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Dan Brown is once again taking on the big questions.…
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Although not a professional historian, the author raises several issues pertinent to the state of history today. Qualifying the ‘non-historian’ as an ‘able’ interventionist in historical studies, the author explores the relationship between history and theory within the current epistemological configurations and refigurations. He asks how history transcends the obsessive ‘linguistic’ turn, which has been hegemonizing literary/discourse analysis, and focuses greater attention on historical experience and where history stands in relation to our understanding of ethics, religion and the current state of global politics that underlines the manipulation and abuse of history.
By 1944 a large part of Eastern Europe had already been liberated by the Red Army, and the Allied forces were continuing to move in from the west after success at Normandy. Yet, in Lower Silesia, Germany more than sixty new forced labor camps were established, adding to the approximately forty camps that already existed. The inmates were Jews from Hungary and Poland who had been deported from the Lodz ghetto or who had been included on the infamous “Schindler’s List.” These camps became satellites of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp and were the last to be liberated. Throughout their existence, the Gross-Rosen camp and its satellites had a special relationship. This is why, although the process of genocide was proceeding at top speed, some Jews were diverted from the gas chambers and sent to work at Gross-Rosen. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the main provider of inmate slave laborers for the Gross-Rosen armaments, munitions, and other factories owned by giant private enterprises, such as Krupp, I.G. Farben, and Siemens. Jewish inmates were also used in the construction of Hitler’s secret headquarters in the local Eulen Mountains and the secret underground tunnels used to store weapons. This book adds greatly to our knowledge of the complexity of German policy toward the Jews and forced labor. It not only describes the daily life of Jewish slave laborers but also traces Reich economic policy and the big corporations that used forced labor.
From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s West German foreign policy underwent substantial transformations: from bilateral to multilateral, from reactive to proactive. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was an ideal setting for this evolution, enabling the Federal Republic to take the lead early on in Western preparations for the conference and to play a decisive role in the actual East–West negotiations leading to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. Based on extensive original research of recently released documents, spanning more than fifteen archives in eight countries, this study is a substantial contribution to scholarly discussions on the history of détente, the CSCE and West German foreign policy. The author stresses the importance of looking beyond the bipolarity of the Cold War decades and emphasizes the interconnectedness of European integration and European détente. He highlights the need to place the genesis of the CSCE conference in its historical context rather than looking at it through the prism of the events of 1989, and shows that the bilateral and multilateral elements (Ostpolitik and the CSCE) were parallel rather than successive phenomena, parts of the same complex process and in constant interaction with each other.
Exchanges have always had more than economic significance: values circulate and encounters become institutionalized. This volume explores the changing meaning of the circulation of second-hand goods from the Renaissance to today, and thereby examines the blurring of boundaries between market, gifts, and charity. It describes the actors of the market – official entities such as corporations, recognized professions, and established markets but also the subterranean circulation that develops around the need for money. The complex layers that not only provide for numerous intermediaries but also include the many men and women who, as sellers or buyers, use these circulations on countless occasions are also examined.
Asceticism, so it is argued in this volume, is a modern category. The ubiquitous cult of the body, of fitness and diet equally evokes the ongoing success of ascetic practices and beliefs. Nostalgic memories of hardship and discipline in the army, youth movements or boarding schools remain as present as the fashionable irritation with the presumed modern-day laziness. In the very texture of contemporary culture, age-old asceticism proves to be remarkably alive. Old ascetic forms were remoulded to serve modern desires for personal authenticity, an authenticity that disconnected asceticism in the course of the nineteenth century from two traditions that had underpinned it since classical antiquity: the public, republican austerity of antiquity and the private, religious asceticism of Christianity. Exploring various aspects such as the history of the body, of aesthetics, science, and social thought in several European countries (Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium), the authors show that modern asceticism remains a deeply ambivalent category. Apart from self-realisation, classical and religious examples continue to haunt the ascetic mind.
