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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

August 2009, Issue #124

Contents this page:

Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America by Brian Vanden Brink, with an introduction by Howard Mansfield (Down East Books)

IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain by Peter Weill & Jeanne W. Ross (Harvard Business Press)

I Don't Want to Go To School! by Stephanie Blake (Random House Children)

Brand New Emily by Ginger Rue (Tricycle Press)

A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert & Michael Ruhlman (Artisan)

The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet by Pamela Compart & Dana Laake (Fair Winds)

Learning Culture and Language through ICTs: Methods for Enhanced Instruction edited by Maiga Chang & Chen-wo Kuo (Premier Reference Source Series: Information Science Reference)

Teaching the Female Brain: How Girls Learn Math and Science by Abigail Norfleet James (Corwin Press)

Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music . . . from Hank Snow to The Band by Jason Schneider (ECW Press)

Bear With Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears by Patrick McCaskey, with Mike Sandrolini (Triumph Books)

The Real Truth about Aging: A Survival Guide for Older Adults and Caregivers by Neil Shulman, Michael A. Silverman, & Adam G. Golden (Prometheus Books)

Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write: The Wartime Letters of George Timmins, 1916-18 edited by Y. A. Bennett (University of British Columbia Press)

Great Commanders Head to Head: The Battles of the Civil War by Kevin J. Dougherty (Thunder Bay Press)

Love in an Envelope: A Courtship in the American West edited by Daniel Tyler, with Betty Henshaw (University of New Mexico Press)

SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men by Pete Scholey (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

The Surge: A Military History by Kimberly Kagan (Encounter Books)

World War II by H.P. Willmott, Charles Messenger & Robin Cross with an introduction by Richard Overy (DK Publishing)

In the Valley of Mist: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World by Justine Hardy (Free Press)

African Inspirations in Embroidery by Mary Sleigh (Batsford)

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork: 500 Full-Color How-to Photos by Vivian Carli Kistler (Creative Publishing International)

The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call (The Devotional Series: Quarry Books)

Silver Clay Keepsakes: Family-Friendly Projects by Katie Baum & Judi L. Hendricks (Kalmbach Books)

Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques by Rebekah Meier (C&T Publishing)

Requiem of the Human Soul by Jeremy Lent (Libros Libertad)

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner (Bantam Books)

Recent Mammals of Alaska by Stephen O. MacDonald & Joseph A. Cook (University of Alaska Press)

Race, Crime, and Delinquency by George E. Higgins (Pearson Prentice Hall)

Healthcare Transformation: A Guide for the Hospital Board Member by Maulik S. Joshi & Bernard J. Horak, with a foreword by John R. Combes (American Hospital Association: Productivity Press/CRC Press)

Pharmacy Student Survival Guide, 2nd edition by Ruth E. Nemire & Karen L. Kier (McGraw Hill Medical)

Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians by Ambrosiaster, translated and edited by Gerald L. Bray, with series editors Thomas C. Oden and Gerald L. Bray (Ancient Christian Texts Series: IVP Academic)

The Disciples: A Struggle for Reformation by D. Duane Cummins (Chalice Press)

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright (Little, Brown and Company)

In Bed With the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics by Daniel Coleman (The University of Alberta Press)

Hudson River Valley Farms: The People and the Pride behind the Produce by Joanne Michaels, with photographs by Rich Pomerantz, with a foreword by Maurice Hinchey (Globe Pequot Press)

Cycling Britain, 2nd edition by Etain O'Carroll, Aaron Anderson & Marc Di Duca (Lonely Planet)


Arts & Photography

Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America by Brian Vanden Brink, with an introduction by Howard Mansfield (Down East Books)

Brian Vanden Brink, one of America's most sought-after architectural photographers, is drawn to the mystery, sense of loss, and unexpected beauty found in abandoned architecture. In Ruin, Vanden Brink captures in black and white images abandoned structures such as mills, churches, and storefronts – structures that once were important and useful.

By photographing the interiors and exteriors of magnificent homes, Vanden Brink has built a reputation as an architectural photographer, but over the years, he has stolen time from photographing the homes of the affluent to focus on deserted homes and architectural ruins and their relationships to the surrounding landscape. In Ruin, Vanden Brink illuminates homes, churches, mills, bridges, grain elevators, storefronts, the 300-foot-tall chimney of a lead smelter, the pitch-black depths of an Air Force plutonium storage vault, and more. Through Vanden Brink's lens, these structures represent an abandoned America. His photos capture the long, slow demise of structures that once held immense import and usefulness. With an introduction by historic preservation and architecture expert Howard Mansfield, Ruin grants permanence to places that may soon vanish forever.

According to Professor Craig Stevens of the Savannah College of Art and Design, the French government in 1851 recognized the power of photography to visually archive great examples of architectural history and initiated the Heliographic Mission, thereby establishing photography's role in the documentation of manmade structures. "Vanden Brink offers us the architectural photograph as a mnemonic talisman," says Stevens. "His images hold still the eventual passing of these structures long enough for our hearts and minds to glean from them wisps of life's traceries that are transient but real."

... unadorned documentation of what we have built and are now discarding. These architectural symbols are proudly standing, resisting the weathering and abuse of time, to make a statement about their continuing existence. – Steve Simmons, Editor, View Camera Magazine

Brian's images reveal and expose a past not remembered. – Reid Callanan, Director, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Inc.

These photographs speak to us about loss, loneliness, and the inevitable endings of our grand plans. With directness and restraint, Vanden Brink gives us images in which we discern our own futures. – Alan Magee, Artist, Cushing, Maine

With the publication of Ruin, everyone with an interest in photography and architecture will know that Brian Vanden Brink's appreciation for the beauty and dignity of buildings does not stop with their useful lives. – Edgar Allen Beem, Regular Contributor, Photo District News

Ruin captures and illuminates these deserted and moving structures in stunning images so that they become iconic, representing an America that was built and then abandoned.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Computers & Internet

IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain by Peter Weill & Jeanne W. Ross (Harvard Business Press)

Digitization of business interactions and processes is advancing full bore. But in many organizations, returns from IT investments are flat-lining, even as technology spending has skyrocketed.
These challenges call for new levels of IT savvy: the ability of all managers – IT or non-IT – to transform their company's technology assets into operational efficiencies that boost margins.
In IT Savvy, Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross explain how non-IT executives can acquire this savvy. IT Savvy describes the practices, competencies, and leadership skills non-IT managers need to succeed in the digital economy. Readers discover how to:

·         Build a digitized platform of business processes, IT systems, and data to execute on the model.

·         Determine IT decision rights.

·         Fix their IT funding model and governance.

·         Rethink their operating model for a digital economy.

·         Allocate decision rights and accountabilities.

·         Self-assess how IT savvy their firm is now.

·         Exploit their digitized platform for profitable growth.

·         Get greater returns per dollar invested in IT.

IT Savvy is a playbook for using IT to drive bottom-line results. Respected IT experts, Weill, chairman of the Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) at MIT, and Ross, director of MIT CISR, founding senior editor and former editor-in-chief of MISQ Executive, argue that success in the digital economy will go to the companies that are smart about how they use IT. In fact, the authors' research at MIT's Center for Information Systems Research shows that these ‘IT-savvy’ companies generate 20 percent higher profits than their competitors do.

Packed with examples and based on fifteen years of field-tested research into eighteen hundred organizations in more than sixty countries, Weill and Ross distill their vast knowledge into a concise, actionable framework for gaining value from IT. Using illustrations from top-performing global companies such as UPS, Campbell Soup, 7-Eleven Japan, BT, State Street Corporation, and Procter & Gamble, the authors outline a set of capabilities and leadership actions required to make the journey to becoming IT savvy.

CEOs facing the increased complexity of their organizations are becoming ever more dependent on information technology. But ascending the corporate ladder does not automatically guarantee a better understanding of IT. Sound familiar? Read this book – it may prove invaluable to your career. – Pedro Moreira Salles, Chairman, Itau Unibanco S.A., Brazil

This book is a must-read for any general manager responsible for a large-scale enterprise today who wants to do more than just survive the current economic crisis. – James Cash, professor emeritus, Harvard Business School; member of the boards of companies including The Chubb Corporation, General Electric, Microsoft, and Walmart

IT Savvy is a great read for all CxOs – it's a phenomenal synthesis of the best ideas and practices at firms getting great value from their IT capabilities. – Tony Scott, Chief Information Officer, Microsoft Corporation

Tell the truth: do your company's IT initiatives terrify you? Then you need this book. It speaks to executives like you who depend on IT for business. – Marshall N. Carter, Chairman and former CEO, State Street Bank and Trust Company

Finally – a book for nontechnical executives that illustrates all the key components for success with IT. No twenty-first-century manager can afford to ignore it. – Thomas H. Davenport, President's Distinguished Professor of Information, Technology and Management, Babson College

If you have picked up this book, chances are you're a nervous executive. Read it and you will attain the understanding and insight you need to be confident today and find new ways to be excited about tomorrow. IT savvy is survival savvy. – Tom Dery, Worldwide Chairman, M&C Saatchi

IT Savvy is every manager's must-have guide to success in the digital economy. Concise, practical and accessible, it can guide managers as they lead their firms in an increasingly digital era. The book is required reading for non-IT managers seeking to push their company's performance to new heights.

Children / Ages 4-8

I Don't Want to Go To School! by Stephanie Blake (Random House Children)

Here’s a book to ease those first-day of school jitters written by experienced artist-illustrator Stephanie Blake.
In I Don't Want to Go To School! “No way!” is Simon’s mantra when his parents tell him that tomorrow is his first day of school. Simon loves making funny faces and wearing his super-rabbit costume, but he does NOT love going to school. Or, at least, he doesn't think he does. (He hasn't quite gotten there yet.)

"No way!" yells Simon, his super-rabbit cape flowing behind him, as Father explains how Simon will learn the alphabet in school. That night, Simon turns the light off to go to sleep, then on because he is scared, then off again when he gains courage, then back on again as his night-before nerves get the best of him. After he tries to convince himself that he is not scared, Simon calls for help from Mom and Dad, who assure him that he will learn a lot, meet new friends, and have a great day at school.

At breakfast, when Mother says, "Hurry up," Simon responds with, "No way!" In the school yard, Father hugs Simon goodbye and in the itty-bittiest of voices Simon says, "No way!""

Perfect for parents and teachers hoping to quell the worries of new students, Simon's story comes to a super close in I Don't Want to Go To School! After a day of playing the drums in music class and eating chocolate mousse in the cafeteria, Simon hasn't lost his headstrong spirit. When his mother arrives to pick him up. . . "No way!" Simon says.

This spirited new hero of school jitters will resonate with every child whose superpowers have failed to kick their first-day fears. Blake's bright comic­-book-style illustrations, in brilliant primary colors, have a simplicity and vibrancy that jump off the page, bringing Simon the Super Rabbit, a loveable character, to life.

Children / Teens / Social Issues

Brand New Emily by Ginger Rue (Tricycle Press)

Noreen J. Wolfe looked at the people seated around the table and snickered. "You want to hire me? That's rich. Is this some sort of practical joke? Did one of you put her up to this?" then the smile left her face. "I hate practical jokes. Whoever did this is fired."

"It's not a joke," I said. "I have money – $3,250!"

"Well, since you have $3,250, then I guess that's a different story," she said.

"That should almost cover the five minutes of my time you've just wasted. Pay at the desk on your way out."

Brynn was hiding her face behind her hands.

"But I really need your services," I said. "You create public opinion. I read about you. You're like magic – you can do anything. I need your help... desperately."

"Alright, young lady," Noreen said. "I'll tell you what. If you can answer one question correctly for me, I'll take you on." – from the book

Brand New Emily is a debut novel by new writer Ginger Rue, former advice columnist for Sweet 16 magazine, which as a side benefit provides insider information about branding and marketing to teens.

Meet eighth-grader Emily Wood. Until last week, her biggest problem was meeting people.

Everyone at Wright Middle School knows you should not make an enemy of the uber-clique that fourteen-year-old Emily calls The Daisies. But that's exactly what she has done, and now she's paying the price... until Emily stumbles onto some top-secret gossip about a teen heartthrob and finds herself with leverage over a top New York PR firm. Now – with an ace publicist in her corner – make way for Brand Em: She's got style, she's got attitude, and her troubles at school are a thing of the past! One teen outcast and one powerful publicist together create the hottest brand Wright Middle School has ever seen.

But no product can stay hot forever, and it isn't long before Emily discovers the limits of brand loyalty and the dangers of buying the brand and losing herself.

Brand New Emily, Rue's fast-paced and compulsively readable debut novel, reveals the machinations and manipulation behind the creation of a top-selling brand and gives preteen readers an up-close look at the efforts and resources that go into creating a teen sensation. Rue captures perfectly the desire to be part of the in-crowd. And while the solution to Emily's problems may be every teen's fantasy, readers will cheer as the once-bullied girl finds her way back to her true self.
Cooking Food & Wine

A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert & Michael Ruhlman (Artisan)
A Return to Cooking, a highly regarded cookbook by one of the world's most renowned chefs, Eric Ripert, returns in paperback.
Spontaneous meals at home with friends form the foundation of this collection of recipes that are easy enough for novices yet restaurant worthy. The result of a rare sabbatical from this famed chef's 4-star kitchen, A Return to Cooking is "an unprecedented look at the creative process" (Anthony Bourdain) as Ripert prepares simple meals for friends in different locations.
Readers may find themselves enchanted by Ripert's lack of pretense and his irrepressible joie – a chef who likes American mayonnaise and alphabet pasta, but can also lecture on subjects as diverse as the power of vinaigrette and the merits of Tabasco, shallots, and coconut milk. The book provides a bird's-eye view of the magic that occurs when decades of cooking experience coalesce with the forces of a chef’s intuition.
Ripert is the co-author of the recently published On the Line: Inside the world of Le Bernardin, and chef and part-owner of Le Bernardin, awarded four stars by The New York Times, three stars by the Michelin Guide, and rated best restaurant in New York by Zagat.

Ripert reveals that he found that his success as a restaurateur ironically meant less time to cook, so he decided to embark on a journey to rediscover cooking, taking along painter Valentino Cortazar, who provided the illustrations. For this sabbatical A Return to Cooking, Ripert gathered together disparate souls – a writer to be his co-author (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef), photographers (Shimon and Tammar Rothstein), and a personal assistant (Andrea Glick, who would write and test the spontaneously created recipes) – and simply cook. The result is 330 pages, 150 recipes, and nearly 400 color photos and illustrations.

Readers get a peek at the spontaneous inspiration behind such imaginative recipes as Halibut with Grapes and Red Wine-Port Sauce, along with tips for preparation. The four locales are breathtaking – Sag Harbor, N.Y., Puerto Rico, Napa Valley, and Cavendish, Vt. In Puerto Rico, for example, readers are treated to Caramelized Pineapple Crepes with Crème Frâiche; Shrimp with Fresh Coconut Milk, Calabaza, and Avocado; and Seared Tuna with Escabeche of Pear Tomatoes. In Napa, emphasizing mushrooms, Ripert makes Portobello and Eggplant Tart and Double-Cut Veal Chops with Morels and Herb Butter, and on Long Island he prepares Snapper with Caramelized and Braised Shallots and Shallot Jus.

