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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

October 2008, Issue #114

War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Edward Tick

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed

Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame: Nine Strategies for Winning in Niches by Fritz Kroeger, Andrej Vizjak & Mike Moriarty

Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure: Visualizing Objectives, Deliverables, Activities, and Schedules by Dennis P. Miller

Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks

Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul: How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing Despite Ghosts, Pitbulls, Annoying Tenants, and the Government by James S. Pockross

The Human Body by Seymour Simon

CSS Artistry: A Web Design Master Class (includes full-color Transcending CSS book and 2 1/2-hour CSS DVD video training) by Andy Clarke

Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn, with photography by Jason Lowe

Keys to the Elementary Classroom: A New Teacher's Guide to the First Month of School, 3rd Edition by Carrol Moran, Judith C Stobbe, Wendy Baron, Janette Miller, Ellen Moir

Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams: Impact and implications by Martin East

Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 by Pam Walker & Elaine Wood

Foundations of Psychological Thought: A History of Psychology edited by Barbara F. Gentile & Benjamin O. Miller

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo & William Patrick

The Death of Raymond Yellow ThunderAnd Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns by Stew Magnuson, with a foreword by Pekka Hämäläinen

History of the Mosaic Templars of America: Its Founders and Officials edited by A.E. Bush & P.L. Dorman, with an introduction by John William Graves

Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image by Joan Ramon Resina

British Intelligence: Secrets, Spies and Sources by Stephen Twigge, Edward Hampshire & Graham Macklin

The German Discovery of the World: Renaissance Encounters with the Strange and Marvelous by Christine R. Johnson

Pop-Up Cards: And Other Greetings that Slide, Dangle & Move with Sandi Genovese by Sandi Genovese

Don't You Forget about Me: A Novel by Jancee Dunn

Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow: Ecocritical Readings of Animals and Women in Eighteenth-Century British Labouring-Class Women's Poetry by Anne Milne

Mass Historia: 365 Days of Historical Facts and (Mostly) Fictions by Chris Regan

Nowhere is Perfect: French and Francophone Utopias/Dystopias edited by John West-Sooby

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn D. Wall

Salvation Boulevard: A Novel by Larry Beinhart

Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities edited by Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, Cynthia T. Cook & Richard L. O'Brien

Neuromuscular Essentials: Applying the Preferred Physical Therapist Practice Patterns by associate editors Joanell Bohmert & Janice Hulme, and series editor Marilyn Moffat

The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young & Ralph F. Stearley

Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path by Francene Hart

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, 4th Edition (Complete Idiot's Guide to) by Mitchell G. Bard

Ain't I a Feminist?: African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom by Aaronette M. White

Youth and the City in the Global South by Karen Tranberg Hansen


Audiobooks / Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder [Abridged Audiobook] (Audio CD, 6 CDs, approximate running time: 7 hours, 38 minutes) by Edward Tick (Quest Books)

War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Edward Tick (paperback) (Quest Books)

War and the Soul, newly released in audio, is the winner of the 2006 Award of Distinction from the International Communicator Awards program and ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Book of the Year Award in psychology.

The war in Iraq is producing psychological casualties at an alarming rate. Nearly 30% of returning soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and the stopgap measures provided by counseling services during and after tour of duty are simply not enough. Arguing that PTSD means far more than we may think, clinical psychotherapist Edward Tick in War and the Soul exposes the characteristic devastation of soul that occurs as a result of participation in any warfare. Through case histories and stories, Tick helps us to comprehend the veteran's world from within and traces a path for his/her identity transformation from wounded or disabled veteran to honorable returned warrior. Furthermore, Tick investigates humanity's deep-seated fascination with war, why soldiers from countries like Vietnam do not experience PTSD, and why PTSD might just be our country's soul sickness.

The symptoms of PTSD – including suicide, homicide, criminal activities, domestic violence, substance abuse, and unstable families and jobs – threaten veterans' futures as well as the health and stability of their families and communities. In fact, according to Tick, PTSD impacts all aspects of being. Some afflicted vets have chronic nightmares, can't sustain jobs or relationships, or won't leave home, imagining ‘the enemy’ everywhere. Over decades, Tick has developed healing techniques so effective that clinicians, clergy, veterans' organizations, and military facilities all over the country study them. “We must see PTSD as a disorder of identity itself,” says Tick, who founded and directs Soldier's Heart: Veterans' Safe Return Initiatives in Troy, New York. In War and the Soul, Tick says the key to healing is in how the individual understands PTSD. In modern warfare's overwhelming violence, the soul – the true self – flees and can become lost for life, thus creating an identity or ‘psycho-spiritual’ disorder. Drawing on ancient warrior traditions worldwide, his methods restore the soul so that the veteran can feel inner peace and truly return home.

…a fascinating look into the minds of veterans. – Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY)

Speaking as a war veteran, I do believe Ed Tick's heart has seen what my eyes have seen. – Robert Reiter, Veterans' Service Officer

With a resounding salute to those who have given their lives, this book empowers us to overcome the soul loss that is the result of all wars. – Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C.

War and the Soul is a great tool and comfort and has been passed around my team for the past few months out here (in Afghanistan)... Dr. Tick's guidance is golden to me. – Lt. Frank Hill of the 758th Forward Surgical Team

War and the Soul gives hope to the devastation of war, showing readers and listeners how to rise up from the ashes and bring healing to vets. This groundbreaking book, read in audio by the author, takes listeners on a journey into the individual lives of veterans – from the falling mortars of WWII and Vietnam, to the growing casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and proves that it is possible to reach beyond the world of conventional medicine and treatment in order to nurture a positive identity based in compassion and forgiveness.

Biographies & Memoirs

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed (Sourcebooks, Inc.)

A colleague prepared her [first patient] for the placement of a central line (a major intravenous line into a deep vein).
Her torso was uncovered in anticipation. … I looked up from the sterilized field which was quickly submerging the Bedouin body under a disposable sea of blue. Her face remained enshrouded in a black scarf, as if she was out in a market scurrying through a crowd of loitering men. …
Behind the curtain, a family member hovered, the dutiful son. … He was obviously worrying, I decided, as I watched his slim brown fingers rapidly manipulating a rosary. … Every now and again, he signaled vigorously, rapidly talking in Arabic to instruct the nurse. … We were almost finished. What could be troubling him?
Through my dullness, eventually, I noticed a clue. Each time … the veil slipped, the son burst out in a flurry of anxiety. Perhaps all of nineteen, the son was instructing the nurse to cover the patient's face, all the while painfully averting his uninitiated gaze away from his mother's fully exposed torso, revealing possibly the first breasts he may have seen.
I wondered about the lengths to which the son continued to veil his mother, even when she was gravely ill. Couldn't he see it was the least important thing for her now at this time, when her life could ebb away at any point?
… Already, I was finding myself wildly ignorant in this country. Perhaps the patient herself would be furious if her modesty was unveiled when she was powerless to resist. Nothing was clear to me other than veiling was essential, inescapable, even for a dying woman. This was the way of the new world in which I was now confined. For now, and the next two years, I would see many things I couldn't understand.  – from the book

The decisions that change one’s life are often the most impulsive ones.
As told in In the Land of Invisible Women, unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong.
What Ahmed, currently an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and Assistant Director of the MUSC Sleep Disorders Laboratory, discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparalleled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love. And, more than anything, it is a land of opportunity. A place where she discovers what it takes for one woman to recreate herself in the land of invisible women.  

Denied visa renewal in America, British-born Pakistani physician Ahmed, 31, leaves New York for a job in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she celebrates her Muslim faith on an exciting Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca... After 9/11, she is shocked at the widespread anti-Americanism. The details of consumerism.... are central to this honest memoir about connections and conflicts, and especially the clamorous clash of modern and medieval . . . Cadillac and camel. – Booklist

In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I've rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith. – Gail Sheehy

This memoir is a journey into a complex world readers will find fascinating and at times repugnant. … British-born Ahmed, a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin … discovers her new environment is defined by schizophrenic contrasts that create an absurd clamorous clash of modern and medieval.... Everyday life is laced with bizarre situations created by the rabid puritanical orthodoxy that among other requirements forbids women to wear seat belts because it results in their breasts being more defined, and oppresses Saudi men as much as women by its archaic rules. At times the narrative is burdened with Ahmed's descriptions of the physical characteristics of individuals and the luxurious adornments of their homes but this minor flaw is easily overlooked in exchange for the intimate introduction to a world most readers will never know. – Publishers Weekly  
A big-hearted examination of the extreme contradictions in a society very different – yet not so different – from our own. – Kirkus
Ahmed was saddened, distressed, and taken aback by her colleagues' excitement in reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Her friends talked about how America ‘deserved’ this tragedy because of its support of Israel. – ForeWord

In the Land of Invisible Women is an honest and revealing memoir like none other readers will have read – a fascinating and chilling look inside ‘the Kingdom.’

Business & Economics / Management & Leadership

Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame: Nine Strategies for Winning in Niches by Fritz Kroeger, Andrej Vizjak & Mike Moriarty (McGraw Hill Professional)

As industries worldwide move toward consolidation, niche companies need to take advantage of strategies that are forward-thinking and anticipate new trends. To be capable of beating the global consolidation endgame – i.e., outperforming markets and prospering as industries move ever faster toward consolidation – the company needs to take fate into its own hands if it is to survive and thrive.

Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame identifies nine key strategies that niche companies must master in order to outperform their markets and gain the largest benefits from consolidation and to stand strong against global consolidators. The book draws from a landmark study conducted by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney of more than 600,000 small to mid-sized niche companies over a 15-year period. The three authors are partners at A.T. Kearney:  Fritz Kroeger, head of European strategy practice; Andrej Vizjak, managing director of Eastern European operations; and Michael Moriarty, head of North American consumer industries and retail practice.

According to Kroeger, Vizjak and Moriarty, in order to time the strategies accurately, all decision makers must know what stage of industry consolidation they are in, along with the implications of each stage. This ensures a company's survival and success against global consolidators. Taking readers through the Merger Endgame Theory lifecycle, the authors show them how to develop stable niche strategies by:

  • Determining their industry's Endgame position and expected evolution of consolidation in coming years.
  • Identifying industry sectors with comparable models to illuminate strategic success factors for the sector.
  • Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of consolidation winners and losers.
  • Spotting potential market splits and configurations for the value-creation chain.
  • Determining the best niche options and the best sequence for executing them.

These action steps are supported by case studies of leading companies around the world, including BMW, NetJets, Swatch, Ducati, and KPMG – which show how these niche fighters developed competitive advantage, survived market collapses, and delivered superior customer service while increasing their market share.

Rigorously researched, this book is a master plan for exploiting niche strategies and nurturing innovation. – Franjo Bobinac, Chief Executive Officer, Gorenje Group

Provocative and timely, Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame is an excellent resource for companies that want to compete with, and beat, the big guys. – Ziga Debeljak, Chief Executive Officer, Mercator Group

Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame provides an action plan for surviving industry consolidation. Thought leaders provide success models from leading organizations worldwide that demonstrate the implications of each stage of industry consolidation and the optimal timing of the nine strategies.

Business & Economics / Management & Leadership

Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure: Visualizing Objectives, Deliverables, Activities, and Schedules by Dennis P. Miller (Auerbach/CRC Press)

An organizing, visual communication, team-building, commitment-gaining, and project planning tool, the work breakdown structure (WBS) helps project managers communicate with their teams, clients, and management. Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure provides a process that facilitates the development of the WBS. The process defines the project through its deliverables and validates the initial target date by critical path analysis. The result is a clear visualization of the project’s objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedule.

According to Dennis P. Miller, most people do not truly understand a concept until they can visualize it. This applies to all fields, including project management. The best way to effectively manage projects is to help the team visualize the end result as well as the steps needed to achieve that result. Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure employs a diagram approach to project planning and scheduling that empowers business professionals to take control of and communicate their projects, ensuring they are completed on time with their targeted impact.

Step-by-step advancement industry professional Miller, a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies, explains the keys to an effective WBS through an Eight Step Process. He has refined this process over a period of twenty years, applying it to over 100 projects ranging from software development to social events. The Process starts with a concentrated effort to define the project through its deliverables. The middle steps walk the project team through a process of activity definition and sequencing and resource assignment. The last steps involve estimating the duration and verifying the project timeline. Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure is a hands-on volume that includes a practice section for each of the eight steps, providing readers with real examples of how Miller has successfully applied the process. The result of its application is a visualization of the project's objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedules. Over 130 illustrations enrich the instructions.

The Eight Step Process utilizes a simple office supply product called the Post-It (a 3M trademarked product). His approach to its use is different – this planning process combines processes, methods, and techniques all together into an initiative series of steps. When Miller first started using Post-Its, he did what most project managers instinctively do: pass out packages of Post-Its to the team members and instruct them to "Turn each Post-It into an activity." Miller’s results were the same as theirs – loads of Post-Its with little to no order. Only after many hours and sometimes days of sorting was he ready to show the plan to the project team. Meanwhile, the project itself may have changed and maybe even the team members had changed. Because of the delay between the planning session and the realization of the plan, no one would buy in to the final plan. The original planners would neither recognize nor feel any commitment to the plan. Miller says he had to learn how to shorten the delay between the planning session and the start of the project. He had to develop a process that would produce an initial plan during the planning session.

This Eight Step Process defines the project through its deliverables, and the final step validates the project's initial target date by critical path analysis (CPA). The results either can be the input data for project management software or manually generated visu­als of the project's objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedule.

Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure is organized as follows. Part One: Preplanning Activities and Issues asks some important questions regarding readers’ readiness for the planning session and some tough questions about the organization and its readiness to accept the planning results. Then it lays out what specific steps readers need regard­ing communications, timing, planning facilities, and the planning documents they will need. It also presents the possible sources for the definition of the project's deliverables and the issue of remote plan­ning situations (virtual teams).

Part Two: Executing the Eight Step Process takes readers through an eight-step process and it variations. Organization of each of the Eight Steps

  • Background. The background explains the step in terms of what is it, why in this order, and its overall importance. Specific items in the background support other items in both the JIT and the facilitation instructions. This approach prepares the project manager for the inevitable questions.
  • Just-in-time (JIT) training. There is considerable training needed to facili­tate a planning session. Most of this very specific training does not exist in any publication. Some of the training is simple but worthy of repeating, and some is in the social sciences that project managers deploy – communications, understanding people, negotiating, problem solving, politics, etc.
  • Practice. The practice section takes readers through an eight-step project planning session. This section ties the instructional set to a real-life situation, helping readers ‘see through the eyes’ of a project manager, and providing a better understanding of the project planning style represented by the Eight Step Process.
  • Specific facilitation instructions. For Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure to be of value as a facilita­tion manual, it is necessary to provide specific facilitation instructions. These instructions take the form of spoken instructions (to the team) and instructional diagrams. The combination of the two provides the neces­sary JIT training to the project planning team through the ‘voice’ of the project manager (facilitator).
  • Hints – miscellaneous bits and pieces of problems and solutions readers might encounter during the step. Some hints are really born of personal and shared experiences. This type of learning is not gener­ally organized in any manner – it is experiential based.

Part Three: Post-Planning Activities reviews a set of follow-up items that logically fol­low the planning session. Decisions made during the post-planning timeframe will help avoid serious problems during project implementation.

Part Four: Some Basic Project Management Issues brings forth questions regarding the Eight Step Process and project management. Miller says that some ques­tions seem simple on the surface but have an undertone of greater meaning – requiring some forethought and preplanning for the next planning session.

Unlike other books in project management, Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure not only thoroughly shows readers what they can do, but shows them how to do it. Project managers are assured of success by following the simple tools in this unique and comprehensive volume.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks (Harvard Business Press)

The worst conversations put our friendships, reputations, and sometimes even our jobs on the line.

Tough exchanges, which run the gamut from firing subordinates to parrying verbal attacks from colleagues, are so loaded with anger, confusion, and fear that most people handle them poorly: they avoid them, clamp down, or give in. But dodging issues, appeasing difficult people, and mishandling tough encounters all carry a high price for managers and companies – in the form of damaged relationships, ruined careers, and intensified problems.

Very few of us know how to deal with these unexpected clashes. We would all like to avoid them. But sometimes they're inevitable – and if they end without a clear resolution, problems only fester. With skill and practice, readers can get better at even the hardest talks, keep them from turning toxic, and manage them toward the outcomes they want. They can move forward, even in uncertain terrain.

In Failure to Communicate, Holly Weeks shows how to master the combat mentality, emotional maelstrom, and confusion that poison difficult conversations. Drawing on her many years as an independent consultant and coach to leaders and executives, Weeks explains:

  • Why we turn to ineffective tactics when the heat is on.
  • How to avoid the worst pitfalls of difficult conversations, and how to pull out if one falls in.
  • Ways to regain balance and inject respect into stressful conversations, even when confronted, infuriated, or wronged.
  • Strategies for mitigating aggression and defensiveness, and for clearing the fog of misconceptions.
  • How to get through the hardest conversations with reputation and relationships intact.

Many books on this subject assume that situations are actually misunderstandings, and that the participants involved retain good intentions. But after years in the trenches, author and communications consultant Weeks knows this isn't always true. In Failure to Communicate she says that while difficult conversations don't often fit neatly into single categories, there are six basic types that give us the most trouble.

  • I have bad news for you. A person has to deliver unwelcome information and tries to choose between directness and diplomacy, worried about overplaying on the one hand and understating on the other.
  • You're challenging my power. Someone worries about raising a tough issue with a boss, realizing that there could be significant fallout if the boss thinks it makes him look bad or thinks he's being put on the spot.
  • I can't go there. Conflict-averse people, even powerful executives, try to avoid difficult conversations altogether, even as they watch a situation – and a relationship – degenerate.
  • You win/I lose. No matter how cooperative one person tries to be, her counterpart always tries to come out on top – at her expense.
  • What's going on here? A conversation unexpect­edly becomes intensely charged and extremely confusing. One side, or both, is assailed for something he didn't say and never intended.
  • I'm being attacked! A counterpart goes on the offensive with accusations, profanity, shouting, threats, or other aggressive moves.

While any of these can be tough, sometimes, through a combi­nation of forces few of us feel we can control, difficult conversa­tions morph into something more dangerous: they become toxic conversations, serious snarls of offense and defense, excruciating emotion, and awful uncertainty. Failure to Communicate offers a system of strategies and tactics to help readers navigate the treacherous minefields we may suddenly find ourselves in when we approach and try to get through – rather than avoid – prickly conversations. Strategies are the thinking part of these conversations, designed for the realities we face in them. Balanced strategies replace the blanking out, gut reactions, and other horrors that slip in when conversations turn tough and ordinary thinking fails. Tactics are the handling part – what they do in the moment when their counterparts, or their own emotions, are giving them trouble,

In the process, readers learn how to avoid treating difficult conversations like warfare, even when their counterpart comes in with a combat mentality. They learn how to find and keep their balance rather than succumb to emotions, no matter how their counterpart acts or reacts. They learn how to avoid mishan­dling a difficult conversation, even when they can't read their coun­terpart and don't know how he or she is reading them. And they learn a set of skills to guide them through the landscape of difficult conversations so that they minimize damage to both sides without giving up or giving in, and without compromising their integrity.

In Failure to Communicate, readers learn how to take a longer view – a satellite perspective – on these conversations, while they are in them. With that, they will have a clearer sense of the landscape, and they can see where conversations are likely to snarl and what is preventing them from reaching their goals.

As a diplomat and peace negotiator, I have seen firsthand the devastating – and invariably unintended – consequences when difficult conversations go astray. Holly provides a practical and highly readable guide to the tough discussions that most of us wish to avoid, but that are often necessary. It is an invaluable resource. – Peter W. Galbraith, U.S. Ambassador to Croatia

It is easy to recognize yourself in the stories Holly Weeks tells about people failing to communicate in difficult conversations. Her advice – to find balance both within myself and in the conversational landscape – comes alive when she gives us words to make it happen. – Debora  M. Kolb. Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Professor for Women & Leadership, Simmons School of Management

Failure to Communicate is brilliant, analyzing why conversations can be difficult and providing simple, practical frameworks to steer through them. Holly Weeks reveals important insights into human nature and helps readers develop skills fundamental to being an effective manager. – Robert S. Seales, Chief strategy officer, JSWT North America

Failure to Communicate is a deep analysis of what can go wrong in high-stakes communication and how to increase dramatically one’s capacity for effective communication. – Howard Gardner, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, author, Changing Minds and Minds of the Future
Holly Weeks wonderfully equips the reader with simple steps and strategies to ensure success in communication. Armed with this knowledge, what earlier seemed avoidable and impossible suddenly appears necessary and altogether doable. – Abhishek Poddar,

managing director, Matheson Bosanquet Enterprises

Failure to Communicate will help readers dissect toxic conversations with surgical precision, understand exactly what causes them to go so wrong, and get them back on track. Using proven techniques paired with detailed real-life examples, Weeks equips readers with the strategies and practices they need to transform even the toughest conversations.
Business & Investing / Reference / Biographies & Memoirs

Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul: How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing Despite Ghosts, Pitbulls, Annoying Tenants, and the Government by James S. Pockross (Samson Publishing Inc.)

Whether readers consider themselves neophytes, seasoned investors, or simply real estate ‘curious,’ Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul was written with them in mind. The book features lessons from James Pockross's over twenty-five years of investing:

  • Pros and cons of each type of real estate investment.
  • How to find deals.
  • How to analyze, negotiate, fund, and manage properties.
  • What to do with a property once they own or control it.

The book also covers topics of importance to real estate investors, often not found in other books, including:

  • Asset protection.
  • Government programs.
  • Tax considerations.
  • Structuring deals with investment partners.
  • Incorporating the precepts of Zen Buddhist into real estate investing and management.
  • Making a difference in the world.

Pockross says his purpose in writing Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul is to educate, entertain, and inform readers. Unlike other ‘how to’ real estate books, in this book he describes every deal he has done – what went right and what went wrong.

James S. Pockross has been a real estate investor for over 25 years and currently controls hundreds of apartment units. He earned a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors, and he owns an insurance agency specializing in health insurance for small companies.

To quote Pockross, "It's the one book I wish I read when I first began investing."

