SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

January 2009, Issue #117

SirReadaLot.org presents its 2008 Community Building Award to The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow by Walter Mosley



Contents:
The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow by Walter Mosley (Socrates Fortlow Series: Basic Civitas Books)

Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman H. Gershman (Syracuse University Press)

European Art of the Seventeenth Century by Rosa Giorgi, translated from the Italian by Rosana M. Giammanco Frongia (Art through the Centuries Series: Getty Publications)

Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results by Bill Treasurer (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc)

Mystery Ride! by Scott Magoon (Harcourt, Inc.)

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City edited by Marcus Foth, with a foreword by Anthony Townsend (Information Science Reference)

Driven to Kill: Vehicles As Weapons by J. Peter Rothe (The University of Alberta Press)

Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How edited by Catherine E. Snow & Susan B. Van Hemel (The National Academies Press)

The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, 3rd edition by Jeff Lenburg, with a foreword by Chris Bailey (Checkmark Books)

Classic Country Singers by Douglas Green (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers, with a foreword by Paul Grilley (Shambhala)

Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel (The New Press)

Simple Stained Glass Quilts by Daphne Greig & Susan Purney Mark (Krause Publications)

The Horse Book of Lists: 968 Fascinating Facts & Tantalizing Trivia by Cindy Hale (Bowtie Press)

The Treasure by Iris Johansen (Bantam Books)

Angling the World: Ten Spectacular Adventures in Fly Fishing by Roy Tanami (The Lyons Press)

Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases by David Patrick Houghton (Routledge)

Homeland Insecurity: How Washington Politicians Have Made America Less Safe by Terry D. Turchie & Kathleen M. Puckett (History Publishing Company)

The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness by James G. Speight (Chemical Industries Series, No. 122: CRC Press)

Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5th edition by Tamara L. Callahan & Aaron B. Caughey (Blueprints Series: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

Ireland's Saint: The Essential Biography of St. Patrick by J. B. Bury, edited by Jon M. Sweeney (Paraclete Press)

In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity by Oskar Skarsaune (IVP Academic)

Go Grow Your Church!: Spiritual Leadership for African American Congregations by James F. Miller, with a foreword by Vashti Murphy McKenzie (The Pilgrim Press)

How We Got the Bible: A Visual Journey by Clinton E. Arnold (Zondervan Visual Reference Series: Zondervan)

Yirat Shamayim: The Awe, Reverence and Fear of God edited by Marc D. Stern, with Series Editor Robert S. Hirt (The Orthodox Forum Series: KTAV Publishing House, Inc.)

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, revised edition by Ronald Takaki (Back Bay Books)

San Antonio: Past, Present, & Always by Mel Brown (Schiffer Publishing Ltd)


Literature and Fiction / Crime / Philosophy / Social Action

The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow by Walter Mosley (Socrates Fortlow Series: Basic Civitas Books)

Mosley has constructed a perfect Socrates for millennium’s end – a principled man who finds that the highest meaning of life can be attained through self-knowledge, and who convinces others of the power and value of looking within. – San Francisco Chronicle

After ten years, the street philosopher Socrates Fortlow – of Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, which received the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and Walkin' the Dog – returns in The Right Mistake by best-selling author Walter Mosley, creator of the widely acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries.

Living in South Central L.A., Socrates is a sixty-year-old ex-convict, still strong enough to kill men with his bare hands. Freed after serving twenty-seven years in prison, he is filled with guilt about his own crimes and disheartened by the chaos of the streets. Socrates leases a tin-plated house known as the ‘Big Nickel’ and begins a weekly meeting destined to be known as the ‘Thinkers Club.’ Along with his gambler friend Billy Psalms, Socrates calls together local people of all races from their different social stations – lawyers, gangsters, preachers, Buddhists, businessmen – to conduct meetings where all can discuss the unanswerable questions in life.

"We are here because the world ... the whole damn world is messed up," Socrates in The Right Mistake says during his inaugural meeting, "An' all we do every day is shut our eyes hopin' that it'll get bettah while we ain't lookin." The street philosopher enjoins his friends to explore – even in the knowledge that there’s nothing that they personally can do to change the ways of the world – what might be done anyway, what it would take to change themselves and their own lives.

No topic is off limits, which causes hot-blooded discussion week after week and some strain. Tensions rise as gangsters and respectable deacons fight over issues of personal and social responsibility; yet violence never erupts. The unlikely group of thinkers often comes to a mutual understanding on these issues. Some even form lasting bonds of friendship and love. Together the group endures being infiltrated by undercover police, a near-deadly shooting of one of its members, and a murder trial. They also share in the joy of a wedding and a birth and find renewed faith in themselves and society. Simply by asking questions about racial authenticity, street justice, infidelity, poverty, and the possibility of mutual understanding, Socrates and his unlikely crew actually begin to make a difference.

… The hardened ex-con living in South Central L.A. has been chiseled by his experiences into a hulking essence of wise humanity. An initial gathering of diverse characters (a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a gambler, a singer, a lawyer, two killers, etc.) brought together by Socrates becomes an agent of change. The weekly Thinkers' Meetings grow despite internal dissension and attempts at suppression and subversion by authorities. The talks forge bonds, lead to actions, spread beyond L.A. and take on a life of their own. In the face of gangs, drugs, poverty and racism, Mosley poses the deceptively simple question – What can I do? – and provides a powerful and moving answer. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Ex-con Socrates Fortlow, the conscience of South Central Los Angeles (Walkin' the Dog, 1999, etc.), returns for another dozen interlinked adventures, most of them revolving around dialogues on tough or taboo subjects. … While Socrates and his friends celebrate the power of arguments in their safe space to produce deeper insights, events from outside keep intruding. A much younger member of the group confesses her love to Socrates. He finds an unexpected source of funding that helps him dramatically expand his outreach. His adoptive son Darryl is shot. The LAPD, suspicious of the Big Nickel, uses an informant to infiltrate the group. A baseless search of the premises leads Socrates to threaten Capt. Telford Winegarten, of the Anti-gang Tactical Division, with a lawsuit. Socrates and Billy Psalms, on a trip to San Francisco, get arrested for Driving While Black. And in the climactic story, Socrates once more stands trial for murder. The debates meant to be the volume's backbone are heartfelt dramatizations of familiar positions, and the Big Nickel's achievements seem a little utopian. The main attraction, as usual, is Socrates, whose manful attempts to live out his dialectic on the mean streets of Watts make him a hero worthy of his namesake. – Kirkus Reviews
The Right Mistake …is a thought-provoking exploration of wickedness – and what's to be done about it. – Seattle Times

In turns outraged and affectionate, The Right Mistake offers a profoundly literary and redemptive exploration of the possibility of moral action in a violent and fallen world. The book promotes communication, straight talk, learning by talking and listening, community building and taking responsibility for one’s actions. It is a book about a discussion group, and where discussion can lead, essentially, about a salon in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the U.S. (Note elsewhere on these web pages that www.SirReadaLot.org sponsors the Chapel Hill Salon.)

Arts & Photography / History / World / Holocaust

Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman H. Gershman (Syracuse University Press)

…My photographic pilgrimages have taken me to the former Soviet Union, to the ruins of Auschwitz and the Warsaw Ghetto, and, most recently, to Albania and Kosovo. In my work with the Albanian and ethnic Albanian Muslims, who gladly opened their homes to thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis, I have taken it upon myself to travel as an ambassador of sorts. As a Jew, and on behalf of the Jewish people, after every photographic session I have thanked each family for their rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. – from the preface

As elsewhere during World War II, Jews in Albania were especially targeted for destruction by the ruling Germans. But their fate there was altered by an ancient and sacrosanct Albanian principle known as Besa – one's word of honor. As a result, nearly all of the two thousand-odd Jews in Albania were spared the furnaces of Auschwitz, for they were hidden or otherwise sheltered by the broad masses of a mostly Muslim population. Survivors relate that Albanians vied with each other for the honor of sheltering the fleeing Jews, a phenomenon unheard of in other European countries. This Islamic behavior of compassion and mercy celebrates the sanctity of life and a view of the other, the stranger, as one's own family member. Ironically, their story remained unknown for many years because of the rigid, decades' long Communist regime in that country, which forbade any contacts with outsiders; the tale of the rescue of Albania's Jews has only recently come to the fore.

Over a five-year period, fine art photographer Norman H. Gershman sought out, photographed, and collected these stories of heroism in Besa. Gershman’s encounters with the goodly nature of these inhabitants had a profound impact on him. According to Mordecai Paldiel, Director of Special Projects for the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, he is a changed man, and Besa is a testimony to the faith and commitment of these rescuers to the values of humanity, as well as to his determination to bring the message of these heretofore unknown rescuers to the attention of the public at large. He has since enlarged his initial investigation of wartime rescues within Albania to include rescues during the same period in nearby Kosovo, a region still troubled by internecine warfare and claiming a sizable Muslim population.

Besa is more than a collection of pictures. To create it, Gershman journeyed to Albania many times. He spoke with the people involved and recorded their stories and those of their children. He took photos of them, photos that, when melded with the stories and artifacts from the past Gershman collected, present an emotional and unprecedented window into a forgotten period in history.

Gershman in Besa sheds light on the nature of Islam as both a compassionate and an Abrahamic religion. For these Albanian Muslims, saving Jews was a religious calling because of the close bond between Jews and Muslims in Islam. The bonds that bind Islam and Judaism, together with those binding both to Christianity, the third point in the Abrahamic triangle, need to be recognized and discussed.

….Norman takes us into a humane, accepting Muslim society. His interview with Baba Haxhi Reshat Bardhi, the world head of the Albanian Bektashi sect, reflects this compassion and humanism in Islam. "We Bektashi see God everywhere, in everyone," the leader explained. "God is in every pore and every cell. Therefore all are God's children. There cannot be infidels. There cannot be discrimination. If one sees a good face one is seeing the face of God. 'God is beauty. Beauty is God. There is no God but God.'

…We as a world civilization are at the crossroads. Building these bridges across religions and cultures is no longer an intellectual pastime; it is an imperative if we are to survive the twenty-first century. The transcendent humanity Norman H. Gershman has recorded in the faces and stories of this book provide a profoundly inspiring message of hope and compassion in these days of con­flict and confrontation, and I hope that it will be widely read. The spirit of Norman's book and the initiatives taken are the same: to go out, to journey, to heal a fractured world, to create learning to listen, to have dialogue, and ultimately to create understanding. – Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldum Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, from the Introduction

Through the eyes of Norman H. Gershman, we can see that be­yond our individual identities and desires, there is a common core of self, an essential humanity whose nature is peace, whose expres­sion is thought, and whose action is unconditional love. – Madam Jehan Sadat, The Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, University of Maryland

Through Norman H. Gershman's exhibits and book, we are able to witness a true light of humanity shining individually and col­lectively in these humble, yet courageous Muslim Albanians, who, guided by the code of Besa, sought out and honored Jews as guests and never as strangers. – Asher Naim, Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations

Foreword, Mordecai Paldiel:

There is a great benefit in ethnography, of speaking with people in order to understand their histories and cultures, and this is what Gershman has magnificently accomplished in Besa. Gershman's book, with its moving stories and images, is a wonderful tool in the effort to promote dialogue and understanding within the Abrahamic religions.

Through Besa, Gershman steps outside the traditional role of photojournalist and become a historian. His skills as a humanistic photographer and documentarian are exemplified in the book as his lens captures the soulful intent of these Albanian families. We may be learning about these acts of heroism only now, but the work of Gershman and others will ensure that their story will be told for generations.

Arts & Photography / History & Criticism / Schools, Periods & Styles / Reference

European Art of the Seventeenth Century by Rosa Giorgi, translated from the Italian by Rosana M. Giammanco Frongia (Art through the Centuries Series: Getty Publications)

With the publication of European Art of the Seventeenth Century, Getty Publications' Art through the Centuries series of user-friendly art reference guides is now complete. Volumes cover the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries. This series, under the general editorship of Stefano Zuffi, introduces readers to the important visual vocabulary of Western art.

European Art of the Seventeenth Century explores key terms of the seventeenth century, including styles and techniques, the six main regions of artistic production and the important cities within each area, and sixty individual artists. Important facts are summarized in the margins of each entry, and key facets of the illustrations are identified and discussed. Written by Rosa Giorgi, author of Saints in Art and Angels and Demons in Art in the Guide to Imagery series, the book presents the most noteworthy concepts, artists, and cultural centers of the seventeenth century through a close examination of many of its greatest paintings, sculptures, and buildings.

This was the era of absolute monarchs, including Spain's Habsburgs and Louis XIII and IV of France, whose artistic patronage helped furnish their opulent palaces. But a new era of commercialism, in which artists increasingly catered to affluent collectors of the professional and merchant classes, was also flourishing. The Baroque, rooted in classicism but with a new emphasis on emotionalism and naturalism, was the leading style of the seventeenth century. The movement exhibited both stylistic complexity and great diversity in its subject matter, from large religious works and history paintings to portraits, landscapes, and scenes of everyday life. Masters of the era included Caravaggio, whose innovations in the dramatic uses of light and shadow influenced many of the century's artists, notably Rembrandt; the sculptor, painter, and architect Bernini, with his combination of technical brilliance and expressiveness; and other familiar names such as Rubens, Poussin, Velazquez, and Vermeer.
Other leading artists of the period covered in European Art of the Seventeenth Century include: Evaristo Baschenis, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jacques Callot, Cerano, Philippe de Champaigne, Claudio Coello, Donienichino, Adam Elsheimer, Carel Fabritius, Domenico Fetti, Georg Hegel, Artemisia Gentileschi, Orazio Gentileschi, Luca Giordano, Guercino, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Jacob Jordaens, Georges de La Tour, Charles Le Brim, Louis Le Nain, Johann Liss, Claude Lorrain, Carlo Maratta, Nicolas and Pierre Alignard, Bartolome Esteban Afurillo, Pietro da Cortoua, Paulus Potter, Alattia Preti, Pierre Puget, Guido Reni, Jusepe de Ribera, Salvator Rosa, Pieter Jansz, Saenredam, Juan Sanchez Cotan, Giovanni Serodine, Frans Snyders, Jan Steen, Sebastian Stosskopf, Bernardo Strozzi, Tanzio da Varallo, David Terriers II, Gerard ter Borch II, Hendrick ter Brugghen, Juan de Valdes Leal, Valentin de Boulogne, Anthony van Dyck, Gerrit van Honthorst, Frans van Mieris, Jacob van Ruisdael, Gaspar van Wittel, Simon Vouet, and Francisco de Zurbaran.

European Art of the Seventeenth Century is a handy guide for museum visitors and anyone interested in the history of art. Beautifully illustrated, the works used as examples in the text come from the world's premiere museums.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results by Bill Treasurer (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc)
For most managers, the hard part about managing isn't keeping things organized, meeting deliverable dates, or staying on budget. The hard part about managing is all the people stuff.

The hard part is dealing with people who are too comfortable doing things the way they've always been done and too afraid to do things differently – workers who are, as author Bill Treasurer puts it, too ‘comfeartable.’ Such workers fail to exert themselves any more than they have to, equating ‘just enough’ with good enough. By avoiding even mild challenges, these workers thwart forward progress and make their businesses dangerously safe.

The goal of Courage Goes to Work is to build workforce courage by focusing on specific things managers can do to help their people be more courageous. The benefit to the manager is that courage will cause their people to more readily trust their decisions instead of silently resisting their every move. Their workers will be more likely to raise the red flag on projects that are going south, instead of hiding issues until they fester into full-blown catastrophes. Courageous workers are candid and engaged during status meetings, instead of politely nodding their head ‘yes’ every time their managers talk. Courageous workers try things outside their skill sets, deliberately seek out leadership opportunities, and offer ground-breaking (but tradition-defying) ideas.

Treasurer, founder and Chief Encourager at Giant Leap Consulting, in Courage Goes to Work, lays out a step-by-step process that treats courage as a skill that can be developed and strengthened. Treasurer shows how managers can build workplace courage by modeling courageous behavior themselves, creating an environment where people feel safe, taking chances and helping workers deal with fear.

To make the concept of courage more concrete, Treasurer identifies what he calls the Three Buckets of Courage: TRY Courage, having the guts to take initiative; TRUST Courage, being willing to follow the lead of others; and TELL Courage, being honest and assertive with coworkers and bosses. He illustrates each with a variety of examples, and offers proven practices for helping workers keep each bucket full.

Fear and doubt are the two greatest enemies of high performance in the workplace. This powerful book shows you how to instill more and more courage and confidence in every person, releasing personal potential you didn't know you had available. – Brian Tracy, author of Eat that Frog!

Bill Treasurer gives any aspiring leader a practical guide on how to develop the courage that is needed to make an organization a winner... Courage Goes to Work gives us the conviction that ordinary individuals can achieve extraordinary results. – Joe Forehand, retired Chairman and CEO, Accenture

Great companies have bold strategies. But bold strategies have to be implemented by courageous people. Courage Goes to Work offers valuable ideas for boosting workforce performance by building people's courage. This is top-shelf management reading with bottom-line implications. – Tom Bell, chief strategy officer, First Data

I loved Bill's first book, Right Risk, and I love Courage Goes to Work even more. Bill's unique life experiences, along with his gritty business knowledge, make a powerful combination. The result is a book that will transform the way you think about courage, and the way you manage your people, too. – Sharon Jordan-Evans, executive coach, keynote presenter, coauthor of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay

Finally, a book that helps stiffen people's spine at work! Courage Goes to Work is the solution for any manager who has ever been perplexed with how to motivate their workers, and move them past the debilitating effects of fear and comfort. – Bill Stroner, president and CEO, DEMCO

This book is truly awesome! Bill Treasurer has stolen courage from the gods and brought it to the workplace where it is desperately needed. Everyone in a leadership role should put this book on their must read list. After reading it, you may find the courage to buy a copy for your boss! – Chip Bell, author of Customer Loyalty Guaranteed

Courage is a vital but overlooked component of business success – Courage Goes to Work shows managers how to build a courageous workforce by inspiring and encouraging their staff to break out of their comfort zone and be courageous. This is the first book to take a systematic approach to developing this vital but overlooked component of business success. The real-world examples are vivid and the strategies, comprehensive.

Children’s / Ages 4-8

Mystery Ride! by Scott Magoon (Harcourt, Inc.)

Mystery Ride! warns kids:

If your parents ever say, "Time for a Mystery Ride!" do not be fooled.

A Mystery Ride may sound cool. But the three siblings in Mystery Ride! know it means their parents are taking them someplace they would never want to go. Like the Laundromat, the dry cleaners, or the department store.

Mystery Rides are not fun.

Or cool.

Or even mysterious, really.

Except for this one time...

Just when the boys in Mystery Ride! think they’re on the worst Mystery Ride ever, they discover it’s not the destinations that are important – it’s the adventure they have along the way.

(And it certainly helps when the journey ends with sprinkles on top . . . )

Author Scott Magoon is an art director who has written and illustrated several acclaimed picture books. Magoon is a Mystery Ride survivor himself. To Mystery Riders everywhere, he offers this consolation: "I feel your pain. The backseat is never big enough, the destinations are never close enough, and the lost playtime is gone forever. Magoon is the illustrator of Ugly Fish and Rabbit & Squirrel, and his own Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything. He and his family live in Reading, Massachusetts, where he admits to occasionally taking his two sons on Mystery Rides. "But hang in there – Mystery Rides can have happy endings." "It's a family tradition!" he says.

Computers & Internet / Business & Culture / Urban Planning / Reference

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City edited by Marcus Foth, with a foreword by Anthony Townsend (Information Science Reference)

What marks Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics, more than any other on the topic, are the clear signs that scholars working in this area are developing transdisciplinary approaches to their research. In 2005, the Institute for the Future conducted a 50-year scan of future trends in science and technology for the UK government's Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Trade and Innovation). One of the eight high-level forecasts to emerge from this year-long effort, the idea of trandisciplinarity essentially meant that rather than putting together teams of specialists from established fields, we would see ever more young scholars seek training in multiple disciplines to develop new approaches to particularly messy or difficult problems. As author Howard Rheingold described it, "transdisciplinarity goes beyond bringing together researchers from different disciplines to work in multidisciplinary teams. It means educating researchers who can speak languages of multiple disciplines – biologists who have an understanding of mathematics, mathematicians who understand biology". – from the Foreword by Anthony Townsend

Alive with movement and excitement, cities transmit a rapid flow of exchange facilitated by a meshwork of infrastructure connections. In this environment, the Internet has advanced to become the prime communication medium, creating a vibrant and increasingly researched field of study in urban informatics.

Taking a long view of urban informatics, the simultaneous urbanization and global economic integra­tion we are currently experiencing can best be seen as a refinement of the city as a system for informa­tion processing. It seems that after 50 years of incubating digital information technologies on the desktop, we are now at a point where they are to become inextricably woven into the everyday social and economic life of dwellers in every city on the planet.

The first big shift, the pervasive spread of sensing in urban environments is already reshaping both the day-to-day and long-term processes of urbanization. While humans still set the boundaries, more and more of the critical life support systems of the city are instrumented to both sense and make sense of the world around them. Like Frankenstein's monster, the physical fabric of cities is waking up and becoming aware of itself.

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics, then, comes along at an opportune moment to reflect on this historic moment, and to chart both directions of change and specific principles and techniques for how to proceed into unknown territory. It conveys the sense that we are starting to actually ‘see’ informat­ics transforming cities before our eyes.

The editor of Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics is Marcus Foth, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; chief investigator on the projects New Media in the Urban Village; and lead chief investigator of Opportunities of Media and Communication Technology to Support Social Networks of Urban Residents in Mexico, South Africa, UK and Australia, and Swarms in Urban Villages.

Topics covered in Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics include community engagement, digital cities, digital identity, environmental impact, locative media, mobile and wireless applications, participatory planning, privacy, surveillance, sustainability, urban informatics, and urban technology.

A macroscopic perspective of urban anatomy does not easily reveal those meticulous details which are necessary to help us understand and appreciate the ‘urban metabolism,’ that is, the nutrients, capacities, processes and pace which nurture the city to keep it alive. Trying to get to the bottom of a city's existence, urban anatomists have to become dissectors of urban infrastructure by trying to microscopically uncover the connections and interrelationships of city elements. Yet, this is anything but trivial for at least three reasons: (1) time, (2) the virtual mirror that digitally augments and enhances urban infrastructures by means of information and communication technology, including mobile and wireless networks, and (3) the city dwellers who have a life of their own and who introduce human fuzziness and socio-cultural variables to the study of the city.

Fulfilling these three challenges, according to Foth, urban informatics offer research methods and instruments that become the microscope of urban anatomy. Urban informatics provides real-time tools for examining the real-time city, to picture the invisible and to zoom into a fine-grained resolution of urban environ­ments to reveal the depth and contextual nuances of urban metabolism processes at work.

Urban informatics research and development is concerned with the impact of technology, systems and infrastructure on people in urban environments. This is an emerging field populated by researchers and practitioners at the intersection of people, place and technology with a focus on cities, locative media and mobile technology. It is interdisciplinary in that it combines members of three broad academic communities: the social (media studies, communication studies, cultural studies, etc.), the urban (urban studies, urban planning, architecture, etc.), and the technical (computer science, software design, human-computer interaction, etc.), as well as the three linking cross sections of urban sociology, urban computing, and social com­puting. Furthermore, the field's increasing transdisciplinarity is dissolving the rigid boundaries between disciplinary silos. ‘Nomadic’ researchers, who enjoyed more than one higher education and traverse seamlessly between academic schools, enter the stage. The contributors to Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics are prime examples: architects with degrees in media studies, software engineers with expertise in urban sociology, human-computer interaction designers grounded in cultural studies, and urban planners with an appetite for digital media and social network research.

A nucleus within this broad ecology of urban informatics is particularly worth tracing back, and that is the development of the digital cities notion. Toru Ishida and Peter van den Besselaar, arguably two of the most noteworthy scholars in the digital cities field of research, initiated and supported the digital cities series of workshops that began in Kyoto, Japan in 2000 and 2002. The series then continued in conjunction with the International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T) with workshops held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2003, and Milan, Italy in 2005. The latest installment of the workshop series took place on 28th June 2007 at Michigan State Univer­sity in East Lansing, USA, as part of the third C&T conference. The key research questions informing the presentations and discussions at Digital Cities 5: Urban Informatics, Locative Media and Mobile Technology in Inner-City Developments were as follows:

  • How can a balance be achieved between the opportunities of locative media and mobile technology on the one side and issues of access, trust and privacy on the other?
  • What is the role of locally relevant content, such as personal and community images and narratives, in the establishment of sustainable social networks as well as in the context of civic participation?
  • What can we learn from the communication models of global social networking sites such as myspace.com and facebook.com in order to animate local interaction and civic participation of residents and friends locally?
  • What is the role of location, (geo)graphical representations such as maps of various kinds, in supporting people to understand and navigate the augmented urban landscape?
  • What is the impact of these new technologies on the challenges in moving from e-government to e-governance and e-participation to e-democracy at the urban level? Will these technological developments help increase or decrease the opportunities for citizens to play a role in shaping sustainable cities?
  • What are the implications for the architecture and urban design of cities and public spaces?

Ten chapters in Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics (IV, V, VIII, X, XII, XV, XVII, XXII, XXVII, XXVIII) are based on presen­tations given at the Digital Cities 5 workshop.

Foth hopes that Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics will stimulate readers’ mental metabolism with a rich and multi-faceted degusta­tion menu. Sampling the ‘dishes’ prepared for this urban smorgasbord will take readers on a Grand Tour covering a great range of timely and significant topics and issues such as sustainability, digital identity, surveillance, privacy, access, environmental impact, activism, participatory planning, and community engagement. The book exposes research accounts which seek to convey an appreciation for local dif­ferences, for the empowerment of people and for the human-centered design of urban technology. Both contributors and coverage are international. They are not limited to cases based in Europe and America only. Rather, Foth says he purposefully sourced chapters covering Asia, Africa and Australia by a most engaging and prolific group of authors not afraid of presenting challenging and controversial ideas. Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics starts with some introductory examinations that situate urban informatics research in the field and critique some of the assumptions behind urban informatics, as well as propose new ways of thinking. The second section focuses on ways people use technology to participate in urban planning scenarios and online deliberations. The engagement of urban communities is the central theme of the third section of the book and brings together examples from Germany, Mexico, Australia, and Canada dealing with multiculturalism, user-led innovation, creative expression and social sustainability. The fourth section comprises examples of studies investigating the link between the physical and digital city in the context of location, navigation and space. Wireless and mobile technology and its socio-cultural impact on urban communities and environments is the topic of the chapters in section five. Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics concludes with a selection of speculative chapters, which examine trends in Korea and China, socio­technical innovation that supports location-sensitive tools for the real-time city and citizen science, and commentaries exploring the digital desaturation of the city and – in the afterword – the relation of urban informatics to social ontology.

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics brings together an international selection of 66 esteemed scholars presenting their research and development on urban technology, digital cities, locative media, and mobile and wireless applications. A truly global resource, this one-of-a-kind reference collection contains significant and timely research covering a diverse range of current issues in the urban informatics field, making it an essential addition to technology and social science collections in libraries that will benefit scholars and practitioners in an array of fields ranging from computer science to urban studies. With its authoritative coverage of an important, cutting-edge topic in computer science and information technology management, this book is essential to academic libraries in the U.S. and abroad and is also suitable for advanced undergraduate or graduate-students. Researchers, practitio­ners, sociologists, educators, managers, IT solutions developers, and students in a full range of computer science and urban studies-related fields will also benefit.

Criminology / Crime & Criminals

Driven to Kill: Vehicles As Weapons by J. Peter Rothe (The University of Alberta Press)

Homicide, road rage, carjacking, drive-by shootings, smash and grabs, hit and runs, police chases, auto theft, auto break-ins: the list goes on. Thousands of North American drivers have become victims of such pernicious daily acts. These are not the behaviors of just angry or impatient teens. Rather, they are easily the acts of mature men and women seeking revenge or enforcing their personal standards of roadway morality. They may be the acts of spurned lovers, sociopaths, or ideologues. Vehicular terror is ubiquitous. – from the book

In Driven to Kill, J. Peter Rothe examines the use of vehicles in cases of assault, abduction, rape, gang warfare, terrorism, suicide, and murder. How can a car be such an enabling force for the gamut of society's most heinous crimes? Rothe offers a trove of unprecedented research for sociologists, criminologists, policy makers, police, as well as public health, injury prevention, and traffic safety professionals, but his accessible style speaks to our fascination with car culture and true crime stories.

A widely published scholar, Rothe has a background in analyzing the social behavior engaged in risk, safety, and injury. He has directed major qualitative research studies in traffic safety, education, trucking, criminology, health, injury control, counseling, First Nations communities, and gerontology. Rothe is Associate Professor with the University of Alberta School of Public Health, Centre for Health Promotion Studies and a senior researcher with the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research at the University of Alberta.

The book documents the variety of ways in which violence in society is perpetrated through automobiles. Rothe's recognized expertise in the sociology of traffic enables him to present the evidence in the context of social norms, laws, and widespread practices associated with automobiles, transportation, and drivers. The descriptions rely on empirical data and statistics from traffic safety sources, including newspaper reports.

Rothe in Driven to Kill argues that in order to rescue ‘our deeply troubled traffic safety sys­tem’ we need to understand how motor vehicles have been integrated into both normal and criminal behavior. People not only drive to work in their cars, but along the way they also use cars to settle relationship battles when they are angry or feel provoked and justified to retaliate with violence. More than one hundred million motorists and passengers in North America are exposed to the potential of roadway violence daily. Rothe observes that ‘auto-centered violence’ is seen as a ‘common subset of an increasingly violent society.’

How does ‘automobility generate violent intentions and actions’? What kinds of people do these things? How is it justified and normalized in their group or community? These questions receive concrete answers in the way in which Rothe has collected and presented the evi­dence. He finds data that support his basic assumptions of the causes of roadway violence, and weaves them together to provide social and legal solutions. Car owners attach symbolic value to their vehicles as objects of glory, power, convenience, and image. This is extended even further in criminality to include ‘machismo, strength, control, and attitude.’ The evidence presented in Driven to Kill shows that car thieves ‘display professional competence, skill, and pride through illegal and violent means.’ It is common practice for some men who are affected by romantic problems or insecurity issues to jump into their cars and act out their emotionality through risk-taking ‘bravado’ in the form of vehicular-based violence.

The stories of violence committed with cars cover three ‘zones of relevance.’ The first is more distant in the sense that the automobile is used merely as con­venient tool for getting to the scene of the crime. For instance, a drug dealer sells crack cocaine from his car. A robber gets to the victimized store by driving there. People use cars to get to overpasses, which become launching platforms for deadly projectiles that are either thrown or dropped onto other road users. The next relevant zone is the use of the vehicle to complete a criminal act. For instance, a woman is sexually assaulted in a half-ton truck parked on the side of the road. Or, a road rager pursues another car, and shoots the driver. The closest zone of relevance that violence and vehicles have is the use of the car itself as the weapon of attack. For instance, police stop the driver of a suspected stolen vehicle, and the driver backs up, striking the officer who is approaching the stopped car.

The violent use of a vehicle also occurs in legal situations like the demoli­tion derby. Rothe sees this practice as helping people take out their ‘automotive frustrations,’ yet he also worries that such derbies can ‘potentially increase aggressive driving in general.’ Even riskier are the ‘death-defying thrills’ in motorcycle demolition derbies, where riders try to knock each other off their bikes – the winner being the last one standing. Illegal street racing in cities has become a ‘ubiquitous feature of our society’ that causes hundreds of deaths each year. One practice that is spreading is the ‘centipede,’ where young drivers form a convoy and play follow-the-leader, ‘darting in and around regular traffic at high speeds.’

Rothe reviews statistics and research on the general connection between vio­lence, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Half of all people accused of a crime in Canada have admitted to using alcohol or illegal drugs. Alcohol and crystal meth are two major factors that affect the increasing danger associated with the random violence to which motorists are exposed on city streets.

In the final portion of Driven to Kill, Rothe lays out his proposal for ‘social and psychological audits’ to investigate the circumstances surrounding collisions and vehicle violence, and in particular, the ‘antecedent circumstances’ that eventuate in the event. This kind of data gathering would involve personnel in investigation, criminology, justice, and traffic safety, and sociology and psychology. Rothe's proposal will require expanding the focus from the driver to ‘family, friends, colleagues, lovers, employers, and other individuals linked to potential aggressors.’

Rothe reminds readers that the descriptions in Driven to Kill are not intended to be alarmist; rather, they serve as a reminder that we are all potential players in the drama of roadway violence, whether we are instigators, victims, or witnesses. Anyone can be a potential victim regardless of status or personal history. Everyone's destiny can be determined by other roadway users at any time of the day.

The lenses of Driven to Kill are set on Canada and the United States, with a few selective excursions to elsewhere in the world. To underline the social dimension of violence, this book acknowledges that vio­lent incidents are experienced at the personal level. Incidents of vehicle violence siphon emotions, create worry and fear, deprive us of well-being, and create suf­fering and pain. The book provides summaries of Rothe’s previous research projects that have included data from court cases, medical examiner or coroner files, media stories, published and unpublished research reports that include anonymous interviews, and Internet articles to portray events that are close to us, rather than loosely describe unfamiliar or even exotic events that give different meaning to vehicle-based violence. These case studies provide vivid images of victim and aggressor.

Rothe speaks with authority and knowledge in an effective journalistic writ­ing style. Unlike some of his prior authoritative works, this book avoids the tech­nical style that is common in scientific volumes, and instead provides students and researchers with extensive research and scholarship. Driven to Kill contains a rich trove of information collected and organized around the theme of vehicu­lar violence. It is a fascinating read that will evoke discussion among profes­sionals, educators, journalists, and the general public. Traffic safety experts and law enforcement officials will find it eye-opening to read the many horrifying details of how people use motor vehicles as deadly attack weapons or as aids in committing criminal behavior. Some readers may find the thorough coverage of vehicular violence in a wide range of social contexts disturbing. Driven to Kill is a wake-up call to society to engage the topic of vehicular violence and begin to work on solutions and mitigations.

Rothe stays close to the subject, but shows how each different type of vehicu­lar violence is related to social practices in a community. Readers interested in social issues related to automobiles and transportation will find here informa­tion that is easily comprehended and assimilated. Other books on road rage and aggressive driving are relevant, but do not cover the systematic range of social areas found in this book. – Leon James, Professor of Psychology, University of Hawaii, co-author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

In Driven to Kill Rothe offers a trove of unprecedented research for sociologists, criminologists, policy makers, police, as well as public health, injury prevention, and traffic safety professionals, in his accessible style. The many ways violence is perpetrated through automobiles is brought out systematically, clearly and forcefully, often in a shocking manner that may disturb as well as inform readers.

Education / Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How edited by Catherine E. Snow & Susan B. Van Hemel (The National Academies Press)

The assessment of young children's development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from economically disadvantaged homes and those with special needs. Well-planned and effective assessment can inform teaching and program improvement, and contribute to better outcomes for children. Early Childhood Assessment affirms that assessments can make crucial contributions to the improvement of children's well-being, but only if they are well designed, implemented effectively, developed in the context of systematic planning, and are interpreted and used appropriately. Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can have negative consequences for both. The value of assessments therefore requires fundamental attention to their purpose and the design of the larger systems in which they are used.
Early Childhood Assessment is edited by Catherine E. Snow and Susan B. Van Hemel of the National Research Council of the National Academies. The book identifies important outcomes for children from birth to age 5, and how best to assess them in pre-school, child care, and other early childhood programs, to guide all those with an interest in providing young children with the opportunities they need. Early Childhood Assessment explores a variety of techniques and instruments for developmental assessment and points to the risks and the dangers of appropriating evaluation techniques that are commonly used for older children.

In 2006, Congress requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct a study of developmental outcomes and appropriate assessment of young children. With funding from the Office of Head Start in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the specific charge to this committee was the identifica­tion of important outcomes for children from birth to age 5 and the quality and purposes of different techniques and instruments for developmental assessments. The committee's review highlights two key principles. First, the purpose of an assessment should guide assessment decisions. Second, assessment activity should be conducted within a coher­ent system of medical, educational, and family support services that promote optimal development for all children.

The focus of Early Childhood Assessment on the need for purposefulness and systematicity is particularly important at this time, because young children are currently being assessed for a wide array of purposes, across a wide array of domains, and in multiple service settings. The increase in the amount of assessment raises understandable wor­ries about whether assessments are selected, implemented, and interpreted correctly. Assessments of children may be used for purposes as diverse as determining the level of functioning of individual children, guiding instruction, or measuring function­ing at the program, community, or state level.

Part I: Early Childhood Assessment.

In this part of Early Childhood Assessment, Snow and Van Hemel present an introduction to the work. Chapter 1 explains the policy context for the study, the committee's charge, the committee's approach to the work, and the structure of the report.

In Chapter 2, they discuss purposeful assessment, emphasiz­ing the importance of determining the purposes of any assess­ment before proceeding to design, develop, or implement it. They introduce some guidelines for such assessments developed by respected organizations concerned with the care and education of young children. They also introduce the special issues attendant to using assessment of young children for accountability purposes.

In Chapter 3, they provide some historical context for Early Childhood Assessment. They review the recent history of the development of early childhood learning standards and assessments, especially in the states and the federal government, with a discussion of the societal and governmental changes that have motivated some of these efforts.

Part II: Child-Level Outcomes and Measures.

The outcomes of interest vary to some extent as a function of a child's age; it is harder to distinguish domains of functioning in infants and toddlers than older pre-schoolers, and likewise younger preschoolers are exposed to more similar demands across settings than older preschoolers.

In categorizing the domains, for the sake of simplicity, Snow and Van Hemel adapt the distinctions adopted by the National Education Goals Panel, since these map onto both the developmental research literature and state and federal standards and policies. The boundaries between the domains discussed are artificial, as is the way constructs are categorized within them. They differentiate and discuss five domains: (1) physical well-being and motor development, (2) socioemotional development, (3) approaches to learning, (4) language (and emergent literacy), and (5) cognitive skills, including mathematics. This categorization provides an initial mapping of what might be considered important enough aspects of children's development to deserve systematic scrutiny from pediatricians, early childhood educators, parents, researchers, and policy makers. Snow and Van Hemel are interested not just in identifying the domains of impor­tance, but also in summarizing information about the availability of measures that reflect variation and change in these domains (as well as the ideal qualities of measures that might be developed in the future).

Although Chapter 4 deals mostly with assessment typically done in the first year of life, they recog­nize that pediatric assessment continues throughout childhood. Furthermore, although many of the instruments discussed in Chapter 4 are used most widely with older preschoolers, they real­ize that many infants and toddlers (especially those enrolled in prevention or intervention programs) experience assessment that is more ‘educational’ in nature.

In Chapter 5, they turn to a justification of the five domains. While it may be obvious that those domains should include the developmentally and educationally relevant ones of physical well-being, language and literacy, mathematics, and socioemotional development, a closer examination of each of these domains reveals considerable internal complexity, as well as some controversy about the actual sub-skills of greatest importance in those domains.

In Chapter 6, they turn from child measures to review measures that reflect aspects of the context in which young children spend their time. These context measures are as important as the child-specific measures, because a child's score on any measured outcome cannot be interpreted without knowing something about the familial and educational contexts in which that child has developed and the opportunities to learn those contexts have provided.

Part III: How to Assess.

In this part of Early Childhood Assessment, Snow and Van Hemel turn to the question of how to select and administer assessments, once purposes have been established and domains selected. Some of the issues dealt with are the technical ones defined by psychometricians as key to test quality: the reliability and validity of inferences, discussed in Chapter 7. Others have to do with the usability and fairness of assessments, issues that arise when assessing any child but in particular chil­dren with disabilities and children from cultural and language minority homes; these are discussed in Chapter 8. In Chapter 9, and in particular with regard to direct assessments, they discuss the many ways in which the test as designed may differ from the test as implemented. Testing a young child requires juggling many competing demands: developing a trusting relationship with the child, presenting the test items in a relatively standardized way that is nonetheless natural, responding appropriately to both cor­rect and incorrect answers and to other child behaviors (signs of fear, anxiety, sadness, shyness).

Part IV: Assessing Systematically.

In this part, they present their ideas about how to design, develop, and implement systems of assessment. Snow and Van Hemel say they strongly believe that assessment of young children should be an integral part of a larger system of early childhood development services, and should be designed to be coherent with the objectives and approaches the system embraces and should be complementary to the other components of the system. In Chapter 10 they present their vision of an ideal early childhood services system, its components and infrastructure, and describe the roles that assessments play in such a system. In Chapter 11, they present guidelines for developing and implementing assessments within such a system.

Early Childhood Assessment addresses key issues by identifying the important outcomes for children from birth to age 5 and the quality and purposes of different techniques and instruments for developmental assessments.

Early Childhood Assessment informs and guides federal agencies, state governments, school systems, teachers, child care providers, parents, and others with an interest in ensuring that young children have the resources and opportunities to prepare them for success. Providing the tools they need to help children learn and to help invest wisely in programs and services that offer significant value for young children, policy makers and educators will especially find the book beneficial.

Entertainment / Arts / Graphic Design / Movies / Television / Reference

The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, 3rd edition by Jeff Lenburg, with a foreword by Chris Bailey (Checkmark Books)
From the silent shorts of the 1920s and '30s to the classic Disney features of the '40s, and from the Saturday morning television shows of the '70s and '80s to the computer-generated blockbusters of today, animation remains widely popular with viewers of all ages. With the current surge of interest in anime, the continued success of the Cartoon Network, and the steady flow of animated movies, animation plays an important role in today's pop culture.

The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, 3rd edition, now thoroughly revised and updated, remains a definitive source. This new edition of the ‘ultimate cartoon fan bible’ adds new material, bringing the book up to date and broadening the scope of its coverage. Separated into five major sections – Silent Cartoon Series, Theatrical Sound Cartoon Series, Full-Length Animated Features, Television Cartoon Series, and Animated Television Specials – this encyclopedia includes an extensive historical overview of animation, complete information about Academy and Emmy award winners, and a chronology of animation milestones. Coverage of increasingly popular anime has been added and expanded. Entries in The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons include: Cowboy Bebop, Dora the Explorer, Family Guy, Finding Nemo, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, The Simpsons, South Park, SpongeBob SquarePants, Toy Story, Cinderella, Jonny Quest, The Wild Thornberrys, King of the Hill, and Pokemon, among others.
The book in all its editions was written by Jeff Lenburg, who has written 18 books and is a nationally acknowledged expert on animated cartoons.

In recent years animated movies such as Shrek and Finding Nemo have been smash hits at the box office, while ani­mated television series such as Avatar: The Last Airbender and SpongeBob SquarePants have caught on with viewers of all ages. This encyclopedia documents the histories of every animated cartoon from 1897 to the present – more than 3,100 in all – including creators, animators, directors, production studios, voice credits, character descriptions, filmographies, dates of production, release dates, original broadcast and rebroadcast dates and much more, all arranged in an easy-to-read A-to-Z format. Filled with fascinating facts, tantalizing tidbits and never-before published information, The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons also includes an extensive historical overview of animation, complete lists of Academy and Emmy Award winners and nominees, a first-time-ever chronology of animation milestones and a special 32-page color insert of animation art past and present.

What was born twenty-seven years ago out of Lenburg’s dream to write the most complete book on animated cartoon series ever, The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoon Series, a major reference on animated cartoons, became the first to document hundreds of cartoon series – silent cartoons, theatrical cartoons and television cartoons. In 1991 on the 10th anniversary of the original edition and again in 1999, Facts On File published his updated and expanded versions of the former, retitled The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Unlike Lenburg’s first encyclopedia, each entry was more defini­tive in scope, chronicling the history of every silent cartoon series, theatrical cartoon series, animated feature, animated television special and animated television series. Designed as the ultimate cartoon fan's guide, The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons features detailed information on every animated cartoon pro­duction, series or program exhibited theatrically or broadcast on television on more than 60 major commercial networks and cable networks, now expanded to cover cartoon programs broadcast on every network from Animal Planet to superstation WON, in the United States (cartoon imports from Japan, Canada, and elsewhere are included) from 1897 to April 2007 – or 110 years' worth of 'toons.

If you ever wondered who did the voice for George of the Jungle . . . or how to spell the name of the studio that produced the original epi­sodes of The Simpsons . . . then this is for you. – The Collector

No other work has gleaned and marshaled such a rich and comprehen­sive, truly encyclopedic, mass of valuable historical and filmographic items for the student of the American animated film. – Choice

... an important, benchmark publication for students, fans, and histori­ans of cartoon animation. – Wisconsin Bookwatch

The historical tidbits are wonderful. – BookPage

In its relentless pursuit to fully document the history of this subject, The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, 3rd edition, with copious amounts of new material, again delivers the most comprehensive, authoritative volume on car­toons ever imagined. This is the ultimate cartoon fan reference – updated and expanded. The wonderfully detailed book provides complete information of each cartoon production listed, culled from studio production records, motion picture trade paper listings, television program guides, movie and television reviews, film vaults and movie warehouses and, in many cases, from credits listed on the films themselves and then cross-ref­erenced with reliable sources to ensure its accuracy.

Entertainment / Music

Classic Country Singers by Douglas Green (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

Country music may have existed before 1925 – in barn dances, roadside taverns, tent shows, minstrel shows, and vaudeville – but it didn't become Country Music until the advent of radio. In Classic Country Singers, author Douglas B. Green, Ranger Doug from the Grammy-winning western group Riders in the Sky and one of the leading experts on American roots music, celebrates the men and women who built the industry that gave us "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Blue Yodel," "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," and the Grand Ole Opry.

From the beginnings of bluegrass to honky-tonk to western swing and more, Classic Country Singers offers biographies and photos covering the careers of nearly fifty major stars from country music's first half-century, including beloved musicians such as Uncle Dave Macon, the Carter Family, and Jimmie Rodgers, up to the pop-country hit makers of the 1950s like Eddy Arnold and Marty Robbins. The book’s profiles include Hank Williams, Gene Autry, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow, Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Minnie Pearl, and Ernest Tubb among others. Through war, depression, and the advent of rock and roll, these men and women pioneered a sound that moved from regional barn dances and radio stations to an international audience.
What began as British ballads, Appalachian fiddle and banjo tunes, the blues, sentimental popular music, big band swing, and Tin Pan Alley tunes evolved into a half-dozen more divergent musical styles, from bluegrass to honky-tonk to western swing and more. When country music became a commercial entity in the 1920s, it was as much a reaction against the noisy, clanging jazz age as anything. Radio programmers and recording executives found there was a substantial mar­ket in both the cities and the countryside for music that described a simpler, humbler, slower-paced time, performed in a natural, non-concert manner.

According to Classic Country Singers, this was nothing new. There has always been a demand for songs sung with naturalness and feeling rather than musical perfection. And there has always existed the need to dance, to relax, to frolic, and to laugh. What we have come to call country music fulfilled those needs and demands, and beginning about 1925, it slowly created an industry of its own within the broader framework of popular music. Radio was brand new, the first stations going on the air about 1922, and while recording dated back before the turn of the century, only a miniscule amount of what we'd now call country music had been recorded before the mid-1920s. Recording machines were too expensive, the market was too small, and New York executives could not understand the appeal of this music.

That all changed after 1925 when country music became big business. For the first time, it developed stars, and these are cel­ebrated in Classic Country Singers: the first and second generation of professional entertainers who built a huge industry through boom days and depression, through peace and war.

In the book readers get brief looks at the pioneering men and women who were the stars of the industry they created. Musicians come to life in the personal profiles in Classic Country Singers. Fans of country music will find fascinating tidbits about the singers who made country music what it is today, as well as intimate biographies and photos to cherish.

Health, Mind & Body / Exercise & Fitness

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers, with a foreword by Paul Grilley (Shambhala)

To borrow a phrase from George Martin, Sarah Powers is like the Beatles: she has been talented from the beginning, but we had no idea how good she would get. Sarah has been blessed with beautiful features and a skeleton suited for elegant postures. It is only natural that her image has graced the covers of yoga magazines and confer­ence posters. It seems almost unfair that she is also scholarly by na­ture, a constant reader, a diligent practitioner, and a humble student of any teaching she encounters. And now we, her readers, discover that she is a lucid writer as well. – Paul Grilley, from the Foreword

Sarah Powers is widely known for her original ideas and techniques for using yoga both for health and spiritual growth. Combining traditional yoga techniques with the meridians of Chinese medicine and Buddhist meditation, she has created a practice she calls Insight Yoga, a series of sequences that teaches both the dynamic flow poses (yang) and the more passive resting poses (yin) forms its foundation. Demonstrated by the Powers in beautiful photographs, the poses balance gentle stretches with dynamic moves for ultimate benefit to organs, muscles, joints, and tendons. Powers offers a basic explanation of Chinese medicine theory, as well as of Buddhist mindfulness meditation.
An acclaimed yoga and meditation teacher Powers is known for this unique approach. In Insight Yoga she takes readers on a journey inward, and shows the path for cultivating a lasting relationship with yoga that strengthens physical well-being and mental and emotional clarity.

Powers’ is a practical manual of yoga based on both new and old yogic principles. What are chakras? How do they affect us? What is chi? Prana? How do yoga postures affect our health? Our emotions? Our thoughts? What are meridians? Are acupuncture and yoga related? How do asa­nas affect meditation? How does meditation affect asanas? Insight Yoga provides a response to all of these questions. This yoga book is not merely Taoist or Buddhist or Sanskrit. It embodies what the term yoga has historically stood for: a system of practices that cultivates all levels of a human being. Powers employs Taoist terms, Buddhist terms, and Sanskrit terms, depending on which most clearly describes the underlying ideas.

Sarah Powers seamlessly integrates her unique expressions of yin and yang yogas, with traditional Chinese medicine, Taoism, and Buddhism, to create one of the most complete and balanced systems of modern yoga. This is a teaching of great warmth and intelligence that will heal your body, invigorate your mind, and inspire your soul. –Richard Rosen, author of The Yoga of Breath

Sarah Powers brings us a truly brilliant integration of yin and yang yoga, mindfulness, Buddhist philosophy and psychology, and the genius of traditional Chinese medicine. This book belongs in the library of every serious practitioner of yoga and meditation. – Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

When I first met Sarah it didn't take me long to figure out that she was a yogini of relentless curiosity and great depth. In Insight Yoga she lets the reader into her thinking, her practice, and her life in a way that both inspires and instructs. Insight Yoga is destined to become a classic. – Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, author of A Year of Living Your Yoga

Sarah Powers's synthesis of wisdom traditions is awesome. Indeed, each tradition is like a transparent map, which, when overlaid one upon another, gives a more complete rendering of the Living Event in which we are all participants. Insight Yoga will be of tremendous interest and benefit to many people. – Erich Schiffmann, author of Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness

In Insight Yoga Powers has written a yoga book that is personal, concise and clear and that is true to her experience while avoiding sectarian claims of privilege for any tradition. It is her readers who will benefit from and be inspired by this honest effort.

History / World / Social Sciences / Ethnic Groups

Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel (The New Press)

In 1960, a Pittsburgh couple hosting a visiting Muslim student from Pakistan took him to what they assumed was an Islamic mosque – but it turned out to be the headquarters of the Shriners' Pittsburgh chapter. – from the book

On a recent episode of Meet the Press General Colin Powell asked, "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?" responding to false insinuations that Barack Obama is Muslim. "The answer is no," he responded, "that's not America." One could argue that America's habit of intolerance is becoming more lenient. But American suspicion of Muslim and Islamic culture misses a key point – the cultural borrowings and relationships between Arab and American culture are part of the very fabric of our society, including our most precious symbols and artifacts.

From surf music to the ice cream cone, Al' America is a look at the little known influence of Arab and Islamic culture on America, by longtime San Francisco Chronicle journalist Jonathan Curiel. Curiel taught as a Fulbright scholar at Pakistan's Punjab University. An inquisitive journalist, he traveled the country teasing out the Muslim and Arab influences in our culture, and he found traces of the Middle East everywhere. Curiel offers a comprehensive review of the irony imbedded within the pervasive xenophobic trend, pointing out that from its beginning, America intersected with Arab and Muslim culture and argues that not only are Muslims and Americans compatible, they are inextricably intertwined.

Some of America's most recognizable music – the surf sounds of Dick Dale and the rock and psychedelia of Jim Morrison and the Doors – is indebted to Arab music. The Delta Blues' owes a significant debt to Arab and Muslim musical traditions imported by Muslim West Africans kidnapped into slavery. Many of America's leading historical figures, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Elvis Presley, relied on Arab or Muslim culture for intellectual sustenance.

This intersection includes:

  • Architecture: from the World Trade Center, the Alamo in San Antonio, and the Moorish architecture of the French Quarter of New Orleans, to the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Music: from the blues to surf music.
  • Philosophy and poetry: from the Transcendentalists and Henry James to Khalil Gibran and Rumi.
  • The food we eat: from the ice cream cone to coffee.
  • Pop culture: from P.T. Barnum to the Shriners and Star Wars.

Al' America also features interviews with leading musicians, artists, historians, ethnomusicologists, and scholars of Islam. And an exploration of the influence of Arab culture would not be complete without a look at that fixture of Main Street parades across the nation – the Shriners, who invented for themselves a mythic past based loosely on Islamic history.

Al' America uncovers a collective history that has been either shunned or ignored by academics, pundits, and regular American citizens focused on the ideological divisions between East and West.

Jonathan Curiel’s fascinating book Al' America will blow up any ideas people have that Islamic culture is foreign to the United States. – Jeanne Carstensen, managing editor, Salon.com

Al' America unveils an extraordinary account of the influence of Islam and Arabic on American culture. From the origin of blues to New Orleans architecture, this is a must read for everyone interested in American heritage. – Jamal Dajani, senior director of Middle Eastern Programming, Link TV

In the fine tradition of The Irish in America, Curiel puts the USA through a sieve and sorts out Muslim influences on American culture. – Mother Jones

Amid a heightened wave of xenophobia directed at Arabs and Muslims, San Francisco Chronicle writer Curiel reminds readers of a rich store of cultural borrowings and relationships that have gone deep into the very fabric of American society, including its most precious symbols and artifacts. While many will readily recall the Arabic strains in 1960s rock groups like the Doors, less obvious is the formative personal background at work in a classic like Miserlou (Turkish for The Egyptian) by Dick Dale. … While the relative interest and import of these and other examples varies, Curiel's cultural odyssey moves swiftly and engagingly across time and geography, as he excavates everything from the Moorish architecture of New Orleans and the Alamo to the stories of the Arab and Muslim victims among the 9/11 World Trade Center dead. His research and focused interviews with leading scholars and musicians yield many surprises and leave little doubt about a crucial historical connection too easily forgotten in facile appeals to American identity. – Publishers Weekly

In this funny, lively and eye-opening book, Curiel reminds us of the inherent Muslim and Arab features in American architecture, literature, language, music, and food. The illuminating examples in Al' America confirm a continuous pattern of give-and-take between the Arab-Muslim world and America. Al' America is a much-needed response to those bent on creating a chasm between our cultures. Curiel takes the idea a step farther in predicting that Arab culture will transcend the post-9/11 climate of racism and stereotyping. It is at once a hopeful and informed prophecy – and one that we can only hope will prove true in these turbulent times.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Simple Stained Glass Quilts by Daphne Greig & Susan Purney Mark (Krause Publications)

Simple Stained Glass Quilts shows readers how to get the look of intricate stained glass appliqué with fusible web, an iron, and a pair of sharp scissors. Well-known Canadian quilt artists, Daphne Greig and Susan Purney Mark, offer patterns and instructions for eight wall hangings and six smaller variations for quick projects.

The six Too-Easy steps show readers how to achieve results in a short period of time. In European Art of the Seventeenth Century readers discover a fresh approach to quiltmaking inspired by the style and grace of stained glass windows. ‘Framing’ the quilt with leading lines creates an interesting, often surprising new view of fabrics, drawing the eye in and giving greater attention to the focus fabric. The book demonstrates the easy-to-master, versatile technique, which lends itself to many different designs and styles. The patterns can be interchanged to provide multiple options for size and layout combinations. The projects range from small to large and provide great uses for a wide variety of fabrics: scenic prints, batiks, floral fabrics and even photographs printed on fabric.

If this is readers’ first introduction to the stained glass method, Greig and Mark recommend that they begin with a small project. From My Window is a small quilt, perfect for learning the technique. After they have mastered the technique, readers can flip through the projects where they will find an array of designs to get their creative juices flowing.

The authors say that stained glass windows have held a particular fascination for them, and they have been fortunate to develop a terrific technique that makes their construction just Too Easy! As readers work through Simple Stained Glass Quilts, they will see the authors have been inspired by a range of designs from unlikely places. They encourage readers to look around to find some possibilities for creating exciting quilts.

Quilters can always use actual stained glass windows as inspiration, but they may not have any nearby. There are many books full of designs to inspire readers to create their own projects using the Too-Easy method. Greig and Mark also find interesting designs in continuous-line quilting patterns and quilt-design software.

The book features 20 projects inspired by church windows, landscapes, flowers, wrought iron, decorative tiles and more. Projects range from smaller scale pieces, such as pillows, children's quilts and wall hangings, to full-size bed quilts. The book offers easy-to follow instructions for piecing the quilt tops, adding borders, quilting and finishing, as well as creative ideas for personalizing creations.

The projects in Simple Stained Glass Quilts feature a terrific technique that makes their construction almost too easy to be real. Fusible web is the secret ingredient that sets this approach apart from the other labor-intensive methods, allowing readers to complete wall hangings with stunning results in a short period of time.

Home & Garden / Pets / Young Adult

The Horse Book of Lists: 968 Fascinating Facts & Tantalizing Trivia by Cindy Hale (Bowtie Press)

If you're a horse lover, no doubt you're already a fount of equine knowledge. But here are even more fun facts, informative insights, and interesting tidbits that will make you the center of attention whenever you gather at the water trough with your barn buddies. – from the book

If readers have ever wondered what a Tarpan is, what magic the Zuni horse fetishes hold, how many horses were employed by the Pony Express, or how a game of ‘goat grabbing’ relates to polo, The Horse Book of Lists has the answers.
Since the dawn of time, humans have had a special relationship with horses, as both working partners and affectionate companions. "As readers and viewers, we're captivated by the horse," says Cindy Hale. And horse lovers can never get enough information about their beloved animals. The Horse Book of Lists is a book that covers everything aficionados could want to know about all things horse, encapsulated in more than ninety lists of horsey trivia – both practical and whimsical – with side stories and full-color photographs.

In these pages, author Hale, a thirty-year hunter/jumper veteran and former schoolteacher, helps readers explore the role of the horse in history, discover a sampling of horses in art, decipher old sayings such as ‘straight from the horse's mouth,’ and ride along with their favorite equine stars across the silver screen. Readers learn about the different horse breeds and coat colors, find out tips for buying and caring for a horse, learn the ins and outs of horse shows, and plan their trips based on regional guides on race-tracks and horse-related places to visit. There is even a glossary of a ‘hodgepodge of horseology’ terms to satisfy the inner horseperson in everyone.  

If you want to enjoy little bits of this and that about horses, you'll love this book.  – Maureen Gallatin, inspiredbyhorses.com

The Horse Book of Lists contains everything readers ever wanted to know – and never dreamed of – about horses. Packed with quirky trivia, little-known facts, and good advice, The Horse Book of Lists will captivate and enthrall both the die-hard horse lover and the just-initiated equine fan. The over-sized print angles the book toward the teen, pre-teen and young-adult audience.

Literature & Fiction / Historical / Romance

The Treasure by Iris Johansen (Bantam Books)
An ex-harem slave...
A reformed assassin...
A race to find the most powerful religious artifact of all time...
New York Times bestselling author (17 times consecutively), Iris Johansen returns with her first historical romance in a decade, The Treasure, a novel of passion and exotic adventure that leads two unlikely treasure hunters on a perilous journey into the heart of a mystery. The book is a sequel to Johansen’s classic bestseller Lion's Bride.

Lady Selene Ware had been nothing more than a harem slave when Kadar Ben Arnaud – a man once trained in the black arts of death and seduction – helped her escape to the safety of her native Scotland. Though dangerous, Kadar has remained loyal to Selena and her sister, Thea and her husband, living happily on Ware estate in Scotland for years ... all while Selene and Kadar hide a smoldering passion for each other.  But even a world away she still wasn’t safe from the sheikh who claimed her as his stolen property. When a summons – from out of Kadar's past – forces him to leave the safety of Scotland with Selene and a young soldier, they embark on a perilous odyssey. They have a chance to win their freedom. But there is a catch. First they must find the legendary religious relic that men of power have searched for from King Arthur’s time to the present.
For Selene and the ex-assassin in The Treasure, it is a dangerous odyssey leading to an encounter with the mysterious and reclusive Tarik, who now possesses the treasure. But the truth is more explosive, and the stakes more deadly. The closer they come to discovering the secret, the closer they come to losing each other – and their lives. For even as Selene grasps the key to this age-old mystery, Kadar may have to step over the fine line separating the dark path from the light to save her.

Set largely in 12th-century Europe, this intricately plotted historical romance from bestseller Johansen, the sequel to Lion's Bride (1996), is replete with majestic castles, ruthless assassins and gentlemen rogues. Two star-crossed lovers become unwilling participants in a deadly struggle for control of an artifact that could contain the very secrets to immortality itself. Ex-assassin Kadar Ben Arnaud wants nothing more than to live a quiet life in Scotland with the love of his life, former slave Selene Ware. But when Arnaud is summoned by his old master to collect on a promise he made years earlier, he's honor-bound to leave the safety of his home and embark on a perilous journey to steal a priceless treasure from a stronghold in Tuscany. When Ware is kidnapped, Arnaud finds himself forced to embrace the darkness of his past in order to save her. The smoldering relationship between Arnaud and Ware will keep romance fans turning the pages. – Publishers Weekly

The Treasure is a novel of passion and exotic adventure that leads two unlikely treasure hunters on a perilous journey – and into the heart of a captivating mystery. The book will enchant romance lovers.

Outdoors & Nature / Hunting & Fishing / Travel

Angling the World: Ten Spectacular Adventures in Fly Fishing by Roy Tanami (The Lyons Press)

Wandering the globe to fish is every bit as good as it sounds, and the outrageous fishing is just a part of it. All of fly fishing’s considerably powerful seductions – the quest for adventure and discovery; meeting new challenges, people, and environments; and the pleasures of being in direct contact with the elemental, pristine, and most beautiful aspects of nature – are amplified in the extreme and exotic edges of the world.

Combining breathtaking color images and literary yet lively personal essays, celebrated angling photojournalist Roy Tanami chronicles his adventures in ten of the world's most remote – and most spectacular – fly-fishing destinations.

Angling the World takes readers along on amazing excursions to ten of the world’s top fly-fishing destinations. Tanami seeks out steelhead on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula; sea-run Arctic char in Nunavut, Canada; peacock bass and piranha in the Amazon jungle of Brazil; and brown trout on New Zealand’s South Island. That is not to mention the fabled giant taimen of |st1:country-region w:st="on"> Mongolia, “one of the undisputed holy grail species for the serious, been there/done that, traveling fly angler.” This member of the salmon family can weigh in at almost 200 pounds – and, yes, can “strike suddenly and often in a highly violent manner.”

There is drama around every bend in the river, with thoughts on conservation woven effortlessly in, as Tanami, international outdoor photographer and a contributing editor to Wild On the Fly, examines the ways in which traveling anglers can help save not only wild fish but also the wild places they inhabit.

The articles in Angling the World were originally published in Wild On The Fly. As a group, they have no particular focus or organization, except that most are about places Tanami wanted to go and somehow managed to garner the assignments to cover. As such, they are not intended to represent an All-time Top Ten Fly-Fishing Destinations list. In fact, since he hasn't covered an Atlantic salmon story, this present collection wouldn't even make his personal top ten. These articles do, however, cover many of the well-known dream des­tinations and species in the world, as well as some of the truly exotic and exploratory fisheries that few peo­ple have ever experienced, right through to an off-the-charts, do-it-yourself trip in southern Argentina. They are easily among the top ten fly-fishing experiences in the world today, and, therefore, as a collection they may even provide a more interesting and representative glimpse of what's going on out there in the world of fly angling than one limited only to destination resort angling.

The essays presented in Angling the World include Tanami’s contri­butions to the long-running tradition of navel-gazing about fly fishing generally, but also about the thorny questions that confront today's widely wandering global angler. Just as the attractions of the sport seem more compelling and intense at the extreme edges, so do the questions. After all, watching a helicopter disappear in the distance after being dropped off alone in the harsh and uninhabited vastness of the Canadian Arctic, or enduring a mind- and butt-numbing Argen­tina-to-Seychelles flight with two successive twelve-hour layovers, first in New York and then in Paris, or boarding an ancient Russian helicopter bound for the Middle of Nowhere Mountains of Mongolia, all in the name of fly fishing, does tend to force a rather close examination of oneself, one’s choices in life and sport, and just how one ever let it get this far. These musings provide a conceptual context for modern global fly fishing and a thematic backdrop for the collection of articles in Angling the World. Admittedly, though, Tanami says they could just as easily be seen as a series of rationalizations for what some might consider extreme and irre­sponsible behavior.

As the editor of Wild On The Fly, a literary fly-fishing travel magazine, I have found that the rarest and most valuable skill set in outdoor journalism is the ability of a sin­gle person to both write well and take great photographs. …So when an individual as talented as Roy Tanami enters your world, as he did mine shortly after the turn of the millennium, you sit up and take notice. … His photographs are excellent and at times even breathtaking, but his true faculty lies in his unique literary hash of keen observation, strong wit, and – I don't know how else to say it – Canadian irony. He is a consummate storyteller, as you will soon discover, and while it is always an overindulgence of eye-candy edit­ing one of his photographic shoots, it is the first read of a Tanami manuscript that I look forward to the most.…All of this searching for wild fish in wild waters has resulted in the remarkable collection of stories in Angling the World. Savor it as you would a premium Russian vodka, an aged Cuban rum, or a rich Argentine Malbec. For it is from an ever-expanding cultural stew of fishing, friends, food, and frivolity that Roy's stories emerge. Together they are your passport to a world of extraordinary angling adventure. But be warned: This is a journey one must not take lightly, as the unabashed nature of Roy's own awe and wonderment, enthusiasm, and reflection is dangerously contagious and will likely lead you astray. – from the foreword by Joseph Daniel

Hemingway would have been impressed. In a stunning combination of superb color images and literary yet lively personal essays, Tanami chronicles his adventures to far-flung, fly-fishing destinations in some of the most remote wilderness areas on the planet.

Written with keen observation, wit, and verve, and interspersed with fascinating tidbits of historical and geographical lore, Angling the World is a passport to a world of extraordinary angling adventure. Conveying the full awe and wonderment, enthusiasm and reflection of a consummate storyteller who also knows just how to capture his catch on film, it will have all anglers hooked – even if, while dreaming of distant waters, they’re curled up on the couch.

Political Science / Philosophy

Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases by David Patrick Houghton (Routledge)

What shapes political behavior more: the situations in which individuals find themselves, or the internal psychological makeup – beliefs, values, and so on – of those individuals? This is perhaps the leading division within the psychological study of politics today, and Political Psychology examines this question.

Using the situationism-dispositionism framework – which roughly parallels the concerns of social and cognitive psychology – Political Psychology focuses on such key explanatory mechanisms as behaviorism, obedience, personality, groupthink, cognition, affect, emotion, and neuroscience to explore topics ranging from voting behavior and racism to terrorism and international relations.

Author David Houghton, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida says that Philip Zimbardo's distinction between ‘the apple’ and ‘the barrel’ provides a useful way of explaining what we mean by the terms disposi­tionism and situationism, a distinction that is critical to this book. Were the appalling events at Abu Ghraib caused by ‘bad apples,’ or was the barrel itself turning the apples inside it rotten? In Political Psychology, situationism is defined as an approach in which the environment or situation that surrounds the individual – in Zimbardo's terms, ‘the barrel’ – is considered most important in shaping an actor's behavior; dispositionism, on the other hand, is defined as an approach in which the individual actor – his or her beliefs, values and personality, or ‘the apple’ – are considered most significant in this respect.
We can think of behavior as driven by internal causes (dispositions) or external causes (situations), or of course by some combination of both. Within the situational camp there are various forms of external causes that are held to shape behavior, from the position our country occupies within the international system to the immediate social roles we play in our daily lives. Inside the dispositionist approach, a diversity of approaches as to what causes the behaviors of individuals – their knowledge structures, beliefs, personalities, and so on – are present as well. Political Psychology uses this distinction to explain and contrast a variety of psychological theories of relevance to an understand­ing of politics, and then shows how these can be used to explain genocide, voting behavior, racism, nationalism, conflict between states, and a variety of other political behaviors.

According to Houghton, the distinction between dispositional and situational factors as forces acting on behavior has long been central to social psychology, and it continues to be utilized by major scholars in that field today. Many social psychologists come down on the situationist side of the debate. Most people, on the other hand, are instinctive dispositionists. We like to think that who we are – what we believe about the world and the kind of personality we have – exerts a fundamental impact on behavior. Our political and legal systems largely just assume that this is so, holding us primarily responsible for our actions. We tend to recoil from the view presented by much research in social psychology, which suggests that (for most people, at least) the character of the situation we are facing – where we are – matters more than our own characters to a greater extent than we could ever imagine. And we like to think that our political behaviors how we vote, what form our political participation takes, how tolerant we are and so on – are shaped by who we are as well. But is this true? This is the central question Political Psychology poses and the issue around which the organization of the book revolves.

Political psychology has drawn overwhelmingly from the dispositionist side of the mother discipline of psychology. The findings of social psychologists like Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo among others – though profoundly political in their implications – depart significantly from the idea that individual attributes are critical in shaping an individual's behavior. The reasons for this are unclear, but Houghton spends a good half of Political Psychology looking at prominent situationist argu­ments that attempt to explain some fundamental aspects of political behavior.

It can be hard to tell in practice whether a person's behavior is driven by the external situation or by his or her internal dispositions. Houghton provides a telling example: "If Beth is a mean, aggressive person to others because her sister beat her up as a kid," they ask, "is the cause of her current behavior internal or external? Houghton says his most astute and thoughtful students eventually come to a realiz­ation of this problem: there is a sense in which nearly everything is ultimately situational.

No attempt is made in the book to resolve fully the debate between situationism and dispositionism – at least until the concluding chapter. One of its central purposes is to encourage readers to think deeply about it as they read through chapters which make a case for one position or the other in explaining political behavior. After reading Political Psychology readers may determine they are situationists, or dispositionists; alternatively, they may adopt a more subtle approach which blends the two according to (say) the area of political behavior we are trying to explain.

Chapter 9 deals with the so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ of the 1980s and 1990s. This movement within psychology has sought to sweep away many of the older Freudian-tinged approaches while still maintaining a basically disposi­tionist stance, and it has placed a new emphasis on the way that behavior is shaped by knowledge structures present in human memory. Schemas, scripts, analogies, and other knowledge structures are seen as the ‘building blocks’ of the human mind, which then fundamentally influence the ways in which we process information.

Human beings are not just passive receptors and processors of information – what has been termed ‘cold’ cognition            but are also influenced by ‘hot’ processes such as anger, love, sadness, and so on. What was perhaps an over-zealous focus on the cold aspects of cognition by political psychologists work­ing in both the elite and mass behavior traditions during the 1980s and 1990s has in turn provoked a compensating emphasis on affect and emotion, and work in this vein is the topic of Chapter 10. Although there are considerable problems involved in the attempt to study emotion in a rigorous way, Chapter 11 examines one potential way forward with an overview of some new developments in the study of neuroscience. These prom­ise the potential development both of new theoretical approaches of relevance to politics as well as novel ways of testing our hypotheses, old and new. We are beginning to see the development within political psychology of something that might best be termed ‘political neuroscience,’ involving the use of advanced techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The third and final section (Chapters 12 to 17) of Political Psychology is more empirical. It attempts, in a preliminary way, to bring situationism and dispositionism together, and this conceptual device is used to categorize theories which have tried to explain various empirical areas of political behavior. Chapter 15, for instance, asks to what extent acts of terrorism are typically carried out by psychologic­ally ‘abnormal’ individuals. Attempts to uncover a single ‘terrorist personality’ (or to ascribe abnormalities like narcissism to all terror­ists) have essentially come to naught, so in many ways we are left with the conclusion, that most ordinary men and women are capable of committing acts of extreme violence. This chapter examines the research in this area which ascribes terrorism to situational forces and in particular the dynamics of group behavior. Political Psychology examines theories of nationalism and ethnic conflict, racism and political intole­rance, voting behavior and international security, asking in each case whether dispositionist or situationist approaches best account for the area of behavior in question. Finally, Chapter 17 wraps up the discussion by suggesting ways in which situationism and dispositionism might be integrated with one another, and discussing possible conclusions that readers could draw.

I had come to believe that I would never find a political psychology text that treated this rapidly developing field in a reader-friendly yet sophisticated way. David Patrick Houghton's Political Psychology has disabused me of this belief. Houghton's book is not only a lucid and thorough overview of the ‘situationist-dispositionist’ debate in the field. It also employs these ostensibly opposing positions to integrate both an impressive range of 'classic readings' in the field and an extraordinary array of topics. Houghton's book will be from henceforth the core text of my, and I suspect many others', political psychology course. – Ronald P. Seyb, Skidmore College

This is an engaging discussion of how psychological theories and research provide insight into enduring problems of conflict and cooperation in political behavior and international relations. Houghton's text reviews classic studies of conformity and obedience, as well as theories of personality, cognition, and emotion, and integrates them into an effective conceptual scheme that balances personal and situational influences on behavior. Students will find this book to be a tidy and persuasive introduction to the value of psychology for understanding the political issues of the contemporary world. – Dennis Chong, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor Northwestern University

Political Psychology provides a concise, readable, and conceptually organized introduction to the topic of political psychology. Houghton's clear and engaging examples directly challenge students to place themselves in both real and hypothetical situations which involve intense moral and political dilemmas. This highly readable text gives students the conceptual foundation they need to make sense of the rapidly changing and increasingly important field of political psychology.

Politics / U.S. / Current Events

Homeland Insecurity: How Washington Politicians Have Made America Less Safe by Terry D. Turchie & Kathleen M. Puckett (History Publishing Company)
There is unease in America.

The nation's value system appears to be in a constant state of change.

  • Why is it there a sense of unease about the direction of the nation?
  • Why is it that partisan politics seems to be the order of the day?
  • Why does nothing ever seem to get done in Washington?

There is an answer that goes to the very crux of the problem, as told in Homeland Insecurity. The addiction to power is a driving force that has caused some of those politicians afflicted with it to do things that have endangered national security. And yet it is rarely discussed by the mainstream media, Washington pundits, and political authors.

Many of the same people who inhabited the political jungles of Washington, D.C. during Watergate are still in power today. According to the authors, in their jockeying for political power and influence on public opinion, they foster the same ill will and distrust of the FBI they have for 30 years. Their political persecution has not improved the FBI's performance or insured that Americans are safer today within our borders than we were before the attacks of 9/11. In fact, partisan political control of the FBI, as well as the public hammering of the Bureau by politicians using the media to broadcast their agendas, has resulted in a dangerous paralysis of operations in the field. In an effort to gratify the White House and Congress, the Bureau has rushed to implement ill-advised and hasty changes in its own structure and the way it does its work.

Homeland Insecurity is a study of how some Washington politicians, addicted to the acquisition of power, compromised national security in order to satisfy their addiction by undermining the investigatory authority of the FBI. In the book authors Terry D. Turchie and Kathleen M. Puckett name politicians from both parties who are responsible for undermining the ability of the FBI to protect Americans from both domestic and international terrorism. They warn readers that partisan assaults on the FBI, if unchecked, will destroy the last impartial defender of United States law and the rights of individual citizens in the current terror war.
The book examines twelve elected politicians, who, driven by their addiction to power, have compromised national security for their own political advantage. Tracing the activities of these officials and a select number of appointees from Watergate of the 1960s to the present time, Turchie and Puckett, in case-like fashion with documented support, illuminate the role that the addiction to power has had on shaping the nation's security structure.

Turchie, former Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, is currently the Director for Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism for the University of California at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Puckett, who spent 23 years as an FBI Special Agent, founding member of the FBI National Security Division’s Behavioral Analysis Program, provides behavioral threat assessment consultation to international corporations and governmental security agencies, and is a law enforcement consultant to the Program of Psychiatry and the Law at the University of California at San Francisco.

