Tag Archives: UPK

National Eat What You Want Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day! To celebrate, here are some sweet recipes from a few of our featured cookbooks. Check them out to find recipes for more tasty treats to enjoy all year long!

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book by Jennie C. Benedict

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book is one of the iconic texts in Kentucky’s illustrious cookbook history—and few states have produced as many fine collections of recipes. In this sparkling lineup of food stars, none outshone Miss Jennie. She had it all: the kitchen touch, the business sense, the communication skills, the personality. Kentucky is renowned as a fountainhead of superior cookery in no small part because of Jennie C. Benedict’s impact in the food world generations ago. [… ] A timely collection…. Comprehensive, concise and easy-to-use recipes [offer] more than just a bit of Kentucky flavor.” —John Egerton, author of Generations

Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman

“For home cooks who like a cookbook that tells stories as well as it instructs, this is an excellent work. Both effective and entertaining, Bourbon Desserts is highly practical—welcoming to the amateur cook while challenging enough for the skilled cook.

A delicious and evocative exploration of the delights of Bourbon and all it’s many culinary uses. Ms. Hulsman speaks from the heart with a passion for her subject that only a true Kentuckian could. The recipes are as mouthwatering as they are informative and had me heading for the kitchen, bourbon in hand, after the very first chapter.” —Michael Harwood, The Guild of Food Writers (UK)

The Dessert Book by Duncan Hines

“A classic selection of dessert recipes from Duncan Hines’ private collection, ranging from cakes and biscuits, to soufflés, puddings, and cheese desserts.” —Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

Happy Kentucky Derby Day!

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

It’s the first Saturday in May, which means it’s Kentucky Derby Day! To celebrate the 148th Run for the Roses, the University Press of Kentucky is proud to present four titles that delve into the history and the grand tradition of Thoroughbred racing.

The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event by James C. Nicholson

“Many books have been published about the Kentucky Derby that deal with elements of the race such as the horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers. This book is much more than that—it places the Derby within the history of the Commonwealth and in the broader context of American culture.” —John Kleber, editor of The Kentucky Encyclopedia

“Nicholson has done a masterful job of researching the historical events that made the Derby the enthralling and significant event it is. You may never get to experience the thrill of entering the winners’ circle and smelling the wonderful aroma that emanates from the garland of roses that signifies the greatest achievement in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, but this wonderful book will take you on a journey that gets you as close as any piece of writing possibly could.” —Chris McCarron, two-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame inductee, from the foreword

The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell

“Nickell gives us the history and lore of the beverage as well as a travel guide to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. He adds plenty of recipes, both traditional and modern, and even a page for writing your own.” —Bloomsbury Review

“Presents information you will find nowhere else… The recipes run from the basic to fancy ones using champagne or added flavors, making it a great resource for entertaining. Any fan of the derby or mint juleps will find this book a charming addition to their shelf.” —Horse-Races.net

Racing for America: The Horse Race of the Century and the Redemption of a Sport by James C. Nicholson

“James Nicholson’s Racing for America is a captivating exploration of a critical moment in American racing and how a match race run nearly a century ago influences our era of horse racing. He weaves together the disparate forces and personalities that come together to bring post-war America the diversion of the Old World versus the New, and, in the process, creates a portrait of a sport overcoming its near-death experience to rival baseball for America’s favorite sport. Come for the story of this legendary horse race and stay for an engrossing examination of how modern spectacles like the Breeder’s Cup came to be.” —Jennifer S. Kelly, author of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown

“Nicholson once again has discerned and described the many ways the sport of Thoroughbred racing can respond to, reflect, and perhaps even advance American attitudes and ambitions. He provides another highly intriguing and lively narrative which will grasp and entertain readers, whether new to the subject of racing or already familiar with the historic sport.” —Edward L. Bowen, author of 22 books on Thoroughbred racing

The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy by Pellom McDaniels III

“We have waited a long time for a scholar to pull together the story of Isaac Murphy and nineteenth-century American and Kentucky life with the exquisite interpretation that Pellom McDaniels offers in this manuscript… This work is path-breaking for the detailed study it offers into the texture and layers of life in Lexington, particularly black Lexington, during the post-Civil War decades and into the Gilded Age.” —Maryjean Wall, author of How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders

“A persuasive blend of storytelling and historical analysis, this is an enlightening account for horsemen, sports lovers, and historians of post Reconstruction-era American race relations. Pellom McDaniels’ success is that he brings into sharp relief the devolving social and cultural context of African-American jockey Isaac Burns Murphy’s childhood, apprenticeship, and career. The author convinces the reader of Murphy’s personal discipline and singular achievements—enabled despite an increasingly hostile environment by the support of family and the larger African-American community’s commitment to the project of self-advancement.” —Myra Young Armstead, Bard College

Teacher’s Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University of Kentucky

May 3rd is Teacher’s Day! The University Press of Kentucky would like to thank teachers everywhere for all that they do to educate and inspire our kids. None of us would be where we are today with the teachers in our lives.

To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history (and future!) of education in Kentucky.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, edited by Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and John A. Hardin

“Comprehensive and scholarly in scope, this tome is a model for future single-volume reference works about African Americans…. This work will be the standard on the subject and deserves consideration not only in Kentucky libraries but also in any setting where there is interest about African American history.” Library Journal

“Drawing inspiration from an African American teacher in Logan County, KY, who when called upon to teach a Kentucky history class in the 1930s lamented that not one of the textbooks referenced the contributions of African Americans, series editors Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin spent over a decade bringing this rich collection to print…. This is an important reference source that other states should emulate.” —Library Journal Best Print Reference

Tales From Kentucky One-Room School Teachers by William Lynwood Montell

“One-room schools once provided education to a majority of Kentucky citizens, and Montell’s book relates the characteristics and attitudes of those involved. It’s entertaining collection of memories allows the individual voices of the teachers to be heard once more.” Freda Klotter, teacher and co-author of A Concise History of Kentucky

“With the memories of one room schools fading as the number of individuals who experiences them first hand decreases, Tales from Kentucky One-Room School Teachers preserves a meaningful record for future generations of education’s evolution and life in general during this unique time.” —Manchester Enterprise

A History of Education in Kentucky by William E. Ellis

A History of Education in Kentucky is a comprehensive guide to the history of Kentucky schools, delving into the social, economic, and political factors that shaped their development. Ellis’s volume is a needed addition to literature on Kentucky’s history, providing a valuable account of events and decisions in Kentucky education, but also serving as an important resource for future educators and administrators.” —Kentucky Retired Teacher Association News

“Supplemented by published scholarship, oral history interviews, and personal experiences as a Kentucky educator, Professor William Ellis has provided a valuable history of the achievements and challenges connected with the Commonwealth’s schools and colleges from 1770 to the 21st century. A thoughtful, scholarly narrative with informed commentary, this study provides a long-needed, thorough and perceptive understanding of the history of Kentucky education.” —John A. Hardin, author of Fifty Years of Segregation: Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1904–1954

Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place by Jack R. Baker and Jeffery Bilbro

“Baker and Bilbro have written a thoughtful treatise about conceptualizing and implementing education as grounded, embedded wisdom formation rather than as instruction in dislocated knowledge acquisition. The primary enticement of this text is the interweaving of Wendell Berry’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writings into the process. This is a text for educators and citizens willing to take a hard look at current higher education’s pedagogical proclivities and ask whether we might not often be increasing socio-cultural harm rather than promoting good when we do not encourage that learning be tied to the particularity of place. Baker and Bilbro have written this work hoping to increase focus on learning that emphasizes social stability over social itinerancy.” —International Journal of Christianity & Education

“A masterful argument. Baker and Bilbro have given us a brilliant companion to Berry’s work that will guide readers—students, parents, professors, and administrators—to rethink educational values and institutional trajectories.” —Morris A. Grubbs, editor of Conversations with Wendell Berry

Arbor Day 2022

Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press of Kentucky

April 29th is Arbor Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles focused on the history and conservation of the beautiful trees of the Bluegrass.

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide by Patricia Dalton Haragon

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville will take its place as an important contribution to the botany of the region, spotlighting the flora of a biologically and historically rich set of municipal parks, researched and presented by one of the very best botanists in the state.” —Rob Paratley, curator of the University of Kentucky Herbarium

“I admired Pat Haragan’s desire to awaken in others a love of plants—’key it, know it, name it and understand why it grows here. Then come back next year and notice how it’s grown, how far it’s spread. And most importantly why is it here? Tell me about the environment.’ She’s at it again with her botanical guide of the Olmsted Parks. It will be used far and wide among all ages of budding botanists. Pat continues to be a great teacher. Congratulations to photographers Susan Wilson and Chris Bidwell as well. Your photographs capture details that give amateur plant lovers confidence in sharing plant names they’ve learned using this incredible resource.” —Mary Witt, University of Kentucky Horticulturist

Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass by Tim Kimmerer

“While deeply grounded in science, this book is written with a general audience in mind. It is easy to understand and filled with interesting information and stories, plus useful maps, illustrations and dozens of Kimmerer’s beautiful photographs of the trees… Venerable Trees will likely become a classic among books about Kentucky’s natural history and environment, because it covers so much new information in such an accessible way… [T]his book will give you a greater appreciation of Kentucky’s oldest living residents.” —Lexington Herald-Leader

“This beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. [It] is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.” —Greater Louisville Sierra Club

Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky by Mary E. Wharton & Roger W. Barbour

“Indispensable… An outstanding series of illustrations.” —Choice

National Great Poetry Reading Day 2022

By Amanda Cooper, Marketing Intern, University Press Kentucky

April 28th is National Great Poetry Reading Day! To celebrate, here are a few titles from our poetry collection that we think you’ll love.

