The Unvarnished Truth

Author: Ann Fabian
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520232013
Format: PDF
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A study of the "plain unvarnished tales" of unschooled beggars, criminals, prisoners, and ex-slaves in the 19th century. Fabian shows how these works illuminate debates over who had the cultural authority to tell and sell their own stories. She gives us the origins of that curious American genre of selling one's tale of woe to make a buck, ala Oprah, et al.

Accident Society

Author: Jason Puskar
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804778450
Format: PDF
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This book argues that language and literature actively produced chance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by categorizing injuries and losses as innocent of design. Automobile collisions and occupational injuries became "car accidents" and "industrial accidents." During the post-Civil War period of racial, ethnic, and class-based hostility, chance was an abstract enemy against which society might unite. By producing chance, novels by William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, Anna Katharine Green, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and James Cain documented and helped establish new modes of collective interdependence. Chance here is connected not with the competitive individualism of the Gilded Age, but with important progressive and social democratic reforms, including developments in insurance, which had long employed accident narratives to shape its own "mutual society." Accident Society reveals the extent to which American collectivity has depended—and continues to depend—on the literary production of chance.

Wyatt Earp A Vigilante Life

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 1429945478
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Finalist for the 2014 Weber-Clements Book Prize for the Best Non-fiction Book on Southwestern America In popular culture, Wyatt Earp is the hero of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and a beacon of rough cowboy justice in the tumultuous American West. The subject of dozens of films, he has been invoked in battles against organized crime (in the 1930s), communism (in the 1950s), and al-Qaeda (after 2001). Yet as the historian Andrew C. Isenberg reveals in Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life, the Hollywood Earp is largely a fiction—one created by none other than Earp himself. The lawman played on-screen by Henry Fonda and Burt Lancaster is stubbornly duty-bound; in actuality, Earp led a life of impulsive lawbreaking and shifting identities. When he wasn't wearing a badge, he was variously a thief, a brothel bouncer, a gambler, and a confidence man. As Isenberg writes, "He donned and shucked off roles readily, whipsawing between lawman and lawbreaker, and pursued his changing ambitions recklessly, with little thought to the cost to himself, and still less thought to the cost, even the deadly cost, to others." By 1900, Earp's misdeeds had caught up with him: his involvement as a referee in a fixed heavyweight prizefight brought him national notoriety as a scoundrel. Stung by the press, Earp set out to rebuild his reputation. He spent his last decades in Los Angeles, where he befriended Western silent film actors and directors. Having tried and failed over the course of his life to invent a better future for himself, in the end he invented a better past. Isenberg argues that even though Earp, who died in 1929, did not live to see it, Hollywood's embrace of him as a paragon of law and order was his greatest confidence game of all. A searching account of the man and his enduring legend, and a book about our national fascination with extrajudicial violence, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life is a resounding biography of a singular American figure.

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

Author: Melissa Walker
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469616688
Format: PDF
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Volume 11 of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture examines the economic culture of the South by pairing two categories that account for the ways many southerners have made their living. In the antebellum period, the wealth of southern whites came largely from agriculture that relied on the forced labor of enslaved blacks. After Reconstruction, the South became attractive to new industries lured by the region's ongoing commitment to low-wage labor and management-friendly economic policies. Throughout the volume, articles reflect the breadth and variety of southern life, paying particular attention to the region's profound economic transformation in recent decades. The agricultural section consists of 25 thematic entries that explore issues such as Native American agricultural practices, plantations, and sustainable agriculture. Thirty-eight shorter pieces cover key crops of the region--from tobacco to Christmas trees--as well as issues of historic and emerging interest--from insects and insecticides to migrant labor. The section on industry and commerce contains 13 thematic entries in which contributors address topics such as the economic impact of military bases, resistance to industrialization, and black business. Thirty-six topical entries explore particular industries, such as textiles, timber, automobiles, and banking, as well as individuals--including Henry W. Grady and Sam M. Walton--whose ideas and enterprises have helped shape the modern South.

Roaring Camp

Author: Susan Lee Johnson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393320992
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Captures the multiethnic, multicultural world of the California Gold Rush, in a richly textured social history that profiles the era's diverse and colorful characters, the evolution of a unique society, and the sources of our legends and myths about the Gold Rush. Reprint.

Suburban Xanadu

Author: David Schwartz G
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136757414
Format: PDF, Docs
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First Published in 2003. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Remaking Respectability

Author: Victoria W. Wolcott
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469611007
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In the early decades of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of African Americans arrived at Detroit's Michigan Central Station, part of the Great Migration of blacks who left the South seeking improved economic and political conditions in the urban North. The most visible of these migrants have been the male industrial workers who labored on the city's automobile assembly lines. African American women have largely been absent from traditional narratives of the Great Migration because they were excluded from industrial work. By placing these women at the center of her study, Victoria Wolcott reveals their vital role in shaping life in interwar Detroit. Wolcott takes us into the speakeasies, settlement houses, blues clubs, storefront churches, employment bureaus, and training centers of Prohibition- and depression-era Detroit. There, she explores the wide range of black women's experiences, focusing particularly on the interactions between working- and middle-class women. As Detroit's black population grew exponentially, women not only served as models of bourgeois respectability, but also began to reshape traditional standards of deportment in response to the new realities of their lives. In so doing, Wolcott says, they helped transform black politics and culture. Eventually, as the depression arrived, female respectability as a central symbol of reform was supplanted by a more strident working-class activism.