SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

May 2009, Issue 121

Contents:

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran (Hardcover) by Azadeh Moaveni (Random House)

Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber (Harper Business)

Macy's: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo (Square One Publishers)

It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose by Roy M. Spence Jr., with Haley Rushing (Portfolio)

A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids (Library Binding) by Amie Jane Leavitt (Robbie Readers Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa: Where Are the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia, and Kush? (Library Binding) by John Davenport (Places in Time/a Kid's Historic Guide to the Changing Names & Places of the World Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

The Belarusian Cookbook by Alexander Bely (Hippocrene Books, Inc.)

Learning to Compete in European Universities: From Social Institution to Knowledge Business edited by Maureen McKelvey & Magnus Holmen (Edward Elgar Publishing)

Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom by Gervase Phinn (Crown House Publishing Limited)

International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education edited by Jemina Napier (Interpreter Education Series, Vol. 4: Gallaudet University Press)

The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates with CD by Frank Tirro, edited by series editor Michael J. Budds (CMS Sourcebooks in American Music Series, No. 5: Pendragon Press)

Fergie: My Life from the Cubs to Cooperstown by Fergie Jenkins, with Lew Freedman, with a foreword by Billy Williams (Triumph Books)

The Dream Encyclopedia, 2nd edition by James R. Lewis & Evelyn Dorothy Oliver (Visible Ink)

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Progressive Guide to Change (Professional) edited by Ruth Anne Rehfeldt & Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, with a foreword by Steven C. Hayes (Context Press, New Harbinger Publications)

Life Is Friends: A Complete Guide to the Lost Art of Connecting in Person (Hardcover) by Jeanne Martinet (Steward, Tabori & Chang)

The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols (Guilford Family Therapy Series: The Guilford Press)

Agnes Lake Hickok: Queen of the Circus, Wife of a Legend by Linda A. Fisher & Carrie Bowers (University of Oklahoma Press)

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry (Harper)

With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows by Sandra Kalniete, translated by Margita Gailitis (Baltic Literature Series: Dalkey Archive)

Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story by Evan I. Schwartz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

At the Edge of Dreamland by Tsevi Ayznman, translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff (KTAV Publishing House)

Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Purple Culture by Stephen Boehrer (Oceanview Publishing)

Reason's Children: Childhood in Early Modern Philosophy by Anthony Krupp, with general editor Greg Clingham (Bucknell Studies Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series: Bucknell University Press)

Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft by Angelo Codevilla (Basic Books)

In the Beginning Was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity by Hal Taussig (Fortress Press)

The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Contexts by Gary M. Burge, Lynn H. Cohick, & Gene L. Green (Zondervan)

Never Give Up!: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life's Challenges (Hardcover) by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords)

Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach by Robin Routledge (IVP Academic)

Rag and Bone: A Journey among the World's Holy Relics by Peter Manseau (Henry Holt & Co.)

The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (Schocken Books)

Worldweavers, Book 3: Cybermage by Alma Alexander (Worldweavers Series: Eos, HarperTeen)

Silent Images: Women in Pharanoic Egypt by Zahi Hawass, with a foreword by Suzanne Mubarak (The American University in Cairo Press)

Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking by Michael A. Smerconish (The Lyons Press) 


Biographies & Memoirs / Middle East

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran (Unabridged Audio CD, 11 CDs, approximate running time: 13 ½ hours) by Azadeh Moaveni, read by Carrington MacDuffie (Blackstone Audio)

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran (Hardcover)

by Azadeh Moaveni (Random House)

As told in Honeymoon in Tehran, in 2005, Azadeh Moaveni, longtime Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, returns to Iran to cover the rise of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As she documents the firebrand leader’s troublesome entry onto the world stage, Moaveni, one of the few American correspondents who have been permitted to work continuously in Iran since 1999, portrays a society too often caricatured as the heartland of militant Islam. Living and working in Tehran, she finds a nation that openly yearns for freedom and contact with the West, but whose economic grievances and nationalist spirit find a temporary outlet in Ahmadinejad’s strident pronouncements. Mingling with underground musicians, race car drivers, young radicals, and scholars, she explores the cultural identity crisis and class frustration that pits Iran’s next generation against the Islamic system.
And then the unexpected happens: Azadeh falls in love with a young Iranian man and decides to get married and start a family in Tehran. Suddenly, she finds herself navigating an altogether different side of Iranian life. Preparing to be wed by a mullah, she sits in on a government marriage prep class where young couples are instructed to enjoy sex. She visits Tehran’s bridal bazaar and finds that the Iranian wedding has become an outrageously lavish – though often still gender-segregated – production. When she becomes pregnant, she must prepare to give birth in an Iranian hospital, at the same time observing her friends’ struggles with their young children, who must learn to say one thing at home and another at school.
Despite her busy schedule as a wife and mother, Azadeh describes in Honeymoon in Tehran how she continues to report for Time on Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West and Iranians’ dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad’s heavy-handed rule. But as women are arrested on the street for ‘immodest dress’ and the authorities unleash a campaign of intimidation against journalists, the country’s dark side reemerges. This fundamentalist turn, along with the chilling presence of ‘Mr. X,’ the government agent assigned to mind her every step, forces Azadeh to make the hard decision that her family’s future lies outside Iran.

In her new memoir, American-born journalist Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) returns to Tehran in 2005 to cover Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election for Time magazine, hoping to make the city her permanent home.… Gradually, the idealism and religious faith that characterized Moaveni's younger years wane. With the birth of her son, her misgivings come to a head, compounded by the spying, threats and intimidation she experienced at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Moaveni, who now lives in London with her family, has penned a story of coming-of-age in two cultures with a keen eye and a measured tone. – Publishers Weekly
… She writes extensively about how the country’s troubled economic situation forces twenty-somethings to postpone marriage and independence from their families. Iran’s ‘brain drain’ is well documented, but the reasons professionals grudgingly leave Iran have rarely been discussed by Western media, which instead focuses on Ahmadinejad’s rantings. Moaveni tracks the country’s increased social conservatism, and reveals both expensive marriage traditions and governmental manipulation. This perfect blend of political commentary and social observation is an excellent choice for readers interested in going beyond the headlines to gain an in-depth understanding of twenty-first-century Iran. –
Colleen Mondor, Booklist
A rare, rich glimpse inside a closed society. – Kirkus Reviews

Sharp and written with ferociously brilliant reporting, Honeymoon in Tehran, Azadeh Moaveni’s nuanced perspective on her ancestors’ homeland, is without peer. – Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan
Honeymoon in Tehran is a timely, well-written, and intimate exploration of the soul of Iran. With an eye for detail and a feel for her subject matter, Moaveni has brought to life a country that is at once immensely important to the West and deeply misunderstood. Honest, perceptive, and nuanced, this tale of love and anguish in the Islamic Republic is brimming with poignant political insights. This book will enchant and educate. – Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future
At a time when Iranian journalists were jailed and their newspapers regularly shut down,
Time magazine correspondent Azadeh Moaveni managed to give voice to the Iranian psyche. Fearlessly, Moaveni pushed the limits of her Iranian government minder and refused to be intimidated. Her stories revealed the internal turmoil felt by many Iranians decades after the revolution. Honeymoon in Tehran is a powerful and compelling read that gives a face to the voices of discourse in Iran, voices that still long for a lawful society. – Davar Ardalan, senior producer at NPR News and author of My Name Is Iran

Honeymoon in Tehran is a powerful, poignant, often funny, but ultimately harrowing, story about a young woman facing her future in a very dangerous place. Both a love story and a reporter’s first draft of history, the book is a stirring, trenchant, and deeply personal chronicle of two years in the maelstrom of Iranian life.
Business & Investing

Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber (Harper Business)

We live in a world of dramatic, tumultuous, and unpredictable change – change that is wiping out time-honored businesses and long-standing institutions and ushering in unprecedented opportunities for creative individuals and entrepreneurial organizations. So pervasive is change today that it has redefined our first task: The job is no longer figuring out how to win at the game of work and life; the job is figuring out the new rules of the game.

That's the context for Alan M. Webber's Rules of Thumb, a guide for individuals in every walk of life who want to make sense out of these confusing and challenging times. Drawing from his own experiences as co-founding editor of Fast Company magazine and a wide range of interactions with some of the world's leading thinkers and highest achievers, including Nobel Prize winners and global change agents, Webber has produced 52 ‘rules of thumb’ – the rules come from real-life lessons learned and recorded on 3 x 5 index cards, a trick borrowed from one of the mentors whose teachings Webber captures and catalogues in Rules of Thumb.

Carrying a supply of cards wherever life took him, Webber wrote down and collected the lessons and insights he gleaned from his experiences traveling the world and in his interactions with people ranging from CEOs and spiritual leaders to basketball coaches, novelists, academics and beyond. Webber for the book has selected the best and most universal rules that help stimulate, inspire, and challenge anyone seeking a better path through today's tumultuous climate.

Webber explains that Rules of Thumb is the world's first business hybrid book. It is part memoir, drawn from Webber's more than 30 years of work and life experiences. Some of the rules come from the 1970s when he worked for the mayor of Portland; some from his time working with the Harvard Business Review; while others derive from the experiences he had in launching and editing Fast Company, including speaking with such business luminaries as Jim Collins, Peter Drucker, and Tom Peters. And in recent years while traveling and working around the globe, Webber has encountered a new circle of fascinating, talented, and instructive people from which he has garnered even more insight.

The book is also part instruction manual that gives readers the tools they need to learn and apply the lessons of each rule. Webber includes a ‘So What?’ for each rule that helps readers relate the rule to whatever situation they are dealing with, problem they're trying to solve, or wisdom they are looking to gain. Rules of Thumb covers a wide range of issues and topics including how to lead and inspire others, how to deal with failure, how to avert crises, how to create business strategy, and how to find the right career. It is filled with advice such as:

  • Turning problems into opportunities.
  • Always ask the last question first.
  • Knowing it isn't the same as doing it.
  • Learn to take ‘no’ as a question.
  • Everything communicates – including what you wear.
  • Managing your emotional flow is more critical that managing your cash flow.
  • How to be the leader you want to be.
  • Stop worrying and enjoy what you're doing.

Rules of Thumb also speaks to one of the hardest hit groups within our flagging economy: recent college graduates. How can they get the job they want when jobs are scarce? How can they retool and reshape their ideas of work while maintaining their drive and passion? Rules of Thumb will help them focus on how to identify their goals, conduct a successful interview, and thrive in the workplace.

Alan Webber has a genius for sparking the right conversation at the right time. It doesn't matter whether you're in business or politics, employed or entrepreneur, social leader or wealth creator, Alan Webber's wise words give guidance and hope in a world gone upside down. Incisive and practical, timely and timeless – he is a mentor of the highest order. – Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

I wish to hell I'd had this book 40 years ago. Things may or may not have turned out better, but I'd surely have enjoyed the trip more. You've got to read this – every word. – Tom Peters, co-author of In Search of Excellence

Alan Webber's Rules of Thumb is pithy, informative and entertaining. I loved it. – Scott Turow, Author of Presumed Innocent

Alan Webber is a giant among pygmies, a big thinker at a time when we desperately need one. This book will change the color of your glasses and give you an itch that needs scratching. Stop reading this blurb and buy this book! – Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow

Rules of Thumb transcends categories, offering deep insights into what it means to live life to the fullest, whether you're 25 or 55 years old, planning your future or reflecting on your past. – Paolo Coelho, author of The Alchemist

Rules of Thumb is full of heart, wisdom and insight. Its vision affirms that leaders must have the courage, confidence and character to make their business – and the world – a better place. – Kathy Cloninger, CEO, Girl Scouts of USA

Whether you're an intern who's fresh out of college or an executive decades into your career, you'll learn from Webber's wisdom, humor, and amazingly wide range of experiences. – Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep

This excellent book offers valuable, thought-provoking ideas for library patrons. – Booklist

Rules of Thumb is a collection that is as wise as it is useful and as honest as it is helpful. The book tackles the issues that matter most in today's chaotic world in a style that is as incisive as it is fun. Filled with proven and wise advice, it is an essential guide to not only to winning at work and at life, but also for creating a better future. Both stimulating and thought provoking, surprising, insightful, and often counterintuitive, it is an ideal tool for using the rules to become smarter, grow faster, and succeed sooner.

Business & Investing / History / Americas / Retailing

Macy's: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo (Square One Publishers)

Macy's is an illustrated history of America’s most celebrated retail emporium.

On October 28, 1858, Rowland Hussey Macy (1822-1877) – a native of Nantucket – opened a ladies' and gentlemen's emporium in New York City. The businessman had experienced several failed ventures, and many felt that his new enterprise wouldn't last long. But Macy firmly believed that his ‘Fancy Dry Goods’ store would captivate New York's bustling crowds – and he was right.

Macy's, written by Robert Grippo, who, after twenty years in the credit card industry, became a full-time writer, traces a hundred and fifty years of one of the country's premier retailers. The story details the founding of the store, including the innovative advertising and pricing practices that made the fledgling business stand out from its competitors.

Part of the magic of Macy's is its Thanksgiving Day Parades, its showcase window displays, and its flower shows. But behind all the glitz and glamour of this American icon is a unique history that reflects this country's entrepreneurial spirit. It is a story of resolve, skill, savvy, and vision. In many respects, it is the story of an American dream passed on from one generation to the next. It begins with a determined Nantucket boy, who after spending several years on a whaling ship, decides to try his hand in the world of business. Although the young man does not meet with immediate success, he learns through his mistakes and continues to persevere.

Macy's in Chapter 1 looks at the early years detailing the often dif­ficult journey that would lead to the establishment of a store in Manhattan. Opened on Sixth Avenue, Rowland Macy's store, a small dry goods shop, immediately started growing by leaps and bounds. Chapter 2 tells the story of the talented people who worked with R.H. Macy during the store's first thirty years, and also looks at the unique principles of business that made Macy's different from other Manhattan emporiums.

Macy died in 1877, leaving the store in the hands of his partners. Yet soon, they too were gone. Chapter 3 begins the tale of Lazarus, Isidor, and Nathan Straus – three German immigrants who would not only change the shape of American retailing history, but also have a lasting effect on the great metropolis that they called home.

By the turn of the century, the Strauses knew that larger, more modern quar­ters were needed if they were to continue to survive in New York's competitive environment. Chapter 4 looks at the 1902 construction of Macy's Herald Square store – a building so grand in its appearance and advanced in its technology that it would play a major role in moving the retailing center of New York uptown. This chapter also discusses the consumer services that made Macy's so successful, and examines the Strauses' unique benefit programs for their employees.

Spanning the years from 1913 to 1939, Chapter 5 in Macy's focuses on Jesse, Percy, and Herbert Straus – the bril­liant merchant princes who updated and expanded Macy's, eventually turning it into the world's largest store. This chapter also looks at how both Macy's owners and its employees took an active part in criti­cal home-front efforts during the Great War, and how the company not only survived the Great Depression, but took steps to help fellow New Yorkers during the nation's economic crisis. And for everyone who loves the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Chapter 5 discusses the fascinating birth of an event that was to become not only a Macy's trademark, but also an American tradition.

Between 1940 and 1969, the nation experienced war and peace, an economic boom, and unprece­dented expansion into the suburbs. Chapter 6 describes how Macy's responded to these events, constantly evolving to serve its customers during changing times. Included in this chapter are discussions of Macy's move into suburban commu­nities, the ‘war’ between Macy's and Gimbels, the evolution of the flower show, and the creation of Miracle on 34th Street.

In the late 1960s and early '70s, economic stagna­tion contributed to urban decay, and Manhattan went through hard times. As the city became an unattrac­tive place to live and shop, Macy's sales suffered along with those of many inner-city businesses, and the store became worn through neglect. Chapter 7 of Macy's tells the story of how one man not only restored the original beauty of Macy's Herald Square, but modernized it with fashionable boutiques and the sophisticated Cellar, turning a faded icon into a success.

This lavishly illustrated history documents the iconic store's evolution over the past 150 years…. Archival materials provide rich servings of Americana, and detailed footnotes contrast each chapter in Macy's development with a time line of concurrent historical events, trends and fashions. Discussions … are supplemented with extensively researched notes, anecdotes, rare photographs, advertisements and other enlivening illustrations. Grippo (Macy's Thanksgiving Parade) depicts how Macy's has remade itself with the times and for the changing needs of its consumers – who will delight in this affectionate tribute. – Publishers Weekly
Kudos to Grippo for compiling and writing this illustrated history of the world’s most famous store…. The author provides great historical context through the bottom-of-the-page illustrated footers chronicling events, celebrities, and politics of that era. As a history alone, the story of this New York-based empire entertains; yet as a not-so-objective narrative of U.S. retailing, it serves as a simple paean to the old Macy’s, posing some real questions about its survival as the first coast-to-coast American department store under CEO Terry Lundgren
. – Barbara Jacobs, Booklist (starred review)

Throughout Macy's, lively text, rare photographs, and colorful illustrations highlight the people and events – the trends, tragedies, and traditions – that transformed Macy's from a modest storefront into an American icon. Every chapter of the book is filled with drawings and photos that bring the story of Macy's to life. More than just the account of a successful business, Macy's is the story of how one man's dream found a home in the heart of Manhattan and of the American dream itself.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose by Roy M. Spence Jr., with Haley Rushing (Portfolio)

 At a time when we’re all paying the price for the corporate greed that contributed to today’s financial crisis, a new book shows organizations that the route to success is to stand for something beyond making money. A clearly articulated purpose is at the heart of the world’s top companies argue Roy Spence and Haley Rushing in their new book It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For.

Over the last thirty-five years, Spence has helped organizations such as Southwest Airlines, BMW, the University of Texas, Walmart, the Clinton Global Initiative, and many others by getting them to obsess about one big idea: purpose. With purpose, employee engagement is higher, competition is less threatening, customers are more loyal, and innovation flows. According to Spence, it is the secret to developing a more fulfilling work life as well as a healthier bottom line. Purpose is a definitive statement about the difference readers are trying to make in the world – “It’s your reason for being that goes beyond making money – and it almost always results in making more money than you ever thought possible.” Especially during times of great economic uncertainty, purpose is the key to creating and maintaining a high-performing organization.
A real purpose can’t just be words on a piece of paper. It has to get under the skin of every member of their organization – like Southwest’s purpose of ‘democratizing the skies’ or Walmart’s of ‘saving people money so they can live better.’ If readers get it right, their employees will feel great about what they’re doing, clear about their goals, and excited to get to work every morning. No organization is too big or too small, too niche or too mundane, to benefit from a clearly defined purpose.
In It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For Spence and Rushing, cofounders of the Purpose Institute, share their insider insights and case studies to help readers discover their organization’s purpose, proclaim it to the world, and apply it to everything they do. This book forces readers to address some profound questions:

  • What difference do they want to make in the world?
  • What do they really stand for?
  • Do they have purpose-based leaders in key roles?
  • Do their employees feel like what they do matters?
  • Would their customers miss them if they ceased to exist?
  • Do they bring their purpose to life everywhere they can – both internally and externally?

