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The Mixtec Pictorial Manuscripts: Time, Agency and Memory in Ancient Mexico  by Maarten E. R.G.N. Jansen, Gabina Aurora Perez Jimenez (Early Americas: History and Culture: Brill Academic) The Mixtec civilization (of Oaxaca, Mexico) is one of the most interesting to survive from pre-colonial Mesoamerica. Among its characteristic products were highly artistic pictographic codices depicting the history and dynasties of the its city-states. This handbook surveys and describes the illustrated Mixtec manuscripts that survive in Europe, the United States and Mexico. It outlines the history of their decipherment, current questions, discussions and methodologies relating to readings, social organization, religion and historical drama, and surveys the six centuries of Mixtec history covered in the texts. More

The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (New Edition) by Michael Denning (Verso) A panoramic history of the culture of Depression-era America and the Popular Front, The Cultural Front, written by Michael Denning who teaches American Studies at Yale University, charts the extraordinary upsurge of cultural activity and theory in America that began during the Great Depression. Spawned by the Popular Front of the Communist Party, it grew to encompass virtually every aspect of high and popular art in the U.S., instigating one of the most culturally rich and exciting periods in American history. More

Plains Indians Regalia & Customs by Bad Hand (Schiffer Publishing) This original study of Plains Indian cultures of the 19th century is presented through the use of period writings, paintings and early photography that relate how life was carried out. The author Bad Hand juxtaposes the sources with new research and modern color photography of specific replica items. Bad Hand is a Native American author, historian, lecturer and replica maker who has made the study of Plains Indian culture part of his life. More

United States West Coast: An Environmental History by Adam Sowards, series editor: Mark Stoll (Nature and Human Societies: ABC-CLIO) From Native people's skilled use of fire and plants to the California Gold Rush to ongoing efforts to provide Southern California with sufficient water, the North American West Coast has long been a region where humankind has nurtured, battled, and exploited the environment. This groundbreaking volume explores the interplay of ecology, economy, and culture throughout the history of this rich and abundant region, examining the ways its residents and their institutions both influence and are affected by the ecological systems in which they live. More

Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya: The Great Classic of Central American Spirituality, Translated from the Original Maya Text edited, translated by Allen J. Christenson (University of Okalahoma Press) Popol Vuh, the Quiché Mayan book of creation, is not only the most important text in the native languages of the Americas, it is also an extraordinary document of the human imagination. It begins with the deeds of Mayan gods in the darkness of a primeval sea and ends with the radiant splendor of the Mayan lords who founded the Quiché kingdom in the Guatemalan highlands. Originally written in Mayan hieroglyphs, it was transcribed into the Roman alphabet in the sixteenth century. The poetic edition of Dennis Tedlock's unabridged, widely praised translation includes new notes and commentary, newly translated passages, newly deciphered hieroglyphs, and over forty new illustrations. Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition Of The Mayan Book Of The Dawn Of Life by Dennis Tedlock (Touchstone) still has the poetic panash if not the up–to-the-minute variants based on recent scholarship   The Popol Vuh is the most important example of Maya literature to have survived the Spanish conquest. It is also one of the world's great creation accounts, comparable to the beauty and power of Genesis.  More

An Admiral for America: Sir Peter Warren, Vice Admiral of the Red, 1703-1752 by Julian Gwyn, James C. Bradford, Gene A. Smith  (New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology: University Press of Florida)
 Excerpt: "A skillful analysis of the character and ambitions of a man of wide vision who seized the opportunities that luck frequently put in his way. . . . Gwyn’s biography aptly describes a quintessential mid-18th-century British naval hero who used his fame, position, and connections to emerge as one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the British Navy."

Sir Peter Warren, one of the most imaginative officers of the British Navy, played a key role in the defense and expansion of British naval power in colonial America. In this biography, Julian Gwyn, the preeminent authority on Warren and an award-winning author, describes Warren's strategic military vision and sympathetic view of colonial life as well as his frustrated political aspirations and entrepreneurial real estate ventures in both New York and England.

Born into an Irish Catholic family, Warren signed on as a seaman at age 13 and rapidly advanced in rank in the Royal Navy, a new profession in the early 1700s. Through the turmoil and warfare of the mid-18th century, Warren cruised up and down the North American coast, from one theater of conflict to the next, becoming particularly associated with colonial New York, New England, South Carolina, and the West`Indies. He participated in the failed siege of St. Augustine in 1740, commanded the North American Squadron when it was first created in 1745, and cooperated with American forces at the successful siege of Fort Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. He also helped to plan the conquest of Canada, which in 1746 proved to be abortive, and served in the Western Squadron until 1748, contributing to the humiliation of the French navy at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.

With his marriage to New Yorker Susannah DeLancey, Warren became part of the social and commercial life of New York. Rich with prize money from his naval career, he also became a prominent landowner with property in Manhattan that later became Greenwich Village. Though he hoped his in-laws’ connections and his English patrons would help his bid to become governor of New York, he forfeited a promising career in politics in 1749 by opposing his patrons on a proposed naval reform bill.

