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 November and December, 2022:

Continental Reckoning : The American West in the Age of Expansion by Elliott West. Series: History of the American West

In Continental Reckoning renowned historian Elliott West presents a sweeping narrative of the American West and its vital role in the transformation of the nation. In the 1840s, by which time the United States had expanded to the Pacific, what would become the West was home to numerous vibrant Native cultures and vague claims by other nations. Thirty years later it was organized into states and territories and bound into the nation and world by an infrastructure of rails, telegraph wires, and roads and by a racial and ethnic order, with its Indigenous peoples largely dispossessed and confined to reservations.

Unprecedented exploration uncovered the West’s extraordinary resources, beginning with the discovery of gold in California within days of the United States acquiring the territory following the Mexican-American War. As those resources were developed, often by the most modern methods and through modern corporate enterprise, half of the contiguous United States was physically transformed. Continental Reckoning guides the reader through the rippling, multiplying changes wrought in the western half of the country, arguing that these changes should be given equal billing with the Civil War in this crucial transition of national life.

As the West was acquired, integrated into the nation, and made over physically and culturally, the United States shifted onto a course of accelerated economic growth, a racial reordering and redefinition of citizenship, engagement with global revolutions of science and technology, and invigorated involvement with the larger world. The creation of the West and the emergence of modern America were intimately related. Neither can be understood without the other. With masterful prose and a critical eye, West presents a fresh approach to the dawn of the American West, one of the most pivotal periods of American history.

Everywhen : Australia and the Language of Deep History by Ann McGrath, Laura Rademaker, and Jakelin Troy. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies

Everywhen is a groundbreaking collection about diverse ways of conceiving, knowing, and narrating time and deep history. Looking beyond the linear documentary past of Western or academic history, this collection asks how knowledge systems of Australia’s Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders can broaden our understandings of the past and of historical practice. Indigenous embodied practices for knowing, narrating, and reenacting the past in the present blur the distinctions of linear time, making all history now. Ultimately, questions of time and language are questions of Indigenous sovereignty. The Australian case is especially pertinent because Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are among the few Native peoples without a treaty with their colonizers. Appreciating First Nations’ time concepts embedded in languages and practices, as Everywhen does, is a route to recognizing diverse forms of Indigenous sovereignties.

Everywhen makes three major contributions. The first is a concentration on language, both as a means of knowing and transmitting the past across generations and as a vital, albeit long-overlooked source material for historical investigation, to reveal how many Native people maintained and continue to maintain ancient traditions and identities through language. Everywhen also considers Indigenous practices of history, or knowing the past, that stretch back more than sixty thousand years; these Indigenous epistemologies might indeed challenge those of the academy. Finally, the volume explores ways of conceiving time across disciplinary boundaries and across cultures, revealing how the experience of time itself is mediated by embodied practices and disciplinary norms.

Everywhen brings Indigenous knowledges to bear on the study and meaning of the past and of history itself. It seeks to draw attention to every when, arguing that Native time concepts and practices are vital to understanding Native histories and, further, that they may offer a new framework for history as practiced in the Western academy.

Field Guide to a Hybrid Landscape : Photographs by Dana Fritz Photographs by Dana Fritz; Essays by Katie Anania, Rebecca Buller, and Rose-Marie Muzika; Maps by Salvador Lindquist.

In Field Guide to a Hybrid Landscape Dana Fritz traces the evolution of the Bessey Ranger District and Nursery of the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands. Fritz’s contemporary photographs of this unique ecosystem, with provocative environmental essays, maps, and historical photographs from the U.S. Forest Service archives, illuminate the complex environmental and natural history of the site, especially as it relates to built environments, land use, and climate change.

The Nebraska National Forest at Halsey, as it is known colloquially, is the largest hand-planted forest in the Western Hemisphere, and formerly in the world. This hybrid landscape of a conifer forest overlaid onto a semiarid grassland just west of the one-hundredth meridian was an ambitious late nineteenth-century idea to create a timber industry, to reclaim a landscape considered disordered and unproductive, and to change the local climate in northcentral Nebraska. While the planners seemed not to appreciate the native grasslands that form the ecosystem of the Nebraska Sandhills, they did recognize the reliable water from the Dismal and Middle Loup Rivers that border the site. In 1902 the first federal nursery was established as part of the Dismal River Forest Reserve to produce seedlings for plains homesteads and the adjacent treeless tract of land. At that time tree planting was not used for carbon sequestration but to mitigate the wind and evaporation of moisture.

