On Process, an OAH blog on American history, Robert Perkinson discusses the formation of the United States penal system and the development of his book Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire (Metropolitan Books, 2010). Perkinson describes the process of rewriting and publishing his dissertation project:
Because I hoped my book would reach advocates and policymakers, I also chose to work with a literary agent, Susan Rabiner, and ultimately to publish with a trade press, Metropolitan Books. This required a set of changes. To tell a story of national significance, I added substantial sections on New York and California. In developing my arguments, I shifted from the terrain of scholarly debate, which is relatively bounded and well-informed, to public and often polemical debates about race, politics, and the role of punishment in society. In style, I did my best to develop individual characters and capture the drama of events, even though the book is ultimately about institutions and social formations.
For more from Perkinson see: