SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

May 2007, Issue #98

 

Guide to this Issue's Contents 

Arts & Photography / Computers & Internet / Graphic Design

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby (Voices That Matter Series: New Riders Press)

Scott Kelby, author of the bestselling Photoshop book, The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, brings his step-by-step, plain-English style to The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers.
This book doesn't just show readers ‘which sliders do what’; every Lightroom book does that. Kelby shares his personal settings and studio-tested techniques developed using Lightroom for his own photography workflow. The book is laid out in a Photoshop Lightroom workflow order step-by-step so readers can jump in using Lightroom from the start.

Kelby, Editor-in-Chief of Photoshop User magazine, President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Executive Editor of the Photoshop Elements Techniques newsletter, teaches workflow order in the last two chapters by showing the steps of the process. Both chapters start with an on-location photo shoot, including details on the equipment, camera settings, and the lighting techniques. Kelby takes the photos from each shoot (with readers following along using the same images) all the way through the workflow process, to the final output of the 16x20" prints for the client. Because he incorporates Adobe Photoshop into the workflow, readers also learn some of his Photoshop techniques for portrait and landscape photography.

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers gives readers step-by-step directions on the detailed tasks of:

  1. Importing photos into Photoshop Lightroom.
  2. Sorting and organizing photos using the Library Module.
  3. Making minor adjustments to photos using the Library Module's Quick Develop panel.
  4. Performing major adjustments by editing in the Develop Module.
  5. Fixing common problems such as red eye, noise, chromatic aberrations, etc.
  6. Changing color photos to black-and-white using several different methods.
  7. Sharing photos via the Slideshow Module including adding music and choosing playback options.
  8. Using the Print Module to print photos in a variety of ways such as adding text, setting up color management, and printing multiple photos on one page.
  9. Using the Web Module to create a gallery for photos viewable via the web.

This book reveals the secrets of the new digital photography workflow. Kelby shares techniques that make The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers a learning tool. He knows what works and what doesn't, and he tells readers which tools to use, which to avoid, and why. What sets the book apart from the rest are the last two bonus chapters. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers is the only book to bring the process together in a clear, concise, and visual way. If readers learn best by actually doing projects themselves without all the technical explanations and jargon, and if they want to get up and going right away there is no faster, more straight-to-the-point way to learn than this book.
Arts & Photography / Drawing / Instructional

Exploring Life Drawing: Using Observation & Expression to Develop a Personal Figure Drawing Style by Harold B. Stone (Design Exploration Series: Thomson Delmar Learning)

Exploring Life Drawing introduces the concepts and techniques of drawing the human figure from observation, a skill as relevant for today's new media-driven visual artists as for traditional fine artists. Using a constructivist approach to acquiring skills in observation and rendering, Harold A. Stone, 20-year teacher of art history and studio art, founder of the Minneapolis Drawing Workshop, supports readers to develop their own repertoire.

Written by an experienced drawing instructor and accomplished artist, this extensively illustrated book helps readers build skills and construct an individual drawing style. Each chapter introduces a specific technique, explains its history, and provides clear instruction on how to implement the approach. Exploring Life Drawing also offers detailed, step-by-step demonstrations and specific guidelines for objectively assessing the results. The book includes:

  • A variety of approaches to drawing the human figure, so readers learn different techniques.
  • End-of-chapter summaries and study questions to help students understand and retain material.
  • Step-by-step exercises and demonstrations to guide readers' practice and build skills.
  • Projects that use the lesson material to help readers develop a personal, articulate figure drawing style.
  • Classic and contemporary examples of figure drawing.

In addition to helping them develop skills, Stone teaches readers to understand the set of premises and procedures that have been constant through life drawing's history: its common themes and its methods of making visible an artist's intentions. This is the consensus that makes life drawing central to the humanities and ensures its enduring relevance to artists.

Chapter 1 of Exploring Life Drawing gives instructions for creating a baseline drawing and describes the two major schools of thought about life drawing. In addition, it discusses drawing materials, criteria for evaluating the quality of life drawings, and practices for efficient learning.

Chapter 2 explains how a contour line differs from a contour and contrasts contour line drawing with value drawing. This chapter contains a detailed look at the blind contour exercise, along with a variation of it that allows students to immediately make competent line drawings.

Chapter 3 is a detailed look at value as it is used to describe the human form. It defines terms related to value, explains the three-value exercise, and shows two ways to do it.

Chapter 4 is an exploration of gesture in life drawing. It contains a discussion of the metaphor of balance in Western art and relates it to gesture drawing as an empathetic response to the movement in the pose.

In Chapter 5, students use quick studies to integrate contour line, value, and gesture, with the emphasis on creating a cooperative dialog between line and value. Chapter 6 is an in-depth exploration into modeling drawing. Chapter 7 is dedicated to the complexities of proportion. It discusses classical, objective, empirical and internal proportions, and how they are applied in life drawing. Chapter 8 explains in detail what the figure-ground relationship is and how figure-ground choices help communicate the artist's intentions.

Chapter 9 deals with the compositional issues unique to figurative art. It defines picture-plane-based composition and compares it to figure-based composition, explains how a spatial dialog can make drawings more interesting, and concludes with a project that develops an integrated deep-space composition.

In Chapter 10, students reflect on the skills they acquired during this course of instruction to recognize their own drawing styles and create finished, complete works of art. This chapter shows some ways narrative and abstraction can be used in a finished drawing, has a structured exercise in drawing a finished portrait, and concludes with a step-by-step exercise in which students will create a finished drawing consistent with their own intentions, ambitions, and standards.

Exploring Life Drawing teaches specific, demonstrable skills and shows how they can be used in a method of intellectual inquiry. This highly-visual book uses plain language to explain the sometimes complex ideas related to the human figure in art and connect them to the daily practice of life drawing. The text is strengthened by a robust art program – containing classic and contemporary images from some of the largest collections in the world – giving readers an opportunity to learn from the masters and to connect with the history and grandeur of the art form.

Exploring Life Drawing is informed by the 30 years Stone has spent drawing the figure and more than 20 years as a college art instructor, and it shows. The text will be helpful to serious artists, but also fairly represent life drawing to someone whose involvement with it extends no further than a single survey course. Although drawing skills are helpful while learning life drawing, it is not necessary for students to have had previous instruction in drawing in order to use the book.

Arts & Photography / Fashion

Cowboy Boots: The Art and Sole by Jennifer June, with a foreword by Dwight Yoakam & photography by Marty Snortum (Universe)

Stare at a cowboy boot. If you are swayed by its realism and its stitches' twists and turns, the boot may well be the product of unparalleled craftsmanship. If, however, you look at a boot and find it impossible to concentrate – your mind hopelessly wanders to memories of a road trip, a lover who broke your heart, or a personal dream left unfulfilled – then the boot before you is most likely a work of art. Either way, it needs to tell a good story. – from the book

Cowboy boots are the most emblematic of American fashion icons, repositories of western tradition and symbols of the strength and endurance of American style. In recent times, cowboy boots have become permanent fixtures of the fashion world and of Hollywood westerns. Their wardrobe longevity proves that cowboy boots are far from a fashion trend, but instead are a staple in the American wardrobe. To author and boot maker Jennifer June and renowned photographer Marty Snortum they are also works of art. They pay homage to the western-wear icon in Cowboy Boots: The Art and Sole.

June, owner of Big Star Boots in Oakland, takes readers through the diverse history of the boot, from the early days prior to 1930 to the modern twists on traditional styles popular a century ago. She looks in detail at the motifs and metaphors that ornament the cowboy boot, from the artistic traditions of Texas boot makers to the symbolism in stitchings of flora and fauna, and examines the different styles, shapes, and materials of boots through the ages. Featuring insights and testimonials from custom cowboy boot makers and obsessive buyers alike, Cowboy Boots also features a section on how to design one’s own individual boot.
Apparent from the wealth of information she shares, June knows her subject well. She presents a history showing how the style and construction of cowboy boots have evolved over time, and how the design motifs and artistry tell a story about the owner of the boots and the history of the American West. A boot-maker as well, Snortum's full-color photographs showcase the craftsmanship in each pair of boots – from the simple and elegant to the bold and colorful – whether working boots for the ranch, or dress boots for a night on the town.

Cowboy Boots is a must for anyone interested in the history of this uniquely American fashion classic, and fans of cowboy boots will be awestruck by the examples collected in this volume. Beautifully illustrated with photographs of boots, boot makers, and cowboy fashionistas, Cowboy Boots presents the definitive perspective on the changing roles and various styles. June’s mix of history, homage, resources, and good stories promises to be as collectible as the boots that pack each page.

Arts & Photography / Graphic Design

Basics Illustration: Thinking Visually by Mark Wigan (Basics Illustration Series: AVA Publishing)

The first book in the Basics Illustration series, Thinking Visually introduces and explores the challenge of the visual interpretation of text. The book focuses specifically on learning to think visually and turn words into pictures. The handbook's aim is to introduce fundamental techniques, inspire, inform and act as a resource on international contemporary practice. The book looks at how illustrators develop their own personal visual language by learning the basics, being open minded, imaginative and hardworking.

Thinking Visually explores the importance of ideas, research, drawing and experimentation and is an educational tool featuring short exercises, methods, workshops, techniques, media and a range of historical and contemporary contexts. Conceptual and interpretive illustration, experimental mark making, observational and intuitive drawing, the importance of visual metaphors, image construction, satire, the fusion of traditional and digital, research and archiving, cultural developments, and current issues – all aspects of the craft of illustration are presented in the book with authoritative text and visuals.
Thinking Visually is written by artist, illustrator and academic Mark ‘Wigan’ Williams who works internationally in a broad range of media. His current work is a multimedia archive chronicling the changing worlds of club culture and street style. He teaches at Camberwell College of Arts in London, and for the past ten years, he has also been lecturing in Tokyo and the United Kingdom.

Thinking Visually features a wide range of work demonstrating diverse visual languages, contexts, ideas, techniques and skills. Contemporary illustrators from all over the world engaged in a diverse range of approaches to the discipline have contributed their artwork and commentaries on visual thinking and working process. The handbook also features the work of recent graduates, present students and observations from educators past and present. The book includes work by: Al Murphy (B13), Amore, Andrew Rae, Anthony Burrill, Annabelle Hartmann, Basquiat, Boudicon, Big Active, Chris Draper, David Foldvari, eBoy, Gina Triplett, Eelco Van den Berg, Elliot Thoburn, Florence Manlik, Ian Pollock, i like drawing, Jody Barton, JAKe, Janet Woolley, Jasper Goodall, Jim The Illustrator, Joel Lardner, Jon Burgerman, Kate Gibb, Keith Haring, Olaf Hajek, Marc Baines, Marcus Oakley (Banjo), Marie O'Connor, Mark Pawson, Miles Donovan, NEW, Parra, Peepshow, Paul Davis, Paul Blow, Pedro Lino, Pete and Bernard Gudynas, PMH, Rachel Cattle, Rian Hughes, Stephen Bliss, Tatty Devine, Will Sweeney, Yuko Kondo, Zeel, Black Convoy andThe Illustrated Ape.

The book covers subjects including: Research, Brainstorming, Sketchbooks, Influences, Drawing, Timelines, Life Drawing, Lateral Thinking, Line, Portraiture, Composition, Abstraction, Gesture, Color, Enquiry, Experimental Workshops, Sampling, Risk Taking, Serendipity, Juxtaposition, Visual Metaphors, Collage, Points of View, Interpretation, Content, Style, Decoration, Underground Urban Street Art, Storytellers, Fantastic Worlds, Social Comment, Tools of The Trade, Printmaking, Hybrid Media, The Digital Domain, Learning Through Making, Method, Working Process, Collaboration, Briefs and Deadlines.

The Basics Illustration series explores key areas of illustration through a series of case studies juxtaposed by key creative ‘basics’. Contemporary work is supported by concise descriptions. The series also includes Text & Image, Sequential Images, and the New Contexts books.
Thinking Visually is complete and authoritative, groundbreaking for students and thought-provoking for everyone. It reveals cultural developments and issues in illustration. It introduces the challenge of the visual interpretation of text (words into pictures). It helps to build basic knowledge of major cultural developments and issues in illustration, and provides a broad understanding of illustration in the context of communication design.

Thinking Visually provides a broad understanding of illustration in the context of communication design. The target audience includes first and second year university students studying illustration, established professionals, and anyone interested in developing their illustration skills and knowledge of illustration.Arts & Photography / History & Criticism

Transformation of Knowledge: Early Manuscripts from the Collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg edited by Crofton Black, with a preface by Christopher de Hamel & an introduction by Lawrence J. Schoenberg (Paul Holberton publishing)

This remarkable collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in Western and Eastern languages reflects the collector's fascination with science and technology. These early hand-written volumes, the collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg, reveal the complexity and sophistication of pre-modern knowledge about the physical world in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. The interdependence of these traditions, and their mutual reliance on the legacy of antiquity, are a particular emphasis of Transformation of Knowledge.

According to preface author Christopher de Hamel, Schoenberg would probably have got on well in the court of Rudolf II of Bohemia (1576-1612). In Prague, the emperor gathered a circle of exceptional scholars, collectors and scientists, looking at the Copernican universe in a new way and sometimes also in very old ways, for they practiced alchemy and the arts of magic. Schoenberg is a logician, an early innovator of computer software, a successful businessman, a philanthropist, an international tennis and chess player, and a tireless traveler. His extraordinary collection of early manuscripts has no modern parallel, comprising not only the jaw-dropping illuminated high-spots, which have graced the various public exhibitions to which selections have often been lent, but also the unexpected and quirky, the strange and exotic. The theme of Schoenberg's library – secular texts, especially science and mathematics – might seem to narrow the field to a few great and well-charted authors. There they all are, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid, and Boethius, among others, but as well as these, there are the unexpected. In Transformation of Knowledge too are astrology, algebra, botany, astronomy in Hebrew, anatomy in Arabic, the Wonders of Creation in Persian; here are the Algorismus of Sacrobosco, the Isagoge of Gerbert of Auvergne, Dioscorides, Pomponius Meta, al-Biruni, al-Tusi, Avicenna, William of Conches, Gauthier de Metz, Alfonso the Wise, Albertus Magnus, Regiomontanus. The names are as resonant as incantations, and they conjure up a spirit world of heresy, magic, alchemy and human genius across all cultures.

Equally worthy of note, although not in Transformation of Knowledge except where catalog entries are correlated to it in the Concordance, is the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, a brilliantly organized index, mostly entered by Schoenberg himself, of well over 80,000 different medieval manuscripts which have been sold at auction or have changed hands, anywhere in the world, in the last two hundred and fifty years. The database allows one to track countless manuscripts which none of us knew existed, and to follow the journeys and wanderings of this itinerant class of art back and forth across the world, into libraries and out again, often invisible except from their footsteps through the salerooms. There are more manuscripts on the Schoenberg Database than in any of the largest national libraries in the world. It has the potential to transform medieval studies and the history of taste and economics, and it has already revolutionized auctioneers' sale catalogues.

Today, according to Schoenberg, his collection, Bibliotheca Schoenbergensis revealed in Transformation of Knowledge, consists of medieval and Renaissance secular manuscripts with an emphasis on mathematics and science and the application of that knowledge to everyday life. It reflects the transformation of man's knowledge about the world around him from simple observation to recognition, to documenting and analysis, and then to the application and interpretation of that learning.

As such, he traces this transformation of knowledge from magic to science, astrology to astronomy, alchemy to chemistry, numerology to mathematics, remedies to pharmacology, and wonders to natural science particularly as it moved back and forth between cultures in the Golden Crescent and across various languages from Greek and Latin, to Arabic and Hebrew, to the Romance languages. Schoenberg is more interested in the interconnection between manuscripts than in each as an individual codex.

According to Transformation of Knowledge editor, Crofton Black, many remarkable records of human endeavor sit side by side in the Schoenberg Collection. This material gathered spans over four thousand years, from the practice of arithmetic in Babylon in the third millennium BC to a report on submarine detection experiments in 1919. Its particular concentration, however, is on the ‘early modern’ era, running approximately from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Knowledge has many facets. The arrangement of the first half of this catalogue is inspired by the medieval pedagogic scheme of the seven liberal arts – grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. In the second half, this standard framework is complemented by records of other ways in which people interacted with their environment – medicine, alchemy and chemistry, technology, agriculture and the legal system.

The focus of Transformation of Knowledge is almost entirely secular. Nonetheless, behind most of the works stand the intertwined traditions of the three great near-eastern monotheist faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All of the cultures which coalesced around these religions were profoundly influenced by the intellectual developments of pagan antiquity. With a few exceptions this religious framework delineates the geographical scope of this selection of material – from Europe to North Africa, to the Middle East and central Asia, following the silk route as far as Samarqand.

This catalogue traces the reception of a number of ancient authorities of central importance, Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy and Galen among others. Reception encompasses reading, translating, copying, abridging, commentating and criticizing. By studying it we can plot the lives of these works in parallel and successive cultural contexts; we can determine how they were read and misread, how they were attacked and defended. From this combat none of them survives unscathed, but their longevity is remarkable. In this catalogue we find Aristotle still underpinning university study in 1666; we observe Ptolemy's sun, still revolving around the earth in 1680; and we encounter Galen's Theory of humors, still requiring refutation at the end of the seventeenth century.

The longevity of these authorities is the result of their transformation, as the title of this catalogue makes clear. As they shift from Greek to Arabic and Hebrew, to Latin, or move between Islam, Judaism and Christianity, each culture realigns them into its own frame of reference. This process of assimilation can be harmonious; or, as the host culture attempts to digest a body of alien thought, it can prove bitterly controversial.

Waiting in the wings, meanwhile, are those whose works will eventually lead to the downfall of these eminent ancients – Copernicus, Descartes, Newton and Leibniz. For this catalogue is also a record of innovation.

Beyond the demarcation of these intellectual highlights a particularly valuable aspect of Transformation of Knowledge is the light it casts on more typical, but less studied, records of thought. These include university textbooks and theses, necessary to define the norm against which exceptional achievements are measured. The collection therefore helps readers not only glimpse the intellectual peaks of the period but also to survey the plateau from which they emerge. Ghostly figures, overlooked by mainstream historical narrative, can regain some semblance of flesh and blood.

Transformation of Knowledge is a richly illustrated and remarkable collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in Western and Eastern languages. Manuscripts are not rare; they are unique: each one provides a snapshot of one or more individuals grappling with the intellectual problems of their time. This catalogue presents each item in a way which reflects both its individuality and its links with longstanding, constantly transforming tradition.

Schoenberg's unparalleled collection is a direct and evocative testament to the range of human knowledge – mathematical, medical, astronomical, and technological – as it evolved in the medieval and early modern era.

Biographies & Memoirs

Kinfolks: Falling off the Family Tree – The Search for My Melungeon Ancestors by Lisa Alther (Arcade Publishing)

Most of us grow up thinking we know who we are and where we come from.

As Lisa Alther tells in Kinfolks, her mother hailed from New York, her father from Virginia, and every day they reenacted the Civil War at home in East Tennessee. Then a babysitter with bad teeth told Alther about the Melungeons: six-fingered child-snatchers who hid in caves outside of town. Forgetting about these creepy kidnappers until she had a daughter of her own, Alther describes how she learned they were actually a group of dark-skinned people living in isolated parts of the South. But who were they? Descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, or of shipwrecked Portuguese or Turkish sailors? Or the children of frontiersmen, African slaves, and Native Americans? Theories abounded, but no one seemed to know for sure.

Learning that a cousin had his extra thumbs removed, Alther, a bestselling novelist, sets out to discover who these mysterious Melungeons really are. Alther is particularly mystified by her Cadillac-driving grandmother, who, for all her pride in her blueblood Virginia heritage, refuses to contact her back-home relatives. But what induces Alther to turn genealogical sleuth is that same cousin's declaration that he is a Melungeon. Were there Melungeons in her family tree?

Controversial theories suggest Melungeons are of African, Portuguese, Turkish, and/or Native American descent. High-spirited, Alther's curiosity sends her to dusty courthouse archives, Native American casinos, and locales across Europe and Turkey, and her findings enable her to bring historical Appalachia into focus as a landing place for refugees from all over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In the end, Alther in Kinfolks describes how, although she assembled a hoard of clues over the years, DNA testing finally offered answers. This is the author’s first work of non-fiction.

