We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

July 2009, Issue # 123

Beyond Digital Photography: Transforming Photos into Fine Art with Photoshop and Painter by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis & Donal Jolley (Peachpit Press)

Architecture Now! Green Architecture by Philip Jodidio (Architecture Now! Series: Taschen America)

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics: Investigating and Analyzing Malicious Network Activity by Dale Liu (Syngress)

Handbook of Online Learning, 2nd edition edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam, Judith Schoenholtz-Read (Sage Publications)

Thinking BIG, Learning BIG: Connecting Science, Math, Literacy, and Language in Early Childhood by Marie Faust Evitt with Tim Dobbins & Bobbi Weesen-Baer (Gryphon House)

Health and Wellness for Life by Human Kinetics (Health on Demand Series: Human Kinetics)

Principles of Memory: Models and Perspectives by Aimee M. Surprenant & Ian Neath (Essays in Cognitive Psychology Series: Psychology Press)

Personal Conflict Management: Theory and Practice by Suzanne McCorkle & Melanie J. Reese (Allyn & Bacon)

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo (Chicago Review Press)

Greenscapes: Olmsted's Pacific Northwest by Joan Hockaday (Washington State University Press)

The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green by James M Aton, with photography by Dan Miller (Utah State University Press)

Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature by S.K. Robisch (University of Nevada Press)

Curbside Consultation in IBD: 49 Clinical Questions edited by David Rubin, Sonia Friedman, & Francis A. Farraye (Slack)

Stephen Colbert and Philosophy: I Am Philosophy (And So Can You!) edited by Aaron Allen Schiller (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

The Nature of Love by Dietrich von Hildebrand, translated by John F. Crosby with John Henry Crosby (St. Augustine’s Press)

Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government edited by Janine A. Parry & Richard P. Wang, with a foreword David Pryor (The University of Arkansas Press)

What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications, 2nd edition by Robert H. Chew, Robert E. Hales & Stuart C. Yudofsky (American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.)

Repair of the Soul: Metaphors of Transformation in Jewish Mysticism and Psychoanalysis by Karen E. Starr, with a foreword by Lewis Aron (Relational Perspectives Book Series: Routledge)

Lifting Women's Voices: Prayers to Change the World edited by Margaret Rose, Jenny Te Paa, Jeanne Person, & Abagail Nelson, with a foreword by Katharine Jefferts Schori (Morehouse Publishing)

Living Fully, Dying Well: Reflecting on Death to Find Your Life's Meaning by Edward W. Bastian & Tina L. Staley, with contributors Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Joan Halifax Roshi, Ira Byock, Tessa Bielecki, Mirabai Starr, and Marilyn M. Schlitz, edited by Netanel Miles-Yepez (Sounds True)

Art and Spiritual Transformation: The Seven Stages of Death and Rebirth by Finley Eversole (Inner Traditions)

Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness by Victor J. Stenger, with a foreword by Michael Schermer (Prometheus Books)

Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity by Leigh H. Edwards (Profiles in Popular Music Series: Indiana University Press)

College Life Through the Eyes of Students by Mary Grigsby (SUNY Press)

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South by W. Ralph Eubanks (Smithsonian Books & HarperCollins Publishers)

Researching Race: Theory, Methods and Analysis by Hasmita Ramji (Open University Press)

Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998, 3rd Edition by Bruce Anderson (Motorbooks Workshop Series: Motorbooks)

The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como by Roland Merullo (Touchstone Books) 

Arts & Photography / Computers & Internet / Graphic Design

Beyond Digital Photography: Transforming Photos into Fine Art with Photoshop and Painter by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis & Donal Jolley (Peachpit Press)

Digital cameras, advances in color printing, and software tools have changed the landscape of pho­tography forever. The challenge now is to go beyond the basic digital photograph and print, and move toward the next level of expression. For many, this means pushing the technologies available and com­bining the artistic tools found in both photography and painting. With today's digital art tools and hardware readers can become immersed in the creative process in much the same way that artists can using conventional materials.

Beyond Digital Photography uses design principles and painting skills, and applies them to digital photographs. Using numerous examples in a step-by-step format, authors Cher Threinen-Pendarvis and Donal Jolley teach readers how they can use digital tools like Photoshop and Painter to add a more personal quality to their photos.

Threinen-Pendarvis, an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and designer, has influenced thousands of digital artists in her many years of teaching and writing about electronic design tools; and Jolley has been a freelance designer since retiring from the commercial printing field in 1996 and has taught Photoshop and Illustrator courses for students and professionals and has consulted on several prominent publications.

In Beyond Digital Photography, readers discover how to transform their photos into works of art using a step-by-step format that allows them to practice a variety of Photoshop and Painter techniques and gives them the confidence to achieve their own expressive goals. Skills covered include

  • Shoot and select photos with good composition and lighting for painting.
  • Emulate the look of pop art, woodcuts, and dry media texture.
  • Create Old Masters-style oil paintings, watercolors, contemporary paintings, and abstract art.
  • Add edge treatments and textured borders with brushwork.
  • Build creative compositions, such as collages, and traditional styles such as landscape, portrait, and still life paintings.
  • Use a pressure-sensitive tablet for gestural, expressive painting.

Beyond Digital Photography is not a quick trick book, but a book where the authors take readers by the hand and demonstrate the creative process. The book assumes a grasp of basic digital photography principles. Some of the projects touch on setting up the camera for a specific shot, or mak­ing a print of an image, but digital cameras and final output are not discussed in detail. The focus is on creative concepts, theory and technique. The lessons in this book can be performed on digital photographs or on scans of pho­tographic film or prints. Although the book has been written for those readers using Photoshop CS2 through CS4 and Painter 9 through 11, the lessons are all presented in a way that can be applied to future releases of the software.

Beyond Digital Photography is not a replacement for the documenta­tion that ships with Photoshop and Painter, and it doesn't address every feature in the software. Instead, it focuses on concepts, such as creative composition in readers’ photographs, enhancing the center of interest and painting styles inspired by old masters. In Chapter 2 of the book readers have an opportunity to express themselves using different filter and effect recipes with Photoshop and Painter. In Chapter 3, they discover projects that give them practice with ap­plying various kinds of brushwork effects to photographs, as well as ideas for emphasizing the subject. In subsequent chapters are projects that help them enrich their compositions – for instance, applying natural media textures to their photographs, applying watercolor washes, acrylic and oil looks, mixing media, and building collage composi­tions.

Beyond Digital Photography offers inspiration and exciting creative techniques, and ideas for creative expression that cannot be found elsewhere. It brings once separate disciplines together in an instructive book that uses time-honored design princi­ples and basic drawing and painting skills and applies them to digital photographs. Beautifully illustrated, unique, it will inspire photographers, illustrators and hobbyists looking to take their photographs to the next level.

Arts & Photography / Technical & Professional / Architecture

Architecture Now! Green Architecture by Philip Jodidio (Architecture Now! Series: Taschen America)

These days, green is the name of the game. There has never been so much interest in the ecological impact of buildings. This is not a negligible fact in the struggle to control pollution and in the search for responsible ‘sustainable’ methods of construction. Buildings are among the heaviest consumers of natural resources and account for a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change. With global warming now a significant international political issue, architecture itself is on the brink of significant changes, where style and matters of aesthetics are placed in a secondary position behind issues of sustainability. At a certain time, ‘green’ buildings were ugly and complicated affairs, usually multicolored as though an entire rainbow in one building might be sufficient to prove a concern for ecology. This is no longer the case as the buildings shown in Architecture Now! Green Architecture demonstrate. However, it may be that green architecture is not so much about architecture as it is about survival; the aesthetics of the architecture are secondary considerations when it comes to stopping the war with nature that has resulted in the creation of the asphalt jungle.

Well-known architects from Tadao Ando to Thom Mayne figure in Architecture Now! Green Architecture, but so too do many others far less famous today, but perhaps the stars of tomorrow. The 60 featured architects/firms/artists include: Adjaye Associates, Agence Babylone, Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Barlindhaug Consult AS, Barton Willmore, Patrick Blanc, Randy Brown Architects, Vincent Callebaut Architecte, Cepezed, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vladimir Djurovic, Dennis Dollens, Ecosistema Urbano, EDAW, Fearon Hay, Foster + Partners, Peter Gluck, Monika Gogl, Zaha Hadid, Herbst Architects, Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag, David Hertz, Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden, Chris Jacobs, Kempe Thill, Kieran Timberlake Associates LLP, Rafael de La-Hoz, Michael Lehrer, MIII architects, Marchi Architectes, Morphosis, Alberto Mozó, Manfredi Nicoletti, Office dA, Sergio Palleroni, Renzo Piano, Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter, Philippe Rahm, Rau, Michael Reynolds, Roswag & Jankowski, Rural Studio, SITE, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Ken Smith Landscape Architecture, Germán del Sol, Werner Sobek, studio tamassociati, Chris Tate, TNA, UNStudio, Michael Van Valkenburgh, Weiss/Manfredi, wHY Architecture, Ken Yeang, Zoka Zola
Author Philip Jodidio studied art history and economics at Harvard University, and was editor-in-chief of the leading French art journal Connaissance des Arts for over two decades. He has published numerous articles and books on contemporary architecture, including the Architecture Now! Series.

According to Jodidio in Architecture Now! Green Architecture, in the United States alone, the value of green building construction is projected to increase to $60 billion by 2010. In the United States, buildings account for 39% of all CO2 emissions. Buildings use 40% of raw materials globally. The difficulty is that green is so fashionable that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, claiming astonishing sustainability or remarkably low-energy consumption. Technology certainly assists architects by giving them environmentally ‘correct’ materials that are also attractive. Ther­mal glass as used by designers such as the German Werner Sobek, allows a glazed house to be as environmentally friendly as one cov­ered in larch shingles. Photovoltaic cells are becoming more efficient as well, though they are not yet often able to provide more than a rel­atively small percentage of the energy consumption of a building. This of course depends on climate, with gray skies less propitious to photovoltaic panels than desert sun, of course. As it is, some sustainability methods, be they passive or active, are hardly visible. Turning a building the right way around or organizing its cladding properly to avoid solar gain may have little or no effect on its overall aesthetics. So, too, photovoltaic panels are usually safely tucked away on the roof, unless architects are still trying to make a ‘statement’ with their patchwork sun-seeking technology.

As one example, James Wines of the American group SITE has long had a somewhat bittersweet, or some might say ‘romantic,’ vision of nature, design­ing his early BEST stores in the form of ruins overtaken by a resurgent forest. This idea of nature in architecture seems to be at the heart of his recent proposal, Streetscape in a New World, Beijing, China, 2008. In Architecture Now! Green Architecture, his drawings depict an increasingly dense web branch-like paths and intersecting forest areas in the midst of a large urban development. It is, he says, "intended as a metaphor for a growing culture and proposal for environmental improvement in a rapidly burgeoning city." This approach is both a literal one, bringing large trees into the planned complex, but also a poetic one, returning a mixture of concrete and living plants to an environment that is increasing deprived of anything green.

And as a second example, although Yeang's program is ambitious, he is getting to the heart of the matter. The problem, as Yeang points out, is not specific to architecture: it is systemic and concerns industry as much, if not more, than buildings. It concerns life habits and the use of resources, and the need for change before catastrophe ensues. Making green design fashionable is one tool at the disposition of architects, but it seems clear that it is now time, not to jump on the bandwagon, but to face the inevitable.

Architecture Now! Green Architecture is a remarkable volume allowing readers to find out who is making today’s architecture go seriously green. The book is organized alphabetically by the architectural firms represented, all 60 of them. It is in three languages, English, German and French and is beautifully illustrated with one or more full or half-page photographs, some virtual, from each firm. The English copy which is printed in blue ink, is somewhat hard to read.

Computers & Internet / Networking / Forensics

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics: Investigating and Analyzing Malicious Network Activity by Dale Liu (Syngress)

Cisco IOS (the software that runs the vast majority of Cisco routers and all Cisco network switches) is the dominant routing platform on the Internet and corporate networks. This widespread distribution, as well as its architectural deficiencies, makes it a valuable target for hackers looking to attack a corporate or private network infrastructure. Compromised devices can disrupt stability, introduce malicious modification, and endanger all communication on the network.

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics is the first book devoted to criminal attacks, incident response, data collection, and legal testimony on the market leader in network devices, including routers, switches, and wireless access points. Lead author and editor Dale Liu has been working in the computer and networking field for over 20 years and currently teaches networking, routing and security classes, while working in the field performing security audits and infrastructure design for medium to large companies. Contributing authors include: James Burton, Tony Fowlie, Paul A. Henry, Jan Kanclirz Jr., Dave Kleiman, Thomas Millar, Kevin O'Shea, James "Jim" Steele, Scott Sweitzer, and Craig Wright, III.

Why is this focus on network devices necessary? Because criminals are targeting networks, and network devices require a fundamentally different approach than the process taken with traditional forensics. By hacking a router, an attacker can bypass a network’s firewalls, issue a denial of service (DoS) attack to disable the network, monitor and record all outgoing and incoming traffic, or redirect that communication anywhere they like. But capturing this criminal activity cannot be accomplished with the tools and techniques of traditional forensics. While forensic analysis of computers or other traditional media typically involves immediate shut-down of the target machine, creation of a duplicate, and analysis of static data, this process rarely recovers live system data. So, when an investigation focuses on live network activity, this traditional approach obviously fails. Investigators must recover data as it is transferred via the router or switch, because it is destroyed when the network device is powered down. In this case, following the traditional approach outlined in books on general computer forensics techniques is not only insufficient, but also essentially harmful to an investigation.

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics covers:

  • Forensic analysis of routers and switches, focusing on the operating system that runs the vast majority of network devices in the enterprise and on the Internet.
  • The fundamental differences between router forensics and traditional forensics, a critical distinction for responders in an investigation targeting network activity.
  • Where network forensics fits within the entire process of an investigation, end to end, from incident response and data collection to preparing a report and legal testimony.
  • The psychology of dealing with on-site staff while gathering the forensic data.
  • How to strengthen network devices in real world usage.
  • How to use Cisco's Security Device Manager (SDM), Network Assistant, and Web Interface Tools to configure advanced security features of routers and switches.
  • How to use logging features to monitor and identify security events when they happen.

The book includes actual hands-on examples of forensic data gathering and examples of data security breaches in perimeter networking equipment.

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics is the only book devoted to forensic analysis of routers and switches, focusing on the operating system that runs the vast majority of network devices in the enterprise and on the Internet. The book makes it clear how to recognize an incident (breach), how to gather evidence of the incident, how to get the appropriate local, state, or federal agencies involved, and how to present their case.

Education / College & University / Computers & Internet / Reference

Handbook of Online Learning, 2nd edition edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam, Judith Schoenholtz-Read (Sage Publications)

What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers. – Matina Horner

Handbook of Online Learning aims to be a comprehensive reference text for teachers and administrators of online courses and programs. Its primary purpose is to clarify the conceptual issues that underlie effective online teaching and to offer practical guidance to educators and trainers who plan to establish or teach in a virtual environment (VE). It presents a discussion of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of online learning along with an exploration of practical implementation strategies. The book is edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Psychology at Fielding Graduate University and Judith Schoenholtz-Read, Director of the Respecialization in Clinical Psychology Program and faculty in the School of Psychology at the Fielding Graduate Institute.

Key features of Handbook of Online Learning include an emphasis on interactive teaching and learning strategies – challenging people to think differently about pedagogy. Part I first presents the changing philosophies and theories of learning, and Part II covers implementation or the practice of online learning. Several chapters deal with the issues related to the growing corporate online learning environment. It offers direct suggestions for administering and implementing online courses and programs.

The Second Edition explores a range of topics, including the globalization of distance learning, legal issues, and open philosophies. It also presents new applications, such as Web-based course management systems and synchronous teaching methods. New to this edition:

  • Twelve new articles on the latest issues including topics such as psychology of online learning, training faculty, digital libraries, ethical dimensions in online learning, legal issues, course management systems and evolving technologies.
  • Ten key articles are retained, revised and updated to reflect current trends and changes in the field.
  • All contributors to the first edition were from the Fielding Institute; the second edition reaches beyond to scholars from other institutions for a more diverse collection.

If there is one central tenet to Handbook of Online Learning, it is this: The adoption of the online environment as the teaching vehicle of the future in higher education and corporate training demands a reexamina­tion of core beliefs about pedagogy and how students learn. It chal­lenges readers to find new ways to evaluate learning and to confront the professional and ethical issues that emerge from working in this new envi­ronment. It forces them to figure out how to use rapidly changing technolo­gies to enhance learning. Although the transfer of classroom-based learning into cyberspace at first appeared to be deceptively simple, the editors say they have discovered that doing so without an appreciation for the nuances and implications of learning online ignores not only its potential but also the inevitable realities of entering it.

Part I of Handbook of Online Learning explores the issues relating to changing philosophies and theories of online learning. In "Presence in Teleland," Gary Fontaine and Grace Chun offer an update of Fontaine's chapter on the ecology of the virtual world from the perspective of the academic traveler. Throughout the chapter the authors help keep readers current about both synchronous and asynchronous course ecologies.

The following revised chapter is by Jeremy J. Shapiro and Shelley K. Hughes – "The Challenges of Culture and Community in Online Academic Environments." The authors discuss the complex task of building and managing an online learning community given the diverse motives, styles, and preferences of the participants and the realities of computer mediated communication. They expose the technocultural paradigms and social norms that undergird the virtual community and its classrooms. The rapid speed of change in educational technologies that provide the foundation and vehicle for online learning are captured in Robin Mason and Frank Rennie's chapter on "Evolving Technologies." After a solid foundation describing the evolutionary process, Mason and Rennie go into considerable detail in examining six popular Web 2.0 tools: blogs, wikis, pod casting, e-portfolios, social networking, and Second Life. The strengths and limitations of each tool are addressed, followed by issues for both students and teachers pertaining to their adoption.

Pierre-Leonard Harvey provides a conceptual framework for future generations of educational delivery systems in the chapter "Applying Social Systems Thinking and Community Informatics Thinking in Education: Building Efficient Online Learning Design Culture in Universities." Harvey concludes by proposing a comprehensive research agenda for the social system design community.

Bernard Luskin and James Hirsen predict an expansive future for online education in their chapter "Media Psychology Controls the Mouse That Roars." They document the rapid growth of online learning and argue that it is being fueled by persistent market forces. Meanwhile, Luskin and Hirsen point out the role that the relatively new field of media psychology can play in the years ahead in contributing to an understanding of the human learning experience online at the interface between technology and psychology.

Janet Poley takes us from the local context to the global scale of e-learning in her chapter "Globalization in Online Learning." This chapter addresses global trends, challenges, and opportunities in online learning and gives us an up-to-date overview of what is taking place on the forefront of Internet-enabled learning throughout the world. Readers are reminded that care must be exercised to assure that the global community is offered content and method that are consistent with their own cultures and not dominated by Western content as in previous periods of educational colonization.

Yolanda Gayol covers an ambitiously large territory in her review of the status of research on online education. She positions her review within the context of a historical overview of the area. She divides her review into research on learning, teaching, and outcomes

The final chapter in the first section is a scholarly updating of "Uncertain Frontiers: Exploring Ethical Dimensions of Online Learning" by Dorothy Agger-Gupta. Agger-Gupta illustrates how difficult it is to discern the ethical nature of our actions in the VE. She argues persuasively that professional ethical principles for online educators need to change and highlights the unanswered questions influencing the nature of online living and learning communities that need to be addressed in the digital era.

The second part of Handbook of Online Learning moves from theory to practice. The first section addresses the implementation of online learning in terms of programs and courses. Program implementation, be it online or bricks-and-­mortar, requires a vision and a road map. In the first chapter, "Revisiting the Design and Delivery of an Interactive Online Graduate Program," revised and updated from the previous edition, Judith Stevens-Long and Charles Crowell refer to a model master's program in organizational management to describe the power of peer-to-peer, small-group, problem-based interactions in the online learning environment. The authors guide readers through the steps to develop and manage online courses using a learner-centered pedagogy. Barclay Hudson exemplifies the unusual creativity he brings to online teaching in an updated chapter titled "Candlepower: The Intimate Flow of Online Collaborative Learning." Hudson explains that, contrary to common belief, the online classroom can be an intensely intimate and collaborative learning environment. The chapter includes many useful recommendations and exercises (i.e., candlepower) for the online facilitator to draw upon to establish an appropriate level of group trust to optimize collaborative critical thinking.

The next chapter, by Kay Wijekumar, is titled "Designing and Developing Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring Systems: A Step-by-Step Approach with Practical Applications." Intelligent tutoring systems have demonstrated significant success in improving learning outcomes by incorporating modeling, interactive practice tasks, assessment, and feedback. Wijekumar has developed and herein describes in great detail a four-step model called 4M (multimedia, motivation, metacognition, and memory) that enables the creation and application of intelligent tutoring systems to the virtual classroom.

The corporate learning environment has not been neglected in terms of taking advantage of technological change in online education. Bruce LaRue and Stephanie Galindo's updated chapter, "Synthesizing Higher Education and Corporate Learning Strategies," proposes that rapid technological change profoundly affects both the university and the corporation. LaRue and Galindo focus on the ongoing expansion of ‘knowledge work’ and argue that successful adaptation to increasingly dispersed organizations necessitates a ‘heightened level of epistemological development.’ The 4-plex model of networked learning is a tool for corporate trainers in multinational companies that provide a practical link between the corporation and the university.

The final chapter in the programs and courses section is written by Jenny Edwards and Sue Marquis Gordon and is titled "Teaching Action Research at a Distance." The authors offer a practical overview of how action research, which is itself a form of applied research that serves as a powerful change agent in academic or corporate organizations, lends itself to the online environment. The second section of Part II focuses on issues pertaining to faculty and students in the virtual classroom. The first, by Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt, is an updated and revised version of "Beyond the Looking Glass: What Faculty and Students Need to Be Successful Online," which appeared in the first edition of this handbook. The authors use their extensive experience in training online instructors to describe what makes a good online teacher and the components that would represent an optimal faculty development program for preparing instructors for this challenge.

The second chapter, "Teaching Professionals to Be Effective Online Facilitators and Instructors: Lessons From Hard-Won Experience," by Leni Wildflower, argues for creating a framework for optimal online learning by subordinating technology to educational needs. Wildflower's chapter presents a number of practical suggestions for selecting the best, as opposed to the most ornate, software, designing an online course, setting norms and boundaries for students, defining confidentiality, facilitating dialogue, providing feedback, managing conflict, sustaining motivation, and providing record-keeping and organization.

The final section of Handbook of Online Learning addresses administrative and support structures relating to the successful implementation of online courses and programs. The first chapter, by Anna DiStefano and Judy Witt, is titled "Leadership and Management of Online Learning Environments in Universities." The chapter is written from the perspective of high-level administrators at Fielding Graduate University, a distributed academic institution employing a blended learning model of education. The authors stress the importance of aligning institutional mission, values, and organizational culture with new online proposals. As a companion piece, Ralph Wolff, President and Executive Director of the Senior College Commission of the Western Association of States and Colleges, has contributed a chapter on "Accrediting Online Institutions and Programs: Quality Assurance or Bureaucratic Hurdle?" Wolff offers an insider's perspective and succeeds in clarifying and humanizing what many indeed regard as a bureaucratic hurdle.

The final chapter addresses an often overlooked implication of establishing online courses or programs: How can students and faculty have access to suitable library resources if a physical library is not readily available to them? Stefan Kramer, a research librarian with significant experience in this area, discusses this and related issues in "Virtual Libraries in Online Learning." Kramer provides a practical overview of what is variously known as online, digital, or virtual libraries and reference methods. Kramer captures the excitement of how learning resource materials can be accessed and retrieved efficiently and sensitively in an open access age of online education.

Handbook of Online Learning is the most comprehensive reference text available for teachers and administrators of online courses and programs. It delivers an abundance of ideas about how to establish a supportive learning environment, design a well structured course and manage electronically mediated dialog. This book provides a timely and informative look at online learning in higher education and corporate training settings. The authors of the book are experienced distance educators who know what the issues are, and they apply a wealth of organizational management theory and experience in their analyses of computer-mediated teaching and learning. Recommended especially for libraries.

Education / Preschool & Kindergarten

Thinking BIG, Learning BIG: Connecting Science, Math, Literacy, and Language in Early Childhood by Marie Faust Evitt with Tim Dobbins & Bobbi Weesen-Baer (Gryphon House)

BIG is powerful. Children want to be BIG. They want to do BIG. They love enormous numbers like a hundred million billion and long words like “tyrannosaurus rex.” They love to spread their arms wide and run as fast as they can. – from the book

Thinking BIG, Learning BIG is filled with BIG activities to engage the imaginations of young children. According to author Marie Faust Evitt, head teacher of a preschool class for four- and five-year-olds, former award-winning newspaper reporter and freelance journalist, children learn best by seeing, feeling, and doing. Making things on a grand scale enhances their understanding. The chapters are organized by topic, with activities that build science, math, literacy and language skills, which form a solid foundation for future learning. Chapters include

  • Thinking BIG About Little Creatures: Worms
  • Thinking BIG About Little Creatures: Spiders
  • Seeds: Growing BIG
  • Rain, Drip, Drop, Downpour
  • Light! Colors! Rainbows!
  • Huffing and Puffing: Feel the Wind Blow
  • Brrr! Ice Is Cold
  • Outer Space is Really Huge: Astronauts Explore the Moon
  • How BIG Can We Build?
  • Getting From Here to There: Roads, Ramps, Bridges, and Tunnels
  • BIG Ideas: Inventions

According to the book, researchers and professional organizations are now identifying key content areas and have found several that need greater emphasis – vocabulary and language skills along with literacy, mathematics concepts, and scientific inquiry. Thinking BIG, Learning BIG presents a curriculum that integrates those key content areas. While exploring wind, for example, children experience scientific discovery by observing how a paper cup moves when they blow it with a straw compared to fanning it with a large piece of cardboard. They learn how to measure distance in that same paper cup experiment and learn the vocabulary of ‘gust of wind.’ They build literacy by hearing stories and facts about wind in a variety of books and acting out "The Three Little Pigs."

Thinking BIG, Learning BIG promotes the benefits of an inquiry-based curriculum, saying that children are natural scientists. They constantly want to know how and why. Science is dynamic and, therefore, exciting. Water pours. Ice melts. Toy cars roll. Wind blows. As children observe these events, they ask questions: "What will happen if I pour water into the bucket of sand?" "What will happen if I roll my toy car over this bumpy cardboard?" According to Evitt, the process of scientific inquiry is readily adaptable to early childhood programs. Children can conduct the five-step process of observe, hypothesize, predict, experiment, and record with just a little modification and coaching.

Evitt says she chose the themes in Thinking BIG, Learning BIG because she wanted them to be relevant and meaningful to children and aligned with the National Science Education Content Standards (1996) that were developed for grades K-12. Topics covered relate to these standards: science as inquiry, life science, physical science, Earth and space science, and science and technology.

Hands-on, real activities are crucial to learning science, but imagination is also a key element of scientific discovery. Imagination is what led scientists to figure out a better way to keep shoes on feet (Velcro) or mark their place in a book (Post-it Notes).

Literacy is built into the entire Thinking BIG, Learning BIG curriculum. The first step in each unit is asking children what they know about the topic, recording these responses, and then asking the children what they want to find out. These questions give focus to future activities. Teachers can add questions as they come up during the inquiry process. Graphs, charts, and activities are labeled. According to Evitt, when children know the words – the vocabulary – related to an experience or activity, they can communicate their observations. New words are a challenge to the ear, the mouth, and the mind. Numerous studies have shown that vocabulary is essential to building reading comprehension. Children can learn the words spider, mosquito, arachnid, and insect, in addition to the vague term bug just as they learn the words pineapple, cucumber, fruit, and vegetable in addition to the general term food. Adults often shy away from using specific BIG words with children, but think how easily children rattle off brontosaurus and locomotive when they hear the correct terms. Specific words empower children to speak, read, and write precisely.

The BIG Connections section presents activities for integrating the theme throughout the curriculum – in sensory experiences, art, music, dramatic play, and fine and gross motor skills. The interplay between BIG and small and individual and group allows children to explore and create on many different levels. Children learn different skills when they construct a paper towel roll spaceship and a giant spaceship out of appliance boxes.

Learning something new is easier when it's meaningful and when it builds on something we already know. Likewise, depth is important. Children become more engaged when they have time to wonder, explore, and experiment over time. The themes and activities in Thinking BIG, Learning BIG can be used to plan curriculum over several weeks, as long as children are interested. While the individual activities stand on their own, they link to one another to provide a coherent curriculum.

Assessment is a key part of early childhood education programs. Although assessment can mean testing, it has a much broader scope. It is the process of observing children systematically, asking questions, and studying children's work. Thinking BIG, Learning BIG will help teachers gather the information they need to assess children's progress and document the learning taking place. The book offers BIG fun and BIG learning using a curriculum that integrates key content areas, making it easy for children to learn how to observe their environment, pose questions, try out ideas, quantify their observations, and share investigations, all while having fun. Health, Mind & Body

Health and Wellness for Life by Human Kinetics (Health on Demand Series: Human Kinetics)

If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. –Mickey Mantle

As the scientific links between environment and health become stronger, awareness of how lifestyle choices affect health is more important than ever before. Health and Wellness for Life provides students with the tools to increase their health literacy and make educated decisions about their health now and in the future.

Health and Wellness for Life provides professors teaching general-ed health courses the option to customize their student textbooks to match their syllabi. With a custom Health on Demand text, students pay for only the material selected by the instructor and covered in class, plus instructors can match the text's content to the unique needs of their setting. Both options feature content developed by 15 veteran health educators and organized into a cohesive course text by Human Kinetics. The standard text includes 16 chapters of the topics most often covered in a general-education health course. Or teachers can choose from a total of 23 chapters to ensure their text includes the material that is most important for their students. For those electing to customize a text, new chapters will be offered as they are developed to expand the options even further.
Both the standard text Health and Wellness for Life and the customizable Health on Demand text include the following student-friendly features:

  • Discussion and assessment questions, quizzes, surveys, hypothetical scenarios, and learning objectives.
  • A look at the effect of gender and ethnicity on health issues.
  • Special focus on timely and controversial issues.
  • Special elements on steps for behavioral change and the mind-body connection.
  • A glossary of terms.
  • Two application activities for each chapter.
  • The online student resource providing additional information, links, and tools that expand on topics from the text.
  • Complete coverage of important concepts.

The standard textbook covers these topics:

  • Fitness, nutrition, and weight management.
  • Mental health and stress management.
  • Relationships, reproductive choices, pregnancy, and childbirth.
  • Infectious disease prevention, chronic diseases, and first aid and injury prevention.
  • Consumer health and alterative medicine, environmental health, and substance abuse and dependence.
  • Healthy aging and wellness throughout life.

Alternative chapters for the customizable Health on Demand option cover topics such as these:

  • Understanding death and dying.
  • Spirituality.
  • Body composition.
  • Heart health.
  • Musculoskeletal health.
  • Reproductive choices without abortion.

Professors may select any combination of chapters from the standard book and optional chapters and have them placed in any order in the final textbook. Professors can also write their own foreword or add a chapter (subject to Human Kinetics' review and approval), and information on campus-specific health resources (such as the campus health center, phone numbers, and other resources).

Whether they choose the standard textbook Health and Wellness for Life or choose to customize their own Health on Demand book for course instruction, they will receive access to a complete set of ancillaries tailored to match the book they have selected. The ancillaries include the following features:

  • Presentation package with more than 500 PowerPoint lecture slides covering all available chapters.
  • Test package with more than over 500 multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short-answer questions covering the content from all chapters.
  • A Web site with the online student resource that provides additional material and updates to students and ancillary access for professors.

The 16 chapters in Health and Wellness for Life cover a broad range of topics to help students make informed choices about their health and wellness.

Chapter 1, Health Promotion, explains the difference between health and wellness, the six dimensions of wellness, and the many components of fitness. It also looks at the promotion of health, wellness, and fitness in the United States. It shows students how to set goals to establish or improve healthy behaviors and helps them understand how and why they might make (or don't make) changes in their lifestyles. Chapter 2, Fitness Basics, explores health-related fitness – the ability of the body to carry out everyday activities – and its five components: cardio-respiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. It also delivers the practical informa­tion students need to stay physically active in college and throughout their adult life. In chapter 3, Nutrition, students learn about the macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate, and water) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the human diet and how to determine the dietary guidelines they need. The chapter also covers the safe handling of food to prevent food-borne illnesses and the specific dietary needs of vegetarians, pregnant women, and other populations.

Chapter 4, Weight Management, explains the nature and ramifications of the current obesity epidemic in the United States. This chapter shows students how to develop and implement solutions for weight manage­ment that are effective, healthy, and long lasting.

Chapter 5, Mental Health, helps students learn to recognize and deal with the signs and symptoms of mental illness in themselves or in others. Chapter 6, Stress Management, teaches students how to handle the various kinds of stress that come from work, school, family, and major life changes.

In chapter 7, Intimacy and Sexuality, students learn about the physical and psychological changes that occur throughout life, as well as the many types of sexual expression that humans engage in. The chapter also looks at issues involving behavior, orientation, and gender identity. Chapter 8, Reproductive Choices, walks students through the many types of birth control. Chapter 9, Conception, Pregnancy, and Childbirth, examines the complex process by which babies are conceived, develop, and are born, from the moment that a male's sperm penetrates the female's ovum until the postpartum period that occurs in the weeks after delivery. Students learn about the possible complications of pregnancy and the three stages of labor, as well as methods of overcoming infertility.

Chapter 10, Infectious Diseases, shows students that while germs might be everywhere, they can take control of their behaviors and lifestyle choices to reduce their chance of developing an infec­tious disease. They learn about the major methods of transmission and causes of infectious diseases; the management of risk factors; the components of the immune system; and the causes, symptoms, and treatments of common infectious diseases.

Chapter 11, Chronic Diseases, explains how long-term diseases – such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease – place burdens not only on the patients but also on society as a whole. Genetics plays a role in their risk of developing a chronic disease, but the good news is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be the best prevention strategy. Chapter 12, Health Care Consumerism, helps students learn how to make informed decisions about their health care. It also covers common alternative care options, including acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, massage, and herbal medicine. In Chapter 13, Environmental Health, students learn about ecosystems, climate change, and the impact of toxins, pollu­tion, and waste. They get tips on going green and reducing their personal waste, and they learn about other ways to improve their environmental health behaviors.

Chapter 14, Substance Abuse and Dependency, covers the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and the resources that are available for prevention and treatment. It examines substances that are commonly abused, including cocaine, heroin, MDMA, meth-amphetamine, and steroids. Substance abuse and dependency increase the risk for develop­ing adverse health effects, behavioral problems, and financial struggles.

