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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

June 2005, Issue #74

Guide to This Issue

Art: Fundamentals of Bauhaus, Art as Time, Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore, Frederick Hart's sculpture – traditional & radical in its sensuality, Memoirs: Life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Business: Decisions for Business, Skilled Facilitator, Ecology of Small Business, Children's: The White Table: Set for the Absent Guests at Annual Veteran's Day Dinner, Poor Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, The Digestive System, Education: Basic Academic Skills for Individuals with Disabilities, Learning Words, Tools Readers Need, Mexican Americans Land Ethic, Successful Parenting, Faith and Resilience, Aggressive Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits, Psychology: Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Emotion Storm, The Gay Clinician, How People and Animals Learn & Behave, History: Civil War Hospitals, Centennial History of Las Vegas, Boston in History, Quarry Remembrance, When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World, Wilmington, NC as WWII Homefront, American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, South Florida & its Hurricanes, New Mexican Role in WWII, Home Crafts: Breadmaking, Literature: Portrayal of Black Men, John Fowles' Journals, Balkan War in Fiction, Bubonic Plague in English Literature, Gutcheon' Leeway Cottage, The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-century English Literature, Science: The Promise of Ecological Design, Sustainable Living, How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease, Philosophy: Platonic Aesthetics, Politics: South Park Conservatives, Religion: American Buddhist Poetry, Feminist Mystical Theology, Occult Alternative History, Dating Christian-style, Science Fiction: Impinging Dimensions, Sports: Richard Petty, Jackie Kennedy Onassis as Horseback Rider, Travel: A Book for Francophiles – or Francophobes, Driving the Alaska Highway

The New Vision: Fundamentals of Bauhaus Design, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture by László Moholy-Nagy, translated by Daphne M. Hoffmann (Dover Publications, Inc.)

One of the most important schools for architecture, design, and art in the twentieth century, the Weimar Bauhaus included among its distinguished membership László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), a great innovator of the European avant-garde and one of the most fertile experimental artists of his day.

The New Vision, an introduction to the aims of the Bauhaus movement, was designed to inform laymen and artists about the basic elements of Bauhaus. A painter and sculptor, Moholy-Nagy experimented widely with photography during the 1920s when he taught at the Bauhaus. During that period he developed a theoretical approach known as the ‘new vision’ – a method in which he used photography to expand his audience's knowledge and perception. The term also serves as the title of the book.

Illustrated with examples of students' creative experiments and typical contemporary achieve­ments, the text expands upon Moholy-Nagy's ‘new vision’ theoretical approach.

Revised and expanded in 1947, the text contains an autobiographical sketch, "Abstract of an Artist," included in the present edition.

…an able and important contribution to a most vital subject. – Saturday Review of Literature

[The New Vision] has proved to be more than a personal credo of an artist. It has become a standard grammar of modern design. – Walter Gropius

Generously illustrated with black and white photographs, The New Vision is a clearly presented, valuable introduction to the Bauhaus movement.

Arts & Photography

Art and Time by Philip Rawson, edited by Piers Rawson (Fairleigh Dickenson University Press) is a work of ideas, not abstract theory or pure art history.

Philip Rawson, in Art and Time shows how time is a fundamental element in our perception of the arts. He proposes an integrated framework within which to explore and appreciate the subtleties and complexities of this essential key to the reading and understanding of meaning in art.

Following an exploration of the ways art can differ from ordinary empirical objects, while still being rooted in direct human experience, Rawson distinguishes the different levels of artistic creation.

Rawson (1924-1995) was Dean of the School of Art and Design, Goldsmith's College, University of London; a Fellow of the Royal College of Art, and a sculptor and fine-art draftsman. His son, Piers Rawson, the editor of this book, with a doctorate in art history, is a photographer, artist, and writer.

The analysis in Art and Time ranges from examination of imagination and time, symbolic representation of time and the time-related implications of constructing and experiencing art, to our intuitive response to the transcendent realm where time and meaning are intricately involved in our final reading of the artwork. Important concepts covered include: the nature of time as the sum of diachronic and synchronic states; the roles of analogy and metaphor; the time-relative values of art materials and the vocabulary of artistic making, expression, and invention; memory and diachronic tactile experience; and the cultural and spiritual resonances that shape our engagement with both explicit and implied manifestations of time in art. Recognizing its special character in this context, a separate chapter is devoted to photography.

Readers are offered clear guidance in the methods artists, working with structural forms, iconography, and the technical resources of their media, can use to incorporate time as an integral element of their creation. To complement this aspect, the process of reading artworks is discussed, both as a time-based intellectual activity, and as a way of accessing each work's fullest meaning more intuitively. This approach enables readers to interpret and experience more actively their encounters with the arts, whether contemporary, from less familiar cultures, or from the more distant past. The book includes fifty-four black-and-white illustrations.

Art and Time offers wide-ranging insight into the aesthetics and philosophies of time across different artforms, cultures, and periods. Intended for both arts practitioners and anyone wishing to extend their understanding of the creative process and its underlying principles, the book reveals the interplay of art and time from technical execution and formal invention to the spiritual and intuitive. It opens up fresh possibilities for artists to develop their work in new directions, and for readers to engage with artworks, including architecture, drawing, sculpture, painting, and photography, in challenging and fulfilling new ways.

Arts & Photography / Social Sciences / Civil Rights / African Americans

Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore by Charles Moore, with text by Michael S. Durham, with an introduction by Andrew Young (The University of Alabama School of Law)

Most of Charles Moore's civil rights photography originally appeared in the weekly Life magazine, for which he freelanced from 1962 to 1972. Moore, who in 1989 received the first Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact Photojournalism in recognition of his coverage of the civil rights struggle, was the only photographer inside the administration building at the University of Mississippi on that September night in 1962 when rioters fought to prevent the enrollment of James Meredith the following morning. He photographed Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958, while being arrested by two unsuspecting police officers in Montgomery , Alabama . He followed the Freedom Marchers from Chattanooga through Georgia and into Alabama in 1963.

That same year he was in Birmingham when Bull Conner, the city's police commissioner, turned dogs and fire hoses onto black demonstrators. He photographed the savage beatings that took place on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in 1965, and then followed the ultimately successful marchers, including both local people and national celebrities, on the long walk from Selma to Montgomery . “By this time,” writes Michael S. Durham, a former Life reporter who provided the accompanying text for Powerful Days, “[Moore] had been in so many trouble spots that he could characterize Selma rather casually as ‘a bit of a racist town, not as bad as many others’.”

Mr. Moore's stark, crisp photos of freedom marchers beset by police dogs and fire hoses . . . helped to shape the nation's conscience. . . . [This book] contains many images that will be wrenchingly familiar to those who lived through the proud moral turning point in American history, and that might serve to inspire younger generations. – New York Times Book Review

Alabama photographer Charles Moore documented one of the most painful chapters of American history – the civil-rights movement. Powerful Days is powerful stuff. The freedom marchers look as heroic as Iwo Jima Marines fighting their way up a mountain – which is just about what they had to do. – Newsweek

Every once in a while we receive a well-documented treasure of American history. This collection is such a treasure. . . . [ Moore 's] black-and-white photos of that era are classics of photojournalism, and as Powerful Days documents, those classics have lost none of their force and energy. – Southern Living

Powerful Days is a dramatic record of a painful yet inspiring era in American and southern history – there are few Americas who would not recognize Moore's most famous photographs – even if they have never heard of Charles Moore. His images of the civil rights movement have become, and remain today, internationally known icons – vivid, searing portraits of pivotal moments in the struggle for racial equality in the American South. This book brims with these moving images, bringing back the intensity of those days for those who lived them, and teaching a new generation about an important part of America ’s history.

Biographies & Memoirs / North Carolina

Confessions of an Outer Banks Filly by Sybil Austin Skakle (The Chapel Hill Press, Inc.)

To little Sybil, observing the world from the porch of her family's house above her father's store in the middle of Hatteras Village, North Carolina, in the 1930s, life was inventive and wonderful – little girls rolled hoops, played bob jacks, licked nickel ice cream cones on hot days, built tents from the fifty-pound burlap bags the chicken feed was delivered in, and – if they were very lucky – scored a direct hit on the head of one of their daddy's customers when they spit carefully through a knot hole in the porch floor.

In Confessions of an Outer Banks Filly by Sybil Skakle, who for more than twenty years served as a pharmacist for the Durham County Hospital, readers find out about her pre-dawn swimming lessons in a red wool bathing suit with Miss Maude, the town's Postmaster; little girls singing endless rounds of ‘Frankie and Johnnie’ on the front porch; breakfast at the dining room table with their feet in the tidewater during a hurricane; and a ghost who played the piano in the middle of the night.

The Great Depression, a Hatteras Christmas, the Hurricane of 1936, recipes for Poor Man's Cake and Hatteras Island Pone Bread, outdoor toilets, Monday washday – the smallest details combine to create an idyllic picture of life in a fishing village of five hundred souls back when all a child needed to have a good time was an imagination.

In Confessions of an Outer Banks Filly author Skakle evokes memories of simpler times. Readers old and young alike will be delighted at the evocation, done with warmth and charm.

Arts & Photography / Biographies & Memoirs

Frederick Hart: Changing Tides with a foreword by Frederick Turner and an essay by Michael Novak (Hudson Hills Press) is a comprehensive look into the life and talent of a classical sculptor whose passion for the spiritual and figurative aspects of art are represented in both his public commissions and private work.

Frederick Hart's sculpture – traditional in its adherence to the human figure, radical in its sensuality, and innovative in its materials is the subject Frederick Hart. In 256 pages and with more than 220 illustrations, it demonstrates how Hart (1943-1999) brought about a resurgence of interest in the human figure and in the idea of beauty.

The sculptor's working process is documented in photographs that show the Daughters of Odessa as a clay maquette, in progressive clay versions and scales, and in the culminating versions in bronze and clear acrylic resin.

With a foreword by Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas , Dallas , former editor of the Kenyon Review, the book sheds light on Hart's early, monumental interpretation of the Creation, which graces the west facade of Washington National Cathedral. Previously unpublished correspondence and documents from between 1968 and 1984 illuminate Hart's sixteen-year journey from obscurity to renown, as he created the most successful body of editioned sculpture of the past century by an American artist.

In the book’s opening essay, Michael Novak, distinguished educator and author, George Frederick, Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., writes, "The work of Frederick Hart is changing the world of art," vindicating the artist's strong belief that with the new century would come changing tides in the style, form, and direction of the arts. In November 2004 the President of the United States awarded posthumously the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the government, to Hart, "For his important body of work including the Washington National Cathedral Creation sculptures and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial's Three Soldiers which heralded a new age for contemporary public art."

Beautifully illustrated, the dramatic, large-format monograph Frederick Hart is essential reading for anyone interested in the rebirth and development of figural sculpture in America . As Robert Chase says in the preface, this intimate view into his life may guide readers to a more complete understanding of Hart as an individual who never abandoned his convictions about art and beauty. This volume also makes an excellent gift for the discerning art connoisseur.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Rational Choice and Judgment: Decision Analysis for the Decider by Rex Brown (Wiley-InterScience)

Decision analysis (DA) is the logic of making a decision using quantitative models of the decider's factual and value judgments. DA is widely used in business, government, medicine, economics, law, and science. However, most resources present only the logic and models rather than demonstrating how these methods can be effectively applied to the real world. Rational Choice and Judgment offers a different approach to decision analysis by focusing on decision-making tools that can be utilized immediately to make better, more informed decisions.

Examining how deciders think about their choices, Rational Choice and Judgment provides problem-solving techniques that not only reflect sound modeling but also meet other essential requirements: these techniques build on the thinking and knowledge that deciders already possess; they provide knowledge in a form that people are able and willing to provide; they produce results that the decider can use; and they are based on intimate and continuous interactions with the decider. The methods outlined in this text take into account such factors as the use, the user, the organization, available data, and subjective knowledge.

Rex Brown, Distinguished Senior Fellow in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University , who has forty years of experience in top-level decision consulting, begins with the basics. The text advances progressively, enabling readers to develop, and then use, more sophisticated decision-making skills that can be applied in both public and private enterprise, including:

  • Modeling decision-making under conditions of uncertainty or multiple objectives.
  • Risk analysis and risk assessment.
  • Facilitating group decision-making.
  • Making personal life choices and political judgments.
  • Economic analysis of competitive and strategic decisions.

Simple decision-making models are integrated into the thinking process to add logical rigor. Readers are given the chance to apply their new skills to resolve real-life problems. Replete with exercises, case studies, and observations from the author's own extensive consulting experience, the book engages readers and enables them to master decision analysis by doing rather than simply reading. Using familiar situations, readers learn how to handle knowledge as it unfolds in the real world. The cornerstone of Rational Choice and Judgment is a term project presented in the final chapter, where readers can pick an actual decision-making problem and apply their newfound tools to prepare a recommendation. A sample student report is provided in the Appendix.

This book takes an innovative approach to decision analysis that moves away from cumbersome, quantitative methods to give students and professionals decision-making tools that can be applied immediately. The broad applicability of Rational Choice and Judgment makes it an excellent resource for any organization or as a textbook for decision-making courses in a variety of fields, including public policy, business management, and systems engineering.

Business & Investing / Human Resources

The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook: Tips, Tools, and Tested Methods for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches by Roger Schwarz, Anne Davidson, Peg Carlson, Sue McKinney (Jossey Bass Business and Management Series: Jossey-Bass)

Since it was first published in 1994, The Skilled Facilitator has become a landmark book in the field. Written by Roger Schwarz, an organizational psychologist and president of Roger Schwarz & Associates, The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches – anyone whose role is to guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential.

With the contributions of Anne Davidson, Peg Carlson, and Sue McKinney, consultants with Roger Schwarz & Associates, The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook is based on the same proven principles outlined in Schwarz’s groundbreaking book. The book offers the tools, exercises, models, and stories to help facilitators develop sound responses to a wide range of challenging situations.

The book is filled with suggestions, exercises, and examples for creating effective relationships, teams, and organizations. It includes tips, model interventions, worksheets and templates that readers can use. Step by step, the book provides practical guidance for introducing the ground rules and guidelines for engaging in deep-level interventions.

Roger Schwarz and his coauthors are meticulous in their guidance for facilitators, consultants, coaches, and leaders everywhere. They dissect our encounters with each other and help us recognize what works, what doesn’t, and what we might do about it. This is a book to return to again and again. – Geoff Bellman, author, The Consultant’s Calling and Your Signature Path

Anyone who strives to lead more effectively will find this book a treasure trove of tips and tools. Whether you’re an executive or small team leader, a parent or a politician, The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook will be the reference you reach for to increase your capacity to lead. – Karen Thomas-Smith, global training and development director, SAS

This book provides the tools, techniques, and actual experience to truly practice shared leadership. Roger Schwarz and his colleagues provide not only the theory but the practical, hands-on experience required to develop high performance teams. – Jay Hennig, vice president, Moog, Inc.

The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook truly provides the reader with an understandable ‘root cause’ perspective on why people interact the way they do and the means to create change. It goes way beyond the ‘memorize these rules’ approach advocated by many practitioners. – Sid Terry, director organization development, NA Manufacturing, Kraft Foods

The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook spans the full scope of the successful Skilled Facilitator approach and includes information on how to get started and guidance for integrating the approach within existing organizational structures and processes. The book is a practical resource and reference for trainers and human resource personnel to help them build their facilitation skills.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place by John Abrams, with a foreword by William Greider (Chelsea Green Publishing Company)

You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed. – Ken Kesey

There is a revolution going on in corporate America , and social entrepreneurship is leading the way. Rejecting the myth that short-term profits are the only indicator of business health and wealth, John Abrams shows how building a company to serve the needs of people – employees and owners, – community, and the environment can lead to lasting business success. 

Socially responsible investments have grown exceptionally in the same year that ‘moral values’ determined a presidential election. So why has business been so slow to catch on? In The Company We Keep small business owner and entrepreneur John Abrams, cofounder of South Mountain Company (SMC), a 30-year-old, employee-owned design and building company on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, makes a case for a return to workplace values, and shows how to profit by them.

The Company We Keep sets down a framework for a model of employee ownership and community involvement that has piqued the interest of entrepreneurs around the country. The chapters pivot on eight cornerstone principles that may be effective building blocks for other businesses:

Chapter 2: Cultivating workplace democracy. In 1987 Adams restructured from a sole proprietorship to an employee-owned cooperative corporation, making ownership available to all employees. The responsibility, the power, and the profits belong to the group of owners.

Chapter 3. Challenging the gospel of growth. A cherished business doctrine is that growth must be a primary business purpose: ‘grow or perish’ is a mostly unquestioned truth. South Mountain favors certain kinds of growth, but not expansion for its own sake, which author Edward Abbey has described as "the ideology of the cancer cell."

Chapter 4. Balancing multiple bottom lines. SMC assigns priority to a collection of bottom lines while consigning the traditional single bottom line – profit – to its appropriate role as a vital tool that serves the others.

Chapter 5. Committing to the business of place. South Mountain has a long-term investment in the small island community where they work – all their eggs are in one geographical basket. With all its strengths and weaknesses, assets and problems, this is the place that must serve as a laboratory for their experiments with small business.

Chapter 6. Celebrating the spirit of craft. In all that SMC does, craft is the essential unifying concept. Although Adams says the joy of his own work is in its variety – the thing that inspires his work is the craftsmanship he see around him.

Chapter 7. Advancing people conservation. The Vineyard has a serious affordable housing crisis. The island's captivating charm is culpable. The affordable housing story is about people conservation and about sustainability. People conservation is the essential complement to land conservation. Can the housing problem be fixed? They have decided, as a company, to invest heavily in the notion that it can.

Chapter 8. Practicing community entrepreneurism. SMC has attempted to use the financial resources and the web of relationships that derive from their work to help solve community problems and to encourage a better future for the place where they live and work. They bring an entrepreneurial approach to these efforts, taking risks and learning from both their public failures and small successes.

Chapter 9. Thinking like cathedral builders. Their view of time is squarely at odds with short-term business thinking. The work of SMC will continue for generations. They try to think about their work as the cathedral builders thought about theirs, building for generations.

With a craftsman's eye, a storyteller's sensibility, and a CEO's pragmatism, Abrams argues for broader and deeper measures of success, questioning widely held assumptions about commerce and democracy. He brings thirty years of experience to bear on the tremendous opportunities and challenges faced by small business owners and employees in the places they work.

John Abrams is a philosopher disguised as a businessman. His chapter challenging the gospel of growth ought to be read by every business person struggling to keep up with a crushing workload, and wondering why we're all so determined to grow bigger faster when it's killing us (and the planet). John shows how we can step off the treadmill and back into life. – Marjorie Kelly, editor of Business Ethics magazine and author of The Divine Right of Capital

John Abrams is not only one of my favorite builders on the planet, he's also one of my favorite thinkers. In this age of mergers and acquisitions, where bigger is always better, and money is the only bottom line, The Company We Keep offers hope for those of us who value craft, compassion and community. By devoting the same level of craft to their business that they do to their buildings, John Abrams and his fellow employee owners have created a remarkable construction company that ranges from crafting second homes for the wealthy to building subsidized housing for the decidedly unwealthy. – Kevin Ireton, editor of Fine Homebuilding

There is a kind of magic that creeps up on the reader. Abrams has written the memoir of one small place – the company – but the story keeps opening the readers mind to larger, even cosmic thoughts about the nature of life and experience, the conditions of our country. – William Greider, author of The Soul of Capitalism and Who Will Tell the People?

