THIS VAST SOUTHERN EMPIRE: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy by Matthew Karp looks at how American slave states saw England’s 1830s decision to abolish slavery as the beginning of a 19th century Cold War: Britain’s influence could pressure other states into emancipating, eventually leaving the U.S. isolated (though many Southerners were convinced ending slavery was so obviously absurd it would inevitably fail). As the 3/5 clause in the Constitution gave the South disproportionate clout in the federal government, the result was an aggressive foreign policy built around sustaining and allying with slave states such as Brazil, Texas and Cuba (thoughts of England liberating Cuba and creating a nation of black revolutionaries were a major Southern bogeyman) and building up a strong enough military to counteract any overt free-the-slaves moves from Britain. Extremely interesting.
I wrapped up my Leigh Brackett rereading with THE HALFLING AND OTHER STORIES, which strikes me as a very “typical” collection of her works: the titular hardboiled SF yarn about a carnie owner and his mysterious new entertaining, mysterious quests on unknown worlds (Citadel on Lost Ages and Lake of the Gone Forever), and the Eric John Stark story Enchantress of Venus. Less typically there’s the Zenna Hnederson-esque The Truants, the suprisingly upbeat The Shadows and the biting critique of racism, All the Colors of the Rainbow. Overall, excellent (Gone Forever works much better for me now that I’m old enough to have known loss).
And my friend Allegra Gullino has a short story, Jezebel’s Escape in the latest issue of Eldritch Science.
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