JHU Press Blog

Essential Readings in Wildlife Management

by eea | Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Wildlife management and conservation is a relatively new field of study, having its origins in 1933 when Aldo Leopold, the Father of Wildlife Management, published his landmark text, Game Management . The data and information he used were primarily from state and federal reports, or his own data or observations, as there were no peer-reviewed journals in existence at that time on the subject that he could examine and cite.

The Wildlife Society was founded, in great part to the efforts of Aldo Leopold, in 1937, and the Journal of Wildlife Management was first published in the same year. The first article was titled, “The Evaluation of Nesting Losses and Juvenile Mortality of the Ring-Necked Pheasant” by Paul L. Errington and F. N. Hamerstrom, Jr. The Society of American Foresters was formed in 1900 by Gifford Pinchot and the Journal of Forestry was first published in 1917. Other key peer-reviewed journals relevant to wildlife ecology included Ecology (established 1919), Journal of Ecology (1913), Journal of Animal Ecology (1932), Journal of Applied Ecology (1964), Journal of Range Management (1948), and Canadian Journal of Zoology (1951). Since these times, thousands of research articles...Read More

Envisioning a New Reality

by bjs | Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Millions of Americans have watched the reality show franchises Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Hoarders . The most recent issue of the journal Postmodern Culture features " Extreme Hoards: Race, Reality Television & Real Estate Value During the 2008 Financial Crisis " by Whittier College professor Michelle Chihara which examines these shows at the intersection of real estate, finance, and contemporary American literature and popular culture. Chihara, who also serves as Economics & Finance Section Editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books, joined us for a Q&A about the article and the importance of popular culture and reality television in today's society.

How did the process of writing this article happen for you?

The usual way. I was living in Los Angeles as a graduate student and becoming more and more obsessed with what was happening with the economy. The housing bubble was inflating and housing prices were spiraling up and up. A friend flipped a house and made some money. A mortgage originator called me on the phone and offered me a truly stunningly gi-normous loan for a graduate student. I did...Read More

A Long Road With No Turns

by eea | Monday, August 27, 2018 - 12:00 PM

The long and winding road celebrated in song by the Beatles can lead you to the door of an academic press, but sometimes authors lacking a Ph.D. or an academic position can find the process of getting a book into print makes them feel like a real nowhere man.

My academic press journey came together this year as Johns Hopkins University Press published Streamliner: Raymond Loewy and Image-making in the Age of American Industrial Design . But the process started almost two decades ago in 1999, with an idea that emerged out of job search paranoia. Back then, I was working at Penn State University and searching for other jobs within the university. I found that I often lost out to candidates with less experience but more impressive academic credentials (I graduated from Ohio State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism). I thought, “maybe I could write a book as a master’s degree project.”

I immediately made an appointment with Penn State’s most prolific popular author, Stan Weintraub, who has written more than 20 nonfiction books, most of them biographies or narrative histories. His books include “Eleven Days in December,” “Silent Night,”...Read More

The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson

by eea | Friday, August 24, 2018 - 12:00 PM

I originally intended to write a book on the 1840 presidential campaign, often hailed as the first modern election. As I researched, however, it became clear that 1840 marked the culmination, not the beginning, of a set of election practices that we can recognize in modern-day campaigns. The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson examines the emergence of this use of cultural politics during the period between the 1824 and 1840 presidential elections.

I discuss several examples of Jacksonian-era cultural politics in the book, but two of the most fascinating to me are material culture and visual culture. By material culture, I mean tangible objects created or displayed to show support for a candidate. In the 1828 campaign, this meant buttons, flasks, and snuff boxes celebrating Andrew Jackson as the Hero of New Orleans. During Jackson’s second term, the Whigs produced buttons and coins to emphasize what they perceived as his despotic tendencies.

But these presidential campaigns also used other objects that symbolized support for their candidate. Throughout the period, Democrats utilized hickory twigs, branches, and trees to demonstrate their commitment to Jackson, whose nickname “Old Hickory” spoke to his...Read More

Cowboys: Shaking Off the Dust

by eea | Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 12:00 PM

How is it possible to say something fresh about cowboys and cattle trails? This is a story that has been scrutinized by historians, hyped by novelists, and mythologized beyond recognition by filmmakers. Is this subject done and dusted?

Taking the time to read a few original accounts of those trail days reveals surprising stories underneath the layers of mythological dust that confound the myths. By the time the old-timers got around to reminiscing about their youthful days on the trail, they already knew the shape of the myth and “remembered” things happening in a way that confirmed the romance of the “Old West.” But contemporaneous journals expose a gritty core of the cattle drives, not the cowboy as seen through rose-colored glasses, but a view of the proletariat on horseback trying to make out the trail through mud-encrusted eyeballs.

