Christian G. Appy

New Books: May 2015

This month, UMass Press releases titles in American Studies and British/European Studies.

9781625341440On the Cusp by Daniel Horowitz: Part personal memoir, part collective biography, and part cultural history, Horowitz’s newest book reconstructs the undergraduate career of Yale College’s class of 1960 and follows them into the next decade. He begins by looking at curricular and extracurricular life on the all-male campus, then ranges beyond the confines of Yale to larger contexts, including the local drama      urban renewal, the lingering shadow of McCarthyism, and decolonization movements around the world. He ponders the role of the university in protecting the prerogatives of class while fostering social mobility, and examines the growing significance of race and gender in American politics and culture, spurred by a convergence of the personal and the political. Consistent with much of Horowitz’s previously published scholarship on postwar America, this work further exposes the undercurrent of discontent and dissent that ran just beneath the surface of the so-called Cold War consensus.

On the Cusp is a book of many pleasures. Horowitz writes about his college years with both the memoirist’s attention to color and detail, and the historian’s attention to scale . . . a valuable retrospective and reappraisal for those who remember these years; it will be an education in itself to those who do not.” – Matthew Frye Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and history, Yale University

For more information on the works of Daniel Horowitz, click here

9781625341662Forms of Association by Paul Yachnin and Marlene Eberhart: In today’s connected and interactive world, it is hard to imagine a time when cultural and intellectual interests did not lead people to associate with others who shared similar views and preoccupations. In this volume of essays, fifteen scholars explore how these kinds of relationships began to transform early modern European culture. Forms of Association grows out of the “Making Publics: Media, Markets, and Association in Early Modern Europe” (MaPs) project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This scholarly initiative convened an interdisciplinary research team to consider how “publics” developed in Europe from 1500 to 1700. This collaborative study provided a dynamic way of understanding the political dimensions of artistic and intellectual works and open the way toward a new history of early modernity. This collection represents the issues and questions coming out of the MaPs project, and how Renaissance scholarship could be advanced by projects like this one.

“With the overall high quality of the essays, the significant voices that are addressing the issues, and the direction forward that it suggests for work in the early modern period, this is an excellent collection and a valuable publication for scholars.” – Shannon Miller, San Jose State University

For more titles on British and European history, please visit our subject listings.

9781625341433Storytelling and Science by David K. Hecht: No single figure embodies Cold War science more than renowned physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The “Father of the Atomic Bomb” has drawn Americans to the story of the Manhattan Project he helped lead, and the riveting McCarthy politics that caught him in its crosshairs. Journalists and politicians, writers and artists have told Oppenheimer’s story in many different ways since he first gained notoriety in 1945. In Storytelling and Science, Hecht examines why they did so, and what they hoped to achieve through their stories. In these different renditions, Oppenheimer was alternately portrayed as hero and villain. Yet beneath the varying details of these stories, Hecht discerns important patterns in the ways that scientists shape popular understandings – and misunderstandings – of science.

“An original contribution to its field that opens the way to similar studies of the public images of other scientists and their science.” – David C. Cassidy, author of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American Century

For more titles in American Studies, review this list.

9781625341358Dickens and Massachusetts by Diana C. Archibald and Joel J. Brattin: Charles Dickens traveled to North America twice, in 1842 and twenty-five years later in 1867-68, and on both trips Massachusetts was part of his itinerary. Massachusetts was the one state that met and even exceeded Dickens’s expectations for “the republic of [his] imagination.” This volume provides insight from leading scholars who have begun to reassess the significance of Massachusetts in the author’s life and work. The collection begins with a broad biographical and historical overview, enhanced by images to tell the story of Dickens’s relationship with the vibrant cultural and intellectual life of Massachusetts. The second section includes essays that consider the importance of Dickens’s many connections to the commonwealth.

“This book fills an important gap in our understanding of Dickens’s first trip to America. Authored by some of the most highly respected scholars in Dickens studies and including thorough and authoritative research, this volume makes a timely and original contribution.” – Nancy Aycock Metz, author of The Companion to Martin Chuzzlewit

For more titles on British and European Literature, review this subject list.