While bookstore shelves around the world have never ceased to display best-selling “life-and-letters” biographies in prominent positions, the genre became less popular among academic historians during the Cold War decades. Their main concern then was with political and socioeconomic structures, institutions, and organizations, or―more recently―with the daily lives of ordinary people and small communities. The contributors to this volume―all well known senior historians―offer self-critical reflections on problems they encountered when writing biographies themselves. Some of them also deal with topics specific to Central Europe, such as the challenges of writing about the lives of both victims and perpetrators. Although the volume concentrates on European historiography, its strong methodological and conceptual focus will be of great interest to non-European historians wrestling with the old “structure-versus-agency” question in their own work
While bookstore shelves around the world have never ceased to display best-selling “life-and-letters” biographies in prominent positions, the genre became less popular among academic historians during the Cold War decades. Their main concern then was with political and socioeconomic structures, institutions, and organizations, or―more recently―with the daily lives of ordinary people and small communities. The contributors to this volume―all well known senior historians―offer self-critical reflections on problems they encountered when writing biographies themselves. Some of them also deal with topics specific to Central Europe, such as the challenges of writing about the lives of both victims and perpetrators. Although the volume concentrates on European historiography, its strong methodological and conceptual focus will be of great interest to non-European historians wrestling with the old “structure-versus-agency” question in their own work.
In the days following the Battle of Birch Coulie, the decisive battle in the deadly Dakota War of 1862, one of President Lincoln’s private secretaries wrote: “There has hardly been an outbreak so treacherous, so sudden, so bitter, and so bloody, as that which filled the State of Minnesota with sorrow and lamentation.” Even today, at the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War, the battle still raises questions and stirs controversy. In Birch Coulie John Christgau recounts the dramatic events surrounding the battle. American history at its narrative best, his book is also a uniquely balanced and accurate chronicle of this little-understood conflict, one of the most important to roil the American West.
Christgau’s account of the war between white settlers and the Dakota Indians in Minnesota examines two communities torn by internal dissent and external threat, whites and Native Americans equally traumatized by the short and violent war. The book also delves into the aftermath, during which thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged without legal representation or the appearance of defense witnesses, the largest mass execution in American history. With its unusually nuanced perspective, Birch Coulie brings a welcome measure of clarity and insight to a critical moment in the troubled history of the American West.
Black ’41 opens with the arrival of the class of 1941 at the gates of West Point in the spring of 1937. It follows that class-nicknamed “Black ’41” for their misdeeds while at the Academy-over the course of the next four years, as they absorb the lessons that will help them become military leaders. Their cadet days provide the backdrop for the ominous events in a world headed toward war. It would be a war, as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson underscored in his commencement address to the class in June 1941, that “may fall, in large measure, upon your shoulders.” The U.S. Army into which those new graduating second lieutenants were commissioned in 1941 was in many ways a holdover from the army of an earlier era, with plenty of cavalry but without a single armored division. Black ’41 became a key part of the new army, quickly transitioning to a mechanized force and growing its air arm. By the time of the major Pacific and European action, Black ’41’s officers were captains and majors, and leading soldiers into some of the critical fighting in the war. Told largely through the words of the graduates, Black ’41 is the coming-of-age story of West Point’s finest, during the hour of our country’s greatest need.
As the major national biracial women’s organization, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) provided a unique venue for women to respond to American race relations during the first half of the twentieth century. In Christian Sisterhood, Race Relations, and the YWCA, 1906-46, Nancy Marie Robertson shows how women of both races employed different understandings of “Christian sisterhood” in their responses. Although the YWCA was segregated at the local level, African American women were able to effectively challenge white women over YWCA racial policies and practices. Robertson argues that from 1906 through 1946, many white women in the association went from seeing segregation as compatible with Christianity and democracy to regarding it as a contradiction of those values. These struggles laid the groundwork for the subsequent civil rights movement. Her analysis relies not only on a large body of records documenting YWCA women at the national and local levels, but also on autobiographical accounts and personal papers from women associated with the YWCA, including Dorothy Height, Lugenia Burns Hope, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Lillian Smith.
