We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

September 2004, Issue #65

Guide to current contents

Links to Content: How to Buy Antiques, Anthropology, Dressing to Impress, Renaissance Art, Uta Hagen On Acting, Mel Ramos' Pop Art, Photographs of Edmund Teske, Marilyn Monroe's Death, Esmeralda Santiago's Turkish Lover, Business: Keeping Customers, Legacy DEC, Life Lessons from History's Heroes, Classic Children's Literature, Children's Frogs, Selma Lanes on Children’s Literature, First Day of School, Evangelicals & Israel, Bereavement, Why Wine is Good, Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cooking, How to Coerce a Confession, Problems in the Classroom,  Black Men's Depression, Leisure in Later Life, Adolescents, Military History, Foreign Slave Trade to North America, The American Story, The 1927Western Pennsylvania Coal-Workers Strike, Russ Ringsak Says-No, Commentary on Milton's Paradise Lost, Audio: Nero Wolfe Mystery, Hear or Read: Tess Gerritsen's Body Double, Spy Game, Egypt: Child of Atlantis, The Psychology of Plato's Timaeus, Reader in Philosophy of the ArtsIndia's Radical Humanist, Renata Salecl on Anxiety. Animal Philosophy, College Money Handbook 2005, Become a Book Publicist, History of Ancient Jerusalem, Preaching Without Jew-Baiting, Mysterious Pyramids of Egypt Masonic Style, Observing the Night Sky, Rock Types Effect Plants, Launching the World's First Satellites, Future History SF, Seven Stories & One Novella: Focus on Character, Sports American Style


At Home With the Bella Coola Indians: T. F. McIlwraith's Field Letters, 1922-1924 edited by John Barker & Douglas Cole (University of British Columbia Press)
Between 1922 and 1924, the young anthropologist T. F. McIlwraith spent eleven months in the isolated community of Bella Coola, British Columbia, living among the people now known as the Nuxalk First Nation. During his time there, McIlwraith gained intimate knowledge of the Nuxalk culture and of their struggle to survive in the face of massive depopulation, loss of traditional lands, and the efforts of the Canadian government to ban the potlatch.

At Home With the Bella Coola Indians was conceived around 1980 after the two editors, John Barker and Douglas Cole, indepen­dently read parts of a rich trove of letters written by McIlwraith from Bella Coola in 1922 and 1923-4. Barker, then a senior at the University of Western Ontario (now associate professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia), came across McIlwraith's letters to Edward Sapir in the files of the Canadian Ethnology Service. He contacted McIlwraith's widow, who invited him to explore the contents of several cartons containing her husband's papers. Around the same time, Douglas Cole, professor of history at Simon Fraser University, now deceased, had come across some of McIlwraith's letters to A.C. Haddon while carrying out research on the history of Canadian anthropology at Cambridge University. Following Beulah McIlwraith's death in 1978, the family invited Cole to examine McIlwraith's private papers and prepare them for donation to the University of Toronto Archives.

McIlwraith's fieldwork experiences were remarkable. He had arrived in Bella Coola in the twilight years of the old culture, when a handful of elders still lived in the richly adorned longhouses of their ancestors. He gained their trust, becoming a sort of repository into which they poured ancestral mythologies, histories, songs, and details about ceremonials, religion, and social organization. Capping it all, he had the extraordinary good fortune not only to witness but also to participate in the winter ceremonies of a Northwest Coast secret society.

Over the course of two stints of fieldwork in Bella Coola, totaling almost eleven months between 1922 and 1924, McIlwraith wrote about the progress of his work and his experience in weekly letters to his family, less regularly to his professors at Cambridge University and his employer in Ottawa. Written with a keen eye for telling detail, a clear prose style, and an engaging wit, the letters provide a vivid record of his experiences and open a precious window onto the character of anthropological fieldwork on the Northwest Coast during this period. The letters enhance the value of The Bella Coola Indians by allowing readers to better understand the underlying research upon which it was based. But the importance of the letters goes well beyond their connection to anthropology. They are invaluable historical records for Bella Coola in general and for the Nuxalk Nation in particular. McIlwraith's correspondence gives readers a unique glimpse into life in a frontier community, then divided equally between First Nations peoples and White settlers. Even more important, they contain priceless information about the grandparents and great-grandparents of today's Nuxalk, a generation that took crucial steps towards saving the memory of their past culture when all appeared to be lost.

Although written eight decades ago, the letters remain fresh and engaging. They require no introduction to be enjoyed and appreciated. Barker’s aim in compiling At Home With the Bella Coola Indians was to provide readers interested in exploring the greater significance of McIlwraith's correspondence with some background information and discussion about the letters' implications for our understandings of the evolution of anthropological fieldwork and our perspectives on the fate of indigenous peoples. Barker and Cole begin with a brief biography and description of the setting within which McIlwraith carried out his fieldwork. They then turn to a more extended discussion of what the letters reveal about Aboriginal-White relations in Bella Coola in the early 1920s, about the working assumptions underlying McIlwraith's field methods, and about the critical role certain Nuxalk elders played in shap­ing the anthropologist's understanding of their cultural traditions. As a work of "salvage anthropology" that aimed to describe Nuxalk traditions as they may have existed before the arrival of Whites, The Bella Coola Indians neglects the contemporary conditions under which the people actually lived and denies them a role as active agents who shaped their own destinies within the confines of colonialism. The letters open a door to a historical critique of The Bella Coola Indians – not to denounce the work as flawed but to reclaim it as an essential part of a living and con­tinuously evolving Nuxalk culture.

At Home With the Bella Coola Indians, in itself a splendidly comprehensive and thematically coherent study, is a rich complement to McIlwraith’s classic ethnography The Bella Coola Indians, incorporating his letters from the field as well as previously unpublished essays on the Nuxalk. Vivid and lively, the letters show the human side of the anthropologist and provide a fascinating insight into the famous Northwest winter ceremonials and potlatch – events in which McIlwraith was one of the few white men privileged to participate.

Antiques & Collectibles

Secrets to Affordable Antiques: How to Buy More for Less by Frank Farmer Loomis IV (Krause Publications)

Viewers of Antiques Roadshow and similar television shows love to see astronomical appraisals, especially when the piece was purchased for much less. Unfortunately these sky-high amounts make the unknowing collector fear they cannot afford antiques.

Secrets to Affordable Antiques by Frank Farmer Loomis IV challenges this conclusion by proving antiques can be affordable. The book discusses how to buy more antiques for less, just like a pro, starting at 55 cents.

Loomis, a popular radio personality, professional antiques appraiser, and teacher of antiques classes, reveals savvy ways to find antiques and collectibles priced within any budget and presents price ceilings that are safety nets to guarantee success. Loomis' book explains the best time to shop, how to negotiate price, the joy antiques bring and what to avoid. He introduces “Loomisms”, his unique mantras about antiques.

Secrets to Affordable Antiques also covers many types of antiques, including furniture, china, glass, pewter, textiles and paintings. And Loomis emphasizes a rarely heralded aspect of antiques – their sentimental value. He writes, "My goal is to give you the expertise to shop with confidence without breaking the piggy bank while having a grand time."

Lomis delivers entertaining yet practical advice in Secrets to Affordable Antiques, providing proven and valuable tips and techniques to help antiquers find deals.

Antiques & Collectibles / Fashion

Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Dover Books on Fashion) by Katherine Morris Lester & Bess Viola Oerke, with drawings by Helen Westermann  (Dover Publications) is a treat for anyone who delights in decorative accessories of the past, accessories of dress and a reference for costume designers.

From hats, veils, wigs, and cosmetics to cravats, shawls, shoes, and gloves, Accessories of Dress provides an account of the forms of personal adornment men and women have used throughout the ages to enhance their wearing apparel – and the way they look.

Drawing upon a vast number of historical sources, the authors of this refer­ence, Katherine Morris Lester & Bess Viola Oerke, have created an engaging account of historical wearing apparel. To help tell the story of accessories – from hats, veils, and pins to gloves, garters, and walking sticks – the writers have incorporated drawings of illustrations taken from rare books and magazines, photographs of original paintings and sculptures, and authentic observations by commentators on fashions of their times.

Accessories of Dress is an unabridged republication of Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated History of the Frills and Furbelows of Fashion, published by The Manual Arts Press in Peoria in 1940.

The student of the history of dress or design will ... find the book particularly rich in suggestions. – Journal of Home Economics

The book will inevitably find its way onto the working bookshelf of every costume and scene designer, as well as into the library of everyone who finds delight and inspiration in its picture of the follies and foibles of La Comedie Humaine. – Theatre Arts

Describing wigs, cosmetics, cravats, shawls, shoes, handbags, fans, parasols, rib­bons, buttons, and scores of other fashion accessories, the entertaining and enlightening commentary in Accessories of Dress displays the humor and personal charm of the many-sided story of accessorized apparel.

Art History / Renaissance

Renaissance Painting: The Golden Age of European Art edited by Stefano Zuffi, with Francesca Castria Marchetti & Tatjana Pauli & Stefano (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.)

There are times then the heart of history beats harder and faster. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries perceptions of the world changed repeatedly until they were transformed by the great geographic discoveries that began with Columbus's voyage.

Newest among Barron's large, lavishly illustrated books of full-color art reproductions, Renaissance Painting evokes the art of the European Renaissance as it came into flower during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Radiating from the cities of Florence and Rome, then spreading across Italy and most of the rest of Europe, this era is best known today through the works of such masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raphael Sanzio. Paintings by these and many more artists are faithfully reproduced – approximately 500 full-color reproductions of works by Italian, German, Spanish, French, and Flemish artists fill the book. Among the 90 painters represented are the Italians Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian ... the French artists Jean Clouet and masters of the school of Fontainebleau ... the Spaniards El Greco and Luis de Morales ... the Germans Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach . . . northern European masters including Pieter Bruegel, Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and many others. Renaissance Painting’s faithful reproductions represent paintings in churches, palaces, and museums throughout Europe and America.

The 500 paintings reproduced in these pages are arranged chronologically and by country, thus offering a historical overview of one of the supreme eras in world art. A total of more than 90 artists are represented in works now displayed in Florence's Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, the Louvre in Paris, Theatrican Museum and Borghese Gallery in Rome, the Prado in Madrid, the National Gallery in London, New York's Metropolitan Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna, and many others.

Europe experienced a period of practically continuous, bitter wars (between France and England, between Spain and the Moors, between Catholics and Protestants of various countries, between Jmice and the Itirks, and between Spain, England, and the Netherlands, to mention only a few), through which a difficult balance was achieved among the major powers. Paradoxically, what emerged from these political and territorial conflicts was an awareness of a common soul, shared cultural and spiritual origins, expressed through art, which gave rise to the Renaissance, the true foundation of the "modern" Western world.

Naturally, if we observe past centuries with detachment, without considering the wonders of art, the Renaissance may seem like a great dream that was not wholly realized. Man in the early fifteenth century saw new horizons opening up before him. For Florentine bankers, Flemish merchants, (and the professors and students at the universities in Europe, the rebirth of ancient civilization seemed imminent, giving them a key to understanding every expression of society in the light of classical humanitas, namely more peaceful relations between people and between states, with tolerance and well-being guaranteed by the spread of culture. The revolutionary invention of printing had an enormous impact on communication, helping to spread the great utopian idea of man being the measure of all things, and of a world where physical and intellectual abilities were given full expression. Perspective, a pictorial device to create the illusion of three-dimensionality, was combined with the move toward portraying scenes of everyday life. There was a new interest in depicting light, the air, the seasons, and thus, the image of nature became clearer and more identifiable, after the pioneering stage at the beginning of the sixteenth century came the period of the great masters. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Dürer, Holbein, Bosch, and Lucas van Leiden, belong each in his own way to the same era, an era in which ideas seemed to become reality. But the age of certainty was soon replaced by the age of doubt. Partialy responsible for this new climate was the opening up of the Atlantic routes for purposes of colonization and trade, the division of Europe, and the schism in the Church caused by the Reformation, making dialogue difficult and moderation impossible.

As the new powers were emerging, the High Renaissance began to acquire the stylistic features of Mannerism. This was the conclusion of an exciting age of ideas expressed in a period of unparalleled excellence in art.

Renaissance Painting is a beautiful volume whose large and faithful full-color reproductions present a dramatic and absorbing overview of what many historians call the single most important epoch in the history of the visual arts. Supplemented with enlightening text by Stefano Zuffi, Italian art historian and author, here is a glorious tour that surveys many of the finest works produced during the European Renaissance.

Arts / Acting / Education

Uta Hagen’s Acting Class, produced and directed by Pennie du Pont and Karen Ludwig (Applause Theater & Cinema Books) 2 DVDs each 90 minutes (1557836205) Also available on VHS (ISBN 155783511x)
The popular instructional video Uta Hagen’s Acting Class, originally brought out by Applause in VHS format (2002), is now available on DVD.

Uta Hagen, who died in January of 2004, is considered one of the finest acting talents of the modern stage. She won Tony Awards for her electrifying performance as Martha in the original Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and for her creation of Georgie Elgin in Clifford Odets' The Country Girl; an Obie for Mrs. Klein; a special Tony for Lifetime Achievement; and the National Endowment for the Arts National Medal of Arts. Distinguished as well as a teacher of acting (she co-founded with her husband Herbert Berghof the prestigious HB Studio in Manhattan), she has been an inspiration and influence for many of today's stage and screen stars.

In this unique, two-part set of her world-renowned master classes, Hagen shares her observations and insights on the art of acting. Culled from nearly 200 hours of classes over a two-year period, Uta Hagen’s Acting Class takes the viewer inside the classroom itself to witness Hagen's interaction with students as she provides them with practical tools for improving their technique and for achieving the transformation from student to actor.

Interspersed among her constructive critiques of the students' performances – which incorporate her classic Object Exercises – are asides from former students, including Jack Lemmon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Christine Lahti, who recall their classes with her and her enduring influence on their work.

Because I love the theater, and believe it to be not only the actor's training but testing ground, it is with great pleasure that I recommend this video set. How fortunate for actors, directors, and teachers – all over the world – to have the opportunity to study and learn from this devoted and remarkable teacher. – Meryl Streep

Here is Ms. Hagen at her extraordinary best – witty, compassionate, inspired, and inspiring. Will watching this video make you a better actor, director, or teacher? Yes, yes, and yes! – David Hyde Pierce

Uta Hagen’s Acting Class brilliantly captures the master in action. You will literally feel that you are in the room with her as she shares her wealth of knowledge. – Howard Fine, The Howard Fine Acting Studio, Los Angeles

How fortunate that Hagen's teaching has been captured on film so other gen­erations of students will be able to gain greater understanding of their craft... This is an important work... – Library Journal

A Must See for every acting student ... and teacher! – Barbara Corday, Chair Dept. of Cinema/TV, Univ. of Southern California

Uta Hagen has trained a generation of actors with grace, with skill and with a stunning effectiveness .... This unique set provides a singular opportunity for those with an interest in theater or acting to fully understand her remarkable techniques. But for those who have a passion for the field or have decided to make acting their lives, this is not merely a great opportunity. .. it is absolutely required viewing. – Richard Brown, New York University

You will be able to eavesdrop on some late innings of one of America's great artistic treasures... – Dramatics Magazine

[A] serious, insightful guide... – American Library Association Booklist

As the student actors rethink, reshape and rework their scenes based on her comments, Uta Hagen’s Acting Class becomes a study of the very essence of acting itself. It speaks to the aspiring actor, the seasoned performer, and to everyone who appreciates what goes into the making of a believable and effective performance.

Arts & Entertainment

Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies: The Complete Paintings by Donald Kuspit with Louis K. Meisel (Watson-Guptill Publications)

Ramos’s female nudes...are beautiful things, indeed, a kind of popularized artificial paradise of the pleasure and transcendence that mingle in beauty. – Donald Kuspit

In 1961, Mel Ramos emerged on the international art scene along with Warhol, Liechtenstein, Oldenburg, Wesselmann, and Rosenquist as part of the second post-war movement to gain historical importance: pop art. Among the great painters of the American Pop Art movement, Mel Ramos is one of the most intriguing and provocative. A painter of powerful and memorable images, Ramo’s association with Pop Art began with his painting of comic book heroes and heroines in the 1960s, including Batman, and went on to explore the idealization of the female figure within the mass media and consumer advertising. These were followed by witty and ironic images reworking and updating great nude masterpieces in Western art, ultimately leading to an insightful visual exploration of the role of artist and model.

Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies opens with a discerning essay on the artist’s career and work written by acclaimed art critic Donald Kuspit. With a detailed examination of his artwork, Kuspit highlights Ramos’s inspirations, influences, and characteristic themes. Each chapter in the book discusses a distinctive movement within the artist’s career accompanied by insightful running commentary by leading art critic, dealer and scholar (State University of New York at Stoneybrook) Louis K. Meisel.

Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies includes 480 beautiful full-color reproductions of all existent Ramos paintings and watercolors, as well as a detailed biography section and complete painting index chronicling the artist’s entire career. The book is a stunning and comprehensive volume, the most definitive volume on Ramos’s work ever published. With Kuspit’s enlightening and provocative commentary, it is a dazzling celebration of the art and innovative wit that is Mel Ramos.

Arts & Photography / Essays

Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske by Julian Cox & Edmund Teske (Getty Publications)

Edmund Teske (1911-1996) was one of the alchemists of twentieth-century American photography. Over a sixty-year period, he created a diverse body of work that explored the expressive and emotional potentials of the medium. His drive to experiment with sophisticated techniques, such as solarization and composite printing, liberated a younger generation of American photographers; at the same time, his subject matter – sometimes abstract, often homoerotic, and always lyrical and poetic – opened up new areas for photographers to explore. Spirit into Matter is published to coincide with the first major retrospective of Teske's work at the Getty Museum from June 15 to September 19, 2004. Julian Cox provides an introduction and extensive biocritical essay on Teske that traces his long and varied career, from Chicago in the 1930s to Los Angeles, where the photographer took up residence in 1943. Cox investigates Teske's early associations with such influential figures as Frank Lloyd Wright and Paul Strand and his later associations with iconic figures including filmmaker Kenneth Anger and musicians Ramblin' Jack Elliott and the Doors.

Cox, associate curator of photographs at the Getty Museum, includes a transcript of a conversation with George Herms, who knew Teske for more than thirty years. The book also includes a chronology of Teske's life, a checklist of his exhibitions, and a complete bibliography.

Teske’s contribution to the art of photography was his power to give presence to the past and his ability to vivify memory. He caused an emotional spirit world captured in photographs to become a living part of every present moment. Moreover, he had an intimate relationship to the medium of photography that resulted from his living dialogue with its materials – optics, film, chemistry and mechanics. Teske believed fervently in the redemptive power of art and photography and spent every day of his adult live putting this belief into practice while at the same time inviting others to share the same commitment. – Weston Naef, Curator of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum

The first major study of this fascinating and influential artist, Spirit into Matter will be a dynamic source of information for students of photography, collectors, and all those with an interest in the life and culture of Southern California, where Teske worked for more than fifty years.

Biographies & Memoirs

Marilyn's Last Words: Her Secret Tapes and Mysterious Death by Matthew Smith (Carroll & Graf Publishers)
Marilyn Monroe's death in August 1962, apparently a suicide, shocked the world. The coroner's report stated that her death was due to a massive overdose of Nembutal capsules. But what about the discrepancies between the official report and the eyewitness accounts and memories of the people who were there at the scene of her death – friends, her housekeeping staff, police officers, and doctors? And what about the forensic evidence that disappeared between the time of her death and the coroner's report being issued? Looking back at thousands of documents, many never before published, and interviewing dozens of sources, Matthews Smith argues strongly in Marilyn's Last Words for a new version of events, as he paints a portrait of her day-to-day world toward the end of her life. The case he makes is based not only on the documents and on complete forensic evidence, but also on the confidential tapes Monroe made for her psychiatrist in the days leading up to her death – tapes that reveal a woman in charge of her life and her fate, a woman looking forward to a busy, bright future. Here, in her own words from the transcripts of the tapes, are the private thoughts of Marilyn Monroe.

Smith has also examined thousand of documents, many never before published, and interviewed dozens of sources. Smith has written extensively on the Kennedy administration and assassination for more than thirty years. He was a consultant to the television program The Man Who Killed Kennedy and the author of the acclaimed JFK: The Second Plot and The Men Who Murdered Marilyn.

The tapes are certainly explosive and Smith makes a good case. – Manchester Evening News

The tape transcript sounds exactly like Marilyn speaking. – BBC Radio Five Live Book Critics

Charming and intriguing ... Written with great sympathy. – Sunday Times, London

Marilyn's Last Words provides interesting material, and adds new facts. For example, forensic evidence pointed toward drugging by enema, which could not have been suicide. And the audiotapes show a person managing her life, not one ready to commit suicide. Monroe’s house was bugged by both the CIA and the FBI. While implying that Robert and John Kennedy, both of whom she had affairs with, or the CIA, who didn’t want information about the attempts to assassinate Castro to come out, had to be responsible, the author struggles too hard to exonerate the Kennedys.

Biographies & Memoirs / Hispanic American Studies

The Turkish Lover by Esmeralda Santiago (A Merloyd Lawrence Book, DaCapo Press) is Esmeralda Santiago's long-awaited new memoir – the emotionally and psychologically charged story of an exotic and dangerous love affair.

“The night before I left my mother, I wrote a letter. "Querida, Mami," it began. Querida, beloved, Mami, I wrote, on the same page as el hombre que yo amo, the man I love. I struggled with those words, because I wasn't certain they were true. Mami understood love, so I used the word and hoped I meant it. El hombre que yo amo. Amo, which in Spanish also means master. I didn't notice the irony.”

And so begins Esmeralda Santiago's long-awaited third memoir, The Turkish Lover. Along with Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez, Santiago is one of today's preeminent Latina authors. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Brooklyn with her ten siblings and unmarried mother, who supported them all. Her amazing life is chronicled in her memoirs, one volume of which – Almost a Woman – was made into a Peabody Award-winning film for PBS's Masterpiece Theater. This fall, she'll be the subject of yet another film – Writing a Life.

In The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of a monumental struggle with her powerful mother – only to come under the thrall of Ulvi, an older, more worldly Turkish man. Esmeralda then discovers that romantic passion, too, can become a prison.

Her journey of self-liberation and self-discovery is daring, candidly recounted, and leads to her triumphant graduation from Harvard. (Her view of that venerable institution is an eye opener, told as only a witty and fiercely candid writer totally outside the mold can tell it.) Throughout, she details her affair with Ulvi, using the lens of their troubled relationship to explore racism, sexism, feminism, and the value of education – and ultimately unveiling a person who, against all odds, emerges victorious.

The expansive humanity, earthy humor, and psychological courage that made Esmeralda's first two books successful are on full display again in The Turkish Lover, which will both reward the author's faithful readership and extend it. Hers is a fresh, exciting, and necessary voice.

Business & Economics

Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most
by Patrick Barwise
& Sean Meehan (Harvard Business School Press)

What do customers really want?

Most executives believe that winning and keeping customers requires offering something unique. But as physical products become increasingly harder to differentiate, companies resort to branding, gimmicks, and "thinking outside the box." Meanwhile, customers are less satisfied than they were a decade ago. Yet most companies consistently fail to meet these basic customer needs.

According to marketing experts Patrick Barwise and Seán Meehan, in focusing on differentiation, companies have neglected the very basic activities that matter most to customers. Simply Better argues that it is not the addition of unique gizmos or features that wins and keeps customers, but the steadfast delivery of the fundamentals – products that actually work and reliable services that take place on time. By following traditional marketing strategies, companies have failed to keep their eye on the ball, failed to listen to their customers, and failed to deliver on basic needs.

The authors, Barwise, Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School, and Meehan, Professor of Marketing and Change Management at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, show that being truly "customer-driven" means consistently fulfilling obvious needs for customers Simply Better than competitors.

Barwise and Meehan argue that successful differentiation lies not in unique selling propositions, but in generic category benefits, such as good service, on-time delivery, and quality products, that any company can provide. The key is to deliver these consistently better than competi­tors. Illustrating this customer-focused differentiation through vivid examples of companies, including Toyota, Proctor & Gamble, Hilti, Tesco, Medtronic, Shell, and Ryanair, Simply Better outlines a framework managers can use to:

  • Understand what customers really value and why they buy the brands they do.
  • Discover basic, unmet needs ripe for reliable solutions.
  • Channel customer dissatisfaction into performance improvements.
  • Balance in-the-box thinking in strategy and innovation with out-of-the-box thinking in advertising and communications.
  • Create a learning culture that continuously responds to changing customer needs.

While things like on-time delivery, quality, and good customer service might seem blindingly obvious, the authors' research shows that most companies have been ignoring these basics for too long and that customers care much less about "unique" and "different" than they do about fundamental needs.

Barwise and Meehan provide six simple rules to help keep companies focused on what customers really want:

  1. Think category benefits, not unique brand benefits.
  2. Think simplicity, not sophistication.
  3. Think inside, not outside, the box.
  4. Think opportunities, not threats.
  5. For creative advertising, forget rule 3.
  6. Think immersion, not submersion.

Simply Better is an essential book filled with refreshing advice discovering and delivering what customers really need. Written in fluid, engaging prose replete with examples, it deserves the attention of all senior managers. – Bill George, former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Inc. and author of Authentic Leadership

Too often, companies forget the core needs of their customers. This book is a good reminder to get the basics right. Managers may disagree with the message, but they cannot ignore its importance. – Matti Alahuhta, Executive Vice President, Nokia

Too many firms focus on creating minor brand differentiators but they fail to deliver on the basics of a product category. Controversially but persuasively, Barwise and Meehan reveal the competitive advantage of simply giving customers what they really want. – Philip Kotler, S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Simply Better reminds us that customers' logic should always trump suppliers' logic. It is a back-to-basics business manifesto for all levels of management across industries. – Nobuyuki Idei, Chairman and Group CEO, Sony Corporation

A new manifesto for marketing executives, Simply Better, by marketing professors, based on their research, presents a framework for customer-focused innovation, employee motivation, and the development of a customer-responsive culture throughout the organization. Candid and refreshing, the book refocuses marketers and managers on what really matters to customers – and outlines exactly what companies must do to deliver it. This straightforward, no-nonsense approach will help marketers determine which basics matter most to their customers and offer the tools, rules, and strategies for delivering on them.

Business & Economics / History

DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC: The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation by Edgar H. Schein, with Peter S. DeLisi, Paul J. Kampas, Michael M. Sonduck (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.) tells the 40-year story of DEC's creation, demise, and enduring legacy.

There is a culture that is unique to technology firms – casual but hardworking, anti-establishment but fiercely driven. Where did this culture come from? Not from IBM or Apple. Not from Microsoft. The blueprint for computer technology firms came from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), the pioneering company led by entrepreneur Ken Olsen.
In the annals of American business, DEC’s case history ranks among the most interesting. Over its 40-year lifetime, it reached the Fortune 50, had sales of over $14 billion, and for a time was the number-two computer maker, behind only IBM. It also was a computing pioneer, creating a great many of the innovations we take for granted today. Yet it failed as a business and was ultimately sold to Compaq. In DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC, DEC insiders analyze the culture of innovation that drove DEC to the top – how it was created, how it evolved, and why it ultimately collapsed.

Those insiders include Edgar H. Schein, Peter S. DeLisi, Paul J. Kampas, and Michael M. Sonduck. Schein is Professor of Management Emeritus at the Sloan School, Founding Editor of Reflections, the Journal of the Society for Organizational Learning, author of 14 books, and one of the original founders of the Organization Development field. DeLisi is Founder and President of Organizational Synergies, a strategy-consulting firm and Academic Dean of the Information Technology Leadership Program at Santa Clara University. Kampas is founder and principal of Kampas Research, a strategic analysis and technology-planning firm. Sonduck is the president of Leadership For Change, Inc., a management-consulting firm, and he worked at DEC as an organization development consultant from 1976 to 1981.

DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC is a drama of epic proportions. It explains how an organizational culture can become so embedded that the organization is unable to adapt to changing circumstances even though the need is clear to all. For DEC, the evolution of technology, organization, and culture intertwined into a complex system that left the organization unable to cope. The book shows how a powerful entrepreneur, Ken Olsen, created a culture, and how his value system was itself shaped by both his occupation as an engineer and his personal background. DEC developed a set of engineers and managers that went on to populate the computer industry of today. Most of these people consider their time at DEC to have been a great experience from which they learned a tremendous amount. Many went on to reproduce the DEC culture in their new companies.

DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC shows clearly the price of success and growth and the problems that organizational maturity creates. It is the most comprehensive case study ever written detailing the life of a major company from beginning to end, told from an inside perspective. This is a real-life classical tragedy, and it is a must for executives wishing to make their companies more effective.

Business / Entrepreneurship

Look Back to Get Ahead: Life Lessons from History's Heroes by Michael Anthony Jackson (Arcade Publishing)

K2 nearly killed me, but it was the best business decision I ever made. – Jackson

"The further backward you look, the further forward you can see," said Sir Winston Churchill, referring to the lessons to be found in history. Using that watchword as his spring­board, Michael Anthony Jackson, a successful young entrepreneur and businessman, probes the lives of five of history's great conquerors to show how their qualities can help change a life.

A self-made millionaire, Jackson has always sought new experiences and embraced risk, whether in skydiving, mountain climbing, or in other extreme sports. When he turned thirty, he set out to climb K2, one of the world's most dangerous mountains. During the final ascent, his sherpa suffered a collapsed lung, and to save his life Jackson carried him – at great risk – for four days down the mountain to safety. That terrifying, transformative experience led him to examine his own life more closely and provided the inspiration for Look Back to Get Ahead. Who were the people in history who overcame great odds and yet stood head and shoulders above their contemporaries? What in their characters and lives – good and bad – was so special that they changed the world? What can we learn from them to change ourselves?

With these questions in mind, Jackson traces the lives and motivational strategies of

  • Alexander the Great relied heavily on mentors, and believed in the inevitability of his destiny.
  • Genghis Khan, leader of a destitute clan, became the ruler of the largest empire on earth.
  • Trapped in Spain, with the Romans controlling the seas, Hannibal invaded Italy by taking his army and elephants over the Alps. His lesson: Be like water and do the unexpected.
  • William the Conqueror launched one of history's best PR campaigns and became the first master of spin. Jumping ashore in England, he landed face first in the sand. Recovering swiftly, he said to his stunned troops, "See, men, I have seized England with both hands already!"
  • Elizabeth I's control of her image enabled her to evolve from vulnerable princess to invinci­ble monarch.

Jackson presents lively, gung-ho bios of the five combative, brutal yet indomitable historical figures he has chosen. – Publishers Weekly

In this surprising study, Jackson traces the lives and strategies of five world conquerors, including Genghis Kahn. Personalizing the lessons drawn from their stories through his own business experience, Look Back to Get Ahead offers advice to help readers create a map for positive change. The book recommends using such techniques as working on one's self-image, selecting good mentors, confronting one's fears, developing imagery to tap into their power and apply it to their own lives.

Children’s / Ages 5 and up, esp. 9-12) / Nature

Frogs (All About Wild Animals Series: Gareth Stevens Publishing)

The jungle was a faraway place until the All about Wild Animals series came along. Each book in this entertaining, easy-to-read series captures a different wild animal and tells all about it – from physical features and family members to feeding habits and natural habitats. The slick, hardback books have colorful covers with large pictures. The books are small, but they pack a lot in without looking cluttered.

We reviewed Frogs. Readers can learn all about frogs, including where they live what they eat, and why they live near water.

The book starts with a bullet list of facts, in the case of Frogs, “Frog Facts” – bullets include group, color, size, eats, and lives. Then comes the table of contents. The numerous photos and drawings are colorful and dynamic. There are maps showing where frogs live – little frog heads appear all over the globe. Part of the text is written in first person, as if the frog were talking to the child, and there is a timetable outlining what a frog does during a day. The book closes with a glossary and index.

Young readers will enjoy the many fun facts and full-color photos as they start with Frogs or Spiders, for example, and collect volume after volume of this captivating wildlife library. Other titles in the All about Wild Animals series include: Camels, Chimpanzees, Crocodiles, Dolphins, Elephants,, Giraffes, Hippos, Kangaroos, Lions, Pandas, Parrots, Penguins, Polar Bears, Sharks, Spiders, Tigers, Turtles, Wolves, and Zebras.

Children’s Literature

Through the Looking Glass: Further Adventures & Misadventures in the Realm of Children’s Literature by Selma G. Lanes (David R. Godine, Publisher) includes essays on the masters the author most admires: Sendak, Steig, Gorey, L. Frank Baum, Tomi Ungerer, Jack Keats, Margot Zemach, and that editor of genius, Ursula Nordstrom.

Lanes is a writer and critic with a broad grasp of her subject, an acute eye for talent, and a sure prose style, the grande dame of children's literature. She wrote the definitive book on Maurice Sendak, The Art of Maurice Sendak. She is also the former editor-in-chief of Parent's Magazine Press and a reviewer of children's literature for various publications. She has contributed published articles on the primary protagonists and players in the field, many collected in her previous book, Down the Rabbit Hole.

What concerns Lanes most is the integration of text and image, and the ability of authors and artists of picture books to somehow change readers’ perceptions. In a larger sense, she asks, "What makes some children's books work and others fail? How does art for the young reflect, distort or create a social perspective?"

Lanes is concerned about mergers of book houses and what it will do to children’s books. Earlier she observed, "With the possible exception of advertising and film, no popular medium in our time has been as experimental, inventive, and simply alive as children's books." In the present atmosphere of mergers and corporate conglomerates that now define ‘mainstream publishing;’ she wonders if this remains true. Is the field still dominated, as formerly, by a devoted cadre of geniuses able to spot and encourage talent, willing to take risks, and ferocious in their desire to bring children the best that authors and illustrators have to offer? As she says in the introduction: Through the Looking Glass appears at a time when few independent publishers are left in the United States. The merger fever of the last two decades has claimed the great majority: Random House has been melded into the international publishing colossus, Bertelsmann; Simon & Schuster is part of the Viacom conglomerate; G. P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin, Dial, Viking, Frederick Warne and others have been acquired by the British media behemoth, Pearson…. Through the Looking Glass is, in part, a nostalgic trip back to the last half of the last century, a salute to many of the writers and illustrators whose words and pictures are important enough to be remembered.”

The pictures provided of the writers, and there are some great pictures in Through the Looking Glass, take us back to the good old days, the good old days of Selma Lanes.

Children’s / Ages 4-8

Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee, pictures by Harry Bliss (Harcourt, Inc.)
It’s the first day of first grade, and this little girl is excited, right?
That’s because although her new teacher may look harmless, she is actually… A purple-tongued, three-hundred-year-old alien who steals the teeth of earthling children.

How does this little girl know? A second grader told her. And not a moment too soon, for she has a big secret: a loose tooth! How will she get through an entire year without opening her mouth?

Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth was written by Alison McGhee, the author of three novels for adults, a teen novel, and a book for children; and illustrated by Harry Bliss.
With the same sweet wit as that in their first book, Countdown to Kindergarten, in this book McGhee and Bliss take a hilarious bite out of first-day jitters…and the fears about losing one’s first tooth.


The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, Volume One selected by William F. Buckley Jr. (ISI Books)

The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, Volume Two selected by William F. Buckley Jr. (ISI Books)

The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature brings back over forty literary gems – many long forgotten. The volume takes the family who owns it on a voyage, back to the Golden Era of children's literature – a more innocent time when the famous St. Nicholas Magazine offered the youth of America a monthly cornucopia of stories, tales, fables, and adventures, written by the literary giants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These two volumes are lavishly illustrated books that feature around forty children's stories in each volume. William F. Buckley Jr., founder of The National Review and host of public television’s longest running program Firing Line, personally selected the stories, and The National Review has polished these literary jewels, in many cases forgotten over the decades, so that they will sparkle for a new generation of American children. In Volume One readers will find

  • Mark Twain “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
  • Lewis Carroll “Bruno's Revenge"
  • Rudyard Kipling "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," "Mowgli's Brothers," and "Tiger! Tiger!"
  • L. Frank Baum "Juggerjook"
  • Jack London "In Yeddo Bay" And "To Repel Boarders"
  • Louisa May Alcott "Tabby's Table-Cloth" and "Onawandah"
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett "The Spring Cleaning, The Story of Prince Fairyfoot, and “The Proud Little Grain of Wheat”
  • Thornton Burgess "Tommy And The Meadow Mice"
  • Frank Stockton "Sweet Majoram Day"
  • Bret Harte "Baby Sylvester"
  • Allen French "Sir Marrok"
  • Palmer Cox "The Brownies"

Readers will find in The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, Volume Two:

  • Mark Twain "Tom Sawyer, Detective"
  • Rudyard Kipling "The King's Ankus" and "Toomai Of The Elephants"
  • L. Frank Baum "Aunt 'Phroney's Boy"
  • Jack London "The Cruise of the Dazzler"
  • Louisa May Alcott "The Blind Lark" and "Daisy's Jewel-Box and How She Filled It"
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett "The Cozy Lion" and "The Troubles of Queen Silver Bell"
  • Thornton Burgess "Why Peter Rabit Has One Less Enemy” and “How It Happened That Reddy Fox Gained a Friend"
  • Joel Chandler Harris "The Creature with No Claws"
  • Howard Pyle "The Princess on the Glass Hill"
  • Marion Ames Taggart "The Wyndham Girls"
  • Ellis Parker Butler "Pigs Is Pigs"

[A] beautiful book of wonderful children's stories that will delight, entertain and nourish your youngsters and teenagers. – Catholic Parent

The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature brims with wonderful stories, tales, poems, and fables and numerous beautiful and charming illustrations by renowned artists – by great writers – or in the opinion of many, the greatest writers.

These beautifully crafted and lavishly illustrated books include some of the most entertaining, touching, and wholesome children's stories that have ever graced paper. They can be counted on to provide youngsters and teens with prose and poetry that entertain and, more importantly, promote and instill those values and lessons increasingly needed in our current culture.

Christianity / Evangelism / History

On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend by Timothy P. Weber (Baker Academic)

Seldom does a day go by without news coverage of violence-plagued Israel. The United States has been one of the biggest supporters of Israel since its formation more than fifty years ago, and American evangelicals have played a major role in that support. In On the Road to Armageddon, Timothy Weber explores the historic relationship between evangelicals and Israel, the relationship's theological roots, and implications for the future.

Weber, president of Memphis Theological Seminary, begins with an examination of the dispensational movement of the nineteenth century. Dispensationalism is a complex and apocalyptic prophetic system in which there are seven dispensations culminating in everyone who is every lived rising from the dead. These risen souls are assigned to their proper places in either heaven or hell and God creates a new heaven and earth as an eternal dwelling place for the redeemed. On the Road to Armageddon outlines an analysis of the coming apocalypse and the role that a formalized nation of Israel would play. Weber describes the Zionist movement and events that led to the formation of Israel in 1948, including the Balfour Declaration and the increased support for a nation of Israel following the Holocaust.

Not only does Weber describe history and politics, he also explores the strong religious ideas that fuel them. His concluding chapter, "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," speculates whether ongoing dispensational support for Israel may be helping prophecy to happen. Weber questions whether dispensationalists who are convinced that there will be no peace until Jesus comes can properly support efforts to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and he explores why some Christians seem to care more about "unbelieving" Israelis than Christian Palestinians.

Unknown to or barely understood by most Americans, dispensationalist premillennialism is a bedrock conviction of millions of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. In On the Road to Armageddon, Weber has given us a balanced, well-written, and definitive history of this doctrine, its major proponents, and its adherents, many of whom form the core of the Christian Right. It also clearly delineates dispensationalism's real and potential impact on world affairs, particularly with respect to Israel and Palestine. This book will serve as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to make sense of this important aspect of contemporary American religion and popular culture. It should be required reading for those charged with shaping American foreign policy. – William Martin, Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor of Religion and Public Policy, Rice University

Following his exceptionally valuable volume Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming, Weber provides us with a thoroughly researched historical and theological analysis of the evangelical Christian attachment to Israel and its roots in premillennial dispensationalist theology. With the ascendancy of the Christian Right in the United States and its significant role in shaping U.S. foreign policy, Weber's book is a must read not only for evangelicals but also for all who are curious about the role of the United States in the Middle East and the popularity of end-times speculation in American culture. – Donald Wagner, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, North Park University

This is a real blockbuster. If you want to understand the current Left Behind obsession, evangelicals' fixation with supporting the state of Israel, and the dangers of basing national policy on eschatological speculation, this is the book to read. It exposes the inconsistencies in dispensational thought about the future and warns us not to link the eternal teachings of Scripture with the transitory events of our day. – Richard V. Pierard, author of The American Church Experience and scholar in residence, Gordon College

This fascinating chronicle of a group of Anglo-American Christians widely derided but little understood will go a long way toward answering questions many are just beginning to ask: Why is the Left Behind series such an unexpected publishing sensation? Why do so many conservative American Christians sup­port the state of Israel? Why do some of these people support the construction of a new Jewish temple in Jerusalem? – Gerald R. McDermott, professor of religion and philosophy, Roanoke College

A major work on a timely theme, On the Road to Armageddon provides an excellent overview of the growth of a movement. The book is shocking in its description of adherents of this movement; by supporting Israel they are trying to hasten the world toward the apocalypse. This valuable history is well researched and provides insightful reading for anyone interested in American-Israeli relations, history, theology, and politics.

Christianity Families / Death, Grief & Bereavement

Beauty Beyond The Ashes: Choosing Hope After Crisis by Cheryl Mcguinness with Lois Mowday Rabey (Howard Publishing Co.)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Cheryl McGuinness kissed her husband goodbye ... and never saw him again. Tom McGuinness was the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. It was on this day that Cheryl began the long journey of healing herself and her family.

"I was a normal woman living a very happy life, and I never pictured that our dream would suddenly become a nightmare," says McGuinness. "I never imagined that our peaceful life would be completely shattered – and then came 9/11."

McGuinness understands all too well the pit of pain people experience in catastrophic events, and she is an inspiration to many through her faith and courage. In Beauty Beyond The Ashes, she tells the story of losing her husband and offers hope to those recovering from tragedy. As a national speaker for her ministry, Beauty Beyond the Ashes, out of which this book evolved, she provides the tools necessary for rising above difficult circumstances of any kind. In addition to revealing her touching personal story, Cheryl also shares twelve powerful principles – one with each chapter – that guided her through her loss and that will guide readers on life's journey.

"Forgiveness does not come naturally, but it is essential to healing," says McGuinness. "If you harbor anger it will destroy you. Anger soon turns to bitterness, and bitterness renders the heart hard and unloving. You become like those who have hurt you."

Along with Cheryl, we have all been impacted by 9/11. Security, peace, safety – things we've taken for granted as part of who we are as Americans – became casualties of that infamous day. Every life endures sadness and loss. But the message of Beauty Beyond The Ashes is that no matter what readers have experienced or what pain they have suffered, God can bring them through the ashes of destruction to the beauty of life. The coping mechanisms McGuinness used to overcome the death of her husband and the tragedy the terrorists caused our country are the same ones people can use to deal with any kind of loss. The message in Beauty Beyond The Ashes is in high demand – and not just for families left behind after 9/11. People affected by difficulties such as a long illness of a loved one or a divorce, for example, can benefit as well from the messages in this book.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon: Discovering, Exploring, Enjoying by Chris Losh (Ryland Peters & Small) invites readers to take a closer look at this classic red wine, to find out where it comes from, why it tastes the way it does, and how to make the most of every fragrant glass.

We may not know that “Cab” is the most-planted quality red grape variety in the world, but we do all know that Cabernet Sauvignon tastes as good as it sounds: exotic, fragrant, intense, and mysterious – wine drinkers the world over have fallen in love with its charms.

For all its growing popularity, Cabernet Sauvignon remains something of an enigma to most of us. We don't know much about it or when to serve it.

Wine writer Chris Losh, past editor of two of the industry's best-known titles, Wine & Spirit International and Wine Magazine, takes readers on a visual, no-nonsense tour of the world of Cabernet, from the imposing chateaus in Bordeaux to the wallet-busting cult wines of California, from the taste of black currants to the tang of eucalyptus. With  photographs by Alan Williams, in Cabernet Sauvignon readers find out about Cabernet Sauvignon's dubious past, why red Bordeaux lovers owe a debt to an ancient glacier and why Coonawarra and Margaret River are doing battle for top dog status Down Under.

The book has three sections: Discovering, Exploring & Enjoying. The Exploring section takes readers from France to South Africa exploring the growing regions of the Cab grape; the Enjoying section covers tasting, storing and matching to foods. Along the way readers discover how to get the most out of the bottles already bought. And in the "How to Taste" chapter, they can pick up a few key tips on how to store Cabernet Sauvignon, when to drink it, and what food really brings the wine alive.

Bordeaux has it silky charm, deep color, and ability to age for years. Cabernet Sauvignon is a fun, fascinating guide for anyone who's ever thought they'd like to know more about what's happening in their wine glass but were afraid to ask. Readers may want to pull a cork and sit down with this book.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Joan Nathan (Schocken Books)
Jewish holidays are celebrated in food. Yet Jewish cooking is always changing, encompassing the flavors of the world, embracing local culinary traditions of every place in which Jews have lived and adapting them to Jewish observance. Many religions have special days devoted to feasting or fasting; Judaism, however, has a complete written code of religious dietary laws governing every single act of eating.

On the eve of the 350th anniversary of the arrival of Jews in America comes a book from Joan Nathan to introduce her to a new generation of Jewish cooks: Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook, which combines fully revised and udated recipes from her classic cookbooks, The Jewish Holiday Kitchen and The Jewish Holiday Baker, plus new recipes culled from her nationally syndicated television show, Jewish Cooking in America. This collection, the culmination of Nathan's decades of gathering Jewish recipes from around the world, is a tour through the Jewish holidays as told in food. For each holiday, Nathan presents menus from different cuisines – Moroccan, Russian, German, and contemporary American are just a few – that show how the traditions of Jewish food have taken on new forms around the world. Nathan tempts us with dishes from every cuisine of the Jewish tradition, including Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and American, from Chocolate Babka for the Sabbath, to Apricot Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah, to Romanian Zucchini Potato Latkes for Hanukkah. Readers are encouraged to try something exotic – Algerian Chicken Tagine with Quinces or Seven-Fruit Haroset from Surinam – Yemenite High Holiday Soup Stew or the Persian Pomegranate-Walnut Chicken – or rediscover an American favorite like Pineapple Noodle Kugel or Charlestonian Broth with "Soup Bunch" and Matzah Balls. This book is not only filled with recipes for delicious meals, but a wealth of information for Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike.

Joan Nathan is the authority on Jewish cooking, from the folkloric-cultural-historical perspective, and the food angle as well. – Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook
This is how holiday cooking should be – warm, welcoming, and straight from the heart. – Anne Willan, author of Cook It Right
This beautiful book – a celebration in itself – celebrates the calendar of Jewish life in all its majesty. It is the quintessential Jewish holiday cookbook – deliciously personal and meaningful. – Rozanne Gold, author of Cooking 1-2-3 and Healthy 1-2-3

It is clear from the first pages of this book that Joan Nathan was cooking with love as she gathered oral histories to get a grasp on this intimidating subject ... This is history, well-documented, coherent, and valuable. – William Rice, Chicago Tribune

As delightful a piece of culinary scholarship as you'll find . . . Nathan has brought us one big slice of America in which all can take pride and pleasure. – Peter D. Franklin, Universal Press Syndicate

Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook commemorates the full richness of Jewish cuisine and culture. Only the best cookbooks stand the test of time, and this rich assemblage of holiday recipes has brought the festivity of holiday cooking to Jewish households for more than two decades. Nathan's love of cooking and insatiable quest for knowledge is evident in her lively and informative asides about social and culinary history, along with personal anecdotes from her own kitchen and from other notable chefs with whom she’s worked.

Criminology / Psychology / Law

Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment edited by G. Daniel Lassiter (Perspectives in Law and Psychology, Volume 20: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers)

Subtle but nonetheless coercive influences exist in our system of criminal justice. The purpose of Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment is to help expose these largely unrecognized forms of psychological manipulation that undermine the integrity of American jurisprudence. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter, Ohio University, the chapters are authored by psychologists, criminologists, and legal scholars who have contributed significantly to our understanding of the pressures that operate when the goal of law enforcement is to elicit self-incriminating behavior from suspected criminals. Contrary to what the police and the general public generally believe, it is now clear that standard techniques of interrogation can cause innocent people to falsely confess. Many of the wrongful convictions that have recently been brought to light, primarily as a result of DNA testing, establish conclusively that unreliable confession evidence is a serious problem that must be solved if further miscarriages of justice are to be prevented.

What are the various forms of psychological coercion? When and to whom is it applied? What effect does it have on the truly innocent suspect? To what extent is this nonassaultive form of coercion detected by trial fact finders? What are some ways in which such coercion can be minimized during interrogations or in other contexts in which law enforcement is seeking to obtain self-incriminating evidence from suspected criminals? These are some of the important questions posed by the contributors, and at least in some instances, partial or preliminary answers are provided.


  • Ray Bull, School of Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • Julie Chen, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Beth A. Colgan, Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle, Washington
  • Steven A. Diuzin, Northwestern University, School of Law, Chicago
  • Vanessa A. Edkins and Lawrence S. Wrightsman, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas
  • Caroline Everington, Richard W. Riley College of Education, Winthrop University
  • Solomon M. Fulero, Department of Psychology, Sinclair College, Day­ton
  • Andrew L. Geers, Department of Psychology, University of Toledo
  • Sual M. Kassin, Department of Psychology, Bronfman Science Center, Williams College, Williamstown
  • George R. Klare, G. Daniel Lassiter, and Jennifer J. Ratcliff, Department of Psychology, Ohio University
  • Richard A. Leo, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, and Elizabeth F. Loftus, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California-Irvine
  • Christian A. Meissner, Department of Psychology, Florida International University
  • Becky Milne, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK
  • Allison D. Redlich, Policy Research Associates, Inc., Delmar, New York
  • Melissa Silverman and Hans Steiner, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adoles­cent Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Shannon Wheatman and Elizabeth C. Wiggins, Federal Judicial Center

According to Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment editor Daniel Lassiter and his co-author Jennifer Ratcliff in their introductory chapter, coercive influence ties together the three "topics" that title this volume: interrogations, confessions, and entrapment.

The wrongful convictions of those exonerated through DNA testing have been studied, and we now know a fair amount about their causes. Although faulty eyewitness memory appears to play a role in the large majority of cases, we also now know that coerced or false confessions can play a significant role in leading to them as well. Faulty eyewitnesses, faulty confessions – the two are related in some ways. In the case of a faulty eyewitness, it is often true that suggestive post-event information has led someone to claim to have seen something that wasn't seen (e.g., the defendant at the crime scene, or Mr. Jones pulling the knife first rather than Mr. Smith). In the case of faulty confessions, it is occasionally true that suggestive interrogation has led someone to claim to have done something that he didn't do. The form of psychological coercion required to elicit a false confession might be greater than the forms required to distort eyewitness memory, but many of the ingredients are the same. Eyewitnesses are sometimes exposed to the opinions of others, or questioned in leading and suggestive ways. These tactics can get them to "remember" seeing things that didn't happen, or happened differently. Crime suspects often are sub­jected to more – as revealed in many of the chapters in Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment. These include "minimization" tactics, by which interrogators make the behavior seem normal and provide moral justification for it and "leniency" tactics, in which suspects are led to infer that leniency will follow from a confes­sion. They also include the presentation of false evidence.

These techniques may not be the worst that our citizens have endured. As George Klare so eloquently reveals (Chap­ter 2), things were a lot worse for the prisoners of war captured during World War II. Nonetheless, the modern techniques are psychologically powerful and have been perfected in the United States over many decades, as Richard Leo shows us (Chapter 3).

Experimentally, studying eyewitness testimony and how it can go awry has been quite a bit easier for psychological scientists than studying false confessions. This is undoubtedly why there have been thousands of published studies in the eyewitness arena, but only a handful in the false confession area. The widely cited study by Kassin and Kiechel involved a clever attempt to induce people to falsely confess to damaging a com­puter by pressing the wrong key. High rates of false confessions were obtained when subjects had been engaged in a fast-paced task, and when a confederate claimed to have seen the subject commit the "criminal" act. The procedure was criticized because the "destroyed computer" act was not associated with any genuine negative consequences, so a research group from the Netherlands repli­cated the study with a few procedural changes. The major one was adding a financial incentive; if subjects confessed they would lose money. Even though it was costly, the large majority of participants were willing to sign a false confession.

There are many important issues that the scholars contributing to this volume explore, and the volume is badly needed. The scholars who have contributed to this volume greatly expand our understanding of the extant literature in this area, and explore how such knowledge can guide changes in the legal system. Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment should take readers a long way toward a goal shared by our society, namely that our system would develop and use techniques that draw confessions from those who are guilty, but not from those who are innocent. And it is hoped that the book will serve as a clarion call for further investigation directed at both exposing the variety of ways in which coercive influences can adversely affect criminal justice and generating research-based solutions for minimizing such effects.


Introduction to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Recognizing and Managing Problems in the Classroom by Mary M. Jensen (Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall) aims to help general and special education teachers in the pre- and elementary school levels to learn to use proactive and positive methods to reduce problem behavior, increase academic achievement, and improve social behavior.

Introduction to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders is as a practical manual to help edu­cation teachers recognize the behavior problems common to some children and youth in their classrooms, to become familiar with these problems and manage them at early stages. These problems, if unaddressed, may lead to the development of academic under­achievement and emotional and/or behavioral disorders (E/BD), which may result in placement in special education classes. The book examines common disorders such as autism and ADD/ADHD, along with such conditions as Tourette syndrome, gangs, eating disorders, depression, and others that may lead to learning and behavioral problems. The author, Mary M. Jensen, professor in the Department of Special Education at Western Illinois University, presents the characteristics of each disorder, offers observable behaviors and assessment methods, and suggests positive, proactive classroom management strategies designed to teach appropriate replacement skills for undesirable behaviors.

Introduction to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders presents the characteristics and observable symptoms of a variety of E/BD that may be observed in school-age children and youth. Many teachers view emotional and behavioral disorders as willful disruptive behavior. With that frame of reference, many simply punish these students, but punishment is not productive. Stu­dents who are only punished never learn appropri­ate replacement behaviors or alternatives to their problem behavior.

The categories of problem behavior are not limited to legal special education divisions. Topics of current interest, such as gangs, school violence, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, and Tourette syndrome, are included among more traditional categories such as conduct disorder, autism, prenatal substance abuse, and Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Suggested classroom management methods are all proactive and positive and designed to help children and youth learn appropriate replacement skills for problem behavior to help them learn to be more successful in school and life. At the end of each chapter, excluding the final chapter, is a sec­tion titled "Implications for Working with Youth and Adolescents" that provides suggested proactive and positive methods for effectively managing each behavior problem category.

Introduction to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders has six parts. Part 1, "Foundational issues," covers the background and a brief historical overview of school-age students with emotional and behavioral disorders, IDEA 1997, common characteristics and overlapping problems, and causes of E/BD are presented in Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 introduces the process of assessment. This overview of assessment methods is presented in a general format because an entire assessment class is a required component of every university special education teacher training program. Read­ers are directed to specific texts and university courses for in-depth assessment information. The second part of Chapter 2 describes models of intervention, with emphasis on the behavioral model. Chapter 3 covers an array of educational options for students with E/BD. The least restrictive environment mandate of IDEA 1997 is discussed, along with various alternatives to public school placements.

Part 2, "Social, Cultural, and Environmental Issues," covers a variety of topics related to school-age students. Chapter 4 presents information on prenatal drug and alcohol exposure. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE), as well as other prenatal drug exposure, are described.

Chapter 5 presents information about substance abuse and related problems in youth and adolescents. Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 discuss topics that are relatively new on the education scene – school violence and gangs – that often produce tragic results if educators, students, and parents are not adequately educated and prepared to deal with the problems that can accompany these two areas.

Part 3, "Categories of Internalized Disorders," covers a variety of problem areas. Chapter 8 begins this section with information on an array of anxiety disorders along with management methods for teachers and parents.

Chapter 9 describes symptoms and characteristics of youth and adolescents with depression. Signals of potential suicidal behaviors are also presented. Bipolar and seasonal affective disorder, along with numerous treatment options, are discussed.

Chapter 10 discusses eating disorders, since they are often the cause of behavioral and emotional problems in youth and adolescents. Definitions, characteristic behaviors, and treatment options for anorexia and bulimia are presented.

Part 4 is titled "Categories of Externalized Disorders." Chapter 11, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD)," discusses the typical characteristics associated with students who have attention deficits.

Chapter 12 provides information on Tourette syndrome (TS). Although it is considered a neurological disorder of unknown cause, the tics associated with TS often have such a negative social stigma that individuals with TS often develop social and emotional problems. The background and a brief historical overview of TS are presented, along with characteristics, a detailed checklist for teachers and parents, treatment options, and intervention strategies.

Chapter 13 provides information on conduct disorders and bully behavior. Conduct disorders may be the most common pattern of behavior in youth and adolescents with EB/D. Bully behavior has become all too common, with tragic results in schools across the country. Characteristics and intervention methods are also provided in this chapter.

Part 5, "Categories of Pervasive Developmental Disorders," includes Chapter 14, "Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia." Because of the nature of the typical problems, youth and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders are often educated in E/BD classrooms. This chapter also provides information about Asperger syndrome, a condition that is closely related to autism. Characteristics, treatment options, and intervention strategies are provided.

Part 6, "The Future of Special Education," has one main objective. Chapter 15 emphasizes the importance of using a proactive and positive approach when working with youth and adolescents with E/BD. Social skills are presented as life skills. These are skills that, along with satisfactory academic skills, will help students graduate from high school and go on to become well-adjusted adults.

Focusing on today's realities in the schools and in society, Introduction to Emotional and Behavioral Disorders is a practical book, a book to assist general and special education teachers of preschool through Grade 12 to recognize conduct that may lead to academic underachievement and emotional/behavioral problems and provide positive corrective action.

Health, Mind & Body / African American

Standing In the Shadows: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men by John Head, foreword by Kay Redfield Jamison (Broadway Books)

The first book to reveal the depths of black men’s buried mental and emotional pain, Standing In the Shadows weaves the author’s story of his twenty-five-year struggle with depression with a cultural analysis of how the illness is perceived in the black community and why nobody wants to talk about it.
In mainstream society depression and mental illness is still somewhat of a taboo subject; in the black community it is a topic that is almost completely shrouded in secrecy. As a result, millions of black men suffer in silence, or get treatment only in extreme circumstances – in hospital emergency rooms, homeless shelters, and prisons.

In this groundbreaking book, veteran journalist and award-winning author John Head argues that the problem can be traced back to slavery, when it was believed that blacks were unable to feel inner pain because they had no psyche. This myth has created a society that blames black men for being violent and aggressive without considering that depression might be a root cause.
Standing In the Shadows weaves the author's story of his struggle against depression with a cultural look at why depression in black men remains one of the last taboos in black culture. Head, former mental health reporter and features writer for the Atlanta Journal­Constitution, former reporter for USA Today and the Detroit Free Press, argues that the most likely path to psychotherapy and medication for African-American men with depression is through the back door of the mental health care system but by then, it is often too late. The book showcases how Head himself has struggled with depression for the last twenty-five years. In a darker phase of his life, he moved out of his family home and into an apartment so that his sons wouldn't see his depression. Now he has moved through various stages of dealing with the disease, and has come out victorious in how he manages it.

Head believes that the neglect of emotional disorders in black men is nothing less than racial suicide. In order for the silence of black depression to evaporate, Head argues, the dominant culture would have to take responsibility for the inflicted pain. Instead, we would rather blame black men themselves.

Standing In the Shadows also examines the ways in which the black community colludes with white culture in keeping black men's emotional disorders underground. Head discusses the role of the church, the family, and the changing nature of black women in American culture as a way to understand how the black community may have unwittingly helped push the emotional disorders of African American men further underground. Finally, Standing In the Shadows is a call to action for the black community and the psychiatric community to end the silent suffering of black men.

Standing In the Shadows is a brave, unblinking look at what it is like to be an African American man with depression. John Head's insightful analysis of the connection between racism and this illness should be required reading for everyone who cares that African American men are often absent from their families, are in jails and prisons in disproportionate numbers, and die at an alarming rates from suicide. – Cynthia Wainscott, Chair, National Mental Health Association

This book does not haggle with statistics and scientific discoveries ... it literally keeps the topic of depression and Black men honest by taking us through a progressive journey that helps us understand the real hurdles. Before you want to delve into any medical journal ... read this book first so that you will have a deeper understanding of the topic and develop a good foundation. – Donna Holland Barnes, Ph.D., President and Co-founder of the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University

It is about time an accomplished, well-respected brother talked about their personal struggles with depression – a mental illness that strikes one in five Americans. My hope is this book will bring African-American men out of the 'depression closet,' and get the help that will heal them. – Carl C. Bell, M.D., President & C.E.O., Community Mental Health Council

Veteran journalist and award-winning author John Head courageously examines the effects that the unwillingness to look at and talk about mental illness has had on generations of black men and their families. Standing In the Shadows addresses what can be done to help those who need it most and challenges both the African American community and the psychiatric community to end the silent suffering of black men by taking responsibility for a problem that has been ignored too long. In this first-of-its-kind exploration of black men and depression, we find a book as daring and explosive as Nathan McCall's disclosure of black men's violence and aggression.

Health & Fitness / Aging / Sports / Physical Education

Leisure in Later Life, Third Edition by Michael J. Leitner & Sara F. Leitner (The Haworth Press, Inc.) is an introductory, comprehensive text for university-level students and lecturers, as well as service providers dealing with specific elements of leisure and aging in relation to psychology, social work, health, and recreation.

Previous editions of this book have been widely adopted for college coursework. This extensively revised and enhanced edition includes a new chapter discussing global perspectives on leisure in later life.

The diversity of the older population is recognized in Leisure in Later Life. The chapters on leadership, program planning, evaluation, techniques, exercise, adapted dance, intergenerational activities, and leisure counseling are designed for students preparing to work with elders in any setting. The chapters on the particular recreational program settings, which note specific needs for each, help students apply the material in the previous chapters as they begin to work with elders and apply their knowledge in various settings.

Authors Michael J. Leitner, Professor in the Department of Recreation and Parks Management at California State University in Chico, and Sara F. Leitner, instructor in Special Education and Adapted Physical Education at Butte College in Oroville provide myriad activities, described in detail for future leisure program directors and workers.

Covers a multitude of practical ideas for activities. – Bevan C. Grant, PhD, Professor of Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Waikato, New Zealand

An excellent resource for recreation professionals and students.... An asset to students in leisure and aging classes, program planning classes, and therapeutic recreation specialization courses. – Jerome F. Singleton, CTRS, Professor of Leisure Studies, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

A comprehensive text for teaching a university-level course in designing leisure and recreational services for older adults. – Newsletter of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education

refreshing.... A must for any activity director's library of reference material.... Should be in every long-term care setting. – Journal of Long-Term Care Administration

Presents the state of the art on this subject. – Tourism Recreation Research

With vastly revised chapters and totally new organization, Leisure in Later Life, Third Edition is a comprehensive text for those teaching a university-level course in designing leisure and recreation services for elders. It is designed for students preparing to work with elders in recreational settings, nursing homes, and senior centers; the materials outline activities and program planning emphasizing intergenerational activity, exercise, dance, and special topics in sexuality and hospice care.

Health, Mind & Body / Adolescents

Adolescent Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Theory, Research, and Intervention by Lynn Rew (Sage Publications)

Healthy growth and development of adolescents is an interest shared by many disciplines. It has long been an area of concern for people working with young people or studying adolescent behavior. However, despite the common interest, each discipline has its own perspective of adolescent health and uses different terminology to communicate its concerns.

Adolescent Health is a survey textbook that includes an overview of existing theories and current research on interventions that address the social morbidities and mortalities of adolescents. Author Lynn Rew, professor in nursing at The University of Texas, Austin, examines theories from a variety of professional disciplines that provide frameworks for understanding adolescent health behavior and health outcomes. Each theory is presented in terms of its essential elements, including its origin, a brief background of the theorist’s philosophical paradigm, the purpose and usefulness of the theory, the meaning and scope of the theory, and the empirical referents.

A generation of insights has led to some inescapable truths: no one discipline has a monopoly on the theories, methods, and skills needed to describe and understand the health, behaviors, and social contexts of youth. Breadth of perspective is a necessary ingredient for scholars and practitioners who are engaged in the science and skills of adolescent health. And our learners, more diverse than ever before, are in need of accessible yet sophisticated material that grounds them in a field characterized by rapidly expanding boundaries and a dazzling array of theory and methods to guide and propel their research.

In this last generation, we have nurtured a group of adolescent health investigators who often lack formal schooling in relevant theory and the skills and logic of theory testing. For many, that lack of formal preparation is offset to a large extent by a substantial dose of practical wisdom arising from clinical and programmatic interactions with young people. However, the transition to scholarly sensitivities requires deliberate instruction that is often lacking among those who have not grown up through the mechanisms of classic academic research training. Adolescent Health does an extraordinary job of helps these learners understand theory as a guide to and framer of their understanding. Rew also grounds the reader in contemporary threats to the health of young people; the principles of adolescent development, and the organized response to those health threats as reflected in national objectives to improve the health of young people.

Size limitations meant that Rew had to make critical choices in determining which theories to include and which to leave out. One goal was to  give enough details about each theory/model to motivate students and their mentors to think more broadly and deeply about the science of adolescent health.

A book like this is definitely needed.... I have been searching for years to find a core textbook I could use in my graduate course in adolescent health. This book, in combination with selected empirical readings that focus on specific health problems, would be very useful.... I could also see this book being a useful general resource for both academics and practitioners. – Carolyn Tucker Halpern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Through a well-orchestrated and thoughtful progression, Adolescent Health provides us with the theories to frame our questions and the language to give those questions real substance and application. This work helps us to reach across the divides of discipline-specific thinking and methods and leaves us enriched, ultimately, and better able to collaborate with each other. Our field, and the needs of young people, deserve no less. – Michael D. Resnick, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Research, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Director, Healthy Youth Development, Prevention Research Center, University of Minnesota

How refreshing to find a single volume that not only tells us where we've been, but illuminates the critical pathways we must travel for the foreseeable future of interdisciplinary adolescent health research. Adolescent Health, designed as a comprehensive, core textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, fills a gap in the literature about adolescent health for many disciplines including psychology, sociology, nursing, medicine, public health and health education. Rew, with the insights of a clinician and the imagination of an adolescent health researcher unfettered by disciplinary parochialism, has provided us with a thoughtful and comprehensive work that will, at once, accomplish two things: it will guide and inspire learners at multiple levels, and it will provide well-organized and richly articulated material for the teachers of the interdisciplinary audience. In addition, it will be useful for certification courses in many interdisciplinary adolescent health training programs. The book will also be of interest to academics, researchers, and practitioners who are designing theoretically based interventions.

History / Military

The Battle of Mogadishu: First Hand Accounts From the Men of Task Force Ranger edited by Matthew Eversmann & Dan Schilling (Ballantine Books, Presidio Press)

In October 1993, a planned ninety-minute mission to capture a Somali warlord turned into a seventeen-hour fire-fight that left eighteen Americans dead, eighty-four wounded, and perhaps as many as one thousand Somalis killed. The Battle of Mogadishu, edited by Matt Eversmann and Dan Schilling, Army Rangers and Air Force spec ops personnel in the task force involved in the battle in Mogadishu,  presents the stories of six surviving veterans who fought in this fierce battle in their own words.

The battle was notable for many reasons – from the individual acts of bravery, to U.S. soldiers doing the job they were trained to do and not buckling under severe pressure, to its impact on U.S. foreign policy. But the Battle of Mogadishu will be remembered in the annals of modern warfare for one distinct reason. As Matt Eversmann writes, "That mission – that horrifying event, that brutal experience, that episode of complete savagery – will be, without exception, one of the finest examples of American tenacity, selfless service, courage, and commitment ever witnessed in modern times."

These soldiers had a job to do and carried out their duties with the fortitude and resolve that define our military. As Dan Schilling writes, "There are many great tales of combat controller bravery and operational feats of daring from Afghanistan and Iraq....Our mission in Somalia also had deadly consequences [and] at the time it was just another deployment. Yet, like so many things, something much grander – U.S. foreign policy – became eclipsed by something smaller, in this case the Battle of Mogadishu. In the ten years following the operation in Somalia, U.S. foreign policy has almost been completely driven by that single event."

In The Battle of Mogadishu, six individual first-person accounts provide us with a picture of this famous battle:

  • Operation Gothic Serpent by Matt Eversmann: As a "chalk" leader, Eversmann was part of the first group of Rangers to "fast rope" from the Black Hawk helicopters. It was his chalk that suffered the first casualty of the battle.
  • Sua Sponte: Of Their Own Accord by Raleigh Cash: Responsible for controlling and directing fire support for the platoon, Cash entered the raging battle in the ground convoy sent to rescue his besieged brothers in arms.
  • Through My Eyes by Mike Kurth: One of only two African Americans in the battle, Kurth confronted his buddies' deaths, realizing that "the only people whom I had let get anywhere near me since I was a child were gone."
  • What Was Left Behind by John Belman: He roped into the biggest firefight of the battle and considers some of the mistakes that were made, such as using Black Hawk helicopters to provide sniper cover.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For by Tim Wilkinson: He was one of the Air Force pararescuemen, or PJs – the highly trained specialists for whom "That Others May Live" is no catchphrase but a credo ­and sums up his incomprehensible courage as "just holding up my end of the deal on a bad day."
  • On Friendship and Firefights by Dan Schilling: As a combat controller, he was one of the original planners for the deployment of SOF forces to Mogadishu in the spring of 1993. During the battle, he survived the initial assault and carnage of the vehicle convoys only to return to the city to rescue his two closest friends, becoming, literally, "Last Out."

The remarkable success and resonance of this story are owed primarily to these men, to their deeds, their memories, their experience.... This is the real deal. These men were there. – From the Introduction by Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

As the stories unfold in The Battle of Mogadishu, one gets a visceral sense of what it is like to be in the midst of a war zone. Their brutal experiences and brave contributions in a battle that changed American foreign policy for more than a decade should not be forgotten. With America's withdrawal from Somalia an oft-cited incitement to Osama bin Laden, it is imperative to revisit this seminal military mission and learn its les­sons from the men who were there.

History / African American / Southern

The Final Victims: Foreign Slave Trade to North America, 1783-1810 (by James A. McMillin (The Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World Series: University of South Carolina Press) with CD-ROM

In The Final Victims James McMillin examines the volume and business of importing slaves from 1783 to 1810, the African origins of those captives, and their treatment by shippers and North American merchants. Tracing a shift in North American slaving commerce from New England to the lower South, McMillin tracks the vessels that imported slaves to America, particularly into Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans. McMillin, associate director of Bridwell Library and associate professor of American religious history at Southern Methodist University, suggests that previous scholars have underestimated the number of slave voyages and consequently the magnitude of American overseas slave trading during this era. He maintains the founding fathers did little to discourage the importation of slaves and asserts that – with the lengthening duration and distance of the notorious "middle passage" – conditions for African captives most likely worsened after the Revolution.
Combing through previously untapped public and private sources, McMillin uncovers data that challenges entrenched beliefs about the slave trade and, as a result, has far-reaching implications for our understanding of American life in the early republic. Drawing upon archival materials such as southern North American newspapers, other port and customhouse records, and merchant’s and planter’s papers, the appendix provides a comprehensive compilation of post-Revolutionary War North American foreign slave trade arrivals and voyages, the foreign slave trade between the West Indies and the North American mainland, clearances from the Carolinas and Georgia for Africa, foreign slave sales, slave vessels owners and slaving venture investors.

To his revisionist narrative McMillin appends, on a searchable CD-ROM accompanying The Final Victims, the massive data that led him to his conclusions. The information includes places of origin for the captives; names of vessels, captains, and owners; size of slave cargoes; ports of arrival; and other data pertinent to his investigation.

This important book establishes the large volume of and the major role of Southern merchants in the Atlantic slave trade after the American Revolution. Based upon a variety of American sources, it substantially revises conclusions from studies focusing mainly on European slave trade voyage documents. – Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, author of Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century

With this detailed study of the importation of slaves to North America, McMillin tests long-standing assumptions about an enterprise thought to have waned in the wake of the United States’ successful revolution against Great Britain. The exhaustive resources made available on the CD-ROM provide undeniable proof of the South’s role post-revolution. Slave Trade scholars and non-academics will find this approach and the information in it useful and accessible.


The American Story (Second Edition) by Robert A. Divine, T.H. Breen, George M. Fredrickson, R. Hal Williams, Ariela J. Gross, H.  W. Brands (Pearson Longman – Penguin Academics) blending the essentials of political, social, economic, diplomatic, and cultural history into a seamless narrative, presents a compact yet compelling story of the United States and its people – the powerful elite as well as the ordinary men and women who have effected and been affected by the events that have shaped the nation.

Two new authors – Ariela J. Gross, professor of law and history at the University of California, and H. W. Brands, University Distinguished Professor and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M University – have joined Robert A. Divine, George W. Littlefield Professor Emeritus in History at the University of Texas at Austin; T. H. Breen, William Smith Mason Professor of American Northwestern University; George M. Fredrickson, Edgar E. Robinson Professor Emeritus of United States History at Stanford University; and R. Hal Williams, Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, to create The American Story (second edition).

For many decades the traditional narratives that framed the story of the United States assumed a unified society in which men and women of various races and backgrounds shared a common culture. In recent years, however, historians have come to believe that traditional narratives stressing the rise of democracy or the advance of free enterprise undervalue the complexity and diversity of the American story. An awareness that the past is as much about controversy as agreement, as much concerned with diversity as with unity, does not preclude the possibility of a coherent narrative. To create such a narrative while still paying attention to the differences of race and class, ethnicity, and gender is the goal of The American Story.

The authors start with the conviction that to tell this story it is essential to listen closely to what people in the past have had to say about their own aspirations, frustrations, and passions. After all, they were the ones who had to figure out how to live with other Americans, many of them totally unsympathetic, even hostile to the demands of others who happened to march to different drummers. Readers of The American Story will encounter many of these individuals and discover how, in their own terms, they tried to make sense of everyday events connected to family and work, church and community.

The authors attempt to avoid the tendency to lump individuals arbitrarily together in groups. It is true, for example, that many early colonists in America were called Puritans, and presumably in their private lives they reflected a bundle of religious values and beliefs known as Puritanism. But readers must not conclude that an abstraction – in this case Puritanism – made history. To do so misses the complexity and diversity masked by the abstraction, for at the end of the day, what for the sake of convenience we term Puritanism was in fact a rich, spirited, often truculent conversation among men and women who disagreed to the point of violence on many details of the theology they allegedly shared. The same observation could be made about other movements in American history – unions or civil rights, political parties or antebellum reform, for example. A narrative that sacrifices the rough edges of dissent in the interest of getting on with the story may propel the reader smoothly through the centuries, but a subtler, more complex tale is more honest about how people in the past actually made events.

Even as the authors stress the significance of human agency, readers must resist transforming the long history of the peoples of the United States into a form of highbrow antiquarianism. The men and women who appear in The American Story lived for the most part in small communities. Even in the large cities that drew so many migrants after the Industrial Revolution, individuals defined their daily routines around family, friends, and neighborhoods. But it would be misleading to conclude that these people were effectively cut off from a larger world. However strong and vibrant their local cultures may have been, their social identities were also the product of the experience of accommodation and resistance to external forces, many of them beyond their own control. Industrialization changed the nature of life in the small communities. So too did nationalism, imperialism, global capitalism, and world war. In the accounts of such diverse events as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the New Deal, and the Cold War, the authors seek the drama of history in the efforts of ordinary people to make sense of the demands imposed upon them by economic and social change.

It was during these confrontations – moments of unexpected opportunity and frightening vulnerability – that ordinary Americans came to understand better those processes of justice and oppression, national security, and distribution of natural resources that we call politics. The outcome of international wars, the policies legislated by Congress, and the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court must be included in a proper narrative history of the peoples of the United States since these occurrences sparked fresh controversies. They were the stuff of expectations as well as disappointments. What one group interpreted as progress, another almost always viewed as a curtailment of rights. For some, the conquest of the West, a process that went on for several centuries, opened the door to prosperity; for others, it brought degradation and removal. The point is not to turn the history of the United States into a chronicle of broken dreams. Rather, the book seeks to reconstruct the tensions behind events, demonstrating as best it can why good history can never be written entirely from the perspective of the winners.

From the start of the project, the authors recognized the risk of treating minorities and women as a kind of afterthought, as if their contributions to the defining events of American history were postscripts, to be taken up only after the reader had learned of important battles and transforming elections. The American Story’s treatment of the American Revolution is one example of the book’s balanced and integrated approach to telling the story of the past. Women were not spectators during the war for independence. They understood the language of rights and equality, and while they could not vote for representatives in the colonial assemblies, they made known in other ways their protests against British taxation. They formed the backbone of consumer boycotts that helped mobilize popular opinion during the prelude to armed confrontation. And they made it clear that they expected liberation from the legal and economic constraints that consigned them to second-class citizenship in the new republic. Their aspirations were woven into every aspect of the American Revolution, and although they were surely disappointed with the male response to their appeals, they de­serve attention not as marginal participants in shaping events but as central figures in an ongoing conversation about gender and power in a liberal society.

The story of how African Americans organized after World War II to de­mand that the nation live up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence offers yet another example of this book's integrated approach. The authors’ account of the civil rights struggle ranges from the eloquent leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the key roles played by unheralded blacks in the ranks at Selma and Birmingham. These brave men, women, and children suffered the blows of local sheriffs and the indignity of being swept off the streets by fire hoses, yet their travails ultimately persuaded white America to enact the landmark civil rights laws of the 1960s. The United States has yet to accord African Americans full equality, but the strides taken after World War II constitute a major step toward racial justice.

New to This Edition

The authors reviewed and revised The American Story to take account of recent scholarly work and to streamline the presentation for a more straightforward and manageable overview of American history. To provide students with a convenient and informative review of events, they have added to the Appendix a comparative chronology that lists significant political, diplomatic, social, economic, and cultural events. They have also included new and expanded material in several chapters. Chapter 6 includes a new opening vignette on the search for balance between public morality and private freedom as the newly independent nation sought to establish a new political order. Chapter 11 has been revised and reorganized to enhance and emphasize lives and lifestyles of slaves and their experience of slavery. Chapter 16 has been restructured and rewritten to devote greater attention to lives of former slaves during Reconstruction and includes new sections on the enactment of Black Codes during Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws near the end of the period. Chapter 17 begins with a new opening vignette highlighting a Native American's experience of conquest and exploitation of the American West in the second half of the nineteenth century. Chapter 26 includes a new opening vignette examining personal experiences of hardship during the Great Depression. Chapter 33 has been revised and restructured to concentrate on the shifting economy of the 1990s to the present and the role of government policy in shaping the American economy; it has been updated with new discussion of foreign policy and homeland defense post-September 11, including new sections on the war on terrorism and war in Iraq.

The authors have crafted in The American Story a volume that is enjoyable to read, avoided the jargon that can be irksome to readers who believe that good history involves well-told stories. They do this through structure and features that stimulate student interest and reinforce learning, for example, the vignettes that introduce the specific chapter themes that drive the narrative and preview the topics to be discussed.

All in all, the book uncovers the drama of American history and the rich variety and diversity of the American people in a clear and crisp narrative that examines how human choices and actions have shaped the nation and its society. Skillfully integrating social, political, cultural, economic, and diplomatic history into a seamless chronological narrative, the book presents the story of Americans – the powerful and elite as well as ordinary men and women.

History / Western Pennsylvania

Bucket of Blood, The Ragman's War by R. S. Sukle (iUniverse)

Today America remembers the 1920s as the carefree decade that birthed the Ford, the radio and the movie, transforming popular culture before the nation's eyes. However, author R.S. Sukle argues that despite all Americans think they know about the 1920s, they are missing a large chunk of history. Sukle's new book, Bucket of Blood, tells the true story of the 1927 coal-workers strike in the Western Pennsylvania coalfields – a time of brutal beatings, rape and murder.

Without union representation the workers were constantly exploited. Because the company used many weapons to keep them enslaved, the miners' families were forced to live in abject poverty. The miner had only one weapon, the strike. Bucket of Blood chronicles the depravation and indignities suffered by the families in the Russellton camps during the strike.

Bucket of Blood was the name given to a coal town when deaths occurred to establish a worker's union. During the 1927-1928 strike, Russellton became known as such a place. In an effort to break the strike, special Coal and Iron police were brought into the area to evict the mine families from their company houses. These men imposed unconstitutional restrictions to harass the people and keep out relief workers and organizers. Sukle explores the glimmers of hope appearing through relief efforts when the sons of a local farmer who become union activists, including Ragman, a mine mechanic, walks out with the other men. Against his intentions, Ragman is drawn into the struggle by his brothers Albert and Irvin, and abuse is heaped on their family.

The killing of a state Coal and Iron policeman in Russellton is a local legend, the killer was never identified; and this story was passed down in certain families, each with their own version; each claims the killer as a relative. Bucket of Blood is one of those stories.

Sukle, daughter of a coal miner, who at the age of nine moved to the isolated family farm near Russellton, used local news articles as the background for the story. "I had heard stories about the 1927 strike from my father and uncles," says Sukle, whose father was an organizer for the United Mine Workers. "But I did not always believe that the conditions could be so bad. 1 decided to see if there were any news articles to verify what I had been told about those times in Russellton. What I found in the articles touched my heart, and the story begged to be told."

Bucket of Blood explores the depravities and indignities suffered by Russellton families during the strike. Adhering scrupulously to historical accuracy, Sukle reveals the collusion of government and industrialists to exploit the workers.


Semi True: Seasons on the Road with A Prairie Home Companion's Resident Writer and Truck Driver by Russ Ringsak (The Globe Pequot Press)

Our state has thousands of great humorists, . . . and this book was written by one of them, an old grumbler and nay-sayer of the first water. – Garrison Keillor

Russ Ringsak was a registered architect in Minnesota when he bought an over-the-road semi tractor in 1977, a career move that ultimately led him to driving the trucks for public radio’s Prairie Home Companion. He has now been with the show for thirty years – and about a million miles.
When he first started out, Ringsak lacked the requisite trucker attitude, making him a kind of hybrid – a semi driver in more than one sense of the word.

While hauling stage equipment from town to town for the radio show, Ringsak has seen some pretty amazing things – and some not-so-amazing things that, as he says, just need a little embellishment. He started writing about what he saw; his commentaries from the road have appeared more or less regularly on the show's Web site for the past three years. Collected here are the best of those stories, plus many others never published before now.
He tells of encounters with all kinds of characters – a man met at a bar in Billings who spent his childhood as a professional stunt baby, a soulful Atlanta trolley tour guide with encyclopedic knowledge, the owner of a one-footed, bean-planting Muscovy duck named Matilda.

Russ in the driver’s seat use his enviable vantage point to see us all and see us whole. Semi True is the work of a terrific writer, an engaging travel companion, and an expert guide to that long chain of off-ramps called America. – Andy Duncan, former senior editor of Overdrive magazine

Russ’s wry observations about the art of truck driving as practiced by a former suit-wearing office worker offer a unique perspective on Interstate America. Told in a homegrown philosopher's style reminiscent of Mark Twain, his stories are all true, although some are probably semi true – what one might expect of a semi driver.

Literary Criticism / Reference

Paradise Lost, 1668-1968: Three Centuries of Commentary edited by Earl Miner, William Moeck, & Steven Jablonski (Bucknell University Press) uniquely presents biblical, classical, and vernacular citations in which every cited passage is quoted, and every quotation is in English. It is itself a research library for Paradise Lost, and only a text of the poem is required.

This Commentary, the first book-length work of this kind on Paradise Lost since the Richardsons' in 1734, combines resources in lieu of a true variorum edition no longer possible. Paradise Lost, 1668-1968 includes the best commentary from "Annotations" like Patrick Hume's (1695), the first full-length commentary on any English author, as well as annotations to the variorum editions of Newton (1749) and Todd (1801-42) and the modern professional editions culminating in Alastair Fowler's (1968). Other elements combined in this Commentary include an essay on the pre-annotative criticism from 1668, including those by Marvell, Dryden, and Dennis; copious use of the OED; numerous cross-references to Milton's other works and passages in Paradise Lost; fourteen excurses and other contributions by the present editors.
The editor, Earl Miner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University, devoted fifteen years to Paradise Lost, 1668-1968 and was preparing a study of inter-cultural poetics at his death in April 2004. The co-editor, William Moeck, teaches at Nassau Community College, and the corresponding editor, Steven Jablonski, is a librarian at the Skokie Public Library.

The editors provide in an essay the early pre-commentary, pre-editorial responses to Paradise Lost, those written within weeks of its publication, before embarking on the commentary to lines and passages. And there are the critical insights from Samuel Barrow, Andrew Marvell, John Dryden and John Dennis.

This early critical comment belies certain widely held assumptions and bears some surprises. For example, it is usually held that the conception of the poem's sublimity is owed to the later eighteenth-century critics, and that the idea of Satan as the poem's hero is owed to the Romantics. Actually, Marvell originates the concept of a sublime Paradise Lost. He is followed in that by Dryden, who also held that the Devil is the hero of the poem, an idea quite sensibly developed in the commentary of James Paterson, whom no reader has ever thought Romantic. There are other things that arrest attention. Early commentators highly admire the War in Heaven, for example. In short, the early criticism is an essential portion of the account of the editors, a necessary resource.

Miner, Moeck and Jablonski add to the main commentary a dozen or so excurses. These involve Milton's use of metaphor, allusion, and topoi or chronologies, and since, like other epic poets, Milton furnishes no dates, the editors have supplied a version of the then most popular system of dating biblical events. Other excurses deal with subjects like music or politics. And, with the book, come the plates for the first two illustrated editions of the poem. Their uses are described in a brief essay. And they also offer comments of their own.

The most important features of Paradise Lost, 1668-1968 can be characterized as a composite of various elements supplied by numerous people. The book is also a unified whole in conception – it is unified in execution, putting before the reader, in English, a version of an entire commentary comprehensive in date from the publication of the poem to recent times.

This creative resource has considerable scope, compiling and checking the best of previous commentarial scholarship on Paradise Lost. Over 15 years in the making, Paradise Lost, 1668-1968 should become the preferred companion for a close reading of the poem, and it may be expected to stand the test of time, speaking to future generations for our age, for the unparalleled access to resources afforded by our times, and for Miner’s scholarship and devotion to his subject.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Before Midnight: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (Mystery Masters Series) [UNABRIDGED] by Rex Stout, read by Michael Prichard (The Audio Partners Publishing Group) 5 compact disks, 6 hours

In this ingenious whodunit, a perfume company, Pour Amour, offers a million dollars to anyone who can solve the riddles and correctly identify certain women in history who used cosmetics. When the advertising genius behind the campaign, Louis Dahlman, is   murdered and the answers stolen, the ad firm wants the clever campaign to continue and hires Nero Wolfe to find the riddles and the murderer.

Before Midnight is a mystery from one of America's best-loved writers featuring one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time – Nero Wolfe. An orchid-growing, gourmandizing, demanding genius, Wolfe, as usual, is ably assisted by his legman, Archie Goodwin, who narrates with his usual wry humor. Archie tries bravely to keep Wolfe away from the irritating women involved and focused on the case. But with puzzling phone calls and conflicting instructions from the ad company, it's anybody's guess when – or even if – Wolfe will find the killer.

It is always a treat to [hear] a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore. – The New York Times Book Review

Author Rex Stout (1886-1975), inimitable master of detective fiction, wrote 73 mysteries, three novels, chaired the War Writers' Board, and mobilized public opinion against the use of nuclear devices. The audio version of the book is read by Michael Prichard, a Los Angeles-based actor who has recorded more than 350 audio­books, and been named by Smart Money magazine one of the "Top Ten Golden Voices."

Mysteries & Thrillers

Body Double [ABRIDGED] by Tess Gerritsen, narrated by Anne Heche (Random House Audio) 5 compact discs, approximately 5 ½ hours

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine Books)

Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression "dead ringer" rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner's table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura's home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuance – and they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura's mysterious doppelganger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets. And the mystery deepens when Officer Rick Ballard shows up and tells Maura and Detective Jane Rizzoli that this sister, Anna, was on the run from an abusive boyfriend and under police protection.

But perhaps more frightening – an unknown murderer is at large on a cross­country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the adoptive mother that she never knew – an icy and cunning woman who was responsible for giving Maura life – and who just may have a plan to take it away.

Body Double was written by acclaimed mystery writer Tess Gerritsen who left a successful practice as an internist to raise her children and concentrate on her writing. It is the fourth novel in Gerritsen's edgy, suspenseful series of thrillers featuring Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles and Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli, two usually gritty crime fighters who are also uncharacteristically vulnerable. The audio version is narrated by Anne Heche, an actress with extensive film credits and as well as a successful stage career.

Body Double provides an electric series of startling twists, the revelation of ghoulishly practical motives and a nail-biting finale making this Gerritsen's best to date. The taut thriller is sure to appeal to fans who have followed Rizzoli and Isle's previous adventures.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Good News, Bad News by David Wolstencroft (Dutton)

There are two ways out of the spy game. Heads you run. Tails you die.

It starts and ends with a coin flip. In between, Good News, Bad News turns the rules of the spy game upside down with a story of intrigue and suspense full of surprises right up until the final spin.

First, there’s the good news: George and Charlie are on their last posting for the Agency before retiring from the spy game. But in this business, the bad news is never far away. And in this case, the bad news could not be worse. In the blink of an eye, these two friends become lethal enemies – until it occurs to them that some orders are just not meant to be followed. The two are catapulted into a gauntlet of international espionage to uncover secrets that lie in the heart of the Agency – secrets that no one wants them to find.

From the writer and creator of the hugely popular award-winning BBC spy drama Spooks, a show that goes by the name of MI-5 in the US, comes Good News, Bad News, David Wolstencroft's debut novel about espionage gone awry.

Meet Charlie Millar, a Capricorn who enjoys the music of Orbital and Groove Armada and whose favorite meal is baked beans on toast. He's also a spy. At age 27, young Charlie's already tired of the spy game. As a child growing up in Edinburgh, Charlie and his school friends amused themselves with a pastime called Good News, Bad News, where for any given situation a positive is accompanied by a negative: The good news is you're flying to the Caribbean for vacation, the bad news is your plane has engine trouble ... the good news is you have a parachute, the bad news is it has a hole... and the goal is to always expect the unexpected so that you're prepared to reverse the situation and end up on top – a fun game when the stake's aren't real.

Meet George Shaw, in his late 40s, also tired of the spy game and about to retire. On his last assignment, Charlie's too, the pair meet. Both are posted to the same cover story in what appears to be a logistical mistake – if only such things existed. Once they've unveiled each other as spies, the two become fast friends. With the arrival of their final mission comes the good news – and the bad. The good news is it's their last mission for the Agency. The bad news is their mission is to kill one another.

Rather than follow orders the men flip a coin to decide their fate, and it's not long before they find themselves immersed in a web of secrets and lies as they attempt to uncover why their bosses want them dead. Unsure of who they can trust on the inside, finding answers won't be easy. Charlie and George's quest for the truth will have them racing through London, Cambridge, Paris, and Calgary where time and time again they will question each other's motives. What they manage to uncover, from dead spouses and Agency betrayals to fake deaths and alter egos, may force readers to stop for a moment and question the facts of their own lives.

Wolstencroft reinvigorates the spy thriller in the suspenseful Good News, Bad News, where the myriad twists and turns will shock, amaze and surprise even the most seasoned thriller fan. In addition to surprises on every page and pitch-perfect dialogue, the book offers two unforgettable heroes and heralds the coming of the next great spy writer.

Mythology / Religion & Spirituality / History / Egypt

Egypt: Child of Atlantis: A Radical Interpretation of the Origins of Civilization by John Gordon (Bear & Company, Inner Traditions) asserts that the civilization of Egypt existed far longer than is commonly believed and was structured around forms of cosmic knowledge that involved astronomical and geographical competence that modern science has yet to attain.

Building on evidence of the prehistoric existence of an ancient worldwide religious culture that extended all the way to Tibet and China, Egypt traces the origins of Egyptian culture to the legendary lost continent of Atlantis. Based on an understanding of the Precession of the Equinoxes and its inextricable connection to human evolution and divine purpose, author John Gordon, senior fellow of the Theosophical Society of England, concludes that the sacred science of the ancient Egyptians was the legacy left to them by "fallen star gods," conscious divine beings who founded Atlantis.

Egyptologists contend that ancient Egypt was a civilization obsessed with death, that its greatest monuments were tombs, and that its history dates back only some 5,000 years. In contrast Gordon suggests this civilization was 50,000 years older. Furthermore, he contends that Egypt was originally not a society obsessed with death, but one that saw in life and death an initiatory transition. This idea was followed by the entire population, which was attuned to the form and nature of cosmic evolution at all levels of being, from the highest to the most mundane.

Egypt discusses

  • Egyptian sacred science, the legacy of the gods who founded Atlantis.
  • The cosmological and astronomical underpinnings of Egyptian philosophy and how they gave structure to the entire society.
  • The importance of the Precession of the Equinoxes in the initiatory nature of Egyptian life.

Brilliant, erudite, and controversial, John Gordon has used Madame Blavatsky's insights to throw a new light on ancient Egyptian civilization. – Colin Wilson, coauthor of The Atlantis Blueprint and author of The Atlas of Holy Places and Sacred Sites

That an advanced Lost Civilization is part of our human heritage should now be self-evident. John Gordon's book takes the currently neglected long view of the Lost Civilization hypothesis ...and defends it with solid scholarship, reasoned argument, and a deep understanding of esoteric philosophy. This is a really interesting book. – John Anthony West, author of The Traveler's Key to Ancient Egypt and Serpent in the Sky

Among the occult literature Egypt is a book with more solid facts than most. Edgar Cayce readers will find compatible theories to his in this theosophy-inspired look at lost Atlantis.


Toward a Unified Platonic Human Psychology by John Mark Reynolds (University Press of America, Inc.)

Using the psychology of Plato's Timaeus, author John Mark Reynolds advances the discussion of Plato's psychology by proposing a new reading of his view of the human soul. The implications of Plato's psychology on his ethics, view of the animal world, and theology are also examined.

Reynolds, an analytical philosopher, associate professor of philosophy at Biola University, California and director of Biola's Torrey Honors Institute.

, in Toward a Unified Platonic Human Psychology approaches Plato’s Timaeus as possible timeless truth. He starts with the premise: is it possible that Plato was correct? If so, then the works of Plato are worth examining to see if they illuminate problems in philosophy and human culture that have a timeless quality. This sort of reading of a text has a long and honored tradition. The question motivating this interaction is: "What if the text has some timeless truth that Plato intended to convey through his dialogues?" Behind this question is the foundational attitude of seeking and submitting to truth.

Some will find such a project "old fashioned," an attitude C.S. Lewis described as "chronological snobbery." Charity to a thinker seems to demand that sometimes one pause and see if his thoughts can be put together in this manner. After all, it could be that Plato was forward thinking enough to have anticipated many things that only later have become obvious.

Assuming that Plato may have had insight into deep and timeless truths, Toward a Unified Platonic Human Psychology begins with the text of Timeaus and works views out from it. Though acknowledging he owes a debt to more contemporary writers, Reynolds’s goal has not been to interact with their views of Plato as it might move him away from the text and understanding Plato to understanding the secondary author. His goal was to attempt to interact with the text as directly as possible.

Reynolds’s first concern is to see what can be understood from the text in the tradition of analytic philosophy, hoping that all the arguments he advances in this book are arguments that Plato intended or would have intended to make given certain contemporary problems in philosophy.

Critics have suggested that Plato has no consistent, fully developed human psychology. Reynolds argues that a full and consistent Platonic view of the human soul does exist within the Platonic canon and that the key to finding it is in the dialogue Timaeus. This human psychology is of interest to philosophy because it is not Cartesian dualism, but neither is it any of the modern forms of materialism.

First, he defends Timaeus from attempts by some commentators such as A.E. Taylor to claim the dialogue does not contain Platonic doctrines. Taylor argued that the Timaeus was a sort of Platonic experiment: a conflation of Empedoclean and Pythagorean science to which Plato would not have been committed. To the contrary, such a view is implausible given ancient understandings of the texts, especially that of Aristotle. Moreover, scholars such as Leo Strauss and Victorino Tejera have suggested that any list of Platonic doctrines is necessarily suspect. Though there is much to admire in the ways of reading texts suggested by Strauss and Tejera that has influenced this work, Reynolds dissents from the view that Platonic doctrines cannot be discovered and known.

Second, the text of the Timaeus is examined in order to expose and interpret the human psychology found within it. The human soul is the potential for circular motion when it comes into contact with appropriate matter, such as the fire found in stars. This motion is confused by contact with inappropriate matter. The human soul does not exist in a state separate from a body for any length of time. Examining the human soul also allows a better understanding of the cosmic soul Plato postulates in Timaeus.

Finally, Reynolds briefly compares the psychology found in Timaeus to the views of the human soul found in Phaedo and Republic. From this examination, he concludes that Plato develops the idea of soul as a bridge between the world of perfect being and the visible world of eternal becoming. The human soul is circular motion of the "same" which can be imparted to appropriate matter. This motion is rational, thus allowing the soul to be the seat of cognition. Plato's psychology must ultimately picture the human soul as having an accidental simplicity and thus a non-essential immortality. These tools, developed independent of concerns about other areas of Platonism, allow problems in the canon to be solved.

Plato also has developed a psychology that allows for the soul to have the appearance of priority in order of creation without having an actual first moment of creation. The implications of his psychology on his ethics, his view of the animal world, and theology are examined. The psychology developed from Timaeus resolves difficulties that are alleged to occur in the accounts of the soul found in both Phaedo and the Republic.

Toward a Unified Platonic Human Psychology is written by a philosopher working in the analytic philosophical tradition. Reynolds assumes that Platonic psychology may have more than historical interest to the reader. His goal is to give to Plato's writings the same charity in interpretation that would be granted to a contemporary philosopher. This book is not concerned with more "post-modern" ways of reading texts. On the other hand, he is sensitive to the criticisms of Leo Strauss and others that analytic philosophers have looked first to analytic philosophers and only later at the text of Plato.

Reynolds proceeds by first showing that the Timaeus, a dialogue around which some controversy swirls, contains descriptions of the soul that Plato intends the reader to take as his own views. He proves that Plato wants us to take the views given in Timaeus regarding the soul as his ultimate position on the topic. Second, a consistent exposition of the psychology of the Timaeus must be worked out. Third, this psychology is consistent with the view of the soul argued for in the other Platonic dialogues. Fourth, the Platonic psychology developed is helpful in addressing some criticisms advanced regarding Plato's view of the soul. Finally, Reynolds suggests that Plato's psychology may be valuable in contemporary psychology.

The Timaeus is the key to the Platonic psychology. The psychology of the Timaeus is consistent with that of Phaedo. The psychology of the Republic is illuminated by the psychology found in Timaeus. The Timaeus has been shown to contain Plato's best psychological views. So, what is that psychology put forward in Timaeus?

Plato has developed the early Greek notion of soul as motion. For Plato, soul is circular motion. This motion is rational and orderly. Plato has thereby made "soul" the seat of human intellectual activity and passion. By making the soul tripartite, he has allowed for psychological conflict in humans. This soul contains three elements found in the head, the chest, and the belly. The mortal soul, itself divided in two, acts as a bridge between the immortal soul and the human body. The human soul can only be ultimately individuated by its history and location.

Toward a Unified Platonic Human Psychology defends a coherent view of "Platonic Psychology," or looking at human psychology as circular motion in the brain. Some do not see the Platonic psychology as consistent or helpful to Platonic philosophy; in contrast to these criticisms, Reynolds argues that Plato's view of the soul has great philosophic merit and internal consistency. Furthermore, he claims that the dialogue Timaeus is the key to resolving alleged difficulties in Plato's view of the soul, arguing that through this work certain seeming inconsistencies in Plato's psychology admit solution. Arguments for immortality are strengthened by being clarified by this new view of Plato's psychology.

Reynolds has written a work that can act as a contribution to the school of commentators exemplified by A.E. Taylor and Francis Cornford. Although these conclusions come at the end of only a decade of reflection, mostly on the text of Plato, Reynolds offers his work in the hope that it will stimulate others who care for Plato to go further.

Philosophy / Aesthetics

Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts (2nd Edition) by David Goldblatt & Lee B. Brown (Pearson Prentice Hall – Humanities/Social Science) introduces students to philosophy of the arts using classic and contemporary works of leading philosophers.

Unique in perspective, Aesthetics by David Goldblatt and Lee Brown is a collection of nearly 90 readings designed to introduce students – at any level of sophistication – to the philosophical problems of aesthetics as they pertain to specific arts – e.g., Painting, Photography, Architecture, Dance, Literature, Performance, Popular Art, Music, Film and Video Art, etc. It reflects the tendency to resist thinking of art as an abstract whole and to acknowledge the diverse character of philosophical thinking about individual arts.
The readings represent recent continental thinking about the arts – e.g., Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Heidegger, Benjamin, and Adorno. They also represent the analytic imagination in philosophers such as Danto, Goodman, Levinson, Urmson, and Scruton.

Features of the New Edition:

  • 17 new excerpts and articles
  • Illustrated articles
  • Rewritten, updated, and expanded introductions
  • Increased emphasis on the popular arts

The philosophy of the arts, like art itself, is a far-reaching and fascinating area of inquiry and investigation. It is often as microscopic as it is macroscopic, as devious as it is sometimes straightforward.

Goldblatt, Dennison University and Brown, Ohio State University, be­lieve this reader reflects a tendency to resist thinking of art as one seamless whole. They believe that one way to acknowledge the diverse character of philosophical thinking about the arts is by organizing the readings in terms of areas of art. Another is to offer a great many readings that display the panoramic and complex field that aesthetics actually is.

Is there one philosophy that applies to all art? Peter Kivy said, “There is no art, there are only arts”; we can no longer hover above our subject matter like Gods from machines, bestowing theory upon practice in sublime and even boastful ignorance of what takes place in the dirt and mess of the workshop.

Traditional categories of art, even when they are not explicitly addressed, often function as paradigms that initiate general claims about art, frequently extend­ing their domains to areas where former insights are sometimes vitiated. So it may be, for example, that what an audience is for music might be very different from what it is for film or painting. By constructing the text in a way that encourages learning aesthetics in context, the authors hope to represent philosophical writing in its most beneficial form. We also feel that students will come to understand art and the philosophical study of it simultaneously – something like learning a foreign language in a foreign restaurant instead of in a domestic classroom.

By its organization, Aesthetics introduces readers at any level of sophistication to philosophical problems as they pertain to specific arts. The book is divided into sections for Painting, Architecture, Literature, and so forth. The sheer complexity of the topic should not take anything away from the fact that the philosophy of the arts constitutes an intriguing and inviting network of human activities. Rather, it should add to it.

Of course, many philosophers have argued that all the arts, no matter how diverse in form and function, really do have something fundamental in common, so the foregoing remarks should not discourage those who want to engage in gradual generalization about the arts from doing so. The anthology includes essays – particularly in the final two sections of the collection – that address the feasibility of a single philosophy of all the arts or of aesthetic experience. Many classic texts, as well as key contemporary sources, can be found there.

Two further points about Aesthetics should be stressed. First, the authors try to recognize the growing merge, especially at artistic intersections, of the analytical and continental schools of philosophy. Second, Goldblatt and Brown try to direct more attention than has been customary to the popular arts and to the issues that occupy the borders between the so-called high and low arts. In short, they believe that it is time for a more open and inclusive approach to the philosophy of the arts.

What is special about this book is the amount of coverage of recent debate about the individual arts. That's why I chose to use this particular text. – William M. Hutchins, Appalachia State University

The explanatory material is done well, and it's of a good length. The result is a book that can be used both by beginners and by those already acquainted with the field. – Ted Cohen, University of Chicago

Goldblatt and Brown have put together a collection of readings that represent the scope and detail that is the philosophy of the arts and one that is as exciting and instigating as art itself. Aesthetics is a large volume. While not pretending to be a definitive source book, it provides instructors and students with a wide range of choices from which they can compose their own list of readings. The book serves not merely as the textual basis for a philosophical regimen, but as the kind of book anyone interested in the arts might take along were they to be stranded on the proverbial desert island. And it may whet that exile's desire to get back to the artworks left behind.

Philosophy / Political / Civil Rights

M. N. Roy: Radical Humanist: Selected Writings by M. N. Roy, compiled by Innaiah Narisetti (Prometheus Books)

When humanism was first receiving widespread public attention in the West, through such publications as The Humanist Manifesto in 1933, unbeknownst to most Westerners, humanism was proceeding on a parallel track in India, largely due to the efforts of philosopher and political activist M.N. Roy (1887-1954). It wasn't until the early fifties, at the end of Roy's life that European humanists began to notice his work.

Modern humanism, with its roots in ancient Greek rationalism, affirms a person's innate worth and relies on science and technology – not a supernatural element – to improve the quality of life. Roy conceived of humanism as a scientific, integral, and radically new worldview. Roy's humanist philosophy stresses that the study of history is imperative for a proper understanding of society, deriving his principles from modern science, which is progressive and self-correcting and wears a human face. During World War II, Roy was the only Indian philosopher who saw nationalism as an antiquated cult, and he condemned communism and fascism as twin forms of irrationalism. Roy advocated a cooperative commonwealth with human values as a better alternative to the prevalent thought of the time, particularly in India.

Roy's most famous work, Reason, Romanticism, and Revolution, published in 1952, named the basic urges of humans – the search for truth and the quest for freedom. Through the former, Roy argued, humans could achieve the latter. In M. N. Roy, a new compilation of his most significant work, Innaiah Narisetti, a national executive member of the Indian Radical Humanist Association, the chairman of the Committee to Study Child Abuse of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, reproduces two important chapters, "The Way Out" and "New Humanism." Erich Fromm, author of Sane Society, admired Roy's volume so much that he paid tribute to it in his own book – albeit a year after Roy's death.

Also included in this compilation are two chapters from New Humanism, "The Failure of Philosophy" and "A New Political Philosophy," which answer the question of whether politics has a rational foundation. Many of Roy's humanist writings were published posthumously by his second wife, Ellen, and are contained in this text.

Roy's famous Principles of Radical Democracy – Twenty-Two Theses, which concludes this collection, describes a person's place in the universe and in society.

Even within Humanist circles, MN Roy is either unknown or the importance of his work is grossly underrated. Roy was a rationalist, combating superstition where and whenever possible, promoting science and education. A committed democrat, Roy quickly saw the dangers of fascism in the '30s in contrast to many of his fellow countryman who threw in their lot with the Axis powers thereby hoping to win freedom from colonialism. Dr. Innaiah has rendered all humanists and lovers of India a great service in skillfully putting together an anthology of Roy's writings, showing their range and power. One hopes that eventually this anthology will rekindle interest in Roy's philosophy and show its continuing relevance. – Ibn Warraq, author of Why I am Not a Muslim

In M. N. Roy, philosopher Narisetti presents a compelling collection of Roy's most important writings, providing new insight into the humanist's profound influence. For humanists, philosophers, political scientists, and others, Roy's unique and still relevant view of humanism will have great appeal and broad application beyond its original Indian context. Narisetti furnishes a map to Roy's New Humanism, providing readers with an indispensable guide to a philosophy that has received little attention in the United States.


On Anxiety by Renata Salecl (Thinking in Action Series: Routledge)

We frequently hear that we live in an age of anxiety, from "therapy culture," the Atkins diet and child anti-depressants to gun culture and weapons of mass destruction. While Hollywood regularly cashes in on teenage anxiety through its Scream franchise, pharmaceutical companies churn out new drugs such as Paxil to combat newly diagnosed anxieties. On Anxiety takes a psychological plunge behind the scenes of our panic-stricken culture and into anxious minds, asking who and what is responsible. Putting anxiety on the couch, Renata Salecl asks: Is anxiety about the absence of authority or too much of it? Does the media report anxiety or create it? Are drugs a cure for anxiety or its cause? Is anxiety about being yourself or someone else, and is anxiety really the ultimate obstacle to happiness?

Drawing on vivid examples from films such as the X Files and Cyrano de Bergerac, drugs used on soldiers to combat anxiety, the anxieties of love and motherhood, and fake Holocaust memoirs, Salecl argues that what really produces anxiety is the attempt to get rid of it.

Renata Salecl is currently Visiting Professor in the Literature Department at Duke University and Centennial Professor in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics. Her full-time position is Senior Researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. She is the author of Perversions of Love and Hate.

... a deft application of psychoanalytic insights to very everyday and quite familiar human situations ... a revealing and insightful way of looking at the contemporary world where human situations are imaginatively viewed through the lens of anxiety. – Juliet Flower MacCannell, University of California

In this facinating little book, Salacl asks some much-needed questions and comes up with some surprising conclusions. Erudite and compelling, On Anxiety is essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, psychology and the cultural phenomenon of anxiety today.

Thinking in Action is a new series that takes philosophy to its public. Each book in the series is written by a major international philosopher or thinker and engages with an important contemporary topic. The series informs and sharpens debate on issues as wide ranging as the Internet, religion, the problem of immigration and refugees, and the way we think about science. Short and stimulating, volumes in the Thinking in Action series are great starting points for readers who want to think seriously about major issues confronting us today.

Philosophy / Nature & Ecology

Animal Philosophy: Essential Readings in Continental Thought edited by Peter Atterton & Matthew Calarco, foreword by Peter Singer (Continuum) is the first text to look at the place and treatment of animals in Continental thought.

The sight of man now fatigues. – What is present day Nihilism if not that? – We are tired of man. – Nietzsche

Edited by Peter Atterton, teacher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of San Diego and Matthew Calarco, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Sweet Briar College, Animal Philosophy is a collection of essential primary and secondary readings on the animal question. In the ten chapters, leading contemporary thinkers provide given commentary and analysis on readings by the following key Continental thinkers: Nietzche, Heidegger, Bataille, Levinas, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Derrida, Ferry, Cixous, and Irigaray.

Throughout Western civilization, nonhuman animals have been seen as creatures of no ethical significance, or at best, of very minor significance. Aristotle thought that animals exist for the sake of more rational humans, to provide them with food and clothing. Descartes denied that animals can suffer. Kant thought only rational beings can be ends in themselves, and animals are mere means, but there were exceptions. Montaigne challenged human arrogance, and Hume thought we owed "gentle usage," although not justice, to animals. The strongest dissent to the dominant view came from the British utilitarian writers, Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick, each of whom insisted that the suffering of animals mattered in itself. Bentham went so far as to look forward to the day when animals will be recognized as having rights.

Over the past 30 years, however, philosophers from a variety of ethical traditions have mounted a strong challenge to the traditional view of the status of nonhuman animals, arguing that the interests of animals deserve equal consideration with the similar interests of humans, or that animals have rights. Attitudes have changed, not just in what is often referred to as the "Anglo-American tradition;" the debate is not limited to the English-speaking world, or even to Western cultures. Leading works on animals and ethics have been translated into, and discussed in, most of the world's major languages, including Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. For those who think that philosophy follows trends rather than instigating them, it is significant to note that in this instance it was the other way round. The philosophical arguments came first: the movement followed.

Animal Philosophy asks: how much of this philosophical impetus that gave rise to a practical challenge to the way we think about nonhuman animals came from writers in the philosophical traditions of Continental Europe, from such thinkers as Heidegger, Foucault, Levinas, and Deleuze? The answer is, as far as Atterton and Calarco can judge, none. For the editors, the most significant question raised by Animal Philosophy is why such an extensive body of thought should have failed to grapple with the issue of how we treat animals. What does this failure say about the much-vaunted critical stance that these thinkers are said to take to prevailing assumptions and social institutions?

Animal Philosophy was in many ways inspired by the tremendous advances the Anglo­American philosophical tradition has made regarding the animal question over the last thirty years or so, from Peter Singer's and Tom Regan's writings on animal ethics through to the debates surrounding animal cognition. It seemed to the editors that Continental philosophy has lagged behind its Anglo­American neighbor on precisely these issues, despite its tendency to see itself in many ways as the more avant-garde, more radical, more politically engaged, and less philosophically naïve of the two. The selections Atterton and Calarco have chosen are not exhaustive, but they are exemplary, and they constitute in every case their most sustained treatments of the animal topic. They set out the terms of the debate in a way that is most likely to be useful for scholars and students working in the field of Continental philosophy and/or coming to the animal question for the first time. They open up new vistas for research even if they often turn out to be cul-de-sacs for the thinkers themselves. They chose them for their current stature in Continental philosophy and for the novelty of their approach to the question at hand. The quality of originality about each of the readings is what prompted the editors to provide a critical commentary by distinguished scholars in the field following each reading. Atterton and Calarco felt that it would be helpful to readers if they were also supplied an interpretative framework and critical perspective to guide him or her on the way. The exception here is Luce Irigaray's article "Animal Compassion," which was especially commissioned for Animal Philosophy, and thus intended to speak for itself.

Chapter One. The first chapter, by Alphonso Lingis, consists of a number of key passages from Friedrich Nietzsche, perhaps the thinker in the tradition most inclined to erase the sharp line that is usually drawn between humans and animals, though just as often we find him redrawing it – sometimes even at the same time. Thus we read in The Antichrist: "We no longer derive man from 'the spirit' or 'the deity'; we have placed him back among the animals. We consider him the strongest because he is the most cunning: his spirituality is a consequence of this."' Nietzsche goes on to make it clear, however, that such strength and cunning does nor make man the crown of creation; on the contrary, "man is the most bungled of the animals, the sickliest, and not one has strayed more dangerously from its instincts." Everything that Nietzsche evaluates positively in human beings – strength, nobility, independence – stems from the sound instincts and vital energy of solitary animals such as tigers and eagles; whereas everything he deprecates – weakness, servility, and dependence – consists in the adoption of feelings and behavioral traits of gregarious and domestic animals such as cattle and sheep.

Chapter Two. Throughout his writings, Martin Heidegger consistently rejects the kind of reversal of values associated with the human/animal distinction that we find in Nietzsche. Heidegger argues that animals are "poor in world," by which he means that they are unable to grasp other beings as such. In his discussion of Heidegger's analysis, Matthew Calarco underscores Heidegger's attempt to understand the animal's relation to world on the animal's own terms rather than from the perspective of the human. Although Heidegger ultimately fails to carry through on his ambitions, Calarco notes that Heidegger's radically non-anthropocentric stance is essential for understanding recent poststruc­turalist thought about animal life a la Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, and Jean-Luc Nancy. The chief limit in Heidegger's thought, as Calarco presents it, consists in Heidegger's reliance on oppositional distinctions between human beings and animals. Despite Heidegger's insightful critique of metaphysical humanism, he is ultimately unable to overcome the anthropocentrism of the metaphysical tradition, which consistently defines animals in opposition to humans.

Chapter Three. In "Animality," the first chapter of Theory of Religion, Georges Bataille treats the problem of immanence through an examination of animality. In contrast to transcendence, which designates the relation of knowledge between a subject and object, "immanence" means a state of conti­nuity between beings whose isolation and separation from each other has disappeared. Bataille sees the paradigm of this relation in the situation of one animal devouring another. In her commentary, Jill Marsden suggests that Bataille's own poetical formulation "the animal is in the world like water in water" is just such an attempt to communicate the immanence of animality that lies at the limits of language and on the other side of knowledge. Linking Bataille's work on eroticism with his reflections on animality, Marsden underscores the fact that "The dissolution of boundaries in poetic and erotic activity is not a reduction of difference to sameness, which would be to understand difference conceptually," but a dissolution of identity thinking altogether.

Chapter Four. Emmanuel Levinas is widely regarded as the most original ethical philosopher in the twentieth-century Continental tradition. Although Levinas's ethical philosophy is grounded in a responsibility for the other who is unknowable and incomprehensible, it is clear that by the term "other" Levinas has in mind the human other, whose face is the face of destitution and distress. This explains why Levinas had so little to say about animal suffering and about the relation between animals and ethics in general. Indeed, the tenor of his writing suggests that animals, much like plants and material objects, are encountered phenomenologically as little more than mere things, and thus offer little resistance to the libido dominandi of the human subject in its natural state. There are, however, a few occasions when Levinas complicates this picture somewhat. The two excerpts reprinted here, "The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights" (1974) and a portion of the interview "The Paradox of Morality" (1986), are the best examples of this. However, as Peter Atterton notes in his analysis, these kinds of extensional gestures are nearly always accompanied by exclusionary ones whereby Levinas reestablishes the traditional priority accorded to the human in ethical matters.

Chapter Five. Michel Foucault presents his reflections on animality in Madness and Civilization, a work in which he plots the course of the history of madness from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of modernity. Foucault argues that at the beginning of the Renaissance the mad were likened to animals whose fascinating qualities made them potential sources of religious revelation and esoteric learning. The mad were considered wild beasts, untamed, and frenzied, who had abdicated their humanity and delivered themselves over to "unreason" (déraison) (including sexual promiscuity, social deviancy, atheism, heresy, and idleness). They had chosen to live like animals, and thus they would he treated as such. This is a more scientific alternative that Foucault for the most part ignores, leading Palmer to conclude that "Foucault's discourse of animality is thus largely symbolic and imaginative, and has little or no contact with animals understood as living biological organisms."

Chapter Six. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari are not particularly fond of pets, nor are they interested in animality per se. Rather they are interested in what they call "becoming-animal," a theme they have discussed at length in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature and A Thousand Plateaus. For Deleuze and Guattari, animals serve to rapture notions of identity and sameness. Not only do they depict the metamorphosing of the human into an animal, such as a beetle, they also produce the chimerical becoming-animal of the author (Kafka) himself. Correcting any misconception that Deleuze and Guattari are advocating something like a "return to nature," James Urpeth shows how the notion of becoming-animal is to be understood both as a critique of some of the basic assumptions and values prevalent in the philosophical and humanistic tradition, as well as a continuation of the Nietzschean project of affirming the priority of becoming over being.

Chapter Seven. Among the philosophers under discussion in this volume, Jacques Derrida stands out as one who has perhaps gone the farthest in thinking through the place of animals within the Western philosophical tradition. Although Derrida hinted at the importance of the question of the animal for his work as early as the 1960s and 1970s, it was not until the mid-1980s that it came to occupy center stage in his writings. In the Geschlecht II: Heidegger's Hand (1985), Of Spirit (1987), Eating Well (1991), and Aporias (1992), Derrida presented highly sophisticated deconstructive analyses of the human/animal distinction as it operates in both Heidegger's work and the broader philosophical tradition. He went on in 1997 to publish "The Animal That Therefore I Am," his most extended set of reflections on the animal question to date. In this essay, Derrida moves beyond the project of decon­structing the human/animal binary and seeks to develop a positive thought of being-with animals that has its origins in the uncanny experience of being watched by the other animal – in this instance, a cat. In his wide-ranging response to Derrida's essay, David Wood affirms several aspects of Derrida's analysis and acknowledges its importance for a post-metaphysical thought of animals, while also contesting other aspects of Uerrida's thinking, especially his staunch rejection of continuist approaches to the human/animal distinction. If the merit of Derrida's essay lies in its calling attention to the conceptual, philosophical, and ideological forces that have stifled thinking through the question of the animal, the importance of Wood's response is to be found in its insistence on dealing with the material conditions (e.g., the human population problem) that create much of the suffering that animals encounter.

Chapter Eight. The neo-humanist Luc Ferry's essay "Neither Man or Stone" is taken from his enormously popular The New Ecological Order, which won the prix Medicis de l'Essai in France in 1992. Ferry's main argument in his book is that contemporary forms of radical environmentalism, including animal liberation, deep ecology, and ecofeminism, are the ideological outgrowths of an anti­humanist strain of Continental philosophy that has failed to engage sufficiently with those aspects of the humanist heritage promoting progressive views about the natural world and its inhabitants. But – and this is Ferry's chief point – the anti-humanist argument that we ought to reject Cartesian humanism does not entail the rejection of humanism tout court. On the contrary, Ferry argues that the humanism of Rousseau and Kant that stresses the diversity of the various orders of reality (in contrast to the Cartesian dualism) offers us an alternative ethic of human/animal interaction, one that respects the radical freedom of human beings and the enigmatic nature of animals. Although Ferry's essay is rhetorically persuasive, Verena Conley points out that a number of problems remain for this kind of' neo-humanist approach to animal philosophy. What is needed, she argues, is a new metaphysics that thoroughly rethinks the relations between human beings, animals, and the natural world, one "that goes through technologies" and leads to "other ways of being and of sharing the world between humans and animals."

Chapter Nine. Hélène Cixous's reflections on the troika "birds, women, and writing" contrast sharply with Ferry's emphasis on "man," humanism, and subjectivity. Whereas Ferry seeks to recover a Promethian humanism whereby human beings attain their unique essence in being separated from animals and the rest of nature, Cixous aims to explore the space of abandonment into which those beings traditionally denied full human status have been cast. Stephen David Ross finds just such a recasting of the association of birds, women, and writing in Remedios Varo's painting Creation of the Birds, which depicts a bird-woman sitting at a desk in the process of writing-painting, surrounded by birds and other forms of animal and non-animal life. Ross threads his reading of Cixous's essay into a series of reflections on Varo's painting in which the association of birds, women, and writing is figured in terms of a mutually transforming process of poiesis, becoming, mimesis, and touching. Varo's painting thus opens the viewer-reader onto the un-worldly existence and becoming of all those beings, which, according to Ross "crack the edges of our world." He wants instead to underscore the ways in which animals and other forms of life "speak another language, or practice a language they do not speak, or know a reason we can never know because it knows nothing of our language." Ross finds in these languages and practices the joy that Cixous tells us is to be found in the space of exile. He writes: "In the face, the eyes, the paws, fangs, and claws, the fur and skin, in the touch of animals is joy. The cacophony and mimesis of the world is strange and impure joy."

Chapter Ten. Luce Irigaray begins her essay with the question of the difficulty of understanding animal life from within: "How can we talk about them? How can we talk to them? These familiars of our existence inhabit another world, a world that I do not know. Sometimes I can observe something in it, but I do not inhabit it from the inside – it remains foreign to me." The alterity of animal worlds is not a source of distress for Irigaray, however, but corresponds to a certain joy, not unlike the joy Cixous associates with the elsewhere of birds, women, and writing. During times of acute anxiety and illness, Irigaray was recurrently visited by animals of various sorts which brought her comfort, compassion, and connpan­ionship. She calls birds our “friends, guides, scouts” – even "angels," a term she uses elsewhere to refer to beings that circulate between God, man, and woman, and serve as "mediators of that which has not yet happened, of what is still going to happen, of what is on the horizon." For Irigaray, the accomplishment of our humanity lies in "learning to meet the other and to welcome them in their difference, to be reborn thus in a fidelity to ourselves and to this other."

On ethics and identity, this anthology, Animal Philosophy, is an invaluable one-stop resource for anyone researching, teaching or studying animal ethics and animal rights in the fields of philosophy, cultural studies, literary theory, sociology, environmental studies and gender and women’s studies. The coverage of the subject is exceptionally broad, ranging across perspectives that include existentialism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, phenomenology and feminism. Readers will find Animal Philosophy stimulating and provocative. The deficiencies of the various thinkers in the Continental tradition in respect to their treatment of animals are illuminatingly explored in the commentaries that follow the selections. From pondering these deficiencies, readers may learn more about the limitations of our own thinking when we consider beings who are not members of our own species. We may also be led to reflect on the importance, in addressing ethical issues, of going beyond the culture in which we live, of questioning widespread assumptions, and of refusing to accept vague rhetorical formulations that appear profound but do more to camouflage weaknesses in reasoning than to hold them up for critical scrutiny.

Reference / Student Finance

College Money Handbook 2005 by Peterson’s (Thomson Peterson’s) provides everything students and their parents need to know about the financial aid process.

College Money Handbook 2005 is an annually updated reference guide to more than 1,600 individual colleges’ student financial aid appropriations. It is designed to help prospective undergraduate students and their families discover what they might look for in financial aid from particular institutions and to make comparisons among institutions and decisions related to financial aid that are appropriate to their situation. In addition, the front matter provides a concise overview of the student financial aid system to help people understand it.
Introductory chapters explain the college financial aid system. A unique "College Out-of-Pocket Cost" chart reveals what average costs of specific colleges really are, once typical financial aid packages are deducted from the equation. The book provides detailed profiles of colleges’ individual financial aid appropriations: the amounts given to students in categories, the types of aid available, financial aid deadlines, and specific contact information.

College Money Handbook 2005 explores the $50 billion in aid offered by colleges all over the U.S. Using this book, readers will be able to

  • Find updated information on federal grants, work-study programs, and other financial aid opportunities offered at more than 2,100 four-year colleges and universities.
  • Compare state-funded scholarship and grant programs.
  • Estimate their total college expenses using worksheets and tables.
  • Analyze tuition, fees, and room and board at multiple colleges with the handy College Costs At-a-Glance Chart.
  • Discover how to file for aid online.
  • Get the latest information about alternative loan programs.
  • Find their best college deal.
  • Explore and compare nearly 2,000 unique and hard-to-find scholarships, grants, and other awards.

College Money Handbook 2005 provides all the definitive up-to-date information on finding funding for a college education in one reference guide.


The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco (Allworth Press) coaches authors and book publicists for the campaign trail.

Presidential candidates or ex-presidents are not the only people campaigning these days. Every day, hundreds of newly published authors get ready to go onto the campaign trail. Their methods are often not so different from the ones being used by emerging political candidates, yet instead of an electoral aide, they rely on people like Jodee Blanco. Blanco is author of The Complete Guide to Book Publicity and a Chicago publicity consultant. Just recovered from having her own book publicized (the anti-bullying opus Please Stop Laughing At Me), the publicity maven talks about successful book campaigns in the age of online blogging and do-it-yourself publicity.

The book covers the nuts and bolts of book promotion for fiction, nonfiction, hardcover trade, mass market, and trade paperbacks. Readers are told how to tailor campaigns to reach differing consumer, trade, and special-interest audiences; how to pitch the media and arrange author tours with print, television, and radio interviews; and how to produce headline-grabbing promotional events. Also included are sample pitch letters, campaign strategy sheets, and media schedules.

What is the most important lesson from the book publicity trail? "Be patient and don't lose your perspective," answers Blanco. Many authors believe that if their book isn't available all over the country, it won't be successful. Yet many best-selling books have started out with an "expanding regional campaign" as Blanco calls it – a campaign that begins on a grassroots level and moves to smaller-to-midsize cities until it culminates with national lay down and media. In The Complete Guide to Book Publicity, Blanco reveals what type of book is likely to succeed with this approach and how this strategy translates into step-by-step tasks.

Unlike most of her peers, Blanco is a publicity expert who has been on both sides of the publicity game. Blanco has spearheaded campaigns that propelled sixteen books onto the New York Times bestseller list. A founding partner and former president of the PR firm Blanco & Peace, she is a faculty member at the University of Chicago and New York University. In The Complete Guide to Book Publicity, she addresses questions such as

  • Launching a headline-grabbing author tour
  • Snagging top radio, television, and print interviews
  • Turning public relations disasters into triumphs
  • Catching a producer's eye with an unforgettable press kit
  • When, why, and how to hire an outside publicist
  • Recent changes in the publishing and media business

The Complete Guide to Book Publicity is the most comprehensive manual for effective publicity, promotion, and public relations campaigns. – Robert Baensch, director, Center for Publishing, New York University

In The Complete Guide to Book Publicity, Jodee Blanco, publicist extraordinaire, dispels myths and shines a beacon of reality to help both novices and generals out of the confusing maze of hype and into solid gold book sales. – Catherine Lanigan, author of over twenty titles including Romancing the Stone, Wings of Destiny, and The Evolving Woman

I'd like to put a copy of this book into the hands of every writer... and every employee in my company. – Walter Zacharius, Chairman and CEO, Kensington Publishing

The Complete Guide to Book Publicity is the most comprehensive manual for effective publicity, promotion, and public relations campaigns. – Robert Baensch, Director, Center for Publishing, New York University

The Complete Guide to Book Publicity is a finely tuned navigation tool to find the best publicity strategy for any fiction or non-fiction work. For beginning and experienced book publicists seeking to boost their efficiency, and for publicity-hungry authors, this is the ultimate blueprint for publicity success.

Religion / Bible Study

Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition edited by Thomas L. Thompson (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, Volume 381:  T&T Clark International) features an international team of leading historians, archaeologists and biblical scholars who explore fresh perspectives on the history of ancient Jerusalem and its relationship to biblical tradition.

Can a history of Palestine, and, within such a history, the history of Jerusalem be written given that its roots lie apart from the tradition? Such an impartial history is undertaken with a team of international contributors in Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition under the direction of editor Thomas L. Thompson.

According to Thompson, Professor of Old Testament at the University of Copenhagen, in the writing of Western scholarship, the history of Palestine has ever been dominated by interest in the Bible and its origins within ancient Israel and Judah. Until the last 25 years, even the history of the Bronze Age (3000-1200 BCE) was largely written in terms of Hebrew beginnings and as a prelude to the history of Israel. Particularly since 1967, the clear development of a Palestinian nationalism in the wake of the conquest and occupation of the West Bank by Israel, has brought with it a much greater independence of archaeology and historical writings from both biblical studies and the question of Jewish roots. The debate about the nature of Jerusalem and Palestine's history for both the Bronze Age and especially for the Iron Age (1200-600 BCE) has grown in sharpness to the degree that it has touched upon questions of origin, especially on issues of religious continuity and ethnicity. The writing of a history of Israel based on the traditions of the Bible has been cast into doubt, and the question of whether such a history can be written at all has been seriously entertained by historians. The difficulties in historical methods related to this question about whether we can write a history of Israel in the Iron Age – given that the topic has its roots in biblical literature – is matched only by the more secular face of what is in fact the same ques­tion.

List of Contributors

  • Thomas M. Bolin, Associate Professor, St Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin
  • Philip R. Davies, Professor emeritus, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Shef­field, UK
  • Lester L. Grabbe, Professor, Department of Theology, University of Hull, UK
  • David M. Gunn, Professor, Religion Department, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Ingrid Hjelm, Research Associate, Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Director, East-West Nexus/PROTA/Al-Manara, Cambridge, London, Jordan
  • Niels Peter Lemche, Professor, Faculty of Theology; John Strange, Docent emeritus, Faculty of Theology; and Thomas L. Thompson, Professor, Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Sarah Mandell, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Michael Prior, Chair of Holy Land Research Project, School of Theology, Philosophy and History, St Mary's College, University of Surrey, UK
  • Firas Sawah, Independent Scholar, Horns, Syria
  • Margreet Steiner, Independent Scholar, Leiden, the Netherlands
  • Keith W. Whitelam, Professor, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, UK

The Janus-faced character of our historical problem becomes apparent as soon as we begin asking about the history of this region in the archaeological and historical sources. Problems of describing the population groups within Palestine as early as 1200 BCE become critically overloaded with anachronistic questions of ethnic origins from later periods. The biblically competitive roles of Samaria and Jerusalem of the late Persian and Hellenistic periods not only distract us from the Iron Age history of the region as a whole, it makes it most difficult to interpret the historical knowledge we have of this early period even as it relates directly to these cities. In an effort to clarify these problems, in the introductory first chapter Thompson identifies some of the historical problems surrounding the definition of Israelite ethnicity and how they have been influenced by the intellectual developments of the Assyrian and Persian empires and their influence on the development of biblical tradition. In this way, he hopes to be able to re-open the question of a history of Palestine, of which Jerusalem and Israel's histories form a small part.

Shifting the historical focus of Jerusalem and Palestine's Iron Age away from the Bible as origin story of Judaism and Christianity takes us away from what has been essentially a theological task of identity creation. Looking instead at Palestine's early past, as a history of a particular geographic region, breaks the continuity of our historical account with what we have long understood as its future in the history of religions. The question of history's ownership is thus exposed by quick imaginations offering alternative trajectories. While contemporary interests might conjure possible new contexts within histories of pre-diaspora, pre-Christian or pre-Islamic Palestines, Thompson holds himself to the limitations of the Iron Age and to a pre-biblical Jerusalem, if only to salvage some vestige of antiquity's independence from its future. He does not do this in order to give up history's role as origin story. Thompson emphasizes that all the more, in order to more clearly identify the role that Iron Age Jerusalem and its contemporary Palestine did play in our world's history, rather than the biblical roles of an anachronistic vintage, which is put to the service of modern political purposes.

Can the agony of one people really be sufficient reason to create, in an attempt to assuage it, a new agony for another, innocent people?...

In searching out historical truth, one can only pray to stay on the side of balance and tolerance, to keep one's humanity alive. But I have been disturbed to note what even intelligent minds can accept without question the dominance of myth over the human mind, the artful recreation of a history decked with contrived imagery and deliberate misrepresentations of past and present. However, the Palestinian-distorted present could, I felt, be corrected easily enough where good will and honesty prevail; it was in the stories of the remote past, portrayed eloquently and often with great poetic power, that the dangers and difficulties lay.

It was therefore with considerable enthusiasm that I began reading the notably courageous and dispassionate studies by a number of Western biblical scholars and archeologists of the Holy Land. I also began eagerly reading the history of Palestine, and especially of Jerusalem, the city of my youth. The tragic narrative was, I found, disturbing, even alarming, to the spirit. Here is the story of two peoples brought together by a political design whose outcome could never have been foreseen; constrained to breathe the same air, love the same nature, walk on the same roads and therefore subjected to the anger of the fallen and the unholy wrath of the aggressor, both eventually losers and victims....

However, now, at last, the judicious conclusions of numerous historians and archeologists, some from Israel itself, are bringing the truth to light.

So much hinges in the end on scientific data derived from the excava­tion of ruins and the reading of ancient texts. My fortuitous contact with Professor Thomas Thompson, whose biblical studies are well known, led to Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition, which was produced, thanks to his unmatched discipline and authority and to the enthusiastic cooperation of the other eminent biblical and archeological scholars who took part, in less than 14 months. – Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Director, East-West Nexus/PROTA/Al-Manara, Cambridge, London, Jordan

Can a history of Iron Age Jerusalem and Palestine be written? Thompson does not think it can be done as long as our historical perspective remain captive within a historicized Bible. He is very much aware that those who have tried to stand critically apart from the tradition – whether as historians, archaeologists or biblical scholars – have been seduced by the traditions’s all-embracing theological metaphors. A history of Israel, or Palestine in the Iron age can be undertaken with some hope of success, if we continue to develop the independence of our archaeological and historical disciplines. We must learn to read the codes of the tradition in order to understand what it has done in transforming the past and where it has other interests than our historical ones.

Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition is a brave first attempt at such a history. The book is intended for a wide audience of serious biblical history scholars and archaeologists and is sure to generate much discussion.

Religion / Christianity

Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary by Ronald J. Allen & Clark M. Williamson (Westminster John Knox Press)
The four gospels are steeped in Judaism: one cannot understand any one of them without knowledge of Jewish people, practices, scriptures, and institutions in the first century. At the same time, the gospels reflect tension and even animosity between the communities of the gospel writers and other Jewish groups, and often caricature some Jewish people, practices, and institutions to justify a separation between traditional Jewish groups and the communities of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

In Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews, a commentary on the Gospel readings in the Revised Common Lectionary, authors Ronald J. Allen and Clark M. Williamson call attention to ways in which the lections are continuous with the theology, values, and practices of Judaism, and reflect critically on the caricatures in the readings. Allen, Professor of Preaching and New Testament, and Williamson, Professor of Christian Thought Emeritus, both at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, explain the polemics in their first-century setting but criticize them historically and theologically. They also suggest ways that preachers can help their congregations move beyond these contentious themes to a greater sense of kinship and shared mission with Judaism.

A preacher picking up Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews might ask, "Do I really need another commentary on the lectionary?" This volume, however, has a spe­cific interest – prompted by the Jewish-Christian conversations that began in the wake of the Holocaust and have intensified in the last thirty years – that is not found in the same way in other lectionary helps, or even in the formal scholarly commentaries on the Bible. The title of the book deals with the issue, raised long ago by Jules Isaac in his book The Teaching of Contempt. Isaac shows that through much of its history, Christianity has taught Christians to hold Judaism and its adherents in contempt. It did this in many ways, the most important of which was in the way it interpreted the Scriptures from week to week in preaching and teaching the Christian faith. The arrogance that the church developed toward Judaism is one of the great tragedies of history. The book joins others influenced by the growing dialogue between synagogue and church to call the church to teach respect for Judaism.

Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, scholars have been exploring the profound and diverse relationships between Jesus and Paul and their Jewish contexts, and between the Gospels and the canoni­cal writings of Israel and the literature of Second Temple Judaism. Teams of Jewish and Christian scholars have worked on the task of translating the Scriptures, and Jewish as well as Christian scholars have written extensively on Jesus and Paul. Theologians and homileticians have written books on Christian preaching and anti-Judaism, describing how eliminating anti-Judaism from biblical exegesis and Christian thinking frees up the gospel to be preached and heard.

This commentary on the Gospel passages in the Revised Common Lectionary seeks to move the concern for relations between Jews and Christians directly into the sermon preparation process. Doing so means that a number of things happen in this commentary that depart from what readers would typically expect to find:

  • Possible anti-Jewish ways of misreading. The authors alert readers to possible anti-Jewish ways of misreading the text and misinterpreting the Christian faith. For example, the further removed the Gospels are in time from Jesus, the more they introduce hostility into the story. The more we know about the Judaisms of Jesus' time and before, the more we see Jesus as a Jew of his time and place.
  • Calling attention to biblical and Jewish themes. The authors surface Jewish and biblical themes, resonance, and echoes in the text.
  • Roman occupation as social context. They point out the Roman context when it throws helpful light on a passage.
  • Relations between Jesus and other Jewish groups. They deal frequently with relations between Jesus and various Jewish groups at the time, notably Sadducees and Pharisees, most often with the latter.

Teaching Christian congregations to respect Judaism is no mere matter of political correctness. It is a theological necessity. Allen and Williamson show that the God of Israel is also the God of the church and that God loves both church and synagogue with unconditional love. Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews may help transform Christian contempt into respect by helping preachers and congregations discover the thoroughly Jewish character of the beginnings of the movement.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age

House of the Hidden Places & the Book of the Master by W. Marsham Adams, with a foreword by R.A. Gilbert (Ibis Press) combines two classics on Ancient Egypt into one volume.

The grand and mysterious pyramids of Egypt have inspired many theories about how and for what purpose they were created – some of them quite fanciful. Built over 4,000 years ago, they remain one of the world's most enduring testimonies of their creators' faith.

House of the Hidden Places & the Book of the Master combines two volumes – The House of the Hidden Places, which focuses on the Great Pyramid of Giza built by pharaoh Khufu, and The Book of the Master, which explores the religion of early Egypt. The House of the Hidden Places, first published in 1895, went beyond the contemporary speculations on the astronomical purpose of the pyramid to reveal its deeper meaning – its architectural correspondences with the Ritual of the Dead detailed in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In The Book of the Master (which is what Adams preferred to call The Book of the Dead), first published in 1898, W. Marsham Adams further details the beliefs at the foundation of the ancient Egyptian religion, pointing to the origins of Christian theology as well as those of humanity itself. Long before Dr. Leakey discovered proof of our African origins, Adams theorized, based on his Egyptian studies, that civilization began in Africa, rather than Asia, the accepted theory in his time.

R. A. Gilbert's Foreword to this edition details Adams's publishing history and covers the controversy surrounding The House of the Hidden Places' first publication.

Adams was born in England in 1837 and died some time prior to 1933 when E.J. Langford Garstin published his abridgement of Adam's books in The Book of the Master of the Hidden Places. Adams was a fellow at New College, Oxford, and a respected scholar of Egyptology.

Adams' penetrating study revealed startling insights for his day. The two books in House of the Hidden Places & the Book of the Master, taken together, provide valuable background for students of the Western Mystery tradition, especially those of Freemasonry and ceremonial magic.

Science / Astronomy

Astronomy: A Visual Guide by Mark A. Garlick (Visual Guides Series: A Firefly Book) is an introductory illustrated and comprehensive guide to observing and understanding the night sky.

For tens of thousands of years, the heavens have been a source of wonder, the inspiration for myths and legends, a subject for speculation and dreams. Despite the sophisticated tools that have made it possible to probe the universe, that fascination has not waned. The planets, the stars and all that surround them are the last frontier, the last chance to explore the unknown, the last opportunity to "boldly go where no one has gone before." The more the heavens reveal their mysteries, the more mysteries there are to be revealed. Not surprisingly, knowledge only reinforces the allure, as has been proven by the continuing popularity of astronomy books.

Written by Mark A. Garlick, science writer, astronomical illustrator and a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, Astronomy covers these topics in five main sections. After a brief introduction, 'Searching the Heavens' documents the rise of astronomy from its humble beginnings to the current high-tech space telescopes and observatories that equip astronomers around the world. 'The Solar System' presents a blow-by-blow account of the planets, comets, asteroids and other objects with which the Earth shares its home in space. 'Stars, Galaxies and Celestial Light' introduces readers to the larger picture: how stars form, live, and die, and how they relate to nebulae and galaxies. A section on 'The Night Sky' advises the amateur on such topics as choosing astronomical equipment and putting it to good use, with a series of detailed star maps. 'The Universe' deals with a few big issues, such as the creation of the Universe, dark energy and wormholes. And finally, a 'Factfile and Glossary' serves as a reference. 

Written at a general readership level, Astronomy provides a survey of science's growing understanding of space and includes details of the latest space probes. The most recent photographs from the world's finest observatories and space-based cameras capture the wonder and beauty of the universe. The book covers a wide variety of heavenly phenomenon: distant stars, planets of the solar system, comets and shooting stars, eclipses, and black holes using a combination of photography and illustration.

Included are cross-sections of the planets with a description and chart of their relative distance from the sun. The sky maps use symbols to identify open and globular star clusters, galaxies and planetary nebula. The constellations are labeled and diagramed. Spectacular images of space phenomenon are explained with digital graphics. Nebula, clusters, galaxies, etc. are profiled with color images and short descriptions. A pictograph tells whether binoculars or a telescope is required.

A well written and practical book, Astronomy captures all the latest science, as photos, sky maps, and illustrations illuminate a wealth of information about heavenly bodies and phenomena. In more than 300 pages, the book provides up-to-the minute information in a style that will entertain and inform readers of all ages. With maximum visual impact and editorial clarity, information is presented through a combination of photography, illustrations and accessible text. Anyone searching for a comprehensive, one-volume guide to the heavens will find Astronomy to their liking.

Science / Botany / Geology

Geology and Plant Life: The Effects of Landforms and Rock Types on Plants by Arthur R. Kruckeberg (University of Washington Press)

Before any other influences began to fashion life and its lavish diversity, geological events created the initial environments – both physical and chemical – for the evolutionary drama that followed.

Drawing on case histories from around the world, Arthur Kruckeberg demonstrates the role of landforms and rock types in producing the unique geographical distributions of plants and in stimulating evolutionary diversification. His examples range throughout the rich and heterogeneous tapestry of the earth's surface: the dramatic variations of mountainous topography, the undulating ground and crevices of level limestone karst, and the subtle realm of sand dunes. Kruckeberg, professor emeritus of botany at the University of Washington, describes the ongoing evolutionary consequences of the geology-plant interface and the underestimated role of geology in shaping climate.

Geology and Plant Life explores the fundamental connection between plants and geology, including the historical roots of geobotany, the reciprocal relations between geology and other environmental influences, geomorphology and its connection with plant life, lithology as a potent selective agent for plants, and the physical and biological influences of soils. Special emphasis is given to the responses of plants to exceptional rock types and their soils – serpentines, limestones, and other exceptional substrates. Edaphic ecology, especially of serpentines, has been his specialty for years.

[Kruckeberg] draws on many years of botanical experience to make an eloquent plea for understanding the influences of landforms, lithology, and geologic history on the living world. – Quarterly Review of Biology

A fine book and a very approachable overview of the intersections between geology and the plant sciences. – Madrono

Geology and Plant Life has a unique place in scientific literature. It brings together geology and botany in an understandable, integrated synthesis. – Native Plant Society of Oregon Bulletin

Kruckeberg's research fills a significant gap in the field of environmental science by connecting the conventionally separated disciplines of the physical and biological sciences. Geology and Plant Life is the result of more than forty years of research into the question of why certain plants grow on certain soils and certain terrain structures, and what happens when this relationship is disrupted by human agents. It will be useful to a wide spectrum of professionals in the natural sciences: plant ecologists, paleobiologists, climatologists, soil scientists, geologists, geographers, and conservation scientists, as well as serious amateurs in natural history.

Science / Astronomy

The First Space Race: Launching the World's First Satellites by Matt Bille & Erika Lishock (Centennial of Flight Series: Texas A&M University Press) reveals the inside story of an epic adventure with world-altering stakes.

In today's era of space shuttles, Mars rovers, and the International Space Station, it is difficult to imagine how challenging the first steps into space really were. From 1955-1958, American and Soviet engineers battled to be the first to successfully launch the world's first satellite. During the height of the Cold War, these engineers realized that the first nation to do this would gain advantages in the Cold War propaganda contest and the military balance of power.

In The First Space Race Matt Bile and Erika Lishock examine the three teams that vied to be the first to launch a satellite. The race featured two American teams led by rival services, the army and the navy, and a Soviet effort that was so secretive, few knew it existed. The authors are determined to set straight the history of the first space race, providing information about the virtually unknown aspects of this race, such as the navy's NOTSNIK satellite project, and clarifying details that have been misremembered about the Explorer I and Project Vanguard.

Authors Bille, a former air force officer who works on launch system and space law, and Erika Lishock, a launch operations engineer on major military satellite programs, both of whom are global consultants on space policy and technology projects with Booz Allen Hamilton, begin with the origins of space-flight theory and continue through the military and political events that sparked the efforts needed to make dreams a reality and forever change life on Earth.

This is a remarkable book indeed! Its authors, in contrast to the authors of some other recent books on rocketry and space flight, possess a solid understanding of and appreciation for technical and scientific matters. They rely on carefully selected reference documents, they avoid value judgments of their own, and they fully succeed in creating a description of the complex story of the many launchings of the first Earth satellites that will be gratefully accepted and happily acknowledged as truthful by those who were personally involved in this dramatic phase of mankind's history during the twentieth century. – Ernst Stuhlinger, Rocket and Space Pioneer

.. solid and engaging ... [the authors] skillfully utilize more recent historical studies of early Soviet space activities to craft a balanced comparison and sense of interaction between Soviet and U.S. initiatives. – Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

The First Space Race presents the story from both sides of the Iron Curtain, providing a balanced account of the people and events that made satellites and subsequent space exploration a reality.

Science Fiction / Corporate Culture

Prince of Christler-Coke by Neal Barrett (Golden Gryphon Press)

It's a truly splendid day. With Asel's marriage to the lovely Loreli the two great Houses of Christler-Coke and Pepsicoma-Dodge will become as one – a union that will finally swallow all of America East, and leave hapless lesser nobles in the cold.

But Ducky Du Pontiac Heinz has other ideas. With help from the wily scion of Disney-Dow, black choppers descend on Iacola Keep in a hostile takeover that brings both families to ruin.

Life quickly goes to pot for the deposed Prince of Christler-Coke. Banished to The National Executive Rehabilitation Facility (NERF) in Dry Rock, Oklahomer, Asel learns he has to dress himself, eat bad food, and wear Poly Hester suits.

There are enough bizarre characters in Prince of Christler-Coke to make Asel's tour of the West hazardous at best ... Phil, the mechanical bear, Al, the last of the Utes, a mall full of robot shoppers, and Asel's arch-nemesis, the vile Jackie Cee, Lord of Califoggy State, ruler of Sekwoyah Heights.

Set in a future where the power of big corporations has reached unbelievable heights, Prince of Christler-Coke is a sardonic and humorous story tracing the adventures of Iacola, former head of the Christler-Coke corporation. Undaunted, and with the help of fellow deposed corporate noble Sylvan Lee-McCree, Asel escapes with hopes of confronting his rival, Jackie-Cee of the Disney-Dow corporation. During his escape he learns to rely on himself as he is almost hung by the TechsMechs Rangers of Oklahomer, and sold by the hustlers of Two-kum-curry to the Nones of Our Lady of Reluctant Desire. Making his way across a nation ruled by big business, Asel is confronted by the country's forgotten poor, and discovers the enormous gulf between the haves and have-nots created by companies like Christler-Coke.

Author Neal Barrett, Jr. has written more than 50 novels.

Neal Barrett's voice is not only unmistakable; you realize after a sentence or two that it's been there all along ... He has a genius for coming at stories obliquely, for writing from the inside, as though the story itself came out of the very society it depicts... Neal Barrett is incapable of writing a bad - sentence, a bad line – or anything other than an outstanding story. – James Sallis, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Barrett writes with an onrushing, superbly controlled, stomping intensity. And he is utterly ruthless in his understanding that the world we are now entering is downward from America... What is gained is the joy of listening to this guy. – John Clute, Science Fiction Weekly

In Prince of Christler-Coke we see a post-apocalyptic downsized America, a high-tech land of fabulous wealth as well as dirt-poverty and primitive survivalism – this is a wacky, sardonic look at a possible future that is all too frighteningly real. And, as always with Barrett, there's his masterful style and irreverent humor that holds a mirror up to both the darkness and the light.

Short Stories

Unkempt: Stories by Courtney Eldridge (Harcourt)

In the seven stories and one novella collected in Unkempt: Stories, Courtney Eldridge gives life to characters of astounding originality. These ramblings are incisive dark humor and meandering jaunts through the mess in characters' heads. One of the most interesting is the novella The Former World Record Holder Settles Down, in which a porn star who's had sex with 197 men tries to reconcile her past with her current life as a happily married, faithful wife. She says: "Everyone has a story; anyone's infinitely capable of fucking up without any good reason other than the fact that they're human."

Some of today's best contemporary writers have touted Eldridge as a bright, new literary talent. Eldridge likes to say she is a dropout of the University of Colorado, Boulder; the Rhode Island School of Design; and the University of Texas, Austin. Her stories have been published in McSweeney’s, The Mississippi Review, Nerve, and Salt Hill Journal.

Courtney Eldridge is one of my favorite living short story writers. She has courage and vision like few writers, an amazing ear, and compassion like nobody else at all. When I read her, I feel better about literature and better about the world. Want to know what really makes human beings tick? Throw away everything on your bedside table and read this instead. – Rick Moody, author of Demonology and The Ice Storm
Eldridge is a cartographer of the compulsive mind and the nearly unbearable sorrow that smolders underneath. Her stories are prayers for redemption in a landscape where the banal is grotesque, the sacred profane. A wise and brave work by a remarkable new writer. – Julia Slavin, author of The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club and Other Stories
Courtney Eldridge is one of the smartest young writers in America, and she knows how to use knives. There are echoes of Dixon here, and Moody, and Wallace, and maybe even early Carver – great technical control masking great emotional upheaval. All of these stories, after their meanderings, their circlings and jokes and asides, deliver a measurable catharsis, and it's all the more powerful for how painful – though that pain is wrapped and rewrapped, hidden and denied – it was to get there. – Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity
Courtney Eldridge is a striking new voice on the literary horizon. Whenever I find one of her stories in print I know I'm in for trouble – in the best possible way. She's a talent to be reckoned with. – Frederick Barthelme, author of The Brothers, Painted Desert, The Law Of Averages

Probing the darker corners of the human psyche, in Unkempt: Stories Eldridge shows – with a sly and unexpected sense of humor – the neurotic mind at work, the skewed perspective of an alcoholic parent, the nature of sexual conquest, and the hazards of working in retail. Fresh, funny, and candid, Eldridge's writing delivers a new and marvelous vision of life.


Sports in America: Fascination and Blemishes by Glenn W. Ferguson (Sunstone Press)

Most contemporary sports were devised in the nineteenth century. In the last fifty years, the meaning and role of sports have changed appreciably. Generally, those changes have been positive with the notorious exceptions of commercialism and nationalism. But gratification, for the athlete as well as the spectator, is increasingly limited. Moral fiber has become secondary to the marketplace.

Are American sports in jeopardy? Maybe so, the author of Sports in America, a book about sports in the United States concludes. In drawing this conclusion, Glenn Ferguson explores media impact, education, relevant history, rules, discrimination, and even team nicknames before proceeding in depth with the specific fascination and blemishes of the major sports – baseball, football, basketball and track – with emphasis on college and professional levels. For the minor sports, tennis, ice hockey, swimming, golf and soccer are examined. Coverage of modern summer and winter Olympics stresses lifestyle, monetary awards, television, and foreign perceptions of the United States. Not wanting to overlook anything, Ferguson devotes a final chapter to the avocations of hunting and lawn care.

Glenn Ferguson served as President of four universities (Long Island, Clark, Connecticut, and the American University of Paris), the first Director of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), American Ambassador to Kenya (Arthur Flemming Award), and Air Force Psychological Warfare Officer. In high school, Ferguson played football, basketball and baseball; in college, football, baseball and track; and in the military, baseball.

Ferguson reaches the conclusion that the changes to sports have been good and reasonable generally, with two notorious exceptions. Commercialism, and the inordinate payments for services rendered, are destroying the joy of sports. Unless greed can be reduced, contemporary sports will not survive until the twenty-second century. Piling detail on detail, this widely-traveled, former athlete, college president and diplomat, backs up his conclusions. In this unique book, Sports in America does what it can to try to save Ferguson’s one true love, sports.

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