Peter Thorsheim is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Inventing Pollution

Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800

By Peter Thorsheim

Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke.


Women in the Shadows
Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader.


The Public and Its Problems
An Essay in Political Inquiry
More than six decades after John Dewey’s death, his political philosophy is undergoing a revival.


Modern Muslims
A Sudan Memoir
Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha.


Alexander Robey Shepherd
The Man Who Built the Nation’s Capital
With Alexander Robey Shepherd, John P. Richardson gives us the first full-length biography of his subject, who as Washington, D.C.’s, public works czar (1871–74) built the infrastructure of the nation’s capital in a few frenetic years after the Civil War.


Paying Calls in Shangri-La
Scenes from a Woman’s Life in American Diplomacy
Judith M. Heimann entered the diplomatic life in 1958 to join her husband, John, in Jakarta, Indonesia, at his American Embassy post. This, her first time out of the United States, would set her on a path across the continents as she mastered the fine points of diplomatic culture.