We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

September 2006, Issue #89

Guide to This Issue

Arts & Photography

Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work edited by Karen Painter & Thomas Crow (Issues and Debates Series: Getty Research Institute)

We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas. – Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Our fascination with lateness arises from the fact that the decline through aging or sickness to death is a universal phenomenon. The relationship between biography and artistic creation may be clearer in late works than in any other phase of life, and the self-exploration that is often prompted by the confrontation of genius with old age or fatal illness can be as deeply human as it is self-referential. We prize artistic production that seems to sum up the accumulated experience of life in a mature aesthetic vision: works of art that pose questions of mortality and existential meaning speak to each of us.

Late thoughts do not necessarily conform, however, to the expectations that have developed around the myth of late style. To the contrary, the individuality and idiosyncrasy intrinsic to artists suggest diversity on that final path to death.

Artistic lateness, once the dominant concept in style studies, is worthy of reexamination by a new generation of scholars – one that does not face its own fin de siecle, and one that regards style itself as either myth or anachronism. Late Thoughts considers the questions of creativity and lateness in music, architecture, and the visual arts through a range of cases and methodologies. The essays contained in the book were inspired by ‘Artists' Last Thoughts,’ a public discussion organized by the Getty Research Institute, and the Ojai Music Festival's symposium "Last and Latest Thoughts from Beethoven to the Present."

Today the West chronically associates artistic maturity either with transcendence, degeneration, or irrelevance. Late Thoughts, edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow, looks to the nonrepresentational arts of music, abstract painting and sculpture, and architecture for fresh insight into the juncture of aesthetics and mortality.

In part one, Nancy J. Troy considers the fate of Piet Mondrian's final canvases, Thomas Crow finds undiminished joy in abstraction in the last works of Mark Rothko and Eva Hesse, and Richard Shiff explores the eternal ‘change to stay the same’ of Willem de Kooning's final productive decade. In part two, Karen Painter analyzes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's posthumous reputation, Bryan Gilliam examines Richard Strauss's unexpectedly enduring faith in German musical tradition, Stanley Cavell discusses the eternal irresolution of Gustav Mahler's last period, John Deathridge explicates Richard
Wagner's ultimately debilitating relationship to symphonic form, and John Rockwell sees the Weimar Republic's demise prefigured in the struggle over state-sponsored opera in Berlin. Complementing these eight retrospective essays is Ernest Fleischmann's conversation with Frank Gehry, an architect whose most visible projects provide extraordinary spaces for art and music.

Contributors to the volume are:

  • Stanley Cavell, Walter M. Cabot Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992 and is past president of the American Philosophical Association.
  • Thomas Crow, director of the Getty Research Institute and professor of his­tory of art at the University of Southern California. A contributing editor to Artforum, he writes frequently on contemporary art and cultural issues.
  • John Deathridge, King Edward VII Professor of Music at King's College London. In 2005, he was elected president of the Royal Musical Association.
  • Bryan Gilliam, Frances Hill Foy Professor in Humanities at Duke University. He was inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows in 2004.
  • Karen Painter, associate professor of music at Harvard University. She is currently on leave serving as director of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. She directed a symposium series for the Ojai Music Festival from 2001 to 2003.
  • Carol McMichael Reese, associate professor and Harvey-Wadsworth Pro­fessor of Urban Affairs in the School of Architecture at Tulane University. In 1988, she was commissioned by the Getty Research Institute to document the design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
  • John Rockwell, chief dance critic of the New York Times, where he previ­ously served as classical music critic from 1972 to 1991 and as chief rock critic from 1974 to 1980.
  • Richard Shift, the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and director of the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Nancy J. Troy, professor of art history at the University of Southern California.

Late Thoughts contemplates the ultimate confrontation of artistic genius with artistic form. The essays bring into focus not only the mature creativity of individual artists but also the distinctive afterlife of later works of art. In showing artists to have still been growing and thinking to the end, the essays in the book tend to fly in the face of conventional thinking.

Audio / History / Americas / U.S.

The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty [UNABRIDGED] (8 Audio CDs, 9.5 hours) by William Hogeland, narrated Simon Vance (Tantor Media)

In 1791, at the frontier headwaters of the Ohio River, gangs with blackened faces began to attack federal officials, beating and torturing the collectors who plagued them with the first federal tax ever laid on an American product – whiskey. In only a few years, those attacks snowballed into an organized regional movement dedicated to resisting the fledgling government's power and threatening secession, even civil war.

The Whiskey Rebellion, written by William Hogeland, pits President George Washington and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton against angry, armed settlers across the Appalachians. With an unsparing look at both Hamilton and Washington – and at lesser-known, equally determined frontier leaders such as Herman Husband and Hugh Henry Brackenridge – journalist and popular historian Hogeland offers an account of the remarkable characters who perpetrated this forgotten revolution, and those who suppressed it. To Hamilton, the whiskey tax was critical to industrial growth and could not be permitted to fail. To hard-bitten people in what was then the Wild West, the tax paralyzed their economies while swelling the coffers of greedy creditors and industrialists. To President Washington, the settlers' resistance catalyzed the first-ever deployment of a huge federal army, led by the president himself, a military strike to suppress citizens who threatened American sovereignty.

Soon after Americans ousted inequitable British taxation, Secretary of Finance Alexander Hamilton, hatched a plan to put the new nation on steady financial footing by imposing the first American excise tax, on whiskey makers.… Hogeland's judicious, spirited study offers a lucid window into a mostly forgotten episode in American history and a perceptive parable about the pursuit of political plans no matter what the cost to the nation's unity. – Publishers Weekly
[Hogeland] knows how to tell an exciting story, and some of his assertions are worthy of consideration by serious historians. – Booklist

A great read – and an intelligent, insightful, and bold look at an overlooked but vital incident in American history. – Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row

A vigorous, revealing look at a forgotten...chapter in American history, one that invites critical reconsideration of a founding father or two. – Kirkus

Daring, finely crafted, by turns funny and darkly poignant, The Whiskey Rebellion promises a surprising trip for readers unfamiliar with this primal national drama, long ignored by historians – whose climax is not the issue of mere taxation but the very meaning and purpose of the American Revolution. Startling, insightful, and fast paced, the book is well read by British actor, Simon Vance, who has earned five earphone awards from Audiofile magazine and is a four-time Audie Award finalist.

Business & Investing / Marketing

Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage by Pat Fallon & Fred Senn (Harvard Business School Press)

Too many companies think creativity means throwing money into marketing efforts and giving lip service to ‘out of the box’ thinking. But such efforts rarely have a positive impact on the bottom line. So how can a company leverage creativity throughout the organization and turn it into a powerful business advantage? Pat Fallon and Fred Senn, cofounders of the iconoclastic advertising and branding agency Fallon Worldwide, argue in Juicing the Orange that leaders have more creativity within their organizations than they realize – but they inadvertently stifle it or channel it in ineffective ways.

Fallon Worldwide has been creating advertising campaigns that, according to the Wall Street Journal, ‘have been raising eyebrows for years.’ The company has won virtually every award in the industry, including more Emmys than any other agency. Now, in Juicing the Orange, Fallon and Senn provide in-depth examples that delve into the full creative process – the stumbling blocks, the rigorous research, and the eureka moments – necessary for achieving results. Juicing the Orange outlines a disciplined approach to building creativity actively into the organizational culture and leveraging that creativity into campaigns that deliver measurable results.

Creative leverage involves asking fresh questions, identifying clear problems, and rigorously finding a solution that will achieve spectacular results. In Juicing the Orange, Fallon and Senn explain the seven principles of creative leverage that can help any company get ahead of the competition, and they share insights learned from the trenches about how to foster a culture of creativity in any organization. The seven principles of creative leverage are:

  1. Always start from scratch.
  2. Demand a ruthlessly simple definition of the business problem.
  3. Discover a proprietary emotion.
  4. Focus on the size of the idea, not the size of the budget.
  5. Seek out strategic risks.
  6. Collaborate or perish.
  7. Listen hard to your customers (then listen some more).

These guys don't just juice the orange – they peel it, slice it, and serve it up. Without a doubt, when it comes to business, creativity is the new vitamin C. – Alan M. Webber, cofounding editor, Fast Company

Pat Fallon and Fred Senn bring to life both the art and the science of creativity in marketing. By removing the mystery while retaining the magic, they have written a highly entertaining and insightful book not only for business people, but for anyone with an imagination. – George W. Buckley, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, 3M

The best [of new books on creativity]...There are many good things about this book...engaging...solid. – The New York Times

Illustrating the link between creativity and profits, Juicing the Orange helps industry players measure their success at the cash register. Sharing both successes and failures, the authors tell scores of stories of how they've applied creative leverage to marketing and branding problems.

Business & Economics / Training & Human Resources

Retreats that Work: Everything You Need to Know about Planning and Leading Great Offsites (Expanded Edition) by Merianne Liteman, Sheila Campbell & Jeffrey Liteman (Pfeiffer)

Based on the best-selling first edition, Retreats that Work is an expanded and updated version contains forty-seven new activities, more information about how to design and lead retreats, and additional suggestions for how to recover when things go wrong. Whether readers are planning to lead an offsite retreat for the first time or the ninety-ninth time, authors Merianne Liteman, Sheila Campbell, and Jeff Liteman, consultants to corporate, government, international organization, and nonprofit clients, in Retreats that Work provide:

  • Step-by-step instructions for leading a wide variety of tested exercises.
  • Insight into establishing effective working relationships with clients.
  • Information on what to include in retreat designs.
  • Suggestions for encouraging participants to speak up and play an active role.
  • Tools for managing conflict.
  • Guidance on making decisions during a retreat and changing course when necessary.
  • Strategies for developing and implementing action plans.
  • Tips for follow-up so participants can keep the change train on track.

Retreats that Work is soup to nuts: pre-retreat to follow-up. A CD-ROM allows readers to print out chapters for distribution to key leaders, duplicate templates, and produce handouts for specific exercises.

The Litemans and Campbell have served up a delightful, wonderfully written, accessible, and invaluable resource book for retreat planners. It is jam-packed with ideas, tools, pitfalls to be avoided, and everything one needs to create Retreats that Work. – Barry Oshry, creator, Power Lab Retreat; author, Seeing Systems and Leading Systems

What a treasure of valuable tools to facilitate the best darn retreat of your life! Whether you’re new or a veteran, struggling or successful, you must invest in this gem! … It’s all there! Add to that handouts, client material, and templates on a handy CD – you'll think you struck gold! – Elaine Biech, author, Training For Dummies, The Business of Consulting, and Creativity and Innovation: The ASTD Trainer’s Sourcebook

For companies organizing a retreat, this should be your bible. It delivers exactly what it says it will: practical approaches that assure effective retreats. Would that other business books were so impressive. – Jeffrey LaRiche, chairman and CEO, Castle Worldwide, Inc.

This is one of those rare books that will make you wonder what you did before you had it. It’s the only resource you’ll need to grasp the how’s and why’s of organizing successful retreats. – Rayna Aylward, executive director, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

This is the book I will recommend to my graduate students in organization development and knowledge management as well as to my clients who want to hold retreats that will make a difference. This thoroughly revised edition adds many new exercises and tips to what was already an excellent work. – Tojo Thatchenkery, professor of organizational learning, George Mason University; coauthor, Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Might Oak in the Acorn

Retreats that Work is a comprehensive handbook for creating offsite retreats that get results and rave reviews from participants. The authors know what they are talking about in the areas of strategic planning, strategic change, creative thinking, leadership development, and improved teamwork and communication. Retreats that Work is an invaluable, easy-to-use and practical guide, full of step-by-step instructions for leading a wide variety of tested, creative exercises. The real-life examples and wise advice make it a resource trainers will turn to again and again.

Children’s / Ages 3 and up / Art & Music / Sports & Activities

Doodles: A Really Giant Coloring and Doodling Book by Taro Gomi (Chronicle Books)

Renowned children's book illustrator Taro Gomi invites kids of all ages not only to  color, but also to draw, imagine, and create in Doodles. Unfinished pictures and intriguing prompts foster children's powers of visualization, and at nearly 400 pages, this book provides plenty of room to stretch the imagination.  

Gomi lives in Japan and has created more than 350 books for readers of all ages. Some of his books published outside of Japan are Everyone Poops, My Friends, Spring Is Here and Scribbles.

Doodles is no ordinary coloring book. With its playful drawings, funny scenarios, and fun-to-follow instructions, this book is not just for coloring, but for doodling, drawing, imagining, and thinking. Included are puzzles, games, and cut-out crafts.

The book starts with two rough & widely drawn trees with leaves, saying “Fill these trees with fruit.” It moves right along with doodles of boxes with springs springing out of them, asking: “What is springing out of these boxes?” It works its way up to “Do you want to make an 18-page book?” The story of “Super Patachawa” by Taro Gomi & illustrated by ___ (for the child to fill in his or her name). The text is provided and the child fills in the pictures. It is left to the child’s imagination as to what Super Patachawa is/does. The last 30 or so pages contain open-ended suggestions like “Now use all the colors.”

The book is perfect for doodlers of all ages. At we really like Doodles. (We also really like Scribbles, Gomi’s previous book. My niece, Laurie, showed it to her 7-year old, Eli, and he wanted it. So, of course, we gave it to him.)

Children’s / Ages 8-12 / People & Places

D Is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet (Country Alphabet) by Carol Crane, illustrated by Zong-Zhou Wang (Country Alphabet Series: Sleeping Bear Press)

Journey along 4,000 miles of the great wall...
Pay a visit to giant pandas in the bamboo forest...
Savor a cup of jasmine tea...
And then do it all over again.

Winding its way like a long dragon (The dragon is a symbol of China.) through 4,000 miles of mountains, desert, and grasslands, The Great Wall of China was built entirely by hand, taking hundreds of years and millions of workers to complete, so large it can even be seen from space. That's just one of the myriad wonders of China that children will discover in this far-reaching book. D Is for Dancing Dragon brings China's history and culture alive by describing its unique customs, art works, music, foods, geography and wildlife. Children will learn, for example, that paper, ink, printing, umbrellas, kites and fireworks are all Chinese inventions. They'll find the secrets of how silk is made, how chopsticks work and why one should never cry on the Chinese New Year's Day. They will even learn a few Chinese words, as well as which astrological animal sign belongs to them.

Traveling to China today, the most populated country in the world, readers can walk the cities' busy streets as bicycles swoosh past, and smell the fresh-cut flowers in open-air markets. Or perhaps young readers would like to visit the bamboo forests, high in the mountains of China, where the most endangered creature on Earth lives – the giant panda. See dragons dance on Chinese New Year and learn how to say ‘hello’ ‘how are you?’ and ‘please’ in Mandarin, the offi­cial language of China.

From the conquests of Genghis Kahn to the discovery of tea, there is something for everyone in D Is for Dancing Dragon, Sleeping Bear Press’s latest children's pictorial helping readers discover different countries and cultures of the world. With Carol Crane's lively verses and informative text and Zong-Zhou Wang's enchanting art, D Is for Dancing Dragon is an exotic treat for the ears, eyes and mind. This book is sure to be of interest to anyone curious about this beautiful and mysterious land.

Education / Business & Investing / Human Resources & Personnel Management

The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator: Leading Groups by Transforming Yourself (International Association of Facilitators) by Jon C. Jenkins & Maureen R. Jenkins (Jossey-Bass)

What takes place in the head and heart of an effective facilitative leader? How do such leaders find the inner resources to draw upon? What is the source of their powerful effect on people and situations?

The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator examines these questions and explores the self-mastery it takes to become a great facilitator. Written by Jon and Maureen Jenkins, long-term members of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and cofounders of Imaginal Training in the Netherlands, the book explains that facilitation is more than a process or a set of techniques for managing groups; facilitation is its own profession with its own set of disciplines. Throughout The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator the authors detail the nine personal disciplines of effective facilitators: Detachment, Engagement, Focus, Awareness, Action, Presence, Interior Council, Intentionality, and a Sense of Wonder. The book divides the nine disciplines into three development paths – regarding others (Detachment, Focus, and Engagement), regarding life (Awareness, Presence, and Action), and regarding oneself (Interior Council, Intentionality, and Sense of Wonder).

