Meet the Interns: Kerrigan Dougherty

We’re so excited to have a wonderful group of interns with us this summer (once again)! Sure, our interns gain invaluable experience supporting every team, from editorial to production to marketing—but they’re also kind of incredible to start. Here’s a chance to get to know a few of them, and what they’re up to at the Press, with a Q&A.

First up: Meet Kerrigan. (Note: We encouraged a goofy picture from her. It’s safe to say she delivered, yes?)

Name and role at the Press:
Kerrigan Dougherty, Intern in Sales and Marketing

St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD, Class of 2016

Cake baking and decorating, tasting coffee, making budgets and schedules

How did you hear about the internship and why did you decide to intern with NYU Press?
Through a string of connections: Smelling of pepperoni after a shift at my pizza store, I arrived at a neighbor’s boxing day party. In truth, I was hoping to find some free dinner  and bounce right out of there. I was starting to think about summer plans, though, and knew that adult friends of the family would have good advice or contacts. Someone there sent my name along to a few professional friends. Through one of these folks, I got into contact with Mary Beth Jarrad.

I love the books that NYU Press works with. History is not my thing, but contemporary books on race, class, gender, history of food and fair trade are.

Any previous internships you’d like to note? What’s your dream internship?
I worked for State Senator Leanna Brown as a senior in high school. She and I drafted my first serious resume and discussed the value of networking and forming meaningful, professional relationships. Also, I had the pleasure of organizing materials from her many years in office. There is a great deal to be learned from reading materials like this; each document contained interesting information. This internship with Senator Brown was supremely educational and has set me up with good skills and a good outlook!

My dream is to work in coffee. I love the process from tree to cup. I love how many people are involved getting the precious fruit from its equatorial origin across the world. Once it is roasted, the longest part of the journey has passed. However, a bag of nicely roasted beans does not have a sealed fate. These “beans”, actually seeds of a coffee fruit, have so much potential! Hot or iced. Espresso, French press, pour over. Single origin for a distinct flavor or a blend for a well-rounded feel. Brewed cold or brewed hot. Perhaps the addition of milk, if artfully steamed. I am so excited by it all and my dream internship would bring me from farm to cup.

Tell us about your experience thus far. What has surprised you most about the work environment here? Have you learned anything valuable?
As a fan of organizing and extensive cleaning up, I have cleaned the storage room and alphabetized a few shelves in the office. Our display books needed some dusting. I would not have guessed that book dusting would be a part of my work here! This crowd has been incredibly warm and leaves me excited to enter the real world when my college days come to an end.

I have learned something about this office, perhaps about offices in general: a certain amount of tasks and projects will come my way. I can stick to those, have a mellow day and make good progress. I can also keep my ears and eyes open to things that could be done or improved and ask if I can be of help. This satisfying and a great way to get to know people!

Any books you’re looking forward to getting your hands on?
I spent all year reading original texts, mostly from the Greeks. All of the work at school is reading the originals and analyzing for myself. After a year of that, I am delighted to have someone else make connections for me. It is a great way to take a break and ramp back up for another year of classics and oldies. I love picking up one of our books, finding and reading the most interesting chapter, reshelving the book, and starting the process again. This gets me learning about a number of things very quickly.

What do you love most about working in NYC? Have you found a good smoothie spot yet?
I love the commute on most of my days. I was wiped out in my first few weeks. Now, I am trying to stay out and enjoy New York after work. I have taken it upon myself to seize all of the coffee opportunities around me.

I have been to quite a few shops, taking my coffee journal along to record descriptions of distinctive drinks and doing my best to articulate what my coffee tastes like. Easier said than done, describing coffee.

Tell us about your favorite summer vacation.
I hope to spend next summer in Antigua, Guatemala. Antigua coffee has, what I think, is a balanced flavor. Someone recently said that if he had to have one coffee for the rest of his life, it would be a Guatemalan. I agree! My love of the drink and the process originates in visiting beautiful Antigua, a city in Guatemala, and seeing where it all begins. I hope to set myself up in a Spanish school in the city, volunteer with From Houses to Homes (a sweet organization which I love dearly), live with a host family, and get to as many coffee farms as I can.

Meet the staff: Tom Sullivan

Last month, the marketing team at NYU Press bid farewell to an adored colleague and friend, Bernadette Blanco, who left to join the world of trade publishing. Luckily, we were able to snag a familiar face to take her place: Tom Sullivan (hitherto, and likely always to be, known to us as Intern T). Here’s a quick Q&A to introduce you to Tom, the newest member of NYU Press!

Can you tell us a little about your role at NYU Press and how you got here?
As the Marketing Associate/Exhibits Coordinator, I make sure that NYU has a strong presence at all of our annual conferences, that awards are sent out, and that our marketing materials are as up to date as possible. I was originally an intern at NYU Press for two years—followed by one year at Oxford University Press—and now I’m back!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in (academic) publishing?
My first foray into publishing was kind of spontaneous. I needed a work study job while studying journalism at NYU, and I applied for a job as a Marketing Intern here at NYUP. I ended up enjoying it so much, that I decided to pursue a career in publishing after I graduated.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished an edited collection called Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars, which contains various radical queer critiques of the LGBTQ community’s obsession with repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A lot of the viewpoints were very controversial, so naturally I enjoyed every moment of it. I enjoy a good queer studies book that pushes your buttons and makes you think. GRR, rage, argument!

Good ol’ fashioned print or fancy schmancy e-book?
Print all the way. When I started at OUP, I purchased a Kindle so I could carry around Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 without my arm dislocating and falling off, and I haven’t touched it since. I can see the appeal, but for me there’s nothing like holding a book in your hand. Also, you can’t browse the shelves of a bookstore with a Kindle. Gross.

What are some of your hobbies?
In my spare time, I aspire to watch lots of movies and try new kinds of food, but I mostly sit in my room eating Chinese food and browsing Tumblr. Just kidding, sort of. Now that it’s getting warmer here in New York, I love exploring new neighborhoods, going to museums for free, and reading in the park by my apartment. Basically movies, books, food, and “cul-chah.”

You’ve lived in New York for awhile. Any insider tips to navigating this crazy city?
For the love of God, please move away from the subway doors so people can get off the train. Also, explore as much as possible. There’s so much to see and do outside of Manhattan below 96th Street.

We know you’re kind of a foodie. Got any favorites you’d like to share?
I could go on and on (and nobody wants that), so here’s a few neighborhoods: Flushing for Korean, East Harlem for Mexican, Jackson Heights for Columbian and Indian, and Parkchester for Bangladeshi.

We *also* know that you’re pretty media savvy. What’s your social media network of choice, and what are you #obsessed with right now?
Have I mentioned that I’m addicted to Tumblr? I don’t post as much as I used to, but I can browse it for hours. I think it’s the combination of cats, pretty photos of food, .gifs, and unhinged social justice crazy that draws me in. Please send help.

Check out Broadist, an amazing body positive fashion blog, and Bon Iver Erotic Stories, which is not really sexual as opposed to ridiculous. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go pick apples with my beard-y future husband.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I have a ton of day trips planned. I love getting out of the city when it’s warm out, sometimes the heat and the crowds are just too much. Also ice cream. Eating all of the ice cream.

Marjorie Heins wins 2013 Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award!

NYU Press is proud to announce that Marjorie Heins has been chosen to receive the 2013 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in book publishing. She is being honored for her book, Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge, a chronicle of the history, law and personal stories behind the struggle to recognize academic freedom as “a special concern of the First Amendment.”

Christie Hefner established the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards in 1979 “to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans,” in the fields of journalism, government, book publishing and education. Find the full list of this year’s winners here.

A press reception with the winners, judges and special presenters will be held on May 22, 2013 at the Playboy Mansion where winners will receive a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque. (Awesome—way to go, Marjorie!)