The Girl Singer: Poems by Marianne Worthington

“Lit up and melancholy, these poems inhabit and reanimate the old songs, the ballads and fiddle tunes of the original mountain music that has no beginning and shows no sign of ending soon. Murder ballads, roaming, and redemption are all here with pining refrain. But then the book opens like a dogwood blossom to capture the music of childhood and family, as if a life of learning and wonder, love and loss is bounded by song. And so it is. These poems hit the ear like rain on a tin roof and summon a world that’s heartfelt and true, because the things of that world, from the human music right down to the birds, belong to each other and to the wondrous world itself.” —Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter and One Man’s Dark

The Girl Singer is a praise song, love song, rage song, ballad, recitative, and lament for early country music singers costumed, renamed, packaged, and sold; for the poet’s mother, who filmed a teenage Dolly Parton singing in a gas station parking lot; the poet’s father, caught in paralysis and a fading mind; for the musicians—country and soul—who were the soundtrack of her growing up; and for the glory of being in the audience at the Ryman when Bobby Bare kissed Marty Stuart. Worthington reclaims these beloveds, along with her “maternal people” and her grandmothers, with whom she is “encircled now, all / living together.” She restores her parents to their beginning—and hers—as we go with them to the Opry on their honeymoon. Through multiple forms—fixed and invented—she renders these moments. And by turns her singing words dazzle and cleave our hearts.” —George Ella Lyon, former Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015–2016) and author of Back to the Light

The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry, edited by Julia Johnson

“Poetry is obliged to prove again and again that beauty may arrive from moments that are not pretty, just as grief may lead us to discover profound love. These are truths I’ve always taken from Jane Gentry’s poetry, and now, in this final collection of her work, one sees her long effort has been one of discovery and candor, to push through ordinary loss and the stinging shortness of life, in order to find the moments that endure or flash-out trying to endure. Here, without decoration or fanfare, is a gorgeous body of work wholly integrated to tell it like it is, without—and this is the heart-rending grace note—complaint. As Jane Gentry observes in one of the Late Poems in this collection, ‘A poem is a bird that flies on many wings.’ She’s right about that, and here is a lovely book filled with many birds and their poignant flights. What a treasure this is.” —Maurice Manning, author of One Man’s Dark and The Common Man, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

“Reading through her collected poems, I am again reminded that Jane Gentry was not only a master poet—but also a master teacher. The poems here, each sophisticated, precise, carefully composed, teach us how to be in the world, no matter if walking among Kentucky flowers or the fountains of Jardin du Luxembourg. In this collection, Jane continues to hold the lantern, leading us to dark well of the past, urging us to look down so that we may see our authentic lives shimmering on the water’s surface.” —Kathleen Driskell, author of Next Door to the Dead: Poems

A Girl’s Gun: Poems by Rachel Danielle Peterson

“Rachel Danielle Peterson’s collection, A Girl’s A Gun, reads as part tall tale, part bildungsroman, part geode. These are poems meant to be enclosed in a palm and pressed against the heart. Peterson’s strengths are in her cinematic depictions of women, her vibrant imagery, and the precision with which she code-switches into the tongue of the mountains. The heady combination leaves the reader a bit breathless and we plummet with her into a line that feels like proverb, such as in ‘Birthday,’ ‘The heart is cruel/an organ with no song.’ These poems do not balk at their own content, circling around love that is tough or risky or absent or misplaced. They press on, lead the way, suggest that there’s no way around but through.” —Bianca Lynne Spriggs, author of Call Her by Her Name: Poems and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor and coeditor of Undead: Ghouls, Ghosts, and More and Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets

“With a mouth full of sticky mountain laurel, Appalachian soul liquor, exclamatory verve, iconoclastic Biblical gospel, and tender purchase, Rachel Peterson’s A Girl’s A Gun cross-talks with a prodigious and prodigal personal and poetic tribe that includes family members, figures from mythology, Jeanne d’Arc, Apollinaire, and a host of hymns and rock ballads. ‘Home is in the vocal chords— / the sound,’ she writes in ‘Harlan County.’ By turns vernacular and soaring with lyricism, Peterson’s foray into the emotional violence, Eros, and beauty of the places that hold us, and that we hold inside, evokes another American innovator, Emily Dickinson, who not only felt her life to be a loaded gun but who also, like Peterson, puts language under such unique psychological pressure that it almost seems to be its own tongue.” —Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Vanitas, Rough and Orexia

When Winter Come: The Ascension of York by Frank X Walker

“When Winter Come is an astonishing collection of poems that ushers Frank X Walker into the company of other memorable poets like Roethke, Hugo, Clifton, and Dove but he also recollects the powerful narrative voice of Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Frank X Walker magically captures York, not the flat historical figure represented in Lewis & Clark’s journals—Walker has tapped into the true voice of York and conjured him on the page. This is not just a book of poems—this is a book of spirits and shimmering apparitions.”—Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red

“Beginning with Buffalo Dance and continuing with the groundbreaking When Winter Come, Frank X Walker’s lyrical and stunning resurrection of York is an unparalleled creative discourse. The poet, in stanzas probing and revelatory, opens the slave’s life wide, not examining York as much as inhabiting him, laying bare the complications, frailties and triumphs that history dims and denies. There is much here that we do not know, and we are blessed that it is Walker who has taken on this chronicle of York’s ‘other life’—with the same unflinching passion, the same deft characterization and the same undeniable courage.”—Patricia Smith, author of Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the National Poetry Series

Next Door to the Dead: Poems by Kathleen Driskell

“I’ve always loved Keats’s phrase “the mighty dead,” but I never understood it fully until I read Kathleen Driskell’s quietly explosive meditations on life and death. There’s a somber beauty to these poems; in them, the dead and living visit each other easily, singing of the rich mysteries on both sides of the divide.” —David Kirby

