Summer Reading is a series that asks Haverford’s librarians and library staff for book recommendations that will enlighten, entertain, and educate during this vacation season. Take these titles to the beach, on a plane, or just enjoy them indoors with the fan on.
This week: College Archivist and Records Manager Krista Oldham recommends three titles that grapple with what America has become—politically, racially, even sartorially—and how it got that way.
The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker by Katherine J. Cramer:
Cramer has produced a fascinating study of Wisconsin’s electorate. In her work, she examines rural resentments very much rooted in a sense of place. Cramer’s nuanced study provides a provocative interpretation as to why many Wisconsoners vote for politicians and policies that are demonstrably not in their best interests. By inserting “place” into an argument dominated by issues of race, class, and economics, Cramer opens another front in an ongoing debate: what’s the matter with America?
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein:
Rothstein’s new book provides a convincing arguments that racial residential segregation was not the product of private individuals choices, but the product of systematic violation of African Americans’ constitutional rights, through the aggressive enactment and enforcement of racially discriminatory policies by federal, state, and local governments. By betraying their commitment to the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the American government helped to ensure that black Americans could not take their place as equal members in American society and allowed us, as a nation, to not be able to contemplate or consider remedies to state action segregation and its effects.
The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski:
The Lost Art of Dress is a fascinating, enjoyable, and intellectual treatise on the history of women’s attire in the first half of the 20th century and the social and aesthetic forces that shaped it. Pryzbyszewski probes the ‘former’ American fashion style to ask what it was and is, how America got it, why we need it, and how we might resurrect our “inherent good taste” again as American women.
Photo by Patrick Montero.