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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

Guide to Summer 2007 Contents

Arts & Photography / Biographies & Memoirs

New York Waters: Profiles from the Edge by Ben Gibberd, with photography by Randy Duchaine (Globe Pequot Press)

A waterfront, by definition, is the most amorphous of subjects. Where do you begin, and where do you end? What do you put in, and what do you leave out? The water mocks such arbitrary appellations as ‘river,’ ‘estuary,’ ‘bay,’ ‘sound,’ and ‘harbor,’ being all of these yet none of them alone. To even call a book New York Waters is misleading, given that New York's waters are also those of New Jersey and Long Island and the Hudson River Valley, to name only a few. – from the book

Enter the world of New York City's waterfront – steeped in tradition yet threatened by modernity. The world of the waterfront is peopled by individuals of varied backgrounds, skills, and lifestyles – but united in their passion for the waters that lap at the city's edge. Here are their stories, in text and black and white photos.

New York Waters, written by New York Times stringer Ben Gibberd, is the first book to examine and record, in text and photographs, the lives of the men and women who live, work, or play in and along the rivers and coastal waterfronts that surround New York City. The exploration includes all five of the city's boroughs and ranges from its most fabled bodies of water, such as the East and Hudson Rivers, to lesser-known ones such as the Erie Basin Arthur Kill, and Hempstead Harbor on Long Island’s North Shore. A remarkable variety of personal perspectives emerges, revealing what the subjects think about their life and work, and placing the book in the same tradition as Studs Terkel's classic, Working.

The people in New York Waters have not chosen the normal or easy path in life; instead, they have ‘followed their bliss,’ to use the still relevant phrase from Joseph Campbell; each new perspective connects a personal passion to a fabled local maritime history. Among those readers meet are

  • A dry dock operator, a fireboat preservationist, and a guerilla swimmer.
  • Scuba diver Adam Brown, who explores a dangerous underwater world amid the piers and pilings on which the city is built.
  • Octogenarian Olga Bloom who runs a floating concert hall for chamber music in a converted coffee barge off Brooklyn's Fulton Landing.
  • Nautical wood carver Sal Polisi who uses chisels rather than power tools, believing his visitors like to watch things being done the old-fashioned way.
  • The Seamans, a father and son, who practice the ancient profession of eel fishing in Jamaica Bay despite ever-growing official antipathy.

Unfortunately, the New York City waterfront is becoming an increasingly difficult place in which to lead an unorthodox, or even faintly non-mainstream, lifestyle these days. One of the sadder realizations of New York Waters is that, in a few years, many of the people profiled may no longer be doing what they do. The rapacious demand for waterfront real estate has already closed one of the businesses featured in the book, Mike Gallagher's New York Shipyards (its build­ings have been razed to make way for an IKEA). Even the owners of thriving maritime businesses, such as McAllister Towing and Caddell Dry Dock, admit that the metropolitan-area waterfront is becoming a tougher and tougher place in which to conduct business.

But New York Waters is not gloomy; there is too much life in it for that. As long as there are people around like Phil Bra­bosilo, ready to park his yellow taxicab and drop a line laden with spark plugs into the East River at the drop of a hat, or David Sharps, who spent four years pumping mud out of a sunken barge and repairing her as a living-history lesson for all, things will probably still be all right.

Through this collection of idiosyncratic and engaging individuals – young and old, male and female, of all ages – a picture of a previously unacknowledged New York community emerges, created by the very archipelago on which it exists. New York Waters conveys the sense of passion and com­mitment that animates each of the people profiled. And each profile is complemented by award winning photographer Randy Duchaine's stunning portraits. The result: a fascinating, unique look at twenty-one of the waterfront's most interesting citizens.

Arts & Photography / Home & Garden / Animal Care & Pets

Horse: A Portrait: A Photographer's Life with Horses by Christiane Slawik (Willow Creek Press)

Horse: A Portrait is a collection of photographs and writing by award-winning photographer Christiane Slawik. Taking us on her travels around the world photograph­ing horses, Slawik tells the stories behind the photos and about her personal love of horses. She writes: "Horses have been fascinating for me in a way that I can describe only with difficulty. This feeling and fascination I try to capture with my camera – this one magical moment that not only I can take home with me in my heart, but that others can share in my photos. One moment can be everything: strength, elegance, and power combined with a wild and simultaneously gentle spirit. Beauty, innocence, curiosity and again and again the wonderful and permanent will to do right by man."

Slawik in Horse: A Portrait says: "One shouldn't regard horses as merely useful animals. They are so much more. These heavenly creatures are our partners. Infinitely patient, attentive, and always ready to give their life for us. They make us proud, they give us luck, harmony, and inner peace. If we only allow it, they even train our characters and help us grow beyond ourselves. Horses are the most astonishing creatures I know."

Slawik has devoted herself to horse photography with body and soul. Filled with enthusiasm for horses since her childhood and having felt comfortable in all saddles of the world for over 30 years, she financed her academic career through painting and photographing horses. Today Slawik writes and photographs for several international professional journals and publishing houses. Her photographs and paintings have been exhibited in multiple shows. On the search for expressive moments the photo-journalist is steadily inspired by the respective situation, by light and color, by the aesthetics, and the individual charm of each horse.

Through Slawik's incredible photography and inspirational words, Horse: A Portrait reveals a portrait of both these magnificent animals and the life of a passionate and dedicated photographer.

Audio / Mysteries & Thrillers

Spare Change: A Sunny Randall Novel by Robert B. Parker, narrated by Kate Burton (5 Audio CDs, unabridged, running time 6 hours) (Random House Audio)

Spare Change: A Sunny Randall Novel by Robert B. Parker (G.P. Putnam and Sons) 

Hi, Phil,
You miss me? I got bored, so I thought I’d reestablish our relationship. Give us both something to do in our later years. Stay tuned. – Spare Change

When a serial murderer, dubbed ‘The Spare Change Killer’ by the Boston press, surfaces after two decades in hiding, the police immediately seek out the cop, now retired, who headed the original task force: Phil Randall. As a sharp-eyed investigator and a doting parent ("You're smart. You're tough. You, too, are a paradigm of law enforcement perfection, and you're my kid."), Phil in Spare Change asks his daughter, Boston P.I. Sunny Randall, to help trap the criminal who eluded him so many years before. Sunny signs on.
Back then, the ‘spare change’ killer executed victims with a single shot to the head, leaving three coins near the body. The victims were not assaulted or molested in any way and shared no defining characteristics. The killer wrote Phil taunting letters as the killings piled up. Now with a new killing and a fresh letter to Phil, he and Sunny serve as consultant and assistant respectively to a new task force. Most troubling to the Boston PD is the time elapsed between the two most recent victims: 20 years.

Sunny is certain that she's found her man after interviewing just a handful of suspects. Though she has no evidence against Bob Johnson, she trusts her intuition and plays him dangerously to get hard evidence. Meanwhile, Sunny's relationship with her ex-husband – for whom she still carries a torch – is moving to a new plateau as she tries to understand the family dynamics among her father, mother, sister and herself.

Then the killer strikes a second time, and a third; the murders take a macabre turn, as, eerily, the victims each resemble Sunny. While her father pressures her to drop the case, her need to create a trap to catch her killer grows. Sunny knows the power she has over the killer – she can feel the skittishness and sexual tension that he radiates when he's around her but she realizes too late that she’s setting herself up to become the next victim. The pressure intensifies as she tries to persuade her father and the rest of the task force to let her stay on the case in Spare Change, the fifty-plusth novel by the creator of the Spenser series, Robert B. Parker.

…Parker's signature bantering byplay and some borrowings of characters from other series (notably Susan Silverman from the Spenser novels) will delight fans. The outcome is never in doubt, but Parker hits most of the right notes, and there's still ingenuity to his cat-and-mouse. – Publishers Weekly
… The city was terrorized by the Spare Change killer two decades ago, and Phil Randall headed the task force that came up dry. …Parker, also responsible for … the Jesse Stone novels, continues to add depth to his characterization of Randall as he explores her often contradictory feelings about love. Parker's ruminations on romance are sometimes – not always – wearisome, but he never fails to entertain with humor and recurring characters whom we welcome back into our lives like old friends. – Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

Sunny joins forces with the most important man in her life – her father – to crack a twenty-year-old case and figure out some personal things. We have veteran Parker’s take on love, hard boiled, tongue in cheek, and the entertaining banter in Spare Change, a compelling game of cat-and-mouse.

Business & Economics

Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't by John R. Lott Jr. (Regnery Publishing, Inc.)

So long as people have the freedom to act on their own incentives, the U.S. economy will continue to embody the best, most creative, and – I would dare say – the most honest aspects of our society. – John R. Loft, Jr.

Are free market economies really based on fleecing the consumer? Is the U.S. economy truly just a giant free-for-all that encourages duplicity in our everyday transactions? Is everyone from corporate CEOs to the local car salesman really looking to make a buck at consumer’s expense?

In Freedomnomics, economist and bestselling author John R. Lott, Jr. answers these and other common economic questions, confronting the profound distrust of the market that the bestselling book Freakonomics has helped to popularize. Using numerous examples, Lott shows how free markets liberate the best, most creative, and most generous aspects of our society – while efforts to constrain economic liberty, no matter how well-intentioned, invariably lead to increased poverty and injustice. Extending its economic analysis even further to our political and criminal justice systems, Freedomnomics Lott, senior research scientist at the University of Maryland Foundation, examines:

  • How the free market creates incentives for people to behave honestly.
  • How political campaign restrictions keep incumbents in power.
  • Why legalized abortion leads to family breakdown, which creates more crime.
  • Why affirmative action in police departments leads to higher crime rates.
  • How women's suffrage led to a massive increase in the size of government.
  • Why women become more conservative when they get married and more liberal when they get divorced.
  • How secret ballots reduce voter participation.
  • Why state-owned companies and government agencies are much more likely to engage in unfair predation than are private firms.
  • How judges who target ‘greedy’ corporations end up harming the poor, the weak, and the ill.

Believe it or not, according to Lott, price discrimination by drug companies actually saves more lives. Overall, says Loft, freedom, not fads, drives America's economic engine. Efforts to constrain economic liberty lead to increased poverty and injustice. Freedomnomics not only explains how free markets work, but shows that when it comes to promoting prosperity and economic justice, nothing works better. "Economic, criminal, and political policies work best when they direct individuals' natural motivations toward a common good. These policies allow people the freedom to profit from their own work and create meaningful disincentives to committing crimes. Because a modern economy is so complex, those tasked with devising regulations to govern it frequently create more problems than they solve," Lott explains.

Professor John Lott has guts. In Freedomnomics he yet again demonstrates his ability to topple myths and attack sacred cows. The book underscores the Founding Fathers' view of a limited federal government, and reminds us of the importance of free markets. – Larry Elder, radio talk-show host and author of The Ten Things You Can't Say in America

Freedomnomics provides a welcome antidote to the oversimplifications and shortcomings of Freakonomics. John Lott has an unusual knack for over-turning conventional wisdom with good economics. In doing so, he takes the side of such unpopular causes as high gasoline prices and political campaign donations, while vouching for the probity of real estate agents and gun own­ers. Through it all, he points out the inefficiencies of government attempts to provide everything from schooling to Arctic expeditions. – Murray Weidenbaum, professor, Washington University, President Reagan's first chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, 1981–1982

Adam Smith's insight was that we human beings not only pursue our self-interest but seek the approbation of others, and the combination makes freedom work. John Lott uses the economist's twenty-first-century tools and Smith's own com­mon sense style to explain why that insight is still right, with fascinating exam­ples ranging from why last-minute airline tickets are so expensive to why politicians may actually be voting their convictions. – Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground and coauthor of The Bell Curve

John Lott tells a compelling story of how successful economies really work: with free minds, free markets, and free exchange. John Lott nails it. – John Fund, columnist, Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com and author of Stealing Elections

Freedomnomics is everything readers wanted to know about the world but didn't know economics could tell them. Economist and bestselling author Lott shows the logic of free market economics through hard-hitting examples. Entertaining, persuasive, and based on dozens of economic studies spanning decades, Freedomnomics demonstrates that, when it comes to promoting prosperity and economic justice, nothing works better than free markets.
Business & Investing / Economics / Development Policy

Economic Growth: New Directions in Theory and Policy edited by Philip Arestis, Michelle Baddeley, & John S.L. McCombie (Edward Elgar Publishing)

In September 2005, the Cambridge Centre for Economic and Public Policy – based in the Land Economy department of the University of Cambridge, UK – hosted its second official conference. The theme selected for this con­ference focused on the nature, causes and features of economic growth across a range of countries and regions. Economic Growth is a collection of some of the key papers presented at this conference.

Economic Growth focuses on the nature, causes and features of economic growth across a wide range of countries and regions. Covering a variety of growth-related topics – from theoretical analyses of economic growth in general to empirical analyses of growth in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), transition economies and developing economies – the distinguished cast of contributors address some of the most important contemporary issues and developments in the field. These include, among others:

  • Endogenous growth theory.
  • Keynesian theories of the business cycle and growth.
  • Unemployment and growth.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) and productivity spillovers.
  • Knowledge externalities and growth.

The volume is edited by Philip Arestis, University Director of Research, Cambridge Centre for Economic and Public Policy; Michelle Baddeley, Fellow and Director of Studies (Economics); and John McCombie, Director, Centre for Economic and Public Policy, all at the University of Cambridge.

In Chapter 2, Economic Growth begins with `Is growth theory a real subject?', in which Franklin Fisher presents the paper given at the conference as an after-dinner talk. The paper has been left in that form rather than making it more formal because the anecdotes are both interesting and amusing. But the paper's informality does not conceal that fact that, together with the sugar, it is administering bitter medicine to growth theory and to macroeconomics generally. Fisher questions the widespread use of aggregate production functions in growth theory and also raises the issue of what is meant by the words ‘capital’, ‘investment’, ‘labor’, ‘productivity’ and ‘output’.

In Chapter 3, `What is endogenous growth theory?', Mark Roberts and Mark Setterfield provide a critical survey of the literature on endogenous growth theory.

In Chapter 4, `Is the natural rate of growth exogenous?', Miguel Leon-Ledesma and A.P. Thirlwall examine the question of whether the natural rate of growth is exogenous or endogenous to demand, and whether it is input growth that causes output growth or vice versa. This question lies at the heart of the debate between neoclassical growth economists on the one hand, who treat the rate of growth of the labor force and labor produc­tivity as exogenous to the actual rate of growth, and economists in the Keynesian/post-Keynesian tradition on the other, who maintain that growth is primarily demand-driven because labor force growth and pro­ductivity growth respond to demand growth. The policy message for slow-growing countries is that they need to identify constraints on demand (such as the balance of payments, and an obsession with low inflation, for example, within the EU at the present time), as well as investing in the capacity to supply.

In Chapter 5, `The representative firm and increasing returns: then and now', Stephanie Blankenburg and G.C. Harcourt return to the debates from the 1920s about the concept of increasing returns and the role of the representative firm, which culminated in the 1930 symposium in the Economic Journal. The objects of the paper are to try to clarify the exchanges between the protagonists in the 1920s and then to relate the findings to the re-emergence of similar issues and confusions in the last 20 years.

In Chapter 6, 'A dynamic framework for Keynesian theories of the busi­ness cycle and growth', Pedro Ledo recasts multiplier-accelerator models in a dynamic framework, inspired by Harrod's theory of economic growth. The results are twofold. First, the resulting model provides a satis­factory explanation for the observed self-sustained nature of booms and recessions. Second, the dynamic framework suggests that a change in investment has a greater effect on aggregate demand than on aggregate supply. This is what lies at the root of booms and recessions.

In Chapter 7, `A Keynesian model of unemployment and growth: theory', John Cornwall presents a theory of long-run unemployment, output and productivity as a two-stage recursive process generated by the interaction of aggregate demand and aggregate supply. The dominant role of aggregate demand defines the Keynesian character of the model, which emphasizes the direct effect of policy on aggregate demand and unemploy­ment, and its indirect impact on growth. Also, the included structural fea­tures are determinants of performance in the short run but are changed by the system's performance in the longer run, a path-dependent process that generates transformational growth rather than the steady state growth of the neoclassical model.

In Chapter 8, 'A Keynesian model of unemployment and growth: an empirical test', Wendy Cornwall presents an empirical companion to John Cornwall's chapter. She empirically assesses John Cornwall's model, using standard econometric techniques to test the model's ability to explain unemployment and growth in a group of developed OECD economies during the second half of the twentieth century.

In Chapter 9, `The relevance of the Cambridge-Cambridge controver­sies in capital theory for econometric practice', G.C. Harcourt returns with an assessment of the modern relevance of capital theory.

In Chapter 10, `Foreign direct investment and productivity spillovers: a skeptical analysis of some OECD economies', Carlos Rodriguez, Carmen Gomez and Jesus Ferreiro argue that one of the channels through which inward FDI can promote economic growth in host economies is the exist­ence and absorption of productivity spillovers. This chapter is an attempt to evaluate the existence, size and direction of these externalities.

In Chapter 11, `Increasing returns and the distribution of manu­facturing productivity in the EU regions', Bernie Fingleton and Enrique Lopez-Bazo estimate an empirical model motivated by recent theoretical developments in urban and geographical economics. The effects of increasing returns are illustrated by simulations, the density function and stochastic kernels, which show how equilibrium productivity level distributions alter across EU regions assum­ing different degrees of returns to scale.

In Chapter 12, `The role of wage setting in a growth strategy for Europe', Andrew Watt argues that growth performance, particularly in the euro area, has been extremely disappointing. This chapter expounds the view that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, failures in the macroeconomic policymaking regime are largely responsible. Given the extreme difficulty of achiev­ing fundamental changes in the policy architecture, Watt examines the scope for behavioral changes in wage setting, and monetary (and to a lesser extent fiscal) policy, and for developing the coordination mechanisms between these two policy areas necessary to achieve faster non-inflationary growth in the euro area.

In Chapter 13, `Economic growth and beta-convergence in the East European Transition Economies', Nigel Allington and John McCombie examine the question of whether the transition economies have exhibited any recent evidence of catching up with the EU15 countries in terms of pro­ductivity over the period 1994 to 2002. This is accomplished by estimating a number of specifications of the neoclassical beta-convergence growth model.

In Chapter 14, `Knowledge externalities and growth in peripheral regions', Fabiana Santos, Marco Crocco and Frederico Jayme Jr argue that in some models of the so-called endogenous growth theory, externalities play an important role because they are the main rationalization for the emergence of increasing returns to scale. The aim of this chapter is to shed light on the fact that institutional aspects should include the centre-periphery dimension. Having this theoretical approach in mind, the paper analyzes stimuli and constraints to the emergence and absorption of externalities in a peripheral environment.

In Chapter 15, `Knowledge, human capital and foreign direct investment in developing countries: recent trends from an endogenous growth theory perspective', Diana Barrowclough describes new trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing countries, with a particular focus on investment in the highest value-added forms of human capital, such as knowledge, experience and technical expertise.

In Chapter 16, `Is growth alone sufficient to reduce poverty? In search of the trickle down effect in rural India', Santonu Basu and Sushanta Mallick present a theoretical analysis of growth and poverty in rural India. They employ several econometric tests to examine whether the trickle-down effect took place in rural India over a long time-period. They find little evi­dence to suggest that the trickle-down effect did occur, suggesting that the emergence of capital-labor substitution was primarily responsible for preventing growth from reducing poverty.

In Chapter 17, `Strategy for economic growth in Brazil: a Post Keynesian approach', Jose Luis Oreiro and Luiz Fernando de Paula present a Keynesian strategy for public policies aiming at higher, stable and sustained economic growth in Brazil. They hypothesize that the current poor growth performance of the Brazilian economy is due to macroeconomic and struc­tural constraints rather than to the lack of microeconomic reforms. They recommend a strategy to achieve the required increase in the investment rate of Brazilian economy from the current 20% of GDP to 27% of GDP needed for a sustained growth of 5% per year.

Economic Growth is an enlightening and significant new volume providing a useful analysis of the many facets of economic growth and pointing the way toward policy correction. The volume will be an essential read for those interested in economic theory and economic policy-making, as well as students and scholars of macroeconomics and finance.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Computers & Internet

24/7: Time and Temporality in the Network Society edited by Robert Hassan & Ronald E. Purser (Stanford Business Book)

For better or worse, the information and communication revolution has transformed our economic, cultural, and political world. On an individual scale, many of the traditional habits of mind and ways of being that evolved under the regime of the clock are changing rapidly, including the way individuals save, spend, and optimize time. At the organizational level, the pacing of innovation, levels of production, and new product development, are no longer temporally fixed due to the effects of living in a networked society and in the networked economy.

Edited by Robert Hassan, Research Fellow in the Media and Communications Program at the University of Melbourne and Ronald E. Purser, Professor of Management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, 24/7 brings together leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines to analyze the differing relationships to time in an accelerated society. Offering insight and perspective into new issues and problems, this volume is the first to offer a wide range of cutting-edge thought on the new economic, cultural, and political world of the networked society.

24/7 deals with communication and information technologies that have become an integral part of almost every contemporary institutional practice in the industrialized world and beyond, and it seeks to understand this change in relation to the much older and slower, if equally pervasive, processes of global change associ­ated with the social relations, technologies, and economies of time.

Looking at the issues in the round, the chapters in 24/7 offer readers an almost holographic perspective on social relations within the network society, dealing, on the one hand, with the temporal relations of acceleration and, on the other, with nonstop activity in the sphere of work, communication, consumption, and profit creation.

Where we used to deal with space, materiality, and quantity, we are now required to encompass time, virtuality, and networked processes. Information Communication Technology (ICT) tempo­rality is embedded and functioning within social contexts of clock time that are continuing to play their dominant role and have not evaporated with the event of ICT time. This means, for example, that the control of time, afforded most prominently through clock time, and the loss of control through ICTs have to be understood with reference and in relation to each other. This requires a new temporal imagination and an approach to the social that leaves behind the world of either-or choices and moves toward the realm of tempo­ral multiplicity. Complexity rather than simplicity is the order of the day and demands new strategies that transcend the dualisms of old.

To encompass that complexity, some of the authors of the essays in 24/7 begin to unravel the historically distinct temporal logic of the network society. In the course of this work they show how this logic enframes not just understanding but also daily practice at the personal and collective level, acting as both unbounded opportunity and restricting framework that delimits room for maneuvering in every sphere of life.

If we understand the temporal relations of industrial society as a steady development toward increase of control, commodification, and colonization, we begin to realize that with networked information and communication technologies operating at or near the speed of light, control and commodifi­cation have begun to implode while the colonization of time and space has risen to previously unknown heights. On the one hand, ICT pro­vides the potential to be connected anywhere, anytime; on the other hand, it affords the capacity to be everywhere at once and nowhere in particular. This places users of ICT in the realm if not quite of the gods then at least of angels.

24/7 contains a variety of scholarly explorations and provocative essays on time and temporality in the network society. The contributions come from such disparate fields as media and communications, cultural studies, geography, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, religion, and management. They reflect the original perspectives of eminent scholars from Europe, Australia, and North America.

Part 1, Time in the Network Society, acts as a mise-en-scène for 24/7 by providing a sweeping historical, sociological, and technological overview of the temporal transformations that have resulted from the emergence of information and communication technologies. The first chapter, "New Tem­poral Perspectives in the ‘High-Speed Society,’" by Carmen Leccardi, analyzes the dynamics of acceleration in modern capitalistic society, culminating in what Leccardi describes as a ‘detemporalized present.’ Leccardi argues that the forces of temporal acceleration – social acceleration, technological inno­vation, and the accelerated rhythms of daily life – are rapidly leading to a loss of present space for reflective action that has a temporal connection to the past and future. Widespread alienation from time degrades democratic civil society, resulting in historical amnesia, a lack of personal responsibility for the future, and pervasive existential angst. Robert Hassan argues in "Network Time" that the convergence of neo­liberal globalization and the ‘revolution’ in information and communication technologies has created a new form of technologically generated time, the time of the network, which is a qualitatively and quantitatively different time from that of the clock. Network time, he argues, is very much a time of ‘potentiality.’ Hassan shows that individuals and groups are able to create the contexts for the time of the network in ways that were impossible with the ‘outside’ and abstract time of the clock.

In "Speed = Distance/Time: Chronotopographies of Action" Mike Crang presents an analysis of changing temporalities in society that are by-products of the information technology revolution. Locating the major shifts in space and time as understood by key temporal theorists, Crang suggests that such space-time shifts are more complex than commonly thought, re­quiring a conceptual approach that better captures the effects of ICTs on the spatial and temporal fabric of our daily lives. Crang provides a conceptual framework that incorporates the complexity of real-time technologies.

Adrian Mackenzie, in "Protocols and the Irreducible Traces of Embodiment: The Viterbi Algorithm and the Mosaic of Machine Time," takes the idea of control further and deeper into the log­ic of computing itself, not into the rigid binary code that constitutes the core of computing but into the algorithmic logic that is ‘attached’ to computer-based technologies. He seeks to soften the hard edges of machine time by "finding middle ground between the temporality of technologies ... and the temporal flows of subjective experience." The algorithm, in other words, brings the deadening logic of ones and zeros – the basis of binary code – to life.

