SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

February 2005, Issue #70 

Guide to this issue's Contents

Contents this Issue: British Fashion, Outsider Artists, Wonderland, Audit-Proof Tax, Leadership, Entrepreneur Basics, A True Story from Iraq, Community Church History, Wine Pleasure, Education, Second Language Teaching, Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties, Movie Special Effects, Joy of Music, James Brown Memoir, Irving Berlin At War, American Jazz in Context, Adventures of Queen Yasamin of Gwendomere, The Political Economy of AIDS in Africa, Self-Help for Regret, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Understood, Homeopathic Alternative Medicine, Metaphors in Therapy, Effective Communication, Balanced Eating Habits, How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, Communication and Relationship Success, Increase Security,  How to Cope with Sex Offenders, How Vitamins Work, Caribbean State Formation, Charles de Julie, a Rogue in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Hitler's Rise & Fall, Boss Tweed Revisited, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Women in the Struggle for America's Independence, Solviva Solar-Dynamic, Bio-Benign Design, Home Remodeling Projects, Civil War Stuff, Gardener's Approach to Annuals and Perennials, Transforming the Yard, Front & Back, The Islamic Garden, Karl Shapiro, Poet, Murakami' American Europe in Japan, When Messy Life upsets  a Woman's Perfectly Ordered Existence, Début Novel Set in the Roaring 20's, Literary Sephardim, Occult Thriller, Legal Mystery, Baby Behavior for New Parents, Clinton's Living History, The Democratic End of White Privilege, African American Biblical Scholarship, Daily Meditations With Thomas Merton, God is not What Religion is Really About, Speaking Truth to Power: Bonhoeffer and King,  Exploring the Logic of Divine Love, Does Design Theory Really have a Scientific Future or is it Merely Crypto-Theology? How important is Evolution Anyway? Understanding Lubavitch Hasidism, Genetically Modified Foods Viewed Dispassionately, The True Story  of Rocket Scientist and occultist, John Whiteside Parsons, Golf & Bobby Jones, Old Motorcycles,  Aviation Lingo, Charles Taylor's Liberia, Spectacular Hotels

 

Arts & Photography / Fashion

The London Look: Fashion from Street to Catwalk by Christopher Breward, Edwina Ehrman & Caroline Evans (Yale University Press / Museum of London) examines London’s contributions to fashion over the past two centuries.

From Savile Row to Carnaby Street, from the bohemian dress of the Oscar Wilde circle in the nineteenth century to the punk street styles of recent years, London has been a significant source of fashion style. The London Look, a history of two hundred years of London fashion, explores the circumstances and characteristics that have made the “London look” distinctive.
Focusing on the design, production, marketing, and consumption of clothing during this period, Christopher Breward, Edwina Ehrman and Caroline Evans each taking on a section of the book, place these activities in the context of social, cultural, and economic change in the capital. The authors – Breward, deputy head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and visiting professorial fellow at the London College of Fashion; Ehrman, curator of Dress & Decorative Art at the Museum of London; and Evans, reader in fashion studies at Central Saint Marti Green Remodeling comes complete with checklists, personal stories, expert insights and an extensive resource list that will guide homeowners through any remodeling project. Addressing all climates, this is a perfect resource for conventional homeowners, as well as architects and remodeling contractors.

Literature & Fiction / Historical Fiction / African American

Lavishly illustrated, sumptuous, stunning, stimulating, The London Look draws on photographs of the Museum of London’s remarkable collection of objects and images, and material from the London Institute. Impressively researched, The London Look accompanies an exhibition at the Museum of London from November 2004 to April 2005.

Arts & Photography

One is Adam, One is Superman: The Outsider Artists of Creative Growth with photographs by Leon Borensztein, introduction by Tom di Maria, essay by John M MacGregor (Chronicle Books) offers viewers a window into the lives and creative souls of exceptional individuals.

  • A woman who uses her teeth to hold a brush to paint delicate and beautiful watercolors.
  • A blind sculptor who makes stunningly lifelike renderings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Artists with Down syndrome who create preternaturally sophisticated work, echoing art history they've never learned.

In One is Adam, One is Superman, internationally renowned photographer Leon Borensztein presents full-page photographic portraits of more than 50 Creative Growth artists. The portraits of the individuals in the Creative Growth program are paired with reproductions of the artists' work and statements by or about themselves. Creative Growth is the oldest and largest nonprofit visual art center in the country providing art programs to adults with developmental, physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The more than 120 adults enrolled in the program create imaginative, beautiful, and finely crafted works, and receive proceeds from their sale. For many of the artists, these proceeds are their primary means of financial independence.

Working against tremendous obstacles, these people are driven to create. Some cannot read, write, or speak. Others cannot walk or see. But they all produce extraordinary art, in the form of sculpture, painting, drawing, woodworking, and more. They are just a few of the Outsider artists working at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California – and they have incredible stories to tell.

Published to coincide with a major traveling exhibition of Leon Borensztein's photography, this book features renowned Outsider artists like Judith Scott, known for her elaborate fiber sculptures, and Donald Mitchell, who creates drawings populated with the same figures replicated over and over again. It also depicts lesser-known but equally dynamic artists.

One is Adam, One is Superman is a testament to the artists, known or unknown, who triumph daily against immense odds to create art. Through their work, each has found a way to transcend disability and to speak to us with the soul of an artist. The photographs portray the artists honestly and positively, while statements from the artists themselves capture their personal connection to their work. These statements, often heartbreakingly beautiful in their simplicity, capture the artists' personal connection to their work, as well as their unique perception of the world around them.

Arts & Photography / Graphic Design

Wonderland edited by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann, & Birga Meyer (Die Gestalten Verlag)

“No! no! Adventures first," said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: "explanations take such a dreadful time. – The  Lobster-Quadrille, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

From the cradle bars comes a beckoning voice, it sends you spinning you have no choice – Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees

In the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll, Alice is lost. Fairytales help children make the transition from the state of wakefulness into the uncertain territory of dreams – both good and bad.

As a visual essay focusing on dreams, the imagination, the surreal and the divine, Wonderland builds on the success of last year's Romantik from the same publisher.

While romance, the Romantik, is a projection – a longing for a wider, more spectacular existence –Wonderland is intense experience, a reverie, a quick or maybe a long stay in a rapidly changing surrounding. A lot of the illustrations and photography featured in this book try to reflect this intensity; there is little quietness in the works. Wonderland's ornaments are not static; they are liquid. Everything seems to be caught in a fragile moment and even the stills are fantastic – woods are wicked and skies ablaze. The fascination finally sets in with the return of the ‘traveller’. The shiver of having encountered the unknown and returning without a scratch makes a person feel alive. And isn't this what most people hunger for?

Wonderland features the work of the following artists:

Gints Apsits, Thomas Barwick, Nina Jan Beier, Cecilia Carlstedt, Marco Cibola, Container, Chris Duncan, Eike's grafischer Hort, Maren Esdar, James Gallager, Croa, Richard Gray, Greyscale, Takeshi Hamada, Koen Hauser, Ngo Phuc Hien, Sei Hishikawa, Yoko Ikeno, Kareem Iliya, Inocuo Design, Simen Johan, Kiyoshi Kuroda, Inga Liksaite, Won Ju Lim, Lobo, Matte, Craig Metzger, mijuly, Maria Mochnacz, Nawel, Erwin Olaf, Linn Olofsdotter Costa, Pandarosa, Mikko Rantanen, Sophy Rickett, Speto, Toshifumi Tanabu, Taobot / Danny Franzreb, Sophie Toulouse, Vault 49, Sunday Vision, Txema Yeste, Liselotte Watkins, Autumn Whitehurst

Wonderland is a stunning collection of the latest inspiring and surprising fashion photography, graphic design, illustration and fine art from around the world.

Business & Investing / Finance

Self-employed Tax Solutions: Quick, Simple, Money-Saving, Audit-Proof Tax and Recordkeeping Basics for the Independent Professional by June Walker (The Globe Pequot Press)

Whether readers are sole proprietors, freelancers, subcontractors, or free agents, if they are self-employed or planning to start a business, they need to read this book.

The big corporations know that business success hinges on tax savvy. Now Walker, an expert on self-employed taxes, makes the same savvy available to the talented and creative people in the fast-growing 'Indie' segment of the economy. In Self-employed Tax Solutions, Walker shows independent professionals how they too can take advantage of business deductions that will enable them to pay the lowest taxes legitimately possible, and how to keep records quickly and with a minimum of effort.

Self-employed Tax Solutions is written for intelligent people who don't understand the tax implications of their solo ventures. With concrete examples and easy-to-use worksheets, author and accountant June Walker tackles the most vexing problems facing the self-employed: inadequate record keeping and tax ignorance.

Her Most Simple System has been designed for the ‘Indie.’ It is simple, quick, and audit proof – a record-keeping method that works, and a guide through the tax maze. Readers learn:

  • How to prove to the IRS that the endeavor is a business, not a hobby.
  • How start-up costs differ from other deductions.
  • How to deduct travel expenses.
  • When a gift to Mom can be a legitimate business deduction.
  • How to make estimated tax payments.
  • How to vacation with friends and still deduct travel expenses.
  • Under-the-table income: why the indies get cheated.
  • The advantages of sole proprietorship.
  • Why not to incorporate.

Walker takes issue with the ‘old husbands' tale’ that Indies shouldn't take office-in-the-home as a business deduction on their tax returns because it supposedly triggers an audit. She points out that IRS rules on office-in-the-home have been liberalized, but many accountants and lawyers have not yet caught up with the changes in the self-employment sector.

This is a straight-forward, how-to book of practical information for the some 25 million Americans who are self-employed – everything an independent professional needs to know about the tax consequences of his or her business. Self-employed Tax Solutions is an indispensable book that helps readers survive and succeed in a business environment where the tax laws and regulations are structured not for indies but for corporations and employees. Armed with the author's copyrighted worksheets, readers can capture every single business deduction, keep concise records so that accounting and tax preparer fees are reduced, and – do it quickly and easily.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

You're in Charge – Now What?: The 8 Point Plan by Thomas J. Neff & James M. Citrin (Crown Business)

Anyone coming into a new [leadership] situation is faced with the fact thay they have to do the most at the point they know the least. – Jonathan Miller, AOL Chairman and CEO

A decade ago the average number of job changes in a career was two or three. Today it is closer to six or seven. So what can readers do – whether they are CEOs, top executives, middle managers or simply new hires – to make sure they don't fail in their next new job? Is there a way to help ensure the success of new employees who come to work for the company?

Before writing You're in Charge – Now What? Thomas J. Neff and James Citrin completed a comprehensive study of over 100 leadership transitions – including 50 first-person interviews – to find out exactly what business leaders such as Jeffrey Immelt of GE, Ed Zander of Motorola, Anne Mulcahy of Xerox, & other top executives did and didn't do as they completed the process of taking on a new leadership role.

By coupling these real-world examples with analysis, they have distilled a wide-ranging plan that they say holds true regardless of whether readers are taking their first managerial steps or have climbed to the top rung of the leadership ladder. Highlights of the 8-point plan include:

  • Prepare yourself: Examples include how Jim Kilts scoured public records, went on the road to meet sales people, visit plants, and more, during the all important countdown period to get ready for his new role at Gillette.
  • Align expectations: Examples include specific actions taken by Bob Eckert of Mattel and Jeffrey Immelt of GE.
  • How in shaping his management team, Gary Kusin of Kinkos forged a relationship with both the founder of Kinkos and the interim CEO that benefited his entire tenure at the company.
  • How A.G. Lafley at Proctor & Gamble was able to craft a strategic agenda that refocused the company on its top ten brands.
  • Transforming corporate culture: How Jon Miller used humor to help diffuse the thorny problem of rebuilding the badly burned bridges between AOL and other Time Warner divisions.
  • How Paul Pressler used a combination of e-mail, voicemail, company intranet sites, face to face encounters, and video presentations to communicate with Gap's 165,000 employees when he became CEO.
  • The top ten common pitfalls of a leadership transition.

When you really need to hit the ground running . . . Neff and Citrin offer the ultimate blueprint for success. A must-read for anyone entering into a leadership role at any level. – Peter Chernin, president and COO, News Corporation
Take it from someone who’s been there. You're in Charge – Now What? asks all the right questions and tracks down all the right answers from people who ought to know. – Dick Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner
You're in Charge – Now What? may be the best ‘how-to’ leadership book I’ve ever read. It ranks right up there with Good to Great. – George H. Conrades, chairman and CEO, Akamai Technologies
If you are heading into a new leadership role, read this book before you begin if you want to finish in triumph. – Jack Valenti, retired president and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America
The secret road maps of many prominent leaders are revealed for the first time. – Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean, Yale School of Management
An unparalleled guide based on some of the best minds in modern industry. – Christopher P. Lofgren, Ph.D., president and CEO, Schneider National
Gritty advice . . . for making good and fast decisions in the first days of fresh responsibilities. – Michael Useem, director, Wharton Center for Leadership and Change

… Near book's end, Neff and Citrin (Lessons from the Top, etc.) distill their plan into two principles: "Listen and Learn. Under-promise and over-deliver." Their expert elaboration of those principles throughout will make their work a guiding light to many an incoming manager. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

With the 8-Point Plan, Neff and Citrin provide a clear roadmap for all professionals as they navigate this all-important phase in their career – a time when their future success or failure can depend on the decisions. The book is written by the world’s experts on leadership and career success and filled with in-depth interviews and engaging examples from corporate leaders. An informative read, You're in Charge – Now What? is the must-have guide for anyone who has just taken on a new job or been promoted to a new leadership position of any rank.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company by Michael E. Gerber (Harper Business)

Over the past 27 years, having consulted more than 30,000 E-Myth Mastery clients, both large and small, throughout the world, the people at my company and I have come to recognize that all successful businesses operate in accordance with the principles and practices you will find in this book. The E-Myth Mastery program was designed to cultivate ... inherent... entrepreneurial gifts through a rigorous process of entrepreneurial skill development. – Michael Gerber

Small business guru and best-selling author Gerber presents the ‘next big step’ in entrepreneurial management and leadership with E-Myth Mastery. Building on the principles of The E-Myth Revisited, this book presents a program that can be implemented in any business. Developed over decades with thousands of successful clients, Gerber's program takes the popular E-Myth point of view to its completion. Beginning with the vitality of the entrepreneurial spirit and vision, the book explores the critical roles of passion, purpose, and practice in the success of the enterprise.

Gerber says that most businesses fail because of a crisis of vision that creates an inevitable cloud of misdirected activity. The E-Myth credo – Don't work IN your business, work ON it – is spelled out.

In the first part of E-Myth Mastery, Gerber outlines the life skills necessary for an entrepreneur's creative expression in the marketplace. Readers discover how to overcome the emotional obstacles within themselves that may sabotage the path to building the company and prevent them from seeing their entrepreneurial commitment through to the end. In the second part, Gerber focuses on the seven essential business disciplines that make or break entrepreneurial enterprises, setting forth a blueprint for their successful implementation and practice: leadership, marketing, money, management, fulfillment, lead conversion, and lead generation. Each of the seven disciplines is illuminated with examples, practical exercises, and specific guidance.

E-Myth training is a powerful tool and a core component of Allstate's agency growth strategy. E-Myth teaches Allstate consultants and agency owners how to grow as entrepreneurs while improving their quality of life in the process. – Gary Briggs, field vice president, Allstate Insurance Company

Never before have I seen a philosophy resonate so deeply with our independent store owners. Michael Gerber's E-Myth principles have helped hundreds of Ace retailers get more out of life while reaching new levels of business success. We hear regularly about and from Ace retailers reporting better results from their lives and, not so coincidentally, in their bottom-line results. – David F. Hodnik, president and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation

E-Myth Mastery is a comprehensive and practical guide to business development that will help entrepreneurs recover their passion. No matter what the industry, the size of the company, or the personal preferences of the owner, the principles and practices set forth by Gerber can help businesses excell.

Children’s, ages 8 and up (adult content) / History

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter (Harcourt, Inc)

In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was 'Read.' – Alia Muhammad Baker

Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian of 14 years, knew the war was coming to Basra. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. She appealed to the government to allow her to move her library's priceless collection. They said no. So Baker decided to save the collection or as much of it as she could carry – book by book. Night after night she took books home from the library. Then the war came. One day only Baker was left at the library to protect the books. She asked her friend Anis Muhammad, who owned a restaurant next door, to help her. All through the night, Baker, Anis Muhammad, and their families and neighbors took the books from the shelves and hid them in the restaurant. Soon afterward, the library building burned to the ground. When things quieted down, Baker hired a truck to move all thirty thousand of the books from the restaurant to her house and the houses of friends. In all, they were able to save about 70 percent of the collection.

Award-winning children's book author-illustrator Jeanette Winter just couldn't get Alia Muhammad Baker off her mind. Winter read an article about Baker in the New York Times on July 27, 2003. The article told of Baker, chief librarian of Basra's Central Library, and her heroic efforts to save the library's book collection from the approaching war. Winter's book The Librarian of Basra brings Baker's story to children half a world away.

The publisher has pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Librarian of Basra through a special fund administered by the American Library Association to help rebuild the collection of Basra's Central Library.

As appropriate for her audience, Winter's bright, folk-art style does much to mute the horrific realities of war. The corresponding abstraction in the text, however, may give many readers pause. While an endnote explains that the ‘invasion of Iraq reached Basra on April 6, 2003,’ the nature of the crisis rocking Baker's homeland is left vague, and the U.S.'s role in the depicted events is never mentioned. At the same time, certain images – among them, silhouetted figures in robes fleeing from ominous tanks and jets – carry a pointed commentary that will require sensitivity when presenting this to children of deployed parents. Still, the librarian's quiet bravery serves as a point of entry into a freighted topic, and young readers will be glad to learn that a portion of the book's sales will go toward helping rebuild Basra's library. – Booklist

In a war-stricken country where civilians – especially women – have little power, The Librarian of Basra tells the true story of a librarian's struggle to save her community's priceless collection of books and reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge know no boundaries.

Community / Church History / Biographies & Memoirs

Echoes in the Hills by Anne Davison Lewis (University of Scranton Press) is made up of the stories of the people who came from New England to the Abington Woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania in the 1800s, founded Abington Center – now Waverly – and for two hundred years nurtured the First Baptist Church of Abington.

Through that Congregation they helped bring into being six other churches, including the Baptist Church in Factoryville, the Waverly Station on the Underground Railroad, the Abington Baptist Association, the Hickory Grove Cemetery, and Keystone Academy – now Keystone College. Beginnings of the Waverly Community House and a socio-reli­gious history of the Abingtons and Scranton are also included in Echoes in the Hills.

Author Anne Lewis, who went on to hold positions of Social Worker and Elementary and Secondary School Counselor for twenty-four years, first heard of Waverly, Pennsylvania, in a seventh grade American History class in Selma, Alabama when reading about the Underground Railroad.

The story of the First Baptist Church of Abington in Waverly, Pennsylvania, Echoes in the Hills, is the story, first, of an ordinary man rather like the patriarch Abraham, who with his family departed from his place of birth and arrived at a new home where he thought his God directed him to be. There he was blessed, and there he became a blessing. This is the story of land newly tilled, of men cutting out forests and building homes in the wilderness, and of women caring for those homes and for their growing families. This is the story of people of like faith coming together to create a small church within a small community – a church through which they could serve their God and, through Him, serve each other.

This is the story of meals given to hungry strangers, of clothes provided for naked strangers, and of medicines sent to make sick strangers well. Echoes in the Hills is the story of couples married, of children dedicated to God, the story of graves around which loved ones gathered filled with grief, but also with hope in the life everlasting. This is the story of people who lost one of their own members at Gettysburg, and one of their own villagers in France during World War I, but were blessed in having all their youth return from the Battle of the Bulge and from Guadalcanal. This is the story of people whose ideas grew even to the limits of their vision, as a small Keystone Academy evolved into a four-year college. This is the story of children nurtured and loved by others in addition to their own parents – the story of thousands upon thousands of dollars given for good and noble causes around the world. This is the story of disappointments endured and troubles shared – of good times celebrated and cherished as blessings from our God.

Echoes in the Hills is the inspirational and old-fashioned story of Waverly and the First Baptist Church of Abington.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Appreciating Wine by Phillip Hills (Collins – (HarperCollins UK Publishers))

There is an undoubted social cachet in being able to ‘appreciate’ a good wine, but wine isn’t a code that only the elite can crack – it is a pleasure open to all.

The different flavors we detect in wine are the real cause of the pleasure we have in drinking it. Few wine-drinkers know much about flavor, or about why wines taste the way they do. In Appreciating Wine, the sources of the taste of wine are examined – readers learn how a good wine ought to taste.

Appreciation, however, is more than mere enjoyment; it requires knowledge and evaluation. Appreciating Wine will help readers understand exactly why they taste what they do and so be able to make educated judgments about the wine they are drinking. It will also show them how to identify a corked one and will enable them to make sense of those mysterious descriptions of wine through ‘flavor signature’, a graphic device which helps readers identify the presence and strength of individual flavors.

Appreciating Wine offers everything one needs to know about appreciating wine, technically and culturally, making it the perfect companion for aspiring wine buffs. Phillip Hills, shortlisted for the 2001 Glenfiddich Drinks Book of the Year Award for his book Appreciating Whisky, gives detailed, structured tutelage to anyone interested in developing his or her palate. In this witty, handsomely illustrated volume, expert Hills presents an accessible, jargon-free guide to tasting, understanding, and appreciating wine.