This book is about ending guerrilla conflicts in Latin America through political means. It is about peace processes, aimed at securing an end to military hostilities in the context of agreements that touch on some of the principal political, economic, social, and ethnic imbalances that led to conflict in the first place. The book presents a carefully structured comparative analysis of six Latin American countries―Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru―which experienced guerrilla warfare that outlasted the end of the Cold War. The book explores in detail the unique constellation of national and international events that allowed some wars to end in negotiated settlement, one to end in virtual defeat of the insurgents, and the others to rage on. The aim of the book is to identify the variables that contribute to the success or failure of a peace dialogue. Though the individual case studies deal with dynamics that have allowed for or impeded successful negotiations, the contributors also examine comparatively such recurrent dilemmas as securing justice for victims of human rights abuses, reforming the military and police forces, and reconstructing the domestic economy. Serving as a bridge between the distinct literatures on democratization in Latin America and on conflict resolution, the book underscores the reciprocal influences that peace processes and democratic transition have on each other, and the ways democratic “space” is created and political participation enhanced by means of a peace dialogue with insurgent forces. The case studies―by country and issue specialists from Latin America, the United States, and Europe―are augmented by commentaries of senior practitioners most directly involved in peace negotiations, including United Nations officials, former peace advisers, and activists from civil society.
In the last two decades, there has been an increased awareness of the traditions and issues that link aboriginal people across the circumpolar North. One of the key aspects of the lives of circumpolar peoples, be they in Scandinavia, Alaska, Russia, or Canada, is their relationship to the wild animals that support them. Although divided for most of the 20th Century by various national trading blocks, and the Cold War, aboriginal people in each region share common stories about the various capitalist and socialist states that claimed control over their lands and animals. Now, aboriginal peoples throughout the region are reclaiming their rights.
This volume is the first to give a well-rounded portrait of wildlife management, aboriginal rights, and politics in the circumpolar north. The book reveals unexpected continuities between socialist and capitalist ecological styles, as well as addressing the problems facing a new era of cultural exchanges between aboriginal peoples in each region.
In 1961, equipped with a master’s degree from famed Columbia Journalism School and letters of introduction to Associated Press bureau chiefs in Asia, twenty-six-year-old Beverly Deepe set off on a trip around the world. Allotting just two weeks to South Vietnam, she was still there seven years later, having then earned the distinction of being the longest-serving American correspondent covering the Vietnam War and garnering a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
In Death Zones and Darling Spies, Beverly Deepe Keever describes what it was like for a farm girl from Nebraska to find herself halfway around the world, trying to make sense of one of the nation’s bloodiest and bitterest wars. She arrived in Saigon as Vietnam’s war entered a new phase and American helicopter units and provincial advisers were unpacking. She tells of traveling from her Saigon apartment to jungles where Wild West–styled forts first dotted Vietnam’s borders and where, seven years later, they fell like dominoes from communist-led attacks. In 1965 she braved elephant grass with American combat units armed with unparalleled technology to observe their valor—and their inability to distinguish friendly farmers from hide-and-seek guerrillas.
Keever’s trove of tissue-thin memos to editors, along with published and unpublished dispatches for New York and London media, provide the reader with you-are-there descriptions of Buddhist demonstrations and turning-point coups as well as phony ones. Two Vietnamese interpreters, self-described as “darling spies,” helped her decode Vietnam’s shadow world and subterranean war. These memoirs, at once personal and panoramic, chronicle the horrors of war and a rise and decline of American power and prestige.