“With Next Door to the Dead, Kathleen Driskell has written her path to the Kentuckian sublime. And she has found her own access to the many ghosts of the south there, and has bodied those ghosts forth in poems that are heartbreaking, wary, and local in the best sense—she sees the world in the local, and communicates the world faithfully, one life at a time, giving a voice to everyone from a Egyptologist who has been abandoned in death by their soul, to Wanda, ‘who, were she still / living, might have said, / ‘if I hadn’t answered the call, / would I still be dead?'” —Shane McCrae, Spalding University and Oberlin College

Johnny Cox Named 2019 SEC Legend

Johnny Cox, a contributor in Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories From Kentucky Basketball Greatswill be the University of Kentucky’s member of the 2019 Southeastern Conference Legends. This group of former stars will be honored during the 2019 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

Screenshot (22)

(Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Archives)


Cox’s time at UK was marked by two SEC Championships and a national championship. He was also a three-time All-SEC performer, as well as a NCAA Consensus First Team All-American in 1959. Over the course of his three seasons, he averaged 17.4 points per game and 12.0 rebounds, and he is one of only a handful of players to have recorded more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. Since his time at UK, his No. 24 jersey has been retired and he has been inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.





“When my jersey was retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena I remember feeling like I’d done something worthwhile. I suppose I was successful in basketball at UK because I spent a lot of time fooling with the game, kept trying to get better. When you spend a lot of time doing something, and you don’t deviate from it, you get results.”

Johnny Cox in Wildcat Memories


New Releases: Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series

For those headed to Arlington this week for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) annual meeting, swing by our booth; say hello to our representative, Melissa Hammer; and browse a few of these great new titles!

Click here to view all titles in the Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series.


Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow
Confidential Diplomacy and Détente
Richard A. Moss
Foreword by Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

“Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow will become an instant classic. For all of the books that mention the back channels—Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s most important foreign policy tools—this is the first to exhaustively mine the archives to explain their origin, how they were used, and to what end. Lucidly written and superbly researched, future works on Nixon foreign policy will have no choice but to consult this essential work. It is a must read to understand the era.”—Luke Nichter, author of Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World

Most Americans consider détente to be among the Nixon administration’s most significant foreign policy successes. The diplomatic back channel that national security advisor Henry Kissinger established with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin became the most important method of achieving this thaw in the Cold War. Kissinger praised back channels for preventing leaks and streamlining communications. These methods, however, were widely criticized by State Department officials and by an American press and public weary of executive branch prevarication and secrecy.

Richard A. Moss’s penetrating study documents and analyzes US-Soviet back channels from Nixon’s inauguration through what has widely been heralded as the apex of détente, the May 1972 Moscow Summit. He traces the evolution of confidential-channel diplomacy and examines major flashpoints, including the 1970 crisis over Cienfuegos, Cuba, the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT), US dealings with China, deescalating tensions in Berlin, and the Vietnam War.

Employing newly declassified documents, the complete record of the Kissinger-Dobrynin channel—jointly compiled, translated, annotated, and published by the US State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry— as well as the Nixon tapes, Moss reveals the behind-the-scenes deliberations of Nixon, his advisers, and their Soviet counterparts. Although much has been written about détente, this is the first scholarly study that comprehensively assesses the central role of confidential diplomacy in shaping America’s foreign policy during this critical era.


Foreign Policy at the Periphery
The Shifting Margins of US International Relations since World War II
Edited by Bevan Sewell and Maria Ryan

“Even after the United States became a global superpower, some regions of the world remained peripheral to American interests. What set these areas apart? And why did the U.S. eventually become drawn into their affairs? In this smart collection of original essays, an all-star lineup of historians answers these questions, and more, and uncovers the powerful dynamics that have shaped America’s rise to globalism.”—Andrew Preston, Cambridge University

As American interests assumed global proportions after 1945, policy makers were faced with the challenge of prioritizing various regions and determining the extent to which the United States was prepared to defend and support them. Superpowers and developing nations soon became inextricably linked, and the decolonization of states such as Vietnam, India, and Egypt assumed a central role in the ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. As the twentieth century came to an end, many of the challenges of the Cold War became even more complex as the Soviet Union collapsed and new threats arose.

Featuring original essays by leading scholars, Foreign Policy at the Periphery examines relationships among new nations and the United States from the end of the Second World War through the global war on terror. Rather than reassessing familiar flashpoints of US foreign policy, the contributors explore neglected but significant developments such as the efforts of evangelical missionaries in the Congo, the 1958 stabilization agreement with Argentina, Henry Kissinger’s policies toward Latin America during the 1970s, and the financing of terrorism in Libya via petrodollars. Blending new, internationalist approaches to diplomatic history with newly released archival materials, this book brings together diverse strands of scholarship to address compelling issues in modern world history.


Reagan and the World
Leadership and National Security, 1981-1989
Edited by Bradley Lynn Coleman and Kyle Longley
Foreword by Jack Matlock Jr.

“Coleman and Longley have assembled a terrific line-up of contributors, and both are accomplished scholars whose reputations and skills enhance this valuable contribution to understanding a contested presidency.”—Richard H. Immerman, author of Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz

Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan sought “peace through strength” during an era of historic change. In the decades since, pundits and scholars have argued over the president’s legacy: some consider Reagan a charismatic and consummate leader who renewed American strength and defeated communism. To others he was an ambitious and dangerous warmonger whose presidency was plagued with mismanagement, misconduct, and foreign policy failures. The recent declassification of Reagan administration records and the availability of new Soviet documents has created an opportunity for more nuanced, complex, and compelling analyses of this pivotal period in international affairs.

