Hooked on history: the Missouri Crisis, San Juan Hill, and my grandparents’ attic

Johns Hopkins University Press Blog

Guest post by John R. Van Atta

Sevvanattaeral years ago, as I wandered around the book exhibit at a meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Houston, Johns Hopkins University Press’s Witness to History series caught my eye. After the meeting, acting on senior history editor Bob Brugger’s encouragement, I worked up a proposal for a volume on the Missouri Crisis, a subject that we thought could stand a little more consideration than recent literature had given it. The proposal eventually won approval from JHUP’s editorial board, and that was about all there was to it. Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819–1821 was published in May.

In years past, historians have paid more attention to the internal political dynamics of the Missouri controversy—the strategies within the debate itself, the implications for party development, the mechanics of Congressional deal making, and so on—than to the external social, cultural, and…

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