World War I and Urban Order The Local Class Politics of National Mobilization by A. Hodges


World War I and Urban Order The Local Class Politics of National Mobilization by A. Hodges

This book uses Portland, Oregon to bring to life the transformation of U.S. cities during the first truly national war mobilization effort. World War I had an enormous impact on urban life and the relationship between cities and the federal government that has been almost entirely unexplored until now.


Review of Hodges, World War I and Urban Order: The Local Class Politics of National Mobilization - Robert D. Johnston, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago I am pleased to recommend Adam Hodges's book for publication. It is bold, original, and important. I have disagreements with it, but that is good-the scholarship is interesting enough to inspire strong debate. Please release my name to the author. I believe that far too many crimes are committed under the system of anonymous reviewing. 1) In your own words, please provide a short outline of the project. Hodges argues that American historians have not taken seriously the local politics of class during the World War I era, and that they have also obscured the active role of the federal government in producing and policing class relations during this period. His case study is Portland, Oregon. 2) Does this proposal offer a useful and/or original contribution to the field? Is it addressing any new/emerging areas? The manuscript indeed promises to be a useful and original contribution to the field. The home front in World War I remains an understudied topic, and both Hodges's method/approach (local/regional) and his argument (about the importance of class and government) are contributions not just to rethinking World War I, but more generally the relationship between state and civil society in modern America. 3) Does it adequately engage with recent scholarship? Does it take existing scholarship forward? Yes, absolutely, on both fronts. Hodges is a master of both the general and the local historiography (as editor of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, I can speak to the former with confidence, as I can for the latter as a historian of Portland). Hodges respects previous scholarship while crucially intervening to advance discussions beyond where the best historians (such as Zieger and McCartin) have gone. 4) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal? You may wish to consider structure, organization, coherence and presentation of material; scope, coverage and breadth of appeal or degree of specialization; whether there are any obvious omissions; timeliness and likely shelf-life of the research; what proportion of the work, if any, will require substantial re-working; and whether any suggested improvements fundamental to the project's success or discretionary matters which might be addressed after the project has been accepted. The material I have seen indicates that the manuscript is likely in good shape to be finished quickly. Chapter three, the empirical chapter I was given, is well-written, with important argument, interesting characters (such as Hilker and Haney), and an extremely rich source base. Indeed, it is clear that Hodges has used federal archives to uncover local history in a way that few scholars have done for any city in any period-this itself is a genuine contribution. Hodges does a very good job showing the significance of class politics, working-class mobilization, and radicalism. Yet he does not just focus on a singular 'working class': he understand differences in immigration, gender, and skill. Not only that, but he also understand that the elite also played a major role in class relations. This would seem obvious, but many labor historians still don't quite get this. Most robustly, the book really does use local sources and stories to engage a national (even international) set of issues. And Portland is really an ideal place to tell this story. A few places where I could see improvement are: *class relations are too polarized, with little role for a 'middle class

, my hobby horse) *the power radicalism had in Portland seems a bit overemphasized. *the introduction engages historiography extremely well, and I wouldn't change that, but I would *add* to the introduction more sense of the story that Hodges plans to tell. *The writing tends to be a tad overwrought at times. E. g., in the intro: 'scholars have missed the truly revolutionary impact of the World War I home front: newly forged federal-local relationships.' 'Truly revolutionary' ... a bit strong. *The story of elite vs. working class, liberatory vs. repressive, etc. seems a bit black and white. *I'm quite doubtful that this is a story of region. *Local*, yes, but Hodges really doesn't engage critiques of region that would cast doubt on what really is unnecessary here: that this is about 'the West.

's No 'There'

': Reflections on Western Political Historiography,'

-337. 'Beyond 'The West': Regionalism, Liberalism, and the Evasion of Politics in the New Western History,

-277. 5) Do you feel the author/editor is suitably qualified to produce a high quality book on this topic? No doubt. 6) If you are aware that the book is being considered for inclusion in a specific series, please comment on its suitability for that series. N/A Market and Competition 7) Is this book likely to have interdisciplinary and/or international appeal? Hodges very effectively engages political science scholarship, and I do think that scholars interested in American political development will find this project significant. I think that Hodges could do more with bringing in international examples, but it definitely ties in with trends in labor history/class history in Europe during this period. 8) How does this proposal compare to the main competing titles in this area in terms of quality of writing and content? It holds up well. Recommendation 9) Would you recommend: As I said upfront, I strongly support publication. I would be happy to review the entire manuscript once it is ready for evaluation.

About the Author

Adam J. Hodges is Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA. He earned a B.Sc. at the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published peer-reviewed articles on labor history and urban class politics during the Progressive Era.

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Book Info


198 pages


A. Hodges
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Palgrave Macmillan

Publication date

26th February 2016



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