A sometimes hilarious, often poignant, always memorable ride. – Judy Blume

Like a detective story, clues in all kinds of improbable places, leading to astonishing conclusions . .. Most engaging, written with the dry humor of Alther at her best. – Doris Lessing

Heartily welcomed ... This story needs to be told, as it is emblematic of so much of the mixing that has gone on. – Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The kind of book that stays with you for years ... Tantalizingly perceptive, it seeps into your bones and becomes a part of you. – Tahir Shah

A bold adventure and . . . very funny. – Gail Godwin

Fascinating ... It tells a long and winding tale with laugh-out-loud, kick-you-in-the-gut humor. – Honor Moore

With her characteristic insight and wit, Lisa Alther . . . demonstrates that ... the journey is clearly as worthwhile as the desired destination. – Wayne Winkler

Drolly hilarious and incisive ... A provocative take on the South's obsession with skin color. – Booklist

Honest and funny ... Alther ... crushes all of our favorite illusions about racial identity. – W. Ralph Eubanks

The bestselling author of Kinflicks chronicles her search for the missing branches of her family tree in this dazzling, uproarious memoir. Trading on the title of her first novel, Alther presents Kinfolks, a wise and funny inquiry into the complexities of inheritance. Drolly incisive, Alther attempts to decode family secrets, gets to know self-declared Melungeons, and considers her unexpected ties to Pocahontas, ultimately presenting a provocative take on the South's obsession with skin color. Part sidesplitting travelogue, part how – and how not – to climb one’s family tree, Kinfolks shimmers with wicked humor, illustrating just how wacky and wonderful the human family really is.

Business & Investing / Economics / History

Appalachian Aspirations: The Geography of Urbanization and Development in the Upper Tennessee River Valley, 1865-1900 by John Benhart Jr. (University of Tennessee Press)

In the fall of 1865, two Union offi­cers stationed in East Tennessee during the Civil War – Hiram Chamberlain and John Wilder – decided to stay in the South to pur­sue business careers. They recognized poten­tial in the ‘untapped’ resources they had seen during military operations in this part of the state. Within the space of four years, Chamberlain and Wilder had recruited busi­ness partners, built an operating iron furnace in the Upper Tennessee River Valley (the Roane Iron Company), and established a com­pany town at Rockwood, Tennessee. Twenty years later, in some parts of Appalachia, newly planned towns were being established by land companies that wanted to develop model industrial real estate ventures. In the Upper Tennessee River Valley, these new towns – Cardiff, Harriman, and Lenoir City, Tennessee – were planned to be the quintes­sential places for industrial production and urban living as they were characterized by urban/sanitary reform ideals, temperance te­nets, and distinctive urban landscapes.

In Appalachian Aspirations, John Benhart, professor and chair in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, pre­sents the story of the evolution of capitalism and regional development in the Upper Ten­nessee River Valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The book's conclu­sion focuses on what the story of this region between 1860 and 1900 tells readers about development patterns in many parts of Appalachia during this period. It focuses on stages of capitalism, the role of individual capitalists and business entities, and the urban landscapes created in Appalachia through various capitalist strategies.

The emphasis of the accounts of the day, regardless of time period, was the failure of land companies (capitalists) to accomplish what they had set out to do. To be sure, the attempts of the East Tennessee Land Company and its contem­poraries to plan and build manufacturing complexes and model industrial cities in the Upper Tennessee River Valley had largely failed, leaving behind remnant landscapes. But for this story it is not the end result that matters so much. In telling the story of the Upper Tennessee River Valley, Appalachian Aspirations takes a differ­ent tack: that the strategies and methods of capitalists during particular time periods, and the geographic imprints that they leave behind on the earth's surface, can enhance our understanding of regional landscapes.

We can learn from the efforts of entrepreneurs who attempted to introduce industrial and corporate capitalism to the Upper Tennessee River Valley between 1865 and 1900. Although they did not succeed in achieving many of their goals in the region (producing steel or building large cities, for example), their stories illuminate some important aspects of regional geography and his­tory, capitalist development strategies, and urban planning that were occurring throughout Appalachia and the United States during this period. A dis­cussion of some important themes that run through the story of development in the Upper Tennessee River Valley between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century are useful for context.

What does the story of the Upper Tennessee River Valley tell us about capi­talism and regional development in Appalachia and the United States? It tells us many specific things about the region and the time period, and about why some places became important urban centers and others did not. In addition, it reinforces something we already knew – that capitalism is very adaptable and capitalists are often creative in their responses to varying contexts. The story of regional development in the Upper Tennessee River Valley, unlike the focus of Appalachian Aspirations, does not end in 1893 (or 1900). After 1893, the decision-making contexts for capitalists changed significantly: capital markets were gone, and the region's iron ore had proven to be too impure to make steel. To many capitalists, the Upper Tennessee River Valley ceased to be an attractive region for investment. For others who decided to stay, a new profit strategy seemed in order – low-wage manufacturing.

A groundbreaking examination of East Tennessee's journey from mercantile to industrial capitalism and then its plunge into corporate capitalism right on the eve of the 1893 financial panic. Benhart brings it all to life by highlighting key industrial and city-planning projects, and by tracing the careers of pivotal capitalists. – Paul Salstrorn, author of Appalachia's Path to Dependency: Rethinking a Region's Economic History, 1730-1940

Appalachian Aspirations tells readers a great deal about regional landscapes, the efforts of entrepreneurs, regional geography and history, capitalist development strategies, and urban planning in this region during this time. It will be of particular value to students and scholars of urban and historical geography, regional development, and the New South era, as well as those in­terested in Appalachian studies.

Business & Investing / Economics / Outdoors & Nature / Ecology

Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water by Alan Snitow & Deborah Kaufman, with Michael Fox (Jossey-Bass)

Is water a human right or a commodity to be marketed for profit? Should water be run by local governments or by distant corporations? Is it a source of profit for those in control and a commodity available only to those who can afford to pay? Why do we pay more for bottled water than for gasoline? Will water become the oil of the twenty-first century?

These are some of the tough-minded questions Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman first asked in their provocative and memorable 2004 documentary, also titled Thirst. Their PBS documentary showed how communities around the world are resisting the privatization and commodification of water. 

Thirst, the book, picks up where the documentary left off, revealing the emergence of controversial new water wars in the United States and showing how communities here are fighting this battle, often against companies headquartered overseas. In their book, Snitow, award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist and Kaufman, film producer, director, and writer, investigate how the growing ‘water business’ is trying to privatize water systems in cities scattered across the United States.

Thirst is a cautionary tale told through vivid descriptions of eight conflicts over water – from Stockton to Atlanta, Georgia. According to the authors, out of sight of most Americans, global corporations like Nestlé, Suez, and Veolia are rapidly buying up local water sources – lakes, streams, and springs – and taking control of public water services. In their drive to privatize and commodify water, they have manipulated and bought politicians, clinched backroom deals, and subverted the democratic process by trying to deny citizens a voice in fundamental decisions about their most essential public resource.

Should we worry about these new water wars? According to Snitow and Kaufman, the answer is Yes. Water is not only a limited resource; it is also necessary for biological survival. In fact, we are at the tipping point in the new global water wars. The United States is ground zero. What happens in the next few years will determine the fate of water and our basic democratic rights here and abroad. Thirst is a battlefield account of the conflict.

It also vividly shows how people in affected communities are fighting back to keep water affordable, accessible, sustainable, and public by creating new methods to challenge the corporate juggernaut in an age of globalization. More often than not, local citizens don't even know their water is being sold. But when they do find out what's happening, they form powerful coalitions, fueled by indignation and outrage. In the process, citizens rediscover some of the basic principles of democracy, namely, that they should have a voice in their government.

…an interesting read, well-written and thoroughly documented… completed by 50 pages of careful notes and references, helpful and informative. – World Business

As a congressman from the Great Lakes region, I appreciate this timely and important work on a critical public policy question: Is water a natural resource to be protected by the public realm, or is it just another commodity? – Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Ohio

A riveting and engaging account of one of the most important environmental issues of our time: Will corporations or citizens control our water? – Carl Pope, executive director, Sierra Club

A smart, gripping narrative of the way 'big money' is cornering the market for life's basic ingredient. It will shock you – and it should! – Jeff Faux, founder of the Economic Policy Institute, and author, The Global Class War

The fight for the right to water has hit the U.S. heartland and this passionate, information-packed book tells the story of ordinary Americans engaged in extraordinary struggles to save their water heritage for future generations. Every American should read it. – Maude Barlow, chair of Council of Canadians, and author, Blue Gold

Who really owns your water? It may not be who you think. Read this provocative and insightful book and find out about the politics and economics of growing attempts to privatize our most vital public resource – the stuff that comes out of your tap. – Peter Gleick, president, Pacific Institute for Development, Environment and Security

A terrific read – startling and motivating. Thirst helps us see that the fight for the right to water is in fact a struggle for democracy itself. Read Thirst and dive into the twenty-first century's core challenge: Do we save ourselves by the market's logic, or as citizens do we deepen democracy's logic? – Frances Moore Lappé, author, Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life

The current conflict between corporations and citizens movements to control this precious resource," they write, "will be decided in the years to come. The outcome of the conflict will surely be a measure of our democracy in the 21st Century. …They're right. See their film. Read this important book. Then decide if you agree that public control of water is essential for our health and the health of our democracy. – San Francisco Chronicle

Both fast paced and sharply observant, Thirst exposes corporate attempts to take over municipally controlled water in communities around the country, to buy up rights to groundwater in the United States, and to create and corner the market on bottled water.

 Business & Investing / Personal Finance / Reference

Personal Finance Desk Reference by Ken Little (Alpha Books)

We are not a patient society, and planning – much less saving – for a long-term goal is not something that comes naturally to many people. The marketing folks have conditioned us to want our reward now, not later. However, a new car or a college education or a solid retirement fund won't happen overnight or by itself. These financial goals and others require you to make and stick to a financial plan that will allow you to achieve success. – from the book

Personal finances are becoming more and more complex.

Whether readers are recent college graduates or veterans of the workforce, we all know how important it is to find balance in the financial world. Personal Finance Desk Reference is a resource for all readers’ money questions. The book can help them manage their money with information on budgeting, banking, investments, insurance, debt management, taxes, and retirement planning – all in one place.

From financial planning basics to unexpected life changes that may affect one’s personal fortune, beginning with the basics of financial planning (budgeting, interest, banking, insurance, and debt), Personal Finance Desk Reference offers:

  • A comprehensive overview of investing – from stocks and bonds to 401(k) and exchange-traded funds.
  • Critical information to help readers make insur­ance decisions, including life, automobile, homeowners, health, disability, and more.
  • Tips on how to deal with mortgage and home equity loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt.
  • Retirement advice covering employer plans, self-employed savings options, Social Security, Medicare, and more.

Topics include financial planning, budgeting, emergency funds, financial software, interest rates, inflation and money, banking, insurance, debt management, credit ratings, investing, real estate, taxes, retirement, estate planning and life changes.

Personal Finance Desk Reference also includes a detailed glos­sary, examples of financial worksheets, information on the latest personal finance and tax preparation software, and tips for building and sustaining a budget. The author, Ken Little, a veteran financial writer and editor, has worked, as both a journalist and an industry professional. Now editor of About.com’s stocks page, he was also chief financial writer for www.estrong.com.

Personal Finance Desk Reference offers one-stop shopping for all things financial –a comprehensive reference book on this sprawling subject. Beginning with the basics of financial planning, this helpful guide covers everything, including investing, taxes, retirement, estate planning, and more.

Children’s / Ages 4-10 / Arts & Poetry

Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm by Brian Heinz, illustrated by Chris Sheban (Creative Editions)

The henhouse shakes and feathers fly
When RED FOX pokes his nose inside,
And rooster, hens, and chicks decide
To flap for cover, run and hide.

A classic conflict is given a classic treatment in Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm, written by a former long-term, science and language elementary-school teacher Brian Heinz, a picture book sure to become a classic.

A moonlit night, a hungry fox, a sleepy farmer and his watchdog, and a coop full of nervous chickens all add up to a ruckus of ruffled feathers and delightful rhyme. Red Fox is a hungry forest-dweller who has picked the wrong night to swipe a plump chicken from McCloskey's farm. After making his way down wooded trails and rows of corn, the hungry fox comes face to face with a grumpy hound dog and his agitated master. Will Red Fox make his escape and live for a chicken dinner another night?

With wonderful storytelling ease, Heinz spins the yarn of an overconfident fox in search of a chicken dinner. Between Fox and his prey are a watchful hound dog and Farmer McCloskey himself, so it's not surprising that the henhouse shakes and feathers fly before the tale ends. …This humorous verse is best read aloud. Its cadence moves smoothly, but also allows for dramatic pauses (and laughter). While the text will no doubt tickle the funny bone, the illustrations will bring on belly laughs. The dramatic compositions also draw viewers into the story. Dusky velvet light sets the scene for Fox's foray into night, and glowing moonlight and dappling shadows give additional stealth to the nocturnal landscape. From the rhythmic text to the humorous fold-out illustrations, this book is a winner. – Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH, School Library Journal

The humor, colorful imagery, and lively rhythm of Heinz's poetry in make Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm a book that begs to be read aloud. Fold-out pages give the words life in large illustrations, and the dreamlike quality of Chris Sheban's artwork – which superbly captures the sly playfulness of Red Fox, the frenzied clumsiness of McCloskey, and the understandable unease of the chickens – makes turning each page an experience that will not soon be forgotten. And the weight of the pages helps the book stand up to the use of little fingers.

Children’s / Ages 8 & Up / Literature / Classics

Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back by P. L. Travers, illustrated by Mary Shepard (Harcourt)

A blast of wind, a house-rattling bang, and Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane. Quicker than she can close her umbrella, she takes charge of the Banks children – Jane, Michael, and the twins – and changes their lives forever. Mary Poppins is not your average nanny: She slides up banisters, pulls all manner of wonders out of her empty carpet bag, and banishes any thoughts of fear, naughtiness or sadness with a no-nonsense ‘Spit-spot.’ Leading the Banks children on one magical adventure after another, she makes everyday life extraordinary.

This omnibus edition, Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back, combines the two Mary Poppins classics, Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back, that inspired both the 1964 movie and the Broadway musical.

P. L. Travers (1899-1996) was a drama critic, travel essayist, reviewer, lecturer, and the creator of Mary Poppins. Travers wrote several other books for adults and children, but it is for the character of nanny Mary Poppins that she is best remembered. Illustrator Mary Shepard (1910-2000) was the daughter of Ernest Shepard, illustrator of the Winnie the Pooh books and The Wind in the Willows. She illustrated Travers's Mary Poppins books for more than fifty years.

The first two adventures of everyone's favorite nanny – Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back – are combined in this beautiful volume which will bring the beloved character to a new generation of readers. With the original, iconic illustrations by Shepard and the heartwarming stories that have brought laughter to children all over the world, this book is chock-full of all things magical.

In fact, it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Children’s / Teens / History & Historical Fiction

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner (Random House Books for Young Readers)

She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Unlike her prissy sister, Clvtenmestra, she takes no pleasure in weaving and embroider. And despite what her mother says, she's not even close to being interested in getting married. Instead, she wants to do combat training with her older brothers, go on heroic adventures, and be free to do what she wishes and find out who she is.

Not one to count on the gods – or her looks – to take care of her, Helen sets out in Nobody's Princess to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies – such as the self-proclaimed ‘son of Zeus’ Theseus – but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.
In Nobody's Princess, author Esther Friesner weaves together history and myth. Friesner, former teacher at Vassar and Yale, is the author of 31 novels and over 150 short stories, including the story ‘Thunderbolt’ in Random House's Young Warriors anthology, which led to the creation of Nobody's Princess. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies and a poet and a playwright to boot.

This is my kind of heroine: bright, stubborn... and true warrior. – Tamora Pierce

Nobody's Princess offers up adventure, humor, and a fresh and engaging heroine that readers cannot help but root for. And another dang female role model.
Cooking, Food & Wine

Italian Baking Secrets by Father Giuseppe Orsini (Thomas Dunne Books)

The prevalence of Italian restaurants across the U.S. speaks volumes about America's delight with the cuisine of Italy.

The ‘Pope of Pasta,’ the ‘Priest among the Pots,’ returns with his latest book, a
‘classico’ of all Italian culinary traditions: Italian Baking Secrets. Widely known and beloved, Catholic priest Giuseppe Orsini loves family, cooking, and Italian food in particular . . . not necessarily in that order. Orsini, who claims to be retired, still manages to minister occasionally in an Italian parish in New Jersey, and to hold office in several Italian-American community organizations.

Italian Baking Secrets is Orsini’s sixth cookbook, and once again readers get not only recipes from the great tasting cuisine of Italy, but also the priest’s entertaining comments. The book begins with the story of how the use of grain developed as long ago as – or possibly even prior to – the Neolithic period. Through anecdotes, he lets readers see the way bread has evolved, from flat loaves baked on hot stones to the myriad breads that have evolved in Italy alone.

Italian Baking Secrets presents the best ways to make the country's breads, cookies, desserts, and other treats. Orsini mixes his irreverent humor with stories and traditions of the parts of Italy the baking recipes come from. Beginning with breads, Orsini takes readers step-by-step through the basics of ingredients needed, the techniques required, and the tools of the trade necessary to create such delights as Pane di Como Antico a Pane Francese (more commonly known today as ‘French Bread’), Pane Siciliano (Sicilian Bread), Pane Pugliese (Bread of Puglia), Piccia Calabrese (Calabrian Bread), Focaccia Gorgonzola (Gorgonzola Focaccia), and other varieties.

From there Orsini turns his attention to pastries including Crostata di Ricotta (Italian Cheesecake or Ricotta Tart), Crostata di Fichi Freschi (Fresh Fig Pie), Trota di dolce Formaggio di Carmelo (Cannel's – Father's niece, Carmel Cheesecake minus bottom crust), Biscotti del mio Papa (Cookies from a recipe of Father Orsini's father), Biscotti con Sesami e Arancio (Sesame Orange Biscotti), Biscotti con Coco e Ciocolatta (Coconut Biscotti Dipped in Chocolate), Cannoli (Ricotta-filled Shells), Crema Fritta (Fried Custard), and more.

One might expect a baking book that doesn't include its first recipe until page 57 to have excessive information. But that's not the case in Fr. Giuseppe Orsini's seventh title, which includes useful, well-written prose on the history of bread in Italy as well as baking basics, ingredients (including thorough entries on cheese and herbs) and tools. …Staples … are presented alongside seasonal holiday treats including Christmas-time Panettone and Pastiera di Grano (Easter Cooked Wheat Pie). Bakers will be glad Orsini shared this collection of Italian gems that span the boot from top to bottom. – Publishers Weekly

Orsini has once again in Italian Baking Secrets written a fresh and practical cookbook. SirReadaLot.org has to caution readers: Don’t let the author’s charming storytelling keep you from his recipes; if you do, you will miss some delicious dishes you might otherwise never taste. The scores of recipes look easy to make and mouth watering to eat, and they also make great gifts for family and friends (and allow for a bit of boasting, too).

Cooking, Food & Wine

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, 25th Anniversary Edition by Shizuo Tsuji, with a foreword by Ruth Reichl, an introduction by M.F.K. Fisher, & a preface by Yoshiki Tsuji (Kodansha International)

 

This is much more than a cookbook. It is a philosophical treatise about the simple art of Japanese cooking. Appreciate the lessons of this book, and you will understand that while sushi and sashimi were becoming part of American culture, we were absorbing much larger lessons from the Japanese. We were learning to think about food in an entirely new way. – Ruth Reichl, from the new Foreword

Japanese food was virtually unknown in many Western cities in the 1980s, when Shizuo Tsuji wrote Japanese Cooking. Since its release twenty-five years ago, the book has been the acknowledged ‘bible’ of Japanese cooking. Much more than a collection of recipes, it is a masterful treatise on Japanese cuisine.
A new foreword by Ruth Reichl and an additional preface by Tsuji Culinary Institute president Yoshiki Tsuji provide culinary and historical context for the 25th Anniversary Edition. Eight pages of new color photographs illustrate over seventeen finished dishes.
After introducing ingredients and utensils, the twenty chapters that make up Part One consist of lessons presenting all the basic Japanese cooking methods and principal types of prepared foods – making soup, slicing sashimi, grilling, simmering, steaming, noodles, sushi, pickles, and so on – with accompanying basic recipes. Recipes cover Basic Vinegar Salad Dressings, Sushi Rice, and Teriyaki. A complete series of drawings clearly demonstrates each step in preparing Vinegared Octopus.

Part Two features 130 carefully selected recipes that range from everyday fare to intriguing challenges for the adventurous cook. Using fresh ginger, soy sauce, the sweet wine mirin, sake, and rice vinegar, readers can make many of them. Beginners might start with Deep Fried Chicken Patties, Steak Teriyaki, Tortoise Shell Tofu, simply bathed in a tasty sauce, and Asparagus Rice, a light and colorful dish. Together with the recipes in Part One, these allow the cook to build a repertoire of dishes ranging from the basic ‘soup and three’ formula to a gala banquet.
Shizuo Tsuji (1933-1993) was born into a family that operated a traditional confectionery and graduated from prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo with a degree in French Literature. The author of over 30 books on gastronomy, travel and music, Tsuji, after extensive training in Japanese cooking, studied Western cuisine famous European chefs, and became leading figure in the international culinary community. He worked first as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and then in 1960 established the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka to train professional chefs (now the largest such school in Japan).