Education

Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities edited by William L. Heward, Timothy E. Heron, Nancy A. Neef, Stephanie M. Peterson, Diane M. Sainato, Gwendolyn Cartledge, Ralph Gardner III, Lloyd D. Peterson, Susan B. Hersh, Jill C. Dardig (Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall)

This book is a collection of papers developed from presentations delivered at The Ohio State University's Third Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education Conference, which took place in Sep­tember 2002. The three-day program included 80 invited addresses, research papers, and posters – many by the most prominent behav­ioral educators in the world. Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education was edited by William L. Heward, Timothy E. Heron, Nancy A. Neef, Stephanie M. Peterson, Diane M. Sainato, Gwendolyn Cartledge, Ralph Gardner III, Lloyd D. Peterson, Susan B. Hersh, all from Ohio State University, plus Jill Dardig from Ohio Dominican University.

Like its predecessors from the first two OSU Focus Conferences, Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education covers a wide range of topics and issues. Collectively, the contributing authors present literature reviews, conceptual analyses, and data from several original studies; they describe advancements in curricula, classroom and school­wide interventions, and teacher training programs; and they offer personal perspectives on the current status and future directions of behavior analysis in education.

The book's 19 chapters are organized into four parts. Part I, "Achieving Improvements in the Lives of Children with Autism," includes two chapters on the role of applied behavior analy­sis in the lives of children with autism and their families. The late Don Bier, one of the founding fathers of applied behavior analysis, describes the required features of applied behavior analysis as an educational treatment and its critical value to all children who depend on systematic instruction to learn useful skills. Catherine Maurice and Bridget Taylor discuss challenges and opportunities for educators, therapists, and par­ents who want to help children diagnosed with autism. Maurice and Taylor offer reflections and recommendations gleaned from a decade of direct action, research, and publishing; interactions with parents, teachers, therapists, and children; and observations of the political forces at play in the world of autism intervention.

Part II, "Recent Developments, Continuing Challenges, and Emerging Opportunities," begins with two chapters outlining recent contributions by behavior analysis to curriculum design and assessment for beginning reading instruction. Janet Twyman, Joe Layng, Greg Stikeleather, and Kelly Hobbins describe Headsprout Reading, a commercially available online reading program that combines behavior analysis, instructional design, usability testing, and an organizational systems approach. Ed Kame’enui, Roland Good, and Beth Harn examine a school­wide model for preventing beginning reading failure that is based on early and frequent measures of specific reading behaviors as a reliable predictor of reading risk.

George Sugai and Rob Horner provide a rationale, examples, and guidelines for building a preventive continuum of positive behavior support that extends behavioral interventions and practices to the school and district levels. Charlie Greenwood, Judy Carta, and Dale Walker provide clear examples of how indicators for early communication, movement, social interaction, and adaptive behavior can be used as im­portant measures for early childhood growth and development.

Stephanie Peterson, Nancy Neef, Renée Van Norman, and Summer Ferreri critically examine the research literature on assessment of choices and the factors that influence choice making in educational settings. They propose a model for conceptualizing and assessing choice making and describe its implications for teaching children to make beneficial choices.

The five chapters in Part III, "Training, Sup­porting, and Learning with Measurably Effective Teachers," examine various issues and approaches to preservice teacher preparation and the professional development of practicing teachers. Larry Maheady, Gregory Harper, and Barbara Mallette describe the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation and refinement of a teacher preparation program grounded in the beliefs that highly effective teachers engage in a systematic and recursive process –   planning-instructing-reflecting-responding – while teaching and that they adjust their instructional practice in response to ongoing measures of pupil performance. Jo Webber describes how cooperative learning techniques and field experiences can help preservice teachers learn to manage difficult student behavior by applying ABA principles. Sheila Alber and Janet Nelson describe how student teachers and their mentor teachers can work collaboratively to conduct classroom research.

Chris McDonough, Tina Covington, Sayaka Endo, Deborah Meinberg, Trina Spencer, and Dave Bicard address the question, What does it mean to be a behavioral school? These authors outline the philosophy, instructional methods, and outcome measures that they believe define behavioral schooling, and they describe how these measures are applied to five distinct groups of learners at the Hawthorne Country Day School: students, teachers, teaching assistants, supervisors, and parents. In the final chapter in Part III, Dick Malott describes a behavioral-systems approach for teaching behavior analysis that he and his students have developed and refined at Western Michi­gan University. Malott's approach integrates goal-directed systems design, behavioral, systems engineering, performance management, and a skills-training model of education.

Part IV of Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education, "Perspectives on the Current and Future Functions of Behavior Analysis in Education," consists of seven chapters examining the current and future role of applied behavior analysis in education. Ilene Schwartz presents a framework for describing meaningful educa­tional outcomes for all children in inclusive settings and makes recommendations for the role of applied behavior analysis in helping educators achieve those outcomes. Lloyd Peterson and Laura Lacy-Rismiller suggest that a critical element of a school's effectiveness is having all members of a school's community focus on building positive, prosocial student behaviors rather than suppressing inappropriate behaviors. They address the challenges of changing the views of teachers, administrators, parents, and students who might otherwise support a punishment-based climate in the school to one that supports reinforcement. Tim Heron, Matt Tincani, Stephanie Peterson, and April Miller use Plato's allegory of the cave as a metaphor for examining the present educational system and the standard of best practice by which it should operate.

Anus Rolider and Saul Axelrod describe the results of a study showing that the public's acceptance of behavioral interventions increases significantly when those interventions are described in conversational language followed by an explanation of the intended outcome of the prescribed interventions. John Cooper compares the research traditions of applied behavior analysis and precision teaching and concludes that both approaches produce applied research important for advancing the science of behavior and educational practice.

In Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education's final chapter, Bill Heward contends that achieving significant improvements in education will require reducing the disparity between what behavioral research has discovered about effective teaching practices and the curriculum and instruction experienced by most students. He suggests some reasons why applied behavior analysis is well suited to contribute to educational reform, identifies a competing list of reasons that impede the acceptance and adoption of behavioral interventions in education, and offers some suggestions to those who wish to see applied behavior analysis play a more meaningful role in education.

[Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education] begins with two articles concerning the education and treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, currently a very hot topic in the field of behavior analysis. The lead article by the late Donald Baer, "Letters to a Lawyer" is a synopsis of Baer's responses to criticisms and misconceptions about applied behavior analysis (ABA). The article could easily serve as a "how-to guide" for why ABA is the best-practice recommendation for autism treatment. … Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education is a must read for any professional who wishes to employ the most effective educational methods. In this time of No Child Left Behind and the need for evidenced-based practice, the time is right for the field of education to finally embrace what a science of behavior has to offer. – Kenneth F. Reeve, Caldwell College, New Jersey

Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education is a useful resource for three groups: (1) educators seeking information and resources on measurably effective instructional tools; (2) students of behavior analysis wishing to learn about its applications, accomplishments, and future research needs in education; and (3) anyone – pre­service education major, in-service teacher, school administrator, parent, or consumer – who has heard about the '’behavioral approach’ – and wonders what it is all about. Focus on Behavior Analysis in Education provides readers from all these groups with an accessible, accurate, and representative account of the relevance and the potential of applied behavior analysis in education.

Education / Teaching & Learning / Reference

Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning edited by Eli Hinkel (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers) provides a broad-based overview of current knowledge and research into second language (L2) teaching and learning.

Editor Eli Hinkel, Seattle University, in Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, says that language teaching can be compared to cooking. Due to the advances of science, much has been learned about nutrition, and nutritious meals certainly take into account the beneficial qualities of their ingredients. However, delicious meals are not necessarily nutritious and vice versa. A scientifically sound approach to second-language teaching and learning does not necessarily make for the most enjoyable language course, and in many cases, the teaching that is to be both beneficial and enjoyable has to supply both elements to make learning nutritious and delicious at the same time. In many cases, delineating the boundary between research and practice may not be possible, nor does it seem always necessary. However, one does have to be mindful of the delicious empty calories, as well as highly nutritious but barely edible items.

Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning organizes 57 chapters into eight thematic parts, and an introduction is included in each:

  • Social contexts of second language learning.
  • Research methodologies in second language learning, acquisition, and teaching.
  • Contributions of applied linguistics to the teaching and learning of second language skills.
  • Second language processes and development.
  • Teaching methods and curricula.
  • Issues in second or foreign language testing and assessment.
  • Identity, culture, and critical pedagogy in second language teaching and learning.
  • Important considerations in language planning and policies.

According to Hinkel, the people, L2 learners and users, who populate the L2 universe are at the heart of the research on L2 teaching and learning. Much L2 research is geared toward finding out as much as possible about the societal matrices in which second and foreign languages are taught and learned. Hence, Part I, Important Social Contexts in Research on Second Language Teaching and Learning, begins with the research about many different types of L2 learners that have different language learning needs and goals within the social contexts of their lives. The nine chapters in this section focus on the people who set out to learn a second and foreign language in various locations, institutions, and political and educational systems with an immediate goal of attaining different types of L2 / FL proficiencies in order to achieve their educational, vocational, academic, professional, career, and communicative objectives.

The methods for research in how second languages are taught and learned represent the second theme. These are discussed in Part II, Methods in Second Language Research. In L2 research, each research method has its strengths and weaknesses, and each of the five methods presented in the chapters discuss markedly different approaches to gathering and analyzing data. What specifically can be learned through research crucially depends on the method of collecting data and making conclusions from the analysis.

The many contributions of applied linguistics to research on L2 teaching and learn­ing represent the focus of Part III, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Re­search. The eight chapters included in this part cover such divergent domains of study as Second Language Acquisition (SLA), sociolinguistics, language socialization, prag­matics, sociocultural research and theory, conversation analysis, contrastive rhetoric, and corpus studies. In this regard, the findings of applied linguistics research can shed a great deal of light on various L2 phenomena, such as the processes of language learning and use.

The 12 chapters in Part IV, Research in Second Language Processes and Devel­opment, represent an extension of the theme of applied linguistics research in Part III. The findings of the research into the connections between age, cognition, fossiliza­tion, and output and L2 learning are directly tied into key areas of applied linguistics research. Similarly, the development of essential L2 skills, such as speaking, listen­ing, literacy, grammar, reading, vocabulary, and writing is bound up with mental and physiological processes of learning and maturation. To a large extent, the division of the 20 chapters in Parts III and IV has the goal of easing the reader's path along Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning's contents.

In the practice of L2 teaching, there are as many methods as one would like to name and count. For this reason, the eight chapters in Part V, Methods and Curricula in Second Language Teaching attempt to deal only with a few prominent exemplars widely adopted in various geographic locations and social contexts around the world. For example, the preeminence of the communicative method in many countries can be compared only to the undaunted popularity of traditional grammar-based methods. The chapter on L2 learning strategies highlights the applications of strategies for language learning across all methods and approaches. It is important to note, however, that in all likelihood, Part V excludes at least as many methods as it includes, and the importance of the ‘beyond methods’ movement is not to be underestimated.

The six chapters in Part VI, Second Language Testing and Assessment, are probably insufficient to discuss in any depth the many important human and institutional issues entailed in measuring L2 proficiency. However, the goal of the chapters in Part VI is to underscore the vexing complexity of language testing and assessment, as it is closely tied to L2 learning, learning processes, and inferential measurements of L2 competence, proficiency, and skill. Thus, the chapters in Part VI present brief overviews of the sociopolitical contexts of language assessment, considerations of validity and the history of testing, research methods, testing of language for specific purposes, and classroom-centered language assessment.

The theme of Identity, Culture, and Critical Pedagogy in Second Language Teach­ing and Learning is taken up in Part VII. Research into the direct connections between language learning and the social identity, culture, and the ways in which second or foreign languages are taught demonstrates that these constructs combine to impact the social group and the individual within the fabric of the society and its political and educational systems. The study of how learners' identities can be bound up with culture and language pedagogy relies in a wide range of macro- and microanalytic approaches, discussed in Part VII.

The six chapters in Part VIII, Language Planning and Policy and Language Rights, present an overview of the important directions in the research of language policy and planning, and the impact of these on minority language rights. The introductory chapter outlines a number of key issues and terms and a general framework for the types of activities that define the field. The next five chapters discuss the classic activity types and focus on the important recent research specifically geared toward language teaching and learning.

In Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, as in any other large books that consists of dozens of chapters written by dozens of authors, the contributions are not likely to be very similar in character. To a large extent, the chapters reflect the diversity of the research into second and foreign language teaching and learning, the contexts in which it is taught and learned, and the individuals who teach and learn. Despite the great diversity of the field, the research, and the disciplinary perspectives, Hinkle has make the chapters consistent in style, tone, and the depth of material coverage. The book emphasizes important developments, trends, and traditions in the discipline, as well as cur­rent controversies and the reasons that they have arisen; a detailed examination of the current research findings presented in the chapter; a section on conclusions and/or future research directions; and a substantial list of references that can assist interested readers in backtracking seminal and relevant works.

Each chapter in Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning represents a stand-alone examination of research in a specific sub­domain of second language learning; yet, this state-of-the-art book as a whole reflects the major trends in the current investigations into the people and the contexts where and how second and foreign languages are taught and learned.

Handbook Of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning is intended for a wide audience: researchers, practitioners, graduate students and faculty in teacher education and applied linguistics programs, teachers, teacher trainers, teacher trainees, and curriculum and material developers, and it will be a boon to professionals in the field of second language teaching and learning. – Anna Washington, M.A.T, M.Ed.

Education / Special Education / Reference

Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties: Research and Resource Guide for Working with All Struggling Readers (2nd Edition) by Carol S Spafford & George S Grosser (Allyn & Bacon) contains the message that individuals with dyslexia can lead successful and fulfilling lives.

Dyslexia, the most prevalent reading disability, is a mystifying problem that affects 2 to 20 percent of the population. Although dyslexia cannot be cured, it can be helped. Dyslexia has been addressed by a number of authors in various ways because a definitive ‘cure’ or ‘remedy’ for this disorder has not been found. Therefore, one encounters many approaches to the problem in popular and professional journals.

The second edition of Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties is meant to present a comprehensive overview of one of the most puzzling problems educators confront – why do dyslexics have reading problems and what do we do to help them?
Carol A. Spafford and George S. Grosser provide some insights into this problem with the hope that with further research and study, the nature and causes of dyslexia can further be refined. They carefully document all material with research in the field.

Spafford and Grosser, who collectively have 65 years of teaching experience as college professors and teachers in Massachusetts, demonstrate how teachers can create a social network of support while nurturing the development of individual resiliency.

The book features:

  • A new chapter on Fluency includes The Essential 500 Reading Word List.
  • More than fifty reproducibles, including those in the areas of diagnosis, teaching, family literacy outreach, and a Meeting and Conference Planner for Families (in both Spanish and English).
  • Practical information and tools for diagnosing dyslexia and reading disabilities and for documenting this information for school records.
  • A dyslexia screening checklist and summary with terminology easily referenced and explained for teachers and parents.
  • Several assessment tools to give teachers ongoing information about a student's literacy development and progress in reading and writing.

Spafford and Grosser note that professionals have many strategic social and academic interventions to rely on, with families involved as ‘literacy partners’, and they caution readers to be wary of approaches and treatments that claim to have the cures and the definite answers

Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties includes techniques for engaging dyslexic students within a balanced literacy program. Drawing on hundreds of scientifically based research studies and informed teaching practices, the book is a popular text providing teachers and parents with a repertoire of strategies and interventions to build rich literacy environments. Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties is intended to reach families and professionals, including diagnosticians, researchers, teachers, school administrators, college students, and anyone interested in learning more about dyslexia and how to support dyslexia from early childhood to adulthood. Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties holds the promise of bettering the life situation of any person with a learning disability by providing one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date sources on the subject.

Entertainment / Movies

Special Effects: An Oral History – Interviews with 37 Masters Spanning 100 Years by Pascal Pinteau, translated from the French by Laurel Hirsch (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers)

The monster spewing flames in Godzilla, the flying bicycle in E.T., the rampaging dinosaurs in Jurassic Park – these are just a few of the cinematic moments that have held audiences spellbound over the years. In Special Effects, the inventors of such screen legerdemain reveal the huge variety of techniques they employ, from animation, animatronics, makeup, and model-making to the most astounding computer trickery possible today. The book encompasses not only film and television but also theme parks and attractions. As a bonus, the author, Pascal Pinteau, a journalist, screenwriter, and designer who has created special effects for commercials, TV shows and theme parks, includes his selection of DVDs with not-to-be-missed special effects.
Spanning a century of screen wizardry – from the early innovations of the pioneering French fantasist Georges Méliès to the first synthetic TRON images to the cutting-edge technology used in the most recent Star Wars and The Matrix – Special Effects pays homage to dazzling visual pyrotechnics and the artists of illusion who created them. This history of these great illusions is presented through interviews with 37 international masters of the art and science of special effects and more than 1,000 illustrations, nearly all in color.
To get interviews for the book, Pinteau, over the last 20 years, visited with special effects masters throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. The book includes interviews with:

Martin Bower Alien • Sylvain Chomet Les Triplettes de Belleville • Walt Conti Free Willy • Mark Coulier Harry Potter • Terry Curtis Captain Scarlet • Matt Denton Lost in Space • Sylvain Despretz Alien Resurrection • Roy E. Disney The Walt Disney Company • John Dykstra Star Wars • Volker Engel Independence Day • Ed French Terminator 2: 3-D • Andy Gaskill and Neil Eskuri Dinosaur • Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts • Jim Henson The Dark Crystal • Steve Kirk Tokyo DisneySea • John Lasseter Finding Nemo • Leona Beatrice Martin-­Starewicz Ladislaw Starewicz • Mike McGee Dinotopia • Nick Park and Peter Lord Chicken Run • Brian Penikas Jeepers Creepers • Nikki Penny Gladiator • Pitof Vidocq • Sam Raimi Spider-Man • Nicolas Rey Le Boulet • Gene Rizzardi Titanic • Robert Short E.T. • Dick Smith The Exorcist • Patrick Tatopoulos Godzilla • Richard Taylor The Lord of the Rings • Miles Teves RoboCop • Phil Tippett Jurassic Park • Douglas Trumbull Blade Runner • Joe Viskocil Star Wars • Jean-Marie  Vives Alien Resurrection • Stan Winston Terminator • Mark A. Woodbury Universal Studios Florida

Special Effects gives readers an intimate and detailed look at the exciting process of creating these works of magic. This amazing book, with its spectacular illustrations, not only incorporates film and television, but also theme parks and attractions; and the author selection on DVD with not-to-be missed special effects.

Entertainment / Music

The Joy of Music by Leonard Bernstein, with a foreword by Tim Page (Amadeus Press)

The Joy of Music, a classic work, his first collection of essays and conversations, provides a look into Leornard Bernstein’s understanding of the meaning and wonder of music.

Leonard Bernstein was one of the twentieth century's preeminent American composers. Bernstein's collective creative output spans the range of musical genres to include works for orchestra, theater, ballet, film, solo voice, chamber music, and piano. He studied at the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia – paino with Isabella Vengerova, conducting with Fritz Reiner, and orchestration with Randall Thompson. Bernstein remains the youngest person ever to have served as music director of the New York Philharmonic. From 1958 to 1969 he led more concerts with the orchestra than any previous conductor. He subsequently held the lifetime title of laureate conductor. Among his best-known works are the musicals West Side Story, On the Town, and the operetta Candide.

Bernstein was once called ‘the ideal explainer of music, past and present’ by award-winning composer and music critic Virgil Thomson. ‘In addition to his many distinctions as composer, pianist, and conductor, Leonard Bernstein found time to be the most influential music teacher in history.... thanks to his television appearances and books such as The Joy of Music, I can say that I studied with [him], and so did many of my contemporaries,’ Page notes in his introduction.

Written in what The Atlantic Monthly calls ‘. . . a successful fusion of the colloquial speaking voice and a highly readable prose style,’ Bernstein employs the creative device of ‘Imaginary Conversations’ in the first section of The Joy of Music, humorously illuminating the importance of the symphony in America, the greatness of Beethoven, and the art of composing. The book also includes a photo section and a third section with transcripts from his televised Omnibus music series, including Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, The World of Jazz, Introduction to Modern Music, and What Makes Opera Grand? Dozens of musical examples are also included.

... The Joy of Music is – talking about music, with passion and authority, but always on a level that will reach everybody who cares to listen .... Leonard Bernstein still has much to teach us – and his company is a gift. – Tim Page

Widely hailed by the critics and the public alike, and a national bestseller on its publication, The Joy of Music, is considered the maestro's finest collection. Whether illustrating the blues or fathoming the peculiar greatness of Beethoven, Bernstein's exuberant genius illumines and enriches. Nearly fifteen years after Bernstein's death, The Joy of Music continues to be a must-have for all music fans – both inside and outside the classroom – who wish to experience music more fully and deeply through one of the most inspired, and inspiring, music intellects of our time.

Entertainment / Biographies & Memoirs

I Feel Good: A Memoir of a Life of Soul by James Brown, with an introduction by Marc Eliot (New American Library)

Here, then, is the real story of James Brown, told by the Godfather of Soul himself, what he calls his ‘personal business’ rather than his ‘show business,’ the 411 of his life, an interior monologue whose essential roots are not just about music but about race, whose obsession is not inclusion but exclusion, whose ultimate resolution occurs not onstage but within the heart... and from the soul. – Marc Eliot, from the Introduction

"Please Please Please" was the raw cry that first established James Brown as the embodiment of a social and musical revolution. But that seminal recording in 1956 came more than two decades after Brown began his life – and his fight for respect.

Soul Brother Number One, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite – Brown is arguably the most influential African-American in popular music in the past half-century and one of the most dynamic performers of our time. Brown is the recipient of the American Music Awards Award of Merit, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters. When the music industry decided to create a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Brown was one of the first 10 musicians inducted.
Brown is a controversial figure – from his humble childhood in Georgia, he went on to change the face of American music with hit after hit. While he was a courageous public figure in a time of national strife and adversity, his personal life took destructive turns, leaving a difficult path ahead of him. For the first time in a decade, he speaks candidly and at length in I Feel Good about his tumultuous journey with the assistance of Marc Eliot, New York Times best-selling biographer. The story he tells is the story of a man who grew up black in the segregated South – whose strength of conviction and force of will were matched only by the powerful demons he battled inside himself.

The ‘rock-a-soul’ that Brown created (along with rockers Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and others) ‘was not just about rebellion – it was the rebellion itself,’ he says. Chronicling such peace-seeking yet controversial events as his 1968 U.S.O. tour of Vietnam and his landmark Boston Garden performance the day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Brown cites his own example as a ‘self-made and therefore self-owned Black man’… This is a fascinating memoir of a trailblazer in music and civil rights.  – Publishers Weekly
It's likely that R & B singer Brown is better known to today's audiences for his lurid run-ins with the law – he served two and a half years after a 1988 arrest on drug and assault charges – than for his music. … He now credits prison for saving his life, claiming, ‘I wasn't arrested – I was rescued.’ – Booklist

In I Feel Good James Brown moves beyond his music and his much-publicized legal troubles to delve deeply into the highs and lows of his life. From his childhood memories, to his musical triumphs as he journeyed from gospel to R & B to soul – and then virtually invented funk – to his struggles with inner demons and his most recent troubles with the law, this is the story of James Brown the man, told in his own words.

Entertainment / Music

The Songwriter Goes to War: The Story of Irving Berlin's World War II All-Army Production of This Is the Army by Alan Anderson, with a foreword by Mary-Ellin Barrett (Amadeus Press / Limelight Editions)

Irving Berlin marked the end of WWI with a show that opened on Broadway just before Armistice Day, 1918, and ran for all of 32 performances. Yip! Yip! Yaphank! and its imperishable song, "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," was notable for its company, made up entirely of servicemen.

The idea of an all-service show resurfaced in the wake of the U.S. entry into WWII, and the cast of This Is the Army was rehearsing and preparing to open at New York's Broadway Theatre. Their story is recalled in The Songwriter Goes to War by Alan Anderson, whose first assignment after induction was to be production stage manager and first sergeant of the This Is the Army detachment. From this vantage point Anderson enjoyed a unique perspective on the show, on all the elements that went into it, and on all the personalities that in one way or another brought the elements to life.

That relatively brief engagement on the Broadway Theatre was just a warm-up for an around-the-world tour of Army bases – from the United States, to Great Britain, Italy, Persia, the Philippines, and many ports of call in between – that would last until the war was over and would raise the spirits of the soldiers on the battlefield and millions of dollars for the Army Emergency Relief Fund.

Where did this khaki stage marvel come from and where did it go? That is the wonderful story Alan Anderson has to tell in The Songwriter Goes to War, a long lost tale of frontline show business that only he at the center could have attempted... How the show was put together sets the tone: a determined songwriter asking the impossible and getting it; a motley crew of recruits, some with experience, many more just full of pluck, molded into a musical comedy team; blacks and whites together in the first and only integrated division in the US Army...

It's a new way of looking at World War II ... a ‘backstage’ story that ulti­mately involves transporting a full-scale Broadway musical revue to Great Britain in the blitz, the Italian front lines, the Persian desert and the jungles of New Guinea.... But nothing could compare to the mind-boggling logistics of This Is the Army: the scenery, the costumes, the lights, the setting up, taking down, moving on, with a cast of 150 to be billeted and fed, under the dual command of Army brass and the civilian Mr. Berlin, not always in perfect accord. – From the Foreword by Irving Berlin’s daughter, Mary Ellin Barrett

This is one of the great show-biz stories, untold until now, and Alan Anderson, who was a key participant, has told it beautifully. – Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker

Finally, a published account about Irving Berlin's unique, This Is the Army. Sergeant and stage manager Anderson was there from inception through finale, documenting every moment. Writing gracefully and informatively, he takes us back to the 1940s, weaving a spell-binding, wartime tale. Sheer theatrical enchantment. John Maxtone-Graham, author, The Only Way to Cross

The Songwriter Goes to War is a warm­hearted memoir of American patriotism, songwriting and musical theater.

Entertainment / Music

Jazz: An American Journey by Brian Harker (Pearson Prentice Hall) places jazz music within its rich historical and cultural context.

Jazz explains how and why jazz evolved as it did, as it emphasizes chronology, historical cause and effect, and the interactions between music and American history and culture. Presented from the point of view of the original participants (musicians, critics, and audiences), Jazz focuses on the music with fifty-five recorded examples that are accompanied by a listening chart, commentary, and analysis, all to provide a more vivid setting for jazz grounded in the time, place, and worldview of its creators.

Historical, political, cultural, and economic context for each stylistic period presented helps students understand how jazz relates to larger currents in American history, politics, and culture.

Author Brian Harker, Brigham Young University, relates that Jazz grew out of an assignment he received to teach a jazz history course for non-music majors. Studying jazz in context uncovers relationships with economics, politics, and other social dimensions, particularly at the site of watershed historical events – the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern cities, World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, among others. Students' understanding of jazz should illuminate many aspects of twentieth-century culture they encounter in other courses.

Moreover, the emphasis on context makes it possible to see how social conditions gave birth to musical style. It helps to know, for instance, that the defining paradigms of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois established basic attitudes toward race throughout the century. These attitudes decisively affected the evolution of jazz style, particularly its transformation from entertainment to art. Such connections can be made all along the line: vaudeville inspired the antic quality of much early jazz, the ability to hire more musicians for less money supported the rise of big bands during the Depression, the drive by American blacks for political freedom in the early sixties found its counterpart in free jazz, and so forth.

Harker organizes Jazz into fifteen-year segments that correspond roughly to fundamental changes in both American society and jazz. The chronology is divided into six parts: Origins, Early Jazz, Swing, Bop, Free Jazz to Fusion, and Postmodern Jazz. Each part begins with a chapter on historical context to introduce the period. Additionally, most chapters open with a brief section on historical and cultural setting. The first part, Origins (c. 1900-1914), discusses the social conditions among African Ameri­cans that led to the rise of jazz, the influence of ragtime and the blues, and the formative role of New Orleans. The second part, Early Jazz (c. 1914-1929), treats the development of early jazz in Chicago and New York, the emergence of Louis Armstrong, and so forth.

Each chapter has pedagogical aids to further illuminate the subject. These include Contemporary Voices boxes containing quotations from people who lived during the period in question, boxes titled Great Debates summarizing important controversies among jazz critics and scholars, and Chronology boxes listing influential events – both musical and otherwise – for individual parts. Other boxes treat record labels, venues, and offstage personalities. One unique feature of Jazz is a series of historical maps indicating regions, cities, communities, and venues that proved especially hospitable to jazz. Period photographs, album covers, and cartoons give a visual sense of the attitudes and customs that surrounded the music. Birth and death dates in parentheses mark the first substantive mention of significant figures, and important names and terms are highlighted in the text.

Context, of course, has no purpose without a text. The "text" for this book is a series of fifty-five outstanding jazz recordings collected in an available three-CD set. Most of the recordings are classics in that they represent leading musicians' best or most influential work according to longstanding critical consensus. Indeed, a third of the selections are taken from the now-defunct Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, a widely used anthology before its discontinuance several years ago. Some of the more recent recordings have not yet had the chance to stand the test of time and thus reflect a more subjective selection process. Some recordings were chosen to represent a particular style; others to illustrate a historical pattern. (For instance, Charlie Barnet's "Cherokee," from the Swing Era, should help prepare students to understand Charlie Parker's "Koko," a modern jazz treatment of the "Cherokee" chord progression.) Many recordings are discussed in detail, and thirty-five are represented visually in a Listening Chart. The twenty recordings without listening charts provide students the opportunity to create their own diagrams of the music.

Together, the two anthologies contain sixty-seven outstanding jazz recordings. Because Jazz is designed for nonmusicians, Harker omitted musical notation and overly technical musical analysis. However, the Introduction includes a discussion of musical elements – melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, texture, dynamics, and form – and establishes a basic vocabulary of musical terms which appear frequently in later chapters.

Jazz presents the history of jazz in narrative form, emphasizing chronology, cause and effect, and the human dramas that contributed to the shaping of musical style. As an introduction to jazz history, Jazz is not intended to be a definitive or comprehensive treatment. Accordingly, Harker attempts to do more with less – to discuss fewer musicians in greater detail or within a richer historical context. The book devotes a full chapter to each of five seminal figures: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Less influential musicians are treated in chapters on various styles or movements (bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, etc.). In keeping with their leading role, black players receive the most attention, but white musicians are not overlooked. The part on Swing, for instance, contains a chapter on white bands led by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Charlie Barnet. The contributions of women to jazz have been limited but powerful within their area of concentration. In the first chapter on singing – the one arena dominated by women – Harker assesses the role of women in jazz generally. Jazz addresses styles and genres occasionally slighted in other histories, including contemporary big bands, Latin jazz, soul jazz, neo-bop, smooth jazz, acid jazz, and world fusion. Three chapters are devoted to jazz after 1975.

This scholarly, useful and enlightening survey tells the story of jazz holistically, situating the music within its natural home in American history and culture. The book should prove helpful to others who teach jazz in the university setting and will be of interest to the general, musically sophisticated audience with an interest in jazz.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Road of Silk by Matt Afsahi & Barbara Dysonwilliams (Synergy Books) is a fantasy novel chronicling the adventures of Queen Yasamin of Gwendomere.

Remember the road of silk.

The old woman’s words rang in Yasamin’s ears as she set sail for Dragonval to marry its king – not something she wanted, but something she had to do to save her people and her kingdom. But the words haunted her. What was the road of silk, what did it mean? She was alone on a vessel belonging to King Amir, guarded by a giant soldier named Goliagoth, her only companions, her old nurse, a child given to her as a wedding present and Arash, a young man taken prisoner at her very doorstep. Little did Yasamin realize what waited for her. She had yet to learn this trip was more than a simple journey to become Queen. She had yet to meet Mosesra who would change the way she looked at the world forever. She had yet to meet the demons that would try and stop them from reaching Dragonval. And, she had yet to meet the dangerous evil waiting for her, hidden deep in the darkness, a darkness more dangerous than the king she was fated to marry.

This voyage was more than simply sailing from her homeland to Dragonval. It was a journey of lessons: of growth, loss, relationships. It was a journey of hate and love, of belief and disbelief. Most importantly, it was a journey where Yasamin learned about the great battle between the followers of the Light and followers of the Darkness: where she learned that while the kingdoms fought each other, the battle of the Light and Dark battled within her – for she was The One for whom both waited; she was the one who carried the seed of each. And only she could create the road of silk – or destroy it.
The Road of Silk, written by Matt Afsahi, a storyteller and specialist in psychic phenomenon, and Barbara Dysonwilliams, a journalist and archaeologist, is a story of people, their relationships, their choices and the effects of these choices on their lives, the lives of those around them, and of those to come. According to the authors, The Road of Silk has allowed them to promote the mystery and intrigue of the unknown by creating a new world of fantasy and folklore. Lovers of fantasy will enjoy the trip.

Health, Mind & Body / AIDS / Politics

The Political Economy of AIDS in Africa edited by Nana K. Poku & Alan Whiteside (Global Health Series: Ashgate)

Sub-Saharan Africa is a region devastated by HIV/AIDS. The extent of the epidemic is only now becoming clear, as increasing numbers of people with HIV are becoming ill. In the absence of massively expanded prevention, treatment and care efforts, the AIDS death toll on the continent is set to escalate rapidly. Despite progress being achieved in localized settings, the alarming statistics reflect the continuing failure of advanced countries to mount a response that matches the scale and severity of the African HIV/AIDS crisis.

Over and above the colossal personal suffering, the dire social and economic consequences for fragile nation-states are already being felt, not only in health but in education, industry, agriculture, transport, human resources and economies in general. Countries already crippled by drought, poverty, debt, forced migration and civil war must now contend with massive deterioration in child survival rates and life expectancy, the erosion of the economic family base, massive and insupportable demands on health and public services, chronic labor shortages and volatile national security.

Through a critical and detailed exploration of specific case studies, The Political Economy of AIDS in Africa brings together an unparalleled array of international contributors to redefine the political and economic contours of this calamitous epidemic. Written by Nana K. Poku, University of Southampton, UK, and Alan Whiteside, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, it examines the impact of the shortfalls in the ‘Global Fund’ allocation, the slow pace of administrative processing of aid and the weaknesses of institutional responses to the crisis from African countries and their partners in the global health community.

Features of the volume include:

  • Unique assessments of HIV/AIDS and its impact on democracy and governance in African states.
  • Wide-ranging regional and country studies by the foremost thinkers in their fields
  • Multi-disciplinary contributions from areas including: politics, sociology, public health and development studies.
  • Compelling and convincing evidence, thematic in approach.
  • Innovative and culturally specific insights for long-term planning, care and support.

The Political Economy of AIDS in Africa is an invaluable volume and essential reading for all concerned with public health, epidemiology, HIV/AIDS research, globalization, development, Africa and, indeed, our shared future.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help

If Only: How to Turn Regret into Opportunity by Neal Roese (Broadway Books)

For anyone who's played the what if game, comes a timely and welcome counterargument to the self help industry's mantra to banish negative thoughts.

In If Only, Neal Roese, Ph.D., one of the world’s top scientists studying regret, shows us that thoughts about what might have been are practically unavoidable. In fact, they are produced spontaneously by the brain with a very practical goal – to guide us toward improvement. But the same thoughts can bring the pain of regret. Is it worth the pain to get the improvement? Or should readers live life with no regrets?
Luckily, it’s not a package deal. The surprising message of If Only is that we can manage our regret style to maximize the gain and minimize the pain. In a book that weds science writing to practical self-help, Roese mines the research and shares simple strategies for managing life to make the most of regret. Readers learn:

  • Don’t Over-react. Don’t stop taking chances – that only ensures that readers will miss out on new opportunities.
  • Think Downward. How could a bad situation have gone even worse? This makes readers appreciative of what they have.
  • Do It. People regret the things left undone.
  • Regrets are Opportunities Knocking. Our brains produce the most if only thoughts about things in our lives that we can still change. So consider regret as a signal flashing: It’s not too late!

If Only also shows that if only thinking plays a huge role across our lives, from how best to buy, to why we enjoy movies, how juries decide, and the way we choose someone to love. In If Only, researcher Neal Roese shows us that if only thoughts are closely connected to emotion, memory, dreams, mental disorders, judgments of blame and responsibility, and ultimately, the universal drive for rebirth and regeneration.

Our pasts are full of regrets about what might have been and dreams about what could have been. In his entertaining and informative book, Neal Roese helps us to understand how and why we shape and attempt to alter the past. One thing is for sure: I have no regrets about reading If Only. – Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor and Chair of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory
If only more scientists could write this well! For more than a decade, Neal Roese has been the leader in the scientific study of counterfactual thought, and in this wise, delightful book he demonstrates just how profoundly our mental lives are influenced by all those roads not taken. Solid insight and elegant prose make If Only a rare treat. – Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

If Only is a fascinating glimpse inside the brain as it works to optimize performance and happiness, and more broadly, to make sense of the world around us. It is also a handbook to managing regret in ways that will make readers happier. A hopeful and optimistic book, If Only imparts a sense of wonder at the fact that our brains are silently guiding us toward happiness and the fulfillment of our goals and desires.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Understanding NLP: Principles & Practice, 2nd edition by Peter Young (Crown House Publishing Limited)

This book unfolds to reveal many layers. However, all is explained by the end . . . Whenever I talk to people about these ideas, I warn them: “Make sure you are OK with knowing that you will never be the same again. These ideas will change how you think about NLP and about your life in general. Once you know this stuff there is no going back.” – from the book

When it first appeared, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) offered a radical shake-up of traditional therapy and change techniques. Although some rejected its ground-breaking approach, there were many who welcomed NLP's innovative way of working, and over the last three decades it has expanded greatly. New techniques and therapeutic procedures are constantly being developed and the number of training courses and books grows all the time.

Many NLP practitioners believe that only techniques matter. Their books and trainings present students with a mass of useful facts, but with little integration of the material.

Understanding NLP by innovative, freelance writer Peter Young overcomes this problem. By integrating into its structure tools from other change systems, and from drama, storytelling and mythology, it utilizes the pattern of human learning to produce a completely systematic way of investigating life. In creating a paradigm for understanding change, it examines aspects such as rapport, the Meta Mirror, the Four Realities model, Bateson’s levels of learning, the Satir categories, outcome setting, the NLP language model, modal operators, beliefs, and modeling.

Peter Young has written the most definitive book on NLP so far. – Martin Weaver UKCP Reg, NLP Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Health Consultant

The most important new contribution to NLP work in years. This book will inspire the next generation in NLP. – Will McWhinney, The Fielding Institute, author of Paths of Change.

Understanding NLP provides a coherent model of NLP. Exploring four archetypal worldviews and three basic theoretical models, the book is an essential resource for both NLP beginners and practitioners, presenting a wealth of practical exercises and applications while revealing their underlying significance.

Health, Mind & Body / Alternative Medicine

Household Homeopathy: A Safe and Effective Approach to Wellness for the Whole Family by Vinton McCabe (Basic Health Publications, Inc.)

Homeopathy is an alternative medical practice that treats health conditions by administering minute doses of a remedy that would produce symptoms of that condition in a healthy person. As a form of medical treatment, homeopathy dates back to just over 200 years ago, but the underlying principles of homeopathy go back to the time of Hippocrates.

Household Homeopathy provides an introduction to this holistic approach to medicine for people who want to learn some basics that they can practice in their own homes.

In homeopathic medicine ‘acute treatments’ are those that restore the patient to the level of health they had before the onset of illness – these treatments are the subject of Household Homeopathy. Readers will learn how to match a specific symptom of a common ailment with a homeopathic remedy – the closer the match, the better the remedy will perform. The focus is on everyday household emergencies, such as sciatica, insect and animal bites, bruises, lacerations and wounds, injuries from falling, fainting, burns and scalds, nosebleeds, colds, flu, fever, and sore throats, among others.

The guide begins by introducing the history of homeopathy and the concepts that comprise its practice. Author Vinton McCabe, president of the Connecticut Homeopathic Association for more than fifteen years, who teaches homeopathic medicine to medical practitioners and lay people, points out that the methods by which practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine make diagnoses and determine treatment parallel some of the ways that homeopathic medicine works. He then describes homeopathic case-taking – how to gather and consider patient information so that the best treatment can be determined.

Part Two provides details on the fifty-two remedies that the author considers most important for home homeopathic treatments. He lists the remedies and tells readers, remedy by remedy, what they are likely to see and sense when considering the patient who needs the remedy. He includes the doses and potencies for each remedy.

Part Three of Household Homeopathy presents various household emergencies, along with the homeopathic remedies most commonly used to treat each of them.

Appendices provide lists of homeopathic organizations, websites, and pharmacies; more information on historical homeopaths and their conditions; and a list of other reference books that the author recommends for the homeopathic home.

With Household Homeopathy Vinton McCabe brings his classroom into the home and offers general readers and students a practical, handy reference book on the principles and applications of this alternative, holistic method of treating health conditions. The book makes the subject of homeopathy down to earth and practical and provides readers with plenty of food for thought.

Health, Mind & Body / Children

101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens: Using Metaphors in Therapy by George W. Burns (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) is a comprehensive guide to understanding and using storytelling in therapy with kids and teens.

Stories can play an important and potent role in therapy with children and adolescents – helping them develop the skills to cope with and survive a myriad of life situations. In many cases, stories provide the most effective means of communicating what kids and teens might not want to discuss directly.

Offering guidance for new clinicians and seasoned professionals, George Burns’s 101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens delivers a unique combination – information on incorporating storytelling in therapy, dozens of ready-made stories, and tips for creating original therapeutic stories.

Innovative chapters include:

  • Guidance for effective storytelling
  • Using metaphors effectively
  • Where to get ideas for healing stories
  • Planning and presenting healing stories
  • Teaching parents to use healing stories

In addition, 101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens includes dozens of story ideas designed to address a variety of issues, such as teaching self-care, changing patterns of behavior, managing relationships, emotions, and life challenges, and developing life skills and problem-solving techniques

[101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens] is a rare text:  at once delightful to read, lively, informative, practical and reassuring.  Burns’ confidence in the curative power of metaphor bursts forth from the pages, demystifying the art of telling a good story in the process.  Here are wonderful tales we can tell kids, they can tell us, and we can coauthor with them. Burns takes us through all the steps involved in building a good therapeutic narrative so even the most tongue-tied clinician can spin a useful tale. – Martha B. Straus, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch New England Graduate School

101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens is a must read for anyone working with this age group. George Burns takes the reader on a wonderful journey, balancing metaphor, good therapeutic technique, and empirical foundations during the trip. Given that Burns utilizes all three aspects of the Confucian story referred to in the book – teaching, showing, and involving – any reader using this resource should increase their understanding of how stories can be used therapeutically. – Richard G. Whiteside, author of The Art of Using and Losing Control and Working with Difficult Clients

101 Healing Stories for Kids and Teens provides straightforward advice on using storytelling and metaphors in a variety of therapeutic settings. Ideal for all who work with young people, this unique resource can be combined with other inventive and evidence-based techniques such as play, art, music, and drama therapies as well as solution focused, hypnotic, and cognitive-behavioral approaches.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help

The Messages Workbook: Powerful Strategies for Effective Communication at Work and Home by Martha Davis, Kim Paleg & Patrick Fanning (New Harbinger Publications, Inc.)

Everyone needs strong communication skills to survive. The better able people are to communicate with other, the happier and more successful they will be. Rewarding and lucrative careers, strong and lasting friendships, meaningful and satisfying romance all hang on this one uniquely human ability. Communication is a skill that can always be improved with good information and practice.
The original Messages: The Communication Skills Book taught readers to listen well, disclose honestly, and express truthfully while communicating with others. The Messages Workbook helps readers apply these skills specifically to different aspects of life. The book is co-authored by Martha Davis, a psychologist in the department of psychiatry of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Clara, CA, where she practices individual, couple, and group psychotherapy; Kim Paleg, a practicing clinical psychologist specializing in couples and family therapy and codirector of the Redwood Center Psychology Associates, Inc., in Berkeley, CA; and Patrick Fanning, a mental health professional writer.
The Messages Workbook is a personalized program to help readers:

  • Bridge the gender gap.
  • Negotiate power dynamics.
  • Talk to teens, children, and elders.
  • Build intimate communication.
  • Manage emotions in difficult conversations.
  • Be assertive.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Master the art of persuasion.

Step-by-step worksheets, fill-in exercises, and case stories help readers avoid communication pitfalls and make life-enhancing changes. The Messages Workbook extends the techniques of Messages to a wide range of situations: Exercises teach readers to communicate with teens and children. They help facilitate partner understanding by exploring gender communication differences. The workbook guides readers through challenging communication situations like talking through a power dynamic with a boss or a subordinate, with elders, or with people of different cultures. An important chapter applies emotion-regulation techniques from dialectical behavior therapy to communication, teaching readers to express themselves effectively even when feeling emotionally unstable.

The first three chapters of The Messages Workbook lay the groundwork for effective communication. Chapter 1 teaches listening skills, like paraphrasing, clarifying, and giving feedback, that make everyone more empathic toward and knowledgeable about the people who matter most to them. Chapter 2 teaches readers how to open up and safely disclose important, appropriate information about themselves so that they can be known authentically by others. Chapter 3 teaches readers how to express their thoughts, feelings, and desires at the right time and place to get their needs met.

The next part of this workbook teaches communication skills that will help readers cope with various types of conflict. Chapter 4 teaches readers to control strong emotions, particularly anger, so that they can communicate effectively in stressful situations. Chapter 5 teaches assertiveness, the art of getting one’s needs met without alienating others by being either too aggressive or too passive. Chapter 6 teaches fair fighting with one’s spouse or lover so that conflicts are resolved fairly and quickly, improving rather than harming the relationship. Chapter 7 teaches readers to negotiate good deals and fair compromises with landlords, salespeople, bosses, and bureaucrats. Chapter 8 teaches readers how to stand up for themselves with people who have more power. Chapter 9 teaches them how to talk with people who are in the throes of some painful emotion, such as fear, grief, humiliation, disappointment, or anger.

The last part of The Messages Workbook focuses on social situations. Chapter 10 teaches readers how to be sensitive and temper messages when talking to a member of the opposite gender, so they can have better relationships. Chapter l1 shows how to make contact and form relationships with new people, so they can gain a new friend or romantic partner. Chapter 12 teaches simple but effective ways to talk about sex, so readers can end embarrassment and avoidance, and improve their sex lives dramatically. Chapter 13 teaches readers how to talk to their children to gain their confidence, teach them, and keep them safe. Chapter 14 demonstrates how to level with teenagers so that they hear and understand, so readers can in turn preserve their relationship with them, keep them safe, and honor their growing independence. Chapter 15 teaches the skills of communicating with elders who may have hearing, expression, or comprehension problems that make it hard to enjoy and care for them. Chapter 16 teaches readers how to hold their own in a small group, to express their views, debate the issues, and have a positive influence in group decisions. Chapter 17 teaches the simple but essential rules of effective public speaking so that they can address an audience with maximum eloquence and minimum stage fright.

The Messages Workbook is a major workbook significantly enhancing the effectiveness of the best-selling Messages: The Communication Skills Book by allowing readers to personalize its master program to enrich specific areas of their lives – at work, at home, and in relationships. Whatever readers’ communication needs, this book offers them real tools they can use to express themselves well and relate to others effectively.

Health, Mind & Body / Nutrition

Healthy Eating Every Day by Ruth Ann Carpenter & Carrie E. Finley (Human Kinetics Publishers) invites readers to improve their health and the quality of their life through balanced eating, teaching readers how to improve their eating habits in ways that fit their lifestyles.

In Healthy Eating Every Day, readers discover how to choose the right balance of the right foods for optimal health, set realistic goals and rewards, and cope with triggers for unhealthy eating. Written by Ruth Ann Carpenter and Carrie Finley, Healthy Eating Every Day contains checklists, charts, and other features that personalize the program and keep it fun all the way through. According to Carpenter, the director of the Center for Research Dissemination, and Finley, manager of the nutritional epidemiology project, both at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, fad diets offer short-term results that often do more harm than good. Based on research, this is a proven program to change the way readers eat. The book contains information that can help readers achieve their healthy eating goals, from state-of-the-art information on nutrition and behavior change to practical tips for eating in today’s hectic world. In Healthy Eating Every Day readers learn key strategies to:

  • Keep healthy eating in mind while shopping for food.
  • Eat well when dining out or away from home.
  • Make sense of nutrition information and diet product claims.

For example, five strategies that research has shown are more likely to improve health and reduce disease risk:

  •  Increase fruits and vegetables.

  • Decrease fats.

  • Increase dairy and dairy alternatives.

  • Increase whole grains.

  • Balance calories.

Providing practical advice, accurate scientific information, and useful behavioral skills, Healthy Eating Every Day can assist everyone who wants to achieve better nutritional habits. – Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD President-elect, American Dietetic Association

This practical book addresses the root causes of unhealthy eating, and gives readers the tools to succeed in eating better. Healthy Eating Every Day is a sensible, step-by-step lifetime plan with research to back up its claims. The book can be used in conjunction with the Healthy Eating Every Day course, which was developed in partnership with The Cooper Institute.

Health, Mind & Body / Families & Parenting

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain by Sue Gerhardt (Brunner-Routledge) explains why love is essential to brain development in the early years of life, and how early interactions between babies and their parents have lasting and serious consequences.

In Why Love Matters Sue Gerhardt explores how the earliest relationship shapes the baby's nervous system. She shows how the development of the brain can affect future emotional well being and looks at specific 'pathways' that affect the way we respond to stress and contribute to conditions such as anorexia, addiction, and anti-social behavior.

Gerhardt’s approach to understanding emotional life is a systemic one. Gerhardt, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice, and co-founder of the Oxford Parent Infant Project, argues that human beings are open systems, permeated by other people as well as by plants and air and water. Both our physiological systems and our mental systems are developed in relationship – and this happens most intensely and leaves it biggest mark in infancy. We live in a social world, in which we depend on complex chains of social interaction to bring food to our table, put clothes on our bodies and a roof over our heads, as well as the cultural interactions we are stimulated by. We cannot survive alone.

But more than that, the human baby is the most socially influenced creature on earth, open to learning what his own emotions are and how to manage them. This means that our earliest experiences as babies have much more relevance to our adult selves than many of us realize. It is as babies that we first feel and learn what to do with our feelings, when we start to organize our experience in a way that will affect our later behaviour and thinking capacities.

Part 1 of Why Love Matters describes the development of the social brain, the part of the brain which learns how to manage feelings in line with other people, as well as the development of a person’s stress response, immune response and neurotransmitter systems which all affect future emotional life. The new human being is being set up with various socially and culturally influenced programs, from physiological set points to emotional expectations and coping mechanisms. When these influences are less than benign, the groundwork is laid for a variety of later social and emotional difficulties. Part 2 of the book looks at the specific early pathways that may lead to conditions such as anorexia, psychosomatic illness, addiction, antisocial behavior, personality disorder, or depression.

A really useful briefing on the new neuroscience and its underpinning of the central tenet of contemporary psychoanalysis: how actual relationships form us and are central to therapeutic endeavors and, even more importantly, how important loving relationships are crucial to our capacity to be human. – Susie Orbach

A wonderful book full of research that connects the nature v. nurture argument, explaining how sensitivity to a baby's needs – and a caring response – can actually affect how a baby's nervous system develops scientifically. I would recommend it to all new parents. – Virginia Ironside

This humane, wise book which makes complexities simple to understand should be read by everyone concerned with the care of children. – Dorothy Rowe, psychologist and writer.

This is essential reading for not only parents, but for those involved in mental health, education, public policy, and indeed anyone interested in the well-being of future generations. – Allan N. Schore, University of California at Los Angeles

Why Love Matters is hugely important. It shoud be mandatory reading for all parents, teachers and politicians. – Rebecca Abrams, The Guardian

Gerhardt concludes: The evidence I have presented in this book makes it imperative, I believe, that we do something. The babies who are born now and in the years to come will be the adults who nurse us in old age, who manage our industry, who entertain us, who live next door. What kind of adults will they be?...Their early start, and the degree to which they felt loved and valued, will surely play an important part in determining that.

Why Love Matters is a lively and accessible interpretation of the latest findings in neuro­science, psychology, psychoanalysis and biochemistry. It is invaluable reading for parents and professionals alike.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-help / Relationships

Saying What's Real: Seven Keys to Better Communication and Relationship Success by Susan Campbell (HJ Kramer Book / New World Library)

Good relationships – especially those with friends, family, lovers – are founded upon good communication. Therein lies the challenge. "It's a challenge because most communication problems stem from attempts to control the end result. The attempts show up as various defense mechanisms and only serve to cause communication breakdown and in some cases break-ups," says Susan Campbell. Good communication is dependent on understanding our own authentic feelings and being able to clearly express them.

Drawing on her years of experience as a relationship coach and a teamwork consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Campbell, in Saying What's Real, shows readers how to drastically improve the quality of their everyday interactions by relying on a simple, straightforward approach to communication and letting go of their need to control the outcome. Practical techniques for dropping one's defenses are offered, as well as a fresh perspective on using intimate relationships as a form of spiritual practice. The key is staying present in the moment. Campbell focuses on seven statements designed to enhance one's capacity for love and trust by bringing their awareness into the spiritual practice of staying in the present moment. Learning to use such phrases as ‘Hearing you say that, I feel...’ and ‘I hear you, and I have a different perspective’ allows readers to clearly express themselves. They show readers how to:

  • bring passion and vitality to their interactions
  • respond authentically to mixed messages and hidden agendas
  • deal effectively with conflict and differences
  • transmit a powerful personal presence
  • clear anger and resentment in a non-blaming, compassionate way
  • keep the mind free of unfinished business and unprocessed feelings
  • express their needs powerfully and without manipulation

During the past twenty-five years we've talked about honest communication in relationships. Whether we are in Beverly Hills or Berlin, the audience always wants to know: Exactly how do you do it? Susan Campbell's new book is a clear guide to the practice of authenticity in your close relationships. We can also testify that she has an additional quality: She practices what she teaches. Buy her new book, Saying What's Real. It will help you and/or your clients in the practice of one of life's most essential skills. – Gay Hendricks, PhD, & Kathlyn Hendricks, PhD, authors of Conscious Loving and founders of the Hendricks Institute

In Saying What's Real, Campbell offers succinct and practical insight on how to transform your communication into a process of relating to others in a direct and positive way. Campbell's advice is as provocative as it is simple: stay present and get real in relationships. By relating more and controlling less, readers will see their communications take on a quality of caring, openness, and authenticity that naturally engenders respect and love from those they're close to.

Health, Mind & Body / Safety

Think Safe: Practical Measures to Increase Security at Home, at Work, and Throughout Life by James M. McGrew (Cameo Publications LLC)

In today's society, predators lurk in unexpected places. From the mugger on the street to the credit card fraudster, a host of dangers awaits the unwary. Think Safe offers a no­nonsense guide to negotiating these traps so that readers don't become ‘easy prey.’

Awareness is the first step in preventing personal attacks, burglaries, workplace violence, and other crimes. James M. McGrew, president and CEO of a full-service investigative and security consulting firm in San Jose, California, shows readers how to:

  • Ensure the safety of their children, before birth, through school, and into college and adulthood, with straightforward advice and prevention strategies.
  • Protect oneself and loved ones against common scams and swindles.
  • Find help and support for such issues as domestic violence, sexual harassment, personal attacks, identity theft, and elder abuse.
  • Identify and act on potentially violent behaviors in employees and coworkers.
  • Assess the security of the home and neighborhood with an industry professional Residential Security Survey.

McGrew’s emphasis is on practical, effective measures to help readers avoid becoming victims and are rooted in scientific study. The book's seven sections each cover a different area of personal security. The first four are devoted to safety tips aimed at specific sectors of society: parents, women, the elderly and workers. The remaining three sections have a more general focus. Section Five is concerned with safeguards against consumer fraud, Section Six with self-defense against physical attack, and Section Seven with protecting property.

Jim has written a comprehensive, well-researched crime prevention manual that is as valuable to the protection professional as it is to the average citizen. – Chief Jeff Wesley, Denham Springs Police Department, Denham Springs, Louisiana

The statistics are frightening, but the advice is solid. This is the resource you need to be safe in uncertain times. – Mark Stivers, Captain, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, Sunnyvale, California

Jim's experience in law enforcement and security makes Think Safe a valuable and practical guide to personal and workplace safety and security. – Broadus Durant (retired), Hospital Security and Transportation Manager

McGrew writes in a lively, approachable style and covers a large amount of ground, but never overwhelms readers. He acknowledges that there are many perils in today's world, but his overall message is upbeat; that all these dangers are preventable. Readers of Think Safe will be more aware, and therefore much safer, than they were before they opened its covers.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Preventing Sexual Violence: How Society Should Cope with Sex Offenders
by John Q. La Fond (The Law and Public Policy Series: American Psychological Association) systematically critiques the current treatment of sex offenders in an effort to determine how best to prevent re-offending without infringing on the rights of citizens.

Sex offenders are America's most hated public enemy – people believe they are lifelong predators who will seek out new victims as long as they live. Media accounts of vicious new sex crimes committed by sex offenders who have been released from prison – often against vulnerable, young children – fan the flames of public rage. As public demands action, politicians have responded, passing new laws designed to prevent sex offenders from committing more sex crimes. While sex crimes and sex offenders are an emotional subject and evoke a wide range of public policy responses, John Q. La Fond says that the proposed solutions have too often not been grounded in hard facts and careful analysis.

Preventing Sexual Violence attempts to separate fact from fiction, and effective responses from futile gestures. It offers the latest data about sex offenders and the novel and powerful legal measures enacted to prevent sexual violence. In recent years, states have initiated programs for sex offenders involving involuntary commitment, mandatory registration, community notification, and even chemical castration. La Fond, Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair in Law, the Constitution, and Society at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, identifies which strategies work, which strategies are based on false assumptions, and which should be modified or abandoned. In addition to recommending ways to improve programs, La Fond focuses on an effective risk management program that could be expanded and reproduced nationwide. In community protection programs that use risk management, offenders receive punishment, monitoring, and control adjusted to their level of risk for reoffending.

Preventing Sexual Violence covers a broad range of issues, including state-of-the-art research on sex offenders, sex crimes, and victims; cutting-edge constitutional analysis of new laws; and intensive public policy evaluation.

Preventing Sexual Violence is a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the issues related to the problem of sexual abuse in our society. In addition to providing informative answers to a wide range of questions about sexual abuse and sexual offenders, La Fond offers innovative policy recommendations that will be of interest to all those concerned about the problem of sexual violence. Students and professionals in the areas of psychology, psychiatry, corrections, public policy, and the law will find this book to be an invaluable resource. – Anita Schlank, Human Development Center, Duluth, MN; Past President, Minnesota Chapter, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

This highly readable book debunks numerous myths surrounding sex offending and offers constructive recommendations for response based on research, not rhetoric. For criminal justice professionals, victim advocates, and state and local leaders who care about public safety, this volume offers straightforward information about a complex subject and practical guidance about effective strategies for reducing future victimization. – Laurie O. Robinson, Director, Criminology Master's Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; former Assistant Attorney General of the United States

La Fond has written a wide-ranging book that is at once thoughtful and thought provoking. Part a compendium of hard psychological facts and part a display of cogent legal analysis, Preventing Sexual Violence is a bravura accomplishment: a work of mature scholarship that is genuinely indispensable for designing sound public policy. – John Monahan, Doherty Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Preventing Sexual Violence examines what we know – and what we do not know – about sex offenders, victims, and sex crimes. It attempts to determine whether the current wisdom on which these new laws are based is accurate. The book examines the new weapons we are using to fight sex offenders and then discuss what we should – and should not – do to win this war.

Preventing Sexual Violence provides criminal justice professionals, clinicians working with sexually violent offenders, and policymakers with a clear and realistic plan for humanely coping with sex offenders and reducing further sexual violence. Readers will find this book stimulating, thoughtful, and helpful; it will prove a useful resource for anyone interested in preventing sex crimes. Lawmakers and policymakers will find hard facts and analysis that are indispensable in designing sound public policy and passing effective crime-prevention measures. Mental health experts, who are increasingly called on to diagnose and treat sex offenders, to conduct risk assessments in individual cases, and to contribute in this important public policy arena will find this book of immense value. Judges and lawyers as well as law enforcement personnel, including prosecutors, police, and probation and parole officers, should read this book to understand both the constitutional and the forensic issues generated by these new laws.

Academics, researchers, and students interested in how the law should respond to sexual violence will find this book the most up-to-date and complete summary of what we know about sex offending and how the law has responded. Parents, school officials, and others will find this book invaluable in helping them protect our children from sex offenders. In summary, anyone interested in this difficult and complex subject will learn a great deal from Preventing Sexual Violence. It is a clarion call to fight sexual violence as effectively as possible, using strategies that are based on sound information.

Health, Mind & Body / Diet / Reference

Vitamins: Their Role in the Human Body by G. F. M. Ball (Blackwell Publishing)

This single-source reference draws together the current knowledge of the vitamins’ biological properties in the context of human nutrition. Vitamins are co-enzymes, antioxidants or precursors of hormones and are therefore involved in a great many biochemical and physiological processes. They play a vital role in the maintenance of health, and there is evidence that dietary sources of vitamins have beneficial effects in the prevention of heart-related diseases, bone diseases and possibly cancer.

In Vitamins, well-known author George Ball examines the role of vitamins in the human body. Further, Ball, expert consultant on vitamins and their influence on the human body, explains what actually happens to the vitamins once they have been ingested. In this comprehensive text nutritional, biochemical, and physiological processes relevant to the biological action of vitamins is explained. Individual chapters cover each major vitamin and vitamin group. A glossary of terms and extensive index also are included.

Contents include:

  • Historical events leading to the establishment of vitamins           
  • Nutritional and biochemical aspects of vitamins           
  • Some physiological processes relevant to the biological action of vitamins
  • Vitamin A: retinoids and carotenoids
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • Flavins: riboflavin
  • FMN and FAD (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6

The latest up-to-date information on vitamins and their affect on the human body appear together for the first time in Vitamins. Nutritionists, physiologists, biochemists, medical schools, research facilities and commercial organizations dealing in vitamins and nutrition will all benefit from this text. Vitamins could also be used as a reference text for upper level students in nutrition, physiology, biochemistry, and related areas. Food scientists, food technologists and many others working in the health professions will also find much of use and interest in the book. This book is a must-have for any scientist working in the field of vitamins and nutrition. It works as an invaluable reference and teaching tool. The inclusion of the theoretical principles in the background chapters makes the book an ideal starting point for those working outside the area who need a solid overview of the subject.

History / Americas / Development

Negotiating Caribbean Freedom: Peasants and the State in Development by Michaeline A. Crichlow (Caribbean Studies Series: Lexington Books) examines how development programs in Jamaica lock the state and rural smallholders into a relationship that fulfills the agendas of both constituents.

The book shows how development policies end up bureaucratizing agrarian relations. Michaeline A. Crichlow extends the contemporary critique of development projects by examining the political and discursive relationships of the state to the land-based working people, or ‘smallholders,’ in modern Jamaica. The first book of its kind, Negotiating Caribbean Freedom does for Jamaican historiography and sociology what Akhil Gupta's Postcolonial Developments did for studies of India. Crichlow, Associate Professor of Historical Sociology, African American World Studies and Director of the Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies Program, University of Iowa, gives a nuanced discussion of how development dominates the lives of the subsistence peasantry, not through force, but through the instrumentalization of social relationships that were once ends in themselves. For example, what were once effective agricultural practices embedded in the everyday lives of subsistence farmers all over the island, have, in the interest of serving international capital, been bureaucratized to the point that they are unable to support the livelihoods of smallholders.

Crichlow takes an intellectual historical tour of the world of the small agricultural producer in Jamaica and the perspective she adopts is located somewhere between the dependency theorist and the postmodern critic. Not content to measure the success or failure of development to deliver on its promises, she discloses both the continuities and differences between development projects of very different political regimes and helps to establish why smallholders support development projects even when those projects fail to address their needs.

The result of her effort is a sophisticated, multi-layered sociological study of the restructuring of state and class relations in changing national and international contexts. This is a very productive approach which anchors recent critical perspective in concrete situations to reformulate the problem of development. – Dale Tomich, author of Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World Economy, 1830-1848

In Negotiating Caribbean Freedom Crichlow puts her finger on all the relevant buttons concerning the role of the peasantry and the state in the development process. While she does not press all the buttons with the same force, she nevertheless calls readers’ attention to the most salient issues. Her aim is to analyze the complex relationship between the state and non-state sectors, and how the formulation of development policies in agriculture reflected the eco­nomic interests of those elites who controlled the postcolonial state apparatus. In this she succeeds provocatively. The book will be of interest to those in Caribbean history, sociology, and development policy as well as environmental studies.

History / Europe

From Rogue to Everyman: A Foundling's Journey to the Bastille by Laurence L. Bongie (McGill-Queen’s University Press) offers a compelling view of the progress of a literary rogue through the low-life street scenes of eighteenth-century Paris.

From Rogue to Everyman is the historical portrait of Charles de Julie, a foundling, an archetypal rogue, as seen through street scenes of eighteenth-century Paris.