In Part 2 of 24/7 the contributions turn toward the digitalization of various forms of media and communications to examine how these changes are radi­cally altering our temporal perceptions. Darren Tofts kicks off this section with an apropos cultural study of the cult classic film The Matrix. In "Truth at Twelve Thousand Frames per Second: The Matrix and Time-Image Cinema" Tofts shows how the film's signature bullet photography, designed for the DVD's ability to pause an image, represents a conver­gence of gaming and interactive video to form a kind of virtual or immersive cinema.

In his chapter, "The Fallen Present: Time in the Mix," Andrew Murphie provides a cogent and in-depth analysis of how human thinking processes are being impacted by real-time network technologies. According to Murphie our very notion of the ‘present moment’ has been redefined by network technologies to such an extent that it has ‘fallen’ and that we are constantly falling into this present – which is ‘a fall away from historical purpose or fu­ture hope.’

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, in "Stacking and Continuity: On Temporal Regimes in Popular Culture," notes a fundamental change in our culture from the relatively slow and linear to the fast and momentary, where socially shared routines for distinguishing between wanted and unwanted informa­tion are severely lacking. Contrasting the MP3 player to the CD, and the Web to the book, along with examples from rhythmic music, Eriksen argues that information society emerges as cascades of decontextualized signs that are randomly connected to each other. Given the limits on the time we have available, information is compressed and stacked in time spans that become shorter and shorter, leaving little opportunity for internal integration.

In Part 3, Temporal Presence, attention shifts to the deeper existential and ontological questions concerning human consciousness of time within the context of network technologies. Each of the three authors in this section challenges conven­tional wisdom regarding our potential for ‘being in time’ within our 24/7, networked society. In network societies what we lack is not information but the capacity for sustaining undivided human attention. Geert Lovink begins the section by exploring the time regimes of Internet users. His chapter, "Indifference of the Networked Presence: On Time Management of the Self," explores how the real challenge of being wired and online is not ‘time management’ but time and media indifference. He concludes by proposing new ideas for overcoming the binary opposition between lived time and machine time, fashioning a self-styled approach to Internet use.

In "The Presence of Others: Network Experience as an Antidote to the Subjectivity of Time" Jack Petranker explores an optimistic vision of network technologies as offering possibilities for new forms of temporal presence that are life enhancing rather than debilitating. Petranker's chapter challenges the chorus of critics that have focused on the isolating and alienating ten­dencies of network technologies (e.g., Virilio's ‘telepresence’) by exploring the phenomenological experience of feeling the presence of others at a distance – what he calls a ‘temporality of presence.’

Drawing from the Buddhist tradition, as well as from his firsthand experi­ence as a Zen student and teacher, David Loy calls into question the claims that the digital revolution is extending consciousness by simulating a ‘timeless time.’ In “CyberLack” Loy juxtaposes the ‘timeless time’ of network technology against the experience of ‘timeless time’ as described by Dogen, a thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master, and illustrates how the latter supports a nondual experience of time while the former merely leads to further alienation.

The contributions to Part 4 of 24/7, Time in the Network Economy, focus on the temporal upheavals occurring in organizations, management, and the politi­cal economy as a result of the ICT revolution, examining the temporality of global networks that are linked to the flow of capital and information. Ben Agger opens this final section by tracing the historical socioeconomic dynamics of capitalism and by examining how such dynamics have amounted to what he refers to as ‘time theft.’ In "Time Robbers, Time Rebels: Limits to Fast Capital" Agger argues that recent developments due to the ICT revolution have intensified the magnitude of this time theft, in effect robbing people of the time and space for authentically recreating themselves. In the next chapter Hans Ramo is concerned with how ICT-based networks influence the formation of trust in organizations. In "Finding Time and Place for Trust in ICT Network Organizations" Ramo engages in a spatiotemporal analysis of various forms of trust in network-based organizations by focusing on the dimensions of time/timing and space/place.

Drawing on ethnographic studies of corporations and academic settings, Ida Sabelis, in "The Clock-Time Paradox: Time Regimes in the Network Soci­ety," examines contemporary patterns of time use among executives and aca­demics who have come to rely increasingly on ICTs in their daily work. Her research is focused on identifying the unintended effects of network technology on the boundaries between organizational and private life and between work and family.

This collection of thought-provoking essays addresses the relationship between contemporary times and technology, especially cybertechnology. In doing so, the essays demonstrate so very well Elliott Jaques' statement of the ultimate justification for studying time: “In the form of time is to be found the form of living.” For by developing this collection, Hassan and Purser – and the essays' authors – have made an important contribution to understanding both time and life in the early 21st century. – Allen C. Bluedorn, author of The Human Organization of Time: Temporal Realities and Experience, University of Missouri-Columbia

The authors gathered here are among the leading theorists of the new shift in dimensional thought. Original, provocative, and sophisticated, their arguments will have a profound impact on social theorists and the emerging generation of digital scholars. – Sean Cubitt, University of Melbourne

Given the ubiquity of networks and the massive temporal changes occurring on a global scale, this compilation is timely in itself. The editors of 24/7 have assembled an interdisciplinary panel of international academics whose individual knowledge bases complement each other and who have pro­duced a rich body of work, presenting a wide range of interpretations and diverse opinions. Although these interdisciplinary contributions address a wide range of themes, they nonetheless share a common thread in providing a deeper and more critical understanding of the temporal dynamics of digital networks and the impact these are having on our changing temporal ecology.

By bringing together such a breadth of expertise in one volume, the editors have opened up for discussion an important contemporary development that impacts sociocultural existence almost anywhere on this planet. And these essays may serve as the foundation for a new temporal ontology through which we may have some control over the ‘new times’ that are being created with every network connection.

Business & Investing / Real Estate

Dealmaker: A Real Estate Mogul's Blueprint for Success by Jerry L. Wallace (Career Press)

Jerry L. Wallace is a mega developer who built an empire from scratch – he has put under construction, planning, or contract more than $6 billion in property in less than four years. In Dealmaker, he reveals how he did it ... and how anyone – novice or pro – can use the same process. Wallace, known widely as ‘The Dealmaker,’ is an entrepreneur, author, and one of the most publicized real estate professionals in America. His developments are valued at more than $3 billion dollars. Wallace was recognized as the most successful pre-construction agent in his city, then the Emerald Coast, then the entire southeastern United States. He is the owner of an entire township in Texas, something no one else in the country can boast.

Dealmaker is a collection of Wallace's real estate secrets – his insights, wisdom, and real-world techniques. Wallace says that he has successfully utilized all the principles he shares in Dealmaker – techniques that took him from bankruptcy to success. The book outlines:

  • How to think like a developer.
  • How to develop the skills to be self-sufficient in a shaky economy.
  • How to locate suitable properties.
  • How to negotiate the best contract terms.
  • How to attract investors.
  • How to leverage moderate success into a future fortune.

To refer to Jerry as a real estate agent is like referring to Babe Ruth as a baseball player! Jerry has certainly earned his title as `The Dealmaker'. – Ed Kirkland, broker and owner of RE/MAX Coastal Properties
Jerry Wallace's refreshing approach to real estate success is right on for today's and tomorrow's marketplace. Read his book. He shares all his secrets. – Don Nations, president, Nations Realty
As a real estate attorney, I am impressed with Wallace's step-by-step approach to real estate investing, which makes even the most complex issues easy for anyone to understand. This book explains how to become a great success in the real estate industry while maintaining your character and integrity. – Mel Weinberger, Esquire, partner, Holland & Knight LLP
No one has more down-to-earth wisdom about 'dealmaking' than Jerry Wallace, and he shows you how in this terrific book. – Robinson Callen, chairman, H.I. Development Corporation
Dealmaker is one of the most enlightening how-to books on real estate I have ever read. – Efren Ramirez, actor and TV personality

While real estate novices will find tips they can use on every page, Dealmaker is also a tool for those already involved in the real estate industry who wish to achieve greater success. This book, written in a clear and concise style, is a must-read for anyone who wants to make serious money in real estate.
Children’s / Ages 4-8 / Computers & Internet / Entertainment / Games & Activities

SmartLab: 1st Grade Challenge by Jennifer Jacobson (Becker & Mayer, Distributed by Chronicle Children’s)

  • What's the silent letter in the word comb?
  • Why do we have night and day?
  • How many pennies equal one dime?
  • 2, 4, 6, …?
  • Who became famous for refusing to sit in the back of the bus?

1st graders take on these and 495 other questions in SmartLab: 1st Grade Challenge.

This electronic game gives 1st Graders a fun and confidence-building opportunity to learn what they need to know, when they need to know it. With hundreds of questions covering all curriculum areas and a 1- or 2-player game component, kids challenge themselves and each other to hours of brain-building fun. It's a chance for them to test their memory, prove what they already know, and discover the possibilities of curriculum-connected play.
The nifty little computer, shaped like a computer game with a booklet attached, randomly generates one of the color-coded sections (Language Arts, Social Studies, Art & Music, Science, or Math) in the book and tells which question to turn to. After reading the question, the child selects from the multiple choice answers. If the answer is correct, the computer generates a smiley face and a laughing sound and increases the child’s score. If the answer is incorrect, the computer gives the child a second try.
The designer of SmartLab: 1st Grade Challenge, Jennifer Jacobson received her master's in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has taught pre-school through sixth grade and has served as Curriculum Coordinator, Head of Studies, and Language Arts Specialist in several New England schools. Jacobson is the author of ten books for teachers, including the parenting series that began with How is My First Grader Doing in School: What to Expect and How to Help, and award-winning children's books.

Amazing! A teacher's dream, a parent's salvation, and a kid's hope for filling empty moments with something useful and fun! Enticing questions that beautifully cross all areas of the school curriculum. – Steve Layne, Award-winning teacher and educator (USA Today's All-Teacher Team, the Milken Foundation's National Award for Teaching Excellence, and the NCTE's Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Teacher in the U.S.)

A step up from Brain Quest! I imagine that every parent, teacher, and child would love this book for practicing and mastering curriculum concepts. I could see the kids fighting over this thing. – Donna Whyte, Author, teacher, national education consultant

SmartLab: 1st Grade Challenge gives kids a fun way to engage in curriculum-connected play. Kids will love that parents and teachers endorse taking the SmartLab: Challenge. With sequels for grades 1, 2 and 3, and with hundreds of questions across all curriculum areas, this is an electronic way to build knowledge – and confidence. These books prove it is fun to be smart.

Children’s / Ages 4-8 / Mythology

Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Renée Graef (Sleeping Bear Press)

Paul Bunyan's larger-than-life adventures have become the stuff of American legend. In Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart young readers learn the story of how the towering lumberjack met his match.

In Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart, award-winning author Marybeth Lorbiecki tells the tale of Lucette Diana Kensack, the daughter of an Ojibwe maiden and a French-English pioneer. Young Lucette tragically lost her family in a smallpox outbreak, but a big momma bear took pity on the eight-year old and raised her as her own. It could have been the pox, it could have been the berries, but little Lucette began to grow and grow – to 'Bunyanesque' proportions. Some years later, the giant lumberjack met up with the beauty from Hackensack, Minnesota and then the sparks began to fly.

When Paul Bunyan meets pretty Lucette, he knows she's the gal for him. After all, she's so tall she can't fit into an ordinary cabin. She can churn butter into a thick creamy river, and when she cleans house she can twirl up a tornado! It's a match made in heaven.

He is in love; she isn't impressed. Lucette assigns him tasks to prove his worth, an old-fashioned love test. But what finally wins her is his transformation from lumberjack to forester – an environmental change of heart that will strike a chord with readers today.

Master storyteller Lorbiecki has written more than twenty award-winning books. Her stories bring history alive for young readers, such as Jackie's Bat, about Jackie Robinson; Sister Annie's Hands, which won several awards, including the Bank Street College Children's Book of the Year; and Stickeen: An Icy Adventure with a No-Good Dog, which was a Teacher's Choice Award Winner.

From the quiet rolling hills of Hackensack comes a story that is larger than life. Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart is a lovely book about courtin' the old fashioned way with an important environmental message for readers today. This book is a beautiful way to share the message of good stewardship and enjoy a tall tale at the same time. – Kate Kessler, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

With Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart Lorbiecki brings together history and legend for a rollicking American tall tale. And Renee Graef's folksy artwork tenderly gives life to the biggest love story the north woods region has ever seen. Her illustrations provide a glimpse back to the colorful past of the American wilderness.

Children’s / Ages 9-12 / Humor / Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Chaos King by Laura Ruby (Eos, HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The Chaos King has a city filled with wonders, and in it, one girl can do the most wonderful thing of all.

Georgie is special.

In this fantasy tale of an alternative universe, not only is Georgie the one person who can disappear at will, but since she found her parents, she's become The Richest Girl in the Universe.

She may be special, but is she lucky? Her parents have forbidden her to vanish, her new school is full of snooty heiresses, she's had a growth spurt that makes her as graceful as a grizzly, and her best friend in the world, a belligerent boy named Bug, seems to have abandoned her.

But adventure is just around the corner in The Chaos King, written by Laura Ruby, a Chicago-based fiction writer, as a madman who calls himself The Chaos King has Georgie and Bug in his sights. In their efforts to save themselves from his insane plans, Georgie and Bug discover some of the amazing secrets of the city they love. Their journey will lead them to confront a pack of blasé vampires, a living lion of stone, a disgruntled teenage poet, a candy-loving sloth, The Second Richest Girl in the Universe, a fussy man named Mr. Fuss, and finally, the brink of the unimaginable. . . .

Praise for Ruby’s previous book, The Wall and the Wing:
Witty and ironic, Ruby's sharp writing propels the story to an exhilarating climax. – VOYA (starred review)

Fast-paced wackiness that will have young readers giggling even as they cheer. – SLJ

Utterly odd and charming. Inspired silliness from start to finish. – Publishers Weekly

The Chaos King is all, delightfully, about chaos. This story of a post-modern heroin is great fodder for the adolescent imagination.

Children’s / Ages 12 and up / Family Life

Beyond the Billboard by Susan Gates (Harcourt Children’s Books)

Firebird took one last longing look at the billboard. But it had no help to offer – she had to decide for herself. Slowly, she moved away from its shelter and protection, away from the swamp where she'd spent all her life. She felt a queasy cramping in the pit of her stomach. But it wasn’t just fear that was making her feel sick. There was another emotion churning inside her. It was excitement.

She’d made up her mind. Firebird took a deep, shaky breath and plunged into the scrubland, following Gran and Swamp Dog toward the city. – from the book

In Beyond the Billboard, written by Susan Gates, almost nobody knows that thirteen­-year-old Firebird Tucker and her family exist. Their primitive ramshackle house is completely hidden, thanks to the massive billboard shielding it from prying eyes. Firebird is not allowed to leave their wilderness swamp, not even to go to school. And she must never, ever talk to strangers.

But suddenly, strangers are everywhere – encroaching from the dangerous city that looms nearby, intruding beyond the billboard, discovering the most secret corners of the swamp – and threatening her family's survival. And despite the Tuckers' insistence that nothing must change, everything does. In the midst of the turmoil, Firebird finally finds what she's been looking for: a way out.

Beyond the Billboard is an affecting coming-of-age novel, set in an isolated and mysterious world, a chilling portrayal of a girl's struggle to break free of family secrets – no matter the cost.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen by Keiko O. Aoki, photographed by Susumu Miyamoto (Quill Driver Books)

My busy New York lifestyle may have kept me out of the kitchen for many years, but I'd learned how to cook Japanese food from a real expert, my mother. When I was growing up in Tokyo, she taught me how to prepare our native dishes. But before she taught me how to cook, she taught me how to shop, which to a Japanese housewife is very important. – from the book

The Japanese diet promotes good health and longevity in many ways while also being delectable. According to Keiko Aoki, one reason many Americans don't cook Japanese meals is that they feel it is too difficult. They think special skills are required and they assume it is hard to get the proper ingredients. Actually cooking Japanese food is easy, because the ingredients used are simple, and most dishes do not have complicated sauces like the ones used in Europe.

With this collection, Aoki, a Tokyo-born, New York-based businesswoman and housewife, has set out to simplify matters so those living in the U.S. can share in the benefits of Japanese cuisine at home. Most cookbooks are written by chefs, aimed at people who already know how to whip up a fancy meal and who are seeking new recipes to add to their repertoire. Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen also has new recipes readers have probably never seen in a cookbook, but that's where the similarity ends. Aoki has modified her mother's old-country recipes so they are easily prepared using ingredients that can be found in most modern supermarkets. She is married to Rocky Aoki, the man who brought Japanese food to the U.S. via his string of Benihana restaurants. Rocky may have introduced millions of people to Japanese food, but Keiko has a bigger goal, the transformation of every kitchen in America into a Japanese chubo.

Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen combines easy cooking techniques with traditional Japanese cuisine. Most of the recipes in Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Aoki balances the delicate Japanese flavor and difficulty with ingredients and equipment found in the average American kitchen. The book features entrée recipes with beef, chicken, pork, seafood, vegetables, tofu, sushi, and also dessert selections. Each recipe is accompanied with a full-color photograph. Resources include shopping lists, substitutable ingredients, cooking tips, product websites, and an index.

There are ingredients that Japanese eat almost every day which promote good health which are mostly absent from the American diet, primarily soy beans which are used in various ways including miso and natto, both of which are basically fer­mented soybeans.

As explained in Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen, the Japanese people enjoy the highest longevity of any people in the world. Some of the properties of fermented soybeans have been scientifi­cally proven, such as their ability to reduce blood clots and prevent heart attacks. But they Japanese also believe, and there is some evidence for it, that products like miso and natto prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, have an antibiotic effect, improve diges­tion, prevent obesity, and reduce the effects of aging.

Three-quarters of Japanese cooking in New York now is where French cooking was in the mid-1970s: on the verge of a major breakthrough in quality and authenticity. Japanese is the new French. – New York Times

The book takes away the potential obstacle to cooking healthy Japanese food: time. These quick-to-prepare recipes are designed to accommodate the hectic and busy lifestyles most Americans endure. The recipes take no more than thirty minutes, and many take even less than that. Easy and Healthy Japanese Food for the American Kitchen provides readers with recipes that are easy to prepare, healthy, and don't cost very much. This is a sure-to-please cookbook for all enthusiasts of Japanese food, as well as those looking to prepare healthier meals for their families.

Education / Biographies & Memoirs

The Short Bus: A Journey beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney (Henry Holt and Company)

A young man once labeled ‘severely learning disabled’ journeys across America to find others who have used humor, imagination, and attitude to create satisfying lives beyond ‘normal’ in The Short Bus.

When his teachers decided Jonathan Mooney needed special ed because he couldn't follow directions, sit still, or read well out loud, he feared he'd lost his chance to be a regular kid. Suddenly he was ‘not normal.’ Labeled dyslexic and profoundly learning disabled with attention and behavior problems, Mooney was a ‘short bus rider’ – a derogatory term used for kids in special education and a distinction that told the world he wasn’t normal. Along with other kids with special challenges, he grew up hearing himself denigrated daily. Ultimately, Mooney surprised skeptics by graduating with honors from Brown University. But he could never escape his past, so he hit the road. To free himself and to learn how others had moved beyond labels, he created an epic journey. He bought his own short bus and set out cross-country, looking for kids who had dreamed up magical, beautiful ways to overcome the obstacles that separated them from the so-called normal world. In The Short Bus, his humorous, irreverent, and poignant record of this odyssey, Mooney describes his four-month, 35,000-mile journey across borders that most people never see. He meets thirteen people in thirteen states, including Ashley, an eight-year-old deaf and blind girl who likes to curse out her teachers in sign language. He meets Kent, a performance artist with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who loves ‘yo mama’ jokes and may just be the new Andy Kaufman; and Jeff, an obsessive eccentric who keeps lists that describe his world in unex­pectedly moving ways. Then there’s also Butch Anthony, who grew up severely learning disabled but who is now the proud owner of the Museum of Wonder. These people teach Mooney that there’s no such thing as normal and that to really live, every person must find their own special ways of keeping on.

Jonathan Mooney is an uplifting, rebellious voice who will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had a hard time marching in step in a culture of conformity. …In person, in his amazing speeches around the country, Jonathan speaks with heart, spirit and energy, helping audiences re-imagine their lives. He does this same thing in his remarkable, magical book. Get on the short bus and fasten your seat belts. No matter who you are, you won't be the same at the end of this ride. – Edward M. Hallowell M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder

Curious and compassionate, clearheaded and self-questioning, enlightened and illuminating, Jonathan Mooney takes us on a modern yet timeless odyssey. … A long overdue tribute to our brothers and sisters on the short bus, and a desperately needed battle cry against the tyranny of normalcy. – Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with My Sister
This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they are in the business of ‘helping’ or ‘serving’ people with disabilities. Mooney understands the power that comes when disabled children and adults claim their identity, reject social constructs of what is normal, and define success on their own terms. By journeying beyond normal, Mooney shows the way to a more human, more interesting destination that can transform the field of education, lay bare the shortcomings of the helping professions, and help disabled people get in touch with their own power. – Andrew Imparato, President and CEO American Association of People with Disabilities

The Short Bus is a wonderful ‘on the road’ story that beats out even Kerouac’s book. … Superbly written. – John McKnight, author of The Careless Society
The view from The Short Bus is candid, irreverent and eye opening. Mooney takes us On the Road, asking what happens when you stop chasing the horizon of normalcy and start reveling in your differences. – Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., Chairman, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, Author of Moore than Moody and It’s Nobody’s Fault
Ride Jonathan Mooney’s The Short Bus and you will be changed. With captivating storytelling, Mooney kidnaps the reader away from ‘normal’ for a journey that is hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately liberating. Anyone has had to deal with the ill fitted suit of ‘normalcy’ in their coming-of-age will recognize the struggles in these stories – and as it turns out that means every one of us! The Short Bus gives us a whole new way to understand all young people, and to support the genius of difference in our communities. – Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls and Easter Rising 

The Short Bus is an inspiring record of his odyssey and a unique gem, propelled by Mooney’s humor, and outrageous rebellions. With a unique writer's heart, mind, and spirit, the book is a rebellious, funny, and incredibly colorful investigation of life lived happily outside the lines.

Education / History / Civil Rights / African Americans

Still Not Equal: Expanding Educational Opportunity in Society edited by M. Christopher Brown II, with assistance from RoSusan D. Bartee, with a foreword by Michael L. Lomax (Peter Lang)

I hope you find this book both challenging and stimulating. Further, I hope that you will keep in your consciousness the very simple but powerful message that we keep before us at the College Fund every day in all the work that we do: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. – Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, United Negro College Fund, from the Foreword

The educational, political, and social influence resulting from Brown v Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and their progeny have shaped the dynamics of the collective educational and social experiences of people of color. Notwithstanding, the obstacles, barriers, and enablers of educational, occupational, and economic status outcomes impact the formation and interpretation of public policy, specifically, and public perception, generally, about racialized notions of schooling and learning. The pursuit of educational access, attendance, and attainment is intertwined with the implications of academic research and public policy to improve local practices in school settings.
Still Not Equal addresses the successes and failures of Brown and the Civil Rights Act, as well as the continuing challenge of expanding educational opportunity in the United States and across the Black Diaspora. The book, a product of the United Negro College Fund's (UNCF's) 2004 Patterson Research Conference, is edited by M. Christopher Brown II, Professor and Dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; previously Vice President for Programs and Administration at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Director of Social Justice and Professional Development for the American Educational Research Association and Executive Director and Chief Research Scientist of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute of the United Negro College Fund.

Still Not Equal focuses on the implications of racial inequalities in school and societal settings. According to Brown, racial inequalities impede the processes by which institutions of higher education develop human potential and talent. The effects of racial inequalities represent an unfinished quest to secure equality in educa­tional settings at large. Given the demands of the diverse nature of schools and other settings, it is necessary to conceptualize policies and implement practices that promote oppor­tunity, access, and hopefulness. Racial inequalities interrupt the ability to create an academic continuum that seeks to be inclusive rather than exclusive. The context of an academic continuum must be forged in order to provide cultural sensitivity and awareness of the challenges that the racial divide creates.

Still Not Equal engages various perspectives related to student performance and assessment in education. Student performance levels for African Ameri­cans are becoming increasingly linked to the quality of ‘the teacher’ and ‘the teaching.’ How teachers are prepared in teacher education programs impacts the ways in which their students learn in school classrooms. Stan­dardized assessments must be developed in concert with the school's cur­riculum and pedagogy. The use of traditional forms of curriculum and pedagogy can no longer be accepted without question. As all children can learn, it is our civic responsibility to develop to the highest capacity all of our human capital. The time has come to close the achievement gaps, to place all children on the same college preparatory curricular track, and to provide the resources necessary to acquire the best learning facilitators, school environ­ments, and scholastic materials.

While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought to eliminate the external impact of segregation, the vestiges of segregation denied African Americans full participation in society and produced a de facto apartheid within America's proclaimed dem­ocratic society. Segregation systematically reproduced inequalities between racial groups, and it evoked feelings of inferiority among students within the schools (as do practices such as classroom tracking and ability grouping). As Brown explains, historically, a two-tiered system of higher education emerged as a result of these vestiges – one for African Americans and one for Whites. Today, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) provide African Americans with quality education and training that consistently and statistically adequately prepares them for viable professions and positions that contribute to this soci­ety's productivity. HBCUs are meeting national standards as afforded by accrediting agencies as well as surviving the political battles that periodically question their existence. The challenge now remains securing the future of HBCUs, particularly given the competitiveness of traditionally White institu­tions (TWIs) that are attracting increased numbers of African American students, the rising costs of tuition at HBCUs, and the fiscal challenges of maintaining the operations at HBCUs.

Still Not Equal exposes the role of the school and the community in creating environments for learning. It is important to have community involvement within the processes of educational settings. The community can provide input that has practical and applicable value. Such input is crit­ical to preparing the families of school-age children to parent in ways that are transferable within school contexts. Literacy does not begin and end in the school. Literacy is required in both the home and school environ­ments in order for children to do well in academic activities.

The chapters included in this volume represent the most instructive and innovative ideas to emerge from a historic 4-day meeting of the United Negro College Fund's (UNCF's) 2004 Patterson Research Conference. Still Not Equal highlights the global dimensions of both education and school. Attaining higher levels of performance for all persons at all levels in all sectors is critical to global participation and productivity. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the skills students need to be successful in college go beyond K–12 academic preparation. Without prior academic development and financial aid materials, students may suf­fer from disparate educational attainment across their lifespan. This phenomenon requires continued attention to the details of what it truly means to leave no one behind. It highlights the continued inequality across myriad contexts and invites everyone to assist in expanding opportunity throughout society.

If we commit ourselves to this greater cause, maybe sometime in the not­-so-distant future we can reflect on what we have achieved on behalf of gen­erations yet unborn.

Still Not Equal identifies some of the most criti­cal educational and social issues impacting the educational attainment levels of African Americans. Many of the issues are central to the work of the College Fund, which strives to increase African American college enrollment, strengthen historically Black colleges and uni­versities, and increase access to education for deserving young men and women. While UNCF has broadened educational opportunities for thousands of students over the last 60 years, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all children have an equal chance.

Collected together in Still Not Equal are selected research findings, conceptualizations, and initiatives by the dedicated educators, researchers, and professionals who joined in that historic meeting in September 2004, marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Negro College Fund, the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Each chapter presented identifies challenges, develops strategies for eliminating barriers, and/or introduces ideas for creating an educational environment that is truly equal for everyone.

Entertainment / Music

The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music with consulting editor Bob Allen & general editor Tony Byworth (Billboard Books)

True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. – Garth Brooks

You’ve got a song you’re singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. – Johnny Cash

Country is old. Country is new. Country is us.

Although the first seeds of country music were brought to the New World by British and European settlers, they took root to create a music that embodies an American spirit, grounded in a primal, rural world.

The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music explores this durable genre, following its development through the twentieth century and up to today. With consulting editor Bob Allen, a country music journalist, historian, and critic for the past twenty-five years and general editor Tony Byworth, who has been involved in country music for over 30 years, the chapters trace the history of country chronologically.

Over the years, country has evolved from the early hillbilly music of Roy Acuff and the Carter Family, ‘singing cowboys’ such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and the fast-paced bluegrass of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, to wilder forms such as honky-tonk with Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, rockabilly with Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, and Nashville with Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. More recently, country music has taken such forms as country rock, launched by bands like the Byrds and the Eagles, and mainstream and pop crossovers, famously embodied by Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton, before coming full circle with neo-traditionalists such as Garth Brooks and Emmylou Harris. It thrives today with variations on all of the previous forms of country music as well as the more recent ‘alt country’ (Lucinda Williams & Gillian Welch), and the bluegrass revival (Alison Krauss & Bela Fleck).

From the earliest days to the latest artists, The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music tells the story of country music in words and pictures, with detailed information on the groundbreaking artists that helped to develop and expand the style. Organized chronologically by era, the introductory text to each chapter provides background information, while the Influences and Development sections place the music in its cultural context and discuss how it evolved during the period. A separate essay in each chapter features specific topics of discussion, such as how the film O Brother Where Art Thou? has encouraged a revival in the popularity of bluegrass. In addition, biographical sections focus on the key artists of each decade, detailing the key tracks and classic recordings of each artist, before exploring the lives of numerous other musicians and artists in an alphabetical listing. A comprehensive reference section also includes information on country instruments and equipment.

The accessible, informative text is accompanied by over 500 color and black-and-white photographs that paint a vivid picture of the people who have created and played country music throughout the years, and the transition from rural to urban environments that influenced its development. Written by a team of experts, The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music is an invaluable reference book for anyone whose imagination has been captured by the rich and diverse sounds of country.

Entertainment / Music / Classical

Debussy – The Quiet Revolutionary: Unlocking the Masters Series, No. 13, with CD by Victor Lederer (Unlocking the Masters Series, No. 13: Amadeus Press)

Debussy's music, some of the greatest composed in the twentieth century, also ranks among the century's most challenging. His influence on others was enormous.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was famous before he was thirty and the extraordinary sophistication and refinement of his music would, in fact, later influence some of the world’s greatest composers – Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, and Olivier Messiaen included – notes author Victor Lederer in Debussy – The Quiet Revolutionary. Bartok, Stravinsky, Webern, Boulez, and Messiaen all freely acknowledged their debt to their groundbreaking predecessor.

Lederer, New York-based music critic and writer, in Debussy – The Quiet Revolutionary explores Debussy's music, pointing out subtleties that otherwise could take years of careful listening to fully appreciate. He shows how the composer developed his own unmistakable sound from a variety of musical inspirations, including folk, medieval, the musical languages of Spain and Java, as well as the seventeenth-century French clavecinistes and his musical ancestor and idol, Chopin. Lederer also illustrates how Debussy's exquisite music, with its shimmering tonalities and bold harmonies, parallels the impressionist movement in painting. There is also a chapter on Debussy’s life. The book, now available in the Unlocking the Masters series, includes an accompanying full-length Deutsche Grammophon CD with selections from the maestro's masterworks.

"It is clear when listening to Debussy that what one hears is beautiful, but its beauty turns out to be surprisingly hard to get one's ears around, and even harder to define," declares Lederer in Debussy – The Quiet Revolutionary.

Readers explore Debussy's unmistakable sound and its inspirations in Debussy – The Quiet Revolutionary, learning to appreciate the subtlety in his music. Each of the books in this series, of which this is the thirteenth, make it possible for reader/listeners to become astute at understanding beloved composers including Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Shostakovich, Monteverdi, Hayden, Dvorak, Mozart, Mahler and Wagner.

Entertainment / Sports

The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History by Jayson Stark (Triumph Books)

It's one of the oldest pastimes known to man, dating as far back as the invention of the wheel (somewhat overrated) and the discovery of fire (vastly underrated). But not until thousands of years later, with the arrival of baseball, did the overrated-underrated debate really fulfill its potential.

Baseball was virtually made for the debate. Whether readers are hardcore fans or casual observers, they almost certainly have been lured into a war of wits on the merits, or lack thereof, of a particular ballplayer, team, or record-setting achievement. Sports-radio-talk-show hosts are well-known instigators of these kinds of debates, as are baseball columnists, friends, ex-friends, or the complete stranger sitting three seats down at the local watering hole.

The O-U debate is so subjective that any argument could last for hours, regardless of the presence of statistical facts or hardball knowledge in the discussion. That was the case, that is, until Jayson Stark took it upon himself to end the debate once and for all in The Stark Truth – or, more likely, energize it for years to come. Stark, a baseball columnist and television analyst for the better part of the last three decades, attempts to identify the most overrated and underrated players of all time at each position. He'll be the first to admit that his selections will invite skepticism and even controversy, which is the very essence of the O-U debate.

Stark, senior writer for ESPN.com, formerly at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 21 years, is one of the best minds in baseball, someone whose reputation precedes him as knowing every aspect of the game. So when he says Phil Rizzuto is the most overrated shortstop of all time he doesn't just offer his opinion, he proves it with stats. An entire constellation of baseball stars are going to have a little of the shine on their careers taken away. Some of the players Stark ranks as overrated or underrated are: Babe Ruth, Nolan Ryan, Duke Snider, Derek Jeter, Frank Robinson, Andrew Jones, Pete Rose, Yogi Berra, and Sandy Koufax.

When I first knew Jayson Stark, he was often mistaken for Bernie Carbo, the erstwhile Red Sox outfielder. In a very short time, Jayson was himself unmistakable for his creative, thoughtful, human, humorous, and passionate writing that has made him one of the greatest of all baseball journalists. Everything he has done has been thoroughly researched and thought out, which is what makes his study of the most underrated and overrated players so fascinating. You know one thing as you open the book – that Stark will touch on things you never even thought about. – Peter Gammons, Hall of Fame baseball writer and ESPN baseball analyst

Jayson Stark has always, in my opinion, been the most underrated baseball writer since man started writing about the game. Of course, I may have been influenced a little by the fact that I'm in his book. Nevertheless, if this book doesn't end up in Oprah's Book Club, then Oprah's list is overrated. – Andy Van Slyke, underrated centerfielder, underrated back-jacket blurb writer, and current Tigers first-base coach

There is no one with more passion for baseball than Jayson Stark... Once you've read this book, you'll know why... – Mike Greenberg, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and co-host of ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning

One can be considered the best player of his time and still be overrated – or underrated – which makes The Stark Truth a fascinating journey into the greatest debate about the greatest game. Team loyalists will be intrigued to read Stark's rankings. Fans will be stunned to see their beloved heroes such as Ernie Banks and Joe Carter labeled as overrated and the nicknames tagged on them by Stark. The Stark Truth finally brings closure to this classic debate. Ha!

History / Americas / African American / Biographies & Memoirs

An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege by Heidi Ardizzone (W. W. Norton)

What would you give up to achieve your dream?

Could you hide your secrets in the light of celebrity and notoriety?

These are some of the questions explored by Heidi Ardizzone, assistant professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, in An Illuminated Life.

An Illuminated Life reveals the secret life of the sensational woman behind the J.P. Morgan masterpieces, who lit up New York society. Born to a family of free people of color, Belle da Costa Greene (1879-1950) changed her name and invented a Portuguese grandmother to enter white society. In her new world, she dined both at the tables of the highest society and with bohemian artists and activists. She also engaged in a decades-long affair with art critic Bernard Berenson.

When Morgan hired Greene in 1905 to organize his rare book and manuscript collection, she had only her per­sonality and a few years of experience to recom­mend her. Soon she was Morgan's confidante, responsible for shaping his world-renowned collection of rare books and art. Famous in her time for her self-made exper­tise, her acerbic wit, her endless energy, and her flirtatious relationships, Greene was an enigma even to those who knew her well. She gained access to a world that would have been denied her had her true story been known, touring Europe for work and pleasure and, most impor­tant, becoming the director of the Morgan Library for twenty-five years, a rare position for a woman. She lived in a whirl of activity, as com­fortable in Greenwich Village as she was dining at the tables of highest society. By the end of her life, however, rumors of her black ancestry had caught up with her.

Belle da Costa Greene was born Belle Marian Greener, raised in a family of color who had long been a part of Washington, D.C.'s ‘Black Four Hundred.’ Belle changed her name as an adult and lived as white – more or less. Defying the simple categories of black and white, she loved to joke about having black ancestry, drawing attention to the rumors that began to swirl around her even as her career and public recognition developed.

As told in An Illuminated Life, Greene eventually reached a level of professional stature that few women of her generation were able to attain. An independent and impatient soul, Belle never married. Nevertheless, she did become ‘hipped,’ as she put it in her customary slang, to a new man once or twice a year and took several lovers. New York was on the cusp between Victorian ideals and modernity. Belle was far from alone in flouting the traditions of monogamy and marriage, but she was in an unexpectedly vulnerable and exposed position.

Slightly exotic compared with the ‘old-stock’ Americans of western and northern European ancestry who worked and socialized with Mor­gan and his peers, Belle's physical appearance prompted much com­ment. Belle herself attributed her beige complexion to a Portuguese grandmother, like the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who were adding their southern and eastern European faces to the mixture of American ethnicities. Belle could not have achieved the social and professional promi­nence she did at the turn of the twentieth century had she been com­pletely open about her background. She certainly could not have reached such heights without her quick wit, fearless persona, and extraordinary ability to handle millionaires, art dealers, scholars, and the occasional obsessed would-be or ex-suitor. Scholars estimate that thousands of people of mixed ancestry left communities of color to live as white every year in the early twentieth century. Had Belle followed her mother and siblings into historical obscurity, she and they would have been simply a few more anonymous members of this quiet response to segregation and racism. But when Belle met J. P. Morgan on that fateful day in 1905, she stepped out of obscurity and into history.

An Illuminated Life is not exactly a rags-to-riches story; Belle's childhood was not one of poverty. But she and her family did live with prejudice, even as a rel­atively comfortable family of color, or light-skinned ‘Negroes’ – the polite term of the time roughly equivalent to today's ‘African American.’ Her family's history includes enslavement and active struggle at first against slavery, then against segregation, and always against dis­crimination and racism. And she did not end up marrying riches, or even becoming independently wealthy – at least not by the standards of the Morgans and their ilk. But she certainly did achieve privilege. And she did so despite constant rumors about her ancestry and her identity.

Belle's emergence from nowhere into such an intoxicating existence evokes Americans' love of the self-made man – or woman, in this case – making her fortune through hard work, character, and ability. In this myth there are no insurmountable obsta­cles to wealth, no uncrossable lines dividing the democratic society. That there are so few examples of actual self-made men, and fewer still of women, illuminates the real power of social class to restrict oppor­tunity. But it was a story many believed in, and Belle was one of them. In some sense she absolutely was a self-made woman, a success story of the promise of the American dream. But the patronage and protec­tion of J. Pierpont Morgan and his son were crucial to her rise.

Belle's story is a compelling one for many reasons. The force of her personality alone explains her strong presence in the memories and imaginations of many who knew her and knew of her. Ardizzone in An Illuminated Life says she has, like many of her contemporaries and peers, succumbed to the vitality of Greene’s presence as it lingers in the stream-of-consciousness scrawl of her letters. The energy and personality that so many of her contempo­raries marveled at leap off the page and reveal a woman who was constantly thinking and learning and seeking inspiration and new ideas.

An Illuminated Life focuses on Belle de Costa Greene's background and experiences, on the social worlds and times she inhabited. Belle grew up in the struggling elite community of people of color in Washington, D.C., and eventually lived as a nominally white upper-middle-class New Yorker. In the earliest chapters, when there is very little direct evidence of Belle the child, Belle the schoolgirl, Belle in her first library experiences, the social and cultural history serves to reconstruct the period and places in which she lived. Even in the cen­tral chapters, when Belle's voice and the voices of her contemporaries offer rich descriptions of her experiences in the 1910s and 1920s, the cultural context plays an important role. Belle lived through two world wars and, according to Ardizzone, suffered losses in each of them. She saw social norms open up – for women, for sexual expression, for eccentricity – and close again. She rode financial booms up the economic ladder to privilege, and watched the stock market crash and fail to recover for a decade. She lived in New York as it transformed itself from an island city into a multi-borough modern metropolis of skyscrapers and motor cars, con­nected by bridges and tunnels, first competing with and then surpassing European cities in size and power.

Belle lived in a series of social realities, moved in and out of different circles (sometimes permanently), and embraced complicated public identities. At the turn of the twenty-first century, hardly a public figure emerges without a written or televised biography explaining his or her personal and family background and its impact on his or her career or public activities. But in her generation Belle was not alone in scorning personal history as irrelevant, in destroying personal papers, and in maintaining very different public and private personas.

Her attitude on this issue throws some obstacles into the path of those who have tried to tell her story. Belle was remarkably successful in limiting and controlling publicity about her private life both during and after her lifetime. No published study of Belle exists. A number of essays and a few public lectures focus on her, and she appears in biographies of Morgan and the other great men in her life, most notably Bernard Berenson. The absence of more pub­lished information is due in no small part to her decision to burn all of her personal papers shortly before her death, in 1950. And, as her own protégée and friend Dorothy Miner wrote in her posthumous tribute collection, Studies in Art and Literature for Belle da Costa Greene, few of her intimates felt they really knew her well.

Belle took some secrets, especially about her early life and career, to her grave. And the friends and colleagues who knew her best have passed away. So too have her siblings, who might have been greatly affected had her story been told during their lifetimes. Belle was not completely successful, however, in destroying her papers. She left shelves full of her profes­sional, and occasionally not so professional, correspondence in her records at the Morgan Library. A few key folders have disappeared in recent years, but the files are still a rich source. Moreover, since written correspondence was the main way people did business in the early twentieth century, she left thousands of letters in the files of dealers, curators, and scholars, many of which have since been archived. The bulk of these papers document Belle's daily work in acquiring, assess­ing, and making accessible the artistic and scholarly treasures of the Morgan Library, but some – in handwritten postscripts or letters that stood in for both professional and personal updating – contain clues to Belle's social life and experiences that are the focus of An Illuminated Life.

Most significantly Bernard Berenson kept a trunk of her letters – over six hundred of them – dating from the period 1910-44. The bulk were written during the initial years of their friendship, 1909-16, when the two maintained a passionate although mainly long-distance love affair. These letters are a gold mine of information about her social life, about her work, about the people and events around her, about her own life and thoughts. Belle wrote so prolifically and engagingly about New York and the world in the early twentieth century that her letters to Berenson beg to be published in full. These letters, which Belle called her diary, contain a record of her life. Not a complete record, not an unbiased one, but almost no biog­rapher has that to work with.

Through a combination of these letters, the professional papers kept at the Pierpont Morgan Library and her correspondence scattered through dozens of archives, as well as public records, memoirs of her contemporaries, and stories told by those who knew her, Ardizzone in An Illuminated Life derives the events and patterns not just of Belle Greene's life but of the many social circles and worlds she inhabited. Over the course of her life, she moved between and across lines of color, class, culture, nation, and world views. Perhaps most astonishingly, she also illuminated her inner world, where she lived ‘behind the curtain of my mind.’

Ardizzone's competent, complimentary biography explains the complicated, glamorous woman who transcended her lack of formal higher education and obfuscated her race to become head of the Pierpont Morgan Library and confidante of the financial mogul who founded it. … the daughter of a civil rights activist who was the first African-American man to graduate from Harvard College … Although Ardizzone delineates the intricacies of major art transactions, she devotes more space to the copious details of Greene's flamboyant personal life than to assessments of the Morgan treasures that were her legacy. Still, Ardizzone (coauthor, Love on Trial) showcases the impressive talents of a woman who once wielded enormous power in New York society. – Publishers Weekly
A splendid biography! – Kathy Peiss, author of Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture
Adrizonne's definitive biography unravels the mystery of the bi-racial woman who made herself a world-famous celebrity. – Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters

The contradictions of Greene’s life only serve to accent her achievements. Secretive yet constantly in the public eye, Greene is pure fascination – the buyer of illuminated manuscripts who attracted others to her like moths to a flame. That one woman lived in so many different worlds offers readers the oppor­tunity to examine this moment in history through the eyes of an individual and watch a single person, a very singular person, navigate her way through the cultural shifts of communities and time. Ardizzone approaches this project with the gaze, experience, and tools not of an art scholar or a paleographer but of a social historian and a biographer. Greene’s world, and the many social circles she inhabited, comes through in An Illuminated Life.

History / Americas / Civil Rights

Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965 by Robert J. Cook, with series editor David Goldfield (Making the Modern South Series: Louisiana State University Press)

After years of neglect, the Civil War centennial is finally gaining the recognition it merits from historians – not so much because of the intrinsic importance of the event itself but for what it tells us about the diversity, pli­ability, and openness to manipulation of American memory at a time when elite and popular anxieties over change were rendered acute by the country's ongoing battle against communism and the growing stridency of the African-American civil rights movement.

As told in Troubled Commemoration, in 1957, Congress voted to set up the United States Civil War Centennial Commission. A federally funded agency within the Department of the Interior, the commission's charge was to oversee preparations to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the central event in the Republic's history. Politicians hoped that a formal program of activities to mark the centennial of the Civil War would both bolster American patriotism at the height of the cold war and increase tourism in the South. Almost overnight, however, the patriotic pageant that organizers envisioned was transformed into a struggle over the Civil War's historical memory and the injustices of Jim Crow. In Troubled Commemoration, Robert J. Cook, Professor of American History at the University of Sheffield in England, recounts the planning, organization, and ultimate failure of this controversial event and reveals how the broad-based public history extravaganza was derailed by its appearance during the decisive phase of the civil rights movement.

Cook shows how the centennial provoked widespread alarm among many African Americans, white liberals, and cold warriors because the national commission failed to prevent southern whites from commemorating the Civil War in a racially exclusive fashion. The public outcry followed embarrassing attempts to mark secession, the attack on Fort Sumter, and the South's victory at First Manassas, and prompted backlash against the celebration, causing the emotional scars left by the war to resurface. Cook demonstrates that both segregationists and their opponents used the controversy that surrounded the commemoration to their own advantage. Southern whites initially embraced the centennial as a weapon in their fight to save racial segregation, while African Americans and liberal whites tried to transform the event into a celebration of black emancipation.

Forced to quickly reorganize the commission, the Kennedy administration replaced the conservative leadership team with historians, including Allan Nevins and a young James I. Robertson, Jr., who labored to rescue the centennial by promoting a more soberly considered view of the nation’s past. Though the commemoration survived, Cook illustrates that white southerners quickly lost interest in the event as it began to coincide with the years of Confederate defeat, and the original vision of celebrating America's triumph over division and strife was lost.

Although Cook in Troubled Commemoration says he has been influenced by the recent surge in scholarly interest in historical memory, his desire to write what is, perhaps surprisingly, the first full-length study of the centen­nial derives primarily from his preoccupation with the Civil War itself and the wider black struggle for freedom and equality in the United States. Neither Martin Luther King's ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in August 1963 nor President John F. Kennedy's contemporaneous public pro­nouncements on civil rights can be read effectively without recognizing that they were delivered a hundred years after the issuance of Lincoln's Emancipa­tion Proclamation. In the midst of the faltering Civil War centennial, history provided both of these leaders with vital leverage in their efforts to promote racial equality in America. Troubled Commemoration therefore was not conceived originally as another contribution to the growing corpus of literature on historical mem­ory but, rather, as a more specialized investigation of the Civil War's continu­ing impact on the United States in the mid-twentieth century. While certainly it can be read as a test case of historical memory, it builds less on the work of theorists such as Pierre Nora than on that of empirical scholars such as David W. Blight and W. Fitzhugh Brundage, whose research and publications stem directly from a concern for racial justice in the nation as a whole and the South in particular.

Troubled Commemoration suggests that an assessment of this under-explored event can contribute to a fuller understanding of the civil rights struggle and the role of historical memory in the development of modern America, especially the modern South. Chapter 1 probes the cold war origins of the commemoration as well as the formation and initial organizing activities of the United States Civil War Centennial Commission. Chapter 2 investigates white southerners' relatively enthusiastic response to the commemoration with particular em­phasis on local celebrations of the Confederacy in Montgomery and Jackson. By the spring of 1961 the centennial had run into trouble owing to the federal commission's tolerance of segregated accommodation in Charleston, South Carolina, the venue for the agency's fourth national assem­bly as well as a grand reenactment of the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter that had unleashed civil war one hundred years previously. The events and immediate consequences for the centennial of the Charleston fiasco are analyzed in Chapter 3, as is the Kennedy administration's handling of what was one of its first domestic crises. Chapter 4 considers the growing problems of the federal commission and the displacement of the existing leadership by professional historians during the summer and fall of 1961. African-American efforts to contest the centennial are investigated in Chapter 5. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins were hardly less aware than Frederick Douglass of the need to marshal a usable past in the service of contemporary objectives and viewed the centenary of the Emancipation Proc­lamation as a heaven-sent opportunity to wrest control of the centennial away from southern whites. Chapter 6 examines the last three years of the centen­nial. Public interest in the commemoration waned quickly, and the reasons for this are explored in some depth. But so are the main events of 1962-65, which included persistent efforts by segregationist leaders like Governor George Wal­lace of Alabama to turn Civil War memory to their own political advantage. Although the achievements of the commemoration were limited, the principal cultural productions of the centennial years – primarily in the areas of film, fiction, and historical scholarship – are assessed in Chapter 7. The conclusion of Troubled Commemoration stresses not only the significance of the centennial for historians interested in the evolution of cold war consensus ideology in the 1960s but also its rele­vance to an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of historical mem­ory in the second half of the twentieth century. By the close of the centennial there were visible signs that the black emancipationist narrative of the war had made a return to the national consciousness and that some southern whites were prepared to reconsider the Confederate past. These developments, however, were a result not primarily of centennial-related events but of reconfigured power relations occasioned by the civil rights movement. If historical memo­ries of America's bloodiest trauma often posed a formidable obstacle to racial equality in the mid-twentieth century, the evidence provided by the Civil War centennial suggests that they were not an insuperable barrier against progres­sive social change.

A splendid scholarly treatment of the Civil War Centennial. It will be much admired for its careful and deep research and for its fairness of judgment and inter­pretation. This book will stand up for a long time as the standard treatment we have needed of this troubled and enlightening story. – David W. Blight, author of Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory & the American Civil War

Troubled Commemoration reveals the nation's unresolved ambivalence about the Civil War. A captivating study of mid-twentieth century American historical memory, this book is a sobering reminder of how historical experiences that could not be reconciled with the romance of the Civil War were ignored or silenced. While African Americans were shunted to the sidelines, the centennial became a pretext for fiery southern sectionalism, opportunistic tourism, and shrill cold war nationalism. But because of the efforts of a few historians and public intellectu­als like Robert Penn Warren, who insisted that it was too important to be crassly exploited for politics and profit, the centennial also inspired some classic medi­tations on the lingering impact of the nation's bloodiest conflict. Cook's elegant book deserves a place among the best of those works. – W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory

Cook has written a rich and judicious study of the contested, entrenched and often tendentious recollections of the American Civil War, their purposeful ex­ploitation, and their limits, during the centennial years. Finely crafted and engag­ingly readable, it makes a distinguished contribution to our understanding of historical memory, the African American struggle for civil rights, and domestic responses to the cold war. – Richard Carwardine, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University, and author of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power

The first comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Civil War Centennial, Troubled Commemoration masterfully depicts the episode as an essential window into the political, social, and cultural conflicts of America in the 1960s and confirms that it has much to tell us about the development of the modern South. Cook convincingly demonstrates that both segregationists and their opponents used the controversy that surrounded the commemoration to their own advantage. Troubled Commemoration will not alter the way sociologists, anthropologists, and historians define historical memory, but it will strengthen our understanding of how Civil War memory impinged upon the fight to defend and destroy the system of racial oppres­sion that constricted the lives of so many southerners, white as well as black, in the reign of Jim Crow.

History / Americas / Europe

Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years' War in North America edited by Warren R. Hofstra (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.)

Cultures in Conflict addresses the broad pattern of events that framed the causes of the Seven Years’ War – referred to in the U.S. as The French and Indian War – the intercultural dynamics of its conduct, and its profound impact on subsequent events.

Edited by Warren Hofstra, Stewart Bell Professor of History at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, and director the Community History Project, Cultures in Conflict gathers contemporary scholarship on the war (1754-1763) and focuses on its social and cultural history. The contributors examine the viewpoints of British and French imperial authorities, the issues motivating Indian nations in the Ohio Valley, the matter of why and how French colonists fought, the diplomatic and social world of Iroquois Indians, and the responses of British colonists to the conflict. The result of these efforts is a dynamic historical approach in which cultural context provides a rationale for the well-established military and political narrative of the Seven Years' War.

The Seven Years' War was a pivotal event in the history of the Atlantic world. Throughout this century and a half of writing and scholarship, the War has been portrayed consistently as a military and imperial conflict. Yet, from 1754 to 1765, it touched – if not engrossed – the lives of practically every man and woman in eastern North America. These were the varied peoples of the British and French empires or Native Amer­ican nations. Despite a generation of excellent social history scholarship, these lives have rarely been the subject of historical inquiry with the ex­ception of several outstanding studies of colonial soldiers.

It is in this context, therefore, that Cultures in Conflict addresses the broad pattern of events that framed the causes of this struggle, the intercultural dynamics of its conduct, and its consequences for subsequent events, most notably the American Revolu­tion and a protracted Anglo-Indian contention for the North American continent. Contemporary scholarship on the war, on ethno- and social his­tory, and on cultural history provides the means to view it anew from the perspectives of all its major participants. Needless to say attitudes on the war varied considerably from different cultural vantage points provided by northern and western Indian groups and the varying experiences of Euro­pean imperial authorities versus those of their colonial counterparts. In many instances the progress of the conflict was charted by cultural differences and the implications participants drew from cultural encounters. These encounters, their meaning in the context of the Seven Years' War, and their impact on its unfolding are the subjects of Cultures in Conflict.

Certainly the national cultures of Great Britain and France shared a common European identity throughout the eighteenth century. Yet enmity between these two imperial powers was rooted deeply in cultural intolerance – British loathing for the extravagance of French court life or French disgust at the brash swagger of British militarism. Similarly the peoples of neither nation can be regarded as culturally homogeneous. Centuries of physical and political separation often set off colonial peoples from their imperial authorities.

The authors in Cultures in Conflict plot their own ways through the oft-confused currents of contemporary historiography. In the final analysis this book is a blend of the new and the old. That individuals, institutions, and states act out of self-interest is an idea that retains its power in the essays that follow. The efficacy of culture to explain human action in history is also evident throughout. Thus, from the balance that each author strikes, arises a set of perspectives casting the Seven Years' War not as a conflict of cultures but as cultures in conflict.

The essays in Cultures in Conflict originated as scholarly papers from a conference on the Seven Years' War held at Shenandoah University in October 2004. The title of the conference, ‘Cultures in Conflict,’ was intended to encourage the participants to bring the perspectives of cultural history to bear on the mo­tives and behavior of various groups that took part in this sprawling, com­plex, many-sided conflict. As these revised essays show, that invitation bore fruit that was both richer and more varied than perhaps the conference or­ganizers anticipated. The culture concept, as it happens, proved most consis­tently useful in addressing the consequences of the war – a notoriously tricky issue to address in any historical case and a particularly difficult one when dealing with a war as large and complex as this one.

Paul Mapp's "British Culture and the Changing Character of the Mid-Eighteenth-Century British Empire" and Jonathan Dull's "Great Power Confrontation or Clash of Cultures? France's War against Britain and Its Antecedents" examine the war from European, metropolitan vantage points. Both scholars agree that while the culture concept can illuminate the character and consequences of the conflict, the calculations of power and advantage made by kings and their ministers played a decisive role in the causes, course, and effects of the war. Mapp argues that we would be mistaken to conclude that the anti-French fervor of the British public influenced Britain's decision to retain Canada and Louisiana at the end of the war. Stripping France of its North American domain reflected less a desire to humiliate a hated enemy than a rational diplomatic calculation aimed at insuring that no future Anglo-French wars would erupt in North America.

Jonathan Dull's close analysis of eighteenth-century European diplomacy and military policy similarly suggests that both the avoidance and the ac­ceptance of war proceeded from fundamentally rational (or at least ration­alized) causes: royal and ministerial calculations of advantage and anxieties concerning their own nations' vulnerabilities. Once undertaken, however, wars acquired a logic and a momentum of their own, creating consequences that echoed for decades in relations between states. Thus, Dull shows, French decisions to invade the Netherlands in 1744 may have been made ‘merely [as] military expedients’ but influenced British kings' and foreign ministers' attitudes and policies toward France for the next seventy years.

The cultural consequences of war and the exercise of state power in pur­suit of imperial ends emerge strongly as themes in the remaining essays in Cultures in Conflict, all of which deal with North American groups. In "War, Diplomacy, and Culture: The Iroquois Experience in the Seven Years' War," Timothy Shannon as­sesses the cultural impact of the war on the peoples of the Six Nations, and finds that they were remarkably successful in avoiding the kind of devasta­tion that the war visited on other Indian groups. The Iroquois managed this feat by adhering to a policy of neutrality for most of the war and then throw­ing in their lot with the British in 1759-1760, when an active alliance could bring them decisive material and diplomatic rewards at the lowest possible cost. In escaping the most direct adverse impacts of the war, however, the Iroquois could not avoid its larger consequences, for the destruction of New France deprived them of a competitor empire to play off against the British. As their options narrowed in postwar world, the Six Nations became steadily more dependent on the British, forgoing participation in pan-Indian resistance and increasingly adopting elements of Protestant Christianity in their spiritual lives.

Eric Hinderaker’s “Declaring Independence: The Ohio Indians and the Seven Years’ War” describes the destructive consequences of the war for the native peoples of the upper Ohio Valley and explores the culturally creative way in which they responded. Hinderaker argues that by the late 1740s the disparate native groups of the region, distrustful of the Six Nations Iroquois, were groping toward a kind of intercul­tural alliance in the hope of shaking off Onondaga's control. Their efforts only hastened the collision between French and British colonists in the region and hence the outbreak of war in 1754-1755. The stresses of war helped promote a nativist spiritual revival, which in turn became the basis of pan-Indian resistance to British authority in 1763-1764: a fulfillment, on a vastly wider scale, of the Ohio Indians' earlier efforts to overcome cultural divisions in a common endeavor. Ironically, however, that cooperation came too late to secure a lasting independence for them or the other native peoples of the interior. In the absence of a French ally to arm and resupply them, resistance to British power could last only as long as the Indians' limited stock of weapons and ammunition held out. Woody Holton's "How the Seven Years' War Turned Americans into (British) Patriots" interrogates the conflict's implications for the political culture of the Britons of North America, a group arguably made more con­scious of their identity as subjects of the crown between 1755 and 1763 than they had ever been before. The Seven Years' War changed the British imperial world in ways that no one fully grasped at the moment of victory, or for that matter in the years that followed. In the end this great, transforming war did not make American colonists desire independence so much as make it possible for them to believe they had no choice but to accept it as the last desperate al­ternative to enslavement.

Finally, Catherine Desbarats and Allan Greer offer a wide-ranging assess­ment of the war's impact on habitants who saw their lives upended by war and invasion and on the bi-national Canadian political culture that emerged from a world transformed by la guerre de la conquete. "The Seven Years' War in Canadian History and Memory" frames the cultural effects of the conflict in two intriguing ways. On one hand, it describes a tradition of scholarly writ­ing on the war deeply divided by language and religious affiliation, charged with emotion and inflected by nationalist mythologies; on the other, it in­troduces the findings of the late demographic historian Louise Dechene con­cerning the war's effects on the people of the St. Lawrence Valley. Dechene's clear-eyed, empirical, and resolutely anti-mythologizing approach to the war illuminates the social character of the Canadian militia, the experience of military service, and even the terms in which the militiamen understood the conflict.

What the essays in Cultures in Conflict share is a new and promising approach to understanding the Seven Years' War and its signifi­cance in North American and Atlantic history. The insight on which these scholars base their work is that empires should not be undertaken merely as hierarchical administrative institutions that project power from a metropolitan governing authority to an imperial periphery, but rather ‘negotiated systems’ – inherently unequal partnerships that create ‘sites for intercultural relations’ and which express above all an attempt to impose and maintain order in a dangerous world. The unequal political relationships char­acteristic of empires survive because they provide tangible benefits in the form of trade, defense, governance, and so on; they create consenting politi­cal communities.

Cultures in Conflict is an exceptional collection of essays from a diverse group of scholars. This book raises an intriguing set of questions about early America and offers refreshing new perspectives. Particular emphasis is placed on the pivotal role played by native communities and on the way the conflict forced native peoples to create new political and economic identities to survive its devastation. – Jane T. Merritt, associate professor of history, Old Dominion University, and author of At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763

Cultures in Conflict takes a dynamic, historical approach in which cultural context provides a rationale for the well-established military and political narrative of the Seven Years' War. The authors deliver the best of contemporary scholarship on social and cultural history, cutting six facets in the prism of the Seven Years’ War so that they view the conflict as it was perceived by its major participants: British, Native American, and French. The promise of the new imperial history, as these excellent essays suggest, is to show in high relief the ways in which the his­tory of North America has been shaped by the quest for power and the need for order, no less than by the more easily celebrated values of enterprise, egal­itarianism, and republican political culture. This collection of excellent and provocative essays goes beyond its original intention as a proceedings of a conference, and brings recent scholarship regarding the Seven Years’ War to a large public and professional audience.

History / Americas / Native-American

Massacre at Camp Grant: Forgetting and Remembering Apache History by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (University of Arizona Press)

I ran on up the side of the mountain, to the top, and stayed there. Some others who had gotten away were on top of this mountain also. It is called m-ba-ma-guśl-î-he. The sun was getting really low now. We stayed on top of this mountain all night. The next day one man went back to the place where we had been dancing. He found lots of dead Apaches there. – Sherman Curley, Apache survivor, recounted in 1932

The attack was so swift and fierce that within a half hour the whole work was ended and not an adult Indian left to tell the tale. Some 28 or 30 small papooses were spared and brought to Tucson as captives. Not a single man of our command was hurt to mar the full measure of our triumph and at 8 o'clock on the bright April morning of April 30th, 1871 our tired troops were resting on the San Pedro a few miles above the post in the full satisfaction of a work well done. – William S. Oury, Tucson ringleader, written in 1885

On April 30, 1871, an unlikely group of Anglo-Americans, Mexican Americans, and Tohono O’odham Indians massacred more than a hundred Apache men, women, and children who had surrendered to the U.S. Army at Camp Grant, near Tucson, Arizona.

The Apaches, predominantly of the Aravaipa and Pinal bands, were living as prisoners of war along Aravaipa Creek five miles east of Camp Grant under the protection of the United States Army.

Thirty or more Apache children were stolen and either kept in Tucson homes or sold into slavery in Mexico. Planned and perpetrated by some of the most prominent men in Arizona’s territorial era, this organized slaughter has become a kind of ‘phantom history’ lurking beneath the Southwest’s official history, strangely present and absent at the same time. Seeking to uncover the mislaid past, Massacre at Camp Grant begins by listening to those voices in the historical record that have long been silenced and disregarded.

Massacre at Camp Grant weaves together the documentary record, Apache narratives, historical texts, and ethnographic research to provide new insights into the atrocity. Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Project Director at Anthropological Research, LLC, begins with the premise that every account of the past is suffused with cultural, historical, and political characteristics.

Few if any have denied the basic sketch of the event. But the rest is, as an­thropologists are apt to say these days, contested. Accounts differ in details, tone, and perspective. They are also distinct in more subtle ways, such as the means of their recording and their selective use (or non-use) by later writers to craft stories of the massacre. But these differences, perhaps innocuous at first glance, provoke a series of unsettling questions: How is it that one event can result in such distinct accounts? What do these different versions say about how the mas­sacre unfolded? Why do writers choose one source but not another? How is the past remembered, individually and collectively? Can we ever know what really happened? And why should it matter? Drawing from a range of sources, the book demonstrates the ways in which painful histories continue to live on in the collective memories of the communities in which they occurred. The differing accounts of a single event are examined in Massacre at Camp Grant to illustrate that history is not simply the accumulation of names and dates but is rather a strategy people use to make sense of where they have come from, where they are, and where they are headed. The differing fragments of information scholars use to understand the past reflect how every account is culturally, historically, and politically charged.

This volume reaffirms Colwell-Chanthaphonh's reputation as a voice to be heard. His way of interweaving the differing perspectivess of the Camp Grant Massacre not only serves to place the specific event within a local context but also invokes larger questions on how events are recorded, selectively remembered and easily forgotten as part of history. – Joe Watkins, University of New Mexico

This book is a little gem, a passionate and informed narrative about a shockingly invisible chapter of western American history. – David Hurst Thomas, American Museum of Natural History

Through interdisciplinary study, Massacre at Camp Grant examines how history is used as a political tool and engages those perspectives previously silenced to reveal the complexity of the 1871 massacre. This powerful book is geared toward college students and researchers, but it is not written to exclude the interested general public – while building from a solid scholarly foundation, Colwell-Chanthaphonh has written a concise book accessible to multiple audiences. It is not the final word on the massacre but is meant to open a discussion, to foster a constructive dialogue about the past. By paying attention to all of these aspects of a contested event, he provides a nuanced interpretation of the cultural forces behind the massacre, illuminates how history becomes an instrument of politics, and contemplates why we must study events we might prefer to forget.
History / World / Science / Arts / Philosophy

Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists by Michael H. Morgan, with a foreword by King Abdullah II (National Geographic)

Even if you must go all the way to China, said the Prophet, seek knowledge.

A thousand years ago, when London and Paris were muddy towns of 30,000, when few Europeans could read and their continent was wracked by poverty and superstition, Baghdad was one of the world's greatest cities with 2 million people, a thought-center churning out higher math, proto-modern chemistry, effective medical care and vast libraries that held the memory of civilizations. Cordoba was the capital of a rival Muslim empire where a musician-inventor performed the first hang-glider flight and surgeons were devising the first orthodontia, plastic surgery and forceps-assisted delivery. Cairo was a third Arab center of invention, fully tri-religious and home to perhaps the first modern university. Other Muslim cities of thought, tolerance and invention were already flourishing or would soon appear.

In an era when the relationship between Islam and the West seems mainly defined by mistrust and misunderstanding, we often forget that for centuries Muslim civilization was the envy of the world. With a foreword by King Abdullah II of Jordan, Lost History is an examination of the major cultural, artistic and scientific contributions that Islam has made to modern society. Written by an award-winning author and former diplomat with extensive experience in the Muslim world, it provides insight not only into Islam's historic achievements but also the ancient resentments that fuel today's bitter conflicts.
Michael Hamilton Morgan reveals how early Muslim advancements in science and culture lay the cornerstones of the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and modern Western society. As he chronicles the Golden Ages of Islam, beginning in 570 A.D. with the birth of Muhammad, and resonating today, he introduces scholars like Ibn Al-Haytham, Ibn Sina, Al-Tusi, Al-Khwarizmi, and Omar Khayyam, towering empirical figures who revolutionized the mathematics, astronomy, and medicine of their time and paved the way for Newton, Copernicus, Einstein, and many others. And he reminds readers that inspired leaders from Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent and beyond championed religious tolerance, encouraged intellectual inquiry, and sponsored artistic, architectural, and literary works that still dazzle us with their brilliance.
Morgan is a former diplomat and journalist covering foreign policy issues, who created and now heads New Foundations for Peace, which promotes cross-cultural understanding and leadership among youth. Morgan's extensive experience in Muslim cultures informs much of his insight into not only Islam's historic achievements but also the ancient resentments that fuel today's bitter conflicts.

Juxtaposing scenes of modern life with related events of the past, Morgan details how in magnificent centers of learning, from Damascus to Baghdad and Cairo, mathematicians a thousand years ago developed algebra, algorithms, and trigonometry – the foundations upon which modern technology is built. Inventors devised the crankshaft and early versions of the torpedo and the parachute. Physicians invented techniques from orthodontia to asthma care to tracheotomy. And Muslim astronomers calculated the planet's diameter and circumference to a remarkable degree of accuracy – at a time when Europeans thought the Earth was flat.

It is hoped that this work will contribute to greater understanding of Islam by Westerners, and will help them to appreciate that just as our pasts have intertwined in constructive ways, so too can our futures. – King Abdullah II

Lost History delivers a missing link to the story of an interconnected world: the achievements of Muslim civilization and its influence on East and West. – President Jimmy Carter

Michael Morgan gives us a gift by restoring a history that has been lost for too long. Lost History should be read by every person who suspects that there is more to the story than the tired clichés of a ‘clash of civilizations’. – Edward L. Widmer, Director, John Carter Brown Library

In Lost History former diplomat Morgan offers his profound insight and presents a more complete view of Muslim culture – one that counters the current focus on war, terrorism and politics. As timely as it is telling, the book seeks to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding, misinformation and incomplete knowledge that plagues both sides in what is now called the ‘clash of civilizations’. Lost History affords Muslim pioneering leaders the credit and respect they deserve – and readers with a vibrant, vital story that resonates in its timeliness. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how early Muslim breakthroughs not only laid the cornerstones of the Renaissance, but how they reverberate today in computation, digital appliances, surgery and pharmaceuticals, film and books, modern universities and global commerce.

Home & Garden / Animal Care & Pets / Biographies & Memoirs

Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz (Villard)

Jon Katz is one of America's best-loved dog writers, and his keen insights into the animal world have earned him the title of Squire of Bedlam Farm.

In his memorable memoirs about life with his dogs, readers have followed Katz's transformation from a suburban New Jersey dog owner to squire of an 1862 farmhouse on the Vermont border. At the heart of his latest book is an examination of the balance we all struggle to achieve in our lives – between man and nature, relaxation and stress, life and death, love and loneliness, and of course, canine and human. Katz pursued a nearly universal dream – to take off for a beautiful place, buy a sprawling old farm, and do what he always wanted: to write about dogs and animals. He was surprised, enthralled, and challenged by what he found.

Dog Days and it predecessor volumes also tell the story of a husband and wife as they grow and change over the years. It is a marriage in which two people love each other but sometimes want different things. In spite of the aches and pains brought on by his demanding lifestyle and days when Bedlam Farm truly lives up to its name (like the day Elvis pulled the fence down), Katz is sustained in all he does by his wife, Paula. And on timeless summer days and in punishing winter storms, he continues his meditation on what animals can selflessly teach humans – and what we in turn owe to them.

During his years at Bedlam Farm, Katz's menagerie of animals (and stories about them) has continued to grow. In addition to his yellow Labs and border collies, Katz now shares his life with his four donkeys Lulu, Fanny, Jeannette and Jesus; his barn cat Mother; the already mentioned steer Elvis; the cow Luna; Winston the Rooster; three hens; and a flock of sheep. In Dog Days, as the lazy days of summer arrive, Katz is able to reflect on the farmers and neighbors around him, the reassuring yet punishing rhythm of his daily chores on the farm, and the great rewards of mankind, animals, and land – as well as the mire of bugs, mud, manure, and chicken droppings.

Riding herd on the entire place is Rose, the workaholic border collie. Not even Rupert, the ram, can intimidate her. As for Pearl and Clementine, the Labs, their work is chomping down food, tearing through the woods, and finding laps to snuggle on. The sheep, the chickens, and the cat all contribute to the hum (and occasional roar) of Bedlam. So do the vet, the carpenter, and the animals' tender-hearted nursemaid. Last but not least there's Izzy, the abandoned border collie, who, if all goes well, may soon become a Bedlam star.

Not only has Katz written 16 books, he co-hosts Dog Talk on public radio, freelances for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and operates the eponymous Bedlam Farm in upstate New York – sometimes with his wife, but always with dogs and chickens and sheep and even a few donkeys and cows. Readers familiar only with Katz's suburban mystery novels will find that his farm memoirs set out to do basically the same thing, bring order to chaos. … He has to balance his focus on the farm with his relationship with his wife, who never particularly approved of the farm idea, even if she supported his need to do it. Anyone who loves animals or country life, but maybe can't have a pet or actually live in the country, will find Katz a perfect armchair companion. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Trying to assemble a sort-of-heavenly city in West Hebron is not a casual thing." So Katz begins his latest collection of stories from upstate New York's Bedlam Farm, the saga of which began with A Dog Year (2002). Bedlam Farm, a cross between a working and a hobby farm, is the home of the animals that are his inspiration. …A must-read for all animal lovers. – Nancy Bent, Booklist

Just in time for the real Dog Days of Summer, Katz delivers a wonderful memoir of living the life he always dreamed of on a rural, upstate New York farm. With good neighbors, a beautiful landscape, and tales of true love thrown in, Dog Days gives readers not only down-to-earth animal stories told in Katz's inimitable style, but a rich portrait of the harmonious world that is Bedlam Farm. Told with the humor, compassion, insight, and gift of storytelling that has made Katz famous, Dog Days portrays the full spectrum of rural life. Those who have never read him before, will want to visit Bedlam Farm; and those who are already fans will be glad to curl up with this old friend.

Home & Garden

Country Living Easy Transformations: Makeovers for Your Outdoor Spaces: Backyards, Decks, Patios, Porches & Terraces by Elizabeth S. Hamilton, from the Editors of Country Living (Easy Transformations Series: Hearst Books)

According to Makeovers for Your Outdoor Spaces, the outdoor room serves multiple purposes. It connects a home to its environment; creates a private space for residents and guests to enjoy the natural world; and encourages us to fully inhabit the space outside the house, whether we are strolling along a path, relaxing on a porch, or simply sitting on a bench contemplating patterns of sunlight and shadow.

The definition of an outdoor room is flexible, but, in essence, what makes an outdoor room recog­nizable as such is some way of defining the space that differentiates it from the rest of the outdoors – while still maintaining its harmony with the whole. This may be done with walls, floors, roofs, plantings, containers, furnishings, and accessories, alone or in creative combinations.

Where to begin is often the biggest challenge. In Country Living Easy Transformations: Makeovers for Your Outdoor Spaces, the editors of Country Living gather dozens of idea-filled gardens. There are welcoming porches, well-appointed patios, meandering paths, and secluded spots perfect for afternoon idylls. Every sector of outdoor space is eligible, regardless of its size and shape. Front yards, from the sidewalk to the front door are a great place to start, aiming for a welcoming approach to the house and a pleasing entryway. Side and backyard spaces, such as porches, patios, and decks, make appealing transitions from indoors to out. Outdoor rooms can also emerge as one moves farther away from the house, using paths and walkways that are essentially outdoor corridors, to partially or fully enclosed spaces framed by fences and walls. Freestanding structures give definition to expansive areas.

Makeovers for Your Outdoor Spaces shows readers how to transform any outdoor space – into a special retreat.

