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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

March 2007, Issue #96

Guide to This Issue

Business & Investing / Economics / Politics

Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice edited by Edward Stringham (Transaction Publishers)

Political economy has disapproved equally of monopoly and communism in the various branches of human activity, wherever it has found them. Is it not then strange and unreasonable that it accepts them in the industry of security? – Gustave de Molinari (1849)

Is government necessary? Private-property anarchism – also known as anarchist libertarianism, individualist anarchism, or anarcho-capitalism – is a political philosophy and set of economic arguments that says that just as markets provide bread, so too should markets provide law. If someone argued that because food is so important it must be supplied by government, most would respond that government provision of food would be a disaster. Private-property anarchism applies the same logic to law and argues that because protecting property rights is so important, it is the last thing that should be left to the state. Under private-property anarchy, individual rights and market forces would reign supreme; there would just be no state. Security would be provided privately as it is at colleges, shopping malls, hotels, and casinos; and courts would be provided privately, as they are with arbitration and mediation today.

According to Anarchy and the Law more scholars and general readers are seeing private-property anarchism as a viable and worthy alternative to the monopolistic and coercively funded state. Individualist anarchism has a long history but most of the early writing was published anonymously or in obscure places. Today, in contrast, private-property anarchism is now discussed in top economics journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, and in 2002 George Mason University economist Vernon Smith became the first private-property anarchist to win the Nobel Prize. In addition to being a potentially important normative position, anarchist research helps explain events and trends of historical and contemporary relevance. Consider, for example, that private security guards now outnumber the public police, and private arbitration – the so-called ‘rent-a-judge’ business – is booming.

Anarchy and the Law, edited by Edward Stringham, associate professor of economics at San Jose State University and a research fellow at the Independent Institute, assembles for the first time in one volume the most important classic and contemporary studies exploring and debating non-state legal and political systems, especially involving the tradition of natural law and private contacts. Anarchy and the Law includes essays explaining and giving historical examples of stateless orders. Led by economists and political theorists such as Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, the authors in this volume emphasize the efficacy of markets and the shortfalls of government.

Rather than attempt to present a unified vision of anarchy, Anarchy and the Law reprints articles about anarchism from many libertarian points of view. Although all anarchists agree that the state is unnecessary, many of the specifics are still debated. For example, some authors support anarchy using arguments about consequences, while others support anarchy using arguments about rights. Some authors highlight how markets can function with private law enforcement, while others highlight how markets can function without any formal law at all.

Anarchy and the Law's articles are organized in four categories: Section I presents the major theoretical works that argue in favor of private-property anarchism; Section II contains writings that debate the viability of private-property anarchism, presenting articles and responses from the classical liberal and anarchist perspectives; Section III contains some of the early works in individualist anarchism, as well as modern articles on the history of individualist anarchist thought and the different types of anarchism; Section IV presents case studies and historical examples of societies that functioned without public law enforcement.

Finally, a fit rejoinder to people who begin sentences with ‘There ought to be a law’ ...  – P. J. O'Rourke, author, Parliament of Whores and On the Wealth of Nations

Scholars interested in scrutinizing the links between political and legal institutions will find Anarchy and the Law an invaluable resource. – Tom W. Bell, Professor of Law, Chapman University

The dynamics of government growth has proven that no matter how benign the original intent and no matter how limited their scope, government programs will eventuate in abuse and malignancy. Anarchy and the Law assembles key essays that embrace this view. – Ronald Hamowy, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Alberta, Canada

Anarchy and the Law is a breakthrough work, one which anyone interested in politics will find intellectually exciting. – Ralph Raico, Professor of History, Buffalo State College

Anarchy and the Law is a ‘must read’ for anyone open to ideas and interested in the preservation of liberty. – Thomas J. Nechyba, Professor of Economics, Duke University

Anarchy and the Law is an essential book on the theory and history of ‘non-state’ legal systems in which law enforcement is privatized, including essays by both proponents and skeptics. – Lawrence H. White, Friedrich A. Hayek Professor of Economic History, University of Missouri, St. Louis

The state has worked for years to indoctrinate people of the necessity of government law enforcement. The chapters in Anarchy and the Law suggest that this government wisdom is wrong, and they are important from two perspectives. From an academic perspective they show that anarchism might be a useful lens to help us analyze the world. Do people only cooperate because of the threat of government law? Perhaps the answer is no. By taking a more realistic perspective, anarchists shed light on many situations that others cannot explain. The articles in this volume give readers a sampling of some of the more important works on the subject. By compiling all of the important articles in one place, these works are now accessible to more than just a handful of experts or fortunate students.

Business & Investing / Economics / Finance / Management

The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy by Richard Vedder & Wendell Cox (AEI Press)

Wal-Mart is under attack – from labor unions, urban planners, globalization critics, and community activists. The activities of Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers have become rallying cries for both sides of the political aisle. Richard Vedder and Wendell Cox's book, The Wal-Mart Revolution, is aimed at those involved in the current debates over Wal-Mart's impact on worker wages, labor issues, and health-insurance and land-use policies.

Big-box discount retailers have been vilified as selfish retailers that mistreat their workers, outsource American jobs, uproot communities, and harm the poor. Others, however, argue that these stores have improved Americans' standard of living, especially among the less affluent. Which of these competing visions is correct? Is Wal-Mart a saint or a sinner? In The Wal-Mart Revolution, Vedder, distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington; and Cox, international public policy consultant and principal of Wendell Cox Consultancy (Demographia), present an account of the dramatic changes transforming American retailing. They analyze the best available economic data and conclude that American consumers – particularly the less affluent – have benefited tremendously from Wal-Mart's ‘everyday low prices’; American consumers save tens of billions of dollars annually from the lower prices that Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers offer.

According to the book, Wal-Mart has also been a generally good employer, paying competitive market wages and offering fringe benefits (including health care) roughly comparable to other retailers. New Wal-Mart stores benefit local communities by boosting employment and income levels while providing local consumers lower prices and expanded product choices.

They also place the controversy in historical context – opposition to Wal-Mart is the latest chapter in a long history of resistance to retail innovation in America. In the late nineteenth century, local retailers complained about mail-order competitors such as Sears, Roebuck. In the 1920s and 1930s, small grocery stores bitterly fought the growth of chain groceries like the A&P. Today anti-Wal-Mart forces use zoning laws, mandatory health insurance requirements, and higher minimum wage requirements for large retailers to reduce Wal-Mart's competitive advantage. Founder Sam Walton’s relentless quest for efficiency created tremendous improvements in retail trade productivity that have raised America's GDP by hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Millions of Americans have enjoyed higher incomes, expanded consumer choices, and cheaper prices as a result. Certainly there have been losers from this process as well – small businesses unable to compete with Wal-Mart – but for every loser there have been many winners.

Vedder and Cox in The Wal-Mart Revolution painstakingly analyze available evidence before concluding that the economic transformation in American retailing which is personified by Wal-Mart has largely been good for Americans and the economy.

Looking at Wal-Mart, Vedder and Cox in The Wal-Mart Revolution comprehensively review conditions before and after Wal-Mart entered a local market and look more broadly at Wal-Mart's impact on wages, productivity growth and inflation. The Wal-Mart Revolution also provides useful facts about the company, the U.S. retail industry, labor economics, healthcare policy, and land-use realities in America today.

Business & Investing / Economics / Policy & Development

You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World's Poor to the Global Economy by Nicholas P. Sullivan (Jossey-Bass)

[T]he people of Bangladesh are a good investment in the future . . . With loans for people to buy cell phones, entire villages are being brought into the Information Age. I want people throughout the world to know this story. – President Bill Clinton, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2000

Bangladeshi villagers sharing cell phones helped build what is now a thriving company with more than $200 million in annual profits. But what is the lesson for the rest of the world? This is a question author Nicholas P. Sullivan, publisher of the journal Technology, asks in You Can Hear Me Now, his tale of a new kind of entrepreneur, Iqbal Quadir, the visionary and catalyst behind the creation of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh.

GrameenPhone – a partnership between Norway’s Telenor and Grameen Bank, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize – defines a new approach to building business opportunities in the developing world. You Can Hear Me Now describes what Sullivan calls the ‘external combustion engine’ – a combination of forces that is sparking economic growth and lifting people out of poverty in countries long dominated by aid-dependent governments. The ‘engine’ comprises three forces: information technology, imported by native entrepreneurs trained in the West, backed by foreign investors.

GrameenPhone's successful effort to provide universal telephony in a country that had virtually no phones, using micro-loans generated by Muhammad Yunus, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, confirms the power of bottom-up development, which is creating millions of income opportunities for the rural poor and billions of dollars in national income. With similar success stories in other poor countries – such as those of Celtel, MTN, and Vodacom in sub-Saharan Africa, and of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications in the Philippines – cell phones are spreading like wildfire across the Southern Hemisphere and are helping to bridge the digital divide. You Can Hear Me Now describes an inclusive capitalism that engages and enables many of the four billion people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.  

You Can Hear Me Now is a powerful proof of the roles that the private sector can play in economic development. Sullivan, by picking one industry – wireless – and cleverly weaving the economics and the growth of the industry with the human dimension, provides a distinctively new perspective on what is possible. A must-read for all those who are concerned about eradicating poverty. Equally, a must-read for managers who are looking for new engines of growth. – C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor, The Ross School of Business, the University of Michigan; author, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

With the growing interest in how business can better serve the 'bottom of the pyramid' there is great need for both practical examples of how to do it and better understanding of how such strategies can truly benefit those caught in the poverty trap. This book delivers on both counts. – Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University; author, Capitalism at the Crossroads

You Can Hear Me Now describes the human drama of the poor adopting technology to enhance their productivity. Well-researched and engaging, it expertly walks the reader through one surprising maze after another. – V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School; coauthor, Business Solutions for the Global Poor

The stories of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, legendary in development capital circles, and Celtel in Africa, among others, read as colorfully as any of the stories of the Gold Rush in the U.S. in the 1840s. Nicholas Sullivan has recounted the struggle and subsequent success in an easy-to-read but factual manner that shows risks countered by perseverance`and guts – proving that you can do well by doing good. – Alan Patricof, co-founder, Apax Partners and founder, Greycroft Partners

You Can Hear Me Now is the story behind GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, an incredible, compelling and inspiring story. At this time, when readers have become weary of the stories of the failures of economic aid to developing countries, stories like this one give us sorely needed hope.

Business & Investing / Personal Finance

Debt is Slavery: And 9 Other Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me About Money by Michael Mihalik (October Mist Publishing)

In November 2006, United States consumer debt reached an all-time high of $2.39 trillion. Real estate foreclosures are soaring nationwide, millions of jobs are being sent abroad, and pensions are being cut at iconic American companies such as Delta Airlines.

On the surface, it appears that the standard of living has also reached record highs. We are surrounded by the trappings of luxury: expensive cars, big houses, flat-screen TVs, and fashionable clothes. But the cars are leased, the big homes come with big mortgages, and the expensive TVs and fashionable clothes are purchased with credit cards. Americans are under a level of financial stress that hasn't been seen for decades.

Debt is Slavery takes a unique approach to personal finance by focusing on changing the way people think about money. In the past, Americans were taught to avoid debt, but now they are persuaded to embrace it. According to Michael Mihalik, the process starts early – high school students receive credit card solicitations although their only income may be from babysitting or mowing the neighbor's lawn. They take on debt without realizing that doing so subjects them to financial servitude, a form of slavery, in which their bills determine when and how much they have to work, often at jobs they don't even like. What is the result? Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

But nobody should be a slave to their finances. Debt is Slavery teaches readers how to:

  • Change the way they think about money.

  • Gain control of their financial life.

  • Buy back their freedom.

  • Recognize and resist the constant attempts to separate them from their money.

  • Find a fulfilling job.

  • Produce income without trading away their time.

  • Achieve their financial goals.

Mihalik uses his personal triumph over debt to illustrate 10 lessons that can transform readers’ relationships with money. Mihalik says he ran up huge debts during college by using credit cards and other loans to finance a lifestyle he couldn't afford. Even after he graduated and began work as an aerospace engineer, his debts continued out of control. After years of feeling overwhelmed by his finances, Mihalik paid off his debt and regained control of his life. He created a money philosophy that freed him from the slavery of debt and led him to a life of financial prosperity and control. Mihalik has since expanded and refined his philosophy to a set of ideas and rules for financial security that can be applied at any income level.

"I live by those same rules today,” comments Mihalik. “They have helped me live through two other rough periods in my life without changing my lifestyle or accumulating more debt. Today, I'm debt-free and prosperous. I empathize with anyone who's struggling with debt because I've been there, and I know that they can recover, because I did. But first, they have to change the way they think about money."

Debt is Slavery offers hope – the book has the potential to help readers change their relationship with money so they can pay off their debt and proceed to live more fulfilling lives.

Business & Investing / Public Policy / Professional & Technical / Engineering / Environmental

Energy Autonomy: New Politics for Renewable Energy by Hermann Scheer (Earthscan)

For 200 years industrial civilization has relied on the combustion of abundant and cheap carbon fuels. But continued reliance has had perilous consequences. On the one hand there is the insecurity of relying on the world's most unstable region – the Middle East – compounded by the imminence of peak oil, growing scarcity and mounting prices. On the other, the potentially cataclysmic consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels, as the evidence of accelerating climate change shows.

Yet there is a solution: to make the transition to renewable sources of energy and distributed, decentralized energy generation. It is a model that has been proven, technologically, commercially and politically, as Herman Scheer demonstrates in Energy Autonomy. Further, Sheer shows that the alternative – a return to nuclear power, which is again being widely advocated – is compromised and illusory. Scheer is a member of the German Bundestag (Parliament) and President of Eurosolar, the European organization for renewable energies. In a career devoted to the replacement of nuclear and fossil fuels with environmentally sound energy sources, Dr. Scheer has received numerous awards, including the World Solar Prize and the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Scheer is all about political action, about what will motivate society to focus on solving this problem. According to Energy Autonomy, the advantages of renewable energy are so clear and so overwhelming that resistance to them needs diagnosis – which Scheer also provides, showing why and how entrenched interests and one-dimensional structures of thinking oppose the transition, and what must be done to overcome these obstacles. In the introduction, Scheer talks about the fallacy of reducing the overall problem to its components. He first discusses the questionable technological and economic premises of political action that are taken for granted as if they were established and solid facts:

  • Insufficient usable potential.
  • The lengthy time requirement.
  • The absolute necessity of large power plants.
  • Conventional energy's greater environmental benefits due to increased efficiency.
  • The functional priority placed on existing energy supply structures.
  • Protecting economic resources.
  • The economic burden of introducing renewable energy.

These fundamental technological and economic assumptions all create the impression of objective constraints that stand in the way of a full-scale reorientation towards renewable energy. The six other premises relate to political fields of action and methods are:

  • Renewable energy's dependence on subsidies.
  • The need for consensus with the energy business.
  • Fixation on competitiveness in energy markets.
  • The indispensability of global treaty commitments.
  • Environmental pollution caused by renewable energy.
  • The realism of taking small political steps.

According to Energy Autonomy, all these premises obstruct our view of renewable energy's real potential and of promising approaches to solving our energy problems. Prejudices are relatively easy to overcome for individuals, who benefit from information and leaps of recognition that fall. In society at large, however, overcoming bias is much more difficult, especially when prejudices keep getting cultivated and updated.

One of the consequences of starting from false premises is that discussions end up referring only to a section of the total problem, that guidelines for action are developed relating only to that part of the overall picture, and that these guidelines are subordinated to all other problems – so that one loses sight of solutions to other problems. These patterns of reducing large problems to their smallest components pervade the energy debate. If this debate is mainly conducted from the viewpoint of climate threats caused by fossil energy emissions, the dangers of nuclear energy and questions about energy security are pushed into the background. If it is mainly conducted from the viewpoint of nuclear dangers, this then confines perceptions about the dangers of energy usage. If it is conducted solely from the viewpoint of depleting oil stocks, this clouds awareness of potential dangers arising from other fossil energy sources and from nuclear energy.

These ways of reducing the overall problem to one of its components always lead to neglect of the diverse and grave reasons that speak on behalf of a general shift to renewable energy. The broad spectrum of reasons for a comprehensive strategy – the motifs of the renewable energy movement – emerge from four elementary differences between nuclear and fossil energy, on the one hand, and renewable energy, on the other:

  • The use of nuclear and fossil energy entails massive environ­mental disturbances, with tectonic consequences across the board, starting immediately with these fuels' initial production and continuing until the by-products of their consumption are emitted into water, air and the Earth's atmosphere generally; by contrast, the use of renewable energy is, in principle, free of such consequences.
  • Fossil energy can be depleted, which is why its continued use must inevitably lead to rising costs and supply bottlenecks and emergencies. Only inexhaustible renewable energy opens up the prospect of a permanent, secure energy supply for people everywhere.
  • Nuclear and fossil energy reserves lie in a relatively limited number of producing regions around the globe, so that their use requires lengthy supply chains. This inevitably entails major outlays in infrastructure, leads to growing dependence, and provokes economic, political and military conflicts. Every form of renewable energy, by contrast, is a type of energy that fits in with its natural surroundings and can be recovered directly with much smaller requirements in the way of infrastructure.
  • Fossil and atomic energy, as a result of the above-mentioned differences, are becoming increasingly expensive, both with respect to their direct and their indirect costs. Renewable energy, by contrast – if only because it accrues no fuel costs with the exception of bio-energy – becomes increasingly cheaper in the course of continuous technological improvement, industrial mass production, and intelligent new forms of application.

Sheer says that these motifs coalesce into a single grand motif of surmounting and avoiding crisis, a motif that is as explosive today as it ever was. The key to solving energy-determined crises is the shift to renewable energy. Focusing on this is not a ‘one-issue’ but rather a ‘multi-issue’ approach.

According to Sheer in Energy Autonomy, if an about-face to renewable energy cannot be pulled off over the next two decades, the world can be expected, in the foreseeable future, to slide into resource conflicts rife with violence. An about-face means not only expanding renewable energy, but also cutting back on the consumption of fossil and nuclear energy. It means preventing additional trillions from being devoured on the construction of new fossil and nuclear power plants and thereby from cementing the conventional structures of energy supply. It requires renewable energy to be activated much more quickly and in a manner that is more forced (both qualitatively and quantitatively) than is currently envisioned by government action programs – especially since it can be foreseen that the goals most of these programs proclaim cannot possibly be achieved given the plans and carriers they envision.

Sheer invokes the question was hammered by Martin Luther King into the consciousness of the US civil rights movement in the 1960s in order to persuade the movement that its chance to realize its goals was not far off: ‘How long? And the answer: Not long!’ – It is with this kind of determination and confidence that the imagination of many is stirred, the social atmosphere is revived and practical new ideas sprout up. ‘How long? Very long!’ is the kind of thinking that has been dominant in previous discussions about the time frame for a shift in energy. Even convinced ecologists behave this way to show that they are ‘realistic’. But lengthy time horizons release people from direct responsibility and lead them to surrender matters to ‘experts.’ Then the most important resource for renewable energy – the social resource – remains untapped. Sheer’s main interest is in discerning those approaches to renewable energy that permit the frequently posed question ‘how long?’ to be answered with ‘not long!’

The most important political book of the year. – Die Zeit

Hermann Scheer – principal architect of the policies that convened Germany into the world's leading market for solar energy – demonstrates that the German model can and must be replicated in every nation that aspires toward a healthy, peaceful future. – Denis Hayes, Former Director of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This book is a powerful indictment of how we meet our energy needs. In urging an acceleration of the transition to renewable energy, Scheer exposes the fallacies surrounding the current paradigm and looks beyond environmental benefits to outline the path to energy security. – Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute

Hermann Scheer has taken aim against a number of our planet's Goliaths all at once. The world needs pioneers like him. – Ernst Ulrich Von Weizsäcker, Dean of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara

Energy Autonomy, from the award-winning author of The Solar Economy and A Solar Manifesto, comprehensively demonstrates why the transition to renewable energy is essential and how it can be done. The new politics of renewable energy is about opening up spaces for initiatives, spaces in which initiatives can develop unhindered. Sheer passionately addresses the book to the growing number of renewable energy advocates, and to the even greater number of those who are simply curious about it. It outlines approaches to mobilize forces that may make a breakthrough in the near future.

Business & Investing / Small Business & Entrepreneurship

The Big Book of Small Business: You Don't Have to Run Your Business by the Seat of Your Pants by Tom Gegax, with Phil Bolsta (Collins)

Tom Gegax knows what that it’s like to be an entrepreneur. Years after running his Tires Plus franchise by the seat of his pants, blissfully unaware of how little he knew about getting the most out of people and managing a world-class organization, Tom was faced with a cancer diagnosis and a business on the brink of disaster. Resolved to change things around, he improved his mental clarity, health, and relationships and noticed that the more he profited on a personal level, the more his company profited. Tires Plus grew into a $200 million business with 150 upscale locations. He had learned the first lesson in Enlightened Leadership 101: Focus on the well-being of your employees and customers – as well as your own – and success will follow naturally.

In The Big Book of Small Business, Gegax shares his hard-earned lessons on how to become an enlightened, effective leader, and on how to do the small things right so the big decisions work. This all-in-one toolbox for small businesses is jammed with warm-hearted, tough-minded practices and street-smart tips, covering such aspects of a growing business as:

  • Starting, funding, and getting a new business off the ground.
  • Crafting a mission and growing a corporate culture that works.
  • Hiring the best people and maximizing their potential.
  • Communicating and negotiating with employees, customers, and suppliers.
  • Creating processes for continuous innovation and growth.
  • Protecting the business from unforeseen dangers.
  • Planning for growth.

Gegax has been an executive at one of the world’s largest corporations; a start-up entrepreneur; a CEO leading 1,600 employees; a business consultant; and a member of numerous boards. In The Big Book of Small Business, Gegax shares every tool in his kit – from finding capital, to inspiring and educating employees, to serving customers, to writing a mission statement to marketing and selling. The message: the secret to success is executing hundreds of little things rather than swallowing one magic pill.

His book delivers insight into managing small business and shows entrepreneurs how to beat the competition and the stress. He acknowledges that running a small business is not always easy and offers a frank account of business troubles that pushed his company to the brink of disaster.

The essential guide for business leaders wanting higher profits and lower stress. – Deepak Chopra, author of The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

Tom Gegax has mastered the art of business. – Horst Rechelbacher, founder, Aveda Corporation and Intelligent Nutrients

Packed with road-tested tips and real-world success strategies. – Mary Brainerd, president and CEO, HealthPartners

All the good stuff and none of the fluff. – Richard Schulze, founder and chairman, Best Buy

Shows a business can be run with enlightenment as well as efficiency . . . brimming with brilliant strategies for achieving both. – Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Customer Mania!

Get your hands on it before your competitors do! – Michael Coles, president and CEO, Caribou Coffee

The best business management guide on the market. It should be required reading at every business school.  – Rinaldo S. Brutoco, president and founder, World Business Academy

As thorough as a textbook and as lively as a news magazine, The Big Book of Small Business is a comprehensive and practical book on how to take a small business to the next level. Gegax's tips on operating and growing a small business show entrepreneurs how to steer clear of the high-stress, low-profit world of a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’ and transform themselves into enlightened entrepreneurs.

Business & Investing / Small Business & Entrepreneurship

The Way to Wealth by Brian Tracy (Entrepreneur Press)

What is the true way to wealth? A steady salary can only do so much. Winning the lottery is a pipe dream. According to The Way to Wealth, there's only one real way to unimaginable wealth, the kind of wealth where readers make money hand over fist faster than they can spend it, and that way is entrepreneurship. More people will become millionaires through entrepreneurship in the next few years than in the past 200 years combined.

The Way to Wealth gives readers access to business guru Brian Tracy's proven formula to start, build, manage and grow their business successfully. Readers learn how to:

  • Select the right product or service.
  • Get a leg up on the competition.
  • Close more sales than ever before.
  • Determine accurate costs and set appropriate prices.
  • Eliminate unnecessary costs and expenses.
  • Start and build the business using Tracy's ‘21 Keys’.
  • Test the market quickly and inexpensively.
  • Advertise and attract more prospects.
  • Get the money to grow the business.
  • Increase profits.
  • Develop and implement a powerful sales program.

With an entrepreneurial attitude – and the success secrets revealed in The Way to Wealth – the book promises readers wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

Bursting with big ideas, this latest resource from author and veteran businessman Tracy will guide persistent self-starters towards success, providing comprehensive attention to all aspects of business and broad applicability. Each chapter starts with an inspiring quote and ends with exercises, and Tracy's points are illustrated with clear-cut examples, research and true stories. … Tracy quotes liberally from bestsellers in the self-help business genre, making this volume a nice overview of essential reading for entrepreneurs. – Publishers Weekly

This fast-moving, entertaining series of lessons can be applied immediately to start a business, increase sales, reduce costs and boost profits. Armed with these ideas, concepts and business tools, with The Way to Wealth readers are supported in their dreams to move into the fast lane on their own ‘way to wealth.’

Computers & the Internet / Business & Investing

E-Business Innovation and Process Management edited by In Lee (Advances in E-Business Research Series: Cybertech Publishing)

E-business research is currently one of the most active research areas. With the rapid advancement in information technologies, e-business is growing in significance and is having a direct impact upon ways of doing business. As e-business becomes one of the most important areas in organizations, researchers and practitioners need to understand the implications of many technological and organizational changes taking place.

E-Business Innovation and Process Management, written by In Lee, associate professor in the Department of Information Management and Decision Sciences in the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University, covers a variety of topics, such as e-business models, e-business strategies, online consumer behavior, e-business process modeling and practices, electronic communication adoption and service provider strategies, privacy policies, and implementation issues.

With the advent of e-business, organizations have been fundamentally changing the way they do their business. From business operation to managerial control to corporate strategy, e-business has become an integral part in organizations. As e-business evolution continues with emerging technologies and business models, a solid understanding of e-business innovation, process, and strategy proves invaluable for the successful e-business development and management. E-Business Innovation and Process Management provides researchers, professionals, and educators with the most current research on e-business trends, technologies, and practices. The book is divided into five segments: Section I, which discusses various e-business models; Section II, which addresses e-business strategies and consumer behavior model; Section III, which discusses e-business process modeling and practices; Section IV, which evaluates various electronic communication adoption and service provider strategies; and Section IV, which addresses privacy policies and implementation issues.

Section I: E-Business Models consists of two chapters. Chapter I, "Different Types of Busi­ness-to-Business Integration: Extended Enterprise Integration vs. Market B2B Integration," by Frank Goethals, Jacques Vandenbulcke, Wilfried Lemahieu, and Monique Snoeck, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), argues that there exist two basic forms of business-to-business integration (B2Bi), namely extended enterprise integration and market B2Bi. This chapter clarifies the meaning of both concepts, shows that the difference between both is fundamental, and discusses the consequences of the difference in the realm of Web services development.

Chapter II, "E-Business Models in B2B: A Process-Based Categorization and Analysis of Business-to Business Models," by Mahesh S. Raisinghani, TWU (USA), Turan Melemez, Lijie Zou, Chris Paslowski, Irma Kikvidze, Susanne Taha, and Klaus Simons, Purdue University (USA), presents an in-depth study with examples from industry that provides a process-based approach to B2B e-commerce. A comparative examination of both the buy-side and the sell-side based on a process-related approach provides extensive insights for further comparative research and evaluation of products/services and models.

Section II: E-Business Strategies and Consumer Behavior Model consists of four chapters. Chapter III, "Drivers of Adoption and Implementation of Internet-Based Marketing Channels," by Jorn Flohr Nielsen, Viggo Host, and Niels Peter Mols, University of Aarhus (Denmark), analyzes factors influencing manufacturers' adoption and implementation of Internet-based marketing channels based on survey data from Danish, Finnish, and Swedish manufacturers.

Chapter IV, "Content is King? Interdependencies in Value Networks for Mobile Services," by Uta Wehn de Montalvo, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (The Netherlands), Els van de Kar, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), and Carleen Maitland, Pennsylvania State University (USA), investigates interdependencies in value networks for mobile services. This chapter analyzes the role of content and the content providers, respectively, in the process of value creation to bring these mobile services about.

Chapter V, "Buyer-Supplier Relationships in Business-to-Business E-Procure­ment: Effects of Supply Conditions," by Ravinder Nath, Creighton University (USA), and Rebecca Angeles, University of New Brunswick Fredericton (Canada), investigates the relevance of the resource dependency and relational exchange theories in explaining e-procurement activities of firms. Study findings show that supply importance and supply complexity primarily predict information exchange and operational linkages.

Chapter VI, "Consumer Factors Affecting Adoption of Internet Banking Services: An Empiri­cal Investigation in Taiwan," by Wen-Jang (Kenny) Jih, Middle Tennessee State University (USA), and Shu-Yeng Wong and Tsung-Bin Chang, Da-Yeh University (Taiwan), empirically examines the effects of consumer-perceived risk, personal involvement, and perception of banks' risk-reduction measures on their willingness to adopt Internet banking services. The results show that more experienced Internet users tend to involve themselves than their less-experienced counterparts in the use of Internet banking services.

Section III: E-Business Process Modeling and Practices consists of four chapters. Chapter VII, "A Simonian Approach to E-Business Research: A Study in Netchising," by Ye-Sho Chen, Louisiana State University (USA), Guoqing Chen, Tsinghua University (China), and Soushan Wu, Chang-Gung University (Taiwan), draws upon five seemingly unrelated research areas of Herbert Simon (skew distributions, near decomposability, docility, causal and effectual reasoning, and attention management) and proposes a holistic framework of attention-based information systems for firms to frame an enduring competitive strategy in the digital economy. This chapter illustrates the notation, its use, and its benefits with a supply chain management case study. It then briefly compares this approach to related modeling approaches, namely, use case-driven design, service-oriented architecture analysis, and conceptual value modeling.

Chapter IX, "How E-Services Satisfy Customer Needs: A Software-Aided Reasoning," by Ziv Baida, Jaap Gordijn, and Hans Akkermans, Free University Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and Hanne Sale and Andrei Z. Morch, SINTEF Energy Research (Norway), outlines an ontological approach that models how companies can electronically offer packages of independent services (service bundles) based on understanding their customers' needs and demands. The proposed approach for tackling this issue applies conceptual modeling and requirements engineering techniques to broadly accepted service management and service marketing concepts, such that software can be developed – based on the service ontology – that designs service bundles for a given set of customer demands.

Chapter X, "Personalization of Web Services: Concepts, Challenges, and Solutions," by Zakaria Maamar, Zayed University (UAE), Soraya Kouadri Mostefaoui, Fribourg University (Switzerland), Qusay Mahmoud, Guelph University (Canada), Ghita Kouadri Mostefaoui, University of Montreal (Canada), and Djamal Benslimane, Claude Bernard Lyon University (France), highlights the need for context in Web services personalization. This personalization aims at accommodating user preferences and needs.

Section IV: Electronic Communication Adoption and Service Provider Strategy consists of four chapters. Chapter XI, "Managing Corporate E-Mail Systems: A Contemporary Study," by Aidan Duane, Waterford Institute of Technology (Ireland), and Patrick Finnegan, University College Cork (Ireland), presents a multiple case study investigation of e-mail system monitoring and control. The study examines the interaction between key elements of e-mail control identified by previous researchers and considers the role of such controls at various implementation phases. The findings reveal eight major elements to be particularly important in monitoring and controlling e-mail systems within the organizations studied.

Chapter XII, "Predicting Electronic Communication System Adoption: The Influence of Adopter Perceptions of Continuous or Discontinuous Innovation," by Gary Hunter and Steven Taylor, Illinois State University (USA), investigates the factors predicting adoption of electronic communication systems. A contribution of the study is that it focuses on comparing factors predicting initial adoption relative to adoption of an upgrade.

Chapter XIII, "Computer Self-Efficacy and the Acceptance of Instant Messenger Technol­ogy" by Thomas Stafford, University of Memphis (USA), investigates motivations for instant messaging (IM) use in a technology acceptance framework that seeks to evaluate computer self-efficacy as an antecedent to critical TAM constructs. It is demonstrated that user self-efficacy is mediated in its impact on perceived usefulness of IM technology by the ease with which the technology can be used.

Chapter XIV, "User Perceptions of the Usefulness of E-Mail and Instant Messaging," by Philip Houle and Troy Strader, Drake University (USA), and Sridhar Ramaswami, Iowa State University (USA), describes research that explores the impacts of unsolicited traffic on the perceived usefulness of electronic message technologies. Two technologies were explored: e-mail and instant messaging. The hypothesis is that unsolicited message traffic would have negative effects on the perceived usefulness of the technologies. However, the findings did not support this expected result.

Section V: Privacy Policies and Implementation Issues consists of two chapters. Chapter XV, "Is P3P an Answer to Protecting Information Privacy?," by Noushin Ashrafi and Jean-Pierre Kuilboer, University of Massachusetts Boston (USA), aims at providing a brief explanation of P3P both as a new technology and as a standard. This chapter presents the background on use of technology for privacy protection. It then examines the role of P3P in privacy protection and presents a brief history of how it started.

Chapter XVI, "Semi-Automatic Derivation and Application of Personal Privacy Policies," by George Yee and Larry Korba, National Research Council (Canada), shows how personal privacy policies for e-business may be semi-automatically derived and applied. This chapter first examines privacy legislation to derive the contents of a personal privacy policy. It then describes two methods for semi-automatically generating a personal privacy policy, using community consensus to valuate privacy. The chapter concludes by presenting a privacy management model that explains how privacy policies are applied in e-business, followed by a discussion and a review of related works.

Recently, organizations have witnessed rapid improvement in e-business technologies and their deployment as a strategic weapon. The growing importance of e-business and its inevitable effect on organizations presents numerous challenges as well as opportunities for academics and practitioners. Sustained innovation, competitiveness, and market growth occur when e-business enables companies to redesign the business processes, develop new business models, and improve management practices. An outstanding collection of the latest research associated with the emerging e-business technologies and business models, E-Business Innovation and Process Management provides researchers and practitioners with study findings and insight valuable in advancing the knowledge and practice of all facets of electronic business.

E-Business Innovation and Process Management provides researchers and practitioners with valuable information on recent advances and developments in emerging e-business models and technologies.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Food Made Fast – Asian by Farina Wong Kingsley (Food Made Fast Series: Oxmoor House)

Asian cooking has never been so easy. – Chuck Williams, Series Editor

Modern life doesn't leave a lot of time for standing in front of the stove. Designed for the busy cook, Food Made Fast – Asian is all about good food, simply prepared. Asian ingredients and techniques are especially well suited to fast cooking – each recipe in this book can be made in three steps or fewer, using just a few readily available ingredients.

The book is authored by Farina Wong Kingsley, respected culinary instructor specializing in the cuisines of Asia, teacher at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco.

Food Made Fast – Asian has three sections:

  1. 20 Minutes Start to Finish – Simple recipes for the busiest of nights. From the kitchen to the table, these dishes are ready to eat in 20 minutes or less.
  2. 30 Minutes Start to Finish – Quick recipes for meals without a lot of fuss. Each dish takes no more than 30 minutes from beginning to end.
  3. 15 Minutes Hands-on Time – Easy meals for when readers don't want to spend much time in the kitchen. Each recipe takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare, giving the cook time with family and friends while it cooks.

Many of the recipes, such as savory Beef with Ginger and Caramelized Onions, take less than 20 minutes from beginning to end, making them ideal choices for weeknight suppers when time is especially short. Others, such as Miso-Glazed Scallops with Asian Slaw, can be on the table in fewer than 30 minutes. In the final chapter, readers find recipes like Roasted Honey-Soy Pork Tenderloin and Curried Chickpea and Potato Stew, that require just 15 minutes of hands-on time and then can be left to roast or simmer on their own, while the cook spends time out of the kitchen. In Food Made Fast – Asian readers will also find suggestions for meal planning, guidelines for keeping a well-stocked pantry, and tips for efficient shopping and cooking that will save them precious time and show them how to be a faster – and smarter – cook.

Designed for the busy home cook, Food Made Fast is the latest collectible series from Williams-Sonoma, edited by Chuck Williams, who has helped to revolutionize cooking in America, opening his first Williams-Sonoma store in the California wine country town of Sonoma. Using a straightforward approach to everyday cooking, Food Made Fast is about delicious food, simply prepared, with easy-to-follow recipes and tips. Each book emphasizes keeping a well-stocked pantry, planning ahead, and using fresh ingredients. Dedicated to a single subject – from Grill to Asian to Seafood – each volume makes it simple to plan, cook, and enjoy great-tasting food throughout the week.

Food Made Fast – Asian is composed of one dish meals, all of which are pictured; and mouth-watering they are too.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop (W.W. Norton)

As Tuscany is to Italy, so Hunan is to China, with its tradition of hearty peasant cooking, its warmth and hospitality, and the vibrancy of its people and landscapes. Hunan is a region of hot and spicy flavors – the red chili is king – but also of soothing stews and broths, delicate vegetable dishes, luscious smoked meats, and refreshing stir-fries.

Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers' Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called "a seminal exploration of one of China's great regional cuisines."

Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tastes of Hunan, the little-explored home province of Chairman Mao. In the book, Dunlop, guest chef, radio journalist for the BBC World Service, who was trained as a Chinese chef at China's leading cooking school, the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu, brings readers in these 120 recipes the astonishing flavors, history, and tastes of the Hunan region.

Readers will want to look for late imperial recipes like Numbing-and-Hot Chicken, soothing stews, and a myriad of colorful vegetable stir-fries. The book contains a full range of recipes from easy starters and steamed dishes such as fresh peas with slivers of ginger to a Hunanese staple – the classic hotpot – to rich, tender, braised dishes such as Chairman Mao's red-braised pork.
Sumptuous fish and meat dishes are balanced by spicy soups and aromatic salads, such as cool coriander salad with a hot-and-sour dressing, delicious noodles, succulent sweets, preserves, and relishes, along with festival dishes that reflect the grandness of Hunan's banquet cuisine, including yolkless eggs with flower mushrooms.

In a selection of classic recipes interwoven with a wealth of history, legend, and anecdote, Dunlop in Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook brings to life this vibrant culinary region. With beautiful color photography, and fascinating stories from Hunan province, Dunlop makes vivid the picture of a region, which spawned a generation of revolutionary leaders – people who were as hot and fiery as the food they loved.

