Publication Date

September 8, 2009

Perspectives Section


As a service to AHA members, we are initiating a new listing of books by members received 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.

Vietnam At War by Mark Philip BradleyBradley, Mark Philip, Vietnam at War. (Oxford Univ. Press, May 2009).
There were many Vietnam Wars—an anti-colonial war with France, a cold war turned hot with the United States, a civil war between North and South Vietnam, and among the southern Vietnamese a revolutionary war of ideas over what should guide Vietnamese society into its postcolonial future. Mark Philip Bradley’s (Univ. of Chicago) book looks at how the Vietnamese experienced all of these conflicts, showing how the wars for Vietnam were rooted in fundamentally conflicting visions of what an independent Vietnam should mean. Bradley examines the thinking and the behavior of the key wartime decision-makers in Hanoi and Saigon, while at the same time exploring how ordinary Vietnamese came to understand the 30 years of bloody warfare that unfolded around them—and how they made sense of the aftermath.

The Day Wall Street Exploded by Beverly GageGage, Beverly, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror. (Oxford Univ. Press, Feb 2009).
In The Day Wall Street Exploded, Beverly Gage (Yale Univ.) tells the story of the Wall Street bombing of September 16, 1920, a once infamous but now largely forgotten event. Based on Bureau of Investigation reports, this historical detective saga traces the four-year hunt for the perpetrators, a worldwide effort that spread as far as Italy and the new Soviet nation. It grapples as well with some of the most controversial events of its day, including the rise of the FBI, the federal campaign against immigrant “terrorists,” the grassroots effort to define and protect civil liberties, and the establishment of anti-communism as the sine qua non of American politics.

Argentinas Radical Party and Popular Mobilization by Joel HorowitzHorowitz, Joel, Argentina’s Radical Party and Popular Mobilization, 1916–30. (Penn. State Univ. Press, 2008).
In this book, Joel Horowitz (St. Bonaventure Univ.) examines democracy’s first appearance Argentina, 1916–30. This experiment ended in a military coup that left a troubled legacy for decades to come. Horowitz challenges the previous interpretations that emphasize the role of clientelism and patronage. He argues that they fail to account fully for the Radical Party government’s ability to mobilize widespread popular support. Instead, by comparing the administrations of Hipolito Yrigoyen and Marcel T. de Alvear, he shows how much depended on the image Yrigoyen managed to create for himself: a secular savior who cared deeply about the less fortunate, and the embodiment of the nation. But the story is even more complex because, while failing to instill personal loyalty, Alvear did succeed in constructing strong ties with unions, which played a key role in undergirding the strength of both leaders’ regimes.

Living with History by Gerda LernerLerner, Gerda, Living with History/Making Social Change. (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2009).
This collection of essays in an autobiographical framework spans the period from 1963 to the present. It encompasses Gerda Lerner’s (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, emeritus) theoretical writing and her organizational work in transforming the history profession and in establishing women’s history as a mainstream field. Six of the 12 essays are written especially for this volume; the others have previously appeared in small journals or were originally given as talks and were revised for the book. Together, the essays illuminate how thought and action connected in Lerner’s life, how the life she led before she became an academic affected the questions she addressed as a historian, and how the social and political struggles in which she engaged informed her thinking.

The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project by Claire Puccia Parham

Parham, Claire Puccia, The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project: An Oral History of the Greatest Construction Show on Earth. (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2009).
The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project stands as one of the largest and most important public works initiatives of the 20th century. In this book, Claire Puccia Parham (Siena Coll.) reveals the human side of the project in the words of its engineers, laborers, and carpenters. Drawing on firsthand accounts, she provides a vivid portrait of the lives of the men who built the seaway and the women who accompanied them.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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