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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

January 2007, Issue # 94

Guide to This Issue

Arts & Photography

A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers by Olive Jensen Theisen (University of North Texas Press)

John Biggers forged a career as an illustrator, draftsman, muralist, painter, sculptor, and lithographer during an era in which African American artists had almost no possibility of recognition. Through his drawings he first found the voice that began to resonate with the public. Some of his works have aroused hostility, anger, and embarrassment while others have brought praise and high honors. – from the book

The award-winning art historian Olive Jensen Theisen interviewed John Thomas Biggers during the last thirteen years of his life, and was welcomed into his studio innumerable times. Together, they selected representative works for A Life on Paper, some of which have not been previously published for a general audience.

Biggers (1924–2001) was a major African American artist who inspired countless others through his teaching, murals, paintings, and drawings. After receiving conventional art training at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania State, he had his personal and artistic breakthrough in 1957 when he spent six months in the newly independent country of Ghana. From that time forward, he integrated African abstract elements with his rural Southern images to create a personal iconography. He believed in the power of art; he developed a language of metaphoric images; and he stuck with it with single-minded purpose. His new approach made him famous, as his personal discovery of African heritage fit in well with the growing U.S. civil rights movement. He is best known for his murals at Hampton University, Winston-Salem University, and Texas Southern, and this book contains the drawings and lithographs, which lie behind the murals have received scant attention.

After his death in 2001, his widow continued to work closely with Theisen, resulting in A Life on Paper.

A Life on Paper should be considered one of the most significant documents about John Thomas Biggers. Writing in an engaging language, Theisen clearly records Biggers's committed vision, challenge, ability and sensitivity at expressing the emotions and conditions of Africans and African Americans within the boundaries of drawing and lithography. – Phillip Collins, Chief Curator, African American Museum/Dallas

Dr. Theisen had unequalled access to Dr. Biggers's widow, as well as many of his friends and family. This unprecedented access gives the book a completeness and readability that sets it apart from other literature about the artist and gives the reader a sense of the character of the man as well as of his art. Its charm and readability will appeal to a wide range of readers. – R. William McCarter, Regents Professor Art, University of North Texas

Intimate and informative for both scholars and students, A Life on Paper gives readers a chance to see into the life and thinking of this artist, providing a comprehensive picture of his drawings and lithographs. It tells his story, and also the story of the struggle of a nation moving from its segregated past into the reality of the present with hope for the future. Theisen brings this gift to her audience.

Audio / History / Americas / U.S. / Biographies & Memoirs / Military / World War II

Eisenhower: Library Edition [UNABRIDGED] (5 Audio Cassettes, running time approximately 7 hours) by John Wukovitz, narrated by Brian Emerson (Great Generals Series: Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

Eisenhower: A Biography by John Wukovits, with a foreword by Wesley K. Clark (Great Generals Series: Palgrave MacMillan)

In the third installment of the Great Generals series, Eisenhower, World War II expert John Wukovits explores Dwight D. Eisenhower's contributions to American warfare. American general and 34th president of the United States, Eisenhower led the assault on the French coast at Normandy and held together the Allied units through the European campaign that followed. Eisenhower reveals Eisenhower's advocacy in the pre-war years of the tank, his friendships with George Patton and Fox Conner, his service in the Philippines with Douglas MacArthur, and his culminating role as supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe.

Eisenhower (1953-1961) displayed common sense, the degree of empathy that made for good relations with both the soldiers he commanded and his fellow officers, and a positive genius for staff work. He stayed in the army during its lean years between the world wars, and when called to high command, his empathy also made him an effective diplomat. As such, he is an indispensable asset to Allied interrelations during World War II.

… It is a sound introduction to its subject, who, like many of his contemporaries, went to West Point to get a free college education. … – Roland Green, Booklist

In his highly readable and concise style, John Wukovits has once again succeeded in packing a wealth of information into a single volume on the life of one of the greatest soldier-statesmen in history. He conveys the strength of character and innate leadership of Dwight Eisenhower in a manner which will captivate the reader. – Michael E. Haskew, Editor, WWII History Magazine

With his depth of research, insightful approach, and clarity of style, the author and military historian John Wukovits has managed to put a human face on one of the 20th century's greatest figures and turn an historical icon into a flesh-and-blood human being. One comes away from this book feeling as if Ike is a friend, not just a legend. – Flint Whitlock, author of The Fighting First: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day

Wukovits' book is excellently researched but his greatest merit as an historian is a rare ability to make the past a real living thing. This book is a special pleasure to read, for it is peopled by real figures the reader can understand and care about. Eisenhower is not cast as the Olympian figure he is too often made out to be. A superior history of an intensely human man. – Robert Barr Smith, Colonel, USA (ret)

Wukovits in Eisenhower skillfully demonstrates how Eisenhower's evolution as a commander, his military doctrine, and his diplomatic skills are of great importance in understanding modern warfare.

Business & Investing / Biographies & Memoirs / History

Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation by Rusty McClure with David Stern & Michael A. Banks (Clerisy Press)

Why would a 14 year-old kid be looking for a biography of an industrialist? Because growing up in a Cincinnati suburb in the 1950s and 60s meant growing up with the name ‘Crosley.’ The first station I picked up with my first crystal radio was Powel Crosley's WLW. When the television was on in our home, it was usually tuned into Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT – a service of Crosley Broadcasting.… All of which was no different than the experience of a millions other folks in the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana area.  Everyone knew of Powel Crosley, owned Crosley products, or were otherwise touched by the name ‘Crosley.’ – Michael Banks

Set in the vibrant Industrial Age and filigreed with family drama and epic ambition, Crosley chronicles one of the great untold tales of the twentieth century. Born in the late 1800s into a humble world of dirt roads and telegraphs, Powel and Lewis Crosley were opposites in many ways but shared drive, talent, and an unerring knack for knowing what Americans wanted. Their inventions and achievements were at the vanguard in a breadth of endeavors, from the world’s largest manufacturer of radios, to the world's most powerful radio station, to the World Series, to the World's Fair, to helping America win World War II. Their breakthroughs in broadcasting and advertising made them both wealthy and famous, as did their ownership of the Cincinnati Reds.

Crosley is authored by Rusty McClure, advisor and investor in numerous entrepreneurial projects, with David Stern, author of over two dozen fiction and non-fiction titles, and the original inspiration for the book, Michael A. Banks, author of more than 40 non-fiction books and novels, a lifelong resident of the Crosleys' hometown, Cincinnati.

Just like Wilbur and Orville Wright, or Walt and Roy Disney, Powel and Lewis Crosley could not have succeeded without each other. Powel was the creative genius, whose personal charisma and flamboyant lifestyle came to epitomize the Crosley Corporation and all of its products and achievements. Lewis provided the practical know-how, working behind the scenes to find innovative ways to turn his brother's visions into reality.

Their partnership began when, as boys, they built a primitive ‘car’ to win a bet with their father. As a young man, Powel struggled to find a place in early automobile manufacturing, but, along with his brother, forged a place in the fledgling radio industry, earning the sobriquet The Henry Ford of Radio for his revolutionary ideas.

Together they created WLW, for a time the most powerful radio station in the world, and built the transmitter used as the Voice of America during World War II. In the depth of the Great Depression, Powel bought – and essentially saved – his home-town team, the Cincinnati Reds, and a year later introduced night baseball to the major leagues.

At the height of their success, they sold their company to realize a life-long dream: making cars. Though the little Crosley never achieved the success they envisioned, it remains one of the most original lines of vehicles in American automotive history.

Crosley is the story of men who fought personal demons and numerous setbacks to achieve the American Dream. But as their fortunes grew, so did Powel’s massive ego, which demanded he own eight mansions and seven yachts at the height of the Great Depression. Beset by a series of personal tragedies, Powel lived his final years lonely and unhappy, while Lewis, a simpler man with simpler needs, enjoyed a time of contentment.

Rich with detailed reminiscences from surviving family members, Crosley is both a powerful saga of a heady time in American history and an intimate tale of two brilliant brothers navigating triumph and tragedy. Finally their story has been told, allowing it to take its rightful place in the annals of American history. Two brothers – one dreamed it, one built it; they were a team.

Business & Investing / Economics

Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico: Climatic, Institutional, and Economic Change by Hallie Catherine Eakin (The University of Arizona Press)

In our increasingly complex world, direct interaction with farmers about their decision-making process may be one way in which new insights can be gained into the process of adaptation. In the field of global change, where research has tended to emphasize processes extending far into the future and covering broad geographic areas, interacting directly with decision makers often means turning to the present time and integrating the local scale into research frameworks. While the knowledge gained from understanding present-day management of risk may not necessarily be directly transferable to future conditions, it can provide important insights into the factors driving potentially adaptive decisions and the social complexity inherent in human responses to environmental risk.

Small farmers are vulnerable to stress, and Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico focuses on two important sources of that stress, climate variability and changing agriculture policy and markets. In the book, Hallie Eakin, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, draws on ethnographic data collected in three agricultural communities in rural Mexico to show how economic and climatic change are not only linked in cause and effect at the planetary scale but also interact in unpredictable and complex ways in the context of regional political and trade relationships, national economic and social programs, and the decision making of institutions, enterprises, and individuals. She shows how the parallel processes of globalization and climatic change result in populations that are ‘doubly exposed’ and thus particularly vulnerable.

Chapters trace the effects of El Niño in central Mexico in the late 1990s alongside some of the principal changes in the country’s agricultural policy. Eakin argues that in order to develop policies that effectively address rural poverty and agricultural development, we need an improved understanding of how households cope simultaneously with various sources of uncertainty and adjust their livelihoods to accommodate newly evolving environmental, political, and economic realities.
 Farmers' responses to the climate patterns they perceive (whether or not, with scientific hindsight, such variability can be directly attributed to global change) illustrate not only how differential resource access and entitlements structure risk perception and choice, but also how the types of livelihood strategies evolving from such choices may alter the flexibility of farm households in dealing with future risk. It is the cumulative impact of individual interannual decisions about production and livelihood that collectively create new social contexts of vulnerability and that structure capacities for adaptation.

For this reason, while Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico is designed to contribute to the growing literature on vulnerability and adaptation to global environmental change, the focus is on farmers' experiences with the here and now: climate variability, extreme events, and the simultaneous disruption of rapid change in sector policy.

Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico uses two concrete developments during the 1990s in Mexico as proxies for how global climate and economic change are experienced at the local level: the impacts of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events in 1997, 1998, and 1999 (described in chaps. 2 and 5) and the institutionalization of neo-liberalism and free-trade principles under the Salinas de Gotari and Zedillo administrations (described in chap. 3).

The implications of the rapid institutional changes associated with the agricultural globalization process for farmers' livelihoods, and thus their adaptive capacities, is the subject of Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico. Although Eakin discusses households' differential sensitivity and exposure to both climate hazards and policy reforms at length, household adaptive capacity is the core theme of the book. She illustrates how farmers' livelihood strategies, conditioned by each household's particular suite of resources and entitlements, either enhance or restrict their flexibility of choice in responding to the twin challenges of climatic risk and political-economic change. Defining the concrete linkages between policy reforms, household production and livelihood choices, and vulnerability to climatic risk is no easy task. Although Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico focuses on just two sources of stress to farmers' livelihoods, climate variability and changing agriculture policy and markets, it should be recognized that farmers face a wide variety of other sources of uncertainty and risk, a detailed analysis of which was beyond the scope of this book. Soil degradation, deforestation and land-use change, pest proliferation, aquifer depletion, and technology change (e.g., the introduction of genetically modified agricultural products) are among the many issues pertinent to farmers' livelihoods and production strategies. These other ‘stressors’ are brought up at various points in the text where the farmers made it clear that these additional stressors were directly interacting with their risk-management decisions and livelihood outcomes.

In chapter 2, Eakin presents the evolving geography of the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley and describes the types of climatic stress and variability farmers were facing in the late 1990s. Chapter 3 reviews the variety of policy reforms implemented in the 1990s and the high social costs associated with them. As is illustrated in detail in chapter 5, under these new institutional conditions, the options for responding to climatic risk that may be available to producers in more industrialized systems – irrigation, alternative (yet lucrative) crops, capital investments to enhance temperature or moisture control, or market orientation – are unrealistic for the majority of Mexico's producers. The different livelihood strategies of the farmers of Plan de Ayala, Rancheria de Torres, and Nazareno (described in chaps. 4 and 6 through 9) reveal that the most viable means of stabilizing incomes and welfare may be outside the agricultural sector entirely, entailing long-distance migration, peri-urban wage employment, shifts in the meaning and purpose of rural land use, as well as basic education. These actions complicate our understanding of agricultural vulnerability. The documentation of farmers' evolving strategies demands not only cross-sectoral and cross-scalar research, but also sophisticated policy coordination in order to address the new risks posed by their changing livelihoods.

Ultimately, without a better understanding of the process of decision making in the face of uncertainty, we still are unsure whether or not particular agricultural systems can and will adapt, and whether or not policy intervention is needed to encourage adaptation.

Some scholars in search of a theoretical approach to understanding adaptation are now borrowing the ecological concept of ‘thresholds,’ particular degrees of change beyond which adjustment is unavoidable, or, in the worst case, which cause the shift of an entire system to a new state. For example, David Hodell and his colleagues  and Bruce Dahlin have linked the abrupt collapse of the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan peninsula with evidence of a dramatic change in precipitation and water availability in the region. Although our understanding of the implications of current processes of change is myopic and distorted by our position in the present, it is quite possible that we are now witnessing one such transformative period in the history of Mexican agriculture. According to Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico, as the book was being written, farmers all over Mexico were taking to the streets and plazas of the capital in mass marches, blocking border crossings with their tractors, and staging hunger strikes to demand a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a systematic review of the government's responsibilities for rural economic well-being. Their protests followed four years of highly variable and unfavorable climatic conditions that have depressed yields and exacerbated indebtedness.

It is difficult to predict the outcome of the interaction of these processes of change on the future vulnerability of smallholder households and the future adaptability of Mexican agriculture. Yet while the political-economic systems that circumscribe decision making are in constant flux, there is also an element of path dependency in this change: institutional and political choices made yesterday or today have, and will have, an influence on the choice sets available to any particular actor in the future. Thus contemporary policy that marginalizes small-scale producers and aggressively ‘develops’ alternatives for the rural economy would seem, in light of the vast social and environmental uncertainties of Mexico's future, shortsighted.

As Eakin argues in the concluding chapter, the challenge for those of us interested in facilitating the process of adaptation is not to find the degree and extent of diversification necessary to enable adjustment to any particular set of anticipated exogenous changes, but rather to create a process of policy development and evolution that self-consciously sets out to expand choice and opportunity in the future while working with the constraints and capacities of the present.

This work is clearly the cutting edge of the current literature. It is an extremely important contribution to understanding rural vulnerabilities in today's reality. – Timothy Finan, University of Arizona

An important intellectual contribution to the field and well written. – Rinku Chowdhury, University of Miami

Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico will contribute to strengthening the bridge between two lines of research – the human dimensions of climate variability and change, and the social implications of institutional change – that have been too seldom considered together in studies of vulnerability. By view­ing the world through the words and experiences of the farmers in the three communities in the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley who participated in this study, readers can gain insight into what matters most in farmers' decision making, and what the implications of their actions may be for both the future vulnerability of their families and for the regions in which they live. Eakin promised the farmers of Tlaxcala and Puebla that she would do what she could to enable them to speak to a broad audience about what has helped and hindered their efforts to secure their livelihoods, and by giving a bit of academic weight to their words, perhaps increase the chances that someone with the power to change things would listen. This book should do that.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Biological Sciences

Science Business: The Promise, the Reality, and the Future of Biotech by Gary P. Pisano (Harvard Business School Press)

Why has the biotechnology industry failed to perform up to expectations – despite all its grand promise? In Science Business, Gary P. Pisano, Harry E. Figgie, Jr. Professor of Business Administration and Chair of the Technology and Operations Management unit at Harvard Business School, answers this question by providing a critique of the industry.

Biotechnology firms were supposed to be much more efficient at pharmaceutical R&D because they were both on the cutting edge of science and unencumbered by the bureaucracy and organizational inertia of the behemoth pharmaceutical companies. However, Pisano says, to his knowledge, this presumption has never been tested with data. He assembles an extensive data set of biotechnology companies and established pharmaceutical companies and conducts a productivity analysis that spans close to twenty years. What he finds is surprising: there is no discernable difference in the R&D productivity of biotechnology firms (in aggregate) and large pharmaceutical firms. Thus this sector is not only experiencing disappointing financial results, but it is also failing to stand out even where it is clearly supposed to have an advantage.

Science Business explores the nature and causes of the gulf between the promise and reality of biotechnology. As he looks more deeply into the sector, he comes to realize that the problems of the sector are structural in nature. The framework Pisano develops in Science Business is fairly straightforward. He argues that the performance of a science-based business, like biotechnology, hinges on how well the sector is organized and managed to deal with the fundamental business problems created by science. The sciences behind biotechnology create a very specific set of ‘functional requirements’ for the business – risk management, integration, and learning.

Pisano’s analysis reveals that the biotechnology sector is not structured in a way that enables it to deal very well with these three problems. A strong focus on monetizing intellectual property has impeded flows of information, led to fragmentation, and created a proliferation of new firms. As he discusses in Science Business, these three characteristics work directly against the requirements of risk management, integration, and learning at the organizational level. The root cause behind this mismatch is that the sector has indiscriminately borrowed business models, organizational strategies, and approaches from other high-technology industries under the (false) premise that if it worked there it will work here. Not all high-technology industries are alike, and science-based businesses like biotech have unique challenges, calling for different approaches. Highlighting these differences and understanding their implications for business strategies and models, organizational structures, and institutional arrangements is one of the chief missions of Science Business.

