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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

December 2006, Issue 93

Guide to This Issue

Arts & Photography

Big Sky: Wild West Panorama by Tim Fitzharris (Firefly Books)

My words are tied in one
With the great mountains
With the great rocks
In one with my body
And my heart. – Yukots

Big Sky is a personal celebration of the American West by one of its finest photographers and authors. Distilled from more than two decades of exploration, Tim Fitzharris' Big Sky captures beautiful panoramas rarely matched in majesty and diversity. Big Sky includes tinted canyons, cactus-studded deserts, ice-capped mountains, rumpled badlands, the misty beaches of the Pacific and a limitless expanse of prairie wildflowers.

Fitzharris, who writes a monthly column in Popular Photography and Imaging magazine, opens Big Sky with personal observations on photographing the American West and then presents a retrospective of his photographs, organized by region:

  • High Plains
  • Canyon lands
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Southern deserts
  • Pacific coast.

For each of these six sections there is an introduction to the landscape, followed by 12 plates for a total of 72 photographs. Here in brilliant color are 72 stunning panoramics of the North American West, including locations in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Washington, Alberta and British Columbia. Each section is introduced with a short Native American verse about the land, underscoring the connection of the human soul and spirit to its surroundings. Then Fitzharris sets the scene, describing the surrounding land and its flora and fauna, for, as he writes, "the beauty of the land and sky falls empty without the tapestry of life that they support."

According to Fitzharris, the images in Big Sky are the result of more than two decades of exploration, searching for the right sites, the right light, and the right cloud formations to do justice to these incredible landscapes. Shot by this award-winning photographer/writer as three to five separate images each, the photos were stitched together in the field on his computer as huge, detailed billboard-quality images. In Big Sky, they are reproduced as panoramic 15 x 11 inch spreads.

But the book is more than a celebration for, as Fitzharris notes, the ecosystems of the lands he depicts are besieged in numerous ways – by mining, forestry, oil and gas extraction, industrial development, residential sprawl and more. "Making these photographs," he writes, "was a pleasure, especially the time spent in the field gathering images. The enterprise may serve further if it impresses the reader with both the beauty we have – and the beauty we stand to lose."

Short of jumping into an RV and setting out for the western wilderness, there is no better way to see the magnificence of the landscapes than in Big Sky; it is an iconic collection of panoramic views of the North American West. With their brilliant color and wide perspective, these images take readers to the heart of a wilderness dreamland. For those who have visited the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and Badlands on either side of the border, these images bring back the immediate response of wonder and awe. For readers who has yet to travel to the ‘Wild West,’ these gorgeous panoramic images instantly allow them to imagine the vastness, the openness, the diversity and the majesty of these landscapes. And it may well be Fitzharris' definitive work, demonstrating his reverence and respect for the American West.

Arts & Photography / Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Great Women of the Bible in Art and Literature by Dorothee Soelle & Joe H. Kirchberger (Fortress Press)

Historical fascination with women of the Bible has contributed a wealth of artistic images, literature, legends, fables, and religious poetry to Western traditions. From heroic figures such as Judith and Esther to friends like Ruth and Naomi, the Bible presents a plenitude of women whose deeds and desires have inspired Western art and culture for more than two thousand years.

While they have always inhabited the popular imagination, only in the last generation have the figures of biblical women come strongly to the forefront of historical investigation and theological reflection.

Culled from a larger, more expensive volume by the same authors first published in 1994, Great Women of the Bible in Art and Literature, focuses on fifteen biblical characters and gloriously presents not only their stories but also more than 200 art-historical images of them, along with commentary by the late theologian Dorothee Soelle, former Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and discussion of their post-biblical legacies in art and literature by historian and journalist Joe Kirchberger. Sections open with the relevant citations from the Bible, which are answered by Soelle's commentaries. After the story of Sarah, for instance, Soelle reflects on the meaning not only of that story but also of the parallel one of the enslaved Hagar, with its import for those who desire social justice. This is followed by a summary of the ancient literature showing the way the characters have been used by European writers.

The figures discussed include Eve and Lilith, Sarah and Hagar, Tamar, Ruth and Naomi, Abigail, Judith, Esther, the woman who anointed Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Mary and Martha, and many more. The illustrations range from mosaics to contemporary paintings.

This splendid art book explores the various meanings artists have found in the Bible's female figures. … As for the illustrations – several per page – they range from ancient mosaics to contemporary paintings, with many florid Renaissance artworks in between. Tamar, Potiphar's wife, Deborah, Delilah, the Witch of Endor, Bathsheba, Judith, Mary of Magdala, and more appear in these pages, enlivened and enriched by the artists whom they have inspired. – Patricia Monaghan, Booklist

… The stunning visual program … bridging the ever-widening gap separating ancient narrative from medieval and modern perception. Written in an accessible style, the book achieves a rare balance of cultural history and religious meditation… popular presentation and scholarly authority. Most of all, it robustly shows that any thoughtful reading of the Bible must attend to the decisive presence of the fascinating women who animate it from one end to the other. This book teaches us how to remember. – David Morgan, Duesenberg Professor of Christianity and the Arts, Valparaiso University

Who were these biblical women really and how did they live? . . . If we discount the differences in social, cultural and religious conditions, the women of the Bible are like today's women, in their sorrow and joy, love and passion, freedom and dependence, their intelligence and resignation to their fate. But they were wrongly ignored for years by theologians and preachers. Women had to rediscover women. By digging into the biographies of these great women they have been able, also, to rediscover themselves in the Bible. – Herbert Haag, Professor of Old Testament Emeritus, University of Tübingen

This is a beautiful gift book with real substance. As evidenced in this great treasury and its expert commentary, biblical women from Eve to Mary Magdalene are now better understood in their original historical and literary contexts, as well as in their enormous symbolic legacies in Western art, literature, and culture. Great Women of the Bible in Art and Literature gloriously presents the character of these 15 women through art and searching commentary. Treated in this way, the panoply of biblical women becomes a fascinating record of and meditation on the many identities and life meanings of women in history and today.

Audio / Biographies & Memoirs

Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York [UNABRIDGED, 8 Audio CDs, 9 ¾ hours) by Adam Gopnik (HighBridge)

Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York [Hardcover] by Adam Gopnik (Knopf)

Adam Gopnik received wide acclaim for his 2000 Paris to the Moon based on his ‘Paris Journal’ column appearing in the New Yorker. Through the Children's Gate is the continuation of the Gopnik’s adventures against the panorama of a different, though no less storied city, as the family attempts to make a new home for themselves.

In Through the Children's Gate it is Autumn 2000: After five years in Paris, Gopnik moves his family back to a New York that seems, at first, safer and shinier than ever. Here in the wondrously strange ‘neighborhood’ of Manhattan we observe the triumphs and travails of father, mother, son, and daughter; and of the teachers, coaches, therapists, adversaries, and friends who round out the extended urban family. From Bluie, a goldfish fated to meet a Hitchcockian end, to Charlie Ravioli, an imaginary playmate who, being a New Yorker, is too busy to play, the Gopnik's new home is under the spell of the sort of characters only the city's unique civilization of childhood could produce.

Not long after their return, the fabric of living will be rent by the events of 9/11, but like a magic garment, will reweave itself, reviving normalcy in a world where Jewish jokes mingle with debates about the problem of consciousness, the price of real estate, and the meaning of modern art. Along the way in Through the Children's Gate, the impermanence and transcendence of life will be embodied in the person of a beloved teacher and coach who, even facing death, radiates a distinctively local light.

Engaging, witty, thoughtful, clever, casual, ebullient, erudite, and thoroughly modern. – Gabriele Annan, The Spectator (London)

Back … Gopnik… records in his tidy, writerly and obsessive fashion his family's relocation to the city of his earliest professional aspiration: New York. …His 20 various essays meander over topics dear to the hearts of New York parents, such as learning to be appropriately Jewish (‘A Purim Story’) …. The less structured series of essays on Thanksgiving are most pleasing and read like diaries, ranging from the rage over noise to the safety of riding buses. Gopnik conveys in his mannered, occasionally gilded prose that New York still represents a kind of childlike hope – ‘for something big to happen.’ – Publishers Weekly
… he demonstrates anew how, despite tackling two of the world's greatest and oft-written-about cities, he has staked out his own mastery of the literature of place. As Gopnik ranges over contemporary life in the Big Apple, bringing into his purview and commentary such specific topics as raising children in that vastly busy environment and indulging in one of the city's favorite preoccupations (namely, consulting a psychotherapist), he lets there be no mistake that these pieces are literate, serious in his analysis of social issues (even though he can be funny at the same time), deeply thought out and well reasoned, and arise from not only an immaculate writerly talent but also a sharp ability to understand why people, in particular places, do peculiar things. – Brad Hooper, Booklist (starred review)

Through the Children's Gate is a chronicle, by turns tender and hilarious, of a family taking root in the unlikeliest patch of earth. Written with Gopnik’s signature mix of mind and heart, the book is elegant and exultantly alert to the minute miracles that bring a place to life. The audio book is unabridged and read by Gopnik, who has written for the New Yorker since 1986. He is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting.

Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers

A Caribbean Mystery: A Miss Marple Mystery [AUDIOBOOK] (Audio CD, running time: 6 hours) by Agatha Christie, narrated by Rosalind Ayres (A Miss Marple Mystery: Audio Partners, Mystery Masters)

A Caribbean Mystery: A Miss Marple Mystery [AUDIOBOOK] (4 Audio Cassettes, running time: 6 hours) by Agatha Christie, narrated by Rosalind Ayres (A Miss Marple Mystery: Audio Partners, Mystery Masters)

In another of Audio Partners’ Mystery Masters series reissues, A Caribbean Mystery, the indomitable spinster Miss Jane Marple is recovering from a bout of pneumonia. Sent on a dream vacation by her nephew, she basks in the warm sunshine of the West Indies, reminiscing about the good old days in Saint Mary Mead where there was always something interesting going on. The sun, the sea, every day seems boringly and distressingly the same – every day, that is, until the elderly bore, Major Palgrave, dies, thrusting Miss Marple into a murder investigation of a most exotic nature.

"Would you like to see a picture of a murderer?" Jane Marple is asked by the Major one evening, but before she has a chance to answer, he vanishes, only to be found dead the next day. Miss Marple questions whether she should get involved. After all, he did have high blood pressure, didn’t he? Or did she? She gingerly questions the elderly physician, only to discover that the photo of the murderer is missing. She’s given assistance in her investigations by millionaire, fellow guest Jason Rafiel.

So why is the hotelier prone to nightmares? Why doesn't the most talked-about guest, a reclusive millionaire, ever leave his room? And finally will Miss Marple be able to prevent the next murder?

Agatha Christie (1890-1976), Dame of the British Empire, the world's bestselling fiction author, is deemed the most popular mystery writer of all time. She was named Best Writer of the 20th Century at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention.

Handled with that exquisitely smooth technique that is uniquely Mrs. Christie's. – The New York Times

Liveliness...infectious zest...as good as anything Miss Christie has done! – Observer

There is no more cunning player of the murder game than Agatha Christie. – Sunday Times

Throws off the false clues and misleading events as only a master of the art can do. – New York Times

Miss Marple, Christie's most appealing sleuth, returns in A Caribbean Mystery, a classic baffler of a vacation turned deadly. In the only Marple mystery to take place outside of England, first published in 1964, Miss Marple's dull vacation, turns into a spellbinding adventure, delightful in its twists and turns. The audiobook is read by Rosalind Ayres, a well-known English actress who is probably best known for her role in the movie Titanic.

Business & Investing / Entrepreneurship / Public Policy

Female Entrepreneurship edited by Nancy M Carter, Colette Henry, Barra Ó Cinnéide and Kate Johnson (Routledge Advances in Management and Business Studies Series: Routledge)

Over recent years, the promotion of female entrepreneurship has become a key area of debate among academics, policy makers and support agencies. Today, woman entrepreneurs represent a third of all business start-ups, and the need to understand the why, what and how of women entrepreneurs has increased the need for a well-researched, comprehensive publication on the topic.

Female entrepreneurship, as a subject of academic research is fast becoming a primary focus for scholars, practitioners and governments alike. Women are now setting up the so-called ‘new economy companies’; with success in high technology, life sciences and professional services, women are becoming important agents of economic and social change.

But despite the impact that female entrepreneurs have in terms of economic activity and new job creation, the role of female entrepreneurs is often undervalued and underplayed. Women still have an alarmingly poor share in the new venture creation market and, compared to their male counterparts, tend to start and manage their businesses differently, opting for unconventional industries, mainly in the services sector. Furthermore, according to the literature, women entrepreneurs are both risk and debt averse and, whether due to market failure or direct impediments, typically fail to attract the level of capital investment considered vital for major business growth.

Female Entrepreneurship advances understanding and effect change in the field of female entrepreneurship in strategic ways. First, it promotes the study of female entrepreneurship as an issue capable of separate and detailed analysis, thereby facilitating its development as an academic discipline in its own right. Second, by examining a number of pertinent themes in the female entrepreneurship literature, the book uncovers the nature of women entrepreneurs, their characteristics, their behavior patterns and the challenges they face as they maneuver through the new venture creation process. Third, by examining female entrepreneurship in different country contexts, and by identifying some successful initiatives which have been designed to encourage more women to participate in new venture creation, Female Entrepreneurship informs educators, trainers and policy makers about what can be done to promote female entrepreneurship at the local and national levels.

Accepting that differences exist in the nature of female entrepreneurship in different countries, the editors have adopted an international perspective in their choice of material. This monograph presents a collection of edited, research-based contributions from leading international scholars and researchers within the field of female entrepreneurship. The editors of Female Entrepreneurship are Nancy M. Carter, Vice President of Catalyst Inc., former Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the London Business School; Colette Henry, Head of the Department of Business Studies and Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Research at Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland; Barra Ó. Cinnéide, Professor Emeritus, University of Limerick; and Kate Johnston, Senior Researcher, also at the Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, Dundalk Institute of Technology. Contributors, in addition to the editors, include:

  • Gry Agnete Alsos, Senior Researcher, Nordland Research Institute, Bodo, Norway.
  • Clare Brindley, Head of Department of Strategy and Innovation, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.
  • Candida G. Brush, President's Chair in Entrepreneurship, Chair-Entrepreneurship Division, Babson College.
  • Sara Carter, Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Stirling, Scotland.
  • Christine Diegelmann, Ministry of Economic Affairs Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart.
  • Elizabeth J. Gatewood, Director of the University Office of Entrepreneurship
    and Liberal Arts, Wake Forest University.
  • Patricia G. Greene, Provost, Babson College.
  • Alison Hampton, Researcher, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.
  • Myra M. Hart, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School.
  • Shirley-Ann Hazlett, Joan Henderson and Claire Leitch, School of Management and Economics, Queen's University Belfast.
  • Frances Hill, Director, Executive MBA Programme, School of Management and Economics, Queen's University Belfast.
  • Briga Hynes, Department of Management and Marketing, University of Limerick.
  • Elisabet Ljunggren, Research Manager and Senior Researcher, Nordland Research Institute, Norway.
  • Pauric McGowan, Director of NICENT (Northern Ireland Centre For Entrepreneurship), University of Ulster.
  • Susan Marlow, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, De Montfort University, Leicester.
  • Rick Newby, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance, School of Economics and Commerce, University of Western Australia.
  • Petra Puechner, Managing Director, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum, Coordinator Innovation Relay Centre, Stuttgart-Erfurt-Zurich, Haus der Wirtschaft, Stuttgart.
  • Ita Richardson, Head of Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick.
  • John Watson, Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance, School of Economics and Commerce, University of Western Australia.

The chapters that make up Female Entrepreneurship combine the theoretical with the empirical to offer insights into the essence of female entrepreneurship. Following the introductory chapter, the monograph is divided into two parts: Part I deals with the authors’ understanding of female entrepreneurship and contains five, mainly empirically-based, chapters, each exploring a pertinent aspect of the current research agenda in this field. Part II considers the promotion of female entrepreneurship and contains four chapters, with a mixture of empirically and experientially-based contributions which aim to identify and share good practice in promoting female entrepreneurs. A Conclusions chapter (Chapter 11) reviews the contributions in the context of what can and should be done to encourage and promote female entrepreneurship.

In Chapter 2, Carter and Marlow lay the foundation for the monograph by reviewing the existing literature on female entrepreneurship and highlighting the key themes to emerge from the early 1980s and into the new millennium and beyond. The authors illustrate how research on female entrepreneurship has not only expanded but matured in recent years, with much of the contemporary literature on entrepreneurship and new venture creation now more sensitive to the nuances of gender.

In Chapter 3, Watson and Newby develop some of the nuances of gender discussed in the previous chapter by focusing on the differences in the goals of owner-operated small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Watson and Newby question the validity of using traditional ‘hard’ economic measures alone to assess and con­trast the performance of female- and male-led firms. Their study, which involved 474 male and 137 female SME owner-operators in Western Australia, argues that future SME studies which seek to examine the impact of gender might be better served by the use of masculinity and femininity scores, rather than biological sex.

The issue of attitudes towards entrepreneurship is examined in Chapter 4 by Hazlett, Henderson, Hill and Leitch. The authors explore the differences in attitudes towards entrepreneurship among female and male students, based on a sample of 596 undergraduates, across a variety of business related subjects. The authors report that the females in the study appeared to place considerable value on networking, were more likely than men to perceive risk as a barrier to starting a business and that considerably fewer men than women perceived not having the necessary business skills as a potential barrier. The authors conclude that, in the absence of further data, there is a need to tailor educational curricula to raise the total entrepreneurial activity particularly for female students at third level.

In Chapter 5, the theme of the general perception of female entrepreneurship is explored in greater depth by Ljunggren and Alsos. Using discourse analysis based on 117 newspaper articles in leading business papers, the authors demonstrate that current media discourse on entrepreneurs is highly masculine in nature. Echoing Watson and Newby's chapter, the authors conclude that the male portrayal of an entrepreneur is very much the ‘norm’, with the female entrepreneur considered as something different, which is, unfortunately, sometimes perceived as something ‘subordinate’.

Chapter 6 explores the networking behavior of female entrepreneurs at the start-up and growth stages of the new venture creation process. Based on research from a pilot study, the chapter authors – McGowan and Hampton – develop a tentative model of the networking practices of female-owned SMEs. Their study illustrates how the length of time a female entrepreneur is in busi­ness impacts her level of knowledge and confidence, thus affecting her networking style and abilities.

Part II of the monograph shifts the focus to what can actually be done to encourage more women into new venture creation. Chapter 7, by Brindley, lays the foundation for Part II by considering the various barriers women entrepreneurs face in the new venture creation process. Quite simply, the fact that success for self-employed women is not solely related to finance but can also mean the effective maintenance of home/work balance, suggests that women will remain disadvantaged as this view of success does not fit with conventional thinking. She calls for specific initiatives to be introduced to address the ‘complex system of interacting motivations’ that prevent women from entering the world of entrepreneurship in greater numbers.

Picking up on the concept of finance as a key barrier to female entrepreneurship, Chapter 8, by Brush, Carter, Gatewood, Greene and Hart, considers women's financial strategies for growth. The authors suggest that women are typically disadvantaged when starting a business because they have been unable to accumulate savings similar to their male counterparts, due to having lower incomes. The authors conclude that bootstrapping as a financing strategy can be highly effective in helping to position the business for external equity investment.

Chapter 9, by Richardson and Hynes, discusses the lack of women in both technical employment and entrepreneurship. Their research supports the literature in suggesting that a lack of women studying technical disciplines has a direct impact on the number of technology-based female entrepreneurs. Based on the experiences of the University of Limerick, three practical initiatives are examined which were designed to encourage more women to study engineering, science and technology based subjects and to consider self-employment as a viable career option.