A valuable and highly entertaining guide about the joys and sorrows of getting into the real estate business. Pockross demonstrates that through hard work, persistence, and determination, even an ‘ordinary guy’ can succeed in becoming a mini-mogul. Highly recommended to anyone thinking about investing in property. – Dr. Genio Staranczak, business economist and financial author

James S. Pockross looks at real estate investing from all angles: the realistic, practical, humorous, and spiritual. I highly recommend this book! – Hary Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul covers the truth about real estate from all angles in an irreverent, humorous style that is unique and informative. This book provides a wealth of information gleaned from the author's experiences and is appropriate for both neophytes and experienced investors.

Children’s / Science & Nature / Anatomy & Physiology

The Human Body by Seymour Simon (Smithsonian / Collins)

Seymour Simon, who has been called ‘the dean of the [children's science book] field’ by the New York Times, has written more than 200 books and is the recipient of the Science Books & Films Key Award for Excellence in Science Books, the Empire State Award for excellence in literature for young people, and the Educational Paperback Association Jeremiah Ludington Award. With The Human Body, Simon teams up with the Smithsonian Institution to explain the greatest wonder of the world: the human body.

As told in IThe Human Body – one hundred trillion cells, more than 600 muscles, and over 200 bones – these are parts of the twelve major systems that make up the human body. Technological developments have given us a detailed glimpse within our bodies and led to a greater understanding of how we function. Starting with the integumentary system (skin, nails, and hair) and finishing with the reproductive system, the human body covers everything about readers – from the outside to the inside.

The Human Body starts with a little background: From early times, people have looked and marveled at muscles and bones, the heart and the stomach, the ears and the eyes, and the other body parts they could examine. But not until the discovery of X-rays in the nineteenth century were doctors and scientists able to see inside a body without cutting it open. By the second half of the twentieth century, computerized imaging instruments were able to show the living body in action. Nowadays we can picture and explore the workings of microscopic cells and the largest systems that make up the amazing machine we call the human body.

The book is filled with computerized images explaining cells, each of the systems of the body, skin, bones, joints, muscles, the heart, blood, lungs, digestion, stomach, nerves, brain, lymph nodes, excretory system, endocrine system, sexes and reproduction, development from fetus to newborn, eyes, ears, taste and smell, sight and hearing.

The Human Body concludes with a summary of the stages of life:

  • Infancy is marked by rapid growth and skill learning, such as crawling and making sounds.
  • Childhood begins with the ability to talk and walk, and then learning to read, write, and interact with other people.
  • Adolescence begins between ages ten and twelve for girls and between twelve and fourteen for boys. Bodies grow rapidly into adult shapes for women and men.
  • Adulthood: Humans in their twenties and thirties are at their physical peak. Most athletes excel in sports during those years.
  • Middle age occurs in the forties and fifties and old age begins in the late fifties and early sixties. Wrinkles appear; hair thins and grays; and the senses dull.
  • With the help of sophisticated medicine, exercise, and proper nutrition, the amazing human body has become even more durable. Although old age begins in the early sixties, people are living longer than ever before.

Smithsonian Institution has worked since 1846 to preserve American history and heritage and to promote innovation, research, and discovery in science. Smithsonian is the #1 brand for quality, according to the 2003 Equitrend Brand Study. For more than 160 years, the Smithsonian has remained true to its mission, ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge.’

Computers & Internet / Graphic Design

CSS Artistry: A Web Design Master Class (includes full-color Transcending CSS book and 2 1/2-hour CSS DVD video training) by Andy Clarke (New Riders Press)
One of the greatest challenges Web designers and developers face is to bridge the communication gap between highly visual and highly linear thinkers. Only the rare individual has been able to show a balance between sophisticated, innovative design and progressive, complex technical issues. CSS Artistry with its two components, the book: Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design and the workshop DVD: Inspired CSS: Styling for a Beautiful Web, for intermediate to advanced Web designers, does just that, showing readers how to create good designs.

The entire concept of Transcendent CSS is not so much of a how-to as it is a manifesto: Transcend the Web of today. Renowned designer and author Andy Clarke shows readers how to incorporate new standards and the latest browsers offer new possibilities for creative design. Few Web designers are experienced programmers, and as a result, working with semantic markup and CSS can create roadblocks to achieving truly beautiful designs using all the resources available. Add to this the pressures of presenting exceptional design to clients and employers, without compromising efficient workflow, and the challenge deepens for those working in a fast-paced environment. As someone who understands these complexities firsthand, Clarke offers visual designers a progressive approach to creating artistic, usable, and accessible sites using transcendent CSS.

In the book Clarke is able to set the stage for the development of progressive Web site design using XHTML, CSS and other Web-standards technologies. In the video, he follows up on the core principles of transcendent CSS, taking readers further along the path to creating beautiful and accessible Web sites using lean semantic markup. Readers learn to take design to the next level using semantic markup, typography, microformats, advanced CSS selectors, multiple layout techniques, and the emerging CSS3 specification. Readers find in CSS Artistry:

  • Proven techniques for creating designs that use lean, semantic markup and CSS.
  • Numerous examples that use a visual approach to explain coding techniques.
  • The latest advances in Web design, including the emerging CSS3 specification.
  • A new design workflow for building successful prototypes and effective grids that works well for all team members.
  • Instruction on advanced topics including typography, microformats, advanced CSS selectors, CSS3 modules, and layout techniques that employ floats, positioning, and margins.

Total running time for the DVD video training is 2 hours, 34 minutes.

As readers may have deduced from the title, Transcending CSS is not just another code book. It is about design and code playing together nicely. It is about the way code is meant to support design considerations. It is about breaking the chains that keep readers far too grounded in reality.

As readers learn in CSS Artistry, very large online spaces like Yahoo have started using techniques that provide backwards-compatibility for older browsers but, more importantly, companies are starting to deliver new features to users with new browsers able to take advantage of them. These are techniques readers need to begin experimenting with and putting into effect in their own projects; Clarke shows them how.

In CSS Artistry, readers discover how to implement highly original designs through visual demonstrations of the creative possibilities using markup and CSS. They learn to use a new design workflow, build prototypes that work well for designers and all team members, use grids effectively, visualize markup, and discover every phase of the transcendent design process, from working with the latest browsers to incorporating CSS3 to collaborating with team members effectively.

CSS Artistry is not simply a guide that covers ground well-trodden by other more technical manuals; readers will be challenged by its concepts and inspired to take the current state of the Web to new heights. This master class – one-on-one video instruction coupled with Clarke’s bestselling full-color book containing hundreds more visual examples – is a great way to absorb Clarke’s amazing techniques and best practices for Web design. The program provides inspiration from leading designers who embrace Web standards in their own work. Real world examples demonstrate Web-specific topics. The groundbreaking package has incredible beauty, solid technology, and true vision.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn, with photography by Jason Lowe (Barron’s Educational Series)

Bobby Chinn, chef, long-time resident of southeastern Asia, television personality, hustler, International Man of Mystery, and now author, is the first guy you want to know in Hanoi if you want to find where to get the good stuff to eat, how to make it, and why it’s made that way. . . . What Bobby doesn’t know about Southeast Asian food is not worth knowing. – from the Foreword by renowned chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain

The world is discovering Vietnamese food, and it is a happy discovery.

More than a recipe book, Wild, Wild East is a guide to Vietnamese food as it is prepared and enjoyed today. The book is the creation of chef Bobby Chin, Hanoi’s enfant terrible and renowned master of Vietnamese cuisine, whose pioneering Restaurant, Bobby Chinn, is a long-time international crossroad.

Chinn characterizes Vietnamese food as having fresh, clean flavors, and as being light, healthy, and diverse. The book is packed with recipes – from classics such as Prawn and Papaya Salad and ‘Pho’ Rice Noodle Soup to unusual dishes such as Rice Paper Wrapped Foie Gras on Apple Compote, Tamarind and Apple Jus to Chinn's own fusion-style dishes.

Wild, Wild East combines Chinn’s text with Jason Lowe’s color photos of Vietnam’s markets, kitchens, people, and foods. Chinn starts out with instructions for preparing Vietnamese sauces, garnishes, and dips. Next, he provides recipes for a host of exotic and delectable dishes that include:

  • Minced Prawns on Sugar Cane
  • Chicken Wings Cooked in Caramel Sauce and Ginger
  • Braised Banana Blossoms
  • Meat, Crab, and Grapefruit Salad
  • Shrimp and Pork Crepe
  • Stir-fried Noodles and Beef
  • Pan Roasted Salmon and Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Also included are salads and special Vietnamese desserts that Chinn calls Sweet Sensations. This book features approximately 100 recipes for exotically delicious dishes and 200 color photos.

Readers read about Bobby’s first experience running a kitchen, and they learn how he discovered the recipe for his secret sauce for grilled chicken. They also enjoy his extraordinary tales about some of the more unusual foods and ingredients that contribute to Vietnamese cuisine.

Wild, Wild East is an important contribution to Western knowledge of some of the oldest, most nuanced and sophisticated cuisines in the world, explained in easy-to-follow fashion. – from the foreword by Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential

In Wild, Wild East Chinn shares his passion for the unique style of cooking that he believes is as near to Nirvana as he can imagine. This compendium is not just a recipe book but an adventure story for the palate. Beautifully written, and complemented by superb photography, this book captures many aspects of this diverse culinary culture.  

Education / Elementary

Keys to the Elementary Classroom: A New Teacher's Guide to the First Month of School, 3rd Edition by Carrol Moran, Judith C Stobbe, Wendy Baron, Janette Miller, Ellen Moir (Corwin Press)
The future of our children is in the hands of new teachers. It is intuitively obvious that teaching is a complex and challenging profession, and teachers deserve as much help as possible to do an outstanding job. Keys to the Elementary Classroom, 3rd Edition provides new teachers essential keys for a successful first year.

The elements used to create a rich learning environment include:

  • Build a sense of community to include all students.
  • Establish clear routines and procedures for the class.
  • Assess students' strengths and needs.
  • Create an environment that fosters a love of learning.

For elementary teachers entering the classroom for the first time, this updated edition of the bestseller Keys to the Classroom, Keys to the Elementary Classroom, 3rd Edition, provides practical guidelines to help readers build a foundation for a successful first year.

Written by a team of experts, this resource offers new teachers a daily structure and classroom procedures and activities to establish a positive classroom climate and eliminate most behavior problems. This guidebook includes lesson plans, tips for organizing the first day, and reproducible student worksheets in English and Spanish. The new edition features:

  • An added chapter on planning and creating the classroom environment.
  • Voices of novice and experienced teachers.
  • New assessments for students’ learning styles and preferences.
  • Revised instructional materials for English as a second language.
  • Several new classroom activities.

The authors, Janette Miller, Carrol Moran, Judy Stobbe, Wendy Baron, and Ellen Moir, have extensive experience in elementary teaching, classroom management, staff development, peer coaching and evaluation, all in the Santa Cruz area.

Keys to the Elementary Classroom, 3rd Edition offers greater detail and a more expanded format than the original text. Chapter highlights include:

  • Chapter 1, A Guide to Planning and Creating the Environment, offers an approach to long-term planning used in establishing the appropriate standards-based context for daily activities. Templates are included to help teaches think through approaches to each subject area. It also assists them in organizing your classroom and in providing students with a stimulating learning environment. Also included are suggestions on classroom arrangement and instructional materials.
  • Chapter 2, Assessments, assists in designing classroom-based assess­ments. Knowing students' skills and abilities is crucial in provid­ing them with appropriate instruction.
  • Chapter 3, Routines and Procedures, suggests ways to establish both rhythm and structure to the days. Clear, consistent routines and procedures eliminate most behavior problems. New teachers often need the most help with this topic.
  • Chapter 4, The First Two Weeks of School . . . A Detailed Account guides readers through the first weeks, day by day and minute by minute. This detailed account provides a daily structure, plus a timeline for introducing new routines, procedures, and activities. Greater detail to K–1 is provided, with the assumption that those procedures will be incorporated into other grades. However, as a new teacher, new teachers may wish to read the entire chapter before focusing on their specific grade level. This chapter is a treasure trove of thoughtful teaching, based on years of teacher experience.
  • Chapter 5, Activities for the First Month, describes tried-and-true activities that can be used as the core of the program, or as a back-up plan. Student worksheets, copy-ready, are provided in English and Spanish. These can be included with planned activities or used as ‘easy assignment’ for a substitute.
  • Chapter 6, Fingerplays and Songs for Oral Language in English and Spanish, provides community building activities for language development and transitions for K–3 students.
  • Chapter 7, Home and School Communication, suggests ways to develop relationships with students' families and provides a simple letter for adapting to English and Spanish.
  • Chapter 8, Resources, offers many excellent books for the advancement of professional development.

In addi­tion to the suggestions and resources provided, the authors of Keys to the Elementary Classroom urge new teachers to find an experi­enced teacher to serve as a mentor – either someone at their grade level, or one with an out-of-classroom position. Their support will be invaluable. New teachers should not attempt this complex job alone.

New teachers will love this step-by-step approach to setting up and managing a classroom while nurturing a community of eager and cooperative learners. The authors also provide a plethora of practical classroom activities for both new and seasoned teachers. – Catherine Hernandez, Second-Grade Teacher, Detroit Public Schools, MI
Proficient teachers are key to the future of education. This book is a great resource to help new teachers make their first year a successful one! – Janet Crews, Instructional Coach, Clayton School District, MO
A great book to keep on your desk throughout the year. – Maureen Maloney, Second-Grade Teacher
This book is loaded with ideas and strategies, as well as suggestions for implementing these ideas! – Melanie Mares, Academic Coach  

Keys to the Elementary Classroom is practical, easy-to-use guidebook of best practices certain to get new teachers off to a good start. Written by a team of experts, it is an invaluable resource offering new teachers a daily structure and clear classroom procedures and activities to help establish a positive classroom climate and eliminate most behavior problems. With strategies that can be adapted across grade levels, ways to develop relationships with students' families, and resources for professional development, the book helps new teachers on their way to a rewarding career.

Education / Encyclopedias / Reference

Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams: Impact and implications by Martin East (Language Learning & Language Teaching Series, Volume 22: John Benjamins Publishing Company)

Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams provides an in-depth analysis of what happens when intermediate level learners of a foreign language use a bilingual dictionary when writing, especially during examinations. Dictionaries are frequently promoted to people learning a foreign language. Nevertheless, teachers often talk about their students' inability to use dictionaries properly, especially when they write, and this can be problematic. Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams, written by Martin East, Unitec New Zealand / The University of Auckland, paints a comprehensive picture of the differences a dictionary makes and brings out the implications for language learning, teaching, and testing practices. It draws on research in which participants in three studies took writing tests under two test conditions – with and without a dictionary. Their performances and opinions were analyzed in a variety of ways. Conclusions from the data highlight some of the practical issues to be kept in mind if we want to help foreign language learners use bilingual dictionaries effectively when writing.

Miller says he wanted to investigate what would happen if teachers allowed higher level more pro­ficient users of a foreign language to take a dictionary with them into a writ­ing exam. He made a deliberate choice to investigate German, in contrast to the studies of French he had read about. He also made a deliberate choice to investigate those who had reached at least the intermediate level in German and who pos­sibly needed a dictionary all the more, or who should theoretically be able to use a dictionary more successfully.

The three studies Miller describes in Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams were designed as case studies that would enable him to look at dictionary use from a variety of angles. In the first two studies he worked with his own students, all of whom were taking intermediate (or in some cases advanced) level courses in German language in a New Zealand tertiary institution. For the third study he recruited high school students from a number of local schools, all of whom were studying German for an A level equivalent examination.

One focus of his studies was to compare students' performance in two writing tests, one with and one without a dictionary, to find out whether they did better or worse in the ‘with dictionary’ test, or whether there was no difference. He looked at the marks they were given, the quality of their writing and the types of words they had used. Another focus was to find out what the test takers had to say about the two tests. What did they like? What did they dislike? Which test did they prefer? Which did they think was a fairer test of their writing skills? The multi-faceted nature of the studies meant that he was able to get a qualitative pic­ture of what a whole range of students thought and did. He was also able to quantify what he found out, so that he could look at trends.

Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams explores each of these issues in depth in an attempt to draw some conclusions about the dictionary use question, and to offer practical advice to teachers and students about how to get the best out of a support resource like a dictionary.

In the last chapter East draws these conclusions:

  1. The authenticity of allowing dictionaries into tests was not an important consideration for the majority of the participants. Any argument that dictionaries should therefore be included in such tests on the basis that this makes them more authentic reflections of a Target Language Use (TLU) domain may certainly be lost on the vast majority of test takers and therefore does not provide a convincing reason to include them.
  2. Interactiveness with the test may be enhanced if the dictionary is seen as a means of supporting topical knowledge, and this in turn may lead to a more positive affective response. On the other hand, the look-ups of a number of participants did not in practice make up for gaps in knowledge because the look-ups were incorrect, and some partici­pants actually found having the dictionary with them to be a source of ad­ditional stress. Greater positive interactiveness in ‘with dictionary’ tests was not, therefore, universal.
  3. Impact on the participants within the test was again not universally positive. Many, but by no means all, participants felt more confident when the diction­ary was there. Some felt less confident or more under stress, both because they perceived that they were expected to ‘do better’ with the dictionary, and because it often took too long to use.
  4. Time taken to use the dictionary was the greatest perceived hindrance to the practicality of the dictionary in the timed test.
  5. With regard to the two measurement qualities of reliability and validity, the test scores revealed that writing performance at this level was comparable across the two test conditions. This finding has significant implications – the dictionary did not threaten the reliability or the construct validity of the test, at least as judged by test scores.

For those involved in designing tests or implementing test procedures whether at the local level or more globally, these considerations for test usefulness, and their implications for fairness, are important. Based on the findings from all three studies, East in Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams asks what are some of the practical lessons that may help to minimize the po­tential negative impact of dictionary availability, and maximize the benefits, in testing contexts that allow them?

First of all teachers might consider extending the length of the examination. On average, dictionary look-ups took up around 10 minutes of the total examina­tion time of 50 minutes – or 20% of the available time. Extending the time of the examination by this amount may therefore give the test takers less pressured opportunity to use the dictionary. This has minimal implications for the practical­ity of test administration, but may make a positive difference both to test takers' perceptions and to test taker ability to use the dictionary effectively. In the third study, the number of look-ups was used in a statistical calcula­tion to determine if there was any relationship between frequency of dictionary use and test scores. No relationship was found. Students who made more look-ups did not thereby improve their performance.

According to Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams, because for most participants the dictionary was not required to understand the test task we might consider an alternative modification. One observed problem with having the dictionary was that it was often seen as a distraction. Bearing this in mind, the length of the examination may be maintained at, say, 50 minutes, during which time dictionaries are not available, and a subsequent 10 minutes may be allowed at the end for checking responses with a dictionary. There are, again, minimal practical considerations, but this approach controls time for both writing and checking. This would, however, have the advantage of enabling test takers to focus on the writing without the potential distraction of the dictionary, at the same time knowing that they will have an opportunity to check their work at the end of the test. This may also mean that test takers were less inclined to view the dictionary as ‘cheating’ or obscuring their ‘real’ knowl­edge, and more inclined to see it as a final check on their work. This modification may, however, create a more pressured and frenetic final 10 minutes, with some test takers feeling, for example, that they wanted to check everything. It may also interrupt the flow of the writing because participants may be tempted to leave gaps they plan to fill in later and would have to keep a record of what they wanted to check.

According to East, one further consideration, which forms a bridge between what happens in the test and what goes on in the classroom, is to provide adequate prior training to help to ensure that all test takers use the resource they are to be allowed as well as possible, regardless of level of ability. This is one way of leveling the playing field, especially in situations where it is impractical or impossible to control for the type of dictionary. In the second study there was a perception that participants became more comfortable using the dictionary as experience in the tests accumulated week by week. In the third study it was found that lack of experience was a factor in being less inclined to prefer having the dictionary in tests, and greater experience led to a greater sense of confidence when it was available. By contrast, in the third study prior experience was not shown to be a significant factor in improving per­formance in the ‘with dictionary’ tests, but these participants had no prior experience of using a dictionary in testing contexts. All this would suggest that when it comes to using a dictionary in the test, experience gained in time-constrained contexts (such as mock tests) is likely to be more beneficial than experience gained outside the classroom or in normal classroom activities.

The use of dictionaries in tests will likely remain contro­versial for some time to come. Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams contributes to ongoing debates around using or not using dictionaries in writing, whatever the context, and will keep these debates going. The book helps to make the root causes of the controversy more understandable, and alerts those who have a stake in language learning, teaching, and assessment to both the benefits and drawbacks of bilingual dictionaries and to means of improving their use. The book will help language students, at whatever level, and whatever language they are studying, to get the best out of bilingual dictionaries when writing, and it will also help language teachers help their students to use this resource to full ef­fect. Conclusions from the data highlight some of the practical issues to be kept in mind if we want to help foreign language learners use bilingual dictionaries effectively when writing.

The book is part of the Language Learning & Language Teaching (LL&LT) monograph series, under the direction of general editors Jan H. Hulstijn and Nina Spada, publishes monographs, edited volumes and text books on applied and methodological issues in the field of language pedagogy.

Education / Middle & High School / Science & Nature / Experiments & Projects / Reference

Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 by Pam Walker & Elaine Wood (Science Experiments on File Series, Volume 5: Facts on File)

A comprehensive collection of experiments for the science classroom and library shelf Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 is the final volume in a set of binders designed to support science curricula in middle and high schools. This binder is a collection of 60 new activity-centered science experiments that cover the core areas of science, including biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth science, as well as computer science.

Written by experienced science teachers, Pam Walker and Elaine Wood, the experiments in this binder relate directly to national science standards, and teachers will find them useful as either foundational or supplemental material.

Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 allows students the opportunity to think like scientists and find out what it really takes to solve a problem. The topics of the experiments help students make connections to their own lives. In these lessons, science teachers in grades 6-12 will find labs written in partial or full inquiry style, and all require students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills such as processing, assessing, estimating, relating, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing.

Science Experiments On File, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5 make up a series of binders of experiments especially targeted for middle- and high-school students, teachers, and appropriate supervisors. Two indexes are included in each volume: a general index for the volume and a cumulative index for the series. Each volume in the series contains 60 new experiments that cover the five basic areas of science, plus a sixth area that varies from volume to volume. In Volume 5, the sixth area is Internet science research. Teachers, parents, and supervisors should closely monitor the Web sites that students access for their research. The teacher notes in the Our Findings section for Internet research activities also contain specific suggestions.

