Monday, February 25, 2013

New History Books

It's always fun when a new issue of the American Historical Review comes around and I pick out books published a year or more ago that I never heard of but now want to see (quotations from reviewers in the February 2013 issue):

James Joseph Buss, Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011). This sounds like a much more sophisticated version of my usual rant about how many mug books may have genealogical value while being just bad history. Reviewer John P. Bowes: "In the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, white Americans worked over the course of a century and more to write Wyandots, Potawatomis, and others out of the landscape while crafting a narrative that 'portrayed the erasure of indigenous communities as a passive and inevitable consequence of settlement.'"

Kenneth E. Marshall, Manhood Enslaved: Bondmen in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century New Jersey (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011). The author focuses on three individuals and "finds complex men who struggled to assert their manhood in a world determined to render them as boys."

Mazie Hough, Rural Unwed Mothers: An American Experience, 1870-1950 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2010). Focus on Maine and Tennessee.

Hendrik Hartog, Someday This Will Be Yours: A History of Inheritance and Old Age (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2012). Focus on New Jersey court cases: "When an individual died and did not leave the caregiver the inheritance seemingly promised . . .the courts became the stage for the most personal of family dramas."

Joanna L. Grossman and Lawrence M. Friedman, Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in Twentieth Century America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011). "A highly readable and informative overview [with] . . . endnotes that can be mined for additional information."

Harold Henderson, "New History Books," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 25 February 2013 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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