SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

July 2005, Issue #75

Guide to This Issue

Page Contents: Pick of the Month Art: Photography Composition, Railway Stations Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers: Season of the Snake, Nero Wolfe Father Hunt, Education: Designing e-Learning Simulation Games, Improve Training Performance, Art in School, Best Teaching Practices based on Recent Brain Research, School Psychology Business: America 's Cruise-Ship Empires, Life's Work Children's A Jewish Folktale, Birding for Kids, Girl on Safari, Weather Forecasting, Putin for Children, Race and Adoption Computers: Digital Watermarking, Cooking: Wine in Italian Cookery, Biography: Buster Keaton, Bob Dylan on Himself, Billy Joel, Food Doyen, Carmen Bin Ladin's Tell-Some, Reading with Shashi Tharoor Humor: Driving with Kids, Health: Arthritis Treatments, Meaning in the Second Half of Life, Anger, Assertive Happiness, Women & Testosterone, Alzheimer’s Disease Stories, Swedish Well-Being, Native American Self-Help History: Confederate Warriors, Confederate Surgeon, 1776, Cherokee Nation, German submarine U-505, Andrea Doria  Puebloan World Crafts: Quilts, Home: Santa Fe Style, Books: Dubravka Uresic, Eco Playing with Memory & Identity, Lake Michigan Stories, The Jewish American Writer, Nature: Alberta Bestiary, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Human Brain in Utero  Philosophy: Moral Freedom, Famous Atheist Believes in God? Politics: Post-9/11 American Foreign Policy, Multilingual Communication, Vietnamese Children, American Anti-Semitism, Religion: A Tibetan Guide to Death, Tsongkhapa on Meditation, A Forensic Approach to the Crucifixion, Thomas F. Torrance on the Trinity, Kinship and Paul, The Christian Life as Good, Ancient Christian Commentary on Wisdom Books, Wiccan Runes, Inner Light for Outer Action, Science: Neglected Woman Astronomer, Basic Organic Chemistry Science Fiction: Allure of Adepts

Pick of the Month – A Year in the Merde

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke (Audio Renaissance & Bloomsbury USA )

This one is indeed all it’s cracked up to be – the perfect antidote to A Year in Provence. (Everyone says that book was taken on vacations to the South of France.) 

In June our Associate Editor at SirReadaLot.org went on her honeymoon to Paris (and Normandy – there for D-Day – and Bordeaux); she swears A Year in the Merde was at least as much help as the guide books. How? Well, for example…

  • Why was there no train? Answer: train workers probably on strike!
  • Why was the tourist office closed? Answer: two-hour lunch break, of course!
  • Why did no one come over to help her when she went shopping? Answer: she was supposed to say “bonjour” when she walked into the store!

Most importantly, she took an almost all-black wardrobe with her and learned to shrug and pretend nothing matters, thereby being mistaken for a Parisienne repeatedly. What could be more rewarding? Oh  – and about the dog poop – they seem to have cleaned Paris up pretty well since Clarke was there except around the Rue Cler/University area.

See the longer review in the July issue and under “Audio” below

Arts & Photography

Photography: The Art of Composition by Bert Krages (Allworth Press)

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, photographic composition has been taught mostly by applying the principles from the field of graphic design. But the factor that distinguishes the work of master photographers is their ability to see and describe scenes visually. In Photography, Bert Krages, photographer, writer and attorney, introduces a radically different approach that applies modern cognitive science to show photographers how they can develop their perceptual skills. The book follows contemporary educational methods used to teach fine arts such as drawing and painting, concentrating on teaching the perception of critical visual elements and understanding how they will be rendered photographically.

Illustrated by more than 250 photographs, the core of the book is a group of sixty exercises that readers perform to learn how to perceive points, lines, and shapes in static and dynamic settings. The exercises cover:

  • Developing an intuitive sense of composition to create better photos.
  • Understanding how the human brain perceives images.
  • Developing visual acuity by studying art and photography.
  • Learning how to shoot in a wide variety of genres including street documentary, photojournalism, nature, landscape, sports, and still-life photography
  • Thinking and working like an artist.
  • Choosing the right camera equipment.

These exercises are structured enough to push photographers to develop their cognitive abilities and flexible enough to allow for individual creative expression. They provide some history about the specific genres at the heart of each exercise.

All too often, students of photography spend more time learning about f-stops and shutter speeds than they do learning about visual communication. Photography will help to correct that error. In a thoughtful and understandable presentation, readers are led through a series of exercises that sharpen their visual skills and greatly advance their ability to make expressive photographs that successfully communicate with their viewers. Any serious student interested in visual communication will find this book an important resource. – Bruce Katsiff, Photographer and Museum Director

Photography goes to the creative heart of the matter of making photographs. It is intelligent, insightful, and fun. The book is a lovely and challenging experience, like the art of photography itself. – Kristi Eisenberg, Photographer and Visual Communications Program Director, Cecil Community College , North East, MD

This informative guide will help photographers develop their cognitive skills and take compelling photos. Unlike other composition resources, which are based on graphic design principles, Photography uses cognitive science to help photographers develop greater artistic proficiency. Photographers can now perfect their ability to perceive and record scenes with this fresh approach to composition, and the series of exercises are sure to help them see and perceive their environment differently.

Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers

Season of the Snake: A Novel [UNABRIDGED] by Claire Davis, narrated by Hillary Huber, eight audiocassettes, approximately 12 hours (Blackstone Audiobooks)

Season of the Snake: A Novel by Claire Davis ( St. Martin ’s Press)

When tragedy leaves her life in shambles, Nance flees her Wisconsin hometown and its reminders of grief, creating a new life in the West. She is a herpetologist, a scientist specializing in rattlesnakes and attrition rates in dens, and she believes that "you can overcome fear, control the level of risk by being prepared, by knowing your subject." Now with a home in Lewiston , Idaho , overlooking the Snake River , and her marriage to Ned Able, a grade school principal, Nance finally feels at peace.
Written by Claire Davis, Season of the Snake takes an unexpected turn – a visit from her wayward sister Meredith revives old family conflicts, and resurrects a secret life that has long lain dormant in Ned. While Nance and Meredith mend their difficult relationship, Ned's violent nature begins to emerge, transforming him in ways that Nance denies, until, with the help of her sister, she is made to see what lies beneath the skin. But neither can predict how far Ned will go to hide his past, or where his frightening memories will lead him as he searches out an object for his obsession.

A suspenseful and heartbreaking meditation on the nature of fate, family, sex, death, and our individual misuses of love. Truly a thrilling novel. – Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life, The Fruit of Stone, and Where Rivers Change Direction
Claire Davis's new novel is a psychological thriller written with an almost Proustian sense of detail. It would not surprise me if Season of the Snake turns out to be this year's Mystic River , that rare book that manages to be both a huge literary and popular success. – Steve Yarbrough, author of Prisoners of War and The Oxygen Man
In Claire Davis's chilling new novel, predators wear the colors of their surroundings and only the undeceived survive. A tough, smart story given in uncommonly vibrant and muscular language. Season of the Snake reconfirms her place in the first rank of voices from the American West. – David Long, author of The Falling Boy
Like a coiled diamondback, Claire Davis's Season of the Snake grabs your attention and doesn't let go. The only time I put it down was to get up and lock the doors. – Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean

Davis 's debut novel, Winter Range , established her as a powerful voice in American writing. Season of the Snake extends her scope with a dramatic story, a vividly evoked setting, and a carefully drawn, unforgettable group of characters. They contribute to the compelling writing in this novel, which focuses on the powerful bonds of family. The audio version is read engagingly by award-winning voice talent Hillary Huber.

Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers

Father Hunt: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (Mystery Masters) [UNABRIDGED], 4 cassettes, approximate running time, 5 hours, 43 minutes by Rex Stout, narrated by Michael Prichard (Audio Partners)

This mystery in audio production comes from one of America ’s best-loved writers, Rex Stout (1886-1974), inimitable master of detective fiction, who wrote 73 mysteries, features one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time – Nero Wolfe, an orchid-growing, gourmandizing, demanding genius.

In Father Hunt twenty-two-year-old Amy Denovo needs Wolfe's help. She is determined to learn the identity of her father, a secret her mother scrupulously guarded – and took to her grave when struck by a hit-and-run driver. Now Wolfe and his sidekick and legman, Archie Goodwin, have just one clue to go on: a note from Amy's mother and a box with over $250,000. Seems that every month since Amy's birth, her mother received $1,000 from an unknown source and saved it for Amy's future. It's easy enough for Amy to afford Wolfe's services, and he grudgingly agrees. But as the weeks go by, Wolfe realizes this may be one of his most challenging cases ever. Someone doesn't want Amy's pedigree discovered, and that someone appears to wield great power. It isn't long before Wolfe and Archie come to believe that Amy's mother was murdered – and that Amy could be next.

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

Wolfe solves this case with the able assistance of Goodwin, who narrates Father Hunt with his usual wry humor. Michael Prichard gives another of his masterful readings to this cleverly plotted tale.

Audio / Travel / Humor / France

A Year in the Merde [ABRIDGED] by Stephen Clarke, narrated by Gerald Doyle, 4 CDs, running time 4 hours (Audio Renaissance) A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke ( Bloomsbury USA ) Having now risen to number one in the U.K. , SirReadaLot.com decided to review the audio version of this book. We still love it; A Year in the Merde 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 the fictitious 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 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 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.

Business & Investing / Training

Engaging Learning: Designing e-Learning Simulation Games by Clark N. Quinn (Pfeiffer)

I believe you will find that the book … is equally useful for the curious learner as for the e-learning developer interested in creating something truly special. It explains beautifully and gently not only how to craft more meaningful learning experiences, but also why it is vital to do so. I look forward to seeing what you create as a result of what you learn here. You have the opportunity to truly change the world. – From the Foreword by Marcia L. Conner

Learning is at its best when it is goal-oriented, contextual, interesting, challenging, and interactive. These same winning characteristics also define the best computer games, suggesting that the most effective learning experiences are also engaging. The challenge is to get in touch with what it takes to design learning experiences that will excite one’s audience. 

Clark N. Quinn, learning system designer, in Engaging Learning presents a unique framework for systematically aligning the key elements of learning and engagement with a proven design process for e-learning games. Engaging Learning is a hands-on guide, based on research and Quinn’s experience, to designing learning programs and specifically simulation games that engage and educate. Illustrated with case studies, the book shows trainers and instructional designers what they have to know to create e-learning games and suggests how to do it on a budget and on a schedule. Engaging Learning also shows why this process can improve completion rates and garner rave reviews from learners. This book

  • Introduces an enhanced instructional design model.
  • Outlines the criteria for creating meaningful learning experiences.
  • Explains the common principles that define compelling learning experiences.
  • Explores the different levels of games and learning from mini-scenarios, through linked and contingent scenarios, to a full engine-driven experience.
  • Defines a new design process for simulations and e-learning.
  • Discusses the use of media, pragmatics of production, and budgetary concerns accommodating various audiences.

I have often said that simulations may work in practice, but they certainly don't work in theory. Clark Quinn has proved me wrong. He has uncovered and presented the academic underpinnings to tell us why simulations work as well as they do, both at the highest level and in the nitty-gritty of design. – Clark Aldrich, author of Simulations and the Future of Learning and Learning by Doing

Many so-called e-learning simulation games are neither good games nor good learning experiences. Engaging Learning bridges the chasm between the engaging world of great games and the essential elements of effective learning experiences in clarifying ways to create truly powerful e-learning. – Michael W. Allen, CEO, Allen Interactions Inc., and author of Michael Allen's Guide to e-Learning

Games are great motivators – sometimes you can't tear players away from their session. How would it be if we could harness that motivation for the cause of education? In this book, Clark Quinn leads us through the necessary stages of development. He provides precisely what you need to know: systematic, logical coverage of how to create simulations and games that engage the learner and create the compelling learning experience we all dream about. – Donald Norman, professor, Northwestern University , and author of Things That Make Us Smart

Engaging Learning offers a much-needed guide for training professionals who want to create learning programs that are both effective and engaging. This nuts-and-bolts guide, both research-based and grounded in experience, offers the tools needed to transform learning experiences from humdrum to fun. Using this process, even the most inexperienced trainers or instructional designers can feel confident tackling the design of their own simulation or learning game.

Business & Investing / Training / Human Resources

Transferring Learning to Behavior: Using the Four Levels to Improve Performance by Donald l. Kirkpatrick & James D. Kirkpatrick (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.)

Now, more than ever, the pressure is on to demonstrate concrete results from training – but techniques like Return on Investment (ROI) calculations aren't impressive if it's obvious that new behaviors aren't becoming business as usual. Transferring Learning to Behavior shows how an already proven model can be applied to solve this most difficult problem and produce concrete results.

Since its creation in 1959, Donald Kirkpatrick's four-level model for evaluating training programs – reaction, learning, behavior, and results – has become the most widely used approach to training evaluation in the corporate, government, and academic worlds. However, trainers today are feeling increased pressure to prove whether instruction is worth its cost. And calculating and presenting results (Step 4) becomes tricky when, despite training, workers aren't fulfilling Step 3: applying what they've learned to their behavior. Transferring Learning to Behavior takes on this age-old challenge, first examining why learned concepts don't make it into practice, then offering solutions that will work in the real world. Coauthor James Kirkpatrick, a training practitioner, Director of the Corporate University for First Indiana Bank in Indianapolis , Indiana and adjunct professor in the MBA program at the Indiana School of Technology, introduces five prerequisites that help an organization achieve ultimate training success. In Transferring Learning to Behavior, Donald, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin , past president of ASTD and recipient of ASTD's "Lifetime Achievement Award in Workplace Learning and Performance", and his son James show how this model can be used to confront what has always been the most difficult training challenge.

This book begins with an overview of the current state of the four levels and outlines the three main reasons for the disconnect between learning and behavior. Part II describes the five foundations for success that must be in place before moving on to confront the true challenge of transferring learning to behavior. Part III addresses the main question, showing precisely how to ensure that there is organizational support, and employee and managerial accountability, for putting the new behaviors into practice. The book closes with 12 best-practice case studies from companies such as Toyota, First USA Bank, Nextel, and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, that bring alive the concepts, principles, and techniques presented throughout the earlier chapters.

Don't miss reading this book. It's practical, easy to understand, and can make a real difference in the bang you get for your training buck. – Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and The Secret

Building on Donald Kirkpatrick's groundbreaking methods of training evaluation, Transferring Learning to Behavior provides a roadmap for putting learning to work as a competitive advantage. A must-read for executives and training professionals who don't want to get bogged down in jargon but want practical examples of how learning can make a difference. – Dale R. Zwart, Founder and CTO, Generation2l Learning Systems

Laced with examples, case studies, and best practices, Transferring Learning to Behavior tackles the issues in the way you'd expect from the Kirkpatricks. – Jack J. Phillips, Chairman, R0I Institute, and author of Measuring Return on Investment in Training and Performance Improvement Programs

Balancing carefully honed theoretical advice with real stories from the real world of corporate education, this book provides the tools learning leaders need to meet the strategic challenge of transferring education into applied knowledge. –Tim Sosbe, Editorial Director, Chief Learning Officer magazine

The famous four-level model has become the model for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. Transferring Learning to Behavior shows how this already proven model can be applied to solve this most difficult problem and produce concrete results. The Kirkpatricks speak to training specialists, HR managers, group leaders, technical support professionals, small business owners, supervisors, managers, and even corporate execu­tives, showing how to bridge the divide between learning and behavior – a must-read.

Business & Investing / Travel

Devils on the Deep Blue Sea: The Dreams, Schemes and Showdowns That Built America 's Cruise-Ship Empires by Kristoffer A. Garin (Viking)

Left for dead after the advent of cheap, reliable air travel forty years ago, cruise shipping in the decades since has been reborn as a $13 billion industry on the cutting edge of twenty-first century global capitalism. Today, nearly ten million Americans take cruises each year, sailing to exotic destinations on floating cities that can cost upwards of $850 million each to construct.

In Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, journalist Kristoffer Garin chronicles the industry’s rise from humble and comic beginnings in the early sixties through waterfront corruption and the incalculably huge impact of the hit television series The Love Boat in the seventies and eighties to the recent consolidation wars. Garin brings us along for the industry's wild ride through the late 20th century, as a cast of latter-day robber barons grapples in the virtually lawless arena of international waters. While most passenger shipping executives at the dawn of the Jet Age in the early 1960s were busy mourning the end of an era, a handful of entrepreneurs saw opportunity on Miami 's shores, and seized it: abandoning the notion of seagoing transportation once and for all, they made the ships themselves into destinations. Key players include the late Ted Arison, who after a string of failures turned Carnival Cruise Lines into a seemingly unstoppable force, and his son Micky, a college dropout who cemented his father's legacy and today wields a personal fortune in excess of $5 billion.

But this account is no mere pleasure cruise. Early cruise ships, many of them rescued from the scrap heap, often lacked even basic safety equipment, and lives were lost as a result. Carnival's maiden voyage in 1972 ended up – literally – on the rocks, and crews routinely toiled in conditions so deplorable that there were actual mutinies in Florida waters. Then, The Love Boat debuted in prime-time, and cruise railings skyrocketed. Even as the cruise lines were making campy inroads into the living rooms of the American heartland, Garin shows how they were contending with organized crime in Miami, the caprices of Wall Street, the furor of outraged but largely impotent government regulators – and, most of all, the savage merger fights that, along with the pressure to construct ever larger and more expensive vessels, would dominate the industry's boardrooms during the boom time 1990s.

According to Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, problems faced by the cruise industry were second only to problems caused by the cruise industry. The secret of the industry's phenomenal success has been its ability to dodge tax and labor expenses through the use of foreign registry for its ships. Due to this technicality, vessels making round-trip voyages from U.S. ports, carrying overwhelmingly American passengers, and owned by U.S. companies traded on the New York stock exchange are allowed to operate within the U.S. without any obligations to pay taxes on profits. These ships are also not forced to comply with U.S labor standards, resulting in an overworked crew paid far under minimum wage. Despite all these problems, the cruise industry has more than doubled in size since the 80s, and cruising is the vacation of choice for more people that ever before.

A wild ride from the down-and-dirty world of the Miami docks to the board-rooms of high-flying international capitalism. This is nonfiction that combines first-rate detective work with the kind of writing that makes you forget you aren't reading a novel. A great accomplishment. – Dustin Thomason, coauthor of The Rule of Four

It's amazing how fast an industry can grow if it is able to conduct its affairs beyond the reach of the laws, labor protections and environmental regulations that effective governments apply within their borders. Kristoffer Garin's compelling history of the rise of the cruise ship industry combines boardroom drama, entrepreneurial brinkmanship and unsung human tragedy, revealing both the costs and benefits of a truly ‘offshore’ business. - Colin Woodard, author of The Lobster Coast and Ocean's End I've taken twenty wonderful cruises over the years and I'll make this book the twenty-first. – Bernie Brillstein, founding partner, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment

In this riveting book about the cruise industry, Kristoffer Garin investigates the hard realities behind cruising's sunny facade. Owners will wince, crews will probably not read it, ships will keep sailing and profits will soar. Required reading for discerning passengers. – John Maxtone-Graham, maritime historian

Few businesses in America today are as colorful, lucrative, and innovative as cruise shipping, and Devils on the Deep Blue Sea is the first book to give readers a compelling behind-the-scenes look into these floating empires and the modern-day robber barons who shaped them. Entrepreneurial genius and bareknuckle capitalism mate with cultural kitsch as the cruise lines dodge U.S. tax, labor, and environmental laws to make unimaginable profits while bringing the world a new form of leisure. In the entertaining Devils on the Deep Blue Sea Garin vividly chronicles the industry's rise from obscurity to breathtaking wealth and power.

Children’s / Ages 4-8

Shlemiel Crooks by Anna Olswanger, illustrated by Paula Goodman Koz (Junebug Books, NewSouth Books)

In the middle of the night on a Thursday, two crooks – onions should grow in their navels – drove to the saloon of Reb Elias Olschwanger at the corner of Fourteenth and Carr streets in St. Louis . This didn't happen yesterday. It was 1919.

So begins Shlemiel Crooks, a folktale written by Anna Olswanger, author of the Jewish Book & Author News column for the Association of Jewish Libraries newsletter, and illustrated by illustrator and printmaker Paula Goodman Koz.

Based on a true story, the book tells how Reb Elias and the thieves (inspired by the ghost of Pharaoh) try to steal the Passover wine – a town of Jewish immigrants plays tug-of-war with wine made from grapes left over from the exodus from Egypt . It's also an introduction for young children to the history celebrated by Passover: the escape from Egypt by the Israelite slaves. Olswanger based the story on a Yiddish newspaper article she discovered while researching her family's history.

Anna Olswanger's Shlemiel Crooks, told with Yiddish inflection, is a fine addition to the growing number of stories about the Jewish immigrant experience in America . Mazeltov! – Simms Taback, Caldecott medalist for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Buy this book – you should only have good luck coming out of your ears – and you'll laugh out loud. A delight! – Arthur Yorinks, author of Hey, Al, a Caldecott Medal winner

I have been reading Anna Olswanger's stories for ten years or more, and I love them – never a boring moment where she is concerned. She is a gifted story teller and a fine writer, and Shlemiel Crooks is one of her most delightful tales. Ms. Koz's delightful illustrations are a perfect complement. – Barry Moser, winner of the American Book Award for design and illustration of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Two dopey burglars, a talking horse, a wagon loaded in Passover wine, and Pharaoh and Elijah duking it out in St. Louis make for a great Passover story. All we need is W.C. Handy to set it to music: “ St. Louis Ganovim!” – Eric Kimmel, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year

This is a good – no I lie – it is a great story: funny, original and perfect for a new twist on the Passover holiday. Based on her own family's history, author Anna Olswanger has created a tale set in St. Louis in 1918. Read it. You should live to be a hundred and tell others to read it too. – Johanna Hurwitz, author of the Riverside Kids series

A modern-day parable, Shlemiel Crooks has a music all its own. No other children's book has Pharaoh's ghost coming back to ‘pull one over on the Jews,’ nosy neighbors making a shtuss outside, and a talking horse that sounds like it has a ‘little indigestion.’ In its Yiddish-inflected English, punctuated by amusing curses that surprise and appeal; young readers hear the language of a Jewish community of another time and get a feel for its customs and colors.

Children’s / Ages 5 & up / Outdoors & Nature / Field Guide / Birding / Activity

Backyard Birding for Kids: A Field Guide & Activities by Fran Lee (Children’s Activity Series: Gibbs Smith, Publisher) asks readers:

  • Do you enjoy watching birds play in a bird bath?

  • Do you love collecting feathers or get excited when you find an old bird's nest?

  • Do you like to hear birds singing their morning greeting?

  • You must be a bird watcher!

As the latest addition to the Gibbs Smith Children's Activity Series, Backyard Birding for Kids encourages children to explore the world around them.

Backyard Birding for Kids is a field guide to birds of all varieties – in the city, country, desert, or at the beach – because no matter where children go, they're bound to spot a bird. The book, written by Fran Lee, a professional illustrator for nearly 20 years, also includes hands-on activities. Kids learn about making the backyard bird-friendly, building a pinecone bird feeder, and creating their own bird watching notebook to record sightings, locations, information, and notes from the field. And they learn how to make a birdbath dripper, plant a hummingbird-friendly garden, and start a bird watching club. They learn to create activities that are fun for a hike in the wilderness or an exploration of the neighborhood.

Kids learn about the physical traits of birds, their common names, and even their Latin names. They discover what makes birds unique to certain regions and why birds look vastly different from each other. Bird trivia throughout this volume makes it a learning tool, and interesting facts like "Did you know that the Robin is the first bird to sing in the morning?" bring bird-watching to life and spark the interests of future ornithologists. A handy list of everyday bird watching equipment makes it easy for a novice to begin backyard investigation.

Divided into six geographical locations, Backyard Birding for Kids is a playful resource for children across the continent. The book inspires children to explore and go outside and have fun while they learn about birds. Not only a field guide to various bird species, the book is also a fun activity book that will get young readers involved in the discovery process. Lee's colorful illustrations bring local feathered residents to the forefront and reveal foreign species to children who might otherwise never see these exotic birds.

Children’s / Ages 2-5

Starry Safari by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Jeff Mack (Harcourt, Inc.)
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Hop into a bright orange jeep for a thrilling safari adventure.
Just watch out for the…
In Starry Safari a daring girl and her trusty orange jeep are off on an exciting safari. There are giraffes to watch, rhinos to race, and wily crocodiles to avoid. And when a roaring lion crosses her path, she knows exactly what to do: roar back! But will she be as courageous when it's time for bed and there are lots of scary night noises?
Acclaimed author Linda Ashman with the help of illustrator Jeff Mack has created an exciting picture book with an almost superhero of a heroine. Action packed from beginning to end, Starry Safari is a rhyming adventure that will keep young readers on the edge of their seats.