Education / Elementary / Special

The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms by Richard Rose & Marie Howley (Paul Chapman Publishing)

In her seminal report of 1978, Mary Warnock (Department of Education and Science, Great Britain, 1978) suggested that as many as 20% of pupils have some form of special education needs (SEN) at some point in their school lives. Although this figure might be disputed, it has been largely agreed upon by many authorities.

Written for beginning and pre-service teachers, The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms is an introduction to working with children of a range of abilities in inclusive primary classrooms. The book draws on recent research and innovation in the education of pupils with special educational needs to provide practical examples and advice on how to meet the challenges of developing effective teaching and learning in inclusive settings.

Since the publication of the Warnock Report, there have been many advances in the understanding of pupils with SEN and the approaches to providing them with an appropriate education. However, for many teachers, these pupils con­tinue to provide a challenge and in some instances remain on the periphery of learning. The demands of learning present many pupils with difficulties that may damage their personal self-esteem to an extent that it deters them from making progress and in some instances leads to general disaffection with school. The demands of the curriculum, approaches to classroom management and organization, the expectations of teachers and other adults, and the general ethos of the school are all factors which may support or impede the learning of pupils. These issues and the responsibility of teachers to ensure their effective management form the basis of The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms.

Written by Richard Rose, Professor of Special and Inclusive Education and Director of the Centre for Special Needs Education and Research, and Marie Howley, senior lecturer in the Centre for Special Needs Education and Research, both at the University of Northampton, chapters in The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms cover:

  • Becoming an inclusive teacher.
  • Pupils giving cause for concern.
  • Teaching and learning styles.
  • Creating inclusive classroom environments.
  • Creating teaching teams.
  • Learning from pupils.
  • Looking beyond school.
  • Developing further as a professional.

According to Rose and Howley, one of the most interesting aspects of being a teacher is that new challenges appear all the time, and that this requires tenacity and professionalism in order to be successful. New teachers soon realize the need to review continually their own work, and that the benefits of gaining new understanding and knowledge are a critical aspect of their professionalism. On too many occasions in the past, pupils described as having SEN have been regarded as being a problem. Sadly, new teachers will often hear their professional peers referring to some of the pupils in their classes in negative terms. The act of teaching cannot be divorced from human rights issues and must begin with a commitment on each new teacher’s part to respect all of the pupils in their classes and try to see the world from their set of experiences.

The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms makes a call to commitment to this cause, further claiming that it can add significantly to our knowledge of how better to address the needs of pupils who have often found themselves marginalized within our schools.

Aimed at newly-qualified teachers and students approaching the end of their training courses, The Practical Guide to Special Educational Needs in Inclusive Primary Classrooms is a practical and accessible text designed as an introduction to help teachers begin their careers in special education. Coming out of Great Britain, it provides a fresh perspective for those on the near side of the ‘pond.’ With advice on building positive attitudes, developing specific teaching strategies and adapting a personalized teaching approach, the book helps teachers build upon their earlier training in both practical and reflective ways.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Tchaikovsky: A Listener's Guide by Daniel Felsenfeld, with 2 CDs (Unlocking the Masters Series: Amadeus Press)

He wrote one of the most popular works ever penned, the Nutcracker.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a composer of sublime music, an accomplished fabulist and fantasist whose work was rooted in personal torment. His melodies are exquisite, but the true power of this composer lies in his creativity, his boldness, his sense of inner voice. Tchaikovsky's musical universe – "a place full of fantastical characters, wild obsessions, an endless supply of gorgeous melodies (and inner melodies), and enough weird experiments to fill ten books of this exact sort," as author Daniel Felsenfeld describes it – is unveiled in his new book, Tchaikovsky.

Felsenfeld, a prolific composer and writer himself, takes readers on a tour of some of the ‘Little Russian’s’ most beloved works, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, the 1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet, Symphonies Nos. 4 and 6 ("Pathetique"), the Serenade for Strings in C Major, and his Violin Concerto.

Tchaikovsky is a series of blow-by-blow listening sections matched to the music. In nontechnical prose Felsenfeld guides readers, illuminating the edges and fine points of these magical compositions. He invites musical novices and experts alike to experience anew Tchaikovsky's musical universe, "where beauty triumphs, sadness overwhelms, fancy flourishes, and delight is palpable and defiant."

From the twee delight’ of the Nutcracker, to the ‘bold, elegiac beauty’ of the Serenade for Strings, to the ‘puckish dash’ of the Violin Concerto and the ‘overt heart-on-sleeve anguish’ of the Romeo and Juliet Overture, Felsenfeld provides commentary. The book, from the Unlocking the Masters series, includes two full-length Naxos Records CDs.

Tchaikovsky gives interested but potentially uninitiated listeners the tools they need to listen to Tchaikovsky's music and to become more comfortable with classical music overall.

Entertainment / Television / Puzzles & Games

Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs by Ken Jennings (Thorndike Press Large Print Nonfiction Series: Thomson Gale)

One day back in 2003, Ken Jennings and his college buddy Earl did what hundreds of thousands of people had done before: they auditioned for Jeopardy! Two years, 75 games, 2,642 correct answers, and over $2.5 million in winnings later, Jennings emerged as trivia’s undisputed king. Brainiac traces his rise from anonymous computer programmer to nerd folk icon. But along the way, it also explores his newly conquered kingdom: the world of trivia itself.

Jennings, had always been minutiae-mad, pouring over almanacs and TV Guide listings at an age when most kids are still watching Elmo and putting beans up their nose. But trivia, he has found, is centuries older than his childhood obsession with it. Whisking readers from the coffeehouses of seventeenth-century London to the Internet age, Jennings in Brainiac chronicles the ups and downs of the trivia fad: the quiz book explosion of the Jazz Age; the rise, fall, and rise again of TV quiz shows; the nostalgic campus trivia of the 1960s; and the 1980s, when Trivial Pursuit again made it fashionable to be a know-it-all.

Jennings also investigates the shadowy demimonde of today’s trivia subculture, guiding us on a tour of trivia hotspots across America. He goes head-to-head with the blowhards and diehards of the college quiz-bowl circuit, the slightly soused faithful of the Boston pub trivia scene, and the raucous participants in the annual Q&A marathon in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, “The World’s Largest Trivia Contest.” And, of course, he takes readers behind the scenes of his improbable 75-game run on Jeopardy!

But above all, Brainiac is a love letter to the useless fact. What marsupial has fingerprints that are indistinguishable from human ones? What planet has a crater on it named after Laura Ingalls Wilder? What comedian had the misfortune to be born with the name 'Albert Einstein'? Jennings also ponders questions that are a little more philosophical: What separates trivia from meaningless facts? Is being good at trivia a mark of intelligence? And is trivia just a waste of time, or does it serve some not-so-trivial purpose after all?

… Sprinkling trivia questions throughout his first book, the former computer programmer is a charmingly self-deprecating guide to the subculture of esoterica as he relates how he answered his first trivia question about the Wright brothers at four and made his chops on the ego-driven college quiz bowl circuit; confides how he mastered the ‘tricky’ Jeopardy! buzzers; bonds with professional trivia writers; and describes being bested by the puzzler "Most of this firm's seven thousand seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year" (Jennings answered FedEx; H&R Block is correct). You don't have to be a couch potato to answer this: what's an eight-letter word for a highly entertaining, fast-paced read that demystifies "America's most popular and most difficult quiz show" while pondering how trivia is a cultural phenomenon that offers a tidy alternative to life's messiness as well as instant camaraderie between people from different walks of life? – Publishers Weekly
… This book provides a behind-the-scenes look at this holy grail of trivia contests. Jennings, perhaps the most famous Jeopardy! winner of all, completed a record 74-game winning streak over a six-month period in 2004, shortly after the five-game limit was lifted. Steeped in the world of trivia, he offers an in-depth history of the young sport, with its roots in English pub contests, the quiz shows (and accompanying scandals) of the 1950s, and the collegiate quiz-bowl circuit, where nerds reign supreme. Jennings informs and astounds us and manages to cram in enough fun facts to keep any trivia nut happy. – David Siegfried, Booklist

Uproarious, silly, engaging, and erudite, Brainiac is an irresistible celebration of nostalgia, curiosity, and nerdy obsession – in a word, trivia.

History / Americas / African Americans

The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown by Tim Hashaw (Carroll & Graf)

Vital to the formation of English-speaking America was the voyage made by some sixty Africans stolen from a Spanish slave ship and brought to the young struggling colony of Jamestown in 1619. It was an act of colonial piracy that angered King James I of England, causing him to carve up the Virginia Company’s monopoly for virtually all of North America. It was an infusion of brave and competent souls who were essential to Jamestown’s survival and success. And it was the arrival of pioneers who would fire the first salvos in the centuries-long, African-American battle for liberation. Until now, the story has been buried by historians.

Four hundred years after the birth of English-speaking America, as a nation turns its attention to its ancestry, The Birth of Black America reconstructs the true origins of the United States and of the African-American experience.

The Birth of Black America, written by Tim Hashaw, award-winning journalist, investigative reporter and descendant of Jamestown’s first Africans, reveals the untold history of the first Africans in English-speaking America. Evidence reveals that their arrival touched off a scandal that broke Virginia's monopoly of North America thereby opening America to colonization by a broad range of political, religious, and cultural adventurers who created the thirteen colonies and the framework for the later United States. As such, the voyage that founded America was not that of John Smith aboard the Susan Constant to build Jamestown in 1607 or the Pilgrims' Mayflower in 1620, but rather the voyage taken by two pirate ships that delivered the first Africans to America in 1619. This historical account goes on to chronicle the lives of that first African American generation to 1676.

According to Hashaw, contrary to the early characterization of the first Africans as ‘crude barbarians,’ the founding fathers and mothers of African America came from an advanced, Iron Age African civilization. Sociological studies of colonial era Africans such as Lerone Bennett's Before the Mayflower, Stephen Innes' Myne Owne Ground, Douglas Deal's Race and Class in Colonial Virginia and others have dealt briefly with the first African generation and have generally concentrated on African Americans in the 18th century. The Birth of Black America for the first time identifies many of the first Africans of Jamestown by name and reveals that many of their descendants later fought in the American Revolution and helped organize the Underground Railroad to free enslaved fellow Africans. Thousands of Americans alive today descend from the first African American generation of 1619-1676.

Author Hashaw chronicles their capture in West Africa; the attack on the San Juan Bautista by two English pirate ships – the Treasurer and the heretofore unidentified White Lion – that brought them to Jamestown; their various roles in the survival of the struggling colony; their efforts to purchase liberty and subsequently establish farms and communities in Tidewater Virginia; and their reaction to the increasingly restrictive laws preventing Africans from becoming free.

Four hundred years after the birth of English-speaking America, as the nation celebrates its ancestry, The Birth of Black America reconstructs the true origins of the United States and the African American experience. It is a story as essential to our national identity as those of John Smith, Pocahontas, and Jamestown; the Dutch of New Pork; the Pilgrims of Plymouth; the Quakers of Pennsylvania; and the Catholics of Maryland.

Hashaw (Children of Perdition: Melungeons and the Struggle for Mixed America) offers a welcome variation on early America and the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Historians have long known that Africans first appeared in the Virginia record in 1619. Hashaw traces those first black Virginians back to Portuguese Angola: they were captives on a Spanish slave ship, which was attacked by two pirate vessels that eventually transported 60 or so Africans to Virginia and Bermuda. Hashaw recreates the lives some of these early African Virginians made for themselves: Benjamin Doll purchased six indentured English servants, became a plantation owner, learned to read and write, and was appointed by a white widow to serve as her attorney. Another eventually purchased African slaves. … Hashaw offers both an exciting story of crime on the high seas and a fascinating social history of 17th-century black America. – Publishers Weekly

A history that will surely temper its readers' views of early colonial America. – Kirkus Reviews

A group of black Virginia lawmakers last week announced legislation calling for a state apology for slavery... Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, Richmond Democrat and a sponsor of the resolution, said it is the right time to set an example for the nation with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown this year. – Washington Times

Buried by history for centuries, The Birth of Black America is the exciting, true story of intrigue, piracy, slavery, and freedom surrounding the 1619 birth of black America. It is high time we acknowledge this contribution to the founding of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

History / Americas / Biographies & Memoirs / Politics

Abraham Epstein: The Forgotten Father of Social Security by Pierre Epstein (University of Missouri Press)

Social Security has long been called the third rail of American politics – an unassailable institution for which we can thank Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Or can we?

Abraham Epstein was a major figure in American social reform during the first half of the twentieth century. His name and his theories appear in almost every book written on Social Security and the New Deal, but a full account of his life has never been made. Epstein's son, Pierre, now secures his legacy in Abraham Epstein telling for the first time the story of his father's role in the conception and enactment of Social Security while shedding new light on the inner workings of the Roosevelt administration.

Combining memoir and intellectual history, freelance writer Epstein takes readers behind the scenes of New Deal legislation to tell how his father's fast-moving career led him to become the real architect of Social Security – he even came up with those two words to explain his theories. A prolific journalist, founder of the American Association for Social Security, and author of numerous books, including Insecurity: A Challenge to America, Abe Epstein fought desperately with FDR to remedy the failings of the original Social Security Act – only to be cast aside by political machina­tions. Nonetheless, the exclusion did not stop him from making significant contributions to the 1939 amendments that solidified Social Security for coming generations of Americans.

In Abraham Epstein readers meet a colorful and tenacious player in the history of this critical piece of social insurance legislation – an obsessed reformer who mobilized support from the bottom up for his vision of Social Security. They also meet his family and learn of the struggles and frustrations Epstein faced in making his way in America as an immigrant Russian Jew.

All Americans who value Social Security and a dignified old age owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Abraham Epstein. This riveting, personal account of his life fills a gaping hole in the literature of the history of social insurance. I highly recommend this book. – Nancy J. Altman, author of The Battle for Social Security

This is a fascinating piece of social history about the life and times of one of the designers of Social Security. Students of the New Deal will learn much from reading it. – Dean Baker, coauthor of Social Security: The Phony Crisis

Abraham Epstein was one of the most extraordinary men I ever met. He was a rare combination of the Jewish scholar, the Madison Avenue publicist, the Broadway showman, the missionary social reformer, and the determined, persevering lobbyist. – Wilbur J. Cohen, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1968-1969

Abraham Epstein fills a major gap in the historical record, showing that Social Security is more than a technical subject about finance and actuarial statistics, that it is primarily a human idea with deep philosophical roots. In the face of today's privatization controversy, Abraham Epstein's theories have much to tell us about the current debate while Pierre Epstein's insightful narrative shows us the underlying importance of one man's indelible legacy.

History / Americas / Military / Native American

Washita Memories: Eyewitness Views of Custer's Attack on Black Kettle's Village compiled & edited by Richard G. Hardorff (University of Oklahoma Press)

The Battle of the Washita is one of the most tragic – and disturbing – events in American history. On November 27, 1868, the U.S. Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked a peaceful Southern Cheyenne village along the Washita River in present-day western Oklahoma. This U.S. victory signaled the end of the Cheyennes' traditional way of life and resulted in the death of Black Kettle, their most prominent peace chief.

Washita Memories is a documentary of the attack. It presents the combat recollections of officers, soldiers, and scouts on the one hand, and Indian survivors on the other hand. In the book, prolific author and independent scholar Richard G. Hardorff presents a broad range of views of the Washita battle with firsthand testimonies by Indians and whites of the battle that ended traditional Cheyenne buffalo culture. Eyewitnesses to the destruction of the Southern Cheyenne village included soldiers, officers, tribal members, Indian and white scouts, and government officials. Many of these witnesses recorded their memories of the event.

With Washita Memories, Hardorff's extensive research turned up firsthand accounts and oral histories of this clash of cultures on the southern plains, including oral narratives that had been handed down through Cheyenne families until they were finally recorded or transcribed. Written records consist of journal or diary entries, letters, personal accounts, newspaper columns, and official government documents. Each document is reproduced in full with an introduction and extensive annotation.

A general introduction places the campaign and its aftermath in historical context. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the Cheyenne Indians made a desperate attempt to preserve their buffalo culture from the advance of white civilization. This confrontation resulted in the subjugation of the Cheyennes, who suffered numerous calamities afterward. Their decline commenced in 1830 with the capture and desecration of the Sacred Arrows by the Pawnees. In the following six decades, the power and independence of the Cheyennes were further eroded by cholera epidemics, genocide, the extermination of the buffalo, starvation, the eradication of their political system, and finally the loss of their lands.

Hardorff provides fourteen detailed maps of the battle site and campaign routes. As he uncovers the facts of the event, Hardorff also develops the personalities of the key players, Lt. Col. Custer and Chief Black Kettle. The text also includes the impressions of individuals who visited the battlefield shortly afterward as well as the views of Indian Bureau employees.

Hardorff has assembled an important compendium of documents and maps bearing directly on Custer's attack on the Southern Cheyennes. It is personal history at its most graphic, and the compelling reports and testimony from those on both sides of the struggle will appeal at once to buffs, site visitors, and serious scholars. – Jerome A. Greene, author of Washita: The U.5. Army and the Southern Cheyennes, 1867-1869

Complementing other narrative histories of the battle, Washita Memories is a major contribution to the history of U.S.-Indian conflicts during the nineteenth century. This collection of surviving docu­ments is a one-of-a-kind primary resource allowing readers to more fully reconstruct and interpret the Battle of the Washita. The contextual information adds dimension to the individuals and events men­tioned in the documents, enriches readers’ understanding and appreciation of the recorded and oral evidence, and enhances the overall historiographic value of the resulting work.

History / Military / Australia & Oceania

Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul – Australia's Worst Military Disaster of World War II by Bruce Gamble (Zenith Press)

Barely a year after pilots of the Royal Air Force won the Battle of Britain in “their finest hour,” the little-known tropical island of New Britain was the site of the Australian Army’s darkest hour. Fourteen hundred men and six nurses had been deployed to the Southwest Pacific island in mid-1941 to fortify and defend Rabaul, capital of Australia’s mandated territories.

According to Darkest Hour, written by Bruce Gamble, retired Naval Flight Officer and former historian with the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, the bulk of Lark Force was the 2/22nd Infantry Battalion, which was equipped with World War I-vintage weapons. They were a close-knit group, mostly volunteers from Victoria. After completing their fortification of the strategic port and its two airfields, they settled into the routine of garrison duties, confident of being relieved within a year.
But the Japanese had big plans for Rabaul. It was to be the linchpin of their campaign to conquer the Southwest Pacific, providing them with a major military complex that would support future offensives against the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and possibly even Australia itself. At 2:30 A.M. on January 23, 1942, the darkest hour of the day, an overwhelming Japanese invasion force swarmed ashore.

Overrun in a matter of hours, the Australian defenders withdrew deep into the jungles of New Britain, where the unforgiving environment, the Japanese, and even fate were against them. The invasion cost the Japanese only sixteen dead and forty-eight wounded, but the toll among Australian soldiers climbed to staggering proportions. Ultimately, less than a fourth of the garrison escaped from New Britain, the rest were taken prisoner. Of that number, approximately two hundred were executed, the majority in one horrific massacre.

The worst was yet to come. Five months after the invasion, 850 enlisted POWs and approximately 200 civilian men were crowded aboard a Japanese ship for transportation to Hainan Island, off the China coast. In a twist of fate, an American submarine torpedoed the ship at 2:30 A.M. on July 1, 1942. The prisoners, locked in the holds, had no chance of escape. The sinking of the Montevideo Maru remains the worst maritime disaster in Australia’s history.

