Don’t Miss Our Great #SHAFR Titles

If you’re at the SHAFR 2014 Annual Meeting this weekend, stop by our booth across from the Thoroughbred I meeting room behind the registration desk to check out and take home some of our great titles.

We have new books from our Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series, edited by George C. Herring, Andrew L. Johns, and Kathryn C. Statler. The series focuses on key moments of conflict, diplomacy, and peace from the eighteenth century to the present to explore their wider significance in the development of U.S. foreign relations. A primary goal of the series is to examine the United States’ engagement with the world, its evolving role in the international arena, and the ways in which the state, non-state actors, individuals, and ideas have shaped and continue to influence history, both at home and abroad.

If you’re headed to the George C. Herring panel at 3:30, stop by and see the series books on your way!

Books in the series include: Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force by Robert M. Farley

The Gulf: The Bush Presidencies and the Middle East by Michael F. Cairo

So Much to Lose: John F. Kennedy and American Policy in Laos by William J. Rust

The Currents of War: A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941 by Sidney Pash

Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I by Justus D. Doenecke

Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations Since 1945 by Heather L. Dichter and Andrew L. Johns







Your #SHAFR Guide to Don’t-Miss Lexington Food, History, and Entertainment

SHAFR in Lexington, Kentucky

If you’re in town for this year’s Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Annual Meeting,


We’re so glad to have you in Lexington. While you’re here for the event, we wanted to make sure you get out of your hotel and explore some uniquely-Lexington destinations that will make your trip to the Bluegrass State memorable.

The best place for a bourbon cocktail

If you don’t have tickets to the sold-out Buffalo Trace event, don’t sweat it! There are many great places around the convention center for you to enjoy a bourbon cocktail.

Henry Clay’s Public House
A Public House is a “non-membership drinking establishment,” and this one is named for Lexington-native and famous politician Henry Clay. Located on North Upper Street next to Lexington’s old courthouse building, this cool and elegant stop has some of the best bartenders in town. Don’t know what would go best with Kentucky’s iconic liquor? Just ask the bartender. They have a wide variety of delicious cocktails for all taste buds. If you want to celebrate like a true Kentuckian, drink your bourbon on the rocks.

Belle’s Cocktail House
Named for the famous Lexington madam, you’ll love the feel of this two-story lounge on Market Street. Delcious and creative cocktails, and a modern portrait of the infamous businesswoman herself. Don’t forget to head upstairs and check out the rather creative wall decor.

Also try:
The Bigg Blue Martini at the corner of Broadway and Vine streets
Cheapside Bar and Grill at the corner of Cheapside and Short streets
Table Three Ten on Short Street
Jefferson Davis Inn on Broadway
The Bluegrass Tavern on Cheapside
Parlay Social on Short Street

The best place to spot a Kentucky Wildcat basketball player

In the summer time, many students—including the University of Kentucky’s famous basketball-playing ones—return home for the summer. But some stick around. They aren’t too hard to spot (they usually stand about a foot taller than anyone else in the crowd), so if you’re looking for one of the 8-time NCAA National Championship winning players, try the basketball courts behind UK’s Memorial Coliseum on Lexington Avenue between Avenue of Champions and Maxwell Street.


And don’t forget to duck your head inside of the Wildcat’s home court, Rupp Arena. It’s attached to the Lexington Center.

The best place to take part in a Lexington tradition

Lexington residents are in love with their home town. And why wouldn’t we be? There are so many fun and beautiful things to do within the metropolis. From horses, to good food, to elegant scenery, don’t miss everything the town has to offer.

Keeneland Race Track, Lexington, Kentucky

Keeneland: Surrounded by towering oak trees and hand-laid stone buildings, Keeneland hosts some of the most talented Thoroughbreds, trainers, and riders in the business. Racing only happens in April and October, but the surrounding shaded acres and the track is open for self-guided walking tours any time of year. The track is located out Versailles Road, across from Bluegrass Airport.

Tolly Ho: This restaurant, located at the corner of Broadway and Bolivar Street, has been a University of Kentucky tradition since 1971. Open 24 hours, you won’t find a better diner anywhere. Sit down and strike up a conversation—we love to talk UK basketball! And make sure to let them know if this is your first time in the restaurant. Check out the menu here (Might we suggest a Tolly-Ho Burger with Cheddar Tots?)


Triangle Park: Right across the street from the Lexington Center sits a triangular shaped plot of land in the middle of downtown Lexington. With its iconic fountains and ideal location, this is a tranquil getaway tucked in the middle of the town and the most perfect lunch spot.

McConnell Springs: The campsite of the first Lexington settlers, this 26-acre nature sanctuary offers an array of historical and environmental treasures.

Dudley’s on Short: Dudley’s Restaurant has been a mainstay on the Lexington gathering and dining scene since 1981. It is located in The Northern Bank Building on Short Street, which  was built in 1889 and was one of the most prominent structures in downtown Lexington. With award-winning creative American cuisine, wine list, and service to a steady base of local clientele while making newcomers and visitors feel welcome immediately, this is a perfect fine dining experience that will put you in line with the locals.

Downtown Carriage Rides: Tucked away on a side street downtown, the city’s historic livery still houses Lexington’s most well-known tour guides—the horses of Lexington Livery Carriage Company. On warm summer nights when the weather is clear, you can pick up a horse-and-carriage tour just off Broadway and enjoy a trip around the downtown area.

Kentucky Horse Park: No visit to the Horse Capital of the World would be complete without a stop here. More than 1,200 rolling acres showcase museums, galleries, theaters, and exhibits dedicated to all breeds of horses. Visit the grave of Man o’ War, the greatest Thoroughbred racehorse of all time and visit Funny Cide, a Derby winner who lives here.

Town Branch Distillery and Kentucky Ale Tours: Tours of the newest addition to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are offered daily. Located near downtown on Cross Street.

The best place to soak up a little history

It isn’t foreign relations history, but Lexington boasts lots of local history worthy of a quick stop in.

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate located just outside of downtown on Richmond Road
Mary Todd Lincoln House on Main Street (right next to the Lexington Center)
The Bodley-Bullock House on the corner of Market and West Second street
Gratz Park (and Lexington’s Fountain of Youth), two blocks north of North Main Street

Gratz Park, Lexington, Kentucky

Transylvania University on North Broadway
Hunt-Morgan House on North Mill Street

For more fun things to see, check out Visit Lex. We hope to see you at SHAFR!

Happy Father’s Day! Books on Dad Written by their Children

Oh, Dads…a seemingly limitless source of bad jokes (have you heard this one? What do you call an Alligator wearing a vest? An investigator!), bear hugs, and well-meaning advice. Some Dads are goofy, some serious, and my Dad will probably spend all day watching the U.S. Open, yelling at golf balls to “Get in there!” If I were to write a book about my Dad, it would include his terrible scrambled eggs recipe and endless battle against the rabbits that eat the flowers in his yard. Below are a few of our favorite books written by children about their fathers…I promise, the stories are much more interesting than scrambled eggs.

Buy or Pre-Order:

Hitchcock’s Partner in Suspense

Voice of the Wildcats

Dalton Trumbo

My Life as a Mankiewicz

Portrait of a Father

My Father, Daniel Boone

Great Military History Reads to Commemorate the WWI Centennial

The War to End All WarsTomorrow, World War I historians, educators, curators, cultural programmers, authors, re-enactors, students, and other enthusiasts will gather in Washington, DC to discuss the upcoming centennial commemoration, share information, and develop partnerships.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, and U.S. officials are gearing up to commemorate the centennial over the next few years.

To honor and learn more about the history of the war, take advantage of some of UPK’s great military history titles.

