22
Jan 18

Reconstruction in Alabama, a 2017 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

It is with great pleasure that LSU Press announces that Reconstruction in Alabama by Michael W. Fitzgerald has been selected as a 2017 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.

Fitzgerald is a professor of history at St. Olaf College and the author of Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860-1890 and The Union League Movement in the Deep South: Politics and Agricultural Change During Reconstruction.

In Reconstruction in Alabama, Fitzgerald offers the first comprehensive reinterpretation of that state’s history in over a century. The civil rights revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s transformed the literature on Reconstruction in America by emphasizing the social history of emancipation and the hopefulness that reunification would bring equality. Much of this revisionist work served to counter and correct the racist and pro-Confederate accounts of Reconstruction written in the early twentieth century.

Fitzgerald’s work not only revises the existing troubling histories of the era, it also offers a compelling and innovative new look at the process of rebuilding Alabama following the war. Attending to an array of issues largely ignored until now, Fitzgerald’s history begins by analyzing the differences over slavery, secession, and war that divided Alabama’s whites, mostly along the lines of region and class. He examines the economic and political implications of defeat, focusing particularly on how freed slaves and their former masters mediated the postwar landscape. For a time, he suggests, whites and freedpeople coexisted mostly peaceably in some parts of the state under the Reconstruction government, as a recovering cotton economy bathed the plantation belt in profit. Later, when charting the rise and fall of the Republican Party, Fitzgerald shows that Alabama’s new Republican government implemented an ambitious program of railroad subsidy, characterized by substantial corruption that eventually bankrupted the state and helped end Republican rule. He shows, however, that the state’s freedpeople and their preferred leaders were not the major players in this arena: they had other issues that mattered to them far more, like public education, civil rights, voting rights, and resisting the Klan’s terrorist violence.

After Reconstruction ended, Fitzgerald suggests that white collective memory of the era fixated on black voting, big government, high taxes, and corruption, all of which buttressed the Jim Crow order in the state. This misguided understanding of the past encouraged Alabama’s intransigence during the later civil rights era. Despite the power of faulty interpretations that united segregationists, Fitzgerald demonstrates that it was class and regional divisions over economic policy, as much as racial tension, that shaped the complex reality of Reconstruction in Alabama.

Reconstruction in Alabama is one of 504 books and digital resources chosen by the CHOICE editorial staff from among the over 5,300 titles reviewed by CHOICE during the past year.

These outstanding works were selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as an importantoften firsttreatment of their subject. Constituting about nine percent of the titles reviewed by CHOICE during the past year, and two percent of the more than 25,000 titles submitted to CHOICE during this same period, Outstanding Academic titles are truly the “best of the best.”

 


05
Jan 18

December Roundup: News, Events, Reviews

December is always a special time of the year. Here’s some news from LSU Press last month. Visitations by Lee Upton was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of December. Books by Brannon Costello, Richard Campanella, and Kathryn Fontenot were included in holiday gift guides in the New Orleans Advocate and Forces of Geek. Philip Gould was awarded the 2016 James William Rivers Prize. Andrew F. Lang, Ed Falco, Michael Patrick Cullinane, and Bryan Giemza and Maria Hebert-Leiter wrote fantastic posts for the LSU Press Blog. And we published new books by Ed Falco, Michael Patrick Cullinane, Urmi Engineer Willoughby, Andrew F. Lang, April E. Holm, and James O. Heath.

Below you’ll find a list of our January titles, upcoming events with our authors, and some recent publicity and reviews of our books. If you want to keep up with the press in real time, follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!


New in January

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Selected Publicity and Praise

Girl after Girl after Girl: Poems by Nicole Cooley

“You probably know someone who needs a wrapped copy of this weirdly fascinating book for the holidays, perhaps with a tiny doll half-strangled amid the ribbons.”—Kenyon Review

Armies in Gray: The Organizational History of the Confederate States Army in the Civil War by Dan C. Fullerton

“This very well documented work is an immensely useful reference for anyone seriously interested in the Civil War”—NYMAS Review

The Secret Life of Bacon Tait a White Slave Trader Married to a Free Woman of Color by Hank Trent

The Secret Life of Bacon Tait opens a rare window into that dank and depressing world, and we are indebted to the author for the light he has shed on this dark corner of southern history. ”—Civil War Book Review

Promise: Poems by Sally Van Doren

“Sally Van Doren’s poetry is taut and honed, punctuated with tantalizing references to the senses and the sensual.”—Happening in the Hills

Reconstruction in Alabama: From Civil War to Redemption in the Cotton South by Michael W. Fitzgerald

“The book demonstrates a masterful synthesis of the era. Students of the Civil War Era will appreciate its admirable attention to detail and its judicious conclusions. It’s a book not to be missed. ”—Civil War Book Review

Images of Depression-Era Louisiana: the FSA Photographs of Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, and Marion Post Wolcott edited by Bryan Giemza and Maria Hebert-Leiter

Images of Depression-Era Louisiana offers a sweeping view of a Louisiana not so unlike our own, standing on the precipice of great changes, all the while fighting to keep its head above water and its traditions intact.”—Louisiana Cultural Vistas

The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War edited by Brian D. McKnight and Barton Myers

“an excellent collection”—Civil War Book Review

Devils Walking: Klan Murders along the Mississippi in the 1960s by Stanley Nelson

“Nelson and Phillips did not write for other historians, they wrote for the people of Forsyth County, Georgia and the Delta region of Mississippi and Louisiana. They wrote to hold a mirror up to their neighbors. They wrote for you and me. In doing so, they offer a lesson for historians on the purpose of writing history.”—Reviews in American History


02
Oct 17

September Roundup: News, Events, Reviews

September was quite a month here at LSU Press! Blood Work: Imagining Race in American Literature, 1890—1940 by Shawn Salvant won 2016 C. Hugh Holman Award; Galaxie Wagon: Poems by Darnell Arnoult won the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing; and Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge won both a Certificate of Merit from the Association of Recorded Sound Collections Awards and the 2017 Blues Book of the Year from Living Blues magazine. Lee Upton, Kathryn Fontenot and Trent Brown wrote fantastic posts for the LSU Press Blog. And we published new books by Jennifer Atkins, Trent Brown, Nicole Cooley, Kathryn Fontenot, Earl J. Hess, and Gordon C. Rhea.

Below you’ll find a list of our October titles, upcoming events with our authors, and some selected publicity from September. And if you want to keep up with LSU Press in real time, follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.


New in October

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Selected Publicity and Praise

Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems, 1997-2015 by Bruce Bond

Blackout Starlight is a milestone release. . . One can certainly read Bond for the sheer delight of beholding a thing well done. Fellow poets, however, will benefit from a deep consideration of his ambition, vision, and delivery.”—Colorado Review

Girl after Girl after Girl: Poems by Nicole Cooley

“. . . this collection, her fifth, is attempting something special in its unconditional study of mothers, daughters, and sisters—of all ages. That she employs time travel in her poems is impossible to explain, so we’ll just enjoy the experience.”—Foreword Reviews

The Cemeteries of New Orleans: A Cultural History by Peter B. Dedek

“Four stars. . . . An excellent primer on some of our city’s most important cultural treasures.”—New Orleans Magazine

Black Labor, White Sugar: Caribbean Braceros and Their Struggle for Power in the Cuban Sugar Industry by Philip A. Howard

Howard makes some of the strongest arguments for the development of a black class consciousness that crossed ethnic lines.”—World Sugar History Newsletter

Schooling in the Antebellum South: The Rise of Public and Private Education in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama by Sarah L. Hyde

“. . . Sarah Hyde treats us to a long-due examination of white education in the antebellum South.”—The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

The Language of Vision: Photography and Southern Literature in the 1930s and After by Joseph R. Millichap