Easily the most comprehensive and exhaustive look at Japanese cuisine available, this groundbreaking classic marks its quarter-century anniversary in a revised edition with a new foreword by Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl and a new preface by the late Tsuji's son, Yoshiki Tsuji. Part cookbook, part philosophical treatise, this highly acclaimed collection offers a wealth of insight for amateurs and experts alike. Every technique associated with Japanese food is described step by step in great detail, along with illustrations to guide the reader through everything from filleting fish or cleaning an octopus to rolling omelets. … A complete guide to Japanese cooking, this collection is must-have for anyone interested in Japanese food or culture. – Publishers Weekly

… M.F.K. Fisher's introduction eloquently sets the stage for Tsuji's classic work. It may be the most thought-provoking piece ever written about Japanese food for non-Asians, pointing out how food and even the physical act of eating differ from what they are in Japan. Tsuji's writing is clear and educational. He talks specifically to a Western, non-Asian audience, demonstrating far more awareness of our culinary preferences and prejudices than most Westerners have for his. … Because of its combination of background information, comprehensive recipes, and excellent instructions, Japanese Cooking will always remain an important book for learning about this simple yet complex cuisine. – Dana Jacobi
A wonderful book ... encyclopedic and easy to follow. – Bedford Times
Quite the most illuminating text around on Japanese food. – Nigella Lawson
If Kurasawa had ignited my love for the country, Mr. Tsuji deepened and defined it. – Jonathan Hayes, The New York Times

Still the foremost source book of cooking concepts and recipes from Japan, the 25th Anniversary Edition of Japanese Cooking invites a new generation of readers to take a journey to the heart of one of the world's great culinary traditions. Encyclopedic and authoritative, Japanese Cooking is unrivaled in its comprehensive explanation of ingredients, tools, and techniques, as it guides readers through recipes with clear prose, while technical points are made understandable with deftly executed line drawings. Truly a Renaissance man of Japanese and world gastronomy, Tsuji imparts enough culinary know-how to make any reader the peer of a competent Tokyo chef – along with insight into food that can't be found anywhere else outside of Japan.

Education / College & University / Computers & Internet / Reference

Handbook of Online Education by Shirley Bennett, with Debra Marsh & Clare Killen (Continuum)

Handbook of Online Education offers teachers, trainers and course writers a selection of ready-made, adaptable activities which can be used as a basis for e-learning on a course or as a departure point for development, independent work and/or discussion. Sections of the book include resources for:

  • Building confidence for online learning.
  • Learning to learn actively online.
  • Assessment.

Each section is prefaced by a short theoretical overview and includes individual activities as well as suggestions for further reading and personal action research.

The book is written by Shirley Bennett, Lecturer in Education and Online Learning, Programme Director for the Master of Education in eLearning and University Teaching Fellow at the University of Hull; with the assistance of Debra Marsh, freelance eLearning Consultant based in France where she focuses on the pedagogy of online learning, teaching, facilitation, course development, design and evaluation; and Clare Killen, who helped to develop the Becta's innovative Ferl Practitioners' Programme working with FE and Adult and Community Learning providers before moving to the Learning and Skills Development Agency to work on the Subject Learning Coaches program.

Most of the activities in Handbook of Online Education are written in such a way that they can be applied to, or adapted to suit, readers’ own content areas, almost as they stand. By inserting the relevant topic areas and referring e-learners to appropriate websites and other resources, teachers will have a bank of contextualized online teaching strategies that can be used at various stages in an online course. Some of the activities are written reflecting a distinct subject or professional focus, and the sample message postings (SMPs) and other resources provided as illustrations of how the activities are set up have content clearly reflecting the courses from which they come. However, in all cases it is the idea behind the activity that is paramount and all are written in such a way as to enable readers to see how the activity works and adapt it to other content areas or alternative professional or learning contexts.

Handbook of Online Education reflects the fact that online learning is currently used primarily with young adults and adult learners and the majority of activities are designed with this age range in mind. However, some of the activities are also appropriate for younger learners coming online as reflected in new initiatives such as the e-learning 'pathfinder' project, The Virtual-Workspace, developed for the local education authorities (LEAs) of Wolverhampton and Worcestershire, and used by approximately 21,000 learners and 3,600 educators from over 60 schools/colleges.

This resource book provides teachers moving into work within e-learning with concrete examples of active, learner-centered activities that can work, materials which are, in the main, not there for 'one-off' use, but are recipes for approaches and interactions that can be used in many different contexts to promote learning in a wide variety of subject contexts. They are thus intended to help those new to e-learning make the transition into the online context, offering a selection of resources they can choose from, suggested activities that they can adapt to their own individual teaching style as they gradually develop their own personal online teaching presence.

According to Bennett, the main principle of 'active learning' is that We learn by doing. Research shows that active learning is much better recalled, enjoyed and understood. Active methods require us to 'make our own meaning', that is, develop our own conceptualizations of what we are learning. During this process we physically make neural connections in our brain, the process we call learning. So active learning means using an approach that involves e-learners in doing something for their learning.

The Internet offers opportunities for active learning, but learners have to be guided in order that they adapt to the new context if they are to benefit from it. As well as being supported while gaining the confidence to communicate online, an important part of any online learning experiences will be activities designed to develop their awareness of the new context and the ways in which it compares with their previous learning experience. They have to understand the roles and functions that will be expected of them, appreciate the opportunities that are open to them and find ways to address the challenges they will face. The activities suggested within the section Resources for Promoting Understanding of Online Learning are designed to do that, enabling them to move forward to benefit from the exciting opportunities for active involvement in learning, and in assessment, such as those suggested in the sections Resources for Promoting Active Approaches to Study and Resources for Assessment and Active Learning Online.

Activities of Handbook of Online Education are organized into six broad areas of working with learners online:

  1. Resources for Building Confidence for Online Learning
  2. Resources for Promoting Understanding of Online Learning
  3. Resources for Learning to Learn Actively Online
  4. Resources for Promoting Active Approaches to Study
  5. Resources for Assessment and Active Learning Online
  6. Resources for Dealing with the Unexpected.

Within these sections readers will find references to relevant activities in other sections of Handbook of Online Education. Readers will also find cross-references and links between tasks within the activities themselves. The order of the different sections reflects an overall process in working with learners online and also reflects the various stages in a journey from just getting started online to some more complex and involved activities.

Resources for Building Confidence for Online Learning suggests resources that will help the e-tutor to work with e-learners at a point equivalent to stages one and two of Gilly Salmon's five-step model. It includes tasks to engage new e-learners in starting to explore and use the online learning platform, and activities for 'online socialization', getting to know each other and to build learner confidence and trust in communicating with others in the learning community online.

Resources for Promoting Understanding of Online Learning are not dissimilar. Many will most typically be used early in an online learning course, helping participants to explore the nature and norms of online learning, laying the foundation for a successful online learning experience and helping learners to adapt to the new mode of learning.

The following sections address the ‘stuff’ of online learning itself, activities to develop and assess both skills and areas of knowledge and understanding.

Resources for Learning to Learn Actively Online suggests activities to develop skills for active learning in the world of study online or otherwise. It reflects the fact that many older learners need the information skills for interacting with Internet and other e-resources and the organizational skills necessary in a life where study competes with family and work responsibilities in very many study contexts, but especially when learning online.

Resources for Promoting Active Approaches to Study suggests reusable and adaptable activities and approaches to facilitating learning for use with both individuals and groups on academic, work-based and other courses within the online or blended learning context.

Resources for Assessment and Active Learning Online provides ideas for assessment activities that complement an active approach to learner-centered learning and a collaborative approach to learning online which pervades the book.

Resources for Dealing with the Unexpected is designed to address some of the 'problems' that can arise within the implementation of online learning out of the life situations and personalities of learners and the reliability (or otherwise) of Technology.

Handbook of Online Education is a resource book, almost a 'recipe book', comprising a collection of practical, innovative activities to promote active online learning. It is accessible, usable in a variety of ways, and a handy resource readers can 'dip into' when looking for an activity for a particular purpose. The book is for education and training professionals working with adult learners and/or young adults within a wide range of education and training contexts.

Education / Colleges & Universities / Research

Plagiarism: Alchemy and Remedy in Higher Education by Bill Marsh (State University of New York Press)

… if plagiarism has a history and, arguably, is as old as authorship itself (a claim taken up in the early chapters), then why are so many so eager to call it a prob­lem (a disease, a diablo) in the first place – as opposed to, say, a solution by another name? – from the book

Plagiarism takes an in-depth look at the history of plagiarism in higher education in light of today's Web-based plagiarism detection services. Challenging the widespread assumption that plagiarism is a simple matter of student cheating or scriptural error, Bill Marsh argues that today's teachers and educational institutions may be cheating themselves and their students in pursuing quick-fix solutions to the so-called epidemic of student plagiarism. When students submit papers cribbed from materials found on the Web or purchase research papers from Internet paper mills, these acts of sedition must also be recognized, for better or worse, as examples of new-media composition techniques.

Examining Web-based plagiarism detection services and software, Marsh, Assistant Professor of English at St. John's University, contends that these services regulate writing and reading practices in ways consistent with precomputer, even preindustrial, efforts to manage and refine human behavior. As he weaves together print history, education, rhetoric, and communication theory, Marsh shows that the rules governing plagiarism and the proper use of borrowed materials have their origins in early intellectual property law, in the reading practices of twelfth-century monks, and the precepts of medieval alchemy. Through an examination of these prescholastic models, Plagiarism calls for a revised approach to academic writing in computer-mediated environments.

Marsh focuses not only on pla­giarism per se but also on the ways in which teachers, policy makers, and entrepreneurs have endeavored to manage and remedy the plagiarism problem via an assortment of creative solutions. He approaches the topic as both a writer and a teacher of writing. As a teacher, he says he has sought to understand not only why students plagiarize and via what methods, but also how those on the receiving end of plagiarized texts go about both recognizing and then managing these particular infractions. As a writer, editor, and small-press publisher he also holds a keen interest in plagiarism as a kind of literary experi­mentation akin to collage, assemblage, cut-up, and other forms of material re-purposing or remediation. He is pri­marily concerned with plagiarism – and plagiarism detection – in today's insti­tutions of higher learning and particularly in the realm of student writing.

In writing Plagiarism he adds historical and theoretical context to the plagiarism debate. He provides a modified framework for studying the uses to which plagiarism-related rules and conventions are put, particularly in the age of the Internet and computer-mediated communication.

Plagiarism often shows up under different names: misappropriation, faulty citation, copyright infringement, literary theft, imitation, cheating, cribbing, and stealing, to name a few. Sometimes described as an affront to traditional values of authorship – and a threat to longstanding economic values attached to authors – plagiarism poses a perennial problem for some because it raises a host of questions about ownership, property, convention, law, education, tech­nology, and more broadly the social and ethical codes in defiance of which the plagiarist, as the story usually goes, plagiarizes. Out of respect for these and other complexities, he works from the premise that plagiarism cannot be understood – as either historical construct or local practice – without addressing the many concerns (legal, ethical, aesthetic, and pedagogical, in particular) inform­ing institutional efforts to define, detect, prevent, and punish this particular brand of literary malfeasance.

Marsh begins Plagiarism by recounting the 2002 plagiarism scandals in­volving historians Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. He focuses specif­ically on how mainstream press coverage of the cases included corollary subnarratives targeting college and university students, who functioned as ciphers in a broader debate about professional and academic ethics. Through a critical retelling of this story, he lays the groundwork for a more thor­ough analysis of plagiarism and antiplagiarism discourse in higher education.

Chapter 2 investigates several definitions of plagiarism rooted in notions of failed authorship and intellectual property violation. He argues in this chapter that recent solutions to the plagiarism problem, including Web-based plagia­rism detection services, enact a particular kind of societal control unique to postindustrial technologies of information exchange and processing. Building on these arguments, chapter 3 addresses early-twentieth-century plagiarism policies and assignment protocols, including the ‘research paper’ model that emerged in the 1920s in partial response to administrative concerns about stu­dent misuse of library materials. He argues here that plagiarism detection has functioned and continues to function within a broad educational regime that emphasizes the management of student writing practices and the enforcement of protective or preemptive measures to regulate potential authoring errors.

In chapter 4, he addresses one prevailing notion of plagiarism as a kind of failed transformation of literary content, considering in particular the historically pop­ular association of plagiarism with false or fraudulent alchemical transmutation. He then argues that the Renaissance pur­suit of literary transmutation informs later modern approaches to reading, research, and the rightful and wrongful use of text materials in academic writing.

In chapter 5, he considers a range of research writing conventions often as­sociated with plagiarism. Using the tools of critical discourse analysis, he shows, for example, how common handbook rules for avoiding plagiarism tend to oc­clude, albeit in the language of clear and concise technique, what remain largely inexplicable processes of textual transformation. To teach the prevailing con­ventions of quotation, paraphrase, and summary, he proposes, is to teach a pseudo-alchemical lesson whose secrets require a level of insider knowledge not usually accessible to beginning writing students.

In general, these first five chapters of Plagiarism foreground late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century attitudes about, and approaches to, the plagiarism problem.

Marsh’s aim is to avoid a kind of ‘moral absolutism’ in his study of plagiarism and plagiarism detection. In the first half of Plagiarism, then, he considers various definitional patterns in an effort not to further destabilize or relativize plagiarism, but rather to establish a necessarily flexible historical framework within which to consider recent approaches to plagiarism and plagiarism detection.

Chapter 6 links the alchemical and intellectual property traditions discussed above to late-twentieth-century progressive writing pedagogy. He looks at particu­lar examples of research writing assignments, policy revisions, and craft recom­mendations designed to remedy the problem of student plagiarism. He argues that a particular emphasis on the ‘spirit of inquiry’ in research writing instruction, as well as concerns about plagiarism, draw much of their inspiration from a nineteenth-century American Protestant interest in the management of human minds and souls through fundamentalist indoctrination.

In the seventh chapter, he analyzes four popular antiplagiarism services: Glatt Plagiarism Services, Essay Verification Engine (EVE2), Plagiarism-Finder, and Turnitin.com. He argues that these and other plagiarism detection services, under the aegis of pedagogical reform and the promise of technological progress, serve to regulate student writing and reading practices in ways reminiscent of precomputer, even preindustrial, solutions and remedies. He also shows how each service prioritizes notions of originality, uniqueness, and tex­tual purity derived in turn from rhetorical, legal, and alchemical traditions. In his concluding chapter he considers plagiarism and plagiarism detection in light of recent debates about research writing practices in the age of networked computers. He offers provisional suggestions for future research on the plagiarism topic and his own recommendations for how to teach and remedy the plagiarism problem in accordance with conclusions drawn from Plagiarism.

Most academics have not moved past nineteenth- and twentieth-century ideas about plagiarism. This book could help bring many into postmillennial thinking about this controversial topic. – Deborah H. Burns, Merrimack College

I appreciate the way the author has explored and complicated the many different facets of plagiarism, including the high-profile cases of Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. In addition, Marsh's discussion of the historical underpinnings of our modern (and postmodern) notions of plagiarism is thorough and convincing, helping put the problem of plagiarism into perspective. – Lise Buranen, coeditor of Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a Postmodern World

SirReadaLot.org is a book review website and as such, liberally lifts material from the books it reviews to use in presenting these books to readers – this review is no exception. Plagiarism had a lot to say that we found directly applicable to our work. Written by a writing teacher, the book is also clear and easy to follow.

Plagiarism addresses antiplagiarism remedies, authorship and, more broadly, written communication in the age of networked computers. It convincingly makes the case that academic institutions need to revise their policies regarding ‘borrowing’ in light of computer-mediated environments. The emphasis on solutions is what makes Plagiarism, if not entirely original, at least different from other books about plagiarism.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Willie Nelson: The Outlaw by Graeme Thomson, with an introduction by Keith Richards (Virgin Books Ltd.)

… Willie is an all American, one of the great Westerners. He's an American patriot, but not in the flag-waving sense. He has a real love and a feel for the soil of the land; a real concern for what you live on. It's a beautiful thing, and really honest. He's dedicated to his ideas and on top of that he's a brilliant musician and a songwriter par excellence.… Willie is a great magnet. He brings people together. I met Merle Haggard via him. I was sitting rehearsing with Willie and there was this guy with a baseball cap on – the right way around – and a grey beard, picking like a maniac. I said, ‘Your name's not Merle is it?’ Yup! It ended up with Merle working with the Stones. Willie pulls together diverse people from every spectrum of music. – Keith Richards, from the foreword

Keith Richards calls him a man of the soil in the foreword to Willie Nelson. Others have called him a Shaman. He has lived a life full enough for ten men and people want him to have big answers. He could be a red-neck cowboy, a Zen master or simply an old, stoned hippie. Of course, he is really all three, and several other things into the bargain . . .

With a face that wouldn't look out of place carved into Mount Rushmore, Willie Nelson has done it and seen it all.

Willie Nelson tells Willie’s story. A dope-smoking, whisky-drinking, latter-day cowboy with Native American blood, four wives and seven children, Nelson’s career spans half a century of American music. His life is a journey of incredible highs and crashing lows. Awards, huge record sales, famous friends, the creation of Farm Aid, his annual Fourth of July picnics, Woodstock ‘99 and the 9/11 memorial, are tempered by his mother and father’s early desertion, penury, alcoholism, three turbulent marriages, drug busts, bankruptcy, as well as his son’s suicide and an attempt at taking his own life.

In this biography, Willie Nelson, Graeme Thomson, acclaimed freelance music writer living in Scotland, goes beyond the myths, talking with Nelson himself, his band and those who know him best en route to discover the real Willie Nelson. The book is broken into time periods, for example, 1974-1976 – You Need Friends – and heavy on the dialogue, quoting Nick Hunter, Mickey Raphael, David Hood, Barry Beckett, Jerry Wexler, Connie Nelson, Bee Spears, Bruce Lundvall, Neil Reshen, Jessi Colter, Tompall Gaser, Paul English, Ray Price, and of course, Willie – in that one chapter alone.

Thomson, who achieved critical acclaim for another celebrity biography, Complicated Shadows: The Life & Music of Elvis Costello, closes the book like this: “Perhaps his greatest achievement – in a life studded with hard-won victories, landmark acts of creativity and immense rewards, alongside desperate lows and more pain than he allows himself to acknowledge – has been convincing so many people to come and join him in a world he has built using only the sound in his mind.”

Willie Nelson: The Outlaw brilliantly describes this compelling man, whose life and music reveals and reflects something fundamental at the very heart of twentieth-century America. Along the way Thomson insightfully explains why Nelson is nothing short of a living legend.
Entertainment / Music / Reference

Metal: The Definitive Guide by Garry Sharpe-Young, with a foreword by Rob Halford (Jawbone Press)

Almost four decades after its beginnings in Birmingham, England, in the late 1960s, the journey of heavy metal continues, and the variety and scope of heavy metal in today's scene is remarkable. There is no other reference guide to the heaviness of metal music quite like Metal.

Garry Sharpe-Young's book takes readers on a journey to experience all the bands that have taken part and played significant roles in the growth and endurance of metal.

Combining biography, critical analysis, and detailed reference sections, it profiles all the major heavy metal artists as well as a huge selection of other niche acts from around the world. Metal includes new firsthand interviews with many major metal musicians and detailed discographies. The definitive metal encyclopedia, with more than 300 illustrations including artist photos and memorabilia such as posters and ticket stubs, Metal is about one of the most enduringly popular forms of music.

Running to approximately 600,000 words, the information is organized into the various sub-genres that are a feature of the metal scene – doom, death, black, etc. – each of which is comprised of an A-Z of key artists. Assembled by a team of world-renowned metal experts, Metal achieves its aim thanks to two decades of research and Sharpe-Young’s unparalleled access to the musicians at the heart of the metal scene.

Sharpe-Young, manager of the constantly expanding www.rockdetector.com, the on-line information resource for all loud rock/metal music, says that today's heavy music scene is made of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of individual styles. Some of them are part of the mainstream; many are fully or partially underground, where only its legions of dedicated supporters keep the music alive. Only a book which embraces the full depth of the international scene could hope to penetrate to its very core. The book includes over 270 bands, each with a full discography; over 180 pictures, many rare and unseen; and dozens of exclusive quotes from the scene's prime movers.

The book starts with metal's forefathers, Black Sabbath, and guides readers on a head-banging journey through thrash metal, death metal, black metal, grind-core, plus intimate details of the stoner, doom, progressive, and gothic metal scenes. And it examines the impact made by many individual countries on the moshpits of the world, including Germany, Sweden, Norway, Latin America, and more, as well as U.S. and British acts.