Nothing Less Than War John J. Pershing The Embattled Past Kentucky Marine Alvin York

The Controversy of Sergeant York: Uncovering the WWI Iconic Hero’s Battleground

Sergeant Alvin YorkAlvin C. York (1887–1964)—devout Christian, conscientious objector, and reluctant hero of World War I—is one of America’s most famous and celebrated soldiers. Known to generations through Gary Cooper’s Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 1941 film Sergeant York, York is credited with the capture of 132 German soldiers on October 8, 1918, in the Meuse-Argonne region of France—a deed for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

At war’s end, the media glorified York’s bravery but some members of the German military and a soldier from his own unit cast aspersions on his wartime heroics. Historians continue to debate whether York has received more recognition than he deserves. A fierce disagreement about the location of the battle in the Argonne forest has further complicated the soldier’s legacy.

Learn more about the controversy from noted York scholar Douglas V. Mastriano, author of the new book, Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne.

There’s been controversy about where the actual events of York’s historic actions took place. Can you explain some of the controversy?

The controversy about the location of the York site began in 1929 when the US Army wanted to stage a reenactment of the York battle in Washington DC during their annual exposition. The Army contacted York’s commanders (Captain Danforth and Lieutenant Colonel Buxton) to come up with a map of the location. Buxton and Danforth had no clue where York fought as neither was with him during the battle. In fact, Buxton by then was on the division staff and was nowhere near York’s action. Danforth was busy leading his men more than a kilometer away from where York’s fight took place. This notwithstanding, Buxton and Danforth gave it a wild guess and put an “X” on a random spot on a map, but warning the Army not to use the map, knowing that it was grossly inaccurate. Yet, the Army filed the map away and eventually it ended up in the National Archives where York enthusiasts grabbed hold of it years later thinking that they had stumbled upon the answer to the location of the battlefield. Unfortunately, the previous warning was ignored by researchers who used it as their primary source on York’s location in France. As you can imagine, the map led to nowhere and a flimsy case was built around the Danforth spot as being where the fight occurred.

History demonstrates that the York site was really never lost. In fact, accurate maps in both the German and American archives, made by eyewitnesses, had always pinpointed the location 600 meters north of the erroneous Danforth map. I spent more than 1,000 hours studying these maps, eyewitness accounts, unit reports and after-action reviews related to the York fight and found them highly accurate and verifiable. There is no debate as to where it happened from either the American or German perspective.

Click on maps to view larger.

What is it that sets your research apart?

To find where York fought required a well-rounded historical approach that integrated data from both German and American sources. Amazingly, no other researcher had used the German archives to study the York fight. Additionally, we applied military terrain analysis, looking at the ground as the soldiers would have seen it, battlefield archeology, and ballistic forensics. This was a rigorous process that allowed us to get to the bottom of the York story both historically and scientifically without relying upon subjective interpretations or mental gymnastics.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest misconception about the Sergeant York story?

The biggest misconception is that York performed his action “single-handedly.” Neither the Army nor York ever claimed that what he did was single-handed. This notion began in April 1919 when the media caught wind of the York feat and spun the tale with some hyperbole and drama. Yet, to his dying day, York never discounted the role of the other Americans on that
fateful morning.


Gems of the Backlist: MOUNTAINEER JAMBOREE by Ivan Tribe

Mountaineer JamboreeHere at the University Press of Kentucky, we’re in the middle of a program to digitize all of the books that we’ve published since our founding in 1943. It’s a lot of work going through over 1300 books, but it’s been a process full of fun surprises and astounding discoveries. Best of all, every now and then, there’s a book that we just can’t put down—a book so good we just can’t resist sharing it with you again:

Our Marketing Assistant, Blair, was pulling descriptions for books in our backlist digitization program, when the cover of Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia caught her eye. The picture of Blaine Smith and his gang (ca. 1940) on the cover really captures the spirit of those heady days when the Mountain State rivaled Nashville as a mecca for country singers and instrumentalists from all over America . . . but hey—what’s going on with that guy?

Yeah . . . THAT guy—the one who brought a revolver, a pipe, and a stuffed deer to the photo shoot. We really liked his spirit, and this interesting book has been on my “to-read” shelf ever since.

