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America, the Dream of My Life
Selections from the Federal Writers' Project's New Jersey Ethnic Survey
Cohen, David Steven
Rutgers University Press, 1990
This selection is the first statewide collection of life histories from the Social-Ethnic Studies program of the Federal Writers's Project. They represent for ethnic history what the more famous Federal Writers' Project's Slave Narratives have meant for African-American history.
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The Appalachians
America's First and Last Frontier
Mari-Lynn Evans
West Virginia University Press, 2013

A beautifully produced companion volume to the public television documentary The Appalachians fills the void in information about the region, offering a rich portrait of its history and its legacy in music, literature, and film. The text includes essays by some of Appalachia’s most respected scholars and journalists; excerpts from never-before-published diaries and journals; firsthand recollections from native Appalachians including Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and Ralph Stanley; indigenous song lyrics and poetry; and oral histories from common folk whose roots run strong and deep. The book also includes more than one hundred illustrations, both archival and newly created. Here is a wondrous book celebrating a unique and valuable heritage.

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Barbed Voices
Oral History, Resistance, and the World War II Japanese American Social Disaster
Arthur A. Hansen
University Press of Colorado, 2021
Barbed Voices is an engaging anthology of the most significant published articles written by the well-known and highly respected historian of Japanese American history Arthur Hansen, updated and annotated for contemporary context. Featuring selected inmates and camp groups who spearheaded resistance movements in the ten War Relocation Authority–administered compounds in the United States during World War II, Hansen’s writing provides a basis for understanding why, when, where, and how some of the 120,000 incarcerated Japanese Americans opposed the threats to themselves, their families, their reference groups, and their racial-ethnic community.
 
What historically was benignly termed the “Japanese American Evacuation” was in fact a social disaster, which, unlike a natural disaster, is man-made. Examining the emotional implications of targeted systemic incarceration, Hansen highlights the psychological traumas that transformed Japanese American identity and culture for generations after the war. While many accounts of Japanese American incarceration rely heavily on government documents and analytic texts, Hansen’s focus on first-person Nikkei testimonies gathered through powerful oral history interviews gives expression to the resistance to this social disaster.
 
Analyzing the evolving historical memory of the effects of wartime incarceration, Barbed Voices presents a new scholarly framework of enduring value. It will be of interest to students and scholars of oral history, US history, public history, and ethnic studies as well as the general public interested in the WWII experience and civil rights.
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Battle of Valle Giulia
Oral History and the Art of Dialogue
Alessandro Portelli
University of Wisconsin Press, 1997
     History, we are often taught, is driven by vast social, political, and economic forces. But each political event, each war, each clash in the streets or at the picket lines, is experienced by individuals. It is this profound bond between public history and personal struggle, Alessandro Portelli contends, that gives oral history its significance and its power.
     In The Battle of Valle Giulia—the title comes from an Italian student protest of the 1960s—Portelli reflects on how to connect personal memories with history, how to fittingly collect and represent the complexity of memory. Crossing cultures, classes, and generations, he records the private and singular experiences of Italian steelworkers and Kentucky coal miners, veterans and refugees of World War II, soldiers who fought in Vietnam, Italian resistance fighters and Nazis, and members of student movements from Berkeley to Rome. By listening to those whom others presume are "without historical memory"—such as youthful protesters, or the rural Tuscan women who saw every father, son, and brother killed by Nazi soldiers—Portelli clarifies the process by which narratives come into being as oral history, and he illustrates the differences and distances between story-telling and history-telling.
     Portelli's articulate discussion of dialogue, representation, narrative and genre link historical analysis with literary and linguistic theory and with the concerns of contemporary anthropology.
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Beloved Land
An Oral History of Mexican Americans in Southern Arizona
Collected and Edited by Patricia Preciado Martin, with Photographs by José Galvez
University of Arizona Press, 2004
Doña Ramona Benítez Franco was born in 1902 on her parents' Arizona ranch and celebrated her hundredth birthday with family and friends in 2002, still living in her family's century-old adobe house. Doña Ramona witnessed many changes in the intervening years, but her memories of the land and customs she knew as a child are indelible.

For Doña Ramona as well as for countless generations of Mexican Americans, memories of rural life recall la querida tierra, the beloved land. Through good times and bad, the land provided sustenance. Today, many of those homesteads and ranches have succumbed to bulldozers that have brought housing projects and strip malls in their wake.

Now a writer and a photographer who have long been intimately involved with Arizona's Hispanic community have preserved the voices and images of men and women who are descendants of pioneer ranching and farming families in southern Arizona. Ranging from Tucson to the San Rafael Valley and points in between, this book documents the contributions of Mexican American families whose history and culture are intertwined with the lifestyle of the contemporary Southwest. These were hardy, self-reliant pioneers who settled in what were then remote areas. Their stories tell of love affairs with the land and a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.

Through oral histories and a captivating array of historic and contemporary photos, Beloved Land records a vibrant and resourceful way of life that has contributed so much to the region. Individuals like Doña Ramona tell stories about rural life, farming, ranching, and vaquero culture that enrich our knowledge of settlement, culinary practices, religious traditions, arts, and education of Hispanic settlers of Arizona. They talk frankly about how the land changed hands—not always by legal means—and tell how they feel about modern society and the disappearance of the rural lifestyle.

