We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

June 2007, Issue #99

Guide to this Issue's Contents 

Arts & Photography / Drawing / How-to

The Art of Pastel Painting by Alan Flattmann (Pelican Publishing Company)

In Flattmann's art, everything evolves from an emotional reaction to the subject. He wants people to sense the excitement he has about the imagery that appears in his mind's eye long before he commits paint to canvas or pastel to paper. – from Alan Flattmann's French Quarter Impressions, by John R. Kemp

For more than forty years, world-renowned expert and impressionist artist Alan Flattmann has used pastels to capture the world around him in vibrant hues. In The Art of Pastel Painting Flattmann teaches the art and technique of modern pastel. Traditionally a leading textbook on pastels in art institutions, the book has been revised from its original 1987 version to include updated technical information, demonstrations, and new paintings from the artist.

Flattmann’s works reflect what he refers to as the modern pastel renaissance, an era that deviates from the traditionally perceived seventeenth-century use of pastels. Veering away from the conventional practice of using light tints and delicate touches to produce powdery coiffures, the pastel renaissance approaches its subjects with passion and color, attracting new audiences to the craft. Flattmann's masterpieces illustrate The Art of Pastel Painting, which has served as a standard textbook for pastel techniques. New paintings and photographs display methods involving lighting, palette, pigments, grounds, and preservation.
Impressionist painter Flattmann was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1946. Showing an early aptitude for art, he studied at the McCrady Art School on a New Orleans Art Association scholarship in his senior year of high school. The internationally known artist is the recipient of many major awards and honors, including his 2006 induction into the Pastel Society Hall of Fame. He also received the 1996 American Artist Art Masters Award for pastels. In 1991, he was awarded the Master Pastelist distinction by the Pastel Society of America, and he has been listed in Who's Who in American Art since 1981. Because of his decades of success painting the historic French Quarter, September 28 is celebrated as Alan Flattmann Day in New Orleans.

Flattmann’s work has been featured in Alan Flattmann's French Quarter Impressions written by John R. Kemp, The Poetic Realism of Alan Flattmann by Joyce Kelley, and articles in numerous magazines. He was awarded first place for landscape and third place for portrait in the inaugural Pastel Artist International Magazine Awards for World-Wide Excellence. Flattmann's work may be found in hundreds of private and corporate collections, including the collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Oklahoma Art Center, Mississippi Museum of Art, and Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Bryant Galleries, located in New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, are the exclusive agents for his work. The artist continues to teach painting workshops for art groups around the United States and abroad.
As an art medium, pastels are convenient and easy to use due to their solid composition. The purity and intensity of dry color produce an extraordinary range of effects on a variety of surfaces. Their flexibility makes them popular for beginners, while advanced students continually challenge traditional boundaries.

Flattmann's passionate instruction in the use of this delicate yet enduring art remains the voice coaxing potential until students capture the essence of the subject. With the skill of a master, Flattmann carries readers from basic concept to advanced practices, all the while capturing the essence of the craft in The Art of Pastel Painting. Flattmann seamlessly advances through the process of creation while offering invaluable advice on every as­pect. Considerations such as surface texture, studio lighting, basic painting concepts, systematic procedure, fram­ing, and preservation are handled in a logical progression. Beginners and serious students alike will find Flattmann's knowledgeable instruction and advice indispensable.

Arts & Photography / Graphic Design / Commercial Illustration / Fashion

Illustration for Fashion Design: Twelve Steps to the Fashion Figure by Gustavo R. Fernandez (Prentice Hall)

The ability to draw has been the subject of debate for as long as people have been able to do so. Most people accept the theory that it is an innate ability – either you have it or you do not. As an ed­ucator, I do not subscribe to this school of thought, because I have had the opportunity to help stu­dents intimidated by the thought of taking a draw­ing class. I have also had countless students who put off their dreams of designing because of this very fear. – from the book

Written by Gustavo Fernandez, teacher at Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami, Illustration for Fashion Design merges the age-old artistry of design with the latest styles in the fashion world and brings it to students to make drawing fun and easy. One of the main objectives of the book is to give precise, reliable instruction to promote con­fidence and creativity.

This text provides instruction and guidance from the basic poses used in fashion to advanced composition and figure studies. Illustration for Fashion Design covers a broad range of topics in the fashion drawing field and explains them each using a step-by-step approach. From model drawing and marker rendering, to children’s wear and accessories, this book provides answers to the most frequently asked questions, including trouble shooting sections. It is supported by an instructional DVD. An illustrated index includes everything from purses to seam finishes and a separate chapter is devoted to accessories. Balancing creativity and function, it covers techniques that yield professional results and are easy to use regardless of one’s level of experience.

The step-by-step approach gives readers the tools to create professional designs which merge form and function. The broad range of topics includes chapters on menswear, drawing children, plus and maternity sizes, portfolio presentations and presentation boards. Illustration for Fashion Design includes unique topics such as how to draw jewelry, bags, hats, shoes, glasses and leather goods. The book includes full-color presentations and renderings of stones and surfaces. Numerous illustrations include easy-to-follow instructions, with right and wrong examples.

Whether readers are just learning to create their first fashion drawings or working on portfolios, Illustration for Fashion Design provides the most complete and comprehensive methods available in the market to date. With over 2,000 drawings, it com­bines fun visuals with academic accuracy that allows artists to develop their creativity without sacrificing function.

Fernandez says that standard books and materials in fashion edu­cation assume that students possess a basic knowledge of drawing. But the approach to fashion illustration in this book appeals to the individual's ability to follow set rules and measurements rather than rely on visual comprehension of space and dimension. As an instructor he says that he has spent many hours search­ing through book after book trying to combine the best parts and offer them to his students: the children's chapter from one, menswear from another, and accessories from yet another. But in truth, designers will design everything from purses to children's wear.

II am so pleased that Gustavo's book is to be published because I know, with my 26 years of experience teaching Fashion Design and Fashion Production, that his method works.

I watch Gustavo skillfully demonstrate his twelve-step technique to students that have min­imal drawing skills. Within six classes, they can successfully draw and dress a fashion figure. By the middle of the semester, they can draw several different poses and render fabrics realistically us­ing design markers. By the end of the semester, they produce professional looking presentation boards, complete with mood boards, color stories, fabric swatches, flats, and elegant fashion figures in a variety of poses.

Using these skills, students create presenta­tion boards and build portfolios that lead to acceptance at the most prestigious and competitive fashion design schools nationwide and interna­tionally, including The Fashion Institute of Tech­nology and London School of Fashion. My students and I are anxiously awaiting this book. We know it will be a comprehensive guide to successful fashion illustration. – Rosemary Pringle, Fashion Design Program Head, from the foreword

Illustration for Fashion Design is an excellent reference for fashion industry professionals at any level; it covers a broad range of topics and explains them in a step-by‑step, comprehensive way. By using these proven and easy-to-follow instructions and the 12-step method in the book, anyone can create a fashion figure and begin to understand the dynamics of the body almost immediately. Beautifully illustrated, the book helps designers lay a foundation from which creativity can develop and flourish in every area of fashion design.

Arts & Photography / How-to

The Art of People Photography: Inspiring Techniques for Creative Results by Bambi Cantrell & Skip Cohen (Amphoto Books)

Portrait photography is one of the most challenging of all the photographic specialties. The person is right there – it seems so easy. But portraits aren’t just about what the subject looks like. Great people photography is about photography... and about understanding people.

In her latest collaboration with writer/publisher and industry insider Skip Cohen, The Art of People Photography, Bambi Cantrell, one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world according to American Photo Magazine, reveals her secrets for capturing the human experience in a portrait – and her success at marketing her business. They show photographers how to reveal the person behind the portrait and how to think and shoot outside the box.

Covering both location and studio photography, The Art of People Photography discusses the particular challenges of photographing men, woman, children, babies, families, and high school seniors, who, note the authors, "have become one of the fastest-growing segments of the portrait photography business." Beginning with the intended application of the photograph, the book details such specifics as posing (both solo and group shots), color vs. black and white, working with generations, plus the non-techni­cal art of establishing trust with clients. Cantrell share her favorite equipment and shooting tips, emphasizing "expression as the Holy Grail of people photography." Two hundred full-color photographs throughout provide examples of expression as captured by Cantrell.

The Art of People Photography helps photographers:

  • Get creative with techniques and express themselves as artists.
  • Learn what equipment a pro uses.
  • Direct subjects with confidence.
  • Get comfortable with both color and black and white.
  • Learn the rules and how to break them.
  • Market themselves effectively.

According to The Art of People Photography, in order to be great photographers, readers must first understand the tools of the trade, every piece of gear involved in the process, from cameras to lenses to films and digital media. Once they have mastered the equipment, beginning photographers have got to understand composition, lighting, depth of field, and exposure. Then they have to understand the printing process. Only when they have learned all the rules have they earned the right to break them. All the boundaries of the rules of composition and exposure can go right out the window as they learn to express themselves as artists.

With portraiture, the challenge isn't so much understanding imaging or their equipment as it is about understanding people. On location or in the studio, the final image is about one thing only: the person photographed. With the click of the shutter, photographers have to capture their subject's expectations in one exposure. And it makes no difference whether they are shooting digital or film – if they have miss the shot, that's it, they are done.

Cantrell's lens selection, use of depth of field, lighting, and composition have made her one of the best wedding photographer, but if asked the secret to her success, she says it has little to do with photography and more to do with knowing both her market and each person she photographs. When asked, "What makes your work so different?" her response was, "I just love people."

Cantrell's imagery is unmatched in the field of professional wedding photography and this comes through in the wealth of examples in the book. The Art of People Photography shows readers how to rise to that level of creativity and confidence. This informative and generous guide provides the inspiration, technical advice, and business savvy to help beginning professional photographers become adept.

Arts & Photography / Painting / Art History / Biographies & Memoirs

L S Lowry: A Life by Shelley Rohde (Haus Books Ltd.)

“It is my opinion,” says Shelley Rohde, the author of the life of the British artist Laurence Stephen Lowry, L S Lowry, “his works should carry a health warning: These pictures are addictive. Buy one and you are hooked for life. Study him and you become obsessive.”

Rohde is a writer and television producer with a long background in newspaper journalism. She first met L S Lowry when she was working for the Daily Mail. Subsequently she made with Granada Television the award-winning documentary L S Lowry: A Private View. She talked to Lowry several times before he died in 1976, at the age of eighty-eight, and became, in her words: ‘an intemperate admirer of both the man and the artist’.

Lowry (1887-1976) depicted the industrial northwest of England as a bleak urban landscape through which lonely and detached figures go about their business – scenes of the early 20th century. He had a distinctive style of painting and is best known for urban landscapes peopled with many human figures or ‘matchstick men’. He tended to paint these in drab colors. He also painted mysterious unpopulated landscapes, brooding portraits, and the secret ‘marionette’ works (the latter only found after his death). In the thirty years since Lowry's death several items have come into the public domain – including collections of private papers, now-housed in the archives of The Lowery, the culture and art center named in his honor on the Salford Quays on the banks of the Irwell in Manchester. These were made available to Rohde and are included in L S Lowry to give added insight into the artist.

On the first day of March in the year 1995 the Bennett Collection of works by the artist Laurence Stephen Lowry came up for sale at Christie's Auction House in London. Lowry had been dead for nearly twenty years. The auction was an event that, in retro­spect, came to be regarded as something of a seminal moment in the English art world. In the words of Jonathan Horwich, Deputy Chairman of Christie's U.K., “It was a sale that somehow, magically, reached parts that other sales could not reach. It took us all by surprise.”

Unusually for an auction house as grand as Christie's, most of the buyers that day were people who were not collectors and who, possibly, had never been in a saleroom before. Even more surprising, many of the successful bidders paid in cash. One woman had traveled from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with £60,000 in notes in her bag and spent it all on works by Lowry. She was so unsure of herself in such unfa­miliar surroundings she brought cash with her because she “didn't think you would accept a cheque from someone you didn't know.” Christie's' cashiers reported later that they had taken more money in hard currency than they had ever taken before in one day.

According to Rohde, Lowry's reputation as a chronicler of the aftermath of the industrial revolution, an English artist with a unique eye and a quirky view of life, was by that time well established. He was as underestimated by the art establishment in death as he had been in life. It was almost as if he were too popular; too beloved of the general public, the ordinary people who inhabited his pictures – as if the simple fact that his work was liked, understood, recognized, collected, bought, issued as prints, put on mugs carried with it some sort of stigma, an indication of a lack of quality or class or taste. Or whatever it is that makes great art.

As critic Waldemar Januszczak observed: “...the snobbish art establishment has never taken Lowry seriously...” Januszczak had been to Salford to look at the pictures in the Salford City Art Gallery and had written: “What emerges that Lowry was anything but unsophisticated...He deserves to be seen alongside Stanley Spencer, Edward Burra, and Lucien Freud as one of the edgy and independent urban realists of the century.”

Artist Harold Riley, who was at the Slade when Lowry was a Visiting Lecturer, said: “His imagery is cast iron. Blue chip. Other artists appreciate his technique but they don't necessarily – if they are from the south or unfamiliar with Lowry's land­scape – understand him. They understand the industry but not the imagery.” But then Riley is from Salford, and as he says, that means he knows what Lowry is about. He adds: “In my opinion he is head and shoulders above every English artist since Turner.”

The ugly issue of snobbism in art raises its unattractive head when it comes to the work of an artist who certain members of the cognoscenti consider to be no more than a peintre de dimanche with an ‘inability to draw the human figure’; or in the words of the Evening Standard critic Brian Sewell, ‘a cloth-capped nincompoop.’

Art critics and historians have been un­able to fit [Lowry] into a school of ‘art,’ says Lindsay Brooks, current Director of Exhibi­tions at The Lowry. “[They] have never been able to handle his popularity. Negative views about Lowry are largely the result of a prevailing view of the British art establish­ment that "if somebody is popular or accessible, they cannot be very good.”

One of the most positive factors in Low­ry's posthumous struggle for recognition has been – according to Mike Leber, a Keeper of the Lowry Collection at Salford City Art Gallery in the old man's lifetime – the atti­tude of the Lowry Estate and their handling of the legacy. “The fact that they have hung onto the collection and have been so protec­tive of his image has done nothing but good. They have not only allowed ready access to his work – loaning frequently to galleries for exhibition – which is paramount, but they have always been aware of the scholarship surrounding Lowry's work.

“If such a situation continues I firmly be­lieve that it will happen one day – the recognition Lowry deserves and the establish­ment of a world wide reputation.

Curator, critic and art historian Julian Spalding is a self styled ‘mad enthusiast’ for Lowry. Giving the 2006 Lowry annual lec­ture at The Lowry he declared: ‘As the twentieth century recedes and we can begin to assess the achievements of British artists in relation to those abroad, it is my belief that Lowry will emerge as the only painter of the period to have made a unique contribution to art on the world stage.

“Lowry not only painted a subject area no one had tackled in any depth before – the industrial scene and the lives of its peo­ple – but he also evolved a radically original language of art.

“One always recognizes a Lowry, whether it shows a crowd going to a football match, a tramp sleeping on a park bench or just an empty seascape. His pictures range in mood from charmed delight to slapstick fun, from profound despair to eerie calm, from merry companionship to utter loneliness. But they are always Lowrys.

“He has been able to express this extraordi­nary range of feelings because he developed, doggedly over many years, a powerful and intensely personal artistic vocabulary. There has been nothing like it before in the history of art.”

L S Lowry is lavishly and meticulously illustrated with close to one hundred pictures and photographs, paintings and drawings, each of which illuminates a different facet of Lowry's life and work.

Arts & Photography / Social Sciences / Anthropology

The Anthropology of Art: Histories, Themes, Perspectives by Maruška Svašek (Anthropology, Culture and Society Series: Pluto Press)

The Anthropology of Art provides a critical introduction to anthropological perspectives on art, and offers a new perspective which centers on the analysis of commoditisation and aestheticisation.

Defining art as a social process, author Maruška Svašek argues for an anthropological approach that links the production and consumption of artifacts to political, religious and other cultural dynamics. Presenting a wide variety of cases, sociology, and cultural studies, Svašek, lecturer in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen's University, Belfast, examines the significance of objects in everyday life, and demonstrates their ability to evoke emotions and generate actions. It also analyzes the shifting boundaries between art and other categories such as craft, kitsch, propaganda and pornography.

The Anthropology of Art demonstrates that while some artifacts are intentionally produced as artworks, others not originally intended for that purpose are actively appropriated and transformed into art by art dealers, curators and anthropologists.

Finally, the book explores the process and effects of collecting and exhibiting artifacts in increasingly global contexts.

Svašek starts out by considering the different ways anthropologists might explain what many of us regard as artistic behavior; we would very likely ask them the question: what is art? The question can be interpreted in two distinct ways. On the one hand, it demands to know the criteria by which objects that are often seemingly incomparable, such as Michelangelo's Last Judgement, Damien Hirst's dissected cow in formaldehyde and Australian Aboriginal Dream Paintings can be similarly classified as `works of art'. The pursuit of common qualities that can bridge the divide between such distinctly different objects is sometimes referred to as a generalizing system. Broad definitions argue that, because art exists in all societies, it constitutes a universal category that can be used not only to explain what art is, but can also be used as an analytical tool to explore similar types of behavior involved in the production, use, and consumption of objects and artifacts in different parts of the world. As Chapters 2 and 3 in The Anthropology of Art demonstrate, this perspective is problematic because it disregards the fact that art is itself a ‘set of historically specific ideas and practices that have shifted meanings across the course of the centuries’.

In their pursuit of a broad definition that would allow them to identify and compare different artifacts in different cultures and societies, supporters of the generalizing approach found that the broader their definitions, the more meaningless they became. Recently, Richard Anderson proposed a theoretical definition of art that outlined certain combinations of highly probable artistic features. In the hope of avoiding the ethnocentric projection of one society's ideas of what constitutes art upon another, and aiming to challenge what he considered an artificial separation of high-brow and popular art, he argued that “like a chameleon, the word ‘art’ takes on different colors, depending on the verbal foliage in which it is found”. Anderson's own attempts to evaluate art by appraising the artist's commitment to his medium for instance, forced him to concede that, on those criteria even a committed comic-book reader could be considered a great artist. By over-extending his classifications, his category of ‘art’ became meaningless.

In contrast to this generalizing approach, The Anthropology of Art offers an alternative answer to the question ‘What is art?’ Instead of considering art as a universal category, it instead stresses the processual nature of art production, and identifies the many different factors that influence the ways in which people experience and understand it. Instead of generalizing definitions of art that often prove deceptive simplifications, which hide or distort complex historical processes, the book aims to analyze the conflicting definitions of art and aesthetics in specific socio-historical contexts.

The Anthropology of Art is divided into two parts, entitled 'Theorising Art' and 'Objects, Transit and Transition'. Part 1 includes the introductory chapter and consists of two more chapters which critically discuss and compare anthropological theories of art that have been developed throughout the history of the discipline, pointing out their analytical strengths and weaknesses.

Chapter 2, 'From Evolutionism to Ethnoaesthetics', discusses the main theoretical developments from the early beginnings of the discipline in the nineteenth century to the late 1960s, and explains why cultural relativism became the dominant paradigm.

Chapter 3, 'From Visual Communication to Object Agency', points out how cultural relativism slowly gave way to processual relativist approaches as an increasing number of scholars began to attack cultural relativist notions of bounded culture and, more recently, started criticizing their use of ‘art’ as a tool of cross-cultural analysis. Instead, it proposes an alternative relativist approach, which allows for the analysis of aestheticisation, commoditisation and object agency in contexts of power.

Part 2 begins with Chapter 4, entitled 'Performances: The Power of Art/efacts', which focuses on object agency. Various case studies clarify how objects and works of art trigger quite specific emotional reactions in users and viewers, which often lead to social action that can also be politically relevant.

Chapter 5, 'Markets: Art/efacts on the Move', looks in more detail at com­moditisation processes, examining the development of changing markets of art and ethnographic objects. Building on some of the findings in Chapter 4, it explores the influence of exchange mechanisms on the ways in which objects are valued, understood and handled, also showing that marketing strategies often affect the ways in which artifacts are interpreted and experienced.

Objects are appropriated by a variety of museums, including ethnographic museums, folklore museums and museums of art. Chapter 6, 'Museums: Space, Materiality and the Politics of Display', examines the involvement of such museums in object transit and transition in nationalist, colonial and postcolonial settings. Numerous case studies explore the relation between representation, aestheticisation and issues of power, and contribute to an analysis of the impact of spatial and discursive recontextualisation on object perception and experience.

Chapter 7, "'Fine Art": Creating and Contesting Boundaries', develops one of the main arguments of The Anthropology of Art, namely that ‘fine art’, though defined differently in different times and spaces, is always a category of exclusion. The analysis mainly focuses on the creation of boundaries between ‘art’ and supposedly non-artistic categories such as ‘craft’, ‘kitsch’, ‘pornography’ and ‘propaganda’. Various case studies show how artists have tried to undermine these oppositions by appropriating elements of the latter categories into their art.

In Chapter 8, 'Processual Relativism: Fante Flags in Northern Ireland', a detailed case study of Fante flag-making and flag exhibition ties up the main arguments of the book.

The Anthropology of Art offers a new perspective by defining art as a social process, focusing on the commoditisation and aestheticisation of art, and analyzing the shifting boundaries between art and other categories. The book makes a strong case for the study of object transit and transition in local, national and transnational fields of power, focusing on the movement of material objects within and across historical, social and geographic boundaries, and examining transitions in terms of the objects' value, meaning and efficacy. Intellectually provocative for specialists in the field, The Anthropology of Art is ideal as a teaching text, providing a detailed overview of themes central to anthropology, art history, art sociology, and cultural studies.

Audio / Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help

Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness (Audio CD, unabridged, 3 CDs, running time: 3 hours) by Deb Shapiro (Sounds True)

Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness by Debbie Shapiro (Sounds True)

Our bodies are constantly sending us messages. Are you paying attention?

