Monday, October 28, 2013

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

An American Pie can be made in many different ways.  It can be made with a camera and actors to create a bad teen comedy that never seems to end, with a catchy Don McLean tune that you can’t seem to get out of your head, or my personal favorite--in the kitchen alongside a scoop of ice cream.  James Cooke makes his American Pie in a different way: a six pack of beer, cigarettes, personal hygiene products, chewing gum, and candy bars.  Cooke whips up fresh American Pie with his books American Girls, Beer, & Glenn Miller: GI Morale in World War II and Chewing Gum, Candy Bars, and Beer: The Army PX in World War II.  Relax, and cut yourself a slice of Cooke’s American Pie by reading the Cooke books below!  --Kimberly Ring, Intern, University of Missouri Press

As World War II dawned in Europe, General George C. Marshall, the new Army Chief of Staff, had to acknowledge that American society—and the citizens who would soon become soldiers—had drastically changed in the previous few decades. Almost every home had a radio, movies could talk, and driving in an automobile to the neighborhood soda fountain was part of everyday life. A product of newly created mass consumerism, the soldier of 1940 had expectations of material comfort, even while at war. Historian James J. Cooke presents the first comprehensive look at how Marshall’s efforts to cheer soldiers far from home resulted in the enduring morale services that the Army provides still today.

Veterans of World War II have long sung the praises of the PX—a little piece of home in far-flung corners of the world. Though many books on that war tell of combat operations and logistics in detail, this is the first to tell the full story of the Army Exchange System.  The AES was dedicated to providing soldiers with some of the comforts they had enjoyed in civilian life—candy, beer, cigarettes, razor blades, soap—whether by operating an exchange close to where they were fighting or by sending goods forward to the lines, free of charge.

In chronicling the history of the AES, James J. Cooke harks back to the Civil War, in which sutlers sold basic items to the Yankee troops for exorbitant prices, and to the First World War, when morale-building provisions were brought in by agencies such as the Red Cross. He then traces the evolution of the PX through World War II from the point of view of those who ran the service and that of the soldiers who used it, blending administrative history with colorful anecdotes and interspersing letters from GIs.

About the Author

James J. Cooke is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of many books, including Shamrock Battalion in the Great War (University of Missouri Press). He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fit as a Fiddle!

To quote the grandparents of every budding angsty teenager, “Kids these days.” This is a classic phrase used by the wiser generation when describing their usual disappointments in the current generation. Kids these days listen to music that has no meaning, does damage to the brain, or influences our view of the world. It was true when Elvis Presley became popular, and it is still true today. Let’s face it, usually the only people that like the music of the current generation are the “youngins” of that generation. It is rare that you would find teens of this time period listening to anything besides what is played on the radio, or what is currently popular among their peers. That being said, I think it’s safe to say it couldn’t hurt to add a bit of Missouri culture to our lives! Let’s put our iPods aside for the moment and introduce something different into our musical repertoire. It’s time to get fit as a fiddle and listen to some “quick and devilish” traditional fiddle music with a man who lives and breathes the art of fiddling, Howard Wight Marshall!  --Kimberly Ring , Intern, University of Missouri Press
Play Me Something Quick and Devilish explores the heritage of traditional fiddle music in Missouri. Howard Wight Marshall considers the place of homemade music in people’s lives across social and ethnic communities from the late 1700s to the World War I years and into the early 1920s. This exceptionally important and complex period provided the foundations in history and settlement for the evolution of today’s old-time fiddling.
Beginning with the French villages on the Mississippi River, Marshall leads us chronologically through the settlement of the state and how these communities established our cultural heritage. Other core populations include the “Old Stock Americans” (primarily Scotch-Irish from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia), African Americans, German-speaking immigrants, people with American Indian ancestry (focusing on Cherokee families dating from the Trail of Tears in the 1830s), and Irish railroad workers in the post–Civil War period. These are the primary communities whose fiddle and dance traditions came together on the Missouri frontier to cultivate the bounty of old-time fiddling enjoyed today.

“This phenomenally entertaining and glorious volume should grace the library of every musician and historian. Bravo, Professor Marshall!” 
                          – Mary McWay Seaman, The Celtic Connection

Meet the Author
Howard Wight Marshall is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, Columbia and former director of the Missouri Cultural Heritage Center. He is the author or editor of ten books, including Barns of Missouri: Storehouses of History. He lives near Fulton, Missouri.