Julie knew intimately the sights, sounds, and smells of the French capital, its Opera and playhouses, law courts, narrow dirty streets, hackney coaches, great houses, low taverns, and splendid public gardens. Working first as an informer and later as a police officer, he came to know only too well the activities of the capital's rakes, thieves, loan sharks, pickpockets, confidence men, blackmailers, crooked gamblers, and rowdy bullying soldiers, not to mention its twenty or thirty thousand prostitutes – all closely watched by as many as three thousand government spies and the eighteenth-century world's most invasive police network. Julie established close contacts with a number of the capital's leading ‘maquerelles’ as well as their distinguished clients, and his underground news sheets, lifted mainly from secret vice squad reports, provided a restricted circle of wealthy subscribers with racy accounts of the town's sexual dalliances. His story ends in the dreaded Bastille. Extensive quotations from Julie's writings trace the moral itinerary of a clever, manipulating, spirited liar, thief, and libertine.

Laurence L. Bongie, professor emeritus of French, University of British Columbia, chronicles Julie’s colorful life in a richly woven tapestry of Ancien Régime social history. Extensive quotations from Julie’s writings and letters written while in prison trace the moral itinerary of a clever, manipulative rogue, a spirited liar and thief, and a libertine.

An important contribution to its field [from] one of the foremost specialists in his field. – Benoit Melangon, Departement d'etudes françaises, Universite de Montreal

The culmination of extensive research ... [and] his relentless passion for uncovering new, undiscovered sources. The originality of the book's subject, and the uniqueness of its protagonists, are at the center of the book's appeal. – Frangois Moureau, Litterature française du XVIIIe siecle, Paris-Sorbonne

From Rogue to Everyman brings a first-class rogue to life, revealing the richly woven tapestry of Ancien Régime social history of material life in eighteenth-century Paris. What we see is a ground-level perspective of everyday life in city of wit and learning where wealth and luxury were juxtaposed with the most squalid and degrading varieties of human poverty, disease, and crime.

History / Europe

The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans (Penguin Books)

From one of the world's most distinguished historians, The Coming of the Third Reich provides a new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany.
Nothing has undermined our faith in the durability of democratic institutions more than the collapse of civilization in Germany in the 1930s. In 1900 Germany was the most progressive and dynamic nation in Europe, the only country whose rapid technological and social growth and change challenged that of the United States. Its political culture was less authoritarian than Russia's and less anti-Semitic than France's; representative institutions were thriving, and competing political parties and elections were a central part of life. How can we explain the fact that in little more than a generation this stable modern country would be in the hands of a violent, racist, extremist political movement that would lead all of Europe into utter moral, physical, and cultural ruin?

Drawing on a vast body of scholarly work and his own important new research, Richard Evans – one of the most prolific scholars of German history, Professor of Modern History at Cambridge – applies his considerable energies to this task, investigating how in little more than a generation the relatively stable, progressive political culture of Germany was delivered into the hands of a brutal tyranny.

Impressive in its command of an immense literature, perceptive in analysis, fluent in style and literate in judgment, this work could only have been produced by a master historian. When complete, Richard Evans's three-volume history of the Third Reich will offer the most comprehensive history in any language of this disastrous epoch. – Sir Ian Kershaw

An enormous work of synthesis – knowledgeable and reliable, and playing to the author's strengths as it highlights the interconnections between politics and society. – Mark Mazower, New York Times Book Review

Brilliant. – Richard Cohen, The Washington Post

A masterly and most illuminating interpretation of its subject which makes one look forward eagerly to the volumes to come. – Times Literary Supplement

A peerless work... of immense importance [for] readers seeking to understand the origins of the Nazi regime.... A brilliant synthesis of German history, enumerating and elucidating the social, political, and cultural trends that made the rise of Nazism possible. – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with his own new research, Evans's history restores drama and contingency to Hitler's rise to power, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The first book of what will ultimately be a complete three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian's art and the book by which all others on this subject will be judged. This gripping, highly readable and comprehensive account is awesome in both its reach and its emotional impact.

History / Americas / Biographies & Memoirs

Boss Tweed: The Life and Legacy of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York by Kenneth D. Ackerman (Carroll & Graf) is a revisionist look at the infamous New York political boss  who gave his name to corruption.

Among the monumental characters who ascended to renown and influence in the history of American politics, few are more fascinating than Boss Tweed; and few working historians could record in more vivid detail his astonishing career than Kenneth D. Ackerman, who in his two previous books has established himself as an investigative historian of the first order. This new work, Boss Tweed, is a biography of the legendary figure who ‘bribed the state legislature, fixed elections, skimmed money from city contractors, and diverted public funds on a massive scale.’

During his reign at Tammany Hall and then in a variety of elected posts, including as state senator, Tweed wielded almost total control over New York State and City politics. He controlled judges, mayors, governors, and newspapers, all the while playing friend to the poor, champion of immigrants, builder of a greater New York, and arbiter of influence and patronage. Finally, his unparalleled zealotry and remorseless disregard for the law led to his imprisonment. Yet, as Ackerman, who served for more than twenty-five years in senior posts on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch, currently practicing law in Washington, D.C., shows, Tweed's positive political contributions have been largely overlooked.

Forty-six historic photographs are also featured and scattered throughout Boss Tweed.

This story of William Marcy Tweed, the master manipulator who tried to make all of New York the instrument of his own ruthless ambitions, and succeeded, for a time, will interest even the most jaded. Accessible, even captivating, Boss Tweed offers a first-of-its-kind account of Tweed's enormous contributions in providing improved services and a better quality of life for the unlettered immigrant masses of New York.

History / Europe / Biographies & Memoirs

The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, revised edition [UNABRIDGED] edited by Antonia Fraser, read by Wanda McCaddon, 10 CDs, total running time: 12 hours, 14 minutes (The Audio Partners Publishing Group)

The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, revised edition, edited by Antonia Fraser (University of California Press)

Since 1066, that most famous date in English history, forty people from ten dynasties have sat on the throne of England. In The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England are gathered lively biographies of each incumbent, which examine not only their personalities but also their contexts, illustrated with family trees, a range of contemporary and historical images, and essays on the heraldic devices of the different monarchs.
The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England surveys the epic saga of England's monarchs from the invading Normans to the House of Windsor today. Edited by noted historian and internationally acclaimed writer Antonia Fraser, the book features eight contributors, including Neville Williams for the Tudors and Andrew Roberts for the Windsors, exploring the complex characters of many royal figures, including Victoria and the enigmatic Richard III.

At last, one learns why Henry IV was Henry Bolingbroke and his son Henry V was Henry Monmouth (after the castles where they were born), who exactly Lady Jane Grey was, and why a line of German princes ended up on the English throne. McCaddon's initially harsh, schoolmarmish tone turns out to wear well, bringing vigor and continuity to what easily might have been a numbing chronology of names and centuries. In her commanding voice this unsurpassable listening experience stirs both mind and imagination. – AudioFile

This fascinating and mesmerizing chronology is filled with colorful characters and startling reversals. The audio version of The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England is vividly narrated by stage and screen veteran Wanda McCaddon, becoming a glittering celebration of almost 1,000 years of English history, told through the lives and deeds of England's kings and queens.

History / Women’s Studies

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence by Carol Berkin (Alfred A. Knopf)

The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American, and Carol Berkin shows us that women played a vital role throughout the struggle.
In Revolutionary Mothers Berkin, professor of American history at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, takes readers into the ordinary moments of extraordinary lives. We see women boycotting British goods in the years before independence, writing propaganda that radicalized their neighbors, raising funds for the army, and helping finance the fledgling government. We see how they managed farms, plantations, and businesses while their men went into battle, and how they served as nurses and cooks in the army camps, risked their lives seeking personal freedom from slavery, and served as spies, saboteurs, and warriors.
Berkin introduces readers to sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington, who sped through the night to rouse the militiamen needed to defend Danbury, Connecticut; to Phillis Wheatley, literary prodigy and Boston slave, who voiced the hopes of African Americans in poems; to Margaret Corbin, crippled for life when she took her husband’s place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth; to the women who gathered firewood, cooked, cleaned for the troops, nursed the wounded, and risked their lives carrying intelligence and participating in reconnaissance missions. Here, too, are Abigail Adams, Deborah Franklin, Lucy Knox, and Martha Washington, who lived with the daily knowledge that their husbands would be hanged as traitors if the revolution did not succeed.

Carol Berkin has merged the craft of the skilled historian and the sensitivity of a master storyteller with her sensibilities as a pioneering scholar of women to produce the best narrative of how women of diverse backgrounds experienced the American Revolution – Edith B. Gelles, author of Portia: The World of Abigail Adams

Revolutionary Mothers is vintage Carol Berkin: incisive, thoughtful and spiced with vivid anecdotes that add another dimension to the narrative. Don’t miss it. – Thomas Fleming, author of Liberty! The American Revolution

Revolutionary Mothers is a treat to read. Not only is Carol Berkin a skillful writer, but she has placed women squarely at the center of the independence movement. By showing the different roles women played, she move the battlefield to wherever women were forced to make choices and employ their talents. Elite, poor, European, Native American, and African American women collide in Berkin’s book, as do the rebels and loyalists who were once friends and neighbors. A valuable and readable book – Elaine Crane, author of Ebb Title in New England: Women, Seaports, and Social Change, 1030-1800

Revolutionary Mothers is a recapturing of the experiences of ordinary women who lived in extraordinary times, and a fascinating addition to our understanding of the birth of the nation.

Home & Garden / Sustainable Agriculture

Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre, and Peace on Earth by Anna Edey (Trailblazer Press) is about one woman's vision and commitment to learning to live sustainably and responsibly.

I had a dream of learning to live in harmony with life on Earth, in ways that cause far less harm to our water, soil and air, to our health, economy and security. I wanted to live in ways that help protect the environment and resources for many future generations.... This book is about what I discovered and what the implications are for individuals, communities and nations around the world. – Anna Edey, from the book

Since making her choice in 1976 Anna Edey has made one astonishing discovery after another, which she has been developing under the name Solviva Solar-Dynamic, Bio-Benign Design. The results of her experiments and methods, reported in Solviva, have consistently exceeded her hopes and expectations.

Solviva describes the trials and triumphs of Edey’s journey, and offers, as she says, proof that we can, with today's technology and knowledge, live in ways that reduce pollution and depletion of resources by 50 percent or more, and at the same time reduce the cost of living and improve the security and quality of life, in urban and rural locations anywhere. The book covers wastewater management, food production, electricity, transportation, solid waste management, and construction and maintenance of greenhouse and farm. The book contains 155 color illustrations, and many detailed instructions and recommendations to help others along their own journeys toward living sustainably. There is also a list of recommended resources.

Greenhouse Gold. – Organic Gardening Magazine

The beauty of Anna Edey’s work opens up people’s hearts and minds to many alternative which they had not previously considered or even imagined possible. – Robert Sardinsky, Rising Sun Enterprises

Solviva fascinates people because it is both ecologically and economically efficient. This combination renders pointless the traditional battle pitting economic development against ecological preservation. Solviva is a revolutionary project because it dissolves the traditional categories we use to evaluate industry. – Andrew Rodwin

Solviva is an exciting book packed with surprises, constantly overturning traditional wisdom. For example, who knew that rabbits like to live in community? Who knew that tomatoes grow indoors for four or more years, producing constantly? The book is for those who want to learn more about a renewable, sustainable lifestyle. It is the ultimate book of hope for our future survivability as a species, and it should increase public awareness and inspire many as to what it is possible to accomplish with today’s technology.

Home & Garden / Remodeling & Renovation

Miller's Guide to Home Remodeling by Mark R. Miller, Rex Miller & Glenn E. Baker (McGraw-Hill Professional) is a complete how-to guide covers the gamut of home remodeling projects, from alterations to existing spaces, to additions, to building new, freestanding structures.

Experts Mark Miller, Rex Miller, and Glenn Baker, teachers of construction, management and technical skills at the university level, with a proven record in easy-to-follow construction guides, show readers how to tackle any wiring, remodeling, or plumbing project. Organized according to the actual stages of construction, Miller's Guide to Home Remodeling details what readers need to know to successfully plan, manage, and complete a job.

The book covers converting existing space, adding space, and creating new structures. It also covers in depth minor repairs such as painting on old surfaces, putting in paneling, installing new countertops, and replacing gutters. Readers will also find detailed help with tasks such as furniture refinishing and creating special effects with paint. Whether readers are do-it-yourselfers, building professionals, or contractors, they will find that Miller's Guide to Home Remodeling has what it takes to make projects go smoothly. The book offers:

  • An inside-out guide to home remodeling so clear and complete it enables readers to solve problems unique to each home
  • Expert guidance on the latest tools, materials, and safety techniques
  • Confidence-building guidance on meeting building code and permitting requirements, with full details on current building codes
  • Illustrations that show every stage of every job
  • Comprehensive help with planning, managing, and finishing every remodeling job, of any size

Clear directions, heavily illustrated with 375 photographs and illustrations, help readers with each stage of every job. Written by the authors of McGraw-Hill's popular Carpentry & Construction, Miller's Guide to Home Remodeling is great for do-it-yourselfers, weekend repairmen and home owners, as well as seasoned pros who want to stay on top of the latest methods, materials, equipment and code requirements. There's no better place to get instruction in home remodeling techniques.

Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Civil War / Reference

Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia: Arms, Uniforms and Equipment of the Union and Confederacy by Francis A. Lord (Dover Publications) is a comprehensive reference identifying hundreds of wartime items used by northern and southern troops.

Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia, by noted authority Francis A. Lord is a republication of the work originally published by the Stackpole Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1963.

For years the bible of Civil War collectibles, Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia comprehensively covers virtually everything interested readers would want to know about Civil War arms, uniforms, and equipment. Useful for identifying and describing the use of more than 800 items, the text contains material that is grouped topically and arranged alphabetically.

Subjects range from artillery accouterments, heavy cannon boats, and bridge materials, to whips, water buck­ets, and writing equipment, a charcoal water filter, brass name stencils (to label personal belongings), eating utensils, medical supplies, and an enormous variety of weapons. Material is cross-referenced for quick location of individual entries. Over 350 rare photographs and drawings – many from the author's own collection – depict a vast array of articles, among them gilt eagle spurs, curry combs, sleeve insignias of rank, identification disks, digging tools, knapsacks, eating utensils, inkwells, lanterns and other lighting paraphernalia, medical supplies, patriotic sheet music, homemade playing cards, shaving equipment, and weapons – including pistols, revolvers, rifles, lead knuckles, machine guns, cannon, swords, mines, and torpedoes. Material is cross-referenced for quick location of individual entries.

A must-have book for museum curators, dealers, and collectors, Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia is a reference that will be equally treasured by writers, teachers, artists, students, and re-enactors. Invaluable to anyone requiring accurate data on the Civil War period, this comprehensive, profusely illustrated guide is indispensable for identifying and describing the use of hundreds of wartime articles.

Home & Garden / Gardening & Horticulture

A Gardener's Guide to Annuals and Perennials by Richard Bird (Lorenz Books) provides gardeners of all levels of experience with everything they need to know about planting, choosing and caring for annuals and perennials.

From the smallest window box to a suburban garden, a townhouse patio or a large-scale structured design – there is no garden type that will not benefit from the wonderful choice of annual and perennial plants currently available. Annuals are often best-valued for the bursts of color that they bring to a garden, and perennials for the sculptural shapes and textures of their foliage.

A Gardener's Guide to Annuals and Perennials shows readers how to combine these two plant types to create stunning displays. The first section of the book provides a grounding in the creative and practical aspects of working with annuals and perennials. Formal arrangements, wild flower plantings, shady or damp spots and family gardens are included, as are gardens where fragrance or color is the desired keynote. Essential basics such as preparing the soil, taking cuttings, watering and feeding, gardening organically, sowing seed and dealing with pests and diseases are explained with step-by-step photographs.

Next comes the book's core: an extensive directory of annuals and another of perennials. Here are facts and figures for hundreds of plants with photographs. Author Richard Bird, full-time writer/gardener, offers expert advice on propagating and cultivating each plant type, using specific plants to best effect and knowing which varieties to look out for.

No matter how modest or grand their outdoor spaces, readers cannot fail to be inspired by A Gardener's Guide to Annuals and Perennials. It is the ideal comprehensive sourcebook for both the average gardener and the gardener with more ambitious schemes in mind. Both an invaluable visual sourcebook of hundreds of annuals and perennials and a practical guide to growing these plants successfully, the book provides comprehensive directories with all the relevant facts and figures and other essential information on a vast selection of varied plants. There are more than 1,000 color photographs which make plant identification simple and techniques easy to follow.

Home & Garden / Landscaping

New Front and Backyard Idea Book Collection (2 books) by Jeni Webber & Lee Anne White (Taunton's Idea Book Series: The Taunton Press)

The New Front and Backyard Idea Book Collection combines two books that together offer innovative ideas for transforming every part of one's yard into personal and livable space.

Jeni Webber's popular Front Yard Idea Book is filled with practical ideas for creating that all-important first impression, starting with an inviting entry. Webber, residential landscape architect and garden designer, offers insights into the role a front yard plays for a home and more than two dozen plans for all types of homes and settings, and every shape and size lot. The Front Yard Idea Book includes ideas lighting for mood and safety to designing the right foundation plantings. Dozens of site plans and creative solutions to common landscaping problems make this an invaluable hands-on guide that puts curb appeal within reach of every home.

Lee Anne White's Backyard Idea Book literally takes up the rear, moving readers from the prosaic lawns, swing sets, and dog pens to a more imaginative space for communal gathering, a showcase for intriguing decks and patios, and on to fully furnished outdoor rooms with floors, walls, and ceilings. White, landscape designer, garden photographer and writer, includes hundreds of ideas for expanding the possibilities of a space too often taken for granted.

An excellent introduction to a much-neglected aspect of American garden design. – Michael Weishan, Host, PBS The Victory Garden

Fabulous. It works like a reference manual for homeowners and professionals alike. – Lynette Jennings, creator and host of Lynette Jennings Design

From porches, patios, and decks to pools and retreats to kids' spaces and storage, New Front and Backyard Idea Book Collection is filled with fresh ideas to help readers create beautiful front and backyards that reflect and enhances their lifestyles. With a total of more than 6oo photographs from today's leading landscape designers and landscape architects, these two books will help readers transform their entire yards into inviting, functional outdoor living spaces. From an urban patio garden to an outdoor spa, an inviting entry to a great kids' play space, these books include ideas for every size and style of home.

Home & Garden

The Art of the Islamic Garden by Emma Clark (The Crowood Press) is an introduction to the design, symbolism and making of an Islamic garden.

Islamic gardens are enchanting places. Just the names of some of the most beautiful gardens in the world – the Alhambra, the Generalife, the Shalimar – conjure up images of calm and even divine beauty. The Islamic garden is regarded as one of the highest forms of visual art in the civilization of Islam. It reflects the fundamental principle that this world is a reflection of a Heavenly realm.

The Art of the Islamic Garden examines that magic, describes the component parts and explains the design and symbolism to allow a deeper understanding of their beauty.

The principal elements of all Islamic gardens are water and shade since, historically, they have been designed and planted as a haven from the sun. They have also been characterized by the chahar-bagh, the four-fold garden constructed around a central pool or fountain with four streams flowing from it toward the four corners of the earth. Aesthetically, this design provides a striking feature in itself; however, a true appreciation of an Islamic garden is only complete with some understanding of the spiritual symbolism that is manifested in the design together with the planting.

The author of The Art of the Islamic Garden, garden designer Emma Clark, who has taught the principles of traditional Islamic art and architecture for some ten years at the Prince's Foundation, explains the integral role of Islamic art to the garden. As an English Muslim, she combines her spiritual understanding of the garden with her love of the English gardening tradition, and puts this unusual combination to practical use.

This case study, with details of the planting plan and changing plant selection, the fountain and the garden's maintenance, gives the practical steps of designing and caring for a modern-day Islamic garden in a cooler climate. The significance of design and layout of the garden explained, as well as geometry, landscaping and architectural elements. The book provides both an intellectual guide to the symbolism of the Islamic garden and a practical guide to its components, with recommendations for suitable trees, shrubs, and flowers.

A separate chapter of the book is devoted to HRH The Prince of Wales' Carpet Garden at Highgrove. It traces the project from the initial idea inspired by two of the Prince's carpets to completion at the Chelsea Flower Show and finally the transfer to Highgrove.

Providing unique insight, The Art of the Islamic Garden is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the design, symbolism, and creation of an Islamic garden, featuring 200 color photos.

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

Karl Shapiro: Selected Poems edited by John Updike (American Poets Project Series: The Library of America)

He aimed to be what the Germans called a Dinge Dichter, a thing poet…. His feet planted on the substantive, he could be modest and casual but also bold, with the boldness of truth personally verified. Though best remembered, still, as the poet in khaki, Shapiro’s long peacetime life was devoted to the modernist battle, a fight for the specific and honestly felt, a rescue of language from poetic conventions, easy assumptions… – John Updike, from the introduction

Karl Shapiro was an exuberant force in American poetry for more than half a century. Born in Baltimore in 1913, Shapiro attended the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University, graduated in 1939, and served in the army for the duration of World War II. Shapiro's poetry began to be published during the war; while stationed in New Guinea, he would send poems home to his fiancée, who then had them printed. Shapiro became a member of the English faculty at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he was the editor of Prairie Schooner from 1956-1966. There he solicited and published many important twentieth-century poets. Shapiro's fame broke important ground for Jewish-American poets: in 1948 he opposed the Bollingen Prize committee's decision to grant an award to Ezra Pound, on the grounds of Pound's rampant anti-Semitism and in 1950 he published Poems of a Jew. He was awarded a Levison Prize, the Contemporary Poetry Prize in 1943, an Academy of Arts and Letters Grant in 1944, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Prize. He also served as Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress, a position which is now the U.S. Poet Laureate. Shapiro died in New York City on May 14, 2000.

