FaithF14American troops first faced poison gas on February 2, 1918. German artillery units used the cover of a heavy afternoon fog to lob shells filled with phosgene and diphosgene on men serving in the 1st Division of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The attack proved ineffectual.

A single canister of mustard gas—the “king of all gasses,” according to one U.S. official—harmed a handful of soldiers four days later, but a February 26 night attack proved the real baptism by fire, as unidentified chemical agents injured or killed more than a third of the 225 members of the 1st Division in the vicinity of the action.

The U.S. Army had trained its soldiers in gas warfare. The training no doubt prevented even greater numbers of casualties. The soldiers, unfortunately, faced the usual “seasoning” period hazardous to new front-liners throughout history. Furthermore, as Thomas I. Faith explains in his new book Behind the Gas Mask: The U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in War and Peace, doughboys depended on anti-chemical equipment that, while often effective, did not invite enthusiastic use: Continue reading

11-11-11: World War I Remembered through Words and Melody
Guest lecture featuring William Brooks
11:00 a.m.
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Admission: Free

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November of 1918 was designated as the official cessation of World War I hostilities between Germany and the Allied forces. Music was essential in shaping America’s willingness to enter the war, and it was equally important in forming America’s memories when the war ended. In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson and most of the country were resolutely neutral; but after the sinking of the Lusitania the country’s mood gradually shifted. The change was both mirrored and furthered by the history of an immensely popular song, Archie Gottler’s “America, I Love You.” War was eventually declared on April 6, 1917, and George M. Cohan allegedly wrote “Over There” the next day; Cohan’s song became an unofficial rallying cry on both the battlefield and the home front. By summer of 1918 the country was beginning to confront the magnitude of its losses, and the poem “In Flanders Fields” served first as a reaffirmation of resolve and later as a memorial to those who died.  Musical settings of that poem, by John Philip Sousa and others manifest the country’s passage from war through grief and into remembrance.

Join musician, composer, and music scholar William Brooks (Associate Professor of Composition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) as he traces America’s wartime history through sheet music, recordings, and live performances of the music written by Gottler, Cohan, Sousa, and others. The live performances will feature singer (and UIP editor-in-chief) Laurie C. Matheson (DMA, choral music, UIUC) and accompanist Rachel Jansen (DMA, coaching and accompanying, UIUC) For further information contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music 217-333-4577 or (

upw-logo-2014The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is celebrating the third annual University Press Week from November 9 – 15, 2014. The focus this year is on the vital collaborative projects spearheaded by university and academic presses with research libraries, scholars, and other universities around the world.

UIP is one of many presses that have united for the AAUP’s third annual blog tour during UPWeek.

This tour will highlight the value of university presses and the contributions they make to scholarship and our society. Individual presses will blog on a different theme each day, including features on notable collaborations, emerging fields of study and University Press ties to popular culture.

You can check out the highlights of University Press Week and the blog tour on the AAUP Digital Digest.

Also, check this UI Press blog for other updates including a “Follow Friday” feature on our Geopolitics of Information series.

On November 6, 1814 Adophe Sax was born in Wallonia, Belgium.

HaddixF13Sax invented many musical instruments but the one for which he is best known (and has immortalized his name) is the saxophone.

Somewhere along the line musical enthusiasts declared November 6 to be World Saxophone Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the instrument and those who play the horn.

Perhaps the most well-known saxophonist in history is Charlie Parker. In Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker, Chuck Haddix writes about how Parker changed the course of music with his saxophone.

In the book Haddix details how Parker’s and his collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie led to the development of bebop. In the video below Parker and Gillespie demonstrate the groundbreaking style that carried on the legacy of Adophe Sax.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is celebrating the third annual University Press Week from November 9 – 15, 2014. The focus this year is on the vital collaborative projects spearheaded by university and academic presses with research libraries, scholars, and other universities around the world.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the University of Illinois Press is collaborating with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research to host an informative conversation for faculty about publishing with an academic press on Tuesday, November 11th, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., at 500 Swanlund Administration Building.