Notes from Betsy…on Spring books

Greetings from NYU Press Publicity! My Instagram account is flooded with images of cherry blossoms, dogs rolling in grass, and ballpark festivities. SPRING HAS SPRUNG! To celebrate the spring season, I thought it would be fun to catch up on a few of the big media hits so far. Some of the tantalizing bits of knowledge you will take away include: can jury duty really be enjoyable?; how does media spread?; why this country needs two presidents; what if the United Nations was based in Detroit?; living in New York City through one reporter’s eyes; is the United States really post-racial?; and exciting titles to look out for.


Author Andrew Guthrie Ferguson is on a quest to convince us that jury duty is fun, and at the very least, our most important civic duty apart from voting. Listen to his convincing interviews on WAMU’s “The Kojo Nmadi Show”; KPCC’s “Airtalk” and WYPR’s “Mid-Day.” The Baltimore Sun makes mention—and Greta Van Susteren knows a good thing when she sees one. Also, May is Juror Appreciation Month! See Andrew’s piece on The Atlantic’s website.


The name Henry Jenkins will stop any media junkie, cos-play boy or girl, and Comi-con regular in their tracks. Find out what all the hype is about: Jenkins and co-author, Sam Ford, on KBOO-FM; Sam Ford’s article on’s “Speakeasy;” an interview with the authors on New Books in Journalism; and a shout-out on Mediabistro’s journalism & tech blog, 10,000 Words. Jenkins and his co-authors also made an appearance at SXSW!


Two heads are better than one; good things come in pairs; and according to our author, two presidents would be better than one. Need some convincing? No problem! See author David Orentlicher’s interview with the Chicago Tribune; his appearance on C-SPAN’s “Book TV”; and his radio interviews with KPCC’s “Airtalk” and Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Joy Cardin Show.”


Probably the coolest coverage so far for Capital of the World was the essay Foreign Policy commissioned from author Charlene Mires—they asked her to imagine if Detroit had won the bid to become the home of the United Nations, and how that would have affected the future of the city. Other coverage included a review in the Wall Street Journal; an interview on C-SPAN’s “Book TV”; a feature in PRI’s “The World” ; a spot in the New York Times‘ Bookshelf; and an hour with KERA’s “Think.”


New Yorkers are obsessed with where other New Yorkers live. In Habitats, New York Times writer, Constance Rosenblum gives readers that fly-on-the-wall experience in some of the most fabulous, wild, and unbelievable homes across the 5 boroughs. The New Republic reviewed the book and our sadistic history of real estate voyeurism, while NY1 raved about the collection here. And if you’re in Manhattan next Tuesday, 5/14, stop by the 92Y Tribeca at noon to hear Connie read from some of her favorite sections!


Electing an African American president had many declaring that the United States had finally moved beyond race. F. Michael Higginbotham argues we still have a long way to go in his new book, Ghosts of Jim Crow. You can hear more of what he has to say in interviews with Oregon Public Radio; Dallas Public Radio; and Balitmore Public Radio.

Look out for the next round-up coming soon!  We have some exciting titles pubbing in the next few months including We Will Shoot Back, A Death at Crooked Creek, and Rebels at the Bar, so more fantastic coverage is surely on the way.

Capital of the (Cyber)world

The scope of Charlene Mires’s Capital of the World is huge. In tracking the race to find a home for the United Nations, the book travels across the United States, covering the major hometown boosters while also making unexpected (and often amusing) detours.

Appropriately, the book’s tour on the web has also been expansive: over the past month, bloggers across the net have been exploring the campaign with Mires, and have written about their experiences with the work. We’ve listed the writers who wrote about the book below. Check them out, and follow along the tour!

Monday, March 4, 2013 — A Bookish Affair (with an author guest post)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 — Padre Steve
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 — Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, March 14, 2013 — Man of La Book
Monday, March 18, 2013 — BookNAround
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 — Suko’s Notebook
Friday, March 22, 2013 — Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, March 25, 2013 — Knowing the Difference
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 — Fifty Books Project
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 — The Relentless Reader
Thursday, March 28, 2013 — West Metro Mommy
Monday, April 1, 2013 — The Future American
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 — Lisa’s Yarns

Let us know your thoughts on the blog tour—or the book—in the comments section. We’d be delighted to hear them!

California, here they came

At the end of WWII, the United Nations needed a headquarters… And so began the race to host the United Nations, with over 200 American cities and towns fighting to become the UN’s new home, or the “capital of the world.” 

In Capital of the World (NYU Press, 2013),  award-winning historian and journalist Charlene Mires uncovers this fascinating history of hometown promoters in hot pursuit. We invited Mires to share a few of these stories with us on our blog. Our final entry in the series moves to the West Coast, starting with a telegram that would propel San Francisco into a global competition. (For more stories like this one, visit the author’s blog!)

In the last months of World War II, an unexpected telegram arrived in San Francisco from around the world. “California, here we come,” the Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius, wired from Moscow to San Francisco Mayor Roger Lapham, who up to that moment was enjoying a peaceful lunch at his usual club on Nob Hill. Thus began San Francisco’s moment on the world stage as the United Nations’ first Capital of the World – the site of the conference to draft the United Nations Charter – and the quest of San Francisco and other California cities and towns to keep the honor.

Would San Francisco and other world capital hopefuls in the American West benefit from the feeling that the postwar world would be centered more on the Pacific region than the traditional centers for diplomacy in Europe? Or would they lose to perceptions that they were too distant from European capitals?

At a time when prospects for commercial aviation were changing ideas of time and distance, anything seemed possible. Placing the United Nations in New York was far from certain, and San Francisco competed prominently and vigorously among nearly 250 American cities and towns seeking the honor of becoming the Capital of the World. While many Californians aligned with San Francisco’s bid, offers also reached the UN from more than a dozen other California contenders. From the West also came invitations from Denver and Salt Lake City, and suggestions of Grand Coulee, Washington, and the Grand Canyon.

Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations follows the San Francisco boosters and other world capital hopefuls as they competed for the UN’s attention at the end of the Second World War. Reaching across the nation and around the world, from boardrooms to the halls of diplomacy, the book relates the surprising and often comic story of American determination at a pivotal moment in world history. Any town could have dreamt of becoming the Capital of the World, and readers will wonder: what if their dreams had come true?

Charlene Mires is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. She is also the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and a co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Center of the nation, center of the world

At the end of WWII, the United Nations needed a headquarters… And so began the race to host the United Nations, with over 200 American cities and towns fighting to become the UN’s new home, or the “capital of the world.” 

In Capital of the World (NYU Press, 2013),  award-winning historian and journalist Charlene Mires uncovers this fascinating history of hometown promoters in hot pursuit. We invited Mires to share a few stories with us on our blog leading up to the book’s publication. Focusing on Chicago and the Midwest, this entry is the third in our series.

Chicago had much to boast about by the end of the Second World War. Less than 75 years after the Great Fire, the city had rebounded into a metropolis. Think of it: Host city to two world’s fairs, in 1893 and 1933. The crossroads of the nation’s railroads, moving people and commerce from East to West. A city of skyscrapers, and a destination for immigrants. During the war, it was even called one of the nation’s “arsenals of democracy.”

What more could one desire in a potential Capital of the World?

Without hesitation, in 1945 Chicago leapt into the spontaneous and spirited competition among American cities and towns to become the headquarters location for the new United Nations. Despite tendencies toward isolationism still embraced by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago and other Midwest contenders entered the fray among more than 250 cities and towns making pitches to become the Capital of the World.  How about one of the state parks in Indiana? Or Chicago’s rival in railroads and commerce, St. Louis? Why not the Black Hills of South Dakota? Or the “Queen City,” Cincinnati? These were among the world capital hopefuls who pursued the prize with such gusto that they sent teams of boosters to London – uninvited – to make personal pitches to the UN.

The UN’s choice of New York was far from certain, and all options seemed open as the world transitioned from war to peace. Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations tells the surprising, entertaining, and revealing stories of Americans who were determined to make a new place for themselves on the map of the postwar world.