In Reagan and the World, leading scholars and national security professionals offer fresh interpretations of the fortieth president’s influence on American foreign policy. This collection addresses Reagan’s management of the US national security establishment as well as the influence of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and others in the administration and Congress. The contributors present in-depth explorations of US-Soviet relations and American policy toward Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. This balanced and sophisticated examination reveals the complexity of Reagan’s foreign policy, clarifies the importance of other international actors of the period, and provides new perspectives on the final decade of the Cold War.

9780813169057US Presidential Elections
Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton
Edited by Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest

“This book is part of an important trend in examining the connection between domestic policies and foreign policy. Its chapters will have enduring relevance.”—Elizabeth N. Saunders, author of Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions

While domestic issues loom large in voters’ minds during American presidential elections, matters of foreign policy have consistently shaped candidates and their campaigns. From the start of World War II through the collapse of the Soviet Union, presidential hopefuls needed to be perceived as credible global leaders in order to win elections—regardless of the situation at home—and voter behavior depended heavily on whether the nation was at war or peace. Yet there is little written about the importance of foreign policy in US presidential elections or the impact of electoral issues on the formation of foreign policy.

In US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy, a team of international scholars examines how the relationship between foreign policy and electoral politics evolved through the latter half of the twentieth century. Covering all presidential elections from 1940 to 1992—from debates over American entry into World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War—the contributors correct the conventional wisdom that domestic issues and the economy are always definitive. Together they demonstrate that, while international concerns were more important in some campaigns than others, foreign policy always matters and is often decisive. This illuminating commentary fills a significant gap in the literature on presidential and electoral politics, emphasizing that candidates’ positions on global issues have a palpable impact on American foreign policy.

Other great books in the series:

#ReadUPK in the Washington Post

The following editorial has been re-published from the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog (12/16/2016).

Trump may be borrowing Nixon’s ‘back channel’ strategy in his contacts with Russia

by Richard A. Moss

News that the president-elect’s son, Donald Trump Jr., met with pro-Russian Syrian opposition in Paris, or that two Russian officials acknowledged longer term contacts with the Trump campaign, has prompted concern about undue foreign influence — especially given recent news that the CIA has concluded that Russian hacking during the election was designed to help Donald Trump. Those worries have escalated with the president-elect’s apparent selection of Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil who has made multibillion-dollar deals with Russia President Vladimir Putin, for secretary of state — especially since Russian Duma members applaud his nomination.

But we can look at the incoming Trump administration’s contacts with Russian officials in a different way. The Trump team may be taking a page from Richard M. Nixon’s 1968 playbook by using “back channels” to improve U.S.-Russian relations. Perhaps the incoming administration can achieve detente — a relaxation of tensions — through this more informal approach to diplomacy. If that’s what’s going on, the Trump team might wish to be mindful of this approach’s longer-term pitfalls.



Richard A. Moss is the author of Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow

Nixon used two ‘back channels’ before taking office


Before his narrow victory in November 1968, Nixon used two back channels to get messages to the Soviet leadership. First, Nixon dispatched his longtime aide and personal friend, Robert Ellsworth, to contact Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and Soviet Charge d’Affaires Yuri Cherniakov. Once he did so during the campaign, Ellsworth conveyed the incoming Nixon administration’s views on a variety of issues, such as the ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Middle East.

The second channel — one that would probably raise eyebrows today — involved Henry Kissinger and a KGB intelligence officer, Boris Sedov. This connection functioned informally during the presidential campaign when Kissinger was a foreign policy adviser to Nixon and petered out shortly after Kissinger became national security adviser. The Kissinger-Sedov contact added the dimension of Soviet intelligence seeking additional information about the main players in the incoming Nixon administration and corroborating the Ellsworth-Dobrynin-Cherniakov exchanges.

Both Ellsworth and Kissinger were assessing whether the Soviet leadership might be open to working through back channels. These contacts quickly led to the Kissinger-Dobrynin Channel, which came to define U.S.-Soviet relations during the Nixon administration and led to detente.

Many analysts consider “the Channel” to have been an effective tool. At a 2007 conference hosted by the State Department, Russian-born scholar Vladislav Zubok stressed that there was “a 90 percent chance . . . that there would not have been a summit in Moscow in ’72, and such a productive summit that it was, without the back channel.”

Back channels can convey messages more subtly than formal contact  

The early back-channel forays also helped communication during the transition between Nixon’s election and inauguration. Nixon used both channels to kill the idea of an early U.S.-Soviet summit championed by his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson. As Nixon explained later, he did not “want to be boxed in by any decisions that were made before [he] took office.” The Soviet leadership received Nixon’s intended messages via Ellsworth and Kissinger. The private exchanges kept the issue out of the spotlight and set a precedent of back channels as preferred communication mediums for both Washington and Moscow.

Because of an exchange between Kissinger and Sedov, Nixon added a line to his inaugural address. At the posh Pierre hotel in New York City on Jan. 2, 1969, Sedov told Kissinger that the Soviet leadership “was very interested that the inaugural speech contain some reference to open channels of communication to Moscow.” Kissinger recommended that a phrase be included, and Nixon initialed his agreement on a memo two days later.