We cry tears when we are sad or get ‘butterflies’ in our stomach when we are nervous. We are all aware of connections between the mind and the body. But what about the bigger issues, when the body gets ill, diseased, or damaged?

Now Your Body Speaks Your Mind by Deb Shapiro – author of The Body Mind Workbook and Unconditional Love – shows readers a practical way to learn the language of the body so they can understand how their thoughts and feelings directly affect their physical health. "The body shows us what we are unconsciously ignoring, denying, or repressing," she says.

In this audio adaptation of her UK best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, Shapiro shows listeners how to initiate communication between the body and mind, and decode the information the body provides. With her, readers discover the intricate link between feelings and thoughts and specific parts of the body, and how unresolved psycho-emotional issues can affect physical health. Listeners learn the language of the body in order to understand how thoughts and feelings directly affect physical health. With creative visualization and meditation exercises, Shapiro, who has trained extensively in various schools of bodywork, Buddhist meditation, and Jungian psychology, helps listeners understand the meaning of symptoms, shift fixed thinking patterns, release hidden doubts, initiate forgiveness, and take a more active role in their own healing and well-being.

Your Body Speaks Your Mind guides readers through the internal messaging system, including:

  • Steps they can take to heal the body with their mind, and vice-versa.
  • A top to bottom Body Scan so readers can hear and respond to the messages from each of their physiological systems.
  • A guided practice that enables readers to dialogue with their symptoms and illness.
  • A cross-referenced index of symptomatic illnesses, from headaches to pneumonia, and the emotional imbalances they symbolize.

"Healing is a continual journey – one of embracing ourselves ever more deeply," explains Shapiro. “By learning the body’s language of symptoms,” she says, “you will actively engage in an intimate two-way communication that affects both your physical state and your mental and emotional health.”

Your Body Speaks Your Mind deepens readers’ relationships with their own minds and bodies. Shapiro shows them how to access this powerful dialogue to decode the priceless information the body gives out.

Business & Investing / Economics / International

China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World by Ted C. Fishman (Scribner)

How has an enormous country once hobbled by poverty and Communist ideology come to be the supercharged center of global capitalism?

China today is visible everywhere – in the news, in the economic pressures battering the U.S. and around the globe, in the workplace, and in every trip to the store. Updated with new statistics and information, China, Inc. is a dramatic account of China's growing dominance as an industrial superpower by veteran journalist and former commodities trader journalist Ted C. Fishman. In it explains how the profound shift in the world economic order has occurred – and why it already affects us all. "No country has ever before made a better run at climbing every step of economic development all at once," he writes, in China, Inc.

Fishman's account begins with the burgeoning output of China's vast low-cost factories and the swelling appetite of its 1.3 billion consumers, both of which are being driven by historically unprecedented infusions of foreign capital and technological know-how.

Traveling through China's frenetic landscape of growth, Fishman visits the factories, markets, streets, stores, towns, and cities where the story of Chinese capitalism is being lived by one-fifth of all humanity. Drawing on interviews with Chinese, American, and European workers, managers, and executives, the book answers questions like:

  • What does it mean that China now grows three times faster than the United States?
  • …that China uses 40 percent of the world's concrete and 25 percent of its steel?
  • What is the global impact of 300 million rural Chinese walking off their farms and heading to the cities in the greatest migration in human history?
  • Why do nearly all of the world's biggest companies have large operations in China?
  • What does the corporate march into China mean for workers left behind in America, Europe, and the rest of the world?
  • What makes China's emerging corporations so dangerously competitive?
  • What will happen when China manufactures nearly everything – computers, cars, jumbo jets, and pharmaceuticals – that the United States and Europe can, at perhaps half the cost?
  • How do these developments reach around the world and straight into our lives?

These are ground-shaking questions, and China, Inc. provides answers.

If the twentieth was the American century, then the twenty-first belongs to China. It's that simple, Ted C. Fishman says, and anyone who doubts it should take his whirlwind tour of the world's fastest-developing economy. – The New York Times

A must-read for American business people who operate in, buy from, or compete with China. – Chicago Sun-Times

Fishman ... obviously is on to something.... As a correspondent who has lived in Beijing for the last five years, I found China, Inc. to be a valuable account of how China got where it is and where it's going. It's full of fascinating observations based on some nifty research. . . . There are critical lessons to be learned from China, Inc. – Michael A. Lev, Chicago Tribune

Intelligent and engaging. – Far Eastern Economic Review

China, Inc. is the amazing story of how the slumbering Red giant woke up and, at warp speed, transformed itself into the greatest superpower of the very near future – with the biggest, tallest, longest, and fastest of just about everything there is. Fishman will forever change your view not just of China's place in the world – but of America's as well. – Craig Unger, New York Times bestselling author of House of Bush, House of Saud

Fishman succeeds in making the remarkable stirrings on the other side of the planet tangible to an audience a world away. – Washington Post

Read China, Inc. to understand U.S. panic. – South China Morning Post

Ted C. Fishman is an accomplished financial writer.... His background gives him special insight to his work. – Inc. Magazine

Fishman's excellent and very readable new book . . . deftly combines anecdotes and analysis to help us understand China's economic miracle. – Christian Science Monitor

When analyzing American attitudes toward China, Fishman is a shrewd observer. – The Daily Telegraph (London)

China, Inc. is a scary and important book. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Anyone still wondering why Wal-Mart doesn't play the made-in-America card in its marketing any longer can stop wondering. China, Inc.... Fishman's fascinating and unsettling treatise lays out in depth that and other effects of the Asian dragon's great economic uncoiling. – The Philadelphia Inquirer

A thought-provoking and accessible forecast of strange times to come. – Kirkus Reviews

Informed, comprehensive, and fascinating . . . full of unforgiving facts and unforgettable figures. And it's no slog-through read. The details of entrepreneurial artfulness and government-sanctioned wheel­ing and dealing . . . are conveyed in clear prose, and at a breathtaking pace. – Barron's

China, Inc. is an engaging work of penetrating, up-to-the-minute reportage and brilliant analysis that will change how readers think about America's future. Fishman paints a vivid picture of the mega trends radiating out of China. Provocative, timely, essential, and dramatic, Fishman shows how China will force all of us to make big changes in how we think about ourselves as consumers, workers, citizens, and even as parents.

Business & Investing / Human Resources / Women’s Studies

Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Harvard Business School Press)

For reasons that range from a tightening job market to retiring baby boomers, companies can't afford to lose experienced, well-qualified women. They aren't easily or cheaply replaced. – interview with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, The Wall Street Journal

If more than half of today's professional school graduates are female, why is that women still represent only 8% of top earners at Fortune 500 companies? Sylvia Ann Hewlett uncovers the reason for the first time in a study of 2,400 women that laid the groundwork for Off-Ramps and On-Ramps.

With talent shortages looming over the next decade, what can companies do to attract and retain the large number of professional women who are forced off the career highway?

By documenting the successful efforts of a group of cutting-edge global companies to retain talented women and reintegrate them if they’ve already left, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps also answers this critical question. Working closely with companies such as Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, General Electric and others, Hewlett identifies what works and why.

According to Hewlett, economist and the founding President of the Center for Work-Life Policy, Director of the Gender and Policy Program at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, the problem isn't that women don't have the commitment. It's that the career track was never modeled on the lives of women and has now become even more out of touch. Increasingly, today's careers advance only those professionals with no gaps in their resume, who can survive workweeks lengthened by global hours and 24/7 Blackberry culture, and who can work even harder in their thirties. These heightening demands are out of touch with the reality of women's lives. Two thirds of professional women ‘off­ramp’ – voluntarily leave their careers to devote themselves to family. Others ‘take scenic routes’ – reduced hours or flexible work. These women want to return to full-time work and advance their careers, but today's linear career model excludes them.

According to Hewlett, to retain qualified women during today's worsening talent shortage, a more flexible career model is necessary. She hopes that all companies can follow the example of American Express, Cisco, Citigroup, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, British Telecom, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Lehman Broth­ers, and Time Warner, which are creating more sustainable careers for women by:

  • Developing innovative on-ramping, flex-time and job-sharing programs that will help women stay in the workforce throughout their lives.
  • Reducing the stigma of these programs by positioning them as not as personal accommodations, but as company-wide imperatives that fight the war for talent and improve the bottom line.
  • Going public at the top about flexibility with CEO leadership and visible off-ramping role models that will inspire junior employees to follow their example.

Hewlett tells the stories of these companies and the inspiring stories of women who found fulfillment from their careers after off-ramping. Hewlett also includes her own personal story as a mother who off-ramped and on-ramped, and as the daughter of a courageous woman whose livelihood was saved by an on-ramp at a time when few women worked at all.

A remarkably useful business book. In today's intensely competitive global economy, companies cannot afford to lose key female talent. With clarity and vision, Hewlett ably blends case studies with path-breaking analysis and creates a blueprint for action. This research gives employers the wherewithal to retain and reattach highly qualified commit­ted women. – John A. Thain, CEO, NYSE Group, Inc.

In an era of escalating competitive pressure, companies must be innovative and proactive in keeping an increasingly female workforce vibrant and productive. Some companies are getting it. Thanks to Hewlett for showcasing these compa­nies and putting a spotlight on corporate leaders who have the courage and the savvy to make the necessary changes for women not only to survive, but to bring themselves fully to the leadership table. – Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell, associate professor of business administration, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

Off-Ramps and On-Ramps provides a compelling model for rethinking career development for the twenty-first century. Illustrated with vivid business case studies, this book is an essential guide for how to manage talent so that employ­ees and employers can succeed. – Ellen Galinsky, President and cofounder, Families and Work Institute

Sylvia Ann Hewlett combines her savvy analysis of women's life paths and job challenges with significant case studies of how companies can succeed at generating flexibility and meaning at work without letting work take over life. Her research is extensive, her argu­ments are compelling, and her insights are as memorable as they are practical. This is a valuable book that is certain to stimulate discussion and action. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of Confidence

Off-Ramps and On-Ramps is based on first-hand experience with gold-standard companies and is grounded in extensive new data that provides the most comprehensive and nuanced picture of women's career paths to date. A vital resource, this book smashes a ‘male competitive model’ that has long insisted on smooth, cumulative lockstep careers as a prerequisite for success – to the detriment of ambitious women and talent-hungry companies everywhere.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Health, Mind & Body / Diet

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies – and More by Jessica K. Black (Hunter House Publishers)

FACT: Inflammation in the body interferes with and slows down metabolism and the healing response.

FACT: Data indicates that inflammation is linked with chronic illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, asthma and allergies.

FACT: Inflammation ages us – it detracts from beauty and longevity.

FACT: Inflammation can be reduced through healthy eating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven out of ten deaths are caused by chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, all of which have a direct connection to inflammation and nutrition. The connection between inflammation and heart disease, arthritis, and other chronic ailments has become increasingly clear. Many food allergies and poor dietary choices over-stimulate the immune system and cause inflammatory responses that erode the body’s wellness and pave the path for ill health.

Unfortunately, due to imbalances in the standard American diet, most Americans suffer from fairly high levels of inflammation. As a result, many develop chronic diseases that could be controlled or prevented through proper nutrition. What can be done to ensure optimal health and healing?

Based on her naturopathic practice, naturopathic doctor Jessica Black has devised a complete program for how to eat and cook to minimize and prevent inflammation and its consequences. The first part of The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book explains the benefits of the anti-inflammatory diet with a discussion of the science behind it. The second half contains 125 easy-to-­prepare recipes, a week's sample menus for summer and winter, full nutritional analysis for all recipes, as well as a food substitution chart, so that readers can modify their favorite recipes and make them healthier. It encourages whole foods, reduces processed foods, sugars, and other potential toxins such as hydrogenated oils, and encourages ample intake of vegetables and fruits for essential nutrients.

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, Black, co-founder of a primary care center in McMinnville, Oregon, helps readers reclaim health by guiding them to practices that facilitate cellular regeneration rather than cellular degeneration and disease. Black educates readers on making diet choices that promote easier digestion and allow greater absorption of nutrients.

Black says she wrote this book because many of her patients, who were trying to follow a naturopathic, anti-inflammatory diet, couldn't find any recipes to use. She prepared and tested all the recipes herself. The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book includes an array of recipes from breakfasts, appetizers and herbal teas to soups, entrees, salads and delicious desserts, for example:

Entrees: Blackened Salmon, Pesto Pizza with Chicken, Turkey Meatloaf

Breakfasts: Five-Minute Breakfast, Mexican Morning Eggs

Salads: Avocado Tuna, Curry Chicken, The Not-So-Greek Salad

Soups: Winter Soup, Cream of Carrot and Ginger, Nutty Onion

Desserts: Blueberry Upside-Down Cake, Coconut Vanilla "Ice Cream"

Jessica shows that healthy eating need not be time consuming. Quick and efficient – yet nutritionally sound – meal preparation can now be a reality for everyone. – Dick Thom, D.D.S., N.D., from the Foreword

While providing delicious food choices, the revolutionary diet in The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book eliminates allergens and reduces the intake of pesticides, hormones and antibiotic residues. Appropriate for men and women of all ages – and especially beneficial for children – the book will help people learn to eat and cook healthily. Most of the dishes can be prepared quickly by novice cooks.

Computers & Internet

The Web's Awake: An Introduction to the Field of Web Science and the Concept of Web Life by Philip D. Tetlow (Wiley-IEEE Press)

Has the World Wide Web evolved into a new life form?

While researchers in the emerging field of Web science have attempted to categorize what the Web is, The Web's Awake takes a radically new approach that will change readers’ understanding of the very nature and essence of the Web – what it is and where it is heading.

The central thesis of The Web's Awake is that the phenomenal growth and complexity of the web is beginning to outstrip our capability to control it directly. Many have worked on the concept of emergent properties within highly complex systems, concentrating heavily on the underlying mechanics concerned. Few, however, have studied the fundamentals involved from a sociotechnical perspective. In short, the virtual anatomy of the Web remains relatively uninvestigated. The Web's Awake attempts to seriously explore this gap, citing a number of provocative, yet objective, similarities from studies relating to both real world and digital systems. It presents a collage of interlinked facts, assertions, and coincidences, which point to a Web with potential for life.
Drawing from theories originating in the natural sciences, mathematics, and information technology, The Web's Awake explores how the continued growth and increasing complexity of the Web has caused it to take on a life of its own. The book examines a number of characteristics and behaviors of the Web that have not been programmed, but rather have evolved. As the number and strength of these new Web characteristics and behaviors continue to increase, the author Philip Tetlow argues that the Web should be considered a living organism in its own right, a new post-human species consisting of a single member.

Having established a new understanding of what the Web is, Tetlow, Senior Certified IT Architect in IBM's Global Business Services Division, a Chartered Engineer, and an Open Group Master IT Architect, next offers a remarkable perspective on how the Web is evolving towards independence. He argues that understanding the Web's evolution as an act of nature enables us to better harness the Web's resources for the good of society.

According to Tetlow, many books have been written on the complexities of the natural world and the interplay between modern technology and the Universe's periodic cycles. Many more have been written on our current understanding of ‘life’ and the prerequisites needed for its emergence. Such books collate ideas from a wide range of disci­plines, but few, if any, directly relate such ideas to the single most powerful and prevalent computer technology in existence today. This is the World Wide Web, the ever-growing maelstrom of information muscle structure strung over the bones of the global Internet.

There is little doubt that the Web is having a profound effect on our personal and social existence, pulling down the barriers of time and distance and placing un­equalled opportunities to access information at the fingertips of everyday people. Why is the Web evolving in the way that it is? What does the Web actually look like now and what will it look like in the future? Is ‘evolution’ even the right word to use to describe its progression? These are all questions that have been relevant for some time, but which have appeared to be taboos in all but the most open-minded of circles. In truth a new science is need­ed to help address such questions, a science that combines the empirical strength of the material classics while still embracing the synthetic expression granted by the abstract worlds of computing. This is a science that must account for the atomic components of the Web all the way up to the phenomena presented by its totality. This is Web Science and from its birth should rightly come a new collection of un­derstandings, not least of which should be some clarity on the idea of Web Life.

In the spirit of heresy, Tetlow has ploughed through the jungle of works related to the various types of question asked here. In doing so, he says he has been exceptionally fortunate: His professional life has brought him in touch with many of the best minds in the world – first, through his employment as a Technical Architect at IBM and, second, through his membership of The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on IBM's behalf. He has met with a number of world experts along the way, and this has enabled him to pull together a number of ideas and conclusions from a patchwork of original, consistent, and acknowledged findings that all point to a conclusion (a finding that might currently be somewhat unorthodox in parts) that the Web is emerging as a truly natural entity.

The Web's Awake attempts to lay out the case for such a conclusion, stringing together observations and findings from a number of diverse fields. If the evidence is correct, even in part, then it brings profound respon­sibilities for society as well as some huge consequences for the ways that we run and organize our personal and collective lives. Most outcomes of the Web's devel­opment will undoubtedly be beneficial in the long term, but some will be detrimental.

According to Tetlow, The Web's Awake is not a work that aspires to be a politically, morally, or religiously correct text, nor is it necessarily aligned with any particular philosophical or religious school of thought. It is merely a personal interpretation of a large collection of strongly interlinked facts and findings from a wide range of sources and research areas. These range from quantum mechanics, through gen­eral systems and complexity theory, and on to the social sciences, a daunting spec­trum to be sure, but one that is nonetheless necessary to do justice to this subject.

Tetlow says he has deliberately tried not to write this book as an academic work. Instead he has chosen to use common language and phrases wherever possible. Even so, there are some reasonably complex and abstract areas he has to cover before the complete case for a living Web can be fully presented. The Web's Awake may well be both too light in parts for the serious academic and too deep for those with merely a casual interest.

Regardless, Tetlow provides a compelling and enjoyable read, enthralling and thought-provoking. Stringently researched and clearly presented, The Web's Awake offers a fascinating and provocative perspective on what the Web is and what it will be. This argument, that the Web is indeed awake, is a radical change from what we had assumed. Whether readers’ interests lie in computing, information technology, evolution, physics, or biology, the clearly written, plain-English arguments are fascinating material for thought.

Education / Professional & Technical

Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas edited by Louise Stoll & Karen Seashore Louis (Professional Learning Series: Open University Press)

There is great interest internationally in the potential of professional learning communities for enhancing educational reform efforts and sustaining improvement. Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas is an international collection expanding perceptions and understanding of professional learning communities within and beyond schools, as well as highlighting frequently neglected complexities and challenges.

Drawing on research, each chapter offers a deeper understanding of topics such as distributed leadership, dialogue, organizational memory, trust, self-assessment and inquiry, and purpose linked to learning. Three of the most challenging dilemmas facing professional learning communities are explored – developing professional learning communities in secondary schools, building social capital, and sustaining professional learning communities. The authors provide pointers on why these challenges exist, offering rays of hope for ways forward.

Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas is edited by Louise Stoll, Past President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement and Visiting Professor at the London Centre for Leadership in Learning, Institute of Education, University of London and at the University of Bath; and Karen Seashore Louis, Rodney S. Wallace Professor in Educational Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota, and a former vice-president of the American Educational Research Association. The book is part of the Professional Learning Series edited by Ivor Goodson and Andy Hargreaves, a series which examines the actual and possible forms of professional learning, professional knowledge, professional development and professional standards that are beginning to emerge and be debated at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Professional learning was propelled forward by the increasing availability of bodies of statistical evidence about student achievement, school by school, as a result of the ascent of the accountability movement. This provided communities of learners with increased and improved evidence to inform their judgments about what improvements needed to be made in their schools, and about the impact of these improvement efforts. After all the intensive activity and implementation efforts surrounding professional learning communities, it is now time to take stock, to have a research-based appraisal of what they have achieved, of where and why they have fallen short, and of the kinds of challenges and further opportunities that remain. From the United States and United Kingdom Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas's edi­tors bring together leading researchers from their respective countries and other parts of the world to explore the problems as well as the possibilities of professional learning communities; the dilemmas in, the depth of and the divergent ways in which members of these communities can and do work together; the linking of professional learning communities to assessment, evidence and results; and the extension of these communities across entire school systems and networks of fellow professionals and improving schools.

Stoll and Louis say they approached Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas with the belief that there is no universal definition of a professional learning community, but there is a consensus that one will know that one exists when one can see a group of teachers sharing and critically interrogating their practice in an ongoing, reflective, collaborative, inclusive, learning-oriented, growth-promoting way. The term ‘professional learning community’ suggests that focus is not just on individual teachers' learning but on (1) professional learning; (2) within the context of a cohesive group; (3) that focuses on collective knowledge, and (4) occurs within an ethic of interpersonal caring that permeates the life of teachers, students and school leaders.

The difficulty of developing professional learning communities should not be underestimated. In addition to the usual daily implementation issues associated with any change process, there are bigger hurdles that, as yet, remain unresolved in many places. Of these challenges, the editors have chosen to highlight several in Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas, although they recognize there are other important ones. The first challenge is the endemic difficulty of creating PLCs in secondary schools, where size and structure militate again school-wide collaboration, and where, specific disciplinary knowledge takes priority over shared knowledge about pedagogy and adolescent develop­ment needs. This is why secondary school studies of professional learning communities often focus on subject departments, and why professional community is usually lower among secondary school teachers.

A second challenge within professional learning communities is brought into even sharper focus when their membership is extended beyond classroom teachers; that is the nurturing of social capital. Social capital is based on the quality of relationships among members of a social group and is facilitated by the extent and quality of internal and external networks. Social capital is often taken for granted in tightly knit communities. However, the more cohesive the internal ties are within a group, the less likely the members are to be densely networked with people in other groups. As those who study social networks have found, it is ties among groups that foster the most rapid spread of information. Without due attention to fostering ties outside the school, strong professional communities can, paradoxically, become a barrier to change.

Another key challenge, also explored in Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas, is sustainability. Sustainable development in all organizations, including schools, is premised on a number of principles, including inclusiveness, connectivity, equity, prudence, and consistent attention to the needs of human beings. What matters most in PLCs, however, is learning in the broadest sense, learning that is for all and is continuous. This raises tensions between the inevitable and necessary flexibility and moving, energized set of relationships and stability, because it is extremely hard to learn in unstable settings. Instability is a serious problem for schools which, as public institutions, have a limited ability to manage their own policies, even under school-based leadership and management. Instability that comes from outside the school is currently confounded by turnover among teach­ers and school leaders in many countries.

Sustaining connections and community is made more complex by the explosion of technology, which permits the development of online groups that provide stimulating sources of information and safe, neutral arenas for support, but may also be unstable, more likely to involve imbalanced participation, and less amenable to the sustained, deep, reflective engage­ment that most of us associate with face-to-face relationships that endure over time.

Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas pulls together people from different countries in the English-speaking world, many of whom have spent significant periods of time exploring professional learning communities. As they found commonalities in the data that were reassuring, Stoll and Louis also confronted similarities in the challenges that they face. The book is divided into parts where the contributors tackle aspects of these three issues: divergence, depth and dilemmas. There is a short introduction to the contributions at the start of each part, and the book concludes with a short invited reflection on professional learning communities.

All who are interested and concerned about educational reform and the improvement of schools will find this book a must read. It stimulates, it challenges, and it informs, such that the reader is most surely enriched by its plenitude. – Dr. Shirley Hord, Scholar Emerita

At last we have a book of international cases to add to the literature on networks! Policymakers and practitioners alike will find the reasons why networks are fast becoming the reform organizations of choice. The book elevates network understanding to a new level. – Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas is an international collection expanding perceptions and understanding of professional learning communities within and beyond. The book is a must-read for teachers, teacher educators, staff developers, policy makers and anyone interested in building capacity for sustainable learning and the ability to harness your community as a resource for change. The contributions in the book will be of value to readers in many countries, who seek to understand and develop professional learning communities without reverting to simplistic recipes.

If readers work in a professional learning community, are considering becoming so, or are experiencing difficulties and frustrations in the process, this book provides powerful insights that will help them move ahead.

Education / Theory / Administration / Reference

Assessing Teacher Competency: Five Standards-Based Steps to Valid Measurement Using the CAATS Model by Judy R. Wilkerson & William Steve Lang, with a foreword by Richard C. Kunkel (Corwin Press)

Assessing Teacher Competency is being published at a time when there is a strong backdrop of public interest, public policy, and even public demand that all call for the evidence of important outcomes as critical to our nation and its schools. No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a bipartisan national policy framework, calls for increased attention to assessing teacher competency and doing so with strong research-based methods.

The book is a step-by-step guide to teacher assessments that meet national accreditation and accountability standards. Evaluation experts Judy Wilkerson and Steve Lang in Assessing Teacher Competency provide detailed guidance for the complete five-step assessment process, making this a resource both for preservice and inservice settings, including accreditation reviews and teacher induction programs.

Wilkerson, Associate Professor of Research and Assessment at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in measurement and evaluation, and Lang, Associate Professor of Educational Measurement and Research at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, work together to build teacher assessment scales. Their work is standards-driven; they have worked with many stakeholders in Florida and around the country. They say they have had their fingers and toes stepped on from time to time, and through perseverance have produced a publication that offers a valid procedure that is based on sound princi­ples of measurement, program evaluation, accreditation, and public policy. Wilkerson and Lang provide readers a solid foundation and strong design to help them think through the use of data collected on teacher preparation program graduates that impact the national mosaic. Assessing Teacher Competency provides an underpinning to both improve teacher competencies and to prove those competencies in both the cognitive and affective areas.

According to Wilkerson and Lang, too often in education we spend an inordinate amount of time planning instruction and then deal with assessment as an afterthought. Here, the authors reverse the tradition. They believe it is critically important that teacher preparation and staff development programs offered in colleges and school districts assess teacher candidates and teachers using systematic processes based on recognized teacher standards; that they identify the assessments needed to ensure that teachers have met those standards; and that they develop instruction targeted at helping teachers succeed in demonstrating the stan­dards. The authors offer a comprehensive planning process, rooted in the standards of teaching, as the key to successful assessment. This process allows professional educators to commit to excellent assessment through effective planning in order to focus their vision of high-quality teaching.

The model described in Assessing Teacher Competency is aimed at protecting children from unquali­fied teachers, regardless of entry route. They believe that it is possible to define the critical tasks of teaching, based on standards. These tasks can be embedded in courses and district-based training programs and ensured in ways that make sense through frequent and substantial evaluation with benchmarks for competence and high standards for exit. The assessment model in this book is targeted primarily at the preservice, minimally skilled teacher; however, it is also a starting point for moving beyond the entry level teacher to advanced teaching.

Assessing Teacher Competency is divided into 10 chapters, with the core in Chapters 3 to 7. The book begins with two introductory chapters. The first establishes the expectations and options for accountability and teacher assessment, continuing their discussion of NCTAF, NCLB, Title II of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, and then adding additional findings from the National Research Council's Committee on Assessment and Teacher Quality. They include a brief review of related literature, provide a discussion of standards, and conclude with an overview of vari­ous assessment options.

The second introductory chapter is all about portfolios and their recommendations for assessment systems in general, including those that are portfolio based. They acknowledge the utility of portfolios for advanced certification, as in the case of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards but raise serious questions about the way in which portfolios are currently being used to assess initial certification candidates. They identify conflicting paradigms that account for this and propose five recommendations to address the con­flicts, continue with requirements and caveats for accountability in portfo­lio design, provide recommendations for assessment system design in general, and end with an introduction to the five-step model that is the purpose of the book.

The heart of Assessing Teacher Competency is the five chapters in the middle – Chapters 3 through 7 – which establish the steps and sub-steps of the CAATS model – Competency Assessments Aligned with Teacher Standards. The model calls for clearly delineating the assessment design inputs, planning with a continuing eye on valid assessment decisions, writing tasks designed to maximize validity and reliability, decision making and data management, and credible data. In each of these five chapters, readers are presented with the following:

  • A quick summary or refresher of where they have been so far.
  • An introduction to the CAATS steps to set the stage.
  • "Before Moving On ..." – To invoke early thinking about the content of the chapter.
  • "Chapter Definitions and Guiding Questions" – To aid understanding.
  • A detailed discussion of how to implement the step with examples and impor­tant points in highlighted text.
  • An alignment of the steps with the ‘gold’ standard of assessment design (1999 AERA, APA, NCME Standards of Educational and Psychological Testing).
  • "Story starters" – To prepare readers to answer the ‘nay-sayers’ in their departments.
  • Activities, worksheets, and/or examples to work through the steps of the model.

After the step-by-step discussion of the model, they conclude with three more chapters. Chapters 8 and 9 provide some technical information on cut-score or stan­dard setting, and a measurement model that provides information for validity, reliability, bias studies, gain score calculations, rater adjustments, and further research.

Throughout Assessing Teacher Competency Wilkerson and Lang help readers address the need for assessment credibility from a psychometric standpoint. They acknowledge the fear of high-quality assessment that exists in our society, so they write in an easy style, using humor as a tool. Even their technical chap­ters are intended to be as user-friendly and to-the-point as they can make them, but their message is clear. They maintain that it is important to truly measure what one intends to measure and needs to measure (validity), and to do so in a trustworthy and consistent way (reliability), and that the instruments and procedures are fair and unbiased (fairness).

In the last chapter of the book, Chapter 10, they discuss the potential for legal chal­lenges that are tied to a failure to attending to psychometric integrity, and end with a 2005 court case in which a non-standards-based decision (not valid) made without due process (not fair) caused the teacher preparation institution to lose.

I strongly believe you will agree with these hopes when you read Wilkerson and Lang's Assessing Teacher Competency and follow the clear steps it proposes. – Richard C. Kunkel, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Former Executive Director, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Provides possible solutions for the problems faced in the assessment of future teachers, and realistically reveals the extent of the task of teacher certification. It provides those responsible for teacher certification with a structured learning experience that should improve our abilities with this task. – Pearl Solomon, Associate Professor, St. Thomas Aquinas College
I have not seen anything quite as systematic as this material, which guides a reader through a process for developing a valid and reliable assessment plan. It covers all the areas that one would want to see covered in designing a system for accreditation or other purposes. – Martha Gage, Director, Teacher Education & Licensure, Kansas State Department of Education
Structurally accurate, complete, and readable. The activities at the end of each chapter are among the best I have ever seen. – Elaine L. Wilmore, Professor of Educational Leadership

Valid and reliable decisions about teacher competency are based on fair, valid, and reliable assessment systems – Assessing Teacher Competency is the book all teacher educators, supervisors, and mentors have been waiting for. Written in a reader-friendly style for busy faculty members and school administrators with little or no prior knowledge of statistics, Assessing Teacher Competency is a comprehensive model designed to create fair, valid, and reliable assessments of teacher knowledge and skills. It is all-inclusive, making it an ideal resource and superior reference volume.

Audiences that may find this work useful include those involved in assessing teacher competency: teacher educators, colleges of education preparing for accreditation and program approval, school system administrators, state department personnel, national policymakers, graduate students learning about measurement and evaluation, measurement professionals, and school board members or elected officials who want to understand what a valid and reliable, performance-based teacher assessment system can be.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized Biography by George Case (Hal Leonard)

He's a genius. He's a great player, a songwriter, a producer. When you hear a Page solo, he speaks. – Eddie Van Halen

Jimmy Page is the first-ever biography of Led Zeppelin's legendary guitarist and producer.

Freelance writer George Case, a devoted Jimmy Page fan since his teens, in this unauthorized biography traverses all of Page's hallowed stomping grounds to tell the story of one of rock 'n' roll's most enigmatic and influential talents. Beginning with his childhood in war-torn Britain, Case takes Page across the fantastical landscapes of the Sunset Strip, Kashmir, Clarksdale, Bron-y-Aur, and beyond.

From the heady days of swinging London in the 1960s – when Page was lighting up the scene as an incendiary session man (think Tom Jones's "It's Not Unusual" to the Kinks' "You Really Got Me") – as one of the three most influential British rock guitarists, he played a pivotal role in the recording studios that launched the British Invasion of the '60s.

Case brings him through the bombast, beauty, and blues of Led Zeppelin, as well as detailing the formation of Zeppelin, where Page combined his blues-based rock with singer Robert Plant's ‘soaring tenor moan’ to create a radically new sound, masterminding the Zeppelin juggernaut. Then there is his dark, nefarious side that would come to define rock excess – Case relates the wanton sex and drug orgies.

Jimmy Page takes on the facts and the myths of Jimmy Page and his music, and unveils his deeply spiritual, personal and artistic dimensions. And he covers Page’s milestone achievements, his emergence as a cultural icon and honored philanthropist, and as a revered rock superhero.

This is a three-dimensional look at the life of a man who is all too often swallowed by his myth. Best of all, it reminds us why anybody cares about Jimmy Page in the first place: his extraordinary music. – Anthony DeCurtis, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone

As long as there are teenage boys in the world, there will be an audience for Led Zeppelin, the '70s-era hard rock legend whose "Stairway to Heaven" is still one of the most-ever-played songs in the history of American FM radio. Jimmy Page …certainly deserves Case's detailed and informed look at his past and present work. In this unauthorized biography, freelance writer Case focuses on Page's music as much as he does on Zeppelin's lurid touring lifestyle, and he is good at reporting Page's early work playing on countless recording sessions. …Case successfully shows how Page and his Zeppelin's musical influence became "so broad and so established that even players who had never consciously emulated his techniques had been affected by them." – Publishers Weekly

Meticulously researched, Jimmy Page is the complete story of rock 'n' roll's most enigmatic and influential icon, telling the story in sharp detail and leaving no stone unturned.

Entertainment / Music / Reference

The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia by John Kenneth Muir (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

"One great rock show can change the world" says Jack Black's character Dewey Finn in the 2003 Richard Linklater comedy The School of Rock. The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia, a love song to fifty years of rock movies (1956-2005), maintains that this postulate is not merely optimistic, it happens to be true.

As for rock music, it is specifically and eternally the music of youth; the melody of rebellion, experimentation and, importantly, potential. Since youth represents the future (especially in movies), each great rock show boasts the power to forever alter the course of our collective tomorrow.

The point of this rumination on the so-called Dewey Finn Postulate remains simple. For over half a century, rock 'n' roll music and the technological art form of movies have combined to create some of the greatest and most beloved movies of our time. In the process of doing so, perhaps some of these memorable silver-screen rock shows – efforts such as Don't Look Back (1967), Gimme Shelter (1970), Tommy (1975), Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), Purple Rain (1984) and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004) – HAVE actually changed the world too. – from the book

From the 1950s and the age of ‘juvenile delinquents’ in films such as Blackboard Jungle to more intimate, twenty-first century rock band portraits such as Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, this book by noted film authority John Kenneth Muir features entries on rock documentaries such as Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, movies starring rock stars including the Sting vehicle The Bride, and films boasting extensive rock soundtracks, for example George Lucas's paean to the age of cruising, American Graffiti. The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia includes:

  • 231 film entries from 1956 through 2005, including cast list, creative personnel, M.P.A.A. rating, running time, and DVD availability.
  • Entries on the familiar conventions of this cinematic form, such as the Vietnam War, the ubiquitous press conference (in which band members wax philosophical), the rampant destruction of property (hotel rooms, specifically) and even the Yoko factor (meddling girlfriends).
  • Biographical entries on players who made significant impact on the silver screen, from Elvis Presley and The Beatles to Alice Cooper and Prince.
  • Interviews with rock movie directors Allan Arkush (Rock 'n' Roll High School), Martin Davidson (Eddie and the Cruisers) and Albert Magnoli (Purple Rain).
  • In addition to pure rock 'n' roll, the films included cover all genres of popular music, ranging from Johnny Cash to Madonna, rock-influenced musical theatre (Jesus Christ Superstar), tejano (Selena), disco (Can't Stop the Music, Xanadu), and reggae.

According to Muir, who writes a monthly column for the Webzine Far Sector ( and hosts a popular entertainment and nostalgia blog, Reflections on Film/TV (, as the decades have passed, the face and form of rock movies have changed with the times; reflecting and often forecasting each new age or trend.

The fifties introduced films like Don't Knock the Rock (1956), which were careful to appear morally valuable, and assured parents that this new fangled ‘jungle music’ would not debauch the decade's youth or transform them into juvenile delinquents. The 1960s came, and rock movies quickly became the voice of the counterculture, in efforts as diverse as the cinema verité Don't Look Back (1967), Head (1968), and Alice's Restaurant (1969).

The 1970s first saw cynicism in the Watergate age and then unfettered escapism and the rise of the blockbuster. The rock efforts of the 1970s reflected the zeitgeist of the time; in a word: disco. Multiplexes filled with titles like Saturday Night Fever (1977) and The Bee Gees' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978). Reagan's conservative Eighties came and the wide availability of cable TV and the ubiquitous, powerful nature of the boob tube gave rise to MTV and the new short form of ‘music videos,’ which forever impacted how cinematic artists crafted rock movies. Flashdance (1983) and Footloose (1984) are just two examples of this new aesthetic.

The independent film movement of the 1990s democ­ratized film production, making it cheaper and expanding the once-limited playing field of Hollywood for new and original voices. The VHS/DVD revolution and birth of the World Wide Web suddenly meant that years and years of rock films           previously missing in action could be resurrected to form the gestalt of home entertainment libraries. At the same time, movies picked up on a new and excit­ing trend in rock music: Seattle grunge and alternative rock. Movies such as Slaves to the Underground (1997) and the documentary Kurt & Courtney (1998) diagramed these new perspectives.

By the dawn of the new millennium, the popular TV series American Idol and a slew of other so-called reality programs like MTV's The Real World again changed how rock movies were crafted, granting endeavors such as Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004) a brand new (and sometimes shocking) level of intimacy.

According to Muir, there is a wide variety of film types that feature either rock music or rock practitioners, and he includes as many of these types as possible in The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia. In addition to important movies reflecting the various types, this work takes the extra step of identifying rock movie's conventions and trends. This is critical, especially now, at this juncture, since there are fifty years of back-­story and history to consider and weigh. What thematic elements or stock characters bind the diverse rock-film genre together? What components do these films have it common? With films from Beach Blanket Bingo to the notorious Bubba Ho-Tep, readers are in for a rockin' good time. Whether that ‘one great rock show’ is a beach movie starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, a misbegotten horror/rock fusion like The Horror of Party Beach, or a rib-tickling, heavy metal mockumentary like This Is Spinal Tap, they will find all their favorites in the pages of The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia. Highly accessible to a general audience, this book is an infinitely suitable thumb-through reference for teenagers, casual moviegoers, and regular film fans.

Entertainment / Music / Social Sciences / Popular Culture

Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America by Jason Tanz (Bloomsbury USA)

As he tells it, in 1989 author Jason Tanz was blown away by Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back CD. Before long his room was papered with posters of NWA and Malcolm X. And when he went off to Brown University, Tanz tried to help start the first campus chapter of the NAACP. Readers may be surprised to learn that Tanz is a white boy from Tacoma, WA.

Over the last quarter-century hip-hop has grown from an esoteric form of African-American expression to become the dominant form of American popular culture. Today, Snoop Dogg shills for Chrysler and white kids wear Fubu, the black-owned label whose name stands for “For Us, By Us.” This is not the first time that black music has been appreciated, adopted, and adapted by white audiences – think jazz, blues, and rock – but Tanz in Other People's Property says that hip-hop’s journey through white America provides a unique window to examine the racial dissonance that has become a fact of national life. In such culture-sharing, Tanz, senior editor at Fortune Small Business, sees white Americans struggling with their identity, and wrestling, often unsuccessfully, with the legacy of race.
Today, presidential candidates drop knowing references to OutKast and soccer moms shout ‘you go, girl.’ Other People's Property is about how hip hop is consumed once it moves outside the inner cities that birthed it, away from the black community that has provided the bulk of its inspiration and artists, and into the farthest reaches of suburbia. Other People's Property examines how we got there, and what it means. It is a book about hip-hop's mainstream white audience and the assumptions, subtexts, and emotions that bubble just under the surface of their fandom.

To support his anecdotally driven history of hip-hop’s cross-over to white America, Tanz conducts dozens of interviews with fans, artists, producers, and promoters, including some of hip-hop’s legendary figures – such as Public Enemy’s Chuck D; white rapper MC Serch (3rd Bass); and former Yo! MTV Raps host Fab 5 Freddy. He travels across the country, visiting ‘nerdcore’ rappers in Seattle, who rhyme about Star Wars conventions, a group of would-be gangstas in a suburb so insulated it’s called ‘the bubble’, and a breakdancing class at the upper-crusty New Canaan Tap Academy..

In his attempt to nail down answers and gain insight, Tanz doesn't shy away from turning the microscope on himself and asking "why has hip hop been so attractive to me?" He unflinchingly reveals anecdotes from his own past and writes with insight about his personal experience as a white fan.

Suburban white kids' increasingly ubiquitous fascination with hip-hop culture is the subject of this thoughtful and often insightful work of long-form journalism. Tanz, a young white man himself and an editor at Fortune Small Business, is an apt chronicler of the racial and cultural obstacles that stand between the producers and consumers of rap. He has an obvious passion for the music at hand, and he demonstrates his connoisseurship through brilliant evocations of the power of the band N.W.A. and the often painful history of white rappers. … his chapter about hip-hop marketing and commercialization displays a keen understanding of the advertising forces at work without ever devolving into simplistic damnation….Tanz solidly displays his strong grasp of the broad cultural significance of the rise of hip-hop. – Publishers Weekly
Hip-hop in the American pop-cultural mainstream is a matter of much more than the Beastie Boys, as Tanz's skewering history of middle-class white assimilation of black cultural motifs for fun and profit makes clear. … Tanz makes what sense can be made of such aspirations and affords an ironic, insightful look at how rap and hip-hop have permeated the media landscape even while large segments of society maintain a baffled disconnection from the music. Food for thought. – Mike Tribby, Booklist
Personal without being self-indulgent and well-researched but never stiff, Other People's Property is a thoughtful, clear-eyed look at a hot-button topic – It's a real contribution to the study of hip-hop. – Alan Light, former editor in chief, Vibe magazine, and author of Vibe: History of Hip Hop and The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys
At once a personal narrative about growing up in racially divided America and a cultural analysis of our Hip-Hop culture, Other People's Property is a penetrating analysis of the many ways that the United States and the world have been transformed in the last three decades by rap artists and their audiences. The extraordinary changes they have generated in every dimension of our society are startling. Tanz’s book will be a revelation for those who do not already know that they are living in Hip-Hop America! – Emory Elliott, President, American Studies Association

An eye-opening look at race and identity in the U.S., Other People's Property blends memoir, history, cul­tural analysis, and on-the-ground reportage to explore hip-hop's decades-long journey through white America. Drawing on the author’s personal experience as a white fan as well as his in-depth knowledge of hip-hop’s history, Other People's Property provides a hard-edged, thought-provoking, and humorous snapshot of the particularly American intersection of race, commerce, culture, and identity.

Entertainment / Sports

Just Play Ball by Joe Garagiola, with a foreword by Yogi Berra (Northland Publishing)

Our fathers remember baseball the way it should be, colorful characters who played for the love of the game.

From one of the game's most recognized voices, Just Play Ball focuses on the positive aspects of our national pastime. Joe Garagiola serves up anecdotes and humorous stories from baseball greats – past and present – offering his unique behind the scenes, behind the catcher's mask, and behind the microphone perspective on a baseball career entering its 60th year. Beginning with a foreword by Yogi Berra and ending with what amounts to a love letter to the game of baseball, Just Play Ball is a whiff of fresh cut grass, rosin bags, and pine tar ... just when the game needs it the most.

Joseph Henry Garagiola, Sr. (born February 12, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former catcher in Major League Baseball who later became an announcer and television host, popular for his colorful personality. In 1991, he was hon­ored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford Frick Award for outstanding broadcasting accomplishments. He has also been given his own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

As an announcer, Garagiola is best known for his almost 30 year association with NBC. He began doing national baseball broadcasts in 1961 (teaming with Bob Wolff). He became a broadcaster for the New York Yan­kees from 1965 to 1967. He returned to broadcasting for NBC from 1974 to 1988. His books have sold millions of copies, and he continues to be a favorite as a TV announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Garagiola and his across-the-street neighbor Yogi Berra (not a shabby catcher, either) played sandlot baseball in St. Louis and in the minor leagues until World War II intervened. After his discharge from the Army, Garagiola broke into the major leagues as a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1946 season. The Cardinals beat the Red Sox in the World Series that year; Garagiola batted .316 and had four hits in the pivotal fourth game. Garagiola went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and New York Giants. After injury ended his play­ing career, he won rave reviews for his commentary for the Cardinals' broadcast and was soon doing NBC's Game of the Week for a national audience. His television notoriety skyrock­eted when he became a co-host on NBC's Today program, where he worked with broadcasting greats Barbara Walters, Bryant Gumbel, and Katie Couric.

Garagiola is National Chairman of NSTEP (National Spit Tobacco Education Program), aimed at educating people about the serious health risks involved in the use of spit tobacco.

Joe doesn't talk about his hitting, but with Just Play Ball he has hit a home run. I know how that feels, and now he knows how that feels. Good stories and plenty of laughs along the way. A high five from me. – Hank Aaron

If you're looking for ‘baseball talk’ and a laugh, this is the book. – Brandon Webb

Joe and I have had a million laughs over the years. Now with this book, Just Play Ball, I'll have a million more. I'll bet you will laugh out loud at some of the stories. – Tom Lasorda

Sports is not only about numbers, it's about people. I like stories about people and that's what the book is all about. Just Play Ball is solid baseball wrapped in humor. – Jerry Colangelo

Joe talks about the trouble he had hitting, but this book proves he doesn't have any trouble telling a funny story. – Luis Gonzalez

Baseball legend Garagiola's Just Play Ball is an insightful look at what is right with America's pastime, reminding readers of what the game is (or was) all about. A nostalgic laugh fest.

Health, Mind & Body / Alternative Medicine / Massage

The Foundations of Shiatsu by Chris Jarmey (Lotus Publishing (UK) & North Atlantic Books (US))

So, what is shiatsu, and how does it fulfill the dual role of a healing system and a method for personal development? Perhaps it is easier to first discuss what it is not. It is not merely acupuncture without needles or acupressure, although acupressure can be considered a sub-division of shiatsu. Neither is it simply an oriental method of physiotherapy or soft tissue manipulation; although if assessed purely from its range of physical techniques, it does incorporate aspects of these methods.

The fundamental principle of shiatsu is to hold, with clear mental focus, sustained stationary contact with a receiving person's body using thumbs, fingers, palms or sometimes elbows or knees; with sufficient patience to wait for a response in the receiver's subtle energy or Ki (qi, ch'i) flow. A variety of stretching, rotating and levering techniques may be required to reduce the receiver's muscular and mental ‘holding on’, but essentially, stationary pressure or connection at the appropriate angle and depth is what differentiates shiatsu from massage. – from the book

Shiatsu – a Japanese bodywork therapy – works by stimulating the body's vital energy flow in order to promote good health. The practitioner applies pressure and stretching to the energy lines or ‘meridians.’ The Foundations of Shiatsu written by a renowned practitioner Chris Jarmey, is an in-depth introduction to the basic principles and methods of this practical healing art.

The Foundations of Shiatsu provides a description of how and why shiatsu works and the ways in which to apply it. A straightforward explanation of the basics underlying shiatsu forms the starting point, followed by detailed advice on how the practitioner or student can prepare both body and mind for giving shiatsu. A discussion of the principles of applying techniques leads into practical, step-by-step instruction on a wide range of technique sequences, all accompanied by explanatory line drawings and color photographs. These help beginners maximize their understanding of how to relieve stress and promote well-being through shiatsu. A comprehensive overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as applied to basic shiatsu completes the picture.

Jarmey is course director and principal of the European Shiatsu School, which he founded in 1985. He also is the author of several successful books including The Concise Book of Muscles, The Atlas of Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy, The Concise Book of the Moving Body, The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong, Acupressure for Common Ailments, and The Book of Meditation. His book Shiatsu: The Complete Guide is currently the leading reference book for shiatsu students and therapists. Jarmey teaches body mechanics, bodywork therapy, and anatomy extensively throughout Europe, and currently runs a bodywork therapy practice in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK.
According to Jarmey, Shiatsu is a natural healing discipline from the same ancient oriental medicine principles as acupuncture.

The Foundations of Shiatsu explains that the quality and effectiveness of shiatsu is dependant upon the state of mind of the giver. For example, shiatsu demands an ability to patiently still and focus the mind in order to detect subtle changes within the receiver's vitality. Thereafter, it requires humility and skill to assist the natural healing process. It works more deeply if practitioners understand that they cannot help restore true health effectively if they fail to acknowledge and respond to the person's particular energetic rhythm and distribution of Ki. Shiatsu practitioners learn to listen to those energies and assist their natural inclination towards balance and harmony. Shiatsu is therefore about skillfully nurturing the body/mind's potential for regaining vitality.

The Foundations of Shiatsu describes what is covered in a short shiatsu course for beginners. It gives readers insight into how to develop the qualities of conscious touch described. It is not intended to bring readers to the point of consummation of those abilities. Only the sustained patient practice of shiatsu following a legitimate and thorough training will give them the necessary skill and humility to call themselves professional shiatsu practitioners. However, for the relief of stress and minor ailments among family and friends through the inducement of a deep level of relaxation, skills learned on a short course can be applied immediately and to good effect.

The Foundations of Shiatsu is a comprehensive guide to the basic principles and methods of shiatsu. The explanations are straightforward and the illustrations and photographs are clear. The text is a useful companion to a course, or as an inspiration to partake of such a course. The chapters in The Foundations of Shiatsu reiterate the information in a comprehensive shiatsu beginner's course. Each chapter is profusely illustrated to give readers a visual reminder. Those who skim through the book will gain a visual impression of efficiently performed shiatsu techniques. If they take their time and read the chapters studiously, they will have a good understanding of the shiatsu principles.

Health, Mind & Body / Relationships

This Old Spouse: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Restoring, Renovating, and Rebuilding Your Relationship by Sharyn Wolf (Hudson Street Press)

Spouses, like houses, are full of quirks and secrets that won't be revealed on your first or even fifth visit. It just isn't possible for a person to know all the flaws of a house – that mice rule the basement or that the attic roof leaks when it rains – until he or she has signed the deed, moved in, and taken up permanent residence. Similarly, a woman can date a man for years, she can know his deepest fears, she can spend a week on a cruise alone with his mother, and she'll still be in for unexpected jolts after she and her partner get married.

And so it is that women and men fall in love with a spouse in much the same way that they fall in love with a house. They know (or think they know) that marriage, like home ownership, will take work, but they never really know how much. The truth is: When it comes to marriage, they're all fixer-uppers. – from the book

For every couple whose ‘heating system’ could use a jump start, whose ‘foundation’ could use strengthening and whose wiring (a.k.a., lines of communication) could use an upgrade, comes This Old Spouse by therapist, workshop leader, and relationships expert Sharyn Wolf, CSW.

In this relationship guide, Wolf helps readers identify and fix the problems that, over time, plague long-term relationships, not unlike the busted boiler, termite damage, and leaky basement that can turn a couple's dream home into a work site.
Inspired by twenty years of working with both newlyweds and long-committed couples, in This Old Spouse, Wolf offers readers the practical tools they need to become their own contractor and conduct a current appraisal of their relationship, assess the damage and go through a step-by-step process to help restore the original beauty that inspired them to commit in the first place. Wolf offers readers the tools they need to stop further damage, repair past mistakes, and restore their relationship in chapters focusing on a different aspect of renovation, featuring advice for how to:

  • Check for deterioration or damage to their relationship's foundation.
  • Improve the sex life (by firing up the furnace and keeping the heat flowing).
  • Avoid blown fuses (and communicate more effectively).
  • Create a blueprint for their marriage's future, and make repairs last.

From breaking down walls (and rebuilding warmth and affection) to tossing out tools that do more damage than good (and eliminating counterproductive behavior), the strategies in This Old Spouse are designed to help anyone whose relationship could use a little ‘renovation.’

Every relationship needs occasional renovations. Sharyn Wolf shows how to do the job right... A wise, practical and delightful book filled with useful tips on how to create passion and vitality in any relationship. – Ellen Wachtel, Ph.D., author of We Love Each Other, But...

Even happily married couples can find useful tips in Wolf's no-nonsense and fun approach to marriage repair. I found myself laughing and nodding in understanding on many pages of this book. – Jean Trounstine, coauthor of Why I'm Still Married

An entertaining and refreshingly practical guide to living better in the only kind of marriage there is – an imperfect one. – William Doherty, PhD, Professor of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota; author of Take Back Your Marriage

This Old Spouse is a smart and witty guide to repairing the problems that creep into committed relationships, once the honeymoon glow has faded. With dozens of real couples' stories, innovative strategies for lasting improvement, and no-nonsense advice – readers become their own ‘marriage contractor’ – This Old Spouse enlightens and entertains anyone whose relationship could use a little renovation.

History / Americas

Ruling Pine Ridge: Oglala Lakota Politics from the IRA to Wounded Knee by Akim D. Reinhardt, with a foreword by Clara S. Kidwell (Texas Tech University Press)

Incorporating previously overlooked materials including tribal council records, oral histories, and reservation newspapers, Ruling Pine Ridge explores the political history of South Dakota's Oglala Lakota reservation during the mid-twentieth century. Akim D. Reinhardt examines the reservation's transition from the direct colonialism of the pre-1934 era to the indirect colonial policies of the controversial Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The new federal approach to Indian politics was evident in the advent of the tribal council governing system, which is still in place today on Pine Ridge and on many other reservations. While the structure of the reservation's governing body changed dramatically to reflect mainstream American cultural values, certain political equations on the reservation changed very little. In particular, despite promises to the contrary, the new reservation government's authority was still severely constrained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In addition, the new governing format led to an aggravation of social divisions on the reservation.

Reinhardt, associate professor of history at Towson University in Maryland, goes on to examine the period of 1968-1973, showing that although many of the political players on the reservation had changed and the tribal council system was well established by this point, deep dissatisfaction with the IRA government persisted on Pine Ridge. This longstanding unhappiness came to a head in 1973, with the occupation and siege of Wounded Knee. Reinhardt demonstrates that the siege is best understood not as a political stunt of the American Indian Movement (AIM), but as a spontaneous, grassroots protest that was at least forty years in the making.

Clara Sue Kidwell in the foreword to Ruling Pine Ridge says that from time immemorial (history having a different meaning for people who lived on this continent long before Europeans arrived and who gauged time by the repetitive cycles of seasons), Indian nations governed themselves. Kinship created networks of mutual obligation and responsibil­ity that shaped social relationships. Men and sometimes women were pub­licly recognized as leaders. The Oglala ostensibly governed themselves under a constitution formulated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and approved by the reservation residents in 1936 under the terms of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The IRA was passed by the U.S. Congress under the guise of giving Indian tribes self-governance and economic self-sufficiency. The Bureau, however, con­tinued to exercise oppressive control over the affairs of Lakota people, and officials elected under the constitutional system were seen more as puppets of the BIA than as legitimate Lakota leaders.

On Pine Ridge, Dick Wilson, elected as chairman of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Council in 1972, became a symbol of autocratic power. The BIA upheld his elec­tion in the face of protests against his administration, and he appointed what amounted to his own private police force to enforce his sense of law and order on the reservation.

The confrontation between Wilson's opponents and federal agents at the town of Wounded Knee in 1973 was a critical point in the emergence of a national Indian consciousness and antigovernment activism. That con­sciousness was fostered by the general political tenor that characterized American society in the early 1970s. The Civil Rights movement and anti-Vietnam War sentiments created the atmosphere in which the AIM could emerge in opposition to the BIA. The new Indian political consciousness sparked a modern notion of tribal sover­eignty. Just as the original massacre of a band of Minneconjou Sioux in 1890 at Wounded Knee Creek had been a symbol of the destruction of Indian nationhood, the Indian takeover of a long-established, non-Indian­-owned trading post in the town of Wounded Knee came to symbolize a rebirth of Indian power.

The standoff at Wounded Knee resulted in the deaths of two Lakota men and the arrest and trials of a number of the AIM members. It lasted more than two months in the bitter winter of 1973 until negotiations finally ended the federal siege. AIM's failure to force the ouster of Dick Wilson demonstrated the futility of violent confrontation as a tactic to break the hold of the BIA on the reservation government. It did, however, pave the way for new tribal leadership and ultimately for changing the relationship between Indian tribes and the U.S. government.

As told in Ruling Pine Ridge, tribal sovereignty is a much more complex concept in the early twenty-first century than it was in the 1970s. The basis of sovereignty is not only that Indian nations exercise self-government, but also that they operate on a government-to-government relationship with other entities. It is a historical fact that representatives of Indian nations signed treaties with agents of European nations and later with the American government. Although this premise of a government-to-government relationship was largely denied in federal Indian policy throughout much of the twentieth century, treaty rights are still cited as the basis for tribal relationships with the U.S. govern­ment.

The history of Pine Ridge demonstrates a number of key points that underlie contemporary tribal sovereignty. One is that Indian identity has become a matter of politics as much as it is a matter of blood. A second point is that the IRA government at Pine Ridge was a complete mismatch with the cultural values and traditional governing structures of the community, and the result was internal conflict. A third point is that when tribal communities are dependent upon the federal government for their economic base and social services, they are susceptible to infighting and social disruption. Dick Wilson's government seized political and economic power from outside the community in ways that contravened communal interests, and in doing so tore the Pine Ridge community apart.

In the twenty-first century, tribal governments are still faced with a diffi­cult situation. They must both provide social services to their citizens and run businesses that generate tribal income to cover the expenses of govern­ment. They must choose between maximizing employment in tribal busi­nesses to provide jobs for the greatest number of tribal members and mini­mizing labor costs by cutting jobs to generate the greatest profit so they can fund social services. With little or no private-sector economy on Indian reservations, tribal governments have no tax base to support social services. At Pine Ridge, the tribal council consolidated financial power from sources outside the com­munity (i.e., federally funded programs and the BIA) and used it selectively within the community in the hiring and firing of tribal employees, as was the case with the director of the Head Start program in 1968. Because tribal jobs and salaries were a major source of income on the reservation, the situation became explosive.

In Ruling Pine Ridge, Dick Wilson can be seen as the ultimate agent of a colonial government, a Native man devoted to car­rying out the will of the BIA, and Pine Ridge as the exemplar of Thomas's ‘internal colony’ – a poverty-stricken reservation population, marginalized in American society and subject to the often arbi­trary decisions of a bureaucratic government as to what was in its best interests.

Wounded Knee has become the symbol of a rebirth of Indian identity, political activism, and emergent tribal sovereignty. Ruling Pine Ridge reveals the complex forces that have shaped contemporary Indian identity on several levels – blood, politics, culture, and nationalism. The confrontation focused the attention of the American nation on the depriva­tion and oppression of Indian people. It also revealed the failure of federal policy to absorb Indians into American society. Dick Wilson, in his own blatant self-interest and grasping after power, came to represent the corro­sive influence that federal policy had exercised on the community life and cultural integrity of the Pine Ridge community. The AIM represented freedom and self-determination for Indian people.

This is not the familiar drama of AIM leaders, FBI agents, and Lakota GOONs. Here, the occupation of Wounded Knee erupts within local tribal politics. With fresh Lakota sources and deep historical perspective, Reinhardt shows the Oglala Sioux Tribe at the center of their story. – Susan A. Miller, author of Coacoochee's Bones: A Seminole Saga

Reinhardt furnishes revealing portraits of Gerald One Feather, Dick Wilson, Russell Means; he offers a telling indictment of Pine Ridge's economy. He is one of the few historians who understands the distinction D'Arcy McNickle made decades ago between loss and defeat. He and the late Vine Deloria, Jr., would have welcomed this volume because of its thorough research and, above all, its unflinching honesty. Writing in 1970 Deloria called for historians to ‘bring historical consciousness to the whole Indian story’ Ruling Pine Ridge achieves that goal. It will be required reading for all who care about not only the indigenous past but as well its connection to the problems of the present and the challenges of the twenty-first century. – Peter Iverson, author of Diné: A History of the Navajos

The Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge are still a proud people with a strong sense of their own identity; the recent history of their reservation is instructive for other tribal governments.

Although events on Pine Ridge certainly have their own unique character, the situations reveal broader structural issues in the operations of tribal governments as sovereign entities and how they must transcend the results of years of colonial oppression by the United States government. By demonstrating the sources and results of colonialism, Ruling Pine Ridge can provide strategies for the future that will help Indian nations achieve greater degrees of self-determination and sovereignty.

History / Europe / Military

The Fall of Constantinople: The Ottoman Conquest of Byzantium by David Nicolle, John Haldon, & Stephen Turnbull (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

The sight of Constantinople, with its graceful towers and dramatic overall position, is one that has enchanted visitors for centuries, and sums up for anyone the reasons why such a precious jewel had to be defended by the finest walls in the world. – from the book

This third group of Turks, all fine fighters, found those on the walls very weary after having fought with the first and second groups, while the pagans were eager and fresh for the battle; and with the loud cries which they uttered on the field, they spread fear through the city and took away our courage with their shouting and noise. The wretched people in the city felt themselves to have been taken already, and decided to sound the tocsin through the whole city, and sounded it at all the posts on the walls, all crying at the top of their voices, “Mercy! Mercy! God send help from Heaven to this Empire of Constantine, so that a pagan people may not rule over the Empire!” – Nicolo Barbaro, on the fall of Constantinople in 1453

Byzantium was the last bastion of the Roman Empire following the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It fought for survival for eight centuries until, in the mid-15th century, the emperor Constantine XI ruled just a handful of whittled down territories, an empire in name and tradition only. However, he had a powerful defensive weapon in the form of his capital, Constantinople, protected by an impregnable wall system, only ever breached twice.

For the Turks in 1453, Constantinople was a fruit ripe for the picking, the conquest of which had been a dream of Islamic armies for many centuries. Mehmet ‘The Conqueror’ led 80,000 men and a massive siege train against the city, which was defended by only 10,000 men. Despite the odds, the city held out for four months.

The Fall of Constantinople chronicles the history of Byzantium, analyzes the evolution of the defenses of Constantinople and portrays the epic siege of the city, which saw a force of 80,000 men repelled by a small group of determined defenders until the Turks smashed the city's protective walls with artillery. The battle concluded with the death of the last Emperor and heralded the birth of the Ottoman Empire in its fully developed form. Regarded by some as the tragic end of the Roman Empire, and by others as the belated suppression of an aging relic by an ambitious young state, the impact of the capitulation of the city resonated through the centuries and heralded the rapid rise of the Islamic Ottoman Empire.
Born in 1944, David Nicolle worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare. John Haldon is Professor of Byzantine History at Princeton University. His research focuses on the history of the early and middle Byzantine period, and on medieval state structures across the European and Islamic worlds. And Stephen Turnbull is recognized as one of the world's foremost military historians of the medieval period. He first rose to prominence as a result of his 1977 book, The Samurai: A Military History. Since then he has achieved an equal fame in writing about European military subjects.
The Fall of Constantinople is a lavishly illustrated work complete with full color artwork, photographs of ancient sites and artifacts, and detailed maps and diagrams. It provides an absorbing chronicle of the ultimate destruction of the greatest empire in Western history. Three renowned chroniclers of the medieval world narrate the celebrated siege of Constantinople which marked the final collapse of the Roman Empire. Each brings his unique expertise to this scholarly work.

History / Europe / Russia

Russia's Revolution: Essays 1989-2006 by Leon Aron (AEI Press)

The last great revolution of the twentieth century began in the 1980s with the collapse of the Soviet Union – that story continues to unfold today. Throughout it all, Leon Aron, resident scholar and director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, has been an avid observer, producing a stream of essays to record and analyze its events and causes, and triumphs and setbacks. Aron's collection of essays, Russia's Revolution, begins with Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of perestroika and continues through Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian rule. He examines the enormity of the changes in the fabric of the life of millions of Russians, and looks at the emergence of a new middle class and at the popularity of a series of mystery novels that embodies middle class values. He also examines legal and political reforms and corruption.

The Russian-born Aron, author of the acclaimed biography, Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life, is one of America's top Russia scholars and commentators. In this collection of essays he brings together his observations from the collapse of the Soviet Union through to Putin's Russia. The book includes twenty-one essays which detail where Russia has been in the past fifteen years, and where it is going. He details the key political, social, economic, and cultural developments in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, recording the triumphs and setbacks of the 1991 revolution.

Highlights of Russia's Revolution include:

  • The challenges and responsibilities of post-authoritarian existence are given in critical reviews of some of the finest post-Soviet fiction and the novels of bestselling Russian mystery writer Boris Akunin.
  • The birth of a new business ethic, pride in one's work, and passion for excellence are recorded in a chapter on the recovery of Russia's glorious gastronomic tradition and reviews of some of the best Moscow restaurants.
  • The vagaries of privatization are traced in the battle over Russia's land and in the saga of the Russian middle class (which is very much alive, according to Aron, despite having been declared moribund by foreign policy experts and journalists).
  • Accounts of political transformation written in the 1990s are bright with the promise of a society newly freed, while later ones take on a darker tone, as the ‘Putin Restoration’ sets in and threatens to reverse the progress that has been made.
  • The roots of the worsening U.S.-Russian relations and the forecast for their future.

Aron also explores the tragedy of Chechnya, the YUKOS affair, the battle of the military draft and military conscription, and relations between Russia and the United States.

Leon Aron has long been an invaluable source of common sense, deep knowledge, and historical perspective on the country of his birth. All his skills and insight are on display in Russia's Revolution, a timely, compelling summation of his wisdom about one of the most important sagas of our time. – Strobe Talbott, deputy secretary of state (1994–2001) and president of the Brookings Institution

Leon Aron is one of our very best witnesses to, and analysts of, the new Russia. His collected essays track two decades of the changes within Russia itself and in Russian and Western opinion of them. But they also present a consistent Aron voice that deserves to be heard – judicious, broad (as much at home in literature or the restaurant scene as in arms control or privatization), sanely optimistic, and invariably rendered in grace­ful yet unpretentious prose. – Timothy J. Colton, professor of government and director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Leon Aron is perhaps the most erudite, insightful, and indeed, empathetic analyst of the trials and tribulations of Russia's troubled revolution. This collection of essays, … will make for terrific read­ing for both seasoned Russian experts as well as the uninitiated trying to make sense of Russia. In a field not renowned for its predictive success, Aron's essays are as fresh and insightful today as when originally written. – Andrew Kuchins, director and senior fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

In a series of essays that range from the war in Chechnya to the restaurant scene in the new Moscow, Leon Aron proves himself to be an exceptional guide to Russia's transformation. His essays are sharp, opinionated, at times provocative, and always a good read. They emphasize the progress that Russia has made despite the ups and downs of the last fifteen years, and remind us that Russia's revolution is far from finished. – Timothy Frye, professor of political science, Columbia University

Russia's Revolution is a vivid, fast-moving, and absorbing book, scholarly in its methods, facts, and references, yet devoid of academic jargon. The breadth and depth of this collection of essays is extraordinary. Aron provides a wealth of details and insights that only someone who has closely watched Russia all his life and is intimate with its history, culture, and language can supply. With rich color and detail, Aron puts his finger on the pulse of the new Russia. For anyone who is interested in Russia today and the events of the last fifteen years, this book will be invaluable.

Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Cooking, Food and Wine

The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions: The Art & Science of Buying and Selling Wines by Ursula Hermacinski (Square One Publishers)

In The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions internationally renowned wine expert Ursula Hermacinski pours forth on a great investment – through the grapevine.

The popularity of wine has skyrocketed in recent years. While millions of people around the world have come to appreciate both its elegance and its taste, a growing number of collectors also recognize wine as a sound investment. For these individuals, as well as for top chefs, restaurateurs, and wine enthusiasts, the wine auction has become an important place to find truly superior wines, often at great prices. Those who are unfamiliar with these events, however, may find them somewhat intimidating. Now, in The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions, wine auctioneer Hermacinski, named ‘goddess of the gavel’ by Food & Wine Magazine when she won its prestigious Golden Grape Award for ‘perfecting the art of auctioneering’, removes the mystery of wine auctions by explaining how they work.

The guide begins by exploring the history of wine auctions. It then provides information on wine basics and details the mechanics of the auction process – for buyers and sellers. Readers meet the players involved in these events and discover a number of insider secrets and tips for saving money. Rounding out the book are helpful hints on starting – or expanding – readers’ wine collections, choosing the best auction house for their needs, and organizing their own wine tasting.

In The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions, readers are shown how to:

  • Maximize their potential for success.
  • Gain an insider's view of the wine-auction world.
  • Discover trade secrets of selling wines.
  • Gain the edge on becoming a successful buyer.
  • Learn how to best showcase their wines.
  • Discover how to host their own charity auctions.
  • Learn how to interpret an auction catalogue.

Here is a wine book that will help readers build their best cellars. The book also provides a fascinating history and clear explanations of how auctions work that may enable readers to same money. And whether readers plan to participate as buyers or sellers, The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions will help them get the most out of their auction experience.
Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous!: Creative Wearables from Flea Market Finds by Katheryn Tidwell Bieber (A Lark/Chapelle Book)

Try a fast and inexpensive way to make stylish felted clothes and accessories – without knitting a stitch! All you need is one afternoon; a ready-made wool sweater or scarf, whether it's your own castoff or a secondhand one; a washer and dryer; and a few basic sewing skills. – from the book

Anyone who’s accidentally put a favorite sweater through the laundry and had it come out in miniature understands the basic process – the creative, simple techniques demonstrated in Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous! make use of old wool garments cluttering the closet or purchased from a flea market. The book shows how easy it is to wash the clothes in hot water to produce the felted material, cut it, and stitch the fabric into any size and shape. Readers learn how to craft trendy beaded flower pins from sweaters dyed with Kool Aid, how to create Victorian scarf and mitten sets from felt and doilies, and how to decorate with rows of ribbons.

Katheryn Tidwell Bieber, workshop teacher, host and designer of crafts for television shows, shares tips and tricks learned from her years as a designer and artist. She shows readers how to do on purpose what everyone does by accident (shrink wool garments). Then she explains how to cut the resulting easy-to-use fabric and assemble the pieces to sew (by machine or by hand) into felted projects. Readers also learn needle felting and powdered drink-mix dyeing, which add a new dimension to their work. Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous! shows readers how to

  • Make a Twisty Lollipop Rose and pin it to a hat, bag, or coat lapel for a spring touch.
  • Make the Ten-Minute Baby Hat as a shower gift using the sleeve, cowl neck, or bottom front and back ribbed-edge of any sweater.
  • Give new life to old garments – turn them into totes for wallet, keys, cell phone, MP3 player, or any small crafts projects readers are working on.
  • Make a ‘Day to Evening’ Shoulder Bag – start with a fanciful Touch of Paris Beret.
  • Whip out a pair of coordinated leg warmers.
  • Make a Bolero Angora Sweater to rival those sold at trendy boutiques in less than an hour – wear it over a favorite T-shirt and fasten it with a rhinestone brooch.

These chic felted projects with a hand-knit look can each be completed in an afternoon. The simple, creative approach to felting shown in Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous! is easy on the budget (yarn can be pricey) and saves time (crafters don't have to knit a large item to shrink). Readers will love how quickly they can make any of these projects and take pride in how beautifully they turn out.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Super-Simple Creative Costumes: Mix & Match Your Way to Make Believe by Sue Astroth (C&T Publishing)

Kids of all ages like to wear costumes. Playing ‘dress-up’ is a great way for small children to learn as they play, and even grown-ups enjoy becoming someone else for a while.

As the author of Super-Simple Creative Costumes Sue Astroth asks, who really doesn’t want to be the hit at the next Halloween party, holiday gathering, costume party, or school play?

Astroth, a fiber artist and teacher, says that her parents loved to make special presents for her. She recalls lots of doll clothes, a pretty pink basket made into a doll bed (complete with matching linens and nightgown), even a two-story dollhouse that had its own hand-operated elevator. One year for Christmas, her Mom and Dad made her a trunk filled with dress-up clothes and jewelry; she and her friends played with the dress-up clothes for hours. One minute they would be kings and queens, the next they would pretend they were at a diner . . . they could play dress-up forever, changing themes as fast as they could change their costumes.

With fusible interfacing and simple sewing skills, readers can use the patterns and step-by-step instructions given in Super-Simple Creative Costumes to create dozens of costumes – or mix and match to design entirely new costumes by choosing from the hats, crowns, headbands, ties, sashes, pins, and faux jewelry. What will it be . . . a tiger or a temptress? A witch or a warrior? A bunny or a bagpiper? The possibilities are endless.

Super-Simple Creative Costumes covers easy-sew and no-sew costumes from sweet to scary. The ‘fast2fuse’ costumes in the book were created for the book. A number of full costumes and costume pieces that will work for young and old kids alike are included.

Astroth covers costuming conceptually; that is, what one must do first is figure out, for example, whether the costume for a potted plant is more like one of several styles – and the answer would probably be a round sandwich board, in this case. Styles include: box style (scrapbook shown as the example), bag style (knitting bag, the example), sandwich board style (playing card, the illustrated example), round sandwich board style (with numerous examples: ladybug, flower, painter’s palate & paintbrush). Then Astroth gets into costume accessories (hats, wands, neckties, eyeglasses, wings, shoes, wrist gear, pails, awards, bags and capes), bling bling, and follows that with specific costumes: pirate, nurse, hula girls, cupid, knight and elephant.

Super-Simple Creative Costumes frees everyone’s inner costume designer. The book provides tons of inspiration so readers can create their own theatrical masterpieces – with some fabric, ‘fast2fuse’, hook-and-loop tape, and a little elastic, readers can create costumes to match their personalities. Even beginners can make costumes and accessories with these simple supply lists and step-by-step instructions.

Home & Garden / Interior Design

Color Your Life: How to Design Your Home with Colors from Your Heart by Elaine Ryan (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Color Your Life is the first home decorating guide we know of to address love, loss, and passion.

Inspired by the need to feel comfortable and confident about the colors in our homes, the book shows readers how to experiment with bold and ageless color schemes for the home. Elaine Ryan’s specially designed color matching system instructs homeowners how to pick colors that won't clash or bore. With practical advice and designer tips to create the home of one’s dreams Color Your Life speaks to the emotional connection we have to our homes.
Using worksheets, tips and other useful analysis sprinkled throughout Color Your Life, readers discover their favorite colors and learn how to incorporate them in their home. In addition, this home decorating how-to includes a set of punch-out color bars, Ryan’s color matching system that makes choosing colors easy and fun. And because the colors have already been coordinated, it is impossible to make a color mistake.

According to Ryan, an interior designer for more than thirty years and co-founder of the International Interior Designers Association, nothing produces an environment of personal satisfaction as color can. Color Your Life includes such chapters such as:

  • The sensuous bedroom shows readers how to create their romantic bedroom where all the senses are awakened. The sensuous bedroom is a hideaway – a retreat – for whomever occupies it. Readers will find out why it's the most important room in the home.
  • You and your mother helps readers discover why they feel unsure that the colors they love wearing may ‘clash’ if they used them in the home.
  • The supermarket test shows readers the key to their own color preferences they will and have fun in discovering those colors they will never tire living with.
  • You and your child helps readers understand their child's view of his or her room. Readers will see how they see and feel as they feel.
  • Suddenly single gives readers a new awareness of their life and home as a newly single person. Whether divorced, recently out of an important relationship, or widowed, this chapter gives readers what they need to create their own healing environment in their new life.

Ryan, a syndicated columnist and popular lecturer, has helped thousands of ordinary people seeking harmony between their homes and their selves. Although audience questions in Ryan's public appearances and columns ostensibly deal with home decorating issues, her empathy invites them to share their deepest desires and personal experiences, which are inextricably bound to their sense of home. Color Your Life is as much about fostering well-being as it is about designing a beautiful home.

According to Ryan, adding color to one’s life is all about discovering the colors that resonate personally. Too often people end up defaulting to white and beige in their homes because they are afraid of picking colors that clash or making an expensive mistake that they will regret or grow tired of. To address this common fear, Ryan spent eight years developing her foolproof color bars color matching system that takes the anxiety out of combining colors.

Combining home decoration and self-help, Ryan has mapped a territory of the human heart where no interior design book has gone before. In a down-to-earth, conversational voice, Color Your Life embraces the truth that creating the comfortable and personal home is inextricably linked to our sense memories, and our life stages, With humor and compassion, Ryan empowers people to trust their hearts, their intuition, and their instincts in creating the home that fits their particular style and their life. And the color bars are a revelation for professionals and ordinary people alike – they are a foolproof way to Color Your Life.

Home & Garden / Lifestyle

A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity by William Coperthwaite, with photographs by Peter Forbes (Chelsea Green Publishing)

To require little is better capital than to earn much. The need to earn much enslaves a man, while the ability to do with little makes him free. He who needs little will more easily strive toward the goals he has in view, and will in general lead a richer, fuller life than he who has many wants. – Fridtjof Nansen

No order of society can last in which one man says to another, “You work and toil, and earn bread, and I will eat it.” – Abraham Lincoln

I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things. – William Coperthwaite

William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years has explored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness – buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.
A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite’s ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. Contents include: Society by Design / Design by Society, Beauty, Work / Bread Labor, Education / Nurture, Nonviolence: A Gentle Revolution, Wealth, Riches, Treasure, Simplicity, and Life Work. The book also has an introduction The Craft of Living by John Saltmarsh. Photography is by Peter Forbes, a writer, photographer, and long-time leader in the American land conserva­tion movement, who is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Whole Communities.

Coperthwaite has also traveled the world in search of folk-art techniques and subsistence skills. Impressed by the beauty and intelligence of the traditional central Asian nomadic tents called ‘yurts,’ Coperthwaite adapted and introduced to North America yurt design and construction. In the past four decades he has participated in building more than three hundred yurts for family homes, schools, camps, and outbuildings. Awarded a doctorate from Harvard University's School of Education for his work with Eskimo villagers, Coperthwaite has taught in a variety of innovative educational settings. Through his organization, the Yurt Foundation, he promotes a simpler life, a more intimate relationship with the environment, and a ‘democratic’ approach in which all participate in creating their life and culture.

Serene and thoughtful, this rambling scrapbook by Maine native and yurt-house builder Coperthwaite provides a vision of a life lived simply and self-sufficiently. From violence to education to how to build a ‘democratic chair’ or make an axe, Coperthwaite covers an abundance of topics as he describes his version of a ‘handmade life’ and explains why such a life is desirable. Never quite didactic, Coperthwaite meditates on topics – such as the idea of employment as exploitation – more than he preaches about them, moving glibly from idea to disconnected idea. A recipe for "a bread so good to both the palate and to health that a diet of bread and water would be a delight" is placed next to an anecdote about a young Eskimo girl named Maggie, for example. And the author's own poems, along with poems by D.H. Lawrence and Emily Dickinson, intersperse the narrative. Peter Forbes' engaging color photographs illustrate Coperthwaite's concepts – no easy feat given their breadth and diversity. – Publishers Weekly
Coperthwaite explores what true simplicity is, means, in more than just philosophical thinking. – Maine Sunday Telegram

It might seem tempting to think of William Coperthwaite ... as a modern-day David Thoreau... . But unlike Thoreau, described by Ralph Waldo Emerson as a somewhat cranky, antisocial ascetic, Coperthwaite is a friendly, open-minded fellow who warmly welcomes visitors to his round house – The Boston Globe

Coperthwaite’s rambling writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the handcrafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with Forbes’ luminous color photographs, A Handmade Life is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.
Literature & Fiction / Historical

Luncheon of the Boating Party: A Novel by Susan Vreeland (Viking)
Instantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece Luncheon of the Boating Party depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir’s future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, internationally renowned bestselling author Susan Vreeland in Luncheon of the Boating Party illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era.

The subject of the book is the current conditions in the life of Renoir, Vreeland launches Vreeland on a reinvigoration of the lives of the individuals who modeled for Renoir. Imagining the banks of the Seine, Vreeland tracks Renoir as he conceives, plans and paints the 1880 masterpiece that gives this novel its title. Renoir, 39, pays the rent on his lodgings by painting "overbred society women in their fussy parlors," but, goaded by criticism from Émile Zola, he dreams of doing a breakout work. On July 20, the daughter of a resort innkeeper close to Paris suggests that he paint from the restaurant's terrace. The party of 13 which Renoir puts together eventually spends several Sundays drinking and flirting under the spell of the painter's brush. While trying to win his last subject back from her rich fiancé, Renoir falls desperately for his newest models. But he and his friends only have two months to catch the light he wants and fend off charges that he and his fellow Impressionists see the world ‘through rose-colored glasses.’

Vreeland, author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue, The Passion of Artemisia, The Forest Lover, and Life Studies, paints the lives, loves, losses, and triumphs of these colorful characters.

Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party shimmers like the surface of an Impressionist painting. My heart sings with the amazing artistic achievement of the author. Through her words and imagination, I have been allowed to enter the bohemian, artistic life of Paris in the 1880s. I thank Susan Freeland for enriching my life. – Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette

The figures stroll from Renoir's painting and into the pages of Susan Freeland s new novel with all the vibrancy and elegance of the canvas itself. A marvelous evocation that brings a painting – and an entire age – beautifully to life. – Ross King, author of Brunellesehi’s Dome

As impressionistically dazzling and humane as the Renoir painting that inspires it. Luncheon of the Boating Party is itself a true work of art that blends the manifest joys and the impossible longings of life into a single coherent vision. Susan Vreeland has for some time been one of our finest writers, and this is her best book yet. – Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Freeland magically transported me into the wonderful world of Renoir and his models. I lived there, tasted and breathed the atmosphere. A rich, compulsive read. – Edward Rutherfurd, author of The Rebels of Ireland, Dublin, and London

…Vreeland achieves a detailed and surprising group portrait, individualized and immediate. – Publishers Weekly
 …There are, then, basically three levels of ‘atmosphere’ swirling through the pages of this riveting, complex novel: Renoir's issues in composing the painting, the separate and interconnected lives of the 14 individuals appearing in it, and the spirit of la vie moderne, the new modes of living, thinking, and expressing as conducted by the French arts community at the time. – Brad Hooper, Booklist (starred review)

Vreeland returns with her fourth historical novel Luncheon of the Boating Party, a vivid exploration of one of the most beloved Renoir paintings in the world. With a gorgeous palette she portrays a captivating set of characters, creating a brilliant portrait of her own.
Literature & Fiction / Historical / Adventure

The Second Objective by Mark Frost (Hyperion)
Bestselling author Mark Frost makes a return to fiction with The Second Objective, a World War II thriller, based on a shocking real-life German operation run by ‘the most dangerous man in Europe.’

It is the final months of 1944. The Allies have pushed their way from the French beaches to the European countryside. Germany is losing, and the Americans are starting to hope they’ll be home for Christmas. But Hitler is mounting massive counter offensive in the Ardennes in Belgium and France.

Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny, ‘Hitler’s Commando,’ famed for his daring rescue of the imprisoned Mussolini, has just received orders for Operation Greif: He is to assemble a new brigade of two thousand men, all of whom speak English – two thousand men sworn to a blood oath under pain of death, trained in secrecy, turned into an effective commando unit. He is to send them behind Allied lines disguised as GIs, where they will wreak havoc in advance of a savage new offensive that would mean almost certain death.

And from those men, Skorzeny is to select a smaller group, made up of the twenty most highly skilled commandos fluent in American culture, to attempt an even more sinister mission – The Second Objective – which, if completed, not only will change the course of the war, but will change the course of history.

From the center of a whirlwind of deceit and violence emerge several main characters, based on their historical counterparts and giving a human face to an otherwise inhuman war. SS Lieutenant Erich Von Leinsdorf heads up the elite team – as a cold-blooded killer he will stop at nothing to accomplish the second objective. American-born Bernie Oster, whose parents immigrated to Germany before the war broke out, finds himself questioning his allegiances when he is put in Von Leinsdorf’s elite squad. While Erich and Bernie shoot their way further into enemy territory toward Versailles, Earl Grannit, an American veteran NYPD homicide-detective-­turned-military-police-investigator from the same Brooklyn neighborhood as Bernie, is on the heels of the members of Operation Greif. Putting his experience as an NYPD homicide investigator to use, Earl and his unassuming partner are forced to think on their feet and move quickly as the bodies pile up and Von Leinsdorf continues to elude them.

Frost weaves a breathtaking narrative around these two commandos. Close on the trail is the veteran NYPD investigator, who soon finds himself faced with an impossible choice on which the outcome of the entire conflict depends.

Using WWII's Battle of the Bulge as background, Frost (The List of Seven) spins real-life and fictional characters into thriller gold. Hitler assigns his most feared commando, Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny, to lead a 2,000-man brigade disguised as American troops in Operation Autumn Mist, a last-ditch effort to defeat the western Allies in late 1944 by breaking through the lightly defended Belgium-Luxembourg region. Within this German unit is a special group of 20 commandos who will face almost certain death trying to achieve a secret ‘second objective.’ Opposing this force is a U.S. army made up of tired veterans, green troops and one tough MP with the criminal investigation division, Earl Grannit, a New York cop in civilian life. Leading the special contingent of Nazis commandos is SS lieutenant Erich Von Leinsdorf, a supremely intelligent and contemptuously cruel Nazi who will stop at nothing to achieve his objective. Comparisons with Day of the Jackal are inevitable and not amiss. – Publishers Weekly
It doesn't spoil the suspense of this historical fiction to know which side wins. – Kirkus Reviews

Finally revealed, Hitler's last throw of the dice in an attempt to win the Second World War. Has bestseller written all over it. – Jack Higgins

Loyalty and betrayal, identity and honor, madness and salvation – all are tried and tested to unthinkable limits, creating in The Second Objective an unforgettably rivet­ing thrill ride from start to finish. In this triumphant return to fiction, Frost skillfully maneuvers his characters from a hair-raising start to a staggering finish, moving seamlessly from the German side to the American. With dramatic plot twists, heart-pounding action, and fast-paced dialogue, The Second Objective is filled with real characters and details only recently released by the United States military. This is historical fiction at its most unpredictable and its most compulsively readable.

Mysteries & Thrillers

A Dead Question by Gerald Hammond  (Allison & Bushby LTD)

Two weeks away from giving birth in A Dead Question, Detective Inspector Honey Laird is at a point when bending down is becoming increasingly difficult and straightening up again almost impossible, when her boss calls upon her to investigate Dr. McGordon . . . her next-door neighbor.

On the outside, Dr. McGordon appears to be the perfect doctor, giving free services in poor areas, providing care in underdeveloped countries and even bringing patients to Britain (at his own expense) for special treatments. But when officers knock on his door, looking for witnesses to an accident, McGordon, panicky and pale, reveals a guilty conscience about something but refuses to say anything.

Aware that he's done something wrong but unsure of what, Honey – along with the help of an unsure young officer, her overprotective housekeeper, and her faithful Labrador, Pippa – dives into the case, using the computer, researching bank statements, and interviewing a slew of colorful neighbors, none of whom is allowed to know that McGordon is under investigation.

While at first Honey's husband thinks the case is a minor one, designed to keep Honey out of mischief, as she digs deeper, it becomes clear that everything, and everyone, is not as it seems, that the ‘what’ can be just as mysterious as the ‘who’ ... and ultimately just as shocking.

