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.


Ken Saro-Wiwa
A penetrating, accessible portrait of the activist whose execution galvanized the world.


Nation on Board
Becoming Nigerian at Sea
Schler’s study of Nigerian seamen during Nigeria’s transition to independence provides a fresh perspective on the meaning of decolonization for ordinary Africans.


Culture and Money in the Nineteenth Century
Abstracting Economics
Since the 1980s, scholars have made the case for examining nineteenth-century culture — particularly literary output — through the lens of economics.


Veteran Narratives and the Collective Memory of the Vietnam War
In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath.


Tales of the Metric System
A Novel
Imraan Coovadia takes his homeland’s transition from imperial to metric measurements as his catalyst, holding South Africa up to the light and examining it from multiple perspectives, his sere, direct sentences lighting a fire as he parses South Africa across the decades, from 1970 into the present.