Subterranean Lives

Showing 1-5 of 5 items.

Horrors of Slavery

Or, The American Tars in Tripoli

Edited by Hester Blum; Introduction by Hester Blum; By William Ray
Rutgers University Press

Barbary pirates in Africa targeted sailors for centuries, often taking slaves and demanding ransom in exchange. First published in 1808, Horrors of Slavery is the tale of one such sailor, captured during the United States's first military encounter with the Islamic world, the Tripolitan War. William Ray, along with three hundred crewmates, spent nineteen months in captivity after his ship, the Philadelphia, ran aground in the harbor of Tripoli. Imprisoned, Ray witnessed-and chronicled-many of the key moments of the military engagement. In addition to offering a compelling history of a little-known war, this book presents the valuable perspective of an ordinary seaman who was as concerned with the injustices of the U.S. Navy as he was with Barbary pirates.

Hester Blum's introduction situates Horrors of Slavery in its literary, historical, and political contexts, bringing to light a crucial episode in the early history of our country's relations with Islamic states.

A volume in the Subterranean Lives series, edited by Bradford Verter

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With the Weathermen

The Personal Journal of a Revolutionary Woman

By Susan Stern; Edited by Laura Browder; Introduction by Laura Browder
Rutgers University Press

 Drugs. Sex. Revolutionary violence. From its first pages, Susan Stern's memoir With the Weathermen provides a candid, first-hand look at the radical politics and the social and cultural environment of the New Left during the late 1960s.

The Weathermen--a U.S.-based, revolutionary splinter group of Students for a Democratic Society--advocated the overthrow of the government and capitalism, and toward that end, carried out a campaign of bombings, jailbreaks, and riots throughout the United States. In With the Weathermen Stern traces her involvement with this group, and her transformation from a shy, married graduate student into a go-go dancing, street-fighting "macho mama." In vivid and emotional language, she describes the attractions and difficulties of joining a collective radical group and in maintaining a position within it.

Stern's memoir offers a rich description of the raw and rough social dynamics of this community, from its strict demands to "smash monogamy," to its sometimes enforced orgies, and to the demeaning character assassination that was led by the group's top members. She provides a distinctly personal and female perspective on the destructive social functionality and frequently contradictory attitudes toward gender roles and women's rights within the New Left.

Laura Browder's masterful introduction situates Stern's memoir in its historical context, examines the circumstances of its writing and publication, and describes the book's somewhat controversial reception by the public and critics alike.

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The Hasheesh Eater

Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean

Rutgers University Press

 Fitz-Hugh Ludlow was a recent graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York, when he vividly recorded his hasheesh-induced visions, experiences, adventures, and insights. During the mid-nineteenth century, the drug was a legal remedy for lockjaw and Ludlow had a friend at school from whom he received a ready supply. He consumed such large quantities at each sitting that his hallucinations have been likened to those experienced by opium addicts. Throughout the book, Ludlow colorfully describes his psychedelic journey that led to extended reflections on religion, philosophy, medicine, and culture. First published in 1857, The Hasheesh Eater was the first full-length American example of drug literature. Yet despite the scandal that surrounded it, the book quickly became a huge success. Since then, it has become a cult classic, first among Beat writers in the 1950s and 1960s, and later with San Francisco Bay area hippies in the 1970s.

In this first scholarly edition, editor Stephen Rachman positions Ludlow's enduring work as not just a chronicle of drug use but also as a window into the budding American bohemian literary scene. A lucid introduction explores the breadth of Ludlow's classical learning as well as his involvement with the nineteenth-century subculture that included fellow revelers such as Walt Whitman and the pianist Louis Gottshalk. With helpful annotations guiding readers through the text's richly allusive qualities and abundance of references, this edition is ideal for classroom use as well as for general readers.

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The Road

Rutgers University Press

In 1894, an eighteen-year-old Jack London quit his job shoveling coal, hopped a freight train, and left California on the first leg of a ten thousand-mile odyssey. His adventure was an exaggerated version of the unemployed migrations made by millions of boys, men, and a few women during the original "great depression of the 1890s. By taking to the road, young wayfarers like London forged a vast hobo subculture that was both a product of the new urban industrial order and a challenge to it. As London's experience suggests, this hobo world was born of equal parts desperation and fascination. "I went on 'The Road,'" he writes, "because I couldn't keep away from it . . . Because I was so made that I couldn't work all my life on 'one same shift'; because-well, just because it was easier to than not to."

The best stories that London told about his hoboing days can be found in The Road, a collection of nine essays with accompanying illustrations, most of which originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine between 1907 and 1908. His virile persona spoke to white middle-class readers who vicariously escaped their desk-bound lives and followed London down the hobo trail. The zest and humor of his tales, as Todd DePastino explains in his lucid introduction, often obscure their depth and complexity. The Road is as much a commentary on London's disillusionment with wealth, celebrity, and the literary marketplace as it is a picaresque memoir of his youth.

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The Road

Rutgers University Press

In 1894, an eighteen-year-old Jack London quit his job shoveling coal, hopped a freight train, and left California on the first leg of a ten thousand-mile odyssey. His adventure was an exaggerated version of the unemployed migrations made by millions of boys, men, and a few women during the original "great depression of the 1890s. By taking to the road, young wayfarers like London forged a vast hobo subculture that was both a product of the new urban industrial order and a challenge to it. As London's experience suggests, this hobo world was born of equal parts desperation and fascination. "I went on 'The Road,'" he writes, "because I couldn't keep away from it . . . Because I was so made that I couldn't work all my life on 'one same shift'; because-well, just because it was easier to than not to."

The best stories that London told about his hoboing days can be found in The Road, a collection of nine essays with accompanying illustrations, most of which originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine between 1907 and 1908. His virile persona spoke to white middle-class readers who vicariously escaped their desk-bound lives and followed London down the hobo trail. The zest and humor of his tales, as Todd DePastino explains in his lucid introduction, often obscure their depth and complexity. The Road is as much a commentary on London's disillusionment with wealth, celebrity, and the literary marketplace as it is a picaresque memoir of his youth.

More info...
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