Darkest Hour follows several key individuals through their experiences in Lark Force. One is an American-born soldier, Private Jim Thurst, a musician in the renowned battalion band. Another is Lieutenant Lorna Whyte, a tireless Army nurse. Others include affable soldiers and sharp junior officers who used ingenuity to overcome numerous hardships. Special attention is devoted to the dramatic stories of the men who escaped; their accounts of survival and heroism are among the most inspiring of the Pacific War.  

Based on exhaustive research, Darkest Hour is a gut-wrenching account of courage and sacrifice, folly and disaster.

History / Americas / African Americans

Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad by Mary Kay Ricks (William Morrow)

On the evening of April 15, 1848, seventy-seven slaves attempted one of history's most audacious escapes – and put in motion a furiously fought battle over slavery in America that would consume Congress, the streets of the capital, and the White House itself. Setting sail from Washington, D.C., on a schooner named the Pearl, the fugitives began a daring 225-mile journey to freedom in the North. Mary Kay Ricks's Escape on the Pearl brings to life the Underground Railroad's largest escape attempt, the seemingly immutable politics of slavery, and the individuals who struggled to end it. All the while, Ricks, former attorney at the Department of Labor, focuses her narrative on the intimate story of two young sisters who were onboard the Pearl, and sets their struggle for liberation against the powerful historical forces that would nearly tear the country apart.

Escape on the Pearl reveals the odyssey of those who were onboard, including the remarkable lives of fugitives Mary and Emily Edmonson, the two sisters at the heart of the story, who would trade servitude in elite Washington homes for slave pens in three states. The two young enslaved women, with four of their brothers, joined the other escapees on the 54-ton schooner that was to take them to freedom. Many of the Pearl's passengers were propelled onto the Underground Railroad to avoid being sold on the domestic slave trader some call the ‘Second Middle Passage.’ This little-known trade flourished after cotton spread across the Lower South and the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1808. Planters looked to buy their slaves from owners in the Upper South – including former first lady Dolley Madison – who often divided enslaved families to reap lucrative rewards. But on that chilly April night in 1848, luck was against them. As the little schooner made its way down the Potomac to reach the Chesapeake Bay and turn north, a storm stalled the Pearl long enough for a posse of city officials, owners, and adventure seekers, who had set out in a steamboat, to find them less than halfway to their destination.

The Escape on the Pearl chronicles the growth of an interracial Underground Railroad cell in the capital, the impact of the capture on the Edmonson family – part slave and part free – and all the fugitives, the pro-slavery riot in Washington ignited by the incident, the bitter debate that consumed Congress, the trial and conviction of the ship's captains, and the coming of the Civil War and freedom for all.

The story does end well for the Edmonson sisters, later immortalized in Harriet Beecher Stowe's The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Through the efforts of the sisters' father and the northern ‘conductor’ who had helped organize the escape, an abolitionist outcry arose in the North, calling for the two girls to be rescued. Ultimately, Mary and Emily would go on to stand shoulder to shoulder with such abolitionist luminaries as Frederick Douglass and attend Oberlin College under the sponsorship of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

… of the last decades of American slavery and the country it divided. But most fascinating is her portrait of Washington, D.C., in the years before the Civil War, where North and South came together on territory where slavery was still legal, and where, for the African American residents of the city, the relative freedoms of the North and the terrors of transport to the brutal plantation slavery of the Deep South felt equally close.

… – Amazon.com

A valuable account…a moving précis of the fate of the Pearl’s people and their descendants. – Kirkus Reviews

In Escape on the Pearl, Mary Kay Ricks not only delivers the thrilling story of the largest mass escape of fugitive slaves in American History, but in recounting it she also carries us into the secret operations of the underground in the nation's capitol. … Thanks to Rick's meticulous research, long forgotten men and women speak to us again at last, from within the dark heart of American slavery. – Fergus Borderwich, author of Bound for Canaan: the Underground Railroad and The War for the Soul of America

… Her focus on one family, the Edmonsons – in particular the two enslaved sisters, Mary and Emily – deepens the reader's understanding of the tragedy of the failed escape. Ricks has done us all a favor by assuring that the story of the Pearl will not fall into the abyss of forgotten history. – Ann Hagedorn, author of Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad

… Mary Kay Ricks provides in her extensively and intensively researched book the most detailed account of the Pearl yet written. While she anchors the story in local and national contexts, she brings it to life by focusing on the role of the escape attempt in one family's continuing quest for freedom. This is a book that will appeal to anyone interested in the struggle over slavery that preceded the American Civil War. – Professor Stanley Harrold, author of Subversives: Antislavery Community in Washington, D.C., 1828-1865

A story of courage and determination, Escape on the Pearl revives one of the most poignant chapters of U.S. history. Ricks weaves together historical threads in a dramatic narrative epic with finely drawn characters personalizing a larger-than-life event. Combining extensive historical research with a gripping plot and extraordinary true-life people, Escape on the Pearl is a book that must be read, discussed, and remembered. By rescuing this little-known but influential incident, it changes the way we understand slavery, abolition, segregation, and their role in all of our nation's history. The Edmonsons, the other fugitives of the Pearl, and those who helped them can now take their place as American heroes.

History / Europe

Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Secret Past by Giles Tremlett (Walker & Company)

Spain still has its own particular set of historical ghosts. They, above all, are what make this country different. What many Spaniards have not yet learned to do, however, is love the idea of their own difference. And that is strange. Because it is precisely why so many outsiders, including this anglosajón, love them so. – from the book

2007 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica – an atrocity that killed hundreds of innocents and armed republicans alike – by the German Luftwaffe at the request of General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. This specter of atrocity (memorialized famously in Picasso's Guernica) was one of many throughout the war; but not even the republicans would remain innocent. In Ghosts of Spain, Guardian correspondent, British ex-pat, and twenty-year Madrid resident Giles Tremlett confronts the legacy of Civil War atrocities in the post-Franco, democratic Spain.

In many ways Spain exists out of time. To be sure, it is the portrait of modernity and progress, and its developments in art, medicine, food, and architecture are second to none. It is also a country proud of its traditions, whose warm, talented, welcoming people are all too eager to show off its cultural treasures: the romantic and courageous matador, Basque cuisine that is the envy of the world, the picturesque dancers and inspiring music of Flamenco. Yet beneath this veneer of cultural pride lies a deep divide over a history its people have been unable, or unwilling, to reconcile. This point is made all too clear by the country's collective silence when a new mass grave of General Franco's victims is found. A pacto del olvido, or ‘pact of forgetting,’ permeates all corners of Spanish society, young and old, on the left and right alike.

Though the history of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath are contentious subjects not many Spaniards are willing to broach, in his travels through Spain, Tremlett digs deep beneath the surface of this collective, deliberate forgetting. Drawing on the author’s twenty years of experience living in Spain, Ghosts of Spain is a revelatory. Tremlett, celebrates the willingness of Spanish people to express themselves with passion and unveils the tinderbox of disagreements that mark the country today. Delving into such emotional questions as who caused the Civil War, why Basque terrorists kill, why Catalans hate Madrid, and whether the Islamist bombers who killed 190 people in 2004 dreamed of a return to Spain’s Moorish past, Tremlett finds the ghosts of the past everywhere. At the same time, he offers trenchant observations on more quotidian aspects of Spanish life today: the reasons, for example, Spaniards dislike authority figures, but are cowed by a doctor’s white coat, and how women have embraced feminism without men noticing. 

Ghosts of Spain reveals Tremlett's considerable talents as the Guardian's correspondent in Spain. His love of the country is as impressive as the range of his interviews and travels, which have taken him to such starkly contrasting places as the interior of the royal residence of El Pardo, a roadside brothel, and a run-down part of Seville where even the police are frightened of entering . . . Enjoyable, informative, and remarkably balanced. – Literary Review

Only 30 years after Franco's death, Spain has become a different country. Many of those differences are charted with shrewd perception in Ghosts of Spain . . . Tremlett has watched Spain close up for 20 years. He can see the immensity and complexity of the change, so much hidden potential suddenly tapped. – Guardian

Tremlett is as sound on social history as he is on recent politics. Ghosts of Spain is a book of remarkable scope…carried along by the author’s enthusiasm for his subject and his determination to capture this contemporary Spanish moment. It is a quest in which he succeeds brilliantly, and he emerges as a worthy member of that band of writers, from Richard Ford and Ernest Hemingway to Gerald Brenan and Michael Jacobs, who have fallen for Iberia. Ghosts of Spain is a warts-and-all love letter from someone who hopes never to recover from the coup de foudre. – Sunday Times (London)

Ghosts of Spain is a fascinating exploration of Spain's dark past, and a scintillating evocation of the country today. Tremlett's passion for his adopted country comes through in clear and elegant prose, weaving together past and present, and lending a voice to Spain's voiceless and long forgotten.

History / Europe

The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789-1837 by Ben Wilson (The Penguin Press)

Intellectual tumult, the repression of dissent, and the rise of political and moral hypocrisy all characterized the era of British history prior to the ascent of Queen Victoria, a period that provides an eerie echoing of our own times in Ben Wilson's radical tour de force, a brilliant reworking of the pre-Victorian age.

The Making of Victorian Values is the history of an era rather like our own – a time when dissenters and rebels were hemmed in by conformists and hardheaded authoritarians, a time when a nation on the eve of global domination fretted about its future. It was, however, a period when those who argued that a British empire would be a disaster for liberty were eventually squashed by imperialists, just as those who railed against mindless materialism were in the end rolled over by industrialists and the promoters of luxury goods.

Once portrayed by Paul Johnson in his bestselling The Birth of the Modern as the years when virtue finally trumped corruption, Wilson here reveals a far more complex and compelling story – and a more engrossing and scandalous one, too. A reworking of the pre-Victorian age, The Making of Victorian Values is a history of how rebels and dissenters who argued for equality and progress were crushed by the conformists and authoritarians – and how those who railed against the materialism and capitalism were rolled over by industrialists and the promoters of luxury products for the middle class. The Making of Victorian Values begins with the libertine spirit inspired by Byron and Shelley, the revolutionaries of the Romantic age, and ends with the rise and eventual triumph of more confining middle-class values.

It is a story about hypochondriacs and cranks, dandies and killjoys, rakes and priests, advocates of free-speech and those against it – people who were made awestruck by Britain's emerging role as the economic and political powerhouse of the world, but who were also deeply anxious about the responsibilities a vast empire might require.

The Making of Victorian Values reveals an era when people were obsessed with the need to appear authentic, and yet forever had doubts about who was and who wasn't – concerns familiar to the ‘me’ age we know so well. Wilson's historical acuity allows him to make parallels between this period and our own times, and to explain why we have every reason to fear a new Victorian era.

In this stimulating cultural history, Britain starts out vulgar, drunken, plain-spoken, unruly and sexually relaxed, but ends up prim, abstemious, euphemistic, conformist and sexually repressed – a reversal that was bitterly contested at every step. British historian Wilson links the sea change to fears of French invasion, domestic revolution and the demands of a burgeoning but unstable industrial capitalism. In response to these upheavals, he contends, a Scroogeian alliance of evangelical philanthropists, secular utilitarians and free-market ideologues blamed individual moral turpitude for crime, poverty and social turmoil, insisting that only imposed values of sexual propriety, hard work, self-denial and refined manners could save society. But creeping Victorianism, Wilson notes, was resisted by populists, Romantics and those "nostalgic for the free and easy, tolerant and gregarious culture of previous generations." These resisters denounced moral reformers as snobs, joyless Puritans, bullies and champions of a hypocritical ‘age of cant.’ Wilson's heart is with these dissidents, though his head doesn't entirely reject high-minded proto-Victorian impulses. He traces the conflict through a discursive, elegantly written survey of a wide range of subjects, from quack patent medicines to aristocratic sex scandals to London theater riots. The result is an insightful portrait of a culture war that's strongly reminiscent of modern-day America's. – Publishers Weekly

Engaging... A keen, compassionate understanding of the era. – Kirkus Reviews

The Making of Victorian Values, a work of remarkable scholarship, is the dazzling American debut of one of the UK's most promising and talented historians. Wilson is heir to the great radical historians of the twentieth century, E. J. Hobsbawm and E. P. Thompson among them. He brushes aside scholarly politesse, refuses to join in unnecessary academic point settling, and possesses the sort of rare and invigorating literary gifts that bring to mind less the titles of other histories than the great works of nineteenth-century British fiction. Brilliant and provocative, The Making of Victorian Values marks the arrival onto the stage of a historian whose precocious talents cast a very long shadow.

History / World / Reference / Atlases & Maps / Travel

Historical Atlas of Exploration: 1492-1600 by Angus Konstam (Mercury Books)

On Friday the third day of August of the year 1492, at eight o'clock, we set out from the bar of the Saltes. We went with a strong sea breeze sixty miles to the southward, that is fifteen leagues before sunset; afterwards, to the southwest and south by west which was the course for the Canaries. – from the diary entry of Christopher Columbus.

In just over two months he would discover the New World.

The first voyage of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) did not mark the start of the period known as the ‘Age of Discovery,’ nor was he the first European to set foot in America. When he died he still refused to believe that the lands he found were anything other than a part of the Far East. The continent he discovered was named after another explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, and Columbus died a frustrated and broken man, spurned by the Spanish crown that had given him his golden opportunity. Despite this, of all the voyages of discovery made in the 15th and 16th centuries, that first voyage made by the Italian-born mariner is the one best remembered today. It has been hailed as a defining moment in world history, marking the end of the Middle Ages in Europe and ushering in a new era of scientific and geographical discovery.

The chain of events that culminated in Columbus's voyage began in the late 1300s, when European mariners took advantage of improved sailing craft and ventured further than they had before. As Europe emerged from the psychological restrictions of the Middle Ages, the new learning of the Renaissance emboldened a handful of adventurers to seek new horizons across the ‘Ocean Sea’. And so began the Age of Discovery. A story of intense passion, rivalry, and excitement, it is still seen as one of the greatest periods of global discovery. In Historical Atlas of Exploration, readers rediscover Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama's search for a sea route to the Indies, John Cabot's exploration of North America, and Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe. 

The book contains a wealth of information for the armchair traveler, including:

  • Comprehensive biographies of famous navigators of the age.
  • Over 200 color illustrations that capture the spirit of each era.
  • Detailed maps that chart the discovery of new worlds and their inhabitants.
  • Related timelines of dates and key events.

Historical Atlas of Exploration traces the story of the Age of Discovery by following each of the major explorers on their voyages. It shows how, in a period characterized by the Renaissance, the attitude of the explorers toward the people they came across was far from enlightened.

Recurring themes run through these accounts: greed, lust for gold, vanity, national pride, and callousness. These mingle with more admirable traits, including maritime skill, bravery, resourcefulness, and vision. More than in any other period in history, a handful of men made an impact far beyond the achievements of their fellows. Their story is one that still fascinates us in an era when transatlantic journeys are routine, and the exotic spices they sailed the world to find can be imported from those distant lands in a matter of hours.

Renowned historian and museum curator Konstam, in association with the National Maritime Museum, has produced a masterly account of exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries…. Lavishly illustrated with maps, charts, and paintings, this book includes informative chapters on the construction of ships and the navigational science of the era. Essential for all public and college libraries, this is an enjoyable book for lay readers as well as specialists. – D. Stanley Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, NY, Library Journal
A detailed look at 41 explorers who roamed the world during the Age of Discovery. – School Library Journal

Historical Atlas of Exploration contains a superb selection of contemporary illustrations and 70 detailed full color maps that follow each explorer on his travels. In this readable study, readers discover with them the wonders of the New World, the Pacific Islands, the Indies, the Spice Islands, and mysterious, colorful Asia.

Law / History / Americas / Politics

The Next Twenty-Five Years: How the U.S. Supreme Court Is Going to Make You Forget the Very Meaning of the Words Freedom, Privacy, and Civil Rights by Martin Garbus (Seven Stories Press)

Named by Time Magazine as "legendary... one of the best trial lawyers in the country," Martin Garbus has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and the highest courts throughout the nation. Newsweek, the National Law Journal and others cite Garbus as America's ‘most prominent First Amendment lawyer’ with an ‘extraordinarily diverse practice.’

In The Next Twenty-Five Years, Garbus looks to the changing of the guard in the country's highest court, presciently examining its impact on the future of our Republic. Drawing upon extensive knowledge of Constitutional law and legal precedents, Garbus defrocks the Bush administration's grip over the judiciary as an extension of its own executive powers. Looking to the gains of the New Deal and the civil rights era that ushered in a wave of social protections, expanding civil liberty and redressing legal inequalities that were first struck down with the Reconstruction Amendments, Garbus warns of the threat of an incoming ‘textualist’ bench that wishes to roll back more than a century's worth of hard-won reforms.

An ardent defender of our freedom, Martin Garbus reminds us that the Supreme Court directly affects the lives of all Americans. In the last half century, the Court has played a central role in the effort to make America a better and fairer land.... Garbus alerts us to what he sees as the current Court's undoing of much of that important work. – Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Mr. Garbus . . . argues that the ideological lock put on our federal court system in the past thirty years by the Republican right wing constitutes a clear and present danger to the basic legal and moral assumptions of a modern democratic republic. He lays out the evidence . . . and his case is sound. This work ought to be read by every voter in the country. – E. L. Doctorow

If you haven't read The Next Twenty-Five Years, you may awaken one morning and ask, ‘What happened to America?’ This is a clarion cry for every American to act before our constitutional way of life is all but a distant memory. – Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union

Martin Garbus' grasp of the importance of what is now happening to one of the greatest legal institu­tions in the world – the Supreme Court is brilliantly demonstrated in this analysis. … – Lady Helena Kennedy, member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament and author of Just Law: The Changing Face of Justice and Why It Matters

As the end of the Rehnquist court draws near and upon the announcement of John Roberts as new Supreme Court Justice, Garbus in The Next Twenty-Five Years presents a clear-eyed first account of how the coming bench may imperil the ‘living constitution’ and endanger the liberties of a generation, liberties readers may have thought were their inalienable rights.

Literature & Fiction / Classics / Greek

Pastoral Inscriptions: Reading and Writing Virgil's Eclogues by Brian W. Breed (Classical Literature and Society Series: Duckworth Publishing)

In the Renaissance, Virgil became the epitome in style and treatment of the epic form and the chief molder of the pastoral, a form which had a long life in the courtly romances and in the writings from the salons in the 18th century where mannered descriptions of poetic dialog and idealizations of nature and the rustic past became the rhetorical norm. Virgil's Eclogues represent the introduction of that new genre, the pastoral, to Latin literature. Generic markers of the pastoral in the Eclogues include not only the representation of the singing and speaking of shepherd characters, but also the learned density of the text itself. In Pastoral Inscriptions Brian W. Breed, Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, examines the tension between representations of orality in Virgil's pastoral world and the intense textuality of his pastoral poetry. The book argues that separation between speakers and their language in the Eclogues is not merely pastoral preciosity.

Rather, it shows how Virgil uses representations of orality as the point of comparison for measuring both the capacity and the limitations of the Eclogues as a written text that will be encountered by reading audiences. The importance of genre is considered both in terms of how pastoral might be defined for the particular literary-historical moment in which Virgil was writing and in lights of the subsequent European pastoral tradition.

According to Breed, there are three primary areas in which Pastoral Inscriptions aims to contribute to the understanding of the Eclogues. First, it traces unexplored implications of voice both as a representational strategy that is a generic marker for pastoral and as a critical metaphor, with special reference to Virgilian studies, where issues related to speech have formed a coherent field in which interpretation and questions of ideology have been extensively debated. Second, it examines how similarities and differences between speaking and writing are manifested in the Eclogues, which leads to the conclusion that Virgil's pastoral, rather than simply violating a generic norm of naive orality, in fact uses speech as the point of comparison for exploring both the capabilities and the limitations of writing as the vehicle for its relationship to its audiences. And finally, it considers the relevance of these issues to the generic ideals of pastoral, as they can be defined both for Virgil's own day and subsequently, and to the evolving place of literature in the Roman society.

To accomplish these goals, Chapters 2 to 7 are in the first instance thematic studies, each of them focused on an essential generic issue for pastoral and based on readings of individual poems or groups of related poems from the Eclogues book. A final chapter serves as a general conclusion. Taking this thematic approach, the discussion proceeds with equal disregard for the order in which the poems appear in the book and for other traditional ways of defining the relationships between the poems, such as ‘architectura’ schemes and hypothetical reconstructions of the poems in their order of composition. Every reading of the Eclogues in effect plots and re-orders the book, no matter what line of argument or of temporal development it follows. And so Breed offers his own without apology, while acknowledging that in this setting it is not possible to address every issue or to offer close reading of all ten Eclogues in their entirety. Breed’s focus is specifically on the forces of intertextuality and intratextuality that challenge the unity of speaker and voice and on the tension between the promise voice holds of connecting language to a source, human or otherwise, and the ever-present reality of disjunction.

Chapter 2 discusses Eclogue 2 and Eclogue 8. These two poems deploy voice as the vehicle for the dramatic representation of character, and they have historically succeeded in convincing readers of their mimetic fidelity, creating the impression that a Corydon or a Damon is a real person. But, at the same time, the disjunction between speakers and their voices, as, for example, in Corydon's imitations of the Theocritean Cyclops or the performance of a female voice by the character Alphesiboeus, is a source of ambiguity with regard to the fundamental question of ‘who speaks?’ These poems emphasize the pastoral theme of erotic longing as loss of control, which extends to include the loss of control over one's language. Uncertainties about speech and about who controls meaning in these poems stand in contrast to the view of representation as impersonation that goes all the way back to Plato. Such a ‘narratological’ view relies upon a hierarchy and upon the clear control of one speaker by another, and that control lies especially with the author. While there are certainly hints that such a system could be applied to the Eclogues, it in the end falls short. In its place Eclogue 2 and Eclogue 8 emphasize the fictionality of all pastoral voices, whether those of characters or authors, and the impossibility of assigning final control of the text to any single, unitary voice.

Chapter 3 of Pastoral Inscriptions turns to Eclogues 3, 5, and 7, the amoebean Eclogues. The amoebean singing contest is the formal essence of pastoral as a genre that idealizes dialogue, responsiveness, and orality in general. Without denying that this is the ideal, this chapter explores ways in which textuality also contributes to pastoral's self-definition in these poems. It describes features of the text that point to the fact that pastoral was always a phenomenon of books, meant to be encountered by readers. In particular, a pastoral inscription, in this case a song actually written out on a tree in Eclogue 5, is examined as representative of how the Eclogues delineate specifically pastoral functions for textuality. Chief among these functions is the definition of the generic identity of pastoral through sketching its history in textual terms.

Chapter 4 focuses on Eclogue 6 and its narrative technique, which embeds voice in layers of formal complexity. The ecphrastic-style narration effectively makes the voice of Silenus' song absent. But at the same time the poem finds other ways of projecting the reality of the voice as sound within the fiction. This striving for reality effects climaxes in the presence of direct speech at the centre of Eclogue 6. A voice that seems to be Silenus' and the voice of Pasiphae emerge and appear to bypass all the narrative layering of the poem. This chapter argues that this gesture is relevant to the Eclogues' many images of a history for the genre of pastoral, as the possibility of recovering that original voice becomes an image of the search for the origins of pastoral itself. There is a specific Theocritean precedent for this in Idyll 7, in which a song about a song about a song leads, perhaps, to an original scene of pastoral voice. Eclogue 6 also uses the phenomenon of echo to picture pastoral as a song tradition that leads to Silenus' performance, the source of which, however, remains absent; despite the fact that Virgil's readers have substantial knowledge about the textual sources for Eclogue 6.

This concern with tracing the elusive point of origin is continued and expanded in Chapter 5, the subject of which is Eclogue 1. As the introduc­tion to the Eclogues book and to the new genre of Roman pastoral, the poem represents in effect two competing histories for pastoral in the form of two alternative models for understanding the relationship between the text and the past. Connection to an authorizing source in the past in the form of aetiology balances separation from the source in the form of echo. At the same time a further duality, the ‘two voices’ of Tityrus and Meliboeus, mirrors ideological conflict and critical bifurcation. In recent years criticism of the Eclogues and of pastoral has tended to look to dialogue for resolution of conflict. But the way in which pastoral ideals of dialogue and responsiveness are unfulfilled in the world of Eclogue 1 might rather make us question whether our response as readers can be modeled on those ideals. Thus, this chapter argues that neither Tityrus nor Meliboeus alone provides a complete aetiology for pastoral. The failure of dialogue between them is evidence that the Eclogues do not simply idealize the spoken at the expense of the written, but are rather always measuring the differing capabilities of writing and speaking against one another.

Chapter 6 turns to Eclogue 10 and the generic importance of place. It does not do so in order to elaborate on the traditional idea of an imaginary pastoral landscape or a ‘spiritual’ Arcadia, but rather looks to define the processes of location and relocation that produce pastoral fictions. Movement in geographical terms (from Sicily to Arcadia) works alongside the procedures that locate Eclogue 10 last in the physical space of the Eclogues book and that relocate Gallus the speaking character from, presumably, his own texts to this one. As in some sense a replay of the song of Daphnis in Theocritus 1, Eclogue 10 balances an aetiological tradition with disjunctiveness. In the new space that the poem creates, a new articulation of pastoral aetiology can be enacted by blending fictions of performance and concrete reflections of textuality. The movement is, I argue, largely in the direction of textual fixedness, in the form of Gallus writing his Amores on the Arcadian trees and in the form of the poem itself, cast as a song for Gallus that Lycoris can read. As in Eclogue 5, the memorial function of the pastoral inscription replaces the presence of a person and a voice with the absence of the written word, but also proclaims the capacity of the text to affect an audience in their role as readers.

That tension between presence and absence in the reading process carries over into Chapter 7, which focuses on Eclogue 4. In Eclogue 4 the monologic narratorial voice in performance represents perhaps the ultimate fiction of presence in the collection, in that it seems to provide a direct encounter with the voice of the author himself. The representation of time is a key to this, as the narrative creates the picture of an enunciative moment in terms of location both in history (Pollio's consulship) and in literary history (through allusions to Catullus, Theocritus, Aratus, Lucretius, and others). While readers may be led strongly to identify the narrative voice of the poem with the presence of the historical author, by now familiar gestures towards textuality prevent that, even as they suggest the fundamental integration of this voice with the others of the collection.

In conclusion, Chapter 8 considers more generally the implications of the preceding discussions for reading the Eclogues, whether by a historically localizable audience in Virgil's own day or in the present. In the end, Pastoral Inscriptions argues that the interaction between the oral and performative fictions of the pastoral world and the textuality of Virgil's writing is a controlling force in the Eclogues' relationship to their audiences. According to Breed, the Eclogues ultimately do not rely upon a naive idealization of voice as the unique vehicle for presence and human encounter at the expense of reading and writing. These poems make no concession that writing is inert and dead or that real, oral performance is the only way to engage society with issues of ideological contestation. Although fictions of voice in pastoral tend to point, Breed says, more to absence than to presence, the Eclogues uphold the fundamental truth, which characterizes the best of the pastoral tradition in all periods, that reading can be an encounter with the humanity of others.

In Pastoral Inscriptions, Breed brings out the problematic position of a literary form that is primarily oral (aural) so that the songs refer to myth in a rustic, idealized natural setting. What he manages to show is how the Greek pastorals, which are for the most part short, lyric poems, were translated into a Latin ethos.

Pastoral Inscriptions is part of the Classical Literature and Society Series from Duckworth with Series editors Michael Gunningham & David Taylor. This challenging new series considers Greek and Roman literature primarily in relation to genre and theme. It also aims to place writer and original addressee in their social context. The series will appeal to both scholars and students, and to anyone interested in our classical inheritance.

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

The Book of Irish American Poetry: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present edited by Daniel Tobin (University of Notre Dame Press)

What does it mean to be an Irish American poet? The Book of Irish American Poetry answers this question by drawing together the best and most representative poetry by Irish Americans and about Irish America that has been written over the past three hundred years. The question is not merely rhetorical, claims editor Daniel Tobin in the introduction, for it raises the issue of a certain kind of imaginative identity that rarely, if ever, has been adequately explored.

This is the first major anthology of Irish American poetry. It collects, for the first time, the work of over two hundred Irish American poets, as well as other American poets whose work enjoins Irish American themes. The anthology contains exemplary poetry of the ‘populist period’ of Irish American verse (in particular the work of poets such as John Boyle O'Reilly), with the work of those Irish Americans who have made an indelible imprint on American poetry: Robinson Jeffers, Marianne Moore, Louise Bogan, John Berryman, Thomas McGrath, John Montague, Robert Creeley, Frank O'Hara, Ted Berrigan, Charles Olson, Galway Kinnell, X. J. Kennedy, and Alan Dugan, among others. The Book of Irish American Poetry also includes distinctive poems by contemporary Irish Americans whose work is most likely to stand the test of time: poets such as Tess Gallagher, Alice Fulton, Brendan Galvin, Marie Howe, Susan Howe, Billy Collins, Michael Ryan, Richard Kenney, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. The poems in this collection, according to Tobin, professor of writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College, cut across the broad spectrum of American poetry and place Irish Americans within every notable school of American poetry, from modernism to confessionalism and the Beats, from formalism to imagism, and from projectivism to the New York School and Language poets.

The Book of Irish American Poetry recovers many poets who have been forgotten and places already notable figures in American poetry within the context of a distinctively Irish American tradition.

"... a prodigious and remarkable work of literary scholarship. This anthology is far more than an original work of scholarship: it is a major act of recovery, which rescues from oblivion the work of important writers who have been the creators of the Irish American literary consciousness. Professor Tobin has achieved the invention of a whole new field. With publication of this anthology, we will finally understand both the scale and importance of Irish American poetry. – Eammon Wall, Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Irish Studies, University of Missouri-St. Louis

More than two hundred poets from the eighteenth century to now are represented in The Book of Irish American Poetry, some resurrected and restored, others seen anew from the perspective of Irish American studies, still others deservedly anthologized for the first time. Poet and editor Daniel Tobin demonstrates beyond question the length, depth, strength, and variety of Irish American poetry. His anthology – complete with historical chronology, biographical and explanatory notes and extensive bibliographies – is the first accurate map of a new territory. – Brendan Galvin, author of Habitat: New and Selected Poems: 1965-2005

An informed and informing intelligence, Dan Tobin casts a wide net across the centuries of poetic engagement with Irish and American interaction. The result of his extraordinary labor is an indispensable collection – often surprising in its discoveries and juxtapositions, always illuminating of crucial themes. – Charles Fanning, Professor of English and History and Distinguished Scholar, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

… if the purpose of a good poetry anthology is to introduce readers to unfamiliar writers and reacquaint them with neglected masters, this one must be judged a raging success. Tobin does provide a meaningfully convivial context in which to engage, in close proximity, the work of Galway Kinnell, Billy Collins, and Paul Muldoon. They're good company, and there's plenty more where that came from. – Kevin Nance, Booklist

The Book of Irish American Poetry breaks new ground in the field of Irish American literary scholarship by collecting for the first time the work of over two hundred Irish American poets. This important work of literary scholarship will dominate the field for years to come.

Literature & Fiction / Poetry / Fantasy / World Literature

Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings by Abolqasem Ferdowsi, with a foreword by Azar Nafisi, translated by Dick Davis (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Series: Penguin Classics)

Marvelous . . . It represents the best of Persian culture. – Azar Nafisi, from the foreword

Iran is now part of the Arab world, but it wasn't always so; even today many Iranians refer to themselves as Persian, after the name of their country before the Arab invasion of Persia during the seventh century. Among the classics of world literature, perhaps the least familiar to English speakers is the Shahnameh by Abolqasem Ferdowsi (940–1020), the preeminent poet in the Persian language and one of the greatest poets of his time in any language.

However, with the success of Hosseini's The Kite Runner, in which the main character reads the classic story aloud to his servant friend, the Shahnameh has become increasingly well known. This prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi between the years 980 and 1010, tells the story of pre-Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion. The sweep and psychological depth of the Shahnameh is nothing less than magnificent. In its pages are unforgettable moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief.

In her foreword to the new translation, Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, explains the importance of the Shahnameh by explaining that, due to the multiple invasions of their country, Persians "basically do not have a home, except in their literature, especially their poetry." Furthermore, she goes on to write, "We do not appreciate the Shahnameh only for its Persianness, but also because it shapes and articulates those aspects of Persian culture that transcend time and space, defying limitations of history, ethnicity, nationality, and even culture."

In tracing the roots of Iran, Shahnameh initially draws on the depths of legend and then carries its story into historical times, when ancient Persia was swept into an expanding Islamic empire. Dick Davis, the great modem translator of Persian poetry, has revisited that poem, turning the finest stories of Ferdowsi's original into an elegant combination of prose and verse. This national epic of Persia is illustrated throughout with beautiful Persian lithographs.

Western readers should welcome this "huge panorama of conflict and epic adventure," announced as the fullest prose translation yet of the 11th-century national epic of Persia (now Iran). One (many, actually) of the world's great stories, in immensely attractive and reader-friendly form. Essential reading. – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Davis’s wonderful translation will show Western readers why Ferdowsi’s masterpiece is one of the most revered and most beloved classics in the Persian world. – Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
The Shahnameh has much in common with the blood-soaked epics of Homer and with Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy. . . . The poem is, in a sense, Iran’s national scripture, and Ferdowsi Iran’s national poet. …Davis brings to his translation a nuanced awareness of Ferdowsi’s subtle rhythms and cadences. . . . His Shahnameh is rendered in an exquisite blend of poetry and prose. – Reza Aslan, The New York Times Book Review
Grand . . . To imagine an equivalent to this violent and beautiful work, think of an amalgam of Homer’s Iliad and the ferocious Old Testament book of Judges. . . . Thanks to Davis’s magnificent translation, Ferdowsi and the Shahnameh live again in English. – Michael Dirda, The Washington Post  

For the first time in English, in the most complete form possible, readers can experience the Shahnameh in the same way that Iranian storytellers have lovingly conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand years. Robert Irwin, author of The Arabian Nights Companion, has described Davis's all new translation of the Shahnameh as "an awesome achievement...the fullest, most spirited and accessible translation of what is Persia's national epic and one of the greatest classics of world literature." As a window to the world, it belongs in the company of such literary masterpieces as the Alahahharata of India, Dante's Divine Comedy, the plays of Shakespeare, and the epics of Homer – classics whose reach and range bring whole cultures into view.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature

Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo by Isabel Roche (Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures Series: Purdue University Press)

After two hundred tumultuous years characterized by a vacillation between equally intense periods of love and hate, Victor Hugo (1802-1885) remains the frequent subject of headlines. His life and his work continue to fascinate, both in France and abroad. The musical version of Les Miserables had a sixteen-year run on Broadway – the second longest in Broadway history – and Disney's 1996 animated version of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which sparked a heated polemical debate in France about liberties of adaptation, enjoyed such commercial success that it was followed by a sequel in 2002.

Victor Hugo's lasting appeal as a novelist can be attributed in large part to the unforgettable characters that he created, yet the most criticized and least understood element of his fiction has been character. Isabel Roche's Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo seeks to unravel this paradox through a comprehensive reevaluation of the creation and role of character in Hugo's five major novels: Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), Les Miserables (1862), Les Travailleurs de la titer (1866), L'Hornme qui tit (1869), and Ouatrevingt-treize (1873).

With an approach that combines attention to genre, narratology, and reader-response criticism, as well as consideration of Hugo's own critical and philosophical writings, Roche, professor at Bennington College specializing in the nineteenth-century French novel, explores the ways in which Hugo's novels eschew the realist notion of the representable individual in favor of a new – and surprisingly modern – kind of fiction in which character serves a conceptual, nonpsychological function.

As Roche discusses in the introduction to Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo, it is important to ask ourselves why Hugo still matters. The one thing that he has never ceased to do – as a human being, as a public figure, and as an author – is to have an effect upon people. The key to this hold lies in many ways in the universality and ultimate accessibility of the message that Hugo and his works project. Indeed, Hugo's staying power owes much to the adaptability of this message, to its ability to be condensed into core, transmittable truths. Yet as scholars studying Hugo's poetry, theater, and novels have endeavored over time to uncover, nothing about Hugo's body of work is uncomplicated. For behind the immediate accessibility and the famous use of antithesis lies a world of gray in which spiritual, moral, and political clarity are far from given. In no element of Hugo's corpus is this perhaps more true than for his novelistic efforts, as each work – from the 1823 Han d'Islande to the 1874 Quatrevingt-treize – is built upon Hugo's own uneasy and continuous ideological grappling with the fundaments of time, history, individual and collective destiny, and the nature of progress.

Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo undertakes a reevaluation of an aspect of Hugo's fictional enterprise that has long been overlooked, discounted, or denigrated: that of character. For while Hugo's lasting appeal as a novelist can in large part be attributed to the unforgettable characters that he put into place, from Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Frollo, to Jean Valjean, Gilliatt, Gwynplaine, and Gauvain, character has paradoxically been the most criti­cized element of both Hugo's fictional and dramatic writings.

According to Roche, modern critics have drawn attention to the important distinctions between Hugo's fiction making and nineteenth-century realism, recognizing that Hugo's novels are derived from a mixture of modes, and that his characters are not psychological, but rather archetypal or stock figures more typical of the romance genre or melodrama.

Yet despite this trend toward separating Hugo's characters from a context that was not their own, judgments based on pervasive realist aesthetics have at times persisted.

Using Hugo's own very particular interest in how his read­ers understood his novels as its starting point, Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo explores the ways in which Hugo, from his earliest conception of the novel, eschews what would come to be known as the realist notion of the representable individual in favor of a new kind of fiction in which character serves a conceptual, nonpsychological function. In isolating and observing similarities both among Hugo's characters and among his major novels, Roche works to develop a clearer understanding of the foundation of character for Hugo, which resides not in its true social or historical believability but in its ability to project an ideological discourse on history and society as a whole and in its ability to convey universal truths.

The book is divided into three defining and organizing parts – Appearance, Reappearance, and Disappearance – each of which concentrates on an aspect of character that allows readers to flesh out its ultimate meaning in Hugo's fictional universe. The first part, Appearance, traces in Chapters 1 ("The Arche­type Transformed") and 2 ("Hugo Novelist") the important link between Hugo's novels and the romance and melodramatic traditions, outlining the presence of archetypes, archetypal situations, myth, and melodramatic devices and elements in Hugo's fiction. Hugo's connection to his readers is additionally explored in Chapter 2. For as Hugo repeatedly affirms in his own commentary, he has a keen interest in the (ideal) reader envisioned for his works.

