excerpts

Jupiter, Ho!

Jon Willis— Galileo entered Jupiter orbit on December 8, 1989, just one day after the drama and revelations of the descent probe. Although Galileo was a Jupiter orbiter, the proximity of Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto offered the opportunity for multiple flybys of the Galilean satellites. During its eight-year mission to Jupiter, Galileo completed thirty-five

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“It’s the Climate, Stupid.”

Geoffrey Parker— Once upon a time, climate change was a hot topic. In 1979 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation paid for 250 historians, geographers, archaeologists and climatologists from thirty countries to share their expertise

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The Idea of Yugoslavia: Translating Miljenko Jergović’s “The Walnut Mansion”

The Walnut Mansion by Miljenko Jergović—translated by Stephen M. Dickey with Janja Pavetic-Dickey—is a grand novel that encompasses nearly all of Yugoslavia’s tumultuous twentieth century, from the decline of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires through two world wars, the rise and fall of communism, the breakup of the nation, and

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Early American Honor Culture and the United States Congress

Joanne B. Freeman— On Saturday, July 18, 1795, an angry crowd stood gathered before Federal Hall in New York City, eager to protest the Jay Treaty, which eased ongoing tensions between Great Britain and the United States. Convinced that the treaty was too favorable to the British, leading Republicans had

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The Legacy of Jane Austen and the Industry of “Jane Austen”

Fiona Stafford– When Jane Austen spoke of being “in love with” Clarkson, in a private letter of 1813, she was referring to the indefatigable antislavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson and his splendid History, which charted the progress of the abolitionist movement. Two hundred years later, the name of Clarkson would be

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When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940

Robin Prior— The year 1940 could have been disastrous for Britain and for the West. Any number of events that occurred during that year might have seen Germany victorious over Britain. As Churchill said of another series of crises in another war, “The terrible ‘If’s’ accumulate.” If the government of

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Rethinking the Evolving Historiography of Richard M. Nixon

Irwin F. Gellman— The state of current scholarship on Richard Nixon requires me to state, at the outset, that I am neither for nor against him. My purpose in writing The Contender was never to boost Nixon’s historical reputation—nor to depress it—but rather to provide the basis on which any

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The Modern Experience of Surfaces (sneak peek)

This summer, Yale University Press is delighted to publish a smart book about the transformation of photography and the visual arts around the year 1968.  The book is The Recording Machine: Art and Fact During the Cold War; in it, author Joshua Shannon explains what he calls “factualism,” the tendency

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The Value of Data in Governance

Jennifer Bachner— Data have been collected and analyzed for millennia, but never before have these processes been so ubiquitous. Data journalism, with its focus on eye-catching visualizations and infographics, is transforming an industry from mere collection of information to effective presentation. Businesses rigorously analyze consumers’ browsing and purchasing histories to

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Vito Acconci and the Body as Medium

Elise Archias’s new book, The Concrete Body: Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci, examines the 1960s performance work of these three New York artists who adapted modernist approaches to form for the medium of the human body, finding parallels between the tactility of a drip of paint and a body’s

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