... The author supplements uplifting homilies with case studies (starring his clients) to argue that a high-concept purpose can bring vitality to any company…. This is a positive reminder of the private sectors potential in making a difference in the world. – Publishers Weekly
If you’re looking for a way to inspire people, mobilize the talent and energy of your organization, and make a real difference, the road map and case studies in this book will help you do it.
– Bill Clinton
Roy Spence’s instructive book reflects his charismatic genius, his evangelical zeal, and his synergistic understanding of what makes businesses lodge in the hearts, not just the minds, of employees and customers. – Herb Kelleher, founder, Southwest Airlines
Roy Spence’s creative brilliance has been an enormous influence on helping people better understand what the PGA Tour stands for. The wisdom contained in this book is a great resource for those who want to lead their business with a purpose. – Tim Finchem, commissioner, PGA Tour
At BMW, we live and breathe purpose. Roy’s book and the powerful way he outlines how to bring purpose to life within your entire organization is the clearest game plan ever written on how to win on purpose. – Jack Pitney, vice president marketing, BMW of North America
Roy Spence has a great gift for getting to the heart of the matter. Fearless in questioning the status quo and relentless in rejecting cynical shortcuts, he has his finger on the pulse of America like no one else. – Margaret Heffernan, author of How She Does It
Roy Spence’s book demonstrates the power of purpose in building successful organizations. He shows how to discover your purpose, cultivate it, and use it to make a difference as well as to make profits.
– Bill Novelli, CEO, AARP

Spence’s hard-won lessons in It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For will change the way readers view their job, their business model, their leadership style, and their marketing. Timely, with insider insights and entertaining case studies, the authors show readers how to discover their organization's own purpose and apply it to everything they do.

Children’s / Ages 8-10 / Home & Garden

A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids (Library Binding) by Amie Jane Leavitt (Robbie Readers Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

Do you adore plants? If so, you might consider taking up the hobby of vegetable gardening. It's a fun and easy pastime that people of all ages enjoy. You get to spend time outdoors. You get to play in the dirt. You get to watch things grow from tiny seeds into plants. And most importantly, at harvest time, you won't have to buy your vegetables from a grocery store. – from the book

People all around the world enjoy the hobby of gardening. They love planting tiny seeds in the soil and watching them sprout into mature plants. Gardening isn’t just for adults, however. Kids can create their own gardens, too. A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids provides ideas and instructions for making water gardens, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, butterfly gardens, and landscape designs.

In this step-by-step guide young readers will find out how to plan, design, grow, and harvest their own vegetable gardens. Gardening is even more fun when they can eat what they have planted. They learn which are the perfect plants to grow in their area, what tools they will need, and how to prepare a garden plot. They also discover techniques to help their vegetables grow their best, such as which plants grow well together and which ones don’t. In addition, they are given step-by-step instructions for the best way to plant vegetables, from sowing seeds to harvesting the ripened crop. Limited space? No problem. They can always grow a garden in containers. And while they are tending their vegetable garden plot, they can follow the easy directions for making a hummingbird bath to bring even more life to the backyard.
Children’s book author Amie Jane Leavitt is an accomplished author and photographer.

According to Leavitt, the first thing anyone should do when starting a new hobby is to take the time to learn all about it. Leavitt says that is why she wrote A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids was written. Within these pages, readers will discover the basics of vegetable gardening. Leavitt hopes more young people discover the joys of gardening and gain a desire to care for the earth s precious resources.

This book is part of a new Gardening for Kids series, which provides a hands-on introduction to horticulture for readers in grades 3 through 5. In this series, young readers can join millions of other happy gardeners when they use these books filled with ideas and instructions for designing, growing, and harvesting their own gardens, inspired by the full-color photos of kids making and maintaining their own vegetable gardens.

Children’s / Ages 9-13 / History / Africa

A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa: Where Are the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia, and Kush? (Library Binding) by John Davenport (Places in Time/a Kid's Historic Guide to the Changing Names & Places of the World Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

The map of Africa, with its distinctive contours, is familiar to most people. A brief glimpse at the evening news will acquaint even the casual observer with place names such as Egypt, Sudan, the Congo, and Zimbabwe. Global politics, war, and famine draw attention to these locations. According to author, John Davenport, teacher of social studies at Corte Madera Middle School in Portola Valley, California, readers tend to forget that Africa is much larger than the points on the map that make it onto television screens. As told in A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa, it is also easily forgotten that Africa is much older than the most recent news. Many places on what was once known as the Dark Continent have disappeared, from maps and from awareness. Mighty empires have risen and fallen in Africa; great kingdoms have come and gone. City-states have altered the course of history, while entire cultures have emerged only to dissolve in time. Colonies, possessed and exploited by foreigners who cared little for the local people, have appeared and then, seemingly in an instant, vanished. The wisps of memory swirl around Africa as they do on no other continent.

Kush, the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia – these places have been erased from modern maps of the world. At one time, they represented the pride and prestige of kings and queens, yet in the twenty-first century, none of these places exist anymore. They have dissolved into the ages; few know them and even fewer can locate them. Still, their legacies live on. The places they were have become nations we recognize. Changing and shifting, coming in and out of focus, they have survived to this day as places in time.

The Places in Time series, of which A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa is a part, is the resource to use to help students identify places that no longer exist on present-day maps. Volumes in the series show students in grades 3-7 where each place was, and gives its context in time. Each chapter shows how a region changed names through time via color­ful maps, two per chapter, and a changing chapter timeline. Modern-day maps show current names and boundaries. The books in the series present the historical progression of each region through time, focusing on the people involved in the expanding – or losing – of empires. The books deal with geographical and political divisions and subdivisions; reasons for the divisions (religious and otherwise); and the changing politics through time, showing an evolution to the present day. Sidebar stories provide in-depth information for related topics or personalities touched upon in each chapter.

Few people are aware of Africa’s rich past, dynamic present, and promising future. Africans, however, look back into a yesteryear crowded with empires and kingdoms and into a tomorrow filled with economic and political potential. The difference between these two ways of seeing Africa emerges from the fact that so many of the places that once dominated its landscape have disappeared from the world’s maps. A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa helps correct the misconception by helping students match up the old with the new.

Cooking, Food & Wine / European

The Belarusian Cookbook by Alexander Bely (Hippocrene Books, Inc.)

The Belarusian Cookbook is an exploration of Belarusian history and food, as well as of the prominent Jewish influence on the cuisine.

Belarus – an Eastern European country bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia has a surprisingly rich and exotic culinary heritage. Belarusian cuisine traces its roots back through many centuries and is based on a way of life that has survived from generation to generation. While Belarusian cuisine derives from the same common sources as hearty, home-style, Russian and Ukrainian cuisine, it is not as well known. Alexander Bely, a historian and native of Belarus, reconstructs traditional recipes, with the aim of pleasing palates as well as bringing to light the culinary traditions which have survived quietly in the kitchens of home cooks not quite forgotten over the course of the tumultuous last century.

The chapters cover the range of home cooking from Appetizers, Soups, Dumplings, and Main Courses, to Desserts and Beverages. Belarusian cooking has its own distinctive specialties, including the well-known draniki, potato fritters served with fried mushrooms and sour cream, and meat dishes. Filled with recipes from both peasants and aristocracy, The Belarusian Cookbook includes other specialties such as Traditional Borshch with Beet Kvass, Goose Stuffed with Kasha and Mushrooms, all varieties of bliny (pancakes) and kalduny (small boiled dumplings) along with recipes for kvass, a fermented mildly alcoholic beverage.

The book includes:

  • More than 190 authentic recipes.
  • A guide to the staples of the Belarusian kitchen.
  • Menus for Christmas and Easter.

The first comprehensive Belarusian cookbook, The Belarusian Cookbook offers carefully reconstructed recipes, bringing readers the best of the Behrusian table.

Education / College & University

Learning to Compete in European Universities: From Social Institution to Knowledge Business edited by Maureen McKelvey & Magnus Holmen (Edward Elgar Publishing)

Learning to Compete in European Universities addresses the critical issue of how and why European universities are changing and learning to compete. Anglo-Saxon universities particularly in the US, the UK and Australia have long been subject to, and responded to, market-based competition in higher education. The authors argue that Continental and Nordic universities and higher education institutes are now facing similar pressures that are leading to a structural transformation of the university sector.

Four themes are addressed, `Emergent Strategies', `Diversification and Specialization', `Rethinking University-Industry Relations' and `Reflections'.

The editors are Maureen McKelvey, Professor, Industrial Management, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Magnus Holmén, Associate Professor, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. Contributors include Luke Georghiou writing about the merger between The Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST; Andrea Bonaccorsi writing about differentiation in higher education; and Maryann Feldman writing about American technology transfer.

Contents of Learning to Compete in European Universities with authors include:

  1. Introduction – Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holnnen
  2. Exploring university alliances and comparable academic cooperation structures – Enrico Deiaco, Ana M. Gren and Göran Melin
  3. Strategy to join the elite: merger and the 2015 agenda at the University of Manchester – Luke Georghiou
  4. Large-scale international facilities within the organization: MAX lab within Lund University – Olof Hallonsten and Mats Benner
  5. Division of academic labour is limited by the size of the market. Strategy and differentiation of European universities in doctoral education – Andrea Bonaccorsi
  6. Polarization of the Swedish university sector: structural characteristics and positioning – Daniel Ljungberg, Mattias Johansson and Maureen McKelvey
  7. The American experience in university technology transfer – Maryann P. Feldman and Shiri M. Breznitz
  8. Academic patenting in Europe: evidence on France, Italy and Sweden from the KEINS database – Francesco Lissoni, Patrick Llerena, Maureen McKelvey and Bulat Sanditov
  9. The forgotten individuals: attitudes and skills in academic commercialization in Sweden – Mats Magnusson, Maureen McKelvey and Matteo Versiglioni
  10. Elite European universities and the R&D subsidiaries of multinational enterprises – Anders Broström, Maureen McKelvey and Christian Sandstrom
  11. Running the marathon – William B. Cowan, Robin Cowan and Patrick Llerena
  12. What does it mean conceptually that universities compete? – Enrico Deiaco, Magnus Holmén and Maureen McKelvey
  13. From social institution to knowledge business – Enrico Deiaco, Magnus Holmén and Maureen McKelvey

McKelvey and Holmen say the group decided to write Learning to Compete in European Universities for several reasons. First they want to understand and explain more about competition and evolutionary economic processes. Americans have of course, known about competition and specialization of universities for a very long time. But what about Europe? What is going on there; do universities increasingly behave like businesses or are they changing in some other manner? Another reason was that they felt that what happens at European uni­versities now and in the near future will affect the future competitiveness of European societies. They have worked in, talked to researchers, and visited, universities in Australia, the US, China, Singapore, and many European countries. Many feel that Europe might be falling behind – and yet few seem to have thought seriously about the consequences on business and society. Or, to put it in EU and OECD language: the question of what is happening, and what can happen to universities – and to their personnel and services – seems particularly urgent to address when more and more European countries argue that they have reached the knowl­edge society. EU and other national governments have made the argument that despite outsourcing of production and back-office services, ‘knowledge’ production will remain the basis of competitiveness in these countries. Many writers seem to assume that Europe can continue competing in ‘knowledge’ production. That would suggest that European universities are either doubly important – because they increasingly will be the basis of future competitiveness – or else they could become increasingly irrelevant, if Europe loses out in the global competitive game. Still, whatever the new basis of competition in the knowledge society will be, Europe has to be part of the game.

According to Learning to Compete in European Universities, European leaders in politics, science and universities have noticed the American lead and the European lag, and they are responding in different ways. European leaders in most countries are increasingly focused upon the need to compete for the top faculty, top students and staff internationally. Ireland and Germany, for example, have had explicit strategies for repatriating leading scientists active elsewhere and for promoting excellence. Some countries try to focus upon more specialized niches to promote excellence. For example, the Nordic countries are focusing on large-scale and focused research environments and the benefits of regional colleges when interacting with local industry.

Of course, Anglo-Saxon countries moved towards a competitive model much earlier than Continental and Nordic countries. As compared to the general European picture, the United Kingdom is in some ways similar to Australia. Their rela­tively favorable position in attracting international students, for example, could be due to an early move into a competitive regime for research funding and students, but it can also be due to less imitable aspects such as the inherent advantage of the English language. Hence, the fact that the Continental and Nordic countries are `latecomers' raises interesting strate­gic issues about the extent to which these universities and countries should imitate given strategies or develop new ways of developing competencies and attracting resources. This book therefore concentrates on those countries, but makes some comparisons with the Anglo-Saxon countries.

Learning to Compete in European Universities has thirteen chapters, and the analysis is structured around four themes mentioned earlier. Section 1 provides detailed information about each of the chapters, as each contributes to a specific theme and to the overall analysis put forward in the book. Relevant literature can be found within each chapter, which may include evolutionary economics, higher education, innovation and strategic management, innovation systems, science policy and triple helix. Some chapters also address specific topics of relevance to public policy, such as the effects of the search for excellence, new interpretations of university-industry relationships, and how universities evolve strategies to survive. This multidisciplinary approach is necessary because this book addresses a problem area that crosses several boundaries. Section 3 then goes further in discussing the four themes and also provides a comparison across chapters. This section helps explain why and how the book introduces a series of more general ideas, analytical tools and theo­retical approaches by which we can analyze universities as competing within knowledge-based services. Thus, Sections 2 and 3 provide a ‘roadmap’ of Learning to Compete in European Universities for readers.

The book provides a critical reflection on what happens as European universities transform from government-funded social institutions to become knowledge businesses operating in a competitive regime. It discusses the relative merits of the `entrepreneurial university' as opposed to the 'Humboldtian university'. Some authors argue that universities are not competing, or should not compete, because they represent different values and roles in society than businesses. Other authors argue that European universities are acting as if they are competing, and therefore, in this context, it is useful to explore the limits of concepts from strategy, industrial dynamics, modularity and other fields. Such developments may help researchers understand why and how the con­ception of the 'usefulness' and 'value-added' of the European university is slowly changing from a primarily national institution serving the public good to a population of diverse actors trying to attract resources and competencies in order to grow and survive.

Regardless of whether one believes that increasing competition has positive or negative effects, the changes will undoubtedly affect both academics and students. These transformations will also influence the ability of nations to compete in the global knowledge society. The book provides some steps towards explaining what is going on; towards analyzing how individuals, groups and organizations are responding; and towards discussing the implications for society and universities.

Learning to Compete in European Universities is timely and useful in raising debates and stimulating new research agendas about the transformation of the university sector and about the underlying need to learn and develop new types of organizational forms and behavior, as well as strategic action. The book provides insights about what happens now and in the future, when European universities learn to compete, as well as stimulate future research. It contributes to the debates because it focuses upon new issues such as strategy, learning, diversification, and because some empirical results challenge ‘accepted wisdom’ about Europe. The book will appeal to a broad audience of researchers, academics and policymakers with an interest in understanding the major transformations universities are currently undergoing.

Education / Elementary

Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom by Gervase Phinn (Crown House Publishing Limited)

Poetry has great educative power, but in many schools it suffers from lack of com­mitment, misunderstanding, and the wrong kind of orientation. There are few more rewarding experiences in all English teaching than when the teacher and pupil meet in the enjoyment of a poem. – A Language for Life: The Bullock Report

When asked by the school principal what he thought of poetry, an eleven year old replied, it s all la-di-da and daffodils, isn't it? Why? Because in his primary school the boy had come across very little poetry apart from nursery rhymes, snatches of rhyming verse and a few comic pieces and nonsense poems. Poetry to him was something arcane, not really related to his own life. He had studied no powerful, challenging, contemplative, arresting, quirky poems and had written very few poems himself. His teacher admitted that he was no English specialist, had received few ideas at college on the teaching of poetry and didn't really know where to start.
As children progress through the primary grades they need to be exposed to a rich diet of poetry and encouraged to read, perform and write it themselves. Providing a varied and stimulating environment is essential if interest in poetry is to flourish. In addition, children need specific guidance and ideas to start them off writing their own poems. Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom offers a structured program for the teaching of this neglected subject in the curriculum. The book was written by a former teacher and educational advisor, Gervase Phinn, also a popular and widely published children's poet.

According to Phinn, poetry needs to be at the heart of work in English because of the quality of the language at work – if teachers try to encourage children to turn to poetry as a source of enjoyment, they must ensure that this is matched by their own professional commitment. They must read poetry and know the range of anthologies available and what kind of poems interest and challenge pupils. They must offer children a broad and balanced experience and children must see them enjoying poetry and hear them talk with some knowledge and enthusiasm about it. If they do this then they will provide that vital resource of language which poetry can offer.

Contents of Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom include Creating the Environment, Reading Poetry with Infants, Writing Poetry with Infants, Some Starting Points for Poetry with Juniors, Miniature Poems, Patterned Poems, Limericks, Clerihews, Alphabet Poems, Acrostic Poems, Concrete Poems, Riddles, Ballads, Cautionary Verse, Conversation Poems, Poems from Other Cultures, Poems from Experience, Poems from the Environment, Poems from Poems, Poems from Photographs and Paintings, A Poetry Project: Myths and Legends, Poems of Praise, Poets in School, and Learning Poetry. The book also contains edited anthologies of poetry, and individual poetry collections. 

With this book Gervase exuberantly, vividly and with great practicality reveals his philosophy of work and pleasure going hand in hand. He emphasises enthusiasm with joy, delight, wonder and fun permeating everything in developing both skills and knowledge. – Chris Brown, Review Editor of The School Librarian and former Primary Head teacher

... this helpful book provides an essential handbook for primary schools. No classroom should be without it. – Chris Holifield, Director of the Poetry Book Society, which runs the Children's Poetry Bookshelf

I found Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom hugely readable and just the sort of book that every teacher should take with them on their next trip to the Yorkshire Dales or N.U.T. coach tour. Tons of ideas, plus plentiful laughs and gentle tears. – Peter Dixon, Poet, Education Consultant

Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom offers an accessible, practical and structured program for the teaching of poetry in the curriculum.

Education / Foreign Languages / Instruction / Sign-language

International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education edited by Jemina Napier (Interpreter Education Series, Vol. 4: Gallaudet University Press)

From the moment the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) was established in 2005, an overwhelming wave of requests from around the world arrived seeking information and resources for educating and training interpreters. This new collection International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education provides those answers with an international overview on interpreter training from experts in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States. The 31 contributors presented in the book provide insights on how sign language interpreter training has developed in each nation, and also how trainers have dealt with the difficulties that they encountered.
Many of the contributors to the book relate the movement away from ad hoc short courses sponsored by Deaf communities. They mark the transition from the early struggles of trainers against the stigmatization of sign languages to full-time degree programs in institutions of higher education funded by their governments. Others investigate how culture, religion, politics, and legislation affect the nurturing of professional sign language interpreters, and they address the challenges of extending training opportunities nationally through the use of new technology.

The fourth volume in the Interpreter Education Series, International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education has been crafted by Jemina Napier, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Translation and Interpreter Programs at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and president of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters' Association, who has applied her experience to produce a collection for interpreter trainers and sign language scholars throughout the world.

Contents and authors include:

Part One: Europe

  1. Sign Language Interpreter Training in Austria: An Integrated Approach – Nadja Grbić
  2. Sign Language Interpreter Training in Finland – Marjukka Nisula and Juha Manunen
  3. Three Leaps of Faith and Four Giant Steps: Developing Interpreter Training in Ireland – Lorraine Leeson add Teresa Lynch
  4. Beginnings of the Interpreter Training Program in Kosovo – Selman Hoti and Susan Emerson
  5. Linguistic Variation as a Challenge for Sign Language Interpreters and Sign Language Interpreter Education in the Netherlands – Onno Crasborn and Tony Bloem
  6. From Small Acorns: The Scottish Experience of Developing Interpreter and Translator Training – Christine W. L. Wilson and Rita Mcdade
  7. Interpreter Education in Sweden: A Uniform Approach to Spoken and Signed Language Interpreting – Anna Hein

Part Two: Asia-Pacific

  1. Interpreting Down Under: Sign Language Interpreter Education and Training in Australia – Karen Bontempo and Patricia Levitzke-Gray
  2. Isa Lei: Interpreter Training in Fiji – Kate Nelson, Inise Tawaketini, Ruth Spencer, and Della Goswell
  3. Training of Sign Language Interpreters in Japan: Achievements and Challenges – Eiichi Takada and Shin'ichi Koide
  4. Sign Language Interpreter Education and the Profession in New Zealand – Rachel Mckee, Shizue Sameshima, Lynette Pivac, and David Mckee

Part Three: The Americas

  1. Brazilian Sign Language Interpreter Education in Brazil: From Voluntary Work to Formal Distance Learning – Ronice Müller De Quadros and Marianne Rossi Stumpf
  2. Traveling the Path of Excellence in Interpreter Education: The Canadian Experience – Karen Malcolm and Nigel Howard
  3. The National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers in the United States of America – Elizabeth A. Winston and Dennis Cokely

Part Four: Africa

  1. Sign Language Interpreter Training in Kenya – Okoth Okombo, Jefwa G. Mweri, and Washington Akaranga

Liz Scott Gibson in the foreword to International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education says that as a practicing interpreter, interpreter trainer, and president of WASLI, which is in touch with interpreters from 171 different countries, she is aware of the commonality of interests and challenges shared by her colleagues around the globe. Because of the overwhelming number of requests from all over the world for information and resources in relation to the education and training of signed language interpreters, there is no doubt that this publication will fill as void, providing as it does, an international overview. The authors explore how culture, religion, politics, and leg­islation affect the professionalization of signed language interpreters. They read of the challenges in utilizing today's new technology to extend the reach of training opportunities across nations. Each chapter deepens readers’ understanding of the issues and helps to draw comparisons between the perspectives of authors and readers’ own.

Gibson believes that significant progress in the education and training of inter­preters can be made through collaborative relationships and dialogues, and the kind of information sharing in International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education. However, in the move toward the shared internationalization of such knowledge, readers must recognize that they are not seeking the homogenization of training structures or the imposition of knowledge from more experienced nations on those that are beginning to establish such training. The comments from contributors on the risks and rewards of foreign outside expertise should serve as a timely reminder to all. The very breadth of the articles included are a framework for the respectful sharing of ideas and experiences, and the promotion of best practice, but they should also lead us to critical scrutiny, to question, and ultimately to value the diversity of the profession as well as those things that they share in common.

International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education is a highly useful collection for interpreter trainers and sign language scholars throughout the world. Together, these diverse perspectives offer a deeper understanding and comparison of interpreter training issues that could benefit the programs in every nation.

Entertainment / Music

The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates with CD by Frank Tirro, edited by series editor Michael J. Budds (CMS Sourcebooks in American Music Series, No. 5: Pendragon Press)

Jazz, from its origins until World War II, was America’s hot new music of the 20th century, and this music spread like wildfire to Europe and beyond. Shortly after the war ended, a calming influence manifested itself in jazz and a new genre emerged with its own soundscape and quickly rose to worldwide popularity and influence – Cool Jazz. The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates traces the history of this music to its roots in French Impressionism and European Neo-Classicism, describes the key roles played by Bix Beiderbecke, Lester Young, Lennie Tristano, Claude Thornhill, and Dave Brubeck in the development of this genre, and focuses on the major figures associated with a group of landmark recordings and on an ensemble that felicitously came to be known as The Birth of the Cool. The contributions of Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and John Carisi are considered in detail, and the scores of this music, arranged for Davis’s nine-piece band, are analyzed and compared.
The influence of this music persists to the present day, and the final chapter of the book suggests continuities and developments that might be explored by interested readers. The book is illustrated with photos of musicians and manuscripts, contains many musical examples and a detailed index, has both a bibliography and a short discography, and includes a compact disc that contains many of the key recordings discussed in the text.

In The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates Professor Tirro considers systematically the celebrated recordings made in 1949 and 1950 by the Miles Davis Nonet. In addition to identifying stylistic precedents and to stressing the connection of various participants to the Claude Thornhill Band, he summarizes the attributes of cool jazz, describes the professional context that generated these landmark recordings, and directs the readers' attention to the contributions of arrangers and performers alike.

As told in the foreword by series editor Michael J. Budds, the College Music Society (CMS) boasts of a proud tradition of contributions to the study of American music. The CMS has initiated a correlative series titled CMS Sourcebooks in American Music. The new venture was conceived to underscore the remarkable diversity in our nation's musical expression and to call special attention to both landmark and representative achievements in its evolution. According to Budds, the texts in this series should not be perceived as ends in themselves, moreover, but as educational resources directed to teachers of music, students of music, and other lovers of music. Each author takes the benefit of primary sources of various kinds as well as the generous body of relevant scholarship and places his or her subject in contexts most meaningful to contemporary readers. Although there is no intent to provide scholastic tracts of the most exacting rigor, these studies have been carefully and engagingly written and fully documented.

According to Tirro, the words of The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates without the sounds of these classic jazz performances are meaningless; readers must listen to the music – first, to enjoy; second, to understand; and third, to deal critically with what he has to say. The core repertory, the focus of his writing, is contained on the compact disc that holds not only the twelve studio recordings of the Miles Davis Orchestra of 1948-1950 but also all the radio broadcasts from the Royal Roost that preceded the studio sessions.

Tirro in The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates through the intersection of print and recordings, convincingly demonstrates the attributes of Cool Jazz. A further note – he uses the old-fashioned scoring method of notating the instrumental parts as they would be read by the players; that is, his scores are transposed for the various instruments, and they should be appropriate for the majority of his readers whom he expects to be young musicians and college students.

Entertainment / Sports / Biographies & Memoirs

Fergie: My Life from the Cubs to Cooperstown by Fergie Jenkins, with Lew Freedman, with a foreword by Billy Williams (Triumph Books)

I tell people baseball is the best game, in the world, and I loved pitching. Every fourth day, I had the chance to go out on that field and show my ability. Yes. There have been hard times in my life, but there have been so many great times and great experiences I never could have imagined baseball would provide when i was growing up in Chatham. – Fergie Jenkins

As a three-time, all-star pitcher and Cy Young Award winner, Fergie Jenkins won 284 games from 1965-1983 and struck out more than 3,000 batters. The Hall of Fame ace certainly holds an incredible individual record of excellence. From his days growing up in Chatham, Ontario, to a brilliant baseball career, to enjoying a career as a pitching coach and a baseball executive, Chicago Cubs legend Jenkins has devoted much of his life to his love of baseball. Jenkins writes of his time as a Cubs player, his favorite teammates and the incomprehensible personal tragedies that happened to him after retirement in Fergie, coauthored by award winning Lew Freedman, former sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune, Anchorage Daily News, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Growing up in Canada, the biggest dilemma Jenkins faced was choosing what sport he should play – baseball, hockey or basketball. After attending a Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians game at the age of 14, he knew that baseball was the sport for him. By 15, Jenkins was pitching and throwing the heat right by the opposing batters. Jenkins in Fergie shares many of these early stories and the most memorable of his major league career, including:

  • The dramatic 1969 Cubs season and the key moments in the late-season collapse.
  • Six consecutive 20-win seasons.
  • The brutal Achilles injury he suffered and the rehabilitation back to pitching again.
  • Wrapping up his career to focus on coaching baseball and work with charities nationwide.
  • His induction into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Jenkins, with his notable humble personality, lays it all on the line and shares stories and insights about behind-the-scenes humor in the clubhouses and what goes on between teammates as they played together for months at a time each season. Much more than just another retired baseball player, but also a proud father, grandfather, and husband; an avid hunter and fisherman, Jenkins is an in-demand promotional personality, who estimates he has signed more than 1 million autographs in his life. Most importantly, he is one of the most interesting, multifaceted men to have played America's National Pastime – ironic considering he grew up in, and remains a citizen of, Canada. In fact, Jenkins is the only Canadian member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, having been inducted after a 19-year major-league pitching career in which he logged nearly 300 wins and struck out more than 3,100 batters.

Fergie tells the tale of a ballplayer who followed an unlikely path to Cooperstown – one filled with tough choices, dramatic twists, and special people who left their mark on this unique man. A multi-sport athlete, Jenkins chose baseball over hockey and basketball – though he later played professionally for the Harlem Globetrotters. Growing up black in a multiethnic and tolerant Ontario community, he didn't experience racial prejudice until he started playing minor-league ball in the American South, yet he held his head high in the face of unfair treatment. As his athletic career skyrocketed, he also faced personal tragedies that would have crushed lesser men. Through it all, Jenkins maintained faith, hope, and good cheer.

Pitching for the Phillies, Cubs, Red Sox, and Rangers, Jenkins was one of those rare pitchers who effectively combined power, productivity, and longevity. His story spans a memorable era in baseball and includes strong connections with some of the greatest names in the history of the game. Whether he is talking about playing for Leo Durocher or pitching to Reggie Jackson, Jenkins's intimate details about the big games and the bigger personalities will captivate anybody who loves baseball.

This endearing story of perseverance and determination, Fergie sheds a new light on both the memorable performances he achieved as a ballplayer and the trials and tribulations Jenkins faced off the field. All Jenkins needed to live out his dream was to pitch a baseball and do it well. He accomplished his dreams, fought through the hard times and inspires others to do the same in Fergie.

Health, Mind & Body / New Age / Self-Help / Reference

The Dream Encyclopedia, 2nd edition by James R. Lewis & Evelyn Dorothy Oliver (Visible Ink)

What are dreams?

Ever have one of those dreams that unwinds like a crazy old movie? Was the dream significant? Do dreams, as some believe, hold healing powers? Can they spark creative inspiration? Warn us of things to come? Readers contemplate these questions in The Dream Encyclopedia.

Exploring the fascinating world of dreams, The Dream Encyclopedia examines more than 250 dream-related topics, from art to history to science, including how factors such as self-healing, ESP, literature, religion, sex, cognition and memory, and medical conditions can all have an effect on dreams. Dream symbolism and interpretation is examined in historical, cultural, and psychological detail by authors James R. Lewis, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver, crisis interven­tion therapist.

The Dream Encyclopedia explores the latest in the science of sleep and dream research; ponders ideas from lucid dreaming to deja vu to daydreams; shows how dreams influence religion, the arts, history, and pop culture, and discusses notable researchers, writers, and scholars from Joseph Campbell to Sigmund Freud. The Dream Encyclopedia encompasses all facets of the popular interest in dreams, and provides a broad overview of contemporary scholarly studies of dreaming. The book highlights notions of dreams in different cultures and in different historical periods. Readers will find entries on everything from dreams in the Bible to dreams among the Senoi of Malaysia.

Readers can unravel dream symbols with a special section interpreting 1,000 dream symbols from airplanes to zoos. For example, airplane dreams may mean dreamers have the power to ‘rise above’ a situation or have the desire to break free of restrictions. Horse riding dreams probably mean that the dreamer feels in control of his or her life. Jumping in a dream may indicate that the dreamer is experiencing great successes in waking life. Zoo dreams are a common indication of chaos or confusion and may mean that a dreamer needs to tidy up some situation.

All entries include boldface cross-references to topics detailed elsewhere in The Dream Encyclopedia. A bibliography for further information is also provided at the back of the book. The authors include up-to-the-minute sources, as well as the core texts in the field.

A very convenient one-volume reference on everything you might want to read regarding dreams and dream interpretation... an excellent source of basic information. – About.com

With 250 entries, The Dream Encyclopedia covers the role of dreams from the Gilgamesh epic to the theories of Sigmund Freud. … Entries range from one to four pages and end with bibliographies of sources for additional information. Black-and-white photographs accompany many of the articles. Arranged alphabetically, the encyclopedia is easy to use, and cross-referencing is accomplished by using boldface type. A section on dream interpretation, with more than 700 symbols and what they are supposed to mean, follows the encyclopedia. An appendix lists addresses of organizations and laboratories that do dream research. A subject index provides additional access.

The work does have some flaws. For example, Patricia Garfield is mentioned in the entry Healing and Dreams, but her name is not boldfaced to refer to her own entry. The same is true of Cicero in the article on Rome. One can also quarrel with certain omissions. While there are entries for authors (e.g., Chaucer), Samuel Taylor Coleridge's dream that became ‘Kubla Khan’ is omitted. Some entries suffer from lack of depth. For example, the article Sleep Learning states that memory shuts down so learning cannot take place in sleep but provides little explanation of this beyond references to other sources.… The Dream Encyclopedia is recommended for high-school and public libraries that need a popular treatment of this topic. – Booklist

A comprehensive reference, The Dream Encyclopedia provides a thorough treatment and a unique analysis of dream-related topics. Of particular interest is the discussion of the importance of dreams in various religious and ethnic groups around the world.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Progressive Guide to Change (Professional) edited by Ruth Anne Rehfeldt & Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, with a foreword by Steven C. Hayes (Context Press, New Harbinger Publications)

What is almost startling is that this book is not mere interpretation and logical exten­sion, or a broad vision to be tested in some distant future. It is also not a volume that tries to declare by fiat that a limited empirical analysis obviates an analysis of more complex issues. We have seen such volumes before. What we have not seen before is a compre­hensive empirical book that covers the full range of applied topics that educators and clinicians can begin to use now. In its scope, practicality, and empirical base, this volume declares that a comprehensive applied behavioral psychology of language and cognition is here, is real, and is moving ahead. – Steven C. Hayes, University of Nevada

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities offers a series of revolutionary intervention programs for applied work in human language and cognition targeted at students with autism and other developmental disabilities. It presents a program drawn from derived stimu­lus relations that readers can use to help students of all ages acquire foundational and advanced verbal, social, and cognitive skills. Editors are Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, assistant professor in the Rehabilitation Institute of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a board-certified behavior analyst; and Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, lecturer in psychology in the Department of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, in Maynooth.

The book serves as a curriculum guide for practitioners working with learners with autism and other developmental disabilities in a variety of human service and educational settings. It provides a rationale for the necessity of constructing behavioral repertoires based upon derived relational responding, and a set of tools for the implementation of educational interventions for the acquisition of verbal, social, and cognitive skills using a derived stimulus relations technology. The book is organized into beginning, intermediate, and advanced curricular areas.

Each chapter discusses how a particular skill deficit has been taught traditionally with examples from the relevant literature. It provides a rationale for why a technology based on derived relational responding may be more effective or desirable in ameliorating the particular skill deficit. It discusses studies that have used an intervention based on derived relational responding. And each chapter provides a comprehensive set of step-by-step instructions and problem-solving tips for how practitioners can use derived relational responding to establish the skill area targeted in the particular chapter.

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities includes a representative case study with sample learning objectives and hypothetical data. Other tools for practitioners, such as sample data sheets and suggestions for additional resources, are strongly encouraged.

According to Steven Hayes in the foreword, in the last fifteen years something remarkable has occurred. A true behavioral psychology of language and cognition has begun to form. One began to see the implications of this shift first in clinical behavior analysis as approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and functional analytic psychotherapy began to revitalize the behavioral wing of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities is the next giant step in that process. It is the first to demonstrate a comprehensive set of applied behavior analytic training approaches for language and cognition that directly addresses most of the key areas within that domain. The chapters avoid needless quarrels between competing factions within basic behavior analysis; theories in this volume are treated more as useful tools than as distinctions between warring camps. Even if individual chapters largely adopt a particular perspective, considered as an entire set they give testimony to the emergence of an increasingly unified behavior analytic approach that is now ready to walk, step-by-step, from the simplest learning tasks all the way through empathy, self, and creativity.

That is a notable achievement, and one that may be a first in applied psychology.

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, begins with the earliest steps needed to establish the prerequisites for normal language, helping applied workers think through how to determine reinforcers; how to establish observation, attention, and simple discriminations; and how to establish a simple repertoire of Skinnerian verbal operants.

