Kansas History - Autumn 2014
Justine Greve, “Language and Loyalty: The First World War and German Instruction at Two Kansas Schools.”
Before the United States entered the First World War, the German departments at Baker University, Baldwin City, and Bethel College, North Newton, were thriving. Some Baker students enthusiastically learned German as a second language, while many Bethel students grew up speaking German in their homes. Once the war broke out, German became an easy target for nationalist hostility. Speaking German—even learning it as a second language—could call one’s loyalty into question, explains historian Justine Greve in “All Tings Vot Haf der Cherman Label.” This anti-German sentiment led both Kansas schools (and many others around the country) to effectively eliminate German language programs. “Patriotism” can superficially explain this change, but the motives and reality varied with each school’s circumstances. At Baker pro-war enthusiasm led students to abandon their studies of German; at Bethel the ban on German was driven by fear and the school’s perceived need to prove its national loyalty. Baker and Bethel represent two models of the “patriotic” rejection of German: one apparently lighthearted and the other involuntary. Yet as with most binary categories, the distinction is not actually so clear-cut.
Peter M. Nadeau, “Microcosm of Manhood: Abilene, Eisenhower, and Nineteenth-Century Male Identity.”
In “Microcosm of Manhood,” Peter Nadeau, a Ph.D candidate at Oklahoma State University, examines the dutiful manhood that proliferated in nineteenth-century rural towns such as Abilene, Kansas. Despite the new emphasis placed on masculine power in the cities, Nadeau argues that rural areas largely rejected the new paradigm in favor of traditional concerns with male virtue. Abilene in the late 1890s provides a miniature example of the persistence of this model of manhood, and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s upbringing demonstrates how one generation passed this gender conception onto the next. Differentiating understandings of maleness at the turn of the century is critical for understanding the gender transition of the 1890s and the competing constructions of maleness in the twentieth century. Understanding male identity in Abilene gives us a better understanding of gender relations across nineteenth-century Kansas and their reverberations throughout the nation in the succeeding century.
Jorge Iber, “The Early Life and Career of Topeka's Mike Torrez, 1946-1978: Sport as Means for Studying Latino/a Life in Kansas.”
The early life and career of Topeka native Mike Torrez and his path to the Major Leagues offers the historian a splendid opportunity to examine “sport as means for studying Latino/a life in Kansas.” In addition to his individual and familial story (Torrez was the son and grandson of Mexicano railroad workers), the essay sheds light on the significant role of sport in the day-to-day existence of the Mexican American community in the Oakland neighborhood (and elsewhere in Kansas). The topic of sport is a well-developed element for the study of community life, the maintenance of ethnic pride, and resistance against the majority population’s stereotyping of other ethnic and racial groups. But, explains Jorge Iber, a professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University, sport has only recently begun to generate academic and popular attention as a vital component of Latino life and history throughout the United States.
John Hart, editor. “Under Moonlight in Missouri: Private John Benton Hart’s Account of Price’s Raid, October 1864.”
John Benton Hart, Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, served under General James G. Blunt and Colonel Thomas Moonlight in the series of engagements that put an end to the massive Confederate invasion under General Sterling Price 150 years ago. In a belated memoir dictated to his son between 1918 and 1923, Hart recalled the stresses and also the lighter moments of a tissue of battles and exhausting marches stretching over a two-week period before, including, and after the Battle of Westport on October 23. “Under Moonlight in Missouri,” edited by historian and author John Hart, a great grandson of the Price’s raid veteran, is the first publication of these excerpts from a much longer manuscript.
The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History
by Jon K. Lauck
166 pages, notes, index.
Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2013, cloth, $35.00.
Reviewed by David B. Danbom, independent scholar, Loveland, Colorado.
The Geography of Resistance: Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad
by Cheryl Janifer LaRoche
xviii + 232 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014, cloth $85.00, paper $25.00.
Reviewed by Kristen K. Epps, assistant professor of history, University of Central Arkansas, Conway.
Global West, American Frontier: Travel, Empire, and Exceptionalism from Manifest Destiny to the Great Depression
by David M. Wrobel xv + 312 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Sara M. Gregg, associate professor of history, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
Sunflower Justice: A New History of the Kansas Supreme Court
by R. Alton Lee
xii + 388 pages, notes, index.
Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 2014, cloth $65.00.
Reviewed by M. H. Hoeflich, John H. and John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
The Darkest Period: The Kanza Indians and Their Last Homeland, 1846–1873
xv + 317 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Michelle M. Martin, adjunct professor of history, Rogers State University, Claremore, Oklahoma.
The Tolerant Populists: Kansas Populism and Nativism, Second Edition
by Walter Nugent
xix + 231 pages, notes, index.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013, cloth $25.00.
Reviewed by Jeff Wells, visiting assistant professor of history, University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Cold War Kids: Politics and Childhood in Postwar America, 1945–1960
by Marilyn Irvin Holt
ix + 214 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2014, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Rachel Waltner Goossen, professor of history, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas.