Masur, Louis P.
Masur, Louis P.
Home—Hartford, CT. Office—Department of American Studies, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford, CT 06016. E-mail—Louis. [email protected]
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, lecturer, 1984-86; University of California, Riverside, assistant professor, 1986-90, associate professor of history, 1990-92; City College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, associate professor, 1992-95, professor of history and professor at the Graduate Center, 1996-2004; Trinity College, Hartford, CT, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of American Institutions and Values, 2004—.
Princeton University fellowship, 1979-83; Frances Hiatt Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 1982; Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, Princeton University, 1983-84; National Endowment for the Humanities stipend, 1987; University of California Regents' Faculty Fellowship, summer, 1988; Mellon Faculty Fellowship in the humanities, Harvard University, 1989-90; John Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Harvard University, 1992; Professional Staff Congress/City University of New York research award, 1993, 1994; Rifkind Center for the Humanities Fellowship, 1993, 2002; Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellow, American Antiquarian Society, 1998; Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1999; elected fellow of the Society of American Historians, 2005.
Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(Editor and author of introduction) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Bedford Books (Boston, MA), 1993.
(Editor) The Challenge of American History, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1999.
1831: Year of Eclipse, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 2001.
Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including New England Quarterly, William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of American Studies, Reviews in American History, Massachusetts Review, and Criminal Justice History. Contributor to books, including Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory, edited by Kenneth Greenberg, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003. Reviews in American History, member of editorial board, 1992-97, editor, 1998—.
Louis P. Masur is a historian who has written books on subjects ranging from public executions to baseball. His first publication was Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865. It was published in 1989, at a time when many states were reinstating the death penalty after years of not using it. The book prompted William S. McFeely, in the Nation, to comment: "If the past can speak to the present, no recent book about nineteenth-century America speaks more clearly than Rites of Execution. McFeely found the book "handsomely written," and appreciated Masur's way of discussing the issues of capital punishment through real stories of executions. Once considered public spectacles, executions began to be staged out of public view during the 1830s, coinciding with a shift in the nation's consciousness.
In his history 1831: Year of Eclipse, Masur suggests that the course of American history changed significantly and permanently in 1831. He has organized his study of that year into four sections, covering the dynamics between nature and machine, nation and state, religion and politics, and slavery and abolition. His book describes an eclipse of the sun that took place in February, 1831, which was seen by many as an ominous foreshadowing of doom. The fight against slavery intensified that year, and the rights of Native Americans were also being debated, even as President Andrew Jackson prepared to sign the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the forced relocation of the Cherokees from the state of Georgia. Reviewing Masur's book for the New York Times Book Review, David Traxel commented that while he didn't believe that 1831 was an absolute turning point, he felt that there were many reasons to write about it "even if it does not mark a major change in the flow of history. A study of 1831, helps us understand events that happened both before and after, gives insight into the character of the United States and, also important, entertains with the stories it provides. This is especially true when the study is as thoroughly researched and well written as this one."
In Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series, Masur gives a detailed history of the 1903 championship series between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Autumn Glory includes all the box scores and statistics a baseball fan would expect, as well as many photographs. Each game in the best-of-nine series, which Boston won in eight games, is given a chapter unto itself. Masur also looked at the human stories of the star players, the owners, and others involved with the series. He discusses the gambling associated with the games, which was widespread, even among the players. Masur's writing on gambling is "stellar," stated David Exum in a Bookreporter.com review. Exum also praised Masur's coverage of the two teams' followers, calling Autumn Glory "an absolute treasure trove of how passionate fans were about their baseball teams in Boston and Pittsburgh during the early days of the game." According to Nine, contributor Richard J. Puerzer, Masur's "fine book provides considerable detail not only on the ball games making up the Series but also on the cultural implications of the Series in the world of baseball as well as in American society."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Heritage, July, 2001, review of 1831: Year of Eclipse, p. 16.
American Historical Review, October, 1990, Myra C. Glenn, review of Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865, p. 1273.
American Journal of Legal History, July, 1990, Francis A. Allen, review of Rites of Execution, p. 317.
American Studies International, April, 1990, Richard Stott, review of Rites of Execution, p. 101.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1990, Paul M. Pruitt, Jr., review of Rites of Execution, p. 188.
Booklist, July 1, 1993, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books: Selections from Writers during the Civil War, p. 1938; February 1, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of 1831, p. 1037; March 15, 2003, GraceAnne DeCandido, review of Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series, p. 1267.
Choice, October, 1989, E. Cassara, review of Rites of Execution, p. 378; November 1, 2001, K. Winkle, review of 1831, p. 579; October 1, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 378.
Christian Science Monitor, June 5, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 15.
Journal of American History, June, 1990, Blanche Linden-Ward, review of Rites of Execution, p. 283; March, 2002, review of 1831, p. 1521.
Journal of Social History, fall, 1990, Steven Wilf, review of Rites of Execution, p. 199.
Journal of Southern History, February, 1995, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books, p. 159.
Journal of the Early Republic, fall, 1990, review of Rites of Execution, p. 415.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 590.
Law and History Review, spring, 1992, review of Rites of Execution, p. 182.
Law and Social Inquiry, summer, 1989, review of Rites of Execution, p. 623.
Library Journal, June 1, 1993, Brooks D. Simpson, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books, p. 152; January 1, 2001, Jim Doyle, review of 1831, p. 131; March 15, 2003, R.C. Cottrell, review of Autumn Glory, p. 90.
Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2001, review of 1831, p. E3.
Nation, January 29, 1990, William S. McFeely, review of Rites of Execution, p. 140.
New England Quarterly, December, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 627.
New York Review of Books, April 7, 1994, C. Vann Woodward, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books, p. 36.
New York Times Book Review, February 11, 2001, David Traxel, review of 1831, p. 19; May 26, 2002, review of 1831, p. 20.
Nine, fall, 2004, review of Autumn Glory, p. 135.
Nineteenth-Century Literature, March 1, 1994, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books, p. 564.
Publishers Weekly, December 11, 2000, review of 1831, p. 70; March 10, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 60.
Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 1999, review of The Challenge of American History, p. 46; August 1, 2001, review of 1831, p. 54.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 26, 1993, review of The Real War Will Never Get in the Books, p. 3; June 15, 2003, review of Autumn Glory, p. 1; December 7, 2003, review of Autumn Glory. p. 5.
William and Mary Quarterly, January, 1990, review of Rites of Execution, p. 161.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (April 17, 2007), Roger K. Miller, review of 1831.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April 17, 2007), David Exum, review of Autumn Glory.
Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (April 17, 2007), Chuck Barksdale, review of Autumn Glory.