“His purposes in this slim volume are synthetic and, in the best sense of the word, provocative: to bring together two rich artistic and critical traditions in ways that demonstrate the mutually enlivening creative interplay at work, and that inspire further investigation.”—Modernism/Modernity

William & Mary commissioned a poem from Brenda Marie Osbey. You can watch her performance here:

Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance during the American Civil War by George C. Rable

“Award-winning Professor Emeritus George C. Rable has once again added to the historiography of the Civil War with his outstanding Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance during the American Civil War. . .”—H-War

On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4-15, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea

“Unparalleled. . . .”—New York Journal of Books

From Nothing: Poems by Anya Krugovoy Silver

“In these poems, bracing honesty coincides with the quiet transformations of language. Especially moving are the expressions of praise that take shape in the absence of consolation.”—The Cresset Journal

The Richmond Times-Dispatch published an article on Ron Smith’s poetry.

Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier by Matthew M. Stith

“Stith has researched his subject well and produced an engaging and well-balanced book. It deserves the attention of all Civil War historians.”—Kansas History


11
Feb 15

LSU Press titles receive PROSE Award honorable mentions

Two LSU Press titles, Southern Waters by Craig Colten and In Tune by Ben Wynne, received PROSE Award honorable mentions. Congratulations to both authors!

Full list of 2015 PROSE Award winners


26
Jan 15

Disease, Resistance, and Lies: A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

LSU Press is proud to announce that one of our 2014 titles has been selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine: Dale Graden’s Disease, Resistance, and Lies: The Demise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Brazil and Cuba.

In the early nineteenth century the major economic players of the Atlantic trade lanes—the United States, Brazil, and Cuba—witnessed explosive commercial growth. Commodities like cotton, coffee, and sugar contributed to the fantastic wealth of an elite few and the enslavement of many. As a result of an increased population and concurrent economic expansion, the United States widened its trade relationship with Cuba and Brazil, importing half of Brazil’s coffee exports and 82 percent of Cuba’s total exports by 1877. Disease, Resistance, and Lies examines the impact of these burgeoning markets on the Atlantic slave trade between these countries from 1808—when the U.S. government outlawed American involvement in the slave trade to Cuba and Brazil—to 1867, when slave traffic to Cuba ceased.

In his comparative study, Dale Graden engages several important historiographic debates, including the extent to which U.S. merchants and capital facilitated the slave trade to Brazil and Cuba, the role of infectious disease in ending the trade to those countries, and the effect of slave revolts in helping to bring the transatlantic slave trade to an end.

Graden situates the transatlantic slave trade within the expanding and rapidly changing international economy of the first half of the nineteenth century, offering a fresh analysis of the “Southern Triangle Trade” that linked Cuba, Brazil, and Africa. Disease, Resistance, and Lies challenges more conservative interpretations of the waning decades of the transatlantic slave trade by arguing that the threats of infectious disease and slave resistance both influenced policymakers to suppress slave traffic to Brazil and Cuba and also made American merchants increasingly unwilling to risk their capital in the transport of slaves.

DALE T. GRADEN is professor of history at the University of Idaho and the author of From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil: Bahia, 1835–1900. You can find out more about his book at our website.


24
Apr 14

Randy Harelson wins a Louisiana Cultural Award

Harelson LA Cultural Award

Randy Harelson, co-author of New Roads and Old Rivers, received the Louisiana Cultural Award for Preservation Education at a dinner held on April 22. The Cultural Awards are given each year by the Louisiana State Office of Cultural Developments to recognize individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to Louisiana’s culture.


17
Apr 14

Rasmussen Wins the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry

The Minnesota Book Awards, presented annually by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, gave its top honor in poetry to Matt Rasmussen’s debut collection, Black Aperture. Winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and shortlisted for the National Book Award, Black Aperture explores the tragedy of a brother’s suicide in a collection that blurs the edge between grief and humor. Destructive and redemptive, Black Aperture opens to the complicated entanglements of mourning: damage and healing, sorrow and laughter, and torment balanced with moments of relief.