The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator is divided into two parts. Part One, "The Context," contains four chapters about the spirit of facilita­tive leadership, the employees' perspective, the skills of a facilita­tive leader, and some thoughts about what leaders can expect in the future. Part Two, "The Disciplines," contains one chapter for each of the nine disciplines.

According to the Jenkins’s to get the overall story, The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator can be read straight through from front to back. However, it can also be considered a catalog of nine different developmental options. Readers may wish to find the one discipline or two of the disciplines that intrigues them the most, and focus on that. Some may wish to go directly to the end of each of the chapters and try out the practices and exercises.

These exercises and practices are not intended to be guidelines or techniques that trainers can use without further preparation. If they want to use the practices, the authors recommend finding a coach or colleague to work with. Alternatively, readers can try working through exercises and practices with a team, support group, or book club. All of this work calls for reflection, something for which two or more people working together can stimulate one another. This is not to say that trainers cannot enjoy and effectively take things from the book as individual readers – but readers can probably do better with a partner or two.

Leaders who want to deepen their ethical leadership and facilitative practice will find tapping Jon and Maureen's wisdom, drawn from years of reflective practice, a powerful and provocative experience. – Jo Nelson, CPF, CTF; principal, ICA Associates Inc.; and past chair, the International Association of Facilitators

A trove of practical insight on leadership and personal development. Their illustrative stories bring the nine disciplines to life. – Sandy Schuman, editor, The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation, Creating a Culture of Collaboration, and Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal

A needed and timely push to facilitators in every part of the profession to acknowledge the deeper realities of what we do.  Facilitation is not just techniques but assisting individuals and groups to use the deeper resources they have within them to respond more effectively in day-to-day situations. – James Wiegel, senior associate, the Institute of Cultural Affairs

The image of disciplines opens the door for understanding that facilitation skill is a pursuit or honing process, not a finished task. The diversity represented by the nine elements highlights the profound option of facilitation as a vocation. – Lawrence E. Philbrook, executive director, ICA Taiwan; director, Open Quest Facilitation Technology

It should be part of every leadership curriculum. – Clarence J. Mann, professor and director, Institute for Global Management, University of Maryland University College

The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator is a much-need and highly accessible resource manual by a well-seasoned and internationally know training team. The book fills a gap in the professional trainer’s toolkit.

Entertainment / Biographies & Memoirs

Jimmy Stewart: The Truth behind the Legend by Michael Munn (Barricade Books Inc)

James Stewart was an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend adored for his earnest and kindly persona. A Presbyterian from Pennsylvania who married only once and for life, he was a patriotic man who risked his life serving his country as a bomber pilot in WWII – despite the efforts of MGM and the US Army Air Force to keep this beloved Hollywood star safely on the ground. Highly decorated for his bravery, he really seemed to be like the characters he portrayed – the virtuous Mr. Smith who went to Washington, or the kind-hearted family man George Bailey who had a wonderful life.

But there was more to Jimmy Stewart, as Michael Munn discovered through interviews and informal meetings with the star and his close friends and colleagues. To write Jimmy Stewart, Munn, writer, actor and theater director, also draws on his long-term friendship with Stewart's wife Gloria. In the book he reveals Stewart's notoriously volatile temper, the accusations of racism, and astonishing tales of heady love affairs, hookers, and hoodlums, and Stewart's run-in with the most dangerous of all gangsters – Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel.

The patriotic Stewart worked as a secret agent of J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, dur­ing the infamous Communist witch-hunts, in what began as undercover sleuthing to crack organized crime in Hollywood. Munn reveals how Stewart was unscrupulously manipulated into flushing out suspected Communists from the film industry, and how he strove to protect his friends who were unjustly implicated. The book reveals the childhood ups and downs that formed this cinema hero, explores the legendary Fonda-Stewart friendship – and the rift between them that lasted some six years – and recounts Stewart's experiences making acclaimed films that include The Philadelphia Story, The Great­est Show on Earth, Hitchcock's Rear Window, The Glenn Miller Story, Anatomy of a Murder, and his westerns with directors John Ford and Anthony Mann.

Jimmy Stewart is the definitive biography of a man who became one of Hollywood’s enduring legends. Unlike other biographies of the star, the book also gives the most comprehensive account of Stewart’s service in the Air Force, as well as the revelation that Stewart worked as a secret agent for J. Edgar Hoover during the communist witch-hunts in Hollywood.

Families & Parenting / Psychology & Counseling

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine (HarperCollins)

Madeline Levine has been a practicing psychologist for twenty-five years, but it was only recently that she began to observe a new breed of unhappy teenager. When a bright, personable fifteen-year-old girl, from a loving and financially comfortable family, came into her office with the word empty carved into her left forearm, Levine was startled. This girl and her message seemed to embody a disturbing pattern Levine had been observing. Her teenage patients were bright, socially skilled, and loved by their affluent parents. But behind a veneer of achievement and charm, many of these teens suffered severe emotional problems. What was going on?

Conversations with educators and clinicians across the country as well as meticulous research confirmed Levine's suspicions that something was terribly amiss. Numerous studies show that privileged adolescents are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse – rates that are higher than those of any other socioeconomic group of young people in this country. As Levine explains in The Price of Privilege, the various elements of a perfect storm – materialism, pressure to achieve, perfectionism, disconnection – are combining to create a crisis in America's culture of affluence. This culture is as unmanageable for parents – mothers in particular – as it is for their children. While many privileged kids project confidence and know how to make a good impression, alarming numbers lack the basic foundation of psychological development: an authentic sense of self. Even parents often miss the signs of significant emotional problems in their ‘star’ children.

The Price of Privilege is the first book to examine the research along with Levine's clinical experience with patients that present these very problems. Some topics that she focuses on are:

  • The Toxic Brew of Pressure and Isolation: Parents have become highly anxious about their child's opportunities for success in a competitive world. As a result they have become more and more focused on the academic and extracurricular performance of their children, frequently overlooking critical parenting functions such as monitoring, limit-setting and quiet availability.
  • How Kids Who Have ‘Everything’ Can Feel Alone and Empty: Parents often intervene on behalf of their child instead of encouraging their child's efforts to problem solve, to develop self-control, and to work on the fundamental psychological task of developing a sense of self. It doesn't matter how lavish a kid's house is if his internal ‘home’ is empty.
  • The Isolation of Affluent Moms: Although good parenting takes all the resources that both mothers and fathers can muster, research tells us that it is mom's state of mind that is most predictive of a child's well-being. Affluent communities emphasize ‘looking good,’ while providing little in the way of emotional support. As a result, affluent moms, like their children, often feel isolated and unhappy.

Levine provides solutions for the parents who recognize these traits in their children, offering styles of consistent parenting, creating real boundaries, and cultivating warmth without trying to be the child's friend and remaining their parent. And she offers advice on effective techniques to reduce pressure from parents to succeed in school and to heighten adolescent autonomy and self-discipline.

A timely book that exposes the worm in the apple of affluence. Levine does an amazing job of illuminating the havoc wreaked on children in a materialistic culture while extending compassion to privileged but struggling parents. With wisdom and insight, she proposes a path that will lead to greater authenticity and connection for everyone. – Jean Kilbourne, author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

With up-to-date scientific research, compelling clinical cases, and a refined sense of empa­thy, Levine teaches us about the difficult challenges faced by affluent families and provides useful strategies for helping them toward more fulfilling lives. – Tim Kasser, Ph.D., author of The High Price of Materialism

This remarkably thoughtful and readable book describes with much warmth, concern, and depth the possible deleterious impacts of material advantage on both children and families. The author offers many rich examples, beautifully illustrating how the complex tasks of parenting and child development may become compromised by parental intrusion, overprotection, and subtle dilutions of family life. – Stuart Hauser, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

The Price of Privilege is a break-through work that should not be ignored as an epidemic is raging among our children. In this controversial look at privileged families, Levine offers thoughtful, practical advice as she explodes one child-rearing myth after another. With empathy and candor, she identifies parenting practices that are toxic to healthy self-development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the most unlikely place – the affluent family.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Religion & Spirituality

Psychotherapy as Religion: The Civil Divine in America by William M. Epstein (University of Nevada Press)

In Psychotherapy as Religion, William Epstein sets out to debunk claims that psychotherapy provides successful clinical treatment for a wide range of personal and social problems.

According to Epstein, there is no credible scientific proof that any form of psychotherapy for any problem under any condition of treatment for any group has prevented, rehabilitated or cured emotional or mental problems. The persistence of psychotherapy, indeed its wild popularity in America for addressing an enormous range of personal as well as social problems – depression, eating disorders, anxiety, phobias, and the like as well as poverty, drug dependency, teen motherhood, delinquency and crime, drunk driving, and family violence, to name a few – is explained by its affirmation of cherished social values, namely heroic individualism.

Epstein, professor at the School of Social Work, University of Nevada, begins Psychotherapy as Religion by analyzing a number of clinical studies conducted over the past two decades that purport to establish the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatments. He finds that each study violates in some way the standard criteria of scientific credibility and that the field has completely failed to establish objective procedures and measurements to assess clinical outcomes. The biases and frank distortions of the literature, apart from gross violations of sampling and measurement, are probably created by the core of therapy itself, the warm relationship between therapist and patient, which undercuts the accuracy of the patient’s assessment of his or her conditions.

Epstein exposes psychotherapy’s deep roots in the religious and intellectual movements of the early nineteenth century by demonstrating striking parallels between various types of therapy and such popular practices as Christian Science and spiritualism. According to

Epstein, psychotherapy has taken root in our culture because it so effectively reflects our national faith in individual responsibility for social and personal problems. It thrives as the foundation of American social welfare policy, blaming deviance and misery on deficiencies of character rather than on the imperfections of society and ignoring the influence of unequal and deficient social conditions while requiring miscreants to undergo the moral reeducation that psychotherapy represents. The social troublemaker and the criminal are ordered to the pews of the civil divine for moral reeducation.

... an important point of view, which adds to our collective discussion of the issue.... a truly important contribution. – Duncan Lindsey, Department of Social Welfare, UCLA
This book is timely, compelling, and lucid.... a symbol of rationality in a field that has institutionalized an illusion. – David Stoesz, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

Psychotherapy as Religion is a provocative, brilliantly argued look at one of America's favorite therapeutic practices. Epstein traces psychotherapy's roots to the religious and intellectual movements of the early nineteenth century and demonstrates how effectively its tenets resonate with contemporary political agendas that afford minimal attention to or expenditure toward public welfare. Psychotherapy as Religion is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and current practice of American social ideas or in the current state of mental health.

History / Americas / U.S.

Key West: History of an Island of Dreams by Maureen Ogle (University Press of Florida)

Parrot heads, Hemingway aficionados, and sun worshipers view Key West as a tropical paradise, and scores of writers have set tales of mystery and romance on the island. The city's real story – told by history writer Maureen Ogle in Key West – is as fabulous as fiction. In the early 1800s, the city's pioneer founders battled Indians, pirates, and deadly disease and created wealth beyond their imaginations. In the two centuries since, Key West has seen tragedy and triumph, standing at the crossroads of American history.

According to Key West, when Florida joined the Confederacy in 1861, Union troops seized control of strategically located Key West and city residents spent four years living under martial law. In the early 1890s, Key West Cubans helped Jose Marti launch the revolution that eventually ended Spain's control of their homeland. A few years later, the battleship Maine steamed out of Key West harbor on its last, tragic voyage. At the turn of the century, Henry Flagler astounded the entire country by building a technological marvel, an overseas railroad from mainland Florida to Key West, more than 100 miles long. In the 1920s and 1930s, painters, rumrunners, and writers (including Ernest Hemingway and Robert Frost) discovered Key West. During World War II, the federal government and the military war machine permanently altered the island's landscape. In the second half of the 20th century, bohemians, hippies, gays, and jet-setters began writing a new chapter in Key West's social history. Carefully detailed in Key West are the changes that have connected Key West to the rest of the U.S. and made it the tourist haven that it is today.

Ogle serves up an engaging chronicle of Florida's most famous key for those who like a little history with their Cuban coffee – or whatever it is that would draw them to the ‘Island of Dreams.’ …Ogle doesn't shy away from potentially controversial topics, such as the positive impact of gay tourists on the island and famous resident Tennessee Williams' predilection for young sailors in tight pants. In her well-researched telling, the author highlights many of the elements that make Key West. – Randall Enos, Booklist

A history that is both thorough and com­pelling, and one which beckons the reader to experience Key West firsthand, with a copy of Key West  tucked securely in a back pocket. – Gulf South Historical Review

It's a fascinating journey that Ogle leads us on and, like the actual Key West itself, it certainly deserves a visit. – Tampa Tribune

Ogle's thorough research combined with her wry perspective make this book a fascinating read. – Tallahassee Democrat

All of the personalities and events are wrapped in Ogle's unique, engagingly illustrated and candid history of the island, Key West, an account that will fascinate past and present citizens of the Conch Republic, history buffs who like a well-told tale, and the millions of tourists from all over the world who love this colorful island city.

History / Americas / U.S. / Law

A People's History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped Our Constitution, Revised Edition by Peter Irons, with a foreword by Howard Zinn (Penguin Books)

Virtually every aspect of our society has been fundamentally – and often controversially – influenced by Supreme Court decisions, and recent changes in the Supreme Court have placed the venerable institution at the forefront of current affairs.

In the tradition of Howard Zinn’s classic A People's History of the Supreme Court, Peter Irons, professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, director of the Earl Warren Bill of Rights Project, and civil rights lawyer, chronicles the decisions that have influenced our society so much, from the debates over judicial power in the 1780s to controversial rulings in the past regarding slavery, racial segregation, and abortion, as well as more current cases about gay rights, school prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Bush/Gore election results, and ‘enemy combatants.’

Including portraits of legal giants like John Jay and Thurgood Marshall, as well as Dred Scott, Lillian Gobitas, and other ordinary Americans whose cases changed our history, A People's History of the Supreme Court explains the evolution of the Constitution and what that quintessential American document means for each of us.

Irons traces the development of the Court's peculiar institutional workings from its first proceedings under Chief Justice Jay to the struggle for individual liberties during the successive Warren, Burger and Rehnquist Courts. He characterizes the Court as a bastion of racism, classism and sexism prior to Earl Warren's ascendancy. He examines how the law has intersected with politics, from the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments during the radical reconstruction period through the Jim Crow era, when blacks were stripped of previously adjudicated rights.

Irons combines careful research with a populist passion. In doing so, he breathes life into old documents and reminds readers that today's fiercest arguments about rights are the continuation of the endless American conversation. And he focuses on those litigants before the Court who were outsiders seeking empowerment, people like Fred Korematsu, who challenged the evacuation of Japanese-Americans during WWII, or Homer Plessy, who in 1892 had the audacity to ride in a Louisiana railroad car reserved for white passengers.

The citizens whose lives became the fulcrum for the law's balancing are often nigh invisible. Peter Irons has brought them and their cases out of the shadows and beautifully into the light. – Scott Turow

Bracing ... Irons and his book burst with lively and often funny stories that make the history of the institution come alive. – San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

This is a wonderful book. Anyone with a modicum of interest in civil liberties and race relations should read it. – American Bar Association Journal

It is such good reading that we allow the author to lead us places in history that we might not have expected to travel. – The Boston Globe

… Peter H. Irons represents the court's work as a never-ending appeal of the powerless to the powerful: of the just over 100 supreme justices who have sat on the court, all but two have been white, all but two have been men, and all but seven have been Christian, whereas the supplicants to our nation's highest bar are typically racial minorities, women, and deviants in some way from the religious and social mainstream.