"Our ranch homes and fields, our chapels and corrals may have been bulldozed by progress or renovated into spas and guest ranches that never whisper our ancestors' names," writes Patricia Preciado Martin. "The story of our beautiful and resilient heritage will never be silenced . . . as long as we always remember to run our fingers through the nourishing and nurturing soil of our history." Beloved Land works that soil as it revitalizes that history for the generations to come.
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Boots, Bikes, and Bombers
Adventures of Alaska Conservationist Ginny Hill Wood
Edited by Karen Brewster
University of Alaska Press, 2012
Boots, Bikes, and Bombers presents an intimate oral history of Ginny Hill Wood, a pioneering Alaska conservationist and outdoorswoman. Born in Washington in 1917, Wood served as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot in World War II, and flew a military surplus airplane to Alaska in 1946. Settling in Fairbanks, she went on to co-found Camp Denali, Alaska’s first wilderness ecotourism lodge; helped start the Alaska Conservation Society, the state’s first environmental organization; and applied her love of the outdoors to her work as a backcountry guide and an advocate for trail construction and preservation.
An innovative and collaborative life history, Boots, Bikes, and Bombers, incorporates the story of friendship between the author and subject. The resulting book is a valuable contribution to the history of Alaska as well as a testament to the joys of living a life full of passion and adventure.
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The Borderlands of Race
Mexican Segregation in a South Texas Town
By Jennifer R. Nájera
University of Texas Press, 2015

Throughout much of the twentieth century, Mexican Americans experienced segregation in many areas of public life, but the structure of Mexican segregation differed from the strict racial divides of the Jim Crow South. Factors such as higher socioeconomic status, lighter skin color, and Anglo cultural fluency allowed some Mexican Americans to gain limited access to the Anglo power structure. Paradoxically, however, this partial assimilation made full desegregation more difficult for the rest of the Mexican American community, which continued to experience informal segregation long after federal and state laws officially ended the practice.

In this historical ethnography, Jennifer R. Nájera offers a layered rendering and analysis of Mexican segregation in a South Texas community in the first half of the twentieth century. Using oral histories and local archives, she brings to life Mexican origin peoples’ experiences with segregation. Through their stories and supporting documentary evidence, Nájera shows how the ambiguous racial status of Mexican origin people allowed some of them to be exceptions to the rule of Anglo racial dominance. She demonstrates that while such exceptionality might suggest the permeability of the color line, in fact the selective and limited incorporation of Mexicans into Anglo society actually reinforced segregation by creating an illusion that the community had been integrated and no further changes were needed. Nájera also reveals how the actions of everyday people ultimately challenged racial/racist ideologies and created meaningful spaces for Mexicans in spheres historically dominated by Anglos.

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Borders and Boundaries
How Women Experienced the Partition of India
Ritu Menon
Rutgers University Press, 1998
As an event of shattering consequence, the Partition of India remains significant today. While Partition sounds smooth on paper, the reality was horrific. More than eight million people migrated and one million died in the process. The forced migration, violence between Hindus and Muslims, and mass widowhood were unprecedented and well-documented. What was less obvious but equally real was that millions of people had to realign their identities, uncertain about who they thought they were. The rending of the social and emotional fabric that took place in 1947 is still far from mended.


While there are plenty of official accounts of Partition, there are few social histories and no feminist histories. Borders and Boundaries changes that, providing first-hand accounts and memoirs, juxtaposed alongside official government accounts. The authors make women not only visible but central. They explore what country, nation, and religious identity meant for women, and they address the question of the nation-state and the gendering of citizenship.


In the largest ever peace-time mass migration of people, violence against women became the norm. Thousands of women committed suicide or were done to death by their own kinsmen. Nearly 100,000 women were "abducted" during the migration. A young woman might have been separated from her family when a convoy was ambushed, abducted by people of another religion, forced to convert, and forced into marriage or cohabitation. After bearing a child, she would be offered the opportunity to return only if she left her child behind and if she could face shame in her natal community. These stories do not paint their subjects as victims. Theirs are the stories of battles over gender, the body, sexuality, and nationalism-stories of women fighting for identity.
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Catching Stories
A Practical Guide to Oral History
Donna M. DeBlasio
Ohio University Press, 2009

In neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and workplaces, people are using oral history to capture and collect the kinds of stories that the history books and the media tend to overlook: stories of personal struggle and hope, of war and peace, of family and friends, of beliefs, traditions, and values—the stories of our lives.

Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History is a clear and comprehensive introduction for those with little or no experience in planning or undertaking oral history projects. Opening with the key question, “Why do oral history?” the guide outlines the stages of a project from idea to final product—planning and research, the interviewing process, basic technical principles, and audio and video recording techniques. The guide covers interview transcribing, ethical and legal issues, archiving, funding sources, and sharing oral history with audiences.

Intended for teachers, students, librarians, local historians, and volunteers as well as individuals, Catching Stories is the place to start for anyone who wants to document the memories and collect the stories of community or family.

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Creating Dairyland
How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin
Edward Janus
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
 
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.
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front cover of Creating Dairyland
Creating Dairyland
How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin
Edward Janus
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
 
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.
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Doing What the Day Brought
An Oral History of Arizona Women
Mary Logan Rothschild and Pamela Claire Hronek
University of Arizona Press, 1992
"I've seen many changes during the years," says Irene Bishop, "from horse and buggy to automobiles and planes, from palm leaf fans to refrigeration. . . . They talk about the good old days but I do not want to go back. I'd like to go back about twenty years, but not beyond that. Life was too hard."

Drawing on interviews with twenty-nine individuals, Doing What the Day Brought examines the everyday lives of women from the late nineteenth century to the present day and demonstrates the role they have played in shaping the modern Arizona community.