Chapters address instructional control, naming, acquisition of relational framing, syntax, reading, and functional com­munication. These chapters represent steps forward within behavior analysis, bringing together research that is reasonably well known but also showing in the total­ity how much progress has been made. Then the book dances into some of the most complex issues of all as it considers self, reasoning, problem solving, and creativity, with chapters on analogy, perspective taking, empathy, self-rules, mathematics, and creativity. Especially in this last section, Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities reveals how cutting edge it is. Yet even in this final section, and throughout the entire book, all of the chapters have empirical support.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 focuses on the establishment of prerequisite skills necessary for individuals to participate meaningfully in a curriculum based upon, or including components of, derived relational responding. Part 2 emphasizes instruction that will lead to the production of such intermediate skills as naming, reading, spelling, and requesting. Part 3 aims to help the practitioner establish more complex skills in learners, including perspective taking and empathy, higher-order intelligence, and mathemati­cal competence. Each chapter contains a variety of practitioner tools, such as sample data sheets, step-by-step instructions, training notes, and problem-solving strategies. Readers need not work through the entire book for it to be of value. Some learners may be more appropriate candidates for the strategies and techniques presented in one or more parts of the book only. Thus, the chapters can be used in isolation or in combination with other chapters, depending on the particular learner's educational needs. It is also not necessary for readers to be committed to one particular theory regarding derived stimulus rela­tions or verbal behavior, since the chapters represent an eclectic mix of theoretical orienta­tions. Rather, the editors’ intention is that the strategies in this book can be incorporated, if not made the basis of, educational curricula for learners with mild or significant communica­tion and intellectual deficits due to autism, mental retardation, or other developmental disabilities.

But a volume like this is needed to help applied workers take the steps to find out; within the inductive, technique-building tradition of behavior

analysis, each step forward is likely to create progress that is sustained, since even when well-crafted steps fail, they provide important information. Applied behavior analysis is a sophisticated and vigorous area with thousands of sophisticated and creative applied professionals. I can't wait to see what all of the wonder­ful behavioral educators and practitioners do with this bold new approach. – Steven C. Hayes, University of Nevada

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities is a compilation of instructional strategies based on decades of basic and applied research on derived stimulus relations from prominent, world-renowned researchers who attest to different theoretical frameworks. The book is intended for parents and a variety of professionals working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. These professionals include but are not limited to teachers, developmental therapists, adult service providers, speech-language pathologists, and behavior analysts, all of whom have some basic understanding of the principles of applied behavior analysis. By implementing the breakthrough techniques described in the book, clinicians can make significant progress with their clients with autism and other developmental disabilities, limiting the loss of cognitive and social functioning that typically results from these conditions.

Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help

Life Is Friends: A Complete Guide to the Lost Art of Connecting in Person [AUDIOBOOK] (6 Audio CDs, running time: 6 hours, 57 minutes) by Jeanne Martinet (BBC Audiobooks America)

Life Is Friends: A Complete Guide to the Lost Art of Connecting in Person (Hardcover) by Jeanne Martinet (Steward, Tabori & Chang)

friendship is as important as marriage, kids, or money…. In addition to food, shelter, and sex, humans need compan­ionship. We crave friendship as much as we crave heat when we are cold or water when we are thirsty. But do we really know how to go about getting it? – from the book

How can it be that you receive dozens of personal emails or texts each week but have nothing to do come Saturday night? That you're constantly juggling a jam-packed schedule while always feeling that something essential is missing? Who the heck took the social out of social life?

Jeanne Martinet, the celebrated author of The Art of Mingling, solves these mysteries and more in Life Is Friends. According to her, we've become trapped in a cyber­cycle, Skyping and video chatting, instead of having in-person encounters. But as much as we love our computers, she says, we can't be truly intimate with them.

In Life Is Friends Martinet teaches readers how easy it is to break this cycle, to re-engage with ‘live people’ and master the art of making friends. When it comes to building real friendships, there's simply no substitute for live, in-person hospitality. She shows readers how to initiate new friendships, when to negotiate boundaries, and why ‘serial socializing’ can be such a pleasure.

Martinet in Life Is Friends gives readers practical advice and a game plan for relearning the lost art of socializing. With a savvy, sympathetic and down to earth attitude, she offers a gamut of strategies and techniques for socializing, from making that first connection with someone to maintaining a long-term relationship. And she focuses on entertaining – whether it is a dinner party or an informal get-together, a cocktail party, or a monthly card game – because sharing one’s home and lifestyle is the most important element in nurturing friendships. 

Martinet, author of The Art of Mingling; The Faux Pas Survival Guide; Getting Beyond Hello; Come-Ons, Comebacks and Kiss-offs; Artful Dodging; and Truer than True Romance, has been a guest on hundreds of TV and radio shows, including the Today Show, the CBS Early Show, and NPR's Todd Mundt Show. She has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and many more periodicals.

Ms. Martinet believes in mingling the way some people believe in yoga. – The New York Times

The new loneliness isn't a crowded room. It's a crowded in-box full of people unwilling to make plans to get out of the house and see each other. Jeanne Martinet is here to tell you to get off the computer and into the swim of things by reactivating your social life. Life Is Friends is a guide to doing what used to come naturally – getting together and talking face to face. It is a call to arms and to the dinner table, gentler than electroshock for the online addicted, but just as jolting. – Rob Morris, author of Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad

Martinet’s very sensible and sweet guide to friendship – everything from

being a good host and a good guest to traveling with friends – contains great advice, funny things you always forget to do, and some deep wisdom about the need to sometimes lie, if it is done with love. As an only child, I have found forging friendships difficult and I always envy the people who do it with fun and ease. Reading Life Is Friends, I was relieved to know that I was doing quite a few things right, and I was delighted to learn a few new tips. – Margot Adler, NPR correspondent and author of Drawing Down the Moon and Heretic’s Heart

In Life Is Friends Martinet looks deep into the heart of friendship – making friends, keeping friends, and establishing lasting connections. Brimming with generous amounts of wit, all-too-true stories, and advice that is both pithy and practical, the book gets readers back on the path to social success and satisfaction.

So read what Martinet has to say. And then, go ahead: invite people over.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Self-Help

The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols (Guilford Family Therapy Series: The Guilford Press)

One person talks; the other listens. It's so basic that we take it for granted.

Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we actually are. Why do we so often fail to connect when speaking with family members, romantic partners, colleagues, or friends? How do emotional reactions get in the way of real communication?

Michael Nichols in The Lost Art of Listening says his ideas about listening have been sharpened by thirty-five years as a psychoanalyst and family therapist. Refereeing arguments between inti­mate partners, coaching parents to communicate with their children, and struggling himself to sustain empathy as his patients faced their demons has led him to the conclusion that much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple fact: people don't really listen to each other.

The Lost Art of Listening, now in its second edition, has already helped over 100,000 readers break through conflicts and transform their personal and professional relationships. Experienced therapist Nichols, Professor of Psychology at the College of William and Mary, provides examples, techniques, and exercises for becoming a better listener – and making oneself heard and understood, even in difficult situations.

In the introduction to The Lost Art of Listening, Nichols says that talking without listening is like snipping an electrical cord in half and hoping that somehow something will light up. Most of the time, of course, we don't deliberately set out to break the connection. In fact, we're often baffled and dismayed by feeling left in the dark.

How we lost the art of listening is a matter for debate. What isn't debatable is that the loss leaves us with an ever-widening hole in our lives. It might take the form of a vague sense of discontent, sadness, or deprivation. We miss the consolation of lending an attentive ear and of receiving the same in return, but we don't know what's wrong or how to fix it. Over time this lack of listening impoverishes our most important relationships. We hurt each other unnecessarily by failing to acknowledge what the other one has to say. Whatever the arena, our hearts experience the failure to be heard as an absence of concern.

Conflict doesn't necessarily disappear when we acknowledge each other's point of view, but it's almost certain to get worse if we don't. So why don't we take time to hear each other? Because the simple art of lis­tening isn't so simple. Often it's a burden. The sustained attention of careful listening takes strenuous and unselfish restraint. To listen well we must forget ourselves and submit to the other person's need for attention.

Most failures of understanding are not due to self-absorption or bad faith, but to our own need to say something. We tend to react to what is said, rather than concentrating on what the other person is trying to express. Emotional reactions make us respond without thinking and crowd out understanding and concern. Each of us has characteristic ways of reacting defensively. We don't hear what's said because something in the speaker's message triggers hurt, anger, or impatience. Unfortunately, all the advice in the world about ‘active listening’ can't overcome the maddening tendency to react defensively to each other. To become better listeners, and to transform our relationships, we must identify and harness the emotional triggers that generate anxiety and cause misunderstanding and conflict. If this seems too formidable a task, Nichols urges us to remember that most of us are more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

The Lost Art of Listening is an invitation to think about the ways we talk and listen to each other: why listening is such a powerful force in our lives; how to listen deeply, with sustained immersion in another's experience; and how to prevent good listening from being spoiled by bad habits. Among the secrets of successful communication Nichols describes are:

  • The difference between real dialogue and just taking turns talking.
  • Hearing what people mean, not just what they say.
  • How to get through to someone who never seems to listen.
  • How to reduce arguments.
  • How to ask for support without getting unwanted advice.
  • How to get uncommunicative people to open up.
  • How to share a difference of opinion without making other people feel criticized.
  • How to make sure both sides get heard in heated discussions.
  • How speakers undermine their own messages.
  • How the nature of relationships affects listening.
  • How to get people to listen to you.

The Lost Art of Listening is divided into four sections. Part I explains why listening is so important and how, for many people, it is a lack of sympathetic attention, not stress or overwork, that accounts for the loss of enthusiasm and optimism in their lives. Part II explores the hidden assumptions, unconscious needs, and emotional reactions that are the real reasons people don't listen. Readers will see what makes listeners too defensive to hear what others are saying and why they may not get heard even though they have something important to say.

After exploring the major roadblocks to listening, Nichols examines in Part III how readers can understand and control their emotional reactivity. And he explains how readers can make themselves heard, even in the most difficult situations. Finally, in Part IV he explores how listening breaks down in particular types of relationships, including intimate part­nerships, family relationships, with children, between friends, and at work. He explains how listening is complicated by the dynamics of each of these various relationships and how to use that knowledge to break through to each other.

At the end of each chapter in The Lost Art of Listening, readers will find a set of exercises designed to help them become better listeners. Actually doing these exercises may help transform the passive experience of reading into an active process of improving ability to listen.

Lily Tomlin once advised that we ‘listen with an intensity that most people save for talking.’ The Lost Art of Listening tells us how. This is a very special book that distills years of clinical wisdom into practical advice about improving our most important relationships and, ultimately, who we are. … Following his own advice, he presents clear, familiar, and relevant examples of real-life family problems and frustrations, in a way that leaves us open to accepting and using his messages. … This is more than a good book; it is a vital manual for any of us who would either like to feel good about our relationships or avoid dying before the end of our lives. – Carol M. Anderson, MSW, PhD, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A beautifully written, articulate guide to listening, this book is an antidote to the sense of diminishment experienced by so many as our culture short-circuits our need for interchange with others. Using personal stories from his life and the lives of patients, Dr. Nichols offers clarification of the listening process between friends, with family, in work situations, and in intimate relationships. The Lost Art of Listening is a pleasure to read and a valuable tool for therapists. – Marion F. Solomon, PhD, author of Narcissism and Intimacy

I use this book in teaching first-semester graduate students counseling micro-skills. The students endorse it as the best of the texts I use. The Lost Art of Listening uses pragmatic examples from real life to illustrate active listening. This approach makes the material come alive for students who are just learning active listening, and is a great refresher for those who are already familiar with it. In addition, I often recommend the book to couples I see in my private practice. – Iverson M. Eicken, PhD, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Counseling, California State University, Fullerton

… Humor, true life examples and simple exercises make this a practical and even entertaining self-help guide – Publishers Weekly

Powerful and informative. – Contemporary Psychology

An important review of the many basic principles of listening that most of us have learned at one point or another in our lifetimes and then quickly forgotten.... One of the strengths of this book is Nichols' ability to speak directly to the reader. – Journal of Family Psychotherapy

The thoughtful and witty The Lost Art of Listening has vivid examples, easy-to-learn techniques, and practical exercises for becoming a better listener – and making oneself heard and understood, even in difficult situations. The book can help take readers a step in the direc­tion of showing more of the concern they feel for each other.

History / Americas / Biographies & Memoirs

Agnes Lake Hickok: Queen of the Circus, Wife of a Legend by Linda A. Fisher & Carrie Bowers (University of Oklahoma Press)

The first woman in America to own and operate a circus, Agnes Lake spent thirty years under the Big Top before becoming the wife of Wild Bill Hickok – a mere five months before he was killed. While books abound on the famous lawman, Agnes's life has remained obscured by circus myth and legend.

Linda A. Fisher and Carrie Bowers in Agnes Lake Hickok have written the first biography of this colorful but little-known circus performer. Agnes originally found fame as a slack-wire walker and horseback rider, and later as an animal trainer. Her circus career spanned more than four decades and flourished amid the immigration influx, the Civil War, and westward expansion. Following the murder of her first husband, Bill Lake, she was the sole manager of the ‘Hippo-Olympiad and Mammoth Circus.’ While taking her show to Abilene, she met town marshal Hickok and married him five years later. After Hickok's death, Agnes traveled with P. T. Barnum and Buffalo Bill Cody, and managed her daughter Emma Lake's successful equestrian career.

This account of a remarkable woman cuts through fictions about Agnes's life, including her own embellishments, to uncover her true story. Culled from deep research in local newspapers, census records, and personal archives, Agnes Lake Hickok offers depictions of nineteenth-century circus life with all its hazards and challenges. Numerous illustrations, including rare photographs and circus memorabilia, bring Agnes's world to life.

The late Linda A. Fisher was a public health physician, a documentary researcher, and the editor of The Whiskey Merchant's Diary: An Urban Life in the Emerging Midwest. Carrie Bowers, who was Fisher's research assistant, with an MA in American history, has a background in museum and parks service.

Agnes Lake Hickok is the definitive biography of a brave woman long denied her due. It makes fascinating reading – Joseph G. Rosa, author of They Called Him Wild Bill: The Life and Adventures of James Butler Hickok

A vivid portrait of a smart, tenacious and independent circus performer and businesswoman. This important figure finally has received the place in history she deserves. – Janet M. Davis, author of The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top

Agnes Lake Hickok brings a circus star out of the shadows of the Big Top. This compelling and detailed narrative takes readers past the myth of glamorous circus life to explore a forgotten chapter of American history. By revealing the life of one woman who broke the bonds of social conventions in her day, it also makes a welcome contribution to cultural, economic, and women's history.

Home & Garden / Biographies & Memoirs

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry (Harper)

Michael Perry, the beloved author of Population: 485 and Truck: A Love Story, is back with Coop. In over his head with two pigs, a dozen chickens, and a baby due any minute, Perry gives readers a heartfelt memoir of a new life in the country.

Last seen sleeping off his wedding night in the back of a 1951 International Harvester pickup, Perry, contributing editor to Men's Health, is now living in a rickety Wisconsin farmhouse. Faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home, Perry plumbs his unorthodox childhood – his city-bred parents took in more than a hundred foster children while running a ramshackle dairy farm – for clues to how to proceed as a farmer, a husband, and a father.

And when his daughter Amy starts asking about God, Perry is called upon to answer questions for which he's not quite prepared. He muses on his upbringing in an obscure fundamentalist Christian sect and weighs the long-lost faith of his childhood against the skeptical alternative ("You cannot toss your seven-year-old a copy of Being and Nothingness").

Whether Perry is recalling his childhood ("I first perceived my father as a farmer the night he drove home with a giant lactating Holstein tethered to the bumper of his Ford Falcon") or what it's like to be bitten in the butt while wrestling a pig ("two firsts in one day"), Coop is filled with the humor his readers have come to expect. But Perry also writes from the quieter corners of his heart, chronicling experiences as joyful as the birth of his child and as devastating as the death of a dear friend.

The Chicago Tribune says, "Beneath the flannel surface of this deer-hunting, truck-loving badger is the soul of a poet," and indeed Perry moves easily between rural reflection ("the hills are a green divan buttoned with clusters of bloom") and roughneck humor ("Today a dog bit me grievously upon the ass...I was wrestling a pig at the time.") while telling a story that speaks directly to a growing number of Americans who are wondering if the future might be best addressed with a backyard full of chickens.

Perry is that nowadays rare memoirist whose eccentric upbringing inspires him to humor and sympathetic insight instead of trauma mongering and self-pity. … Perry's latter-day story is a lifestyle-farming comedy, as he juggles freelance writing assignments with the feedings, chores and construction projects that he hopes will lend him some mud-spattered authenticity. Woven through are tender, uncloying recollections of the homespun virtues of his family and community, from which sprout lessons on the labors and rewards of nurturance (and the occasional need to slaughter what you've nurtured). Perry writes vividly about rural life; peck at any sentence – One of the [chickens] stretches, one leg and one wing back in the manner of a ballet dancer warming up before the barre – and you'll find a poetic evocation of barnyard grace. – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Because Perry is an adept storyteller, he balances the sweeter sections with passages evoking the sting of loss and grief – not unduly, but enough to recall the impermanence of life and the swiftness of its transformations. Dryly humorous, mildly neurotic and just plain soulful – a book that might even make you want to buy a few chickens. – Kirkus Review, starred review

You can read Michael Perry's Coop as an outrageously funny comedy about a semi-hapless neophyte navigating the pitfalls (and pratfalls) of the farming life. Please do, in fact. But scratch a little deeper, past Perry's lusciously entertaining and epigrammatic prose, his ultra-charming combo of Midwestern earnestness and serrated wit, and you'll find a reflective, sincere, and surprisingly touching – at times, even heart-cracking – story about a man struggling to put down roots. – Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines

I don't know when I've enjoyed a book about country living as much as Mike Perry's Coop. As an adventure narrative, Perry's details of rural life are much more telling and authentic than any how-to book. But Coop will also appeal to anyone who enjoys good writing. There is a literary gem on nearly every page. – Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer

Coop (the title refers to the author's dream project, a chicken coop he builds with his own hands) is typical Perry: written in an easygoing, talk-to-the-reader style, with a self-effacing sense of humor and an ability to conjure up vivid mental pictures with a few well-chosen words. – Booklist

Alternately hilarious, tender, and as real as pigs in mud, Coop is suffused with a contemporary desire to reconnect with the earth, with neighbors, with meaning . . . and with chickens.