Children’s Books / Grades 2-5 / Science / Outdoors & Nature

Weather Forecasting by Terri Sievert (Bridgestone Books. Weather Update Series: Capstone Press)

Capstone Press invites young readers to explore the fascinating world of weather with its series Bridgestone Weather Update books.

Weather Forecasting asks young readers:

  • What should you wear to school tomorrow?
  • Will it rain on your picnic?

Author Terri Sievert says that a weather forecast can help them find the answers.

Speaking at a third grade reading level, Sievert explains that weather forecasting is a way to predict the weather. People who forecast weather look at weather maps and radar and satellite pictures. They study temperature, wind speed, and wind direction. They use computers to turn this information into a weather forecast. This report tells people what kind of weather to expect in the days ahead.

If readers have ever wondered what a meteorologist does, how forecasters know when rain or snow is on the way, or what tools forecasters use to predict the weather, they will find the answers in Weather Forecasting.

The striking photographs and easy-to-read text in the book provide all the facts on basic weather topics, including the effects of weather on people and wildlife.

Children’s / Young Adult / Biographies & Memoirs

Vladimir Putin by Thomas Streissguth (Biographies Series: Lerner Publications Company) Vladimir Putin rose from humble beginnings as the son of a Leningrad factory foreman to become president of Russia – the world's largest nation. A former KGB agent, he was virtually unknown to the Russian public when President Boris Yeltsin appointed him prime minister in August 1999. But his image as a fresh, young, and honest outsider helped him to win the Russian presidential election in 2000 and again in 2004. Putin's policies in the post-Soviet era have dramatically reshaped the Russian government and revived the Russian economy. Yet many have criticized Putin's leadership as too heavy handed and protested his silencing of opposition in the Russian government, business world, and media. Vladimir Putin follows the story of Putin's improbable rise to power, while offering insight into his policies and the events of post-Soviet Russia .

The book tells how as a teenager in Leningrad , Russia , Putin practiced martial arts after school and dreamed of joining the KGB, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (Committee for State Security). Then in 1968, as a slender young man Putin approached the KGB headquarters in Leningrad . The building appeared secretive, with windows and doors tightly closed to the outside world. Here was a place of power and authority – but it was power that worked undercover. It was power that inspired fear. Everyone in the Soviet Union knew that to run afoul of the KGB was to risk life and limb.

But according to prolific author Thomas Streissgut, explaining at a level appropriate for young people, Putin was not afraid – ever since he could remember, he had wanted to be a spy. He knew that rising through the ranks of the Soviet government and security services required good connections, a university degree, and membership in the government-run Com­munist Party – and Vladimir had none of the above.

Still, he did not turn away from his dream. He simply walked to the headquarters building and approached the first man he saw. "I want to get a job with you," Vladimir said.

The man studied the eager and deadly serious teenager. This kind of encounter was familiar to him. Many people wanted to talk to the KGB, for many dif­ferent reasons. Some of them, like Vladimir , were young people who wanted to be spies. The man decided not to drive this teenager away, at least not immediately. "That's terrific," he responded, "but there are several issues. First, we don't take people who come to us on their own.... Second, you can come to us only after the army or after some type of civilian higher education."

Vladimir was prepared for a refusal. He knew that in the Soviet Union , one didn't achieve a goal simply by eagerly asking for it. In this society, the govern­ment held power over each person's education, job, and place of residence. If a Soviet citizen asked for something, government officials could say no for a hundred different reasons, and they did not have to explain. A citizen simply had to accept their decisions or risk a lot of trouble.

But Vladimir persisted, asking what kind of higher educa­tion, and getting the answer: "Law school."

Just a few years later, he enrolled at the law school of Leningrad State University.

Vladimir Putin goes on to describe events in Putin’s career including his demand for more authority to deal with terrorism and his continuing battles with private Russian businesses, focusing on Yukos, a giant Russian oil company, which he eventually installed a close friend to run. And it covers his attempt to influence an election in the Ukraine . Vladimir Putin also covers the time when the wall came down between East and West Germany and Putin’s position on that event. And it includes a timeline, sources, selected bibliography, further reading and websites, and an index.

Vladimir Putin offers insights into Putin’s policies and events occurring in Russia ’s post-Soviet days, describing the role his commitment and motivation played. This Biography series from Lerner Publications, not shying away from difficult issues, gives young adults a chance to learn about current world leaders, historical figures, and possible role models in an easy to read format with a good sprinkling of pictures.

Computers & Internet / Law / Intellectual Property

Digital Watermarking for Digital Media by Jürgen Seitz (Information Science Publishing) provides a broad overview of digital watermarking.

The issue and debate over digital rights has seen a recent explosion over the last few years. As the Internet continues to expand, so does this concern. To help guard against the vast amounts of illegal copies of music, films, and pictures, digital water-marking has emerged to help protect the rights of digital assets.

Written by Jürgen Seitz, professor for information science and finance, and chair of information science, University of Cooperative Education , Heidenheim , Germany , Digital Watermarking for Digital Media discusses the new aspects of digital watermarking in a worldwide context. Approached not only from the technical side, but the business and legal sides as well, this book discusses digital watermarking as it relates to many areas of digital media.

Contents include:

  • Chapter 1: Digital Watermarking: An Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Digital Watermarking Schemes for Multimedia Authentication
  • Chapter 3: Digital Watermarking for Multimedia Transaction Tracking
  • Chapter 4: A New Public-Key Algorithm for Watermarking of Digital Images
  • Chapter 5: Geometric Distortions Correction Using Image Moment in Image Watermarking
  • Chapter 6: Audio Watermarking: Requirements, Algorithms, and Benchmarking
  • Chapter 7: MPEG Standards and Watermarking Technologies
  • Chapter 8: Time-Variant Watermarks for Digital Videos: An MPEG-Based Approach
  • Chapter 9: Active Watermarking System: Protection of Digital Media

Broad in its approach, Digital Watermarking for Digital Media provides a comprehensive overview not provided by any other texts. Undergraduate and graduate students in information technology, law, multimedia design, and economics will all find valuable material here, and artists, composers, lawyers and publishers will all find value in this digital watermarking book. The publication is also highly recommended for library acquisition in support of teaching programs.

Cooking, Food & Wine

The Wine Lover Cooks Italian: Pairing Great Recipes with the Perfect Glass of Wine by Brian St. Pierre, with photography by Minh + Wass (Chronicle Books)

The only thing better than sitting down to an Italian dinner is enjoying it with one of Italy ’s superb regional wines.

From Pear Salad with Walnuts and Cheese (served with a light, crisp Pinot Grigio to crunchy Almond Biscotti (Vin Santo being the perfect choice), The Wine Lover Cooks Italian Brian St. Pierre brings to the table recipes and wine pairings. Whether it's a hearty barolo from Piedmont in the northwest that complements a pan-roasted veal tenderloin, or a glass of easy-going Apulia primitivo from the southern reaches to enjoy with the rosemary and oregano notes of slow-baked lamb, each wine suggestion is designed to enhance the flavor of the recipe.
St. Pierre pairs his discussion of wines with a compilation of traditional Italian recipes, and most of his choices are easy to prepare. From the Adriatic , he presents a seductive recipe for Epicures' Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Oil, which goes nicely with a Rosso Conero. Southern Italy is represented by Grilled Fish Steaks on Peperonata, to be drunk with a full-flavored Negroamaro.

The recipes in The Wine Lover Cooks Italian are organized geographically, in six sections (plus dessert), from west to east across northern Italy, then the center of the country, the eastern coast along the Adriatic Sea, the south, and the islands offshore. Each section has a brief explanation of the character and the gastronomy of the regions within it, followed by notes on the principal wines of the regions. The wines are listed in order of prominence, with the most important first. Most of them have a note on the typical aromas and flavors that may be found in that wine, intended as a rough guide to its style and character, and then some tips on matching the wine with food, Italian and sometimes otherwise. Some of them, especially a few of the light whites, are simply sketched in.

St. Pierre mostly concentrates on the Italian varieties, or wines like Pinot Grigio that have acquired Italian character and style over the course of more than a hundred years of acclimatization.

At the end of The Wine Lover Cooks Italian is a short section of basic recipes that are staple ingredients in many of the recipes. Readers will find uses for them beyond this book. Finally, olive oil matters to Italian wine, too, so there are notes on it, along with a brief survey of Italian cheese. The index is the best place to look for specific foods, and for wines, organized alphabetically rather than geographically.

When the topic is wine, writers often lapse into pompous wordiness or, in an effort to connect with a younger, hipper audience, groove up their language to the point where they could be describing anything from rock music to sneakers. The author of this volume, a noted wine writer who has published several books on the subject mercifully does neither. Instead, he uses simple, engaging language to describe the many wines of Italy , explaining their provenance, their taste and how they should be served. …Truth be told, anyone with an Italian cookbook probably already has the recipes for these dishes, as well as a few more inventive ones, but what makes this volume useful is its dignified and intelligent discussion of Italian wines and the foods they best accompany. – Publishers Weekly

Glass in one hand, fork in the other, St. Pierre explores the regional wines and cuisines of Italy in this dream of a cookbook. With a glossary of wine terms and gorgeous photographs of both the wine and the food, this stylish cookbook is as beautiful as it is informative. With The Wine Lover Cooks Italian readers’ next meals will be fantastico!

Education / Preschool & Kindergarten (Ages 5-8) / Parenting & Families

Primary Art: It's the Process, Not the Product by MaryAnn F. Kohl (Gryphon House, Inc.) is the long-awaited sequel to First Art and Preschool Art.

Look no further for creative and distinctive art experiences for the preschool and primary grades.

In Primary Art, award-winning author MaryAnn F. Kohl, regular columnist for Parenting Magazine, offers children ages five to eight over 100 art experiences that value the process of art more than the final product. Budding artists get their feet wet with preliminary art experiences and then progress to more complex creativity within each art medium.

The book explores unusual materials and gives children a chance to develop art skills, laugh, and learn, with no prior experience necessary. Activities range from beginning to advanced, with activities which include Shimmer Paint, Squeezy Batik, Sunbright Collage, Crinkle Scruncher and Jellie Dangles.

Primary Art provides hard-to-resist activities, which encourage artistic expression at every level. With this book, teachers, parents, after-school caregivers, and anyone working with children will encourage creativity, as well as promote the process of art exploration.

Education / Teaching

Ten Best Teaching Practices: How Brain Research, Learning Styles, and Standards Define Teaching Competencies, 2nd edition by Donna Walker Tileston (Corwin Press)

The biggest challenge a teacher can face is an uninspired student. In Ten Best Teaching Practices, Second Edition, veteran teacher Donna Walker Tileston, award-winning author and full-time consultant, helps teachers work with these students.

Ten Best Teaching Practices provides classroom teachers with a practical guide to inspiring, motivating, and therefore educating even the most unenthusiastic students. This update of the original classic details the fundamentals of creating an environment that facilitates learning, differentiated teaching strategies, teaching for long-term memory, collaborative learning, higher-order thinking skills, technology integration, plus five more best teaching practices.
Ten Best Teaching Practices, Second Edition includes:

  • Examples illustrating how each teaching practice can be employed in a practical environment.

  • Tips on how to encourage students to incorporate self-motivation in their own learning through personal goals.

  • Detailed analysis on how the brain absorbs learning.

  • Mentoring guidelines that will help even the most challenged students.

  • Graphics illustrating the essential points of these practices.

Tileston explains the importance of an enriched and emotionally supportive climate, a wide repertoire of teaching techniques, the critical element of connections or transfers in learning, and the role of memory in making learning more meaningful, motivating, and challenging work. – CHOICE, July 2001

Teachers say that what they need is an all-in-one reference book, and this book meets the need to enable all students to realize their greatest learning potential. Tileston in Ten Best Teaching Practices incorporates brain research, learning styles information, and the issues of standards into a highly effective classroom instructional model. Once readers implement these tried-and-true practices, they may wonder how they ever got along without them.

Entertainment / Humor / Biographies & Memoirs

Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat by Edward McPherson (Newmarket Press)

This book is meant to celebrate an unbelievably fertile time in American cinema that was the result of an extraordinary man working under extraordi­nary circumstances – with absolute artistic freedom, in the fluidity of the silent medium, infused with the bravado of the machine age, supported by a crack team, fresh in the vigor of his youth. – Edward McPherson, from the Introduction

Writer Edward McPherson in the new biography Buster Keaton traces Keaton's career from his early days in vaudeville where, as a rambunctious five-year-old, his father threw him around the stage to his becoming one of the brightest stars of silent film's golden age.

Buster Keaton celebrates Keaton in his prime as an antic genius, equal parts auteur, innovator, prankster, and daredevil. It also reveals the pressures in his personal and professional life that led to his collapse in drunkenness and despair before a triumphant second act as a television pioneer and Hollywood player in everything from beach movies to Beckett.

Working from extensive research, McPherson describes the life of Keaton in front of the camera and behind the scenes, affectionately relating the gut-busting gags, hair-raising stunts, and remarkable on- and off-screen stories of such Keaton classics as Cops, Sherlock, Jr., The General, The Cameraman, Our Hospitality, and The Navigator, and how they were made, while tracing Keaton's life from his early years on the stage to his introduction to moviemaking, to his fateful move to Hollywood, and his three (often quite public) marriages.

McPherson offers an account of Keaton's birth and early years on the road with his Vaudeville performer parents, who had little choice but to include their son – to great success – in their act when his curiosity and stage presence kept cutting into their shows.

When the family act broke down in 1917, Keaton traveled to New York on his own, where an old family friend introduced him to movie producer Joe Schenck and his star Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, who quickly seized on Keaton's comedic talents and brought him into their frenetic filmmaking family. McPherson captures this era of Keaton's life with vivid descriptions of Schenck's Colony Studio and the madcap stunts and exuberant experimentation of the nascent world of film.

After serving in World War I in Europe and damaging his hearing, Keaton briefly returned to New York before making his way to Hollywood , where he would split from Arbuckle with a deal that gave him a studio of his own. Free to dream up some of the most ingenious comedies to light up the silver screen, Keaton moved from two-reelers to features, shooting on location in Hollywood, the Sierras, Lake Tahoe, Oregon, Sacramento, and even at sea. Taking what he knew from vaudeville – ingenuity, athleticism, audacity, and wit – Keaton applied his hand to the new medium of film, proving himself a prodigious acrobat and brilliant writer, gagman, director, and actor. He pioneered daredevil stunts and innovative film techniques, and married film princess Natalie Talmadge, for whom he built not one house, but two.

Throughout Buster Keaton, McPherson portrays Keaton's human dimension, relating how he stood by old friends like Arbuckle in moments of need, and how he found his creativity and moviemaking bravado stifled by the studio system when he joined MGM in the late 1920s. The consequences of that decision, combined with growing unhappiness at home and dwindling finances, would deeply affect Keaton, leading him to drink heavily and disappear – for a time – from the Hollywood lights.

Buster Keaton's final chapter recounts Buster Keaton's travails after his dismissal from MGM, ultimately a successful comeback story that found Keaton utilizing his comedic skills again, first as a consultant for MGM, then as a star of the new, vaudeville-friendly medium that was TV in the early 1950s. Along with two new marriages, Keaton continued to work throughout the 50s and 60s on the stage, screen and TV, appearing in many high-profile films, from Sunset Boulevard to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, to the beach movies typical of the period.

Keaton died in early 1966, but his legacy endures. His comedy has influenced scores of filmmakers and film comedians, ranging from Woody Allen to Martin Scorsese to Jackie Chan, and, thanks to new DVD releases and marathons on classic film channels, a  new generation is discovering his work and appreciating his singular comic genius.

Buster Keaton is arguably the best actor-director in the history of the movies, and certainly the bravest. McPherson charts the progress of a life in which art was built out of early experience, insatiable curiosity ... and a sense of humor that still seems ahead of its time. – Roger Ebert

Edward McPherson's elegant and affectionate new biography takes you on a delightful ride through the ups and downs of Keaton's fascinating life. Each film is lovingly examined with a precision and dry wit that Old Stoneface himself would admire. – Jim Taylor, co-screenwriter, Sideways, About Schmidt

[A] loving tribute...McPherson adroitly describe[s] the extraordinary visual lunacy Keaton produced on-screen to achieve cinema art. – Publishers Weekly

From the vaudeville stage to silent film's golden age, this insightful new biography Buster Keaton chronicles the prolific actor/filmmaker's life and examines his films and his legacy. Writing with the same kind of exuberance and narrative energy as Keaton's madcap films, McPherson delivers a fresh take for new generation discovering the on-screen antics of the genius of silent film.

Entertainment / Humor / Families & Parenting

Driving under the Influence of Children: A Baby Blues Treasury by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott (Baby Blues Treasury: Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Under the sticky seats, next to the molten milkshakes, unreturned library books, and petrified French fries is probably where the hidden microphone is hidden. Those Baby Blues cartoonists undoubtedly planted it in many readers’ minivans, because how else could they come up with the ideas for their comic strip that mirror exactly what's going on in readers’ lives?

According to McMeel Publishing, for years fans and critics have been alternately checking under their seats and raving about the realism of the parenting experience depicted in Baby Blues. That realism is no accident (nor the result of illegal wiretaps). Parents themselves, co-creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott have an infinite wellspring of material at their disposal, including, for example, changing diapers, teaching kids to read, mystery stains in the car, breast feeding, and giving baths.

As writer Scott, who is a co-creator of Zits, explains, "As long as kids keep having runny noses and wiping them on the drapes, we're in business." And business is booming. Running in nearly 1,000 newspapers and more than 20 other periodicals worldwide, Baby Blues is enjoyed by 40 million fans daily. The latest colorful treasury, Driving under the Influence of Children, not only contains over 240 pages of award-winning Baby Blues comic strips, but also the very first Baby Blues stickers, including a bumper sticker that should be affixed to nearly every minivan on the road, warning other drivers the car is loaded with kids – so watch out!

Driving under the Influence of Children will tickle readers’ funny bones. From adjusting to a new baby to dealing with sibling rivalry, Driving under the Influence of Children covers every event a new parent can expect. Read Baby Blues' new comic strip collection will help parents laugh their way through all the insanity.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Chronicles: A Bob Dylan Series, Volume 1 [LARGE PRINT] by Bob Dylan (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series: Thorndike Press)

Greenwich Village , circa 1961.

As seen through Bob Dylan's eyes and open mind as he first arrives in Manhattan , New York is a magical city of possibilities – smoky, all-night parties; literary awakenings; transient loves; and unbreakable friendships.

One would not have foreseen an autobiography at all from the pen of the notoriously private legend. However, he bypasses expectations yet again.

Chronicles, Volume 1 is the first volume in a three-volume series promised fans by his elusive and rebellious lordship, Bob Dylan. Skipping over most of the ‘highlights’ that his many biographers have assigned him, focusing on his intellectual development, Dylan rambles through his tale, amplifying a series of major and minor epiphanies. For example, the 1963 assassination of John Kennedy prompts nary a word from the era's greatest protest singer. Dylan does describe the sensation of hearing the Beatles’ "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on the radio, but devotes far more ink to a Louisiana shopkeeper named Sun Pie, who tells him, "I think all the good in the world might already been done" and sells him a World's Greatest Grandpa bumper sticker.

He reconstructs, for example, an early moment in New York when he realized "that I would have to start believing in possibilities that I wouldn’t have allowed before, that I had been closing my creativity down to a very narrow, controllable scale...that things had become too familiar and I might have to disorient myself."

…For all the small revelations (it turns out he's been a big fan of Barry Goldwater, Mickey Rourke, and Ice-T), there are eye-opening disclosures, including his confession that a large portion of his recorded output was designed to alienate his audience and free him from the burden of being a ‘the voice of a generation.’ Off the beaten path as it is, Chronicles is nevertheless an astonishing achievement. As revelatory in its own way as Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited, it provides ephemeral insights into the mind one of the most significant artistic voices of the 20th century while creating a completely new set of mysteries. – Steven Stolder, Amazon.com
After a career of principled coyness, Dylan takes pains to outline the growth of his artistic conscience in this superb memoir. … Ultimately, this book will stand as a record of a young man’s self-education, as contagious in its frank excitement as the letters of John Keats and as sincere in its ramble as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, to which Dylan frequently refers. A person of Dylan’s stature could have gotten away with far less; that he has been so thoughtful in the creation of this book is a measure of his talents, and a gift to his fans. – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Acolytes and scholars have long argued over the meaning of Dylan's often cryptic songs. … Among the surprising revelations is Dylan's confession that his mundane output in the early ‘70s was the result of withdrawal into domestic life and a conscious attempt to reject the pressure he had felt as the ‘voice of a generation.’ Another surprise is that the book is so straightforward. As opposed to his obtusely surreal novel Tarantula (1971) and his famously evasive interviews, Dylan here is honest, bordering on confessional – that is, if he is to be taken at face value, always a risky proposition with this elusive artist. Dylan envisions this as the first of three volumes of memoirs, so fans shouldn't be upset that he ignores his most significant work but let the omission whet appetites for the sequels. – Gordon Flagg, Booklist

Side trips to New Orleans , Woodstock , Minnesota and points west make Chronicles an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times. With his unparalleled gift for storytelling and exquisite expressiveness, Dylan offers a poignant reflection on life and the people and places that helped shape the man and his art. Most evocative is Dylan's depiction of early '60s Greenwich Village , which paints the burgeoning folk scene so vividly that it seems to have happened last week. Drifting and rambling, what Chronicles: Volume 1 delivers is an odd but ultimately illuminating memoir that is as impulsive, eccentric, and inspired as Dylan's music.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Billy Joel: The Life & Times of an Angry Young Man by Hank Bordowitz (Billboard Books)

Supremely successful...volatile, creative...a craftsman, a genius...self-aware and self-destructive, Billy Joel's life reads like a popular novel.

Written by veteran music journalist Hank Bordowitz, Billy Joel is an in-depth look at the artist who has written some of the biggest hits of the 20th century – the only biography of this intensively private superstar.

Starting with his middle-class Long Island childhood and his years as a gang member and a working musician, author Hank Bordowitz tells us all, including:

  • All the romantic songs written early in his career were about his first wife, Elizabeth.
  • New York State of Mind was written after leaving California and finally feeling at home again.
  • Only the Good Die Young wasn't anti-Catholic as critics believed, but a song about lust.
  • Allentown and We Didn't Start the Fire were based on his knowledge of history (Joel once considered being a history teacher .
  • The album, An Innocent Man, was inspired by Christie Brinkley.
  • High-school drop out Billy Joel finally graduated from Hicksville High on June 24, 1992 thanks to the principal who accepted his songs to satisfy a missing credit of English that had kept Billy Joel from receiving his diploma.

With his breakthrough 1973 album, Piano Man Joel's story became one of unstoppable success. Bordowitz covers those heady days, as well as the turbulent business dealings and bad advice that have colored his career. Billy Joel explores Joel's big moments, including his induction in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and the Roll Hall of Fame, his shift from popular to classical composition, and his move to Broadway (Joel's collaboration with choreographer Twyla Tharp on the hit show Movin' Out). And it covers Joel's personal struggle with broken marriages and substance abuse.

Interviews with a wide range of Joel's friends and colleagues provide a detailed picture of this complex man and his music.

A solid read without being tawdry. Bordowitz shows Billy Joel as human...and as an artist with a one in a million gift. – Doug Howard, bassist/vocalist for Touch, Edgar Winter, Todd Rundgren, Stun Leer

Veteran music journalist Hank Bordowitz applies his inexhaustible research energies to this first major biography of Billy Joel. The result: a compelling look at one of the most private and least understood musical artists of our time. – Stan Soocher, author of They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court

After Marley, Bono, and The Boss, who expected Bordowitz to outdo himself again? But he has, with Billy Joel. After ripping through each page of his latest book, two questions remain: Who'll be the subject of his next book? When will it reach my grubby hands? – Vinny Cecolini, Senior Head Writer, VN1 Classic

I've always admired the writings of Hank Bordowitz for many reasons. He's blatantly honest, and holds nothing back. And with this new book, he continues his path of opening the minds of those who are fortunate to come into his creative life. – Steve Zuckerman CEO, Global Entertainment Network

This can’t-put-down book is a fascinating read and should please fans, documenting in detail Joel’s ups and downs. But Billy Joel will not do a lot for those who want to read deep analysis to try to get some fix on this enigmatic figure. The book takes a raspy, man’s man tone which works well in Joel’s early days, but is not sure what to do with his later Broadway writing or ongoing alcoholism.

Ethnic & National / Biographies & Memoirs

Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bin Ladin (Warner Books)

Addicted to the ‘I-married-the-Mob’ genre? Try this variation: smart women who marry Islamic fundamentalists. – Publishers Weekly

This international bestseller gives the shocking account of what it's like to be a woman – even a wealthy woman from a privileged family – in Saudi Arabia today. In an unprecedented act, Carmen Bin Ladin in Inside the Kingdom throws off the veil that conceals one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressive countries in the world – and the Bin Laden family's role within it.

According to Carmen bin Ladin on September 11th, 2001 , she heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these horrifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America . She also knew that her life and the lives of her family would never be the same again. Carmen, half Swiss and half Persian, married into the bin Laden family and found herself inside a complex and vast clan, part of a society that she neither knew nor understood. Inside the Kingdom takes us inside the bin Laden family and one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressed kingdoms in the world.

Carmen fell in love with Yeslam bin Ladin, Osama's older brother in 1973, and after a fairy-tale courtship, including a semester together at USC, the two married in Saudi Arabia . But it wasn't long before the fantasy turned sinister. Carmen was confined to the home, but her three young daughters, occasional international trips and her understanding husband helped her cope. Things changed when the 1979 Saudi mobilization to support Afghan Muslims against the Soviet invasion gave religious hard-liners like Osama more clout. Carmen's husband, now a successful Geneva businessman, reverted to a more orthodox lifestyle, and then finally in 1988, he divorced Carmen, leaving her to fear for her life if she ever entered the country again.

Courageous...Stark and unrelenting...heroic...To stand up as a woman and share her personal experiences and feelings... about the Bin Laden family's daily life in Saudi Arabia is surely a bold and possibly consequential act. – USA Today

Compelling...dark...Makes a fiery case against what its author calls the oppression and fanaticism that dominates much of Saudi society. Her unabashed conclusion: The Saudis are the Taliban, in luxury. – New York Times

Chilling...brave and moving...A brilliantly observed book, a must for anyone struggling to comprehend the culture that spawned the floridly evil Osama. – People, four stars

Perhaps the most vivid account yet to appear in the West of the oppressive lives of Saudi women....let's hope that more brave dissenters – male and female – will follow her lead. – Wall Street Journal

Osama bin Laden's former sister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually intimate look into Saudi society and the bin Laden family's role within it, as well as the treatment of Saudi women in Inside the Kingdom. This courageous book stands out as an unprecedented act of heroism.

Health, Mind & Body / Alternative Medicine

Easing the Pain of Arthritis Naturally: Everything You Need to Know to Combat Arthritis Safely and Effectively by Earl Mindell (Basic Health Publications, Inc.)

Millions suffer from arthritis pain, and the numbers are growing as the population ages. If readers are among the tens of millions of Americans who suffers from arthritis, they know that arthritis medications and painkillers offer only a temporary respite. Fortunately, there is a better way to combat joint inflammation and slow the progression of arthritis. In fact, the alternatives are many – from modifications to diet and supplements, such as ginger extract, to regular exercise and hands-on therapies such as therapeutic massage.

Earl Mindell, pharmacist, nutritionist, and herbalist, encourages people to try using natural remedies in lieu of relying exclusively on prescription and over-the-counter medications. In Easing the Pain of Arthritis Naturally Mindell describes remedies that work synergistically with the body's natural tendency toward healing and balance without harmful side effects. This book features a special diet to cleanse the body of toxins that contribute to joint diseases. Mindell also describes simple exercises readers can do for pain-free joints as well as alternative methods for coping with arthritis pain, including hypnosis and acupuncture.

He covers three categories of drugs are commonly used to treat arthritis evaluating the risks and benefits of each, drug interactions, side effects, the hype, and the facts. He also reviews experimental antibiotics and surgery options. He points out that some conventional treatments for osteoarthritis could cause the disease to progress more rapidly than if there was not treatment at all.

And he discusses how the food we eat may have adverse effects – certain foods can increase the amount of inflammation in the body. He describes the dietary connection to chronic disease and the supplements and natural remedies that can bring about profound results; the right diet supplements can even repair damaged cartilage.

He details:

  • Supplemental enzymes that help rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The power of ginger extract for controlling and coping with chronic pain, and the current research on its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Herbal extracts, such as cat's claw, feverfew, natural cortisols, and others.

Mindell also describes and evaluates therapies for managing arthritis pain, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, massage, relaxation techniques, and others. He emphasizes the importance of regular exercise. He recommends specific exercise routines for flexibility and range of motion, strengthening, and balance.

In Easing the Pain of Arthritis Naturally, Minden presents safe, easy-to-use strategies to help readers achieve optimum health and relief from discomfort. Mindell's practical advice and alternative therapies can make a difference in their relief from pain, flexibility, and mobility. This book can be an invaluable weapon to readers battling this disease.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up by James Hollis (Gotham Books)

The second half of life presents a rich possibility for spiritual enlargement, for we are never going to have greater powers of choice, never have more lessons of history from which to learn, and never possess more emotional resilience, more insight into what works for us and what does not, or a deeper conviction of the importance of getting our life back.

What does it really mean to be a grown up in today’s world? We generally recognize only three developmental periods of life – childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. We assume that once we ‘get it together’ with the right job, marry the right person, have children, and buy a home, all is settled and well. But adulthood itself presents varying levels of growth, and is rarely the respite of stability we expected. Turbulent emotional shifts can take place anywhere between the age of thirty-five and seventy when we question the choices we’ve made, realize our limitations, and feel stuck – commonly known as the ‘midlife crisis.’ In Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, Jungian analyst James Hollis explores the ways we can grow and evolve to fully become ourselves when the traditional roles of adulthood aren’t quite working. Hollis, executive director of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Houston and humanities professor for more than twenty years, through case studies and observations, gives readers hope and encouragement based on the Jungian principle of individuation to help them in their struggle across this difficult passage in adult development.

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life contains the writing of a gentle and insightful soul who does not bog down in analytical dryness, but speaks to and teaches from the heart. A combination of genuine vision and genuine humanity is a rare and valuable gift, and readers will find both in this work. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

James Hollis's new book is a work of soul-making. It brings solace and wisdom to those of us who find ourselves in a dark wood in the second half of life. – Edward Hirsch, author of How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry

Midlife is a time when people can lose their way and flounder. Jungian analyst James Hollis knows this terrain, describes it well, and asks the important questions that can lead to clarity, maturity, and meaning. – Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author of Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman

Revealing a new way of uncovering and embracing our authentic selves, Hollis offers wisdom to anyone facing a career that no longer seems fulfilling, a long-term relationship that has shifted, or family transitions that raise issues of aging and mortality. Through case studies and provocative observations, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life provides a reassuring message and a crucial bridge across this critical passage of adult development.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Anger Treatment for People with Developmental Disabilities: A Theory, Evidence and Manual Based Approach by John L. Taylor & Raymond W. Novaco (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.)

Anger and aggression are prevalent problems among people with developmental disabilities and constitute primary reasons for them to be admitted and readmitted to institutions. They are also a key reason for the prescribing of behavior control and anti-psychotic medication to this client group. Stimulated by growing research in this area, mental health and criminal justice professionals have begun to see the benefits of anger assessment and cognitive-behavioral anger treatment for people with developmental disabilities.

There is no prior text to guide anger treatment provision to this client group. Written by John L. Taylor, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust, Northumberland, and Raymond W. Novaco, University of California , Irvine , Anger Treatment for People with Developmental Disabilities presents a manual-guided, cognitive-behavioral anger treatment protocol. The work is grounded in a solid theoretical framework and empirical evidence for its efficacy in clinical practice. The assessment and treatment approach is designed to engage and motivate patients with recurrent and deep-rooted anger problems and their manifestation in serious aggressive behavior. Accompanying the treatment protocol are a number of worksheets, handouts and exercise sheets for clinicians and clients, which can be accessed online.

[Anger Treatment for People with Developmental Disabilities] represents the state of the art in anger treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities and I would expect to see a significant effect from this text on the development of treatment services. – Bill Lindsay, The State Hospital , Carstairs; NHS Tayside and University of Abertay , Dundee

Anger Treatment for People with Developmental Disabilities is a must-have resource for practitioners and clinicians in the developmental disability and forensic fields, across a range of settings. It will also be of interest to academics and trainees in the developmental disability and forensic fields.

Health, Mind & Body / Religion & Spirituality / Self-Help

Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings by Rob Brezsny (Frog, Ltd.)

Human beings are selfish, small-minded, violence-prone savages, civilization is a blight on the earth, and the rising tide of chaos that surrounds us on all sides ensures that everything's going to fall apart any day now. Right?

Wrong, says Rob Brezsny. In Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, he declares evil is boring. Cynicism is stupid. Despair is lazy. The truth is that the universe is inherently friendly. Life is a sublime game created for our amusement and illumination, and it always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

This buoyant perspective is not rooted in denial. On the contrary, Brezsny builds a case for a ‘cagey optimism’ that does not require a repression of difficulty, but rather, seeks a vigorous engagement with it. The best way to attract the blessings that the world is conspiring to give us, he insists, is to dive into the most challenging mysteries.

This irreverent manifesto puts the 'pro' in 'protest' ... insightful and puzzling as a Zen koan ... I Ching on Ecstasy.... – Frances Lefkowitz, Body + Soul
I have seen the future of American literature and its name is Rob Brezsny. – Tom Robbins, author of Still Life with Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, Another Roadside Attraction, and Skinny Legs and All

Brersny's astrology column, Free Will Astrology, has been the most widely syndicated feature in North America 's alternative newsweeklies for years. In Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, he unfurls the fullness of the subversive compassion that underlies the column. Looking at this book brings to mind another classic, Be Here Now by Ram Dass; it has that feel to it. This witty, inspiring how-to shows how any reader can become "a wildly disciplined, fiercely tender . . . lustfully compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss."

Health, Mind & Body / Self-help / Business & Investing

What is Your Life's Work?: Answer the BIG Question About What Really Matters...and Reawaken the Passion for What You Do by Bill Jensen (HarperBusiness)

We live and work in a world of more-better-faster, where 75% of us are disengaged from what we do and four out of every five of us wish we had more of what really matters in life. It's time for a change!

In What is Your Life's Work? Bill Jensen captures the intimate exchanges between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and caring teammates – all talking about what really matters at work, and in life. Exposed are the raw truths we've all experienced, the personal frailties and mistakes we'd like to hide, and the proudest achievements we'd like celebrate.

Jensen, the author of Simplicity, CEO and President of the Jensen Group, a change consulting firm he founded in 1985, is today's foremost expert on work complexity and cutting through clutter to what really matters. Throughout fifteen years of research he has asked: "What is the single most important insight about work that you want to pass on to your kids?" The responses were so powerful and dramatic that he began asking people to write them down and share them with loved ones. Over the past four years, several thousand people around the world contributed to this project. What is Your Life's Work? is a representative sampling from the private letters and journal entries of well-known leaders, struggling managers, and heroic people in workaday jobs.

Among them:

  • A former senior executive at American Express, John Harvey, writes to his children about trust after being fired as a victim of office politics. His wife and kids then respond, helping guide the family through tough times.
  • CEO Dennis Bonilla writes to his granddaughter – whose mother, his daughter, died shortly after giving birth – about how to think and act when faced with defining moments.
  • Linda Stone, a former senior executive at Microsoft, writes about setting boundaries and reveals what happened when she failed to take her own advice.
  • US Navy SEAL Commander Rob Newson advises his kids to "never compromise your values," and to hold themselves accountable: "Silence in the presence of wrong-doing is complicity."
  • The son of a tuna fisherman as well as a former go-go dancer, a judge, and a day-laborer all describe the amazing power of saying yes to their dreams.

What is Your Life's Work? is divided into five sections based on distinct discoveries people made about their life's work:

    1. Finding Yourself
    2. Finding the Lessons to be Learned, the Questions to be Asked
    3. Finding the Choices That Really Matter
    4. Finding the Courage to Choose
    5. Finding Joy, Serenity, and Fulfillment

While it touches the heart and lifts the soul, What is Your Life's Work? does not shy away from difficult introspection. Jensen provides a toolkit for getting started, inviting readers to share with their loved ones, "This is what I stood for, believed in, struggled with, and accomplished...."

What a treat! Bill Jensen has written the most powerful book about life at work that I have ever read. My personal mission on this earth is to bring life to work. In What is Your Life's Work? I found that my biggest questions were asked and answered in ways that are big enough to embrace their enormity and simple enough to be wise. – Stephen C. Lundin, author of the best-selling FISH!

What is Your Life's Work? reminds us that as we make our livings, we are also making our lives, so we'd better take care that our work matters. The candor and human decency expressed in this book should be benchmarks for every decision made on every job. – Karen Katen, Vice Chairman, Pfizer Inc.

Not only does Jensen let us peer inside the working lives and decisions of people just like us, he's our guide to the discoveries that lie ahead of us. He's cleared our path. What is Your Life's Work? is a unique, heartfelt, and practical approach to finding the courage to do more of what's important and less of what isn't. – Julie Jansen, author of I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work

Jensen does a wonderful job of pulling together meaningful, often moving letters ... there is an abundance of meaningful philosophy, insight and advice. – Publishers Weekly

 What is Your Life's Work? captures an exceptional moment in each of our lives – the time when we sit down with loved ones and attempt to answer the big question about what really matters. Jensen has created a wonderfully practical space for readers to explore who they are, what they stand for, what they believe in, what's risky, what's not, what's worth it, what they are struggling with, and what they have accomplished. He has captured the intimate exchanges between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and caring teammates – all talking about what really matters at work, and in life.

Health, Mind & Body / Women’s Health

The Savvy Woman's Guide to Testosterone: How to Revitalize Your Sexuality, Strength and Stamina by Elizabeth Lee Vliet (HER Place Press, Chelsea Green)

The Savvy Woman's Guide to Testosterone asks readers: Is this You?

  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Loss of sexual sensation
  • Easily fatigued, low energy, decreased stamina
  • Feeling blah, flat or blue
  • Diminished muscle tone and strength; feeling muscles are getting ‘weaker;’ not responding to exercise as well
  • Thinning hair
  • Dry eyes
  • More frequent headaches

The book proposes that readers may be suffering from low testosterone, but they don't have to simply accept testosterone decline as their fate.

According to The Savvy Woman's Guide to Testosterone, testosterone is as natural to women as estrogen. In fact, from a woman’s teens until menopause, her body makes more testosterone than estrogen. New testosterone therapy options for women are poised to hit the consumer market in 2005 and will revolutionize approaches to help women’s sexual response, much as Viagra revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men. Now it’s women’s turn.

Vliet says she has seen firsthand the profound effects of low testosterone for women: and her goal with this book is to overcome stigma and negative myths about testosterone for women, and teach them how to gauge benefits versus risks. Vliet shares her experience in helping women find the right doses, and avoid unwanted side effects of too much testosterone.

The Savvy Woman's Guide to Testosterone helps women learn ways to restore libido, improve muscle strength, build healthy bone, and maintain normal energy levels. The book gives readers cutting edge medical information. It helps them understand the intricacies of proper hormone balance, benefits, safety, testing methods, optimal dosing, products, and route of delivery, and teaches them practical approaches to discuss treatment options with their physicians. The Savvy Woman's Guide to Testosterone is the book to read before talking with the doctor. Readers can use this book to help them sort through the maze of conflicting information and work more effectively with their own physicians to find the best treatment approaches for their individual health goals.

History / Americas / Civil War

Let Us Die Like Brave Men: Behind the Dying Words of Confederate Warriors by Daniel W. Barefoot (John F. Blair, Publisher)

Throughout the military history of this country, American soldiers have faced the enemy willing to fight for what they believed was a just cause. However, war does not come without a cost. Some soldiers pay the ultimate price, giving their lives for the cause they set out to defend. No conflict cost more American lives than the Civil War.

The dying words of Private Samuel Davis encompass the patriotic feelings of the soldiers who died during that tumultuous time: "If I had a thousand lives to give, I would give them all before I would betray a friend or be false to my country."

Written by Daniel W. Barefoot, prolific author, is a former N.C. state representative who lives in Lincolnton, North Carolina, Let Us Die Like Brave Men offers over 50 accounts of the last moments and words of Southern soldiers, some famous, others virtually unknown, from the rank of general to private, looking at what led up to their last words. Photographs of the soldiers, their graves, or the places where they fell illustrate the text. Each story was chosen to highlight a different aspect of the war, and every state of the Confederacy is represented here.

All strata of society are represented: wealthy plantation owners and hardscrabble farmers, educated scions of prominent families and illiterate boys, legendary generals and buck privates – at the onset of the Civil War, their backgrounds were as di­vided as the nation, but by war's end they all shared a common destiny. They offered what Abraham Lin­coln called "the last full measure of devotion" to the cause for which they fought.

James F. Jackson died less than a month after Fort Sumter surrendered, yet he was not a soldier. He was an innkeeper in Alexandria who tried to prevent Union soldiers from taking the Confederate flag off his roof, declaring, "The flag will come down over my dead body." Those words, however, were not his last. When the Union officer who held Jackson 's flag shouted, "Behold my trophy," Jackson stepped in front of him with a shotgun and replied, "Behold mine."

Teenage Private Charlie Jackson was left sleeping when his company struck camp to march into the Battle of Shiloh, left behind on orders of the company commander, who was also Jackson 's father. When he woke, Jackson raced to join his unit just in time for the battle, in which he was mortally wounded. With his dying breath, he told his father to let the company know that "there's a little boy in heaven who will watch them and pray for them as they go into battle."

In contrast, Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart were Confederate heroes who established international reputations before dying of wounds sustained in battle. Both men's last words reflected not on military glory, but on their devout faith. Jackson said, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees," while Smart's last words were, "I am going fast now; I am resigned; God's will be done."

Let Us Die Like Brave Men tells the stories behind the dying words of fifty-two warriors who fell for the Southern cause. It includes soldiers from every Confederate state and gives equal play to men high-ranking and obscure. The experiences of these men reveal the scope and the cost of the Civil War, and although the Confederate effort ended in defeat, modern readers can respect the valor with which many of the Confederacy's soldiers met their end.

History / Americas / American Revolution

1776 [UNABRIDGED] by David McCullough running time: 8 cassettes, approximately 12 hours (Simon & Schuster Audio) 1776 by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)

The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. As the year began, hostilities between American forces and British regulars, which had begun the preceding April, continued. Yet war was not inevitable, and there were those on both sides seeking compromise.

Bestselling historian and two-time Pulitzer winner McCullough follows up John Adams by staying with America 's founding, focusing on a year rather than an individual: a momentous 12 months in the fight for independence. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost – Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.

…McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale.  – Amazon.com

… The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. … Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian. – Shawn Carkonen

…How did a group of ragtag farmers defeat the world's greatest empire? As McCullough vividly shows, they did it with a great deal of suffering, determination, ingenuity – and, the author notes, luck.… Simply put, this is history writing at its best from one of its top practitioners. – Publishers Weekly, starred review
… This is a first-rate historical account, which should appeal to both scholars and general readers. – Booklist, starred review

Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history. McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.

History / Americas / Civil War / Biographies & Memoirs

I Acted from Principle: The Civil War Diary of Dr. William M. Mcpheeters, Confederate Surgeon in the Trans-Mississippi edited by Cynthia Dehaven Pitcock & Bill J. Gurley (The Civil War in the West Series: The University of Arkansas Press) is a civil war diary, but more than that – now in paperback.

At the start of the Civil War, Dr. William McPheeters was a distinguished physician in St. Louis , conducting unprecedented public health research, forging new medical standards, and organizing the state's first professional associations. But he lived in a volatile border state. Under martial law, Union authorities kept close watch on known Confederate sympathizers. McPheeters was followed, arrested, threatened, and finally, in 1862, given an ultimatum: sign an oath of allegiance to the Union or go to federal prison. McPheeters ‘acted from principle’ instead, fleeing by night to Confederate territory. He served as a surgeon under Gen. Sterling Price and his Missouri forces west of the Mississippi River , treating soldiers' diseases, malnutrition, and terrible battle wounds. Meanwhile, his wife and two children suffered harassment by Federal military officials, imprisonment in St. Louis , and legal and literal banishment.

From almost the moment of his departure, the doctor kept a diary. It was a pocket-size notebook which he made by folding sheets of pale blue writing paper in half and in which he wrote in miniature with his steel pen. It is the first known daily account by a Confederate medical officer in the Trans-Mississippi Department. The journal appears in  I Acted from Principle in its complete and original form, exactly as the doctor wrote it, with the addition of the editors' full annotation and vivid introductions to each section.

Being the first published daily account of the Trans-Mississippi war by a Confederate medical officer, McPheeters's diary offers a unique perspective. It records wonderful details about the struggle to keep men alive, not only from battlefield wounds but also from exposure, sickness, disease, and malnutrition. It also provides intimate looks at Confederate civilians, behind the scenes glimpses of the army's high command west of the river, and informa­tion about the treatment accorded McPheeters's family and other Southern sympathizers in St. Louis .

The value of McPheeter's journal has been enhanced considerably by the editorial work of Cynthia DeHaven Pitcock, historian of medicine, and Bill J. Gurley, Civil War enthusiast and professor of pharmaceutical sciences, both at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. McPheeters did not write his journal with an eye toward publication so he failed to identify many of the people and events to which he refers. The meticulous endnotes supplied by Pitcock and Gurley, in which they identify nearly three hundred (often obscure) individuals, have remedied that defect, and their introduction to the diary provides a thorough biography of McPheeters and the story behind the document.

The University of Arkansas Press Series , The Civil War in the West, has a single goal: to promote historical writing about the war in the western states and territories. It focuses most particularly on the Trans-Mississippi theater, which consisted of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, most of Louisiana (west of the Mississippi River), Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), and Arizona Territory (two-fifths of modern-day Arizona and New Mexico), but it also encompasses adjacent states, such as Kansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, that directly influenced the Trans-Mississippi war. The series embraces all aspects of the wartime story and provides a variety of perspectives on these topics.

McPheeters's story is far more than yet another account of a profoundly upright man who fought for the South during the American Civil War. He was a hill-country Whig born in 1815 to the family of a Presbyterian minister in Raleigh , North Carolina . Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had espoused the Enlightenment notion of an ‘aristocracy of merit’ designed to dislodge and replace the old world's ‘aristocracy of privilege,’ and nowhere in the new nation was this credo more passionately internalized than in the Carolinas . Those states' fiercely independent sons mistrusted big government, the federal courts, and the national bank. Their antipathy focused upon New England , for it was there that the ghosts of Federalism and old Tory wealth stalked the land.

The diary McPheeters kept while in Confederate service offers a pair of unique features. It is the first known daily account by a Confederate medical officer in the Trans-Mississippi Department. The doctor's diary is an account by a medical officer of the harrowing Confederate struggle in that state.

The second important feature of this diary is that it tells the dual story of both McPheeters and his wife, Sallie Buchanan McPheeters. Her wartime experience included harassment by Federal military officials, imprisonment in a Federal military prison in St. Louis , and ban­ishment from Missouri along with their two small children. Forced as refugees to board a riverboat, they were shipped more than four hundred miles downstream from St. Louis accompanied by a small band of pro-Confederate women. They were put ashore, penniless, exiles terrified not only by the fury of war but also by the ravages of a hundred-year flood. Their personal ordeal was a trial by fire, and in its aftermath, the restoration of their lives and fortune in the same city from which they had been banished is a saga of great courage and aggressive good will.

A fascinating book... the editors have meticulously identified in end-notes over 300 individuals mentioned in the diary [and] there is an excellent introduction to each of the eleven chapters that puts every campaign into its regional context. – Arkansas Historical Quarterly

...Richly rewarding for readers interested in the Trans-Mississippi Department, medical history, life under Union occupation, and Civil War camp life and social history. – North Carolina Historical Review

Pitcock and Gurley are able to transmute [McPheeters's] humdrum observations into one of the most interesting books we have about the war in the Bear State ...terrific work. – Arkansas Times

As the first published daily account of the Trans-Mississippi war in Arkansas and Mississippi by a Confederate medical officer, I Acted from Principle, now in paperback for the first time, offers a unique perspective and is a most valuable primary sourcebook.

Taken together, McPheeters, Pitcock, and Gurley have produced a riveting and quite valuable account of the war in the Trans-Mississippi.

History / Americas / Native Indians

The Cherokee Nation: A History by Robert J. Conley (University of New Mexico Press)

On September 6, 2005 , the Cherokee Nation will celebrate the sixty-sixth anniversary of the adoption of its constitution, but the tribe itself has survived since prehistory, enduring land cessation, relocation, and wars on its way to becoming one of the largest and most powerful tribes in the United States . At 243,000 members, the Cherokee Nation takes pride in its thousands of native speakers and diverse communities in northeast Oklahoma , Washington and Oregon , California , New Mexico , Kansas , and Texas .

The first history of the Cherokees to appear in over four decades, The Cherokee Nation is also the first to be endorsed by the tribe and the first to be written by a Cherokee.

Robert Conley, award-winning author of 34 novels, begins his survey with Cherokee origin myths and legends. He then explores their relations with neighboring Indian groups and European missionaries and settlers. He traces their forced migrations west along the Trail of Tears, to the formation of a sovereign government, relates their participations on both sides of the Civil War and the wars of the twentieth century, and concludes with an examination of Cherokee life today. The Cherokees' negotiation of treaties and self-determination are chronicled in an Indian voice for readers both Native and non-Native. The Cherokee Nation brings the history up to date with recent political trends and economic contributions of' the Cherokees.

Following the history is a listing of the Principal Chiefs of the Cherokees with a brief biography of each. For example, John Ross, who presided over the Cherokee government for thirty-eight years during some of its darkest moments, is included, and appendices of all the chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, of the Western Cherokees, the Texas Cherokees, the Eastern rand, and the United Keetoowah Band provide historical reference. Conley also outlines all Cherokee treaties made from 1721 to 1900.

For those who want to know more about Cherokee heritage and history, Conley offers additional reading lists at the end of each chapter.

Conley speaks with a clear Cherokee Indian voice to show how his tribe’s cultural characteristics have survived centuries of abrupt change. – The Cherokee Advocate

[Robert Conley is] in the ranks of N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, James Welch, or W.P. Kinsella as interpreters of the many facets of the Native American experience. – Fort Worth Star-Telegram

In The Cherokee Nation Conley provides analyses for general readers of all ages to learn the significance of tribal lore and Cherokee tribal law. This work, commissioned by Wilma Mankiller, Principal Chief from 1985-1995, is a huge step forward for the Cherokee Nation.

History / World War II / Naval

U-505: The Final Journey by James E. Wise Jr. (Naval Institute Press)

On 4 June 1944 the German submarine U-505 became the first man-of-war captured by the U.S. Navy in battle on the high seas since the War of 1812. Attacked by the American hunter-killer force Task Group 22.3 off the coast of West Africa , the 750-ton U-boat was forced to the surface after a fierce bombardment. Abandoned by the crew while partially afloat, it was boarded by American sailors and secretly towed to Bermuda . Renamed USS Nemo, it made a war bond subscription tour before docking to await scrapping. U-505offers a vivid description of these events and continues the story by explaining how U-505 became a major attraction at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago .

By the turn of the century, museum executives determined that nearly fifty years of exposure to the elements and more than 24 million visitors had taken their toll. They raised millions of dollars to restore the U-boat and build an indoor site four stories below ground that Wise calls an architectural wonder. In addition to the fully restored boat, there is an exhibit area filled with artifacts and interactive stations to give visitors a taste of what it was like for the crewmen in battle.

Author Jim Wise tells of the efforts of Dan Gallery , the commander of Task Group 22.3, to convince the Navy to transfer U-505’s ownership to the museum in his native Chicago . Wise, former naval aviator and intelligence officer, chronicles the boat’s arduous journey down the St. Lawrence River and across three Great Lakes to the shores of Lake Michigan for restoration. He then offers a memorable description of the staggering engineering feat that moved the boat overland to an outdoor exhibit area at the museum, where it was opened to the public in 1954. In 1989 the U-505 was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Some two hundred photographs of the U-boat and exhibit are included in U-505.
 
Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Classic Four-Block Appliqué Quilts: A Back-To-Basics Approach by Gwen Marston (C&T Publishing)

When I began making quilts, I began as probably 90 percent of quitters begin: by making traditional quilts using the techniques cur­rently in vogue. My first year of concentrated quilt making was under the tutelage of a group of Mennonite women. They were all older women who had quilted all their lives and who had acquired their skills from their mothers and grandmothers. They taught me how to hand quilt, how to use a full-size frame, and how to mark the quilting designs. I am forever in their debt. – from the foreword

Classic Four-Block Appliqué Quilts focuses on four-block techniques from the nineteenth century. The book includes:

  • Intuitive, informal, free-from-rules approach.
  • Full-size patterns for five projects.
  • How to choose colors, borders, and quilting designs like a pro.
  • How our quilting ancestors made quilts – and their simple, basic techniques.
  • How to use just one special block to create a stunning crib quilt.

Quilting expert Gwen Marston says that in the early stages of her quilt making, she felt she knew what traditional quilts were about. She accepted current ideas such as using commercial patterns, planning symmetrical borders, striving for identical placement of shapes, and so on. The more she studied old quilts, however, the more she began to question her definition of ‘traditional’ as being too narrow. The antique quilts she studied seemed more original, energetic, spontaneous, and more fun than the contemporary quilts she was seeing. Her work gradually became freer as she tried to emulate the older quilts.

According to Classic Four-Block Appliqué Quilts, quilts made from four large blocks were popular from around 1850 to 1890. Quilts from this period excel in workmanship and originality of design. Most were florals worked in red and green on a white ground. Popular four-block themes included floral sprays and floral arrangements in vases – at times punctuated with birds and berries – as well as crossed stems, wreath designs, and plumes. These four-block quilts have a dramatic, bold feeling, different from the more formal, delicate designs found in smaller-scale blocks. Four-block quilts were made in great numbers throughout New England , Pennsylvania , and Ohio , perhaps because the Pennsylvania Dutch adopted this format as a favorite.

Reading this book is like having Gwen in your sewing room. She's funny, practical, supportive. You trust her advice and methods, because they come from a long study of the real thing. – Susan Day, quilt maker/ collector

Grab your fabric, scissors, needle, and thread. A beautiful and easy-to-follow resource for quitters at any level. – Pat Holly, designer/quilt maker

Marston seems completely at ease working with nineteenth-century techniques. The style and approach in Classic Four-Block Appliqué Quilts will set readers free to explore their creative side in quilting.

Home & Garden / Home Design

Facing Southwest: The Life and Houses of John Gaw Meem by Chris Wilson, with photography by Robert Reck (W. W. Norton & Company) is a colorful exploration of the life and work of Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem.

Long recognized for his landmark public buildings in Santa Fe , Albuquerque , and Colorado Springs , Meem's name is synonymous with Santa Fe style. Regarded as the leading southwest architect of his time, Meem, J.B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque , brought the Spanish-Pueblo style to its peak in the 1920s and 30s. As an architect, Meem created his own brand of regional classicism – the Territorial Revival – and worked to reconcile Modernism with southwestern traditions, notably in his innovative solar adobe houses. With original drawings, floor plans, and stunning color photographs by Robert Reck, architectural and interior design photographer, Facing Southwest provides the first intensive introduction to Meem's great houses – sun-baked retreats that echo desert mesas and open out to vast landscape panoramas.

Facing Southwest explores Meem's signature design elements and numerous examples of his unique Spanish- and Pueblo-influenced residences. It uncovers the fascinating personal odyssey that took Meem from a bicultural childhood in Brazil to the Virginia Military Institute, to work on the design of New York City subways, to an abbreviated career in international banking in Brazil , and to a tuberculosis sanitarium in Santa Fe , where he found his life's work. The book features 18 Meem house plans, classic black-and-white views by Ansel Adams and Laura Gilpin, and a design-pattern approach that makes Meem's residential vocabulary accessible for builders, architects, prospective home builders, and aficionados of the Southwest.

Facing Southwest reconstitutes one instance of American regionalism in terms of Meem's distinctly modernist beliefs about structural innovation, environmental consciousness, economic and social reform and minimalist aesthetics. Chris Wilson's well-crafted biography relates an individual and a locale to larger cultural debates that defined the New Deal era, then and now. – Gwendolyn Wright, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Facing Southwest is a welcome and worthy addition to a slim library on one of America 's least known and best architects of the twentieth century. Written and illustrated in a concise, penetrating, and poetic manner, it parallels the intensity of the man his work. But this marvelous new book is important because it advocates a position, not a person or a style. Wilson gently reminds us how far architecture has strayed from its purposes and methods, and how simple yet difficult it is to reject current modernist nihilism and return to origins. – Stefanos Polyzoid, Chair of the Board Congress for the New Urbanism

In his acclaimed cultural history, The Myth of Santa Fe, Chris Wilson deconstructed that quintessential American tourist destination. In Facing Southwest, he sings the virtues of one of its leading citizens, and of the regional tradition he helped to create. A book filled with dazzling photographs of the southwest landscape and Meem's signature houses, Facing Southwest is both intellectual biography and design handbook.

Journalism / Biographies & Memoirs / Cooking, Food & Wine

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl (The Penguin Press)

This new volume of Ruth Reichl's acclaimed memoirs recounts her ‘adventures in deception,’ as she goes undercover in the world's finest restaurants. Reichl, now editor in chief of Gourmet, knows that "to be a good restaurant critic, you have to be anonymous," but when she signs up to be the most important restaurant critic in the country, at The New York Times, her picture is posted in every four-star, low-star, and no-star kitchen in town. Managers offer cash bonuses for advance notice of her visits. They roll out the red carpet whether she likes it or not. What's a critic in search of the truth to do?
In Garlic and Sapphires Reichl dons a frumpy blond wig and an off-season beige Armani suit. Then on the advice of a friend, an acting coach with a Pygmalion complex, she begins assembling her new character's backstory. She takes to the assignment with astonishing ardor – and thus Molly Hollis, the retired high school teacher from Birmingham , Michigan , nouveau riche from her husband's real estate speculation, is born. And duly ignored, mishandled, and condescended to by the high-power staff at Le Cirque. The result: Reichl's famous double review: first as she ate there as Molly, and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, The New York Times food critic.
When restaurateurs learn to watch for Molly, Reichl buys another wig and becomes someone else, and then someone else again, from a chic interior decorator to an eccentric redhead on whom her husband – both disconcertingly and reassuringly – develops a terrible crush. As she puts on her disguises, she finds herself changed not just superficially, but in character. She becomes Molly the schoolmarm, Chloe the seductress, and Brenda the downtown earth mother – and imagine the complexities when she dines out as Miriam, her own deceased mother. As Reichl metes out her critical stars, she gives a remarkable account of how one's outer appearance can influence one's inner character, expectations, and appetites.

Garlic and Sapphires is another delicious and delightful book, sure to satisfy Reichl's foodie fans and leave admirers looking forward to her next book, hopefully about her life with Gourmet. – Daphne Durham , Amazon.com

 [A] luscious, dreamy meal of a memoir. – Elie

As the New York Times food critic for most of the 1990s, Reichl had what some might consider the best job in town....This vivacious, fascinating memoir – lifts the lid on the city's storied restaurant culture from the democratic perspective of the everyday diner....Reichl's ability to experience meals in such a dramatic way brings an infectious passion to her memoir. – Publishers Weekly, starred review

For foodies with a penchant for the inside scoop, Reichl's behind-the-scenes stories of the Gray Lady deliver the goods...Spicy and sweet by turns, with crackle and bite throughout. – Kirkus Reviews

The author's wonderful personal recipes add their own flavor to this entertaining book, a natural for any reader who enjoyed Reichl's two other beautifully written culinary memoirs (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples) ....Wise and thoroughly satisfying; highly recommended. – Library Journal, starred review

In this much awaited new book Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl regales readers with her adventures in restaurant reviewing – and her experience as an unlikely master of disguise. Complete with her original New York Times reviews and some of her favorite recipes, including Reichl's adaptations of dishes at the restaurants she visits, Garlic and Sapphires is at once an unprecedented behind-the-scenes glimpse of the four-star restaurant world in all its comic absurdity, artifice and excellence and also her remarkable reflections on role playing and identity.

Literature & Fiction / Biographies & Memoirs

Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers by Shashi Tharoor (Arcade)

In the title piece, a tribute to the distressing state of affairs in Iraq , readers learn what Iraqis go through in their beleaguered land merely to get hold of a book. Among other things Shashi Tharoor tells us how selling books from their own libraries on the street helps some put bread on the table.

Also among the essays in Bookless in Baghdad is a homage to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, whose home was raided by the oppressive military regime while he lay on his deathbed, and who famously proclaimed: "There is only one thing of danger for you here – my poetry!" acclaimed writer Tharoor also presents his views on Salman Rushdie, India's love for P. G. Wodehouse, Kipling, Pushkin, le Carre, V S. Naipaul, Winston Churchill, Hollywood and Bollywood.

Personal, probing and analyt­ical, Bookless in Baghdad is a collection of short prose – part memoir, part essay, part literary criticism – by "one of the best in a generation of Indian authors" (New York Times Book Review). The book takes readers on a journey of discovery; Tharoor reminisces about growing up with books in India and discusses the importance of the Mahabharata in Indian life and history. Pondering world affairs, he declares that "the defining features of today's world are the relentless forces of globalization – the same forces used by terrorists in their macabre dance of death and destruction."

Tharoor reflects on some important and neglected literary influences ... Intriguing thoughts by an author of worldly range and depth. – Kirkus Reviews

Urbane, thoughtful, laced with humor that's both of the tongue-in-cheek and laugh-out-loud variety, Tharoor's essays provide as much pleasure as a visit from a charming and intelligent – if somewhat mischievous – friend. – Chitra Divakaruni, author of Queen of Dreams

This collection of witty and luminous essays gives us a rare insight into an erudite, elegant, and cosmopolitan mind. – Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India

… Tharoor's novels, as he never tires of writing, have been lavishly praised all around the world. But this book's topics – as well as the author's liberal use of culture-specific shorthand – would seem to make it primarily of interest to the Anglophone Indian community. – Publishers Weekly

Tharoor, author of six works of fiction and nonfiction, is at his most provocative with these personal reflections in Bookless in Baghdad. Supremely personal, taken together, these forty short pieces reveal the inner workings of a truly astute mind and form a testament to the power of literature to enrich our lives.

Literature & Fiction / Eastern European

Lend Me Your Character by Dubravka Ugresic, translated by Celia Hawkesworth, Michael Henry Heim, revised by Damion Searls (Eastern European Literature Series: Dalkey Archive Press)

The pieces collected in Lend Me Your Character – the novella "Steffie Cvek in the Jaws of Life" and a collection of short stories entitled "Life Is a Fairy Tale" will introduce American readers to a storyteller and philosopher from the former Yugoslavia , a writer worth listening to.

From the story of Steffie Cvek, a harassed and vulnerable typist whose life is shaped entirely by clichés as she searches relentlessly for an elusive romantic love in a narrative punctuated by threadbare advice from women's magazines and constructed like a sewing pattern, to "The Kharms Case," detailing the strained relationship between a persistent translator and an unresponsive publisher, the pieces in this collection are always smart and endlessly entertaining. Other contents include: A Hot Dog in a Warm Bun, Who Am I?, The Kreutzer Sonata, Lend Me Your Character, and De l'horrible danger de la lecture (author’s notes).

Dubravka Ugresic is the author of several works of fiction, including The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and Fording the Stream of Consciousness, and three collections of essays, Have a Nice Day, The Culture of Lies, and most recently Thank You for Not Reading.

Ugresic's wit is bound by no preconceived purposes, and once the story takes off, a wild freedom of association and adventurous discernment is set in motion. Open to the absurdity of all pretensions of rationality, Ugresic dissects the social world, especially the endless nuances of gender and sexuality. – World Literature Today

As long as some, like Ugresic, who can write well, do, there will be hope for literature. – New Criterion

A madcap wit and a lively sense of the absurd. . . . Filled with ingenious invention and surreal incident. – Marina Warner

Ugresic must be numbered among what Jacques Maritain called the dreamers of the true; she draws us into the dream. – Richard Eder , New York Times

Like Nabokov, Ugresic affirms our ability to remember as a source for saving our moral and compassionate identity. – John Balaban , Washington Post

Lend Me Your Character solidifies Ugresic's reputation as one of Eastern Europe 's most playful and inventive writers. She tells the stories of evil and exile in a way that is utterly original, beautiful, and supremely intelligent.

Literature & Fiction / Italian

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco, translated by Geoffrey Brock (Harcourt, Inc.)

The premise of Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, may strike some readers as laughably unpromising, and others as breathtakingly rich. Taking a wildly new direction from his previous bestselling novels, Eco, professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna , sets the book in contemporary Italy .

Yambo, a sixtyish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan , has suffered a stroke and a loss of memory – he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters. He remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood, although his wife Paola fills in the bare essentials of his family history.

In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws to the family home in Solara, somewhere in the hills between Milan and Turin . The house is a museum of Yambo's childhood, and there, in the sprawling attic, he searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries. Yambo submerges himself in these artifacts, rereading almost everything he read as a school boy, blazing a meandering, sometimes misguided, often enchanting trail of words. Flares of recognition do come, like ‘mysterious flames,’ but these only signal that Yambo remembers something; they do not return that memory to him.

And so Yambo relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and the life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to capture one simple, innocent image: that of his first love.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana has been translated by Geoffrey Brock, pet and the acclaimed translator of Cesare Pavese and Roberto Calasso.

… Eco creates wondrous variety, wringing surprise and delight from such shamelessly hackneyed plot twists as the discovery of a hidden room. Illustrated with the cartoons, sheet music covers, and book jackets that Yambo uncovers in his search, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana can be read as a love letter to literature, a layered excavation of an Italian boyhood of the 1940s, and a sly meditation on human consciousness. – Regina Marler, Amazon.com
… The novel's literal level almost sports the pacing of a thriller as Yambo pieces his past together, and on a more metaphysical level, it addresses provocative and never outdated or irrelevant questions about the integrity of one's identity and the irresistible attempt to estimate, while still a part of the community of the living, one's lasting imprint on the global slate. – Brad Hooper, Booklist, starred review

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana is a fascinating, abundant new novel that is wide-ranging, reflective, funny, and full of heart. This is a raucous, sweeping and nostalgic tale from the incomparable Eco, filled with the bits and pieces of life, comic books, cigarette packages, magazine covers, stamps, which he loves.

Literature & Fiction / Short Stories

Greetings from Cutler County: A Novella and Stories by Travis Mulhauser (Sweetwater Fiction Originals: University of Michigan Press) is a batch of smart, funny, and touching stories of ne'er-do-wells clinging to the nobility of hope in the face of failure.

Set on the banks of Lake Michigan , the stories in Greetings from Cutler County are inseparable from the stark shoreline of their lake settings – the cavernous woods and vast inland lakes that shape life in northern Michigan – and create a landscape as rugged and dramatic as youth itself.

In this northern Michigan community the lives of desperate small-town dreamers are examined through an ensemble cast as earnest as they are outrageous, and as compelling as they are heartbreaking. Travis Mulhauser, former Michiganite, now a teacher at The University of North Carolina – Greensboro, tells the stories of the lovers, crooks, failures, and survivors of Cutler County who are so flawed and genuine readers can't help rooting for them – no matter how foolish or hopeless their pursuits may seem. Most of the characters are young men who think of themselves as losers and outsiders. Short on cash, popularity, and the ambition needed for success, they nevertheless are able to examine their failings with the self-knowing humor and resignation of the perpetually thwarted ne'er-do-well.

Greetings from Cutler County explores the common triumphs and tragedies of coming of age, while providing a rationale and humor that is uniquely and unforgettably its own. The book is both a nonstop ride of tragic hilarity, and a piercing look at the complexities of youth.

Literature & Fiction / Jewish American

Who We Are: On Being (and Not Being) a Jewish American Writer edited by Derek Rubin (Schocken) brings together the major Jewish American writers of the past fifty years as they examine issues of identity and how they've made their work respond.

In this essay collection edited by Derek Rubin, teacher in the American Studies program at Utrecht University in the Netherlands , 29 major writers explore the many issues connected to the idea of being a Jewish American writer.

The essays in Who We Are range in geography (Leslie Epstein on assimilation in Hollywood, Grace Paley on growing up in the Bronx); religious experience (Pearl Abraham rebelling against her Hasidic background); the influence of a mentor (Jonathan Rosen on Saul Bellow); the difficulty of being both an insider and an outsider (Tova Mirvis's status in the Orthodox Jewish community, Lev Raphael on being gay and the child of Holocaust survivors); and the experience of immigrant writers (Jonathan Wilson on moving from England, Lara Vapnyar on Russia and learning to write in English in America). All the essays explore deep and far-ranging questions related to identity and literature: What does it mean to be a Jewish and/or American writer? What is a Jewish book? Is literature a fitting response to a history of persecution? How does being an outsider affect one's written response to the world?

E. L. Doctorow questions the very notion of the Jewish American writer, insisting that all great writing is secular and universal. Allegra Goodman embraces the categorization, arguing that it immediately binds her to her readers. Dara Horn, among the youngest of these writers, describes the tendency of Jewish writers to focus on anti-Semitism and advocates a more cre­ative and positive way of telling the Jewish story. Thane Rosenbaum explains that as a child of Holo­caust survivors, he was driven to write in an attempt to reimagine the tragic endings in Jewish history.

Who We Are contains the stories of how these writers became who they are: Saul Bellow on his adolescence in Chicago, Grace Paley on her early love of Romantic poetry, Chaim Potok on being transformed by the work of Evelyn Waugh. Here, too, are Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Erica Jong, Jonathan Rosen, Tova Mirvis, Pearl Abraham, Alan Lelchuk, Rebecca Goldstein, and Nessa Rapoport.

A wide-ranging and eclectic group of essays, this collection clearly shows the state of contemporary Jewish American fiction. —Library Journal

For anyone interested in the current boom in Jewish American writing, this book should prove indispensable. The writers speak for themselves in stylish and captivating autobiographical essays, demonstrating beyond any doubt how gifted they really are. – Morris Dickstein, author of Leopards in the Temple and A Mirror in the Roadway

… Women are particularly well represented in the youngest generation, including Lara Vapnyar, Tova Mirvis and Yael Goldstein. As the argument over what constitutes authentic Jewish fiction continues to be revisited (most recently by Wendy Shalit in the New York Times Book Review), these thoughtful essays take on added relevance. – Publishers Weekly
… Just because an American writer is Jewish, is it valid to label him or her a Jewish American writer? Literature professor Rubin invited Jewish American writers to weigh in on this contentious subject, and the result is a thought-provoking, engaging anthology of 29 candid essays about everything from anti-Semitism to the Old Testament to the "purposes and possibilities" of fiction, to quote Philip Roth. … Rubin's compendium is as timely as it is intriguing, given the fact that we are in the midst of a new wave of Jewish American literature. – Donna Seaman, Booklist

From Saul Bellow to Yael Goldstein, Data Horn to Chaim Potok, Robert Cohen to Erica Jong, Philip Roth to Art Spiegelman, Who We Are illuminates in brilliant and evocative prose the worlds behind the work of some of America 's most important writers. Spanning three generations of Jewish writing in America , these essays – by turns nostalgic, comic, moving, and deeply provocative – constitute an invaluable investigation into the thinking of these contemporary writers.

Outdoors & Nature / Animals / Canada

An Alberta Bestiary: Animals of the Rolling Hills by Zahava Hanen ( University of Calgary Press)

Bestiary: A compendium of animals or birds, real or mythical, with a description of their habits and appearance. Most important to a bestiary is the religious or moral lessons that each animal can teach people.

In this context, An Alberta Bestiary seeks to build on the traditions of the medieval bestiary and considers the unique animals of the Alberta mountains and foothills. From the perspective of a rancher who has an intimate knowledge of the landscape and animals, the feel and texture of natural life are illuminated in prose that is both stirring and humorous. With Zahava Hanen’s sensitivity to the rhythms of the land, the animals and the heavens, readers are drawn into the natural world where connections to historical knowledge underscore a passionate concern for the environment and humankind’s responsibility to the world we share with all creatures.

Zahava Hanan has a ranch near Longview , Alberta . She is an active environmentalist who has published numerous books on nature and her experiences as a woman rancher.

Her prose and poetry are light in touch, tinged with humour and a gentle rhythm…. There is both a worldly wisdom and a radical innocence at work in these pages that I found distinct and appealing. – Roberta Rees, author of Beneath the Faceless Mountain

An Alberta Bestiary transports the reader to a ranch in the foothills of the eastern Rockies , gives her the feel of the place, the texture of ranch life, and offers a wise meditative sensibility attending to the landscape, the environs, creeks, trees, and animals. It is alert to the rhythms of creatures, of the day, the heavens. – Charles Noble, author of Doubt’s Boots

An Alberta Bestiary is a book that was formed on the land. Both the author and the book embody country grace, and Zahava has developed a wisdom about prairie and animals, and it shows. She writes carefully, thoughtfully and with respect.

Outdoors & Nature / Birding

The Grail Bird: Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Tim Gallagher (Houghton Mifflin)

The ivory-billed woodpecker ... ghost bird of the swamp. Big, beautiful, iconic, and mysterious, the bird is a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with our relationship to the environment. First plundered by nineteenth-century collectors and then a victim of massive habitat destruction, the bird has been sought for decades by those trying to determine whether the species still exists. Their findings have been met with ridicule and scorn; since the early twentieth century, most of the scientific world has believed that the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct. But every time scientists think they've finally closed the door on the ivory-bill, the bird makes an unexpected appearance. It happened in the 1920s, and it's happened in almost every subsequent decade. Is there any truth to these sightings?
When author Tim Gallagher sets out to write The Grail Bird, he mounts his own quest for the elusive bird and discovers the amazing truth: The ivory-billed woodpecker lives!

The Grail Bird goes behind recent headlines to tell the story of Gallagher's pursuit and discovery of the bird. Award-winning writer and photographer, lifelong bird fanatic, and editor in chief of Living Bird, the flagship publication of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Gallagher reads everything he can find on the bird and tracks down and interviews dozens of people who claimed to have seen it.

Then with his buddy Bobby Harrison, a true son of the South from Alabama, art history professor, photographer, and dyed-in-the-wool ivory-bill chaser, Gallagher hits the swamps, wading through hip-deep mud and canoeing through turgid, mud brown bayous He talks to a cigar-chomping ex-boxer who took two controversial pictures of an alleged ivory-bill in 1971; a former corporate lawyer who abandoned her career to search for ivory-bills full time; and two men who grew up in the ivory-bill's last known stronghold in a final remnant of primeval forest in Louisiana. But when he speaks to an Arkansas backwoods kayaker who saw a mystery woodpecker the week before and has a description of the bird that is too good to be a fantasy, the hunt is on.
Gallagher and Harrison’s Eureka moment comes a few days later as a huge woodpecker flies in front of their canoe, and they both cry out, "Ivory-bill!" This sighting – the first time since 1944 that two qualified observers positively identify an ivory-billed woodpecker in the United States – quickly leads to the largest search ever launched to find a rare bird. Researchers fan out across the bayou, hoping to document the existence of this most iconic of birds.

History comes alive in The Grail Bird. The dedication of the obsessed bunch of searchers is tangible, and Gallagher's passion for the bird led not only to this book but to the rediscovery of a species. Readers of The Grail Bird will cheer for the ivory-billed woodpecker's miraculous survival, and they will hear the bird's distinctive calls in their imagination long after they finish the book.

We have lost most of the vast old-growth forests of the South, and nothing symbolizes that loss more than the ivory-billed woodpecker. But the rediscovery of the bird symbolizes hope for these neglected and abused habitats, which with time and effort can be partially restored. We have been given one final chance to get it right, to save this bird and the bottomland swamp forests it needs in order to survive.

Parenting & Families / Eldercare

Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories: A Support Group in a Book by Lynda A. Markut & Anatole Crane ( Vanderbilt University Press)

Replete with the powerful words of experienced caregivers, Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories is a guidebook for anyone who must attend to the needs of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. In these pages, members of caregivers’ support groups – representing twenty-six families and a variety of professions and income levels – speak candidly about the challenges they have faced at every step in the caregiving process, from recognizing early symptoms of dementia to dealing with its advanced stages.

Highlighting the ingenuity and resourcefulness of caregivers, the book brims with inspirational stories, practical advice, and creative approaches to problem-solving. Among the issues addressed are:

  • Becoming a caregiver, whether for a spouse or parent.
  • Dealing with the personality changes caused by dementia, from anxiety and paranoia to hallucinations and impulsive behavior.
  • Keeping dementia sufferers meaningfully involved in life.
  • Handling the emotions and stresses of caregiving.
  • Seeking help through support groups and other sources, including medical professionals, clergy, and other family members.

The authors are Lynda A. Markut, clinical director at Family Alliance and Anatole Crane, a retired microbiologist, who co-facilitates a spouse dementia support group and is president of the board of directors of Family Alliance; they have both been caregivers themselves. They augment their interviewees’ stories with connective commentary and their own personal stories. A useful resource section is included to refer readers to associations and helplines.

By drawing upon the words of caregivers who have walked the journey of dementia, the authors cast much needed light upon this long and winding road. Through the experience of caring for loved ones, these unsung heroes have made the path less difficult for others who will follow in their footsteps. – Daniel Kuhn, MSW, Director of Education, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging

Markut and Crane have brought to light the stories of family members and friends who have cared for their loved ones suffering from dementia. These stories teach what is possible, and remind us that we are not alone – a wonderful and vital contribution to an aging society. – Jim May

Filled with practical advice and innovative approaches to problem-solving, Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories presents the powerful words of people who have had to care for a parent or spouse with dementia – a useful resource.

Parenting & Families / Social Sciences / Race

Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption by Barbara Katz Rothman (Beacon Press)

Fifteen years ago, sociologist Barbara Katz Rothman and her husband decided that they wanted to have another child, and chose to adopt. They welcomed Victoria, a beautiful black baby girl, into their family. "I knew," Rothman writes, "when I offered to raise Victoria, that I would be raising a child in one world for another, that there are separate worlds of black and white in America – and that however my life tries to straddle and spread and blur the lines, the lines do exist here, and it is a line she has to cross."

Rothman, professor of sociology at the City University of New York, who has explored motherhood in four previous books and has more recently explored the social implications of the human genome project, now turns her eye toward race and family. Weaving together the sociological, the historical, and the personal, Rothman in Weaving a Family looks at the contemporary American family through the lens of race, race through the lens of adoption, and all – race, family, and adoption – within the context of the changing meanings of motherhood.

Provocative questions and family anecdotes are fused with Rothman's research to provide both a personal and a sociological look at the many questions involved in transracial adoption. What, exactly, are the challenges – and rewards – of raising a child with an with an ethnic or racial identification different from one's own? Has the adoption process been altered by a society grounded in consumerism? How can white parents participate in shaping the racial identity of a black baby?

Rothman seeks to clarify the issues and uncertainties that are faced by the seven hundred thousand interracial families formed through adoption in America today. She considers, for example, how the shift from the family as a haven to a product of economy applies to parenting, analyzes common images of white parents bringing up black children – such as pet, trophy child, protégé – and scrutinizes the problems of entitlement that linger as an adopted child matures. "A white woman, a white family, raising a black child is on a journey," she writes. "Race only means something, only exists, because of racism; if it weren't stigmatized, there would be no race."

Rothman goes on to argue that as long as the idea of race continues to exist in America , adoptive parents must educate themselves and their children about how to live in the ethnic communities that they were originally born into. They have to take their children into that other world and teach them how to live in it. She recalls, for instance, the experience of braiding Victoria 's African hair for the first time, and how she had to reach out across the color line for help from black mothers. Rothman feels deeply. "I'm still masquerading in this skin, but I'm starting to realize that I'm not the same person," she observes. "I'm assimilating into a new culture too. In some part of my soul, I'm starting to turn into a Black mama. I've got white skin and white privilege, but it becomes more and more of a masquerade."

Rothman recognizes that there is no simple solution to conquering the racial divisions of America . Her insights in Weaving a Family, however, suggest a new understanding. "You don't send children places; you have to take them by the hand. If your child is going to grow up without the privileges of whiteness, you'd best learn what those are," Rothman writes. "The way to learn a culture is to be part of it, to become ‘acculturated.’ That's more than learning to cook ethnic foods, or dance ethnic dances, or even do ethnic hairdos. It is to undergo a transformation, to become someone you were not."

Weaving a Family is the latest from renowned author Barbara Katz Rothman, best known for her In Labor, the first book to distinguish between the midwifery and medical models of birth. In this latest work, the sociologist and white mother of an African American girl provides an accessible, sensitive portrayal of the inherent sociological complexities of mixed-race adoption and parenting. – Mothering Magazine

Sociologist Rothman explores the concepts of motherhood, adoption, and race, aiming to shed light on how these ideas play out in America today. Each issue's historical development and present meaning are addressed: to illustrate the complexities of interracial adoption, but without being judgmental or offering quick solutions she is critical of the societal breakdown that makes such adoptions necessary. – Marianne Le, Library Journal

Drawing on her own experience as the white mother of a black child, on historical research on white people raising black children from slavery to contemporary times, and pulling together work on race, adoption, and consumption, she offers us new insights for understanding the way that race and family are shaped in America today. Weaving a Family is compelling reading, not only for those interested in family and society, but for anyone grappling with the myriad issues around raising a child of a different race.

Philosophy / Ethics & Morality

Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control by E. Michael Jones ( St. Augustine ’s Press)

Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For he serves, not one man alone, but, what is worse, as many masters as he has vices. – St. Augustine , City of God

Writing at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire , St. Augustine both revolutionized and brought to a close antiquity’s idea of freedom. A man was not a slave by nature or by law; his freedom was a function of his moral state. A man had as many masters as he had vices. This insight would provide the basis for the most sophisticated form of social control known to man.

Fourteen hundred years later, a decadent French aristocrat turned that tradition on its head when he wrote that "the freest of people are they who are most friendly to murder." Like Augustine, the Marquis de Sade would agree that freedom was a function of morals. Unlike Augustine, Sade proposed a revolution in sexual morals to accompany the political revolution then taking place in France . Libido Dominandi – the term is taken from Book I of Augustine’s City of God – is the definitive history of that sexual revolution, from 1773 to the present.

Unlike the standard version of the sexual revolution, Libido Dominandi by E. Michael Jones, editor of Culture Wars Magazine, shows how sexual liberation was from its inception a form of control. Those who wished to liberate man from the moral order needed to impose social controls as soon as they succeeded because a liberated libido led inevitably to anarchy. Aldous Huxley wrote in his preface to the 1946 edition of Brave New World that "as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase." This book is about the converse of that statement. It explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Over the course of the two-hundred-year span covered by this book, the development of technologies of communication, reproduction, and psychic control – including psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and plain old blackmail – allowed the Enlightenment and its heirs to turn Augustine’s insight on its head and create masters out of men’s vices. Libido Dominandi elucidates how that happened.

Philosophy / Religion & Spirituality

God & Philosophy by Antony Flew (Prometheus Books)

In December 2004 a story broke with an irresistible hook: distinguished philosopher Antony Flew, emeritus professor of philosophy, Reading University , England , longtime advocate of atheistic humanism – had become a theist. Not able to resist the "Famous Atheist Now Believes in God" headline, the story appeared in publications worldwide.

Much of the controversy was based upon a pre-publication draft of Flew's new introduction to the reissue of God & Philosophy, as well as the published interpretations of some of Flew's interview comments on science and religion. But is the truth of his position black and white? Readers can judge for themselves by reading his introduction to this reprint of a now classic work, originally published almost forty years ago.

In God & Philosophy, a classic primer to the philosophy of religion, Flew subjects a wide range of philosophical arguments for the existence of God to intense critical scrutiny. Flew addresses the ancient arguments of Aristotle, Aquinas, and Leibniz, among others, as well as the contemporary perspective of Richard Swinburne. Flew confronts head-on arguments grounded in order and design, existence and causality, meaning and morality, and miracles, as well as authority and faith. Each is approached with a degree of keen insight that only Flew can muster.

God & Philosophy is first and foremost an attempt to present and to examine the strongest possible case for belief in God. The word ‘God’ is understood in the very substantial sense in which it has been employed in the mainstreams of the three great traditions of Mosaic theism – the mainstream traditions, that is to say, of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The book goes on to consider the best warrant which might be offered for accepting the Christian candidate as an authentic and unique revelation from that God. Discussion of this sort is today widely discredited – people with pretensions either to deep wisdom or to worldly sophistication will tell us that everyone knows that you cannot either prove or disprove the existence of God, and that the fundamentals of any religion belong to the province of faith rather than of reason. But God & Philosophy says they could not be more wrong, and that any such assertion is, in fact, insulting to those of faith, implying any and every commitment to faith is equally arbitrary and equally frivolous, since it has been made for no good reason at all; and every faith is as utterly unreasonable as every other.

In God & Philosophy both the cases for and the cases against belief are deployed by the Flew, although materials are often quoted word for word from other sources. It is, of course, a matter of integrity and sincerity of intellectual purpose to try to make out all cases as strongly as possible. For, if we truly desire to learn the truth, then we must consider opposing positions at their strongest. Flew addresses readers who feel that the arguments examined do not represent the full strength of the case for Christian theism, to think about where in print a better case is to be found. He challenges readers again in this edition, as in the first edition, to write up the case.

Both believers and unbelievers will benefit from Flew's critical analysis in God & Philosophy of Christian theism and his Socratic commitment to “follow the argument wherever it leads.” We challenge those who are fond of the “you can’t prove or disprove God” assertion to read the book and the new introduction by Professor Flew… and take up his challenge.

Politics / Foreign Policy

American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, Future (6th Edition) by Glenn P. Hastedt (Pearson Prentice Hall)

This annually updated reader is a compilation of current articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals, covering issues relating to the United States and the World: Strategic Choices, Regional and Bilaterial Relations, and American Foreign Policy

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 marked a turning point in American foreign policy. For more than a decade, American foreign policy seemed to be adrift. With the attacks of 9/11, Americans rediscovered the world. For at least a moment, the shape of the post-cold war era became clear to most Americans, and the time for debate had passed. The terrorist attacks demanded unity of purpose. It was not long, however, before expressions of doubt and caution were being raised about the feasibility of the original set of goals set forward by President George W. Bush, the language used to frame the challenges facing the United States , and the proper American response. These doubts and concerns intensified as the United States moved toward war with Iraq and then came face-to-face with the challenges of occupation and reconstruction.

The events of 9/11 mark the turning point, not because they ended debate over American foreign policy but because they provide a new point of reference for an ongoing debate over its content and conduct. Choices continue to exist. We continue to need to understand where we have been, where we are today, and where we want to go.

Conceptually and organizationally, the sixth edition of American Foreign Policy remains the same. Part I examines the global context of American foreign policy. Part II examines the historical context of American foreign policy. Part III examines the domestic setting of American foreign policy and the foreign affairs government. Part IV looks at the process by which American foreign policy is made. Part V presents an overview of the foreign policy tools at the disposal of policy makers. Part VI concludes the discussion of American foreign policy with a survey of alternative futures.

Material in each of the chapters has been updated to include recent events in American foreign policy. Those who have used previous editions will also find some additional changes in how the same chapters are structured. Chapter 1 now contains a discussion of "American Hegemony" and "What the World Wants from the United States ." Chapter 2 has been reorganized to end with extended discussion of terrorism. The discussion in Chapter 4 has been refocused around a theme of grand strategies with much of the international economic material removed. A summary section looks at the George W. Bush administration and the war on terrorism. Chapter 6 contains a discussion of the media and the Iraq War. The major change is the inclusion of a lengthy example of how intelligence was used to build support for the Iraq War. Chapter 7 contains a section on "Civil Liberties" under War Powers. A discussion of the role of Vice President and Chief of Staff as influences on decision making has been added to Chapter 8. In Chapter 9, the discussion of the changing relationship between Congress and the president has been rewritten and tightened. A discussion of the Department of Homeland Security has been added to Chapter 10. A major change takes place in Chapter 12: Two case studies have been removed and one added on pre-9/11 intelligence policy and the war on terrorism. Chapter 13 now has a section on public diplomacy and an expanded discussion on deterrence that brings in material that had been in Chapter 16. In Chapter 15, the section on economic sanctions was reorganized and updated. There is a short case study on sanctions against Libya . Preemption is discussed in Chapter 16. Chapter 17 has been tightened, shortened, and updated. Finally, in Chapter 18, there has been a general updating of material. The discussion of each alternative future now ends with a paragraph relating it to terrorism.

The text concludes by presenting eight alternative future paths that American foreign policy might travel down. Within this broad framework of broad-based background factors and more narrowly focused process- and instrument-oriented constraints, no attempt is made to identify a correct interpretation of events or course of action. Instead, a balanced discussion of alternative viewpoints is presented in American Foreign Policy and questions are put forward in the hope of challenging readers to think critically about how U.S. foreign policy can build on its past and present in order to better confront the future.

Professional & Technical / Medicine

The Human Brain during the Second Trimester by Shirley A. Bayer & Joseph Altman (Atlas of Human Central Nervous System Development Series, Volume 3: CRC Press)

The third volume in the Atlas of Human Central Nervous System Development series, The Human Brain during the Second Trimester, provides a pictorial record of the maturing brain at low and high magnification as it has never before been available, accompanied by a structural analysis based on animal experiments. The highlighted structural feature of this volume is the stratified transitional field in the cerebral cortex; this area has laminar differences between future sensory and future motor areas where migrating nerve cells intermingle with axons growing into and out of the cortex. It is postulated that this transient developmental region is a staging ground where anatomical connections between the cerebral cortex and the rest of the brain are first established.

Features of the book:

  • Up-to-date names of structures reflect current experimental work on the mammalian central nervous system.
  • Use of all three planes of sectioning ensures that nearly every structure in the brain is represented pictorially in at least one section plane.
  • Low- and high-magnification plates allow readers to get both a quick overview and highly detailed information.
  • Unabbreviated labels let readers know immediately the exact structure being identified without having to refer to an abbreviations list.
  • High-magnification views of different areas of the cerebral cortex, with special emphasis on the stratified transitional field, provide new insights into human cerebral cortical development.
  • High-magnification views of the cerebellar cortex show its degree of maturation during the second trimester.
  • All terms used in the labels are defined in the glossary at the end of the book.

Organization of The Human Brain during the Second Trimester:

This Atlas focuses on the development of the human brain during the second trimester, and is Volume 3 in the Atlas of Human Central Nervous System Development series. Volume 1 (Bayer and Altman, 2002) provides a record of the development of the spinal cord. Volume 2 (Bayer and Altman, 2004) is a record of brain development during the third trimester. Authors of the series Shirley A. Bayer and Joseph Altman are nearly halfway finished with their journey through brain development. The brain specimens presented in The Human Brain during the Second Trimester are nearing anatomical maturity (at the light microscopic level) throughout the brainstem (diencephalon, mid-brain, pons, and medulla) where only remnants of migrating streams of neurons and the germinal matrices remain. In contrast, the telencephalon (cerebral cortex, basal ganglia) contains many migrating neurons and active embryonic germinal matrices – the primary neuroepithelium and the secondary subventricular and subgranular zones. In addition, immature features predominate in the cerebellum; most of its neurons are still migrating and its secondary germinal matrix, the external germinal layer, is on the surface of the immature cortex. Embryonic structures predominate in the brains of all specimens to be illustrated in Volumes 4 and 5, and are the sole components of the youngest specimens.

This volume contains grayscale photographs of Nissl-stained sections of brains cut in three cardinal planes (coronal, sagittal, and horizontal) of normal specimens from gestational week (GW) 24 in the late second trimester to GW115 in the early second trimester.

In this, as in preceding Volume 2 and forthcoming Volumes 4 and 5, older specimens precede younger specimens. Each specimen is presented in a separate part of the Atlas: GW24 is in the coronal plane in Part II; GW23 in the sagittal plane in Part III; GW23 in the horizontal plane in Part IV; GW20 in the coronal plane in Part V; GW20 in the sagittal plane in Part VI; GW17 in the coronal plane in Part VII; GW17 in the sagittal plane in Part VIII; GW17 in the horizontal plane in Part IX; and GW13.5 in the coronal plane in Part X. Selected coronal plates are presented in order from rostral to caudal; the dorsal part of each section is toward the top of the page, the ventral part at the bottom, and the midline is in the vertical center of each section. Sagittal plates are ordered from medial to lateral; the anterior part of each section is facing to the left, posterior to the right. Horizontal plates are ordered from dorsal to ventral; the anterior part of each section is facing to the left, posterior to the right, and the midline is in the horizontal center of each section.

Each Part contains low magnification and high magnification companion plates, designated as A and B on facing pages. Part A of each plate on the left page shows the full contrast photograph without labels; Part B shows low contrast copies of the same photograph on the right page with superimposed outlines of structures and unabbreviated labels. The low magnification plates show entire sections to identify the large structures of the brain, such as the various lobes and gyri of the cerebral cortex, and large subdivisions of the brain core, such as the basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, cerebellum, and medulla. The high magnification plates fea­ture enlarged views of the brain core to identify smaller structures.

Because the emphasis in The Human Brain during the Second Trimester is on development, transient structures that appear only in immature brains are labeled in italics. During fixation, shrinkage introduced artifactual infolding of the cerebral cortex in some specimens. During dissection, embedding, cutting, and staining, some of the sections illustrated were torn. Both artifacts and processing damage are usually outlined with dashed lines in Part B of each plate.

In addition, all coronally-sectioned and sagitally-sectioned specimens have annotated high magnification plates of the cortical plate, germinal matrices, and the stratified transitional field in different areas of the cerebral cortex. Two of the three sagittally-sectioned specimens have high magnification plates of different lobules of the cerebellar cortex in the midline vermis. Finally, an alphabetized Glossary gives brief definitions of most labels used in the Plates with expanded definitions of all transient developmental structures.

Such a pictorial record of the maturing brain has never been available before. The Human Brain during the Second Trimester should greatly advance our understanding of prenatal development of the brain, making immeasurable contributions to education, research and training of medical specialists and other personnel.

Reference / Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Education

Encyclopedia of School Psychology edited by Steven W. Lee (Sage Publications) is the first comprehensive guide to the field of school psychology featuring the latest research on school learning, motivation, and educational assessment.

School psychology is one of psychology's oldest clinical specialties. It is focused on a key facet of human behavior learning. Positive child and adolescent development, happy family functioning, successful schools, and recovery from debilitating psychological and physical disorders are all influenced by our human capacity to learn. Diseases, injuries, disorders, poor and dangerous environments, lack of skills and knowledge on the part of caregivers, and poorly considered public policy are all enemies of positive human development. School psychologists have focused the formidable power of psychological and educational science toward the experience of children, youth, and families, especially as they relate to schooling and learning in any setting.

While ‘psychology’ is vaguely understood by most people as a career field, the nuances of specialty areas within psychology are not at all available for review outside the purview of the practitioners and researchers in each specialty. The Encyclopedia of School Psychology gathers an impressive array of information on what school psychology is really about, and regarding what people who are school psychologists really do and know. Edited by Steve W. Lee, Associate Professor and Director of the School Psychology Program at the University of Kansas, Encyclopedia of School Psychology contains approximately 250 entries by 175 contributing authors from psychology, education and counseling, child development, and special education address student success, behavior disorders, intelligence testing, learning disabilities, strategies to improve academic skills, and more.

Key topics include: assessment, behavior, consultation demographic variables development diagnosis, disorders, ethical/legal issues in school psychology, families and parenting interventions issues students face, learning and motivation, legislation, medical conditions multicultural issues peers, prevention, reading, research, school actions, school personnel, school psychologist roles, school psychology organizations, school types school-related terms, schools as organizations, special education, statistical and measurement terms, student problematic behavior, and technology.

Entries avoid jargon and technical detail in order to be accessible to a broad audience including university professors of school psychology, college students, elementary and high-school teachers and administrators, school psychologists, and parents. Some entries include embedded timelines to highlight the history and development of the field, which are further highlighted by biographies of key pioneering researchers. Entries on controversial topics (e.g., I/Q and intelligence testing) include ‘Point/Counterpoint’ boxes highlighting differing sides to issues that aren't necessarily clear cut. Appendices guide readers to additional resources and also include comparative statistical tables presenting information about student achievement, learning disorders, intelligence scales, and commonly administered standardized tests.

The List of Entries is intriguing because of its comprehensiveness, its depth, and ease of study. The Reader's Guide cross-listing is useful for readers who enter with little prior understanding of how specific (and esoteric) terms such as operant conditioning relate to the daily behavioral assessment practice of school psychologists.

The Encyclopedia of School Psychology provides both an introduction to the field and a way for experienced practitioners to gain a deeper understanding of how school psychology has progressed to match the demands of the 21st century. The volume is designed to give readers a glimpse into the world of the school psychologist and the level of knowledge and skills necessary to negotiate the world of the child and adolescent in schools. It is designed to provide the depth and breadth of content non-psychologists need to understand little-known concepts related to psychology in the schools because it gathers reputable resources together and making them easily accessible.

Educators will be interested in entries related to academic success, or programs touted as successful in reducing drug abuse or teenage pregnancy, or strategies to promote school-wide success. Psychologists will find state of the art information on assessment and interventions across many areas of concern at multiple levels. All will benefit from entries that tackle controversial subjects such as Facilitated Communication; Evidence-Based Intervention; and Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender.

Encyclopedia of School Psychology will be useful to many public, high school, and university libraries and reference for specialists in vocational guidance.

Reference / Linguistics

Multilingual Communication edited by Juliane House & Jochen Rehbein (Hamburg Studies in Multilingualism Series: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

In a world of increasing migration and technological progress, multilingual communication has become the rule rather than the exception. Multilingual Communication reflects the growing interest in understanding communication between members of different linguistic groups and contains a collection of original papers by members of the German Science Foundation's research center on multi­lingualism at Hamburg University and by international experts, offering an overview of the most important research fields in multilingual communication.

Edited by Juliane House and Jochen Rehbein, both of the University of Hamburg, Multilingual Communication is divided into four sec­tions dealing with interpreting and translation, code-switching in various institutional contexts, two important strands of multi-lingual communication: rapport and politeness, and contrastive studies of Japanese and German grammar and discourse.

The make-up of communication has always consisted of a variety of constel­lations of autochthonous and migrant languages – not only in Asia , Africa , Latin America or Australia , but also in Europe , in spite of the fact that most nation states appear to be monolingual. We are today witnessing an ever stronger trend towards multilingual communication both in the international sphere and – due to increasing migration processes also at an intra-national level – a process not without friction. There are two not necessarily conflicting lines of policy to meet this complex multilingual situation: promoting the adoption of a lingua franca – with the most likely choice today being the English language – or promoting multilingual communication in its various forms and potentials of permitting mutual understanding. Parallel to rising world-wide migration processes and the galloping technological advances in international communication, interrelations between individuals, groups, institutions and societies who use different languages continue to increase dramatically. Multilingual communication has thus become an ubiquitous phenomenon and there can be no denying the fact that the omnipresence of multilingual communication must be reflected in intensified research activities.

From the perspective of multilingual communication, according to Multilingual Communication, a language serves not only as a means and a medium of communication, it is also a highly complex stem which enters into a relationship with other languages and imprints its own dynamics upon those human beings involved in interaction by structuring their ‘action spaces’. Participants in multilingual interactions can be said to activate links between language and actions, mental activities, perception, thought patterns, knowledge systems etc. – in short, all mental and cognitive processes involved in communication – which are active both universally and in each individual language. Due to the situation of contact between different languages as different communication systems, languages mutually influence one another and give rise to changes that may result in the creation of differentiated, multilingual communication systems. Numerous communication structures are likely to be themselves fundamentally multilingual and their implementation is the basis of individual speakers' multilingual capabilities. Multilingual communication is therefore not simply an interesting but isolated phenomenon, but rather a multivariate social expression of the human constitution.

Overview of the Sections

Michael Clyne’s contribution to Multilingual Communication, the introduction, makes a plea for regarding the rich repertoire of languages in multilingual immigration societies as an undeniable national asset. He suggests various measures for actively promoting multilingual competence in as many individuals as possible. Multilingualism is to be seen as a desirable goal for all nations, and it should be maintained and spread in all societies via appropriate language policies, choices of languages offered in secondary and tertiary education, and other measures to be taken in political and social institutions as well as the media. The responsibility for promoting multilingualism in a society and for supporting the maintenance of immigrant languages lies according to Clyne not only with the receiving (host) nation, but also with institutions of the immigrant's former country and with the ethnic communities inside the host nation.

The chapters in Part I: Mediated multilingual communication deal with aspects of interpreting or translation as practices of mediation. Interpreting and translating are the most widely known multilingual practices used to facilitate communication between persons who do not speak one another's language. The four chapters deal with different institutional contexts: medical, scientific and business communication respectively and examine problems in expert and lay communication involving an interpreter as well as the interaction between oral and written features in acts of translation and its communicative effects.

Kristin Bührig and Bernd Meyer examine interpreting practices carried out in German hospitals by non-professional interpreters. They use authentic data of doctor-patient dialogues and focus in their analysis on whether and how interpreters achieve the communicative purpose doctors have when they inform patients about medical procedures and seek to gain their consent. The authors' finding that interpreters often fail to provide functionally equivalent versions of the doctor's talk emphasizes the need for setting up qualified medical interpreting services in German hospitals.

Nicole Baumgarten and Julia Probst investigate German translations of English popular science texts. In particular, they examine how linguistic elements associated with spoken discourse are used in written texts to achieve particular communicative effects on readers. Given the current dominance of the English language, the authors hypothesize an influence of English on German texts (not only via translations but also in the production of parallel German texts) for the domain of audience design. This hypothesis is investigated in both qualitative and quantitative analyses conducted on the basis of a multilingual corpus. The results confirm the hypothesis for translations to a lesser degree for German parallel popular science texts.

Kristin Bührig and Juliane House take a closer look at the forms and functions of oral and written discourse in translation on the basis of one American text and its German translation taken from a multilingual corpus of economic texts. The authors focus on the role different connective elements play in giving a text an oral as opposed to a written quality, and they demonstrate how the use of particular German devices for creating connectivity maneuvers the German translation text into the direction of ‘writtenness’ – a stark deviation from the English original.

Using the same multilingual corpus of economic texts and also focusing on connectivity, Claudia Bottger investigates how German and English ‘corporate philosophies’ change in the act of translation along the dimension of ‘Mode’ under the influence of English genre conventions. According to Bottger, the phenomenon of genre mixing, which her analysis reveals for the German texts, is due to the fact that textual conventions in the genre of ‘corporate philosophies’ are not as established in a German context as they are in an American context.

Part II: Code-switching contains three papers devoted to the phenomenon of code-switching – another major and intensively researched domain of sociolinguistics in general and multilingual communication in particular.

Janet Holmes and Maria Stubbe focus on the social and discoursal aspects of code-switching in talk between members of different ethnic groups in New Zealand . The authors pay particular attention to the various types of socio-pragmatic meanings which code-switching can express in the task-oriented interaction characteristic of a New Zealand workplace. In their analyses, the authors reveal the remarkable potential code-switching – with its recourse to the rich linguistic repertoire of languages other than the national language – can offer for constructing complex social and ethnic identities and for creating fruitful social relationships at work.

Willis Edmondson looks at the phenomenon of code-switching in another much-studied environment: the foreign language classroom. He distinguishes various cases in which code-switching in learner-teacher and learner-learner interactions involve shifts in framing from one type of discourse to another, a phenomenon he calls ‘world switching.’ On the basis of both classroom observation and interview data, the author shows how different types of code-switching and world-switching in different phases of classroom interaction can be both communicatively and pedagogically useful for language learning.

The final chapter in Part II looks at conversational code-switching from a different angle. Rita Franceschini, Christoph M. Krick, Sigrid Behrent and Wolfgang Reith examine code-switching from a neuro-linguistic perspec­tive. They start with an analysis of subjects' perceptions of occurrences of code-switching during reading, and tentatively identify a neuronal system which is activated during the process of code-switching, a system which is not specific to language, however, but seems to fulfill more general functions related to the focus of attention and to the management of comparison and control.

Part III: Rapport and politeness is concerned with two important, and related, socio-affective phenomena: rapport and politeness, which must be regarded as fundamental guidelines of human behavior in general, and multilingual communication in particular.

Helen Spencer-Oatey and Jianyu Xing focus on problems and difficulties experienced by British and Chinese business people in their attempt to achieve rapport. Concretely, the authors analyze incidents experienced by a Chinese business delegation and their British hosts, which lead to strong negative emotions on both sides. On the basis of an analysis of taped and transcribed discourse data and post-event interviews, the authors give an insightful account of participants' different perspectives on, and interpretations of, mismanaged rapport.

Jochen Rehbein and Jutta Fienemann deal with politeness in a particular phase of multilingual encounters, namely introductions of persons into a social group. The authors analyze a section of an intercultural dinner conversation in which students from different countries take part, who use German as a medium of conversation. Forms and functions of introductions in Arabic, Norwegian, English, Chinese, Turkish and Malagasy are discussed. One of the authors' major findings is that participants engage in pragmatic transfer of patterns of polite action from their respective mother tongues into German as a lingua franca.

Part IV: Grammar and discourse in a contrastive perspective is dedicated to detailed contrastive analyses of particular grammatical phenomena. These phenomena are selected for study by the authors because they present problems for learners of the respective languages.

Shinichi Kameyama investigates modal expressions in Japanese and Ger­man planning discourse taken from a multilingual data corpus. Concretely, the author looks at forms and functions of modal expressions in stretches of planning discourse in mother tongue German and in Japanese as both a first and a foreign language. On the basis of his results, the author suggests that learners of both languages would greatly benefit from a heightened awareness of the diverging functional means used in these different languages for corresponding discourse domains.

Christiane Hohenstein reports on her comparative analysis of L1 Japanese and L1 German complement constructions with matrix verbs of thinking and assessing – phenomena known to present problems for learners of both languages. On the basis of her examination of various construction types and the frequency of their occurrence in academic conferences, commercial product and expert round table presentations, the author manages to pinpoint some characteristic functional differences in the use of complement constructions following ‘mental verbs’ of thinking and assessing – knowledge of which might be useful for learners of both German and Japanese.

Multilingual Communication provides an overview of the most important research fields in multilingual communication in the four sections – interpreting and translation, code-switching in various institutional contexts, two important strands of multi-lingual communication, and contrastive studies of Japanese and German grammar and discourse.

The parameters of language which House and Rehbein set forth in Multilingual Communication form a useful framework for reconstructing a ‘plurilingual tertium comparationis’ for multilingual communication systems and for investigating the relationships between the languages. They formulate a long-term objective of research into multilingual communication – to make multilingual communication better meet the needs of various social institutions.

The editors also point out useful directions for future research in multilingual communication. Multilingual Communication proposes the objectives of that research, stating that the time has now come to look in detail at the form-function relationship between the languages involved in multilingual communication and the mechanisms relating multilingual communicative processes to fun­damental social structures. The issues they propose for guiding future research include:

  • In which language is which linguistic form realized? Here one may discover the function of individual forms, their role and task in the context of the relevant constellations.
  • Which extra-linguistic context determines which linguistic form is used and how it is used? Above all one would have to examine types of discourse and text, institutions, the relevant social groups etc.
  • Which extra-linguistic and, if pertinent, ‘inner-linguistic’ purposes are fulfilled by linguistic forms, and how are these used in relation to these contexts? The starting point here is the social place and function of the linguistic forms used in multilingual communication.
  • Reproducing acts in the widest sense in multilingual constellations.
  • Systematic contrasts between relevant categories in languages involved in multilingual communication.
  • The manifestation of linguistic knowledge in multilingual communication.

House and Rehbein believe that linguistics as a discipline must develop new theories to answer these research questions, which are central for multilingual communication. Empirical research into multilingual communication must ultimately be concerned with whether and in what ways it is possible to understand others and be understood by them.

Religion & Spirituality / Buddhism

Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook by Tulku Thondup (Shambhala)

Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment – yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup says that he wrote Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth as a guide to help readers heal their fear and confusion about death and strengthen their practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help them realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy – not only for death and rebirth, but for this lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources, including scriptures, classic commentaries, oral teachings, and firsthand accounts. Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth includes:

  • An overview of the dying process, the after-death bardo states.
  • Teachings on why, where, and how we take rebirth.
  • Accounts by Tibetan ‘near-death experiencers’ (delogs) who returned from death with amazing reports of their visions.
  • Ways to train our minds during life, so that at death, all the phenomena before us will arise as a world of peace, joy, and enlightenment.
  • How to take rebirth in the blissful paradises known as pure lands, where we may make continuous progress toward enlightenment.
  • Simple meditations, prayers, and rituals to benefit the dead and dying.
  • Advice for caregivers, helpers, and survivors of the dying.
  • A brief liturgy and explanation of phowa, the Tibetan meditation for transferring the consciousness of the dying (oneself or another) to an enlightened pure land.

Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, taught at Indian universities for many years. He came to the United States in 1980 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University and for the past two decades has lived in Cambridge , engaging in translation and writing on Tibetan Buddhism through the Buddhayana Foundation.

A healing treasure from Tulku Thondup: a clear, complete, and compassionate guidebook to the journey through life, dying, death, and beyond. Accessible and authentic as always, he brings to the ancient Buddhist teachings his deep and gentle understanding of the modern world. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, including the Tibetan near-death experiences, he shows to what extent the quality of our life, death, and rebirth all depend upon the mind. – Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Tibetans by nature are joyous. This comes from having teachings on death and life. Tulku Thondup has opened this vast treasury of knowledge in a clear, simple, and powerful way for the modern audience. – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, author of Turning the Mind into an Ally

Hoping to "help us realize... ultimate peace and joy... for death and beyond," Thondup, a Tibetan-born teacher, translator and former visiting scholar at Harvard, offers a remarkably lucid distillation of Tibetan Buddhist teachings on how the state of our minds in life affects the nature and quality of our experiences in death. … The result is a provocative and surprisingly compelling work that will appeal to beginners and advanced practitioners alike. – Publishers Weekly

Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth distills thousands of years of wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhism tradition. It presents teachings that not only heal readers’ pain and confusion about death and dying but also help them realized the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy. Thondup draws not only on his wisdom teachings but also on the painful events he experienced in Tibet . Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth may be a guiding light for those who use it.

Religion & Spirituality / Philosophy / Buddhist Studies

Balancing the Mind: A Tibetan Buddhist Approach to Refining Attention by B. Alan Wallace (Snow Lion)

For centuries Tibetan Buddhism contemplatives have directly explored consciousness through rigorous techniques of meditation. B. Alan Wallace, widely recognized as one of the clearest facilitators of the dialogue between science and Buddhism, explains the methods and experiences of those Tibetan practitioners and compares these with investigations of consciousness by Western scientists and philosophers. Balancing the Mind includes a translation of a classic discussion by the fifteenth-century Tibetan contemplative Tsongkhapa of methods for developing exceptionally high degrees of attentional stability and clarity.
Wallace trained for many years as a monk in Buddhist monasteries and has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including the Dalai Lama.

Balancing the Mind consists largely of three chapters. Before Chapter 1, there is a discussion of methodologies in the field of Buddhist Studies, especially as they pertain to scholarly treatments of Buddhist meditation. The emphasis of this discussion is on the importance of bringing traditional Buddhist theories about consciousness, attention, and introspection into dialogue with modern scientific and philosophical discussions of these topics.

The main body of Chapter 1 is a presentation of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths as expounded in the writings of the Tibetan Buddhist scholar Tsongkhapa (1357-1419). Tsongkhapa's views are frequently brought into juxtaposition with assertions by major figures in the history of Christianity, and Western philosophy and science.

Chapter 2 gives a translation of Tsongkhapa's own presentation of the cultivation of quiescence in his Small Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This translation from the original Tibetan is accompanied by Wallace’s commentary, presented from the perspective of the Prasangika Madhyamaka view as propounded in the Gelugpa order founded by Tsongkhapa.

Chapter 3 includes a detailed analysis of the nature of introspection in terms of modern philosophy of mind and cognitive psychology, and the Prasangika Madhyamaka view promoted by Tsongkhapa. This section concludes with a presentation of the role of introspection and mindfulness in the cultivation of meditative quiescence in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. This discussion draws from both the writings of Tsongkhapa and the Mahamudra and Atiyoga Buddhist traditions, showing the complementarity of these approaches for the contemplative cultivation of sustained voluntary attention. Finally, Wallace offers a comparative analysis of quiescence in the Theravada and Indo-Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Stop in your tracks – this is an extraordinary book! – David Galin, M.D., University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
A spectacular cross-cultural presentation of techniques for achieving meditative states. – Jeffrey Hopkins, author of Cultivating Compassion and Maps of the Profound
The most important book on Buddhist meditation to appear in over a decade. – Roger Jackson, Carleton College

Alan Wallace is one of the great Western Buddhist thinkers of our day. – Howard Cutler, co-author with H.H. the Dalai Lama of The Art of Happiness

Balancing the Mind will be of value to scholars and scientists concerned with the workings of the mind, especially those doing research in consciousness and Buddhist Studies and those interdisciplinary religious and philosophy studies as well as all those who wish to understand what can be learned through the path of Buddhist meditation.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

The Crucifixion of Jesus, Second Edition: A Forensic Inquiry by Frederick T. Zugibe (M. Evans and Company, Inc.)

As a Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York from 1969-2003, where he was widely recognized as an expert in forensic pathology, Frederick T. Zugibe has investigated some of today's most complicated, puzzling, bizarre, and horrific forensic cases. But none compare to the intricacies that he encountered during his forensic probe into the death of Jesus. Zugibe details the experience of his examination as well as his conclusions in The Crucifixion of Jesus.

In this thoroughly researched book, Zugibe discusses the forty-five years of research that he has devoted to understanding the mechanisms and causes of Christ's death in crucifixion. Documented with 95 illustrations that explore the impact of crucifixion on the body, he demonstrates the realities behind the crucifixion on the body, providing a virtual autopsy of Christ from across the centuries.

A completely revised and expanded edition of The Cross and The Shroud, this book provides a detailed analysis on Christ's death – from the Garden of Gethsemaane and the crown of thorns to the burial tomb. Zugibe explores not only his physical torment on the cross, but also looks at the emotional pain he went through during the hours leading up to the actual crucifixion. Zugibe also addresses many of the controversies surrounding Jesus' crucifixion, such as the species of thorn present in the crown of thorns, the type of cross, and the location of the nails.

Zugibe takes his experience as a criminal investigator and uses it to determine exactly how Jesus died. The end of a lifelong quest, this study pieces together shreds of evidence collected from across three continents. Additional features include the most current analysis and findings about the Shroud of Turin that demonstrate the Shroud's legitimacy. Using the Shroud as a crucial clue in his investigation, Zugibe provides the most in-depth analysis of the Shroud to date, unraveling the mysteries of the cloth with the latest scientific technology and putting to rest the misconceptions about the Shroud that have clouded its status among ancient artifacts.

Intelligent, fascinating, and thought-provoking, The Crucifixion of Jesus provides an autopsy on Christ from across the centuries. In a language both precise and easy to understand, Zugibe presents his discoveries culled from years of exhaustive research, and with attention to detail, the book attempts to do away with inaccurate theories.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons by Thomas F. Torrance (T&T Clark)

In a new paperback edition of a classic work, The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons, Thomas F. Torrance, Emeritus Professor of Christian Dogmatics, University of Edinburgh , sets out to clarify understanding of that most profound article of the Christian faith, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

The Trinity is grounded upon God’s historical self-revelation in Jesus Christ. It is presented in this work as a teaching which is implicit in the New Testament revelation and in the worship of the Early Church, rather than as a logical derivation from other aspects of Christian doctrine. Adopting a holistic approach, Torrance explains the inter-relatedness of the three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and their dynamic Communion with the Being and Nature of God. Combining his own academic range with new theological perspectives, Torrance builds a theological bridge between ancient and modern, and Roman and Protestant theology.

The exposition of The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons takes place within the frame of the biblical and Nicene tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church . It is heavily influenced by Greek patristic and Reformed theology, Athanasius the Great, Hugh Ross Mackintosh and Karl Barth. Torrace’s argument and presentation take an open-structured form in the conviction that the truth of the Holy Trinity is more to be adored than expressed. The Holy Scriptures do not give dogmatic propositions about the Trinity, but they do present definite witness to the oneness and differentiation between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, under the constraint of which the early Church allowed the pattern and order of God's Triune Life to impose themselves upon its mind. There took shape within the ecumenical thinking of the Church a specifically apostolic frame of understanding the truth of the Gospel which soon came to be revered as the distinctive mind of the Catholic Church. It was to this mind that the great fathers and theologians of the Church intuitively appealed in forming theological judgments and making conciliar decisions.

Torrance believes it is important to recognize that in these early centuries, as the truth-content of apostolic Scriptures unfolded within the understanding of the Church, something of definitive and irreversible significance took place – a giant step in grasping and giving expression to the internal relation of the incarnate Son to the Father. The Nicene formulation of the homoousion may be said to be not unlike some of the great events in the history of science in which the rational structure of human knowledge of the created universe has been profoundly revised in a way upon which we cannot go back, even if our understanding of nature may have to be reformulated in the light of the deeper knowledge of the universe to which the revised structure of science gave rise.

Thus, as Torrance understands it, there arose in the early era of the Christian Church a fundamental orientation and theological structure of a conceptually irreversible nature. He makes no apology for his constant concern with Greek patristic theology in The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons, and in making use of some of the main insights it offers for an exposition of Christian doctrine.

The account of the doctrine of the Trinity offered in The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons is not analytical, deductive, or discursive, but holistic. It is an attempt to be faithful to the way in which the Holy Trinity is presented in the Gospel, if only implicitly, as a Whole but as a differentiated Whole. This means that exposition must proceed in a circular way, in which understanding of the whole is not built up from a prior grasp of its constituent parts, but in which the whole while understood out of itself is nevertheless understood with subsidiary attention to its parts, and the parts are properly understood in the light of the whole. Circular procedure of this kind cannot but involve repetition, for an account of any one Person of the Holy Trinity cannot be given without relation to the other two Persons. Not a little repetition is also involved in The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons due to Torrance ’s urge to make theological statements as rounded or complete as possible in themselves. In order to help the understanding of readers he has included references throughout to several other books of his where the same Trinitarian concepts are given another or fuller exposition.

Ground-breaking, The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons aims to clarify understanding of the most profound article of Christian Faith, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Combining immense academic range with new theological perspectives, Torrance expounds the basic teaching of the ancient Catholic Church and builds a significant bridge between ancient and modern Catholic and Evangelical theology.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

The Language of Belonging: A Rhetorical Analysis of Kinship Language in First Corinthians by Mary Katherine Birge (Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology Series, Volume 31: Peeters) explores the origins of Paul’s use of community concepts.

By employing a rigorous historio-rhetorical exegesis of each unit in Chapters 3-6 and 14, Mary Katherine Birge, SSJ explores how Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, used the same kinship images and language in different pastoral situations to address the situation of disharmony and division among the Corinthians (1:10). Birge investigates the possible sources for Paul's ‘ideas’ about kinship images and lan­guage by examining likely influences on him from his social and historical matrix: Jewish literature and the practice of Hellenistic rhetoric. After concluding that Paul drew on these two cultural and religious resources to craft his argument for unity, she asserts that what was ‘new’ for him was finding the ‘genetic material’ of kinship ‘in Christ’ rather than in fidelity to God and the Torah. She also claims that what was new for Early Christianity was the notion that the state of being ‘in Christ’ dissolved all boundaries of status and privilege that Greco-Roman society had established among people who were not ‘kin.’

In Chapter One of The Language of Belonging Paul's use of household and familial kinship language and imagery are explored across 1 Corinthians 3–6 to ascertain if his use of this language and imagery reflected something deeper in his rhetoric than a change of image or word for the sake of maintaining his audience's attention. At the close Birge determines that Paul employed images and language of household and familial kinship throughout these four chapters in a coherent and consistent fashion. He used these kinship terms and figures across different situations. Such usage appeared to be part of his strategy to correct the Corinthian Christian community's movement into division.

After having determined that Paul’s use of these images and language was more than happenstance, questions are raised about the source of this language and imagery. To answer those questions in Chapter Two a broad sampling of Jewish literature written between 200 B.C.E. and 68 C.E. is examined for any occurrence of kinship or household language and how that occurrence might compare or contrast with Paul's own usage of the same in 1 Corinthians 3-6. Possible ties are then explored between Paul's rhetoric, specifically his use of familial and household kinship language, and the rhetoric practiced by rhetoricians and moral­ists contemporary with him. It was found that both of Paul's cultural contexts, Jewish and Greco-Roman, offered him substantial traditions of familial and household kinship material on which to draw as he shaped the content and form of his letter to the Corinthians.

In Chapter Three Birge determines that Paul continued the same lan­guage and imagery in Chapter 14 that he had employed in Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 as he argued for unity and against thoughts, words, or actions that would divide. This research demonstrates that the language and imagery of kinship provides a new interpretive lens through which to read 1 Corinthians.

Birge in The Language of Belonging confides how in a seminar class on first Corinthians, led by Professor Raymond F. Collins, she decided to test the feasibility of Paul's use of the rhetoric of kinship as a possible direction for her dissertation. The paper she wrote for that seminar, "Curdled Milk? The Role of the Language of Belonging and Discord in 1 Cor 3:1-4," forms an initial section of Chapter One of her dissertation and the first part of Chapter 1 of this book.

She became more and more convinced that Paul was doing ‘something’ more with his use of ‘brothers and sisters’ in his argument against divisions in a Christian community than simply conforming to ‘epistolary’ or ‘club’ conventions. What that ‘something’ was, she did not know. As Birge explored the intersection of Paul's writing in first Corinthians with the conventions of classical rhetoric, she saw that Paul was employing a constellation of words and images that extended beyond άδελφός language and could be more accurately identified under the aegis of the language and imagery of household kinship. In addition to examining Paul's use of household kinship language within the context of his Greco-Roman milieu, she wanted to see how the influence of Judaism, a defining characteristic of Paul's identity, may also have affected his choice of household kinship language and imagery in his arguments against divisions in a Christian community.

This task, the exploration of Paul's use of kinship and household lan­guage and imagery as a significant tool in his argument against dissent decision within the Corinthian community, and the conclusions reached from that exploration form the basis of The Language of Belonging and a radical interpretation of first Corinthians. The book is 31 in the series Biblical Exegesis & Theology.  Birge offers a new style of hermeneutical and rhetorical analysis that provides a close reading of kinship relations to the meaning of the new church and its good news, this approach offers fresh insight into the consistency of Paul’s discourse and a kernel of understanding toward a feminist reading of first Corinthians.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

The Good Life by Charles Colson, with Harold Fickett (Tyndale House Publishers)

Charles Colson, with the help of Harold Fickett, full-time writer, addresses seekers – people looking for the truth. The Good Life starts out by asking:

  • What is a good life?

  • Have I lived one?

  • Have you?

Reflecting on his own story and the stories of others, Colson, author, speaker, radio commentator, and former presidential aide to Richard Nixon, examines the beliefs and assumptions that form the fabric of our lives. The Good Life searches for answers to many more questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How can I find significance in life? How can I make my life count? These are the core questions and the central passions of this book. According to Colson, readers’ answers to these questions will determine how their life story is written, because the worldview one lives by has everything to do with what he or she will become, and understanding this will utterly change one’s life.

Colson shows through stories that the truth is knowable and that the truly good life is one that lives within the truth. Through The Good Life, readers get to understand their own stories and find answers to their own search for meaning, purpose, and truth.

The book's long first part contrasts careers of self-motivation and hedonism with others of service and suffering to demonstrate that the former end in disillusion and emptiness, the latter in fulfillment and satisfaction; the second part discusses the rewards of giving. In the third part, Colson argues against relativism and for absolute truth. The last part considers providence, death and infinite love.

In the face of today's skepticism, nihilism, and quiet or noisy despair, Colson makes his point with the compelling and inspiriting force that we have come to expect from him. This is a great read. – J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God

A four-star recipe for human flourishing. Chuck Colson knows how to help people thrive, and his knowledge arises from great depths of intelligence, determination, and pain. – Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., author of Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be

Drawing on his own experience and that of others, Chuck Colson makes a compelling case for the good life in a way that will seize the attention of believers, nonbelievers, and readers who don't know what to believe. – Richard John Neuhaus, author of Death on a Friday

… While he attempts to conduct his search "without relying on any prior assumptions or sectarian convictions," his Christian faith is ever present, and some who start from an opposing position may find his arguments weak. However, Colson's deep humility is striking, and many will welcome this well-researched book, built on his lifetime of learning and extraordinary experience. – Publishers Weekly
With the aid of the excellent parable-writer/exegete Harold Fickett (see Conversations with Jesus), Colson reconfirms that he is a premier popular practitioner of Christian persuasion, especially for the un- and spottily churched. Instead of reflexively citing and quoting the Bible, he alludes to it, sparingly and pointedly, and his exempla come from broadly familiar sources, such as the movie Saving Private Ryan, and the lives of figures ranging from … death-row convicts to business tycoons. He considers good living and its grounds, which is to say, living for others while seeking and acting upon the truth. … Colson's temperateness and reasonableness in all that comes before the call to faith increases its appeal, especially to those repelled by ranting and tears. – Ray Olson, Booklist

Sharing from his own life, as well as the stories of others, Colson seeks to expose the counterfeits of the good life and lead readers to the true source of meaning and purpose, Jesus Christ. He does that by allowing powerful stories to illustrate how people have lived out their beliefs in ways that either satisfy or leave them empty. While the first three sections employ logic, the final one in The Good Life makes an abrupt switch to proselytizing, a change which may put off some readers.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon edited by J. Robert Wright, with general editor Thomas C. Oden (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series: Intervarsity Press), as indeed this entire series, seeks to give easy access to this older material, as it seeks to span the gap of hundreds of years of interpretation that have elapsed between manuscript and modern application.

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a unique twenty-eight-volume series encompassing all of Scripture and offering contemporary readers the opportunity to study for themselves the key writings of the early church fathers. Arranged by the books of the Bible, each portion of commentary allows the living voices of the church in its formative centuries to speak as they engage the Scripture, rendered throughout the series in English in the ecumenically accepted Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible.

Among the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, the subject of Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX, were all thought by the early church fathers to have derived from the hand of Solomon. To their minds the finest wisdom about the deeper issues of life prior to the time of God's taking human form in Jesus Christ was to be found in these books. As in all the Old Testament, they were quick to find types and intimations of Christ and his church that would make the ancient Word relevant to the Christians of their day.

Of extant commentaries on Ecclesiastes none are as profound as the eight homilies of Gregory of Nyssa, even though they cover only the first three chapters of the book. Joining Gregory among those most frequently excerpted in this volume are Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, Origen, John Cassian, John Chrysostom, Athanasius, Bede the Venerable and Jerome. Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great and Cyril of Jerusalem lead a cast of other less frequently cited fathers, and then there remains a large cast of supporting players, some of whose work is translated here into English for the first time.

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX is edited by J. Robert Wright, St. Mark's Professor of Ecclesiastical History at General Theological Seminary in New York, frequently featured and quoted in the New York Times and elsewhere as an authority on Anglican/Episcopal history and doctrines as well as on ecumenical matters. The volume covers the period from Clement of Rome (second century) to John of Damascus (mid-eighth century). It includes the RSV text and renders ancient Greek, Latin, Coptic and Syrian writings in lucid English translation. The book includes some 671 selections from 64 ancient authors who wrote on the book of Proverbs, some 346 selections from 46 ancient authors who wrote on the book of Ecclesiastes, and some 368 selections from 34 ancient authors who wrote on the Song of Solomon.

Contents include:

  • General Introduction
  • A Guide to Using This Commentary
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction to Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon
  • Commentary on Proverbs
  • Commentary on Ecclesiastes
  • Commentary on Song of Solomon
  • Appendix: Early Christian Writers and the Documents Cited
  • Timeline of Writers of the Patristic Period
  • Biographical Sketches
  • Bibliography of Works in Original Languages
  • Bibliography of Works in English Translation
  • Author/Writings Index
  • Subject Index
  • Scripture Index

The entire The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series does what very few of today's students of the Bible could do for themselves. With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the church fathers – including much that is available only in the ancient languages – have been combed for their comment on Scripture. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating and introducing it to today's readers. Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is an ecumenical project, promoting a vital link of communication between today's varied Christian traditions and their common ancient ancestors in the faith. On this shared ground readers listen as leading pastoral theologians of the church's first several centuries gather around the text of Scripture and offer their best theological, spiritual and pastoral insights.

Several features have been incorporated into the design of this commentary. The scriptural text has been divided into pericopes, or passages, usually several verses in length. Each of these pericopes is given a heading, and this heading is followed by the Scripture passage quoted in the RSV across the full width of the page. The Scripture passage is provided for the convenience of readers, but it is also in keeping with medieval patristic commentaries, in which the citations of the Fathers were arranged around the text of Scripture. Following each pericope is an overview of the patristic comments on that pericope. The function of the overview is to provide a brief summary of all the comments to follow. It tracks a reasonably cohesive thread of argument among patristic comments, even though they are derived from diverse sources and generations.

Next are the topical headings, which provide a bridge by which modern read­ers can enter into the heart of the comment. Following the topical heading of each section of comment, the name of the patristic commentator is given. An English translation of the comment is then provided. This is immediately followed by the title of the work and the textual reference – either by book, section and subsection or by book-and-verse references.

We are pleased to witness publication of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. It is most beneficial for us to learn how the ancient Christians, especially the saints of the church who proved through their lives their devotion to God and his Word, interpreted Scripture. Let us heed the witness of those who have gone before us in the faith. – Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate, Orthodox Church in America

Across Christendom there has emerged a widespread interest in early Christianity, both at the popular and scholarly level... Christians of all traditions stand to benefit from this project, especially clergy and those who study the Bible. Moreover, it will allow us to see how our traditions are both rooted in the scriptural interpretations of the church fathers while at the same time seeing how we have developed new perspectives. – Alberto Ferreiro, Professor of History, Seattle Pacific University

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture fills a long overdue need for scholars and students of the church fathers.... Such information will be of immeasurable worth to those of us who have felt inundated by contemporary interpreters and novel theories of the biblical text. We welcome some ‘new’ insight from the ancient authors in the early centuries of the church. – H. Wayne House, Professor of Theology and Law, Trinity University School of Law

Chronological snobbery – the assumption that our ancestors working without benefit of computers have nothing to teach us – is exposed as nonsense by this magnificent new series. Surfeited with knowledge but starved of wisdom, many of us are more than ready to sit at table with our ancestors and listen to their holy conversations on Scripture. I know I am. – Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX offers a rich trove of wisdom on Wisdom for the enrichment of the church today. The book makes accessible early Christian commentary on the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament. It illuminates Scripture in the light of classic and consensual Christian faith and informs post-critical Christian reading and exposition of Scripture. The audience for Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX includes students reading for advanced degrees, Catholic readers, Episcopal and mainline Protestant readers, and librarians and researchers.

In addition, the series The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a post-critical revival of the early commentary tradi­tion known as the glossa ordinaria, a text elaborated with ancient and authoritative reflections and insights. It is an uncommon companion for theological interpretation, spiritual reading, and teaching and preaching.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age

Taking Up the Runes: Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic by Diana L. Paxson (Weiser Books)

Runes are similar to Hebrew letters in the sense that each symbol contains a meaning that transcends its original function as a letter, the runes are practical, flexible, and effective symbols with a variety of uses. Runes are the ancient Norse alphabet used for communication, divination, and magical works. Today, the best known application of rune lore is divination: chips or stones marked with runes are drawn, cast, or laid out in patterns like tarot cards. Taking Up the Runes, delves into the ancient historical meaning of each rune and explains each rune’s contemporary uses and meanings.

Written by prolific author and workshop teacher, Diana Paxson, coauthor with Marion Zimmer Bradley of Priestess of Avalon, Taking Up the Runes is a workbook for using runes on the psychic, spiritual, and magical levels. Readers learn how to make their own rune set and how to use the runes in guided meditations and song. Readers also discover dozens of rituals and spells for all levels – from total beginner to experienced practitioner.

Diana Paxson's Taking Up the Runes stands out amongst many other rune books by the skill with which Paxson blends solid scholarship of Norse tore with experiential spirituality, making this book both historical and contemporary. – Dana Kramer-Rolls, author of The Way of the Cat and Home is the Hunter

Diana Paxson is a riveting teacher – her passionate love for the ancient European runes shines through on every page. So I lift my sumbi and drink my memory ale for the return of the runes via Paxson's deep knowledge of them. – Zsuzanna Budapest, co-author of Celestial Wisdom

An important new synthesis of modern occult runelore. The fact that this material was generated out of Diana Paxson's workshops over several years speaks to its great value as a teaching tool in the current runic rebirth. – Edred Thorsson, author of Futhark and Runelore

Finally a rune book not only for the novice but also for the advanced runester. – Stefn Thorsman, author of The Secret King

Taking Up the Runes is the ultimate workbook for using the runes on all levels. Paxson's years of experience in working with the runes and leading rune workshops show through the book with anecdotes, mythology, poetry, and history of runes firmly entwined with practical exercises, examples, and lessons.

Religion & Spirituality / Self-help

The Translucent Revolution: How Everyday People Are Waking Up and Changing the World by Arjuna Ardagh (New World Library)

For more than a decade, Arjuna Ardagh has studied a worldwide advance in human consciousness marked by ‘translucents’ – ordinary people who have "a glowing appearance, as though light were coming through" because they are no longer limited to their own separate agendas (‘opaques’). The Translucent Revolution draws on the author's dialogues and workshops with thousands of individuals around the world who have experienced and benefited from this phenomenon. The book explains the change in awareness, new sense of well-being, increasing joy in life, diminishing of fear – including fear of death – and striving for selflessness that mark this state. Ardagh blends observation, anecdote, and research, including commentaries from leading pioneers in the field of human consciousness – Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Jean Houston, Neale Donald Walsch, and Ram Dass, among others – to create a blueprint for life change.

According to Ardagh, founder of the Living Essence Foundation, the diversity of people emanating translucence today reveals the many varied ways of bringing about one’s own awakening. The Translucent Revolution offers concrete strategies for cultivating translucence. Exercises throughout the book help readers transform the way they see the world and every aspect of their lives – their feelings, thoughts, actions, relationships, sexuality, and work.

I have a very good feeling about this book...l think it's going to have a timely impact on the national conversation, picking up where Paul Ray's description of The Cultural Creatives leaves off. – Eric Utne, founder, Utne Magazine, editor, Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac

Translucent Arjuna has penned a luminous contribution to the individual and collective awakening of us all. I heartily recommend this book to anyone seeking inner knowledge, self-realization, and enlightenment. – Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within, founder of the Dzogchen Center

This is must reading for all of us working toward a more positive future. – Barbara Marx Hubbard, author of Conscious Evolution, president of The Foundation for Conscious Evolution

The Translucent Revolution delivers a cumulative punch. It is a rare combination of reason, passion, and spiritual insight. – James O'Dea, president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences

The Translucent Revolution celebrates the shift in consciousness that millions of individuals say they are experiencing worldwide, and paints a positive picture of things to come for those who have not. It includes insights from interviews with leading pioneers in the field of human consciousness that help bring the topic of spiritual awakening down-to-earth. The book is a thoroughly enjoyable, often humorous blend of these interviews and observations, stories, and research.

Science / Astronomy

Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe by George Johnson (Great Discoveries Series: W.W. Norton/Atlas Books) tells the story of a forgotten heroine of science and how she solved one of the crucial mysteries of the universe.

In the 1920s, in a cramped room at the Harvard Observatory, a brilliant woman, now almost forgotten, found the key to the vastness of the universe. Her name was Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and in the days when women were barred from scientific careers she was what was known as a ‘computer’ – a human number cruncher, hired to calculate the positions and luminosities of stars in astronomical photographs. Fighting ill health and progressive hearing loss, straining over nearly indistinguishable specks on photographic plates, she discovered a new law, one that would transform the field of cosmology.

According to Miss Leavitt's Stars, because of Leavitt's discovery, astronomers could use a kind of star known as a ‘variable’ one whose brightness waxes and wanes in a regular cycle – as a cosmic yardstick. Her law was immediately enlisted to settle a question that was then dividing astronomers: how big is the universe? One side argued that the Milky Way galaxy was the extent of the universe. Using Leavitt's law, however, the legendary astronomer Edwin Hubble was able to prove that there were stars indeed, whole galaxies beyond the Milky Way, and that the universe, as we know now, is almost unfathomably large.

Award-winning New York Times science reporter George Johnson describes Leavitt, hunched over glass plates at the Harvard Observatory, examining tiny dots representing the night sky, discovering the pattern in the Magellanic Clouds, but the details on her life were sparse. She was a graduate of Radcliffe College whose job was to read the photographic plates, count stars and look for anomalies, and she was paid thirty cents an hour for the job. Having left neither diary nor significant correspondence, all that remains of this remarkable woman are a handful of photos and a few extant letters, mostly about her delicate health and the health issues of relatives, which allowed for significant interruptions in her work at the Observatory. Leavitt never married.

While known among astronomers, she was invisible to the wider public. And even amongst scientists, her work, while used and appropriated, was never recognized as the work of a peer. A Swedish mathematician, awed by Leavitt's work, sought to nominate her for the 1926 Nobel Prize, but his letter arrived too late: she had died of stomach cancer in 1921. The letter was intercepted by the ambitious astronomer Harlow Shapely, by then the Director of the Observatory, and he replied to the letter, saying with superciliousness that it had been his "privilege to interpret the observation by Miss Leavitt, place it on a basis of absolute brightness, and, extending it to the variables of the globular clusters, use it in my measures of the Milky Way.”

Johnson brings to life the pioneering astronomers whose work was equal parts observation and speculation. Miss Leavitt's Stars is a narrative that recreates the intimacy of the work that kept Leavitt's eyes engaged. The world he describes is pulled between two poles: the everyday world of ambition and sexism, ill health and poor finances, juxtaposed with the beautiful provinces of the stars.

An elegant and absorbing account of a signal event in humanity's dis­covery of the deeper cosmos. – Timothy Ferris, author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way

George Johnson has done us all a favor by shining a clear light on the crucial role Henrietta Leavitt played in sizing up our universe. Her till-now obscured brilliance is emblematic of the twentieth-century struggle by talented women to be admitted into an astronomical firmament populated by bright male egos. – David Grinspoon, author of Lonely Planets

It's about time! Finally, the life and work of Henrietta Swan Leavitt is given more then the usual paragraph or two provided in a few encyclopedias and textbooks...Johnson's elegantly written tribute to a pioneering astronomer is highly recommended. – Library Journal, starred review

A small, bright spot in the firmament comes to life thanks to George Johnson's deft touch. This is a biography not just of an engaging and enigmatic young scientist, Henrietta Leavitt, but of the science of astronomy itself. – Robin Marantz Henig, author of The Monk in the Garden and Pandora's Baby

Johnson's Miss Leavitt's Stars restores Leavitt to her rightful place in the history of science. Johnson's highly readable and compelling retelling of a crucial moment in cosmology is both a masterly account of how we measure the universe and the moving story of a neglected genius. Johnson explains the science of indirectly measuring vast distances, while illuminating a vanished world of scientific endeavor, when astronomers worked unaided by satellites, computers or any of the other tools they take for granted today. With the grace and skill that have made him one of today's most distinguished writers on science, Johnson poignantly contrasts the magnitude of Leavitt's discovery to the quiet near-obscurity of her short life.

Science / Organic Chemistry / Education

The Nuts and Bolts of Organic Chemistry: A Student's Guide to Success by Joel Karty (Benjamin Cummings)

The organic chemistry course is typically recognized as the most difficult hurdle between a student and medical school. The Nuts and Bolts of Organic Chemistry strives to help readers change their learning habits so they can master the organic chemistry course. This text is designed for readers to use early in the course before they dive too far into a traditional textbook. It prepares readers to use the fundamental chemical concepts and develop the right mindset for learning organic chemistry. By helping them focus on the big picture, Joel Karty, Elon University , helps them successfully navigate the course.

The text helps convince readers that brute memorization is not the right way to approach the course; instead, they should master fundamental concepts and important reaction mechanisms. Following the same philosophy as those who write the MCAT exams, Karty focuses on improving readers’ thinking ability and powers of logical deduction.

Features include:

  • Chapters organized by fundamental concept instead of functional group to give readers a coherent story of reactivity and reactions in organic chemistry.
  • Mechanisms introduced later in the text so readers can apply their knowledge of fundamental concepts to reaction mechanisms.
  • Applications presented at the end of each chapter to exhibit the utility of fundamental concepts and show how they are related to each other.

Chapters include:

  • Why do most students struggle in Organic Chemistry?
  • Lewis dot structures and the chemical bond
  • Molecular geometry and dipole moments
  • Isomerism
  • Charge Stability: Charge is bad!
  • Reaction Mechanisms: electron rich to electron poor
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Sn1/Sn2/E1/E2 Reactions: The whole story.

This brief book shows readers that understanding fundamental concepts is absolutely essential for success, and helps them develop a good feel for how to apply those concepts to many different situations. The Nuts and Bolts of Organic Chemistry helps students change their learning. The book is for all readers interested in understanding the fundamentals of organic chemistry.

Science Fiction & Fantasy / Historical

The Crown Rose by Fiona Avery (PYR)

The year is 1240. It is the reign of King Louis IX. Knighthood is still honored, though the traditions are beginning to fade. This will be the last generation of knights, as we understand them. It is a time of intense chivalry and faith; religious orders such as the Templars, the Franciscans, Dominicans, and the Knights of Malta are springing up everywhere. And it is a time of conflict between nations struggling and warring to form their own identities and their own destinies.

The Crown Rose tells the story of Isabelle of France, born heir to the throne: her life from childhood to her later years; a life of turmoil and strife and longing.... Isabelle has a vocation, but the road to fulfilling it is sown with many obstacles. Fiona Avery, award-winning television and comic book writer, in her first novel portrays the mystery of one man who enters Isabelle's life at several key moments, becoming her icon, her soul's other half, and her destiny...a man, who may, in fact, be much more than an ordinary man. His bloodline goes back to the Holy Land , and he is far, far older than he appears.

Strong religious beliefs (orthodox and alternative) propel the action of Avery's first novel, a dazzling blend of French history and the fantastic. … overall this is a superior historical fantasy. – Publishers Weekly
This noteworthy historical fantasy is the first novel by an author who has sharpened her skills on short fiction and comics scripting…As the revelations about Jean multiply, sage readers probably won't be surprised to learn that they have been deeply drawn into yet another fantasy based on the legend of the Holy Grail. Indeed, they will likely feel it is such a good one that they just must continue reading it to the end – and look forward to coming back for a possible sequel. – Roland Green, Booklist

Superb battle sequences and a truly mystical story blend in an exciting recreation... unusual heroine...an exciting and challenging read. – Peter Woodward, writer / host, Alexander the Great, The History Channel
Wonderfully written, imagined and researched, it is a well-guided tour of what might-have-been – or perhaps what was. – Greg Keyes , New York Times bestselling author of The Briar King and The Charnel Prince
Passionate and richly imagined... a past of rich immediacy, fertile with intrigue and romance...Kudos for this stirring read! – Terry McGarry, author of Illumination, The Binder’s Road, and Triad.

The Crown Rose weaves its tale around the actual events of the time, blending historical realism with a hint of the fantastic, drawing upon extensive research to make the story as accurate as possible. It is a tale of chivalry, knighthood, romance, and war; of lost secrets and hidden mysteries; of honor, duty and sacrifice; and the power of a few dedicated people to change the face of the world itself.

Self-help / Popular Culture / Biographies & Memoirs

On My Swedish Island: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Well-being by Julie Catterson Lindahl (Tarcher)

Part memoir and part self-help book, On My Swedish Island combines the story of the author's transformation from urban jetsetter to wife and mother living on a small Swedish island with practical suggestions for living a simpler, more fulfilling existence. The book explores the integral relationship between nature and personal development and how this manifests itself in the Scandinavian lifestyle.

On My Swedish Island presents a vision of good living accessible to anyone anywhere, through the personal experiences of author Julie Catterson Lindahl, a writer on well-being in Scandinavia and the owner of Wellness of Scandinavia AB, who abandons her city life to move to a small island outside of Stockholm with her Swedish husband and young twins. Worn thin by the rigors of juggling her young children with demanding work schedules, Lindahl trades in the amenities of their city loft to take up full-time residence at the family's summer home – accessible to the mainland only by footbridge, boat, or sled (weather-permitting). Although there are inconveniences – having to haul drinking water from the mainland, use flashlights to navigate their way home on winter afternoons, and rely on weatherworn electricity lines and century-old cast iron stoves – it is these very challenges that help her learn a culture's philosophy on living well.

On My Swedish Island discusses issues of increasing importance in times when people feel ever more acutely the stresses of modern life and the desire to experience well-being:

  • Outdoor Life & Overcoming the Fitness Dilemma
  • Sensitization & the Right to Relax
  • The Importance of Being Green
  • Essential Design & the Creation of Home
  • A Nordic Taste of Well-being
  • Activating our Natural Rhythm
  • Achieving Meaning Beyond and for Ourselves

Complete with recipes and an extensive list of resources, On My Swedish Island shows readers how to implement Nordic traditions in modern-day living.

On My Swedish Island is really about much more than the title suggests. It is a wonderful companion for living simply, elegantly, and fully in a world that values speed and consumption more than breathing, tasting, and delighting in the beauty that surrounds us, if we'd only take the time to look. – Sarah Susanka, architect and author of the Not So Big House series

Julie Catterson Lindahl's gentle suggestions for wellness start with self, extend to family, immediate environment and the world. Such an expanded definition of good health leads to personal and cultural renewal, and is at the heart of the emerging multidisciplinary approach to health care. – Barbara Goldschmidt, LMT, Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences

On My Swedish Island is a rich collection of ideas about how we can improve our quality of life. The book is a guide to discovering the rich personal benefits to be found in the Scandinavian lifestyle – from its focus on outdoor life, gardening, and herbalism to its exquisite home design principles and simple, nutritious cuisine.

Social Sciences / Anthropology

Voices from the Camps: Vietnamese Children Seeking Asylum by James M. Freeman & Nguyen Dinh Huu (University of Washington Press)

Wave after wave of political and economic refugees poured out of Vietnam beginning in the late 1970s, overwhelming the resources available to receive them. Voices from the Camps tells the story of the most vulnerable of these refugees: children alone, either orphaned or separated from their families.

Combining anthropology and social work with advocacy for unaccompanied children everywhere, James M. Freeman, professor emeritus of anthropology at San Jose State University , and Nguyen Dinh Huu, retired social worker in family and children's services, Santa Clara County , California , present the voices and experiences of Vietnamese refugee children neglected and abused by the system intended to help them. The hardships these children endured are disturbing, but more disturbing is the story of how the governments and agencies that set out to care for them eventually became the children's tormenters. When Vietnam , after years of refusing to readmit illegal emigrants, reversed its policy, the international community began doing everything it could to force them back to Vietnam . Cutting rations, closing schools, separating children from older relations and other caregivers, relocating them in order to destroy any sense of stability – the authorities employed coercion and effective abuse with distressing ease, all in the name of the ‘best interests’ of the children.

