The majority of the country is stuck inside weathering a deep arctic freeze (oh, and a global pandemic). The staff here at UPK is no different. As an opportunity to turn off the tube, we’d like to suggest some analog matches from our backlist to complement your digital favorites…
If you enjoyed Spike Lee’s story of four African American veterans returning to Vietnam decades after the war to find their squad leader’s remains, you might like Lisa Doris Alexander’ Expanding the Black Film Canon; Race and Genre across Six Decades, which expands our idea of what black films are and, going back to the 1960s, shows us new and interesting ways to understand them.
Obsessed with mysteries that seem to have no explanation? Dig into J. Patrick O’Connor’s Justice on Fire: The Kansas City Firefighters Case and the Railroading of the Marlborough Five. O’Connor describes a misguided eight-year investigation propelled by an overzealous Bureau of Alcohol, ATF agent keen to retire; a mistake-riddled case conducted by a combative assistant US attorney willing to use compromised “snitch” witnesses and unwilling to admit contrary evidence; and a sentence of life without parole pronounced by a prosecution-favoring judge.
Did Aaron Sorkin’s historical legal drama stoke your interests in Chicago history? Check out Joel E. Black’s Structuring Poverty in the Windy City: Autonomy, Virtue, and Isolation in Post-Fire Chicago. Black explains how the process begun by the Relief and Aid Society after the Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 would expand outward—from jobless men to workingwomen to southern African American migrants, each defined by, and defining, poverty.
Love the work done by the Dutton family in Montana, but know it’s the women who really run the operations? Check out Sandra K. Schackel’s Working the Land: The Stories of Ranch and Farm Women in the Modern American West. Schackel tells the tales of how women on today’s ranches and farms have played a crucial role in a way of life that is slowly disappearing from the western landscape.
Has the pandemic and cold weather turned your family into something resembling the Fraser family? Maybe check out Ian Dowbiggin’s The Search for Domestic Bliss: Marriage and Family Counseling in 20th-Century America.In The Search for Domestic Bliss, Dowbiggin delves into the stories of the usual suspects in the founding of the therapeutic gospel, exposing little known aspects of their influence and misunderstood features of their work.
If you’ve spent countless hours streaming the 17(!) seasons of “medical drama” on Grey’s Anatomy, maybe it’s time to brush up on your actual anatomy. Try John Cody’s classic Visualizing Muscles, which features a live model painted to look as though his skin had been stripped off and then photograph in multiple poses. Paired photographs—show how the simulated muscles produce the subtle lights and darks, hills and valleys, on the model’s unpainted skin.
So you’re into dystopian science fiction Westerns with a side of amusement park fun? Well then, you need to check out William H. Katerberg’s classic Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction. Katerberg takes a new look at works of utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic science fiction to show how narratives of the past and future powerfully shape our understanding of the present-day West.
A flying object, shaped like a potato chip with the center cut out, lands on Earth and grows a crystal shell? Cool. Thomas E. Bullard wrote a whole book about it. The Myth and Mystery of UFOs shows how ongoing grassroots interest in UFOs stems both from actual personal experiences and from a cultural mythology that defines such encounters as somehow “alien”—and how it views relentless official denial as a part of conspiracy to hide the truth. Bullard also describes how UFOs have catalyzed the evolution of a new but highly fractured belief system that borrows heavily from the human past and mythic themes and which UFO witnesses and researchers use to make sense of such phenomena and our place in the cosmos.
Watching the news have you thinking: ‘Well, how did we get here?’ David E. Kyvig’s The Age of Impeachment: American Constitutional Culture since 1960 has some answers. In this magisterial work, Bancroft Prize-winning historian David Kyvig chronicles the rise of a culture of impeachment since 1960—one that extends far beyond the infamous scandals surrounding Presidents Richard Nixon (Watergate) and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky) and has dramatically altered the face of American politics.