Chapter 15, Healthy Aging, describes how organs and body systems age, how people become more susceptible to chronic diseases, and how everyone must make decisions about treatment and care options in later years. Chapter 16, Wellness Throughout Life, shows students how maintaining their wellness (not simply their health) is an essential part of living a healthy, happy, and productive life. In this chapter, students learn the dimensions of wellness, the factors that influence health and wellness, and how they can change their behaviors if necessary.

Health and Wellness for Life establishes the relationship between learning and doing – scenarios, examples, tips, and recommendations apply to the students’ world and bridge the gap between learning about health and applying it to their everyday life. The standard, student-friendly text offers a ready-made option for those looking for a textbook that covers all the essential personal health topics for the general student population. The book allows faculty to create the personal health text that matches the needs of their courses, and this ability to tailor content to meet specific needs is a big plus.
Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Behavioral Sciences / Cognitive Psychology

Principles of Memory: Models and Perspectives by Aimee M. Surprenant & Ian Neath (Essays in Cognitive Psychology Series: Psychology Press)

Principles of Memory is another title in the Essays in Cognitive Psychology series, written by Aimee Surprenant and Ian Neath, well-known researchers in the field of memory at Purdue University. Series Editors include Henry L. Roediger III, James R. Pomerantz, both North American; and Alan D. Baddeley, Vicki Bruce and Jonathan Granger, European. The book brings together a critical review of recent trends and theories in memory research, and proposes new models based on the authors' extensive research.

Memory research in the 1990s often focused on the question of whether memory is best characterized as a set of independent systems or as a set of interrelated processes. In Principles of Memory, the authors provide a functional analysis of memory mechanisms which allows the specification of general principles of memory. The book also includes a critique of both the multiple systems and the processing views, showing how each misses something fundamental about the psychology of memory. The book concludes by describing three models of memory that are based on the functional principles identified.

According to the authors, in over 100 years of scientific research on human memory, and nearly 50 years after the so-called cognitive revolution, we have nothing that really constitutes a widely accepted and frequently cited law of memory, and perhaps only one generally accepted principle. Principles of Memory begins to rectify this situation. These principles are qualitative statements of empirical regularities that can serve as intermediary explanations and which follow from viewing memory as a function.

The purpose of Principles of Memory is to propose seven principles of human memory that apply to all memory regardless of the type of infor­mation, type of processing, hypothetical system supporting memory, or time scale. Although these principles focus on the invariants and empiri­cal regularities of memory, readers are forewarned that they are qualitative rather than quantitative.

The principles are qualitative statements of empirical regulari­ties that can serve as intermediary explanations, and which follow from viewing memory as a function. They are more tentative than laws, and indeed, some are quite speculative, but nonetheless, all are intended to be valid, universal statements. Surprenant and Neath intend the set of principles to be useful, not only in the functional sense already described, but also in ‘inspir­ing theories’: The principles themselves require theoretical explanation. Few, if any, of their principles are novel, and the list is by no means complete. They certainly do not think that there are only seven principles of memory nor, when more principles are proposed, do they think that all seven of their principles will be among the most important.

Although they intend the set of principles to apply to all types of memory, there are many areas of memory research where there is simply not enough data to assess, yet, whether their principles do indeed apply. For example, there are relatively few studies examining cues in certain short-term memory tasks. They speculate that this is because the dominant view is that cues are not used in such tasks (see Chapter 3). Similarly there are no studies that examine cue overload in procedural memory tasks. In such situations, their principles can be taken as strong predictions that when appropriate studies are done in those areas, the principles will be found to apply. If the principles are not supported by this new research, then it demonstrates that their framework is empirically testable.

Surprenant and Neath begin by critiquing both the systems view and the processing view (Chapter 2) before reviewing the evidence for each of the principles. The seven Principles of Memory and some corollaries, include:

  1. The cue-driven principle: In all situations, the act of remembering begins with a cue that initiates the retrieval process.
  2. The encoding-retrieval principle: Memory depends on the relation between the conditions at encoding and the conditions at retrieval.
  3. The cue overload principle: Cues can become associated with more and more items at various encoding opportunities, thus reducing their effectiveness at the time of retrieval.
  4. The reconstruction principle: Memory, similar to other cognitive processes, is inherently constructive. Information present at encod­ing, cues at retrieval, memories of previous recollections, indeed, any possibly useful information, are all exploited to construct a response to a cue.
  5. The impurity principle: One consequence of the reconstruction prin­ciple is the realization that on any task, people recruit and use a wide variety of information and processes. Therefore, tasks are not pure and processes are not pure, and inferences based on the assumption that a task taps a particular memory system or requires only one particular process are likely to be misguided.
  6. The relative distinctiveness principle: Items will be well remem­bered to the extent that they are more distinct than competing items at the time of retrieval.
  7. The specificity principle: Those tasks that require specific informa­tion about the context in which memories were formed are more vulnerable to interference or forgetfulness than those that rely on more general information.

After an introductory chapter and a chapter on System vs. Process, the chapters of Principles of Memory delve into these seven principles in depth. The final chapter, Evaluation, Limitations and Implications, compares these principles to other sets of principles, laws of memory additional possible principles, evaluation and conclusions.

The book is scholarly and original. The authors take us on an entertaining journey through many fields of memory research in their search for general principles of memory, making many interesting observations along the way. I will certainly recom­mend this monograph to both colleagues and students. – Gordon D. A. Brown, Ph.D., University of Western Australia

Principles of Memory highlights gaps in our knowledge, challenge existing organizational views of memory, and suggest important new lines of research. Written by well-known researchers in the field of memory, the book is an academically rigorous and interesting advance in the debate over the nature of human memory, and should generate wide interest among memory researchers and cognitive psychologists in general. It may also have potential as recommended reading on some senior undergraduate courses and graduate courses in memory and will also be of interest to those who would like a comprehensive overview of the fundamental regularities in cognitive functioning.

Health, Mind & Body / Psychology & Counseling / Relationships

Personal Conflict Management: Theory and Practice by Suzanne McCorkle & Melanie J. Reese (Allyn & Bacon)

Even though people cannot change others, they are not powerless in the face of conflict. Personal Conflict Management explores the dynamic world of interpersonal conflict manage­ment. Authors Suzanne McCorkle and Melanie Reese believe that competent conflict managers can better reach career goals and have more successful relationships than those who do not cope well with conflict. They believe conflict management is one of the most critical topics students can study.

Supporting the notion that there is not one correct approach to conflict management, and utilizing the authors’ shared experiences as mediators and organizational facilitators, Personal Conflict Management demonstrates the value of collaborative models for resolving conflict and the necessity and benefits in understanding competitive approaches. Through the inclusion of both competitive and cooperative theories, McCorkle and Reese, both teachers of conflict management at Boise State University, present contrasting perspectives of conflict management.

Beginning with an introduction to conflict, Personal Conflict Management examines the major approaches and theories of conflict management. Following a discussion of the causes and variables which exist within conflicts, the skills necessary for conflict management are analyzed, including listening, the ability to seek information, the importance of understanding personality types and behavior patters, negotiation, and conflict assessment. The final two sections of the book take readers beyond the basics, exploring the difficulties encountered in conflict management, the aftermath to a conflict, and conflicts in context, applying the theoretical concepts to everyday situations.

Having taught courses in conflict management at three different universities, McCorkle and Reese say in Personal Conflict Management that they discovered the value of differing approaches to the course: those that focus entirely on interpersonal conflict theory, those that combine theory and application, and those that span from interpersonal conflict to other settings.

Successful conflict management stands on a three-part foundation built with knowl­edge, attitudes, and skills. First, the competent conflict manager must have knowledge about conflict theory, causes, patterns, and tactics. Second, the best conflict managers embrace the productive and creative energy of conflict. Finally, flexible conflict managers develop a toolbox of skills to engage in competitive conflict (when one must) and coopera­tive conflict (when one can). Although it may take two to tango, it only takes one person to create the opportunity to change a conflict pattern. One person, with knowledge, skill, and the right attitude, can enhance the probability of transforming an unproductive conflict into an opportunity for everyone. No set of skills can promise to resolve every conflict, but they say they can guarantee one trend: Many conflicts will not get better on their own.

To make the text accessible to students, McCorkle and Reese include many examples, case studies, and application exercises. At the beginning of each chapter, vocabulary terms and chapter objectives identify key concepts for stu­dents to master. The discussion questions within the chapters are guides for classroom interaction. They also enhance students' ability to integrate the concepts with their lives.

Exercises, case analyses, and project/essay suggestions at the end of each chapter provide a focus for class or group discussion, as well as potential topics for student assign­ments. For writing intensive courses, they include a mastery case at the end of most chapters that can be used as the subject of analytical writing assignments.

Personal Conflict Management utilizes a modernized theory/skill approach to interpersonal conflict, placing equal emphasis on the theoretical and practical. The book, through its examples and exercises, supports an interactive environment that optimizes opportunities for learning. The text uses innovations in curriculum and cutting-edge concepts arising from research, which make it enjoyable and thought-provoking for students and instructors.

History / Americas / Biographies & Memoirs

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo (Chicago Review Press)

On June 19, 1953, Harry Truman got up early, packed the trunk of his Chrysler New Yorker, and did something no other former president has done before or since: he hit the road. No Secret Service protection. No traveling press. Just Harry and his childhood sweetheart Bess, off to visit old friends, take in a Broadway play, celebrate their wedding anniversary in the Big Apple, and blow a bit of the money he’d just received to write his memoirs. Hopefully incognito.

In Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure author Matthew Algeo meticulously details how Truman’s plan to blend in went wonderfully awry. Fellow diners, bellhops, cabbies, squealing teenagers at a Future Homemakers of America convention, and one very by-the-book Pennsylvania state trooper – all unknowingly conspired to blow his cover. Algeo, public radio reporter, revisits the Trumans’ route, staying at the same hotels and eating at the same diners, and takes readers on brief detours into topics such as the postwar American auto industry, McCarthyism, the nation’s highway system, and the decline of Main Street America.

As told in the introduction to Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, Harry Truman was the last president to leave the White House and return to something resembling a normal life. And in the summer of 1953 he did something millions of ordinary Americans do all the time, but something no former president had ever done before – and none has done since. He took a road trip – they drove from their home in Independence, Missouri, to the East Coast and back again. Harry was behind the wheel. Bess rode shotgun. The trip lasted nearly three weeks. One night they stayed in a cheap motel. Another night they crashed with friends. Occasionally mobs would swarm them, beseeching Harry for an autograph or just a handshake. In towns where they were recognized, nervous local officials frantically arranged ‘escorts’ to look after the famous couple.

Sometimes, though, the former president and first lady went unrec­ognized. They were, in Harry's words, just two ‘plain American citizens’ taking a long car trip. Waitresses and service station attendants didn't real­ize that the friendly, well-dressed older gentleman they were waiting on was, in fact, America's thirty-third president (or thirty-second – Harry himself could never understand why Grover Cleveland was counted as two presidents).

Everywhere they went, the Trumans crossed paths with ordinary Americans, from Manley Stampler to New York cabbies. But their trip also took them to the upper reaches of society in mid-twentieth-century America. In Washington, Harry had lunch with two young up-and-coming senators, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and ran into the new vice president, Richard Nixon. Bess had tea with Woodrow Wilson's widow. In New York, the couple took in the most popular shows on Broadway, and Harry appeared (albeit quite by accident) on a new television program called the Today show.

It was a long, strange trip, and, after nearly eight hard years in the White House, Harry Truman loved every minute of it. As one newspaper put it, he was "carefree as a schoolboy in summer." It would stand out as one of the most delightful and memorable experiences in his long and exceedingly eventful life. It was also an episode unique in the annals of the American presidency, and it helped shape the modern ‘ex-presidency,’ which has become an institution in its own right.

Today ex-presidents get retirement packages that can be worth more than a million dollars a year. When Harry Truman left the White House in 1953, his only income was a small army pension. He had no government-provided office space, staff, or security detail. Shortly before leaving office, he'd had to take out a loan from a Washington bank to help make ends meet. One of the reasons he and Bess drove themselves halfway across the country and back was that they couldn't afford a more extravagant trip.

Harry and Bess Truman's road trip also marked the end of an era: never again would a former president and first lady mingle so casually with their fellow citizens. The story of their trip, then, is the story of life in America in 1953, a time of unbridled optimism and unmitigated cold war fear. It is also the story of the monumental changes that have occurred since then.

Between fall 2006 and summer 2008, Algeo retraced the Trumans' trip in stages. In Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, Algeo includes stories from his own travels if, in his estimation, they help illuminate his account of the Trumans' trip. He also includes a few stories simply because he finds them interesting or amusing.

In the fascinating postscript to Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, Algeo says that ironically, the last president to follow Harry Truman's example of refus­ing to ‘commercialize’ the presidency in retirement was Richard Nixon.

The thing that always amazed me was that my grandfather, having run the country, thought he could just get in his car and drive across it. Needless to say his road trip turned the nation upside down. Matthew recalls that [my grandparents'] memorable trip beautifully and with the sense of humor it deserves. – Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry S. Truman

Combines . . . history with the ever-popular road book, researching, duplicating, and reporting in detail on the last trip the Trumans took, driving their new Chrysler to Washington, and back to Independence. – Max J. Skidmore, author, After the White House: Former Presidents as Private Citizens

In Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, a lively history, Algeo meticulously details how Truman’s plan to blend in went wonderfully awry. By the end of the 2,500-mile journey, readers have a new and heartfelt appreciation for America’s last citizen-president.

History / Americas / Landscape Architecture / Home & Garden

Greenscapes: Olmsted's Pacific Northwest by Joan Hockaday (Washington State University Press)

Seattle possesses extraordinary landscape advantages in having a great abundance and variety of water views and views of wooded hills and distant mountains and snow-capped peaks. I do not know of any place where the natural advantages for parks are better than here. They can be made very attractive and will be, in time, one of the things that will make Seattle known all over the world. – John Charles Olmsted, 1903

Greenscapes is written by Joan Hockaday, an experienced journalist, who is actively involved in regional and national gardening and preservation organizations. The book took five years of research, taking Hockaday from Olmstead firm archives in the Library of Congress to parks-related documents in Seattle, Walla Walla, Portland and Olympia to collections at regional university campuses such as the University of Idaho, Whitman College, Oregon State University, Pacific University and the University of Washington

As told in Greenscapes, like his famous father and mentor, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., who designed New York's Central Park, John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920) believed pastoral spaces were integral to a healthy urban environment. The triumph of Central Park enhanced the firm's reputation and sparked a nationwide movement to beautify cities. By 1884, he became a full partner as the Olmsted firm's landscaping successes in the East sparked a nationwide City Beautiful movement.

John Charles Olmsted traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 1903, He turned his attention to Portland, Oregon, invited by city leaders to provide recommendations for a new park system and the upcoming Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Capitalizing on overnight wealth acquired through railroads and gold strikes, these distinguished recent arrivals sought refined landscapes to match genteel metropolitan visions. Olmsted surpassed their civilized ideals, and was asked to provide a park system master plan for Seattle, Washington, as well. Yet success was often jeopardized by obstacles, such as variable client demands, changing park boards, escalating land costs, and low public funds. Industrious, intensely observant, and visionary, Olmsted finesse with the social and political elite influenced design integrity, park board appointments, property purchases, and municipal funding levels.

The Yale graduate also conceived fertile sanctuaries for cities such as Charleston and New Orleans, and served as the first president of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Ultimately, his accomplishments encompassed the 1905 Portland fair, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, landscapes for prominent university campuses, premier parks in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Walla Walla, and grand gardens for many private residences.

Careful attention to natural vistas, topography, and native plants allowed Olmsted’s verdant havens to provide a renewing connection to the outdoors. Each green retreat was unique, compatible with surroundings and intended uses, and skillfully crafted to take full advantage of a specific site. Some had playgrounds, ball fields, and expansive lawns. Others provided leafy passageways for travel by foot, horse, or car. Hilly woodlands were often layered to offer a lush, textural backdrop with dappled areas of light and shade. Meticulous, intensely observant, industrious, and visionary, he left a legacy that is still enjoyed daily.

Greenscapes is the first and only book on John Charles Olmsted's landscape architecture output, offering an overview of his Pacific Northwest work and relating the story of a reserved, devoted son who endured long days in the field. Far from his East Coast home and obliged to stay for months at a time in clubs and hotels, he spent most evenings writing to his wife. His correspondence describes each encounter and setback, and details the sundry characters transforming the young Pacific Northwest. Preserved at Harvard University's Francis Loeb Library, the hundreds of Olmsted letters utilized as source material provide a front row seat to the region's history and turn-of-the-century growth pains.

Greenscapes contains 196 9" x 10 ½" lavishly illustrated pages. In the book, Olmsted’s letters present an extraordinary portrait of his professional days on the road, as well as glimpses of his domestic, home life and marriage – all within the social and class framework of American Life in the first decade of the last century. The book is an ideal complement to visits to the green sanctuaries Hockaday created.

History / Americas / Earth Sciences / Arts & Photography

The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green by James M Aton, with photography by Dan Miller (Utah State University Press)

As one of Utah and the West's most scenic, remote, and wild areas, Desolation Canyon is favored today by naturalists and recreation­ists, especially river runners. Managed as a wilderness study area by the Bureau of Land Management, the canyon attracts visitors who come to explore, run the river, and hike through a canyon that at its deepest is deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Apparent in The River Knows Everything, Desolation Canyon is one of the West's wild treasures, better preserved than most of the Colorado River system, and full of eye-catching geology-castellated ridges, dramatic walls, slickrock formations, and lovely beaches. Rafting the river, one may see wild horses, blue herons, bighorn sheep, and possibly a black bear. Signs of previous people include the newsworthy, well-preserved Fremont Indian ruins along Range Creek and rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon, both Desolation Canyon tributaries. Remote and difficult to access, it has a surprisingly rich his­tory, from the Fremont Indians, to Utes, ranchers, moon-shiners, and outlaws.

Prehistoric Fremont Indian residence in the area has become better known due to news of well-preserved ruins along Range Creek and the fabulous rock-art galleries of Nine Mile Canyon, both Desolation Canyon tributaries. The canyon also contains spectac­ular historic Ute rock art, including graceful horses and lively locomotives. The Northern Ute tribe owns much of the eastern side of the river as part of the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. Cattle and sheep herding, prospecting, and hideaways brought a surprising number of other settlers and recluses to the canyon, evidenced by ferry sites, abandoned ranches, moonshiner cabins, and uncompleted dams.

Remote as it is, Desolation Canyon has a rich history to go with its striking beauty and fer­tile natural environment, all of which may belie the name John Wesley Powell gave it. Its little-understood history demonstrates how people throughout the West have been drawn to chal­lenging, isolated locations, found ways to live in them, and created secluded, far-flung homes and communities that, if ultimately fleeting, were still telling and significant. In The River Knows Everything James M. Aton, professor of English at Southern Utah University, provides a detailed natural and human his­tory of this remote land. Using archival research, field work, and extensive oral history from those who lived in the canyon and from their descendants Aton recreates the story of the canyon.

The book has five sections: Lizard-Gnawed Dessert, Wall of Rock Art, Exploration, Bunchgrass and Water and Governing a Wild River, with an Introduction and an Epilogue.

Aton practices his trade at a masterful level. His writing is clear, even elegant. Scholars in various disciplines will consult the book as a summary of knowledge; the prose is equally accessible to the river guide or backpacker interested in deepening his understanding of Desolation Canyon. The scholarship is fine, the writing is superb, and the topic is unique. – Gary Topping, author of Glen Canyon and the San Juan Country

In a word, The River Knows Everything is invaluable. Jim Aton has revealed the stories, the characters, and the long-forgotten history of the area. There are no books that even come close to the level of detail on the subject and depth of research that this one reveals. Dan Miller's beautiful color photographs make the book doubly attractive for river runners and everyone else. – Roy Webb, author of Riverman: The Story of Bus Hatch

In recovering its sto­ries, Aton in The River Knows Everything helps give meaning and nuance to the notions of place and community in the West. Complementing and extending his words, Dan Miller's photos convey that sense of place directly and dramatically. It is also a beautiful book. The river knows everything, and it can teach us.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / World Literature / Americas

Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature by S.K. Robisch (University of Nevada Press)
Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature presents a new perspective on the role of the wolf in American literature. The wolf is one of the most widely distributed canid species, historically ranging throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere. For millennia, it has also been one of the most pervasive images in human mythology, art, and psychology. Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature examines the wolf's importance as a figure in literature from the perspectives of both the animal's physical reality and the ways in which writers imagine and portray it. Author S. K. Robisch examines more than two hundred texts written in North America about wolves or including them as central figures. From this foundation, he demonstrates the wolf's role as an archetype in the collective unconscious, its importance in our national culture, and its ecological value. Robisch, former professor of American Literature and American Studies, takes a multidisciplinary approach to his study, employing a broad range of sources: myths and legends from around the world, symbology, classic and popular literature, films, the work of scientists in a number of disciplines, human psychology, and field work conducted by himself and others. By combining the fundamentals of scientific study with close readings of wide-ranging literary texts, Robisch analyzes the correlation between actual, living wolves and their representation on the page and in the human mind. He also considers the relationship between literary art and the natural world, and argues for a new approach to literary study, an ecocriticism that moves beyond anthropocentrism to examine the complicated relationship between humans and nature.
Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature is not a book about wolves; it is a book about wolf books. Robisch is concerned with the study of mythic and sci­entific approaches in literature that have put imaginary wolves into the minds of the most seasoned, clinical thinkers. Many of these images are possessed of a power equal to the scapegoat, the minotaur, or the phoenix and some are as ancient. They prompt the most and least responsible actions human beings take toward predatory animals, preservation efforts, and the politics of habitat. The focus of this book is on litera­ture. The way we read and write about an animal will affect our behavior toward that animal, as the way we read and write about anything else does. To this end, the ghost wolves that Robisch examines – the wolves of the imagination – must be weighed against real wolves. We don't want fantasies about race, class, or gender dictating ethical and political decisions.

Robisch says that wolves, generally speaking, have strong voices. They tend to have complicated personalities and social enclaves. As the wilderness in which they live is increasingly relegated to shopping malls that resemble parks and parks that resemble shopping malls, a human price is also paid. It's easy for us to grow willing to accept facsimiles that replace with sterile, self-congratulatory representations the potentially life-changing truths found in physical reality. Also, unlike big cats or bears, wolves are the progenitors of a favored pet, which places them in a curious position vis-à-vis wilderness myth and domestic culture formation. They're unfortunately conducive to symbolic figuring in the human mind. We can point to our dogs and say that we molded them out of lupine clay.

Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature offers a case for the wolf’s importance as a figure in literature because of its importance as an animal in the real world. First, it demonstrates that literature does not realize its importance only in terms of human race, class, and gender, however important those issues are. Literature also depends upon nonhuman subject matter that authors have always tried to articulate. Second, the argument proves with a preponderance of evi­dence the connection between a literature about at least one animal and our be­havior regarding that animal's place in the world. Perhaps a book about wolf books will amalgamate the many efforts to understand, represent, and imagine the wolf, and so clarify in some way the relationship between its reality and its mythology. Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature makes seven major claims to that end.

Part I offers a model that accounts for the wolf as it appears both in the world and in books. This is the rubric for the entire study. Given its most detailed atten­tion in the first chapter, it adds up to the first claim: that the wolf as a mystical force in the human mind merits status as a major literary figure – infusive, correc­tive, allegorical, and ill used – that must be considered, along with other animals, in view of its physical reality.

The next claim of Part I is that considerations of wolves take on regional dis­tinction, color, language, and form, especially regarding colonial and imperial human ideas about territorialism and law.

Part II is a mythic historiography. It asserts the ubiquity of the wolf, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, and considers the means by which the image of the wolf in the Indo-European mind was transported across the Atlantic and collided as violently as any military event with the native nations of North Amer­ica. The third of Robisch’s claims is as follows: The American wolf myth is typical of most other American myths in that it is largely borrowed and reified from other cultures, rather than untraceable or original.

Part II also concerns the bioregional and mythic syntheses that result in sev­eral kinds of elemental wolf stories. Wolf myths incorporate a vast land range of the species over time that is rivaled among mega fauna only by humans (chapter 9), but they also are connected in literature to the expanse of the sea (chapter 7), the sky through astrocartography (chapter 8), and the symbolic landscape of our dreams in sleep and fantasy (chapter 7). And so, the fourth major claim of Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature is that the alchemical mixture of such stories should stand by itself as proof of the wolf’s iconic power, its role as an archetype in the collective unconscious, and its importance to literature by way of its import in the world.

Part III takes a position that might be uncomfortable at first. The fifth major claim Robisch makes is that race, class, and gen­der are subcategories under the enveloping limits of the biosphere, which precedes and dictates the terms of those three cultural designators. In Part III we see werewolves as a race, children as a class, and the she-wolf as a gender construct. This is less to showcase these anthropocentric categories than to examine how they have bearing on our understanding of nonhuman catego­ries, of course with the wolf in focus. One way he examines these constructs is through a particular brand of myth that presents itself again and again in the wolf story: the myth of the twins. Shape-shifting, twin gods, hybridization, and wolf brothers all run through wolf stories in a leitmotif of doubling. The image of the twins is significant because, first, it is perhaps more readily recognizable as a myth or archetype than is the wolf. Through the werewolf, it serves as a catalyst to the wolf myth's own accrual of energy. In some ways the wolf myth rides the coattails of the twins into the broader mythology. The twins motif is also significant because its empowerment of the wolf myth more sharply defines the psyche's ambivalent responses to wolves.

In chapter 14 (on children's literature) he presents the lives of hypothetical fra­ternal twins in Minnesota, named Paul and Minnie, in order to consider how children in America might grow up to form the ideas they have about wolves. Further proof of the wolf’s force as a foundational mythic image appears its gendered symbolism, in this case the figure of the she-wolf, the mother of war­riors and wolf packs.

During Part III, Robisch interrupts the race/class/gender chapters with a close reading that ecocritically subsumes and synthesizes all three of these categories. Using Jack London's White Fang consistently and sharply indicates matters of race (especially white-vs.-proto-Indian stereotypes), young adult literature (that is, a literature appealing to a certain class's sensibilities about nature), and gender politics (for example, London's own masculinity as well as his character construction), all in the context of colonization (the mining of gold and building of empire by dogsled in the far north). The resultant claim is that White Fang's condition as an ‘opposite’ of The Call of the Wild is easily and mistakenly coupled with the assumption that it has a happy ending. The plot of decline in White Fang therefore synthesizes four of his major claims toward the greater argument about the wolf's significance as a figure both real and literary, not exclusively metaphoric, in the formation of American reading, behavior, and policy.

The seventh and final major claim that runs throughout Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature is as follows: All of the components used in framing an argument are affected by that argument, and this must include any ecological components. When we use an ani­mal as a metaphoric or iconic figure for an argument, however, too often the concerns in liberal arts studies have been with the argument's ‘forward’ focus or anthropocentric goal, and those concerns usually dismiss or diminish the animal quite literally being used. Therefore, when the she-wolf of Rome suckles Romu­lus and Remus, in one ‘gendering’ of our reading, we might focus on the role of mother to the conquerors, the feminine being used merely as life support for a long-term imperialistic male rule. This certainly will affect the way we take into account the myth's cultural context, how we might reread and remytholo­gize it today, or whether or not our culture will in time revise that myth as operant to our own collective identity. Any ‘scientific’ effort at ‘demythologizing’ is certainly doomed to, if not failure, then to that self-correction for which the sciences are famous. To the tra­ditional patriarchy of university and industrial scientific cultures over the eras, myth has been a kind of thorn in the analytical side, a powerful proof of the sepa­rated Two Cultures. We don't, critic, poet, and biologist alike, demythologize. Myths follow a more complicated life cycle. Because we remythologize, some myths might fade in energy, fold into other myths, or morph into new shapes with which our names have to catch up, but when we put a wolf in a story, that story no longer belongs exclusively to us.

This book is a very significant contribution to literary scholarship. Robisch has pursued a de­manding path, encompassing the fields of biology, literature, history social and cultural theory, myth, folklore, and popular media in his book. In doing so, Robisch raises ecocriticism to a new level of interdisciplinary rigor and range. His wolf book should become a new model for the study of animals in literature. What Robisch has produced is the alpha wolf book among a surprisingly large number of wolf-related books, a work of impressive scope and learning. – Glen Love, author of Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment

This book offers a paradigm of ecocriticism that is based on thorough knowledge of its sub­ject (both the literature and the animal that inspired it, and that draws on science and at every step considers the implications that our stories have on our relationship with the actual world, or in this case, with real wolves. Robisch takes seriously the 'eco' in ecocriticism, in­cluding and foregrounding information from the natural sciences. He takes care to develop a critical ethos that is not only thoroughly informed by pertinent biology but by respect and honor for the voice and life of its nonhuman subject. The book remains intellectually inter­esting throughout, not just in arguing its key points but in the smaller and almost incidental claims as well. – Ian Marshall, author of Peak Experiences: Walking Meditations on Literature, Nature, and Need

In Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature Robisch astutely analyzes the correlation between real wolves and their portrayals in literature and in the human psyche; then he does the same with the complicated relationship between humans and nature. We concur with the above reviewer: He takes the ‘eco’ in ecocriticism quite seriously.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Gastroenterology / Reference

Curbside Consultation in IBD: 49 Clinical Questions edited by David Rubin, Sonia Friedman, & Francis A. Farraye (Slack)

Are you looking for concise, practical answers to questions that are often left unanswered by traditional IBD references? Are you seeking brief, evidence-based advice for complicated cases or complications?

Perhaps no other field in gastroenterology epitomizes the rapid advance of science and medicine, and clinician and patient efforts to keep up with these developments, than inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the last decade, the treatment options for both Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) have expanded to include entirely new classes of compounds, as well as improvements to existing fundamental therapies. Curbside Consultation in IBD, has been compiled in an effort to grapple with 49 of the most common and potentially perplexing issues facing clinicians in the management of patients with IBD. The book provides answers to the thorny questions commonly posed during a ‘curbside consultation’ between colleagues.
The editors, David Rubin, University of Chicago Hospitals, Sonia Friedman, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Francis A. Farraye, Boston Medical Center, have designed this reference, which offers expert advice, preferences, and opinions on tough clinical questions commonly associated with IBD. The Q&A format provides quick access to current information related to IBD with the simplicity of a conversation between two colleagues. Numerous images, diagrams, and references are included to enhance the text and to illustrate IBD.
Some of the questions that are answered:

  • Which patients might be better for a ‘top down’ approach (using anti-TNF therapy before steroids or proven failure of oral thiopurines)? What clinical behavior or serological markers might clinicians use to identify these patients?
  • When is it appropriate to switch to another biologic therapy?
  • Should clinicians use chromoendoscopy in their surveillance colonoscopy in IBD? How and which agent? Would narrow band imaging be an alternative for this?
  • Can clinicians follow flat low-grade dysplasia? Is any dysplasia really flat or just a spectrum of depth and size?
  • If women continue infliximab therapy during pregnancy, what are the implications for the baby? What should clinicians tell their patients about vaccinations?

Contributors to Curbside Consultation in IBD include Maria T. Abreu, Charles N. Bernstein, David G. Binion, Wojciech Blonski, Robert Burakoff, Adam S. Cheifetz, Russell D. Cohen, Carmen Cuffari, Kleanthis Dendrinos, Marla C. Dubinsky, Francis A. Farraye, Sarah N. Flier, Sonia Friedman, Stephen B. Hanauer, Kim L. Isaacs, Sunanda Kane, Marshall M. Kaplan, Asher Kombluth, Joshua R. Korzenik, David Kotlyar, Bret A. Lashner, Mark Lazarev, Jonathan A. Leighton, L. Campbell Levy, James D. Lewis, Gary R. Lichtenstein, Edward V. Loftus, Jr., Lima Mahadevan-Velayos, Juan L. Mendoza, Seamus J. Murphy, Remo Panaccione, Darrell S. Pardi, Daniel H. Present, Abrar Qureshi, Miguel Regueiro, Rene Rivera, David T. Rubin, Paul Rutgeerts, David A. Schwartz, Douglas L. Seidner, Bo Shen, Corey A. Siegel, Miles Sparrow, A. Hillary Steinhart, Arun Swaminath, Linda Tang, William J. Tremaine, Thomas A. Ullman, Gert van Assche, Severine Vermeire, Jerome D. Waye, and Laura S. Winterfield.

According to the preface, the challenge in the composition and editing of Curbside Consultation in IBD was not only identifying the most pressing questions and issues facing the specialty, but also identifying those experts who could provide a glimpse into the current and near-future care of patients in these areas.

According to Hanauer in the foreword, IBD is one field where, despite a growing evidence base, the heterogeneity of disease presentations, responses to treatment, and the need to individualize therapy require more than controlled clinical trial data to optimize diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes. Even with taking the best evidence for the most sensitive diagnostics or potent therapies, there remains a substantial gap in potential outcomes. Whether clinicians are handling questions regarding diagnostic schema, prognostication, or treatment outcomes, evidence from basic and clinical research is far from perfect, or even sufficient, to dictate management from diagnosis through induction and maintenance therapy, let alone how to approach complications of disease and treatment.

In an attempt to complement and supplement published evidence on the diagnosis and management of IBD, the editors have assimilated a group of key opinion leaders who have been the authors of the published evidence and are respected and experienced clinicians who provide consultations regarding patients with inadequate responses, poor outcomes, or those who fall within the gray areas that research does not address.

Curbside Consultation in IBD provides information that high-volume clinicians will appreciate, and yet is basic enough for residents. Rubin, Friedman, and Farraye bring together the preponderance of these ‘frequently asked questions’ into a practical compendium that will be useful for bed- or clinic-side consultations. Gastroenterologists, fellows and residents in training, surgical attendings, and surgical residents will benefit from the user-friendly and casual format and the expert advice contained in the book.

This text is an informative addition to the clinical toolset. The format of a question followed by a concise clinically-based answer by nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field offers a broad range of health care providers instant access to insight and information, which will be most useful in their daily practice.

Philosophy / Popular Culture / Entertainment / Humor

Stephen Colbert and Philosophy: I Am Philosophy (And So Can You!) edited by Aaron Allen Schiller (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut…. I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. – Stephen Colbert, White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, April 29th, 2006

At the head of The Colbert Report, one of the most popular shows on television, Stephen T. Colbert, Ph.D., D.S.M., D.F.A., is a pop culture phenomenon. What other man could have won both an Olympic gold medal and the Nobel Peace Prize?

More than one million people backed his fake candidacy in the 2008 U.S. presidential election on Facebook, a testament to the particularly rich set of issues and emotions Colbert brings to mind. Stephen Colbert and Philosophy is crammed with thoughtful and amusing chapters, each written by a philosopher and all focused on Colbert's inimitable reality, from his word creations to his position as a faux-pundit who openly mocks Fox News and CNN. Although most of the discussion is centered around The Colbert Report, the book does not neglect either his best-selling book, I Am America (And So Can You!), or his public performances, including his incendiary 2006 White House Press Correspondents' Dinner speech.

