‘“Chris’mas, we allus had plenny good sumpin’ t’eat, an’ we all got tegether an’ had lots er fun,”’ stated Rias Body, an ex-slave from Alabama, to a Federal Writers’ Project interviewer.
As it recedes in historical memory, American anti-communism becomes more interesting as a historical phenomenon. Try explaining a slogan like ‘Better dead than red’ to a roomful of undergraduates born long after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In retrospect, American anti-communism stands out for its coherence, vehemence, and endurance.
Power, Politics and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement traces the movement in its waning years, focusing primarily on the fates of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and SNCC (as the Student Nonviolent and the Student National Coordinating Committee).
Essay collections are always a mixed bag, and this one is more muddled than most. The warning signs are clear. The volume is part of a series ominously titled ‘Austrian Studies in English’. Six of the 15 essays were papers presented at a 2010 conference of the same name at the University of Vienna.
Sportswear is as much a signifier of American cultural identity as are apple pie and the Super Bowl.
Tucked away in museums displaying and storing collections of dress and textiles there is often a subsidiary but significant collection of printed ephemera. This might encompass bills, trade cards, paper carrier bags, fashion plates and dressmaking patterns.
Household goods piled along curbs with hand-lettered signs saying ‘free’; never-worn clothing hanging in closets, price tags still in place; vacated college dormitory rooms filled with abandoned throw rugs, hair dryers, bookcases; consultants who help us simplify our lives by getting rid of ‘stuff.’ This is the world of things that many Americans inhabit today.
Ask Americans when their country became the world’s dominant power and chances are most will point to the hard-fought victory in the Second World War. But as Adam Tooze shows in his latest work, that shift occurred a generation earlier and before American forces had even fired a shot in what was once called the Great War.
Within scholarship, at least historical scholarship, there are various genres of books, of greater or lesser interest to those outside the profession. The academic trade book lies at one end, selling by the truckload and paying for yachts and holidays and private schooling.
Scholars of modern Jewish life have largely focused on Jews’ position in the nation-states in which they live.