Arts & Photography / Performing Arts / Reference
Stagecraft Fundamentals: A Guide and Reference for Theatrical Production by Rita Kogler Carver (Focal Press)
Stagecraft Fundamentals is the only book that tackles every aspect of theatre production. The history of stagecraft, safety precautions, lighting, costumes, scenery, career planning tips, and more are discussed with full-color examples that display step-by-step procedures and the finished product.
Rita Kogler Carver’s goal in writing Stagecraft Fundamentals was to bring the newest ideas and technologies available in professional theater to the attention of anyone with an interest in backstage theater. Each chapter goes into enough historical detail to give readers a background and a perspective. Visual examples as well as explanations of current techniques bring readers not only into the present, but also into the future. Carver is an Emmy Award winner for her lighting design at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a guest lecturer at NYU's Tisch Design Department, a theatrical and television lighting designer, and the Executive Artistic Director of Dragonfly Performing Arts, Inc.
Carver in the introduction says that she has been fortunate to interview a great many working designers and technicians, and she quotes them throughout Stagecraft Fundamentals. She uses examples of past and current design ideas to make comparisons. This fundamentals book contains a lot of information for one book, organized to help it make sense. Chapter 1 discusses the terms that form the foundation to build on in later chapters, and Chapter 2 discusses the design process. The next logical step is to discuss composition and color theory, and Chapters 3 and 4 explore the basics of these topics.
Chapter 5 begins the implementation phase of Stagecraft Fundamentals. This is the first tangible step for any designer – to get the ideas out of our head and onto paper. The ‘old way’ is with a pencil and the ‘new way’, with technology, adds the use of computer drafting software and photo manipulation software as well as other programs written specifically for the theatre. Chapter 6 talks about safety both backstage in the theater as well as in the various shops related to implementation of the designs.
Scenic tools and materials are discussed in Chapter 7. There are so many different projects readers might need to do, and Carver gives them the basic information they need to walk into a scene shop and get the job done. She also talks about how to choose the right tool or material for the job at hand. Chapter 8 is about scenery. This chapter gives readers a background in the traditional scenic elements: flats, platforms, stairs, doors, etc. The next logical topic in Stagecraft Fundamentals is a discussion on paint. Chapter 9 addresses a range of painting tools and techniques.
Chapter 10 follows with a discussion on rigging. Now that the scenery is built, how do readers get it into place and into its storage position? Does it fly in and out, does it track on and off, or does it just sit there? Once readers learn about the knots that make theater rigging safe and easy, Carver moves on to more complicated rigging where new technology has really made a huge impact. From all things scenic to all things lighting, Chapter 11 discusses lighting – the history of lighting through a variety of developments straight through to today's fixtures. Chapter 12 is about costumes. From costumes, the next logical step is makeup. Chapter 13 explores the basics of makeup. The book discusses street, or everyday, makeup, as well as aging and some special effects. Additional effects can include everything from a broken nose, to scarring, to injuries, to all sorts of fantasy characters.
Chapter 14 explores sound. With the advent of digital technology, the impact sound can have has drastically improved. Sound can now follow a performer around the stage, or around the entire theater. Digital delays can ensure that audiences of 50 to 50,000 all hear the same thing at the same time. Special effects are the focus of Chapter 15. A prop may need to explode into flames, rain or snow might be needed for a certain scene, or a character might need to fly through the air.
The culmination of working in the theater is the actual performance. Chapter 16 talks about stage management. The stage management team is responsible for everything that happens during the actual performances. Stage managers have to be organized, they have to love paperwork, and they need to work well with a variety of people.
Chapter 17 discusses all the places readers might find employment. There are many job opportunities out there, some of which are directly related to the theater. Many of these possibilities will be in related fields and some will be in what seems at first totally unrelated. The book explores these options to make sure students’ training gets put to good use in an area where they will be happy.
Stagecraft Fundamentals is beautifully illustrated throughout…. The writing is clear and personal, which should be very appealing to students. …Her close ties to the New York theatre scene gives this book a special insight into the professional world, one that goes well beyond what is found in most college textbooks. – John Holloway, Professor in the Theatre Department at the University of Kentucky and President of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 346
Written in a user-friendly conversational tone…. Wonderfully complete and filled with hundreds of images, most of them in color…. While the chapters provide a thorough survey of all subjects, the book is packed with illustrations and photos; a lot of them drawn from nationally recognized professionals and companies. Stagecraft Fundamentals will supply students of stagecraft with a solid foundation of the body of knowledge required to pursue a career in backstage theatre or one of its numerous avenues of employment. – Dennis Dorn, Professor of Theatre Technology and Faculty Technical Director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Beautifully written! The author has succeeded in relaying technical theatre information without being too technical …. When I think back on the insufferable intro to tech theatre books I had to read, I feel cheated I didn't have this one as a student. I will be using this text in my class! – Rob Napoli, Designer and Technical Director at Penn State University, Berks Campus
The bible for theatrical production, Stagecraft Fundamentals is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference in existence. It provides students with a solid foundation while getting them excited about the theater. For students beginning in theatre as well as the practiced, Carver assembles her vast experience into a one-stop guide. The book includes step-by-step models that lead readers through each aspect of theatrical production. Complete and thorough, written in a conversational style, the book is filled with tons of information and useful, full-color illustrations.
Business & Investing / Decision-making & Problem Solving
Building Design Strategy: Using Design to Achieve Key Business Objectives edited by Thomas Lockwood & Thomas Walton (Allworth Press)
DESIGN STRATEGY: the interplay between design and business strategy, wherein design methods are used to inform business strategy and strategic planning provides a context for design. – from the book
From the most extensive resource on design management in the world, The Design Management Institute (DMI), comes a collection of essays on the innovative process of design strategy. Finding new and creative ways to connect to customers and build brand recognition is understood to be critical in business success, but turning this knowledge into practical application is where Building Design Strategy comes into play.
Design is a strategic resource that can create value and help to stimulate innovation and growth. Keeping in mind that the ultimate goal of corporate strategy is to promote business growth and positive returns on company investments, Building Design Strategy helps executives use design-oriented processes to solve business problems in this new and creative way.
The book offers insights on using design as a strategic resource. Based on articles from the Design Management Review, editors Thomas Lockwood and Thomas Walton of DMI have gathered wisdom from more than 25 international experts, including CEOs and presidents of major design firms, brand managers, and professors of design. In Building Design Strategy, this first-hand knowledge is combined with case studies of corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar, Microsoft, and Target to present the role of design as it relates to corporate strategy. This anthology of essays, each written by a key player or analyst, offers ideas for creating and maintaining a successful corporate design strategy. Mark Dziersk, EunSool Kwon, Arnold Levin, Laura Weiss, and other top-name contributors share their experience and insights. Topics explore the range of issues today, including thinking ahead; adapting to challenges; developing tangible strategies; using design to convey ideas; choosing worthwhile projects to help growth; and using design to create fiercely loyal customers. Encompassing a range of design styles and corporate models, these essays take readers through four key process sections – Creating Corporate Strategy and Creating Design Strategy; Implementing Design Strategy; Methods and Integration of Design Strategy; and Cases in Design Strategy – and blend theory and practice on the road to business innovation. This blend of theory and practice explores the different types of design and the benefits of implementing strategy in design, including:
· Improving innovation success.
· Enabling corporate strategy.
· Improving return on investment.
· Improving usability and sustainability,
· Increasing customer delight.
· Improving development processes.
· Entering new markets.
· Building brand image.
· Learning to see the big picture.
Lockwood is president of DMI and an international authority on brand and design management and Walton is editor of DMI’s Design Management Review and a former professor of architecture.
Building Design Strategy offers a compendium of fresh thinking about the power of design in business, where the lines blur. It's about how and why, a fresh prescriptive, and reminds us strategy is not about the corporate organization chart. It's open to smart thinking from everyone, designers included. – Lee Green, Vice President, IBM Brand and Values Experience
Design strategy is a business tool in its ascendancy. Lockwood and Walton have delivered a concise anthology of critical issues that drive design strategy today. If you are looking to better understand why design strategy is an emerging business imperative, this is the place to begin. – Jerry Kathman, President/CEO, LPK
Good design is created when a company is able to realize the functional, social, and economic potentials inherent in the use of design. It is particularly important for companies that are not able to compete on production costs to become aware of the huge potential of working strategically with design. As this book demonstrates, design creates value and helps stimulate innovation and growth. – Christian Scherfig, Director, Danish Design Council
From the most extensive resource on design management in the world, DMI, comes a provocative collection of essays on the innovative process of design strategy. Using a compelling blend of theory and practice, topics in Building Design Strategy explore the full range of challenges plaguing businesses today. Considering ‘design’ as a way of thinking and as a process, Building Design Strategy presents this model in a new and forward-thinking way that no business strategist should be without.
Business & Investing / Communications
Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting: Enhancing Learning in Organizations, 2nd edition by Rosalie T. Torres, Hallie Preskill & Mary Piontek (Sage Publications)
Do your communicating and reporting strategies seem outdated?
Are you looking for ways to communicate more effectively?
The second edition of Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting helps full-time evaluators and those with evaluation responsibilities plan, conduct, communicate, and report the findings of evaluations using creative techniques. This comprehensive book is designed to help evaluators facilitate understanding, learning, and evaluation use among individuals, groups, and organizations. It guides readers through the phases of an evaluation, from early planning stages through the final reporting and follow-up.
Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting has been thoroughly revised and updated with 75% new material and 34 new case examples. The second edition provides worksheets and instructions for creating a detailed communicating and reporting plan based on audience needs and characteristics. Authors Rosalie T. Torres, Hallie Preskill, and Mary E. Piontek cover advances in technology including Web site communications, Web and videoconferencing, and Internet chat rooms. Piontek is assistant research scientist at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Preskill, Ph.D., is Professor of Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Torres, Ph.D. is President of Torres Consulting Group, and former Director of Research, Evaluation, and Organizational Learning at the Developmental Studies Center.
New to this edition of Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting:
Creative coverage of communicating and reporting techniques by way of photography, cartoons, poetry, and drama in formative evaluations.
Coverage of how to communicate evaluation processes and interim findings to stakeholders during the evaluation.
Coverage of the use of technology in communicating and reporting evaluations, illustrated with examples and complimented by guidelines, tips, and cautions for using these high-tech formats.
Examples from well-known evaluators that illustrate various communicating and reporting techniques.
A recap of how the latest information on learning processes mediates the way that readers and stakeholders assimilate and use information
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 present approximately 29 different strategies for facilitating learning for individuals and groups. Chapter 2 provides the background for understanding and planning for effective communicating and reporting. It covers the purposes, timing, audiences, and learning processes involved in successful communicating and reporting, as well as detailed guidance for creating a communicating and reporting plan. Chapter 6 addresses various issues and challenges that evaluators face: communicating and reporting for diverse audiences, communicating negative findings, integrating quantitative and qualitative findings, developing recommendations, and communicating and reporting for multi-site evaluations. Chapter 7 addresses a number of persistent issues – Torres, Preskill and Piontek look at topics such as evaluator roles, organizational readiness for learning from evaluation, and time for collaboration.
Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting can be useful to readers in a variety of ways. Reading Chapters 1 through 7 in sequence provides an integrated approach to working more effectively in organizations. Those who want immediate help in using different communicating and reporting formats can begin with any of Chapters 3, 4, 5, or 6, each of which provides implementation tips, cautions, and examples for each strategy.
[This is] a book that addresses some of the overlooked, taken-for-granted aspects involved with the planning, conducting, and reporting of good evaluation. This book helps evaluators improve the utilization of evaluation results by using an ongoing, integrative collaborative learning approach with project stakeholders. Through the use of collaborative techniques and emphasis on various communicating and reporting formats, evaluators gain knowledge and skills that will assist them in helping organizations learn, grow, and improve. – Steven R. Aragon, Human Resource Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This is among the most thorough and practically applicable texts written about communicating and reporting evaluation findings. The additions of the new sections in this edition reflect the changing nature of work-related communication in general, of which evaluators need to be aware and take advantage. This is a significant contribution to our practice. – Jennifer Martineau, Center for Creative Leadership
The text is not only thorough, but also easily accessible to both beginners and experienced practitioners. Not only are the authors masters at writing with jargon-free clarity, what they have to say demonstrates their apparent underlying methodological grasp of the field. Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting is intended for graduate program evaluation students in departments of education, public policy, and organizational studies. Managers, researchers, practitioners, and anyone responsible for designing, conducting, or managing evaluations will find this book invaluable. The collaborative learning approach to evaluation describe in the book is more applicable for evaluations conducted within organizations than for those conducted to inform policy at a broad level, but the perspectives and strategies will stimulate reflection, conversation, and growth for evaluators practicing in a variety of settings.
Business & Investing / Management & Leadership
Clear Leadership, Revised Edition: Sustaining Real Collaboration and Partnership at Work by Gervase R. Bushe (Davies-Black Publishing)
What happened to that win-win partnership with one’s boss, colleague, or direct report that suddenly dissolved into mistrust and suspicion? Despite one’s best intentions, how did hidden agendas, unresolved conflicts, and miscommunication get in the way?
With new research, insight, and up-to-date examples of what it takes to collaboratively organize and sustain healthy relationships at work, this newly revised edition of Clear Leadership tackles these issues head-on. Building on the concepts that made the first edition a success, Gervase Bushe, professor of leadership and organizational change in the Segal Graduate School of Business at Simon Fraser University, explains why even the most promising partnerships get derailed and what readers can do about it. Bushe goes beyond the question of what is taking place in troublesome partnerships and looks into the essential question of how to be a competent partner and collaborator.
What the author calls interpersonal mush dominates the workplace and hampers honest communication, creates misunderstanding, and prevents teams, workgroups, and entire organizations from realizing the promise of sustained partnerships and collaboration. In this update, Bushe has added dozens of current workplace examples, and new chapters that examine what it takes to create partnerships in which people feel equally responsible for the success of joint projects or processes. Bushe brings up-to-date the tools and techniques needed to build sustaining partnerships and make today's collaborative organizations work: self-awareness, experience-based communication, authenticity, truth telling, and real conversations.
Included in this revised edition of Clear Leadership are twenty-three skill-building exercises, specific tools and techniques that bring clarity and contemporary applications to the original model, and personal stories of how individuals at all levels of the organization have put the principles and practices of clear leadership into action and achieved outstanding results. Highlighting the latest research and practical experience in the field, Bushe provides new thinking on learning conversations, creating cultures of clarity, and the concepts of ‘parking reactions’ and confronting as inquiry. There are completely new chapters that add a sharper focus on ways that the original model of the four selves – the Aware, Curious, Appreciative, and Descriptive Self – can help anyone cut through the miscommunication, misunderstanding, and toxic mush dominating the workplace to achieve clarity, full engagement, and sustained collaboration.
A thoughtful and thought-provoking book explaining how to untangle the hidden mush limiting your own, your team's, and your organization's effectiveness. Masterful integration of theory and practice with extensive examples and skill exercises. Excellent resource for anyone who wants to be more effective interacting with others at work and at home. – Robert J. Marshak, author of Covert Processes at Work
Makes leadership accessible to all, even the quiet, shy, avoid-eye-contact ones among us. It is also written with elegant simplicity. Buy it, read it, pass it around. – Peter Block, partner, Designed Learning; author of Community, the Structure of Belonging
Provides insights that will enable leaders to harness the productive energies their people bring while avoiding many of the traps that imprecise and incomplete communication can sometimes create. – Bill Pasmore, SVP and Organizational Practice Leader, The Center for Creative Leadership
Rarely does one find a business model with as much impact on human behavior in the work of transforming relationships and organizations as the ‘experience cube.’ In a time when everyone knows they need to ‘get different’ in their interactions and in the workplace, Bushe, an organization and leadership development consultant for more than thirty years, gives readers a roadmap with examples.
Brilliant and utterly useful, Clear Leadership brings powerful concepts and fresh research to the thinking on leadership. A wise teacher, Bushe leads readers deep into the mush and gives them the knowledge and practical tools they can use to create the clarity essential to sustain and improve the quality of partnerships at work and to provide effective leadership. The skill sets are not just for leaders but for everyone engaged in partnering with others to accomplish something.
Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Psychology & Counseling / Sociology
Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace by Neil Thompson, with series editor Dale A. Lund (Death, Value and Meaning Series: Baywood Publishing Company)
The workplace is not immune to the problems, pressures, and challenges presented by experiences of loss and trauma and the grief reactions they produce. Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace offers insights and understanding to help readers appreciate the difficulties involved and prepare themselves for dealing with these demanding situations when they arise.
The book was written by Neil Thompson, Ph.D., Professor of Social Work and Well-being at Liverpool Hope University and Director of Avenue Consulting Ltd in the UK.
Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace is divided into seven chapters, each of which seeks to blend theory and practice. The first three chapters have more of a focus on theory, while Chapters 4 to 6 place greater emphasis on practice.
Chapter 1 lays down the foundations by providing an overview of some of the key points about loss, grief and trauma that readers will need to understand and respond to the problems that arise and, ideally, to be able to prevent them where possible. Chapter 2 builds on this by examining how significant loss and grief issues are in the workplace and how dangerous it is not to prepare for them. Chapter 3 plays a similar role by focusing on how trauma can have profound and far-reaching consequences for organizations – particularly for those who have not taken any preparatory steps to minimize the negative impact.
Chapter 4 explores some of the key legal and policy requirements that apply to loss, grief and trauma as they apply to work settings. It does not provide a comprehensive legal and policy guide, but it does provide a basis for organizations to meet their legal duties and to develop policies that are likely to be effective and helpful.
Chapter 5 has the title Providing Care and Support. It is concerned with identifying the support needs of staff and managers working within or on behalf of organizations that are dealing with grief and trauma reactions. The need to focus on supporting caregivers is another important aspect of this subject matter. Chapter 6 is entitled Helps and Hindrances, and it comprises a set of guidelines on what can be helpful in dealing with these very complex and sensitive matters, together with a discussion of the pitfalls to be avoided – the mistakes and misunderstandings that can fail to produce positive progress and may actually make matters worse.
Chapter 7 summarizes the key themes developed throughout the book and sets the scene for further learning and development. This emphasis on further learning is reinforced in the Guide to Further Learning which contains information and guidance on further reading, in journals, training materials, organizations and websites.
Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace covers some vitally important issues that have a history of being neglected despite the potentially disastrous consequences of failing to be prepared for them. It will not provide readers with everything they need to know on the subject, but it should provide a sound foundation and an impetus for them to develop their knowledge and understanding further.
Some people may find the subject matter difficult or worrying, as it involves facing up to some challenging issues. It is to be hoped, though, that the understanding and guidance Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace offers will help readers to feel better equipped to deal with these challenges.
Neil Thompson has placed loss, grief, and trauma in the wider context of people's lives, their well-being, the organizational policies and practices of workplaces, and the complex interweaving of working and personal lives. Current theory and practice are skillfully combined. A highly informative and readable text. – Louise Rowling, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
In this volume, Neil Thompson provides a solid, practical, theoretical analysis of loss, grief, and trauma in the workplace, and offers pathways to understanding, improving, and learning from painful life experiences. While recognizing that not all workplace environments, and not all losses and traumas, are the same, he provides a pathway to manage workplace loss and trauma that I have not found in any other book. I recommend this volume for professionals in the bereavement field, for teachers, for corporate executives, and for parents, students, families, and workers, past and present. This small volume will change the field and will allow many of us to better manage loss, grief, and trauma in the workplace. I thank Neil for writing such an excellent book. – Gerry R. Cox, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Director, Center for Death Education and Bioethics
Neil Thompson's timely, highly readable, and much-needed book, Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace, could (and should) be used by a wide readership, ranging from human resources directors, corporate executives, and boards of directors to business college/school course instructors. – Howard F. Stein, Ph.D., Professor and Special Assistant to the Chair, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Loss, Grief, and Trauma in the Workplace provides a valuable blend of theory and practice. Clearly written, well-crafted, the book provides a foundation of understanding and offers guidance on these vitally important workplace issues. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with making the workplace a more humane and effective environment, or anyone wishing to develop an understanding of the complexities of loss, grief, and trauma in our lives – students and professionals in management; organizational studies; human resources; employee assistance programs; the social scientific study of loss, grief, and trauma; and the helping professions: social work, counseling and psychotherapy, health care, ministry, chaplaincy, and pastoral studies.
Children / Animals / Ages 4-8
Fire-Breathers' Science Fair (Library Binding) by Tina Gagliardi, illustrated by Patrick Girouard (Carly's Dragon Days Series: Magic Wagon, ABDO Group)
Carly in Fire-Breathers' Science Fair struggles with schoolwork and dragon exercises at Fire-Breathers' Academy, just like every other average eight-year-old, except, of course, she’s a dragon. Who knew flying, breathing fire, and hiding treasure were so tough to learn? And at home she has to live with 23 of her 843 siblings. Luckily, she has the help of her imaginary human friend, Gretchen, to get through her dragon days.
Then in Fire-Breathers' Science Fair, it is time for the Fire Breathers' Academy Science Fair. Carly and Gretchen have a great idea for a project – a dragon head that breathes fire (made out of soda and vinegar). They work really hard to win the fair. But what happens when Gretchen's help turns out to be not helpful at all and Carly sends her away? Will Gretchen ever appear again?
Questions are provided at the end of the book to encourage further discussion. The book is imaginatively illustrated by Patrick Girouard.
Other books in this series include Don’t Forget the Knight Light, Dragonpox, Fire-Breathers’ Academy, The Golden Dragon, and The Last One Is a Rotten Egg.
Author Stone, and writer" the acknowledged master, the inventor of the famous Spenser Series.
Fire-Breathers' Science Fair features self-esteem and friendship themes in an easy-to-read text. The illustrations go way beyond the text, providing more information and fun, and giving the book a sense of being loaded with ideas.
Children’s / Biography / Ages 9-12
The Man Behind the Peace Prize: Alfred Nobel by Kathy-Jo Wargin, with illustrations by Zachary Pullen (True Stories Series: Sleeping Bear Press)
The Man Behind the Peace Prize tells the story of the enduring legacy of Alfred Nobel.
Almost everyone has heard of the Nobel Prize, a collection of prizes awarded for accomplishments in science, medicine, literature, and peace. But very few people know about the man who established the award and for whom it is named.
As told in The Man Behind the Peace Prize, Nobel was born in Sweden in 1833. A quick and curious mind, combined with a love of science and chemistry, drove him to invent numerous technological devices throughout his long life. But he is best known for his invention of dynamite.
Intending that his discovery of dynamite would benefit the world through the safe construction of roads and bridges, Nobel was saddened that the invention was used instead in the development of military weaponry. Although he benefited financially, he did not want warfare and the destruction of life to be his lasting legacy.
After reading a newspaper headline mistakenly announcing his death, Nobel was inspired to leave a legacy of another sort. On that very day, Nobel, the man who loved literature and poetry and the art of discovery, left a legacy to be remembered forever – The Nobel Prizes.
Author Kathy-Jo Wargin is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than 30 books for children and illustrator Zachary Pullen's picture-book illustrations have won numerous awards.
This beautifully illustrated book will appeal to readers of all ages. Alfred Nobel's career as an inventor raises many questions about science, history and ethics. The book is easy to read yet thought-provoking; it is exciting but still accurate in its description of the life of Alfred Nobel. – Ulf Larsson, PhD, Senior Curator Nobel Museet. Stockholm, Sweden
The Man Behind the Peace Prize is the true story of the enduring legacy of Nobel, providing insight into his world-altering discoveries and his private life. Nobel's personal story of the conflict between science and ethics rings true to this day.
Cooking, Food & Wine / Regional
The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down Home Family Stories and Cuisine by Janis Owens, with an introduction by Pat Conroy (Scribner)
…Janis Owens's cookbook is a love letter written to celebrate the poor white people of the American South who were my mother's people and my own. Since Janis is incapable of writing a bad sentence, her cookbook is a joy to read and a pleasure to return to again and again. She has produced a Cracker Escoffier, or a White-Trash Julia Child, that is hilarious and charming. Her tour of Southern food seems definitive to me. She does not gussy up any of her recipes for stylistic or culinary reasons. It makes you hungry just to flip through the pages of this high-spirited and user-friendly book. It also took me to long-forgotten memories of my past. – Pat Conroy, from the introduction
Cracker culture is one of the oldest and most misunderstood cultures in American history.
Crackers, rednecks, hillbillies, and country boys have long been the brunt of jokes, yet this Southern culture is a rich and vibrant part of the American mix. Owens traces the history of Crackers in America to show how they're more than just the "eighth-generation children of working-class immigrants who came to America before the Civil War." In The Cracker Kitchen Janis Owens traces the root of the word ‘Cracker’ back to its origins in Shakespeare's Elizabethan England – when it meant braggart or big shot – through its proliferation in America, where it became a derogatory term to describe poor and working-class Southerners.
According to Owens, ‘Cracker’ took a positive turn towards the 1970's, when "Disney moved to Florida and every Yankee on earth built a condo on the coast" and "the Florida-born natives began to self-refer as Crackers as a way of separating their old Florida culture from the flood of Yankee transplants." Today, ‘Cracker’ is a term of pride for many (including Janis who is a Florida-born native herself) and is used to describe the kind of people Crackers really are: proud Americans with a deep love of their country, their family, good food and storytelling.
With 150 recipes from over twenty different seasonal menus, The Cracker Kitchen offers a year's worth of eating and rejoicing: from spring's Easter Dinner to summer's Fish Frys, fall's Tailgate Parties, and winter's In Celebration of Soul, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Owens writes, "Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday falls on January 15, and I offer up this soul-inspired menu in his honor and for all the rest of the heroes of the Movement: John Lewis and Ralph Abernathy and every single Yank, Jew, Episcopal pacifist, and student agitator among them. When they put their lives on the line and agitated Jim Crow into oblivion, they freed not only the people of color but also the children of the oppressor, who inherited the gift of diversity and eventually learned a better way (or at least some of them did; I did). It's a favor that can't be forgotten and won't be; not if this Cracker has anything to do with it."
In The Cracker Kitchen, Owens organizes her Cracker cuisine into twenty different seasonal menus for significant celebrations throughout the year, including Easter, Bridal and Baby Showers, Sunday Dinner, Wild Game Days/Hunting Season, a Tailgate Party and Christmas. With more than 150 incredible recipes paired with personal stories, Janis guides readers through this southern culture of eating. Just a few of the recipes in The Cracker Kitchen include: Easter Ham (which involves the use of a can of cola!), Cracklin' Cornbread, Sister Jackson's Sausage Cheese Balls, Cold Coconut Cake, Aunt Izzy's Banana Pudding, Chicken Perloo, Mama's Fried Chicken, Strawberry-Pretzel Salad, Grannie's Chicken and Dumplings, Peanut Butter Pie, Velveeta Rocky Road Fudge, Fried Cooter, Baked Armadillo, and even Stewed Squirrel.
Recounted in Owens's voice, the family legends accompanying each of these menus leap off the page. Readers meet Uncle Kelly, the Prince of the Funny Funeral Story, who has family and friends howling with laughter at otherwise solemn occasions. Readers spend a morning with Owens and her friends at a Christmas Cookie Brunch as they bake delectable gifts for everyone on their holiday lists. And Owens's own father donates his famous fundamentalist biscuit recipe; truly a foretaste of glory divine.
A cookbook in celebration of cornbread fed, down-home family stories and cuisine. Owens, who proudly calls herself a ‘Florida Cracker,’ turns a derogatory term into a loving, humorous label for her people, at the same time inviting non-crackers to hear from and be fed by them as they usually cannot. Like an afternoon on a Southern porch, this book is filled with family stories and local legends delivered between mouthfuls of down-home cooking. – Publishers Weekly
Owens more than meets expectations, with every page filled with humor, short stories, notes on cultural peculiarities... Owens' lessons on being Cracker, delivered with a great ear for dialogue and a terrific sense of timing, cover everything... A keepsake. – Booklist
I am a MISSISSIPPI Cracker and as such, I am a natural-born authority on all things redneck, hick, country, and GOOD. Janis Owens is, I'm certain, a cousin of some sort – yes, we are all related down here and I am so proud of her and her new book The Cracker Kitchen couldn't be prouder if she was my own young'un. Everything in here is GOOD – if not good for you, at least it will improve your disposition, which will help us all out. – Jill Conner Browne, author of the bestselling Sweet Potato Queens' series
This collection of old-fashioned recipes is rich with stories that will put you in touch with the heart and soul of the South through its food, people, and history. – Ethan Becker, author of the Joy of Cooking
The Cracker Kitchen is an incredibly charming cookbook, an irresistible celebration of family, storytelling, and good old-fashioned eating sure to appeal to anyone with an appreciation of Americana. Written in Owens’s delightful and hilarious voice, this compelling anthropological exploration peels back the historic misconceptions connected with the word to reveal a breed of proud, fiercely independent Americans with a deep love of their families, their country, their stories, and, most important, their food.
Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms: Issues, Concepts, and Strategies, 3rd edition by Wilma Robles de Melendez & Verna Ostertag Beck (Wadsworth Cengage Learning)
We are preparing children to lead rewarding, productive lives in a world that always has been, and surely always will be, diverse. – James Brown McCracken
Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms, 3rd Edition, is a comprehensive text on the historical, theoretical, political, and sociological aspects of multicultural education as it relates to young children. Written by Wilma Robles de Melendez, Ph.D. and Vesna Ostertag Beck, Ed.D., both professors of early childhood education at Nova Southeastern University, the text provides practical guidelines, curriculum suggestions, and techniques for use in the classroom. This third edition includes updated content on demographics, children with special needs, and children's book lists. Readers follow Barbara, a kindergarten teacher, through the chapters to see how she handles the dilemmas and issues that arise in her day-to-day work.
As Melendez and Beck relate in the preface, writing this book is a personal and professional journey for them – personal because both of them came to the United States as immigrants and had the opportunity to witness firsthand the inadequacies of the educational system to provide for the needs of students from diverse backgrounds.
Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms is designed to serve as a text for teacher candidates who already have some theoretical background in child development and curriculum development. This includes undergraduate students who are getting ready to become early childhood educators as well as practicing teachers who want to be recertified in a new major. The book can be used as a primary text for courses in early childhood undergraduate and graduate programs. The book is also a resource for practicing early childhood professionals who need to learn about diversity and multiculturalism. Many components of the book, such as chapter activities and lists of children's books, can assist practitioners in creating more developmentally and culturally appropriate curricula and classroom environments conducive to young children's learning.
Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms is about organizing and developing culturally responsive learning environments where diversity is celebrated and explored for young children from birth to 8 years old. Melendez and Beck say they recognize the value of the specialized approach, but they wanted to create a book that is comprehensive in scope and presents diversity issues in a more complete context of our society. Diversity exists in sociological, historical, political, developmental, and instructional contexts, and this book presents the multifaceted approach to diversity as it relates to the education of young children.
The selection of content and the conceptual scheme for the book came from their experiences with their very diverse undergraduate and graduate student population in south Florida. As one of the most multicultural regions in the United States, south Florida teachers mirror the area's rich demographics. Many of the early childhood teacher candidates are bilingual and come from a multitude of Latin and Caribbean countries. As future teachers, they have a special desire to facilitate tolerance and acceptance of cultural and ethnic differences among young children. The comprehensive approach of the book is also the result of their realization that many times early childhood professionals and teacher candidates who work in multicultural and diverse communities do not live in them. Many do not understand that multiculturalism is a very personal part of today's society that permeates all aspects of life at any time and in any place. Melendez and Beck believe that, whether white or ‘people of color,’ whether native-born or immigrants, early childhood educators need to have a knowledge base that promotes a more holistic understanding of diversity and the role it plays in the lives of young children and in society.
Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms is organized in three parts. Part I deals with social foundations and theory of multicultural instruction. It contains the current historical perspectives of multiculturalism, future trends, and the social and psychological developmental influences that affect young children. Part II explores the past and current issues and directions of multicultural education. It explores the historical background and different approaches to teaching diversity. Part III provides resources in the form of guidelines and ideas for classroom implementation. Several actual multicultural instruments, curriculum plans, and classroom techniques are presented.
Four types of activities are provided throughout the book: "In Action ... ," "Snapshots," "Focus on Classroom Practices," and "Things to Do ...." They are intended to provide exercises, promote discussions, and present practical ideas. Each "In Action ..." activity is accompanied with questions and other information related to the material discussed in the body of the chapter. "Snapshots" are used to present events or excerpts from literature related to the information in the chapter. "Focus on Classroom Practices" features offer examples of activities and suggestions for classroom application of the theoretical concepts discussed in each chapter. The activities at the end of the chapter, "Things to Do ... ," provide additional practice for individuals and groups.
The authors have included an entry from Barbara's journal in every chapter in this edition of Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms. Each vignette represents a realistic situation that an early childhood professional may face in the classroom. The situations in which Barbara finds herself are taken from experiences of our students and are realistic for many teachers of diverse groups of young children. Chapter summaries are another new element of this edition. They were included to provide a brief overview of the content and to allow both teachers and students to peruse the material at a quick glance. The Standards Portfolio remains a part of this edition. The portfolio provides a unique experience because of its wide use in undergraduate and graduate programs as well as state and local agencies.
As in the previous edition, they use the standards of the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) as the framework for the professional portfolio. Melendez and Beck continue to correlate the NAEYC standards with widely known Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards to broaden the application of the portfolio.
All chapters have been revised to reflect the suggestions of the reviewers and as they thought appropriate. The specific changes in each chapter are:
Chapter 1: Updated demographic information.
Chapter 2: Updated information about ethnicities.
Chapter 3: Refined information about child development as it relates to the role of the family, family models, and the family's ways of socialization.
Chapter 4: Added information about development, identity, and socialization of young children.
Chapter 5: Revised and condensed some of the historical information and added information about equality, ESOL children, and children with special needs. New children's books were added.
Chapter 6: Provided more detail about specific curriculum models and culturally appropriate practice (DCAP).
Chapter 7: Added information about children with special needs and ESL children.
Chapter 8: Content was updated with additional ideas for instructional planning, and new children's books were added.
Chapter 9: Content was updated to include users of art and thematic teaching. New children's books were added.
Chapter 10: Content was updated regarding family and community involvement, and new children's books were added.
Some new illustrations have been added to broaden the diversity depicted in the book. Asian Americans, Native Americans, and others are included in the new edition.
The instructor's manual has a new format and is available in hard copy and online. A set of PowerPoint slides has been created for classroom use and is available on the website.
Education for diversity is important for the future of our country. The authors know firsthand what it is to be different, and these experiences have enriched them and given them multicultural and global perspectives that they share through this book.
In addition to being a text for those studying to become early childhood teachers, Teaching Young Children in Multicultural Classrooms, 3rd Edition, is a comprehensive resource for all practicing professionals who work with young children on a daily basis. The book balances theory and practice, which makes it suitable for various purposes. The flow of information and material is good, both within chapters and from chapter to chapter. The writing style is easy for all levels of students to follow, and concepts are explained in detail. ‘Barbara’ is also a nice feature and a character readers can identify with as she solves her multi-cultural dilemmas.
Education / Management & Leadership
Promoting Your School: Going beyond PR, 3rd Edition by Carolyn Warner (Corwin)
This third edition of Promoting Your School offers communication strategies to strengthen the partnership between schools, parents, businesses, and the community. Based on examples from successful schools, this guide provides insights and practical tools for successfully communicating school goals, successes, challenges, and educational priorities. The third edition offers updated strategies within each chapter and new chapters on using technology and gaining support for public schools. Readers will find
Information on media relations, crisis management, team building, and parent involvement.
Coverage of school and community resources to build a support base of human, material, and financial capital.
Forms, sample documents, handouts, and checklists for developing a customized school communications program.
Promoting Your School serves as a coach on how to be an articulate advocate for a school and develop a supportive constituency to help advance school goals.
The first edition of Promoting Your School was published in 1994. Because of its success, the publisher asked author Carolyn Warner, a respected public policy advocate, to update it with new material on the challenges facing education in the 21st century. Warner, who gained national stature as one of America's most articulate educational and public policy leaders, headed the Phoenix Union High School District Board of Trustees and now heads her own firm, Corporate Education Consulting, Inc.
The second edition of Promoting Your School, published in 2000, came out on the cusp of the explosion in technology that is still going on. Today even more rapid advances in technology continue to direct the ways we communicate. So Warner has done more research on the most effective applications of technology. Educational leaders who participated in the first and second editions of the book were asked for additional input. From elementary and secondary state school ‘Principals of the Year’ to ‘Superintendents of the Year’ to school public relations experts from around the country – all were invited to contribute.
The book is about communication. In this era of high-demand/high-performance expectations, schools struggle with their role in the community and with their ability to project an image that is both positive and honest. Academic requirements have increased at the same time that schools have taken on countless new responsibilities – responsibilities having nothing to do with the classic ‘three R's’ that traditionally have been fulfilled by extended families, community agencies, and religious institutions. Promoting Your School was written with these realities in mind, and to simplify at least some aspects of the life of all school leaders by helping them draw upon a wide array of school and community resources to build a support base of human, material, and financial capital.
Parents who believe their children are getting a quality education in their school or school district will not ‘vote with their feet’ by withdrawing their children from the public schools and enrolling them in a private school – and then lobbying for state funding to pay their tuition! If readers honestly and openly involve parents and the greater community in their efforts to improve their school or district, they will reward readers not only with their time and support but also with the most precious asset they possess – their children.
Stakeholders who know the truth about public schools have demonstrated a remarkable willingness to be supportive not only with their time but with their resources as well.
But readers have to communicate with them. Readers have to market (sell) their school and your district to the external constituencies of parents and community and employers, as well as to the internal constituencies of students, teachers, and staff. Every group must be given a reason for caring about what happens to their school.
No single book can answer every question or foresee every eventuality, but the strategies contained in this book can provide readers with a map to help them and their team get to where they want and need to go. Most of these techniques and strategies are drawn from the actual successful experiences of schools all across the United States. Still others are taken from real-world business and political situations in which collaborative, communicative leadership has overcome bureaucratic tradition and inertia.
There are 13 chapters in Promoting Your School. Each chapter deals with a separate component of communicating/marketing challenges and offers strategies for how to meet them. Each chapter is something of a stand-alone ‘cookbook’ intended to provide hands-on strategies, tips, how-tos, lists, and resources for reaching and enlisting your essential audiences. The emphasis is on the practical and the doable rather than the theoretical.
Warner says that selecting which material to include was a challenging task. The standards were to select those resources/samples that (a) seemed to best represent successful practices, (b) could be replicated outside their original setting, (c) covered as wide a spectrum of techniques and approaches as possible, and (d) could actually be implemented at the building level with building-level resources as well as at the district level, with a broader array of support.
A good base that can be used immediately. I would recommend it for university classes and to colleagues. – William A. Sommers, Program Manager, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, Austin
Clearly indicates how to communicate with a variety of groups to obtain public support. This book is very easy to read and understand and has a wealth of examples. – Anne Roede Giddings, Assistant Superintendent, Ansonia Public Schools, Ansonia, CT
The examples spur thought on how schools can best communicate with their communities. The book is truly a practitioner's handbook that any educator can learn from and put immediately into use. – Bruce Deterding, Principal Wichita Heights High School, Kansas
Novice and experienced school leaders will find this updated edition of the bestselling Promoting Your School packed with techniques for delivering a school's message effectively to internal and external constituencies and strengthening the partnership between schools, families, the community, and the private sector. The book is a comprehensive guide and ideal coach to practical communication strategies. It recognizes that principals and district administrators come to this task with varying levels of expertise in communications and marketing but that they are united by a common desire to help their schools be the best that they can be.
The book is also intended to at least to be helpful to leaders of PTA/PTO organizations who want to be effective and supportive school advocates; to business leaders who realize that, without quality public schools, they have no economic future; to community members who understand that good schools make strong, healthy neighborhoods; and to elected and appointed public officials who understand the relationship between high-achieving public schools and an enhanced quality of life for their constituents.
Education / Policy
The Obama Education Plan: An Education Week Guide by Education Week (Jossey-Bass)
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. – Barack Obama, August 28, 2008
With a ‘Yes We Can’ attitude and an ambitious platform for advancement, President Obama represents a changing face in education. With reenergized hope, Americans are eager to discover how the President will address the goals outlined in his campaign and to understand the potential impact of his proposals.
Obama's campaign proposals stood out for their breadth, detail, and ambitious goals. From the beginning, he made clear that investment in education was key to future economic prosperity. His plan called for expanding early education opportunities for all children, improving teacher quality, supporting school innovation, and putting a college education within the reach of many more students.
Elected on a platform of hope and change, Obama inherits a world of problems – notably, an economy in crisis – which will clearly affect the pace and scale of reform. The Obama Education Plan provides background on key points in Obama's education plan: articles on key educational issues, stories of innovative practice, commentaries on controversial topics, and advice from key educational leaders.
Education Week, which developed this book, has been the newspaper of record for preK-12 education for over 25 years. Covering education-related news, policy, and new research and practice, this weekly publication has over 200,000 readers. Its online component, EdWeek.org, serves up nearly 2 million ‘page views’ to about 300,000 visitors every month, and more than 900,000 people have registered to use the site. Education Week is the flagship publication of Editorial Projects in Education, a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to help raise the level of awareness and understanding of important issues in American education.
The Obama Education Plan is the first book to provide essential background information on the significant points of President Obama's education platform. It begins with the major points of the President's education goals starting from preschool and continuing all the way through college. Each chapter provides a summary of the issue and lists Obama's major plans for change as stated by his campaign. The proposals examined in the book are:
Invest in early childhood education.
Reform No Child Left Behind.
Expand choice and innovation.
Make math and science national priorities.
Address the dropout crisis.
Recruit, retain and reward teachers.
Improve college access and affordability.
Each of these proposals is followed with background information that defines and describes the issue, offers stories of success, and perspectives pro and con. The last chapter of The Obama Education Plan concludes with advice to the President from education leaders such as Arne Duncan, Linda-Darling Hammond, and Wendy Kopp.
At a time when parents, business leaders, and educators are universally pleading for a new approach, a new paradigm for preparing today's young people to meet changing global realities, there is great need for open dialogue about the future of education. This book leads the way in informing and guiding that dialogue. – Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me
A useful, balanced collection of the major contending views of education policy-makers. By setting the stage, it helps us think simultaneously about how to respond to the current climate of reform as well as the direction we might take if we chose to launch even bolder plans for changing America. – Deborah Meier, senior scholar, New York University, and teacher for 40 years in urban public schools
Enacting President Obama's education goals will take an extraordinary amount of leadership and resources, particularly in a time of financial hardship. The Obama Education Plan serves as a useful and thorough roadmap for the hard work ahead. The articles, commentaries and advice from leaders in education provide valuable insights on the complex issues at hand as Obama's proposals are debated, legislated, and implemented in the years to come.
Education / Professional Development
Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring: Assessing the Evidence by Michael Strong (Teachers College Press)
This volume is a unique and valuable resource for researchers, policy makers, school leaders, and education practitioners interested in helping new teachers survive and succeed in our schools. – from the foreword by Richard M. Ingersoll, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
A well-known authority on teacher induction programs in Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring offers an up-to-date review of recent research on the effectiveness of mentoring and induction support for new teachers. Michael Strong, Director of Research for the New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, provides an analysis of teacher induction programs and their consequences for education, teacher quality, teacher effectiveness, and teacher development. Because mentoring programs can be costly, particularly in large urban school districts with high teacher turnover rates, there is a rapidly growing body of research on program structures and their outcomes.
As a high school teacher in the 1980s, Strong says he never encountered induction or mentoring, he is not even sure he would even have known what those terms meant.
Educational historians have long told us that the teaching occupation has not had the kind of structured induction and initiation processes common to many white-collar occupations and characteristic of the traditional professions. Although elementary and secondary teaching involves intensive interaction with youngsters, the work of teachers, ironically, is largely done in isolation from colleagues. This can be especially difficult for new entrants, who are often left on their own to succeed or fail within the confines of their own classrooms. Critics have long assailed teaching as an occupation that cannibalizes its young and in which the initiation of new teachers is akin to a ‘sink or swim,’ ‘trial by fire,’ or ‘boot camp’ experience.
Teaching has also traditionally been characterized as an occupation with high levels of attrition, especially among beginners. All occupations, of course, experience some loss of new entrants – either voluntarily because newcomers decide not to remain, or involuntarily because employers deem them to be unsuitable. In teaching, however, newcomers have long had far higher rates of attrition than in other professions.
Ingersoll in the foreword to Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring says the data indicate that school staffing problems are to a significant extent a result of a revolving door, where large numbers of teachers depart teaching long before retirement. Fortunately, the sink-or-swim model has increasingly become a thing of the past. Over the past decade, a growing number of states and school districts have developed and implemented induction programs designed to provide support, guidance, and orientation for new teachers. Typically these programs are meant to serve as a ‘bridge’ from student of teaching to teacher of students. But, like the induction processes common to other occupations, there are a number of different, and sometimes conflicting, purposes behind teacher induction programs. Among them are support, socialization, adjustment, development, and assessment. Moreover, teacher induction can refer to a variety of different types of activities – classes, workshops, orientations, seminars, and especially, mentoring. Mentoring programs, for instance, can vary from a single meeting between mentor and mentee at the beginning of a school year, to a highly structured program involving frequent meetings over a couple of years between mentors and mentees who are provided with release time from their normal teaching schedules. All of this poses difficulties for those engaged in the matter of deciding which, if any program, activity, mechanism to employ in schools. To be sure, there has been a growth in research on the variety and effects of a wide array of these initiatives. However, the research itself also greatly varies in focus, rigor, method, applicability, and conclusion. Hence, there is a need for a careful sifting, assessment and summary of what the research tells us.
Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring lays out the findings from much of this research, some of which Strong has conducted himself during the last 10 years. He offers his opinion on this research and its findings, on methodology, and on problems and issues that researchers may or may not have considered. He also reviews what needs to happen for educators to be in possession of enough facts to determine whether mentoring and induction programs are effective, and if they are a sound investment for the future of teaching.
Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring concludes by saying that the evidence is by no means overwhelming that induction and mentoring programs influence more than teachers' sense of well-being and their rates of attrition, and is very scant on the outcomes of student achievement and teacher practice. Future researchers need to find funding to conduct well-designed, experimental studies that focus on student achievement, and to develop a reliable method for observing and evaluating teacher practice in the classroom. In the meantime, readers can console themselves with the knowledge that the evidence that does exist suggests that, where comprehensive programs are established and funded, excellent teachers will not quit before they finish their second year.
This balanced and informative book is a cautionary tale about the challenges of using empirical research to answer some of our most important educational questions. – Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Brandeis University
Finally, the information we have needed regarding support for new teachers is in one book. Well written, based on scientific research, and extremely important to the teaching profession, this book is a must-read. – Ed Pultorak, Former ATE President, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Dr. Michael Strong offers a detailed and well-balanced appraisal of the empirical evidence on the impact of teacher mentoring and induction programs. This is a 'must-read' for anyone who is interested in this topic. – Rodney T. Ogawa, Professor of Education, UCSC, Santa Cruz
Effective Teacher Induction and Mentoring is the most comprehensive, and up-to-date analysis of induction programs and their consequences. The book synthesizes the relevant research in a manner that is accessible, straightforward, and useful. It offers the author’s expert opinion on the research. And it details what is needed to implement and evaluate induction/mentoring programs. The information in the book will be of use to those who are in the business of making decisions about new teachers, those who are learning about teaching and educational research, and those who work with new teachers and teachers in training.