“I was never clear whether this request reflected an attempt by Sedov to demonstrate his influence to Moscow,” Kissinger wondered years later, “or whether it was a serious policy approach by the Politburo. In any event I saw no harm in it.”

And so in his inaugural address, Nixon proclaimed, “our lines of communication will be open.” The gesture cost nothing but almost certainly established goodwill between the new administration and the Soviet leadership.

Why use U.S.-Russian back channels?  



Nixon, Dobrynin, and Kissinger at Camp David in 1973. Source: NPMP

When used to supplement rather than supplant traditional diplomacy, back channels may offer a protected forum free from leaks to explore points of agreement, disagreement and potential conflict. For instance, on relations with Vietnam, Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev disagreed. The United States wanted the Soviets to cut aid and push Hanoi to negotiate, while Moscow wanted the United States to stop bombing North Vietnam and withdraw its troops from Indochina. Nevertheless, via back-channel exchanges, Nixon and Brezhnev eventually reached tacit agreement on broader issues, like the status and tone of U.S.-Soviet relations, and had a successful summit meeting in Moscow in May 1972.

If they choose, Russian and U.S. leaders may use back channels to clearly convey what they see as their core interests, to explore potential areas of cooperation, and to try to mitigate conflict or escalation.

Back channels are like regular diplomacy, but with more intimacy and without the bureaucracy. Like intimacy, it requires willing partners. Kissinger found one in Dobrynin, and Nixon in Brezhnev; both the United States and the Soviet Union benefited during the short-lived period of detente that enabled the two superpowers to start cooperating on arms control and in other areas, like agreements signed at the Moscow Summit on avoiding naval incidents at seabilateral trade, science and technology, public health, environmental protection, and collaboration on space exploration(the Apollo-Soyuz docking in 1975).

Of course, U.S.-Russian relations are now strained. The two nations have been backing different sides in the Syrian civil war; Russia has invaded and annexed a portion of Ukraine, resulting in U.S. sanctions; NATO installed a missile defense site in Romania and began another in Poland; and the Russians have sent nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, to note a few issues. While there is no Cold War now, both countries remain nuclear powers. In the Internet era, when provocations and communications travel instantly around the globe, keeping back channels open could conceivably help prevent or minimize confrontation.

If the Trump team is indeed in informal contact with the Russians, which it denies, some observers may find comfort in the idea that diplomacy — even the back-channel variety — is underway.

But of course, Nixon — for all his accomplishments — isn’t usually held up as a president to admire, given his illegal actions in the Watergate scandal, leading to the only U.S. presidential resignation in history. Relying on back channel communications too exclusively means operating in secrecy while avoiding — or even disdaining — the news media. Circumventing the usual systems, his example tells us, has its risks.

Richard A. Moss is an associate research professor, co-director of the Halsey Bravo research effort, and a faculty affiliate in the Russian Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies. His book, “Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and Détente,” is available now.

Author’s note: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of the Navy or the Naval War College.

#ReadUP in the Community: Spotlight on Staff

This week, we’re celebrating University Press Week, which highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.

The theme of 2016’s #UPWeek is COMMUNITY, and, for us, that means honoring the people we serve through our mission to publish academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and to publish significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

Download your own UPK #ReadUP Bookmark!

From volunteerism, to mentorships, and staff members with not-so-hidden talents and passions, our friends at AAUP member presses around the world are servicing their communities in myriad amazing ways. Here are just a few examples:

Wayne State University Press

WSUP highlights their new in-house designer as part of their “Shelf-Talkers” series.

University of Washington Press

Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins on community and food sovereignty.

University Press of Mississippi

UPM Project Editor Valerie Jones discusses her volunteer work for a Jackson spay/neuter clinic .

University of Wisconsin Press

Production manager Terry Emmrich, who is also a fine art printmaker, discusses the Art & Craft of Print.

Johns Hopkins University Press

After nine years in manuscript editing at JHU Press, Debby Bors explains her passion for university press publishing.

University of Chicago Press

Associate marketing manager Levi Stahl has built a community of crime fiction fans around the cult-classic mystery novels written by “Richard Stark.”

Purdue University Press

Editor Dianna Gilroy discusses the connections between her work at the press on the Human-Animal Bond series and her work in the local and global community raising awareness about the value of the human-animal bond and the need to help homeless animals.

Princeton University Press

Behind the scenes with Eric Henney, new editor of physical, earth, and computer science at Princeton University Press.

Seminary Co-op Bookstores

Former Triliteral sales rep, John Edlund shares his favorite books that he represented throughout his career with Harvard, Yale and MIT.

#ReadUP in the Community: IndieBound in Kentucky

This week, we’re celebrating University Press Week, which highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.

This year’s #UPWeek theme is COMMUNITY, and, for us, that means honoring the people we serve through our mission to publish academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and to publish significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

Download your own UPK #ReadUP Bookmark!

We love to publish great books by great authors, but how do we get the books on your shelf? With a little help from our indefatigable partners in publishing: independent booksellers.

It takes a lot of love and passion for books, knowledge, and community to create a great bookstore. Indie booksellers promote new authors, help readers rediscover the classics, and bond community members through events, book clubs, meeting spaces, and even a cup of coffee.