Links to: Audio Interview, Blogs, and Fiddling
In this clip from the 2001 house concert at KOPN, Leroy Canaday plays a great old country rag called "Whistling Rufus," one of his favorites and a tune discussed in Play Me Something Quick and Devilish. Canday's performance style well represents the hard-driving "Little Dixie style" of Missouri fiddling.  

Taylor McBaine fiddles one of the first tunes he learned as a child of six or seven, “Climbing the Stairs the Monkey,” an old favorite in Missouri and known by other titles, such as “Moss Billy” and “Shelby’s Mule.” Just as he had learned it as a young beginning fiddler, McBaine favored this tune as a teaching tune when he, in turn, passed the music on to others.

Q: What inspired you to consider writing "Play Me Something Quick and Devilish"?
My inspiration has always been the people, stories, and grassroots history behind the music people make. I learned to appreciate all kinds of music, and admiration of my grandfather Wiley Marshall has always been a driving force behind my interest in “the fiddle”; he was the principal fiddler in our family when I was a child, but there have been fiddlers in the family in central Missouri since the 1830s.
I began playing traditional music as a teenager in the 1960s in the “Folk Music Boom.” (At the same time, I was devoted to modern jazz.) After coming out of the military in 1966, I returned to college in Missouri and soon became dedicated to recording and understanding, as well as performing and listening to, “old-time music.” In grad school at Indiana (Folklore Institute), I concentrated on material culture and folk architecture, and my career took me to museums, the Library of Congress, Kansas State University, and finally to the University of Missouri. My principal pastime through the years, however, has been performing and studying traditional music. This book and CD are the result of a life devoted to traditional music and grassroots culture.
Q: What did you learn from writing this book?
Several aspects of the world of traditional music have barely been scratched by researchers in Missouri. These aspects include such areas as African American fiddlers and their legacy today, the role of fiddlers with Native American ancestry (of which there are many in Missouri), the so-called brass band movement after the Civil War and its relationship to fiddling, musical literacy in the late Victorian Age, the role of immigrant German-speaking music teachers in small towns, and the role of Tin Pan Alley compositions in the traditional fiddlers’ repertoire; these and other seldom-studied subjects are explored in Play Me Something Quick and Devilish.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Attention Baseball History Buffs!

Donald Spivey brings you "If You Were Only White": The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige

Some people like to believe that laughter is the best medicine. During the height of the Jim Crow days, the thoughts of many were consumed with color barriers and the racism that overcame the South. It’s safe to say that laughter wasn’t the key to solving all the problems that arose in this difficult time, but it couldn’t hurt, right? The first African American superstar athlete outside of boxing, baseball player Leroy “Satchel” Paige, liked to entertain his audience with silly antics on the mound and provide comic relief during these difficult times. Paige’s humor on and off the field gathered many fans to come and watch.  He contributed to the cause of civil rights by showing off his moves on the mound and proving that he was just as talented as any player in the major leagues, deserving of  an equal opportunity to play with the pros. Paige was the first black pitcher in the major leagues, and there are many myths and questions as to how he got to be so great. Who really did teach him how to pitch? What happened to Paige when he was in reform school, and why were those years so critical to who he became? The answers to all of these questions can be found in Donald Spivey’s new book!  --Kimberly Ring, Intern, University of Missouri Press

If You Were Only White explores the legacy of one of the most exceptional athletes ever—an entertainer extraordinaire, a daring showman and crowd-pleaser, a wizard with a baseball whose artistry and antics on the mound brought fans out in the thousands to ballparks across the country. Leroy “Satchel” Paige was arguably one of the world’s greatest pitchers and a premier star of Negro Leagues Baseball. But in this biography Donald Spivey reveals Paige to have been much more than just a blazing fastball pitcher. Spivey follows Paige from his birth in Alabama in 1906 to his death in Kansas City in 1982, detailing the challenges Paige faced battling the color line in America and recounting his tests and triumphs in baseball.

