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California Literary Review » American History California Literary Review

Democracy and Populism : Fear and Hatred by John Lukacs

by
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Robert C.
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Cheeks

January 25th, 2020

You may not like what he says, you may not agree with his conclusions, but his thinking and his writing are so broad, rich, and in-depth that all but the most iconoclastic, the most radicalized, is forced to consider his perspectives.

Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy by Kent Nerburn

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Ed
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Voves

January 22nd, 2020

No one knows for certain who first uttered the notorious statement that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” General Philip Sheridan, commander of the U.S. Army on the Western Frontier, often gets the dubious honor for a remark he reputedly made to a Comanche chief in 1869.

Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America by Eric Rauchway

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Bradley
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Kreit

January 18th, 2020

Academics often say that there are two ways to use history: As a means to understand the past, or as a means to understand the present.

An Interview With Scott Zesch

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Mike
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January 3rd, 2020

“It seems to have been universal throughout North America. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, abductions by Indians were common along the eastern seaboard, especially in colonial Massachusetts and Virginia. A large number of those children also came to prefer the natives’ way of life.”

An Interview With Thomas E. Woods Jr.

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Robert C.
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Cheeks

January 2nd, 2020

“The book takes a strongly antistatist position, and advances views that used to be common among conservatives but that today you simply don’t hear anymore.”

An Interview With Chilton Williamson

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Robert C.
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Cheeks

January 1st, 2020

“I am against all organizations with the word “World” in their names. As for free trade, it is a strategy of deracinated corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of discrete nations and their peoples.”

Book Review: Lincoln’s Hundred Days by Louis P. Masur

by
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Ed
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Voves

October 25th, 2012

The determination to end slavery may not have figured initially as a Union war aim for most of the young men in Blue who did the fighting and dying. But Masur quotes from numerous soldier letters and diaries to prove that many Union troops were horrified by the conditions that they found in the south, particularly the enslavement of children fathered by their own “masters.”

Book Review: Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan

by
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Ed
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Voves

October 15th, 2012

The course of Curtis’ campaign to document the lives and life style of the Native American peoples is related by Egan with considerable detail and page-turning élan. There were plenty of incidents of physical ordeal and, in some cases, real danger. An Apache medicine man who divulged secrets of his tribe’s religious practices died under suspicious circumstances shortly after Curtis left the reservation. That fate might well have befallen Curtis…

Book Review: The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 by Scott Zesch

by
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Ed
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Voves

August 22nd, 2012

As the 1860’s ended, the steadily growing numbers of Chinese immigrants led to fears that eventually their numbers would outstrip those of California’s white population. And the Chinese themselves became more “Americanized” in their response to insults, assaults and robbery attempts. As attacks by Anglos and Latinos escalated and as factional fighting grew in their own ranks, Chinese in California increasingly armed themselves with Colt 45s. Increasingly, they began to shoot back.

Book Review: George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis

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Peter
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Bridges

January 19th, 2012

George Frost Kennan was one of the most influential of all American diplomats, as well as an historian and writer who won two National Book Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes. It was Kennan who, first in his “long telegram” sent from the American embassy at Moscow in February 1946, and then in his anonymous “X” article in Foreign Affairs the following year, laid out for policy-makers, and then for the American public, the true nature of Stalinism and Soviet policy at a time when some still took a benevolent view of our wartime Soviet ally.

Book Review: Mightier Than The Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds

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Jeff
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McMillan

June 13th, 2011

The escalating one-upmanship led to some truly bizarre innovations, such as casting famous boxers in the lead roles. Reynolds described how Peter Jackson, a famous black boxer, figured into the entertainments: “Uncle Tom, between acts or just before dying, would momentarily trade his slave costume for boxing trunks and spar for three rounds with another actor before resuming his tragic role.”

Book Review: Doc by Mary Doria Russell

by
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Ed
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Voves

May 28th, 2011

It is the daily struggle of life that blights the lives of Russell’s protagonists. Ill-health and empty wallets are a greater danger than a Cheyenne raid. For Doc Holliday, the enemy is tuberculosis, a cruel, cunning disease that truly consumes him, body and — steadily, stealthily — soul. During a brief period of remission, Doc rides out to the surrounding prairie and experiences an epiphany of what life, during a good spell, can offer.

The Civil War Begins: An Exhibition at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia

by
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Ed
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Voves

January 26th, 2011

These are not merely newspapers, letters, transcripts of speeches and official reports from the 1850’s through the first major battles of the war in 1861. To a very significant degree, the words inscribed on these timeworn documents actually influenced the outbreak of the Civil War.

Book Review: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

by
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Ed
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Voves

October 8th, 2010

Nevertheless, it is a considerable shock to read indictments of Washington in the letters of Patriot leaders such John Adams, Dr. Benjamin Rush and even Thomas Jefferson. Though some of these remarks were valid criticisms of specific decisions on the part of Washington, the reality of his wartime situation stands in marked contrast to the adulation later heaped upon him. As Abraham Lincoln would experience during the Civil War, Washington was frequently distrusted and damned during his lifetime, often by political colleagues and fellow officers who should have known better.

Book Review: The Fort by Bernard Cornwell

by
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Sam
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Stowe

October 5th, 2010

Bernard Cornwell, who has written a masterful novel about Agincourt, tackles the American Revolution and its realities in his new work, The Fort. You won’t find any shellacked heroes here. His patriots range from the committed few to the mercenary many and include a host of men who have been shanghaied (“Impressed” was the term of the day) into serving their country involuntarily.

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