Entertainment / Humor / Social Sciences / Popular Culture
Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale by Chris Ayres (Grove Press)
Can one man, acting alone, melt the ice caps and bankrupt the global economy?
He can try.
According to himself in Death by Leisure, all Chris Ayres ever wanted was everything: a supermodel girlfriend, a cliff-top bachelor palace, a fleet of chrome-rimmed SUVs. The way he saw it, nothing could stand in his way. Nothing, that is, except for being broke, prematurely bald, and living in a remote sheep-farming village in Northern England.
So he moved to Los Angeles – just in time for a man named Alan Greenspan to invent cheap money. Really, really cheap money. Before he knew it, Ayres had a million-dollar home and a credit-fueled life of leisure and luxury. Not to mention a cushy job as the showbiz correspondent of a London newspaper.
But, uh ... those idiots you keep hearing about? The ones who brought down the economy by maxing out on easy cash? The ones who never knew when to stop, who indulged in such mindless self-gratification it would take the combined atmospheres of twenty-five planets just to absorb their carbon emissions?
Yep, that was Ayres.
Ayers was born in 1975. He joined The Times (London) in 1997 and has since been posted in New York, Hollywood, and Iraq, the latter stint lasting nine days. He now writes from Los Angeles for The Times. After returning to Los Angeles from his experience as an embedded journalist in Iraq, chronicled in his first book, War Reporting for Cowards, young British journalist Ayres decides to trade the front lines of war for the front lines of the extreme leisure economy in Death by Leisure.
Like Hunter Thompson crossed with one of David Brooks’ hobos in paradise, Ayres embeds himself in LA’s ‘leisuretocracy’: an over-the-top world of caviar facials, billionaire charity balls, souped-up SUVs, and monster home loans . . . not to mention $1,000-a-night brothels and million-dollar poker tournaments. Ayres’s highly leveraged lifestyle lands him a surreal night with a supermodel, and a date at Michael Jackson’s birthday party in Neverland Ranch (Ayres bribes the organizers five grand to get in).But disaster is never far away.
You could say that Ayres's excess was almost Gatsbyesque, except that Gatsby never had an adjustable rate, negative-amortization mortgage from a bank that was recently seized by the feds, or a car that was leased from a company that specialized in borrowing depreciation from the Chinese.
But of course none of it could last.
Operating out of the luxurious Park Wellington apartment complex, which he dubs the Liesureplex, Ayres attempts to adjust to the L.A. lifestyle while driving around in a tragically, non-equipped Jeep. In the course of his constant search for meaning through gratuitous consumption, Ayres begins to auction his possessions via Craig’s list as part of a pledge to ‘upgrade everything.’ He discovers that this is actually an ingenious scheme to meet women, and even meets the woman who will become his wife while selling her his grandmother's sofa.
But despite the outward trapping of a glamorous lifestyle, Ayres, in his capacity as the Los Angeles correspondent for the Times of London, again and again finds himself face to face with the precarious nature of his lifestyle. He gets trapped in a wildfire the size of Massachusetts and a flood almost wipes his home off its mountainside. In Death by Leisure's brutal final section, Ayres is forced to confront the excesses of his generation when he is sent to cover a scene of apocalyptic destruction: the Katrina-ravaged South.
Upon return from embedded duty in Iraq with a marines unit, Ayres, a British journalist, chronicles his brief visit to Los Angeles, the land of glam and glitz. …Ayres marvels at the perpetually sunny weather of the sci-fi metropolis, and the Tinsel-town crowd of Beverly Hill princesses, plum-cheeked hedonists, journalists with notebooks and bad breath, fleets of android publicists, the rich, the very rich. Ayres makes note of this life of excess, eco disasters and obsession with physical perfection. Producing a topsy-turvy carnival ride of a book, Ayres knows how to find the laughs and fantasy in this accomplished satire of Los Angeles. – Publishers Weekly
Were this merely a tale of a stranger in a strange land, Ayres' hilariously self-effacing manner would make this worth reading. But what makes it more than merely clever is the way Ayres turns his own romantic insecurity and material aspiration into a stinging, if sympathetic, indictment of mindless consumption. And anyone who can make us laugh at that must be a genius. – Booklist (starred review)
[An] entertaining memoir from a not-so-innocent abroad. – Kirkus Reviews
Told with a blend of offbeat irreverence, genuine pathos, and incisive social commentary, Death by Leisure is a savage and darkly humorous odyssey that taps directly into the contemporary psyche. Between the caviar facials and the sketchy interest-only mortgages, Ayres emerges as kind of an ‘everyman’ of the economic crisis and Death by Leisure as a comical takedown of the times we used to live in – and might never see again.
Entertainment / Movies / History / Gay Rights
Milk: A Pictorial History of Harvey Milk with a foreword by Armistead Maupin, with an introduction by Dustin Lance Black (Newmarket Press)
I was almost fourteen when I heard a recording of Harvey for the first time, and that moment...that was the first time I really knew someone loved me for me. From the grave, over a decade after his assassination, Harvey gave me life...he gave me hope... [He was] a big-eared, floppy-footed leader who was able to reach out to other communities, to the disenfranchised, and to unexpected allies. He convinced an entire people to ‘come out,’ and against all odds, he fought back and won on Election Day... – Black, from the Introduction
His life changed history. His courage changed lives.
Milk is an official illustrated companion book featuring oral histories, archival photographs, behind-the-scenes stills, and the story of the new film Milk directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho), starring Academy Award winner Sean Penn (Mystic River, Dead Man Walking) as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. The volume also includes an introduction by screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and a foreword by author Armistead Maupin.
In 1977 as told in Milk, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Milk changed the nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became a hero for all Americans.
Part I, "The History," covering Milk's life in New York pre-1973 through his death in San Francisco in 1978, features a brief history of Harvey Milk, 90 historical photos, and recollections from Milk's many activist friends in his Castro Street neighborhood, campaigns and eventual victory, Prop 6 protests, the Gay Freedom Day Parade, and Milk's enduring legacy.
Part II, "The Movie," details the making of the film, and includes commentary by Black, who was on the set every day, movie stills, side-by-side with the historical photos they re-create, and behind-the-scene shots of the real historical characters who consulted on or appeared in the film.
Milk celebrates Milk's life and legacy in the words of those who knew him best. For four and half years, Black researched photo archives, combed news stories, and interviewed many of Milk's friends and foes in his Castro Street neighborhood about the campaigns, the Prop 6 protests, the Gay Freedom Day Parade, and his enduring legacy.
A total triumph! Brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation, and a crying need to stir things up. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure haven't seen it. An American classic. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Milk is an extraordinarily fascinating collection of oral histories and archival photographs, many never seen before, with details on the making of the movie including cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes stills.
Entertainment / Sports / Horseracing
Matriarchs, Volume 2: More Great Mares of Modern Times by Edward L Bowen (Eclipse Press)
History is not necessarily nostalgic, but when it is, the combination is seductive to the soul.
Matriarchs, Volume 2 is a completely new book that continues the same focus as the out-of-print previous title, Matriarchs: Great Mares of the 20th Century. Like the first volume, this one is authored by Edward L. Bowen, distinguished Turf authority, historian, writer, and president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, which raises funds for equine research.
Matriarchs, Volume 2 features all-new profiles of twenty-two great mares that have had a profound impact on American Thoroughbred racing. Their offspring include Kentucky Derby winners, as well as numerous international champions. The mares range from Nellie Flag, the 1930s Calumet Farm champion and foundation broodmare to Exclusive, whose son Exclusive Native sired two Kentucky Derby winners, including the most recent Triple Crown winner, and Hasili, Juddmonte Farm's twenty-first century blue hen whose first six foals have all won graded stakes. Other prominent mares explored are Bold Irish, the grand dam of Ruffian, and Personal Ensign, the undefeated champion whose victory in a Breeders' Cup race was emulated by a daughter and granddaughter.
While some of the mares profiled in Matriarchs had little success on the racetrack, others excelled, such as Gallorette, the rugged champion handicap mare that defeated males in such signature races as the Metropolitan and Carter handicaps. However their racing performances might have differed, the twenty-two matriarchs share the common achievement of producing top-quality racehorses over generations.
In 1999, Bowen says he put together his first book on influential Thoroughbred mares, Matriarchs. When the thought prevailed that it was time for a second volume, a number of the chapters in the original volume were subject to lengthy addenda. Foremost among those included the chapter on Best in Show.
The competing impulse, though, was that the intervening nine years had been marked more than once by pangs of guilt about grand old girls who had been left out. How could they have missed Exclusive, or Nellie Flag, or Northern Sunset? Bowen was asked. To such questions he had only a grainy, uncomfortable fall-back position of lamenting the practical restrictions of a book's dimensions.
But now there is Matriarchs, Volume 2. Compiling these chapters provided Bowen the opportunity to think back, for example, to the glorious years of the 1970s handicap Titan named Forego, and to chart his linkage to the early success of Nellie Flag for Calumet Farm. There was also the tracing of the German mare Allegretta to Galileo's modern victory in the bellwether race of them all, the Epsom Derby, via the tough little mare Urban Sea, she in turn by a son of Mr. Prospector. There, too, was the meandering tale of how Bold Irish linked to both the singular and heroic Ruffian and the last-minute rally of Epitome to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. For every Thoroughbred there is a story, and a complex one, involving happenstance here, planning there, wise breeders or lucky ones, stallions for the ages or merely for the moment. The ladies of Matriarchs, Volume 2 played their parts in a myriad of such stories, with class and quality as underlying themes.
Bowen intertwines a rich history – both human and equine – into each biography, and provides a fascinating look at the evolution of a number of the greatest stables of the century. – Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred
[Bowen's] fluent and entertaining account focuses on 24 of the most illustrious mares of the 20th century. – Lexington Herald-Leader
Here we have history and nostalgia combined – and plenty of nostalgia – which enlivens the book, especially the photographs. Matriarchs, Volume 2 also fills in gaps left in the first volume.
Health, Mind & Body / Exercise & Fitness
The Therapeutic Yoga Kit: Sixteen Postures for Self-Healing through Quiet Yin Awareness by Cheri Clampett & Biff Mithoefer (Healing Arts Press)
The Therapeutic Yoga Kit describes a therapeutic yin practice that activates the body’s self-healing potential through total relaxation and stillness. The book presents gentle, adapted postures to promote recovery from injury and illness and relief from stress and fatigue. It includes transitional yoga movements and stretches to perform between the postures to release stiffness and lubricate muscles.
In The Therapeutic Yoga Kit, Cheri Clampett and Biff Mithoefer combine the gentle healing of Therapeutic Yoga and the quiet awareness of a yin practice to present 16 gentle postures that relieve stress and fatigue and promote recovery from injury and illness. Therapeutic Yoga is a blend of Restorative Yoga, gentle yoga, breathwork, and meditation that releases the body from the fight-or-flight response caused by traumatic events and life’s everyday stresses. A yin practice encourages the attitude of acceptance and helps readers leave behind their yang need for constant striving and action.
Each pose represents a gentle, adapted posture that is held for 10 minutes or more in a fully supported state. Clampett and Mithoefer also include transitional yoga movements and stretches to perform during the routine to release stiffness, rejuvenate the muscles, and lubricate the joints. The 16 posture cards and 75-minute audio CD of guided routines and meditations that accompany the text facilitate the creation of a personalized practice. The book emphasizes achieving total relaxation in the specific postures to activate the body’s self-healing abilities. It is in this place of comfort and stillness where true healing begins.
Clampett, founder and director of the Therapeutic Yoga Training Program and Mithoefer teaches Yin Yoga at Omega Institute, throughout the U.S., and internationally.
As one who has experienced the gentle, healing power of`Cheri Clampett's work, I highly recommend The Therapeutic Yoga Kit to all those who wish to enjoy greater peace, harmony, and vibrant energy in their lives. – Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., author of Five Wishes and coauthor of Conscious Loving
Cheri and Biff have humbly and honestly tested the techniques they present in The Therapeutic Yoga Kit. If readers practice the ideas presented in this book they will find many seeds of health and healing. – Paul Grilley, author of Yin Yoga
Cheri is a leading light in different kinds of yoga, which she teaches all over the world. Because of her vast experience and her constant openness to learning more, her book can certainly benefit yoga students as well as anyone interested in the healing arts in general. – Laura Huxley
The Therapeutic Yoga Kit conveys the tried and tested techniques of internationally practiced yoga teachers in a personally-adaptable and easy-to-use form.
Health, Mind & Body / Sociology / Aging / Biographies & Memoirs
How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford (Twelve)
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked. – Mark Twain
In this guide for seekers of all ages, author Henry Alford seeks instant enlightenment through conversations with those who have lived long and lived well.
Armed with recent medical evidence that supports the cliché that older people are, indeed, wiser, Alford in How to Live sets out to interview people over 70 – some famous (Phyllis Diller, Harold Bloom, Edward Albee), some accomplished (the world's most-quoted author, a woman who walked across the country at age 89 in`support of campaign finance reform), some unusual (a pastor who thinks napping is a form of prayer, a retired aerospace engineer who eats food out of the garbage.) Early on in the process, Alford interviews his 79 year-old mother and step-father, and inadvertently changes the course of their 36 year-long union.
Alford is the author of two acclaimed works of investigative humor – Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top and Municipal Bondage: One Man's Anxiety-Producing Adventures in the Big City. He has been a regular contributor to the New York Times and Vanity Fair, and a staff writer at Spy. He has also written for The New Yorker, GQ, New York, Details, Harper's Bazaar, Travel & Leisure, the Village Voice, and Paris Review.
The incidents in How to Live bring wisdom, heartbreak, and reflection: poignant lessons about adapting, about friendship, about holding on and letting go. The book scours every possible source – deathbed confessions, late-in-life journals – to deliver an optimistic look at our dying days. And in showing that life after seventy is the fulfillment of (and not the end to) life's questions and trials, it delivers that most unexpected punch: It makes readers actually want to get older.
Alford (Big Kiss) recognizes that the elderly have been through more in their lives than the rest of us, and figures it might be a good idea to talk to some of them and`see if they have any meaningful advice to impart. This plan sets off a prolonged meditation: what is wisdom, anyway? Some of his interview subjects are famous, … but it's the less recognized figures who consistently provide Alford I with the most evocative source material, like the retired schoolteacher who lost her husband, her home and all her possessions in Hurricane Katrina but refuses to feel sorry for herself. … Such scenarios depart from the laugh-out-loud stories for which Alford is best known, but there are still enough moments of rich humor, like the guided tour of Sylvia Miles's cluttered apartment, for longtime fans`of Alford. – Publishers Weekly, starred review
Not many writers are talented or crazy enough to tackle a subject as vast and slippery`as wisdom. Henry Alford is both, and for that I am grateful. Never sappy, always candid, and occasionally exhale-linguini-out-your-nostrils funny, How to Live actually lives up to its audacious title. This is a wise and generous book, one that stays with you long after the last page. A must-read for anyone who is old or plans on getting old. – Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss
Most of us don't have the time, the inclination, or the method to at least attempt to get wiser as we get older. Henry Alford has brilliantly opened that door. My experience tells me – walk through it. – Charles Grodin, author of If I Only Knew Then...
Rich with surprises... objective curiosity, humorous verve, and scholarly diligence...His mother's unfolding crisis becomes a catalyst...Her unique – and uniquely American – variation on the universal phenomenon of aging will appeal to almost every reader. – Kirkus Reviews
The wry and endearing Alford has pulled off writing a book about wisdom that's actually wise. – Sarah Vowell, author of Assassination Vacation
How to Live is a witty and highly optimistic guide for seekers of all ages. Part family memoir, part Studs Terkel, the book is more than a compendium of sage advice; it is a celebration of living well. Hilarious, moving, and consistently insightful into what it means to spend one's time on earth well, the book is for those who like to ponder the big questions about love, family, and work – delivering impressive guidance from people who've distinguished themselves in truly exceptional ways.