Taking a representative (if not comprehensive) accounting of the Supreme Court's most significant decisions, Irons puts cultural and political context – and a human face – to the parties involved, painting an absorbing and involving picture of landmark cases that readers are likely to recall but not fully understand. … – Paul Hughes,
Irons …provides an excellent general history of the Court accessible to lay readers. The main theme is the attempts of ordinary citizens to attain their rights (especially of free speech, religious practices, and personal privacy) through appeal to the Court and to change the shape and meaning of our Constitutional system. …The book ends with the Casey (1992) decision and the presidential election of 1992. This book will give the general populace better understanding of the Constitution and its history. – A. Steven Puro, St. Louis University, Library Journal

Recent changes in the Supreme Court make the comprehensive and engaging A People's History of the Supreme Court, in its revised edition, as timely as ever. The book is a history of the people and cases that have changed history, a definitive account of the nation’s highest court. And it is a sophisticated history in which Irons makes it clear where his sympathies lie – calling Justice William Brennan ‘my judicial ideal and inspiration’. This penetrating work focuses on the human aspect of decisions, bringing to life the common people whose life circumstances were the subject of precedent-making decisions.

History / Americas / U.S. / Military / World War I

The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice by Chad Millman (Little Brown)

The Detonators  is a tale of terrorism, espionage, and an epic struggle for justice in an America on the verge – sparked by a massive and mysterious explosion. The explosion reverberated through lower Manhattan, the culmination of a destructive plot orchestrated by foreign terrorists. The U.S. government had missed the clues indicating this assault was possible, and as a result, America found herself involved in a protracted war overseas. No, this wasn't September 11 – it was July 30, 1916.

On a warm summer evening in late July, a spit of land in New York Harbor called Black Tom Island exploded, pelting the Statue of Liberty with shrapnel, devastating much of lower Manhattan, and casting a fiery orange glow over New York City. In The Detonators, Chad Millman, former Sports Illustrated reporter and CNNSI correspondent and currently a senior editor at ESPN: The Magazine, exposes the story behind this devastating attack, and the larger-than-life investigation and trial that ensued.

The attack, so massive that people as far away as Maryland felt the ground shake, had been shockingly easy. America was riddled with networks of German saboteurs hiding in plain sight. Black Tom was only one part of their plans: secret anthrax facilities were situated just ten miles from the White House; bombs were planted on ships, hidden in buildings, and mailed to the country's civic and business leaders; and an underground syndicate helped potential terrorists obtain fake IDs, housing, and money. Americans, feeling buffered by miles of ocean and burgeon­ing prosperity, had ignored the mounting threat. President Wilson himself knew an attack of this magnitude was possible, and yet nothing was done to stop it – or, afterward, to prosecute those responsible.

But if the White House or the German government thought Black Tom would be easily forgotten, they were wrong. Three American lawyers – John McCloy, Amos Peaslee, and Harold Martin – made it their mission to solve the Black Tom mystery. Their hunt for justice would take them undercover to Europe, deep into the shadowy world of secret agents and double-crosses, through the halls of Washington and the capitals of Europe. It would challenge their beliefs in right and wrong, and strain their personal lives. And they would discover a plot so vast it could hardly have been imagined – a conspiracy that stretched from downtown Manhattan to South America to the heart of Berlin.

The Detonators describes the whole fascinating story, from the German plot, to the attack itself, to the long quest for justice sought by the three American lawyers.

… Millman has delved into the story deeply and with verve, basing much of this fast-paced, thriller-like tale on affidavits, briefs, memos and letters from those involved in the plot and the long postwar effort to get to the bottom of it. …Millman's emphasis on the personal stories of the main characters involved in hatching the Black Tom plot and those who solved it makes for gripping reading. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In a clear, cogent narrative, Millman does a good job of navigating the complex issues and behind-the-scenes politics that fueled this marathon legal battle. He also proves adept at fleshing out the human stories of the main characters involved.... An intriguing, bracing tale, and not just for history buffs. – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Millman skillfully untangles the complex threads of diplomacy, tradecraft, chemistry, and treachery to show the sabotage ring's effects . . . the spy tale is lively. – Library Journal

A thrilling, splendidly written – and timely – tale of forgotten conspiracy, when mysterious enemy agents lurked among us and plotted to force America to her knees, The Detonators is edge-of-your-seat history backed by impeccable scholarship. – James Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer

The Detonators is more than an astonishing tale of espionage, keen detective work, and the American instinct for justice; it also calls to us from a past that looks stunningly similar to our futures. – Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers

The Detonators is a fascinating portrait of the men of World War I and their time, an era in which the rising American establishment engaged the world. With the pace of a legal thriller and the detail of the richest history, The Detonators is the first full accounting of a crime and a cover-up that resonate strongly in a post-9/11 America.

History / Americas / South America

Latin America: A Concise Interpretive History (8th Edition) by E. Bradford Burns & Julie A. Charlip (Pearson Prentice Hall)

Emphasizing the forces that shaped the past and reshape the present, Latin America is a concise, multidisciplinary survey sweeping through the history of Latin America as a region – from the European conquest up to the present. Authors E. Bradford Burns, University of California, Los Angeles; and Julie A. Charlip, Whitman College, take a thematic approach to history, using individual case studies to illustrate each theme. The narrative in Latin America provides an interpretive history of modern Latin America with a focus on the central dynamic of Latin American history – the enigma of poor people inhabiting rich lands – while establishing a firm point of view that acts as a starting point for classroom debate and discussion.

The seventh edition of Latin America was updated and modernized to reflect recent research and interpretations, as well as to provide expanded coverage of World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and late twentieth-century themes, thus offering students a more comprehensive view of important topics. Additional features added at that time include:

  • Primary source documents provide students with readings that give the voices of Latin Americans a chance to speak for themselves.
  • Stories of Latin American women offer a realistic view of the Latin American women's experience and influence.
  • Postmodern Approaches encourage students to engage in deeper discussions about the material and class conditions existing in Latin America.
  • Discussions of current topics were expanded to include NAFTA, Chiapas, late 1970s-1980s military regimes, new social movements and election limitations.

The eighth edition of Latin America has been extensively revised and updated and it now features a special eight-page portfolio, ‘Latin America through Art’ that offers samples of Latin America’s rich artistic tradition, revealing both change and continuity in Latin American culture from the arrival of Spaniards in the New World to the present day. This eighth edition is, in many ways, the text that its readers have requested. It gives greater prominence to Charlip’s voice and to the work of recent scholars in ways that harmonize with Burns' original intent. The central paradigm still is that ‘poor people inhabit rich lands’ because the elites have "tended to confuse their own well being and desires with those of the nation at large."

The strength of Latin America has always been its clear narrative, weaving together the story of an entire region, with coverage of broad themes and regional differences, and while preserving that, Charlip makes substantial changes in organization and presentation. One of the most significant changes is that the dependency paradigm plays a less obvious role in this edition. Latin American nations are, indeed, dependent in many ways, particularly in the global economy, and that relationship is discussed. Dependency as a theory emerging from Latin America is also important and is still given due attention, but Latin America also discusses alternative approaches to understanding Latin America's economic problems.

While trying to keep Latin America relatively concise, Charlip adds material that makes a more complete package, especially for faculty teaching at schools with more limited resources. To that end, this edition contains statistical tables, and the document section has been expanded and converted into a separate booklet.

In the interest of providing more tools, Charlip also adds an essay, ‘Testimonio: A Rich and Complex Source.’ The essay introduces testimonio and the controversy about it, including a bibliography of the genre. Despite its limitations, testimonio provides another useful window onto the Latin American experience.

This landmark volume of Latin American history weaves the history of an entire region into a coherent story that emphasizes both common themes and regional and national specificity. Of necessity, Latin America focuses a great deal on economic, social, and political issues. And among the additions to the eighth edition, that of color plates of Latin American art provide visual perspectives of the culture of Latin America.

History / Asia / Military

Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited by Andrew Wiest (Osprey Publishing)

This is not a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity. – Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1964

The Vietnam War remains modern history's most enduringly controversial conflict. It represents the disastrous clash of a myriad of divergent interests, none of whose visions would ever be fully realized. The widespread social, military and political aftershocks of the Vietnam War trouble the world to this day, and echoes of the struggle pervade America's response to the crisis in Iraq.

From the conflict's beginnings in the colonial war with France in the 1940s and 50s through to the final evacuation of Saigon in 1975 and beyond, Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land looks at the war through the eyes of combatants, civilians, historians, and journalists, reexamining key aspects from new perspectives. The book is composed of a string of essays by 15 leading historians on the origins, legacy, and battles of the Vietnam War. The authors trace the fight from its beginnings, through the evacuation of Saigon, to its lasting influence on present day politics. Essayists range from best-selling author Le Ly Hayslip, a young Vietnamese girl coming of age during the struggle which tore apart her family and homeland, to renowned U.S. journalists Bernard Edelman and Arnold R. Isaacs who reported from Vietnam during the combat.

Contributions include critical assessments of strategy and tactics, a harrowing account of the war's effect on Vietnamese civilians, and discussions of wider issues, including the war with Cambodia and Laos and the strategy of the U.S. forces. Contributors include:

  • Professor Andrew Wiest – Professor of History at the University of South Mississippi, where he co-directs the Center for the Study of War and Society.
  • Bui Tin – Colonel in the People's Army of Vietnam and author of a number of books about the Vietnam War including From Enemy to Friend: A North Vietnamese Perspective on the War.
  • Professor Kenton Clymer – Chair of the History Department, Northern Illinois University, and author of five books including a two-volume history of United States relations with Cambodia.
  • Professor R. Blake Dunnavent – Assistant Professor in the History and Social Sciences Department, Louisiana State University, and author of Brown Water Warfare.
  • Bernard Edelman – Correspondent for the US Army in Vietnam, editor of Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. He now works for Vietnam Veterans of America.
  • Professor Ronald B. Frankum, Jr. – Assistant Professor in the History Department, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and author of several books including Like Rolling Thunder: The Air War in Vietnam, 1964-1975.
  • Professor Jeffrey Grey – Professor of History at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, and author/ editor of 22 books including Australia's Vietnam War.
  • Professor Daniel C. Hallin – Professor of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, and author of The "Uncensored War": The Media and Vietnam.
  • Le Ly Hayslip – Author of two best-selling memoirs about her experiences in the Vietnam War: When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and Child of War, Woman of Peace, which inspired the film Heaven and Earth.
  • Arnold R. Isaacs – Reported from Vietnam for The Baltimore Sun. Author of Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy.
  • Lam Quang Thi – Lieutenant General of the South Vietnamese Army, and author of The Twenty-Five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon.
  • Dr. John Prados – Project Director with the National Security Archive, and author of a dozen books including The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and The Vietnam War.
  • Gordon L. Rottman – Served with the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. A special operations forces scenario writer for 12 years and now an author with over 30 books to his name including Special Forces Camps in Vietnam: 1961-1970.
  • Lewis Sorley – Served in Vietnam, and on the faculties at West Point and the Army War College, author of A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam.
  • Martin Windrow – Author and editor of more than 30 books including the critically acclaimed The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam.

This is a superb and compelling reexamination of the major historical, political, and ethical issues that continue to smolder many decades after the conclusion of the Vietnam War. I highly recommend Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land. It is among the best books of its kind that I've encountered over the last dozen years. – Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried

Through the work of a unique collection of historians, journalists, and war participants, this book sparks historical debate and poses new questions that have long been left unasked or ignored. – Andrew Wiest, Introduction

Illustrated with contemporary photographs, maps and diagrams that evocatively complement the text, Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land is an incisive investigation into the Vietnam War. New questions are raised and conventional views are challenged, giving fresh insights into a conflict continually revisited by movies, books, and television. This book's uniquely diverse perspective is unparalleled in current literature on the Vietnam War. It offers a groundbreaking global view of the devastating conflict that irrevocably changed the world.

Home & Garden / Hobbies & Crafts

Gorgeous Garden Railways by Marc Horovitz & Pat Hayward (Kalmbach Books)

This new book asks readers: Does your yard seem a little...boring?

If so, readers can add some pizzazz with garden railroading, a hobby that combines the fun of model railroading with the therapeutic benefits of gardening. Experts Marc Horovitz and Pat Hayward in Gorgeous Garden Railways explore the hobby’s history, the rolling stock, miniature buildings, planting, and even water features.

Gorgeous Garden Railways includes chapters on garden railroad landscaping, trains, infrastructure, ponds and water features, and other outdoor challenges, all illustrated by high-quality photos. The text by Horovitz, founder and editor of Garden Railways, and Hayward, the magazine's horticultural editor, give readers insight on both the hobby of garden railroading and the subject of railway gardening.

“In creating this book, Pat Hayward and I have attempted to bring together wonderful images of some of the finest garden railways from around the world. Although garden railroading is still not widely known amongst mainstream gardeners, this book will go a long way towards showing the uninitiated what can be accomplished by the artistic, creative, and magical melding of a tiny model railroad into a beautifully planted, scale landscape," says author Horovitz.

Recognized garden-railroading and railroad-gardening experts Horovitz and Hayward have collected 140 images of garden railroads from all over the world. In each lavishly illustrated chapter, they explore a different aspect of the hobby in large photos accompanied by brief but informative text. Topics include:

  • A short history of the hobby.
  • Trains and rolling stock used in garden railways.
  • Miniature buildings, structures, and bridges that line the tracks.
  • Horticultural requirements of garden railroads.
  • How to incorporate ponds and water features.

This gorgeous coffee table book takes readers on a pictorial tour of some of the world’s most beautiful garden railways. Filled with portraits of working garden railroads and discussion of what makes them great, Gorgeous Garden Railways appeals to railroad hobbyists, garden enthusiasts, and homeowners. Part garden guide, part hobby guide, Gorgeous Garden Railways opens new doors for beginners, and inspires those who are already familiar with or are active participants in this rapidly growing hobby.

Home & Garden / Professional & Technical / Agricultural Sciences

Perennial Solutions: A Grower's Guide to Perennial Production by Paul Pilon (Ball Publishing)

Perennials can be a challenge to grow, if for no other reason than there is so much variability between crops. With differences in vernalization and maturity requirements for flowering and other numerous factors, growing consistent crops is not for the faint of heart.

Paul Pilon, commercial perennial producer, and, before that, annual producer, in his book Perennial Solutions has put together a comprehensive book covering all aspects of producing perennial crops – propagation, fertility, media, pest and disease management, weed control, height control, and over-wintering. And, of course, a large section is devoted to forcing perennials into bloom to maximize sell through at the retail level.

There are at least five thousand species of perennials in commercial production. The book focuses on herbaceous, non-woody, perennial plants. Perennial Solutions presents specific production guidelines for thirty popular crops, including Aster, Delphinium, Hemerocallis, Hosta, Rudbeckia, and ornamental grasses. Detailed tables offer specific recommendations for using plant growth regulators (PGRs), herbicides, forcing schedules, and more. Chapters in Perennial Solutions include:

  1. An Introduction to Perennials
  2. Properties of Growing Mixes
  3. Fertility for Perennials
  4. Integrated Pest Management
  5. Diseases of Perennials
  6. Insects, Mites, and Other Pest of Perennials
  7. Controlling Weeds in Perennials
  8. Controlling Plant Height of Perennial Crops
  9. Perennial Propagation
  10. Forcing Perennials
  11. Overwintering Perennials
  12. Perennial Profiles

Perennials covered include: Ajuga, Aquilegia x hybrida, Aster, Astible, Ciampanula carpatica, Coreopsis grandiflora, Delphinium grandiflorum, Dianthus gratiartopolitanus, Digitalis pupurea, Echinachea purpurea, Ferns. Gaillardia x grandiflora, G. aristata, Gaura lindheimeri, Grasses, Ornamental, Hetnerocallis, Heuchera, Hibiscus mnoscheutos, H. x hybrida, Hosta, Lamnium maculatum, Lavandula angustifolia, Leucanthemmamn x superbum, Lilium, Asiatic Hybrids, Phlox paniculata, Platycodon grandiflorus, Rudbeckia fingida, Salvia x sylvestris, Scahiosa columharia, Sedum spectabile, Tiarella, and Veronica spicata.

