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.
James McPherson has emerged as one of America's finest historians. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times Book Review, called "history writing of the highest order." In that volume, McPherson gathered in the broad sweep of events, the political, social, and cultural forces at work during the Civil War era. Now, in Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, he offers a series of thoughtful and engaging essays on aspects of Lincoln and the war that have rarely been discussed in depth.
McPherson again displays his keen insight and sterling prose as he examines several critical themes in American history. He looks closely at the President's role as Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces, showing how Lincoln forged a national military strategy for victory. He explores the importance of Lincoln's great rhetorical skills, uncovering how--through parables and figurative language--he was uniquely able to communicate both the purpose of the war and a new meaning of liberty to the people of the North. In another section, McPherson examines the Civil War as a Second American Revolution, describing how the Republican Congress elected in 1860 passed an astonishing blitz of new laws (rivaling the first hundred days of the New Deal), and how the war not only destroyed the social structure of the old South, but radically altered the balance of power in America, ending 70 years of Southern power in the national government.
The Civil War was the single most transforming and defining experience in American history, and Abraham Lincoln remains the most important figure in the pantheon of our mythology. These graceful essays, written by one of America's leading historians, offer fresh and unusual perspectives on both.
Government officials and missionaries wanted all Sioux men to become self-sufficient farmers, wear pants, and cut their hair. The Indians, confronted by a land-hungry white population and a loss of hunting grounds, sought to exchange title to their homeland for annuities of cash and food, schools and teachers, and farms and agricultural knowledge. By 1862 the Sioux realized that their extensive kinship network and religion were in jeopardy and that the government would not fulfill its promises.
With their way of life endangered, the Sioux turned to Little Crow to lead them in a war for self-preservation, a war that Little Crow had tried to avoid during most of his adult life. Within a year, the Sioux had been evicted from Minnesota, Little Crow was dead, and a way of life had vanished. Through his life-his biography-the complex interrelationship of Indian and white can be studied and, in some measure, understood.
On March 20, 1822, the Missouri Republican published a notice addressed "to enterprising young men" in the St. Louis area. "The subscriber," it said "wishes to engage one hundred young men to ascend the Missouri River to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years. For particulars enquire of Major Andrew Henry... or of the subscriber near St. Louise." The "subscriber" was General William H. Ashley, and among the "enterprising young men" who embarked with Major Henry less than a month later was eighteen-year-old James Bridger, former blacksmith's apprentice. So began the Ashley-Henry fur empire and the long, colorful career of Jim Bridger.
In the years that followed, Jim Bridger became a master mountain man, an expert trapper, and a guide without equal. He came to know the Rocky Mountain region and its inhabitants as a farmer knows his fields and flocks. Indeed, J. Cecil Alter tells us, "he was among the first white men to use the Indian trail over South Pass; he was first to taste the waters of the Great Salt lake, first to report a two-ocean stream, foremost in describing the Yellowstone Park phenomena, and the only man to run the Big Horn River rapid on a raft; and he originally selected the Crow Creek-Sherman-Dale Creek route the Laramie Mountains and Bridger's Pass over the Continental Divide, which were adopted by the Union pacific Railroad."
Such knowledge, together with extraordinary skill and uncanny luck, preserved Jim Bridger in a country where nearly half of his mountain companions met violent death. It also gave rise to a brood of impossible tales about Old Gabe and his adventures-tales which he himself may unwittingly have helped along with his droll humor.
Based on Mr. Alter's original biography of 1925 (a facsimile edition of which, with addenda, appeared in 1950) and a wealth of new facts gleaned from many years of careful research, Jim Bridger is the authentic story of the Old Scout's life. Only those events in which Bridger took part are included; improbable and uncorroborated stories, however interesting, have been omitted.
In the early 1800s, when once-powerful North American Indian peoples were being driven west across the Mississippi, a Shawnee prophet collapsed into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he told friends and family of his ascension to Indian heaven, where his grandfather had given him a warning: "Beware of the religion of the white man: every Indian who embraces it is obliged to take the road to the white man's heaven; and yet no red man is permitted to enter there, but will have to wander about forever without a resting place."