A Return to Cooking is, without a doubt, my favorite cookbook. – Suzanne Goin

Eric is first and foremost a very great chef, but he is also an accomplished teacher who cares about sharing what he has learned. – Martha Stewart

The recipes, which cover a wide spectrum, are first-rate. – The New York Times

An unusually expressive and introspective combination of cooking theory, recipes, photos, and artwork – as unique in style as [is Ripert's] cooking. – Los Angeles Magazine

A sincere love letter to what attracts all of us to cooking in the first place ... with unpretentious and deceptively simple recipes that are fun and easily managed in the home kitchen. – David Kinch

Eric Ripert, chef and part owner of New York's Le Bernadin, discovered that as his chef star rose he drifted far, far away from cooking. A Return to Cooking is his response to this sorry predicament ... What Ripert does with food, the Rothsteins do with photos, Cortazar does with paints, and Ruhlman does with words. The stimulating recipes rise out of a young lifetime of experience. This is a big, lush book … dense with information, technique, and flavor. For anyone who has wandered far from the kitchen and the pleasures inherent in cooking, A Return to Cooking will bring you right back home. – Schuyler Ingle, Amazon.com
 …Ripert offers invaluable insights into sauces – practically everything has a sauce or a pesto. Interspersed throughout are sections on, for example, how to make Lemon Confit and how to humanely kill a lobster. … this is a practical and rare look into what happens when a chef comes out of the industrial-sized kitchen and into the fire of his creativity. – Publishers Weekly
… Filled with gorgeous illustrations and complex flavors common in celebrity chef cookbooks, it is also a meditation on what cooking means and its relationship to art.… Although Ripert initially struggled with being cut off from his New York suppliers, he soon found new connections among his cooking, his environment, and his friends. The recipes are doable for the experienced cook; many call for ingredients that may be hard to obtain, but substituting what's available and fresh is entirely in keeping with the book's philosophy. For all public libraries. – Devon Thomas, Library Journal
The recipes, which cover a wide spectrum, are first rate. – The New York Times Book Review

A Return to Cooking offers a dazzling, enchanting look into the creative process while delivering a useful cookbook. The handsome, oversized book is full of inspired recipes, not too hard for the home cook.

The settings – and fresh food ingredients) are spectacular – Sag Harbor in summer. Puerto Rico in winter. California's Napa Valley in spring. Vermont in fall. Rent a house, shop for food, and make the meals happen.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Health, Mind & Body / Nutrition / Special Diets

The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet by Pamela Compart & Dana Laake (Fair Winds)

When it comes to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), diet does matter. Children with these disorders suffer from maldigestion, the inability to completely digest food down to the simple molecules that our bodies need. Many of those with autism and ADHD produce partially digested and unabsorbed substances that serve as food for unfriendly and possibly pathogenic flora in their intestinal tracts. In addition, some of what is absorbed into the bloodstream acts as false neurotransmitters and as allergens that provoke inflam­matory responses. Of course, the nature of these partially digested substances depends upon the foods that are eaten. That's what this book is about – iden­tifying offending foods and safe foods, and making those safe foods palatable. – John Panghorn, from the foreword

Common to both autism and ADHD is the negative impact certain foods – especially milk products and glutens – have on the child. One of the challenges that parents face is coping with children who have picky appetites and crave the very foods that affect their behavior, focus, and development. The uniqueness of The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook is that it not only provides gluten-free milk-free substitutes and recipes, it provides successful suggestions for feeding the picky eater.

The other challenge is finding ways to get their children to eat healthy foods and improve their nutritional status. The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, written by Pamela Compart, MD, developmental pediatrician, functional medicine physician and founder and director of HeartLight Healing Arts, Inc., and Dana Laake, licensed and practicing nutritionist in Kensington, Maryland, contains simple, delicious, and fun recipes that battle symptoms related to ADHD and autism.

In addition to updates on new research and findings, readers will find in The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook recommendations from the authors for packing school lunches and snacks, plus 100 brand new recipes.

In this revised and updated edition, Compart and Laake have compiled the latest research findings and added more information on other food culprits. Great recipes readers discovered in the first edition include melon mango smoothie, cinnamon pancakes, happy hummus, chicken nuggets, French fries and sweet fries, sweet potato enchiladas, pizza sauce and crust, turkey noodle soup, and chocolate chip cookies. New recipes include easy chicken kabobs, Asian cucumber salad, Thai peanut sauce, polenta, steak fajitas, angle food cake, and apricot almond tart.

Readers learn:

  • How food sensitivities differ from food allergies.
  • How to avoid unsuspected sources of gluten, casein, soy, corn, and nuts.
  • Ways to ‘disguise’ healthy foods and get rid of junk food.
  • Many substitutes, substitutes, and more substitutes!

The authors also share details about how and why the diet works, and explain how to find and use the specialty ingredients readers may see in supermarkets everywhere. And there are testimonials from parents and children – proof that healthy eating habits and improved health are within reach.

Compart says in the preface that it was only after she completed her formal training and began practicing in the ‘real world’ of developmental pediatrics that she realized how critically important nutrition is to overall health and, in particular, to brain functioning. Parents have always been motivated to look at all options to help their children, especially those with special needs. It is only now that science is catching up with what those parents asked for many years ago. Part of the role of The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook is to explain the science behind the diets and why these diets may be worth trying with their children.

According to Dr. Sidney Baker in the foreword, The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook is appro­priately described by its subtitle The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet. This is an ‘all-in­-one’ book that is a combination resource guide and multilevel cookbook. Other cookbooks that provide gluten and casein-free recipes alone are insufficient, providing parents with only a fraction of the help that they need.

Through the ‘Trojan Horse Technique,’ the book teaches parents how to ‘hide’ nutritionally healthy foods so they are readily accepted. There are also sug­gestions for overcoming sensory problems with tex­ture, color, and taste. For busy parents who are also trying to cook special meals, the authors provide two kinds of solutions: "Quick N Easy" versions of recipes and ways to use commercially prepared foods suc­cessfully.

Although written for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the diet can be helpful for any child with a variety of behavioral or developmental challenges. Because it may be easier to change the entire household's diet at the same time, The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook is also written for the families. Other family members are often surprised by improvements in their own health and behavior.

Many books about specialized diets focus only on the elimination of gluten and casein. There are subsets of children who may also react to other common offending foods such as soy, egg, corn, and nuts; yeast-promoting foods; and food components such as phenols (including salicylates), double sugars (disaccharides), and oxalates. This book includes recipes that are free of multiple offending foods.

Pam and Dana know what works for kids ... This book is a fantastic resource for the diets that make a difference. Follow their advice! – Jenny McCarthy, author of Louder than Words and Mother Warriors

The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook tackles all of readers’ concerns and serves as a how-to guide for beginning and maintaining a healthier diet that can improve the child's brain function. Now the best ‘kid-friendly’ recipes and guide to the gluten-free, milk-free diet for ADHD and autism just got better with this revised and updated edition. If readers have ever thought that providing their kids with nutritious and delicious gluten- and casein-free meals is too much for them to handle – it isn't. Not only is it easier than they think, and it can actually be fun for them and their children. The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook shows how.

Education / Computers & Internet / Reference

Learning Culture and Language through ICTs: Methods for Enhanced Instruction edited by Maiga Chang & Chen-wo Kuo (Premier Reference Source Series: Information Science Reference)

In general, teaching the Chinese language can prove difficult without suitable teaching materials and instructors. E-learning courses make student learning of both the Chinese language and culture easier through information communication technologies. Learning Culture and Language through ICTs offers students, instructors, and researchers an authoritative reference to the current progress of Chinese language and cultural e-learning. A collection for libraries and academicians, Learning Culture and Language through ICTs covers topics such as second language learning and computer learning principles.
Editors are Maiga Chang, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing Information and Systems, Athabasca University, Alberta; and Chen-Wo Kuo, section chief in the marketing and licensing department in charge of international licensing matters at the National Palace Museum, Taipei. Topics covered include: IT education; networking/telecommunication; mobile/wireless computing; multimedia technologies; social computing market, computer supported collaborative learning, cultural e-learning, e-learning courses, e-learning resources, game-based learning, information communication technologies, international collaboration, language learning, and synthetic speech.

The objectives of Learning Culture and Language through ICTs are to collect high-quality language and culture e-learning researches and courses and to be a reliable teaching resource to teachers. Section I mainly focuses on the researches of learning languages with ICTs and Section II focuses on finding the relations between language and culture learning. Section III of the book reveals the technologies which enhance language and culture, teaching and learning. There are selected readings in Section IV, including culture-based language learning objects for computer assisted language learning (CALL), intercultural reflections on designing/developing culturally-oriented learning and collaborative project-based learning, principles of good practice for virtual international collaboration, and communication barriers and conflicts in cross-cultural e-learning.

The table of contents of Learning Culture and Language through ICTs outlines the sections:

Section I: Language Learning with ICTs

  1. Online Synchronous English Learning from Activity Theory Perspectives
  2. Supporting Learner Reflection in the Language Transla­tion Class
  3. A Reading Evaluation Method for English as a Foreign Language Learners Based on Reading Performances
  4. Developing Hypertext Reading Materials for the Teach­ing of Arabic

Section II: Relations between Culture and Language Learn­ing

  1. Culture and Language Learning in Computer-Enhanced or Assisted Language Learning
  2. Achieving Cultural Acquiescence Through Foreign Language E-Learning
  3. Learning Cultural Heritage Through Information and Communication Technologies: A Case Study
  4. Using Blended Learning to Teach Foreign Brides Chinese

Section III: Technologies in Learning Cultures and Languages

  1. Exploring the Concept of Emergent Coherence in a Corpus of Korean EFL Texts
  2. The Role of Interactive Computer Graphics to Augment the Learning Experience of Cultural Heritage Within Museums and Expositions
  3. A Mandarin b-Learning System in Pervasive Environment
  4. An Intelligent Web-Based Human-Computer interaction System with Natural Language CSIEC and its Integration into English Instruction
  5. Developing Electronic Portfolios in a Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environment
  6. Synthetic Speech in Computer-Enhanced Foreign Language Learning

Section IV: Selected Readings

  1. Culture-Based Language Learning Objects: A CALL Approach for a Ubiquitous World
  2. Intercultural Dimensions in the Information Society: Reflec­tions on Designing and Developing Culturally Oriented Learning
  3. Intercultural Collaborative Project-Based Learning in On-line Environments
  4. Seven Principles of Good Practice for Virtual International Collaboration

Lifelong learning and continuous training are more easily accomplished if we have the means to access learning activities without the constraints of time and location. Computers and internet connections allow instructors to accomplish that. People of all ages, all ethnic groups and occupations at different locations can jointly participate in the process and try to learn and understand intercultural issues and languages from the comfort of their own homes or workplaces.

Many researchers are doing research on how to use ICT to help teachers teach languages and to help students learn language. The National Security Education Program (NSEP), at the U.S. Department of Defense, proposed $24 million to create incentives to teach and study critical need languages in K-12, and also proposed $1 million to do nationwide Department of Education E-Learning Language Clearinghouse in order to deliver foreign language education resources to teachers and students across the country.

Currently, the College Board offers an AP program for seven different languages including Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Learning Culture and Language through ICTs offers both students and teachers good language and culture e-learning research resources, and it can be a forum to give potential teachers and researchers opportunities to suggest and participate in develop­ing upcoming language and culture related e-learning courses.

Maiga Chang and Chen-Wo Kuo both have participated in the e-learning National Science and Technology Program in Taiwan. They are knowledgeable researchers and experienced practitioner in the e-learning field. They and IGI Global recognize the emergence of a number of innovative instruc­tion methods used in studying cultures and learning languages. This interesting and enlightening book surveys and reviews those methods by the experts in the field. I am certain that it will be of value to both teachers and students in teaching and learning languages and cultures. – Chao-Han Liar, Vice President, Academia Sinica

This essential publication is for all academic and research libraries, as well as all those involved in language learning and communication. It is also of great interest to educators and anyone interested in the process by which the language capability develops in humans. Researchers, practitioners, organiza­tional decision makers, computer scientists, managers, and students in a full range of business and IT related fields will also benefit. This book offers both students and teach­ers good language and culture e-learning research resources, furthermore, this book is a forum to give potential teachers and researchers opportunities to suggest and participate in developing upcoming language and culture related e-learning courses. – Maiga Chang, Athabasca University, Canada

Learning Culture and Language through ICTs provides readers with the methods to apply new information and communication technol­ogy to enhance the learning process with flexibility in regard to time and space. Using the book, researchers can have a reliable resource about the latest research progress of language and culture e-learning researches, and teachers can have resource references when they are teaching language and culture. The target audience for the book is students who want to learn either a second language or culture, teachers who teach language and culture and want to find out about reliable and high quality e-learning research results and resources, and researchers doing language and culture related e-learning researches.

Education / Science / Math

Teaching the Female Brain: How Girls Learn Math and Science by Abigail Norfleet James (Corwin Press)

At the end of my junior year in high school, I had a conversation with my counselor about what I was going to take in my senior year. The year before, the girls' school that I attended had made an arrangement with the nearby boys' school to allow students at each school to attend the other school if their own school did not offer a course they wanted. I was excited as it meant that, in my senior year, I would be able to take upper-level math and science courses not available at my school. When I raised this possibility with my guidance counselor, she patted my hand and said, and I remember her words exactly, "My dear, what possible use are you ever going to have for calculus and physics?" I was upset, but without anyone to contradict her, I accepted her decision and took analytical algebra and biology at my own school instead.… In the years since that time, I became a teacher of math and science and had to take calculus and physics in college, not an easy task since all of my classmates had taken the courses first in high school. I taught math and science in girls' schools and pressed each of those institutions to offer upper-level courses even if there were only a few students who expressed an interest. – from the book

An ever-increasing body of research is enhancing our knowl­edge about the complex relationship between gender and cognition. Researchers have focused on the similar and different ways girls' and boys' brains process information. Their findings, though varied in scope, support the conclusion that girls' brains differ in several key ways from boys' brains and that the resulting differences influence how girls and boys learn. Most recently, scientific research has expanded to include the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to understand better neurological growth and connections. Additionally, studies in educational psychology and sociology continue to make important contributions to this field of research. With this expand­ing body of knowledge, synthesis and real-world application are needed to realize its benefits.

In Teaching the Female Brain readers discover how girls’ sensory, physical, cognitive, and emotional characteristics affect performance and how teachers can tailor instruction to promote girls’ learning in math, science, and other areas. Abigail Norfleet James provides research-based findings to build readers’ understanding of how females learn differently, whether in coed or single-sex settings, and clarifies assumptions held by both teachers and students about themselves. James, whose area of expertise is developmental and educational psychology as applied to the gendered classroom, taught for many years in single-sex schools and consults on the subject of gendered teaching to school systems, colleges, and universities.

Readers find in Teaching the Female Brain:

  • Specific instructional techniques and practical applications for differentiating instruction in math and science.
  • Ways of dealing with girls' stress.
  • Up-to-date findings on styles of learning and math anxiety.
  • Resources, figures, and charts, as well as quizzes in each chapter that introduce the topic and challenge preconceived notions of learning differences.

Teaching the Female Brain builds on the key concepts established in James's first book, Teaching the Male Brain (2007), which outlines the cognitive, sensory, physical, social, and emotional differences between genders. Following each area of her synthesis of the latest research, overview of brain functions, and explanation of learning modalities – which includes learning differences –James provides practical strategies for using this information.

James tells how during the 1950s, women began to rise up the ladder in union and industrial jobs, one of many factors caus­ing social pressure resulting in the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As women became more politically active, it was apparent that the abysmal state of math and science training for women was preventing them from obtaining employment in highly paid technical fields. In fact, between the 1900s when math and science were considered women's courses and the 1960s, the idea had developed that math and science were not subjects in which girls could do well. One facet of the women's movement has been on helping girls obtain parity in education, especially in technical fields.

The rebound of women in science and math is beginning. In 1978, 11% of bachelor's degrees in physics were awarded to women; by 2004, women received 23% of bachelor's degrees in physics. Doctorate degrees for women in the same field are showing a similar upturn from 7% in 1978 to 16% in 2004. Great strides for women have been made in the STEM areas. Women are graduating with degrees in these areas in increasing proportions even though the total number of students in math, physics, and engineering has dropped.

The improvement that women have made in their representation in science and math is well noted, but the progress is slow. The reasons for the slow inclusion of women into technical fields are complex. For the teacher, however, the only concern should be in making sure that all students, girls included, receive the best education possible. What that means is that the exploration of different strategies and approaches to teaching science and math will widen the range of learning opportunities benefiting each student in the classroom.

There are substantial cognitive gender differences that can make a major impact on how girls and boys experience the classroom. Chapter 1 covers those differences and suggests ways for teachers to help girls learn by altering the presentation of material to suit the ways they best process information. Specific strategies for math (Chapter 4) and science (Chapter 5) are covered in Teaching the Female Brain. The recommended approaches are predicated on cognitive-gender differences and learning-style differences and provide explicit methods for each subject.

