Olson, James S. 1946–

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Olson, James S. 1946–

(James Olson, James Stuart Olson)

PERSONAL:

Born July 15, 1946, in Downey, CA; married, 1965; children: four. Education: Brigham Young University, B.A., 1967; State University of New York, Stony Brook, M.A., 1969, Ph.D., 1972. Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341-2239. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, lecturer in history, 1970-71; State University of New York, Stony Brook, lecturer in history, 1971-72; Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, assistant professor, 1972-78, associate professor, 1978-84, professor of history, 1984-96, became Regents Professor of History, became distinguished professor of history, 1996—, chair of department, 1988—. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served as bishop and stake president, area authority of North American Southwest Area, beginning in 1996, instructor in New Testament at Huntsville Institute of Religion.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, American Historical Association, 1968; Excellence in Teaching Award, 1977, Excellence in Research Award, 1988, and Excellence in Service Award, 2005, all from Sam Houston State University; Outstanding Academic Book awards, American Association of College and Research Libraries, 1987, for Historical Dictionary of the New Deal: From Inauguration to Preparation for War, and 1990, for A History of Cancer: An Annotated Bibliography; Ray and Pat Brown National Book Award, Popular Culture Association, 1996, for John Wayne: American; Deolece Parmelee Award, Texas Historical Foundation, 2001, for A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory; Dr. James S. Olson Auditorium at Sam Houston State University was named in his honor, 2002; Bathsheba's Breast was named one of the best nonfiction books in America for 2002 by the Los Angeles Times and received the Excellence in Scholar/Academic Publishing Award, Association of American Publishers, 2003; Service Award, Sam Houston State University Alumni Association, 2003; U.S. Professor of the Year for Texas, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 2004; Piper Professor, Minnie S. Piper Foundation, 2006.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

(Under name James Stuart Olson) Herbert Hoover and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1931-1933, Iowa State University Press (Ames, IA), 1977.

(Under name James Stuart Olson) The Ethnic Dimension in American History, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1979, 3rd edition, Wiley-Blackwell (Malden, MA), 1999.

Slave Life in America: A Historiography and Selected Bibliography, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1983.

(With Raymond Wilson) Native Americans in the Twentieth Century, Brigham Young University Press (Provo, UT), 1984.

Catholic Immigrants in America, Nelson-Hall (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Saving Capitalism: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the New Deal, 1933-1940, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1988.

(With Randy Roberts) Winning Is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1989.

(With Ronald H. Fritze and Randy Roberts) Reflections on Western Civilization: A Reader, two volumes, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Randy Roberts) Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945-1990, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991, 5th edition, Blackwell Publishing (Malden, MA), 2008.

(With Ronald H. Fritze and Randy Roberts) Reflections on World Civilization: A Reader, two volumes, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Honest Graft: The World of George Washington Plunkitt, Brandywine Press (New York, NY), 1993.

The Vietnam War: Handbook of the Literature and Research, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1993.

(With Judith E. Olson) Cuban Americans: From Trauma to Triumph, Twayne Publishers (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Randy Roberts) John Wayne: American, Free Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Randy Roberts) My Lai: A Brief History with Documents, Bedford Books (Boston, MA), 1998.

(With Randy Roberts) A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory, Free Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002.

Equality Deferred: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in America since 1945, Wadsworth/Thomson Learning (Belmont, CA), 2003.

Making Cancer History: Disease and Discovery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2008.

EDITOR; NONFICTION

Historical Dictionary of the New Deal: From Inauguration to Preparation for War, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1985.

(With Randy Roberts) American Experiences: Readings in American History, two volumes, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1986, 7th edition, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2008.

Historical Dictionary of the 1920s: From World War I to the New Deal, 1919-1933, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Dictionary of the Vietnam War, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1988.

The History of Cancer: An Annotated Bibliography, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1989.

The Indians of Central and South America: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(With others) Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Susan Wladaver-Morgan) Dictionary of United States Economic History, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1992.

(Editor-in-chief) Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1992.

An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1994.

(With Robert D. Marcus and David Burner) The United States in the Twentieth Century, two volumes, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.

(With Robert Shadle) Historical Dictionary of the British Empire, two volumes, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.

Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

(Advisory editor) Mitchel P. Roth, editor, Historical Dictionary of War Journalism, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.

Historical Dictionary of the 1960s, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1999.