History / Americas / Social Sciences
Down at the Docks by Rory Nugent (Pantheon)
Down at the Docks is Rory Nugent's portrait of America's largest fishing port. Once an important piece of the engine powering America's journey from bottom of the pile to top of the heap, New Bedford, Massachusetts's ships and factories gave rise to immense wealth and opportunity for a large immigrant population. Today, the city is marked by abandoned warehouses and artifacts of industrial America. The only viable industry left in town lies at the water's edge, struggling to survive as outsourcing and government regulations make the future uncertain for seafarers.
Nugent is a travel writer and foreign correspondent by trade, but in Down at the Docks he pens a portrayal of the city he called home for seventeen years. Readers meet ruddy-faced fishermen who live on and because of the sea, a storytelling cafe owner whose temper is as strong as her coffee, and a lonely sailor with a reputation for jinxing boats yet surviving shipwrecks.
Nugent, an accomplished mariner who has sailed single-handed across the Atlantic four and a half times, his last trip ending in shipwreck, in Down at the Docks shows readers a community mired in failed promises and struggling to maintain headway against unrelenting cultural and economic shifts. Throughout the book, Nugent uses New Bedford as a mirror to tell the story of a country that has closed out the era of Emersonian self-reliance and moved on to something new and unaccommodating to holdovers from the past.
A passionately authentic fish story, as well a modern answer to Moby Dick, Nugent’s language rushes towards the reader filled with dockside lore, and like the Ancient Mariner, he holds the reader by his account: The chase is over, the bounty of the seas gutted and stripped to the bone. Down at the Docks has the attributes of a classic. – Rudolf Wurlitzer, author of Hard Travel to Sacred Places
There aren’t so many of those closed universes left in America, places where people share skill, custom, vocabulary, ethos, morality. Rory Nugent’s New Bedford is one of the holdouts, and it is described here with compassion and skill and humor. A classic American book. – Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
One of our most intrepid and intriguing traveling writers, Rory Nugent brings to life an incredibly exotic subculture right in our backyard: the New Bedford waterfront, capturing its pungent, Portuguese-inflected lingo for the first time, and immersing himself so completely in it that he ends up writing the book in the boozy voice of its denizens, and becomes, its appears, one of its memorable characters himself. – Alex Shoumatoff, author of Legends of the American Desert, contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
Lively, fascinating, and challenging. Rory Nugent has found the last of New Bedford’s indomitable fishermen, and the past comes roaring back to life just in time to make us think more deeply about the future of the seas. – Tony Hiss, author of The Experience of Place
No writer I can think of, unless it is Sebastian Junger, might have written this obsessed, intrepid, and intelligent book. – Alec Wilkinson
An incisive portrait that takes both place and people seriously, and that does them honor. – Kirkus Reviews
Nugent deftly tells the tale of a once bustling and vibrant community with wry humor and empathy. – Publishers Weekly
In this moment of great economic change, Down at the Docks is a timely look at an industrial city in an increasingly digital world. It is an unblinkered view, spiced by humor. Nugent‘s previous books are The Search for the Pink-Headed Duck and Drums Along the Congo.
History / Americas / Sociology
Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings by Clarence E. Walker (Jeffersonian America Series: University of Virginia)
The debate over the affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings rarely rises above the question of "Did they or didn't they?" Lost in the argument over the existence of such a relationship are equally urgent questions about a history that is more complex, both sexually and culturally, than most of us realize. Mongrel Nation seeks to uncover this complexity, as well as the reasons it is so often obscured.
Clarence Walker, Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, contends that the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings must be seen not in isolation but in the broader context of interracial affairs within the plantation complex. Viewed from this perspective, the relationship was not unusual or aberrant but fairly typical. For many, this is a disturbing realization, because it forces us to abandon the idea of American exceptionalism and reexamine slavery in America as part of a long, global history of slaveholders frequently crossing the color line.
More than many other societies – and despite our obvious mixed-race population – the United States has displayed particular reluctance to acknowledge this dynamic. In a country where, as early as 1662, interracial sex was already punishable by law, an understanding of the Hemings-Jefferson relationship has consistently met with resistance. From Jefferson's time to our own, the general public denied – or remained oblivious to – the possibility of the affair. Historians, too, dismissed the idea, even when confronted with compelling arguments by fellow scholars. It took the DNA findings of 1998 to persuade many.
As told in Mongrel Nation, the refusal to admit the likelihood of this union between master and slave stems, of course, from Jefferson's symbolic significance as a Founding Father. The president's apologists, both before and after the DNA findings, have constructed an iconic Jefferson that tells us more about their own beliefs than it does about the interaction between slave owners and slaves. Much more than a search for the facts about two individuals, the debate over Jefferson and Hemings is emblematic of tensions in our society between competing conceptions of race and of our nation.
Walker says Mongrel Nation is an intervention in the debates. This work builds on, but also moves in a different direction from, much of the previous scholarship. He agrees with those scholars who have argued that Jefferson was the father of Hemings's children. The preponderance of the evidence – the timing of Jefferson's visits to Monticello, the birth dates of Hemings's children, the DNA evidence, and the sexual world Jefferson grew up in – leads him to agree with his peers. But he situates the relationship in a larger, world context.
The small but mighty Mongrel Nation consists of two essays: One: Sexuality and Two: Character and History, or “Chloroform in Print.”
First, Walker places the Jefferson-Hemings relationship in the context of what Philip Curtin called the ‘plantation complex,’ namely, the plantations of the Caribbean and North and South America, which were "brought into existence by Europe's powerful and seemingly limitless appetite for their products." The slave systems developed in the plantation complex ‘embodied a new type of slavery,’ and wherever plantations were located, "African captives and their descendants . . . replaced or were soon to replace Indian slaves or European indentured servants as the principal labour force." He argues that when perceived from this perspective, the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings was neither unusual nor exceptional in terms of master-slave sexuality in the New World or, for that matter, in world history. In brief, we have to abandon the idea of an American exceptionalism when dealing with Jefferson and Hemings. American exceptionalism has always had a racial subtext. Perfect at its creation, according to the myth, America escaped the social processes – amalgamation/miscegenation – that characterized other colonial settler societies. Walker says he understands that America was not Australia, Brazil, Cuba, or South Africa in the seventeenth century, but in its early history it intersected with these societies on the issue of interracial sexuality.
Only in the United States did this form of social interaction become a ‘closeted’ aspect of national history, something to be denied rather than affirmed. In a society obsessed with whiteness, there could be no derogation of that color. Sexual encounters between whites and blacks were constructed as offenses against whiteness. As early as 1662 in Virginia, a law was passed in reaction to interracial sex, according to Richard Hofstadter.
No understanding of Jefferson based on his published work can comprehend the complexity of his racial and sexual life. Just what the internal dynamics of this affair were we will never know, but Walker thinks that to call it ‘rape’ is simplistic. The affair, which lasted thirty-eight years, was like long-term relationships between masters and female slaves in the Caribbean and Brazil, in which the parties seem to have negotiated some form of sexual modus vivendi.
Mongrel Nation is also about who owns history. Is our understanding of the American past to be forever shaped by white male historians, as it has been for most of American history, or will the voices of other men and women be integrated into the canon of American history rather than dismissed as political correctness or special pleading?
The opposition of some whites to the revelation that Jefferson fathered black children constitutes a form of resentment directed at blacks for staking a claim on what was previously thought of as a white icon. The continuing contretemps surrounding Jefferson and Hemings reveals something about how some white Americans, both southern and northern, want to think about the past. What they seem to want is a ‘color-blind’ past in which both slavery and amalgamation/miscegenation are somehow erased. Arthur Schlesinger cautioned Americans about denying their past when he wrote that "history is to the nation as memory is to the individual. As a person deprived of memory becomes disoriented and lost, not knowing where he has been or where he is going, so a nation denied a conception of its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future." This is why the Jefferson and Hemings affair needs to be affirmed rather than denied.
America has indeed been a mongrel nation, not just in terms of blood, but in terms of culture and politics, from the very beginning. Walker very rightly challenges the assumption that the Jefferson-Hemings liaison was either unusual or exceptional. He provides critical insight that not only will enlighten general readers but will spur other scholars to explore the range of sources and material they consider when writing about Jefferson and Hemings, as well as other mixed families in slavery. The importance of this cannot be overstated. – Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Law School, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Thomas Jefferson's heroic stature as an Enlightenment archetype, author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president has always made his positions on race particularly troubling in a nation that wants to think of itself as just and equitable and also racially pure. Historian Walker uses the contradictions between Jefferson's writings on race and his 38-year relationship with his slave Sally Hemings as a prism through which to view the complexities of American race relations. . . Walker maintains that unless the nation can fully recognize the Jefferson-Hemings relationship, it can never have a true sense of its identity. – Booklist
In two slim chapters, historian Walker situates American icon Thomas Jefferson's fathering of children by his slave Sally Hemings within the broad context of commonplace sex across the color line in early America. … Walker shows that America officially embraced whiteness as signifying a host of meanings from simply superior to civilized, focusing on whiteness to distract people from other divisions. – Library Journal
Somebody has got to hold our collective feet to the fire and not let us forget that we, all of us, made and continue to make, this country. The complicated racial and sexual past of America can not be denied any longer. Mongrel Nation helps to correct that understanding.
Home & Garden / Animals & Pets / Sports / Equestrian
Ranch Roping: The Complete Guide to a Classic Cowboy Skill by Buck Brannaman & A.J. Mangum (The Lyons Press)
A guy's going to get the job done, but he shouldn't have to apologize for enjoying it while he gets the job done. – Buck Brannaman
Ranch roping is at the heart of all ranch work, and unlike the rodeo variation of calf roping, the vaquero tradition calls for techniques that result in a skillful and graceful throw and catch. In Ranch Roping, Buck Brannaman, a world-renowned master of the art, partners up with writer A. J. Mangum to describe skills readers need to become successful ranch ropers, whether in competition or in actual cattle work – the essential tools, the mechanics, and the optimal partnership between horse and rider, incorporating the Natural Horsemanship approach. Brannaman, a famed horse gentler, was the inspiration for the book and film The Horse Whisperer – his approach to horses and their owners revolutionized the equestrian world.
One hundred full-color photographs of Brannaman in action enhance the step-by-step methodology that leads to mastering this essential Western skill.
Chapters of Ranch Roping include:
The Art of Roping
The Mechanics of Dallying
The Cowboy and the Herd
Tools for Training.
A.J. Mangum, editor of Western Horseman magazine, in the introduction to Ranch Roping explains that the term roping can take on more than one connotation. But ranch roping refers not to a rodeo or horseshow arena event but to the practice of roping cattle on the open range, or in a ranch corral, in order to restrain them for branding or doctoring. On a ranch, roping is not a sport meant to entertain a crowd of spectators or feed the competitive desires of its participants. It is a necessary skill, one with a practical purpose.
In working scenarios, ropers are judged not by the speed of their performances but by the quality of their work – the accuracy of their catches, the efficiency of their movements, their adherence to sound horsemanship practices, and their ability to work quietly and limit the stress they place on cattle. In Zen-like fashion, a cowboy's reward lies in the job itself: the successful completion of a necessary task, such as branding a calf or vaccinating a sick cow; the humane treatment of cattle, with respect for the fact that they are the source of the rancher's livelihood and, at least indirectly, the source of the cowboy's; the satisfaction of working in partnership with fellow cowboys, of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing that he can count on that same support; and an adherence to a strict code of horsemanship, one based on centuries of tradition and centered on the ethical treatment of the cowboy's closest working partner.
Known for his impeccable horsemanship, high standards for horseflesh, and appreciation for finely crafted, even ornate, working gear – intricately braided rawhide and elaborate, silver-adorned bits and spurs – the vaquero took equal pride in his stock-handling talents, emphasizing the skill to effectively handle cattle from horseback and the ability to do so with style and elegance, whether herding cattle or roping with a rawhide reata, the vaquero's rope of choice.
In 1850 California joined the Union, and the vaquero culture spread inland to what would become Nevada, southern Idaho, and southeastern Oregon. In this rougher, less-forgiving country, the vaquero evolved. The term itself vaquero – became Anglicized into buckaroo.
Detailed knowledge of buckaroo working techniques, including the ways they trained their horses and handled the reata, has not always been easy to come by. Members of the buckaroo culture tended – and to a certain degree, still tend – to value solitude over socialization. Trade secrets related to starting colts, handling stock, and working a rope set a buckaroo apart from his peers, and went a long way in defining his very identity, both as an individual and as a proud member of the brotherhood of Great Basin stockmen. Little was written about how a buckaroo worked, and well into the twentieth century, there was minimal effort at publicizing or sharing with the rest of the world the methods of this particular subculture of horsemen.
That began to change in the middle of the twentieth century, when a revolution in horsemanship began. Horse owners sought solutions to training challenges that seemed impossible to overcome, and hoped to discover horse-handling techniques that were gentler and more humane than the mainstream methods of breaking and training they had come to view as harsh, violent, and cruel.
As told in the introduction to Ranch Roping, Brannaman and Mangum first teamed up on a ranch-roping project in 2000. The result was Ranch Roping with Buck Brannaman, a forty-page booklet covering some rope-handling fundamentals and the mechanics of about twenty shots used in working situations by ranch cowboys.
During that first visit to Brannaman's ranch, as Mangum watched him rope, he displayed a level of skill attainable only by someone with an unappeasable obsession with roping and a lifetime of experience putting his skills to work with stock. When he built a loop and began to swing, Brannaman seemed to transform, as an actor might as he walks onstage and shuts out all distractions, immersing himself completely in his character.
Once he locked on a target and released his loop, all eyes turned toward him. It was plain to everyone present that Buck's every sense was tuned in to just three things: his horse, his rope, and the cow. When Brannaman would make his catch, pull his slack, dally, and ‘face up’ to the cow, the slow-motion sequence of the preceding moments would accelerate to real time, and once again he would become part of the world around him, seemingly no longer immersed in an insulating zone, but instead hyperaware of his surroundings, ready to react to every movement of the cow and anything that could jeopardize the task at hand or pose a risk to himself, his horse, or those around him.
Whether readers ride or rope or just wish they could, Ranch Roping is for anyone captivated by both the West’s traditions and contemporary life. Roping is not a skill to be learned from a set of instructions; it must be learned through doing. Therefore, Ranch Roping should not be regarded as an instruction manual. Rather, it is a collection of lessons, insight, and wisdom on the topic of ranch roping, a work meant to capture the imagination of beginners, inspire novices, and provide clarity for veterans.
Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies
Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 by the Editors of Bead & Button magazine (Kalmbach Books)
In an increasingly fast-paced world, beginning and accomplished beaders alike need quick and easy projects that will look good and highlight their stylish sensibilities.
Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 provides those projects, showcasing jewelry pieces created using stringing, wirework, and simple beadweaving techniques.
The first two volumes of Chic & Easy Series were collected from the three Chic & Easy special issues, as well as the pages of Bead & Button magazine. This third volume brings readers more stylish jewelry projects from Bead & Button that requires only basic skills. The projects have been tested by the editors, and comprehensive Basics and Tools & Materials sections help beaders of all levels get up to speed.
Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 offers a collection of projects for making stylish jewelry in only a few hours. While beginners can learn to craft jewelry with basic techniques, the variety of projects and materials will appeal to beaders of all levels. Gemstones, pearls, crystals, metal, and chain combine for some of the easiest projects collected from the pages of Bead & Button.
In Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 readers will find:
Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and a variety of jewelry sets.
Step-by-step instructions and photos to guide readers through each project.
Comprehensive reviews of basic techniques, tools, and materials.
From crystals to gemstones, metal and chain to pearls and shells, Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 is filled with different materials, styles, and beading techniques. If readers want to try some simple wirework, Charlotte Miller's imaginative ‘Upside down’ earrings may be a good fit. If they want to display some big, beautiful gemstones or delicate lampworked beads, they can try Nancy Sells Puffer's ‘Lampwork and gemstones’ necklace on for size. Or if they just like the look of pearls draped around the wrist, the bracelet from Maryann Scandiffio‑Humes's ‘Pearls just want to have fun’ offers pearl dangles.
Materials lists for these projects are included to help readers find the materials they need.