Some ideas include:

  • Place urns and statuary at strategic spots in the front yard where one can linger before reaching the door.
  • Paint the porch floor to give it instant style.
  • Install white trelliswork to enclose a patio, creating an airy yet sheltered space.
  • Decorate a deck with flea-market finds to set a casual, comfortable atmosphere.
  • Plant a long arbor in the garden to form a passage from one ‘room’ to the next.
  • Lay a stone path to divert tranquility seekers off the main lawn to a spot perfect for a moment of quiet contemplation.
  • Build a large pergola to give shelter to a dining table and support to a hammock.

The outdoor rooms in Makeovers for Your Outdoor Spaces interpret the concept of ‘outdoor rooms’ in wonderful ways. They may inspire readers to transform their outdoor space into an integral part of the home. Whether readers have a small courtyard or acres of land, they will find easy ideas, lushly photographed, for creating perfect retreats.

Home & Garden / Animals & Pets / Children’s / Ages 8 & up / Sports

Jumping for Kids by Lesley Ward (Young Equestrian Series: Storey Publishing LLC)

Jumping a fence is one of the most exciting things you can do on horseback. It feels like flying! If you spend lots of time in the saddle, I'll bet that your riding goals include learning how to jump or improving your jumping skills. You may be interested in jumping at shows or learning to jump cross-country fences. Perhaps you want to teach your favorite horse how to jump. This book will help you.

Too often, we point our horse at a fence, give him a squeeze with our legs, and pray that he'll go over it. If you've been riding a while, you'll know this doesn't always work! Don't worry. This book will help you develop your jumping skills, so that you can help your horse when he jumps, not hinder him.

You'll start out by trotting over poles, move on to jumping single fences, and finish up by cantering confidently around show jumping and cross-country courses. And if you don't have any jumps at your barn to practice over, [Jumping for Kids] will teach you how to make some.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your helmet and gloves, shorten your stirrups a hole or two, and pick up a canter. It's time to jump! – from the book

Young equestrians dream of galloping toward a fence on their favorite horse and sailing over it in one long, smooth leap. Jumping is one of the most thrilling things young riders can accomplish on horseback and the ultimate goal of countless horse-crazy kids.
Lesley Ward, editor of Young Rider magazine, interacts with young people and horses every day. She has witnessed the youngsters' enthusiasm for jumping, their courage in the saddle, and their thirst for knowledge and reliable advice. Responding to readers' letters asking for help with jumping problems, Ward covers the fundamentals of jumping safely and correctly in Jumping for Kids – a guide for children eight and up – from properly positioning their body in the saddle to jumping combination fences. Ward also coaches frustrated youngsters in working with their horses, guides trainers in problem solving, and even shows enterprising riders how to build their own jumps. The book includes cross-country, show jumping, training, poles and fences, and safety and gear. Full-color photographs, line illustrations, jumping diagrams, charts, sidebars and a calm, encouraging voice engage the child every step of the way – from building strength and confidence riding on the flat to jumping at a show.
Chapters include:

  1. Off to a Flying Start
  2. Your First Jump
  3. Jumping Exercises
  4. Solving Jumping Problems
  5. Building Jumps and Designing Courses
  6. Jumping at a Show
  7. Cross-country Jumping
  8. Teaching Your Horse to Jump

Ward imparts enthusiasm and constant safety reminders along the way. Jumping for Kids is the fourth book in the award-winning young equestrian series – following Horse Care for Kids, Riding for Kids, and Horse Showing for Kids.

Photographs, diagrams, charts, and Ward's friendly, encouraging voice shows readers the fundamentals of safe jumping in Jumping for Kids. A complete learn-to-jump program, the book gives readers plenty of information to study at home after the day's lessons are over, in a easy-to-read, highly illustrated design. It is a resource young horse lovers will want to read and reread as they progress from jumping over hay bales at home to taking their first cross-country fences.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Fun with Chinese Knotting: Making Your Own Fashion Accessories and Accents by Lydia Chen (Tuttle Publishing)
Knotting, or the joining of two cords to form symmetrical patterns, is an old and revered art form in China and an integral part of Chinese life. Since ancient times, Chinese knots have been used for a variety of practical and decorative purposes: to record events, aid in fishing and hunting, wrap and tie items, embellish personal attire, ornament other works of art and communicate. The intricate knot work and magnificent color combinations not only lent elegance to everyday objects, or a touch of gaiety and enchantment, but were an aesthetic expression of Chinese folk symbolism, expressing wishes for good fortune and wealth or the joys of love and marriage.

Today, breakthroughs in designs, materials and applications have rejuvenated the art of Chinese knotting, and have attracted a large following worldwide.In Fun with Chinese Knotting, author Lydia Chen, a leading authority and teacher of traditional Chinese decorative knotting, focuses on the use of Chinese knots as fashion accessories – hair ornaments, earrings, necklaces, pendants, brooches, belts, bracelets and anklets – and as accents on clothing.

The book contains full color photographs of the creative use of these decorative knots and the variety of materials that can be used, as well as step-by-step instructions, and diagrams to help readers in learning to make them. Nine basic knots, nineteen compound knots (more complex combinations and variations), and five tassel designs form the foundations for making the 135 knot formations illustrated in full color throughout Fun with Chinese Knotting.

Detailed instructions, clear diagrams, and beautiful color photographs illustrating the creative use of Chinese knots and the variety of materials used make Fun with Chinese Knotting easy to use and a source of inspiration for craftspeople, opening up a brand new world for creative and dedicated knotters. The book invitingly helps readers discover the relaxation, artistic satisfaction and beautiful personalized ornamentation that Chinese knotting has to offer.

Law / Human Rights / Political Science

Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 by Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch World Report Series: Seven Stories Press)

I haven't seen the report, but if they're saying we tortured people, they're wrong. Period. – President George W. Bush, press conference, January 26, 2006

Who will act as the world's human rights leader? U.S. influence has been undercut by its detention of suspects without trial and use of torture; emerging democracies and other potential leaders have been at best inconsistent. The European Union, founded on human rights principles, is well positioned to fill the void but needs new thinking and stronger policies if it is to succeed.

Written in straightforward, non-technical language, Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 prioritizes events in the most affected countries during the year. The backbone of the report consists of a series of concise overviews of the most pressing human rights issues in countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, with particular focus on the role – positive or negative – played in each country by key domestic and international actors.
In the report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urges the European Union and developing democracies to step into the leadership role the United States has abandoned. "Unless a new leader emerges in this time of diminished U.S. credibility, the tyrants of the world will enjoy free reign," writes HRW executive director Kenneth Roth in his introduction to Human Rights Watch World Report 2007. The volume reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2006 by the HRW research staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in question.

In 2007, there is no shortage of human rights crises requiring international attention. Darfur remains synonymous with mass murder, rape, and forced displacement. Iraq has degenerated into massive sectarian blood-letting. Civilians are murdered for political ends in too many parts of the world, and governments in countries such as China, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Vietnam are slipping towards one-party dictatorships and state-sponsored repression.

In Human Rights Watch World Report 2007, the largest human rights organization in the United States spotlights abuses, including in-depth analyses of 75 individual countries. Among other crises, it examines Saudi Arabia and Syria's closed dictatorships; Russia and Egypt's crackdown on nongovernmental organizations; Iran and Ethiopia's silencing of dissident voices; and civil conflicts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Columbia, and Nigeria.

In addition to director Roth's introductory essay on the leadership void, the volume contains three new essays: "Principled Leadership: A Human Rights Agenda for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon" by Peggy Hicks about how Kofi Annan's successor can succeed by treating human rights as an integral part of his job; "Globalization Comes Home: Protecting Migrant Domestic Workers' Rights," by Nisha Varia about the profound human cost of inadequate labor protections for migrant workers; and "A Shrinking Realm: Freedom of Expression Since 9/11" by Dinah PoKempner about the erosion of free expression norms worldwide since 9/11.

Roth has been at the helm of HRW since 1993. Previously, he was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. In his twelve years as executive director of HRW, the organization has shared a Nobel Prize, greatly expanded its geographic reach, and added special projects devoted to refugees, children's rights, academic freedom, international justice, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, and the rights responsibilities of multinational corporations.

A wonderful report. An attempt to bring rationality where emotion tends to dominate. –Simon Jenkins, former editor of The Times of London, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week
The reports of the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) have become extremely important. . . . HRW has documented practically every aspect of the growing crisis in a series of detailed reports which have offered sensible recommendations. Cogent and eminently practical, these reports have gone far beyond an account of human rights abuses in the country. – Ahmed Rashid in The New York Review of Books
When Human Rights Watch, a respected organization that has been monitoring the world's behavior since 1978, focuses its annual review on America's use of torture and inhumane treatment, every American should feel a sense of shame. And everyone who has believed in the United States as the staunchest protector of human rights in history should be worried. – International Herald Tribune

The world's leading human rights organization's indispensable annual account of global human rights abuses is the most probing review of human rights developments available anywhere. Powerfully written, heavily researched, and urgently needed – the 17th annual Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 presents human rights conditions in 70 countries across the globe. Highly anticipated and widely publicized by the U.S. and international press every year, Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 is an invaluable resource for journalists, diplomats, and now, all world citizens.

Law Enforcement / Social Sciences

Policing the Wild North-West: A Sociological Study of the Provincial Police in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1905-1932 by Zhiqiu Lin (University of Calgary Press)

The provincial police in Alberta and Saskatchewan existed for a relatively short period of time, yet they played a crucial role in the formative years of both provinces. The period from 1905 to 1932 saw major social change and upheaval in western Canada – immigration and settlement, World War I, Prohibition, and the onset of the Great Depression present unique challenges for law enforcement officers in their quest to maintain order in a sometimes turbulent environment.

In Policing the Wild North-West, the first comprehensive social history of provincial police in western Canada between 1905 and 1932, author Zhiqiu Lin investigates the complex relationship between the role of policing, the political sphere, and social progress. The book analyzes the effects on provincial police in Alberta and Saskatchewan of various social phenomena ranging from political radicals and vagrants, to prohibition bootleggers and black market profiteers. These factors placed enormous demands on the development of policing

Policing the Wild North-West concludes with an examination of the transition between federal and provincial responsibilities for policing in the two provinces, the reasons for the disbandment of the provincial police forces, and the broader issues of police development and the rationalization of policing in modern society.

Although the Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial police forces ex­isted only for a relatively short period of time, and little was known about them after their disbandment, they played an important role in the en­forcement of law and order and social and economic development in these provinces in their formative years. The provincial police witnessed one of the most fascinating periods of history in western Canada. They experienced World War I, prohibition, the western settlement, the Great Depression, the increasing prevalence of serious crimes, as well as many technical innovations in policing. At the same time, unlike the history of the Manitoba provincial police, about which virtually no documentation was preserved, there exist rich archival materials about the activities of the Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial police forces, including various historical documents and records, as well as statistical data derived from police annual reports. In spite of their fascinating experience and the surviving data, surprisingly, there is virtually no serious research about the forces and their significance in the context of the development of modern police and the settlement of western Canada. Policing the Wild North-West, based on the rich archival materials, not only recounts the rise and fall of the pro­vincial police forces in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but also investigates a number of questions that have emerged from recent historical studies of policing and the development of modern police forces. These include:

  • What was the relationship between the provincial police development in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the patterns and trends in modern police development elsewhere?
  • How did development of the police interplay with diverse social and political factors?
  • Did the development of policing affect the trends in crime, and if so, how?
  • How did police enforcement of moralist laws affect police popularity and legitimacy?
  • What was the relationship between police activities and politics in the early part of the twentieth century?

The exploration of the professionalization process of the provincial forces in Policing the Wild North-West is organized around three gen­eral themes: (1) the professionalization of police forces; (2) the evolution in the objects of police control from the dangerous classes to serious crimes; and (3) the effect of the presence of police on the crime rates. These themes suggest that police institutions in modern societies have adopted the structure of bureaucratic administration; that is, policing has been increasingly conducted according to legal rules and procedures with reference to standards of universality and equity, regardless of ideo­logical and political considerations and ethnic or moral preference.

Following these three themes, the study of the development of the provincial police forces in Alberta (APP) and Saskatchewan (SPP) during the period 1905-32 suggests that the professionalization of the provincial police was a result of the interplay be­tween various social factors, including technical innovation, legal framework and government policy of emphasizing police efficiency and impar­tiality, and continuity between different police forces. Police continuity was very much reflected by continuity in personnel. This was a unique factor that can be attributed largely to the process of professionalization of the provincial police. When the provincial police were created in 1917, 62 out of a total 106 SPP members, including all the inspectors, were ex-Royal North-West Mounted Police (RNWMP) members. There were almost 100 ex-RNWMP members in the APP (when it was at maximum strength of 150). All APP officers, includ­ing the superintendent and inspectors were ex-RNWMP members. Using the RNWMP as a model, these former RNWMP officers organized the provincial police as a professional bureaucratic apparatus and emphasized the efficient and impartial enforcement of law. There was a professional tradition and a commitment to authority, as well as a belief in law and order, that ran through the successive western police forces. In terms of professionalism, the experience of the SPP with political interference was certainly a setback. The autonomy of the police requires a political culture that restrains politicians from manipulating the police to make it another political arm of government.

At the same time, the professionalization process of policing was also displayed by the shift of police work from controlling a class of people held to be inherently dangerous to controlling a class of behavior. This shift was highlighted in the transition from the federal police to the pro­vincial police and the heyday of provincial control agendas. The transition was not only a matter of policies and agendas, but a question of changes in the level of serious crime in the West.

However, after the transition in the objects of control from the danger­ous classes to serious crime, the police did not focus absolutely on serious criminals as emphasized by some historians. Police in the prairies still devoted a considerable proportion of their resources to the social ser­vices required by the lower segments of the population. Police often contended that social service was an important part of order maintenance. The professionalization of police services in favor of law enforcement tended to degrade the social service function of police. In other words, the specialization of the police function on crime control envisaged by police historians appears to have overlooked the importance of the police as a source of assistance – not in respect of the ‘dangerous classes’ as much as in respect of the ‘vulnerable’ classes. Professionalization seems to overshadow this dimension of the police role.

With the evolution of the police function, an association between crime rate and policing was considered as an important outcome of police pro­fessionalization. Due to the confounding effect of the changes in police regimes and social movements, there are difficulties in assessing the real effect of the police on crime rates. On the one hand, the police often used proactive strategies to suppress public disorder crime, such as drunkenness and disorderly conduct – especially when this was made a priority by prohibition politics. Frequently, the public regarded those caught up in these campaigns as hardly criminals at all. On the other hand, the po­lice employed a reactive strategy to control serious crimes and criminals. Police action in these cases was initiated by the public and reflected public demands for protection.

In light of these two strategies, Lin in Policing the Wild North-West argues that the labeling processes governed the trends in control for public order offences. The arrests in these categories were control driven while trends in crimes against persons and property were ‘crime’ driven. The specific tests of crime trends in Alberta and Saskatchewan covering the period before, during, and after the provincial controls suggested some different emphasis arising from the different agenda of the federal and the provincial forces. The provincial police tended to stress the enforcement of provincial statutes, suppress public disorder offences, and provide assistance to other gov­ernment departments, whereas the federal force emphasized the control of serious crimes and criminals, particularly after 1928 in Saskatchewan and 1932 in Alberta.

The final observation about police professionalization based on this analysis is that the professionalization process was not completely lin­ear. The professionalization of police reflected diffusion from different sources – technological changes, competing political agendas, and a con­tinuity that might be more a matter of personnel than formal policy. At the same time, the public needs for policing were not entirely issues of crime control. Social service and order maintenance continued as ele­ments of a professional police function. The mixed results of the impact of the police on the crime rate reflected the complexities of the services performed by police and complexities in the public's demand for different kinds of law and order.

All of the statistical analyses in Policing the Wild North-West are included in the appendices, making them easily accessible. The book is a comprehensive social history analyzing the effects of the police on various social phenomena, especially the active role they played in the settlement of western Canada. Lin applies his expertise in quantitative data analysis to examine the significance of the provincial police forces in historical, legal, and political contexts.

Literature & Fiction / Historical

North River: A Novel by Pete Hamill (Little, Brown and Company) It is 1934, and in Pete Hamill’s North River New York City is in the icy grip of the Great Depression. With enormous compassion, Dr. James Delaney, who is practically indigent himself, lives two blocks from the Hudson River and tends to his hurt, sick, and poor neighbors, including gangsters, day laborers, prostitutes, and housewives. If they can't pay, he treats them anyway. But in his own life, Delaney, a wounded veteran, is emotionally numb, haunted by the slaughters of the Great War and the abandonment of his family. His wife Molly vanished months ago, leaving him to wonder if she is alive or dead. Then, on a snowy New Year's Day, the doctor returns home to find his three-year-old grandson Carlito on his doorstep, left by his mother Grace in Delaney's care. Coping with this unexpected arrival, Delaney hires Rose, a tough, decent Sicilian woman, an illegal immigrant, with a secret in her past.

When he saves the life of a gangster friend Eddie Corso, Italian hood Frankie Botts is not happy; Delaney can feel the threat to him and his grandson.

But slowly, as Rose and the boy begin to care for the good doctor, the numbness in Delaney begins to melt. Then the FBI shows up looking for Grace.

Hamill is a New York City writer through and through, having brought the city to life for millions of readers through his writings for the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, The New Yorker, and Newsday. He is the author of numerous previous novels, including the bestselling Forever and Snow in August and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. North River too, draws much from the city.

… In the dead of winter in the Depression year of 1934, Dr. Delaney knows the cause of death was always life. … Soon the North River comes to symbolize Delaney's tormented life, as enemies and loved ones float in it, and Grace, on a liner, returns to New York to further complicate Delaney's new, delicate household. Hamill (Forever; A Drinking Life) has crafted a beautiful novel, rich in New York City detail and ambience, that showcases the power of human goodness and how love, in its many forms, can prevail in an unfair world. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
… The time is the 1930s; New York, as elsewhere, is grim with economic staleness. Add into the stew that is New York life big helpings of political corruption and internecine Mob warfare. Dr. James Delaney is himself of the streets, and when his old friend, a Mob leader, needs emergency care, Delaney steps in; however, by that act, the doctor also steps into a rival Mob conflict. … Hamill is not ordinarily thought of as a historical novelist, but if, as the saying goes, the shoe fits, wear it. It is an extremely good fit here. – Brad Hooper, Booklist (starred review)

Recreating 1930s New York with the vibrancy and rich detail that are his trademarks, Hamill in North River weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that readers will not soon forget.

Literature & Fiction / Poetry / Anthologies

One Thousand Songs of Earth: A Lyrical Journey by Richard Ranier (Aventine Press)

One Thousand Songs of Earth is large collection of poems, the product, the magnum opus, of years of work by Richard Ranier, retired Flying Fortress commander in World War II. Ranier is also retired from a government career at which he won several awards and citations, establishing computer centers and integrated information and communication systems around the country; and who is now a full-time writer.

Beginning with traditional forms and progressing to grand levels of experimentation, the poems in One Thousand Songs of Earth cover a broad area of subject and style, and present multiple meanings for personal interpretation. If read aloud, their imagery tends toward the musical – hence the title. Many were composed in retreat in the wooded mountains of Pennsylvania. The book was conceived to dramatize the four major influences said to shape American civilization: Norse and Scandinavian sagas, Periclean Greece, the Roman Empire at its height, and Arthurian legends.

Environmental concern is woven throughout One Thousand Songs of Earth, as well as satire of the popular culture. The poet has followed the dictum of Archibald MacLeash, that "A poem should not mean, but be" – readers can see, feel, hear and live within, a piece, and often correlate it with a similar emotional or esthetic event of their own. This tangible sort of empathy can lead to, or entail, therapy in all sorts of situations, depending on need.

The poems in One Thousand Songs of Earth vary in their level of accessibility. Their breadth of subject matter is wide. Choosing at random, one could mention love (physical and spiritual, requited and unrequited), nature (birds, animals, woods, solitude. etc.), technology (pro and con), psychology, philosophy, music, mysticism, astronomy (especially the individual's personal enjoyment thereof), and on the darker side, grief (from loss of loved icons on the national scene to personal loss). Poetic technique is in evidence, including complex rhyme schemes, rhythm, assonance, dissonance, internal rhyme, free verse within form, interwoven. Meaning, or being, is paramount.

A 612-page compilation of short poems infused with vibrancy. The poems apply to both traditional forms and experimentation, and speak to the gamut of human feelings. Each is roughly the same half-page length, allowing a moment to dwell on a specific reflection before traversing to the next. – Midwest Book Review

One Thousand Songs of Earth is a quintessential collection, not to put on the coffee table, but to be well-thumbed and worn, the poems being read as an enrichment of daily life. The poems' varying levels of accessibility make them adaptable to all ages of reader enjoyment, from teenagers up. Formidable in subject matter, diverse and sparkling with energy, these poetic gems allow for personal interpretation. Readers may profit from Ranier’s wide-ranging past, as his production is infused with variety, maturity, and a depth of human perception.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / Biographies & Memoirs

Fever Vision: The Life and Works of Coleman Dowell by Eugene Hayworth, with a preface by Edmund White (Dalkey Archive Press)

Gene Hayworth has done his homework by interviewing surviving family members and friends and by reading early drafts and letters and everything unpublished that the estate has made available. …This is a cautionary tale, perhaps – though what it mainly seems to be cautioning us against is a sentiment that overtakes most people with time: disappointment. – Edmund White, from the Introduction

From his birth in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression to his suicide in Manhattan in 1985, Coleman Dowell (1925-1985) played many roles. He was a songwriter and lyricist for television. He was a model. He was a Broadway playwright. He served in the U.S. Army, both abroad and at home. And most notably, he was the author of novels that Edmund White, among others, has called ‘masterpieces.’

But Dowell was deeply troubled by a depression that hung over him his entire life. Pegged as both a Southern writer and a gay writer, he loathed such categorization, preferring to be judged only by his work. Written by Eugene Hayworth, reference librarian for the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, Fever Vision tells the story of Dowell’s life and how it influenced his art.

When Coleman Dowell jumped to his death on August 3, 1985 from the fifteenth floor apartment he shared with his longtime lover, the psychiatrist Bertram Slaff, his suicide did not come exactly as a surprise. According to White in the preface to Fever Vision, for years Cole had seemed terminally bored with his life – bored and anxious and disgusted. He regretted the loss of his looks and complained all the time about aging.

Like many artists he was a hypochondriac. He feared he had AIDS or leukemia or something else fatal. As if to tempt fate, this sense of imminent doom did not make him work harder but rather drove him to fritter away his days cruising Central Park (which lay just outside his door) or the personal ads placed in magazines by black prisoners seeking pen pals and eventually lovers on the outside.

Or Coleman entertained, if such a frivolous word can be applied to something so grueling and something he so resented. Cole could turn a tea-party into martyrdom. His dinners were his form of traveling; he went to Europe only twice and never anywhere else, but he turned out complicated dinners of many courses that spirited the guest off to Brazil or China or France or Italy or Germany or Scandinavia. Even the table had come from a Spanish refectory.

Like most alcoholics, Coleman alternated between grandiosity and self-ha­tred. His grandiosity took the form of lies – about his origins, his New York past, even his role in bed. His machismo required he present himself as the ac­tive, dominant male, which hardly made sense given that his partners were usually young black heterosexual men. His humble family he changed into the owners of Heaven Hill Bourbon; his fa­ther actually kept several grocery stores and was even a blacksmith for a time. In real life his parents and siblings seem painfully normal, but in Cole's fiction their stand-ins are never far from mad­ness, cruelty and incest.

According to White, though Cole killed himself because his life so bitterly disappointed his childish ex­pectations of it, fortunately for his art he never compromised in order to suc­ceed in any vulgar way. He wrote a muscular, unstoppable prose; he invented passionate, tragic characters; he created places and moods that are often chill­ingly gothic. He constructed his novels to resemble Rubik cubes. He tested the boundaries of morality and even decency. He understood passion in all its life-denying forms. He brought together the quite different influences of William Faulkner and the Icelandic novelist Halldór Laxness.

Over a fifteen-year period Dowell published five novels and over twenty finely crafted short stories. One of the Children is Crying appeared in 1968, followed by Mrs. October was Here (1974), Island People (1976), Too Much Flesh and Jahez (1977), and White on Black on White (1983). The Houses of Children: Col­lected Stories was published posthumously in 1987.

As told in Fever Vision, from 1962 until his suicide in 1985, Dowell made it a habit to write daily. He developed a distinctive style by exploring and experimenting with differ­ent facets of narrative technique. Unfortunately, he has received little scholarly attention – Dowell is rarely mentioned or anthologized. With the ex­ception of book reviews and occasional pieces written by colleagues, the critical response to Dowell's fiction has been sparse, even though he enjoyed the praise and friendship of authors such as Gilbert Sorrentino, John Hawkes, George Whitmore, and White, who continues to champion Dowell's work, regarding Island People as a postmodern masterpiece. Though ig­nored by mainstream readers, Dowell cannot be considered an obscure writer. All of his books were reviewed, and, though he was not often discussed in the media, he was featured on WGB’s Radio in Miami with host Bev Smith, filmed for a television documentary shown in Brussels, and interviewed for several leading literary journals.