The Bessey Nursery now produces replacement seedlings for burned and beetle-damaged forests in the Rocky Mountains and for the Nebraska Conservation Trees Program. This constructed landscape of row-crop trees that were protected from fire for decades, yet never commercially harvested for timber, provides a rich metaphor for current environmental predicaments. The late nineteenth-century effort to reclaim with trees what was called the Great American Desert has evolved to a focus on twenty-first-century conservation, grassland restoration, and reforestation, all of which work to sequester carbon, maintain natural ecosystem balance, and mitigate large-scale climate change. Field Guide to a Hybrid Landscape offers a visual and critical examination of this unique managed landscape, which has implications far beyond its borders.

Franz Boas : Shaping Anthropology and Fostering Social Justice, by Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt. Series: Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology

Franz Boas defined the concept of cultural relativism and reoriented the humanities and social sciences away from race science toward an antiracist and anticolonialist understanding of human biology and culture. Franz Boas: Shaping Anthropology and Fostering Social Justice is the second volume in Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt’s two-part biography of the renowned anthropologist and public intellectual.

Zumwalt takes the reader through the most vital period in the development of Americanist anthropology and Boas’s rise to dominance in the subfields of cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics. Boas’s emergence as a prominent public intellectual, particularly his opposition to U.S. entry into World War I, reveals his struggle against the forces of nativism, racial hatred, ethnic chauvinism, scientific racism, and uncritical nationalism.

Boas was instrumental in the American cultural renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, training students and influencing colleagues such as Melville Herskovits, Zora Neale Hurston, Benjamin Botkin, Alan Lomax, Langston Hughes, and others involved in combating racism and the flourishing Harlem Renaissance. He assisted German and European émigré intellectuals fleeing Nazi Germany to relocate in the United States and was instrumental in organizing the denunciation of Nazi racial science and American eugenics. At the end of his career Boas guided a network of former student anthropologists, who spread across the country to university departments, museums, and government agencies, imprinting his social science more broadly in the world of learned knowledge.

Franz Boas is a magisterial biography of Franz Boas and his influence in shaping not only anthropology but also the sciences, humanities, social science, visual and performing arts, and America’s public sphere during a period of great global upheaval and democratic and social struggle.

From Near and Far : A Transitional History of France, by Tyler Stovall. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

From Near and Far relates the history of modern France from the French Revolution to the present. Noted historian Tyler Stovall considers how the history of France interacts with both the broader history of the world and the local histories of French communities, examining the impacts of Karl Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Paul Gauguin, and Josephine Baker alongside the rise of haute couture and the contemporary role of hip hop.

From Near and Far focuses on the interactions between France and three other parts of the world: Europe, the United States, and the French colonial empire. Taking this transnational approach to the history of modern France, Stovall shows how the theme of universalism, so central to modern French culture, has manifested itself in different ways over the last few centuries. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of narrative to French history, that historians tell the story of a nation and a people by bringing together a multitude of stories and tales that often go well beyond its boundaries. In telling these stories From Near and Far gives the reader a vision of France both global and local at the same time.

Gentry Rhetoric : Literacies, Letters, and Writing in an Elizabethan Community by Danial Ellis. Series: Early Modern Cultural Studies

Gentry Rhetoric examines the full range of influences on the Elizabethan and Jacobean genteel classes’ practice of English rhetoric in daily life. Daniel Ellis surveys how the gentry of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Norfolk wrote to and negotiated with each other by employing Renaissance humanist rhetoric, both to solidify their identity and authority in resisting absolutism and authoritarianism, and to transform the political and social state. The rhetorical training that formed the basis of their formal education was one obvious influence. Yet to focus on this training exclusively allows only a limited understanding of the way this class developed the strategies that enabled them to negotiate, argue, and conciliate with one another to such an extent that they could both form themselves as a coherent entity and become the primary shapers of written English’s style, arrangement, and invention.

Gentry Rhetoric deeply and inductively examines archival materials in which members of the gentry discuss, debate, and negotiate matters relating to their class interests and political aspirations. Humanist rhetoric provided the bedrock of address, argumentation, and negotiation that allowed the gentry to instigate a political and educational revolution in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England.

