New! “Getting Out of the Mud” by Martin T. Olliff


Getting Out of the Mud: The Alabama Good Roads Movement and Highway Administration, 1898-1928 explores the history of the Good Roads Movement and investigates the nature of early twentieth-century progressivism in the state. Martin T. Olliff reveals how middle-class reformers secured political, economic, and social power not only by fighting against corporate domination and labor recalcitrance but also by proposing alternative projects like road improvement and identifying the interests of the rising middle class as being the most important to public interest.

With the development of national markets in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans began to regard the nation as a whole, rather than their state or region, as the most important political entity. Many Alabamians wished to travel beyond their local communities in all seasons without getting stuck in the mud of rudimentary rutted dirt roads. The onset of the automobile age bolstered the need for roadmaking, alerting both automobilists and good roads advocates to the possibility of a new transportation infrastructure. The Good Roads Movement began promoting farm-to-market roads, then highways that linked cities, then those that connected states. Federal matching funds for road construction after 1916 led state and federal governments to supplant the Good Roads Movement, building and administering the highway system that emerged by the late 1920s.

Olliff’s study of how Alabamians dealt with strained resources and overcame serious obstacles in order to construct a road system that would accommodate economic growth in the twentieth century may offer clues to the resurrection of a similar strategy in our modern era. Many twentieth century may offer clues to the resurrection of a similar strategy in our modern era. Many problems are unchanged over the hundred years between crises: Alabamians demand good roads and a government that has the capacity to build and maintain such an infrastructure while, at the same time, citizens are voting into office men and women who promise lower taxes and smaller government.

Martin T. Olliff
is a professor of history and the director of the Wiregrass Archives at Troy University Dothan Campus. He is also the editor of The Great War in the Heart of Dixie: Alabama in World War I and an editorial board member of both The Alabama Review: A Quarterly Journal of Alabama History and Provenance: Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists.

“Olliff weaves a unique combination of history, sociology, political science, and economics to create a three-dimensional fabric.”
—David O. Whitten, author of Andrew Durnford: A Black Sugar Planter in the Antebellum South and coauthor of The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860-1914: Commercial, Extractive, and Industrial Enterprise

Getting Out of the Mud is an interesting and insightful study of the path Alabamians took to modern highway construction and management.”
—Matthew Downs, author of Transforming the South: Federal Development in the Tennessee Valley, 1915-1960

264 pages / 20 B&W figures / 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1955-7 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9138-6 Ebook

New! “Alabama Wildlife, Volume 5”

Alabama Wildlife, Volume 5 offers a comprehensive update and provides a wealth of new information concerning changes and developments relative to the conservation status of wild animal populations of the state that have occurred in the decade since publication of the previous four volumes in 2004. Enhancements include the addition of any new or rediscovered taxon, species priority status changes, and taxonomic changes, plus the addition of the crayfishes, which were left out previously because so little was known about these understudied taxa.

A complete taxonomic checklist is included, which lists each imperiled taxon along with its priority designation followed by detailed species accounts. The eighty-four crayfish species accounts are comprised of a physical description (including a photograph, when available), distribution map, habitat summary, key life history, ecological information, basis for its status classification, and specific conservation and management recommendations. This revised expansion of the Alabama Wildlife set will be helpful to those seeking to broaden their knowledge of Alabama’s vast wildlife resources and will greatly influence future studies in the conservation of many of the imperiled species.

Ericha Shelton Nix
is a certified biologist with the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. She has led conservation efforts to reestablish the gopher tortoise to its historic range, has written popular newspaper columns and species accounts for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website, and has authored articles for Outdoor Alabama magazine.

Alabama Wildlife, Volume 5 promises to continue the tradition of high quality presentations of the biological status of Alabama’s vertebrate and invertebrate fauna. The addition of the new content on crayfishes further expands our understanding of the wealth of native biodiversity within the state of Alabama.”
—Whit Gibbons, author of Ecoviews, Ecoviews Too, Their Blood Runs Cold, and Poisonous Plants and Venomous Animals of Alabama and Adjoining States

“This updated volume provides a critical, go-to resource for natural resource professionals, students, academics, and citizens seeking up-to-date information on the status of Alabama’s biodiversity. Not only does it provide baseline information on status but it also provides information on population trends critical for conservation efforts.”
—Carol Johnston, professor of fisheries, aquaculture, and aquatic sciences in the College of Agriculture at Auburn University

372 pages / 131 color figures / 1 B&W figure / 130 maps / 9 tables
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1961-8 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9146-1 Ebook

New! “Land of Water, City of the Dead” by Sarah E. Baires

Cahokia, the largest city of the Mississippian mound cultures, lies outside present-day East St. Louis. Land of Water, City of the Dead reconceptualizes Cahokia’s emergence and expansion (ca. 1050-1200), focusing on understanding a newly imagined religion and complexity through a non-Western lens. Sarah E. Baires argues that this system of beliefs was a dynamic, lived experience, based on a broader ontology, with roots in other mound societies. This religion was realized through novel mortuary practices and burial mounds as well as through the careful planning and development of this early city’s urban landscape.

Baires analyzes the organization and alignment of the precinct of downtown Cahokia with a specific focus on the newly discovered and excavated Rattlesnake Causeway and the ridge-top mortuary mounds located along the site axes. Land of Water, City of the Dead also presents new data from the 1954 excavations of the ridge-top mortuary Wilson Mound and a complete analysis of the associated human remains. Through this skeletal analysis, Baires discusses the ways that Cahokians processed and buried their ancestors, identifying unique mortuary practices that include the intentional dismemberment of human bodies and burial with marine shell beads and other materials.

Sarah E. Baires
is an assistant professor of anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“Baires’s book is a good addition to the available information on Cahokia. She pulls together data from a variety of sources, but most importantly, she provides details on legacy data that are not readily available elsewhere. In addition, Baires develops an argument for looking at Cahokia and religion in a different way, and whether or not you agree with her particular approach, new perspectives always move discussion and knowledge forward.”
—Lynne Goldstein, professor of anthropology at Michigan State University

“The detailed discussion of Cahokia’s ridge-top mounds, the presentation of largely unpublished descriptions of burial features and cultural materials associated with these mounds, and new observations of skeletal materials from Wilson Mound make this a valuable resource for other researchers.”
—Kristin Hedman, coeditor of Transforming the Dead: Culturally Modified Bone in the Prehistoric Midwest

Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspectives
Christopher B. Rodning, series editor

208 pages / 21 B&W figures / 5 tables
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1952-6 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9124-9 Ebook