In Chapter 10, Puechner and Diegelmann report on an international study conducted by the ProWomEn network, an EU initiative established in 2001 to promote women entrepreneurs. The research undertaken by the ProWomEn team considered the state of female entrepreneurship across a range of European countries in an effort to gather data on the varying levels of female entrepreneurial activity and, more specifically, to identify good practice examples in the promotion of female entrepreneurship.

Finally, in Chapter 11, Carter and Cinnéide draw conclusions from the contributions and consider the way forward. The authors recognize that the sudden increase in research into female entrepreneurship in the last two decades is presenting significant challenges to educators, trainers and policymakers. The authors seek to identify the key implications of this research for the education, training and policy agenda, and thus Female Entrepreneurship concludes with some practical recommendations designed to facilitate the task of promoting female entrepreneurship at the regional and national levels.

The volume provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing female entrepreneurs worldwide, advances the general understanding of female entrepreneurship, and sets a research agenda on how best to promote female owned/led businesses both nationally and internationally.

Providing a much-needed, insightful analysis into the complex range of issues facing female entrepreneurs throughout the world, Female Entrepreneurship also provides recommendations as to how support agencies, educators and trainers can best respond to the challenge of encouraging more women to get involved in new business creation. The book will also be of benefit to those working in the areas of Business Studies, Entrepreneurship, Gender Studies and Business Development.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Politics / International / Education

Organizational Learning in the Global Context edited by M. Leann Brown, Michael Kenney & Michael Zarkin (Ashgate Publishing Limited)

The social sciences assign fundamental importance to learning. For example, cognitive psychologists and educators investigate how human beings acquire, organize and store information, ideas and knowledge. Anthropologists and sociologists examine how cultural values, norms and group identities are transmitted across collectives and generations. And economists and the business community study the development of new technologies and how firms survive and become more effective over time.

No less than their cross-disciplinary kin, political scientists have exhibited considerable interest in learning. Dating back to Herbert Simon's seminal formulation in 1947, a significant body of scholarship focusing on ‘organizational learning,’ ‘political learning,’ ‘government learning,’ ‘policy learning,’ and ‘social learning’ has emerged. Taking theoretical cues particularly from psychology, organizational sociology and economics, scholars of public policy and administration, and international and comparative politics have sought to understand how individual decision-makers, government bureaucracies, states and societies draw upon experience, information and knowledge to change their understanding of the world, their policies and their behaviors.

Organizational Learning in the Global Context is edited by M. Leann Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science/International Political Economy at the University of Florida; Michael Kenney, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science in the School of Public Affairs at the Pennsylvania State University, Capital College; and Michael J. Zarkin, Associate Professor of Political Science at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT.

Organizational Learning in the Global Context contains twelve case studies based on original research. They consider organizational learning associated with multiple issue areas including the United States Cuban embargo, food security in the European Union, the Russian energy sector, Columbian drug trafficking, terrorist groups, the Catholic Church, and foreign aid agencies, all relevant to international relations, comparative politics, organizational sociology and policy studies. The case studies are organized to consider, firstly, several aspects of learning processes including levels or orders of learning, leaders and learning, and the role epistemic communities play in learning. The editors then devote a segment to social and policy learning that draws particularly on the social learning literature in comparative politics and constructivism. The third segment, Chapters 8 and 9, considers learning by illicit organizations, drugs cartels and terrorist groups, under crisis conditions. The final four chapters acknowledge the potential challenges and pitfalls involved in organizational learning under the heading ‘Deterrents to Learning.’

In addition to the editors, the contributors include:

  • William J. Campbell, with the Heart of Florida United Way.
  • Lynn Eden, Associate Director for Research and Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation.
  • David C. Ellis, Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations at New College of Florida.
  • Karen Guttieri, teacher in the National Security Affairs Department of the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, California).
  • Goran Hyden, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida.
  • Brian A. Jackson, Associate Physical Scientist at RAND.
  • Eric A. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida (Brevard and Seminole Counties).
  • Michael J. Oliver, Professor of Economics at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Rennes, France and the University of Plymouth Colleges, Jersey in the Channel Isles.
  • Paolo Spadoni, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rollins College.

Most contributors to Organizational Learning in the Global Context focus analytical attention on learning dynamics or processes, for example, acquiring new information, ideas, beliefs and understanding via policy feedback (failure or success), research, epistemic communities, discourse, or learning by doing. However, isolating these organizational processes for analysis is a formidable task, and, thus, indicators of learning must be identified. Changes in organizational routines, procedures, policies, norms, goals and paradigms represent the most easily identified indicators of learning. Given that many factors aside from learning affect ultimate organizational outcomes, most concur that these processes and changes may or may not result in more effective policies or goal achievement.

Contributors to Organizational Learning in the Global Context concur with existing organizational learning literature that several levels of learning sophistication may be identified. The most simple and common forms of learning are relatively small and incremental changes in organizational routines, procedures and policies deriving from experience, particularly policy failure. Several chapters point out the importance of organizational research, policy imitation or transfer, and experts and/or epistemic communities. And several chapters provide evidence that relatively small organizations with horizontal patterns of authority and communication are generally more likely to experience effective learning than larger, multilevel and hierarchical ones. Such factors as leadership, the quality of information processing and storage systems, and social capital including open communication, fairness and trust also figure largely in an organization's capacity to learn. In contrast to a somewhat linear conceptualization of incoming information serving as the basis for organizational learning, several contributors writing within social learning and constructivist orientations are interested in how various actors' interaction and discourse affect organizational learning.

Several of the cases reiterate that the quality of incoming information influences the ability of the organization to achieve productive learning. In general, learning is enhanced to the degree that incoming information is accurate, relevant, comprehensive and clear. Ambiguity and uncertainty may be two-edged sword. Faced with uncertainty and ambiguity, organizational personnel may be more willing to engage in research and solicit information from epistemic communities. On the other hand, policymakers may resort to various heuristic devices to guide policy decisions that may bias interpretation.

The editors note several times in Organizational Learning in the Global Context that the contributors make clear the competitive as well as cooperative nature of learning. Learning processes may be competitive in the sense that actors compete to frame policy issues and act as advocates, persuaders and teachers for their preferred ideas and policy recommendations. And all the chapters identified and confirmed the existence of interactive relationships among ideational, knowledge, learning factors with more overtly political and economic factors.

Several chapters provide empirical evidence of the importance of leadership in facilitating or deterring effective learning. However, Campbell and others' studies also highlight how difficult it is for leaders to learn and how they may represent important barriers to organizational learning. Leaders are often too busy to engage in prolonged periods of research, information gathering or reflection. Guttieri points out that leaders may be invested in status quo practices and prone to exploit existing competences rather than develop or embrace new ones.

An important contribution of Organizational Learning in the Global Context is the fact that illicit actors are included among the organizations studied. Idealist scholars who implicitly associate learning with positive outcomes generate most organizational learning literature. Chapters 8 and 9 depart from this trend by investigating how drug trafficking and terrorist organizations learn. Obviously the previously discussed generalizations apply to illicit organizations, however, the conditions within which they operate are extreme. Illicit organizations operate in very competitive rather than cooperative environments, as a matter of fact, they exist in a constant state of crisis because they must learn in a timely fashion or be destroyed. Moreover, the factors generally regarded as conducive to effective learning are missing: including an open exchange of information, cooperation and trust, and institutionalized systems of information storage. Kenney and Jackson provide convincing evidence, however, that the high negative and positive incentives for learning and the virtually flat network structures of these organizations make surviving illicit organizations important examples of learning organizations.

This is an extraordinary book…the authors bring centre stage a penetrating arsenal of analytic and empirical tools to cast light upon issues of our knowledge based age. Students, scholars and interested citizens will profit immensely from this volume. – John de la Mothe, Canada Research Chair in Innovation strategy, University of Ottawa

This volume provides a theoretical useful and historically rich treatment of learning by different types of actors in a variety of interesting subject areas. It is an important contribution to our understanding of a critical aspect of social behavior that will be of interest to scholars and students in nearly all of the social sciences. – Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors’ Professor, Rutgers University

Organizations in the 21st century have moved beyond industrial age structures and management models to those shaped by information, knowledge, and technology. All theorists of organizational learning concur that simple forms of learning are more common than paradigmatic learning and ‘learning how to learn.’ The editors contend that all organizations are constantly learning – the concerns are whether they learning the ‘right’ lessons and whether the lessons learned can be translated into productive learning, i.e., effective policies that enhance goal achievement.

Organizational Learning in the Global Context does not naively assume that learning provides exclusive explanations for policy change, but concurs instead with Robert Keohane's critique of purely power-oriented, rationalistic theories of international organizations. The book reaches a number of important policy-related conclusions that will be of use to policy makers and well as to all social scientists. Educators as well will find much of interest.

Business & Investing / World Economics / History

The Twilight of the Nation State: Globalisation, Chaos and War by Prem Shankar Jha, with a foreword by Eric Hobsbawm (Pluto Press)

A strikingly intelligent, lucid and troubling book ... It is essential reading. – Eric Hobsbawm from the foreword

The Twilight of the Nation State provides a detailed history of the rise of capitalism from its early days through the industrial revolution until today. Written by one of the leading scholars of the Global South, it takes the position that globalization is generally poorly understood.

From outside the usual Western perspective, Prem Shankar Jha challenges many preconceptions about the impact of globalization. Jha, columnist for and former editor of the Hindustan Times, New Delhi's main morning daily, formerly Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and also Visiting Professor and Lecturer at the University of Virginia, argues that capitalism has developed in four major stages.

The Twilight of the Nation State attempts to give shape to a widely shared and growing unease about the direction in which the world is moving. It argues – contrary to the belief that pervaded most of the intellectual debate about the future in the mid- and late 1990s – that the world is not moving towards order, peace and prosperity, but towards increasing disorder and violence. The largest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, the United States, considers itself to be at war. This war is not being waged against a state, not even against a clan, a tribe, or a family, but against an abstract noun – terrorism, now shortened to terror. To pursue this war, President George W. Bush has announced that the U.S. military will go wherever the terrorists reside, or are being spawned, in order to prevent the threat from reaching America's shores. This is a recipe for war without end. The boundaries between war and peace are therefore being eliminated, side by side with the boundaries between nations. It is therefore hardly surprising that an opinion poll carried out in the weeks before Bush's second inauguration showed that 58 per cent of the people polled believed that his re-election had made the world less safe – 16 out of the 21 countries covered by the survey felt this way. Fear of an America ruled by Bush was strongest among its traditional allies: Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Turkey.

The Twilight of the Nation State attempts to study the disorder that has followed the ‘golden age of capitalism’ which spanned the third quarter of the last century. It warns readers that the transition the world is going through will not necessarily end in a new equilibrium. On the contrary, the disorder could easily deepen till it dismantles the entire edifice of civilized society. The Twilight of the Nation State traces the globalization of capitalism; its destruction of the institutions built during more than two centuries of nation state-based capitalism; the first, tentative steps in building institutions that will enable human society to cope with capitalism's stormy rebirth; and the threat that these infant institutions face from the U.S.'s sudden return to nineteenth-century hyper-nationalism.

The book is divided into four parts. Chapters 1 and 2 present the alternate views of the future and puts the rise of global capitalism in the historical framework of capitalism's earlier cycles of expansion. Chapters 3 to 7 describe the onset of systemic disorder in the industrialized countries and the international economic system. Chapters 8 to 12 describe the assault on, and dismantling of, the global political order established after the Treaty of Westphalia, and the inherent unsustainability (demonstrated by Iraq) of the American bid for Empire. Chapters 13 and 14 describe the crossroads at which the world stands poised, the acute pressures that seem destined to force it to continue down the road to nowhere, and the change of direction that is needed if a peaceful global society capable of reaping the benefits of technology and the information revolution is to emerge.

Jha says The Twilight of the Nation State took him nine years to write. He draws especially heavily on the work of four scholars: Fernand Braudel, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Polanyi and Giovanni Arrighi. Jha ends The Twilight of the Nation State with the warning that reifying the market and placing all of one's faith upon it to usher in a more prosperous and peaceful world could lead to the destruction of human civilization. According to him, the twentieth century showed that the violence unleashed by the fourth cycle of capitalism's expansion had proved very nearly unmanageable. But the transition from British to American hegemony is dwarfed in scale by the transition that capitalism is making today. The future is inherently difficult to predict, but the possibility that the violence that it releases will prove unmanageable is too real to ignore. A recognition of the dangers it poses, and concerted international action to slow down the process and protect those who are hurt most severely by it will reduce the threat that civilization faces. But, according to Jha, that is precisely what the transnational corporations and the richest and most powerful nation on earth have set their faces against.

A thoughtful, well-documented, and passionately argued account. It should be read by anyone who cares about the future of world society. – Giovanni Arrighi, Johns Hopkins University

Preen Jha is one of the few experts on globalization from the developing world. He offers a cogent and valuable account of its grand possibilities but also warns against its pitfalls. – Shashi Tharoor, Undersecretary General for Public Affairs of the United Nations, New York

The Twilight of the Nation State is a groundbreaking, provocative, and even frightening book examining the role of the nation state and offering an in-depth historical perspective on the rise of capitalism. Arguing that globalization is generally poorly understood, Jha gives a new synthesis of political and economic theory that sheds light on the consequences of rapid industrialization worldwide. The book presents a unique perspective on globalization that will be of interest to all students of economic theory and international relations.

Children’s / Ages 4-8 / Animals

Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow (Library Binding) by Anna Sewell, illustrated by Jane Monroe Donovan (Classic Picture Books Series: Sleeping Bear Press)

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.

Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow gives parents and grandparents the opportunity to introduce their children to one of the classics from their own childhood.

Designed for young readers and a wonderful introduction to the classic, this adaptation of Black Beauty combines simple text with art that captures the tender relationship between mare and foal.

One of the most popular animal stories of all time, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty was first published in 1877. Drawn from the beginning paragraphs of the original text and intended for even the youngest of horse lovers, Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow depicts the first few months of the horses life as a foal frolicking in the meadow.

Artist Jane Monroe Donovan has drawn on her love of horses to render the classic story that conveys a pastoral world of green fields and shady trees and the peace and tranquility of the foal's early days. Donovan wrote and illustrated Winter's Gift, for which the Chicago Sun-Times credited her with "lovely, soft paintings, which capture perfectly the contrast of the cold winter weather and the warmth of a generous heart."

Black Beauty was the only book Anna Sewell (1820-1878) was to ever write but its influence on the world of children's literature remains significant. Born in Norfolk, England, Sewell's early Quaker upbringing instilled a lifelong sense of compassion and kindness for all creatures. She sustained an injury at an early age that was to leave her permanently disabled. As a result, she relied on pony carts and horse-drawn carriages for mobility.

Black Beauty is told from the horse's perspec­tive, starting with life as a young foal and then growing into a mature and (by story's end) world-weary animal. Detailing the horse's experiences at the hands of multiple owners, the story is not only a plea for more humane treatment of animals; it is also a vivid and insightful commentary on the customs and social conditions of Victorian England.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow, the harmony of words and pictures proves once again that the simplest messages are often the strongest. Readers will relish the sweetness of life in the meadow and the companionship of family and friends. Horse-lovers of all ages will want to add this edition to their collections.

Children’s / Ages 9-12 / Fiction

The Secret of the Loon Lake Monster (Library Binding) by M. Masters (Can You Solve the Mystery? Series: Spotlight)

The Case of the Clever Computer Crooks (Library Binding) by M. Masters (Can You Solve the Mystery? Series: Spotlight)

Mysterious events are happening all around!

The Can You Solve the Mystery? fiction series is full of mysteries, secrets, and unsolved crimes; both The Secret of the Loon Lake Monster & The Case of the Clever Computer Crooks are good examples. This entertaining series stars 12-year old sleuths Hawkeye Collins and Amy Adams. Hawkeye and Amy love to solve cases and they have their hands full with the nine cases in The Secret of the Loon Lake Monster and The Case of the Clever Computer Crooks, also containing nine cases. These amateur detectives work with Sergeant Treadwell to solve cases in Lakewood Hills. Readers get the same clues as Hawkeye and Amy. Original illustrations provide hints. Young detectives can see if they are on the right track by reading the solutions in their mirror at home. The books, written at the fifth grade reading level, will interest young people from the 3rd to the 8th grades.

Books in the series include:

  • The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher
  • The Case of the Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • The Case of the Mysterious Dognapper
  • The Case of the Toilet Paper Decorator
  • The Case of the Video Game Smugglers
  • The Case of the Haunted House
  • The Case of the Star Ship Movie
  • The Case of the Long-Lost Cousin
  • The Case of the Loon Lake Monster
  • The Case of the Software Spy
  • The Case of the Video Game Scores

Many readers will find it great fun to be a crime-solving heroes by using logic and creativity. Young readers will enjoy following the clues the detectives uncover and solving the mysteries themselves in this series, including The Secret of the Loon Lake Monster & The Case of the Clever Computer Crooks.

Children’s / Ages 9-12 / Travel

New Orleans (Library Binding) by Stephanie F. Hedlund (Cities Series: Checkerboard Geography Library, ABDO Publishing Company)

Paris (Library Binding) by Joanne Mattern (Cities Series: Checkerboard Geography Library, ABDO Publishing Company)

The Cities Series, including New Orleans & Paris, presents up-to-date profiles of some of the most fascinating cities in the world. Each book in the Cities Series details a city's government, economy, and the history that has shaped its identity. The world's diverse cultures come alive as young readers tour the city's neighborhoods and meet the people who live there. Reading level is fourth grade, while the interest level is K through 6. The books each have colorful maps, an index, a table of contents, a glossary, and bolded glossary terms in the text.

Young readers learn about the culture of cities from North America to Asia. They are guided through the neighborhoods and tourist hot spots and meet the people who live there. Students tour the cities of today while also learning what life was like there hundreds of years ago. For example, Paris is called the City of Unrest, due to the Revolution, and World War I and World War II bombing, as well as ongoing dissent, poverty and instability. It is also described as the main cultural center of the West. Easy-to-read text with colorful photos, a City at a Glance section, and a graphic timeline provide a fun reference while furthering readers’ voyages to each city.

Other books in this series include:

  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cairo
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Hong Kong
  • Jerusalem
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Washington, D.C.

With this engaging series, young readers sit back and relax while touring the world's greatest cities. It is actually surprising how much content is packed into such a small book without being overcrowded. New Orleans is up to date with a discussion of the Katrina disaster.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Cooking with Herbs & Spices by Linda Tubby & Manisha Gambhir Harkins, with photography by Peter Cassidy (Ryland, Peters & Small)

Since earliest times, cooks have used both herbs and spices to enhance their food. From rosemary to chilies and thyme to cinnamon – herbs and spices scent the air and give both subtle and intense flavors to food. Aromatic, subtle, pungent, or even fiery – every country has typical herb- and spice-enriched dishes that epitomize its cuisine. With so many exciting varieties of herbs and spices now available, cooking with them has never been so inspiring.

From the familiar to the alluringly exotic, Cooking with Herbs & Spices brings readers a collection of delicious recipes from around the globe.

The recipes in Cooking with Herbs & Spices, written by leading food writer and stylist Linda Tubby and award-winning food journalist Manisha Gambhir-Harkins, begin with Soups and Salads, such as Cajun-spiced Chowder with Corn and Bacon, Indonesian Beef and Coconut Soup, and Mint and Parsley Salad. And then come original Starters and Light Meals like Baked Ricotta and Herb Terrine, Dill-marinated Salmon, and Lamb Kabob Mashwi with Spiced Flatbreads.

Main Courses include Fried Bream Thai-Style, Coriander Chicken with Fenugreek, and Grilled Steak with Basil and Oregano Salsa, while Vegetables includes Sage Buttered Baby Leeks, eggplant Imam Bayildi, and Oven-roasted Vegetables with Rosemary, Bay Leaves, and Garlic. Then Pasta, Rice and Bread are given intense flavors in dishes such as Purple Basil Ravioli with Truffle Butter, Perfumed Persian Pulow, and Sage Schiacciata Bread.

Finally, Sweet Things features the indulgent Fig on a Cushion with Thyme-scented Syrup, Summer Fruit Salad with Kaffir Lime Sorbet, and Mexican Chocolate with Vanilla Cream. Lastly readers can try Little Extras such as a variety of Herb Butters, Salsa Roja, or Plum Chutney. The book also contains a complete Directory of Herbs & Spices and a Mail Order & Websites section to help readers track down suppliers of ingredients.

Readers can explore the rich world of herbs and spices and discover how to bring out the very best in everyday foods through Cooking with Herbs & Spices. The book provides a unique collection of recipes from around the globe. Luscious photography is by Peter Cassidy, one of Europe's finest food photographers, specializing in food and travel.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, & Ethan Becker (Scribner)

The new Joy of Cooking continues the vision of American cooking that began with the first edition of JOY. Since its original publication, Joy of Cooking has been the most authoritative cookbook in America, the one upon which millions of cooks have relied for more than sixty-five years. It's the book my mother, a home economics teacher herself, taught me and my sister to cook from, and the book she gave each of us when we got married.

As I moved about from place to place I found myself encumbered with an ever increasing supply of cookbooks ... The result of this encumbrance was an anthology of favorite recipes ... [that] have been deve1oped, altered and created outright, so that the collection as it now stands may make a claim for originality ­enough, it is hoped, to justify its publication, and to hold the interest of those who encouraged me to put it into book form ... I have attempted to make palatable dishes with simple means and to lift everyday cooking out of the commonplace. In spite of the fact that the book is compiled with one eye on the family purse and the other on the bathroom scale, there are, of course, occasional lapses into indulgence. – Irma S. Rombauer, 1931

Seventy-five years ago, a St. Louis widow named Irma Rombauer took her life savings and self-published a book called The Joy of Cooking. Her daughter Marion tested recipes and made the illustrations, and they sold their mother-daughter project from Rombauer's apartment.

Today, nine revisions later, the Joy of Cooking – selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important and influential books of the twentieth century – has taught tens of millions of people to cook, helped feed millions beyond that, answered countless kitchen and food questions, and averted many a cooking crisis.

Cordon Blue-trained son of Marion, Ethan Becker, leads the latest generation of Joy of Cooking, still a family affair, into the twenty-first century with a 75th anniversary edition that draws upon the past while keeping its eye on the way readers cook today. It features a rediscovery of the witty, clear voices of Marion and Irma, whose first instructions to the cook were ‘stand facing the stove.’

The new edition of Joy of Cooking also brings back the encyclopedic chapter Know Your Ingredients. The chapter that novices and pros alike have consulted for over thirty years has been revised, expanded, and banded, making it a book within a book. Cooking Methods shows cooks how to braise, steam, roast, sauté, and deep-fry, while a Nutrition chapter contains the latest thinking on healthy eating by Walter Willett, professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Health – as well as a large dose of common sense.

This edition restores the personality of the book, reinstating popular elements such as the grab-bag Brunch, Lunch, and Supper chapter and chapters on frozen desserts, cocktails, beer and wine, canning, salting, smoking, jellies and preserves, pickles and relishes, and freezing foods. Fruit recipes bring these favorite ingredients into all courses of the meal, and there is a new grains chart. There are recipes kids will enjoy making and eating, such as Chocolate Dipped Bananas, Dyed Easter Eggs, and the ever-popular Pizza.

In addition to hundreds of new recipes, this Joy of Cooking is filled with many recipes from all previous editions, retested and reinvented for today's tastes.

Knowing that most cooks are sometimes in a hurry to make a meal, the JOY now has new dishes ready in 30 minutes or less. Slow cooker recipes have been added for the first time, and Tuna Casserole made with canned cream of mushroom soup is back. This JOY shares how to save time without losing flavor by using quality convenience foods such as canned stocks and broths, beans, tomatoes, and soups, as well as a wide array of frozen ingredients. Cooking creatively with leftovers emphasizes ease and economy, and casseroles – those simple, satisfying, make-ahead, no-fuss dishes – abound. Especially important to busy households is a new section that teaches how to cook and freeze for a day and eat for a week, in an effort to eat more home-cooked meals, save money, and dine well.

JOY grows with the times: this edition boasts an expanded Vegetables chapter, including instructions on how to cook vegetables in the microwave, and an expanded baking section, Irma's passion – always considered a stand-alone bible within the JOY. The new JOY provides more thorough descriptions of ingredients, from the familiar to the most exotic. For instance, almost all the varieties of apples grown domestically are described – the months they become available, how they taste, what they are best used for, and how long they keep. For the first time JOY features a complete section on fresh and dried chili peppers: how to roast and grill them, how to store them, and how long they keep – with illustrations of each pepper.

New chapters reflect changing American tastes and lifestyles: Separate new chapters on grains, beans, and pasta include recipes for grits, polenta, pilafs, risottos, vegetarian chilies, bean casseroles, and make-ahead lasagnes. Little Dishes showcases foods from around the world: hummus, baba ghanoush, bruschetta, tacos, empanadas, and fried wontons. New drawings of all techniques, ingredients, and equipment, integrated throughout a new cover design, and over 300 more pages round out the 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking.

Among this book's other unique features are dozens of new recipes for people who are lactose intolerant and allergic to gluten and an expanded ingredients chart featuring calories, essential vitamins, and levels of fats and cholesterol. There are ideas for substitutions to lower fat in recipes and reduced-fat recipes in the baking sections.

Since its first private printing in 1931, The Joy of Cooking has been teaching Americans how to cook. Craig Claiborne calls it "a masterpiece of clarity" and Julia Child says it's the one book she'd keep if she could only have one English title on the shelf. The nearly 5,000 recipes are handily organized by meal and ingredient, and no cooking instruction goes unexplained, so you can finally understand the difference between poaching and braising. The book includes nutritional information as well as an extremely helpful list of measures and equivalents. You'll find a version of every recipe your mother ever cooked, along with straightforward instructions for cooking more exotic specialties such as turtles and muskrats. – Amazon.com
… For this landmark, the editors have returned to JOY's 1975 edition, rejecting the controversial last edition's perceived foray into 1990s chef-driven fads. … Detailed line drawings that gave JOY's earlier editions their distinctive appearance bestow continuity. …The new Joy of Cooking maintains the title's role as backbone for any library's cookery reference collection, its nearly 4,000 recipes defining essential American home cooking. – Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
The Joy of Cooking has always been a very important book. When it was first published, it made a great impression on American cooking. It is, and should continue to be a staple in any good culinary collection because Irma's voice is there with you in the kitchen giving guidance and encouragement and friendly tips and reminders. The why's and how's are carefully explained, and that's what makes JOY a fundamental resource for any American cook! – Julia Child, June 2004
I highly recommend this book as a must-have in your kitchen. Chock full of great information, this book takes all of the guesswork out and leaves no stone unturned. – Paula Deen
The finest basic cookbook available. It is a masterpiece of clarity. – Craig Claiborne

From cover to cover, JOY's chapters have been imbued with the knowledge and passion of America's greatest cooks and cooking teachers. Even after 75 years, the span of culinary information is breathtaking and covers everything from boiling eggs to show-stopping, celebratory dishes. Every chapter has been rethought with an emphasis on freshness, convenience, and health. All the recipes have been reconceived and tested with an eye to modern taste, and the cooking knowledge imparted with each subject enriched to the point where everyone from a beginning to an experienced cook will feel supported. It is still the book readers can turn to for perfect Beef Wellington and Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It's also the book where readers can now find Turkey on the Grill, Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles, and vegetarian meals.

As my mama used to say, JOY remains the greatest teaching cookbook ever written. Reference material gives cooks the precise information they need for success. New illustrations focus on techniques, including everything from knife skills to splitting cake layers, setting a table, and making tamales. An invaluable combination of old and new, this edition of the Joy of Cooking promises to keep readers cooking well for years to come.  – Anna Washington, www.sirreadalot.org

Cooking, Food & Wine

Kathy Casey's Northwest Table: Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Southern Alaska by Kathy Casey, with photographs by E. Jane Armstrong (Chronicle Books)

In Kathy Casey's Northwest Table the beloved expert on Northwest cuisine shares more than 100 it-doesn't-get-more-delicious-than-this recipes for everything from cocktails to desserts.

Lambert cherry mojitos waft the fragrance of fresh mint. A Tillamook cheddar spread made with Oregon's famous cheese is spiked with locally brewed ale. Dungeness crab cakes are topped with a vibrant slaw. Wild Alaskan salmon is crowned with herb-tossed rings of Walla Walla sweet onions. And desserts like Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Cascade Berries make the end of the meal special. These recipes – coupled in Kathy Casey's Northwest Table with stories of Casey's Northwest culinary adventures – are inspired by the diverse cultural heritage of the region: modern favorites, cherished recipes passed from generation to generation, Pacific Rim and Native American influences, as well as its natural bounty blend the traditional and the contemporary in a delightfully modern cuisine.

Chef Casey is widely recognized for her role in bringing women chefs and Northwest cuisine to national prominence. She owns Kathy Casey Food Studios, a food, beverage, and restaurant consulting venue in Seattle, and Dish D'Lish, featuring a line of retail specialty projects. She’s also a food writer and a TV guest and host. E. Jane Armstrong's photographs have appeared in magazines such as Travel & Leisure and in many books, including The Perfect Match and From Our House to Yours.

Kathy has been an inspirational force Northwest cuisine since day one and has helped to place Seattle on the culinary map. – Howard Schultz, chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company

If you think you have the best cookbook already, you must be looking at this one by Kathy Casey. – Tom Skerritt, actor and Washington state resident

So much more than a cookbook! Kathy Casey's Northwest Table fulfills appetites of both the soul and the palate. Her recipes as always, are superb, easily turning plain cooks (like me) into chefs. The text is fully evocative of the visual wonders of the Northwest as well as the bounty of the land we who live here are so lucky to enjoy. – Ann Rule, true-crime author of Green River, Running Red and Small Sacrifices, and Seattle resident

With gorgeous photographs showing off the culinary landscape, Kathy Casey's Northwest Table is decidedly distinctive. Whether readers are looking for a delicious dish for a family supper, a unique appetizer, or dinner for company, this new cookbook is destined to become the one they trust to take down from the shelf.

Computers & Internet / Web-Based Education

Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research and Development Frameworks edited by David Gibson, Clark Aldrich & Marc Prensky (Information Science Publishing)

Whenever one plays a game, and whatever game one plays, learning happens constantly, whether the players want it to, and are aware of it, or not. And the players are learning ‘about life,’ which is one of the great positive consequences of all game playing. This learning takes place, continuously and simultaneously in every game, every time one plays. One need not even pay much attention. – Marc Prensky

Nearly all early learning happens during play, and new technology has added video games to the list of ways children learn interaction and new concepts. Although video games are everywhere, on Web sites, in stores, streamed to the desktop, and on television, they are absent from the classroom. Computer-based simulations, a form of computer games, have begun to appear, but they are not as widespread as email, discussion threads, and blogs. Games and Simulations in Online Learning examines the potential of games and simulations in online learning, and how the future could look as developers learn to use the emerging capabilities of the Semantic Web. It presents a general understanding of how the Semantic Web will impact education and how games and simulations can evolve to become robust teaching resources.

Games and Simulations in Online Learning is edited by David Gibson project co-director of simSchool and Founder and President of Curveshift; Clark Aldrich, co-founder of SimuLearn, the author of two books, and leader of the team that created SimuLearn's Virtual Leader; and Marc Prensky, acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, and software designer in the areas of education and learning, the founder and CEO of Games2train.

The kinds of questions on the minds of contributors to the volume are: What sort of new research and development is emerging around games and simulations? What kinds of learning are involved, and how do we know if users are ‘getting it?’ What is the unique added value and potential for learning and assessment in the digital environment? Are there examples that can inspire researchers to think more deeply, and see a new horizon for e-learning?

An overview of the chapters in Games and Simulations in Online Learning:

Goknur Kaplan Akilli, in Chapter I, Games and Simulations: A New Approach in Education?, provides a brief review of the literature, which she organizes around questions that define games, simulations, instructional design, and instructional development models. Her review situates the problem of instructional design models as outdated frameworks that came into being before the age of ubiquitous games and simulations. She criticizes the current state of design, points to more promising theories, and ends by introducing readers to the FIDGE model as a possible framework for a more game-like instructional design model.

Katrin Becker, in Chapter II, Pedagogy in Commercial Video Games, after tying games to deep learning and urging educators to ‘learn about learning from games,’ gives a point-by-point overview that relates game and simulation elements to several well-known learning theories. But, Becker warns, a demonstration of good pedagogy in games does not add up to a prescription for creating good learning games. Games are a completely new technology calling for completely new instructional design approaches.

Several writers present social analyses of multi-user virtual environments, which leave readers with a growing sense that networked virtual worlds are a new kind of learning ecosystem waiting to be tapped for education. The next four chapters in Games and Simulations in Online Learning explore this idea. Joel Foreman and Thomasina Borkman share their experience in Chapter III, using a commercial off-the-shelf game – The Sims – to teach a Sociology course. In Chapter IV, Lisa Galarneau and Melanie Zibit extend the theme of the new social environment of MMOGs by outlining the 21st century skills that are promoted through online games. They first discuss the new skills for the new millennium from a variety of perspectives. They then demonstrate how online games in MMOGs can serve as a ‘practice arena’ for the skills.

James G. Jones and Stephen C. Bronack, in Chapter V, Rethinking Cognition, Representa­tions, and Processes in 3D Online Social Learning Environments, take the social analysis of 3D spaces further by pointing out their tendency to encourage peer-based informal learning. In Chapter VI, Karen Barton and Paul Maharg use another case example, the Glasgow Graduate School of Law's simulation ‘Ardcallough’ to frame what they see as a new ‘trading zone’ in virtual space. Their chapter E-Simulations in the Wild: Interdisciplinary Research, Design, and Implementation points out that a simulation is more than a likeness of reality; it is a purposeful, focused view that presents the user with a complex conceptual, as well as operational, challenge.

What do the users think of MMOG spaces, games, and simulations as learning tools? The next two chapters in Games and Simulations in Online Learning provide different views. In Chapter VII, Jonathan Beedle and Vivian H. Wright offer readers Perspectives from Multiplayer Video Gainers, a research report based on a survey of gamers. The list of potential benefits of learning with games leads to four questions about motivation, problem solving, communication, and creativity.

Chapter VIII, by David Gibson, William Halverson, and Eric Riedel, titled Gamer Teachers outlines the major concerns that seem to block or hinder the use of games and simulations in teaching and includes the editors take on a self-test that was suggested by Prensky's list of cognitive styles of the gamer generation. The results tend to corroborate what others have found, not so much as an age gap between generations, but a ‘playing gap’ depending on one's game experiences. Continuing with the theme of ‘teaching teachers how to teach,’ Brian Ferry and Lisa Kervin relate their experiences in Chapter IX, Developing an Online Classroom Simulation to Support a Pre-Service Teacher Education Program. Their chapter presents a straightforward step-by-step account of building a software prototyping team in higher education. The team developed a virtual kindergarten teaching application that has shown promise for engaging future teachers in the complexities of teaching decisions.

Gerald R. and Mark Girod and programmer Jeff Denton give readers Chapter X, Lessons Learned Modeling ‘Connecting Teaching and Learning,’ provides a second example of a development process in teacher education. Their effort is based on the ‘teacher work sample methodology’ developed at Western Oregon University over 30 years ago. Sara Dexter, in Chapter XI, Educational Theory into Practice Software, presents a new perspective on teacher development by sharing a unique and powerful case-based reasoning application that has both game-like and simulation elements. The core of the application is a problem space or case, which is a collection of multimedia elements that collectively present a narrative of a specific simulated school Web site.

The next two chapters use real space as part of the virtual experience for players by integrating wireless and GPS technologies into the game and simulation. From their experience at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Steffen P. Walz and Odilo Schoch talk about Pervasive Game Design as an Architectural Teaching and Research Method in Chapter XII. The game they designed grew from the idea that architectural students of the future should be able to design both physical and virtual ‘hybrid reality’ spaces. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Karen Schrier built a place-based game that uses the city of Lexington, Massachusetts as the trigger for events and interactions. Players of ‘Reliving the Revolution’ seek to answer the question "who fired the shot heard ‘round the world’?" Becker calls this an ‘augmented reality game’ that is focused on teaching critical thinking and historical inquiry.

The last five chapters in Games and Simulations in Online Learning explore machine learning, network-based assessment, and intelligent agents. Related by today's experimenters and developers, these provide glimpses into tomorrow's potential for games and simulations in education. Richard Van Eck, in Chapter XIV, Building Artificially Intelligent Learning Games, presents a two-part chapter. He asserts that games employ elements that engage and teach through problem solving that embodies the tenets of learn­ing theory and social constructivism. He outlines four principles of learning in games and uses them as a foundation to raise key questions that guide the second part of the chapter. Chapter XV, simSchool and the Conceptual Assessment Framework (CAF), by David Gibson, uses the ‘simSchool’ flight simulator for teachers as an example of building a game-like learning application with assessment in mind. In simSchool, the CAF framework is used to organize the logic of the simulation model as well as to assess the user – a case that may best fit when the goal is to "teach a user by modeling a learner."

In Chapter XVI, Designing Online Games Assessment as "Information Trails," Christian Sebastian Loh discuss some of the specific ways that user artifacts can form the basis for assessment. He introduces readers to the idea of ‘agent-detectable markings’ left by a ‘moving agent in an information-ecology.’ Ron Steven's work on the UCLA IMMEX project has led to Chapter XVII, Machine Learning Assessment Systems for Modeling Patterns of Student Learning. As a concrete example of using player artifacts in assessment, Stevens presents a layered analytic model of how high school and university students construct, modify, and retain problem-solving strategies as they solve science problems online. In Chapter XVIII, Shaping the Research Agenda with Cyber Researcher Assistants, Lyn Henderson concludes the collection with a reflection about the possibilities and open ques­tions of using the powerful tracking, analytic and interactive aspects of games and simula­tions to empower learners and teachers.

Games and Simulations in Online Learning is the real deal, packed with practical information on hot new educational designs. The volume promotes increased serious use of games and simulations in online learning by offering new possibilities for framing research and development efforts. It contributes to readers’ thinking by presenting themes for educational games and simulations from a variety of perspectives, stretching them in new ways, or confirming their own creative ideas and insightful hypotheses about how games and simulations are changing education.

Entertainment / Music

Singing Cowboys by Douglas Green (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

Favorite cowboys from the heyday of B-western movies are celebrated in Singing Cowboys. Author Douglas B. Green, (aka Ranger Doug of Riders in The Sky), who supports his literary career moonlighting as a singer, guitarist and songwriter, tells the story of the men and women who shone brightly during the magical era of the singing cowboy movie star.

It was an era when western heroes sang and yodeled as well as threw punches and drew six-guns; an era where for a time nearly half the western films churned out in Hollywood's golden age either featured a singer as a hero, or had singing second leads or singing ranch hands to provide that dreamy, romantic, exquisitely beautiful music we now think of as western.