Historical Dictionary of the 1970s, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1999.

Historical Dictionary of the 1950s, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2000.

Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929-1940, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2001.

Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in America, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Black Labor in America, edited by Milton Cantor, Negro Universities Press, 1970; and War and Crisis in Modern America, edited by William MacDonald and John Carroll, River City Press, 1983.

Contributor to periodicals, including American Historical Review, American Jewish History, American Quarterly, Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, East Texas Historical Review, Historian, Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Houston Chronicle, Idaho Yesterdays, International Migration Review, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of American History, Journal of Economic History, Journal of Ethnic Studies, Journal of Mexican American History, Journal of Southern History, Journal of Urban History, Labor History, Lamar Journal of the Humanities, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Palimpsest, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Reviews in American History, Social Studies, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Texana, Western Historical Quarterly, and West Virginia History.

SIDELIGHTS:

Over the course of more than thirty years, James S. Olson has written or edited more than forty books on a wide variety of subjects. Among them are a number of reference works on eras, events, and cultures, two studies of cancer, an in-depth examination of the battle at the Alamo, and a celebrity biography. Olson has won a number of awards for his writings.

According to Booklist contributor Gordon Flagg, John Wayne: American is "the first substantive, serious biography" of Wayne, an actor who became an American icon through his many westerns and war films. Written with Randy Roberts, the book examines the details of Wayne's life without passing judgment on his work, his politics, his personal life, or controversies such as why he did not enlist in the armed forces during World War II. Writing for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Kenneth R. Dvorak commented that the authors' decision not to "delve more deeply into why Wayne culturally remains so important to Americans" was "perhaps the weakest aspect of the book," but he nonetheless deemed the biography "highly recommended." He particularly noted that "in their efforts to unravel the ‘reel’ John Wayne from the ‘real’ individual, Roberts and Olson succeed in capturing the essence of Wayne's complex personality and his magnetic film image."

Olson collaborated with Roberts again on A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory, in which history and changing interpretations of it are each given careful attention. Only the first part of the book focuses on the 1836 siege and battle at the Alamo mission in San Antonio, Texas, during which less than two hundred poorly supplied men chose to fight and die rather than surrender before the thousands of soldiers under Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The rest discusses efforts to preserve the battle site and examines how views of the events gradually changed over time, until the defenders once honored as heroes came to be seen as ignorant imperialist oppressors. National Review critic Jay Winik commented that the authors "do a meticulous job in bringing this momentous battle to life and in creatively exploring its impact on our culture and collective memory." While he regretted the work's division into a narrative section and an essay section, he concluded that it "is both good and timely to have this book." Reviewing A Line in the Sand in American Enterprise, self-proclaimed seventh-generation Texan William Murchison claimed that Olson and Roberts had "set the standard henceforth for consideration of the topic."

Personal experience with cancer inspired Olson's book Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History; he underwent chemotherapy and radiation while writing it and eventually had to have his left hand and forearm amputated. In the Journal of Social History, Lois Banner described the book as an "absorbing and comprehensive history of breast cancer and its treatment over the millennia." Olson presents cases of the disease from centuries before Christ and refers in his title to a painting by seventeenth-century Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, "Bathsheba at Her Bath," in which an Italian surgeon in 1967 noticed swelling and discoloration of the figure's breast that led him to research and to the conclusion that the model had suffered from the cancer. Noting that Olson "examines breast cancer as both medical condition and social phenomenon," Mindy A. Schwartz called the book "remarkable" and "compelling" in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. Schwartz highlighted Olson's descriptions of famous women throughout history who suffered from the disease, saying that the author "makes their situations memorable and accessible to a modern audience." History contributor Paula Viterbo commented on Olson's "elegant, captivating prose" and "absorbing storytelling" and deemed the work "an important contribution to the scant historiography of cancer."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Anthropologist, September, 1999, Chuan-Kang Shih, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, p. 701.

American Enterprise, January-February, 1996, Bill Kauffman, review of John Wayne: American, p. 76; July, 2001, William Murchison, review of A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory, p. 54.

American Historical Review, April, 1988, Robert Orsi, review of Catholic Immigrants in America, p. 487.

American History, June, 2001, Johnny D. Boggs, review of A Line in the Sand, p. 68.

American History Illustrated, February, 1989, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p. 12; September-October, 1991, review of Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945-1990, p. 22.