Readers will notice that the title of Teaching the Female Brain is about the female brain and not about teaching math and science to girls. The problems that some girls have with STEM courses have two origins. The first is social pressure to conform to the stereotype that many girls cannot do well in math and science. Some of the suggestions that readers will find are designed to help students change their opinions about what courses are suitable for girls. The second is connected with differences in learning styles, which can have an effect on the way students acquire information. Readers will find some boys who approach the learn­ing process in ways similar to girls, and they will also benefit from approaches discussed in Teaching the Female Brain.

Finally, suggestions for developing school-wide programs to help all students are covered. The numbers of students enrolled in math and science courses have dropped for both boys and girls, and encouraging participation in programs in STEM topics will help all students.

I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. James is an authority on teaching the teacher brain; she combines sound, up-to-date scholarship with effective, practical advice. Whether you teach girls or boys or both, this book is an invaluable resource for classroom strategies and professional growth. – Patricia D. Parisi, Principal
 James’ text is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents of girls. The practical suggestions for math and science teachers are an absolute highlight. If educators read and follow the encouraging suggestions in this book, more girls would be empowered to succeed in math and science. – Kate Broadley, Researcher, Alliance of Girls’ Schools

Teaching the Female Brain is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, educational policymakers, and other adults who work closely with young women and men. James establishes a broad understanding of gender differences and an awareness of the many ways to influence positively girls' confidence in math and science. This self-assurance is essential to the success of girls in our modern, technological world as well as to their overall ability to reach their potential and to contribute to our collective future: a future where all girls embrace science, technology, engineering, and technology with enthusiasm and confidence. – Monica M. Gillespie, Head of School of St. Paul's School for Girls

Teaching the Female Brain is an engaging, practical guide examining how girls' unique sensory, physical, cognitive, and emotional characteristics affect their performance in the classroom, and shows teachers how to adapt classroom experiences to assist girls' learning, particularly in math and science. With practical strategies, her chapter on stress, test anxiety, math anxiety, and the typically overlooked topic of self-handicapping is helpful not only to teachers but also to parents and students. Her real-world examples are insightful and will resonate with all readers.

Entertainment / Music / History & Criticism

Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music . . . from Hank Snow to The Band by Jason Schneider (ECW Press)

Canada is home to some of the 20th century's most loved and respected songwriters including Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and The Band.

Jason Schneider, respected Canadian music journalist provides the first comprehensive history of Canada’s songwriting legacy, Whispering Pines, tracing a distinctly Canadian musical identity from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s. While nearly all songwriters who successfully crossed this divide did so by immersing themselves in the American and British forms of blues, folk, country, and rock 'n' roll, this guide reveals that Canadian sensibilities were never far beneath the surface.

What was it that crossed borders so well? An answer has proved elusive. Some believe it was a deeply rooted obsession with Canada's diverse and haunting landscape. Others feel it had more to do with the changes that artists experienced after they had been separated from that landscape. And then there are those who believe it was simply a unique take on the culture to the south that inspired them, an aesthetic derived from an outsider's perspective.

Based on extensive research and numerous first-person interviews, Whispering Pines shows that Canadian songwriters have always struggled to create work that reflects the environment in which they were raised and simulta­neously connect with the masses. For most of the 20th century, that audience lay outside Canada, making the challenge that much greater.

With each passing decade, a clearer picture emerged of what Canadian songwriters were contributing to popular music, and of their influence on fellow artists all over the world.

As time went by what they were contributing to popular music, and subsequently passing on to fellow artists, became tangible. Just as Hank Snow became a giant in country music, Ian & Sylvia and Gordon Lightfoot became crucial components of the folk revival. In the folk-rock boom that followed in the late ‘60s, songs by The Band and Leonard Cohen were instant standards, while during the singer-songwriter movement of the ‘70s, few artists were more revered than Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

Whispering Pines (named after Richard Manuel's song from The Band's self-titled second album) is the first thorough exploration of how these, along with other lesser known, but no less significant artists came to establish a distinct Canadian musical identity. It is a sweeping, narrative history, explaining the personal and creative connections that many of the artists shared, with emphasis placed, on the music – how and where it originated, and what impact it eventually had on the artists' subsequent work, as well as the wider musical world.

Whispering Pines is a vivid journey to the heart of the Canadian narrative song tradition, the nation's most enduring form of self-expression. Jason Schneider is more than a passionate victim of the affirmative power of music: he's also a masterful storyteller who brings to electric life the characters in this epic yarn, and illuminates their contributions to Canada's – and the world's – artistic treasury with stunning clarity and style. – Greg Quill, Toronto Star

In Whispering Pines, Jason Schneider works like a tapestry artist in reverse: he pulls out key threads in the Canadian songwriting mythology and weaves something new – an indelibly-rendered, compelling new narrative about Canada's most important artistic tradition. – Paul Cantin, No Depression.com

Sweeping and comprehensive, Whispering Pines is the first complete history of Canada’s most beloved songwriters. Lively anecdotes and interviews round out the history, but the emphasis is on the essential music – how and where it originated and its impact.

Entertainment / Sports / Biographies & Memoirs

Bear With Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears by Patrick McCaskey, with Mike Sandrolini (Triumph Books)

The McCaskeys do not consider themselves to be the owners of the Bears; we are stewards of the Hallas legacy. That legacy has two parts: win championships and be of service to others. – Patrick McCaskey

The Chicago Bears are many things: a charter member of the NFL; the winningest team in NFL history; owner of nine league championships; and home to 26 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, including legends such as George Halas, Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, and Walter Payton.

But the Chicago Bears have always been one thing above all else: a family business. Throughout their nearly 90 years of existence, the Monsters of the Midway have been owned and operated by the Halas and McCaskey families. Bear With Me, written by Papa Bear's grandson Patrick McCaskey, invites readers inside their private world and gives fans a unique perspective on the history of the Bears and the family that lives and dies with every game.

From childhood days spent bouncing on his grandfather's knee to his current role as the team's senior director of special projects, Patrick McCaskey has lived and breathed Bears football his entire life.  Bear With Me features a lifetime's worth of his personal reflections, including his grandfather's days as the team's coach and owner; receiving coaching tips from quarterback Bill Wade; finding himself on the receiving end of Walter Payton's practical jokes; and how owning the Bears has been a blessing for him, his parents, his siblings, and his own children.

Co-author Mike Sandrolini, award-winning writer, editor, and columnist, in the introduction tells the story of how he happened to be working as a sportswriter for his hometown newspaper, the Daily News-Tribune in LaSalle, Illinois, during the mid-1980s – an era during which the Bears were one of the NFL's dominant teams. One day in late July 1985, he decided to make the trek to Platteville, Wisconsin – the community that played host to the Bears' summer training camp – in order to get a firsthand look at ‘Iron Mike’ Ditka's squad.

There they were, all the personalities that made those teams so special – Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, ‘Samurai’ Mike Singletary, the punky QB known as McMahon, ‘Mama's Boy’ Otis Wilson, Willie Gault, ‘L.A.’ Mike Richardson, and the rookie, William ‘the Refrigerator’ Perry. He says the sight of the Fridge sitting in an ice tub after practice wearing nothing but a pair of gym shorts is still etched in his mind to this day. However, another man made quite an impression on him: Mike McCaskey, who was then the Bears' president. He remembers pulling out his tape recorder and asking him questions about the team. McCaskey answered every query; it was like having a conversation with his next-door neighbor.

One of George S. Halas' 13 grandchildren, Pat has been an integral part of the Bears organization for more than 35 years, and he's been around the team all his life. So it should come as no surprise that family is a recurring theme throughout Bear With Me.

It has taken Pat years to compile and compose all the stories readers will find. He provides detail on the life and times of his grandfather, George Halas – how he grew up in Chicago; became a three-sport athlete at the University of Illinois; took a job at A.E. Staley Company in Decatur to become player/coach of the company's football team; got the green light to move the team from Decatur to Chicago; changed its name from the Staleys to the Bears; made them a charter member of the new American Professional Football Association (which later became the NFL), then led them through great years and lean years, through the Great Depression and a world war, through the 1963 NFL championship, and into the era of Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus.

But Pat also expounds on George Halas, the man, by giving insight on how Papa Bear influenced Pat's life, and how he loved and cared for his family, his friends, and those who played for him. Pat tells readers all about what it was like growing up in the Edward and Virginia McCaskey household with his seven brothers and three sisters. And woven in with these stories are accounts and tidbits on great Bears teams, players, and personalities.

It's been an honor and privilege to help Pat put this book together. I trust you'll enjoy it. – Mike Sandrolini

Featuring amusing anecdotes, poignant remembrances, and never-before-seen family photographs, Bear With Me is a one-of-a-kind trip into the world of the Chicago Bears from a man who has lived there since the day he was born.
Health, Mind & Body / Parenting & Families / Caregivers

The Real Truth about Aging: A Survival Guide for Older Adults and Caregivers by Neil Shulman, Michael A. Silverman, & Adam G. Golden (Prometheus Books)

As life expectancy continues to increase, millions of seniors are living well into their eighties and nineties. With the aging of the baby boomers, the population of senior citizens will swell dramatically in the coming decades. These statistics will inevitably draw more attention to the aging process. What should middle-aged people expect as they grow older? What should caregivers of the elderly know about normal aging? How can we all stay healthy despite the limitations of age?

In The Real Truth about Aging, three experts in geriatric medicine provide the latest evidence on: healthy aging, an understanding of the modern and often confusing health care system, and information about the medical issues affecting frail older adults. Authors of The Real Truth about Aging are Neil Shulman, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine; Michael Silverman, MD, MPH, president of the Florida Geriatrics society, voluntary professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and medical director of the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged; and Adam G. Golden, MD, MBA, Investigator in the Miami Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Readers learn:

  • To navigate through the confusing healthcare system.
  • Which vitamins may make a difference in health.
  • Safe new approaches to getting a good night's sleep.
  • Important health tips that can save money.
  • Facts about cutting-edge research that even a geriatric specialist may not know.
  • Vital tips on how to prevent injuries while exercising.
  • Important tips about medications.

The Real Truth about Aging begins with the basic facts of aging, distilling the current research on the underlying molecular mechanisms, organ system changes, and associated disease risks that occur as bodies get older. The authors devote separate chapters to preventative medical testing, so-called anti-aging therapies, vitamin and herbal supplements, exercise, and medication problems.

In the next section, they present an overview of the American healthcare system, from making the most of a doctor's visit and an explanation of various healthcare professionals involved in elder care to guidelines for choosing a nursing home or assisted care facility. They also discuss the health risks of a stay in the hospital, including antibiotic-resistant infections, temporary delirium, and bedsores.

In the following section, they tackle the challenges of caring for a frail senior, covering a range of issues from falls, osteoporosis, and infections, to sleep difficulties, depression, and dementia. A chapter is also devoted to the last days of life and how hospice can help.

The authors also provide a section on the need to plan ahead. Among the questions considered are: When should an advance directive be written? How much money will be needed for the elder years? When should a senior give up driving?

The Real Truth about Aging is a comprehensive and well written book which should be helpful to the general public and health professionals alike. – David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., 16th Surgeon General of the United States

Accurate, concise, and easy to understand, The Real Truth about Aging is a 'must read' for the MATURE adult. This is a reference guide for how to maintain a healthful life. – Monica Willis Parker, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Emory University School of Medicine

… This book is chock full of useful information, like taking a look at nursing homes from all angles: what do the patients think? Or the staff? Are nursing homes REALLY understaffed? Why are older people on too many prescription medications? This book goes beyond the usual fluff of 'aging gracefully' books and provides real information that you can use. – J. Douglas Bremner MD, author of Before You Take That Pill: Why The Drug Industry May Be Bad For Your Health, Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine

This book is a must. It is an informative, up-to-date, and wise compilation of all the best knowledge available on a subject everyone has to deal with. I found it personally invaluable. – James T. Laney, President Emeritus, Emory University

Clearly communicating often-complex health information is more vital today than ever. The Real Truth about Aging empowers patients and their families to make good decisions and ask good questions about their care. – Cindy W. Hamilton, PharmD, ELS, President of the American Medical Writers Association 2008-2009

[Co-author] Neil Shulman is a multi-talented author whose writings touch everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, and who can deliver important information on serious topics in a very readable and accessible way. – Daniel S. Blumenthal, MD, MPH, Professor and Chair, Department of Community Health & Preventive Medicine, Associate Dean for Community Programs, Morehouse School of Medicine

At a time when geriatric medicine is becoming a rare specialty and doctors receive little training in this area, the wealth of information compiled in this authoritative and user-friendly guide is invaluable. Comprehensive and well written, The Real Truth about Aging distills the basic facts, based on current research, into a language everyone can understand. Senior citizens, their families, and even healthcare professionals will find it to be an unparalleled resource.

 History / Military / World War I / Americas / Canada

Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write: The Wartime Letters of George Timmins, 1916-18 edited by Y. A. Bennett (University of British Columbia Press)

I see in the papers that we are still pushing ahead & Canucks are doing fine work. Such is the peculiar make-up of a man that often as I have wished myself out of it & knowing as I do, none better, the horrors of it, I almost find myself wishing I was into it again. Its so good to feel you are in & winning. Advancing all the time. Its so different to fighting on the defensive like we were in March & April. That's what gets your goat. Anyway, kiddie, I suppose I should be thankful to be lying here in a good warm bed with lots to eat, instead of being suffering what I know the boys are suffering out there. Its adding to my chances of eventually getting home again & seeing you all. I often imagine what it will be like to have you all round me again. Sometimes squabbling eh? I'll guarantee to be good natured and every other old thing that goes to make a model husband. – from one of the wartime letters of George Timmins

As told in Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write, writing from the safety of an English hospital, this is how George Timmins confided to his wife, May, the conflicting emotions he was experiencing in August 1918 at the end of his effective military service. At the outset, in March 1916, when he enlisted in the 116th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he was a thirty-three-year-old devoted husband and father of three children living at 460 Albert Street in Oshawa, Ontario. By October, he had been transferred to the 18th, and it was with this battalion that he served at Vimy, Lens, Passchendaele, and Amiens, where he was wounded on 8 August 1918 in the advance. After a brief period of training at Niagara Camp, George left Halifax bound for England, on 23 July 1916. Nine days later, he arrived in Liverpool. Letters became the only means of communication between the couple, and between the children and their father, for over two years.

Between 1916 and 1918, Lance-Corporal George Timmins, a British-born soldier who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote faithfully to his wife and children. Sixty-three letters and four fragments survived. The letters in Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write tell the story of a man who, while helping his fellow Canadians make history, used letters home to remain a presence in the lives of his wife and children, and who drew strength from his family to appreciate life's simple pleasures. Timmins' letters, pulled together by Y.A. Bennett, associate professor of history at Carleton University, offer a window into the experiences and relationships and the quiet heroism of ordinary soldiers on the Western Front.

The Timmins letters are an important collection because they draw readers into the everyday life and relationships, at home and abroad, of a married Canadian infantryman. Unfortunately, not much is known about the lives of soldiers' wives since so little of their correspondence survives. Little, too, is known of the perspective of children. None of the letters from May and the children have survived, but such is the strength of George's devotion that they do not remain as shadows. It is one side of a conversation, but the portrait of a marriage and family still emerges with clarity. A man of limited formal education, George chooses simple words, but he employs them well, with a sense of humor and a keen sense of observation.

The simple words introduce readers to a world of multiple issues. Four inter­secting communities – the family, Oshawa, the Front, and civilian society behind the lines – significantly sustained and shaped George Timmins' experiences of the war. The endnotes initiate a dialogue between the themes in the war letters – and those subsequent to the war included in the Epilogue – and their discussion in current historical writing: soldiers' censorship and self-censorship; civilians' knowledge of the conflict; everyday life as a re­fracting medium of that knowledge; and the tides of enthusiasm and disillusionment for the war.`

May and George were both twenty-two years old when they married in Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Old Hill (near Birmingham), on 1 March 1905. Her father was a chainmaker, in an industry described by Robert Sherard, one of England's social investigators, in 1896, as one of "the worst paid and most murderous trades of England." To escape poverty and the class system, the couple sailed for Canada a week after their marriage.