Here in Karl Shapiro are Shapiro's essential poems: lyrical, iconoclastic, often bitingly funny. This collection, selected and introduced by John Updike, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and critic, reveals Shapiro as one of the enduring voices of his generation. Included are works drawn from more than a dozen of Shapiro's published volumes: early poems like "Drug Store" and "Buick," which revel in the ordinary life of his native Baltimore; selections from Essay on Rime, his tour de force on the craft of poetry; the dignified and moving lyrics, written near the front lines in New Guinea, of V-Letter and Other Poems, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944; candid late musings on subjects like Kleenex, New York City, and Creative Writing.

Karl Shapiro was the author of numerous beautifully made poems written in an everyday American idiom, and of provocative and bold criticisms of America’s culture, especially its ruling poetry establishment. Above all, he was a man who believed in the uniqueness of being American and strove to understand its meaning through his work.

In Karl Shapiro, master literary craftsman Updike provides a long-overdue reassessment of Shapiro, one of the defining figures of the postwar period. With this eye-opening new collection, Shapiro is restored to his place as one of his generation's freshest and most compelling voices.

Literature & Fiction / Historical

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel (Alfred A. Knopf)

Acclaimed Japanese novelist Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1997, among others), a true original, a fearless writer, who has been translated into thirty-four languages, navigates the surreal world in this tale of two troubled souls whose lives are entwined by fate.

A tour de force of metaphysical reality, Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle – yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.

Murakami is a genius. – Chicago Tribune

Not just a great Japanese writer but a great writer, period. – Los Angeles Times Book Review

In a dance with the delights of Murakami's imag­ination we experience the limitless possibilities of fiction. – The Times (London)

With Kafka on the Shore, Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, acclaimed both in the U.S. and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement. This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze and bewitch readers. A literary high-wire act, extravagant in its accomplishment, the book displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the height of his powers.

Literature & Fiction / Women’s Fiction

The Great Indoors: A Novel by Sabine Durrant (Riverhead Books)

British journalist Sabine Durrant has written a second intelligent novel, The Great Indoors, this one about what happens when the messiness of life intrudes on a woman's perfectly ordered existence.
Martha Bone doesn't have children; she has furniture. She doesn't have a husband; she has her shop – Martha Bone Antiques, in a fashionable London suburb. Her married sisters can meddle all they want; that’s just the way she likes it. Though Martha, approaching forty, loves her niece and nephews, children don't fit into her world. Their grubby fingers and muddy shoes don't go well with her cream-colored sofa.
Two years ago, Martha Bone made a Big Mistake. She broke off her engagement to the perfect man because the list of pluses in his favor became overwhelming. At least she thinks that was the reason. At this point, she can't be certain why she left David and the apartment waiting for her in Geneva. And she can't quite decide if it was the worst – or the best – decision of her life.
When Martha's stepfather passes away, a small misunderstanding sets into motion a surprising chain of events. First her sisters guilt-trip her into allowing her father’s cat to stay in her flat. Then the cat brings a man, and then the man brings his children. A garbage bag full of old letters takes up residence under her kitchen table and entices her to dig into a past of lost loves. And then, for the first time, things in Martha's life get messy.

Is a sense of security worth giving up all spontaneity, or can a little risk lead to true happiness? This conflict will hit close to home for many readers, and Durrant avoids the pitfalls of chick lit by creating multidimensional characters that question their life and surroundings. Their relationships seem real, and the dialogue goes beyond a string of witty one liners. This well-written, intelligent book will satisfy readers hungry for romance with more substance. – Booklist 

...A gracious study of the conflicted heart of the modern woman. – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Humorous and sensitive... [Durrant] effortlessly evokes the bittersweet complications of sibling relationships and the rough and tumble of family life. A wane, intelligent read filled with interesting, rounded characters. – Time Out London

Fresh, thoughtful, and beautifully observed. – The Sunday Times (UK)

A novel about family, love, independence, and regret, The Great Indoors is the perfect antidote to a wintry weekend. Durrant tenderly explores the evolution of Martha's relationships with the people who influence her choices, and offers intimate portraits of the people who love her so much that they can't stop nagging her. With its realistic characters and understated tone, The Great Indoors is an elegant alternative to the typical ‘chick-lit’ novel.

Literature & Fiction / Historical

7,000 Clams: A Novel by Lee Irby (Doubleday)

In his debut novel, 7,000 Clams, college history professor Lee Irby takes his place at Elmore Leonard's table – and takes readers back to the roaring 20s: a time when crime was high, cities were expanding and women were as unpredictable as the stock market.

Frank Hearn is a down-on-his-luck bootlegger and bruiser, looking for the big score in the heart of the Roaring Twenties. When he loses a shipment of top-quality booze to a double-crossing government thief, Frank hunts him down, roughs him up, and finds something that catches his eye. What at first appears to be a scrap of paper is actually a handwritten and unmistakably authentic IOU for $7,000, signed by Babe Ruth.
Seven-thousand clams is a lot of money – and when Frank gets a tip that the Yankees are about to begin spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida, he wastes no time leaving New Jersey to track down the Babe. Frank thinks he's covered his bases: Along for the ride is a dangerous and curvy blonde named Ginger DeMore. She’s smart, she packs a snub-nose pistol in her purse, and she’s a great accomplice to help convince the Babe to cough up the dough. It seems like the perfect plan, but Frank and Ginger aren’t the only ones seeking their fortunes in Florida. 1920s St. Pete is a veritable nest of vipers. Hustlers, gamblers, Yankee fans, and even a sociopath are lurking in the booming burg – not to mention a team of gangsters sent by a prominent Chicago mobster named Al Capone, who’s instructed his boys to scour the town for a curvy dame by the name of Ginger DeMore.

Back up north, a rich and beautiful co-ed by the name of Irene Howard is also on the hunt for something valuable. She and Frank shared a steamy summer romance on the Jersey Shore that she is determined to rekindle. When she leaves school mid-semester in search of Frank only to learn that he has moved to California with another woman, she nearly breaks down. Lucky for her, she is forced by her mother and family doctor to recuperate in the best facility in the country which also happens to be in sunny St. Petersburg.

I always wondered what it would be like to spend spring training with Babe Ruth in St. Petersburg during his heyday with the New York Yankees. Not only does Lee Irby let you do that with great style, he takes you on a humdinger of an adventure filled with Prohibition mobsters, beautiful dolls, and a vicious psychopath from New Jersey. When I closed the book, I was sorry to have had to leave those characters behind. – Peter Golenbock, author of Dynasty and The Bronx Zoo
7,000 Clams hits the jackpot – the story is rambunctious and entertaining and takes hold of you from the first paragraph, the writing is top-shelf, and the details, from white bucks to bathtub gin, are dead-on. Intricate, evocative, gritty and imaginative, this is, simply put, what good literature is all about. Kudos to Lee Irby for a job well done. – Martin Clark, author of The Many Aspects Of Mobile Home Living

In this taut Roaring Twenties crime novel, filled with colorful characters both real and imagined, Irby takes readers straight into the heart of the era, bringing to life the sizzling style – from the slang and the fashions to the smell of bathtub gin. 7,000 Clams is an enormously entertaining tale and a superb fiction debut.

Literature & Fiction / Jewish

The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature edited and with an introduction by Ilan Stavans (Schocken Books) is a never-before collected anthology of fiction, memoirs, essays, and poetry.

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 gave rise to a series of rich, diverse diasporas that were interconnected through a common vision and joie de vivre. The exodus took these Sephardim (occidental branch of European Jews settling in Spain and Portugal) to other European countries; to North Africa, Asia Minor, and South America – eventually, to the American colonies. In each community new literary and artistic forms grew out of the melding of their Judeo-Spanish legacy with the cultures of their host countries, and that process has continued to the present day. This multilingual tradition brought with it both opportunities and challenges that will resonate within any contemporary culture: the status of minorities within the larger society; the tension between a civil, democratic tradition and the anti-Semitism ready to undermine it; and the opposing forces of religion and secularism.

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, has been described by The Washington Post as ‘Latin America's liveliest and boldest critic and most innovative cultural enthusiast.’ And the Forward calls him ‘a maverick intellectual whose canonical work has already produced a whole array of marvels that are redefining Jewishness.’ This new anthology, The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature, contains fiction, memoirs, essays, and poetry from twenty-eight writers who span more than 150 years. Included are Emma Lazarus's legendary poem The New Colossus, inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; the hypnotizing prose of Greece-born, Switzerland-based Albert Cohen; Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti's ruminations on Europe before World War II; Albert Memmi's identity quest as an Arab Jew in France; Primo Levi's testimony on the Holocaust; and A. B. Yehoshua's epic stories set in Israel today.

If in approaching so vast and amorphous a bookshelf one should dare to venture any generalization, it is that the Sephardic cultural sensibility is in a perennial state of fluidity, continually redefining itself. Its purview spans the world. Nothing is foreign to it: as one door closes, another one opens. The ever-present clash between the local and the universal, between the private and the public, is resolved in different ways, depending on the particular historical circumstance. In the end, though, it is obvious that what matters is the journey itself, the quest and not its ultimate destination. Sephardic authors explore that quest through words in a Babel of tongues. Their watchwords are to be found in Psalms 106:35: They mingled among the nations and learned their ways. – from the Introduction

An exceptional collection of writing, The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature is also an important addition to Jewish literary history. When read together, these explorations offer an astonishingly incisive collective portrait of the "other Jews," Sephardim who long for la España perdida, their lost ancestral home, even as they create a vibrant, multi­faceted literary tradition in exile.

Mysteries & Thrillers

The Geographer's Library: A Novel by Jon Fasman (The Penguin Press)

I though you would be dead by now. Certainly I never expected to hear from you again. And maybe I haven’t: the handwriting looks familiar, but forgery would probably be among the mildest of your new friends’ skills.

Thus begins globe-trotting journalist Jon Fasman's first novel, The Geographer's Library, a literary journey that spans centuries and continents to transport readers to the heart of an international smuggling that may hold the secret of eternal life.

The Geographer's Library begins with reporter Paul Tomm toiling away at a small Connecticut town paper near his New England alma mater, covering zoning meetings and school plays. But when a professor dies under suspicious circumstances, Paul is drawn back to campus to research the obituary. He's already frustrated with the lack of known details about the mysterious professor when the coroner working on Puhapaev's autopsy is killed. Suddenly the assignment changes from obituary to investigative lead. With two enterprising detectives and Hannah Rowe Puhapaev's comely neighbor – with whom Paul has fallen hopelessly in love – Paul dives headlong into the increasingly strange story. An examination of the professor's heavily fortified university office with Paul's mentor, Professor Jadid, yields the curious discovery that none of the books and papers found are in Puhapaev's area of specialty. All appear to revolve around the ancient art of alchemy.

Meanwhile readers are introduced, one by one, story by story, to fourteen charmed, cursed objects stolen centuries ago from the library of al-Idrisi, the court geographer to a Sicilian king. Each one is highly coveted, particularly by those who would reunite them and test their powers to transform not just base metals into gold but every substance into a purer iteration – including old age into youth.

The Geographer's Library is a real reader’s book, magnetic and sharply written, with excellent history, a strong narrative, and a mind of its own. – Alan Furst

Mistaken, concealed, and assumed identities proliferate agreeably in this deftly paced debut thriller about a young reporter's accidental involvement with an elaborate history of international intrigue....[The plot] sounds maddeningly complicated (and will indeed test the most seasoned thriller-reader's wits.) But Fasman is equal to the daunting task. ... one of the year's most literate and absorbing entertainments. – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

This debut tells a terrific story – it's gripping, intelligent, and beautifully wrought. – Library Journal

Tempting with the glitter of antiquities and hooking readers with a chilling plot, The Geographer's Library delivers a riveting tale of alchemy and greed. This is an extraordinary debut, smart, stylishly written, and full of suspense.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Legal

The Motive by John Lescroart (Dutton)

It starts with a double homicide. Because of the high profiles of the victims – a politically connected socialite and his glamorous fiancée – the mayor of San Francisco herself, Kathy West, demands that a high-ranking detective be put on the case. And so Abe Glitsky is thrust into the controversial investigation.

Dan Cuneo, the officer already working the case, is immediately wary of Glitsky and doesn’t hide his distrust. Matters are made worse when Cuneo starts to focus on his primary suspect – who also happens to be an old girlfriend of Dismas Hardy. For Hardy and Glitsky, this is an awkward and uncomfortable coincidence. But for Cuneo, it’s proof positive of collusion, and yet another instance of Glitsky cheating with his insider friends and cronies.

Convinced that Hardy’s client is the wrong suspect, Glitsky breaks ranks within the police department to continue his own investigation. As Hardy’s murder trial builds to its stunning conclusion, Glitsky’s search for the truth does more than fuel suspicion against the two men. It reveals a trail of deception that leads beyond San Francisco, where exposing desperate secrets can be the most deadly offense.

In The Motive, the latest installment of the Glitsky-Hardy crime-solving series, John Lescroart once again visits the hazardous intersection of the precinct and the courtroom. Former partners Hardy and Glitsky have a great deal to enjoy in their lives: both have happy marriages and several bright kids, Hardy has a successful law firm, and Glitsky's been promoted to the upper echelons of San Francisco's law enforcement. But this case sets off a series of events that end Hardy and Glitsky's tranquility and threaten the contentment both men have worked hard to achieve – the self-assured Hardy and the stoic Glitsky face challenges beyond the crime at hand, dilemmas that push them to their limits and force them to reassess the lives they've made for themselves.

In typical Lescroart fashion, personal conflicts, political favors, and top-notch courtroom drama converge for a gripping, page-turning drama. – Booklist

Suspenseful and involving . . . combines the best of the legal and police procedural. – The Dallas Morning News
A powerful rollercoaster ride through the twisting streets of San Francisco. – The Hartford Courant
Hardy and Glitsky are, like good wine, improving with time. – The Orlando Sentinel
Lescroart lands again in the top tier of crime fiction. – Publishers Weekly

Lescroart's remarkable descriptions of San Francisco, the metropolis of magnates and drifters, rule-breakers and gold-diggers, paint so sharp a picture that the city itself plays a central role in the story, serving as a vital third member in the trio of Hardy, Glitsky, and their world by the Bay. Add a breathless tempo and a vibrant setting and you get a powerful tale of murder and the turmoil that follows after it. Lescroart's wide range of skills, including his expert ear for dialogue and his in-depth knowledge of legal and courtroom maneuvers, come into play. The Motive shows Lescroart as a consistent creator of suspense and a writer of increasing literary power.

Parenting & Families / Reference

The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems: Sleeping, Feeding, and Behavior – Beyond the Basics from Infancy Through Toddlerhood by Tracy Hogg & Melinda Blau (Atria Books)

In this latest book, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg shares her experience in the trenches, responding to questions Iasked by thousands of parents who have sought her out for private consultations, flocked to her book signings, and contacted her via her website. Here she focuses her renowned baby-whispering energies on solving the most common difficulties – feeding issues, sleep troubles, and behavior problems – and puts together a comprehensive package of specific strategies.

In addition to explaining her most effective approaches in greater depth, Hogg, British-trained nurse, lactation educator, and newborn consultant, with the help of award-winning journalist Melinda Blau, introduces new baby-whispering concepts. She teaches parents how to catch everyday difficulties before they become chronic, as well as how to solve entrenched problems.

Hogg was legendary among legions of parents worldwide. Famous for her decades of hands-on care with infants and their families, Hogg, who passed away in November of 2004, was known as the expert to whom parents turned in their most hand-wringing moments. Thanks to her intuitive and accurate advice on child rearing, millions of parents maneuvered through life's most difficult moments with skill and grace. Going beyond the basic advice of the first two books in the Baby Whisperer series, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems teaches parents the problem-solving skills that Hogg herself used when troubleshooting the trials of parenting. In this book, Hogg teaches parents a series of strategies by revealing her biggest secret: how to think like a Baby Whisperer. Hogg's philosophy is that "a problem is nothing more than an issue that needs to be addressed or a situation calling for a creative solution. Ask the right questions, and readers will come up with the right answers."

Hogg acknowledges that no two children are alike – each develops at his or her own pace, and thus each parent must deal with a set of unique problems as his or her child progresses through the phases of development. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems includes real-life cases as well as thousands of parental anecdotes compiled from her website.

The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems lives up to its promise, providing a compendium of surprising and deceptively simple troubleshooting techniques and practical remedies. For her fans, this book will be a welcome addition to the Hogg library; for readers unfamiliar with her philosophy of care, it will open a new world of insight. It is a must-have for all parents of young children, a guidebook to read from cover to cover, a resource to keep on the nightstand.

Politics / Biographies & Memoirs

Living History [LARGE PRINT] by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Thorndike Press Large Print Core Series: Thorndike Press)

Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster)

Hillary Rodham Clinton is known to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Yet few beyond her close friends and family have ever heard her account of her extraordinary journey. In Living History Clinton, elected U.S. Senator from New York in 2000, writes with humor and passion about her upbringing in suburban, middle-class America in the 1950s and her transformation from Goldwater Girl to student activist to controversial First Lady. Living History is her memoir of life through the White House years. It is also her chronicle of living history with Bill Clinton, a thirty-year adventure in love and politics that survives personal betrayal, partisan investigations and constant public scrutiny.

Like many women of her generation, Clinton grew up with choices and opportunities unknown to her mother or grandmother. She charted her own course – responding to the changing times and her own internal compass – and became an emblem for some and a lightning rod for others. Wife, mother, lawyer, advocate and international icon, she has lived through America's great political wars, from Watergate to Whitewater. The only First Lady to play a major role in shaping domestic legislation, Clinton traveled around the country to champion health care, expand economic and educational opportunity and promote the needs of children and families, and she crisscrossed the globe on behalf of women's rights, human rights and democracy. She redefined the position of First Lady and helped save the presidency from an impeachment.

As with most books written by politicians while in office (or at least aiming for one), Living History is, first and foremost, safe. There are interesting observations and anecdotes, the writing is engaging, and there is enough inside scoop to appeal to those looking for a bit of gossip,… In all, Living History is an informative book that goes a long way toward humanizing one of the most recognizable, and controversial, women of our age. – Amazon.com
…Though she does not offer much new material, she is adept at disclosing many "backstage" details – from the personal, like her inner feelings about the Lewinsky scandal ("the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience of my life"), to the humorous, like the time a mischievous Boris Yeltsin tried to coax her into sampling moose-lip soup…. – Publishers Weekly
… The book works especially well when the private and public Mrs. Clintons come together; for example, when she spearheads the health-care wars as her own father is dying. Only true Clinton haters will refuse to see her as a woman of faith or dispute the fact she loves her husband. Those two qualities pervade the pages. – Booklist 

Intimate and inspiring, Living History captures the essence of a remarkable woman of our time and the process by which she came to define herself and find her own voice – as a woman and as a figure in American politics. This personal account of a modern woman’s life lived on the world stage is definitely worth reading.

Politics / Civil Rights & Liberties

The Abolition of White Democracy by Joel Olson (University of Minnesota Press)

Racial discrimination embodies inequality, exclusion, and injustice and as such has no place in a democratic society. And yet racial matters pervade nearly every aspect of American life, influencing where we live, what schools we attend, the friends we make, the votes we cast, the opportunities we enjoy, and even the television shows we watch.

In The Abolition of White Democracy Joel Olson, assistant professor of political science at Northern Arizona University, contends that, given the history of slavery and segregation in the United States, American citizenship is a form of racial privilege in which whites are equal to each other but superior to everyone else. In Olson’s analysis the tension in this equation produces a passive form of democracy that discourages extensive participation in politics because it treats citizenship as an identity to possess rather than as a source of empowerment. Olson traces this tension and its disenfranchising effects from the colonial era to our own. To break this pattern, Olson suggests an ‘abolitionist-democratic’ political theory that makes the fight against racial discrimination a prerequisite for expanding democratic participation.

The political challenge is to subvert the privileges of the white citizen and transform his or her democratic imagination. In practical terms, this means eradicating any disparity between whites and people of color in the realms of education, law enforcement, employment, housing, health care, and politics. Olson’s argument refutes growing arguments to replace so-called ‘divisive’ race-based policies such as affirmative action with ‘universal’ or ‘class-based’ policies and insists on defending and strengthening those programs that directly undermine the wages of whiteness.

Despite its significance, contemporary political theory has generally not considered the democratic problem of the white citizen. Color­blind approaches do not account for the persistence of racial inequality since the civil rights movement, while multiculturalism and theories of recognition see racial oppression as a cultural conflict rather than a problem of power. Theories of difference tend to consider race as one form of ‘difference’ among others, isolating it from its historical context. All these approaches misconstrue racial domination as a problem of exclusion (for which the solution is inclusion) rather than a problem of privilege (for which the solution is abolition). Including the excluded is important, but by itself inclusion does not undermine the passive model of citizenship that white democracy promotes nor does it eliminate the

privileges of whiteness. By concentrating on whiteness rather than race in general and by connecting whiteness to participation, citizenship, and relations of power, an abolitionist-democratic politics places race in its specific historical context rather than lumping it in the general categories of difference, identity, or exclusion. It shifts the discourse of political theory from the problem of diversity to the problem of privilege, from strategies of inclusion to strategies for abolition, from a vision of the equal recognition of races to a vision of a world without whiteness, and from the goal of fulfilling liberal democracy to the possibility of transcending it.

Olson begins his argument for The Abolition of White Democracy in chapter 1 by using the work of W.E.B. Du Bois to propose a political definition of race that sets out what whiteness is and how it is fundamental to the American democratic experience. Olson argues that at the foundation of the American racial order is a cross-class alliance between the dominant class and one section of the working class. This alliance confers privileges to its members, in exchange for which they guarantee the social stability necessary for the accumulation of capital. This alliance, Du Bois argues, produces two "worlds" of race, the white and the dark worlds. It results in a peculiar kind of democracy, a Herrenvolk democracy, in which the white world enjoys democratic rights and political equality while the dark world is subjected to the tyranny of the white majority.

