Publication Date

October 26, 2009

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 (as described by their publishers). These are not reviews.Books for review by the AHRneed to be sent to the attention of Moureen Coulter, 914 Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401.

Confederate Guerrilla: The Civil War Memoir of Joseph BaileyBaker, T. Lindsay, ed. Confederate Guerrilla: The Civil War Memoir of Joseph Bailey(Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2007)
An ordinary Confederate soldier turned Southern guerilla, Joseph M. Bailey in his memoir, Confederate Guerrilla, provides a unique perspective on the fighting that took place behind Union lines in Federal-occupied northwest Arkansas during the American Civil War. Comprehensive annotations are provided by editor T. Lindsay Baker (W.K Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas), who has verified the facts relating to almost every person, incident, and location mentioned by Bailey.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American LifeGinzberg, Lori D.Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life. (Hill and Wang, 2009)
In this subtly crafted biography, the historian Lori D. Ginzberg (Penn State Univ.) narrates the life of the founding philosopher of the American movement for woman’s rights—a woman of great charm, enormous appetite, and extraordinary intellectual gifts. That nearly all of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s ideas, including the demand for woman suffrage, are now commonplace is in large part because she worked tirelessly to extend the nation’s promise of radical individualism to women. At once critical and admiring, Ginzberg captures Stanton’s ambiguous place in her own community of reformers and intellectuals, describes how she changed the world, and reveals how Stanton’s legacy has shaped American feminism in significant and complex ways.

Social and Economic Networks in Early Massachusetts: Atlantic ConnectionsHamilton, Marsha L.Social and Economic Networks in Early Massachusetts: Atlantic Connections. (Penn. State Univ. Press, 2009)
The 17th century saw an influx of immigrants to the heavily Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony. This book redefines the role that non-Puritans and non-English immigrants played in the social and economic development of Massachusetts. Marsha Hamilton (Univ. of South Alabama) shows how non-Puritan English, Scots, and Irish immigrants, along with Channel Islanders, Huguenots, and others, changed the social and economic dynamic of the colony.

Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil WarMcCaslin, Richard B. Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil War . (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2007)

More than 250 portraits—many never before published—are found in Portraits of Conflict:A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil War. The eighth volume in the distinguished series joins the personal and the public to provide a uniquely rich portrayal of Tennesseans—in uniforms of both blue and gray—who fought and lost their lives in the Civil War. Richard B. McCaslin is a professor of history at the University of North Texas and author of two prior entries in the series.

Beyond the Miracle WorkerNielsen, Kim E. Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller (Beacon Press, 2009)
After many years, historian and Helen Keller expert Kim Nielsen (Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay) realized that she, along with other historians and biographers, had failed Anne Sullivan Macy. While Macy is remembered primarily as Helen Keller’s teacher and mythologized as a straightforward educational superhero, the real story of this brilliant, complex, and misunderstood woman, who described herself as a “badly constructed human being,” has never been completely told. Beyond the Miracle Worker, the first biography of Macy in nearly 50 years, complicates the typical Helen-Annie “feel good” narrative in surprising ways. By telling the life from Macy’s perspective—not Keller’s—the biography is the first to put Macy squarely at the center of the story. It presents a new and fascinating tale about a wounded but determined woman and her quest for a successful, meaningful life.

The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of AbolitionSlaughter, Thomas P. The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition(Hill and Wang, 2008)
John Woolman was one of the most significant Americans of the 18th century, though he was not a famous politician, general, scientist, or man of letters, and he never held public office. In this biography, Thomas P. Slaughter (Univ. of Rochester) makes it clear why he mattered so much. A humble tailor who was known at first only to the few hundred other Quakers at their meetings in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New England, Woolman became a prophetic voice for the entire Anglo-American world when he spoke out against the evils of slavery, and his extraordinary Journal, first published in 1774, has never been out of print since. Slaughter goes behind and beyond the famous Journal to search for the sources of Woolman’s spiritual power and enduring influence. His deft, dramatic portrait of this saintly figure reveals the ways in which the mystic Woolman became transformed into an unforgettable figure.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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