An absolutely fascinating story about the effects of power hungry individuals who place their self interests above the security of this great nation. Homeland Insecurity should serve as a wake up call to America's politicians, if they truly want us to continue to be the ‘Land of the Free.’ With any luck, perhaps some of them will move forward to become leaders, instead of walking backwards down the road of politics as usual. – Colonel Ted Spain, U.S. Army (Ret.), First and last military police chief of Baghdad

...With the precision of a surgeon and the marksmanship of a sniper the authors peel away the wrapping surrounding some of our most famous leaders both past and present. What we find laying under the public veneer are some pretty ugly facts. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a partisan book whose timing is set to coincide with November’s election. Turchie and Puckett have no political affiliations, in their eyes both Republicans and Democrats are equally guilty as charged... – Simon Barrett, Blogger News Network
Turchie, a former FBI Deputy Assistant Director, and Puckett, an author and former Special Agent (Hunting the American Terrorist), bring their expertise to bear in a spirited defense of the bureau and a stinging attack on those who would limit its scope. Damning ‘the exercise of unfettered political power’ in Washington that has constrained FBI operations, the authors charge politicians with being "literally addicted to the perks and pleasures of power," their only aim to protect themselves from exposure. Comparing Washington's political culture to the "royal courts of monarchies and the ancient Roman Senate," they specifically charge presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush with "concealment, lying, and deception," and are particularly unsparing in their criticism of VP Dick Cheney. Truly fascinating insights crop up throughout, such as their discussion of Associate FBI Director Mark Felt, aka ‘Deep Throat,’ who was attempting to expose Hoover's successor L. Patrick Gray, a Nixon appointee with an important role in the Watergate cover up... – Publishers Weekly

In Homeland Insecurity Turchie and Puckett focus on those individuals who have apparently acted to serve an addiction to power to the detriment of our nation's security structure. The book shows how Washington politicians, driven by their need to protect their power platforms, have undermined the investigative powers of the FBI, the only government agency authorized investigate them. The book, while not politically partisan, is a strongly focused on the FBI as the nation’s security structure.

Professional & Technical / Law / Science

The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness by James G. Speight (Chemical Industries Series, No. 122: CRC Press)

The increased technical nature of litigation coupled with an increase in the number of cases have given rise to the need for a book specifically written for scientists and engineers called to testify as expert witnesses. There are only a few books that relate to the expert witness, but none is aimed specifically at the scientist and engineer.

Unique in its approach, The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness assists these experts in conveying the often complicated information to a non-technical audience.

The book begins with a complete discussion of the functions of the expert witness before delving into the process of how attorneys find experts. A significant portion discusses the professional resume and other tools the expert can use to market him- or herself. James G. Speight supplies a primer on the rules of evidence and a discussion of the attorney-expert witness relationship. He includes ample treatment of the use of reports and visual aids, as well as issues that arise during depositions. The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness closes with a comprehensive discussion of the trial itself, followed by post-trial responsibilities. A complete glossary of terms further clarifies the material.

Speight, with more than 40 years’ experience in areas associated with the properties and processing of conventional and synthetic fuels, is the editor of the journals Petroleum Science and Technology, Energy Sources Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, and Energy Sources Part B: Economics, Planning, and Policy.

The book:

  • Reviews responsibilities before, during, and after trial.
  • Conveys legal terms in an understandable manner for the non-legal expert.
  • Includes coverage of significant Supreme Court cases and rulings that determine the use of expert witnesses, including Frye and Daubert.
  • Explains the traps and the attempts to disqualify that a witness may encounter and provides tips on how to counter them.
  • Details the courtroom layout, the process of the trial, and the use of visual aids.
  • Gives attorneys insight into the behavior and capabilities of scientists and engineers.

As explained in The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness, the scientist and engineer are responsible for presenting the salient technical facts to the court in areas varying from toxicity, other adverse effects of a chemical or physical agent, and immediate injury due to explosions and fire to chemicals splattered on the face with damage to skin or eyes. In addition, harm caused by exposure to a chemical substance may not manifest itself for a number of years, and individual plaintiffs may not display specific symptoms at the time of a trial. The claims for damage can be for a variety of effects, and all members of the plaintiffs' case may not claim the same injury. Also to be considered is the indi­vidual who is sensitive to a specific compound. This person may seek monetary damages against the manufacturer of that agent.

All of these effects may fall into the area of science and engineering in which the science or engineer must present the truth clearly and coherently to the court. The scientist or engineer has the task of explaining to a judge and jury exactly what caused the incident and the effects of the chemical under question. The mathematical equations propagated by many engineers may not suffice. In the courtroom, they are mainly teachers and explainers of complicated phenomena. The data must be presented in an understandable and unbiased manner to enable nonscientists (the judge and jury) to make a decision.

The scientist and engineer are also needed in regulatory rule making. Experts are often called before legislative committees at local, state, or national levels to present evidence that will lead to new regulations and laws. There are also cases where scientists and engineers are needed at trials for whistle-blowers as well as for cases of scientific misconduct. Some states mandate that an expert be used in certain cases, especially if another expert is being sued for professional negli­gence or scientific misconduct.

Not many scientists and engineers have the experience to testify effectively. Not all attorneys know how to deal with competent scientists and engineers. This is a learning experience for all involved.

The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness is aimed at scientists and engineers who intend to be useful as experts for the plaintiff or for the defense. Someone – the attorney, the paralegal, the scientist, or the engineer – must take on the responsibility for presentation of the data to the court. Scientists and engineers must attempt to be the most effec­tive witnesses possible. Speight, who has testified numerous times as an expert witness, provides guidance that gives witnesses all the information needed to testify confidently and effectively. In addition, both plaintiff and defense lawyers and their paralegal assistants can profit from The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness, which is written from the viewpoint of an experienced scientist. Highly detailed and exceedingly thorough in scope, the book is clear and readable.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Education & Training

Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5th edition by Tamara L. Callahan & Aaron B. Caughey (Blueprints Series: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

One of the best selling volumes in the Blueprints series, Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5th edition provides students with a concise review of what they need to know in their ob/gyn rotations or the Boards. Each chapter is brief and includes pedagogical features such as bolded key words, tables, figures, and key points. A question-and-answer section at the end of the book presents 100 board-format questions with rationales. This fifth edition has been completely updated with the latest changes in the field. Authors are Tamara L. Callahan, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and Aaron B. Caughey, Associate Professor, Fellowship Program Director, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

New to the fifth edition of Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology:

  • 100 USMLE-style multiple-choice questions with full explanations.
  • Key points at the end of each chapter summarize important information.
  • Expanded coverage on the newest techniques in contraception and sterilization and hormone replacement therapies as well as contemporary treatment options for uterine fibroids and invasive breast cancer.
  • Enhanced art program offering a new tri-color system to increase usefulness of figures and tables as well as a brand new section of full-color plates.
  • Companion website.
  • Access to the fully searchable text plus an additional 50 board-formatted questions with rationales.

Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology provides students with a complete review of the key concepts, research, and therapies in modern practice. Callahan and Caughey have expanded the text to include the most up-to-date topics and evidence-based research and therapies. Information is provided on the latest changes in the management of cervical dysplasia, preeclampsia, cervical insuffi­ciency, and preterm labor.

The succinct and telegraphic use of tables and figures was highly acclaimed by their readers, so they have redoubled their efforts to expand their usefulness by adding a significant amount of updated and improved artwork including a new section of color plates. In each case, they have tried to include only the most helpful and clear tables and figures to maxi­mize readers’ ability to understand and remember the material. Readers also asked for an enhanced art program, so a tri-color system is being used in this edition to increase the usefulness of the figures and tables.

Callahan and Caughey have likewise changed their bibliography to include updated evidence-based articles as well as references to classic articles and textbooks in both obstetrics and gynecology. These references are now provided at the end of Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology and are further expanded in the on-line references. It was also suggested that the review questions should reflect the current format of the boards, so they have included new and revised board-format questions in this edition with full explanations of both correct and incorrect options provided in the answers.

What Callahan and Caughey have also learned from their readers is that Blueprints is more than just board review for USMLE Steps 2 and 3. Students use the books during their clerkship rotations, subinternships, and as a quick refresher while rotating on various services in early residency. Residents studying for USMLE Step 3 often use the books for reviewing areas that were not their specialty. Students in physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and osteopath programs use Blueprints either as a companion or in lieu of review materials written specifically for their areas.

In 1997, the first five books in the Blueprints series were published as board review for medical students, interns, and residents who wanted accurate clinical content for USMLE Steps 2 and 3. At that time Callahan and Caughey originally wrote this book as they were completing medical school and starting residency training, they now have 12 years of additional experience, which makes the book even better. With clinical high-yield content,  Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology covers everything readers need to know for the USMLE and rotations – while maintaining its succinct, organized, and concise style.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Church History / Biographies & Memoirs

Ireland's Saint: The Essential Biography of St. Patrick by J. B. Bury, edited by Jon M. Sweeney (Paraclete Press)

Why does the study of St. Patrick matter today? If you have come to [Ireland's Saint] with questions and curiosity of your own, I hope you will find much to engage you here. One of the best summaries of Patrick's spirituality that I have encountered is this: "One of our most ancient manuscripts, the Book of Armagh, tells us that Patrick wished the Irish to have two phrases ever on their lips, Kyrie Eleison and Deo Gratias; Lord have mercy, and Thanks be to God. It was between these two prayers that Patrick lived out his own full and saintly life. It is where we, too, will find the fullness of life – trusting in the forgiveness of the One who loves us, and eternally grateful for everything." – from the Introduction

The story of St. Patrick's life is full of Druids and sorcery, tribal leaders and ancient curses, and the flowering of Ireland. He was taken from his home in England and dragged across the sea to Ireland. When he escaped, he traveled on the European continent, lived for a while as a monk, and then returned as a missionary to the people who had enslaved him.

Many legends surround the life of St. Patrick. He traveled all over the emerald isle bringing both Christianity and the Roman Empire to its shores. John Bagnell Bury (1861-1927), the first modern biographer of St. Patrick, sought to find the man beneath the layers of myth and legend. Ireland's Saint explores Patrick's place in history, the influence of earlier Christians on Patrick's work, and the political and social conditions in the Roman Empire at that time.

This new edition of Bury's classic biography, Ireland's Saint, has been re-edited and introduced by Jon M. Sweeney, and includes sidebar notes from other biographers, mystics, historians, and storytellers of Ireland. Sweeney is an editor and writer best known for his editing of Paul Sabatier's classic biography, The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis.

Bury was an Irish historian and an expert on the Greek and Roman Empires. He grew up in County Monaghan the son of an Anglican rector and was made a fellow of Trinity College in Dublin at the young age of 24. In 1902, Bury was appointed the prestigious Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, a position which he held until his death. He wrote many scholarly works, including History of the Later Roman Empire, Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians, and this biography of St. Patrick of Ireland.

First published in 1905, Bury's biography of St. Patrick was the most influential study of the saint ever written up until that point. Bury's scholarship and conclusions directed the understanding of Patrick for at least a half century. Almost immediately, for instance, he overturned long-standing tradition that held that Patrick's mission lasted sixty years and the saint died in 493. Bury said Patrick's mission was only thirty years, the additional thirty were added by early hagiographers, and Patrick passed away in 461.

The original title of Bury’s book was The Life of St. Patrick and His Place in History.

As Bury mentioned in the first sentence of his original preface, he was attracted to the subject of St. Patrick "not as an important crisis in the history of Ireland, but, in the first place, as an appendix to the history of the Roman Empire, illustrating the emanations of its influence beyond its own frontiers." One of the primary emphases of his biography of Patrick was to place the Ireland of Patrick's day in the proper historical context, as influenced by the Germanic and Scandinavian invasions of the third to ninth centuries, but also, in many ways, to portray it as stubbornly apart from the empire. His biography of Patrick has been accurately described as "a postscript to the author's history of the later Roman Empire, dealing with the final episode in the spread of Roman civilization (which by this time happened to include Christianity also) among the barbarian peoples".

Many scholars today argue with Bury's conclusions, saying that we cannot know as much as he claimed to have discovered in the sources. According to this line of thinking, only the writings of Patrick – the Confession, written when Patrick was an old man responding to charges made against him by British priests, and the Letter Against Coroticus, written somewhat earlier – are reliable witnesses to the facts of Patrick's life and work. Bury disagreed, creating a portrait that tells us far more than simple ‘facts,’ and yet, stopping far short of hagiography. His is the ideal modern biography. In fact, Bury was one of the leaders among historians at the turn of the twentieth century who desired to transform scholarship and modern understanding of the past using critical tools of analysis.

Sweeney in the introduction to Ireland's Saint describes his additions and changes to this edition. For example, this edition includes many sidebar notes that add the thoughts (and occasional corrections) of more recent historians on various issues. Also, in the spirit of Bury's account, several sidebars provide portions of Patrick's own writings that have a bearing on the points being made. Sweeney also plumbs the wealth of novels, poems, legends, art, theology, and other writings that serve to fill in the picture of Patrick drawn in Bury's account.

He made other changes to the original edition in creating Ireland's Saint; for example, Sweeney takes what was originally Bury's excellent summary chapter, "Patrick's Place in History," and makes it his first. The style of biographical writing a century ago was different than it is today; it used to be that the biographer would tell his tale from beginning to end, only to unleash his most detailed opinions in a concluding chapter, followed by a voluminous amount of additional material, including refutations of other scholars, discursive analyses of key points, and so on, in various appendices. Sweeney culls the best of this latter material from the original edition and disperses it throughout, speaking straightforwardly to readers. Many sentences and paragraphs that originally appeared in the notes and appendices sections of Bury's biography are incorporated into the main body of the biography.

Sweeney also updates the language of Bury's prose, altering the style and sentence structure only when necessary for contemporary readers. Throughout Ireland's Saint, he adds dates after the names of important figures and made other invisible additions aimed at a modern understanding. Because he has no doubt that today's readers wants to read more of Patrick's two writings – the Confession and the Letter Against Coroticus – Sweeney incorporates some of these into Ireland's Saint; and he includes a prose translation of the bulk of the "Hymn of St. Seachnaill," in chapter 10.

In his original preface, Bury wrote, "When I came to Patrick, I found it impossible to gain any clear conception of the man and his work. The subject was wrapped in obscurity, and this obscurity was encircled by an atmosphere of controversy and conjecture. Doubt of the very existence of St. Patrick had been entertained.... It was at once evident that the material had never been critically sifted, and that it would be necessary to begin at the beginning, almost as if nothing had been done, in a field where much had been written."

Bury described his attempt to be impartial by referring to himself as "one whose interest in the subject is purely intellectual." Such a comment says more about his era than about the man. It is impossible to read Ireland's Saint without feeling the passionate interest that the author had for his subject. And the fact that Bury was a Protestant is perhaps what led him to also write in his original preface, "I will not anticipate my conclusions here, but I may say that they tend to show that the Roman Catholic conception of St. Patrick's work is, generally, nearer to historical fact than the views of some anti-Catholic clergy."

As a modern historian writing at the beginning of modern religious history writing, Bury made very few comments about Patrick's direct influence on the spiritual life of the Irish, or anyone else. Bury was quite modern in this respect, trying to keep fact apart from feeling, and the spiritual away from the ecclesiastical, in his accounts. Sweeney’s concerns are somewhat different, and he adds some sidebars with reflections on the spiritual import of Patrick throughout the work.

