Tag Archives: Books

Anthony Comstock, Censorship and Obscenity


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lust on trialAmy Werbel’s new book Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018) takes a look at Anthony Comstock, America’s first professional censor.

In Lust on Trial, Werbel presents a colorful journey through Comstock’s career that doubles as a new history of post–Civil War America’s risqué visual and sexual culture.

Born into a puritanical New England community, Anthony Comstock moved to New York in 1868 armed with his Christian faith and a burning desire to rid the city of vice.

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Oneida Community And The Crusade For Public Morality


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ministers warMichael Doyle’s new book The Ministers’ War: John W. Mears, The Oneida Community, and the Crusade for Public Morality (Syracuse University Press, 2018) takes a look at Hamilton College philosophy professor and Presbyterian minister John W. Mears and his fight against every sin and carnal lure, from liquor to free love.

In The Ministers’ War, Doyle explores the ways in which Mears’ multipurpose zeal reflected the passions behind the nineteenth-century temperance movement, the fight against obscenity, and the public animus toward unconventional thought. As an speaker, author and political candidate, Mears was a prominent moralizer.
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Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles


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broadway bookFran Leadon’s new book Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles (W. W. Norton & Co, 2018) takes a mile-by-mile look at Broadway that traces the gradual evolution of the seventeenth-century’s Brede Wegh, a muddy cow path in a backwater Dutch settlement, to the twentieth century’s Great White Way.

Readers can learn why one side of the street was once considered more fashionable than the other; view construction of the Ansonia Apartments, Trinity Church, and the Flatiron Building and the burning of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum; and discover that Columbia University was built on the site of an insane asylum. Continue reading

Russell Shorto at Brentwood Library Sunday


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revolution song bookAuthor Russell Shorto is set to speak at the Brentwood Public Library, on Long Island, about his new book Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom, on Sunday, April 15th.

The book explores the lives of six historical figures, including Cornplanter, the Seneca Indian warrior; Venture Smith who freed himself and his family from slavery; and Margaret Moncrieffe Coghlan, a rebellious young woman who abandoned her abusive husband.

They are all linked by their connections to George Washington. Continue reading

New Book: Alexander Hamilton on Finance, Credit, and Debt


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Alexander Hamilton on Finance, Credit, and DebtFinancial historians Richard Sylla and David J. Cowen’s new book Alexander Hamilton on Finance, Credit, and Debt (Columbia Univ Press, 2018) traces the development of Alexander Hamilton’s financial thinking through a selection of his writings.

Hamilton’s influence on the United States financial system extends through public finance, central banking, money and currency, banking, bond and stock markets, business corporations, and the issuing of government debt.

The authors argue that despite a recent surge of interest in Hamilton, U.S. financial modernization has not been fully recognized as one of his greatest achievements. Continue reading

Historians: Baseball Players Turned Actors, Amsterdam Jewish Merchants


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The Historians LogoThis week on The Historians Podcast, film historian Rob Edelman discusses the new book he has edited From Spring Training to Screen Test: Baseball Players Turned Actors Rob’s wife and retired film professor Audrey Kupferberg has stories of Jewish merchants in the thriving downtown of the 1950s in her native Amsterdam, New York, where the couple lives.

Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Peterboro’s Peter Smith: Furs, Land, and Anguish


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Land Office CornueOn Saturday, March 3rd at 12:30 pm, Norm Dann will describe and sign his new book Peter Smith of Peterboro: Furs, Land, and Anguish at the Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro, Madison County, NY.

In the preface of his new book, Dann hypothesizes why there has not been a published biography. Also in the preface Dann explains that his intent of this work is to focus, not so much on what Smith did, but to examine the kind of person that Smith was and how that influenced what he did. Investigating Smith in this way presents him as a tragic figure in the classical sense. Continue reading

Local History Book Sale At Oneida Co History Center


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OCHC BookstoreThe Oneida County History Center’s winter book sale is set to run Thursday, February 15th through Sunday, February 17th, in the center’s main gallery.

The center’s newly reorganized bookstore stocks over 200 book titles, one-of-kind local history puzzles and merchandise. The public will recieve 10% off all purchases, plus 50% off select titles. Members receive an additional 10% off sale prices. Continue reading