The United States went to war in Iraq to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction--which turned out not to exist. As the war drags on, the strange case of the weapons that were not there remains a matter of bitter debate, for it underscores the fact that the goals and the motivations of the Bush administration officials who argued for war are still largely obscure. Yet in fact there exists crucial and little-publicized evidence that lets us understand the secretive, even deceptive, way that the the US launched a war of choice in the Middle East in March 2003.At the beginning of May 2005, just before the British elections, the London Times published the "Downing Street Memo," the leaked secret minutes of a July 2002 meeting of senior British intelligence, foreign policy, and security officials. The memo made clear that eight months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush had already decided on war. The British officials who attended the meeting were told that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," that the US wanted to avoid consulting the UN, and that few plans were being made for the aftermath of war. Largely ignored in the US press for weeks afterward, The New York Review of Books published the memo in its entirety with an extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Mark Danner. Danner explains how the memo clarifies the broader--and largely concealed--history of the events leading up to the Iraq war. He shows that the Bush and Blair administrations advocated the resumption of UN weapons inspections as a means not to avoid war but to ensure it. Most importantly, Danner argues that in the face of the memo's clear evidence of deception, the press, public, and Congress still have not held the administration responsible. The Secret Way to War, with a preface by by Frank Rich, includes Mark Danner's strongly argued analysis of the Downing Street Memo as well as the complete text of the memo and seven other leaked British documents. Collectively, the documents show the members of Tony Blair's government and their counterparts in Washington struggling to find legal and political rationales and strategies for regime change in Iraq.
At the end of the Reconstruction, the spread of science and technology, industrialism, urbanization, immigration, and economic depressions eroded Americans' conventional beliefs in individualism and a divinely ordained social system. In The Search for Order, Robert Wiebe shows how, in subsequent years, during the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Americans sought the organizing principles around which a new viable social order could be constructed in the modern world. This subtle and sophisticated study combines the virtues of historical narrative, sociological analysis, and social criticism.
By "the foremost Jacksonian scholar of our time" (New York Times), the critically acclaimed and most concise biography of Andrew Jackson that takes a comprehensive look at the political, personal, and military life of the seventh president of the United States.
When the most romantic of cow outfits, the British-owned Matador, shipped out from Texas with 3,000 head of cattle bound for Dakota and the Cheyenne Indian Reservation, an observant young bronc twister named Ike Blasingame rode with them. Dakota Cowboy--which the New York Times calls "warm, human, flavorful"--is the story of Ike's eight years (1904-1912) on the last of the great open ranges. Its pages "take the reader across the treacherous Missouri as the spring-softened ice goes out under the horses' feet, into the still wild cow towns, through the roundups, the prairie fires, and to the gatherings of the Frenchmen, breeds and Indians, and their gay spirited daughters" (Mari Sandoz). Perceptive and circumstantial--"the author paints a big picture without omitting details" (New York Herald Tribune)--Dakota Cowboy is a mine of information about western life.
The stunning story of one of America's great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal. Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.
By looking at what the Petersburg women did and thought and comparing their behavior with that of men, Lebsock discovers that they placed high value on economic security, on the personal, on the religious, and on the interests of other women. In a society committed to materialism, male dominance, and the maintenance of slavery, their influence was subversive. They operated from an alternative value system, indeed a distinct female culture.
Mary Dodge Woodward, a fifty-six-year-old widow, moved from Wisconsin with her two grown sons and a daughter to a 1,500-acre bonanza wheat farm in Dakota Territory's Red River valley in 1882. For five years she recorded the yearly farm cycle of plowing and harvesting as well as the frustrations of gardening and raising chickens, the phenomenon of mirages on the plains, the awesome blizzard of 1888, her reliance on her family, and her close relationship with her daughter. She noted "blots, mistakes, joys, and sorrows" in her "olf friend." This Borealis edition brings back to print a valuable record of a frontier woman's life.
"Mary Dodge Woodward's personal record of her life on a Dakota Territory 'bonanza farm' adds new detail and texture to the histories of both women and the West. . . . She] wrote about what she saw: The epic procession of reapers and threshing crews, the wildflowers and birds, the stupendous mirages that could make the wintry prairie an optical wonderland." --Elizabeth Jameson, from the Introduction