Slavery Defended cover

Defending Slavery

Slavery Defended: The Views of the Old South
McKitrick (Ed.)
1963

Submitter: We are going through a massive weeding project at our small academic library, and this title came up (thankfully in the titles to be weeded!). Now, granted, I wasn’t alive in the 1960s, but I would have hoped a title like this would have been problematic even then. The judgment call in the title is completely unnecessary – the collection of essays could easily have been called Views of Slavery in the Old South and conveyed the same information. Now, however, the phrasing of the title is not merely problematic but downright offensive, particularly to our students and faculty of color. I’m glad we’re getting it out of the building! As for the content, someone actually wrote an epic-length poem called “The Hireling and the Slave”, which is excerpted (my mind is still blown that 11 pages is just an excerpt) in this volume. I scanned a sample.

Holly: It may have value to historical researchers, but the title is definitely pretty awful!

soviet union opposing viewpoints

Pros and Cons of the Soviet Life

The Soviet Union
Opposing Viewpoints
Bender and Leone, ed.
1988

All of a sudden I have a bunch of Soviet Union material from the 1980s. The Opposing Viewpoints series of books is practically a staple of youth/teen nonfiction collections. In 1988, this would have been a great choice. The Cold War dominated news of the 1970s and 1980s. Brezhnev’s death in 1982 marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. So this little book was published at one the most interesting times in history. For the most part, there is a discussion on policies such as human rights, women’s equality, and government.

air force officer's guide

The Air Officer’s Guide

The Air Officer’s Guide
The Military Service Publishing Co.
1957

Another Swedish Death Cleaning Find

My dad was a ROTC during college and grad school, around 1958 to 1964 or so. This was one of those items from my mom that was in a pile of other stuff. Why it is in my personal library is a mystery. Part of this is my mother can’t abide throwing things out. I have a feeling there is “Mary is a librarian, she would probably want this” assumption. I’m not so sure my sisters have similar random books in their library.

western civilization

College Memories

The Western Experience to 1715
Chambers, Grew, Herlihy, Rabb, Woloch
1974

Another Swedish Death Cleaning Find…

This time we have a college history textbook. The only reason I know it was a textbook from college was the used book price from IUB also known as the Illini Union Bookstore. (Both my husband and I graduated from Illinois way back in 1982.) My husband recognized this book as his text from his Intro to Classical Civilization class. Professor Richard Scanlan’s class was arguably the most popular class at the university during our tenure. My husband, an engineering student and a guy who would take math classes for fun, absolutely loved this class. I am quite sure that is why this book is still sitting on our shelf. Scanlan died in 2009.

The book itself is nothing particularly special. The content probably can be found in many more current published books. Although we get to make our own rules with a personal library, this sentimental feeling about particular titles or even editions, can also plague librarians trying to weed a collection. It is easy to get caught up in what the book means to us personally. No one is immune to this.

bicentennial almanac front cover

200 years of fun

The Bicentennial Almanac
200 Years of America
Linton, ed.
1975

Another book from Mary’s Swedish Death Cleaning Project.

This title really had me scratching my head. I was a cynical and naive kid back in the 1970s. I was a history fan, so I can only surmise that someone gave this to me as a gift. I doubt it was ever opened. If you were around back then, the whole country had bicentennial fever. Every product out there seemed to make a “Bicentennial” version of whatever was around.

Many events, especially the more shameful, are downplayed or are omitted. Almanacs are not to be considered comprehensive, but this book has very little meat. It would be useless to a student of American history. I think this book was probably cobbled together from other materials and sanitized for our protection.

last names first

Name It!

Last Names First
Lee and Lee
1985

This is basically a genealogy for kids title. In general, I think genealogy items have a longer shelf life than many books. Tech related genealogy books, not so much. This one is showing its age in the “humorous”, I mean cringe-worthy, illustrations. The actual text isn’t too bad and I will give the author props for including non Western Europe information.

Forts

American Forts

Historic American Forts
From Frontier Stockade to Coastal Fortress
Colby
1963

I have no doubts that historical forts are worthy of a book. Back in the early 1960’s, this was probably a reasonable choice. This is some brief history and a bit of tourist information on about 15 forts across the United States. Not bad, but I am sure any tourist information, including maps, are woefully out of date after more than 50 years. The library binding of the old days, dense print, and lackluster photography means no one will be giving this book a second look no matter how informative.

Mary