Hunan is a landlocked province in Central China. Located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze watershed, it borders the province-level divisions of Hubei to the north, Jiangxi to the east and Guangxi to the south, Guizhou to the west, Chongqing to the northwest, its capital and largest city is Changsha, which abuts the Xiang River. With a population of just over 67 million as of 2014 residing in an area of 210,000 km2, it is China's 7th most populous province by population and the 10th most extensive province by area; the name Hunan means "south of the lake". The lake, referred to is Dongting Lake, a lake in the northeast of the province; the area of Hunan first came under Chinese rule around 350 BC, when the province became part of the State of Chu. Hunan was the birthplace of Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China. Hunan today is home to some ethnic minorities, including the Tujia and Miao, along with the Han Chinese, who make up a majority of the population.

Varieties of Chinese spoken include Xiang and Southwestern Mandarin. Hunan is located on the south bank of the Yangtze River; the site of Wulingyuan was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Changsha, the capital, is located in the eastern part of the province. Hunan's primeval forests were first occupied by the ancestors of the modern Miao, Tujia and Yao peoples; the province entered written Chinese history around 350 BC, when under the kings of the Zhou dynasty, the province became part of the State of Chu. After Qin conquered the Chu heartland in 278 BC, the region came under the control of Qin, the Changsha Kingdom during the Han dynasty. At this time, for hundreds of years thereafter, the province was a magnet for settlement of Han Chinese from the north, who displaced and assimilated the original indigenous inhabitants, cleared forests and began farming rice in the valleys and plains; the agricultural colonization of the lowlands was carried out in part by the Han state, which managed river dikes to protect farmland from floods.

To this day many of the small villages in Hunan are named after the Han families who settled there. Migration from the north was prevalent during the Eastern Jin dynasty and the Northern and Southern dynasties periods, when nomadic invaders pushed these peoples south. During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Hunan was home to its own independent regime, Ma Chu. Hunan and Hubei became a part of the province of Huguang until the Qing dynasty. Hunan province was created in 1664 from Huguang, renamed to its current name in 1723. Hunan became an important communications center due to its position on the Yangzi River, it was an important centre of scholarly activity and Confucian thought in the Yuelu Academy in Changsha. It was on the Imperial Highway constructed between northern and southern China; the land produced grain so abundantly. The population continued to climb until, by the nineteenth century, Hunan became overcrowded and prone to peasant uprisings; some of the uprisings, such as the ten-year Miao Rebellion of 1795–1806, were caused by ethnic tensions.

The Taiping Rebellion began in the south in Guangxi Province in 1850. The rebellion spread into Hunan and further eastward along the Yangzi River valley, it was a Hunanese army under Zeng Guofan who marched into Nanjing to put down the uprising in 1864. Hunan was quiet until 1910 when there were uprisings against the crumbling Qing dynasty, which were followed by the Communist's Autumn Harvest Uprising of 1927, it was led by Hunanese native Mao Zedong, established a short-lived Hunan Soviet in 1927. The Communists maintained a guerrilla army in the mountains along the Hunan-Jiangxi border until 1934. Under pressure from the Nationalist Kuomintang forces, they began the Long March to bases in Shaanxi Province. After the departure of the Communists, the KMT army fought against the Japanese in the second Sino-Japanese war, they defended Changsha until it fell in 1944. Japan launched a plan to control the railroad from Wuchang to Guangzhou. Hunan was unscathed by the civil war that followed the defeat of the Japanese in 1945.

