Sharon Ann Murphy, “Investing in Life: Insurance in Antebellum America” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)
Life insurance! The very word sends shivers of excitement down the spine. OK, maybe not . . . but Sharon Murphy‘s book on the development of the life insurance industry in the United States from its infancy in the early republic through its breakthrough as a mass industry during the... Read More
Rowan K. Flad and Pochan Chen, “Ancient Central China” (Cambridge UP, 2013)
One of the most exciting approaches in the contemporary study of China is emerging from work that brings together archaeological and historical modes of reading texts and material objects to tell a story about the past. InĀ Ancient Central China: Centers and Peripheries Along the Yangzi RiverĀ (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Rowan... Read More
Elizabeth Winder, “Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953” (Harper, 2013)
It is a struggle sometimes in biography to find new ways to write about subjects about whom many biographies have been written. This is particularly pronounced in the case of iconic figures of the 20th century (think: Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Onassis, Elvis Presley, F. Scott Fitzgerald), and an area in... Read More
Dorothy H. Crawford, “Virus Hunt: The Search for the Origin of HIV” (Oxford UP, 2013)
If you think about it, pretty much everything has a history insofar as everything exists in time. Historians, however, usually limit themselves to the history of humans and the things humans make. Occasionally, of course, they make forays into the history of animals, the environment and even the universe (see... Read More
Steven Usitalo, “The Invention of Mikhail Lomonosov: A Russian National Myth” (Academic Studies Press, 2013)
Mikhail Lomonosov is a well known Russian figure. As poet, geographer, and physicist, Lomonosov enjoyed access to the best resources that 18th century Russia had to offer. As a result, his contributions to Russian arts and sciences were immeasurable. The source and shape of his celebrity, however, is as interesting... Read More
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