Category: Reviews

Complicating the Canon of the First World War: A Review of Ellen La Motte’s Backwash of War, edited by Cynthia Wachtell

Think back on any syllabi of the First World War and the literature represented in it. For me, those titles included Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Frederick Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune, or poets like Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Laurence Binyon. Indeed,… Read more →

From Hospital to Home: Wendy Kline’s Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

Wendy Kline has delivered a new addition to the history of childbirth in America. In her engaging and well-researched book, Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth, Kline presents a new and necessary chapter in the story of the medicalization of childbirth in the United States: the history of the home birth movement. Kline has a… Read more →

An Excellent Adventure through Real Queer America

Newsflash: Red-state America is crawling with queer people. Those polite kids handing over your order at the Interstate exit drive-thru window? Queer. People peeing in the same bathroom as you at a gargantuan Buc-ee’s in Texas? Queer. Baking cookies at the youth and family center in the old Victorian house across the street from the… Read more →

What Does Gender Have to Do with the Desert?

Overheard in Grand Junction, Colorado on February 4, 2019 after Amy Irvine’s reading from her book, Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness. Amy Irvine’s Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness is a monologue written as if Irvine spoke directly to the deceased writer Edward Abbey at his gravesite. For those who… Read more →

Her Own Hero: How Self-Defense Became Acceptable for American Women

I was a seventeen-year-old college freshman when I realized I was being stalked. It started when a 27-year-old graduate student, whom I did not know, began showing up wherever I was on campus. Then he started following me off-campus. After I filed multiple reports with campus police, the Dean of Students summoned me for a… Read more →

Historian Witches and Scientist Vampires: Can We Be Deborah Harkness When We Grow Up?

Historian-witches, vampire-scientists, and a world where you can get a tenure-track job at an Ivy and fancy fellowships at Oxford just because you work hard and have great hair? You guessed it: we’re talking A Discovery of Witches. Please excuse our numerous exclamation points! A Discovery of Witches is the first book in Deb Harkness’s… Read more →

Understanding Trauma in the Civil War South: A Conversation with Diane Miller Sommerville

As I’ve written about for Nursing Clio previously, there’s been much debate in recent years about so-called ‘dark’ Civil War history. In that debate, Diane Miller Sommerville has been a vocal advocate for increased attention to the physical and psychological trauma wrought by the war. Her new book, An Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering… Read more →

Colonial Colette: From Orientalism and Egyptian Pantomime to Polaire’s Jamaican “Slave”

I first read excerpts of Colette’s Sido in my IB French class in 2007, so when the recent biopic starring Keira Knightley and produced by Wash Westmoreland came out, I knew that I had to see it. Colette was one of the most prolific French writers of the early twentieth century, well known for her… Read more →

Marie Kondo and Books: Tidying Up the Misconceptions

The Netflix reality TV show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo premiered on January 1, 2019. Based on her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014), the show follows Kondo as she brings her process into the homes of a diverse cast of clients. Her process, called… Read more →

“Acknowledgments in Essay Form:” Briallen Hopper’s Hard to Love

I agreed to review Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions a week before my long-time boyfriend broke up with me out of the blue one otherwise completely normal Wednesday afternoon. Needless to say, my copy of Briallen Hopper’s heartfelt and nourishing essays arrived at exactly the right time. Her collected musings — examining love, life,… Read more →