Readers follow the singing cowboy movie fad, from Gene Autry's first films in 1935 to Marty Robbins' drive-in quickie movies in 1959. Singing Cowboys recalls with fondness the stories of nearly sixty men, women, and groups who embodied the singing cowboy tradition, from Tex Ritter to Dale Evans. All the biggest stars are included, as are many great old-timey artists whose names are not so well known. Their voices and images filled an entire generation with optimism and hope, and encouraged everyone to dream big – the ‘cowboy way.’

There may have been pop, country and folk music and comedy, too, in western movies during those days, but what we recall now, in the context of these classical westerns, is the music of the singing cowboy. Along with an audio CD of classic Western songs by artists such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, Singing Cowboys contains movie posters, stills, and studio photographs featuring such famed cowboy singers as Bing Crosby, Dale Evans, Dick Foran, Tito Guizar, Kirby Grant, Eddie Dean, Bill Boyd, Dorothy Page, Riders of the Purple Sage, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, John Wayne, Ray Whitley, and dozens more.

Singing Cowboys celebrates the era of the singing cowboy in style and with nostalgia. The book is especially strong visually with full-page photos and numerous posters, often autographed, accompanying the text.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time by Lorraine Gordon, as told to Barry Singer (Hal Leonard)

I loved jazz from the very beginning.

The legendary Village Vanguard has been an international jazz mecca since 1935. According to New York Magazine, "A musician hasn't truly arrived in the jazz world until he's played at the 'Carnegie Hall of Cool,' the Village Vanguard."

At age 83, Lorraine Gordon is a jazz icon who has lived more than a few lives: downtown bohemian, uptown Grande dame, music business pioneer, wife, lover, mother, and finally – at a point when most women her age were just settling into grandmotherhood – owner of the most famous jazz club in the world. The trajectory of her journey has been remarkable. The details given in Alive at the Village Vanguard by Gordon as told to writer Barry Singer, are a Jackson Pollock-like swirl of fierce colors shot through with larger-than-life creative figures: not just jazz figures but luminaries from every point on the political, social and entertainment spectrum: from Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk to Lenny Bruce, Norman Mailer and Barbra Streisand.

1937: Jazz aficionado from the age of fourteen. "I collected jazz records like a maniac. It was serious stuff and we treated it seriously – we read all the books, we listened to every recording ever made, we knew who the soloists were by their sound."

1942: Married Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion. "I learned to type. I did all the bookkeeping. And though I didn't know what public relations meant, I did that too. We were little people in a little business. But we were selling something fabulous."

1947: Discovered and championed Thelonious Monk. "We all sat down on Monk's narrow bed – our legs straight out in front of us like children. The door closed. And Monk played, with his back to us. Thelonious Monk became my personal mission. Did his records sell at first? No. I went up to Harlem and those record stores didn't want Monk or me."

1950: Married Village Vanguard and Blue Angel proprietor Max Gordon. "The Village Vanguard had started out as Max Gordon's living room. Max was a writer, a poet, a thinker. Max Gordon truly was a Bohemian."

1961: Women Strike for Peace. "I wound up handling all the New York press relations, as well as marching, and I hosted evenings galore. We were forever demonstrating in Washington. We lobbied our senators. We attended disarmament conferences all over the world."

1965: Traveled secretly to North Vietnam from the Soviet Union. "You couldn't eat, sleep or drink without reading about the Vietnam War. Half of America was against it. You can't just sit there. There was a group of North Vietnamese women we had made contact with who were looking to end the war. Let's see, we said, if Lorraine can get to North Vietnam..."

1989: Assumed the helm at The Village Vanguard upon Max Gordon's death. "I certainly had no fear. I just got into the swim as fast as I could; just held my nose and jumped in. I didn't arrive at The Village Vanguard out of the blue. I stuck to what I loved. That was my art. Throughout my life I followed the course of the music that I loved. I loved jazz. And what I loved was terrific."

2006: Now 83 years young and as impresario of The Village Vanguard, Gordon remains a force of inspiration: "Life is so beautiful when you're passionate about something, when you're committed."

Alive at the Village Vanguard includes Eartha Kitt, Lenny Bruce, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Henry Kissinger, Nina Simone, Oscar Peterson, Allen Ginsburg, Andy Warhol, Harry Belafonte, Nichols and May, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, Pete Seeger, Adolph Green, Betty Comden, Leonard Bernstein, Woody Allen, Maya Angelou, Jonathan Winters, and many more. The volume offers over fifty never-before-seen photographs from Gordon's private collection, and a chronology and discography of "The Lorraine Gordon Years," listing every performer booked and every live album recorded at the Vanguard during her tenure.

"You know something?” says Gordon. “I walk down those stairs of the Vanguard and it's like walking into an embrace of some kind. Layer upon layer upon layer of all that has happened in there. Nobody made the Village Vanguard this way. Like jazz, it just evolved. Very often it gets to me. I sit and think: Boy, am I glad I did what I did."

Lorraine Gordon has not only known everybody in jazz, but just about everybody else as well. This book is a must-read for all who love our city’s roar, its tears, its music, and its history. – Ahmet Ertegun, Chairman, Atlantic Records

Lorraine Gordon is why the Village Vanguard is what it is, and why it is. – Bill Frissel, Guitarist

She's beautiful, hilarious, ornery, outspoken, sometimes outrageous, honest to a fault, endlessly quotable, and simply the living spirit of jazz. – Bruce Lundvall, President/CEO, Blue Note Records

The prototype independent woman. – Charles Gwathmey, Architect

Lorraine's maintained the integrity of the Vanguard as a room where musicians play. It's a very great achievement – not just for jazz, but for our times. – Wynton Marsalis, Trumpeter & Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center

She is the real deal. – Joe Lovano, Saxophonist

Jazz fans get the inside story of New York's legendary club in Alive at the Village Vanguard, a captivating, historic, and unapologetic memoir of a tremendous life. Ever provocative, ever the unapologetic straight-shooter, Gordon's telling of her life adds up to far more than just a jazz story. It constitutes, if only by inference, pretty much the story of jazz over the past half-century. It is also not solely a ‘woman's story.’ Yet it remains one of the more extraordinary and enlightening stories about one woman's life in twentieth- and twenty-first-century America.

Entertainment / Music / Reference

The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings by Tony Russell & Chris Smith, with Neil Slaven, Ricky Russell, & Joe Faulkner (Penguin Books)

From its roots in the American South to today’s world stage, the journey of blues has encompassed countless artists and recordings. But how can readers find the best of them?

The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings is a one-of-a-kind guide to recorded blues compiled by two widely experienced British music historians and journalists, Tony Russell and Chris Smith. Contributors include writer, record producer and discographer Neil Slaven; freelance writer and musician, Ricky Russell; and music journalist, musical director and theatrical composer, Joe Faulkner. The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings is a guide through the jungles of the record shop, download sites and the online music store. Highlights of the book include:

  • Authoritative critical ratings throughout.
  • The authors’ personal selection of the essential recordings for every collection.
  • Full line-ups of recording personal, along with dates and complete catalogue information.
  • A-Z artist biographies.
  • Extensive section on compilation albums, from Hillbilly Blues to Boogie Woogie.
  • Full index of artists.

A little history: In a celebrated meeting of 1903, the bandleader and composer W. C. Handy, waiting for a connection at a small Mississippi railroad station, witnessed a fellow African-American singing, to his own guitar accompaniment, what seems to have been a ‘blues.’ The event was commemorated in 2003 by a Year of the Blues, but no one who knew their blues history would have regarded the gesture as signifying a genuine centenary. All the reliable evidence suggests that blues, or something very like it, has been sung and played in the southern United States since the 1890s. When the authors date its history from Handy's brief encounter, or from the supposedly first published composition with ‘Blues’ in its title, some nine years later, or from the first vocal record called a ‘Blues’ by an African-American artist in 1920, one is merely assigning historic status to incidents in the long journey of the blues from the obscurity of the rural South to the spotlights of today's world stage. 

According to Russell, something like a generation elapsed before the phonograph record was used to document the sound of a black artist singing blues. Once that process got underway, African-American music was recorded vigorously, plentifully and in great variety, and almost immediately questions of definition began to take shape. The blues boom of the 1920s caused many records to be made that were not, by any standard musical definition, blues, and many artists to be recorded who were not, by any useful definition, blues singers – or, at least, not only blues singers. Consequently the subject-matter of The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings, in its early stage, extends beyond the blues idiom, and heaping it all up and labeling it ‘blues’ is no more than a practical solution for dealing with it.

Readers will find the strategy of including music beyond the blues idiom and beyond the strictly-defined category of blues singers, useful, perhaps even illuminating, but the authors are under no illusion that they are doing justice to the complexity of African-American vernacular music and its many decades of change and transformation.

Readers will find in The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings descriptive and evaluative surveys of the recorded work of more than a thousand musicians who have worked primarily, if not always exclusively, in the blues idiom. For the most part, they are career blues artists. The list of artists to whom Russell and Smith have devoted entries is not a roll call of all the artists readers might find in a catalogue or record store under the heading ‘Blues’. They include every artist who has what they consider a serious claim to a blues enthusiast's attention. For example, The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings is selective in its coverage of blues-rock, especially when it seems more closely connected to rock than to blues. The artists in that genre whom the authors have included are predominantly those who record for blues labels. They have also been cautious about artists lately hailed in some quarters as purveyors of ‘21st-century blues’, ‘punk blues’ or ‘nu blues’. They have also excluded artists whose work is predominantly in the soul idiom, though a few genre-straddling figures like Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Z. Z. Hill and Little Milton could not reasonably be overlooked and have been given at least selective entries. With rhythm & blues, they have been a little more liberal, since, particularly in recent years, the tastes of blues enthusiasts have expanded to embrace many figures once considered peripheral, such as the honking saxophonists and sweet trios of the 1940s and '50s. Gospel music is beyond the scope of the book but, if a blues artist has also recorded re1igious music, that fact may be mentioned, and in a few instances the records themselves have been admitted to the fold. Blind Willie Johnson and Reverend Gary Davis are special cases, and they have duly made exceptions of them.

Readers will notice that some artists' entries are longer than those for similarly, or more, productive figures. This is often because the writer feels that the artist has been too cursorily treated in previous works of this kind and deserves better; indeed, not a few of the artists discussed in this book have never appeared in other guides.

The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings is an informative, insightful, and easy-to-use A–Z guide surveying the recorded work of more than a thousand blues artists. From towering figures of the past like Charley Patton, Bessie Smith, and Robert Johnson to stars of the modern era such as B. B. King, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, this valuable resource provides crisp, expert, and witty reviews of almost six thousand recordings and is required reading for blues aficionados as well as anyone just starting a collection.

Health, Mind & Body / Christian / Relationships

Undressed: The Naked Truth about Love, Sex, and Dating by Jason Illian (WarnerFaith)

It doesn’t matter whether readers are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or atheist. Everyone wants to love and be loved. But in a world where no one knows whether they are dating, wooing, courting, hanging out, flirting, living together, or just having sex, the lines blur awfully quickly.

According to Jason Illian, we're like zippers on over packed suitcases – fighting  to hold everything together and praying that our hearts don't just burst open. As a fellow foot soldier in the trenches of romance, fighting for this thing called ‘love,’ Illian says in Undressed he knows what it's like to face lonely nights and painful breakups. And he knows what it takes to find real joy in the midst of it all.

Illian asks readers:

  • Can you be sexy without sleeping around?
  • Is there a middle ground between ‘kissing dating good-bye’ and ‘kissing everyone good night’?
  • Is there really a Mr. Right, or should you just settle for Mr. Right Now?

According to Illian, a national speaker, successful corporate executive, and television personality, ultimately, love isn't about undressing the body – it is about undressing the heart.

Finally, someone who is the long-awaited voice of uncompromising truth and reason for today's generation! – Marshawn Evans, CEO for Communication Counts! and candidate on NBC's The Apprentice

Jason is a man who knows how to take a stand and lead, and I consider him to be a positive role model for people of all ages. – Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M football coach

With his colorful writing style, Jason Illian tackles dating issues from the desperate to the dicey, issuing important challenges and boundaries along the way. This isn't a stiff 'expert' opinion, but a hip voice from the dating trenches. – Camerin Courtney, author of The unGuide to Dating and Table for One and columnist for ChristianSinglesToday.com

Jason Illian is a man in the trenches who tells it like it is, giving a fresh, godly take on love, sex, and dating. His message is provocative, practical, and poignant and will serve as the field manual for all those in the battle zone of love. Being 'undressed' has never felt so good. – Josh Cox, professional athlete, national speaker, and candidate on ABC's The Bachelorette

Charismatic, clever, and passionate, Jason is a master storyteller with the gift for making the complex easy to understand. In Undressed, he addresses young, single, spiritually-minded adults as he as done many times in both colleges and churches as a touring speaker.

Health, Mind & Body / Fashion & Style

The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style: A Maintenance Bible for Fashion, Beauty, and More . . . by Christine Schwab (ReganMedia)

The ‘grown-up girl’ of today can take the truth, says Christine Schwab ... but she could use a little help along the way.

Renowned style expert and fashion consultant Schwab sees aging as an opportunity for mature women to revitalize their style and enliven their attitude. According to Schwab, now more than ever, women have the ability to look and feel chic and fabulous at any age, simply by understanding age maintenance. Schwab is adamant that with all this new ageless information and technology, it is imperative to be informed about what works and what does not.

From the inside out, The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style takes the approach of a friend, lending humor, hope and practical advice to a generation of women who have more options than ever before – and a voice of reason to help them make informed, responsible choices about anti-aging procedures so they can take new advantage of everyday opportunities that will make them look and feel younger.

In The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style Schwab offers an open-minded approach to style, beauty, health, and well-being that will help every forty-plus woman achieve a classic look while maintaining her edge and personality. The book addresses every aspect of aging, from hair and makeup to sex and family life. Schwab even embraces once taboo subjects, offering the lowdown from leading doctors and surgeons on injectable skin treatments, cosmetic surgery and dentistry, and hormone replacement therapy. Accompanying her advice are dozens of photographs – including celebrity profiles, woman-on-the-street snapshots, professional photography, and even personal photographs of Schwab herself – that demonstrate style disasters (sleeveless tops, head-to-toe denim, and more), and triumphs.

For the first time Schwab reveals what she's ‘had done’, what she'd do again, and what she wishes she'd had left well enough alone – plus how readers can measure the risks and costs associated with all anti-aging procedures. Schwab also shows readers how to empty their closet of the items that age them, and how to find affordable accessories that will keep their wardrobe looking youthful. And taking on age discrimination in a youth-obsessed culture, Schwab counsels readers on how to avoid feeling bad about their age.

For years, Christine Schwab has been telling women how to dress on Live, and now she completes the package in every way to make every woman more beautiful than she ever imagined she could be. – Regis Philbin

Fashion changes by the nanosecond, but true style is all about confidence. Readers of The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style will be able to sort through the changing trends and confidently put themselves together each day, knowing they look stylish and modern – whatever their age. – Deborah Norville, Inside Edition

Christine Schwab's The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style shows you how to look your personal best. – Kelly Ripa

Christine Schwab is the ultimate stylish messenger. Her book is insightful, informative, and makes being forty plus absolutely fun. I promise you, this book will have all those twenty- and thirty-year-olds wanting to be forty – and fabulous – NOW. A true fashion score. – Lawrence Zarian, The Fashion Guy

The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Style dishes up insider's secrets to a beautiful, sexy, and healthy life after forty, promising to rejuvenate the already­stylish, the aspiring-to-be-stylish, and the simply style-challenged woman in her prime. In her opinionated, and provocative style, Schwab empowers women, delivering a book that defies many of the fashion and beauty industry philosophies. And she illustrates how to take the concept of ageless living to a whole new level – from the operating room to the lingerie department – with humor, honesty and practical information.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Personal Construct Psychology: New Ideas edited by Peter Caputi, Heather Foster & Linda L. Viney (Wiley)

Personal Construct Psychology presents the latest thinking and research in Personal Construct Psychology (PCP), covering a broad range of areas of interest to both researchers and practitioners. Edited by Peter Caputi, senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong; Linda L. Viney, Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wollongongand Consulting Editor of the Australian Psychologist; and Heather Foster, registered psychologist, it provides reports of empirical research, reflections by practicing personal construct psychologists, and conceptual analyses of issues pertaining to current and emerging theoretical issues in PCP. Personal Construct Psychology consists of five sections:

  • Theory and history
  • Assessment and understanding
  • Problems of living
  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Other interventions, clinical and educational.

Contributors are international scholars and practitioners based in a variety of clinical settings. The contributions reflect the internationalization of PCP (or PCT) with contributors coming from the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Australasia. Contributors to the volume include:

  • Richard C. Bell and Prasuna Reddy, University of Melbourne
  • Mike Bender and Alessandra Lantaffi, Private Practice, UK
  • Nina Bruni, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Vivien Burr and Trevor Butt, University of Huddersfield, UK
  • Carole Carter, Lisbeth G. Lane, and Deborah Truneckova, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Sabrina Cipolletta, Universities of Padua and Bozen, Italy
  • Julie Ellis, La Trobe University, Australia
  • Paula Eustace, Deakin University, Australia
  • Nicholas Gilbert, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, UK
  • Bob Green, Community Forensic Mental Health Service, Australia
  • Larry M. Leitner, Miami University
  • Pamela Leung, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong
  • David M. Mills, The Performance School, Seattle
  • Derek C. Oliver, United States Army
  • Janina Rado, Tübingen University, Germany
  • Sally Robbins, Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust, UK
  • Nicole G. Rossotti, Private practice, South Australia
  • Mark W. Schlutsmeyer Sutter-Yuba, Mental Health Services, California
  • Harold Seelig, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft, Universität Freiburg
  • Finn Tschudi, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Bill Warren, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Mary H. Watts, City University, UK
  • David A. Winter, University of Hertfordshire & Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, UK

Background on PCP: In 1955, George Kelly published his seminal work, The Psychology of Per­sonal Constructs. Using his original theoretical framework, Kelly abandoned traditional concepts in the psychological literature, concepts such as motivation. People construe or make sense of their worlds, the events in them, and of themselves. This process of construing (and re-construing) results in a system of constructs that provides a unique framework for understanding and anticipating events in one's world. The underlying philosophical assumption in per­sonal construct theory is that "all of our present interpretations of the universe are subject to revision or replacement". This notion is referred to as a philosophy of constructive alternativism. People can reinterpret their worldview and make way for alternative, more meaningful interpretations of their universe. However, the philosophy of constructive alternativism is not a solipsistic position. Kelly does not deny the existence of an objective reality. Rather, he argues that we cannot experience the real world directly. People's experiences of the world are diverse. The central focus of the theory is still with psychotherapeutic applications, although the theory is underused in clinical practice, and few clinical programs in universities cover the theory in detail.

The chapters in Personal Construct Psychology represent current applications of PCT to a diverse range of topics. In addition, they represent the internationalization of PCP research. There are five main sections to the book. The contributors to Section I: Theory and History provide a snapshot of some of the current theoretical and methodological issues in PCT. Viney discusses PCT-based models and the role that such models may play in assisting psychotherapists' work with people. Butt's Chapter demonstrates how Kelly's theoretical roots are grounded in pragmatism. The relationship between ‘the artistic outlook’ and the psychology of personal constructs is explored in Bill Warren's Chapter. In Chapter 4, Eustace shows how Kelly's work is consistent with a post structural interpretation of social processes, and she suggests the possibility of including discursive practices within a constructivist position. Reddy, Bell, Seelig and Rado address methodological and analytic issues in Chapters 5 and 6. Section I concludes with a very personal account of the history of PCT in Australia, and ways in which isolated research communities can cope with the tyranny of distance.

Section II: Assessment and Understanding begins with Leitner's chapter on therapeutic artistry, the role of therapeutic creativity and the therapist as artist. Oliver and  Schlutsmeyer present a PCT perspective on multiculturalism in psychotherapy in Chapter 9. Robbins and Bender provide an interesting account of understanding dementia using PCT. In Chapter 11 Winter and his colleagues present the findings of a study supporting the link between psychotherapists' theoretical orientations and their core construing. In the final chapter in this section Julie Ellis presents a personal construct perspective of nurses' professional identity.

The third section of Personal Construct Psychology, titled Problems of Living, begins with a chapter by Rossotti and her colleagues dealing with the role of trust and dependency in people's lives. Green provides a PCT account of factors contributing to cannabis use. In Chapter 15, Carter and Viney explore the application of PCT to our understanding of the effect of clients disclosing after sexual assault. In Chapter 16 Lane and Viney present their work on using personal construct theory, in particular role relationships, to make sense of women's experiences of breast cancer. Lantaffi's Chapter on researching the personal experiences of disabled people, especially women in higher education concludes Section III.

Good evidenced-based research is important in any domain of psychological inquiry. In Section IV, Evidence-based Interventions, personal construct theory forms the basis for three varied areas of empirical research. These studies test and provide evidence for the effectiveness of personal construct approaches taken. In Chapter 18, Foster and Viney present a study dealing with women's changing constructions at the time of menopause. Lane and Viney write of a study investigating the benefits of group psychotherapy with survivors of breast cancer. The third chapter in this section, by Truneckova and Viney, reports on group work with troubled adolescents.

The five chapters that make up Section V Other Interventions, Clinical and Educational, demonstrate the wide applicability of personal construct theory. In Chapter 21 Leung reports on pre-service teachers' perception of successful language teachers. Cipoletta in Chapter 22 explores movement in personal change, a personal construct approach to dance therapy. Following this, in Chapter 23, Mills investigates the relationship between Kelly's personal construct theory and Alexander technique. Finally, in Chapter 24, Burr applies a personal construct perspective to a discussion of the art of writing in relation to embodiment and pre-verbal construing.

Personal Construct Psychology is a valuable resource for a wide range of health professionals, educationalists and practitioners in counseling and clinical psychology.

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

Family Abuse and Violence: A Social Problems Perspective by JoAnn Miller & Dean D.  Knudsen (Violence Prevention and Policy Series: AltaMira Press)

It is nearly impossible to imagine women and men who do not have some response to reading or hearing about ‘family violence,’ ‘child abuse,’ ‘spouse abuse,’ or ‘elder neglect.’ But all too often, well-intentioned persons, informed by the popular media, ask the wrong questions:

  • Why doesn't he leave his abuser?
  • How could she let him do that to her own children?
  • Why don't they hire better nursing home assistants to prevent elder neglect?

Since the early 1960s social scientists, legal researchers, and health researchers have studied the family violence problems that afflict people throughout the United States, regardless of social status, race, ethnicity, and geographical location.

The authors of Family Abuse and Violence Joann Miller, associate professor of sociology and affiliate of the Women's Studies faculty at Purdue University and Dean D. Knudsen, professor emeritus of sociology at Purdue University, describe in the introduction how problems and research agendas related to child abuse and intimate partner abuse converge and diverge. With Family Abuse and Violence they present a conceptual perspective, some original research, and analyses of relevant studies. Some of the chapters analyze child abuse, partner abuse, and elder abuse as distinctive problems. Other chapters examine them as dimensions of a family abuse and violence problem.

Miller and Knudsen begin this study by presenting a conceptual framework in chapter 1 that integrates the work produced by specialists in subfields of family violence with that produced by researchers studying child, partner, and elder abuse as dimensions of a single problem. They call this framework the ‘Family Abuse and Violence Episode’ (FAV) perspective. To illustrate the dimensions of this perspective, they present a case study of a family that has experienced neglect, abuse, and violence within and across generations.

The FAV Episode framework is a general one that researchers, social change advocates, policymakers, and lawmakers can use to guide analyses of immediate problems or to propose new ideas for responding to persistent family abuse and violence problems. Their perspective highlights the importance of understanding the social context in which family problems occur. In Family Abuse and Violence, ‘social actors’ are the children, women, and men who are affected by family abuse and violence. They are also the social workers, police officers, attorneys, judges, physicians, and other social service providers who respond to family abuse and violence.

Chapter 2 introduces the data sources that are used to estimate the problem of family abuse and violence in the United States. They examine government, agency (or clinical), and social survey data, which are collected for different purposes but purport to produce accurate estimates of the incidence and prevalence of family violence. They identify the data sources they think most accurately portray intra-generational and intergenerational forms of family abuse and violence.

In chapter 3 they turn to historical studies to uncover the social institutional factors that have shaped contemporary U.S. understandings of family relationships and abusive family relationships. They study the past to understand how contemporary conceptualizations of child abuse and spouse abuse have emerged. Chapter 4 frames a description of how a private problem – unexplained, severe injuries sustained by children – became a public problem.

Chapters 5 and 6 examine two types of intergenerational family abuse and violence. These chapters focus on child abuse, or the abusive behavior that a family member of one generation – a parent or a caretaker – perpetrates against a child, a family member of a younger generation who is dependent upon the adult. These chapters recognize the need to scrutinize distinct forms of family violence, which are defined as parent-child, partner-partner, or adult child-parent relationships. The physical and emotional abuse of children is the subject of chapter 5; thus the research on the contentious issue of corporal punishment or spanking is systematically analyzed.

Chapter 6 considers the medical, legal, and social problems of child sexual abuse and exploitation. The inherent difficulties associated with diagnosing sexual abuse episodes interact with changing definitions of this particular dimension of family abuse and violence. The analysis of the sexual abuse literature reminds readers that some of the most insidious forms of family abuse are extremely difficult to study systematically.

Chapter 7 examines the process of figuring out who ‘counts’ as a victim or as a perpetrator and what the extant medical and legal responses are to family abuse and violence episodes. Chapter 8 turns to the general population to see if perceptions of what constitute appropriate social responses to FAV problems correspond to the prevailing practices. Miller and Knudsen use a Canadian survey to estimate perceptions regarding the overall problem of intra- and intergenerational forms of family abuse and violence. Then they use their own telephone survey, which they conducted for the purposes of this chapter to answer specific questions.

Chapter 9 examines intra-generational forms of family abuse and violence. They begin with an analysis of dating violence studies that have been conducted by researchers in recent decades. They develop a typology of intimate partner violence to explain the threats and controlling behaviors women experience within their marital or cohabiting relationships as a function of their childhood experiences with violence. Chapter 10 presents an overview of the consequences of intra-generational episodes of family abuse and violence. For victims, consequences range from hurt feelings to emotional scars to death. They listen to narrative accounts of women, men, and children who are victims of family violence and narrative accounts of men who participated in a batterers' counseling program. They return to the national data examined in chapter 9 and continue their analysis to compare gender differences in injuries and lost time from work resulting from intra-generational family abuse and violence.

Chapter 11 returns to intergenerational forms of family abuse and violence. Miller and Knudsen consider dependent children and dependent elders and how the family neglect of each group is similar and different. Neglected children have always been the subjects of social intervention within the United States. In 2002 more than half of all maltreated children were reported to be victims of neglect. Neglected elders have only recently come to the attention of social service agencies. For elders, self-neglect is also a form of abuse that can elicit state intervention. They conclude the study of family abuse and violence with a pair of chapters. In chapter 12 they discuss some of the persistent and often contentious controversies and some of the emerging debates that characterize the field, examining issues across intra- and intergenerational forms of family abuse and violence. In chapter 13 they summarize what is known about this persistent social problem in the United States: How successful has the United States been in reducing family abuse and violence? And what do we need to do?

…I especially found their thoughtful focus on the often contentious processes and thorny dilemmas of defining family abuse and violence to be valuable, as well as the way they situate these processes in larger cultural, organizational, and political contexts. The book's synthesis of theoretical perspectives and typologies of family violence/abuse is also valuable for those seeking an intelligent overview of the field. I would certainly recommend the book for use in upper-level undergraduate classes or graduate seminars on family, violence, criminal justice policy, or social work. – Jeffrey Ulmer, Pennsylvania State University

In Family Abuse and Violence, Miller and Knudsen combine a remarkably encyclopedic analysis of existing findings and original research to skillfully present an empirically grounded conceptual framework for understanding the causes, manifestations, and consequences of intra-generational and intergenerational family abuse. … with lucid prose they put this framework … to work in innovative ways. The result is clear: The value of this book for academics, advocates, and policymakers is beyond question, precisely because it is readable without betraying the complexity of the problem. … Miller and Knudsen present their ideas in a clear, rea­soned, and evidence-based way, which leaves the reader with keen insight about the social context in which family abuse and violence occurs as well as compelling ideas for social change. – Valerie Jenness, University of California, Irvine; president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems

Family Abuse and Violence presents a new perspective for studying inter- and intra-generational forms of family abuse and violence. The authors provide a framework for integrating existing theories and interpreting empirical data, in order to study socially deviant or criminal problems that occur within families. The book is a text for undergraduate students in a second, third, or fourth year course in social problems, family abuse and violence, family and gender, or community problems; or for graduate students in MS or PhD programs in sociology, psychology, or child and family studies.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help / Motivational / Biographies & Memoirs

A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington, with Daniel Paisner (Meredith Books)

Every one of us has a story to share. Every one of us looks back on a coach or a teacher or some person who set us straight and steered us right. – Denzel Washington

Everyone needs a hand from time to time, a gentle nudge to get on track. And one never knows when the help they provide will lift someone toward a life of greatness.

In his debut as an author, Denzel Washington shares his personal story of the mentors who helped guide his life. A Hand to Guide Me showcases how the kindness of mentors has shaped the lives of public people we know and respect. In their own words, legendary personalities tell how people stepped up to guide them. From Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali to Bob Woodward and James Worthy, the voices in this book may be household names now, but they credit their success to the guidance of others long ago.

Washington pens the introduction to the stories of America's leading personalities in theatre, sports, business, art and politics as they tell their life-changing stories of mentorship. Contributors include Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Antwone Fisher, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Leonard Nimoy, Colin Powell, Bonnie Raitt, Cal Ripken, Alex Rodriguez, Dick Vitale, Whoopie Goldberg and more.

Washington started out far from the film world where he has become an American legend. He learned industriousness by running errands and brushing off clothes for patrons at a neighborhood barbershop. Today he is not only an Academy Award-winning actor, he is the national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to which he pledges his proceeds from A Hand to Guide Me.

We all get where we're going with a push from someone who cares, says acclaimed actor Washington. A national spokesperson for Boys and Girls Clubs of America, he tells how he found his own mentor in the Mount Vernon, N.Y., Boys Club and celebrates the organization's 100th anniversary with this collection of 70 celebrities' accounts of how as youngsters they were guided by a caring adult. … Washington has produced an anthology that will inspire successful men and women to help and empower the next generation. – Publishers Weekly

In his dedication to youth, Washington has brought together six dozen people with treasured stories to share about the importance of guiding hands and role models when they were growing up. Working with him and his collaborators, best-selling writer Daniel Paisner has helped these well-known personalities tell their stories while staying true to their individual voices. The voices form a chorus in A Hand to Guide Me, as it pays tribute to the love and generosity of people taking time to help one another, lifting one life at a time.

History / Ancient / Egypt

Akhenaten and Tutankhamun: Revolution and Restoration by David P. Silverman, Josef W. Wegner & Jennifer Houser Wegner (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Publications)

Egypt's 18th Dynasty, a period of empire building, was also for a short time the focus of a religious revolution.

Why in fact did this reversal take place?

Could a youth effect such changes without significant help?

Now called the Amarna Period (1353-1322 BCE) after the site of the innovative capital city that was the center of the new religion, it included the reigns of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten and his presumed son, the boy king Tutankhamun.

Three Penn Egyptologists (David P. Silverman, Curator of the Egyptian Section, Penn Museum, and Eckley B. Coxe Professor of Egyptology; Josef W. Wegner, Associate Curator, Egyptian Section, Penn Museum, and Associate Professor of Egyptian Archaeology; and Jennifer Houser Wegner, Research Specialist, Egyptian Section, Penn Museum, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, all at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania) in Akhenaten and Tutankhamun examine the concept of royal power. They demonstrate how Akhenaten established, projected, and maintained his vision of it. They investigate how and why this unique pharaoh made fundamental changes in the social contract between himself and his subjects, on one side, and his new solar god, the Aten, and himself, on the other. Silverman, Wegner and Wegner also look at the radical religion, politics, and art he introduced to Egypt as well as at the consequences of his actions after his death, including how his successors, most notably, Tutankhamun, Egypt's most famous pharaoh, dealt with the restoration of traditional ways.

Akhenaten and Tutankhamun deals with such topics as the evolution of Akhenaten's ideology and the concepts surrounding the foundation, construction, and use of his innovative city and its unique palaces, temples, and houses, along with Egypt's empire, the role of its women, its relations with other nations of the ancient world, and the remarkable place both Akhenaten and Tutankhmun hold in history. An epilogue recaps how Amarna's modern discovery helped solve the mysteries surrounding this city, its unique founder, and the aftermath of his revolution.

In a concise and readable form, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun, a generously illustrated volume, takes a fresh approach to a fascinating period in Egyptian history.

History / Journalism

Murder in Parisian Streets: Manufacturing Crime and Justice in the Popular Press, 1830-1900 by Thomas Cragin (Bucknell University Press)

Paris had long stood at the center of French social and political life, but its redesign in the middle of the nineteenth century also made it the capital of European modernization. It was the focal point of dramatic cultural change, yet its largest circulating media continued to emphasize the same kind of news it had since the dawn of printing: murder. The most important of France's news genres, for both its immediate popularity and its long-term influence, was the canard. These cheap, illustrated broadsheets and booklets most often reported sensations, particularly murders. Made by members of the working and lower-middle classes and sold with great success to a vast and diverse audience, the canards deeply influenced and appealed to popular understandings of crime and punishment. Despite their importance in their day and their value to cultural studies, historians have paid them scant attention.

In Murder in Parisian Streets Thomas Cragin provides a study of the production, sale, and content of the canards. He demonstrates their significance to nineteenth-century culture, even their role in determining the emerging tabloids' success. Cragin, Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College, demonstrates the canard makers' opposition to any reorientation of content, their remarkable evasions of censorship controls, and their repudiation of most of the century's theories and conflicts relating to crime and justice. Informed by a religious culture little changed from the Old Regime, the canards defined social conflict entirely within a moral and supernatural context. They cast crime as the ultimate manifestation of evil in France – the work of monsters and devils. They kept alive old notions of woman's inherent evil against the tide of elite theories positing her natural virtue. And contrary to readers’ expectations that the lower classes felt alienation from and hatred for the many officials of a repressive state, Cragin exposes a popular discourse on criminal justice that idealized policemen, prosecutors, and judges as devoted public servants and agents of divine justice.

The canards made crime and justice into spectacles that transported the tenors and triumphs of melodrama into the everyday lives of the French. Cragin suggests that the canardiers fought successfully against modernization because the French continued to share the genre's old ideas and to favor its melodramatic and sensational devices.

Murder in Parisian Streets includes ninety-seven black-and-white illustrations.

Murder in Parisian Streets is a pioneering exploration of a forgotten genre of French journalism. These crudely illustrated stories of lurid crimes and hardworking policemen were the ancestors of tabloid journalism and modern detective fiction. Cragin shows us how these broadsheets help us understand nineteenth-century social attitudes and the growth of a popular reading public. – Jeremy D. Popkin, Professor of History, University of Kentucky

Shades of Hercule Porot! Murder in Parisian Streets provides and in-depth exposé of the power of oral traditions as well as modern marketing at work on the popular news literature in mid-nineteenth century France. The canards challenge our assumptions about the nineteenth century's revolution in print and reorient our understanding of cultural creation through textual construction.

History / U.S. / Biographies & Memoirs

The General and Mrs. Washington: The Untold Story of a Marriage and a Revolution by Bruce Chadwick (Sourcebooks, Inc.)

As told in The General and Mrs. Washington, the history of America's First Family is inexorably tied to the workings of the revolution. Martha's son Jackie (she had four children and George had none) was 28 when he died at Yorktown. George's own life, according to author Bruce Chadwick, would have been lost on multiple occasions if not for Martha. Only she could bring comfort and grace to the winter camps and it was in this manner that the revolutionaries came to see Martha not only as a kindred spirit, but as a beloved heroine.

The General and Mrs. Washington is the story of the fateful marriage of the richest woman in Virginia and the man who could have been king. In telling their story, former journalist Chadwick, lecturer in American history at Rutgers University and writing teacher at New Jersey City University, explains not only their remarkable devotion to each other, but also why the wealthiest couple in Virginia became revolutionaries who risked the loss of not only their vast estates, but also their lives.
Washington, as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and later as the first President of the United States, wrote thousands of letters during his life and kept most of them. Just about all have been published somewhere. The letters, in war and peace, helped historians to construct a pretty comprehensive portrait of him.

Martha did not write many letters, and those between her and her husband she had in her possession she burned. Nevertheless, a study of the letters written by her and to her, and about her by others enabled Chadwick to write a rather full description of the first First Lady. These descriptions of her, and assessments of her inner strength and mercurial personality, came from far-flung sources – important figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams and an assortment of public officials, newspaper editors and foreign diplomats. But they were also jotted down by unknown people – men who rode past her on roads, little girls who rode in carriages with her, merchants, farmers and the many soldiers who met her in the Revolution.

Using all of these sources, Chadwick in The General and Mrs. Washington writes a biography of the Washingtons that not only describes their place in history, but captures their personalities and the deep love they had for each other. He explains what at first seems unfathomable – the extraordinary love of the American people for the country's First Couple. Understanding the respect people had for George, the conquering war hero, is easy. Understanding the respect for his wife, who led no charges and fired no guns, is harder. In the end, though, Chadwick explains by discussing the brand new Americans of the Revolutionary era. They were a people who admired men and women of great character and integrity, men and women who risked all for freedom. Chadwick writes about the Washingtons within the context of the complicated and stormy era, the struggling colonies and their attempt to defeat the British Empire.

Deft portrait of the Washington team, building a life together and, eventually, a new nation. – Kirkus Reviews

Chadwick addresses the cultural landscape throughout The General and Mrs. Washington, painting a picture of the entire country and its people, a picture that enables readers to see how the Washingtons fit into that portrait and, in fact, how they became the centerpiece of it.

Home & Garden / Interior Design

Spectacular Homes of the Carolinas by Jolie Carpenter (Spectacular Homes Series:  Panache Partners LLC, Signature Publishing Group)

The book asks whether readers have ever wondered how gorgeous rooms are designed and what inspires the people who create them. Now readers can look behind the scenes, and discover their artistry, their secrets, and even learn about the design elements to avoid.

Spectacular Homes of the Carolinas applauds some of Carolina’s fine decorators and interior designers and the breathtaking homes they have produced. It is a showcase of nearly 40 interior designers and decorators in North and South Carolina.

In these pages, readers preview some of the Carolina’s most beautiful homes and meet the talented designers who created them. For example, readers look inside the rooms created by award-winning designers Tim Bagwell and Calvin Hefner or view the exquisite homes of Linda Knight Carr and Linda Burnside. Readers enjoy the touch and detail both Ceil Phillips and Brenda Lyne bring to the spaces they create as well as the creative work of Lynn Monday and Joni Vanderslice.