A more fundamental issue is the relationship between business and science. Traditionally, these two pursuits lived in different spheres. The university was the bastion of science; the for-profit enterprise, the keeper of business. In biotechnology, these two worlds converge. Private firms are undertaking research projects that only a few years earlier would have been the sole purview of a university laboratory. At most, the science behind the companies is so new – so raw – it requires years of further validation. Some early-stage biotech companies share laboratory space (and staff) with universities or academic hospitals. From the other side, universities see their science as a business. They aggressively patent and seek licensing deals, collaborate with venture capitalists to launch firms, and even move downstream into drug development. Both private enterprises and universities are in the business of science. This fact leads to a deeper question that Pisano explores in Science Business: Can science be a business?

According to Pisano, the biotech industry’s problems stem from its special character as a science-based business. This distinction poses unique business challenges:

  • How to resolve the fundamental clash of values, norms, and practices between the science and business worlds.
  • How to finance highly risky investments under profound uncertainty and long time horizons for R&D.
  • How to learn rapidly enough to keep pace with advances in drug science knowledge.
  • How to integrate capabilities across a broad spectrum of scientific and technological knowledge bases.

The key to fixing the industry? Business models, organizational structures, and financing arrangements that place greater emphasis on integration and long-term learning over shorter-term ‘monetization’ of intellectual property.

The keys to surmounting these difficulties? The author provides suggestions for how industry players can execute these strategies, including ways to:

  • Leverage corporate partnerships and strategic alliances to compensate for a shortage of venture capital funding and the typically short time horizons on which VC firms operate.
  • Deal with the chief limitations – such as information asymmetry between public investors and biotech management teams – inherent in raising and investing capital from public equity markets.
  • Know which types of pharmaceutical innovations call for vertical integration and which call for alliance-building and R&D outsourcing.

Pisano maintains that all industry players – biotech firms, investors, universities, pharmaceutical companies, government regulators – can play a role in righting the industry. The payoff, according to Science Business will be valuable improvements in health care, a more promising future for human well-being, and better financial returns for the investors and company leaders who stake their hopes and resources on this complex industry.

A very insightful analysis of the remarkable evolution of the biotech industry. This is required reading for all involved in this process – biotechnology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, academics, research centers, policymakers, and investors. – Henri Termeer, Chairman, President and CEO, Genzyme Corporation

In this startling and cogent diagnosis of, an prognosis for, the biotechnology industry, Gary Pisano weaves a powerful economic argument that all is not well in biotechnology, an industry that should be the best hope, for better health care for us all. We in the industry need to better grapple with the challenges posed by this provocative book. – Dr. Josh Boger, President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

The industrial structure that has arisen in the United States to develop and exploit the potential of biotechnology is widely regarded as extremely effective. But is it? Few biotech firms have made a profit, and the rate of introduction of new effective pharmaceuticals is not impressive. Gary Pisano’s fine study is the first to bring these ideas into the open, analyze them, and reflect on what they might mean for the future of biotechnology. – Richard Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Business and Law, Emeritus, Columbia University

Gary Pisano's analysis uncovers surprising facts about the industry’s innovation power and productivity, challenging conventional wisdom. Science Business is refreshing and inspiring for anyone who is interested in the future success of biotechnology, including life science executives, investors, policymakers, and, most importantly, the patients whom it has the potential to help the most. – Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG

The increasingly close relationship between business and science is a subject that has drawn extensive attention both in academic writing and the popular press. Pisano’s angle is somewhat different; he looks at the problem from the perspective of business: What happens to business performance (profitability, productivity, etc.) when businesses become involved in science either directly or indirectly? An exploration of the thirty-year experiment known as the biotechnology sector provides clues to answering this question. Science Business provides insights that may be useful to managers and investors in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors and scholars and practitioners interested in the science-business relationship more broadly. Pisano not only reveals the underlying causes of biotech’s problems; he offers the most sophisticated analysis yet on how the industry works. And he provides clear prescriptions for companies, investors, and policymakers seeking ways to improve the industry’s performance.

Children’s / Fantasy & Science Fiction

Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes (Random House/Golden Books)

In Dirty Magic, Joe wakes from a night of terrifying dreams…

The garden is disappearing.
Through the faint image of the garage roof Joe can see distant mountains....
It is the landscape he has seen in his dream....

It's on a day so hot the sidewalks are melting that the strange girl appears. Pale as dust and dressed in a military uniform, she takes a step and the ordinary world vanishes. The girl has been sent to fetch Joe across the threshold between worlds to her dark and rainy land.

Joe follows and finds himself in the middle of a bitter war. Two sisters and their armies battle from trench to trench. Patrolling the no-man's-land in between are fearsome unmanned tanks. Joe must dodge the secret police and search for a way through enemy lines, for lost somewhere in this strange land is his sister. It's up to Joe to find her and lead her back to their own world.

In Dirty Magic, Carol Hughes has created a fantasy world that is filled with iconic images of World Wars I and II including no-man's-land, barbed wire, tanks, motorcycles, secret police, and an underground resistance. Filled with unique characters, including a blind guide with super hearing, a cigar-chomping resistance leader and a sassy young apprentice guide, Dirty Magic is a page turner with a surprise twist at the end.

Ten-year-old Joe Brooks sometimes wishes his annoying little sister, Hannah, would disappear. But waking up after a terrible headache, he discovers her bed is empty and an ambulance is outside. Then, to his surprise, he finds himself mysteriously transported to a shadowy, war-torn world, where ill children are held captive – including, perhaps, Hannah. Aided by a fetcher called Katherine, and a cantankerous blind man, he navigates dangerous landscapes and encounters people who aren't what they seem in an effort to locate Hannah. This dense but quick-paced fantasy offers suspense; inventive and plentiful though sometimes graphic details (Joe is tortured); and a dizzying array of plot turns, including a surprise-twist conclusion. Supporting characters are intriguing, and though Joe occasionally seems oddly older than his years, he's an engaging protagonist who gains new perspective on what matters. Give this novel, which is less about magic than about power of imagination, to fans of edgy, intricately layered fantasies. – Shelle Rosenfeld, Booklist  

With Dirty Magic, Hughes puts her remarkable imagination to work, reinventing the once familiar in a spellbinding adventure fantasy. Hughes has executed a gritty, imaginative ‘machine’ fantasy that transports young readers to a dark and scary world.

Computers & Internet / Programming

Programming Language Fundamentals by Example by D.E. Stevenson (Auerbach Publications)

This book is the outgrowth of approximately ten years of experimentation in education. It began when I became dissatisfied with the performance of undergraduate students in computer science studies. It seemed to me that the students were not involved in the process and that their professional skills were not improving. I found myself far more involved in questions of psychology and educational pedagogy than the material itself. – D.E. Stevenson

Who ever thought a computer science professor would work this hard at understanding how to teach so students will learn?

Featuring a thorough, working knowledge of programming languages, Programming Language Fundamentals by Example uses a semester-long project in which a programming language is created. This hands-on project brings to life the concepts and theories fundamental to computer languages. D.E. Stevenson, associate professor of computer science at Clemson University and director of the Institute for Modeling and Simulation Applications, incorporates ‘thinking tools’ such as concept maps, matrices for analysis, and flowcharts.

Surveying the major programming languages that have hallmarked the evolution of computing, Programming Language Fundamentals by Example provides an understanding of the many languages and notations used in computer science, the formal models used to design phases, and the foundations of languages including linguistics. This textbook guides students through the process of implementing a simple interpreter with case-based exercises, questions, and a project that encompasses all of the concepts and theories presented in the book into one concrete example. It covers also such topics as formal grammars, automata, denotational and axiomatic semantics, and rule-based presentation. Written in an informal yet informative style, the textbook uses active learning techniques, demonstrating a learning experience based on methods applied with professional standards.

Stevenson says he wrote the book because, although the technical aspects of programming languages have advanced in the past ten years, students still start from the same base of knowledge. He found that students had little understanding of natural language grammars and even less understanding of semantics and pragmatics. This lack of understanding of language means that the students have little idea of what language does and therefore how to write a program that transforms language. Therefore, this project starts with an introduction to linguistics.

Before retreating to the hallowed halls of academia, Stevenson says he had the good fortune to work at the ‘old’ Bell Telephone Laboratories with a group that had a working relationship with the Unix development folks in Murray Hill. The second break at Bell Labs was an assignment to IBM to participate in IMS development and a subsequent assignment at Bell Labs in a ‘consultant’ organization. The upshot of this experience is the emphasis in the text on project management. Although most undergraduates must find work in industry, they typically have poor time management skills and even fewer design skills. Design is learned by designing, so Stevenson felt he needed to find a way of teaching to get the real-world flavor – problem-based learning and case-based methods.

This text is student-centric because it does not try to be encyclopedic, but rather guides students through the development of a small compiler as a way for them to understand the issues and commonly used approaches to the solutions of those issues.

At Clemson, the course in which Programming Language Fundamentals by Example fits is the capstone course and its purpose is to show students how to be successful computer scientists professionally. If students faithfully apply themselves to and complete the project in this text, they develop a full-scale project using professional-grade development management techniques. They also master concepts, languages, and experiences to prepare them to understand the current research in programming languages.

This text is a shining example of how to use educational ideas in computer science education, and it is unique in the computer science education market, offering a unique approach to understanding how programming languages are created and function.

Stevenson in Programming Language Fundamentals by Example gives the text a flavor of the type of decisions that are faced by language designers by answering questions about language internals with "What does C do?" He attempts to set up a professional, design-team atmosphere and promotes strategies that will work in professional practice. The book should certainly put students one step closer to being prepared to function as designers in the real world.

Computers & Internet / Software / Web Development

Dreamweaver 8 Accelerated: A Full-Color Guide (with CD) by Youngjin.com (Accelerated Series: YJIP Publishing Team, Sybex)

For those who don’t know yet, Dreamweaver is a program for creating web pages, and it is a WYSIWYG program, meaning that what one sees as they create Web pages in Dreamweaver reflects what those pages will look like live on the Web. Beyond the simple entering of text, Dreamweaver allows users to design a layout with various objects, such as images, videos, and Flash files, using tables and layers. Moreover, it contains Web application features that can handle complex server scripts.

In Dreamweaver 8 Accelerated readers learn to use Dreamweaver 8 beginning with a clear-cut introduction to essential concepts, functions and terminology that are difficult to grasp without help. Then they immediately put their new skills to the test by following the practical exercises.

Full-color screenshots and graphics on every page give readers a clear image of what's possible. Real-world examples, from straightforward to advanced, demonstrate how to integrate techniques and pull all the knowledge together. By the end, readers know how to enrich their website with animation, special effects, audio and motion.

Every chapter is divided into three sections: concepts, foundation exercises, and professional tutorials. The book covers basic, need-to-know principles and theories. Step-by-step foundation exercises reinforce concepts. More advanced tutorials expand the learning. In the exercise and tutorial sections, there are sidebars containing notes and tips. In addition, before and after screenshots are consistently provided at the beginning of every hands-on exercise to give readers a clear idea of what can be achieved.

Projects in Dreamweaver 8 Accelerated teach readers how to:

  • Use rollover effects to create dynamic menus.
  • Develop login and registration pages with form elements.
  • Create button symbols.
  • Work with frames and framesets.
  • Create a product page with ghost images.
  • Insert a Flash banner using a layer.
  • Create an interactive page with Flash elements.
  • Format a web page with CSS.
  • Work with various sound formats when adding music to the website.
  • Expand their site with object, command and behavior extensions.

The CD features all the Dreamweaver sources readers will need to practice and complete the exercises in Dreamweaver 8 Accelerated. The CD is compatible with both Macintosh and PC.

Books in the Accelerated Series are practical, easy-to-use, full color guides designed to get readers up and running on a range of graphics software. These best-selling guides were created for professionals, hobbyists and new users looking to jump right in and master their software.

Dreamweaver 8 Accelerated gets readers up and running quickly through hands-on experience meaningful, fun projects – its learn-by-doing approach makes the road to proficiency relatively quick and painless.

Cooking, Food & Wine

West Coast Cooking by Greg Atkinson (Sasquatch Books)

In terms of what Americans eat, the West Coast represents both the oldest and the newest trends of the nation. The Spanish ranchos in California have left us with a taste for the asador that today manifests in a sophisticated passion for the grill; the Native American reverence for wild salmon translates to the coastal obsession with the fabled red fish; Asian populations brought the gifts of soy, ginger, noodles, and wasabi; Indonesian immigrants have introduced us to a lively range of curries. These many pathways lead chef and food writer Greg Atkinson to a bounty of recipes – nearly 400 – that express this lively region. Atkinson wraps his arms around this big culinary territory – from Baja to Barrow – in West Coast Cooking.

Surfer-Style Fish Tacos to Chinese-Restaurant Fried Rice and Hippie Farfalle with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Kale! Fresh salads that range from the exquisitely retro Green Goddess Dressing on Iceberg Lettuce to Berkeley Mesculun Salad with Baked Goat Cheese. West Coast Cooking includes an authentic but simple Tortilla Soup, a classic Northwest Smoked Salmon, a satisfying Sausage Frittata from San Francisco, a heavenly version of Beer-Battered Alaska Halibut.

This complete set of recipes serves up breakfast through dinner and dessert, including the Blue Ribbon Chocolate Cake that won the prize at the San Juan Island County Fair.

Greg has such a talent for teaching us about great home cooking, and it shines through each terrific recipe in this thorough collection, from how to brew the perfect pot of coffee to how to make homemade sauerkraut. … – Jerry Traunfeld, chef of the Herbfarm

How do you define West Coast cooking? That's a big question, and Greg Atkinson, with a wide-ranging career in the culinary world and a thoughtful, philosophical temperament, seems like just the guy to tackle it. … Personally, I plan to mull the question over with a generous plate of Greg's Beer‑Battered Alaska Halibut in one fist and a glass of Washington wine in the other. – Tom Douglas, author of Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen

… This is the straight-up way real home cooks cook. And if you're guided by a writer-cook steeped in the knowledge of local foods, people, history, and lore, you want to race to the stove. – Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn

West Coast Cooking charts the quirky and fascinating evolution of California and Pacific Northwest cuisine through stories of the mavericks who shaped it. Atkinson's research is broad and deep, and the result is a major contribution to our understanding of American regional cooking. It's an incredible book. – Grace Young, author of The Breath of a Wok

West Coast Cooking is and expansive, diverse, and spir­ited cookbook. The modern culinary revolution that returned ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ to the cooking vocabulary is fully reflected in the book. Throughout, Atkinson always keeps the home cook in mind. With a chef's understanding of taste, nuance, and tradition – plus a few tested kitchen shortcuts – his simple recipes produce delicious, successful dishes. The results will expand any home cook's repertoire in many delicious directions.

Cooking, Food & Wine / U.S. Regional

Bayou Plantation Country Cookbook by Anne Butler (Pelican)

Following in the successful footsteps of Audubon Plantation Country Cookbook, named best new cookbook of the year by Louisiana Life magazine, Anne Butler has written Bayou Plantation Country Cookbook.

South Louisiana bayou plantations stand as historical markers of Louisiana's agricultural roots, when cotton and sugarcane reigned, and life on the river was grand. There were floods and crop failures, steamboat explosions and raging yellow fever, but when times were flush, there was no finer place on earth. Having searched archives, attics, diaries, and journals uncovering the authentic lifestyle and customs along the mighty Mississippi and its tributary bayous during the plantation era, Butler introduces readers to the people who rocked on the verandas, sold the cotton, planted the sugarcane, trawled for shrimp, cared for the children, and prepared the meals.

Recipes drawn from life on the bayou and the rich alluvial fields abound with the fresh catch of the day and the newly picked harvest of the garden. Descriptions and vintage photographs of the people and places that make up the delicious history of the bayou country accompany a variety of recipes. Crossing economic lines, Butler introduces the historical people and places of south Louisiana, from the exiled Acadians and their laissez faire way of life to the cotton kings evoking the Gone with the Wind era. Those who dried the shrimp, drove the cattle, shucked the oysters, and harvested the sugarcane are given tribute along with the noted chefs who prepared the meals. Also prominently displayed are recipes from hardworking fishermen who earn a living harvesting seafood from Louisiana waters.

From avocado-shrimp remoulade to soft-shell crabs, from alligator sauce picquante to seafood okra gumbo, the recipes Butler provides offer a comprehensive look at bayou country dining served up with photographs, historical tidbits, and family lore.

For starters Butler offers crab and corn bisque, bacon, lettuce, and Creole tomato soup, seafood okra gumbo, hush puppies, and stuffed artichoke. Main course dishes abound, many laced with the catch of the day, from shrimp etouffeé and oysters Bienville to sautéed shrimp and crawfish stew. Sweets also take on a decidedly Southern flair with praline bread pudding cake, beignets, Italian fig cookies, Creole cream-cheese pecan pound cake, tipsy cake, sweet potato pie, molasses cookies, and dewberry cobbler. For the guest wanting a beverage with a kick, bottomless glasses of sherry flip and mint julep are poured.

Including more than 100 local recipes, the author covers a vast area of Louisiana's diverse economic and cultural heritage.

Anne Butler evokes Southern hospitality in her glorious epicurean tour. – Bloomsbury Review

Bayou Plantation Country Cookbook is a culinary guidebook honoring the plantations and nearby towns stretching west of the Mississippi River to Lafayette. Packed with family anecdotes and lore, this cookbook eases readers into the kitchen by way of a personal invitation to ‘visit’ with the family. Sharing the architecture, history, and food of a bygone era, all the while spreading Southern charm, Butler plays host to Louisiana bayou plantations and homesteads, welcoming readers at the door and acquainting them with past and present inhabitants and their recipes.

Entertainment / Music / History / Biographies & Memoirs

Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti: Two Lives in One by Roberto Pagano, translated from the Italian by Frederick Hammond (Lives in Music Series, No. 7: Pendragon Press)

Pagano writes a rich and varied Italian and draws on a tremendous repertory of historical and literary sources. His book is not a streamlined dictionary item (although he is the author of the entries on the two Scarlattis in the 2000 New Grove Dictionary), but rather a panorama of place and period. Both Sterne and Stendhal (a particular Sicilian favorite) come to mind in the way in which the author himself becomes a personality in the story he is recounting, permits himself digressions, doubts, second thoughts, and even recantations. – Frederick Hammond, Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 2005, from the Translator’s Preface

Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) is one of the most cel­ebrated and least performed composers of the Baroque, and his son Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) remains one of the most enigmatic figures of the period. Roberto Pagano's Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti examines the relationship between father and son, interpreted in the context of seventeenth-century Sicilian culture. This study in historical anthropology is filled with new documentation on the lives and careers of the two men, and the boundaries between documented and informed speculation are clearly marked.

At the heart of the relationship between the two Scarlattis lies Domenico's famous legal emancipation from his father, which has generally been viewed as a bold act of personal and artistic defiance. Pagano, foremost authority on Scarlatti in Italy today and former Artistic Director of both the Sicilian National Orchestra and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, reveals, through a corrected text and translation of the Latin notarial document, that it was actually a renunciation of the ancient Roman patria potestas, a father's power of life and death over his children.

The book has been translated by Frederick Hammond, both performer and scholar. Other titles in the Lives in Music Series include:

  • Hugues Cuenod – With a Nimble Voice Conversations with Francois Hudry
  • Nicolae Bretan – His Life – His Music
  • Entrancing Music: Documented Biography of Franis Poulenc
  • Pied Piper: The Many Lives of Noah Greenberg
  • Peggy Glanville-Hicks: A Transposed Life
  • The Chevalier de Saint Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and Bow
  • Irving Fine: An American Composer in His Time

On October 26, 1953, the 268th anniversary of its subject's birth, the Princeton University Press published Ralph Kirkpatrick's Domenico Scarlatti. It was a revelation for its scholarly rigor and colorful writing, its wealth of new documentation, its recovery of the primary printed and manuscript sources of the sonatas, and for the musical insights of the greatest Scarlatti performer of the time. Kirkpatrick's book, together with his edition, performances, and recordings of sixty of the sonatas, became the primary agent in transforming the perception of its subject from Schumann’s contemptuous ‘dwarf among giants’ into the creator of one of the greatest surviving bodies of keyboard music.

A half-century later, the publication of the revised version of Roberto Pagano's Scarlatti: Alessandro e Domenico: due vite in una (1985) in an English translation, Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti, represents another quantum leap in Scarlatti studies. The fifty years following Kirkpatrick's pioneering work have produced extensive researches, especially into Portuguese and Spanish sources such as archival documents and musical manuscripts, which transformed our knowledge of Domenico's biography, sometimes in surprising ways. Domenico Scarlatti is now seen as a leading musical figure at the Portuguese court and a cosmopolitan traveler, whose fame in France was such as to induce the Portuguese ambassador to pay off his gambling debts to save his king's reputation. In another case, a garbled reference to a secret marriage in a document preserved in the Scarlatti family, whom Kirkpatrick located by thumbing through the Madrid telephone directory, turns out on further research to concern not Alessandro but Domenico in his old age, treating his son Alexandro with all the repressive hauteur of his own father.

Not only does Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti summarize the results of this half-century of research, it is equally valuable for scraping off certain barnacles that have clung tenaciously to the history of the two Scarlattis, notably the forgeries of the Florentine scholar Mario Fabbri of docu­ments from the court of Ferdinando de Medici.

As its sub-title ‘two lives in one’ suggests, however, this state-of-the-art biography of Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti is presented in a particular context. First, since Domenico's legal emancipation from his father has always seemed to lie at the heart of his biographical mystery, Pagano examines the histories of father and son as a symbiotic relationship in which a corrected text and a new reading of the legal document of emancipation becomes central. Second, he locates their relationship in the cultural context of seventeenth-century Sicily and southern Italy. Palermitan by birth and profoundly Sicilian, Pagano rightly observes that even today the traditions which formed the lives of the two Scarlattis are still active in Sicily.

Pagano does not claim to add much to the biographical data fur­nished by Kirkpatrick but asserts the conviction that he can read the human experience of the musician in a new key, one dictated by his intimate knowledge of Scarlatti’s father's life and of a southern mentality that may have controlled – and in any case conditioned – the behavior of the Sicilian clan into which Domenico Scarlatti was born.

Pagano says he did not wish to write a fictionalized or ‘invented’ biography. “My analysis of events and facts relates the little that we know about Domenico Scarlatti to the influence exercised on him by a father who must have behaved in a manner absolutely consistent with traditions that have been changed in Sicily only in the smallest degree by the three centuries that have passed,.” says Pagano. He well knows that the corpus of his sonatas – the part of his output that has left its mark on the history of Western music – shows that he is perhaps more significantly linked to the Iberian peninsula than to Italy.

Logically, a consideration of the apotheosis that took place in Spain concludes the human parable Pagano has attempted to reconstruct: it is in the relation between Spain and Sicily that he seeks the distant origins of a conditioned mentality to which he refers constantly. In this sense, Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti may be considered a southern ‘reply’ to the positivistic rigor of the biography worked out by Kirkpatrick

However, he hopes that he have offered sufficiently clear indications so that the established data remain clearly distinct from his interpretations of the whole context, which are guided by the direct knowledge of the conditioned mentality to which he believes that both the deeply Sicilian Alessandro and his son Domenico – as well as the picturesque ‘Barone d'Astorga’ and so many of the other characters who crowd Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti – conformed.

The two decades since the publication of the Due vite have also seen the text of the volume considerably enlarged. The new version, Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti, is born of an exchange that seals Pagano’s thirty years' friendship with Frederick Hammond, whose translation of the text is his response to the same labor that Pagano dedicated to his work Frescobaldi. According to Pagano, Hammond’s long discipleship with Ralph Kirkpatrick made him a competent Scarlattian, and his attention to detail made it possible to check the text in ways impossible in the past – details that were simply unavailable in 1985 have, in recent years, enriched a great tapestry.

Allesandro and Domenico Scarlatti is the most important contribu­tion to Scarlatti studies since Kirkpatrick's Domenco Scarlatti of 1953.

Entertainment / Sports

Fight On! The Colorful Story of USC Football by Steve Bisheff, Loel Schrader (Cumberland House Publishing)

In recent years the University of Southern California football team has set records, enjoyed winning streaks, won national championships, and produced Heisman Trophy winners at a dizzying pace. For USC fans, it has been a wonderful return to the school's longtime glory.

To help fans appreciate the story and its significance, Steve Bisheff and Loel Schrader, who between them have a combined eighty years of covering USC football, have written Fight On!. Here is the story of how the Trojans once dominated college football and are doing so once again. Here also are the glittering history, rich tradition, and remarkable athletes who have marked the USC football program throughout the years.

Coaching legends like Howard Jones, who produced ‘The Thundering Herd,’ and John McKay, whose innovations changed the face of college football and introduced us to a long line of Heisman Trophy-winning tailbacks, are examined in depth. The real stories behind the great USC-Notre Dame intersectional rivalry and the number-one cross-town rivalry in the sport, USC vs. UCLA, are told alongside stories of Hollywood's amazing involvement with the program.

All of USC's seven Heisman Trophy winners are profiled, from Mike Garrett to Reggie Bush, providing readers with rare insights into these special players. And the story of how Pete Carroll turned the Trojans into a full-fledged collegiate dynasty begins with him as a teenager growing up in northern California to his present status as the most successful college coach in America.
Also listed are the ten best games and the fifty greatest players in USC history, providing every Trojan fan with something to argue about. Fight On! covers all the elements that have made USC one of the great football programs in America.

This beautifully-written book gives you an extraordinary insight into the Trojan history and family. Reading it brings back so many cherished memories. It's almost as if they all come to life again. I plan to read this book over and over again. – John Robinson, former USC football coach

Steve Bisheff and Loel Schrader have written a book I'd recommend to anyone interested in the heritage and tradition of USC football. It made me realize how honored I was to play with Mary Goux and how much I wish I could have played for Coach John McKay. This book is a winner. – ‘Jaguar Jon’ Arnett, USC halfback, 1953-56; All-America, 1955

Steve Bisheff and Loel Schrader capture the essence of Trojan football and its important figures, revealing information only the players in the huddle would know. – Marcus Allen, USC tailback, 1978-81; All-America and Heisman Trophy winner, 1981

Fight On! by Bisheff and Schrader is the definitive book on USC football. For Trojan fans, college football fans, and members of the media who cover college football, this will be as much fun to read as watching Reggie Bush run in the open field. For anyone who loves USC football or the sport itself, this is a big read.

Fiction

The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun J. Tejpal (Ecco)

Set against the brilliantly drawn backdrop of India at the turn of the millennium, The Alchemy of Desire, written by Tarun J. Tejpal, New Delhi journalist of twenty-three years, tells the story of a young couple, penniless but gloriously in love. Obsessed with each other, they move from a small town to the big city, where the man, a journalist who dreams of being a writer, works feverishly on a novel, stopping only to feed his ceaseless desire for his beautiful wife, Fizz.

A chance occurrence allows the lovers to abandon the city for a mist-shrouded spur of the lower Himalayas and move into a sprawling old house, which they hope will embody their love. At first they pursue their deep physical need with a reckless intensity.

The narrator of The Alchemy of Desire dreams of writing a novel that will capture the truths of India's turbulent social history since Independence. With the encouragement of Fizz, his devoted lover of fifteen years, he quits his job and immerses himself fully in the task. Stopping only to satiate his constant lust for Fizz, he finds himself struggling as The Inheritors fails to coalesce. Finally defeated, he and Fizz dispatch the manuscript to the bottom of a nearby lake.

Meanwhile, during renovations on the house, a locked trunk is unearthed, and when it is opened, a cache of sixteen handwritten journals is discovered inside. Intrigued, the writer begins to decipher the ‘wordwheels’ of the fading journal entries, which are “without chronology, without grammar, without punctuation, riddled with archaisms and spelling errors.” This challenge becomes his new obsession, as he spends all of his waking hours entrenched in the books. As a series of unforeseen events play out for the young couple, their naked honesty and once-pure desire is contaminated by a strange outside force – mysterious events from the past that intrude upon their perfect love and threaten to undo the young man with a kind of madness. Even the brokenhearted Fizz's departure cannot corral the writer back to sanity. As he pieces together the mysterious story of the curious American woman in the journal, he discovers that it is a story as preoccupied with erotic desire as his own. Slowly he begins to uncover dark secrets, laying bare some truths about himself, his damaged love, and the very essence of life and love itself.

Soon his life is in tatters. As his life and love fall apart, the shocking truth is laid bare and all certainties are overturned.

At last – a new and brilliantly original novel from India. – V.S. Naipaul

Amid the endless cascade of semi-genuine Indian novels by Indian Americans comes the real thing, a kaleidoscopic first novel by a top Indian journalist, erotically rooted in the country. – Philadelphia Inquirer

A sweeping epic ... sprinkled liberally with titillating passages.... Heavy with ambition, Tejpal's debut will please readers. – Publishers Weekly

Tejpal is obsessed with the act of creation in its widest sense. He beats an erotic path through the depths of human desire: sexual, artistic, political.... A memorable and impressive debut. – Sunday Times (London)

This Indian masterpiece is like a voyage down the Ganges, long and infinitely pleasurable – the only thing that worries you is getting to the end too soon. – Figaro

Its rich sexuality lifts this work way, way above the ordinary. Rare is the Indian writer in English who has ventured thus far with the language, force, imagery, and originality. ...Tejpal is audacious as would be those who venture to assault the Himalayas. There are echoes of Nabokov, shades of Henry Miller and Philip Roth, and influences of Rushdie and Jim Corbett. None of which diminish the originality of a novel that is, paradoxically, as exciting as it is a pleasure. – Tribune

The Alchemy of Desire is anything but safe. One of its most soaring notes is its exploration of passion. . . .The novel details intimate relationships with few missteps, without reducing them to voyeuristic fodder. The passion in the novel is deeply organic to the characters and the narrative. . . . It works beautifully. In many ways, the novel is like the man himself: gritty, unrestrained, yet bound by a personal code of honor. – Independent

The Alchemy of Desire puts Tarun Tejpal in the front rank of Indian novelists.... I am inclined to agree with Naipaul: Tejpal has turned out a masterpiece. It is a novel that must be read. – Khushwant Singh, author of Train to Pakistan

Tejpal's mesmerizing, erotically-charged debut novel, The Alchemy of Desire, is a candid exploration of sexual passion and obsession wrapped around a subtle exploration of India's multifarious culture and ragged contemporary history.

Inventive, playful, heartbreaking, brimming with ideas and memorable characters, The Alchemy of Desire celebrates the chaotic spirit of a country during a time of great change. It also offers, in searing, lucid prose, a moving meditation on the nature of desire, history, truth, and art. This is a major novel by one of the most significant new voices of his generation.

Health, Mind & Body / Alternative Medicine / Exercise & Fitness

Bone Marrow Nei Kung: Taoist Techniques for Rejuvenating the Blood and Bone by Mantak Chia (Destiny Books)

Most Westerners believe that a daily physical exercise program helps slow the aging process. Yet those whose bodies appear most physically fit on the outside often enjoy only the same life span as the average non-athletic person. It is the internal organs and glands that nourish every function of the body, and it is the bone marrow that nourishes and rejuvenates the organs and glands through the production of blood. By focusing only on the muscles without cultivating the internal organs, bones, and blood, the Western fitness regimen can ultimately exhaust the internal system.

In Bone Marrow Nei Kung Master Mantak Chia reveals the ancient mental and physical Taoist techniques used to ‘regrow’ bone marrow, strengthen the bones, and rejuvenate the organs and glands. An advanced practice of Iron Shirt Chi Kung, Bone Marrow Nei Kung was developed as a way to attain the ‘steel body’ coveted in the fields of Chinese medicine and martial arts. This method of absorbing energy into the bones revives the bone marrow and reverses the effects of aging through the techniques of bone breathing, bone compression, and sexual energy massage, which stimulates the hormonal production that helps prevent osteoporosis. Also included is extensive information on chi weight lifting to enhance the life force within and the practice of ‘hitting’ to detoxify the body.

A student of several Taoist masters, Mantak Chia founded the Universal Healing Tao System in 1979 and has taught and certified tens of thousands of students and instructors from all over the world. He is the director of the Tao Garden Integrative Medicine Health Spa and Resort training center in northern Thailand and is the author of twenty-six books, including Cosmic Fusion, the bestselling Sexual Reflexology, and the bestselling The Multi-Orgasmic Man.

Bone Marrow Nei Kung is a guide, which Westerners can follow to nourishing the body through bone marrow rejuvenation exercises.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

The Continuity of Mind by Michael Spivey (Oxford Psychology Series: Oxford University Press)

The cognitive and neural sciences have been on the brink of a paradigm shift for over a decade. The traditional information-processing framework in psychology, with its computer metaphor of the mind, is still considered to be the mainstream approach, but dynamical-systems accounts of mental activity are now receiving a more rigorous treatment, allowing them to move beyond merely brandishing trendy buzzwords.

In The Continuity of Mind Michael Spivey lays bare the fact that comprehending a spoken sentence, understanding a visual scene, or just thinking about the days events involves the serial coalescing of different neuronal activation patterns, i.e., a continuous state-space trajectory that flirts with a series of point attractors. As a result, the brain cannot help but spend most of its time instantiating patterns of activity that are in between identifiable mental states rather than in them. When this scenario is combined with the fact that most cognitive processes are richly embedded in their environmental context in real time, the state space suddenly encompasses not just neuronal dimensions, but extends to biomechanical and environmental dimensions as well. As a result, the individual’s moment-by-moment experience of the world, even right now, can be described as a continuous trajectory through a high-dimensional state space that is comprised of diverse mental states.

Spivey, Associate Professor of Psy­chology at Cornell University, and Director of its Cognitive Science Program, has arranged The Continuity of Mind to present a systematic overview of how perception, cognition, and action are partially overlapping segments of one continuous mental flow, rather than three distinct mental systems. The initial chapters provide empirical demonstrations of the gray areas in mental activity that happen in between discretely labeled mental events, as well as geometric visualizations of attractors in state space that make the dynamical-systems framework seem less mathematically abstract. The middle chapters present scores of behavioral and neurophysiological studies that portray the continuous temporal dynamics inherent in categorization, language comprehension, visual perception, as well as attention, action, and reasoning. The final chapters conclude with discussions of what the mind itself must look like if its activity is continuous in time and its contents are distributed in state space.

