Junto March Madness Round 2 Voting: Brackets 3 & 4

JMM15As we move into voting for brackets 3 & 4, lots of questions remain unanswered: will Roger Williams’s Key Into the Languages of America continue its cinderella run? Will Graham Crakers gain more momentum? Will Junto readers be able to explain their excitement for this tournament without sounding imminently nerdy? Only time will tell.

Voting closes on Thursday at 5:00pm. Results for all four brackets will be announced on Friday. Continue reading

Junto March Madness: Round 1, Day 2 Voting (Brackets 3 and 4)

JMM15Today we commence with voting on Round 1, brackets 3 and 4. As a reminder, you can find the entire bracket here. Again, we’ve included arguments on behalf of various documents, written by either Junto bloggers or friends of the blog. Please feel free to add your arguments in the comments, because the purpose of this month’s “tournament” is to provide a resource for teachers of early American history.

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Junto March Madness: Round 1, Day 1 Voting

JMM15The time has come: trash talking is over; voting begins. As a reminder, you can find the entire bracket here. Today, we will vote on brackets 1 and 2; Wednesday, we will vote on brackets 3 and 4. We have included arguments on behalf of various documents, written by either Junto bloggers or friends of the blog. Please, feel free to add your arguments in the comments, because the purpose of this month’s “tournament” is to provide a resource for teachers of early American history.

Let the games begin! Continue reading

Junto March Madness CANCELLED! (Now with an update)

We at the Junto are sad to bring news this morning that our amazingly popular if rather silly March Madness competition is no more. We’ll leave the existing posts up for now, but there’ll be no more posts, no more voting, and therefore no more surprise upsets. Over the weekend, we received a communication from the law firm of Prilo & Foal, acting for a New York publisher that we are unable to name. It turns out our little competition may be in breach of some competition and advertising laws – to be honest it’s all a bit beyond us, but suffice to say it doesn’t seem worth getting into any trouble over a bit of fun.

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The Junto March Madness: The Bracket Is Here!

Today is the day you’ve all been waiting for with eager anticipation–the official unveiling of the Junto’s March Madness bracket! Thank you to all who nominated books yesterday–this whole project wouldn’t have been possible without it.

The response to yesterday’s call for nominations was overwhelming, with over 150 books receiving nominations, and over half of those receiving more than one mention. As such, The Junto’s Selection Committee had a difficult task whittling down the nominees to a bracket of 64, and an even tougher time organizing it into something resembling the NCAA tournament.

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The Junto March Madness: Nominating Books for the Early American History Brackets

What happens when you mix early American history nerdyness with basketball geekyness? Junto March Madness!

Jackson would obviously have won any physical competition, likely by cheating, but will any books dealing with Jacksonian America win the historiographical tournament?

Jackson would obviously have won any physical competition, likely by cheating, but will any books dealing with Jacksonian America win the historiographical tournament?

In honor of the NCAA Tournament games tipping off in a few hours, and in reaction to the recent announcement of Bancroft Prize winners (which tragically did not include any book explicitly dedicated to early America), we here at the Junto decided to jump in on the competition atmosphere with brackets of our own: a several-bracket-tournament of books in early American history. Today, we submit competitors. The Junto team will then narrow the field to either 32 or, if we get enough submissions, 64, and rank them in brackets. (The organization of brackets is still up in the air—we could go with thematic regions like political, cultural, religious, and synthetic, or we could even go chronological with colonial, revolutionary, early republic, or Civil War-era, or we could even go with histiographical eras—and largely depends on the submissions. We are very open to suggestions, though, so please chime in in the comments!)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The beauty of this competition depends on being fun, so the first and most important rule is not to take it too seriously. Deciding the winner is purely subjective and based on what are likely a widely variegated criteria of excellence including, but not limited to, most influential, best-written, most sophisticated, or even most popular. When in question, go with your gut reaction. Or, just go with your favorite. A debate between Laurel Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale and Eric Foner’s The Fiery Trial is, of course, silly, because both books can be categorized as the top of the field yet they examine completely different issues through very different approaches. But it is, nonetheless, fun to compare, debate, and, indeed, vote. This is designed to be fun, people, so once again: DO NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. (But we still expect the winner to add this great accolade to the top of her/his C.V.) Continue reading