The homes featured in Spectacular Homes of the Carolinas have been selected by the designers as some of their best work. Whether it’s the designer’s home or that of a client, the interiors possess exceptional style.

Each book in the Spectacular Homes series is a showcase of the top interior designers and decorators in some of America's most beautiful regions. This Carolina issue is the eighth in the series, which has been expanded to over twenty markets in the country including California, Washington, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, New York, New and the eclectic Southwest.

Spectacular Homes of the Carolinas will inspire and motivate readers. With an eye for quality and style, the book reveals the discerning yet diversified tastes of the creators of the fine living spaces shown.

Home & Garden / Special Occasions / Cooking, Food & Wine

A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm (Broadway Books)

At Home with Carolyne Roehm proved once again that Carolyne Roehm's tens of thousands of admirers love to experience her exquisite lifestyle vicariously through her books. Roehm, one of America’s leading tastemakers, trendsetters, and lifestyle experts, who left to start her own fashion line after a decade with Oscar de la Renta, showcases her passion for entertaining in this sequel.

In A Passion for Parties, Roehm presents her creative ideas for every kind of event, from a black-and-white dinner dance to a spring tulip celebration. Original themes, detailed decorating tips, striking table settings and floral arrangements, as well as more than forty surprisingly easy recipes – are here to lend readers’ next occasion the touches that are the hallmarks of style.

A Passion for Parties offers practical advice and inspiration and even a way to partake in these exquisite events, both behind the scenes and as they take place. Whether it is an intimate Valentine’s Day in Paris or an Autumn Barn Dance for seventy, all of the events depicted here are splendid. Organized seasonally, the book features ideas for small gatherings (Christmas Dinner in Aspen, a Parisian-themed luncheon), big blowout events (a Fourth of July dinner with fireworks), family festivities (a seventy-fifth birthday party, a Dickens-inspired Halloween; a children’s Christmas cookie-decorating party, a cozy Thanksgiving for family and friends, a red-on-red family Christmas dinner), and a sophisticated Christmas cocktail party in Manhattan. Recipes include Mini Lemon Crepes Stuffed with Lobster, Chilled Zucchini Soup with Toasted Coconut, Baby Back Ribs with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce, and Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce.

For those who fell in love with the elegance embodied in her previous books, A Passion for Parties, focuses on Roehm's creative ideas for every kind of event. As stunning and stylish as its author, and stamped with her inimitable flair, the book is a must for the party planner or daydreamer in us all.

Literature & Fiction / Historical

Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman (Book 2 of the Trilogy) by Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy Gentleman Trilogy: A Touchstone Book)

The inferiority of her connections! Yet, never was he so bewitched!

When Fitzwilliam Darcy left Hertfordshire, he was a man conflicted – bewitched by a woman of meager fortune and vulgar relations.

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen reveals little about the past of her best-known hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy, nor does she ever give readers a glimpse into the thoughts and emotions behind the stoic exterior of this beloved character. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy? An eagerly anticipated follow-up to An Assembly Such As This, the first book in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, Duty and Desire continues the re-telling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice from the perspective of its enigmatic hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

This, the second book, takes readers into Darcy’s private world as he moves among his family, friends, and foes. Determined to forget Elizabeth Bennett, he returns to Pemberley to lose himself in work and family concerns. Darcy is struggling privately with his desire for the woman but still must fulfill his roles as landlord, master, brother, and friend.

When Darcy pays a visit to an old classmate in Oxford in an attempt to shake Elizabeth from his mind, he is set upon by husband-hunting society ladies and ne'er-do-well friends from his university days, all with designs on him – some for good and some for ill. He and his sartorial genius of a valet, Fletcher, match wits with them all, but especially with the curious Lady Sylvanie.

The author of Duty and Desire, Pamela Aidan, librarian, teacher, and storyteller, claims a lifelong love of Jane Austen and the world of Regency England.

Instead of imitating Austen, [Aidan] convincingly makes Darcy's story her own... resulting in a good time for fans of the series and those enamored of Austen. – Publishers Weekly
What is it about Fitzwilliam Darcy? Two hundred years after he captivated Elizabeth Bennett, readers still can't seem to get their fill of him. This title is just the latest in Darcy-inspired Jane Austen ‘fanfiction.’ It's better to forget Pride and Prejudice and read Aidan's knockoff on its own terms. … Plenty of period detail, witty dialogue, humor (including a scene in which several characters discuss the new novel Sense and Sensibility), and elements of the gothic will keep readers entertained…. – Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist
You’d search far and wide for a better look at Fitzwilliam Darcy’s inner life and social forces that shaped him. – Jane Austen Magazine

Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy? Aidan's trilogy finally answers that long-standing question, creating a rich parallel story that follows Darcy as he meets and falls in love with Elizabeth. Irresistible and entertaining, Duty and Desire remains true to the spirit and events of Pride and Prejudice while incorporating fascinating new characters and is sure to enchant Austen fans and newcomers alike. Set against the colorful historical and political background of the time of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style at home with Austen but with a wit and humor of her own.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Drawing Dead: A Jake Morgan Mystery by Rick Gadziola (Jake Morgan Mystery Series: ECW Press)

The sound of my voice was lost as the steady rain of the machine gun bullets slammed into the candy apple paint job with a series of thuds. The windows on my side cracked and shattered as shards sprayed chaotically throughout the interior.

I made a few more turns with the chase car still behind. I eventually found what I was looking for and tromped on the gas as we did over 80 down the side street. As we approached our destination, the glare from the headlights behind us diminished as the other vehicle dropped back. I slowed down to about 30, turned into the Police command facility we had just left 15 minutes ago, and drove right up over the grass up to the front door where I pressed both palms down on the center of the steering wheel.

Thankfully the horn still worked and the shrill noise brought out the desk sergeant and a bunch of people who appeared to be just leaving. As if on cue, one of the hubcaps came loose and rolled into a juniper bush near the startled onlookers. No cars followed us in.

I took my hands off the horn as I say Oakley’s bulk come through the front door. The lieutenant put his hands on his hips and surveyed the holes down the driver’s side, the shattered windows, and the steam rising from the hood, then he poked his head in my window, looked at me, shook his head, and glanced at my passenger.

“Well, Laura,” he said, as he handed her a handkerchief to wipe the blood from her face. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Jake Morgan.” – from the book

Jake Morgan just can’t seem to win. In Drawing Dead, the Las Vegas poker dealer and ex-cop is dealt a hand by his casino boss and forced to play. A beautiful high roller, sick of her husband, takes a prescription of gambling and gamboling in Vegas to cure herself. She finds her medicine – Morgan. He reluctantly plays hotel gigolo, and ends up in her suite. He’s just beginning some of his best ‘under-cover’ moves when an assassin enters with a cure-all for the woman by popping two lead pills into her head.

Just as Morgan is cleared in her death, another femme fatale falls for him. Laura Bulloch is on the Vice squad. While Morgan appreciates her bar-brawling and martial arts skills, he has a difficult time warming to her S&M fetishes. Then, she gets him caught in the crossfire between two groups of dirty cops out to kill each other, as he tries to help her stay alive. The attempts on his life seem to multiply as he gets closer to what he prays is not the ugly truth. Could he be on the wrong side? When he tries to walk away from Laura, Morgan is placed in the crosshairs of an adversary who will not be denied. Bullets fly and bodies fall as he attempts to unravel the mystery. But is it worth his life?

Gadziola captures an authentically seedy Vegas vibe that only the locals seem to notice. He manages to run the table with a full house of entertaining characters. – Booklist

Written by Rick Gadziola, semi-professional poker player and part-time private eye, Drawing Dead is the third installment in the Jake Morgan mystery series. Gadziola’s profession gives him insight into the mind of his wheeling-dealing protagonist Jake Morgan, an ex-cop from Boston who moonlights as a P.I. while keeping his day job at a Vegas casino. If readers like to read over-the-top action, the Jake Morgan mystery series is a good place to get it.

Outdoors & Nature / Environment / Religion & Spirituality / Theology

Ecology at the Heart of Faith by Denis Edwards (Orbis Books)

One of the gifts we have received from the twentieth century is a picture of Earth as our shared home. The human community of the twenty-first century can see Earth as a blue-green planet set against the darkness of interstellar space. We are able to think of our home planet in the context of the vast distances of the Milky Way Galaxy and of the roughly one hundred billion galaxies that make up the observable universe, and be led to a new appreciation of Earth's beauty and hospitality to life. We can see human beings as part of a global community, interconnected with other species and with the life systems of our planet. At the same time we are confronted by the damage human beings are doing to the atmosphere, the soil, the rivers, and the seas of Earth.

According to Denis Edwards in Ecology at the Heart of Faith, it is becoming more and more obvious that if we continue to destroy the great forests and clear the bush, if we continue reckless exploitation of the land, the rivers, and the seas, if we continue to lose habitats, what we will pass on to our descendants will be an impoverished and far more sterile place. We are in the midst of a process that, if allowed to continue, will end in the destruction of much of what we have come to treasure. Already uncounted and unnamed species are being lost forever. All of this will have an unimaginable impact on human beings, but it is also obviously far more than a human problem. At the center of Ecology at the Heart of Faith is the argument that this loss of biodiversity is a theological issue. When human beings cause the extinction of other species, they destroy creatures made by God.

Edwards, theology teacher at the Flinders University School of Theology in Adelaide, South Australia, says that as the sense of the global crisis deepens, there is a growing movement of people committed to finding an alternative way forward, an ecological movement. It is made up of people from diverse backgrounds – farmers, artists, scientists, trade unionists, business leaders, school children, and politicians, among many others.

According to Ecology at the Heart of Faith, this movement of ecological conversion is far wider than the church. It involves people from all kinds of ethnic, political, and religious backgrounds. In this movement, Christians are called to take their stance alongside others, many of whom have long led the way in ecological conviction and practice. As the church itself is called to conversion to the side of the poor in the struggle of justice and to the side of women in their struggle for full equality, so the church itself is called to conversion to the side of suffering creation.

The argument of Ecology at the Heart of Faith is that Christians will be able to play their own particular role in this movement of the Spirit only by coming to a new understanding of the ecological meaning and consequences of their deepest faith convictions.

According to Edwards, it is important to acknowledge that there are many instances where Christian tradition has been expressed, interpreted, and lived in an exclusively anthropocentric (human-centered) way. Part of the task of ecological theology is taking a critical stance toward all interpretations of this heritage that exalt the human at the expense of other creatures. Edwards’ proposal is that when the great themes of Christian faith are approached in a way that is critical but respects them in all their beauty and depth, they hold a great deal of promise for an emerging ecological theology. He is convinced that exploring the heart of Christian faith can open out into a great deal of ecological meaning, precisely because the God that Christians find revealed in Christ and the Spirit is the God who creates the universe. The God of redemption is the God of creation.

As it is the responsibility of Christians to explore the ecological meaning of Christianity and in this way to contribute to an ecological ethos and commitment, so it is for those belonging to other traditions, including Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Confucian believers, as well as ancient indigenous religious traditions, to bring out the ecological meaning of their traditions. The global community of Earth needs the contributions of all the great religious traditions of our planet. A common commitment to creation by people from different religious faiths can offer real hope for the future of life on Earth.

Methodologically, Ecology at the Heart of Faith starts from below, from what it is to be human in the midst of creation (chapter 2), and then moves to the experience of the Spirit (chapter 3), before turning explicitly to consider the place of Jesus in ecological theology (chapter 4). The chapters on the Spirit and on Jesus open out into an ecological theology of the Trinity (chapter 5). This leads to reflections on the final transformation of all things in Christ (chapter 6) and on worship and practice (chapter 7). While these six issues are at the heart of Christian faith, they do not cover the whole content of faith, and Edwards makes no attempt to develop an ecological ethics. Edwards means the book to be a limited work of constructive theology, an attempt to reinterpret some fundamental aspects of the Christian tradition in the new context we face in the first part of the twenty-first century. In each chapter, Edwards offers an interpretation of a fundamental theme of Christian faith in relation to the other themes developed in Ecology at the Heart of Faith and brings out and makes explicit its ecological meaning.

This straightforward, earnest, and wise account helps us understand one of the most important messages for our strained planet: the environmental message must be near the heart of the Christian experience, for the sake of both the world and the church. – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

Ecology at the Heart of Faith is a journey through some central aspects of Christian faith. Each chapter shows how an important part of the Christian tradition can be rethought as a contemporary ecological theology. In a world born of the ‘big bang,’ Edwards shows that humanity and the world are together being made into the image of God. He helps general readers, preachers, spiritual directors, students, and theologians tear down the walls that separate mysticism, theology, prophecy, poetry, and science.

Political Science / Government

American Public Service: Radical Reform and the Merit System edited by James S. Bowman & Jonathan P. West (CRC Press)

There is a variety of interesting literature on contemporary civil service reform. Until now, however, no single reference has offered a comprehensive, empirical selection of the latest work on radical reform and the merit system. This collection of original studies is the product of a 2004 nationwide call for papers, and the resulting Review of Public Personnel Administration and International Journal of Public Administration symposia.

American Public Service provides a collection of papers that examine the innovations, strategies, and issues found in the contemporary civil service reform debate. With its diverse perspectives, this book presents matters of radical reform and the merit system from federal, state, and local levels of government.

Consisting of four sections, American Public Service offers insight into a common phenomenon: the effects of merit system changes on employees. It examines a portrait of contemporary reforms from across the country and concepts to interpret those data, and addresses whether the relaxation of civil service protections against partisan intrusion will result in corruption. It also provides examples of ongoing changes, analyzes survey data from state personnel managers, and discusses a variety of key issues, such as the impact on racial inequality of moving from a protected class employment status to an unprotected at-will relationship. Representing the state of the art, it also identifies issues and makes suggestions for the future.

Features include:

  • A variety of approaches such as survey research, legal analysis, case work, model building, and theory testing.
  • Background material on at-will employment.
  • The erosion of the merit system, especially job protection from partisan interference.

Editors of the volume are James S. Bowman and Jonathan P. West. Bowman is professor of public administration at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida State University. His primary area is human resource management, and he is editor-in-chief of Public Integrity, a journal sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration, and four other professional associations. Jonathan P. West is professor of political science and director of the graduate public administration program in the School of Business Administration at the University of Miami, and he is the managing editor of Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.

Contributors, in addition to the editors, include:

  • Robert Forbis, Stephen Nelson, Jennifer Robinson, Jennifer Seelig, and Angela Stefaniak, all of the Department of Political Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Paul Battaglio Jr., Department of Public Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Domonic A. Bearfield, The George Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, College Station
  • Jerrell D. Coggburn, Department of Public Administration, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Stephen E. Condrey, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia, Athens
  • Richard C. Elling, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • Sally C. Gertz, Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee
  • Richard Green, Center for Public Administration and Policy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Steven W. Hays, Department of Political Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • Jeremy Johnson, Department of Political Science, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Robert Maranto, Political Science Department, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania
  • Jessica E. Sowa, Department of Political Science, Cleveland State University
  • James R. Thompson, Graduate Program in Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Lyke Thompson, The Center for Urban Studies and Department of Political Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • George Wilson, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida

The selections in American Public Service proceed by introducing their respective subject matter, providing necessary background material, developing pertinent topics, and concluding with a discussion of the implications of the findings.

The volume consists of four parts: (1) "Merit Systems in Flux," (2) "Is Patronage a Problem?" (3) "State Cases of Civil Service Reform," and (4) "Future Reform Issues." Part 1 presents a portrait of contemporary reforms from across the country and concepts to interpret that data. Hays and Sowa in "Changes in State Civil Service Systems: A National Survey" reveal a dynamic environment that is fundamentally redefining the role of public servants – how they are recruited, managed, and retained. These changes range from sweeping transformations in the terms and conditions of employment to more modest, yet significant, modifications in the employment relationship. Chapter 2, "Framing Civil Service Innovations: Assessing State and Local Government Reforms," by Battaglio and Condrey, uses a comparative model comprised of competing approaches to human resources to analyze the diffusion of reform. They examine four states and two localities, and the diverse strategies that these jurisdictions used to undertake reform: radical, collaborative, court-ordered, executive-led, and best-practice change. Chapter 3, "At-Will Employment: Origins, Applications, Exceptions, and Expansions in Public Service," by Gertz, examines the root of many reforms: the business-inspired employment at-will doctrine. The chapter describes the development of the concept in American law and the creation of statutory and judicial exceptions to it. Legal scholarship defending and criticizing the doctrine is contrasted. Against this backdrop, the expansion of at-will employment to the civil service is discussed.

Selections in Part 2, "Is Patronage a Problem?" address whether the relaxation of civil service protections against partisan intrusion will result in corruption. Maranto and Johnson, in "Bringing Back Boss Tweed: Could at-Will Employment Work in State and Local Government and, If So, Where?" believe that there is little problem at the national level because the mass media, party competition, and ethics regulation protect against the emergence of a modern-day spoils system. Such conditions, however, may not hold for state governments. In "The Demonization of Patronage: Folk Devils and the Boston Globe's Coverage of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks," Bearfield also raises questions about criticisms leveled at the contemporary reform movement. He argues that patronage has become a ‘folk devil,’ employing the theory of ‘moral panics’ to understand its use.

Part 3, "State Cases of Civil Service Reform," provides examples of ongoing change. "Ending Civil Service Protections in Florida Government: Experiences in State Agencies," by Bowman and West, ascertains the extent to which the elimination of the defining characteristic of the merit system – job protection against partisan mischief – has affected employees in three departments. Coggburn, in the next chapter, analyzes survey data from state personnel managers. In "At-Will Employment in Government: Its impact in the State of Texas," respondents agree that the at-will doctrine enhances employee responsiveness and believe that the legal environment serves as a constraint on agency use of at-will terminations. Chapter 8, "The Attraction to at-Will Employment in Utah Govern­ments," reports the results of an exploratory study of officials who are considering, or have already established, at-will relationships in one or more units of their agencies. Green and his colleagues discuss the reasons given for using at-will employment, the extent to which respondents wish to have it in their departments or jurisdictions, and the means used to implement change. The problems with existing personnel systems and the expected advantages of change are discussed.

The controversies over civil service have spawned a variety of significant ramifications and implications of reform. Therefore, Part 4, "Future Reform Issues," identifies a variety of key issues. No image of the supposed shortcomings of civil service is more popular than the existence of ‘dead­wood’ in its ranks. As Elling and Thompson suggest in "’Dissin’ the Deadwood or Coddling the Incompetents? Patterns and Issues in Employee Discipline and Dismissal in the States," a plethora of factors are associated with effective job performance. Accordingly, empirical findings from 20 states are brought to bear on adverse action data over three time periods to suggest how the past might inform the future. The following chapter, Wilson's "At-Will Employment and Racial Equality in the Public Sector: The Demise of a Niche?" identifies the likely impact on racial inequality of moving from a protected class employment status to an unprotected at-will relationship. Chapter 11, "Federal Labor-Management Relations under George W. Bush: Enlightened Management or Political Retribution?" chronicles recent developments in employment relations in the national government. Thompson outlines the design of the new personnel systems for the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, which together comprise a large portion of the federal workforce.

Throughout, the collection offers a fresh examination of the innovations, strategies, and issues found in the contemporary civil service reform debate. As such, this timely study of reform issues represents the state of the art and suggests directions for how to proceed in the future. In so doing, American Public Service contributes to understanding the ethos of government management in democracy. As a presentation of recent advances on this vital topic, this book will hopefully stimulate greater reflection on the character of reform.

Politics / History / Asia

Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier: Intrigues and Ethnopolitics, 1928-49 by Hsiao-ting Lin (Contemporary Chinese Studies Series: UBC Press)

In recent years, with the declassification of Chinese archival materials from the Nationalist period (1928-49), especially the private papers of Chiang Kai-shek, scholars everywhere are now in a better position to examine the immediate background of ethnopolitical issues that still challenge today's People's Republic of China.

China's policies towards Tibet and other ethnic border territories during the political reign of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists are often understood as a deliberate exercise of power. In Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier Hsiao-ting Lin demonstrates that the frontier was the subject neither of concerted aggression on the part of a centralized and indoctrinated Chinese government, nor of an ideologically driven nationalist ethnopolitics.

Lin, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, utilizes recently declassified Chinese official documents to reveal how the Nationalist sovereignty over Tibet and other border regions was more the result of rhetorical grandstanding on the part of Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalist regime than a definite plan to exert control over the region. He reveals that it was not until the Sino-Japanese war (1937-45) that the besieged wartime Nationalists took the opportunity to push Han Chinese authority farther west. Whether a matter of state building or regime survival, this development pressed postwar China's territorial extension of its previously imaginary state control into Central Asia, the consequences of which still reverberate in the region.

Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier takes the Tibetan agenda as a case study that depicts modern China's pursuit of internal and external sovereignties. This important, com­plex issue became relevant to the new Chinese republican system right after the fall of Qing in 1912, and later became part of the Nationalist government's policy planning after 1928. This book takes a first step toward re-evaluating the intricate relationship between Nationalist China and Tibet. In a broader sense, it also shows how, during the divisive and chaotic period of modern China, Chinese territorial goals continued to change from a traditional empire to a modern polity, sometimes in unexpected and inadvertent ways.

The first two chapters provide background information on China's political and territorial landscape in the late 1920s and the early 1930s, as well as the frontier policy planning structure within the Nationalist governmental bureaucracy after 1928. They describe what really constituted the ‘Republic of China’ at the early stage of Nationalist rule and how the Nationalist frontier agenda was understood in this broader political and. institutional context. The civil wars in the early 1930s soon shattered the national image promoted by the Nationalists, but Chiang Kai-shek had nevertheless quite successfully persuaded ethnic minority groups in the remote outlying regions to believe that his new Nanking regime was in a better position than the previous warlord regimes to settle China's problematic frontier issues.

The three chapters in the second part of Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier focus on Nationalist China's Tibetan issues in the prewar decade (1928-37). Previous works about Chinese-Tibetan relations have suggested that from 1928 on, the Nationalist government tried to reassert Chinese authority over Tibet. Yet these chapters argue that whether the Nationalist government, at the early stage of its rule, was really concerned that Tibet should unconditionally and uncompromisingly become an integrated part of China remains open to discussion. They also reconsider whether the Nationalists were genuinely anx­ious about losing Tibet, or even other outlying ethnic borderlands, when their regime faced crises such as political fragmentation and growing Japanese encroachment. These chapters explore Sino-Tibetan relations in the context of Nationalist China's internal integration and state building, as well as the central government's process of consolidating power in the prewar decade, thus offering some new arguments regarding China's frontier and minority agenda in the first half of twentieth-century Chinese history.

The three chapters in the third part of Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier focus on China’s Tibetan agenda during the sino-Japanese war (1937-45). The existing literature argues that the Japanese invasion of Chula, and the emergence of a group of powers allied with Nationalist China in its struggle against Japan, provided the Nationalists with an opportunity to advance their claims on the border regions and restore China’s glorious past. Indeed Sino-Tibetan relations dramatically changed after Pearl Harbor. Once China became a member of the Great Four, the Nationalists began to talk about restoring their authority over the frontier territories. By scrutinizing the Sino-Tibetan relationship in the context of international wartime rivalries in South and Inner Asia, these three chapters provide new interpretations for a better understanding of China's frontier and minority agendas in the 19305 and 1940s, and of the way in which present-day Chinese territoriality was conceptualized and formulated.

The last two chapters in Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier consider Nationalist China's postwar frontier imbroglio, and examine this issue in the broader context of postwar rivalry between the Han Chinese and non-Han minorities. In these chapters, the Nationalist government's postwar frontier agenda was dictated by events that threatened to redefine the very conception of China, and that shaped the territoriality of the present-day People's Republic of China. These chapters also provide insight into how the Chinese Nationalists, after defeating the Japanese, fumbled in vain with China's border restoration operations. In addition, post-war China's Tibetan issues are discussed in the wider contexts of a Han Chinese versus non-Han milieu, and of the Nationalist government's state-building efforts in the southwest peripheries, undertaken in the wake of the Second World War.

Although it lasted only four years, the final stage of Nationalist rule in the Chinese mainland was crucial, at least in terms of China's frontier and minor­ity issues. Hotly debated topics both within and beyond the present-day People's Republic of China, such as the problematic Tibetan agenda and the controversy surrounding the Eastern Turkestan movement for independence, cannot be separated from the territorial and ethnic legacies bequeathed by the Nationalist authorities half a century ago. The examination in Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier of postwar China's frontier agenda fills the lacunae in the existing scholarship and provides a better understanding of the origins of these ongoing questions. This groundbreaking study has benefited by the author's access to newly available Chinese archival materials. A counterpoint to erroneous historical assumptions, Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier will change the way Tibetologists and modern Chinese historians frame future studies of the region. The book makes a crucial contribution to the understanding of past and present China-Tibet relations.

Politics / International / Diplomacy

Challenges to Peacebuilding: Managing Spoilers During Conflict Resolution edited by Edward Newman & Oliver Richmond (United Nations University Press)

Many ceasefires and peace agreements in civil conflict are initially unsuccessful. Some give way to renewed, and often escalating, violence. In other cases, peace processes have become interminably protracted. Given the huge material and human costs of a failed peace process, the international community has a strong interest in helping these processes succeed and addressing threats to their implementation.

Challenges to Peacebuilding approaches the problem by focusing on 'spoilers': groups and tactics that actively seek to obstruct or undermine conflict settlement through a variety of means, including terrorism and violence. The book considers why spoilers and spoiling behavior emerge and how they can be addressed, drawing upon experience from Northern Ireland, the Basque region, Bosnia, Colombia, Israel-Palestine, Cyprus, the Caucasus and Kashmir.

This volume, edited by Edward Newman, director of studies on Conflict and Security, Peace and Governance Programme, United Nations University and Oliver Richmond, Reader at the School of International Relations, and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of St. Andrews, UK, takes a critical approach to the concept of spoiling and considers a broad range of factors as potential spoilers: not only rebel groups and insurgents, but also diasporas, governments, and other entities. It also demonstrates that ill-conceived or imposed peace processes can themselves sow the seeds of spoiling.

Contributors, in addition to the editors, include:

  • Karen Aggestam, lecturer and director of peace and conflict research at the Department of Political Science, Lund University.
  • Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, PhD candidate in international relations at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC; and minister (political) in the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, DC.
  • Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, research fellow in the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Daniele Conversi, visiting academic at the Department of Government, London School of Economics, and senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln.
  • George Khutsishvili, chairman and founding director of the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation, Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Roger Mac Ginty, lecturer in the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit, Department of Politics, University of York.
  • Carlo Nasi, assistant professor at the Political Science Department of the University of Los Andes, Colombia.
  • Magnus Ranstorp, research director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College.
  • Jaideep Salida, security analyst from Assam, India.
  • Yossi Shain, professor of comparative government and diaspora politics in the Department of Government, Georgetown University.
  • Ekaterina Stepanova, senior researcher at the Center for International Security, Institute of World Economy & International Relations, Moscow.
  • Nathalie Tocci, Marie Curie Fellow at the Mediterranean Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence.
  • Marie-Joëlle Zahar, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Montreal.

The first part of Challenges to Peacebuilding explores a range of issues relating to spoiling from a thematic perspective. Aggestam's chapter, "Internal and external dynamics of spoiling: A negotiation approach", addresses the dynamics of spoiling as well as the wider notion of devious objects in peace negotiations. Aggestam suggests that leadership and mobilization for a peace process, and the perception by the public that this process is just and inclusive, are critical prerequisites to limit the power of spoiling and extremist violence.

Zahar's contribution, "Understanding the violence of insiders: Loyalty, custodians of peace, and the sustainability of conflict settlement", focuses on actors who are ‘inside’ peace processes. Zahar suggests that, contrary to common wisdom, peace implementation is not a technical matter. It is a highly political act that may, under some conditions, contribute to the promotion of devious objectives that jeopardize the sustainability of peace.

Richmond challenges the thinking of compromise in his chapter, "The linkage between devious objectives and spoiling behavior in peace processes". Richmond's chapter argues that spoiling behavior and devious objectives indicate that disputants may not have accepted aspects of the liberal peace as the basis for their desired solution. Richmond's conclusions describe how understanding the phenomenon of devious objectives indicates the likelihood of spoiling behavior of all types emerging in a peace process.

Stepanova's chapter explores "Terrorism as a tactic of spoilers in peace processes". She notes that one of the objectives of the peace process is to end fighting, but violence almost never comes to a halt with the initiation of negotiations and often continues during peace implementation. Sustained or high-profile acts of terrorism should not be allowed to impede the peace process. At the same time, according to Stepanova, rigid counterterrorist measures, if undertaken separately from the peace process, are almost as likely to obstruct the peace process as terrorist acts by spoilers. Counterterrorism in the context of peace processes must be approached in terms of its wider implications and effects.

Shain and Aryasinha's chapter, "Spoilers or catalysts? The role of diasporas in peace processes", examines the role and significance of diaspora groups as potential and actual spoilers. Their chapter considers which types of conflicts/peace processes are vulnerable to spoiling due to diaspora influence; what is at stake for diasporas in such processes; what determines a diaspora's capacity to influence the processes; what modalities are used by diasporas in influencing conflicts/peace processes; and what is the nature of the relationship between diasporas and conflict.

The relationship between the nature and sources of armed conflict and spoiling is a challenging topic. Newman's chapter, "'New wars and spoilers", considers if certain types of contemporary conflict – especially types of civil wars – give rise to spoiling by actors who have little interest in peace because they find incentives in the continuation of violence, public disorder, and the political economy of war. The chapter considers the relevance of ‘new wars’ literature for the spoiling phenomenon in contemporary civil wars, and whether prevailing types of conflict may defy conventional conflict resolution approaches.

The second part of Challenges to Peacebuilding explores these issues and propositions with reference to a number of case studies. To give authenticity to these accounts the case studies are mostly presented by analysts from the regions in question, providing insights which can only come from local perspectives. Mac Ginty begins with "Northern Ireland: A peace process thwarted by accidental spoiling". The peace process of the 1990s deliberately sought to include veto holders. As a result, opportunities for spoilers were drastically reduced. Mac Ginty suggests that this makes the case particularly interesting, as Northern Ireland may be in a position to offer lessons to other peacemaking processes on structural and procedural factors that limited spoiling. Mac Ginty argues that spoilers, in the sense of violent actors deliberately seeking to thwart a peacemaking process, have had a limited impact on the Northern Ireland peace process. The second case is also from Europe. Conversi's chapter is on "Why do peace processes collapse? The Basque conflict and the three-spoilers perspective". He considers the rise and fall of peace initiatives in the Basque country, identifying a 'culture of violence' that has materialized over years of conflict. The U.S.-led ‘war on terror’ since 2001 has disrupted the Basque peace process and radicalized nationalist politics throughout Spain. At the local level, Conversi emphasizes a culture of violence from which grassroots spoilers tend naturally to emerge. However, he argues that the international context inspired by the war on terror is fundamentally important to understanding spoiling.

Challenges to Peacebuilding expressly takes a broad view of spoiling in terms of actors and activities. Bojicic-Dzelilovic's chapter, "Peace on whose terms? War veterans' associations in Bosnia and Herzegovina", takes such a view. Her chapter focuses on war veterans' associations as one particular type of non-state actor engaged in undermining a peace settlement in the specific context of Bosnia. The probe into spoiling tactics focuses on three important aspects of the peace agreement: refugee return, war crimes' prosecution, and institution-building. This is followed by a brief analysis of the impact of various strategies that the international community, as a custodian of peace, has used to sustain its implementation.

Nasi's chapter on "Spoilers in Colombia: Actors and strategies" describes how spoilers threatened to derail every single peace process in that country, and how the identity of spoilers changed throughout the various peace negotiations. Like other chapters in this volume, he concludes that spoiling actions neglect the context in which a peace process takes place.

In his chapter, "The Israeli-Palestinian peace process: The strategic art of deception", Ranstorp examines the mistrust and lack of understanding on both sides which characterize this difficult case. He argues that the role of culture and competing narrative ‘myths’ drive the underlying conflict dynamics between the parties. Ranstorp suggests that spoiling exists across the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spectrum, with varying degrees of ability to shape, redirect, and sabotage the peace processes. The asymmetry of power is a driving force behind the adoption of ‘devious objectives’ by disputants in relation to how far to impose and resist the peace process itself. Both sides believe inherently in the justness of their cause and that time is on their side.

In her chapter on "Spoiling peace in Cyprus", Tocci similarly argues that "spoiling characterizes the very nature of the persisting conflict in Cyprus" and the failure of numerous peace processes on the island. She suggests that spoiling has taken the form of actions undertaken by parties normally involved in the long-lasting peace process under the aegis of the United Nations, and aimed at bolstering specific (spoiling) bargaining positions. In line with other cases in this volume, Tocci suggests that the distinction between spoiling and ‘normal politics’ has thus been a question of degree rather than one of clear-cut categories.

Khutsishvili's chapter on "The Abkhazia and South Ossetia cases: Spoilers in a nearly collapsed peace process" considers the situation in the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. The conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have passed through armed hostilities and large-scale humanitarian crisis, and are now in a protracted, frozen, "no peace – no war" stage. Yet the corresponding peacebuilding process has never moved beyond an inadequate and undeveloped stage. The final case by Saikia, "Spoilers and devious objectives in Kashmir", similarly applies the concept of spoiling to a conflict which seems to defy resolution. Saikia considers how a range of actors could be considered in the context of spoiling: Indian intelligence, the Indian army, Indian bureaucracy, the Pakistani army, Pakistani intelligence, and the jihadi. Both of these final chapters demonstrate that spoiling can be applied to a range of actors both inside and outside a peace process, and indeed when there is not even a solid process.

Challenges to Peacebuilding represents the key dynamics of spoiling as an inherent part of contemporary peacemaking. This is a fascinating study sure to be of use to those devoted to peacekeeping efforts.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology

The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? by Robert M. Price, with a foreword by Julia Sweeney (Prometheus Books)

Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life has been both a commercially successful best seller and a widely influential book in the Christian community. As a rejoinder to the fundamentalist assumptions of Warren’s book, Robert Price, biblical scholar, member of the Jesus Seminar, and former liberal Baptist pastor, offers The Reason Driven Life, a detailed critique.

Following the concise forty-chapter structure of Warren’s book, Price’s point-counterpoint approach emphasizes the importance of reason in understanding life’s realities as opposed to Warren’s devotional perspective.

Price, Professor of Scriptural Studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, who was once a born-again Christian in his youth, is in a unique position to offer an appreciation of the wisdom that Warren shares while at the same time challenging many of his main points. In particular, Price takes issue with Warren’s use of numerous scriptural quotations, demonstrating how many of them have little to do with the points Warren is trying to make. An important section of the book shows that the popular evangelical notion of ‘a personal relationship with Jesus Christ’ is without any scriptural basis. Besides criticism, Price also provides many arguments for the use of reason as a tool for developing moral maturity and an intelligent, realistic perspective on life’s highs and lows.

Ultimately, the reason-driven life offers a healthier approach to wisdom and motivation, says Price, than the simplistic answers and feel-good emotionalism at the heart of Warren’s prescription for life. The real tragedy of Warren's approach to Christianity, according to Price in The Reason Driven Life, is that it tries to meet a genuine spiritual hunger with puerile sentiment and infantile beliefs. It teaches that strict adherence to fundamentalist teaching of God's will is the only way to find purpose in life. Price recognizes that fundamentalist Christianity as espoused by Warren stunts an individual's growth personally, morally, and intellectually, and that the only worthwhile critique of Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life is to provide a better, more reasonable alternative for people who are seeking maturity and meaning in life.

Throughout the forty meditations Price shares that not only is it possible to find meaning in life without Warren's fundamentalism, but a life based on rationality and questioning of life's mysteries is far more fulfilling and rewarding than a life lived in constant fear of eternal torment from a God imagined as a peevish theology professor who will damn you to hell for filling in the wrong answers in your final exam book.

… Price argues that individuals need not be told by an outsider how to find purpose; rather, they can use their own reason to ferret out the meaning of life. Price argues that Warren's view of a personal God conflicts with our morally neutral universe, creating an unhealthy, superstitious approach to life. Warren's God, Price says, is a "Frankenstein Monster, a divine bully, and an obsessive stalker. … – Publishers Weekly

In his own inimitable style, Robert Price in this volume challenges Rick Warren's bestselling book: A Purpose-Driven Life. With the rapier’s sword of Price's insight wrapped in a devastating sense of humor, he leaves not just Warren but all similar fundamentalistic religious leaders bleeding and exposed for what they are: anxiety-driven, survival-seeking, power-hungry people masquerading under the banner of piety or hiding behind the sounds of the sacred. – John Shelby Spong, author of A New Christianity for a New World

The wittiest, most thorough, and most devastating critique of the religion of the Evangelicals that I have ever read. It left me wondering how the religion of great Protestant heroes of faith like Luther and Bunyan can have turned into the inane religion of Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's neighbor. – Don Cupitt, Anglican priest, fellow of Emmanuel College in Cambridge University

The Reason Driven Life is a no-holds-barred polemic against a piece of popular evangelical theology and will make any and all readers think. – Clark H. Pinnock, Professor Emeritus of Theology at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario

… He follows the 40-chapter structure of The Purpose-Driven Life and furnishes relevant quotes from that book. But the similarities end there: the saccharine-coated devotional conformity Warren espouses is replaced by humanist dialog, quotations from a range of works and authors, and alternative points to ponder, leading the reader on a path of spiritual maturity. Price writes with witty and clever metaphors ... Recommended for all libraries with a copy of Warren's book, for religious collections generally, and for freethinkers everywhere. – Library Journal

Warren's bestselling The Purpose­ Driven Life has become the great inspirational book of the decade, and to Price that's a complete mystery. Price, now a humanist and New Testament scholar, spent a dozen years as a member of the American evangelical subculture, and in his witty and poignant rejoinder to Warren, The Reason Driven Life, Price describes Warrenism as stale, warmed-over fundamentalism.

Religion & Spirituality / Mystery Traditions

Forbidden Religion: Suppressed Heresies of the West edited by J. Douglas Kenyon (Bear & Co.)

As millions have flocked to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, a multitude of controversies has also arisen. Opinion divides, it seems, largely along believer/non-believer lines. On one side is mainstream Christianity – represented by both Catholics and Protestants – and on the other, the secular humanist establishment. Ironically, both sides base their reaction on literal Biblical interpretation. Christians who read the Bible literally are opposed by secularists who object to the literal meaning of the Bible and maintain their disbelief accordingly. But the argument seems to fall out between literalists and non-believers. Where are the symbolists?

Forbidden Religion contains 40 essays by 18 investigators of heresies and suppressed spiritual traditions, including Steven Sora, Ian Lawton, Jeff Nisbet, P.M.H. Atwater, John Chambers, and Vincent Bridges.

