Summer Reading from the Kent State University Press

The Kent State University Press released a list of new titles this spring that would make for enjoyable summer reading for the beach, pool or backyard hammock. 

Each year the press publishes dozens of books ranging from crime fiction and poetry to history and biographies. 

“Our new titles from our 2023 spring catalog include important works on social issues — particularly women's rights and gender issues," said Julia Wiesenberg, marketing and sales manager for the Kent State University Press.  

“The sweeping history of ‘The Fifth Star’ really shows that Ohio’s women — and men — were instrumental in organizing and winning the fight for women's right to vote,” Wiesenberg said. “We also are excited about the forthcoming July 3 release, on National CROWN Act Day, of ‘Black Hair in a White World,’ a groundbreaking collection of essays about the politics surrounding Black hair, edited by Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., former KSU professor.”   

National CROWN Act Day, also known as Black Hair Independence Day, stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”  

Wiesenberg said anyone who purchases a book from the Press’ online store can receive a 30% discount by using the promo code “ENJOY30.”   

Here are the most notable titles the Kent State University Press for spring 2023: 

  • “The Fifth Star, Ohio’s Fight for Women’s Right to Vote” by Jamie C. Capuzza. 

    The Fifth Star by Jamie C. Capuzza

Author Jamie Capuzza looks back at Ohio’s key role in the national women’s suffrage movement. Ohio was the fifth state to ratify the 19th Amendment. From 1850 through 1920, Ohio’s contributions were significant: Ohioans were the first to petition a government for women’s enfranchisement, Ohioans formed the nation’s first state-level women’s rights organization and Ohio hosted two of the earliest national women’s rights conventions. Many early leaders were Ohioans, including Frances Barker Gage, a movement leader since the 1850s; Victoria Claflin Woodhull, the first woman to run for the U.S. presidency and Harriet Taylor Upton, president of the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association. “The Fifth Star” draws on convention proceedings, state congressional reports, local media and personal letters and diaries of Ohio reformers, creating a portrait of perseverance and determination. 

Capuzza is a professor in the Department of Literature and Communication Arts and directs the Gender and Sexuality Studies program at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. 

  • “Black Hair in a White World,” edited by Tameka N. Ellington. 

"Black Hair in a White World" edited by Tameka Ellington

“Black Hair in a White World” — a study of the cultural history, perceptions and increasing acceptance of Black hair in broader American society — brings together a varied group of scholars to make an important contribution to ongoing discussions about race, gender, sociology and self-expression. The anthology’s essays begin with an analysis of historical and contemporary books, media and ads, illustrating both positive and negative responses to Black hair. The second section features diverse scholars and activists who argue that natural Black hair has often been viewed as unacceptable, unprofessional and unattractive. The final essays push back against that narrative and describe the emergence of the natural hair movement, which has advocated for increased mainstream acceptance of Black hair.  

Ellington is a fashion scholar and educator and previously served as an associate professor in Kent State’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising and as interim assistant dean for the College of Art. She was co-curator of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning exhibition “TEXTURES: The History and Art of Black Hair,” which was on display at the Kent State University Museum during the 2021-22 academic year. 


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    "Through Blood and Fire," edited by J. Gregory Acken

    “Through Blood and Fire, The Civil War Letters of Major Charles J. Mills, 1862-1865” Revised and Expanded Edition, edited by J. Gregory Acken.  

Charles J. Mills, the Harvard-educated product of a privileged Boston upbringing, secured a commission once the Civil War broke out as second lieutenant in the Second

Massachusetts Infantry in 1862. He was seriously wounded at Antietam only a month later. Following a long recovery, Mills eventually reentered the service as a staff officer, although he remained permanently disabled. Letters Mills wrote to his family at home offer the perspective of his background and unique descriptions of how the Civil War was waged in the East.  

Extensively revised and edited, this new edition incorporates additional letters and provides exhaustive annotations and analysis. Acken is an independent historian and the editor of several books, including “Blue-Blooded Cavalryman: Captain William Brooke Rawle in the Army of the Potomac, May 1863– August 1865.” 


