William C. Davis's Three Roads to the Alamo is far and away the best account of the Alamo I have ever read. The portraits of Crockett, Bowie, and Travis are brilliantly sketched in a fast-moving story that keeps the reader riveted to the very last word. -- Stephen B. Oates
Three Roads to the Alamois the definitive book about the lives of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barret Travis--the legendary frontiersmen and fighters who met their destiny at the Alamo in one of the most famous and tragic battles in American history--and about what really happened in that battle.
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
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.
A little over 170 years ago--hardly a moment on the clock of history--one half of the United States was empty of all but Indians and the plants and game on which they subsisted. Indeed, acquiring the Louisiana Territory approximately doubled the size of the United States, adding 800,000 square miles of land that had scarcely been explored or adequately mapped. Americans would be given an in-depth look this rugged and untamed land only when Secretary of War John C. Calhoun and President James Monroe agreed that a military presence at the mouth of the Yellowstone River (near the boundary between North Dakota and Montana) would impress the Indians and serve notice to Canadian trappers and traders that some of their favorite beaver country was now part of the United States.
In The Natural History of the Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains (1819- 1820), Howard E. Evans offers a colorful history of the expedition of Major Stephen H. Long--the first scientific exploration of the Louisiana Territory to be accompanied by trained naturalists and artists. Made up of twenty-two men--military personnel and scientific gentlemen--the Long Expedition struggled on foot and horseback along the Front Range of the Rockies, living off the land, recording rivers and landforms, shooting birds, plucking plants, and catching lizards and insects to preserve for study. They were often thirsty and hungry, sometimes ill, and always tired. But theirs was an experience awarded to only a chosen few: the opportunity to see and record firsthand the pristine lands that so majestically defined the United States.
Based primarily on the expedition members' reports and diaries, and often told in the participants' own words, this fascinating chronicle transports readers back to the near-virgin wilderness of 1820. We accompany naturalist Edwin James as he becomes the first man to climb Pike's Peak, and roam with him in his dual role as botanist, collecting a multitude of flora specimens, 140 of which were described by him and others as new. We sit with artist Samuel Seymour as he sketches in vivid detail the panorama of breathtaking peaks and prominent landforms, travel along with Titian Peale as he visits the homes of Native Americans and records with an artist's keen eye and gifted hand the intense beauty of this land's first inhabitants, and go exploring with zoologist Thomas Say as he describes never before seen mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. Beautifully illustrated with crisp reproductions of Peale and Seymour's art, as well as photographs of the many plants and insects described by James and Say, The Natural History of the Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains (1819-1820) offers a vivid account of this monumental expedition.
The story of the Long Expedition has been told before, but without due recognition of the party's great contributions to natural history. Now, anyone interested in the early history of the American West can witness for themselves how this vast and varied land looked and felt when it was first seen by trained scientists and artists.
The story of "the great thirst" is brought up to date in this revised edition of Norris Hundley's outstanding history, with additional photographs and incisive descriptions of the major water-policy issues facing California now: accelerating urbanization of farmland and open spaces, persisting despoliation of water supplies, and demands for equity in water allocation for an exploding population. People the world over confront these problems, and Hundley examines them with clarity and eloquence in the unruly laboratory of California.
The obsession with water has shaped California to a remarkable extent, literally as well as politically and culturally. Hundley tells how aboriginal Americans and then early Spanish and Mexican immigrants contrived to use and share the available water and how American settlers, arriving in ever-increasing numbers after the Gold Rush, transformed California into the home of the nation's preeminent water seekers. The desire to use, profit from, manipulate, and control water drives the people and events in this fascinating narrative until, by the end of the twentieth century, a large, colorful cast of characters and communities has wheeled and dealed, built, diverted, and connived its way to an entirely different statewide waterscape.
An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.
"Because of their relative stability, streets offer an incomparable framework for looking at the urban past and comparing it to the present," writes Millett in his introduction to Twin Cities Then and Now, which consists of seventy-two historic street scenes matched with new photographs taken from the same locations. Accompanying each scene is an informative essay that examines the often astonishing changes wrought by time and circumstance.
The historic photographs, some published here for the first time, include views taken from as long ago as the 1880s and as recently as the late 1950s. Jerry Mathiason's elegant new black-and-white photographs complement these historic images and provide superb visual comparisons between then and now, while Millett's lively text puts each scene into clear focus. Twin Cities Then and Now also includes four specially prepared maps along with detailed informational graphics that identify hundreds of significant buildings and places visible in the photographs.
Twin Cities Then and Now is an engaging, startling, and at times heartbreaking look at the dramatic march of progress in Minneapolis and St. Paul. For, as Millett also writes in his introduction, "to observe a city over time is to see, for better or worse, the remorseless power of change."
In this compelling critique Rob Wilson explores the creation of the "Pacific Rim" in the American imagination and how the concept has been variously adapted and resisted in Hawai'i, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Australia. Reimagining the American Pacific ranges from the nineteenth century to the present and draws on theories of postmodernism, transnationality, and post-Marxist geography to contribute to the ongoing discussion of what constitutes "global" and "local."
Wilson begins by tracing the arrival of American commerce and culture in the Pacific through missionary and imperial forces in the nineteenth century and the parallel development of Asia/Pacific as an idea. Using an impressive range of texts-from works by Herman Melville, James Michener, Maori and Western Samoan novelists, and Bamboo Ridge poets to Baywatch, films and musicals such as South Pacific and Blue Hawaii, and native Hawaiian shark god poetry-Wilson illustrates what it means for a space to be "regionalized." Claiming that such places become more open to transnational flows of information, labor, finance, media, and global commodities, he explains how they then become isolated, their borders simultaneously crossed and fixed. In the case of Hawai'i, Wilson argues that culturally innovative, risky forms of symbol making and a broader-more global-vision of local plight are needed to counterbalance the racism and increasing imbalance of cultural capital and goods in the emerging postplantation and tourist-centered economy.
Reimagining the American Pacific leaves the reader with a new understanding of the complex interactions of global and local economies and cultures in a region that, since the 1970s, has been a leading trading partner of the United States. It is an engaging and provocative contribution to the fields of Asian and American studies, as well as those of cultural studies and theory, literary criticism, and popular culture.
The modern woman who tries to juggle private and public roles with equilibrium will discover a spiritual ancestor in Alice Kirk Grierson. The colonel's lady spent most of her life at army outposts on the nineteenth-century western frontier, where she faced the problems of raising a large family while fulfilling the duties of a commanding officer's wife. Fortunately for history, she left a large and extraordinarily candid correspondence, which has now been edited by Shirley Anne Leckie.
Alice was the wife of Benjamin B. Grierson, a major general in the Civil War who won fame for a raid that contributed to the fall of Vicksburg. Her letters begin in 1866, when her husband reentered the army as colonel of the legendary buffalo soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry, and end with her death in 1888. During these years she chronicles the criticism experienced by her husband in commanding one of the army's two black mounted regiments and the frustration when he is repeatedly passed over for promotion, in part because he advocated a more humane Indian policy. All the while her position requires her to assume heavy responsibilities as a hostess. Her letters are just as unflinching in describing the daily hard-ships of raising a family at frontier posts like Forts Riley, Gibson, Sill, Concho, Davis, and Grant, where two of her seven children died young and two suffered from manic-depressive psychosis. They are extraordinary for their insight into nineteenth-century attitudes toward birth control, childbearing, marital roles, race relations, and mental illness.