For years I focused on how-to books to learn the discipline of genealogical research. Then I started focusing more on historical essays trying to understand why my ancestors did certain things and what their life was like. I just read a review by Michelle Mart of a book by Lisi Krall titled Proving Up: Domesticating Land in U.S. History. The review made me add this book to my read soon list:
The mythic power of western land has long dominated narratives of American history. Lisi Krall seeks to challenge this myth, untangling the narratives into their component parts of philosophy, economic systems, political decision making, and spiritual awe. Her slim volume, Proving Up: Domesticating Land in U.S. History, successfully argues that the frontier myth was constructed foremost from a capitalist imperative superimposed on material circumstances. (See more of the review here.)The SUNY Press page for the book has a button that allows you to download the introduction and another button to preview some pages of the book. The hardcover is pricy for a genealogist's budget, but there is a link to "Direct Text" that allows a PDF to be downloaded. I haven't used "Direct Text" before. The link indicates you have online access to the book for 180 days for about 1/3 the price of the hardcover. A paperback version can be pre-ordered for almost the same price as the PDF. I'd much rather have a PDF version, but not if I can only access it for 180 days.
While trying to determine if the PDF file is locked after 180 days I found this 2008 article from The Exchange Online: The Newsletter of the Association of American University Presses. This article seems to indicate the 180 day limit is for online access, but that you can download a PDF that might not have a time limit. I definitely need to learn more about this before I order a "Direct Text" book.
It would be great if all of the university presses made PDF versions of books available. Many of the books published by university presses offer exactly the kind of historical information a good genealogist needs to better understand family history. In addition to dollars, shelf space also limits how many books I can own. Electronic books solve the space issue.
If you have experience with a "Direct Text" book and know whether or not the PDF file is locked after 180 days please leave a comment so we will all know. I'm all for electronic books and saving trees but not so big on tying myself to one e-book reader. I prefer an open format such as PDF that I can read on my computer or any reader I decide to buy in the future.
© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved