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5 New Books for American History Lovers

I love history. I love it enough that I spent my college years reading it, writing about it, and listening to other history lovers talk about it. History comes in all stripes: Interested in the history of hip hop or rock? Great! As for me, my great loves are oral history and the history of photography. Some of my favorite afternoons were spent listening to my great-aunt's stories about her childhood and our loved ones. But, I can talk your ear off about photograpy's role in social causes.

Although I am now working on a master's degree in a completely unrelated field, when I have a break from my studies, I find myself drawn to what I consider my first great love. Fortunately, Richland Library has a great selection of newly published histories.


AmazonAlexis Says: The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military
Amazon Says: Executive Order 9981, issued by President Harry Truman on July 26, 1948, desegregated all branches of the United States military by decree. EO 9981 is often portrayed as a her more...
Amazon Says: Executive Order 9981, issued by President Harry Truman on July 26, 1948, desegregated all branches of the United States military by decree. EO 9981 is often portrayed as a heroic and unexpected move by Truman. But in reality, Truman's history-making order was the culmination of more than 150 years of legal, political, and moral struggle.?? Beginning with the Revolutionary War, African Americans had used military service to do their patriotic duty and to advance the cause of civil rights. The fight for a desegregated military was truly a long war-decades of protest and labor highlighted by bravery on the fields of France, in the skies over Germany, and in the face of deep-seated racism on the military bases at home. Today, the military is one of the most truly diverse institutions in America. ??In The Double V, Rawn James, Jr.the son and grandson of African American veteransexpertly narrates the remarkable history of how the strugge for equality in the military helped give rise to their fight for equality in civilian society. Taking the reader from Crispus Attucks to President Barack Obama, The Double V illuminates the African American military tradition as a metaphor for their unique and dynamic role in American history. less...
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AmazonAlexis Says: Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons
Amazon Says: Thomas Nast (1840-1902), the founding father of American political cartooning, is perhaps best known for his cartoons portraying political parties as the Democratic donkey and more...
Amazon Says: Thomas Nast (1840-1902), the founding father of American political cartooning, is perhaps best known for his cartoons portraying political parties as the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. Nast's legacy also includes a trove of other political cartoons, his successful attack on the machine politics of Tammany Hall in 1871, and his wildly popular illustrations of Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly magazine. Throughout his career, his drawings provided a pointed critique that forced readers to confront the contradictions around them. In this thoroughgoing and lively biography, Fiona Deans Halloran focuses not just on Nast's political cartoons for Harper's but also on his place within the complexities of Gilded Age politics and highlights the many contradictions in his own life: he was an immigrant who attacked immigrant communities, a supporter of civil rights who portrayed black men as foolish children in need of guidance, and an enemy of corruption and hypocrisy who idolized Ulysses S. Grant. He was a man with powerful friends, including Mark Twain, and powerful enemies, including William M. "Boss" Tweed. Halloran interprets Nast's work, explores his motivations and ideals, and illuminates Nast's lasting legacy on American political culture. less...
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AmazonAlexis Says: American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence
Amazon Says: John Quincy and Louisa Adams’s unexpected journey that changed everything. American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbi more...
Amazon Says: John Quincy and Louisa Adams’s unexpected journey that changed everything. American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbidding oceans and frozen tundra—from the bustling ports and towering birches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arctic St. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Upon these varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transform their banishment into America’s salvation. Author, historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life into once-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestry that reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespearean drama in a Jane Austen era, American Phoenix is a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance of works on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generation of John Quincy and Louisa and beyond. Cook has crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understand history filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble, freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character—a colorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues and rabble-rousers—she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincy and Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy’s devastation after losing the job of his dreams, battle for America’s need to thrive economically, and sojourn to secure his homeland’s survival as a sovereign nation. She reserves her most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using this quietly inspirational woman’s own words to amplify her fears, faith, and fortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook’s close-up perspective shows how this American couple’s Russian destination changed US destiny.   less...
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AmazonAlexis Says: Pen and Ink Witchcraft: Treaties and Treaty Making in American Indian History
Amazon Says: Indian peoples made some four hundred treaties with the United States between the American Revolution and 1871, when Congress prohibited them. They signed nine treaties with t more...
Amazon Says: Indian peoples made some four hundred treaties with the United States between the American Revolution and 1871, when Congress prohibited them. They signed nine treaties with the Confederacy, as well as countless others over the centuries with Spain, France, Britain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, Canada, and even Russia, not to mention individual colonies and states. In retrospect, the treaties seem like well-ordered steps on the path of dispossession and empire. The reality was far more complicated. In Pen and Ink Witchcraft, eminent Native American historian Colin G. Calloway narrates the history of diplomacy between North American Indians and their imperial adversaries, particularly the United States. Treaties were cultural encounters and human dramas, each with its cast of characters and conflicting agendas. Many treaties, he notes, involved not land, but trade, friendship, and the resolution of disputes. Far from all being one-sided, they were negotiated on the Indians' cultural and geographical terrain. When the Mohawks welcomed Dutch traders in the early 1600s, they sealed a treaty of friendship with a wampum belt with parallel rows of purple beads, representing the parties traveling side-by-side, as equals, on the same river. But the American republic increasingly turned treaty-making into a tool of encroachment on Indian territory. Calloway traces this process by focusing on the treaties of Fort Stanwix (1768), New Echota (1835), and Medicine Lodge (1867), in addition to such events as the Peace of Montreal in 1701 and the treaties of Fort Laramie (1851 and 1868). His analysis demonstrates that native leaders were hardly dupes. The records of negotiations, he writes, show that "Indians frequently matched their colonizing counterparts in diplomatic savvy and tried, literally, to hold their ground." Each treaty has its own story, Calloway writes, but together they tell a rich and complicated tale of moments in American history when civilizations collided. less...
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