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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oxford University Press Has My Number

posted by on March 15 at 12:05 PM

Oxford University Press has a great book series going: Pivotal Moments in US History.

There are 10 installments so far. I discovered the series inadvertantly. A while ago I bought a great fat book about one of my obsessions, the 1961 Freedom Rides. And just yesterday, I bought a book about another one of my obsessions, James Madison’s fight to get the Bill of Rights into the Constitution. As I was reading the James Madison book last night, I noticed it was part of the same series as the Freedom Rides book, and I thought, “Damn, these guys are on it.”

Check it out: The 10 “Pivotal Moments” they’ve flagged so far, chronologically, are:

The Treaty of Paris

Washington Crossing the Deleware

James Madison’s fight for the Bill of Rights

Adams vs. Jefferson, Election of 1800

The Fight to Admit Texas into the Union

The Battle of Antietam

The Stock Market Crash

The Birth of Rock and Roll

Brown Vs. Board of Ed

The Freedom Rides

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Thought you might be interested in this post, off the OUPblog, by Richard Labunski, author of the James Madison book: (This Day in History: Virginia Ratifies the Bill of Rights)

Posted by Rebecca | March 15, 2007 12:25 PM

I'll be interested to see where they peg "the birth of Rock and Roll". Most of the established histories have it wrong, missing out on a whole world of R&B shouters who crossed the rock and roll line long before that. Ideally, such a book wouldn't mention Elvis until the last chapter. Elvis was more of a Dean Martin impersonator, anyways.

Posted by Fnarf | March 15, 2007 12:31 PM


Judging from this description of the rock and roll book from their website, "the birth of rock coincided with the Civil Rights movement and brought "race music" into many white homes for the first time..."

... that is, the fact that they name check "race music" leads me to believe they totally get it. And, judging from the Madison book and the Freedom Rides book... the series is hip to context.

My guess it that the first chapter or two of the rock and roll book is all about black migration to Chicago etc...

Posted by Josh Feit | March 15, 2007 12:40 PM

Pivotal Moments, like the time we got the King of England's Oxford ass out of our hair?

Are we so inept that we can't publish our own history?

Posted by gillsans | March 15, 2007 12:59 PM

Well, no, the first chapter should be about the touring swing bands, including the western ones. Junior Barnard was playing rock licks on fuzz guitar in 1935. But then you have to follow that back to Bristol, Tennessee, and to minstrelsy, and quite a few other things besides. The harder you look for the "birthplace", the further it recedes from you. How about 13th-century Portugal?

And where's the jazz book? The single most significant event in American history is the day Louis Armstrong first brought his horn from his lips and started to sing.

Posted by Fnarf | March 15, 2007 1:02 PM

That's a bold claim, Fnarf.

Posted by Jude Fawley | March 15, 2007 3:07 PM

I'm a bold individual.

Seriously, by the time Armstrong got halfway through the first take of "I'm Not Rough", he had already achieved more than any American ever had or would, and more than any artistic figure in history except maybe Mozart.

Posted by Fnarf | March 15, 2007 5:30 PM

This post (and comments) have just made my morning! Now it's off to the library to see how I can work this into a homeschool history lesson. Thanks all!

Posted by amazonmidwife | March 16, 2007 5:48 AM

Hamilton wasn't all good.

He was the one who pushed for emphasizing the Executive's "war powers" (justified by that branch's unique "energy" and "dispatch") in the Constitution. If it weren't for Hamilton, the neo-con's would have a significantly tougher time justifying their "unitary Executive" theory.

Posted by Dakota | March 16, 2007 9:52 AM

Wow, I should get more sleep.

You're talking about James Madison, not Alexander Hamilton.

Nevermind. Heh.

Posted by Dakota | March 16, 2007 9:54 AM

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