Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in May and June, 2022:

A Frail Liberty

A Frail Liberty : Probationary Citizens in the French and Haitian Revolutions, by Tessie P. Liu ; Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

A Frail Liberty traces the paradoxical actions of the first French abolitionist society, the Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of Blacks), at the juncture of two unprecedented achievements of the revolutionary era: the extension of full rights of citizenship to qualifying free men of color in 1792 and the emancipation decree of 1794 that simultaneously declared the formerly enslaved to be citizens of France. This society helped form the revolution’s notion of color-blind equality yet did not protest the pro-slavery attack on the new citizens of France. Tessie P. Liu prioritizes the understanding of the elite insiders’ vision of equality as crucial to understanding this dualism.

By documenting the link between outright exclusion and political inclusion and emphasizing that a nation’s perceived qualifications for citizenship formulate a particular conception of racial equality, Liu argues that the treatment and status distinctions between free people of color and the formerly enslaved parallel the infamous divide between “active” and “passive” citizens. These two populations of colonial citizens with African ancestry then must be considered part of the normative operations of French citizenship at the time. Uniquely locating racial differentiation in the French and Haitian revolutions within the logic and structures of political representation, Liu deepens the conversation regarding race as a civic identity within democratic societies.

A Woman of Adventure

A Woman of Adventure : The Life and Times of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, by Annette B. Dunlap.

When Lou Henry married Herbert Hoover in February 1899, she looked forward to a partnership of equality and a life of adventure. She could fire a rifle and sit a horse as well as any man. The Quaker community of Whittier, California, where she lived as a teen, reinforced the egalitarian spirit of her upbringing. But history had other ideas for Lou Henry Hoover.

For the first fifteen years of married life, Lou globe-trotted with her husband as he pursued a lucrative career in mining engineering and consulting. World War I not only changed the map of the world, it changed the map of the Hoovers’ marriage. Herbert Hoover’s Commission for the Relief of Belgium launched him into a political career that led to the White House. Lou, who detested the limelight, led a dual life: she supported her husband’s political career, managed their multiple households, and saw to the needs of their family. Behind the scenes, she pursued her own interests.

History has long since forgotten the breadth of her achievements, but Lou Henry Hoover’s powerful legacy endures in the ongoing success of the Girl Scouts, the music and physical therapy degree programs at Stanford University, athletic opportunities for women, and the countless unknown men and women who received an education thanks to Lou’s anonymous financial support.

Conveying Lou’s humor, personality, and intelligence, A Woman of Adventure takes a fresh look at the first lady who preceded Eleanor Roosevelt and her also-extraordinary accomplishments.

Cattle Beet Capital

Cattle Beet Capital : Making Industrial Agriculture in Northern Colorado, by Michael Weeks.

In 1870 several hundred settlers arrived at a patch of land at the confluence of the South Platte and Cache la Poudre Rivers in Colorado Territory. Their planned agricultural community, which they named Greeley, was centered around small landholdings, shared irrigation, and a variety of market crops. One hundred years later, Greeley was the home of the world’s largest concentrated cattle-feeding operation, with the resources of an entire region directed toward manufacturing beef. How did that transformation happen? Cattle Beet Capital is animated by that question.

Expanding outward from Greeley to all of northern Colorado, Cattle Beet Capital shows how the beet sugar industry came to dominate the region in the early twentieth century through a reciprocal relationship with its growers that supported a healthy and sustainable agriculture while simultaneously exploiting tens of thousands of migrant laborers. Michael Weeks shows how the state provided much of the scaffolding for the industry in the form of tariffs and research that synchronized with the agendas of industry and large farmers. The transformations that led to commercial feedlots began during the 1930s as farmers replaced crop rotations and seasonal livestock operations with densely packed cattle pens, mono-cropped corn, and the products pouring out of agro-industrial labs and factories. Using the lens of the northern Colorado region, Cattle Beet Capital illuminates the historical processes that made our modern food systems.

Creek Internationalism in an Age of Revolution, 1763–1818

Creek Internationalism in an Age of Revolution, 1763–1818, by James L. Hill ; Series: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies

Creek Internationalism in an Age of Revolution, 1763–1818 examines how Creek communities and their leaders remained viable geopolitical actors in the trans-Appalachian West well after the American Revolution. The Creeks pursued aggressive and far-reaching diplomacy between 1763 and 1818 to assert their territorial and political sovereignty while thwarting American efforts to establish control over the region. The United States and the Creeks fought to secure recognition from the powers of Europe that would guarantee political and territorial sovereignty: the Creeks fought to maintain their connections to the Atlantic world and preserve their central role in the geopolitics of the trans-Appalachian West, while the American colonies sought first to establish themselves as an independent nation, then to expand borders to secure diplomatic and commercial rights.
Creeks continued to forge useful ties with agents of European empires despite American attempts to circumscribe Creek contact with the outside world. The Creeks’ solicitation of trade and diplomatic channels with British and Spanish colonists in the West Indies, Canada, and various Gulf Coast outposts served key functions for defenders of local autonomy. Native peoples fought to preserve the geopolitical order that dominated the colonial era, making the trans-Appalachian West a kaleidoscope of sovereign peoples where negotiation prevailed. As a result, the United States lacked the ability to impose its will on its Indigenous neighbors, much like the European empires that had preceded them. Hill provides a significant revisionist history of Creek diplomacy and power that fills gaps within the broader study of the Atlantic world and early American history to show how Indigenous power thwarted European empires in North America.

