Through the views of French travelers and diverse French studies about the United States, this book shows that the US took a pivotal place in French consciousness during the second half of the nineteenth century. The American landscape, skyscrapers, and the presence of Native and African Americans were puzzling and exotic to the French. At the same time, towns and industry were proof of an emerging economic power. Meanwhile, the French people found attractive models of social engineering in American society: schools and universities, the changing role of women, the emergence of the middle class. Even before World War I, the US found its place in French opinion, following trends that were to continue throughout the twentieth century: fascination and misgivings, attraction and repulsion.
This fascinating account of a French woman's impressions of America in the late nineteenth century reveals an unusual cross-cultural journey through fin de siècle Paris, Chicago, and New York. Madame Leon Grandin's travels and extended stay in Chicago in 1893 were the result of her husband's collaboration on the fountain sculpture for the World's Columbian Exposition. Initially impressed with the city's fast pace and architectural grandeur, Grandin's attentions were soon drawn to its social and cultural customs, reflected as observations in her writing. During a ten-month interval as a resident, she was intrigued by the interactions between men and women, mothers and their children, teachers and students, and other human relationships, especially noting the comparative social freedoms of American women. After this interval of acclimatization, the young Parisian socialite had begun to view her own culture and its less liberated mores with considerable doubt. "I had tasted the fruit of independence, of intelligent activity, and was revolted at the idea of assuming once again the passive and inferior role that awaited me!" she wrote. Grandin's curiosity and interior access to Chicago's social and domestic spaces produced an unusual travel narrative that goes beyond the usual tourist reactions and provides a valuable resource for readers interested in late nineteenth-century America, Chicago, and social commentary. Significantly, her feminine views on American life are in marked contrast to parallel reflections on the culture by male visitors from abroad. It is precisely the dual narrative of this text--the simultaneous recounting of a foreigner's impressions, and the consequent questioning of her own cultural certainties--that make her book unique. This translation includes an introductory essay by Arnold Lewis that situates Grandin's account in the larger context of European visitors to Chicago in the 1890s.
Why has "America" - that is, the United States of America - become so much more than simply a place in the imagination of so many people around the world? In both Europe and Latin America, the United States has often been a site of multiple possible futures, a screen onto which could be projected utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares. Whether castigated as a threat to civilized order or championed as a promise of earthly paradise, America has invariably been treated as a cipher for modernity. It has functioned as an inescapable reference point for both European and Latin American societies, not only as a model of social and political organization - one to reject as much one to emulate - but also as the prime example of a society emerging from a dramatic diversity of cultural and social backgrounds.
The National Book Critics Circle Award-winner offers a powerful, often difficult memoir of his parents, confronting the conflicting forces that conspired to fashion him into the man he is today.
Say "the Sixties" and the images start coming, images of a time when all authority was defied and millions of young Americans thought they could change the world--either through music, drugs, and universal love or by "putting their bodies on the line" against injustice and war. Todd Gitlin, the highly regarded writer, media critic, and professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, has written an authoritative and compelling account of this supercharged decade--a decade he helped shape as an early president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and an organizer of the first national demonstration against the Vietnam war. Part critical history, part personal memoir, part celebration, and part meditation, this critically acclaimed work resurrects a generation on all its glory and tragedy.
Focusing on the day-to-day operations of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, from 1798 to 1861, this book shows what the "new technology" of mechanized production meant in terms of organization, management, and worker morale. A local study of much more than local significance, it highlights the major problems of technical innovation and social adaptation in antebellum America. Merritt Roe Smith describes how positions of authority at the armory were tied to a larger network of political and economic influence in the community; how these relationships, in turn, affected managerial behavior; and how local social conditions reinforced the reactions of decision makers. He also demonstrates how craft traditions and variant attitudes toward work vis-à-vis New England created an atmosphere in which the machine was held suspect and inventive activity was hampered.Of central importance is the author's analysis of the drastic differences between Harpers Ferry and its counterpart, the national armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, which played a pivotal role in the emergence of the new technology. The flow of technical information between the two armories, he shows, moved in one direction only— north to south. "In the end," Smith concludes, "the stamina of local culture is paramount in explaining why the Harpers Ferry armory never really flourished as a center of technological innovation."Pointing up the complexities of industrial change, this account of the Harpers Ferry experience challenges the commonly held view that Americans have always been eagerly receptive to new technological advances.
A harrowing tour of “dictator literature” in the twentieth-century, featuring the soul-killing prose and poetry of Hitler, Mao, and many more, which shows how books have sometimes shaped the world for the worse. Since the days of the Roman Empire dictators have written books. But in the twentieth-century despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre—Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them—produced theoretical works, spiritual manifestos, poetry, memoirs, and even the occasional romance novel and established a literary tradition of boundless tedium that continues to this day. How did the production of literature become central to the running of regimes? What do these books reveal about the dictatorial soul? And how can books and literacy, most often viewed as inherently positive, cause immense and lasting harm? Putting daunting research to revelatory use, Daniel Kalder asks and brilliantly answers these questions. Marshalled upon the beleaguered shelves of The Infernal Library are the books and commissioned works of the century’s most notorious figures. Their words led to the deaths of millions. Their conviction in the significance of their own thoughts brooked no argument. It is perhaps no wonder then, as Kalder argues, that many dictators began their careers as writers.
Partial Truths and the Politics of Community considers what happens after feminists succeed in achieving social change or in founding organizations dedicated to accomplishing their personal and social goals. This collection of eighteen essays by scholars from the fields of international relations and feminist studies explores the theoretical dilemmas and practical politics of living with raised consciousnesses in worlds of our own making. The contributors explore feminisms as dreams of human rights, as a cluster of ideologies, and as a bounty of social practices set within frameworks for tackling problems in nation-building and global governance. In essays that illustrate the impact of feminist concerns with the quality of education, the contributors offer studies of homeschooling, of the education of impoverished girls in rural Mexico, of sororities and their relation to female autonomy, and of the teaching of prisoners by volunteers in county jails. Other contributors call for a greater attention to the ecology of social life, viewing society as a complex of individuals bound to one another through webs of transactions and obligations. These contributors recount examples from N
A comprehensive history of skiing from its earliest origins to the outbreak of World War II, this book traces the transformation of what for centuries remained an exclusively utilitarian practice into the exhilarating modern sport we know today. E. John B. Allen places particular emphasis on the impact of culture on the development of skiing, from the influence of Norwegian nationalism to the role of the military in countries as far removed as Austria, India, and Japan. Although the focus is on Europe, Allen's analysis ranges all over the snow-covered world, from Algeria to China to Zakopane. He also discusses the participation of women and children in what for much of its history remained a male-dominated sport. Of all the individuals who contributed to the modernization of skiing before World War II, Allen identifies three who were especially influential: Fridtjof Nansen of Norway, whose explorations on skis paradoxically inspired the idea of skiing as sport; Arnold Lunn of England, whose invention of downhill skiing and the slalom were foundations of the sport's globalization; and Hannes Schneider, whose teachings introduced both speed and safety into the sport. Underscoring the extent to which ancient ways persisted despite modernization, the book ends with the Russo-Finnish War, a conflict in which the Finns, using equipment that would have been familiar a thousand years before, were able to maneuver in snow that had brought the mechanized Soviet army to a halt. More than fifty images not only illustrate this rich history but provide further opportunity for analysis of its cultural significance.
Economic conditions are said to affect election outcomes, but past research has produced unstable and contradictory findings. This book argues that these problems are caused by the failure to take account of electoral competition between parties. A research strategy to correct this problem is designed and applied to investigate effects of economic conditions on (individual) voter choices and (aggregate) election outcomes over 42 elections in 15 countries. It shows that economic conditions exert small effects on individual party preferences, which can have large consequences for election outcomes. In countries where responsibility for economic policy is clear, voters vote retrospectively and reward or punish incumbent parties - although in coalition systems smaller government parties often gain at the expense of the largest party when economic conditions deteriorate. Where clarity of responsibility for economic policy is less clear, voters vote more prospectively on the basis of expected party policies.
The Danger of Music gathers some two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics, ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers such as the New York Times to full-scale critical essays for leading intellectual journals. Hard-hitting, provocative, and incisive, these essays consider contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and the fraught terrain where ethics and aesthetics interact and at times conflict. Many of the works collected here have themselves excited wide debate, including the title essay, which considers the rights and obligations of artists in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a series of lively postscripts written especially for this volume, Taruskin, America's "public" musicologist, addresses the debates he has stirred up by insisting that art is not a utopian escape and that artists inhabit the same world as the rest of society. Among the book's forty-two essays are two public addresses—one about the prospects for classical music at the end of the second millennium C. E., the other a revisiting of the performance issues previously discussed in the author's Text and Act (1995)—that appear in print for the first time.
Masterful retelling of Irish and Welsh stories and tales, including Cuchulain, King Arthur, Deirdre, the Grail, and many more. First paperback edition. 58 full-page illustrations and 18 figures.

Best Books