Part visionary business plan, part guide to democratizing the workplace, and part prescription for strong local economies, The Company We Keep marks the debut of an important new voice in American business. With a craftsman’s eye, a storyteller’s sensibility, and a CEO’s pragmatism, he brings his experience to bear on the challenges faced by progressive small businesses everywhere. Like Paul Hawken, Ray C. Anderson, and other socially responsible business leaders, Abrams explores the role of business in preserving and restoring local culture, social equity, and ecological balance.

Children’s / Ages 4-8 / War & Remembrance

America's White Table by Margot Raven Theis, illustrated by Mike Benny (Sleeping Bear Press)

The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation. – General George Washington

The White Table is set in many halls as a symbol for and remembrance of service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit. For more than 30 years, this tradition, virtually unknown in the civilian world, has served in mess halls and at military events.

America's White Table describes one family's tradition of setting a white table for the absent guests at their annual Veterans Day dinner. In it Margot Raven Theis, professional writer of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and children’s books, with the help of award-winning photographer, Mike Benny, pays tribute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and those whose spirits live beyond the chains of their prisons. The author salutes them with the POW flag motto: You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains.

As a special gift to her Uncle John, Katie and her sisters are asked to help set the white table for dinner. As their mother explains the significance of each item placed on the table, Katie comes to appreciate the depth of sacrifice that her uncle, and each member of the Armed Forces and their families, may be called to give. Crossing generational and political lines, the POW story of Uncle John is not based on any one particular story but rather, compiled from different service members’ acts of heroism during the Vietnam war to represent every branch of the military, and be a universal sign of brotherhood for all MIAs and POWs.

An outstanding work that presents a fairly ‘heavy’ topic so that youngsters can understand it. It's well-done and worth the read by any ‘kid,’ including us youngsters who are on social security. – Paul Galanti, Commander, United States Navy (Ret.) POW Vietnam , 1966-1973

It's hard for children to understand the suffering that adults sometimes must go through to protect our families and friends that make up America . This story, about a veteran that has not come home after a war, visually paints a picture that children can understand and will increase their appreciation for how expensive freedom is. – Leo Thorsness, Colonel, United States Air Force (Ret.) Medal of Honor recipient, POW Vietnam, 1967-1973

In time for Memorial Day, this thought-provoking and moving new children's book tackles tough time in American history: America's White Table tells a powerful story of remembrance...important for Americans of all ages. For children, this book is an important lesson in American history. For adults, this book may cause us to revisit an emotionally charged period of recent history and reexamine our own feelings and reactions. Artist Benny's intimate, detailed artwork gives a sense of meaning and shared experience.

Children’s / Humor

Mr. Tuggle's Trouble by LeeAnn Blankenship, illustrated by Karen Dugan (Boyd’s Mills Press)

Poor Mr. Tuggle is having a bad week.

Mr. Tuggle's Trouble was written by LeeAnn Blankenship, teacher and social worker in children’s services, foster care and adoption and illustrated by Karen Dugan, children’s books illustrator.

Mr. Tuggle’s troubles all begin on Monday, when he can't find his hat, which would have been mighty handy when that pigeon flew over his head. But the missing hat is just the start of Mr. Tuggle's week. From then on, each morning begins with the promise of a new day, and each day brings more trouble to Mr. Tuggle.

The troubles continue all week long, until on Thursday evening, when he sees his reflection in a window without hat, umbrella, shirt or shoes, and finally gets it: “Enough is enough,” he says, “I must find my missing things.”

LeeAnn Blankenship's comic tale Mr. Tuggle's Trouble features an endearing, Chaplinesque character, brought to life with madcap illustrations by Dugan. The book has a clear moral – ‘keep your things in order’ – an important lesson for children, humorously made.

Children’s / Science / 5 and up

Guts: Our Digestive System by Seymour Simon (Harper Collins Publishers)

  • Why is it important to chew one’s food?

  • How long it takes for food to travel through the body?

  • Where does that bad-smelling gas come from?

The digestive system is out of sight and out of mind – until things don't go right. Then readers may wonder how these important organs work.

Young readers can find the answers in Seymour Simon's introduction to the digestive system Guts. Simon, recognized authority on presenting complex scientific topics to children, explains how the digestive system works twenty-four hours a day, turning pizza, sandwiches, milk, and other food into energy, nutrients and waste. Photographs on every spread show how major organs including the stomach and intestines move food through the body, and how, eventually, waste is eliminated.

Dozens of fascinating factoids can be found in Guts. Accompanying the text are nineteen full-color photographs of various parts of the digestive tract. Ranging from the microscopic view of a salivary gland to the wonderfully nauseating shot of a mucus covered esophagus, these pictures make it easy for readers to visualize what actually happens to their lunch.

Simon has done more than any other living author to help us understand and appreciate the beauty of our planet and our universe. – Kirkus Reviews

Large, detailed, breathtaking photos... students will find the book fascinating as well as a bit gross. – School Library Journal

In his signature style, accessible without being cute or condescending, he describes the complex facts and processes of the physiology, from the time food enters the mouth until all the various organs transform it into energy, nutrients, and waste. Some of the text is quite dense, but the clearly labeled, full-page color photos show the anatomy close-up, from an X-ray of the colon and a photo of a dissected pancreas to a microscopic view of what heartburn looks like in the stomach. … Readers older than the target audience may want to look at this, too. – Hazel Rochman, Booklist

Guts, with its striking photos and smooth, well-organized text, takes the mystery out of something that happens to everyone, every day, while at the same time sharing a sense of wonder about the human body. Young scientists will delight in learning all about the digestive system through Simon's scientific, yet accessible, writing style. Guts is a great supplementary source for classrooms, as well as the perfect tool for children to discover more about how their own bodies work.

Education

Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems (3rd Edition) by Patrick J. Schloss, Maureen A. Smith, Cynthia N. Schloss (Allyn & Bacon)

Public education as conceived by the founders of this country has not fulfilled its promise for individuals with disabilities. Even so, according to Patrick and Cynthia Schloss, both of Bloomsburg University , and Cynthia Smith of Buffalo State College, public education has substantially improved the basic academic skills of individuals with disabilities. Children and youth previously excluded from academic programs and served only in custodial and compensatory programs are now progressing through elementary levels of mathematics, reading, and writing.

The problem is that a gap exists between the acquisition of basic academic skills and the application of these skills in work, leisure, and independent living. This gap results in part from excessive reliance on methods generalized from elementary-aged populations to secondary-aged learners. This over-reliance is exemplified by the frequent use of the term ‘disabled children’, where ‘children’ includes individuals at intermediate and secondary levels. It is also exemplified by curricula having a developmental orientation that overlooks the functional application of basic skills. Furthermore, it is exemplified by the lack of attention given to the special problems of adolescence and adulthood in special education methods courses.

Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems was written to help fill this gap. It describes special education methods that are effective in promoting skills that may generalize to adult life. The book has an empirical orientation to special education. The basic teaching model described in the text can be used to evaluate learner characteristics, establish corresponding goals and objectives, imple­ment educational strategies that have been demonstrated to be effective in applied research literature, evaluate the impact of the procedures with the individual learner, and modify educational interventions when sufficient progress is not noted.

Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems pays special attention to the following topics:

  • Unique psychosocial problems of adolescents.
  • Community resources available to young adults who have disabilities.
  • Curriculum needs related to basic skill development and community integration.
  • Special social and interpersonal skill training priorities of young adults who have disabilities.
  • Post-secondary educational, leisure, vocational, and residential opportunities.
  • Validated learning strategies for adolescents and young adults who have disabilities.
  • Classroom management and motivational strategies that reflect the personal characteristics associated with adolescence.

The third edition of Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems is organized into three main parts. The first deals with educational perspectives of instructional services for youth who have disabilities. The chapters in this part of the book focus on the legislative and social foundations of secondary and postsecondary education, postsecondary service options, and special problems associated with adolescence and adulthood.

Part Two examines general instructional approaches that are effective in teaching secondary-level learners who have disabilities. It opens with a discussion of three instructional models that illustrate how to provide instruction for youth with disabilities. It is followed by a discussion of assessment strategies that will ensure learner progress through instruction. The next chapter presents strategies for managing the learning environment. The concluding chapter of this part presents some consultative and resource functions of educators working with adolescents who have disabilities.

Part Three includes a description of special education methodologies at the secondary level and curricula within each of the major curricular areas. Each chapter reviews specific curriculum concerns, educational approaches, assessment procedures, and instructional materials. One of the main themes here is that curriculum objectives should be based on the skills of the learner and the functional demands of the community.

The methodology in each of the specific curricular areas is based on the general instructional strategies presented in the preceding chapters. The final chapters cover some traditional topics such as listening and speaking, written language, reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. Also covered are nontraditional curricular areas that are particularly appropriate for adolescents making the transition to adult life, including leisure skill training, vocational education, and interpersonal skill development.

Special features

  • The chapters begin with cognitive competencies. These statements outline the scope of the information contained in the chapter.
  • The chapters also begin with separate performance competencies. These statements identify specific strategies discussed in each chapter.
  • Action plans occur throughout the chapters. They draw attention to performance by offering a step-by-step guide to implementing educational strategies.
  • Cases for action provide an opportunity for readers to study and resolve hypothetical problems. They are typically open-ended vignettes that may be resolved through information contained in the text.
  • Technical terms, necessary for an understanding of key concepts, are defined.

A textbook written to help fill the gap between the acquisition of basic academic skills and the application of these skills in work, leisure, and independent living. It describes special education methods that are effective in promoting skills that may generalize to adult life. The volume is divided into three parts: educational perspectives in secondary special education; general instructional approaches; and instruction in basic and functional skills. – Book News, Inc.

Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems is unique in its focus on the special needs of intermediate- and secondary-aged learners. Upon completing the text, readers will be able to develop and implement educational programs suited to the special needs of adolescents and young adults who have disabilities. The distinctive features, especially the action plans and cases for action, enhance the value of Instructional Methods for Secondary Students with Learning and Behavior Problems as both a course text and a reference.

Education / Reading / Reference

Teaching and Learning Vocabulary: Bringing Research to Practice edited by Elfrieda H. Hiebert & Michael L. Kamil (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers)

Although proficiency in vocabulary has long been recognized as basic to reading proficiency, there has been a paucity of research on vocabulary in teaching and learning over the last two decades. Recognizing this, the U.S. Department of Education recently sponsored a Focus on Vocabulary conference that attracted the best-known and most active researchers in the vocabulary field. Teaching and Learning Vocabulary is the outgrowth of that conference. Edited by Elfrieda H. Hiebert, University of California , Berkeley and Michael L. Kamil, Stanford University , Teaching and Learning Vocabulary presents scientific evidence from leading research programs that address persistent issues regarding the role of vocabulary in text comprehension. Part I examines how vocabulary is learned; Part II presents instructional interventions that enhance vocabulary; and Part III looks at which words to choose for vocabulary instruction.

The authors identified scholars whose programs of research address one or more of these issues and were recognized by national panels and editorial boards of archival journals. Scholars were asked to summarize their findings, including studies that were ongoing, and to describe the implications of these findings for educators, policy makers and researchers. Many of the scholars consider the nature of vocabulary learning in relation to diversity that is present in many current-day classrooms. The editors report that the educational leaders who attended the forums were a compass for the editors in editing the volume and in designing their research programs.

Teaching and Learning Vocabulary addresses the full range of students populating current classrooms – young children, English Language Learners, and young adolescents.

By focusing on persistent issues from the perspective of critical school populations, this volume provides a rich, scientific foundation for effective vocabulary instruction and policy. In addition, few volumes can boast of a more luminous cast of contributing authors. Teaching and Learning Vocabulary is suitable for anyone (graduate students, in-service reading specialists and curriculum directors, college faculty, and researchers) who deal with vocabulary learning and instruction as a vital component of reading proficiency.

Environment / Social Sciences / Hispanic American Studies

Mexican Americans and the Environment: Tierra Y Vida by Devon G. Peñā (The Mexican American Experience Series: The University of Arizona Press)

Mexican Americans have traditionally had a strong land ethic, believing that humans must respect la tierra because it is the source of la vida. As modern market forces exploit the earth, communities struggle to control their own ecological futures, and several studies have recorded that Mexican Americans are more impacted by environmental injustices than are other national-origin groups. In our countryside, agricultural workers are poisoned by pesticides, while farmers have lost ancestral lands to expropriation. And in our polluted inner cities, toxic wastes sicken children in their playgrounds and homes.

Mexican Americans and the Environment explores the relationship between ecology and culture in the Mexican American experience, showing students its relevance in the context of environmental risks that affect all of us. Written by Devon G. Peña, professor of anthropology, environmental studies, and Chicano studies at the University of Washington , it addresses the struggle for environmental justice, grassroots democracy, and a sustainable society from a variety of Mexican American perspectives. The book draws on the ideas and experiences of people from all walks of life – activists, farmworkers, union organizers, land managers, educators, and others – who provide an overview of the ecological issues facing Mexican-origin people today.

Mexican Americans and the Environment is organized to first provide a general introduction to ecology, from both scientific and political perspectives. It then presents an environmental history for Mexican-origin people on both sides of the border, showing that the ecologically sustainable Norteño land use practices were eroded by the conquest of El Norte by the United States . It finally offers a critique of the principal schools of American environmentalism and introduces the organizations and struggles of Mexican Americans in contemporary ecological politics.  

Several studies have recorded that people of Mexican and Latin American descent are more impacted by environmental injustices than are African Americans, yet the literature and history of the environmental justice movement has struggled to give an account of this fact. Pena's book is a serious contribution to this crisis in the literature.... It will prove invaluable to the field of environmental justice studies generally, but more specifically to environmental studies, environmental geography, and environmental philosophy. – Robert M. Figueroa, Colgate University

Mexican Americans and the Environment is an environmental history on both sides of the border providing a clear overview of the most critical ecological issues facing Mexican Americans. Peña contrasts tenets of radical environmentalism with the ecological beliefs and grassroots struggles of Mexican-origin people, then shows how contemporary environmental justice struggles in Mexican American communities have challenged dominant concepts of environmentalism. Let’s hope the dominant paradigm takes a lesson from our growing minority.

Families & Parenting

What All Children Want Their Parents to Know: Twelve Keys to Successful Parenting by Diana Loomans, with Julia Godoy, with a foreword by Dr. Bernie Siegel (An H. J. Kramer Book, New World Library)

Missing manuals and nannies aside, there's hope for today's chronically challenged parent.

Parenting and education expert Diana Loomans is out to help today's harried parents connect with and lovingly raise their children in an increasingly hectic world. In What All Children Want Their Parents to Know, Loomans, speaker, bestselling author, journalist, and success coach, along with daughter and co-author, Julia Godoy, actor, author, poet, and artist, turn to children for the keys to successful and positive child rearing.

Focusing on 12 key childrearing lessons based on insight from children themselves, What All Children Want Their Parents to Know encourages moms and dads to do things like ‘teach by example’, ‘give appreciation and acknowledgement’, ‘allow room to grow and make mistakes’, and ‘practice true listening.’ Building on the introductory What All Children Want Their Parents to Know poem she wrote with her daughter, Loomans breaks the verse into short stanzas to outline the principles covered in each chapter. Each opens with a child's statement of what he or she needs and wants from a parent. Then, using examples from her personal experience, Loomans shows how each statement reflects an important parenting principle. Closing each chapter, parents are given playful, easy exercises designed to help them work the idea into their individual approach.

"There are basic positive parenting principles that your children want you to know – even if they don't express it the way you think they should," says Loomans, creator of The Laughing Classroom programs. Starting with the idea that a well-balanced adult has much more attention, energy, and love to share than an adult who is stressed, overworked, or overextended, Loomans maintains, "The image of using an oxygen mask on an airplane is fitting – only the adult who takes in enough oxygen first can be helpful to the young who are dependent on him or her for life support."

Full of wisdom and an excellent resource for perplexed parents who care. – Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles

Diana Loomans's work is inspired. She is one of the brilliant, relevant authors of our time! – Mark Victor Hansen, coauthor of The One Minute Millionaire and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

What All Children Want Their Parents to Know is the ultimate nourishment for the family soul. Diana's wise insights and practical ideas will transform millions of families – she is a family coach extraordinaire! – Marci Shimoff, author of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Using the collective voice of children and to express the desires they most want the significant adults in their life to be aware of, What All Children Want Their Parents to Know is a perennial that parents will find themselves turning to time and time again to refresh and invigorate their parenting skills. Loomans makes learning seem casual and fun, and comes across less like an expert and more like a fellow parent sharing the wisdom she has gained through the everyday realities of raising children.

Health, Mind & Body / Christianity

A Resilient Life: You Can Move Ahead No Matter What by Gordon MacDonald (Nelson Books)

It makes little difference how fast you can run the 100 meters when the race is 400 meters long. Life is not a sprint; it is a distance run, and it demands the kind of conditioning that enables people to go the distance. – Gordon MacDonald

At a young age, Gordon MacDonald recognized that he had inherited a ‘quitter's gene,’ and because of this – and an influential track coach – he began a lifelong quest for answers. "Why," he asked himself, "do some people finish what they start, persevere in moments of adversity, push themselves in the direction of their potential, and often make their greatest contributions in the latter half of life? Why do others expect to retire from life when they reach their senior years?"

Veteran pastor and best-selling author MacDonald in A Resilient Life says readers must develop resilience – the courage and ability to get up when they fall, to keep running when they're bone-weary, and to keep their eye on the goal even in the murkiest moments. Using the backdrop of his own experiences as a champion runner, MacDonald demonstrates how resilient people practice spiritual self-discipline to build stamina and grit, know what's up ahead, what obstacles they will likely face, and bond with special friends who share their commitment to finishing well.

Using examples from the Bible, from his own life, and from the lives of contemporary people, MacDonald, who is now editor-at-large for Leadership journal and chairman of World Relief, identifies the characteristics of resilience, leading readers through the self-assessment needed to develop them. The journey is demanding and humbling, he reminds readers, but the rewards of living well are immeasurable.

MacDonald offers sage advice to Christians in middle age and beyond, asserting that the greatest contributions God has for believers come during the second half of life. The prolific author and pastor tells how a high school track coach instilled values that laid the foundations for effective adult living.…Those who nurture a big-picture view of life, he says, leave the weight of the past behind, discipline themselves to go the distance and run with a ‘happy few’ who best embody the truest expression of lasting friendship. MacDonald's guide to embracing resiliency is especially practical as he describes running the entire life race with gusto, urging fellow Christians to enlarge their minds, harness their emotions and trim their egos. With a passionate yet humble voice, MacDonald's self-help guide is a classic, riveting read. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

In A Resilient Life, MacDonald shows readers how to develop resilience – the mental and spiritual ruggedness that can keep them running strong, day upon day. Because he has also run many long, punishing laps in the tough race of life, MacDonald is uniquely qualified to coach and encourage readers in developing that resilient spirit – to weather adversity, to finish what they start, and to never be satisfied with anything short of God's best for them.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Understanding and Treating the Aggression of Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits by David A. Crenshaw & John Mordock (Jason Aronson)

A Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children by David A. Crenshaw & John Mordock (Jason Aronson)

Two authors with a combined experience of over 50 years in the residential treatment of severely aggressive and traumatized children, David Crenshaw, Ph.D., founding director of Rhinebeck Child and Family Center in Rhinebeck, New York and John Mordock, Ph.D., ABPP, retired director of community mental health programs of the Astor Home for Children, have written two empathic books on working with aggressive children which can be read as a set or separately.

Understanding and Treating the Aggression of Children provides a thorough review of the theoretical and research basis of the techniques and interventions in the treatment of aggressive and sometimes violent children. This is not a dry and sterile academic review but rather one that comes from work directly in the therapy room with thousands of hurting and traumatized children. Early on, Crenshaw and Mordock introduce the  metaphor of the fawn in a gorilla suit, followed by chapters covering developmental failures and invisible wounds, profound and unacknowledged losses, the implication of new findings from neuroscience, psychodynamics of aggressive children, risk factors when treating the traumatized child, special considerations when treating children in foster care, strengthening relationships with parents and helping them be more effective, enhancing relationships with direct care and instructional staff, developing mature defenses, and coping skills, creating a therapeutic milieu for traumatized children, and fostering hope and resilience.