Dirt Persuasion

Dirt Persuasion : Civic Environmental Populism and Heartland’s Pipeline Fight, by Derek Moscato.

Dirt Persuasion examines a watershed moment in U.S. environmental politics: the fight over the Keystone XL Pipeline. The complex interplay of resources extraction industries with grassroots environmentalism and advocacy has transformed the role of activists in the contemporary public sphere. Bold Nebraska’s years-long fight against pipeline company TransCanada provides a compelling case study: a contemporary state-level organization that simultaneously challenged political and business leaders in its home state of Nebraska, at the national level in the United States, and in the foreign jurisdiction of Canada.

Dirt Persuasion sheds light not only on the activism practices of social movements but also on the changing environments in which such actions are deployed. The KXL Pipeline fight represents a watershed moment both for U.S. energy politics and in the communication of environmental activism. The rural dimension of this environmental saga is critical: environmentalism must be understood from the perspective of the rural Americans who coexist with one of the planet’s most delicate ecologies. Populism, rhetorical appeals, strategic advocacy framing, and media framing all factor prominently within the pipeline debate—leading to a civic environmental persuasion built on the attributes of narrative, engagement, hyperlocalization, and bipartisanship in order to build broad stakeholder support and influence public policy.

Eye on the World

Eye on the World : A Life in International Service, by Anthony C. E. Quainton.

Eye on the World is the autobiography of diplomat Anthony C. E. Quainton, the story of a long and varied life lived in eleven countries on six continents. Rather than a formal history, this is Quainton’s reflection on his interactions with the events of those times, beginning with George VI’s historic visit to North America in 1939, through the years of the Cold War, the efforts to contain and then defeat the Soviet Union, and finally the two decades of uneasy peace that came after the fall of the Berlin Wall. To some of these events Quainton was merely a spectator. In other areas—India, Nicaragua, Kuwait, and Peru—he was actively involved either as a participant in the policy process in Washington or as the senior representative of the United States in those countries.

Spanning his upbringing and education through two decades after his retirement, Quainton describes the expanding horizons of a middle-class boy from the northwest corner of North America as he encountered the complexity of the world in which he spent his professional life. Quainton served in seven different presidential appointments under presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. These included four ambassadorships in distinct parts of the world and three assistant secretary–level posts in Washington. This range of geographic and functional assignments was unique in his generation of Foreign Service officers.

In Praise of the Ancestors

In Praise of the Ancestors : Names, Identity, and Memory in Africa and the Americas, by Susan Elizabeth Ramirez ; Series: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies

Apart from collective memories of lived experiences, much of the modern world’s historical sense comes from written sources stored in the archives of the world, and some scholars in the not-so-distant past have described unlettered civilizations as “peoples without history.” In Praise of the Ancestors is a revisionist interpretation of early colonial accounts that reveal incongruities in accepted knowledge about three Native groups.

Susan Elizabeth Ramírez reevaluates three case studies of oral traditions using positional inheritance—a system in which names and titles are inherited from one generation by another and thereby contribute to the formation of collective memories and a group identity. Ramírez begins by examining positional inheritance and perpetual kinship among the Kazembes in central Africa from the eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Next, her analysis moves to the Native groups of the Iroquois Confederation and their practice of using names to memorialize remarkable leaders in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Finally, Ramírez surveys naming practices of the Andeans, based on sixteenth-century manuscript sources and later testimonies found in Spanish and Andean archives, questioning colonial narratives by documenting the use of this alternative system of memory perpetuation, which was initially unrecognized by the Spaniards.

In the process of reexamining the histories of Native peoples on three continents, Ramírez broaches a wider issue: namely, understanding of the nature of knowledge as fundamental to understanding and evaluating the knowledge itself.

The Great Plains, Second Edition

The Great Plains, 2nd ed., by Walter Prescott Webb.

This iconic description of the interaction between the vast central plains of the continent and the white Americans who moved there in the mid-nineteenth century has endured as one of the most influential, widely known, and controversial works in western history since its first publication in 1931. Arguing that “the Great Plains environment . . . constitutes a geographic unity whose influences have been so powerful as to put a characteristic mark upon everything that survives within its borders,” Walter Prescott Webb identifies the revolver, barbed wire, and the windmill as technological adaptations that facilitated Anglo conquest of the arid, treeless region. Webb draws on history, anthropology, geography, demographics, climatology, and economics in arguing that the 98th Meridian constitutes an institutional fault line at which “practically every institution that was carried across it was either broken and remade or else greatly altered.”

This new edition of one of the foundational works of western American history features an introduction by Great Plains historian Andrew R. Graybill and a new index and updated design.

Under Prairie Skies

Under Prairie Skies : The Plants and Native Peoples of the Northern Plains, by C. Thomas Shay.

In Under Prairie Skies, C. Thomas Shay asks and answers the question, What role did plants play in the lives of early inhabitants of the northern Great Plains? Since humans arrived at the end of the Ice Age, plants played important roles as Native peoples learned which were valuable foods, which held medicinal value, and which were best for crafts.

Incorporating Native voices, ethnobotanical studies, personal stories, and research techniques, Under Prairie Skies shows how, since the end of the Ice Age, plants have held a central place in the lives of Native peoples. Eventually some groups cultivated seed-bearing annuals and, later, fields of maize and other crops. Throughout history, their lives became linked with the land, both materially and spiritually.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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