In 1949, the Communists returned once more. As Mao Zedong's home province, Hunan supported the Cultural Revolution of 1966–1976. However, it was slower than most provinces in adopting the reforms implemented by Deng Xiaoping in the years that followed Mao's death in 1976. In addition to Mao Zedong, a number of other first-generation communist leaders were from Hunan: President Liu Shaoqi. An example of a more recent leader from Hunan is former Premier Zhu Rongji. Hunan is located on the south bank of the Yangtze River, about half way along its length, situated between 108° 47'–114° 16' east longitude and 24° 37'–30° 08' north latitude. Hunan covers an area of 211,800 square kilometres, making it the 10th largest provincial-level division; the east and west sides of the province are surrounded by mountains and hills, such as the Wuling Mountains to the northwest, the Xuefeng Mountai

Keir Graff

Keir Graff is an American novelist and literary editor. Graff was raised in Missoula, Montana, he has had four novels published and is the executive editor of Booklist Publications at the American Library Association. He resides in Chicago. Graff moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1996. After quitting his job in 1997 to go on "wife support," he wrote and tried to sell screenplays before finding more success as a freelance writer. In 2001 he accepted a position as editorial assistant at Booklist. In 2005 Graff was named senior editor of the newly created Booklist Online. 2016 saw his promotion to executive editor of Booklist Publications. His first novel, Cold Lessons, was published under the pseudonym Michael McCulloch in 2007. Other books soon followed under his real name: My Fellow Americans, One Nation Under God, The Price of Liberty. In 2011 Graff became a children's-book author with the publication of the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix. A second middle-grade novel, The Matchstick Castle, followed in January 2017.

Critical response to Graff's novels appears to be improving. Reviewing My Fellow Americans, Library Journal wrote that "Graff... has a sure hand. Jason's harrowing adventures paced and leavened by touches of humor, are gripping from start to finish." Publishers Weekly disagreed: "While many thoughtful observers have wondered whether the war on terror will cost the U. S. its soul, Graff scratches the surface of the challenging ideas his intriguing conceit presents." Publishers Weekly was critical of One Nation, Under God, calling it "unconvincing fictional effort to paint the extreme religious right as a major threat." The Chicago Sun-Times, noted that "... One Nation evokes such paranoid 1970s thrillers as The Parallax View and Six Days of the Condor." Reviews of The Price of Liberty were positive, with Library Journal calling it "another winner" and Publishers Weekly concluding "Graff's cynical take on government waste and corporate greed plays well.". Other review sources offered praise, including ForeWord, the Chicago Sun-Times, ("a first-class thriller that sweeps the reader along on a bouncy, jarring ride", more.

Graff's children's books have been favorably reviewed. Of The Other Felix, Publishers Weekly noted that "Graff populates his story with familiar characters" but concluded "his skill at capturing the small, everyday details and dramas that loom large in children’s minds, as well as his avoidance of a too-neat ending, ought to linger with readers who share Felix’s introspective nature." Evaluating The Matchstick Castle, Kirkus Reviews noted "Graff neatly contains his wacky plot within narrator Brian’s Everykid voice, unspooling the looniness with transparent glee. Fast-paced, anarchic fun for reluctant and avid readers alike." Graff was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors Fiction Prize in 2011, for his book The Price of Liberty. The Matchstick Castle was named an official 2018 Illinois Reads selection by the Illinois Reading Council; the Phantom Tower was judged to be one of the Chicago Tribune's Best Children's Books of 2018. Cold Lessons My Fellow Americans One Nation, Under God The Price of Liberty Montana Noir The Other Felix The Matchstick Castle The Phantom Tower WorldCat Identities page Booklist Online website

If It Ain't Got That Swing

If It Ain't Got That Swing: The Rebirth of Grown-Up Culture is a 2000 non-fiction book about swing music and changes in American culture, written by Mark Gauvreau Judge. Judge had written a memoir about his alcoholism titled Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk. If It Ain't Got That Swing chronicles the author's experimentation with swing dancing lessons, his reluctance to do so due to his prior usage of alcohol as a way to relax himself in large social situations. Judge ascribes the 1996 film Swingers and a 1998 Gap Inc. commercial with youths dancing to the Lindy Hop as evidentiary of the swing revival. Judge criticizes the American culture of the 1960s and rock and roll, as forms of adolescence society in the United States; the book documents the author's shift from liberalism to support of right-wing politics. If It Ain't Got That Swing received negative book reviews from Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, The Wall Street Journal, Reason. Library Journal criticized the book's writing style and called it a "sophomoric, opinionated diatribe".

