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The Journal of American History

December 2017

Volume 104, No. 3

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Presidential Address

“Deprive the populace of real news—and you disarm it.” So said the well-known journalist Will Irwin in 1936. More than a dozen years earlier Walter Lippmann had warned that “the present crisis of western democracy is a crisis in journalism.” The close connection between democratic governance and the availability of public knowledge through free and factual media, so much in the news today, echoes a similar alertness to danger during the interwar years. The troublesomeness of publicly known “facts” was on the table in the 1920s and 1930s in a potential forewarning of today’s alarm at the Trump administration sowing confusion about what is true and what is not. In her presidential address to the 2017 Organization of American Historians annual meeting, Nancy F. Cott considers the parallels and what we can learn from them.

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Ambiguous Allegiances: Urban Loyalties during the American Revolution

Donald F. Johnson reconceptualizes personal loyalty during the American Revolution. Moving away from static categories of loyalist and patriot, he argues that men and women living under military rule maintained deliberately vague and ambiguous allegiances to survive under the harsh social and material conditions brought on by British occupation. Further, by appropriating for their own advantage a carefully crafted language of loyalism intended to sway civilians to return their allegiance to the king, these people undermined the effectiveness of British occupation regimes, frustrated attempts to restore imperial rule, and ultimately hastened the fall of the British Empire in America.

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“Chinamen” and “Delinquent Girls”: Intimacy, Exclusion, and a Search for California’s Color Line

At the height of Chinese exclusion and Jim Crow, two young white sisters in rural California formed startlingly intimate relationships with two Chinese men. Their extensive interactions across the color line, which resulted in statutory rape cases in 1904, trouble scholarly assumptions about the racial geography of the Progressive Era. While Chinese migrants faced systemic exclusion at the national border, they often encountered an uncertain and permissive racial etiquette in the interior. Through a microhistory of Chinese sexual and racial transgression, Beth Lew-Williams shows why the Chinese-white color line cannot be understood as simply an extension of Chinese exclusion or a variant of Jim Crow.

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Birth of the U.S. Colonial Minimum Wage: The Struggle over the Fair Labor Standards Act in Puerto Rico, 1938–1941

Anne S. Macpherson recasts debates about the late New Deal, documenting the fierce struggle in Puerto Rico between organized labor and U.S. and local employers over the minimum wage provisions of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (flsa). Militant labor rallied to its defense, and New Dealers prevented conservatives from decimating the law, but shared imperialism—of both New Dealers and conservatives—intensified by war preparations, facilitated an amendment that allowed lower minimum wages in colonial holdings. Macpherson launches a reappraisal of the importance of Puerto Rico, the flsa, and the 1938–1941 period to New Deal scholarship and U.S. labor history, and of the New Deal period to the history of U.S. empire.

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“Mostly of Spanish Extraction”: Second-Class Citizenship and Racial Formation in Puerto Rican Chicago, 1946–1965

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico and its diaspora have been much in the news. The devastation will likely accelerate the current outmigration to the mainland, made easier by islanders’ U.S. citizenship. But historical examination of earlier Puerto Rican migrations calls into question the benefits of citizenship. Michael Staudenmaier revisits a time before the emergence of “Latina/o” as a broad ethnoracial category and examines Puerto Ricans arriving in Chicago after World War II. Drawing on archives in Chicago and Puerto Rico, as well as scholarship on racial formation, he highlights the role of migration and citizenship in how races are made. Such lessons will be particularly timely in the post-Maria era.

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An Idol and Once a President: John F. Kennedy at 100

How does one balance the limited achievements of John F. Kennedy’s presidency against the persistence of the saga of a celebrity politician whom many Americans have never stopped celebrating? The only sensible approach is to evaluate jfk’s achievements and his myth together, to understand how each abetted the other. In his review essay Michael Kazin evaluates how the arguments of major works on Kennedy’s life, politics, and governance have changed since his assassination in 1963. However unintentionally, JFK created a popular expectation about how American presidents should speak and act that has become an unchallenged norm in the years since his death.

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JAH Podcast

A Special Podcast on Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Benjamin Irvin, executive editor of the Journal of American History, speaks with Anne Macpherson, associate professor of history at the College of Brockport, SUNY, and Michael Staudenmaier, visiting assistant professor of history and Latin American and Latino/a studies at Aurora University, about their articles appearing in the December 2017 issue of the JAH.

