Off the Shelf: Brian Balogh

Brian Balogh, associate professor of history, "A Government Out of Sight: The Mystery of National Authority in Nineteenth-Century America." Cambridge University Press.

June 3, 2009 — "A Government Out of Sight" chronicles the ways in which the national government intervened powerfully in the lives of 19th-century Americans through the law, subsidies and the use of third parties, including state and local governments, while avoiding bureaucracy.

Americans have always turned to the national government – especially for economic development and expansion – and in the 19th century, even those who argued for a small, nonintrusive central government demanded that the national government expand its authority to meet the nation's challenges.

This understanding may alter our perspective on American political development in the 20th century, shedding light on contemporary debates between progressives and conservatives about the proper size of government and government programs and subsidies.

Trained as a historian at Johns Hopkins University, Balogh has specialized in 20th-century American history, political history, history of science and technology, and environmental history.

He chairs the Governing America in a Global Era Program at U.Va.'s Miller Center of Public Affairs. He also co-directs the Miller Center Fellowships in Public Affairs and the GAGE Colloquium Series, projects to promote and disseminate scholarship in contemporary politics, public policy and political history.

He's also a co-host of "BackStory with the American History Guys," a radio show produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and supported by the Miller Center.