Charlene Mires is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. She is also the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and a co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Meet our new intern, Connor!

Name and role at the Press: Connor Spencer, Social Media Marketing Intern

Major/minor/year at NYU: English and American Literature Major, minors in French and Gender and Sexuality Studies, Class of 2014

Any previous internships you’d like to note?: Prior to coming to NYU Press, I worked in the non-profit arena at The Door, a comprehensive youth development agency in downtown Manhattan. I worked in their college advising office, and mostly conducted tutoring and student outreach. I would venture to say that it was something of a formative experience for me, and I continue to work with NYU organizations in the fields of service and social advocacy. Civic engagement is really important to me—I want to feel as much a part of the city as I am a student within it!

Why did you decide to intern with NYU Press?: Once of the major draws of NYU for me was that its location would give me easy access to the publishing industry, justifying my questionable choice to pursue a humanities degree (kidding!). Research in my classes has led me to thumb through a number of university press texts, and some of my professors even utilized books that were published by NYU Press itself, so I guess you could say that academic publishing was always on my mind. I felt like this internship would be a great way to not only get my feet wet in publishing, but to also have the opportunity to work with a lot of tremendously cool books along the way. It’s basically a nerd’s paradise over here.

Subject area NYU Press publishes in that most interests youThis is a tricky one—everything looks so good! Whenever I edit the website or otherwise work with any of our books, I often find myself making a note to myself to check them out at a later date. Overall, though, I’d say I’m probably most interested in works in Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, and History, fields which, coincidentally, happen to frequently intersect with each other.

Any NYU Press books you’re looking forward to getting your hands on?: I’m sort of obsessed with the Cold War and the history of higher education, so I think that Marjorie Heins’s Priests of Our Democracy looks particularly fascinating. Given that the book is something of an intersection between these two subjects, I’m looking forward to giving it a read sometime! In terms of older releases, I’ve also wanted to read José Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia for a while now. The book caused some big waves in the queer studies community when it was published, and I see Muñoz’s name constantly appear in anything I read that was released since its publication. Coincidentally, Muñoz is also a professor at NYU, so it feels like he’s sort of an icon within the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis—everyone wants to talk about his work! It’s definitely on my “To Read” list for whenever I get a chance.

What’s your most preferred way of reading these days? Good ol’ book or fancy schmancy e-reader?: I’m old-fashioned and prefer physical books for the most part. My (somewhat alarming) tendencies as a hoarder aside, I like to write in my books and make notes in them and generally subject them to all kinds of abuse, which is an experience that I haven’t been able to replicate with e-books so far. Plus, paper smells good. Like, really good.

What are some of your hobbies?: Uh, this might be embarrassing, but I like to make zines. I’ve always appreciated the DIY aspects of punk culture, and I think that zines are pretty interesting as multimedia literary objects. Although I wouldn’t say that I’m part of any “scene,” there are definitely a few serial zines that I like and continue to support. I’m also a fan of video games, even if I usually don’t have time to play them. I mostly enjoy the retro stuff, but I’ve been hungrily eyeing Dark Souls since it was released. Hard games have a special place in my heart.

From World War II to the World Stage (or maybe not)

At the end of WWII, the United Nations needed a headquarters… And so began the race to host the United Nations, with over 200 American cities and towns fighting to become the UN’s new home, or the “capital of the world.” 

In Capital of the World (NYU Press, 2013),  award-winning historian and journalist Charlene Mires uncovers this fascinating history of hometown promoters in hot pursuit. We invited Mires to share a few stories with us on our blog leading up to the book’s publication. This entry, relating the South’s role in the race for the UN, is the second in our series.

At Christmastime in 1945, the world was in motion.  On ships tossing in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and on packed trains from city to city, troops headed home for the first holiday season after the Second World War.  As American sons and daughters set their sights on cherished hometowns, the parents and neighbors they left behind awakened to new opportunities.

For example, what if the old hometown could become the Capital of the World?