With Chic and Easy Beading, Volume 3 readers can jazz up their wardrobe with stunning jewelry that they can make in a flash.
Home & Garden / Interior Design
Influential Country Styles: From Simple Elegant Interiors to Pastoral and Rustic Homes by Judith Miller, with photography by Simon Upton (Watson-Guptill Publications)
The universal appeal of the country owes much to its unique role as an effective escape from the pressures of urban life, for it is in the universal vision of the simple pleasures afforded by the countryside that one seeks comfort, to relax, to be spontaneous, and to live a natural, unselfconscious existence. – from the book
At a time when many people are searching for ways to live more simply, author Judith Miller takes readers throughout the world to explore the coziness, functionality, and enduring charm of country homes.
Influential Country Styles looks at how country traditions continuously influence home decor. The photos by Simon Upton give readers a break from the intensity of modern life, while author Miller shows readers how to bring the spirit and simplicity of the countryside into their own homes – no matter where they are. Miller, best-selling author, lecturer and regular TV personality specializing in antiques and home style, explores a wide variety of rural landscapes and shows readers how we can use their natural resources, shapes, and textures to transform the looks of different rooms.
From the spare rusticity of a Shaker interior to the relaxed and informal arrangement of an English cottage, from the exuberance of a brightly colored Mediterranean villa to the cool, clean lines of a Scandinavian farmhouse, Miller describes the origins and development of each style. She then examines the elements that give each dwelling its unique character: the building materials, the influence of the surrounding land, the distinct qualities of each room, the structural features, the furniture, and the artifacts that share the history of a home.
Contents of Influential Country Styles include:
Materials – wood, stone, earth.
A sense of place – France, Italy, Scandinavia, United Kingdom, North America, North Africa.
Room by room – relaxing, cooking and eating, sleeping and bathing.
Structural features – walls, floors, doors, stairs, fireplaces and stoves.
Furniture – chairs, storage, artifacts.
The informative Influential Country Styles is at once an inspiration and a valuable resource for anyone who would like to create a refuge wherever they live. Upton’s photography greatly enhances the volume.
Literature & Fiction / Mystery / War
Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad by Jeffrey Fleishman (Arcade Publishing)
Promised Virgins is the first novel by Jeffrey Fleishman, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Harvard Neiman fellow, and winner of the Goldsmith Investigative Award, who covered the Kosovo war for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the second Iraq war for the Los Angeles Times, now the Cairo bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.
In the book, narrator Jay Morgan is a grizzled war reporter who in his career has seen enough violence – including the death of his photographer wife – to make him disillusioned and cynical. In Kosovo he becomes embroiled in the ferocity of ethnic hostilities between the Serbs and the Albanians. Morgan senses that the simmering conflict in Kosovo is about to take on a new dimension when he hears rumors that a mysterious bearded foreigner, bearing weapons and money and preaching Holy War, has appeared in the rebels’ mountain camps.
Together Jay and his translator, the beautiful Alija, herself a victim of the war, in Promised Virgins race to find this prophet of jihad while Alija searches for her younger brother Ardian, a university student gone missing and possibly caught up in the conflict. Each danger-fraught foray across the lines, each interview – with rebel commander, Serb sniper, or American spook tasked to evaluate and maybe take out this new threat – brings them closer to each other and to the truth.
Then Jay hears rumors that the Muslim leader is training the rebels in tactics that include suicide bombing – or glorious martyrdom, depending on whose side the description is emanating from. After much searching, and with help from those sympathetic to the rebel cause, Jay succeeds in having a brief and enigmatic interview with the shadowy figure known as Abu Musab. Jay has found out – though he keeps his knowledge from Alija – that among those Abu Musab is training in suicide tactics is Ardian.
A debut novel set in Kosovo in the 1990s, from seasoned war correspondent Fleishman. …One of the first images of the novel sets the grim tone: Jay and Alija checking mass graves to see whether Ardian is among the victims …Fleishman, who is currently serving as the Cairo bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, writes in a telegraphic, staccato style, reminiscent of Hemingway and well suited to the stark realities he depicts. – Kirkus Reviews
One of the best descriptive writers in American newspapers today. – Jon Marshall, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
Bracing, polished, authentic – a searing story of love and compulsion . . . It reads like the truth because Jeffrey Fleishman is the real deal. He's a pro's pro, a fearless foreign correspondent who has paid his dues. Fellow war correspondents regard Fleishman as a major talent. Readers of Promised Virgins will find out why. – David Zucchino, Pulitzer Prize Winner and author of Thunder Run
Promised Virgins is about many things . . . but most of all, in the tradition of the finest fiction, it is about the truth. Every detail, every image has the pitch-perfect ring of a professional using hard-won, frontline experience to build a work of art.... Fleishman writes with honesty, precision, and passion. This is the best book I have read about foreign correspondents. – Sebastian Rotella, author of Twilight on the Line
Syriana-esque . . . The specter of 9/11 hangs over Fleishman's account of war, which is often filled with rich and provocative insights. – Publishers Weekly
This debut novel, reminiscent of Graham Greene's The Quiet American and Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, is a thrilling tale of love, politics, and deception illuminating the dark edges of terrorism and the tragic consequences of war.
Keenly observed, filled with rich and provocative insights, Promised Virgins delivers bracing suspense as timely as today’s news.
Mysteries & Thrillers
Gas City: A Novel by Loren D. Estleman (Forge)
"The shades of Frank Norris and Upton Sinclair must have been looking over Loren D. Estleman's shoulder when he wrote Gas City," wrote the New York Times in 2008. With novels in a wide variety of genres, the prolific Estleman is one of the most highly-praised contemporary American authors. Now available in paperback, Estleman’s original tale takes readers to a whole new world. Moving away from his mystery series, Estleman presents a work that will interest old fans and gather new ones.
Setting Gas City in a blue-collar metropolis dominated by an oil company, Estleman, calling upon his considerable novelistic skills, exposes the black heart of a seemingly stable, well-run city suddenly pitched into violence and chaos. A delicate balance of forces – greed and corruption, ambition and desire – runs out of control in the wake of a serial killer's grisly rampage.
Police Chief Frances Russell has been paid to look the other way for far too long by Mafia boss, Anthony Zeno, who holds the city's vices in his powerful grasp. When the death of Russell's wife reawakens his sense of duty, his sudden moves to regain his lost control trigger a power struggle between him and his benefactor. The stakes get higher when ruthless politicians try to make capital out of rising crime statistics and the whiff of scandal.
And finally, when news media looking for big headlines get wind of the story, what started as a minor dispute suddenly looks to blow Gas City sky-high.
Shamus-winner Estleman, best known for his hard-boiled Amos Walker series (American Detective, etc.), creates a new, morally complex world in this razor-sharp tale of crime and corruption in a fictional eastern U.S. city. Gas City, once known as Garden Grove, has enjoyed stability as a result of understandings among the politicians, the police and the local gangsters. …Estleman masterfully creates a wide and diverse cast of characters, and sympathetically portrays their struggles to survive on the mean streets. A superfluous serial killer subplot doesn't detract from the author's achievement, which will justly be compared with that of James Ellroy's Los Angeles noir mysteries and John Gregory Dunne's True Confessions. Admirers of unsparing crime fiction will hope that Estleman plans to visit Gas City again. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Loren D. Estleman's knife-edged serial-killer thriller, Gas City is pared to its very bone… Estleman, in the leanest prose possible, brings to life not just his characters but the vices that fuel them and, in the process, exposes the gritty, ragged, sordid underbelly of urban life. He's been called an heir to Chandler – and it's easy to see why. – Entertainment Weekly (grade: A)
May be the prolific Estleman’s most thought-provoking and emotionally engaging novel among the 60 or so he’s written. Its subject is contemporary rust-belt politics as a human phenomenon and the way that a politician’s compromises can affect both the citizenry at large and the individuals who make up that citizenry. Each of the half-dozen plotlines is executed flawlessly and presented in a context of moral ambiguity in which every choice – whether self-serving or altruistic – has consequences both good and evil. A magnificent crime novel. – Booklist (starred review)
Portrait of a city by an old master... The chronically undervalued Estleman ( American Detective, 2007, etc.) serves up what just might be the best novel about urban political corruption since Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key. – Kirkus (starred review)
It is as if Sinclair Lewis or Theodore Dreiser had written a contemporary crime novel while suddenly developing a sense of humor. – Otto Penzler, New York Sun
Estleman’s spare dialogue; unhurried, self-assured storytelling style; and understated and profound use of symbolism make this a novel to savor. – Paul Goat Allen, The Chicago Tribune
Forget honors for an individual book – Estleman, in his prime at 56 years old, is as deserving as anyone of MWA’s Grand Master Award, recognizing a formidable contribution to mystery fiction. And it better happen soon, before ‘undervalued’ becomes a permanent prefix to his name. – Eddie Muller, San Francisco Chronicle
Gas City is powerful novel of corruption and redemption in a quintessentially American city. Master novelist Estleman, with an unerring eye for detail and an ear for dialogue that reveals the secret desires of his characters, crafts a fascinating, deadly tapestry of love, jealousy, revenge, and redemption – a stunning portrait of the human condition.
Mysteries & Thrillers
Night and Day by Robert B. Parker (Jesse Stone Series: G.P. Putnam’s Sons) The master of mystery, Robert B. Parker, author of more than fifty books, returns with this novel in the Jessie Stone Series Night and Day. And Police Chief Jesse Stone is back as he confronts a town's darkest secrets.
Dear Chief Stone:
I know you have been looking for me. I won’t turn myself in. I probably should, but my obsession won’t let me. What I know is that my life is becoming more unbearable every time.... But I need to see, I need to know their secret. – The Night Hawk
In Night and Day things are getting strange in Paradise, Massachusetts. Police chief Jesse Stone has received his share of unusual calls, but none can top the one from the local junior high school. Jesse is called in when reports filter into the station of lewd conduct by the school’s principal, Betsy Ingersoll. Ingersoll claims she was protecting the propriety of her students when she inspected each girl’s undergarments in the locker room. Jesse is faced with a particularly delicate situation – he would like nothing more than to see Ingersoll punished, but her high-powered attorney husband stands in the way. Betsy is married to the managing partner of the biggest law firm in the state; Jay Ingersoll wants the matter buried, and Jay is used to getting what he wants.
At the same time, the women of Paradise are faced with a threat to their sense of security with the emergence of a tormented voyeur, dubbed “The Night Hawk.” He has been scouring suburban neighborhoods in the early evening. Initially, he is content to peer through windows, but as times goes on, he becomes more reckless, forcing his victims to strip at gunpoint, then photographing them at their most vulnerable. And according to the notes he is sending to Jesse, he is not satisfied to stop there. It is up to Jesse to catch the Night Hawk, before it’s too late.
America’s greatest mystery writer. – The New York Sun
Night and Day is another gripping read in the ‘hard boiled’ genre from the acknowledged master, the author of the famous Spenser and Sunny Randall Series.
Mysteries & Thrillers
Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany (Poisoned Pen Press)
Some people go to valleys to find themselves.
Others don't want to be found.
The village – that tight, closed community where news travels by mouth faster than any electronic device – has long been a venue for fictional murder. Eastern Canada has come to the fore with the success of Louise Penny and the Quebec village. And in Valley of the Lost, Vicki Delany brings readers Trafalgar: a British Columbian village perched under some very impressive mountains and glaciers, within striking distance of Vancouver and close enough to the American border to hook in tourists.
In this bucolic mountain town, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks suggest that the death might not have been accidental.
In Valley of the Lost, as the investigation into the young woman’s death and life grows, the case becomes increasingly personal for Probationary Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters. Only two things are known about the dead woman: her first name is Ashley, and she has a three-month-old baby boy. Who was she? And was this just a drug deal gone wrong, or is there something more sinister at play?
It was Constable Molly Smith's mother, still full of the vim and vinegar of her American youth, who heard the baby and came upon the body of the young woman lying dead in the woods. Lucky Smith (Lucky is her name) scoops up the three-month-old boy, home they go, and nothing will get Lucky to turn loose of the child despite various efforts including a highly combative social worker.
Molly and her father, kept up all night by the baby, are desperate to discover who the dead woman was. In town, she was known as Ashley, a gal who paid the rent for her and her baby in cash, stayed clean but didn't work.
Meanwhile in Valley of the Lost, Sergeant Winters’ wife, Eliza, is considering accepting a modeling contract with the same resort development that seems to be ripping the close-knit community apart. Has the controversial project pushed a member of this quiet community to murder?
If you're looking for a snappy read, one that's full of action, complex plot, rich setting and likeable characters, this is for you. Vicki Delany has, once again, done a spectacular part of British Columbia proud. – Louise Penny, multi-award-winning author of The Murder Stone
Intertwined subplots, complex characters, and an easy prose style make this a great follow-up to Delany's, In the Shadow of the Glacier. – Library Journal
This second Molly Smith mystery, following In the Shadow of the Glacier, again contrasts the beautiful British Columbia wilderness, vividly described by Delany, with the sober realities of contemporary crime, in this case, murder and drug use. Molly, a dedicated cop determined to succeed in what is primarily a man's profession, makes an engaging lead character. – Booklist
… Molly's mother is leaving work one evening at the Trafalgar Women's Support Center in British Columbia when a baby's cry draws her to the nearby woods, where she finds a baby boy, wrapped in a blanket – and the body of a young woman. The victim, presumably the boy's mother, appears to have died from a heroin overdose, but restraint marks on her wrists point to foul play. Molly and her mentor, Sgt. John Winters, comb Trafalgar in an effort to identify the woman. After discovering that her first name was Ashley, the police officers learn that the developer of a controversial new resort being built outside of town had a heated argument with Ashley shortly before she died. Delaney explores the social dynamics of a small mountain community as well as deftly handling the plot's twists and turns as it builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion. – Publishers Weekly
Valley of the Lost is the second in a traditional mystery series featuring Constable Smith, Sergeant Winters, and the town in the shadow of the glacier, Trafalgar – a great follow-up novel with lots of plot twists and attention to detail. The pace drops and the book delivers some surprises in the end game.
Delany, who took early retirement to pursue her writing career, seems to be getting it right. Readers who favor leisurely puzzles steeped in family dynamics and flavored with descriptions of beautiful scenery will find just what they're looking for.
Mysteries & Thrillers / Thrillers
The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker (Dutton Adult)
Rookie Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood – the hero of the critically acclaimed L.A. Outlaws – left readers clamoring for more. Now, with The Renegades, author T. Jefferson Parker has given Charlie Hood an unbelievable conspiracy plot inspired by the real-life secret gangs within the L.A. County Sheriff's culture in the 1980s and 90s.
Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they are strapped all the same.
Along the desolate and dusty roads of this new frontier, Hood prefers to ride alone, and he prefers to ride at night. At night, his headlights illuminate only the patch of pavement ahead of him: all the better to hide from the demons – and the dead outlaws – receding in his rearview mirror.
But in The Renegades he doesn’t always get what he wants – certainly not when he’s assigned a partner named Terry Laws, a county veteran whom everyone calls ‘Mr. Wonderful.’ And not when Laws is shot dead in the passenger seat and Hood is left to bear witness by someone who knew that Mr. Wonderful didn’t always live up to his nickname. Why was Hood spared? What was Laws hiding? Who was behind it all? As Hood investigates Laws' death he opens up a twisted world of violence.
The award-winning Parker garnered critical acclaim with his fifteen novels and has achieved bestseller status by creating thrilling entertainment written with astonishing craft and vision. The Chicago Tribune has said, "Parker could well be the best crime writer working out of Southern California," while the Los Angeles Times added, "his books are a race to the finish," and the San Diego Union Tribune declared "If there is a better mystery around... well, there isn't."
In this crackling follow-up to L.A. Outlaws, bestseller Parker brings the Wild West to Southern California....Parker creates a desert no-man's-land unique in its corruption, but no less dangerous than the roughest of South Central street corners, and Charlie Hood is the perfect reluctant hero to patrol it. – Publishers Weekly, starred review
[A] superb new thriller...Two time Edgar winner Parker vividly evokes the spirit of the Wild West...He delivers steady suspense and a cast of damaged characters. – Booklist
The Renegades is yet another brilliant example of Parker's ability to elevate the mystery novel to a level of high art still accessible to a mass audience with vivid writing, strong characters, clockwork plotting, and agonizing suspense.