Understanding and Treating the Aggression of Children is a splendid and important addition to the clinical literature in this vital, yet relatively neglected, domain of child therapy. Its excellence lies in its lucid and concise depiction of the ingredients that go into the 'creation' of such children and its forthright yet subtle ideas as to 'how to best treat them.' It beautifully depicts how the insidious 'unholy trinity' of loss, voicelessness, and shame combine to create the 'fawn-like' underlying personality structure of these children. …This book should be in the library of any child clinician working with seriously troubled youngsters – it is engagingly written, compellingly astute, and unstintingly helpful in its approach. – Steve Tuber, Ph.D., City University of New York at City College

This first of two volumes is a comprehensive A to Z guide for clinicians who work with aggressive and violent children. It covers a wealth of information from understanding the underlying causes through developmental failures and recent findings from neuroscience, along with psychodynamic formulations on through to special considerations to treatment and working with parents. The authors close with a chapter on fostering hope and resilience that gives us all hope in working with such a difficult population. This book makes an important contribution to the field of child therapy and needs to be included in professional and personal libraries. – Athena A. Drewes, Psy.D., RPT-S, The Astor Home for Children

The second book, also by Crenshaw and Mordock, focuses on the use of play therapy in treating these children. A Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children is the most comprehensive and detailed compilation of specific and practical techniques available for child and play therapists to draw on in the treatment of aggressive children. The chapters cover the nuts and bolts of play therapy with this extremely challenging clinical population, including the therapeutic alliance, aims of play therapy with aggressive children, setting limits on destructive, and obtrusive behaviors, typical play themes of aggressive children, developing distancing and displacement through playful actions and through teaching, modeling, and structuring action play. Other chapters cover: creating more mature defenses and calming strategies, the role of interpretation, elementary and advanced concepts; spontaneous drawings as a bridge to fantasy play, specific drawing techniques to create access to the inner world of children, teaching and modeling pro-social skills with special emphasis on empathy, teaching the language of feelings, facilitating affect expression and modulation, facilitating contained reenactment of trauma, helping children to mourn tangible as well as intangible, unacknowledged and invisible losses. Later chapters cover: the therapeutic process and techniques to facilitate termination. The Crenshaw and Mordock introduce the ‘Play Therapy Decision Grid’, which is a creative and original way to guide the therapist into the levels of therapy best suited for the child at any given point based on the child's resources and the anxiety engendered by the therapy.

A treasure chest of ideas for healing the psychic wounds of aggressive, latency-age children. Highly recommended. – Charles E. Schaefer, Ph.D., director emeritus, Association for Play Therapy

Dr. David Crenshaw and Dr. John Mordock have written an extremely informative handbook for child and play therapists where anger and aggression are the major presenting problems. As therapists, we are seeing more and more children where these dynamics exist. This book is filled with practical case examples that directly address therapeutic interactions with these children that the authors have termed 'fawns in gorilla suits.' These authors are obviously two very gifted, sensitive clinicians who offer many years of experience to therapists who are confronted with the aggressive child. This book is a definite 'must' for all clinicians who work with the aggressive child. – Lois Carey, MSW, BCD, RPT-S , New York Association for Play Therapy

A 'must-have' addition to any professional or personal library. – Athena A. Drewes, Psy.D., RPT-S, director of clinical training, Astor Home for Children

One cannot read Understanding and Treating the Aggression of Children without being deeply moved and touched by the pain of these children and yet also be buoyed by their courage and willingness to persevere against formidable barriers. This book, together with A Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children, will be invaluable to new as well as seasoned child practitioners because of the broad range of the interventions and the clear rationale that guides their use.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Revised and Expanded Edition by Katharine A. Phillips M.D. ( Oxford University Press)

When do normal concerns about one's appearance become an obsession?

Jane is an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, tall, thin, and stately. She believes she is breathtakingly ugly. Tormented by what she sees as her huge nose, crooked lip, big jaw, fat buttocks, and tiny breasts, she has not left her house in six years. Though she lives in the same house as her mother, she once went two years without seeing her. When relatives come over, she avoids them, staying up on the third floor of the house, even on Thanksgiving. The one time she left the house – forced to see a doctor – she covered her face with bandages. Eventually, she attempted suicide. “I can't imagine any suffering greater than this. If I had a choice, I'd rather be blind or have my arms cut off. I'd be happy to have cancer.”

Jane has body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. In The Broken Mirror, Dr. Katharine Phillips draws on years of clinical practice and detailed interviews with patients to bring readers the first book on this debilitating disease, in which sufferers are obsessed by perceived flaws in their appearance. Phillips describes severe cases, such as Jane's, but also a multitude of milder cases, such as Carl, a successful lawyer who uses his work to distract him from his supposedly thinning hair, yet says that he thinks about it constantly. Many sufferers are able to function well in society, but remain secretly obsessed by their ‘hideous acne’ or ‘horrible nose,’ sneaking constant peeks at a pocket mirror, or spend hours at a time redoing makeup. According to Phillips' research, BDD afflicts approximately 2% of the population, or nearly 5 million people. It is not an uncommon disorder, simply a hidden one, since sufferers are often embarrassed to tell even their closest friends about their concerns: one woman, after fifty years of marriage, still felt too uncomfortable to reveal her preoccupation to her husband.

Left untreated, BDD can lead to psychiatric hospitalization and sometimes suicide. With treatment, many sufferers are able to lead normal lives. Phillips, director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Body Image Program at Butler Hospital in Providence , Rhode Island , and professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School , provides a quick self-assessment questionnaire, helping readers distinguish between normal concern with appearance and the obsession of BDD to determine whether they or someone they know has BDD. She includes warning signs for dermatologists and plastic surgeons, since they are the medical professionals who see BDD sufferers most often as they continually seek to ‘fix’ their looks. Other chapters outline effective treatments for BDD using drugs and cognitive-behavioral therapy, answering often-asked questions about treatments. Finally, Phillips includes a chapter aimed at the friends and families of BDD sufferers.

This revised and expanded edition of The Broken Mirror provides updated information from recent research that sheds new light on this serious illness. Like the original, this edition draws on Phillips' years of clinical practice and scientific research, including professional evaluations of approximately 900 individuals with BDD. This edition also includes four indispensable, updated chapters that provide the latest information on treatment of BDD – including treatments that should be avoided – and give detailed advice for family members and friends on how to cope with the disorder.

An important and seminal work. It breaks new ground. – Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, M.D., University of Texas

Dr. Phillips' book is a landmark in the recognition and treatment of imagined ugliness. This book, beautifully written, provides a great deal of hope for patients with body dysmorphic disorder and their family members and should help speed recovery for countless sufferers of this common, fas­cinating, and disabling illness. – Eric Hollander, M.D., Mount Sinai Medical Center

… If one thinks that BDD might simply be a new age coinage for vanity, Phillips makes a convincing case for taking a second look by drawing on years of clinical practice, research, and patient interviews. The evidence demonstrates that the obsession often causes sufferers to attempt suicide or become house bound and can be linked to eating disorders and depression. Suggesting new treatment methods (therapy, Prozac) and methods of assessing BDD, Phillips legitimizes a serious malady that many sufferers keep secret. – Book News

The revised and expanded edition of The Broken Mirror is the most comprehensive book on BDD and is written by the leading expert on this disorder. The Broken Mirror is essential reading for the psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and other physicians who see these often undiagnosed patients; for the friends and family concerned and upset by a loved one who won't believe their reassurances; and for the millions who suffer from BDD in silence and secrecy. Besides the fascinating story of the disease itself, The Broken Mirror is also a literally lifesaving handbook for sufferers, their families, and their doctors. Family members, profoundly affected by the disease themselves, will find both helpful advice and reassurance in this indispensable book.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Emotional Storm by Michael Eigen ( Wesleyan University Press)

When two personalities meet, an emotional storm is created. – W. R. Bion

We cannot avoid these storms, and this could be for the best. Although human relationships can cause feelings of fulfillment and comfort, they can also cause feelings of suffocation and rage. Our bonds with others are often forged through conflict, and such conflict should be embraced, according to Michael Eigen, who is in private practice in New York and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at New York University .

In his new book, Emotional Storm, Eigen discusses how the storms of life are integral to our humanity. The birth of a child disrupts a couple's emotional harmony. Labor and delivery pain the mother. Sons can threaten a father's relationship with the mother. And fathers can hurt daughters by giving sexual bear hugs. But even with such potential emotional storms, children need parents to survive and adults can enrich their lives with children. As Eigen puts it, "We try to free ourselves from, as well as enjoy, each other's desires. We need each other's desires to grow, but feel stifled by their impositions."

When one avoids emotional storms, denying chances to work out conflict, they may find other outlets to vent their pain and frustrations. Addictions and violence are common outcomes for those who have not faced the conflicts in their personal relationships. These outcomes effect more than the individual – they affect society at large. "You can't stop the world from being dangerous," Eigen says. But we can learn to cope with danger by slowing down and acknowledging emotional conflict. Such conflicts chisel away at our smugness and pride, and cause us to question our own beliefs and actions. Resolving these conflicts bring about a renewed faith in the value of human relationships and the human capacity for empathy.

Eigen's latest work is an X-ray of the emotional underbelly of our contemporary world. A passionately moral work written with searing honesty, exemplary self-reflectiveness, and a respect for human complexity. – Jeffrey Rubin, author of The Good Life

Emotional Storm is a remarkable work, a tour de force. Eigen has lucidly, articulately, and eloquently put into unforgettable prose some of the most important clinical themes in contemporary psychoanalysis. – James S. Grotstein, Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine

The prolific writer of eight previous books,… Eigen believes in trauma's creative force, that the darkest parts of our experience and selves, if accepted and held, rather than avoided, can open us up and lead to rebirth. … Dedicated to "storm survivors, storm transformers and those who live and work in storm's heart," Eigen's latest work succeeds as a spiritual probe, a book to dip into if one is inclined toward complex, deepening journeys. – Publishers Weekly

Emotional Storm is psychoanalyst Eigen's provocative, profound and illuminating new work. In the tradition of Martin Buber, Eigen explores the broad spectrum of emotions we experience in our relationships with others, from feelings of longing and fulfillment to starvation, suffocation, and blind rage. Weaving case studies and psychoanalytic theory into an integrated, complex understanding, Eigen shows us how the storms of life are critical to our human bond, integral to our humanity, and instrumental to our growth and development.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Notes from the Margins: The Gay Analyst’s Subjectivity in the Traditional Setting by Eric Sherman (Bending Psychoanalysis Series, Volume 3: The Analytic Press, Inc., Publishers)

Much has been written about the impact of gender and sexual orientation on the intersubjective field. Yet remarkably little has been written about the unique dilemmas faced by gay clinicians who treat patients of different genders and sexual orientations. Given the particularities of growing up gay in our culture, issues of secrecy, shame, alienation, difference, and internalized homophobia necessarily enter into any gay therapist’s developmental history. These factors have a shaping impact on the gay analyst’s sensibility, on the way he learns to listen to his patients.

In Notes from the Margins, Eric Sherman, faculty member and supervisor at both the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, NYC and the Contemporary Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies at Farleigh Dickinson University , reveals a wide range of subjective reactions to eight different patients. In detailed clinical vignettes that highlight his thoughts, feelings, personal history, and counter-transference struggles, he conveys the experiential immediacy of working as an analyst – as a gay analyst.
Notes from the Margins is meant to defy one's usual expectations of a psychoanalytic text. The book's purpose, its format, even the way it came into being – nothing about it is traditional. It was conceived when Jack Drescher, editor of TAP's Bending Psychoanalysis series, invited Sherman to do a book about what it is really like to work as a gay psychoanalyst. Toward that end, Sherman would have to be willing to open up and show his work in all its messiness and allow himself to be vulnerable before the entire analytic community.

Sherman says he felt compelled to take on the project – in the last few years, two formerly overlooked and seemingly unrelated currents have captured the attention of contemporary psychoanalysts: (1) The importance of the analyst's subjectivity as it shapes the therapeutic interaction, and (2) The role, in treatment, of patient's and therapist's gender and sexual orientation. Yet, even as books and journal articles have explored these trends, two vital areas have been largely ignored – areas that Notes from the Margins addresses.

First, little has been written about the unique dilemmas homo­sexual clinicians face when seeing patients of different genders and sexual orientations, especially gay analysts' most intimate counter-transference responses. Second, too many articles, even those written within the author’s relational perspective, treat the analyst's counter-transference as a neat and seamless variable. Counter-transference is usually presented as a feeling or attitude that the therapist can easily reflect on and overcome with just the right intervention, even in the heat of tense moments. While this may sometimes be the case, few articles or books capture the more common and intense struggles all therapists face. Often left out is how our very humanness – our backgrounds, personalities, morals, and the personal meanings of our sexual orientation and gender – can confound, torment, and even misguide us. As a result, many working psychoanalysts may feel ashamed, inadequate, or foolish about their ‘imperfect’ work. More troubling is that many students of psychoanalysis are given the erroneous impression that a day may eventually come when they will be free of their counter-transferences – or that they can entirely master them.

Notes from the Margins is an attempt to correct those impressions by providing a glimpse of a gay analyst's unique subjectivity in the clinical setting. Certainly, all therapists' subjectivities are shaped by their sexual orientation and sense of gender. However, when the therapist is gay, and his history is replete with issues of secrecy, shame, alienation, difference, and internalized homophobia, he inevitably brings a unique way of listening to his patients. By presenting detailed clinical vignettes that highlight Sherman ’s thoughts, feelings, personal history, and counter-transference struggles with different patients, he offers a glimpse inside the workings of the analyst's mind.

As for the format of Notes from the Margins, theoretical and clinical material are presented separately. Chapters 3 through 9 are each devoted to telling a compelling case history, filled with action and unencumbered by immediate theoretical discussion. The clinical cases are book-ended by two chapters (2 and 10) that provide the theoretical underpinnings that inform my work.

Chapter 2 begins with an examination of the role of counter-transference, starting from Freud, and then focusing on contemporary models of psychoanalysis. How therapists understand and use their counter-transference is crucial to the outcome of any treatment in the relational model. By being in touch with their own feelings toward a patient, therapists develop a unique understanding of the patient's complementary feelings. In this way of working, enactments are inevitable and even welcome. They provide a distinctive glimpse inside the patient's internal world, as well as into the intersubjective field cocreated by patient and therapist.

In chapter 3, the first clinical account, for example, Sherman presents his work with Jose, a gay man whose effeminacy evoked discomfort and homophobia in him. The more Jose lisped and fluttered his hands as he spoke, the more distant and judgmental Sherman says he became. As an effeminate older man, he was everything Sherman was afraid being gay meant when he first began his own coming-out process. It was not until Jose challenged Sherman during a particularly meaningful enactment that he could see just how painful – and familiar – his distancing had become for him. Sherman ’s working through his fears of being like Jose was a turning point in the treatment.

Chapter 4 highlights Sherman ’s work with Rich, an insecure straight man whose aggressive posturing was in stark contrast to Jose's ‘fluttery’ effeminacy. Chapter 5 introduces the theme of sexual excitement by presenting two cases of erotic counter-transference with heterosexual pa­tients. In chapter 6, Sherman ’s fantasies about being a loving heterosexual father embroiled him in an enactment with a new mother who brought her baby to session for seven months. In chapter 7, Sherman present his work with a middle-aged gay virgin. Chapter 8 finds Sherman feeling aroused by a photograph a gay patient brought in of himself in a bathing suit. Chapter 9 also touches on Sherman ’s sexual excitement, this time for a gay man who enacted with him his domination and submission fantasies.

Notes from the Margins’s final chapter discusses specific dilemmas that the gay analyst faces in working with heterosexual and homosexual clients alike; it puts into context the clinical chapters that precede it. Sherman examines how the gay analyst is not immune from feelings of internalized homophobia that come from growing up in a society in which being gay means one is saddled with a sense of difference and shame. How he struggles with these feelings makes all the difference between deepening the therapy and getting stuck in an impasse.

Sherman is a sensitive clinician, courageous in the candor with which he shares his own experience of the therapeutic relationship. His clear-eyed honesty and gifted narrative style take you into the office with him and his patients; there he shares his own feelings in the delicate and profound human contact that is the therapeutic encounter. Notes from the Margins is a gem, compact enough to be read in one sitting but comprehensive enough to be on my short list of books to recommend to students as well as seasoned colleagues. – Ralph Roughton, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Training and Supervising Analyst, Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute

Notes from the Margins is not only an illuminating overview of the special challenges faced by gay and lesbian analysts, but a window to grasping the messy realities intrinsic in the psychotherapeutic process. Although Sherman is not the first author to write thoughtfully about working in the counter-transference, he is among the few to portray analytic work, particularly in the working through of enactments, as an untidy affair, marked not only by success but also by the blind spots and insecurities that contribute to failure. In presenting these cases, readers get a real sense for how Sherman understands and works with his subjectivity as it intermingles with that of the patient.

Sherman has made Notes from the Margins accessible to all readers, regardless of their sexual orientation. Every analyst – gay, bi­sexual, or straight – struggles with issues around shame and guilt, hiding and being seen, and Notes from the Margins not only gives therapists permission to have these feelings, it shows them how to utilize them in the treatment. This glimpse inside Sherman ’s consultation room is sure to stimulate discussion, self-reflection, and even criticism. By sharing his process, readers may feel freer to do the same.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Behavioral Sciences

Learning and Behavior (6th Edition) by James E. Mazur (Prentice Hall) is a comprehensive survey describing the basic principles, theories, controversies, and experiments in the field of learning.

Focusing on both classic studies and the most recent developments and trends, Learning and Behavior deals with how people and animals learn, and how learning impacts behaviors. The emphasis throughout is on the importance of learning principles in everyday life.

James E. Mazur's text examines how learning takes place everywhere, by animals of all species and people of all ages. Introducing students to key research from the field, Mazur, professor at Southern Connecticut State University, uses pedagogical tools to help readers comprehend and apply the material. Learning and Behavior introduces readers to the branch of psychology that deals with how people and animals learn and how their behaviors are later changed as a result of this learning. This is a broad topic, for nearly all of our behaviors are influenced by prior learning experiences in some way. Because examples of learning and learned behaviors are so numerous, the goal of most psychologists in this field has been to discover general principles that are applicable to many different species and many different learning situations. Learning and Behavior describes some of the most important principles, theories, controversies, and experiments that have been produced by this branch of psychology in its first century.

Learning and Behavior is designed to be suitable for introductory or intermediate level courses in learning, conditioning, or the experimental analysis of behavior. No prior knowledge of psychology is assumed, but the reading will be easier for those who have had a course in introductory psychology. Many of the concepts and theories in this field are fairly abstract, and to make them more concrete and more relevant, Mazur has included many real-world examples and analogies. In addition, most of the chapters include sections that describe how the theories and principles have been used in the applied field of behavior modification.

Chapter topics include classical conditioning, operant conditioning, avoidance and punishment, theories and research on operant conditioning, stimulus control and concept formation, learning by observation, and much more. Roughly speaking, Learning and Behavior proceeds from the simple to the complex, both with respect to the difficulty of the material and the types of learning that are discussed. Chapter 1 discusses the nature of scientific theories and experiments, and it outlines the behavioral approach to learning and contrasts it with the cognitive approach. Chapter 2 first describes some of the earliest theories about the learning process; then it presents some basic findings about the physiological mechanisms of learning. Chapter 3 discusses innate behaviors and the simplest type of learning, habituation. Many of the terms and ideas introduced here reappear in later chapters on classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and motor-skills learning.