Ingenious, spattering its targets with doses of dry wit. – Sunday Times

Straight aim at the target of coherent storyline. – Daily Telegraph

Zingy plot, non-stop action and lots of interesting character interplay. – Good Book Guide

A Dead Question is written by Gerald Hammond, a proven author, a retired architect and the creator of a number of the mystery series featuring John Cunningham, a dog breeder in Scotland and Keith Calder, a gunsmith. He also writes under the pseudonyms Arthur Douglas and Dalby Holden. Stylish and masterful, hard to put down, the book will appeal especially to fans of Ian Flemming.

Mysteries & Thrillers

The First Stone by Judith Kelman (Berkley Hardcover)

Judith Kelman's novels of psychological sus­pense have been acclaimed by everyone from Harlan Coben to Susan Isaacs to Mary Higgins Clark.

In The First Stone he … is a world-renowned cardiac surgeon who is treated with respect, even awe. But since Dr. Doug Malik moved in upstairs with his family, Emma Colten has started to wonder what kind of a man he really is.

On quiet nights, home alone with her three-year-old, Emma can hear muffled thumps and screams echoing from the floor above their apartment. Sometimes she can make out a few words. Chilling, pleading words, in a little girl's voice….

If she reports Malik, she might put her own husband's career on the line. Dr. Malik holds the keys to Sam's future as a surgeon – and they are expecting a new baby in a few weeks. But the sounds from the apartment above keep haunting her, and one day she confides in a friend.

Soon afterward, Malik becomes the target of an investigation. When he discovers the role Emma may have played in it, her life begins to unravel. Malik makes a shocking allegation against her husband. And just as she is about to bring a new life into the world, she starts to fear for her own....

 [A] remarkable story by a remarkable writer. Filled with intrigue, beautifully blended with friendships and love of family. Judith Kelman's characters are warm and wonderful. I truly enjoyed it. – Clive Cussler

At the start …, artist Emma Colten, pregnant with her second child, is struggling to balance motherhood with her professional duties and the needs of her husband, Sam, a surgical resident at a prestigious Manhattan hospital. When a distinguished new cardiovascular surgeon, Doug Malik, arrives both as Sam's new boss and the Coltens' upstairs neighbor, Emma's life only spins further out of control. She suspects Sam of infidelity with Malik's attractive young protégé and is disturbed by the pleas for help from Malik's young daughter that she hears through her apartment's ceiling. Fearful of jeopardizing Sam's chances to become chief resident, Emma fails to alert the authorities of her suspicions that abuse is occurring. When she confides in the head of her son's preschool, an official inquiry leads to a cataclysmic confrontation. Some psychological insights will resonate with parents of young children …. – Publishers Weekly

With more than three million copies of her books in print, Kelman is a master of psychological suspense. Now in The First Stone the master storyteller poses a moral question – and follows a path to its possibly fatal answer.…

Mysteries & Thrillers / Historical

In Secret Service: A Novel by Mitch Silver (Touchstone)

In Secret Service is a debut novel from Mitch Silver, former creative director for a New York advertising agency. From the first page, readers are immersed in a historical mystery within a modern-day thriller, taking them inside closed-door meetings with FDR's inner circle, the American theater of operations in wartime Frankfurt and Buckingham Palace, the busy concourse of New York's Grand Central Terminal and the campus of Yale University.

In a safe deposit box, behind locked doors in the Ansbacher Bank in Dublin, a manuscript by Ian Fleming has remained untouched for over forty years. Fleming's manuscript is addressed, surprisingly, to Amy Greenberg – a young Yale professor who in 2005 is called to Dublin to claim her mysterious inheritance. The pages detailing Fleming's real-life involvement in British intelligence are so explosive that she soon discovers her life is in danger. Filled with espionage, scandals, and government secrets, the manuscript could easily be an installment in the James Bond series. Yet, unlike other Fleming stories, this one is non-fiction, and the words that lie on the pages are so highly sensitive that people on both sides of the Atlantic have been waiting for its much anticipated introduction and are willing to protect or reveal its secrets at any cost.
In 1964, James Bond's creator sealed a package containing a manuscript he thought no one would read until fifty years after his death. Fleming was an officer in Britain's Naval Intelligence during World War II, and he had his own adventures to recount. His family ties and his career had taken him to the upper echelons of British and American society and espionage, a world where passionate affairs, exotic locations, and polite cocktail chatter were interlaced with danger, betrayal, and deceit. He had replicated that world in his famous novels, but this manuscript contained a real spy story that would explode history when its secrets were revealed. He had chosen the reader, and he'd have to trust she would serve the truth.

Now in 2005 in In Secret Service, Amy Greenberg – an American academic with a glittering future – is summoned to Ireland to claim the contents of her grandfather's safe deposit box, in which she finds only one thing: the manuscript. The pages detail Fleming's story. Amy soon discovers that people on both sides of the Atlantic are willing to kill to maintain its secrecy. As she journeys back home with her precious cargo, Amy finds herself in a race against time – she must unlock the manuscript's shocking and fascinating secrets and outwit the unknown assailants who would do anything to bury the truth and protect a traitor's name.

First-time novelist Silver spins an unlikely if entertaining tale connecting mysteries concerning the abdication of King Edward VIII, WWII and the death of Princess Diana. … The Fleming manuscript, alternating chapters with the contemporary story, details how Edward, after abdicating, formed a secret relationship with Adolf Hitler. The modern-day sections of the book consist mostly of Amy and her boyfriend, Scott Brown, fighting off a host of villains who want to steal, for rather obscure reasons, the Fleming material. Silver delights in making the sometimes improbable historical links that form the basis of his plot, and his high spirits are so contagious that readers will happily go along for the ride. – Publishers Weekly
A monarchy in trouble, murderous treason, and a World War II betrayal that resonates into the present. The real thrill of In Secret Service is watching this contemporary and historical tale recounted through the fun house mirror. Enjoy the ride. – Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The Book of Fate

Peopled with characters including Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Anthony Blunt, and FDR and illustrated with authenticating documents, In Secret Service is a historical mystery inside a contemporary thriller. With action that leaps off the pages and a historical plot backed by impeccable research, Silver's novel will get readers hooked from the first page. The debut of an exciting new writer, this book combines thrilling action with a brand-new take on espionage suspense.

Religion & Spirituality / Biographies & Memoirs

The Faith of Condoleezza Rice by Leslie Montgomery (Crossway)

How did a young black girl raised in Birmingham, Alabama in the turbulent 1960s grow up to become the first female National Security Advisor and Secretary of State? She's been called the devil's handmaiden, a history-maker, Bush's secret weapon, the most influential woman in the world, a rising star, and a race traitor – among other things. Regardless of which opinion people come to about who she is – what label they've placed on her character, everyone knows there's something uniquely different about the African-American woman who currently serves as Secretary of State.

Condoleezza Rice’s story of success in the public sphere is powerful, but M equal to that is the story of how her faith has served as her foundation. According to The Faith of Condoleezza Rice, Rice was raised by two loving parents who taught her biblical values from a young age. These seeds of faith planted in her childhood have been the key to her perseverance through life’s difficulties – especially her parents’ deaths. The book examines Rice’s faith and how it has shaped her.

Rice’s impenetrable strength and unshakable temperament are evidence of three defining characteristics – a faith that runs deep in her heritage, a personal passion for God, and moral convictions that stem from both. Author Leslie Montgomery, former director of publications, managing editor, and a staff writer for the American Association of Christian Counselors, writer for Focus on the Family, says that no matter what faith readers have, to know and appreciate the character of Rice, they must learn about hers. To understand her passion for peace, readers must become familiar with the chaotic state of the nation in which she was born. To grasp her heart and what has motivated her to exceed the limited expectations that enslaved both her race and her gender for generations before her, they must examine her roots. To taste the inspiration for democracy that flows from her heart, they must learn what it is that feeds her soul.

The Faith of Condoleezza Rice is not a book about politics. It is a book about a little black girl who was born into a Christian home in the racially explosive town of Birmingham, Alabama, during the throes of the Civil Rights Move­ment. It is about two parents who quietly defied discrimination, stood against injustice, clung to their faith and raised their child to follow their God. They believed wholeheartedly that she was a gift from God born for such a time as this and that He had a special purpose for her life – a plan for good, to give her a hope and a future – all this despite what the world shouted at them through hatred and prejudice.

Rice has built her life and career by defying expectations. She defied the shortsighted guidance counselor who advised her parents that their daughter wasn't college material by earning not only a Bachelor's Degree, but then a Master's and a Ph.D. She took on roles that a black female had never held before – provost at Stanford University, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of State – and performed these roles skillfully. According to Montgomery, once readers hear her story, they will recognize that even more than her vast intellectual capacity, ambition, and strong work ethic, it has been God's call – and her willingness to follow – that has allowed her to come so far. In Rice we have a spiritual hero. The Faith of Condoleezza Rice tells this story.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / African-American Studies

Religious Education in the African American Tradition: A Comprehensive Introduction by Kenneth H. Hill, with a preface by Jr. Deotis Roberts, and an introduction by Mary Elizabeth Moore (Chalice Press)

In the middle of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first we begin to hear a variety of theological voices in the United States. The voices range from African American evangelicals – a voice that conveys a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – to a liberation voice that speaks to the harsh reality of sin in the structures of the church and society. Appreciating the range of voices that are part of our tradition is important to us as educators. Identifying the theological voices in our tradition provides us access to how we have come to be the people we are. It focuses our attention on the ecclesial, historical, cultural, and spiritual forces that shape us. Understanding the place of Blacks in society and in the church is inextricably linked to the way Black faith develops, when we ‘Drink from our Well.’ Very simply, we cannot move from standing by the well to drinking from it without discovering our own voices. – from the book

Religious Education in the African American Tradition is a comprehensive survey of African American Christian Religious Education (AACRE). It addresses historical, theological, and ministerial issues. Written by Kenneth H. Hill, presiding elder of the East Tennessee Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and former executive director of Christian education, the book defines concepts and explores history, considers the diverse voices that are addressing AACRE, and then focuses on educational theory and practice. Religious Education in the African American Tradition considers a diversity of voices, including those of evangelical, Pentecostal, liberation, and womanist theologians.

The book offers a fresh voice to the burgeoning discipline of African American Christian religious education by providing a comprehensive overview of perspectives and practices. It provides a broad historical foundation to the field of African American Christian religious education as a background for the contemporary contributions of twenty-first century thinkers. It deals with the broader issue of the relationship between Black theology and Christian religious education in the African American Church, or expressed another way, specific expressions of educating in faith that have developed out of a combination of African American theological and educational understandings. And it also expands on previous works by offering new ecclesial models of Christian religious education.

Hill's Religious Education in the African American Tradition contributes to the countermovement, away from isolationism, to the movement toward dialogue between religious and scholarly communities, as he reviews work in Christian education and offers it back to the community as a gift upon which to build in the future. His book reveals the interweaving threads of Christian education practices in church communities, philosophical discussions in the Black community, biblical and theological scholarship, and developments in educational theory. Thus, he reflects on a dialogical community and encourages even more active dialogue in the future.

According to Mary Elizabeth Moore in the introduction, one of Hill's particular contributions is his presentation of African American contributions in the civil rights and ‘Black Power’ movements. Hill does not focus on one denomination, though his own experience in the African Methodist Episcopal Church is worthy of note. Even with his denominational leadership in Christian education for many years, Hill does not have a narrow sectarian or denominational view of education. In fact, he draws widely from different parts of the Black church, including, for example, the Church of the Black Madonna, and he discovers wisdom in each, whether in their theology, philosophy, or active practice of education.

Sociologically, Hill recognizes multiple teachers in the Black church, including clergy and laity, elders and peers, women and men. He also recognizes diverse ways African American communities read the Bible and the complex theologies that generally undergird educational theology and practice. Of practical interest is Hill's description of how a complex of theologies can exist within a single congregation or denomination, allowing for diverse theologies to respond to diverse issues among the people. Hill not only values these multiple voices, but also draws upon them to inform and reflect on Christian education. He does not assume only one way of linking educational practice with theology, but recognizes diversities in pedagogy, in theology, and in their relation with one another.

According to Hill, Religious Education in the African American Tradition has grown out of his longstanding interest in African American Christian religious education. In teaching Christian Education at Vanderbilt Divinity School, he found there was no one volume that explained the basics of the contemporary views about AACRE. There was no single text encompassing all of the theological, philosophical, and educational imperatives that underpin the theological and practical notions of Christian education. Hill says that this is the book he had been hoping someone would write, he just didn't think he would be that person.

Dr. Hill has written an important study of Christian education for African Americans. It deserves wide readership, especially among Black Churches. The research is thorough, and the analysis of the issues and people is insightful. – James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary
This seminal study challenges clergy and congregations to rethink Christian education and how African American theology and religious history inform and shape this vital discipline within black church life. Dr. Hill's scholarship and perspectives drawn from his years as a practitioner of Christian education make this book a significant contribution to black church studies. – Dennis C. Dickerson, Vanderbilt University
Hill has effectively outlined the relationship between theology and education in the African American Christian religious community. This project should be considered required reading for local, denominational, and college-level Christian religious educators and for those who have a deep interest in the practice and perspective of Christian education in the African American religious community. – Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Prelate, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
The work is comprehensive. It is based on rigorous and extensive research. It is compelling reading for scholar and Sunday school teacher. – Charles Foster, senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation, author of Embracing Diversity: Leadership in Multicultural Congregations
Writing with the soul of a pastor and the depth of a scholar, Dr. Hill offers a vision for how the African American story and its social analysis, hermeneutics, and theology can challenge the church to faithfulness. The book demonstrates the unique educational task of pastors as well as the reality that persons are formed by a community of faith. – Jack L. Seymour, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

A combination of practice and reflection that is also conversant with theological understand­ings renders his readers the benefit of his wisdom. For anyone interested in passing the faith to future generations, Religious Education in the African American Tradition is a must read. – Joseph V. Crockett, American Bible Society

This compendium effectively weds the theologies and pedagogies that have served well faith formation in the African American church context, setting the framework for the teaching challenges that face the contemporary church. – Garland F. Pierce, National Council of Churches,

Religious Education in the African American Tradition is much needed; it brings the educational ministry of African American churches in contact with the best academic work in the field of Christian religious education. In the book, Hill has responded to the hunger for dialogue on Christian education with diligent research. Hill shows competence in biblical thought as well as a profound appreciation for the same. Nevertheless, he provides an openness for dialogue with other religions, i.e., Islam and Judaism. The book aims at hearing and understanding the range of theological voices that are part of Black Christian tradition, and does an admirable job.

The book is unique in its discussion of Christian religious education in the African American Church Tradition. It has a cultural relevance and meets the practical needs for the educative role of churches in the context of the African and African American roots of believers in the community of Christians.

Hill injects the theme of liberation from oppression into his vision for the field of Christian religious education, especially important for African Americans who have had to struggle for a condition of dignity in a society that has constantly denied their true worth.

Due to the quality of his reflection, experiences, and sources, the book will be valuable for all who educate believers in the Church of Jesus Christ. Hill has walked through many of the movements described in Religious Education in the African American Tradition, having spent some decades in pastoral ministry, general superintendency, and denominational leadership in Christian education. He offers a thorough, informative, and engaging book. Not only will this book be read in theological schools – both African American and ethnically diverse schools – it will also be read by church leaders and others who care for education.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Catholicism

Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition edited by Kieran Scott & Harold Daly Horell (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group)

The trauma revolving around the sexual abuse crisis in Roman Catholi­cism during the last few years seems only to highlight the tip of the iceberg. The issues of sexuality are wide and deep in our tradition. And we have only begun to address them. The crisis, in a way, could be a blessing in disguise – pushing us back to rethink the basics and repair the damage. – from Chapter 1

Contemporary culture provides confusing messages about the meaning and purpose of human sexuality, and often sex education that is offered does not promote a mature, integrated understanding of sexuality. Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition focuses on the need for pastoral guidance in addressing moral issues of sexuality in both the church and broader culture today. Editors Kieran Scott, associate professor of religion and religious education, and Harold D. Horell, assistant professor of religious education, both at Fordham University, explore with other leading scholars how to draw from the best Christian faith traditions to renew our understanding of sexuality, explore the integration of sexuality and spirituality, and develop life-affirming and life-sustaining ways of approaching contemporary sexual issues. Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition explores sexuality from multiple perspec­tives in addressing issues such as sex and marriage, celibacy, homosexuality, and cohabitation.

The offi­cial teaching in the Ro­man Catholic Church on a wide array of issues – contraception, sterilization, artifi­cial insemination, masturbation, abortion, premarital sex, homosexuality, divorce, and celibacy – is generally well known among Catholics and the public at large. Equally well known is the great discrepancy between official Catholic teach­ing and Catholic practice. There is only one prevailing consensus: a serious rift exists between offi­cial teaching about sex and the lived reality of Catholics. A deep and pervasive legitimation crisis exists. Elevating the level of this crisis in recent years has been the sexual abuse scandal traumatizing the American Catholic Church. This has sent its credibility into a free fall.

We have experienced a seismic shift in the practice and perception of Catholic sexual teaching by Catholics themselves. The formerly monolithic Catholic sexual ethos has all but dis­appeared. Many Catholics today either don't believe the official teachings on sex and sexuality or don't practice them. No longer do we have a coherent, consistent and clear sexual morality. While the words may have stayed the same, the actual content of Catholic sexual morality in the United States has not. This has compro­mised – if not discredited – the prophetic voice of the church in matters of sexual morality.

No attempt has been made in Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition to present a systematically complete account of human sexuality from a Roman Catholic perspective. Rather, ma­jor issues of sexuality are addressed by leading experts in their fields. Mul­tiple perspectives are offered toward a holistic understanding of human sexuality. In particular, human sexuality is explored from the perspective of pastoral care and counseling, moral theology/Christian ethics, spirituality, pastoral ministry, and religious education.

Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition forms a kind of pathway through the many topics and ramifications of human sexuality viewed from a Roman Catholic perspective. The book falls into two major parts. Part I (chapters 2 through 5) addresses fundamental issues of human sexuality. The angles of vision here are spirituality, pastoral care and counseling, moral theology/Christian ethics, and pastoral ministry. Part II (chapters 6 through 13) attends to specific issues of human sexuality.

Part I: Foundational Issues of Human Sexuality comprises the four keynote presentations and the pastoral responses to each at the pastoral conference in October 28-29, 2004 at Fordham University. The book begins with the chapter; "'Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality," by Fran Ferder, R.S.P.A., and John Heagle. Ferder and Heagle seek to demonstrate the need for a renewed theology and spirituality of human sexuality. The authors point out how we have often strayed from our deepest roots into a shame-based dualism. Ferder and Heagle an­alyze the causes of our crisis and then dig deep into our religious heritage for riches to reclaim and re-envision the spiritual promise of sexuality. Editor Horell offers a pastoral response affirming Ferder and Heagle's analysis of the current crisis in discussing sexuality and the way they have drawn from the resources of Christian faith traditions in addressing this crisis. Horell proceeds to discuss how we might begin to use the new approach offered by Ferder and Heagle to enrich our faith com­munities.

In chapter 3, "Toward Christian Sexual Maturity: Growing in Wisdom, Age and Grace," John Cecero offers a reflection on the processes of sexual maturity using a psychological lens. The broad psychological context within which he considers developmental tasks is the lifelong challenge to balance connection with autonomy. On the one hand, Cecero shows how Chris­tians can draw from psychological sources in developing an understanding of the meaning and purpose of human sexuality. On the other hand, mainstream psychology's nascent interest in spirituality, he notes, can contribute to sexual maturity. Editor Scott’s pastoral response to Cecero affirms in particular his embodied start­ing point and suggests a larger framework for the discussion of sex and sexual­ity and proposes that we approach it politically and institutionally, as well as biologically and psychologically.

Christine Gudorf follows with chapter 4 calling for a new moral dis­course on sexuality. First, she lays out a number of traditional teachings that must be abandoned and provides evidence to support alternative teachings. The latter half of her chapter draws from contemporary scientific and theo­logical resources to support her alternatives. In his pastoral response, Horell applauds Gudorf for coura­geously raising difficult questions about sexuality and suggests that the church needs to confront these questions if we are to develop truly life-giving understandings of human sexuality. Horell questions Gudorf’s analysis of male­ness and femaleness and suggests we explore more fully the implications of Gudorf’s recommendation that we abandon the idea that personhood begins at conception.

In the concluding chapter in part I (chapter 5), "Sexuality and Relationships in Ministry," Sidney Callahan explores how a new, integrated, and coherent view of sexuality can be of service to the pastoral life of the church. However, she cautions us with regard to the dark side of sexuality. She calls for a more balanced approach in addressing the topic of sexuality as we move into the future. In his pastoral response, Scott affirms Callahan's analysis, highlighting her incarnational approach to sexuality. Once again, however, he places the question of sexual­ity in a broader, institutional context. Scott calls for a new framework for understanding, a new language for un­derstanding ourselves, and new ecclesial structures to facilitate human sex­ual flourishing.

Part II (chapters 6 through 13) of Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition takes up an array of concrete issues that passionately engage our Christian communities today. This sec­tion begins with an analysis, from two quite distinct perspectives, of the theology of the body and human sexuality put forward by Pope John Paul II. Two initial chapters by Jennifer Bader and Luke Timothy Johnson, when read and placed in conversation with each other, yield rich insight into the corpus of John Paul's writings.

Bader (chapter 6) discusses prepapal and papal writings as she explores how John Paul's understanding of personhood provides the theological and philosophical foundation for his views about the human body, sexuality, and sexual difference. Bader discusses how a body/soul dualism, rigid senses of masculinity and femininity, and an inability to be open to dialogue create serious limitations in his thought.

Johnson (chapter 7) questions the conceptual framework of John Paul's writings. A theology of the body, he claims, is reduced to a consideration of sexuality. For Johnson, the pope's paradigm is distressingly narrow: human love and sexuality appear in only one approved form; sexual pleasure and passion seem mainly an obstacle to authentic love; there is little awareness of the bodily rhythm of ordinary life and ordinary people. If we are to reach a better theology of human love and sexuality, we must be receptive and willing to learn from the bodies and stories of those involved in sexual love.