Literature / International / Biographies & Memoirs

With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows by Sandra Kalniete, translated by Margita Gailitis (Baltic Literature Series: Dalkey Archive)

In my childhood, the past was only mentioned in connection with household incidents and family events, but almost never in its political or historical significance. I grew up under the influence of Soviet propaganda, knowing almost nothing about the real history of Latvia. The latter was totally buried in silence. This self-imposed censorship mirrors the desire of my parents not to complicate the life of their child with unanswerable questions and dangerous doubts. Above all, they wanted to protect me from a repetition of their own tragic fate. – from the book

With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows is a testimony to Sandra Kalniete’s family and to the Latvian nation – to their shared fate during more than fifty years of occupation. It is an indictment of the inhuman repression of both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Above all, it is the story of human survival, and it has become the most-translated Latvian book in recent history.

Kalniete, former Foreign Minister of Latvia and Latvian Ambassador to the UN, was born in a Siberian village in 1952 to Latvian parents who had been banished by the Soviet regime. After Stalin's death, she and her family were allowed to return to Latvia in 1957. Kalniete went on to study art history, but has devoted her life to politics and diplomacy. She was an early fighter for Latvian independence in the 1980s and early 1990s, and served as Latvian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva (1993-1997), to France (1997-2002), and to UNESCO (2000-2002). In 2002 she became Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 2004, she was appointed the first Latvian Commissioner of the European Union.
According to Valters Nollendorfs in the foreword, ‘constructing memory’ could very well be the subtitle of With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows. Its style, introspective, involuted, at times willful, which the transla­tor has attempted to emulate, betrays the labors of the mind. Imagine – at the age of thirty-five suddenly discovering that your memory is badly flawed. That is what Kalniete discovered in 1987, when a small group of Latvian dissidents held the first public demonstrations protesting Soviet deportations by placing flowers at the Freedom Monument in Riga. She says: "I did not have enough courage to leave the silent crowd of sympathizers and cross the street while the Soviet militiamen and Chekists watched. I hate myself for it, but that's what I was like – having soaked up the invisible fear of my deported family. It is precisely in these days at the Freedom Monument that my sense of freedom was reborn."

For Kalniete, however, a much more difficult task lay ahead: constructing her own family's past. Why was she born in Siberia? Who were her ancestors? Parts of the past were not there. And she set about finding them. There were memoirs about Siberia and the newest historical research in Latvia and in the West, all carefully documented in With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows. "When I had agonized through it all – a kind of Kafkaesque labyrinth – I knew what to search for and went to the archive." Thus began the piecing together of a complex construction – her family's story as part of the nation's history. Kalniete's family is a microcosm of the nation and its history in the twentieth century. The Latvian lands as parts of the Russian Empire; World War I; battling for and building independent Latvia; Soviet occu­pation; arrests and deportations; Nazi German occupation; the Holocaust; refugees to the West as the second Soviet occupation threatens; partisan war against the Soviet occupants; more arrests and deportations; finally liberation and independence once more. One look at the family tree says it all just by looking at the place names: many Latvian ones, but Russian ones as well, then – Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, denoting births, deaths and dislocations. A family and a nation – scattered between the East and the West and, miraculously, even still in Latvia. The dehumanizing nature of the system is revealed page, by page, by page of documents on matters of life and death written in stilted, emotionless Soviet bureaucratese. Can we trust subjectively recreated existential conditions? Kalniete answers by quoting her mother's words after reading the chapter "Forced Settlement and Starvation": "How could you know how I felt at that time?" Kalniete concludes: "After I heard those words, I no longer cared what anyone else says."

Yet it is not all about suffering and death. With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows' ultimate message is rather the other side of our common humanity, the more enduring one – resilience, survival and revival. That is the mortar that holds the memory blocks together lest they collapse again.

A poignant story that reads like a novel. – ELLE readers Grand Prix, 2004, essay category
Obligatory reading matter for everyone even slightly interested in recent European history. – Svenska Dagbladet
From the Gulag to Brussels: a journey never experienced before. At the end of her journey, as she crossed the threshold of the European Union, Sandra Kalniete's quest for justice had reached its destination. – Il Corriere della Sera
The former Latvian Foreign Minister has written a moving story of her family – and helped to fill gaps in the historical awareness of Europe. – Der Tagesspiegel

As she constructs her personal and her family's memory, Kalniete … she also helps to construct parts of her nation's, Europe's and the world's memory that, too, was for a long time hidden away in concocted case files and deceitful histo­ries. Sandra Kalniete's book is one of the rare instances where the one-syllable difference between ‘story’ and ‘history’ has almost vanished. One corrects, defines and refines the other, reaching out and achieving a fine balance between personal experience and common human experience; between family story and a small nation's history; and between the nation's history and the momentous world events that engulf it and threaten it with extinction. – Valters Nollendorfs, from the foreword

Moving and eloquent, this is a beautifully told personal account of a family's survival and a nation's oppression. Former Foreign Minister of Latvia and Latvian Ambassador to the UN Kalniete has written a memoir that is at once an inci­sive history of the grim fate of the Latvian people during the 20th century and a gripping personal account of her own family's survival and her childhood in Siberia. With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows will be a great eye-opener for American readers, who have never heard this side of European history.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / History & Criticism / Biographies & Memoirs

Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story by Evan I. Schwartz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A groundbreaking new look at an American icon, The Wizard of Oz, Finding Oz tells the remarkable tale behind one of the world’s most enduring and best loved stories. Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)’s 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum’s fantastical parable of the American Dream.

Prior to becoming an impresario of children’s adventure tales, Baum – the J. K. Rowling of his age – failed at a series of careers and nearly lost his soul before setting out on a journey of discovery that would lead to the Land of Oz. Drawing on original research, Evan Schwartz debunks popular misconceptions and shows how the people, places, and events in Baum’s life gave birth to his unforgettable images and characters. The Yellow Brick Road was real, the Emerald City evoked the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and Baum’s mother-in-law, the radical women’s rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, inspired his dual view of witches – as good and wicked.

A narrative that sweeps across late nineteenth-century America, Finding Oz ultimately reveals how failure and heartbreak can sometimes lead to redemption and bliss, and how one individual can ignite the imagination of the entire world.

Schwartz, former award-winning editor at Business Week and the author of The Last Lone Inventor, named one of the seventy-five best business books of all time by Fortune, says that the idea for Finding Oz came to him while reading Baum's classic to his daughter at bedtime.

Finding Oz is a guided tour to the invention – or is it the discovery? – of that quintessentially American dreamscape, the Land of Oz, written with heart, brains, nerve – and a touch of magic. – Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and A Lion Among Men

Wow, imagine learning about American history through the prism of America’s greatest fairytale. If you love amazing but true stories, you’ve got to read Finding Oz. – Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

The Wizard of Oz has been a formative influence in my own life’s journey, so Finding Oz comes as an absolute revelation to me. Read this book! – Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happyness

In this surprising new look at an American icon, Finding Oz offers profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum's 1900 masterwork, delving into the personal and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum's fantastical parable of the American Dream.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / Mythology

At the Edge of Dreamland by Tsevi Ayznman, translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff (KTAV Publishing House)

Tsvi Eisenman (1920- ) is a member of the last generation of Yiddish writers to have been nurtured in Eastern Europe in an environment of living, burgeoning, highly productive Yiddish culture. He is distinguished from all the others in that group by his beautifully crafted, highly imaginative, and profoundly affecting short stories, many of which depict allegorical creatures and events that reflect weltschmerz and pessimism. Though the stories can be read as beautiful literature in their own right, they can be even better appreciated if readers are aware of their references to the Jewish fate – they are informed by and saturated with the overwhelming event of Eisenman's early years, the Holocaust, and by the displacements and wanderings he underwent as a result. Even when a story of his is not directly about the Holocaust, one can sense in it a pervasive sadness derived from that catastrophe.

It is no exaggeration to say that Eisenman's short stories deserve to be ranked alongside those of such masters of that genre as O’Henry, Saki, and Guy de Maupassant, though the latter are better known due to the fact that they wrote in widely read languages, English and French, rather than Yiddish, which is restricted to a diminishingly narrow audience. Eisenman's tales share with theirs the unexpected events and the ironic twists that have made them famous. His particular genius is in the brilliant conceptualization and the beautiful language that makes his stories magical and haunting and lifts them into the company of the great literary masters. The purpose of this translation of Eisenman's work At the Edge of Dreamland is to make his tales accessible to an audience that cannot read Yiddish so that they too can enjoy the beauty of his creations.

The translator, Barnett Zumoff, is an internationally renowned teacher and researcher in the field of Endocrinology. He was, for 13 years, President of the Forward Association, which publishes the Yiddish Forverts and the English Forward, and is currently its Vice-President. He has been and continues to be a prolific translator of Yiddish literature.

Zumoff has divided At the Edge of Dreamland into five sec­tions, each grouped around a common theme. In the first section, All The World's Creatures, the stories are allegories about an­imate and inanimate creatures of various kinds, and ostensibly not about people. However, his tale about a lonely, uprooted tree (The Tree and the Wind) is redolent of the author's existential angst and his own uprooted life. In his tale The Spider, that creature's com­plaints about the undeserved universal contempt and anger directed to his kind over the ages have clear implications for the Jewish fate. In other tales in this section, Eisenman tells of the futility of vanity (The King and the Scarecrow, The Cello, I'm Going to Paris), the sad fate of the earth and all its creatures (I Am, The Bird, Gefilte Fish, The Sunflower, There Grew A Tree, The Twin Brother), and other, more general sadness (The Pen and the Song, The Eternal Whirl), with an occasional leavening of hope (The Blind Bitch).

The second section, Amid the Wheels of Life, unlike the first one, is about people, though still in an allegorical mode. The Bells Rang deals with the horrors of war in a generalized way, while In A Night of Shooting and The Erased Sign are related, respectively, to Arab ter­rorism and the residuals of the Holocaust. Pub and The Fugitive present tone poems about displaced fugitives from war. The Train Departed at Eight is a variant of the classic anxiety dream. The mood is lightened, though with a residual sardonic flavor, in three tales about more down-to-earth aspects of family, Nature, and life (Make Me a Glass of Tea, White Cheese, A Certain Summer), and finally the au­thor makes a departure from most of his tales by writing a story, Yoyel, from the point of view of a young Israeli girl whose elder brother has been killed in one of Israel's wars, and how the family relationships are distorted thereby.

In the third section of At the Edge of Dreamland, Love Gained and Lost, Eisenman examines love from many different angles, and here he appears to forget about his own and the world's sorrows for a moment, though he con­tinues to manifest a sardonic, cynical tone in many of the tales. In Ballad for a Lost Love, he tells of a woman hopelessly in love with a philandering, wandering lover. In The Lady Violinist, an old bach­elor imports a potential bride from afar; despite her talents and ac­complishments, they can't hit it off, and tragedy results. The Broken Windowpane tells of the first bittersweet love of a teenager for an un­attainable, beautiful neighbor who flirts with him and teases him sexually. The ‘Spanish Wall’ again deals with a sexually awakening boy, in whose small apartment his parents make love on the other side of a hanging sheet in their common bedroom (the ‘Spanish Wall’ of the title), and who lives one floor below a brothel ("it's a shame and disgrace, the things that Jewish girls do," says his mother). In Notes From an Old Bachelor, the protagonist ruminates about being chased by families that want to get him together with women, about his un­ease in crowds, about his awkwardness as a shopper, and then, suddenly, about his mother's unexpected death. In To The Last Breath, a poor Jewish woman gives birth in the barn of a Russian peasant cou­ple, who then exact a price for their ‘hospitality’: they take the baby from her permanently. In Black Tears, Eisenman tells a story of sad old age, a topic that he will return to at length in the fifth section of At the Edge of Dreamland. He tells of a lonely old man who thinks he has found a po­tential companion in a retired persons' club but loses her when she suddenly stops showing up there. Romancero is a slight departure for Eisenman: it is a sweet tale of an old man and old woman in an old-age home who slowly fall in love; the story is told from the point of view of their canes. Till Daybreak tells the sad story of a young boy who has to fulfill the unusual role of a go-between between his mother and his father's mistress. The Fool in Love tells of a man who is drawn, unsuspectingly, to a female who turns out to be literally a demon. The Victim of His Own Lust moves to the animal realm: it tells the story of a male insect that is uncontrollably drawn to a female, knowing that she will kill him after they mate but being unable to stop himself; there are doubtless implications here for the human tale too. Finally, Bombalina returns to the topic of a woman's wandering lover, who happens to be a sailor.

The fourth section, At The Edge of Dreamland, is filled with all-out allegorical tales. They often deal with magical creations or events: Eternal Youth is about a man's futile quest for a magical egg that will give him eternal youth; The Soul, The Stone, and the Jew Between is about a rabbi's soul that is imprisoned in a stone for sins unknown to him; The Exiled Angel is about an actual angel who is ejected from paradise, again for sins unknown to him, and grows old and dies in the real world; On The Roof of the World is about a man's encounter with a female hermit-prophet, and her gift to him of a magical plant; A Story About a Mermaid is, of course, about a mermaid, who comes to earth in a futile quest for a husband and children; The Bird of Paradise and I tells of a man's encounter with the bird of Paradise, and his plea to receive a magic feather that will enable him to fly – he gets the feather, but it doesn't enable him to fly; The Polished Pebble follows the ruminations of an actual pebble at the bottom of a stream. I Met A Man tells of a ‘normal’ person's encounter with a man carrying a magical sack. The Man-Tree tells of a leader of a group of refugees (the Jews?) who finds the place where they are destined to settle and turns into a tree there. In addition to these magical stories, The Journey describes an allegorical, Holocaust-re­lated painting by Eisenman's friend and fellow Israeli Yosl Berger, which depicts the detritus of the long journey away from the De­struction. I Forgot fancifully describes a man's ‘forgetting’ to keep the door to his mind closed, and the wandering thoughts that ensue. Ballad of a Lonely Person tells of a man wandering on an imaginary ocean in search of rest and solace. That Summer presents an almost realistic description of a very hot summer, in which "cows miscar­ried, trees bore very few apples, the honey was bitter, and the stalks of rye were skinny and sparse". In Eclipse of the Sun, conversely, "humans and animals looked for a hiding-place; trees tore at their roots, in vain; the doors of houses closed and locked themselves; mice squeaked and cows mooed in fear," but suddenly the cries of a newborn overcame the eclipse: "the darkness trembled, swayed, grew pale, grew weak, and gradually receded – the cries of a newborn had conquered it." At The Edge of Dreamland tells of the magical wooden hobby-horse that the author's father carved for him when he was a young child; "I'm sure that he's watching somewhere, there at the edge of dreamland, and from his dead eyes drip tears of joy that his Kaddish-sayer has ridden so far, far in the saddle of the horse – far into old age." The Color of Fear tells again of a painter (pre­sumably Berger again) who constantly paints birds and wants to paint their fear but cannot find out the color of fear. The Three Horsemen (note that the title is not the usual Four Horsemen) describes the author's constant, lifelong fear of being chased by demons of the apocalypse; one wants his heart, one wants his brain, and one wants his soul. He runs and hides, but he knows they will eventually catch him. The Jew-Dolls depicts an imagi­nary market scene in which a Polish merchant is selling dolls de­picting various kinds of Jews, saying with a sad smile: "There used to be a people in our land. They lived with us, but they're gone." Fi­nally, Biff is a pseudo-picaresque tale of a young man's adventures in a mask factory (where he refuses to model a mask of Death); in the military, which he deserts; in an encounter with a girl at the beach, where she is more interested in his flower-decorated hat than in him; and at a diplomatic ball, where he is recognized as an inter­loper and is thrown out.

In the fifth and last section of At the Edge of Dreamland, The Clock Is Ticking, Ticking, Eisenman returns to a more or less real world and concerns himself with aging, illness, infirmity and death. These concerns of his are doubtless informed by his own advancing age, the loss of his wife, and his ad­vancing partial blindness. In The Transplanted Heart, he tells of the struggle between an aging body and a young heart transplanted into it; the struggle is personified as if these were two living persons. Let There Be Light and A Story About a Damaged Eye are both reflections of the author's blindness. Pages from an Old Woman's Diary is a poignant, beautifully written tone poem about a lonely old woman. The Little Lamp is a lonely old man's newly acquired friend. The Blue Balloon tells of a recently widowed old man in an old-age home who is be­sieged by the women there and, to escape them, turns first into a bouquet of flowers and then into a blue balloon. The Wedding Dress tells of a widowed old woman, again in an old-age home, who derives her only pleasure from sneaking out of the home and gazing longingly at a wedding dress in the window of a nearby shop. Loss of Reason is a story about two old, demented women who are roommates in an old-age home. The Watch-Hands Run Faster Than Their Feet is another tone poem about a lonely old woman in an old-age home, endlessly reviewing photo albums of her youth and gossiping with the other residents about who has been taken to the hospital. That's What the Boy Said tells of a boy whose father has just died; nei­ther he nor his father's ghost can accept the situation. I Can't Sleep describes a universal problem, but articulates it remarkably vividly. Am I Less Than They? is a pitiful plea for a lit­tle more life: "Grant me another drop of life! Don't be stingy! Give me another handful of days. " Finally, Elkele and Moyshele tells of the author's parents, murdered in the Holocaust, who remain in his imagination, now as his never-aging children whom he must pro­tect against the world.

Just reading the titles of Eisenman's stories in At the Edge of Dreamland, one would not suspect how wonderful they are. The genius is in the brilliant concep­tualization and the beautiful language that makes them magical and haunting and lifts them into the rarefied company of the great liter­ary masters.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Medical

Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Night Navigation opens on a night of freezing rain in upstate New York: the kindling gone, the fire in the woodstove out. Del's thirty-seven-year-old bipolar son, Mark, needs a ride, but she's afraid to make the long drive north to the only detox center that has a bed.

Through the four seasons, Night Navigation takes us into the deranged, darkly humorous world of the addict – from break-your-arm dealers, to boot-camp rehabs, to Rumi-quoting NA sponsors. Al-Anon tells Del to ‘let go’; NAMI tells her to ‘hang on.’ Mark cannot find a way to live in this world. Del cannot stop trying to rescue him. And yet, during this long year’s night, through relapse and despair, they see flare-ups of hope as Mark and Del fitfully, painfully try to steer toward the light. 

Told in the alternating voices of an addict and his mother, Howard's debut novel, Night Navigation, adds new depths to the literature on addicted/codependent pairs. The book is informed by many of Howard's own experiences. Howard, who is in her sixties, taught high school English for twenty-seven years and began writing when she was in her mid-forties. After several attempts at writing a memoir, she began a novel, Night Navigation. While many of the major events of the book actually took place, when the time came to speak in the voice of a thirty-seven-year old man she relied on invention to bring his interior world to life.

Between grief and addiction, there's no easy forgiveness for these sad survivors. Through one bitter, lonely year, Mark and Del lose and find one another repeatedly, and they come to realize that loving someone means letting them love themselves.

In this bold debut, Ginnah Howard navigates the precarious lives of her people with searing compassion and devastating honesty, opening our hearts to the dark wonder of shared grief and the flickering hope of forgiveness. – Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Hearts

This dark debut is a wrenching account of a mother and son moving together and apart in an increasingly tragic family drama. In alternating memoirs, Del and Mark deal with heroin addiction and mental illness (his) and fears (hers) of a fate marked by junkies, pushers, halfway houses and recovery programs. But it's the persistent ghosts of a father and another son, and the guilt over their deaths that hold Del and Mark in a vise grip. …Howard is a graceful, spare and fluid writer, and her somber and bleak novel has the power to lift and inspire. – Publishers Weekly
A gritty, unblinking, compassionate portrait of addiction – the deceptions, the exhausting repetitions, and most of all the agonizing dilemmas of parental love, which may or may not have the power to save but can never stop trying.
– Joan Wickersham, author of The Suicide Index

Ginnah Howard's raw, vivid account of addiction and codependency unflinchingly explores the vast darkness of guilt and despair. The stark, urgent voices of mother and son ache with anger and love, fear and hope. Howard's ability to dive so deep into the human psyche is a testament to her grace and compassion as a writer. Night Navigation will leave you breathless – a haunting, riveting debut. – Kiara Brinkman, author of Up High in the Trees 

In this bold debut, Ginnah Howard navigates the precarious lives of her people with searing compassion and devastating honesty, opening our hearts to the dark wonder of shared grief and the flickering hope of forgiveness. – Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Hearts 

Night Navigation is unerring in its grasp of the multiple deceptions of the addictive relationship, the self-deceptions above all. You can't help getting furious at its characters. And you can't help loving them. – Peter Trachtenberg, author of The Book of Calamities

I fully enjoyed and admired this sparely written, unsparing portrait of a deeply troubled American family. Ginnah Howard is a wonderful new writer. – Hilma Wolitzer, author of Summer Reading 

Harrowing first novel about the uneasy symbiosis of an addict and his mother.... Mark, whose point of view alternates with Del’s, is a well-drawn and sympathetic character, despite the unflinching portrayal of his narcissism – there’s no one he won’t manipulate while ricocheting between recovery and relapse.... Howard’s strength, besides lapidary language, is the ability to build scenes around quotidian activities: starting a wood stove, cleaning, walking a dog, cooking chili and, in a pivotal segment, plotting to banish a large colony of attic-dwelling bats. The red tape and repetitiveness of coping with an addicted adult child fuels suspense as the most pressing question persists: Will Del ever be free of the onus, even just in memory, of caring for all the tormented men in her life? Such stark scenarios will be cathartic for readers who have dealt with them firsthand, and profoundly cautionary for those who haven’t. – Kirkus, starred review

Night Navigation is a riveting novel adding new depths to our understanding of parents and their troubled children.

Mysteries & Thrillers / Religion & Spirituality

The Purple Culture by Stephen Boehrer (Oceanview Publishing)

Some people will ask how author Stephen Boehrer, an ordained priest who left the priesthood after nine and a half years, could write this book. Boehrer's answer is simple: how could he not?

A controversial and timely novel, The Purple Culture tackles a tough question: what happens when those we trust most commit the most egregious acts of betrayal? It is a scandal that has sent shockwaves throughout the world. Sexual abuse committed in the place where we – and our children – should be safe: the church. In The Purple Culture as three bishops stand trial in Federal Court, charged with conspiracy for protecting abusive priests, prosecutor William Goulding and defense attorney James Kobs prepare for the trial of a lifetime. As Goulding presents a litany of damning evidence, Kobs is forced to take an unorthodox route. But Kobs' toughest battle will be persuading the jury. From expert testimony about power, aristocracy, narcissism, and addiction, to the innermost thoughts of the trial's spectators and participants, this extraordinary courtroom drama unfolds as Kobs presents his startling case.

Steve Boehrer's wonderful new novel, The Purple Culture, is a timely and entirely accurate investigation of what is truly at stake in the church's clerical sex abuse crisis, which has finally begun to lift the curtain on the obscene underside of clerical culture. The various and florid sexual pathologies and cover-ups by bishops are not some minor blip on the centuries-long radar screen of salvation history, as they would like us to believe. They are, rather, an inherent part of the way the hierarchy reproduces itself. …. – Peter Isely, Midwest Director, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

When bishops around the world covered up the crimes of their pedophile priests and then passed them around secretly, resulting in thousands of continuing crimes, the universal cry was, 'Why?' Various experts, in attempting to answer that question, offered speculations referring to pathology, collusion, and/or stupidity among the hierarchy. These are trumped by the author of this book, who presents a uniquely incisive answer. Boehrer's theory is fictional, yet thoroughly credible, and the depth of its implications raises even more frightening questions. – Rita McDonald, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Professor Emerita, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A brilliant analysis of the Catholic hierarchy. The most plausible answer to date to the why of the destructive nightmare of clergy sexual abuse. – Thomas Doyle, Canon Lawyer and co-author of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes

Boehrer's novel propels him into fellowship with American writers the likes of J.F Powers, Edwin O'Conner, and Walker Percy. – A.W. Richard Sipe, author of The Serpent and The Dove: Celibacy in Literature and Life

In the literary tradition of Andrew M. Greeley, The Purple Culture is a legal thriller about corruption in the Catholic Church. Stephen Boehrer plumbs a sinful human essence in his villains and, in a rare twist, draws a history of hubris to bear in furnishing a finale no one in Hollywood would dare to produce. – Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence

An intelligent, provocative story about power and human nature, The Purple Culture is not a book about shame, guilt, finger-pointing, or lurid details. Part legal thriller, part psychological drama, the book demystifies the majestic and intriguing traditions of the Roman Catholic faith. Controversial, passionate, and eye-opening, the book leaves readers wondering where fact ends and fiction begins.

Philosophy / History / Children’s Studies

Reason's Children: Childhood in Early Modern Philosophy by Anthony Krupp, with general editor Greg Clingham (Bucknell Studies Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series: Bucknell University Press)

What are children? What can children know, and how should they be taught? What do infants deserve, during and after this life, bap­tized or not? What obligations do children have? Can children's play count as genuinely aesthetic activity? My study [Reason's Children] considers answers to such questions in the works of five early modern philosophers: Rene Descartes, John Locke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Christian Wolff, and Alexander Baumgarten. It bears emphasizing that the extent to which early modern (or any other) philosophers even considered such ques­tions is only beginning to be uncovered. – from the introduction

We still know little of childhood in early modern European thought. By reconstructing philosophies of childhood in the works of rationalists not known to have reflected upon children, Reason's Children expands our understanding of philosophical reflection on childhood in early modern Europe. Central aspects of early modern philosophical systems – Descartes' prejudice and method, Leibniz's divine justice, Wolff's rationality, Baumgarten's aesthetic cognition – are reexamined in light of the peripheral status of childhood in their works. Furthermore, Anthony Krupp, independent scholar and a 2006 winner of the Innovative Course Design Competition of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, carefully examines the various children of Locke's Essay, most of whom have been neglected in histories of childhood. Beyond illustrating the blank slate thesis, Locke's children play other significant roles as well: as not-yet persons, as deficient speakers, and as changelings. The absence of Locke's actual statements concerning children from the intellectual history of childhood is a wrong that in Reason's Children finds some redress.

Contents of Reason's Children include:

  1. Descartes: Purging the Mind of Childish Ways
  2. Locke and Leibniz: Understanding Children
  3. Locke: Children's Language and the Fate of Changelings
  4. Leibniz: Against Infant Damnation
  5. Wolff: The Inferiority of Childhood
  6. Baumgarten: Childhood and the Analogue of Reason

By including essays on Hobbes and Kant, Reason's Children augments readers’ understanding of early modern European philosophical discourse on childhood. Krupp’s study furthers this understanding by examining another four early modern philosophers neglected in the intellectual his­tory of childhood.

According to Krupp in the introduction, when histories of childhood refer to the eighteenth century, they invariably focus on the importance of Locke and Rousseau. The effect of Rousseau's 1762 Emile was great; many of its readers came to feel that discussions of childhood before Rousseau (Locke excepted) were blind to the true nature and effective nurture of children. This gesture – the sweeping aside of all conceptions of childhood other than Locke's and Rousseau's – is repeated in many overviews of the history of childhood. But the Locke mentioned in these histories tends to be the one who wrote a pedagogical treatise and merely book one of his Essay Con­cerning Human Understanding, which amounts to less than 9 percent of that text. This is the Locke who said that the child's mind is like a blank slate upon which experience writes. But those who read beyond (and even in) book 1 can rapidly discover that many of Locke's statements on children have nothing to do with the blank slate thesis. The absence of Locke's actual views of children in the Essay from histories of childhood is a wrong that Krupp redresses in Reason's Children. A good third of this study is devoted to the less well-known children of Locke's Essay.

During the period we sometimes call the Age of Reason, children were defined as beings that have not yet attained the age of reason. For eighteenth-century lexicographers, childhood seems to be a category error. Krupp says research for Reason's Children began when he turned to rationalist philosophers as likely sources for this view of childhood. After repeat­edly encountering variations on the same Locke-and-Rousseau para­graph in histories of childhood, he reflected that it makes sense that both would have developed an explicit philosophy of childhood, since both were empiricists. Krupp further hypothesized that the rational­ists could not have written coherently or convincingly about childhood, and that studying what little they did write would certainly point to blind spots in their systems. His initial hy­pothesis pertained not to philosophy in general, but to rationalist phi­losophy in particular, which he believed would uniformly gloss over childhood mental development, about which Locke and Rousseau had so much to say. The results of his research show a more differentiated, nonuniform understanding of childhood than he expected to find in the early modern rationalists. Studying early modern rationalists on childhood allows one to better understand what was said about children in philosophy before Rousseau; it also allows us to better understand this philosophy. The chapters in Reason's Children attempt to test the veracity of this claim with respect to a specific place (central and northern Eu­rope) and time (1630-1750).

Krupp’s study makes the case that the unit-idea of childhood (broadly conceived, thus including infancy and adolescence) forms an integral part of the works (the systems, even) of the five philosophers he treats. His method in Reason's Children might be described as treating scattered remarks as archaeologists do pottery shards; careful examination of these parts can enable a conceptual reconstruction of the whole (the vase or the idea). And his findings support Turner and Matthews's claim that doing so can enrich our understanding of the more familiar aspects of these philosophers' systems.

The study explores the importance of ideas of childhood in the works of early modern, mostly rationalist philosophers. Krupp begins with what he calls the fact – so often emphasized in eighteenth-century lexica – that young children do not display the use of rationality. The main subject of the volume is how this fact is managed in several instances of early modern European philosophy.

Reason's Children is a contribution to intellectual history, but Krupp avoids trying to write a history. Instead, he has several different, if connected, histories to tell: how Pierre Gassendi and Antoine Arnauld served as catalysts for Descartes to revise his prior ideas about childhood; how Locke populated his Essay with several kinds of children, thereby help­ing Leibniz become conscious of childhood as a philosophical issue; how Wolff attempted to think reasonable thoughts about unreasonable crea­tures; how Baumgarten unintentionally undermined Wolffian thought with his attention to childhood play and improvisation; and how the contributions of Leibniz and Baumgarten may have influenced German conceptualizations of childhood after Rousseau, from Kant to kindergarten.

Looking anew at familiar texts and introducing a wealth of material that will be unfamiliar to most English-language readers, Krupp explores how early modern philosophers grappled with the challenges that children, lacking reason, posed to thought in the 'age of reason.' His scrupulous readings yield a major contribution to the history of childhood. – James Schultz, author of The Knowledge of Childhood in the German Middle Ages, 1100-1350

One must be grateful for a book like Reason's Children that combines erudition and elegance, wit and humane feeling, ingenuity and insight. It is the child not of fashion, but of painstaking scholarship and sound judgment. Anthony Krupp confidently guides his reader through uncharted terrain, pointing out discovery after discovery along the way. Where we formerly imagined there to be only desert, a garden now teems with ideas. Krupp’s concise and yet abundant study will be considered indispensable to eighteenth-century studies for years to come. – David E. Wellbery, LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor, University of Chicago

The place of childhood in the thinking of major philosophers has not been much appreciated, or even well understood. Anthony Krupp’s Reason's Children makes a major contribution toward remedying the situation. His carefully researched study expands our understanding of what John Locke has to say about children. Moreover, in surveying the role of children in the thinking of Descartes, Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten, Krupp explores largely virgin territory. This work is an important contribution to the history of modern philosophy and to the relatively new field of childhood studies. – Gareth B. Matthews, author of The Philosophy of Childhood

Reason's Children is an erudite and valuable work of scholarship examining concepts of childhood in European thought between 1630-1750. It brings the topic of childhood to the attention of historians of philosophy while also contributing, historically and philosophically, to the newly burgeoning field of Childhood Studies. It sensitizes its readers to the systematic impor­tance of childhood in early modern philosophy, especially where this importance is expressed not through explicit thematization, but rather in a complication of discourse.

No particular prior belief about children's essence or social con­structedness is required for readers to profit from this study. If Reason's Children seems more congenial to constructionism than to essentialism, this is primarily because Krupp has studied ideas about children, rather than ac­tual children. He does not examine how families were organized, nor does he trace how the ideas of the luminaries he examines may have affected the care of children, including their own.

Politics / International / Public Policy

Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft by Angelo Codevilla (Basic Books)

‘War presidents’ are hardly exceptional in modern American history. To a greater or lesser extent, every president since Wilson has been a War President. Each has committed our country to the pursuit of peace, yet involved us in a seemingly endless series of wars – conflicts that the American foreign policy establishment has generally made worse. The chief reason, argues Angelo Codevilla in Advice to War Presidents, is that America’s leaders have habitually imagined the world as they wished it to be rather than as it is: They acted under the assumptions that war is not a normal tool of statecraft but a curable disease, and that all the world’s peoples wish to live as Americans do. As a result, our leaders have committed America to the grandest of ends while constantly subverting their own goals.

Advice to War Presidents is an effort to talk our future presidents down from their rhetorical highs and get them to practice statecraft rather than wishful thinking, lest they give us further violence. Employing many negative examples from the Bush II administration but also ranging widely over the last century, Advice to War Presidents offers a primer on the unchanging principles of foreign policy. Codevilla explains the essentials – focusing on realities such as diplomacy, alliances, war, economic statecraft, intelligence, and prestige-building, rather than on meaningless phrases like ‘international community,’ ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘collective security.’

In Advice to War Presidents, Codevilla, former Brown University professor of international relations, former senior staff member of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, and former US. naval officer and Foreign Services officer, draws from a lifetime of experience and reflections on international relations to offer a primer for war presidents aimed at ending the cycles of violence without end seen over the last eight years. Levying a scathing yet constructive critique of neoconservatives, liberal internationalists, and ‘realists’ alike, he advises how the United States, having ignored for nearly a century the classic principles of foreign policy as understood by Herodotus, Thucydides, Harold Nicolson, and Winston Churchill, can get back on track.

Applying the ideas of thinkers as diverse as Confucius, Machiavelli, de Tocqueville, Lincoln, and Daniel Moynihan to past and present conflicts, with a particular emphasis on today's crises in Iraq and Afghanistan, Advice to War Presidents presents back-to-basics lessons peppered with challenges to currently prevailing schools of thought. Just a few examples from the book include:

  • Use the Dictionary – Taking on terms like ‘islamofascism,’ Codevilla emphasizes the importance of clear and simple language to a statesman.
  • Watch Your Axioms – Codevilla finds that axioms such as ‘the interests of mankind,’ ‘the march of history,’ and ‘force of world opinion’ popularized last century remain lodged in our minds and continue to do harm.
  • Ideas Have Consequences – Codevilla takes on the Kennedy School's Joseph Nye's concept of ‘soft power,’ the power a country wields as a result of the attractiveness of its culture, political ideals, and policies. He does not deny that this has a great role to play in world affairs – arguably the greatest – but he believes "the contemporary notion of ‘soft power’ trivializes that massive reality by passing it through the narrow, parochial optic of American Progressive thought."

Codevilla also explains how Power Makes Money – not the other way around – why Wars are for Winning and must be entered into with defined goals, that in our foreign affairs we should Keep It Simple and focus on U.S. interests, and provides recommendations for diplomatic approaches, intelligence efforts, and more.

Writing explicitly for an audience that is already familiar with international affairs, Codevilla … writes intelligently on topics as diverse as the affect of economic sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s and contemporary relations between Russia and Georgia, but his highly critical style can sometimes be abrasive. – Publishers Weekly

Veteran international relations author Codevilla ... questions basic assumptions that have guided U.S. foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson tried to make the world safe for democracy... Although the ideas expressed here are currently out of favor, they are worth consideration by anyone with an interest in world affairs... Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. – Library Journal

Angelo Codevilla is blessed with a capacious mind and a superb education gained through years of study and teaching. He knows the fundamentals, and it is today the fundamentals that we need. One prays that our leaders will read this book. – Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College

Americans are deeply troubled by the conduct of our foreign and national security policies, and recognize that basic common sense in the conduct of our affairs is in short supply. In this brilliant and penetrating analysis of the components of our well being and safety in a dangerous and confusing world, Angelo Codevilla goes to the core of the problem: bureaucratic ideological lenses that distort the clear view we urgently need. Advice to War Presidents will be a modem classic that informs, if only because of its skilled dissection of the fallacies of liberal internationalism's promises, neoconservative myths and the unreality of ‘realists.’ Here the reader will find insights to the troubling questions. – Richard V. Allen, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, National Security Adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Director of the National Security Council staff for President Richard Nixon

Advice to War Presidents is a scathing indictment of the American foreign policy establishment's handling of ideas, diplomacy, economic statecraft, subversion, war, and internal security. Provocative, sometimes abrasive, Advice to War Presidents gives readers a lot to think about. Lively historical anecdotes on international crises presidents from Washington to Bush have faced leave readers with a clearer vision of possible approaches to Iraq and Afghanistan. Any president, prince, or engaged citizen will find his or her understanding of global international politics enhanced by an interaction with this distinguished scholar's maverick views, a corrective to dominant approaches of the recent past and present.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History / Reference

In the Beginning Was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity by Hal Taussig (Fortress Press)

The radical origins of Christianity in the performance of new social identities –

How did Christianity begin?