In the First World War, the mails were the primary medium for the expression of support for the troops, which was widely recognized as crucial to morale. This was certainly true for George. He hungered for this contact with his wife and children. Correspondence enabled George and May to convert the pain of separation into an experience of absence that might be better endured. However, a long-standing habit of totally open communication was now constrained. Of the surviving letters, several refer to the censor and to George's inhibitions about writing in intimate terms to his wife. Letters often went astray or would arrive all of a heap. The irregularity of the mails compounded George's longing for his wife and his children, and his anxiety over their health and welfare.

These troubles notwithstanding, George received a steady supply of letters and parcels from his family in England, who were also in close touch with May and the children. One is struck by the closeness and evident warmth of George's family ties and the degree to which the family was able to maintain them across such distances and in such trying times.

From his sixty-three surviving wartime letters, Timmins emerges as a man of principle with a strong sense of the value of family, of duty and fairness, friendship and community. George reveals himself as a man who measured himself against himself. He was a man of ethical substance, whose ability to maintain his perspective, equilibrium, and ‘genial love of little ordinary human things’ owed much to the strength that he derived from intersecting communities of effort, civilian and military, at home and abroad. Foremost among these was his family, who went to war in March of 1916 as surely as he did.

Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write offers us new insight into the multiple themes and narratives that underpin the First World War experience: the role of the civilian-soldier in war, the horror and brutality of trench-warfare, the boredom and banality of military service. Timmin's letters, framed within a solid historical background, also reveal his personal struggle with having left his family behind to fend for themselves in Canada. – Tim Cook, author of Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917-1918, Vol. 2

Written with passion and candor, these letters add substantially to our understanding of a soldier's experience of the war. They provide great insight into the views of a married infantryman, as Timmins writes openly about his feelings with respect to his family and the behind-the-lines activities of the common soldier. He also offers a rare glimpse – sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous – into soldier camaraderie and relationships with the French civilian population. – Margaret Conrad, author of The History of the Canadian Peoples, 5th ed.

The compelling letters in Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write offer a rare glimpse into the experiences of a Canadian infantryman. This story of heroism and brotherhood will appeal to anyone interested in how ordinary soldiers experienced and survive the First World War.

History / Americas / Civil War

Great Commanders Head to Head: The Battles of the Civil War by Kevin J. Dougherty (Thunder Bay Press)

Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation in order to accomplish the mission and improve the organization. It is the most dynamic element of an army’s combat power. Great Commanders Head to Head examines the role that leadership played in some of the key battles of thee Civil War, providing detailed accounts and expert analysis of eleven key Civil War battles, from First Manassas (July 1861) to Kennesaw Mountain (June 1864).

There have been many books written about the Civil War, but none have captured the bloody battles quite like this book, written by Kevin J. Dougherty, retired U.S. Army officer and instructor in the Department of History at the University of Southern Mississippi. Each chapter in the book examines a decisive battle between a pair of imposing adversaries, featuring some of the greatest American commanders in battle: Lee vs. McClellan on the blood-soaked fields of Antietam, Beauregard vs. McDowell at First Manassas, and Sherman vs. Hood in the March to the Sea. Each head-to-head battle includes a contextual introduction, a description of the action, and an analysis of the aftermath. Military experts share their insights into the strategies of each commander. Specially commissioned, full-color maps depict an overhead view of featured battles, including the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Conflicts are described as they happened, with annotations and color-coded symbols to show the movement of opposing forces. Special box features showcase opposing commanders’ strengths and weaknesses, and offer analysis as to why one triumphed on the battlefield while the other failed.

Every account is concluded with a critique of the generals involved, examining their tactical strengths and weaknesses and how they measured up against each other. Also included are full order-of-battle diagrams for each conflict, listing the forces and commanders involved.

According to Great Commanders Head to Head, Civil War leaders of both the North and South had many shared experiences. Many were products of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and many had first tasted combat in the Mexican War. This shared background meant many of them had been good friends and comrades in the ‘Old Army.’ They knew each other personally and professionally. They were aware of one another's strengths and weaknesses, capabilities and limitations, likes and dislikes. To be sure, the Federal army was larger and better equipped, but both armies were made up of American soldiers, largely volunteers, who brought with them the typical American characteristics of independence, patriotism, and ingenuity. Molding these mass armies into disciplined fighting units would be an important leadership task for Civil War commanders.

Both armies had to come to grips with the impact of new technologies on the battlefield. Rifles, railroads, mines, balloons, ironclads, and steam-powered ships all required tactical and operational adjustments by the commanders. Some understood the impact more readily than others, and many times the soldiers in the ranks paid the price for their commander's slow learning.

The result of all these phenomena was that leadership was a critical component in determining the outcome of many Civil War battles. Superior leadership allowed Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee to overcome huge disadvantages at the Battles of Kernstown and Chancellorsville. Resolute leadership allowed generals such as Ulysses S. Grant to turn defeat at Shiloh into victory. Timid leadership caused other generals such as George B. McClellan to forfeit the advantage at Antietam. Many leaders found themselves in command positions for which they were unprepared, such as John Pemberton at Vicksburg and Irvin McDowell at First Manassas, and the results of the battles reflected that situation. Other leaders, such as William Tecumseh Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, had grown throughout the war and found themselves in situations tailor-made for their abilities. Some leaders rose to the challenge presented to them, such as George Meade at Gettysburg, while others failed, such as Braxton Bragg at Perryville. And in some cases, such as Lee at Spotsylvania, leaders won the battle but failed in the broader strategic context.

Great Commanders Head to Head is an accessible and insightful study of battlefield tactics for both military enthusiasts and general readers. The book examines in detail how the leading generals of the Civil War measured up against each other at some of the most important battles. With more than 170 photographs, illustrations, and maps; complete order-of-battle tables; and eyewitness accounts, the book brings this period of American history to life.

History / Americas

Love in an Envelope: A Courtship in the American West edited by Daniel Tyler, with Betty Henshaw (University of New Mexico Press)

Fifty-four letters survive: thirty from Leroy, twenty-four from Martha. I found them in a rough-cut wooden box, buried in the bottom of a container filled with papers relating to Carpenter family history. At the time of discovery, I was working on a biography of Martha and Leroy's second son, Delphus.…

I was not prepared for what I found in that small wooden box. As I began to liberate a few of the letters from their long imprisonment in tightly creased envelopes measuring five by two inches, I became aware of being one of the first, if not the first, to witness the private thoughts, questions, and intimacies of two people who gradually learned to love each other through long-distance correspondence. It was like finding unexpected and undeserved riches. At first I felt I might be violat­ing the confidentiality of Leroy and Martha's most private moments. Perhaps I was prying too deeply into someone else's life. But after I had read their own views of these letters, I realized how proud they were of their epistolary courtship, and I concluded there was considerable value in publishing their love story. – from the book

Everyone likes to open an old box to find long-forgotten love letters. In Love in an Envelope, historian Daniel Tyler peers into the romance of a nineteenth-century couple through letters that recount the practical challenges of frontier life and the evolution of a love relationship.

When Leroy Carpenter left his home in Iowa in April 1871 to pursue farming in Greeley, Colorado, he left behind Martha Bennett, a young lady from De Witt, Iowa. The two had been introduced the previous fall and began writing letters to each other in December of 1870. Over the next sixteen months their correspondence would blend romantic elements with the practical challenges of frontier life, eventually leading to their marriage, which would last fifty-five years. Love in an Envelope, edited by Tyler, emeritus professor of history, Colorado State University, is a compilation of fifty-four letters exchanged between Carpenter and Bennett revealing the societal changes facing men and women in the late-nineteenth-century West and providing an alternative to studies of class and gender that tend to focus on the more urban and industrialized Eastern seaboard of the time. Their correspondence reflects their roots in agrarian culture, offering a glimpse into the private world of middle-class, rural America and the social, political, religious, and economic landscape that affected their lives.
As he boarded a westbound train near his Tipton, Iowa, home in April 1871, Leroy S. Carpenter eagerly looked ahead to a new future in the recently settled Union Colony of Greeley, Colorado. He had almost no regrets leaving the lands his father had broken out two decades ear­lier. At age twenty-seven, most of his life had been spent working on the family farm. He was ready for a new challenge, and so was his father. At seventy-five, Daniel Carpenter exuded the classic charac­teristics of a typical frontiersman. He decided to sell all the improved Iowa property, pocket the cash, and invest in undeveloped lands in the West. Leroy and three siblings accompanied their parents on this pio­neer enterprise.

But Leroy's ties to Iowa were not destined to be completely sev­ered. Although his principal thoughts on the train may have focused on potential adversities awaiting the family in Colorado, he carried in his heart the image of a young lady from De Witt, Iowa, whom he had met during the fall of 1870. Martha A. Bennett would turn seventeen a few days after the Carpenters arrived in Colorado. Martha and Leroy had been introduced by Methodist relatives, and because both families attended church regularly and farmed within thirty miles of each other, they had been able to visit on at least two occasions prior to Leroy's sudden departure.

As told in Love in an Envelope, the two began exchanging letters in December 1870 when both were still living in Iowa. They continued to write for the next sixteen months, Leroy posting most of his letters from Greeley, and Martha replying from several post offices in Iowa near the schools where she was teaching. In April 1872, with his first Colorado crops in the ground, Leroy returned by train to marry the woman with whom he had fallen in love through correspondence. They had been separated for over a year.

In the letters, Martha made clear to Leroy that church worship, Sunday school, and prayer would govern her daily life after marriage. But as her letters clearly indicate, the romantic love she felt for Leroy gradually matured into another strong emotion that blended easily with her devotion to God. Fortunately, Leroy was of a like mind, although far less evangelical. The Methodist Church was an integral part of his self-identification, and his letters are filled with references to the importance of a family life in which religion played a dominant role.

As was typical of most nineteenth-century courtships based on romantic love, Leroy urged Martha to reveal her most personal thoughts. She responded in kind, insisting that she was far from per­fect, that she was too young to know much about homemaking, and that her many faults might challenge his love. It was a form of testing that frequently appeared in courtship correspondence once a couple was engaged. It was meant as a warning to Leroy that he was expected to love her in spite of her imperfections. She reciprocated his appeal for sincere, open, and in-depth dialogue. His responses echoed similar feelings of inadequacy, along with a stated recognition that courting, which had brought them both so much pleasure, was by its very nature a far different association than the marriage they were both planning.

In a nutshell, Tyler explains in the introduction to Love in an Envelope, Martha and Leroy's courtship correspondence was both atypical and analogous to extant collections of nineteenth-century courtship correspondence originating from urban communi­ties. They observed the general form of courtesy and politeness typical of the period. They teased each other about their respective foibles; they expressed great concern about health issues, especially when letters were delayed by storms or irregular train service; and they described rapturously the feelings of joy that filled their hearts as the wedding day neared. What ‘love’ meant to each of them is probably as mysterious now as it was then. But it appears they felt immense relief and satisfaction at finding another person of similar values and beliefs. This feeling opened doors to expressions of their innermost feelings – an act of love itself, especially when these feelings were reciprocated. Even though their married life began in close proximity to Leroy's parents, they rejoiced at the prospect of being able to live by themselves in their own home, beginning a new life together, and enjoying a companionate marriage of equal partnership. Their discus­sions of women's rights, division of labor in the household, and the need to share farm work mark these letters as singular examples of a courtship that looked beyond romance into the practical challenges of keeping a home. Their writings remained positive in tone, direct in meaning, considerate, humorous, and earthy. They apologized for lapses in style, unpolished prose, and problems with expression, but their letters are remarkably articulate. Once they recognized their betrothal, the affection they expressed was enriched by imagining how they would deal with the everyday exigencies of the life that awaited them in Colorado.

Leroy and Martha courted with an honesty that served them well long after the wedding day. Like most who courted by mail in the Victorian era, their communications were conducted in an aura of secrecy. They searched, usually unsuccessfully, for privacy to write and to read the letters which occasionally took on anthropomorphic form; the more private their correspondence and engagement, the deeper their love. With friends, family, and acquaintances, they reveled in preserving the secret of their betrothal. It was the most intimate aspect of their lives to date, and they were reluctant to share it publicly for fear the experience of love would become less intense.

To get a better sense of who they were and the environment in which they matured, Tyler his assistant Betty Henshaw traveled to Tipton, De Witt, Clinton, Davenport, Calamus, Low Moor, Iowa City, Greeley, and Fort Collins. They searched county archives, local newspapers, histories, assessors' records, land plats, church records, and other sources that might provide information on the Bennett and Carpenter families. They talked to senior citizens, visited cemeteries, and engaged the services of the University of Iowa and local historical societies. With a firmer sense of Iowa in the 1870s, Henshaw transcribed Martha's letters, while Tyler took on Leroy's. They both tried to be as faithful as possible to what was written, without revising sentences or changing spelling to accommodate modern readers. What they offer in Love in an Envelope as a product of their transcription, research, and editing is the narrative of an intensifying passion between two people who not only had a strong desire to pres­ent themselves and their ideas meaningfully and respectfully, but who thought deeply about who they were and what they wanted in the way of a marriage partner. The letters they wrote bear witness to the matu­rity and devotion of each correspondent.

What readers will find in Love in an Envelope are the hopes and fears of two young people who fell in love by mail. Their profession of faith in a just God, their determination to prepare for the ‘next life,’ and their com­mitment to doing God's will in an ‘unfriendly world’ dominate an ani­mated discourse that reflects their Methodist upbringing. The charm of their letters rests on the sincerity and decency of their communication. They wanted their love to be based on friendship, mutual respect, trust, and an intelligent perception of the frontier life that awaited them.

Did it work? Martha and Leroy celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1922 with their three children and a dozen grandchil­dren.

History / Europe / Military

SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men by Pete Scholey (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

From WWII to Iraq the SAS (Special Air Service) has been at the forefront of armed conflict, though most people wouldn't realize it was even there. Acknowledged as the best special forces in the world, these are remarkable soldiers whose story should be told.
SAS Heroes contains former SAS soldier Pete ‘the Joker’ Scholey's memories of 20 warriors who are true heroes, although many were never recognized as such during their lives. This is a collection of stories about soldiers who fought for their country with no desire to be famous or rewarded, some of whom died in action. A few received medals and all earned the respect and admiration of their fellow soldiers, their names and faces etched into the history of the SAS.
Author Scholey, who served in the SAS, says he was lucky enough to discover what he wanted to do with his life at a young age, and he stuck with it. He was, as he put it, ‘a lifer’. For 20 years Scholey served in some of the world's most hostile terrain, patrolling, cooking, fighting, fixing and even laughing as enemy soldiers sought to expel him and his small band of fellow soldiers from whatever foxhole, jungle or sand dune that they were holed up in.
Yet he didn't want to be a soldier when he signed up. Scholey wanted to join the RAF but, having twice failed the entrance exams, he ended up doing his National Service in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC – which he maintains stands for Run Away Someone's Coming). When he was discharged, he immediately re-enlisted, ending up in the Parachute Regiment and eventually, in 1963, in the SAS. He served in Borneo, Aden, Oman and Northern Ireland as well as with the regiment's CRW anti-terrorist team.

According to the foreword of SAS Heroes by Frederick Forsyth, today it would be hard to count the number of mentions of the ‘SAS’ initials in media and fiction. Impelled by public interest, various journalists and writers have explored the history of the SAS from its beginnings in the Western Desert in 1941, as the much-mocked idea of a young Scots Guards officer called David Stirling, to the present day.

We knew that the SAS played a covert but significant role in the 33-year struggle against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). We learned of the long and sweaty campaign against Indonesian forces who tried to take over North Borneo (part of the Malaysian Federation and thus of the Commonwealth), We heard of the seven-year secret war waged to deter fanatical guerrillas infiltrating into Oman from communist Yemen, and to keep Sultan Qaboos on his throne. We know vaguely about the presence of teams from the SAS who train special forces all over the world, protecting the lives of monarchs and presidents; of hostages ‘sprung’ and terrorists slotted; of high-altitude drops by parachute far behind enemy lines; of ships with illegal and deadly cargoes boarded at sea by dead of night; of prisoners liberated in Sierra Leone from the grips of drug-crazed madmen; and of missions deep inside Iraq during the Gulf War of 1990-91.         

And there were tales that never hit the press at all, such as the affair of the president of The Gambia, toppled in a coup while playing golf at Gleneagles, restored 48 hours later and his captured family liberated. This feat was performed by two SAS non-commissioned officers (NCOs), who motored into Banjul from Senegal in a car hired at the airport.

These initials are synonymous with extreme physical hardness, relentless stamina, cool nerve and, on occasion, fearsome aggression. So what are they like? The only way to know is to ask someone who knew them, and knew them well. Scholey did; he was one of them. In SAS Heroes he gives a portrait of 20 of those SAS soldiers who became legends, but only inside their own tiny brotherhood. The book provides a glance behind a curtain that few can draw aside. Scholey, who served in the SAS with all but three of the men featured, provides unique insights into their characters.

The 20 soldiers profiled in SAS Heroes include: Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne, Sergeant Len Owens, Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane, WO2 Squadron Sergeant Major Don ‘Lofty’ Large, Sergeant Iain ‘Jock’ Thomson, WO2 Squadron Sergeant-Major Kevin Walsh, Sergeant Mick ‘Ginge’ Tyler, Staff Sergeant John Partridge, WO2 Squadron Sergeant-Major Alfie Tasker, WO1 Regimental Sergeant-Major Reg Tayler, Staff Sergeant Bob Podesta, Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba and Staff Sergeant Sekonaia Takavesi, Staff Sergeant Pete Winner, Sergeant Tommy Palmer, Trooper Tommy Tobin and Staff Sergeant Pete Loveday, WO2 Squadron Sergeant-Major Steve Callan, Captain Gavin John Hamilton, and Sergeant Vince Phillips.

History / Middle East / Military / Strategy

The Surge: A Military History by Kimberly Kagan (Encounter Books)

As the surge of operations, begun on June 15, 2007, winds to a close, Iraq is experiencing optimism for the first time in years. The reduction of violence and enemy insurgencies has already allowed us to draw down troop levels, and will allow us to continue to do so in the future. Yet, the significance of the Coalition's tactical success remains the subject of heated debate and misinformation in the media, in Washington and among the American people.

Understanding the role of combat in the Iraq war is essential for both the American people and the U.S. military. Recognizing the objectives of both sides and the plans developed to attain those objectives provides the context for understanding the war. The Surge is an effort to provide such a framework to understand not only where we have been, but also what happens as we move forward.

Insider Kimberly Kagan, military historian who has taught at the U.S. Military Academy and at West Point, Yale University, Georgetown University, and American University, explains the Surge, and how it worked in Iraq and can work elsewhere. Kagan is the president of the Institute for the Study of War, a nonprofit center in Washington, D.C., dedicated to research and education on military affairs.

In The Surge, Kagan, one of the principal architects of the operation, attempts to set the record straight. Kagan debunks the popular notion that the war in Iraq is comprised of a series of random and senseless acts of violence and that the enemy possesses no particular goals or larger objectives. The Surge reveals the enemy saw the conflict with American and Iraqi forces as a "war in which organization, training, equipment, holding terrain, denying terrain to the enemy, leadership, doctrine, tactics, and strategy were all very important."

In outlining the operational history of the surge, Kagan demonstrates how a well-designed military campaign, in combination with a comprehensive political and economic effort, stemmed what was deemed uncontrollable violence in Iraq. The Surge relates how these operations provide the blueprint for counterinsurgency doctrine, its implementation, and the implications for future conflicts across the globe – including Afghanistan. In this framework, Kagan explains how and why the surge worked in Iraq and what America must do in order to successfully plan for unconventional conflicts in the future.

Many armchair pundits make the gross oversimplification that the positive trends in Iraq have occurred simply because Moqtada al Sadr called for a cease-fire or because the United States bought off Sunni insurgents. Such assertions ignore the key variable in the equation: the Coalition's change in strategy and our employment of the surge forces.

Kagan's detailed analysis looks at the external players – from al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Iranian-backed Special Groups, to the Jaysh al Mandi – and covers day-to-day strategies, locations, tactics, organization, and responses to American actions.

Kim Kagan has that rare ability to write clearly and with insight about a complex and multi-faceted war. Her account details the ways in which the American military developed and applied counterinsurgency principles in Iraq, at a time when many said the war was unwinnable or even lost. This is an indispensable guide to those who wish to understand how the U.S. military adapted to Iraq's political landscape, and how it began turning failures into successes. – Senator John McCain

The Surge, written by an architect of the surge strategy, is a definitive volume, setting the record straight with detailed analysis.

History / Military / World War II

World War II by H.P. Willmott, Charles Messenger & Robin Cross with an introduction by Richard Overy (DK Publishing)

Do you want total war? Do you want a war, if necessary, more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today? – Josef Goebbels, 18 February, 1943

Providing an illustrated narrative of the course of the war, World War II examines the objectives and concerns of all the combatants in one of the most deadly conflicts of the 20th century.

Authors include H.P. Willmott, a widely published military historian and Charles Messenger, who served in the Royal Tank Regiment and has written several books on the war. World War II also contains contributions from Robin Cross, Michael Barrett, Mark Grandstaff, Michael Paul and David Welch.

Chapters of the book include:

  1. The Path to War: 1919-39 – Post War Europe, Japanese Imperialism, Rearmament and Expansion
  2. War Begins In Europe:1939-40 – First Conquests, German Invasion of the West, Britain in Peril, The Home Front in Western Europe
  3. Germany Triumphant:1940-41 – The War at Sea, Campaigns in Africa and the Middle East, The Balkan Campaign, Operation Barbarossa
  4. The War Become Global: 1941-42 – The US Joins the War, Japanese Onslaught, The Home Front in the US and Japan, Wartime Cinema, From Moscow to Stalingrad
  5. The Initiative Changes Hands: 1942-43 – Changing Fortunes on the Eastern Front, The Holocaust, The Axis Defeated in North Africa, The U-boat Campaign in the Atlantic, The Pacific War in the Balance
  6. The Axis on the Defensive: 1943-44 – Recapture of the Western Soviet Union, The Invasion of Italy, War in the Air, American Offensives in the Pacific
  7. The Allies' Great Offensives: 1944-45 – Advance: into Northwest Europe, Balkan Resistance, Advance into Poland, Japan Near the Brink
  8. The Final Battles: 1945 – The Road to Berlin, The End of the Reich, Japan Surrenders
  9. A New World: 1945-49 – The Legacy of War

The introduction to World War II by Richard Ovary provides the overview: World War II was the largest and costliest war in human history. The deaths directly and indirectly caused by the war may have reached 60 million; the war, or more properly the wars, fought between 1939 and 1945, involved literally the entire globe. At its peak more than 50 million men and women were serving in the armed services; two-thirds of the national product of the major combatants was devoted to waging war. War was the product not only of a profound disequilibrium in world affairs; it reflected deep hatreds and powerful imperial ambitions inherited from the Great War of 1914-1918, where lay the seeds of the second, and larger conflict.

The attempt to produce a stable world order in 1919 was undermined from the start. In East Asia, China collapsed politically and Japan slowly expanded at Chinese expense. In the Mediterranean and Middle East, the end of Ottoman rule provoked a nationalist Italy under Mussolini to carve out a new ‘Roman Empire’. In Europe the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 created a permanent sense of social crisis, while the Versailles Treaty created festering political sores which contributed to the rise of Hitler and the breakdown of the balance of power in the late 1930s.

According to World War II, the new war was the last fling of the wars for empire that had been the hallmark of the rise of Europe since the 17th century. Britain and France wished to preserve their world empires. Italy, Japan, and Germany all wanted empires of their own. These imperial ambitions led to the largest and most destructive conflicts of World War II: the German war against the Soviet Union and Japan's war against China.

Britain and France declared war over the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, but Anglo-French efforts on their own to stem the tide of violent imperialism were futile. They were swept aside by German forces in a matter of weeks in the summer of 1940 thanks largely to a revolution in warfare made possible by the aero plane and the tank – weapons whose potential had been apparent at the end of the war of 1914-18.

In combination with radio communication, they gave armies a mobile striking power that could win sudden, annihilating victories. Slowly ways were found to contain or limit the effectiveness of the tank, aircraft, and radio attack system, but it proved irreversible when the Germans first used it, and when German armies were in turn pushed back by reorganized and heavily-armed Soviet, British, and American forces.

By September 1940 the three new imperial powers, Germany, Italy, and America signed the Tripartite Pact, which divided the world into new spheres of imperial interest. Over the next year they each embarked on vast imperial wars: Italy attacked Greece and tried to drive Britain from North Africa and the Middle East; Germany launched war against the Soviet Union in June 1941; by January 1942 Japan had seized control of most of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. The effect of these wars of conquest was to unite the rest of the world against the violent revision of the globe. Britain, undefeated but powerless on its own to reverse the tide of conquest, was joined by the Soviet Union and, in December 1941, by the United States. This proved an alliance just powerful enough to stem the imperial wars after four years of bitter, costly, and massively destructive warfare.

As told in World War II, victory was won for many reasons. The Soviet Union won the war on land by learning to organize its forces in the same way as the Germans, and by channeling its entire society and economy into the waging of ‘total war’. Britain and the United States focused on winning the war at sea and in the air in order to be able to fight a global war at lower cost. Bombing was central to Western strategy and hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese were killed by bombing attacks. Naval power gave the west exceptional flexibility in moving forces and supplies and strangling the economic lifelines to the enemy. By the time Britain and the United States assaulted Europe on land the defeat of Italy and Germany was already assured, Japan was not even invaded. The first and only use of nuclear weapons in war ended Japanese resistance in August 1945.

The final defeat of imperialism produced a reconfiguration of the world and a stabilization of the international order. Britain and France had to give up the global empires they had fought to defend. Communism came to control much of Asia and eastern Europe, while the United States used its economic and military power to preserve its interests in the non-communist world. The war had brought a precarious peace, but only at the price of misery for the hundreds of millions caught in its merciless crossfire.

World War II is a dramatic, thoroughly and well illustrated account with clear explanations regarding the most destructive war the world has ever seen.

History / World / Islamic / Biographies & Memoirs

In the Valley of Mist: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World by Justine Hardy (Free Press)

"If there is a paradise on earth, it is definitely here and only here," said the early seventeenth-century Mughal Emperor Jehangir when describing the Kashmir Valley. This is a place that has always inspired poetry and war: the Kashmir Valley has been fought over for centuries. Tensions there exploded yet again in 1989, and since then it has been embedded in constant conflict – every facet of militant and fundamentalist extremism having already exhibited its horrible results long before September 11, 2001.

In the midst of this breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking conflict enters the novelist, journalist, filmmaker, and aid worker Justine Hardy. Having lived and worked in Kashmir for two decades, she draws readers beyond the headlines into the world of In the Valley of Mist. A family portrait, the book describes a unique and gentle culture that has been shattered by the impact of insurgency, repression, and Islamic extremism in a place once famous for the warmth between its Hindu and Muslim residents.

This is a picture of one of the most beautiful and troubled places in the world – described through the experiences of one family, whose fortunes have changed dramatically with those of the region.

It is not a story of politics and power, but of the Dar family, a warm and welcoming group of houseboat owners and carpet sellers, women and men, who have inhabited the Kashmir Valley for generations. As Hardy relates them, the Dars' experiences before the war, through the conflict, and on to the life-altering earthquake that shattered the region in 2005 give readers insight into the culture and mind-set of the area. In the Valley of Mist captures a natural landscape – its side-by-side lakes dotted with houseboats, gardens, mosques, markets, and chai-khana stalls – while taking readers along for experiences as diverse as wedding parties and militant training camps. As Hardy describes burning cities and deserted neighborhoods, she also longingly reflects on a past time of entwined festivals and traditions, when Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus), Muslims, and Sikhs coexisted peacefully.

Since 1989, the bloody fight for Kashmir's ‘freedom’ has seen a half a million Indian security forces fighting local separatists, jihadi infiltrators from Pakistan, and many other recruits from throughout the Islamic world. A conservative estimate for the loss of life to date is 80,000 men, women and children. Hardy says, "They are not stories about big men, political bullies, or military giants, but they are about those who were there before the fighting began, and who will still be there if it ever ends," Hardy writes. "This is about the survival of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It is a story that is relevant far beyond the valley setting, and the conflict within Islam."

Hardy first began to visit this region when she was a child on vacations with her mother. She returned in 1989 after becoming a journalist, thinking that her familiarity with this region would be a natural fit. Over the years Hardy has lived through the crackdowns, curfews, and the enforced wearing of the burqa. She has spent time with militants, the military, informers, extremists, fundamentalists, activists, and most important of all, among the people of Kashmir who are trying to carry on with their lives in the face of conflict.

The family Hardy focuses on in In the Valley of Mist represents countless others in the Kashmir Valley. Hardy tells stories of their good fortune in the carpet trade and the family's struggles to secure visas for its sons to study abroad in safety. She tells the harrowing story of a militant attack on the family. Hardy describes how life has changed in Kashmir under fundamentalism: the attacks on female education, the systematic rape of women during crackdowns and house-to-house raids, the rigid dress codes imposed on women and even children. And she depicts starkly the lives of those Kashmiris living in refugee camps, despairing of ever being able to return home.

But Hardy also offers tales of hope – including, counter intuitively, the effect the earthquake in 2005 had on bringing people from opposite sides of the conflict together. And she paints vivid pictures of the cultural talismans that the locals still hold onto: how they celebrate religious festivals, weddings, birth, and death.

Hardy fashions a richly textured narrative of this traumatized culture. ... In reflective prose, Hardy fully fleshes out the denizens of this remote and troubled corner of the world. – Kirkus Reviews

Hardy (The Wonder House) draws on her 12-year relationship with the Dar family to recount the story of modern-day Kashmir – part pastoral idyll, part war zone. Hardy writes, “There is no single casualty of war, no one noun that sums up what has been lost,” and she paints a moving portrait of the ravaged communities and landscape, weaving in analysis of how the political machinations of Pakistan and India have quelled or intensified the conflict. She contrasts the sleepy valley she encountered decades ago to the Dar family's Kashmir, which has witnessed the 1989 uprisings and strikes, martial law, deadly encounter killings, mass migrations of Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus), increasing religious orthodoxy and the widespread disruption of education, health care, economic prosperity and family and social life. Hardy's deep familiarity with the region – she has reported on the Kashmir conflict for close to 20 years – allows her to present complicated and conflicting points of view from reformed jihadists, Indian generals, Pandit refugees and various members of the Dar family. Her reporting is admirable and gilded by lyrical prose and evocative description. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Revealing, provocative, and warm, In the Valley of Mist paints Kashmir as the template for the changing face of Islam. A powerful, haunting book of reportage and memoir in the tradition of Ryszard Kapuchinski, Hardy's book offers a first-hand account of life inside a culture held hostage by violence and prejudice. It is a personal, moving, and profound portrait of a textured cultural landscape shaped by idealistic divides that are both germane and deeply resonant as the world faces the ongoing state of conflict between East and West. The book portrays in both delicate and brutal detail the physical and mental toll of the conflict on the region's residents, but also reveals the truly unquenchable nature of the human spirit. It is an inspiring read for anyone seeking to understand this volatile, beautiful region and its people.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

African Inspirations in Embroidery by Mary Sleigh (Batsford)

Africans possess the secret of joy.

– Mirella Ricciardi, international photographer

A leading textile artist with a lifelong love and understanding of African culture, Mary Sleigh in African Inspirations in Embroidery translates the images of that magnificent continent into textile art. There is advice on researching traditional African patterns, creating original designs, using color, and incorporating pattern and texture, as well as case studies of textile artists.

Images of Africa are translated into textile art using embroidery, dyeing and mixed media in African Inspirations in Embroidery. From the dusky colors of the savannah to the traditional beadwork of African tribes, the book includes:

  • The design process, from concept through drawing, color studies, collage and the use of sketchbooks.
  • Color, from natural earth tones to the bright colors of African jewelry and textiles.
  • Vibrant shapes and patterns from African culture translated into textile designs.
  • Texture and surface embellishment: ridges, raised surface, edges, stitches and surface additions.
  • Full technique instructions for dyeing, flour-paste resist, Seminole patchwork, piecing, patching, stitching, embellishment and working with mixed media.
  • Working on a theme: a Xhosa bag project.

