Portal:Interviews

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Inventing the Pinkertons: Interview with Paul O'Hara

In 1850, Allan Pinkerton founded a detective agency that would grow into the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Pinkerton's agency is easily the most famous and infamous security guard and detective agency in United States history. Pinkerton originally created the agency to help railroad companies investigate their employees and catch train robbers. But over time, the Pinkertons developed an intimate relationship with the federal government and as these partnerships grew the Pinkertons' role increased dramatically. Read more...

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Primed for Violence in Interwar Poland: Interview with Paul Brykczynski

Paul Brykczynski's new book Primed for Violence: Murder, Antisemitism, and Democratic Politics in Interwar Poland published by the University of Wisconsin Press explores the tragic efforts of the Polish people to create a new democratic state after electing their first President, Gabriel Narutowicz.Read more...

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American Surveillance: Interview with Anthony Gregory

The United States has been conducting surveillance of its citizens since it was created, but the ability of any government to spy on its citizens has dramatically improved in the digital age. How should United States balance national security and personal privacy? Does the Constitution provide adequate protection against unrestricted government surveillance? What can advocates do to strengthen personal privacy rights? These concerns will only intensify in the years to come. Read more...

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Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby

The Oxford University Press has released Sam Haselby's book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism in a new affordable paperback version. This is a fantastic book that has been getting praise from prominent historians since it was originally released. Gordon Wood described his book in the New York Review of Books as an "impressive and powerfully argued book - that ....it was American Protestantism and not any sort of classical republicanism that was most important in shaping the development of American nationalism."Read more...

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Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover

Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country's eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process. Read more...

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Engineering Victory during the Civil War: Interview with Thomas F. Army, Jr.

Logistics win wars. Logistics is the coordination of complex operations such as moving, housing and supplying troops and their equipment. War is the ultimate test of any logistician. Thomas F. Army, Jr. argues in his new book Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War published by Johns Hopkins University Press that the Union's engineering prowess during Civil War gave it an distinct advantage over the Confederacy.Read more...

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The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Interview with Terri Halperin

The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were four laws that were passed by the predominantly Federalist Congress and signed by John Adams to strengthen the national security of the United States. These acts not only restricted the ability of an immigrant to become a citizen, but made it easier to deport non-citizens who were either deemed dangerous or were citizens of hostile countries. Perhaps the most contentious aspect of the new laws criminalized the printing or speaking allegedly false statements about the federal government. Not surprisingly, these laws were incredibly controversial and strongly opposed by Thomas Jefferson's opposition Democratic-Republican party.Read more...

Voodoo, Kidnapping and Race in New Orleans during Reconstruction: Interview with Michael A. Ross

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In October, the Oxford University Press will be publishing The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael A. Ross, an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland. Read more...

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Nature's Path: Interview with Susan E. Cayleff

At the very end of the 19th Century, a new system called naturopathy was created by Benedict and Louisa Stroebel Lust. Unlike many of the 19th Century medical systems created, naturopathy has persevered to this day. Naturopathic healing was founded and based on number of influences including botanics, hydrotherapy, eclecticism, temperance and vegetarianism. Read more...

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Engineering Victory during the Civil War: Interview with Thomas F. Army, Jr.

Logistics win wars. Logistics is the coordination of complex operations such as moving, housing and supplying troops and their equipment. War is the ultimate test of any logistician. During the Civil War, the Union troops fought almost the entire war in the South. Thomas F. Army, Jr. argues in his new book Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War published by Johns Hopkins University Press that the Union's engineering prowess during Civil War gave it an distinct advantage over the Confederacy.Read more...

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The Conspiracy of Free Trade: Interview with Marc-William Palen

Marc-William Palen's new book The "Conspiracy" of Free Trade: The Anglo-American Struggle over Empire and Economic Globalisation, 1846-1896 is relevant not only to historians of imperialism, capitalism, and economics, but to the 2016 American presidential primary election. Once again, free trade has become a central campaign issue during a presidential election. Read more...

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Shantytown, USA: Interview with Lisa Goff

The Harvard University Press recently published Lisa Goff's new book Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor. There's a chance that one of your American ancestors lived in an American shantytown. While we may not realize it now, shantytowns were a common feature of 19th century America. Goff's book explores not only how shantytowns became a prominent feature of America's towns and cities, but why middle class Americans eventually turned on them and their residents. Read more...

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Hodges' Scout: Interview with Len Travers

Johns Hopkins University Press has recently published Len Traver's new book Hodges' Scout: A Lost Patrol of the French and Indian War. Travers' book examines a group of colonial scouts who were ambushed on a patrol in upstate New York by French and Native American soldiers during the French and Indian War. Travers uses this massacre to explore the lives of the colonists who fought, died and even survived this massacre. Read more...

Interview:Lincoln's Biggest Bet: Interview with Todd Brewster

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Todd Brewster has had a remarkable career in both journalism and academia. He worked with both Life magazine and ABC News as a Senior Editor and Producer. When he was with ABC News he teamed with Peter Jennings on two monumental projects, The Century and In Search of America. The Century and In Search of America were mini-series that aired on the History Channel and ABC. Read more...

Interview:Pigs, Parks, and Power in the Antebellum City: Interview with Catherine McNeur

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Two hundred years ago, instead of being littered with gleaming glass towers and skyscrapers, Manhattan was home to thousands of wandering pigs and livestock. Antebellum Manhattan bore little resemblance to modern Manhattan's gleaming skyline. Catherine McNeur, assistant professor at Portland State University, has written a new book, Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City, published by Harvard University Press that explores a Manhattan filled with shanty towns, farmland and domesticated animals running loose in the streets. Read more...

Interview:African American Soldiers During the Civil War: Interview with Author Bob Luke

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Johns Hopkins University Press recently published Soldiering for Freedom: How the Union Army Recruited, Trained, and Deployed the U.S. Colored Troops written by Bob Luke and John David Smith. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, African Americans volunteered to fight for the Union. Soldiering for Freedom seeks to explain how these men were recruited, used, treated during the Civil War. Read more...

Interview:The History of Music Piracy: Interview with Alex Sayf Cummings

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When most of us think about music piracy we focus on Napster and Bit Torrent, but music piracy is nothing new. Alex Sayf Cummings explores the history of music piracy during the 20th Century in his book Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2013). Alex Sayf Cummings is an assistant professor of History at Georgia State University. Read more...

Interviews

These are our interviews with historians discussing their new books.