Armed Forces and Society, spring, 1992, Keith D. MacFarland, review of Where the Domino Fell, p. 424.

Asian Affairs, June, 1999, Ian Seckington, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, p. 233.

Booklist, March 15, 1992, review of Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975, p. 1403; January 15, 1993, review of Dictionary of United States Economic History, p. 936; August, 1993, review of The Vietnam War: Handbook of the Literature and Research, p. 2095; October 1, 1995, Gordon Flagg, review of John Wayne, p. 244; September 1, 1996, review of The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary, p. 169; October 15, 1997, review of Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights, p. 427; April 15, 2000, Deborah Rollins and Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1960s and Historical Dictionary of the 1970s, p. 1574; November 1, 2000, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1950s, p. 578; July, 2002, review of Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in America, p. 1878.

Business History, January, 1990, Howell John Harris, review of Saving Capitalism: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the New Deal, 1933-1940, p. 144.

Business History Review, spring, 1990, Richard H. Keehn, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 180.

Canadian Journal of History, August, 1990, Graham D. Taylor, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 300.

Canadian Literature, summer, 2005, Tanis MacDonald, "Cancer Treatment," p. 175.

China Quarterly, December, 1998, Colin Mackerras, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, p. 1060.

Choice, January, 1992, K.M. Cleland, review of The Indians of Central and South America: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary, p. 724; February, 1992, P.W. Wilkin, review of Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism, p. 874; April, 1992, T.M. Izbicki, review of Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975, p. 1209; March, 1993, C.C. Hay III, review of Dictionary of United States Economic History, p. 1118; September, 1994, W.F. Bell, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, p. 70; October, 1995, M.A. Olshan, review of Cuban Americans: From Trauma to Triumph, p. 357; April, 1996, M.W. Estrin, review of John Wayne, p. 1319; May, 2000, L.B. Harris, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1970s, p. 1616; June, 2000, R. Dyson, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1960s, p. 1798; February, 2001, C.C. Hay III, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1950s, p. 1052; July-August, 2002, E.I. Farber, review of Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929-1940, p. 1943; September, 2002, L. Lampert, review of Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in America, p. 82; January, 2003, M.P. Tarbox, review of Bathsheba's Breast: Women, Cancer, and History, p. 857.

Christian Century, October 15, 1986, review of Native Americans in the Twentieth Century, p. 897.

Ethnohistory, winter, 1993, Dwight B. Heath, review of The Indians of Central and South America, p. 151; fall, 1996, Ronald Grigor Suny, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, p. 735.

Hispanic American Historical Review, November, 1992, Mark A. Burkholder, review of Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975, p. 600; February, 1997, Julio Cesar Pino, review of Cuban Americans, p. 167.

Historian, November, 1989, Robert B. Jones, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 125.

History, summer, 2003, Paula Viterbo, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 179.

History Today, July, 2002, Tilli Tansey, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 56.

Insight on the News, October 16, 1995, Woody West, review of John Wayne, p. 30.

International Journal of African Historical Studies, summer, 1997, T.O. Beidelman, review of The Peoples of Africa, p. 671.

International Migration Review, fall, 1997, Alex Stepick, review of Cuban Americans, p. 742.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, September 18, 2002, Harold J. Burstein, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 1413.

Journal of American Ethnic History, winter, 1997, Julio Cesar Pino, review of Cuban Americans, pp. 89-90.

Journal of American History, June, 1980, review of The Ethnic Dimension in American History, p. 112; March, 1987, review of Historical Dictionary of the New Deal: From Inauguration to Preparation for War, p. 1109; March, 1989, Mark H. Leff, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 1364; March, 1990, Donald R. McCoy, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War and Historical Dictionary of the 1920s: From World War I to the New Deal, 1919-1933, p. 1360B; December, 1990, Allen Guttmann, review of Winning Is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945, p. 1087; March, 1991, James T. Patterson, review of The History of Cancer: An Annotated Bibliography, p. 1475; March, 1994, Stanley L. Engerman, review of Dictionary of United States Economic History, p. 1580; September, 1996, Gary R. Mormino, review of Cuban Americans, p. 699; March, 1998, Luu doan Huynh, review of Where the Domino Fell, p. 1464; June, 1999, Dennis Mills, review of My Lai: A Brief History with Documents, p. 315; December, 2003, Barbara Clow, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 1102.