A more recent biographer of Patrick has written, "Bury was possibly the most learned historian produced by the British Isles in the twentieth century. He knew all the European languages except three; and his familiarity with the scholarly literature of Europe was unmatched. . . . The result was such a work of scholarship as seemed to be the last word on Patrick." – Thompson, as quoted in the introduction by Jon Sweeney.

Bury was a clear and precise writer, but he was also one for metaphor and the delicate turn of phrase. A protestant, Bury in Ireland's Saint provided a balanced perspective of the Catholic saint. All in all, this is a portrait for the ages. Sweeney successfully reintroduces the book to modern readers, and we are grateful.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Judaism

In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity by Oskar Skarsaune (IVP Academic)
Oskar Skarsaune, professor of church history at Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway, makes a contribution to our understanding of the development of the early church in its practice (e.g., worship, baptism and Eucharist) and doctrine (e.g., Scripture, Christology, pneumatology). In the Shadow of the Temple offers the new perspective that Christians were in ongoing and deep conversation with Jews during the early centuries leading up to Constantine. The common perception of a drastic ‘parting of the ways’ after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. has tended to distort our understanding of the succeeding decades and centuries of Jewish and Christian history. Notwithstanding the fact that there were points of bitterness and strife, the relationship is better viewed as that of a younger and older sibling. There is much evidence of interaction between the early Christians and rabbinic Judaism, both at the level of leadership and laypeople, and this interaction left its impression on the church. 

Contents of In the Shadow of the Temple in addition to the introduction include:

Part One: The Mother Soul: Judaism from the Maccabees to the Rabbis

  1. The Cultural Dimension: Judaism & Hellenism
  2. The Political Dimension: Jews & the Roman Empire
  3. The Geographical Dimension: The Land of Israel & the Diaspora
  4. Jerusalem: The City of the Temple
  5. How Many ‘Judaisms’?

Part Two: Christian Beginnings: From Jewish Party to Gentile Church

  1. Jesus Within Judaism
  2. The Early Jerusalem Community of Believers in Jesus
  3. The Mission to the Gentiles & the Question of the Torah
  4. The Land of Israel: The Church of Jewish Believers
  5. The Diaspora: The Church of Jews & Gentiles
  6. Encounter with Paganism – & the Jewish Heritage
  7. Orthodoxy & Heresy: The Challenge from Gnosticism & Marcion
  8. Elder &Younger Brothers: The Second-Century Debate with Judaism

Part Three: The Persistence of the Jewish Heritage: Faith & Order in the Early Church

  1. Which Books Belong in the Bible? The Question of Canon
  2. Christology in the Making (I): The Messiah
  3. Christology in the Making (II): The Incarnate Word
  4. The Creative Spirit
  5. Conversion, Baptism & New Life
  6. Worship & Calendar: The Christian Week and Year
  7. Passover & Eucharist

Part Four: Epilogue

  1. The Church Facing a New Era

In the Shadow of the Temple offers surprising insights into how much interaction took place between early Christians and Jews. It supplements standard textbooks on early church history as it reconnects the ‘disconnect’ between New Testament his­tory and early church history. It also contains ‘snapshots’ of the­matic developments rather than continuous historical narrative and includes helpful annotated bibliographies by topic for further reading and research. In the Shadow of the Temple also includes indexes of modern authors, subjects and ancient writings.

Yet another book on the Jewish roots of Christianity? Yes, but with a difference: Most books on this topic are written by scholars for fellow scholars or as textbooks for students. In the Shadow of the Temple is nei­ther; it is intended for general readers. Through the years, Skarsaune says he has felt an increasing fascination with the story of Christian origins and in this book he tries to convey some of that fascination. Skarsaune explains the book's main thesis: The question of Jewish influences cannot be left behind once we pass, say, A.D. 150. It is a question that to some extent accompa­nies the church for a long period of time – and that later, in different periods of medieval and later church history, comes back as a challenge from contem­porary Judaism. Concerned with the Jewish roots of Christianity, In the Shadow of the Temple begins earlier and with more emphasis on Jewish matters than is usual in church histories. For the same reason the approach chosen does not break off around A.D. 150, but is followed through the pre-Constantinian period.

The story is told not as a connected, chronological narrative, but focuses on some selected themes, illustrated with representative episodes, snapshots, anecdotes.

Professor Skarsaune has long been known as a leading scholar of early Jewish and Gentile Christian history. Here he brings his outstanding specialist learning to bear in a wonderfully acces­sible, comprehensive introduction to the Jewish basis of Christian faith and history throughout the first three centuries. In binding together the New Testament's Jewish roots with the life of the early Jewish and Gentile church, this is an outstanding textbook of Christian origins. – Markus Bockmuehl, Oxford University

Although this book is written at a level that will be easily accessible to students, it is based on sound and fresh scholarship by a leading early church historian. His book has the merit of surveying the history of the Christian movement from its beginnings with Jesus through the pre-Constantinian period from the specific perspective of demonstrating the close links between Christianity and its Jewish roots that persisted throughout this period. The author has not only harvested much specialized scholarship . . . but also has his own personal contribution to make. This attractive presentation is a must for all students of the early church. – I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen

Oskar Skarsaune is surely right on the Jewishness of early Christianity and the importance of the temple for its development. He marshals an accurate display of historical information and exercises sound judgment in weighing probabilities. The result not only establishes the Jewish influences on early Christianity but also presents a persuasive synthesis of key elements in the story of Christian origins. – Everett Ferguson, Abilene Christian University

In this highly informative and stimulating book, Professor Skarsaune demonstrates how illumi­nating it can be to read the New Testament from the perspective of the fully Jewish character of early Christianity. This novel approach to Christian origins will enrich readers, making them more sensitive to the Jewishness of the New Testament and early Christianity and more appreciative of the debt Christianity owes to the Jews. – Donald A. Hagner, Fuller Theological Seminary

Oskar Skarsaune's In the Shadow of the Temple is outstanding and will not only serve well the general reader, for whom the author writes, it will also serve well the scholar and student alike. Skarsaune has produced a gem that deftly lays out the major events, institutions, beliefs and figures of Judaism of late antiquity and how they shaped early Christianity. This reader-friendly book is a must. – Craig A. Evans, Trinity Western University

Skarsaune in In the Shadow of the Temple provides a new look into the devel­opment of the early church through evidence of interaction between the early Christians and rabbinic Judaism. The book is a fresh, major contribution to an open-ended conversation going on in the enlightened commu­nity of readers. Skarsaune gives readers numerous fascinating episodic and topical glimpses into this untold story. The book is intended for professors, students and all those interested in church history.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Ministry / Management & Leadership

Go Grow Your Church!: Spiritual Leadership for African American Congregations by James F. Miller, with a foreword by Vashti Murphy McKenzie (The Pilgrim Press)

Dr. Miller shares the transitional story of taking DuPage AME from a church shocked at pastoral transition and looking for a new church home to a church with a building program that accommo­dated the needs of the people. There is a plethora of stories that show how God met them at every turn and led them through the search for a building, buying property, worshiping in a hotel, to finally building a new place. – Vashti Murphy McKenzie, from the foreword

Everyone wants a growing church; but not everyone counts the cost of handling growing pains. Go Grow Your Church! is a guide to help new pastors, seasoned pastors, and lay leaders of African American congregations in administration and spiritual leadership of their churches. It offers administrative advice, suggests methods, and maps out an implementation process. James F. Miller, D.Min., pastor of DuPage A.M.E. Church in Lisle, IL for eighteen years, drawing from his many years of experience as a pastor of a congregation he grew from 150 to 2,300 members, takes into consideration how congregations will respond to the methods and connects the elements of spiritual growth with the practical aspects of church ministry.  

Go Grow Your Church! does not sepa­rate spiritual growth from an administrative managerial process. Miller shares that one of the keys to evangelism is how visitors are handled. He emphasizes the voluntary nature of the church; people invest their treasure but also their emotional and physical selves. Miller uses a total church teaching modality that immerses the congregation in the subject or issue from every point of view, including printed material, Bible study, and worship. He emphasizes that the fiscal key to effective stewardship is a strategic approach to how the financial resources are raised. Go Grow Your Church! provides insights not only on evangelism and stewardship but also on raising the church budget, planning capital projects, financing capital projects, worship, and personal and congregational spiritual growth.

He concludes with "Seven Paths to Your Best Ministry Now!" This chapter highlights priorities for all pastors and ministry leaders. They include the need to develop a spiritual perspective on life and min­istry that must be maintained by practicing spiritual discipline. The temptation is to be busy, but Miller stresses that in order to grow a church there is a need to develop disciplined people with disciplined thoughts and actions. This requires the maintenance of a self-care discipline.

Love creates the adhesive that bonds the uniqueness of individ­uals into the body of Christ. Miller indicates that in order to ‘wage peace’ in the midst of conflict, love becomes the weapon to win souls. Courtesy and kindness must be expressed at every opportunity. Finally, he notes that the ministry leader must cultivate pa­tience with understanding and an acceptance of God's will in every circumstance.

The ministry of Go Grow Your Church! is to suggest methods that will not only explain what to do, but also show an implementation process for accomplishing the stated purpose. What distinguishes this book from others on this subject is that it takes into account how the congregation will respond to these methods. In the Bible, the people of God are described as being ‘stiff-necked’ and ‘peculiar.’ In contemporary society they are busy, preoccupied, and always opinionated. Any advice on directing God's people must be sensitive to who they are. Having a good idea of what to do in the church is quite different from getting that longtime church member who is set in his or her ways to accept and support that idea. That young executive in the church who is trained in a certain way of working will not adjust his or her approach simply because the pastor has a vision. The ac­ceptance and support of ministry initiatives by the congregation is crucial to success. Common wisdom says, "It's not what you do but how you do it." Both what to do and how to do it are addressed in Go Grow Your Church!.

Progressive church administration from the perspective of dealing with God's people is the book's theme.

Miller's work is not only empowering for those who have a vision for growth, it is also very helpful for those who are seasoned and experienced in ministry. I recommend it to everyone. – Rev. William D. Watley, Ph.D., pastor, St. James AME Church, Newark, New Jersey

This book consistently helps pastors empower laity while maintain­ing appropriate pastoral leadership. It is also deeply spiritual while providing a solid theological under girding and a scriptural mandate for the practical work of administration and leadership. – Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, president, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis

A must-read for pastors and church ministry leaders looking for help in their administration of the church. Miller offers administrative advice and suggests methods that not only explain what to do, but show an implementation process for accomplishing statistical growth. – Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper, Jr., pastor, Metropolitan African American Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia; past general secretary, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.

God's how-to plan for church growth. Miller has given the instruc­tive path to anyone who talks about church growth. Read it and walk your talk. – Rev. Dr. Cecil L. ‘Chip’ Murray, pastor emeritus, First AME Church, Los Angeles

Filling a need not previously addressed, Go Grow Your Church! is precisely the prophetic consciousness the Christian church needs today. Timely, appropriate, and uniquely spiritual, the book will take you to a new place in your personal walk with God and help you lead your congregation to a new level of Christian maturity and ministry. – Dr. James C. Wade, director of church growth and development, African Methodist Episcopal Church

In this writing Miller joins spiritual growth with the practical aspects of church ministry. A sigh of relief will come from both pulpit and pew when people read Go Grow Your Church!. The candid sharing of experiences and research will be appreciated by those beginning the journey of ministry leadership as well as the mature minister looking for fresh insights. The book is a valuable resource that can be used for instruction and training clergy and lay leadership. The book has theological and philosophical overtones, and these afford it a personal distinction and an ecumenical embrace. It will be useful for in­dividual study as well as for groups of students preparing to be instruments in building and growing people, communities, and congregations.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference

How We Got the Bible: A Visual Journey by Clinton E. Arnold (Zondervan Visual Reference Series: Zondervan)

How did the Bible come to be?
How has it been passed down to us through the ages?
Is it still trustworthy and relevant after all these years?

The Bible is the bestselling book of all time and the basis of faith for billions of people around the world. Encompassing the fields of archaeology, biblical studies, and history, the story of how the Bible has come to us today is a fascinating one. It is told in How We Got the Bible, accompanied by full-color photographs and illustrations.

This book takes readers on a tour through the origins of the Bible. The story of how the Bible came to be is told visually – a process that began with Moses and extends to our modern translations.
How We Got the Bible, written by Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature at Talbot School of Theology in LaMirada, California, includes:

  • Clear explanations of each development in the Bible’s history.
  • Lush photographs and illustrations showing readers the Bible through the ages.
  • Brief, engaging sidebars.

Readers will marvel at the care and reverence with which this ancient book has been preserved. Just a few of the insights readers will gain include scriptural origins on animal skins and clay tablets and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Large in format, rich in information and large, full-color images, How We Got the Bible takes readers on a fascinating tour. Each set of pages covers a separate topic. Virtually 2/3 of the information is visual, making this book appropriate for adults who have limited reading skills or minimal patience with pages of text and a keen interest in the origins of the Bible.

Religion & Spirituality / Judaism

Yirat Shamayim: The Awe, Reverence and Fear of God edited by Marc D. Stern, with Series Editor Robert S. Hirt (The Orthodox Forum Series: KTAV Publishing House, Inc.)

The Torah was given in fire, and, in its essence, resembles the nature of fire. This is the nature of fire. If one comes too close to the flame, he will be smitten by the heat. If one detaches himself completely from the fire, he will remain cold. Therefore, man must warm himself at an appropriate distance from the fire.

My relationship with God and his Torah must be such that while we are close and even intimate, it is not a relationship on an equal basis. We must always bear in mind that while God is ... a merciful God and our merciful Father who loves us and calls us His children.... we cannot and dare not approach God and Torah over a counter of expediency and attempt to negotiate with Him according to our values and priorities. For God always remains ... the jealous God, the demanding God, the exacting God.

It is entirely true that... the love of God, is the highest degree that man can attain in the worship of the Almighty. But sometimes I feel that we have too much [love] and too little [fear]. We may have too much love of God and too little fear of God. – [attributed to Rabbi Tzi Dov (Harold) Kanotopsky] – from the Introduction

Yirat Shamayim – literally the fear or awe of heaven (God) – is a fundamental concept for Orthodox Jews. Perhaps because it is so basic to their religious life – or perhaps because they would prefer not to think of the radical demands it makes – contemporary Orthodox Jews do not often systematically consider its implications. In Yirat Shamayim, the authors examine from a variety of perspectives what fear of heaven requires in definition, education, ideology, the synagogue and politics.

The editor of the volume is Marc D. Stern, co-director of the Commission on Law and Social Action of the American Jewish Congress. He was previously a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals. He writes widely on religion and public policy.

The Series Editor is Rabbi Robert S. Hirt, senior advisor to the president of Yeshiva University and vice president emeritus of its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He occupies the Rabbi Sidney Shoham Chair in Rabbinic and Community Leadership at RIFTS.

Contributors to Yirat Shamayim include:

  • Rabbi Kenneth Auman, rabbi at the Young Israel of Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York. He is Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America.
  • Rabbi Jack Bieler, rabbi of the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Dr. Alan Brill, Cooperman/Ross Endowed Professor in honor of Sister Rose Thering, Seton Hall University.
  • Rabbi Shalom Carmy, teacher in and Chairman of the Department of Bible and Jewish and Jewish Philosophy at Ye­shiva University and is editor of Tradition.
  • Rabbi Mark Gottlieb, Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York.
  • Professor Warren Zev Harvey, Chairman and Professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Chairman of the Departments of Bible and Jewish Thought at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and faculty of the Drisha Institute.
  • Rabbi Elyakim Krumbein, aliyah to Israel in 1972, appointed to the educational staff at the Yeshivat Har Etzion, which he continues to serve.
  • Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Har Etzion and the Gruss Institute, RIETS.
  • Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein, Ram at Yeshiva Har Etzion since 1992.
  • Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City.

