nation is in any direct sense a comment on or reaction to the sesquicentennial; it is neither.
In one of his last letters to his neighbor and confidant, Thomas Jefferson asked James Madison ‘to take care of me when dead’.(1) Jefferson, like most of the ‘founding fathers’ thought deeply about his legacy and place in history. He spent hours arranging his papers for posterity and composed a memoir of sorts, the ‘Anas’, in an effort to set the record straight.
Gary Gerstle’s Liberty and Coercion is a tour de force account of American governance that manages to survey the chronological and geographical breadth of US history with a judicious depth of precise detail and example.