The events leading to this vision are the subject of A Spirited Resistance, the poignant story of the Indian movement to challenge Anglo-American expansionism. Departing from the traditional confines of the history of American Indians, Gregory Evans Dowd carefully draws on ethnographic sources to recapture the beliefs, thoughts, and actions of four principal Indian nations--Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Creek. The result is a sensitive portrayal of the militant Indians--often led by prophets--who came to conceive of themselves as a united people, and launched an intertribal campaign to resist the Anglo-American forces.
Dowd also uncovers the Native American opposition to the movement for unity. That opposition, he finds, was usually the result of divisions within Indian communities rather than intertribal rivalry. In fact, Dowd argues, intertribal enmity had little to do with the ultimate failure of the Indian struggle; it was division within Indian communities, colonial influence on Indian government, and the sheer force of the Anglo-American campaign that brought the Indian resistance movement to an end. An evocative history of long frustration and ultimate failure, A Spirited Resistance tells of a creative people, whose insights, magic, and ritual add a much-needed dimension to our understanding of the American Indian.
This Library of America volume, along with its companion, presents, for the first time in compact form, all seven titles of Francis Parkman's monumental account of France and England's imperial struggle for dominance on the North American continent. Deservedly compared as a literary achievement to Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Parkman's accomplishment is hardly less awesome than the explorations and adventures he so vividly describes.Pioneers of France in the New World (1865) begins with the early and tragic settlement of the French Huguenots in Florida, then shifts to the northern reaches of the continent and follows the expeditions of Samuel de Champlain up the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes as he mapped the wilderness, organized the fur trade, promoted Christianity among the natives, and waged a savage forest campaign against the Iroquois. The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (1867) traces the zealous efforts of the Jesuits and other Roman Catholic orders to convert the Native American tribes of North America. La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West (1869) records that explorer's voyages on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and his treks, often alone, across the vast western prairies and through the labyrinthine swamps of Louisiana. The Old R gime in Canada (1874) recounts the political struggles among the religious sects, colonial officials, feudal chiefs, royal ministers, and military commanders of Canada. Their bitter fights over the monopoly of the fur trade, the sale of brandy to the natives, the importation of wives from the orphanages and poorhouses of France, and the bizarre fanaticism of religious extremists and their "incessant supernaturalism" animate this pioneering social history of early Canada.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
The best one volume biography of Madison's life, Ketcham's biography not only traces Madison's career, it gives readers a sense of the man. As Madison said of his early years in Virginia under the study of Donald Robertson, who introduced him to thinkers like Montaigne and Montesquieu, "all that I have been in life I owe largely to that man." It also captures a side of Madison that is less rarely on display (including a portrait of the beautiful Dolley Madison).
More than 300 black-and-white illustrations vividly portray the fair and its many faces. Historic photographs show long-gone amusements-the wooden Cannon Ball roller coaster, an organ grinder and his monkey, reenactments of famous battles at the Grandstand-as well as early versions of fair scenes that know no era: crowds, traffic jams, trinket sellers, prize winners. Reproductions of advertisements, posters, ribbons, lapel pins, and newspaper cartoons give a glimpse of the cheerful hype of promoters and the tongue-in-cheek commentary that accompanied their efforts. And contemporary photographs capture the fair's varied moods and scenes, from the early-morning preparations in a church dining hall through the stresses and joys of showing animals, the thrill of the Midway, the lure of deep-fried foods, and the excitement of being crowned a queen, to the clean-up of tons of garbage in the night's wee hours.
Along with the glitter and the fun, the Minnesota State Fair has always been a microcosm of midwestern life. Almost 150 years of cultural, social, aesthetic, economic, and technological change have left their mark on the venerable institution. And, at the same time, the fair has made its mark on society-urban as well as rural. Displays of women's work or farm machinery, the fine arts or the prize bull-all have been part of the fair's dual mission of education and entertainment. Each of Blue Ribbon's chapters focuses on one such topic, showing how the state fair grew and responded to prevailing tastes and conditions-and how it sometimes acted as a powerful agent of change.
Art and architecture, politics, social movements, and agricultural history are all part of this story-along with the dimensions of giant radishes, the memories of early fairgoers, and a listing of the calories in favorite state fair foods. Like the fair itself, this book offers something for everyone. Here are the sights, if not the smells and sounds, of "The World's Greatest State Fair."