The next two chapters deal with classical conditioning. Chapter 4 begins with basic principles and ends with some therapeutic applications. Chapter 5 describes more recent theoretical developments and experimental findings in this area. The next three chapters discuss the various facets of operant conditioning: Chapter 6 covers the basic principles and terminology of positive reinforcement, Chapter 7 covers schedules of reinforcement and applications, and Chapter 8 covers negative reinforcement and punishment. Chapters 9 and 10 have a more theoretical ori­entation. Chapter 9 presents differing views on such fundamental questions as what constitutes a reinforcer and what conditions are necessary for learning to occur. Chapter 10 takes a more thorough look at generalization and discrimination than was possible in earlier chapters, and it also examines research on concept formation.

Chapter 11 surveys a wide range of findings in the rapidly growing area of comparative cogni­tion. Chapters 12 and 13 discuss two types of learning that are given little or no emphasis in many texts on learning – observational learning and motor-skills learning. These chapters are included because a substantial portion of human learning involves either observation or the development of new motor skills. Readers might well be puzzled or disappointed (with some justification) with a text on learning that includes no mention of these topics. Finally, Chapter 14 presents an overview of behavioral research on choice.

This sixth edition includes a number of changes, both to help students learn the material and to keep the information up to date. Each chapter now begins with a set of learning objectives to help students identify the main concepts they should learn in each chapter. In addition, two practice quizzes are included in each chapter so students can test themselves and see how well they have mastered the main points of the preceding sections. This edition is also updated with new studies that reflect recent developments in the field.

Supplements accompanying Learning and Behavior:

  • Instructor's Manual with Test Questions
  • Computerized Test Bank
  • PowerPoint slides available online
  • Students can access online study tools at the text Companion Website
  • E-Text is available at a deep discount online.

Widely acclaimed for its thoroughness and clarity, this contemporary survey of the field of learning offers comprehensive coverage of both classic studies and the most recent developments and trends – with an emphasis on the importance of learning principles in everyday life. Many real-world examples and analogies make the often abstract concepts and theories of the field more concrete and relevant, and most chapters include sections that describe how the theories and principles have been used in the applied field of behavior modification. And this edition still has the clear and engaging writing still for which Mazur is known.

Learning and Behavior is targeted at individuals with an interest in psychology – especially learning, conditioning, and the experimental analysis of behavior.

History / Americas / Civil War

Richmond's Wartime Hospitals by Rebecca Barbour Calcutt (Pelican Publishing Company) is an in-depth study of medical care during the Civil War.

Almost every comfort we have nowadays in nursing was absent from the beginning and towards the last the hospitals were unspeakably lacking in needfuls. – Volunteer Nurse at Winder Hospital

While medical science enjoyed several advances during the Civil War, the doctors and hospitals in the Southern states faced overwhelming casualties with few supplies and inadequate personnel. By focusing on facilities in Virginia ’s capitol, Rebecca Barbour Calcutt in Richmond's Wartime Hospitals illustrates how exhausted resources defeated the doctors’ efforts.
Doctors attempting to deal with the carnage wrought by the Civil War faced more difficult challenges than the sheer number of the wounded. Fought at the very end of what is now known as "the medical Middle Ages," the Civil War predated modern knowledge of bacteria and antiseptics. Doctors, who were then deemed fully trained after only a two-year course of study, had few diagnostic tools at hand beyond their own reckoning.

Calcutt, who is both an historian and a registered nurse, has served as a docent for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and a licensed tour guide for both the city of Charleston and Middleton Place Plantation in Richmond .

Richmond's Wartime Hospitals illustrates how exhausted resources rapidly defeated Southern doctors' heroic efforts. The book covers more than fifty hospitals located in Richmond , Virginia ’s capital, during the Civil War period, including each facility's location, dates of operation, and surgeon-in-charge. This thoroughly researched study includes staff records and other archival material. Where archival information was available, Calcutt includes detailed descriptions of the buildings, first-person accounts of day-to-day operations, and other historical anecdotes, making the book particularly fascinating in its depth to arm-chair Civil War specialists.

History / Americas

Las Vegas: A Centennial History by Eugene P. Moehring & Michael S. Green (Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History: University of Nevada Press)

Las Vegas is many things to many people.

The meteoric rise of Las Vegas from a remote Mormon outpost to an international entertainment center with a sprawling metropolitan area of well over a million people was never a sure thing. In its first decades, the town languished, but when Nevada legalized casino gambling in 1931, Las Vegas met its destiny.

Las Vegas celebrates the city's unparalleled growth in the brief century of its existence. The book, written by Eugene P. Moehring, professor of history at the University of Nevada , and Michael S. Green, professor of history at the Community College of Southern Nevada , examines both the development of its gaming industry and the creation of an urban complex that over a million people proudly call home. Here are the colorful characters who shaped the city as well as the political, business, and civic decisions that influenced its growth. The story extends chronologically from the first Paiute people right up to the construction of the latest mega-resort, and geographically far beyond the original township to include the several municipalities that make up today's vast metropolitan Las Vegas area.

Las Vegas has become an icon of gambling and leisure, attracting more than 35 million visitors annually, more than Orlando , more even than Mecca in Saudi Arabia . To most of these visitors, it is ‘Sin City,’ the ‘City without Clocks,’ where ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’To the people who live here – over 1.7 million of them according to the 2000 census, and more arriving every day – the metropolitan Las Vegas area is where they work, raise families, go to school, and dream the same dreams and live the same lives as their fellow Americans all over the country. That the city's major industry involves an attitude unappreciated by puritans of all stripes – the pursuit of pleasure in all its forms – does not contradict the fact that the majority of Las Vegans earn their living in ordinary workplaces like offices, shops, and construction sites, and in the same vast range of occupations and professions that other Americans pursue.

Las Vegas commemorates the centennial the establishment of Las Vegas – by chronicling, analyzing, and celebrating the city in all its diversity and paradox, and by describing how the city's residents effected its dramatic transformation in less than a century. Moehring and Green look at more than the Strip, which is a recent phenomenon – its first hotel, the El Rancho Vegas, opened on April 3, 1941 – and technically is not even in the City of Las Vegas , which stops at Sahara Avenue , where the Strip begins. Federal intervention in the 1930s, along with the happy combination of geology, geography, and technology, made Las Vegas the national gateway to Boulder Dam. This project, with its infusion of federal money, supplies, and workers from all over the country, plus the interest the project created, began to shift the little town's economy slowly toward tourism.

World War II completed the process. Federal spending was again crucial to the city. The construction of a giant magnesium plant and the instant suburb of Henderson , the establishment of an army gunnery school near what later became North Las Vegas , and the creation of numerous military bases and defense plants in neighboring California and Ari­zona began to flood the growing casino center on Fremont Street with vis­itors. During the war, Las Vegans increasingly realized that tourism and gambling, not railroading, would be their salvation. Additional stimulus for growth came from federal defense spending during the cold war, especially at Nellis and the Nevada Test Site.

In Las Vegas, Moehring and Green trace the development of Las Vegas 's twin gambling centers on the Strip and downtown. They also explain why the Strip never joined the city, and why the Strip eventually grew larger than the city that inspired it. The book covers all the major events in the city's history, including the more recent ones like the housing boom in master-planned communities, the Disneyfied architecture of the Strip's newest resorts, and Mayor Oscar Goodman's plans to diversify downtown's economy. It also offers material with which many are less familiar, such as a discussion of the Ku Klux Klan's presence in Las Vegas during the 1920s and 1930s, and provides a frank and detailed account of the battle for civil rights in both the community and the gaming industry, in a city whose rigid and restrictive racial policies made it known for many years as ‘the Mississippi of the West.’

Las Vegas not only provides an account of metropolitan development; it also engages in some policy analysis to show that many of the issues that residents grapple with today have deep historical roots in the community. For example, it shows that growth has always been expen­sive in Las Vegas . In every decade after 1930, residents recognized that population growth was welcome, but it was also expensive, requiring frequent bond issues to finance new streets, sewers, water lines, schools, libraries, and other infrastructural improvements. The book examines the political fragmentation of the metropolitan area into three cities (four, counting Boulder City ) and one county with multiple police and fire departments and explains why, for historical reasons, this wasteful situation will probably never change.

Las Vegas tells both stories – the story of the flamboyant people, shrewd businessmen-gamblers, and colorful industry that built the Strip and its worldwide reputation as ‘ Sin City ,’ and the story of the metropolitan area around it that grew parallel to and partly because of the success of gambling and entertainment. As the city enters its centennial year and celebrates its prodigious growth in the breathtakingly brief span of a single century, the book explains why and how Las Vegas accomplished this growth and how it got to be the way it is today.

Las Vegas offers fresh insight into the process of city building in the American West, where urban needs and aspirations must contend with water scarcity, isolation, erratic economies, highly diverse populations, and the rocky relationship between the need for civic order and the Western spirit of independence.

History / Americas

When in Boston: A Time Line & Almanac by Jim Vrabel (Northeastern University Press)

Ever wondered about whether Captain Kidd actually turned up in the Bay State ?

…or when the Great Fires or the Molasses Flood occurred?

Curious who how the Green Dragon, Doyle’s, and the Warren Tavern became such notable pubs and meeting places?

The answers to these and countless other questions can be found in When in Boston, a colorful history of the Hub.

Arranged on a timeline, with an extensive bibliography, thorough index, and abundant illustrations, When in Boston is a long overdue, single-volume chronicle of Boston over the centuries. Jim Vrabel, Senior Research Analyst and Editor at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, delves into the most significant, entertaining, and unusual events in Boston history, in categories ranging from population, planning, and development, to politics, religion, and social change, to education, the arts, and sports. Information is drawn from the canon of books on Boston history, media sources, neighborhood historical associations, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Boston Public Library, as well as the Bostonian Society. Readers revisit Boston's most intriguing people, places, and events, from the Algonquin Indians, to the African American Meeting House and Bulfinch’s State House, to the Swan Boats, Blinstrub’s, Cheers, Fenway Park, and the Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge, to Josiah Quincy, Martin Lomasney, Louise Day Hicks, and Tom Menino.

Anyone who cares about Boston is going to wear out this book – so buy at least two copies! I predict that it will become a fixture in every library, school, and tavern in the town, so that whenever a dispute about our history arises someone will declare: "Nuff said. Let's look at When in Boston.” – William M. Fowler, Jr., Director, Massachusetts Historical Society

When in Boston is a breathtaking sweep of Boston 's history. In addition to being educational, the inclusion of offbeat happenings makes it refreshing and entertaining. From the year 1000 to the 21st century, the rich, unique social and political history of the ‘City upon a Hill’ evolves. And what an evolution! You cannot read this time line and almanac without becoming fired-up to reach for a biography or history book to plumb the depths beneath the facts presented here. Jim Vrabel has hit a home run. – Hubie Jones, Dean Emeritus, Boston University School of Social Work

When in Boston is a must-have for any Boston historian, librarian, or collector – and many other writers researching Boston history will use When in Boston as the starting point in their reference toolbox. – Ken Gloss, Proprietor, Brattle Book Shop

When in Boston, the only comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of its kind, provides a unique descriptive history of the city. As authoritative as it is user friendly, the book will prove an indispensable and handy tool for researchers, professionals, history buffs, residents, and tourists alike.

History / Americas

Men Against Granite by Mari Tomasi & Roaldus Richmond, edited by Alfred Rosa & Mark Wanner (The New England Press)

In the 1930s the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project hired authors across America to interview people from all walks of life. In Vermont , writers Maui Tomasi and Roaldus Richmond recorded the life stories of over one hundred Barre area residents, nearly all of whom had some connection to the granite industry. In the early decades of the twentieth century, quarrying and carving Barre stone was the lifeblood of the local economy, providing many with an income, but often at a fearsome cost: the health and even the lives of many workers.

Men Against Granite presents fifty-two stories, bringing to life the voices of a long-gone era. In it readers meet an operatic cast of characters ranging front the mayor to an itinerant peddler, from a lumber baron to a boarding house matron, as well as many stone workers, or their widows. They hear of family births and deaths, of the rise and fall of the granite industry, of carving stone and escaping the stonesheds, of the immigrant's life in Vermont and of families left behind in the Old Country.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Barre was the self-proclaimed ‘Granite Capital of the World’ and a true melting pot of ethnicities and cultures. The very qualities that made Barre granite so special exacted a fearful price from the men who worked with it, however. Some of the danger was readily apparent – quarry workers, for example, faced the difficulties inherent in boring, blasting, and lifting tons of hard, heavy stone. But those who did the jobs that required the least strength and the most artistry – the carving, the lettering, the polishing – were the ones who knew that their work would most likely kill them. As they worked on each stone, they raised clouds of silica-laden dust that day-by-day, year-by-year, tore their lungs apart. ‘Stonecutters’ TB’ they called it when the disease set in, guaranteeing a painful death at a young age.

The granite industry churned through the first two decades of the twentieth century as the dominant industry in central Vermont , but it was not invulnerable. A contentious strike in 1922 had a lasting negative impact on both employee morale and the quality of work produced in the ‘sheds,’ as centers of the stone-working operations were called. Then the Flood of 1927 destroyed much of central Vermont 's infrastructure. Finally, the Great Depression took its toll throughout the 1930s.

By the late 1930s, Barre residents faced a variety of uncertainties from within and without. Granite was still on everyone's mind, but the boom times were over. New suction devices took away the dust and helped ward off stonecutters' TB, but the equipment was expensive, making it more difficult to compete with inferior but cheaper memorials produced elsewhere. The Great Depression was easing, but work was still scarce and there were few signs of prosperity on the horizon. The war in Europe riveted the attention of the entire community. Writers from all over the country were unable to find work in traditional areas, so the Writers' Project paid them a small stipend to profile their communities through first-person interviews.

Benjamin A. Botkin, national folklore editor for the Writ­ers' Project, was horrified by the rise of fascism in Europe , so he charged his writers to find occupationally and ethnically diverse life histories to foster respect and tolerance for diversity in the United States . With such a mandate, Barre was the obvious choice – perhaps the only choice – for the Vermont writers.

Several writers contributed to the project, but two people, Richmond and Tomasi, saw it through. Richmond led the Writers' Project in Vermont . Tomasi, a journalist who grew up in Montpelier , knew the people, the granite industry, and the area, and she wrote most of the interviews. In the end, Richmond and Tomasi's prodigious effort went unsung; by the time they were ready to assemble the interviews for publication, the WPA was no longer ready for them. The country's entry into World War II in 1941 effectively ended government support of the Writers' Project, and Men Against Granite joined the huge vol­ume of interviews languishing unread and forgotten in govern­ment archives. Until now.

It is impossible to say what Men Against Granite would have looked like. Although the editors had access to much of the material that Richmond and Tomasi sent to the WPA, the final product – Men Against Granite – represents an exhaustive effort to present a good approximation of what might have been published sixty years ago. The interviews were initially recorded in a journalistic question-and-answer style, in which the interviewer takes a prominent role. Later in the project the interviews became narratives in which the interviewer disappears and the subject is given the spotlight alone. It is reasonable to surmise that this was the form requested by the WPA, as most of the interviews received and kept in Wash­ington DC are written in this manner.

The fifty-two interviews included in Men Against Granite were chosen from more than 120 original documents. It is the editors' belief that the retained interviews reflect the breadth of subject matter and style of presentation that would have been present in any volume published by the WPA.

This edition organizes the interviews into four groups: Town, Home, Quarry, and Shed. While these classifications do involve some sorting as described above – for example, only men worked in the quarries and sheds, and the home section contains predominantly women – they demonstrate the ways in which people with differing backgrounds and vocations interacted in Barre. The quarries and sheds were the focal points of the granite industry and attracted workers from around the globe. The town section collects interviews with the men and women who did not work with the granite itself but whose lives and livelihoods were nonetheless affected by the granite industry.

Alfred Rosa and Mark Wanner have done a masterful job editing the WPA interviews that Mari Tomasi and Roaldus Richmond gathered in Barre, Vermont. The memories, observations, and narratives in this fascinating volume resonate with the spirit and energy of a bygone age in the granite industry that has long symbolized the rugged nature of life in the Green Mountain State. – Kevin Graffagnino, Director, Vermont Historical Society

The interviews in Men Against Granite add up to a rare and marvelous thing – a large number of carefully crafted first-person perspectives commenting on a particular place and time. The interviews were originally intended to discourage fascism by increasing appreciation and tolerance for all ethnicities and cultures. Finally collected in book form approximately sixty years later, they still provide powerful lessons about our country and our heritage. In 1940 Men Against Granite was classified as folklore – now these interviews document history, and what a fascinating and important piece of Vermont history they present.

History / Middle East

When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy (DaCapo Press)

Today, the Middle East is above the fold on every newspaper's front page.

But to understand the Iraq of today, one must understand the Iraq of the eighth and ninth centuries – for the caliphs of Baghdad formed the social and political model for succeeding Muslim regimes. The ancient land of Mesopotamia – modern day Iraq – has given rise to the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires. But none surpassed the power and influence of the Abbasid caliphs on the banks of the Tigris River .

This ‘golden age of Islam’ was as significant to world history as the Roman Empire was in the first and second centuries. Islamic culture and enterprise stretched from Tunisia to India ; its legacy influenced politics and society for years to come. From the founding of the city of Baghdad in A.D. 762 to the end of the ninth century, the rule of the Abbasid dynasty was the zenith of Islamic conquest and influence. The caliphs of Baghdad formed the model for future regimes, from military conquests to court-sponsored poetry and literature, from building palaces to establishing court bureaucracies. Yet the true story of this fascinating empire has rarely been told outside the academic world.

So When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World is the story of the last time the world's attention was centered on Baghdad . Hugh Kennedy takes readers back to the city's glory days and the reign of the Abbasid dynasty, a time when Baghdad was the seat of power; a time of incredibly grand court life under Harun al-Rashid, and intellectual brilliance under his son al-Mamun. Kennedy, fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, introduces readers to the rich history and flourishing culture of the period, to the men and women of the lavish palaces at Baghdad and Samarra­the – caliphs, viziers, eunuchs, and women of the harem who populated the glorious days of the Arabian Nights. All elements of the book are drawn from the original Arabic texts.

… Kennedy's account is not a dry political chronicle but rather full of stories of love, sex, power, corruption, sibling rivalry and political intrigue – for which he makes no apology. … Combining academic rigor and accessibility, this is compelling reading for anyone concerned with the perils of power, the medieval Islamic legacy and the images that Baghdad continues to conjure in the modern imagination. – Publishers Weekly, starred review

…remarkable narrative history – London Times

A lively study...Nicely written, accessible history, rich in detail and most timely. – Kirkus Reviews

At once a look into Baghdad 's vibrant past and a take on one of history's most intriguing empires, When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World is a true tale of poetry and palaces, harems and human frailties – set against a backdrop of cultural refinement and military ruthlessness. This deftly woven narrative unveils an unforgettable portrait of a time and a place featuring larger-than-life rulers, exotic slave girls, inventive tortures, and enough court intrigue to frighten a Borgia. The book is also necessary reading for those who want to understand what’s going on in modern Iraq .

History / Military / World War II

The Journey Continues: The World War II Home Front by Wilbur D. Jones (White Mane Books) focuses extensively on the citizens of Wilmington , North Carolina and the surrounding area and their experiences in the armed forces and at home.

Written by Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., retired Navy Captain, assistant to President Gerald Ford, and professor at the Defense Systems Management College , The Journey Continues offers detailed accountings of Southeastern North Carolina 's contribution to the WWII war effort.

For numerous reasons, America ’s unique World War II wartime boomtown was Wilmington , the hub of southeastern North Carolina . The area, officially called "The Defense Capital of the State," contributed mightily to the national war effort. Thousands of area citizens fought on global battlefields. The area accommodated each military service, a shipyard mass-producing 243 cargo vessels, the state port, defense industries operating at capacity, and German prisoner of war camps. Two hundred Wilmington high school graduates received the Medal of Honor. Thousands of citizens fought on every global battlefield; 191 New Hanover County boys died. Strategically located, the area endured constant civilian defense alerts and restrictions, U-boats marauding offshore, and until 1944, the threat of German attack.

The county’s pre-war population of 43,000 swelled to around 100,000 with the influx of servicemen and war workers. Even as the casualty lists grew, entertainment and nightlife proceeded as usual. Romance ruled. The inevitable seedy side surfaced: prostitution, crime and black-marketeering flourished. For many young men and women, the war was the most exciting time of their lives.

The area’s diverse activities, complete absorption, and rise and fall were unequaled by any American city. How Wilmington managed the social, civic, jurisdictional, business, racial, and governmental complexities during its economic heyday is portrayed through hundreds of firsthand accounts and the daily newspapers. Emphasis in The Journey Continues is given to sons and daughters in military service, combat experiences, and those who gave their lives.

[A Sentimental Journey and The Journey Continues are] achievements worthy of history's Medal of Honor....A fascinating compendium of wartime America . – Susan Taylor Block, award-winning Southeastern N.C. Author & Historian

[Jones is] A master chronicler of events interwoven with comment and narrative to form a first-class piece of entertainment....A pleasurable exercise in nostalgia. – Lieutenant General James M. Lee, USA (Re.), Wilmington native & veteran of WWII, the Korean War & Vietnam War

A fascinating narrative meticulously researched and documented.... Powerful, sobering interviews....Definitely a wonderful addition to any library. – North Carolina Society of Historians

The Journey Continues extends the human interest story started in the acclaimed A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown, and further explores in greater depth the area's love stories, neighborhoods, economy, recreation, families and growing up in Southeastern North Carolina during WWII. The book gives much deserved recognition to those who died on the battlefields.

History / Politics / International / U.S.

The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century by Richard T. Arndt ( Potomac Books)

During the last five decades, U.S. cultural diplomacy programs have withered because of politics and accidents of history that have subordinated cultural diplomacy to public relations campaigning, now called ‘public diplomacy.’ With anti-Americanism on the rise worldwide, cultural diplomacy should become an immediate priority, but politicians continue to ignore this relatively inexpensive, age-old tool for promoting understanding among nations. Richard Arndt in The First Resort of Kings probes the history of American cultural diplomacy to demonstrate its valuable past contributions and to make a plea for reviving it for the future.

Cultural relations occur naturally between people in different nations as a result of trade, tourism, student exchanges, entertainment, communications, migration, intermarriage – millions of cross-cultural encounters. But cultural diplomacy only happens when a government decides to channel and to support cultural exchange through planned programs to promote broad national interests. In The First Resort of Kings, Richard T. Arndt, retired from the US Information Agency and teaching French at Columbia University , examines the first eight decades of formal U.S. cultural diplomacy, from its tentative beginnings in World War I through the 1990s. Arndt, who went to Dijon on a Fulbright fellowship and fell in love with the work and also a French girl, also compares America’s efforts with those of other nations and enriches his narrative by detailing the professional experiences of the men and women who have represented American democracy, education, intellect, art, and literature to the rest of the world. His work shows that this dialogue of American culture and education with the rest of the world is neither a frill nor a domestic political concern but is the deepest cornerstone of a positive, forward-looking U.S. foreign policy. Arndt argues that, particularly in the wake of the Iraq War, America must revive its cultural diplomacy programs as a long-term investment in international goodwill and understanding.

Never in the history of the republic have we Americans been so cordially disliked around the world. Never have we needed an effective strategy for cultural diplomacy more. In The First Resort of Kings Richard Arndt presents the neglected history of American cultural diplomacy, and his story is as accurate and engrossing as it is depressing. We desperately need to do better, and Arndt has some important advice about how and where we can improve. This is a valuable book for anyone who cares about improving America 's place in the world. – Stanley N. Katz, Professor of public and international affairs, Woodrow Wilson School , Princeton University

A massive and disturbing discussion of the bureaucratic politics and the general schizophrenia that have informed America 's attitude toward 'cultural diplomacy.' Richard Arndt gives us an insider's examination of the best, and the worst, official efforts to create a favorable image of the U.S. abroad. – Joseph Lapalombara, Senior research scholar and Wolters Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Management, Yale University

With twenty-four years of direct experience in America 's efforts at cultural diplomacy, Richard Arndt is adept at sorting out the petty bureaucratic struggles from the serious efforts of many talented practitioners to find an answer to the proper role of our government in this policy minefield. His broad intellectual background and his felicitous expression make him an ideal guide through this contentious field, and his many personal portraits of distinguished Americans in our recent history are a real treat. – Arthur Hartman, former US ambassador to France and the Soviet Union

The First Resort of Kings proceeds through a chronological narration of the growth of formal American cultural diplomacy starting with prehistory in 1776. It tells how the world has watched over the last four decades as U.S. cultural diplomacy has steadily declined. The book explains to Americans baffled by the cultural onslaught of an enraged Islamic fragment, how a loss of faith and trust has come to pass. The book may help us understand how, why and at what cost America discarded cultural diplomacy and it exists in large part with the hope that it may help bring it back to life.

History / Science / Natural Disasters

Tropical Surge: A History of Ambition and Disaster on the Florida Shore by Benjamin Reilly (Pineapple Press, Inc.) is a historical narrative covering many significant events in the history of south Florida , including the major developments and setbacks in the early years of Miami and Key West .

Tropical Surge tells the story of the dramatic battle between human ambition and the reality of the West Indian hurricane in south Florida from 1831 to 1935. By 1935, at least, the hurricane had won.

According to Benjamin Reilly, history teacher at Carnegie Mellon University ’s new overseas branch campus in Qata, the South part of Florida , from Miami to Key West , endured an unprecedented period of booms and busts during this era. Miami managed to grow from a tiny frontier outpost on Biscayne Bay to a bustling city, while Key West dwindled from an important southern port to an economically depressed little town.

Right from the beginning, Key West, grown wealthy from turtling, sponging and wrecking, dreamed of an ‘overseas’ railway to connect to the mainland – though at the time Miami was little more than a fort on Biscayne Bay. Then came Ralph Munroe and the ‘yachting set,’ and eventually Henry Flagler with his railroad. Meanwhile Key West rose and fell and rose again, still with dreams of that railway link. Then Flagler's dreams matched Key West 's and construction began on the world's ‘Eighth Wonder,’ the Overseas Railway down the Keys.

Ironically, around the same time Key West 's economy began a decline, pushed by the hurricane of 1919. Miami 's, however, grew to ‘boom’ proportions with the efforts of Carl Fisher in Miami Beach and George Merrick in Coral Gables . But the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 put an end to the boom (as well as almost the entire town of Moore Haven ). The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane put an end to the Overseas Railway with its great tidal surge. It would take a long time for Miami and Key West to rise once again to the status they enjoy today.

Tropical Surge, and engaging and well-written history, includes gripping narratives of the 1919, 1926, and 1935 hurricanes in south Florida and the Keys.

History / World War II

Silent Voices of World War II: When Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun by Everett M. Rogers & Nancy Bartlit(Sunstone Press) 

According to Silent Voices of World War II many seemingly separate events were related through the unique qualities of the arid, spacious land of New Mexico .

When World War II began, New Mexico had a population of 531,815 inhabitants, one of the least populated of the 48 states. However, despite its small population size, New Mexico and New Mexicans played crucial roles in military intelligence and secrecy, and in the scientific success that ended World War II in the Pacific. The United States government recognized the special potential of this sparsely-settled state for certain wartime activities – New Mexico provided an ideal site for the highly secret development and testing of the atomic bomb. New Mexico 's tri-ethnic culture included Navajo Indians, whose language, Dine, was only understood by 28 non-Navajos (none of them Japanese) – the Navajo language provided the basis for an undecipherable code in the Pacific War with Japan .

New Mexicans participated in the first ground warfare of World War II involving Americans. They were then involved in the Bataan Death March, as a New Mexico National Guard unit, the 200th Regiment, was stationed in the Philippines in 1941, where they were the first to fire on the Japanese attackers. Finally, an internment camp for some 4,455 Japanese Americans was located in Santa Fe , in part because of its relatively isolated location, at great distance from the West Coast states where the internees had lived. The stated purpose of this massive relocation and internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans was to prevent espionage and sabotage of West Coast military facilities in case of a feared Japanese invasion.

Written by Nancy R. Bartlit, longtime resident and community leader of Los Alamos and Everett M. Rogers, retired Distinguished Professor of the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of New Mexico , the purpose of Silent Voices of World War II is to describe the important role of New Mexico in the conduct of World War II. The book focuses on issues of intercultural communication, mainly the difficulties between New Mexicans and Japanese when they came in contact, often at the opposite ends of a weapon or through the barbed wire of a prisoner stockade. Their markedly different cultures led to mutual misunderstandings, heightened prejudice, and violent acts, with both the United States and Japan violating the Geneva Convention (such as by killing prisoners).

Because World War II ended so long ago, many of the participants in the events chronicled here are no longer available to tell their story. However, Rogers and Barlit found key informants who told them of their experiences. Their voices help to humanize the events of history which form the backbone of this book. The authors seek to provide voice to the quiet individuals, such as the Army enlisted men who actually fabricated the atomic bombs at Los Alamos , the troops of the New Mexico National Guard in the Philippines , and the Marine privates who were Navajo Code Talkers. Silent Voices of World War II utilizes the extensive historical record that is available in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and College Park, MD; the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington; the Niels Bohr Library, Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD; the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles; the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos; the Los Alamos Historical Museum; the Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library in Santa Fe; the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff; the Doris Duke Collection at the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library; the National Cryptographic Museum at Ft. Meade, MD; the Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington Naval Yard, Washington, D.C.; and the Oral History Archives at California State University Fullerton.

At last, a compelling, highly readable summary of New Mexico 's greatest contributions to World War II, often in the words of the very New Mexicans who lived it. – Richard Melzer, author of Breakdown: How the Secret of the Atomic Bomb Was Stolen during World War II

A fascinating and well-organized revelation of the many connections – human, military and technical – between New Mexico and the Pacific War. – Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of The Hydrogen Bomb, National Bestseller

Silent Voices of World War II is filled with paradoxes and strange turns of history. No other book connects such events as the Navajo Code Talkers, the Bataan Death March survivors, Japanese American internees, and the atomic scientists at Los Alamos . It is also noteworthy that the authors in Silent Voices of World War II provide a voice for the previously silent heroes: Special Engineer Detachment (SED) enlisted men and women at Los Alamos who actually fabricated the atomic bomb, Navajo Marine privates, National Guard enlisted men, and Japanese American internees. Their stories, obtained through personal interviews by Rogers and Bartlit to supplement the historical record, illuminate the patriotism, human suffering, and courageous humor in these important World War II events.

Home & Garden / Hobbies & Crafts

Easy Beading: The Best Projects from the First Year of Beadstyle Magazine by the editors of Beadstyle (Kalmbach Books) showcases the best projects from the first year of BeadStyle magazine in one hardcover volume.

Readers will find designs that can be made with all sorts of materials – glass beads, gemstones, pearls, crystals, metals, and more – in styles that range from classic to wild.

According to Mandy Brooks, founding editor, BeadStyle magazine, new beaders discover quickly that it's easy to make jewelry that looks professional. With a few tools and some beads, readers will be able to assemble their own fashions, and Easy Beading shows them how. The book provides

  • More than 140 projects from the first year of BeadStyle magazine.
  • Tempting jewelry for every occasion – necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
  • Step-by-step photos and instructions to help readers complete projects with confidence.
  • A "Basic Techniques" section.
  • Shortcuts to make beading easier.
  • Ideas and inspiration.

According to Easy Beading, “once you can string a few beads, crimp a clasp into place, tie a knot or two, and turn a wire loop, you can make beautiful, fashionable jewelry, the kind of jewelry that fills the pages of BeadStyle magazine. This focus on using a few simple techniques to make wonderful jewelry has been at the core of our concept for BeadStyle since our earliest planning meetings. Before the magazine had a name, it had a goal: to publish easy, how-to jewelry articles filled with great ideas, creative bead and color combinations, and endless inspiration. And we wanted this magazine to appeal to experienced beaders as well as beginners.”

The projects in Easy Beading are grouped according to the predominant materials used in each piece. Readers will find an assortment of jewelry – from a vivid red strawberry quartz necklace to a lustrous stick pearl bracelet to a fun and funky jewelry set made from metal washers. Each project has been tested by the editors to ensure that, even if readers have never strung beads before, they can complete it with confidence. And for those new to beading, there is a section addressing the tools, materials, and techniques crafters will use throughout the book.

These fast, fun fashions require little more than stringing, crimping, and, in some cases, easy wirework. For beginners and well as experienced beaders, with more than 140 projects, Easy Beading contains inspiration that goes the distance.

Literature & Fiction / African American

Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature by Jeffrey B. Leak (The University of Tennessee Press)

The portrayal of black men in our national literature is controversial, complex, and often contradictory. In Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature, Jeffrey B. Leak identifies some of the long-held myths and stereotypes that persist in the work of black writers from the nineteenth century to the present – intellectual inferiority, criminality, sexual prowess, homosexual emasculation, and cultural deprivation. Utilizing Robert B. Stepto's call-and-response theory, Leak studies four pairs of novels within the context of certain myths, identifying the literary tandems between them and seeking to discover the source of our culture's psychological preoccupation with black men.

Making use of interdisciplinary fields of study – literary theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, legal theory, and queer theory – Leak offers a new analysis of both canonical texts (representing the ‘call’ of the call-and-response dyad) and texts by emerging writers (representing the ‘response’), including Frederick Douglass and Charles Johnson, Ralph Ellison and Brent Wade, Richard Wright and Ernest J. Gaines, and Toni Morrison and David Bradley. Though Leak, associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina , Charlotte , does not claim that the ‘response’ texts are superior to the ‘call’ texts, he does argue that, in some cases, the newer work can address a theme or offer a narrative innovation not found in preceding texts. In these instances, argues Leak, the newer texts constitute not only a response to the call text, but a substantial revision.

The first chapter, "A Crisis in the Male Spirit: Slavery, Masculinity, and the Myth of Black Inferiority in Charles Johnson's Oxherding Tale and Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," explores the relationship between Johnson and Douglass in connection to the myth of black intellectual inferiority. As a postmodern, fictional slave narrative, the novel overtly recalls Douglass and the slave narrative form, expanding the rhetorical and thematic parameters of the genre. Oxherding Tale addresses the issues Douglass could not explicitly address within the context of the slave narrative and nineteenth-century Victorian discourse. The narrator of Oxherding Tale, Andrew Hawkins, has much in common with Douglass in terms of their racial identity, their views on black male intellectuality, and their controversial renderings of black and white female experience.

The second chapter, "A Conflict between the Ideological and the Biological: The Myth of Black Sexual Prowess in Brent Wade's Company Man and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man," explores the political implications of the myth of black sexual prowess within the Jim Crow South and highly restricted North of the early twentieth century. Through his nameless narrator, Ellison explores the political and social reality of segregation in relation to black male sexuality and leadership. Wade responds to Ellison's mid-century call by expanding the parameters of the discussion, offering both narrative and thematic responses in the contemporary context of the 1990s. A major example of this revision process is the protagonist Billy Covington, a man who explores the deleterious effects of the heterosexual imperative as they relate to masculinity and sexuality. Through Billy's marriage to a black woman and friendship with a black gay man, Wade invites us to view black male sexuality in more progressive and viable terms.

In the third chapter, "I Want Him to Be a Man: Incarceration and the Myth of Black Criminality in Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson before Dying and Richard Wright's Native Son," we remain in the first half of the twentieth century in terms of narrative setting. This chapter explores the impact of incarceration upon the black male psyche in urban and rural America during the 1930s and 1940s. Both novelists are focused on the prevailing myth of black male criminality and its insidious domination of the black male psyche and the oppressive white society. Indeed, both novels feature African American men sentenced to death. Wright provides us with perhaps the most well-known black male protagonist in African American fiction, Bigger Thomas, a man whose incarceration begins long before the heinous murders of a white woman and black woman. Gaines, in his novel published some fifty years later, offers a response to Bigger Thomas through Grant Wiggins, Jefferson, and the entire black bayou community of eastern Louisiana . In other words, he creates a fictional world similar to Wright's from the standpoint of plot, but one that departs from Wright in terms of psychological and cultural responses to external forces that foster black criminality and American injustice.

In Leak’s fourth and final chapter, "It's Time You Learned the Truth about a Few Things: Masculinity and the Myth of Cultural Depravation in David Bradley's The Chaneysville Incident and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon," Leak addresses the construction of black masculinity within the post-civil rights era. Bradley's John Washington and Morrison's Milkman Dead search for the meaning of masculinity through the interrogation and interpretation of communal history, myth and folklore. As novelists who emerge within the historical context of integration – a process that proved itself more a form of desegregation – Bradley and Morrison focus their creative energy on maintaining African American cultural points of reference that postmodern life may endanger. These novels challenge, through their intricate weaving of history and fiction, the myth that African Americans have no history and therefore no culture. Moreover, this chapter departs from the others in that only five years separate the two novels. Their close chronological relationship underscores a simultaneous preoccupation with the myth of black cultural depravity, while also providing an interesting comparative study of how two African American novelists, one male and one female, construct black masculinity.

As many answers as Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature seeks to provide, the critical endeavor requires us to continue to raise pertinent questions. This study is one of many to come in relation to literary and cultural constructions of black masculinity. If African American men and those committed to their nurturing do not understand themselves in relationship to their ‘maleness,’ ‘history,’ and ‘soul,’ their "ignorance may sell rise up in the middle of the night and slay [them] like a thief (Kenan)." This study provides those who are interested with the critical strategies and perspectives to meet the thief at the door and offer a life-saving rebuke.

Leak offers the first in-depth criticism of black masculinity in a range of literary texts. In the final chapter, he expands his discussion to the emerging field of black masculinity studies, pointing to future directions for study, including memoir, film, drama, and others. Poised on the brink of exciting new trends in scholarship, Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature is a flagship work, enhancing the understanding of literary constructions of black masculinity and the larger cultural imperatives to which these writers are reacting.

Literature & Fiction / Biographies & Memoirs

The Journals: Volume I: 1949-1965 by John Fowles, edited by Charles Drazin (Knopf)

In 1963, John Fowles won international recognition with The Collector, his first published novel. In the years following – with the publication of The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Ebony Tower, and his other critically acclaimed works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry – Fowles took his place among the most innovative and important English novelists of our time. Now, with The Journals: Volume I the first volume of his journals, which covers the years from 1949 to 1965, edited by writer/editor Charles Drazin, readers see revealed not only the creative development of a great writer but also the deep connection between Fowles’s autobiographical experience and his literary inspiration.
Commencing in Fowles’s final year at Oxford, the journals in this volume chronicle the years he spent as a university lecturer in France; his experiences teaching school on the Greek island of Spetsai (which would inspire The Magus) and his love affair there with the married woman who would later become his first wife, and his return to England and his ongoing struggle to achieve literary success. The Journals: Volume I is an account of a life lived in total engagement with the world. Although Fowles the novelist takes center stage, readers also see Fowles the nascent poet and critic, ornithologist and gardener, passionate naturalist and traveler, cinephile and collector of old books.

The book is gripping, and one can’t help feeling that Fowles was writing – with a dogged passion, and almost inadvertently – what may come to be seen as one of the very best of his works. – Literary Review
This is the first installment of Mr. Fowles’s journals. As in his novels, almost every sentence has life. Bring on volume two. – The Economist
[Fowles] has interesting views about other authors, can vividly evoke those he meets, and explain truthfully what he feels about them, and himself . . . He has a magnificent narrative gift. – The Independent
Fowles’s reputation has waned in recent years. These extraordinary diaries, ‘this portrait of the total living artist’, which he calls ‘the last novel I have to write’, should help bring about his richly deserved resuscitation. – The Spectator

Soon after he fell in love with his first wife, Elizabeth, Fowles wrote in his journal, “She has asked me not to write about her in here. But I could not not write, loving her as I do. … What else I betrayed, I could not betray this diary.” It is that determined, unsparing honesty and forthrightness that imbues The Journals: Volume I, and presumably all the journals, with all the emotional power and narrative complexity of his novels. They are a revelation of both the man and the artist.

Literature & Fiction / Historical

Lion of the Balkans by Vladimir Chernozemsky (Triumvirate Publications)

Prolific Bulgarian-American author, Vladimir Chernozemsky, in Lion of the Balkans takes readers back to the bloody Balkan War. The Ottoman Turks had occupied and oppressed the Balkans for five centuries until Bulgaria and its neighbors drove them out, and then fought over the liberated territories. It was a devastating war that still reverberates today in ongoing conflicts in the Balkans and Middle East (the old Ottoman Empire ). Based on the author’s family diaries, this is the realistic story of the Balkan War, and of the people who lived and fought it.
Born in Plovdiv , Bulgaria , Chernozemsky came under intense political scrutiny while working as a documentary director and poet in Sofia . With Communist State Security agents after him for espionage, he made a harrowing escape to the West. From then on Chernozemsky, translator, painter, actor and director, was constantly on the move – Paris , Rome , Casablanca , Algiers – eventually receiving asylum and citizenship in the U.S.

Vladimir was named after his grandfather, the legendary military hero of Lion of the Balkans. Working from family letters, diaries, and tales told him by his grandmother and others who lived during those turbulent times – Chernozemsky has constructed a portrait of the Balkan War, a devastating war that mirrored much of the current turmoil in the Balkans and Middle East.

The Ottoman Turks had occupied and oppressed the Balkans for five centuries. In the First Balkan War, Bulgaria allied with its neighboring nations to drive the Turkish army out of the Balkans, and south to the gates of Constantinople . In the process, tiny but victorious Bulgaria restored much of its historic territory all the way to the Aegean SeaBulgaria had truly become the Lion of the Balkans.

An incredibly prophetic novel about war. Chernozemsky’s brilliant writing talent achieves a remarkably powerful artistic impact over the reader. – Nacho Christoscov, Editor, CG Danov Publishing – Reviews

It has everything; love, hate, adventure, the glory and tragedy of human existence, and is pertinent to today’s events. – Dorothy W. Milner, columnist and critic
A gripping folk-story authenticated by history, at once romantic, naturalistic, lyrical…an adventure you will not want to miss. – Mary Dawn Gladson, Author of Feel Your Life Change

Lion of the Balkans is Chernozemsky’s most personal novel, filled with true-to-life characters, battles and events because he lived its aftermath.

Literature & Fiction / Literary Criticism

Suffering in Paradise: The Bubonic Plague in English Literature from More to Milton by Rebecca Totaro (Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies Series: Duquesne University Press)

According to Rebecca Totaro, in Early Modern England, all minds had within them a conceptual place for the bubonic plague – a disease that infected more than literal bodies. Church sermons, medical treatises, royal proclamations and literary worlds – the fabric of character, plot and setting – were not immune to the topic. Within the experience and accounts of the bubonic plague, men and women found their own understandings of the body, of the human relationship with nature, and of the degree to which they had faith in their nation and in their God.

Focusing on the broadest of the parameters within which life was lived, Totaro, associate professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University, in Suffering in Paradise examines hope and despair as displayed within a range of imaginary realms designed to include and control the bubonic plague. Specifically, why did the most powerful of minds obey the parameters prescribed by the plague, and who attempted to imagine themselves and the nation beyond plague-time? What were the limits of hope, and to what degree does an examination of plague-time narratives shed new light on early modern England and her peoples' understanding of and dreams for themselves?

Suffering in Paradise focuses on Thomas More's Utopia, William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, Francis Bacon's The New Atlantis, Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Chapters 1 and 2 mark the limits within which men and women could imagine and then work toward a future of improved health. The domain of plague in early modern England begins in physical affliction and in inherited beliefs about the body, nature, and the cause of plague. These factors largely prescribe the paradigm for considering ideal health in the period – physicians, kings and queens, the clergy, and commoners alike sought the best practices available to them. These practices form the basis for early modern utopian prescriptions.

In chapter 3, Totaro offers a case study, A humanist and a Catholic, who had once been Commissioner of the Sewers and whom King Henry would ultimately select to execute plague orders in Oxford, Thomas More had years of direct experience with and accumulated knowledge of bubonic plague before writing Utopia. More knew and employed the best practices of his time. He combined his religious, legal, medical, and experiential knowledge to depict an island on all levels less susceptible to bubonic plague than England had been. The result is a formation of hope peculiar to his culture, on the cusp between medieval and Renaissance.

In chapters 4 and 5, William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson take center stage with a plague-time tragedy, Timon of Athens (1604-1611), and a satire, The Alchemist (1610). Although each play only very loosely contains a utopian world, each arti­culates a fear and critique of utopian projects. Written during or soon after visitations of plague that crippled not only the theater but the city as well, Timon of Athens and The Alchemist contain within them pseudo-utopian worlds from which plague has been banished. Although each play displays a unique picture of the scourge and of the realm intended to repel it, each establishes not freedom from the plague but its very proliferation. The audience is warned: the promise of gold cannot found utopia. Shakespeare and Jonson join the ranks of Joseph Hall and Jonathan Swift, who likewise exposed the potential underside of all utopian projects and of social dreaming in general. In plague-time, they prescribe a healthy dose of skepticism and the wisdom to recognize the fraudulent hope that comes disguised as better places and best practices.

Chapters 6 through 8 of Suffering in Paradise treat plague at the advent of the scientific age and return us to a permitted hope, like that in More's Utopia. Francis Bacon and Margaret Cavendish wrote numerous and lengthy scientific treatises that include extensive sections on the bubonic plague. Both writers then placed their theories within a utopian literary context – New Atlantis (1627) and The Blazing World (1666), respectively. Bacon and Cavendish were in many ways producing like-minded works of scientific and imaginative rigor, each battling the plague with various weapons in an array of arenas. Yet they would not have agreed on the nature of plague, and their conception of the relationship between humans and disease was as different as their hope in and prescription for a more prosperous England .

The last chapter, "The Rectification of Air in Plague-Time," revisits the most basic drive to improve one's conditions and the most basic understanding of bubonic plague: it is in the air. John Milton's enormously hopeful energies, directed in plague-time England toward the eradication of sin and the restitution of mankind's original human glory, reveal themselves in his attention to respiration in Paradise Lost. We have long known that Milton completed and revised his grand epic Paradise Lost during plague-time, when he was self-quarantined in the country during and following the 1666 onslaught. Yet because mention of the literal disease is all but lacking in the poem, scholars have either forced its presence or ignored it, and this has lead to a gap in our account of the poem. A comparison between Milton 's Paradise and the city that Margaret Cavendish names ‘ Paradise ’ in The Blazing World helps to place both works in their cultural context, when air quality received more attention than ever before. Milton and Cavendish clarify the relationship between prosperity and the very literal air by which humans live. Both prescribe increased attention to the power of the air to move individuals and nations toward greater or lesser prosperity. And both showcase plague-time efforts to rectify the air in the hope of strengthening bodies, minds, nations, and in Milton 's case, souls.

More, Shakespeare, Jonson, Bacon, Cavendish, and Milton knew humans as flawed and yet deserving of health. They conceived of nations as penetrable and yet well-armed with the best practices. They considered minds prone to fancy and yet sustained by reason. They knew that in a fallen world, societies and the individuals within them would always suffer from internal and external threats. Yet they chose to hope. Employing their sharp minds, visionary imaginations, skill with the English language, and knowledge of the best and most current practices for improving the conditions of health, they fashioned new answers to old questions. They extended the limits of hope in plague-time.

In Suffering in Paradise, Totaro provides a unique and timely discussion of the bubonic plague as it shaped literature in England from 1500 through the first half of the eighteenth century. Well selected, each of the works in this study – Thomas More's Utopia, William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, Francis Bacon's The New Atlantis, Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, and John Milton's Paradise Lost – provides intentionally literary and English answers that cohere in stunning form and that resonate today.

Literature & Fiction / Saga / Historical Novel

Leeway Cottage by Beth Gutcheon (William Morrow)

With six acclaimed novels, Beth Gutcheon is a master at bridging the gap between literary and commercial fiction. Her compelling storylines, complex characters, and understated command of language have earned her high praise from both critics and popular audiences.

In Leeway Cottage, Gutcheon takes readers back to the coast of Maine . There, in a Victorian summer house called Leeway Cottage, readers witness the scenes of a long twentieth-century marriage. It is April 1940. In that year, a rich girl who summers in the idyllic, fictional village, Annabelle Sydney Brant matures from the young, doted-upon ‘Annabee,’ to independent and bohemian Sydney , clashing with her icy socialite mother along the way. Sydney struggles to become a singer, takes her own flat in New York City and meets a gifted Danish pianist, Laurus Moss. She is attracted first to Laurus' talent and then to the man's quiet sensitivity. To her mother's horror, they fall in love and marry.

But as the Nazis march into Denmark , the couple's dissimilar backgrounds cause a rift between them: Laurus's beloved family is in Copenhagen , hostage to the war raging all around them, especially because his mother is Jewish. When Laurus chooses to leave Sydney to help build the Danish Resistance, Sydney is dismayed to be left alone, pregnant with their child. By the time they are reunited four years later, Laurus's family and readers have been through one of the most stirring stories of the war, Denmark 's grass-roots rescue of virtually all 7,000 of the country's Jews. However, Laurus's beloved little sister, working for the Danish underground, is betrayed and captured. But like many Americans at the time, Sydney never really grasps what it means to her husband and his family to have war on home soil.

To write the book, Gutcheon conducted extensive research into the history of German-occupied Denmark and the rescue of the Jews. She spent years reading documents, speaking with Danes who remember or whose relatives were part of the resistance, and finding confirmation of practically every detail she includes in Leeway Cottage.

Gutcheon’s tale is more than just a story of a marriage; it’s a metaphor for an era. – Booklist
Charting a marriage against the backdrop of a tumultuous century, Gutcheon writes evocatively of love and war. – Publishers Weekly
A good old-fashioned, all-encompassing read, with tears and smiles guaranteed. – Library Journal
A gentle, even tender book. Every reader will be wiser for it. – BookPage Compelling…Ambitious…Gutcheon’s insights are…keen, her sympathy for all her characters…contagious. – Kirkus Reviews

Profoundly moving and illuminating, Leeway Cottage shows a master writer in top form. A rich, historically accurate depiction of a shining moment in history, this beautifully written tour de force of a novel offers a multi-layered account of a complex marriage set against the historical backdrop of World War II and the little-known, yet thrilling story of the rescue of the Danish Jews.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature

Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-century English Literature and Culture by Tita Chico (The Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series: Bucknell University Press)

Dressing rooms, introduced into English domestic architecture during the seventeenth century, provided elite women with unprecedented private space at home, and in so doing, promised them an equally unprecedented autonomy by providing a space for self-fashioning, eroticism, and contemplation. Tita Chico's Designing Women argues that the dressing room becomes a powerful metaphor in late-seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature for both progressive and conservative satirists and novelists. These writers use the trope to represent competing notions of women's independence and their objectification, indicating that the dressing room occupies a central (if neglected) place in the history of private life, postmodern theories of the closet, and the development of literary forms.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Chico , Assistant Professor of English, Texas Tech University , argues that the dressing room embodies contradictory connotations, linked to the eroticism and theatricality of the playhouse tiring-room as well as to the learning and privilege of the gentleman's closet. While satirists – such as Dryden, Francois Bruys, Gay, Wortley Montagu, John Breval, Elizabeth Thomas, Pope, and Swift – attack the lady's dressing room as a site of individual and social degradation, domestic novelists – including Richardson, Lennox, Burney, Goldsmith, Austen, and Edgeworth – celebrate it as a space for moral, social, and personal amelioration.

Designing Women demonstrates that the dressing room is integral not only to debates about genre and gender in the eighteenth century, but also to discussions of aesthetics, epistemology, education, and female domesticity. As a symbol of both progressive and retrograde versions of femininity, the dressing room trope in eighteenth-century literature redefines the gendered constitution of private spaces, and offers a corrective to our literary history of generic influence and development between satire and the novel.

From the late seventeenth century to the late eighteenth, the lady's dressing room changed from being a site of lasciviousness and secrecy for aristocratic women to an emblem for good and virtuous mothers. This transformation reflects the changing roles available to women over this time, from the sense that women improperly used eroticism to claim independence and autonomy to the model of ideal maternity that was impressed upon them. The dressing room captured the collective imagination of eighteenth-century England because it represented the possibility that women could act independently and selfishly, a fear that was ultimately reshaped into a celebration of the belief that women would not act independently or selfishly if they were good mothers. As a central feature of the eighteenth-century literary landscape, the dressing room was found with much greater frequency in poems and novels than it ever was in actual homes. The disparity between the imagined prevalence of the dressing room and its limited availability to upper-class women indicates the magnitude of this con­cern about the privileges and independence that women could assert in their dressing rooms, suggesting a widespread cultural preoccupation with the possibility that women would challenge patriarchal prerogative.

The dressing room encapsulates the history of gender roles in the eighteenth century, moving from women of a certain class having the ability to claim greater privilege to the widespread development of a submissive, maternal ideal. Throughout Designing Women, Chico uses the dressing room to think about gender. But gender also functions as a vehicle for writers to express other ideas as well – the dressing room allows us to understand debates about privacy, theatricality, aesthetics, epistemology, education, and literature. When writers use the dressing room to voice a particular view, it may end up seeming normal or even natural. But it is not necessarily so. Understanding literature in this expansive way unearths the deep resonance of the question of women to seemingly unrelated questions about social order, aesthetics, philosophy, and literary authority.

For a book all about dressing rooms, there is very little sex. With the dressing room so often a figure for the female body and sexuality, one would think that dressing room scenes regularly imagine women engaged in sex. Eighteenth-century pornography would certainly offer us a chance to see such scenes, but pornographic texts would ultimately be sensational and misleading about the dressing room's role in ‘mainstream’ literary culture. Additionally, though seventeenth-century satires populate dressing rooms with erotica, such as lapdogs and dildoes, sex is not explicit in the self-consciously literary works that Chico considers. Looking instead at satire and the novel reveals that the dressing room trope and its associations with women's independence and objectification are woven into the fabric of eighteenth-century daily life, woven so tightly, in fact, that we may not even see them. The dressing room stands as a commonplace in eighteenth-century literary culture that has been treated as obvious, and has therefore suffered from an oversimplified view of its effects, connotations, and significance.

Designing Women is divided into three parts: chapters 1 and 2 constitute "Metaphor, Theory, and History, chapters 3, 4 and 5, "Satire, Art, and Epistemology," and chapters 6 and 7, "Domestic Novels, Education, and Motherhood." Within this three-part structure, there are two narratives – and two ways of reading the book. The first is chronological: from the late seventeenth to the late eighteenth century, the dressing room transformed from a measure of women's illicit sexuality and theatrical behavior to a site that confirmed a woman's virtue and her status as a good wife and mother. The dressing room likewise moved from a nearly exclusive association with satire to its programmatic inclusion, beginning with Richardson , in the domestic novel. This chronological and generic narrative illuminates changes in the period's gender codes, as women are first imagined as predominantly dangerous and subversive by satirists to having the potential for reform in domestic novels, particularly as young women negotiate the marriage market and assume the role of a good mother. The base narrative of the book also foregrounds the disparity between context and text – as literary works regularly reimagine the dressing room into a space open to nearly all women – and underscores the close connections between the development of eighteenth-century satire and the domestic novel, with their shared dependence on contradictory representations of women in private.

The second narrative structure of Designing Women is thematic, highlighting a cluster of associations that the dressing room evokes throughout the eighteenth century – art, epistemology, education, and maternity. Part II identifies two significant preoccupations that are regularly associated with the dressing room. As chapter 3 demonstrates, satirists frequently pinpoint the dressing room as a site for rival artistry, as well as a space that both thwarts and invites classification. Chapters 4 and 5, therefore draw out these associations in case studies of Pope and Swift, perhaps two of the most famous writers to use the dressing room metaphor in the eighteenth century. Chico ’s readings of Pope and Swift elaborate the issues that preoccupy many of their predecessors and contemporaries, and point to the range of debates in which the dressing room figures.

Part III is dedicated to the mid- and late-eighteenth-century domestic novel. Chapters 6 and 7 identify two additional aspects of the dressing room that come to the fore under the hands of domestic novelists. The issue of pedagogy was associated with the dressing room from the time of its inception in the seventeenth century, but regularly sidelined by satirists. Richardson, educational theorists, and other domestic novelists revive the legitimacy of the dressing room as a pedagogical space and use the trope to endorse women's education. In domestic novels, the dressing room becomes a transitional space through which heroines must pass in order to reach the conclusion of the female Bildungsroman, finding a proper husband. And once they do pass, the problem of the dressing room returns, for it then becomes a litmus test for proper motherhood. The themes of a heroine's development and a mother's reformation form the endpoint of the book's chronological narrative, but Chico hopes that they also foreground the fundamental plasticity of the dressing room as a metaphor and the variety of concerns that get voiced through its representation in literature.

The dressing room promises women the potential to design themselves: literally, with clothes and makeup, or figuratively, through private reflection and education. It suggests that women make designs on the world and that they scheme to outwit and to ensnare men. But the dressing room also introduces the possibility that women are circumscribed, or designed, by others, drawn into roles that are not necessarily of their own choosing. Designing Women underscores all of the possibilities written into the century's gender codes, showing the potentially liberatory and constrictive nature of the eighteenth-century lady's dressing room. Designing Women opens our eyes to the organizational and conceptual centrality of the dressing room trope to eighteenth-century literary culture.

Outdoors & Nature / Engineering / Environment

A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design by Nancy Jack Todd (Island Press)

In the late sixties, as the world was waking to a need for Earth Day, a pioneering group founded a small non-profit research and education organization they called the New Alchemy Institute. Their aim was to explore the ways a safer and more sustainable world could be created. In the ensuing years, along with scientists, agriculturists, and a host of enthusiastic amateurs and friends, they set out to discover new ways that basic human needs – in the form of food, shelter, and energy – could be met. A Safe and Sustainable World is the story of that journey, as it was and as it continues to be.

Nancy Jack Todd, a writer and editor based on Cape Cod , where she gardens and swims and publishes the environmental journal Annals of Earth, not only relates the journey from lofty ideals through the hard realities encountered in learning how to actually grow food, harness the energy of the sun and wind, and design green architecture. She also introduces us to some of the heroes and mentors who played a vital role in those efforts as well, from Buckminster Fuller to Margaret Mead. The early work of the Institute culminated in the design and building of two bioshelters – large greenhouse-like independent structures called Arks – that provided the setting for much of the research to follow.

Through their work and research, founders Nancy Jack Todd and her husband John Todd, along with Bill McLarney, served as sustainable and idealistic leaders of ecological design for thousands. A Safe and Sustainable World is a personal account of these visionaries, and the ideas and innovations that so greatly contributed to the concept of sustainable living. Successfully proving through the Institute's designs and investigations that basic land sustainability is achievable, John Todd and the author founded a second non-profit research group, Ocean Arks International. Here they applied the New Alchemy's natural systems thinking to restoring polluted waters with the invention and implementation of biologically based living technologies called Ecomachines and Pond and Lake Restorers .

A clear, inspirational story that shows the nitty-gritty of how talent coalesces around important issues and how creative minds work together. This book is a necessary read for any idealist who aspires to change the world through architecture, design, the environment, and science. – Donald Watson, architect

Nancy Jack Todd tells a marvelous story. This first-hand account of New Alchemy's visionary, rigorous, and phenomenal projects to sustain life gives us all hope. This is a book that I'd like to share with local farmers, sprawl fighters, and conscientious citizens. Here we have grounds for the hope of living simply, meeting our basic needs, and restoring health to the world, and on a shoestring budget. – Stephanie Mills, author of Epicurean Simplicity

A Safe and Sustainable World demonstrates what has and can be done – it also looks to what must be done to integrate human ingenuity and the four billion or so years of evolutionary intelligence of the natural world into healthy, decentralized, locally dreams hard won – and hope. The Todd’s work has now, thankfully, entered the mainstream.

Outdoors & Nature / Environment / Anthropology

The Earth's Blanket: Traditional Teachings for Sustainable Living (Culture, Place, and Nature: Studies in Anthropology and Environment) by Nancy J. Turner (University of Washington Press)

At the turn of the twentieth century, the ethnographer James Teit wrote of the belief among the Nlaka'pmx people that flowers, plants, and grasses are the blanket of the earth, and that if too much vegetation is picked or destroyed, the earth is sorry and weeps. In The Earth's Blanket, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner explores the wealth of ecological knowledge and spiritual connection to the natural world that is fundamental to indigenous cultures and lifeways.

Turner, Distinguished Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and Research Associate with the Royal British Columbia Museum , has worked with Native peoples in the Pacific Northwest for more than thirty-five years. Generations of her indigenous teachers have given her permission to share their stories and perspectives about the natural world. Their teachings describe a rich variety of methods of harvesting, transporting, processing, storing, maintaining, and enhancing natural resources such as trees, medicinal plants, berries, root vegetables, fish, meat, and shellfish. More than just stories, these narratives underlie a belief system that informs everyday attitudes toward the earth.

Nancy Turner has worked with and been befriended by generations of holders of our traditional teachings, and this book is a testament not only to an outstanding career but also to an outstanding human being. The Earth's Blanket demonstrates how science can be used to record Traditional Ecological Knowledge in a way that respects First Nations' cultures. – Kim Recalma-Clutesi, Elected Chief, Qualicum First Nation

A thought-provoking gem of a book, combining Turner's deep understanding of indigenous people and their knowledge with her expertise in ethnobotany. – Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba , Canada Research Chair in Community-Based Resource Management

A unique and charming book that provides fascinating insights into ways of managing wild plant and animal resources. Drawing on stories and early accounts from Native people throughout northwestern North America and, above all, her own enormously rich and detailed experience, Dr. Turner shows that these methods have great and increasing relevance for us today. – Eugene Anderson, Professor of Anthropology, University of California , Riverside

The Earth's Blanket suggests how systems of traditional ecological knowledge can contribute to the modern world. It is an important book, a magnum opus, from a gifted and internationally respected scholar and teacher. It has the power to transform our way of thinking about the earth and our relationship with its ecosystems.

Parenting / Education / Preschool & Kindergarten

Everyday Literacy: Environmental Print Activities for Children 3 to 8 by Stephanie Mueller (Gryphon House, Inc)

The tools readers need to teach literacy are everywhere.

Everyday Literacy has over 150 activities that use ordinary objects – cereal boxes, traffic signs and toy labels – to help children build essential reading skills. With games such as Chalk Chat and projects like Alphabet Scrapbooks, children will enjoy learning to recognize the letters, symbols and words around them.

Written by preschool and kindergarten teacher-educator Stephanie Mueller, Everyday Literacy provides hands-on ideas for turning newspapers, menus, catalogs, magazines, and other everyday items into literacy experiences. Each activity has a brief description, learning objectives, theme connections, materials, and literacy interactions. There are activities for different curriculum areas, such as art, science, math, fine motor, and music and movement, as well as take-home activities and ideas for field trips. The easy-to-use appendix has reproducible forms, a checklist of environmental print ideas, and a list of children's books that support the use of environmental print. The activities can be used to introduce a concept or practice an existing skill.

...an excellent guide to using environmental print to promote literacy... – Shirley C. Raines and Robert J. Canady, authors of Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r-s: Activities to Expand Children's Favorite Books

The activities in Everyday Literacy integrate environmental print in ways that make it easy to encourage children's literacy. Everyday Literacy is perfect for teachers of preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary children, and parents will also be able to use many of the activities with their children.

Philosophy / Art

Aesthetics & the Philosophy of Spirit: From Plotinus to Schelling and Hegel by John Shannon Hendrix (Peter Lang), examines the aesthetics of Plotinus (c. 205-270), Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831).

John Shannon Hendrix in Aesthetics & the Philosophy of Spirit examines the Platonic bases of the aesthetics of Plotinus, and the Plotinian bases of the aesthetics of Schelling and Hegel in The Philosophy of Spirit, Identity Philosophy, and Transcendental Idealism. Hendrix, who teaches architectural design and art and architectural history at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, examines the notion of art as philosophy, as a product of mind, and as an instrument of intellect in the relation between reason and perception, involving concepts of the universal and particular, freedom and necessity, the beautiful and sublime, allegory and symbolism, and forms of artistic representation. Other concepts examined are subjective and objective Spirit, the self-consciousness and self-alienation of reason, and Absolute Spirit as the reconciliation of reason with its ‘other.’

Hegel's re-invention of art establishes a new basis for the judgment of beauty, following Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Judgment. Standards of artistic representation reflect standards of consciousness, of the self-consciousness of reason in the real. The achievement of Spirit in mind for Hegel is ultimately the achievement of freedom, which is the highest value to which a culture can aspire. Spirit is seen in opposition to the laws of necessity and cause and effect, and the principle of sufficient reason in nature; Spirit is also seen in opposition to the limited and delimiting structures of logic (dogmatic logic), as developed in the thought of Georges Bataille. Spirit in mind is freedom from the limitations of reason and nature in the real, and the state of being to which human beings as cultural subjects aspire, that which differentiates the human being from nature, and which is the basis of a moral and ethical Zeitgeist. Art is ideally the expression of the freedom attained in Spirit, the identity of the real and ideal, the result of the dialectical struggle of reason. Art is thus that which defines being human in opposition to nature, and what defines human thought as exceeding both nature and logic in reason. The purpose of philosophy as well is to transcend logic in reason towards understanding in the imagination and Spirit, as the intellectual principle of Plotinus entails intuition, imagination, and participation of the absolute which reason principle does not.

Schelling, in The Philosophy of Art, goes to great length to identify the means of representation of Spirit in painting, as a model of the hypostases of reason. Drawing is completely within the realm of the real, being structural, material and schematic. Color introduces the synthesis of the real and the ideal as the synthesis of matter and light. Light in painting is the most complete representation of the absolute in the plastic arts, the synthesis of the real and ideal, because light is the most immaterial of substances in the real, and in the Platonic and Neoplatonic traditions, light is the source of the good and the entrance of the archetype into matter. For both Schelling and Hegel, ultimately all the plastic arts are insufficient representations of the absolute in relation to music, poetry and philosophy. The forms of the social expression of Absolute Spirit are art, religion and philosophy. Art can only partially represent Absolute Spirit because it is contained within the real, within its material existence. The more immaterial of the arts, music and poetry, are less bound to the real, but more limited by the presence of the real in the ideal, by notation and language. Religion can only partially represent Absolute Spirit because of the necessity of the embodiment of Spirit as the basis of religious faith. Only philosophy sets as its objective the transcendence of its own scaf­folding, in the possibility of the self-consciousness and doubling of reason, as the basis for the attainment of the absolute in mind.

For Schelling and Hegel the artist is always a product of his or her culture, of the Zeitgeist and philosophy of the culture. Artistic expression is a social act, and engages the ethical and moral standards of the culture. In the modem world, according to Hegel, art is no longer possible as a representation of its culture. The art which was a product of classical cultures is no longer possible because of the very attainment of freedom to which the history of art aspired. It is not possible for art to represent a free and ethical culture; in such a culture art becomes subject to philosophical development, and the theory of art becomes more important than the art itself. The expression of a free and ethical culture is philosophy, because only in philosophy is freedom of Spirit possible in the absolute. The necessities to which artistic expression is tied in a free culture become individual necessities and individual manifestations of the universal; philosophy is free from individual necessities, in its attainment of Absolute Spirit in mind, and is able to represent the Zeitgeist of a free culture. For Hegel, as expressed in the Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics, "the science of art is a much more pressing need in our day" and "Art invites us to consideration of it by means of thought, not to the end of stimulating art production, but in order to ascertain scientifically what art is."

Aesthetics & the Philosophy of Spirit is a systematic analysis of the role that Platonism and Neoplatonism play in the aesthetics of the Philosophy of Spirit, and an attempt to make both Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Spirit, transcendental idealism, relevant to the present – no such analysis has previously been undertaken.

In 1802, Hegel and Schelling collaborated on the in­troductory essay for the first issue of The Critical Journal of Philosophy, entitled "The Critical Journal of Philosophy Introduction on The Essence of Philosophical Criticism Generally, and its Relationship to the Present State of Philosophy in Particular."" The first sentence of the essay reads:

“In whatever domain of art or [speculative] science it is employed, criticism requires a standard which is just as independent of the person who makes the judgment as it is of the thing that is judged – a standard derived neither from the singular [i.e., the immediate occasion for critical judgment] nor from the specific character of the [judging] subject, but from the eternal and unchangeable model [Urbild] of what really is [die Sache selbst].” Such a statement lays the groundwork for "a revival of the Christian Platonic ideal of the philosophia perennis," as described by H. S. Harris. As for Schelling, Harris asserts that "there is no doubt that he (whom his Jena stu­dents called ‘Plato’) believed as fervently as Hegel that the true ‘speculative’ tradition of western philosophy must be rescued from the limbo to which Kant consigned all previous metaphysics in the Dialectic of Pure Reason."

In his analysis in Aesthetics & the Philosophy of Spirit Hendrix makes particular use of a number of texts: the commentary in the introduction by Douglas Stott to The Philosophy of Art; the introduction by Peter Stillman to Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit; the introduction by John Niemeyer Findlay to Phenomenology of Spirit; and the treatises Logic and System: A Study of the Transition from ‘Vorstellung’ to Thought in the Philosophy of Hegel by Malcolm Clark; Art and the Absolute: A Study of Hegel's Aesthet­ics by William Desmond; The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer by Israel Knox; Hegel and the Symbolic Mediation of Spirit by Kathleen Dow Magnus; and Hegel's Recollection: A Study of Images in the Phenomenology of Spirit by Donald Phillip Verene.

This analysis of the relation between Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Spirit within the framework of contemporary theory forms a framework for an exploration of aesthetics and the formulation of Hendrix’s aesthetic points of view. To that end Aesthetics & the Philosophy of Spirit is an original treatise on aesthetics, grounding itself in its reexamination of the writings of Plotinus, Schelling and Hegel, bringing them together and to light. It emphasizes the importance of aesthetics from a philosophical point of view, as well as from a practical point of view, in the production of the arts. And it contributes to the understanding of art in philosophical terms, the philosophy of art, and theories of artistic production, to the philosophy of art at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to artistic production in theory, elucidating how both Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Spirit of Schelling and Hegel are relevant and beneficiary to contemporary consciousness, keeping in mind the importance of the study of history for all theoretical concerns.

Politics

South Park Conservatives: The Revolt against Liberal Media Bias by Brian C. Anderson (Regnery Publishing, Inc.)

A culture war is raging, and a new generation of conservatives – ‘ South Park conservatives’ – is emerging to challenge the liberal media's ‘rock solid truths.’ No longer is the Left dominating media and academia or winning the idea war. Brian Anderson's South Park Conservatives reveals how this new anti-liberal counterculture is changing the way many people view the world.
This is a behind-the-scenes look at how conservatives – and even those who don’t consider themselves conservative – are overthrowing ‘political correctness.’ As Anderson , senior editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, demonstrates, the New York Times, the big networks, and the rest of the elite liberal media no longer set the terms of the nation’s political and cultural debate – their monolithic power has cracked and conservative ideas are spilling out.

In South Park Conservatives, readers learn:

  • How the liberal monopoly has been broken by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, FOX News, Matt Drudge, and the blogosphere.
  • How ‘ South Park conservatives’ are launching books by self-declared conservatives such as Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Hugh Hewitt, and Michelle Malkin onto the bestseller lists.
  • How right-of-center students are turning the tables on their left-wing professors at campuses across the nation.
  • How liberal Hollywood has tried – and failed – to weed out conservatives like Mel Gibson.

One needn't agree with everything in South Park Conservatives to recognize that this elegantly written and thoughtfully considered book will change the debate about the future of conservatism and is must-reading for anybody who wants to participate in that debate. – Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online

In South Park Conservatives, Brian Anderson pops the hood on the new media revolution and explores how conservatives have enjoyed huge success in making their voices heard – and why that success is certain to continue. – Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics

Brian Anderson is a first-rate reporter and this is a first-rate account of how conservatives are working to break the left-wing dominance of the culture. I couldn't recommend a better book on this subject. – David Horowitz, author of Unholy Alliance

South Park Conservatives, written with wit and style, is an inside peek at how a new media-savvy generation of conservatives and politically incorrect ‘anti-liberals’ are waging a culture war – and are having fun doing it.

Religion & Spirituality / Buddhism / Poetry

The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry edited by Andrew Schelling (Wisdom Publications) brings together recent works of twenty-nine important contemporary poets; many of the poems appear here for the first time.

The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry is a landmark collection including the mature verse of long-seasoned poets alongside the opening work of a new generation of writers just now coming to prominence. The anthology includes works by: Will Alexander, Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, Diane Di Prima, Tyler Doherty, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Norman Fischer, Sam Hamill, Jane Hirshfield, Lawson Fusao Inada, Robert Kelly, Joanne Kyger, Michael McClure, Harryette Mullen, Hoa Nguyen, Mike O'Connor, Shin Yu Pai, Dale Pendell, Pat Reed, Janet Rodney, Miriam Sagan, Leslie Scalapino, Andrew Schelling, Gary Snyder, Arthur Sze, Nathaniel Tarn, Chase Twichell, Cecilia Vicuna, Eliot Weinberger, and Philip Whalen.

Editor Andrew Schelling is a poet, essayist, and translator of the poetry of India who has taught at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado for fifteen years, and from 1993–1996 served as chair of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Schelling takes readers on a tour of the historical forms of Buddhist poetry in Asia , illuminating its magical language and spiritual phrasings and showing how poets today are working in similar modes. Readers will see how the impulses of North American poetry come into alignment with two and a half millennia of Buddhist literature – especially the writings that arose in India , China , Tibet , and Japan . The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry reveals discernible lines of influence connecting contemporary poets with that ongoing, archaic, sometimes thunderous, often delicate and refined heritage from Asia – a heritage that has produced what poet, translator, and critic Eliot Weinberger terms ‘a paradise of texts.’ Biographical sketches of the poets, as well as an annotated list of further readings, make this book especially useful.

Taken individually, each poem in The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry can be appreciated as an elegant, shining jewel. Taken as a whole, this treasury represents one of the most significant movements in modern poetry – as Schelling’s introduction makes vividly clear – it is certainly a unique contribution to the world of American poetry. This watershed volume will be of value to readers of any background, be they poet or scholar, novice or old hand.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Mysticism / Women

Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology by Beverly J. Lanzetta (Fortress Press)

Focusing on the contemplative process as women’s journey from oppression to liberation, Beverly J. Lanzetta, founder and president of Interfaith Theological Seminary in Tucson , in Radical Wisdom draws especially on the mysticism of Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila. She lays out the contemplative techniques used by mystics to achieve their highest spiritual potential and also investigates how unjust social and political conditions afflict women’s souls.

Lanzetta identifies a specific historical female mystical path (the via feminina) and makes contemporary conclusions for how women might understand their bodies, their rights, and their ethics.

In Radical Wisdom Lanzetta develops a feminist mystical theology along three main lines, dividing the book accordingly. The first part is theoretical; the second part is textual and historical, while the third is constructive and contemporary. After defining the via feminina, she continues with the first part’s theoretical dimensions, providing an overview in chapter 2 of the terms ‘spirituality’, ‘mysticism’ and ‘contemplation,’ and a survey of current scholarship on mysticism and feminist theory. Chapter 3 on goddesses and Mother Jesus studies the historical development of female metaphors and images in the world’s scriptures and mystical texts. It then concentrates on the Christian tradition and on an analysis by feminist scholars of the function of female metaphors and goddess figure in medieval culture and religious practices. Part 1 concludes with Chapter 4, which takes up in greater detail the theo­retical foundations for a contemplative feminism. It highlights the important function that naming spiritual oppression occupies in the spiritual journey to eliminate and heal all forums of interlocking violence against women.

Part 2 of Radical Wisdom turns to the women mystics of medieval Europe for insight into how they understand and map the geography of the soul, and the specific spiritual pathways they practice to travel from subordination to dignity and freedom. Staying close to the writings of Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila along with other supporting voices, chapter 4, "Feminism of the Inner Way ," distinguishes a number of themes in women's mysticism, among them the annihilated self, longing and the love of God, and the determination that propels the journey. "Julian and Teresa as Cartographers of the Soul," chapter 6, follows Julian and Teresa as they map the inner and outer soul, distinguish and transform soul wounds into ‘honours,' assert the inherent unity of God and soul, and juxtapose suffering and exaltation as necessary stages in women's ennoblement. Teresa of Avila is taken up as a case study in "The Soul of Woman and the Dark Night of the Feminine," chapter 7. Here, the pain of gender oppression is identified as a specific con­templative process that is unnamed and unexamined in Christian literature. This addition of the ‘dark night of the feminine’ to our religious vocabulary highlights the depth of women's struggle for spiritual equality. Part 2 culminates with the discussion in chapter 8 of Julian and Teresa's usage of three spiritual powers – resistance, resiliency, and dignification – to dignify women and transform the spiritual environment in which each lived.

While Lanzetta draws in these chapters from the wisdom of a variety of Christian mystical texts, she concentrates on those uncharted spiritual passages that women travel in isolation away front the mainstream of classical, patriarchal spirituality, whether within or outside formal religious practice or tradition. In the process she distinguishes a number of differences in women’s mysticism from that of the dominant religiosity of their times, being cautious not to ‘feminize’ them in any contemporary sense. Rather, in the spirit that energized their lives and thought, Lansetta keeps close to their historical context and to one of their central concerns – growth in love of the divine and diminishment of self interest. The challenge is integrative – to bring together the uplifting mysticism of medieval Christian women masters with feminist critical theory in order to illuminate the unique contemporary situation in which we find ourselves.

Finally, in part 3, Radical Wisdom turns to practical considerations for women today on how to identify, actualize, and live out a spiritual path that is devoid of all forms of violence against women, and that lifts women up to a realized and integrated wholeness. Dialoguing between present feminist concerns and goddess-veneration and other affirmations of the female form, chapter 9 "Women's Body as Mystical Text," explores the metaphor of women's body as God's body. Chapter 10, using contemporary research in human rights, develops a category of ‘spiri­tual rights’ to explore the divine dimension in violations of human dignity. It studies intimate, or sexual, violence against women and the effect of these violations on women's spirit, emotional health, and moral agency. "Love of the World: An Ethic of Ultimate Concern" is the subject of chapter 11. It develops a contemplative ethic based on bearing three qualities – intimacy, amor mundi (love of the world), and divinity in order to focus on social justice and the indiscriminate love God showers upon us as She labors to sanctify and grace all of creation. The final section of the chapter outlines a "World Ethic of Spiritual Rights." Radical Wisdom concludes with a narrative poem, "Hymn to Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom]" in the epilogue.