The shift in his career from music to fiction came gradually. After two disappointments, Dowell decided to give up writing plays and turn his complete attention to fiction.

Dowell's first published story, "Alte Frau im Garten" dates from this time; Ruth Landshoff York translated the story into German and submitted it to Frankfurter Hefte for publication in 1962. Though this story is fairly uncom­plicated, his later, more mature work draws upon many artistic and literary influences. From Faulkner he derives a reliance on southern culture and di­alect, peppering his dialogue with expressions such as ‘I reckon’ and ‘you figger.’ Like T. S. Eliot he uses shifting perspectives. Although he does not always provide a linear narrative structure, Dowell provides anchors: repetition of imagery, setting, and time serve to ground readers. Specific techniques include narrative fragmentation, narrative within a narrative, multiple tem­poralities evoked by juxtaposition of varying verb tenses, and interior mono­logue.

Much of Dowell's work explores the psychology of the taboo in its evoca­tions of incest, homosexuality, and pedophilia. His characters have been sep­arated from society, and only through human contact can they find salvation. Core to his characters' relationships is the act of sex, which moves from oblique references to Millicent's lesbian lifestyle in One of the Children is Crying, through a pedophilic fantasy in To Much Flesh and Jabez, until it finally becomes the central theme in White on Black on White, the title of which Dowell explains in a quote from the book: "it's America fucking, twos and threes and mores, white on black on white." Even more than sexuality, the novels are concerned with the association between madness, creativity, and desire. They examine the power one person holds over another and reveal the multiple manners of human deception: by words, actions, and the failure to take action.

Some critics have situated Dowell's work in the style called ‘New Gothic,’ loosely defined as the evocation of psychological and spiritual horror and suspense, often brought on by history's effects on the present. Dowell embellishes this tradition further by placing his emphasis on dreams and the imagination. Some of the themes of One of the Children is Crying reflects those of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. By depicting the decline of an aristocratic family line, Dowell's characters Robin and Erin recall Poe's incestuous twins Roderick Usher and his sister, Madeline, who die as the Usher house collapses around them.

Dowell disrupts the traditional notion of authorial voice by creating characters who are themselves authors represented in the act of creating their own narrative. Every novel with the exception of his first examines the notion of fiction as a bridge between the writer and the imagined reader. The narrative unfolds in segments, offering multiple perspectives that do not provide factual insight, but add additional emo­tional levels, layer upon layer, serving, in Edmund White's words, as ‘nested, Chinese boxes,’ a term Dowell himself used in Island People to describe the fused consciousness of his main characters.

Although Dowell was reluctant to be considered a gay writer, since his death his career has been most widely promoted in the gay press, including biographical and literary pieces in such publications as The James White Review, The Advocate, and Christopher Street. Dowell lived through several decades in which he saw the metamorphosis of gay self-identity that culminated in the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, and themes imperative to gay life flourish in his final two novels. The gay characters are often artists, either writers, or, in the case of Millicent in One of the Children is Crying, an actress and model. Occasionally they are hustlers. In some cases the gay characters assume dual genders. White refers to these characters as ‘interstitial’ and Stephen-Paul Martin defines them as ‘androgynous.’

The themes and characters of Dowell's fiction are intertwined with the fact and fiction of his life. Although some readers might find anti-Semitic, anti-feminist, and anti-religious rhetoric in these works, Dowell asks readers to look be­yond those labels to examine the individual's role within these groups. Ulti­mately, he turned his animosity toward such group mentality. Social change can occur, Dowell suggests, not through any assembled movement, but only through individual action. He was not a gay writer, or a WASP writer, or a Southern writer – he was a writer.

Fever Vision describes one of the most tormented, talented, inventive, and least recognized writers of recent American literature, and shows how his eventful life contributed to the making of his incredible art. He is worth getting to know.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / French / Philosophy / Existentialism

The Development of Camus's Concern for Social and Political Justice: “Justice Pour Un Juste” by Mark Orme (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press)

The ideal of justice has preoccupied innumerable philosophers, political scientists, and moral theorists over the ages and, today, the subject remains fundamental to ethical debate. The French intellectual Albert Camus (1913-1960) is a man whose life was devoted to justice, yet that devotion, which has not yet been significantly analyzed by critics, underwent significant changes in the different phases of his life and under pressure of external events.

The aim of The Development of Camus's Concern for Social and Political Justice is to explore the reality of Camus as a man imbued with the ideal of justice, as exempli­fied in the whole range of his non-fictional writings that relate to the subject, against the background of the historico-political and moral challenges of the mid-twentieth cen­tury. Chronological, the book evaluates the evolution of Camus' lifelong preoccupation with sociopolitical justice, as expressed in his essays, journalism, articles, speeches, notebooks, and personal corre­spondence, where the writer's own con­cerns come directly to the fore.

Three main phases of Camus' consider­ation of the concept are examined by Mark Orme, Principal Lecturer in Languages and International Studies at the University of Central Lanca­shire in the United Kingdom, where he teaches in the areas of Contemporary French Society and Culture, Translation and Existentialist Literature. First, the young Camus' deeply personal and pro-active moral psychology is investigated to yield an early understanding of justice rich in compassion and sensibility. How external forces impact on, and come into conflict with, this pragmatic morality is analyzed in relation to the second phase of Camus' preoccupation, ushered in by the outbreak of the Second World War. The Development of Camus's Concern for Social and Political Justice examines how changing historical circum­stances require Camus to undergo a rethinking of his earlier views in more collective terms. Con­tinuing moral complexities in the postwar period further impinge on Camus' moral stance as his largely unrivalled view of jus­tice during the war years makes way for an ethic that seeks to strike a balance between the claims of justice and of freedom. The profound psychological effect made upon Camus by the hostile reception of The Rebel (1951), a work in which he had invested a great intellectual effort, announces the final phase of his engagement with justice, where the pressures of history and personal circumstance increasingly lead to frustration and disillusionment in the writer's thought. Insurmountable difficulties with regard to the Algerian crisis forced Camus, toward the end of his life, to scale down his atti­tude toward social and political justice in what marks a return to the personal nature of his preoccupation characteristic of the writ­er's formative years in Algeria. In this way, there is a clear cyclical aspect to Camus' overall engagement with the concept.

The Development of Camus's Concern for Social and Political Justice is the first in-depth account in English of the development of Camus' con­cern for justice as a moral problematic. It will be of in­terest to students, researchers, and lecturers of French studies, politics, social history, and philosophy, who require an understand­ing of how contemporary leading French in­tellectuals responded to the moral and polit­ical challenges in the mid-twentieth century. The work is also intended as a core text for both undergraduate and postgraduate levels exploring French Existentialism from liter­ary, philosophical, and sociopolitical per­spectives.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / British

Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story by Stanley Wells (Pantheon)

From one of our most distinguished Shakespeare scholars, Shakespeare and Co. is an anecdotal work of forensic biography that firmly places Shakespeare within the hectic, exhilarating world in which he lived and wrote.
Theater in Shakespeare's day was a burgeoning ‘growth industry.’ Everyone knew everyone else, and they all sought to learn, borrow or steal from one another. As Stanley Wells, Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, suggests in Shakespeare and Co.: "To see Shakespeare as one among a great company is only to enhance our sense of what made him unique.”
Wells explores Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, both behind the scenes and in front of the curtain. He examines how the great actors of the time influenced Shakespeare's work. He writes about the lives and works of the other major writers of Shakespeare’s day and discusses Shakespeare’s relationships – sometimes collaborative – with each of them.

The actor of the time in general, and the great stars of Shakespeare's company in particular, occupy the second chapter, and Shakespeare's fellow dramatists occupy the succeeding six. Marlowe receives the most notice among Shakespeare's early peers, Jonson among the later ones. Chapters are organized around Dekker, Middleton, Fletcher, and Webster because each collaborated with Shakespeare.

And throughout, Wells shares his vast knowledge of the period, re-creating and celebrating the sheer richness and variety of Shakespeare's social and cultural milieus.
Shakespeare and Co. gives readers a new understanding of how the Bard achieved unparalleled singularity as the greatest writer in the language.

The chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares, and coeditor of The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare presents Shakespeare's professional context brilliantly. The curtain rises on boys dashing about London posting playbills. That is succeeded by engaging reviews of the rapid rise of theater under Elizabeth, the constituency of a typical London theater audience, and the modus operandi of what was very much an entertainment industry that included plenty of collaboration among playwrights to meet deadlines. …Wells whets appetites for new performances of the plays he discusses most thoroughly, such as Marlowe's Jew of Malta, Dekker's Shoemaker's Holiday, and The Revenger's Tragedy, by, it now seems, Middleton – and Shakespeare. Essential Shakespeareana. – Ray Olson, Booklist
Fascinating… An enthralling work of popular scholarship. – Robert McCrum, The Observer
Ingenious… [Shakespeare’s London] was a time and a place teeming with excitement, anecdote and incident, and Wells, in this richly enjoyable work, brings it to life with a novelist’s sense of the telling detail. – Dominic Dromgoole, The Sunday Times
Comprehensive and colorful… This is illuminating, well-planned and suggestive work, not only for those readers who have little acquaintance with the subject, but also for those already familiar with it. One of the greatest gifts of this book… is to re-astonish readers with the simple fact of the newness of all this. – Min Wild, The Independent on Sunday
A valuable contribution to popular Shakespeare scholarship… A feat of synthesis… Each page is dense with well-chosen information and sensible, sensitive interpretation. – Peter Wentworth, The Literary Times Supplement
This collaborative Shakespeare makes a refreshing change from the autistic monarch of the stage… With its lightly worn learning and its refreshing argument, this is a rewarding and readable book. Anyone who wants to understand Shakespeare will learn from it. – Colin Burrow, Evening Standard

Eminent Shakespeare scholar Wells presents a fascinating and lively biography firmly locating Shakespeare within the world of Elizabethan England. Shakespeare and Co. gives readers a new understanding of how the Bard achieved unparalleled singularity as the greatest writer in the language.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Bangkok Haunts: A Novel by John Burdett (Knopf)

Sonchai Jitpleecheep – the devout Buddhist Royal Thai Police detective who led readers through the best sellers Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo – returns in Bangkok Haunts. Sonchai has seen virtually everything on his beat in Bangkok’s District 8, but nothing like the video he has just been sent anonymously: “Few crimes make us fear for the evolution of our species. I am watching one right now.”
He is watching a snuff film. And the person dying before his disbelieving eyes is Damrong – a woman he once loved obsessively and, now it becomes clear, endlessly. And there is something more: something at the end of the film that leaves Sonchai both figuratively and literally haunted.
While his investigation in Bangkok Haunts will lead him through the office of the ever-scheming police captain, Vikorn (“Don’t spoil a great case with too much perfectionism,” he advises Sonchai); in and out of the influence of a perhaps psychotic wandering monk; and eventually into the gilded rooms of the most exclusive men’s club in Bangkok (whose members will do anything to protect their identities, and to explore their most secret fantasies), it also leads him to his own simple bedroom where he sleeps next to his pregnant wife while his dreams deliver him up to Damrong …

… Expertly juggling elements that in lesser hands would become confused or hackneyed, Burdett has created a haunting, powerful story that transcends genre. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
… Burdett's Bangkok may be the most vibrant landscape of any in current crime fiction, and Sonchai – an improbable mix of West and East, the fact-seeking investigator meets the tranquil Buddhist, at ease with contrary realities – is certainly the genre's most intriguing sleuth. – Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
So rich with intellect and humor, with Thai atmosphere and Buddhist philosophy, even a denizen of Planet Yin may find herself bewitched and amused . . . Sonchai’s narrative is awash in a unique combination of mysticism and irony. – Marion Winik, Newsday
First-person is a magic act most authors can’t work [but] Sonchai Jitpleecheep is, by contrast, as complex – and as conflicted – as his culture …Bangkok Haunts is a dreamy, dirty, remarkably nuanced book, a jewel half-buried in sordid earth, yet still aglitter. – David Fulmer, Paste magazine
Not for your Agatha Christie-loving maiden aunt, but good grisly fun for those who like their noir rated NC-17. . . The story, narrated in Sonchai’s urbane voice is filled with intriguing nuggets of Buddhist wisdom and custom and graced by brief but telling appearances of recurring characters . . . Burdett holds our attention throughout a breezy tale reminiscent of the late, great Ross Thomas’s Byzantine Asian-inflected capers. – Kirkus Reviews

Ferociously smart and funny, furiously fast-paced, and laced through with an erotic ghost story that gives a new dark twist to the life of our hero, Bangkok Haunts does exactly that from first page to last. This is a blistering new novel.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan (Del Rey)

From Richard K. Morgan – award-winning author of Altered Carbon, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies – comes a new stand-alone, near-future thriller in the tradition of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick.

In Thirteen, Morgan gives readers a new and unforgettable antihero in Carl Marsalis: hybrid, hired gun, and a man without a country ... or a planet.

Marsalis is one of a new breed ... literally, the subject of a failed government program to produce a more deadly military fighter. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, ‘variant thirteens’ were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public condemned the super-soldiers as dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back – and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man, but now it seems he has lost his desire to kill. When he is arrested in Miami, it seems he may finally have left his troubled past behind – even if his future awaits him in the form of a cold jail cell.

Lucky for him, his ‘enhanced’ life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in a fugitive. But his prey is no common criminal. He's another Thirteen… and certain government officials have a different plan for Marsalis, one that will turn his talents toward their own nefarious ends.

Can Marsalis remain sane – and alive – long enough to succeed?

This stellar new stand-alone from Morgan, known for his compelling future noir thrillers (Altered Carbon, etc.), raises tantalizing questions about the nature of humanity. Future governments have used genetic manipulation to create subhumans twisted to fit specialized tasks. Normal people are intrigued as well as repulsed, but they instinctively dread variation thirteen, an aggressive, ruthless throwback to a time before civilization. …Morgan goes beyond the SF cliché of the genetically enhanced superman to examine how personality is shaped by nature and experience. Marsalis is more empathetic than the normal people around him, but they can see him only as an untrustworthy killer. At the same time, surveying corrupt, fractured normal society, the novel questions whether the thirteens are just less successful at hiding their motives. Without slowing down the headlong rush of the action, the complex, looping plot suggests that all people may be less – or more – than they seem. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Carl Marsalis, a genetically engineered soldier (a ‘variant thirteen’), is busted out of jail to help track down a serial murderer who escaped from the Mars colony and crash-landed a spaceship into the ocean – but not before killing and eating everyone onboard. Now the psychopath is on a rampage … . Published in England and Canada under its original (and more appropriate) title, Black Man, this is another spectacular blending of noir and SF from the author of the Takeshi Kovacs series. It's set in the early years of the twenty-second century, and behind its science-fiction facade it's a keenly observed story of prejudice, of a man separated from the rest of humanity by his physical appearance and his genetic makeup. Morgan's vision of the world a century from now is rather bleak, but it seems to be a reasonable extrapolation from today's social/religious/political trends. … – David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)

Morgan brings to his work a rare combination of weighty science fiction ideas, hard-boiled yet elegant writing, and characters that leap off the page. Part of a new generation of talked-about speculative fiction writers who are reshaping and recharging science fiction, Morgan's latest is at the same time fast-paced, gritty, and elegant, and there is little doubt that Thirteen will be one of the most popular science fiction books to come out this year. Oh, and it has one of the most frightening yet compelling bad guys readers will ever encounter in a book.

Politics / Social Sciences / Reference / Journalism

Exporting Press Freedom by Craig L. LaMay (Transaction Publishers)

International media assistance is a small but important form of international democracy-promotion aid. Media assistance boomed after the 1989 transitions in Central Europe, but now flows to virtually all regions of the world. Today the media assistance industry is focused on the problem of sustainability: How are free and independent public affairs media supposed to maintain their editorial mission while facing hostile political systems or the demands of the consumer marketplace?

Many media in developing countries have been or are grant-dependent. When grants are exhausted or withdrawn, media that were funded to further democratic consolidation typically wither and die. Some become mere grant chasers. Others abandon public service to the demands of market competition, or political patronage. As a result, governmental and non-governmental grant makers now emphasize the need for sustainability in considering grants in the media sector. Many grant recipients have grown frustrated, sometimes bitter, and have sought to take a much more active role in the way assistance programs are put together.

Written by Craig L. LaMay, journalist, assistant professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, adjunct professor at Northwestern's School of Law, and faculty associate at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research, Exporting Press Freedom examines the history and practice of media assistance. It argues that the dilemma of media independence and sustainability is best understood as an economic problem rather than one of poor editorial standards or lack of will. The book includes profiles of news and public affairs media in developing and democratizing countries, and also of two non-governmental organizations that have pioneered the use of low-interest loans in media assistance, which exemplify strategic and entrepreneurial approaches to developing and supporting public service media.

Exporting Press Freedom focuses on a problem of central significance to both governmental and non-governmental organizations active in international media and democratization projects, namely, how free and independent public affairs media are supposed to sustain themselves – servicing their editorial mission while also paying their bills – particularly in countries where they face a hostile legal or political system on the one hand and the demands of the consumer marketplace on the other. Assistance providers and recipients alike want to know what works: What kinds of projects enhance media independence and professionalism, and which are able to sustain themselves after initial funding sources are exhausted or withdrawn?

The term ‘media assistance’ covers a lot of territory. The U.S. Gov­ernment Accountability Office, for example, uses the term to include the so-called ‘public diplomacy’ programs that have traditionally been run out of the Department of State since the end of World War II – the Voice of America, Radio Liberty, the many Radio Free services and other, sometimes clandestine broadcast programs. This second type of assistance is more recent and is the subject of Exporting Press Freedom. In its official form, U.S. media development aid is primarily the province of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which justifies media assistance as a tool to prevent social conflict, as an agent of political transparency and accountability, and as an essential component of economic development, the agency's principal mission.

Such assistance also furthers U.S. business and foreign policy inter­ests. USAID notes that its media assistance efforts have "often, though not always, produced the same results that public diplomacy sought to achieve. In many countries, support to independent media created political space that enabled the United States to pursue specific foreign policy goals, such as the holding of elections, promotion of human rights, or political reconciliation.

Exporting Press Freedom is about the dilemma of sustainability in media assistance programs. The trick is finding adequate economic support for an editorial mission that contributes to democratic processes and to democratic consolidation. Exporting Press Freedom understands the problems of media assistance primarily but not exclusively as economic ones. It looks at the joined problems of economic viability and editorial quality from the point of view of journalists in developing democracies. The economic dilemmas unique to news production are common to all open societies, but arguably they are especially critical in developing countries since the way in which they are resolved there will have a great deal to say about the course and character of democratic progress and consolidation. Exporting Press Freedom is both descriptive – based on first-hand reporting in Southeast and Central Eu­rope, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa – and conceptual.

In so far as the problems faced by media assistance are both con­ceptual and operational, the chapters in the book attempt to distinguish them in that way. Chapter 1 is a more complete discussion of the fi­nancial-editorial dilemma. To that end, the chapter takes as its central narrative the experience of El Periodico and Nuestro Diario, two very different newspapers founded in Gua­temala after that country's return to civilian rule in 1996. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the democracy promotion industry, its goals and its actors, by placing them within a brief history of U.S. and E.U. foreign aid programs. Chapter 3 is an overview of the media assistance industry, how it developed in the 1980s and earlier, and how it grew alter the 1989 transitions.

Chapters 4 through 5 employ examples from developed and develop­ing countries to examine more closely the editorial and financial chal­lenges faced by the would-be media system architect. The first of these, discussed in chapter 4, is essentially an editorial problem: What is the nature of the relationship between media and civil society in develop­ing democracies, and what does that relationship suggest about media, their likely revenue sources, and their long-term economic viability? The subject is important because both aid providers and recipients com­monly link media assistance to civil society promotion, rhetorically and programmatically. Chapter 5 discusses at greater length the economics of news and the unique problems as­sociated with information goods. It takes as its central case study the piecemeal U.S. approach to public broadcasting and its financing. The United States is virtually alone in the democratic world in having cre­ated public broadcasting as an alternative to an overwhelming private, for-profit broadcast system, rather than vice versa. Established by Con­gress in 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has had a mixed history, but it has suffered from the start from the two problems central to Exporting Press Freedom – inadequate sources of revenue and grand confusion about editorial mission.

Finally, chapter 6 looks at several developing-country operational responses to the financial/editorial dilemma. On the one hand it looks at media organizations of different types: an online newspaper in Malaysia, Malaysiakini; a national news radio network in Indonesia, Kantor Berlin Radio; a radio and multi-media firm in Serbia and Montenegro, 1392; and an Internet news magazine in Prague, Transitions Online. The ex­periences of other public-service media are also discussed. In every case, the goal is to identify and learn from journalists who are striving to make a difference while also trying to make a living, often in political and economic environments that are still difficult for independent media, and sometimes dangerous.

Chapter 6 also looks at two innovative media assistance providers. The first is the New York- and Prague-based Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF); the second is the Gaborone-based Southern Africa Media Development Fund (SAMDEF). Both organizations work essentially as venture capital firms that make below-market loans to quality news and public-affairs media in countries where, for whatever reason, demographic consolidation is stalled or incomplete, or where the market for independent media is severely compromised. The idea in every case is for the participating news organizations to wean themselves from grants and donations entirely and to become full and competitive participants in their markets – that is to say, financially independent. What makes these two organizations unique in the field of media assistance is their commitment to their clients; the award of a loan instead of a grant fun­damentally changes the relationship between provider and recipient from one of donor/supplicant to a partnership. The funder takes a long-term interest in the financial and programmatic health of the recipient, which to pay back the loan must develop greater financial discipline and more strategic management.

The usefulness of the assistance models developed by MDLF and by SAMDEF is not universal. Without question, in many parts of the world where democratic transition has yet to take hold or is in retreat (and where, among other things, loans cannot be secured), grants, technical and material media assistance are much needed and in short supply. Elsewhere, however, the MDLF/SAMDEF model provides a good operational benchmark for linking editorial mission to financial performance. As importantly, what these organizations do in transition societies where markets are fragile and political life unstable could also be effective in established democra­cies where, because of media consolidation, the economic environment for editorially independent media is also hostile. According to Exporting Press Freedom, journalists everywhere who are committed to dispassionate coverage of news and public affairs increasingly find themselves working in media environments that neither encourage nor value their work. In that respect, the discussion about media sustainability, in whatever form, concerns everyone.

The profiles of news and public affairs media in Exporting Press Freedom exemplify strategic and entrepreneurial approaches to developing and supporting public service media. Such approaches may be of use not only in the developing world, but in the consolidated Western democracies as well, where concern has grown about poor journalistic performance and its consequences for democratic governance.

Nevertheless, the book will be of primary use to assistance providers and recipients, both of whom want to know what works – which projects enhance independence and professionalism and which are able to sustain themselves.

Politics / Socialism / Exposés / Biographies & Memoirs / Leaders & Notable People

Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him by Humberto Fontova (Sentinel)

Who was Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara?

MYTH: International man of the people. Humanitarian. Brave freedom fighter. Lover of literature and life. Advocate of the poor and oppressed.

REALITY: Cold-blooded murderer. Sadistic torturer. Power-hungry materialist. Terrorist who inspired destruction and bloodshed through Latin America. – from the book

Nearly four decades after his death, it’s impossible to avoid the image of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara everywhere from T-shirts to cartoons. Liberals consider Guevara a revolutionary martyr who gave his life to help the poor of Latin America. Time named him one of the one hundred most influential people of the last century. And a major Hollywood movie is about to lionize him to a new generation.

The reality, according to Cuban exile Humberto Fontova in Exposing the Real Che Guevara, is that Guevara was not really a gentle soul and a selfless hero. He was a violent Communist who thought nothing of firing a gun into the stomach of a woman six months pregnant whose only crime was that her family opposed him. And he lusted after material luxuries while cultivating his image as a man of the people.

Fontova, who left Cuba in 1961 at age seven, who has written for several conservative magazines and is active in the Cuban American community, reveals that Guevara openly talked about his desire to use nuclear weapons against New York City. In fact, Fontova considers him the godfather of modern terrorism.

Exposing the Real Che Guevara is based on interviews with survivors of Guevara’s atrocities as well as the American CIA agent who interrogated Guevara just hours before the Bolivian government executed him. Fontova interviewed the few people still alive who interacted with Guevara and are free to tell the truth about him. For example, he relates how Guevara: promoted book burning and signed death warrants for authors who disagreed with him; made racist statements about blacks; persecuted gays, long-haired rock and roll fans, and religious people; and loved material wealth and private luxuries.

By the end of the preface, Fontova in Exposing the Real Che Guevara has pinned 14,000 executions on Guevara and credited positive portrayals of the man to the public relations work of Fidel Castro and to the laziness of biographers.