Warren died suddenly in Dublin during an interlude of peace, while he was negotiating extensive land purchases. His widow enjoyed his wealth and reflected naval glory--he had achieved the rank of Vice Admiral of the Red and was a member of Parliament--and his American-born children married into English aristocracy. 

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb (Broadway) With his signature storytelling verve and command of action adventure, Webb follows the Celts' descendants through contentious centuries of migration across Scotland to Northern Ireland and across the ocean to the harsh New World. He highlights the feats of Scots-Irish forebears, particularly William Wallace, the thirteenth century patriot who defied England's proud King Edward and died a horrible death for his "brave heart," and Robert the Bruce, who wielded the sword to gain Scotland's recognition, from England and the pope, as a separate nation. He also reveals how the notion of "Celtic kinship" endured, through intermarriage and education, and how a hands-on, bottom-up approach to taking care of the tribe's business persisted, regardless of the adversary or the cost.

From the 1730s, when they claimed the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia as their new homeland, Born Fighting chronicles how Scots-Irish Americans changed the nation's course and character. Chapters explore:

The debt American politics owes to the first Scots-Irish president—a self-made lawyer with a passion for the common good, Andrew Jackson

The roots of evangelical Christianity, including its current revival, in the staunch Scots-Irish faith in Calvinist fundamentalism

The Scots-Irish honor at the heart of Confederate pride—and the complex reasons, apart from slavery, that poor Southern whites tenaciously fought the Civil War

The singular Scots-Irish mix of natural rebellion, insistent egalitarianism, a strong military tradition, and patriotism that has made America a force to reckon with

Webb also gives the Scots-Irish their due for completely American art forms and pastimes, most notably country music, as well as the stereotype and the reality of hard-drinking, hard-working, straight-talking blue-collar America. He also sheds light on the major role of guns in Scots-Irish American culture and the true meaning of "redneck."

A compelling work of cultural history, Born Fighting is also the profoundly personal story of many proud Americans—including the Murphys, the Doyles, and others whose sacrifices, convictions, and bloodlines gave birth to James Webb.

A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial That Gripped the Nation by Douglas C. Waller (HarperCollins) It had all the ingredients of a movie drama: a scandal that grips Washington and touches the White House; bitter battles and backroom intrigue at the highest levels of the U.S. military; glamorous women who make or break the careers of powerful men; a high-stakes trial with a celebrity defendant who captures the nation's attention ...

A Question of Loyalty plunges into the seven-week Washington trial of Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, the hero of the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I and the man who proved in 1921 that planes could sink a battleship. In 1925 Mitchell was frustrated by the slow pace of aviation development, and he sparked a political firestorm, accusing the army and navy high commands, and by inference the president, of treason and criminal negligence in the way they conducted national defense. He was put on trial for insubordination in a spectacular court-martial that became a national obsession during the Roaring Twenties.

Douglas Waller has crafted a compelling new biography of the daring Billy Mitchell, a larger-than-life figure remembered as much for his outspokenness as for his innovations in the use of airpower. Waller has uncovered a trove of new letters, diaries, and confidential documents that have enabled him to capture in detail the drama of the court and to build a rich and revealing biography of Mitchell, one of the army's most controversial and flamboyant generals.

Born to a millionaire Midwest family at the end of the 1870s, Mitchell joined the military at the age of eighteen and became one of its rising stars. During World War I, he led the largest armada of airplanes ever to attack an enemy force and returned to the United States a dashing young general with a chest full of medals and a radical vision of airpower as the only decisive instrument for future wars. But as the military shrank in the postwar years, Mitchell became increasingly impatient and vocal, lashing out at bureaucratic enemies he accused of impeding airpower's progress. After a tragic airship accident that shocked the nation, he publicly blasted the War and Navy Departments for their handling of aviation and was put on trial for it.

A Question of Loyalty is a story about Washington politics, about love and betrayal, about heroes in battle, about determined lawyers and powerful military men pitted against one another in a courtroom.

From Publishers Weekly
A superb and charismatic Signal Corps officer and innovative air tactician in WWI, Mitchell, the son of a Wisconsin senator, faced an internal conflict: should he be loyal to his superior officers, whom he regarded as almost treasonably incompetent, or to what he saw as his country's best interests, which included a vastly larger, united and independent air arm? The result was a famous court-martial, which Time magazine correspondent Waller (The Commandos), with scholarship and balance, makes extremely comprehensible and gripping to readers more than 75 years on. The shorter biographical portion portrays Mitchell as egotistical, insubordinate, a so-so pilot, a racist, a spendthrift and borderline alcoholic, and heavily responsible in a messy divorce from his first wife. The trial itself was a media circus of modern proportions; Mitchell emerges as somewhat more than a gadfly if something less than a hero, essential to the growth of modern American air power but hardly a spotless martyr or a major strategic thinker. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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