Focusing on "ordinary" women, the book crosses race, ethnic, religious, economic, and marital lines to include Arizona women from diverse backgrounds. Rather than simply editing each woman's words, Rothschild and Hronek have analyzed these oral histories for common themes and differences and have woven portions into a narrative that gives context to the individual lives. The resulting life-course format moves naturally from childhood to home life, community service, and participation in the work force, and concludes with reflections on changes witnessed in the lifetimes of these women.

For the women whose lives are presented here, it may have been common to gather dead saguaro cactus ribs to make outdoor fires to boil laundry water, or to give birth on a dirt floor. Their stories capture not only changes in a state where history has overlooked the role of women, but the changing roles of American women over the course of this century.
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Don't Go Up Kettle Creek
Verbal Legacy Upper Cumberland
William Lynwood Montell
University of Tennessee Press, 2000
Don’t Go Up Kettle Creek is a historical portrayal of a river and the people who made their living along its banks and tributaries. Drawing upon the personal recollections and oral traditions of longtime residents, William Lynwood Montell describes a century and a half of life in the Upper Cumberland.
  Montell organized his material according to the topics that dominated his tape-recorded conversations with residents of the area-farming, logging and rafting, steamboating, the Civil War-topics that the people themselves saw as important in their history. In reconstructing the past, the author also illuminates the relationship between geographic and economic factors in the region; the prolonged affects of a cataclysmic event, the Civil War, on the isolated area; and the impact of modernization, in the form of “hard” roads and cheap, TVA-supplied electricity, on the traditional ways of people.
  First published in 1983, this book is now available in paperback for the first time. Included with this edition is a new foreword in which Montell and Mary Robbins, executive director of the Tennessee Upper Cumberland Tourism Association, describe changes in the area that have occured since the book’s initial appearance.

The Author: William Lynwood Montell, now retired, was coordinator of programs in folk and interculturual studies at Western Kentucky University. His numerous books include Ghosts along the Cumberland and The Saga of Coe Ridge.
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Echoes of Chongqing
Women in Wartime China
Danke Li
University of Illinois Press, 2010

This collection of annotated oral histories records the personal stories of twenty Chinese women who lived in the wartime capital of Chongqing during China's War of Resistance against Japan during World War II. By presenting women's remembrances of the war, this study examines the interplay between oral history and traditional historical narrative, public discourse, and private memories. The women interviewed came from differing social, economic, and educational backgrounds and experienced the war in a variety of ways, some of them active in the communist resistance and others trying to support families or pursue educations in the face of wartime upheaval. Their stories demonstrate that the War of Resistance had two faces: one presented by official propaganda and characterized by an upbeat unified front against Japan, the other a record of invisible private stories and a sobering national experience of death and suffering. The accounts of how women coped, worked, and lived during the war years in the Chongqing region recast historical understanding of the roles played by ordinary people in wartime and give women a public voice and face that, until now, have been missing from scholarship on the war.

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Elite Oral History Discourse
A Study of Cooperation and Coherence
Eva M. McMahan
University of Alabama Press, 1989

Over the past thirty years, oral history has found increasing favor among social scientists and humanists, with scholars “rediscovering” the oral interview as a valuable method for obtaining information about the daily realities and historical consciousness of people, their histories, and their culture. One primary issue is the question of how the communicative performances of the interviewer and narrator jointly influence the interview. Using methods of conversation/discourse analysis, the author describes the collaborative processes that enable interviewers and narrators to interact successfully in the interview context.


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Establishing Shots
An Oral History of the Winnipeg Film Group
Kevin Nikkel
University of Manitoba Press, 2023

front cover of First-Time
First-Time
The Historical Vision of an African American People
Richard Price
University of Chicago Press, 2002
A classic of historical anthropology, First-Time traces the shape of historical thought among peoples who had previously been denied any history at all. The top half of each page presents a direct transcript of oral histories told by living Saramakas about their eighteenth-century ancestors, "Maroons" who had escaped slavery and settled in the rain forests of Suriname. Below these transcripts, Richard Price provides commentaries placing the Saramaka accounts into broader social, intellectual, and historical contexts.

First-Time's unique style of presentation preserves the integrity of both its oral and documentary sources, uniting them in a profound meditation on the roles of history and memory. This second edition includes a new preface by the author, discussing First-Time's impact and recounting the continuing struggles of the Saramaka people.
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From Beneath the Volcano
The Story of a Salvadoran Campesino and His Family
Michael Gorkin and Marta Evelyn Pineda
University of Arizona Press, 2011
In 1980 El Salvador was plunged into a bloody civil war, and Luis Campos, a peasant farmer, found himself drawn into a deadly political maelstrom of guerrilla fighting for twelve years. In this collection of fascinating and revealing oral histories, Gorkin and Pineda portray the personal and social lives of Luis and his family, who for the past eighteen years have been working to rebuild their lives in their new community beneath the Guazapa volcano.

Luis, his mother, his wife, his in-laws, his children, and some neighbors recall in a simple and often eloquent manner their experiences of everyday life before, during, and after the civil war. Nina Bonafacia, Luis’s mother, tells of the days before the war when two of her daughters were murdered and she fled with her family to a refugee camp. Julia, Luis’s wife, recounts her life as a guerrillera during which, incidentally, she gave birth to the first two of her eight children. Joaquin, a neighbor and comrade-in-arms, discusses how he and others took control of the land of Comunidad Guazapa and began rebuilding in those turbulent days and months right after the war. Margarita and Francisco, the two oldest children, with candor and insight discuss the trajectory of their lives and that of the postwar generation. And at the center of all these stories stands Luis, the guerrillero, farmer, neighbor, husband, father—and raconteur par excellence.

