A senior fellow and curator of art and artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, ROBERT MCCRACKEN PECK ’74 and co-author Patricia Tyson Stroud trace the history of the 200-year-old natural history museum and research institute in A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadel­phia and the Making of American Science (University of Pennsylvania Press). They look at important parts of the Academy’s history, including its research expeditions around the world, the construction of its dioramas, and the international work of its scientists in water studies and conservation.

In a ­question-and-answer format, AMANDA SELIGMAN ’91 describes the ins and outs of graduate school in Is Graduate School Really for You? The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Uni­versity Press). An associate professor of history and director of the Urban Studies Prog­rams at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Seligman covers the application process, coursework, employment prospects, tenure, and social life.

Many African-Americans looked at Britain as an important ally in their resistance to slavery in the Americas, writes GERALD HORNE ’70 in Negro Comrades of the Crown: African Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation (New York University Press). In this study, Horne explores how Africans and African-Americans collaborated with Great Britain against the United States in battles until the Civil War. Horne is a professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston.

In Thomas Hart Benton: A Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), JUSTIN WOLFF *99 explores the rise to fame and sudden decline of one of the most famous and controversial painters in 20th-century America. Benton (1889-1975) was known for his paintings of ordinary people at work and play. Publishers Weekly called the book “a lucid and engaging study of the artist’s life in its historical context.” Wolff is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Maine.