Fontova gets right to the work of debunking familiar notions of Argentinan revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. … Presenting a failed physician, an inept guerrilla and a hapless sycophant, Fontova adds insult to injury by claiming Che was ‘deathly afraid to drive a motorcycle.’ Fontova's charged language keeps things interesting, if occasionally dubious; … Though propaganda probably colors any consideration of this controversial figure, Fontova makes a convincing case that, in the words of one former political prisoner, "There was something seriously wrong with Che Guevara." – Publishers Weekly

Exposing the Real Che Guevara is a highly critical, even inflammatory, biography of the iconic communist revolutionary, and a self-described ‘expose’ of the liberals who lionize him. Does make you wonder why Angelina Jolie sports a Guevara tattoo.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / African-American / Reference

True to Our Native Land: An African-American New Testament Commentary – general editor Brian K. Blount, with associate editors Cain Hope Felder, Clarice J. Martin, & Emerson B. Powery (Fortress Press)

As the first African American commentary on the New Testament, True to Our Native Land addresses the unique historical, social, cultural, religious, and political realities that have shaped the Africa American experience of the Bible. This volume answers a call, long voiced in African American churches and the academy alike, for a resource that can facilitate and empower a more passionate and critically informed engagement with the biblical legacy.

True to Our Native Land sets biblical interpretation firmly in the context of African American experience and concern. Scholarship in tune with African American churches calls into question many of the canons of traditional biblical research and highlights the role of the Bible in African American history, accenting themes of ethnicity, class, slavery, and African heritage as these play a role in Christian scripture and the Christian odyssey of an emancipated people.

The Editors include Brian K. Blount, President of Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond; Cain Hope Felder, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at the School of Divinity, Howard University; Clarice J. Martin, Jean Picker Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University; and Emerson B. Powery, Associate Professor of New Testament at Lee University, Cleveland, Tenn. Contributors include the volume editors and Brad R. Braxton, Michael Joseph Brown, Gay L. Byron, Allen Dwight Callahan, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Larry George, Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., Cleophus J. LaRue, Lloyd A. Lewis, James Earl Massey, Guy Nave, James A. Noel, Rodney S. Sadler Jr., Boykin Sanders, Thomas B. Slater, Abraham Smith, Mitzi J. Smith, Raquel St. Clair, Monya A. Stubbs, Demetrius K. Williams, and Vincent L. Wimbush.

True to Our Native Land includes full-color galleries that offer windows into African American art and Africa in the New Testament period. Contents of the volume include the general articles and the commentary on the books of the New Testament. The articles include:

  1. Slavery in the Early Church
  2. The Place and Role of Africa and African Imagery in the Bible
  3. Paul and African American Biblical Interpretation
  4. "We Will Make Our Own Future Text": An Alternate Orientation to Interpretation
  5. Womanist Biblical Interpretation
  6. African American Preaching and the Bible
  7. African American Art and Biblical Interpretation

According to the editors of True to Our Native Land, there is no single African American perspective, particularly now in the twenty-first century, when African Americans are located everywhere on the U.S. economic, social, political, and religious landscape. Yet there are consistent and unique historical, social, cultural, religious, and political realities that influence the ways African Americans approach the biblical text. The authors of True to Our Native Land drawn from those realities as they have done their interpretive work and theologically thought through historical and cultural lenses often received skeptically by mainstream theologians. The editors explain that all communities read from their space, interpret text in ways that are meaningful for their space, and hear sermons preached and lessons taught listening for themes that will be applicable to their space. Any church, and the scholars and clergy who lead it, that does not operate biblically from its own context – its own space – is not a church that operates in an objective, historical manner; it is a church that adopts the contextual perspective of some other interpretive community. In so doing, such a church privileges that other community as though that other community were the gatekeeper to accurate biblical interpretation. True to Our Native Land listens for New Testament themes that speak to African American space.

But True to Our Native Land is about more than raising a critical, intellectual and interpretive chal­lenge. It is also about filling a void. The black church remains one of the most spiritually vital, politically successful, economically pow­erful, and socially transformative institutions in the African American community. And it is, as it has always been, most profoundly biblically based. The weekly church attendance rates of African Americans stands at 43 percent. Clearly, African Americans who make up 12.8 percent of the total U.S. population, a raw figure of approximately 38 million, are a highly churched people. Their involvement with a biblical faith would tend to confirm that they have at least as much interest in the biblical materials as in the institution based upon it. Given the thousands of Bible studies that take place in African American communi­ties daily, a one-volume commentary from an African American perspective would seem to be a valuable and necessary resource.

It is most intriguing, then, that in the many centuries from that ‘red letter’ year of 1619, when the first African slave was offi­cially driven onto American soil at Jamestown, to 2006, not a single one-volume commentary on the entire New Testament from the African American perspective has ever been produced. As read­ers of True to Our Native Land will see, African American interpreters now bring questions from the African American space that shape new and provocative meanings from all the ancient texts. This commentary, like all one-volume commentaries, provides reflections on each of the separate New Testament books in canoni­cal order.

True to Our Native Land begins, however, by first considering several broad thematic issues sparked by questions generated from the African American space. Certainly, for an African American, the matter of slavery is one of utmost historical importance. The biblical story not only fostered the hopes of the famous heroes of the tradition like Harriet Tubman, but generated the apocalyptic fervor of preachers like Nat Turner, and sustained the physical as well as spiritual being of millions of unnamed Africans enslaved on American soil. How could a volume envisioned by those who live in their courageous wake not ask questions about the matter of slavery in the early Christian church? Mitzi J. Smith offers the historical observation that slavery in the early church, as reflected through the New Testament writings, must be understood against the backdrop of Greco-Roman slav­ery in general. She concludes that "ancient Roman slavery ideology that required absolute submission and unyielding loyalty from slaves and freed persons is reflected in the New Testa­ment." Reading through their own historical lens, African American interpreters have either directly challenged such texts and the think­ing behind them, or reinterpreted such texts through the lens of more liberating New Tes­tament materials.

Thinking even more broadly, but still about the first-century period in which Chris­tianity found its genesis, Rodney Sadler con­siders the place and role of Africa and African imagery in the New Testament, introducing readers to a significant African presence that has previously been invisible to many African American churchgoers.

Knowing that the history between the writings of Paul and the sensibilities of the African American community has often been strained, Abraham Smith explains why and offers a rich introduction into the ‘enigma’ of Paul and his place in African American text interpretation. In the end, he suggests, the ‘outsider’ apostle has much to offer a people too often relegated to the American margins.

Vincent L. Wimbush begins his article on alternative hermeneutical approaches by critiquing commentary projects like True to Our Native Land because the very form limits how readers can approach the topics. By definition, he notes, commentaries force interpreters to read not from their own context, but from the reconstructed context of the text itself. He challenges readers "to think differently about and orient ourselves differently around interpretation." This is a task the authors of the commentary sections of True to Our Native Land have gladly undertaken. Though the editors maintain the form of commentary, they attempt to break through the limits established by that form in just the way Wimbush exhorts – by orienting their interpretations around their own African American selves.

Raquel St. Clair narrates how race, class, and gender have intersected in the context in which womanist scholars engage the New Tes­tament materials. Cleophus J. LaRue surveys the work of African American preachers and finds that when they are at their imaginative best, they recognize that it is not only their own context, but also that of those who hear the word that is important. And finally, James A. Noel recognizes that a cultural investigation of the New Testament is not limited to the written word. He explores, with the aid of fine examples of African American art, how African American folk culture has oper­ated through artistic inspiration to bring rich, new meanings to the biblical story.

The commentary sections in True to Our Native Land follow a similar, though not uniform structure. Each chapter reflects on the designated text with the affir­mation that African American space matters, presenting the special theological and ethi­cal emphases that the biblical book receives from an African American perspective. These emphases play a significant role in influencing the questions the authors ask of the text and, therefore, the answers the authors receive. The bulk of each chapter is commentary on the biblical book. Short bibliographies for further study are also provided.

Because African American space mat­ters in the work of biblical interpretation, True to Our Native Land pays tribute to the highly trained African American interpreters of the New Testament who are now working in univer­sities, seminaries, and churches across the United States by including a list of African American Ph.D.s in New Testament study.

From the intellectual heart of the African American churches comes this path-breaking commentary, True to Our Native Land, that provides bold interpretation and cutting-edge scholarship from the African American space, scholarship calling into question many of the canons of traditional biblical research and highlighting the role of the Bible in African American history.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Brand Jesus: Christianity in a Consumerist Age by Tyler Wigg Stevenson (Seabury Books)

When Christ becomes a commodity, who suffers?

Will the church remain faithful or allow a society consumed with consumerism to package their Savior like just another brand?

In Brand Jesus, the author argues that American Christianity, especially evangelicalism, has been corrupted by the dominance of consumerism in modern life. The church's mostly uncritical adoption of this secular condition has resulted in an idolatrous morphing of the message of Christ into just another brand. With Brand Jesus, Tyler Wigg Stevenson, a preacher and writer who has served in the chapel at Yale and as Associate Minister at Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hamden, CT, names the growing concern felt by many Christians at the commodification of their faith. Stevenson warns readers that certain forces – such as consumerism, the economy, and American politics – have become increasingly idolatrous and threaten the sacred boundaries between the church and the world. He feels that the church's largely uncritical adoption of society's consumer mentality has allowed the morphing of the message of Christ into a mere brand name, but he offers hope as he outlines how Christians can live a life of faith with integrity despite current trends.

Using Paul's letter to the Romans as a starting point, Stevenson 'reads' the letter to today's church, speaking to our consumerist situation through the parallels with Paul's Rome. Though rooted unapologetically in a love for the church, Brand Jesus does not shy away from provocative claims about the melding of Christian faith and consumer ideals; the rise of market-driven theology; the blurring boundaries between the law and religion; and other topics. He says, "Perhaps ... American Christians have misunderstood what Paul was writing about to the Romans. Perhaps our gospel isn't the gospel at all. And if our good news about Jesus isn't the real good news, then maybe we've got the wrong Jesus, too."

"The body of the American church has been seized by Brand Jesus, which seeks to kill us." Wigg Stevenson challenges. "And this evil spirit will not be expelled by our continuing to do church business as usual. Our trusted methods, the old stand-bys – they will fail. It is business as usual that has opened us to such peril. No, this kind can come out only by prayer and fasting."

"I hope [Brand Jesus] can serve as a wake-up call for the American church," writes Stevenson. "We have turned the lifelong activity of faith into the commodity of belief. And in the marketplaces of our churches, from the humble roadside stands to the gleaming ‘Christian lifestyle center’ shopping malls, we hock [sic] our product: that best-selling, inexpensive, factory-made, lifestyle-enhancing, identity-defining, eternal-life­giving, easy-to-use, soul-stain remover – Brand Jesus."

With passion and uncommon insight, Brand Jesus exposes the death grip of consumerism, which pollutes our society and compromises our faith. This is a welcome and timely book. – Randall Balmer, author of Thy, Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament

Brand Jesus is a wonderfully nuanced, thoughtful and compassionate epistle to the American Church that interrogates the unholy spirit of consumerism which threatens to eclipse the gospel. – Peter Rollins, author of How (Not) To Speak of God

Based on the biblical book of Romans, Brand Jesus helps contemporary Christians live faithfully within an irretrievably consumerist society. I for one want to submit my life to the challenge this book offers: the challenge of conforming our lives to Christ rather than culture. – Bruxy Cavey, Teaching Pastor, The Meeting House, and author of The End of Religion

In this remarkable and compellingly readable book, Tyler Wigg Stevenson tears the mask off the god of consumerism. This book will make you look at your world and at your Bible with different eyes, with realism and yet also with hope and courage. – Christopher J. H. Wright, author of The Mission of God and International Director Langham Partnership International

Tyler Wigg Stevenson’s skillful biblical exegesis and astute cultural observation delivers a critical message to the Christian church, exposing an insidious virus that drains authentic faith of its significance – namely consumerism wrapped in the name of Jesus. – Bruce D. Main, author of Spotting the Sacred, and President of UrbanPromise Ministries, Camden, New Jersey

Brand Jesus issues a provocative challenge for Christians to read Paul's letter to the Romans in light of current American society, stop to consider the issues, and return to a faith of integrity.

 Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History / Europe

The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers and Finney by John Wolffe (A History of Evangelicalism Series, Vol. 2: Intervarsity Press)

The Expansion of Evangelicalism provides an account of evangelicalism from the 1790s through the 1840s in British and American developments, Canada, Australia, the West Indies and elsewhere.

An account of the impact of revivalism is followed by discussion of spirituality and worship, and the place of evangelicalism in the lives of women, men and the family. Written by John Wolffe, professor of religious history at The Open University in England, the book then explores the movement's broader social and political effects. Major figures are surveyed alongside other fascinating, lesser-known personalities.

As Wolffe tells it in The Expansion of Evangelicalism, in the beginning of the nineteenth century the village of Clapham in Surrey still enjoyed a sense of distance from the bustle of London. There the group of evangelicals who would come to be known as the Clapham Sect regularly gathered. William Wilberforce, leader of a long campaign against the slave trade, commiserated with the other inheritors of the fledgling British evangelical movement, now in its second, more politically and culturally savvy generation.

Meanwhile, evangelicalism had also taken root in much harsher social and geographical landscapes, where it was witness to more rough-edged expressions of Christian conviction. In the bleak industrial valleys of northern England, in the mining and fishing villages of Cornwall, and on the expanding American frontier a period of intense revivalism was leading to the rapid expansion of Methodism and other forms of popular evangelicalism. It shaped a spirituality that emphasized the transience of this world and the reality of the Christian's true security in heaven.

In The Expansion of Evangelicalism Wolffe gives particular attention to the question of slavery. The concluding coverage of the 1846 London meeting of the Evangelical Alliance contributes key insights into the movement as a whole. The book, volume two in the acclaimed series A History of Evangelicalism, includes a bibliography and index.

This is a superb social history of the evangelical movement in the English-speaking world from 1790 to 1850. It offers a panoramic overview of the movement as a whole, as well as a series of focused snapshots of its leading personalities, institutions, spiritual qualities, corporate worship practices and social outreach efforts. Wolffe's sure hand and multiple lenses have produced an attractive album, which is both critical and compelling, of the Anglophone family of evangelicals. – Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
The Expansion of Evangelicalism shows how a protean network of movements for conversion and renewal moved from the margins of English-speaking societies toward their centers. Evangelicals took on new burdens, culminating in campaigns for the abolition of the slave trade and then slavery itself. John Wolffe makes deft use of the profuse historical scholarship on evangelicalism to tell a very complex story with grace and wit. – Joel Carpenter, Calvin College

The Expansion of Evangelicalism provides an authoritative account of evangelicalism from the 1790s to the 1840s, making extensive use of primary sources. Wolffe skillfully balances British and American developments with other parts of the world. A clear, compelling narrative, rich with detail that never loses sight of the main plot, it will excite history buffs, students and professors, and readers interested in the development of evangelicalism.

Accessible to a wide range of readers, the volumes in this series provide not only factual details but also fascinating interpretations of a movement that is still influential today. The five-volume series, A History of Evangelicalism, seeks to integrate the social and intellectual history of a diverse yet cohesive Christian movement over the last three hundred years. The associations, books, practices, beliefs networks of influence and prominent individuals which descended from the eighteenth-century British and North American revivals all come into view. Projected and published volumes in the series include:

  • The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys
  • The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers and Finney
  • The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon and Moody
  • The Disruption of Evangelicalism: The Age of Mott, Machen and McPherson
  • The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Graham and Stott

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology

The Priority of Christ: Toward a Postliberal Catholicism by Robert Barron, with a foreword by Francis Cardinal George (Brazos Press)

For a long time, Christians have tried to bridge the divide between Christianity and secular liberalism with philosophizing and theologizing. In The Priority of Christ, Father Robert Barron shows that the answer to this debate – and the way to move forward – lies in Jesus.
According to Barron, (STD, Institut Catholique de Paris), professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, the argument of The Priority of Christ begins, in line with postliberal instincts, not with general religious experience, nor with the supposed universal truths of reason, but with Jesus Christ in all his specificity. Whereas most of the major liberal theologies of the past two hundred years – Fried­rich Schleiermacher's, Ernst Troeltsch's, Rudolf Otto's, Paul Tillich's, Karl Rahner's – commenced with some grounding experience deemed to be trans-cultural, this postliberal theology commences with what Hans Urs von Balthasar referred to as the concretissimus, the stubbornly par­ticular Christ. Unlike most modern Christologists, Barron neither searches for the religious experience of which Jesus supposedly gives privileged expression nor seeks to uncover the ‘historical’ Jesus underneath the Gospel portraits. Rather, he presents an ‘iconic’ Christology, one that takes seriously the dense particularity and spiritual complexity of the picture of Jesus as it emerges in the New Testament narratives. Barron shares Balthasar's intuition that one must approach Jesus in an attitude of contemplative love, allowing the object of one's contemplation to control the gaze of the mind. Accordingly, he explores nine ‘icons’ or sacred scenes from the Gospels, organizing them under the headings of Jesus as Gatherer, Jesus as Warrior, and Jesus as Lord.

Next he develops a christo-centric epis­temology. He argues that Christians know and seek knowledge in a distinctive way, precisely because they take the narratives concerning Jesus Christ as epistemically basic. If all things hold together in Christ, then the deepest truth of things must become fully intelligible only through Christ. He sets this understanding against both great forms of modern epistemological foundationalism: John Locke's brand of empiricism and Rene Descartes' subjectivism.

In the fourth major section of The Priority of Christ, Barron develops the themes he has already given: God's Trinitarian nature and the unique mode of divine existence vis-à-vis what is other than God. He places special focus on the issue of primary causality and secondary causality in relation to both nature and the will, arguing for the non-interruptive co-inherence of God and the world. He also examines the metaphysics of the gift as it applies to God's rapport with creation. Precisely because God does not need the world, God is capable of an utterly selfless gift on behalf of the other, breaking the rhythm of economic exchange that effectively undermines ordinary gift giving. The sheer graciousness of God's presence to the world becomes the ground for our participation through love in the divine life. Throughout this section, his concern is to demonstrate the uniquely noncontrastive transcendence of the God disclosed in Jesus Christ.

In the final section of The Priority of Christ, Barron shows the ethical implications of this christo-centric metaphysics. Departing from both Kantian deontologism and a too abstract and rationalistic construal of the natural law, he develops a densely christological ethic, one that flows from the biblical portrayal of the way of being characteristic of Jesus. He paints icons of four saints who, in various ways, participated in the new life made available in Christ: Therese of Lisieux, Katharine Drexel, Edith Stein, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He shows how each of these women exemplifies the peculiar transformation that occurs when a natural virtue is elevated by contact with grace. In the process, he presents a christo­logical, iconic, and narrative ethic.

Just as Flannery O'Connor saw the struggle between the Misfit and the grandmother as both tragic and an occasion of grace, so Barron sees the battle between liberal modernity and nominalist Christianity as, at the same time, frustrating and hopeful – frustrating because both combatants are exhausted, worn out, and wounded from the struggle, and hopeful because in the very fruitlessness of the fight, both sides have come to appreciate their common need for a savior. In The Priority of Christ Barron presents this savior, the God-human Jesus Christ, and explores the ramifications of his coming for both the grandmother and the Misfit, for both a decadent Christianity and a reactive modernity.

By displaying how an imaginative human spirit can be illuminated by the manifold sense of scripture, as well as activating tradition to dissolve lingering philosophical distractions, this stunning summa for a 'postliberal Catholicism' will at once subvert any tendency among the faithful to demand a facile 'fix' as well as offer lucid direction for anyone daring to undertake a pilgrimage of understanding – in and with the Christ. – David Burrell, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame / Tantur Ecumenical Institute (Jerusalem)

Catholic theology stands at a foundational moment, and in this extended meditation on the figure of Christ. Robert Barron boldly argues for a Catholicism that rethinks the controversy between modern and postmodern thought through such classic theological formulations as the controversy between Aquinas and Duns Scotus on the being of God. Broad in reference and informed by the homilist's touch, The Priority of Christ will be an important contribution to a conversation the Church must have. – Richard A. Rosengarten, University of Chicago

Drawing deftly on Aquinas, Newman, Lonergan, Balthasar, and many others, Barron convincingly explains what a postliberal Catholic theology might be. But the great merit of this book is that he not only talks about what theology should be, he actually does it – above all in his lucid mystagogy on a series of Gospel stories, and in striking meditations on the mind of Christ embodied in four great women saints of our time. – Bruce Marshall, Southern Methodist University

The Priority of Christ reintroduces the pure and unadulterated savior to a weary and needy humanity. Barron transcends the usual liberal/conservative or Protestant/Catholic divides with a postliberal Catholicism that brings the focus back on Jesus as revealed in the New Testament narratives. Barron’s classical Catholic post-liberalism will be of interest to a broad audience including not only the academic community but also preachers and general readers interested in entering the dialogue between Catholicism and postliberalism.

Religion & Spirituality / Hinduism

What is Hinduism?: Modern Adventures into a Profound Global Faith from the Editors of Hinduism Today (Himalayan Academy)
In the Western world a personal spiritual life is different than religion. Religion is practiced on Sunday mornings, or weekend masses. Even more ambiguous is Hinduism's diversity; it envelops any and all other religions. It is a conglomeration, a family, of many differ­ent faiths and practices that share essential characteristics. It does not focus on any single god such as Christ or Buddha, or a single system of beliefs or doctrine; it is a complexity unified under one umbrella called Hinduism.

The editors of Hinduism Today magazine have gathered articles from more than twenty years of publication and harmonized them into What is Hinduism?. Guided by the founder, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, the magazine's editors, who are initiated monks of the Kauai's Hindu Monastery, collaborated with experts around the world in creating graphically rich guides to virtually every important aspect of Hinduism.

The ‘Educational Insight’ features were conceived to dispel myths and illumine key aspects of Hindu wisdom, esoteric knowledge, teachings, culture and practices. They quickly became popular, appreciated for their concise explanations that and for their rich visual designs.

The best of those works, 46 of these features, a treasury on all aspects of Sanatana Dharma, are assembled in What is Hinduism? for Hindus and non-Hindus alike to discover the culture, beliefs, worship and mysticism that is India's gift to humanity. The content is divided into six sections: The Nature of Hinduism, Hindu Metaphysics, How Hindus Worship, Spiritual Practices, Family Life and Culture, and Hindu Ethics. For children, “Hinduism from A to Z,” is an illustrated alphabet designed as twenty-six mini-lessons on Hindu thought and culture. Other features include comparisons with various religions, sacred art and architecture, yoga, the chakras, the human aura, and cartoons. There are also in-depth articles, summary pieces, and color­ful quick facts. Some chapter summaries include:

  • "Visiting a Hindu Temple" (chapter 25) The nature of the Hindu temple – why it stands at the heart of the culture and how it works esoterically to facilitate the devotee's tapping his or her own higher faculties, yielding understandings for managing life. It includes customs and cultural tips to help anyone wanting to visit a Hindu temple.
  • "Ten Questions" (chapter 12) Answers to ten common questions about Hinduism that even Hindus often find difficult to handle. For example, "Why do Hindus worship cows?" – "We do not worship the cow, we respect and honor this gentle animal who gives more than she takes. In so doing, we honor all creatures."
  • "Hinduism and Buddhism" (chapter 14) One quarter of the planet's popula­tion is Hindu or Buddhist. This chapter is an in-depth look at these two spiritual giants side by side, with a summary of their similarities and differences, including a chart that distils their respective nine key beliefs.
  • "Karma Management" (chapter 29) This chapter teaches how to work with the law of karma as a tool to transform life and circumstances and ‘con­sciously mold our future.’ Ten how-to principles are delineated and illustrated with examples.
  • "Life after Death" (chapter 20) "When the lessons of this life have been learned, the soul leaves the physical body ... The awareness, will, memory and intelligence which we think of as ourselves continue to exist in the soul body. Death is a most natural experience, not to be feared. It is a quick transition, like leaving one room and entering another."

… Its expected audience is those who are Hindu already, with articles including "How to Win an Argument with a Meat-Eater," "Raising Children as Good Hindus" and "Hinduism, the Greatest Religion in the World." … The back of the book features a brief glossary of Sanskrit and English terms, and a very funny assembly of cartoons about Hinduism. Although the guide will best be appreciated by readers with some knowledge of Hinduism, all will enjoy the personal stories and lavish illustrations sprinkled throughout. – Publishers Weekly
The editors of Hinduism Today magazine have gathered articles from more than ten years of publication and harmonized them into this book. It is an entertaining mix of hip, modern, and traditional information about the world of Hinduism. … What is Hinduism? is a lush repository; it will appeal to all ages and especially those looking for clarity and insight. – Foreward Magazine

What is Hinduism? brings readers the heart and soul of Hinduism in colorful pages with abundant cultural photographs and rich artwork framing the pages. The result is a colorful, smart, enlightening and reader-friendly resource. The articles contain clear, concise explanations. Bringing these features (now chapters) into one volume extends the insights and provides answers to the question, what is Hinduism? The material will appeal to a variety of seekers, especially to those interested in yoga, meditation, mysticism, ecology, alternative medicine, vegetarianism, non-violence, the New Age, philosophy and sociology.