The Continuity of Mind is a compelling introduction to the dynamical systems approach to cognition that provides the most readable treatment of this work I have seen. Whether you agree that dynamical systems are the future of cognitive science or not, you cannot ignore the arguments that Spivey puts forward in this book. – Arthur B. Markman, Professor of Psychology and Marketing, University of Texas
In The Continuity of Mind, Michael Spivey presents a bold new vision for cognitive science – a vision that replaces discrete symbolic structures with continuous spaces of mental states, and proposes an inherent smoothness in the processes that move thoughts along the pathways of the mind. With a keen sense of history, a twinkle in his eye, and a clear focus on the challenges ahead, Spivey takes us on a fascinating voyage of exploration in this new, continuous, and dynamically changing world. We examine new tools for exploring the continuity of thought. We visit the rusty relics of discrete forms of theorizing and explore how what is good in them may be revived in theories framed in a more continuous vein. It is an important voyage for anyone interested in the mind, whether from a computational, philosophical, psychological, or neural perspective. All Aboard! – Jay McClelland, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
This is required reading for all cognitive scientists, young and old. Regardless of how far along the path to 'continuity psychology' you have traveled, Spivey challenges you to get out of your current attractor basin and continue your journey through theoretical state space. – Ken McRae, Professor of Psychology, University of Western Ontario

The Continuity of Mind will help to galvanize the forces of dynamical-systems theory, cognitive and computational neuroscience, connectionism, and ecological psychology that are needed to complete the paradigm shift. Therefore, The Continuity of Mind will be essential reading for those in the cognitive and neural sciences who want to see where the dynamical cognition movement is going.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Guided Imagery: Creative Interventions in Counselling & Psychotherapy by Eric Hall, Carol Hall, Pamela Stradling, & Diane Young (Sage Publications, Ltd.)

For therapists who want to include imagery work in their repertoire and who are looking for more than just a tool-kit of exercises, there is a dearth of up-to-date literature on using guided imagery available, according to these four authors. Written by Eric Hall, chartered counseling psychologist and part-time lecturer at the University of Nottingham; Carol Hall, Dean and Head of the School of Education, University of Nottingham; Pamela Stradling, BACP-accredited counselor/practitioner in Reading and Oxford; and Diane Young, counselor and supervisor for the NHS and in private practice in Buckinghamshire, Guided Imagery keeps both experienced and trainee counselors in mind.

Based on research with clients, therapy groups and training groups, going back over 30 years, Guided Imagery is a practical guide to using imagery in therapeutic work with clients. Through numerous examples drawn from their own research and case experience, the authors show how the techniques involved can be integrated into everyday practice, in both one-to-one therapy and in training groups.

In Guided Imagery, the authors introduce and discuss a range of techniques and therapeutic interventions which can help clients generate, express and understand their own symbolic, imaginal language, the language of the soul. The book describes the different processes of using guided imagery and working from a script, and explains how drawing can be used to augment imagery work. In addition to planned strategies for using imagery, the authors also explore how images which arise spontaneously during sessions can be harnessed and used to enhance the therapeutic process. The practical strategies and techniques outlined in the book are examined in the context of a variety of theoretical frameworks and research findings. Potential pitfalls and ethical considerations are also explored.

In the case of guided imagery, the counselor acts as a facilitator or guide and provides the client with an imagery theme to work with, for example, a journey up a mountain. The client describes aloud the internal images that spontaneously emerge. In the guiding role, the counselor may invite the client to imagine that they are elements in the imagery journey and even set up con­versations between them.

In the scripted approach to using guided imagery, the counselor or facilitator provides a narrative structure for the imagery journey. The client or group listen and follow the guide's instructions in silence. This technique is used in situations such as a counselor training group, a personal development group or a therapy group. It may be used with groups of students in schools as part of personal, social and health education and can even be used with children of nursery age. According to Guided Imagery, guided imagery using a script is normally used in a group setting, but can also prove useful for a client who is unwilling or too anxious to verbalize their imagery aloud.

Invariably, a reflective silence follows a scripted imagery journey, even in a large group. After a pause, the guide invites the group to share their experiences, usually in pairs or triads. A scripted imagery journey generates an emotionally charged discussion, which is usually personally significant in some way. Participants report feeling calm and relaxed after such an experience. Images appear to be highly memorable and often a client or group member will spontaneously refer back to their experience in a later session, which demonstrates the way the imagery keeps on working beyond the initial experience.

The authors also cover imagery and drawing; they discuss the ways in which drawing images generated can provide a further dimension to the guided and scripted imagery experience. They say they have found using drawing as an intervention in tandem with the imagery journey to be a particularly potent source of learning. Drawings can provide a visual portfolio which the client can use as a reference point in terms of monitoring their own therapeutic progress.

Guided Imagery also covers working with spontaneously generated imagery. During the flow of conversation, clients unconsciously produce metaphors and images, which capture the essence of their experience. The authors discuss the ways in which counselors can:

  1. Work creatively with client-generated imagery.
  2. Help them to understand the basis of the emotional response.
  3. Transform the response through re-imagining a more desirable state of being.

Each of these imagery-work interventions is discussed in the book. The relationship between imagery interventions and bodily well-being is also explored and a review of the research evidence on their efficacy in therapeutic contexts provided. The book also offers a consideration of the ethical issues posed by the use of imagery techniques in the therapeutic process.

Written for both experienced and trainee counselors, Guided Imagery will be a uniquely useful resource for practitioners and an ideal text for use in counseling and psychotherapy training courses.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Self-Help

The New Rational Therapy: Thinking Your Way to Serenity, Success, and Profound Happiness by Elliot D. Cohen, with a foreword by Albert Ellis (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.)

Throughout the ages, great thinkers including Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, and Nietzsche have had incredibly useful things to say about overcoming the strife of everyday living and attaining happiness. Unfortunately, contemporary approaches to psychology have made only limited use of this guidance.

Guided by the vision of these great minds, The New Rational Therapy shows how a person can feel secure and hopeful while living in a precarious, uncertain universe; face evil with life-affirming courage; build self-esteem, respect for others, and global reverence; take control of emotions and behavior; confront moral problems creatively; build rapport and solidarity with others; and hone practical decision-making skills.

The book was written by Elliot D. Cohen, professor and department chair at Indian River Community College, principal founder of philosophical counseling in the United States, advisor to the Albert Ellis Foundation, president of the Institute of Critical Thinking, and  founder and executive director of the American Society for Philosophy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy. He is also ethics editor of Free Inquiry magazine and editor-in-chief and founder of the International Journal of Applied Philosophy and the International Journal of Philosophical Practice.

Cohen's The New Rational Therapy is a follow-up to his What Would Aristotle Do? Like the latter book, it shows in detail how many people erroneously think and, by doing so, largely create what is called ‘emotional’ disturbance. More importantly, he indicates what readers can do to correct their dysfunctional thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which Albert Ellis started formu­lating in 1953, is the first of the major cognitive-behavior therapies. It hypothesizes, as Cohen shows in The New Rational Therapy, that most people are born and reared to easily upset themselves but that they are also constructivists who have the ability to think, feel, and act more functionally and to lead happier lives. Unlike most of the other cognitive-behavior therapies that started up in the 1900s, REBT stresses that humans are unusual thinking animals who develop several basic philosophies – that also have strong emotional and behavioral elements that make them and keep them dysfunctional. Moreover, they are often unaware of their core philosophies, and when they become aware of them, they dogmatically believe that they are true or factual. As the Buddhists said some 2,500 years ago, they are actually illusions.

REBT therefore shows readers how to look for and uncover their leading philosophies; to dispute them forcefully, emotionally, and actively; and to change them to effective new philosophies, or rational coping philosophies. Special false or illusory philosophies that often lead them astray include demanding perfection, damning themselves and others, ‘awfulizing,’ and ‘I-can't-stand-it-itis’. REBT shows readers how to discover and dispute these destructive attitudes. Cohen in The New Rational Therapy adds a few more idiocies, such as jumping on the bandwagon, manipulation, ‘the world revolves around me,’ and ‘thou shalt upset yourself.’

According to The New Rational Therapy, people’s personal and interpersonal happiness – as well as that of their significant others, friends, coworkers, and associates – depends largely on the premises behind their emotions and behavior. Philosophers look at things in terms of reasoning from premises to conclusions. They look at their premises to see if their reasoning is sound. In contrast, traditional psychology tends to see things in terms of cause and effect. For example, a therapist might tell them that what caused them to get angry at Jack was some event, for example, that he lied – together with what they thought about it. Just as, under certain conditions, striking a match can cause a flame, many psychologists also think we can discover the scientific laws that cause people to lose their tempers and act in certain destructive ways. Instead of looking for causal laws, a philosophical approach attempts to identify and catalog the various types of fallacious premises in destructive patterns of reasoning. For this reason, Cohen refers to his philosophical approach as Logic-Based Therapy (LBT). This changes the mission of psychology: instead of looking for the causes of self-destructive behavior and emotions, LBT examines the reasoning for dangerous premises.

On the basis of clinical observations and studies over the past two decades, he identifies eleven of the most common and virulent offenders, the eleven cardinal fallacies.

Fallacies of Behavioral and Emotional Rules

  1. Demanding perfection: Perfect-a-holic addiction to what one can't have in an imperfect universe.
  2. Awfulizing: Reasoning from bad to worst.
  3. Damnation: Shit-ification of self, others, and the universe.
  4. Jumping on the bandwagon: Blind, inauthentic, antidemocratic and parrot-like conformity.
  5. Can'tstipation: Obstructing one’s creative potential by holding in and refusing to excrete an emotional, behavioral, or volitional can't.
  6. Thou shalt upset Yourself: Dutifully and obsessively disturbing oneself and significant others.
  7. Manipulation: Bullying, bullshitting, or well poisoning to get what one wants.
  8. The world-revolves-around-me thinking: Setting oneself up as the reality guru.

Fallacies of Reporting

  1. Oversimplifying reality: Pigeonholing reality or prejudging and stereotyping individuals.
  2. Distorting probabilities: Making generalizations and predictions about the future that are not probable relative to the evidence at hand.
  3. Blind conjecture: Advancing explanations, causal judgments and contrary-to-fact claims about the world based on fear, guilt, superstition, magical thinking, fanaticism, or other anti-scientific grounds.

Each of these fallacies is addressed in a separate chapter of The New Rational Therapy. Cohen says readers can learn to refute their faulty premises and find or create philosophical antidotes to the cardinal fallacies. Cohen also shows that just about all people’s philosophical mistakes stem from their innate and socially acquired tendencies, especially from their tendencies to make healthy desires into unhealthy and absolutistic shoulds, oughts, musts, and demands. He shows how many famed philosophers had antidotes for their ‘musturbation,’ and he adds some antidotes of his own. He talks about the cognitive dissonance between a fallacious rule and an antidote. He teaches readers how to construct and apply philosophical antidotes. Then he gets into the eleven transcendent virtues: metaphysical security, courage, respect, authenticity, temperance, moral creativity, empowerment, empathy, good judgment, foresightedness and scientificity.

In The New Rational Therapy, Elliot D. Cohen identifies eleven common and destructive patterns of reasoning that, left unchecked, can substantially impair personal happiness. He provides many useful antidotes to counteract the poisonous effects of these cardinal fallacies. – Samuel Zinaich Jr., president, American Society for Philosophy, Counseling, and Psychotherapy

The New Rational Therapy is an intelligent and clearly written book. It is enjoyable to read and it gently induces the reader to self-knowledge and self-improvement. The light of reason that shines through this new therapy can indeed be the right medication for persons suffering from mental and emotional disorders. Professional caregivers can find new inspiration here. – Dr. Shlomit C. Schuster, author of Philosophical Practice: An Alternative to Counseling and Psychotherapy and The Philosopher's Autobiography: A Qualitative Study

Clearly written and well argued, Cohen sets out eleven philosophical prescriptions that really can improve our everyday lives. If more philosophers followed Cohen’s lead in their work, there would be many more (employed) philosophers and even more satisfied students of philosophy. – James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame

At last, here is an uplifting psychology that systematically applies the wisdom of the ages to attaining a life of insight, meaning, value, and purpose. Unlike classical approaches to rational psychology that only scratch the surface of what's wrong, The New Rational Therapy gets to the core and offers penetrating, philosophical antidotes for transcending problems and attaining an enduring happiness.

All told, this is an amazingly profound book. It distills the wisdom of many philosophers as only a professional philosopher-therapist like Cohen can do. What is profoundly new in this book is processing the individual’s philosophical mistakes as a central component of rational psychology; this portends nothing less than a psychological revolution.

Be grateful for Cohen’s combined talents and happy for the unusual self-help material that he has included in this book.

History / Americas / Political Science

Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope by Tariq Ali (Verso)

After the initial shock, I was confident that the coup could not succeed. Two factors helped sustain my morale. The first was the support we retained in the country. I remember one day I got fed up of sitting in this place. I decided to go to the barrios on the hills and with one guard and two comrades I drove out to listen to people and breathe better air. The response moved me greatly. A woman came up to me and said: ‘Chavez, follow me, I want to show you something.’ I followed her to her tiny dwelling. Inside the room her children and husband were waiting for the soup to be cooked. ‘Look at what I'm using for fuel,’ she said to me. ‘The back of our bed. Tomorrow I'll burn the legs, the day after the table, then the chairs and the doors. We will survive, but don't give up now.’ On my way out the kids from the gangs came and shook hands. ‘We can live without beer. You make sure you screw these....’  People were very angry, but they knew who was responsible and we were getting similar reports from all over the country. The middle classes hurt themselves a great deal by that strike. – Hugo Chávez in conversation with Tarig Ali

During his most recent visit to the United Nations, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela was mocked, ridiculed, and misquoted by the United States press. The leader of a newly left-leaning Latin America, Chávez was represented as a barbarian and a fool rather than the foremost challenger of the neo-liberal agenda and American foreign policy.

Since 1998, Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution has ignited the people of a continent and brought Venezuela to the fore of international affairs. While Chávez's radical social-democratic reforms have brought him worldwide acclaim from the poor, he has attracted intense hostility from Venezuelan elites and mainstream Western governments and media, who regard him as a blundering interloper, disrupting the smooth progress of the Washington Consensus and daring to show Latin America that one can change the world by taking power.

Drawn from a wealth of first-hand experience in Venezuela and from extensive meetings with Chávez himself, Tariq Ali, writer and filmmaker and editor of the New Left Review, in Pirates of the Caribbean traces the history of the revolutionary process. He shows how Chavez's views have polarized Latin America at the same time that they have drawn international attention to the continent. Ali examines the hostility directed at the Chávez administration and traces the rise of Telesur, Venezuela's pan-Latin American counterweight to the pervasive influence of media conglomerates. Ali also discusses the enormous influence of Fidel Castro on both Chávez and Evo Morales, the newly-elected President of Bolivia. He explores the differences between the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes and outlines the options available to Latin America at this critical time in its history.

Infused with references to the culture and poetry of South America, Pirates of the Caribbean guides readers through a world divided between privilege and poverty, a continent that is once again on the march.

History / Americas / U.S.

Amarillo: The Story of a Western Town by Paul Howard Carlson (Texas Tech University Press)

Step into the Real Texas. – Amarillo Chamber of Commerce

Amarillo, the Queen City of the Texas Panhandle, is known far beyond its immediate vicinity – the high tableland called the Llano Estacado. The famous highway Route 66 ran through the very heart of Amarillo. Alan Jackson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Sedaka, and James Durst each recorded a different song titled 'Amarillo.' Named by True West magazine as one of the fifty most Western towns in America, this city of 176,000 people remains rooted in its Western past – yet at the same time Amarillo’s background and outlook have a distinctly Midwestern flavor.

In Amarillo, the first comprehensive history of Amarillo, Paul H. Carlson, professor of history at Texas Tech University, explores the city and its environs, from the first peoples who settled in the area to Amarillo’s current position as the marketing and commercial hub of a broad region. The city is the marketing and commercial hub of a broad region, one that laps over into Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. It is also a regional center for health care and for social and cultural activities of all kinds. Amarillo, then, is an attempt to provide a broad, chronological sweep of the social, cultural, political, and economic history of Amarillo and to show how Amarillo has developed as the major urban center for the larger Texas Panhandle.

Amarillo is unique. Perhaps every city is. Yet there are few places of comparable size that have been the subject of as many country songs and western ballads. Yet the country ballads hardly capture the essence of the city as it exists today. Contemporary Amarillo is a community whose citizens overwhelmingly support its cultural and intellectual life, such as live drama and fine arts generally and its superb symphony orchestra particularly. That does not mean it has outgrown country and western music – far from it. Clearly, Amarillo is a community whose city and citizens proudly embrace a western past that includes frontier images of long-booted cowboys, heady cattle drives, rowdy saloons, and busy railheads. The unusual dynamic keeps present-day Amarillo firmly rooted in its western past – a bit western frontier and a bit space age – a contemporary city in which the Old West, both the real and the imagined, remains hearty. Amarillo's subtitle, The Story of a Western Town, embraces the city's country and western music connections, its rural, western traditions, and its strong but modern cowboy-rancher customs.

But, in most ways, Amarillo is no longer a ‘western’ town. Indeed, with a population of some 176,000 people in 2006, it is one of the two largest urban communities on America's western High Plains. It is a thoroughly modern city, urbane in temperament and cosmopolitan in outlook. Still, large numbers of its citizens embrace informality of dress and speech, rural ideals, pickup trucks, country and western music and western dance halls, ‘cowboy’ steak houses, and similar manifestations of the mythic Old West and so keep Amarillo solidly anchored to its deep agrarian roots, pastoral traditions, and rural heritage. This strong dichotomy of outlook helps explain the grand attractiveness of Amarillo. Through its economic and political strength and its deep cultural influences, Amarillo will likely continue to dominate much of the Texas Panhandle well into the twenty-first century.

History / Americas / U.S.

Canal Street: New Orleans' Great Wide Way by Peggy Scott Laborde & John Magil (Pelican Publishing Company)

Canal Street has served as a place for meeting, shopping, protesting, and parading since its creation in 1807 – stretching from the riverfront to the cemeteries, the Street is familiar to natives and visitors alike as a meeting place for downtown shopping sprees, Mardi Gras parades, political protests, daily rendezvous, grand celebrations, and newsworthy events. Many have crossed its path to reach the French Quarter, ridden its streetcars to City Park, or stayed in one of its luxury hotels. More recently, it was the street where news crews stationed themselves after Hurricane Katrina.

Canal Street was considered the border of a new city, and its potential site for a canal ultimately spawned the street's name. Understanding the development of Canal Street (at 170 feet, 6 inches the widest business district street in the country) means understanding the development of New Orleans – specifically, its business and garden districts, once called the American Quarter, and the French Quarter, which Canal Street divides.

Written by local historian and Historic New Orleans Collection curator John Magill and WYES-TV host Peggy Scott Laborde, Canal Street chronicles the evolution of this grand street and all its events, memories, failures, and successes. Since 1987, Laborde has been the senior producer for the New Orleans PBS station, WYES-TV, where she has developed, produced, and hosted documentaries and in-studio productions about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast – she has produced, narrated, or consulted for over forty-five documentaries. Based on a public television documentary, which she produced and narrated, Canal Street chronicles the street's incarnation in 1807, its development, eventual decline, and hopeful revival as New Orleans' main thoroughfare in the twenty-first century. Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of Canal Street – from streetcars and social issues to Christmas shopping and cemeteries. Featuring familiar favorites like Mr. Bingle and D. H. Holmes Department Store, Canal Street covers the revitalization of the Canal Street streetcars, the changes along the riverfront, including new establishments like Harrah's Casino, and the transformation of common destinations like Woolworth's into upscale hotels for tourists and convention goers.

Peggy Scott Laborde has a gift of presenting New Orleans history with great heart. This book shows us why generations of New Orleanians have loved the magic of one of America's great streets. We need to understand that magic now more than ever. – Angela Hill, WWL-TV anchor, New Orleans

It is required that we know our past to understand our present, and John Magill is aware of how important this is to all of us at this time in our history as a great city. Canal Street presents the evolution of the Crescent City's beloved main street – a street that might be said to contain more history in its few short miles than most cities can muster as a whole. – Priscilla Lawrence, executive director, The Historic New Orleans Collection

A wonderful tale of a city and how it grew. Peggy knows how to resurrect memories that have been forgotten. – Ronnie Virgets, New Orleans columnist

A wonderful examination of the many functions Canal Street serves in our civic life. . . a great look at the past, a hopeful glance toward the future. – Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune

This exhaustive urban history recalls, celebrates, and documents the contributions Canal Street made to New Orleans' cultural, artistic, commercial, religious, and political landscape. Vintage and contemporary photographs accompanied by detailed descriptions of Canal Street ‘then and now’ make Canal Street a necessity for historians, visitors, and nostalgic former or current residents.

History / Americas / U.S. / Civil War / Biographies & Memoirs

War's Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers by Mark H. Dunkelman (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War Series: Louisiana State University Press)

In telling their stories, I felt close to these twelve soldiers. I hope that as you read the tales, you will feel close to them, too. Still, I remain humbled and haunted by how little I know about these men and their loved ones – and by how many tales remain untold. – from the book

A happy-go-lucky soldier falls at Gettysburg. A reluctant soldier is doomed by red tape. A veteran is crippled for life because of his brutal treatment as a prisoner of war. Father and son are killed at Chancellorsville. A dying private is immortalized by Walt Whitman. Separated by the war, a husband and wife agonize when their children contract a deadly disease. A veteran claiming he was blinded by campfire smoke is at the center of one of the largest pension scandals of the postwar era. An officer survives a hair-raising escape after capture at Gettysburg, only to die in the Atlanta campaign. A young volunteer retreats into insanity.

Though they did most of the fighting and dying in the American Civil War, ‘ordinary’ soldiers largely went unheralded in their day and have long since been forgotten. In War's Relentless Hand Mark H. Dunkelman retrieves twelve of these common soldiers from obscurity and presents intimate accounts of their harrowing, heartbreaking, and occasionally humorous experiences. Their stories, in their historical detail yet as dramatic as the most powerful fiction, put a human face on the terrible ordeal of a country at war with itself.

These were soldiers from the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry, a regiment that Dunkelman has studied for forty years. He weaves a portrait of each man – portraits that reveal how, even for the common soldier, war was a cataclysmic event forever marking his life and the lives of those around him. Through an array of primary sources, Dunkelman reconstructs the lives and legacies of soldiers who died on the battlefield and others who later died of war-related injuries, some who were permanently disabled and others who saw their families undergo trauma.

Recalling a lost world, War's Relentless Hand tells of the resilience, perseverance, and loyalty that distinguished these men, the families and communities that supported them, and the faith and character that sustained them. The soldiers (and occasionally their loved ones) are often quoted in the tales. Portraits of nine of the soldiers illustrate their respective chapters, allowing readers to put faces to their tales. Two of them are pictured with their wives, who figure prominently in their stories. Dunkelman says that when the time came to place the tales in order, alphabetically by surname proved to be an ideal sequence.

Mark Dunkelman has done it again – produced another truly outstanding book that transcends the narrow confines of a single regiment or a handful of soldiers to speak eloquently of the meaning and impact of the Civil War in the lives of ordinary Americans. This is one of the best Civil War books I've ever read. – Steven E. Woodworth, author of Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865

Dunkelman, long a fan and student of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry, recounts the stories of 12 of its members, using, besides sparse official records, letters, diaries, and other primary sources, many graciously lent by descendants. Each man's story is different, and the war marked each man permanently. … Dunkelman's excellent storytelling and characterizations make this, his fourth book about the 154th, attractive to military buffs and general readers alike. – Frieda Murray, Booklist

The stories in War's Relentless Hand are memorable, vivid, and gripping in personality or plot line and they are supported by ample documentation – there is no fictionalization in this book. As the tales reveal, the soldiers – and their families – faced no shortage of troubles and traumas – readers come away feeling close to these men. If ordinary soldiers are remembered, it is usually by their families. For these few, Dunkelman does more.

History / Military / Europe / Biographies & Memoirs

The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801-1805 by Frederick W. Kagan (Napoleon and Europe Series: Da Capo Press)

What is the relationship among domestic politics, international relations, and war? What role do individuals and their personalities play in driving the course of events? How do states come together in coalitions? What makes those alliances strong or weak? What makes them succeed or fail? How important are the ‘great men’ of history compared to their numberless subjects, fellow-citizens, and subordinates? How can there be so little correlation between militant victory and ultimate political success? These questions, so important in the world today, belong at the heart of the study of the Napoleonic Wars, which offer so many valuable insights into them…. – from the introduction

Perhaps no person in history has dominated his own era as much as Napoleon. The Napoleonic wars are of the best-known stories of the modern world. Even so, how much of what we think we know of the politics and the times is accurate?

Despite his small physical stature, the shadow of Napoleon is cast like a colossus, compelling all who would look at that epoch to chart their course by reference to him. For this reason, most historical accounts of the Napoleonic era – and there are many – tell the same Napoleon-dominated story over and over again, or focus narrowly on special aspects of it.

Frederick Kagan, distinguished historian and military policy expert, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has tapped unused archival materials from Austria, Prussia, France, and Russia. Kagan presents the history of these crucial years from the perspective of all of the major players of Europe, including Tsar Alexander I of Russia, King Frederick William III of Prussia, and Austria's Emperor Francis, as well as countless others engaged in the great events of the era. The End of the Old Order brings to the fore the rulers, ministers, citizens, and subjects of Europe in all of their political and military maneuvering – from the desk of the prime minister to the pen of the ambassador, from the map of the general to the rifle of the soldier.

From this leading scholar of history and military policy, The End of the Old Order is a monumental account and brilliant new analysis of the Napoleonic era in Europe and the revealing interaction of continental politics and war shaping our modern world. With clear and lively prose, Kagan guides readers deftly through the intriguing and complex web of international politics and war.

The End of the Old Order is the first volume in a new and comprehensive four-volume study of Napoleon and Europe. Each volume in the series will surprise readers with a dramatically different tapestry of early nineteenth-century personalities and events and will revise fundamentally our ages-old understanding of the wars that created modern Europe.

History / Military / U.S. / Biographies & Memoirs

Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward 57 by Michael Weisskopf (Henry Holt and Co.)

Who would marry a guy with no legs? How am I going to get a job with one hand? What are my buddies in Iraq going to do without me? How am I going to defend myself in a tough neighborhood? Who is going to help me when I live alone and fall out of my wheelchair? How am I going to carry my baby with no hands?

Time magazine senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf was riding through Baghdad in the back of U.S. Army Humvee, an embedded reporter alongside soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, when he heard a metallic thunk. Looking down, he saw a small, dark object rolling inches from his feet. He reached down and took it in his hand. Then everything went black.

Weisskopf lost his hand and was sent for treatment to Ward 57 at Walter Reed Medical Center, the wing of the armed forces hospital reserved for amputees. There he crossed paths with Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez, and Bobby Isaacs, three soldiers whose stories he learned during months in the ward. Alongside these men, Weisskopf navigated the bewildering process of recovery and reentry, and began reconciling life before that day in Baghdad with everything that would follow his release.
Blood Brothers is the story of this difficult passage – for Weisskopf, Damon, Rodriguez, Isaacs, and hundreds of others – a story that began with healthy men heading off to a war zone, and continued through the months in Ward 57 as they prepared their minds and bodies for a different life than the one they left.

Walter Reed had tripled its staff of psychiatrists to deal with problems like Weisskopf’s, baggage from the war. The service was headed by psychologist Hal Wain, a thirty-year veteran of the hospital who urged his staff to watch The Best Years of Our Lives as a training tool. The 1940s film on the wrenching homecoming of World War II servicemen, including one who had lost both hands, deepened Wain's understanding of the feelings of futility and self-doubt that every amputee faced. The therapist's job was to stop such negative thinking. The quicker his patients realized they could resume normal lives, the quicker they would adapt and move on.

But, according to Weisskopf in Blood Brothers, it was hard to leave the past behind, to stop replaying the moment that had forever rearranged their lives. The flashbacks were obsessive, a constant rewinding of the tape to alter the outcome. They lived in a world of ‘if only's’ – if only he had missed the call for a patrol, or ridden in another Humvee, or released the grenade a few seconds earlier, none of this would have happened and he would still have his right hand. Sergeant Pete Damon asked himself over and over how different things might have been if he had known about safety problems with the equipment he used to inflate the helicopter tire that exploded and severed his arms.

… This thoroughly distinguished addition to the literature on the Iraq War adds further distinction to Weisskopf's career, which he plans to continue to the best of his remaining abilities. – Roland Green, Booklist
This book is a modern masterpiece. The spirit, wit, and searing honesty that have marked Michael Weisskopf’s life and career as a world-class correspondent shine through on every page as we follow his passage among the amputees of Ward 57. Blood Brothers is an unforgettable account of what happened, physically and emotionally, to Weisskopf and these men after the war. – David Maraniss, author of They Marched into Sunlight

Blood Brothers is unsparing, unsentimental, and unflinching, a story of pain but also a tale of redemptive courage. Michael Weisskopf has written a book unlike any other to emerge from the long war in Iraq. Read it and weep. – Rick Atkinson, Author of In the Company of Soldiers and An Army at Dawn

This is a real war story. It is not about victory or defeat, or the heroism of men in combat, it is about loss and pain and learning to live with a body terribly maimed. The story of Time correspondent Michael Weisskopf's grave injury and survival parallels the experience of many soldiers: He went to Iraq with a specific short-term task, and came home with his body and his life permanently altered. Like the fine writer he is, Weisskopf understands that parallel, which is what makes Blood Brothers something much more than a story of injury and survival. – Mark Bowden, author of Guests of the Ayatollah and Black Hawk Down

Walter Reed's Ward 57 is often in the news, but always viewed from the outside in. Blood Brothers gets it right because its author actually shared in the torments of the amputee warriors he befriended during his stay. Weisskopf's story is theirs, with the unyielding pain, the acute sense of loss, and the deep need to recover – a personal narrative that makes that loss bearable. – Garry Trudeau

Blood Brothers is a powerful and inspirational account of eighteen months in the lives of three soldiers and a journalist, all patients in Ward 57, Walter Reed’s amputee wing.

A chronicle of devastation and recovery, this is a deeply affecting portrait of the private aftermath of combat casualties. Readers with a low tolerance for inspirational stories will still find plenty of technical and medical details of one tragic, little-publicized consequence of the Iraq war.

History / World / Africa / Biographies & Memoirs / Social Sciences

Mandela: The Authorized Portrait by PQ Publishers Ltd., with an introduction by Desmond Tutu, with a foreword by Bill Clinton (Andrews McMeel)

Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another ... The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. – Nelson Mandela

The moment for which I had waited so long came and I folded my ballot paper and cast my vote. Wow! I shouted yippee! It was giddy stuff. It was like falling in love. The sky looked blue and more beautiful. I saw the people in a new light. They were beautiful, they were transfigured. I too was transfigured. It was dreamlike. – Nelson Mandela

Named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has dedicated his life to fighting racism, segregation, oppression, and exploitation – and championing democracy, equality, and education.

On February 11, 1990, this dignified elderly man walked out of prison, hand-in-hand hand with the wife from whom he had been forced to live apart for nearly three decades, and into history. It is a date and an image the world will never forget: The day Nelson Mandela was freed.

From that day on, Nelson Mandela, with immense courage and personal moral authority, moved out of the shadows of his prison cell to stand as a beacon of hope, first to a bitterly divided nation and then to the whole world. Mandela celebrates the courage, determination, and remarkable humanity of a great man, and chronicles his contribution to mankind. Personally authorized by Mandela, this is the most intimate and complete portrait of his life ever produced. Much of the story in Mandela is told by those whose lives he has touched. Drawing on 60 original and extensive interviews with family members, close friends, colleagues, and many of the world's leading figures in politics and entertainment, Mandela tells the story of the man – from his birth and early childhood in rural South Africa and his involvement with and eventual leadership of the African National Congress through his 27-year imprisonment and eventual emergence as one of the world's notable leaders and most active agents for change.

This richly designed portrait features a foreword by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and an introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is illustrated with 250 images and features material taken from private collections as well as the Nelson Mandela Foundation archive – some of it published here for the first time. Mandela features artifacts and facsimiles of Mandela's voluminous writings and correspondence – written records of his negotiations with the prison authorities, intimate letters to his family and friends during his imprisonment, and material from Mandela's personal diaries and calendars.

Mandela was created by a team of award-winning writers, photographers, and researchers in collaboration with Mandela's closest living comrades from Robben Island, Mac Maharaj and Ahmed Kathrada. Among the narrative contributors are biographer Mike Nichol and three interviewers personally selected by Mandela: Ros Coward, Professor Tim Couzens, and Amina Frense. Contributors include Muhammad Ali, Kofi Annan, Ind Attenborough, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bono, Nadine Gordimer, and Sir Sidney Peltier, among many others. A full narrative biography from Mandela's childhood to the present, as well as an extensive conversation with Mandela is included as well.

What makes his story so special is that he's a real human being. He laughs, he cries, he gets mad. He's got real life. He cares deeply about his family and friends. His common touch and common sense make his greatness and his infectious optimism in the face of all that has happened to him all the more remarkable. – Former President Bill Clinton

Our children and future generations need to understand that Mandela is not just another person learned about in history books. They need to know that his actions, his perseverance, his courage changed the course of an entire nation. He boldly, and quite literally, changed history. He is living proof that one person has the power to effect positive change in our world. – World heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali

… Most moving are the accounts by Mandela's fellow prisoners on Robben Island, the photos of them breaking stones in the limestone quarry, the brutal street confrontations between police and demonstrators. … With all the praise, there are close-up accounts of sorrow and anger, including his breakup with his second wife, Winnie, his guilt about the suffering of his children, his activism on the prevention of AIDS. There's laughter, too, especially about his fashion sense. No one will read all the tributes, but the famous names and incredible photos will grab browsers, who will go on to read the stirring history by those who were there. – Hazel Rochman, Booklist (starred review)
A remarkable book of photographs and text. . . the world’s coffee tables are about to get very fortunate. – The Kansas City Star
It is an awesome book. – Green Bay Press-Gazette

As told through the words of those closest to him, Mandela is exceptional. From the foreword to the introduction, through the sixty original and extensive interviews, 250 images, and material derived from private collections as well as the archives, readers come away with a knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Nelson Mandela as never before. Mandela is one of the most lavishly illustrated and comprehensive tributes to Mandela's life and work ever produced. It provides an indication of the personal and lasting impression he has made on those around him, and around the world, an inspiration and a tribute to one of the most significant leaders of our time.

Home & Garden / Arts & Crafts

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters: Give Your Knitting that Professional Look by Sharon Brant (Trafalgar Square)

An otherwise finely crafted piece of hand knitting is often spoiled by the finishing details.

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters provides expert tips and tried-and-tested shortcuts for beautifully finished hand knits. The book is a selection of the Crafter’s Choice Book Club.

With this book, readers can learn the shortcuts – and even more important – where not to cut corners. Starting with reading patterns and instructions, Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters explains the different ways of casting on and off and the importance of shaping and sizing. It shows how to sew a variety of seams, provides methods for each type of stitch, and explains how to create perfect buttonholes, button bands, and necklines. Finally, a section on decorative detail shows readers how to add beads and other embellishments, while the troubleshooting pages tackle those annoying problems that occur when things have gone wrong. The book features six projects for knitters of all skill levels and techniques explained in detail with step-by-step color photos.

The contents include:

  • The Basics
  • Getting Started
  • Garment Assembly
  • Alterations to Finished Garments
  • Embellishments
  • Patterns
  • Technical
  • Abbreviations/Rowan Yarns
  • Index

The book was written by Sharon Brant who spent ten years as a Design Consultant before she became Retail Manager for Rowan Yarns, and who often teaches workshops and provides technical support for up-and-coming designers. Brant says she created Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters in response to people who attended her workshops and asked if the tips and techniques could be written down for them.

Brant shows readers the things they need to consider before they even cast on the first stitch, what to do while actually knitting the garment and the techniques to put the garment together. In the final chapter, she offers simple and effective embellishments that will enhance knitted garments and make them individual.

The book gives readers the help they need to achieve their knitting goals. It shows readers how to give a professional finish to their work, so that once they have completed a sweater, they will be proud to walk down the street in it, rather than folding it up and storing it in the back of the closet. Whether readers are students learning how to cast on their first stitches or expert knitters who simply wants to improve their skills, Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters is an invaluable addition to knitters’ libraries.

Law / Politics / Human Rights / Reference

Mental Disability and the European Convention on Human Rights by Peter Bartlett, Oliver Lewis, Oliver Thorold (International Studies in Human Rights Series: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Brill)

Mental disability has come of age as a subject of concern under the European Convention on Human Rights. It was only in 1979 that the first significant decision of the ECHR was decided on the subject, and after that, cases were relatively few for many years. Only recently has this begun to change. Mental Disability and the European Convention on Human Rights provides an account of where the law currently stands and speculation as to how it may develop. The initial chapters deal with substantive aspects of Convention rights including issues of detention in institutions, conditions within institutions, medical treatment, problems associated with guardianship and others. The final two chapters move on to discuss the practicalities of litigation. The book concludes with a number of appendices: primary international legal materials, of relevance to mental disability rights under the ECHR, and the relevant recommendations and principles from the Council of Europe).

The book was written by Peter Bartlett, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Professor of Mental Health Law in the School of Law at the University of Nottingham, board member of the Mental Disability Advocacy Center in Budapest, and a member of the bar of Ontario; Oliver Lewis, Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Center in Budapest, teacher of mental disabil­ity law and advocacy at the Central European University, Budapest, and a fellow of its Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine; and Oliver Thorold, recently retired from full-time private practice at the English Bar.

According to the authors of Mental Disability and the European Convention on Human Rights, since the 1979 judgment laying down the three essential requirements for the lawful detention of persons of ‘unsound mind’ under Article 5 of the Convention, there has been an almost complete dearth of judicial decisions. This gap is a reflection not of adequate safeguarding of the rights of those with mental disabilities but rather of the acute practical and legal difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of persons in asserting those rights and in bringing claims before both the domestic courts and the European Court.

The past few years have witnessed a change, the Strasbourg Court receiving, if not a flood, at least a steady flow, of applications from those with a mental disability, mainly related to the lawfulness and conditions of detention in psychiatric and other institutions. The increase in the Court's case load has spawned a corresponding increase in academic writings on the topic of mental health and the Convention.

The advances made in recent years in the protection of persons with a wide diversity of disabilities and with widely differing needs are acknowledged by the authors. But the examination of the Court's case law is by no means uncritical. The authors identify a number of areas in which in their view the protection afforded by the Court has, as yet, proved deficient: an over-cautious incremental approach, in which cases have been decided on the narrowest basis, leaving unresolved issues of general importance; the over-strict interpretation given to the concept of ‘victim’ and the consequent restriction on effective access to the Strasbourg Court by those not capable of lodging complaints on their own behalf; and the excessively broad margin of appreciation granted to national authorities, both in the determination of what constitutes unsoundness of mind justifying detention and in deciding on the necessity for the continued detention of those suffering from mental disability.

Meriting careful study are those parts of Mental Disability and the European Convention on Human Rights dealing with institutional standards and controls, highlighting with reference to the reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture the often lamentable conditions of detention and treatment in psychiatric hospitals and similar facilities, as well as the reluctance of States and domestic courts effectively to apply Convention standards and to implement judgments of the Strasbourg Court.

While concentrating on what might be described as the classic Convention rights of liberty, freedom from abuse and procedural protection, the book also ventures into the relatively uncharted territory of rights of persons with mental disabilities in broader civic society. The authors address the issue of the barriers to full integration in the community. They also consider the use which might be made of the Convention in furthering such participation and in better fostering the rights of those with disabilities to education, to work, to vote, and to marry and found a family.

The human rights of people with mental disabilities are too often forgotten or even ignored. This book will become an essential resource when these human rights issue now, at long last, will be raised. – Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe

The authors do an excellent job of identifying key human rights issues regarding people with mental disabilities and at revealing how particular Convention articles are, or could be, used to address those issues. Practitioners and academics working in this area, or considering future involvement, will find this book indispensable. – Lisa Waddington, European Disability Forum Chair, Maastricht University

An excellent combination of academic objectivity, scholarly impartiality and passionate commitment for the cause of our fellow citizens with mental disabilities! – Károly Bard, Chair of the Human Rights' Program, Central European University, L. Budapest

This excellent publication is an essential companion to the burgeoning jurisprudence on the human rights of people with mental disabilities under the European Convention. – Paul Hunt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health

Until now comprehensive and systematic treatment of the subject has been lacking – Mental Disability and the European Convention on Human Rights admirably fills the gap. Written by authors with an unrivalled knowledge of the subject, the book provides a clear, readable and authoritative analysis of the Convention provisions of particular relevance to those suffering from mental disability and of the Court's developing case law, focusing on the key areas of detention, treatment and guardianship. In addition, it contains a valuable summary of the practice and procedures of the Strasbourg Court, as well as addressing the special and complex problems faced by lawyers representing persons with mental disabilities. The book is essential reading for judges and practitioners, as well as for others concerned with the rights of a large and often ignored segment of society.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Capital Crimes [ABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK] (5 Audio CDs, running time 6 hours) by Jonathan Kellerman & Faye Kellerman, narrated by John Rubinstein (Random House Audio)

Capital Crimes by Jonathan Kellerman & Faye Kellerman (Ballantine Books)

Internationally bestselling novelists each in their own right, husband and wife Jonathan and Faye Kellerman team up for a one-two punch with Capital Crimes, a pair of crime novellas set in two cities rich in atmosphere. The stories feature appearances by the authors’ signature heroes: LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker and psychologist sleuth Dr. Alex Delaware.

In My Sister’s Keeper: Berkeley by Faye Kellerman, progressive state representative Davida Grayson fits in well with her Berkeley constituents. But some of Davida’s views have made her unpopular elsewhere. Davida’s foes are numerous: politicians on the other side of the aisle, racist hatemongers, even dissenters in her own party. Still, no one suspects that any buttons Davida might push could evoke deadly force.

But now Davida lies brutally murdered in her office, and Berkeley homicide detectives Will Barnes and Amanda Isis must unravel Davida’s complex, surprising life in order to find her killer. As they dig deeper, Will and Amanda realize that the real Davida Grayson was someone the public never knew. The investigation draws the detectives into a labyrinth of hidden sexuality, dark secrets, betrayal, and bloody vengeance that leads tortuously into madness. With time short and the suspect list long, they must find the answers before the killer pulls off a repeat performance.

In Music City Breakdown: Nashville by Jonathan Kellerman, Baker Southerby, the son of musicians, was a child prodigy performer. But something Baker won’t talk about leads him to quit the honky-tonk circuit, become a Nashville cop, and never look back. His partner, Lamar Van Gundy, is a would-be studio bassist from up North who never quite made the cut in Music City, so instead earned himself a detective’s badge. Now both men are members of Nashville PD’s elite Murder Squad, with a solid record for solves. But when they catch a homicide that’s high profile even for a city where musical celebrity is routine, their skills are tested: Jack Jeffries, a rock legend who cast aside personal demons and emerged from retirement to perform at a charity benefit, has been discovered in a ditch near the Cumberland River, his throat slashed.

It’s a whodunit as heartbreaking as it is baffling. Southerby and Van Gundy understand the rhythms of the music biz as intimately as the streets they work – and know that both have their dark sides. What the detectives don’t realize is just how high the price of success can be. Long before the last notes of Jack Jeffries’s final song have faded, Southerby and Van Gundy will learn about the dangers of concealing a hidden past . . . the hard way.

The second collaboration by bestsellers Jonathan and Faye Kellerman (after Double Homicide) offers two thin novellas that dedicated fans will most appreciate. … – Publishers Weekly  

Suspense masters, the Kellermans, team up for the second time with a gripping pair of original crime thrillers. Capital Crimes is psychologically resonant suspense – just what we’ve come to expect from two of the world’s most successful crime writers. The audio version is read by John Rubinstein, Broadway and TV actor.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Hollywood Station: A Novel by Joseph Wambaugh (Little Brown & Company)
Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers

Hollywood Station: A Novel by Joseph Wambaugh [AUDIOBOOK, UNABRIDGED, 10 CDs, approximate running time, 12 hours] (Hachette Audio)

The grand master of the police story returns with Hollywood Station to the one and only LAPD in a gripping new novel about life in the country’s most sensational police force. Author Joseph Wambaugh, named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2004, is a former LAPD detective sergeant and the bestselling author of sixteen prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field.

For a cop, a night on the job means killing time and trying not to get killed. From their headquarters at Hollywood Station, cops see the glamour city for what it is: a field of land mines, where the mundane is dangerous and the dangerous is mundane.

In Hollywood Station, they call their sergeant the ‘Oracle’. He's a seasoned LAPD veteran who keeps a close watch over his squad from his understaffed office at Hollywood Station. They are: Budgie Polk, a 27-year-old firecracker who's begrudgingly teamed with Fausto Gamboa, the oldest, tetchiest patrol officer. Andi McCrea, a single mom who studies at the local community college and Hollywood Nate is the one who never shuts up about movies. Wesley Drubb, a USC drop-out who joined the force to see some action. Flotsam and Jetsam, two aptly named surfer boys who pine after the petite, but intrepid, Meg Takara. And Hank Driscoll, the one who never shuts up. Together they spend their days and nights in the city's underbelly, where a string of seemingly unrelated events lures the cops of Hollywood Station to their most startling case yet: Russians, diamonds, counterfeiting, grenades, a reminder that nothing's too horrific or twisted for Los Angeles. In Hollywood Station, it's business as usual.

… With an impressive array of police characters, …Wambaugh creates a realistic microcosm of the modern-day LAPD. Today's crop of crime writers, including Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos, obviously owe a debt to Wambaugh. The master proves that he can still deliver. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
… It is a triumphant return. Not only does Wambaugh give readers his usual feast of black humor, as well as deliver another cast of edgy LAPD cops and wacko denizens of the street, but he also portrays how life for L.A. cops has changed in the last 20 years. … High-voltage suspense drives the tale, and as always, Wambaugh's characters, language, and war stories exude authenticity. Terrific. – Connie Fletcher, Booklist (starred review)

I have been waiting a long time for this book, and two pages in I knew it was worth every minute, month and year. Hollywood Station sets the standard once again. A story of cops working the street at the same time the streets are working the cops, it’s full of the grit, humor, and truth that make it impossible to put down. – Michael Connelly

Joseph Wambaugh invented the modern police novel, and Hollywood Station is classic Wambaugh: brilliant characterization, impeccable plotting, stunning sense of place, and that special brand of irreverent, mordant humor for which Wambaugh holds the patent. This is the master at his best. – Jonathan Kellerman

At long last a new novel by Joseph Wambaugh. Bravo. – Ray Bradbury

Hollywood Station is a killer. Joseph Wambaugh set the standard with The Choirboys and The New Centurions, and now he does so again. No other writer illuminates the heart beneath the badge better or more honestly than Joseph Wamhaugh. Hollywood Station will make you laugh, cry, and keep turning pages. The master is back! – Robert Crais

Joseph Wambaugh's many admirers will relish every wry and true-to-life scene of Hollywood Station, the latest entry in what will certainly be a lasting body of work. Welcome back, Mr. Wambaugh, and thanks for showing us, once again, how it’s done. – George Pelecanos

In his long-awaited return to the Los Angeles Police Department, in Hollywood Station Wambaugh deploys his bone-deep understanding of cops' lives – and his lethal sense of humor – on a raucous ride through the streets of Hollywood, where no one is safe from the gritty city. Not only have his fans been waiting for this comeback, but readers of the new generation of crime writing will have great interest in this book. The audio version is read by Adam Grupper, Broadway, film and television actor.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille (Warner Books)

With over 50 million books in print, Vietnam-veteran Nelson DeMille is one of the bestselling authors of our time. In his eagerly awaited new novel, Wild Fire, DeMille brings back the popular John Corey, the former NYPD Detective of Plum Island, The Lion's Game, and Night Fall. Wild Fire concerns an all-too-plausible conspiracy to detonate nuclear bombs in two American cities. DeMille picks up where he left off in Night Fall with Corey still on the job working to stop terrorism against America. Welcome to the Custer Hill Club – an exclusive men's club set in a luxurious Adirondack hunting lodge whose members include some of America's most powerful business leaders, military men, and government officials. Ostensibly, the club is a place to relax and talk off the record with old friends. But one fall weekend the Executive Board of the club gathers to talk about the tragedy of 9/11 and to finalize a retaliation plan.

That same weekend, the body of a member of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force is discovered in the woods near the Custer Hill Club's game reserve. The death is ruled a hunting accident by the local authorities, but Detective Corey has his doubts. As he digs deeper, he begins to unearth the Custer Hill Club's top-secret plan known only by its code name: WILD FIRE.

Racing against the clock, Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, in Wild Fire find they are the only people in a position to stop the button from being pushed and global chaos from being unleashed.

John Corey, the ex-NYPD detective who now works on a government anti-terrorism task force, returns in this exciting and uncomfortably realistic thriller. Bain Madox, a brilliant and probably insane villain, has hatched a fiendishly clever plot to force the U.S. to launch an all-out nuclear attack against the entire Islamic world. …And although Operation Wild Fire, the American nuclear retaliatory strategy that Madox hopes to jumpstart, is fictional, DeMille makes us believe that something very like it could and possibly does exist. – David Pitt, Booklist
Bestseller DeMille's can't-put-it-down fourth thriller to feature ex-NYPD detective John Corey... This tour de force of relentless narrative power neither stops nor slows for twists or turns, but charges straight ahead in the face of danger. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This book is fast-paced and thrilling... An excellent read for a multitude of reasons. Highly recommended. – Library Journal

100 mph fiction... A book with a dreadful and compelling idea, and it makes one wonder if Uncle Sam does have a ‘Wild Fire’ plan. – Liz Smith

A terrifying and suspenseful novel, Wild Fire ‘is a scary book for scary times;’ writes DeMille in an author's note, ‘but it's also a cautionary tale for a post-9/11 world.’

More chilling than yesterday's headlines and as prophetic as tomorrow's, Wild Fire challenges readers to question everything they thought they knew about their leaders and their country and thrills them with suspense that builds with every page.

Reference / Foreign Languages / Linguistics

Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting edited by Anthony Pym, Miriam Shlesinger & Zuzana Jettmarová (Benjamins Translation Library Series: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Translation Studies has recently been searching for connections with Cultural Studies and Sociology. Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting edited by Anthony Pym, Director of Postgraduate Programs in Translation and Localization, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Spain; Miriam Shlesinger, Bar-Ilan University; and Zuzana Jettmarová, Charles University; brings together a range of ways in which the disciplines can be related, particularly with respect to research methodologies. The key aspects covered are the agents behind translation, the social histories revealed by translations, the perceived roles and values of translators in social contexts, the hidden power relations structuring publication contexts, and the need to review basic concepts of the way social and cultural systems work. Special importance is placed on Community Interpreting as a field of social complexity, the lessons of which can be applied in many other areas. Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting studies translators and interpreters working in a wide range of contexts, ranging from censorship in East Germany to English translations in Gujarat. Major contributions are made by Agnes Whitfield, Daniel Gagnon, Franz Pochhacker, Michaela Wolf, Pekka Kujamaki and Rita Kothari, with an extensive introduction on methodology by Anthony Pym.

Contents of the book include:

  1. Agents behind translation
  2. Social histories
  3. Perceived roles and values
  4. Interaction of inner and outer contexts
  5. Power relations disclosed
  6. Power distribution and cooperation
  7. Constructing systems

The Institute of Translation Studies, Charles University, Prague, organized its 10th International Conference on Translation and Interpreting in September 11–13, 2003 under the name of ‘Translation Targets’: The papers in Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting are a selection from those presented at the conference. The selection has been made so as to focuses on social and cultural approaches, which emerged as a key area both in the course of the conference and in subsequent developments within Translation Studies.

