156 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of the American West about their New Books
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New Books in the American West Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0 • 8 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of the American West about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-west

    Jane Little Botkin, "The Girl Who Dared to Defy: Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver" (U Oklahoma Press, 2021)

    Jane Little Botkin, "The Girl Who Dared to Defy: Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver" (U Oklahoma Press, 2021)

    In 1916, hundreds of local female household workers attempted to establish a union in Denver. The organizer behind the effort was Jane Street, a remarkable 29-year-old woman who, as Jane Little Botkin describes in The Girl Who Dared to Defy: Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021), brought a remarkable set of skills to what seemed an impossible task. Raised in Arkansas, young Jane went west with her sister after a failed marriage to a bigamist and sexual predator. While in San Francisco, she joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and upon her move to Denver in late 1915 began to organize the mainly immigrant housemaids who worked for the city’s elite. While Street’s efforts enjoyed considerable success initially, she soon found herself battling as well the patriarchal views of the all-male IWW leadership. The loss of the Housemaids’ Union’s charter in 1917 spelled the beginning of the end for the local, while the demands of her growing family forced Street to bring her career as a labor activist and union organizer to a premature end soon afterward.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Richard White, "California Exposures: Envisioning Myth and History" (Norton, 2020)

    Richard White, "California Exposures: Envisioning Myth and History" (Norton, 2020)

    This book began as a bet between a father and son: could Richard White, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and renowned historian of the American West, tell a complete history of California through photographs taken by his son, the photographer Jesse Amble White? As he tells it, no - Richard White lost that bet to Jesse. But the resulting book they created together, California Exposures: Envisioning Myth and History (Norton, 2020), is nonetheless an engrossing read. Taking Jesse's photographs as touchstones for the meeting places between myth and history, White tracks the history of California through the moment of Sir Francis Drake's landing in the 16th century (though where exactly that landing took place is a matter of some debate), all the way to the water crises engulfing the state now in the early 21st century. Along the way, Richard and Jesse both show and tell stories of Indigenous California, of settlement and agriculture, and of research libraries blocking entry to sensitive material. If California history is American history in microcosm, California Exposures argues that history needs to be seen to be believed.
    Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Elyssa Ford, "Rodeo as Refuge, Rodeo as Rebellion: Race, Gender, and Identity in the American Rodeo" (UP of Kansas, 2020)

    Elyssa Ford, "Rodeo as Refuge, Rodeo as Rebellion: Race, Gender, and Identity in the American Rodeo" (UP of Kansas, 2020)

    Imagine a rodeo rider atop a bucking bronco, hat in hand, straining to remain astride. Is the rider in your mind's eye white? Is the person male? Popular imaginings and high level, televised, professional rodeo circuits have created a stereotyped image of who rodeo is by and for, but it is far too limited an image, and one that does not reflect reality.
    In Rodeo as Refuge, Rodeo as Rebellion: Race, Gender, and Identity in the American Rodeo (University Press of Kansas, 2020), Dr. Elyssa Ford, an associate professor of history at Northwest Missouri State University, paints a very different image of rodeo than what Western myth would have one believe. Ford argues that rodeo has, from its creation, both a vehicle for rebellion and a place of refuge for groups of people told they didn't belong in the American West, let alone in Western rodeo. From Hawaiian ranching culture to Black and gay rodeo, men and women have used professional riding as a powerful expression of self in a nation that has often tried to deny their very personhood.
    Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Lucas Bessire, "Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    Lucas Bessire, "Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains (Princeton University Press, 2021) offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.
    Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.
    An urgent and unsettling meditation on environmental change, Running Out is a revelatory account of family, complicity, loss, and what it means to find your way back home.
    Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com.
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    • 48 min
    Crawford Gribben, "Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Crawford Gribben, "Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    In America's Pacific Northwest a group of conservative Protestants have been conducting a new experiment in cultural transformation. Dissatisfied with what they see as the clumsy political engagement and vapid literary and artistic culture of mainstream Evangelicals, these Christian Reconstructionists have deployed an altogether different set of strategies for the long game, fueled by their Calvinist theology and much-more-hopeful apocalypse. 
    In Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford UP, 2021), Crawford Gribben presents a hybrid study of historical, theological, literary, and anthropological analysis of this variant of Evangelical counter-culture. Gribben paints a rich and detailed portrait of this loosely banded, sometimes coordinated migration to the "American redoubt." This migration has led, in part, to the establishment of a network of communities and institutions that include churches, a liberal arts college, a publishing house, and an ambitious media strategy that has already had an outsize impact. 
    From their outpost in Idaho and prompted by their revised postmillennial eschatology, these Christian conservatives are preparing to survive the collapse American society and to reconstruct a godly society that will usher in the Kingdom of Christ. For this group of born-again Protestants, their apocalyptic strategy is precisely to be left behind.
    Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    • 42 min
    Rick McIntyre, "The Reign of Wolf 21: In the Valley of the Druid King" (Greystone Books, 2020)

    Rick McIntyre, "The Reign of Wolf 21: In the Valley of the Druid King" (Greystone Books, 2020)

    Today I talked to Rick McIntyre about the first two books of his ongoing The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series.
    The first book we discuss, The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog, introduces us to the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.
    Yellowstone National Park was once home to an abundance of wild wolves—but park rangers killed the last of their kind in the 1920s. Decades later, the rangers brought them back, with the first wolves arriving from Canada in 1995. This is the incredible true story of one of those wolves. Wolf 8 struggles at first—he is smaller than the other pups, and often bullied—but soon he bonds with an alpha female whose mate was shot. An unusually young alpha male, barely a teenager in human years, Wolf 8 rises to the occasion, hunting skillfully, and even defending his family from the wolf who killed his father. But soon he faces a new opponent: his adopted son, who mates with a violent alpha female. Can Wolf 8 protect his valley without harming his protégé?
    The second book we discuss, The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack, continues the story.
    In this compelling follow-up to the national bestseller The Rise of Wolf 8, Rick McIntyre profiles one of Yellowstone’s most revered alpha males, Wolf 21. Leader of the Druid Peak Pack, Wolf 21 was known for his unwavering bravery, his unusual benevolence (unlike other alphas, he never killed defeated rival males), and his fierce commitment to his mate, the formidable Wolf 42. Wolf 21 and Wolf 42 were attracted to each other the moment they met—but Wolf 42’s jealous sister interfered viciously in their relationship. After an explosive insurrection within the pack, the two wolves came together at last as leaders of the Druid Peak Pack, which dominated the park for more than 10 years. McIntyre recounts the pack’s fascinating saga with compassion and a keen eye for detail, drawing on his many years of experience observing Yellowstone wolves in the wild. His outstanding work of science writing offers unparalleled insight into wolf behavior and Yellowstone’s famed wolf reintroduction project. It also offers a love story for the ages.
    Rick McIntyre has spent more than fifty years watching wolves in America’s national parks, twenty-five of those years in Yellowstone, where he has accumulated over 100,000 wolf sightings and educated the public about the park’s most famous wolves. He has spoken about the Yellowstone wolves with 60 Minutes, NPR, and CBC, and he is profiled extensively in Nate Blakeslee’s American Wolf and in international publications. He lives in Silver Gate, Montana.
    Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine.
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    • 1 hr 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Zendude2664 ,

NBC is Great, But

Great authors and extensive content. However, the production values need some work in many interviews. Seems to mostly be a problem when Marshall added all the new interviewers.

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