Science / Biology

Spiders: Biology, Ecology, Natural History, and Behaviour by Fred Punzo (Brill Academic Publishing)

If you wish to live and thrive,
Let a spider run alive.
– The London Daily Express, 1956

Hollywood has exploited th[e] duality of fear and fascination with a plethora of grade B horror films about giant spiders, spiders that threaten to conquer the world, or the tarantula that ate Manhattan. One of the most popular spider stories involves the ‘tarantula’ spider of Italy, Lycosa tarantula, not a true tarantula but a member of the Lycosidae (wolf spiders). This spider has been frequently described as ‘large and hairy’. It is said to have obtained its name from the town of Taranto, or from the Thara River near Apulia, where the spider was commonly found on the river banks. It was believed that a bite from this spider could cause some rather dramatic effects, including delirium, melancholy, and chills, and the most effective way to recover from a bite was to form a circle with others who had been bitten and dance the ‘tarantella’ for hours on end. – from the book

In mythology, folktales, and nursery rhymes the spider is portrayed in various ways, from an entity that receives the souls of man after death, to an omen of sinis­ter future events. According to Frank Punzo in Spiders, in some cultures it was believed that spiders could tell us what the weather would be like or provide us with medical potions. Arachnophobia seems to be present to some degree throughout the U.S.A. and Europe, and to a lesser degree in other cultures. It transcends the social bound­aries of ethnicity, gender, and class. Some have argued that our fear of spiders is a legacy of our past, a time when we lived in caves or aggregated in family groups beneath trees or on rocky outcrops, and a bite from a spider could lead to infection and death.

Spiders covers many aspects of the biology of spiders, including morphology, physiology, neurobiology, ecology, evolution, classification, natural history and behavior. The physiology of all major systems is covered (integument, digestion, excretion and osmoregulation, neurophysiology, respiration and metabolism, circulation and hemolymph), as well as the biochemistry of spider silk and venom. Behavioral topics include foraging, dispersal, anti-predator tactics, nest and web construction, learning, communication and social interactions, including cooperative behavior. Topics on physio­logical ecology, habitat selection, diet composition and community ecology are also addressed. Additional topics include spider systematics and evolution, as well as the role of spiders in mythology and literature.

Author Punzo, Dana Professor of Biology at the University of Tampa, says he wrote Spiders after more than twenty-five years of fieldwork and labora­tory research on various aspects of spider biology. He has studied spiders both in the field and in the laboratory. His field studies have focused on the behavioral ecology of wolf spiders (Lycosidae) and tarantulas (Theraphosidae), as well as insects, with emphasis on diel (daily patterns) and sea­sonal patterns of activity, dispersal, habitat selection, and foraging behavior. In the laboratory he has been involved in analyses on the behavior, neurobiology, and comparative physiology of spiders with particular emphasis on learning and memory, localization of brain function, effects of early experience on subsequent behavior patterns, temperature and moisture relationships, neurochemistry, and hemolymph chemistry.

Punzo says his fascination with spiders started in early childhood and has never abated. He became interested in animal life at an early age and, with sweep net in hand, spent many hours collecting insects. His net presented him with a wide variety of shrub and grass-dwelling spiders, many of which wound up in glass jars in his basement. Later, one of his junior high school science teachers placed a large wolf spider in a respirometer and showed the class how its rate of oxygen consumption was related to the ambient temperature.

As a graduate student Punzo says he had his first opportunity to participate in field trips to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. His first trip to the Southwest Research Station of the American Museum of Natural History in 1967, located in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Ari­zona was his first opportunity to observe tarantulas and trapdoor spiders in their natural habitats. A few months later he found himself in Big Bend National Park, in the Big Bend region of west Texas. These two field trips were responsible for his life-long interest in desert arthropods and reptiles.

His experiences with arthropods in their natural habitats was supplemented with a wealth of information provided by many scientific papers and books written by natu­ralists, ecologists, taxonomists, physiologists, and ethologists, that dealt with many aspects of spider biology.

Because of the amount of research that has occurred over the last decade Punzo felt that the time had come to incorporate new findings into book form. Chapters in Spiders include:

  1. Introduction to spiders
  2. Morphology
  3. Physiology
  4. The nervous system, sense organs, instinct, and learning
  5. Development
  6. Reproduction and life history traits
  7. Locomotion, prey capture and anti-predator tactics
  8. Ecology
  9. Social spiders

The book also includes appendices on families of spiders and clutch sizes, a glossary, a bibliography, and 28 full-color plates.

In Spiders Punzo has written a book that covers most aspects of spider biology, as well as various aspects of behavior. It is never an easy task on a subject such as this, given the limitations imposed by the size of a book, to decide what topics to discuss and the depth to be given to each topic, but Punzo has risen to the challenge to cover the broad body of literature that exists on spiders. Spiders will be of use to professional biologists and students, as well as to general readers who have an interest in spiders.

Science / Physics / Cosmology / History & Philosophy

The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe by Michael Frayn (Metropolitan Books)

What do we really know? What are we in relation to the world around us? In The Human Touch, the acclaimed playwright and novelist Michael Frayn takes on the great questions of his career – and of our lives.

Frayn is the author of ten novels, including the bestselling Headlong, a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection and a Booker Prize finalist, and Spies, which won Britain’s Whitbread Fiction Award. Frayn has also written fourteen plays, among them Noises Off and Copenhagen, which won three Tony Awards in 1999.

Frayn in The Human Touch sets out to make sense of our place in the scheme of things. Our contact with the world around us, Frayn demonstrates, is always fleeting and indeterminate, yet we have nevertheless had to fashion a comprehensible universe in which action is possible. But how do we distinguish our subjective experience from what is objectively true and knowable? Surveying the spectrum of philosophical concerns from the existence of space and time to relativity and language, Frayn attempts to resolve what he calls ‘the oldest mystery’: the world is what we make of it. In which case, though, what are we?

Frayn has a surprising grasp of science, mathematics, philosophy, psychology and linguistics. As he shows, humankind, scientists agree, is a tiny and insignificant local anomaly in the impersonal vastness of the universe. But, essentially, he exposes the human scaffolding propping up what we like to think of as a detached, neatly ordered universe.

What would that universe be like if we were not here to say something about it? Without human beings, there would be no words or language. Would there still be numbers, if there were no one to count them? Or scientific laws, if there were no words or numbers in which to express them? Would the universe even be vast, without the very fact of our smallness and insignif­icance to give it scale? All of Frayn’s novels and plays have grappled with these essential questions; in The Human Touch he confronts them head-on.

British playwright and novelist Frayn has nursed a serious interest in philosophy since studying it at Cambridge in the 1950s, a fact that won't surprise fans of the writer best known for his 1982 farce, Noises Off, and award-winning 1998 drama, Copenhagen. This bold, original spin on the role of the human imagination in the construction of reality reflects the same robust intellectual curiosity, keen powers of observation and ingenious sense of humor that characterize all his work. … Frayn's dogged unraveling of determinist assumptions and the occasionally mind-bending minutiae of theories, arguments and counterarguments can get taxing, despite lucid and witty prose. But Frayn's ecstatic embrace of a human-made universe is a fascinatingly persuasive ride. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Michael Frayn, renowned playwright and novelist, has written a long and ambitious book on the relationship between the objective world and the human mind. … The book begins, ominously, with quantum theory, and Frayn reiterates the popular, but misguided, view that this branch of physics demonstrates the dependence of the material world on the consciousness of the observer. … although measurement can change the state of what is measured, it simply does not follow that the state has no reality independent of the act of measuring.

Frayn also claims that the selectivity of attention shows that what we perceive depends on us, as when you focus on a bird in flight and ignore the sky behind it. But this rests on confusing the world as it appears to us with the world as it is in itself, a confusion that runs through the entire book.… Frayn's subjectivism is also self-refuting. If everything depends on the observer, what about the observer herself? Isn't she at least a determinate reality? We can't confer form and substance on the world, resolving its inherent indeterminacy, unless we have it to begin with. … – Colin McGinn, The Washington Post's Book World
… Readers looking for tidy answers will find none. But those looking for exciting intellectual vistas will find them here. In a science that spans galaxies and eons, Frayn finally discerns the remarkable magic of the human imagination here and now. A rare work illuminating both the syntheses of art and the rigor of science. – Bryce Christensen, Booklist (starred review)
Frayn is always an engaging writer, and here he excels at bringing his reader along... An exhilarating intellectual journey. – Lisa Jardine, The Times (London)
As a primer in where we are up to, these days, vis-a-vis the universe... could hardly be bettered. – The Observer (London)
Relaxed but lucid, profuse but engrossing. You couldn't hope for a more elegant foray into the fundamental questions of philosophy. – Evening Standard (London)

Frayn the philosopher proves just as enlightening and entertaining as Frayn the playwright and novelist in The Human Touch. Shimmering with wit, charm, and brilliance, this work of philosophy sets out to make sense of our place in the scheme of things. Essential questions of human un­derstanding and behavior have been a driv­ing force behind Frayn's novels and plays; in The Human Touch he turns his attention directly on them with impressive results.

Social Sciences / Archaeology / Anthropology

The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent edited by Colin Haselgrove & Rachel Pope (Oxbow Books Limited, distributed in the U.S. by The David Brown Books Company)

The Earlier Iron Age (c. 800-400/300 BC) has often eluded attention in British Iron Age studies. Traditionally, researchers have been enticed by the wealth of material from the later part of the millennium and by developments in southern England in particular, culminating in the arrival of the Romans. The result has been a chronological and geographical imbalance, with the Earlier Iron Age often characterized more by what it lacks than what it comprises: for Bronze Age studies it lacks large quantities of bronze, while from the perspective of the Later Iron Age it lacks elaborate enclosure. In contrast, the same period on mainland Europe yields a wealth of burial evidence with links to Mediterranean communities and so has not suffered in quite the same way. Gradual acceptance of this problem over the past decade, along with the body of new discoveries produced by developer-funded archaeology, now provides researchers with an opportunity to create a more balanced picture of the Iron Age in Britain as a whole.

Edited by Colin Haselgrove, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester and Rachel Pope, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, the twenty-six papers in The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent seek to establish what is now known (and not known) about Earlier Iron Age communities in Britain and their neigh­bors on the Continent. The contributors engage with a variety of current research themes, seeking to characterize the Earlier Iron Age via the topics of landscape, environment, and agriculture; material culture and everyday life; architecture, settlement, and social organization; and with the issue of transition – looking at how communities of the Late Bronze Age transform into those of the Earlier Iron Age, and how we understand the social changes of the later first millennium BC. Geographically, The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent brings together recent research from regional studies covering the full length of Britain, as well as Ireland, across the Channel to France, and then over the North Sea to Denmark, the Low Countries, and beyond. Chapters and their authors include:

  1. Characterising the Earlier Iron Age – Colin Haselgrove and Rachel Pope
  2. The character of Late Bronze Age settlement in southern Britain – Joanna Brück
  3. 800 BC, The Great Divide – Stuart Needham
  4. Llyn Fawr metalwork in Britain: a review – Brendan O'Connor
  5. Intensification of animal husbandry in the Late Bronze Age? The contribution of sheep and pigs – Dale Serjeantson
  6. After ‘Celtic’ fields: the social organisation of Iron Age agriculture – Richard Bradley and David Yates
  7. Refiguring rights in the Early Iron Age landscapes of East Yorkshire – Melanie Giles
  8. Pitted histories: early first millennium BC pit alignments in the central Welsh Marches – Andy Wigley
  9. Environmental evidence from the Iron Age in north central Britain: putting archaeology in its place – Jacqueline P. Huntley
  10. Simple tools for tough tasks or tough tools for simple tasks? Analysis and experiment in Iron Age flint utilization – Jodie Humphrey
  11. A bloodless past: the pacification of Early Iron Age Britain – Simon James
  12. Building communities and creating identities in the first millennium BC – Niall Sharples
  13. Deposits and doorways: patterns within the Iron Age settlement at Crick Covert Farm, Northamptonshire – Ann Woodward and Gwilyn Hughes
  14. Ritual and the roundhouse: a critique of recent ideas on the use of domestic space in later British prehistory – Rachel Pope
  15. The character of Earlier Iron Age societies in Scotland – Ian Ralston and Patrick Ashmore
  16. The Early Iron Age of the Peak District: re-reading the evidence – Bill Bevan
  17. The Early to Later Iron Age transition in the Severn-Cotswolds: enclosing the household? – Tom Moore
  18. The aesthetics of landscape on the Berkshire Downs – Chris Gosden and Gary Lock
  19. Settlement in Kent from 1500 to 300 BC – Timothy Champion
  20. The Atlantic West in the Early Iron Age – Jon C. Henderson
  21. English and Danish Iron Ages – a comparison through houses, burials and hoards – M.L.S. Sorensen
  22. Familiar landscapes with unfamiliar pasts? Bronze Age barrows and Iron Age communities in the southern Netherlands – Fokke Gerritsen
  23. The emergence of early Iron Age ‘chieftains' graves’ in the southern Netherlands: reconsidering transformations in burial and depositional practices – David Fontijn and Harry Fokkens
  24. Early La Tene burial practices and social (re)constructions in the Marne-Moselle region – Marian Diepeven-Jansen
  25. Boundaries and identity in Early Iron Age Europe – Peter S. Wells
  26. Rethinking Earlier Iron Age settlement in the eastern Paris Basin – Basin Colin Haselgrove

According to Haselgrove and Pope in The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent, recent adjustments in absolute dating – ending the Ewart Park phase of the British Late Bronze Age metalwork industries in the ninth century BC and starting Hallstatt C in mainland Europe around c. 800 BC – only serve to emphasize the archaeological void created in many areas of north-west Europe by the cessation of large-scale bronze hoarding and abandonment of certain other long-lived practices and site types. At the same time, the explosion of developer-funded archaeology in Britain and its neighbors has unearthed a significant amount of new settlement evidence, filling in many of the gaps and complementing the burials that previously dominated the continental record. Although much of this material remains unpublished outside the grey literature, it confirms the diversity of Earlier Iron Age societies across Europe, while clarifying some of the wider patterns that existed. Above all, it is clear that in Britain, as in mainland Europe, the period was one of important social and cultural changes, some of them rapid and far-reaching, others gradual or regionally specific, which researchers have yet to characterize adequately, let alone explain.

The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent has its origins in a seminar held in December 2001, at the University of Durham, to review the Earlier Iron Age in Britain in the light of these developments – and at the same time to set the insular evidence for the period c. 800-300 BC in a wider chronological and geographical perspective by inviting papers on the Late Bronze Age and from scholars working on mainland Europe and the Atlantic fringes. A number of contributions have since been added to address other topics and especially to enhance coverage of northern France and the Low Countries. It is, after all, within a contact zone embracing south-east England, north-east France, and the Low Countries that current opinion locates the origins of the earliest types of Hallstatt C sword – the object that more than any other symbolizes the onset of the Iron Age in western and central Europe. Haselgrove and Pope say that one of the regrettable features of research in the last 30 years has been that while British scholars approaching the Bronze Age to Iron Age transition from a Bronze Age perspective have stressed the continued close links between Britain and Europe at this time, their Iron Age counterparts have been prone to focus on features that set Britain apart, hindering the development of what ought to be – and, in previous generations, was – a productive dialogue with continental colleagues.

According to the editors in the introduction to The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent, a major shift in Iron Age studies in the last ten years – and one that works against the application of structuralist theory – has been towards increased theoretical understanding of the complexity of human action. In most post-processual accounts, the ‘everyday’ has been seen as being dominated by agricultural and domestic tasks and routines, matters traditionally overlooked by the grand narratives of trade, settlement hierarchy and Celtic society, but the time has come to widen the approach. This also means rethinking the use of datasets and, in particular, putting more emphasis on material culture studies. Analyzing changes in ceramic assemblages, for example, can provide insights into the cooking of food, diet and site function, which in turn may lead us to an understanding of other social practices, such as feasting. At the same time, researchers are beginning to realize the potential of approaches integrating artifacts, ecofacts and settlement evidence – so often the domains of different specialists – in a landscape perspective. Serjeantson, for example, notes how residues on pottery in various assemblages are supplying evidence for dairying strategies, which can also be linked to on-site facilities for keeping animals and storing food. Important too are traditions of deposition, both ritual and more normative; these small-scale events provide an increasingly rich picture of past human action.

As well as a heightened appreciation of the real fluidity both of settlement and landscape, the turn toward social theory has seen a move away from static models of behavior. A simple left/right division of Iron Age domestic space has been found wanting when tested against other, more detailed evidence, while boundaries are treated not as static components of the landscape, but rather as multi-phase monuments with evidence for turf lines and individual dumping episodes. Following the seminal work of Hill, a more sophisticated understanding of ritual practice is being incorporated into studies of the everyday, and is now influencing research design in the field. Several papers in The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent comment on the need for a more thorough approach to the archaeological record; Pope stresses the need for more critical use of analogy. Important, too, is Giles' work on identity and practice, which hopefully heralds an increasingly sensitive approach to the material.

There is a growing awareness of the importance of integrating published and unpublished data, as in Champion's work in Kent. Studies that rely essentially on published sites, while a necessary first step, run the risk of reifying existing regional imbalances.

According to The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent, what has become apparent is the real shift towards a landscape perspective in settlement studies that developer-funded archaeology has made possible. This is especially valuable when attempting to identify presence/absence of settlement and the varying use of upland and lowland landscapes, and because it can reveal evidence for aspects of Earlier Iron Age behavior, which have hitherto escaped detection. One of these is disposal of the dead. Giles has suggested that cremations may have been added to Earlier Bronze Age barrows well into the Earlier Iron Age. Readers should also bear in mind that burials were only a part of more complex funerary rituals in which the performers acted out specific practices and used objects we find today to convey particular meanings to the participants and observers. We may lack the actual burials in Britain, but this does not mean we cannot recover some traces of these other elements if we think to look for them.

The existence of specialized ritual sites during the period – from Ballachulish to Fiskerton – is another topic that merits attention. Equally, as Bradley and Yates note, researchers have been far more successful in showing that hillforts were used for ritual purposes than in working out who lived there. While researchers now have a better perspective on the relevance of hillforts to the British Iron Age as a whole, we should not overlook the fact that, in the areas where they do exist, many of the biggest questions confronting Earlier Iron Age studies continue to revolve around the social role of hillforts.

Many papers recognize the need for a multi-scalar approach, integrating local- and regional-level studies with broader narratives of social change. As Sorensen neatly puts it: ‘life is the tension between its smallest detail and its largest expression’. She calls for different scales of analysis in Iron Age studies to address small-scale domestic routines and larger-scale trends. This is recognized by Wigley, who highlights both the general similarities between systems of earthworks and more subtle, local differences, by which we may begin to recognize specific communities. Henderson too, sees ‘regionalism and local distinctiveness occurring within an overall shared cultural milieu’, while Needham stresses the need for a broad understanding of pottery developments alongside detailed analysis of small-scale variations in ceramic form, with the wealth of social and cultural information this can provide. Sharples returns to earlier work linking variations in the Later Bronze Age pottery and metalwork record to a tiered system of exchange networks at domestic, regional, and pan-European scales.

While researchers such as those in The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent are making progress in understanding the Earlier Iron Age as a period in its own right and in its different regional manifestations across Britain and the near Continent, a last lesson to emerge from the papers is that more scholars need to be prepared to bridge the current divide between Bronze Age and Iron Age studies. Not only will this lead to a clearer understanding of the process whereby one social system was transformed into another, but, much more significantly, it will help us to develop longer-term perspectives on key topics such as anthropogenic and climatic impact on the environment, the monu­mentalisation of place, and structured deposition, which transcend the conventional period boundaries.

According to The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent, the abandonment of bronze was but one aspect of change in the basic social value system of people in Britain at c. 800 BC. Other changes include the emergence of ‘communal sites’ and greater social cohesion, and a dramatic increase in house size. In northern Britain, there is also evidence for increasing involvement in communal arable production and cattle raising. This shift in subsistence strategies at the very start of the Earlier Iron Age, perhaps accompanied by a period of low resources, may be what generated increasing social cohesion. There was a general move away from the expression of identity via material culture towards its display through the design and construction of settlement and landscape architecture. The transition period involved a shift from individual or household expression towards increasingly communal social forms.

There was continued growth of local communities with activities such as feasting perhaps ensuring the successful integration of larger social groups. By implication, labor and resources were pooled beyond the level of the household. A key concern throughout the Earlier Iron Age was with food production and storage, with a self-sufficient mixed farming economy based on sheep-farming and arable production. It was not until the end of the period that we see signs of population growth and the beginning of a return to upland landscapes.

The transition from Earlier to Later Iron Age social forms seems to have been relatively swift. New settlement types appear in many areas by the later fourth century BC and the density of sites began to increase rapidly. There was a greater attachment to place, alongside an increasingly bounded landscape, and a process of agricultural intensification began, although not reaching its zenith for another century or two. Artifact assemblages reveal a resurgence of regional exchange and craft production. While the emphasis was still on community, there was now also more individual expression, with a rapid growth in display architecture at both enclosure and household level. Alongside this was an increasing tendency to subdivide social space – especially at communal sites – which might reveal the desire to separate off different activities or groups of people, either of which would provide a locus for the future growth of new identities in the face of continued population increase.

The papers in The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and the Near Continent seek to establish what we now know about Earlier Iron Age societies in Britain and the near Continent, making use of a wide range of approaches, and presenting both detailed regional interpretations and broader narratives of change. These studies bring attention to a period which has suffered from inattention as compared with the Bronze Age and the Late Iron Age, bringing focus onto the questions which need to be addressed by archaeologists and historians, especially relating to the transition from the Bronze Age to the Earlier Iron Age, in hopes of understanding how cultures are transformed from one social system to another.

Arts & Literature / Biographies & Memoirs

Peeling the Onion: A Memoir by Günter Grass, translated by Michael Henry Heim (Harcourt)

Memory likes to play hide-and-seek, to crawl away. It tends to hold forth, to dress up, often needlessly. Memory contradicts itself; pedant that it is, it will have its way. When pestered with questions, memory is like an onion that wishes to be peeled so we can read what is laid bare letter by letter. It is seldom unambiguous and often in mirror-writing or otherwise disguised. …
The onion has many skins. A multitude of skins. Peeled, it renews itself; chopped, it brings tears; only during peeling does it speak the truth. What happened before and after the end of my childhood knocks at the door with facts … and demands to be told now this way, now that, and leads to tall tales. – from the book

Peeling the Onion is the story of a life. Of a childhood in Danzig that ended with the beginning of World War II. The family in a crowded two-room apartment – mother, father, sister, and the young Günter – he collects cigarette cards featuring the masterpieces of Renaissance art and dreams of enlisting in the submarine corps.

In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass remembers his early life, from his boyhood in Danzig through the late 1950s, when The Tin Drum was published. Born in Germany in 1927, Grass is the widely acclaimed author of plays, essays, poems, and numerous novels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

At age ten, he joins the Jungvolk; at age fifteen, volunteers for the Navy, but is rejected. "A believer till the end ... with untroubled, unquestioning fervor" – that is how Grass saw himself in Peeling the Onion in his own rearview mirror. Two years later, he was drafted and assigned to the Waffen-SS, as a tank gunner. He was sent to the Eastern Front in the spring of 1945.

Taken prisoner by American forces as he was recovering from shrapnel wounds, he spent the final weeks of the war in an American POW camp. There, he spent time taking abstract cooking classes (no ingredients, just words) and playing dice with a pious fellow prisoner, a Bavarian by the name of Joseph.... Could it have been Joseph Ratzinger? And it was there that, in disbelief, he first saw photographs of Bergen-Belsen.

Released from camp, Grass hit the road – working deep underground in a mine near Hanover; carving tombstones and flirting with existentialism in Düsseldorf; making art and dancing to ragtime in Berlin with Anna, his first great love. He mourned his mother, "who was born in pain and died in pain, and set [him] free to write and write."

After the war, Grass resolved to become an artist and moved with his first wife to Paris, where he began to write the novel that would make him famous, The Tin Drum....

Grass is a daring writer, and he has always been a daring man. He remains a hero to me, both as a writer and as a moral compass. – John Irving

[A] hotly emotional and complex work . . . the best account I know of surviving, and growing up in, chaotic, pauperized West Germany…. Grass's energy as a writer has always sprung from his belief in experience: things horrible, comic, delicious, but always things felt, seen, touched, eaten or embraced. – London Review of Books

Grass's powerfully evocative memories are spellbinding. – Publishers Weekly

Grass has written a memoir of rare literary beauty ... filled with striking poetic imagery ... [Grass's] best works – such as The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, Dog Years, and probably his memoir, too – will be read long after the political polemics, not to mention the current storm over his belated confession, have been forgotten. – Ian Buruma, The New Yorker

A riveting memoir. – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

If people want to judge [Grass] then let them judge. But first they should read his book.... Peeling the Onion is one of Grass's most accessible and engaging works. – The Times (London)

Peeling the Onion is the amazing story of a life and a memoir of unsurpassed literary brilliance. Full of the bravado of youth, the rubble of postwar Germany, the thrill of wild love affairs, and the exhilaration of Paris in the early fifties, Peeling the Onion – which caused great controversy when it was published in Germany – reveals Grass at his most intimate.

 

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Guide to Summer 2007 Contents