Sleigh, workshop leader and member of the Embroiderers' Guild, says she remembers clearly her first visit to Africa and the impact of this huge continent, even though she has only visited some of the countries south of the Sahara. She was overwhelmed by the dramatic scale of the seemingly endless landscape unfolding as they flew over it to the southern tip of the continent.

Africa bombards the senses! Sleigh in African Inspirations in Embroidery describes the magical sight of the deep blue bowl of night studded with stars when camping out in the bush where the atmosphere is unpolluted. As night falls, the sound of cicadas cannot be ignored, neither can one avoid tapping the feet to the sound of African music and singing. The smell of dust billowing up from gravel roads or damp earth after a heavy rainstorm evokes strong images of Africa. Scents range from the aromatic, herbal shrubs of the bush to the heavy, sweet perfume of flowering plants. The rich diversity of cultures brings with it a variety of tastes, unusual flavors of fruits and vegetables and subtle spices and herbs. The sense of touch is highly regarded in African culture, and textures and tactile sensations abound in the natural world. The importance of tactile reassurance is demonstrated by African women, whose children for the first nine months of their lives are in constant contact with their mothers' bodies.

Sleigh says that the people of southern Africa inspire her with their natural grace, elegance and dignity, which they demonstrate in their strong family ties, pride in their traditions, skills, and culture. Nothing is quite what it seems at first sight and it is the spiritual significance and links with the past that capture the imagination. She loves the way a range of glass beads is combined imaginatively with wood, leather, and cowrie shells to make a betrothal or fertility doll. On further study she discovered that it would have been given to a girl by her fiancé, and would be in the likeness of the same sex as the child he wishes her to bear; alternatively, it is given as a gift to a girl at puberty, as a good luck charm in bearing children.

The people who make such dolls have the talent to adapt, innovate, and create against a tradition of gathering, herding, exploring, pioneering, and farming. Resourcefulness is a vital ingredient to their way of life and future development. Crafts are an integral part of people's lives and are used daily in their homes, at festivals, and family celebrations. As a designer Sleigh is amazed at the range of practical skills and expertise to be found everywhere in her African travels. Highly developed textile skills, for instance, are shown to great advantage in a sumptuous Hausa boubou from Nigeria.

Narrow woven strips of raw silk are joined to make the wide-sleeved man's gown, and then embellished with self-colored surface embroidery. Happily, textile manufacturing and decorative skills are widespread and continue to develop and flourish.

African Inspirations in Embroidery is a beautifully illustrated book containing striking images of Africa and breathtaking textile art. Some of the joy, mystery and magic of Africa just might rub off on readers and inspire them to explore and develop their ideas.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork: 500 Full-Color How-to Photos by Vivian Carli Kistler (Creative Publishing International)

Picture framing is a time-honored profession, as well as a popular hobby. Decorating the walls with framed pictures is such an essential part of home decor that rooms usu­ally look bare and ‘unlived in’ without some kind of art hanging in them.

According to author Vivian Kistler, creating professional-looking picture framing at home used to be a complicated endeavor requiring a carpentry workshop, and good materials were not easy to find. Local craft and hobby stores had little to offer the home framer – just a small selection of pre-made mats and ordinary frames. Today, the situation is quite different. With the wide variety of tools and materials available at local stores and on the Internet, the do-it-yourself framer can complete fashionable, high-quality picture framing in a fairly small work area without a lot of fancy equipment.

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork is a guide to the entire framing process, from designing the job to hanging the finished piece on the wall. It includes step-by-step color photos for all areas of matting and framing with detailed instructions for framing art on canvas, art on paper, needlework, and fabric. It includes instructions for archival framing – the correct methods and materials for preserving photos and artwork for posterity. Kistler, who owned and operated a large retail gallery and frame shop for over twenty years, also provides inspiration examples to show people how to display their artwork using basic design principles.

It is not possible to address every framing topic in a single book, but every attempt has been made to provide the do-it-yourself framer with all of the informa­tion needed to frame a wide range of art. Methods that use pre-made materials and ‘framing from scratch’ are both explored. This book takes a practical approach that explains the current points of view, letting the individual framer make an informed choice.

According to Kistler, no prior experience is needed to learn picture framing. The workspace needed is not large, and the equipment ranges from a few hand tools to a complete workshop, depending on the interest of the framer.

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork includes instructions with over 500 color photographs leading readers through the framing process:

  • Designing the project – color, size, proportion, and style.
  • Selecting mat board and cutting the mat.
  • Building a custom frame or choosing the right pre-made materials.
  • Cutting glass and plastic.
  • Putting the layers together.
  • Proper methods for hanging.

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork is the ultimate reference for matting, framing, and displaying art, photography, collectibles, needlework, and keepsakes. Complete, accurate, and up-to-date guidance for designing wall arrangements will help readers decorate their homes like pros with artwork readers have framed themselves. Whether readers want to do all the steps themselves or take some shortcuts, they can use this comprehensive guide to help them explore all the options.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies / Religion & Spirituality / Reference

The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call (The Devotional Series: Quarry Books)

There is something elemental shared among artists and crafters, regardless of chosen medium: creative energy. Crafters dabble, collaborate, muse, and make, all in their own way and on their own timeline. For all crafts, there are established techniques to follow but innumerable ways to experiment, using the basics to launch crafters to new heights.

The Crafter's Devotional by Barbara R. Call, a professional writer and editor specializing in crafts, food, and health and wellness, is a year's worth of crafting inspiration. The book uses interdisciplinary exercises, nuggets of wisdom, brainstorming triggers, and how-to techniques to inspire, enhance, and motivate creativity.

Organized by days of the week, major sources of inspiration and time for working, this book provides fifty-two weeks of inspiration. Each day of the year is given its own focus, on which readers will find a daily dose of craft content that inspires, instructs, and illuminates. Each week features six entries: one for each weekday and one entry for the weekend. The weekend entries are designed to accommodate exploration that takes more time, such as collaborating, exploring nature, gathering and/or trying new techniques.

Throughout The Crafter's Devotional, each day is centered on the following categories:

  • Monday / journaling.
  • Tuesday / recycle, reuse, or revive.
  • Wednesday / collection, stash, and materials.
  • Thursday / personal history.
  • Friday / noncraft inspiration.
  • Saturday + Sunday / collaborate, gather, and experiment.

Each weekend of the month explores one of the following categories:

  • Collaborating.
  • Exploring nature.
  • Shopping, hunting, and gathering.
  • Researching, learning, and/or trying new techniques.

There are hundreds of craft categories, and thousands of crafters who call those crafts their passion. Call opts for the larger islands of activity, to connect with more of readers and possibly to inspire crossover techniques. That said, The Crafter's Devotional includes paper crafts, textiles (fabric), fiber (knitting, yarn, embroidery), mixed media, and beading. She has not included fine art, and she has steered clear of commercial art such as graphic design, but should those artists find us, she welcomes them, too.

Readers will also find miscellaneous bits, including quotes, how-to tips or techniques, stories, exercises, brainstorming prompts, visuals, and more. Call also included a few examples of creative or artistic rituals that may provide inspiration or encourage readers to seek out (or create) their own customs surrounding their work.

Every crafter needs inspiration to create and though there are many sources of inspiration, they all hit dry spells. The Crafter's Devotional is the book to help re-ignite the creative fire. No matter readers’ craft of choice, they will find daily inspiration in these pages.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Silver Clay Keepsakes: Family-Friendly Projects by Katie Baum & Judi L. Hendricks (Kalmbach Books)

Metal clay is an amazing, easy-to-use material that is ideal for making personalized gifts. Making jewelry is fun and satisfying, and one does not have to be a silversmith to create great pieces. Coauthors Katie Baum and Judi Hendricks help readers enter the world of silver clay and explore its many creative possibilities through 24 original projects.

Silver Clay Keepsakes shows crafters and do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) how to replicate the look of fine silver through a method far easier to master than traditional metalwork –and that uses a material that is both easier to obtain and easier on the wallet.

With Silver Clay Keepsakes, readers can:

  • Get started with everything they need to know about metal clay types, techniques, and tools.
  • Understand firing options for taking metal clay from its pliable state to solid silver.
  • Expand their creative options with a bonus section that includes an idea gallery, information on specialty techniques, and other extras.

The book’s 24 projects celebrate life: a silver baby spoon, a silver-painted piggy bank, personalized cake-serving utensils, cufflinks and money clips, a fashionable take on the dog tag, a Celtic knot pendant, a birthstone bracelet, and other elegant, meaningful tokens for new parents, grandparents, teens, graduates, newlyweds, and even the family pet. Illustrated with 400 color instructions, Silver Clay Keepsakes covers the basics of working with metal clay, along with information on necessary tools, firing and drying schedules, torch and stove-top firing, and online resources.

Co-author Baum, a former middle school teacher, is now a Senior Art Clay Instructor and the director of the Art Clay Society. She works for the only distributor of Art Clay in the U.S. and travels widely to teach and speak about the medium. Co-author Hendricks is an artist and consultant with many areas of expertise – silver clay, ceramics, garden design, and energy healing, among others.

An introduction defines what metal clay is, where readers can find it, and what the basic clay types are: lump, paste, syringe, paper and overlay. The Techniques and Tools section explains how to work with both wet and dry clay, the required tools, how to fire, finish, and assemble it, and how to care for and recycle it.

Silver Clay Keepsakes presents imaginative projects for making priceless jewelry and decor. Readers will learn how easy it is to add details that transform metal clay into personalized gifts for baby, teens, parents, and even the family pet. Easy to follow, the book will also inspire readers to expand their creative options.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies / Mixed Media

Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques by Rebekah Meier (C&T Publishing)
Collage techniques date back to early Chinese history and the advent of paper. Collage pieces can also be found in the work of tenth-century Japanese calligraphers and in medieval European cathedrals of the thirteenth century. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines collage as "an artistic composition made of various materials – as paper, cloth, or wood – glued on a surface; a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements."

Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques contains everything readers might want to know about mixed-media fabric collage – the techniques, the supplies, the fun of creating. Written by Rebekah Meier, self-taught mixed-media artist, designer and the author of several books on a variety of crafting subjects, the book shows readers how to mix it up with dozens of new ways to create mixed-media fabric art. Readers learn more than 40 original techniques, each illustrated with step-by-step photos. They find out which products work best for each technique. Then they test-drive their new skills with five small quilt projects.

The term mixed media describes the techniques and materials used to create collage artwork. Mixed media combines paint, ink, fragments of paper and fabric, along with other art supplies and fusible adhesives, all layered together to create a work of art. These pieces can be flat, such as with quilts or canvas, or three-dimensional compositions, creating an assemblage. Layers are created as the parts or elements of the foundation or base work, whereas an embellishment is used to adorn and enhance the overall appearance of the finished artwork.

Meier in the introduction to Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques says she uses fabric in combination with mixed-media techniques to create unique collage art pieces. She hopes that the book will inspire readers to try the same. Her interest in collage and mixed media was piqued when she first started reading magazines such as Somerset Studio, Quilting Arts, and Cloth, Paper, Scissors. These publications made her eager to try new techniques and stretch her creativity. She has been creating collage and mixed-media artwork pieces for many years now.

As a designer working in the craft industry, she comes up with creative ideas and ways to use manufac­turers' products. She also publishes craft articles and projects using different media, so it seems only natural that she would be drawn to mixed media because she loves working with different kinds of materials and techniques – from rubber stamps to fabrics. She says she also loves to layer little snippets of techniques, combining them all to create her artwork. The book shows some of her favorite techniques, and it also shows how she layers them to create her art.

The techniques in Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques will inspire readers’ creativity and artful adventures, encouraging them to experiment and try their own ideas and techniques.

Literature & Fiction / Science Fantasy & Fiction

Requiem of the Human Soul by Jeremy Lent (Libros Libertad)

It is one of the great travesties of the human experience that violence is often perpetrated by those claiming to follow Jesus, Mohammed, and other spiritual leaders who advocated peace. The premise of this novel, a genetic manipulation that deselects the twin capacities for spiritual belief and fanatical intolerance (aggression) in new humans, might seem like a wonderful idea. Except that in the process, these designer humans (d-humans) may be losing their souls.

Requiem of the Human Soul is the first novel by Jeremy Lent, founder and former CEO of the Internet company, NextCard. In the book Eusebio Franklin, a school teacher from a small community, is faced with the most terrifying dilemma imaginable: should he carry out an act of mass terrorism in order to save the human race?

Eusebio has been chosen to defend the human race in a special session of the United Nations. It's the late 22nd century, and most people are genetically enhanced; Eusebio is among the minority that remain unimproved, known as Primals, consisting mostly of the impoverished global underclass. The UN is on the verge of implementing a "Proposed Extinction of the Primal Species" and Eusebio's been picked to represent his race in a last ditch legal effort to save the Primals from extinction.

It's a hearing like no other. The human race is on trial. Human’s sordid history – the devastation they have caused to indigenous cultures around the world, the destruction of the environment and of other species – becomes evidence in the case against continued existence.

But as the hearing progresses, Eusebio is faced with a terrible decision. He's secretly visited by Yusef who represents the Rejectionists – a renegade group of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus refusing to accept the d-humans' genetic optimization because it prevents them from knowing God. Yusef urges Eusebio to take the only meaningful action to save the human race from extinction: detonate a nuclear bomb hidden in the UN building in New York where the session is taking place. As Requiem of the Human Soul develops to its dramatic climax, Eusebio finds himself increasingly alienated from the d-human world, while Yusef’s plot places him in this agonizing moral dilemma

…Author Jeremy Lent holds a master's degree in English literature from Emmanuel College in Cambridge, England. His first novel flows quickly but smoothly, pulling the reader into Eusebio's ethical struggles and his arguments about our direct ancestors' destruction of cultures, indigenous animals, and entire environments.…Requiem of the Human Soul is a gripping read that will keep readers up at night, slurping up the last few pages like a specialty juice from the future world's neighborhood Betelbar. – Holly Chase Williams, ForeWord Clarion Reviews (Five Stars, out of Five)

In this ambitious and thought-provoking novel, Jeremy Lent's meticulously imagined future society is used as a means to take us to the very heart of the human condition. …There are very few science fiction works out there which speak to both the head and the heart, but Lent has produced one, a book which stimulates both intellectually and emotionally. This is a genuinely great read, and a profound one, written with intense and audacious ambition, but without ever losing the human element. Read it – you'll be glad you did. – Ed Lark, author of Grief (nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Book of the Year, 2005)

The fate of mankind depends on a mere schoolteacher who must argue for his race's survival despite opposition from genetically ‘superior’ humans.

… Though ostensibly an exemplar of the glorious, emotional, wonderful messiness that humanity has to offer, Eusebio's moral indignation and sensitively outraged heart make him a flat protagonist, especially against the equally cardboard d-humans, who are superficially perfect but morally bankrupt villains. … Because Eusebio embodies a rather simple belief in human goodness and progressivism, all narrative indicators suggest that he will triumph over the evil d-humans. But Lent is too cynical for that. Note that the title refers to an inherently funereal requiem. Despite some character flaws, Lent writes engagingly, moving the story along with the dramatic swiftness and clarity of a movie script.

A philosophical suspense story that exhibits quick pacing, moral nuances and unexpected twists. – Kirkus Discoveries

In Requiem of the Human Soul, readers face challenging questions about spirituality, history and global politics: Could the human race ‘evolve’ itself to a higher plane? At what cost and benefit? If the planet lost what is now the ‘human race’ as a result, would that be so bad, given humanity’s sordid and shameful history? On the other hand, is there something special, the soul, worth keeping at any price? Ultimately, the novel forces readers to grapple with the fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?

Mysteries & Thrillers

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner (Bantam Books)

With 11 consecutive New York Times bestselling thrillers and nearly 15 million copies of her books in print, Lisa Gardner is a master at pinpointing the fears that lurk closest to home. And with The Neighbor, she goes to the heart of one of our worst – what's really going on behind our neighbors' doors?

The Neighbor opens as a pretty young wife and devoted mother vanishes from her suburban home without a note, leaving behind her four-year-­old daughter as the only witness. It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy – the young mother and school teacher, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace, with her husband as the prime suspect.

When she enters the family's home in South Boston, Police Detective D.D. Warren immediately senses something is not quite right about the seeming wholesome normalcy of the family and the woman's handsome, secretive husband, Jason. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones look like any other hardworking suburban couple raising a young daughter, but as D.D. digs below the surface and canvasses the couples' neighborhood, she discovers some disturbing suspicions.

With the clock ticking on Sandra's life and the media firestorm building, Jason seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than searching for his ‘beloved’ wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt – or just trying to hide? And what lurks behind the dingy curtains on the windows of the house down the street? Will the only witness to the crime be the killer’s next victim?

In bestseller Gardner's gripping 11th thriller, Sgt. Det. D.D. Warren, last seen in 2007's Hide, looks into the curious disappearance of Sandra Jones, a sixth-grade social studies teacher, from her South Boston home: Sandra's keys and purse were on the kitchen counter, nothing was disturbed, and her four-year-old daughter, Ree, to whom she was devoted, was asleep upstairs.… As a media frenzy envelopes the case, Warren's investigation reveals the couple's life as anything but perfect or normal. Full of inventive twists, this highly entertaining novel delivers a shocking solution as well as a perfectly realized sense of justice. Fans will appreciate the deft way Gardner weaves in a key character from 2008's Say Goodbye. – Publishers Weekly
Gardner's compelling narrative keeps her readers guessing. – Library Journal
This is certainly Gardner's most complex novel, and it will be a definite treat for her fans. – Booklist

Chilling, complex, riveting and explosive, The Neighbor proves why Gardner ‘always delivers heart-stopping suspense.’

Professional & Technical / Biological Sciences / Reference

Recent Mammals of Alaska by Stephen O. MacDonald & Joseph A. Cook (University of Alaska Press)

From the polar bear and the gray wolf to the walrus and river otter, from diminutive shrews to the majestic blue whale, there are 116 species of mammals in Alaska that have never been fully catalogued until now. Biologists Joseph A. Cook, professor at the University of New Mexico and curator; and Stephen O. MacDonald, research associate and curator, both at the Museum of Southwestern Biology, mammals division, have compiled in Recent Mammals of Alaska the first comprehensive guide to all of Alaska’s mammals, big and small, endearing and ferocious.

Through extensive fieldwork and research the authors have produced a unique and authoritative reference. Detailed entries for each species include distribution and taxonomic information, status, habitat, and fossil history. Appendices include quick reference listings of mammal distribution by region, specimen locations, conservation status, and the incidence of Pleistocene mammals. The guide is generously illustrated with line drawings by Alaskan artist W. D. Berry and includes several maps indicating populations and locations of species.

More years than the authors care to reflect on have slipped by since Macdonald and Cook began assembling all the elements necessary for this catalog of the Recent Mammals of Alaska. Their primary goal was to construct a usable taxonomic and geograph­ic framework from the ever-expanding wealth of information on the mam­mals that occur or have occurred in Alaska since the end of the last ice age, the Holocene, approximately ten thousand years before present. They include mammals from this time period to emphasize the point that the composition of the mammalian fauna has not been static. Some of the information on these mammals was scattered in scientific publications, unpublished reports, or the experiences of informed individuals, but the foundation of this catalog is the mammal specimens preserved in natural history museums. The most notable collection of those archived materials is at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where they both worked for many years.

Mammals have long been important to Alaskans. From the earliest indigenous peoples who colonized the vast region tracking wildlife across the Bering Land Bridge, and the Russian colonists who were lured later by vast quantities of sea otter pelts, to the large-scale American whaling operations that followed several decades thereafter, mammals have played a key role in the exploration and colonization of Alaska. More recently, humans have been drawn to Alaska because it represents one of the last places on the planet to still experience wilderness and enjoy plentiful wildlife.

Recent Mammals of Alaska provides the first comprehensive overview of the 116 species of mammals that have been documented in Alaska and adjacent waters during the last ten thousand years. MacDonald and Cook summarize their taxonomy, distribution, status, habitat affinities, and fossil history. No similar reference has been available for mammals found in Alaska, although numerous research efforts have focused on specific components of the mammalian fauna.

Natural history collections establish baselines and are becoming central to studies aimed at understanding the consequences of climate warming and other perturbations. Similarly, identifying and monitoring contaminants or newly emerging pathogens can be facilitated by specimen collections. High concentrations of persistent toxic substances in marine mam­mals include both naturally occurring toxicants, such as heavy metals, as well as the anthropogenic substances, such as polychlorinated biphenvls (PCBs) and chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides. Marine mammals bioaccumulate contami­nants due to their long life span, high position in food webs, and tendency to accumulate body fat. Tissue samples have become critical to efforts to moni­tor pollutants in real time. Associated web-accessible electronic databases and rigorous curatorial standards provide a significant, integrated resource for ecological, evolutionary, epidemiological, and toxicological research on boreal organisms.

Recent Mammals of Alaska may be best viewed as a work in progress. MacDonald and Cook hope that the catalog stimulates others to fill in the gaps in the knowledge of Alaska mammals, including a reinvigorated appraisal of the taxonomic framework serving as the basis for sci­entific investigations and management decisions. According to the authors, lack of basic information on systematics, distribution, and population status is a deficiency of considerable consequence as Alaska experiences rapid change. Change is accelerating in Alaska, due not just to a warming planet, but also to the expo­nential growth of other human-caused impacts. MacDonald and Cooks’ concerns center on the possibility that Alaska’s communities of life will fail to flourish.

This comprehensive, unique and authoritative reference, Recent Mammals of Alaska, is an accessible, easy to use resource for scholars and hobbyists alike. In addition, it contributes to a more detailed understanding of Alaska's biota so that informed decisions regarding human impact on natural en­vironments can be made.

Professional & Technical / Law / Crimes & Criminals / Ethnic Studies

Race, Crime, and Delinquency by George E. Higgins (Pearson Prentice Hall)

To date, the racial disparity in crime and delinquency continues to persist. Attempts to address the disparity require an understanding of why the disparity exists, and criminological theory is a major tool for coming to this understanding.

The role of race in crime and delinquency is an important issue in criminal justice and crimi­nology, and our most important tool for understanding crime and delinquency is criminological theory. However, to date, most treatments of race with respect to crime and delinquency are devoid of inputs from criminological theory.

Unique in approach, Race, Crime, and Delinquency uses criminology theories to explore the link between race and crime and delinquency. It introduces leading and contemporary theories and discusses their assumptions about race and crime and delinquency. Its approach fosters analysis and application and empirical articles are included throughout. Each chapter ends with a summary and discussion questions to further explore criminology theories and racial issues in criminal justice. 

Race, Crime, and Delinquency provides students, instructors, and scholars an exposure to criminological theories, with a focus on these theories' assumptions about race, crime, and delinquency.

By glancing through the table of contents, it can be seen that understanding race, crime, and delinquency is more than grasping one theory. The book, written by George E. Higgins, Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Administration at the University of Louisville, helps readers critically analyze cogent reasons why the disparity exists with race in the context of crime and delinquency.
Contents of Race, Crime, and Delinquency include:

  1. Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Theory. This chapter examines the scope of crime, delinquency, and race. It also defines criminological theory and discusses how criminological theory is used in criminology and criminal justice. At the end of the chapter, readers should have a basic understanding of the racial differences in crime and delinquency.
  2. Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories. This chapter examines the central components of deterrence and rational choice theories. These theories are based on the view that crime and delinquency are based on free will and the bounded rational choice to perform the acts. These theories also suggest that racial differences in crime and delinquency could be explained in the rational decision process. The article pre­sented in this chapter is "Crime, Deterrence, and Rational Choice" by Irving Piliavin, Rosemary Gartner, Craig Thornton, and Ross L. Matsueda.
  3. Social Disorganization. This chapter examines the central themes of social disorganization theory, which suggests that poverty undermines the core values of a community. The destruction of these values suggests a breakdown in the primary socialization unit – the family. It also suggests that there are racial differences in poverty that are associated with racial differences in social­ization in the family. The article presented in this chapter is "Social Anatomy of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Violence" by Robert J. Sampson, Jeffrey D. Morenoff, and Stephen Raudenbush.
  4. Differential Association and Social Learning Theories. This chapter examines the central themes of differential association and social learning theories. Differential association theory suggests that individuals who associate with criminal or delinquent individuals are likely to learn crime and delinquency from these individuals. Recent versions of social learning theory have subsumed differential association theory, and have extended the view that individuals learn not only through an interaction with peers, but also through reinforcement, modeling, and definitions (i.e., attitudes toward crime). These theories say that the racial differences in crime are due to the racial differences in the above-mentioned factors. The articles presented in this chapter are "Race, Ethnicity, and Deviance: A Study of Asian and Non-Asian Adolescents in America" by Sung Joon Jang; and "Race, Family Structure, and Delinquency: A Test of Differential Association and Social Control Theories" by Ross L. Matsueda and Karen Heimer.
  5. Social Strain Theory. This chapter examines the central themes of anomie/strain theory. Strain theories suggest that the inability to achieve certain goals, the removal of certain goals, and/or the presentation of a noxious stimulus is likely to produce stress in an individual’s life. These types of stressful events will produce an emotional response, and that emotional response may result in delinquency. From a racial perspective, minorities are more likely to experience stress and strain. The article presented in this chapter is "Race, Crime, and the American Dream" by Stephen A. Cernkovich, Peggy C. Giordano, and Jennifer L. Rudolph.
  6. Conflict Theory and Racial Threat Theory. This chapter examines conflict theory. This theory maintains that power and influence are not equally distributed among individuals in a society. Thus, individuals with power will hold key positions that determine the direction of justice administration. The article presented in this chapter is "A Dynamic Model of Racial Competition, Racial Inequality, and Interracial Violence" by Patricia L. McCall and Karen F. Parker.
  7. Social Bonding and Self-Control Theories. This chapter examines the themes in social bonding and self-control theories. These theo­ries maintain that most individuals do not commit crime and focus on the why individuals do not commit crime. Social bonding theory posits that the withering or disconnect of four bonds (i.e., attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief) will result in crime. According to this theory, the fact that minorities have more worn or broken bonds explains the racial differences in crime. Self-control theory suggests that crime occurs because of the lack of self-control and that the racial differences in crime and delinquency can be explained by the view that minori­ties have less self-control than whites. The article presented in this chapter is "A Test of Gottfredson and Hirschi's General Theory of Crime in African American Adolescents" by Alexander T. Vazsonyi, and Jennifer M. Crosswhite.
  8. Life Course Perspective. This chapter examines the key themes in the life course perspective. This perspective main­tains that an individual may commit crime at different points in their lives or maintain rather consistent and long-term criminal careers. It explains the racial differences in crime by sug­gesting that there are racial differences in the criminal careers. The article presented in this chapter is "Race, Local Life Circumstances, and Criminal Activity" by Alex R. Piquero. John M. MacDonald, and Karen F. Parker.
  9. Future Research in Race, Crime, and Delinquency: A Criminological Theory Approach. This chapter provides a brief summary of additional theories that should be considered for studying racial and ethnic group differences in crime. The theories include Tittle's revised control balance theory, Krohn's theory of multiplicity, and Braithwaite's crime and reinte­grative shaming.
  10. Conclusion. This chapter provides a brief summary of each chapter, and the different views on race, crime, and delinquency presented in them. It closes with a call for future research and publications in the area.

This unique and rich book is aimed at individuals interested in the field of criminal justice, criminology, or sociology. Through the readings presented in Race, Crime, and Delinquency, students, instructors, and scholars can understand the application of criminological theory to race, crime, and delinquency and be able to critically analyze reasons why the disparity exists with race in the context of crime and delinquency. The chapters also helps readers gain the understanding to think and speak about, as well as research, this issue in more sophisticated ways.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Administration & Policy / Reference

Healthcare Transformation: A Guide for the Hospital Board Member by Maulik S. Joshi & Bernard J. Horak, with a foreword by John R. Combes (American Hospital Association: Productivity Press/CRC Press)

Healthcare Transformation will aid your board in achieving that stronger position and in turn help your organization perform more successfully in the new healthcare world. As you refer to this guide either as a trustee, an executive, or as a student of healthcare governance, consider how this approach to transformation can lead us back once again to that strong bond of trust with our patients and communities. Focus on how we can raise the board culture to make our organizations better through their effective challenging of our current performance. Strengthening the trustees' role in helping our healthcare institutions fulfill the promises made to our patients and com­munities has never been more important. This book is your guide. – John R. Combes, President and Chief Operating Officer; Center for Healthcare Governance

Designed for easy reference by people with busy schedules, Healthcare Transformation provides hospital board members and executives with practical guidance on how to become actively engaged in the transformation of their organization. It focuses on how the healthcare industry as a whole is transforming and stresses the importance of having board members who are able to provide leadership. Healthcare Transformation orients new board members and provides experienced members with insight on key issues. It also supplies questions to ask stakeholders that will facilitate engagement.

Authors are Maulik S. Joshi, president of the Health Research and Educational Trust, senior vice president of research at the American Hospital Association, and former president and chief executive officer of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, and Bernard J. Horak, professor and director of the Graduate Program in Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University, formerly director of Strategic Planning and Total Quality Management at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Each of the chapters in Healthcare Transformation is organized around action steps referred to as Top Healthcare Transformers. These are designed to disseminate best practices, build organizational quality, establish transparency, and develop the culture and leadership needed to facilitate change that is intelligent and progressive.

According to John R. Combes in the foreword, it is becoming clearer that the primary fiduciary role of boards is to ensure that their organization delivers safe, effective care that meets the patients' need for a quality of life that is free from suffering and debility. Because board members have a legal duty to act on behalf of the organization's stakeholders and principal among these stakeholders are patients and communities, it is evident that their concerns, intimately related to their health and lives, should be primary. With this deeper understanding that patients and communities have entrusted their health and lives to the healthcare organization comes a change in perspective. The board's principal duty is not to the organization's well-being alone but rather to the well-being of the patients and communities that they serve. To accomplish this reorientation, it will take transformative change, moving organizational and practitioners' needs from the center of atten­tion and placing the needs and concerns of patients and communities at the center. Boards must lead this reorientation process.

Are boards prepared to take on such a task? The evidence is mixed. There are some great boards setting the quality agenda for their organiza­tions, but other boards that are still satisfied with leaving the responsibility for clinical care and quality with the medical staff. In fact, trustees can be overwhelmed by the complexity of clinical care, the need for expert knowledge, and the presence of those experts in the board room. This can lead to trustees avoiding their responsibility to ask the right ques­tions, challenge conventional thinking, and use the organization mission to provide clarity to their decision-making.

Over the past year the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has focused on engaging boards on quality through education, consensus recommendations, and identifica­tion of leading practices. The American Hospital Association's Center for Healthcare Governance (Center) with support from the Massachusetts Hospital Association and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts has developed a trustee quality curriculum that is being delivered in board rooms around the country. Additionally, the Center is publishing its second Blue Ribbon Panel report on trustee core competencies, among which are information seeking (asking the right questions), innovative thinking (looking at issues in new ways), and leadership for change (defining the vision for change).

Healthcare Transformation presents the ten major transformers for healthcare in the first part of the twenty-first century and how boards can understand and use them to transform their own organizations. By outlining the chal­lenges, illustrating the transformational process, identifying the current best practice, and articulating the critical questions board members should ask, this book contributes to elevating board performance in quality and safety. It also assists in developing the necessary trustee competencies to garner organizational success. Practical information is provided in each chapter, which helps demystify the healthcare environment and provides direction to boards as they navigate their own and their organization's course through the ever changing challenges and obstacles in healthcare.

Hospital board members today have a responsibility to understand the healthcare environment. This book is a must read for board members and hospital executives. – David Shulkin, MD, President and CEO, Beth Israel Medical Center

The safety and quality of the care delivered in a hospital is the number one responsibility of each and every Board member and the significance of this cannot be underestimated as it sets the tone for the entire organization. This important book provides hospital leaders and Boards key information for that dialogue. – Diane C. Pinakiewicz, MBA, President, National Patient Safety Foundation

This book is a ‘must-read’ resource for Hospital Management Teams and Board members. The content is supported by extensive knowledge and practical current experience of the authors. – Alexander (Rusty) Sloan, MD, MACP, Lt. General, USAF, Retired

Concisely written, Healthcare Transformation is an easy-and-often reference by people with busy schedules. It is ideal for orienting new board members and for providing more experienced members with insight on key issues. The book can help boards develop a culture of respect­ful inquisitiveness based on a clear understanding of the forces that are shaping healthcare.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Pharmacology

Pharmacy Student Survival Guide, 2nd edition by Ruth E. Nemire & Karen L. Kier (McGraw Hill Medical)

Faculty/preceptors often find themselves looking for material that quickly acquaints students with a certain theory, process, or practice. This text aims to meets those expectations.

