american history

The Magnificent Dance of ‘The Swans of Harlem’

The Magnificent Dance of ‘The Swans of Harlem’

In her dance history book The Swans of Harlem, author Karen Valby structures a magnificent, wide-ranging, complex narrative that’s both engaging and emotional.

Gaming the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

Gaming the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

Did gaming the O.J. Simpson murder trial allow for deeper conversations about our most hidden emotions, ugliest prejudices, and disturbing desires?

Rachel Maddow on the Bit Players’ Big Effects on Promoting American Fascism

Rachel Maddow on the Bit Players’ Big Effects on Promoting American Fascism

Rachel Maddow’s latest book on political history, Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism, weaves varying players past into a singular danger present.

Subversive Strumming: Fear and Loathing of the American Folk Music Revival

Subversive Strumming: Fear and Loathing of the American Folk Music Revival

For the American political right of the post-war era, folk music more than rock ‘n’ roll was regarded as a national threat – but not because of the songs’ lyrics.

The Nearly Lost World of American Folk Music

The Nearly Lost World of American Folk Music

If not for two eccentrics, Harry Smith and Moses Asch, American popular music wouldn’t have so many roots in folk music and we’d all be the poorer for it.

Ken Burns on the Heartbreak and Hope of ‘The American Buffalo’

Ken Burns on the Heartbreak and Hope of ‘The American Buffalo’

Ken Burns talks about his forthcoming PBS documentary The American Buffalo, the near extinction of the majestic beasts, and their respectful return to their rightful homeland.

W.E.B. Du Bois’ Prescient Masterpiece ‘The Souls of Black Folk: A Graphic Interpretation’

W.E.B. Du Bois’ Prescient Masterpiece ‘The Souls of Black Folk: A Graphic Interpretation’

Rutgers University Press’ engaging, accomplished interpretation of ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ confirms it as W.E.B. DuBois’ most prescient and indelible work.

The Excellent ‘Little Richard: I Am Everything’ Captures Just About Everything

The Excellent ‘Little Richard: I Am Everything’ Captures Just About Everything

Little Richard brought a sheer exhilaration that was sexual, spiritual, and joyous and put it to music like no other. Lisa Cortés excellent documentary does the man justice.

Vince McMahon and the Damaging Impact of Failing Upward

Vince McMahon and the Damaging Impact of Failing Upward

WWE’s Vincent McMahon has brazenly failed upward over and over again, profoundly impacting (and damaging) American culture along the way, argues Abraham Riesman in the biography Ringmaster.

Why Disney’s Splash Mountain Has Finally Gone South

Why Disney’s Splash Mountain Has Finally Gone South

The Disney Theme Parks are dismantling the decades-long ride Splash Mountain. It will be resurrected as Tiana’s Bijour Adventure. Why has the Song of the South-inspired ride finally gone South?

The High Price of Gay Life in Washington, D.C.

The High Price of Gay Life in Washington, D.C.

James Kirchick’s riveting history of gay life in Washington, D.C. is a Cold War epic of hypocrisy, surveillance, and survival.

Kishi Bashi and Justin Taylor Smith Discuss Their Uplifting ‘Song Film’ Documentary ‘Omoiyari’

Kishi Bashi and Justin Taylor Smith Discuss Their Uplifting ‘Song Film’ Documentary ‘Omoiyari’

“Omoiyari” was the guiding light for Kishi Bashi and Justin Taylor Smith in creating their documentary about Executive Order 9066 and Asian American identity.