London Review of Books (LRB) – March 30, 2023 issue:
The Pocahontas Exception
A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in US History by Francesca Morgan.
In A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in U.S. History (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), historian Francesca Morgan tracks Americans’ obsession with tracing family ancestry. Morgan sheds light on the evolution of genealogical knowledge from the early republic to the present day. Although our New Books Network conversation concentrates on African Americans, in her text, she looks explicitly at how Anglo-American white, Mormon, Jewish, African American, and Native American people wrestled with locating and documenting their kin and ultimately shaped the practice of genealogy. A Nation of Descendants also explores the transformation of genealogical practices as it becomes commercialized and commodified.
When Thieves Retire
Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber
Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance and fantasy, symbolizing risk, lawlessness, and radical visions of freedom. But at the root of this mythology is a rich history of pirate societies―vibrant, imaginative experiments in self-governance and alternative social formations at the edges of the European empire.