Bookbeat: January 2008

The Archaeology of Anxiety: The Russian Silver Age and its LegacyRighteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism

by William Link, Department of History
(St. Martin's Press, 2008)
Available through Amazon

From an early age, Jesse Helms believed in extreme conservative causes, doctrinaire Christian worship and a mistrust of outsiders.In Righteous Warrior, William Link tells the life story of Jesse Helms and, subsequently, the story of a conservative revolution that finally captivated America at the end of the twentieth century. In his early days, Jesse Helms was a newspaperman, a radio commentator and a magazine editor.When he saw television for the first time, he realized the power he could command and, on tiny black and white screens waged battles with everything from civil rights to academic liberalism.In 1973, he was elected to the Senate where he remained until 2003 taking on everyone and everything that didn't tow the conservative party line and literally became the center of the conservative movement, pushing conservative causes, linking up with wealthy donors and ammassing more power than many Senators within memory.One could truly say that Jesse Helms was the conservative party in the U.S. In Righteous Warrior, Link gives us a complete historical portrait of the most powerful American political movement of the late twentieth century and shows how it was forged through the life of a man named Jesse Helms.

- Publisher

"Bill Link's masterful biography of Jesse Helms lays bare the roots of his conservative politics grounded in his white supremacist childhood and documents Helms's influence in shaping the course of national politics. Exhaustively researched and crisply written, Link proves Helms's importance to the Republican Party's southern strategy at home and his exportation of conservative southern values into U.S. foreign policy. This is fundamental reading for anyone interested in the rise of conservativism and politics in general in our time."

-- Glenda Gilmore
Peter V. And C. Van Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

"Professor Link's fascinating political biography of Jesse Helms is also an authoritative study of the rise of the New Right. Through Helms's career, we see the knitting together of the various strands of conservatism that account for Ronald Reagan's triumph in 1980, the Republican Party's Congressional revolution of 1994, and much else. Vivid characters and important issues fill the pages of 'Righteous Warrior,' and the reader is eager to keep turning those pages."

-- Sheldon Hackney,
Boies Professor of US History, University of Pennsylvania

"Historian William Link captures in this incisive biography the complexity of Jesse Helms—a personally kind and charitable man who supported racial segregation; an affable and principled politician who played hard ball politics to get what he wanted; and a controversial symbol of the New Right in America, a hero to his followers and a demon to his enemies."

--Donald T. Critchlow
Author of The Conservative Ascendancy:
How the GOP Right Made Political History

The Archaeology of Anxiety: The Russian Silver Age and its LegacyThe Archaeology of Anxiety: The Russian Silver Age and its Legacy

by Galina Rylkova, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
(Bloomsbury Press, 2007)
Available through Amazon

The “Silver Age” (c. 1890-1917) has been one of the most intensely studied topics in Russian literary studies, and for years scholars have been struggling with its precise definition. Firmly established in the Russian cultural psyche, it continues to influence both literature and mass media. The Archaeology of Anxiety is the first extended analysis of why the Silver Age occupies such prominence in Russian collective consciousness.

Galina Rylkova examines the Silver Age as a cultural construct-the byproduct of an anxiety that permeated society in reaction to the social, political, and cultural upheavals brought on by the Bolshevik Revolution, the fall of the Romanovs, the Civil War, and Stalin's Great Terror. Rylkova's astute analysis of writings by Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Nabokov, Boris Pasternak and Victor Erofeev reveals how the construct of the Silver Age was perpetuated and ingrained.

Rylkova explores not only the Silver Age's importance to Russia's cultural identity but also the sustainability of this phenomenon. In so doing, she positions the Silver Age as an essential element to Russian cultural survival.

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