Editor Aaron Allen Schiller, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has assembled a team of professionals, with more balls than Obama's inauguration. They have clandestinely infiltrated the Americaphobic cloisters of academe with a single purpose: to manufacture and release this awesome weapon of mass destruction, Stephen Colbert and Philosophy.

According to Schiller, Colbert is a bone fide American cultural institution. He's been named one of Times 100 Most Influential People for the past three years in a row (2006-2008). He's coined words that capture the spirit of the times such as ‘truthiness’ and ‘wikiality.’ He's received Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, an honorary Doctorate, a key to the city of Columbia, South Carolina. He even has his own Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor: Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. Not bad for a man with a suspiciously French-sounding name and funny right ear.

From his bully pulpit behind his C-shaped desk, right-wing-blowhard Colbert fights four nights a week for the American way. According to Schiller, Colbert isn't just a pop culture phenomenon. Philosophers love him, too. This isn't just because philosophers, like all acade­mics, are a bunch of left-wing elitists. It's because Colbert regularly plays around with con­cepts that are near and dear to the philosopher's heart, concepts such as Truth and Reality. In fact, Schiller predicts that from this day forth no philosophical tract on the nature of Truth will be complete without some consideration to the con­cept of Truthiness. And who cares about Reality now that we have Wikiality?

Not only that, but for a philosopher, who so prides him or herself on clear, logical thinking, trying to follow Colbert's reasoning can be a bit like watching a train wreck. But a beautiful train wreck. Colbert tortures logic like Mozart writes symphonies: with seem­ingly effortless grace and charm.

This smart and lively crew gets it, which is to say, they are it-getters. They get that Colbert is more than funny, and they help all of us better understand that he has much to teach us about the great philosophical debates of our times. – Geoffrey Baym, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Media culpa! If Stephen Colbert interviewed Plato, what would Socrates say? This romp through the great philosophers and philosophical perspectives helps us understand the immortal question: How do we know stuff? No manual for wordinistas, this book shows us how philosophy offers useful correctives to the pitfalls of truthiness in American life. – W. Lance Bennett, co-author of When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina

Not since Socrates, has a gadfly stung his State with so much irony. An American treasure, Stephen Colbert is an audacious social philosopher at heart – and here are the essays to prove it. Readers with no background in philosophy will find much truthiness in these pages, and see a whole new side to their favorite satire. – Stephen T. Asma, author of The Gods Drink Whiskey

Now readers don't need to be philosophers to appreciate Colbert, as the sheer size of Colbert's fan base attests. If they too find grace and charm in Colbert's tortured logic, or if the concepts of truthiness or wikiality get under their skin but they are not quite sure why, Stephen Colbert and Philosophy was written for them.

Funny. We kinda get it.

Philosophy / Religion & Spirituality / Christian / Relationships

The Nature of Love by Dietrich von Hildebrand, translated by John F. Crosby with John Henry Crosby (St. Augustine’s Press)

In this work, von Hildebrand has given us what – in my view – is an unprecedented reflection upon the role of love in its several forms, with especial attention to the love of man and woman.... In addition to its own intrinsic value as – in my judgment – the most significant contribution of the past century to the thematic of love, the present work with its helpful introduction may be taken as an invitation to further discussion with other philosophical traditions, such as those of Kantian, Augustinian and Thomistic provenance. – from the Preface by Kenneth L Schmitz

Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977) was born in Florence, and studied philoso­phy under Adolf Reinach, Max Scheler, and Edmund Husserl. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1914. He distinguished himself with many publications in moral philosophy, in social philosophy, in the philosophy of the interpersonal, and in aesthetics. He taught in Munich, Vienna, and New York. In the 1930s he was one of the strongest voices in Europe against Nazism.

Early on von Hildebrand distinguished himself as a thinker with an unusual understanding of human love. His books in the 1920s on man and woman broke new ground and stirred up contro­versy. Towards the end of his life he wrote a foundational treatise on love, The Nature of Love, which he regarded as his most important philosophical work. One sees von Hildebrand at work in the book as an eminent Christian philosopher; the chapter on caritas explores in a profound and original way the difference between eros and agape, and shows the place of love of neighbor among the categories of human love.

In his earlier work von Hildebrand explored the affective life of persons; in The Nature of Love he argues more forcefully than any previous philo­sopher for the affective dimension of love. In addition, von Hildebrand is led into new dimensions of the human person, as when he explores areas of personal subjectivity that he did not have the occasion to explore in his ethical writings. He shows that the desire to be loved by the person whom one loves has nothing to do with selfishness; he shows that this desire to be loved and so to be united with the other person is itself a kind of self-donation to the other. Von Hildebrand resists the altruism that claims that one is selfless towards the beloved person only by willing the good of the other in such a way as to be indifferent to being loved in return. On the other hand, he equally resists the claim that the happiness of the one who loves is the primary motive of love. Von Hildebrand vindicates the radi­cally other-centered direction of love, while avoiding the pitfall of a depersonalized altruism.

As told in the introduction by translator John F. Crosby, among Catholic philosophers in the past century, there arose a remarkable set of diverse thinkers who shared in the new explorations in phenomenology and yet reunited these with the more traditional concern for metaphysics. Among them, von Hildebrand is distinguished by the breadth and intensity of his reflections on the affective dimension of our human nature. His works on the subject are manifold, but they come together in The Nature of Love on the essence of love. Having noted the radical difference between the subjectively satisfying and the other modalities of value, he presented a subtle reflection on the diverse forms of value-response. In a way that is unprecedented in philosophical literature in its depth and clarity, von Hildebrand spells out the affective character of value that transcends our humanity, and calls for a value-response by which we are raised above our own capability in the realization of the very essence of love. Yet, while this carries us beyond ourselves, our experience with value does not end there. In his instructive introduction, Crosby in The Nature of Love draws readers’ attention to a further relation that completes our experience of value. It is that whereby "a certain interior dimension of personal self-possession...comes to light," and that constitutes "the objective good for a person," and with it the fulfillment of the person in and through love. This recovery of the value of the person in and through love discloses a third kind of importance in the domain of love, a kind which is neither simply subjectively satisfying, nor important exclusively in itself but a love that is the flourishing of the person in the supremely transcendent value of love.

When the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time. – Joseph Cardinal Itatzinger

I would almost say that the [artistic] genius of Adolf von Hildebrand has been inherited by his son, the author, in the form of a philosophical genius. In fact in this work the author gives evidence of a rare talent to draw from the deep sources of pheno­menological intuition, to analyze with intelligence and precision what he has seen and to express it conceptually in a most rigorous way.... We are simply astonished at the incomparably intimate knowledge that the author has of the various formations of affective consciousness and of the objective correlates of affective consciousness. – Edmund Husserl on Dietrich von Hildehrand's doctoral dissertation

Of Dietrich von Hildebrand: I have always been impressed with the fullness of his Christian wisdom, his profound philosophical intelligence, and his rich culture. – Fr. W. Norris Clark

Dietrich von Hildebrand was the most important Catholic philosopher in Europe between the two world wars. – Louis Bouyerer

The Nature of Love constitutes a major development of the Christian personalism that von Hildebrand represents, a major development in the understanding of what love is, and a re-starting point in the discussion between different philosophical traditions. And it is also a masterpiece of phenomenological investigation; not since Max Scheler's work on love have the resources of phenomenology been so fruitfully employed for the understanding of what love is and what it is not.

Political Science / Politics / Government / State & Local

Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government edited by Janine A. Parry & Richard P. Wang, with a foreword David Pryor (The University of Arkansas Press)

…a major contribution to the study and practice of Arkansas government by retaining key readings from past collections while exposing us to just how many changes the state’s politics have undergone in just a decade’s time. . . . Destined to become one of the major cornerstones of study and practical application within the sphere of the Arkansas political system. – David Pryor, former governor and U.S. senator, from the Foreword

Devotees of Arkansas politics and government are as passionate as they are numerous. The editors, Janine A. Parry, associate professor of political science at the University of Arkansas and Richard P. Wang, associate professor of political science at Arkansas State University, say they have long felt a kinship with the hundreds – even thousands – of reporters, editors, academics, jurists, pollsters, teachers, lawmakers, bureaucrats, and others scattered across the state, now and in decades past, who share the editors’ insatiable appetite for all things Arkansas.

Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government brings together in one volume some of the best available scholarly research, both new and not so new, on a wide range of topics and issues of interest to students of politics and government in the Natural State. The twenty-one articles are arranged in four sections, ranging from the state’s socioeconomic and political context to the workings of its policymaking institutions and the key policy puzzles facing the state in the early twenty-first century. Some of the topics covered include demographics, legislation, issues of church and state, the role of African Americans in the legislature, term limits, constitutional reform, civil rights, and education reform.
Parry and Wang divide the selections included in Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government into four sections. The first examines the state's historical foundations and political context, with a focus on regional culture, constitutional history, and sev­eral conflicts central to the state's development: racial tension, rigid social values, and political corruption. The second section investigates the structure and operations of Arkansas's policymaking institutions, devot­ing much attention to both change and stability in the legislative, execu­tive, and judicial branches. The third section aims to shed light on the practice of politics in Arkansas. Parry and Wang include accounts of five of the most influential political figures of the twentieth century (governors Faubus, Rockefeller, Bumpers, Pryor, and Clinton) as well as detailed treat­ments of several illuminating elections and policy debates. The final section reflects their projections for the political patterns and issues likely to play a central role in the state's future: partisan and regional voting patterns and education policy in the post-Lake View era.

Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government includes fascinating accounts of the major Arkansas political figures. Considered independently, each of these twenty-one works contributes to our knowledge of contemporary Arkansas politics and governance. Taken together, the collection lays a firm foun­dation for understanding of the subject. By drawing upon a wide variety of sources, the authors have painted a richer picture than otherwise would be possible. Readers come away with a deeper appre­ciation for what has changed in Arkansas politics since the mid-twentieth century, and what has not, and for what is predictable about Arkansas politics, and what is not. It is ideal for use in introductory and advanced undergraduate courses and will also appeal to lawmakers, administrators, journalists, and those interested in how politics and government work in the state.

Psychology & Counseling

What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications, 2nd edition by Robert H. Chew, Robert E. Hales & Stuart C. Yudofsky (American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.)

Authored by a pharmacist and two psychiatrists, What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications is a large format book designed to provide patients with accurate, easily understood information about the drugs clinicians prescribe: anti-anxiety medications, medications for insomnia, antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, ADHD medications, cognitive enhancers, and, new to this edition, medications to treat alcohol dependence. Authors include Robert H. Chew, Pharm.D., Psychiatric-Pharmacist Specialist in Sacramento; Robert E. Hales, M.D., M.B.A., Joe P. Tupin Endowed Chair and Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of California-Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento; and Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D., D.C., Irene Ellwood Professor and Chairman of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

For each drug, a three-to-five page handout which can be printed from the accompanying CD-ROM includes facts like generic availability, dosing instructions, side effects, possible adverse reactions, drug interactions, overdose alerts, and considerations such as missed dosages or whether to take the medication with food. This second edition has been updated to reflect new medications and enhanced understanding of familiar ones. The new section on drugs for alcohol dependence covers Antabuse (disulfiram), Campral (acamprosate), ReVia (naltrexone), and Vivitrol (naltrexone injection). New separate coverage of stimulants and nonstimulants for ADHD includes handouts for off-label use of Catapres (clonidine) and Tenex (guanfacine). What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications also covers other medications introduced since the first edition: Daytrana (methylphenidate topical patch), Emsam (selegiline), Invega (paliperidone), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Lyrica (pregabalin), Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Razadyne (galantamine, previously Reminyl), Rozerem (ramelteon), and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine). Recent FDA warnings regarding antidepressant and atypical antipsychotics are also reflected.
Aimed at health care providers, the book provides essential information about all the major classes of psychiatric medications as well as more detailed information about specific medications. When prescribing a medication for one of their patients, they may wish to photocopy or download from the CD-ROM both general information about the class of medi­cation and more detailed information about the specific agent. Each medication is presented in a standard format. The various sections and a brief discussion of each are as follows:

  • Brand Name: The trade name the manufacturer has given the medication for marketing to the consumer.
  • Generic Name: The chemical or pharmaceutical name of the medication.
  • Available Strengths: The dosages and availably formulations.
  • Available in Generic: Whether the medication is available in a generic form.
  • Drug Class: The classification of the medication (e.g., tricyclic antidepressant), applicable to a group of medications similar in chemical formulation, mode of action, or general uses.
  • General Information: An overview of the medication, including how it works, why it was developed, and its general advantages and disadvantages.
  • Dosing Information: Concise information about how the medication is prescribed, including dosage forms and strengths, when it should be taken, and how doses should be increased.
  • Common Side Effects: The most common side effects noted during clinical trials and in clinical practice (Because additional side effects may occur, patients should be instructed to report these to their physicians.).
  • Adverse Reactions and Precautions: Cautionary advice concerning the medication itself and other med­ications to be avoided.
  • Use in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Whether the medication should be taken by women who are or may become pregnant and women who are breastfeeding, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion's (FDA) categorization of the drug (A, B, C, D, or X).
  • Possible Drug Interactions: Other medications that may be of concern or that should be avoided alto­gether when taking the medication in question.
  • Overdose: General information concerning the signs and symptoms of overdose and what to do if someone takes too much of the prescribed medication.
  • Special Considerations: Special considerations to be aware of with the medication in question, including concise review of the medication discussed and a summary of its unique advantages and disadvantages; warnings; and general advice concerning what to do if a dose is missed, whether the tablet or capsule may be cut or crushed, whether the medication should be taken with food, and how to store the medications.
  • Notes: Space provided for the patient to write down 1) side effects that the patient may have experienced so he or she can discuss them with the physician at the next visit and 2) questions the patient or a family member may have about the medication, such as dosing, side effects, or potential drug interactions with existing medications.

Essential, accurate, and easy to understand, What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications provides all the information psychiatrists are likely to need to give their patients. The CD makes duplication of parts of the volume easy.

Psychology & Counseling / Religion & Spirituality / Judaism

Repair of the Soul:: Metaphors of Transformation in Jewish Mysticism and Psychoanalysis by Karen E. Starr, with a foreword by Lewis Aron (Relational Perspectives Book Series: Routledge)
In Repair of the Soul, Karen E. Starr repositions one of the most essential psychological considerations: How do people change?

The book examines transformation from the perspective of Jewish mysticism and psychoanalysis, addressing the question of how one achieves self-understanding that leads not only to insight but also to meaningful change. Starr, Visiting Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY and Adjunct Professor at the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, C.W. Post Campus at Long Island University, draws upon a contemporary relational approach to psychoanalysis to explore the spiritual dimension of psychic change within the context of the psychoanalytic relationship. Influenced by the work of Lewis Aron, Steven Mitchell and other relational theorists, and drawing upon contemporary scholarship in the field of Jewish studies, Starr brings the ideas of the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical tradition, into dialogue with modern psychoanalytic thought.

Repair of the Soul provides a scholarly integration of several kabbalistic and psychoanalytic themes relating to transformation, including faith, surrender, authenticity, and mutuality, as well as an exploration of the relationship of the individual to the universal. Starr uses the Kabbalah's metaphors as a framework with which to illuminate the experience of transformation in psychoanalytic process, and to explore the evolving view of the psychoanalytic relationship as one in which both parties – the analyst as well as the patient – are transformed.

In the course of writing Repair of the Soul, Starr says she struggled with how best to present the material, as it is difficult to place a formal structure on concepts that can be so elusive and ephemeral. It is virtually impossible to offer a linear account, and therefore readers may find that her exposition of kab­balistic concepts is more associative than linear in nature, similar to the style of the Kabbalah itself (but hopefully more accessible). Her approach is layered, in that she shows the different ways that the Kabbalah arrives at its conclusions – namely, through metaphor, symbolization (the sefirotic paradigm), and interpretation. She does so in order to convey the essence of the Kabbalah's complexity and creativity, characteristics that it might have in common with a well-conducted psychoanalysis.

In approaching Kabbalah, as Starr believes is also true of the psycho-analytic situation, one must begin with where one is, and trust that whatever path one chooses to follow will lead to where one needs to go. Understanding is attained not in a straight line but in an ever-deepening spiral; although we may sense that we have traveled a particular terrain before, each encounter with the material has the potential to reveal new meanings illuminated by shifting levels of awareness. She says she has by no means provided a complete explication of the Kabbalah's ideas, nor would she presume to be able to do so. In particular, she does not deal with kabbalistic meditative techniques or mystical praxis. The kabbalistic metaphors she explores are those that she believes are most relevant to the work of psychic change in psychoanalysis, and that have a particular reso­nance with the relational psychoanalytic paradigm. In elaborating on these metaphors and the Kabbalah's imagery of transformation in the context of relationship, she has attempted to give expression to what she perceives to be the ineffable aspects of the psychoanalytic encounter.

Starr’s goal in Repair of the Soul is not to explain away spiritual experience in psychoanalytic terms, nor to suggest that we discard psychoanalytic formulations in favor of spiritual metaphors, but, rather, to play in the possibilities created by opening a dialogue between them. In considering the patients' experience – spiritual or otherwise – she believes that it is crucial to be keenly attentive to the ways in which analysts’ own subjectivities, including the relationship to theoreti­cal models, shape the understanding of what patients bring to analysts, and equally as important, the questions they choose to ask of them, of themselves, and of the profession as a whole.

