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After 1776, Americans struggled to gain recognition of their new republic and their rights as citizens. None had to fight harder than the nation's seamen, whose labor took them deep into the Atlantic world. Nathan Perl-Rosenthal tells the story of how their efforts created the first national, racially inclusive model of U.S. citizenship.
After Vietnam the army promised its all-volunteer force a safety net long reserved for career soldiers: medical and dental care, education, child care, financial counseling, housing assistance, legal services. Jennifer Mittelstadt shows how this unprecedented military welfare system expanded at a time when civilian programs were being dismantled.
Greil Marcus delves into three distinct episodes in the history of American commonplace song and shows how each one manages to convey the uncanny sense that it was written by no one. In these seemingly anonymous productions, we discover three different ways of talking about the United States, and three separate nations within its borders.
In the third century BCE Ashoka ruled in South Asia and Afghanistan, and came to be seen as the ideal Buddhist king. Disentangling the threads of Ashoka's life from the knot of legend that surrounds it, Nayanjot Lahiri presents a vivid biography of an emperor whose legacy extends far beyond the bounds of his lifetime and dominion.
Jesse Kauffman explains why Germany's ambitious attempt at nation-building in Poland during WWI failed. The educational and political institutions Germany built for its satellite state could not alleviate Poland's hostility to the plundering of its resources to fuel Germany's war effort.
Headlines from France suggest that the country's Jews and Muslims are inevitably at odds. But the past tells a different story. In this sweeping history from World War I to the present, Ethan Katz shows that Jewish-Muslim relations were more complex, shaped by everyday encounters and perceptions of deeply rooted similarities as well as differences.
Patrick Iber tells the story of left-wing Latin American artists, writers, and scholars who worked as diplomats, advised rulers, opposed dictators, and even led nations during the Cold War. Ultimately, they could not break free from the era's rigid binaries, and found little room to promote their social democratic ideals without compromising them.
The Triumph of the Snake Goddess, a prose translation by the scholar and poet Kaiser Haq, is the first comprehensive retelling of this epic in modern English. Haq's Prologue explores the oral, poetic, and manuscript traditions, and Wendy Doniger's Introduction examines the significance of snake worship in classical Sanskrit texts.
China's late-imperial history has been framed as a long coda of decline, played out during the Qing dynasty. Reappraising this narrative, Stephen Halsey traces the origins of China's current great-power status to this so-called decadent era, when threats of war with European and Japanese empirestriggered innovative state-building and statecraft.
Historians have dismissed the pageantry of the Vienna Congress as window dressing when compared with the serious maneuverings of sovereigns and statesmen. By seeing these two dimensions as interconnected, Brian Vick reveals how one of the most important diplomatic summits in history managed to redraw the map of Europe and the international system.
Christopher Pastore traces how Narragansett Bay's ecology shaped the contours of European habitation, trade, and resource use, and how littoral settlers in turn, over two centuries, transformed a marshy fractal of water and earth into a clearly defined coastline, which proved less able to absorb the blows of human initiative and natural variation.
Daniel Immerwahr tells how the United States sought to rescue the world from poverty through small-scale, community-based approaches. He also sounds a warning: such strategies, now again in vogue, have been tried before, alongside grander moderization schemes--with often disastrous consequences as self-help gave way to crushing local oppression.
Rebecca L. Spang, who revolutionized our understanding of the restaurant, has written a new history of money. It is also a new history of the French Revolution, with economics at its heart. In her telling, radicalization was driven by an ever-widening gap between political ideals--including "freedom of money"--and the harsh realities of daily life.
Katherine Grandjean shows that the English conquest of New England was not just a matter of consuming territory, of transforming woods into farms. It entailed a struggle to control the flow of information--who could travel where, what news could be sent, over which routes winding through the woods along the early American communications frontier.
Exploring the morally entangled territory of language and race in 18th- and 19th-century America, Sean Harvey shows that whites' theories of an "Indian mind" inexorably shaped by Indian languages played a crucial role in the subjugation of Native peoples and informed the U.S. government's efforts to extinguish Native languages for years to come.
Fifty years later, the murky circumstances and tragic symbolism of Patrice Lumumba's assassination trouble many people around the world. Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick reveal a tangled web of international politics in which many people--black and white, well-meaning and ruthless, African, European, and American--bear responsibility for this crime.
Since 1945, as the U.S. has engaged in near-constant "wars of choice" with limited congressional oversight, the executive and armed services have shared primary responsibility for often ill-defined objectives, strategies, and benefits. Matthew Moten shows the significance of negotiations between presidents and the generals allied with them.
Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Robert Sussman explains why--when it comes to race--too many people still mistake bigotry for science.
In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, a number of Americans thought the idea was crazy. Now everyone, except a few die-hards, thinks it was. So what was going through the minds of the talented and experienced men and women who planned and initiated the war? What were their assumptions? Overreach aims to recover those presuppositions.
Jerome McGann takes his readers on a spirited tour through a wide range of Poe's verse as well as the critical and theoretical writings in which he laid out his arresting ideas about poetry and poetics. In a bold reassessment, McGann argues that Poe belongs alongside Whitman and Dickinson as a foundational American poet and cultural presence.
Darius III ruled over the Persian Empire and was the most powerful king of his time, yet he remains obscure. In the first book devoted to the historical memory of Darius III, Pierre Briant describes a man depicted in ancient sources as a decadent Oriental who lacked Western masculine virtues and was in every way the opposite of Alexander the Great.
Tamar Herzog asks how territorial borders were established in the early modern period and challenges the standard view that national boundaries are settled by military conflicts and treaties. Claims and control on both sides of the Atlantic were subject to negotiation, as neighbors and outsiders carved out and defended new frontiers of possession.
At the center of Lincoln's political thought and career is an intense passion for equality that runs so deep in the speeches, messages, and letters that it has the force of religious conviction for Lincoln. George Kateb examines these writings to reveal that this passion explains Lincoln's reverence for both the Constitution and the Union.
From 1815 to 1865, as city blocks encroached on farmland to accommodate Manhattan's exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers developed new ideas about what an urban environment should contain--ideas that poorer immigrants resisted. As Catherine McNeur shows, taming Manhattan came at the cost of amplifying environmental and economic disparities.
Unemployment, monetary and fiscal policy, and the merits and drawbacks of free markets were a few of the issues the journalist and public philosopher Walter Lippmann explained to the public during the Depression, when professional economists skilled at translating concepts for a lay audience were not yet on the scene, as Craufurd Goodwin shows.