Kentucky is unique in many ways, but one of the things we love most about our state is the number of amazing, dedicated, and energetic booksellers and bookstores across the Commonwealth!

With that in mind, we approached our #Indiebound friends with a few pressing questions about their reading communities, their favorite UPK books, and their favorite karaoke songs. . . . Get to know these champions of the written word, and stop by to snag a new book to #ReadUP!

Our Bookstores and Booksellers who Contributed here:

Our thanks to everyone who contributed their time and attention to helping us with this post. For a full list of independent booksellers in Kentucky, visit Indiebound.org or the American Booksellers Association.

Poor Richard’s Books, Frankfort
with Lizz Taylor

Find Poor Richard’s Books online here: http://www.poorrichardsbooksky.com

What do you love most about your reading community?
The Frankfort reading community is eager to listen to the recommendations my staff makes for “what their next read could be.”

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?

Crawfish Bottom by Doug Boyd is our top bestseller from the University Press of Kentucky titles.  This history of a local neighborhood originally right outside our front door has appeal for those who grew up here, as well as those who have heard the many colorful stories of this neighborhood.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Nashimi.  She describes the young woman in Afghanistan trying to use education to advance their lives.  A great follow-up to Hosseini’s Kiterunner.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I would have liked to have been a doctor or detective, but I still do that type of work trying to find the books to suit my customers.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?

“You have been my friend—that in itself is a tremendous thing.”—E B White from Charlotte’s Web.  I love perusing my book shelves and remembering my “old friends.”

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?

Eleanor Roosevelt for her conviction, loyalty, and strength.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
My favorite thing to cook is food for my bookclub, the Absent-Minded Book Club (as we can never remember who is hosting or what we decided to read.  I love attempting a recipe that will enhance our latest reading experience.

If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
I could be Wonder-Book Woman as I must wear so many hats running Poor Richard’s Books.
My costume could be old book pages shaped to drape, but then I’d get caught up reading those old pages before I finish the costume.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?
I loved history, as the “truth is always stranger than fiction.”

What’s your favorite joke?
Not exactly a joke, but Mark Twain referenced Kentucky:  “I want to be in Kentucky when the end of the world comes, because they are always 20 years behind.”

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love to travel, hike and view art.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?
I actually like the privacy of my life out of the bookstore, where I am social all day long.

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
I think that Meryl Streep could handle it.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I have some medical background as my mother was in nursing school when I was reading Cherry Ames nurse mysteries as a young girl.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?
The Beatles—I even named my daughter Julia after that song.  I loved the french included in that piece.

Have you ever met any celebrities?
Robert Penn Warren was a real treat.  He said I could call him “Red,” when I didn’t know that he had been a redhead before his hair turned white.

Do you collect anything?
It’s hard to resist books, art and recipes.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
Music is in my head whenever I’m in a good mood.  But the selection varies from day to day.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
A science fiction show like Star Wars, or Star Trek would be an incredible adventure.

Name three things you can’t live without.
Books, color and peace!

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Jane Austen is a favorite, as she responds to her world and admits her prejudices.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
A curious cat could work if folks didn’t have allergies.

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
We would be located in the middle of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter world.  How much fun to explore all the unique shops!

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Jane Austen for the reason previously stated.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
Definitely comfort food..maybe as satisfying as apple pie.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Crestview Hills
with Caitlin Fletcher

Find Joseph-Beth Booksellers online here: www.josephbeth.com

jb-crestviewWhat do you love most about your reading community?
I love how enthusiastic they are! There’s a preconceived notion that nobody reads anymore and I find that to be entirely false. People love their books, they love reading, and they love that anticipation of waiting for a new book. We get customers coming in asking for books that they’ve been waiting for years for. It’s beautiful.
What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?
I absolutely adored The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. It was full of rich characters and a plot that makes you want to never put down the book. Crystal was at our store for a signing when the book came out and she was so passionate about the book that it was hard to not enjoy it – so much love, thought, and imagination went into this book.
What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron. It’s beautiful. Diverse, interesting, and realistic. I loved it.
What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
Anything by Taylor Swift – usually “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Because no one sounds good singing that song and I love Taylor Swift.
If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
Gilmore Girls, probably. It’s quick, witty, and I would love to be best friends with Lorelai and Rory.
Name three things you can’t live without.
Books, laptop, and heat. Or food. Or my cat. This is a tough one.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Hermione Granger.
If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
A quokka. They’re friendly, always smiling, and they’re helpful. Plus they’re really adorable.
If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
I couldn’t see us anywhere else except for the Cincinnati area. It’s our home!
If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Wow. I don’t know if I could choose just one. Stephen King is in my top list of favorite authors, so perhaps him. Or JK Rowling. Or Natalie Babbitt. There are so many.
If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
Something tasty. Like a cinnamon roll – because it’s sweet and comforting.
What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
I’m not very good at cooking, but I enjoy baking. I love baking brownies, which sounds incredibly simple; but for me it’s quite an achievement!
If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
Hydro and my super power would be manipulation of water. As for what I would wear, probably something practical without a cape.
What was your favorite subject in school and why?
English. Words have always come easily to me and reading has always been an escape for me.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through the phases: I wanted to be a doctor, then a social worker, then a rockstar, but in the end . . . I realized I wanted to write and since then, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
Other peoples’ opinions of you does not define who you are.
If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?
Maybe Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird continues to be one of my favorite books and I would have loved to talk to her about writing.
What’s your favorite joke?
“Have you heard the cookie joke? You wouldn’t like it. It’s pretty crumby!”
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve never completely finished writing a novel. I start a lot, but never finish them.
What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?
I’m terrified of heights. If they knew, perhaps they’d stop asking me to climb tall things!
If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
I don’t really know . . . I feel like I’m too weird for someone to portray. Maybe Anna Kendrick. She’s got the quirky weird thing down.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can roll my tongue. I don’t think that constitutes as a hidden talent. But it’s the only thing I can think of.
What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?
Nirvana. They still are, actually. My favorite song by them is “Heart Shaped Box.”
Have you ever met any celebrities?
Not any big ones. I’ve met a few authors because of work and I met this singer from Canada that I’ve been a fan of for going on ten years now, but no one incredibly big.
Do you collect anything?
Editions of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. It’s my favorite book of all time.