Following the model of his bestselling Forbidden History, J. Douglas Kenyon has assembled from his bi-monthly journal Atlantis Rising material that explores the hidden path of the religions banned by the orthodox Church – from the time before Christ when the foundations of Christianity were being laid to the tumultuous times of the Cathars and Templars and the Masons of the New World. Forbidden Religion, an investigation of the roots of Western faith, discusses the intimate ties of ancient Egyptian religion to Christianity, the true identities of the three magi, the link forged by the Templars between early Christianity and the Masons, and how these hidden religious currents still influence the modern world.

Forbidden Religion serves as an introduction to the history of the heretical religious traditions that played as vital a role in society as the established faiths that continuously tried to suppress them. Born in the same religious ferment that gave birth to Christianity, these spiritual paths survived in the ‘heresies’ of the Middle Ages, and in the theories of the great Renaissance thinkers and their successors, such as Isaac Newton and Giordano Bruno. Brought to the New World by the Masons who inspired the American Revolution, the influence of these forbidden religions can be still found today in “The Star Spangled Banner” and in such Masonic symbols as the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill.

According to alternative or symbolic religious thinking (mysticism or ‘new age,’ if you like), the real power of Christ’s message to bestow eternal life has been stolen from Christianity. Advocates for esoteric Christianity point out that the Bible, as presently constituted, is the product of church councils convened to address early controversies. The Council of Nicea, for instance, was assembled in A.D. 325 by Constantine I, the newly converted Christian emperor of Byzantium. At the top of the agenda was the so-called Arian heresy. This argument about the divinity of Jesus was waged between the Gnostics (or Arians) and the Niceans. The Gnostics sought direct personal knowledge of God (gnosis) and took very seriously such statements by Jesus as “Know ye not that ye are gods?” and “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” The Niceans, on the other hand, saw Jesus as the absolutely essential mediator between God and man. The Gnostics were out-voted and their teachings were forcibly removed from Church doctrine.

According to Kenyon in Forbidden Religion, in the last few years, revelations from alternative scholarship have offered compelling insights into Christian origins. Emerging from the mists of antiquity is a picture of intrigue in which Jesus’ original teachings were codified into a set of laws and doctrines enforced by a priestly elite in collusion with secular princes determined to preserve their authority. The hidden agenda was to distract the people from troublesome notions of personal immortality, and to substitute instead the specter of sinful guilt – requiring the intercession and vicarious atonement of Jesus. This doctrine mandated the actual worship of Jesus as the wholly unique Son of God and the placing of the burden for all human error on his shoulders alone.

Forbidden Religion offers a compelling introduction into the true history of religion. The book also reveals the thread that unites the spiritual paths that have opposed orthodox religion over the centuries and the challenge they provide to the status quo.

Science / Astronomy

A Year in the Life of the Universe: A Seasonal Guide to Viewing the Cosmos by Robert Gendler, with a foreword by Timothy Ferris (Voyager Press)

Since antiquity, humans have craved knowledge of what lies beyond our small, isolated world. Only recently has we begun to understand the physical processes driving the cosmological world.

From our viewing platform on Earth, the night sky changes throughout the year. Autumn and spring are best for observing galaxies, winter is ideal for sighting nebulae and star clusters, and summer is the season of the Milky Way.

A Year in the Life of the Universe, published in collaboration with Sky & Telescope magazine, takes readers on an intimate seasonal tour of these ever-changing heavens. Photographs by renowned astrophotographer Robert Gendler help readers identify more than 120 deep-sky objects that stand out by virtue of their beauty, visual impact, and scientific interest, presenting the celestial objects in the order in which they appear through the seasons. The book provides coordinates, detailed captions, and wide-field sky charts to help stargazers young and old navigate the night sky.

Gendler says he sensed a need for a general astronomy book showcasing the sky's most spectacular jewels in an organized, coherent way that would appeal to less experienced readers. A Year in the Life of the Universe as conceived with that goal in mind.

He chose to present the objects in order according to their right ascension, beginning at the autumnal equinox and progressing through the four seasons. In this way, the objects are presented as they appear throughout a solar year, making for easy and simple identification and referencing. (The seasons are, of course, reversed in the southern hemisphere, and for the sake of simplicity, the southern objects have been incorporated into northern seasons.)

Size restrictions limit A Year in the Life of the Universe to a relatively small subset from many thousands of objects that stood out by virtue of their beauty, visual impact, and scientific interest.

Rob’s work evinces the affable good taste of a top professional guide, who presents you with breathtaking natural spectacles and stays out of the way, so that only later on, reflecting on the experience, do you realize how much you owe that guide. – Timothy Ferris, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way

A Year in the Life of the Universe is not only a beautiful photo book – it is also a practical, hands-on guidebook for astronomy buffs at all levels, helping stargazers young and old navigate the night sky. The basic structure of the book as an atlas of quality images arranged by season and accompanied by meaningful text will find a useful niche among astronomy books available today. Aside from the images, more advanced readers will find current and meaningful descriptive data. For novice astronomers, A Year in the Life of the Universe will be a helpful resource to get started and to return to, as he or she grows in knowledge and experience. For those who have only a casual interest in astronomy but who have a desire for excellent astrophotography from an artistic or nature perspective, the book's first-rate images should satisfy that craving.

Science / Evolution / Parenting & Families

The Evolution of Human Life History edited by Kristen Hawkes & Richard R. Paine (School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series: School of American Research Press)

Human beings may share 98 percent of their genetic makeup with their non­human primate cousins, but they have distinctive life histories. The School of American Research sponsored an advanced seminar entitled “The Evolution of Human Life History” in 2002, bringing together specialists in hunter-gatherer behavioral ecology and demography, human growth, development, and nutrition, paleodemography, human paleontology, primatology, and the genomics of aging.

The central goal of the seminar was to consider the direct evidence for the life his­tories of past populations. What was the lifespan of prehuman hominids? What was their age of reproductive maturity? What was the intensity of mortality, and how did it differ with age at each critical point? Did a significant number of individuals, particularly females, live past reproductive age? When and why did these uniquely human patterns evolve?

To answer these questions, the editors and participants in the seminar put together the product of this seminar, The Evolution of Human Life History. In it the contributors identify and explain the peculiar features of human life histories, such as the rate and timing of processes that directly influence survival and reproduction. Drawing on new evidence from paleoanthropology, they question existing arguments that link humans' extended childhood dependency and long ‘post-reproductive’ lives to brain development, learning, and distinctively human social structures.

The contributors include

  • The editors, Kristen Hawkes and Richard R. Paine, as well as their colleague Shannen L. Robson, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah.
  • Nancy Barrickman, Meredith L. Bastian, and Elissa B. Krakauer, Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, Duke University.
  • Nicholas Blurton Jones, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Barry Bogin, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn.
  • Jesper L. Boldsen, Department of Anthropology, University of Southern Denmark
  • Nicholas P. Herrmann and Lyle W. Konigsberg, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee.
  • Daniel W. Sellen, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto.
  • Matthew M. Skinner, Department of Anthropology, George Washington University.
  • Maria A. van Noordwijk and Carel P. van Schaik, Anthropologisches Institut und Museum, Universitiit Zurich.
  • Bernard Wood, Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, George Washington University

The defining feature of SAR’s advanced seminar was its interdisciplinary approach. The study of human life history evolution has been dominated by paleoanthropologists, primatologists, and evolutionary ecologists working with foragers. As envisioned for the advanced seminar, The Evolution of Human Life History focuses on two central issues: (1) the selective factors affecting the evolution of human life history and (2) our ability to reconstruct it, especially for hominids other than modern humans. Following the current wider debate, it also focuses on several issues: offspring provisioning and child needs, learning and development, and survival of postreproductive women. Two of the most promising explanatory models currently available, the Grandmother and Embodied Capital hypotheses, link all or most of the four derived features.

In the second chapter, Robson, van Schaik, and Hawkes assemble current evidence on the life histories of the living great apes to reconstruct the likely life history of our common ancestor. By comparing the most recent empirical data on orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and modern humans, the authors identify the longer adult lifespans, later age at first parturition, earlier weaning, and shorter interbirth intervals that distinguish human life history from those of our  closest living relatives.

In chapter 3, Hawkes provides an historical overview of research on human life history evolution. She introduces the field of life history evolution, r and K selection, noting explanatory weaknesses of this widely cited model, and Charnov's alternative approach. The chapter underlines the important difference between questions about mechanisms and about adaptive effects and considers some impacts of genomics on ideas about the evolution of life histories. It concludes with a discussion of the most influential adaptive hypothesis about human evolution, the Hunting hypothesis, and a brief summary of the empirical challenges that emerged at the end of the 1970s.

In chapter 4 of The Evolution of Human Life History, Hawkes focuses on the slow-fast variation in mam­malian life histories and Charnov's symmetry approach to explaining it. Hawkes summarizes data and theory indicating that adult mortality rates are likely determinants of other life history variables, The novel suggestion she makes is that higher levels of somatic repair might be a physiological reason for cross-species correlations between rates of aging and rates of offspring production. Slower-aging mammalian mothers may earn higher marginal gains for additional investment in offspring equipped to build more effective mechanisms for maintenance and repair. She concludes by comparing and contrasting this Grandmother hypothesis with the influential Embodied Capital argument, which hypothesizes that our late maturity and expensive juveniles evolved because of ancestral reliance on investment from hunting fathers.

Van Schaik, Barrickman, Meredith Bastian, Krakauer, and van Noordwijk (chapter 5) discuss some of the consequences of slow life histories for distinctive features of primate lives. They review life history variation across the order, giving particular attention to differences in brain size. The authors identify two main classes of models – those using demographic tools and those based in natural history – that have been proposed to explain the relatively long immaturity for a given body size that distinguishes primates in general, including humans, from nonprimate mammals. The Juvenile Risks model associates large brain size to slow development and therefore late maturation, and the Skill Learning hypothesis suggests that a long period of immaturity is necessary to learn the numerous skills required for success as a reproducing adult.

In chapter 6, Sellen reviews the distinctive and common features of human and nonhuman primate lactation. Though he laments the overall lack of data on the biology of lactation in nonhuman primates, especially apes, Sellen makes a number of basic biological comparisons. He argues that the use of highly processed, nutrient-rich, complementary foods was a derived feature that co-evolved with a reduction in the costs of lactation. He goes on to suggest that behavioral and physiological shifts toward complementary feeding and early weaning may have promoted the evolution of distinctive patterns of human foraging, parenting, and social behavior.

Bogin in chapter 7 of The Evolution of Human Life History discusses the physiological aspects of ‘childhood,’ which he argues provided crucial reproductive advantages to hominin mothers, and offers hypotheses from a human development perspective. During childhood, human children must depend on older individuals for food and protection. In contrast, weaned chimpanzees and juveniles of other primate species must forage for their own food from the time they are weaned. Bogin argues that childhood made it possible for hominins to replace long lactation with cooperative provisioning, shortening a mother's interbirth intervals. The extensive learning and practice that take place during childhood constitute a secondary benefit of the stage.

Blurton Jones uses his demography work among Hadza foragers in northern Tanzania to show their low adult mortality and long average adult lifespans. The similar relationship between the length of the juvenile period and the average adult lifespan in humans and other primates challenges the long-standing assumption that our late maturity is due to a special human requirement for long periods of learning. He shows that Charnov's simple growth model can account for a large fraction of the variation in size with age among the Hadza. Using weanling size, age at first parturition, and maternal size, he shows that female chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans are on very similar growth curves. These demonstrations further underline the applicability of Charnov's model of mammalian life history variation to human evolution.

The Grandmother hypothesis proposes that late maturity in humans results from the same trade-offs that Charnov has modeled to explain the relationship between age at first reproduction and average adult lifespans in other primates, namely, that our late maturity results from our unusual longevity. That unusual longevity evolved in our lineage when ecological circumstances allowed more vigorous peri- and postmenopausal females to increase their fitness by provisioning their grandchildren. Tests of this hypothesis include empirical measures of the effects of grandmothers' help. Blurton Jones discusses difficulties in measuring such effects and reports some results showing that older Hadza women are generally found where their help for descendants might be most valuable. Konigsberg and Herrmann in chapter 9 of The Evolution of Human Life History discuss the use of paleodemography to reconstruct ancient longevity, and they address the essential question of whether (anatomically modern) human aging patterns have changed during our past. Paleodemography is making important advances in improving age estimation methods, especially in dealing with reference sample bias.

Konigsberg and Herrmann focus on this second problem, in particular, evaluating how reference sample bias can be eliminated from age-at-death distributions. The authors illustrate how unbiased paleodemographic estimates of age distributions can be produced using a single age-at-death indicator, the sacroiliac joint. They use maximum likelihood methods to estimate the two Gompertz parameters in a Siler hazards model, which give a mortality curve. The authors are encouraged that the life tables they generated for ancient populations, using unbiased statistics and uncertainty in age estimation, resemble the life tables of extant foragers and horticulturalists – unlike many paleodemographic life tables based on biased aging methods.

Regarding adult life expectancy, Paine and Boldsen in chapter 10 explore whether changes in patterns of epidemic disease during the Holocene could have raised levels of extrinsic mortality. They look at paleodemographic evidence for changing selective pressures in the Holocene in an attempt to assess whether the historical observations represent a long-term trend or a more recent change. Paine and Boldsen focus their attention on the mortality of subadults, between 2 years old and the onset of reproduction at about 18 years old, to estimate changes in extrinsic mortality that would have affected all ages. Their modeling of the effects of increasing epidemic frequency supports the contention that the frequency of epidemics increased throughout the period from the Mesolithic through the Middle Ages.

Skinner and Wood (chapter 11) address the deeper antiquity of human life history characteristics, this time from a paleoanthropological perspective. They discuss the hominid fossil record and what it might tell us about the sequence and timing of life history changes. They critically review inferences about life history characteristics from fossils and attempt to assess when and in what taxon various distinctive characteristics of human life history first appear. Skinner and Wood review features of dental development and compare modern humans with chimpanzees to show that aspects of dental development do not vary as a block across these taxa. The fact that these are distinct classes of variables (as Robson and colleagues discuss in chapter 2 and Hawkes chronicles in chapter 4) certainly complicates the process of reconstructing the life histories of past taxa, but coming to terms with the distinction is a necessary step to making that reconstruction possible. The problem is most acute surrounding H. ergaster and H. erectus. Body mass estimates are similar to modern humans, but neither estimates of brain mass nor dental ontogeny conform to modern human patterns.

[It is really remarkable how many angles there are on life history, as the compilation shows .... The volume will be a superior contribution to the literature on human life history. – B. Holly Smith, University of Michigan

Particularly effective and likely to attract considerable attention .... [The book includes] a variety of perspectives ... and a nice balance between theory and empirical research.... – Peter T. Ellison, Harvard University

The evolution of modern human life history is complex, and the task of using the fossil record to help understand that complexity has only just begun. The Evolution of Human Life History reviews alternative explanations for the distinctiveness of human life history and incorporates multiple lines of evidence in order to test them. By bringing together scholars separated by specialties, the contributors have been able to discover how assumptions unexamined by one specialty are inconsistent with evidence known in another and also which findings from one field can be of use in another. In addition, by drawing on newly discovered evidence, the book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the process of human evolution, and it will be useful for researchers in a wide variety of fields.

Social Sciences / Special Groups / Women’s Studies

Women and Deafness: Double Visions edited by Brenda Jo Brueggemann & Susan Burch (Galludet University Press)

Women studies and Deaf studies as areas of academic research have exploded in popularity among scholars in recent years, but only on parallel paths until now. Featuring highly respected contributors from both fields, Women and Deafness is the first interdisciplinary volume on deaf women. Edited by Brenda Jo Brueggemann and Susan Burch, this collection presents studies by 14 contributors who have applied research and methodological approaches from sociology, ethnography, literary/film studies, history, rhetoric, education, and public health to open heretofore unexplored territory.

When originally envisioning Women and Deafness, editors Brueggemann, Associate Professor of English at Ohio State University in Columbus, and Burch, Professor of History at Gallaudet University, in Washington, hoped to achieve three major goals: first, to build a bridge and between Women's Studies and Deaf Studies; second, to engage a wide and diverse audience of both scholars and students in those two fields; and third, to open up new territory for each of these two areas while also encouraging more traffic between them.

Part One: In and Out of the Community addresses female dynamics within deaf schools; Helen Keller’s identity as a deaf woman; deaf women’s role in Deaf organizations; and whether or not the inequity in education and employment opportunities for deaf women is biased against gender or disability.

Part Two: (Women’s) Authority and Shaping Deafness explores the life of 19th-century teacher Marcelina Ruis Y. Fernandez; the influence of single, hearing female instructors in deaf education; the extent of women’s authority over oralist educational dictates during the 1900s; and a deaf daughter’s relationship with her hearing mother in the late 20th century.

Part Three: Reading Deaf Women considers two deaf sisters’ exceptional creative freedom from 1885 to 1920; the depictions of deaf or mute women in two popular films; a Deaf woman’s account of blending the public-private, deaf-hearing, and religious-secular worlds; how five Deaf female ASL teachers define ‘gender,’ ‘feminism,’ ‘sex,’ and ‘patriarchy’ in ASL and English; and 20th-century American Deaf beauty pageants that emphasize physicality while denying Deaf identity, yet also challenge mainstream notions of ‘the perfect body.’

Women and Deafness supports the commitment to change by bridging two fields and opens up new territory. Scholars, graduate students, and college faculty alike will find this volume useful in part simply because there is no other book like this in Deaf studies, disability studies, women’s studies, or gender studies. Women and Deafness accomplishes its goals, not the least of which is intellectual accessibility, placing importance on establishing a welcoming environment and furthering intellectual study in these areas.

Transportation / Aviation

The Encyclopedia of Modern Aircraft: From Civilian Airliners to Military Superfighters by general editor Jim Winchester (Thunder Bay Press)

What inspired the F-14 Tomcat?

How will the Airbus A380 change the face of commercial travel?

Man's fascination with flight took off in 1903 when the Wright Flyer flew for a breathtaking 12 seconds. Since then, aircraft have become much more sophisticated.

The Encyclopedia of Modern Aircraft details some of the finest civil and military aircraft in service today. Beginning with classic 1960s commercial airliners, such as the Boeing 707, and coming right up to date with the latest military technology, in the form of the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-22A Raptor, this guide is a selective survey of more than 300 of the most important civil and military aircraft in service today.

Edited by Jim Winchester, freelance aviation and technology author, The Encyclopedia of Modern Aircraft is divided into two parts, ‘Military Aircraft’ and ‘Civil Aircraft,’ and further subdivided by type, with sections on strategic bombers, fighters, superfighters, counterinsurgency aircraft, carrier aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, transporters, electronic warfare aircraft, regional airliners, commuter jets, and air freighters. Each entry includes photographs of the aircraft in action, while the text provides background on the design, development, and service history. Detailed specification tables give information on dimensions, power plant, performance, speed, crew, and armament.

Numerous well-known military aircraft are featured, including popular fighters found throughout the world's air forces, such as the F-14 Tomcat, F-15E Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, Tornado, Rafale, MiG-21 ‘Fishbed,’ and MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum.’ In the civil aircraft chapter, all of Boeing's commercial aircraft are included, from the 1960s-era 707 to the latest 777, as well as the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the latest Airbus A380, regional airliners such as the EMBRAER 170 and Saab 2000, and many more.

Readers can discover more the most important airplanes of the last 30 years in this lively and concise volume. Written for both aviation enthusiasts and general readers, The Encyclopedia of Modern Aircraft is an accessible, selective guide to the most important military and civil aircraft in service in the world today.

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