Weekend Reading

This week: religion and the Presidency; Silent Spring, 50 years later; the Swedish-commanded German regiment that fought for the Union; a dark chapter in Chinese history; and our first link to anything on the history of Wales!

• The history of fences in 19th century America.

• Only in the U.S. Civil War: a regiment of German immigrants who belonged to a movement combining physical fitness with progressive politics, all commanded by a Swedish aristocrat who worked his way up through the Union ranks from private to colonel.

• The sewer workers from Manchester who played a significant role in the trench warfare of WWI’s Western Front.

Fifty-five years ago this year: China veered from the relative openness of the Hundred Flowers Movement to the repression of the Anti-Rightist Campaign.

• What Welsh history has to do with a famous image of a black African-American Jesus Chris in an Alabama church.

Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) – Wikimedia

• Who was the most religious president of the United States? Among the leading contenders: #6, #20, #25, #28, and #39.

• More on the closure of the Georgia State Archives: a New York Times report warns that “An amalgam of recession-driven budget cuts and fast-moving technological changes could result in a black hole of government information whose impact might not be understood for decades.”

• Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, one of the most significant books in the history of the environmentalist movement, was published fifty years ago this past Thursday. One of many reflections on the occasion came from the National Museum of American History blog, O Say Can You See. (Carson’s book was originally serialized in The New Yorker magazine, whose Joshua Rothman also wrote about its impact.)

• And one of the most influential American historians of the 20th century, Eugene Genovese, died on Wednesday. A specialist in the history of the American South and of slavery, Genovese’s books included the Bancroft Prize-winning Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. Among other tributes: this forum featuring members of the The Historical Society (which he helped to found), this eulogy from Robert George, and this one from Mark Bauerlein.


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