The second part of Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo, Reappearance, discusses of the concept and practice of type character in the nineteenth century and looks specifically in Chapter 3 at Hugo's very particular conception of type ("Hugo and Type Character"). Chapter 4 ("Character as Template") categorizes the primary reappearing types in Hugo's novels, organizing them into three major categories based on their level of characterization, their accessibility to readers, and their complexity. Chapter 5 ("Reconfigurations") first examines the principle of continuation in Hugo's fiction. For while the worlds of these novels – which take readers from medieval France, to post-revolutionary France, to Restoration France, to late seventeenth-century England, to revolutionary France – were never unified by Hugo in the way that Balzac formalized the Comedie humaine or in the way that Zola preconceived Les Rougon-Macquart, the striking structural and contextual similarities among them invite readers nonetheless to read them in light of each other. Yet in the end, Hugo's novels do not so much cumulatively add up to a cohesive whole as repeatedly retell the same story, each building upon similar thematic and ideological concerns. This philosophy of repetition and continuation was acknowledged by Hugo near the end of his career. This method suggests that Hugo already viewed each subsequent work in his career as an opportunity to attempt to rework and clarify the organizing principles of its predecessor. The second part of the chapter turns to the significance of the presence of two other character patterns in Hugo's fiction: historical figures and collective characters.

Part 3 of Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo, Disappearance, works to uncover in Chapters 6 ("The Poetics of Death") and 7 ("Decoding Social Exclusion") the significance of the spectacular, self-imposed deaths of Hugo's heroes that conclude the novels, examining the ways in which the collapse of the archetypal model on which Hugo's characters are based is further complicated by their progressive dispossession, depletion, and erasure from the texts. These deaths point to one of the major stakes in Hugo's fiction, as they are rooted in the characters' fundamental inability to maintain connections to other characters or to escape from exclusion (be it personal or societal) through the formation or forging of new connections. Each of Hugo’s novels, while promulgating the possibility of moral ascendancy, simultaneously and repeatedly puts into question through the characters' exclusion the imperatives of not only the historical and social world depicted, but of history and society as a whole.

Chapter 7 concludes this exploration of death in Hugo's novels with a study of the contexts into which Hugo's characters are placed, examining specifically the heroes' relationships to their surroundings. Vertical spatial organization is in the end valorized as the descents and ascents of the Hugolian hero operate in direct relation to his ultimate depletion from and transcendence of the social world of the novel into the vast – and unrepresentable – expanses of the universe.

According to Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo, on the largest level, this process of simultaneous reduction and expansion is at the core of both Hugo's conception of character and of his conception of the novel, as he decentralizes and destabilizes in his fictional works the notion of character as representation in a way that is ultimately very modern. While Hugo shares with the realist novelists of his century a sharp critical eye for the limitations and failings of the contemporary social world, his characters are in no way sociologically or psychologically determined; on the contrary, by composing them in a manner that draws attention to what is ‘unreal’ about them, by making them the means – and not the ends – for the transmission of a larger message, Hugo liberates his characters from the finite boundaries of the text itself.

[Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo] will make an important contribution to Hugo studies and, more broadly, to our understanding of nineteenth-century French fiction. The author has addressed a critical question that earlier scholarship had failed to ask: why does Hugo develop character as he does? – Kathryn M. Grossman, author of The Early Novels of Victor Hugo and Figuring Transcendence in "Les Miserables"

Larger than life by design – not by flaw – Hugo's characters provide readers, as this study elucidates, with fertile ground for inquiry into larger and essential questions about character-making in nineteenth-century French fiction and about the ways in which character generates meaning. Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo provides a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the complexities and nuances that characterize both Hugo's novel writing and the nineteenth-century French novel, and will thus appeal to specialists and nonspecialists alike.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / Environment

Bedrock and Paradox: The Literary Landscape of Edward Abbey by David M. Pozza (Peter Lang Publishing)

Rarely does an author so thoroughly entertain and anger his readers as Edward Abbey (1927-1989) does. Bedrock and Paradox written by David M. Pozza, Assistant Professor of English at Lock Haven University, focuses on Abbey's aesthetic and philosophy of paradox as they are reflected in his writings, and explores his literary technique of blurring traditional genres regarding fiction and nonfiction.

The works of Edward Abbey present a challenge to those who try to classify his writings. Placing a generic label on any one of his books does not do his writing justice, but often places it in a narrow category which sorely misses its magnitude. Abbey is not entirely a nature writer, although for years his collections of essays, which are primarily nonfiction, have been labeled as such. These particular works and the novels, to a lesser extent, certainly focus a great deal on environmental issues, with Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang serving as prime examples. However, Abbey's collections of essays do not confine themselves solely to environmental topics. They cover topics ranging from philosophy and politics, to art, travel, and personal experience. Furthermore, these collections of essays cannot exactly be considered works of nonfiction either. Many pieces contained within them, such as "The Moon-Eyed Horse" (Desert Solitaire) and "God's Plan for the State of Utah" (The Journey Home), could be just as accurately labeled fiction. Abbey creates characters and dialogue, symbols and settings, and steps outside of an essentially journalistic vision in a way that gives a broader perspective to his writing.

Abbey is a complex and controversial figure in American culture, and he has had a profound impact on twentieth-century western American literature. However, his works are often, unfortunately, overshadowed by his legendary and larger-than-life persona. Some regard him as an extreme environmentalist. Others have found him intolerably vulgar. Still others see in him an iconoclastic gadfly. Many of his followers espouse his moral philosophy and envi­onmental views. But too few serious critics have carefully considered Abbey as writer and philosopher. Many of his critics have tried to label or classify the man and his writing, but most have sorely overlooked Abbey's intellectual and creative genius. His views, as presented in his writing, are often critical of contemporary society. He provokes and annoys. But his writing also incites thought, which is not always an easy undertaking. In "A Writer's Credo," Abbey writes: "The majority of American writers today have chosen passive nonresistance to things as they are . . . When they do speak out on matters of controversy they attack not the evils of our time but fellow writers who still insist on complaining". Abbey argues that it is the writer's duty to be contentious and irascible when it comes to society's failures: "The writer worthy of his calling must be more than an entertainer: he must be a seer, a prophet, the defender of life, freedom, openness, and always always! [italics Abbey's] – a critic of society".

In his works of fiction, Abbey will adopt, from his own ex­periences, people, places, events, and ideas that existed or have occurred in their author's life, making these fictional writings partially autobiographical or nonfictional. However, the autobiographical influence of his fictional works often varies. For example, The Fool's Progress clearly draws more on autobiographical material than The Brave Cowboy or Good News, which include fewer of Abbey's lived experiences. Additionally, Abbey's writings frequently contain contradictory messages where opposing ideas and actions exist within the same structure. An idea may be introduced once, only to be refuted later by a contrasting one, and characters may act in ways that are inconsistent with their previous demeanor. Abbey's aesthetic and philosophy are largely built upon a model of contradiction – a blurring of genres and internal conflicting messages. His writing poses challenges to readers and critics who expect a ‘clear-cut’ classification of generic distinctions and seamless testaments of his beliefs and doctrines; however, his writing which blurs specific classification and presents contradictions reflects more accu­rately the human experience in which opposing and contradictory forces are at play while maintaining their oppositional nature.

Those who read Abbey will find great value in his philosophy and aesthetic. They will find an author provoking them into thought through paradox and contradiction, stepping beyond the bounds of fact and fiction and moving them one step closer toward self-directed, independent thought. Abbey's writing is a model of contrariness and contradiction, displaying marked resistance to former notions regarding literary genres and an attraction to philosophical paradoxes. Until now, no study has sufficiently treated the full complexity of Abbey’s writing throughout his career – making Bedrock and Paradox not only original, but important.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Stalking Ivory: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda (Jade del Cameron Mysteries Series: New American Library)

Suzanne Arruda, a former zookeeper turned science teacher and freelance writer, impressed critics and readers alike with her debut, Mark of the Lion, the first book in her Jade del Cameron mystery series set in 1920 British East Africa. The Denver Post raved, “It's storytelling in the grand manner, old-fashioned entertainment with a larger-than-life heroine far ahead of her time.”

Now, Arruda offers her highly anticipated follow-up, Stalking Ivory, which again features American adventuress Jade del Cameron.

On a photography assignment in the northern territory of Mount Marsabit, Jade and her friends Beverly and Avery Dunbury hope to capture on film the area's colossal elephants. Instead they discover the mutilated remains of four elephants and one man. The authorities suspect Abyssinian poachers and raiders in search of ivory and slaves. But Jade has her own suspicions, which are only heightened when she discovers a cache of German rifles hidden in a nearby cave. And when Jelani, the Kikuyu boy accompanying her, is captured by slave traders, Jade must join forces with handsome American pilot Sam Featherstone to rescue one of her own. The stakes have become both personal and deadly, and Jade in Stalking Ivory realizes that she must risk everything to expose the mastermind behind a plot of terror.

In Arruda's spunky second throwback adventure to feature Jade del Cameron (after 2006's Mark of the Lion), the former WWI ambulance driver travels to British East Africa in 1920, to photograph and write about elephants. En route to an elephant sanctuary in remote Mount Marsabit – accompanied by her friend Beverly; Bev's husband, Lord Avery Dunbury; and a 12-year-old Kikuyu boy, Jelani, whom Jade is mentoring – Jade discovers the corpses of four elephants, slain for ivory, and the dead King's African Rifle soldier who evidently tried to stop the poachers. Jade swears to find the killers. Are hostile Abyssinian raiders to blame, or could it be safari leader Harry Hascombe, who's leading a suspicious group of German tourists? Handsome American pilot Sam Featherstone provides romantic interest. The resilient Jade will charm readers as she asserts her independence in rugged Africa. – Publishers Weekly

Reminiscent of the work of Alexander McCall Smith and Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, Stalking Ivory thrills readers with its action and adventure, exotic landscape, and memorable heroine.

Outdoors & Nature / Hunting & Fishing

The Greatest Fly Fishing Around the World: Trout, Salmon, and Saltwater Fishing on the World's Most Beautiful Waters by R. Valentine Atkinson, with a foreword by Nick Lyons (The Lyons Press)

Grab a pole and head off to experience what fishing is really like in countries such as Iceland, Ireland, England, New Zealand, and Argentina. Along the way, meet famous fishermen and diehard locals whom you’ll feel like you’ve known for years.

The Greatest Fly Fishing Around the World is an anthology covering the sport of fishing from all parts of the planet. With over 300 full-color photographs, readers are taken along on thrilling trips fishing for trout, salmon, tarpon, bonefish, and permit.

Respected writers anthologized in The Greatest Fly Fishing Around the World have captured the ambience of these waters, the personalities of the people who fish them, and the appeal of the fish that swim them. Revered figures from fly fishing's literary hall of fame, such as Zane Grey and Roderick Haig-Brown, keep company with some of the best-known contemporary writers, including Tom McGuane, David Profumo, and John Gierach. The book also includes fishing tales from Clive Gammon, Brian Clarke, Ernest Schwiebert, Leonard M. Wright, Jr., Peter Kaminsky, J. W. Hills, Neil Patterson, Russell Chatham, Art Lee, Nick Lyons, David Street, Verlyn Klinkenborg, and Bill Currie. Through their words, and through internationally renowned photographer R. Valentine Atkinson's images, readers travel to the vast wilderness of Alaska, the tweedy moors of Scotland, the languid heat of the Caribbean, the chalk streams of southern England, the rocky grandeur of South Island in New Zealand, among other breathtaking locales.

The fly-fishing destinations were chosen for the interest and variety of their fishing, and for the impact and beauty of their landscapes from quietly gurgling streams and secretive river pools to the turquoise seas off the Florida Keys.

There can be little debate that Valentine Atkinson ranks as the premier photographer of fly-fishing. – The Denver Post
The stunning photos and informative text really give you the feel for fishing in a different country. – Canada's Outdoor Sportsman magazine

With color photographs from the highly individualized lens of Atkinson, and twenty-three stories from contemporary and classic fly-fishing writers, The Greatest Fly Fishing Around the World captures the visual and literary facets of the sport that continues to inspire fly-fishing enthusiasts, sweeping readers along on a worldwide angling adventure. A celebration of the ancient art, as well as an encapsulation of every fly-fisherman's dreams, The Greatest Fly Fishing Around the World is a unique and essential addition to the library of every fly-fishing enthusiast.

Philosophy

The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions: A Philosophical Adventure with the World's Greatest Thinkers by Nicholas Fearn (Grove Press)

Who am I? What do I know? How should I live?

These three seemingly simple questions have formed the basis of all studies of philosophical thought, from Plato to John Locke. But, what we think about ethics, our place on the planet, and the possibility of self knowledge and communication are bound up in our history and culture. The old formulas to answer basic questions no longer apply. We need new answers – what do living philosophers have to say about life's greatest questions?

In The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions, Nicholas Fearn consults the world's most distinguished philosophers, among them, John Searle, Bernard Williams, Daniel Dennett, Martha Nussbaum, and Peter Singer, for their insights on the human condition.

Fearn measures the current class of thinkers with the masters like Hume and Kant, attempting to understand how the theories we've inherited from nearly three thousand years of thought stand, and how – due to scientific advancements and societal changes – philosophical ideas have evolved.

His conclusions: There are fewer gurus, fewer giants, but a greater division of labor in an increasingly specialized field. Fearn's book moves from pop culture to The Republic, as the greatest contemporary thinkers argue, variously, that Doomsday is near and the language of Babel exists. They believe that free will, identity, and consciousness are not what they seem; that the difference between virtue and wickedness can be a matter of sheer luck.

Grappling with the concept of the self, some, like Oxford's late-great Bernard Williams, make claim for its material properties, while others focus on how consciousness forms. MIT's Noam Chomsky showed, through his work in linguistics, that human minds are not blank slates at birth. The Swedish wunderkind Nick Bostrom conceives of selfhood as a digitalized state and asserts that the entire human race is on the brink of a ‘trans-human’ existence, with a 20 percent chance that we are already computer simulations. Berkeley's John Searle developed the now famous Chinese Room thought experiment, which computer scientists use to show how machines can mimic human knowledge. Tufts professor Daniel Dennett believes that artificial intelligence can never reproduce innate faculties such as intuition. And in the area of ethics, Princeton's Peter Singer predicts that our vegetarian descendants will regard us as participating in a ‘crime of stupefying proportions’ for eating meat. It seems that the topics – free will and fate, minds and machines, bodies and souls, meaning and understanding – haven't varied through millennia, though our world has.

…This book – concisely organized into three parts titled "Who Am I?" "What Do I Know?" and "What Should I Do?" – reviews not just the latest work on these age-old questions, but also the journey between ancient and modern philosophy. …. – Publishers Weekly

[A] small marvel. – The Economist

Admirable, both in style and content – Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

Illuminating, profound, and witty. The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions is an intellectual feast. Read it and be challenged to think differ about who and what you are. – Raymond Tallis, author of On the Edge or Gem

A readable, challenging guide to the frontiers of thinking. – Robert Hanks, The Independent

Highly readable and wide-ranging exploration…. The writing is informative, witty, and illustrated by vivid anecdotes. – Mark Vernon, The Times Literary Supplement

A serious yet readable overview of philosophy in modern times. – Mary Furness, The Spectator

As part travelogue and part philosophy, The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions  provides a fascinating tour of where philosophy is today and what it can tell us about where we are headed as humans. In this serious, challenging, and remarkably accessible book, Fearn consults with thinkers from around the world to create an impressive survey of recent thought. Moving deftly from pop culture to the writings of Plato, The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions is an entertaining guide to the current state of the philosophical art.

Politics / Activism / Biographies & Memoirs

Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist by Marisa Handler, with a foreword by Rebecca Solnit (BK Currents Series: Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

You can change the world; you can accept the challenge injustice issues. It won't make your life easier, but it might make it worth living or let you live with yourself. – Rebecca Solnit, from the foreword

As a 12 year old in apartheid South Africa, Marisa Handler wasn't planning on becoming an activist. But her course was set on a day in a South African school yard when she defended her parents vote for the Progressive Federal Party – the only legal party in the apartheid state that advocated equality for all. Despite the condemnation of her schoolmates, young Marisa stood her ground, declaring that, ‘a black person could be president,’ of South Africa.

Handler in Loyal to the Sky tells how her family emigrated to Southern California shortly thereafter. At first, the teenager thought that the egalitarian myth of America was also its reality. Her gradual realization that injustice existed even in this more open, democratic society spurred a commitment to activism that would take her to Israel, India, Nepal, Ecuador, Peru, and all over the United States. Handler describes her work as an organizer and journalist and sketches portraits of the people she has encountered and the sometimes-harrowing events that have changed and shaped her. Tracing her own evolution as an activist, her story crisscrosses the globe, examining current sociopolitical issues from apartheid and racism to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, corporate globalization, and the wars of the Bush administration.

Loyal to the Sky offers an insider’s perspective on what drives the global justice movement, its strengths and contradictions, and why it has become such a powerful force for change. She demystifies direct action and describes how she came to advocate a spiritually based, nonviolent activism. “I have come to believe”, she writes, “that every one of us is an activist, and that every action taken in the name of our interconnection – every action that brings us closer to ourselves, to each other, to the planet – births a better world.”

Part biography, part manifesto, Loyal to the Sky traces the arc of one woman's life and her travels across the globe – drawing readers in and showing how we all can contribute to create a better world for all.

For readers interested in liberal political activism in this new century – this is a must-read. Most entertaining are the lively descriptions of such groups as the ‘Knitters for Peace’ and the ‘Dot Commies,’ and descriptions of behind-the-scenes encounters. A deeply intelligent, absorbing call to action. – Booklist

With sumptuous, eye-opening prose, Handler takes us on a brave globe-trotting journey into the human heart of activist politics. It's a gripping ride – joyous, poignant, honest, and smart. This is a hopeful, wise book. – Christopher D. Cook, author of Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis

From apartheid South Africa to US militarism to Ecuadorian indigenous rights, Marisa Handler weaves together her fascinating search for a more caring, compassionate world. But no Kumbaya triteness here – the author takes a brutally honest look at herself, the activist community and the world. She writes with wit and beauty, preaches with passion and love. Loyal to the Sky is an affirmation that mortal humans, with all our foibles, can be powerful agents for change. – Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, Global Exchange and CODEPINK

Handler brings a unique wit, intelligence, honesty, and outsider's skepticism to an insider's view of the global justice movement. Hers is a welcome contribution to a history in the making – providing an eloquent glimpse into who we are and what we may yet become. – Antonia Juhasz, Activist, Policy-Analyst, and author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time

… From assisting Amazon Basin communities threatened by oil companies, to protesting at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Handler has put her values into action with tenacious creativity. She ably conveys the histories of places many people couldn't find on a map in a lively, moving and funny voice. … – Publishers Weekly

Loyal to the Sky is a vivid mix of personal memoir and political reportage; Handler combines a fascinating inside look at the burgeoning global justice movement with the story of her own coming of age.

Psychology & Counseling / Occupational Therapy / Recreational Therapy / Crafts & Hobbies

Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy, 3rd edition by Carol Tubbs & Margaret Drake (Slack Incorporated)

Updated and expanded into a comprehensive Third Edition, Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy emphasizes the importance of the use of crafts in therapy and rehabilitation and summarizes the current research regarding their benefits.

Carol Tubbs has expanded and renamed Margaret Drake’s Crafts in Therapy and Rehabilitation to provide basic instructions for a wide array of crafts and additional project ideas, information on populations for whom the activities might be appropriate, adaptation and grading of the activities, methods of documentation to better assure reimbursement, and examples of how these activities are relevant to common models of practice. With the focus remaining on the therapeutic aspects of crafts, the concept of ‘media’ has been added to this third edition to include creative endeavors such as expressive and technological media that are not traditionally considered to be crafts.

The selection of activities covered in Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy has been updated to reflect current community trends regarding individuals’ engagement in crafts and other creative media, while simultaneously promoting the value of an occupation-based approach to treatment, which includes the use of these media. Tips for clinical reasoning in choosing crafts are included. The book has also been updated to coincide with the AOTA’s Occupational Therapy Practice Framework.

Each craft category in Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy includes: key terms, tools and supplies, general instructions,  precautions/special considerations, therapeutic application for various populations, ways to use the activity for assessment, ways to grade, a case study, discussion questions, and related activities and ideas. Chapters include:

  1. Crafts: Defined and Defining
  2. The Case for Crafts: Justification for Use in Occupational Therapy
  3. Analyzing and Grading Activities
  4. Documenting the Use of Crafts and Other Creative Media
  5. Using Crafts and Creative Media
  6. Beadwork and Wirework
  7. Candle Making
  8. Ceramics
  9. Cooking as a Craft
  10. Electronic Media in Therapy
  11. Expressive Media
  12. Crafts From Found Materials
  13. Gardening and Nature Crafts
  14. Leatherwork
  15. Metal Craft
  16. Mosaic and Glass Crafts
  17. Needlework
  18. Paper Crafts
  19. Woodworking

The four appendices include Vendors of Materials Described, Annotated Bibliography, Completed Occupational/Activity Analysis, and Practice Framework.

According to authors Carol Tubbs, practicing occupational therapist for 20 years, associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in the School of Health Related Professions in Jackson; and Margaret Drake, who taught in three American universities and in two overseas, retired from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, the third edition of Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy is written in the hope that occupational therapy will hasten its return to occupation-based, client-centered practice. Allowing and encouraging clients to engage in creative activities is representative of the authors’ whole-person focus in that these activities are both healing in nature and unique to individual needs and interests.

Crafts are regaining popularity as a leisure pastime and some new categories have been added to this edition based on recent trends. Other information was also added or expanded to assist therapists in choosing creative occupations appropriate to clients but also manageable in terms of cost and time; in justifying use of this media professionally, from both historical and theoretical standpoints; and in reporting to payers, who understandably want the most therapeutic value for their dollar. Many older references remain – the information is historical or little changed – as do the assessment sections. Many of the assessments discussed are not currently in common use, but they demonstrate the relevance of constructive and cre­ative activities to overall ability to function.

This third edition of Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy has an Instructor's Manual available, containing student objectives, ideas for lesson plans, discussion questions, and resources for videos and other instructional materials. It also includes ideas for projects outside of class to enhance student interest in the subject.

An update of the renowned and bestselling Crafts in Therapy and Rehabilitation, Crafts and Creative Media in Therapy, Third Edition is a quick reference for occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, students, activity directors, and recreational therapists looking to increase their knowledge of the therapeutic power of crafts.

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

Time for Dying by Barney G. Glaser & Anselm L. Strauss (Aldine Transaction)

In 1963, 53 per cent of all deaths in the United States occurred in hospitals, and many others in nursing homes. That figure points up a little noted but significant trend characteristic of economically advanced nations. In so-called less developed countries, people typically die at home, at least when they die naturally, but the health practices and medical technology of Western Europe and the United States seem destined to bring about increasing institutionalization of dying in those regions.

It is safe to predict that the shift in delegation of responsibility from family to hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions yet to be invented will bring about an increasing examination of what happens as patients lie dying in those institutions – what happens not only to patients but to everyone implicated in the dying. The authors, Barney G. Glaser, research sociologist and founder of the Grounded Theory Institute in Mill Valley, California, and L. Anselm L. Strauss (1916-1996), emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco, conceive of Time for Dying as a venture in this exploration. It carries one step farther their previous examination of hospitalized terminal care in Awareness of Dying. In that book, they focused upon the consequences of who did or did not recognize that the patient was dying. In the present book, the emphasis is on dying as a temporal process; ‘awareness’ is a secondary consideration.

Time for Dying, like their preceding book, is directed at two audiences. With the goal of making the management of dying – by health professionals, families and patients – more rational and compassionate, this book is aimed first of all, at those who must work with and give care to the dying. Their discussion is, however, not simple narrative or description; it is a ‘rendition of reality,’ informed by a rather densely woven and fairly abstract theoretical scheme. The second audience for this volume is social scientists who are less interested in dying than they are in useful substantive theory. Their central theoretical concern is with the temporal aspects of work. The authors believe that the theory presented in the book may be useful to social scientists interested in areas far removed from health, medicine, or hospitals.

However swiftly some deaths may come, each takes place ‘over time,’ frequently over quite a bit of time. Since the speed of dying and the events that accompany it can vary so greatly, their focus on the temporal aspects of dying must not fail to capture this rich variation in temporality. It must not neglect, either, to note that the process of dying in hospitals is much affected by professional training and codes, and by the particular conditions of work generated by hospitals as places of work. According to Glaser and Strauss, a third important consideration in interpreting dying as a temporal process is that dying is a social as well as a biological and psychological process. By the term ‘social’ they mean especially to underline that the dying person is not simply leaving life. Unless he dies without kin or friends, and in such a way that his death is completely undiscovered his death is noticed or recorded. His dying is inextricably bound up with the life of society, however insignificant his particular life may have been or how small the impact his death makes upon its future course.

Glaser and Strauss take as the task of Time for Dying an illumination of the temporal features of dying in hospitals – as related both to the work of hospital personnel and to dying itself as a social process. They describe the organization of terminal care in hospitals; and, since dying and its ‘care’ occur over time, they focus on the temporal organization of behavior toward dying patients.

Time for Dying is based on intensive field work involving a combination of observation and interviewing at six hospitals located in the Bay Area of San Francisco. This field work was supplemented with rapid ‘check-out’ or ‘pinpointing’ field work at approximately ten hospitals in Italy, Greece, and Scotland. They chose a number of medical services at each Bay Area hospital, selected to give them maximum exposure to different aspects of dying – locales where death was sometimes speedy, sometimes slow; sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected; sometimes anticipated by the patients, sometimes unanticipated; and so on. The research at hospitals in Europe consisted primarily of interviews with the personnel. These interviews provided, as Time for Dying demonstrates, excellent data to supplement those gathered at American hospitals. Some earlier observations made at hospitals in Japan, Thailand, Malaya, the Philippine Islands, and Taiwan also provided useful data.

The use of these field work methods would have permitted extensive comparative description of terminal care on different types of medical services; but even more useful than such a rela­tively concrete analysis should be the more abstract, theoretical scheme they offer in this book. This scheme arose from scrutiny of the data, and should illustrate the data far more than a primarily descriptive comparative analysis of the medical services. The analytic scheme is discussed in Chapter II and is used in every subsequent chapter. The efficiency of the scheme allows Glaser and Strauss to claim that discernible patterns of interaction occur predictably, or at least nonfortuitiously, over the course of hospitalized dying, and that explicit knowledge of these patterns can help the staff in its care of dying patients.

Time for Dying is the third of a series of four monographs resulting from a six-year research program financed by the National Institute of Health, Nursing Research Branch; the first was Awareness of Dying. The second monograph, by Jeanne Quint, was The Nurse and the Dying Patient. Another volume, The Discovery of Grounded Theory, explains the underpinning for this work. The final monograph will be a long case study about a single patient, in which the theory presented in the previously published monographs is applied.

This series provides a theoretical scheme based on in-depth research. By making the progression of death more understandable, Time for Dying should improve the experience of those dying in hospitals as well as the work life of caregivers, making the psychological aspects of dealing with the dying more rational.

Religion & Spirituality / Bible & Other Sacred Texts / Theology / Reference

Old Testament Theology: Israel's Faith by John Goldingay (IVP Academic)

Old Testament Theology: Israel's Faith is the second of John Goldingay's three-volume Old Testament Theology. The award-winning first volume, Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel, followed the story line of the First Testament, developing its narrative theology. This volume finds its point of departure in the Prophets, Psalms and Wisdom literature, where readers encounter a more discursive thinking that is closer to traditional theology.

Whereas the first volume followed the epochal divine acts of Israel's ‘gospel’ narrative, here Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, sets out the faith of Israel under the major rubrics of God, Israel, the nightmare, the vision, the world, the nations, and humanity.

Never one to sacrifice a close hearing of a text for an easy generality, or to mute a discordant note for the sake of reassuring harmony, Goldingay gives us an Old Testament theology shot through with the edge-of-the-seat vitality of discovery. Grounded in study of specific texts, through straightforward analysis, Old Testament Theology: Israel's Faith wrestles with biblical texts to provide a systematic theology.

This second volume of Goldingay's immense theological project will open up and enhance many fruitful theological conversations in the years to come. – Terence E. Fretheim, Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota

Exhaustive in scope and mature in articulation, John Goldingay has assembled a vast reflective account of what the Old Testament says about God, Israel, humanity and creaturely existence. . . . Comprehensive and engaging. …The fruit of a lifetime of teaching and reflection, exhaustive in scope and mature in articulation... – Christopher Seitz, professor of Old Testament and theological studies, University of St. Andrews
Not just for scholars, all clergy will benefit greatly from reading this magnificent book. – Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
I expect the book to become a valuable resource for a wide range of people. – Dr. David L. Baker, Tyndale House, Cambridge
Its intellectual rigor offers grist for the academic mill, its theological depth rich food for the weekly pulpit. – Robert L. Hubbard Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Literature, North Park Theological Seminary

In a style that cleaves closely to the text, Goldingay offers up a masterful exposition of the faith of the First Testament, one born of living long with the text and the refined skill of asking interesting questions and listening with trained attention.

Old Testament Theology: Israel's Faith, like the first volume, will be welcomed and discussed by scholars. The book is intended for use by undergraduate and graduate students and professors of theology, librarians and researchers, and pastors. Its fresh presentations of theological motifs, as well as its engagement with contemporary contexts, enriches the treasury of insights this series makes available to preachers and communicators of the Old Testament.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference / Old Testament

Ruth: Concordia Commentary by John R. Wilch (The Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture Series: Concordia Publishing House)

The book of Ruth tells the story of a destitute foreigner who came to believe in Israel's God and was welcomed into God's people. By grace, she was privileged to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

The Commentary Ruth focuses on the themes of God's covenant; his loyalty, reflected in the lives of his faithful people; the theology of missions and evangelism; Boaz as a redeemer prefiguring Jesus Christ; and the promise of eternal life. Written by John R. Wilch, professor emeritus at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario, where he taught exegetical theology (1980-1999), the Ruth Commentary's Christocentric hermeneutic elucidates the rich Gospel message of Ruth and its relevance for the Church today.

The Concordia Commentary: A The­ological Exposition of Sacred Scrip­ture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text. This series of works will cover all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, interpreting Scripture as a harmonious unity centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Every passage bears witness to the Good News that God has reconciled the world to himself through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

The Commentary affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and au­thority of Scripture as it emphasizes ‘that which promotes Christ’ in each pericope. Authors of volumes in the series demonstrate sensitivity to the treasury of language, imagery, and themes found throughout Scripture, including such dialectics as Law and Gospel, sin and grace, death and new life, folly and wisdom, demon possession and the arrival of the kingdom of God in Christ. Careful attention is given to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Further light is shed on the text from archaeology, history, and extra-biblical literature. Interpreting the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments through the person and work of Jesus Christ, the commentaries affirm the inspiration and authority of Scripture, offering an original literal translation, textual notes on the Hebrew and Greek texts, and theological exposition to help readers understand and appreciate the distinctive themes of Holy Scripture. Finally, Scripture's message is applied to the ongoing life of the church in terms of ministry, worship, proclamation of the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and confession of the faith.

Wilch's international perspective and decades of service as a pastor and professor have given him unique insights into the message of the often neglected book of Ruth. Ruth, like the other landmark works in the Concordia Commentary series, will assist pastors and teachers in faithfully presenting the message of that specific book.

Religion & Spirituality / Comparative Religion

Inside World Religions: An Illustrated Guide by Kevin O'Donnell (Fortress Press)

Do for others what you want them to do for you. – Jesus

That which you hate do not do to your neighbor. – Rabbi Hillel

What you do not wish done to yourself, do not to others. – Confucius

Let none of you treat your brother in a way he himself would dislike to be treated. – Qur’an

Do not do to another what you would not like to be done to yourself, that is the gist of the law...  – Mahabharata

Love and devotion, celebration and service, sacred texts and treasured truths, paths of righteousness and peace, inspired founders and faithful adherents – the vast and varied paths on which humanity has searched out ultimate mystery and meaning are opened to readers in Inside World Religions.

Covering six major traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, together with shorter sections on Zoroastrianism, Baha'i, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto – the volume brings these various faiths to life by delving beneath the surface to discover what they mean for those who follow them.

Intended for the novice inquirer, Inside World Religions includes brief accessible chapters that ask, how, for example, does belonging to a particular faith affect people's relationships, their celebrations of special occasions, and the way they live their daily lives?

The author, Kevin O'Donnell, Anglican priest and religious educator, follows the same pattern as he explores each religion: Beginnings, First Steps, The Goal, Teachers of the Way, Treasury of the Heart, Paths to Peace, Awe and Wonder, Journey into Mystery, Making Merry, and Today. Illustrated throughout with full color photography, Inside World Religions invites readers on a fascinating journey of encounter and self-discovery. O'Donnell asks readers to join in a spiritual exercise, personalizing the insights of each tradition into one's own journey of faith. He does not dissect each tradition, however. Instead he looks at each faith from a more personal angle, asking what it means for a person to belong to such a faith.

The long and varied human encounter with ultimate meaning is on continual display in the ways and words of the world's many great living religious traditions, beautifully and poignantly captured in Inside World Religions. In it he living faith of millions of people in the world's most important religious traditions is portrayed with sympathy and intelligence.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age

Power of the Soul: Inside Wisdom for an Outside World by John Holland (Hay House)

Power of the Soul provides some of the tools to help readers tap into one of the most powerful forces in the Universe – their own souls. Step by step, it guides readers to follow the soul’s path and help them reconnect with their natural spiritual abilities. The work helps readers develop a conscious awareness of the spiritual laws that help mold life, and the individual soul force that is in each person.

Written by John Holland, internationally renowned psychic medium and teacher, Power of the Soul helps readers dismantle some of the barriers created by the outer self to unveil the true inner self and enable readers to break free from some of the psychological restrictions that have prevented them from identifying and realizing their full potential. Within these pages, readers learn how to:

  • Discover and access their spiritual faculties.
  • Open themselves to a guiding higher consciousness.
  • Remove psychological and spiritual blocks.
  • Find the true self as they understand the nature and function of the soul.
  • Create and control their own path.
  • Use spiritual energy to heal themselves and others.
  • Enhance the body, mind, and soul to live a life of harmony.

Power of the Soul is a transformational book, and it is more than just a guide . . . it is a way back to living from the inside out. It will help readers in no matter what walk of life to follow their own spiritual journeys. According to Holland, “Once your spiritual gifts are recognized, opened, and used, you’ll see yourself and the world in a way you never thought possible!”

Religion & Spirituality / Science & Religion / Atheism

God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J Stenger (Prometheus Books)

Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science sits on the sidelines and quietly watches this game of words march up and down the field. Despite the fact that science has revolutionized every aspect of human life and clarified our understanding of the world, somehow the notion has arisen that it has nothing to say about the possibility of a supreme being, which much of humanity worships as the source of all reality.

In God, physicist Victor J. Stenger, emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, points out that if scientific arguments for the existence of God are included in intellectual, not to mention political discourse, then arguments against his existence should also be considered. In God, Stenger argues that science has advanced sufficiently to make a definitive statement on the existence – or nonexistence – of the traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. He invites readers to put their minds and the scientific method to work to test this claim.

He considers the latest Intelligent Design arguments as evidence of God’s influence in biology. He looks at human behavior for evidence of immaterial souls and the possible effects of prayer. He discusses the findings of physics and astronomy in weighing the suggestions that the universe is the work of a creator and that humans are God’s special creation. By using five principle conditions for evaluating extraordinary claims, Stenger treats the existence of God like any other scientific hypothesis, stipulating that God should be detectable by scientific means, given that he is supposed to play a central role in the operation of the universe and in the lives of humans. Stenger provides hypothetical examples in which scientific research could in principle demonstrate conclusively that God exists.

By examining the studies done by reputable institutions on the power of prayer; the writings of philosophers who have puzzled over the problem of God and of good and evil; the efforts of biblical scholars to prove the accuracy of holy scriptures; and the work of biologists; geologists, and astronomers looking for clues to a creator on Earth and in the cosmos, Stenger determines that all these human endeavors fail to demonstrate the existence of a divine creator.

After evaluating all the scientific evidence, Stenger concludes that beyond a reasonable doubt the universe and life appear exactly as we might expect if there were no God. Life on Earth looks just as it should look if it were not designed, and indeed, the universe looks and operates just as it should if it appeared spontaneously from nothing.

Stenger also concludes, after reflecting on the long history of misrepresentation and manipulation of scientific fact regarding God, that our world actually is worse off as a result of religious faith. “The certainty and exclusiveness of the major monotheisms make tolerance of differences very difficult to achieve, and these differences are the major source of conflict,” he writes. Instead of holding on to ancient superstitions, Stenger in God stresses the importance of finding meaning internally rather than externally and reminds us that beauty and inspiration can indeed arise from secular sources.

This book stands alone among many other publications of similar vein, in that it is written from a standpoint of a professional scientist whose arguments, besides their clear logic, are bolstered by facts of science. Stenger convincingly shows in this book that a combination of factual evidence with a simple logic makes the belief in the supernatural entities untenable. A valuable addition to every school library. – Mark Perakh, professor of physics emeritus, California State University, Fullerton, author of Unintelligent Design

Both casual readers interested in what science has to say about religion and scholars looking to acquaint themselves with the latest science-based arguments against God will find much in this book worth their attention. – Taner Edis, associate professor of physics, Truman State University, author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science and Science and Nonbelief

…The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means) but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book. – Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion
Marshalling converging arguments from physics, astronomy, biology, and philosophy, Stenger has delivered a masterful blow in defense of reason. God is a potent, readable, and well-timed assault upon religious delusion. It should be widely read. – Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

Many authors claim that modern science supports the proposition that God exists, but very few authors have directly challenged this assertion, until now. Stenger in God shows convincingly not only that there is no evidence for the existence of God, but scientific observations actually point to his nonexistence.

Science / Biological Sciences / Outdoors & Nature / Evolution

Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds by Luis Chiappe (Wiley-LISS)

With nearly 10,000 living species, birds are today's most diverse group of land animals. Birds share hundreds of anatomical features with various dinosaurs and many behavioral similarities inferred from fossils.