In every region – South, North, East, and West – the idea took hold that some lucky community might be selected as the headquarters site for the new United Nations.  In nearly 250 locations across the United States, civic boosters found a multitude of reasons to try for the prize.  In Virginia, for example, Charlottesville called attention to its distinction as the home of Thomas Jefferson.  Fredericksburg pointed to the inspirational boyhood home of George Washington. Portsmouth proclaimed itself “the South’s City of the Future.”  The tiny crossroads of Uno seemed “typographically perfect,” according to the Associated Press. Elsewhere in the South, Miami and New Orleans angled against other cities to become the Capital of the World.

But would the South’s aspirations be welcomed by the United Nations?  The fate of the southern contenders is one tale among many in the surprising and far-from-certain story of how the United Nations came to place its headquarters in New York City. At the end of the Second World War, when plans for commercial aviation were just taking off, it seemed that any location might be imagined as a potential center and Capital of the World.

In this light, just imagine the surprise that awaited boosters from Newport News, Virginia, who spent Christmastime in 1945 traveling from the United States to London, against the holiday tide. They were taking a gamble that UN diplomats there would hear their pitch to place the UN near Colonial Williamsburg. But by the time they arrived, all bets were off for the South. Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations explains why as it follows the adventures and antics of American civic boosters as they pursued the prize of becoming the Capital of the World. Their experiences capture the essence of American determination at a pivotal moment in world history, in the transition from war to peace.

Charlene Mires is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. She is also the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and a co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

How did NYC land the UN?

At the end of WWII, the United Nations needed a headquarters… And so began the race to host the United Nations, with over 200 American cities and towns fighting to become the UN’s new home, or the “capital of the world.” 

In Capital of the World (NYU Press, 2013),  award-winning historian and journalist Charlene Mires uncovers this fascinating history of hometown promoters in hot pursuit. We invited Mires to share a few stories with us on our blog leading up to the book’s publication. First up: one for you, New York.

At the end of World War II, everything was up for grabs – even the prize of becoming the host city for the United Nations. It was by no means a sure thing that the new peacekeeping organization would settle in New York. In fact, a city was just about the last place that diplomats wanted to be (think of the traffic!).

Capital of the World follows the adventures and antics of civic boosters from New York and nearly 250 other cities and towns and as they competed for the honor of becoming the site for the United Nations headquarters. Offers poured in to the UN from large cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, but also from such seemingly out-of-the-way places as the Black Hills of South Dakota. In the spirit of Broadway musicals of the time – think of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” from Annie Get Your Gun (1946) – New Yorkers had to out-maneuver determined rivals as well as the reluctance of the world’s most powerful diplomats.  How did they do it?

  • The UN helped by igniting protests when it first selected a site in Greenwich, Connecticut – one of the few places in the United States that wanted nothing to do with becoming the Capital of the World.
  • The President of the Bronx lured the UN Security Council to Hunter College, sure that history would remember the Bronx as the first Capital of the World.
  • The powerful Parks Commissioner Robert Moses succeeded in planting the UN General Assembly at Flushing Meadows in Queens, site of the 1939-40 world’s fair, and the UN Secretariat at Lake Success on Long Island.
  • At the last possible moment, when it seemed that the UN would flee from congested, troublesome New York to Philadelphia, Nelson Rockefeller came to the rescue with a deal for the prime real estate where the United Nations headquarters stands today.

There is much more to the story. Capital of the World reaches across the nation and around the world to capture a pivotal moment in world history, when it seemed that everyone, everywhere could imagine their own home towns as the Capital of the World. The story is especially timely for New Yorkers as the United Nations moves toward completing renovations of its landmark headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. For a city that takes pride in being the Capital of the World, this book provides an overlooked history of one of New York City’s greatest landmarks.

Charlene Mires is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. She is also the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and a co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Capital of the World sweeps pre-pub reviews!

We are thrilled to highlight that Capital of the World received wonderful reviews in the following pre-pubs: Booklist, Kirkus and now, Library Journal! Check them out below.