Olson applies this theory of race to American citizenship in chapter 2. After providing a brief history of the origins of white citizenship, he turns to Judith Shklar's conception of citizenship as standing and to Du Bois's critique of the ‘public and psychological wages’ of whiteness to show that the struggle for citizenship was also a struggle to join the cross-class alliance. As American workers fought to define themselves as citizens, they also fought to become white. After discussing Tocqueville's chapter on the "Three Races" in Democracy in America, in which he argues that democracy and racial oppression were not contradictory in the Jacksonian era until slaves and abolitionists made them so, he returns to Du Bois to show how white citizenship thwarts attempts to create a more democratic society.

There are two stages of the white democracy, which are divided by the civil rights movement. Chapter 2 addresses the problem of the white citizen in the first stage, the Herrenvolk democracy. Chapter 3 addresses the second, post-civil rights stage, in which whiteness becomes less a form of standing and more of a norm that sediments accrued white advantages onto the ordinary operations of society. After explaining this shift, Olson uses this analysis to address the ‘participation-inclusion dilemma’ in contemporary democratic theory. The dilemma is that in a racial polity, the quest for greater participation may actually serve to strengthen the tyranny of the majority race. The quest for inclusion, on the other hand, may undermine racial tyranny but does little to increase participation. Through a critique of William Connolly's Ethos of Pluralization, he argues that political theories based on a strategy of inclusion perpetuate normalized white privilege even as they seek to resolve the problem of difference. He then contrasts Connolly's argument with Iris Marion Young's Justice and the Politics of Difference and Lani Guinier's Tyranny of the Majority. Through an interpretation of these texts he argues that an effective democratic theory must go beyond inclusion by redefining the problem from exclusion to privilege and the lack of participation. The best way to undermine the tyranny of the white majority and to expand democratic participation, Olson contends, is through a politics aimed at the elimination of white privilege.

Whiteness also persists in the ways in which Americans have come to understand race and the proper resolution of its disorders. In chapter 4 Olson addresses the two principal racial paradigms since the civil rights movement, color blindness and multiculturalism. He argues that while both repudiate the essential principles of Herrenvolk democracy, neither effectively undermines whiteness.

Olson concludes The Abolition of White Democracy in chapter 5 by sketching an outline of the ‘abolition-democracy,’ a politics that would abolish the white citizen in order to expand democratic participation as well as eliminate the racial order. He suggests the possibilities of Black radical political thought as a means to re-imagine democracy and to leaven the suffocating pragmatism of contemporary democratic theory. Through a brief overview of the work of the original abolitionists, he sets out the essential elements of a contemporary abolitionist-democratic politics, emphasizing its radical nature and its emphasis on political action. In undermining the wages of whiteness, the abolition-democracy seeks to redefine citizenship from a passive identity concerned with status to a participatory activity. A democratic politics, he concludes, must be an abolitionist politics.

While some will question Olson’s materialist approach, others will criticize his account of white democracy for granting too much agency to whites, particularly white workers, in their complicity with capitalist domination. To these critics Olsons argument may seem to lack an appreciation of the more subtle and impersonal means by which power is exercised. He does not intend for his argument to be too voluntaristic, but white citizenship must be posed as a choice in order to suggest political alternatives. Historically white citizens have made the wrong choice about their democratic alternatives, but the beautiful thing about the ability to make a decision is that one can always change one's mind.

The Abolition of White Democracy is essential reading for all those seeking to realize the promise of democracy in America. – Noel Ignatiev, author of How the Irish Became White

The Abolition of White Democracy opens a new chapter in the fight for justice in America, and, since a new approach is clearly needed, let’s hope that there are people willing to listen and begin that new conversation. The vision this ‘abolitionist- democratic’ theory provides is a politics based on a simple principle: No privilege held can compare to a world in which privilege does not exist. At the very least, this book has the potential to inspire in the white folks who are reading a new sense of what is right.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology

Blackening of the Bible: The Aims of African American Biblical Scholarship by Michael Joseph Brown (African American Religious Thought and Life Series: Trinity Press International)

Biblical interpretation has long been filtered through a European and Euro-American lens. In Blackening of the Bible, however, Michael Joseph Brown documents the history and development of African American and Afrocentric biblical interpretation, from its origin as a corrective to the biases manifest in Eurocentric scholarship to the flourishing of Afrocentric criticism as a distinct interpretive method.

In writing Blackening of the Bible, Brown, assistant professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, says he was guided by three organizing principles. First, the book focuses on African American biblical scholars. Second, Blackening of the Bible is representative of the work being done in the field of African American biblical hermeneutics. It in no way pretends to be an exhaustive analysis of every scholar and every writing in the field.

Third, Blackening of the Bible is more descriptive than argumentative. There is much about African American hermeneutics that needs clearer explanation and theoretical grounding. At the same time, he operates under the premise that readers will be unable to understand the critique if an impassioned argument is not made for the proposal. Brown confines his criticisms of the various scholars in this book to the ends of their sections.

Chapter 1 introduces the topic of African American biblical hermeneutics by placing it within the larger context of the contemporary debates surrounding biblical interpretation as such. Looking at four criticisms leveled against the historical critical enterprise, Brown explains how the acknowledgment of the need for contextual readings of Scripture arose. Then he examines three contemporary forms of contextual reading in South America and Africa to contextualize the type of biblical engagement commonly referred to as African Amer­ican.

Chapter 2 looks at the foundation of African American hermeneutics, the enterprise of corrective historiography. Brown argues that the initial purpose for promoting a distinctive form of an African American reading of Scripture was to correct the historical biases that Euro-Americans perpetuated in their various discourses on Scripture. Focusing on the work of Charles Copher and Cain Hope Felder, he outlines the strengths and weak­nesses of this approach – its greatest strength being its use of the conceptual paradigm of Afrocentricity.

Chapter 3 examines the next stage in African American hermeneutics. Focusing on the work of Randall Bailey and Vincent Wimbush, he demonstrates how scholars moved quickly away from the barely defensible position that black-skinned people occupied the pages of the Bible to an approach that moved the area of focus more to the New Testament and the present.

Chapter 4 examines the work of womanist biblical scholars. He presents the womanist approach to interpretation in a separate chapter for a couple of reasons. First, womanists are attempting to develop a distinctive hermeneutical voice in contrast to their male colleagues, and Brown was afraid their perspective would be lost if mixed in with others. Second, they represent another advance in Afrocentric interpretation. Their hermeneutical method is not represented in what precedes in chapters 2 and 3, but it does influence what follows in chapters 5 and 6.

Chapter 5 examines the work of the latest generation of African American biblical scholars, that is, those who have only recently completed dissertations. Although Brian Blount is an exception, his work is foregrounded in this chapter because he represents the shift that is occurring in the field away from a singular or intracommunal conversation to a pluralistic one, a shift influenced by the womanist approach to interpretation.

Chapter 6 accomplishes three aims. First, it lays out Brown’s assessment of the aims of African American biblical interpretation – he has developed a distinctive perspective that seeks to account for its flourishing. Second, he offers four critiques of the enterprise garnered from the various criticisms that have been leveled over the years. Finally, Brown offers several proposals for African American biblical interpreters to consider.

Michael J. Brown's Blackening of the Bible has the privilege of being the first text to critically assess and evaluate some of the leading voices and differing perspectives within the emerging field of black biblical hermeneutics. While this text is not intended to be exhaustive, it does present to the reader a lucid and engaging introduction to the primary aims of the young discipline. This book could easily serve as a main textbook or as a supplementary text for the increasing number of courses being offered in colleges and seminaries that seek to address and include marginalized voices and perspectives within biblical studies. I highly recommend it. – Demetrius K. Williams, Director, Religious Studies Program, Tulane University

This book ably fulfills its mission of providing an introduction to African American biblical interpretation. Dr. Brown presents a useful digest of African American scholarly engagements with Scripture. The assemblage of diverse perspectives in one volume invites persons from many cultural backgrounds to investigate the expanding discipline of African American biblical hermeneutics. – Brad R. Braxton, Associate Professor of Homiletics and New Testament, Vanderbilt University

Blackening of the Bible gives readers an overview of the various modes of engagement used by African American biblical scholars. Brown establishes the groundwork for this important and unique area of biblical criticism and presents questions and challenges for biblical scholars, classicists, historians, and theologians. He also brings a fresh perspective to the task that allows readers unacquainted with African American readings of the Bible to see it in a nonpartisan light. In addition, practitioners of African American hermeneutics will find the proposals at the end of the book a source of continued conversation and reflection. Blackening of the Bible is intended as an introduction to African American biblical hermeneutics, but it assumes that readers have a basic knowledge of biblical interpretation as an academic field, as well as some acquaintance with the debates that accompany it.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals edited by Jonathan Montaldo (HarperSanFrancisco) offers 365 days of inspirational and provocative selections from Merton’s personal journals, with never-before published drawings.

Thomas Merton is widely acclaimed as one of the most beloved and influential spiritual writers of modern times. Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer, and peace and civil rights activist. His bestselling books include The Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation, and Mystics and Zen Masters.

Newsweek said, ‘Merton's real autobiography is in his personal journals. They reveal an uncaged mind ceaselessly churned by contemporary events and culture... in the journals we find him turning old answers into new questions.’

With one entry for each day of the calendar year, A Year with Thomas Merton offers Merton's wisdom and spiritual guidance, with selections attuned to the seasons and to the movements of Merton's own life – from his ordination as a priest, to his retreat, to his solitary hermitage, and even to his untimely death in 1968. Each day of the year offers a short, provocative reading selected to encourage and deepen readers’ own reflections and meditations. Every entry invites readers to join Merton in his own spiritual journey and each month begins with one of Thomas Merton's own never-before published Zen-style pen and ink drawings.

Compiled by Jonathan Montaldo, president of the International Thomas Merton Society and past director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, this collection shares the best writing of Merton's journals.

Brilliant social, political, and personal commentaries. – New York Time Book Review

A lot of my spiritual seeking began with Thomas Merton. He is an incredible source of light and comfort and humor. – Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies

The latest volume of Merton's journals and papers, A Year with Thomas Merton is an elegant and intimate daily companion. It will inspire both devoted Merton fans and those new to his unique brand of spiritual thought to immerse themselves more deeply in the rich flavors of their own spiritual journeys.

Religion & Spirituality

Religion Is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture our Biological Nature by Loyal Rue (Rutgers University Press)

Religion is about positive thinking, feeling and acting, both individually and collectively, but, it is not about God.

Thousands of religious traditions have appeared over the course of human history but only a relative few have survived. Since some speak of a myriad of gods, others speak of only one, and some recognize no gods at all, we can conclude that belief in a supernatural being is not the only thing that holds a faith tradition together.

In Religion Is Not about God Loyal Rue contends that religion, basically, is about us. Successful religions are traditions that influence human nature so that we might think, feel, and act in ways that are good for us, both individually and collectively. Through the use of images, symbols, and rituals, religion promotes reproductive fitness and survival through the facilitation of harmonious social relations. Rue, professor of philosophy and religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, builds his argument by first assembling a theory of human nature, drawn from recent developments in cognitive science and evolutionary theory. He shows how cognitive and emotional systems work together and how they are conditioned by cultural influences, including religion. In part two he surveys the major religious traditions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism – to show how each one, in its own way, has guided human behavior to advance the twin goals of personal fulfillment and social coherence. Part three looks at the future – as religions are increasingly faced with a crisis of intellectual plausibility and moral relevance, they are being rendered incapable of shaping behavior in ways that might prevent unsustainable patterns of human population and consumption. Rue warns that when religions outlive their adaptive utility, they become threats to human survival.

Loyal Rue has written a bold, scholarly, and gracefully composed discussion of the complex relations between the concepts of God and religion. I learned a great deal from the rich tapestry of facts that filled the gaps in my understanding of the history of these ideas and believe that readers will enjoy a similar intellectual experience. – Jerome Kagan, research professor of psychology, Harvard University

Rue’s book should make all religious scholars proud to be descendants of baboons! It is a book of deep scholarship that shows how we can both accept the biological signature of our species, while recognizing its power to create personally meaningful religious traditions. – Marc D. Hauser, Harvard University, author of Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think

Despite its ambitious goals, this book is hostile to neither the idea of God nor religious life. Rue writes with grace and humility to provide an even-handed estimation of the past and future benefits of religion in human life. Written respectfully throughout, Religion Is Not about God will appeal to a broad audience interested in issues of faith and science.

Religion & Spirituality / Philosophy / Christianity

Bonhoeffer and King: Speaking Truth to Power by J. Deotis Roberts (Westminster John Knox Press) considers and compares the theological reflections that guided Bonhoeffer's courageous stand against Nazism and King's quest for civil rights in America.

Bonhoeffer and King is about the Christian witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr. In this volume, J. Deotis Roberts presents his understanding of the life, thought, and action of two important Christian theologians of the twentieth century. Roberts says that they ‘walked into history’, that they left their ‘footprints on the sands of time,’ and that ‘the happenings in each country explain the direction of their witness.’

According to Roberts, highly esteemed theologian and one of the founders of the Black Theology movement, each was, in his own time and place, a church theolo­gian, not just a social activist. It was their profound understanding of the Christian faith that fueled their activism. Their mission reminds readers that religious faith can have a positive side. We need this reminder at a time when we are aware that all religions may be the sponsors of evil purposes. Their passion for social justice was grounded in the resources of their religious convictions. Their lives of witness refute the view that humanism is always completely secular. Theologian Paul Lehmann, a close friend of Bonhoeffer, points to the view held by both theologians, that Christian ethics seeks to make life more human. Bonhoeffer and King knew the ‘human face of God’ and advocated the humane use of power.

According to Roberts, there are clues in the formative years of the lives of Bonhoeffer and King that they would make an unusual contribution to humanity during their mature years. Bonhoeffer and King looks at the contexts of family, personhood, education, and faith-claim in their development. The situa­tion in Nazi Germany is the setting for understanding Bonhoeffer and his mission. The book addresses the crisis in his life by a careful look at Nazism and the so-called Jewish question. In a similar manner, King's sense of mission is evident in the civil rights movement and his nonviolent effort to bring about the freedom of black people in the United States.

With these perspectives, Bonhoeffer and King has three parts: Part 1 acquaints readers with the theologians during their early lives – their families, their social status, their education, and their sense of call to be a professor (Bonhoeffer) and minister (King).

Part 2 treats the middle period of their short lives. They were each put to death on the eve of what one usually regards as midlife. Each theologian exemplified rapid intellectual and spiritual growth. Both completed a doctorate in theology. Both had pastoral experience, and both embarked upon a ministry or field of service beyond the local parish. Both emphasized love in action, protest against racists and ‘ethnic cleansing,’ and both sought to understand collective evils. Bonhoeffer and King both had great admiration for Gandhi; Bonhoeffer and King examines Gandhi's role as mentor to both theologians in their time and place.

Part 3 is concerned with political theology. Roberts considers the views of each man on the relation of church to state. Then he takes up the context of decision for Bonhoeffer and King. Separate chapters follow, which assess how each theologian made a decision in his crisis situation. Their decisions cost both of them their lives at thirty-nine years of age. Roberts assesses the meaning of their lives and witness through death.

The concluding chapter compares some of their essential thoughts and actions – what they believed and how they acted upon these beliefs. Roberts looks at the ‘common ground’ of their witness. Finally Bonhoeffer and King observes the continuing influence of Bonhoeffer and King. They pursued the presence of the kingdom of God on earth through their witness. They left open questions. Bonhoeffer asked, ‘Are we still of any use?’ King asked, ‘Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?’

Rich and provocative. Roberts insists that Bonhoeffer and King be taken seriously not only as intellectuals and social activists but as servants of the church and church theologians. A brilliant treatment of the lives, thought, and activities of two towering figures who equated radical discipleship with authentic churchmanship. – Lewis V. Baldwin, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of African American Studies, Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University, and author of There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Roberts shows us that the connections between these church theologians and social activists are more than symbolic; Bonhoeffer and King spoke truth to power while drawing on similar sources of inspiration and similar analyses of evil. An important contribution to our understanding of the forces that nurture and sustain prophetic Christianity. – Steven R. Haynes, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Rhodes College, and author of The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon: Portraits of a Protestant Saint

Roberts both instructs and inspires in this important work. The role of biography in shaping theology, an exploration of critical issues in ethics, and a window into the intellectual journey of the author all find a meaningful place in this important text. Clearly written and carefully crafted. Excellent reading for religion departments, theological schools, and church groups. – Noel Leo Erskine, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and author of King among the Theologians

A study of two of the most significant prophetic leaders in the twentieth century, Roberts's Bonhoeffer and King is an instructive work in theological ethics and an important study of two of the most significant prophetic voices of the twentieth century.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

The Footprints of Love by Hein Blommestijn, Jos Huls, & Kees Waaijman, translated by John Vriend (The Fiery Arrow Series: Peeters)

The texts of John of the Cross have relevance for present-day readers – like a graphic artist, his discriminating pen sketches ‘a trail made up of the footprints of love’.

The Footprints of Love contains a set of explorations of the logic of divine love, a love which transforms men into true lovers. It deals with the four great commentaries of John of the Cross and one of his poems.

In 1591, John of the Cross died. Two years later the remains of his body were transferred to Segovia. In 1675, he was beatified by pope Clement X; in 1726, he was canonized by Benedict XIII, and in 1926, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Plus XI.

How can we love the other in a way that is not a subtle excuse for self-cente­redness and exaggerated self-preoccupation? We eagerly believe that we humans are capa­ble of love, or we despair of the possibility that humans can love at all. We observe how one person can exploit another to enhance his own security and well-being. We are all too familiar with the indescribable tragedies of human injustice and exploitation, wars and violence, diseases and hunger. At the same time we yearn for the romanticism of true love and a heroic commitment to the other. Yet these are no more than new faces of problems that have burdened us from the time our first parents sought to deny and escape their vulnerability by turning themselves into ‘gods’. Having been created for mutuality and reciprocity, we at the same time discover that insecurity and fear alienate us from ourselves and from each other.

John of the Cross does not sketch for us a romantic image of a ‘mystical’ paradise where we may experience the glory of the divine presence. Listening to the stories of the struggles of countless people in his day, he became an experienced mystical teacher who introduces us into Carmelite spirituality as a ‘school of love’. In the incomprehensible relation to God, after all, we begin to realize what absolute otherness means and what consequences it has for our lives. To encounter the other we must venture to step outside of ourselves and enter a new land where there are no familiar roads. The wilderness of the mystic is the space where the face of the other can light up. In self-pity we recoil from this fearful adventure and imagine ‘how beautiful it is to love another human being’. Thus we run away from reality into passing dreams of love in which the other is degraded into a nonentity in our ‘one-man show’. God's love, however, follows a different logic. In his love he withdraws himself so that our lives may take shape.

The Footprints of Love contains a set of explorations of the logic of this divine love. In making these explorations the book follows the four com­mentaries of John of the Cross and one of his poems. In this edition editors Hein Blommestijn and Jos Huls of Titus Brandsma Institute, an academic center of research in spirituality and mysticism, have used translations which were done in collaboration with Cees Bartels. The English translation of the quotations from the work of John of the Cross is a translation of the Dutch version.

Religion & Spirituality / Philosophy / Science

Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA edited by William A. Dembski & Michael Ruse (Cambridge University Press)

Since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, invariably, the source of controversy has been ‘design.’

Is the appearance of design in organisms, as exhibited in their functional complexity, the result of purely natural forces acting without prevision (foresight) or teleology (purpose or knowledge of outcome)? Or, does the appearance of design signify genuine prevision and teleology, and, if so, is that design empirically detectable and thus open to scientific inquiry? Four main positions have emerged in response to these questions: Darwinism, self-organization, theistic evolution, and intelligent design.

Editors William Dembski, associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University as well as a senior fellow with Seattle's Discovery Institute; and Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University; plus other prominent philosophers provide in Debating Design an overview of the debate concerning biological origins – a controversial dialectic. The contributors to Debating Design define their respective positions in an accessible style, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. Two introductory essays furnish a historical overview of the debate.

The topic is hot; the editors are superb; the cast of contributors is star-studded. – Ronald Numbers, The University of Wisconsin, Madison

The editors have done a fine job in amassing the leaders of various fields, all of whom are very well known – theologians, scientists, mathematicians and philosophers. – Ronald Trigg, University of Warwick

The two editors have put together an excellent team to discuss a hot topic.... I would expect this to become a standard work of reference on the issue of ‘intelligent design’. – John Brooke, University of Oxford

In this unique survey, leading figures in the debate argue for their respective positions in a non-technical, accessible style. Readers are thus invited to draw their own conclusions.

No other collection offers a comprehensive, balanced, accessible overview like this. Debating Design will eagerly be sought by professionals in philosophy, the history of sci­ence, biology, and religious studies.

Religion & Spirituality / Biographies & Memoirs

The Messiah Of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidism Past and Present
by M. Avrum Ehrlich (KTAV Publishing House, Inc.)

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in Brooklyn in 1994, was the last in a dynasty of hasidic leaders who came to New York after the Holocaust. From a small band of refugees, he built a large, powerful international community of rabbis, emissaries and fervent disciples who committed their lives to his teachings and, armed with his instructions, lay the foundations of Habad's messianic agenda. With a strong focus on outreach amongst Jews as a necessary condition for the ‘redemption’, it succeeded in becoming the most influential religious group in the last fifty years of modern Judaism. Habad affects many layers of the Jewish experience ranging from the personal and spiritual influence of its philosophy on secular Jews, to its effect on thousands of communities around the world, to the movement's impact on Israeli politics.