Radical Wisdom is a beautifully written, original, and luminous study of women’s mystical experience in the Christian tradition. Lanzetta’s engaged, open-hearted response to these mystics is refreshing and encouraging…. A compelling and significant work. – Douglas Burton-Christie, Professor of Christian Spirituality, Loyola Marymount University , Los Angeles

Radical Wisdom presents challenging perspectives of feminism and mysticism that are refreshingly new and daring…. Lanzetta’s meditative study explores with deep sensitivity and urgent social concern the innermost spiritual oppression of women’s souls and bodies. – Ursula King, Professor Emerita and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Gender and Religions Research, University of London

Writing with penetrating depth, Lanzetta in Radical Wisdom illuminates the transformative potential of the classical tradition of women mystics, especially in light of contemporary violence against women around the world. Here we have a feminist revisioning of mysticism. Feminists and Christian mystics will find much of interest in this book.

Religion & Spirituality / Occult

Forbidden History: Prehistoric Technologies, Extraterrestrial Intervention, and the Suppressed Origins of Civilization edited by J. Douglas Kenyon (Bear & Company) offers 42 essays from the archives of the journal Atlantis Rising, providing an overview of the fields of ancient mysteries and alternative history.

In Forbidden History writer J. Douglas Kenyon, editor and publisher of Atlantis Rising, has chosen forty-two essays from the bimonthly journal Atlantis Rising to provide readers with an overview of the positions of some of the key thinkers in the debate over ancient mysteries and alternative history. Contributors include, among others, Robert Schoch, Rand Flem-Ath, Moira Timms, Frank Joseph, Christopher Dunn, and Will Hart, all of whom have played leading roles in challenging the entrenched scientific establishment to reexamine its assumptions about our forgotten origins and to consider the possibility of meaningful debate – whatever the consequences to the existing paradigm.

Kenyon has built a collection of material in support of the growing challenge to such ways of thinking as Darwinism and Creationism, with each contribution building upon the work of the other authors. Included are essays on Earth Changes, Civilization's Greater Antiquity, Darwinism Under Fire, Ancestors from Space, Ancient High Tech, and The Search for Lost Origins. In the pages of Forbidden History the latest discoveries and ideas regarding such perennially controversial topics as Atlantis, the pyramids, and extraterrestrial influence are explored, and many provocative questions are raised. What emerges is a case in support of a much greater antiquity for civilization, a convincing argument for the existence of advanced technologies in prehistory, and the outline of a lost fountainhead of world culture. According to Kenyon, these alternative arguments, once marginalized, are now gaining credibility and respect.

The collection also includes several articles that introduce, compare, contrast, and complement the theories of other notable authors in these fields, such as Zecharia Sitchin, Paul LaViolette, John Michell, Graham Hancock, and John Anthony West.

Forbidden History, a thoughtfully and carefully built collection, is an excellent introduction to alternative accounts of history. The heat being generated by the evolution-intelligent design debate will likely make this book a bestseller.

Science / Biology

The Language of Life: How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease by Debra Niehoff (Joseph Henry Press)

Cells talk – and scientists are listening. One of the most intriguing topics in molecular biology, biochemical communication is the cornerstone of modern medicine and the mainstay of cutting-edge pharmaceutical research. For nearly a century, researchers have been straining to hear the whispered conversations among cells, hoping to master the basics of their language. They know that if scientists can decipher and translate this cellular chatter, we have the potential for sending signals of our own that could repair wounds, reduce cholesterol, control insulin levels, or even block the reproduction of cancer cells. The possibilities are extraordinary.

The Language of Life reveals the private conversations of cells. In place of words, however, cells use chemicals, linking molecule to molecule to construct sentences that obey formal rules of grammar and syntax as binding as those that govern our own spoken and written language. Through the exchange and interpretation of chemical signals, they report every newsworthy event, record every memory, respond to every bodily injury.

The language of cells is the language of modern biology, and cell communication is one the hottest topics in biomedical research. Author Debra Niehoff, neurobiologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, examines the communication breakdowns that underlie some of our most common and intractable disorders and shows how intervening in these crises by sending signals of our own not only gives us the drugs to cure what ails us, but promises more effective and better targeted medications in the future.

Debra Niehoff makes real science available to the interested reader. Her style is friendly, delightful, and buoyant – and the beauty of the biology shines through her pages. – Dr. Alfred Gilman, co-recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

As a Ph.D., Niehoff writes with authority. Yet she conveys complex concepts so fluently that the book reads like a detective thriller. I couldn’t put it down. … an important contribution which will inform and enchant anyone who cares about the science of life. – Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins Medical School

The Language of Life blends the vision of science with the poetry of life itself. It is a fantastic story of discovery that artfully conveys the epic of the developing embryo, the miracle of the human brain, and the stories of battles waged by cells on the front lines of a never-ending war against disease. Niehoff does a great job of showing us how cells communicate in terms we can understand, giving us, in this overview, the skills to study this vast literature further.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins (Aspect)

For nearly a decade, fantasy writer Kim Wilkins has been the recipient of glowing and adoring praise from critics and writers alike in her native Australia for her brilliantly dark fantasy books. Her first book The Infernal won the distinguished Aurealis Award for best horror novel and best fantasy novel. Now, with her latest addition to an already impressive career, The Autumn Castle Kim Wilkins brings her visual style of fantasy to an American audience.

Bookstore clerk Christine Starlight resides with her lover, the painter Jude, in a hip artist colony in modem day Berlin . Tormented by a troubled past, Christine is shocked by the return of a missing childhood friend, May. Abducted as a child into a place of magic and myth, May now presides over a land where a witch lives in a well, a shape-shifting wolf is her trusted counselor, and fate turns on the fall of an autumn leaf. As Christine becomes fascinated with this beautiful undying land, May falls dangerously in love with Jude. And as their mortal and immortal worlds collide, the women attract a danger born of both realms – a ruthless killer who knows that Christine can enter another dimension, a place where innocents are ripe for the taking.

Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel's Avatar, says that with The Autumn Castle "aficionados of dark urban fantasy will find this a fast-paced treat." And Charles de Lint, author of The Onion Girl, says "The Autumn Castle draws the reader into a world of welcome magic and dark imaginings – our world, but a version of it that includes the whisper of fairy tale resonances, adding mystery and depth to common experience."

Wilkins... strikes a tantalizing balance between pastoral and grotesque in her American fantasy debut. The brutal scenes involving Mandy Z. provide a sharp contrast to the gentle, often touching story of Christine and her inner battles. The well-executed conclusion ends this fascinating adventure on a high note. – Publishers Weekly  
The Autumn Castle is a rich concoction, the perfect blend of sharp-edged realism and lyrically rendered folklore. – Lynn Flewelling, author of Hidden Warrior and the Nightrunner Series
Original fantasy with dark folkloric roots and a very modern twist . . . combines the best of both worlds. – Liz Williams, author of The Poison Master

The Autumn Castle is a gorgeous urban fantasy that enthralls with its rich storytelling and wonderfully dark atmosphere.

Self-Help / Relationships / Christianity

How to Get Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud (Zondervan)

Another Friday night alone…

It stinks, doesn’t it? But what can readers do to fix it?

According to Dr. Henry Cloud, bestselling and award-winning author of the Boundaries books, more than readers ever imagined. Cloud says they can put an end to the datelessness. Starting now they can begin a journey that will interesting people into their lives, broaden their experience, and lead them toward that date of all dates – a date worth keeping.

Cloud says that How to Get Date Worth Keeping is for readers who

  • Want to get more dates or better dates.
  • Wonder where ‘the good ones’ are.
  • Keep repeating the same old cycle in their dating life and want to change it.
  • Wonder why people who aren’t as nice get all the dates.
  • Are attracted to the wrong kind, while the right kind lack the ‘chemistry.’
  • Are waiting for God to bring the right person –waiting a long time.

Based on over ten years of personally coaching singles on dating, public-speaker and radio host Cloud shares his step-by-step approach to overcome readers’ sticking points.

Geared for the reported 3.5 million evangelical Christian singles in America , this guide by Cloud – author of the bestselling Boundaries series of relationship books – offers sound advice on the dating game. Some of his tenets may take Christian readers by surprise: he asserts, for example, that there's no one Mr. or Ms. Right for each person, and that people should stop waiting around for a dream individual to sweep them off their feet. … Non-serious dating, Cloud writes, is an essential step in the process of eventually finding a mate, because it teaches people what they need and want through trial and error. … He even suggests dating non-Christians – which will raise some evangelical eyebrows – while repeating his proviso that dating is not marriage. … – Publishers Weekly

In How to Get Date Worth Keeping, Cloud gets to the heart of the issues dating raises for many readers and gets them on the road to fun and fulfillment in the single life. Filled with true-life examples readers can identify with, How to Get Date Worth Keeping promises to get readers up, out there and dating.

Sports / Transportation / Biographies & Memoirs

Richard Petty: Images of the King by Bill Blake & Dick Conway (Motorbooks)

Richard Petty prides himself in being an everyman – someone who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, the guy lucky enough to bring his sport from dirt tracks to distinction. His humility is admirable, but you don't get to be ‘The King’ of the racing world that easily.

Petty's innate abilities propelled him to a record 200 wins, 27 of which came in one season, 10 of those in back-to-back races – an achievement which will most likely never be repeated. ‘The King’ also captured fans' hearts in a way no driver before him had. Because of his success, the growth of the sport during his career, and his affable demeanor, Petty became an Americana hero, someone everyone from blue-collar factory workers to presidents cheered for.

Richard Petty brings fans of this racing great back to the beginning of Petty's career – before the cowboy hat and sunglasses were his signature look, before he won a record seven driving championships, before NASCAR was even a blip on the national media's radar screen. Author Ben Blake, longtime editor for RACER magazine and Speed Channel commentator, chronicles Petty's rise to the top year by year, and offers Petty's commentary on how his success helped spur the growth of NASCAR. Accompanying the story are more than 250 photographs, most from long-time racing fan Dick Conway, who in a 20-year career captured countless unique images of ‘The King.’

Richard Petty is not only ‘The King’ of NASCAR, but for so many of us who came along after he was already a legend, he was a model on how to conduct yourself both on and off the track. He's always had a special relationship with the fans, and it seemed they meant as much to him as he meant to them. How he handled so many things helped guide the sport to where it is today. – Terry Labonte, NASCAR Cup Champion 1984 & ‘96

Reading this book is like being invited into the inner circle of the Petty family. You get all the details about Petty's life and his enormous accomplishments, as well as a detailed history of how Richard's success helped thrust NASCAR into national prominence. – Ben White, senior editor, NASCAR Illustrated

Richard Petty is a complete look at the amazing career of a racing legend. Packed full of never-seen-before historical photos, this book is a must for all NASCAR fans. – Nigel Kinrade, premier NASCAR photographer

Richard Petty shares the story of not only a racing legend, but a sports hero. The book also features dozens of previously unpublished photographs of ‘The King’ on the track and in the pits, commentary about some of NASCAR's most significant changes over the years, and Petty's complete racing statistics.

Sports / Equestrian / Biographies & Memoirs

The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis: Portrait of a Rider by Vicky Moon (Regan Books)

Rarely has a life been more in the public eye than that of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

It is clear from The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis that riding meant far more to Jackie than blue ribbons – it was a source of peace in an often tumultuous life. Dividing Jackie's life into three major periods, Vicky Moon, editor and publisher of the The Middleburg Life, a newspaper for Virginia horse country, speaks candidly about Jackie’s use of horses as a means of escape. As a child, she sought companionship in her ponies when she felt betrayed by her elusive father. As a young first lady and instant celebrity, Jackie used horses as sanctuary from the public eye and to create a sense of normalcy for her young family. Ponies belonging to Caroline and John Jr. roamed the White House lawn, and Jackie and her children retreated frequently to a property in Virginia 's horse country. Finally, after tragedy struck, Jackie again took solace in her horses – riding almost daily through Central Park in the years following her husband's death.

From her earliest days, riding was a source of pride and accomplishment for Jackie. In the privileged world into which she was born, riding was a necessary social grace, though Jackie's transformation into a highly skilled equestrienne far exceeded expectation.

Beautiful and intimate, the photographs in The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis are truly a window into a far more personal side of the former first lady. There are vibrant shots of a young Jackie soaring towards yet another championship, touching glimpses of Jack peeking out of the Oval Office to catch Caroline on her pony, and striking images of Jackie as a graceful widow, taking leisurely and solitary strolls.

Whether cantering up and down the emerald hills of Ireland , galloping through the woods in New Jersey , racing cross-country, or taking quiet rides with her children down the dirt trails of Virginia 's Inuit country, Jackie's lifelong pas­sion for horses was a mainstay during difficult years, a refuge from a life in the limelight, and a constant source of joy.

… Divided into short sections, the writing here is easy to read and conversational rather than historical, and the abundant photos speak volumes: Jackie riding with her children, Caroline and John; ponies on the White House Lawn with John F. Kennedy and the Secret Service; Jackie carefree in formal horse attire. Moon has constructed a must-have for horse lovers but also a touching tribute to Onassis; one of the few that the very private woman might have enjoyed herself. – Publishers Weekly

In her stunning new coffee table book, The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis Moon gives us a new glimpse of the former first lady, chronicling Jackie's life via her identity as a horseback rider. With never-before-published photographs, careful research, and candid prose, Moon takes us on a moving journey into Jackie O's most private world. Jackie's story unfolds through Moon's fresh and engaging narrative, sprinkled with anecdotes and memories from those who knew. The pictures, as well as quotes from her family, friends, and horse trainers and instructors, paint a refreshing portrait of a much admired woman. The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis is a beautiful tribute both to horseback riding and the elegant woman whose life it shaped.

Travel / Humor / France

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke ( Bloomsbury USA ) is for everyone who can never quite decide whether they love – or love to hate – the French.

There are lots of French people who are not at all hypocritical, inefficient, treacherous, intolerant, adulterous or incredibly sexy ... They just didn't make it into my book. – Stephen Clark

With the Euro soaring sky high, a trip to Paris may be out of the question. So Francophiles – or Francophobes – take note: A Year in the Merde may be just the cheap ticket they need.
Written by Stephen Clarke, a British writer working for a French press group in Paris, former writer for BBC radio, A Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author's adventures as an expat in Paris .

Based on his own experiences and with names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action – and to prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint Laurent suit", the book is narrated by Paul West, a twenty-seven-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company to open a chain of British ‘tea rooms.’ He must manage a group of lazy, grumbling French employees, maneuver around a treacherous Parisian boss, while lucking into a succession of lusty girlfriends (one of whom happens to be the boss's morally challenged daughter). He soon becomes immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly cheese, and they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana , thus losing the chance to make French the global language. Along the way, Paul also learns some secrets of French life from how to make the perfect vinaigrette to how to deal with supercilious waiters. A Year in the Merde will also tell readers how to get the best out of the grumpiest Parisian waiter, how to survive a French business meeting, and how not to buy a house in the French countryside.

Take a self-assured Brit with an eye for the ladies, drop him in the middle of Paris with a tenuous grasp of the language and you have Clarke's alter ego, Paul West, who combines the gaffes of Bridget Jones with the boldness of James Bond. … Originally self-published in Paris , Clarke's first book in a soon-to-be-series is funny and well-written enough to appeal to an audience beyond just Francophiles. – Publishers Weekly

An urban antidote to A Year in Provence, Clarke's book is a laugh-out-loud account of a year in Paris . Clarke originally wrote A Year in the Merde just for fun and self-published it in France in an English-language edition. Weeks later, it had become a word-of-mouth hit for expats and the French alike. With translation rights now sold in eleven countries and already a bestseller in the UK and France , Clarke is clearly a Bill Bryson (or a Peter Mayle...) for a whole new generation of readers who can use Clarke's wry take to help them decide whether they love – or love to hate – the French.

Travel / US

The World Famous Alaska Highway: A Guide to the Alcan & Other Wilderness Roads of the North, 2nd edition by Tricia Brown (Alaska Northwest Books)

Winding in and winding out fills my mind with serious doubt, as to whether the lout who planned this route, was going to hell or coming out.

The World Famous Alaska Highway entices readers to come along on the last great driving journey in North America : the Alaska Highway . According to Tricia Brown, this former World War II supply line leading to the Last Frontier has become a quest for many thousands of adventurers.

The World Famous Alaska Highway introduces readers to roadside history, geography, Native cultures and recreational opportunities in Alberta , British Columbia , the Yukon and Alaska , covering miles well beyond the Alaska Highway itself. Some of the highlights include:

  • Visiting the famed Watson Lake Signpost Forest .
  • Soaking at Liard River Hotsprings.
  • Standing beside the World's Largest Gold Pan.
  • Taking a dip (or sticking a toe) in the Yukon River .
  • Panning for gold with a real miner.

The book includes details about attractions, restaurants, hotels and campgrounds, as well as some of the colorful characters who make the northland memorable.

... the ideal guide for anyone traveling up and down the Alaska Highway . This compendium of historic sites, roadside attractions, dramatic views, wildlife sighting sites, recreational resources (hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, canoeing, cruising, flying, festivals, rodeos, parades, races, museums, theme parks) will ensure the success of any excursion from day trips to full-fledged vacations. – Midwest Book Review

The Alaska Highway is one road that most vacationers don't just jump in the RV and seek out. The highway is too long, too beautiful and too remote to not take preparations for the journey seriously.... Tricia Brown's new book helps the traveler get the most of the driving excursion north to the 49th state. Don't drive north without it. – The Oregonian

Packed with insider knowledge, The World Famous Alaska Highway is more than a travel guide; it is the friendly voice of an experienced traveler with details about the history of the road, don't-miss attractions, natural history, how to pack, and more. The book will enhance readers’ travels, tempting them to head north. Filled with pictures starting in 1972, this book has that “been there, done that” feel.

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Guide to This Issue

Art: Fundamentals of Bauhaus, Art as Time, Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore, Frederick Hart's sculpture – traditional & radical in its sensuality, Memoirs: Life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Business: Decisions for Business, Skilled Facilitator, Ecology of Small Business, Children's: The White Table: Set for the Absent Guests at Annual Veteran's Day Dinner, Poor Mr. Tuggle's Troubles, The Digestive System, Education: Basic Academic Skills for Individuals with Disabilities, Learning Words, Tools Readers Need, Mexican Americans Land Ethic, Successful Parenting, Faith and Resilience, Aggressive Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits, Psychology: Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Emotion Storm, The Gay Clinician, How People and Animals Learn & Behave, History: Civil War Hospitals, Centennial History of Las Vegas, Boston in History, Quarry Remembrance, When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World, Wilmington, NC as WWII Homefront, American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, South Florida & its Hurricanes, New Mexican Role in WWII, Home Crafts: Breadmaking, Literature: Portrayal of Black Men, John Fowles' Journals, Balkan War in Fiction, Bubonic Plague in English Literature, Gutcheon' Leeway Cottage, The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-century English Literature, Science: The Promise of Ecological Design, Sustainable Living, How Cells Communicate in Health and Disease, Philosophy: Platonic Aesthetics, Politics: South Park Conservatives, Religion: American Buddhist Poetry, Feminist Mystical Theology, Occult Alternative History, Dating Christian-style, Science Fiction: Impinging Dimensions, Sports: Richard Petty, Jackie Kennedy Onassis as Horseback Rider, Travel: A Book for Francophiles – or Francophobes, Driving the Alaska Highway