The editors sought to underscore the importance of addressing both written translation and interpreting in this regard; some of the most striking developments in this field have taken place with respect to what is known as ‘community interpreting’ or ‘public-service interpreting’. The editors include papers on the role of interpreters in heath services, immigration detention centers, and asylum hearings, for example, where contextual power relations are often more important than the mere rendering of texts. In placing those studies side by side with papers on more traditional areas, the editors hope that the same questions can be asked across the board. For instance, if power asymmetries create ethical problems in asylum hearings, could they not also be factors in literary translation? Of course, such questions can also be asked in the reverse direction. For example, if cooperation and consensus can be found among the social agents involved in literary translation, can those concepts not also be applied to public-service interpreting? The answers to such questions might ultimately be negative. Yet Translation Studies should at least allow the questions to be asked.

According Anthony Pym, Intercultural Studies Group, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, and author of the introduction, for some years, as Franz Pöchhacker observes in his article in Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting, much of the research on interpreting has been ‘going social’ (having previously ‘gone psycho’). There is, one suspects, a general tendency at work, of some breadth and depth. And in this book, the editors try to see what that tendency might be, using the papers in this volume as a rigorously non-random sample. Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting answers many questions by looking at the studies in this volume, asking how they relate the observational and explanatory moments.

Stella Linn observes the translation flows between Dutch and Spanish, which are more or less hard numbers: how many texts of what kind were translated when. Her proposed explanations then concern the roles of individual translators, publishers, government policies, gaps in the target market, intercultural events like book fairs, and indeed the ideological modernization of Catholicism (to explain the translations of theological texts from Dutch). Those explanatory factors would ideally be the multiple causes of the actual translation flows. In Linn's paper and virtually throughout, there is little question of reducing those many possible causes to just one dominant factor, or suggesting that they all fit into just one large system. This sociocultural approach is profoundly multifactorial.

Pekka Kujamaki adopts a somewhat narrower mode of explanation. Observing the literary reception of Finnish literature in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Kujamaki seeks explanatory variables in the role of just two intermediaries, Johannes and Rita Ohquist. Drawing on exchanges of letters, the analysis is able to demonstrate the particular influence that individuals can have on the relative openness and closedness of one literature to another. This case study also shows how the ideological context of the times influenced the two mediators, moving Johannes Ohquist to produce ‘typically Finnish’ pseudo-translations in German and Rita Ohquist to self-censor apparently decadent elements in her translations from Finnish, as both mediators increasingly adopted the ideological norms of the Führer's Reich.

Gaby Thomson-Wohlgemuth similarly draws on archival material, looking at the censorship files by which East German officials sought to control the translation of children's literature from English. In this peek behind the scenes of a wholly planned publishing industry, readers find not only the actual paperwork by which texts were assessed for censorship purposes, but also the pertinent eco­nomic details of the literary exchanges involved.

Maria Goreti Monteiro observes that an eighteenth-century Portuguese translation of Robinson Crusoe omitted considerable material, notably the parts where Robinson explains to Friday what is wrong with the Catholic religion. Explanation is sought in the biography of the individual translator Henrique Leitao, who had problematic relations with the Inquisition and thus engaged in self-censorship. By omitting the most contentious passages, the translator probably saved his own skin.

Rodica Dimitriu shows readers a series of further Robinson Crusoes, this time in Romania, where the text has spawned a multitude of translations and rewritings. Here the analyst observes the versions and seeks explanations in the apparent social reasons motivating their appearance: the translations were educational at first, then entertaining, subsequently a means of introducing the genre of the adventure novel, a complex novel in itself, and an economic parable in support of Communism. Readers are finally introduced to an imitative Robinsonade in which the hero is stranded not on a desert island but in a secluded village in Wallachia (part of Romania), confirming the rural traditions of the target culture. Each new version seems to bring with it its own special cause, building up a complex image of the target culture over history.

Gabriel Louis Moyal considers some of the factors motivating translations from English in early nineteenth-century France. Here the observation would be of attitudes to translations, particularly their appearance in the journals of the day. Explanation is sought in the expressed opinions of translators, writers, critics and journalists, all engaging in intercultural debate. In the end, for Moyal, the ultimate explanation of reprehensible translations is commerce, whereas the ultimate explanation of debates about translation remains politics.

Agnes Whitfield observes Hugh MacLennan's literary work Two Solitudes not as an expression of the two sides of Canadian bilingual identity, but as the object of very different receptions by Quebecois letters. Whitfield insists that there are not just two sides involved. The original novel was already a translative text, an English representation of francophone Quebec society, published in New York and aimed as much at the American as the Canadian public. Its French translation should thus take readers back to a Quebecois ‘original’, except that it was published in France, according to French linguistic norms, at a time when European French as well as English were seen in Quebec as instruments of cultural domination.

Daniel Gagnon writes in Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting in the first person as an author and self-translator working in the intercultural context of Canada/Quebec. Identifying his position within the social context of writers who are expatriates, exiles, or authors of multi-lingual texts, he compares his own work with that of Nancy Huston, another Canadian self-translator working between English and French. Gagnon observes that self-translation allows more liberties than does the translation of another's work. In fact, in both cases the translations into French won prizes as original works. Self-translation would thus raise many problems with standard notions about translation as passive representation; it might even question Moyal's critical insistence on ‘minimal norms’.

Rita Kothari observes that in India, specifically in the state of Gujarat, attitudes toward translation into English have become increasingly favorable. Although translations were previously seen as an index of cultural inequality, different social agents now view them in positive terms. Official policy sees translation into English as a way of projecting Gujarati culture beyond its borders; a wide range of expatriates use those translations as a means of keeping in touch with ‘home’; educational institutions use translation as a way of opening new subject areas in literary studies; publishers use it as a means of tapping new markets.

The explanatory model in Kothari’s work is one of different stakeholders reaching consensus, as Pym discusses in the introduction to Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting. Indeed, Kothari's explanatory model becomes stronger the more social groups are brought into consideration, since social causation here is founded on consensus between otherwise competing groups. Not all the stakeholders are located within the one society. What happens in Gujarat with respect to translation is to some extent dependent on what happens not just in the rest of India (positive attitudes to English seem to be found across the board) but also among Gujarati expatriate communities and, in changing international ideas about the nature of English literature itself, now a postcolonial field. 

Michaela Wolf sets out to look at women in German-speaking countries working for women publishers or women's book series. She surveys the opinions of translators and publishers, revealing the relative freedom that various editorial policies allow the translators with respect to visibility and such things as the use of inclusive language. Wolf finds a relatively close social network where women translators not only attain some visibility and feel able to be creative in their strategies, but they also tend to accept low payment because of engagement with feminist causes.

Ieva Zauberga observes recent changes in the strategies used for the rendition of foreign proper nouns in Latvian. Traditionally, Jacques Chirac would be written as Zaks Siraks, whereas the new tendency is to allow him his French spelling. This is seen as a challenge to Latvian cultural orthodoxy, associated with linguistic purism and implicitly with stable national identity. The change is to be explained as a challenge to the national level, in terms of something that is happening to Latvian society as a whole. Causation is, naturally enough, attributed to economic globalization, bringing increased trade, travel and access to information. The new transcription strategy is needed so that Latvians can recognize foreign terms when they are abroad, or when they use search engines on the Internet, and so on. However, that level of explanation is itself cultural in essence: the new renditions are needed because of new cultural practices that extend well beyond national bound­aries.

Franz Pöchhacker gives a wide-ranging presentation of how the main ideas of Interpreting Studies have developed in recent decades. Alongside several longstanding paradigms, he finds growing awareness that interpreting involves more than conference interpreting. This shift not only focuses attention on the diverse social contexts in which interpreters work, but also challenges several partis pris with respect to the defense of professional standards. Why has the new frame developed? Pöchhacker only intimates that it might have something to do with a new generation of researchers.

Sonja Pöllabauer in Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting presents a study of interpreting at asylum hearings in Austria. By paying close attention to basic pragmatic features such as face work and footing, she finds that the interpreters tend to cooperate with the interviewing officers but not with asylum seekers. The interpreters thus operate as ‘auxiliary police officers’. This discursive positioning is attributed to the asymmetrical power distribution of the hearing situation, and to the corresponding ‘translation culture’, which in this case favors one-sided loyalty and self-protection rather than absolute communicative transparency.

Nadja Grbic presents a comprehensive empirical study of sign-language interpreters in the region of Styria, in Austria. The study focuses on the professionalization of the sector in terms of academic training, qualifications and the development of an association. The provision of academic training is found to have had considerable impact on the social matrix within which a profession is exercised. Grbic nevertheless asks to what extent the resulting network constitutes a social system, here in a sense where coordinated interaction between members allows them a ‘common construction of reality’.

Guillermo R. Navarro Montesdoca deals with a neighboring field, describing his own experience as an interpreter at an Immigrant Detention center in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. As in Pöllabauer, readers discover a strongly hierarchical situation where communication is marked by power relationships. Here, however, the interpreter places himself well down in the hierarchy, no doubt because he is not employed on a permanent basis and his professional qualifications are not recognized.

Mette Rudvin offers a plethora of ideas on how identities are built and negotiated in interpreter-mediated encounters. Once readers adopt the position that ‘cultural/ethnic identity is made manifest in language’; the floodgates are opened to any number of references concerning culture, language, discourse, text analysis, and repeated confirmation of the point of departure. Health-care services are thus seen not as a social institution in the hard empirical sense but as a cultural system, a set of signifying practices, of which interpreting becomes a part.

Katrien Lannoy and Jan Van Gucht present the findings of a commissioned survey of interpreting and translation services provided to social welfare institutions in Flanders. Service providers and users were observed and quantified through interviews and questionnaires, using classical sociological methods. Readers learn, among much else, that non-professional interpreting plays a considerable role, along with communication strategies other than interpreting. Most encounters involve “use of a common contact language, followed by the use of simplified Dutch and gestures, and then the use of friends and relatives or untrained colleagues as ad hoc interpreters”: Although a surprising number of users are quite content with such non-professional services, one of the key factors is the financial cost of services.

In all these papers, implicitly or explicitly, there is a search for a conceptual frame located somewhere between the whole of society and the linguistic situation, between traditional sociology and close-range cultural analysis. The editors of Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting have formulated the principle of asymmetric causation for a very simple reason. If translations and translators were wholly explained by sociocultural factors, then they themselves would logically be unable to cause any changes in the world.

For the editors, ‘translation culture’ could be a rough synonym for a ‘translation regime’, understood as a set of ‘implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures around which actors' expectations converge’. They borrowed the idea from negotiation theory, from a cultural practice that necessarily takes place on the frontiers of the major social systems. Others appear to be going the same way, on the basis of quite different models and data. The editors would see all these initiatives as leading toward the conceptual terrain of what we have termed ‘professional intercultures’, formed and deployed by the people engaged in cross-cultural communication.

What kind of sociology, if any, might best help us explain translational phenomena? The following is a wish-list concocted from what the editors have found in Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting, and what they would like to find in future research:

  • Sociology should be able to focus on mediators, not just on the social aspects of source texts and target texts.
  • It should resist the simple binarisms that oppose one society (language, culture) to another, with the mediator on one side or the other. It should be able to perceive overlaps and complex positions.
  • It should embrace both cultural factors (usually qualitative) and sociological factors (mostly partly quantitative).
  • It should be able to explain as well as describe.
  • It should seek explanation by moving between the cultural and the sociological, without according absolute explanatory status to either side.
  • It should be able to relate factors in terms of asymmetrical or relatively symmetrical correlations, through hypotheses that model causation or multifactorial conditioning.
  • It should not pay undue allegiance to heroes imported from Sociology (or from any other discipline for that matter).
  • It should be able to work from a plurality of concepts (translation cultures, social systems, regimes, intercultures) appropriate to the social spaces in which intermediaries work.

According to Pym, beyond that, the field is still open to creative research. Much remains to be done before the editors can hope to offer any general explanations of cross-cultural communication. The challenge, however, remains constant; the most problematic relations of today's world are between cultures. To model those problems is the first big step toward solving them. Sociocultural Aspects of Translating and Interpreting takes the first baby step.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference

Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels by Craig A. Evans (IVP Books)

Modern historical study of the Gospels seems to give us a new portrait of Jesus every spring, just in time for Easter. The more idiosyncratic the portrait, the more it departs from the traditional view of Jesus, the more attention it gets in the popular media.

Did Jesus have a child by Mary Magdalene? Was he a Cynic? Or was he a mystic, perhaps, even a Gnostic? Did he fake his death and sneak out of the holy land? Did he escape to Egypt? Did he write letters to the Jewish court and explain that it was all a mistake, that he never claimed to be the Son of God? Did he celebrate the Last Supper with friends – twenty-five years after his crucifixion? Has the grave of Jesus been found? Are there better sources than the New Testament Gospels for the life and teaching of Jesus? Do the Dead Sea Scrolls talk about Jesus? Is there a conspiracy to hide the truth?

In Fabricating Jesus renowned evangelical scholar Craig E. Evans asks: Why are scholars so prone to fabricate Jesus? Why is the public so eager to accept their claims without question? What methods and assumptions predispose scholars to distort the record? Is there a more sober approach to finding the real Jesus?

New Testament expert Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament and director of the graduate program at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and a frequent consultant for television shows regarding the historical Jesus, takes an evenhanded, informed approach to these fascinating and timely questions.

Evans comments on recent releases running the gamut from scholarly treatments like Ban Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus to James Tabor's The Jesus Dynasty, and from popular depictions like Michael Baigent's The Jesus Papers to Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ. The book suggests right use and wrong use of critical methods, including text criticism, cultural studies, Gnostic gospels, and debunks conspiracy theories.

Fabricating Jesus is simply the best and most well informed popular level book ever written on the Gnostic and apocryphal Gospels, as well as on a host of other early traditions that in some way touch on the story of Jesus. – Gerald O'Collins, Professor Emeritus of the Gregorian University (Rome), and author of Jesus Our Redeemer

[Evans] exposes the misguided assumptions and dubious sources that lie behind the wild theories that have plagued the public. – James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Director and Editor of the PTS Dead Sea Scrolls Project; author of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls and The Beloved Disciple  
This book is a necessary exposé of many recent works, taking us from the hype to the historical Jesus. – Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, and author of The Missing Gospels

Fabricating Jesus is a sober perspective on recent controversial books. Evans offers a sane approach to examining the sources for understanding the historical Jesus. The book is intended for professors and students, pastors and thoughtful laypeople.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age

Holy Madness: Spirituality, Crazy-Wise Teachers, and Enlightenment, revised and expanded edition by Georg Feuerstein, with a foreword by Prof. Roger Walsh (Hohm Press)

The spiritual approach known as ‘crazy wisdom’ or ‘holy madness’ is the most radical orientation to enlightenment there is. Few other subjects in the history of religion and spirituality have provoked more controversy. This book elaborates why.

Holy Madness explores the religious phenomenon referred to as crazy wisdom – the purposefully outrageous, convention-destroying behavior of spiritual adepts in every great tradition, from Christian Fools for Christ through the Sufi Path of Blame, to the charismatic leaders of new religions. The author explores the core of the spiritual process through eight critical, in-depth cameos of holy madness in action in the lives of eight contemporaries, including Chgyam Trungpa, Bhagwan Rajneesh and Aleister Crowley. This revised and expanded edition includes a new assessment of the American guru Adi Da (formerly Da Free John) and the psychopathology of blind faith, using the example of Shoko Asahara (founder of Japan's infamous terrorist sect AUM). The author offers guidelines for choosing a wise, enlightened guide or guru, and tips for avoiding the exploitative.

Holy Madness introduces numerous colorful spiritual eccentrics, past and present, famous and infamous. But Georg Feuerstein, author of over 30 books, specialist in the spiritual traditions of India and a practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism, goes beyond the fascinating stories about crazy-wise adepts from Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Judaism, Christianity, and the so-called ‘new religions.’ Like an archaeologist, he exposes the core of the spiritual process, focusing on initiation, discipleship, the path, the nature of enlightenment, the authenticity of teachings and teachers, and not least the narrow line between radical spirituality, mental health, and sound morality.

Explores the arcane and dramatic world of ‘crazy wisdom’ ... peppering his fascinat­ing historical survey of gurus and tricksters with insights from modern psychology and his own experience ... – Kirkus Reviews

A totally absorbing and fascinating piece of work by an author of considerable intellectual caliber. – Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider

Highly recommended reading for spiritual seekers of all persuasions. – Dr. Frances Vaughan, author of The Inward Arc

This is the most comprehensive analysis of the principles of authentic spirituality and of spiritual teachers to date. Simultaneously, this book offers a penetrating critique of our modern civilization with all its pseudo-spirituality and existential shallowness. Holy Madness combines impeccable scholarship with polished writing. Anyone concerned with spirituality, the world religions, or spiritual teachers will find this book reliable in its presentation and insightful in its analysis.

Religion & Spirituality / Mormonism / History / Biographies & Memoirs

Reflections of a Mormon Historian: Leonard J. Arrington on the New Mormon History by Leonard J. Arrington, edited by Reid Larkin Neilson & Ronald W. Walker (The Arthur H. Clark Co.)

Conflict between matters of faith and historical truth has been a conundrum at the heart of doing and telling the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church). Some of the best essays on that topic were written by Leonard J. Arrington, perhaps the best-known member of the group of professionals who founded the New Mormon History of the late twentieth century.

Arrington (1917-1999) rose to prominence during the so-called ‘flowering of Mormon history.’ In a precedent-breaking move, he was made Church Historian in January 1972, the first professional historian to serve in the position. His ideas, as expressed in the essays collected in Reflections of a Mormon Historian, helped to determine how Mormon history was written during the last part of the twentieth century. Arrington sought a middle way between the extremes of defending or attacking faith claims – two forces that drove most nineteenth-century and even much twentieth-century writing on the Mormons. He not only adopted a neutral stance in his writing as LDS Historian, his name became connected inseparably with the New Mormon History because of his personality and the quality of his work.

Supplementing the essays in Reflections of a Mormon Historian are a biographical sketch by historian Ronald W. Walker, a chronology of Arrington's life, and a detailed bibliography of his published works and speeches, prepared by David J. Whitaker. A personal tribute to Arrington is given by his daughter, historian Susan Arrington Madsen.

The editors of the volume are Reid L. Neilson, assistant professor in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University and Ronald W. Walker, professor of history and senior research historian at the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for LDS History at BYU, who worked with Arrington for many years.

The essays in Reflections of a Mormon Historian are a combination of Arlington’s depression upbringing and of his religious inspiration and idealism. They are full of practical ideas and ideals – they are ‘to-do lists’ about how to approach the thinking and writing of history – and how, implicitly, society might be improved. Also running through the essays is Arrington's quiet quest to understand life's higher purposes. Not surprisingly, the historical movement that he helped to found – the New Mormon History – is likewise a halfway house between the secular and the religious. The annual meetings of the Mormon History Association and periodicals such as Brigham Young University Studies, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and the Journal of Mormon History epitomize the approach. This collection chronicles Arrington's determination to walk the mid­dle way.

Neilson and Walker present the essays in Reflections of a Mormon Historian, then, because of their content – what they have to say about the writing of the Mormon past – but also because they are historical documents about the progress of Mormon studies. They have selected fourteen of Arrington's essays, several previously unpublished, which they have organized into three parts: "Arrington as Historian," "Reflections on Mormon History," and "Mormon Historical Writing."

The first section is biographical and includes Arrington's reflec­tions on his own career. Essays in this section include "Historian as Entrepreneur: A Personal Essay," "Reflections on the Found­ing and Purpose of the Mormon History Association," and "The Founding of the LDS Church Historical Department." These essays provide a tour of Arrington's personal and professional life: his Idaho upbringing and university training; the start of his career; the establishment of the organization of history buffs and professionals that has done so much to shape recent Mormon historical writing; and the recounting of those tumultuous years, when as the first professional historian to be chosen to produce official Church history, he labored through the tugs and controversy of his job. This section also includes the essay "Myth, Symbol, and Truth," which reveals Arrington to be a ‘believer,’ who found meaning and worth in his religious tradition. Clearly, Arrington was not just a historian of Mormonism, but a Mormon historian.

Five essays on the meaning and value of Mormon history comprise the second section of Reflections of a Mormon Historian. These pieces have a wide range of format and message and are full of Arrington advice and cajoling. To begin with, "The Search for Truth and Meaning in Mormon History" sets out an argument for a more inclusive history, which, despite the passage of twenty-five years since its publication, has the freshness of counsel that has been only partly realized; his identification of five biases, or inclinations, of Mormon history writing remains a bill of indictment that future scholars must answer. Published here for the first time, "Clothe These Bones: The Reconciliation of Faith and History" is Arrington's invited attempt to give a sermon at the June 1978 History Division retreat held on Ensign Peak, Salt Lake City. Next, in "Personal Reflections on Mormon History," Arrington asserts the value of Mormon heritage. In another previously unpublished essay, "The Questing Spirit in Mormon History," he chronicles late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century LDS intellectual trajectories, including the exodus of Mormon students to universities beyond the Great Basin Kingdom. Several years before his death, he proposed an annual lecture on Mormon history, and he provided the inaugural presentation, "Faith and Intellect as Partners in Mormon History." The last section is about Mormon history as history, or historiography, which is the study of historical writing. "The Intellectual Tradition of the Latter-day Saints" reminds readers that Mormonism has its own intellectual tradition, embodied by such great thinkers as Orson Pratt, B. H. Roberts, Sterling McMurrin, Lowell Bennion, and Hugh Nibley, some of whom wrote history. Arrington was also concerned with the lack of solid international Church histories. In summer 1980, he traveled to Hawaii to give the keynote address of the Mormon Pacific Historical Society's inaugural conference.

In the essay "On Writing Latter-day Saint History," he suggests the ‘heretical’ idea that local LDS histories are more important than general histories, given the globalization of Mormonism. Appearing here for the first time, "The Marrow in the Bones of History: New Directions in Historical Writing" is Arrington's address to the Western University Press Association. He argues that intimate, first-person accounts of daily life provide the real marrow in the bones for historical writing. Finally, "The Writing of Latter-day Saint History: Problems, Accomplishments and Admonitions" centers on the ques­tion of writing religious history and proposes a five-part periodization for understanding Mormon historiography.

Arrington's essays do not stand alone. Ron Walker's "Mormonism's `Happy Warrior': Appreciating Leonard J. Arrington," written as a memorial shortly after his death, serves as the prologue. This essay chronicles Arrington's personal and professional life, describing how a young student, hopeful for a life as an Idaho chicken farmer, came to climb the heights of Mormon historical writing. It also offers a preliminary evaluation of Arringron's legacy and of that of the New Mormon History. The other bookend to the collection – the concluding essay in Reflections of a Mormon Historian – comes from David J. Whittaker, one of the more prolific bibliographers of the Mormon guild, author of the expanded bibliography of Arrington's voluminous writings and addresses, associate professor of history and curator of nineteenth-century western and Mormon Americana at the Harold B. Lee Library. Whittaker's essay, "Leonard James Arrington (1917–1999): A Bibliography," catalogues Arrington's prodigious writing by book, monograph, pamphlet, article, and by other miscellaneous writing. He also provides an updated listing of historical writing about Arrington. These bibliographies make clear that by virtue of volume and by quality, Arrington was virtually a one-man historical school.

The fourteen essays offered in Reflections of a Mormon Historian are autobiographical, reflective, analytical, personal, and prophetic. Gathered together in a single source for the first time, they constitute an illuminating study of the challenges faced by all who study history and face the conflicts its telling involves. These essays will interest readers of the Mormon past as well as its future writers.

Science / Politics / Public Health / Medical Ethics

Smart Mice, Not So Smart People: An Interesting and Amusing Guide to Bioethics by Arthur L. Caplan  (Rowman & Littlefield)

Rather than shackle American scientists, the U.S. government should encourage cloning research. The needs of children reliant on wheelchairs, of parents dependent on oxygen tanks to breathe, and of friends imprisoned by the creeping paralysis of Parkinson's far outweigh the moral status of cloned cells that will never leave the petri dish. Myths should not be the basis for public policy when cures hang in the balance. – from the book

What do readers think about cloning, stem cell research, brain enhancement, or conducting experiments on newly dead patients? If they read Smart Mice, Not So Smart People and they'll know what Art Caplan thinks.

Caplan, Emmanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics, and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, provokes discussion on issues at the center of the new genetics: cloning in the laboratory and in the media, stem cell research, experiments on human subjects, blood donation and organ transplantation, and health care delivery. Are new developments in these areas good or bad? As an engaged citizen in a democratic society, it is each individual person’s responsibility to decide. Smart Mice, Not So Smart People will help them do it.

Bioethics is field of inquiry only forty years old. Arthur Caplan has emerged as its superstar, and this collection of essays reveals why…. He offers concise, well-written direction, telling us not what to do but what we must consider in formulating our responses to these great and fascinating issues. – Robert Bazell, chief science correspondent, NBC News

After reading this book, I can think of no more knowledgeable, level-headed, trustworthy guide [to the dilemmas of bioethics] than Art Caplan. – John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer

Art Caplan has written a smart, provocative book that examines medical ethics in America and the intrusion of politics on complex, scientific issues. Smart Mice, Not So Smart People is an engaging read that tackles controversial subjects ranging from tube feeding to cloning and brings them alive for the layman. – Kathleen Kerr, Newsday

Art Caplan, one of the liveliest, most engaging bioethicists in the country, shares his trenchant observations about the many moral dilemmas in our high-technology medical system. Entertaining and serious at the same time, most readers will find this a hard book to put down. – Marcia Angell, M.D., Harvard Medical School

This assortment of pithy, provocative opinions on all things bioethical does more than simply give readers a piece of the author's mind – Smart Mice, Not So Smart People dares readers to make up their own minds. In his typical tell-it-like-it-is style, America's leading bioethicist Caplan provokes discussion on all issues at the center of the new genetics. Yeah for actual thinking.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Odyssey by Jack McDevitt (Ace)

Multiple Nebula Award-finalist Jack McDevitt returns to the world of Chindi and Omega – and humanity's struggle with its own existence.

In the not-so-distant future, in Odyssey, the government's interest in deep space exploration is waning. Deep space has never paid off. Interstellar travel and industrialization never materialized on the scale once thought possible. Meanwhile, the greenhouse effect is taking its toll on Earth.

There is great pressure to cut funding for the Space Academy. Famed journalist Gregory MacAllister has put all his efforts behind the campaign to cut funding for the Academy’s deep-space programs, in order to focus on more practical concerns Earthside. In an effort to stir up public interest, the Academy starts a quest to learn the truth about ‘moonriders,’ the strange lights being seen in nearby systems.

An eclectic group embarks on a mission into outer space, on what they expect to be a public relations jaunt, with Academy pilot Ualentina Kouros at the helm of the starship Salvator. Along for the ride is MacAllister, who hopes to turn the hunt into a book; the Academy's public-relations director; and the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Senator. As they chase ‘moonrider’ sightings along the Blue route – the star paths frequently traveled by tourists – the team soon discovers that their odyssey is no mere public-relations ploy, for the moonriders are not a harmless phenomenon. They are very, very dangerous – in a way that no one could possibly have imagined...

Priscilla ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson's fifth adventure opens with the former starship pilot deskbound at the Academy (the twenty-third-century equivalent of NASA), which is facing catastrophic cuts to the space program. In a media campaign led by Hutch's old friend, acerbic newspaper editor Gregory MacAllister, pundits and politicians alike argue that the program's money would be better spent on the earthbound threats of global warming and disease. Perhaps not coincidentally, humans everywhere from Earth to Ophiuchi begin witnessing repeated visitations from ‘moonriders’ … When the moonriders apparently redirect a few asteroids to destroy an orbiting hotel and narrowly bypass Earth, suspicions begin to emerge that the moonriders – and certain members of the Academy – may not be what they seem to be. McDevitt's energetic, character-driven prose serves double duty by exploring Earth's future political climate and forecasting the potential dangers awaiting humanity among the stars. – Carl Hays, Booklist

Don't miss this fast-paced, action-packed new novel from bestselling McDevitt, who Stephen King hails as ‘the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.’ Odyssey is an exciting adventure set in the near-future world of McDevitt’s acclaimed novels Chindi and Omega, “combining galaxy-spanning adventure with the genuine navel of ideas” (The Washington Post Book World).

Social Sciences

The Significance of Children and Animals: Social Development and Our Connections to Other Species, Second Revised Edition by Gene Myers (New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond Series: Purdue University Press)

What role does an animal play in a child's developing sense of self? Are children and animals interacting in ways no longer recognizable to adults? The Significance of Children and Animals addresses these and other intriguing questions by revealing the interconnected lives of the inhabitants of the preschool classroom – an environment abounding in verbal and nonverbal interactions with birds, turtles, toads, bugs, and other creatures. Regarded as a pivotal analysis of child-animal interaction with wider implications for human-animal studies, the original 1998 edition has been revised to incorporate the recent literature, while preserving the basic nature of the text.

Based on Olin Eugene Myers's year-long study of two dozen children, child-animal interactions are captured in the children's own words and actions, revealing the importance of a diversity of animals to the child's social development. Providing the first comprehensive framework for understanding a wide range of everyday experiences with animals, Meyers, Associate Professor at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, shows in detail how nonverbal interactions, emotions, pretend play, language, and the social environment contribute to the child's sense of se in relation to animals. Adults tend to marginalize the role of the animal body and animals' presence in their lives. In contrast, children see animals as co-conspirators, as creatures to contend with, as fascinatingly different yet similar other beings. Children's sense of connection to animals provides insights into social development, and into ideas about what it means to become human.

In revising The Significance of Children and Animals, Myers preserves its character and its flow. Its character is on the one hand ethnographic, while it puts forward a careful analysis of child-animal interaction building on concepts from social, cognitive, and language development. What Myers has changed in revising The Significance of Children and Animals, is that he has updated its relationship to the literature. He accessed the increasing stream of research in human-animal studies, as well as the kind of basic research in child development upon which the core of the book depends. This revision makes the book current with the most relevant research. He has also improved the work's clarity. The first chapter, largely unchanged, provides an overview, deferring the scholarly rigor to the succeeding chapters.

The Significance of Children and Animals puts the study of children's relations to nonhuman animals firmly on the map, in its own right, and not as derivative of some other area of primary interest. Myers develops a coherent and articulated theory of children's relations to animals that was based on a reasonably comprehensive picture of the multifaceted phenomenon of child development. He includes careful treatment of how several topics, the self, concepts of mind and living things, language, morality, shape children's – and by extension older humans' – interactions, relations and concepts of animals. In doing so, The Significance of Children and Animals engages and (necessarily) takes positions on a number of larger contested issues not just in child development, but in the social sciences broadly. These include the role of language and culture in development, the nature of the self, the nature of social development in infancy, the role of the body in self-reflection, the social and societal dynamics of distortion of meaning, pretend, imitation and imagination, moral development, and more, each qualified (sometimes fundamentally) by permutation with ‘animals.’ A motivating context is set by the discussion in chapter 2 of the omission of animals in our anthropocentric theories of development.

The role of the human-animal boundary in the self has far-reaching conse­quences, since what is experienced as self or as vital to the self determines one's spontaneous ‘field of care.’ In The Significance of Children and Animals, Myers argues that the natural world plays a unique and vital role in human development – that humans have a developmental potential for a sense of connection to the animal world and by extension to a wider ‘ecology of subjects.’ This potential is evident in ordinary early childhood development; thus it demands greater theoretical and empirical attention from a wide range of psychologists, social scientists, educators, and others responsible for the growth of young humans.

According to Myers, we live in a world dominated by other humans. It is easy to believe that our sense of connection to other humans and their influences on us are real and important. Other people are compellingly present to us, and they influence us through many shared modes of interaction: bodily presence and gesture, as well as language with all its characteristics, such as vocabulary, dialect, and prosody; and its power to constitute or call into existence. This has resulted in a strong bias that the only social factors in development that matter are the human ones, those of which we are most conscious and that we fancy we control most completely!

But as The Significance of Children and Animals tells in detail, children's relations to animals tap processes that lie deep in our own human animality and that bind us not only to each other but also to other species. The preverbal meanings of self-initiated motion, of unitary coherence, of displayed affects, and of sharing a past can transcend species boundaries for us. Children show this clearly, and the substance of their pretend play confirms these as the core of their apprehension of animals. In the intersubjective realm, children again show they distinguish animals as a different order of other, even as they use their humanly acquired abilities to read cues of affect, attention, and intentions. In linguistic relatedness, too, children distinguish animals as different. Their language abilities bias them to read meanings into animal behavior, providing a basis for further learning, and making us a species that may be unique in our ability to include other species in our sense of who we are. Myers’ studies of children's pretend play expand the importance of the animate realm, for they reveal a pattern of continuity between preverbal embodied experience and self-consciousness. This pattern is reflected in other areas of development also, uniting the child-animal relation with other great issues in development and philosophy of mind.

The evidence in The Significance of Children and Animals is essential in correcting the perception that the human world is of sole and paramount importance in child development. Yet, we place human interactive processes foremost in our theories of human development not only because they seem empirically compelling. The underlying reason is that our intellectual forebears handed down to us a peculiar anthropocentrism and dualism in our manners of thinking about what it means to be human, and this has shaped our theories and thereby our attention.

The absence of attention to our connections with other species and the nature of the relationship between the body and our higher mental capacities are two coupled problems. Both stem from the divorce between what are thought of as a simple animal body and a transcendent human mind. Here is the broadest philosophical and historical context for understanding the problems of The Significance of Children and Animals. It reaches into many areas of our culture and psyche: into ideas of social order, into popular conceptions of commonalities between children and animals, into theories of development, and into what we feel ourselves to be. In comparative perspective, it is by no means obvious that our cultural manners of thinking and living out our human animality are the only or the best options.

Gene Myers has produced a gem of a book about the importance of animals to the social and moral development of children. If you ever doubted that children and animals are a natural unit you'll no longer question this assumption. Broad in scope, detailed and scholarly yet easy to read, The Significance of Children and Animals is a significant contribution to the literature. Children and animals are lucky that Professor Myers has taken the time to write this most important and timely book. – Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of Minding Animals and Animal Passions and Beastly Passions

Gene Myers has learned more about what snakes, monkeys, and other creatures mean to children than any living scholar has. What's more, he has distilled this knowledge into a series of profound insights into human psychology and development. By positioning himself at the interface between humans and other species, Myers provides us with a unique perspective on ourselves. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University

In this outstanding study, Myers offers a radical reassessment of the importance of animals and nature in the development of children's attitudes, values, and sense of self. Anybody who cares about the future of life on earth should read this book. – James Serpell, Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare, University of Pennsylvania

The Significance of Children and Animals provides a delightful and rewarding opportunity for parents, educators, and students of early childhood social development, as well as scholars of the intersection of human experience and the natural environment. The Significance of Children and Animals changes our common and formalized understandings of what it means to be and become human, and changing such collective self-conceptions is the greatest possible contribution of the book.

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