Religion & Spirituality / Christianity
Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism by William Tenny-Brittian (Chalice Press)
Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism is written for church members who need to get involved in sharing what God is doing in their lives with people in the community, turning their time for God into time of witness rather than time for church meetings.
Bill Tenny-Brittian is a senior consultant with Easum, Bandy & Tenny-Brittian, as well as the senior editor of Net Results magazine and the author of several books.
Tenny-Brittian asks readers, ‘What kind of story are you living? Is it bigger than life?’ He says he doesn't know about others, but the story he tends to find himself in is less a story of the eternal and more the story of the mundane. Bills and budgets, kids and pets, parishioners and pills, hopes and dreams, but mostly wishful thinking.
According to Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism, the life most people lead in the church hardly measures up to what the Bible promised. Where's the peace that passes understanding? The unspeakable joy?
Years ago, Tenny-Brittian says he set out to start a new church – to go forth and make disciples of the nation. In his vision, people focused on reaching the unreached above all else. Everything they did, every ministry opportunity was designed and executed to invite the unchurched and the irreligious into their sphere of influence.
It started out great; he spent most of his time meeting new people. He joined the Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters and the Optimist Club. He hung out at the local coffee shop and started conversations. When they launched, the church was full of the previously unreached. The next thing was to disciple these folks so they could do what he had been doing. So he preached, taught, visited the newly reached. And pretty soon, he was ‘doing church’ – visiting, meetings, sermon preparation, worship team practice, newsletter writing, budget reviews, weekly planning, local minister's meetings, denominational minister's meetings, continuing education, and putting out fires in the congregation.
With all that, who had time to meet new people, to build new relationships, and to reach the unreached? He found himself in the same boat as most clergy he knows and most Christians as well. He didn't have any unchurched or unreached friends, and he didn't have the energy or the expendable time to do anything about it.
But the church wasn't the only thing; he also traded his hopes for a cocoon. Church-goers have become a people of isolation. Doing the virtual office thing, they get to avoid travel time, traffic delays, and meaningful interaction with our coworkers. They communicate via telephone, e-mail, and instant messages, never seeing the face of those with whom they tersely communicate. Most people hardly know their neighbors, and a lot of them don't want to know them. They don't have time to make new friends. They use their cars, their homes, and their time-saving conveniences as cocoons to protect them from the big, bad, crowded world. They really don't know very many people at all.
One of the most common concerns Terry-Brittian in Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism says he hears from those in the pews is that they have nothing in common with the unchurched, so they don't go out of their way to befriend them. They tell off-color jokes. They gossip. They drink, gamble, and carouse. And besides, they don't want to talk about religion or the church. And if they start hanging out with the unchurched, won't they be in danger of slipping and falling into sin? Aren't they supposed to protect themselves from ‘the world’?
But by almost all accounts, Jesus generally had a good time while he walked the earth. Where would one find Jesus on a Saturday night these days? A nightclub? A movie? A concert? Jesus spent most of his time with his buddies and the irreligious crowd. And he clearly had a good time being with them.
Terry-Brittian says he does know some Christians who intentionally hang out with the unchurched folks in their communities. They spend time with them after work; they go to the theater with them, have a beer after work, and so on. But when it comes to bringing up their faith, they don't know what to say. They don't know what to say because they don't have an answer to the question, "Why share my faith?" In Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism he shares his ideas on how to get people excited about sharing their faith story.
Chapters and their contents include:
The Journey Begins. Because of the Carols in the World, Purpose: Why Evangelism? Destination: Heaven? Hell? What Is It You're Offering? Your Road Map: Where Are You Starting from?
The Power of Friendship. What Keeps Us from Making Friends? Why Be Friends? Prioritizing Time for Friendships Getting ENOF, Friend Making 101, Becoming a Friend, Conclusion, By the Way Reflections
Vendors: Choose Whom You Use. Beggars Can't Be Choosers, but Christians Should Be Faith Sharing in the Marketplace, On-site Vendors, By the Way Reflections
Taking Jesus to Work. Hitchhiking in the Workplace – Tethered to a Desk, Faithful Hitchhiking at Work, Hitchhiking in the Virtual Office, By the Way Reflections
ENOF Is Enough: Ending Segregation. When Is Enough Church Enough? What's ENOF? Can You Get ENOF? By the Way Reflections
Faith at Home. Houston, Seattle, New York, Galesburg, Prosser ..., We Have a Problem, Home Faith Formation, By the Way Reflections
Getting Radical: Let's Give Them Something to Talk About. Defining Radical, The Radical Conclusion, By the Way Reflections
The Ultimate Destination. The Changing World, Epilogue
We'll soon enter a time in which one-on-one personal evangelism will be the main way to continue expanding the Kingdom of God. That's why this book is so important. – Bill Easum, author of A Second Resurrection
Everywhere I go church leaders and ordinary, faithful church members are asking for practical, hands-on advice to share faith. They don't want to judge anybody. They just want to share the blessing of love they received from Christ. Do you want to 'pass it on'? This is the guidebook you've been seeking. – Tom Bandy, author of Spirited Leadership
Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism is a handbook for worn-out Christians. Believers who are fully aware they'll never be bold enough or smart enough to be real evangelists. Nevertheless, like salmon swimming upstream they continue searching for something that will help them find a way to connect with the people Jesus misses most – the people formerly known as lost. – Jim Henderson, executive director of Off the Map
Evangelism is not a strategy or tactic. It is sharing the best news in the world (The Good News) with those who need it most. This book shows people of 'The Way' the way to speak and behave so others might find their way. – Paul D. Borden, author of Hit the Bullseye and Direct Hit
This book is for evangelism risk takers. These are people who are willing to allow the Spirit to pick them up and take them on a missional ride. – George Bullard, author of Every Congregation Needs a Little Conflict
It is clear, practical, and down-to earth, with no assumptions about instantaneous leading people to Jesus in the seat next to you on an airplane. And it is respectful of non-believers. – Anne Coffman, pastor, Mount Olivet Congregational Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut
If evangelists want to make a difference with their faith and if they want their life and their church to have an impact on their community, Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism can help. The audience is postmodern and ready to break out of their cocoons and to reach people without experience with God. In clear, often humorous terms, the book provides practical hands-on advice for having ‘adventures in evangelism’.
Religion & Spirituality / Psychology
Holy Eros: Pathways to a Passionate God by James D. Whitehead & Evelyn Easton Whitehead (Orbis Books)
To explore again the profound interpenetration of eros and the spiritual life. This terribly fraught arena in Western Christendom, where the sexual meets the spiritual, urgently awaits the discovery of new paths to God. – Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
Authors James and Evelyn Whitehead, long associated with the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago, lecture throughout the US, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Hong Kong – he is an historian of religion and she is a social psychologist. Their combination of Christian theology and the psychological disciplines brings a distinctive approach to the spiritual journey and religious life.
According to the Whiteheads in the introduction to Holy Eros, Christian spirituality is shaped by the stories and symbols of the biblical tradition. The Bible describes Spirit not in the abstract categories of philosophy but in the earlier – and earthier – Hebrew language of ruah or breath. This image evokes the intimacy of God – as immediate as breathing; as essential as oxygen; as resonant with our longings as a sigh or a groan.
Many people of faith today seek a worldly spirituality. They long to bring their daily existence – its apparent ordinariness as well as its flashpoints of crisis and consolation – in touch with what is most real: God's Spirit alive in our lives and in our world. The spiritual search today seeks out more significant ways to connect with the world, both to raise up the simple pleasures that bring authentic delight and to face up to the complex issues that carry the prophetic agenda of our own time.
People today in many places and with diverse backgrounds explicitly acknowledge spirituality as a significant dimension of their lives; they speak of their spiritual quest or view life as a spiritual journey. For many, this journey is supported by the beliefs and practices of a particular religious heritage – Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity. But many others report: "I am a spiritual person, but I am not religious." Somehow, what they know as ‘religion’ doesn't honor the complexities of their own journey of light and darkness, of belief and unbelief. But even as people turn away from their earlier religious settings, many find themselves bereft.
Scholars today – social scientists as well as theologians – suggest that the hunger for contact with the foundational source of significance is part of what it means to be human. Even those who shy away from identifying such longing as religious recognize this spiritual sensitivity as a human characteristic. Still, most would suggest that there is no ‘generic’ spirituality. The hunger for meaning, the experience of the sacred – these find expression in a specific language, in particular symbols, in concrete practices. Holy Eros examines the spiritual resources – rooted in language, symbols, practices – of the Christian tradition that support the spiritual search today.
Many who live religiously committed lives today do not base their spirituality primarily on the credibility of particular theological doctrines. Instead, their spirituality reflects a greater mindfulness of the enduring questions that surround the experience of human life.
Among theologians there is greater awareness of the ultimate mystery of the universe and of our existence. Theology today is more tentative, recognizing that its grasp of divine reality is partial. Its interpretations of the symbols of sacred transcendence must remain open to both purification and development.
The spiritual search today is grounded in an awareness of the mysterious Presence at the heart of the world. This presence comes as gift, with a power that creates, sustains, reconciles, and heals. Christian thinkers today, Pope Benedict XVI and philosopher Charles Taylor among them, are returning to the ancient image of eros as an apt symbol of God's radical love. This is an eros known through and beyond sexual arousal; its vital energy courses through the world, enlivening and healing human hearts. Experienced as affection and also as compassion, in desire and also in hope, eros becomes ever more generous as it folds into that most capacious love described in the Bible as agape.
Holy Eros explores the cultivation of eros. The Whiteheads’ approach follows theologian Karl Rahner's directive: to recover and to overcome. They return to the ancient image of eros to recover its potential to reveal God's action among us today; they acknowledge the biases against body, sexuality, and desire that have found their way into the Christian tradition and must now be overcome. In dialogue with a range of contemporary authors – social scientists, theologians, spiritual writers – the Whiteheads examine the interplay among passion, pleasure, justice, and transformation. The goal of their endeavor is, finally, to recover the confidence expressed by St. Irenaeus: "The glory of God is a human person fully alive."
An exuberant book about an exuberant God and a major spiritual breakthrough! More please! – Andrew M. Greeley, author of The Great Mysteries
The Whiteheads are once again ahead of the curve! Everybody from pastor to pope to the people should read this groundbreaking book. – Eugene Kennedy, author of The Pain of Being Human and The Joy of Being Human
Eros is back! Among the many commentaries on this timely subject, few provide the insightful and comprehensive analysis of James and Evelyn Whitehead. An inspiring and challenging read! – Diarmuid O'Murchu, author of The Transformation of Desire
The Whiteheads restore Eros' reputation by highlighting it as a rich source of creativity and joy for abundant life. Their book is important and timely! – Wilkie and Noreen Au, co-authors of The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path
If you are tired of abstract concepts of God and emaciated forms of belief, check this book out. It spells out what you have always suspected. Your passions are not yours alone. They are co-created by Holy Eros working through you! – John Shea, author of An Experience Named Spirit
Holy Eros is a long overdue effort to recover and build on a lost part of our Christian heritage. Aimed primarily at clergy, it is an exuberant, timely and important book. Comprehensive, insightful and challenging, in brings back the message that the human is co-creator with God in the most intimate way.
Social Sciences / African-American Studies / Self-Help / Biographies & Memoirs
America I AM Legends: Rare Moments and Inspiring Words edited by SmileyBooks, with a foreword by Tavis Smiley (SmileyBooks, Hay House)
Would America have been America without her Negro people?
– W.E.B. Du Bois
America I AM: The African American Imprint, a national traveling museum exhibition, was conceived by award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author Tavis Smiley as a one-of-a-kind multi-media experience that chronicles the distinct history of African Americans. This companion volume addresses the central theme of the exhibition, posed by Du Bois: "Would America have been America without her Negro people?" Through photographic images and words, America I AM Legends, edited by SmileyBooks with a foreword by Tavis Smiley, captures the dynamism of 78 legendary African Americans, highlighting the imprint each has made on the United States and the world. A statement illuminating a unique aspect of each iconic figure – made by the legend or by someone carrying on their legacy today – portrays the vision and contribution of each subject.
"Nothing is more inspiring than individual stories of those who struggled head-on against the problems of the twentieth century – and succeeded," writes Smiley in the foreword. "It is impossible to think of how we could have accomplished so much, in such a short amount of time, without the abilities, sacrifices, and brilliance of the groundbreakers, the visionaries, and the leaders portrayed in this volume."
Representing the full scope of black brilliance, America I AM Legends features the artistic genius of Toni Morrison and Duke Ellington; the athletic excellence of Serena and Venus Williams and Michael Jordan; the political leadership of Ralph Bunche and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.; and those who struggle to make America true to its promise, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Barack Obama.
America I AM: The African American Imprint is a four-year touring museum exhibition celebrates the four hundred years of African American contributions to the nation through artifacts, documents, multimedia, photos, and music. The exhibition presents a historical continuum of pivotal moments in courage, conviction, and creativity that demonstrates the imprint of African Americans across the nation and around the world. The museum exhibition will continue to tour for the next four years, making stops in major cities across the United States.
America I AM Legends revels in greatness – a people's struggle and triumph manifested through unforgettable portraits of true luminaries... SmileyBooks has created its own legend. – Cornel West
Beautifully conceived, America I AM Legends takes us on an unforgettable journey to the heart of the American experience. Whether black artistic genius, athletic excellence, political leadership, or the struggle to hold America true to its promise, each legend reminds us that America would be unrecognizable without its African American imprint.
Social Sciences / Anthropology / Archaeology
Invisible Citizens: Captives and Their Consequences edited by Catherine M Cameron (Foundations of Archaeological Inquiry Series: The University of Utah Press)
Throughout history, warfare and raiding forced captives from one society into another, forming an almost invisible stratum of people without kin and largely outside the social systems in which they lived. Invisible Citizens explores the profound effects this mingling of societies and customs had on cultural development around the world.
The contributors to this volume explore the range in the conditions and experiences of captives, from abject drudge to quasi kinswoman and from war captive to sexual concubine. Developing methods for identifying captives in the archaeological record are established in light of the silence that surrounded captive-taking and enslavement in many parts of the world.
Invisible Citizens is edited by Catherine M. Cameron, associate professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and coeditor of The Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Chapters and their contributors include:
1. Introduction: Captives in Prehistory as Agents of Social Change – Cameron
2. The Slave Trade as Practice and Memory: What Are the Issues for Archaeologists? – Ann B. Stahl, Binghamton University
3. African Slavery: Archaeology and Decentralized Societies – Peter Robertshaw, California State University, San Bernadino and William L. Duncan, University of California, Santa Cruz
4. Captivity, Slavery, and Cultural Exchange between Rome and the Germans from the First to the Seventh Century CE – Noel Lenski, University of Colorado, Boulder
5. The Impact of Captured Women on Cultural Transmission in Contact-Period Philippine Slave-Raiding Chiefdoms – Laura Lee Junker, University of Illinois at Chicago
6. Slavery, Household Production, and Demography on the Southern Northwest Coast: Cables, Tacking, and Ropewalks – Kenneth M. Ames, Portland State University
7. Ripped Flesh and Torn Souls: Skeletal Evidence for Captivity and Slavery from the La Plata Valley, New Mexico, AD 1100-1300 – Debra L. Martin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
8. Captive Wives? The Role and Status of Nonlocal Women on the Protohistoric Southern High Plains – Judith A. Habicht-Mauche, University of California, Santa Cruz
9. Unwilling Immigrants: Culture, Change, and the "Other" in Mississippian Societies – Susan M. Alt, Indiana University
10. Social Death and Resurrection in the Western Great Lakes – Peter N. Peregrine, Lawrence University
11. Wrenched Bodies – Warren DeBoer, CUNY, Queens College
12. Captives in Amazonia: Becoming Kin in a Predatory Landscape – Brenda Bowser, California State University, Fullerton
Epilogue. Captive, Concubine, Servant, Kin: A Historian Divines Experience in Archaeological Slaveries – James F. Brooks, School of Advanced Research
As Cameron explains in the introduction, throughout history, warfare and raiding have forced captives from one society into another. Captives, mostly women and children, were often enslaved. Captives were victims of war and oppression, but they were also, often, agents of change. Captives have been overlooked in anthropology and archaeology in part because violence and warfare have been understudied in non-state societies and partly because the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade made scholars reluctant to discuss slavery in non-Western cultures. Anthropologists often downplay or ignore evidence for capture and enslavement. Yet captives have been taken throughout time, and slaves have existed in significant numbers in many, perhaps most, societies.
