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Abigail PerkissMaking Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia

July 16, 2014

Sitting in my home office this morning, I’ve periodically looked up from my computer screen and out the window to see who the dog is barking at. Sometimes it’s a young mother pushing a stroller, sometimes an older man walking his dogs, occasionally a young woman jogging. Regardless of age, gender or agenda, all of [...]

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Edmund LevinA Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia: The Beilis Blood Libel

July 13, 2014

There is a lot of nasty mythology about Jews, but surely the most heinous and ridiculous is the bizarre notion that “they” (as if Jews were all the same) have long been in the habit of murdering Christian children, draining them of blood, and mixing said blood into Passover matzo. We know when and where [...]

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Lisa GitelmanPaper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents

July 9, 2014

“One doesn’t so much read a death certificate, it would seem, as perform calisthenics on one…” From the first, prefatory page of Lisa Gitelman’s new book, the reader is introduced to a way of thinking about documents as tools for creating bodily experience, and as material objects situated within hierarchies and relationships of labor. Working beautifully at [...]

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Filip SlaveskiThe Soviet Occupation of Germany: Hunger, Mass Violence and the Struggle for Peace, 1945–1947

July 2, 2014

For over three years, from June 1941 to late 1944,  the German Army and related Nazi forces (the SS, occupation troops, administrative organizations) conducted a Vernichtungskrieg–a war of annihilation–against the Soviet Union on Soviet soil. The Germans killed millions upon millions of Red Army soldiers, Communist Party officials, and ordinary Soviet citizens. As the Germans [...]

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Luke E. HarlowReligion, Race and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880

June 26, 2014

Luke E. Harlow, Religion, Race and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) examines the role of religion, and more specifically, conservative evangelical Protestant theology, in the struggle over slavery and abolition in a crucial period of American history. The book makes an impressive case that we cannot really understand that struggle [...]

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Wensheng WangWhite Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Crisis and Reform in the Qing Empire

June 23, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] Wensheng Wang’s new book takes us into a key turning point in the history of the Qing empire, the Qianlong-Jiaqing reign periods. In White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Crisis and Reform in the Qing Empire (Harvard University Press, 2014), Wang re-evaluates how we understand this crucial period in [...]

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J. Matthias DetermannHistoriography in Saudi Arabia: Globalization and the State in the Middle East

June 20, 2014

Saudi Arabia is, for most Westerners, a mysterious place. It’s home to one of the most conservative forms of Islam around and ruled by one of the least democratic regimes in the world.  Yet it’s a great friend of the liberal, democratic Western powers, the United States in particular. That’s odd.  As Jörg Matthias Determann shows in [...]

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Elizabeth LunbeckThe Americanization of Narcissism

June 20, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] “It is a commonplace of social criticism that America has become, over the past half century or so, a nation of narcissists.” From this opening, Elizabeth Lunbeck’s new book proceeds to offer a fascinating narrative of how this came to be, exploring the entwined histories of narcissism, psychoanalysis, and [...]

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Omar Valerio-JiménezRiver of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands

June 12, 2014

Historically speaking, who you were depended on who your rulers were and the ethnic identity (including language, religion, and folkways) of “your” people. In the era of nation-states–that is, our era–these two characteristics have, for most people, been fused. Ethnic Germans live in Germany, ethnic Chinese live in China, ethnic Egyptians live in Egypt. The [...]

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David WilliamsI Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era

June 5, 2014

Lincoln was very clear–at least in public–that the Civil War was not fought over slavery: it was, he said, for the preservation of the Union first and foremost. So it’s not surprising that when the conflict started he had no firm plan to emancipate the slaves in the borderland or Southern states. He also knew [...]

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