While some children eventually managed to construct a decent life in Vietnam or elsewhere, including the United States , all have been scarred by their refugee experience and most are still struggling with the legacy.

A very powerful and compelling book about the diverse experiences of unaccompanied refugee children as they escape from Southeast Asia , endure refugee camps, and confront resettlement or repatriation. – Steven J. Gold, author of Refugee Communities: A Comparative Field Study

When it comes to displaced people, our collective memory is often short as our policies are often short-sighted. Voices from the Camps will help us all remember that the effects of war on children echo across the years. – James Garbarino, author of No Place to Be a Child: Growing Up in a War Zone

[Voices from the Camps] is a must for refugee advocates, policy makers, and service providers. – Le Xuan Khoa, president emeritus, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Freeman and Nguyen's presentation and analysis of this sobering chapter in recent history as reported in Voices from the Camps is a cautionary tale and a call to action.

Social Sciences / Anthropology

Canyon Spirits: Beauty and Power in the Ancestral Puebloan World essays by Stephen H. Lekson, J. McKim Malville, photography by John L. Ninnemann  (University of New Mexico Press)

Thanks to a Congressional bill passed ninety-nine years ago, Americans now enjoy the preserved prehistoric sites that dot the southwest United States . Though the inhabitants of these architecturally-advanced Puebloan communities are long gone, the history and striking images of their past remain. The spirits of the canyons they inhabited centuries ago are left to tell visitors threads of their stories.

The beauty of the canyons and mesas of the Colorado Plateau and the lives of the resourceful people that once occupied these now nearly empty places are the subject of the eighty-five black-and-white photographs and accompanying essays in Canyon Spirits.

Photographer John L. Ninnemann, dean of natural and behavioral sciences, Fort Lewis College , Durango , Colorado , illustrates the stark contrasts of the built and natural environments of the ancestral Puebloan peoples. Giving readers a window into the beauty and power of their structures and the difficulties of their ubiquitous agrarian lifestyle, the contributors to Canyon Spirits carefully knit visual and intellectual insights into the profound existence and mysterious disappearance of these early inhabitants of the Southwest. The major ancestral Puebloan sites of Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado, Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruins in northeast New Mexico, and Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch in southeast Utah are included, as well as Canyon de Chelly and Wupatki in northeast Arizona, Betatakin in the Navajo National Monument, and Paquime at Casas Grandes, Mexico.

Ninnemann's photographs of Chaco , Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and the San Juan River provide the visual context for the descriptions of the early Puebloan cultures of the Southwest and consideration of the power of celestial events in the lives of these people. Text by expert Southwestern archaeologist Lekson, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and astrophysicist Malville, professor emeritus of astrophysics and planet sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, provide accessible explanations of Puebloan architecture, subsistence, astronomy, rock art and ceramics, as well as the local environmental conditions and regional geology. A foreword by Mesa Verde's legendary archaeologist Florence Lister adds the final stroke of credibility to this engaging study.

Taken together the photographs and essays in Canyon Spirits provide a non-traditional, provocative, and visually exciting approach to Southwest archaeology.

Social Sciences / Discrimination & Racism

A Concise History of American Antisemitism by Robert Michael (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.)

As a historian of the Holocaust, Robert Michael, professor emeritus of European history at the University of Massachusetts , Dartmouth , has long thought that the greatest weakness of Holocaust scholarship is its failure to deal adequately with its Christian antecedents. Most students of the Holocaust are trained in modern history and specialize in the twentieth century. They often invoke racism as the decisive factor, the pseudo racial science of the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, and discount anti-Semitism or equate it with racism. It is a truism that the churches did not initiate or implement the Holocaust, although it could not have occurred without the heritage of an anti-Semitic ideology that originated in the New Testament and the church fathers. All versions of anti-Semitism are transposed renderings of the original religious form, secularized, modernized, and so on. But in their explanatory schema, most scholars ignore the Christian foundations on which the modern anti-Semitic edifice rests and invoke political anti-Semitism, cultural anti-Semitism, racism or racial anti-Semitism, economic anti-Semitism, and the like.

A Concise History of American Anti-Semitism is the history of anti-Semitism in the United States . In the United States , the scourge of anti-Semitism has long been regarded as ‘exceptional,’ the assumption being that it was weaker here than anywhere else; and that it had little or no legal, institutional, or ideological basis. In more recent decades, the traditional judgment and perception has been subject to considerable qualification and revision. The trajectory is caught in some book titles: the Jew is ‘at home in America ,’ a ‘stranger at home’ in America , and ‘uneasy at home’ in America . One also becomes dubious because the claim that Jews have been better off in the United States than elsewhere resembles claims made by or about Jews in Britain; Holland; the Scandinavian countries; Italy; and, at some stages of their history, in Bulgaria and Hungary.

Michael demonstrates consistently period by period in A Concise History of American Anti-Semitism, that anti-Semitism in the United States springs from its Christian sources. No matter how secular, modern, or even anti-Christian, the vocabulary, turns of phrase, and idioms betray the Christian roots of anti-Semitism, as they betray the Christian anti-Semitic ideology. It is as though there were a perpetual cycle of plagiarisms of Christian anti-Semitic motifs: deicide (Christ-killer); ritual murder; host desecration; poisoning in myriad modes; the Antichrist; the Wandering Jew; a criminal people in league with Satan and armed with his superhuman powers; believers in a Talmud that requires as a religious duty the infliction of harm on Christians; greedy capitalists and exploiters; Marxist materialists and atheistic communists; conspirators bent on domination, control, and destruction – in all their infinite variety.

Western civilization, Michael reminds readers, is fundamentally a Christian civilization. Anti-Semitism as launched in the New Testament and constantly updated and applied – the eternal chameleon – is intrinsic to that civilization. Anti-Semitism is always there, latent, waiting to be called forth.

In the foreword to A Concise History of American Antisemitism Frederick M. Schweitzer, Professor Emeritus of History, Manhattan College , reminds readers that it is true that the medieval church, while persecuting them with one hand, protected the Jews with the other. Christian theology, following St. Augustine 's witness theory, required the Jews to survive to the end of time to be gathered into the one true fold, to testify by their degradation, suffering, and Diaspora to the superiority of Christianity, as the Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – testified to its truth and venerability. One has to look down the centuries for the equivalent of the witness theology (which had pretty much evaporated by the eighteenth century) that had its effect of nullifying or checking the always-present danger under Christian auspices of physical attack on Jews and the potential for genocide. In the foreword, Schweitzer reviews the strength of anti-Semitism in the Christian lands of Germany , Austria , France , Italy , and Poland , the antecedents of the American experience, as a prelude and for comparison points to that in America . In contrast, anti-Semitism in Japan is also discussed.

German history shows that by the 1890s large sections of the ruling elites and lower middle classes had adopted revolutionary anti-Semitism; this was the powerful political combination that was to bring Hitler to power and support his rabidly anti-Semitic dictatorship. Also to be reckoned with as facilitators were the impact of World War I, defeat, revolution, the Versailles Treaty and war, reparations, runaway inflation along with the rise of virulently anti-Semitic paramilitary organizations of war veterans, and civil war or near civil war from 1919 to 1923; the 1929 depression was the keystone in this arch of calamities. The leaders of the traditional elites made Hitler chancellor and then dictator; a great many members of the elites readily supported the persecution of the Jews and actively engaged in their annihilation – that is, members of the Conservative Party, the civil service, the armed forces, the judiciary, the diplomatic corps, the professoriate, and the industrialists. Too many facilitators, too few inhibitors. Without Hitler, no Holocaust; without the anti-Semitism-infected elites, no Hitler; without powerful state control of the bureaucratic apparatus and technical means, no genocide.

Austrian history shows how a powerful fusion of Catholic anti-Semitism with bitter national-ethnic vendettas generated a potent national anti-Semitic movement, one that was stronger in the public allegiance that it commanded than Germany 's. The great majority of Austrian Germans and every significant political party except the Social Democrats were violently anti-Semitic and racist by 1914. Only one party, the Social Democrats, opposed anti-Semitism, but it was insufficient as a countervailing force to offset the anti-Semites, who accounted for as much as 70 percent of the population. In 1938, the great majority of Austrians welcomed Hitler and Anschluss (union with Germany ), and thousands of them attacked Jews and pillaged their shops, homes, and synagogues. A much higher percentage of Austrians than Germans joined the Nazi party and voluntarily served in the SS and other murder organizations that carried out the destruction of European Jewry. But while Austria was far more anti-Semitic than Germany , it lacked the state system commanding bureaucratic, police, and military power.

France was the home of the racialist ideology, and in 1900 racist anti-Semitism was stronger there than in Germany or elsewhere. But France was also the home of the Enlightenment and its opposition to religious and racial persecution, which paved the way for the emancipation of French Jews by the revolutionaries in 1790 and 1791. France thus was the pioneer of the emancipation of the Jews in Europe . French history shows how countervailing liberal forces can defeat political anti-Semitism even when there are millions of anti-Semites. Inhibitors nullified facilitators except in the extraordinary circumstance of catastrophic defeat in war.

Italian history shows the kind of historical conditions that checkmate anti-Semitism. Italy was the home of the Renaissance and its urban, commercial, and humanistic values. Napoleon I's conquests of Italy . Italy 's leaders and political parties were liberal and anticlerical, and they associated anti-Semitism with the enemies: Austria , Spain , and the Vatican . Ital­ian Jews were assimilated, important in politics and society as well as the economy; they were honored for their disproportionately large contribution to unification, in sharp contrast to Germany . To the end of World War II and at great risk to themselves, ordinary Italians, including nuns and priests, helped to shelter Jews.

Poland , situated in east-central Europe , exemplifies how anti-Semitism is greatly intensified by reactionary ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism (the two combined in the motto, "To be Polish is to be Catholic"), especially in conjunction with the lack of liberal movements, ideas, and parties. Almost all of the submerged nationalities in Poland loathed the Jews as internal enemies, as they hated their imperial oppressors as the external enemy. Poland reborn in 1919 amid pogroms was only about 60 percent Polish, 10 percent Jewish, and 30 percent other national minorities – all enemies in varying degrees. With the exception of the socialists, all the Polish political parties were fiercely anti-Semitic and called for ‘economic war on the Jews’ to force them out of the economy, and increasingly out of the country. During World War II, the Germans murdered three million Polish Jews and three million Polish Christians, a fifth of the prewar population. Yet Polish Christians, themselves victims, victimized Polish Jews. Nevertheless, several thousand Poles took tremendous risks to aid some Jews, and Zegota was the only non-Jewish organization in Hitler's Europe dedicated solely to saving Jews. Poland – paralleled by Romania and Ukraine – was the most anti-Semitic society in Europe and sought to resolve its ‘Jewish problem’ by a policy of ‘necessary cruelty’ and, before the war, in cooperation with Nazi Germany, to implement the Madagascar scheme.

All the other countries in Western civilization could be illuminated by this kind of comparative study. As seen in Michael's A Concise History of American Antisemitism, the United States illustrates one or another of the several patterns of what a country does with its Christian anti-Semitic heritage. The critical issue is what inhibitors or facilitators come into play to block, weaken, mitigate, offset, nullify, and undermine, on the one hand, or to modernize and update, adapt, secularize, enhance, and strengthen, on the other hand, the appeal and force of religious anti-Semitism, the starting point in every Christian society. As Schweitzer observes in the preface, Japan – obviously a non-Christian, non-Western country – affords an illuminating contrast. In the twentieth century, Japan imported every kind of European anti-Semitism, including the notorious Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, that made the Jews conspiratorial manipulators of the world economy and international finance and that implied Jews controlled the press, reduced every national government to its abject puppet, wire-pulled the League of Nations as its clandestine instrument, and so on, through many permutations. However, despite being in the grip of ‘modern anti-Semitism’ and all the delusions of being a superior race, Japan lacked the Christian foundations of anti-Semitism – especially the deicide accusation and the phenomenon of the demonization of the Jews. The Japanese government concluded that world Jewry was immensely powerful and influential, but that they were not dangerous, not to be feared, and that Japan should form an ‘alliance’ with them to harness their great power and wealth to Japan's advantage, and they decided to allow Jews fleeing Japan's ally Hitler to find refuge in Japanese territories, as perhaps as many as sixty thousand did.

Robert Michael's basic approach is to show that Christianity's negative views of Jews, called Judeophobia (as distinguished from racial anti-Semitism), pervaded American history from colonial times to the present. He divides American periods by time – colonial, revolutionary, and so forth – and examines anti-Semitism in each period in regard to ideas, personalities, and literature. His thesis that Christianity – not racism – is the basis of secular anti-Semitism has not often been explored, …His thesis is clear and forceful. His quotations are revealing and a find. For the undergraduate student and general reader most of what he presents is not well known. As an introductory overview, this work is a valuable resource. Readers, students, and instructors should profit from this work. – Philip Rosen, Temple University

This is an excellent and very important study of the long history of American anti-Semitism. Robert Michael convincingly shows that anti-Semitism was at the core of the American historical experience. This book could change historians' view of American history. – Eunice Pollack, University of North Texas

Dr. Michael is remarkable for his scholarly breadth and depth. He has the particular qualification to be a historian of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. He has a ready command of the medieval sources in their original languages, from the Church Fathers through the thousand years of the Middle Ages. – Frederick M. Schweitzer, Manhattan College

A very impressive book. The content is far-reaching. Its originality lies in its very range and in the excellent bibliography. The style is clear and crisp, easy to understand. It is also useful as a quick reference to specific topics. It will surely be controversial. – Joe Schraibman , Washington University in St. Louis

The great merit of A Concise History of American Antisemitism is not merely to state the thesis but to demonstrate in a prolonged analysis, the manifestation, generation by generation, of Christian anti-Semitism in the United States, pointing up the Christian anti-Semitic idiom behind which lies the Christian anti-Semitic ideology, and ahead of which lies anti-Semitic actions or potential actions threatening to inflict various degrees of harm on Jews, from verbal vilification to physical attack. Michael is remarkable for his scholarly breadth and depth. He has the particular qualification to be a historian of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. He has a ready command of the medieval sources in their original languages from the church fathers, crucial for this subject, through the thousand years of the Middle Ages. In addition, he has taught the Holocaust for many years and has written extensively on the nature and history of European anti-Semitism.

A Concise History of American Antisemitism reminds readers how deeply rooted is Christian anti-Semitism in the Western tradition and in the United States . He brings home to readers how necessary, is the effort to preserve democracy, religious tolerance, social pluralism, human solidarity, and the eternal vigilance to root out and guard against anti-Semitism. American immunity to such outrages can never be taken for granted.

Social Sciences / Native American Studies / Self-help

The Path of Handsome Lake: A Model of Recovery for Native People by Alf H. Walle (Information Age Publishing) provides a new model for recovery from alcoholism for native people based on the life work of an 18th century Iroquois leader.

Alf H. Walle, Erskin College , describes in The Path of Handsome Lake how in recent years, a transformation has been taking place in the ways that alcoholics are encouraged to restructure their lives.

There is a strong tradition of recovering alcoholics entering the field of alcohol counseling, so programs of recovery and therapy have historically tended to adopt the 12 Steps model. Although Alcoholics Anonymous' grip on treatment and self-help options is beginning to relax, a legacy of proposing universal methods has long dominated the field of alcohol therapy/recovery, but in recent years other strategies of therapy and self-help have arisen to deal with the needs of specific individuals and groups. Native strategies that build upon the Native cultural heritage of Native people are one aspect of this movement.

The Path of Handsome Lake is group of essays written to provide suggestions to Native people who seek to deal with alcoholism from the perspective of their unique heritages and with an understanding that the pressures to which Native traditions and societies have been subjected may trigger dysfunctional behavior, such as excessive drinking. In doing so, Walle links the work, life, and example of Handsome Lake , an Iroquois leader of the 18th and early 19th century to strategies of recovery that are geared towards contemporary Native people.

The Path of Handsome Lake is divided into three distinct sections. Chapters 1-3 provide some general discussions, including an overview of the ‘cultural configurations’ method to be used in the analysis, a brief overview of Native American history, and a discussion of Native alcoholism.

Chapters 4-6 focus largely upon social theories of addiction. Key to these discussions is the fact that Native cultures tend to face profound stress and even decay and/or extinction. These pressures can be terribly hurtful to people because peoples' cultures and ways of life tend to be the bedrock underlying their existence and psychological health. When cultures are under attack, dysfunctional behaviors such as alcoholism are often both a symptom of cultural stress and change and an artifact of the pain people feel, as a result. Mainstream people, in contrast, seldom face this kind of stress to the degree that it rou­tinely impacts Natives.

Chapters 7-11 deal in more detail with the strategies of recovery that were proposed by Handsome Lake . This section culminates with discussions of what Walle calls the "Path of Handsome Lake" (a six component operationalizing of Handsome Lake 's teaching) and another formulation that he calls "Landmarks of the Path" (a means of evaluating progress and guiding therapy and/or self help). This section concludes with discussions of how the method can be used in both therapy and in self-help groups.

The Path of Handsome Lake presents one way in which Native people may be able to embrace their cultural heritage as they seek to recover from alcoholism. Inspired by the example and teachings of Handsome Lake , the book updates his perspectives and explained them in terms of modern sociological and psychological theories.

Transportation / Transatlantic / History

Picture History of the Andrea Doria by William H. Miller, Jr. (Dover Publications)

One of the most famous ships of the twentieth century, the Andrea Doria was graceful, fast, and luxuriously outfitted. Embodying the Italian tradition of sophisticated style and luxury at sea, the ship was also a floating art gallery, displaying an extraordinary array of original art work.

On July 26, 1956 , three years after its inaugural voyage in 1953, the popular Italian liner was assured of an immortal place in maritime history after colliding with another passenger ship, the Stockholm , and sinking off the coast of New England .

Nearly 200 rare photographs in Picture History of the Andrea Doria depict spacious lounges and elegant staterooms, the ship in port, its glorious twin, the Cristoforo Colombo, as well as the Roma, Rex, Conte de Savoia, and many other fleet mates. Extensive captions provide data on the ships' tonnage, size, speed, and other vital statistics.

The author, maritime expert William Miller pays tribute to the magnificent ship in this authoritative, profusely illustrated archive. Picture History of the Andrea Doria is a book to delight maritime historians and ship lovers alike. This grand collection of photographs will appeal to anyone thrilled by the mystique of transatlantic travel.

Transportation / Railroads / Professional & Technical / Architecture

Railway Stations: From the Gare de L’est to Penn Station by Alessia Ferrarini (Phaidon Press) discusses the architecture of train stations built over the last one hundred and fifty years.

Written by Alessia Ferrarini, assistant lecturer in Aesthetics at the Venice University Institute of Architecture, Railway Stations sets out to chart a history of the ‘paradigm shifts’ in railway architecture, selecting and analyzing examples that played a key role in defining what would then become important models of reference for such buildings.

Similar in format to the Electaarchitecture title, Twenty Houses by Twenty Architects, Railway Stations presents a series of case studies of different interpretations of one building type. Ferrarini’s introduction provides an overview of the history of railway architecture, citing its most significant developments. Individual project documentation begins with the Gare de L’Est in Paris , the first major railway station of the nineteenth century. Grand Central Terminal in New York City, 1903-13, is documented through archival material, including engineering drawings and period photographs, as well as contemporary photographs revealing the major restoration project of the 1990s. Several contemporary stations that have reinvigorated the building type include the Santa Justa station in Seville by Antonio Cruz and Antonio Oritz, the station in Kyoto by Hiroshi Hara, the Lyon TGV Station by Santiago Calatrava, and the Arnhem Station by Dutch architects Ben von Berkel and Caroline Bos of UN Studio, one of the leading firms of today. Also included are: Aix-en-Provence , Arnhem , Berlin , Florence , Frankfurt-am-Main, Kyoto , Lyons , London , New York , Paris , Singapore , Seville , and Zurich train stations.

For many years, railway stations were the ‘monuments’ around which large modern cities developed, structures that reflected the nature and embodied the characteristic features of their urban location. Marcel Proust, in fact, saw train stations as containing the very ‘spirit’ of the city, just as they were identified with its name on a large platform signpost. These buildings reveal the city’s essence because, to a certain extent, they are the mirror of it; their size and structure reflecting many characteristics of urban existence and life. But, at the same time, train stations are also an expression of the architectural and artistic trends of the period in which they are built; indeed, sometimes, they become the most significant expression of such trends. For example, according to Railway Stations, when towards the middle of the nineteenth century railway architecture was taking form, important technological innovations in the use of cast iron and glass meant that the wide, arching roofs of train sheds became the most spectacular feature of the new stations the very symbol of their role as functional environments.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the ‘representative’ role of the station was performed by a large building which fronted that functional structure. In Beaux-Arts or eclectic style, this station building proper was characteristically made up of atmospheric spaces on a vast scale. In the period after the First World War, this palatial notion of stations gave way to designs that focused on essen­tial geometrical forms that were stripped of adornment. And, as Ferrarini states, in our own age, there has been a tendency for stations to be envisaged as multi-level ‘machines,’ large-scale junctions through which flow various forms of traffic (a notion that was already prefigured in the visionary projects and designs of Sant'Elia). However, from the extant stations of the nineteenth century to the new stations that are still under construction, the history of this architecture can be read as a sort of palimpsest, with traces of more recent periods overlaying those of the past. Railway Stations borrows an idea from Walter Benjamin, arguing that the history of railway architecture is not a linear but a stratified history, not a continuous narrative but one in which interruption and overlapping can be seen.

In contrast to earlier days, the most recent designs are significant expressions of a clear shift – or even a total break – with the traditional concepts of railway architecture. It is true that the station and city still remain symbolic reflections of each other; but while the European and American stations of the end of the nineteenth/beginning of the twentieth century remained autonomous parts of an urban fabric to which they were anchored, contemporary stations attempt to metabolize the very congestion and density of the modern urban environment – and it is this very process of assimilation that can be said to ‘restore’ them to the city.

The embodiment of a complex of dynamic relations, the contemporary railway station once more identifies itself with the urban reality around it; once again, it reflects the personality of the city as such. The examples illustrated in Railway Stations (Stratford Regional Station in London , the Gare d'Aix-en-Provence TGV, the Cologne/Bonn Airport Railway Station, the Changi Railway Station and the Lehrter Bahnhof) all reveal this celebration of the station as an important fulcrum of urban activity. The ability of railway design to generate new architectural languages and propose new solutions to the problems posed by such spaces reveals its capacity to adapt to the changing circumstances of the contemporary world.

Within a vast accumulation of material, Ferrarini draws up a history, charting the ways in which the railway station has been envisaged as an emblem of the city itself. What emerges is a stratified narrative that affords glimpses of the essence of the urban reality such architecture is intended to serve. Railway Stations demonstrates how the railway station is both an urban monument to progress and a gateway to the city.

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Page Contents: Pick of the Month Art: Photography Composition, Railway Stations Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers: Season of the Snake, Nero Wolfe Father Hunt, Education: Designing e-Learning Simulation Games, Improve Training Performance, Art in School, Best Teaching Practices based on Recent Brain Research, School Psychology Business: America 's Cruise-Ship Empires, Life's Work Children's A Jewish Folktale, Birding for Kids, Girl on Safari, Weather Forecasting, Putin for Children, Race and Adoption Computers: Digital Watermarking, Cooking: Wine in Italian Cookery, Biography: Buster Keaton, Bob Dylan on Himself, Billy Joel, Food Doyen, Carmen Bin Ladin's Tell-Some, Reading with Shashi Tharoor Humor: Driving with Kids, Health: Arthritis Treatments, Meaning in the Second Half of Life, Anger, Assertive Happiness, Women & Testosterone, Alzheimer’s Disease Stories, Swedish Well-Being, Native American Self-Help History: Confederate Warriors, Confederate Surgeon, 1776, Cherokee Nation, German submarine U-505, Andrea Doria  Puebloan World Crafts: Quilts, Home: Santa Fe Style, Books: Dubravka Uresic, Eco Playing with Memory & Identity, Lake Michigan Stories, The Jewish American Writer, Nature: Alberta Bestiary, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Human Brain in Utero  Philosophy: Moral Freedom, Famous Atheist Believes in God? Politics: Post-9/11 American Foreign Policy, Multilingual Communication, Vietnamese Children, American Anti-Semitism, Religion: A Tibetan Guide to Death, Tsongkhapa on Meditation, A Forensic Approach to the Crucifixion, Thomas F. Torrance on the Trinity, Kinship and Paul, The Christian Life as Good, Ancient Christian Commentary on Wisdom Books, Wiccan Runes, Inner Light for Outer Action, Science: Neglected Woman Astronomer, Basic Organic Chemistry Science Fiction: Allure of Adepts