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Series: Series in American History

Perplexing Patriarchies: Fatherhood Among Black Opponents and White Defenders of Slavery

Pierre Islam, Yale University

May 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-462-7
Availability: In stock
190pp. ¦ $60 £45 €51

Perplexing Patriarchies examines the rhetorical usage (and lived experience) of fatherhood among three African American abolitionists and three of their white proslavery opponents in the United States during the nineteenth century. Both the prominent abolitionists (Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Henry Garnet), as well as the prominent proslavery advocates (Henry Hammond, George Fitzhugh, and Richard Dabney), appealed to the popular image of the father, husband, and head of household in order to attack or justify slavery. How and why could these opposing individuals rely on appeals to the same ideal of fatherhood to come to completely different and opposing conclusions? This book strives to find the answer by first acknowledging that both the abolitionists and the proslavery men shared similar concerns about the contested status of fatherhood in the nineteenth century. However, due to subtle differences in their starting assumptions, and different choices of what parts of a father’s responsibilities to emphasize, the black abolitionists conceived of an ideal father who protected the autonomy of his dependents, while the proslavery men conceived of one whose authority necessitated the subordination of those he protected. Finding that these differences arose from choices in starting assumptions and emphases rather than total disagreement on what the role of the father should be, this work reveals that black abolitionists were not radically critiquing the gender conventions of their day, but innovatively working within those conventions to turn them towards social reform. This discovery opens up a new way for historians to consider how oppressed peoples negotiated the intellectual boundaries of the societies which oppressed them: Not necessarily breaking entirely from those boundaries, nor passively accepting them, but ingeniously synthesizing a worldview from within their confines that still allowed for freedom and personal autonomy.

Merrimack, The Biography of a Steam Frigate

Stephen Chapin Kinnaman

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-449-8
Availability: Available 4 weeks
386pp. [Color] ¦ $103 £80 €89

Merrimack is the biography of a warship, the U.S. Steam Frigate Merrimack. Her name has long been linked to the first duel of ironclads, an epic Civil War battle fought at Hampton Roads between the Monitor and Merrimack. But over time the myth of the Merrimack—actually the C.S.S. Virginia—displaced the memory of a magnificent antebellum U.S. Navy warship. The steam frigate Merrimack lost her identity. Nearly forgotten is the story of the original Merrimack, the namesake of a class of six powerful war steamers. When built she was the largest vessel in the U.S. Navy, the nation’s first screw-propelled frigate and the earliest major warship to be armed entirely with shell-firing guns. Her first commission took her on a tour of the principal naval stations of Europe. During her second commission, she served as flagship of the Navy’s Pacific Squadron, cruising the shores of Chile, Peru, Panama, Hawaii, Mexico and Nicaragua. Through the copious use of Merrimack’s deck logs, official correspondence, contemporary newspapers and journals, and original construction plans, the author’s research illuminates the mechanical issues and human interactions that indelibly shaped Merrimack’s brief career. The author provides an unparalleled glimpse into the day-to-day events that defined the life of an active antebellum warship. But Merrimack offers more than just a summary of the ship’s operational life. The author, a professional naval architect and marine engineer, dissects the origins of her design and compares the Merrimack class steam frigates to contemporary U.S. and British warships. He also examines the controversy surrounding her troubled engines, documenting their performance using archived drawings and steam log data. In summary, Merrimack embraces the many threads of a bygone era—history, biography, geography and technology—and has woven them together in telling of the story of the U.S. Steam Frigate Merrimack.

Merrimack, The Biography of a Steam Frigate

Stephen Chapin Kinnaman

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-448-1
Availability: Available 4 weeks
386pp. ¦ $69 £53 €60

Merrimack is the biography of a warship, the U.S. Steam Frigate Merrimack. Her name has long been linked to the first duel of ironclads, an epic Civil War battle fought at Hampton Roads between the Monitor and Merrimack. But over time the myth of the Merrimack—actually the C.S.S. Virginia—displaced the memory of a magnificent antebellum U.S. Navy warship. The steam frigate Merrimack lost her identity. Nearly forgotten is the story of the original Merrimack, the namesake of a class of six powerful war steamers. When built she was the largest vessel in the U.S. Navy, the nation’s first screw-propelled frigate and the earliest major warship to be armed entirely with shell-firing guns. Her first commission took her on a tour of the principal naval stations of Europe. During her second commission, she served as flagship of the Navy’s Pacific Squadron, cruising the shores of Chile, Peru, Panama, Hawaii, Mexico and Nicaragua. Through the copious use of Merrimack’s deck logs, official correspondence, contemporary newspapers and journals, and original construction plans, the author’s research illuminates the mechanical issues and human interactions that indelibly shaped Merrimack’s brief career. The author provides an unparalleled glimpse into the day-to-day events that defined the life of an active antebellum warship. But Merrimack offers more than just a summary of the ship’s operational life. The author, a professional naval architect and marine engineer, dissects the origins of her design and compares the Merrimack class steam frigates to contemporary U.S. and British warships. He also examines the controversy surrounding her troubled engines, documenting their performance using archived drawings and steam log data. In summary, Merrimack embraces the many threads of a bygone era—history, biography, geography and technology—and has woven them together in telling of the story of the U.S. Steam Frigate Merrimack.

Random Destiny: How the Vietnam War Draft Lottery Shaped a Generation

Wesley Abney

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-196-1
Availability: In stock
262pp. ¦ $60 £49 €56

This book provides a concise but thorough summary of how the selective service system worked from 1965 through 1973, and also demonstrates how this selective process, during a highly unpopular war, steered major life choices of millions of young men seeking deferrals based on education, occupation, marital and family status, sexual orientation, and more. This book explains each category of deferral and its resulting “ripple effect” across society. Putting a human face on these sociological trends, the book also includes a number of brief personal anecdotes from men in each category, told from a remove of 40 years or more, when the lifelong effects of youthful decisions prompted by the draft have become evident. There are few books which address the military draft of the Vietnam years, most notably CHANCE AND CIRCUMSTANCE: The Draft, the War and the Vietnam Generation, by Baskir and Strauss (1978). This early study of draft-age men discusses how they were socially channeled by the selective service system. RANDOM DESTINY follows up on this premise and draws from numerous later studies of men in the lottery pool, to create the definitive portrait of the draft and its long-term personal and social effects. RANDOM DESTINY presents an in-depth explanation of the selective service system in its final years. It also provides a comprehensive yet personal portrait of how the draft and the lottery steered a generation of young lives into many different paths, from combat to conscientious objection, from teaching to prison, from the pulpit to the Canadian border, from public health to gay liberation. It is the only recent book which demonstrates how American military conscription, in the time of an unpopular war, profoundly influenced a generation and a society over the decades that followed.

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