Sharpe-Young's Metal provides the ultimate guide to heavy metal and its many associated genres. Whatever readers’ particular choices might be in the bands they enjoy, they are covered in depth. If readers are into metal of any kind – from Iron Maiden to Immortal, Metallica to Meshuggah, and Saxon to Slayer – this is the ultimate reference book to have. In this definitive and richly illustrated volume, for the first time, the immense world of heavy metal and its many sub-genres, brought to readers by worldwide experts in the field.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Remember Me: Constructing Immortality – Beliefs on Immortality, Life, and Death edited by Margaret Mitchell (Routledge)

Human beings are resourceful and every culture has attractive ways of imagining a world in which the dead are really still alive. – from Merridale, Night of Stone

The ways in which one's relationship with loved ones continues, endures, and perhaps even grows after the biological death of that loved one is the basis for this new text. Much of the available literature speaks of healthy bereavement as letting go of the deceased and moving forward with life. Remember Me challenges that notion.
The living, as presented in these chapters, construct social entities of those who have died. By the carrying out of wishes in the Will; pursuing legal claims; or simply attributing certain desires, emotions, or choices to the deceased, they reconstitute them as active, even vital, voices even after biological death.

Just as life itself, the end of life and death is an interdisciplinary matter. Remember Me brings together chapters from a worldwide group of contributors with a range of disciplinary perspectives on the meanings attributed to death, to the anticipation of death and to constructions of immortality. A psychological theme and focus ties together these perspectives under three conceptual areas: the anticipation of death; the social life of the deceased; the legal embodiment of the deceased. Mitchell’s approach to life after death is secular and pragmatic. Using photographs, stories, and scholarly research, the authors challenge current notions of bereavement by discussing the end of life and memories of the deceased as social constructions.

Remember Me is edited by Margaret Mitchell, Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia and Director of the Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Policing. She first became interested in the social context of death while working with Strathclyde Police in Glasgow on the aftermath of the Lockerbie Disaster in 1988 and studying its impact on emergency workers and the community.

In a socially significant sense, the dead are very much alive, and continue to carry influence in the practical and emotional worlds of the living. It is this rich and often surprising terrain that Mitchell and her capable contributors map, analyzing prac­tices of collective remembering, campaigns for social justice or human betterment launched on behalf of lost loved ones, intrafamilial struggles for the assets of the deceased, pilgrimages of a spiritual or secular kind, memento mori, the scientific and artistic treatment of the body, and much more. Anyone seeking to explore the domain of death studies that lies beyond the dominant psychological and medical discourses of grief will find this book fascinating reading. – Robert A. Neimeyer, editor of Death Studies and of Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss

The reflections on the boundary between life and death in Remember Me are a thoughtful and dynamic dialogue on ways in which relationships continue, endure, and perhaps even grow after biological death. Clearly written, this unique and innovative volume is an essential resource for researchers in thanatology, and presents novel approaches to meaning-making and understanding our continuing bonds that are useful and informative for grief counselors and other mental health practitioners.

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

Integrative Psychotherapy: Toward a Comprehensive Christian Approach by Mark R. McMinn & Clark D. Campbell (CAPS Books: IVP Academic)

Too often Christian counselors and psychotherapists sprinkle a few Bible verses atop a nontheistic psychological model of personality and try to serve it up as a Christian approach. On the other hand, some Christians seem to reject every finding of psychology, almost reflexively, and assume that the Bible provides a direct and immediate answer to every question of living. Psychology has limits – huge limits when it comes to issues of metaphysics – but let's not reject it all just because some psychology has been misused in the church. – McMinn, from an interview

In Integrative Psychotherapy Mark McMinn and Clark Campbell present an integrative model of psychotherapy (IP) that is grounded in Christian biblical and theological teaching and in a critical and constructive engagement with contemporary psychology. The authors provide both theoretical analysis and practical guidance for the practitioner.

Integrative Psychotherapy articulates a Christian psychotherapy – one that takes both Christianity and psy­chology seriously, and that helps to serve hurting people through the ministries of Christian counselors, psychologists, social workers and pastors.

Both authors are at George Fox University, Graduate School of Clinical Psychology in Newberg, Oregon; Mark R. McMinn is professor of psychology and a licensed clinical psychologist; and Clark D. Campbell is professor of psychology and director of clinical training as well as adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University and a clinical psychologist in private practice.

The first four chapters of Integrative Psychotherapy establish a theoretical framework for IP. Chapter one pro­vides an overview of Christian doctrine, viewed from an evangelical Protestant perspective, with special attention given to three theological views of what it means to be made in the image of God (imago Dei). These three views correspond with the three domains of IP: functional, structural and relational. Chapter two gives an overview of scientific findings regarding psy­chotherapy. According to the authors, this chapter will humble theoretical purists because it demonstrates that no single therapeutic approach can claim vast superiority over any other. The so-called cognitive revolution is described in chapter three, along with an overview and Christian critique of cognitive therapy – an important task because the first two domains of IP are closely related to contemporary cognitive ther­apy. Chapter four provides a theoretical overview of IP, drawing on the doctrinal, scientific and theoretical perspectives developed in the first three chapters.

Once a theoretical foundation is established, McMinn and Campbell in Integrative Psychotherapy consider the practice of IP in the next seven chapters. Chapter five is a brief survey of assessment and case conceptualization. Chapters six and seven describe symptom-focused interven­tions, known as the functional domain. They pay special attention to treating anx­iety disorders because they are well suited for functional-domain interventions. The structural, or schema-focused, domain of IP is the focus of chapters eight and nine. They discuss the treatment of depression in the context of describing schema-focused interventions. In chapters ten and eleven, they look at the rela­tional domain of IP, concentrating on the importance of the therapeutic relationship in promoting change. Although relationship-focused interventions have many applications, they devote special attention to the treatment of personality disorders.

The final chapter summarizes and reiterates the integrative focus that the authors emphasize throughout the book while identifying various challenges and limita­tions to their integrative approach to psychotherapy.

Integrative Psychotherapy by McMinn and Campbell is a substantial work that integrates behavioral, cognitive and interpersonal models of therapy within a Christian theological framework. While I do not agree with some of its conclu­sions (e.g., not integrating spiritual direction with integrative psychotherapy), I highly recommend it as essential reading. – Siang-Yang Tan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Integrative Psychotherapy is an extraordinary book. Grounded in a thoroughly biblical un­derstanding of the human condition and of God's grace in Christ and calling on his people, McMinn and Campbell critically and thoughtfully mine the cognitive and relational clinical traditions for wisdom to guide psychotherapeutic conceptualization and intervention with hurting people. – Stanton L. Jones, provost and professor of psychology, Wheaton College

Christian counselors and psychologists have been talking about integration for years; McMinn and Campbell give us a model for how to do it. Integrative Psychotherapy is theologically sound, relationally sensitive and empirically sophisticated. It will prove to be among the most important and widely used books in our discipline. – C. Jeffrey Terrell, president, Psychological Studies Institute

Integrative Psychotherapy is an example of integration at its finest. The book provides one of the first systematic theoretical models for Christian psychotherapy and the closest to a comprehensive Christian approach that has yet been written. It is easy to read and practical without sacrificing a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between Christianity and psychology. It is aimed at a broad intellectual audience, both students in undergraduate and graduate programs of psychology, including pastoral counseling as well as professional counselors, therapists and psychologists.

Integrative Psychotherapy is the first book from a new partnership between InterVarsity Press and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies International (CAPS International), the nation's largest nonprofit association of Christians in counseling and the behavioral sciences.

Historical Study / Arts & Photography

Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community by Douglas Baynton, Jack R. Gannon & Jean Lindquist Bergey (Gallaudet University Press)

Their misfortune is not that they are deaf and dumb, but that others hear and speak. Were the established mode of communication among men, by a language addressed not to the ear but to the eye, the present inferiority of the deaf would entirely vanish. – John Burnet, 1835

I am myself deaf. My greatest obstacle is not my deafness, but to overcome the prejudice and igno­rance of those who do not understand what the deaf can do. – Olof Hanson, 1908

As long as we have our films, we can preserve signs in their old purity. It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people. – George Veditz, 1913

Diversity defines the growth of America, and no group reflects the minority experience more acutely than deaf people.

In 2001, the Smithsonian Institution presented the landmark photographic exhibition History through Deaf Eyes, representing nearly 200 years of United States Deaf history. Drawing heavily on the extensive archives at Gallaudet University, the curators created an exhibition that reflected the concomitant historical struggles and triumphs of the Deaf community, a cultural, linguistic minority within the larger hearing population. More than 400,000 people viewed the exhibition at the Smithsonian and in twelve cities during a five-year national tour. Its popularity prompted the production of the documentary film Through Deaf Eyes for national broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service.

The photographs, quotes, and stories from this remarkable exhibit and doc­umentary have been assembled in Through Deaf Eyes, revealing images of stunning beauty and poignancy that trace the history of an American community during the past two centuries.

Written by Douglas Baynton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa, Iowa City; Jack R. Gannon, former Special Assistant for Advocacy to the president of Gallaudet University and the curator of the History Through Deaf Eyes exhibition; and Jean Lindquist Bergey, Director of the History Through Deaf Eyes Project at Gallaudet University in Washington, Through Deaf Eyes features more than 200 full-color photographs. The book depicts the story of Deaf America, and also affords readers the opportunity to learn about the nation’s broader history.

The values and judgments of American society have had an impact on the education, employment, and family life of deaf people. In turn, examining historical eras through a Deaf lens illuminates them in a singular way. The photographs contained in this volume reveal the character of deaf people in school settings, the workplace, during wartime, and using their cultural signature, American Sign Language. For both deaf and hearing readers, the Deaf com­munity portrayed in Through Deaf Eyes offers a unique and fascinating perspective on the value of human difference.

History / Americas / Central America / Military

41 Seconds to Freedom: An Insider’s Account of the Lima Hostage Crisis, 1996-97 by Luis Giampietri, with Bill Salisbury & Lorena Ausejo (Presidio Press)

41 Seconds to Freedom is the true story behind the infamous 126-day-long hostage crisis (which was also an inspiration for Anne Patchett's Bel Canto, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Bernardo Bertolucci).

On December 17, 1996, more than six hundred VIPs were attending the birthday party of the Japanese ambassador to Peru at his residence. Political figures, business leaders, and socialites mingled in a tented pavilion on expansive grounds. Then, without warning, fourteen masked, heavily armed figures burst in. Members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a Cuban-influenced band of insurgents, the terrorists demanded the release of four hundred of their comrades from prison – or they would kill all the hostages. As told in 41 Seconds to Freedom, the event inspired a media frenzy – especially when Peru's president, Alberto Fujimori, refused to negotiate. What the public didn't know was that Fujimori had immediately begun planning a military assault and that its success would depend on the help of one particular party guest.

Luis Giampietri, soon to become Vice President of Peru, was among the group. He had been a field commander of special operation forces that had fought terrorists, including the MRTA. His quick suppression of a prison mutiny by Shining Path revolutionaries had made him a feared enemy. Now, dismissed by his captors as a harmless retiree, he became a crucial component of a complex commando rescue operation.

41 Seconds to Freedom by Giampietri with Bill Salisbury and Lorena Ausejo, is Giampietri's inside account of the unnerving ordeal and its resolution through heroism and sheer audacity. He tells how he mapped out hidden microphones and used his pager to reveal the terrorists' positions, habits, and tactics; how one young female terrorist became infatuated with a Japanese hostage – with fateful consequences; how a Red Cross employee was discovered to be in league with the MRTA; and how the rescue took all of 41 seconds from start to finish.

But Giampietri's story doesn't end when the crisis does. The corruption inquiry after President Fujimori's subsequent fall from power cast doubt on the entire operation, painting liberators as executioners and making Giampietri feel ‘forever a hostage.’

Giampietri, a retired admiral, is now vice president of Peru. In a forty-year career he has been a deep-sea diver, a combat swimmer, commander of two warships, and a naval attaché to Great Britain. Bill Salisbury is a retired navy commander and former Navy SEAL who has written widely and Lorena Ausejo is news director for a prime-time TV program about politics telecast by Peru's equivalent of CNN.

A gripping and well-written story that is better than a novel. On September 11, 2001, the vast majority of Americans came to the realization that they could be victims of terrorism. As we respond to that threat, it would be instructive to read how someone who has faced that challenge responded with bravery and resolve. – Dennis Jett, former U.S. ambassador to Peru

As riveting as any thriller, and by turns encouraging and cautionary, 41 Seconds to Freedom is an invaluable account of one of the most dramatic solutions to a terrorist hostage crisis in modern history.

History / Art History / Europe / Renaissance

Patronage and Dynasty: The Rise of the Della Rovere on Renaissance Italy edited by Ian F. Verstegen (Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies #77: Truman State University Press)

Patronage and Dynasty, a collection of essays, offers a study of the patron-artist relationship through the lens of one of early modern Italy's most powerful and influential historical families. Contributors present a longitudinal study of the della Rovere family's ascent into Italian nobility. The della Rovere family included popes, cardinals, and powerful dukes who financed some of the world's best-known and greatest artwork. The essays, collected by Ian Verstegen, art historian and independent scholar living in Philadelphia, explore the issue of identity and its maintenance, of carving a permanent spot for a family name in a rapidly changing atmosphere.

Although these studies depart from art patronage, they uncover how the popes, cardinals, dukes, and signore of the della Rovere family constituted their identity. Originally a nouveau-riche creation of papal nepotism, the della Rovere first populated the ranks of cardinals under the powerful popes Sixtus IV and Julius II. Within the framework of later papal relations, the family negotiated its position within the economy of Italian nobles.

The essays collected in Patronage and Dynasty share in different proportions a recognition of Scholastic-Franciscan origins as providing a more authoritative claim to sacramental nobility than an ancient family; in the Sistine and Julian era, a sort of cultural capital competed with noble capital, and later in the sixteenth century, enlightened nobility competed with a more ancient nobility.

By taking a synoptic view, Patronage and Dynasty attempts to produce different conclu­sions than can be reached by examining isolated patrons. There are many mature stud­ies of individuals from the della Rovere family, many of them written by contributors to this volume. Although studies of the papacies of Sixtus IV and Julius II abound, rarely do familial considerations surface. Furthermore, both Sixtus and Julius had an unusual respect for the autonomy of the pope, which means they are least amenable to a family-inspired model of patronage. Patronage and Dynasty may be considered an interpretive addendum to recent work by Italian scholars on the della Rovere. It is less concerned with exhaustive coverage of the monuments of patronage than with the role of patronage in negotiating identity.

The della Rovere family, from the ambitious Pope Sixtus IV, Francesco della Rovere (1414-84), to the solitary Francesco Maria II, last Duke of Urbino (1549-1631), present a varied and disparate group. Spanning two centuries, the family includes boot-strap ecclesiastics like Sixtus IV, wildly nepotistic and scandalous creati like Cardinal Raffaelle Riario, to established Dukes of Urbino like Francesco Maria and Guidobaldo II, leading into the Counter-Reformation and Francesco Maria II's final act of piety in the devolution of his duchy to the Holy See. To be a della Rovere meant different things at different times. Yet, due to certain constants like fairly recent ennoblement and ecclesiastical origins, the various family members shared something in common: different family members had to observe a similar strategy of self-fashioning that complemented their realities and maximized their success.

According to Verstegen, since the publication of Stephen Greenblatt's Renaissance Self-Fashioning, the notion that early moderns improvised their identities has become commonplace. But the spe­cific implication of Greenblatt's views that selves were mere cultural artifacts, imposed by society as a fiction, has been more controversial. If identity was provisional and sin­cerity dissembled, individual agendas provided the anchor against which skillful manipulation of intentions and desires could be measured. So what was the agenda of the della Rovere? How did they negotiate the economy of nobility in the Renaissance?

Outline of the essays in Patronage and Dynasty:

Part I The Beginning – Sixtus IV

  • The Sistine Chapel, Dynastic Ambition, and the Cultural Patronage of Sixtus IV – Andrew Charles Blume, Episcopal priest and independent scholar.
  • Pope Sixtus IV at Assisi: The Promotion of Papal Power – Jill Elizabeth Blondin, assistant professor of art history at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Part II Ecclesiastics

  • Piety and Public Consumption: Domenico, Girolamo, and Julius II della Rovere at Santa Maria del Popolo – Lisa Passaglia Barman, teacher at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • Avignon to Rome: The Making of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere as a Patron of Architecture – Henry Dietrich Fernandez, senior lecturer in architecture and architectural history at the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • Reform and Renewed Ambition: Cardinal Giulio Feltrio della Rovere – Ian Verstegen, editor of the volume.

Part III Signore

  • Felice della Rovere and the Castello at Palo – Caroline P. Murphy, associate professor of art history at University of California, Riverside.
  • The Ecclesiastical Patronage of Isabella Feltria della Rovere: Bricks, Bones, and Brocades – Maria Ann Conelli, director of the American Folk Art Museum in NewYork City.

Part IV The Ducal Experience

  • Francesco Maria and the Duchy of Urbino, between Rome and Venice – Ian Verstegen
  • Duke Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Federico Barocci, and the Taste for Titian at the Court of Urbino – Jeffrey Fontana, teacher at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
  • Francesco Maria della Rovere and Federico Barocci: Some Notes on Distinctive Strategies in Patronage and the Position of the Artist at Court – Stuart Lingo, assis­tant professor of Renaissance art at University of Washington-Seattle.

The various essays collected in Patronage and Dynasty taken together chart the ways this family laid claim to a kind of cultural and enlightened nobility as time went by, carving a niche for itself through patronage of the arts. The book offers a unique and thorough study of the patron-artist relationship as well as insight into how a notable family constituted its identity over time. By bringing together experts on various members of the della Rovere family, the book achieves a broader perspective than the authors could have achieved individually.

History / Europe / Cultural History / Animals’ Rights

Subjugated Animals: Animals and Anthropocentrism in Early Modern European Culture by Nathaniel Wolloch (Humanity Books)

Subjugated Animals is a study of attitudes toward animals in early modern Western culture. Emphasizing the influence of anthropocentrism on attitudes toward animals, historian Nathaniel Wolloch traces the various ways in which animals were viewed, from predominantly anti-animal thinking to increasingly pro-animal sentiments and viewpoints.

In Subjugated Animals Wolloch explores key issues in the history of the human attitude toward the animal world. Centering the dis­cussion on early modern European culture, unlike most studies of this topic, Wolloch does not confine himself to one particu­lar type of source, but examines a wide variety of different materials, philosophical, scientific, literary and artistic.

Subjugated Animals is a study in cultural history and the history of ideas. Wolloch, independent Israeli scholar special­izing in early modern cultural and intellectual history and lecturer in history and art history at the Emek Yezreel College in Israel, devotes a chapter each to six major themes: early modern philosophical perspectives on animals till the end of the seventeenth century, pro-animal opinions in the eighteenth-century, the connection between attitudes toward animals and the early modern debate about the existence of extraterrestrial life, scientific modes of discussing animals, the role of animals in early modern anthropomorphic literature, and depictions of animals in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting.

In particular, Wolloch emphasizes the anthropocentric ethic as the predominant influence on the development of the Western consideration of animals. Employing a seemingly simple terminology defining attitudes toward animals as either ‘pro-’ or ‘anti-animal,’ he demonstrates that in fact reality was much more complex, and even the most seemingly sympathetic consider­ations of animals were pervaded by an anthropocentric ethic.

Beginning with a short survey of ancient and medieval attitudes toward animals, Wolloch proceeds to discuss seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophical debates about their physical and mental character­istics, and the possibility of moral duties toward them. He then examines the connection between this philosophical literature and the early modern debate about the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. Next come dis­cussions of attitudes toward animals in science, anthropomorphic litera­ture, and painting.

 ‘Anthropocentrism’ can hold a variety of meanings. In the context of this discussion Wolluch means not just the general idea that the world revolves around human needs, but specifically the application of such thinking to attitudes toward animals. The more pro-animal certain arguments might seem, the more surprising it is to find that many of them are nevertheless anthropocentric.

This discussion defines anthropocentrism as the cos­mology which regards all of material nature, and specifically the ani­mals, as subjugated to human needs. It also uses the term anthro­pocentrism in a more general sense. The vast majority of early modem intellectual references to animals prior to the eighteenth cen­tury, were made within the contexts of discussions of human, i.e. anthropocentric, issues and concerns. This might seem to imply that animals were not of central importance for early modem literati. However, the sheer vast number of such references, some of them very elaborate, emphasizes the exact opposite. Furthermore, these many discussions of animals, whatever their varying levels of com­plexity and elaboration, were intimately connected to the conception of the place of humanity in the material world, which underwent dra­matic changes throughout the early modern period, and was of cen­tral cultural and intellectual importance. While most discussions of animals were embedded in such anthropocentric concerns, the ani­mals per se also received a growing amount of attention, including, in particular, ethical consideration. In this context both meanings of the term anthropocentrism, as a general interest in human affairs, and as an emphasis of human importance, should be differentiated. In many cases they coincided, as would seem intuitively natural. However, in other numerous cases, particularly of pro-animal views, the anthro­pocentric general interest in humanity was connected to a critique of the traditional anthropocentric view of human uniqueness. Yet even in such cases, this critique itself was ultimately meant to serve human ends, for example the amelioration of human society and morality. Early modern pro- and anti-animal positions can be clearly differen­tiated, yet even pro-animal anti-anthropocentric viewpoints never fully overcame a basic, if unconscious, anthropocentrism. This obser­vation emphasizes how divergent early modem views of animals could be, but it also demonstrates the limits of attention that animals could receive in their own right, particularly from the ethical point of view. There is no doubt that the early modem era, approximately between the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries, saw a rise in the attention given to the ethical treatment of animals. This attention was confined within the limits of the anthropocentric viewpoint, no matter how much these limits were tested. Yet tested they often were, and this resulted in a gradually changing consideration of animals.

The historiographical discussion Wolloch presents in Subjugated Animals is of the general type, i.e., one that is less linear and more dialectical. His position, however, is more emphatic in this sense. He does not observe the developments in attitudes toward animals as ‘progress,’ but simply as changes. In this context what may seem at first glance to be an improvement in attitudes toward them, for example a seemingly growing amount of pro-animal exhortations, might be viewed not as a sign of actual amelioration in the treatment of animals, but rather as a reaction to an increasing moral deteriora­tion in the use people make of them. That is not to say that improve­ments in the treatment of animals at certain historical moments did not occur, and that he regards the thesis put forward here as a compre­hensive one describing all developments in the history of western cul­ture's attitude toward them. However, he suggests that in general, when one considers the development of attitudes toward ani­mals from a broad perspective, the depiction of this history as a process of gradual ‘humane’ improvement seems to be inaccurate.

The chapters of Subjugated Animals provide both an overview of various examples of early modern consideration of animals, and a critical examination of these phenomena. They are arranged according to a thematic principal; they progress gradually from a discussion of pre-eminently anti-animal thinking to increasingly pro-animal thinking. This progression is defined by the above-noted distinction between philosophical and scientific views on the one hand, and on the other hand literary and artistic views, as exemplifying, respectively, anti- and pro-animal outlooks. The first two chapters deal with fairly familiar material, the history of philosophical views of animals. Since histories of attitudes toward animals have so often been concerned with philosophical texts, it seemed necessary to reread this material from the perspective of a history of anthropocentrism. The first chapter deals with early modern philosophical views of animals till about the end of the sev­enteenth century. The second chapter discusses eighteenth-century philosophical views of them, with an emphasis on pro-animal opinions. The third chapter discusses the connection between attitudes toward animals and the early modern debate about the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. The fourth chapter deals with certain sci­entific modes of discussing animals, and particularly with what might be termed popular science. The fifth and sixth chapters deal with topics that, surprisingly, have received very little attention from historians of early modern attitudes toward animals. The fifth chapter deals with early modem anthropomorphic literature, specifically as a source for understanding attitudes toward animals. The sixth chapter discusses depictions of animals in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting from a similar point of view. Finally, the conclusion presents a synthesis of the ideas discussed throughout the book, and outlines some general comments linking these ideas with the modern discussion of animal rights and ecological issues. While Subjugated Animals is a his­tory book, it seemed to Wolloch essential to connect the historical discus­sion to the modem debate about animals and nature. If his observa­tion is correct, and the history of attitudes toward animals is a history of the persistence of anthropocentric cosmology and morality, then this has particular relevance for the current modern debate about the human treatment of animals.

Subjugated Animals is, therefore, a history of anthropocentrism, as much as it is a history of attitudes toward animals. As the discussion grad­ually moves from a consideration of preeminently anti-animal viewpoints, to that of increasingly pro-animal ones, the ways in which anthropocentrism evinced itself become ever more subtle and diffi­cult to detect. Yet ultimately it always asserted itself as the dominant defining force in the history of early modern attitudes toward animals. By the time literary and artistic phenomena are considered, it becomes clear that anthropocentrism was a multi-dimensional and sophisticated cosmological outlook, which found ways of pervading even the most outspokenly pro-animal opinions.

Subjugated Animals is a broad, interdisciplinary, historical study which Wolloch concludes by linking the historical trends to the modern discussion of animal rights and ecological issues. The result is an inherently multi-disciplinary study which presents a comprehensive picture of the early modern cultural appreciation of animals, linked to the present-day public debate regarding the human interaction with animals and nature.

Some people are likely to disagree with Wolloch’s interpretation. However, if the study’s conclusions provoke serious discussion of the topics examined, it will have contributed its share to a growing debate pertinent not only for scholars, but for all those inter­ested in the human interaction with the natural world.

History / Europe / Social Sciences / Law

To Have and to Hold: Marrying and Its Documentation in Western Christendom, 400-1600 edited by Philip L. Reynolds & John Witte, Jr. (Cambridge University Press)

Throughout much of the West today, marriage formation requires the execution of a written marriage contract – usually a marriage certificate that is signed by the couple and their witnesses and registered with a government official. In the pre-modern West, both the documentation and the formation of marriage were considerably more complex and variegated. But most so-called marriage contracts in the Middle Ages were primarily marriage settlements: they recorded agreements about transfers`of marital property. Moreover, the relationship between written marriage contracts and the contract of marriage per se varied considerably over time and across cultures. Some of the documents recorded the marriage itself; some did not. Some of them were intended for use at weddings; some were not. Some of the documents included commentary on the legal, ethical, or religious function of marriage; some did not. In fact, prior to the sixteenth century, marital liturgies, weddings, and feasts were not essential to the validity of a marriage contract.

To Have and to Hold analyzes how, why, and when pre-modern Europeans documented their marriages. Edited by Philip L. Reynolds, Aquinas Professor of Historical Theology in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion; and John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, both at Emory University, the volume considers both the func­tion of documentation in the process of marrying and what the surviving documents say about pre-modern marriage and how people in the day understood it.

To Have and to Hold looks at property deeds, marital settlements, and dotal charters, through the depositions used in episcopal and consistory courts, and through other surviving indicia of the couple's agreement to marry. The marital documents that have survived are a rich source of information about the marital norms and customs of pre-modern Europeans. They are closer to the actual practice of marrying than the normative literature of pre-modern theology and canon law, about which we have long known a good deal. Indeed, the value of marital documents surpasses that of any historical theory or generalization that we can glean from them, for they record moments in the lives of real persons.

The chapters in To Have and to Hold offer a fair representation of the range of customs, laws, and practices surrounding the formation and documentation of marriages in pre-modern Europe, and the range of legal, social, and religious modes of scholarly analysis that can be applied to the documentary evidence that has survived. Though church and state battled intermittently over marital jurisdiction from the fifth to the sixteenth centuries, the basic norms and forms of marriage inherited from the fifth and sixth centuries were not seriously challenged until the eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Western Enlightenment. The sequence of chapters takes readers on a journey through the surviving data. In Chapter 1, "Marrying and Its Documentation in Pre-Modern Europe: Consent, Celebration, and Property," editor Reynolds pro­vides an overview of some of the main themes, terms, and trends that readers will encounter in making this journey. He sketches an interdisciplinary map of the exceedingly intricate legal systems of marital property.

In Chapter 2, "Marrying and Its Documentation in Later Roman Law," Judith Evans-Grubbs, Professor of Classics at Washington University in St. Louis, recalls the salient features of Roman marriage law in late antiquity, but she focuses in a novel way on actual written contracts, using papyrological evidence and spreading her net over a wide geographical and cultural area within the Roman Empire to compensate for lack of surviving tabulae nuptiales from Europe. In Chapter 3, "Marrying and the Tabulae Nuptiales in Roman North Africa from Tertullian to Augustine," David G. Hunter, Monsignor James A. Supple Professor of Catholic Studies at Iowa State University, analyzes the Roman dotal instrument, which was the precursor of the dotal charters on which several later chapters focus. In Chapter 4, "Dotal Charters in the Frankish Tradition," editor Reynolds focuses on the formulae for dotal charters in the standard collection of Merovingian and Carolingian formulae by Karl Zeumer. Reynolds first considers the Frankish dowry and its place in the nuptial process; next, he analyzes the diplomatic form of the charters; then, in the main part of the article, Reynolds focuses on eleven ‘sacred’ formulae, which include an account of the sanctity of marriage and its place in God's plan.

In Chapter 5, "Marriage and Diplomatics: Five Dower Charters from the Regions of Laon and Soissons,1163–1181," Laurent Morelle, Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, meticulously analyzes the diplo­matic form and the religious message of the charters, which churchmen used to express their own concerns about marriage. He then applies his expertise in biographical research to identify the spouses and the signatories and to suggest the significance of the marriages in relation to lineage and to the spheres of influence of different castellanies. In Chapter 6, "Marriage Agreements from Twelfth-Century Southern France," Cynthia Johnson, associated member of the research group FRAMESPA in the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, focuses on seven marriage charters, dating from 1127 to 1197, which she puts in the context of some sixty comparable texts. She points to evidence that developments in civil law influenced the texts and that the spouses did not consider themselves to be actually married until they began to live together.

In Chapter 7, "Marriage Contracts in Medieval England," R. H. Helmholz, Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, outlines criteria for what should be counted as marriage contracts. Helmholz dis­tinguishes between two sorts of marriage contract: secular marriage contracts and the religious marriage contracts that came before and were enforced in ecclesiastical courts. In Chapter 8, "Marriage Contracts and the Church Courts of Fourteenth-Century England” Frederik Pedersen, Lecturer in History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, analyzes the documentary evidence of mar­riage from English consistory courts, especially York. He observes how lay people were able to exploit canonical procedures for their own personal ends, and he notes the respective roles of clergy and notaries in the formation of marriage and the interaction between religious and civil authorities.

In Chapter 9, "Marrying and Marriage Litigation in Medieval Ireland," Art Cosgrove, Professor Emeritus of History and former President of University College – Dublin, focuses on depositions presented in Irish church courts dealing with marriage litigation in the late Middle Ages. He conveys a vivid sense of the people named in the documents and their lives, values, and expectations. In Chapter 10, "Marriage Contracts in Medieval Iceland," Agnes S. Arnorsdottir, Associate Professor in the Institute of History and Area Studies at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, observes the form and evolution of marriage settlements beginning from the twelfth century. In Chapter 11, "Contracting Marriage in Renaissance Florence," Thomas Kuehn, Professor and Department Chair of History at Clemson University, begins with the famous clandestine union of Giovanni della Casa and Lusanna di Benedetto, using that as a foil to examine typical marriage contracts in Florence.

In Chapter 12, "Marriage Property Law as Socio-Cultural Text: The Case of Late-Medieval Douai," Martha C. Howell, Miriam Champion Professor of History at Columbia University, considers marriage as a property arrangement. Viewing property law as a witness to the social and cultural meanings of marriage, Howell exploits the unusual wealth of matrimonial documents from Douai, an important French-speaking city in the medieval county of Flanders. In Chapter 13, "Marriage Contracts, Liturgies, and Properties in Reformation Geneva," editor Witte considers some matrimonial documents from John Calvin's Geneva, including the new marriage liturgy, several new statutes, and two marriage contracts, and he sets these in the context of contemporaneous devel­opments in Reformed marriage law and theology. Witte emphasizes the interplay of secular and religious concerns in the new marriage liturgy of Geneva and outlines the archaic gifts and other tokens of betrothal and marriage that, while ancient, were still customary in this period.

Drawing on archival evidence from classical Rome; medieval France, England, Iceland, and Ireland; and Renaissance Florence, Douai, and Geneva, To Have and to Hold provides a rich interdis­ciplinary analysis of the range of material customs, laws, and practices in Western Christendom. The book includes freshly translated specimen documents that bring readers closer to the actual practice of marrying than the normative literature of pre-modern theology and canon law. After analyzing the foundations of Western marriage set by Roman law and Patristic theology, To Have and to Hold provides a wealth of data in the form of vivid case studies of marital documents and practices in medieval France, England, Iceland, and Ireland, and in Renaissance Florence, Douai, and Geneva. The book will be of interest to a wide range of audiences, both scholars and lay individuals alike.

To Have and to Hold is one of a series of volumes to emerge from the project called "Sex, Marriage, and Family & the Religions of the Book," undertaken by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. The project seeks to take stock of the dramatic transformation of marriage and family life in the world today and to craft enduring solutions to the many new problems it has occasioned. The project is interreligious in inspiration and international in orientation: it places current American debates over sex, marriage, and family within an emerging global conversation.History / Military / Holocaust / Biographies & Memoirs / Reference

The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary by Max Domarus; edited by Patrick Romane, with a foreword by Charles W. Sydnor, Jr. (Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc.)

Today's headlines sometimes send chills down the spines of those who still recall the pronouncements and policies of Germany's dictator, Adolf Hitler. Most notably, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has drawn international criticism for his position as an anti-Semite, recently hosting a conference to debate the very existence of the Holocaust. With potentially dangerous leaders such as Ahmadinejad in the world today, how can we learn from Hitler's terrifying reign to keep history from repeating itself?

The Essential Hitler is a new edition of Hitler's speeches, proclamations and other documents, along with commentary by the late German scholar and first-hand-witness Max Domarus. Domarus was a historian, archivist and author of 22 books on Franconian and German history. Born in Germany in 1911, Domarus witnessed Hitler's rise to power. In 1932, he began collecting Hitler's speeches, interviews, letters, public proclamations and public statements for what would later become this volume

Both a reference and a non-fiction read, The Essential Hitler distills the four volumes of Hitler's Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945: The Chronicle of a Dictatorship by Domarus into a single book. This abridgement maintains the chronological, historical and scholarly integrity of the highly acclaimed four volume series including its twelve appendices, 20 photographs and 4 new maps.

Features include: History of Hitler's Government (1932-1945), What Hitler Believed, How Hitler Governed, Hitler's Party, Putting Germany to Work, The Jewish Question, The Churches and Hitler, Hitler Becomes Supreme Commander, Life in Hitler's Germany, How the Press Viewed Hitler, Expanding the Reich, Hitler Confronts America, Hitler Fights His War, Epilogue, Glossary, Dates in Hitler's Life, Maps & Illustrations, and Chronological Index of Speeches and Events.

As will become evident to readers of The Essential Hitler, though he began as just another ambitious politician, Hitler soon learned to play on the fears and prejudices of the German people during a time of political and social unrest. Soon, his deeply-held hatred for Jews, Communists and other racial and social groups began to permeate his oratory, and then government policy, slowly poisoning the public with his bigotry. Every speech, letter and proclamation represents the official stance of the Nazi party and Hitler himself in his own words. The commentary places events in context and clarifies Hitler's ideology.

Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers has now finished a one-volume English abridged edition of the four-volume set of their English translation [Hitler Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945: The Chronicle of a Dictatorship]. Chapters are organized topically, each with a particular focus relating to an important aspect of Hitler public life and role as the Führer of Nazi Germany. The result is a volume of general interest that should find a prominent place on the reference shelf of any student or specialist interested in any phase of the life and career of the most complex, destructive, and central historic figure of the twentieth century. – Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., Emory & Henry College, former president, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation
An invaluable reference tool. – Aaron Kornblum, Holocaust Museum
The speeches are an invaluable primary source. They are used to document Hitler's thinking and Hitler's political signals to his Nazi followers and the general public and give a sense of what kind of things the general public was hearing from the dictator. – Peter Black, senior historian of the Holocaust Museum

In The Essential Hitler, the infamous political figure is presented both through his own words and beliefs and through a greater historical and political context, creating a unique and definitive collection. This collection is the first of its kind to offer English-language readers access to a case-study of the world's best known and widely loathed dictator. The book is carefully researched and documented and will appeal to scholars and history buffs alike.

History / Military / World

The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolo Capponi (Da Capo)

The glow of the early afternoon sun hovered over the city of Rome, shining through the windows of the Vatican palace as Pope Pius V conversed with a group of close collaborators. The sixty-seven-year-old pontiff had many worries: Protestants were busy spreading their heresies all over Europe and the Ottomans' advance in the Mediterranean seemed unstoppable. Pius had done much to counter both perils, even managing to create a league of quarrelsome Christian princes to fight the Muslims. He knew that an allied fleet had been operating for some weeks in the Levant, and all this time the gaunt, deeply religious pope had been fasting and praying for divine aid against the Islamic menace. Suddenly Pius walked towards a window, opened it, and stood for some time looking at the sky. At length closing the shutters, he turned towards his treasurer Bartolomeo Busotti. "It is no time for business," he exclaimed, his face lit with joy. "Let us go and thank God, for this very moment our fleet has defeated the Turks. – from the book

In The Victory of the West, eminent Italian military historian Capponi brings readers an account of the most important naval battle of early modem times – a turning point in the war between Christianity and Islam – and the first book on this significant day in world history.

On the morning of October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto on the Ionian Sea, the vast and heavily-manned fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League clashed in one of the most significant battles in history. By that afternoon the sea was red with blood.

Before the battle, Europe's future looked bleak. The growing Turkish threat appeared unstoppable. The Ottoman Sultan wanted to seize control of the entire Mediterranean. Plans were being drawn for a final invasion of the Christian West – an invasion of conquest and conversion. But by four o'clock that October afternoon the entire Turkish naval force, which had not lost a battle at sea in almost a century, was defeated by a fragile coalition of Christian states. The Ottomans lost over 200 warships and 35,000 men, and the spell of their maritime invincibility was broken forever. It was a victory of the West – the first major victory of Europeans against the mighty Ottoman Empire.

Niccolo Capponi, fellow at the Medici Archive Project and curator of the Capponi Archive, describes the clash of cultures that led to this crucial confrontation and takes a fresh look at the bloody struggle at sea between oared fighting galleys and men of faith.

Capponi draws on all existing original sources including personal letters, direct accounts, related stories, and historical hearsay – much of which he debunks – to construct this historical tale. This book provides not only an extensive look at the background and details of the battle, but also a window into its influence today in the ongoing conflict between Christianity and Islam.

Capponi, a highly regarded Italian Renaissance scholar with a focus on military history lives up to his reputation in his first major U.S. publication. … – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

To read Capponi's account is to be constantly surprised that the bickering allies could have pulled victory away from the monolithic Ottomans. … Capponi provides enough geeky detail to satisfy a Tom Clancy fan, but this is a story told as a story, and he does well – especially in the matter-of-fact ending, in which the principal players in the battle, winners and losers alike, suffer the effects of politicking. Illuminating reading for students of early modern European history. – Kirkus Reviews

The Victory of the West by Niccolo Capponi is more than an outstanding work of naval history: it is a gripping read, a page-turner in the true sense of the word. This beautifully written account, while of impeccable scholarship, will surely attract an enthusiastic popular readership as well. … – Douglas Preston, author of Cities of Gold and The Codex

A first-rate retelling of one of history's great naval engagements. – William J. Connell, Professor of History and La Motta Chair, Seton Hall University

A magnificent tour de force; Niccolo Capponi has written a groundbreaking and dramatic account of one of history's most crucial episodes, combining impeccable scholarship with a talent for vivid narrative. This is the definitive book on Lepanto. – Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Eleanor of Aquitaine

The Victory of the West is a scholarly and very well-written account by the Italian historian Niccolo Capponi of the clash ... that turned back the seemingly inevitable advance of European Islam. – Andrew Roberts, author of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900

Superb . . . The naval Battle of Lepanto was one of the great turning points in the history of the West, and Capponi has rescued it from obscurity with this scholarly, perceptive, and hugely readable account. – Saul David, author of Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire

The Victory of the West offers a vivid new account of one of the most decisive military encounters in history. In this compelling piece of narrative history, Capponi describes the clash of cultures that led to this crucial confrontation and takes a fresh look at the titanic struggle at sea between Islam and the West. It is a rich story of squabbling princes, vacillating alliances, and bitter sea fighting waged by determined men of faith. As a description of the age-old conflict between Christianity and Islam, it is a story that resonates today.

Home & Garden / Travel

1001 Gardens You Must See before You Die edited by Rae Spencer-Jones, with a preface by Elizabeth Scholtz (Barron’s)

A guide to inspiring landscapes designed by the world’s most outstanding gardeners, architects, and garden designers, 1001 Gardens You Must See before You Die is a selection of the most magnificent gardens in the world.
Whether it’s the traditional European floral display of Monet’s garden at Giverny or the exuberant diversity of the lush tropical gardens of Bali, gardens speak of the intimate relationship between man and the environment. Arabic and Persian gardens celebrate water, providing a haven from the harsh realities of desert life. Zen gardens were designed to replicate the perfection of the natural world in miniature – a single garden encompassing the entire world.

From Spain’s famous gardens of the Moorish Alhambra at Granada to San Diego’s Healing Garden, created for patients at the San Diego Children’s Hospital, this illustrated guide is designed for both lovers of natural beauty and hands-on gardeners. From the contemplative, tranquil spaces of the Japanese temple gardens to the surreal Las Pozas in the Mexican jungle, these are gardens that are sometimes startlingly unusual, but always interesting and beautiful.

Among the many gardens pictured and described in 1001 Gardens You Must See before You Die are:

·         In the United States and Canada: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Boscobel in New York’s Hudson Valley, Williamsburg Gardens in Virginia, Magnolia Plantation and its Gardens near Charleston, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Wisconsin, the Toronto Botanical Garden, Pacific Undersea Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia.