The premise of Invisible Citizens is that the mingling of societies and customs that resulted from the taking of captives must have had a profound effect on cultural development – effects that archaeologists should explore. Archaeologists tend to treat social group boundaries in the past as if they were relatively fixed and impermeable. Yet if adults or even subadults from other cultures were frequently introduced as captives through warfare, raids, or trading, then social boundaries in the past were not fixed; people of different cultural traditions often lived together in the same communities.
The perspective taken by contributors to Invisible Citizens is that captive-taking is a phenomenon that plays out at a broad geographic scale, creating ‘predatory landscapes’ in which economic, social, and political interactions were defined or heavily influenced by the practice. Cameron believes that captive-taking should be seen as an extension of other processes that move people around the landscape, such as marriage, migration, and refugee situations, although the lines dividing these processes are likely to be faint.
In Invisible Citizens, the contributors are interested in how captives interacted with and potentially transformed their captor's society. Some became part of a highly stigmatized slave class, while others were adopted or otherwise became full members of the society. Women, often the target of raids, could become wives or concubines, or they might labor as domestic servants or agricultural workers. Scholars who study slavery have acknowledged this range of statuses, yet often disagree about the extent to which captives could ever be truly integrated into an alien society.
As explained in the conclusion of Invisible Citizens, captives have been largely ignored by archaeologists, most of whom tend to operate as if social boundaries are fixed even though they know better. Capture, as well as marriage and migration, moved people across landscapes, mixing genetic material and cultural practices. Captive-taking was usually an aspect of warfare and raiding, and it was a potent source of power. Because of their low social position, captives add a new dimension to any social hierarchy they enter, creating relationships of dominance and subordination that may have a significant effect on economic and political development. Where population was low and power was derived from how many followers a leader could amass, captives increased group size, provided wives without bride-price, and boosted the labor force. Captives were agents of social change, and the chapters in Invisible Citizens explore the factors that conditioned the kind and amount of influence they exerted. Some of these factors included the captives' gender and age, and how they were integrated into captor society. In most places and times, captives were overwhelmingly women and children, and given women's intimate role in childrearing (including their master's children), female captives were likely to have been especially influential.
Captives are difficult to see in the archaeological record because for the most part their subordinate status and alien origin leave few traces. Chapters in Invisible Citizens suggest avenues for identifying captives in the archaeological record, exploring their activities, and assessing their achievements. Human remains, artifacts, iconography, the material remains of religious practices, oral history, and other avenues show promise for identifying captives in the past and recognizing their contributions to cultural development.
This is anthropology at its best. It is based on the best of scholarship, covering and synthesizing a vast literature wile remolding our very framework for understanding slavery and captive-taking. – Alf Hornborg, professor of human ecology, Lund University, Sweden
Perhaps the fact that captive-taking and enslavement are almost unanimously reviled today, although they were widespread only two hundred years ago, is evidence of human progress. Even though women and children continue to be snatched and sold throughout the world, these practices are now almost universally outlawed, and a tragic and tainted aspect of human history has been largely forgotten by descendants of captive-takers and their victims. While researchers must consider the reasons for this loss of memory, as well as their motives for studying captive-taking, they should not forget the contributions of captives to cultural development and change. Invisible Citizens is a step toward the study and commemoration of those contributions.
Invisible Citizens promises to attract attention from a number of fields concerned with the comparative, historical study of social inequality. It challenges scholars to develop robust, empirically grounded insights into the practices of slavery while attending to the forms and saliencies of its memories.
Social Sciences / Politics / Biographies & Memoirs
Dispatches from the War Room: In the Trenches with Five Extraordinary Leaders by Stanley B. Greenberg (Thomas Dunne Books)
As a hired-gun strategist, Stanley B. Greenberg – a seasoned pollster and political consultant – has seen it all. Now he looks back on his work with pivotal world leaders and describes how he helped them put forward their visions for better domestic and international policies. In Dispatches from the War Room, he recounts his work with President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through his experiences aiding the leaders in pushing their visions for better and clearer domestic and international policies, Greenberg offers an examination of leadership, democracy, and the bridge between candidate and constituency. Greenberg describes the complex processes with which leaders navigate the political terrain to win popular support for themselves and their agendas.
Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, has served as a polling advisor to national campaigns for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Al Gore, Chris Dodd, and Joe Lieberman in addition to those covered in Dispatches from the War Room. Greenberg has been described as ‘the Robert DeNiro of political consultants,’ ‘the father of modern polling techniques,’ and named as one of the most important people of the 21st century by Esquire Magazine. Greenberg has been in the ‘war room’ of more high-profile and volatile campaigns than anyone else. He takes tremendous pride in the benefits polling can offer, when used properly and with foresight, and he has no use for the polling tactics of some other political consultants – Dick Morris, for example.
These five leaders all turned to Greenberg because of his tremendous reputation. But for these men to make history, they had to construct hard-hitting campaigns and ‘war rooms’ using polling strategy to define the choices voters had. Each was strong-willed and entered politics to lead their countries through explosive and turbulent times. What separated these five men from run-of-the-mill politicians is that each brought hope and high expectations to their party. Though each struggled with a deep disillusionment that tested them personally and called into question their ability to succeed, they did accomplish much:
President Bill Clinton accepted a bold deficit target to get long-term growth, losing virtually all his investments and taxing the middle class voters who would rebel against him.
President Nelson Mandela embraced an inclusive theme of ‘a better life for all’ rather than one centered on black power (‘now is the time’), and he demanded his own party and government be held accountable.
With his government in ruins, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak broke every taboo by offering a divided Jerusalem to get a comprehensive peace and somehow brought the public with him.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, finding peace of mind and his voice after the tragedy of 9/11, argued for the power of the community in fighting evil, and felt compelled to embrace Bush's war. In the process, he lost the British public and nearly his future in politics.
Despite massive forces against globalization, Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada pressed for privatization and the export of new natural gas reserves to fund education and pensions, even as blockades and popular resistance mounted and threatened not only his political career but his personal well-being.
Greenberg also notes in Dispatches from the War Room that many times they surprised him when it came to their regard for public opinion and how little he initially understood the tremendous complexity each man possessed, as well as each leader's underlying personal mission.
I so admire how this book captures the way great leaders have struggled to succeed in their missions and nobody more than Stan has helped them get there with so much respect for voters. – Rahm Emanuel, Congressman (D-IL) and author of The Plan: Big Ideas for America
No political professional has seen, shaped or been a part of more history in more places than Stan Greenberg. This book could only be written by Stan Greenberg and is a must read. – James Carville
Whichever party absorbs his insights will have a master plan. – George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week
Greenberg doesn't get bogged down in jargon, and the strength of the book lies in his insider perspective on the leaders who helped shape this century. He astutely assesses their strengths and weaknesses to discover why some succeeded and other failed in bringing their governing vision to fruition. – Publishers Weekly, starred review
The nation's most astute political analyst. – Theda Skocpol, Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University and author of Diminished Democracy
...his candor and wide range of experience makes for an illuminating memoir. High octane politics laid bare. – Kirkus Reviews
In this wide-sweeping memoir, Greenberg looks back on a career devoted to bridging the gap between politicians and the people. Dispatches from the War Room tells how he helped forge the agendas of high-profile heads of state, providing an inside look at some of the greatest international leaders of our time from the man who stood directly beside them. Readers are taken on a fascinating, fly-on-the-wall journey into the heart of the campaigns and behind the scenes as strategies and game-plans are worked and re-worked – only Greenberg could take them there.
Social Sciences / Sociology
Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life, Brief Edition by David M. Newman (Pine Forge Press)
In this briefer, less expensive edition of his acclaimed sociology text, David M. Newman in Sociology invites students into the world of sociological thought. This version of Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life is streamlined while still exposing students to the key points of Newman’s proven text. In his signature style, Newman, Professor of Sociology at DePauw University who teaches both introductory courses and research methodology, shows students the two-way connection between the most private elements of their lives and the cultures, groups, organizations, and social institutions of today’s society.
Features of Sociology include:
Illustrates the social construction of society using prose, current examples, and data.
Focuses on Newman's student-friendly writing style as well as his personal chapter-opening anecdotes.
Balances theory and current, relevant research with up-to-date examples from a diverse variety of subgroups in U.S. society.
Includes chapter-opening photographs to illustrate chapter concepts.
Provides a value-priced text alternative, and thereby, flexibility so that instructors can assign other readings.
Instructor Resources on CD include a test bank, chapter summaries and outlines.
Student Study Site provides students with an array of resources; including exercises, e-flashcards, and links to video and audio archives, along with journal articles.
Newman’s goal has always been to write a textbook that reads like a ‘real’ book. The full version of Sociology is now in its seventh edition. Newman says it would be impossible to write an introduction to the discipline of sociology without accounting for the life-altering occurrences – wars, natural disasters, political upheavals – that we hear about every day. Throughout Sociology, he makes a special effort to provide some sociological insight into contemporary events and trends, both large and small. Each chapter is peppered with anecdotes, personal observations, and accounts of contemporary events. Newman hopes to show students the pervasiveness and applicability of sociology in our ordinary everyday experiences in a way that rings familiar. Throughout the book he also tries to provide the most current statistical information possible. Most of the statistical information is drawn from the most recent data from such sources as the U.S. Census Bureau, the Population Reference Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Newman says he chose the image of architecture in the subtitle to convey one of the driving themes of Sociology: Society is a human construction. Society is not ‘out there’ somewhere, waiting to be visited and examined. It exists in the minute details of day-to-day life. Whenever we follow its rules or break them, enter its roles or shed them, work to change things or keep them as they are, we are adding another nail, plank, or frame to the structure of our society.
At the same time, however, this structure that we have created appears to exist independently of us. We don't usually spend much time thinking about the buildings we live, work, and play in as human constructions. Only when something goes wrong – the pipes leak or the walls crack – do we realize that people made these structures and people are the ones who must fix them. Likewise, society is so massive and has been around for so long that it appears to stand on its own, at a level above and beyond the toiling hands of individual people. But here too when things begin to go wrong – widespread discrimination, massive poverty, lack of affordable health care, escalating crime rates – people must do something about it.
So the fascinating paradox of human life is that we build society, collectively ‘forget’ that we've built it, and live under its massive and influential structure. But we are not ‘stuck’ with society as it is. Human beings are the architects of their own social reality. Throughout Sociology, Newman examines the active roles individuals play in planning, maintaining, or fixing society.
Newman says that the true value of sociology lies in its unique ability to show the two-way connection between the most private elements of life – our characteristics, experiences, behaviors, and thoughts – and the cultures, groups, organizations, and social institutions to which they belong. The ‘everyday life’ approach in this book uses real-world examples and personal observations as a vehicle for understanding the relationship between individuals and society. Newman says he wants to help students critically examine the commonplace and the ordinary in their own lives. Only when students step back and examine the taken-for-granted aspects of their personal experiences can they see that there is an inherent, sometimes unrecognized organization and predictability to them. At the same time, they see that the structure of society is greater than the sum of the experiences and psychologies of the individuals in it.
Sociology, Brief Edition, of Newman's Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life provides introductory sociology students with an inviting, accessible, introduction to the world of sociology and the sociological imagination. Compelling personal and current examples engage students and help them understand how sociology affects them in a personal and day-to-day way. This relatively brief volume focuses on the sociology of everyday life and Newman's signature student-friendly writing style as well as his personal chapter-opening anecdotes. It balances theory and current, relevant research with engaging, up-to-date examples from a diverse variety of subgroups in U.S. society. Finally, because it is value-priced and briefer, the text makes it easy for instructors to assign other readings.
World Literature / History & Criticism / Biographies & Memoirs
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch (Little Brown and Company)
Flannery is the first major biography of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, whose books, as the poet Elizabeth Bishop wrote, "will live on and on in American literature." The landscape of fiction in America was fundamentally changed when Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) appeared on the scene in 1952 with her first published book, Wise Blood. Her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories reflected the darkly funny, vibrant, and theologically sophisticated woman who wrote them. Brad Gooch in Flannery brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships – with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy, and James Dickey, among others – and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, Katherine Anne Porter, and Betty Hester. Hester was famously known as ‘A’ in O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being, and a large cache of correspondence to her from O'Connor was made available to scholars, including Gooch, in 2007. Gooch is Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
Flannery follows O'Connor from her insular childhood in Savannah, Georgia; to graduate school at the fledgling Iowa Writers' Workshop; to Yaddo, the artists' colony in upstate New York, where lifelong and influential friendships were formed; and, finally, to Andalusia, the family dairy farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. She died there at the age of thirty-nine, of lupus – the same ravaging autoimmune disease that killed her beloved father. "The wolf, I'm afraid, is inside," she wrote of her illness, "tearing up the place."
O'Connor also wrote: "My subject in fiction is the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil."
Esteemed biographer Gooch (author of City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara, 1993) pulls, with great fondness and understanding, the life and personality of Flannery O'Connor, the much celebrated Georgia novelist and short story writer, out from under the false impression, which has lasted for decades, that O'Connor was ‘an eccentric recluse.’ … Although confined for so many years before her death at the family farm outside Milledgeville with her widowed mother, she was an active and highly regarded member of the American literary scene of her day, keeping in close touch with important editors and luminaries in prose and poetry who were ‘crucial to her literary career.’ Her many short stories and two novels were, despite their frequent depictions of violence, grounded in O'Connor's deep Catholic consciousness. Gooch comfortably traces her fiction to its real-life roots in a meticulous yet seemingly effortless writing style, resulting in the definitive biography as well as providing the impetus for general readers to return to O'Connor's timeless fashion. – Booklist, starred review
Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) was a character worthy of her best short stories, a study in deep contradictions and gentle nuance. In the first major biography of the short story master, Brad Gooch makes up for torrid romances and bad behavior – of which there were none in O'Connor's life – with detail and insight, undoing some popular myths along the way. – Atlanta Magazine
Gooch's biography is a marvel of concision but skimps on nothing.... If O'Connor's writing glows with edged comic genius, biographer Gooch is himself no slouch. If a library is to have only one book on Flannery O'Connor, this should be it. Highly recommended. – Library Journal
This splendid biography gives us no saint or martyr but the story of a gifted and complicated woman, bent on making the best of the difficult hand fate has dealt her, whether it is with grit and humor or with an abiding desire to make palpable to readers the terrible mystery of God's grace. – Frances Kiernan, author of Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy
A good biographer is hard to find. Brad Gooch is not merely good – he is extraordinary. Blessed with the eye and ear of a novelist, he has composed the life that admirers of the fierce and hilarious Georgia genius have long been hoping for. – Joe Conarroe, President Emeritus, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation
Flannery O'Connor, one of the best American writers of short fiction, has found her ideal biographer in Brad Gooch. With elegance and fairness, Gooch deals with the sensitive areas of race and religion in O'Connor's life. He also takes us back to those heady days after the war when O'Connor studied creative writing at Iowa. There is much that is new in this book, but, more important, everything is presented in a strong, clear light. – Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and Rimbaud
With wit, authority, and his own considerable gift for storytelling, Gooch in Flannery has illuminated the sources of Flannery O'Connor's unique fictional material. He reveals this canonical American writer to us in all her profundity and humanity. O'Connor's capacity to live fully – despite the chronic disease that eventually confined her to her mother's farm in Georgia – shines clearly in this engaging and authoritative biography.