Reaching New Heights in the Latest NEXUS Series Release

Heightened Expectations is a groundbreaking history that illuminates the foundations of the multibillion-dollar human growth hormone (HGH) industry. Drawing on medical and public health histories as well as on photography, film, music, prose, and other examples from popular culture, Aimee Medeiros tracks how the stigmatization of short stature in boys and growth hormone technology came together in the twentieth century.

9780817319106This book documents how the rise of modern capitalism and efforts to protect those most vulnerable to its harmful effects contributed to the social stigmatization of short statured children. Short boys bore the brunt of this discrimination by the mid-twentieth century, as cultural notions of masculinity deemed smallness a troubling trait in need of remedy. These boys became targets of growth hormone treatment, a trend accelerated by the development of effective HGH therapy in the late 1950s.

With a revisionist twist, Medeiros argues that HGH therapy was not plagued by a limited number of sources of the hormone but rather a difficult-to-access supply during the 1960s and 1970s. The advent of synthetic HGH remedied this situation. Therapy was available, however, only to those who could afford it. Very few could, which made short stature once again a mark of the underprivileged class.

Today, small boys with dreams of being taller remain the key customer base of the legitimate arm of the HGH industry. As gender and economic class disparities in treatment continue, some medical experts have alluded to patients’ parents as culprits of this trend. This book sheds light on how medicine’s attempt to make up for perceived physical shortcomings has deep roots in American culture.

Of interest to historians and scholars of medicine, gender studies, and disability studies, Heightened Expectations also offers much to policy makers and those curious about where standards and therapies originate.

Aimee Medeiros is an assistant professor of the history of health sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

Heightened Expectations is an excellent treatment of a significant subject, the history of American ideas about height and medical approaches to issues of human growth, from the late 1800s onward. Medeiros’s treatment fits beautifully into the powerful and growing literature on the history of medicine, disability, gender, and the body.”
—Amy Sue Bix, author of Girls Coming to Tech!: A History of American Engineering Education for Women and Inventing Ourselves Out of Jobs?: America’s Debate over Technical Unemployment, 1929-1981

Heightened Expectations offers a lively and engaging discussion of how short stature became a ‘disease’ in need of medical treatment. It convincingly demonstrates that the pathology-making of short stature dates back to the nineteenth century and is intertwined with the rise of modern capitalism.”
—Heather Munro Prescott, author of A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine and The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States

Trade Cloth
6 X 9, 208 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1910-6 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8962-8 Ebook
Price: $39.95


Jeanie Thompson’s The Myth of Water

After we distributed a link to our Spring 2016 catalog on Monday (click here), we received a number of comments and questions about the “buzz” around a book of poetry we’re working on by Jeanie Thompson.

There’s a lot to say about this project. Jeanie’s book is a cycle of poems written from the point of view of Helen Keller, illuminating events or insights she experienced during her extraordinary life. But it’s more than that. Jeanie paired all the poems with notes about the event or time in Keller’s life that inspired the poem. The poems are mesmerizing but just one part of the work.


Jeanie Thompson’s Myth of Water to be published in July 2016.

The Myth of Water has affected all of us who’ve had a chance to spend some time with the manuscript. As with all great works, it touches different people in personal ways. I studied Japanese and Journalism here at the Capstone and then spent most of my 20s in Osaka and Tokyo. Even as a native Alabaman, I never knew Keller had traveled to Japan. In the poem “I Promise,” we learn that Keller promised her teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, on her deathbed that she’d travel to Japan and Korea to take their work with the deaf-blind to people there. Jeanie’s poem invokes the vivid mental pictures Keller might have imagined as she remembers Sullivan and sets foot in Japan for the first time.

For me, the poem invites recollections of the parts of my life in Japan that Helen could have experienced as well: the crispy texture of rice cracker grilled on a street corner, the supple pin-point of a pine needle in winter, the savory dry aroma of sandalwood smoke in a shrine.

By opening a door for you into Helen Keller’s lived experience, Jeanie’s poems can bring parts of your own life into more vivid focus. The Myth of Water is due out in July, and you’re going to hear a lot about it.


Exploring Sunshine Government in the Sunshine State

Florida governor Reubin Askew memorably characterized a leader as “someone who cares enough to tell the people not merely what they want to hear, but what they need to know.” It was a surprising statement for a contemporary politician to make, and, more surprising still, it worked. In The Politics of Trust: Reubin Askew and Florida in the 1970s, Gordon E. Harvey traces the life and career of the man whose public service many still recall as “the Golden Age” of Florida politics.

9780817318826Askew rose to power on a wave of “New South” leadership that hoped to advance the Democratic Party beyond the intransigent torpor of southern politics since the Civil War. He hoped to replace appeals to white supremacy with a vision of a more diverse and inclusive party. Following his election in Florida, other New South leaders such as Georgia’s Jimmy Carter, Arkansas’s Dale Bumpers, and South Carolina’s John C. West all came to power.

Audacious and gifted, Askew was one of six children raised by a single mother in Pensacola. As he worked his way up through the ranks of the state legislature, few in Florida except his constituents knew his name when he challenged Republic incumbent Claude R. Kirk Jr. on a populist platform promising higher corporate taxes. When he won, he inaugurated a series of reforms, including a new 5 percent corporate income tax; lower consumer, property, and school taxes; a review of penal statutes; environmental protections; higher welfare benefits; and workers’ compensation to previously uncovered migrant laborers.

Touting honesty, candor, and transparency, Askew dubbed his administration “government in the sunshine.” Harvey demonstrates that Askew’s success was not in spite of his penchant for bold, sometimes unpopular stances, but rather because his mix of unvarnished candor, sober ethics, and religious faith won the trust of the diverse peoples of his state.

Gordon E. Harvey is the author of A Question of Justice: New South Governors and Education, 1968-1976 and coeditor of History and Hope in the Heart of Dixie: Scholarship, Activism, and Wayne Flynt in the Modern South.

Glenn Feldman and Kari Frederickson, series editors

“An artful biography of Florida’s greatest governor, The Politics of Trust tells the story of Florida’s tumultuous transformation from a bulwark of the Old Confederacy into the large, urban, cosmopolitan state of today. Every chapter is a great case study of a major initiative during the Askew administration, with lessons in how honest, principled leadership can overcome entrenched interests while healing, or at least moderating, divisions of race and class.”
—Lance deHaven-Smith, coauthor of Government in the Sunshine State: Florida Since Statehood andFlorida’s Megatrends: Critical Issues in Florida

“The 1970s was a significant decade in Florida’s politics. Governor Reubin Askew attempted to introduce measures to cope with growth pressures, achieve more tax equity, and bring about a more ‘open government.’ Gordon E. Harvey has produced a fine analysis of Askew’s initiatives, of the politics of reform, and of the changes that impacted Florida.”
—Robert Kerstein, author of Key West on the Edge: Inventing the Conch Republic

Short Cloth
6 X 9, 256 pp
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1882-6 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8888-1 Ebook
Price: $39.95


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