·         In England: The Japanese Garden in London’s Holland Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, Shakespeare’s Garden in Stratford, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum Gardens.

·         In France: The Gardens of Versailles outside Paris, the Garden of Claude Monet at Giverney, Chateau de Vauville in Cherbourg.

·         The rest of the world: Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy, Potsdam Gardens near Berlin, Germany, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan.

In addition to photos and textual descriptions, entries cite special features such as fountains and architecture, the garden’s size in acres, and the names of the garden’s designers. The garden descriptions are organized geographically by country and region. The book includes more than 800 color photos and illustrations.
Edited by Rae Spencer-Jones, former member of the editorial team of Gardens Illustrated magazine in the U.K, now a freelance horticultural journalist and author, 1001 Gardens You Must See before You Die also contains a preface by Elizabeth Scholtz, Director Emeritus of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a major urban garden founded in 1910.

This gorgeous volume is like porn for horticulturists. Gardens from all around the world in every possible climate, style and size fill this book to bursting. … Whether one prefers modern sculpture gardens, formal flower gardens or Japanese Zen landscapes, Spencer-Jones's impressive team of 70 photographers, writers and horticulturists have captured them all in concise detail. While some readers might have preferred more and bigger photos (sadly, some entries don't come with pictures at all), most garden lovers will appreciate the comprehensive history, design and climate information that accompanies each entry. – Publishers Weekly
This beautifully designed if hefty resource serves as the ultimate garden-based vacation-planning guide for lovers of paradise landscapes and flourishing green spaces. Editor Spencer-Jones, along with dozens of contributors, describes 1,001 world gardens in brief essays providing insights into the gardens' engaging history, enchanting stylistic elements, and seasonal spectacles, as well as profiling garden makers and designers from Indian rajahs and Moroccan sultans to Edith Wharton and Claude Monet. …Surely the best compendium to date for both the botanically inclined armchair traveler who likes to dream and the intrepid sojourner preparing for a tour. – Alice Joyce, Booklist

Garden lovers and discriminating travelers will relish this hefty, armchair tour of the most beautiful and interesting gardens around the world. Succinct descriptions with stunning color photos showcase the creations of the world’s outstanding landscape gardeners, architects, and garden designers. From the famous gardens of Granada’s Alhambra to the private, hidden gems known only to the privileged few, 1001 Gardens You Must See before You Die is a magnificently illustrated guide, will inspire all who travel and as well as those who simply enjoy gardens.
Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / Europe

Approaching Apocalypse: Unveiling Revelation in Victorian Writing by Kevin Mills (Bucknell University Press)

A great deal of Victorian literature recycles themes, images, and language from apocalyptic literature, in what might be described as an affinity with the genre. With this affinity in mind, Approaching Apocalypse examines structuring opposi­tions that shape apocalyptic literature, and decodes their significance for Vic­torian writing. They are: human/inhuman, desert/city, veiled/revealed, time/eternal, and this world/other world. The five main chap­ters of Approaching Apocalypse each deal with one of these opposites, reading a wide range of Victorian texts, including novels, poems, plays, sermons, and other less easily categorized texts. At the heart of each chapter is an extended reading of one or two texts selected for their particularly telling insights into the relationship between Victorian writing and the Book of Revelation.

According to author Kevin Mills, Lecturer in English at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the ancient apocalyptic mode grew initial­ly out of the mismatch between prophecy and experience in the lives of the people of Israel returning to their homeland after their exile under the Assyrian and Babylonian empires (c. 750-540 BCE). In the later spe­cifically Christian context to which the Book of Revelation relates, a similar disillusion­ment surrounded the delayed return of Christ and the deferral of God's earthly kingdom, engendering a process of re-evaluation of the relationship between religious forms and human experience. Such a background is likely to have had a prima facie appeal to an age in which old religious and social certainties were breaking down, in which wars had been a constant threat, and in which revolu­tionary hopes had produced little beside bloodshed. The underlying desire to foresee ends, and thus to reimpose order on a threateningly chaotic experience, must have held a great appeal for people living in a century of upheaval, change, and the disap­pearance of familiar and longstanding ways of life.

While many critics have noticed apoc­alyptic images and tendencies in the litera­ture of the time, none has attempted to explore their significance or to consider them as a distinct phenomenon. Approaching Apocalypse investigates the cultural and liter­ary reasons for the Victorian recapitulation of apocalyptic figures, and in doing so it ob­serves a range of modulation in the Apoca­lyptic voice; fear of change, nostalgia, hope, irony, sociopolitical polemic, etc. Each im­poses its own particular spin on the biblical text. But these are more or less conscious uses of citation and allusion, deployed to create quantifiable effects, to deepen meaning, or enrich possibilities. While these obvious and conscious uses of the Apocalypse are explored, the central concern of Approaching Apocalypse is with the deeper affin­ities, the discovery of which serves to reveal otherwise hidden ideological substrates. Obvious references, acknowledged affinities, appear to be elective, deliberate, controlled, whereas the interest of this work lies in the deep cultural assumptions, the buried effects of an inherited Biblicism that shape literary choices, endeavors, and procedures.

As explained in Approaching Apocalypse, the book of Revelation reworks older mythological for­mations, drawing on images of fantastical monsters (including a seven-headed one – Rev. 13:1) and combat myths treating of the primordial distinction between chaos and order, the desert and the city. At one level, its description of the New Jerusalem is the apotheosis of civilization that represents the ultimate and irreversible defeat of chaos. This triumph is brought about by cosmic warfare and bloodshed on an unimaginable scale. Urban­ization and the rise of new technologies in the Victorian era are occasionally described in similar terms. A perception persists that, far from defeating chaos, the new cities create conditions for an apocalyptic reversal of the polarity – locating the desert at the heart of the city. Chapter 2 explores this theme, reading Florence Nightingale's Cassandra and James Thomson's The City of Dreadful Night in this context. Nightingale's use of desert imagery suggests the emptying out of women's time, rendering hollow and chaotic the very core of Victorian civilization – the domestic hearth. On this basis, it argues for a second coming: the advent of a female Christ. Thomson's poem locates the chaos in the human mind rather than in any social space and uses it to fund a reading of Chris­tianity that is simultaneously both apocalyptic and anti-apocalyptic.

According to Mills, it might be argued that Darwin delivered precisely a new mode of intelligibility by which nature could be read and made to yield a new meaning. Yet, as appears in chapter 3 of Approaching Apocalypse, in Victorian literature reality remains characteristically veiled. This may be a form of denial or a rhetorical acknowledgment that to unveil a non-apocalyptic nature is deeply paradoxical. Illustrating this paradox, Middlemarch highlights the science that seeks to uncover the ‘primary tissues’ of human life – an uncovering which reveals only another kind of veil – a web.

As nature revealed ever more of its secrets to the sciences of geology, paleontology, botany, thermodynamics, etc., throughout the period, time remained a mystery which fascinated a number of Victorian writers. Chapter 4 engages with the fact that the human relation to time is of major significance for the Apocalypse, which seems contrived to show that time has a predetermined shape; if Victorian geology and evolution expanded time and abolished the horizons of biblical/apocalyptic time, literary texts renewed those horizons by fantasizing about the ma­nipulation of time, re-imposing upon it a human scale.

The Apocalypse is neither completely Ju­daic nor Hellenistic; it belongs to neither Old nor New Testa­ments; it is both canonical and non-canonical – having a place in the Bible of Western Christianity, but being excluded from the canon favored by the Eastern Orthodox churches. In its curious relationship with both the rest of the Bible and with Christian belief, it opens up kind of third space – a paradoxical central margin. Victorian writing replicates this in various ways, in its evocation of the human within the inhuman, the veiled within the unveiled, the chaotic within the civilized. Mills notes that Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, for example, problematize the opposition inside/outside as characters create for themselves a third space on the thresholds of buildings, institutions, and the social order – a space akin to that opened by apocalyptic vision in its occurrence between human and inhuman worlds.

Many critics have noticed such images and tendencies as those on the margin between faith and doubt, looking back to the ‘dead’ world of Christian certainty and forward to a post-Christian era. But none before now has identified their specifically apocalyptic resonance, nor attempted to theorize their significance in this context. Approaching Apocalypse explores the cultural and literary reasons for the recapitulation of apocalyptic figures in the Victorian period, a time when the processes of industrialization and urbanization were demanding a redrawing of the lines between civilization and its others – nature, disorder, and chaos.

By concerning himself with the details of some lesser known works, for example, Christina Rossetti's lit­tle known commentary on the Apocalypse – The Face of the Deep – in chapter 3, Mills brings to light a fascinating, moving, and poetically rich book which deserves to be far more widely read. Mills fosters greater interest in such works as worthy of a broader modern readership and intensified critical attention. Written for scholars and students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels with an interest in modern literary studies, Approaching Apocalypse will also appeal to anyone interested in the Victorian era, biblical studies, the history of ideas, literature and myth, and theology.

Literature & Fiction / World / Classics / Medieval / Folklore / Reference

Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies by Jan M. Ziolkowski (The University of Michigan Press)

When did fairy tales begin? What qualifies as a fairy tale? Is a true fairy tale oral or literary? Or is a fairy tale determined not by style but by content?

To answer these and other questions, Jan M. Ziolkowski in Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales not only provides an overview of the theoretical debates about fairy tale origins but includes an extensive discussion of the relationship of the fairy tale to both the written and oral sources. Ziolkowski offers interpretations of a sampling of the tales in order to sketch the complex connections that existed in the Middle Ages between oral folktales and their written equivalents, the variety of uses to which the writers applied the stories, and the diverse relationships between the medieval texts and the expressions of the same tales in the ‘classic’ fairy tale collections of the nineteenth century. In so doing, Ziolkowski explores stories that survive in both versions associated with, on the one hand, such standards of the nineteenth-century fairy tale as the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Carlo Collodi and, on the other, medieval Latin, demonstrating that the literary fairy tale owes a great debt to the Latin literature of the medieval period.

Fifteen years ago Ziolkowski, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University, says he cast about for a topic that would enable him to connect today's culture with the literature in his main field of interest, Medieval Latin literature.

While pondering the least common denominators of Western culture as it manifests itself today (at least in North America), he realized that fairy tales could give him an ideal and probably unique opportunity. Fairy tales are one of the few literary genres shared by people of all ages and social classes in all Western countries, from Europe to America and beyond. Virtually the only type of older narrative known to everyone, regardless of age or education, are versions of the fairy tales that were given vintage expression by Charles Perrault (1628-1703), Madame Marie Leprince de Beaumont (1711-80), Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), and others; and even these tales are most often received not directly with acknowledgment of their authors' names but, rather, as adapted in children's picture books or animated films, without acknowledgment of their ultimate sources. Sometimes the tales have won favor separately as retold in individual illustrated children's stories, other times in feature-length Walt Disney animations or other cartoon ver­sions, advertisements, and other minor media. Because of the ways in which their stories and their col­lective name have permeated mass culture, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm would loom large even if no one read another book.

Ziolkowski in Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales says it took him by surprise to find how thoroughly interwoven some of the Grimms' fairy tales, published in the early nineteenth century, are with tales that were told in truly olden times. In seeking out the nexuses between these so-called classic fairy tales and Medieval Latin literature, he was stunned to encounter tales in which the Brothers Grimm drew directly on narratives they deciphered in Medieval Latin manuscripts. One of these instances induced him to compare Kinder- und Hausmärchen 144, ‘The Donkey’, with the Latin The Donkey Tale (Asinarius) and to compare Kinder- und Hausmärchen 146, ‘The Turnip,’ with the Latin The Turnip Tale (Rapularius). Both experiences afforded him considerable insights into the working methods of the Grimms and into their presuppositions about the nature of the fairy tale. The two acts of comparison also made him speculate about whether or not information about earlier tellers of fairy tales might not be embedded in the very basics of characters and actions in the surviving tales.

Inspired by such stories, he broadened his purview to embrace medieval texts that stood in different, more oblique relationships to classic fairy tales and well-known folktales. The project quickened his in­terest even more as he came to examine the Latin texts not just as sources for later expressions of the same tales but also as texts influenced by or even inspired by oral tales that have perished but that can be recovered by reading or, rather, listening between the lines of the text. That process of listening induced him to seek out every scrap he could piece together about the groups – that were particularly associated with storytelling in the Middle Ages. This search required taking an approach that bordered on social anthropology, which would ideally lead to a three-step process: first, to study each version in context; second, to know the social position of the teller; and finally, to understand the social circumstances in which the telling of the tale became relevant. The groups that emerged most strongly were travelers, such as Chaucer in his guise of pilgrim in the Canterbury Tales; professional enter­tainers of a humbler sort, since the line between jongleurs, jugglers, and jokers was ever a fine one (as their shared etymology suggests); the old, es­pecially old women, who have often been singled out as the bearers and transmitters of oral traditions; peasants; preachers; and, last but not least, courtiers.

Even with the crutch of earlier scholarship (espe­cially from the first half of the twentieth century), the amount of material is too extensive and the need for work on it too urgent to allow him to ad­umbrate a history of medieval fairy tales, even just of fairy tales written in Latin. Nonetheless, Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales uses interpretation of a carefully chosen sampling of surviving tales as a means to sketch the complex connections that existed in the Middle Ages between oral folktales and written versions of them, the profundity and variety of uses to which the writers applied the stories, and the diversity of relations that can be documented be­tween the medieval texts and the expressions of the same tales in the ‘clas­sic’ fairy tale collections of the nineteenth century. As the last sentence implies, Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales explores a few stories that survive, on the one hand, in versions associated with such greats of the nineteenth-century fairy tale as the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Carlo Collodi (pseu­donym of Carlo Lorenzini, 1826-90) and, on the other, in Medieval Latin.

Ziolkowski refers in the book to a number of well-known fairy tales, but at the same time he deals with a subset of tales that have rarely been discussed outside specialist circles. Out of a desire to encourage the reexamination, rereading, and even retelling of these stories, he has cal­culated his choice of material so as to show the relevance of the Latin Middle Ages by emphasizing material that is still close to being current in mass cul­ture. He makes accessible texts that were origi­nally written in Latin by offering them in English together with translations of the most relevant and engaging other literary texts (originally in Latin, Italian, German, and Sanskrit) that coincide with them.

Literary records, although they enable only partial views, allow readers today their closest approach to the values and ideas of earlier civilizations. For those who aspire to keep alive or revivify tales by retelling them today, the appendix con­stitutes a ‘happy ending’ to Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales.

A pioneer work. Ziolkowski is a lucid thinker, and his meticulous scholarship speaks for itself. This should be required reading for any serious folklorist, medievalist, or fairy-tale scholar. – Jack Zipes, Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, University of Minnesota

With energetic wit and erudition, Jan Ziolkowski works magic, bringing to life tales told in truly olden times and showing how they participated in shaping cultural stories that still arouse wonder today. He digs deep, serving as the ideal guide for an archaeological project that no student of fairy tales will want to miss. – Maria Tatar, John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Dean for the Humanities, Harvard University

Learned and lively, Ziolkowski's book animates a distant medieval storytelling tradition and gives a persuasive account of the remarkable continuity in Europe's folktale tradition. Its appendix is an absolute treasure-trove of hard-to-locate Latin sources that the author has seamlessly translated for English readers. – Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Department of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, Stony Brook University

A work of formidable scholarship. – Jacques Barchilon, Professor Emeritus, French and Italian Department, University of Colorado at Boulder

Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales is a comprehensive overview of the debates about fairytale origins, important reading for folklorists as well as medieval and fairy-tale scholars. It not only gives a new lease on life to the tales and versions of tales presented in the book but also shows the remarkable continuity in the life of those tales. Thanks to the appendix, those who wish to read and com­pare different literary versions can easily do so. The information there on tale types can be used to reach other literary versions, as well as more recent oral versions, making the book useful as a reference volume.

Medicine / History / Religion & Spirituality / Islam

Medieval Islamic Medicine by Peter E. Pormann & Emilie Savage-Smith (Edinburgh Islamic Surveys Series: Edinburgh University Press)

The medical tradition that developed in the lands of Islam during the medieval period (c. 650-1500) has, like few others, influenced the fates and fortunes of countless human beings. It is the story of contact and cultural exchange across countries and creeds, affecting caliphs, kings, courtiers, courtesans and the common crowd. In addition to being fascinating in its own right, it formed the roots from which modern Western medicine arose. Contrary to the stereotypical picture, medieval Islamic medicine was not simply a conduit for Greek ideas, but was a locus for innovation and change.

Written by Peter E. Pormann, Wellcome Trust Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, and Emilie Savage-Smith, Professor of the History of Islamic Science at the Oriental Institute and a senior research fellow of St. Cross College at the University of Oxford, Medieval Islamic Medicine is organized around five topics: (1) the emergence of medieval Islamic medicine and its intense cross-pollination with other cultures; (2) the theoretical medical framework; (3) the function of physicians within the larger society; (4) the medical care as seen through preserved case histories; and (5) the role of magic and devout religious invocations in scholarly as well as everyday medicine. The sixth, and final, chapter is on the ‘afterlife’ of medieval Islamic medicine – that is, how it came to form the basis of the European medical tradition and how medieval Islamic medicine still continues to be practiced today.

Medieval Islamic Medicine does not compress the entire history of medieval Islamic medicine into a single small volume; rather, it presents an overview, highlighted with particular examples. For the purposes of the book, the authors’ consideration of medieval Islamic medicine does not extend past the emergence of the Safavid empire in Persia (modem Iran) and the Mughal empire in India, both of which coincided with the golden age of the Ottoman empire, centred in Turkey. The Ottoman dynasty in fact arose at the end of the thirteenth century, but the theoretical and practical approaches to medicine in the areas under its domain during the first two centuries of its existence firmly belonged to the medieval Islamic medical tradition. In the sixteenth century, however, the courts of the three empires came into contact with the courts of Europe. With new commer­cial and military undertakings and increased travel between Europe and the Middle East, medical education and practice began to change subtly. This ‘transitional’ medicine between the medieval and the early modern is only lightly touched upon in the final chapter.

According to Pormann and Savage-Smith, the medical needs and practices of the medieval Islamic world over such a vast area and time-span of nine centuries were of course neither uniform nor unchanging. The everyday medical practices and the general health of the Islamic community were influenced by many factors: the dietary and fasting laws as well as the general rules for hygiene and burying the dead of the various religious communities of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and others; the climatic conditions of the desert, marsh, mountain, and littoral communi­ties; the different living conditions of nomadic, rural, and urban populations; local economic conditions and agricultural successes or failures; the amount of travel undertaken for commerce, for attendance at courts, or as a pilgrimage; the maintenance of a slave class and slave trade; the injuries and diseases attendant upon army camps and battles; and the incidence of plague and other epidemics as well as the occurrence of endemic conditions such as dysenteries and certain eye diseases.

The institutions and policies responsible for dispensing medical care were subject to political and social fluctuations. Moreover, the medical practices of the society varied not only according to time and place, but also according to class. The economic and social level of the patient determined to a large extent the type of care sought, just as it does today, and the expectations of the patients varied along with the approaches of the practitioners. Throughout medieval Islamic society a medical pluralism existed that may be viewed as a continuum running from the scholarly theories and practices of learned medicine to those of local custom and magic. Woefully little evidence is available as to the patient's perspective in all of this, but Pormann and Savage-Smith in Medieval Islamic Medicine tease out a few pertinent testimonies.

Because so many topics have yet to receive proper scholarly attention, the authors say they are still in no position to undertake a comprehensive history of medicine in the Muslim World, even when limiting it to the medieval Islamic period. Nonetheless, they do address some aspects of the social history of medicine, such as female patients and practitioners, hospitals, public health care, rural and urban provisions, medical ethics and education, and so on. And they tackle the problem of how patients were actually treated, rather than simply confining ourselves to a description of the medical theory and a chronology of famous physicians.

In the course of the six chapters, Pormann and Savage-Smith reveal complexities and contradictions, encourage comparisons, and raise – and offer answers to – questions such as: How did Islamic medical writers arrive at such a high standard of medical knowledge and such successful treatments? What was the position of the physician in medieval Islamic society and how did one become a physician? How do the many theoretical treatises relate to the actual practice of medicine? What role did the Islamic hospitals play in the provision of medical care and in the education of physicians?

Medieval Islamic Medicine does not present the entire history, but rather an overview, of medieval Islamic medicine, highlighted with particular examples of the diversity of medieval Islamic society. The book gives readers a window into medical theory and practice in medieval Islam painted with a broad brush. The volume also incorporates a considerable amount of hitherto unpublished material, which in many instances allows readers to clear up misconceptions and expand their perceptions of the medical care at that time.