Research shows that students are successful in the classroom when they become actively engaged and interested in their work. Without interest, students cannot place their new learning into long-term memory. Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 uses students' interests as the basis of its lessons. This technique assures teachers that students will participate in activities and retain knowledge from them.

To help cement learning, instruction in the science classroom takes place on several cognitive levels. On some occasions, teachers train students in good science laboratory techniques to help them understand the methodology of scientists. At other times, teachers facilitate students' ability to think, ask questions, and find solutions. Science Experiments On File, Volume 5, provides material on all levels. When the instructional goal is to teach science lab skills, detailed instructions are provided. For those times when the development of science thinking skills is the goal, inquiry activities are effective teaching strategies. These types of activities promote direct observation, interpretation of findings, and analysis of results. On many occasions, there is no clear right or wrong answer to questions posed in the experiment. Instead, the value of the lesson is to help students learn more about the nature of the world as well as the nature of science. For this reason, some of the experiments in Science Experiments On File are written in the full or partial inquiry style. These activities develop thinking skills because they require students to come up with their own ideas for solving problems. They also build confidence as students learn that they can solve complex problems.

The experiments in these volumes are easy to use and set up, making them valuable to both novice and experienced science teachers. For students, the material is interesting, linked to their own previous knowledge, and written in an informal style. Teachers find that each experiment is easy to prepare and present to a class. The majority of these experiments require simple materials so are appropriate for well-equipped science labs as well as shoestring science classrooms.

The format of the experiments is clear and to the point. Each begins with a short statement that presents the topic under investigation. Immediately following are an introduction, which expands on the topic and gets students thinking in the right context, a list of materials needed, and notes about any special safety precautions that should be observed. Students are given a straightforward but detailed procedure that either leads them through the experiment or presents a task for their completion. Embedded within the procedure are questions that prompt students to reflect on their observations during the experiment. The procedure is followed by a set of analysis questions that help students organize and apply their findings. Each experiment ends with a paragraph that clarifies what is going on in it.

Teachers can find answers to the Analysis questions in Our Findings, a section of the Appendix that provides sample data as well as answers to questions. In the teacher's notes are some suggestions for classroom discussions that can be held before or after each experiment to help students integrate their new learning into their own experiences. The Appendix also includes a glossary of terms found throughout the resource.

Most of the labs can be carried out by groups of two or three students, although many can be done by a student working alone. Group work is generally recommended since students will rarely be asked to work in isolation after they leave the classroom setting. Group work promotes social interactions that help students learn to listen to, and incorporate, the opinions of others in their own work.

There is a subject index as well as references in the back of Science Experiments On File that classifies the experiments according to: grade level; whether adult supervision is needed or optional; appropriateness for home, school, or an outdoor setting; and groups. By using this information, teachers should be able to find the experiments appropriate for their immediate needs.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Philosophy

Foundations of Psychological Thought: A History of Psychology edited by Barbara F. Gentile & Benjamin O. Miller (Sage Publications, Inc.)

Through carefully selected and extensively annotated original sources, Foundations of Psychological Thought deals with some of the most important issues and ideas in the history of psychological thought. Defining questions such as “How do we distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior?” and “How much of our behavior is biologically determined?” are posed throughout the book.

Foundations of Psychological Thought consists of 38 texts written between 1648 and 2002, in Latin, French, Dutch, German, Russian, and English by philosophers, biologists, anthropologists, physicians, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, psychiatrists, physiologists, and psycholo­gists. What they have in common – and the reason editors Barbara F. Gentile & Benjamin O. Miller have put them together between two covers – is that they provide a history of psychological thought. Gentile is a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology and Chairperson of the department at Simmons College and Ben Miller is an experimental psychologist and Assistant Professor of psychology at Salem State College.

Introductions and extensive annotations encapsulate main ideas, provide important context, highlight significant psychological and historical points, and draw connections among sections and readings. Elements such as introductions, annotations, suggestions for further readings, discussion questions, and line numbering make it easier for instructors and students to use Foundations of Psychological Thought. By providing context, background, and interpretation, the editors make the material more accessible to contemporary students. The editors’ annotations, found throughout the readings, provide straightforward information about the original text – definitions, translations, underlying assumptions, important contexts, and related ideas. While the readings stretch back as far as the seventeenth century, there are also articles from the past thirty years, showing the evolution of ideas and emphasizing that these topics are still very much with us.

One of the most striking subjective facts of life is that we have thoughts, wishes, ideas, per­ceptions, memories, and so forth. In the first section of Foundations of Psychological Thought, Gentile and Miller ask: Where do these things happen? In the head? Perhaps, but thought doesn't seem to happen in the head in the way that digestion happens in the stom­ach or that movement happens in the muscles. Accordingly, we have always had a special word: mind. But the question remains: What sort of thing is the mind? Is it a nonphysical substance, or is it a metaphor for physical processes that are too complex to understand as such?

Philosophers have struggled with the question whether the mind is material or immaterial since the beginning.

With the emergence of psychology, the mind-body problem has taken on an applied significance. How we answer the question of what kind of a thing the mind is has important impli­cations for the nature of psychological inquiry, theory, and practice. For example, dualists have difficulty explaining the effectiveness of psychotropic drugs. If mental illnesses are disorders of an immaterial mind, how do drugs administered to a material body alleviate (sometimes) the symptoms of those disorders? Conversely, materialists are challenged to explain the mind's ability, through its thoughts and moods, to alleviate (sometimes) the symptoms of bod­ily disorders. Other examples appear in the readings in Foundations of Psychological Thought, but they all illustrate profound difficulties for both positions. Materialists have to explain how the brain can do all the things we call mind. Particularly difficult for materialists is the mind's apparent ability to control or influence the body, as in volition and choice. Dualists, on the other hand, have to specify the nature of the relation between mind and body: How does something immaterial (mind) create physical effects (behavior)? What kinds of phenomena psychology can hope to explain, and how it can explain them, depends on whether we see the mind as a function – albeit a fantastically complex one – of the material brain, or as a function of some substance unlike any other known to science.

Sections in Foundations of Psychological Thought and some of the questions they ask:

Part I: The Mind and the Body – What kind of a thing is the mind?

Part II: Perceiving – Why do the straight lines not look straight? Why is this interesting? What is it about illusion that captures our attention?

Part III: Opening the Black Box – Looking into our own minds (If I look someone in the eye and repeat their name, I am more likely to remember it. Why is that?)

Part IV: Heredity and Environment – About all mental ability or habit or characteristic found in all humans, we can ask 3 questions: Where does it come from? Why does one human have more of it than another? Why does one group of humans have more of it than another? Example: Where does our spatial reasoning come from?

Part V: Levels of Explanation – Why did the chicken cross the road? Holist: How did this chicken anticipate that she would benefit from being on the other side of the road? Reductionist: What are the basic neural mechanisms in the chicken that initiated the complex series of actions that resulted in the chicken being on the other side of the road?

Part VI: Normal and Abnormal – How do we distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior? Why is ‘very different’ called abnormal? Could a person be possessed by demons? Is there really such a thing as mental illness?

Students who work with this book will emerge with an education in the best sense. They will interact on paper with the greatest thinkers on or in psychology. That does not happen often enough. – James H. Korn, Saint Louis University

It’s clear that the authors are very familiar with their sources, and have really thought about which words, phrases, and implicit assumptions might prove troublesome for student readers. – Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

Foundations of Psychological Thought provides meaningfully organized material. The book helps students comprehend original sources: Introductions and extensive annotations encapsulate main ideas, provide important context, highlight significant psychological and historical points, and draw connections among sections and readings. The book has numerous pedagogical advantages: Elements such as introductions, annotations, suggestions for further readings, discussion questions, and line numbering make it easy for instructors and students to use this book.

Foundations of Psychological Thought is an ideal primary or supplemental text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in the History of Psychology and for honors-level Introductory Psychology or Capstone courses in departments of psychology.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Relationships

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary (New Harbinger Publications)

Does he humiliate you in front of friends and family members or say things like, "You're so stupid if you can't see that my way is the only intelligent one"?

How can people handle the narcissistic people in their lives?

Disarming the Narcissist is a step-by-step guide to treating and communicating with narcissists with compassion and empathy in a way that still preserves personal boundaries and sanity. Written by Wendy Behary, founder, faculty member and clinical director of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey, the book shows readers how to move past narcissists’ defenses. Readers learn how narcissists view the world, how to navigate their coping styles, and why, it is sad and lonely being a narcissist. By learning to anticipate and avoid certain hot-button issues, readers can relate to narcissists without triggering aggression. By validating some common narcissistic concerns, they can make themselves heard in conversation with a narcissist. Finally, they learn how to set limits with narcissists and when it is time to draw the line on unacceptable behavior.
Contents include:

  1. Framing the Situation: Toward an Understanding of Narcissism.
  2. Understanding the Anatomy of Personality: Schemas and the Brain.
  3. Getting Captured: Identifying Personal Traps.
  4. Overcoming the Obstacles: Communication Pitfalls, Snags, and Glitches.
  5. Paying Attention: Facing the Most Difficult Encounters with a Narcissist.
  6. Empathic Confrontation: A Winning Strategy for Interpersonal Effectiveness.      
  7. Seven Gifts of Communication with a Narcissist.

In Disarming the Narcissist Behary asks: What could have led a child down a path toward an assumed rightful placement on center stage, beneath the spotlight of specialness, where the rules apply to others but not to him? A few explanations include spoiled, dependent, or lonely and deprived, while some narcissists are best described by a combination of these factors and these are spoiled-dependent and deprived-dependent. The narcissist's masks allow him to transform potentially painful states into bearable, perhaps even comfortable experiences. These include the bully, the show-off, the addictive self-soother, and the entitled one.

Disarming the Narcissist outlines common schemas (dysfunctional life themes or traps) of narcissists and the schemas that get triggered in response. Schemas associated with narcissism include emotional deprivation, mistrust/abuse, defectiveness/shame, subjugation, unrelenting standards, entitlement/grandiosity, insufficient self-control, and approval seeking. Schemas that get triggered by narcissists include self-sacrifice, subjugation, abandonment/instability, defectiveness/shame, emotional inhibition, emotional deprivation, mistrust/abuse, and unrelenting standards. Behary advises readers to figure out why the narcissist triggers them and also to understand the narcissist’s maneuvers. Bait and switch maneuvers include the vanishing act, the setup, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adding insult to injury, devil’s advocate. Typical emotional responses include insecurity, intimidation, resentment, provocation, powerlessness. Readers can learn to break free from their mechanical habits through mindfulness. Strategies to cope with the narcissist include using empathy and compassion, putting oneself in the narcissist’s shoes, keeping him on the hook (differentiating between fault and responsibility), establishing the rules of reciprocity, promoting optimal awareness by providing positive feedback), and creating leverage for change. By communicating with integrity and self-disclosure, readers offer valu­able gifts to those they interact with. According to Disarming the Narcissist, sharing of themselves and their inner strength and wisdom will help readers bolster their sense of self-worth – and help the narcissist in their lives do the same, healing the insecure and damaged child within. For those communicating with the narcissist, the seven gifts which are the most relevant include mutual respect, self-disclosure, discernment, collaboration, anticipating clashes, apology, and reflective listening.

Anyone whose life predicament includes dealing with a narcissist will be well-advised to read Wendy Behary's book and heed her advice. Disarming the Narcissist offers sound suggestions and keen insights – a breakthrough in one of psychology's toughest cases. – Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

...a valuable contribution to the growing self-help literature on the fascinating subject of narcissism. Behary takes the reader step-by-step through a process of understanding our personal triggers to the wounding inherent in narcissistic relations and then lays out a pathway for personal empowerment and change. – Sandy Hotchkiss, LCSW, author of Why Is It Always About You?

Everyone knows a narcissist, one of those vainglorious individuals in desperate need of constant affirmation and attention. Cognitive therapist Behary's book argues that by modifying your own behavior, you can manage your relationship with such a person. … Rather than focus on changing the narcissist (which may be impossible), this book aims to help the reader improve self-knowledge to see why the narcissist pushes his or her buttons and how to cope. Some of the instruments Behary provides – such as checklists, flash cards, journal writing – are useful for determining the type of narcissist you are dealing with and how your past experiences affect your responses. … Behary's book will surely provide help to many in need of a confidence bolster in the face of provocation. – Publishers Weekly

Disarming the Narcissist offers a host of strategies for dealing with someone who is at the center of his or her own universe. Behary’s contributions to schema therapy lead readers to a deeper understanding of the narcissists in their lives, and show them how to overcome their’ own ‘demons’. Disarming the Narcissist pro­vides a wonderful explanation of how schemas like defectiveness and emotional deprivation affect people in dramatic ways. She offers invaluable suggestions on ways to develop and sustain compassion for narcissists, even when being mistreated, and on how to create enough leverage to convince a narcissist to change. The book also provides rich case examples that bring the approach to life.

Health, Mind & Body / Relationships

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo & William Patrick (W.W. Norton)
What if being lonely were a bigger problem than we ever suspected?

When describing the things that make them happy, most people rate romantic love, intimacy, and friends and family above even their physical health. Now, pioneering research conducted by University of Chicago psychology professor John T. Cacioppo shows that when we are deprived of a satisfying sense of social connection far more than our happiness is at stake.
As told in Loneliness, Cacioppo's research topples one of the pillars of modern medicine and psychology: the focus on the individual as the unit of inquiry. By employing brain scans, monitoring blood pressure, and analyzing immune function, behavior and stress hormones, he demonstrates the overpowering influence of social context – a factor so strong that it can alter DNA replication. He defines an unrecognized syndrome – chronic loneliness – brings it out of the shadow of its cousin depression, and shows how this subjective sense of social isolation uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation but can also lead to early death. He gives the lie to the Hobbesian view of human nature as a ‘war of all against all,’ and he shows how social cooperation is, in fact, humanity's defining characteristic. Most important, he shows how we can break the trap of isolation for our benefit both as individuals and as a society.

In Loneliness, Cacioppo and science writer William Patrick present evidence that a sense of rejection or isolation disrupts not only our thinking abilities, will power, and perseverance but also key cellular processes deep within the human body. Over time, this feeling of isolation – also known as loneliness – can lead to high blood pressure, a decline in the immune response, and a dramatic increase in the corrosive effects of stress.

Cacioppo's findings suggest that chronic loneliness may well belong on the list of risk factors for health alongside smoking, obesity, or lack of exercise. It is all the more disturbing, then, that studies tell us roughly twenty percent of people – 60 million in the United States alone – are feeling lonely at any given moment.

Loneliness is not the same thing as physical isolation. Many people relish their moments of solitude and enjoy the chance to be alone. By the same token, an individual can feel desperately lonely in a busy office, at a crowded party, at the breakfast table surrounded by spouse and children, or while busily text-messaging a schoolmate. What matters is the subjective sense of a meaningful and satisfying bond.

And yet our culture seems to be racing away from such bonds. The average household size is decreasing, and, by 2010, 31 million Americans, roughly ten percent of the population, will live alone. Studies have also shown that Americans today report having significantly fewer close friends than did those a generation ago.

Cacioppo, one of the founders of the new, interdisciplinary field of social neuroscience, has used sophisticated scientific tools, including fMRI brain scans, to document the ways in which feelings of social contentment or, conversely, social isolation affect our bodies and our behavior. He and Patrick examine these effects in the context of human evolution, showing the key role of bonding and social cooperation in our success as a species. We all know that human infants need the protection of parents, and that childrearing is enhanced when parents are strongly bonded together. During the infancy of our species in the grasslands of Africa, survival for even hearty adults required the protection of families and tribes. Isolation in such a harsh environment usually meant death. Not surprisingly, the painful feeling we know as loneliness induced extreme discomfort, a physiological jolt to prompt us to renew frayed connections with the other people on whom we depended.

Millions of years later that same terror shows up, not only in the form of disrupted physiology but also in the form of disrupted behavior, behavior meant to be self-protective but which becomes, in fact, self-defeating. Loneliness, when it persists, makes it hard for the individual to properly regulate his or her emotions. Sadly, it often leads to the kind of aloof, demanding, or critical behavior most likely to drive others away. Because it also diminishes our ability to size up other people and accurately read their intentions, feeling lonely makes it more likely that we will be victimized.

Divided into three parts, Loneliness defines the syndrome of chronic loneliness, distinguishing it from other emotional states such as anxiety and depression that often travel in the same company.

Part One, "The Lonely Heart," outlines the genetic component, defines loneliness as a distinct from depression, and introduces the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a detailed questionnaire that assesses individuals' basic level of social contentment. The first chapter locates the roots of loneliness in three complex factors: 1) an individual, genetically biased level of vulnerability to social disconnection; 2) the ability to regulate the emotions associated with feeling isolated; and 3) one's mental representations and expectations of, as well as reasoning about, others. Cacioppo and Patrick then show how these three factors interact to cause great distress under the pain of loneliness, but also how they can be brought to bear on solving the problem.

Part Two, "From Selfish Genes to Social Beings," gives the lie to the image of the human brain as an intricate, solitary computer, and to humans as being driven primarily by ruthless competition and narrow self-interest. Reminding us that humans are, first and foremost, social animals, Cacioppo and Patrick explore the ways, including mimicry and hormonal influences, in which we co-regulate each other's physiology and behavior. They examine how both our brains and our bodies have evolved to work in concert with a social network, examining social signals and the importance of connection in the context of infant and child development.

Part Three of Loneliness, "Finding Meaning in Connection," focuses on solutions, first for the individual and then for society. Having demonstrated the compelling degree to which social cooperation, even altruism, has driven human evolution, as well as the degree to which isolation impairs – and connection enhances – our creative abilities as well as our health, they widen their focus on the role of social trust in creating a prosperous society. Of course humans can be violent, competitive, and self-serving – one more reason why accurate social perceptions, and the exercise of sanctions, are so necessary. But the distinctive driver of our evolutionary advance has been our ability to focus on common interests beyond self and the clan. The hominid apes less skilled at social cooperation – chimps and bonobos – are the ones still back in the forest, fighting over scraps of food. They dem­onstrate the therapeutic power of social connec­tion and point the way toward making that healing balm available to everyone.

Both heartbreaking and illuminating, this fascinating book describes what psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered about our fundamental need to belong to others and the dire consequences of belonging only to ourselves. A masterful blend of biological and social science, Loneliness is one of the most important books about the human condition to appear in a decade. – Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness

This fascinating, complex, and yet highly accessible exploration reminds us that humans are inherently social creatures and that no child or adult can develop properly in the absence of strong social bonds. – Melinda Blau, coauthor of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Based on years of research, this magnificent exposé discusses the loneliness many people feel, advising them to reach out to others. Our species naturally reciprocates social gestures. – Frans de Waal, author of Our Inner Ape

I never imagined that one book could explain so much about human nature. And yet this scientific exploration does not diminish us. Instead, it exalts our simple humanity. Loneliness is a beautiful message of human connection and a beautiful book. – Sidney Poitier, Academy Award-winning actor and author of The Measure of a Man

This wise, beautifully written, and often funny book brings the underlying science of social ties to life. It is a tour de force on one of the most significant known influences on human health. – Shelley E. Taylor, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Tending Instinct: Women, Men, and the Biology of Relationships

Loneliness presents a scientific look at the impact of loneliness and shows that we are far more intertwined and interdependent than our culture has allowed us to acknowledge. Ultimately, the book demonstrates the irra­tionality of our culture's intense focus on competition and individualism at the expense of family and com­munity. And it shows each of us how to overcome the feedback loop of defensive behaviors to achieve better health and greater happiness. For society, the potential payoff is the greater prosperity and social cohesion that follows from increased social trust.

 History / Americas

The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns by Stew Magnuson, with a foreword by Pekka Hämäläinen (Plains Histories Series: Texas Tech University Press)

I hope that all your children and our children will treat each other like brothers – and also our children of the future – as if we were children of one family. – Chief Red Cloud of the Oglalas to citizens of Nebraska, Independence Day, 1889

The long-intertwined communities of the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation and the bordering towns in Sheridan County, Nebraska, mark their histories in sensational incidents and quiet human connections, many recorded in detail in The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder for the first time.
After covering racial unrest in the remote northwest corner of his home state of Nebraska in 1999, Washington-based journalist and former foreign correspondent Stew Magnuson returned four years later to consider the larger questions of its peoples, their paths, and the forces that separate them. Examining Raymond Yellow Thunder's death at the hands of four white men in 1972, Magnuson looks deep into the past that gave rise to the tragedy. Situating long-ranging repercussions within 130 years of context, in The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder he also recounts the largely forgotten struggles of American Indian Movement activist Bob Yellow Bird and tells the story of Whiteclay, Nebraska, the controversial border hamlet that continues to sell millions of cans of beer per year to the ‘dry’ reservation.
Within a microcosm of cultural conflict, Magnuson explores the odds against community's power to transcend misunderstanding, alcoholism, prejudice, and violence.

This review is based on the foreword by Pekka Hämäläinen, associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. According to Hämäläinen, the border towns that edge Indian reservations in places like Arizona or Nebraska are plagued by many of the same problems that haunt Tijuana or Matamoros. But while U.S-Mexico border towns figure prominently in popular culture, their reservation counterparts rarely enter the picture.

In The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder, Magnuson recovers the deep, often disturbing history of these shadowy border towns by taking readers into Sheridan County, Nebraska, where a host of white settlements serve, largely as alcohol depots, the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation in South Dakota. Not conventional academic history, the book is about the people – drunks and petty criminals, Indian militants and exasperated state officials, journalists and shopkeepers, men, women, and children – who occupy these peculiar American places.

The cumulative effect of the numerous individual stories Magnuson tells is devastating: they evoke a deep sense of sadness over the destitution, exploitation, fraud, racial hatred, sheer boredom, and alcohol-fueled aggression that permeate the lives of these border peoples. The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder's broken temporal composition underlines its author's notion that violence in the Nebraska-Pine Ridge border towns is historically conditioned and structural: the past, and peoples' inability to let go of the past, fuels an endless cycle of violence between Indians and whites even as the social space between the two groups grows narrower. In these stories all the protagonists are multifac­eted, flawed, and profoundly human; whether Indians or whites, they all struggle – and repeatedly fail – to come to terms with each other's pres­ence in their lives.

Like many good stories, this one spins against the way it drives. Even as the peoples of Sheridan County despise, scorn, exploit, assault, and kill one another, their lives, like objects slipping out of control, become inseparable. Indians and whites coexist and, against all odds, somehow get along, sharing space they really don't want to share. This countercurrent is the source of the many unexpected stories Magnuson brings forth – like that of a policeman who cares for a town drunk, an Indian, by regularly locking him up on freezing nights. A deepening interdependency marks the relations between Lakotas and white Nebraskans, and The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder draws much of its dramatic thrust from the failure of many from both sides to accept that fact.

While fixing its focus on the local, the book does not ignore the larger developments influencing the history of Nebraska-Pine Ridge border towns. The U.S. government's repeated attempts to dismantle Lakota culture, the shock of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890, the crushing poverty and hopelessness of Pine Ridge, the ascendancy of the American Indian Movement in reservations, the climactic 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and the post-Wounded Knee dirty war between AIM and Indian activists on the one side and the FBI and U.S. government on the other are all in the book.

The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder breaks new ground by bringing the story to the twenty-first century. It reminds readers that although it rarely makes headlines, racial violence between Indians and whites is still here. Deep in America's heartland, Magnuson suggests, a slow-burning conflict smolders: Nebraska-Pine Ridge border towns are battle zones, where the meaning of sovereignty and peoples' right to defend themselves against external exploitation remain undetermined.

Magnuson shows how many white Nebraskans (including state authorities) were disturbed by racial violence and fought to suppress it. And he shows how the actions of Indian activists sometimes stemmed less from genuine concerns for their people than from power rivalries, personal trag­edies, and impulses toward self-aggrandizement.

In a short space of time [Magnuson] came not only to know the people, but to portray them as real, live people with their faults as well as their good sides. – Tim Giago, founder of The Lakota Times, Indian Country Today, and the Dakota/Lakota Journal

Stew Magnuson has done some mighty dig­ging through hard rock and turned up a lode of rich ore. The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder adds importantly to our too slight record of the ugly modern racism against American Indians. – Steve Hendricks, author of The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country

Magnuson succeeds in revealing the full spectrum of human experience in the border towns' charged cross-cultural spaces. Others have discussed these events, but The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder provides a rare look into the ways in which they played out at the grassroots level. Richly layered, the book is an account of clashing American cultures engaging key themes – racism, masculinity, construction of cross-cultural spaces, historical memory – without the interference of a heavy theoretical apparatus. Magnuson’s stories lie bare and thoroughly accessible. And although the topic is controversial and veiled by distorting layers of historical memory, Magnuson's approach is remarkably balanced.

History / Americas / Social Sciences / African-American Studies

History of the Mosaic Templars of America: Its Founders and Officials edited by A.E. Bush & P.L. Dorman, with an introduction by John William Graves (University of Arkansas Press)

Originally published in 1924 and long out of print, History of the Mosaic Templars of America tells the story of the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), a famous black fraternal organization that was founded by two former slaves in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the late-nineteenth century. The organization originally provided illness, death, and burial insurance during an era of segregation when few basic services were available to black people. By 1900 Mosaic Templars’ industries grew to include an insurance company, a building and loan association, a publishing company, a business college, a nursing school, and a hospital.
By 1905 the Templars had a number of lodges across the state with thousands of members. A handsome new headquarters building opened in 1913; Booker T. Washington delivered the dedication speech. In the 1920s the MTA claimed chapters in twenty-six states and six foreign countries, making it one of the largest black organizations in the world. However, in the 1930s it began to feel the effects of the Great Depression and eventually ceased operations, but for a single chapter that remains in Barbados.

Tragically, the original Little Rock headquarters building burned down in 2005. This replica edition of History of the Mosaic Templars of America, with a new introduction by John William Graves, has been published to coincide with the grand opening in fall 2008 of a rebuilt structure that will house the new Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

History of the Mosaic Templars of America, originally published in 1924, was edited by Aldridge E. Bush (1894-1953) who served with the MTA and helped establish the Century Life Insurance Company in Little Rock and Percy Lipton Dorman (1876-1958) who, besides working for the MTA, taught in schools around the state.

Graves, chairperson of the Department of Social Sciences and professor of history at Henderson State University, says in the introduction that a casual happenstance led to the founding of the Mosaic Templars of America in 1882. A young black resident of Little Rock, John E. Bush, and a white acquaintance were standing on a Little Rock street corner pass­ing the time of day when an aged black woman approached and requested a donation to assist in burying her deceased husband. Both men con­tributed, but as the woman turned and left “the white man, prefacing his remarks with an oath, said, `I cannot see or understand your race. When they work they throw their earnings away and whenever a Negro dies or needs help the public must be worried to death by beggars – it is a shame!'”

Insensitive and offensive as the remark was, Bush was nonetheless moved to action by it. He and a close friend and fellow employee in the U.S. Railway Mail Service, Chester W. Keatts, pro­ceeded to launch the Mosaic Templars society, whose central purpose from the beginning was to provide burial and life insurance for its members. Joining with thirteen other persons, they organ­ized Zephro Temple Number 1 on May 21, 1882. Pooling their funds, they rented a building and began placing advertisements and announce­ments in the press in order to solicit membership applications. Applications came in not only from Little Rock but from De Vall's Bluff, Prescott, Sweet Home, and several other Arkansas towns. Soon, enough money had been collected from dues to allow the group to incorporate; by the spring of the following year, the Templars received an official charter from the State of Arkansas.

According to History of the Mosaic Templars of America, "It was dis­covered that in accordance with the few existing laws that governed them, they could not easily expand their operations unless separate branches were organized for both men and women." Apparently for this reason, separate lodges known as ‘Chambers’ were begun for female Mosaics. The chambers had their own rituals and distinct initiation rites and also exercised supervision over separate chapters for Mosaic youth known as ‘Palaces.’ The first of the chambers, Lone Star Chamber Number 1, was formally instituted in 1883.

The name of the order was derived from the Biblical prophet Moses, who had delivered the Children of Israel from slavery in Pharoah's Egypt and led them to eventual freedom and prosperity in a new Promised Land. The rituals and cere­monies of the Mosaic Templars were based upon this story of deliverance, and they must have been especially moving and poignant for the group's early members; since it was begun only seventeen years after the ending of slavery in the United States, for most of them the experience of bondage would still have been a vivid memory.

No doubt the fraternal aspects of the Mosaic Templars of America contributed greatly to the organization's rapid expansion and growth. Within the temples, chambers, and palaces, members could carve out autonomous spaces for themselves where they could develop their own social outlets, leadership capacities, and also obtain a respite and haven from painful encounters with white preju­dice and condescension. Equally important to the order's success, however, was the leadership pro­vided by its founders, Chester W. Keatts and John E. Bush. Both were still young men in their twenties at the dawning of the organization, pos­sessed of energy and ambition. They were also early beneficiaries of the new Reconstruction-era school system established in Little Rock and surrounding Pulaski County, where both of them had obtained good educations and where Bush had served for a time as principal of Little Rock's Capitol Hill public school. According to History of the Mosaic Templars of America, since blacks often found it difficult to obtain lines of credit and access to capital through white-owned banks and institutions, the MNBLA helped fill a vital com­munity need. Among other ventures undertaken by the Templars were publication of a national newspaper, the Mosaic Guide, beginning in 1885, and operation of a medical department, commencing in 1908. Initially the chief function of the medical department was to sponsor scientific lectures upon health and hygiene for members of the Templars. At the National Grand Lodge meeting held in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1917, however, a resolution was adopted authorizing the erection of a Mosaic Templars general hospital and sanitarium.

By the time of the death of cofounder John E. Bush on December 11, 1916, the Mosaic Templars of America boasted eighty thousand dues-paying members belonging to some two thousand chap­ters located in twenty-six states, Central and South America, the Canal Zone, and the West Indies. The grand total of net assets possessed by the national organization and its state affiliates was $309,293.78.

By 1913 the Mosaic Templars of America organization had become large and prosperous enough to erect a new headquarters building or National Mosaic Temple at the southwest corner of Broadway and West Ninth streets in downtown Little Rock. Anchoring the east end of Little Rock's West Ninth Street black business district, the Mosaic Templars headquarters building was at the time of its construction one of the largest and most imposing buildings in Arkansas's capi­tal. Understandably it was viewed with pride by many contemporary blacks as an outward and visible sign of their race's capacities and potential for advancement.

According to Graves in the introduction to History of the Mosaic Templars of America, as the Mosaic Templars of America moved toward the beginning of its last full decade of existence in the United States, its future appeared bright. During the 1920s the Templars organization continued to prosper and expand, and by 1924 its membership had increased to some 108,000 persons. In an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier on June 30, 1928, it was reported as pos­sessing approximately $800,000 in assets and as having paid out an estimated $15,000,000 in insurance claims throughout its lifetime. It had now grown to become one of the most important black-owned business enterprises in the United States and, indeed, for that era, one of the most important in the world.

Already, however, storm clouds were appearing on the horizon. Internal tensions developed when on April 13, 1925, relatives brought suit in Pulaski County Chancery Court, asking the court to affirm that they owned the copyrights to the rituals of the order and asking leave to sell these copyrights to the Mosaic Templars for the sum of $150,000. The Templars might well have survived these internal troubles had it not been for the sudden onslaught of the Great Depression, beginning with the stock market crash on Wall Street on October 29, 1929. The Mosaic Templars organization, like so many businesses, was destroyed by the Great Depression.

Its former National Temple or headquarters building in Little Rock, nevertheless, still survived. On February 17, 2003, the Little Rock board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the transfer of the Mosaic Templars building's ownership to the State of Arkansas and the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Now restoration work on the building for the newly created Mosaic Templars Cultural Center of the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2003 could begin. Then, tragically just as the initial phase of the building's restoration had started, transients entered the building and ignited a fire early in the morning of March 16, 2005, and within minutes the historic structure was almost totally destroyed.

Devastated, the board of the Mosaic Templars Building Preservation Society met to adopt a resolution urging the state to reconstruct the building. Located on the same site as that of the previous 1913 Mosaic Templars headquarters building, the new structure's exterior facades very nearly replicates those of the original two build­ings. Its second-floor offices and third-floor audi­torium, moreover, are a faithful facsimile of those features of the 1913 edifice. A grand opening ceremony is planned for September 19 and 20, 2008 and the representatives of the still existing Barbados chapter of the Mosaic Templars plan to be in attendance.

History of the Mosaic Templars of America is a reprint of classic history of an important African American Organization. The introduction gives valuable insight into the history of the organization.
History / Europe / Sociology / Urban

Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image by Joan Ramon Resina (Stanford University Press)

Sometimes an old, singular city, like Barcelona, by oversimplifying its identity, turns Generic. It becomes transparent, like a logo. – Rem Koolhaas

Today Barcelona relates to Catalonia in an ambivalent, superficial way. Its primary connection is no longer kinship, history, or language, but the motorway and the weekend residence. At variance are many aspects of social and political life, to the point that it is justified to speak of a change of paradigm and not only of scale. – from the book

Since the closing decades of the nineteenth century, Barcelona has striven to sustain an image of modernity that distinguishes itself within Spain. Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity traces the development of that image through texts that foreground key social and historical issues. It begins with Barcelona's ‘coming of age’ in the 1888 Universal Exposition and focuses on the first major narrative work of modern Catalan literature, La febre d'or. Positing an inextricable link between literature and modernity, Joan Ramon Resina, Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University, establishes a literary framework for the evolution of the image of Barcelona's modernity through the 1980s, when the consciousness of modernity took on an ironic circularity. Because the city is an aggregation of knowledge, Resina draws from sociology, urban studies, sociolinguistics, history, psychoanalysis, and literary history to produce a complex account of Barcelona's self-reflection through culture. The last chapter offers a glimpse into the ‘post-historical’ city, where temporality has been sacrificed to the spatialization associated with the seductions of the spectacle.

Contents of Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity include:

Introduction: The City as Social Form

  1. The Bourgeois City
  2. Imagined City
  3. Like Moths to a Lamp: Foreigners in Barcelona's Red-Light District
  4. A Sojourn with the Dead
  5. The Divided City and the Divided Self
  6. The City of Eternal Returns
  7. From the Olympic Torch to the Universal Forum of Cultures: The After-Image of Barcelona's Modernity

In a sense, Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity comes too late. But then, is this not always the case where reflection is concerned? Completion of a historical phase and exhaustion of a particular identity cannot be verified before they become observable in the production of signs. In any case, the book is late with respect to its hermeneutic object, the city of which, strictly speaking, it can no longer be a part. In regard to a new order of consciousness, one that transcends the intentional phenomenon and that Resina calls past perfect consciousness – consciousness of the ‘had been’ – no book ever comes too late. For this consciousness, distance from the eruption of forms is, on the contrary, an epistemological condition.

With an overhead of 341 million euros ($US426 million), Forum 2004 is the largest and costliest European nonplace to date – a nonplace in Marc Auge's sense, one of those postmodern spaces that spawn neither identity nor relations.

Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity asks, What will the Forum's legacy, its after-image, be? The peasant peo­ple, who over centuries of hard work built garden terraces on the slopes of the mountains, changing them into ‘architecture’ in Eugeni d'Ors's sense: will they finally vanish into the modernity with which they became infatuated? Their culture and language, hardly visible and audible in the Forum and its associated exhibits: will they be revoked forever? The bread and circus Barcelona, epitomized in the superlative fireworks with which the Forum ended up appropriating the entire city, making it hostage to its politics: will it prevail over alternative images?

It is too early to know if the resolution into smoke of the dialogues among cultures will furnish the after-image of a people divested of their history, language, and sensory culture and the repertoire of related con­cepts – stripped, that is, of their raison d'etre as a people. No one can tell yet whether the potlatch culture promoted by the city's quarter-of­a-century-old administration will vanquish the culture of unremitting effort and long-term goals that etched this people's personality and sus­tained it in inhospitable times. Resina says that if she were to choose a counter-image to the flaming arrow lighting the Olympic torch, it would be the sparks from welders setting the opera house on fire on January 31, 1994, just a year and a half after the Olympics. Watching the gaping crater of the Liceu, Barcelonans awoke from self-congratulatory enchantment to the cold reality of negligence. Up in smoke went the stage, stalls, and ceiling of one of Europe's great opera houses, and over a century of Catalan modernity. The Liceu was reconstructed and reinaugurated in October 1999, an ersatz whose synthetic aura is a fitting allegory of a city that has devastated its history to consume it as image. Ten years after this accident, Mayor Clos concluded the Forum with a gigantic fire festival, turning the entire city into the auditorium of the spectacle it of­fered to itself. Such celebratory reflexivity may be the provisional balance of nearly two decades of a politics of the image. Whether this politics will efface the city's memory and arrest its deepest vocation in a spec­tatorial relation to municipal magic remains to be seen. All that may be ventured at this point is that the after-image is never the last image, only the provisional balance of an ongoing struggle for the social imaginary.

Less than an allegory of an enlightened city, the fireworks festival was a sublimation of the subterranean fire, which it displaced to the realm of consumable images. According to Resina in Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity the invisible fire underground refers us to the cast-off, the redundant, and the abject, to bodies buried under tons of concrete, whose silence, not necessarily unfruitful, stands out against official self-approval. If the Forum was, in Maragall's words, ‘a brutal success’, then Barcelona is at risk of dying from its own success.

This is an impressive attempt to include Barcelona within a welter of major philosophical and ideological speculation on the theme of the European metropolis. . . . A whole series of musings of eminent authorities – from Benjamin, Certeau, Baudrillard, Foucault, Habermas, Lefebvre, Lyotard, Simmel, and Marx – are adduced with ease and conviction to offer a comprehensive and thoroughly stimulating study. – Dominic Keown, Cambridge University

The author's deep knowledge of theory transforms his reflections on Barcelona's particular construction of modernity and its representations into an exceptional contribution to the current critical discussion on the city as modern and postmodern cultural space. . . . The intelligent and highly original connections he establishes between apparently disparate issues, events, and texts . . . reveal their full signification. – Elisa Martí-López, Northwestern University

Original and comprehensive, Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity is a clear analysis of Barcelona’s image in culture, offering an impressive contribution to the ongoing discussion of the post-modern city.

History / Military / Politics / Intelligence

British Intelligence: Secrets, Spies and Sources by Stephen Twigge, Edward Hampshire & Graham Macklin (The National Archives)

In its long and distinguished history, British intelligence has spied on almost every country in the world.

While other books have speculated on the history and nature of the British intelligence services, British Intelligence is the first to tell the story through the documents themselves. Only ten years ago access to these original sources would have been impossible. Now experts Stephen Twigge and Graham Macklin draw on the spies' and the spymasters' own words as contained in the National Archives' intelligence holdings. Historical narrative is interwoven with colorful tales from the past that highlight some of the greatest successes – and failures – along the way, as well as the motives and machinations of those responsible for them.
 Once-secret records reveal individual bravery and betrayal, the dramatic events of two world wars and the intricacies of Cold War espionage, when peace or war was determined by tense calculations of capability and intent. From their beginnings in the 19th century to the challenges facing agents of today, it shows how spies of the past grappled with terrorism and treachery, secret ciphers and unknown weapons, and how intelligence organizations have continually responded to new dangers and demands.

The book is written by intelligence experts Stephen Twigge, Official Historian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a former head of Academic and Archival Services at the National Archives; Edward Hampshire, Modern Records Specialist at the National Archives; and Graham Macklin, Honorary Research Fellow at Parkes Institute of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton, and former manager of the FOI Research Service at the National Archives. Covering all Britain's major agencies, British Intelligence includes the latest releases from MI5. Wartime crises, developments in science and technol­ogy and the scramble for resources that led to many interagency feuds are revealed. Colorful episodes of intelligence history highlight some of Britain's greatest successes and failures, as well as the motives and machinations of those in charge of Britain's intelligence networks. A detailed guide to sources concludes the narrative, enabling readers to explore the remarkable records for themselves.

The primary intention of the book is to highlight the rich and diverse collection of intelligence records that can be found at the National Archives in Kew. To achieve this, each chapter deals with a separate theme, with sources indicated in the footnotes, focusing primarily upon the material now available in the public domain. British Intelligence seeks to shed light on some of the shad­owy aspects of British history, and to provide a framework and guide for all those interested in the history of intelligence.

Chapter 1 charts the development of Britain's domestic intelligence services and the battle against enemy agents and subversive elements on home soil, from 19th-century Irish Republican terrorism to the end of the Cold War and today's post- 9/11 world. In chapter 2, the international dimension of intelligence is explored. As the records of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) are not transferred to the National Archives as a matter of policy, this chapter relies on material available in the records of its sister agencies and other related organizations. Chapters 3-5 deal with military, naval and air force intelligence respectively. They show how the services' need for real-time tactical intelligence was often at variance with the drive for greater centralization – an issue that came to a head with the creation of the Defence Intelligence Staff in 1964. The role of special operations is the theme of chapter 6, which details some of the organi­zation's great successes and notable failures alongside lesser-known aspects of its work such as the parachuting of Soviet ‘pickaxes’ into occupied Europe in the Second World War. The theme of chapter 7 is scientific and technical intelligence, from its beginnings in the First World War, countering the effects of poison gas, to its Cold War involvement with rockets, germ warfare and flying saucers. Chapter 8 explores the role of communications intelligence, revealing how read­ing the enemy's diplomatic and military traffic has played a vital role in both peace and war. Individual chapters also consider the machin­ery of intelligence, confirming that coordination, analysis and oversight are an often overlooked but vital aspect of intelligence. Chapter 9 looks forward to the future, and the changing role of intelligence in the 21st century.

Through the chapters of British Intelligence a number of themes emerge: the bravery and ingenuity of individuals; the increasing use of science and technology; interagency squabbles; and the fight for resources within an ever-diminishing budget. According to the authors, one of the central foundations of nuclear strategy is the belief that states will be deterred from using nuclear weapons by fear of retalia­tion. The same is not true of terrorist organizations, especially those that embrace suicide as part of their ideology and who have neither land nor citizens to protect. Terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons or materials is one of the most serious threats currently faced by the international community. In recent years Western intelligence has been successful in breaking up a number of clandestine nuclear operations. Among the most significant was the network associated with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, who sold nuclear technology and information to Libya, Iran and North Korea. His activities soon came to the attention of the British and American authorities, resulting in a carefully planned intelligence operation that successfully intercepted a cargo ship loaded with nuclear components destined for Libya. Khan was later arrested and his operations halted.

Individual victories do not end the war, however, and a constant fear is that determined terrorists will manage to obtain nuclear mate­rial and detonate a crude device in a metropolitan area. According to British Intelligence, to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality, Western governments will increas­ingly rely on intelligence to provide warning of attack and to assist covert operations. Intelligence, however – sporadic, patchy and intu­itive as it can be – is merely a technique for improving the basis of knowledge. Intelligence may uncover secrets – but it cannot reveal the future.

As recent events bring the intelligence profession back into the spotlight, British Intelligence offers a unique view into its shadowy, volatile world. This fascinating account, through colorful episodes, shows how priorities of the past – infiltrating hidden networks, preventing terror attacks, penetrating codes and ciphers – were often startlingly similar to those of today, and offers compelling insight into the shadowy world of intelligence.

History / World

The German Discovery of the World: Renaissance Encounters with the Strange and Marvelous by Christine R. Johnson (Studies in Early Modern German History Series: University of Virginia Press)

Current historiography suggests that European nations regarded the New World as an inassimilable ‘other’ that posed fundamental challenges to the accepted ideas of Renaissance culture. The German Discovery of the World presents a new interpretation that emphasizes the ways in which the new lands and peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas were imagined as comprehensible and familiar. In chapters dedicated to travel narratives, cosmography, commerce, and medical botany, Christine R. Johnson, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Washington University, examines how existing ideas and methods were deployed to make German commentators experts in the overseas world, and how this incorporation established the discoveries as new and important intellectual, commercial, and scientific developments.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered islands in the Western Atlantic, the first of what subsequent expeditions would reveal to be a vast collection of new islands and mainlands. In 1497, Vasco da Gama established a new sea route to India by circumnavigating Africa around the Cape of Good Hope and then crossing the Indian Ocean to the great spice emporium of Calicut. In their wakes, soldiers and settlers streamed west to the vast New World, while Portuguese armadas set sail yearly along the Cape route to gain mastery of the seas and access to the tropical goods of the African and Indian coasts. The transformation of the globe, scholars have long held, also produced a transformation in European knowledge, because reports of the newly discovered lands and peoples challenged the sterile categories and the obsession with the classical past that characterized Renaissance thought. Only through abandoning the limited horizons of inherited knowledge could Europeans properly understand the significance of the discoveries. The Renaissance and the European expansion have been portrayed as separate, even contradictory, historical developments.

The German Discovery of the World, however, uses the case of Germany – the source of both significant works of Renaissance learning and some of the earliest and most important texts and maps explaining the newly dis­covered territories to European audiences – to demonstrate the vital connections between these two historical developments. Although dis­tant from the political and administrative exigencies of colonization, Germany was well positioned to generate knowledge about places most of its inhabitants would never see. Its wealthy cities, new universities, and numerous elites supported the most exuberant publishing industry in Europe. These same factors, as well as close connections with Italian centers of learning, also put Germany at the forefront of new forms of humanist and scientific inquiry that, while not first and foremost concerned with explicating the overseas expansion, did provide obvious and fruitful venues for discussing the significance of the discoveries. German scholars generated maps displaying the East and West Indies, botanical handbooks describing maize and chili peppers, and polemics on the moral problems posed by luxury and foreign goods. Meanwhile, Germany's extensive diplomatic and mercantile connections linked German elites to the courts and ports of Europe, and German observers monitored, discussed, and even occasionally acted on the new oppor­tunities for political and commercial gain. The prompt and substantial German involvement was predicated on their participation in the intel­lectual, economic, and cultural developments that characterized the Renaissance in Europe. German responses to the Spanish and Portu­guese voyages of discovery and conquest demonstrate the compatibility between Renaissance categories and the overseas expansion of Europe.

The German Discovery of the World analyzes the paths by which Ger­mans received news of the discoveries, the cultural resources they could bring to bear on understanding these discoveries and appropriating them for their own purposes, and the perceptions of the newly discovered lands and peoples that resulted. Johnson argues that Renaissance Germans persistently and successfully used existing techniques of knowledge and established areas of expertise to make sense of the overseas world. To achieve this result, German authors worked long and hard to wrestle incomplete information obtained through imperfect methods into an ordered and convincing form, a process aided by the flexibility of available structures of thought and by carefully crafted strategies for preserving credibility. German participants and observers chose to stress their ability to understand and control the overseas environment, not out of fear or anxiety about the unknown, but because it was intellec­tually and financially rewarding to do so. Molded and then explained by German cultural arbiters, the East and West Indies became familiar and comprehensible places, susceptible to the extension of European control.

Renaissance European systems of classification made it legitimate to categorize the newly discovered lands and peoples on the basis of either difference or similarity. If ‘new’ and ‘strange’ were legitimate labels, so was ‘just another’: just another example of human behavior, just another island, just another plant, just another opportunity for commercial profit or corruption. Emphasizing difference was merely one of a broad array of valid interpretive choices. The problem investigated is not why some participants and observers correctly per­ceived the new territories as different and others blindly persisted in their assertions of similarity, but why some chose to interpret the new territories as different and others chose to interpret them as similar. The case of Renaissance Germany throws this problem into sharp relief, because the responses its inhabitants generated to the Spanish and Portuguese voyages most often reduced the discoveries to a series of ‘just anothers.’ Part of Johnson’s analysis in The German Discovery of the World is devoted to explaining why this emphasis on similarity and familiarity was convincing, and another part to explaining why this emphasis was desir­able. Immediate political, commercial, intellectual, and moral concerns usually made it more rewarding to incorporate the European expansion as seamlessly as possible into existing structures of knowledge.

Rather than viewing the discovery of America as a unique event, The German Discovery of the World takes as its starting point the Renaissance German concept of a worldwide Iberian expansion and uses it to analyze how Germans understood the discov­eries and why they understood them in the ways they did. The relationship between the Reformation and the developments Johnson examines in The German Discovery of the World is more marginal.

Germany,’ at its broadest, referred to the German-speaking areas of Central Europe, a definition that sets the outer limits of the ‘Germany’ discussed in the book. The discussion of individual texts throughout The German Discovery of the World shows that there was a great deal of cross-fertilization across the language divide as German texts, such as Sebastian Brant's Narrenschiff were classicized, and Latin texts, such as scientific treatises, were popularized. Because the results of schol­arly investigations were not only translated into the vernacular but ex­plicitly related to the concerns of their linguistically defined German readership, the international world of knowledge to which scholars had access was used to fuse a closer relationship with domestic audiences.

The understanding of what being ‘German’ meant shifted, from a civilization to rival that of ancient Rome, to an elaborate web of business associates and economic opportunities, to an embattled bastion of self-sufficiency and simple living. All of these visions imagined a broader national unity either in connec­tion or in confrontation with the world beyond Germany's boundaries, including the newly discovered territories.

On the political level, the ‘Germany’ of the ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation’ was a flexible enough political union to allow its constituent members to take part in the expansion, but its loose fed­eral structure precluded the possibility of imperial support for partici­pation in the discoveries.

The Germany described in this work is limited to those Ger­man speakers with the time and connections to learn about the Span­ish and Portuguese discoveries; its focus is thus on the centers of the circulation of information and goods: the populous cultural and commercial cities in the southern regions and the Rhineland. Within these limits, however, Germany was defined by a contrast with foreigners, whether encountered in texts or in person, which sharpened the sense of national belonging among the elites for whom travel and extensive reading were possible. The newly discovered territories were perceived as part of a world already divided into Germans and foreigners, and The German Discovery of the World shows how these mental con­structs affected German understandings of the Iberian discoveries.

Understanding how Germans successfully integrated the Euro­pean expansion into existing categories and why they wanted to do so suggests the need to reassess the intellectual significance of the discoveries for Europe as a whole. The overseas expansion was important not because of the intractable challenge it posed to prevail­ing structures of thought, but because Renaissance Europeans believed that they could understand and cope with the discoveries. Convinced that India, Africa, and the New World were intelligible and accessible, merchants invested significant resources in the overseas trade, supply­ing goods and buying imports that fueled the economic exploitation of the East and West Indies. Audiences within Europe, meanwhile, were reassured that European structures of thought were capable of produc­ing useful knowledge throughout the world, as long as experts such as cosmographers and botanists helped them make sense of new empirical data. Attaching the discoveries to familiar concepts even made it pos­sible to understand certain aspects as new and strange, making possible the (eventually dominant) perception of the discoveries as novel experi­ences with transformative power. Germany thus provides a case study for broader European patterns of interaction, the German emphasis on the similarity of the newly discovered territories making German re­sponses a particularly good indicator of how well the discoveries fit into Renaissance structures of thought.

The chapters of The German Discovery of the World explore how Germans adapted and stretched Renaissance frameworks to make the discoveries work for them. Chapter 1 examines the travel narratives that provided proof of the ability of Europeans to collect and use information about the newly discovered territories and that provided many details incorporated into other types of texts. In these travel narratives, the sheer wealth of information took the place, at least initially, of systematic discussions about the meaning of the discoveries and the nature of the newly dis­covered lands and peoples. Even in these cases, however, certain struc­turing principles and framing devices were used to connect ‘there’ with ‘here.’ Subsequent chapters examine the selective deployment of information about the East and West Indies within the contexts and networks in which the news found ‘resonance.’ Johnson uses the criterion of ‘resonance’ to avoid an exhaustive catalog of each place and way in which the voyages of exploration were mentioned, identifying instead the patterns of response in German understanding and the particular meanings thereby imparted to the discoveries. These patterns provide the themes of the subsequent chapters: chapter 2 covers the cosmo­graphical literature; chapter 3 the initial enthusiastic commercial reporting on the economic expansion; chapter 4 the rejection of the spice trade on economic, moral, and medical grounds; and chapter 5 the German merchants' withdrawal from the overseas trade.

In 1620, Francis Bacon's New Organon used the example of Eu­rope's geographical expansion to call for a wholesale reevaluation of inherited knowledge. The chapters of The German Discovery of the World, however, tell a different story about the discoveries' effects on European intellectual culture – a story in which Renaissance German commentators, responding to expec­tations, developments, and debates of immediate relevance to them, successfully used established concepts to explain the significance of events abroad to diverse audiences at home.

The political, economic, and intellectual developments that marked the Renaissance, which were new to Europe in ways that the newly discovered lands and peoples were not, enhanced Germans' need and ability to come to grips with the overseas expansion. These efforts, intended to explain and control the meaning of the European expansion, also gave the discoveries status and significance within Renaissance culture.

The fit was not perfect. As much recent scholarship has shown, colonial environments, much less colonial populations, were never completely mastered by European imperial powers. When it came to the overseas territories, confidence was maintained in the face of incomplete information and inadequate identifications through belief in the ability of established procedures to eventually produce valid results.

Even imperialism was not just based on claims of difference. There were powerful incentives to fit the newly subject peoples into political categories and religious explanations, turning the natives into just another group of ‘subjects’ or ‘Christians.’

Many of the basic aspects analyzed in The German Discovery of the World were common throughout Europe: Germans were not unique in their travel narratives, maps, or accounting procedures, or in their scholarly, legal, and scientific thought. Travelers, texts, exotic merchandise, and merchants crossed borders. As a result, the German successes in incorporating the Iberian expansion have broader implications, particularly for explaining the intellectual changes in Europe that followed the discoveries.

The new philosophy could feature an intense and fruitful concern with the new and the strange in part, Johnson suggests in The German Discovery of the World, because the successful incorporation of the European expansion during the Renais­sance made the new investigators of nature confident of their ability to master the world even (or especially) in the face of increasing variety.

The plausible application of the existing techniques of European travel, navigation, commerce, and moral investigation had made the discover­ies real for audiences at home and opened the newly discovered lands and peoples to continued investigation and categorization within Eu­ropean structures of thought. The successful incorporation had even commodified the wonders of the Indies, which were cataloged, bought and sold, and valued in Baroque scientific culture as relics had been before them. These philosophical and commercial transactions tied together the world in a system of manifest correspondences, an exoteric harmony to go with the more esoteric and occult order that underlay the Wunderkammer. All new explanations and classifications of natural phenomena were based on the assumption that Europeans could make sense of the entire world, even if their efforts were as yet incomplete. Europeans were eventually cognitively able to express doubts about the reliability of existing intellectual structures, and delight at objects and ideas that seemed to transgress them, because of their initial success at deploying these same structures.

While Johnson’s argument reconfigures the relationship between European intellectual changes and the extra-European world, the link remains es­sential. Europe had not developed in isolation – a point demonstrated by the importance of Mediterranean commercial and intellectual exchange in creating the flexibility and nuance of Renaissance knowledge practices. As the exchange of peoples, customs, and goods expanded, Europe's global connections were instrumental in changing politi­cal, scientific, economic, social, and even dietary practices, at home as well as abroad. To argue, as she has that the newly discovered lands and peoples were made to fit within established conceptions is not to suggest that their long-term implications could be easily confined or minimized. The expansion of Europe ultimately proved transformative for all involved, but this transformation was itself influenced by the situations and demands facing those Europeans responsible for weigh­ing, translating, disseminating, and acting on the European expansion. The study of cross-cultural exchange and conflict must be extended to include the intracultural.

To what extent the German answers to the questions raised by the overseas expansion reflected or influenced European-wide patterns is a question best an­swered in definitive form by other historians. However, Johnson identifies some possible linkages to the historiography of other countries and of Europe as a whole. More than anything, the history of Germany's ini­tial involvement with the Renaissance discoveries reveals the actors and processes that worked to turn the unwieldy mass of details about the haphazard, undisciplined, and hard-fought European expansion into a compelling story of European mastery and control.

Written in an engaging and accessible style, The German Discovery of the World brings to light the dynamic world of the German Renaissance, in which humanists, cartographers, reformers, politicians, botanists, and merchants appropriated the Portuguese and Spanish expeditions to the East and West Indies for their own purposes and, in so doing, reshaped their world.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Pop-Up Cards: And Other Greetings that Slide, Dangle & Move with Sandi Genovese by Sandi Genovese (Lark Books)

Pop-up cards, with their wonderful interactive, dimensional nature, are all the rage these days. Now crafters can duplicate the techniques at home. Renowned artist and master crafter Sandi Genovese in Pop-Up Cards shows readers how to make them with 25 projects.
For example, a birthday greeting becomes even happier with a multi-tiered chocolate cake design, topped with candles. The accordion-folded ‘Hand in Hand’ card displays a variety of hand shapes that seem to applaud enthusiastically when it’s opened and closed. And an elaborate celebratory Christmas card showcases a three-dimensional tree bedecked with hanging ornaments.

Genovese focuses her paper‑crafting talents on greeting cards with interactive elements, including pop-ups, suspended motifs, accordion folds, and sliding panels that reveal hidden messages. While she believes that making a greeting card is time well spent, she also believes that readers shouldn't have to break the bank on expensive tools and supplies to achieve spectacular results. More examples:

  • A pop-up bridal bouquet, created in the couple's wedding color scheme, makes a personal statement with angling, interlocking hearts.
  • A card that doubles as a mobile can be displayed in a prominent place.

Other projects with special features include Moving Money Magic – when recipients open this card like a book, the check and a note are held behind paper strips on opposite sides. Then, when they close the card and open it again from left to right, the check and note have magically switched sides. And Blow Out the Candles has a flap that flips back and forth to reveal the greeting, while Joyful's hidden message becomes visible when a panel is moved to the right.

All projects feature a color shot of the completed card, templates, and a page layout.

These hand-made projects are gifts themselves. When readers send their loved ones their one-of-a-kind projects, they show how much they care. Ingenious surprises make these cards standouts, and readers can personalize the projects Genovese has gathered in Pop-Up Cards to make them as unique as their lucky recipients. The page layouts are both approachable and modern.

Literature & Fiction

Don't You Forget about Me: A Novel by Jancee Dunn (Villard)
After earning rave reviews with her rock-and-roll memoir But Enough About Me, Jancee Dunn in Don't You Forget about Me takes on fiction in this debut, a nostalgic look backward.
At thirty-eight, childless Manhattanite Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi (‘short for vibrant’) Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she’s hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce.
Blindsided, Lillian takes a leave of absence and moves back to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey. Nestled in her childhood bedroom, where Duran Duran and Squeeze posters still cover the walls, she finds high school memories a healing salve to her troubles. She hurtles backward into her teen years, driving too fast, digging up mix tapes, and tentatively reconciling with Dawn, a childhood friend she once betrayed. Punctuating her stroll down memory lane is an invitation to the Bethel Memorial High School class of 1988 twenty-year reunion. It just might be Lillian’s chance to reconnect with her long-lost boyfriend, Christian Somers, who is expected to attend. Will it be just like heaven?
Lillian in Don't You Forget about Me discovers, as we all must, the pitfalls of glorifying the glory days, the mortification of failing as a thirty-something adult, and the impossibility of fully recapturing the past. 

Steeped in ‘80s-era references, the flashback elements of Lily’s tale are breezy, reliably tacky fun ... but unexpected moments of tenderness give the story heart. – People Magazine
Dunn's deft sense of pacing and her old-fashioned niceness make Don't You Forget about Me a breezy, entertaining summer read that never insults the reader's intelligence. – LA Times
 and Wham! – should look no further. – New Jersey Star-Ledger
Intelligent chick lit about a divorcee who moves back in with her parents. – Newsweek
In addition to being an impressive treasure trove of cultural references both high and (frequently) low, Jancee Dunn is also a tender novelist. Don't You Forget about Me is wistful, graceful, and seriously funny. – Meg Wolitzer, author of The Ten-Year Nap
Memoirist (But Enough About Me) and Rolling Stone writer Dunn turns in a first-class piece of reunion lit. … The setup is beyond familiar, but Dunn's delicious wit enlivens this sparkling dramedy, depicting the perils of trying to recapture a John Hughes-era past that doesn't belong in the present. – Publisher's Weekly

Don't You Forget about Me is for anyone who looks back and wonders: What if? The book is a comically poignant debut, a perfect read for anyone who has ever looked back nostalgically and wondered what might have been.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / World Literature / Women’s Studies / Environmental Studies

Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow: Ecocritical Readings of Animals and Women in Eighteenth-Century British Labouring-Class Women's Poetry by Anne Milne (Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series: Bucknell University Press)

Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow brings together issues of gender, class, and species through a study of a selection of poetry by five eighteenth-century British laboring-class women poets. Extending the feminist concept of ‘interlocking oppressions’ to include a consideration of the link between women and animals, this study suggests, ecocritically, that representations of nature are always more than mere imagination. By pairing laboring-class women poets and domesti­cated animals to read their representations as manifestations of oppression, Anne Milne, Assistant Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Canada, shows that both laboring-class women and animals are contained by conceptu­alizations that typically characterize them as laboring machines, as ‘mad,’ and as pets.

Mycias, behold this bird! see how she tires –

Breaks her soft plumes, and springs against the wires!

A clown more rude than gracious brought her here

To pine in silence, and to die in snare.

According to Milne in the Introduction to Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow, these lines, from Ann Yearsley's poem "The Captive Linnet" printed in her third book of poetry, The Rural Lyre (1796), describe the plight of a caged bird who, removed from her natural environment, can neither communicate with her sister birds "who sit and call her near her fav'rite spray" or fulfill the ‘Delicious toil’ of caring for her young. Rather than accept her entrapment, in an assertion of negative agency ‘she droops’, rejects her captor's offer of food, and ‘dies resign'd’, a device Yearsley frames as a Christian "VICTORY for the SOUL".

Even as Milne offers Yearsley's captive linnet as an emblem of Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow, which brings together animals and women in the work of five laboring-class women poets – Mary Collier (1690-1762), Mary Leapor (1722-46), Elizabeth Hands (1746-1815), Ann Cromartie Yearsley (1752-1806), and Janet Little (1759-1813), Milne wonders if Yearsley's conclusions are the same as the ones she will draw or even the same ones she herself pursued in her own life and career. Though these poets express a sophisticated awareness of their position as natural geniuses within the political and social hierarchy, they are often frustrated in their literary endeavors as they struggle to claim their places as poets. The anxiety of authorship they express in various poems suggests a constant concern with their status as poets.

Another intersection between Yearsley's poem and Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow is the linnet's gender. The linnet's close relationship to her sister birds and her role as a mother mirrors the connections Milne makes in the book between women and animals in eighteenth-century laboring-class women's poetry. Inherently feminist and using feminist tools such as consciousness raising, bonding, activism, and performativ­ity, ecofeminism is an ideal approach for a study that seeks to interro­gate the woman/nature/animal intersection. With ecofeminism's focus on nature and the feminist self-in-nature, issues and observations not foregrounded either within feminist or eighteenth-century studies can be usefully added to the knowledge produced around and about eigh­teenth-century laboring-class women writers.

Especially worth noting from this ecofeminist perspective is Year­sley's emphasis on the silencing of the linnet's ‘sweet note’ as a consequence of her capture. According to Milne, it is imperative to move beyond the reductive ‘I'm like a bird’ conceptualization and read animals and women in the full complexity of Milne highlights poetic moments which construct the presence or absence of animal voices. In some other poems the unvoicing appears to have already occurred. This silence of the animals is significant not only in relation to issues of animal integrity but also as it reflects the cultural dilemma of the natural genius who writes in obscurity, sanctioned primarily by patrons who "used their plebeian protégés to mirror their own superiority as they also projected a public image of benevolent philanthropy." Their purpose was not to envoice the laboring-class woman writer.

While Milne raises the issue of voice in the context of gender, it is also essential to consider the nexus of class, voice, and species in "The Cap­tive Linnet." With her address to a male listener called Mycias, Year­sley appeals to his reason and ethical sense of the proper relationship between humans and wild animals. In Yearsley's act of controlling the narrative, she devises subjectivities for the female speaker, Mycias, the captor, and the linnet, as well as a collective subjectivity that describes all four in relation to one another. The disparaging remarks made against the captor are not, then, just class-based, but project an environ­mental ethic that defines certain kinds of behaviors towards certain kinds of animals as socially and morally unacceptable. Yearsley's rhetorical strategy involves creating a subjectivity of the linnet that supports this environ­mental ethic.

Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow has a definite shape. Milne’s general posi­tion is that the work of laboring-class women poets is resilient enough and the critical base established enough to sustain new readings from new directions. For laboring-class women poets such as Ann Yearsley, the label ‘nat­ural genius’ is one both embraced and abhorred. Yearsley's conflicted identity as a natural genius erupts throughout her poetry. To contain a poet such as Yearsley with her varied and complex relationship to nature within the limited conceptualization of the natu­ral genius is to condemn her to the fate of the captive linnet.

In Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow, Milne considers nature from ecocritical and ecofeminist perspectives in selected poems by Collier, Leapor, Hands, Yearsley, and Little. Each chapter is in part theoretical, each presents a close reading of at least one poem, each discusses a particular animal or process, and each examines some eighteenth-century non-literary dis­course – for example, Buffon's Hietoire Naturelle, Mary Astell's Some Reflections on Marriage, and Thomas Topham's Treatise on Cattle. Each chapter considers the place of the natural genius in relation to theory, poem, animal, and discourse. She have deliberately ordered the chapters non-chronologically. Her purpose is to introduce first a general discus­sion of domestication, then to introduce the ecocritical concepts she wishes to utilize. The discussion of animals moves from ‘useful’ animals who exist within agricultural and labor contexts to ‘useless’ animals appro­priated as emblems and household pets. While her approach is intertex­tual, she concentrates on specific poems by each author in order to explore these poems in depth. She takes on a task that is both manageable and meaningful. As far as she is aware, sustained readings of these poems, with the exception of Mary Collier's "The Woman's Labour," have not yet been made in any area of eighteenth-century studies.

In her first chapter, on Mary Leapor, Milne discusses the process of domes­tication, the role of humans in the domestication of animals, domesti­cated women as subject to the rule of the domestic master, and the creation of a natural genius as a process of domestication. In chapter 2, she utilizes the concept of ‘interlocking oppressions’ to unpack the poten­tials and pitfalls of identification as a literary tool used by women to connect with other female animals. In chapter 3, she looks at the enormous significance bees have in western culture and she reads the bee-in-nature against the discourses of eighteenth-century bee box technologists and the concept of bees and laboring-class women as ‘industrious.’ In chapter 4, she shows how Ann Yearsley enacts a strategical shift in the meaning of ‘wildness’ through the representation of the hyper-docility of a spotless lamb in order to characterize her own development as an independent poet. In chapter 5, she examines the phenomenon of the ‘talk­ing animal’ in literature and how language can be used to both enable and impede the human understanding of animal subjectivity. Throughout, she locates her practice within eighteenth-century studies and ecocriti­cism and make suggestions for new critical directions sharing, ultimately, the joy of the ‘muddle’ of our discourses of nature and the enduring, rich complexity that early-modern texts offer to twenty-first-century readers grappling with environmental ethics and crises.

This is a challenge, though, and in Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow elicits the question of how she relates a contemporary theoretical discussion of multiple inequities, hybridity, and becomings with their optimisms and focus on the future to her his­torical project. While so much ecocriticism incorporates an ethic of lib­eration and is oriented towards resolving the ongoing environmental crisis in a manner that demonstrates respect for all living things, her project has a less utopian focus. Milne says in the Introduction that she does not want to engage in a critical practice that passes judgment on the discourse of the past and/or the representations of non-human animals within these discourses from an apparently ecologically enlightened twenty-first century perspective. Nor does she want to participate in a selective looting of the past for an­swers to current problems. She prefers to reverse the question she posed about the relationship between historical projects and eco­logical feminist theory and suggest that ecocriticism and ecological fem­inism cannot thrive without historical projects. What she offers to both practices in Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow are ‘nature skeptical’ readings that bring historical depth and perspective to issues that continue to perplex us. Milne’s research benefits from the foundations set by earlier studies of laboring-class writers even as it extends their conclusions through the use of an explicitly ecocritical perspective.

General Editor for the Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series, which publishes challenging, new eighteenth-century scholarship, is Greg Clingham of Bucknell University.

Literature & Fiction / Humor

Mass Historia: 365 Days of Historical Facts and (Mostly) Fictions by Chris Regan (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

January 22, 1973. Supreme Court Legalizes Abortion/Baby Killing.

On this triumphant/dark day in history/the history of lesbian radicalism, the Supreme Court/Coven of Demonic Manbeasts legalized abortion/baby killing with their ruling/activist blasphemy in Roe v. Wade, which led to the long-running American battle of Religious Kooks Who Hate Women v. Gleeful Baby Killers.

Here's hoping this entry has satisfied all readers on both sides of this passionate debate. President Bush usually made some speech about ‘respecting all life’ on this day, in an effort to provide more able bodies for ‘the great troop surge of 2028’ during President Jenna Bush's disastrous second term. – from the book

The History Channel meets Comedy Central in this humorous, quasi-historical almanac by Chris Regan, a five time Emmy award winning comedy writer and one of the coauthors of Jon Stewart's bestselling America (The Book).

Regan in Mass Historia flips through our nation's historical calendar to offer up unknown, unrepentant, and often-unbelievable facts for every day of the year. Based on genuine, historical occurrences, Regan sets out to rewrite history with his satirical voice. As Regan explains, "Enjoy this book, learn something from it, but do not reference it in any scholarly paper." Consider entries like June 12th, 1991: "Russians elect Boris Yeltsin president. Yeltsin suggests a toast to Democracy, wakes up shoeless on a bus eight years later." Or the entry for May 15th, 1718: "A London Lawyer named James Puckle patents the world's first machine gun, because lawyering was not doing enough to crush the soul of mankind." Readers will also learn about the November 11th, 1918 birth of "Armistice Day, which was later changed to Veterans' Day, so that Americans could more easily pronounce what they annually ignored."

Full-color photographs, along with sidebars, lists, and mock historical images aid in providing definitive answers to historical curiosities such as, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" or the similarities between music moguls Kevin Federline and Johann Sebastian Bach. Readers will even discover that Alexander G. Bell's famous cry of, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you," during the first telephone conversation was, in fact, the invention of the Booty Call.  

Regan says, “Every day, History has a story to tell, and not just because History is old and lonely and desperate for some companionship. … On every day of the calendar year, an anniversary of something historic is celebrated. So I have taken it upon myself with Mass Historia to pass along, celebrate, but mostly mock History's more interesting events and anecdotes. … I have to put History to bed right now. …History is very old, he gets confused sometimes, but he does have a lot of funny stories.”

You can't change the past, but with Mass Historia, Chris Regan has done a very fine job of making fun of it. – Stephen Colbert

For my money, Chris Regan is America's finest craftsman of funny sentences, sentences which start off interesting and amusing, coax laughs with pitch-perfect, snarky descriptors along the way, and then suddenly SLAM you with an unexpected, truly hilarious punch. – Adam Felber, author of Schrodinger's Ball, and writer, Real Time with Bill Maher

Informative and funny. It takes a sharp wit to turn ‘March 14’ and ‘Einstein's brain chunks’ into hilarity! – Spike Feresten, host, Talkshow with Spike Feresten, and writer, Seinfeld

Mass Historia is one-eleventh the length of Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization with six times as many laughs. Maybe even seven times as many! There is no one l know who understands the weave and weft of that grand tapestry called history like Chris Regan does. That said, I'm really glad he wasted all that knowledge on this book, because it's hilarious. – Eric Drysdale, five-time Emmy Award-winning writer, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report

Amusing, side-splitting even.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / History & Criticism

Nowhere is Perfect: French and Francophone Utopias/Dystopias edited by John West-Sooby (University of Delaware Press)

Utopian imaginings undoubtedly satisfy a desire for fantasy and escape. At the same time, however, they are generally anchored in the real world, whose shortcomings they criticize, implicitly or explicitly, and for which they purport to offer solutions. The creation of perfect imaginary worlds therefore serves as a means of acting on the imperfect present. French utopian writing is a rich tradition which continues to grow, inspiring authors from all parts of the Francophone world. As the essays in Nowhere is Perfect demonstrate, utopian – and dystopian – imaginings find expression through all genres and modes of creation. What they have in common, though, is a dissatisfaction with contemporary society and a determination to explore possibilities for a better life.

As editor John West-Sooby, University of Adelaide, suggests in the introduction to Nowhere is Perfect, it is strangely compelling, to note that the term used to designate the fictional practice of imagining ideal worlds should be etymologically based on a negation. The perfect elsewhere represented by the ‘u-topia’ is, by definition, ‘no-where’. And yet, if utopian imaginings continue to fascinate us, it is in large part because of the many paradoxes they generate – paradoxes through which new questionings are initiated and explored. These questionings are many and varied in nature, for the elusive quality of the utopian world gives free rein to the creative imagination.

The most obvious of the utopian paradoxes is that of the topos itself. Impossible to locate geographically, the utopia, in its multifarious fictional representations, is nevertheless characterized by topographical attributes. Island settings, closed spaces surrounded by inaccessible mountains, walled cities and the like – are almost invariably mapped in precise detail. The world of utopia posits social and historical change, and yet it is essentially ‘out of time’.

According to Nowhere is Perfect, utopian visions present readers with ideal models of collective life, but attempts to realize them are usually characterized by exclusion and separation. Boundaries are uncomfortably drawn between desirable and undesirable citizens. Non-compliance with the rules of utopia leads to expulsion, and often to violence. The rule of utopia can therefore come to be experienced as authoritarian and coercive. For those living under such a regime, seclusion can also be felt as confinement. The portrayal of a utopian paradise in which all members of society live in peace and harmony is in many ways as forbidding as it is appealing. In the absence of dissent and difference, the life of the citizens of utopia may appear to be one of torpor. The anticipated pleasure of paradise is ultimately countered by the boredom of attaining it.

Equally perversely, utopian creations are pointed reminders of the imperfections they have been designed to abolish. Furthermore, the utopian representation of contentedness may provoke discontent with the here and now. Their emotional appeal lies in our yearning for the creation of something positive from something negative, for the dysfunctional to give way to the functional. What utopian thinkers have in common is a vision of utopia not as a map or blueprint but rather as a fantasy, meant to point the way to possibilities of a better life.

Utopia also offers a means of acting on the present. It is conducive to innovation, to the generation of new ideas and modes of action, and is therefore not removed from the present but linked to it through its potential for direct and immediate impact. In this way, the idealized and static world of the utopia engages us, again paradoxically, in a process.

Evidence of the enduring vitality of utopian imaginings, and of their sustained political and cultural influence, especially in France and in the Francophone world, is provided by the essays in Nowhere is Perfect.

The relationship between utopian thinking and political practice is examined in Part I. In his study of Montesquieu's famous doctrine of the separation of powers, Philip Gerrans argues against the utopian-based explanations of various schools of thought. Montesquieu's political theory was novel and radical, Gerrans reminds readers, precisely because he sought to make political liberty a mundane occurrence.

The other essays in the first section highlight the dystopia that ensues from the pursuit of utopian ideals. The ideal of rehabilitating criminals and delinquents through deportation is a common thread in Jacqueline Dutton's study of the French preoccupation with the Antipodean penal colony and in Dominique Kalifa's revealing account of the French army's compagnies de discipline that went by the generic name of Biribi. What emerges from Dutton's detailed historical study of French attitudes towards the Australian penal colony is a polarization of views. No such qualms affected the army's thinking, however, as Dominique Kalifa demonstrates. The dystopian consequences of the pursuit of utopia also form the basis of Kay Chadwick's study of the role played by Philippe Henriot under the Vichy regime. As Chadwick shows, the pursuit of this utopian vision during the last days of the Vichy regime led to a very dystopian display of brutality and repression.

Part II situates readers firmly in the realm of ideas and ideologies. The nineteenth century was a fertile time for utopian thinking, especially of the philanthropic variety. And the writings and ideas of the theorists naturally aroused the interest of the poets and novelists of the period. It is this link between literature and utopian ideology, specifically the writings of Charles Fourier, that Peter Hambly highlights in his two contributions to Nowhere is Perfect. Building on the considerable body of work he has published on the subject, he examines the profound influence of Fourier's thinking on a number of key French literary figures. Fourierist reminiscences are also prominent in Jean Fornasiero's essay devoted to the figure of the ‘mecene de l'utopie’. She examines how the relationship between reality and fictional representation has evolved from the July Monarchy to the end of the century.

Fin-de-siecle literature is also the subject of Penny Boumelha's essay, which highlights the key role that gender issues play in utopian narratives. Her entertaining survey of the central, and frequently unusual, functions that women are made to fulfill in these gender utopias also serves to remind us that the creation of an ideal and harmonious com­munity unavoidably depends on finding a solution to the question of the relationship between the sexes.

The third section of Nowhere is Perfect examines the utopian and dystopian preoccupations to be found in the writings of some key French and Franco-phone novelists. Andre Gide's utopian dream, as William Jennings points out in his essay, is personal in nature: the ideal sought by the author of L'Immoraliste is individual liberty. In the final analysis, Gide's utopia is to be in transit, in perpetual movement.

The ‘human utopia of Romain Gary’ presents something of a counterpoint to the Gidean experience, as David Bellos demonstrates. His authoritative account of Gary's life and work illustrates the complexity of that author's vision of humanity. Rejecting any form of determinism, he believed in the power of the imagination and in our ability to choose to be different.

New frontiers are the subject of Peter Poiana's contribution to Nowhere is Perfect, which looks at the ways in which Francophone Caribbean writers attempt to deal with the horrors of their colonial past while retaining the equally familiar vision of the idyllic island setting in which these events took place. What they propose is a peculiarly Caribbean model of society – a ‘creolotopia’ – based not on the Western utopian tradition of exclusion but on non-selective and non-limitative principles. Gisele Pineau is a Caribbean writer preoccupied by the con­flicting images of island paradise and colonial horror, as Bonnie Thomas shows in her essay. What emerges from her study of Pineau's fictional and autobiographical work is a generational opposition: for the displaced grandmother in Pineau's autobiographical text, L'Exil selon Julia, rural Guadeloupe is remembered as utopian, whereas life in the suburbs of Paris is distinctly dystopian; but for the next generation, these categories are reversed.

The predominantly dystopian experience of modern life forms the basis of the final section of Nowhere is Perfect. The architectural utopia imagined by Le Corbusier and the other modernist architects is resurrected by Jacques Tati in Playtime, but only for this urban vision to be shown to be illusory, as Ben McCann points out in his essay. What Tati ultimately proposes is a new utopian city based on a re-affirmation of the human spirit and of human agency.

The utopia of transparency features in Francoise Grauby's analysis of Herve Guibert's Le Protocole compassionnel. Guibert's text highlights two types of attitudes towards the ailing human body: the rational, scientific approach, and the empirical, ‘populaire’ approach. The alienating experience of modern medical treatment leads the AIDS-infected Guibert to explore the therapeutic utopia offered by alternative medicine. Fiction itself, according to Deleuze, is an ‘entreprise de sante’, as Greg Hainge reminds us in his analysis of Philippe Grandrieux's film La Vie nouvelle. Founded on violence, Grandrieux's utopia is threatening, not idyllic.

Life in the suburbs of Paris is similarly unwelcoming and threatening, but it is depicted as firmly dystopian in ‘beur’ fiction, as Helene Jaccomard demonstrates. However, their French education means that the sons and daughters of North-African immigrants living in ‘la banlieue’ are unable to see the country of their parents in an idealized light either. It is the notion of heterotopia, and the alternative it offers to the utopia/dystopia dichotomy, best capturing the message conveyed by the ‘beur’ writers examined in Jaccomard's study.

There are many connections between the essays in Nowhere is Perfect, despite the variety of subjects they treat. This brings us back to the paradoxes engendered by utopia and its representations. For the many common, almost prescribed features of utopian creations nevertheless allow for great variety and apparently endless permutations. Utopian imaginings – and their dystopian counterparts – find expression through all genres and modes of creation, and remain pertinent to our thinking in many spheres: from the obvious domain of the political, the social and the ideological through to considerations of an aesthetic nature or the theory of fiction and artistic creation itself.

Mysteries & Thrillers

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn D. Wall (Poisoned Pen Press)
Novelist Carolyn D. Wall, a full-time author, editor, lecturer, and artist-in-residence, has taught creative writing to more than 4000 children in Oklahoma. In her debut novel, Sweeping Up Glass, it is 1938:

In the book, Olivia recounts her childhood with an adored father and a mad mother in the brutally segregated Depression-era South. In quick succession, Olivia finds and loses love, gives birth, marries an unloved suitor and becomes a widow. Olivia's daughter, wild and ambitious, hands Olivia her own out-of-wedlock baby to raise, a boy named Will'm. For 30 years, Olivia has loved Wing Harris, who plays a mean trumpet and owns the Kentuckian Hotel. For decades, they've shared only howdies at Ruse's Cafe.

Now in 1938 Olivia and the boy run Harker’s Grocery and live in the cold-water kitchen behind the store. Money is scarce; business is bad. Out back, Pap is buried near the outhouse, and Olivia’s crazy mother Ida is living in a tarpaper shack.
This may be the coldest winter on record in Kentucky, but that doesn't keep the elusive Hunt Club from tracking silver-faced wolves on Olivia's strip of mountain. Olivia aims to find the culprit.

When the probable persecutor of Olivia's wolves sets his sights on her beloved Will'm, Olivia clarifies a decades-old mystery, unwittingly bringing danger to the impoverished local community of blacks who've been her guardian angels.

Then, one frozen night, Will'm's mother, Olivia's runaway daugh­ter, comes back for him and some terrible secrets explode among the Rowe Street community. Blood covers Olivia's hands, and the certainties of her life crack beneath her work-worn feet.

In Sweeping Up Glass, Olivia must shatter the shackles that bind her and her community. Nothing is as she thought it was; Olivia is responsible for the very people who betrayed her, while she searches for answers that might save them all.

This debut novel ...  characters who seem drawn from life; and a wide-ranging plot, bursting with complications....A gripping story and a truly original voice – Wall is a new author to watch closely. – Booklist

The strong, fresh narrative voice pulls the reader in and doesn't let go in Wall's stunning debut. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Haunting, lyrical, entirely absorbing, Sweeping Up Glass deserves a place on the shelf next to classics like True Grit and To Kill a Mockingbird. Carolyn Wall is a brilliant storyteller and this book is a wonderful read. – Martha Beck, PhD, Columnist for 0, The Oprah Magazine and bestselling, author of Steering by Starlight and Expecting Adam

In Sweeping Up Glass, Carolyn D. Wall lures you into a backwoods mystery with a rustic, ringing, bluegrass voice that spins a surprising tale and transports you to another time. – Sandi Ault, author of Wild Indigo and Wild Inferno

Like nothing readers have ever read, Sweeping Up Glass is Wall’s searing and surprising debut novel.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Thrillers

Salvation Boulevard: A Novel by Larry Beinhart (Nation Books)

Author of the satiric classic American Hero, which became the acclaimed film, Wag the Dog, Larry Beinhart has long been a sharp-eyed observer of American culture in all its complexity and contradictions. While his new book, Salvation Boulevard, takes the form of a page-turner, the Edgar-Award winner has something more subversive than crime fiction on his mind. Beinhart has crafted a thriller that pits evangelical faith against secular reason, mass fear against individual freedom, and the very existence of God against the moral choices every person must make.

Some cases test a private investigator’s wits, others test his courage, and still others, his character. In Salvation Boulevard, P.I. Carl Vanderveer has found a case that tests them all, and then goes on to test his soul. A professor is dead, and a suspect – who has confessed – is in custody. But nothing is what it seems. After all, the dead man is an atheist professor, the accused an Islamic foreign student, the defense attorney a Jew, and the detective a born-again Christian. As Carl gets deeper into the investigation of the death of Nathaniel MacLeod, his most basic beliefs and relationships are tried and his world is turned upside down.

Carl is a former cop who hit rock bottom and is now in the community embrace of the Cathedral of the Third Millennium, a mega-church run by the charismatic Pastor Paul Plowright. But the certainty of Carl's faith is about to be tested, as he is hired by his longtime friend and client, attorney Manny Goldfarb, to investigate the case involving the murder of MacLeod, an avowed atheist philosopher professor who had been working on a book disproving the existence of God. First considered a suicide, the case becomes a homicide when Ahmad Nazami, an Iranian student, confesses to the crime.

But now Ahmad, represented by the liberal Manny, says that his confession was coerced after he was abducted from his bed one night, bound, hooded, and tortured. In the post-9/11 climate of fear, his claims are dismissed by most as the false posturing of an Islamic jihadist, and in fact the feds have suddenly surfaced wanting Ahmad charged as a terrorist. But Carl's well-honed instincts tell him that foreign student is telling the truth, and even though his fellow parishioners at CTM, including Plowright himself, warn him his soul is in peril if he continues to work for the defense of the Muslim, Carl cannot let the matter go. When Manny is gunned down by a Christian extremist, his dying request is that Carl prove Ahmad's innocence. Faced with either disappointing his church or letting down his friend, Carl begins struggling with a crisis of faith.

Compounding his moral dilemma is the widening rift in his marriage to his third wife, Gwen, an ardent supporter of Plowright and the church. An admittedly flawed man, Carl faces temptation daily, and his encounters with MacLeod's widow, Teresa, are charged with sexual possibility. But the threat of carnal sin takes a back seat when Carl is suddenly the target of two hired killers – perhaps the same men who killed Manny – who drive him and his investigation underground. Working against the clock to draw the connections between the threads of evidence he has found, Carl in Salvation Boulevard begins to realize that those he has trusted most are, perhaps, not worthy of that trust, and that faith can only carry him so far in a morally corrupt world of hypocrisy and greed.

...for a high-speed, rip-roaring chase for meaning in these strange times, take Salvation Boulevard. If you're a mainline liberal Protestant, I think you'll shout `Amen.' – Episcopal Life

Larry Beinhart's Salvation Boulevard pulls off one of the toughest tricks in modern literature: a sharp, high‑energy whodunit that will disturb you with how closely it is based on real life. – Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago Tribune columnist

Best known for American Hero (1994), the jaunty political novel that became the film Wag the Dog, Beinhart offers something less jaunty but definitely more ambitious in this splendid religious legal thriller. …  In a beautifully understated author's note, Beinhart lays out the factual basis for his provocative morality tale and invites readers to visit his Web site, which includes a forum for an ongoing dialogue about religion, irreligion, faith, belief, and their intersections with politics, war, money, life, and death. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reinhart does a fine job describing the treacly paradise of the Church of the Third Millennium and a finer job ratcheting up the pressure on his fragile hero. – Booklist

I rarely enjoy fiction, but Salvation Boulevard is the exception: well written and meaningful. I'm sure the book will cause a stir, be a bestseller, etc. – Lee Loshak, member, board of directors of the New York Secular Humanist Society

Larry Beinhart's Salvation Boulevard is the kind of pop-fiction detective story that could fundamentally transform the consciousness of Red-state America. And it's a fun and often quite provocative read for the rest of us! I couldn't put it down! – Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun

In Orwellian times, fiction is often the only way to get the truth out. We are approaching such times in the United States, and Larry Beinhart masterfully alerts us to what depths our government has sunk. Salvation Boulevard is a quick paced and heart wrenching call to arms against the excesses our government has foisted upon ‘we the people.’ – Ambassador Joseph Wilson, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir

Salvation Boulevard is a thriller in the tradition of John Grisham and Richard Condon that grapples with the ecstatic and entropic nature of religious faith in contemporary America. While thoroughly entertaining, at heart the book is an indictment of a contemporary America where religion and politics have converged with dangerous ramifications. As always, Beinhart pushes the envelope of the crime fiction genre. In his main character, Carl Vanderveer, he has bent the conventions of the iconic fictional private investigator to explore complex spiritual questions with honesty and without open prejudice. On this level alone, Salvation Boulevard will spark controversy and discussion on both the Right and the Left.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Hospital Administration & Policy / Reference

Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities edited by Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, Cynthia T. Cook & Richard L. O'Brien (Jones and Bartlett Publishers)

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. – Nelson Mandela

Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities provides important information and current statistics on health disparities within the United States. It identifies our most vulnerable populations and offers guidelines on how to avoid cultural incompetence and promote cultural proficiency. The book helps readers address Healthy People 2010, which challenges individuals, communities, and professionals to take specific steps to ensure that good health, as well as long life, is enjoyed by all. This demands the ability to relate effectively to persons of many different cultures to assure collaborative participation in research (that must include minorities), clinical patient care and disease prevention.

Edited by Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, Associate Vice President, Health Sciences-Multicultural and Community Affairs, Professor, Ophthalmology, Preventative Medicine, and Public Health, Creighton University; Cynthia T. Cook, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee; and Richard L. O'Brien, Professor, Center for Health Policy and Ethics, Creighton University, the chapters in Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities are written by experienced health care practitioners and researchers who are working to eliminate health disparities and produce a culturally proficient health care environment for patients, practitioners, and researchers.

Cultural competence is imperative when providing patient care, and is just as important when working with other members of the healthcare community. In order to provide compassionate patient care, providers must be able to relate effectively to people of many cultures to assure trusting collaborative participation in research, clinical patient care, and disease prevention. Topics in Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities include:

           Cultural competency and health care.

           Minority healthcare issues.

           Immigrant health.

           Research methodology.

           Disparities surrounding race and ethnicity.

           Global and domestic disparities.

Disparities in the health of minority communities are a reality. The atti­tude of minority populations toward healthcare institutions adds to the urgency of this issue. These disparities have become a major concern of healthcare providers, clinical investigators, and policymakers. To deal effectively with disparities and to strive to reduce or eliminate them requires knowledge of the diverse cultures comprising the United States, commitment to the moral imperative of justice, knowledge and skills to relate to persons and communities of diverse cultures in ways that enable and empower them to reduce health risks and to participate effectively with providers and clinical research to reduce those disparities.

It is essential that individual health professionals continu­ously improve their cultural competence in order to provide compassionate and effective care to those of cultures different from theirs, to relate effec­tively to communities in which they conduct research, and to relate to the members of those communities who participate in the research. It is equally important that institutions recognize and cultivate cultural competence in their employees and policies. They should engage the communities they serve in the design and implementation of systems of care, research priori-ties and strategies, and institutional policy formulation and implementation. Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities addresses all of these issues and provides accounts of the experi­ences of a number of professionals who have dedicated themselves to health disparity reduction.

A few years ago, the editors of this volume, together with other researchers at Creighton University in Omaha, examined the reasons minorities in the city were reluctant to participate in healthcare research. During the same period, the researchers also examined the perception of healthcare providers at Creighton University about the attitudes of minorities to healthcare insti­tutions in the city. The results from this research were overwhelming and have been detailed. There was, however, a great deal of data that has not been previously reported. The editors attempt to share these results in the first few chapters of this book.

There are other underserved populations – spiritual/religious minorities, patients with stigmatizing diseases like HIV/AIDS, the geriatric population, migrant workers, people with disabilities, to name a few – whose perspectives are not included in this book.

In addition, the editors invited senior university administrators from Colorado, Tennessee, and Nebraska to share with readers their perspectives on health disparities. Ethicists and state healthcare leaders from Nebraska and Missouri also reviewed the problem of health disparities. Finally, the eco­nomic impact of health disparities is clearly detailed. The contributors have addressed health disparities through research methodologies, statistical analysis of data, economics, ethical considerations, case studies, and personal experiences.

Written by experienced healthcare practitioners and researchers, this is a unique, ideal and much needed text for encouraging discussion between students and healthcare professionals about reducing health disparities. Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities will be a valuable asset to healthcare providers, students, and anyone interested in providing culturally competent care. Physicians, researchers, healthcare workers, health sciences educators and students, community workers, advocates, planners, policy-makers and similar professionals in non-profit and at the government level will benefit from the information, insights and experiences recounted in this book. The book helps to ensure that good health – as well as long life – is enjoyed by all.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Physical Therapy

Neuromuscular Essentials: Applying the Preferred Physical Therapist Practice Patterns by associate editors Joanell Bohmert & Janice Hulme, and series editor Marilyn Moffat (Essentials in Physical Therapy Series: Slack Incorporated)

Neuromuscular Essentials provides what today’s physical therapy students and clinicians are looking for when integrating the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice as it relates to the neuromuscular system in clinical care. As a part of the Essentials in Physical Therapy Series led by Series Editor Marilyn Moffat, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, CSCS, professor, Physical Therapy Department, New York University, Neuromuscular Essentials is edited by Joanell A. Bohmert, itinerant physical therapist, Anoka-Hennepin, Independent School District, Anoka, Minnesota, and Janice B. Hulme, clinical assistant professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, University of Rhode Island.

The book not only brings together the conceptual frameworks of the Guide language, but also parallels the practice patterns of the Guide. Where appropriate, a brief review of the pertinent anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, imaging, and pharmacology is provided. Each pattern then details one to seven diversified case studies coinciding with the Guide format. The physical therapist examination, including history, systems review, and specific tests and measures for each case, as well as evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, and evidence-based interventions are also addressed. Sample cases in some of the practice patterns include:

  • Impaired Neuromotor Development: A child with Down syndrome, a child with developmental coordination disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Impaired Motor Function and Sensory Integrity Associated with Progressive Disorders of the Central Nervous System: A patient with Parkinson's disease that progresses from Stage 1 to Stage 5 (presented in four cases), a patient with multiple sclerosis.
  • Impaired Peripheral Nerve Integrity and Muscle Performance Associated with Peripheral Nerve Injury: A patient with carpal tunnel syndrome, a patient with Bell’s palsy, a patient with disuse disequilibrium, a patient with Meniere's disease, a patient with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a patient with unilateral peripheral hypofunction; a patient with bilateral vestibular hypofunction.
  • Impaired Motor Function and Sensory Integrity Associated with Acute or Chronic Polyneuropathies: A patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a patient with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
  • Impaired Motor Function, Peripheral Nerve Integrity, and Sensory Integrity Associated with Nonprogressive Disorders of the Spinal Cord: A patient with a cervical spinal cord injury, a patient with a thoracic spinal cord injury.

Moffat brings together physical therapy's leading professionals to produce the most anticipated series of books in the physical therapy market to cover the four main systems. Neuromuscular Essentials is part of a series of four books (Musculosketelal Essentials, Neuromuscular Essentials, Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Essentials, and Integumentary Essentials) aimed at promoting an understanding of physical therapist practice and challenging the clinical thinking and decision making of our practitioners.

This Essentials series continues where the Guide leaves off and brings the Guide to meaningful, clinically based examples of each of the patterns. In each chapter in each system area, an overview of the pertinent anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, imaging, and pharmacology is presented; then one to seven cases are presented for each pattern. Each case initially details the physical therapist examination, including the history, systems review, and tests and measures selected for that case. Then the evaluation, diagnosis, and prognosis and plan of care for the case are presented. Prior to the specific interventions for the case is the rationale for the interventions based on the available literature, thus ensuring that, when possible, the interventions are evidence-based. The anticipated goals and expected outcomes for the interventions are put forth in functional and measurable terms. Finally, any special considerations for reexamina­tion, discharge, and psychological aspects are delineated.

In Neuromuscular Essentials, 15 distinguished contributors have written chapters taking the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice to the next level of practice. Each chapter provides the relevant information for the pattern described by the Guide and emphasizes the process through which a physical therapist goes to take the patient from the examination to discharge. Physical therapists will rejoice that at long last, Moffat, Bohmert, and Hulme have created a book that integrates the parameters of the Guide, as it relates to the neuromuscular system, into the practice arena, that not only covers the material but also allows for a problem-solving approach to learning for educators and students. With a user-friendly format Neuromuscular Essentials helps readers apply the information in the Guide. These Essentials provides students and practitioners with a valuable reference for physical therapist practice.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Science & Religion

The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young & Ralph F. Stearley (IVP Academic)

Is the Earth relatively young or very old?

Readers have all heard the controversy. The consensus regarding the age of the Earth, based on the best geological evidence, is that it is billions of years old. But many Christians believe that the Bible teaches the Earth is only a few thousand years old at best. What are readers to make of this discrepancy? Geologists Davis Young, Professor of Geology Emeritus of Calvin College, and Ralph Stearley, chairman of the department of geology, geography and environmental studies at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, tackle this issue head-on in The Bible, Rocks and Time.

Christians in the natural sciences, particularly Christian professional geologists, are overwhelmingly in agreement that the Earth is extremely old, and they accept the current determination of approximately 4.55 billion years as the most reliable value for the age of Earth. Despite the facts that young-Earth creationism has become considerably more sophisticated and that some of its proponents are much more geologically knowledgeable than were earlier advocates . . . the claims advanced in favor of a young Earth or of Flood geology remain unacceptable to the scientific community. Thus, say Young and Stearley, their claims should also be unacceptable within the church, which, of all places, ought to be committed to truth and reality – for the simple reason that the young-Earth creationist claims lack scientific credibility. Inasmuch as millions of Christians are led by their pastors to believe that the Bible teaches that the world was created in six literal days only a few thousand years ago, they have been conditioned to believe that the Bible unequivocally does teach that view.

The Bible was not given as a handbook of facts of ancient history or of natural science but as the story of God's saving work in a world full of fallen, sinful humans. Although a tiny fraction of geologic evidence might suggest a global Flood if considered in complete isolation from the wealth of other evidence, the overwhelming totality of evidence argues mightily against a global Deluge.

Young and Stearley submit that persistent advocacy of young-Earth creationism and Flood geology by churches, Christian organizations and individual believers results in two extremely serious consequences that damage the cause of Christ: shipwrecking the faith of young, vulnerable unprepared Christian youth when confronted with the evidence of the geological record and hindering evangelism to unbelieving scientists.

To provide a fresh critique of young-Earth creationism and Flood geology for the benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike, Young and Stearley present The Bible, Rocks and Time, a completely revised and updated work. In support of the vast antiquity of God's Earth, they present a case that has historical, biblical, scientific and philosophical di­mensions. They write to convince Bible-believing Christians that the Earth really is extremely old and to show them that acceptance of such a belief need not be in any way a threat to their Christian faith. But they also write to demonstrate to non-Christians who may understandably entertain the false im­pression that Christianity entails commitments to a young Earth and a global Deluge that such commitments are by no means inherent to Christian faith.

To provide a context for the ongoing controversy about Earth's antiquity, they begin with a survey of the history of ideas about the age of the Earth. While noting the diversity of interpretations of Genesis 1 in the early and me­dieval church, they point out that the church's scholars took it for granted that the Earth was only a few thousand years old. In the context of the birth and maturing of scientific geology after the Protestant Reformation, Young and Stearley describe the growing awareness than the globe might be older than had traditionally been perceived. Finally, they discuss the varied biblically based responses to the idea of an ancient Earth within the Christian community.

Next, Young and Stearley proceed to the biblical aspects of the discussion about terrestrial antiquity. Those who argue that the Earth is only a few thousands of years old generally maintain that the six days of creation mentioned in Genesis 1 must be taken as six literal, ordinary, twenty-four-hour days. They also maintain that the Flood of Noah described in Genesis 6-8 covered the entire globe and did a tremendous amount of geological work. Other Christians who be­lieve that the Earth is extremely old have interpreted the creation account of Genesis 1 in a variety of alternative ways, and they also maintain that Genesis does not necessarily require belief that the Flood of Noah covered the entire globe. They present evidence that the biblical text does not demand adherence to the traditional interpretation that God created the world in six successive, twenty-four-hour days only a few thousand years ago.

In the third section of The Bible, Rocks and Time they examine geological evidence pertinent to Earth's antiquity. They show from several angles that geological evidence over­whelmingly indicates that the Earth has had an extremely long, dynamic his­tory. Young and Stearley examine and refute, in light of contemporary geology, many of the geological arguments that are alleged by young-Earth creationists to support a young-Earth view. Some readers without a scientific background may find chap­ters eleven, fourteen and fifteen daunting, but even without reading those chap­ters, they should still be able to recognize that geology demands an old Earth.

The Bible, Rocks and Time concludes with a look at the philosophical side of the discussion. Young and Stearley demonstrate that, despite their adherence to a philosophical principle of catastrophism, young-Earth creationists, nonetheless, unavoidably often pres­ent their case from a ‘uniformitarian’ point of view in much the same way as mainstream geologists do, that is, by appeal to geologic evidence and present-day understanding of natural processes. They simply misinterpret and/or ig­nore the evidence. They further show that young-Earth creationists completely fail to understand the concept of ‘uniformitarianism’ as employed by contem­porary geologists. The final chapter concerns the implications of acceptance of an old Earth for Christian faith and shows that such acceptance need pose no threat to Christianity.

Every church library, Christian high school and college, seminary and bookstore should have this volume available as an essential reference. – Jeff Greenberg, professor of geology, Wheaton College

What an enjoyable tour of the history of geology, the interaction between geological study and biblical exegesis, and the current field of geology itself! Professors Young and Stearley have shown us why the geological evidence for the age of the earth is persuasive. Their love for the Bible and for the world that God made, their commitment to a biblical worldview, and their patient explanations of scientific principles are exemplary, as is their respect for those Christians with whom they disagree. Thank you, professors, for writing such a helpful book, which I will be glad to have people read. – C. John (‘Jack’) Collins, professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

This book is a masterful, scholarly, engaging and readable defense of the claim that standard geology's dating of the earth is consistent with a high view of holy Scripture and sound Christian doctrine. Its challenge to young-Earth creationism is daunting – not only scientific but biblical, theological, philosophical and apologetical as well. It is the best book I know on this topic. – John W. Cooper, professor of philosophical theology, Calvin Theological Seminary

The Bible, Rocks and Time is a thoughtful book by Christian scientists for anyone interested in reconciling Genesis and geology. Planet Earth and life on our planet have long, complex and deeply interesting histories written in rocks and fossils that will never go away. Here professors Davis A. Young and Ralph F. Stearley lead us through a timely and constructive synthesis of religion and science. – Philip D. Gingerich, professor of Geology and Paleontology, University of Michigan

The basic geology in The Bible, Rocks and Time is ‘rock solid.’ – Donald U. Wise, professor Emeritus of Geology, University Of Massachusetts At Amherst

… Here an internationally recognized historian of geology assesses the questions of geological time and Genesis from the three perspectives of geology, bibli­cal studies and history and does so with great erudition and spiritual sensitivity. The result is excellent. Here is a book which is a must-read – and one you should buy for your pastor or minister. – Michael Roberts, author of Evangelicals and Science, and Vicar of Cockerham, Lancaster, England

Thoroughly examining historical, biblical, geological and philosophical perspectives, the amply illustrated The Bible, Rocks and Time takes a comprehensive and authoritative look at the key issues related to the Earth's antiquity. Two Christian geologists provide rock-solid evidence for the age of the earth.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Divination

Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path by Francene Hart (Bear & Company)

Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path provides encouragement and guidance to those on the path of conscious evolution. Sacred Geometry Cards is a boxed set including cards and a book. A natural continuation of and complement to the Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck, this divination set by artist Francene Hart contains 64 original full-color images that portray the sacred geometrical proportions in the natural forms of animals, oceans, and celestial bodies. The accompanying 160-page guidebook contains detailed interpretations of each card and 6 divination spreads for both personal and group readings.
Integrating math, science, and spirituality, these cards convey the wisdom of ancient cultures in which art, science, and religion were seen not as separate systems but as different facets of the same truth. According to Hart, internationally recognized visionary artist, working with these cards incorporates an inclusive view of life to bring balance to our energy fields and allow readers to access higher levels of consciousness. The wisdom they reveal provides insight into life’s challenges and helps restore readers to a state of harmony with the natural rhythms of life.
As told in the guidebook to Sacred Geometry Cards, sacred geometry meshes with the concepts of conscious evolution. As we experience the lattices of life force displayed through the geometries, we find confirmation of our intimate relationship to All That Is. Conscious evolution holds the potential to guide our movement toward a future of our own design. By evolution and choice we draw on compassion, intelligence, and creativity to engender all humanity with greater coherence and synergy. This sacred pairing may well help us evolve the vision of a brilliant future.
Hart provides suggestions for reading the cards. In Sacred Geometry Cards Hart says that readers may wish to consult the oracle in various ways. Choosing one card is a way to begin and offers an instant reading. A simple way for readers to make a choice is to hold the deck and handle the cards as they focus on a question or intention. Combining their awareness and the intelligence of the heart with the wisdom system contained in the oracle will determine which card is chosen. She advises shuffling them, spreading them face down and moving one’s hands across the sixty-four choices until one seems to stick. Then readers can refer to the text to find their message.

Politics / International

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, 4th Edition (Complete Idiot's Guide to) by Mitchell G. Bard (Alpha)

Readers are familiar with the endless cycle of hostility between the political and religious factions of the Middle East that continues to affect the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the nations of this region have been clashing since ancient times, and Western intervention over the years has often made matters worse. This fully revised and updated fourth edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict offers an intense look – through the lens of present-day knowledge – at current events and the ever-changing political and social landscape, as well as the region’s history. The author, writer Mitchell G. Bard, Ph.D., an expert on U.S.-Middle East policy, has written 14 books and has been featured on the BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and radio.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, 4th Edition, reveals the turbulent history of the area with new insights into the current climate of the major countries as world stage players. In this guide, readers get up-to-date information on:

  • The growing threat of Iran – and the possibility of the country acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • The rearming of Hezbollah and its effect on Israel and the Lebanese government.
  • How the hope for peace created by the evacuation of Gaza evaporated into a new front in a war against Israel.
  • The challenges faced by Palestinians seeking peace with Israel within the now-divided Palestinian Authority.

Readers dig through the sands of time to

  • Meet the Middle East's earliest empires.
  • Learn how Israel was born from the ashes of World War II.
  • Understand the political position of the Palestin­ians.
  • Discover how Great Brit­ain's past policies contrib­uted to the Middle East's current crises.
  • Find out why Jerusalem is so significant to Mus­lims, Christians, and Jews.
  • See the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein.
  • Witness the United States' continuing efforts to help establish peace.

As readers soon discover in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, the Jews, Arabs, and others who inhabit the Middle East have a long and colorful history. Much of that history is marked by great accomplishments in the fields of sci­ence, art, literature, philosophy, and other intellectual endeavors. In addition, as the birthplace of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, it can boast of greater worldwide influence than any other place on Earth. For most of recorded history, it has been the setting for conflict – and so it remains today.

The Arab-Israeli peace process has been stalled for years, and the situation on the ground has worsened as Hamas has gained strength. The United States remains mired in Iraq, and the hope that the removal of Saddam Hussein would usher in a new era of democracy in Iraq and unleash long-suppressed desires for freedom in the Arab world have proven illusory. Israel fought another war since the last edition of the book, and many believe it may have to fight again soon with either Syria or Hezbollah or both. Terrorism is an ongo­ing threat to peace and stability. Even all of these dangers pale in comparison to the prospect that Iran may develop a nuclear weapon that would enable it to threaten Israel's survival and coerce its Arab neighbors.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, 4th Edition, doesn't go back to the beginning of time, but almost. Starting with the time of Abraham, the book traces the origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as the wars between the peoples of the Middle East that began in biblical times and continue to the present.

A book of this length cannot possibly cover every aspect of the region's history in detail or all the countries that make up the modern Middle East, but readers get the basics. They learn about some of the greatest empires in world history – the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, and Turks. Many of these peoples ruled for centuries and then disappeared. The Jewish people, the least powerful of all and among the most persecuted, ironically, are the only of the ancient peoples to have survived to the present. Although they never had an empire, the Jews did once rule a great kingdom, which was eventually dissolved because of internal dissension and then was gobbled up by its avaricious neighbors. Roughly two centuries later, however, the Jewish state was reborn in Palestine – a miracle for the Jews and a nightmare for the Arabs, which rekindled a near-century-old conflict.

But this is not a book simply about politics and military battles. Religion is a crucial element that has shaped the beliefs, policies, and behavior of the region's peoples from the days of ancient Egypt. Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem became focal points of religious faith and, in Jerusalem's case especially, a geographical center of conflict.

Much of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict is concerned with the hostility between the Jews and Arabs, but it also documents the long history of disputes among Muslims and Arab states. The Arab-Israeli conflict is often characterized as the source of instability in the region, but the truth is that the Middle East was a tumultuous place long before there was an Israel. Even today, it is rife with dissensions unrelated to the Jewish state – look at the internal upheaval in Syria, the terrorist attacks carried out by Saudis against the Saudi government, and the U.S. war with Iraq and its aftermath.

Studying the Middle East's past is essential for understanding its present. The schisms in Islam help explain some of the disputes between Muslim nations such as Iran and Iraq. And historical arguments over borders are at the root of longstanding disagreements between countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The Middle East is important today because it is the location of the world's largest known source of petroleum reserves. The United States considers the protection of Western oil supplies one of its vital interests. The United States also has a longstanding special relationship with Israel that has led it to devote a disproportionate share of its foreign aid and diplomatic resources to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The proliferation of weapons, particularly chemical, biological, and possibly nuclear ones, makes the Middle East one of the most dangerous places on Earth. And, as Americans discovered on September 11, the threats of the radicals in that region can reach us here at home.

In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict readers find:

Part 1, "In the Beginning," introduces readers to the Middle East and explains why this part of the world is important and receives so much attention. It also traces early Jewish history, the establishment of the Jewish kingdoms, and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

Part 2, "Religion and Politics Mix," looks at the rise of Christianity and Islam and the expansion of the empires created under their banners. This part begins with the loss of Jewish power and ends with its renewal through the Zionist movement.

Part 3, "The Great War's Spoils," traces the impact of World War I on the Middle East, in particular the role of Britain and France in dividing up the region and creat­ing new nations. The British promise to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine and the seeds of the Arab-Israeli conflict grow.

Part 4, "A State for the Jews," documents the establishment of Israel and its rapid growth. It also explains some of the consequences of the realization of the Zionist dream – in particular, the creation of a Palestinian refugee problem. Despite their defeat in 1948, the Arab states were unwilling to reconcile themselves to Israel's exis­tence. It is here that readers will also find out about the United States' growing interest in the region's security, which ultimately led to the deployment of troops in Lebanon.

Part 5, "War and Peace," covers the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars and the even­tual peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, Anwar Sadat's assassination, and Israel's war in Lebanon. This part also covers the Palestinians' efforts to undermine Jordan and their exile to Lebanon, where they contributed to the descent of that country into civil war. The evolution of U.S.-Israel military ties is traced, too.

Part 6, "Inching Toward Peace," provides information on the Palestinian intifada (uprising) and the evolution of the Arab-Israeli peace process. It also covers the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath.