In The Messiah Of Brooklyn author M. Avrum Ehrlich discusses the personality of Rabbi Schneerson, how he rose to emi­nence and how the messianic expectation around his personality developed. Many Lubavitch Hasidim viewed Rabbi Schneerson as the messiah and because of this, his death brought about a crisis of faith and leadership within the movement. Ehrlich, philosopher of religion, Chair of Jewish Civilization, Language and Thought at the University of Shandong, China, discusses the change in the movement. Other subjects explored by Ehrlich include the factions and splinter groups, which developed variant theologies to explain the death of their messiah, together with the socio-religious undercurrents composing the movement's identity.

The Messiah Of Brooklyn is a serious and thoughtful treatment of one of the most interesting developments in Jewish life in the late 20th century. The attempt to transform a distinguished Hasidic community into a messianic sect and the various reactions to it should arouse the interest of scholars of religion everywhere. Ehrlich offers the rare combination of a thorough understanding of the inner Habad sources with sociological sophistication and a comparative eye. The result is a provocative and open-minded assessment of Habad messianism as a religious phenomenon. A fine account and analysis of a fascinating series of events. – Professor Arthur Green, Dean of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College and Philip W. Lown Professor of Jewish Thought at Brandeis University

The Messiah Of Brooklyn is the most comprehensive and objective biographical study yet written about the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and his huge impact on contemporary Judaism. Ehrlich's book is a major contribution to the history of Hasidism, American Judaism and modern Jewish messianism, as it thoroughly examines the past half­century of the Lubavitcher Hasidic movement from multiple perspectives, all through the prism of Rabbi Schneerson's incredible life and legacy as leader of contemporary Jewry's most influential and controversial religious movement. – Professor Allan Nadler, Director, Jewish Studies Program, Drew University

The Messiah Of Brooklyn is the fascinating story of the incredible expan­sion of the Habad – Lubavitch school of hasidic Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. This exhaustive and painstakingly researched and documented study will be of interest to those who study Hasidism and the philosophy of religion.

Science / Agriculture / Health, Mind & Body

Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods by Nina Fedoroff & Nancy Marie Brown (Joseph Henry Press)

Genetically modified foods.

It’s a phrase ripped from the headlines, guaranteed to spark heated debate and generate contentious discussions. Concerned Europeans march in opposition to GM foods. African ports have been barricaded to prevent the unloading of genetically modified corn, despite the urgent needs of starving people. Canadians have mailed slices of bread to their prime minister to protest the use of genetically modified wheat. And in Australia, Greenpeace activists attached themselves to a cargo ship with magnets and painted "Stop GE imports" on its hull in their campaign against genetically modified food.

According to leading geneticist and molecular biologist, Nina Fedoroff and her co-author, science writer Nancy Marie Brown, the truth is, we’ve been changing the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, coaxing nature to do our bidding. Long before scientists understood what genes were and how they worked, early civilizations created wheat and corn. These crops, so very different from their wild grassy ancestors, represent man’s early ventures in altering evolution. In time, plant breeders learned to stir up plant genes faster, using novel breeding methods, chemicals, and even radiation to produce such marvels as white blackberries and red grapefruit.

But it was the curiosity of a 19th-century Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, that ushered in the modern era of genetics. Mendel spent countless hours in his garden crossing pea plants to find out just how traits were inherited, finally arriving at the idea of the gene, the unit of inheritance that is at the heart of today’s plant breeding strategies.

Mendel’s genetics turned molecular when Watson and Crick unveiled the structure of DNA in 1953. Within a few decades, genes were understood to be DNA sequences that code for proteins using a universal genetic code. Genes could be moved easily between different organisms without losing their identity or changing their function. But the new terms that entered agriculture – genetic engineering, biotechnology, genetic modification – were disquieting. People began to ask questions about foods that they’d never asked plant breeders before: Is it safe to eat? Are these foods natural? Isn’t it dangerous to fool with genes?

Fedoroff looks at the many issues raised by contemporary techniques for modifying food plants. She answers the most commonly asked questions – and some we didn't think to ask. In the end, Fedoroff argues, the new molecular approaches hold the promise of being the most environmentally conservative way to increase our food supply, helping us to become better stewards of the earth while enabling us to feed ourselves and generations to come.

Brings rationality to the controversy now haunting the newest, most precise and most predictable manifestation of genetic modification – gene-splicing. – Wall Street Journal

A real learning experience. – Library Journal
A clearly written history of plant breeding. – Science
Mendel in the Kitchen is a highly readable and well-documented account of the science, issues and people involved in the development of genetically engineered foods. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning how the DNA in our food has been altered over the years. – Alan McHughen, author of Pandora’s Picnic Basket

...well prepared and well written, a pleasure to read. It will inform a wide range of readers about issues posed by genetically modified (GM) foods, hopefully contributing to elevation of the argument by inclusion of more scientific information. – Eric M. Hallerman, professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Fedoroff and Brown, weave a narrative rich in history, technology, and science to dispel myths and misunderstandings. Though likely to be controversial, their clear and rational presentation could well change the opinions of some readers. In an accessible style, Mendel in the Kitchen takes readers through the basics of genetic engineering to show why the risks associated with this technology are trivial.

Science / Evolution

Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by William A. Dembski, with a foreword by John. Wilson (ISI Books)

Recent years have seen the rise to prominence of ever more sophisticated philosophical and scientific critiques of the ideas surrounding of Darwinism. In Uncommon Dissent, mathematician and philosopher William A. Dembski brings together essays by leading intellectuals who find one or more aspects of Darwinism unpersuasive. As Dembski explains, Darwinism has an aura of invincibility, especially in elite intellectual circles, that is inhospitable to rational discussion: ‘Darwinism, its proponents assure us, has been overwhelmingly vindicated. Any resistance to it is futile and indicates bad faith or worse.’ Indeed, those who question the Darwinian synthesis are supposed, in the famous formulation of Richard Dawkins, to be ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked.

The hostility of dogmatic Darwinians like Dawkins has not, according to Dembski, associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, however, prevented the advent of a growing cadre of scholarly critics of Darwinism. Dissatisfaction with the theory seems to be reaching critical mass, as growing numbers of educated people, including philosophers, biochemists, biologists, lawyers, journalists, and theologians, identify serious problems with the orthodoxy.

I am delighted to strongly recommend William Dembski's new book Uncommon Dissent. The scientific and philosophical underpinnings of the origins debate need to be better understood by the intellectual public, and Dembski's book is exceptionally helpful in this regard. – Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director, Center for Computational Chemistry, University of Georgia

Darwin, a free thinker who dared make far-reaching conclusions based on observations, would have been dismayed to see the petrified doctrine his brainchild has become. Must we admit that all organisms are nothing but watery Turing machines evolved merely by a sequence of accidents favored by nature? Or do we have the intellectual freedom to rethink this fundamental issue, as is done in this book? I'm sure Darwin would have been glad to contribute an essay to this interesting and fearless collection, a collection every open-minded scientist and layman alike will benefit from reading. – Eshel Ben Jacob, Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems, Tel Aviv University

The measured, thought-provoking essays in Uncommon Dissent make it clear that these critics are not the fundamentalist buffoons that some Darwinism’s defenders might suggest they are, but rather serious inquirers. Supporters of intelligent design differentiate themselves from creationists, but they, too, argue that their theory should be taught in high school biology courses. Anyone interested in these debates and their implications for education will find this collection to be important reading.

Science & Technology / Biographies & Memoirs

Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons by George Pendle (Harcourt Inc.)

In June 1952 in Pasadena, California, a man lies mortally wounded after an explosion that is heard miles away and reporters quickly gather at the scene. That same day, his mother receives news of his death and promptly takes her own life. Brilliant Rocket Scientist Killed in Explosion screams the front-page headline of the Los Angeles Times the next day. This is not the plot of a melodrama – it is the true story of John Whiteside Parsons, a rocket scientist and one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Science writer George Pendle tells Parsons's extraordinary life story for the first time in Strange Angel. Fueled from childhood by dreams of space flight, Parsons was a crucial innovator during rocketry's birth. But his visionary imagination also led him into the occult community thriving in 1930s Los Angeles, and when fantasy's pull became stronger than reality, he lost both his work and his wife. Parsons was just emerging from his personal underworld when he died at age thirty-seven. Parsons, the handsome, brilliant visionary led two disparate lives – one steeped in the sciences, the other in the ethereal world of occultism where he had ties to Aleister Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard (a friendship that ended when Hubbard stole Parsons' girlfriend). Fueled by his love for science fiction as a boy, he dreamed of space travel at a time when rocketry was considered a ridiculous pursuit. As a teenager, he and his friend Ed Forman built rockets and launched them out in the desert, hoping to someday send one all the way to the moon. By the age of twenty-four, Parsons and his band of unconventional colleagues had transformed rocketry into a serious science and founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which eventually did send American astronauts to the moon.

Once rocketry became a big business taken over by the very scientists who had originally dismissed it, suddenly there was no place for the eccentric Parsons in the field he had helped to create. By the time of his death, his occult excesses were such an embarrassment to his colleagues that he already had been written out of science history.

As a history of space travel, Strange Angel is a cornerstone. This is your book if you want to start reading up on the space age. Highly recommended. – Ray Bradbury

A riveting tale of rocketry, the occult, and boom-and-bust 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles. Equally cogent in interpreting the scientific and personal facets of Parsons' alluringly scandalous and confounding life, Pendle greatly enlivens the story of rocketry. – Booklist  (starred review)

Marshaling a cast of characters ranging from Robert Millikan to L. Ron Hubbard, Pendle offers a fascinating glimpse into a world long past, a story that would make a compelling work of fiction if it weren't so astonishingly true. – Publishers Weekly

In Strange Angel, Pendle recovers a fascinating life and explores the unruly consequences of genius. Including a cast of characters such as Howard Hughes, Aleister Crowley, Robert Heinlein, and Albert Einstein, the book recounts Parsons' extraordinary story in full for the first time, exploring the consequences of unruly genius.

Sports / Golf

The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf by Mark Frost, narrated by Grover Gardner, 19 hours of 15 CDs (Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc.)

From the best-selling author of the critically acclaimed The Greatest Game Ever Played comes The Grand Slam, an in-depth look at the life and times of golf icon Bobby Jones.

In the wake of the stock market crash and the dawn of the Great Depression, a ray of light emerged from the world of sports in the summer of 1930. Bobby Jones, an amateur golfer who had already won nine of the seventeen major championships he'd entered during the last seven years, mounted his final campaign against the record books. In four months, he conquered the British Amateur Championship, the British Open, the United States Open, and finally the United States Amateur Championship, an achievement so extraordinary that writers dubbed it the Grand Slam.

According to Mark Frost, Jones, a natural, self-taught player, made his debut at the U.S. Amateur Championship at the age of 14. But for the next seven years, Jones struggled in major championships, and not until he turned 21 in 1923 did he harness his immense talent.

What the world didn't know was that throughout his playing career the intensely private Jones had longed to retreat from fame's glaring spotlight. While the press referred to him as 'a golfing machine,' the strain of competition exacted a ferocious toll on his physical and emotional well-being. During the season of the Slam he constantly battled exhaustion, nearly lost his life twice, and came perilously close to a total collapse. By the time he completed his unprecedented feat, Bobby Jones was the most famous man not only in golf, but in the history of American sports. Jones followed his crowning achievement with an announcement: his retirement from the game at the age of 28. No one, not even Jones himself, knew until much later that he suffered with a rare nerve illness. His abrupt disappearance from the public eye into a closely guarded private life helped create a mythological image of this hero from the Golden Age of sports that endures to this day.

Frost does a fine job of recounting the tenor of the times... highly recommended for all sports collections. – Library Journal
Using his instinct for character development to delve into Jones' psyche, Frost identifies what makes Jones interesting and startlingly contemporary. – Sports Illustrated
If you thought you knew the story of Bobby Jones... then think again: this book is the engrossingly definitive account. – Scottish Golf Magazine
With clear, crisp prose Frost does a great job of bringing Jones' assault on the Grand Slam back to life. – Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

In The Grand Slam Frost re-creates another classic episode in golf history, an excellent book of golf history for the literate duffer, although not as stirring adventure for the average reader as his previous book. The audio version is narrated by Grover Gardner, named one of the Best Voices of the Century by AudioFile magazine, making this a riveting ‘listen’ on the commute to work.

Transportation / Motorcycles

Early Motorcycles: Construction, Operation and Repair by Victor W. Page (Dover Books on Transportation Series: Dover Publications) is an exhaustive, pioneering study of motorcycle performance and the maintenance of early motorcycles.

Written by a talented automotive and aviation pioneer, Victor W. Page, Early Motorcycles is a comprehensive volume of practical information on motorcycles, which was first published in the early twentieth century. Enhanced with more than 370 rare illustrations, the volume provides advice on fixing everything from mufflers and automatic oil pumps to maintaining batteries and timing valves.

When Early Motorcycles was first published in the 1920s, hundreds of thousands of motorcycles were already in use. This was one of the first exhaustive studies done on motorcycle operation and repair.

Following an introductory chapter on motorcycle development and design, the profusely illustrated text covers, among other subjects, various engines and power plants; theories of lubrication and carburetor design; materials employed in clutches; gear types and chain drives; frame parts, tires, and sidecars; standard motorcycle maintenance; and complete instructions for overhauling the engine. Also included is a complete chapter on the most up-to-date motorcycles of 1920.

Comprehensive, immensely popular when it first appeared in print, Early Motorcycles, enhanced with more than 370 rare illustrations, is an easy-to-read book, which will appeal equally to today's collectors of antique cycles, dealers, and riders.

Transportation / Aviation / Reference

Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation (with CD-ROM) edited by Bharat Kumar, Dale DeRemer, & Douglas M. Marshall (McGraw-Hill Professional) an A-Z compilation of terms, definitions, and illustrations spoken in the aviation world, in general aviation, commercial airline, and military sectors.

The book, written by Air Marshall Bharat Kumar (Retired), a former Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command of the Indian Air Force and Douglas M. Marshall, JD, an assistant professor and director of the Aviation Masters Program at the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, encompasses all of aviation. In Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation more than 7,400 terms and meanings define the scope of aviation today and 2,400 illustrations illuminate every aspect of aviation.

Seven years in the making, Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation is a visual mini-encyclopedia of aviation and all its aspects. Spanning general aviation, commercial airline operations, the military sector, and far more – airports to meteorology, avionics, aviation medicine, and beyond – this thoroughly browsable (it includes a CD for desktop computer loading) Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation is as much a learning tool as a dictionary and a bottomless source of information and diversion.

Definitions cover all these areas, and more:

  • Aerial Photography
  • Aerodynamics
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Astronavigation
  • Aviation Medicine
  • Avionics
  • Civil Aviation
  • Commercial Aviation
  • GPS
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Military Aviation
  • Skydiving and Parachuting

Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation is more than a dictionary – though it offers all a dictionary can – this magnificent illustrated reference work will be the centerpiece and foundation of many aviation collections. With a thoroughly browsable CD and up-to-date information and terminology, it is a treasure that anyone involved in or interested in aviation will be pleased to own.

Travel / Africa

Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge by William Powers (Bloomsbury USA)

‘It all started when God came down off his mountain and got down to the business of making people,’ begins the Liberian legend of the Blue Clay People. ‘After molding man from blue clay, God decided to add a little spice in the form of pepper. But just as he was almost done, he sneezed a sneeze so mighty that it caused the pepper to swirl up and fall on the still wet clay people. He had let loose a fire that would burn in their blood, making people destroy each other and all of nature.’

In 1999, William Powers arrived in a country of immense natural beauty, only to find it gripped by shocking poverty, brutal inequality, rank corruption, entrenched bureaucracy, and violence. Blue Clay People is Power’s memoir of his time spent as a young aid worker in Charles Taylor's Liberia, a country of Blue Clay People. Powers was sent to lead the transition from soup lines to sustainability, but what he didn't know was that Liberia's seven-year civil war was far from over – the country's current, uneasy peace proved to be only a lull in the storm.

A country once seen as a place of great hope by African-Americans, Liberia was purchased in 1822 by the American Colonization Society (ACS) as a destination for American freed slaves. Unfortunately, these ‘Americo-Liberians’ came to rule themselves the same way the antebellum whites had ruled them: through domination. During his mission, Powers comes face to face with this and other stark realities: arms trafficking, diamond smuggling, rainforest destruction, terrorist training camps, the spread of AIDS, and the global institutions that fail to contain these threats. He encounters people both assiduous and inspiring. There's Gabriel, a legendary relief worker who is able to bring help and change to a small rainforest village, and then there's Colonel Bloodshed, a fifteen-year-old rebel known for his brutal mutilations and chilling motto ‘Everyone must lend a hand to the revolution.’ And on a personal level, Powers finds himself alienated from his fiancee back home and attracted to a beautiful Liberian woman.

Eloquent... Powers sketches scenes of transcendent beauty and grotesque violence, and writes with disarming honesty about his struggle to maintain his ideals when the right course of action is far from clear. – Publishers Weekly, starred review

In this painful and joyful narrative, William Powers provides a vital stratum of truth about life and foreign aid in the worst parts of the underdeveloped world that others are too embarrassed to put in their reports. After you read this book, Liberia will no longer seem an abstraction, but a real place. – Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts and The Ends of the Earth

William Powers has written a coming-of-age memoir that is also a searing examination of the moral and political dilemmas facing the West in what he calls the ‘fourth world’ of failed states at the mercy of warlords and ruthless corporations. Tragic, humorous, and penetrating, this book shows how outsiders' lust for Liberia's diamond and timber resources has led to the ruination of the country, its people, and its rainforests. I recommend it to anyone interested in the problem of doing good in a world full of evil. – Deborah Scroggins, author of Emma's War

With the pacing and prose of the best novels, Blue Clay People is an absorbing blend of humor, compassion, and rigorous moral questioning that will convince readers why the fate of endangered places such as Liberia must matter to all of us. Blue Clay People eloquently and with humor and compassion asks: "What is our responsibility to other people? Are we human beings made of blue clay? Are we really destined to make war on one another and destroy the environment until the end?"

Travel / Arts & Photography

Spectacular Hotels: The Most Remarkable Places on Earth by Trisha Wilson (Signature Publishing Group)

The great hotels of the world have always been stages for adventure, excitement, romance and intrigue. Spectacular Hotels is a journey to and through over thirty of the world’s most spectacular hotel properties, and the way is led by one of the world’s top authorities on hotels, Trisha Wilson, world-renowned luxury hotel interior designer. From tropical paradise to urban high-rise and from sparkling seaside to desert interior, these featured hotels and resorts are destinations in their own right, providing not only a place to rest one's head, but a complete experience of extravagant interiors, self-indulgent pampering and cultural adventure. Representing five continents, these landmarks of luxury are not to be missed – even if seen only in the pages of Spectacular Hotels.

With more than 250 photographs, Spectacular Hotels sweeps readers away to exotic locations like the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Southern Africa to experience the beautifully crafted open-air architecture of Jao Camp in the middle of the wild African bush; to Paradise Island, Bahamas where ancient fantasy meets modern luxury in the combination aquarium, amusement park and hotel Atlantis; to Yokohama City, Japan where the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel at the top of the 70-story Landmark Tower provides grand vistas of Mt. Fuji, Boso Peninsula, Oshima Island, and Tokyo Bay. At each location readers are invited inside for an intimate look at the history, ambiance, and character that creates the enchantment and allure of each property.

Trisha Wilson is the dean of international interior design. She defines beauty and style around the world… I have come to know the luxury in her designs in hotels all over the world. Now, you can travel around the world to the most opulent places on earth in the pages of this book. – Robin Leach, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Interior designers will be inspired by Spectacular Hotels, and seasoned travelers are sure to find an undiscovered gem or two. Those who can only dream of traveling to such places will be delighted with this photographic arm-chair journey.

SRL | About | Subscribe | Contact | FAQ | Contributors | Back IssuesSite Map | Search Reviews | SRL Bookstore | Bestsellers |

Copyright © 2007 SirReadaLot.org. All Rights Reserved.

Guide to this issue's Contents

Contents this Issue: British Fashion, Outsider Artists, Wonderland, Audit-Proof Tax, Leadership, Entrepreneur Basics, A True Story from Iraq, Community Church History, Wine Pleasure, Education, Second Language Teaching, Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties, Movie Special Effects, Joy of Music, James Brown Memoir, Irving Berlin At War, American Jazz in Context, Adventures of Queen Yasamin of Gwendomere, The Political Economy of AIDS in Africa, Self-Help for Regret, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Understood, Homeopathic Alternative Medicine, Metaphors in Therapy, Effective Communication, Balanced Eating Habits, How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, Communication and Relationship Success, Increase Security,  How to Cope with Sex Offenders, How Vitamins Work, Caribbean State Formation, Charles de Julie, a Rogue in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Hitler's Rise & Fall, Boss Tweed Revisited, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Women in the Struggle for America's Independence, Solviva Solar-Dynamic, Bio-Benign Design, Home Remodeling Projects, Civil War Stuff, Gardener's Approach to Annuals and Perennials, Transforming the Yard, Front & Back, The Islamic Garden, Karl Shapiro, Poet, Murakami' American Europe in Japan, When Messy Life upsets  a Woman's Perfectly Ordered Existence, Début Novel Set in the Roaring 20's, Literary Sephardim, Occult Thriller, Legal Mystery, Baby Behavior for New Parents, Clinton's Living History, The Democratic End of White Privilege, African American Biblical Scholarship, Daily Meditations With Thomas Merton, God is not What Religion is Really About, Speaking Truth to Power: Bonhoeffer and King,  Exploring the Logic of Divine Love, Does Design Theory Really have a Scientific Future or is it Merely Crypto-Theology? How important is Evolution Anyway? Understanding Lubavitch Hasidism, Genetically Modified Foods Viewed Dispassionately, The True Story  of Rocket Scientist and occultist, John Whiteside Parsons, Golf & Bobby Jones, Old Motorcycles,  Aviation Lingo, Charles Taylor's Liberia, Spectacular Hotels