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New in GovDocs: Battles and Climate Change and China. Oh My!

By Scott West

An information resources specialist and adjunct history professor sheds light and brief commentary on a sampling of the hundreds of new government documents added to the library collections. 

American Armies and Battlefields in Europe: World War II; Volume 1, December 1941-September 1944

  • American Battle Monuments Commission (2019)
  • Y 3.AM 3:2 W 19/V.1

If you are interested in military history and, in particular, World War II, explore this powerful little resource, an exhaustive description of the American battlefronts in Europe. This has not only the land battles and invasions in France, but also the Battle of the Atlantic and the air offensives of 1943-1944, complete with numerous pictures and a useful series of maps and diagrams.

Available in print.

Boston African American National Historic Site, Massachusetts

  • National Park Service Cartographer, Department of the Interior (2019)
  • I 29.6/6:B 65/2019

The National Park Service distributes extraordinarily interesting pamphlet maps identifying historic sites. This particular edition focuses on the North Slope of Beacon Hill, Boston’s oldest African American community, founded before the Civil War. Following the ban of slavery in Massachusetts in 1783, the North Slope became a center of the abolitionist movment.The map identifies specific sites falling within the scope of the Black Heritage Trail. It’s an excellent resource if you are planning a trip to Boston.

Available in print.

China’s Growing Influence in Asia and the United States

  • Hearing before the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives (May 8, 2019)
  • Y 4.F 76/1:116-34

The growing influence of China has been a point of concern for many years now. The Trump administration’s trade war is just the most recent response to that growing power. This hearing discusses the intensifying conflict between China and the United States. Interestingly, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, the ranking member, describes China’s programs to “help” Asian states as really fraught with “predatory lending practices that have beholden other countries to give up strategic ports, land, and infrastructure.” Sound familiar? Historians will recognize American policies of economic imperialism that characterized the 19th and 20th centuries (if not in the current era). Don’t you hate it when someone copies our strategies?

Available in print and online.

Climate Change, Part 2: The Public Health Effects

  • Hearing before the Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, House of Representatives (April 30, 2019)
  • Y 4.OV 2:116-17

This is the second in a series on climate change. Rep. Harley Rouda (California), chair of the subcommittee, explains that the hearing focuses “on the current impacts that global warming is already having on the health of everyday Americans.” Both parties are represented in this hearing, which reveals profound disagreement over the Green New Deal proposal supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York). Witnesses include a co-director of the Center for Climate, Heath and the Global Environment at Harvard University, as well as representatives from the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, and the executive director of the nonprofit CO2 Coalition.

Available in print and online.

Combined Action: U.S. Marines Fighting a Different War, August 1965 to September 1970

  • Ronald E. Hays II, Marines in the Vietnam War Commemorative Series (2019)
  • D 214.511/3:C 73

For me, the appeal of this series stems from my father’s service with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. This particular edition, written by a retired master sergeant, discusses the combined action program that was introduced in 1965 as the U.S. military struggled to handle the guerrilla warfare used by North Vietnam and its supporters. Its mission was to advise the Republic of Vietnam Popular Force counterparts among the local militias and coordinate their activities with the U.S. military. More importantly, the mission was to protect rural populations from attack. 

Available in print.

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (2019)
  • LC 19.26:EM 3/2019

The summer of 2019 was a rough time for Dayton. Not only was the city subject to a horrible mass-shooting incident; it was hit by upwards of 14 powerful tornadoes. This reference guide from the National Library Service — a free Braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page — reminded me of the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities can access services in emergencies and be prepared for them. The resources listed in this brief document consider a wide array of disabilities and emergencies.

Available in print and online.

How Climate Change Threatens U.S. National Security

  • Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives (April 2, 2019)
  • Y 4.F 76/1:116-22

As early as 2003, the Department of Defense recognized the potential dangers implicit in climate change. Rep. William Keating (Massachusetts), presiding over the hearing, also identifies the Department of Defense Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (2014) to emphasize the threat of the changing climate as an “accelerant of instability or conflict.” He recognizes that the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate in the Paris Agreement complicates this situation. This hearing discusses the challenges confronting U.S. national security in the face of climate change. Witnesses include the former assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment; a former deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security; and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Energy Association.

Available in print and online.

Minidoka National Historic Site

  • National Park Service, Department of the Interior (2019)
  • I 29.6/6:M 66/2019

Among the most interesting items to make their way into the GovDocs collection are the National Historic Site maps. These fold-out pamphlets reveal an extraordinary array of potential destinations for anyone interested in American history. This particular map refers to the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. This camp housed over 13,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. This unjustified internment deserves to be remembered, and this historic site provides visitors a vivid, if shameful, piece of American history.

Available in print.

Resources for Disabled Veterans

  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (2019)
  • LC 19.26:V 64/2019

This reference resource for disabled veterans and their families includes two sections: Resources for Disabled Veterans and Their Caregivers and Resources for Veterans Who are Blind or Visually Impaired. It includes resources covering employment, rehabilitation, health, housing, legal support, and support dogs.

Available in print.

Thucydides’ Other ‘Traps’: the United States, China, and the Prospect of ‘Inevitable’ War

  • Alan Greeley Misenheimer, National War College Case Study (June 2019)
  • D 5.402:T 42

Comparing the historical record to the events of the present day is extraordinarily fun and an often-used learning device. Teachers and politicians, as well as your family at the dinner table or buddy at the bar, are all easily drawn into the fallacy that the past can repeat itself. In this case study, Alan Misenheimer challenges the concept of the Thucydides Trap popularized by Graham Allison of Harvard University. Allison believed that the deteriorating relationship between the United States and China could be predicted by understanding Thucydides’ description of the inevitable warfare between Athens and Sparta in the History of the Peloponnesian War. Interesting stuff. 

Available in print and online.

— Scott N. West is an information resources specialist in the University Libraries and an adjunct professor of history. Any resemblance of his job title’s abbreviation to that of an actual government agency is purely coincidental.

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