Pilon in Perennial Solutions says that back in the late 1990s when he made the transition from a greenhouse grower of annuals and potted holiday crops to a perennial grower, there was a great disconnect between the vast array of cultural information available for the crops he had become accustomed to growing and the seemingly lack of information regarding commercially produced perennials. He has spent years trying to understand the many aspects of perennial crop production.

The current demand for perennials is strong, and this market continues to expand. Unfortunately, the economy, increased competition, and the costs of energy have created a tough business environment for many growers to maintain profitability. Perennial growers essentially have to produce the highest quality crops as efficiently as possible to retain a competitive advantage over other producers. Perennial Solutions focuses on the necessary cultural information and other topics specific to commercially producing perennials to help growers successfully grow these crops. With this information, growers can increase their success and take advantage of the numerous opportunities available with perennial crops.

Perennial Solutions compiles the many aspects of commercial perennial production into one easy-to-use reference. This comprehensive book, written by an experienced grower and consultant to businesses, should prove quite useful to commercial perennial producers.

Home & Garden / Professional & Technical / Architecture

The Perfect $100,000 House: A Trip Across America and Back in Pursuit of a Place to Call Home by Karrie Jacobs, illustrated by Gary Panter (Viking)

A home of one’s own has always been a cornerstone of the American dream, fulfilling like no other possession the desire for comfort, financial security, independence, and, with a little luck, a touch of distinctive character, or even beauty. But what we have come to regard as almost a national birthright has recently begun to elude more and more prospective homebuyers, as they find themselves either priced out of an overheated real estate market or numbly standing before a series of cookie-cutter developments that lack both character and substance. Where housing is concerned, affordable and well-crafted rarely exist together. Or do they?

Noted design critic Karrie Jacobs believes that they do. The Perfect $100,000 House chronicles her coast-to-coast search for just that: a well-built, intelligently designed, reasonably priced, decent-size house with at least a little curb appeal. Throughout her journey, Jacobs meets architects and builders who are revolutionizing the way Americans think about homes, about construction techniques, and about community.

Jacobs was the founding Editor in Chief of Dwell, a San Francisco-based nationally distributed magazine about modern residential architecture and design. Prior to that, she served as architecture critic of New York magazine, and her work has appeared in The New York Times. She is now a regular columnist at Metropolis.

In 2003, when Jacobs began her search for a beautiful, affordable house to call her own, she had only owned one piece of property before: a 720-square foot co-op apartment at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. Jacobs left her apartment and New York in 1999, moving to San Francisco, and after three years of discovering and publishing stories about architects and designers who were bringing ingenuity and the creative spirit back to home building, she realized that she wanted not just an apartment in a fast-paced city, but a home.

The Perfect $100,000 House is the story of that quest, a search that takes her from a two-week crash course in house-building in Vermont to an incredible road trip in her VW convertible of some 14,000 miles. In the course of her journey Jacobs encounters a group of intrepid and visionary architects and builders working in reclaimed urban areas and rural byways to revolu­tionize the way Americans think about homes, about construction techniques, and about the very idea of community. In Perryville, Missouri, she finds an aus­terely elegant glass and galvanized aluminum box that can be assembled from a kit. On Fox Island, Washington, she falls in love with an idiosyncratically modern, zebra-striped shed that is a brilliant assembly of pre­fab components. In Taos, New Mexico, she ponders whether she could really settle down in a hobbity structure made of recycled automobile tires and pressed earth. And in Houston she finds herself gratefully seduced by the vernacular charms of a Nuevo-­retro shotgun house.

Karrie Jacobs's story of her coast-to-coast search for the American Dream – a great, cheap house – is smart, fascinating, and fun. – Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons

An engaging and informative book, which in its combination of road trip and ongoing philosophical tract remind me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. – Leonard Koren, author of Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets, & Philosophers

Karrie Jacobs travels America in a quest for a house to call home in the modern world. Her book is beautifully written, poetic, and inspiring. For an instant spirits uplift, buy this book now. – John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception

By her trip's end, Jacobs and her readers have not only had a practical and sobering education in the economics, aesthetics, and politics of homebuilding, but have been spurred to challenge their own deeply held beliefs about what constitutes an ideal home. For anyone contemplating purchasing or building a house, or simply indulging their own dreams of doing so, The Perfect $100,000 House is a compelling and inspiring demonstration that we can live in homes that are sensible, modest, and beautiful. The Perfect $100,000 House also features illustrations by three-time Emmy award-winning artist Gary Panter.

Home & Garden / Professional & Technical / Architecture

Purcell & Elmslie: Prairie Progressive Architects by David Gebhard, edited by Patricia Gebhard (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

The time has come to recognize the work of two of the most influential architects of the Midwest, as well as their influence on architecture the world over. Purcell & Elmslie, written by noted architectural historian David Gebhard, does just that.

Organic, honesty, and democratic were the terms most often used by Prairie School architects in reference to their architecture. The new architecture of the early 1900s was in essence the culmination of a tendency toward indigenous expression that had been inherent in America since the seventeenth century. The initiators of this progressive philosophy were Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose works and writings are the most widely known. In fact, they are so well known that there has been a tendency to dismiss the others who worked and produced in the same period as copyists or minor innovators. Such is far from the truth, as the firm of William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie adequately indicates. They made significant contributions that were important not only in their own day but remain important in the fabric of our towns today.

Wishing to return to simplicity and honesty, Purcell and Elmslie created homes and buildings that were consistent with a democratic society – simple forms, the natural use of textural materials and decoration, and buildings that accommodated the nature of a site. The most productive of the Prairie School firms of the time, Purcell and Elmslie included in all their thinking the conviction that a building does not end with its simple structure but reaches its final and logical culmination in the clothing-color, situation and natural environment together with its decoration of glass, terra-cotta and other textural materials. Purcell & Elmslie contains details from the extensive office records of the firm of Purcell and Elmslie, as well as from letters, unpublished writings, notes and personal conversations with Purcell and Elmslie, the volume encompasses the history of the firm, from their residential designs such as the Purcell-Cutts House in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to commercial buildings such as the Merchants Bank in Winona, Minnesota, to civic buildings such as the Woodbury County Courthouse in Sioux City, Iowa.

A sample of projects found in the book includes:


  • John H. Adair Residence, Ottawana, Minnesota
  • Edna S. Purcell Residence, aka Lake House, aka Purcell-Cutts House, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • John Leuthold Residence, St. Paul Minnesota
  • Henry Einfeldt Residence, River Forest, Illinois
  • J.W.S. Gallagher Residence, Winona, Minnesota
  • Goodnow House, Hutchinson, Minnesota

Commercial and Institutional Buildings

  • Woodbury County Courthouse, Sioux City, Iowa
  • Merchants National Bank, Winona, Minnesota
  • Exchange State Bank, Grand Meadow, Minnesota
  • Stewart Memorial Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • First National Bank, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
  • Open Air Theater, Anoka, Minnesota
  • St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Institutional Building (YMCA), Siang Tan, Honan, China

The firm of Purcell and Elmslie was tremendously successful in the sense that their small open-planned free-flowing houses could be shared by a great number of Americans of moderate means. Chapters in Purcell & Elmslie include: The Nature of the Partnership; The Domestic Work; The Non-Domestic Work; The Late Work of Purcell & Elmslie, and much more, as well as an extensive timeline and a catalog of major projects.

A sumptuous, informative volume that should be welcomed by all those who appreciate the Arts and Crafts Movement. This book will likely remain the standard source for its subject for years to come. – Richard Longstreth, author of The Charnley House: Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and The Making of Chicago's Gold Coast.

This groundbreaking, comprehensive volume, Purcell & Elmslie, explores the work of two important members of the organic architecture movement, and celebrates their tremendously important contributions to American architecture and the Prairie School.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Break No Bones: A Novel by Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan Series: Scribner)

Following the tremendous success of Cross Bones, Kathy Reichs explores another high-profile topic in Break No Bones – a case that lands forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan in the middle of a gruesome international scheme.

Summoned to South Carolina to fill in for a negligent colleague, Tempe is stuck teaching a lackluster archaeology field school in the ruins of a Native American burial ground on the Charleston shore. But when Tempe stumbles upon a fresh skeleton among the ancient bones, her old friend Emma Rousseau, the local coroner, persuades her to stay on and help with the investigation. It becomes more important than ever for Tempe to help her friend close the case when Emma reveals a disturbing secret.

The body count begins to climb. An unidentified man is found hanging from a tree deep in the woods. Another corpse shows up in a barrel. There are mysterious nicks on bones in several bodies, and signs of strangulation. Tempe follows the trail to a free street clinic with a belligerent staff, a suspicious doctor, and a donor who is a charismatic televangelist. Clues abound in the most unlikely places as Tempe uses her unique knowledge and skills to build her case, even as the local sheriff remains dubious and her own life is threatened.

Tempe's love life is also complicated. Ryan, her current flame, has come down to visit her from Montreal, and Pete, her former husband, is investigating the disappearance of a local woman – and he and Tempe are staying in the same borrowed beach house. Ryan and Pete compete for her attentions, and Tempe finds herself more distracted by her feelings for both men than she expected.

Dan Brown can't hold a candle to the writing and plotting of Kathy Reichs. – Liz Smith

Temperance Brennan [is] the lab lady most likely to dethrone Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. – USA Today
A brilliant novel in the tradition of the best Southern gothic writing! What a pleasure it is to watch Tempe Brennan on the job once again, this time in the perfectly realized world of South Carolina. Reichs's seamless blending of fascinating science and dead-on psychological portrayals, not to mention a whirlwind of a plot, make Break No Bones a must read. – Jeffery Deaver, author of The Cold Moon and The Twelfth Card

… Kathy Reichs is a working forensic anthropologist who can also write! She combines her brilliance in both arts in her mesmerizing novels, and Break No Bones is the best yet! I am awed by its power and her ability to demonstrate what I call 'the silent secrets in the bones.' Once again, I am so impressed with the wealth of knowledge Reichs draws on, her suspenseful plotting, and her marvelous ear for dialogue and sense of place. … Reichs' fans will be delighted; I predict an overnight bestseller! … – Ann Rule, author of Green River, Running Red, Worth More Dead

Break No Bones is a smart, taut thriller featuring the kind of high-stakes crime that makes the headlines every week. Reichs, the inspiration for the hit FOX TV show Bones, is writing at the top of her form, and Tempe has never been more compelling.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Horror

The Ruins: A Novel by Scott Smith (Alfred A. Knopf)

Terrifying, unputdownable – that’s Scott Smith’s first novel since his best-selling A Simple Plan.

The Ruins follows two American couples, just out of college, enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico as, on an impulse, they go off with newfound friends in search of one of their group – the young German, who, in pursuit of someone, has headed for some ruins.
This is what happens from the moment the searchers – moving into the wild interior – begin to suspect that there is an insidious, horrific ‘other’ among them . . . and as they become increasingly at each other’s throats . . .
The set up is simple – on vacation in Cancún, Mexico, Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy meet a German tourist, Mathias, who persuades them to join his hunt for his younger brother, Henrich, last seen headed off with a new girlfriend toward the remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archeological dig. The four soon regret their impulsive decision after they find themselves lost in the jungle and freaked out by signs that they're headed for danger. Exceedingly well done in The Ruins is the controlled, eerie atmosphere.

The book of the summer…. No quietly building, Ruth Rendell-style suspense here; Smith intends to scare the bejabbers out of you, and succeeds. There are no chapter and no cutaways – The Ruins is your basic long scream of horror. It does for Mexican vacations what Jaws did for New England beaches in 1975…. It works well enough, I thing, to be the book most people will be talking about this summer. Enjoy the beach… enjoy the books… and watch out for those Mexican ruins. – Stephen King

The Ruins is ruthlessly frank about how most of us really behave in extremis. The escalating nightmare of the group’s fate evolves inexorably from their personalities, in a way reminiscent of Greek tragedy, so Smith couldn’t get away with the flimsy figurines that populate more genre fiction. In The Ruins, all of the characters and their vexed inter-relationships are richly and carefully drawn because, in a way, they are the story…. Scott Smith shows us an aspect of ourselves and of human nature we’d rather not acknowledge. He’s such a master, though, that it’s impossible to look away. – Laura Miller, Salon

It is remarkable to read such a terrifying work expressed in such a seductively reasonable voice. A work of singular power, carrying within it a moral that might well be a metaphor for a society in love with wretched excess. – The Washington Post
Electrifying… – Kirkus Reviews
Astonishing. – Vanity Fair

An atmospheric, compulsive thriller, well-written and original. The Ruins is the book of the summer – so good it’s got Stephen King talking – take it along on vacation and don’t plan to get much sleep.

Parenting & Families

The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland, with a foreword by Jaak Panksepp (DK)

It's both awesome and sobering to know that as parents we have such a direct effect on the actual wiring and long-term chemical balance in our children's brains. – Margot Sunderland

According to child psychotherapist Margot Sunderland, it's time to rewrite the rule book on raising a child. Backed by solid evidence from the latest studies into the impact of parenting on children's brain development, and the experiences of real families, Sunderland, Director of Education and Training for the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, explains the science without losing sight of the day-to-day realities all parents and children face.

The author's extensive research into the neuroscience of parent-child interactions has led to The Science of Parenting. Her conclusions have been drawn from more than 800 studies from around the world. Passionate but objective, this is the first practical parenting book to give readers the facts, not the fiction, on the best way to raise their children. For example, the book explains:

  • The chemistry of love between parents and children: how touch, laughter, and play stimulate hormones that boost the capacity to love life.
  • Popular child-care strategies, based on the latest research into how a baby's brain is shaped by experience.
  • How to respond effectively to tantrums and tears and get a good night's sleep.

Laid out like a textbook, the book has a clear organization, copious color photographs and plenty of boldfaced ‘Key Points’. The Science of Parenting explains how a baby's brain is hardwired and gives strategies for parents at each age and stage of their baby's development to ensure that their child is psychologically well adjusted, balanced, and emotionally healthy.

… a smart, complete book that never overwhelms. …Sunderland focuses on explaining how the child's underdeveloped brain motivates so-called behavior problems, including ‘tears and rage’ caused when baby's "higher brain is not developed enough to moderate these powerful lower brain systems naturally." One of the most interesting elements of the book is its insight into how a given parenting style affects a child in the long-run, such as the idea that "being left to cry means a child learns that he is abandoned just at the time when he needs help" and can make him vulnerable to depression and anxiety disorders. Easy-to-use and entirely thorough – covering not just baby care, but mom and dad care too – this is an excellent resource for parents, caregivers and other policy makers. – Publishers Weekly

If readers are tired of parenting gurus telling them what to do without telling why, The Science of Parenting is the answer. Confronting conventions, The Science of Parenting gives parents the know-how to understand and influence their child's social and emotional development, while providing practical solutions to everyday challenges. Sunderland’s balanced approach supports what parents want for their children, helping them to raise responsible, confident individuals.

Politics / Political Parties

Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government by Stephen A. Slivinski (Nelson Current)

The Republican Party is no longer the party of Reagan and Goldwater, the paragon of fiscal conservatism. A fight for the heart and soul of the Party is brewing.

In Buck Wild Stephen Slivinski tells the story of the GOP's transformation, revealing how and why Republicans have:

  • Become the biggest spenders in Washington since Lyndon Johnson.
  • Abandoned the keystone principles that catapulted them to power in the first place.
  • Betrayed taxpayers and fiscal conservatives.
  • Planted the seeds of their own undoing in the coming elections.

Buck Wild also explores questions about the fate of limited government, including whether conservatives within the GOP can gain control of the party ‘before it's too late.’

At the forefront of the Conservative Libertarian movement, Slivinski indicts the Grand Old Party and its spendthrift ways. Slivinski, Director of Budget Studies at the Cato Institute, explains his view of how Republican abandonment of limited government principles jeopardizes the future of the Party.

According to Slivinski, instead of fighting for a smaller government, Republican leaders have expanded government faster than at any time since the 1960s. Despite what the White House has said, most of the budget bloat has nothing to do with the war on terror or the war in Iraq. This is not a problem restricted to George W. Bush, although his role looms large. The other players in the this drama are Republican politicians who used to see Washington as a cesspool but now find it as comfortable as a hot tub. Through a behind-the-scenes narrative that covers the past 25 years, Buck Wild shows how the Republican's newfound fondness for Big Government has led directly to the ethical scandals that plague the GOP today.