Length: 59 min.
File size: 12 MB
Subscribe to the Podcast

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Exhibition Reviews

Introduction: Exhibition Reviews, by Brian Horrigan, and Kathleen Franz

World War I Beyond the Trenches, by Jennifer Wingate

WWI America, by Jeffrey Kolnick

Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, by Adam Fairclough

Museum of the American Revolution, by Rick Beard

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Book Reviews

Dec. 2017, Vol. 104 No. 3

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.



Alilunas , Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video, by Jon Lewis

[Top of Reviews]




Beilein, Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri, by Nicole Etcheson
Benes, For a Short Time Only: Itinerants and the Resurgence of Popular Culture in Early America, by Neil Kamil
Blake, Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics, by Kathryn Cramer Brownell
Boustan, Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets, by Matthew J. Countryman
Brandt, First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington's Mount Vernon in the American Imagination, by Joseph Manca
Brier, Downs and Morgan, eds., Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America, by Benita Roth
Brophy, University, Court, and Slave: Pro-Slavery Thought in Southern Colleges and Courts and the Coming of Civil War, by Austin Allen
Broussard, Stepping Lively in Place: The Not-Married, Free Women of Civil-War-Era Natchez, Mississippi, by Patrick W. O’Neil
Browne-Marshall , The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justice, by Lee Sartain
Buchanan, American Grand Strategy in the Mediterranean during World War II, by Jeremi Suri
Burrough, Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, by Nicholas Witham

[Top of Reviews]




Cecil, Branding Hoover's FBI: How the Boss's PR Men Sold the Bureau to America, by Richard Gid Powers
Clark, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, by Catherine L. Albanese
Cline, From Reconciliation to Revolution: The Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity, and the Civil Rights Movement, by Wesley Hogan
Cozzens, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, by Bruce E. Johansen
Cunfer and Waiser, eds., Bison and People on the North American Great Plains: A Deep Environmental History, by Natale A. Zappia

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Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Thomas F. Jackson
Dilbeck, A More Civil War: How the Union Waged a Just War, by Mark Grimsley
Dinnella-Borrego, The Risen Phoenix: Black Politics in the Post–Civil War South, by Marek D. Steedman
Dun, Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America, by Peter Thompson

[Top of Reviews]




Eckstein, Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution, by Daniel Chard
Erby, Restaurant Republic: The Rise of Public Dining in Boston, by James E. McWilliams
Etheridge, Enemies to Allies: Cold War Germany and American Memory, by Wilfried Mausbach

[Top of Reviews]




Farrow, Seward's Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase, by J. Dane Hartgrove
Fear-Segal and Rose, eds., Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Indigenous Histories, Memories, and Reclamations, by Ruth Spack
Finucane, The Temptations of Trade: Britain, Spain, and the Struggle for Empire, by David Pretel
Follett, et al., Plantation Kingdom: The American South and Its Global Commodities, by A. Glenn Crothers
Foulkes, A Place for Us: West Side Story and New York, by Julia Walker
Fuentes , Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive, by Brooke Newman

[Top of Reviews]




Garcia, Literature as History: Autobiography, Testimonio, and the Novel in the Chicano and Latino Experience, by Lee Bebout
Garrett, Making Lamanites: Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947–2000, by Max Mueller
Gibson, Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History, by Etienne Benson
Goloboy, Charleston and the Emergence of Middle-Class Culture in the Revolutionary Era, by Brian Luskey

[Top of Reviews]




Hill and Hill, eds., Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa during the Long Civil Rights Era, by Toni Anderson
Hill, Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory, by Julie Armstrong
Hodges, World War I and Urban Order: The Local Class Politics of National Mobilization, by Christopher M. Sterba
Hood, In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis, by Eric Homberger
Horne, Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic, by Robert L. Paquette
Howlett and Cohan, John Dewey: America's Peace-Minded Educator, by Carl Mirra
Hrach, The Riot Report and the News: How the Kerner Commission Changed Media Coverage of Black America, by Yuya Kiuchi
Hughes , Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast, by Kirsten Fermaglich

[Top of Reviews]




Inouye, The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration, by Cherstin M. Lyon

[Top of Reviews]




Jackson, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary, by Akim D. Reinhardt
Johnson, Escaping the Dark, Gray City: Fear and Hope in Progressive-Era Conservation, by Kevin C. Armitage
Juster, Sacred Violence in Early America, by Daniel Mandell

[Top of Reviews]




Kelly, Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America, by Jennifer Van Horn
Kilgore, Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from the Revolution to the Civil War, by Lawrence Buell
Krochmal, Blue Texas: The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era, by Merline Pitre
Kudlick, ed., Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity, by Rachel Elder