Wild Fig Books & Coffee, Lexington
with Crystal Wilkinson and Ron Davis

Find Wild Fig Books & Coffee online here: http://wildfigbooks.net


William DeShazer for the New York Times

Learn more about Crystal, Ron, and Wild Fig Books & Coffee in this recent piece from the New York Times on neighborhood bookstores!

What do you love most about your reading community?
we love their enthusiasm for good books and emerging writers.

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?
the man who loved birds with UPofKy

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
the graphic novel, Beautiful Darkness. it was wonderful!

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?
ron – the first african to see a slave ship off the west coast so he could warn him to the coming danger and to take appropriate action against them.
crystal – ida b. wells because she remains an inspiration.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
we’re both introverts.


Follow the adventures of the Wild Fig “Barista Barbie” on Instagram!

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
sam jackson as both of us.

Do you have any hidden talents?
crys – trapeze artist
ron – trained assassin for the nigerian secret service.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?crystal – prince, starfish and coffee
ron – funkadelic, maggot brain

Name three things you can’t live without.
tv remote… a car… werther’s originals.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
luke cage and spongebob because they would be awesome together.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
luke cage and spongebob (see above)

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
luanda, angola because it is so lovely.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
waffles. because… “waffles”.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?
art for ron because he paints.
english for crystal because she writes.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
ron wanted to be an architect.
crystal wanted to be a journalist.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
dont be poor.

Have you ever met any celebrities?
crys – bell hooks
ron – haki madhubuti

Do you collect anything?
african sculptures.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
crystal – starfish and coffee, because she loves prince
ron – black steel in the hour of chaos because he’s a public enemy fan.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
the 100. because we could build a life in the hills.

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
tie among gayl jones, toni morrison, and james baldwin because they are all great writers with excellent social insights.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
avocado toast because we make a great one at the store!

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington
with Kelly Morton

Find Joseph-Beth Booksellers online here: www.josephbeth.com

What do you love most about your reading community?
The diversity and enthusiasm!

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend? 
The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. Plus anything about bourbon.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose? 
The Lorax. Someone needs to speak for the trees.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why? 
We kinda do – he’s a plastic dinosaur named Bob. No idea why.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
Listen carefully to everything I say, then completely ignore it and go with your gut.

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why? 
My grandfather while he was fighting in Germany during WWII; he died before I was born and it would be amazing to meet him and tell him what his service in Germany would lead to.

What’s your favorite joke? 
Two cows in a field. One cow says to the other, “Are you worried about that mad cow disease?” Other cow says, “No, I’m a helicopter.” ZING!!

Do you have any hidden talents? 
Nope. Both of them are pretty obvious.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song? 
Anything by Destiny’s Child. Also the VeggieTales theme song. I was a strange teenager.

Have you ever met any celebrities? 
Yes – if anyone asks, Jason Segel is like, the nicest guy ever.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why? 
Pie because even if you mess it up, it’s still delicious.

If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
I don’t have a clever name, but I’d be able to breathe underwater and talk to sea creatures. I’d wear scales and seaweed – I’m beginning to think I’m just a mermaid.

What was your favorite subject in school and why? 
Lunch because food. But also art because that’s a different kind of sustenance. And English because I loved reading.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I never really decided. I still haven’t. The nice thing about books is that you can become anyone you want in the pages.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? 
I’m an introvert. 

What’s something you wish everyone knew about you? 
I’m an introvert. Seriously. Let me go hide.

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
Someone completely unknown so they could get their big break!

Do you collect anything? 
Elephants, Harry Potter books, and scars, but the last one isn’t intentional.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why? 
Santeria” by Sublime because I know all the words.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why? 
Bob’s Burgers because I’m pretty sure Gene is my spirit animal and I think I’d fit in.

Name three things you can’t live without. 
Espresso, cute dresses, and my wiener dog.

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why? 
Cincinnati should count as a world city! Because we’re big enough but not too big, friendly but not overbearing, and we’re obsessed with buckeyes.

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why? 
Barbara Kingsolver because I bet she’d bring all sorts of treats to share.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why? 
A really, really big just-baked cookie because we’re warm and friendly.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it? 
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Yes, in a my-heart-is-crushed-and-I’m-dying-but-ok-with-it kind of way.