In sum, the multiple voices in From Beneath the Volcano combine to form a rich tapestry displaying a story of war, family, and community and provide a never-before-seen view of both the past and present El Salvador.
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front cover of From Can See to Can’t
From Can See to Can’t
Texas Cotton Farmers on the Southern Prairies
By Thad Sitton and Dan K. Utley
University of Texas Press, 1997

Cotton farming was the only way of life that many Texans knew from the days of Austin's Colony up until World War II. For those who worked the land, it was a dawn-till-dark, "can see to can't," process that required not only a wide range of specialized skills but also a willingness to gamble on forces often beyond a farmer's control—weather, insects, plant diseases, and the cotton market.

This unique book offers an insider's view of Texas cotton farming in the late 1920s. Drawing on the memories of farmers and their descendants, many of whom are quoted here, the authors trace a year in the life of south central Texas cotton farms. From breaking ground to planting, cultivating, and harvesting, they describe the typical tasks of farm families—as well as their houses, food, and clothing; the farm animals they depended on; their communities; and the holidays, activities, and observances that offered the farmers respite from hard work.

Although cotton farming still goes on in Texas, the lifeways described here have nearly vanished as the state has become highly urbanized. Thus, this book preserves a fascinating record of an important part of Texas' rural heritage.

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Harder than Hardscrabble
Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill Country
Edited by Thad Sitton
University of Texas Press, 2004

Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005
Runner-up, Carr P. Collins Award, Best Book of Nonfiction, Texas Institute of Letters, 2005

Until the U.S. Army claimed 300-plus square miles of hardscrabble land to build Fort Hood in 1942, small communities like Antelope, Pidcoke, Stampede, and Okay scratched out a living by growing cotton and ranching goats on the less fertile edges of the Texas Hill Country. While a few farmers took jobs with construction crews at Fort Hood to remain in the area, almost the entire population—and with it, an entire segment of rural culture—disappeared into the rest of the state.

In Harder than Hardscrabble, oral historian Thad Sitton collects the colorful and frequently touching stories of the pre-Fort Hood residents to give a firsthand view of Texas farming life before World War II. Accessible to the general reader and historian alike, the stories recount in vivid detail the hardships and satisfactions of daily life in the Texas countryside. They describe agricultural practices and livestock handling as well as life beyond work: traveling peddlers, visits to towns, country schools, medical practices, and fox hunting. The anecdotes capture a fast-disappearing rural society—a world very different from today's urban Texas.

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House of Mourning
A Biocultural History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Shannon A Novak
University of Utah Press, 2008

On September 11, 1857, some 120 men, women, and children from the Arkansas hills were murdered in the remote desert valley of Mountain Meadows, Utah. This notorious massacre was, in fact, a mass execution: having surrendered their weapons, the victims were bludgeoned to death or shot at point-blank range. The perpetrators were local Mormon militiamen whose motives have been fiercely debated for 150 years.

In House of Mourning, Shannon A. Novak goes beyond the question of motive to the question of loss. Who were the victims at Mountain Meadows? How had they settled and raised their families in the American South, and why were they moving west once again? What were they hoping to find or make for themselves at the end of the trail? By integrating archival records and oral histories with the first analysis of skeletal remains from the massacre site, Novak offers a detailed and sensitive portrait of the victims as individuals, family members, cultural beings, and living bodies.

The history of the massacre has often been treated as a morality tale whose chief purpose was to vilify (or to glorify) some collective body. Resisting this tendency to oversimplify the past, Novak explores Mountain Meadows as a busy and dangerous intersection of cultural and material forces in antebellum America. House of Mourning is a bold experiment in a new kind of history, the biocultural analysis of complex events.

Winner of the Society for Historical Archaeology James Deetz Book Award. 
 

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front cover of The House Will Come To Order
The House Will Come To Order
How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics
By Patrick L. Cox and Michael Phillips
University of Texas Press, 2010

In a state assumed to have a constitutionally weak governor, the Speaker of the Texas House wields enormous power, with the ability to almost single-handedly dictate the legislative agenda. The House Will Come to Order charts the evolution of the Speaker's role from a relatively obscure office to one of the most powerful in the state. This fascinating account, drawn from the Briscoe Center's oral history project on the former Speakers, is the story of transition, modernization, and power struggles.

Weaving a compelling story of scandal, service, and opportunity, Patrick Cox and Michael Phillips describe the divisions within the traditional Democratic Party, the ascendance of Republicans, and how Texas business, agriculture, and media shaped perceptions of officeholders. While the governor and lieutenant governor wielded their power, the authors show how the modern Texas House Speaker built an office of equal power as the state became more complex and diverse. The authors also explore how race, class, and gender affected this transition as they explain the importance of the office in Texas and the impact the state's Speakers have had on national politics.

At the apex of its power, the Texas House Speaker's role at last receives the critical consideration it deserves.

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The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho
Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity
By Judith Noemí Freidenberg
University of Texas Press, 2009

By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina's largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho examines the lives of these settlers, who represented a merger between native cowboy identities and homeland memories.