Daniel Nasset, acquisitions editor, and Michael Roux, marketing manager, will give brief presentations on their roles at the University of Illinois Press. The discussion will focus on the connection between acquisitions and marketing, and how understanding this relationship can assist authors in establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with an academic press. Craig Koslofsky (History; Germanic Languages & Literatures), External Grants Faculty Advisor – OVCR, and Maria Gillombardo, External Funding Coordinator – OVCR, will facilitate the session.

Faculty members interested in attending should please RSVP to Kelley Frazier: or 217-333-6771.

The Voice in the Drum - Richard K WolfBased on extensive field research in India and Pakistan, Richard K. Wolf’s The Voice in the Drum is a unique examination of  how drumming and voices interconnect over vast areas of South Asia and considers what it means for instruments to be voice-like and carry textual messages in particular contexts.

Written in the form of a novel, the book examines the ways drumming and voices interconnect over vast areas of South Asia and considers what it means for instruments to be voice-like and carry textual messages in particular contexts.

Wolf tells the story of a family led by Ahmed Ali Khan, a North Indian ruler who revels in the glories of 19th century life, when many religious communities joined together harmoniously in grand processions. His journalist son Muharram Ali obsessively scours the subcontinent in pursuit of a music he naively hopes will dissolve religious and political barriers. The story charts the breakdown of this naiveté.

Book Trailer: The Voice in the Drum by Richard K. Wolf from Richard Wolf on Vimeo.

Two UIP titles are available in paperback editions today.

The Creolization of American Culture: William Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy

The Creolization of American Culture - Christopher J Smith

Painter William Sidney Mount created some of the most well-known images of African American life in the mid 1800s.

In his book The Creolization of American Culture, Christopher J. Smith, uses Mount’s paintings as a lens through which one can view multiethnic antebellum world that gave birth to blackface minstrelsy.

Smith writes that the meticulous renderings of musicianship in Mount’s painting display performance techniques and class-inflected paths of apprenticeship that connected white and black practitioners.


Beer and Revolution: The German Anarchist Movement in New York City, 1880-1914

Historian Tom Goyens examines an often misunderstood political movement of immigrant radicals in New York City from 1800 to 1914.

With a focus on beer over bombs, these German immigrant anarchists combined defiance with festivity.

In Beer and Revolution Goyens illustrates the alternative social lifestyle of these revolutionaries, from political meetings and public lectures to theatrical presentations.

Beer and Revolution is an extraordinary piece of work, and a rare find. I am astonished at the level of sophistication: it advances recent scholarly developments in charting geopolitical space and resurrects the kind of setting—a mixture of bohemianism and political radicalism—that is of increasing interest to young people today.” —Paul Buhle, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left

To coincide with multiple music meetings in November 2014, we are offering eBook versions of four University of Illinois Press music titles on sale for $4.99. The sale will run through November 30.

Cover for Warfield: Making the March King: John Philip Sousa's Washington Years, 1854-1893. Click for larger imageMaking the March King: John Philip Sousa’s Washington Years, 1854-1893 by Patrick Warfield
John Philip Sousa’s mature career as the indomitable leader of his own touring band is well known, but the years leading up to his emergence as a celebrity have escaped serious attention. In this revealing biography, Patrick Warfield explains the making of the March King by documenting Sousa’s early life and career. Covering the period 1854 to 1893, this study focuses on the community and training that created Sousa, exploring the musical life of late nineteenth-century Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia as a context for Sousa’s development. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for welsh: One Woman in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Click for larger imageOne Woman in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra by Mary Sue Welsh
Hired from the Curtis Institute of Music at age twenty-three, harpist Edna Phillips (1907–2003) became the Philadelphia Orchestra’s first female member and the first woman to hold a principal position in a major American ensemble. Drawing on archival sources and extensive interviews with Phillips, her family, and colleagues, Welsh chronicles the training, aspirations, setbacks, and successes of this pioneering woman musician. Inside stories and perceptive eyewitness accounts portray controversial conductor Leopold Stokowski melding his musicians into a marvelously flexible ensemble; reveal world-class performers reaching great heights; and show Phillips and the orchestra experiencing the novelty of recording for Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for jacobson: Squeeze This!: A Cultural History of the Accordion in America. Click for larger imageSqueeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson
Squeeze This! is the first history of the piano accordion and the first book-length study of the accordion as a uniquely American musical and cultural phenomenon. Ethnomusicologist and accordion enthusiast Marion Jacobson traces the changing idea of the accordion in the United States and its cultural significance over the course of the twentieth century. From the introduction of elaborately decorated European models imported onto the American vaudeville stage and the instrument’s celebration by ethnic musical communities and mainstream audiences alike, to the accordion-infused pop parodies by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jacobson considers the accordion’s contradictory status as both an “outsider” instrument and as a major force in popular music in the twentieth century. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for LAMBERT: Alec Wilder. Click for larger imageAlec Wilder by Philip Lambert
The music of Alec Wilder (1907-1980) blends several American musical traditions, such as jazz and the American popular song, with classical European forms and techniques. Stylish and accessible, Wilder’s musical oeuvre ranged from sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, and art songs to woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites, and hundreds of popular songs. Wilder enjoyed a close musical kinship with a wide variety of musicians, including classical conductors such as Erich Leinsdorf, Frederick Fennell, and Gunther Schuller; jazz musicians Marian McPartland, Stan Getz, and Zoot Sims; and popular singers including Frank Sinatra, Mabel Mercer, Peggy Lee, and Tony Bennett. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

