CAREER: University of Nevada, Reno, visiting assistant professor, 1996-98; University of Oxford, Oxford, England, university lecturer, 1998-2001; University of California at Davis, associate professor, 2001-05, professor of history, 2005—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Named one of Top Young Historians by the History News Network at George Mason University, 2007.
Blessed among Nations: How the World Made America, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Eric Rauchway serves as a professor of history at the University of California at Davis. In his Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America, Rauchway suggests that McKinley was actually killed by two assassins, at least metaphorically. After the fatal shots were fired by Leon Czolgosz, it was then-vice president Theodore Roosevelt who caused both the public and historians to discount McKinley’s legacy. Furthermore, Rauchway argues, Roosevelt approached social policy with Czolgosz in mind, attempting to create a new social system that would not create such violent men. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews wrote that the book was marked by “occasionally sluggish prose, but serviceable enough to convey ideas of great consequence.” A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked: “This ambitious book paints a fresh picture of American culture a century ago and finds there the confused stirrings of our own age.” A contributor in Library Journal called the book a “thought-provoking work.” Scott McLemee, writing for Inside Higher Education, found Rauchway’s book to be “very smart and well-written.”
In Blessed among Nations: How the World Made America, Rauchway takes a fresh look at American exceptionalism, suggesting that the United States came to be considered a unique nation due to activities following the Civil War, when foreign investment was high and unskilled labor provided a diverse work force. He traces the dramatic rise of the nation, but also looks at why few countries attempted to emulate the United States’ social or economic structure. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Given the current reliance on foreign capital and immigrant labor, Rauchway’s book is right on time and right on target.” Joshua Zeitz, in a review for American Heritage Online, commented: “Professional historians have made a habit of lamenting the disappearance of this kind of engaging public scholarship. With his new book, Eric Rauchway has reintroduced it to a new generation of Americans.” In a contribution to the California Literary Review, Bradley Kreit noted that “it is clear from this book that [Rauchway] has the ability—as both a researcher and writer—to one day speak to an audience beyond historians. But he has not done that here. Eric Rauchway has written a very good half of a book.” Rauchway told Scott McLemee, in an interview for Inside Higher Education:“I’m not persuaded that the persistence of exceptionalism points, all by itself, to a rock-bottom American distinctiveness—other countries, maybe all other countries, have their own similar senses of exceptionalism—but I would say that it’s easier for Americans to indulge our exceptionalism, because recent history, and the rest of the world’s people, have conspired with us in maintaining it.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
American Historical Review, December, 2002, Elizabeth J. Clapp, review of The Refuge of Affections: Family and American Reform Politics, 1900-1920, p. 1568; December, 2005, Matthew Pratt Guterl, review of Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America, p. 1547.
Booklist, August, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of Murdering McKinley, p. 1949.
Choice, April, 2004, P.F. Field, review of Murdering McKinley, p. 1537; December, 2006, S.M. McDonald, review of Blessed among Nations: How the World Made America, p. 705.
Journal of American History, December, 2002, K. Walter Hickel, review of The Refuge of Affections, pp. 1086-1087; September, 2004, John Milton Cooper, Jr., review of Murdering McKinley, p. 657.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2003, review of Murdering McKinley, p. 957; May 15, 2006, review of Blessed among Nations, p. 510.
Library Journal, June 15, 2003, “Murders of Consequence,” p. 86; June 15, 2006, Peter R. Latusek, review of Blessed among Nations, p. 84.
Publishers Weekly, June 2, 2003, review of Murdering McKinley, p. 42.
Reviews in American History, September, 2004, Leslie Butler, review of Murdering McKinley, pp. 399-406.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), August 24, 2003, review of Murdering McKinley, p. 7.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2001, review of The Refuge of Affections, p. 124.
American Heritage Online, http://www.americanheritage.com/ (July 22, 2006), Joshua Zeitz, “Is America Really so Unique?” review of Blessed among Nations.
California Literary Review Online, http://www.calitreview.com/ (August 29, 2006), Bradley Kreit, review of Blessed among Nations.
Foreign Affairs Online, http://www.foreignaffairs.org/ (November-December, 2006), Walter Russell Mead, review of Blessed among Nations.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, http://www.h-net.org/ (July, 2002), review of The Refuge of Affections.
Inside Higher Ed Online, http://insidehighered.com/ (August 23, 2006), Scott McLemee, “The Global Exception.”
University of California at Davis Web site, http://history.ucdavis.edu/ (February 5, 2007), faculty biography.