9781625341570Making the Desert Modern by Chad H. Parker: In 1933, American oilmen, representing what later became the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco), signed a concession agreement with the Saudi Arabian king granting the company sole proprietorship over the oil reserves in the country’s largest province. Aramco built the infrastructure necessary to extract oil and also carved an American suburb out of the Arabian desert, with all the air-conditioned comforts of Western modern life. At the same time, executives cultivated powerful relationships with Saudi government officials and, to the annoyance of U.S. officials, even served the monarchy in diplomatic disputes. Before long, the company became the principal American diplomatic, political, and cultural agent in the country, a role it would continue to play until 1973, when the Saudi government took over its operations. In this book, Chad H. Parker tells Aramco’s story, showing how an American company seeking resources and profits not only contributed to Saudi “nation building” but helped define U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War.

“A valuable case study of ‘private diplomacy,’ Making the Desert Modern will serve as a model for a growing number of scholars in diplomatic history who are turning their attention to the roots of economic globalization and the interplay between corporations and states in an international context.” – Christian G. Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity

For more books in the Culture, Politics and the Cold War series, visit our website.

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Throwback Look: Culture, Politics and the Cold War Series

One of the best-known series produced by the University of Massachusetts Press, Culture, Politics, and the Cold War reexamines the Cold War as a distinct historical epoch, considering culture as inherently political and political struggles as culturally constructed. Established in 1998 with series editor Christian G. Appy and joined by Edwin A. Martini as co-editor in 2014, UMass Press showcases the emerging scholarship regarding the political and cultural discussions of this fascinating period in U.S. history.

In proposing this series to UMass Press, series editor Christian G. Appy recognized a growing trend of among Cold War historians. Looking beyond the traditional diplomatic and military interpretations, cultural historians had begun a rich exploration of the political and historical significance of particular cultural forms and expressions. Early publications in this series, such as James T. Fisher’s Dr. America and Christian G. Appy’s Cold War Constructions expand the definition of culture for the series by  incorporating “ways of life.” In Dr. America (1998)Fisher presents the biography of “jungle doctor” Tom Dooley, the famous physician during Vietnam,  in context with the broad range of developments in postwar U.S. culture – from the “Americanization” of Catholicism to the rise of mass media. In Cold War Constructions (2000), Appy’s collection of essays highlights the shaping of Cold War policy and policymakers by cultural values and assumptions. Stepping away from the idea of studying politics and culture, this volume was distinctly an investigation of political culture.

As the series evolved, several authors took an interest into the Cold War’s transformation of individual and collective identities. In particular, Tony Shaw’s Hollywood’s Cold War  (2007) looks at America’s self-image through the Hollywood’s role as a propaganda machine. In his analysis of declassified government documents, studio archives, and filmmakers’ private papers, Shaw reveals the criticual dual role of Hollwood: portraying communism as the greatest threat the country had ever faced, and selling the liberal-capitalist ideas of America. The book argues that movies were at the center of the Cold War’s battle for hearts and minds, and in doing so, created an entirely new understanding of American film.

A similar discussion takes place in Lee Bernstein’s The Greatest Menace: Organized Crime in Cold War America (2009). In its reinterpretation of citizenship and “Americanism,” The Greatest Menace points to the forging of a Cold War consensus that allowed the popular image of the sinister gangster to persist. His broad range of evidence, from government records to pulp novels, takes note of the deep social and political anxieties that plagued the American people across shifting lines of race, class, and ethnicity.

To date, the series is composed over thirty volumes, with at least one addition coming out this year. Chad Parker’s upcoming Making the Desert Modern: Americans, Arabs, and Oil on the Saudi Frontier, 1933-1973 (May 2015) tells the story of the Arabian American Oil Company’s contribution to defining U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War. The emergence of the term “modernization” was a key component of post-World War II American foreign policy, and the company quickly became the principal American diplomatic agent in Saudi Arabia for four decades. As a valuable case study of ‘private diplomacy,’ series editor Christian G. Appy commented that Making the Desert Modern “will serve as a model for … scholars in diplomatic history who are turning their attention to … economic globalization and the interplay between corporations and states in an international context.”

We know that the Culture, Politics, and the Cold War series will continue to be one of the key components of the UMass Press catalog.

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 Emily Esten is an editorial intern at UMass Press. She is a junior History/Digital Humanities major at UMass Amherst.