BrownF13Ruth Nicole Brown’s book Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood examines how Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths, or SOLHOT, a radical youth intervention, provides a space for the creative performance and expression of Black girlhood and how this creativity informs other realizations about Black girlhood and womanhood.

Brown is the co-founder of SOLHOT. In November the group is presenting a week of events dedicated to the celebration of Black girlhood in Champaign, Illinois, where the group is based.

NOV. 3-8TH , 2014

Come be a part of a fun and informative series of events on and off campus dedicating to the celebration of Black Girlhood. This is theory, practice, praxis, and knowledge production like you’ve never experienced before!
All events are free and open to the public. Continue reading

In honor of Halloween, we have slunk into the UIP vault of horror to dig up books both Profound and Mysterious to get you in the mood for our most popular pagan holiday. Will any of these titles help you raise dark forces to unleash on the Department of Motor Vehicles? No. Can one teach you the ancient mysteries of the dread Necronomicon without that supernatural small print that demands you sacrifice your immortal soul? Sorry. Any advice on apple bobbing? Not in the books, but unofficially, heed our words: don’t do it with a head cold.

WallerThe Living and the Undead: Slaying Vampires, Exterminating Zombies, by Gregory A. Waller
You cannot swing a black cat in our pop culture these days without hitting a sexy vampire or one of the many sub-species of the walking dead. Gregory A. Waller sinks his teeth into both genres in this enjoyable film studies survey of two movie monsters that, clearly, will never die. Fearing no evil, Waller contemplates the expressionist terror of Nosferatu and the sharp wardrobes of the Hammer Film classics, the idea of the king-vampire from Stoker’s Dracula to Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, and the ever-expanding Land of the Living Dead created by director George Romero. Seriously, this book is so complete it covers Blacula and analyzes how to look at a guy rifle-butting a flesh-eating Hare Krishna. Put down the brooding teenager vampire media. Get a blanket and some garlic. Dare to contemplate the sensual vampiric intensity that is Frank Langella.

ValenteStokerDracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood, by Joseph Valente
There are countless readings one may apply to the classic novel Dracula. But whichever you prefer in your reading group or lit department, we can all agree on one thing: that novel is pretty fixated on blood. As insightful as Van Helsing and as fetching as Mina Harker, Dracula’s Crypt presents the iconic vampire read as Bram Stoker’s commentary on the British obsession with blood purity. Claiming Stoker saw himself as an Irish interloper among London’s blueblood elite, Joseph Valente sees the author espousing a progressive racial ideology at odds with an Anglo-Saxon culture that inexplicably insisted it should reign supreme despite a public embrace of light opera and dimwitted Germanic monarchs. Valente makes it plain: Dracula critiques the very anxieties it has previously been taken to express: anxieties concerning the decline of the British empire, the deterioration of Anglo-Saxon culture, and the contamination of the Anglo-Saxon race, as if it hadn’t been contaminated enough by Normans, Vikings, and Romans.