Jeffrey Reznick, “John Galsworthy and the Disabled Soldiers of the Great War” (Manchester UP, 2009)
You may not know who John Galsworthy is, but you probably know his work. Who hasn’t seen some production of The Forsyte Saga? Galsworthy was one of the most popular and famous British writers of the early 20th century (the Edwardian Era). He left an enormous body of work, for... Read More
Joel Wolfe, “Autos and Progress: The Brazilian Search for Modernity” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Here’s something I learned by reading Joel Wolfe’s terrific Autos and Progress: The Brazilian Search for Modernity (Oxford, 2010): the United States and Brazil have a lot in common. Both hived off European empires; both struggled with slavery and its legacy; both are profoundly multiethnic and multiracial; both have spent... Read More
Nick Reding, “Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town” (Bloomsbury, 2009)
In 1980 I left Kansas to go to college in Iowa. A lot of things caught my attention about Iowa, for example, that the people really are very nice. I also noticed that there were a lot of drugs. One of them was “crystal methamphetamine,” or “crystal meth” for short.... Read More
Donald Worster, “A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir” (Oxford UP, 2008)
If you study pre-modern history in any depth, one of the most startling things you will discover is that “traditional” societies usually had an adversarial relationship with “nature.” They fought the wild tooth and nail in a never-ending effort to bring it under human control. It never really occurred to... Read More
Heather Prescott, “Student Bodies: The Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine” (University of Michigan Press, 2007)
When you were in college, did you visit the health center? I did, several times. Did you ever wonder why there was a student health center? I didn’t. It seemed like a part of the college scenery, something that had “always” been there. Far from it, as Heather Prescott shows... Read More
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