Stern, editor of Yirat Shamayim, this seventeenth volume in the Orthodox Forum Series, and the authors of the articles explore to what extent yirat shamayim informs our lives within the private domain and the public square.

A glance at the impressive shelf of 16 volumes of the Orthodox Forum shows that, with no more than a handful of exceptions, the subjects explored all touch upon the intersection of Orthodoxy with some external phenomena: interactions with non-observant Jews, war, tikkun olam, business ethics, ‘scientific’ biblical and Talmudic scholarship, and egalitarianism.

These volumes and their focus toward the world accurately mir­ror the outward, non-self-reflexive, focus of centrist or modern Or­thodoxy. One of the distinguishing characteristics of that branch of Orthodoxy is precisely its concern with the outside world, combined with a sense of obligation to, and not merely exploitation of, it.

That engagement with a world, only some of whose core val­ues Orthodoxy shares, carries with it exposure to values, ideas, and methods (e.g., critical biblical studies, egalitarianism) which require examination before being assimilated – if at all – into Orthodox practice and thought. The neglect of inwardly directed, parochial obligations – such as the focus of Yirat Shamayim, the fear of God – might be dismissed as nothing more than the neglect of an uncontested principle taken for granted and routinely put into practice. Perhaps, too, it comes from a commendable reluctance to speak with confidence and familiarity about the Unknowable.

But to Stern it seems that the reason is in large part dif­ferent and more worrying. It is as if we in the modern Orthodox community – he does not exclude himself – are discomfited by God talk. This reticence is not, God forbid, because we are guilty of substitut­ing orthopraxy for orthodoxy – although there is some measure of that – but because we have not developed a modern vocabulary of fear of God. That fear is, or should be, an indispensable element of our religious commitment and environment. The failure to cultivate a sense of what yirat shamayim demands of us in all of our contemporary circumstances distorts and impoverishes our religious life and our communal discourse. Indeed, in this regard, it must be said that we have not nurtured our own garden.

Yirat Shamayim begins a discussion of yirat shamayim in modern language and in light of our current cir­cumstances; to insist that the subject deserves, demands, our sustained attention; and to enable all of us to better integrate it into our lives, at the same time to avoid shallow and empty descriptions of piety or arrogant smugness. Neither should it compel a growing denial of modern biological and social science, and a systematic denigration of the importance of human endeavor.

The topic of yirat shimayim is explored in Yirat Shamayim from a variety of perspectives. For reasons beyond our control (and concerns of space and time), some aspects of yirat shimayim are not explored. There is, crucially, no comprehensive exploration of yirat shimayim as it impacts halakhic observance, the problem of humra and yarei shamayim yotzei et kulam (the God-fearing person will satisfy all views), so characteristic of the halakhic world of the Mishna Berura, but not the contempora­neous Arukh ha-Shulchan. Although we have Professor Alan Brill's important essay on yirat shamayim in modern Hasidic practice, we don't have an exploration of yirat shamayim across the full range of Hasidic views, as they exist now, and as they were in the past. And while the issue was explored at the Forum, we have not reprinted all the essays dealing with the problem of educating to yirat shamayim in all the yeshiva high schools.

Precisely because yirat shamayim is primarily an internal sense, generally impossible to accurately assess from the outside, there is an understandable tendency to seek easy and readily applied external criteria by which to measure it. Parents and educators seek litmus tests to measure success in inculcating it. Such criteria easily give rise to superficial assessments and can mask blatant abuse – think of some of our recent child abuse or kashrut scandals – but they are also social markers of the importance we attach as a community to yirat shamayim. Stern is personally skeptical of the value of such markers, but he is, in more reflective moments, ready to concede that he might be wrong. After all, these counter-cultural markers do declare a commitment to the service of God.

According to Stern, the best way to learn and teach yirat shimayim is to see it up close when it is palpably genuine. Stories of gedolei yisroel – if true and not just hagiography – and, better yet, up-close observa­tion of those who are truly yarei shamayim may in the end be the best way to teach yirat shamayim, and not just to children. In this regard, Yirat Shamayim s or any other volume about yirat shamayim will fall short. Still, the tradition in­sists on full discussion of abstract religious concepts, and assumes, as with other aspects of Talmud Torah, that the discussion is both intrinsically valuable and conducive to good practice.

The volume contains dueling papers, including Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and Stern debating whether the government has a role to play in fostering yirat shamayim; Soloveichik thinks it does and Stern thinks it does not. Readers will detect both commonalities and dissonances in the various approaches to yirat shamayim laid out in the volume, chief among them, varied assessments of the viability of religious humanism. Another paper by Mark Gottlieb outlines a possible way of teaching yirat shamayim; he calls for a refocusing of the curriculum in boys’ yeshivot with the aim of providing a comprehensive world view rooted in yirat shamayim. Implicit in the article is a call for some modification of the almost exclusive focus on Talmud in the curriculum. This idea will undoubtedly provoke debate.

Yirat Shamayim provides useful insights into how consideration of yirat shamayim, the awe, reverence, and fear of God, can add value both to our daily spiritual and mundane activities. The book plainly does not exhaust the topic, but it opens the conversation.

Social Sciences / Ethnic Studies

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, revised edition by Ronald Takaki (Back Bay Books)
America is a nation peopled by the world. This reality has recently surfaced in U.S. Census statistics on the changing colors of the American people, and certainly in the 2008 presidential campaign, with the election of Barack Obama. Some have called Obama a ‘post-racial’ politician, a term that was debated throughout the election cycle. But whether the first African-American to win the presidency was a post-racial candidate – and whether he will become a post-racial president – there can be no doubt that race still plays a part in American society, thought, policy, and culture. As we look toward America's future in the 21st century and beyond, awareness and understanding of our nation's long tradition of diversity could deeply inform our hopes, plans, and decisions.

Upon its first publication in 1993, A Different Mirror was hailed by critics and academics everywhere as a dramatic new retelling of our nation's past. Publishers Weekly dubbed it "a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies." Henry Louis Gates, Jr. claimed that Ronald Takaki's book "advances a truly humane sense of American possibility." Since then, the book has become a classic, not just among students of multicultural studies but among thousands of readers with an interest in the larger story of our nation's rise and development.

Beginning with the colonization of the New World, A Different Mirror recounts the history of America in the voice of the non-Anglo peoples of the United States – Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and others – groups who helped create this country's rich mosaic culture.

Retired professor Takaki has now revised his landmark work. This edition of A Different Mirror gives readers new insight into the deep and rich multicultural makeup of America – past and present. In this expanded work, Takaki digs deeper into American history and explains how and why our nation became a society of so many different races and cultures.

For hundreds of years, Americans have come not only from Europe, but also from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and America itself. Together these immigrants built a fledgling nation into a world superpower, and together they created a uniquely diverse society. In A Different Mirror which spans the years from the 1607 founding of Jamestown to the present, Takaki retells American history through the lives of many minorities who helped create this country's mighty economy and rich mosaic culture. Takaki's study includes not only the travails of conquest and oppression but also the triumphs of ending slavery and advancing civil rights. New topics include:

  • The 200,000 black Union soldiers during the Civil War, and Lincoln's acknowledgment that "without them, the North would have to abandon the war effort in three weeks."
  • The Jewish-American protests against President Roosevelt's failure to do everything he could to rescue the victims of Hitler's horror.
  • The history of Chinese Americans from 1900-1941.
  • The significance of race in the dropping of the atomic bomb.
  • The Vietnam War and the resettlement of its refugees in America.
  • The new wave of Muslims fleeing the unending wars in Afghanistan; how they are rebuilding their lives and communities in a post 9/11 America.
  • The hot-button issue: Mexicans – ‘illegal’ immigrants – crossing the border, pushed by poverty and pulled by the lure of opportunity.

Takaki, the grandson of Japanese immigrant plantation laborers in Hawaii, has been a professor of Ethnic Studies for 36 years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught more than 20,000 students. He is the author of several widely-acclaimed books, including Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America and Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans.

A splendid achievement, a bold and refreshing new approach to our national history. The research is meticulous, the writing powerful and eloquent, with what can only be called an epic sweep across time and cultures. – Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

Takaki's book is nothing less than an attempt to view all of American history from a multicultural perspective. It is a laudable effort – humane, well-informed, accessible, and often incisive. It is clearly not intended to divide Americans but rather to teach them to value the nation's inescapable diversity. – New York Times Book Review

The forces of assimilation and of diversity coexist in unstable tension, and exploring that tension is the central challenge confronting the would-be historian of multiculturalism. A Different Mirror tells part of the story with verve and moral passion.... one closes the book with a deepened sense of the centrality of ethnicity in the American past. – Washington Post

Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror is an excellent place to start in understanding how this uniquely diverse country came to be and where it is headed. – Christian Science Monitor

… Students may be surprised by some of the revelations, but will recognize a constant thread of rampant racism. … Students will find this overview to be an accessible, cogent jumping-off place for American history and political science assignments, plus a guide to the myriad other sources identified in the notes. – Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA, School Library Journal
A valuable survey of the American experience of several racial and ethnic minorities…. To the author, the ruling class incorrectly conceptualized America for centuries as a white country (‘the lovely White,’ in Benjamin Franklin's words), only really confronting American racism after Hitler demonstrated where such ideology could lead. As in his Iron Cages (1979), Takaki avoids looking at groups in isolation: He stresses underlying cultural themes (the repeated debate among whites about whether racial ‘inferiority’ is due to nature or nurture; the ruling class's strategy of appealing to race to thwart alliances of ‘the giddy multitude’ of laborers and landless poor), as well as intergroup relations and mutual visions, both positive (a Mexican-Japanese labor alliance) and negative (the Irish – whose treatment by the English made them identify strongly with African-Americans – almost immediately adopted attitudes of racial superiority in the US). … – Kirkus Reviews

Today, as always, history matters, for how Americans remember the past will influence what choices they make in the present. This new edition of A Different Mirror is a remarkable achievement that grapples, in a balanced way, with the raw truth of American history and examines the ultimate question of what it means to be an American. With meticulous research and engaging storytelling, the book brilliantly illuminates our country's defining strengths as it reveals America as a nation peopled by the world. Many will find A Different Mirror indispensable.

Travel / U.S.

San Antonio: Past, Present, & Always by Mel Brown (Schiffer Publishing Ltd)

The Alamo is prominently featured in this travelogue about San Antonio. While appreciating the city's past, author Mel Brown relates his memories of the old town including the present-day San Antonio Zoo and Sunken Gardens and the gone-but-not-forgotten Coney Island Hot Dog and the Empire and Prince movie house.

San Antonio juxtaposes archival postcard views with either modern cards or personal photos to show what change have occurred to the buildings and locations that make up San Antonio. Brown, a professional artist and native of San Antonio, includes his personal memories in an effort to entertain, as well as educate, new residents and tourists about aspects of the old town.

San Antonio is one of the most historic cites in North America. San Antonio gives readers a personal look at the colorful town based on Brown’s recollections as a fourth generation San Antonian whose family's roots go back to the start of the 1880s. This is achieved through the use of more than three hundred images from vintage and modern postcards, a few rare archival photos, and modern snapshots.

One special type of old postcard prominent in this collection is the "Real Photo Post Card" or the RPPC, as photo historians and collectors know it. This style of postcard was promoted by the Kodak Company in 1903 as a way to popularize its new No. 3A Folding Pocket Camera, which shot a 3-½" x 5-½" size image that could be printed with a postcard back upon request. Other cameras were also used to make personal photo type postcards, but beginning in 1907 Kodak offered a printing service that allowed any negative to be printed as a postcard.

Perfect examples are the RPPCs in San Antonio that document San Antonio's floods of the early twentieth century. They were not commercially viable as tourist postcards, but were popular among city residents and were printed by the dozen rather than by the thousands. Other Real Photo cards were made throughout the years of the Alamo on unique occasions or special anniversaries, but again not in high volume like ordinary color postcards for typical tourist sales. Many of those now deemed to be the most collectable seemed to have been produced by professionals or serious hobbyists who knew a good subject when they saw it.

Another feature of San Antonio is found in its theme of Past, Present, & Always. Here Brown juxtaposes an archival postcard with either a modern card or a personal photo taken recently to show what change has occurred. In some cases there is almost no change to be seen. He shows the Alamo in rare and unusual views highlighting this historic old mission/fort. Also included are views of ‘the other Alamos’ – ones of movie fame or those located elsewhere, and he adds several RPPC views showing the catastrophic history of the pretty little river that destroyed much of downtown once or twice a decade until the 1930s, now converted into the famous River Walk.

With his exciting collection of post cards and other old art and with his artistic eye, Brown in San Antonio provides readers with a fascinating view of San Antonio. 

 

Contents this Issue:

The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow by Walter Mosley (Socrates Fortlow Series: Basic Civitas Books)

Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman H. Gershman (Syracuse University Press)

European Art of the Seventeenth Century by Rosa Giorgi, translated from the Italian by Rosana M. Giammanco Frongia (Art through the Centuries Series: Getty Publications)

Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results by Bill Treasurer (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc)

Mystery Ride! by Scott Magoon (Harcourt, Inc.)

Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City edited by Marcus Foth, with a foreword by Anthony Townsend (Information Science Reference)

Driven to Kill: Vehicles As Weapons by J. Peter Rothe (The University of Alberta Press)

Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How edited by Catherine E. Snow & Susan B. Van Hemel (The National Academies Press)

The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons, 3rd edition by Jeff Lenburg, with a foreword by Chris Bailey (Checkmark Books)

Classic Country Singers by Douglas Green (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers, with a foreword by Paul Grilley (Shambhala)

Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel (The New Press)

Simple Stained Glass Quilts by Daphne Greig & Susan Purney Mark (Krause Publications)

The Horse Book of Lists: 968 Fascinating Facts & Tantalizing Trivia by Cindy Hale (Bowtie Press)

The Treasure by Iris Johansen (Bantam Books)

Angling the World: Ten Spectacular Adventures in Fly Fishing by Roy Tanami (The Lyons Press)

Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases by David Patrick Houghton (Routledge)

Homeland Insecurity: How Washington Politicians Have Made America Less Safe by Terry D. Turchie & Kathleen M. Puckett (History Publishing Company)

The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness by James G. Speight (Chemical Industries Series, No. 122: CRC Press)

Blueprints Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5th edition by Tamara L. Callahan & Aaron B. Caughey (Blueprints Series: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

Ireland's Saint: The Essential Biography of St. Patrick by J. B. Bury, edited by Jon M. Sweeney (Paraclete Press)

In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity by Oskar Skarsaune (IVP Academic)

Go Grow Your Church!: Spiritual Leadership for African American Congregations by James F. Miller, with a foreword by Vashti Murphy McKenzie (The Pilgrim Press)

How We Got the Bible: A Visual Journey by Clinton E. Arnold (Zondervan Visual Reference Series: Zondervan)

Yirat Shamayim: The Awe, Reverence and Fear of God edited by Marc D. Stern, with Series Editor Robert S. Hirt (The Orthodox Forum Series: KTAV Publishing House, Inc.)

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, revised edition by Ronald Takaki (Back Bay Books)

San Antonio: Past, Present, & Always by Mel Brown (Schiffer Publishing Ltd)