What stands out most in these accounts is the sheer boredom of the trail experience. Weeks of mind-numbing and soul-crushing dreariness would be punctuated suddenly with moments of terror—life-threatening stampedes, river crossings, and thunderstorms. No wonder this was a job for out-of-work farm teenagers or economically marginalized African-Americans and Hispanics. And no wonder that so few wanted to repeat...Read More

Charging Up San Juan Hill

by eea | Monday, August 20, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Here is a strange confession for someone who has been for most of the past forty years a historian of the early American republic: I have been fascinated by Theodore Roosevelt and his times since the age of fifteen. That year, as a tenth grader, I happened to find in my parents’ collection a book by Hermann Hagedorn, entitled The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill . This book portrayed TR as a man of such energy, wide-ranging intelligence, and self-confidence that I could not resist him. Afterward, I quickly developed a teenage obsession with Roosevelt that did not abate until about halfway through college, where some of my favorite professors (in the early 1970s) let me know that an unquestioning admiration for such an imperialist president did not fit with the anti-Vietnam mood on campus. So, I learned my lesson and conformed. Later, after becoming a teacher myself, a keen interest in Roosevelt—a sense that somehow I could understand him—came back, though of course in a more balanced way than it had occurred years before.

In addition to that, I had never entirely lost my childhood interest in wars and war heroes. As an adult, the issue...Read More

Hymnals and the History of Daily Life

by eea | Friday, August 17, 2018 - 12:00 PM

As a graduate student in early American literature, I came across a mystery on the title pages of several hymnals from the US’s first decades. Many of these books shared a similar idea in their subtitles, variants of “for the use of religious assemblies and private Christians.” How did that work, I wondered? How could books be designed for public and private use? Those questions stayed with me, and they eventually led me on an archival adventure through dozens of libraries, forming the basis of The Hymnal: A Reading History . The public singing of hymns has caught the attention of musicologists and church historians, but what turned out to be a massive culture of public and private reading has been nearly invisible since its demise in the late nineteenth century.

That invisibility came, in large part, from a fundamental change in the design of hymnals. From about 1860 to 1890, a new kind of book gradually took over churches and publishing markets: heavy, expensive, amassing hundreds of hymn texts between staves of printed music. These books stayed in the churches that bought them for the use of their congregants, associating their use with...Read More

The American Lab

by eea | Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Many people have asked me why I wrote the book and why I chose the title, The American Lab . Much of the motivation arose out of the events associated with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s 50 th anniversary in 2002, the last major event that I organized as Director of the Laboratory. The year preceding the final anniversary celebration was filled with retrospective looks at all the major areas in which the Lab had worked -- nuclear weapons of course, but also lasers, energy, environment, basic science, and even biology. In nearly every field the Lab had contributed significantly, and in some cases changed the landscape. It also became clear that Livermore was almost alone among the large national labs in having no comprehensive history of its evolution and achievements. There were many books about Los Alamos, histories of Sandia, Brookhaven, the Jet Propulsion Lab and several others but nothing on Livermore other than newspaper-like summaries on the occasion of various anniversaries.

So after the anniversary events had faded away I began to explore the limited written record and also to take oral histories from people who had been at the Lab in its early...Read More

Long Journey Into Publication: Finding Raymond Loewy’s Story

by eea | Monday, August 13, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Most journalists believe in their heart that they “have a book in them.” Too often, however, events and circumstance prevent most reporters from digging into that compelling story. Reporting assignments pile up. Your editor says, “Leave of absence? Are you joking?” The entire media industry experiences massive downsizing and journalists are suddenly writing press releases instead of releasing a best-seller.

The story behind Streamliner: Raymond Loewy and Imagemaking in the Age of American Industrial Design begins at a newspaper. I was the main feature writer at the Altoona Mirror in central Pennsylvania in 1987 and the subject of a profile had a book on his desk open to a photo of a huge streamlined locomotive. The caption in agate type was “S-1 locomotive, built in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Designed by Raymond Loewy." Since all news is local, to mangle a Tip O’Neill phrase, I wrote a 1,500-word story on the design and construction of the S-1. I spoke to almost two dozen retired railroaders and read Raymond Loewy’s “Industrial Design” and “Never Leave Well Enough Alone.” Then I moved on to other things.

But Loewy’s story nagged at me. Before I worked at the...Read More

Why Frankenstein Matters 200 Years Later

by eea | Friday, August 10, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Although “Franken” has in the cultural zeitgeist become a watchword for the power of science to destroy humanity, Mary Shelley had a far more open view of science. Don’t mistake the messenger, Victor, for the message. In fact, in her day, “science” had a lower status than the arts, and hardly anyone made their living by doing science. This lower status meant that the power and value science now has fuels a paranoid reading of the scientific past as if this anachronistic wariness has the power to cleanse the present and to do away with any present obligation to work against the difficulties science presents. Even more surprising, in her day, science and ethics went hand in hand in part because science and feeling were aligned. Goethe, we recall, praised the “tender empiricist.” Good scientists feel the beauty of nature and use that beauty to fuel their careful observations. Perhaps the most important provocation Shelley's novel can make is to get us to think about the costs of the separation between science and ethics, and why science seemingly turned its back on sensibility and feeling.

What, you may be wondering, in a novel teeming with death, underwrites my claim...Read More