Hal Taussig, Pastor of Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church in Philadelphia and Visiting Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary, a founding member of the SBL Seminar on Meals in the Greco-Roman World, in In the Beginning Was the Meal brings a wealth of scholarship to bear on that question. He shows that in the Augustan age, common meals became the sites of dramatic experimentation and innovation regarding the performance of social roles and relationships, challenging expectations regarding gender, class, and status. Rich comparative material and rigorous ritual analysis reveal that it was in just such a swirl of experimentation that the early Christian assemblies, with their ‘love feasts’ and ‘supper of the Lord,’ were born.

The ironic affirmation of In the Beginning Was the Meal's title concerning Christian beginnings cannot be overlooked. It is, Taussig says, a complete contradiction in terms. The title and the book itself do propose a hypothesis for the beginnings of Christianity, even while they undermine the idea of Christian origins itself. But a meal can never be a pure beginning, even as Christianity's beginnings can never be pinpointed. A meal is always a result of a complex set of prior events: food preparation, relationships, invitations, and locales, to name a few. To assert that Christianity – or anything – began with a meal begs too many questions.

Yet many things are generated at meals – ideas, additional relationships, new intentions, more communal fabric. The value in conceiving Christian beginnings in terms of the meals that first- and second-century ‘Christians’ ate is that it taps a generative social practice for early Christians while avoiding much of the pretense of previous proposals about how Christianity began. Like a meal itself, In the Beginning Was the Meal assumes a complex combination of ongoing dynamics, prior initiatives, social interaction, previous histories, overlapping ideas, and ambiguous intentions at work in the process of Christian identities emerging. It is not possible to account for Christian beginnings by identifying who the founding figure was, what the essential beliefs were, what the guiding social principles were, or what transformative event triggered it all. What is done here is the mapping of one of the primary social practices during Christianity's emergence: the meals that they shared. Instead of producing a definitive origin, In the Beginning Was the Meal analyzes the intersection of this important social practice and early Christian literature. It does not abandon the task of thinking about how Christianity began, but rather seeks to understand a range of early Christian identities as they partially appeared within one of the major social practices of the first two centuries, the Hellenistic meal.

Hal Taussig makes the astonishing – and convincing – argument that Christianity as we know it came to be shaped when Christians gathered together for meals. These were the times when they composed and sang hymns to Christ, told gospel stories of Jesus, and read letters from absent apostles or fellow communities in other cities. In the Beginning Was the Meal is required reading for anyone who wants to see how the simple practice of people dining together could initiate a bold social experiment that brought together men and women, Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free in the name of their God, Christ. – Karen L. King, Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Harvard Divinity School

This is Taussig at his best. The topic is fundamental for reimagining Christian origins at the intersection of social formation and mythmaking. Students and scholars of the New Testament will want to give this book a very serious reading and discussion. – Burton Mack, Professor of Religion Emeritus, Claremont Graduate University

This book is a giant leap forward in the study of Christian origins. The Hellenistic meal emerges as the most credible model yet for understanding how early Christian communities first took shape and ritually negotiated issues of a developing identity. Hal Taussig's career-long expertise in the study of meals and ritual theory is on full display in this important study. – Dennis E. Smith, LaDonna Kramer Meinders Professor of New Testament, Phillips Theological Seminary

In the Beginning Was the Meal is a cutting-edge monograph shedding new light on the social context of early Christian gatherings, illuminating the origins of Christianity itself, and drawing important implications as well for the practice of Christian community today. A result of deep analysis of research material, the book reveals that it was this kind of a community of experimentation that the early Christian assemblies were born.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference / New Testament

The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Contexts by Gary M. Burge, Lynn H. Cohick, & Gene L. Green (Zondervan)

Today many Christians know the basics and enjoy a personal love for passages of the New Testament, but few understand the breadth of the story, much less how to interpret each book. They may not feel confident interpreting other difficult chapters. The New Testament in Antiquity aims to assist students to become capable readers of the New Testament – to guide them through its books, giving not only essential background information but also a digest of the New Testament’s most important teachings.
The volume develops how Jewish, Hellenistic and Roman cultures formed the essential environment in which the New Testament authors wrote their books and letters. It argues that knowing the land, history, and culture of this world brings insight into how one reads the New Testament itself. Throughout The New Testament in Antiquity, numerous features provide windows into the first century world.

Authors are Gary M. Burge, professor; Lynn H. Cohick, associate professor; and Gene L. Green, professor, all of New Testament in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School. They explain how four goals focused their efforts. First, they wanted to offer a volume that was academically rigorous. Each chapter provides an up-to-date examination of the subject informed by the best in current scholarship. Second, they sought a volume that was accessible to students. Technical jargon is kept to a minimum and explanations are generous for readers with minimal background. Nearly 50 photographs, charts, and maps enhance understanding.

Third, the text of The New Testament in Antiquity underscores the ancient context because they believe that interpreting the New Testament requires an intimate understanding of its background, culture, and history. Sidebars give students contextual insights and extra-biblical primary sources. Fourth, they wanted a volume that is responsive to the confessional commitments of the evangelical tradition. Too often academic treatments of the New Testament view faith commitments as passé. They wanted a scholarly text that treated the pages as Scripture, which has spoken to the church through the centuries.

The table of contents provides an outline of the book’s thematic approach. An introductory chapter explains to students why contextual work must be done in order to understand the New Testament effectively. It provides the methodologi­cal presuppositions and explains how each chapter is built. The authors set out to reconstruct the historical and cultural setting of the New Testament period as concisely as possible. The major eras of inter-testamental history run from Alexander to the second Jewish revolt against Rome. Then come chapters devoted to the cultural and religious setting of Jesus in Roman Judea and Galilee as well as the setting of Paul in the wider Mediterranean world.

The authors say they felt compelled to include a careful study of the sources for reconstructing the life of Jesus and the char­acter of the Gospels. So much technical criticism is now in public debate that students must be abreast of current developments. They then provide a synthesis of Jesus' life and teachings from these gospels, which is followed by individual analyses of each of the Gospels.

A study of Acts opens The New Testament in Antiquity’s lengthy treatment of Paul and the early church. A summary of Act's histori­cal and theological method is followed by a synthesis of Paul's life and work. A series of chapters on Paul's letters, in roughly chronological order follows. The general epistles follow as well as a closing chapter on the Greek text of the New Testament, the development of the canon, and the work of trans­lation. This final chapter is technical, but designed for nonspecialists and it answers many of the residual questions about the New Testament the authors have heard time and again in class.

The numerous sidebars in The New Testament in Antiquity provide examples of what contextual study might yield. They offer insights that advance the argument of the chapter. The same is true of illustrations – the photo researchers worked hard to provide the best illustrations available. The same is true of maps – they sought to build maps that were not only clear but that illustrate for students how location can be critical for understanding most stories.

Complete with an extraordinary array of visual illustrations, this book covers important topics needed for an introductory text in New Testament in a way that is both understandable and well-informed. It emphasizes many details that help students discover the biblical text in new ways they would rarely get on their own. – Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament, Palmer Seminary of Eastern University

The New Testament in Antiquity is a beautifully done, carefully presented, evangelically sensitive work to introduce the New Testament. I have longed for a text like this. There is richness on virtually every page. Read, savor, learn. – Darrell L. Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

For years I have searched in vain for a book that would introduce students to the New Testament – with clear outlines, graphic images, historical contexts, timelines, maps, and bibliographies. My search is over; this is that book. – Scot Mcnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

One of the best introductions and surveys in recent times. Remarkably attractive in its layout, with color pictures, charts, diagrams and sidebars galore... If it's backgrounds you want to highlight in a one-semester introduction to the New Testament, this is the text to assign. – Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

The New Testament in Antiquity strikes a balance, accessible to all students and yet challenging them to explore the depths of the New Testament within its cultural worlds. Written by three scholars with over fifty years of combined experience in the classroom, the book shows readers how an understanding of the land, history, and culture of this world brings new insights to bear on reading the New Testament. Firmly rooted in tradition, the textbook is conversant with the academic field they represent. While The New Testament in Antiquity may be used for personal study, it is ideally suited for classroom instruction, aimed at beginning seminary students, with ample discussion questions and bibliographies.
Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Self-Help / Audio

Never Give Up!: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life's Challenges (Hardcover) by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords)

Never Give Up!: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life's Challenges [ABRIDGED] (5 Audio CDs) by Joyce Meyer, read by Sandra McCollom (Hachette Audio)

I wonder how many times people give up just before a breakthrough, on the very brink of success. – from the book

Joyce Meyer, one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers, is probably better equipped than anyone when it comes to never giving up. She overcame an abused childhood, a bad marriage and extremely limited opportunities to become one of a popular author and speakers in the world. JoyceMeyerMinistries was the first ministry in America to be headed by a woman, and it's one of the largest in the world. If anyone knows how to hold on to a dream and realize it, it is her. Packed with examples of people who pursued their goals relentlessly, Never Give Up! profiles nearly fifty individuals who prevailed against all odds, including Marian Hammaren, whose only child was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings and Aron Ralston, who amputated his own hand in order to survive a hiking accident. From the builder of the Brooklyn Bridge to the chemists who invented Post-It notes, readers of Never Give Up! meet people like Bessie Coleman, an African-American who had to go to flight school in Paris in order to learn how to fly. But she did, becoming the first woman in America to earn her pilot's license in 1920.

Meyer’s asks readers to think of Never Give Up! as a manual to use as they pursue the best in every area of their lives. It may provide the inspiration they need to keep putting one foot in front of the other when they grow weary and remind them over and over again, in a variety of ways: They can do it if they never give up.

One of the primary reasons people give up is that they try things, don't succeed, and feel like ‘a failure.’ When we don't succeed at something, we may not have the courage to try again, and we settle for less than we could achieve or enjoy if we would simply keep try­ing. We may fail at one thing, or even a few things, but that certainly does not make us a failure in life. Meyer believes these temporary setbacks are part of life and we must experience them in order to be truly successful. Failing at some things on our way to success humbles us and teaches us lessons we need to learn. For people who never give up, failure is simply the fuel for greater determination and success in the future.

As readers walk through the pages of Never Give Up!, they become acquainted with amazing people, people who refused to settle for less than the best and whose stories will inspire them and astound them. Some of the most successful people in history failed and, instead of being discouraged, refused to give up. For example:

  • Henry Ford, who invented the automobile, went broke five times before he succeeded in business.
  • The great dancer and movie star Fred Astaire took a screen test at MGM studios in 1933. A studio memo reported he was slightly bald, could not act, and could dance a little.
  • The family of Louisa May Alcott, the great author who wrote the popular book Little Women, thought she should abandon the idea of being a writer and become a seamstress instead.
  • A newspaper fired Walt Disney for lack of ideas, and he went bankrupt several times before building Disneyland.
  • Enrico Caruso's parents believed a voice teacher who said he had no future in music – he simply could not sing at all. He did not believe the teacher and became one of the most famous opera singers in the world.
  • Theodore Roosevelt suffered the deaths of both his mother and his wife on the same day in 1884 before he became a war hero and a very effective president of the United States.
  • John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was often asked to not return to churches after preaching in them once. When he preached on the streets, townspeople kicked him out. When he preached in a meadow, people turned a bull loose on him. But later, because he refused to give up, he preached in a pasture and ten thousand people came to hear him.

The story of Abraham Lincoln also amazes Meyer. In the face of many defeats, he had reason to believe there was no way he could succeed in life or be president of the United States. At twenty-two years old, he failed in business. One year later, he ran for the legislature and lost. When he was twenty-four, he experienced a second business failure. At twenty-six, the woman he loved passed away, and he suffered a nervous breakdown the next year. When he was twenty-nine, he lost another political race, and at thirty-four he made an unsuccessful run for Con­gress. At thirty-seven, he did get elected to Congress, only to be defeated again two years later. At forty-six, he lost his bid for the Senate, and the next year, he failed in his attempt to become vice president. When he was forty-nine, he was defeated for the Senate again. He had four sons, but only one lived to adulthood. But, at fifty-one years of age, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States, and successfully led the country through one of its most difficult periods. Lincoln never gave up.

Certainly inspirational, certainly upbeat, perhaps repetitious, perhaps over the top, but perhaps that is what we need when we are depressed, despondent, on the verge of giving up. Never Give Up! provides a myriad of examples and tried and true tools for keeping on keeping on. The audio version is read by the author’s youngest daughter Sandra McCollom, a stay-at-home mom.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology / Old Testament

Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach by Robin Routledge (IVP Academic)
There are a great many useful books on OT Theology available, with new volumes appearing regularly. Often, though, they give too much information or too little. Many are large and daunting to ordinary students or pastors, and because of their layout, which is often determined by their approach, infor­mation may be hard to access; others take a more introductory approach and do not deal with many of the theological issues and questions the OT raises. Robin Routledge's Old Testament Theology is gauged to meet the needs of readers who want to dine on the meat of Old Testament theology but do not have time to linger over hors d'oeuvres and dessert.

Routledge, senior lecturer in Old Testament at Mattersey Hall in England and teacher at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague and the Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, provides a substantial overview of the central issues and themes in Old Testament theology. Routledge examines the theological significance of the various significant texts within their wider canonical context, noting unity and coherence while showing awareness of diversity.

The contents of Old Testament Theology includes:

  1. Approaches to Old Testament Theology
  2. God and the "Gods"
  3. God and Creation
  4. God and His People (1): Election and Covenant
  5. God and His People (2): Worship and Sacrifice
  6. God and His People (3): Receiving Instruction
  7. God and His People (4): Kingship in Israel
  8. God and His People (5): Ethics and Ethical Questions
  9. God and the Future
  10. God and the Nations

The material in Old Testament Theology belongs in the area of biblical theology.

Due to lack of space, exegetical work is generally assumed, and references for some follow-up discussion are included. A brief outline of the relationship between exegesis and biblical theology within the overall hermeneutical task is given in the first chapter.

The task of Old Testament theology is critical in biblical interpretation, and in Christian theology, preaching and practice. It is also a minefield of methodological approaches. Robin Routledge has provided a concise, well-read and readable account of it. He shows how Old Testament theology may have its own authoritative voice in the church's use of the Bible, and how it is essential to Christian theology, not least for the church's mission. In the context of postmodern interpretations, he aims to reaffirm the essentially historical character of the Old Testament, and to find theological unity in it. This book will provide welcome orientation for readers who find the Old Testament difficult, and will repay careful study. – J. Gordon McConville, professor of Old Testament studies, University of Gloucestershire

Old Testament Theology, in a style that is clear, concise and nuanced, provides a substantial overview of the central issues and themes in Old Testament theology in the main body of the text, with more detailed dis­cussion and references for further reading in the footnotes. The book will be of benefit to those who want to take the theological content of the OT seriously, and to apply its message to the life and ministry of the church. The audience is students and professors of the Old Testament, pastors and teachers. Routledge’s thematic approach makes it easy for selective readers to find what they need, and it will work well for both teachers and preachers.

Religion & Spirituality / History / Comparative Religion

Rag and Bone: A Journey among the World's Holy Relics by Peter Manseau (Henry Holt & Co.)

The impulse to preserve and revere the body parts of the holy deceased has been part of the human experience since the Buddha lost his baby-teeth and John the Baptist lost his head.

By examining relics – the bits and pieces of long-dead saints at the heart of nearly all religious traditions – Peter Manseau, adjunct professor of writing at Georgetown University, talks about life, and about faith. Filled with true tales of the living and dubious legends of the dead, Rag and Bone tells of a California seeker who ended up in a Jerusalem convent because of a nun’s disembodied hand; a French forensics expert who travels on the metro with the rib of a saint; two young brothers who collect tickets at a Syrian mosque, studying English beside a hair from the Prophet Muhammad’s beard; and many other stories, myths, and peculiar histories.

With these, and an array of other digits, limbs, and bones, Manseau provides a look into the ‘primordial strangeness that is at the heart of belief,’ and the place where the abstractions of faith meet the realities of physical objects, of rags and bones.

By examining these relics Manseau has written a book about life, the varieties of faith, and how both life and faith are sustained. The result of wide travel, the author's own deep curiosity, and visits with those living who take care of these dead, Rag and Bone stitches together a portrait of the world's religions.

Adroit, worldly ... Transports readers around the globe to check out places accessible and remote where fabric, wood, sinew and other materials are venerated.... An amusing romp. – Kirkus Reviews
Dry bones dance in
Rag and Bone, as Peter Manseau brings death to life through his fascinating exploration of religious relics: the skull fragments, detached digits, and ashes of the holy. This is a book that might have been written in the 15th century just as easily as now, but we're lucky to have here the unique 21st century voice of Manseau – a Yiddish-speaking, Buddha-curious son of a Catholic priest and a nun – and one of the most peculiar and most entertaining travelogues in years. – Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Peter Manseau's Rag and Bone reads like a novel, entertains like a television docudrama, and educates like the best college professor you ever had. It is at once informative, quirky, and funny. Do people really think that the leathery tongue of a 12th century saint can bless them with good fortune? They do. Why do people believe in such weird things as the holy relics of religion? Read this book to find out. WARNING: you may very well discover that you also hold beliefs in holy relics and not even know it! – Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American author of Why People Believe Weird Things and Why Darwin Matters

A text for the devoted and devoutly lapsed, Rag and Bone is part religious study and part travelogue. Peter Manseau proves a reliable guide, getting both the concepts and the corpses right: the idea of the thing, and the thing itself. And how far afield his curiosities take us – fellow pilgrims one and all – for whom the dead may be more than the sum of parts. – Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

The dead may tell no tales, but the relics they leave behind do, if only we will listen to what they have to say. Happily, one of America's best young writers has his ear to the ground at reliquaries from San Francisco to Sri Lanka. The result is an intriguing tour of the world's most holy hairs, hearts, and hands that refuses to lapse into the sort of confessional cant that deadens much writing on religion today. Rag and Bone is alive with both humorous and heartbreaking observations about the chicanery and mystery of things seen and unseen. – Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion at Boston University and author of the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy

A dead saint's bones, an ancient prophet's whisker, the Buddha's tooth: As Peter Manseau traces the trail of religious relics, he merges the holy and the human with keen insight. The language shines and the humor delights, but even more, we come away having learned something profound about the making of religious meaning. – Barbara J. King, author of Evolving God

Rag and Bone is a fascinating, intelligent, and sometimes funny tour of the human relics at the root of the world’s major religions. With postmortem accounts of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and a crowd of other holy souls, Manseau's surprising and delightful Rag and Bone tells the hidden histories of these bodies that have meant so much to so many.

