Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review, vol. 5, full issue
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This edition of the Review contains six outstanding articles, beginning with Tyler Abt’s On Sands Stained Red. Abt takes a bottom-up approach to examining the successes and failures encountered by the American troops on Omaha beach during the Normandy invasion. In his paper, Abt argues that success was jeopardized due to poor planning from top military officials, and victory was only won through the poise and courage of low ranking troops. Next, Virginia Tech Alumnaus Nancy Fowlkes Mason takes us to China in her cross-cultural look at American home economists’ work in the country between the 1920s and 1940s. Fowlkes Mason shows that the home economists she studied prioritized scientific ideas about home economics over the cultural practices of both Chinese and American societies. Ellen Boggs continues our look into history outside of the United States in her article on UNESCO’s involvement in efforts to save the Buddhas at Bamiyan from destruction by the Taliban. Boggs shows that the Taliban’s religious agenda, determination to gain international recognition, and influence from Al-Qaeda blocked the international agency’s efforts. Elyse Sulkey, from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill provides an historical/literary analysis of the transformation of thought in Benedictine monk Guibert of Nogent from anti-Judaic clerical sentiments in his early work to anti-Semitic rhetoric in his later work. Moving us back to American history, Courtney Howell’s Convict Leasing reassesses the convict leasing system in place in the U.S. South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, arguing that the primary function of the system wassupport and criticism for the system focused on economic, rather than racial, issuescontrol. Last but not least, Rachel Snyder’s Bewitched sheds light on an oft-forgotten murder network that spanned the East Coast in the early twentieth century. Snyder finds that this network, steeped in Italian traditions, used murder and insurance fraud as a strategy for economic survival during the Great Depression.