The arrival of these immigrants in what would be the village of Villa Clara coincided with the nation's new sense of liberated nationhood. In a meticulous rendition of Villa Clara's social history, Judith Freidenberg interweaves ethnographic and historical information to understand the saga of European immigrants drawn by Argentine open-door policies in the nineteenth century and its impact on the current transformation of immigration into multicultural discourses in the twenty-first century. Using Villa Clara as a case study, Freidenberg demonstrates the broad power of political processes in the construction of ethnic, class, and national identities. The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho draws on life histories, archives, material culture, and performances of heritage to enhance our understanding of a singular population—and to transform our approach to social memory itself.

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Invisible Immigrants
The English in Canada since 1945
Marilyn Barber
University of Manitoba Press, 2015

front cover of Land, Politics, and Memory in Five Nija'ib' K'iche' Títulos
Land, Politics, and Memory in Five Nija'ib' K'iche' Títulos
"The Title and Proof of Our Ancestors"
Mallory Matsumoto
University Press of Colorado, 2017

Land, Politics, and Memory in Five Nija’ib’ K’iche’ Títulos is a careful analysis and translation of five Highland Maya títulos composed in the sixteenth century by the Nija’ib’ K’iche’ of Guatemala. The Spanish conquest of Highland Guatemala entailed a series of sweeping changes to indigenous society, not the least of which were the introduction of the Roman alphabet and the imposition of a European system of colonial government. Introducing the history of these documents and placing them within the context of colonial-era Guatemala, this volume provides valuable information concerning colonial period orthographic practice, the K’iche’ language, and language contact in Highland Guatemala.

For each text, author Mallory E. Matsumoto provides a photographic copy of the original document, a transliteration of its sixteenth-century modified Latin script, a transcription into modern orthography, an extensive morphologic analysis, and a line-by-line translation into English, as well as separate prose versions of the transcription and translation. No complete English translation of this set of manuscripts has been available before, nor has any Highland Maya título previously received such extensive analytical treatment.

Offering insight into the reality of indigenous Highland communities during this period, Land, Politics, and Memory in Five Nija’ib’ K’iche’ Títulos is an important primary source for linguists, historians, and experts in comparative literature. It will also be of significant interest to students and scholars of ethnohistory, linguistics, Latin American studies, anthropology, and archaeology.

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Leavin' a Testimony
Portraits from Rural Texas
By Patsy Cravens
University of Texas Press, 2006

First settled by Stephen F. Austin's colonists in the early nineteenth century, Colorado County has deep roots in Texas history. Mainly rural and agrarian until late in the twentieth century, Colorado County was a cotton-growing region whose population was about evenly divided between blacks and whites. These life-long neighbors led separate and unequal lives, memories of which still linger today. To preserve those memories, Patsy Cravens began interviewing and photographing the older residents of Colorado County in the 1980s. In this book, she presents photographs and recollections of the last generation, black and white, who grew up in the era of Jim Crow segregation.

The folks in Colorado County have engrossing stories to tell. They recall grinding poverty and rollicking fun in the Great Depression, losing crops and livestock to floods, working for the WPA, romances gone wrong and love gone right, dirty dancing, church and faith, sharecropping, quilting, raising children, racism and bigotry, and even the horrific lynching of two African American teenagers in 1935. The Colorado County residents' stories reveal an amazing resiliency and generosity of spirit, despite the hardships that have filled most of their lives. They also capture a rural way of life that was once common across the South, but is now gone forever.

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front cover of Let me tell you what I've learned
Let me tell you what I've learned
Texas Wisewomen Speak
By PJ Pierce
University of Texas Press, 2002

Barbara Jordan spoke for many Texas women when she told a reporter, "I get from the soil and spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring. I like that spirit." Indeed, the sense of limitless possibilities has inspired countless Texas women—sometimes in the face of daunting obstacles—to build lives rich in work, family, friends, faith, and community involvement.

In this collection of interviews conducted by PJ Pierce, twenty-five Texas women ranging in age from 53 to 93 share the wisdom they've acquired through living unconventional lives. Responding to the question "What have you found that really matters about life?" they offer keen insights into motherhood, career challenges, being a minority, marriage and widowhood, anger, assertiveness, managing change, persevering, power, speaking out, fashioning success from failure, writing your own job description, loving a younger man, and recognizing opportunities disguised as disaster—to name only a few of their topics. In her introduction, Pierce describes how she came to write the book and how she chose her subjects to represent a cross-section of career paths and ethnic groups and all geographic areas of Texas. A topical index makes it easy to compare several women's views on a given subject.

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front cover of Life Stages and Native Women
Life Stages and Native Women
Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine
Kim Anderson
University of Manitoba Press, 2011

front cover of Living With Stories
Living With Stories
Telling, Re-telling, and Remembering
Schneider, William
Utah State University Press, 2008
In essays about communities as varied as Alaskan Native, East Indian, Palestinian, Mexican, and African American, oral historians, folklorists, and anthropologists look at how traditional and historical oral narratives live through re-tellings, gaining meaning and significance in repeated performances, from varying contexts, through cultural and historical knowing, and due to tellers' consciousness of their audiences.
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Missing Stories
Leslie Kelen
Utah State University Press, 2000

Utah's ethnic diversity is often overlooked. In a society sometimes presumed to be homogeneous, there is a danger that the varied experiences of its members will be lost to history. Missing Stories, available here for the first time in paperback, effectively counters such misconceptions and explores the rich history of ethnic and minority groups in the state. Several representatives from each of eight such groups tell in their own voices stories of themselves, their families, and their communities. The groups represented are Utes, African-Americans, Jews, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, Greeks, and Hispanics. In a preface to each section of oral history interviews, a respected historian of the community introduces background and heritage, setting the context for the personal recollections that follow. Also included are striking photographs by Kent Miles and George Janecek that capture much of the personality and character of the interviewees.