Journal of American Studies, April, 1999, Judie Newman, review of John Wayne, p. 188.

Journal of Asian Studies, February, 1993, Peter H. Hoffenberg, review of Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism, p. 123.

Journal of Economic History, December, 1988, Michael A. Bernstein, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 982.

Journal of Military History, January, 1990, Anita M. Weber, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p. 111; January, 1999, William B. Pickett, review of My Lai, p. 228.

Journal of Popular Culture, winter, 1997, Ken Dvorak, review of John Wayne, p. 193.

Journal of Social History, spring, 2004, Lois Banner, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 784.

Journal of Southern History, August, 1989, Joseph A. Pratt, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 514; May, 1991, Lawrence N. Powell, review of Winning Is the Only Thing, p. 354; November, 2002, Gilbert M. Cuthbertson, review of A Line in the Sand, p. 939.

Journal of Third World Studies, spring, 1996, Peter Brush, review of The Vietnam War, p. 252; spring, 1998, Santosh Saha, review of The Peoples of Africa, p. 267.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 640.

Law Library Journal, summer, 1998, Grace M. Mills, review of Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights, p. 372.

Library Journal, March 1, 1988, Richard W. Grefrath, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p. 61; December, 1990, Kenneth W. Berger, review of Where the Domino Fell, p. 138; June 1, 1991, Louise Leonard, review of The Indians of Central and South America, p. 128; January, 1992, Rene Perez-Lopez, review of Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975, p. 108; October 15, 1992, Leonard Grundt, review of Dictionary of United States Economic History, p. 62; March 1, 1993, Stephen L. Hupp, review of The Vietnam War, p. 70; August, 1995, Thomas Wiener, review of John Wayne, p. 77; April 1, 1998, Stephen L. Hupp, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1960s, p. 80; December, 2000, Terri Summey, review of A Line in the Sand, p. 160; July, 2002, Barbara M. Bibel, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 109; May 1, 2003, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 62.

National Catholic Reporter, February 5, 1988, Jack Dick, review of Catholic Immigrants in America, p. 13.

National Review, February 19, 2001, Jay Winik, "Endless Siege."

New England Journal of Medicine, October 31, 2002, Susan Lester, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 1457.

New Republic, April 22, 1996, Jackson Lears, review of John Wayne, p. 38.

New York Review of Books, February 16, 1989, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., review of Saving Capitalism, p. 20.

New York Times, September 10, 1995, Julie Salamon, "The Immortal Duke."

Pacific Affairs, summer, 1999, Pat Howard, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, p. 265.

Pacific Historical Review, May, 1997, Gregory D. Black, review of John Wayne, p. 286.

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, winter, 2006, Mindy A. Schwartz, review of Bathsheba's Breast, p. 147.

Political Science Quarterly, fall, 1991, Lloyd C. Gardner, review of Where the Domino Fell, pp. 532-534.

Prairie Schooner, fall, 1991, review of Where the Domino Fell, p. 532.

Publishers Weekly, November 30, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Where the Domino Fell, p. 63.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 1988, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p. 5; December, 1988, review of Historical Dictionary of the 1920s, p. 7; October, 1989, review of The History of Cancer, p. 33; December, 1991, review of The Indians of Central and South America, p. 8.

Reference & User Services Quarterly, fall, 1998, Virginia H. Parr, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, p. 94.

Reviews in American History, September, 2000, James T. Campbell, review of John Wayne, p. 465; June, 2002, Linda K. Salvucci, review of A Line in the Sand, p. 236.

RQ, fall, 1988, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p. 116; spring, 1997, J. Christina Smith, review of The Peoples of Africa, p. 460.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, July, 1990, James V. Reese, review of Saving Capitalism, p. 165.

Tikkun, September-October, 1990, review of Winning Is the Only Thing, p. 77.

Times Literary Supplement, June 28, 1996, Hugh Brogan, review of John Wayne, p. 19; September 13, 2002, Richard Horton, "Beyond the Cutting Edge," p. 8.

Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2001, Dan Rather, review of A Line in the Sand.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (August, 1996), Kenneth R. Dvorak, "John Wayne: American Icon and Football Player"; (November, 1996), George Munro, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires; (December, 1998), Magnus Fiskesjo, review of An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China.

Sam Houston State University,http://www.shsu.edu/ (September 22, 2008), faculty profile.