Also, we invite you to review the book via NetGalley, read the introduction, or watch Charlene Mires talk about the race to host the United Nations on our YouTube channel!

Booklist“Polls have repeatedly indicated that many New Yorkers wouldn’t mind if the UN left their city lock, stock, and barrel, taking its bureaucracy and parking-violating diplomats along.  The irony is not lost on Mires, for, as she reveals in her surprising and often amusing work, New York ‘won’ the privilege to host the UN after a furious, sometimes sad, and sometimes comical competition with other cities and locales.  Some of the competitors were seriously considered, including San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, and even an Ontario Island near Niagara Falls. Others, including the Black Hills of South Dakota, never had a chance.  Mires shows how the competition was triggered by a combination of municipal pride, boosterism, and an eagerness to reap the financial rewards that were expected to accrue to the host city.  Mires also captures the pervading sense of optimism amongst the claimants after the horrors of WWII.  This is a very readable, entertaining account that is aimed at a general audience.”

Kirkus“Mires (History/Rutgers Univ., Camden; Independence Hall in American Memory, 2002) delivers an amusing account of the intense, if not world-shaking competition for the U.N. headquarters.

When the first serious discussions began in 1944, diplomats paid little attention to locating the headquarters, although most inclined toward America (including the Soviet Union, anxious to keep it far away). Today, few consider the U.N. the enforcer of world peace, but that was a common hope as World War II drew to a close. As such, boosters envisioned their city as the ‘Capital of the World,’ which would also enjoy the economic benefits of hosting a large institution and its staff. A scattering of enthusiasts buttonholed delegates at the spring 1945 San Francisco conference that wrote the U.N. charter, but an avalanche descended on London six months later to lobby diplomats engaged in nailing down its organization. Mires devotes most of the book to unsuccessful candidates ranging from Chicago and Philadelphia to Niagara Falls, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Tuskahoma, Okla., which deluged officials with sales pitches, posters, brochures, photo albums and futuristic architectural drawings. New York remained aloof from the hard sell but took for granted that any great international organization belonged there. It helped that powerful figures such as Robert Moses and Nelson Rockefeller took an interest and even more that Nelson’s father donated land along the East River now occupied by the U.N. buildings.

Although little was at stake and everyone knows the outcome, Mires works hard and mostly successfully to hold her readers’ interest in the energetic, often-quaint public-relation antics of the 1940s.”

Library Journal“Mires (history, Rutgers Univ.-Camden), corecipient of the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, investigates a largely unexamined aspect of the birth of the United Nations: the attempt by many U.S. cities during the closing days of World War II to persuade it to base its headquarters in their respective communities. Mires has tracked down elusive archival sources and forgotten newspaper accounts, uncovering a fascinating chronicle involving countless American politicians, foreign diplomats, and community promoters who participated in the feverish lobbying campaign that at times resembled an Atlantic City beauty contest. After numerous site inspections and unending deliberations, the prize was finally awarded to New York City in late 1946, largely owing to the $8.5 million gift of the Rockefeller family allowing the United Nations to build its “workshop of peace” on the Manhattan site overlooking the East River where it resides to this day.

VERDICT: While plenty of books address the creation of the United Nations, Mires provides an important supplement showing how the idealistic search to establish the physical presence of the fledgling organization gave way to the cold realities of the marketplace. Recommended for readers of 20th-century American history, students of urban history, and scholars of post World War II diplomacy.”

+ Be on the look out for the Capital of the World blog tour in March (our first ever!)…

City of Promises named Jewish Book of the Year

Awards season is officially in full swing, and we at NYU Press couldn’t be more proud to announce our latest achievement. Our landmark publication, City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, was selected by the Jewish Book Council as the Jewish Book of the Year in its’ 2012 National Jewish Book Awards!

Three cheers for the trilogy, and congratulations to Deborah Dash Moore (editor of all 3-volumes), the authors, and everyone at the Press who worked so incredibly hard on this absolutely beautiful set!

The annual National Jewish Book Awards are presented by the Jewish Book Council. Read the complete list of this year’s winners and finalists here.