These oral histories recount migrations to new homes in Utah or adjustment to white settlement of traditional homelands in the state. They bring to light the struggles of individuals and families to survive and the formation and maintenance of communities in frequently adverse conditions, whether on reservations or farms, in small towns or large cities. The histories are enriched by accounts of challenges met and overcome and enlivened by stories of events and persons who sometimes achieved legendary status within and outside the groups. Missing Stories reveals the many ways that ethnic and minority groups have contributed to Utah's history and fills in missing pieces necessary to a complete portrayal of the state's society and culture.

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No More Silence
An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy
Larry A. Sneed
University of North Texas Press, 2002

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Nunakun-gguq Ciutengqertut/They Say They Have Ears Through the Ground
Animal Essays from Southwest Alaska
Ann Fienup-Riordan
University of Alaska Press, 2020
Lifeways in Southwest Alaska today remains inextricably bound to the seasonal cycles of sea and land. Community members continue to hunt, fish, and make products from the life found in the rivers and sea. Based on a wealth of oral histories collected over decades of research, this book explores the ancestral relationship between Yup’ik people and the natural world of Southwest Alaska. Nunakun-gguq Ciutengqertut studies the overlapping lives of the Yup’ik with native plants, animals, and birds, and traces how these relationships transform as more Yup’ik people relocate to urban areas and with the changing environment. The book will be hailed as a milestone work in the anthropological study of contemporary Alaska.
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Oral History and Delinquency
The Rhetoric of Criminology
James Bennett
University of Chicago Press, 1981
From Henry Mayhew's classic study of Victorian slums to Studs Terkel's presentations of ordinary people in modern America, oral history has been used to call attention to social conditions. By analyzing the nature and circumstances of the production of such histories of delinquency, James Bennett argues that oral history is a rhetorical device, consciously chosen as such, and is to be understood in terms of its persuasive powers and aims. Bennett shows how oral or life histories of juvenile delinquents have been crucial in communicating the human traits of offenders within their social context, to attract interest in resources for programs to prevent delinquency. Although life history helped to establish the discipline of sociology, Bennett suggests concepts for understanding oral histories generated in many fields.
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Oral History and Public Memories
Paula Hamilton
Temple University Press, 2008
Oral history is inherently about memory, and when oral history interviews are used "in public," they invariably both reflect and shape public memories of the past.  Oral History and Public Memories is the only book that explores this relationship, in fourteen case studies of oral history's use in a variety of venues and media around the world.  Readers will learn, for example, of oral history based efforts to reclaim community memory in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa; of the role of personal testimony in changing public understanding of Japanese American history in the American West; of oral history's value in mapping heritage sites important to Australia's Aboriginal population; and of the way an oral history project with homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio became a tool for popular education.  Taken together, these original essays link the well established practice of oral history to the burgeoning field of memory studies.
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Oral History, Community, and Work in the American West
Edited by Jessie L. Embry
University of Arizona Press, 2013
Nurses, show girls, housewives, farm workers, casino managers, and government inspectors—together these hard-working members of society contributed to the development of towns across the West. The essays in this volume show how oral history increases understanding of work and community in the twentieth century American West.

In many cases occupations brought people together in myriad ways. The Latino workers who picked lemons together in Southern California report that it was baseball and Cinco de Mayo Queen contests that united them. Mormons in Fort Collins, Colorado, say that building a church together bonded them together. In separate essays, African Americans and women describe how they fostered a sense of community in Las Vegas. Native Americans detail the “Indian economy” in Northern California.

As these essays demonstrate, the history of the American West is the story of small towns and big cities, places both isolated and heavily populated. It includes groups whose history has often been neglected. Sometimes, western history has mirrored the history of the nation; at other times, it has diverged in unique ways. Oral history adds a dimension that has often been missing in writing a comprehensive history of the West. Here an array of oral historians—including folklorists, librarians, and public historians—record what they have learned from people who have, in their own ways, made history.
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The River Knows Everything
Desolation Canyon and the Green
James M Aton
Utah State University Press, 2009
Desolation Canyon is one of the West's wild treasures. Visitors come to study, explore, run the river, and hike a canyon that is deeper at its deepest than the Grand Canyon, better preserved than most of the Colorado River system, and full of eye-catching geology-castellated ridges, dramatic walls, slickrock formations, and lovely beaches. Rafting the river, one may see wild horses, blue herons, bighorn sheep, and possibly a black bear. Signs of previous people include the newsworthy, well-preserved Fremont Indian ruins along Range Creek and rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon, both Desolation Canyon tributaries. Historic Utes also pecked rock art, including images of graceful horses and lively locomotives, in the upper canyon. Remote and difficult to access, Desolation has a surprisingly lively history. Cattle and sheep herding, moonshine, prospecting, and hideaways brought a surprising number of settlers--ranchers, outlaws, and recluses--to the canyon.
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Settlin’
Stories of Madison’s Early African American Families
Muriel Simms
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018
Only a fraction of what is known about Madison’s earliest African American settlers and the vibrant and cohesive communities they formed has been preserved in traditional sources. The rest is contained in the hearts and minds of their descendants. Seeing a pressing need to preserve these experiences, lifelong Madison resident Muriel Simms collected the stories of twenty-five African Americans whose families arrived, survived, and thrived here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While some struggled to find work, housing, and acceptance, they describe a supportive and enterprising community that formed churches, businesses, and social clubs—and frequently came together in the face of adversity and conflict. A brief history of African American settlement in Madison begins the book to set the stage for the oral histories.
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Small Town America in World War II
War Stories from Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Ronald E. Marcello
University of North Texas Press, 2014

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So They Understand
William Schneider
Utah State University Press, 2002

Illustrated with numerous stories collected from Alaska, the Yukon, and South Africa and further enlivened by the author's accessible style and experiences as a longtime oral historian and archivist, So They Understand is a comprehensive study of the special challenges and concerns involved in documenting, representing, preserving, and interpreting oral narratives. The title of the book comes from a quotation by Chief Peter John, the traditional chief of the Tanana Chiefs region in central Alaska: "In between the lines is something special going on in their minds, and that has got to be brought to light, so they understand just exactly what is said."

William Schneider discusses how stories work in relation to their cultures and performance settings, sorts out different types of stories-from broad genres such as personal narratives and life histories to such more specific and less-often considered types as presentations at hearings and other public gatherings-and examines a variety of critical issues, including the roles and relationships of storytellers and interviewers, accurate representation and preservation of stories and their performances, understanding and interpreting their cultural backgrounds and meanings, and intellectual property rights. Throughout, he blends a diverse selection of stories, including his own, into a text rich with pertinent examples.

William Schneider is curator of oral history and associate in anthropology at the Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he introduced oral history "jukeboxes," innovative interactive, multimedia computer files that present and cross-reference audio oral history and related photos and maps. Among other works, his publications include, as editor, Kusiq: An Eskimo Life History from the Arctic Coast of Alaska and, with Phyllis Morrow, When Our Words Return: Writing, Hearing, and Remembering Oral Traditions of Alaska and the Yukon.

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The Sweetness of Freedom
Stories of Immigrants
Martha Aladjem Bloomfield
Michigan State University Press, 2010

The Sweetness of Freedom presents an eclectic grouping of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century immigrants' narratives and the personal artifacts, historical documents, and photographs these travelers brought on their journeys to Michigan. Most of the oral histories in this volume are based on interviews conducted with the immigrants themselves.
       Some of the immigrants presented here hoped to gain better education and jobs. Others—refugees—fled their homelands because of war, poverty, repression, religious persecution, or ethnic discrimination. All dreamt of freedom and opportunity. They tell why they left their homelands, why they chose to settle in Michigan, and what they brought or left behind. Some wanted to preserve their heritage, religious customs, traditions, and ethnic identity. Others wanted to forget past conflicts and lost family members. Their stories reveal how they established new lives far away from home, how they endured homesickness and separation, what they gave up and what they gained.

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Tape Recorded Interview 2Nd Ed
Manual Field Workers Folklore Oral History
Edward D. Ives
University of Tennessee Press, 1995

Since 1980, The Tape-Recorded Interview has been an essential resource for folklorists and oral historians—indeed, for anyone who uses a tape recorder in field research. Now, Sandy Ives has updated this manual to reflect the current preferences in tape-recording technology and equipment.

When this book was first published, the reel-to-reel recorder was the favored format for fieldwork. Because the cassette recorder has almost completely replaced it, Ives has revised the first chapter, “How a Tape Recorder Works,” accordingly and has included a useful discussion of the differences between analog and digital recording. He has also added a brief section on video, updated the bibliography, and reworked his original comments on tape cataloging and transcription.

As in the first edition, Ives’s emphasis is on documenting the lives of common men and women. He offers a careful, step-by-step tour through the collection process—finding informants, making advance preparations, conducting the actual interview, obtaining a release—and then describes the procedures for processing the taped interview and archiving such materials for future use. He also gives special treatment to such topics as recording music, handling group interviews, and using photographs or other visual material during interviews.

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Tell Us a Story
An African American Family in the Heartland
Shirley Motley Portwood
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

Illinois State Historical Society's Certificate of Excellence (2002)

Supplemented by recollections from the present era, Tell Us a Story is a colorful mosaic of African American autobiography and family history set in Springfield, Illinois, and in rural southern Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas from the 1920s through the 1950s.

           

Shirley Motley Portwood shares rural, African American family and community history through a collection of vignettes about the Motley family. Initially transcribed accounts of the Motleys’ rich oral history, these stories have been passed among family members for nearly fifty years. In addition to her personal memories, Portwood presents interviews with her father, three brothers, and two sisters plus notes and recollections from their annual family reunions. The result is a composite view of the Motley family.

           

A historian, Portwood enhances the Motley family story by investigating primary data such as census, marriage, school, and land records, newspaper accounts, city directories, and other sources. The backbone of this saga, however, is oral history gathered from five generations, extending back to Portwood's grandparents, born more than one hundred years ago. Information regarding two earlier generations—her great- grandfather and great-great-grandparents, who were slaves—is based on historical research into state archives, county and local records, plantation records, and manuscript censuses.

           

A rich source for this material—the Motley family reunions—are week-long retreats where four generations gather at the John Motley house in Burlington, Connecticut, the Portwood home in Godfrey, Illinois, or other locations. Here the Motleys, all natural storytellers, pass on the family traditions. The stories, ranging from humorous to poignant, reveal much about the culture and history of African Americans, especially those from nonurban areas. Like many rural African Americans, the Motleys have a rich and often joyful family history with traditions reaching back to the slave past. They have known the harsh poverty that made even the necessities difficult to obtain and the racial prejudice that divided whites and blacks during the era of Jim Crow segregation and inequality; yet they have kept a tremendous faith in self-improvement through hard work and education.

           

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Things You Need to Hear
Collected Memories of Growing Up in Arkansas, 1890–1980
Margaret Jones Bolsterli
University of Arkansas Press, 2016
Things You Need to Hear gathers memories of Arkansans from all over the state with widely different backgrounds. In their own words, these people tell of the things they did growing up in the early twentieth century to get an education, what they ate, how they managed to get by during difficult times, how they amused themselves and earned a living, and much more. Some of Margaret Bolsterli's "informants," as she calls them, are famous (Johnny Cash, Maya Angelou, Levon Helm, Joycelyn Elders), but many more are not. Their vivid personal stories have been taken from published works and from original interviews conducted by Bolsterli. All together, these tales preserve memories of ways of life that are compelling, entertaining, and certainly well worth remembering.
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Voices From Catholic Worker
Rosalie Troester
Temple University Press, 1993
"This book is even more essential now than when these voices were first heard. It deals with a movement that is so much a symbol of American hope that it's in a class by itself. I strongly recommend Voices from the Catholic Worker." --Studs Terkel This rich oral history weaves a tapestry of memories and experience from interviews, roundtable discussions, personal memoirs, and thorough research. In the sixtieth anniversary year of the Catholic Worker, Rosalie Riegle Troester reconfirms the diversity and commitment of a movement that applies basic Christianity to social problems. Founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, the Catholic Worker has continued to apply the principles of voluntary poverty and nonviolence to changing social and political realities. Over 200 interviews with Workers from all over the United States reveal how people came to this movement, how they were changed by it, and how they faced contradictions between the Catholic Worker philosophy and the call of contemporary life. Vivid memoirs of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, and Ammon Hennacy are interwoven with accounts of involvement with labor unions, war resistance, and life on Catholic Worker farms. The author also addresses the Worker's relationship with the Catholic Church and with the movement's wrenching debates over abortion, homosexuality, and the role of women.
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Voices Worth the Listening
Three Women of Appalachia
Thomas G Burton
University of Tennessee Press, 2020
While Appalachian stereotypes and often misplaced debates about essentialism in Appalachian character still cloud our understanding of the people of the region—especially in the wake of J. D. Vance’s bestselling Hillbilly Elegy—the words of people who live in the region tell a far more complex story of diversity, hard times, perseverance, and unique experiences. Based on recorded interviews with three different women in different areas of Appalachia, Voices Worth the Listening is a carefully crafted oral history work that faithfully represents these women’s lives using their own words. 

A powerful counter-narrative to the current conversation, Voices Worth the Listening presents three real stories of Appalachian people that are unvarnished and more than simply anecdotal. Race, class, drug culture, education, and socioeconomic mobility are all addressed in some way by these narratives. While the themes that emerge in these stories are by no means unique to Appalachia—indeed, they resonate in some ways with the experiences of disadvantaged and marginalized people in other regions of the country—these three women have lived much of their lives outside of the mainstream and their narrated experiences become a meaningful signpost for the people of Appalachia.
 
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What Has Passed and What Remains
Oral Histories of Northern Arizona's Changing Landscapes
Edited by Peter Friederici
University of Arizona Press, 2010
Ferrell Secakuku remembers the ancient farming rites of his Hopi people but saw them replaced by a cash economy. Sheep rancher Joe Manterola recalls watching hard scrabble farms on what is now tree-studded grassland on Garland Prairie. Navajo Rose Gishie once saw freshly dug holes fill with clean, drinkable water where none rises today. All over northern Arizona, people have seen the landscapes change, and livelihoods with them. In this remarkable book they share their stories.

Thirteen narratives—from ranchers, foresters, scientists, Native American farmers, and others—tell how northern Arizona landscapes and livelihoods reflect rapid social and environmental change. The twentieth century saw huge changes as Arizona’s human population swelled and vacation-home developments arose in the backcountry. Riparian areas dried up, cattle ranching declined, and some wildlife species vanished while others thrived. The people whose words are preserved here have watched it all happen.

The book is a product of Northern Arizona University’s Ecological Oral Histories project, which has been collecting remembrances of long-time area residents who have observed changes to the land from the 1930s to the present day. It carves a wide swath, from the Arizona Strip to the Mogollon Rim, from valleys near Prescott to the New Mexico line. It takes readers to the Bar Heart Ranch north of Williams and to the Doy Reidhead Ranch southeast of Holbrook, to the forests of Flagstaff and the mesas of Indian country.

Enhanced with more than fifty illustrations, this book brings environmental change down to earth by allowing us to see it through the eyes of those whose lives it has directly touched. What Has Passed and What Remains is a window on the past that carries important lessons for the future.
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Women Remember the War, 1941-1945
Michael E. Stevens
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1993

Women Remember the War, 1941-1945 offers a brief introduction to the experiences of Wisconsin women in World War II through selections from oral history interviews in which women addressed issues concerning their wartime lives.

In this volume, more than 30 women describe how they balanced their more traditional roles in the home with new demands placed on them by the biggest global conflict in history. This book provides a rich mix of insights, incorporating the perspectives of workers in factories, in offices, and on farms as well as those of wives and mothers who found their work in the home. In addition, the volume contains accounts by women who served overseas in the military and the Red Cross. These accounts provide readers with a vivid picture of how women coped with the stresses created by their daily lives and by the additional burden of worrying about loved ones fighting overseas.

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