Keorapetse Kgositsile : Collected Poems, 1969-2018 by Keorapetse Kgositsile; Edited and with an introduction by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Uhuru Portia Phalafala. Series: African Poetry Book

Keorapetse Kgositsile, South Africa’s second poet laureate, was a political activist, teacher, and poet. He lived, wrote, and taught in the United States for a significant part of his life and collaborated with many influential and highly regarded writers, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Plumpp, Dudley Randall, and George Kent. This comprehensive collection of Kgositsile’s new and collected works spans almost fifty years.

During his lifetime, Kgositsile dedicated the majority of his poems to people or movements, documenting the struggle against racism, Western imperialism, and racial capitalism, and celebrating human creativity, particularly music, as an inherent and essential aspect of the global liberation struggle. This collection demonstrates the commitment to equality, justice, and egalitarianism fostered by cultural workers within the mass liberation movement. As the introduction notes, Kgositsile had an “undisputed ability to honor the truth in all its complexity, with a musicality that draws on the repository of memory and history, rebuilt through the rhythms and cadences of jazz.” Addressing themes of Black solidarity, displacement, and anticolonialism, Kgositsile’s prose is fiery, witty, and filled with conviction. This collection showcases a voice that wanted to change the world—and did.

Restoring Nature : the Evolution of Channel Islands National Park by Lary M. Dilsaver and Timothy J. Babalis. Series: America’s Public Lands

Off the coast of California, running from Santa Barbara to La Jolla, lies an archipelago of eight islands known as the California Channel Islands. The northern five were designated as Channel Islands National Park in 1980 to protect and restore the rich habitat of the islands and surrounding waters.

In the years since, that mission intensified as scientists discovered the extent of damage to the delicate habitats of these small fragments of land and to the surprisingly threatened sea around them. In Restoring Nature Lary M. Dilsaver and Timothy J. Babalis examine how the National Park Service has attempted to reestablish native wildlife and vegetation to the five islands through restorative ecology and public land management. The Channel Islands staff were innovators of the inventory and monitoring program whereby the resource problems were exposed. This program became a blueprint for management throughout the U.S. park system.

Dilsaver and Babalis present an innovative regional and environmental history of a little-known corner of the Pacific West, as well as a larger national narrative about how the Park Service developed its approach to restoration ecology, which became a template for broader Park Service policies that shaped the next generation of environmental conservation.

Sex, Gender, and Illegitimacy in the Castilian Noble Family, 1400-1600 by Grace E. Coolidge. Series: Women and Gender in the Early Modern World

Sex, Gender, and Illegitimacy in the Castilian Noble Family, 1400–1600 looks at illegitimacy across the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and analyzes its implications for gender and family structure in the Spanish nobility, a class whose actions, structure, and power had immense implications for the future of the country and empire. Grace E. Coolidge demonstrates that women and men were able to challenge traditional honor codes, repair damaged reputations, and manipulate ideals of marriage and sexuality to encompass extramarital sexuality and the nearly constant presence of illegitimate children.

This flexibility and creativity in their sexual lives enabled members of the nobility to repair, strengthen, and maintain their otherwise fragile concept of dynasty and lineage, using illegitimate children and their mothers to successfully project the noble dynasty into the future—even in an age of rampant infant mortality that contributed to the frequent absence of male heirs. While benefiting the nobility as a whole, the presence of illegitimate children could also be disruptive to the inheritance process, and the entire system privileged noblemen and their aims and goals over the lives of women and children.

This book enriches our understanding of the complex households and families of the Spanish nobility, challenging traditional images of a strict patriarchal system by uncovering the hidden lives that made that system function.

Taking the Field : Soldiers, Nature, and Empire on American Frontiers by Amy Kohout. Series: Many Wests

Published in Cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University.

In the late nineteenth century, at a time when Americans were becoming more removed from nature than ever before, U.S. soldiers were uniquely positioned to understand and construct nature’s ongoing significance for their work and for the nation as a whole. American ideas and debates about nature evolved alongside discussions about the meaning of frontiers, about what kind of empire the United States should have, and about what it meant to be modern or to make “progress.” Soldiers stationed in the field were at the center of these debates, and military action in the expanding empire brought new environments into play.

In Taking the Field Amy Kohout draws on the experiences of U.S. soldiers in both the Indian Wars and the Philippine-American War to explore the interconnected ideas about nature and empire circulating at the time. By tracking the variety of ways American soldiers interacted with the natural world, Kohout argues that soldiers, through their words and their work, shaped Progressive Era ideas about both American and Philippine environments. Studying soldiers on multiple frontiers allows Kohout to inject a transnational perspective into the environmental history of the Progressive Era, and an environmental perspective into the period’s transnational history. Kohout shows us how soldiers—through their writing, their labor, and all that they collected—played a critical role in shaping American ideas about both nature and empire, ideas that persist to the present.

The Camp Fire Girls : Gender, Race, and American Girlhood, 1910–1980 by Jennifer Helgren. Series: Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

As the twentieth century dawned, progressive educators established a national organization for adolescent girls to combat what they believed to be a crisis of girls’ education. A corollary to the Boy Scouts of America, founded just a few years earlier, the Camp Fire Girls became America’s first and, for two decades, most popular girls’ organization. Based on Protestant middle-class ideals—a regulatory model that reinforced hygiene, habit formation, hard work, and the idea that women related to the nation through service—the Camp Fire Girls invented new concepts of American girlhood by inviting disabled girls, Black girls, immigrants, and Native Americans to join. Though this often meant a false sense of cultural universality, in the girls’ own hands membership was often profoundly empowering and provided marginalized girls spaces to explore the meaning of their own cultures in relation to changes taking place in twentieth-century America.

Through the lens of the Camp Fire Girls, Jennifer Helgren traces the changing meanings of girls’ citizenship in the cultural context of the twentieth century. Drawing on girls’ scrapbooks, photographs, letters, and oral history interviews, in addition to adult voices in organization publications and speeches, The Camp Fire Girls explores critical intersections of gender, race, class, nation, and disability.

The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887-1888, Volume 1 by Henry James; Edited by Michael Anesko and Greg W. Zacharias; Katie Sommer, Associate Editor; With an introduction by Sarah Wadsworth. Series: The Complete Letters of Henry James

This first volume in The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887–1888 contains 154 letters, of which 94 are published for the first time, written from early January to December 22, 1887. These letters mark Henry James’s ongoing efforts to care for his sister, develop his work, strengthen his professional status, build friendships, engage timely political and economic issues, and maximize his income. James details work on “The Aspern Papers,” Partial Portraits, and plans The Reverberator. This volume opens with James in the midst of a long sojourn in Italy and concludes with his inquiring about both the status of his essay to the American Copyright League and also the story “The Liar.”

The Dakota Way of Life by Ella Cara Deloria; Edited by Raymond J. DeMallie and Thierry Veyrié; Afterword by Philip J. Deloria. Series: Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians

Ella Cara Deloria devoted much of her life to the study of the language and culture of the Sioux (Dakota and Lakota). The Dakota Way of Life is the result of the long history of her ethnographic descriptions of traditional Dakota culture and social life. Deloria was the most prolific Native scholar of the greater Sioux Nation, and the results of her work comprise an essential source for the study of the greater Sioux Nation culture and language. For years she collected material for a study that would document the variations from group to group. Tragically, her manuscript was not published during her lifetime, and at the end of her life all of her major works remained unpublished.

Deloria was a perfectionist who worked slowly and cautiously, attempting to be as objective as possible and revising multiple times. As a result, her work is invaluable. Her detailed cultural descriptions were intended less for purposes of cultural preservation than for practical application. Deloria was a scholar through and through, and yet she never let her dedication to scholarship overwhelm her sense of responsibility as a Dakota woman, with family concerns taking precedence over work. Her constant goal was to be an interpreter of an American Indian reality to others. Her studies of the Sioux are a monument to her talent and industry.

The Imperial Gridiron : Manhood, Civilization, and Football at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School by Matthew Bentley and John Bloom.

The Imperial Gridiron examines the competing versions of manhood at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School between 1879 and 1918. Students often arrived at Carlisle already engrained with Indigenous ideals of masculinity. On many occasions these ideals would come into conflict with the models of manhood created by the school’s original superintendent, Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt believed that Native Americans required the “embrace of civilization,” and he emphasized the qualities of self-control, Christian ethics, and retaliatory masculinity. He encouraged sportsmanship and fair play over victory.

Pratt’s successors, however, adopted a different approach, and victory was enshrined as the main objective of Carlisle sports. As major stars like Jim Thorpe and Lewis Tewanima came to the fore, this change in approach created a conflict over manhood within the school: should the competitive athletic model be promoted, or should Carlisle focus on the more self-controlled, Christian ideal as promoted by the school’s Young Men’s Christian Association? The answer came from the 1914 congressional investigation of Carlisle. After this grueling investigation, Carlisle’s model of manhood starkly reverted to the form of the Pratt years, and by the time the school closed in 1918, the school’s standards of masculinity had come full circle.

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

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