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2018: A Historian’s Reading

ca. 1950
General Motors contract settlement- first partially paid hospitalization and medical program at union shop. J.W. Livingston, T.A. Johnstone, Irving Bluestone, Guy Nunn, Walter Reuther, Harry Anderson (GM), and Lou Seaton (GM).

The last two years, I have put up my professional reading list. Here is the 2017 list and here is the 2016 list. So let me just repeat what I said last year. Just as a refresher, I read these books for my own purposes–to prepare for teaching, to keep up or catch up on the historiography in my fields, occasionally to broaden my horizons. So I do not read every word of these books, nor do I generally read for factual information. I read for preparation for my work, whether my own professional writing, to inform my blog posts, to prepare for new courses, or to think through harder questions. That often means simply being aware of the basic outlines of a book so that I can go into more detail later when I need to write about a given subject. I also included the few books on contemporary politics I read this year, since there’s not much sense separating those out from historical books given my writing. Some of these are new books, most are from the last decade or so, a few are old classics that I had either never read or haven’t read in the last decade. There is a big chunk of environmental books all in a row in the middle, reflecting a book prize committee I served on I have also placed bold faced asterisks after 20 books I think LGM readers would find particularly useful/I think you should buy and read. That’s not necessarily the same as what I think are the 20 best books, although there is obviously a lot of crossover. Anyway, here it is:

1. Jonathan Cutler, Labor’s Time: Shorter Hours, the UAW, and the Struggle for American Unionism
2. Margaret Jacobs, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940
3. William Truettner, Painting Indians and Building Empires in North America, 1710-1840***
4. Ira Rutkow, Bleeding Blue and Gray: Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine
5. Olaf Larson, et al, Sociology in Government: The Galpin-Taylor Years in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1919-1953
6. Robert Alegre, Railroad Radicals: Gender, Class, and Memory in Cold War Mexico
7. Godfrey Hodgson, More Equal than Others: America from Nixon to the New Century
8. Bruce Nelson, Divided We Stand: American Workers and the Struggle for Black Equality
9. Benson Tong, Unsubmissive Women: Chinese Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco
10. Premilla Nadasen, Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement***
11. Tamara Draut, Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America ***
12. Janet Irons, Testing the New Deal: The General Textile Strike of 1934 in the American South
13. Greg Grandin, The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War ***
14. Thomas Cox, This Well-Wooded Land
15. Robert Waters and Geert Van Goethem, eds., American Labor’s Global Ambassadors: The International History of the AFL-CIO during the Cold War
16. Richard Steven Street, Beasts of the Field: A Narrative History of California Farmworkers, 1769-1913 ***
17. Jason Phillips, Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility
18. Hwa-Jen Liu, Leverage of the Weak: Labor and Environmental Movements in Taiwan and South Korea
19. Manisha Sinha, The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina ***
20. David Smilde, Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism
21. Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones Wolf, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie
22. David Brody, Steelworkers in America: The Nonunion Era
23. Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise***
24. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins***
25. Harold L. Platt, Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago
26. Timothy Minchin, Empty Mills: The Fight against Imports and the Decline of the U.S. Textile Industry
27. Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Domestica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence
28. Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade against the New Deal
29. Andor Skotnes, A New Deal For All? Race and Class Struggles in Depression Era Baltimore
30. Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1870-1916
31. Christopher Bosso, Pesticides and Politics: The Life Cycle of a Public Issue
32. Frank Zelko, Make It a Green Peace! The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism
33. Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910
34. Richard Greenwald, Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective
35. Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South
36. David O. Stowell, Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877
37. R. Douglas Hurt, Problems of Plenty: The American Farmer in the Twentieth Century
38. Lissa Wadewitz, The Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea
39. Michael Rosenow, Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920
40. Brian Drake, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan
41. Jerry Frank, Making Rocky Mountain National Park: The Environmental History of an American Treasure
42. Aaron Shapiro, The Lure of the North Woods: Cultivating Tourism in the Upper Midwest
43. Jennifer Graber, The Gods of Indian County: Religion and the Struggle for the American West***
44. Dina Berger and Andrew Grant Wood, eds., Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters
45. Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America
46. Marie Gottschalk, The Shadow Welfare State: Labor, Business and the Politics of Health Care in the United States
47. Michael Kazin, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation
48. Derek Larson, Keeping Oregon Green: Livability, Stewardship, and the Challenges of Growth, 1960-1980
49. Diane Smith, Yellowstone and the Smithsonian: Centers of Wildlife Conservation
50. Carolina Bank Munoz, Bridget Kenny, Antonio Stecher, eds., Walmart in the Global South: Workplace Culture, Labor Politics, and Supply Chains
51. Daniel Nelson, Nature’s Burdens: Conservation and American Politics, the Reagan Era to the Present
52. Lauren Danner, Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park
53. Sara Dant, Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West
54. Marci Spencer, Nantahala National Forest: A History
55. Shelley Alden Brooks, Big Sur: The Making of a Prized California Landscape
56. Mark Kinzer, Nature’s Burden: An Environmental History of Congaree National Park
57. Andrew M. Busch, City in a Garden: Environmental Transformations and Racial Injustice in Twentieth-Century Austin, Texas
58. Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life
59. Dario Gaggio, The Shaping of Tuscany: Landscape and Society between Tradition and Modernity
60. Eric Yellin, Racism in the Nation’s Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson’s America
61. Stephen Campbell, Border Capitalism, Disrupted: Precarity and Struggle in a Southeast Asian Industrial Zone
62. Caroline Light, Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Violence ***
63. David Brody, Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle
64. Alex Marshall, How Cities Work: Suburbs, Sprawl, and the Roads Not Taken
65. Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France
66. Brian Tokar, Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash
67. Edward Schapsmeier, Henry A. Wallace of Iowa: The Agrarian Years, 1910-40
68. Edwin Hargrove and Paul Conkin, eds, TVA: Fifty Years of Grassroots Bureaucracy
69. Gergely Baics, Feeding Gotham: The Political Economy and Geography of Food in New York, 1790-1860
70. Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf, Waves of Opposition: Labor and the Struggle for Democratic Radio
71. Judith Stein, Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy and the Decline of Liberalism
72. Heath Carter, Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago
73. Cherny, Issel, and Taylor, eds., American Labor and the Cold War: Grassroots Politics and Postwar Political Culture
74. Ann Sittig and Martha Gonzalez, The Mayans Among Us: Migrant Workers and Meatpacking on the Great Plains
75. Ruth Milkman, L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement
76. Mark Kleinman, A World of Hope, A World of Fear: Henry A. Wallace, Reinhold Niebuhr, and American Liberalism
77. Heinrich Siegmann, The Conflicts between Labor and Environmentalism in the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States
78. Jeffrey Webber, From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia: Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation and the Politics of Evo Morales
79. Thomas Dunlap, DDT: Scientists, Citizens, and Public Policy
80. Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War ***
81. Dorceta Taylor, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection
82. Stock and Johnson ed., The Countryside and the Age of the Modern State
83. G. William Domhoff and Michael J. Webber, Class and Power in the New Deal: Corporate Moderates, Southern Democrats, and the Liberal-Labor Coalition
84. Scott Nelson, Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction
85. Carolina Bank Munoz, Building Power from Below: Chilean Workers Take on Walmart
86. Samuel Hays, Wars in the Woods: The Rise of Ecological Forestry in America
87. George Chauncey, Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality
88. Andreas Malm, The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World***
89. Kathleen Barry, Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants ***
90. Gabriel Thompson, America’s Social Arsonist: Fred Ross and Grassroots Organizing in the Twentieth Century
91. Elizabeth Dore, Myths of Modernity: Peons and Patriarchy in Nicaragua
92. Andrew Case, The Organic Profit: Rodale and the Making of Marketplace Environmentalism
93. Wanda Rushing, Memphis and the Paradox of Place: Globalization and the American South
94. Leisl Carr Childers, The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin
95. Harold Pinkett, Gifford Pinchot: Private and Public Forester
96. Charles Cobb, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible***
97. Laura Enriquez, Agrarian Reform and Class Consciousness in Nicaragua
98. Dan Flores, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History***
99. James P. Kraft, Vegas at Odds: Labor Conflict in a Leisure Economy, 1960-1985
100. Thomas Jundt, Greening the Red, White, and Blue: The Bomb, Big Business, and Consumer Resistance in Postwar America
101. Stephen Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America ***
102. Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America ***
103. Dean Baker, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer***
104. Brian Fagan, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850 ***
105. Anne Hyde, Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860
106. Paul Michael Taillon, Good, Reliable, White Men: Railroad Brotherhoods, 1877-1917
107. Marc Levinson, An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy
108. Peter Frase, Four Futures: Life after Capitalism
109. Jennifer Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery
110. Ibram Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America ***
111. Cynthia Blair, I’ve Got to Make My Livin’: Black Women’s Sex Work in Turn of the Century Chicago
112. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s ***
113. Conevery Bolton Valencius, The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes

Truth be told, nailing this list down to 20 recommendations was hard. So I chose 21. There is another 10 or so I would highly recommend to anyone. I am happy to discuss any of these books in comments.

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