The last few years have witnessed an unparalleled rate of discoveries of early birds and their dinosaurian predecessors. These worldwide discoveries in recent years have confirmed that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Written by a recognized authority in the field, Luis M. Chiappe, Director of the Dinosaur Institute and Curator of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Glorified Dinosaurs provides a comprehensive summary of these discoveries and addresses the fascinating topic of how modern birds evolved from dinosaurs akin to the celebrated Velociraptor.

Containing more than 220 lavishly colored illustrations, animal and skeletal reconstructions, photographs of fossils and fossil localities, maps, charts, and cladograms, Glorified Dinosaurs highlights the main characters in the long evolutionary saga of birds and discusses their physical changes in the context of functional advances. Glorified Dinosaurs includes colored photographs of fossils and fossil localities, many of which have been rarely reproduced elsewhere. Likewise, much of the research examined in this book is new to the public and has not been previously published in book form.

Glorified Dinosaurs covers such topics as:

  • Mesozoic birds.
  • The ancestry of birds and the origin of flight.
  • The bizarre Mononykus and its kin.
  • The earliest bird Archaeopteryx.
  • Rahonavis and other long-tailed birds.
  • The first short-tailed birds.
  • The great Mesozoic radiation.
  • Hesperornis and its relatives.
  • Early predecessors and the beginnings of modern birds.

Glorified Dinosaurs celebrates the unfolding of the story as it tracks the recent and unparalleled rate of discoveries of early birds and their dinosaurian predecessors from all over the world. Glorified Dinosaurs explores these recent discoveries in depth, demonstrating how modern birds evolved from fearsome meat-eating dinosaurs.

Exquisite. wonderful, engaging – what more can I say about a book that rivets the scientist and will be enjoyed by amateur and professional ornithologists/ naturalists the world around. Chiappe has beautifully summarized in words, high-quality photographs, and excellent reconstructions the rich record of fossil birds that has exploded in the last decade. His book is simply a masterpiece presenting front-line, detailed paleontologic research in a very readable and accessible manner. – Patricia Vickers-Rich, PhD, Director, Monash Science Centre, Monash University, Melbourne

Glorified Dinosaurs is an exciting and thorough survey of the revolutionary discoveries in the field of avian origins. It will be a great read for birders, paleontology buffs, and evolution enthusiasts. – Richard O. Prum, PhD, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Peabody Natural History Museum, Yale University, New Haven

At last, an authoritative, detailed summary of the origin of birds! It reviews 100+ years of a major scientific controversy, especially the explosion of new findings that have characterized the last fifteen years. Chiappe has been in the middle of this recent revolution in our knowledge, and no one else could have written this book. – Joel Cracraft, PhD, Lamont Curator and Curator-in-Charge Department of Ornithology
American Museum of Natural History New York

In my opinion, Glorified Dinosaurs by Luis Chiappe, an internationally renowned specialist in paleornithology, is a superb and comprehensive review of our present knowledge on the origin and early (Mesozoic) evolution of birds and their flight. The book will certainly be well received by the international scientific community of paleontologists and biologists. University lecturers will be delighted to have such rich and up-to-date material on this important topic at hand in one book for their courses. The still-disputed problem of avian origins and early evolution has become very popular in recent years. This book will help to settle the controversies and will fill a gap in the book shelves of a wide audience, finally. – Peter Wellnhofer, PhD, Bavarian State Collection of Paleontology and Historical Geology, Munich

Chiappe's evolutionary approach highlights the main characters in the long evolutionary saga of birds and discusses their physical changes in the context of functional advances.

Glorified Dinosaurs is an invaluable resource for every paleontologist, ornithologist, evolutionary biologist, geology and life sciences student and professional. It is also exciting reading for people interested in dinosaurs and avian evolution and for all those with a general interest in the topic.

Science Fiction & Fantasy / Teen

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (ROC)

You have blundered into a corner of a very old story....

In Ysabel 15-year-old Ned Marriner is spending six weeks with his father in France, where the celebrated photog­rapher is shooting Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence. Both father and son fear for Ned's mother – a physician with Doctors Without Borders, currently assigned to the civil war-torn country of Sudan. This is not the first time she's placed herself in harm's way to help alleviate suffering – and Ned has inher­ited her courage.

Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets – a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer's son, Ned, to lose himself while his father works.

But the cathedral isn't the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day – and it's calling out to Ned.

While exploring the cathedral, Ned meets Kate Wenger, a geeky but attractive American exchange student with a deep knowledge of the area's history. And even Kate is at a loss when she and Ned surprise a scar-faced stranger, wearing a leather jacket and carrying a knife, deep inside the cathedral. "I think you ought to go now," he tells them. "You have blundered into a corner of a very old story...."

In this ancient place, in Ysabel, where the borders between the living and the long-dead are thin, Ned and his family are about to be drawn into a haunted tale, as mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, changing – and claiming – lives.

Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) departs from his usual historical fantasies to connect the ancient, violent history of France to the present day in this entrancing contemporary fantasy. … In the ancient baptistry, the pair are surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters – both ancient and modern – will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The reigning master of the form. – The Washington Post Book World

The international best-selling and award-winning author Kay brings his extraordinary imagination to Ysabel, a tale of mythic figures in contemporary times.

Sports / Biographies & Memoirs

Off the Record: A Reporter Unveils the Celebrity Worlds of Hollywood, Hip-Hop, and Sports by Allison Samuels (Amistad)

Off the Record is a behind-the-scenes look at the boldfaced names of Hollywood, hip-hop, and sports. Featuring celebrities such as Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Lil' Kim, Tyra Banks, Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O'Neal, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Jackson, Angela Bassett and Denzel Washington. Off the Record goes beyond the red carpet with stories that capture who they are as people – sometimes vulnerable, sometimes inspiring, but always human.

Moved by a Barbara Walters interview that she saw as a young girl, Allison Samuels began her journalism career as a college student, with an impromptu interview of Francis Ford Coppola while visiting the film set for Gardens of Stone. She has since evolved into an award-winning correspondent for sports and entertainment at Newsweek. Samuels's stories have received national attention, including her cover feature on Kobe Bryant's alleged rape charges, and a dialogue-provoking cover story on the state of black women in America that featured then rising international superstar Beyoncé and controversial former daytime talk-show host Star Jones.

Samuels begins Off the Record with memories of her early career when she thought she wanted to be a part of Hollywood, rather than write about it. Preparing a made-to-order water each morning for then Creative Artists Agency Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz, dropping off six-figure Cheers checks for Ted Danson, delivering Friends scripts to Courtney Cox, and blowing up one hundred plastic dolls for a Steven Spielberg meeting made Samuels rethink her career. So she returned to journalism where she became immersed in a rapidly growing world of hip hop music filled with burgeoning superstars, such as Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and Suge Knight.

… The challenges of fame, success and journalism are touched upon, though only superficially. While the issue of race is given attention, the collection's main draw is the insider observations and anecdotes, which range from telling (in response to being told that an article featuring him is no longer front-page material, a precomeback Eddie Murphy asks, "But don't they remember?") to bizarre (Mike Tyson showing off the letters JFK Jr. wrote him during his incarceration). – Publishers Weekly
As a reporter with Newsweek, Samuels' coverage of stars in sports and entertainment has more than the requisite adoration of entertainment journalists. In this behind-the-scenes look at celebrity coverage, Samuels reveals as much about her techniques and thoughts on celebrity journalism as about the subjects themselves. As a black reporter, often covering black celebrities, she reveals the drawbacks and benefits of her sex and race – the disdain of white executives and the access afforded to lower-level behind-the-scenes workers from secretaries to janitors. …Readers interested in celebrity journalism will find this an appealing look at the stars and one reporter who covers them. – Vanessa Bush, Booklist

A rumination on her career so far, Samuels’ writing in Off the Record is insightful, funny, and oftentimes moving.

Sports / Racing / History

Masters of the Turf: Ten Trainers Who Dominated Horse Racing's Golden Age by Edward L. Bowen (Eclipse Press)

The early 20th century was called the Golden Age of Sport in America with such heroes as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey grabbing headlines. And alongside them on the front page were horses such as Man o' War, Colin, and Gallant Fox. The men who trained these champion racehorses became icons in their right, shaping the landscape of American horse racing. In Masters of the Turf, well-known racing historian Edward L. Bowen takes an in-depth look at the lives of this elite group of trainers, including the legendary Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, who trained two Triple Crown winners in the 1930s among a host of other champions for the powerful Belair Stud and Wheatley Stable; the father-son team of Ben and Jimmy Jones, who helped Calumet Farm dominate racing in the 1940s; and turn-of-the-century masters James Rowe and Sam Hildreth.

Masters of the Turf focuses on trainers of Thoroughbred racehorses. In selective narrowing of that focus, Bowen concentrates on great horsemen of the early decades of the twentieth century. In addition to those listed above, the book also covers H. Guy Bedwell, John E. Madden, Max Hirsch, James ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons, Preston Burch, H.J. ‘Derby Dick’ Thompson, and Hirsch Jacobs.

The longevity of horsemen is evidence that the backstretch has certain salubrious aspects. The combination of required outdoor presence, physical activity, and the pulse-exciting gamut of victory and defeat seems to promote long lives. While there are sad exceptions, most of the subjects herein had lengthy lives, regardless of whether concepts of healthy living guided their lifestyles away from the barn.

Each of the trainers celebrated in Masters of the Turf was active during the 1920s. In several cases that decade represented the conclusion of a career, while in the case of, say, Hirsch Jacobs, the 1920s was a roaring beginning. Thus, the book is a collection of horsemen whose lives crossed paths within that one decade but whose careers on American racetracks spanned a century, from the 1870s to the 1970s.

Certainly, the great trainers in Masters of the Turf stood the test of time and also answered the challenge of change. Sometimes the change resulted from altering their own place within the structure; sometimes it was a change in structure itself. The ten chapters in the volume address horsemen of common excellence built upon divergent backgrounds.

Ed Bowen ... hits the bull's eye once again... – Joe Hirsch

.. one of the finest turf writers. – Boston Globe

What enthralls the crowds are masters, man and horse – Masters of the Turf. The book is for fans of horse racing’s golden age.

Transportation / Railroads

The Hocking Valley Railway by Edward H. Miller, with a foreword by Thomas W. Dixon Jr. and an introduction by H. Roger Grant (Ohio University Press)

The Hocking Valley Railway was once Ohio's longest rail line, filled with a seemingly endless string of coal trains. Although coal was the main business, the railroad also carried iron and salt – and kept the finest passenger service in the State of Ohio. Despite the fact that the Hocking Valley was such a large railroad, with a huge economic and social impact, very little is known about it.

The Hocking Valley Railway traces the journey of a company that began in 1867 as the Columbus and Hocking Valley, built to haul coal from Athens to Columbus. Extensions of the line and consolidation of several branches ultimately created the Columbus, Hocking Valley and Toledo. This was a 345-mile railway, extending from the Lake Erie port of Toledo through Columbus, and on to the Ohio River port of Pomeroy. The history of the Hocking Valley, as with other railroads, is one of boom times and depression. By the 1920s, the Hocking fields were largely depleted, and the mass of track south of Columbus became a backwater, while the Toledo Division boomed. The corporate name has been gone for more than three quarters of a century, but the Hocking Valley lives on as an integral part of railroad successor CSX. The Hocking Valley Railway, complete with more than 150 photographs and illustrations, also documents a historic transformation in Midwest transportation from slow canal-boats to speedy railcars. The author, Edward H. Miller is retired from Hocking Valley successor CSX. This is his first book, and it has been over thirty years in the making.

I highly recommend this book because of the author's high-quality writing and completeness of research, knowledge of the region and the line, and the long years of work put into its production. – Thomas W Dixon Jr., Founder, Chairman, and President, Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society

The first comprehensive history of the Hocking Valley Railway ever published fills a gap in the literature. Miller has written the definitive history of this railroad. – Richard Francaviglia, author of Hard Places: Reading the Landscape of America's Historic Mining Districts

Historians and railroad enthusiasts will find much to savor in The Hocking Valley Railway, the story of this ever-changing company and the managers who ran it. The Hocking Valley Railway has been gone since 1930. Because of the time that has passed, interest in the line among railroad enthusiasts and modelers has been minimal; probably no one who ever worked for the HV is still living. For this reason, a good, detailed, well-researched history of the line is needed, and Miller has fulfilled that need extremely well in this volume. The history of the Hocking Valley before the C&O merger is interesting and deserves this new treatment, which will be beneficial to anyone interested in C&O history, in the railroads of Ohio, or indeed in Ohio history, since railroads have played such an important part in every aspect of life where they have existed.

Travel / Europe / Guidebooks

National Geographic Traveler: Greece, 2d Ed. by Michael Gerrard (National Geographic Traveler Series: National Geographic)

National Geographic Traveler: Greece looks at the best sites in Greece ranging from ancient Minoan ruins on Crete to Athens's newest neighborhoods. The author, Mike Gerrard, is an award-winning travel writer who first visited Greece in the late 1960s and fell in love with the country at first sight. He has been back every year since, sometimes several times, and has written guides to Athens, the Greek mainland, the Greek islands, Crete, and Corfu.

Guided tours in the book include a walk in Rhodes's old town, a boat ride around Mount Athos, and a drive in northern Evvoia. Readers will find cutaway illustrations of the Acropolis; sidebars on Greek drama, and the Olympic Games; and practical travel tips including where to find the best tavernas and the finest gold jewelry. National Geographic Traveler: Greece also covers Athens, Mani peninsula drive, Delphi, Sponge fishing and Kalimnos, Mount Athos boat trip, Corfu, Attica drive, Kos's Castle of the Knights of St. John, Meteora and the medieval monasteries, Santorini, Mount Olympus, Birdwatching on Crete, Macedonia and Thrace, Karpathos, and a Samaria Gorge walk.

The book features in-depth site descriptions and background information, more than 250 vivid color photographs, 32 detailed, full-color maps, mapped walking and driving tours, specially commissioned artwork, and complete visitor information, including a selection of hotels, restaurants, shops, activities, and entertainment.

Divided into three main sections, National Geographic Traveler: Greece begins with an overview of the country's history and culture. Following are nine area chapters with featured sites selected by Gerrard for their particular interest. Each chapter opens with its own contents list. The regions and sites within the areas are arranged geographically. Some areas are further divided into smaller areas. A map introduces each region, highlighting the featured sites. Walks and drives, plotted on their own maps, suggest routes for discovering an area. Features and sidebars give detail on history, culture, or contemporary life. The final section, Travelwise, lists essential information for travelers – pre-trip planning, special events, getting around, and emergencies.

According to National Geographic Traveler: Greece, Greece is many things – first it is the Parthenon, standing above Athens, a monument to the country's ancient history. Greece is also deep blue skies and turquoise seas, and white houses stacked like cubes on a hillside above a harbor, enticing modern tourism to the islands. But Greece is much, much more than those things. It is a country with a unique culture, a unique language, a landscape that is among the least explored in Europe, and a people who are the most hospitable in the world.

Of course many visitors have time to see only the tourist centers and can't explore off the beaten track. Even so, they will find that special quality encountered nowhere but in Greece. No one's heart can fail to be lifted on arriving in the country's busy capital and finding the skyline dominated not by sky-scrapers but by a building over 2,500 years old – and not merely old but one of the most beautiful ever constructed. The first sight of the Parthenon, no matter how familiar it is from postcards and prints, fills visitors with excitement.

According to Gerrard, a brief visit allows visitors to take in some of Greece's other highlights, such as the treasures of the National Archaeological Museum (one of the very few national museums that does not contain foreign works), and a trip to the ruins of Delphi, one of the most magical sites in the world. A leisurely cruise through the islands might take visitors to the Old Town of Rhodes and the harbor that the Colossus of Rhodes allegedly bestrode, and to the reconstructed ruins of the Royal Palace at Knossos on Crete, the center of the mighty Minoan civilization. There will also be time for one of the greatest and simplest pleasures that Greece has to offer – a delicious meal outdoors at the water's edge, and at a price as cheap as readers will find in any Western country.

Those who have longer to spare will be torn between idling the days away on one tiny island, getting to know the local people – who will be as interested in visitors as much as they are in them – and exploring several islands to see how they subtly differ. Visitors can rent a car to explore the mainland and they will be made welcome in towns where few tourists venture. They can plan to see the great classical sites such as Delphi and Olympia first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon, and will probably have these atmospheric places virtually to themselves. Or readers can go walking in the mountains, visit the lakes and other places that only the Greeks know about, and they will truly feel that they are privileged travelers in this special land.

Rich with photography, maps and historical context. – Los Angeles Times

National Geographic Traveler: Greece provides an insider’s look at Greece in all its charm, beauty, and vivid local color.  The travel guide brings readers the best of Greece in text, pictures, and maps, and to those who have not yet been to Greece, makes a visit sound very appealing.

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

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: A Workshop on Healing the Wound of the Heart (4 Audio CDs, approximate running time 4 ½ hours) by John Welwood (Shambhala Audio)

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart by John Welwood (Trumpeter)

While most of us have moments of loving freely and openly, it is often hard to sustain this where it matters most – in our intimate relationships. Why if love is so great and powerful are human relationships so challenging and difficult? If love is the source of happiness and joy, why is it so hard to open to it fully and let it govern our lives?

The audio program, Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, is a weekend workshop based on the best-selling book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. In it John Welwood, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, associate editor of the Journal for Transpersonal Psychology, and a pioneer in integrating psychological and spiritual work, offers insight into our relationship problems. With understanding and encouragement, Welwood explains that most of us carry an unaddressed emotional wound – a deep-seated, unconscious belief that we are not worthy of love. This belief causes us to close ourselves off from others and prevents us from experiencing the unconditional love we long for. In the audio workshop, Welwood demonstrates to participants how to acknowledge, examine, and heal this core emotional wound so they can receive love in a way that we never have before.
Welwood shows how to overcome the most fundamental obstacle that keeps us from experiencing love's full flowering in our lives. Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships takes readers on a journey of healing and transformation that involves learning to embrace our humanness and appreciate the imperfections of our relationships as trail-markers along the path to great love. It sets forth a process for releasing deep-seated grievances we hold against others for not loving us better and against ourselves for not being better loved. And it shows how our longing to be loved can magnetize the great love that will free us from looking to others to find ourselves.
In the workshop, Welwood stresses the main themes of the book, leading participants through contemplative exercises that help them uncover their feelings of unlove and discover the unconditional love that exists inside each person so they can experience love's full flowering in their lives.

Welwood skillfully identifies the fundamental obstacle in relationships and offers a clear, attainable, and transformative solution. – Harville Hendrix, coauthor of Receiving Love and Getting the Love You Want

Welwood is one of the most brilliant and important teachers of our time. – Debbie Ford, author of The Best Year of Your Life

Drawing equally from spiritual and psychological traditions, Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships reads like a book of philosophy: the ideas seem sound enough, though there's no way to prove them. Welwood is most compelling when he gets practical. . . . His approach is also noteworthy for its emphasis on learning how to receive love as well as give it. . . . Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships offers both grand theories and useful practices for incorporating these lessons into your life. – Body & Soul

With penetrating realism and a fresh, lyrical style that honors the subtlety and richness of our relationship to love itself, the revolutionary Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships offers profound and practical guidance for healing our lives as well as our embattled world. Using the workshop CDs, through heeding Welwood’s revolutionary advice, practicing his contemplative exercises, and listening to the audience’s touching contributions, participants can actively experience Welwood’s workshop.

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