One may argue that because of its traditionally reductive interpre­tation of religious experience, psychoanalysis has not invited the truly Spiritual into the room. Starr says she strongly suspects that the frequency with which this type of experience is reported in psychoanalysis is directly related to the patient's perception of how the analyst is likely to perceive and interpret such experience.

For the kabbalists, the foreground and background are reversed, and it is our perception of boundary and separation that is illusory, although a necessary prerequisite for living in the material world of reality. Creation, both cosmic and personal, begins in primal unity and develops outward into complexity, toward the experience of individual identity and separate existence. The Kabbalah insists that the search for the other, the central motivational force that underlies human relat­edness, is a microcosmic reflection of the life force that animates all being and that is the basis of all existence. Revelation requires encoun­ter: the one who is revealed needs a recognizing other in order to fully come into being. In locating the divine within the human, and in plac­ing relationship at the heart of the soul's fulfillment, the Kabbalah suggests that the point of meeting between self and other potentiates an experience of a deeper level of reality, of union and deep connec­tion, in which God Himself is revealed.

In Genesis, we are told that Jacob dreams of a ladder, its base rooted solidly on the ground, its top reaching toward the heavens. On it, angels ascend and descend, moving heavenward from earth, and earthward from heaven. While Jacob dreams, God stands beside him. Jacob wakes from his dream and exclaims, "God is in this place, and I didn't realize it!" The Zohar interprets Jacob's ladder as the conduit through which the divine plenty flows, the channel of mutual influence that links the human and the divine, and which relies on relationship to remain open and sustain life. Furthermore, the Zohar identifies Jacob as the personification of this conduit. He represents the human capacity to move between different dimensions of being and levels of awareness. Significantly, God is encountered not in heaven, but on earth, standing right beside Jacob all along, longing to be recognized, and thereby revealed.

The imagery of Jacob's dream serves as a vivid illustration in spiri­tual terms of Loewald's psychological vision of ‘conscire,’ the ‘know­ing together’ of primary and secondary process that has been further developed by contemporary relational theorists. In the relational framework, mind is comprised of a mutual relationship between different levels of mentation. In both the relational and kabbalistic paradigms, cultivating open channels between foreground and background, union and separateness, imagination and reality, makes the creation of new meaning possible, and potentiates the expe­rience of the sacred.

In Repair of the Soul, Karen Starr has provided us with a sophisticated and well-informed discussion of the ways in which kabbalistic metaphors of transformation can be related to the work of psychic change in psychoanalysis. Writing with intelligence, passion, and a rigorously imaginative grasp of her two fields of discourse, she succeeds in delineating areas of vital conversation between them. Not the least of her achievements is a writing style in which the kabbalistic and the analytic encounter each other without strain. Starr’s book makes a valuable contribution to the contemporary awareness of issues of faith, of the ineffable other, and of the transcendent Third, in analytic work. – Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Ph.D., author of The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis

An exciting interaction of sparks between psychoanalysis and Kabbalah, showing how fruitful it is when diverse dimensions of psyche and spirit meet. – Michael Eigen, Ph.D., author of Feeling Matters

Repair of the Soul marks a milestone in the ongoing and often troubled dialogue between psychoanalysis and religion. Karen Starr offers a deep and serious reading of both Kabbalah and psychoanalytic thought. Her consideration of the roles of faith, interpretation, and multi-leveled truth in both traditions will open many doors for the therapeutic community, to whom her work is primarily addressed. Thoughtful therapists should find both challenge and inspiration in this most interesting and truly barrier-breaking work. – Rabbi Arthur Green, Ph.D., Hebrew College

Repair of the Soul is a beautifully written and thought-provoking book providing a vivid framework for exploring the relationship of the individual to the universal. By bringing the esoteric principles of the ancient Kabbalah into dialogue with contemporary psychoanalytic theory – in particular, the relational model – Starr examines the question of how one may achieve transformation that leads not only to insight but also to meaningful change.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Prayerbooks

Lifting Women's Voices: Prayers to Change the World edited by Margaret Rose, Jenny Te Paa, Jeanne Person, & Abagail Nelson, with a foreword by Katharine Jefferts Schori (Morehouse Publishing)

Lifting Women's Voices is a collection of original prayers from around the worldwide Anglican Communion making connections between women's personal lives today and global concerns of women around the globe. They show the connection, for example, between a woman's prayers for her child in the West and the plight of child labor in the third world.

The editors are Margaret Rose, a Director of Women's Ministries in the Episcopal Church; Jeanne Person, Associate Rector of Trinity Church, New York; Abigail Nelson, Vice-President of the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund; and Jenny Te Paa, a leading theological educator in New Zealand. The editorial board comprises leading Anglican women from around the world including Jane Williams, and women from the US, Asia, South America, New Zealand and the Middle East. The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori contributes a foreword.

From all over the world, thousands of Anglican women have joined together, lifting their voices in prayer to end poverty, promote women's empowerment, express their faith, and reveal the depth of their connections across oceans and cultures. Arranged around the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, whose aim is to radically improve the lives of the poor, Lifting Women's Voices contains prayers seeking Gospel transformation of the world to realize God's dream of abundant life for all.

Over the past decade editor Paa says she has been blessed to have experienced at first hand the doings – including the sufferings, the achievements, the struggles, the successes, the humor; the determinations to overcome, the inspirational witness, the Gospel urgings – of countless global Anglican women, young and old, lay and ordained, women of every difference ever invented, women of every one of God's myriad images, women therefore of every human perfection ever created.

In spite of the evidence of real progress in some contexts, too many women remain disproportionately vulnerable on so many fronts. As one privileged with leadership responsibility in theological educa­tion and in numerous peace and justice projects and in global Anglican affairs, Paa says she is profoundly aware of still how few women there are, for exam­ple, in significant places of leadership and/or authority throughout the Anglican Communion. This means women’s leadership voices are not heard often enough, if at all, at the top tables of ecclesial decision-making and power-brokering, their prophetic voices are thus stymied from reaching and transforming the public square, and their sacramental voices are certainly not yet heard often enough in liturgical leadership.

This is a magnificent collection of contemporary women's voices, lifted in prayer. In Lifting Women's Voices are the words of prayers, prayers which reflect commonly held and boundless compassion, prayers which articu­late, the hope that some day God's justice will pre­vail for all – not just for some – global Anglican women. The book is a rich resource for worship, reflection, personal devotion and action. It is a gift to those who believe in the rightness and in the power of prayer to bring about healing and wholeness especially for those who suffer needlessly, innocently and too often, so unjustly.

Religion & Spirituality / Health, Mind & Body / Self-Help / Grief & Bereavement

Living Fully, Dying Well: Reflecting on Death to Find Your Life's Meaning by Edward W. Bastian & Tina L. Staley, with contributors Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Joan Halifax Roshi, Ira Byock, Tessa Bielecki, Mirabai Starr, and Marilyn M. Schlitz, edited by Netanel Miles-Yepez (Sounds True)

How can you take the fear of death and turn it into something profound, something positive? What is the alchemy that allows someone who is in a metaphorical desert to turn around and see a flower? – from the book

Most of us try to avoid thinking about death until the moment it stares us in the face. But as Edward W. Bastian, former teacher and program director at the Smithsonian Institution, president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation, and Tina L. Staley, director of Pathfinders at Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center, discovered, when we have the courage to engage with our inevitable mortality at this moment, and even to contemplate it actively as a spiritual practice, we open the door to fearlessness, joy, and the complete experience of being alive. In Living Fully, Dying Well, these two healers present a guide for bringing an open mind and heart to the final challenge we all must face. Integrating scientific and spiritual perspectives from around the world, this collection of teachings includes life review exercises to access the liberating deathbed revelation at any stage of readers’ lives; practices for easing the suffering of a terminal illness; and essential teachings about gratitude, the key practice for living life fully at any age.

When death approaches, many of us undergo a profound transformation – we let go of old distractions and focus with new clarity on what gives life meaning. Yet we can invite these profound ‘deathbed revelations’ at any point in life by engaging in an honest inquiry into mortality. Living Fully, Dying Well provides a doorway to begin the personal exploration of the mysteries of death – from the cultural myths about dying, to the personal fears we all share, to the question of what becomes of us beyond this life.

Living Fully, Dying Well unfolds as a dialogue between spiritual leaders and medical healers, including Joan Halifax, Dr. Ira Byock, Tessa Bielecki, Dr. Marilyn Schlitz, and others, each of whom brings a unique perspective to the universal human experience of death. They offer their stories, their insights, and their practices – all to transform death from a source of fear to an opportunity to reveal the true richness of life.

Back in the 1970s, Bastian wrote, and made a film in India as a Fulbright Fellow. He studied with Tibetan geshes and Indian panditas in Dharamsala, Sarnath, Varanasi, and Bodh Gaya. Varanasi is the spiritual center of India, where thousands of people come to die and to be cremated on the banks of the Ganges River, where their ashes are strewn and corpses float along the shores. In Varanasi, death is looked at straight in the face every day. There is little fear because there is unquestioned faith in the reincarnation of the soul. Bastian learned to see life from a perspective that was quite different from the American one, where no one talks about or prepares for death, where so many seem to think that they will be the one exception when it comes to death.

Bastian studied The Tibetan Book of the Dead and its commentaries, which describe the intricate details of the stages of death and the in-between state, called bardo, between this life and the next. He took initiations into certain Tantras that teach chants, prayers, visualizations, and psychic methods to prepare for and employ at the time of death. His teachers and readings taught him about the meditative techniques of Tibetan Yogis who brought themselves to the point of death while meditating on emptiness and compassion in order to transform themselves into a bodily manifestation of a Buddha.

According to Living Fully, Dying Well, the final clear light moment of death is a moment to be looked forward to and prepared for as the culmination of a life of spiritual practice. When they first started the Spiritual Paths Foundation, the authors decided to go beyond a simple selection of spiritual teachers to also gather renowned experts from the medical field, scientists, and philosophers to demonstrate how the integration of medicine, spirituality, philosophy, and science can lead to a positive, fulfill­ing, and transformative end-of-life experience. They wanted to look at the questions of dying and the afterlife from as many perspectives as possible, and hopefully to begin to illustrate how combining these disciplines and perspectives might enable participants to live each moment until the last with gratitude, vitality, and compassion, while also imparting a wisdom to help family, friends, and colleagues go on without them.

What does it mean to live fully? And can we do it if we have not come to terms with death and the dying process? The dialogue and resources in Living Fully, Dying Well deal with four basic aspects of living fully and dying well, and the questions that go with them:

  1. Living – How does an understanding of the process of dying help us to engage fully in our own life with meaning, purpose, and contentment? What medita­tions, prayers, mantras, visualizations, perspectives, and attitudes should individuals learn and develop now so that they are ready for death at any moment?
  2. Dying – The process of dying can be instant or it can last for hours, days, weeks, months, or years. What are the predictable stages of the dying pro­cess? How can individuals prepare for this? How should they positively prepare – psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, physically? How and when should they organize a living will, insurance, finances, possessions, businesses, and so on to prepare for the inevitable, yet uncertain time of the dying process? How should they involve family and friends? What are the options for helping them through the dying process, including spiritual guides, psy­chological counseling, treatment guides, assisted living, intensive care, home care, and hospice?
  3. Death – What is death? Is death the final act of existence? Is death a process of transformation to another form of life? How can death become a mean­ingful, purposeful, transformative experience? How can they be conscious of dying and guide themselves through it? How can they avoid fear and mental anguish?
  4. Beyond – What do the world's spiritual traditions say about life beyond death? What is the philo­sophical rationale for life after death? What are the credible reports from both individuals and medi­cal research about continued existence? How would their behavior and state of mind during their life, dying, and death influence the form, place, and quality of their continuing existence?

According to Bastian, readers cannot hope to answer these questions defini­tively, but they can begin a conversation that addresses the basic issues. The book provides readers with a variety of different perspectives – spiritual, medical, psychological, and scientific – allowing them to craft for themselves an integrated intel­lectual understanding of dying and the afterlife. In addition, it provides resources to help them prepare, or to help others to proactively engage the dying process as a positive and transformative experience.

Living Fully, Dying Well offers a thought-provoking series of discussions about the meaning of life and death by noted spiritual thinkers and teachers from both Eastern and Western traditions. These conversations are refreshingly free of religious and materialistic dogma, and they delve into theoretical issues such as the nature of consciousness and the possibility of life after death, they proceed to practia1 advice on how to live life to the fullest – including the final phase of life known as death. This book is bound to benefit many readers seeking greater fulfillment. – B. Alan Wallace, author of Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity

In this age, when more than one-third of all deaths in North America take place in a hospice setting, we are in need of wise resources and practical tools for creating a spiritually inspired approach to dying and death. Edward W. Bastian and Tina L. Staley have created such a resource book. Living Fully, Dying Well offers a rich contribution to 21st-century understanding of the multi-dimensional aspects of the human encounter with death. – Simcha Raphael, author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife

The fact of death and the art of dying are subjects that every human being would do well to reflect upon. That this book offers reflections from an interspiritual perspective contributes to its unique value. We should be grateful that these wise beings have come together on the theme of Living Fully, Dying Well. – Kabir Helminski, author of The Knowing Heart and Living Presence

Living Fully, Dying Well is an illuminating, informative and even exciting guide to consciously embracing mortality. There are a number of valuable resources for individuals as well as caregivers. Readers discover that when they prepare to cross the final threshold with honesty and courage, they enrich every day they live in this world.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Arts & Photography / Philosophy

Art and Spiritual Transformation: The Seven Stages of Death and Rebirth by Finley Eversole (Inner Traditions)

Art and Spiritual Transformation covers the primal role of art in awakening and liberating the soul of humanity. It presents a seven-stage journey of transformation moving from the darkened soul to the light of spiritual illumination that is possible through the world of art.

Finley Eversole, formerly director of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture, in Art and Spiritual Transformation introduces a meditation practice that moves beyond the visual content of an art form in order to connect with its embedded spiritual energy, allowing viewers to tap in to the deeper consciousness inherent in the artwork and awaken dormant powers in the depths of the viewer’s soul.
Examining modern and postmodern artwork from 1945 onward, Eversole reveals the influences of ancient Egypt, India, China, and alchemy on art. He draws on philosophy, myth and symbolism, literature, and metaphysics to explain the seven stages of spiritual death and rebirth of the soul possible through art: the experience of self-loss, the journey into the underworld, the experience of the dark night of the soul, the conflict with and triumph over evil, the awakening of new life in the depths of being, and the return and reintegration of consciousness on a higher plane of being, resulting finally in ecstasy, transfiguration, illumination, and liberation. To illustrate these stages, Eversole includes works by abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko and modern visionary artists Alex Grey and Ernst Fuchs, among others.
According to Eversole in the preface to Art and Spiritual Transformation, to understand the cultural and spiritual transfor­mations, many believe to be in the making, a study of art can be an invaluable aid. Artists work intuitively, often unconscious of the forces working through them, which makes them barometers of social, psychological, and spiritual change. The soul sees the road ahead and, when allowed expression through the creative arts, can bring forth works of deep prophetic insight.

Of the main works Eversole has chosen for study, six belong to Abstract Expressionism – a movement that placed American art on the world map for the first time, a movement that had its major influence between 1945 and the mid-sixties; one belongs to Primary Sculpture; one to Psychedelic Art; one to Earthworks; and three are the works of a contemporary symbolist painter, Walter Gaudnek. Considerations governing his choices include: (1) a conviction that the works discussed have yet to be viewed in any real depth; (2) a belief that the works chosen are representative of the artists and movements of the era and serve as a mirror of the ‘soul’ of our time; (3) the relation of these works to the stages of spiritual transformation he is exploring; and (4) the location of seven of the works in one place – The Museum of Modern Art, New York – making them more accessible to viewers.

Art and Spiritual Transformation is an interpretative ‘trialogue’ between him, the artworks, and the cultural context in which Eversole and the works of art. His approach to art may be described as a pro­cess of phenomenological meditation or reflection upon the art and the inner experiences or states of consciousness to which the works give rise – both occurring within a given cultural, intellectual, and spiritual context. Like great music, great art is inexhaustible. With each new viewing, new insights are born. Interpretation is fundamental to the human enterprise. Only by means of interpre­tation do we save art from a self-absorption that would condemn it to personal and cultural irrelevance.

One of the foremost questions of our age has been that of the meaning of existence. Eversole proposes that it is to the renewal of existence that we should look for its meaning – that is, life is meaningful insofar as it is continually regenerating, transforming, and unfolding itself by way of expansion and self-transcendence. Only by growth, by continu­ous evolution, do we truly discover the mystery of those creative powers in man which make him unique among the creatures of earth.

Eversole is concerned above all with the role played by the visual arts in the transformation of conscious­ness. His theme in Art and Spiritual Transformation is the transformation, regeneration, illumination, and ultimate liberation of consciousness and inner life and the release through art of those creative forces that aid consciousness. High art functions within the context of human evolution as an elevating, liberating, and spiritualizing force.

Perhaps the closest of all experiences to the mystical is the aes­thetic. Every genuine experience of a work of art becomes an awakening in miniature foreshadow­ing another, higher Awakening yet to come. Intuitive moments in the presence of great art prepare us, through similarity of experience, for the ecstasy of spiritual Awakening. Art is a joyous foreshadowing of Illumination. One of the principal virtues of art, therefore, is as a path of preparation by which the soul is moved toward the realization of its own supreme destiny.