In chapter 8, Christine Gudorf takes up the question: "Graceful Pleasures: Why Sex is Good for Your Marriage." She begins by historically tracing the anti-sexual attitudes that have dominated the Christian perspective. Gudorf focuses on the sacramental significance of marital, sexual union. Sexual lov­ing is central to marriage. It is as vitally At the same time, Gudorf cautions against developing an overly romanticized understanding of the place and importance of sex in marriage.

The focus and content of the material shifts with Evelyn and James Whitehead's chapter on "The Gift of Celibacy" (chapter 9). In any discus­sion of Catholics and sexuality, the authors claim, a consideration of the lifestyle of vowed celibacy is essential. The authors discuss how sexual energy can be directed in healthy, life-giving ways in living a celibate life. They call for a renewed vision of celibacy as an authentic Christian way of life.

Homosexuality is one of the most hotly debated and divisive issues in our Christian churches today. In chapter 10, Barbara Jean Daly Horell focuses on "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Par­ents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers" issued by the USCCB Committee on Marriage and Family. Daly Horell offers a reflection on the adequacy of the U.S. bishops' pastoral response to homosexuality, and raises questions about how the church can support the efforts of homosexual persons to in­tegrate sexuality and spirituality in their everyday lives.

In chapter 11, "A Tortured Trio: Sexuality, Adolescents, and Moral Theol­ogy," Julie Collins, a seasoned high school religion teacher, describes how she addresses issues of sexuality in the classroom by placing them in the context of love and eternity. She invites students to imagine dy­ing and going to heaven and being asked by God, "What was the quality of your love life?" Collins shows how we can draw from the richness of Chris­tian faith traditions to address issues of sexuality with adolescents.

The final two chapters are by coeditors Scott and Horell. In "Cohabitation: A Reassessment" (chapter 12), Scott takes a fresh look at cohabitation setting the discussion in the framework of a stage theory of marriage. He describes some of the traditional pastoral solutions of our churches before propos­ing a moral reassessment of the issue in light of tradition and contempo­rary needs. Horell concludes Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition with his reflections on "Sexuality and the Church: Finding Our Way" (chapter 13). Changing views of sexu­ality, he claims, place Christians at a crossroads today. We can allow the currents of contemporary culture to dictate the ways sex and sexuality are understood in church and society today, or we can examine the profound perspectives on human sexuality emerging from the riches of our religious traditions. Horell discerns the negative and positive attitudes on sexuality operative in church and society. He then proposes a new sexual ideal, integrating sexuality with spirituality, and sexuality and social justice. Horell concludes with a call for a renewed pastoral response to our complex and pluralistic sexual lives. This pastoral response should enable us to discern our way into the future by directing us toward a life-giving and life-sustaining sexual way of being in the world.

This book shows that silence about sex is just as damaging to the church as is moral analysis that is out of touch with the realities people face in modern cultures. Kieran Scott and Harold D. Horell bring together history, theology, psychology, sociology, politics, and economics, and have assembled an absorbing work on matters of sex, gender, and relationships that can speak to all Catholics. Theologians, church teachers, pastoral ministers, and educators will discover a wealth of information, insight, and creativity in this book. – Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College

This is a marvelous collection of essays, progressive in their atten­tion to the growing edges of tradition and faithful to the roots of the moral wisdom of ages past. – Patricia Beattie Jung, Loyola University Chicago

This refreshingly candid collection of essays is frank about the contemporary gap between official teachings and the ordinary experi­ence of most Catholics. Scott and Horell are to be congratulated for presenting thoughtful dialogues about sex in a spiritual, political, and scientific context, and proposing some helpful steps toward resolving the current church crisis. – Gabriel Moran, director of the Philosophy of Education Program, New York University

The depth and breadth of the expertise of the contributors whom Scott and Horell have gathered provide readers with new understand­ings of a vital area for contemporary theological and pastoral con­cerns. This is a much-needed and timely addition to the shelves of scholars, ministers, and educators! – Maryanne Confoy, RSC, Jesuit Theological College, Parkville, Australia

Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition, with its holistic understand­ing of sexuality, should contribute to the construction of a clear, consistent, and internally coherent sexual morality for the Roman Catholic community. It advocates for a deeper appreciation of the constructive side of post-modernity and to honor these sensibilities in our experience of sexuality. With its rich array of essays, the book moves beyond the sound of silence; it not only reopens dialogue, its style and format is itself dialogical. Many of the church's critics speak out in the volume.

Most of the chapters are relatively brief and the language is accessible. With esoteric technical schol­arly language has been kept to a minimum, the book combines academic rigor and pastoral sensitivity.

Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition will be of particular value to clergy and lay ec­clesial ministers and those preparing for ordained and nonordained ministry in the church. It may also be of interest to Chris­tians seeking to develop a more holistic sense of human sexuality from a Christian perspective. Finally, the Roman Catholic scholarly community may find the book valuable in its effort to establish a ‘double voice’ dis­course with the tradition.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology / Anthropology / Social Thought

Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice: Navigating a Path to Peace by Daniel G. Groody (Theology in Global Perspective Series: Orbis Books)

[Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice] is a reflection on how to think about poverty, justice, and liber­ation in light of Christian faith and within our current global context. It offers a theological reading of globalization and a global reading of theology. …While personally I have greatly enjoyed the benefits of globalization, over time I began to realize that not only has it left many people behind but also it has left unanswered many important human questions. The hunger for something more than material prosperity, in part, prompted an interest in spirituality. … The more my spirituality developed, the more questions about social justice surfaced. As I became interested in social justice, I began to see that poverty in the world is con­nected to complex issues like globalization. – from the book

The World Wide Web. The free market economy. Job outsourcing and cheap labor. Increased productivity and availability of goods. McDonaldization. Wal-Martification. Modernization. Internationalism. Democratization. Those are some of the benefits touted by the ‘over-view’ of globalization. On the other hand, what is the ‘under-view’ of it? Hegemony of the technocrats of the Information Age. An ever-growing gap between the poor and the rich, between the wealthy nations and the impoverished ones. International debt. Mounting injustice and oppression. Neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism. Consumerism. Ecological destruction. The loss of cultural heritages. The clash of civilizations. Nationalism. Ethnic and tribal wars – not to mention preemp­tive wars to maintain economic, political, and military domination. Again, those are some of the deleterious by-products of globalization inflicted mostly on the people of the so-called third world.

Whether one applauds or condemns globalization, there is no doubt that it is a Janus-faced beast that requires constant taming. Perhaps no contempo­rary theologian is more qualified for this task than Daniel Groody, Holy Cross priest and assistant professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame where he directs the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture. Raised in a household of corporate America and long involved in the struggle for justice, especially for Mexican immigrants, Groody is well acquainted with both the benefits and the banes of the global village. Fusing together profound schol­arship and lived experiences, Groody offers in Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice what the Theology in Global Perspective series seeks to achieve: a theology of globalization and a globalization of theology. From the vantage point of what he calls ‘the terrain of the human heart’, globalization is not simply an economic, political, social, anthropological, and cultural issue.

For Christians, Groody says, the root solution for the sinful aspects of globalization, as well as for any other human problem, is a ‘conversion,’ that is, a return to God. Turning to God, however, requires turning to one's neighbors, especially those who are oppressed by injustice and poverty. Consequently, Groody devotes the first four chapters to a study of justice in the privileged sources of Christian thought, that is, the signs of the time, the Bible, early Christian writers, and the Magisterium. In a spirit of interreligious dialogue he then seeks to enrich the Christian teaching on justice with the teachings of other religious traditions on the same theme. To put flesh and blood on these teachings, he turns his gaze to the ‘images of mercy, icons of justice’ as mod­els for practice. The remaining three chapters deal with the links between justice on the one hand and theology, liturgy, and spirituality on the other.

Above all, Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice is a book about relationships and the gift and challenge of living in right relationships. It seeks to examine the themes of poverty, spiri­tuality, justice, and liberation in the contemporary world and the hope and guidance offered by the Christian tradition. While dialoguing with the disci­plines of social science and major world religions, this book is a work of Christian theology and a reflection on the meaning of the gospel message for our complex era of global change. It covers mate­rial spanning almost three thousand years of theological thought, whose sources range from early biblical texts to contemporary theological reflection. According to Groody, synthesizing this large body of material into a concise and coherent volume presented challenges, and each chapter could easily be a book in itself.

Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice explores how scripture, patristic theology, moral theology, interreligious dialogue, hagiography, systematic theology, liturgy, and spirituality, help readers reflect on God's challenge to us amidst this sea of change, and the attendant requirements of the human community for building a more just and humane society, one that liberates and elevates all the members of the global village. Each of the following sub-disciplines of theology are treated in a separate chapter, and each offers a coordinate in mapping out a journey toward justice:

  • The Judeo-Christian Scriptures and biblical reflection.
  • The homilies and writings of the early church fathers.
  • Catholic social teaching and the documents of the magisterium.
  • Major world religions and ecumenical dialogue.
  • Extraordinary individuals and modern icons of faith and justice.
  • Contemporary theological reflection and liberation theology.
  • Liturgical worship and social transformation.
  • The spiritual journey and the challenge of justice.

While each of the chapters has its own particular methodology, each according to the nature of the primary source material, the work as a whole has a common methodological approach. Each chapter begins and ends with a narrative either from Groody’s own life or another source. These narratives either encapsulate the content of the chapter, summarize it, or provide important bridge material from the preceding chapter or to the subsequent chapter. In between these introductory and concluding narratives, he frames the substantive theoretical content of each chapter.

In breath-taking scope, Daniel Groody has done what we might think impossible, to write something fresh, demanding, and generative on the theme of justice. Groody explores the issues of poverty and globalization in convincing ways with the preci­sion of social analysis and the richness of Ignatian spirituality.

This book puts matters together in a way that sweeps across competing biblical narratives, touches down compellingly in Episcopal and papal teaching, and invites the reader to thoughtful concern and action. He reaches beyond Catholic social teaching, cites parallel teaching in other world religions, and focuses upon enfleshed models of risk, obedience, and generosity. – Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Daniel Groody's Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice leavens the daunting and often chilling statistics that describe the contemporary world with the hope-filled vision of Catholic social teaching and a life-sustaining spiritual praxis. The cover title may alert the reader to the scope of Groody's concerns but once inside, she or he will find prose that sings the song etched deep in the divine and human hearts, a song of the meeting of justice and mercy and springs flowing from barren land. – Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University

An important contribution of Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice is that it helps readers rediscover the wealth of the Christian tradition – the call to care for and empower the poor – as they confront the difficult challenge of poverty. Groody persuasively argues that globalization is not just an economic, political, social, anthropological and cultural issue, but it is a human problem, and it must be solved not just economically but spiritually.

Groody’s writing is both intellectually sound and acces­sible to a broad range of readers. Because some of the deeper truths about human life can only be grasped analogically through story, he writes in a way that both informs the mind and reaches the heart.

Reading Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice is an unsettling, yet tremendously hopeful experience. At the very least, like its author, one can no longer play a round of golf without glimpsing the invisible broken bodies littering the fairways and without being shocked by the questions of what it means to be a Christian in a world of destitution and how to reconcile the differences between poverty and pros­perity, slavery and freedom, misery and opportunity.

The book is part of the Theology in Global Perspective series, whose General Editor is Peter C. Phan, Ignacio Ellacurla Professor of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University. Noting the pervasiveness of changes brought about by science and technologies, and growing con­cerns about the sustainability of Earth, this series seeks to embody insights from studies in these areas. Though rooted in the Catholic tradition, volumes in the series are written with an eye to the ecumenical implications of Protestant, Orthodox, and Pentecostal theologies for Catholicism, and vice versa.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Occult / Wicca

Ascension Magick: Ritual, Myth & Healing for the New Aeon by Christopher Penczak (Llewellyn Publications)
Taking a magickal approach to this often misunderstood spirituality, Christopher Penczak explores the path of ascension. Ascension Magick unveils the diverse mystical roots of ascension and highlights where the beliefs and practices of today's lightworkers intersect with those of modern pagans, witches, and magick practitioners. The book also examines the practical side – various forms of magick, energy healing, meditation, past life regression, channeling, dowsing – and provides meditations, spells, and exercises.

Penczak, faculty member of the Northeast Institute of Whole Health in Manchester, New Hampshire and an eclectic witch, writer, and healing practitioner, says that every so often, a new system of magick is presented. They seem to have certain things in common. Most often, their primary feature is a rejection of the past and an exclusion of things that don’t fit into the new model. But more than a century ago, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn did just the opposite; they incorporated many traditions into their workings. As a result, they have become one of the most important and famous magickal groups. Since that time, more discoveries of the past have been unearthed, as have new scientific and psychological information. An underground movement that incorporates and unites all of these spiritual systems and scientific information has evolved. It is known as Ascension Spirituality, defined as the spiritual practice of integrating higher consciousness into everyday life, and its practitioners are called Lightworkers. Followers have obtained bits and pieces of this system from various teachers and books. Penczak unites all of this information into a single resource book, Ascension Magick, a guidebook to the spirituality and magick of the next age of humanity.

Filled with nearly 85 charts and figures, as well as almost 30 practical exercises, there is no way to describe everything in the book. It begins by describing ascension as a synthesis of world wisdom, incorporating mysticism from the pagan civilizations, particularly Egypt and Greece, with Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist thought, and a bit of shamanism and holistic medicine thrown in. Penczak traces its development through official history and the stories of Lemuria and Atlantis. He shows how it developed over time and the groups and beliefs that are now part of ascension, from ancient Egypt to Theosophy, Edgar Cayce, Neopaganism and advanced science.

Next, Ascension Magick discusses basic spiritual laws such as the principles of polarity, vibration and correspondence covering the Kabalistic Tree of Life and the multidimensional universe, the seven rays, the ascended masters and extraterrestrials. Throughout the book, readers will find practical information and techniques, including: basic meditation, working with dreams, protection with Archangel Michael, visiting the Faery Realm, petition spells, meeting one’s healing guide, chakra balancing, Merkaba meditation and activation – and this barely scratches the surface. Readers can also learn how to work with past life regression, channeling, dowsing, reincarnation, spellwork, energy healing and magick.

Ascension Magick cuts through the sensationalism to reveal a spiritual tradition that meets the needs of the modern world. New Dawn Magazine
This book teaches the techniques of ascension magick in a clear, step-by-step manner. Highly recommended. – Richard Webster, author of Spirit Guides and Angel Guardians and Miracles

Christopher Penczak's Ascension Magick offers a well-researched and holistic view of the occult as practiced since the time of the Theosophists. He demonstrates how the principles that originally defined the term 'New Age' may be integrated into a modem and magickal lifestyle. Another wonderful read from one of our most talented contemporary teachers of the esoteric! – Kala Trobe, author of Magic of Qabala and The Witch's Guide to Life

In Ascension Magick, Christopher ably explains and provides examples of blending diverse traditions within the framework of ascensionism in a modern and appealing manner that reminds us that life is a blend of light and dark. – Roger Williamson, author of The Lucifer Diaries

A groundbreaking, bridge-building, life-affirming adventure. – Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Key to Solomon's Key

A pioneering book for both witches and New Agers, Ascension Magick weaves a bridge between two valuable modern traditions that have long allowed language and perspective to obscure their shared beliefs. – Michelle Belanger, author of Psychic Dreamwalking

From angels and aliens to reincarnation and the Merkaba, Penczak leaves no stone unturned in this straightforward, thorough and absorbing examination of ascension spirituality and magick. A comprehensive reference work, Ascension Magick explores ascension theology and techniques from a magickal perspective, providing a foundation for beginners and greater depth and context for those already on the ascension path.

This practical guide brings a new level of clarity and synthesis to the path of ascension. Meditations, rituals, and spells for personal and planetary healing are included along with fascinating information on ascended masters, star beings, science of the seven rays, karma and dharma, channeling, the seven planes, consciousness grids, the lightbody, the thirteen dimensions of light, initiations, and sacred geometry. Respectful and inclusive, Ascension Magick serves as a bridge between the wisdom and healing traditions of New Age lightworkers and modern magickal people, including pagans and witches.

Religion & Spirituality / Occult / UFOs / Social Science / Astronomy / Politics

Alien Worlds: Social and Religious Dimensions of Extraterrestrial Contact edited by Diana G. Tumminia (Syracuse University Press)

Whether real or imagined, extraterrestrial contact and the interrelated subject of UFO phenomena provide a wealth of symbolic material for students, scholars, and skeptics.

Since prehistory, humans have shaped apparitions into their own images as they conveyed their otherworldly vi­sions to one another. Now in the twenty-first century, our species continues to reinvent mythological visitors with supernatural powers, some of whom are the subject of Alien Worlds.

In the past few decades, serious academics and skeptical observers have only begun to make sense out of the cultural relationships people have been estab­lishing with alleged aliens from outer space. Although many intellectuals still shun the subject, judging it the epitome of irrationality, various disciplines from anthropology to psychiatry now have researchers analyzing the human response to UFO-related phenomena. Scholars of religion, as well as folklorists, turn their eyes to the expanding collection of tales told about celestial interlopers who are said to be our allies, long-lost cosmic cousins, and occasional enemies.

Alien Worlds is a collection of essays, edited by Diana G. Tumminia, sociology teacher at California State University, Sacramento, discussing the controversial culture of UFOs, extraterrestrial phenomena, and cosmic mysteries. Highly respected authors and researchers representing the varied and sometimes competing perspectives of ufology and the sociology of religion take readers on a voyage into the social worlds of UFOs, abductees, and contactees. Reports of aliens and the changing nature of abduction experience, even its sexual dimension, are explored in relation to literature, cultural practices, and ideology. The influence of abduction therapy and support groups is considered, as are new religious movements with extraterrestrial themes.

Reports of aliens and of UFOs encompass a wide spectrum of cultural activity from rumor to legend. Since ancient times legendary accounts of angels, demons, flying people, and chariots have been reported by various cultures in their mythology. In the United States, the 1896-97 sightings of mystery airships prompted a few vague theories of extraterrestrials and bogus reports of cow abduction. Decades later, World War II-era pilots described flying fireballs and disk-shaped objects, eventually named foo-fighters. After the war, some people spotted so-called ghost rockets throughout Europe, particularly in Sweden.

On June 24, 1947, experienced pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted bright flashes of light and what he described as nine crescent-shaped craft soaring at more than one thousand miles per hour. The mysterious discs captured the public imagination in response to widespread publicity in newspapers and national magazines. An AP wire service bulletin dated July 7, 1947, read, "Flying Saucers Seen in Most States Now." Then a highly controversial story came on the heels of the Arnold sighting. On July 8, 1947, the headline of Roswell, New Mexico's Daily Record read, "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region. No Details of the Flying Discs Revealed." The belated official Air Force explanation for the Roswell incident asserted that a weather balloon had crashed, not a flying saucer. By eight weeks after the initial Arnold sighting, 90 percent of Americans had heard about flying saucers, according to the Gallup Poll. Some scientific investigation did ensue, but the phenomenon quickly became entangled with a diffu­sion of religious expression, media-driven myth, and paranormal claims.

Later reports of actual alien encounters and abductions added more complexity to this mystery of alien contact. The last half-century gave birth to several levels of societal reaction to extraterrestrial ru­mors, one of which was the establishment of an ethos of belief that settled into cer­tain pockets of the society. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, any real science of UFOs had become clouded in the public eye because of the exponential expansion of supernatural ideas about alien phenomenon and the cessation of public funding for research.

This patchwork of cultural activity is loosely sewn together, and it has many overlapping divisions that span both fact and fiction. Many writers call the core of these multiple lines of development the ‘UFO Movement’; however, there has been no real social movement in the strict sociological sense of the word, which im­plies long-term, focused social organization. True social movements reach a level of continuity, integration, organization, and stability not found in the collectivities referred to in Alien Worlds. Public interest in these areas rises and falls without a consolidated or consistent institutional thrust. Rather, history tells us these numerous expressions spread out in loosely related waves of sub-cultural activ­ity, something sociologists of collective behavior call a quasi-movement.

Alien Worlds concentrates on a survey of the societal discourse that ranges from obvious science fiction to the social construction of scientific facts around aliens and UFOs. No attempt is made to present a comprehensive chronicle of alien contact or ufology, since these fields undergo constant revision in response to new claims about prehistory and history (e.g., aliens created Adam and Eve or UFOs visited Pharoah Thutmose II and the prophet Ezekiel, etc.). Although this anthology touches upon many verifiable events as background information, it is by no means an exhaustive history. Alien Worlds mostly ponders religious themes and other open questions within social science. It supplements the knowledge of the cultural response to alleged alien contact, using both descriptive and theoretical approaches.

This compilation brings together some of the newer scholarship in this expanding field of study. The majority of contributors are senior scholars who have been researching and reflecting in this area for years. The first chapter, by Mikael Rothstein, discusses the hagiography (sacred biog­raphy) of George King, the founder of the Aetherius Society. The Aetherius Society began in 1954 as one of the earliest religions established upon the belief in spiritual contact with alien beings, or Cosmic Masters. "Hagiography and Text in the Aetherius Society" reveals the ways the group constructs the story of George King's life.

Jerome Clark in chapter 2 brings readers up to date on the story of Mrs. Keech, also known as Sister Thedra, the subject of When Prophecy Fails. "The Odyssey of Sister Thedra" traces her rise and passage into history. Sister Thedra still has followers based at Mount Shasta and around the world, who carry on her work. In the third chapter, editor Tumminia describes the history and beliefs of the Universal In­dustrial Church of the New World Comforter. Little academic research exists about the group that has lived a communal lifestyle since the sixties. Readers learn the story of contactee Allen Michael and his visions for a new society based on extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) in "Galactic Messenger!"

