Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? Book Review

WAS AMERICA FOUNDED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION? (Revised Edition, 2016) By John Fea Westminster John Knox Press, 324 pages     For tens of millions of Americans, there’s no need to pose the question raised in the title of John Fea's monograph. Most self-identified evangelicals adamantly insist that it was, and humanists and political progressives … Continue reading Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? Book Review

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Last Indian War?

Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI. By David Grann, Doubleday, 2017, 352 pp.   History books tell us that the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre and the slaughter of at least 150 Indians* was the final episode in the wars between Native Americans and whites. Perhaps we should … Continue reading Killers of the Flower Moon: The Last Indian War?

Wilderness of Ruin Both Fascinating and Frustrating

The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer. By Roseanne Montillo. New York: William Morrow, 2015. Gilded Age Boston and Chicago shared a lot in common. Both had World's Fairs: Boston in 1883, and Chicago ten years later. Each suffered devastating fires, with Chicago being nearly … Continue reading Wilderness of Ruin Both Fascinating and Frustrating

Kent State Reconsidered

Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties. By Thomas M. Grace. University of Massachusetts Press, 2016. 273 pages + appendices, notes, index.  Tin soldiers and Nixon coming/We’re finally on our own/This summer I hear the drumming/Four dead in Ohio. Those lines from Neil Young’s “Ohio” were inescapable by the summer of 1970, with … Continue reading Kent State Reconsidered

History of White Trash

This review appeared in the Cultured Classrooms section of NEPCA's fall newsletter. It seems appropriate to repost it as a review on Inauguration Day.   Putting Class Back Into the Classroom I'm guilty of being one of those scholars who too glibly use the words “important book” in reviews and academic discussions. We often mean, simply, … Continue reading History of White Trash

Salome Ensemble a Slice of 20th Century History

The Salome Ensemble: Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezierska, Sonya Levien, and Jetta Goudal. By Alan Robert Ginsberg. Syracuse University Press, 2016.   If you don’t know who Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), Anzia Yezierska (1880-1970), Sonya Levien (1888-1960), and Jetta Goudal (1881-1985) are, you should. Their lives are a study in connections, as friends, role-models, and … Continue reading Salome Ensemble a Slice of 20th Century History

Nothing High Falutin’ (but maybe stuff you can use!)

STRANGE HISTORY (2016). By Jay Newman, editor. Portable Press, 2016.   Have you ever seen Chuck Shepherd's quirky "New of the Weird" columns? If so, you can imagine the content of Strange History. In editor Jay Newman's words, it's a "smorgasbord of oddities: kings, queens, commoners, criminals, gladiators, aliens, ghosts, monsters…." You can add to … Continue reading Nothing High Falutin’ (but maybe stuff you can use!)

Book Review: new Look at Sue Mengers

Can I Go Now? The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s First Superagent. Brian Kellow. New York: Viking, 2015. Brain Kellow has written the definitive biography of Sue Mengers, and it’s a fun book. Mengers was an influential Hollywood talent agent who represented some of the industry's most glamorous stars at the height of their careers, … Continue reading Book Review: new Look at Sue Mengers

Book Review: Lessons Learned from Popular Culture

Lessons Learned from Popular Culture. By Tim Delaney and Tim Madigan. SUNY Press, 2016. 274 pp. It's been 46 years since Ray Browne (1922-2009) founded the Popular Culture Association, and 49 since he launched the Journal of Popular Culture. Yet, as uncomfortable as it might make a lot of scholars, pop culture remains suspect in … Continue reading Book Review: Lessons Learned from Popular Culture

Book Review: Why Your Band Sucks

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear). Jon Fine. New York: Viking, 2015.   Jon Fine’s memoir Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) chronicles the author’s career as a second tier rock star and reflects on … Continue reading Book Review: Why Your Band Sucks