Publication Date

April 19, 2010

Perspectives Section


As a service to AHA members, we are listing books by membersreceived in the headquarters office in recent months. These postings will only constitute an announcement of their publication and provide short descriptions of the books. These are not reviews.Books for review by the AHRneed to be sent to the attention of Moureen Coulter, 914 Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401. See 2009 books by members blog posts: September, October, December. Follow the links below to, where a portion of your purchases go to support the AHA.

Alan Brinkley - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Alan Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0199732029.

“No president since the founders has done more to shape the character of American government,” notes Alan Brinkley, “And no president since Lincoln has served through darker or more difficult times.” This compact biography chronicles Franklin Roosevelt’s rise from a childhood of privilege to a presidency that forever changed the face of international diplomacy, the American party system, and the government’s role in global and domestic policy. Brinkley provides a clear, concise introduction to Roosevelt’s sphinx-like character and remarkable achievements.

John C. Fredriksen - The B-4 Tornado

John C. Fredriksen,The B-45 Tornado: An Operational History of the First American Jet Bomber. McFarland, 2009. ISBN 978-0786442782.

The North American B-45 Tornado was America’s first jet bomber and was used in a number of vital missions for nearly a decade. Drawing from declassified secret documents, this history explains the bomber’s use in strategic reconnaissance and atomic-weapon strike missions from its 1944 development to its role in the Cold War.

Steven  Gillon - The Pact

Steven M. Gillon, The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation.Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0195322781.

In The Pact Steven Gillon, professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, and resident historian at the History Channel describes a secret alliance between two seeming foes—President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich—that may have altered the political landscape but for the scandals that rocked the Clinton presidency. Based on the private papers of Gingrich, to which Gillon was given access, and with cooperation from the staff of the former speaker and of Clinton, the book recounts the efforts to create a political coalition, and asks whether such a bipartisan coalition could not be revived.

J. William Harris - The Hanging

J. William Harris, The Hanging of Thomas Jeremiah: A Free Black Man’s Encounter with Liberty. Yale University Press, 2009. ISBN: 978-0300152142.

A telling example of microhistory writ large, The Hanging of Thomas Jeremiah narrates the story of the trial and execution of Thomas Jeremiah, one of the few free well-to-do black men in colonial South Carolina (and himself the owner of slaves), who was accused of treacherously aiding the British by fomenting a slave revolt. In this book, Harris, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, and a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation, paints, in the words of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a “searing portrait of the central paradox of the American Revolution—the centrality of slavery to the struggle for political liberty.”

Jeanne Halgren Kilde - Sacred  Power Sacred Space

Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship. Oxford University Press, 2008. Paperback. ISBN 978-0195336061.

Sacred Power, Sacred Space presents a historical survey of church architecture that focuses not so much on the buildings as on the interrelationship between the buildings and the religion. The primary purpose of the buildings, according to the author is to represent—and reify—three different types of power: divine power, personal power, and the social power between the laity and the clergy. Kilde explores these categories of power and their interplay with concepts of Christian creeds and codes.

Kim Phillips-Fein - Invisible  Hands

Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal. W.W Norton, 2009. Paperback. ISBN 978-0393337662.

In the wake of the Great Depression, a group of high-powered individuals joined forces against the New Deal—not just its practical policies but the foundations of its economic philosophy. The leaders of manufacturing and industry championed free market European thinkers Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and their fears of a “nanny state.” Through fervent activism, fundraising, and institution-building, these men sought to educate and organize their peers as a political force to preserve their profit margins and the “American way” of doing business. Eventually they found their perfect spokesman: Ronald Reagan. Kim Phillips-Fein teaches American history at NYU’s Gallatin School.

Wendy Rouse Jorae - The Children

Wendy Rouse Jorae, The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850–1920. University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Paperback. ISBN 978-0807859735.

Situated at the intersection of immigration history, urban history, and the history of childhood, The Children of Chinatown narrates the hitherto unheard stories of families that played an important role in the evolution of San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. Jorae, who teaches history at the University of California at Davis, at California State University at Sacramento, and at St. Francis College Preparatory School in Sacramento, describes how the children of Chinatown dealt with the challenges of anti-immigrant stereotyping and Orientalist exoticization to build a world for themselves on the margins of two cultures.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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