  • “The Governor’s Pawns, Hostages and Hostage-Taking in Civil War West Virginia,” by Randall S. Gooden. 

"The Governor's Pawns," by Randall S. Gooden

While the taking of hostages by both the Union and the Confederacy was common during the Civil War, it was unique for an individual state government to engage in this practice. “The Governor’s Pawns” highlights the implementation of a hostage law established by Virginia’s pro-Union government in 1863 and the adoption of that law by the newly formed state of West Virginia.  

Gooden emphasizes the personal nature of civilian arrests and hostage-taking and examines the impact on the communities and individuals left scarred by this practice. Readers are taken into the state and national capitol buildings, army camps, jails and military prisons, hospitals, and graveyards that accompanied this pointedly personal warfare.  

Gooden is a native of West Virginia and a professor of history at Clayton State University, where he teaches courses on the Civil War era. 


  • “Dressing a la Turque, Ottoman Influence on French Fashion, 1670-1800,” by Kendra Van Cleave.
    "Dressing a la Turque," by Kendra Van Cleave

While French fashion has historically set the bar across the Western world, the cultural influences that inspired it are often obscured. “Dressing à la Turque” examines the theatrical depictions of Ottoman costumes, or Turkish dress, and demonstrates the French fascination for this foreign culture and its clothing. The impact went beyond costumes, as the most popular French women’s fashions throughout the 18th century were Ottoman-inspired.  

Van Cleave is a fashion historian and librarian at the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. 


  • “What We Bring to the Practice of Medicine, Perspectives from Women Physicians,” edited by Kimberly Greene-

    “What We Bring to the Practice of Medicine, Perspectives from Women Physicians,” edited by Kimberly Greene-Liebowitz, M.D., and Dana Corriel, M.D.

    Liebowitz, M.D., and Dana Corriel, M.D. 

“What We Bring to the Practice of Medicine” is a collection of 40 personal essays by women physicians working in diverse medical fields around the world.  The pieces showcase the experiences of women physicians at every stage of their careers — from the beginning of medical school to the brink of retirement. Through compassion, humor, and resiliency, these essays highlight the many topics of concern for women physicians, including the physician-patient relationship, mastery of clinical practice, and barriers to career advancement and success.  

Greene-Liebowitz is a board-certified emergency and urgent care physician. Corriel is an internal medicine physician and digital consultant in health innovation and is currently the chief executive officer of SoMeDocs. 


  • “Pleasant Valley” and “From My Experience, The Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm,” by Louis Bromfield.

    “Pleasant Valley” by Louis Bromfield 

The Press, this spring, is reprinting two historic titles by Ohio agriculturalist Louis Bromfield, (1896-1956), a Pulitzer Prize-winning author from Mansfield, Ohio, who studied agriculture at Cornell University before transferring to Columbia University to study journalism.  

In 1939, Bromfield purchased Malabar Farm, which became an Ohio state park in 1976 and continues to promote sustainable agriculture and the importance of soil conservation. 

“From My Experience” by Louis Bromfield

“Bromfield was a fascinating Ohioan, he was a farmer, author and bon vivant who had some celebrity friends — actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall famously married at his Malabar Farm on May 21, 1945,” Wiesenberg said. 

“Pleasant Valley,” according to a review on Public Books, “unveils the romantic qualities of farm labor, without romanticizing it. Pleasant Valley is charmingly nostalgic yet offers environmental commentary that is timely and urgent. Bromfield’s writing will appeal to lovers of regional writing, unconventional memoirs, and mid-century modernity in literature. Most of all, it is a book to read when you miss home, whatever and wherever that may be.”  

“Pleasant Valley,” initially was published in 1945, and “From My Experience” in 1955 as its sequel, and adds to Bromfield’s body of work on agriculture, economics and the value of home. 


POSTED: Thursday, May 11, 2023 11:21 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 14, 2023 04:34 PM
Lisa Abraham