Kirkus Reviews called it a "diatribe" and wrote that it failed due to "single-mindedness and humorlessness". The Wall Street Journal called Judge's argumentation "persuasive" but "incomplete", pointed out inconsistencies in the book. Writing for Reason, Jesse Walker found factual errors in Judge's work. If It Ain't Got That Swing chronicles the author's transition from support of liberalism towards right-wing politics. Judge says he was influenced by the writings of Christopher Lasch his work The Culture of Narcissism; the author's shift from left-wing politics to conservatism was additionally motivated by his initial foray into swing dancing. Judge examines the contemporary period of swing revival; the author recounts what he views as a subculture appreciative of rock and roll within American society, devoid of any real meaning. Judge argues that this roll culture is representative of an adolescent mentality, he criticizes changes which took place in the United States during the 1960s and praises cotillions as a way to return to an earlier period within American society.

Judge writes that he himself took up swing dancing in the locality of Washington, D. C. in 1995. He describes for the reader the nervousness he felt while entering his first swing dance lesson, because he had relied upon alcoholic beverages as a way to make himself feel more comfortable in public gatherings, he charts the swing revival to two factors: the 1996 film Swingers, a 1998 advertisement with youths performing the Lindy Hop while promoting Gap Inc. clothing. Judge pines for a culture in the United States reminiscent of more conservative ideology. Judge cites the adultery of Bill Clinton as evidence of a breakdown in contemporary societal values, he instead embraces a culture of chivalry. The author puts forth an argument. Judge asserts that culture within the United States lacks organization and connectedness, he argues. Prior to writing If It Ain't Got That Swing, Judge had worked as a journalist in his early twenties. Before publishing If It Ain't Got That Swing, Judge had written Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk.

If It Ain't Got That Swing was first published in hardcover format in 2000, by Spence Publishing Company. An eBook was published by the same publisher in the same year; the author was interviewed on the NPR program Talk of the Nation in August 2000 about his book, said that the 1996 film Swingers represented a resurgence of swing culture in the United States. By February 2001, Judge's book had become a bestseller in the United States. Judge subsequently published other books including Damn Senators and Man at Georgetown Prep, A Tremor of Bliss: Sex and Rock'n' Roll. If It Ain't Got That Swing received a negative book review from Library Journal, which observed the author advocated a society in the United States represented by Leave It To Beaver; the book review described the author's writing style as "meandering pages". The review concluded, "Displaying little knowledge or understanding of past or current American culture, Judge presents a sophomoric, opinionated diatribe that offers little to any reader."Kirkus Reviews published a critical book review of If It Ain't Got That Swing, commenting that the author's writing style "has a tone of moral penitence and self-righteousness."

Kirkus Reviews concluded, "In the end, his diatribe comes to resemble a rant." The book review characterized Judge's work as, "Ambitious pop-cult criticism that fails because of its single-mindedness and humorlessness."Judge's work garnered a book review from The Wall Street Journal, which wrote of the author's argument that swing dancing could improve American culture: "There is much, persuasive in this argument, but it is incomplete." The review pointed out factual errors in Judge's writing, such as that dancing in public was curtailed after a U. S. tax on nightclubs in 1944. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Judge's view of swing dancing as a way to improve civil discourse in American culture, led him to falsely conflate early swing dancing with a different period of swing dancing culture; the Washington Post recommended the book, classed it among others on the topic including Dance of Days, Our Band Could Be Your Life, D. C. Hand Dance. Jesse Walker wrote a book review of. Walker wrote that Judge, "gets the genealogy of neo-swing wrong, that he does so because he's trying to reduce a complex phenomenon to a simple explanation."

Walker criticized Judge's "distorted chronology" about the evolution of the swing revival, citing factual inaccuracies in the presentation