Buck Wild does more than reveal what's wrong with the Republicans. It reveals what's wrong with us, the voters who put them in office. Politicians are foxes. But we insist on believing that some are guard dogs. We elect them to watch the hen house, and on the first Wednesday in November there's nothing left but feathers. – P. J. O'Rourke, author of Parliament of Whores and Peace Kills

During the course of Stephen Slivinski's superbly researched chronicle, we meet some true conservative heroes from whom we can draw inspiration for the future. Their constant courage, punctuated by occasional success, tells us that the fight against the Leviathan state might yet be won. – James P. Pinkerton, White House domestic policy aide under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush

Through impassioned narrative and trenchant analysis, Buck Wild offers a scathing look at how the Republican Party has embraced Big Government, once the province of the Democrats. As Slivinski says, maybe the Republican Party should spend some time in the political wilderness in order to recover the principles for which it once stood.

Professional & Technical / Crime & Criminology

Profit Without Honor: White Collar Crime and the Looting of America (4th Edition) by Stephen Rosoff, Henry Pontell, Robert Tillman (Pearson Prentice Hall)

Annual losses from white-collar crime may be 50 times as high as those from property crime. In Profit Without Honor, readers learn just how broad and serious the problem is. This systematic treatment of white-collar crime and its victims covers the problem in its broadest sense.

Utilizing both academic and popular sources, Profit Without Honor provides a vast array of information on white-collar offenses and challenges readers to grasp the importance and long term effects of this growing American problem. The book discusses where white-collar crime occurs, from schools, to corporations, to government, to hospitals.  Comprehensive case histories give readers a full understanding of the nature and consequences of different forms of white-collar crime including medical crime, computer crime and the crimes by the government.

The authors, Stephen M. Rosoff, associate professor of sociology and Director of the Graduate Criminology Program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake; Henry N. Pontell, professor of criminology, law and society in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine; Robert H. Tillman, associate professor of sociology at St. John's University in New York City, give equal coverage to the victims of white-collar crime, as well as the offenders. The book also contains thousands of references and allows readers to easily locate a topic and reference it within the text.

Profit Without Honor provides a vast array of information on white-collar offenses that challenges current concentration on street law-breaking as the most serious crime problem in the U.S. In the short time that has passed since the previous edition of the book, there have been significant new developments in the study of white-collar crime. Martha Stewart, one of the most iconic women in the history of American business, has been to prison. Former CEO's of WorldCom, Tyco, and Adelphia have been given prison terms so long that they are life sentences. And, most recently, the two former crowned heads of Enron have been convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and insider trading. Wal-Mart, the biggest company in the world, has become the second most sued entity in the world – trailing only the U.S. government – with violations ranging from crimes against its own employees, to monopolistic practices, to illegal union busting, to environmental contamination, and more. These topics, along with newer cases of embezzlement, securities fraud, political corruption, computer scams, and many other offenses are examined in this updated fourth edition.

Seldom do books of great scholarship take on the pacing of a thriller or the moral force of a statesman's oratory. Profit Without Honor does both. In ever-lively anecdotes and startling statistics, the authors expose the dark side of our justice system, a place where well-dressed thieves pull off million dollar heists with frightening regularity and almost always get away with it. The authors lay bare for us the environment that gave rise to the Enron and Worldcom scandals. It is a disturbing, fury-igniting story . . . and one every citizen shareholder should read. Profit Without Honor is an outstanding book. – Clifton Leaf, Executive Editor; Fortune Magazine

A great book! Profit Without Honor combines immaculate scholarship, penetrating insight, and a witty and engaging style of writing. Readers will find material that will trigger righteous indignation, and insights that will make them nod in agreement and wonder why they hadn't thought of that. The authors provide a vast array of information on white-collar offenses that challenges current concentration on street lawbreaking as the most serious crime problem in the United States. – Gilbert Geis, Professor Emeritus, Former President, American Society of Criminology

Wow! Profit Without Honor is one of the finest books that I have ever read on the subject of white-collar crime. Each chapter was outstanding; the writing style; the organization of the material, past and present; the research; and the footnotes. Profit Without Honor is outstanding. – Hugh J.B. Cassidy, Former Detective Commander and the Aide to the Chief of Detectives, NYC Police Department

A vivid documentation of the white-collar crime problem in the U.S. told with panache and insight. – John Braithwaite, Professor, The Australian National University

Once readers read Profit Without Honor, they will never be able to look at white collar crime the same way again. Profit Without Honor reveals that the battle between profit and honor is as old as human commerce and as elemental as human greed, clearly exposing the battle between personal gain and individual integrity. The book provides a comprehensive overview of white-collar crime in American society. Presenting a vivid picture of all types of white-collar crime, the book provides a thorough discussion of the victims and consequences of these criminal behaviors. It is appropriate for all criminal justice/law enforcement-related personnel who deal with white-collar/corporate crime issues, all citizens, students, public policy professionals interested in white-collar crime and its victims, as well as for all members of police departments.

Reference/ Writing / Education

Teaching Creative Writing edited by Graeme Harper (Continuum International Publishing Group)

In universities and colleges in North America, the United Kingdom and Australasia – and elsewhere, beyond the ‘Western’ world as well – the subject of ‘Creative Writing’ has seen steady to phenomenal growth, periods of relative stasis and periods of considerable change. Today, it is not only a subject found among English speakers, nor is it only to be found in undergraduate and postgraduate courses, nor is its story really one that can be told in a single narrative.

According to Teaching Creative Writing, creative writing, as an art, as an action and an activity, as a mode of engagement with the world, as the producer of artifacts in the form of books and plays and poems and television and films and websites and much more, and as a site of knowledge where there is teaching and learning undertaken, both in informal and formal ways, has a complex and distinctive character. Teaching Creative Writing is a collection of twelve essays written by international experts in the field. The book contains a critical introduction to the teaching and learning of the subject by the editor, award-winning writer Graeme Harper, (aka Brooke Biaz), Editor-in-Chief of the international journal New Writing, and Professor and Head of the School of Creative Arts, Film and Media at the University of Portsmouth. The book includes:

  • Responding positively to genre-specific challenges.
  • Considering learning styles and teaching techniques.
  • Actively approaching creative writing in universities and colleges.
  • Assessing the creative writing workshop and individual learning.
  • Relating practice and criticism: new work in the field.
  • Recommendations by authors of notable books/resources.

Contributors to Teaching Creative Writing cover writing short fiction, the novel, poetry, and how to write for new media, TV, radio, film, non-fiction, the stage, children and young adults. Teaching methods such as the critical-creative crossover, workshops, and key issues in creative writing research are examined and evaluated. Chapters and their authors include:

  1. Short Fiction – Katharine Coles
  2. Poetry – Chad Davidson and Gregory Fraser
  3. The Novel – Graeme Harper
  4. Writing for Children and Young Adults – Jeri Kroll
  5. Creative Non-Fiction – Martin Lammon
  6. Playwriting – Michelene Wandor
  7. Scriptwriting for Radio – Steve May
  8. Writing for Film and Television – Jack Epps, Jr.
  9. New Media Writing – Thomas Swiss and Cynthia Lewis
  10. Critical-Creative Rewriting – Rob Pope
  11. Workshopping – Stephanie Vanderslice
  12. Research in Creative Writing – Graeme Harper

In the introduction, Harper asks, what is creative writing – a branch of post-event literature analysis; or a branch of film analysis, drama, media or ‘new’ media? Is it in some way about aesthetics, or aesthetics of a particular kind? Is it more than solely a craft pursuit in which the skills and mechanics of application are the primary concern? The intention of defining and pursuing work in the site of knowledge that is creative writing is not only to seek out the truth of how creative writing, and creative writers, approach their field, but also to determine what truths creative writing is capable of pursuing, what information about ourselves it is actively considering, and what aspects of the world it is able to cast light upon.

Harper asked the writers contributing to Teaching Creative Writing were asked to creatively interpret the book's template. Many books on the learning of creative writing fix creative writing deal with chapters/subdivisions created not in the action or in the process of creative writing, but in responses to completed versions of it. Many ‘how-to’ creative writing books seem bound in approaches that emphasize compartmentalization not interaction, separation not synthesis, discontinuity not continuity. In essence, these ‘how-to’ creative writing books are working from the point of view of the intellect not from the point of view of the intelligence.

So the instructions to the writers in Teaching Creative Writing were to use Harper's template as a guideline, to endeavor to work to an overall chapter length that would make their chapters of a similar length to others in the book, if only to ensure a degree of parity, and to otherwise feel empowered to say what they felt was most important to say in the way they felt was most appropriate to say it. The chapters thus draw on the writers' personal understanding of creative writing in the genre or area with which the writers are dealing. Each writer had key expertise in the areas covered and each writer, or pair of writers, approached the task independently of the others. Harper’s guidelines to the writers:

  1. A section concerned with the writers' personal/creative/critical thoughts on, and about, teaching/learning the genre or area with which they were dealing.
  2. The writers to highlight their key points in teaching/learning the genre or area with which they were dealing.
  3. The writers to offer their choice of notable readings in/of/about the genre or area with which they were dealing.
  4. The writers to outline, as they thought best, the favorite exercises/strategies for teaching/learning/understanding the genre or area with which they were dealing.

What emerges in Teaching Creative Writing is the result of the creative and critical understanding of the writers. This is most certainly a book both about the teaching of creative writing and about the learning of it. The book  is, most importantly, a mnemonic, recalling teaching and learning choices, encouraging  readers to think on the ideas, approaches and texts, both those mentioned, and their own, personal alternatives. It is not a specific road map. Nor is it a marble tablet chiseled with the words ‘How To’.

Contains some of the wisest words I’ve read on the art – and I’ve read a lot. – Robert Phillips, University of Houston

Often witty, always insightful, and eminently practical, the essays contribute wonderfully to the literature on writing and its pedagogies. If you're a writer, a teacher of writing or a writing student, buy this book! – Jen Webb, associate professor, Co-Editor, The Journal of The Australian Association of Writing

The brilliance of this book is in the way it tackles the subject through such a diversity of creative voices.... The book will be an invaluable resource not only for those working in higher education but also for anyone serious in exploring their own creative lives. – Paul Munden, Director, National Association of Writers in Education

Teaching Creative Writing is a series of movements, a synthesis, a gathering, and a collaborative work. Tightly focused around typical course modules, innovative and lucidly written, this will be the essential book for teachers and learners of creative writing in higher education.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Finding God beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas by Kelly Monroe Kullberg (Veritas Forum Books: Intervarsity Press)

In her book Finding God at Harvard, Kelly Monroe brought together the stories of Christians whose search for truth led them to Veritas. Now in Finding God beyond Harvard she tells the story of her own journey into wonder and discovery, which took her beyond the ivied walls of Harvard to universities across the country. In the midst of the skepticism of the academy, she found a vibrant, interdisciplinary community unafraid of facing life's toughest questions, embracing the quest for true knowledge with intellectual rigor, delight and joy. As The Veritas Forum grappled with the insights of the academy's brightest Christian scholars, Kullberg came to realize that truth or Veritas is no abstract concept but the very light by which we see all things.

Finding God beyond Harvard takes readers on an intellectual road trip along with Kullberg as The Veritas Forum explores the deepest questions of the university world, and the culture at large. The book

  • Describes a holistic, embodied apologetic that brings together the story of The Veritas Forum and the content of Veritas.
  • Explores the plausibility of Christian truth and faith.
  • Includes insights from some of Christianity's brightest thinkers.

Kullberg, for many years chaplain to the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship, is the founder of The Veritas Forum. According to Kullberg, like so many university students, she found herself at Harvard facing a culture that was tolerant of anything but truth. Together she and a group of fellow students and scholars set out on a quest to know and embrace truth amid ‘flat-souled agendas and authorities.’

Kullberg says: "I went to [Harvard Divinity School] expecting to be challenged by both secular and Christian professors, students, and a broad curriculum. But by the end of an orientation lunch, I gathered that one was not to speak of Jesus or the Bible without a tone of erudite cynicism. I quickly learned that subtle mockery trumped reason….

The search for truth had degenerated into relativism and the acceptance of almost anything as true. A celebration of rich ‘diversity’ had faded into a gray, passive ‘tolerance’ that usually ignored the ideas and beliefs of isolated others – especially orthodox Christians.... "

The Veritas Forum was created to be a place for hard and real questions, along with honest answers. A group of graduate students, challenged by the emptiness around them, decided to face their hardest questions about life and truth. These grad students expected a hundred students to show up for the first Veritas Forum. Seven hundred came. They asked questions like

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • If God is real and loving, why is there so much suffering in the world?
  • Why can't we do whatever we want with our own bodies, and the bodies of others?
  • Where does love come from, and how can love last?

As told in Finding God beyond Harvard, curing the following fourteen years, Veritas Forums have emerged in more than sixty leading research universities involving nearly a quarter-million student and faculty participants. Hundreds of scholars, scientists and artists have emerged as presenters, including Condoleezza Rice, Dallas Willard, Armand Nicholi, Os Guinness, and David Aikman. The forums are created by local university students, professors and friends while guided by the national Veritas Forum team. Veritas Forums have been featured on ABC's World News Tonight, C-SPAN Books and National Public Radio, and in books and many campus newspapers. Finding God at Harvard written by students and scholars who attended the first Veritas Forum, won a Christian Booksellers Association Book of the Year award in 1996 and appeared on the bestseller list of the Boston Globe.

Kelly Monroe Kullberg shares some of her exciting experiences as the founder and national director of The Veritas Forum – the organization that has profoundly influenced college students to consider the spiritual meaning of their lives. This deeply moving story of her personal journey gives the reader new insight into her remarkable achievements. – Armand M. Nicholi Jr., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Question of God

Kelly Monroe Kullberg's memoir-cum-institutional history offers a most
stimulating introduction to the Veritas Forums that have been held at campuses in the United States and abroad. The focus on Jesus Christ as the Truth has also been the focus of her own peripatetic, energetic and thought-provoking life. – Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame, and author of America's God

Kelly Monroe Kullberg's new book reads like an extension of the book of Acts into the modern research university. Finding God beyond Harvard is not only Kelly's story, it is God's story of men and women who love the academy for Christ's sake. – Kenneth G. Elzinga, Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics, University of Virginia
The story of the movement that brought – and is still bringing – conversation about the reasonableness of Christian faith to universities. – Eric Convey, former religion reporter, Boston Herald

Engaging narrative and provocative content come together in this mind-stretching and heart-challenging journey. Finding God beyond Harvard, written by the founder of The Veritas Forum, has a warm, inspirational, even riveting, style. It is a passionate and courageous story and one that readers will have a tough time putting down.

 Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Jesus People: The Historical Jesus and the Beginnings of Community by David Catchpole (Baker Academic)

Who was the real Jesus? What made his followers into a community? How does that community connect with the people of Israel and with our Christian community today?

To define ‘community’ – readers may think of the myriad ways in which the term is used nowadays: ‘the gay community’, ‘the Muslim commu­nity’, ‘the rural community’, even ‘the hunting community’ – it is a daunt­ing intimidating task. Depending on the context in which the term is used, the emphasis may vary – sometimes shared location, sometimes shared genetic inheritance, at other times shared origins, shared interests, shared consciousness of vulnerability and powerlessness vis-à-vis another body which (for whatever reason) calls the shots of human life. A ‘community’ may never meet in order to express its sense of fellowship, or it may not be able to give full rein to that sense without meeting. The members of a community may be there because they cannot help it, or they may be there because they made a conscious decision to belong. The variety is kaleidoscopic, the common thread a deep-seated sense of some kind of bond with other human beings – a sense that ‘we stand together’ over against those who are ‘not with us’.

David Catchpole in Jesus People explores what sense of community there may have been in the experience of those who made a conscious decision to adopt some kind of positive stance towards the historical Jesus. Questions about the community brought into being by Jesus continue to stir readers into renewed examination of the evidence. What gave those men and women who took him seriously whatever sense they may have had of involvement or participation? What was their ‘community’, if they had one? What were they doing when they were, as one might put it, being themselves? What were the boundaries of their community, and how did that community relate to other groups who in religious or political or social terms?

The six studies which form the content of Jesus People are a considerably expanded version of a series of Lent Addresses given in Wells Cathedral in 2003 by Catchpole, scholar in residence at Sarum College in Salisbury, England, and emeritus professor of theological studies at the University of Exeter. In presenting the material in both its original oral and now written form, Catchpole, a respected veteran scholar in Jesus and Gospels studies, follows a deeply held conviction that this sort of study of the gospels is well within the compass of thoughtful and questioning Christian people.

Beginning with the mission of John the Baptist, Catchpole considers the costs and implications of discipleship, the centrality of prayer, attitudes toward Israel's way of holiness, the significance of the temple, and Jesus' understanding of his own death.

David Catchpole is a meticulous scholar whose critical and often creative interpretations of the traditions about Jesus are always worth pondering. He has shown himself consistently adept at raising crucial questions that others have failed to ask, and in this book the result is a host of novel and important insights. Jesus People is required reading for anyone wanting to be informed about the historical Jesus. – Dale C. Allison Jr., Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

The authentic voice of the historical Catchpole! Drawing upon a lifetime of traditional historical-critical study of the Gospels, and consumed with a passion to communicate that to others, David Catchpole demonstrates the context of the historical Jesus as a first-century Jewish prophet calling God's people to their mission. But also, in each key topic – such as following, praying, embracing inclusivity, the temple, and the Eucharist – he explores the continuity and discontinuity of the community of Jesus' people with the Easter people of Christians today. A fascinating, if provocative, read. – The Rev. Dr. Richard A. Burridge, Dean of King's College London

This book is a gem. Catchpole is a master of his craft in sorting out the layers of tradition in the Gospels, peeling away later accretions to bring us face to face with the historical Jesus. The result: a Jesus who is at home in a first-century Jewish context whilst also challenging that context with prophetic passion. This is critical – and committed –responsible scholarship at its very best, and in a thoroughly accessible form for readers at many levels. Catchpole's work will surely rank as one of the most outstanding of recent Jesus books. – Christopher Tuckett, professor of New Testament studies, University of Oxford

Catchpole, a respected veteran scholar in Jesus and Gospels studies, in Jesus People addresses profound questions with a mix of profundity and clarity that will engage scholars and give serious laypeople solid food for thought. By placing Jesus firmly in the context of Judaism, Catchpole confronts the serious ethical problems of Christian portrayals and caricatures of Jesus and Judaism. And he demonstrates a confident optimism, reinforced by years in the sphere of lifelong learning, that the appetite, the ability, and the aptitude for technical work is widely present in the population. And he asserts that the questing and the questioning will not be suppressed, and the issues that provoke both will not go away.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Education / Children / Ages 2-18

The Complete Guide to Godly Play by Jerome W. Berryman (Godly Play Series: Living the Good News, a division of Church Publishing)

This eight-volume series invites preschool through 6th-grade children to discover God, themselves and one another through entering into sacred stories. Based on Jerome Berryman's work in the Montessori tradition, Godly Play uses the telling of scripture stories and story figures and activities to encourage chil­dren to seek and find answers to their faith questions. Berryman is the founder of Godly Play and has wide experience working with children ages 2-18. He is Director of the Center for the Theology of Childhood in Houston, Texas.

Volume 1:  How to Lead Godly Play Lessons contains all of the material readers need to be familiar with the Godly Play approach, including how to create a special space for children, plan and present the lesson and help children develop spiritually.

Volume 2: 14 Presentations for Fall provides an opening lesson on the church year followed by 13 Old Testament stories, from creation through the prophets.

Volume 3: 20 Presentations for Winter includes 20 presentations based on stories about Advent and the feasts of Christmas Epiphany followed by parables.

Volume 4: 20 Presentations for Spring presents 20 lessons covering stories of Lent, the resurrection, the Eucharist and the early Church during Easter Season.

Volume 5: Practical Helps from Godly Play Trainers shares insights from experienced trainers and teachers. There are also stories and ideas for using Godly Play to its fullest.

Volume 6: 15 Enrichment Presentation for Fall provides new introductory material to help teachers work with older children.

Volume 7: Enrichment Presentations for Winter and Volume 8: Enrichment Presentations for Spring are not yet available. According to Berryman, Godly Play sessions can be adapted to fit meeting times from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Each lesson plan includes the story and a complete materials list.

Jerome Berryman's work helps children internalize the Christian tradition, and then offers them the opportunity to use that tradition in their daily living. – Rev. Jim Carr, Methodist Minister, San Antonio, TX

For those of us who have been using Godly Play for some time, this is just what we've been waiting for. These well-organized, easy-to-use volumes offer sessions to lead you through the year. – Candy Moser, Accredited Godly Play Teacher Trainer, Maitland, FL

I've always loved Godly Play and these books make it both easy and accessible to everyone. – Rev. Cheryl Minor, All Saints Episcopal Church, Belmont, MA

The Complete Guide to Godly Play introduces and explains this imaginative method for presenting scripture stories to children. This unique approach to religious education invites children to wonder about themselves, God and the world in a way that is playful and meaningful to them. The books in the Godly Play Series respect the innate spirituality of children and encourage them to use their curiosity and imagination.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History

Church History Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context by Everett Ferguson (Zondervan)

Church History offers a contextual view of how the Christian church spread and developed. It did so not in a vacuum, but in a setting of times, cultures, and events that both influenced and were influenced by the church. Church History looks closely at the integral link between the history of the world and that of the church.
Church History Volume One, written by Everett Ferguson, professor emeritus of Bible and distinguished scholar-in-residence at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, explores the development of the church from the days of Jesus to the years prior to the Reformation. Filled with maps, charts, and illustrations, it offers overviews of the Roman, Greek, and Jewish worlds; insights into the church’s relationship to the Roman Empire, with glimpses into pagan attitudes toward Christians; the place of art and architecture, literature and philosophy, both sacred and secular; and more, spanning the time from the first through the thirteenth centuries.
Church History Volume One includes these chapters:

  1. The Setting for the Story’s Beginning

  2. Jesus and the Beginnings of the Church

  3. The Subapostolic Age

  4. The Church and the Empire

  5. Heresies and Schisms of the Second Century

  6. The Defense against Rival Interpretations

  7. The Fathers of the Old Catholic Church and Their Problems

  8. Church Life in the Second and Third Centuries

  9.  Development of the Church During the Third Century

  10. Diocletian and Constantine: On the Threshold of the Fourth Century

  11. The Church in the Fourth Century: Doctrine, Organization, and Literature

  12. The Church in the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries: Monasticism, Expansion, Life, and Worship

  13. Christological Controversies to Chalcedon

  14. Augustine, Pelagius, and Semipelagianism

  15. Transitions to the Middle Ages: Germanic Migrations, Doctrinal Developments, and the Papacy

  16. Eastern and Western Churches in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries

  17. The Eastern Church from the Seventh to Eleventh Centuries

  18. The Western Church from the Seventh to Ninth Centuries

  19. Decline and Renewal of Vitality in the West: The Ninth to Eleventh Centuries

  20. The Papal Reform Movement and the First Crusade

  21. Intellectual Revival: The Rise of Scholasticism

  22. Monastic, Literary, Political, and Cultural Activities in the Twelfth Centuries

  23. The Glory of the Western Medieval Church: The Thirteenth Century

  24. Portents of Decline

Church history is the study of the history of those who have wanted to be God's people in Christ. It is a mixed people, and the story is a mixed story. Just as the biblical record of the people of God is the story of a mixed people with great acts of faith and great failures in sin and unfaithfulness, so is the history of the people who have made up the church through the ages. Contemporary students may find relative degrees of faithfulness and unfaithfulness in all areas of the church's life: doctrine, public wor­ship, prayer and devotion, evangelism and missions, quality of fellowship and caring, and Christian living (morality and benevolence).

History necessarily entails some attention to names, external events, and the sequence of development, but students should look beyond these things to the religious life of the people involved and grasp the perspective that this is the story of people. The framework of information, the details are necessary to the telling of the story, but the real story is the people involved. And they were a very human people, in spite of the theological affirmation of being a redeemed people.

Ferguson writes in Church History Volume One from the perspective that church history is the story of the greatest community the world has known and the greatest movement in world history. It is a human story of a divinely called people who wanted to live by a divine revelation.

As a participant in the heritage of Western church history, Ferguson necessarily gives more attention to the history of Christianity in the West. But as committed to the wholeness of Christian history, he gives adequate attention to other expressions of Christianity. So, although the primary narrative thread for the period covered is western Europe, especially the British Isles, the global and ecumenical environment of the twenty-first century requires coverage of Africa, eastern Europe, and Asia.

According to Ferguson, nothing is more relevant for understanding the present than the history of the past experiences of those who sought to follow Jesus Christ. Out of the conviction that the proper way to approach contem­porary problems is historically, Ferguson hopes to bring a historical consciousness to its readers.

Ferguson puts the story in a framework, explaining that three concentric circles of influence circumscribed the world in which early Christianity began. From the outside moving in, these influences were the Roman, the Greek, and the Jewish. The pattern of growth in the early church was the reverse, from the Jewish, to the Greek, to the Roman worlds. Unlike the mathematical image, however, these worlds were not sharply differentiated from each other, and the boundaries were quite porous. Nevertheless, the classification of influences is helpful in grasping the environment in which the early church began. Moreover, these influences remained formative for much of subsequent Christian history.

Church History Volume One is a church history text that integrates the events and development of the church with the social, economic, and intellectual history of the world around it. Church History Volume Two: Reformation to the Present by John D. Woodbridge and Frank James III is forthcoming.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History / Europe

Religious Differences in France: Past and Present edited by Kathleen Perry Long (Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies Series: Truman State University Press)

Religious Differences in France, edited by Kathleen Perry Long, professor of French, Cornell University, examines the history of religious dissent and discord in France, from the time of the Wars of Religion to the present day. Contributors analyze the various solutions elaborated by the government, by religious institutions, and by private groups in response to the serious problems raised by religious differences. This collection of essays also explores the impact these problems and these solutions have on religious and national identity, and how these issues play out in political and religious life today.

Chapters in Religious Differences in France and their authors include:

  • Introduction – Kathleen Perry Long
  • A Law of Difference in the History of Difference: The First Edict of ‘Tolerance’ – Denis Crouzet
  • Waging Peace: Memory, Identity, and the Edict of Nantes – Barbara B. Diefendorf
  • Sharing Sacred Space: Protestant Temples and Religious Coexistence in the Seventeenth Century – Keith P. Luria
  • Religion and Politics in France during the Period of the Edict of Nantes (1598-1685) – Christian Jouhaud
  • Catholic Conciliar Reform in an Age of Anti-Catholic Revolution – Dale K. Van Kley
  • French Protestants, Laicization, and the Separation of the Churches and the State, 1802-1905 – Steven C. Hause
  • Totems, Taboos, and Jews: Salomon Reinach and the Politics of Scholarship in Fin-de-Siecle France – Aron Rodrigue
  • Catholic Culture in Interwar France – Philip Nord
  • The Right to Be Different: Some Questions About the ‘French Exception’ – Carmen Bernand
  • Islam in a Secular Context: Catalyst of the ‘French Exception’ – Jocelyne Cesari

Religious Differences in France explores the history of religion in France from two fundamental perspectives: the assessment and renegotiation of the relationship between church(es) and state over the course of the last four hundred years, and the elaboration of individual religious identities relative to the state and to religious institutions. These two perspectives allow the author to sketch out the personal and institutional accommodations of religious diversity, as well as some of the personal and institutional causes of religious violence.

Religious debates in France are not new. Many solutions to the problems raised by religious difference have been tried: persecution and massacre, but also tolerance, assimilation and integration, laicite and republican universalism, and pluralism or multiculturalism. While some of these approaches are linked to a very precise period, their roots can be found in earlier periods and their significance extends much further than their own time. The collection of essays in Religious Differences in France is focused on the interactions between diverse religions, as well as between religion and secularism, but it is also focused on interactions between historical periods, differences as well as resemblances. In particular, the essays examine not only how the major minority religions in France – Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, and even Jansenism, a major dissenting branch of Catholicism – were treated by the state and by the Catholic Church, but also how they perceived themselves in the context of religious tensions and Catholic hegemony. The essays also deal with the importance of secularism, or its particular avatar in France, laicite, for religious diversity in France. Today, by far the largest religious minority is Muslim. It is impossible to accurately count the number of Muslims in France; various estimates hover around 4 million, although this may be well short of the actual number. This significant presence is testing the flexibility of the secular model of society established by the Law of 1905. The recent law (2004) banning Muslim headscarves and other conspicuous religious symbols in French schools is a sign of this confrontation between the secular state and its religiously diverse population. The resulting tensions recall previous conflicts over public displays of religious adherence, such as the riots that erupted periodically over the course of the sixteenth century when Protestants refused to doff their hats as processions carrying images of the Virgin Mary or of Christ passed in front of them, or when they gathered to sing the Psalms. To allow readers to place these essays in their historical context, Religious Differences in France provides an introduction, which gives a brief overview of religious issues and events in France from the late sixteenth century up to the present day.

The concept of tolerance, debated in France from the sixteenth century on, is still hotly discussed in terms of integrisme, assimilation (both terms evoking the desire for Muslims and others to adapt to the French culture), and le droit a la difference (the right to be different). Denis Crouzet points out in his article, “A Law of Difference in the History of Difference: The First Edict of ‘Tolerance,’” that although the framers of the so-called January Edict of 1562 envisioned a France eventually reunited under the aegis of one true religion, the edict calls for a suspension of the debate (and of the wars) over which religion is ‘true’ in the interest of civil peace. While bringing Protestantism to some degree under the protection of the Crown, the January Edict also makes the authorities of the new religion answerable to the royal officers and thus places the churches themselves under government scrutiny.

The elaboration of a complex relationship between church and state is retraced by Christian Jouhaud in his article on "Religion and Politics in France during the Period of the Edict of Nantes (1598-1685)" The victory at La Rochelle in 1628 gave new life to the Catholic cause, and the parti devot was able to call for the rejection of any policy that would privilege national interests over religious ones. But more Gallican-minded Catholics proposed that no spiritual or temporal power could release the king's subjects from their loyalty and obedience to him. Jouhaud presents Richelieu and Mazarin, the cardinal-ministers who largely governed France for forty years, as negotiating the shoals of these two views. This elaboration of the raison d'etat reinforced the mechanisms of absolutism and possibly prevented the evolution of a constitutional monarchy.

Expression of individual religious identity in the context of these political accommodations remains fraught with peril and difficulty. Barbara Diefendorf's essay, "Waging Peace;" explores the relationship between the various political accommodations of religious difference and the formation of religious identity among Protestants and Catholics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The various edicts of toleration promulgated in the sixteenth century were met with increasingly hardened Catholic resistance, beginning with the first War of Religion in 1562, to be followed by seven more civil wars that tore France apart until the Edict of Nantes in 1598. This increased resistance eventually led to the 1584 revival of the Catholic League. The various edicts, not the least the Edict of Nantes itself, seem based on a utopian vision of France reunited in peace under the banner of one religion; yet the hardened stances of Catholics and Protestants alike underscore the fantastical nature of this goal. For such an idealistic vision to function, a great deal of forgetting would have to take place; this ‘oblivion’ was officially demanded at the end of each of the Wars of Religion.

Keith Luria's essay on "Sharing Sacred Space" considers the framework that the Edict of Nantes created for religious coexistence in France. As with the January Edict, this solution was political and was functional only inasmuch as it maintained or restored public order. Where the perceived need for order and harmony in the community was greatest – often where there was a significant and/or powerful Huguenot presence and where the two religious communities had strong ties, as in Parthenay – compromises were formed and accommodations made on both sides to make the exercise of religious belief accessible to all. Clearly, the early years after the promulgation of the edict and the creation of commissions to assure its enforcement saw more successful attempts at coexistence. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, prohibiting Reformed worship in France, did not eliminate all cooperation between Catholics and Protestants, but such tolerance could no longer be expressed on a public, communal level. This brief experiment in coexistence came to a close.

As Dale Van Kley's work demonstrates, the French Catholic Church's internal debate over ultramontane (papist) governance as opposed to Gallican self-governance, fueled by the Jansenist and Jesuit controversies, created models not only for revolutionary notions of government, but also for the relationship between the church and the state. His essay on "Catholic Conciliar Reform in an Age of Anti-Catholic Revolution" traces the trajectory from the Jansenist struggles to church councils around Europe that served as models of Republican governance and through revolutionary redefinition of the relationship between church and state to the dawn of secularization.

Hause's essay on "French Protestants, Laicization, and the Separation of the Churches and the State;" traces the role of Protestants in the nineteenth-century debate over the separation of church and state, and in the formulation of the separation itself. State support for Protestantism grew steadily over the course of the nineteenth century. It was in these more comfortable circumstances that Protestants began to support the separation of church and state; this was in part a legacy of French Republicanism, long linked to Protestantism. But Protestant arguments for separation can be more clearly linked to the movement known as le Reveil toward a return to earlier forms of faith. Hause also traces the importance of individuals such as Alexandre Vinet, who elaborated a theory of the separation of church and state in 1826, basing his argument on the notion of moral individualism, related to the Reformed notion of the direct relationship between the individual and God. In relation to laicization, Protestants are best known for their considerable involvement in the establishment of a secular public school system.

Separated by law from the political sphere in 1905, the Catholic Church sought to tighten its hold on the social sphere by means of youth groups, social activities, and other outreach programs Philip Nord discusses in his essay on "Catholic Culture in Interwar France" They succeeded, particularly between the two wars, by fostering associations.

The Federation nationale catholique was founded in 1924 as a response to elections that swept the Cartel des Gauches (the Leftist Cartel) into office; by the late twenties, the membership of this federation was nearly two million, a figure attesting to the continued importance and strength of Catholicism in France. The Vatican also made the crucial move of placing the Action francaise under interdict, thus separating itself not only from monarchism in particular, but from political engagement in general. This nearly unprecedented decision led to the formation of a large number of nonpartisan associations, youth groups for the most part.

As Nord points out, Catholic culture became central to public life under Vichy. The centrality of Catholic culture stands in strong contrast to the marginalization of religious minorities throughout French history. Protestants in the ancien regime even pretended to be Catholics, often attending Mass and observing other Catholic rituals as long as royal soldiers were in town, only to return to their usual observances once the army had left. The marginalization of Jews throughout French history is even more striking. The emancipation of the Jews did not occur until 27 September 1791, when they were granted French citizenship and all the rights that accompanied it. Napoleon's decree of 17 March 1808 established a synagogue and a consistory in each department with a population of two thousand or more Jews. The prevalent view of the church was that Jews could neither be citizens nor be saved unless they converted to Christianity. Some saw the secularized Jews as the most dangerous since they were so difficult to distinguish from Christians. At the same time, some prominent financiers were from Jewish families, and some, like the Rothschilds, remained closely connected to their Jewish identity. This and other factors (still the usury issue, for example) linked Judaism closely to modern capitalism. For a number of reasons, including a rise in immigration from the East, anti-Semitism became quite virulent in the period immediately preceding the Dreyfus affair.

Alfred Dreyfus was accused of spying for Germany on 15 October 1894. He was from a family that had fled the German occupation of Alsace and had been a gifted officer in the French army. This event and the subsequent reactions put the possibility of assimilation into question. Franco-Judaism took on the mantle of the Republic. French Jews were very much engaged in the civil service and in politics.

Jewish leaders did not respond to the Dreyfus affair only as Jews, but also as French citizens working in the interest of basic human rights. But the Dreyfus affair did lead to new explorations of Jewish particularism and how it intersected with republican universalism, and to new articulations of Franco-Jewish identity. The course of Salomon Reinach's career, delineated and analyzed by Aron Rodrigue in his essay on "Totems, Taboos, and Jews: Salomon Reinach and the Politics of Scholarship in Fin-de-Siecle France," reflects the problematic choices many French Jews faced concerning their identity, and also shows the taunt lines of republican universalism.

The anti-Semitism surrounding the Dreyfus affair changed Reinach's scholarship in important ways. In the domains of linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology, a racial version of the origins of Western culture was being developed, with the Aryan race as the primary point of origin. This marginalized Semitic races, although some concession was made to the importance of Judaism for religious aspects of this culture. Reinach rejected these racial designations and moved more toward British anthropological approaches, applying them to religious studies. Religion, according to Reinach, did not originate in one specific location, but rather was a natural instinct in men and thus arose everywhere. But religion also evolved into purer forms of morality. Reinach's work became a critique of all religion as a primitive version of morality, with secularism as the evolved version of moral codes. His reaction to contemporary anti-Semitism was to push universalism to the extreme and reject any aspects of Judaism that hinted at the particular. Reinach in essence erased all distinctiveness from Judaism. As Jewish organizations defended more and more the particular practices of Judaism, Reinach found it impossible to continue his engagement in public service and was forced into the domain of pure scholarship. Similarly, Jewish militancy and republican universalism became somewhat more disengaged from each other even though they had served each other well at the end of the century.

It is not within the scope of Religious Differences in France to give a detailed history of the Nazi Occupation, but certain moments of the Occupation are particularly significant for this volume, such as the German law of 27 September 1940, which defined Jews as those belonging to the Jewish faith or having more than two grandparents of the Jewish faith. Jews who fled the Occupied Zone were forbidden to return; all remaining Jews had to register with the subprefect of their arrondissement. The registration did two things: it identified Jews and tracked them. These points of information were crucial to the 1941 and 1942 roundups (rafles), but they also signal a recurrent fear expressed by anti-Semites from as early as the eighteenth century: that the Jews were among the French, a nation within a nation, and they were not distinguishable from the French (ironically, an assimilation that Napoleon strove to achieve). Three out of four French Jews survived the Occupation, attributable to the tradition of republican individualism. Largely assimilated, many French Jews were able to seek means of escape from the peril. They were sometimes aided by non-Jews who had absorbed the principles of French republicanism, particularly the basic concept of human rights. The era of World War II saw a significant shift in the character of the Jewish population in France from an Ashkenazi majority (of eastern European origin), dominant since the Enlightenment, to a Sephardic majority of southern European origin. To some extent, this was because the Sephardic Jews had more completely assimilated to French culture.

The issue of assimilation continues to haunt France today, as the French attempt to come to terms with a growing and significant Islamic minority. But the relationship between France and Islam shifted dramatically when the French embarked on a colonial enterprise in North Africa in the nineteenth century, and Algiers was captured in 1830.

The situation in Algeria after World War II left little hope for a more egalitarian society. At the same time, increased industrialization during the war and for the trente glorieuses (thirty glorious years) after called for a larger workforce, one taken for the most part from North Africa. The workers, generally men, either unmarried or leaving their families behind, came on limited contracts with the assumption that they would return to their country of origin when they were no longer needed. Because of the temporary nature of this assignment, the presence of Islam in France did not seem to be much of an issue.

But French colonization had a powerful impact, both on Algeria and on France. The tendency of some French citizens to see Islam as a subversive element can be seen as the expression of a lingering resentment over the Algerian war for independence as well as a reaction to recent terrorist acts. The events of 11 September 2001 led to a discussion of the status of Islam in France throughout the media. More recent events call for a rethinking of French integrisme and for the possibility of more pluralistic approaches, as well as for a thorough reevaluation of the social status of Muslims in France.

Laws passed in 1976 concerning Islam reflected the still predominant assumption that Muslims were merely temporary workers in France. In 1989, in the wake of the first affaire des foulards in which Muslim girls wearing headscarves were expelled from school, Pierre Joxe named a commission of six Muslim experts, expanded in 1990 to form the Conseil de reflexion sur l'Islam de France (CORIF): "Its goal was to unify Muslim populations in order for the government to be able to interact with one well-informed interlocutor." This goal resembles closely Napoleon's in resurrecting the Grand Sanhedrin after centuries of disuse. As Jocelyn Cesari points out in “Islam in a Secular Context: Catalyst of the ‘French Exception’”, this desire to place Islam under the aegis or control of the state does seem to go against the spirit of the Law of 1905. In 1993, the CORIF was abandoned in favor of using the Mosque of Paris, controlled by Algerian Muslims, as the site of exchange with the government. In 1995, the High Muslim Council of France was founded as a result of dissent against the Mosque of Paris. As of December 1999, Jean-Pierre Chevenement began again the attempt to organize Islam in France.

Misunderstandings have also arisen from misinterpretations of French laicite, a concept that is comprised both of the separation of church and state, and the guarantee of freedom of religious expression. Socially, however, many interpret laicite as forbidding public expression of religious belief, particularly for minority religions (and thus headscarves, not crucifixes, are grounds for suspension). Cesari points out that laicite and the separation of church and state in France are the result of long efforts to repudiate religious tradition. Republicans founded a universal morality opposed to religious particularism with science as a foundation for that morality. The school became the institution most involved in promulgating this morality; hence, the conflicts that have boiled over in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s concern the wearing of headscarves in school, religious holidays, and religious instruction.

Carmen Bernand's essay on "The Right to Be Different" situates religious diversity in the context of cultural diversity and of fundamental human rights as defined by the revolutionary Declaration des Droits de 1'Homme (Declaration of the Rights of Man). Bernand particularly addresses the issue of whether universalism obscures the right to be different, and whether French secularism is in confrontation with multiculturalism. What is at stake in many current debates over religion in France is this distinction between public and private, a distinction that many intellectuals see as defining modern life. One precise use of the notion of ‘people’ as a "collectivity of humans equal before the law" is crucial to universalism. Bernand notes a period of iconoclasm when any public representation of any religion was forbidden. If French universalism is dependent on the separation of public (collectivity) and private (individuality), few people's lives are lived in such neat compartments. The Muslim community (as the Protestants and Jews did before) seems to be testing the flexibility of this universalist model in a situation complicated by racism and the renewal of Catholic ascendancy, as well as more strident interpretations of French republicanism.

France has a rich history of events and debates concerning religion's place in state and society, and relative to the individual. Some obvious truths appear from this history: no law, no threat, no act of violence can separate all fervent believers from their religion; nor can such means persuade all nonbelievers to convert to a particular religion. Therefore, religious difference will always exist, in the form of atheism, religious skepticism, or diverse religions. Such difference may be hidden in times of extreme menace, but throughout French history, religious differences stubbornly remain. Tolerance of religious minorities – a concept that falls short of acceptance, even if some of the more forward-thinking Enlightenment philosophers saw in it the potential for such acceptance – is not sufficient. Assimilation and integration, which assume that an individual will abandon much if not all of the culture surrounding his or her religion, function well only in relation to extremely secularized forms of religion. Pluralism or multiculturalism often strain the limits of the universal Declaration of the Rights of Man. But, glancing at the past as the essays in Religious Differences in France do, the present situation, if religious and political leaders could only reject violence, offers at least some small hope for the future. As Luria's essay suggests, coexistence is possible. And France's past torments and present impasse can offer valuable insights to much of the world, still trapped in the solutions of the past: war, persecution, and religious violence.

Religion & Spirituality / Islam

Understanding Islam: An Introduction by C. T. R. Hewer (Fortress Press)

The faith of a billion Muslims today, developed over fourteen centuries, is presented in this introduction to Islam, Understanding Islam.

Understanding Islam is written for people in the West with limited understanding of Islam and perhaps some misunderstandings based on current perceptions and Western experience of Islam as something ‘foreign.’ The book tells the story of Islam in a way that is accessible and so does not contain quotations from other scholars. It is the product of many years of study and teaching Christians and other people about Islam, but it is still the perspective of one person. In order to try to ensure that it is as faithful as possible to the Muslim tradition, the text has been read through by a number of Muslim scholars and by others who are involved in communicating about Islam in the West.

Author C.T.R. (Chris) Hewer, Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations at St. Ethelburga’s Centre, London, who has taught Islam and worked in the field of Christian-Muslim relations for twenty years, is a Christian. As such, he says, it is clear that he cannot accept everything Islam teaches or see the world in the same way a Muslim does. To do so, he would have to become a Muslim or risk being condemned as a hypocrite. Nevertheless, Hewer’s position is that Muslims are cousins in faith in the one God, and this requires that readers take seriously the message of the Qur'an and the lived example of Muhammad and ask what Christians might learn from this. The Qur'an is held by Muslims to be guidance for all humanity and not just for Muslims; similarly, Muhammad was sent with a universal mission to all humankind.

According to Hewer, several principles underlie the approach in Understanding Islam. First, the eighth commandment given to Moses requires people not to bear false witness against their neighbors, and the story of Islam is retold with fidelity to that tradition. Second, just as Moses took off his shoes at the burning bush because the ground on which he was to step was holy, so respect is given to Muslims on whose holy ground readers are about to step. Third, there is a significant difference between the ideals proclaimed by a religion and the realities of the ways in which it has been lived out through the centuries by followers who do not always live up to those ideals; this work errs on the side of the ideals of Islam because that is the way that any religion would like first to be understood. Fourth, not every follower of a faith has had the opportunity to study it in depth, and so readers need to acknowledge that they may well meet Muslims who do not see their faith in quite the way that it is portrayed in Understanding Islam. Fifth, this does not mean that they have to be uncritical of the story as it unravels; the Qur'an itself calls on people to ask questions and puzzle things out for themselves. Sixth, there is a real urgency for people in the West to come to some understand­ing of Islam, given that over the last fifty years substantial numbers of Muslims have been born or come to live in the West. Seventh, communication is a two-way process, and so at times elements of Christian thought are presented in a way that tries to communicate accurately to readers for whom this may not be familiar.

Understanding Islam is divided into ten chapters, the ten steps, each of which builds on what has gone before. It is intended to be read from the beginning, so that the foundations can be laid before looking at the details that are based upon them. Once the first three chapters have been absorbed, it is then possible to follow through different aspects, but without these foundations there is the possibility that later themes will be misunderstood. It can be used for self-study, and further books are listed in the bibliography for those who want to engage more deeply. It can also be used by a group of people who can read and explore each chapter in turn and thus together explore the whole picture. A glossary of Islamic words used in Understanding Islam is given at the back so that readers can refresh their memories about things that occurred earlier on. Chapters include

  1. The Wider Picture: Creation from a Muslim Perspective
  2. Muhammad, the Last in the Chain of Prophets
  3. The Qur'an, the Revealed Word of God
  4. An Overview of Islamic History
  5. The Central Beliefs of Islam
  6. The Principal Practices of Islam
  7. A Muslim Life
  8. Living Constantly Remembering God
  9. Islam and Other Faiths
  10. Muslims in Britain, Western Europe, and the United States

The book includes diagrams, a glossary, and easy-to-follow references to the Qur'an.

This is a clearly written and well-organized book that is a fine introduction to Islam. It will serve as a useful resource for all who desire to deepen their understanding and appreciation of this important faith. The author ably shows how the rich heritage of Islam is celebrated and expressed in the faith lives of Muslims. – John Kaltner, Rhodes College, author of Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know

Understanding Islam is a model in the genre. It will surely be of the greatest help not only for students of religious studies but for the general reader inter­ested in grasping what the faith and way of life of Muslims are essentially about, far away from the caricatures too often privileged in our time. – Yahya Michot, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University

The faith of a billion Muslims today, developed over fourteen centuries, is sympathetically and skillfully presented in Understanding Islam. Author Chris Hewer has taught Islam and worked in the field of Christian-Muslim relations for twenty years, and he is the author of The Essence of Islam. Eschewing stereotypes, Hewer's exceptionally rich and faithful account presupposes no prior knowledge of the tradition and avoids orientalist and Christian biases.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Astrology

Beneath a Vedic Sun: Discover Your Life Purpose with Vedic Astrology by William R. Levacy (Hay House)

Let each philosophy, each worldview, bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature, and dedication. – Algernon Black

An ever-increasing number of people today feel discontented, weary, or uncertain in their work. They really don't know what they should be doing for a living and are confused about their purpose. William R. Levacy is ready to lend a hand to answer the question, "What in heaven's name should I be doing?"

Beneath a Vedic Sun provides readers with principles and practices used in career assessment drawn from the fields of Vedic philosophy, modern career assessment, Vedic astrology, and the sister-sciences of Ayurveda and Vastu. Sample charts, illustrations, graphs, Internet search tips, and resource lists are provided to enrich readers’ learning experiences. There is also a special bonus enclosed with the book – a free CD of the popular “Parashara’s Light SE” Vedic astrology software.

The author, Levacy holds a B.A. in literature and an M.A. in education; has been a practitioner of Vedic astrology (or Jyotish, as it's called in India) since 1983; and is the Dean of Curriculum at the American College of Vedic Astrology (ACVA). Notably, in 1996, Levacy was one of a very few Westerners to ever receive the prestigious Jyotish Kovid award from the Bangalore Chapter of the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS).

Beneath a Vedic Sun is divided into four parts:

  • Part I covers the principles of Vedic philosophy that explain the mechanics of manifestation and creativity.
  • Part II explains the fundamentals of modern career assessment and development drawn from Levacy's work as an educator and specialist in the field of performance management and improvement.
  • Part III is the heart of the work and details the fundamentals of Vedic astrology related to career and life purpose. The birth chart is a unique career-assessment tool to identify and take action on what readers were meant to do.
  • Part IV explores how career and life purpose can be enhanced through Ayurveda, the science of health; and Vastu, the science of space – India's counterpart to Feng Shui.

Beneath a Vedic Sun answers readers’ questions in their pursuit of purpose in life and fulfilling work using the philosophy and techniques from the field of Vedic astrology and its supporting systems of Ayurveda and Vastu. The career guidelines provided in the book will help readers discover the type of work for which they are best suited, and will encourage them to develop the competency necessary to reach the highest levels of their destiny.

Religion & Spirituality / Occult / New Age

Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum: In Which the Origin, Nature, Characteristics, and Use of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury are Described in Three Parts Together with Much Wonderful Mathematical, Theosophical, Magical, and Mystical Material as well as Thoughts on the Creation of Metals and Minerals in Nature, Many Curious Mago-Cabbalistic Illustrations, and a Key to the Entire Work. Also Included are Essays on Divine Wisdom and an Appendix of Several Quite Rare and Precious Alchemical Pieces by Georg von Welling, translated by J. G. McVeigh, edited by Lon Milo DuQuette (Weiser Books)

For the modern student of the Western Mystery Traditions, it is impossible to overestimate the importance of von Welling's work. Its influence can be traced through the doctrines and teachings of a host of European esoteric institutions – even those that helped give birth to the Golden Dawn and the Modern Occult Revival. – from the foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Magick of Aleister Crowley

After nearly 300 years, one of the most important alchemical and magical texts of all time has now been translated into English.

In Goethe's lifetime, he was regarded as the most knowledgeable man in the world with expertise in history, literature, botany, astrology, biology, alchemy, and cosmology. The secret weapon in Goethe's intellectual arsenal was Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum, never before translated into English from the original German. In Goethe’s immortal play Faust, the pensive protagonist broods upon the ‘vainness’ of earthly knowledge before opening a book of magick and resolving to become a magician. The book that moved the real-life Goethe and the fictional Doktor Faust was Opus – this very book, with its revelatory secrets of alchemy, astrology, and the history of magick as well as those of Rosicrucianism, esoteric Freemasonry, the Illuminati, and the Golden Dawn – the book of forbidden knowledge that evoked every mystical cliché – Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum. This rare book is now available to general readers, having been translated by Joseph McVeigh, professor of German Studies at Smith College, and edited by Lon Milo DuQuette, world-renowned scholar and practitioner of the occult.

The author of the book, Georg von Welling (1655-1725) was born in Schwaben, Bavaria. He worked as the director of the Baden-Durlacher Office of Building and Mines until 1723 and died in Frankfurt. Von Welling was primarily known for this book, which influenced numerous subsequent authors and informed much of the tradition of Western Ritual Magick. Von Welling's Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum is divided into the three parts and each section is devoted to one of the three elements: ‘Salt’ is about creation and even includes theories about Adam and Eve and the origins of life; ‘Sulfur’ speaks to the universe is it exists now; finally, ‘Mercury’ is a portrait of prophecy, of what is to come, including the Apocalypse.

I couldn't put it down. This is sort of the theological resource upon which The Da Vinci Code and books like it are based. This book says things are hidden and meant to be found. – Joseph McVeigh, translator

The tendency to interpret physical change in spiritual terms was part of alchemy from its inception in the ancient world. Beginning in the Middle Ages and well into the 18th century parallels were drawn between alchemical processes and the mysteries of Christianity. …Of the theosophical writings of the first half of the century, along with the works of Sincerus Renatus and Hermann Fictuld, the [Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum] ranks among the more influential… It is good that we have Georg von Welling’s Opus at last in a vivid and well wrought English translation. To the degree that it quickens our symbolic quest for the true philosophical stone, may all those who study it remember: Georg von Welling has a biting sense of irony and humor. – Paul Nagy, RevReader

For von Welling, and those he influenced, alchemy is about unleashing the secrets hiding in the material world. Opus Mago-cabbalisticum Et Theosophicum is more than just a book of magick; it is a mystery school manual and the key to unlocking the secrets of this world and the next. This first English edition of Opus will appeal to anyone interested in the history or practical aspects of alchemy, astrology, magick, Rosicrucianism, esoteric Freemasonry, and the Golden Dawn. An essential addition to any library of classic esoteric literature, this edition also reproduces the famous illustrations.

Religion & Spirituality / Outdoors & Nature

The Book of Nature in Early Modern and Modern History edited by Klaas van Berkel and Arjo Vanderjagt (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change Series: Peeters)

From Antiquity down to our own time, theologians, philosophers and scientists have often compared nature to a book, which might, under the right circumstances, be read and interpreted in order to come closer to the 'Author' of nature, God. The ‘reading’ of this book was not regarded as mere idle curiosity, but it was seen as leading to a deeper understanding of God's wisdom and power, and it culturally legitimated and promoted a positive attitude towards nature and its study. An international conference on the Book of Nature was held in Groningen in May 2002. A selection of the papers which were delivered at the conference has been edited into two volumes. The first book was published in 2005 as The Book of Nature in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. This second volume is devoted to the history of that concept after the Middle Ages – The Book of Nature in Early Modern and Modern History.

Chapters and their authors include:

  1. Introduction – Klaas van Berkel and Arjo Vanderjagt
  2. The ‘Book of Nature’ and Early Modern Science – Peter Harrison, Professor of History and Philosophy, Bond University, Australia.
  3. The Mathematical Characters of Galileo's Book of Nature – Carla Rita Palmerino, Researcher at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Natural Philosophy, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  4. Reading the Book of Nature in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic – Eric Jorink, Researcher at the Huygens Instituut, The Hague.
  5. George Berkeley's ‘Universal Language of Nature’ – Costica Bradatan, Lecturer in Philosophy, Miami University.
  6. Nature in Defense of Scripture. Physico-Theology and Experimental Philosophy in the Work of Bernard Nieuwentijt – Rienk H. Vermij, The Institute for History and Foundations of Science, University of Utrecht.
  7. ‘The Law of Nature is a Lamp unto your Feet’. Frederik Adolf van der Marck (1719-1800) on the Book of Nature and Revelation – Henri Krop, Lecturer in the History of Philosophy, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
  8. Sermons in Stone. Johann Jacob Scheuchzer's Concept of the Book of Nature and the Physics of the Bible – Michael Kempe, Fellow of the Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main.
  9. Nature Writing and the Book of Nature. From Taxonomy to Narrative Truth – Johanna Geyer-Kordesch, Professor for European Natural History and Medicine, University of Glasgow.

Although the history of the metaphor of the Book of Nature goes back to late Antiquity, when Chrysostom and Augustine coined the phrase, it only became popular in early modern history. Why this is so has still to be determined. The shift from a liturgical reading of the Bible to a careful doctrinal and literary perusal of its text and the certainty that the Bible alone is the Word of God appear to have favored the book metaphor over other ways of looking at nature. Given the fact that the book metaphor seems to have been popular mainly, though not exclusively, in Protestant countries, it is clearly not unwarranted to emphasize a connection between the popularity of the metaphor and the Reformation.

The metaphor lost much of its popularity in the nineteenth century, and here too the question is: why then, and for what reason? The obvious answer would seem to be that the Darwinian revolution, triggered by the publication of On the origin of species in 1859, pulled the carpet out from under the metaphor. According to Darwin, (divine) design played no part in the gradual development of new species, natural selection solely being responsible for sifting out the best adapted new varieties within a given species. The so-called ‘argument from design’ was simply false; it was tantamount to something like an optical illusion. As a consequence, the idea of being able to read the book of nature rested on a misunderstanding. Yet it is undeniable that the decline of the metaphor of the Book of Nature began well before the mid-nineteenth century and so before Darwin entered on the scene. On the other hand, the persistence of the metaphor of the Book of Nature after Darwin is even more remarkable. Of course, Christian fundamentalists rejecting evolution had no reason to discard the metaphor, but there are indications, too, that in the nature movement as it developed at the end of the nineteenth century, the metaphor – and the entire way of thinking that it represents – gained new currency. Thus Darwin's influence appears not to have been as decisive as might be supposed.

These questions – and many more – were addressed by the participants of the international conference exploring the Book of Nature concept held in Groningen in May 2002.

The essays in The Book of Nature in Early Modern and Modern History all have a more or less exploratory nature, some surveying the use of the metaphor in a specific period, others detailing an unknown episode in its history, and still others opening up new fields for research. Although a definite account of the rise and fall of the book of nature metaphor has still to be written, the essays go a long way toward constructing that account.

Social Sciences / Popular Culture / African American Studies / Race Relations

Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture by John Strausbaugh (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin)

American culture is neither absolutely racist nor politically correct. It is also neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mongrel. And in this omni-American culture, writes John Strausbaugh, Blacks and Whites "mock and mimic one another, are by turns attracted to and repulsed by one another, sometimes love and sometimes hate one another, sometimes fight and sometimes embrace. It is a culture no high-minded purist could love, and no wishful forgetfulness will amend. All this will continue for as long as America is America."

Today blackface performances are widely considered racist and insulting. But, writes Strausbaugh, in Black Like You, "however shameful we find it, blackface has played a large and integral role in the formation of American popular culture." Strausbaugh, a writer and freelance contributor to The New York Times, delineates the history of the form, starting from the late 19th century, when minstrel shows dominated American popular entertainment.

Although blackface performance came to be denounced as purely racist mockery, and shamefacedly erased from most modern accounts of American cultural history, Strausbaugh shows that, nevertheless, its impact has been deep and long-lasting. The influence of blackface can be seen in vaudeville, Broadway, and drag performances; in Mark Twain and ‘gangsta lit’; in the earliest filmstrips and Hollywood's 2004 White Chicks; on radio and television from The Amos 'N' Andy Show to the reality show Black. White; in advertising and product marketing; and even in the way Americans speak.

Even such notably humanitarian show business giants as Irving Berlin wrote minstrel-show songs that were performed in blackface by popular entertainers like Bing Crosby.

Strange as it may seem now, many Black artists, including the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and the great vaudevillian Bert Williams, participated in blackface minstrelsy, even while subtly subverting its demeaning symbolism. Meanwhile, from slave celebrations to modern movies, Blacks have used whiteface to satirize Whites. And white rappers like Eminem, Strausbaugh notes, dress, move and sound black.

I expected Black Like You to be smart and thoughtful, and it is. I expected it to be clear-eyed and sharp-tongued, and gutsy and original, and it's all those things as well. What completely surprised me was that it left me feeling a little happy and hopeful about being an American. We are lucky to have John Strausbaugh on this case. – Kurt Andersen, novelist and host of public radio's Studio 360

Kirkus Strausbaugh has taken a disturbing piece of American cultural history and illustrated the ways that [blackface], for better and for worse, helped change our world...Persuasive [and] provocative. – The New York Times Book Review

...breathtakingly good in exploring why this fascinating and repulsive phenomenon continues to resonate... – The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Anyone familiar with director Spike Lee's satirical film ‘Bamboozled’ will have a head start on the themes in Black Like You, John Strausbaugh's take on the sordid history of blackface minstrelsy, the mongrel nature of America and related skeletons in the closet of U.S. pop culture. …

Strausbaugh makes it simple to trace the lineage from a minstrel dandy such as Zip Coon to the current rap popularizers of bling such as Lil Jon. … overall, Black Like You is an all-encompassing, breezily written summary of an aspect of American popular culture usually swept under the rug. – Miles Marshall Lewis, Washington Post

Black Like You is a refreshingly clearheaded and taboo-breaking look at race in America revealing popular culture as a mix – a mongrel. Particularly compelling in Black Like You is the author's ability to tackle blackface – a strange, often scandalous, and now taboo entertainment. From Jim Crow, Aunt Jemima and Buckwheat to Eminem, Shirley Q. Liquor and Dave Chappelle, with remarkable candor Strausbaugh illuminates realities about race rarely discussed in polite company as he traces the course of one of America's most controversial forms of entertainment.

Sports / Religion & Spirituality / Sociology

Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America (Sports and Religion) by Joseph L. Price (Mercer University Press)

Rounding the Bases, written by Joseph L. Price, presents the intersection between baseball and established religions. In various ways the book charts new territory in the literature about baseball and religion.

Unlike previous works (such as The Faith of Fifty Million) that merely assert that baseball, as the national pastime, is an American civil religion, or others (such as And God Said, ‘Play Ball’) that draw parallels between the Bible and baseball, this book develops a sustained sociological argument for the conclusion that baseball is ‘a distinct denomination of American civil religion.’

Price, faculty member at Whittier College and an avid sports fan since childhood,  says that the trinity of baseball, family, and faith fused in his childhood experience in ways that prompted him to work through the distinctions, convergences, and conflicts related to these multiple affections and allegiances. The chapters in Rounding the Bases, many of which were initially conceived as discreet presentations, have emerged out of his ongoing desire to deal with these passions and to reflect on them in various ways – confessionally, historically, sociologically, mythically, journalistically, and literarily.

The first chapter provides a journalistic survey – a kind of ‘rounding the bases’ – of the intersections between baseball and religion in the past century and a half of American life. After identifying early conflicts between churches and baseball in the late-nineteenth century, Price examines the appropriation of baseball by the House of David, an early twentieth-century millennial Protestant community in southern Michigan. A historical and spiritual examination of that religious community and its team furnish the focus for the second chapter. Then chapters three and four focus on the ways that baseball reflects religious myths. First, the omphalos myth about the origin and ordering of the world is reflected in the rituals and rules of the game. Then the myth of curses is explored in the culture of superstition that underlies the game.

At the heart of Rounding the Bases, chapter five, is a sustained argument about how baseball functions as an American civil religion, affirming and sanctifying American identity, especially during periods of national crises such as wars and terrorist attacks. If baseball were not experienced as having the power to shape worldviews, the other essays in Rounding the Bases would be merely a string of occasional reports and confessions rather than an argument about the religious power of baseball. Building on this analysis of baseball as an American civil religion, chapters six and seven draw upon novels by W. P. Kinsella and David James Duncan to explore theological themes and concepts – the sacramental potential of baseball as well as soteriology and eschatology – and to align baseball with apocalyptic possibilities.

The final chapter interprets baseball affiliation stories as conversion narratives. It presents Price’s own confession while providing a literary analysis of the worldview-shaping power of baseball for many who have become its passionate fans.

Price’s passion for baseball is evident throughout Rounding the Bases as well as the religious character of rituals in sporting events and the spiritual significance of fans’ devotion to sports teams.

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