Eversole says that objective scholarship would require that he validate his seven-stage regenerative cycle with an exhaustive study of mythology, cul­tural history, religious experience, and the psychological processes of growth and transformation. A reasonable amount of investiga­tive work has been done along these lines. Something must be said, however, for the subjective experience of taking the journey oneself. By entering subjectively into each of the stages of transformation, one acquires that mode of knowledge which comes of merging one's being with the thing known. In this respect, both the Existentialist and the mystic experiencing the Light of transcendent Being gain the knowledge of which they speak firsthand. Direct experience of the stages of transformation has the further advantage of enabling one to enter more deeply into the inner dynamics of any myth, symbol, work of art, social event, or psychological experience in which any of the stages is operative or manifest.

Art and Spiritual Transformation provides a way to understand art by applying it to the soul’s journey as well as a way to feel art and use for self or subconscious evocation. It must be said that to appreciate the material presented in this book, one has to get past its pedantic or preachy tone.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Science / Physics / History & Philosophy / Science & Religion

Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness by Victor J. Stenger, with a foreword by Michael Schermer (Prometheus Books)
Does quantum mechanics show a connection between the human mind and the cosmos? Are our brains tuned into a ‘cosmic consciousness’ that pervades the universe enabling us to make our own reality? Do quantum mechanics and chaos theory provide a place for God to act in the world without violating natural laws?

Many popular books make such claims and argue that key developments in twentieth-century physics, such as the uncertainty principle and the butterfly effect, support the notion that God or a universal mind acts upon material reality.

Physicist Victor J. Stenger, adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii, examines these contentions in this analysis of popular theories that seek to link spirituality to physics. Throughout Quantum Gods Stenger alternates his discussions of popular spirituality with a survey of what the findings of twentieth-century physics actually mean. He offers readers a synopsis of contemporary religious ideas as well as basic but sophisticated physics presented in layperson's terms.

Of particular interest in Quantum Gods is Stenger's discussion of a new kind of deism, which proposes a God who creates a universe with many possible pathways determined by chance, but otherwise does not interfere with the physical world or the lives of humans. Although it is possible, says Stenger, to conceive of such a God who plays dice with the universe and leaves no trace of his role as prime mover, such a God is a far cry from traditional religious ideas of God and, in effect, may as well not exist.

Stenger focuses on those who purport to use quantum mechanics to justify their extraordinary claims. New Age gurus have alleged that quantum mechanics establishes the human mind is part of a cosmic consciousness pervading the universe. The popular documentary What the Bleep Do We Know!? as well as the best-selling book and film The Secret promote the claim that we can make our own reality just by thinking about it, for example, imagining we are wealthy will send out vibes into the universe that will bring wealth. Christian theologians have also launched an effort to marry the laws of physics with God, invoking quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and ‘emergence’ for legitimacy, but Stenger refutes these attempts to inject God into relatively recent developments in contemporary science.

Stenger in Quantum Gods addresses claims made for other gods, including and especially the sorts of arguments presented in What the Bleep Do We Know!? to which he devotes an entire chapter that also serves as a tutorial in quantum physics. Stenger does as good a job as anyone ever has in explaining it, and in the context of why quantum physics – along with chaos theory, complexity theory, emergence theory, and other assorted branches of physics, biology, and neuro­science – does not get you to God.

There's more in Quantum Gods. An important new development in theism is the use of quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle, chaos, complexity, and emergence to make the case for how God acts in the world. That is, most theists do not believe in some airy fairy deity who lives in the hinterlands of the cosmos and never bothers with our trivial lives here on Earth; indeed, one of the most common arguments given for belief in God is divine providence – God reaches into our world from outside of space and time and interacts with us by performing miracles, answering prayers, and directing the flow of history; for example, bringing about the end of the world through an inexorable unfolding of events. How does God do this? In the Age of Science, it's not enough to just say, "God works in mysterious ways." Serious theologians need to answer the scientist's question: how does God act in the world? For example, a scientist would want to know how God cures cancer. Does he reach in to tweak the DNA of every cell in a tumor? Does he cut off its blood supply? And if he does cure cancer, what forces of nature does he use? Electromagnetism? The weak nuclear force? Over the past decade theists have been holding conferences, publishing papers, and writing books employing the latest findings from science in an effort to answer the scientists' curiosity, and Stenger addresses these one by one, showing that none of these sciences provides an opening for God to act in our world. Indeed, quite the opposite– if they show anything at all about our mundane lives – is that so-called miracles and other alleged divine actions are better explained by probabilities and the operation of chance than by Someone Up There running the show.

… In Quantum Gods, Stenger confronts mainstream theologians and New Age gurus – anyone who tries to link physics to mysticism. He takes their theories seriously enough to examine them in detail and he finds that, so far, none of them live up to the standards of scientific truth. As we accompany him on his investigation, he guides us through the most important concepts in modern physics from relativity to string theory.

The world has needed a book like this for a long time. If you care about scientific literacy, Quantum Gods is not optional. – Geoff Gilpin, author of The Maharishi Effect: A Personal Journey Through the Movement That Transformed American Spirituality

Physics has developed a reputation of providing support for all sorts of supernatural beliefs, from old-fashioned religions to New Age ideas. Quantum physics, especially seems to mean ‘magic’ for too many people. . . . Be grateful for the work of Victor Stenger, who is one of the best, for diligently separating real physics from popular misconception. Everyone interested in debates over physics and the supernatural should read this book. – Taner Elis, associate professor of physics at Truman State University and author of Science and Nonbelief

Quantum Gods is a carefully reasoned and incisive analysis of popular theories seeking to link spirituality to physics. Like Stenger’s bestselling book, God, The Failed Hypothesis, it presents a rigorously argued challenge to many popular notions of God and spirituality. What is great about the writings of Victor Stenger – well exem­plified in Quantum Gods – is that he doesn't mince words or pull punches. He isn't disrespectful and he never dissembles, but neither does he waste anyone's time by skirting around the central tenets of claims and argu­ments made for the existence of Something Else that science has yet to dis­cover.

Social Sciences / Popular Culture / Entertainment / Music

Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity by Leigh H. Edwards (Profiles in Popular Music Series: Indiana University Press)

Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity explores the allure of Johnny Cash's contradictory persona.

Throughout his career, Johnny Cash was depicted – and depicted himself – as a walking contradiction: social protestor and establishment patriot, drugged wildman and devout Christian crusader, rebel outlaw, hillbilly thug and elder statesman. Leigh H. Edwards, Associate Professor of English at Florida State University, explores this paradoxical image and its cultural significance. She argues that Cash embodies irresolvable contradictions of American identity that reflect foundational issues in the American experience, such as the tensions between freedom and patriotism, individual rights and nationalism, the sacred and the profane. She illustrates how this model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music, and for American identity in general. Making use of sources such as Cash's autobiographies, lyrics, music, liner notes, and interviews, Edwards pays equal attention to depictions of Cash by others, such as Vivian Cash's publication of his letters to her, documentaries and music journalism about him, Walk the Line, and fan club materials found in the archives at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, to create this portrait of Cash and his significance as a cultural icon.

The majority of the publications on Cash have been popular biographies and collections of music journalism. Moving beyond retrospectives, Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity is an analysis of cultural meaning and social construc­tion that places him in the context of cultural theory and the history of American thought. Cash's public image and work illuminate important social questions, including the status of authenticity in popular music and the social construction of identity categories such as race and masculinity in popular culture.

There was no one single Johnny Cash. He was always multiple, changing, inconsistent. His most famous image has him snarling and flipping off the camera at his 1969 San Quentin concert, where he almost sparked a prison riot. Yet another has him pointing reproachfully to a tattered American flag on his album cover for Ragged Old Flag (1974), which features an anti-flag burning title song.

Edwards’ inquiry into Cash's iconography begins with a simple observation: popular culture images of him consistently, and even obses­sively, refer to him as a contradiction. Cash the man becomes a mythological figure, appearing as the troublemaker, stoned musician, and preacher-prophet. Merging fact and fiction, Cash becomes the lonely, empathetic, fallen pilgrim searching for redemption. Edwards explores an important question: What is the allure of this image of Cash as a walking contradiction, and what is its cultural work?

She argues that Cash's corpus and image illuminate key foundational contradic­tions in the history of American thought, particularly through his fraught con­structions of a Southern white working-class masculinity. Cash's persona brings disparate or even opposed ideologies into close, symbiotic relationship with one another. This artist's iconic image in fact depends on his ability to stage the idea of irresolvable ambivalence – to illuminate how that model of cultural ambivalence, what we might call a ‘both/and’ idea, is an important paradigm for U.S. popular music and for American identity. Cash embodied the tensions in the American character without resolving them. And, in so doing, he encouraged listeners to engage with our most fundamental national paradoxes, from the violence of a free democracy founded on slavery to the whipsaw between individual rights and national identity.

Cash illuminates key issues at the crossroads of American studies and popular music studies because he is an exemplary case study for popular music's projec­tions of authenticity and country music's formulations of race, gender, and a Southern working-class culture. Cash builds his version of authenticity through equivocating models of Southern white working-class masculinity, thus elucidat­ing changing paradigms of authenticity. Moreover, his conceptual rubric of ir­resolvable contradictions becomes part of his projection of authenticity. Through this dynamic, he represents major social tensions in their intricacy, framing them as troubling, true, and distinctively American. His work helps explicate popular music's role in society because what the music does here is engage emotionally with such ideological issues. Cash also offers models for thinking about how popular culture can question traditional categorical binaries (tradition versus social change, establishment versus anti-authoritarian, conservative versus progressive, patriot versus traitor, morally righteous versus fallen, pure versus impure). His work exposes the problems with such rigid categories, whether political or musical.

In Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity, contradiction is analyzed for how it permeates the social construction of Cash. Drawing on interdisciplinary approaches, Edwards’ concern is with interrogating how this popular culture both shapes and reflects U.S. ide­ologies. The methodology involves literary studies techniques of textual analysis and close reading, as well as the discipline's historicist approaches that focus on text and context, placing the analysis of a text in relation to relevant histori­cal contexts. The central concern is Cash's media image and the ideologies in his work, which are addressed through a combination of approaches used in literary studies and American studies.

Joining an emerging, critical conversation about gender in coun­try music, Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity also references larger conversations about the evolution of masculinity in the U.S., Cash's texts often examine the strategies that his working-class heroes use for adapting to or resisting dominant cultural ideals of masculinity.

Although Cash's model of "both/and" – in which he presents opposed ideas and leaves them unresolved or insists on the validity of both sides of a binary – is not a radical critique of dominant U.S. culture, it is not simply a model of liberal pluralism either, because it does not take dissension and turn it into consensus. Rather, Cash's oeuvre incorporates a struggle over meaning as part of his identity construction, and as a model for authenticity, because it insists on presenting the incongruities themselves and eschews easy resolution. His texts participate in and illuminate the dominant culture's anxieties, but they remain stubborn and disjunctive. As such, his work illuminates some of the precise ways in which popular culture is a site of negotiation and struggle and not simply a playground for escapism or for only corporate agendas. In the literary studies model that Edwards employs, she frames how Cash's work reflects and helps shape larger cultural ideas and norms, and although she does note how he has been marketed and how he presents his persona in his autobiographies, she is not arguing about authorial intention or auteurism. Her focus, instead, is on these texts and their multiple significations.

In chapter 1 of Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity Edwards’ reading of Cash's model of American ambivalence fo­cuses on the issue of how Cash's image of authenticity is related to his projection of a contradictory persona. The book's five chapters trace the trope of contradiction through the major themes in his corpus, all of which involve polysemic constructions of identity in his fluctuating versions of Southern white working-class masculinity. Chapters 2 and 3 address gender in Cash's work and image, and chapter 4 centers on race and identity politics. Chapter 5 attends to class and Cash's "Outsider" social protests in relation to American patriotism, and compares, for example, the politics in his music to those of Merle Haggard, who has also been held up as an artist who plays to both the left and right wing, and to the far more explicitly left-wing politics of fellow Highwaymen Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. Chapter 6 analyzes Cash's religious themes. The concluding chapter considers Cash's cultural legacies, with an analysis of the video for "God's Gonna Cut You Down," from American V (2006), as an example of how Cash's image in a wealth of posthumous material elucidates the continuing relevance of his oeuvre and iconography.

Leigh Edwards engages passionately with Johnny Cash's complexities and never allow her affection for the performer to plough under the conflicting impulses that gener­ated the singer's sometimes baffling but always commanding body of music. – Dave Sanjek, University of Salford

Wonderfully written ... a bravura tour around the cosmic ambivalence and contradiction of proletarian white masculinity. Cash was, as Leigh Edwards notes, a bundle of binaries, a hugely symbolic figure who embodied progressive and reactionary values and norms in a spectacular but also profound way that draws into question those very boundaries and definitions. …The Man in Black embodied many of the contradictions that dot the American landscape. In this bold new study, Leigh Edwards explains how time, place, talent, and manhood made his legend. – Toby Miller, author of Cultural Citizenship and Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention

Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity is a captivating, deeply analytical, if somewhat fragmented, portrait of the paradox of American identify and Johnny Cash. Edwards illustrated how the model of ambivalence is a vital paradigm for American popular music and American identity in general.

Sociology / Education / College / Sociology

College Life Through the Eyes of Students by Mary Grigsby (SUNY Press)

Most undergraduates who arrive at Midwest University in the heat of August for the start of the fall semester describe feeling excited and nervous as they anticipate the challenges of college life. During their college years, most students begin the process of defining a life tra­jectory grounded in an individualistic ethos that moves them toward an adult identity either through choice or default. – from the book

College Life Through the Eyes of Students presents the perspectives of contemporary college students on their lives and educations. Author Mary Grigsby, Associate Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri, uses the voices of students themselves to discuss how they view, adjust to, and participate in the college student culture of a large Midwestern university and to explore what they think of their educational experiences. Topics include a look at a typical day on campus, student subcultures and the lifestyles they engender, whether college life conforms to the images and scenarios of popular culture, and student approaches to making it through college.

At the level of everyday practice, students learn their way around campus. They learn how to manage their lives in the university setting; how to make friends and develop a friendship network; how to pursue varying degrees of having collegiate fun, engaging in romantic involve­ments, and participating in social activities; how to negotiate and change their relationships with their parents; how to study and spend time on academic work; and engage in the process of defining an adult life trajectory through the choices they make and what they emphasize during their college years. By the time they graduate, many are looking back on college with nostalgia and looking forward to the next phase in a life trajectory that has been shaped, at least in part, by how they nego­tiated their way and spent their time and energy while in college.

College Life Through the Eyes of Students describes the different paths that college students took through college and reveals that class, gender, race, and ethnicity shaped their experiences and influenced the activities and types of relationships that they gravitated toward and emphasized while in college. Choices that students made in the highly individualistic and choice-based culture of Midwest State University are also found to be very central in the experi­ences they reported having in college.

Grisby says that this research has confirmed her suspicions that many students are likely to be much more focused on their social learn­ing experiences with peers outside of what they consider the academic sphere in college, in settings where they experience themselves having higher levels of choice, control, and the ability to be authentic. Seventy percent of Midwest students interviewed for this study said that, for them, social learning is more important than academics. Twenty-three percent reported that learning was balanced between social activities unrelated to academics and academic activities. Observation of their daily activities provides support for their assertions.

Grigsby says she wanted to know what students believe college is about for them, how they spend their time, and what matters to them. College Life Through the Eyes of Students is about what college means for a snapshot of a generation of students coming of age and finding their way in the new millennium at a large Midwestern state university, in what is increasingly a fast-paced, technologically stratified, and globalizing world.

Looking closely at college life through the eyes of undergraduate students is important because it offers the opportunity to understand the meaning making of students regarding their experiences. The symbolic expressions, values, and practices of students and their detailed accounts provide insight into how the meanings of modern society about college and ‘coming of age’ more generally are contested and negotiated.

Students draw from many sources in constructing their understanding of what college is all about. Their thinking about college and experiences shapes their choices and behaviors as college students. Students engage in a struggle to ‘use’ college to serve their interests and meet their needs as human beings coming of age in the United States in the early twenty-first century. The generalized cul­ture is, on the one hand, the culture of Midwest State University that stu­dents come into as freshmen within which they must learn to operate in order to be successful students, and at the same time it is the culture that they construct, enact, and change through their participation in it.

Most of the students engage in identity work aimed at constructing a college-educated middle-class self. But they do this in quite distinctive and patterned ways that are reflected in the different patterns found in their relationships with their parents, in the different types of activities and relationships they emphasize during the college years, and in differ­ing ‘blueprints’ of individualism they draw on in their struggles toward adulthood and construction of fulfilling lives. Students are aware that the dominant culture in the United States associ­ates going to college with ‘coming of age’ and social status. The variety of paths that students take in their struggle to achieve autonomy and move toward adulthood emerges in the interplay between strategies of action available to them and structural factors that may support or constrain given strategies. Students interpret, draw from, and use the dominant or shared more gener­alized college student culture and at the same time resist some of its dictates. The cultural work is done in the context of the institutional structure of Midwest State University within the framework of processes of economic and cultural change taking place in the world.

Four levels of analysis inform College Life Through the Eyes of Students. The first level focuses on students as carriers of culture. The second focuses on the ideas and practices that make up the culture. The third explores the group participation, networks, and institution-ally structured activities in which students participate. And the fourth focuses on the broader cultural and economic forces that constrain, support, and shape the lives of college students. All four levels are impor­tant throughout the book but chapter 2 highlights the first and fourth levels, chapter 3 the second level, chapter 4 the third level, and chapter 5 the first and fourth levels of analysis.