The contemporary UFO religion that can claim the largest worldwide membership is the International Raëlian Movement. The Raëlians, who trace their origins to space travelers called the Elohim, grabbed headlines around the world when they announced the alleged successful cloning of a human being. Their leader, Raël (Claude Vorilhon), appeared on the television show Dr. Phil in 2003, although he abruptly ended his interview when Dr. Phil McGraw failed to show the deference he required. In chapter 4 Bryan Sentes and Susan Palmer discuss the Raëlians' curious philosophy and news-making activities.

Many of the authors in Alien Worlds analyze the writings and beliefs of contactee religions from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. With "In the Dreamtime of the Saucer People," Tumminia in chapter 5 presents an ethno-methodological analysis of the Unar­ius Academy of Science. Although other chapters link close encounters and abduction narratives to various sleep states; he contends instead that any person, whether a reputable scientist or contactee, produces evidence to support his or her belief system. Dreams are one valid way of explaining reality for Unarians. In chapter 6 "Toward an Explanation of the Abduction Epidemic," Georg M. Rønnevig writes about some supposed, albeit renowned, cases of alien abduction and the pos­sible connection of the abduction syndrome to sleep states. Rønnevig makes the case that alternative therapies, such as hypnotherapy and abductee support groups, create rituals of belonging and meaning for those who believe they have been abducted. In chapter 7 "Secondary Beliefs and the Alien Abduction Phenomenon" Benson Saler proposes a multicausal approach to the social scientific understanding of alien ab­duction narratives.

Scott R. Scribner in chapter 8 draws a parallel between religious tales, in particular biblical passages, and alien abduction stories. How is that we may accept the biblical account of visions, but not those of contactees? His chapter "Alien Abduction Narratives and Religious Contexts" articulates a current investigation of the nature of alien abduction narratives as a specialized subset of UFO-related culture.

In chapter 9 "Close Encounters of the French Kind," Pierre Lagrange expounds upon the sociology of knowledge as he details the French history of ufology. Lagrange attempts a sociological analysis of the narratives of paranormal ‘science’ of flying saucers. He calls this subject a ‘sociological untouchable’ because of its association with the irrational. Lagrange deconstructs the ideological story of the UFO debate in France.

In chapter 10 "Consciousness, Culture, and UFOs," the noted author Jacques Vallee examines the complexity of belief in UFOs as he puts into historical and cultural context the difficulties of doing objective scientific research on the subject. In chapter 11 "Aliens from the Cosmos," Anna E. Kubiak, a Polish scholar of New Age reli­gions, comments on some elements of UFO myth. She assigns the scattered nature of the retellings of the myth through media, pseudoscience, and abduction narra­tives to the fragmentation of the postmodern consciousness. Then Jennifer E. Porter enlightens readers in chapter 12 about a special segment of Star Trek fans in her chapter, "All I Ever Want to Be, I Learned from Playing Klingon." Her chapter allows readers to learn something about Klingon culture and mythology, as well as Star Trek fans themselves.

While many of the other authors in Alien Worlds take a social constructionist stance or a doubtful posture toward extraterrestrial visitation, James F. Strange in chapter 13 asks what-if questions of readers. He addresses the disputed science of UFO archeol­ogy in "Observations from Archaeology and Religious Studies on First Contact and ETI Evidence."

Sociologist Anne Cross shares her ethnographic work on the subculture of ufol­ogy in "A Confederacy of Fact and Faith, chapter 14." She notes how segments of the ufological subculture ‘scienticize’ religion by meshing discordant paradigms into explana­tions of ancients astronauts and extraterrestrial presence. She observed meetings and conventions within the milieu, including a lecture by Erich von Daniken, renowned for his books touting the archeological evidence of alien visitations. Along the same lines of debate, Pia Andersson investigates the UFO archeology arguments in chapter 15 "Ancient Alien Brothers, Ancient Terrestrial Remains: Archeology or Religion?" by pointing out the ways believers fuse science and religion. Andersson surveys the field, explaining the various connections made by ufologists and ancient astronaut enthusiasts.

In chapter16 Christopher Helland gives readers more information about the Raëlians and their quest to introduce cloning as a viable option for human beings. As Helland shows, Raëlians view their push for human cloning not as a scientific experiment with ethical problems, but rather as a continuation of the spiritual intervention of the Elohim in "The Raëlian Creation Myth and the Art of Cloning."

In the final chapter, sociologist Christopher D. Bader reports his research on a sample of the abductee support group members. "Abductee Support Groups: Who Are the Members?" outlines his demographic and qualitative findings. These groups employ a maverick form of psychology that walks the line between folk religion and therapy.

The thoughtful reflec­tions of the contributors to the volume offer insights in this intriguing collection of essays. Readers can use Alien Worlds as an instructive tool in study of the cultural response to pre­sumed aliens for outer space. Clearly, the effort to foster a deeper understanding of such topics will do more to advance the study of how humans create reality than will the popular tendency to simply dismiss these activities as trivial and ridiculous. In that spirit, Alien Worlds presents a dialectical range of discourse from sociology to ufology to enlighten anyone wanting to understand what and how the academic world thinks about UFOs, contactee groups, and alien phenomena.

Religion & Spirituality / Philosophy / Science

Render Unto Darwin: Philosophical Aspects of the Christian Right's Crusade against Science by James H. Fetzer (Open Court)

In Render Unto Darwin James Fetzer, a leading philosopher and intellectual looks closely at particular issues in religion and politics which have to do with science, issues which arise because of the political aims and activities of the Christian Right. Fetzer, Distinguished McKnight University Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, dissects the philosophical issues underlying today’s most contentious moral debates. He examines the controversies where science, religion, and politics meet – intelligent design, creationism, evolution, abortion, stem-cell research, and human cloning – and offers a concept of morality based on respect of individual rights, not religion. The book asks these questions:

  • Why has Creationism – yesterday Creation Science and today intelligent Design become resurgent when evidence keeps pouring in to support Darwin?
  • Can objective standards of morality be applied to issues like abortion, human cloning, and stem-cell research?
  • Why does the U.S. ruling elite – government of the people, by the rich, for the rich – subsidize Creationism, a movement of no interest to the rich?
  • What are the flaws of current evolutionary theory, which disable and disarm it in the face of irrational public attacks?
  • Where science, religion, and politics meet, what does philosophy have to say?

Render Unto Darwin unravels some of the muddled thinking inherent in present-day evolu­tionary discussions, but shows that any Creationism which denies the great truths disclosed by Darwin is a lost cause. Fetzer explains that morality can be objectively validated independently of religion.

Fetzer has been called an evangelist of unconventional wisdom, a stormy petrel of public controversy, and a peripatetic conspiracy theorist with a razor-sharp intellect. His dissertations on cognitive science and philosophy of science have won him many academic plaudits. His rigorous re-examinations of the Kennedy Assassination, the 9/11 cover-up, and other dirty secrets of the ruling class have made him enemies in high places.

Render Unto Darwin addresses the extent to which science and reli­gion are capable of reconciliation. Fetzer examines the case for Creationism in its various forms, as contrasted with evolutionary theory, with partic­ular reference to what counts as genuine science. He also looks into the moral claims of the Christian Right, as these relate to such matters as abortion and stem-cell research. This leads him to com­pare various theories of morality, and to conclude that only one of these theories is adequate. A deontological (moral obligation) conception of morality, requiring that we treat other persons with respect and never merely as means, emerges from his analysis. Applying this theory, he concludes that prohibi­tions against prostitution, smoking pot, or burning flags are unjustified. Abortion, stem-cell research, and cloning deserve to be regulated, but are not in themselves necessarily immoral.

In Fetzer’s view, the Right is an unholy alliance between those serving the interests of the rich and various religious and moral views which are in themselves of no interest to the rich, but do offer a convenient political strategy for cementing their grip on political power. And in the most provocative part of this provocative book, Fetzer reaches a rather bleak conclusion that we are witnessing a new, American-style form of fas­cism which threatens to strangle freedom and democracy – in the name of freedom and democracy.

Render Unto Darwin is a well written and timely book on a topic that sorely needs careful discussion. I recommend it as an excellent introduction to the subject. – Michael Ruse, author of Darwinism and Its Discontents and Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?
Biting assay of Darwinism's latest clash with Biblical-fueled politics. Fetzer diagnoses a chilling fascist beat in his homeland's now-speak of fear, self-righteous conformity, and egoistic belligerence. Essential reading for all who care about science and genuine faith, and their alliance in defense of true liberty. – Charles J. Lumsden, co-author of Genes, Mind and Culture and Promethean Fire

With exceptionally clear analysis, Fetzer lays out the evi­dence and logic relating to evolution and Creation. Render Unto Darwin exposes the philosophical issues at the core of passionate public debates. Unflinchingly it demonstrates that, while God's Creation of the universe can be reconciled with the scientific evidence, the literal account in Genesis cannot be so reconciled.

Social Sciences / Historical Study / Education / Women’s Studies

Women of Vision: Their Psychology, Circumstances and Success edited by Eileen A. Gavin, Aphrodite Clamar & Mary Anne Siderits (Springer Publishing Company)

We all know of women of great vision: women whose efforts and accomplishments have had a major impact on the arts, politics, women's rights, sports, or science. But we may not understand how they became powerful agents of change or know what sorts of questions we should ask of their pasts to understand how the trajectories of their lives were formed.

In Women of Vision, three notable female psychologists and edu­cators serve as editors, and they, along with a distinguished list or contributors, cast new light on the role of circumstance, accomplishments, and personality in the development of various 20th-century women. This is a new life-course approach to understanding female leaders and gives insight into the lives of such eminent women as Isadora Duncan, Shirley Chisholm, Rachel Carson, Evelyn Gentry Hooker, Georgia O'Keeffe, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘Babe’ Didrikson Zaharias, Ella Fitzgerald, Alice Paul, Lucille Ball, and others.

The editors are Eileen A. Gavin, former psychology department chair at the College of St. Catherine, now professor emerita of psychology; Aphrodite Clamar, senior executive in local, national, and international public relations and advertising, founder and former president of Richard Cohen Associates; and Mary Anne Siderits, clinical psychologist, full-time faculty mem­ber in the Department of Psychology at Marquette University, and adjunct clinical professor at the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.

Preserving women's lives and contributions for posterity through the written word continues to be essential. Women of Vision contains 17 biographies of the lives and milieus of a selection of outstanding women of vision. Most of the women had long, varied lives marked by courage and tenacity in the face of obstacles and difficulties. These complex women were sometimes conflict laden, frustrated, and vulnerable, yet their lives and contributions were remarkable, astounding, and inspirational. They overcame the limitations of difficult childhoods, life circumstances, and societal prescriptions; conquered foibles and frailties; and triumphed over bias and discrimination to forge a path for themselves and others. Despite differences in backgrounds and the paths they forged, there is a striking similarity in their dedication to a purposeful life and their persis­tence and resilience amidst adversity.

Although the protagonists in Women of Vision may be exclusively female, their gender may be less important to potential readers than something of even more fundamental interest, namely, how individuals can do battle against soci­etal odds. That said, the editors do not discount the possibility that two aspects of the experience of gender may be poignantly highlighted, even for male readers, by the details of these lives:

  • The female predicament in a society that practices gender discrimination may thereby become more com­prehensible to those who have not personally experienced it.
  • Readers may be struck by the difficulties and rewards of intergender operation in several accounts, most particularly where such cooperative efforts were an integral part of the individual's accomplishments.

Women of Vision may find a home not only in courses on gender, but also in a variety of other undergraduate courses that in one or another fashion concern socialization processes, life span development, and his­torical change.

Complementary study questions and activities that the chapter au­thors have prepared are located in the Appendix of the book. For some readers, the questions and activities may spark further thought, curiosity, and insight about the psychology of circumstance and success. For others, especially readers in book clubs or college courses, the study questions and activities will stimulate discussion. This ‘stand-alone’ or ‘use when desired’ feature en­hances the usefulness and flexibility of this book.

Women of Vision makes excellent reading for anyone interested in understanding the de­velopment and landscape of the lives and achievements of extraordinary people. It is especially recommended for college courses in women's stud­ies, developmental psychology, psychology of women, personality, and adulthood and aging, among others, as well as to a more general audi­ence of women and men. – Agnes N. O'Connell

The editors of Women of Vision provide a fascinating book of preservation and perceptive­ness that is differentiated from its predecessors in its range of disciplines and emphasis. The psychological emphasis on life span development and motivation of transformational leaders in a wide variety of disciplines and activities, including the arts, athletics, entertainment, mathematics, politics, public service, science, and social activism, serves to illuminate the struggles and accomplishments of a cross-section of extraordinary American women.

This new ‘life-course’ approach to understanding female leaders gives valuable insight into the lives of these imminent women, furnishing insights into how the social-economic-political milieu and the attitudes and values of the time played a significant role in the lives of these women but also in all our lives. Women of Vision will serve as the springboard for exploration of how the psychologies of individual human lives affect their life-course and as a galvanizing step for many more future women of vision and leadership. Equality with men and complete integration of women's lives and contributions into the history and contemporary life of national and international society has yet to be achieved; Women of Vision is a valuable addition to that long process. The accounts in the book should be of substantial significance for readers interested in gender issues. However, the book will to appeal to an even wider audience. Persons hoping to move in new directions in their own lives (e.g., women looking wistfully at new academic and occupational paths after years in stereotypic niches) can surely also find inspiration in the various accounts.

Travel / Europe

Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2007: The Travel Skills Handbook by Rick Steves (Rick Steves Series: Avalon Travel Publishing)

Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual. … Travel is addicting. It can make you a happier American, as well as a citizen of the world. Our Earth is home to six and a half billion equally precious people. It's humbling to travel and find that people don't envy Americans. Europeans like us, but with all due respect, they wouldn't trade passports.

Globe-trotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Regrettably, there are forces in our society that want you dumbed down for their convenience. Don't let it happen. Thoughtful travel engages you with the world – more important than ever these days. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Rather than fear the diversity on this planet, travelers celebrate it. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop, and Back Door travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry. – from the book

Would-be travelers learn how to deal with of the details of planning a trip to Europe with Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2007. America's number one authority on travel to Europe, Steves has done the legwork, discovered the secrets, and made the mistakes – so travelers don't have to. Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2007 offers advice on everything from social etiquette to booking a hotel and ordering food.

Completely revised and updated, Steves's time-tested recommendations for safe and enjoyable travel in Europe have been used by millions of Americans in search of their own unique European travel experience.

Who but Steves teaches the skills that readers really need when traveling through Europe? His travel tips include sticking to a budget, planning ahead for visiting major sites, personal safety, and finding Europe's ‘back door’ attractions. By experiencing the culture like a local, readers spend less money and have more fun. With this book, Steves, who has logged hundreds of days in Europe each year since 1973, helps travelers:

  • Plan an itinerary to make the most of their valuable time.
  • Pack light – and right.
  • Travel smoothly by train, bus, car, and plane.
  • Sleep and eat well on any budget.
  • Avoid crowds and tourist traps.
  • Discover off-the-beaten-path towns, trails, and natural wonders.
  • Hurdle the language barrier.
  • Understand cultural differences and connect with locals.

According to Steves, the average American traveler enters Europe through the front door. This Europe greets travelers with cash registers cocked, $5 cups of coffee, and service with a pur­chased smile. Through the back door, however, a warm, relaxed, personable Europe welcomes visitors as friends. Traveling this way, travelers become temporary Europeans, one of the family – approaching Europe on its level, accepting and enjoying its unique ways of life, demanding nothing, except no fuss.

The first half of Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2007 covers the skills of Back Door European travel – packing, planning an itinerary, finding good hotels, getting around, and so on. The second half gives readers keys to Steves’ favorite discoveries, places he calls ‘Back Doors,’ where readers can dirty their fingers in pure Europe – feeling its fjords and caressing castles.

This style of travel is better because of – not in spite of – a budget. Steves says that pending money has little to do with enjoying the trip. Travelers can eat and sleep – simply, safely, and enjoyably – anywhere in Europe for $100 a day plus transportation costs. In many ways, spending more money only builds a thicker wall between travelers and what they have traveled so far to see. Europe is a cultural carnival, and time after time, readers will find that its best acts are free and the best seats are the cheap ones.

A tight budget forces travelers to travel close to the ground, meeting and communicating with the people. Steves advises simply enjoying the local-style alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants. He helps readers give a culture the benefit of an open mind; and see things as different, but not better or worse.

From train and rail pass skills to strategies for visiting open-air folk museums, the experienced Steves teaches travelers the skills they really need when traveling through Europe. Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2007 is an essential item on any European traveler's checklist.

Travel / Middle East

Lonely Planet Turkey by Verity Campbell, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Dan Elridge, Frances Linzee Gordon, Virginia Maxwell, & Tom Parkinson (Lonely Planet)

Imagine Byzantine chariot teams clashing as you cross the Hippodrome in Istanbul. Hear the whoosh of the flame in the balloon as you float over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Tackle Yusufeli Gorge's mighty 'King Kong' rapids on the Coruh River. Learn how to cut your raki with water to lessen a hangover. – from the book

Lonely Planet Turkey has eight authors, more than 300 days of in-country research, 123 detailed maps, dozens of döner kebaps consumed. The book contains in-depth itineraries and a special trekking chapter, complete with resources section, by trekking specialist Kate Clow. In addition, the Lonely Planet updates its content daily at its website; readers can visit for up-to-the-minute reviews and traveler suggestions.
According to Lonely Planet Turkey,

Turkey is Asia's foothold in Europe, a melting pot of cultures and a bridge between continents. Here the contemporary and the ancient, the cosmopolitan and the bucolic, the spiritual and the hedonistic come together to create a vibrant, diverse and exciting whole.

The Turkish Republic is modernizing rapidly. It's secular and Western-oriented and boasts a vigorous free-enterprise economy. The Turkish people have an unrivaled reputation for hospitality, which the touts haven't managed to vanquish, try as they may. The cuisine is to die for, the coastline a dream, and many Turkish cities are dotted with spectacular old mosques and castles. While costs are certainly rising, Turkey remains the Mediterranean coast's bargain-basement travel destination.

Anatolia, the Turkish mainland, has a long, colorful and complex history. The Turkish landmass was the stage upon which countless empires and kingdoms flourished and declined. The myriad customs, cultures, languages and religions of the sultans' vast domains came together in the imperial capital, Istanbul, surely one of the world's most fascinating and romantic cities – travelers need days there to do it justice.

However, Turkey is much more than its history. With over 7000 km of coastline it is an excellent destination for water sports, especially along the Mediterranean, which basks in an average 300 sunny days a year. There is trekking in the pine-clad alpine Kackar Mountains of the eastern Black Sea coast, mountaineering on biblical Mt Ararat (5137m) and tandem paragliding at Oludeniz. Then there is Cappadocia with its spectacular scenery created by the outpourings of Mountains Erciyes and Hasan. The underground cities and rock-cut churches with their colorful frescoes will take your breath away.

Traveling in Turkey is a breeze thanks to the laid-back charm of the locals, bus transport that is second to none, and the sheer volume of accommodation options, from friendly cheap-as-chips backpackers to immaculately groomed boutique guesthouses. Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) are the best times to visit, since the climate will be perfect for sightseeing in Istanbul and on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and it will be cool in central Anatolia, but not unpleasantly so. If the primary drive is beach-bumming, mid-May to Sep­tember is perfect for the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, if a little steamy out of the water.

Turkey might be the world's most contested country. Its landscape is dotted with battle-grounds, ruined castles and the palaces of great empires. This is the land where Alexander the Great slashed the Gordion Knot, where Achilles battled the Trojans in Homer's Iliad, and where the Ottoman Empire fought battles that would shape the world. History buffs can immerse themselves in marvels and mementos stretching back to the dawn of civilization.

Then again, if travelers want to simply unwind, they can spend an afternoon being pampered at a hamam, or let the warm waters of the Mediterranean lap at their toes. Adventure lovers can head east, to uncover a wild, exotic, Turkey. Bon vivants need look no further than Istanbul, where the markets and bars are among the most stylish and atmospheric, and the mod Ottoman cuisine rates as the tastiest, in the world.

The country's tumultuous history has left a deep legacy. People who've never had to suffer for an idea or fight for a patch of land can be overwhelmed by the passion of ordinary Turks for their country. But for ordinary Turks that passion finds its outlet, not in martial ardor, but in simple pleasures: family, food, music, football, and friendship. Turks have an inspiring ability to keep things in perspective, to get on with everyday life and to have a good time in the process. Sharing their joy in the simple things is a highlight for every visitor.

According to Lonely Planet Turkey, Turkey is like most quintessential of Turkish meals, the meze, a table piled high with scrumptious treats. Travelers can throw away the menu, order a plate of everything and feast till they can't go on. Afiyet olsun!

From Antarctica to Zimbabwe, if you're going there chances are Lonely Planet has been there first. With a pithy and matter-of-fact writing style, these guides are guaranteed to calm the nerves of first-time world travelers, while still listing off-the-beaten-path finds sure to thrill even the most jaded globetrotters. Lonely Planet has been perfecting its guidebooks for nearly 30 years, and as a result has experience and know-how similar to an older sibling's ‘been there’ advice. … This bestselling guide is the ticket to no-nonsense travel in Turkey. Far-reaching coverage of the sights – from the modern to the ancient – is complemented by a Turkish food guide, useful language section and glossary, and thorough accommodation coverage (from hostels to hotels). A section devoted to Turkish carpets explains everything from traditional patterns to making a good buy. – Kathryn True,
...informative and thorough. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

From the caravan trail to tips for daredevils, readers explore Turkey their own way with Lonely Planet Turkey’s in-depth itineraries.

Lonely Planet sees the job of their travel guides as inspiring and enabling travelers to connect with the world for their own benefit and for the benefit of the world at large.

They offer travelers rich travel advice, informed by the collective wisdom of over 350 Lonely Planet authors living in 37 countries and fluent in 70 languages. They seek out the special, the unique and the different for travelers. When they update their guidebooks, and this is the 10th edition of Lonely Planet Turkey, they check every listing, in person, every time. They offer the trusted filter for those who are curious, open minded and independent. They tell it like it is without fear or favor in service of the travelers; not clouded by any other motive. 

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