Mysteries & Thrillers

American Outrage by Tim Green (Warner Books)

Tim Green is a master. – Nelson DeMille

American Outrage is the story of a tabloid TV host who chases stories with impunity. Jake Carlson, a correspondent for the TV news show American Outrage, inhabits a world of sensational trials and crazed celeb­rities. One of the nation's top television journalists, he's used to dragging himself through the dirt to get to the truth. Award-winning work for the network news and NPR have led to a lucrative job as a correspondent for a popular television news show.
In American Outrage Jake’s life and career are derailed when he loses his wife, leaving him to raise their adopted son Sam. Afraid of being left parentless, Sam yearns to find his biological mother and asks his father to use his muckraking talents to find her. Jake, struggling to get over his grief, finds a renewed sense of purpose, but the job is hard – the head of the agency Jake used for the adoption had died, and there's no trace of the agency, which had been operating slightly under the radar, funneling babies from Albania to the U.S. for couples desperate for children.

While seeking the truth for his son, Jake uncovers a horrifying ring of deceit, an international crime syndicate, a corrupt politician, and black market child trafficking that he could never have imagined. Worse, Jake is inextricably tied to this nefarious syndicate – it gave him Sam. When it's revealed that Sam's bloodline involves a complicated inheritance from a politically powerful New England family, Jake knows that it's no longer only his life that is at risk, but his son's as well.

Tim Green is the bestselling author of eleven previous thrillers and two works of nonfiction, including the New York Times bestseller The Dark Side of the Game. After playing eight years in the NFL and becoming a lawyer, he worked as a fea­tured commentator on A Current Affair, Good Morning America, NPR, and FOX Sports. After a year of being the host of A Current Affair, Green has gone back to writing about what he knows.

Bestseller Green (Kingdom Come) introduces a tough, appealing hero in his action-packed 12th thriller. Jake Carlson, a correspondent for the tabloid TV news show American Outrage, based in New York City, has softened his hard line a bit after his wife's recent death, but is still capable of going for the jugular when necessary for a hot story. … After Jake is drugged and shot at, his personal life becomes tabloid fodder as his own colleagues ruthlessly chase down the story. When Sam disappears, Jake gets serious and sets out to do whatever it takes to bring his son back, regardless of who pays the price. Green's tale is ripe with irony and full of barbs. – Publishers Weekly
… Genre veteran Green hits his stride here, with his best novel since his early football thrillers (Outlaws, 1996). – Mary Frances Wilkens, Booklist

Under the prying eyes of tabloid journalism, a reporter becomes the story.

Filled with an insider's knowledge of tabloid news and the experience of an adopted son seeking his biological par­ents, American Outrage proves to be Green's best, most personal thriller yet.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Occult / Self-help

Angelic Messenger Cards: Divine Guidance for Personal Healing and Spiritual Discovery, Book and Divination Deck by Meredith L. Young-Sowers (New World Library)

With the deck and guidebook in Angelic Messenger Cards, author Meredith L. Young-Sowers says that readers can learn to trust and experience the power of divine guidance. By intuitively selecting cards, users harness the symbolism of flowers, or ‘Divine Messengers’, thereby allowing angels to address and alleviate their concerns. For each card drawn, guidance is given on a number of topics, including present challenges, understanding messages angels are sending, taking advantage of opportunities for growth and healing, and the best way to apply the guidance angels are offering.

The deck of divination cards and the accompanying book in Angelic Messenger Cards offer tools and support to tap into the angelic messengers, showing readers how to find inner strength when times feel unrelentingly fierce or uncertain. The book contains details about using the forty‑six cards. By intuitively selecting cards, users give the angels – as well as their own souls – the means to address the concerns and issues in their lives.

Excerpts from the angelic guidance include:

  • Nothing can stand in the way of your awakening to your potential except your own apathy, resistance, fear, or anxiety over finding your true relationship with the Divine.
  • Vulnerability isn't weakness; it is spiritual strength. Your capacity to be vulnerable grows in direct proportion to your state of genuine wisdom, which acknowledges the transitional nature of physical reality and the enduring quality of the spiritual realm.

Young-Sowers, cofounder and executive director of the Stillpoint Foundation, a spiritual community and school in Walpole, New Hampshire, explains that angels are teachers who are drawn into people's lives much as any spiritual teacher and student might be: through what may seem like synchronicity – being in the right place at the right time – and through a willingness and desire to learn of spiritual things.

Each of the forty-eight cards depicts a color photograph of a flower taken by Judi Winall, because, as Young-Sowers explains, "Flowers carry the greatest and most profound messages from the angels that humanity is ever likely to hear. They are the faces of our angelic teachers, and they are available to us all the time." Through the symbolism of flowers, users of the Angelic Messenger Cards can learn to trust and experience the power of their divine guidance.

In Angelic Messenger Cards, Young-Sowers presents readers with the tools to tap into an inspirational source of wisdom, however they understand it.

Science Fiction & Fantasy / Mysteries & Thrillers

Quantico by Greg Bear (Vanguard Press)

From multiple award winning and bestselling author Greg Bear comes a near-future thriller, Quantico, that pits young FBI agents against a brilliant homegrown terrorist. It's the second decade of the twenty-first century, and terrorism has escalated almost beyond control. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem has been blown to bits by extremists, and, in retaliation, thousands have died in another major attack on the United States. New weapons are being spawned in remote basement labs, and no one feels safe.

In North America, the FBI uses cutting edge technology to thwart domestic terrorists. Sat-linked engine blockers stop drug-traffickers cold. Devices the size of Magic Markers test for biohazards on the spot. 3-D projectors reconstruct crime scenes from hours-old evidence, and sophisticated bomb suits protect against all but the most savage forces. Despite all this, the War on Terror has reached a deadly stalemate.

The FBI in Quantico has now been dispatched to deal with a new menace. A plague targeted to ethnic groups – Jews or Muslims or both – has the potential to wipe out entire populations. But the FBI itself is under po­litical assault. There's a good chance agents William Griffin, Fouad Al-Husam, and Jane Rowland will be part of the last class at Quantico. As the young agents hunt a brilliant homegrown terrorist, they join forces with veteran bio-terror expert Rebecca Rose. But the plot they uncover – and the man they chase – prove to be far more complex than anyone expects.

One of the best thrillers I've ever read – a superb cautionary tale about the use of political and military power that confronts us in the world today – Joe Haldeman, bestselling author of The Forever War

… Bear's near-future science is, as always, eerily plausible, and while he doesn't stint on sharp criticism of political infighting and its potential to hinder antiterrorism efforts, his would-be terrorists become surprisingly sympathetic as the complex details of their true plan are slowly (sometimes too slowly) revealed. – Publishers Weekly

Quantico is a terrifying glimpse into the nightmare of global bio-terror. Greg Bear combines real-world science, headline news, and five-minutes­-from-now extrapolation into an adrenaline-amped thriller that will scare the hell out of you. – Robert Crais, bestselling author of The Watchman

In Quantico, Greg Bear turns his incredibly detailed scientific mind onto the world of terrorists, both domestic and foreign. The novel is brilliant, imaginative and yet completely terrifying in its reality: You wish you could stop reading, but you can't. – Ken Nolan, screenwriter for Black Hawk Down and The Company

Quantico is a chilling thriller; written by two-time Hugo and five-time Nebula winner, advisor on scientific action committees, it is not only totally believable but haunting terrifying. Recommended for those who want a fright that stays with you.

Quantico is a book club selection of Book-of-the-Month, Science Fiction, Military, Mystery Guild, American Compass, and Quality Paperback.
Science / Biology / Parasitology

Riddled with Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites That Make Us Who We Are by Marlene Zuk (Harcourt)

The headlines about disease are always scary: "West Nile Kills Four More;" "Taco Bell Toll Surges to 221 Cases;" " ‘Garden of Plenty’ Sick from Spinach." Disease tends not to be a happy subject. But as we worry about bird flu and contaminated spinach, there is another perspective on disease and its role in our lives.

From the earliest days of life on earth, when parasites spurred the creation of complex life forms, disease has evolved alongside us, becoming not only natural and normal but essential to our health. In Riddled with Life, evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk asserts that, in fact, disease is our partner, not our foe.

Drawing on the latest research and the most unusual studies, Zuk explains the role of disease and its intrinsic role in life, and how it influences everything from the evolution of two sexes, to our personalities, to how we choose our mate. Riddled with Life answers a fascinating range of questions:

  • Why do men die younger than women?
  • Why do we – as well as insects, birds, pigs, cows, goats, and even plants – get STDs?
  • Why are we attracted to our mates?
  • Why does your average male bird not have a penis?
  • Why do vultures have yellow heads and roosters have red wattles?
  • Why do we have sex at all, rather than simply splitting off copies of ourselves like certain geckoes do?
  • How is our obsession with cleanliness making us sicker?
  • And how can parasites sometimes make us well?

Some facts from Riddled with Life:

  • Sufferers from some intestinal diseases can find relief by eating worms.
  • Hairlessness in humans may have evolved because it gave parasites fewer places to hide.
  • Early exposure to germs actually helps to protect us against food allergies and asthma.

Using her own work on sexual selection as well as a sampling of stories from the natural world, Zuk, professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, where she studies parasites and behavior in a variety of animals, makes readers reconsider the fearsome parasite.

Zuk – who happens to be one of the most talented scientists writing for the general public today – illuminates our long and surprisingly intimate relationship with the pathogens that live around us and inside us. I loved this book right down to its funny last line. – Deborah Blum, author of Ghost Hunters

Parasites have made us who we are: That may sound like science fiction, but Zuk makes a compelling case that it is true. – Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex

A book full of astonishing stories...Marlene Zuk has a majestic command of her diverse material and an eloquent storytelling style. If she does not change your mind about cooling fevers, eating sushi, and keeping cats, I'll eat my hat (the bacteria in it will keep hay fever at bay). – Matt Ridley, author of Genome

Zuk's book makes disease scintillating, wryly amusing, and even sexy. Her enthusiasm and a hundred examples propel the reader to a deeper understanding of the nature of life. – Randolph M. Nesse, author of Why We Get Sick

In this witty, engaging book, Zuk makes us rethink our instincts as she argues that disease is our partner, not our foe. Riddled with Life is an intelligent look at the other side of disease – its pleasant side, amusing side, even sexy side – and getting to know it has never been so much fun. Readers will never see their food, their sex lives, or even a barnyard chicken in quite the same way again.

Science / Mathematics / Applied

Lessons in Play: An Introduction to Combinatorial Game Theory by Michael H. Albert, Richard J. Nowakowski, & David Wolfe (A.K Peters, Ltd.)

It should be noted that children's games are not merely games. One should regard them as their most serious activities. – Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Combinatorial games are games of pure strategy involving two players, with perfect information and no element of chance. In Lessons in Play, starting from the very basics of game-play and strategy, the authors cover a wide range of topics, from game algebra and surreal numbers to special classes of games. Classic techniques are introduced and applied in novel ways to analyze both old and new games, several appearing for the first time in this book.

In Lessons in Play, author-mathematicians and game theorists Michael H. Albert, Richard J. Nowakowski, and David Wolfe together with their many contributors, study games of pure strategy, in which there are only two players' who alternate moves, without using dice, cards or other random devices and where the players have perfect information about the current state of the game. Familiar games of this type include: tic tac toe, dots & boxes, checkers and chess. Obviously, card games such as gin rummy, and dice games such as backgammon are not of this type. The game of Battleship has alternate play, and no chance elements, but fails to include perfect information – in fact that's rather the point of Battleship. The games the authors study have been dubbed combinatorial games to distinguish them from the games usually found under the heading of game theory, which are games that arise in economics and biology.

According to Albert, Nowakowski and Wolf, for most of history, the mathematical study of games consisted largely of separate analyses of extremely simple games. This was true up until the 1930s when the Sprague-Grundy theory provided the beginnings of a mathematical foundation for a more general study of games. In the 1970s, the twin tomes On Numbers and Games by Conway and Winning Ways by Berlekamp, Conway, and Guy established and publicized a complete and deep theory, which can be deployed to analyze countless games. One cornerstone of the theory is the notion of a disjunctive sum of games, introduced by John Conway for normal-play games. This scheme is particularly useful for games that split naturally into components. On Numbers and Games describes these mathematical ideas at a sophisticated level.

The aim of Lessons in Play is less grand than either of the two tomes; the authors aim to provide a guide to the evaluation scheme for normal-play, two-player, finite games. They say they invented more games than they solved during the writing of Lessons in Play. While many found their way into the book, most of these games never made it to the rule sets found at the end.

Exercises are sprinkled throughout each chapter. These are intended to reinforce, and check the understanding of, the preceding material. Ideally then, students should try every exercise as it is encountered. However one may consult the solutions to the exercises found at the back of the book.

Chapter 0 introduces basic definitions and loosely defines that portion of game theory addressed in Lessons in Play. Chapter 1 covers some general strategies for playing or analyzing games. Chapters 2, 4, and 5 contain the core of the general mathematical theory. Chapter 2 in­troduces the first main goal of the theory, that being to determine a game's outcome class or who should win from any position. Curiously, a great deal of the structure of some games can be understood solely by looking at outcome classes. Chapter 3 motivates the direction the theory takes next. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 then develop this theory (i.e., assigning values and the consequences of these values.)

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 look at specific parts of the universe of combinatorial games and as a result, these are a little more challenging but also more concrete since they are tied more closely to actual games. Chapter 7 takes an in-depth look at impartial games. The study of these games pre-dates the full theory. The authors place them in the new context and show some of the new classes of games under study. Chapter 8 addresses hot games, games such as Go and Amazons in which there is a great incentive to move first. There is much research in this area and the authors can only give an introduction to this material. Chapter 9 looks at the analysis of all-small games. Most of the research emphasis has been on impartial and hot games. Only recently have there been developments in this area and they present the original and latest results in light of all the new developments in combinatorial game theory.

In Appendix A, the authors present top-down induction, an approach that the authors use often in the text. Appendix B is a brief introduction to CGSuite, a powerful programming toolkit written in Java for performing algebraic manipula­tions on games. CGSuite is to the combinatorial game theorist what Maple or Mathematica is to a mathematician or physicist. While readers need not use CGSuite while working through the text, the program does help to build intuition, double-check work done by hand, develop hypotheses, and handle some of the drudgery of rote calculations.

The supporting website for Lessons in Play is located at www.lessonsinplay.com.

If you have Winning Ways, you must have this book. – Andy Liu
Lessons in Play is an enticing introduction to the wonderful world of combinatorial games. Using a rich collection of cleverly captivating examples and problems, the authors lead the reader through the basic concepts and on to several innovative extensions. I highly recommend this book. – Elwyn R. Berlekamp

A neat machine, converting novices into enthusiastic experts in modern combinatorial game theory. – Aviezri Fraenkel

Combinatorial games are intriguing, challenging, and often counter-intuitive, and are rapidly being recognized as an important mathematical discipline. Now that we have the attractive and friendly text Lessons in Play in hand, we can look forward to the appearance of many popular upper-division undergraduate courses, which encourage instructors to learn alongside their students. – Richard K. Guy

Lessons in Play makes an excellent guide for undergraduates or for self-study by enterprising readers, with a generous collection of exercises and problems scattered throughout the book.

The theory is accessible to any student who has a smattering of general algebra and discrete math. Generally, a third year college student, but any good high school student should be able to follow the development with a little help.

Social Sciences / Ethnic / History / Europe

Exploring Gypsiness: Power, Exchange and Interdependence in a Transylvanian Village by Ada I. Engebrigtsen (Berghahn Books)

My first visit to the hamlet Roma was in April 1993. … I remember the strange, muddy streets of the village, the horse-drawn wagons driven by men dressed like Brugel's peasants in medieval Flanders. The wild-looking, mud-soaked hamlet with its inhabitants all appeared like clichés of Gypsies from my childhood's fairytale books. It seemed another world. We entered the house of Kurva and Joska and found the main room crammed with people of all ages gathered around the TV set with entranced expressions on their faces. Joska and Kurva tore themselves away from the screen with difficulty to perform the prescribed rituals of hospitality, and asked us questions about our well-being and my journey. Then the screen absorbed me too. The film we were all watching was a Romanian cartoon version of The Wonderful Journey of Nils Holgersson by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlof. This story about a small, adventurous village boy in Sweden who jumped up on the back of a migrating goose and followed the flock on its long journey northwards had captured my imagination as a child as it had captured my children's and was now capturing this audience of Roma of all ages in a muddy hamlet in Transylvania. This experience evoked strong feelings of the psychic unity of mankind and the power of imagination as basic features for the transportation of stories as well as the endeavor of anthropology. – from the book

Romania has a larger Gypsy population than most other countries but little is known about the relationship between this group and the non-Gypsy Romanians around them. Exploring Gypsiness focuses on a group of Roma (Rom Gypsies) living in a village in Transylvania and explores their social life and cosmology. As the Roma depend on, and define themselves in relation to, the surrounding non-Gypsy populations, understanding their day-to-day interactions with these neighbors, primarily peasants to whom they relate through extended barter, is essential. The author concludes that, although economically and politically marginal, the Roma are central to Romanian collective identity because they offer both desirable and repulsive counter-images, incorporating the uncivilized, immoral and attractive ‘other’. While creating tensions, this interdependence also allows for some degree of cultural and political autonomy for the Roma within Romanian society.

Written by Ada I. Engebrigtsen, senior researcher at NOVA, Norwegian social research, Oslo, Exploring Gypsiness is based on 12 months of fieldwork among both Roma and ethnic Romanians in Romania. Joska, the bulibasa (headman) of the Rom hamlet, is the protagonist of the story. Part I of the book follows him and his family through different aspects of everyday life, revealing the complex and changing relations between Roma and villagers in present-day Romania. It also demonstrates the complex strategic situation Joska accommodates to by balancing his loyalties with his ambitions. The second part of the book discusses the exchanges, interdependencies and power relations between Roma and villagers and the place of the Roma in the Romanian figuration.

Contents of Exploring Gypsiness include:

Part I The Rom World

  1. Roma in the Romanian Figuration
  2. Cultivating and Harvesting Social Environment
  3. Gender, Shame and Honour
  4. Amari Familia: Belonging Together
  5. Competing for Equality
  6. Rom Leadership: Joska Bulibasa
  7. Romanimo: Towards a Rom Cosmology

Part II Roma As Villagers

  1. Village Life, Peasant Cosmology
  2. Exchange and Power
  3. The Ţigan as Signifier

Roma/Tigani have lived in what is today Romanian territory for about six centuries after emigrating into the area from the late fourteenth century, probably in connection with wars. Today tigani, or Roma as they prefer to be called, can be found on all economic levels of Romanian society from the overwhelmingly rich business people in the cities to the nomads who still roam the countryside in horse-drawn wagons crammed full of half-naked children and half-wild dogs. The majority, however, are to be found among the poorest segments of the rural and urban population, most often on the outskirts of villages.

Romania has always been and still is a multi-ethnic area in the sense that people with different languages, religions and cultural practices have lived together and in the sense that ethnicity has played an important political role. Transylvania, ‘the land beyond the forest’, or Ardeal to Romanians and Erdely to Hungarians, has played a special role in the formation of Romanian national lore and identity because it was in this area the national question was experienced as most urgent due to its history and ethnic diversity and the large percentage of Hungarians. Relations between the Hungarian minority and the Romanian state have been a continuous political struggle throughout the two last centuries. Transylvania today has the greatest percentage of minority populations such as Hungarians, Germans and Roma. The relation between Hungarians and Romanians is not the primary concern of Exploring Gypsiness, but is discussed in the last chapter.

The village is typically Transylvanian, consisting mainly of subsistence farmers, some shopkeepers, schoolteachers, factory and railway workers and a few administration clerks. The population in 1996 consisted of about 2,500 inhabitants: about 750 Hungarian and 1,550 Romanian in the main village, and about 250 Roma on the hilltop in a settlement of their own but still considered part of the village. According to Engebrigtsen, it is a beautiful village, with its gardens and orchards blooming in springtime and full of fruit in the autumn. The area is densely populated, and the next village starts about 500 feet from where the first ends. Every house has its courtyard facing onto the street but locked behind tall, iron gates. For the visitor, the village seems at the same time both inviting and beautiful and somewhat barren and forbidding.

On top of the hill live the Roma in their more-or-less shanty town houses. The Roma are relative newcomers to this village, as are most sedentary Rom populations in Transylvanian villages. Before the Second World War, the Roma of this area were mainly nomadic. They traveled through the villages in spring, summer and autumn and used to spend the winter on the outskirts of villages in earth huts dug out of the ground. The ancestors of hamlet Roma thus used the village as their winter quarters. In the 1950s the Communist regime banned nomadism so all travelers were forced to sell their wagons, set up permanent houses and send their children to school, and all men were forced to work as state employees. Although the hamlet is seen as separate from the village, the last house in the Romanian village is only about 100 feet from the first house in the Rom hamlet and the most peripheral house in the hamlet is only about 20 feet from the first house in the next Romanian village.