“Spivey (history, Univ. of Miami) offers an engrossing, exhaustively researched biography of Paige (1906-82), one of baseball’s most memorable personalities. Spivey’s work spans Paige’s lifetime, and he culls information from a variety of sources. . . . As Spivey shows, Paige’s life traced the arc of American race relations not only in baseball but in all of American society.” –Choice

Donald Spivey with John Buck O'Neil (left)
Meet the Author
Donald Spivey is Professor of History at the University of Miami and the author or editor of five books, including Fire from the Soul: A History of the African-American Struggle. He lives in Palmetto Bay, Florida.

 Q&A with Donald Spivey:

Q. Satchel Paige is a name we’re perhaps less familiar with than we should be, in spite of his monumental achievements both on and off the field. What compelled you to tell his story?
I knew of Satchel Paige as a sports fan and historian of sports and the African American Experience. I had been saying since the early 1980s how much we needed a biography of him written by a professional historian. There had been a number of journalistic treatments of the pitching sensation, but nothing applying rigorous scholarship to bring to life the full story of the one and only Mr. Paige. It was at one of the historical conferences that the venerable historian John Hope Franklin heard and noted my remarks. Sometime later, when he was approached by the University of Missouri Press for the name of a scholar to do a biography of Satchel Paige, he gave them my name. Be careful what you wish for, it may come true! I accepted the offer and signed a contract with the press to produce the biography. My thinking was that the project would not take that long, a maximum of three years. How wrong I was. Twelve years later, the biography was finally finished. I am proud to have produced the first scholarly biography of Leroy “Satchel” Paige, and one that from the outset was dedicated to being readable and accessible to the public.

Q. People tend to think of Jackie Robinson as the person who integrated baseball. Why is Satchel Paige less known than Robinson?
Jackie Robinson, of course, received the glare of media attention when he became the first African American in the modern era to play Major League Baseball. Satchel Paige is critical because he paved the way for Robinson and the integration of the Majors. You would have been hard-pressed in the 1930s and 40s and well into the 1950s if not later to find anyone who claimed a love of baseball who was not familiar with the name of Satchel Paige, black or white. In his era, he was the most beloved African American in baseball and the greatest star of all in the Negro Leagues. All of us today should know his name and celebrate his arrival in the Majors when he signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 at the ripe young age of forty-two.

Read More:  Full DonaldSpivey Q&A

View A Book Signing!
Watch the broadcast of the book signing for Donald Spivey’s If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida, on September 6.  
(Fast-forward to 5:26 where the actual broadcast begins)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Join Us for the University of Missouri Press’s 1st Annual "Beers & Books" Celebration

University Concert Series's BREW REVIEW

“I like beer!”

“I like books!”

“I like Missouri!”

Any of these sound like you? Then you’ll love the University of Missouri Press’s new Beers & Books festival. Inspired by this evening’s BrewReview from the University Concert Series, we’ve searched Columbia to find the perfect beers to complement a multitude of books from our collection.

While the brewing origins range from as close by as Columbia’s own Rock Bridge Brewing to as far away as the Hofbräu München brewery in Munich, Germany, each and every beer on our list can be found right here in Columbia. Whether it is at your local Schnucks, HyVee, or the brand new International Taphouse downtown, the makings of a perfect book and beer pairing can be found right outside your door.

Whether you feel like grabbing a Piney River Float Trip Ale and joining Oliver Schuchard & Steve Kohler for a journey down the Current and the Jacks Fork Rivers in Two Ozark Rivers or raising a Prost! (Cheers!) to Missouri’s vast German heritage with Adolf E. Schroeder and Carla Schulz-Geisberg’s Hold Dear, As Always: Jette, a German Immigrant Life in Letters and a HofbrauDunkel, we’ve got you covered. So grab a good beer, a great book, and kick off Oktoberfest the right way with the University of Missouri Press’s Beers & Books!

Don’t miss out on the fun today! Follow us on Twitter (@UMissouriPress) or Like us on Facebook ( to see the full list of #BeersNBooks.

The Power of Two

Update 09/22/2013: 
"With profound sadness as well as tremendous gratitude for her two organ donors and donor families, the love of so many family, friends and fans, and the brightness she brought to all of our lives, we regret to share that Ana Stenzel passed away... following a hard fought battle with intestinal cancer. With her transplanted lungs, she was breathing easy until the end. We are so pleased that Ana's legacy will live on in "The Power Of Two" and in all of our hearts." --The Power of Two

March 2012:

Isabel Stenzel Byrnes & Anabel Stenzel

We've heard Anabel's story about the process of publishing and now Isabel elaborates on the journey that followed.

Click here for information about The Power of Two premiere movie showing in Kansas City

My name is Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, and my twin Ana and I published, The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis in 2007. Ana already elaborated on our writing journey, but I’d like to share our adventures following the release of our book. Only nine months after the publication of the UMP memoir, my Japanese mother’s long-time friend submitted a query letter to several Japanese publishers. Iwanami Shoten, the second largest publisher in Japan, agreed to translate The Power of Two. After painstakingly editing down the manuscript to one-third of its’ length, Mirakuru Tzuinzu (Miracle Twins) was translated and published in September, 2009. Just a few months earlier, after much debate, Parliament passed Japan’s groundbreaking organ donation law, thus making organ transplantation a hot topic for public discussion. Organ donation remains highly controversial in Japan, a country that generally does not accept brain death and has numerous religious superstitions about death—and organ donation. Our book would be a welcome personal story to highlight the benefits of organ donation to recipients, while also portraying the healing from grief that organ donation can offer to donor families. A small group of Japanese organ donation and cystic fibrosis advocates embraced our book and organized a ten- city book tour. After speaking limited Japanese in the home growing up, Ana and I crammed and prepared professional, medically-oriented Japanese lectures about our lives, perspectives on illness and death and the ethics of organ donation. Our mission: to be outspoken Japanese-American advocates for this life-saving cause.

A few months before our anticipated Japan tour, my husband, Andrew Byrnes, met a filmmaker who focused on social causes. Marc Smolowitz, an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker, read our book immediately and felt compelled to create a film. Since Ana and I had retained the rights to film from UMP, our plunge into cinematic storytelling was rather straightforward. My husband-turned-producer initiated fundraising efforts, and before long, a film crew of five joined us for a 26-day tour of Japan in October, 2009. We traveled from tropical Okinawa to cool northern Sendai; we lectured all over Tokyo and managed to visit historic temples in Kyoto, in between lectures at medical schools and public consortiums. Our relatives joined several events and we appreciated the chance for such a special reunion. The book received positive reviews and sold well at our events, although we couldn’t read it ourselves! The Japanese were visibly fascinated by our stories: in Japan, illness carries a stigma and most patients are not public about their experiences.

After capturing nearly two hundred hours of interviews and scenes of the Japan Transplant Games and other cystic fibrosis and organ donation awareness activities, we returned home. Marc and Andrew decided to contrast Japan’s organ donation situation with film shoots at the U.S. Transplant Games and our advocacy work in Washington, D.C. After tremendous efforts, we raised enough money to complete the 94-minute film, also called “The Power Of Two.” While the film is inspired by our UMP memoir, it is so much more than our story. The film is a story about hope, survival and love. It also highlights the miracle of breath: something that we can all cherish. By featuring people who are waiting for- and who have received- the gift of lung transplantation, we are sharing the experience of a small segment of society who struggles to breathe, and who find that struggle alleviated by the generosity of organ donors. The complex cultural issues highlighted make this film globally relevant.

Since the film’s release, “The Power Of Two” film has been accepted into 20 film festivals and has received seven awards. In August, 2011, the film premiered at the Oscar-qualifying DocuWeeks theatrical showcase in Los Angeles and New York City, and in October, the film premiered in Asia at the Tokyo International Film Festival. We will secure a film distributor in the U.S. and Japan shortly. In this competitive cinematic landscape, we are very satisfied with the film’s success. We have also hosted numerous community screenings nationwide with non-profits and educational institutions to use the film to educate the public about cystic fibrosis and organ donation.

What a whirlwind! We never, ever imagined that our life experiences with CF would unfold into such extraordinary benefits like a UMP memoir, a Japanese memoir, and now a documentary film! And, these opportunities are just the icing on our cake of life... just to be alive and breathing well is a gift enough, and now we have one blessed opportunity unfolding after another. We are especially grateful to the entire UMP staff, which has supported us tremendously through our unconventional publishing adventure.

Thank you for reading our blogs. Right now, please stop and take a slow, deep breath and feel your life force enter all the way to the depths of your lungs. If you’d like to see if “The Power Of Two” film will be screening in your area, please visit our website at Thank you for your interest. May you be blessed with deep breaths always,

Isabel Stenzel Byrnes
To sign up to be an organ donor, visit