Created to increase awareness and readership of Minnesota authors, the Minnesota Book Awards held their 26th annual Book Awards gala earlier this month, with a record 960 guests in attendance and author John Moe as master of ceremonies. A full list of finalists and winners can be found on the website of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.


17
Oct 13

The Long Haul to the Short List

As scholarly publishers, we devote a considerable portion of our resources to prizes: researching which awards books are eligible for, budgeting to cover the costs of submissions, sending copies of books to judges, and then waiting in anticipation of happy news.

Prizes are a big deal. For the authors, obviously, but also for the publishers who have nurtured and promoted the book and believe it should win–if only the judges will agree with us.

And sometimes, they do. Today was one of those days. Matt Rasmussen, a fine poet and a really nice guy, was selected by the judges of the National Book Award as a finalist for his poetry collection, Black Aperture. A moving and personal series of poems focused on the suicide of his brother, the poems could have veered quickly towards maudlin. Instead, we are given an insightful look into the ways grief and anguish converge with laughter and love.

Clearly, the NBA judges recognized the originality of Rasmussen’s work and the skill of his delivery, and here’s hoping for a win for him on November 20th!

MaryKatherine Callaway
Director, LSU Press


09
Jul 13

LSU Press Author Ava Leavell Haymon Named Louisiana Poet Laureate

Ava Leavell Haymon

LSU Press Poet Ava Leavell Haymon was recently selected as Louisiana’s new poet laureate. She will serve a two-year term from 2013–2015.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be appointed poet laureate of the state of Louisiana,” Haymon said. “Past laureates, distinguished poets all, have worked hard during their appointments to encourage the natural love of words and poems that exists already in adults and children alike. I take these former laureates as models, with gratitude. To be enthusiastic about this great art form comes easily to me, and to evangelize for it utilizes some of my preacher’s-daughter fervor.”

Haymon is the author of the poetry collections Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread, Kitchen Heat, The Strict Economy of Fire, and the forthcoming Eldest Daughter, all published by LSU Press. She teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge, and directs a writers’ retreat center in the mountains of New Mexico.

Haymon’s latest book, Eldest Daughter, will be published by LSU Press in August. The poems display her mastery of the craft and engage readers with the poetic gifts they have come to expect from her. As in previous collections, she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks. Concrete descriptions of a woman’s life in the mid-twentieth-century American South mix with wider concerns about family lies and truths, and a culture that supports or forbids clear speech.


23
Jul 12

Sustaining Southern Identity wins Richard Slatten Award

Sustaining Southern Identity: Douglas Southall Freeman and Memory in the Modern South, by Keith D. Dickson, won the prestigious Richard Slatten Award for Excellence in Biography from the Virginia Historical Society this month. The award aims to recognize distinguished contributions to Virginia biography.

The volume focuses on Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Douglas Southall Freeman, who, perhaps more than any other writer in the first half of the twentieth century, helped shape and sustain a collective identity for white southerners. A journalist, lecturer, radio broadcaster, and teacher of renown, Freeman wrote and spoke on themes related to southern memory throughout his life.

The book offers a masterful intellectual biography of Freeman as well as a comprehensive analysis of how twentieth-century southerners came to remember the Civil War, fashion their values and ideals, and identify themselves as citizens of the South.  Dickson’s work underscores Freeman’s contributions to the enduring memory of Confederate courage and sacrifice in southern culture. The longtime editor of the Richmond News Leader, Freeman wrote several authoritative and extraordinarily influential multivolume historical narratives about both Confederate general Robert E. Lee and the high command of the Army of Northern Virginia. His contributions to the enduring southern memory framework—with its grand narrative of Confederate courage and sacrifice, and its attachment to symbols and rituals—still serve as a touchstone for the memory-truths that define a distinct identity in the South.

Dr. Dickson is a professor of military studies at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, a college within the National Defense University.