Short Takes: News and Reviews

First things first, we need to congratulate/brag about Angela Jill Cooley. Her book To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South has been nominated for a 2016 James Beard Foundation Book Award in Reference and Scholarship! Winners will be announced on April 26, 2016.

Also, Women’s History Month is almost over and so is our Southern Women: Their Lives and Times series sale. Click on the series page to browse all available titles in the series and enter the code WOMEN16 to get 31% off your purchase at checkout.

Our authors are busy this spring. Be sure to check out the events page to see if there’s anything happening in your town soon. If you’re in Athens, be sure to mark next Thursday, March 31st, on your calendar. Avid Bookshop is hosting the launch party for Philip Jura’s latest book of paintings, The Wild Treasury of Nature:
A Portrait of Little St. Simons Island. Hope to see you there.


Blood, Bone, and Marrow
A Biography of Harry Crews
Ted Geltner
Foreword by Michael Connelly

Geltner brilliantly renders the life of the late writer Harry Crews (1935–2012) in this well-researched and vivid biography. It captures the wild spirit of an unflinching American writer from his early years in impoverished Bacon County, Ga. (which Crews devastatingly captured in his most beloved book, A Childhood), to his years as an esteemed but volatile faculty member in the University of Florida’s creative writing program. . . Geltner deftly examines each of Crews’s books and, without glossing over his alcoholism, shows that the hard living for which Crews was known did not break his ability to write. His discipline and respect for the art were reflected in the motto displayed above his desk: ‘Get Your Ass on the Chair.’ Geltner proves that Crews was not just a great ‘Southern Gothic’ writer, but a great American one, too.”

Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

The scholarship throughout this anthology is both rigorous and innovative. The essays invite students of the American Civil War to consider the relevant environmental conditions that shaped the daily lives of those who fought it.”

—Gregory J. Dehler, Michigan War Studies Review

“The creatively titled book The Blue, the Gray, and the Green is one of the most exciting collections of scholarship I have read in quite some time. Promising to improve our understanding of the Civil War with insights from environmental history, the authors break new ground and offer tantalizing suggestions for future scholarship. The twelve scholars have succeeded in crafting a work that should be required reading for graduate students and all those interested in expanding the boundaries of Civil War historiography.”

—Adam W. Dean, Agricultural History

“If Civil War historians want to discover how participants in the past perceived a war fought outdoors, it is past time to immerse Civil War history in nature. Ranging from localized, heavily empirical analysis to broad and imaginative explanations of cultural changes, these essays are a starting point for doing just that.”

—Evan A. Kutzler, The Civil War Monitor

“Although the book is not intended to serve as a comprehensive environmental history of the Civil War, it has firmly set itself as the new starting point for scholars who wish to add their own interpretations to what promises to be a thriving and important field of Civil War studies. Any serious scholar of American environmental history or the Civil War must come to terms with both the answers and, more importantly, questions offered by this outstanding volume.”

—Matthew M. Stith, Environmental History

“For Civil War enthusiasts, scholars, and students in any field, these essays demonstrate what historians discover when they bring their keen eyes, experience, and curiosity to places outside their usual stomping grounds. These varied questions and methods of these scholars offer southern historians well-crafted vignettes about various wartime landscapes and communities, including mountains, battlefields, cotton fields, Piedmont tobacco barns, muddy roads, dense second-growth forests, cemeteries, and even deserts.”

—Kathryn Morse, Journal of Southern History

The early encounters of French and Native peoples have been mostly described as a ‘middle ground,’ a place of exchange, intermingling, and cohabitation free of violence, but this work sheds light on one of the exceptions to this ‘standard’ French colonial experience in North America. . . . This academic work can introduce general readers to a wide range of subjects across disciplines, including French colonial diplomacy, law, race, slavery, and violence, as well as native cultures in the Southeast during the eighteenth century.”

—Sonia Toudji, Arkansas Historical Quarterly

“This excellent work provides a fascinating account of the forces that caused the Natchez to fashion a ‘red’ identity.”

—F. Todd Smith, Journal of American History


Lens of War
Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War
Edited by J. Matthew Gallman and Gary W. Gallagher

“Even the most familiar photographs in the book take on deeper meaning, making Lens of War a must-read for any Civil War buff.”

The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Enterprising Women offers a vital reassessment of the relationship among gender, race and power in the Atlantic World.”

—Danielle Skeehan, Journal of American History

juras_wildtreasury_hA full portrait of the island is collectively created when the images are assembled and viewed together. The Wild Treasury of Nature is presented in an order both artistically and ecologically informed, intentionally working its way from the heart of the maritime live oak forest, through the marshes and out to the shoreline. The landscapes gradually become more open as the terrain evolves from dense, intricately tangled greenery to rolling dunes, calm waters and sun-kissed horizons.”

—Jessica Smith, Flagpole

Historian Lawrence McAndrews provides a welcome addition to a growing body of scholarship that incorporates the Catholic experience more fully within U.S. history. McAndrews’s experience—as the author of several books and articles on Catholic schools and education policy in the United States—provides gravitas to this work, which effectively navigates Catholicism’s complexity. Scholars of post-1960 U.S. religion and politics will find this book a critical starting point for research.”

—Thomas J. Carty, The Catholic Historical Review

The authors make a compelling case that the best use of Robinson Forest is for conservation and education and not extraction. While the book is specific to this particular site, the questions it raises make it an excellent and thought-provoking addition for anyone interested in environmental ethics or conservation policy.”

—Zeb Weese, Natural Areas Journal


Snakes of the Southeast
Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas

More comprehensive than a slim pocket guide, but much more accessible than a scholarly reference, Snakes of the Southeast has a clear idea of what questions need answering and who’s asking them.”



Kentucky Women
Their Lives and Times
Edited by Melissa A. McEuen and Thomas H. Appleton Jr.

How have women shaped Kentucky history? This well-edited collection of seventeen essays provides an answer in biographical form, profiling twenty-three notable women. Their stories span three centuries and encompass an ambitious range of topics. . .”

—Penny Messinger, Journal of Southern History

So what is there in a book about west Georgia gullies for academic readers? Quite a bit, actually, for these are very instructive gullies that illustrate the use and abuse of soil worldwide. Writing skillfully, with a wry eye for environmental irony, historian Sutter traces a history of Provident Canyon, where erosion of ill-kept farmland resulted in some of the most spectacular gullies in the world the 19th century.”

—B. E. Johansen, Choice

See this article about Providence Canyon in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer featuring Paul Sutter.


Penn Center
A History Preserved
Orville Vernon Burton with Wilbur Cross
Foreword by Emory S. Campbell

In clear prose supported by important primary and secondary sources and evocative photographs, Burton posits Penn School (now Penn Center) as both witness to and actor in history. The book is an important gift to educational and social historians as well as anyone interested in resilience, resistance, and the potential of schools to effect social change.”

—Mary-Lou Breitborde, The South Carolina Historical Magazine

This volume stands as a testament to the value of interdisciplinary research. Feeser’s sensibility as an art historian breathes life into her study of this high-demand commodity from the eighteenth century and the red, white, and black people who made it.”

 —Megan Hatfield, The South Carolina Historical Magazine


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