Religion & Spirituality / Theology / Psychology / Judaism / Christianity / Reference

The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (Schocken Books)

From one of the most innovative and acclaimed biblical commentators at work today, The Murmuring Deep is a revolutionary analysis of the intersection between religion and psychoanalysis in the stories of the men and women of the Bible.
For centuries scholars and rabbis have wrestled with the biblical narrative, attempting to answer the questions that arise from a plain reading of the text. In The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg informs her literary analysis of the text with concepts drawn from Freud, Winnicott, Laplanche, and other psychoanalytic thinkers to give readers a new understanding of the desires and motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible. Through close readings of the biblical and midrashic texts, Zornberg makes a powerful argument for the idea that the creators of the midrashic commentary, the med­ieval rabbinic commentators, and the Hassidic commentators were themselves on some level aware of the complex interplay between conscious and unconscious levels of experience and used this knowledge in their interpretations.
In her analysis of the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Rebecca, Isaac, Joseph and his brothers, Ruth, and Esther – how they communicated with the world around them, with God, and with the various parts of their selves – Zornberg offers insights into the interaction between consciousness and unconsciousness. In discussing why God has to ‘seduce’ Adam into entering the Garden of Eden or why Jonah thinks he can hide from God by getting on a ship, Zornberg enhances our appreciation of the Bible as the foundational text in our quest to understand what it means to be human. From how God can watch man engage in evil so profound he decides to destroy them in a flood, to why Ruth the Moabite follows her mother-in-law Naomi to a foreign land where her people are despised, and how Abraham perceives the asked-for sacrifice of his son, The Murmuring Deep offers interpretations of these mysterious stories.
Zornberg is the author of The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, for which she received the National Jewish Book Award, and The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus. She was born in London and received a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. She lectures widely in Israel, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Using classic Freudian concepts – the seduction theory, the theory of the unconscious, the Oedipal theory, and the theory of transference among others – as well as the teachings of other psychoanalytic thinkers including Winnicott and Laplanche, Zornberg in The Murmuring Deep creates new understandings of both the Bible and the motivations of the men and women who populate the stories.

In 1939, just before he died, Freud published Moses and Monotheism, his last creative effort. He applied psychoanalytic insights to the story of Moses. Using a somewhat similar approach, augmented by her skills in literary analysis, Zornberg (The Beginning of Desire), a Jerusalem resident and biblical scholar with a Cambridge Ph.D. in English literature, looks at several figures from the Bible, including Adam, Eve, Noah, Jonah, Esther, Abraham, Rebecca, Isaac, Joseph and Ruth. Unfortunately, Zornberg lacks Freud's ability to write clearly, so her text is dense and studded with such odd words as facticity, dysprovidential, conversive, transferential, problematizes, futural, asymbolia and performative. Also, she displays her impressive erudition by quoting obscure Talmudic, psychological and literary sources. The result is a hard-to-read treatise that will be of interest only to a small group of academics. – Publishers Weekly

Avivah Zornberg is one of Jerusalem's most exciting teachers of Torah, not only because of the subtlety of her thinking, but also because of the beauty of her language and sophistication of her presentation ... engaging and brilliant. – Tikkun

Zornberg delivers a magnificent analysis of the intersections between religion and psychoanalysis. In The Murmuring Deep, she puts God and the men and women of the Bible on the couch, offering insights into the interaction between the conscious and unconscious mind. These interpretations illuminate the well know biblical stories in provocative, thoughtful and engaging ways.

Science Fiction & Fantasy / Young Adult

Worldweavers, Book 3: Cybermage by Alma Alexander (Worldweavers Series: Eos, HarperTeen)

Cybermage is the third and final volume in the highly praised Worldweavers Series written by Alma Alexander, a native of Yugoslavia now living in the US.

As told in Cybermage, this year at the Wandless Academy feels all wrong to Thea. Her best friend, Magpie, will barely give her the time of day. Ben has been moody and dismissive. Since when did Tess have a boyfriend? And why is Humphrey May, agent for the Federal Bureau of Magic, lurking around the Academy?

Thea is out of sorts – in all ways, magical and otherwise – and that is before she discovers she is an elemental mage, a category of magician so rare that only four others are known to exist.

Now the Federal Bureau of Magic needs Thea's help to unlock the mysterious white cube – the same cube found over the summer in the professor's house, the same cube the dangerous Alphiri are still after. To stay ahead of the Alphiri and the wiles of the FBM, Thea needs her friends – all of them.

Alexander is the author of several previous novels, including Worldweavers, Book 1: Gift of the Unmage and Worldweavers, Book 2: Spellspam. She grew up in the United Kingdom and Africa, and now lives in the state of Washington.

SPELLSPAM – An incredibly enjoyable tale that blends reality, legend, and magic in one of the freshest fantasy narratives this year. – KLIATT, starred review

WORLDWEAVERS – Will appeal to those who love Harry [Potter], and there is much more in store for readers who discover the ordinary magic in the world around them. – VOYA, starred review

WORLDWEAVERS – Alexander does an exquisite job. – ALA Booklist

WORLDWEAVERS – Suspenseful engrossing. – Kirkus Reviews

From a world woven with magic and suspense comes Alexander's Cybermage, the final installment of the richly invented Worldweavers trilogy.

Social Sciences / Archaeology / Women’s Studies

Silent Images: Women in Pharanoic Egypt by Zahi Hawass, with a foreword by Suzanne Mubarak (The American University in Cairo Press)

Our endless fascination with ancient Egypt owes much to the beauty of the tomb paintings, statuary, temple reliefs, and other magnificent art works that are the legacy of this remarkable culture.

Silent Images is a new paperback edition of Silent Images exploring a puzzling contradiction: Despite the multitude of artifacts and texts that have come to us from ancient Egypt, much still remains obscure regarding the lives of women. Women were, from the historical perspective, silent – but how should this silence be interpreted? What was the reality of women's lives behind the standardized images? We know that their chief role in society as mothers and anchors of the family was honored and respected, although it meant a degree of segregation and, in most periods, excluded them from public office. Nevertheless, in law they were the equals of men and they could, and did, own property, which they administered and disposed of themselves.

Zahi Hawass's Silent Images searches for a more realistic picture of women's lives in ancient Egypt. As well as reconsidering the evidence from tomb and temple, Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, draws on unpublished material from his excavations at the workers' cemetery at Giza, which sheds light on the womenfolk of the workmen who built and maintained the pyramids, as well as new analyses of older evidence, to penetrate the silent images and paint an astonishing picture of women's lives. Hawass contrasts the stereotype – inspired by such symbols of femininity as the queens Nefertiti and Nefertari­ – with a more realistic view of the common woman's everyday involvement in matters ranging from family life to dress and adornment to the workplace. Silent Images is complemented by lavish illustrations of places and objects, many made especially for the book.
According to Hawass in the introduction, in Egypt so many of the traditions and social customs in the villages are the direct legacy of ancient Egypt that it is possible to put some new insights into a subject which has recently come under scrutiny. Ancient Egyptian women are not as prominent in the records as they appear at first sight. Delving into the sources of information, it became apparent that hard facts about them are not always easy to find. Nearly all the information that we possess about ancient Egypt has been extracted from sources about, or written by, the other half of the population – the men. Not only do the chief sources come from this very small and privileged segment of the population, but they present their own view of the other sex, which is rightly suspected to be idealistic and incomplete.

Nowhere do we find for certain a text written by a woman for other women. One of the chief sources about how the ancient Egyptians thought of themselves is the genre of ‘Wisdom Literature,’ popular at all times. These texts were usually written in the form of advice given by an educated official, or even a king, to his son – by men, for men.

According to Hawass in Silent Images the reason why writings by women and addressed to other women do not exist is presumably the low level of female literacy. Schools were for boys, and although some of the royal and aristocratic ladies could read and write, it was not apparently an essential skill for them. A woman’s chief role was to provide heirs who would look after aged parents and attend the shrines of the family ancestors. The resulting segregation in the outward lives of men and women is apparent in the scarcity of women in administrative positions, especially after the Old Kingdom.

The modern interpretation of such a segregated society is that the suppression and alienation of females automatically follow. But this is impossible to verify with the sources available for ancient Egypt. Must women’s silence be taken as evidence of repression? Ancient Egyptian women may have valued the security of close-knit family ties above personal independence, as their successors in Egyptian villages today will put up with social restrictions because they value the reassurance of belonging in a community. In fact, ancient Egyptian women’s legal rights are well documented and contrast very favorably with the low status of Greek and Roman women. In Egypt, women were legally the equals of men. They could inherit or purchase land, houses or goods, and dispose of them as they wished. They could initiate court cases and were responsible for their own conduct.

Hawass in Silent Images says that we are fortunate that so many legal texts have survived, especially the more mundane civil texts – wills, property contracts, legal jottings, court cases, and so on – which were found in great numbers at Deir al-Madina, the village of workmen who made the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The villagers of this community had the habit of writing on flakes of limestone or fragments of pottery, known today as ‘ostraca,’ which have survived much better than papyrus. The high literacy level of the inhabitants is evident in the enormous number of documents found. These texts give readers a remarkable in-depth view into this unusual and rather privileged community of the Rameside period. The picture readers are given is that of a total community, women and children as well as men. It is a priceless archive to balance the selective and idealized portrayal of society and life given in funerary and official monuments.

According to Silent Images, the stability of ancient Egyptian society suggests that the goal of an acceptable and enduring balance between the very different roles and men and women was achieved. Ancient Egyptian society was in theory governed by the religious ideal of maat, the cosmic order. In practice it was authoritarian and totally hierarchical, with the divine king at the top of the social ‘pyramid.’ His power devolved thorough his nobles and courtiers, who held unlimited sway in their own districts. The rest of the population were the ‘cattle of Re’ and could suffer cruelly under a despotic leader. However there was a strong concept of noblesse oblige to counteract oppressive tendencies.

hat has become clear to Hawass in compiling Silent Images is the resilience of the Egyptian people. After centuries of invasions and foreign rule, of foreign systems of government and cultural influence, ancient Egyptian ideals are still present. In the villages, many of the ancient customs have been kept alive by assimilation into the later practices of Christianity and Islam. The women continue to play a central and honorable role in that most enduring and important of all Egyptian institutions, the family. With increasing social fragmentation in the West, the importance of family as the matrix of a stable society and the role that women play in this are being rediscovered and revalued.

Beautifully produced, wonderfully illustrated, thoroughly researched, Silent Images sheds new light on ancient Egypt's distinctive culture. Lavish illustrations of places and objects, many made especially for this book, round out an enthralling, richly textured work.

Social Sciences / Political Science / Popular Culture

Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking by Michael A. Smerconish (The Lyons Press)

Once reliably Republican. Now less so. What is he?

A lightning rod of controversy and spirited discussion.

Michael Smerconish – attorney-turned-political-pundit, radio talk show host, columnist, and author – is back!

In Morning Drive, Smerconish displays the same no-nonsense candor he did in the best-selling Murdered by Mumia, covering the gamut of his trademark straight talk on hot-button issues, from stem-cell research and balancing budgets, to immigration and what he calls the ‘non-hunt’ for Osama bin Laden, from government spending and taxes to torture and fighting terrorism, from immigration to gay marriage and global warming.

Taking the news headlines of today to set forth an agenda for tomorrow, Smerconish argues that the TV world presents an unrealistic, ‘liberal or conservative’ view of the world. Maybe that explains why the man often labeled ‘conservative’ by the television shows he appears on sees no contradiction in his kind words for Barack Obama. In this new book, Smerconish takes readers to such volatile venues as the set of Real Time with Bill Maher, where he found himself under attack in the ‘conservative hot seat,’ and recounts being the first person selected to guest host Don Imus’s TV show after Imus was fired from MSNBC.

Smerconish voices a slew of opinions in Morning Drive. His support for torturing suspected terrorists is one he debated with John McCain, and his libertarian view of same-sex relationships derives partly from his conversation with former New Jersey governor James McGreevy. Such impressions – including those Smerconish garnered on his ‘morning drive’ radio talk show based in a swing state (Pennsylvania) during the 2008 presidential election – come together in a behind-the-scenes look at how media-driven political perception becomes reality.

Smerconish on … 

  • Torture: Once we identify the bad guys, we have to get from them the info on impending attacks by any means necessary, and that includes torture. If you believe it NOT to be efficacious, tell me why our best interrogators continually seek to use it as a technique? Answer: It works.
  • Guns: A symptom, not a cause. Single-parent households pose more of a threat to safety than firearms. Let’s address that issue.
  • Gay marriage: Homosexuals don’t threaten my marriage. As we seek to find some accommodation for same-sex couples, we need to end that false argument.
  • Embryonic stem-cell research: Pardon my callous nature, but that which exists in a Petri-dish is undeserving of the full rights afforded to a viable fetus.
  • Global warming: Beats the hell out of me. But given the apparent stakes, if the concerns are valid, err on the side of caution.

Smerconish has been recognized by Talkers magazine as one of America's most important talk show hosts. He is the host of two nationally syndicated radio shows, including a morning drive show based at Philadelphia's The Big Talker. Smerconish was a regular fill-in host for Bill O'Reilly's nationally syndicated The Radio Factor and has been a guest host on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. He has appeared on every major television program where politics are discussed, from The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to The View on ABC. He is also a columnist for both the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Whether tracing his path to punditry, setting forth his views, or applying his ‘Muzzled Meter’ to controversial statements made by everyone from Mel Gibson to Barack Obama, Smerconish voices a slew of strident opinions in Morning Drive – all based on his discussions with those-in-the-know and on personal experience.

Michael Smerconish is a feeling, thinking American. He has an open heart and an open mind. Read Morning Drive and you hear someone trying to put it together for himself ... When it comes to defining the America debate in the early twenty-first century, this guy's right where the tire hits the road. – Chris Matthews, host of Hardball with Chris Matthews

Morning Drive is a must for Washington insiders and citizens across the country who are interested in preserving not just a healthy two-party system – but also their ability to get access to balanced, impartial news.United States Senator Arlen Specter, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Michael Smerconish ... doesn't part on ideology or a partisan political agenda, and he sure as heck isn't predictable. It's that same independence and unpredictability that make Morning Drive a great read. – Governor Edward G. Rendell, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Morning Drive provides terrific insight into who Michael is, how he came to be, and how independent thinking is essential to achieving smart political results. – Harold Ford, Jr., former United States Congressman, Chair of Democratic Leadership Council

Morning Drive is a rollicking, political coming-of-age by one of the rising stars of cable punditry. Smerconish takes on the media-driven mindset and tells it like it is – on the issues that matter most to the nation's present – and future.

 

Contents this page

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran (Hardcover) by Azadeh Moaveni (Random House)

Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber (Harper Business)

Macy's: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo (Square One Publishers)

It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose by Roy M. Spence Jr., with Haley Rushing (Portfolio)

A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids (Library Binding) by Amie Jane Leavitt (Robbie Readers Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

A Brief Political and Geographic History of Africa: Where Are the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia, and Kush? (Library Binding) by John Davenport (Places in Time/a Kid's Historic Guide to the Changing Names & Places of the World Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers)

The Belarusian Cookbook by Alexander Bely (Hippocrene Books, Inc.)

Learning to Compete in European Universities: From Social Institution to Knowledge Business edited by Maureen McKelvey & Magnus Holmen (Edward Elgar Publishing)

Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom by Gervase Phinn (Crown House Publishing Limited)

International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreter Education edited by Jemina Napier (Interpreter Education Series, Vol. 4: Gallaudet University Press)

The Birth of the Cool of Miles Davis and His Associates with CD by Frank Tirro, edited by series editor Michael J. Budds (CMS Sourcebooks in American Music Series, No. 5: Pendragon Press)

Fergie: My Life from the Cubs to Cooperstown by Fergie Jenkins, with Lew Freedman, with a foreword by Billy Williams (Triumph Books)

The Dream Encyclopedia, 2nd edition by James R. Lewis & Evelyn Dorothy Oliver (Visible Ink)

Derived Relational Responding Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Progressive Guide to Change (Professional) edited by Ruth Anne Rehfeldt & Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, with a foreword by Steven C. Hayes (Context Press, New Harbinger Publications)

Life Is Friends: A Complete Guide to the Lost Art of Connecting in Person (Hardcover) by Jeanne Martinet (Steward, Tabori & Chang)

The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols (Guilford Family Therapy Series: The Guilford Press)

Agnes Lake Hickok: Queen of the Circus, Wife of a Legend by Linda A. Fisher & Carrie Bowers (University of Oklahoma Press)

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry (Harper)

With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows by Sandra Kalniete, translated by Margita Gailitis (Baltic Literature Series: Dalkey Archive)

Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story by Evan I. Schwartz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

At the Edge of Dreamland by Tsevi Ayznman, translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff (KTAV Publishing House)

Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Purple Culture by Stephen Boehrer (Oceanview Publishing)

Reason's Children: Childhood in Early Modern Philosophy by Anthony Krupp, with general editor Greg Clingham (Bucknell Studies Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series: Bucknell University Press)

Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft by Angelo Codevilla (Basic Books)

In the Beginning Was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity by Hal Taussig (Fortress Press)

The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Contexts by Gary M. Burge, Lynn H. Cohick, & Gene L. Green (Zondervan)

Never Give Up!: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life's Challenges (Hardcover) by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords)

Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach by Robin Routledge (IVP Academic)

Rag and Bone: A Journey among the World's Holy Relics by Peter Manseau (Henry Holt & Co.)

The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (Schocken Books)

Worldweavers, Book 3: Cybermage by Alma Alexander (Worldweavers Series: Eos, HarperTeen)

Silent Images: Women in Pharanoic Egypt by Zahi Hawass, with a foreword by Suzanne Mubarak (The American University in Cairo Press)

Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking by Michael A. Smerconish (The Lyons Press)