Part 7, "Why Can't We All Get Along?" brings conflicts in the Middle East up to the present, covering the creation of the Palestinian Authority; Israel's treaty with Jordan; the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin; and the deaths of King Hussein, Hafez Assad, and Yasser Arafat. A chapter is devoted to the history and politics of Jerusalem because it is a focus of the debate over the final status of the territories disputed by Israel and the Arabs. The history of the major Arab states is also reviewed with an emphasis on their policies toward Israel and each other. Bard also looks at the long, violent record of Middle East terrorists that preceded September 11 and has continued afterward, as well as the U.S.–led war to combat them. The conclusion looks at Israel's disengagement, its war with Lebanon and efforts to jumpstart the peace process, as well as some of the more dangerous threats that have emerged, such as Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons. The dangers may give rise to pessimism, but history still provides for some hope that conflict might one day end.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict travels to one of the most turbulent parts of the world and discusses the triumphs and tragedies of peoples who have been fighting for centuries. Readers may not have the answer to the question of how to bring peace to the region, but when they finish this fully revised edition of book, they will have a better sense of the historical, religious, and psychological roots of the ancient animosities and modern tension of the region.

Social Sciences / African-American Studies

Ain't I a Feminist?: African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom by Aaronette M. White (State University of New York Press)

Ain't I a Feminist? is an interview-based study of contemporary African American feminist men. The book presents the life stories of twenty African American men who identify themselves as feminists, centering on the turning points in their lives that shaped and strengthened their commitment to feminism, as well as the ways they practice feminism with women, children, and other men. In her analysis, Aaronette M. White, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, highlights feminist fathering practices; how men establish egalitarian relationships with women; the variety of Black masculinities; and the interplay of race, gender, class, and sexuality politics in American society. Coming from a wide range of family backgrounds, ages, geographical locations, sexualities, and occupations, each man also shares what he experiences as the personal benefits of feminism, and how feminism contributes to his efforts towards social change. Focusing on the creative agency of Black men to redefine the assumptions and practices of manhood, White in Ain't I a Feminist? also offers recommendations regarding the socialization of African American boys and the reeducation of African American men in the interest of strengthening their communities.

White says her skepticism left her unprepared for the deeply moving quality of the participants' narratives. Prior to this research she says she had participated in debates over whether any man, regardless of his actions or attitudes, could rightly be called a feminist, so the change in her own attitude unnerved her at first, but their levels of self-disclosure, honesty about their earlier lives, and candor regarding their ongoing struggles to unlearn sexist behaviors and resist patriarchal institutions changed her attitude.

After reviewing and analyzing their stories, White is convinced that some men can appropriately be called femi­nists because they are committed to correcting, through public and pri­vate actions, the imbalance of power between men and women that is built into the structures of American society. In her analysis, if one actively accepts that perspective in belief and practice, one is a feminist.

However the men in Ain't I a Feminist? choose to label themselves, they are all engaged in some form of feminist activism. In her experience of femi­nist organizing with women and men, she has found that it matters less what people call themselves and more what they actually do. Journalists, educators, community lead­ers, politicians, the clergy, and social scientists declare that boys and men in the United States are undergoing a ‘masculinity crisis.’ ‘Men behaving badly’ have been glorified in the news and on televised situa­tion comedies; while men who have a conscience, seek nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and prioritize the needs of women and children are discounted as ‘girly men.’ Defining men's predicament as a ‘masculinity crisis’ implies that there was once a golden time of unproblematic, stable gender relations, when men were men, women were women, and all were happy with their designated social roles. That is only a myth. Masculinity rests not only on personality and social roles but also on assumptions and practices of power – particularly the patriarchal power of men – that interact with other systems of power. In addition to patriarchy, power systems based on racial, economic, and sexual classifications reinforce dehumanizing concepts and practices of masculinity.

There has always been a ‘masculinity crisis’ of sorts among most African American men due, for the most part, to the combined effects of racial and economic inequalities that have consistently limited their access to privileges bestowed upon the average White man. Blaming Black women diverts attention from the key problem: patriarchal assumptions and practices regarding masculinity that are built into our social institutions also shape our interpersonal relationships and our identities.

Though most African American men do not experience the same level of power as most White American men, patriarchy produces peck­ing orders across different groups of men and within different subgroups of men. Each subgroup of men defines manhood in ways that conform to the economic and social possibilities of that group. However, even marginalized men accept the system because they benefit from the ‘patriarchal dividend,’ which is the advantage men in general gain from the overall subordination of women, particularly the women in their subgroup. Ain't I a Feminist? makes clear that this explana­tion does not excuse African American men for abusing the meager patriarchal power they have. A middle-class Black man usually has more opportunities to impose his will on other Black men than does a working-class one, for example, and a heterosexual Black man is more likely to be accepted than a bisexual, gay, or transgendered Black man.

Ain't I a Feminist? addresses important differences among Black men as well as differences between men and women within and outside African American communities. Specifically, White emphasizes how the contradictory experiences of power among men can lead them to question patriarchy and ultimately embrace feminism. Black men's experiences place them in a unique position to take the lead during this time of gender reexamination and social awakening. Events like the Million Man March, community manhood training and Black male rite-of-pas­sage interventions, role modeling and mentoring programs, and proposals for ‘Black male only’ schools are seeking to challenge the popular image of Black men as violent, criminal, unemployed, illiterate, and imprisoned. Rather than creating a new understand­ing of ‘manhood,’ most men – including many sincere Black men – are simply reforming, reviving, and repackaging old notions. Thus, the term ‘masculinity crisis’ becomes a rationalization for renewed efforts at maintaining men's dominant roles, particularly their sense of entitlement through personal atonement and other self-help rituals of empowerment.

Missing from the current debate and interventions are the stories and practices of Black men who have radically redefined manhood, and who attempt to resolve their issues around masculinity through a femi­nist approach to relationships and social justice. Ain't I a Feminist? is the first book to include primary research – psychological interview data – addressing these oversights and presenting actual efforts of Black men's radical search for progressive ways of being men by challenging injus­tices at personal and institutional levels. Unlike those whose response to feminism is defensive and antagonistic, these Black men do not view feminism as a racist plot to deny them their piece of the patriarchal pie or a social movement synonymous with emasculation. Instead, they understand male domination as problematic, divisive, and self-destruc­tive to collective action on behalf of African Americans and the good of society as a whole. Feminist Black men force us to focus on unexpected, counterintuitive forms of masculinity in their efforts to resist the perva­sive, sometimes seductive, pull of patriarchy. They also demonstrate how changing these assumptions can positively affect our interpersonal relationships as well as our social institutions.

Specifically, Ain't I a Feminist? analyzes in-depth interviews with twenty men selected from an original survey of fifty African American men across the United States who support feminism. The activities of these men, both public and private, challenge the idea that men have to domi­nate women, children, and other men in order to assert their manhood. Their narratives reveal how men can redefine manhood as they make connections between the long-term negative effects of popular notions of masculinity and intersecting social inequalities based on gender, race, sexuality, and socioeconomic class. When these men translate their awareness into positive actions, they are not simply countering sexism and acting profeminist – they are feminists. Also, the fact that they are African American is crucial to Ain't I a Feminist?'s purpose.

Focusing on the lives of feminist Black men challenges several stereotypes. First, it questions the assumption that feminism is a ‘Whites-only’ movement. Both Black women and Black men have made important contributions to feminist history. In the nineteenth cen­tury, antislavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass proclaimed, "I am a radical woman suffrage man." His sentiment was shared by early twentieth century Black leaders like scholar-activist W. E. B. DuBois, Judge Robert Terrel, trade unionist A. Phillip Randolph, and other African American men who supported what is referred to as the historical first wave of feminism in the United States. Thus, feminist support among Black men is not new. Although these men are popu­larly referred to as ‘race men’ because of their Black civil rights advo­cacy, that term often obscures and diminishes vital feminist aspects of their activism.

The narratives in Ain't I a Feminist? reveal contemporary men rejecting rigid ideas of manhood and womanhood and redefining their gender in flexible, egalitarian, and humanistic terms. Their lives show how men can discover and recover their humanity. Their narratives also counter persistent negative media images of Black men. These Black feminist men unequivocally demonstrate that men can change, despite formidable and pervasive pressures to embrace the patriarchal status quo through focused collective action in addition to individual resistance. Unlike critics who blame feminism for the so-called masculinity crisis, White suggests, on the basis of my interviews, that at least some boys and men have become better human beings because of feminism.

Ain't I a Feminist? describes an evolving, collective life story of individual African American men's varying relationships to privilege, which com­plicate their experiences of subordination as they deepen their commit­ment to feminism. Each chapter links institutional and individual factors that shape the diversity of Black men's behavior, as well as their sense of agency when they consciously engage in feminist forms of masculinity as creative resistance. Chapter 1 describes the theoretical framework that shapes the research and introduces readers to Black feminist mas­culinities studies. The second chapter offers introductory biographical sketches of the twenty feminist men whose lives constitute the core of the book's research. Chapter 3 highlights Black men's conflicting experi­ences of power and powerlessness across various contexts, showing how specific, contradictory social interactions with women and men increase their chances of coming to challenge patriarchal masculinity norms. The fourth chapter provides detailed information on the pivotal events, situa­tions, and experiences that led them to accept feminism as a guide in their lives. Chapter 5 discusses the significance of romantic relationships with feminist women in the lives of those men – the majority – who are heterosexual. The sixth chapter addresses the impact of platonic friendships with feminist women. Chapter 7 addresses the relationship among sexism, homophobia, and heterosexism and how it affects feminist Black men's friendships with other men. The eighth chapter analyzes the men's parenting styles and practices. Chapter 9 assesses feminist men's political consciousness and its expression in their public behavior, arguing that individual resistance alone is not enough. As this chapter demonstrates, their ongoing feminist development can be equally frustrating and exhil­arating. The conclusion discusses the broader implications of the study's findings for socializing boys and reeducating men, in the interest of their humanity and to encourage and foster profound social change.

This powerful book makes a unique and substantive contribution to the fields of women's studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, psychology, and sociology. It will surely garner a great deal of attention in the academy. – Aída Hurtado, author of Voicing Chicana Feminisms: Young Women Speak Out on Sexuality and Identity

The narrative excerpts in Ain't I a Feminist? provide candid, thought-provoking, and often surprising information about how men perceive change and what pivotal experiences cultivate their respect for girls and women as well as boys and men.

What is unique to the volume is the radical change achieved by the narrators, despite the specific forms of harm caused by popular, stereotypical attitudes regarding African American men's behavior. And despite the biases inherent in a study of 20 self-identified, educated male feminists, readers can envision how men can engage in collaborative efforts with women that actually go beyond definitions of gender and outline models of personhood that are applicable to all, so as to reshape our expectations, interpersonal relationships, and institutions.

Social Sciences / Sociology / Anthropology

Youth and the City in the Global South by Karen Tranberg Hansen (Tracking Globalization Series: Indiana University Press)

Under the direction of Karen Tranberg Hansen, the Principal Investigator of the Youth and the City project, Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University, the team of the multi-site Youth and the City Project examined the effects of globalization and neoliberalism on the everyday experiences and future prospects of urban youth in the developing world. The team included Anne Line Dalsgaard, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Ethnography at Aarhus University, Denmark; Katherine V. Gough, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Copenhagen; Ulla Ambrosius Madsen, Associate Professor, Center for Educational Research, Roskilde University Center, Denmark; Karen Valentin, Associate Professor at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University; and Norbert Wildermuth, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

The economic and demographic trends that are transforming cities and widening the gap between North and South are also making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for young people to establish themselves as independent, self-sufficient adults in many parts of the world. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil, Vietnam, and Zambia, Youth and the City in the Global South integrates youth studies with urban studies, and argues that youth is an experience in its own right, not merely a transition from childhood to adulthood. In-depth case studies in three cities – Recife, Hanoi, and Lusaka – offer insights into the situation of urban youth, exploring how they use their city, spend their time, and prepare themselves for the future. Essays examine how education shapes future citizens, young people's use of urban domestic space, and the media's role in expanding the life worlds of youth.
The chapters, together with authors, include:

Part 1. Situating Youth in the City

1.      Introduction: Youth and the City – Karen Tranberg Hansen

2.      Youth across the Globe: Comparison, Interdisciplinarity, and Cross-National Collaboration – Anne Line Dalsgaard and Karen Valentin

Part 2. Studying Youth in Cities

3.      Dominant Ideas, Uncertain Lives: The Meaning of Youth in Recife – Anne Line Dalsgaard, Monica Franch, and Russell Parry Scott

4.      Politicized Leisure in the Wake of Doi Moi: A Study of Youth in Hanoi – Karen Valentin

5.      Localities and Sites of Youth Agency in Lusaka – Karen Tranberg Hansen

Part 3. Youth Making Meaning

6.      Youth and the Home – Katherine V. Gough

7.      Toward Eduscapes: Youth and Schooling in a Global Era – Ulla Ambrosius Madsen

8.      The Work of the Imagination: Young People's Media Appropriation – Norbert Wildermuth

9.      Conclusion: Urban Youth in a Global World Karen – Tranberg Hansen

Youth and the City in the Global South is what the Youth and the City research team calls a project-book to demonstrate what interdisciplinary, long-term, multi-site research can contribute to their understanding of urban youth in the developing world. Showcasing the experiences of young people in three very different cities in the developing world, Youth and the City in the Global South demonstrates comparative insights into the situation of urban youth in the era of global capitalism. The book also offers insights into the collaborative research process by discussing some of the many challenges the research gave rise to: empirically in terms of access, methodologically in terms of comparison, and theoretically in terms of explanatory frameworks.

Youth and the City in the Global South's three parts knit together the analytical and topical concerns of the overall project. The first part, Situating Youth in the City, includes a chapter on methodology that engages with issues of access, interdisci­plinarity, and comparison, and reflects critically on the possibilities and problems of interdisciplinary collaboration. Moving on to the three anthropological case studies, which in different ways deal with the relationship between youth and the city, the second part, Studying Youth in Cities, serves as a contextual framework for the rest of the book. It also raises important questions concerning youth, the urban, and their interrelationships. The third part, Youth Making Meaning, is concerned with parallel themes and comparisons at a general level that do not presume to be representa­tive or ethnographically detailed. Observations drawn from across the three cities are framed within the distinct disciplinary modes of inquiry of a human geographer, an education specialist, and a media scholar.

The methodology chapter, jointly written by Anne Line Dalsgaard and Karen Valentin, takes as its point of departure the framework of the project, itself a response to politically defined interests. Engaging with questions of comparison, interdisciplinarity, and cross-national collaboration, Dalsgaard and Valentin argue that comparison is inherent in all anthropological studies. Turning to the issue of interdis­ciplinarity and cross-national collaboration, they also consider the relationship between different research traditions, positions in academic regimes, what counts as legitimate academic knowledge among whom and where, and current demands for applicability.

Each chapter in the second part of Youth and the City in the Global South sketches recent political and economic changes that are central to young people's opportunities today. The three anthropologists seek to capture what is special about the three cities. Anne Line Dalsgaard's approach is primarily phenomenological in its focus on lived experiences and subjective meanings. Situating meaning and motivation in the contested field of social relations, she also engages with socioeconomic and in­stitutional structures beyond young people's immediate lifeworlds. She and her Brazilian colleagues focus on the ways in which youth in Recife orient themselves toward the future in a context marked by social difference and the collapse of employment and other institutions that used to mark the transition to social adulthood. Competition for vocational training, higher education, and jobs forces many young people, especially those from low-income groups, to find alternative paths, among them early pregnancy and involvement in crime. Drawing on several cases, Dalsgaard, Franch, and Scott argue that normative ideas of a ‘proper’ transition affect young people's evaluation of their actual situations. Highlighting this lack of correspondence between moral discourse and young people's own experiences, they address researchers’ responsibility to develop definitions that capture the complexity and lack of synchrony of many youth transitions.

With a background in educational anthropology and the anthropology of policy, Karen Valentin is concerned with the roles that institutions play in the socialization of young people, structuring and regulating their everyday lives, yet also leaving room for creativity and change. Her chapter on Hanoi focuses on specific urban places, both as contexts for people's actions and as texts that create stories about the wider society. She draws attention to the historical dimension of the city and its narration through material and physical expressions.

The last decade's development priorities have sharpened long-existing socio­spatial polarizations in Zambia, extending them in new ways that are particularly visible in urban areas. As an urban and economic anthropologist, Hansen is interested in how people create a living under circumstances that are not of their own mak­ing. Her chapter on Lusaka focuses on urban space, its effects on young people in gender and class terms, and how they in their turn reconfigure it through their actions. Although they are constrained by the sluggish economy and circumscribed by society's view of them, many young people in Lusaka contribute to the reshaping and possible changing of dominant meanings of youth from being dependent to taking action.

Youth and the City in the Global South's third part is concerned with cross-cutting, parallel themes, and comparisons across the three cities, rather than with the kind of detailed eth­nography provided in the previous chapters. The human geographer Katherine V. Gough adopts a sociospatial perspective in her exploration of the relationship between youth and the home in the different urban contexts of Recife, Hanoi, and Lusaka. Drawing on scholarship about home as a concept, she examines the similarities and differences in young people's living conditions in the home, their experiences of home, and their ability (or inability) to set up their own homes.

Processes of globalization have complicated scholarship on identity formation among urban youth. This is illustrated in the disciplinary fields of education and media studies. Ulla Ambrosius Madsen analyzes how young people in Recife, Hanoi, and Lusaka shape their sense of self between global ideologies and local productions of the educated person. Her discussion is based on classroom observations and school narratives among secondary school students.

Norbert Wildermuth takes up mediated forms of communication and the role they play in young people's lives and identity formation. His interest is in how media access, content, and literacy facilitate informal learning processes, and how a globalized media landscape contributes to local understandings. Focusing on different kinds of media in the three cities, he explores the produc­tive relationship between media use, identity work, and knowledge acquisition that urban youth negotiate, with different degrees of success, in the process of shaping their present and future lives.

The conclusions in Youth and the City in the Global South highlight the significance of their findings about youth in rapidly growing cities in parts of the world that often are viewed as if they were set apart, marginal to the West's role as a source of economic dynamism and globalization. The double dynamic of inclusion and exclusion that they have iden­tified poses a challenge with which young people deal in various ways, working with the resources at hand. It is in such efforts, among others, that urban youth from different socioeconomic backgrounds operate, taking steps to transcend the material circumstances that circumscribe their lives. Hansen discusses how and why such interdisciplinary observations matter for policy interventions directed toward youth.

Cities like Recife, Hanoi, and Lusaka are the prime sites for globalization's transla­tion into local understandings and experiences. Such cities constitute particular types of places for young people, depending on who they are in gender, age, and class terms, as they seek to take charge of their own lives. To showcase young people's efforts to push on, Youth and the City in the Global South weaves together four arguments that revolve around the importance of urban life, comparative youth studies, global­ization, and its interaction with local practices. Hansen suggests that the significance of urban life in the developing world invites comparative study of young people's exposures to a range of global processes, from economic planning to culture. In their manifestations in distinct urban locations, such exposures resonate in complicated ways with local cultural norms and practices. Taken together, the resources and influences the young draw on in their projects within the household setting, in local institutions, and beyond stem from across the world, rather than the West as the chief source of economic dynamism and globalization.

Presents groundbreaking comparative research and makes a powerful, nuanced case for understanding the problems and dilemmas of youth in the global South. – Bradley Levinson, Indiana University

Youth and the City in the Global South offers innovative new research on globalization’s impact on the urban south. With this unique organization and detailed focus on urban youth, the book contributes fresh insights into interdisciplinary scholarship both in the West and in the developing world. The book, with its in-depth cases studies, compellingly demonstrates comparative insights into the situation of urban youth specifically in the era of global capitalism.

Youth and the City in the Global South is part of the Tracking Globalization Series under the general editorship of Robert J. Foster. 

 

Content this issue:

War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Edward Tick

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed

Beating the Global Consolidation Endgame: Nine Strategies for Winning in Niches by Fritz Kroeger, Andrej Vizjak & Mike Moriarty

Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure: Visualizing Objectives, Deliverables, Activities, and Schedules by Dennis P. Miller

Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks

Confessions of a Real Estate Mini-Mogul: How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing Despite Ghosts, Pitbulls, Annoying Tenants, and the Government by James S. Pockross

The Human Body by Seymour Simon

CSS Artistry: A Web Design Master Class (includes full-color Transcending CSS book and 2 1/2-hour CSS DVD video training) by Andy Clarke

Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories from Vietnam by Bobby Chinn, with photography by Jason Lowe

Keys to the Elementary Classroom: A New Teacher's Guide to the First Month of School, 3rd Edition by Carrol Moran, Judith C Stobbe, Wendy Baron, Janette Miller, Ellen Moir

Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams: Impact and implications by Martin East

Science Experiments On File, Volume 5 by Pam Walker & Elaine Wood

Foundations of Psychological Thought: A History of Psychology edited by Barbara F. Gentile & Benjamin O. Miller

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo & William Patrick

The Death of Raymond Yellow ThunderAnd Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns by Stew Magnuson, with a foreword by Pekka Hämäläinen

History of the Mosaic Templars of America: Its Founders and Officials edited by A.E. Bush & P.L. Dorman, with an introduction by John William Graves

Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image by Joan Ramon Resina

British Intelligence: Secrets, Spies and Sources by Stephen Twigge, Edward Hampshire & Graham Macklin

The German Discovery of the World: Renaissance Encounters with the Strange and Marvelous by Christine R. Johnson

Pop-Up Cards: And Other Greetings that Slide, Dangle & Move with Sandi Genovese by Sandi Genovese

Don't You Forget about Me: A Novel by Jancee Dunn

Lactila Tends Her Fav'rite Cow: Ecocritical Readings of Animals and Women in Eighteenth-Century British Labouring-Class Women's Poetry by Anne Milne

Mass Historia: 365 Days of Historical Facts and (Mostly) Fictions by Chris Regan

Nowhere is Perfect: French and Francophone Utopias/Dystopias edited by John West-Sooby

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn D. Wall

Salvation Boulevard: A Novel by Larry Beinhart

Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities edited by Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, Cynthia T. Cook & Richard L. O'Brien

Neuromuscular Essentials: Applying the Preferred Physical Therapist Practice Patterns by associate editors Joanell Bohmert & Janice Hulme, and series editor Marilyn Moffat

The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young & Ralph F. Stearley

Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path by Francene Hart

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict, 4th Edition (Complete Idiot's Guide to) by Mitchell G. Bard

Ain't I a Feminist?: African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom by Aaronette M. White

Youth and the City in the Global South by Karen Tranberg Hansen