[Top of Reviews]




Lederhendler, American Jewry: A New History, by Howard B. Rock
Levi, Food, Control, and Resistance: Rations and Indigenous Peoples in the United States and South Australia, by Brenden Rensink
Levy, Puerto Ricans in the Empire: Tobacco Growers and U.S. Colonialism, by Jorge Duany
Liles and Boswell, eds., Women in Civil War Texas: Diversity and Dissidence in the Trans-Mississippi, by Victoria E. Ott
Lipstadt, Holocaust: An American Understanding, by Edward T. Linenthal
Loza, Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom, by Christine Marin

[Top of Reviews]




Manning, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, by Barbara A. Gannon
Martinez, A Long Dark Night: Race in America from Jim Crow to World War II, by Paul D. Moreno
Martucci, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America, by Carolyn Herbst Lewis
McDonald, Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson's Image in His Own Time, by Jean M. Yarbrough
McElya, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, by Teresa Bergman
Merchant, Spare the Birds! George Bird Grinnell and the First Audubon Society, by Peter Alagona
Murphy, Deregulating Desire: Flight Attendant Activism, Family Politics, and Workplace Justice, by Nicholas L. Syrett
Mustakeem, Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage, by Eric Robert Taylor

[Top of Reviews]




Neary, Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914-1954, by James R. Barrett

[Top of Reviews]




O'Hara, Inventing the Pinkertons; or, Spies, Sleuths, Mercenaries, and Thugs, by Gerda Ray

[Top of Reviews]




Parker, Hearts, Minds, Voices: U.S. Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Formation of the Third World, by Greg Barnhisel
Paul, When Movies Were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film, by Elisabeth Bronfen
Porter, Benevolent Empire: U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World's Dispossessed, by Julia Irwin
Pyrges, Das Kolonialprojekt EbenEzer: Formen und Mechanismen protestantischer Expansion in der atlantischen Welt des 18. Jahrhunderts, by A. G. Roeber

[Top of Reviews]




Reed, Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800–1907, by Clarissa W. Confer
Robin, The Cold World They Made: The Strategic Legacy of Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter, by David Tal

[Top of Reviews]




Saldaña-Portillo, Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States, by Juan Martínez
Satterthwaite, Local Glories: Opera Houses on Main Street, Where Art and Community Meet, by Timothy J. Crimmins
Scanlon, Until There Is Justice: The Life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman, by Marisa Chappell
Schmidt, Village Atheists: How America's Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation, by Stephen Weldon
Schmuhl, Ireland's Exiled Children: America and the Easter Rising, by Timothy J. Meagher
Schulte, As Precious as Blood: The Western Slope in Colorado’s Water Wars, 1900–1970, by Andrew Needham
Scott, Younger Than That Now: The Politics of Age in the 1960s, by Ronald Cohen
Shafer, The American Political Pattern: Stability and Change, 1932-2016, by Alonzo L. Hamby
Simpson, American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867–1940, by John G. Turner
Smith and Verma, eds., Anatomy of Sound: Norman Corwin and Media Authorship, by Judith Smith
Smith, ed., Interpreting American History: Reconstruction, by Justin Behrend
Socolow, Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics, by Allen Guttmann
Sutter, Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South, by Matthew Booker
Sweeney, Prelude to the Dust Bowl: Drought in the Nineteenth-Century Southern Plains, by Neil M. Maher Jr.

[Top of Reviews]




Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804, by James Kloppenberg
Turpin, A New Moral Vision: Gender, Religion, and the Changing Purposes of American Higher Education, 1837-1917, by David P. Setran

[Top of Reviews]




Vester, A Taste of Power: Food and American Identities, by Jeffrey Pilcher

[Top of Reviews]




Whitham, Post-War Business Planners in the United States, 1939–48: The Rise of the Corporate Moderates, by Brian Waddell
Wilentz, The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics, by Andrew Hartman
Winterer, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason, by Philipp Ziesche

[Top of Reviews]

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Movie Reviews

The Perfect Crime, by Stephen Whitfield

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, by Ivan Robertson

Loving, by Larry Greene

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, by Sascha Cohen

The Great War, by Benjamin L. Alpers

The Founder, by James Deutsch

Five Came Back, by Douglas A. Cunningham

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Digital History Reviews

O Say Can You See: Early Washington D.C., Law and Family, by Sharon M. Leon

A Red Record: Revealing Lynchings in North Carolina, by Carole Emberton

Million Dollar Hoods, by Dan Royles

Clio, by Rebecca Wingo

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Recent Scholarship

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

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