The American Elsewhere: Adventure and Manliness in the Age of Expansion. By Jimmy L. Bryan Jr. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas. 2017. x, 393 pp. Cloth, $39.95; e-book available.

Before the 1820s, US political leaders were largely apprehensive about territory acquisition because of the possibility of incorporating unstable regions within national boundaries. This study explores how adventurers transformed this apprehensiveness toward expansion into an inclination for it. Specifically, adventurers reclaimed the Great American Desert as “the American elsewhere,” or “the space that re-formed men and their nation into something exceptional.” From borderlands history to gender studies, this book traces the forging of new narratives during the tumultuous period between the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.

The Afterlives of Specimens: Science, Mourning, and Whitman’s Civil War. By Lindsay Tuggle. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press. 2017. xi, 254 pp. Paper, $65.00; e-book, $65.00.

The implications of mourning...

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