Too many of us in higher education ‘guess’ at the needs and desires of the students we serve. This book spells all this out in well-written, well-researched form. – Mary Chayko, author of Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness

Going to college has become the major coming-of-age experience for many people in the United States, and the struggles and achievements of today's college students are thrown into stark relief in College Life Through the Eyes of Students. Grigsby in this fascinating account of how such students make meaning of their lives provides a compelling, readable, and up-to-date account of this formative period.

Sociology / History / African-American Studies / Biographies & Memoirs

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South by W. Ralph Eubanks (Smithsonian Books & HarperCollins Publishers)

Part personal journey, part cultural biography, The House at the End of the Road examines a little-known piece of this country's past: interracial families that survived and prevailed despite Jim Crow laws, including those prohibiting mixed-race marriages.

In 1914, in defiance of his middle-class landowning family, a young white man named James Morgan Richardson married a light-skinned black woman named Edna Howell. Over more than twenty years of marriage, they formed a strong family and built a house at the end of a winding sandy road in a black community in rural south Alabama. At the end of the road, there was only one way out. Anyone who came there to do the Richardson family harm would have faced Jim Richardson's rule of justice, represented by a double-barreled shotgun. So this was a place where their safety from the hostile world around them was assured, and where they developed a unique racial and cultural identity.

The House at the End of the Road by W. Ralph Eubanks is an exploration of interracial identity in America through three generations of the author's Alabama family, on the black and white side. Jim and Edna Richardson were Eubanks's grandparents. As he did in his acclaimed 2003 memoir, Ever Is a Long Time, Eubanks uses interviews, oral history, and archival research to tell a story about race in American life that few readers have experienced. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, Eubanks is currently a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Using the Richardson family as a microcosm of American views on race and identity, The House at the End of the Road examines why ideas about racial identity rooted in the eighteenth century persist today. Eubanks takes readers on a journey back to his grandparent's house where he reconstructs their life and times and seeks lessons for America's multiracial future. In a past filled with tightly conscribed formulas for racial identity and laws that prohibited interracial marriage, making it punishable with up to seven years of hard labor, Eubanks seeks to understand the common humanity Jim and Edna Richardson were trying to embrace through the way they lived their lives.

Through interviews and oral history collected from both sides of the Richardson family's racial divide, as well as archival research, The House at the End of the Road goes into the deep heart's core of the issue of race and racial identity in early 20th century America.

Eubanks' story about his grandparents – an American mixed-race couple living openly (and precariously) in the cold heart of 1920's Jim-Crow Alabama – enacts the liberating magic of literature: it finds its truth in between conventional wisdom and sociological presumption, in between lies and faulty history. It is a story of race, of family, of place itself, and it tells us that compassion and the stirring force of individual human endeavor finally mean more than anything. – Richard Ford, author of The Lay of the Land

Ralph Eubanks' grandparents created an inter-racial family in rural Alabama nearly a century ago. Now, he has taken his family's story and used it to explore our changing American ideas about what to make of our ancestries. His work should inspire all of us to think anew about our country. – K. Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

Eubanks writes with a novelist's sense of story and a poet's eye for language and detail. Most importantly, though, he writes with sensitivity, understanding and Socratic wisdom. This is not just an important book for these times – it's a book for all time. – Steve Yarbrough, author of Prisoners of War

Ralph Eubanks pieces together this intricate story across three generations of his family, and in turn sheds powerful new light on the complex story of race and identity in these United States. A pleasure to read, a poignant American story not to be missed. – Dave Isay, Founder of StoryCorps

Eubank's memoir is written in clear, accessible prose... his straightforward manner makes the emotional issues and difficult memories all the more poignant. – The Sun Herald
Compelling... by turns a charming remembrance of a rural childhood and a chilling reminder of racism's legacy. – BookPage

The House at the End of the Road is a powerful story told through the lives of one American family across three generations. In lyrical, evocative prose, this extraordinary book pierces the heart of issues of race and racial identity, leaving readers ultimately hopeful about the world as their children might see it.

Sociology / Research Methods / Reference

Researching Race: Theory, Methods and Analysis by Hasmita Ramji (Open University Press)

Researching race has become ever more urgent in order to advance our understanding of how race operates in our society and the implications it has for social cohesion. Aimed at an upper-level student audience, Researching Race combines a critical methodological engagement with an exploration of contemporary dilemmas related to researching race to help address the current dominance of highly theoretical work in this area and render the complex but important debates emerging in this area more accessible for students.

Researching Race, written by Dr. Hasmita Ramji, Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Sociology, City University, provides theoretical and empirical tools to explore some of the questions which lie at the heart of current debates around researching race especially with regard to Western societies. It considers issues such as

  • How can race be sociologically understood?
  • Do different methodological approaches operate with different conceptualizations of race?
  • What difficulties are researchers likely to face when researching a different racial group to their own?

These theoretical engagements facilitate case-study explorations around issues which have been concerning popular and expert attention in recent years in contemporary societies. For example,

  • Is there an emergence of new forms of identification based on race?
  • How does race impact an individual’s experience of education and employment?

Ramji includes case studies which address the issues at the heart of research on race and offers guidance for successful evidence-based research.

Researching Race engages with both theoretical and methodological issues using illustrations and case studies to facilitate understanding in some key areas of current concern. The volume's main aim is to provide readers with some practical advice on doing such research, with a focus on theoretical, epistemological and methodological considerations as appropriate. The book is not a comprehensive guide; any book attempting to be would be thwarted given the sheer volume of material and high level of debate in the area. Rather it limits its focus to a few issues which can then be used by researchers as a springboard to consider a myriad of other issues.

While Ramji reviews a number of points and gives a balanced view, it is inevitable that he cannot review all the debates. Bearing in mind the relativity of race and race research, Chapter 2 considers the history of race research and examines its implications for contemporary research. If Chapters 1 and 2 are about deciding the focus of student research and the question(s) to which they are seeking answers, Chapters 3 and 4 are concerned with ways to seek answers, and Chapter 5 is about analyzing and interpreting these answers so readers can tell others what they have found.

Researching Race operates on the understanding that researchers should question 'race' as a category and thus highly prescriptive 'solutions' to the challenges of researching 'race' become untenable. Rather than solutions, it is concerned with offering guidelines for strategies which enable researchers to move forward.

One of the first dilemmas race researchers will encounter is the fact that race is not a stable or homogenous category but is best seen as being produced in social contexts. In turn these social contexts are animated by changing, complicated and uneven interactions between social processes and individual experi­ence. Researchers need to establish this element of commonality and difference with other types of social research from the outset, because its specificity must not guide one to believe that race research is a distinct field that has no relation to epistemological, theoretical and methodological dilemmas encountered in other fields. This would artificially essentialize race and hamper attempts at researching race. As the chapters make clear, race research is simultaneously related to other social research areas and their methodological quagmire, and it also has some unique properties due to the way it exists in the society in which it is studied.

These dilemmas are ongoing and must be engaged throughout the research process. And there are not necessarily any solutions for the difficulties likely to be encountered in race research, and most certainly no solutions without negative consequences elsewhere, but there are strategies which have proven to be useful for established researchers. The particular dilemmas any researcher faces will be influenced by the choice of topic, theoretical preferences, practical considerations and research methods selected.

Researching Race provides students with access to a balanced range of approaches so they can use it as a basis for mapping the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. In an accessible format, Ramji offers clear guidance for evidence-based research through the use of timely case studies. The book is key reading for students and researchers who are seeking to critically assess approaches to race and engage with contemporary debates. By combining a critical approach with the exploration of contemporary dilemmas, this book succeeds in offering students an accessible look at this often highly theoretical area.

Transportation / Crafts & Hobbies

Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998, 3rd Edition by Bruce Anderson (Motorbooks Workshop Series: Motorbooks)

By any measure, Porsche's 911 is one of the greatest sports cars of all time. A commercial sales success since its introduction, the 911 is arguably the most successful competition car ever built, with victories at the Monte Carlo Rally, Targa Florio, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and countless other events.

The iconic Porsche 911 is that rarity – a world-class performance car that can still be improved. Its incredible success has been based on two key factors: a brilliant and charismatic design that provides the perfect car for performance tuners of all ambitions and abilities; and Porsche's program of aggressive and innovative development, which has always kept the 911 several steps ahead of the competition.

Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998 is the third edition of Bruce Anderson's exhaustive guide to this famous sports car, covering the entire history of Porsche's air-cooled 911s. One of the world's leading 911 experts, Anderson offers advice for buying a used 911, a wealth of information on engine rebuilding and modification, as well as everything readers need to know about suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, and transmissions.

Focusing solely on the air-cooled cars produced from 1963 through early 1998, this third edition of the Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998 provides illustrated, easy-to-follow instructions for making modifications to every working part of the car. Author and noted Porsche expert Anderson details performance-enhancing tricks and techniques for engine rebuilds, transmissions, suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, custom treatments, maintenance, and more. Detailed appendices list tune-up specs, conversion charts, handy formulas, and resources.

Anderson says he bought his first Porsche in 1961 – a shiny, new ruby red Super Karmann hardtop – and has owned one or more Porsches ever since, a dozen or more in total. Among the colossal errors of his life are some of the cars that he has sold, including a 1959 GT Speedster and a 1964 SC GT Coupe. He worked at Hewlett Packard for the better part of 17 years as a technical writer and publications manager. While employed there, in the 1960s, a friend and he started a Porsche performance business in his garage. They started by modifying and tweaking their own cars and their friend's cars for autocrossing and club competition. This grew into a full-time business in the early 1970s. They had a great deal of fun preparing cars for others and racing around the world, and he was part-owner and general manager of the shop for about ten years before they sold the business and went their separate ways.

He joined the Porsche Club of America (PCA) in 1964 and has attended 38 Porsche Parades, the annual national gatherings of the faithful for fun and competition. At three of the parades, he received the top score on the technical quiz that is sponsored by Bosch, and won his class championship in autocross at the 1973 Porsche Parade in his 914-6.

Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998 shows anyone with the tools and a modicum of skill how to make the car even better with performance-enhancing tricks and techniques ranging from subtle to extreme. This book is a must-have whether readers are 911 owners looking to add a little extra oomph to their daily commute, weekend club racers or seasoned pro-series mechanics.

Travel / Europe / Parenting & Families

The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como by Roland Merullo (Touchstone Books)

Fore, bella!

From the author of critically acclaimed Golfing with God comes a narrative of a hole-in-one trip through Italy – a glorious summer of golfing, eating, and learning how to slow down and enjoy life.

As a self-described type-A personality, Roland Merullo was not immune to the frantic pace of daily life. In the summer of 2007 he was feeling a little burnt out by the frantic pace of his life in the United States and decided to rent an Italian villa near the shore of Lake Como in the town of Mezzegra. He arrived in Italy with his wife and two young daughters, hoping the Mediterranean air would teach him to appreciate the more relaxed, Italian way of living: a focus on food, family, and fun. An avid golfer and golf writer, Merullo also set out to enjoy one of Italy's lesser-known treasures: excellent golf on some gorgeous courses.

In The Italian Summer, Merullo chronicles his experience golfing, eating, and learning how to slow down and enjoy la dolce vita. He spent the summer playing at some of Northern Italy's most beautiful courses – the famed Mennaggio and Cadenabbia among them – and teeing up with a variety of eccentrics along the way. With his thorough knowledge of the game, Merullo recounts his tales from the course.

In addition to his time spent on the green, Merullo also found time to exercise his passion for the rich Italian cuisine. Sampling the food in a wide array of restaurants from Lake Como to southeastern France, Merullo and his family enjoyed course after course of delicious dishes like pesto lasagna in Genoa (where the sauce is said to have been created), superb risotto made with zucchini and a local cheese called tarlezza, and delicious pizza from several pizzerias sampled during the family's summer-long quest to find the perfect pie.

Some scenarios from The Italian Summer:

  • A multi-course dinner at one of Lake Como's most satisfying restaurants, where Merullo's wise choice to skip lunch that day prepared him to "do battle with the forces of dietary caution."
  • Testing out his Italian-inspired theory of playing in a more laid-back fashion, Merullo embarks on a leisurely game of golf with a fellow golfer who seemed to have perfected the art of golfing slowly a little too well.
  • Taking a break from the big leagues, Merullo decides to engage in a simple game of miniature golf with his daughters, only to be faced with a spectacular course complete with high tees, dry gullies and holes up to thirty yards long.
  • Accustomed to the array of breakfast options available in America, Merullo and his family go in search of the elusive Italian breakfast, learning along the way the Italian's custom of fasting in the morning in order to enhance the pleasure of their midday meal.

… Interspersing descriptions of various rounds of golf with trips to local restaurants and taverns, Merullo attempts to capture the sights, smells and sounds of the Italian and Swiss countryside. … Part travel guide, part memoir, Merullo attempts to offer meditations on the richness of a life lived more slowly with good food and good company, but succeeds at little more than his frantic attempts to find a few good golf courses far away from home. – Publishers Weekly
… even non-golfing gourmands will recognize that Merullo describes fairways and greens with the same kind of low-key charm and wit as he rhapsodizes over prosciutto and Pinot Grigio. A special travel book for a special audience. – Bill Ott, Booklist
What an enjoyable read – you will want to immediately leave for a golfing vacation in Italy! – Dr. Bob Rotella, author of Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect
After reading Roland Merullo's delightful The Italian Summer, I found myself daydreaming of emulating his magical summer abroad with golf clubs in tow. Life is too short not to savor its delights. Pour a glass of vino, find an easy chair, and enjoy a splendid tale of golf, food, and life in the peaceful lane, Italian style. – David Wood, author of Around the World in 80 Rounds
A colorful, affectionate tour of Italian landscape and food. – Kirkus Reviews

More than just a travel diary, The Italian Summer is a hymn to a slower, richer way of life – one filled with good food, pleasant company, beautiful surroundings, and, of course, golf. With his customary wit, keen eye, and down-to-earth style, Merullo shares this enthusiastic account of his summer in Italy, offering detailed and often humorous descriptions of meals, colorful characters, rounds of golf at some of the most beautiful courses in Europe, and time spent with family. The Italian Summer brings to life the myriad joys of Italian existence in a way that all lovers of food, wine, travel, and the proverbial ‘good walk spoiled’ will savor.


Contents this page

Beyond Digital Photography: Transforming Photos into Fine Art with Photoshop and Painter by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis & Donal Jolley (Peachpit Press)

Architecture Now! Green Architecture by Philip Jodidio (Architecture Now! Series: Taschen America)

Cisco Router and Switch Forensics: Investigating and Analyzing Malicious Network Activity by Dale Liu (Syngress)

Handbook of Online Learning, 2nd edition edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam, Judith Schoenholtz-Read (Sage Publications)

Thinking BIG, Learning BIG: Connecting Science, Math, Literacy, and Language in Early Childhood by Marie Faust Evitt with Tim Dobbins & Bobbi Weesen-Baer (Gryphon House)

Health and Wellness for Life by Human Kinetics (Health on Demand Series: Human Kinetics)

Principles of Memory: Models and Perspectives by Aimee M. Surprenant & Ian Neath (Essays in Cognitive Psychology Series: Psychology Press)

Personal Conflict Management: Theory and Practice by Suzanne McCorkle & Melanie J. Reese (Allyn & Bacon)

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo (Chicago Review Press)

Greenscapes: Olmsted's Pacific Northwest by Joan Hockaday (Washington State University Press)

The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green by James M Aton, with photography by Dan Miller (Utah State University Press)

Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature by S.K. Robisch (University of Nevada Press)

Curbside Consultation in IBD: 49 Clinical Questions edited by David Rubin, Sonia Friedman, & Francis A. Farraye (Slack)

Stephen Colbert and Philosophy: I Am Philosophy (And So Can You!) edited by Aaron Allen Schiller (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

The Nature of Love by Dietrich von Hildebrand, translated by John F. Crosby with John Henry Crosby (St. Augustine’s Press)

Readings in Arkansas Politics and Government edited by Janine A. Parry & Richard P. Wang, with a foreword David Pryor (The University of Arkansas Press)

What Your Patients Need to Know about Psychiatric Medications, 2nd edition by Robert H. Chew, Robert E. Hales & Stuart C. Yudofsky (American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.)

Repair of the Soul: Metaphors of Transformation in Jewish Mysticism and Psychoanalysis by Karen E. Starr, with a foreword by Lewis Aron (Relational Perspectives Book Series: Routledge)

Lifting Women's Voices: Prayers to Change the World edited by Margaret Rose, Jenny Te Paa, Jeanne Person, & Abagail Nelson, with a foreword by Katharine Jefferts Schori (Morehouse Publishing)

Living Fully, Dying Well: Reflecting on Death to Find Your Life's Meaning by Edward W. Bastian & Tina L. Staley, with contributors Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Joan Halifax Roshi, Ira Byock, Tessa Bielecki, Mirabai Starr, and Marilyn M. Schlitz, edited by Netanel Miles-Yepez (Sounds True)

Art and Spiritual Transformation: The Seven Stages of Death and Rebirth by Finley Eversole (Inner Traditions)

Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness by Victor J. Stenger, with a foreword by Michael Schermer (Prometheus Books)

Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity by Leigh H. Edwards (Profiles in Popular Music Series: Indiana University Press)

College Life Through the Eyes of Students by Mary Grigsby (SUNY Press)

The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South by W. Ralph Eubanks (Smithsonian Books & HarperCollins Publishers)

Researching Race: Theory, Methods and Analysis by Hasmita Ramji (Open University Press)

Porsche 911 Performance Handbook, 1963-1998, 3rd Edition by Bruce Anderson (Motorbooks Workshop Series: Motorbooks)

The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como by Roland Merullo (Touchstone Books)