We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

August 2004, Issue #64

Guide to Contents

Adventures, Fashion, Male Nudes, Graphic Design, Drawing, Watercolors, Business, Southern Cooking, Early Childhood Development, Radio, Comics, Movies, TV Racism, African Americans Military, Potions, US History, European History,  Gardening,  Health Promotion Programs, Law, Children's Symbolism,  Conspiracy Theories, Fiction,  American Folktales, Medicine, Psychiatry, Mysteries,  Journalism, Fertility, Philosophy, Speech-Act Theory, Buddhism-Dogen, Music of the Spheres, Meditation, Politics, Writing Japanese, Education Reference, Gospel of Matthew OT Sources, Science and Theology, Astronomy, Biology and Environmentalism, Space Opera, Best Science Fiction, Social Sciences, Managing Human Organizations, Judo, Golf, Boatbuilding.

Adventures & Thrillers

The Reckoning by Jeff Long (Atria Books) is an adventure thriller by Jeff Long, a veteran climber and traveler in the Himalayas, journalist, historian, and elections supervisor for Bosnia's first democratic election, and the author of six novels, including Year Zero, The Descent and Empire of Bones.

We’re off and running when thirty-two-year-old photojournalist Molly Drake, armed with only a camera and iron determination, arrives in modern-day Cambodia to cover the U.S. military search for the remains of an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam War.

In this eerie wasteland pockmarked with human bones and live land mines, the people hold more secrets than the landscape, from aging archaeologist Duncan O'Brian to John Kleat, a caustic vet hunting for his long lost brother. When bones unexpectedly turn up, Drake photographs them, capturing a flight helmet buried among Khmer Rouge victims and breaking her agreement with the army not to take pictures of bodies. Diplomatic powers force her and her civilian comrades off the dig, along with O'Brian and Kleat, and the trio make their way to an ancient, fog-enshrouded Angkor-like city where they have evidence an army patrol went missing years ago.

But just as a typhoon looms offshore, the outcasts learn of an even bigger find. A mysterious ex-patriot guides them into the ruins of the ancient city, where they begin a harrowing search for the remains of an entire patrol of GIs that strayed in combat thirty years ago. With storm winds hammering their jungle fortress, Drake discovers that a war she never knew never died. Her survival comes to depend on her journalistic skills to solve a forgotten murder among these warriors left behind. In the end, her only hope for salvation is to redeem the lost souls that surround her.

Paramount Pictures is reckoning on Reese Witherspoon and Ted Tally. Witherspoon is in negotiations to star in and produce a feature film adaptation of the supernatural thriller The Reckoning. – Liza Foreman, Hollywood Reporter

Long writes with poetry, style, and pace...first-rate entertainment. – Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code

An adventure thriller that takes its characters on a haunting trip beyond the boundaries of human endurance and into enemy territory – superb, thrilling and terrifying. – Vince Flynn

As stylishly written as it is suspenseful, The Reckoning is a thriller that illuminates the fragile thread between life and death, knowledge and ignorance, hope and horror. Bringing readers ever closer to enemy territory, it is a hair-raising journey into one of modern history's darkest periods and an intense look into the hearts still haunted by it. With Long in command of every taut, gripping element, The Reckoning is a solid, coolly told, smoothly paced narrative.

Arts & Photography / Fashion / Biographies & Memoirs

Nudie the Rodeo Tailor by Jamie Lee Nudie & Mary Lynn Cabrall (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

From Hank Williams to Roy Rogers, from Elvis Presley to John Lennon, only one man made clothing that was fabulous enough to be worn by the legends of Country and Rock and Roll music, only one man set stage fashion on its end and clothed Hollywood's elite.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1902, Nudie Cohn built a reputation as one of the most sought after clothiers in Los Angeles... all on a few sparkly G-strings.

Nudie the Rodeo Tailor tells the unbelievable story of Nudie and Bobbie Cohn and the legendary fashion legacy they created. The book was written by Jamie Lee Nudie, granddaughter of Nudie, who grew up in Nudie's Rodeo Tailors and her business partner, Mary Lynn Cabrall – they keep the Nudie's Rodeo Tailors business going.

Nudie Cohn's first store (Nudie's for the Ladies, New York City) featured those famous and lavishly ornamented G-strings and stage costumes, and allowed him to build a reputation as a master tailor with a taste for the flashy. After a few years, Nudie went west to Los Angeles, turning his attention to Western clothing, and became the first person to incorporate rhinestones into cowboy dress. It was the $10,000 gold suit that Nudie made for Elvis Presley that rocketed Nudie to stardom and cemented his status in fashion history. Nudie would go on to design clothing for Dale Evans and Roy Rogers, Elton John, Gene Autry, John Wayne, John Lennon, Steve McQueen, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Cher, Liberace, Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and the rock groups America and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Nudie blurred the boundaries of fashion and cast a far-reaching influence over the clothing worn in country music, rock music, movies, and television.

From his silver-dollar-and-steer-horn-studded convertible Cadillac, to his skills on the mandolin, to his "everyday" wardrobe that consisted of his own rhinestone suits and unmatched boots (to commemorate his humble beginnings – at one time, he couldn't even afford a matching pair of shoes). When he died in 1984, the entertainment world lost one of its most colorful figures; Nudie was his own kind of star. Nudie the Rodeo Tailor chronicles the life of the man who embodies the American dream itself, with an amazing selection of photographs of suits, clothing, accessories, and of Nudie himself with the hundreds of clients and friends he made through the years.

Nudie the Rodeo Tailor is filled with an amazing selection of photographs of suits, clothing, accessories, and of Nudie himself with the hundreds of clients and friends he made through the years. Just slightly tongue in cheek, this is a comprehensive and handsome picture book, a fun read, a testament to a great success story.

Arts & Photography

Male Bodies: A Photographic History of the Nude by Emmanuel Cooper (Icons of Photography Series: Prestel) is a stunning, comprehensive survey of male nude photography from 1840 to the present day.

For a century and a half, photographers have been documenting the male form in order to serve a variety of purposes, from motion and anatomical studies to models for subsequent paintings to purely aesthetic and erotic ends. From the archetypal human form in art to the gay icon, the male nude occupies an important and unique place in the history of photography. Despite increased exposure, whether in gay magazines or in adver­tising, the naked male figure retains an aura of mystery, a secret to be revealed only in the privacy of the bedroom or, briefly, the changing room.

The entire continuum of male nude photography is the subject of Male Bodies. Fifty images by such masters as Edward Weston, Imogene Cunningham, Minor White, Diane Arbus, Joel-Peter Witkin, Duane Michals, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Andy Warhol and Grace Lau are presented in two-page spreads. The other photographers are Eugène Durieu, Thomas Eakins, Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey, Albert Londe, Fred Holland Day, Paul Richer, Eugen Sandow, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Frank Eugene, Guglielmo Plüschow, Vincenzo Galdi, Kurt Reichert, George Platt Lynes, Bruce of Los Angeles, Al Urban, The Ritter Brothers, Earl Forbes, George Rodger, Will McBride, Bernis von zur Mühlen, Peter Hujar, Joel-Peter Witkin, Mason West, Arthur Tress, John Coplans, Edward Lucie ­Smith, Richard Sawdon Smith, Dianora Niccolini, Jim Mooney, John Paul Evans, Karen Tweedy Holmes, Wolfgang Tillmans, Robert Flynt, Robert Taylor, Robin Shaw, Stefano Scheda, Vivienne Maricevic, Tony Butcher, Mike Ferrari, Jonathan Webb, Jo Brunenberg, and Brett Wexler.

Together these pictures trace an arc through the development of photographic history, technique, and style, while also following the cultural patterns that helped define our ideas of male beauty.  Essays on each image describe and analyze the historical, technical and social contexts in which it was taken. In addition, commentary by Emmanuel Cooper, a leading writer on art, photography and gay issues, traces the development of nude photography during the past century and a half, starting from its use for motion, anatomical and medical studies, through to its expression of fears of homosexuality, the rise of gay liberation and the advent of HIV/AIDS.

In the final images, Male Bodies looks at the new wave of photography of the male nude within its historical context, and asks how this reflects and comments on the times in which we live.

While the male body is extremely aestheticized in our time, it remains contentious, yet its contentiousness makes images of the naked male body an enduring topic. Male Bodies illustrates how both male and female photographers continue to interrogate the naked male body. From paradigms of physical perfection to gay icons, this illustrated survey of male nude photography presents in one stunning volume various portrayals of masculinity as seen through the eyes of the world’s most renowned photographers.

Arts & Photography

Bringing Graphic Design in-House: How and When to Design It Yourself by Orangeseed Design (Rockport Publishers) is geared toward untrained and marginally trained designers working within a company that has decided do their design in-house rather than hire an outside firm, and toward small business owners that have to design their own collateral material.

With the market tight, more and more design is being pulled in-house to save money. The result is that untrained designers often must create collateral that can stand up to the competition (who may be using professional designers) – this can be a daunting task. Designing is difficult in a perfect world and even more difficult when one is dealing with a lack of a basic graphic design education. Being able to evaluate the tools, the  limitations, and the tasks at hand is vital to success. Time, budgets, equipment, software, experience, expertise and human resources make up a long list of challenges businesses must overcome when attempting to put their best face forward.

These challenges and more are addressed in Bringing Graphic Design in-House, the goals of which are two fold. The authors at OrangeSeed Design, a company which designs corporate identity systems, brochures, advertising, and promotional material for business and consumer products and services, address how to design in-house. They also discuss instances where it is best to hire professional outside designers for specific portions of the work. The authors encourage businesses to look closely at their available resources and understand when it is best to hire out for design and when it is best to just do it themselves.

Bringing Graphic Design in-House begins with an overview of the basic elements of graphic design – layout, color, art and typography and explains the best ways to use them. The book also offers readers an in-depth look at individual design elements, with features such as:

  • 40 examples of logos

  • 20 letterheads/business card designs

  • 10 different ideas for brochures

  • 10 samples of websites

  • Various newsletter ideas

In addition, the authors discuss all the necessary equipment, from computers to software to handy gadgets to general supplies needed to create a successful in-house design department.

Bringing Graphic Design in-House is a sourcebook for ideas and how-tos for creating promotional and collateral items in-house with the minimal resources available.

From production tips to creative touches to project management, the book enhances the reader's understanding of design and how they can most easily and cost-efficiently do it themselves. The founder of OrangeSeed, Damien Wolf should know what he’s talking about; his prior experience includes working as an in-house designer for a small computer service company and a large international legal information publisher.

Arts & Photography / Art & Design / Instruction & Reference / Ages 10 & up

How to Draw Cars the Hot Wheels Way by Scott Robertson with the Hot Wheels Designers (MBI Publishing Company)

Hot Wheels cars have been zooming around for over 35 years. Millions of children and adults have played with these vehicles.

How to Draw Cars the Hot Wheels Way demonstrates detailed drawing techniques so readers can draw and design Hot Wheels cars just like the designers at Mattel. The easy-to-follow illustrated directions cover areas such as perspective shadowing, and information on how to add details to a drawing by using a computer.

Original artwork by Hot Wheels designers are used in the book. Illustrations, drawn by author Scott Robertson, are easy enough for a beginning artist, and an experienced artist will learn techniques that are specific to the subject. They emphasize how to draw fantasy, custom, concept, and hot rod cars. Tips and suggestions from Robertson and Hot Wheels designers provide more information on how to make cars look like Hot Wheels cars.

How to Draw Cars the Hot Wheels Way provides how-to-draw detail that is appealing and easy to follow for Hot Wheels and drawing enthusiasts from ages 10 to adult. Detailed drawing techniques with descriptive captions allow readers to create their own automotive designs. No matter what the reader’s experience is, anyone who likes to doodle will learn how to create and detail cars in the Hot Wheels way.

Arts & Photography

Incredible Light and Texture in Watercolor by James Toogood (North Light Books)

Award-winning artist James Toogood is a master at creating realistic and eye-catching light and textures in his own work. He's enjoyed more than 30 solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Toogood's paintings have been featured in top art magazines as well as several books including Best of Watercolor; Selections from the Permanent Collection, Woodmere Art Museum; Painting Light and Shadow; Splash 6 and Splash 7. He currently gives workshops in watercolor technique and teaches at the Somerset Art Association (Bedminster, NJ) and the Perkins Center for the Arts (Moorestown, NJ).
Every truly great watercolor painting hinges on the qualities of light and texture – accurate use of light and texture can create a look of realism and help establish mood in a painting, but artists often have trouble creating these effects. Incredible Light and Texture in Watercolor, by James Toogood, explains the fundamentals of painting and how to apply these essential ideas for dramatic results in watercolor paintings, including:

  • Explanations of natural and artificial light, as well as how light influences texture.
  • Step-by-step demonstrations that show how a whole painting comes together.
  • Basic color theory and pigment lessons.
  • Mini demonstrations with close-up views of techniques for light and texture.
  • Drawing and composition basics to build a strong foundation for any piece of artwork.
  • Tips and tricks for using light and texture to set mood, elicit response and create believability.

Toogood also shows artists easy methods for creating realistic textures, whether natural, manmade or the textures of people and how to achieve various atmospheric conditions. Readers will also find a chapter dedicated to using contrast and similarities in a painting to increase the dramatic impact of their watercolor paintings.

Beginning and advanced artists will appreciate the wealth of instruction in Incredible Light and Texture in Watercolor, a concise guide in which Toogood shows readers how to create drama, depth and believability in their work.

Business & Investing / Computers & Internet / Biographies & Memoirs

Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut by James Marcus (The New Press) is the entertaining story of the first five years of, recounted by employee number 55.

Americans with an eye cocked toward the markets were asked to believe that Amazon, a two-year-old bookseller, was worth more than the combined values of Sears and US Steel. – from Amazonia

James Marcus, writer, journalist was hired as a senior editor at in 1996, where he stayed till 2001, giving him a ringside seat for the company's explosive rise and dismal wallet-busting swoon. Now – as the e-commerce giant makes an astonishing comeback – he tells all. Unlike the recent crop of memoirs, this is no tale of a bankrupt and brokenhearted entrepreneur. Marcus came aboard as a self-described "token humanist," and his take on the new economy juggernaut is predominantly a cultural one. Why, he asks, did Jeff Bezos' brainchild become the key symbol of Internet euphoria? How did the company change as it morphed from a miniscule start-up to a global, multibillion-dollar leviathan? Was the Web breaking more promises than it kept? And finally: What could an editor do to resist being transformed into a hyperventilating shill?

In answering these questions, Marcus takes us to meetings, job interviews, trade shows, and corporate retreats. We spend a freezing holiday season at the warehouse, and a considerably warmer afternoon at the company's summer picnic—where Bezos himself mans the dunk tank.

From his first interview with Jeff Bezos to Nordic-style company retreats, senior editor Marcus gives us the insiders' view of the bookselling monolith. We learn about the unique caste system at Amazon, where programmers are king but everyone works the customer service phones; and we experience the giddy hilarity of Marcus and his colleagues as they become millionaires – briefly – then lose it all again in the wild oscillations of Amazon's stock values.

He reveals the man behind the myth: Jeff Bezos, poster child of the digital age; we witness the bookseller's growing pains as it moves from Bezos's garage to a sprawling campus and payroll explodes into the thousands; and Marcus relates his own confusion at the difficult balance between editorial integrity and successful selling, and between the boon Amazon represented for independent publishers and the bane it represented for independent bookstores. In the beginning, he says, “with a staff of twenty-five editors – bigger, in fact, than a national magazine – and a huge pool of freelancers, we were able to walk, talk, and even quack like a real publication.” But Amazon morphed as it grew; metrics began to rule; and the editorial department was no longer the focus. Despite the demoralizing shift, Marcus makes evident the loyalty editors continued to display, a "quasi-religious devotion… almost impossible to explain to outsiders." The concept of making history was just too intoxicating for most to abandon (as were the stock options).

Marcus tells his story with wit and candor, revealing what it was really like to live in the New Paradigm, where you "monetized eyeballs" and "leveraged your verbiage" to reach an "inflection point" (make money). – Booklist (starred review)

Has the shapeliness and intensity of a novel.... An utterly beguiling book.Jonathan Raban, author of Waxwings
The most impressive aspect of Amazonia is Marcus's sculpting of self into an everyman caught between two magnets – culture and commerce. David Shields, author of Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity
Not only great fun, but a sobering reminder of how quickly both our pipe dreams and our technology can overtake us.Lisa Zeidner, author of Layover

Marcus's writing has enough genuine humor and self-deprecation to squelch any accusations of "optimizing for optics," or worse, whining. Aside from a few sections that feel somewhat adrift (oblique mentions of an imploding marriage and an extended Emerson sidebar) the prose is driving and the voice engaging and remarkably fair.

For anyone who worked at in the early days, reading Amazonia is akin to leafing through a high school yearbook (I was an Amazon editor from 1997-2002). – Brangien Davis

Amazonia is a work of rare wit and razor-sharp observation, and a superlative guide to America's lost world of the nineties. Marcus provides a captivating, witty account of how the fledgling e-retailer transformed itself from a startup that generated $16 million in sales in 1996 to a behemoth with revenue of $5.3 billion in 2003. A modern fable told with thoughtful insight, Amazonia may well be the year's most charming memoir; it is an amusing inside glimpse at what is surely one of the world's strangest businesses.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Sweetly Southern: Delicious Desserts from the Sons of Confederate Veterans edited by Lynda Moreau (Pelican)

Charming tales and simple instructions comprise this collection of over 170 of Dixie's finest recipes, courtesy of contemporary Confederate kitchens from Florida to Alaska.

Sweetly Southern includes desserts, candies, punches, and sweet-tasting snacks submitted by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Members pay homage to their ancestors by submitting favorite family treats, including such militarily inspired desserts as Dying General Buttermilk Pie, Jeff Davis Pudding Pie, and Robert E. Lee Orange Pie. From historic confections like Lady Baltimore Cake to contemporary favorites such as Peanut Butter Pie, these recipes reflect the sweet tooths of modern Confederate families across the United States. historical anecdotes accompany the recipes, which range from cakes to cobblers to candies. Vintage photographs and capsule biographies of soldiers from the War Between the States round out this nostalgic cookbook.

Sweetly Southern is edited by Lynda Moreau, a professional publicist and lover of all things Southern. For the past ten years, Moreau has worked in the publishing industry, currently serving as director of marketing for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., and overseeing merchandising and catalog operations.

The foreword is provided by R. G. Wilson, commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As the oldest patriotic and hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers and sailors, the Sons of Confederate Veterans continues to preserve and defend the history and principles of the Old South.

These tried-and-true dishes, tested by home cooks, will impart a sweetly Southern flavor to family gatherings. Sweetly Southern allows readers to discover the traditional dishes that evince the flavor of the Old South, as well as savory regional favorites from all over the country.

Education / Early Childhood Development

Infants and Children, 5th Edition by Laura E. Berk (Pearson Allyn & Bacon) is a shortened, paperbound version of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Fifth Edition, covering the prenatal through middle childhood years (through age 10) and designed for courses in child development and early child development.

Infants and Children contains the complete chapters 1-13 of Laura E. Berk's full-length text, and the two books bring Berk's trademark scholarship and readability to the subject of chronological child development. With a heightened emphasis on the interplay between biology and environment, and stronger focus on education (both at home and at school) and social policy as critical pieces of the dynamic system in which the child develops, Berk, distinguished professor of psychology at Illinois State University, pays meticulous attention to the most recent scholarship in the field. A sampling of topics includes the genetic code, motivations for parenthood, body and brain development in toddlers, child health care in the U.S., language development, and gender typing.

A Berk signature feature is the stories and vignettes of real children, which illustrate developmental principles. Infants and Children “teaches while it tells a story.” There are a number of special features, many of which are the boxes:

  • Social Issues: Education boxes emphasize the role of education at home, at school, and in the community in children's physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.
  • Social Issues: Health boxes underscore the need for social policies around the world that support the physical and psychological health of children and families.
  • Biology and Environment boxes highlight the growing attention in the child development field to the complex, bi-directional relationship between biological and environmental influences.

Other features include:

  • Milestones tables summarize major physical, cognitive, language, emotional, and social achievements of each age span. Besides offering an overview of change, each entry is page-referenced to provide the student with a convenient tool for review.
  • Ask Yourself questions have been thoroughly revised and expanded into a unique pedagogical feature that promotes four approaches to engaging actively with the subject matter, labeled “Review, Apply, Connect, and Reflect.”
  • Observation Program: This real-life videotape (now two hours) contains hundreds of observation segments that illustrate the many theories, concepts, and milestones of child development. An Observation Guide helps students use the video in conjunction with the text to deepen their understanding of the material and apply what they have learned in everyday life.

Creating stronger connections between domains of development, Berk in this fifth edition has expanded her coverage of culture, emotional development, and cognitive, biological, and social development. Also in this edition, the author has added Applying What We Know tables, which offer practical advice in a concise format on nurturing, protecting, and supporting all aspects of children's development. This advice stems from research gathered from many different fields, including teaching, social work, and health care. New topics include The Teratogenic Effects of Acutane (Chapter 3) and The Role of Religion in Emotional Development During Middle Childhood (Chapter 13). Students will find multiple-choice questions that will allow them to “practice” their test taking, as well as links to other Web sites.

For the instructor, Infants and Children includes a state of the art, interactive and instructive online solution for courses in child development designed to be used as a supplement to a traditional lecture course, or completely administer an online course.

The author's writing style is very engrossing. She is exceptionally accomplished in her knowledge ­of developmental psychology. I think her writing will be easy for my students to follow. – Algea Harrison, Oakland University

I particularly appreciate Berk's inclusion of multicultural perspectives. It is important to help students, particularly those who are just beginning their professional preparation, to put what we know about young children and their development into a cultural context. This text does that masterfully with words AND with pictures. – Nancy Freeman, University of South Carolina

The thing that I am most impressed with is the examples the author uses. I found that often I had new insights into child development issues even though I have been teaching and working in the field for years. These insights were so well thought out that I think that they would be very helpful to students when learning the material. – John Prange, Irvine Valley College

As always, Berk provides a comprehensive discussion of developmental issues. What I appreciate is that the text provides good coverage of areas that are often neglected by other texts (especially applied developmental issues). – Deborah Laible, Southern Methodist University

In her signature storytelling style, Berk creates a “cast of characters” for each unit based on real children and families, artfully using their “stories” to illustrate the sequence and processes of child development and applications of theory and research and she keeps the story going throughout the chapter. These same characters come back in subsequent chapters, enhancing continuity. Information in the chapters is consistently presented in a clear, concise style and Berk has a great writing style. The color photographs, particularly those illustrating the prenatal stages of development, are of high quality. The integration of research findings and “plain language" explanations is a great contribution. Infants and Children is a comprehensive and intelligent resource.

Entertainment / Radio

More Riffs, Rants, and Raves by William O'Shaughnessy (Communications and Media Series, Volume 9: Fordham University Press)

Bill O'Shaughnessy's back. Here's his third big book of interviews, editorials, essays, commentaries, observations, and just plain good talk from an authentic American voice.

From the "bully pulpit" of radio, O'Shaughnessy, president of Whitney Radio and editorial director of WVOX and WRTN in Westchester County, New York, is in the middle of everything: politics local and national; culture high and low and in-between; the media; and, most of all, the rich flow of ideas and opinion from what the Wall Street Journal calls "the quintessential community station in America."

In More Riffs, Rants, and Raves, O'Shaughnessy gathers interviews with everyone from Tony Bennett on the singer’s art to former New York mayor Ed Koch on the art of politics. Essays and talks from luminaries range from Henry Kissinger to Larry King, Rudolph Giuliani to Tim Russert and Dan Rather. A master of the craft of provocative conversation, O’Shaughnessey talks fairly and frankly with anyone – from bishops to best-selling novelists. Here some four dozen conversations trace almost 30 years of history. There are moving pieces on the impact of September 11, vivid sketches of movers and shakers, and provocative, deeply felt calls for protecting the freedoms provided in the First Amendment. Mario Cuomo also supplies penetrating thoughts on how to restore justice and wisdom to America's political culture.

O'Shaughnessy's pronouncements add up to ... true centrism, a search and call for common ground, for a consensus built on fair play, decency, common sense, getting along. – David Hinckley, Critic-at-Large, New York Daily News

O'Shaughnessy is really the conscience of broadcasting. – Patrick D. Maines, President, The Media Institute

Bill O'Shaughnessy's editorials make his New York TV counterparts look like so much mish-mash. – New York Times

Few people have as rich a talent for ‘writing for the ear’ – Charles Kuralt and Charles Osgood, certainly. Also Paul Harvey. And Bill O'Shaughnessy, who is among a select few who create magic with their words. – Mario M. Cuomo

I applaud Bill O'Shaughnessy's intelligent editorials on Free Speech. His is a brave stance. – Howard Stern

From colorful sketches of local pols to intimate conversations with great writers and artists, More Riffs, Rants, and Raves is an endlessly fascinating portrait of our time and place marked as always, by O'Shaughnessy's intelligence, insight, and eloquence.


Tales To Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution by Ronin Ro (Bloomsbury)

The inspiration behind The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Jack Kirby has been hailed by Wizard magazine as "Without any doubt...the single most important creator in the History of American Comic Books."

Everyone knows Jack Kirby – even if they don't know it. The renowned comic book artist, along with his writing partner Stan Lee, created some of the most memorable and beloved superheroes in popular culture: The Fantastic Four, the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and many more. Tales To Astonish by Ronin Ro is a novelistic behind-the-scenes account of one of the most enduring – and overlooked – comic book artists as well as a look at the comic book industry, from its inauspicious origins to its sensational successes.

Born to a tailor and a seamstress in 1917 on New York's Lower East Side, Kirby grew up like many scrappy kids in the area – ashamed of their hand-me-down clothing and their parent's immigrant accents, dodging gang fights and bullies; and spending their time reading pulp magazines and going to the picture shows. By the 1930s newspapers were beginning to slap together comic strips and that is when Kirby realized his destiny.

Through original interviews with friends and colleagues, including Stan Lee, Ro, author of award-winning, international bestsellers, chronicles Kirby's rise and influence starting with his early beginnings churning out stories for Max Fleischer Studios, at that time a major corporation. Along the way, we witness the effect of World War II and The Vietnam War on comics – the former inspiring patriotic heroes like Captain America, the latter prompting a cynical repudiation of heroism – as well as the contentious battles between companies and artists about the possession of original artwork. In the 1940s Kirby, along with partner Joe Simon, was taking the medium in a bold new direction; abandoning numbered panels and arrows, he let the stunning, vibrant, action-packed scenes move the story along. The 1960s ushered in the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby era, bringing to life an amazing pantheon of heroes: The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Silver Surfer and the Marvel Universe. In a few short years Lee and Kirby forever changed the American comic book by introducing angst-ridden heroes, sympathetic villains, and a dynamic style that inspired everything that followed. Forty years later, the Marvel Comic heroes he created or designed continue to draw readers and inspired a new breed of artists, filmmakers, and authors.

An entertaining and insightful portrait of one of its most enduring and overlooked artists, Tales To Astonish is also a lively account of the comic book industry, from its inauspicious origins to its sensational successes.

Entertainment / Movies

Two Brothers: A Fable on Film and How It Was Told by Jean-Jacques Annaud, with an introduction by Diana Landau (Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook Series: Newmarket Press) is a lavishly illustrated companion book to the new film by the award-winning director of Quest for Fire, The Bear, and The Name of the Rose—about twin tiger brothers in the jungles of French Indochina in the colonial period, a major family summer movie from Universal Pictures.
Five months shooting a major feature film in Thailand and Cambodia, amidst the temples of Angkor, with tigers imported from France and the US was an extraordinary, even life-changing experience for the international cast, starring Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential), and a crew of more than 400 people. Their leader was the intrepid director/writer/producer Jean-Jacques Annaud who has demonstrated his willingness to undergo enormous hardship in order to bring the film that he has imagined to the screen, as evidenced by his visionary work on earlier movies.
Fully illustrated with stills, drawings, historical paintings, and images that inspired and tracked the process, Two Brothers covers the entire moviemaking odyssey, from pre-production, begun more than a year prior to shooting, through the final post-production stages. The book showcases production stills, on-set photos, drawings, historical paintings and interviews with Annaud's international cast and crew.

Two Brothers is the story of twin tiger brothers Kumal and Sangha, born amidst the temple ruins and exotic jungles who are separated as cubs and taken into captivity when a zealous Englishman, played by Guy Pearce, invades their jungle home in search of valuable relics. One tiger becomes a circus performer, the other a trained killer. Years later, the brothers find themselves reunited, but as forced enemies pitted against each other, with surprising results.

From the origin of Annaud's passion for wildlife to the unique set of challenges that making a film with two animal protagonists presents, the book fuses production anecdotes with historical information about the film's setting and the treatment of tigers over the years.

Annaud explains that a combined passion for wildlife and history inspired the film, while the Cambodian filming location held a magic all its own: "To this day, that first visit to Cambodia remains the artistic shock of my life. I just could not believe the combination of religious devotion and sheer artistic beauty. The romanticism of it all was fascinating. The forest's revenge on man. The trees strangling the stones."

This Cambodian setting, while providing the ideal location for the film's story, posed a distinct set of challenges. As Annaud tells readers, "We were shooting in one of the Seven Wonders of the World, so we had to take every precaution to make sure that there was no damage to the location."

While the film's setting presented its own set of trials, making a film with a mostly animal cast was difficult as well. As trainer Thierry Le Portier, who worked with the tigers in Gladiator, explains, having tigers as your two main characters presents a special set of circumstances: "We used 30 tigers in all ... our biggest problem was to always have tiger cubs from seven to 12 weeks old, at the ready. We followed all the births, all over the world. Zoos were notified of our search and kept us up to date."

In addition to finding tigers who looked the part, Annaud and Le Portier had to devise methods to elicit performances from the animals, since Kumal and Sangha's expressions and movements comprise much of the film's action.

Jean-Jacques Annaud plunges into the animal world with Two Brothers. This time it's tigers who steal the headlines in an epic worthy of the most popular children's stories a la Rudyard Kipling. – Judith Prescott, The Hollywood Reporter

I wanted the story to be reminiscent of the fables I loved so much as a child. It is constructed upon the wondrous imaginative references of children – the jungle, the mysterious ruins, the golden palace, the world of animals, the circus. – Jean-Jacques Annaud about Two Brothers

The stunning illustrated movie-book Two Brothers provides readers with an in-depth account of Annaud's timeless film's journey to the screen, with close-up photos depicting the filming process – as well as other chapters on the actors, costumes, sets and script. The book also provides an extensive history of the area and its inhabitants, while vivid photography and drawings transport the reader to the land of lush vegetation, ancient ruins and alluring wildlife.

Entertainment / Culture Studies / African American

Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for the Sign of Blackness by Herman Gray (University of Minnesota Press)

In the late 1980s and early 1990s television representations of African Americans exploded on the small screen. Why did this occur, and what relation do these shows have to society's idea of "blackness"? How do these shows relate to earlier television series featuring African Americans? Herman Gray's Watching Race, now available in paperback, offers a new look at the changing representations of African Americans on television.

Starting with the portrayal of blacks on series such as The Jack Benny Show and Amos 'n' Andy, Gray details the ongoing dialogue and struggle between television representations and cultural discourse to show how the meaning of blackness has changed through the years of the TV era. Drawing on analyses of The Cosby Show, Frank's Place, A Different World, In Living Color, and Roc, as well as music videos, news coverage, and advertising, Watching Race critically examines how the political stakes, cultural perspectives, and social locations of key cultural and social formations influence the representation of "blackness" in television.

In the contemporary politics of black popular culture, much critical attention has been given to identity and expressive culture. These critical discourses and the popular attention they have generated play a strategic role in the maintenance of and challenge to various systems of domination. Gray’s aim in Watching Race is to extend these critical discourses and cultural strategies, particularly as they bear on commer­cial electronic mass-media forms, especially television. Gray, associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, examines criti­cal debates about black expressive culture and black cultural productions within television as a means of exploring processes by which questions about the American racial order – and, within it, blackness – are constructed, reproduced, and challenged. His focus on commercial network television and the struggles over the meanings and representations of blackness ex­pressed and enacted there deliberately shifts attention to com­mercial media as a site of cultural politics.

The chapters are guided by many of the theoretical ad­vances and suggestions developed under the rubric of cultural studies, especially as these have been developed and applied by feminists and scholars of color. Most generally, Gray is concerned with trying to clarify just how we might talk about, theorize, and understand the representations of "blackness" presented in commercial culture, especially network television and the political projects in which these representa­tions are deployed.

The decade of the 1980s constitutes the social and historical staging ground for this examination. Gray situates the discussion in the 1980s because it is a period rich with struggles, debates, and transformations in race relations, electronic media, cultural politics, and economic life.

He takes seriously commercial culture (especially commercial television) and the kinds of representations that are produced and circulated there as the subject of critical reflection and analysis. He contends that it is possible – indeed, often necessary – to approach commercial culture as a place for theorizing about black cultural politics and the struggles over meaning that are played out there. Hence, he suggests that commercial culture serves as both a resource and a site in which blackness as a cultural sign is produced, circulated, and enacted.

In dominant media and popular culture we see the emergence and con­struction of new black subjects and subject positions. These new discursive subjects are situated in cultural and media representations of a racial order marked discursively by images that incorporate notions of blackness into the existing social, cultural, and political order without necessarily challenging and disturbing that order.

In the framing of these representations of blackness as small, insignificant matters of difference (rather than the basis for structures and relations of power) and in the presentation of them as spectacle in the circuits of film, advertising, and television, the relationship of these constructions to what Lipsitz calls lived histories and social struggles is safely hidden and relegated to the level of the covert. The special and unique qualities of African Americans, whether Whoopi Goldberg or Clarence Thomas or Malcolm X, can be celebrated and folded into the existing system of gender, race, and class. Daily we witness on television the transformations of racialized relations of power into entertainment and spectacle based on difference. Like so much of what happens on television, this move represents a kind of approved and sanctioned knowing and not knowing. In this rearticulation, the existing order can be affirmed, as can the new and different subject positions that it underwrites. But as African American claims and struggles within and over the representation of blackness suggest, this is only one possible articulation. Cultural struggles, including those over the representation of blackness in our present, help to prepare the groundwork, to create spaces for how we think about our highly charged racial past and possibilities for our different and yet-contested future. Commercial television is central to this cultural struggle. In the 1980s, claims and representations of African Americans were waged in the glare of television. Those representations and the cultural struggles that produced them will, no doubt, continue to shape the democratic and multiracial future of the United States.

In the postscript to the paperback edition Gray says that in the end he came to realize that the social and cultural conditions that produced these moments have changed and that the conditions of the present moment may require a different kind of conversation, dialogue, challenge, and representation. Just as the presence and work of black athletes, musicians, and writers have reconfigured and redefined the very nature of sports, sounds, and stories in the social and cultural life of the United States, so too has the presence of The Cosby Show, Frank's Place, Roc, A Dif­ferent World, In Living Color, and South Central. These and future representations of and claims on blackness are part of an ongoing dialogue within and across social locations and positions within and outside black communities. Black television makers, audiences, storytellers, and programming have transformed the look and feel of commercial network television. Inevitably, television programs about and representations of blacks will come and go, but Gray remains hopeful about the force and vitality of African American claims on the meanings, circuits, and uses of representations of blackness. He remains alert to the fact that such claims are sites of political and cultural struggle, that they are conditioned socially and are without pure political guarantees; they are, nevertheless, crucial sites and expressions of struggle.

Watching Race is clearly the best book ever written on African Americans and television.... Finally, a book that moves out of the prison house of stereotypes, beyond the common yet simplistic dichotomies of 'positive' versus 'negative' images. Gray brilliantly and persuasively turns our attention to the more complicated issue of the politics of representation. – Robin D.G. Kelley, New York University

This is a complex, subtle, and very important book.... Gray also argues that television is the site where the key racial moments (Rodney King, Hill-Thomas hearings, Simpson trial, Los Angeles riots) of the last two decades have been staged and interpreted for the American public. A majority of Americans came to know and understand the American racial order through media representations of the black ethnic other. For these individuals, there is no empirical world beyond the worlds of the 'small screen'. – Contemporary Sociology

A subtle and insightful discussion of the racial politics of contemporary television, far and away better than anything else I have seen on the topic. – Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Gray shows how changes in the television industry have made changes in program content desirable and necessary, and rejects static models of 'domination' and 'resistance' because they do not do justice to the complexity of viewers' interactions with the medium. – George Lipsitz, University of California, San Diego

Gray offers truthful and sobering ideas about blackness as defined by American media. He spoons out aspects of our favorite TV programs we may not want to swallow...but we need a taste of this medicine. We need to be aware. – a student

Watching Race is a subtly reasoned, academically written culture study aimed at students in media and African American studies classes. It focuses on the medium, television, which we most love to hate, and our most difficult subject matter, race, giving readers who take the time to read it a lot to think about.

History / Military / African Americans

The American Foreign Legion: Black Soldiers of the 93rd in World War I by Frank E. Roberts (Naval Institute Press)

Still segregated in World War 1, the U.S. Army was reluctant to use its 93d Division of  black soldiers in combat with its own units and instead assigned the division's three National Guard regiments and one draftee regiment to the French Army. The battlefield successes of these African Americans under the French at the height of the German offensives in 1918 turned white expectations of failure upside down. Their bravery and heroism gained the respect of the French and Germans alike and called into question the U.S. Army's policy of racially segregating its divisions.

Written from the perspective of the enlisted men and their white and black officers, The American Foreign Legion highlights the combat actions of individuals as well as entire units of the 93d. Readers join Company C of the 370th Infantry under heavy fire as they capture artillery pieces, machine guns, and even a portion of a railroad track to become the first American unit to win the Croix de Guerre. They learn about the extraordinary bravery of Cpl. Freddie Stowers, the only African American in the war to be nominated for – and seventy years later posthumously awarded – the Medal of Honor, and others who earned the Distinguished Service Cross and French awards for gallantry in combat. In all, some 3,500 men of the 93d fell in battle with 591 of them buried in France next to their white comrades, the only equality that the U.S. Army then granted them. Their story of overcoming the odds at a time when most believed blacks performed poorly in combat is told by Frank E. Roberts, who has been researching the subject for years. While acknowledging the many problems encountered by the 93d, Roberts, retired colonel, engineer and writer, focuses on the many triumphs of these tenacious soldiers as they fought both the enemy and the prejudices of their fellow Americans.

There is no greater brotherhood or sisterhood than that of the battlefield. The soldier who advances under fire and yells ‘cover my move’ relies on a trust greater than anyone can explain. No longer is that trust reliant on a race or gender test, only the willingness to serve. The 93d helped prove that patriotism, heroism, and brotherhood have no color, creed, or litmus test beyond what is in the human heart. – from the foreword by Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr., USA (Ret.) former 2d lieutenant, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93d Division, 1945

The full story of the accomplishments of the African Americans in World War I is finally told in The American Foreign Legion. Carefully researched, with 15 photographs, 10 maps, and extensive documenting notes and index, this is an engrossing,  important and little known piece of history of interest to World War I history buffs as well as those researching the struggle for civil rights.

History / Medicine

Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs: Frontier Medicine in America by Wayne Bethard (A Roberts Reinhart Book, Taylor Trade Publishing)

Powder papers, booty balls and sugartits – Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs has a cure for whatever ails! During America’s frontier era these unusual names were given to popular medicinal forms that were said to cure everything from fallen arches to broken windmills. Grandmas, mommas, and even certified physicians treated the sick, lame, and unlucky with whatever was available: barbed wire and horseshoe nails, cactus, pokeweed, buckeyes – you name it. Ironically, many of these homespun treatments actually worked. But then, on the other hand, many of them didn’t. In Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs, practicing Texas pharmacist Wayne Bethard takes a lighthearted look at the most popular medicines from the frontier days and how they were intended to work. An authoritative “folk materia medica” lists common drugs, the dates they were in use, customary doses, and idiosyncrasies. There are even lists of ingredients, or recipes for common medicines, like Hamlin’s Wizard Oil, for example. Bethard’s outstanding collection of bottle labels and advertising art rounds out this colorful survey of America’s medicinal past.

This tongue-in-cheek account of early-day medicines and medical practitioners makes for a fun read but also makes us glad for modern-day medicine. In the old days, the treatment stood a good chance of killing you before the ailment did. – Elmer Kelton, voted All-Time Best Western Author by the Western Writers of America

Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs should be of value to any writer or researcher of the history of medicine or of the progress of science in the past two to three centuries. Of special use to fiction writers is a timeline of dates associated with major discoveries in the arts and sciences. This book is the American frontier. – Don Coldsmith, columnist, novelist, lecturer

Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs deserves a prominent place in the library of every historian, historical novelist, and anyone who enjoys a good story. – from the foreword by Henry Chappell, author of The Callings and At Home on the Range with a Texas Hunter

From screw worm killer to gargling oil liniment for man and beast, this book gave us the willies; thank goodness there’s no one around to perscribe guano (bat crap) for the condition! Lotions, Potions, and Deadly Elixirs is going to be a heck of a lot of fun for historians and historical novelists as well as general readers who like historical, Western and medical non-fiction.

History / US / Reconstruction

Emma Spaudling Bryant: Civil War Bride, Carpetbagger's Wife, Ardent Feminist, Letters and Diaries 1860-1900 edited by Ruth Douglas Currie (Fordham University Press)

Wooed by her ambitious schoolmaster, John Emory Bryant, Emma Spaulding became the Civil War bride of a radical Republican carpetbagger in Georgia. For the young Emma Spaulding, life might have been the simple story of a nineteenth-century woman in rural Maine. Instead, she emerges as one of the more interesting women of nineteenth-century America.

In Emma Spaudling Bryant, an extraordinary collection of letters, pulled together by Ruth Douglas Currie, Professor of History at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC and author of a biography of Bryant’s husband, Emma's writings reveal a woman of determination, faith, and integrity.  Emma Spaulding Bryant embraced her own causes of women's rights and temperance while maintaining full support for her husband's controversial agenda. Covering her life in Buckfield, Maine, from her marriage to a captain in the Eighth Maine Infantry, to her move to Georgia as the wife of one of the prominent figures in Reconstruction politics, the letters open a window on what life was like for an intelligent, independent woman during three of America's most turbulent decades.

Moving from Augusta, Georgia, to Athens, Tennessee, to Chicago, to New York, Emma not only followed the tracks of her husband's career, she endured years of separation and hardship while learning self-sufficiency.

The grueling years in the shadow of her husband's political career gave Emma a backbone of steel and the convictions of an early feminist as she struggled with poverty, childrearing, illness, and work. Emma became an independent thinker, teacher, suffragist, and officer in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. And Emma supported John's agenda – his self-described mission to "northernize" the South, to work for civil rights for African-American males – and frequently reflected on national political events. She stood by her husband when his self-righteous character embroiled him in endless controversy.

In eloquent language, she coached her husband's understanding of "the woman question," and despite heated exchanges over marital control, this correspondence frames a marriage of love and devotion that spanned four decades.

Gracefully written, abreast of current scholarship, the book is abundantly documented and equipped with a good bibliography. – Choice

Emma Spaudling Bryant is a revealing portrait of Emma Spaulding Bryant, shedding new light on how, in spite of standing in her husband's shadow, a woman could wield power to further a feminist agenda in nineteenth-century America. Author Currie includes a brief but informative commentary at the beginning of each chapter, giving the background and setting the letters in the chronological chapters in the context of John's career. An epilogue and the bibliography will also be helpful to historians.

History / Europe

The Tower Menagerie: The Amazing 600-Year History of the Royal Collection of Wild and Ferocious Beasts Kept at the Tower of London by Daniel Hahn (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin) is the strange six-hundred-year history of the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London.

From a polar bear that fished the Thames nightly for his dinner to elephants that drank only wine, the inhabitants of the southwest corner of the Tower of London were a strange and rowdy bunch. No less strange was the cast of characters that visited them: William Blake, Chaucer, and Samuel Pepys, to name a few. Daniel Hahn's history of the Tower of London's Royal Menagerie tells the story of the thousands of exotic creatures who found a home in one of the world's most forbidding and infamous fortresses.

What began as a wedding gift to England's King Henry III: three leopards from his new brother-in-law, Frederick, the Holy Roman Emperor, grew over the next six hundred years, to become The Tower Menagerie, playing host to elephants, lions, ostriches, monkeys, zebras, alligators, a rhinoceros, a giraffe – and a very brave spaniel (kept by one of the Tower's lions as a pet). These occupants of the southwest corner of the Tower were a strange and rowdy bunch. A young poet and artist by the name of William Blake traveled to the Tower from his Lambeth home to paint and rhapsodize about a Tower tiger and its "fearful symmetry"; a lion named Crowly received frequent visits from an enamored Samuel Pepys; and one visitor seen dropping in on the creatures of the Menagerie in 1389 was the man in charge of Tower upkeep during the reign of King Richard II, Geoffrey Chaucer.

Widening the scope of the book with entertaining trivia, off-beat tales and cheeky asides, Hahn, writer, researcher, translator and editor, manages to create a credible, living history from a collection of long-departed beasts and birds.

Daniel Hahn's ironic yet compassionate book is both chilling in its understated account of inhumanity ... and warming in its final accent on latter-day reform. He wraps together social and political strands to form a delightfully erratic guideline between the human jungle and the zoo. – The London Times Literary Supplement

Hahn guides his ark of the animals across six centuries. It enchants, even as the ear hears the growling and the shrieks of those long-dead captives within the white walls by the river. – The Guardian

With wit and impeccable scholarship, The Tower Menagerie delves into an unexplored realm of history surrounding the Royal Menagerie in the Tower of London and tells the story of the unusual creatures who found a home in one of the world's most forbidding and infamous fortresses. The Tower Menagerie also explores the way in which the concept of animal captivity for the purposes of entertainment, enlightenment and science evolved over hundreds of years. Brimming with unforgettable stories, historical illustrations and maps, The Tower Menagerie provides an intriguing, lively survey of our changing attitudes toward animals. An entertaining journey through six centuries of British history, this rich, well-researched account is a must-read for historians and animal lovers.

Home & Garden

The Gardener's Year by Jonathan Edwards & Peter McHoy (Lorenz Books) is a complete practical guide to gardening tasks throughout the year, featuring projects for spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Creating and maintaining a garden is an exciting process: every season brings new attractions, and also a new set of tasks. Knowing what to do when is crucial, and The Gardener's Year by Jonathan Edwards and Peter McHoy takes readers through each season in detail, covering work to do in the flower garden, the kitchen garden and the greenhouse.

Spring is a busy time in the garden, as everything is bursting into growth. The Spring section covers sowing and planting flowers, planting shrubs and trees, preparing and planting the vegetable plot and creating bog and rock gardens and ponds. Summer is a time to reap the rewards of all the hard work as this is when the flowers and vegetables are at their best. Summer is spent deadheading flowers, trimming, pruning, propagating, watering, controlling weeds and harvesting fruit and vegetables.

Autumn is when gardeners can focus on extending harvests and repairing the lawn, but it is also a good time to plant new trees and shrubs and fill containers with winter-flowering plants. There's usually plenty of tidying-up to do, and debris can be converted into valuable compost and leaf-mould. Winter is a quiet time, but there are still some important tasks, such as improving and warming soil ready for new crops, forcing bulbs, protecting tender plants and propagating new plants.

Jonathan Edwards is an experienced garden writer and editor, formerly a garden journalist, feature editor for Amateur Gardening and deputy editor of Gardening Which? Magazine, and Peter McHoy started his career as a seed analyst, but soon moved into magazine journalism – he has written more than 60 books.

The book contains 180 step-by-step projects, with sequences clearly explained – they include, for example, sowing a new lawn, pruning shrubs, and planting pots, window boxes and hanging baskets. Whether readers are keen gardeners or complete beginners, The Gardener's Year is practical guide to help and inspire them to create and enjoy their own perfect gardens. The 900-plus full-color photographs of projects and beautiful garden scenes are quite exceptional.

Health, Mind & Body / Professional & Technical

Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs: A Primer (4th Edition) by James F. McKenzie, Brad L. Neiger & Jan L. Smeltzer (Pearson Benjamin Cummings) is written for students who are enrolled in their first professional course in health promotion program planning.

Covering both theoretical and practical information, the text employs a step-by-step format to reinforce concepts and practices. Authors James F. McKenzie, Ball State University, Brad L. Neiger, Brigham Young University, and Jan L. Smeltzer provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the practical and theoretical skills needed to plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion programs regardless of the setting. Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs (Fourth Edition) features updated information throughout, including the addition of new planning models, expanded discussions of topics such as measurement, data collection and data sampling, intervention strategies, and evaluation techniques. Key features include:

  • A straightforward, step-by-step format makes concepts clear and the full process of health promotion programming understandable.
  • Theory and practice are combined with examples and activities for developing a health promotion program.
  • Activities are included at the end of each chapter to provide hands-on experience.
  • Chapter introductions, learning objectives, summaries, questions, and activities appear in each chapter.

This book provides, under a single cover, material on all three areas of program development: planning, implementing, and evaluating.

Each chapter includes objectives, a list of key terms, presentation of content, chapter summary, review questions, activities, and web-links.

  • The chapter objectives identify the content and skills that should be mastered after reading the chapter, answering the review questions, completing the activities and using the web-links. Most of the objectives are written using the cognitive and psychomotor (behavior) educational domains.
  • Key terms are introduced in each chapter are presented in a list at the beginning of the chapter and then printed in boldface at the appropriate points within the chapter.
  • At the end of each chapter, readers will find a one- or two-paragraph review of the major concepts contained in the chapter.
  • The review questions at the end of each chapter to provide readers with some feedback regarding their mastery of the content.
  • Each chapter also includes several activities that allow students to put their new knowledge and skills to use. The activities are presented in several different formats for the sake of variety and to appeal to the different learning styles of students. Depending on the ones selected for completion, the activities in one chapter can build on those in a previous chapter and lead to the final product of a completely developed health promotion program.

New to This Edition

·        Chapter 1 has been updated and expanded to include new definitions from the Report of the 2000 Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology, and additional information about the Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and Competencies Update Project (CUP).

  • Chapter 2 on planning models still includes presentations of older planning models, but also now includes presentations of these newer planning models – A Systematic Approach to Health Promotion, Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health (APEX-PH), SWOT Analysis, Healthy Communities, The Health Communication Model, and Healthy Plan-IT.
  • Chapter 3 on starting the planning process has been expanded to include greater insight into working with program stakeholders.
  • Chapter 4 has been expanded to address benefits and barriers of comprehensive versus categorical and practitioner versus consumer-driven assessments.
  • Chapter 5 includes expanded discussions of measures, measurement, and data collection, and sampling.
  • Chapter 6 includes additional information on Healthy People 2010.
  • A complete updating of Chapter 7, including the addition of several new and emerging theories.
  • Chapter 8 on interventions has been completely reorganized and now uses terminology consistent with the terminology used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to describe interventions.
  • Chapter 9 includes more information on community building.
  • Chapter 11 has been modified to better identify differences between true marketing campaigns compared with more basic promotional or advertising strategies.
  • Chapter 12 has been reorganized to present a single generic model for implementing a program that includes more information on implementation timelines.
  • Chapter 14 has been updated to present a new classification system for approaches to evaluation.
  • A revised instructors' manual and test-bank have been created.
  • PowerPoint presentations, by the author, are available online.

Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs is written for students in a first professional course in health promotion program development, and is designed to help them develop the skills necessary to carry out program development regardless of setting. Comprehensive, thoroughly reviewed, & newly updated by both practitioners and professors, the book reflects the latest trends in the field. Students will find the book easy to understand and use – it is unique among health promotion planning textbooks in that it provides readers with both theoretical and practical information. Co-author Neiger, with his experience as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and the Utah Department of Health is a welcomed addition.

Law / Women’s Studies

The Bellwomen: The Story of the Landmark AT&T Sex Discrimination Case
by Marjorie A. Stockford (Rutgers University Press) tells the story of a young lawyer named David Copus, who, in the early 1970s, teamed up with government colleagues to confront the mature and staid executives of AT&T over the company’s treatment of its female and minority employees.

Their disagreement resulted in a $38 million settlement that benefited 15,000 employees, more than 13,000 of them women, and changed our perceptions of women’s and men’s roles in the workplace forever.

Copus, who worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), was charged with representing American citizens who suffered from employment discrimination. Time and again he saw young women in the South, many of them black, being turned down for available jobs in local phone companies – usually as telephone operators – often for no valid reason. He and the EEOC decided to challenge AT&T’s company-wide sex discrimination practices. Eventually, the friends and colleagues of AT&T’s employees who worked at other companies, witnessing AT&T’s capitulation, began to hire and promote women into better jobs themselves. At the same time, the EEOC started to aggressively push corporate America to give women more opportunities.

The Bellwomen unfolds the history of this case, illuminating the motivations, strengths, and weaknesses of all the players, from AT&T corporate leaders, to the lawyers of the EEOC, to the female activists fighting for what they believed. Marjorie Stockford writer, consultant and public administrator also profiles three beneficiaries of the case, presenting their ambitions and achievements.

Combined with the power of America’s civil rights laws and the influence of the second wave women’s movement, this case provided a catalyst that drove many more women into the paid workforce in non-traditional jobs. By the late twentieth century, when women could be seen working everywhere, from construction sites to corporate offices, it appeared that they belonged there and always had.

The Bellwomen is a thorough, and thoroughly enjoyable, account of an important piece of history – the legal action that launched a thousand careers. Marjorie Stockford brings to life the stories of the pioneering women and the courageous government lawyer that helped open the workplace opportunities all women enjoy today. This book deserves to be widely read so that we don't forget how much effort was required to ensure simple equity, and as a reminder to remain vigilant against vestiges of discrimination that can still creep into corporate cultures. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter, The Arbuckle Professor at Harvard Business School and author of Men and Women of the Corporation and Evolve!

This book provides an insightful perspective, putting in better context the leaps women have made at AT&T over the past thirty years. The women profiled in this book paved the way for many of us who have competed and advanced on equal ground over the past twenty years. – Cathy Martine, AT&T Senior Vice President – Voice Internet Services and Consumer Product Management

The author of The Bellwomen has the inside track; Stockford was one of the beneficiaries of this landmark employment discrimination settlement. Unfolding like a novel, the book recounts a fascinating slice of history written in an engrossing and easy-to-read style.

Literature & Fiction

An Unfinished Season: A Novel by Ward Just (Houghton Mifflin)

From the award-winning and distinguished chronicler of American social history and political culture, Ward Just, An Unfinished Season captures the 1950s hauntingly. In a time of rabid anticommunism, worker unrest, and government corruption, even the small-town family could not escape the nationwide suspicion and dread of "the enemy within."

In the small town of Quarterday, half a day's ride from Chicago, nineteen-year-old Wilson Ravan watches as his father, who runs a printing business, fends off workers threatening to strike and then begins to unravel himself. A gruff and private man eager to maintain his power, Teddy Ravan vows not to budge, despite hearing that Communists are behind the strike and receiving threatening phone calls at home. To protect himself and his family he borrows a gun, which he carries even after the strike ends.

Meanwhile, Wils, planning to attend the University of Chicago in the fall, gets a summer job at a Chicago newspaper and suddenly finds himself straddling three worlds – that of the working-class reporters eager to expose local corruption, of the glamorous debutante parties on the North Shore where he spends his nights, and of the burgeoning cold war between his parents in Quarterday. Most important, he meets Aurora Brule, the daughter of a renowned psychiatrist with a disturbing past in World War II. Wils and Aurora fall in love, but their happiness is cut short by a tragedy in the Brule family and by the unraveling of old secrets that make Wils question everything he once thought he knew.

Just is the author of thirteen previous novels, including the National Book Award finalist Echo House. In this, his 14th book, Just once again shows his deep understanding of the folly of human nature.

It's always a pleasure to read Just's prose – crisp and intelligent, animated by dry humor and by a realism that is too humane to be cynical. This novel, with its resonant questions about the class divisions that most Americans refuse to acknowledge, is one of his most trenchant works to date. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Supple as ever, Just takes coming-of-age material and puts his distinctive stamp on it ... One of Just's best works: stuffed with surprises, sparkling with insights. – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ward Just writes the kind of books they say no one writes anymore: smart, well-crafted narratives – wise to the ways of the world – that use fiction to show us how we live," wrote Joseph Kanon in the Los Angeles Times. An Unfinished Season is quintessential Just, bringing us into the secret, shadow life that inhabits politics, business, family, and love in 1950s Chicago. It is a subtle, probing portrait of a time when government suspicion and corruption seeped into everything. It is also a beautifully atmospheric depiction of a place and a searing story of lives on the brink of transformation.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism

The House As Setting, Symbol, and Structural Motif in Children's Literature by Pauline Dewan (Mellen Studies in Children's Literature, V. 5: Edwin Mellen)

In the conclusion to The House As Setting, Symbol, and Structural Motif in Children's Literature, Pauline Dewan quotes critic Victor Watson's remark that "good writing for children ... habitually masks the complexity of its effects." In many ways his statement could be applied to good critics of writing for children and specifically Dewan's study. All of us have had the experience of reading a critical study of a work, an author, or a group of works by several different authors and then remarking to ourselves, "Yes, it seems so simple and obvious. Why didn't I think of it or notice it before?"  The House As Setting, Symbol, and Structural Motif in Children's Literature takes a basic setting and, by extension, a basic idea found in a large majority of stories written for children and then studies a wide range of novels – classic and contemporary; realistic and fantastic; British, American, Canadian, and a few others – and shows how they reveal a series of complex patterns and themes relating to this basic setting and idea.

Some years ago, Jon C. Stott, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Alberta, suggested that all of the settings in children's literature could be listed under either (and sometimes both) of the heading "home" and "not-home." The conflicts in children's stories began, he hypothesized, when characters found themselves in "not-home" settings, that is, places that did not offer the security or sense of belonging so central to their lives. Most of these stories involved journeys in which the children left their "not-homes" and proved themselves worthy of reaching "homes" where they belonged.

In The House As Setting, Symbol, and Structural Motif in Children's Literature Dewan, accomplished writer, Ph.D. in English from York University (Toronto), specialist in Victorian literature, does not disagree with this concept of opposed pairings. However, she does reveal the incredible complexity that lies beneath this apparently simple binary opposition. Reading through her study, we become aware of such contrasts as innocence and experience, childhood and adulthood, interiors and exteriors, nature and civilization, sensitivity and insecurity, freedom and confinement – all of which are embodied in the various homes found in the books she discusses and in the characters' actions and attitudes toward these.

Starting her study with the belief that "setting should be an integral component contributing to the overall significance of each novel," Dewan examines the inside and outside of houses; the search for a house; houses of the past; land, sea, and island homes; home away from home; and the search for a house and parents. In doing so, she skillfully delineates the psychological complexity of the idea of home for both the child protagonists and the novelists who have created them. Equally as interesting as these categories are the novels Dewan gathers together to exemplify them. Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is linked to several Beatrix Potter tales, Watership Down with Wilders' Little House series, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Sarah Plain and Tall, and Anne of Green Gables.

The creation of these groupings, along with the close readings of depictions of settings and of characters' interactions with these, allows readers to explore more fully the nuances in individual stories and the variables in the characteristics that draw together these often disparate novels. In addition, through the juxtaposition of discussions of titles not usually considered together, Dewan invites critics to reread well-known, often favorite, novels from new, enlightening points-of-view.

Throughout children's literature, characters leave home, either temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons. Changed family circumstances precipitate many moves: one or both parents die, fathers change jobs, the family's financial situation changes, or the family buys a new home. Loftier ideals motivate many protagonists to leave home. Some characters leave to accomplish a quest, others wish to make discoveries, some want to find new lands, and many want to right a wrong or generally defeat the forces of evil. Various types of searches inspire many characters to leave. Some search for treasure, adventure, a cure to a problem, a lost parent, a missing brother, a lost member of royalty, or a lost talisman or some other object of significance.

There are those who leave home and get lost. Others leave home in order to escape the dangers of war, an abusive situation, or confining circumstances. Some children leave to recover from illness, while many go for a vacation. Leaving home can involve changing countries, changing planets, or even changing worlds. Some individuals leave home because they are forced to do so through circumstances, while others are forcibly kept away.

With few exceptions, leaving home challenges characters to change in response to the move; it helps steer children towards their eventual place in the adult world. "You are not the hobbit that you were," says Gandolf to Bilbo when they return home in The Hobbit. Similarly, in The Book of Three, when Taran asks why his house has grown so much smaller since he left, Dallben replies, "It is not Caer Dallben which has grown smaller. You have grown bigger. That is the way of it."  Characters like Claudia Kincaid in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. E. Frankweiler and Burl in The Maestro leave their childhood behind them when they leave home. Mrs. Frankweiler notices that, with the move away from home, "Claudia was tiptoeing into the grown-up world. Likewise, as Burl moves further and further away, "childhood dripped off him in great huge gobs of sweat." Much more so than its adult counterpart, children's fiction concerns itself with the maturation of character, and frequently this maturation is precipitated by moving away from home.

Home in all these books is part of a pattern. Correspondences between home and the self are evident in an entire host of children's novels. Structural patterns as well as symbolic ones suggest design and purpose.

The outward journey frequently reflects the inward pattern of our lives. Sometimes characters start in a place they are unhappy with, move to a better place, and return to their original home. The return to a previous setting is always a return with a difference. Characters reframe their ideas about their first dwelling in the light of their experiences in another place.

The reverse pattern is also widespread. Moving from an agreeable to a disagreeable, or at least opposed setting, and back again is characteristic of novels such as The Animal Family, the Robinsonnade novels, Julie of the Wolves, Homecoming, Monkey Island, Hold Fast, The Finding, Silverwing, and Sunwing. As Snufkin says in Comet in Moominland, "You must go on a long journey before you can really find out how wonderful home is."

In a number of novels like Watership Down, the Little House books, and the Borrowers series, the characters live in one place after another. The final home in each of these works is one that integrates the best elements of the previous dwellings. In other works like the Bromeliad trilogy, the protagonist moves in linear fashion to progressively more auspicious settings. These different types of patterns are just a few of the more prominent ones; they suggest how prevalent structural designs involving home are in the literature.

According to Dewan, in novel after novel, we find details of settings chosen for their significance and symbolic resonance. These details acquire additional weight as they are juxtaposed with other details in the novel, thereby "increasing the story in every direction." The way novelists use settings in children's novels is a primary example of this carefully crafted and deceptively simple manner of writing. In discussing symbolic meanings in a novel, Flannery O'Connor argues: "The fact that these meanings are there makes the book significant. The reader may not see them but they have their effect on him nonetheless." The same can be said of patterning within the novel. Child readers may not consciously detect such designs but that does not mean they go unnoticed.

Home is the place that anchors children. In Jacob Have I Loved, Louise Bradshaw is unable to leave home until she discovers her roots in it. Ironically, such roots provide the necessary foundation for expansion. The ever-expanding circumference of the child's world in fiction is a particularly significant pattern for children. Paula Fox writes, "We are all born provincials, but there is in us that push against the constraint of circumstance, of the given, that we show in our first efforts to stand up on legs that are not quite ready to support us, in that struggle toward a larger life we make in our first attempts at human speech." C. S. Lewis maintains that certain types of science fiction "are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience." What he says of science fiction applies equally to settings in children's literature.

"Good writing for children," argues Victor Watson, "habitually masks the complexity of its effects." He elaborates: "I have found myself repeatedly seeking to explain and illuminate what I have come to regard as the central and distinguishing characteristic of children's writing – a ‘poetic’ – able to suggest subtle, complex and private values in simple, transparent and carefully crafted language and form."

On page one of the Introduction, Dewan writes, "This book is written especially for those who would like to see children's literature placed in the same context and judged by the same criteria of its counterpart. It is also aimed at ... those in a position ... to help readers of all ages develop a richer and fuller response to children's imaginative literature." She has achieved her goal, both as a critic and advocate of children's literature. As a critic, reader, and frequently teacher of literature to elementary school children, I will be influenced by her patternings and close reading to study well-known works in a new light and to present them to university students, grade school teachers, and children in new ways. – Jon C. Stott, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Alberta.

In The House As Setting, Symbol, and Structural Motif in Children's Literature Dewane succeeds in her goal of elevating children’s literature so that it is analyzed and evaluated on the same basis as adult literature. Her bibliography of primary sources lists over 200 titles; while the list represents only a portion of the children's novels in print, it includes a large number of the books on which most scholars and critics focus their attentions.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism

Plots of Opportunity: Representing Conspiracy in Victorian England by Albert D. Pionke (The Ohio State University Press)

The working classes, colonial subjects, European nationalists, and Roman Catholics – these groups generated intense anxiety for Victorian England's elite public, which often responded by accusing them of being dangerous conspirators. Bringing together a wide range of literary and historical evidence, Albert D. Pionke argues in Plots of Opportunity that the pejorative meanings attached to such opportunistic accusations of conspiracy were undermined by the many valorized versions of secrecy in Victorian society.

After surveying England's evolving theories of representative politics and individual and collective secretive practices, Pionke, adjunct assistant professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati, traces the intersection of democracy and secrecy through a series of case histories. Using works by Thomas Carlyle, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, John Henry Newman, and others, along with periodicals, histories, and parliamentary documents of the period, he shows the rhetorical prominence of groups such as the Freemasons, the Thugs, the Carbonari, the Fenians, and the Jesuits in Victorian democratic discourse.

By highlighting the centrality of representations of conspiracy in every case, Plots of Opportunity shows for the first time the markedly similar strategies of repression, resistance, and concealment used by competing agents in the democracy debate.

In the autobiographical introduction to Secret Societies (1847), idiosyncratic English
author Thomas De Quincey admits that a precocious fascination has prompted
his essay on this "highest form of the incredible". He remembers that between
the impressionable ages of seven and ten, he engaged in numerous debates with "a stern lady" over Abbe Barruel's Memoirs, Illustrating the History of Jacobinism and John Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, car­ried on in the secret meetings of the Free Masons, Illuminati and Reading Societies. Both texts appeared in English in 1797, amid the threat of French invasion and the looming presence of the French Revolution, and, from a Catholic and a Protestant position, respectively, they attack Freemasonry and Illuminism as the secret authors of European unrest. The Abbe's "awful shape of four volumes octavo" established a particularly powerful hold over the young De Quincey, who was both fascinated and perplesed by Barruel's conspiratorial villains.

For De Quincey, secret societies serve as repositories of purposes and truths too advanced for the culture at large. In a tacit challenge to the prevail­ing middle-class standard of Victorian manliness as transparent and open, he approves and even celebrates the secrecy practiced by these "small fraternities of men.” In fact, their clandestine community of truth is described as "doubly sublime;” a label that grants them both spiritual and aesthetic status. Secret Societies thus invites its readers to practice the same kind of secrecy as its subject by appealing to a set of imperceptible standards of value accessible only to the "meditative" and too advanced for the middleclass "great vortex of society." In other words, De Quincey attempts to overcome the presumed hostility to secret societies sparked by Barruel s accusation of "treason" by abandoning the Abbe's external political regis­ter in favor of his own discourse of interiority.

Secret Societies neatly captures the complex dialectic between exterior polit­ical condemnation and interior subjective attraction at the heart of Victorian England's multivalent rhetoric of secrets. Plots of Opportunity offers an extended reexamination of this dialectic that seeks to clarify the unanswered questions of “how” and “why” from De Quincey’s original investigation of secret societies. Instead of accepting the ahistorical sublimity of these "small fraternities" or attempting to uncover their "purposes" and "awful truths," however, this book strives to situate De Quincey's "general economy of Secret Societies" within the specific confines of just over forty years of English culture, from 1829 to1870. Although this period from Catholic emancipation to Italian unification contains many factual secret societies – the Freemasons, the Thugs, the Carbonari, etc. – it is the productive function of the secret society as a rhetorical figure that series as Pionke’s main object of analysis.

These secret societies or agents occupy a broad spectrum of class, religion, race, and nationality, ranging from aristocrats to trade unionists, Establishment clergy to Roman Catholics, British bureaucrats to Indian rebels, and Irish nationalists to Italian brigands. Their party affiliations and political positions similarly run the gamut from ultra­Tory to Liberal to radically Radical, from constitutional monarchist to red republican. Even these agents' ideological investment in accusations of conspiracy ranges widely from an apparently genuine belief in the presence and danger of secret plots to more opportunistic denunciations for the purposes of propaganda. The central project of Plots of Opportunity is to trace this rhetorical intersection of secrecy and democracy during several crucial moments of debate over the character of England's emerging democracy. Pionke approaches these moments of democratic crisis by focusing first, on the explicitly political reaction in Parliament, the periodical press and elsewhere to attempts by an under-enfranchised constituency – to gain more equitable representation; and, second, on a network of more literary texts that absorb this initial political rhetoric and use it to construct a field of aesthetic possibilities that offers potential insights into and consequences for the original crisis. Due to the increasingly close connection between Britain's domestic and imperial policies during the period under consideration, Pionke’s investigation interrogates the productive functions of the figure of the secret soci­ety both at home, where it was often initially deployed in an effort to stop "the lower orders" from securing social and political equality, and abroad, everywhere it served as a useful tool for preserving the "natural" inferiority of the "non-English races." In both cases the figure of the secret society allows De Quincey's dialectic between condemnation and admiration to become especially perspicuous, inflecting the parliamentary, periodical and literary discourses that, together, constitute Victorian England's larger democratic debate.

Ultimately, Pionke establishes that, far from being a mere "aberration of maturing bourgeois society'', the figure of the secret society actually played an ideologically central and largely overlooked role in the ongoing development of that society. In the first two-thirds of the nineteenth-century, the ongoing connection between accusations of secrecy and the period's tumultuous debate over the character of England's emerging democracy means that the figure of the secret society can serve as a useful barometer for Victorian England's failure to manifest its promise of universal political subjecthood. Liberal interpretations of the post-Enlightenment doctrine of "natural rights" simultaneously appealed to universalist notions of equality in order to justify electoral reform and the preeminent status of the Commons even as they sought to keep undesirable constituencies perpetually disenfranchised by branding them secret societies. These accusations were intended to deny groups like trade unionists, English Catholics and colonized peoples the chance to assert themselves as citizens by representing them as non-subjects – they could not be trusted to vote, for example, because their ties to clandestine organizations precluded their ability to function as autonomous individuals. What Pionke argues throughout Plots of Opportunity is that such "plots of opportunity" should be viewed with extreme suspicion, since they usually indicate that the ideals of democratic equality and political universalism are being circumvented in an effort to perpetuate an uneven distribution of social power.

This book will engage historians and literary critics alike, and it brings a strikingly fresh perspective to bear on debates about political struggles that have for too long been treated as if they were cut and dried, rather than evolving contests for control of society's ear. – John Plotz, Brandeis University

Plots of Opportunity examines how the figure of the secret society brought into focus a number of key debates in the Victorian engagement with mass democracy. Anyone interested in the cultural and political meanings of secret societies in the Victorian era – and contemporary times – should read this book. – David Vincent, Keele University

Plots of Opportunity is a thoroughly research academic analysis, offering a new window for historians and literary critics into 19th century England; that new window is the juxtaposition of secrecy and democracy.

Literature & Fiction

Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards (Mira Books)

In Wedding Ring, the first book in Emilie Richard’s planned Shenandoah Album series, three generations of women discover the healing gift of family, memories and love.

Tessa MacCrae feels as if she's facing a prison sentence when she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer helping her mother and grandmother clean out and repair the old family home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. She is prepared for inevitable anger and tension – the only emotional bonds they've ever shared. The three women have never been close, but Tessa hopes that time away from her husband – no matter how trying – will help her find the answers she desperately seeks and come to a decision about her failing marriage.

At first the summer is filled with all-too-familiar emotional storms. Helen, the family matriarch, is domineering, sharp-tongued and incapable of sharing feelings – except negative ones. Widowed at a young age, she has struggled her whole life, hanging on to the family farm by sacrificing everything, particularly love. Fiercely independent, Helen resents her daughter and granddaughter's intrusion, too angry to admit that she needs their help.

Nancy, Tessa's mother, appears to be little more than a hand-wringing social climber, who spends her days entertaining and courting Richmond's wealthy elite. What Tessa can't see is the woman so ashamed of her roots and desperate for acceptance that she would do anything to be loved, or the anxious wife trying to hold on to a marriage on which she has never had a firm grasp.

But with the passing weeks, their lives begin to change. Here in her grandmother's house, Tessa comes face-to-face with the family and the history that has shaped her. As Tessa restores a tattered wedding-ring quilt pieced by her grandmother and quilted by her mother years ago, the secrets that have shadowed their lives unfold in a drama of discovery, hope and healing. For the first time, Tessa can look past the years of resentment and regret and see her mother and grandmother for the flawed but courageous women they are.

Through, days of hard work, simple living and the determination to repair the torn fabric of their own lives, Tessa, Nancy and Helen discover that what was lost can be found again.

Recalling her work as a volunteer in the Ozark Mountains, and acknowledging her roots in Virginia's pastoral Shenandoah Valley, Richards launches a trilogy of novels inspired by quilt makers, a series that will resonate with fans of family sagas. Richard’s pieces together each woman's story as artfully as a quilter creates a quilt, with equally satisfying results, and her characterizations are transcendent, endowed with warmth and compassion. – Booklist

True to form, Richards's latest novel Wedding Ring once again features complex characterizations and in-depth explorations of social issues. A trained and experienced family counselor, her apparent fascination with relationships of all kinds lends complexity and credibility to her exploration of these topics.

Literature & Fiction / Mythology

American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress edited by Carl Lindahl (M.E. Sharpe)

For over seventy-five years the national library has sought actively to gather in, preserve, and share with the American people the traditional songs and stories from our nation's diverse cultural communities and from around the world. Since its creation in 1976, the American Folklife Center has continued this important work as an essential part of its mission "to preserve and present American folklife."

The collections of traditional poetry and music in the Archive of Folk Culture are legendary, their reputation enlarged and spread in part by the series of long-playing recordings, published by the Library of Congress in the 1940s and 1950s, called "Folk Music of the United States." Over the years the Folk Archive has broadened its purview to embrace a wide range of cultural traditions: occupational and regional culture; folk art and craftsmanship; and storytelling and oral history. Today, the archive houses over three million items in the form of sound recordings, photographs, film and video, manuscript materials, and ephemera that document our cultural heritage and folklife. Thousands of people visit the American Folklife Center each year, or call or write, with questions about traditional cultural life and requests to use archive materials. With the recent addition to the collections of documentation from the International Storytelling Foundation; the September 11 Project; the Veterans History Project; and StoryCorps, the archive is now as rich in the area of storytelling and oral history as it is in traditional music.

In light of this development, Carl Lindahl's book American Folktales is particularly welcome as a major contemporary publication that draws upon the spoken word traditions found in the Archive of Folk Culture. Here readers will find Jack tales as told by traditional storyteller Ray Hicks; stories from the South as collected by John and Alan Lomax; as well as tall tales, jokes, children's stories, and personal experience narratives from contemporary American life.

American Folktales takes its shape from the conviction that even the best stories only grow better as we get to know their tellers. Lindahl hopes that readers will agree that each of the tales gathered here possesses sufficient entertainment, esthetic, or cultural value to be enjoyed for itself, yet if he were to break up the repertoire of one gifted teller and distribute the stories into various thematic niches – tall tales, ghost stories, jokes – readers would be denied a deeper sense of the sources, uses, and power of that speaker's art. The first half of American Folktales is organized to focus primarily on the tellers, rather than the genres, of the tales. The first thirty-two stories represent a sizeable chunk of the recorded repertoire of America's best-known family of traditional story­tellers. These are followed by fifty-three tales representing the art of five individuals. Wherever possible, Lindahl has added recorded autobiographical comments from the storytellers and provided information about the speakers and their lives that may bring the reader closer both to the stories and to the storytellers.

The second half of the book is broken mostly into generic and thematic units: legends, tall tales, jokes, children's stories, narratives concerning local and national history. Even in these sections, the tales are subcategorized by individual storytellers: whenever feasible, two or more tales from the same teller have been placed together and prefaced the sequence with a headnote providing information on the narrator, the collector, and the performances. Thus, the section on jokes contains five tales from Son House, four tales each from Arthur Campa and Cora Jackson; three each from Levette Jay Davidson and John Davis, and two each from Archer Gilfillan, Games Kilgore, and Joan Moser.

In choosing to emphasize the teller over the tale, Lindahl has no doubt sacrificed a certain measure of variety and diversity, but he has done so with the conviction that the reader will feel compensated by a fuller knowledge of the narrators resulting from exposure to not just one, but several of their stories.

Wherever feasible, each cluster of two or more tales is prefaced with the teller's own accounts of her or his experiences as a listener to and teller of stories. As a rule, the story or stories beginning each cluster are those that convey the most information about and atmosphere of the communities and environments in which the tellers learned their tales. Thus, by following the stories in the order presented, readers will experience something of the personal and social contexts from which the stories emerge, contexts that make their marks on even the most fanciful fictions, most of which are found toward the end of each section.

Despite its storyteller-centered approach, American Folktales is also intended to serve as a useful, if partial, guide to American storytelling traditions and to represent insofar as possible the cultural wealth and diversity of the nation's narrative store. Readers will find here the arts of storytellers of African, Appalachian, Bahamian, Cajun, Cherokee, Cornish, Cuban, English, French, German, Irish, Mexican, Nisqually, Osage, Ozark, Scottish, and Welsh descent. Presented here are the occupational storytelling traditions of bar owners, barbers, convicts, cowboys, craftspeople, doctors, dog drivers, ex-slaves, factory workers, farmers, fishers, folk­lorists, innkeepers, linguists, lumberjacks, migrant workers, miners, ministers, minstrels, musicians, office workers, railroaders, sailors, social workers, sheep ranchers, singers, soldiers, and teachers. And the tales of this collection were learned, told, or set in some forty of the fifty United States as well as in the District of Columbia.

The comparative notes on the tales emphasize personal, community, regional, ethnic, and national dimensions of each story for which Lindahl has been able to find significant parallels, sources, and analogs. These notes guide readers to other published and archival versions of the tales found here and provide a sense of the popularity and distribution of each tale type within the United States. Thus, the notes for Maud Long's telling of "Jack and the Heifer Hide" direct readers first to the other versions of the tale recorded and published from the tellings of Maud Long, and next to versions told by other members of her family and residents of her region. The notes further refer to tales told or collected by the other storytellers and folklorists represented in American Folktales. For example, many folklorists think of the heifer hide story as peculiarly Appalachian, but the notes to this tale reveal that Zora Neale Hurston collected a well-told African American version from a 14-year-old boy in her hometown of Eatonville, Florida.

The notes go on to direct the reader to other published and archived American versions of the tales that will be of service to readers interested in finding how particular individuals, communities, regions, and ethnicities shape similar, but significantly different stories from shared plots and themes.

American Folktales is also a record, however slight, of the women and men who recorded the taletellers. Folklorists have long known the truth of the dictum, "It's not just your word, but who you give it to." Great storytellers always tailor their tales to suit the particular needs, expectations, and esthetics of their audiences. The more powerful the tellers' art, the greater their sensitivity to the storytelling environments. The collectors of these tales played major roles in shaping the performances; thus, we simply cannot know certain crucial aspects of the stories without knowing something of the folklorists who collected them. This is especially true for those performances collected before 1950 (the great majority in this book), when the technological constraints of sound recording were so great that they effect considerable alterations in the tellers' styles. The early collectors were working uphill against dauntingly artificial environments. In American storytelling traditions, tales are most typically told in intimacy, in relaxed settings, and as outgrowths of normal conversation. When a collector (often a personal stranger and a cultural outsider) enters a home in the company of a technician, lugging a 300-pound tape recorder onto the front porch or into the parlor, the normal storytelling context instantaneously vanishes. The tech­nology demands that conversation stop and that the storyteller cut herself off from the others in the room and stand on cue to perform into a giant sound­trapping funnel. Not only the reciprocal quality but also the pace of the performances is affected. The early machines could capture no more than five minutes of speech before the disk was full and had to be discarded or replaced. This required a speaker to stop in the middle of a tale and wait for a minute or more to resume it. When Joshua Alley told "The Bear's Tale", the longest narrative in American Folktales, he was interrupted six times for record changes in the course of just one performance.

Two factors, above all, can help compensate for such an otherwise hostile storytelling environment: an absolutely composed and unflappable narrator, and a supportive and sensitive collector. The relationship established between the storyteller and the folklorist is essential for a strong performance. In many ways, American Folktales is as much about the relationships between storytellers and collectors as it is about stories.

In 1941, the Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish, wrote that Amer­ican folksong "tells us more about the American people than all the miles of their quadruple-lane express highways and all the acres of their billboard plastered cities." MacLeish was a great advocate for using Library of Congress col­lections to educate the American people about their historical and cultural traditions. The Archive of Folk Culture's priceless documentation of our infinitely various heritage and the traditions of our many regional, ethnic, and oc­cupational communities are contributing to this effort. Like the Library's folk music albums and other programs and publications of the last century, American Folktales helps to make our heritage of storytelling and oral history widely known and accessible to all, both for the present and for future generations. – Peggy A. Bulger, Director, American Folklife Center

The anthology gains considerably more from its depth than it loses from its lack of breadth – American Folktales is an opportunity to look very deeply into America’s rich storytelling traditions. It’s wonderful to hear from some of the most important and accomplished and least recognized people in our country, and in this book one feels like one really gets to know them.

Medicine / Biographies & Memoirs

Champion of Women and the Unborn: Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. by Frederick N. Dyer (Science History Publications)

Abortion was common in the middle of the nineteenth century. Horatio Robinson Storer risked his career and reputation by openly discussing and writing about this taboo topic. Storer enlisted the American Medical Association in a successful effort opposing induced abortion. As a result of this "physicians' crusade against abortion," legislation protecting the unborn was passed in nearly every state and territory. Most of these laws remained in effect until the Supreme Court overturned them in January 1973. Many additional children survived pregnancy as a result of this physician persuasion and physician-backed legislation.

Champion of Women and the Unborn is the biography of this influential physician, written by Frederick N. Dyer, university professor, research psychologist at the Army Medical Research Laboratory, who has access to the Storer Family Papers as well as a large collection of manuscripts including those earlier donated to the Countway Library of the Harvard Medical School, numerous manuscripts in other libraries, and the scores of Dr. Storer's scientific publications.

Neither the word, gynecology, nor the medical science of gynecology ex­isted when Horatio Robinson Storer began medical practice in 1853. Only a few "quacks" treated the female organs and they often dealt more with the sexual needs of the woman than with her medical problems. Specialization of any kind was infrequent in that era of general practitioners and Storer was doubly condemned for adopting the unique role of specialist in the diseases of women. Storer was not one to be deterred from a just cause by opposition. He advanced the science of gynecology, pioneered gynecological surgery, and started the first medical society and medical journal for gynecologists. Within a few decades, gynecology was the most common medical specialty in America.

Storer grew up in a climate of intellectual controversy and was surrounded with attractive models of men engaged in conflict. These included his father, Dr. David Humphreys Storer; his uncle, Thomas Mayo Brewer; his Edinburgh mentor, Dr. (later Sir) James Young Simpson; and even the former President, John Quincy Adams.

What was the nature of this man who had an uncanny knack for recognizing important but unpopular causes and who was willing to vigorously espouse them, despite the strong opposition of powerful conservative physicians like the Drs. Bigelow who ruled over the profession in Boston and controlled the Harvard Medical School professorship that was Horatio's dearest dream? What were the forces that created this remarkable individual of large and numerous accomplishments and with relatively few actions that can be viewed as inappropriate, by yesterday's or today's standards? The answers to these questions constitute a remarkable story. Thanks to Horatio's prolific pen (nearly 200 published articles, seven books, and hundreds of extant letters) and to the prolific pens of others, such as his daughter, Agnes Storer, and his Harvard classmate and friend, Hermann Jackson Warner, and thanks to the families and institutions who preserved many of the unpublished manuscripts, much of this remarkable story is available to be told. And it is told using the same words which inspired and motivated the members of Horatio's favorite medical societies and which so angered his enemies that Jacob Bigelow's son apparently purchased and destroyed the plates of Horatio's medical journal to prevent their further reproduction.

Hermann Jackson Warner provided us adjectives like "bombastic," "egotis­tic," and "conceited" to describe Horatio and we have learned how Warner loved Horatio, with only brief respites of hate, despite such appellations. Horatio, himself, however is the greatest source of the words used by others to refer to him such as "egotistic," "arrogant," "plucky," "cranky," and "too self-assertive," the latter apparently used by his father when Horatio took the unus­ual step of acquiring an associate in his gynecological practice. However, Bowditch's "improvident" may be the best characterization.

Horatio certainly was no "wall-flower" as the active social life described in his student diaries shows and his medical convention persuasiveness proves. His fellow members of the Gynaecological Society of Boston typically skipped Society meetings when Horatio was out of town or ill. Some of these Society members at times appeared, as described in the Proceedings of the Society, to be Horatio's sycophants as much as they were prone to attribute this trait to the followers of Henry J. Bigelow.

We have some indications of his intense devotion to the key women in his life. Hermann provided second- and third-hand descriptions of this for his fiance and wife, Emily Elvira. And what a tragedy it is that none of the "long letters to the girl" have survived, given Horatio's superb near love letter to Hermann when he thanked Hermann for the gift of the microscope. Agnes in her diaries and letters described Horatio's devotion as it was manifested for herself and for Frances Sophia MacKenzie Storer. We have Horatio's own tribute to Augusta Caroline in the dedication of his book on Italy and his description of the infatuation of a young father for Jessie Simpson Storer in his letter to his sister. We know this devotion was reciprocated from explicit statements of Agnes and from the behavior of Aunt Carrie and Sister Frances during Horatio's family and health crises in the 1870s when Augusta Caroline followed him across a continent and both followed him across an ocean.

As to his sons, Frank Addison, the oldest is somewhat of a mystery. No Harvard degree, no marriage, apparent lifelong poor health, and living his whole adult life more than a thousand miles to the south of his family, although regularly visiting Newport in the summers. John Humphreys and Malcolm did graduate from Horatio's beloved Harvard with Malcolm even following his father in medicine and the specialty of gynecology. Their graduation dates find their way into a dozen surviving letters of the proud Horatio to his alma mater and to its alumni. These boys fished and collected coins with their father and continued these pursuits with him as adults. John Humphreys and Malcolm and their families visited the sick and the well Horatio with a regularity that indicated immense devotion.

Of Horatio's many accomplishments in natural science, medicine, surgery, medical ethics, medical journalism, medical history, "non-medical" history, philanthropy, civil rights, ..., what should he be remembered for? Horatio's own wishes on this may suit as an answer – from 1857 to 1922 he monitored the offspring of the survivors, and their offspring, of the abortions he prevented.

This carefully documented study of the work and life of Horatio Storer fills in an important gap in the history of the abortion controversy in America. Storer was an ardent and indefatigable opponent of criminal abortion. By force of personality and argument he marshaled professional opinion, especially that of the American Medical Association, against some of the prominent figures of the late 19th century. Storer was a pioneer gynecologist who advanced his field scientifically as well as ethically. – Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., M.A.C.P., John Carroll Professor of Medicine & Medical Ethics Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center

Champion of Women and the Unborn raises the question of whether the reader would even exist without Storer’s successful efforts to prevent abortion. The book will be of great interest to those engaged in the history of medicine, and of women’s and fetal rights.

Medicine / Psychiatry / Diagnostic Imaging

Essentials of Neuroimaging for Clinical Practice by Darin D. Dougherty, Scott L. Rauch & Jerrold F. Rosenbaum (American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc) offers practical advice on how to use today's most advanced application of neuroimaging in the diagnostic workup of patients.

The use of neuroimaging in psychiatry is exploding, yet clinicians are often unclear about which studies to use to obtain the best diagnostic results in specific situations. And neuroimaging technology has progressed considerably during recent decades. These studies can be an invaluable part of the diagnostic workup of psychiatric patients. However, it can be difficult to determine which clinical situations call for the use of neuro­imaging studies and which do not. In addition, it is often unclear what type of neuroimaging study should be ordered. Should contrast be used during the study? Are there specific acquisition parameters that may be useful in a particular clinical situation? Essentials of Neuroimaging for Clinical Practice demystifies the uses of these powerful techniques. The goal of the book is to describe the currently available neuro­imaging technologies and to discuss their appropriate use in the clinical psychiatric setting. The potential future clinical utility of these techniques are addressed as well.

This clinical guide helps clinicians achieve a solid understanding of the full range of neuroimaging modalities:

  • Structural techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Functional techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPELT), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • Other techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) – including quantitative EEG and event-related potentials – and magnetoencephalography.

For each modality, readers find a basic review of the technique, including its development and its underlying technology. Essentials of Neuroimaging for Clinical Practice covers which techniques to use in specific clinical situations. It explains how to write up orders to obtain the most accurate and detailed information from each study, including when to use contrast and how to determine the best acquisition parameters. It also looks at the current capabilities and future potential of each technique in practice and research.

Contributors include:

  • Nicolas Bolo, Ph.D., Associate Biophysicist, Brain Imaging Center; Lecturer in Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts
  • Darin D. Dougherty, M.D., M.Sc., Assistant Director of Psychiatric Neuroimaging Re­search, Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Alan J. Fischman, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Massachu­setts General Hospital; Professor of Radiology, Har­vard Medical School
  • Martin A. Goldstein, M.D., Instructor of Neurology, Weill Medical College, Cor­nell University, New York
  • Randy L. Gollub, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Director of Psychiatric Neuroimaging Re­search, Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • Ramon Gilberto Gonzalez, M.D., Director of Neuroradiology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Gina R. Kuperberg, M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Lawrence T. Park, M.D., Director, Acute Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Bruce H. Price, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Chief, Department of Neurology, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
  • Scott L. Rauch, M.D., Associate Chief of Psychiatry for Neuroscience Research and Director of Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research, De­partments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Brain Imaging Center, and Associate Profes­sor, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Bel­mont, Massachusetts
  • Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, M.D., Chief of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital; Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Robert L. Savoy, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, The Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Filled with examples of real-life imaging studies, Essentials of Neuroimaging for Clinical Practice is a must­have tool for all practicing psychiatrists and psychologists. In addition, it will serve as an excellent clinical guide for residents – and an outstanding text for courses in clinical neuroimaging for psychiatrists.

An ideal clinical guide for clinicians and residents, it offers clear, concise, and practical advice on how to use today's most advanced applications in the diagnostic workup of patients. In addition, it explores implications of each modality for future practice and research.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Blood on the Leaves by Jeff Stetson (Warner Books)

Should those who've long been denied justice take matters into their own hands?

There is, perhaps, no more chilling word in the African-American community, especially to the ears of black men. From the moment Africans landed on these shores, mobs have been putting black men to death illegally. World-renowned playwright Jeff Stetson takes a new look at this phenomenon. His debut novel, Blood on the Leaves, tracks serial killings that seem to be the work of a black man who is lynching whites. Each murdered man has the same bloody past: In the 1960s he evaded punishment for killing a black person, even though the criminal-justice system was fully aware each man was guilty but had refused to convict him, and in some cases, even praised him for the crime he had committed.

Is the black suspect a hero or a psychopath? Are the white men's deaths delayed justice or murderous revenge? Jackson, Mississippi's highest ranking black prosecutor, James Reynolds, must answer these questions while he struggles with his own frailties, a lifetime of a recurring horrific nightmare and too much Jack Daniels and the unwelcome burden of this, the toughest and most important case of his career. Reynolds's belief in the fairness of the law is steady; only rarely does he doubt the correctness of that position. But the reader will likely be torn. The suspect, Martin Matheson, is a gifted and articulate history professor at a black college and the son of a respected civil-rights leader. Matheson's lectures include slide shows of "lynching parties" – jovial white faces surrounding black bodies that dangle like "Strange Fruit" from tree limbs. Stetson's title words, blood on the leaves, are lyrics from the Billie Holiday song. Readers may sympathize with Matheson, a brilliant black man who takes an unswerving, decisive path to right past wrongs, that is, if he did indeed kill the men. But Matheson teaches hundreds of impressionable college students, some of whom credit him with changing their lives. Could one of them be the murderer, a young, twisted mind set out to settle the score?

Stetson has interwoven Blood on the Leaves with American history lessons, moral dilemmas and stinging social commentary. The novel focuses on white racism, but prosecutor Reynolds finds fault with the black community as well. He is especially ruthless in his assessment of today's black leaders in their "custom-tailored designer wardrobes," leaders so corrupt that they certainly won't be assassinated, and so ineffectual that there's "no reason for white folks to worry" about any rebellion from the black community. Angry yes, but Stetson, through Reynolds' voice, also seems saddened by the legacy of the civil-rights struggle: so commercialized and exploited that today it is a movement consisting of cassette tapes and T-shirts.

Amid an overwhelming media blitz and mounting racial tensions, Reynolds must not only confront the secrets he's run from all these years – but play out a devastating end­game against a killer willing to use the law against itself and go to the most deadly extremes for "justice."

Has the guts to go where few other novels go, straight down the roiling, smolder­ing river of America's great racial divide ... an auspicious debut for a fine and talented writer. – Peter Blauner, author of The Intruder

A seething novel of race, justice, and revenge that accelerates at a feverish pace. Jeff Stetson is a startlingly original writer, funny, angry, incredibly smart. –William Lashner, author of Hostile Witness

Provocative... sure to spark debate... Stetson examines justice, loyalties, and the tinderbox of racial tensions with razor-sharp dialogue and an unflinching eye toward history. – Tananarive Due, author of The Living Blood

This stellar debut transcends the genre ... highly recommended! – Sheldon Siegel, author of Final Verdict

A thrilling debut! His courtroom scenes are as accomplished as Scott Turow's and his pacing rivals that of James Patterson. – Herb Boyd, editor of The Harlem Reader

A promising debut novel, Blood on the Leaves involves a riveting game of intellectual chess that crescendos into a powerful courtroom confrontation. Stetson has remarkable gifts: the plot is intricate; the characters come alive on the page. In Professor Matheson, Stetson has created a twenty-first century Nat Turner, a literary figure that will be loved and hated, but not ignored. This thriller may be one of the most important novels of the year; fueled by the volatile subject matter, Blood on the Leaves will leave readers disturbed, surprised, and, ultimately, dazzled.

Nonfiction / Politics / Communications

Covering Politics: A Handbook for Journalists by Rob Armstrong (Blackwell Publishing Professional)

  • How do candidates run for office?

  • How do the political parties work?

  • How are elections held?

  • How is the public policy agenda shaped?

Covering the political and electoral process demands that reporters thoroughly understand the mechanics of how Americans select those who govern. Covering Politics is a handbook that explores the role of reporters and polit­ical reporting in the world of politics. But Covering Politics is more than candidates, parties, and elections. It is the quest for and role of money, campaign regulation, political advertising, spin, media manipulation, non-traditional parties and candidates, non-partisan offices and the role of polling and other public opinion research. Author Rob Armstrong discusses the process as well as the day-to-day operation of political organizations, campaigns, strategists, consultants, pollsters and the role of the reporters covering them all. The book probes the potential pitfalls that lurk for unsuspecting or naive reporters. Yet most of all, Covering Politics focuses on just that – covering politics.

Armstrong, retired professional in res­idence in the Communications Department at Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida, author of five previous books, former on-air radio and television correspondent for CBS News for 25 years, bases the book on more than a dozen interviews he conducted with noted reporters, politicians, and academicians, both inside and outside Washington, D.C., who share their real-world experience and practical, hard-nosed advice. Extended conversations with veteran political reporters include:

  • Bob Schieffer          
  • Brian Lamb
  • David Broder
  • Elaine Povich
  • Jamie Dupree
  • Candy Crowley
  • Brit Hume  
  • Marvin Kalb

Sections include Basic Background (The American Tradition, Legal Benchmarks, The Process, Roadmap for Reporters), The Campaign Trail (Candidates and Campaigns, The End of the Trail, Roadmaps for Reporters), Nuts and Bolts (Gadgets, Gizmos and Cyberspace, Money and Manipulation, Taking the Public Pulse, Ethics, Roadmap for Reporters), and Where Do We Go from Here? (Learning from Our Mistakes, Roadmap for Reporters).

Those reporters like Armstrong who were cutting their journalistic teeth during the 1960s and 70s – the Johnson administration and Vietnam, the Nixon Administration and Watergate, and the heyday of the Beatles – believed that was the Golden Age of political reporting. To young reporters like Armstrong, Timothy Crouse's best seller The Boys on the Bus was more than an interesting chronicle of Democrat George McGovern's unsuccessful 1972 run for the White House; it was Talmudic. The reporters were bigger than life. They were the Titans of covering politics. They wanted to be like them, wanted to be a part of it, wanted to plumb the deepest depths of candidates and campaigns.

In Covering Politics, Armstrong quotes David Broder of The Washington Post who underscores the fundamental reason for covering politics and politicians: "These people are going to make decisions that are going to affect your life as a citizen. They're going to raise or cut your taxes. They're going to go to war or keep you out of a war. These are consequential things. And that's where we need to keep our focus."

For most political journalists and people who like politics, the word "politics" conjures up exciting images of public policy debate, candidates, races, speech making and handshaking in the quest for votes. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Politics is a process that begins long before a candidate is selected or chooses to pursue an elective office, and continues long after the votes are cast, finally devolving into the process of governance. Journalists who cover politics must have a thorough understanding of the whole time-line, potential candidates testing the waters, what motivates people to seek elective office, the ceaseless task of raising money, campaign organizations, the influence of political parties on candidate selection, the issues that shape candidates and campaigns, and the role of the various cast members in the drama that is politics, including consultants, pollsters, spinmeisters, opposition researchers, interest groups, fund-raisers and, ulti­mately, the voters.

In the post-Watergate years, politics has generated a substantial level of public cynicism and doubt. "Politician," to some people, is a dirty word. Politics itself is seen as fraught with intrigue, scandal, character assassination, corruption and even dishonesty. The political history of the last half of the twentieth century is littered with examples: Richard Nixon, Gary Hart, Wayne Hays, Jim Wright, Dan Rostenkowski, James Traficant and Bill Clinton were all ethically and/or legally challenged. But that is not the entire story and it is up to political journalists to add perspective, context and texture. People who strive for a career in political journalism or those already on that track should know that politics is too important to the fabric of our national culture to cynically dismiss and trivialize the whole process as an exercise in sleaze. On those occasions when scandal is the story, Covering Politics says, cover it.

According to Armstrong, the purist approach to political journalism is to focus exclusively on the weighty issues and policies that affect people's lives. That is to ignore the realities of the marketplace, and political reporters often find themselves caught between those weighty issues and those occasionally sordid elements that capture the public's attention.

There is an undeniable public appetite for stories of scandal and corruption. During the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal people told pollsters that they thought there was too much coverage and the media were going too far. At the same time TV ratings went up when programs about the scandal aired. Some news executives demand reporting that panders to the basest tastes of their audience in order to boost ratings and readership, and attract advertisers and maximize advertising revenues.

Serious political reporters walk a fine line. The successful ones manage to strike a balance and cover all manner of stories within the political realm, including scandal, corruption, governance, public policy debate and the machinations of the electoral process. James Toedtman, associate editor of Newsday, refers to it as "keeping your gyroscope running." It is the job of those covering politics to report as much of the whole picture as possible, to analyze and explore the various facets of the candidates, the campaigns and the issues that shape them, and to avoid the pitfalls of presenting the races as one­dimensional or just reporting the horse-race aspect of the contest. These days, that's a difficult and full-time job.

According to Armstrong, political reporters are critical of the entire process of electoral government. When they do their jobs as they should, they are the synthesizers of information for their audiences. They square contradictions and make complicated information understandable. It is the job of political journalists to be able to say to an elected official: "How come you said one thing to one group on Monday and something else to another group on Tuesday?" The general public does not follow the statements of those running for office, or those already elected, as carefully as journalists must.

The premise of the book is that there is much that is good in political journalism but there is much that could be better. Covering Politics seeks to highlight what works, and explore techniques and strategies for making political journalism better. Political journalism is scrutinized through the eyes of some of the country's top political journalists, scholars and political professionals.

Covering politics is fundamental to the American system of government. Those who do it have an obligation to the people they serve to make their coverage as good as it possibly can be. Beyond that, for reporters it is a wonderful way to make a living. In conversation after conversation with some of the best political reporters in the country, the word "fun" came up over and over again.

Broder still loves the job after more than 40 years. "The people who go into politics tend to be more energetic, more imaginative, more am­bitious and often more idealistic than the people you meet in other areas of work. The payoff for me is having an excuse to hang around with people like that.... It's fun to be dealing with people who are, in a lot of cases, the children of people that I started out covering. There are a lot of second generation politicians, including the current president, whose fathers and mothers I knew in public life.... The other part that's fun is you never know where the story's going to end up."

Covering Politics is a great primer for the beginning political reporter by an old master who has been through it all – including nine presidential nominating conventions and four presidential campaigns.

Parenting & Families / Health

Enhancing Fertility: A Couple's Guide to Natural Approaches Overcoming Obstacles to Conception Through Healthy Diet & Natural Medicines by Chris Meletis & Liz Brown (Basic Health Publications, Inc.)

For couples who want to have a baby and are having problems getting pregnant, a healthy diet and natural medicines may boost their fertility. In Enhancing Fertility, Chris Meletis and Liz Brown explain how nutrition and environmental, botanical, and physical medicines, as well as traditional Chinese medical practices and homeopathy, offer ways to promote fertility in men and women.

Meletis, dean of naturopathic medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and Brown, freelance health and nutrition writer, begin the book by pointing out the importance of "whole person healthcare." This means both men and women need to pay attention to diet and lifestyle by:

  • Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into the diet – plant foods, increased antioxidants, water, and "good" fats

  • Including vitamin and mineral supplements that play specific roles in fertility
  • Reducing exposure to environmental toxins at work and in the home

The groundwork for pregnancy also includes considering the pros and cons of having children at various ages and life stages; understanding when and how conception takes place, including the phases of the female reproductive cycle; and understanding how to predict ovulation each month. Causes of female and male infertility are discussed in Enhancing Fertility and illustrated with line drawings. Myths, such as men should wear boxer shorts and not briefs, are debunked. Tests for couples who suspect they are infertile are described, and tips are offered on how to find a reproductive endocrinologist and/or a naturopathic physician.

Fertility can be enhanced, and some – not all – fertility problems can be remedied with natural therapies; the second half of Enhancing Fertility is devoted to an explanation of these. Nutritional medicine focuses on supplements that help optimize overall health with a special emphasis on enhancing fertility. The authors clarify what to look for in a high­potency multivitamin and mineral supplement for both men and women, and suggest the best form and quantity. Botanical medicine enhances female and male fertility through herbal medicines. A brief history of these is provided, along with suggestions on which are most often used for fertility. Traditional Chinese medicine draws on 5,000 years of applications and includes acupuncture and Chinese herbs, with a focus on restoring balance to the body. Homeopathic remedies are made primarily from diluted vegetable, mineral, and biological sources. Physical medicines are "hands-on" fertility enhancements, such as craniosacral therapy, the WURN Technique, and microcurrent therapy, among others.

Both men and women will find a wealth of helpful information on what to do – individually and together – to realize their fertility potential. Even if infertility isn't a problem, and readers are simply planning to get pregnant and want to deliver a healthy baby, Enhancing Fertility will help improve their chances.


Isaiah Berlin – Letters 1928-1946 edited by Henry Hardy (Cambridge University Press)

“Life is not worth living unless one can be indiscreet to intimate friends," wrote the Baltic-born Isaiah Berlin to a correspondent. This first volume of letters inaugurates a keenly awaited edition of Berlin's letters that might well adopt this remark as an epigraph. Berlin's life was enormously worth living, both for himself and for us; and fortunately he said a great deal to his friends on papers as well as in person.

The indiscretions – only part of the story, of course – are not those of Everyman. Berlin is one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century, the most famous English thinker of the post-war era, and the focus of growing interest and discussion. Above all, he is one of the best modern exponents of the disappearing art of letter-writing, and because he said a great deal to his many friends, we can through this volume listen in on his life – indulging in banter with fellow philosophers Austin and Ayer; critiquing Tolstoy and Henry James with Stephen Spender and Elizabeth Bowen; debating Zionism with Felix Frankfurter and Victor Rothschild; reassuring his parents about his health.

When Isaiah Berlin – Letters 1928-1946 opens, Berlin is eighteen, a pupil at St Paul's School in London. He becomes an undergraduate at Oxford, then a Fellow at All Souls, where he writes his famous biography of Karl Marx. When that is complete he moves to New College to teach philosophy. After the outbreak of the Second World War he sails to America in somewhat mysterious circumstances with Guy Burgess. He stays in the US, working for the British Government (apart from visits home and his famous trip to the Soviet Union in 1945-6). The letters, edited by Henry Hardy, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, one of Berlin's Literary Trustees, progress to July 1946, when he returns to Oxford, and the volume closes.

Berlin was born in the Baltic city of Riga in 1909. When he was six, his family moved to Russia; there in 1917, in Petrograd, he witnessed both Revolutions – Social Democratic and Bolshevik. In 1921 his family came to England. His published work includes Karl Marx, Russian Thinkers, Concepts and Categories, Against the Current, Personal Impressions, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Sense of Reality, The Proper Study of' Mankind, The Roots of Romanticism, The Power ­of Ideas, Three Critics of the Enlightenment, Freedom and Its Betrayal, Liberty and The Soviet Mind. As an exponent of the history of ideas, he was awarded the Erasmus, Lippincott and Agnelli Prizes; he also received the Jerusalem Prize for his lifelong defense of civil liberties. He died in 1997.

I find Isaiah Berlin's letters fascinating and cannot bear to put the book down. What a brilliant correspondent he was! And how superbly annotated and edited the book is! – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the National Book Award

Isaiah Berlin was one of the great letter-writers of the twentieth century: witty, indiscreet, passionate, wise and unbuttoned. He also lived through extraordinary moments of twentieth-century history, and these letters capture these moments: Nazi Brownshirts in Austrian cafes in the 1930s, German refugees in Jerusalem, the debates at All Souls about the war, Washington during the height of the Churchill-Roosevelt
alliance. In Henry Hardy, Berlin has found an ideal editor: scrupulous, self-effacing, dogged and tenaciously accurate. The result is one of the great editing achievements in modern letters. – Michael Ignatieff, Harvard University, Author of Isaiah Berlin: A Life

A fascinating record of an inexhaustibly rich life. Berlin's collected letters give an unsurpassed insight into the mind of one of the twentieth century's great liberal thinkers – and a unique perspective on the twentieth century itself. – John Gray, London School of Economics, Author of Isaiah Berlin

This volume of the Berlin letters reveals the significant growth and development of his personality and career over the two decades. Isaiah Berlin – Letters 1928-1946 is marvelously accessible, and as entertaining as a novel.


Renewing Meaning: A Speech-Act Theoretic Approach by Stephen J. Barker (Oxford University Press)

At the birth of analytic philosophy Frege created a paradigm that is centrally important to how meaning has been understood in the twentieth century. Frege invented the now familiar distinctions of sense and force, of sense and reference, of concept and object. He introduced the conception of sentence-meaning as residing in truth-conditions and argued that semantics is a normative enterprise distinct from psychology. Most importantly, Frege created modern quantification theory, engendering the idea that the syntactic and semantic forms of modern logic underpin the meanings of natural-language sentences. In Renewing Meaning Stephen J. Barker undertakes to overthrow Frege's paradigm, rejecting all the above-mentioned features.

The framework that Barker, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, offers is a speech-act-based approach to meaning in which semantics is entirely subsumed by pragmatics. In this framework – meaning resides in syntax and pragmatics; sentence-meanings are not propositions but speech-act types; word-meanings are not objects, functions, or properties, but again speech-act types; pragmatic phenomena one would expect not to figure in semantics, such as pretense, enter into the logical form of sentences; a compositional semantics is provided by showing how speech-act types combine together to form complex speech-act types; the syntactic structures invoked are not those of quantifiers, open sentences, variables, or variable-binding, but rather they are structures specific to speech-act forms, which link logical form and surface grammar very closely.

Isn't a speech-act approach doomed to circularity? It appeals to speech acts. These are underpinned by intentions, and intentions have contents, which in turn must be explained by semantics. Barker’s reply to this charge is that intentions have contents, but they are of a different and more primitive kind than the contents of thoughts. The relation of intention to fully-fledged thought is that intentional states provide the simple, representational foundation for a super­structure of speech acts and modes – a superstructure that far outruns the expressive power of that foundation. In the speech-act theoretical approach (STA), semantics is a branch of psychology: psychology and semantics cannot be prized apart. How do we account for the normative aspect of meaning? STA proposes an expressivist reduction of the normative. The word is prior to norms; norms are not prior to words.

According to Barker, a natural language – a system of thought – is an emergent entity that arises from the combination of simple intentional structures, and certain non-representational cognitive states. It is embedded in, and part of, a world devoid of normative facts qua extra­linguistic entities. The world, in which the system is embedded, is a totality of particular states of affairs. There is no logical complexity in re; it contains mereological complexity only. Some truths have truth-makers, but others, logically complex truths, lack them. Nevertheless, the truth-predicate is univocal in meaning.

Frege's paradigm might seem to be a permanent fixture in semantic theory. Nevertheless, in Renewing Meaning, Barker undertakes to overthrow it. He offers an alternative that rejects the sense/ force distinction, truth-conditional semantics, anti-psychologism, and, most importantly, the idea that quantification theory has anything to do with the structure of reference and generality in natural languages.

In Part 1, Making Semantics Pragmatic, Barker provides a detailed sketch of the STA framework as it applies to whole sentences. In Part II, Beyond Quantification, the book enters into sub-sentential terrain. The goal is a general treatment of both grammatically singular and plural noun phrases. Part III, Pre-Linguistic Representation and Emergence of Semantics, deals with the foundations of an intention-based semantics: the representational properties of intentional states. A hypothetical system of pre-linguistic representation and cognitive states is described. The goal here is to show how, in principle, STA is not committed to reproduction. The result demonstrates how semantic structures can emerge as an advance in content on a fundamentally simpler system. Part IV, Grammar in Motion and the Entanglements of Discourse, elaborates further on the analysis of reference and generality and demonstrates how, in STA, surface grammar is the guide to semantic structure.

Renewing Meaning is a radical, ambitious work, which offers to transform the semantics of natural language. For the semantics specialist, written in technical language, the book is an extension of Barker’s 1995 Ph.D. thesis in philosophy at Nottingham.

Religion & Spirituality / Biographies & Memoirs

Eihei Dōgen: Mystical Realist (3rd edition) by Hee-Jin Kim with a foreword by Taigen Dan Leighton (Wisdom Publications)

Eihei Dōgen, the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen school, is considered one of the world's most remarkable religious philosophers. Eihei Dōgen, by Hee-Jin Kim, professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, is a comprehensive introduction to the genius of this brilliant thinker.

Since this book was first published in 1975, and even more since the revised edition in 1987, a large number of reliable English-language translations and commentaries on Dōgen have been published. And a widening circle of varied meditation communities dedicated to the practice espoused by Dōgen has developed in the West, with practitioners eager to study and absorb his teachings.

Even beyond the realm of Dōgen studies, Eihei Dōgen remains a valuable contribution to all of modern Zen commentary, with Kim's accessible presentation of thorough scholarship that does not reduce itself to dry intellectual analysis of doctrines or historical argumentation. Kim provides a subtle and clear discussion of Dōgen's work as a practical religious thinker and guide, showing that Dōgen was not merely a promulgator of philosophy, and never considered his work in such terms.

Kim zeroes in on key principles in Dōgen's teaching. The organization of this book is extraordinarily astute. After first providing background on Dōgen's biography and historical context, Kim discusses with subtlety Dōgen's zazen (seated meditation) as a mode of activity and expression. Kim then focuses on the centrality of the teaching of Buddha-nature to Dōgen's teaching and practice. Finally, Kim elaborates the importance of monastic life to Dōgen's teaching and training of his disciples.

In explicating the purpose of zazen for Dōgen, Kim enumerates the mean­ing and function of key terms that provide the texture of Dōgen's teaching and practice: the samadhi of self-fulfilling activity (jijuyu-zammai), the one­ness of practice-enlightenment (shusho-itto), casting off of body and mind (shinjin-datsuraku), non-thinking (hishiryo), total exertion (gujin), and abiding in one's Dharma-position (ju-hoi).

With all the confusion about meditation in Zen, both historically and today, we must be grateful at the acuity of the introduction to Dogen's zazen that Kim has provided. Unlike other forms of Buddhism and even other Zen lineages, Dōgen does not see his meditation as a method aimed at achieving some future awakening or enlightenment. Zazen is not waiting for enlightenment: there is no enlightenment if it is not actualized in the present practice. And there is no true practice that is not an expression of underlying enlightenment and the mind of the Way. Dōgen frequently emphasizes sustaining a practice of ongoing awakening, which he describes as Buddha going beyond Buddha.

Although current meditators may appreciate the therapeutic and stress-reducing side-effects of zazen, for Dōgen, as Kim clarifies, zazen is primarily a creative mode of expression instead of a means to some personal benefit.

As to the self, it has no abiding nature, and "kisses the joy as it flies." It is the Buddha coming forth now as a woman, now as a youth, now as a child, now as an old man, now as an animal, a plant, or a cloud. However, animals and plants and clouds cannot "study" in Dōgen's sense, so in this context, Dōgen intends the human being that can focus the self and make personal the vast and fathomless void, the infinitely varied beings, and their marvelous harmony. – Robert Aitken

Dōgen is extremely playful in freely overturning classic teachings to bring forth the inner dynamic of nondual liberation, in which forms are revealed as already empty and open from the outset. The most famous example is when Dōgen transposes the sutra statement that "All beings without exception have Buddha-nature" to "All beings completely are Buddha-nature." Kim's work provides us with the background to enjoy and play along with Dōgen's teachings for ourselves, in the light of the universal liberation of Buddha-nature.

Kim discusses how Dōgen enacted his practice-expression and trained a fine group of disciples in his monastic retreat, Eiheiji, in the deep mountains far north of the capital during his last decade. Dōgen cannot be understood aside from his aesthetic sense of wonder as it informs communal practice in the world of nature amid the mountains and rivers. There in the mountains Dōgen trained an excellent group of monk disciples who, along with their successors in the next few generations, would spread the tradition of Soto Zen introduced by Dōgen throughout much of the Japanese countryside, so that it became one of the most popular sects of Japanese Buddhism.

Eihei Dōgen draws heavily upon, and is greatly indebted to, Japanese scholarship in Dōgen studies, which has diversified so much in recent years that materials and findings are indeed bewildering to the beginning Dōgen student. With this book, Kim endeavors to add to this scholarship by systematically elucidating Dōgen's life and thought, while paying acute attention to those issues that are relevant and vital to current thinking in religion and philosophy. In this respect, Dōgen's thought sheds light on some vitally important issues in a surprisingly modern way. Kim is not implying here that Dōgen fully or completely anticipated what we now know. Yet, despite his remoteness from us in terms of time and culture, his messages are infinitely richer and more complex than we might at first think.

It has been my persistent conviction that we can avoid making either a strict philosopher or a pious religionist of Dōgen; rather, we can understand him totally in a humanistic context. Be that as it may, it is my sincere hope that the present work will stimulate students to delve further into Dōgen. – Hee-Jin Kim

Down through the years and through its earlier editions, it was always to Dr. Kim's book that I turned first in any matter relating to Dōgen. Now from his retirement from a fine academic career, we have the fruit of his lifetime of research and meditation. I am very grateful. – Robert Aitken, author of Taking the Path of Zen and The Morning Star

This book is an excellent comprehensive introduction to Dōgen's massive corpus of intricate writings as well as to his elegantly simple yet profound practice. – from the new foreword by Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen priest and Dharma heir in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi, editor and co-translator of Dōgen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku

While there have been many developments in the historical and philosophical understanding of Dōgen's contribution to Zen Buddhism, Kim's work still stands out for the depth and clarity of its elucidation of Dōgen as a religious thinker and practitioner. –Professor Mark Unno, Journal of Religious Ethics, and author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light

Dōgen is no easy read – fortunately Kim's book, itself a polished gem, expertly guides a reader into what is simultaneously rich and playful in Dōgen's Buddhist vision. – William R. Lafleur, author of Awesome Nightfall: The Life, Times, and Poetry of Saigyo

An essential volume in any Dōgen library. – Zoketsu Norman Fischer, former abbot, San Francisco Zen Center, and author of Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up

Hee-Jin Kim's landmark book Eihei Dōgen (for­merly titled Dōgen Kigen: Mystical Realist) is a valuable, highly insightful commentary on the work of the thirteenth-century founder of the Soto branch of Japanese Zen. This third edition has undergone a considerable amount of minor changes and corrections, largely in the translations of Dōgen 's works. The volume stands as the best overall general introduction to Dogen’s teaching. Kim clarifies that Dogen's philosophy was at the service of his spiritual guidance of his students, and reveals the way Dogen incorporated study and philosophy into his religious practice. Kim has given us not only an excellent and reliable reference for Dogen's writings, but also an entry into how to play with Dogen in going beyond Buddha. Students of Dogen's teaching and thought must now be grateful to have this fine guidebook to Dogen's world again available in print.

Religion & Spirituality

Music of the Universe by Dean Willows (Darryl Lyman)

Today, perhaps more than ever before in human history, because of the increasingly dangerous conflict between humans and nature, people of intelligence and goodwill must cultivate concepts that tend to reinforce and intensify the awareness of humankind's intimate connection with the rest of the seen and unseen cosmos. One of those concepts is the ancient and continuing one of the “music of the spheres.”

According to Music of the Universe, the universe "sings." From the smallest flash of energy to the largest star, everything is a sort of music. That belief lay at the heart of many ancient myths. And now modern science also is beginning to discover – or rediscover – a musical universe. Did the mythmakers of old "predict" the musical universe of science? Of course not. Do modern scientists seek to "verify" the musical universe of myth? Of course not. However, a knowledge of the linkage between the two groups may help foster a deeper understanding and tolerance between those members of the human community who lean toward the mythic-intuitive and those who lean toward the scientific-rationalistic.

Myths about a musical universe began in the prehistoric period and continued, with apparently little change, in later primitive cultures worldwide up to modern times. Those myths also influenced the music systems in early historic Eastern civilizations, which in turn passed the concept of a musical universe along, through Greece, to Western Christian societies, where vestiges of the concept remain to this day.

Meanwhile, for decades modern science has been moving closer and closer to its own version of a musical universe. In the view of an increasing number of contemporary scientists, all matter and all forces in the universe are, from their most elementary subatomic particles to their whole entities, vibratory in nature, and the various patterns of vibrations of different matter and forces create heard and unheard harmonies that interact to form a kind of cosmic symphony.

Approached from either the mythic-intuitive or the scientific-rationalistic angle, the concept of a musical universe reinforces and intensifies the idea of humankind's intimate connection with the rest of the universe.

Music of the Universe provides readers with the first comprehensive study of the musical basis of life, nature, and the cosmos as viewed from the different worlds of myth and science. Part One examines the musical universe of myth in prehistory, primitive cultures, Eastern civilizations, and the Western world). Part Two explores the musical universe of science, in string theory; vibrating atoms, stars, etc., and the song of life.

Music of the Universe is a book of enduring value about a major theme in world music – indeed, in human thought – from prehistory to the present.

Religion & Spirituality

Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl: A Book of Active Meditations by Nancy Cunningham & Denise Geddes (Red Wheel)

Active meditation is a solution for those who don’t have the time or patience to sit still and wait for enlightenment and peace. Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl is a collection of activities designed to focus the mind – if only for a moment – to see the spiritual in the physical world.

Active meditations are ceremonies of ‘intention’ – the universal spiritual practice of simply paying attention to the inner and outer worlds. Author Nancy Cunningham helps readers choose a prop – or props – that represents a physical element that appeals to one of the five senses. Cunningham, accomplished poet and author, then offers steps to get in touch with a universal energy that brings about a shift in consciousness and perception.

Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl offers a variety of ceremonies and rituals for special events, seasons of the year, and even mini-rituals designed for everyday use:

  • A baby-naming ceremony renews and affirms life.
  • A Spring breeze refreshes body and soul.
  • An orange slice becomes a way to access creative "juices."
  • A candle placed before a loved one who has passed on creates a time- and space-defying connection.

In the midst of a whirling schedule I sat down to quickly scan Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl. Two pages into it, I made a cup of tea, closed the door and settled in to read this book that manages to be both restful and stimulating. I found myself taking deeper breaths as I inhaled the exquisite harmony of images and words. Nonessentials are pared away and the result is the deep and refreshing simplicity of essence. – Gloria D. Karpinski, author of Where Two Worlds Touch and Barefoot on Holy Ground

As gracefully as a butterfly alighting a flower, Nancy Cunningham presents us with active meditations, profound reminders of the beauty and power of rituals in our inner life and outer world. Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl inspires a renewed attention to awareness of the simple acts of reverence we can experience each day. Denise Geddes's photographs provide lovely inspiration from which to launch a garden of active meditations. – Hailey D.D. Klein, author of For Goddess' Sake and The Way of Change

A beautiful book visually, psychologically, and spiritually. Treat yourself to it! – Sue Patton Thoele, author of Growing Hope, The Courage To Be Yourself and The Woman's Book of Soul

The active meditations in Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl help readers experience the extraordinary in the ordinary. The book would make a nice gift for anyone who wants to live deeply and connect with an energy that lies just below the surface of the everyday world. The meditations are illustrated with the work of photographer Denise Geddes – evocative images that capture the soul of everyday objects.

Politics / Religion & Spirituality

Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage by Meic Pearse (InterVarsity Press)

"Why do they hate us so much?" Many in the U.S. are baffled at the hatred and anti-Western sentiment they see on the international news. Why are people around the world so resentful of Western cultural values and ideals?

In Why the Rest Hates the West historian Meic Pearse unpacks the deep divides between the West and the rest of the world. He shows how many of the underlying assumptions of Western civilization directly oppose and contradict the cultural and religious values of significant groups of people. Those in the Third World, Pearse says, "have the sensation that everything they hold dear and sacred is being rolled over by an economic and cultural juggernaut that doesn't even know it's doing it . . . and wouldn't understand why what it's destroying is important or of value."

According to Pearse, they see us as barbarians; most Americans are shocked by this characterization. Pearse, church historian and business-studies teacher, attempts to explain how we have become barbarians – in terms Americans can understand – seeing ourselves in imagined communities of class and state instead of real communities of neighborhood and family and church, being true to ourselves instead of to family, focusing on progress, efficiency, and rights instead of responsibility. In fact, he goes so far as to suggest our culture may be dying of modernism.

Meic Pearse specializes in asking difficult questions about the most significant issues facing us today – about religions, about politics, and about how cultures and societies come into conflict. . . . This is a challenging, provocative book, with a broad social and historical vision. – Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University, and author of The Next Christendom

This book is a serious and stirring call to Christians to reaffirm the central position of their faith. In an age, which mistakes nescience for open-mindedness and enforced nihilism for toleration, this call to know, to affirm and to witness deserves a wide audience. – Roger Scruton, author of The West and the Rest: Globalism and the Terrorist Threat

This is a passionate, unfashionable and important book, recommended reading for anybody who has begun to suspect that the Western economic and cultural project is unsustainable. – Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

Why the Rest Hates the West is an understandable explanation and a call to the Western world to reclaim, not so much fundamentalism or religion, but the values of home, family and community. Pearse does a good job of explaining how our values have shifted toward what non-Western cultures see as barbarism, toward individualism, impersonalization, triviality and denigration of the person. Pearse's penetrating analysis offers insight into perspectives not often understood in the West, and provides a starting point for intercultural dialogue and rapprochement.

Reference / Foreign Languages

Kanji-A-Day Practice Pad by Richard S. Keirstead (Tuttle Publishing)

With Kanji-A-Day Practice Pad readers can master 365 essential kanji (Japanese characters) in a year in five minutes a day. The pad teaches users 365 kanji with stroke-by-stroke instructions. Each sheet introduces a new kanji in easy-to-read type, with readings, meanings, stroke order, and two compounds illustrating practical usage. After studying the kanji and compounds, users tear off the sheet and practice in the boxes provided. For easy reference and review, a book­let listing the 365 kanji is included.

An easy and effective way of steadily building up your knowledge of kanji. – Kenneth G. Henshall, author of A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters

Written by Richard Keirstead, information security expert and author of several language learning books, Kanji-A-Day Practice Pad is a useful and practical supplement for daily practice and drill in addition to oral and classroom language training methods.

Reference / Education

Peterson’s Two Year Colleges 2005 (Thomson Peterson’s) features close to 1,800 two-year colleges in the US.

Peterson’s Two Year Colleges 2005 includes information on every accredited two-year undergraduate institution in the U.S. It also includes detailed two-page descriptions written by admissions personnel for nearly 70 colleges. College bound students and their parents can research colleges and universities in regards to setting; enrollment; entrance level; academic programs and degrees awarded; entrance requirements and application procedures; tuition, fees, and housing costs; student/faculty ratios and campus life; and contact information.

Peterson’s Two Year Colleges 2005 also provides articles on what readers need to know about two-year colleges, transferring, returning to school/advice for adult students; surviving standardized tests; what international students need to know about admission to U.S. colleges; and paying for college.

The book includes:

  • State-by-state summary table allows comparison of institutions by a variety of characteristics, including enrollment, application requirements, types of financial aid available, and numbers of sports and majors offered.
  • Informative data profiles – listed alphabetically by state (and followed by other countries) with facts and figures on majors, academic programs, library, computers on campus, student life, standardized tests, financial aid, applying and contact info.
  • Indexes
  • Associate degree programs at two-year colleges
  • Associate degree programs at four-year colleges

This valuable resource, with its alphabetical listings, allows readers to get the latest college information, updated annually; discover ways to find money for their college education; and compare colleges by the aspects that are most important to them.

Religion & Spirituality

Matthew's Bible: The Old Testament Text of the Evangelist by Maarten J. J. Menken (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, 173: Peeters-Leuven) is a product of a long-standing interest in the use of the Old Testament (OT) in the New Testament (NT). According to author Maarten J.J. Menken, this interest brings one right into the heart of early Christian religion and theology: if the followers of Jesus of Nazareth confessed him as the Messiah of Israel, they had to express the signifi­cance of his message and person in scriptural terms.

A researcher into "the OT in the NT" can ask many questions. One is evidently in what way a NT author employs the OT text, but before this question can be answered, there is another question: what OT text exactly is a NT author employing? Menken’s aim is to reconstruct and to locate, as far as possible, the type of OT text used by the evangelist Matthew – no more, no less.

Matthew's Gospel contains many quotations from the Old Testament. In part, they are marked quotations, that is, more or less verbatim and thus recognizable borrowings which are introduced (or concluded) by a formula that makes clear that the words in question come from Scripture. Another part consists of unmarked quotations, that is, more or less verbatim borrowings without a citation formula. OT quotations occur all through Matthew's narrative: in direct discourse of Jesus, of his disciples, of the crowds, of Jesus' opponents, of the devil, and in words of the narrator. Marked quotations are easily established, unmarked ones less easily. In this study, Menken simply adopts as quotations those portions of Matthew's Gospel that are printed as biblical quotations in NA (in italics) and/or UBS (in bold).

Matthew's OT quotations can be categorized not only from a synchronic but also from a diachronic point of view. Presupposing the two-document hypothesis, we can observe that Matthew has derived many quotations from his sources Mark and Q, and he very probably found quotations in his other traditional materials as well. In Matthew’s role of editor, however, he also inserted quotations into his traditional materials. If we compare Matthew's Gospel with Mark's, we find firm evidence that he did so into Mark. If we compare Matthew's Gospel with Luke's, the evidence that Matthew inserted quotations into Q is less firm but plausible nevertheless, and we can reasonably surmise that he also added quotations to his Sondergut. According to Menken, it is also not difficult to demonstrate that the fulfillment quotations belong to the editorial level of Matthew's Gospel. It becomes evident that Matthew in his role of editor inserted the fulfillment quotations. One would expect, then, that these quotations are representa­tive of the biblical text that Matthew knew and used. In slightly different words: one would expect the fulfillment quotations to come from "Matthew's Bible", from the biblical scrolls that the evangelist used in composing his work and that he probably found in his local synagogues. Here, however, two massive and interrelated problems arise. The first one is the peculiar textual form of the fulfillment quotations, the second one is the question how to relate this textual form to the Septuagintal character of most other OT quotations in Matthew. Both problems deserve some explication.

The fulfillment quotations differ from the LXX and resemble the Hebrew text, but not all these quotations do so to the same degree and not all differences from the LXX bring them closer to the Hebrew text. So the question arises: what type of text do we have here? There have been various attempts at explaining the textual type of Matthew's fulfillment quotations. The one of K. Stendahl has probably been best known and most influential. He summarizes his view of the textual form of the fulfilment quotations as follows: On the whole there is scarcely any tradition of translation or interpretation which does not emerge in Matthew's manner of understanding his quota­tions. This leads us to presume that Matthew wrote Greek and rendered the OT quotations along the lines of various traditions and methods of inter­pretation. This gives proof of a targumizing procedure which demands much of the knowledge and outlook of the scribes. In distinction from the rest of the Synoptics and the Epistles with what seems to be their self-evident use of the LXX, Matthew was capable of having, and did have, the authority to create a rendering of his own.

Matthew's presumed preference for the LXX is at least dubious. Since the publication of Stendahl's The School of St. Matthew in 1954, there have been important developments in the study of the textual forms of the OT. Referring to the OT texts found in the Judean desert and to research into the OT as used in early Jewish and early Christian writings, Stendahl wrote in the preface to the reprint of his book: Thus the present state of OT textual criticism is one of greater flux than I surmised in this study. New data are about to allow new and better founded hypotheses about text forms available in the first century A.D. Such a promising yet unfinished state of affairs both hinders and helps further progress in the study of the Matthean quotations. It makes it more probable that readings found in Matthew could witness to text forms actually available in Greek, prior to Matthew. It makes the recourse to testimonies less compelling as an explanation of textual peculiarities. It strengthens the sug­gestion that Hebrew texts continued to cause revision of Greek texts. And we are increasingly informed that the OT text – Greek and Hebrew – was not yet standardized.

In the context of a study of Matthew's biblical text, the tendency to revise the LXX to make it conform more closely to a Hebrew text that was in the process of being standardized, constitutes an important factor. According to N. Fernandez Marcos in his recent introduction to the LXX, "the work of revising the Greek Bible began, so to speak, the day after the translation of the Pentateuch". Elsewhere in his book, he writes:

Evidence of this unease due to the difference between the two Bibles, Hebrew and Greek, are: the traces of correction of the Greek text to fit it to the Hebrew text in use which can be detected in some pre-Christian papyri and especially in the fragments of Twelve Prophets from Nahal Hever; the new revisions and translations of the LXX started within Judaism; and the critical work of Origen in his Hexapla and of Jerome in his new translation, the Vulgate.

As D. Barthelemy has demonstrated, the remains of the Nahal Hever scroll of the Minor Prophets show beyond doubt that already in the first century C.E., there were recensions of the LXX which had this translation agreeing better with the Hebrew text. Traces of these recensions may also be present in what is left of the later Greek translations of the OT: the translations of Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion and others did not come out of the blue, but these translators could build on revision activities that were already under way for a considerable time. According to Barthelemy, Aquila would have brought to perfection the καίγε­recension, to which the Minor Prophets scroll also belongs. In any case, we see in the Minor Prophets scroll a clear LXX basic text which has been corrected in many ways towards a Hebrew text.

So there is enough evidence to assume that in the period in which Matthew probably composed his Gospel, that is, the last decades of the first century C.E., revisions of the LXX or of parts of it were current. The main thrust of these revisions was no doubt adaptation of the Greek translation to the current Hebrew text, but linguistic improvement or incorporation of exegetical traditions may have been effective as well.

In Matthew's Bible, Menken tests the hypothesis "that readings found in Matthew could witness to text forms actually available in Greek, prior to Matthew", to use Stendahl's words quoted above. Menken’s aim is to examine whether the assumption that Matthew's Bible was a revised LXX constitutes a viable explanation for the peculiar traits of his fulfillment quotations. He also examines whether the evangelist knew this text in the form of a collection of testimonies or something similar, or as a continuous text.

By means of comparison with the extant ancient versions of the OT passage quoted, Menken tries to establish the textual character of the fulfillment quotations. The conclusion of this investigation of the fulfillment quotations is that Matthew drew them from a continuous Greek text whose textual form is best described as a revised LXX. This conclusion then requires an examination of the other OT quotations in Matthew's Gospel (Part II). Several scholars assume that Matthew in his role of editor made use of the (unrevised) LXX, and this virtually excludes editorial use of a revised LXX in the fulfillment quotations. So the question has to be asked how Matthew treats the OT quotations which he finds in his sources (Mark, Q, Matthew's own traditional materials): does he adjust them to the LXX or not? Matthew has also inserted some OT quotations into his sources without introducing them by his fulfillment formula; these deserve special attention, because if Menken’s hypothesis holds true, they may be expected to show the same type of OT text as the fulfillment quotations (which were also editorially inserted). Mere allusions to the OT have been left out of consideration: they are generally too free, too elusive and too much interwoven with the Matthean context to be of much use in determining as pre­cisely as possible Matthew's OT text.

These texts as explicated in Matthew's Bible grant us a window – only partially opened and probably rather narrow at that – into what was probably a vast array of revising and rewriting in the pre-Christian and early Christian eras. Biblical scholars will revel in the revelations.

Religion & Spirituality

In the Beginning … Creativity by Gordon D. Kaufman (Fortress Press)

What it means to think of God today –
Gordon Kaufman's bold and highly regarded works over the last thirty years have pushed theologians to examine honestly, if painfully, their most cherished assumptions about God. Now, in this major contribution to the theology-and-science debate, he argues that our traditional thinking about and worship of God have prepared us badly for perhaps the most important problem we face today – the ecological crisis.

Kaufman, Professor of Theology Emeritus at Harvard Divinity School, contends that we must radically recast our religious thinking, from conceiving of God as creator to God as creativity itself. Kaufman surveys the historical development of the notion of God and the pluriform development and effects of the notion of God. He then demonstrates how these concepts of God have become out of sync with contemporary understandings of the world and humanity. He offers an alternative concept by distinguishing the different modalities of creativity as they figure in the creation of the universe, the cosmic evolutionary process (especially the emergence of life), and human symbolic creativity. Finally, he sketches their interconnections and demonstrates in what way they stand for the divine.

The first part of In the Beginning … Creativity is a rather complex prologue presenting background information on the meaning of “God” – Kaufman has designated this background presentation a prologue, rather than the first chapter of the book, because this material basically clears the air of certain misconceptions that might get in the way of understanding what is going on in the book.

Chapter 1, "Today's Evolutionary/Ecological World and the Theological Structure of Christian Faith," is the beginning of the book’s argument. This chapter briefly sketches a significant dissonance between traditional Christian understandings of humanity in the world under God and today's evolutionary/ecological thinking. It presents three terms that Kaufman used in constructing the work: humans as biohistorical beings; the widespread serendipitous creativity manifest in the cosmos as conceived today, which provides a promising way of thinking of God today; and the notion of cosmic, evolutionary, and historical trajectories or directional movements that have emerged spontaneously in the universe at large and on planet Earth in particular, and through which the consequences of the divine creative activity in the world become visible to us humans. This chapter also focuses on one of the major issues that theologians must today take into account, namely the (partial) responsibility of Christian thinking, attitudes, and practices for the current ecological crisis. In this way chapter 1 introduces the reader to the major issue – how shall we think about God today?

Chapter 2, then, "On Thinking of God as Serendipitous Creativity," focuses the project of the book further by briefly elaborating Kaufman’s specific proposal that we think of God as the serendipitous creativity manifest throughout the cosmos (rather than as the Creator of the world and all that is in it). This chapter was written as a kind of quick introduction, on the one hand, to Kaufman’s proposals about how we should imagine God today, and, on the other hand, as a brief answer to some of the more severe criticisms of these proposals. Despite the extended time that Kaufman have reflected on the ideas now presented in chapter 3, he continues to find himself somewhat uncertain about what to make of them. He tells how he sent copies of an earlier draft of this chapter to a number of friends whom he thought might be interested in it, asking them to be severe in their criticism, pointing out what they took to be major problems with it but also what positive values there might be in pursuing it further. The responses were valuable, enabling him to improve the text in many ways as well as to avoid a number of serious mistakes. Chapter 3, he says, is a much better piece than he could have made it on his own. Though he is still somewhat uncertain about what all this comes to theologically, he decided that it should be published as a kind of experiment in thought.

This book is a work in progress. In the Beginning … Creativity is a major contribution to the theology-and-science debate, in which renowned theologian Kaufman argues that our traditional thinking about and worship of God have prepared us badly for perhaps the most important problem humans must address in today's world – the environmental crisis. This provocative and thoughtful book not only develops further than ever before Kaufman's idea of God as creativity but also shows what it would mean to think of God in this way, to live with faith in this God, and to cooperate with the divine in meeting our most pressing challenges.

Science / Astronomy

Moons and Planets (5th Edition) by William K. Hartmann (Thomson / Brooks/Cole) features newly discovered extrasolar planets ... moons with volcanoes ... asteroids ... Mars microbes ... and much more.

Fully updated by William Hartmann, Moons and Planets in this fifth edition retains a comparative approach to the principles of planetology, including organization by physical topic rather than by planet. This approach promotes an understanding of the unifying principles and processes that cause similarities and differences between the moon and the planets. This edition features findings and photos from Mars Pathfinder, Global Surveyor, Hubble, and photos of Jupiter's atmosphere from the Galileo probe, new data on Pluto and other small bodies. The text's unique math boxes give teachers the flexibility to teach planetary science at a descriptive level or at a moderately advanced level involving algebra and elementary calculus.

Moons and Planets has been fully updated by Hartmann, award winning senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. It features extensive new discoveries and results, including background on the Spirit and Opportunity rover landings on Mars in 2004, the unusual ''Tagish Lake fire­ball,'' material from the landing of the NEAR spacecraft on asteroid Eros, and information on volcanism on Io and water-ice on Titan.

The book abandons the Victorian-era split between asteroids and comets. The basic text material is virtually nonmathematical, starting with the background on basic facts and planetary motions and moving into the topical areas.

Add ons, which are not available separately, include:

  • TheSky Student Edition – This student edition of the popular TheSky software turns the computer into a powerful personal plane­tarium, loaded with data on 118,000 stars and 13,000 deep-sky objects with images.
  • RedShift College Edition – This two CD-ROM set offers a stunning planetarium experience including a combination of text, graphics, movies, narration, music, illustrations, exercises, applets/ animations, and more.
  • Starry Night – Starry Night is incredibly powerful, yet easy enough to make learning about the night sky accessible to everyone, from the backyard star gazer to the serious student. Containing data on one million stars as well as 110 deep-space objects such as galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae, it allows readers to view the sky from an exact location on Earth, or from elsewhere within 20,000 light-years of our solar system.
  • Virtual Astronomy Labs – These "v-labs" are an online, interactive way for readers to virtually experience approximately twenty of the most important concepts in introductory astronomy.

Moons and Planets is aimed at any and all readers in planetary science – scientists, amateur astronomers, or students – who want a contemporary view of the “new” solar system.

Science / Biology / Environment

The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention by David W. Orr (Oxford University Press)

The environmental movement has often been accused of being overly negative – trying to stop "progress." The Nature of Design, on the other hand, is about starting things, specifically an ecological design revolution that changes how we provide food, shelter, energy, materials, and livelihood, and how we deal with waste. Ecological design is an emerging field that aims to recalibrate what humans do in the world according to how the world works as a biophysical system. Design in this sense is a large concept having to do as much with politics and ethics as with buildings and technology. The Nature of Design written by David Orr, begins by describing the scope of design, comparing it to the Enlightenment of the 18th century. Subsequent chapters describe barriers to a design revolution inherent in our misuse of language, the clock speed of technological society, and shortsighted politics. Orr, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College, goes on to describe the critical role educational institutions might play in fostering design intelligence and what he calls "a higher order of heroism."

In this new book David Orr teaches us to look at human design in radically new ways. He shows that most of our ecological problems result from design failures and makes an eloquent and passionate plea for designing ‘with ecology in mind.’ This is a brilliant and inspiring book – essential reading for all who are concerned about the future of humanity. – Fritjof Capra, author of The Web of Life

David is a philosopher par excellence with an encyclopedic command of the literature of conservation and a brutally analytic approach to the successes and failures of the current status of the industrialized world. He writes with a remarkable command of the language, with humor and occasional sarcasm. His message is that the world is not working and that its repair requires a new set of rules which are the core of a new conservation. – George M. Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center

If you are looking for a warm glow because you recycled your tin cans and sent a check to the Sierra Club, you better pick another book. These are urgent, impatient, absolutely realistic essays by one of the country's most important environmentalists, someone who walks the talk in every way. They explain what must be done, and better yet they explain how it can be done, leaving an implicit challenge for all of us. – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, visiting scholar at Middlebury College

The book provides an integrative vision of the role of design in our interaction and relationship with nature. Appropriately, it ends on themes of charity, wilderness, and the rights of children. Astute yet broadly appealing, The Nature of Design combines theory, practicality, and a call to action.

Science Fiction / Space Opera

Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds (Ace Books) With his "top-notch" (Maxim) debut, Revelation Space, British writer Alastair Reynolds was widely hailed as the new leader of cutting-edge hard-science fiction; a reputation he confirmed with the "awe inspiring"* sequel, Redemption Ark. Now, with Absolution Gap, he concludes the trilogy that made him "the most exciting space opera writer working today" (*Locus).
The first wave of Inhibitors has sent war veteran Clavain and a ragtag group of refugees into hiding. These “wolf” or ancient killing machines, designed to locate and destroy any life form reaching a certain level of intelligence, have been stirred from eons of sleep. Their latest target: Humanity. Their leadership is faltering, and their situation is growing more desperate. Having sought refuge on an apparently insignificant moon light-years away, it begins to dawn on war veteran Clavain and his band of companions that to beat one enemy, it may be necessary to forge an alliance with something much worse.

Their little colony has just received an unexpected visitor: an avenging angel with the power to lead mankind to safety – or draw down its darkest enemy. It's machine vs. machine in Absolution Gap, as the confrontation comes to a head. At stake is nothing less than the future of all intelligent life in the universe.

Reynolds confirms his place among the headers of the hard-science space-opera renaissance. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reynolds takes quests for vengeance and redemption and places them on a galactic stage. – Locus

If you like hard-SF...with fast-paced action and hard-boiled characters.... you’re in for a great ride. – SF Site

Author Alastair Reynolds studied at Newcastle and at St. Andrew's Universities, has a Ph.D. in astronomy, and currently works as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency. Absolution Gap fulfills the promise of the first two books and is a fitting finale to the series, a landmark in space opera with strong characters, such as human-pig hybrid Scorpio.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin) is the celebrated yearly science fiction anthology now entering its third decade of reporting on the best of the genre.

The arrival of The Year's Best Science Fiction is always a much awaited event.

The Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies have included works from masters of the genre and the bright new talents of tomorrow, and the latest edition, The Year's Best Science Fiction: 21st Annual Collection, proves to be no exception. Because of his work on this anthology, editor Garner Dozois has won the Hugo and Locus Awards for Best Editor almost every year in the last decade and the Locus Award for Best Anthology numerous times – he has been the editor of Asimov's SF magazine since 1985.

The twenty-nine stories in this year’s collection imaginatively take us far across the universe, into the very core of our beings, to the realm of the gods, and the moment just after now. Included here are the works of masters of the form and of bright new talents, including Walter Jon Williams, Geoff Ryman, Vernor Vinge, Harry Turtledove, and many other talented authors of science fiction and a recommended reading list.

Supplementing the stories are the editor's summation of the year's events and a list of honorable mentions.

Stalwart SF fans will most likely find Dozois' twentieth stout annual anthology as satisfying as any of its predecessors... As long as the short story remains an important form for SF, Dozios' anthologies will be required reading for the genre's fans. – Booklist

This volume continues the high standards of its predecessors and belongs in most SF collections. – Library Journal

Without question, the Dozois SF annuals deserve rosettes... For all libraries, absolutely. – Kirkus Reviews

There's a whole summer's worth of reading in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection... a good representation of some very good writers. – The San Diego Union-Tribune

[A] wealth of good stories. – Denver Post

I, for one would not be without it... With every story brilliant, it's hard to single some out for praise ...If you don't know what to get your special friend for Christmas this year, this volume would be a good start. – Lifeline Alternative NewsMagazine

Exotic settings, memorable characters and challenging themes are par for the course here. Once again Dozois has gathered together a stunning array of the best in shorter SF.  – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

The Year's Best Science Fiction is a valuable resource in addition to serving as the single best place in the universe to find stories that stir the imagination and the heart.

Widely regarded as the one essential book for every science fiction fan, The Year's Best Science Fiction continues to uphold its standard of excellence with more than two dozen stories representing the previous year's best SF writing.

Social Sciences / Sociology

EthnoQuest: An Interactive Multimedia Simulation for Cultural Anthropology Fieldwork, Version 3.0 (2nd Edition) by Frances F. Berdan, Edward A. Stark, & Carey Van Loon (Pearson Prentice Hall) is a culture simulation or series of “games” on CD-ROM.

EthnoQuest, the interactive multimedia simulation, is comprised of a series of ethnographic encounters set in a computer-based learning environment. It provides users with a realistic problem-solving learning experience in a novel cultural setting. It is designed to propel learners closer to the fieldwork experience by sending them on a simulated fieldwork adventure to the fictional Mexican village of Amopan. The games include sophisticated graphics and original video that allow players to experience realistic outcomes based on their responses and reactions to questions. The path individuals take depends on how they decide to proceed through each game.

To paraphrase a catchy phrase from Adventures in Fugawiland, EthnoQuest has been years in the making. The authors, Frances F. Berdan, Edward A. Stark, and Carey Van Loon, began with a germ of an idea in 1996 and worked together as a team throughout the development and production of the program.

EthnoQuest includes a field guide to assist players (readers) in negotiating their way through the EthnoQuest simulations. This guide is divided into several chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction to the game, schedule of research.

  • Chapter 2 – Ethnographic background, information on the environment, people, and village.

  • Chapter 3 – How to play the game, how to proceed, what to expect, language use.

  • Chapter 4 – Reminders and hints, the meanings of icons and colors, the plaza, how to deal with dialogue, quizzes, fieldnotes and other such matters.

  • Chapter 5 – How to get along in the field, tips for taking fieldnotes, tips for a successful fieldwork experience, some useful Nahuatl expressions and terms.

  • Chapter 6 – Extra tips on playing each of the ten simulations.

  • Chapter 7 – Background on ethnographic fieldwork, how to prepare wisely, gain entry, establish your role, select informants, collect meaningful information, and, in general, what to expect and how to cope.

The field guide concludes with a glossary and a bibliography. The final section consists of a workbook, and the workbook contains a field notebook.

In this interactive role-play adventure, the student assumes the identity of a novice ethnographer, a green cultural anthropologist, who undertakes cultural anthropological fieldwork in a fictional Mexican village. By this method, EthnoQuest propels student-players closer to the fieldwork experience. In the simulation, the student undertakes fieldwork under a grant from the Society for Creative Research. In this version of EthnoQuest students complete ten distinct assignments, including preparing for the field, finding a place to stay, conducting a census, making a map, working in the agricultural fields, making purchases in the marketplace, learning about Day of the Dead rituals, collecting an in-depth biography, witnessing a local election, experiencing a feud between the villagers and the neighboring ranchers, and exchanging folklore. Along the way, they must establish and maintain rapport with the villagers, learn local customs, and deal with an array of realistic practical problems, social predicaments, and ethical dilemmas. In order to collect information and complete assignments, players immerse themselves in village events and customs by becoming a participant-observers. Many things will be unfamiliar, and players must deal with the unexpected. They must also maintain a reasonable level of health in this new setting far from home. Failure to achieve these goals will result in – well, wait and see.

EthnoQuest has been designed to answer the knotty question inevitably asked by students in anthropology classes: "What is fieldwork really like?" To answer this question, instructors may assign intriguing readings where authors acknowledge blundering about in exotic, even dangerous field situations, ultimately emerging triumphantly with piles and piles of cultural data. Or they may orchestrate in­class role-playing or show videos of anthropologists working in the field. Helpful as they may be, these strategies usually fall short of furnishing students with a clear sense of the actual excitement, pitfalls, frustrations, triumphs, and constant decision-making involved in ethnographic fieldwork. But this simulation is different.

EthnoQuest is aimed at students and “armchair anthropologists”; it puts students closer to fieldwork experience than they could otherwise be. Even for readers not planning on a career in anthropology, EthnoQuest provides valuable experience unlike any other. In a general sense, those who participate in this simulation are confronted with decision-making and problem-solving situations in a novel cultural setting, experiences readily transferable to a multitude of settings in daily life.

Social Sciences

Organizing Around Intelligence by Thow Yick Liang (World Scientific)

Without the randomness of chaos, the rich variety and diversity of evolution would be stifled and throttled. Chaos is the rich soil from which creativity is born. – Uri Merry, Coping with Uncertainty

Organizing Around Intelligence introduces a new mindset in leading and managing human organizations. Thow Yick Liang believes that a paradigm shift is vital as humankind enters the intelligence era, also known as the knowledge economy. Individual human beings are becoming better informed and educated, and they carry knowledge structures of very high quality. Consequently, their interaction dynamic is different and they have to be managed differently. The intelligent organization theory discussed in Organizing Around Intelligence emphasizes the significance of focusing on the human thinking system and the “orgmind” as the primary strategy. The approach is to organize around intelligence and collective intelligence. According to Liang, a widely published researcher in new leadership and management strategy/philosophy, Associate Professor in Technology and Strategy at the School of Business, Singapore Management University, both the human organization and its interacting agents are complex adaptive systems. Other topics covered include the importance of awareness and mindfulness, the intelligent person model, and the edge of chaos.

At the dawn of the new millennium, an understanding and exploitation of scientific concepts and opportunities represent a fresh niche in economic activities. An emerging breed of entrepreneurs, the technopreneurs, forms the vital driving force behind many highly developed economies. The new explorers are inspired by scientific innovations that can provide them with a quantum leap in their business endeavors. The competitive edge they seek is the techno-advantage. Examples of such emerging opportunities are embedded in domains such as the life sciences and the e-landscape.

According to Liang, on a broader perspective, in leadership, management philosophy and strategy, and social dynamics, comprehending a new scientific domain that integrates complexity, evolution, nonlinearity and intelligence is crucial for all human organizations (businesses, government bodies, institutions of learning, communities/societies, economies and nations). Humankind is beginning to realize that the universe and its microcosms are more a mind than a machine. In addition, these systems are complex, nonlinear and adaptive. Inevitably, the human mind and the vicissitudes of life are nonlinear in nature. For simplicity and comfort, the nonlinear dimension has all along been suppressed or ignored. In actuality, lots of opportunities are embedded in nonlinear spaces and at the edge of chaos. It is in these spaces where innovation and creativity are skillfully camouflaged, awaiting the arrival of appropriate intelligent decoders.

The exploitation of complexity and evolution theories is spread­ing across some advanced economies. However, the holistic applica­tion of this domain in human organizations requires a paradigmatic shift in thinking and a much more in-depth reflection. Thus, the changes in environment and understanding warrant a fresh mindset and a totally redefined approach towards leading, structuring and managing human organizations. The primary focus of the new mind­set is the human mind. The mental state and knowledge structures of the human thinking system are of primary significance. The new strategy is to organize around intelligence; such an endeavor requires a lot of patience and time.

The human mind is an example of an entity known as a complex adaptive system. The human mind – indeed, a business corporation, a society, the whole of nature, and the entire universe – is steered by intelligence.

According to Liang, intelligence is the mysterious energy that orchestrates and drives the entire dynamic of the universe, and the evolution of all forms of structures and lives in this world. This is the fundamental principle of the intelligent organization theory discussed in Organizing Around Intelligence. The theory stipulates that any artificial group created by humankind, from a business organization to a nation, must also focus on intelligence and collective intelligence, if the system is to evolve successfully. In such an group, intelligence-related entities and activities form the germination centers for structure to be erected. Spontaneously, order and the physical structure will emerge from the deep nonlinear dynamics/processes.

Fundamentally, the core of the intelligent organization theory emphasizes the development of a mindset that focuses on intelligence as the impetus behind mindfulness, awareness, connectivity, learning, thinking, knowledge internalization, decision-making and adaptation. The keys to optimize benefits from the global intelligence revolution are better awareness and mindfulness that embrace the ability to utilize the human thinking systems better, and the skill to quickly establish useful relationships/connectivity that can nurture a more supportive/mindful culture.

A new mode of leadership and management must be cultivated. It is important to recognize that organizing around intelligence is the primary phenomenon that nature adopts to create and sustain order, structure and life in the midst of complexity. The self-organizing dynamics manifested in such complex adaptive systems defy the expanding universe concept of increasing entropy and disorder. The evolutionary processes, if intelligent enough, will creatively manipulate and extract new information from the edge of chaos to further strengthen existing order. In particular, by channeling intense intelligence into the edge of chaos, and through the proper exploitation of its nonlinear characteristic, a small investment could result in a large return (the butterfly effect). This is a basic aspect of the intelligence strategy that a smart evolver must adopt.

Finally, it must be emphasized that the mindset and the concepts presented and discussed in Organizing Around Intelligence engulf a current research frontier that cuts across numerous disciplines. The intelligent organization theory is an integrated theory that human organizations must adopt to emerge as victors in the intelligence revolution. However, new ideas in this domain are still unfolding everyday. The primary objective of Organizing Around Intelligence is to create a fresh awareness and to point a new direction. Therefore, readers, in particular, leaders and potential leaders of all human organizations, must explore this work with a flexible and open mind.

Organizing Around Intelligence is about leading, managing and nurturing intelligent human organizations that constantly exploit innovation and creativity embedded at the edge of chaos. The advantage to be exploited is the intelligence advantage and will be beneficial to leaders and managers/executives of businesses, government bodies, institutions of learning, communities and nations. It will also be a useful reference source for researchers in numerous other organization-related domains.


Judo: History, Theory, Practice by Vladamir Putin, Vasily Shestakov, Alexey Levitsky (North Atlantic Books)

Created as the “gentle art” by founder Jigiro Kano, judo is know throughout the world as a sport that puts near total emphasis on the development of character.

Judo covers virtually every aspect of this combination sport and self-defense practice. Written by Vladimir Putin (with the help of Vasily Shestakov and Alexey Levitsky), perhaps the only world leader who is also a master of the art, the book includes highlights in the history and development of judo, all phases of its practice, plus a scientific analysis of techniques. Topics include judo uniforms, where matches take place, what rules fighters must follow, and how to start training. The book contains practical recommendations for judo fighters regarding diet and weight regulation as well as injury prevention.

The authors give a complete history of judo, from its origins in Japanese jujitsu through its development into an Olympic sport, including Russia’s contributions to the art.

The rules and basic concepts are covered, followed by detailed instruction in break-falling, throwing techniques, and ground grappling. Judo theory is examined, and key practice points are presented, as well as strategies for the beginner and an exploration of kuzushi, judo’s art of unbalancing. Finally, the authors present the self-defense techniques of judo and introduce the unique Russian art of combat sambo.

A book on judo in English could be a book repeating many others in times past. But a book written by President Putin has a chance to awaken the English-speaking world to a person who is totally devoted to bringing the new Russia successfully into the global market place as a competitive and peaceful competitor. And believe me, President Putin, as a judo expert, understands what competition is all about. I believe this book can be a catalyst to promote international understanding of the new Russia’s dynamic leader – George F. Russell, Jr., Co-Chairman, EastWest Institute and The Kendall-Russell Centre for Corporate Competitiveness in Russia

In Judo authors Putin, Shestakov, and Levitsky present a detailed judo textbook useful for coaches, competitors, and all who are interested in this sport. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is well known for his life-long love of judo and brings his experience to bear in writing this manual. Also designed for fans, this guided tour of Judo illustrates techniques with graphics. And Judo provides a fascinating opportunity to see Putin in his element – both front and back covers feature him in uniform, looking relaxed.

Judo is sponsored by the Society for the Study of Native Arts and Sciences, a nonprofit educational corporation whose goals are to develop and educational and cross-cultural perspective linking various scientific, social, and artistic fields; to nurture a holistic view of arts, sciences, humanities, and healing; and to publish and distribute literature on the relationship of mind, body, and nature.

Sports / Biographies

The Wicked Game: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and the Story of Modern Golf by Howard Sounes (William Morrow) is a penetrating forty-year history of golf – an exclusive view through the lives of three of its greatest icons.

Considered a game of leisure for the white and the affluent, modern golf has risen from the obscurity of private country clubs to become a multimillion-dollar business and obsession. Thanks largely to three legends, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, golf is now a household sport, but despite its popularity with the masses, the golf establishment is still conservative and elitist, entwined with money, politics, business, and discrimination. Journalist and author Howard Sounes takes a no-holds-barred look at the glory of the game of golf – as well as its background – in The Wicked Game.

Although Tiger Woods declined to be interviewed, alluding to his own publishing deals, Sounes spoke with Tiger's friends, family, caddies, coaches, business associates, and girlfriends, whom he cites by name. The Wicked Game reveals surprising aspects of Woods' life, and what might be called the Woods family mythology, casting his story in a new light.

Sounes, a former journalist and the author of five works of nonfiction, believes that there is much in golf to be critical about, even though little or no criticism can be found in the golf press. But as someone who comes to the game of golf as an outsider, a writer of diverse books of nonfiction and biography, Sounes doesn't have a vested interest in the golf establishment – making him a good choice to reveal the true story behind the "ultimate gentlemen's pastime."

Huge amount of original research and over 150 interviews, including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, fellow champions such as Ernie Els, Gary Player, Tony Jacklin, and Tom Watson, and golf moguls such as Mark H. McCormack, billionaire founder of the sports agency IMG, conducted over a period of years, unearthed a wealth of new information. With unprecedented access to players and their closest associates, Sounes reveals the personal lives, rivalries, wealth, and business dealings of these men, as well as the murky history of the game; for example, the "Caucasian clause" existed in the rules of the PGA of America from 1934 until 1961.

The Wicked Game is a compelling tell-all story exploring the rich history of golf – not just the process of knocking balls into holes, but it’s wicked history. Sounes tells this story by seamlessly blending the lives and careers of the three most famous, successful, and influential players of modern times. Entertaining for dedicated golfers, and accessible to those who only follow the game on television, this may be the most original sports book of the year.

Transportation / Boats / History / Biographies & Memoirs

Ralph Stanley: Tales of a Maine Boatbuilder by Craig Milner & Ralph Stanley (Down East Books)  The heyday of wooden boat building is over, but Ralph Stanley of Southwest Harbor, Maine, is keeping the tradition alive. Stanley has been one of the best­ known, most talented designers and builders of wooden boats in the state, if not the entire nation, for more than fifty years. His work has earned him such honors as a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. His craft, handed down through generations of family, is now being perpetuated by his children at their thriving family boat building business.

Ralph Stanley, by Stanley and journalist/photographer Craig Milner, is the story of a life devoted to designing and building traditional wooden boats, especially Maine lobster boats and Friendship sloops, with adventures along the way. In his own words, Stanley, Boatbuilder Laureate of the State of Maine, mines his memories of his family, his neighbors, the boats he built, and the people who bought them (ranging from local lobstermen to the very wealthy). Milner, who taped Stanley's story, over the course of 30 years took many of the photographs that fill Ralph Stanley.

Notes Milner, "From a historical perspective, I consider Ralph Stanley to be a pivotal figure in traditional boatbuilding. He stands as a vital link to past craftsmen, having learned his trade when all boat construction was done in wood by men who had worked in wood all their lives, as had generations of boatbuilders before them."

Ralph Stanley is one of the great treasures of the coast of Maine – a classic, soft-spoken renaissance man of tremendous talent and skill. He can, on the same day, take the toughest oak log and sculpt it to exquisite shape with his adze alone, or bring his finest carving tools to the most intricate figurehead for a Friendship sloop. This book is a rare opportunity to gain a clearer sense of a rare man. – Jon Wilson, founder and editor-in-chief, WoodenBoat magazine

There are precious few Ralph Stanleys left in this world, and being able to learn about Stanley's life and career in his own words is a rare privilege. He is the embodiment of the storied Maine boatbuilder – one who knows what has to be done and knows how to do it. Anybody who wants to learn more about a vanishing way of life on the coast of Maine will find this book both informative and entertaining. – Peter H. Spectre, Editor, Maine Boats & Harbors magazine

Stanley is one of the best-known, most talented designers and builders of wooden boats in the state, if not the entire nation. In this biography Ralph Stanley, with the help of veteran boatbuilding photo-journalist Milner, he tells the story of his family, his clients, his neighbors, his boats, and his extraordinary career.

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