“Decentering” has fast become a dynamic approach to the study of American cultural and diplomatic history. But what precisely does decentering mean, how does it work, and why has it risen to such prominence? This book addresses the attempt to decenter the United States in the history of culture and international relations both in times when the United States has been assumed to take center place. Rather than presenting more theoretical perspectives, this collection offers a variety of examples of how one can look at the role of culture in international history without assigning the central role to the United States. Topics include cultural violence, inverted Americanization, the role of NGOs, modernity and internationalism, and the culture of diplomacy. Each subsection includes two case studies dedicated to one particular approach which while not dealing with the same geographical topic or time frame illuminate a similar methodological interest. Collectively, these essays pragmatically demonstrate how the study of culture and international history can help us to rethink and reconceptualize US history today.
The verdict is in: the Civil War was won in the West, that is, in the nation’s heartland, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Contrary to much popular literature, serious scholars have determined in one careful study after another the pivotal importance of what was, at the time of the Civil War, the western United States. In this fast-paced overview, Steven E. Woodworth presents his case for the decisiveness of that theater.
Overwhelming evidence now indicates that western campaigns cost the Confederacy vast territories, the manufacturing center of Nashville, the financial center of New Orleans, communications hubs such as Corinth, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, along with the agricultural produce of the breadbasket of the Confederacy. They sapped the morale of Confederates and buoyed the spirits of Unionists, ultimately sealing the Northern electorate’s decision to return Lincoln to the presidency for a second term and to see the war through to final victory. Detailing the “western” clashes (Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Atlanta) that proved so significant, Woodworth contends that it was there alone that the Civil War could be-and was-decided
Adventure is currently enjoying enormous interest in public culture. The image of Tarzan provides a rewarding lens through which to explore this phenomenon. In their day, Edgar Rice Burrough’s novels enjoyed great popularity because Tarzan represented the consummate colonial-era adventurer: a white man whose noble civility enabled him to communicate with and control savage peoples and animals. The contemporary Tarzan of movies and cartoons is in many ways just as popular, but carries different connotations. Tarzan is now the consummate “eco-tourist:” a cosmopolitan striving to live in harmony with nature, using appropriate technology, and helpful to the natives who cannot seem to solve their own problems. Tarzan is still an icon of adventure, because like all adventurers, his actions have universal qualities: doing something previously untried, revealing the previously undiscovered, and experiencing the unadulterated. Prominent anthropologists have come together in this volume to reflect on various aspects of this phenomenon and to discuss contemporary forms of adventure.
The mining of diamonds, their trading mechanisms, their financial institutions, and, not least, their cultural expressions as luxury items have engaged the work of historians, economists, social scientists, and international relations experts. Based on previously unexamined historical documents found in archives in Belgium, England, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States, this book is the first in English to tell the story of the formation of one of the world’s main strongholds of diamond production and trade in Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s. The history of the diamond-cutting industry, characterized by a long-standing Jewish presence, is discussed as a social history embedded in the international political economy of its times; the genesis of the industry in Palestine is placed on a broad continuum within the geographic and economic dislocations of Dutch, Belgian, and German diamond-cutting centers. In providing a micro-historical and interdisciplinary perspective, the story of the diamond industry in Mandate Palestine proposes a more nuanced picture of the uncritical approach to the strict boundaries of ethnic-based occupational communities. This book unravels the Middle-eastern pattern of state intervention in the empowerment of private capital and recasts this craft culture’s inseparability from international politics during a period of war and transformation of empire.
“[Eagle Voice Remembers] is John Neihardt’s mature and reflective interpretation of the old Sioux way of life. He served as a translator of the Sioux past, whose audience has proved not to be limited by space or time. Through his writings, Black Elk, Eagle Elk, and other old men who were of that last generation of Sioux to have participated in the old buffalo-hunting life and the disorienting period of strife with the U.S. Army found a literary voice. What they said chronicles a dramatic transition in the life of the Plains Indians; the record of their thoughts, interpreted by Neihardt, is a legacy preserved for the future. It transcends the specifics of this one tragic case of cultural misunderstanding and conflict and speaks to universal human concerns. It is a story worth contemplating both for itself and for the lessons it teaches all humanity.”
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