All ethnic groups are Romanian citizens, but they present themselves as Roma, Hungarians and Romanians. Relations between Romanians and Hungarians are ambiguous, peaceful and friendly in everyday interaction when political matters are avoided as they generally are. In ethnically segregated settings both groups tend to talk of each other in slightly derogatory terms and when the conversation turns towards politics, controversy and aggression surfaces. It is the political position of the Hungarian minority that is the problematic issue, but many villagers also have bad memories from the Hungarian occupation of Transylvania in the last years of the Second World War. The stories of deportations, imprisonment and violence from the Hungarian soldiers are often told and lamented. Like most Romanian villagers the hamlet Roma are Romanian Orthodox, while Hungarian villagers are Protestants, but several other churches are also present in the village. During the Ceauşescu era most villagers worked on the co-operative farms and in state-owned enterprises, but today most families have land and are dependent on it for their living in addition to other kinds of income.

Theoretical considerations form a major component of Exploring Gypsiness. These include:

  • Marginality and Modernity
  • Authenticity and Figurations
  • De-centred Society – De-centred Subjects
  • Unpredictability and the Experience of Wholeness
  • The Concept of Figuration and Civilization
  • The Nomadic Metaphor – Transition and Duality
  • Agency, Duality and Figuration

In Exploring Gypsiness Engebrigten argues that tigani in Romania play an integral part in the economy, politics and consciousness of ordinary Romanians, and that the discourse on marginality should be discussed as an ongoing process of differentiation and of 'otherness' that creates the national and cosmological order. Illiteracy among many Gypsy populations is seen as an example of the 'lack' of modernity resulting from marginality and causing that marginality. She argues that illiteracy also is a conscious strategy that Roma use in their struggle for cultural and political autonomy.

Marginality is related to ideas of isolation but also of 'otherness'. This inherent otherness of Gypsies is linked to the idea of the Roma as a 'foreign people' who emigrated from India and who never quite integrated into majority society. Engebrigten sees the Roma as a fundamentally European people. Without questioning their Indian origin, it is in Europe they are constituted as Gypsies, tigani, Sigeynere, Gitanos, Zigeuner, Tsiganes, etc. She suggests it to be essential to see both aspects: the Roma as an integral part of European societies and as exotic strangers. It is this double position that constitutes their identity and culture in the Romanian figuration.

By seeing social practices and discourses from different points of view: that of Roma, those of villagers, and her own interpretations, she conveys a notion of society as plural, multi-centred and if not unbounded, then contextually bounded. Engebrigtsen says she came little by little to see ambiguity combined with uncertainty and certainly simultaneously structuring social life and cultural conceptions, and how people coped with this through shifting self-presentations.

She also discusses the interdependence of ethnic categories in the Romanian society in terms of a social figuration resulting from a specific civilizing process whereby different social groups defined by ethnic, economic and political criteria have been involved in constant power struggles. The Romanian discourse of civilization is meaningful to all classes when referring to the relationship between groups in the Romanian ethnic hierarchy and about the ratio of power between them. This locally constituted discourse on civilization can thus be understood as an expression of the civilizing process that constitutes both the village and the national figuration.

Engebrigtsen in Exploring Gypsiness describes how she comes to see relations of power between the Rom hamlet and the peasant village as interdependent communities modeled by different but interdependent ideologies. She argues for the metaphor of 'nomadism' to understand the relations between Roma and the state, represented by villagers and local power holders. The argument is that nomadism as a mode of existence resists and even negates, ideologically and in practice, the standardization, fixation and control of state power as a system while coexisting with it. It is in the exteriority to state power, that the nomadic mode is termed 'a war machine against the state', not by waging war, but because it is not appropriated and because it is in itself the opposition and thus inherent destruction of the state mode. Nomadic existence is thus a metaphor for different modes of social life 'outside' the state. The state may thus be equated with repression, domination and enslavement. She emphasizes what she sees as the core of this philosophy: different systems of power as the condition for creative and dynamic interdependence, represented by the dualism of nomadism and the state.

The notions of shifting selves and subject positions are basic to the understanding of agency in Exploring Gypsiness. Engebrigtsen sees agency as the outcome of people that self-reflexively and consciously strive to follow their interests and desires in compliance with and/or opposition to their social environment by taking up different subject positions offered them by different social practices and discourses. Self-reflexivity and consciousness imply interest and desire, desire implying both the conscious and the subconscious, and 'shifting selves' implies the social as an inherent trait of self. Interest and desires are often contradictory, and even if she insists that people are reflexive and conscious and make choices, they cannot always foresee the outcome of their actions. This perspective of agency implies what she terms duality as the mutuality of seemingly opposed values. The theory of subject positioning and multiple selves supports, in her understanding, the idea of people relating to values and value systems that may appear contradictory in one context, but that in other contexts may be experienced and expressed as axes of a continuum.

Exploring Gypsiness is fascinating in its perspective on Gypsies, this little known migratory population, how they define themselves and their relations with the dominant population, how they help the dominant society to define itself. Engebrigtsen is open in her internal reflections bringing her own prejudices and perceptions to bear on the topic.

Social Science / Race Relations / Biographies & Memoirs / Parenting & Families

When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race by Judith Stone (Miramax)

When She Was White is the story of a black woman born to white parents during the most unforgiving years of official racism in South Africa.

During South Africa's most brutal years of sanctioned racism, the Sandra Laing case made headlines. The public avidly followed press coverage of Abraham and Sannie Laing's fight to keep their daughter white, their famous loss in the Supreme Court, the surprising legal twist that followed, and Sandra's dramatic decision as a teenager that led to her estrangement from her parents. Over the four decades since it began, Sandra's story has continued to provoke curiosity and speculation.

When Laing was sent to boarding school in January 1962 at the age of six, she was unaware that she looked different from the rest of her family. Four years later, when the police came to remove her, 10-year-old Sandra believed she was being expelled for hitting classmates who had relentlessly teased and tormented her, calling her dreadful names. At the time, Sandra had no idea that she'd been forced to leave because only white children were allowed to attend Piet Retief Primary School, and the government of South Africa had declared her to be no longer white. Even though, according to her birth certificate, she'd entered the world as white in 1955, and even though her pro-apartheid Afrikaner parents swore she was biologically their own, her frizzy hair and light brown skin allowed the government to re-classify Sandra as ‘coloured.’ According to the letter of the law, she could no longer live with her family, except as a servant.

Then as a teenager, Sandra eloped with a black man. Her devastated parents disowned her, although she managed two secret visits to her mother. At first, Sandra had no regrets about leaving the world of white privilege for a poor black township. Despite poverty, illness, and a legal system designed to enslave, Sandra was the happiest she'd ever been – until she was forced to flee with her children and fight for survival in the townships outside Johannesburg at the height of the government's brutal suppression of black resistance. Her life became even more difficult and heartbreaking.

According to When She Was White, with the end of apartheid in 1994, Sandra vowed to find her mother. Her long, troubling search and their ultimate reunion forms the book's surprising and moving conclusion.
To write When She Was White, veteran journalist Judith Stone set out to unravel the facts from the speculation and to understand the woman at the center of the controversy. To find the ultimate truth behind Laing's story, Stone meticulously researched the infamous case, tracking down and delving into official documents, government records, and newspaper archives. She conducted interviews with Sandra's former classmates, their parents, and school administrators, as well as with members of Sandra's three families – the one she was born to, the one that took her in, and the one she has created. She consulted various experts, among them lawyers, historians, geneticists, sociologists, psychologists, and South African reporters who covered pieces of Sandra's story. Most important, Stone also began a series of in-depth conversations with Laing that continued for five years. Gradually, Sandra came to recall clear, defining moments from her confusing childhood and reconstruct her travels back and forth across the color line. As Stone observes: “Sandra's struggle to face a difficult past, to take painful but ultimately rewarding steps toward repairing the damage done to her (and the damage she's done to herself), to reclaim the story of her life and to find meaning, peace, and even joy in it, is also the struggle of a post-apartheid South Africa coming to terms with its own hidden history.”

When She Was White talks about the social and biological meaning of race. Most scientists agree that race is a biologically meaningless concept: of the 25,000 or so genes that determine heritable characteristics, only a tiny fraction have to do with the visible markers of race, such as skin color. Still, in daily life, what most people understand is race matters, and in South Africa, it matters terribly. Even sixteen years after the abolition of race classification and thirteen years after the fall of apartheid, race remains a central issue in the lives of South Africa's estimated 47.4 million citizens.

… Although an anti-apartheid poster child outside of South Africa, Laing's memory so often fails her that Stone's book becomes an exercise in recovered memory… Stone is at her most successful in eliciting recollections of misery and family strife. She fills in the blanks with "official documents, government records, newspaper archives, and interviews" with Laing's friends, family and other community members. … – Publishers Weekly
… A riveting family drama of the arbitrariness and cruelty of apartheid's racial classification system. – Hazel Rochman, Booklist
In beautifully restrained prose, with a keen eye for detail and a strong sense of place, Judith Stone calmly pieces together a story that many...would rather forget. Her book, while exploring history, politics, and the tricky workings of genetics, is, above all, an attempt to do what apartheid sought to disallow: meet Sandra Laing as a human being. – O, The Oprah Magazine
This is the compelling real-life saga of South African Sandra Laing, the ‘coloured’ daughter of white parents, who, as a child became a symbol of apartheid's cruelty. Sandra's story is so startling and poignant, and this account so insightful, you'll rethink every idea you have about racial identity. – Good Housekeeping Magazine
Of all the lessons of 9/11, the most enduring is how we, as Americans, must gain mastery of the world of the underprivileged others. Through her graceful prose and engaging narrative, Judith Stone enables us to live that essential experience. – Roya Hakakian, author of Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

Gripping and haunting, When She Was White tells the story of one of apartheid’s many victims with insight and empathy. The book is a nuanced exploration of the nature of memory, the social construction of race, and the cruelty, insanity, and arbitrariness of apartheid. It's also a personal drama. When She Was White uncovers long-buried aspects of Sandra's story, corrects distorted accounts, and weaves a novelistic narrative. While exploring the mysteries and shattering the myths of an infamous case, Stone deftly reveals a complicated, courageous, and flawed woman whose survival illuminates the nature of the resilience of the human spirit despite the terrible ways human beings can hurt one another.

Sports / Baseball

Fenway: A Biography in Words and Pictures (Expanded & Updated) by Dan Shaughnessy & Stan Grossfeld, with forewords by Leigh Montville and Ted Williams (Houghton Mifflin)

The oldest and most beloved ballpark in the major leagues, the last of the single-tier stadiums, Fenway Park has undergone dramatic changes since best-selling author Dan Shaughnessy and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Stan Grossfeld first profiled it in 1999. New ownership has significantly transformed the ball yard while still honoring its glorious tradition, creating a "new ‘old’ Fenway" experience that a blend of past and present.

Fenway Park is the most famous ballpark – and arguably stadium – in all of sports. From the ominous Green Monster, to the notorious cramped seats (including the lone red seat that marks Ted Williams's record-setting longest home run), to the hand-operated scoreboard (if only those walls could talk), Fenway Park has inspired more lavish praise and outrageous comparison than any American sports arena in history. Fenway is a memorial to the Boston ballpark.

Including more than sixty new color photographs, with added chapters on the historic 2004 World Series victory and recent ballpark renovations (the most extensive in six decades), Fenway also features a new foreword by Leigh Montville and additional recollections from famous players, coaches, and illustrious fans – including Yo-Yo Ma, Tim Russert, and Senator Edward Kennedy. Fenway is updated throughout, including a new chapter on Fenway under the current ownership, the new photographs covering, among other things, the new Green Monster seats, and the reconstruction of the ‘406 Club’ for the 2006 season.

Sparkling and upbeat, evoking . . . [Fenway] charming eccentricities and ever-startling greenness . . . heaven. – New York Times

For all true baseball fans everywhere. – Boston Magazine

A lavish pictorial tribute to the grand old ballpark . . . It's a worthy companion to Shaughnessy's earlier history of Fenway. – Seattle Times

A must-read for the members of what Mr. Shaughnessy calls Red Sox Nation ... Frankly, I loved the book. Although I'm not a Sawx fan, I love the history and tradition Fenway represents. – Washington Times

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy bridges the spaces between the photos with knowledgeable commentary and myriad Fenway facts. – USA Today

A well-done photographic tribute to one of the last classic ballparks . . . Dan Shaughnessy provides an elegant, knowledgeable main text. – Cincinnati Enquirer

This quintessential American-ballpark experience is lovingly illustrated and detailed. Shaughnessy and Grossfeld have every corner of the park covered. Like a walk-off homer on a starlit New England summer night, Fenway will thrill a whole new generation of fans. Featuring more than sixty new color photographs, Shaughnessy and Grossfeld preserve the Fenway of childhood memories and capture the magic and mania of the Fenway of today.

Transportation / Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Nostalgia

Traveling with the VW Bus and Camper by David Eccles & Cee Eccles (Abbeville Press)

This book celebrates the Volkswagen bus and the people who drive and love this unique vehicle. It is not a historical account of the development of a classic design icon, nor is it an information or fact book. …Rather, it is the bringing together and sharing of a passion enjoyed by many, and a tribute to the diversity of owners and their obsession with something that is central to their lives and a loved family member: the VW bus, in all its guises. – from the book

Introduced in the 1950s, the VW bus was designed to be multifunctional. Since then, it has come to symbolize fun, freedom, and adventure. VW bus owners fully incorporate their vehicles into their lives: Some treat them as an extension of their home, while others undertake epic journeys in them, across desert and sea, and through Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some strap surfboards to the roof and head for the nearest beach, while others soup up the engines and take them drag racing in California. All spend hours restoring and customizing them and even more time talking about them with fellow bus owners.

Traveling with the VW Bus and Camper is a tribute to this passion, to the owners who have lavished time, effort, and inspiration on their campers, and, of course, to the VW bus itself. This book traces the cult of the camper, from family errands to vacation home to design icon. Above all else, the campervan is living history and readers will find chapters dedicated to travel narratives detailing road trips from England to Afghanistan and back, ad campaigns that sell the VW bus lifestyle, and weddings and other family events that feature buses in their ceremonies.
Authors of Traveling with the VW Bus and Camper David and Cee Eccles have been around VW buses since 1976, when they bought a Splitscreen Camper, gave up their teaching jobs, and spent a year living in it while traveling through Persia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India. From 1990 they were very active members of the Splitscreen Van Club and for ten years edited the club magazine. Dave has since written two books about the VW camper and is also editor of Volkswagen Camper and Commercial, a bimonthly magazine dedicated exclusively to the VW bus.

Also from the book: Reasons to be cheerful [about your VW bus]:

  • It will be worth more next year than this.
  • You don't need to visit a theme park for a white-knuckle ride – just drive your camper in a gusty crosswind.
  • You can literally look down on all those driving Fords, Hyundais, etc.
  • They are easy to fix and hard to break.
  • Mechanics in any part of the world can make parts or rep it for you.
  • Living life in the slow lane is stress free and much more fun
  • You can go up to Porsche owners and tell them that you both have basically the same car!
  • You nave an unlimited lifetime supply of free coolant.
  • Oil spots give your driveway character.
  • Any other car you drive will seem really fast.
  • You will never, ever, suffer road rage from trying to pass anything, anywhere.
  • The engine makes better noises than a rave band.
  • You get really interesting sounds while driving in rain. Even better sounds when driving in hail!
  • People you don't know smile and wave at you.
  • The upright seating promotes good posture.

Traveling with the VW Bus and Camper is a great coffee-table book, a highly visual love song to a vehicle featuring fantastic photos, some ‘Electric Kool-Aid’, from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Obsession or addiction? Readers will have to make their own call on this one.
Transportation / Reference

Shelby: The Man. The Cars. The Legend by Wallace A. Wyss (Iconografix, Inc.)

What? Another book about Carroll Shelby?

Can anyone ever get their fill of stories about the garrulous, gregarious, Texas gunfighter who seems to have had more lives, loves, and close calls than any random group of six or eight ‘ordinary’ mortals combined?

Shelby takes a look at the life and times of Carroll Hall Shelby, from his birth as the son of a rural Dallas-area postman well before World War II up to his present activities. According to Wallace A. Wyss, who wrote the definitive book on Shelby (Shelby’s Wildlife: The Cobras and the Mustangs), Shelby was a character and an icon in car culture who has accomplished and failed at many things in life, from chicken farmer to the 83-year-old man who is now (again) advising Ford on the creation of a Shelby Mustang. Shelby goes back into Shelby’s history in racing Ferraris and Maseratis, the beginnings of the Cobra, the Daytona, the 427 Cobra, Ford’s battle for LeMans, the front drive Shelby Dodges, his time at Chrysler, the infamous Series I, Shelby’s participation in the development of the Viper, and his quarter-century-long running battle with the army of Cobra clonesters.

Throughout all the car talk are personal glimpses of the world of Shelby, which in­cluded stretches as a World War II era bomber pilot instructor, oil well roustabout, cement hauler, chili cook, horse breeder, dog breeder, flying instructor, sa­fari guide, car dealer, bon vivant, art collector, inventor, father of three, grandfather, and philanthropist – not to mention friend of everyone from politicians to Kings.

Laid out in Shelby are the gaffes, mistakes, deceptions, the lies and the liars who put them out. Readers can revel in the rumors, innuendos, the certifiable craziness, the full-blown hubris, and note that, there in the very middle of it for all of four decades now, is the failed chicken rancher, the effulgent tub-thumper Shelby, a little bent-over with age but still standing.

According to Wyss, who spent his early years marketing Detroit-made muscle cars, the reason Shelby exists is to tell the newcomers just who this guy Shel­by is and why he and his Cobra became American icons that just won't politely fade away into the history books no matter who says they should.

Wyss has updated the chronicle of events a bit since the old book, because Shel­by's done more since Wyss wrote Shelby’s Wildlife: The Cobras and the Mustangs. Recently, in reading Brock Yates' book Outlaw Machine: Harley-Davidson and the Search for the American Soul, Wyss says it occurred him that Shelby, like the folks at Harley-Davidson, has always been in search of that one goal: building a car with soul.

Shelby is a thorough reference on Shelby's life with cars, resplendent with a section of photographs of, you guessed it, cars, albeit in black and white.

Travel / North America

Touring the Sierra Nevada by Cheryl Angelina Koehler (University of Nevada Press)

The massive Sierra Nevada stretches north to south over four hundred miles of California and western Nevada, and is one of the most scenic, biologi­cally diverse, and historically interesting mountain ranges in North America. Touring the Sierra Nevada covers the entire range and its adjacent regions, exploring the Sierra Nevada from such world-famous sites as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite to picturesque mining towns, scenic alpine lakes, lush vineyards, and colorful hidden byways. Author Cheryl Angelina Koehler offers suggestions for long tours and daytrips, excursions for automobile travelers, and backcountry adventures for hikers and other hardy types, as well as detailed information about the history, geology, flora and fauna, economy, and unique features of places along the way.

Touring the Sierra Nevada is illustrated with photographs and maps of the regions described. Koehler, journalist and freelance writer, editor and publisher of Edible East Bay, provides information about attractions in the Sierra's two ‘jumping-off’ cities, Sacramento and Reno, as well as in some of the major towns within the range. There is practical advice about contacting parks, museums, historical sites, visitors' bureaus, U.S. Forest Service offices, and other agencies; finding lodging, campgrounds, and restaurants along the way; preparing for weather and altitude changes; and identifying further sources of information about the region in published guides and other books, as well as on websites.

Touring the Sierra Nevada is designed to introduce this splendid corner of the world to all types of travelers. The 10 extensive driving tours cover the full 400-mile length and 50-to-80-mile width of these mountains, the longest continu­ous range in the United States. Much of the Sierra Nevada is public land: national forests, national parks, and wilderness areas, as well as many state and county parks. These are places where readers can go to learn about their history and about the spirit of nature that resides within us all. Koehler emphasizes that it is not necessary to be a hiker or avid recreation seeker to discover this grand and welcoming region, but readers should have some reliable means of transportation, basic good sense, and a healthy respect for the challenges of travel through a high mountain wilderness. The 10 geographical sections, corresponding to driving tours are:

1.      Revelations on Interstate 80

2.      Tahoe

3.      Central Sierra Crossings

4.      U.S. 395: Mono County

5.      U.S. 395: Owens Valley

6.      The Southernmost Sierra

7.      The High Sierra

8.      Yosemite National Park

9.      Gold Country

10.  The Lost Sierra

Each geographical chapter of Touring the Sierra Nevada ends with a section called Prac­tical Matters. These include: when to visit; driving routes and alternate means of transportation; lists of where to find the greatest concentrations of lodging, dining, and camping options; and lists of resources and publi­cations where readers can get more detailed information on each region.

What a grand undertaking this book is! It has inspired me to plan visits to several places I had overlooked in the Sierra backyard. The historical notes are fascinating, the natural notes are delightful. – Marguerite Sprague, author of Bodie's Gold: Tall Tales and True History from a California Mining Town

Touring the Sierra Nevada is the first travel guide to cover the entire range and its adjacent regions. It is the complete guide to the entire Sierra Nevada. Koehler offers her readers the literary companionship of an experienced, charming, and vivacious guide through one of America's most fascinating regions.

Guide to this Issue's Contents