As Nashville’s dominance has grown, West Virginia’s leadership in country music has lessened; but Ivan Tribe’s book relives and preserves an exciting period in music history. This romp through the golden age of radio in the Mountain State also highlights the stars that made programs like the WWVA Jamboree great: Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Red Sovine, Blaine Smith, Curly Ray Cline, Grandpa Jones, the Bailey Brothers, and many, many more:

A Kentucky Summer Gardening Guide

The weather is warm and gardens are in full bloom. If you’re looking to grow your botanical collection this season or if you just enjoy perusing community gardens on the weekends, brush up on your knowledge of the Bluegrass State’s flora and fauna with these great titles. If you’re up for testing your knowledge of Kentucky flowers, take our quiz!

Vascular Plants Of Kentucky: An Annotated Checklist

Edited by Edward T. Browne and Raymond Athey
Lists more than 3,000 plant species and varieties, with complete information on distribution in the state, and reveals the current condition of botanical knowledge on Kentucky flora. LEARN MORE

Weeds of Kentucky and Adjacent States: A Field Guide

By Patricia Dalton Haragan
Because of its central location and geographical diversity, Kentucky is home today to perhaps the richest diversity of non-native plants east of the Rocky Mountains, and weeds make up a large component of the state’s flora and vegetation. Many of Kentucky’s weeds are immigrants that came to the New World from the Old and were brought to Kentucky by travelers, explorers, and settlers. This guide to the identification of 160 weeds commonly found in crops, pastures, turf, and along roadsides provides ecological, geographical, and ethnobotanical information with each species description. LEARN MORE

Gardening for the Birds

By Thomas G. Barnes
An easy-to-use guide to transforming your yard into an oasis for urban wildlife. Which birdseed attracts the most species of birds? What type of feeder is best to use? How do you deter squirrels? Barnes answers all these questions and more. He includes a plant encyclopedia of trees and shrubs native to the Upper South that attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and mammals. LEARN MORE

Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky

By Thomas G. Barnes and S. Wilson Francis
Since Kentucky is situated at a biological crossroads in eastern North America, citizens and visitors to this beautiful state are likely to be greeted by an astonishing variety of wildflowers. This non-technical guide—featuring more than five hundred dazzling full-color photographs by award-winning photographer Thomas G. Barnes—is the state’s new, indispensable guide to the most common species in the Commonwealth. With this book, readers will learn to identify and appreciate Kentucky wildflowers and ferns by matching photographs and leaf line drawings to the more than six hundred and fifty species of flowers covered in the book. LEARN MORE

Plant Life of Kentucky: An Illustrated Guide to the Vascular Flora

By Ronald L. Jones
The first comprehensive account of the native and naturalized ferns, flowering herbs, and woody plants of Kentucky. Ronald L. Jones has compiled detailed identification keys to families, genera, and species. The plant family descriptions contain information on wildlife and human uses, important weeds, poisonous plants, and medicinal herbs, and the species accounts provide scientific and common names, flowering periods, habitat, physiographic distribution, state and federal designations, and wetland ranking. LEARN MORE

Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky

By Thomas G. Barnes, Deborah White, and Marc Evans
Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky provides an introduction to Kentucky’s signature rare plants with 220 full-color photographs by naturalist and award winning photographer Thomas G. Barnes. The book draws attention to the beauty of Kentucky’s old-growth forests, prairies, wetlands, and other habitats while focusing on the state’s endangered flora. LEARN MORE

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide

By Patricia Dalton Haragan foreword by Susan M. Rademacher, Susan Wilson, Chris Bidwell, and Daniel H. Jones
The first authoritative manual on the 380 species of trees, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and vines populating the nearly 1,900 acres that comprise Cherokee, Seneca, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Chickasaw Parks. Designed for easy reference, this handy field guide includes detailed photos and maps as well as ecological and historical information about each park. LEARN MORE