Since its introduction to Hawai'i in 1879, the 'ukulele has been many things: a symbol of an island paradise; a tool of political protest; an instrument central to a rich musical culture; a musical joke; a highly sought-after collectible; a cheap airport souvenir; a lucrative industry; and the product of a remarkable synthesis of western and Pacific cultures. The 'Ukulele: A History explores all of these facets, placing the instrument for the first time in a broad historical, cultural, and musical context.Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, Jim Tranquada and John King tell the surprising story of how an obscure four-string folk guitar from Portugal became the national instrument of Hawai'i, of its subsequent rise and fall from international cultural phenomenon to "the Dangerfield of instruments," and of the resurgence in popularity (and respect) it is currently enjoying among musicians from Thailand to Finland. The book shows how the technologies of successive generations (recorded music, radio, television, the Internet) have played critical roles in popularizing the 'ukulele. Famous composers and entertainers (Queen Liliuokalani, Irving Berlin, Arthur Godfrey, Paul McCartney, SpongeBob SquarePants) and writers (Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie) wind their way through its history--as well as a host of outstanding Hawaiian musicians (Ernest Kaai, George Kia Nahaolelua, Samuel K. Kamakaia, Henry A. Peelua Bishaw). In telling the story of the 'ukulele, Tranquada and King also present a sweeping history of modern Hawaiian music that spans more than two centuries, beginning with the introduction of western melody and harmony by missionaries to the Hawaiian music renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s.
On May 31, 1935, a storm system surged along the Republican River, bursting its banks in a matter of minutes with a roar that could be heard miles away. The greatest flood to hit the tri-state area of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, it left behind a landsc
A rollicking debut book of essays that takes readers on a trip through the muck of American myths that have settled in the desert of our country's underbelly
Early on July 16, 1945, Joshua Wheeler's great grandfather awoke to a flash, and then a long rumble: the world's first atomic blast filled the horizon north of his ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Out on the range, the cattle had been bleached white by the fallout.
Acid West, Wheeler's stunning debut collection of essays, is full of these mutated cows: vestiges of the Old West that have been transformed, suddenly and irrevocably, by innovation. Traversing the New Mexico landscape his family has called home for seven generations, Wheeler excavates and reexamines these oddities, assembling a cabinet of narrative curiosities: a man who steps from the stratosphere and free-falls to the desert; a treasure hunt for buried Atari video games; a village plagued by the legacy of atomic testing; a lonely desert spaceport; a UFO festival during the paranoid Summer of Snowden.
The radical evolution of American identity, from cowboys to drone warriors to space explorers, is a story rooted in southern New Mexico. Acid West illuminates this history, clawing at the bounds of genre to reveal a place that is, for better or worse, home. By turns intimate, absurd, and frightening, Acid West is an enlightening deep-dive into a prophetic desert at the bottom of America.
Generations of readers have delighted in Elinore Pruitt Stewart's Letters of a Woman Homesteader (1914) and Letters on an Elk Hunt (1915), among the most engaging accounts of life in the American West. Stewart related her adventures on an isolated Wyoming homestead with such vividness, gusto, and sympathy that she has become the woman homesteader. Until now, however, little has been known about her except what she chose to reveal in her published letters.
Old friends and new acquaintances alike will welcome this book combining Stewart's previously unpublished or uncollected letters with Susanne K. George's extensive research. Here is as full and candid a portrait as wella re ever likely to have of The Woman Homesteader: the illness, disappointments, and grinding hard work that lay behind her genial public persona; the family, neighbors, and correspondents who peopled her letter-stories and shared her life.
George has discovered in Elinore Pruitt Stewart a story fully as rewarding as any told by the Woman Homesteader herself. In an afterword George considers Stewart's use of fictional devices and her growth as a writer as well as her place in American letters.
African Americans have been part of the Vallejo mosaic since 1850, the year of the North Bay city s birth. John Grider, a Tennessee native and former slave who arrived in Vallejo in 1850, was one of the city s earliest residents and a veteran of the California Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. While many 19th-century black pioneers established homes, businesses, and schools, it was during the Great Migration period of 1910 1970s that the bulk of Vallejo s black community took firm root. During this period, black folks from throughout the South tiny towns and big cities alike, from places like Itasca, Texas; Heidelberg, Mississippi; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Lake Wales, Florida made their way west searching for war-industry jobs at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and lives relatively free of unrelenting racial discord. African Americans in Vallejo chronicles this proud and oftentimes complicated journey."
Beginning in the 1840s, black men and women heard the call to go west, migrating to California in search of gold, independence, freedom, and land to call their own. By the mid-1850s, a lively African American community had taken root in San Francisco. Churches and businesses were established, schools were built, newspapers were published, and aid societies were formed. For the next century, the history of San Francisco s African American community mirrored the nation s slow progress toward integration with triumphs and setbacks depicted in images of schools, churches, protest movements, business successes, and political struggles."
Based upon contemporary and informed opinion, Age of the Gunfighter tells of a tempestuous time and many a notorious gunfighter. Few of those who achieved fame and a reputation lived into old age. Ed Masterson, Tom Smith, and Bill Tilghman, for example, died in the line of duty. Others, like Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James, and Billy the Kid, were murdered because of their reputations, at the hands of the law or for personal or financial gain. And the few who survived into old age in the twentieth century, such as Wyatt Earp, were men out of place and time, steeped in nostalgia for an era gone but immortalized as the age of the gunfighter.
Through its many incarnations, Alameda has never lost its charm and ability to draw people from all walks of life. Originally a peninsula inhabited by Native Americans, it was purchased by Don Luis Peralta in 1818 and developed into a bedroom community of San Francisco. Alameda became an island in 1902, and a short time later, it was a new home to many refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The Neptune Beach amusement park attracted tourists who enjoyed the bathing, beaches, and rides, making Alameda the Coney Island of the West. Modern transportation carried people and cargo in and out on ferries, trains, ships, and planes, which landed at the busy Airdrome. The creation of the Naval Air Station in 1938 and World War II made Alameda a military town. The 1990s brought Alameda back to its first purpose, as a small town amongst big cities, its streets lined with graceful Victorians and with a diverse and lively population."
What began as a ranching family s Sunday pastime of horse racing, with cheering crowds and thundering hooves on dusty roads, would give way to the Alameda County Fair that we know today. The Bernal family built the original racetrack in 1859 on their 52,000-acre ranch, which was part of the Northern California land grant, Rancho Valle de San Jose. Looking to turn his newly acquired racetrack into profit, businessman Rodney G. MacKenzie approached a group of county businessmen and ranchers with a proposal to hold a county fair on his property. The first Alameda County Fair ran from October 23 to October 27, 1912. Local leaders sought to form a modern fair, and in 1939 the Alameda County Fair Association was established. Once considered a racing fair, the Alameda County Fair now boasts livestock and agriculture. For young and old alike, the thrilling carnival rides, beautiful quilt exhibits, baking contests, fast-paced horse racing, or just a corn dog and cotton candy provide something for everyone, as the Alameda County Fair now prepares to celebrate its 100th year."