Brief Review: Joshua Green, The Devil’s Bargain

If you want a quick, readable overview that explains how Donald Trump won the presidency, I highly recommend Joshua Green's Devil's Bargain. It's an even-handed take, offering criticism of nearly everyone: Bannon, Trump, Clinton, etc. I kept pretty close tabs on the campaign, but even I didn't realize how all of the pieces came together …

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Books for Spring 2018

Conspiracy Theories Jovan Byford, Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave, 2011) ISBN 9781137520241 Barna William Donovan, Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious (McFarland, 2011) ISBN 9780786439010 Kathryn Olmsted, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011) ISBN 9780199753956 Michael William Pfau, The Political Style of Conspiracy: Chase, Summer, and Lincoln …

Review: Joseph Smith Papers, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846

Last year, Spencer McBride asked me to participate in a blogger event for The Joseph Smith Papers (JSP) that focused on the publication of the volume containing the Council of Fifty Minutes, March 1844-January 1846 (C50). My teaching schedule prevented me from being part of that session, but Spencer graciously sent me a copy of the volume …

Help Choose My Next Book Cover!

You can help me choose my next book cover! In the comments, note which of the below eight images you think would make the best cover for The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson. Use whatever criteria suits you, and add your reasoning in your comment if you want.*     …

George Washington Gordon, the Klan, and the History of Confederate Memorials

Unless you are a student of Civil War military history, you've probably never heard of Confederate general George Washington Gordon. Yet, he was a seminal figure in the early years of the Ku Klux Klan and an important voice in the construction of the Lost Cause ideology. The debate over Confederate monuments the past few …

White Supremacy, the KKK, and Charlottesville

If you've never watched the documentary, The Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History, now would be a good time to do so. There are some historical inaccuracies in it, but overall, it provides a revealing look at the KKK's history. One of the most important parts of the documentary is the first twelve minutes. Before …

Release of First Van Buren Documents

I am thrilled beyond words to announce that the first 80 documents from the Papers of Martin Van Buren project are now freely available. Read the entire press release, then visit the PMVB site to explore the documents. This project has gained tremendous momentum in the past couple of months. Our May fundraiser raised almost $1,000, …

Van Buren Papers Project Receives NHPRC Grant

Reblogged from the PMVB website: We are thrilled to share the news that the Van Buren Papers received an NHPRC grant for 2017-18. The official Cumberland University press release: Cumberland University received a grant for $60,752 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Papers of Martin Van Buren (PMVB) project. The funds will …

WPLN Visits the Van Buren Papers

Chas Sisk of Nashville Public Radio recently visited the Papers of Martin Van Buren office Chas spent 90 minutes interviewing me and several students (David Gregory, Ally Johnson, and Zach Morgan)  who are working on the project over the summer. You can read or listen to the interview through the link at the PMVB website.