Pharmacy Student Survival Guide is one of a few texts that students will likely use through their entire pharmacy school education. It is a one-of-a-kind roadmap for excelling in pharmacy practice courses. A combination calculations, kinetics, drug information, medical terminology, and laboratory data book all in one, the Guide helps students organize case information, improve problem-solving skills, learn terminology, and impress faculty during rounds. The book can be used both in the classroom to introduce ideas and during practice courses.

Pharmacy Student Survival Guide, written by Ruth E. Nemire, PharmD, Professor at Touro College in the College of Pharmacy, in Harlem, NY and Karen L. Kier, PhD, MSc, RPh, Professor at Ohio Northern University in the College of Pharmacy in Ada, Ohio, is presented in three sections that span the pharmacy curriculum:

  1. Systems and expectations – covering ethics, communication, monitoring drug therapy, and regulatory agencies.
  2. Patient care tool box – covering medical terminology, pharmacokinetics, laboratory data, and physical assessment.
  3. Topics in pharmacy practice – covering drug information and drug literature evaluation, community/ambulatory care, institutional pharmacy practice, public health, reducing health disparities through domestic and global outreach to the underserved.

In the systems and expectations section of Pharmacy Student Survival Guide, Nemire and Kier discuss topics for in­troductory and advanced pharmacy practice courses, etiquette, ethical issues, service-learning, communication skills, monitoring patients, and the function of a medical team. Chapters are written to help students become comfortable within the healthcare system and explain the expectations of student pharmacists within that system. Included in the student pharmacist toolbox section are chapters on medical terminology, US federal regulations, calculations, pharmacokinetics, laboratory data, and physical assessment. The chapters on calculations and pharmacokinetics may be used in a beginning classroom setting when students need to understand big concepts; it will supplement the regular textbook. Instructive chapters dealing with the technical and interpretive aspects of the practice of pharmacy, such as physical assessment, and laboratory testing are included in the toolbox section and can be used by students during their advanced practice courses to interpret patient findings. Students will be able to use Pharmacy Student Survival Guide early in their pharmacy school curriculum to keep note of their learning and to indicate ‘pearls’ in the margins that they will use later to practice.

The last section of Pharmacy Student Survival Guide contains specific topics for pharmacy prac­tice, including chapters addressing the practices of community and institutional pharmacy, the pharmacist as drug information specialist, managed care, public health, and global pharmacy. These chapters are included to round out the text so that it becomes the student practice guide from beginning to end. The final section touches on topics such as missions and the responsibility to advocate for the profession and advance the pharmacist's involvement in public health. All of the topics are meant to support the knowledge and professional growth of student pharmacists across a curriculum.

Student pharmacists need a textbook to use for learning in general about etiquette, ethics, law, and other topics for practice courses. It should be a book that is the right size for quickly reading and referencing information when in a classroom or completing introductory and advanced practice courses. This text will fulfill that need for students.

Valuable for both introductory and advanced practice courses, Pharmacy Student Survival Guide is a book students will turn to throughout their entire pharmacy education.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / New Testament / Reference

Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians by Ambrosiaster, translated and edited by Gerald L. Bray, with series editors Thomas C. Oden and Gerald L. Bray (Ancient Christian Texts Series: IVP Academic)

This Ancient Christian Texts volume Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians, translated and edited by Gerald L. Bray, is the first of two to offer a first English translation of the anonymous fourth-century commentary on the thirteen letters of Paul, widely viewed as one of the finest pre-Reformation commentaries on the Pauline Epistles. The volume includes an introduction discussing authorship, text and translation, as well as the social and theological context of the commentary.

Ambrosiaster is the name given to the anonymous author of this earliest com­plete Latin commentary on the thirteen epistles of Paul. The commentaries were thought to have been written by Ambrose throughout the Middle Ages, but their authorship was challenged by Erasmus, whose arguments proved decisive. It was Erasmus who gave the author the epithet Ambrosiaster ("Star of Ambrose").

The commentaries, which serve as important witnesses to pre-Vulgate Latin versions of Paul's epistles, are noteworthy in other respects as well. Ambrosiaster was a careful and thoughtful interpreter, with little use for allegory, though he employed typology judiciously. Writing during the pontificate of Damascus (366-384 B.C.), he was a witness to Nicene orthodoxy and frequently commented on themes related to the Trinity, the consubstantiality of the Son, the problem of the unbelief of the Jews and the nature of human sinfulness. He had a keen eye for moral issues and frequently offered comments that reflect his knowledge of how the church had changed from the time of the apostles to his own day.

According to Gerald L. Bray in the translator’s introduction, Ambrosiaster’s commentary can be broken down into two, or possibly three principal recensions. Untangling these is a delicate task, because in later centuries there was a good deal of cross-pollination, as monastic copyists incorporated elements from dif­ferent recensions into their own text. It is possible that Ambrosiaster left his work in a semi-polished state, which was then touched up for publication by literary executors who smoothed our some of its rough edges and filled in material that was either missing from the manuscript(s) they had or that was felt to be needed in order to make sense of what Ambrosiaster wrote. But it is also possible that Ambrosiaster produced the different versions himself, perhaps with a variety of audiences in mind. There is no reason to believe that anyone wanted to falsify Ambrosiaster's thought, though it is possible that the third recension contains comments that were felt to be more appropriate or helpful than the text of the primary and secondary ones. If they come from the pen of Ambrosiaster himself, then it would seem that he revised his work in the light of feedback received from readers of the earlier editions.

Sometimes it appears as if whole phrases have gone missing or been transposed to other parts of the manuscript, but we cannot be certain of this.

Most of the time, readers will find in Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians that Ambrosiaster was using a text closer to that of the so-called Textus Receptus (which is essentially the one underlying the Authorized or King James Version of 1611), rather than the text(s) behind the RSV or other modern English translations, but this is not an invariable rule and each verse must be considered on its own merits.

What Latin version Ambrosiaster was using is unknown. It was probably the one known to Lucifer of Cagliari, who was writing about the same time. It contained some egregious errors which a knowledge of Greek would have corrected, but beyond that it is impossible to go. Whatever text he was using, it was no doubt the translation that was most familiar to him. He seldom quoted from the deuteron-canonical books of the Old Testament, although when he did he treats them as Scripture, but he did not regard the epistle to the Hebrews as Pauline. Ambrosiaster's interpretive skills were condi­tioned and sometimes constricted by a faulty text, leading him to conclusions that cannot be justified, but the extent of this problem should not be exaggerated. On the whole, he made sensible judgments and was careful to present alternative possibilities when the meaning of Paul's words was unclear to him. Only very occasionally did he go wrong for reasons that must be attributed to his own ignorance or speculation.

Generally speaking, Ambrosiaster must be regarded as one of the greatest of the ancient biblical commentators, whose work often stands alongside that of modern scholars. He was firmly wedded to the literal sense of interpre­tation and avoided allegory, though he was not averse to mentioning the spiritual dimen­sion of the text when he thought that its grammatical or stylistic peculiarities required an explanation beyond the purely literal one. He was particularly sensitive to the rhetorical devices that the apostle Paul used, and sometimes we find interesting explanations of words taken from political, military or legal contexts that would have been well known to him but that might easily escape modern readers less familiar with the Roman impe­rial context.

The announcement of InterVarsity's series Ancient Christian Texts, to complement the highly successful Ancient Christian Commentaries on Scripture is good news, in the richest sense of that term. The burst of renewed interest in the way the fathers of the church read, preached and prayed the Scriptures is a blessing for the church and for scholars. The projected volumes of Ancient Christian Texts represent an excellent selective of patristic exegetical works, some of which will be available for the first time in English. This undertaking will be a great service to all who love the Bible. – Joseph T. Lienhard, S .J., Professor of Theology, Fordham University, Past President, North American Patristics Society

The commentary series Ancient Christian Texts offers a rich repository of insight into the thinking of pre-Reformation church leaders for the leaders and teachers of the church today, offering contemporary English translations. The series provides contemporary readers with the resources they need to study for themselves the key writings of the early church. The texts represented in the series are full-length commentaries or sermon series based on biblical books or extended scriptural passages. In the first volume in the series, Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians, for the first time Ambrosiaster’s commentaries on Romans and the Corinthian correspondence are made available in English, ably translated and edited by Bray.

Series editors are Bray and Thomas Oden. Bray, priest in the Church of England, is director of research for The Latimer Trust, and a research professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Oden, director of the Center for Early African Christianity, formerly the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Reference / Church History

The Disciples: A Struggle for Reformation by D. Duane Cummins (Chalice Press)

Whenever the history of this effort at reformation shall have been faithfully written, it will appear, we think, bright as the sun, that our career has been marked with a spirit of forbearance, moderation, a love for union, with an unequivocal desire for preserving the integrity, harmony and cooperation of all those who teach one Lord, one faith, one immersion. – Alexander Campbell, 1840

The Disciples is the most current and comprehensive book on the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Furnishing information on the past two centuries of the denomination, Duane Cummins follows the writings of Disciples' history and reformation.
As told in The Disciples, a small gathering of people, about sixty or seventy, from various denominations assembled under an oak near the Lower Buffalo in the far western reaches of Virginia. Around the Lord's table, spread there in the woods, the little circle of neighbors received the loaf and the cup, covenanting with each other to follow the truth wherever it might lead. An unknown twenty-three-year-old immigrant preacher named Alexander Campbell, not yet ordained and just entering his third month of marriage, delivered the sermon. They called themselves Brush Run, a congregation barely nine months removed from the day of its founding.

The young preacher chose for his text the words of the Arab prophet Bildad in Job 8:7: Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great. He opened his sermon with the words:

We commence our career as a church under the banner of "The Bible, the whole bible, and nothing but the Bible," as the standard of our religious faith and practice... Our inferences and opinions are our own... Christians are the sons of liberty – the Lord's free men. The right to choose and to refuse the opinions of men is the essence of liberty.... We are a weak band, a humble beginning; but so much the better. So were they of Galilee... and such were the founders of this great nation.

From the perspective of long years, Campbell later recalled raising two questions in his long-ago sermon: Who are we? For what are we here convened?

Those two questions were destined to beleaguer the tiny community of faith congregated on that distant summer day; two questions destined to torment their leaders, their progeny, and several generations of historians who attempted to tell the story of their journey through the next two hundred years. Was this small, obscure band of Christians a movement, a sect, a church, a cult, a society, an association, or a denomination? Were

the reformers, restorationists, responsible pilgrims, wayfaring strangers, or simply a rebellious, dissenting fringe? They would be known by all of those names and more; and their identity would be the subject of endless debate, ultimately becoming acrimonious.

What terms did the founders use to define their movement? Barton Stone, who led his Kentucky Christians into union with Campbell's Disciples in 1832, thereby creating the Stone-Campbell Movement, used the phrase ‘Reformation Movement’ in his History of the Christian Church in the West, written in 1827. He did not portray his work as ‘restoration,’ nor did he ever use the term ‘Restoration Movement.’ He affirmed that he had no intention of starting another ‘church,’ asserting that when he and his colleagues left the synod in Kentucky, they "withdrew from the judicatories with which we stood connected, and not from the church."

According to The Disciples, all churches claim to perpetuate what is essential in the primitive church, and all reformers claim to restore it. There has never been any other formula of reformation. The distinction sometimes made between ‘reformation’ and ‘restoration’ has no historical foundation. Because of the catholic principles driving their ideal of Christian unity, the Campbells and Stone resented the Movement being labeled a sect or sectarian, regarding itself as the only true body of Christ possessing exclusive truth. Nor did they consider themselves a separate denomination, but rather merely a segment of the universal body of Christ. The Disciples refers to the founders as responsible pilgrims, early pioneers of an intended reformation movement within the church, advocating the principles of liberty, toleration, and Christian unity, while taking the Bible as their only rule of faith and seeking unity upon that common ground. It was an intended reformation within the church, born of the love of union. Their journey of reform would be arduous and long.

One hundred fifty years later, descendants of those founding pilgrims on the distant edge of the American nation had become a church, a denomination of international stature, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), known in a larger context as part of the Stone-Campbell Movement. The Disciples is their story – a storyline of struggle covering more than two centuries.

In The Disciples the beginning is set in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the First Great Awakening to familiarize readers with the contours of the larger setting. The middle period of the Disciples struggle for reformation is presented in the socio-cultural context of the nineteenth-century Second and Third Great Awakenings, the age of Romanticism, and Jacksonian Democracy, from which the Disciples Reformation Movement is inseparable, with a lesser emphasis on the setting of the Westward Movement of the Frontier. And the story of the twentieth century is written around the central feature – or historical hinge – ‘restructure,’ beginning with the decades of unfolding events leading to restructure, and concluding with the emerging effects of restructure during the decades that followed. According to Cummins, restructure deliberately receives detailed treatment in this narrative because it has not been previously integrated into or made an integral part of the larger picture in the writing of Disciples' comprehensive histories; and there has not been a significant educational effort to assist the membership in understanding the full meaning of restructure, church, and covenant. Hence, Cummins offer a conscious effort in The Disciples to present the meaning of restructure, with the hope of revitalizing their unique ‘community in covenant’ through a New Age generation of readers as they continue the ‘struggle for reformation’ in the new millennium.

Cummins, visiting scholar in history at Johns Hopkins University, has served as interim president at Brite Divinity School, is president emeritus of Bethany College in West Virginia and former president of the Division of Higher Education for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Cummins has traced succinctly the story of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a welcome emphasis on Disciples restructure and developments early in the twenty-first century; a very readable history! – Lester McAllister, professor of church history emeritus, Christian Theological Seminary
D. Duane Cummins, a combination historian and churchman, has given us a history both highly readable for the layperson and insightful for the scholar. – Peter Morgan, president emeritus, Disciples of Christ Historical Society
We have been trying for years to gain a clear picture of how the restructure of Disciples in the late twentieth century fits within the overall history of our faith movement. Here is the portrait, painted in bold colors and showing for the first time not only where we have come from, but also why our story unfolded in the way it did. – Glenn Thomas Carson, president, Disciples of Christ Historical Society

Rather than merely retelling earlier accounts, this history offers new perspectives on many subjects and includes the first comprehensive treatment of the background, process, and consequences of Restructure. – D. Newell Williams, moderator, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

This book rests firmly within the tradition of all Duane Cummins' books: readers will find that the writing is crisp, the story is interesting, the style is accessible to all audiences, and the author's concern for the integrity of the Disciples plea (past, present, and future) is abundant. – Mark Toulouse, Brite Divinity School

Historian Duane Cummins brilliantly sets the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) within the framework of both the enlightenment – its rational, scientific thought – and the American religious awakenings with their spiritual, evangelical fervor. But Cummins' skill also is in painting vivid pictures and anecdotes of the characters that inhabit the framework. – Robert Friedly, vice president emeritus, Office of Communications, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Disciples is a current and comprehensive look at the two centuries of history of a denomination of Christianity with what appears to be a lot of controversy. To the outsider, it is amazing how much ink has been consumed discussing the difference or lack thereof between the terms reformation and restoration. Were they originally trying to break off from Christians or not? This church historian with academic credentials clears the matter up, or does he?

Religion & Spirituality / Comparative Religion / Theology / Philosophy

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright (Little, Brown and Company)

In summing up, then, it may be said that nearly all the great social institutions have been born in religion. – Emile Durkheim

Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a re-examination of the past and a visionary look forward.
In The Evolution of God, award-winning and bestselling author Robert Wright takes readers on a journey through history, unveiling a discovery of crucial importance to the present moment: the pattern in the evolution of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the ‘hidden code’ in their scriptures. Reading these scrip­tures in light of the circumstances surrounding their creation, Wright, contributing editor to the New Republic, Time, and Slate and former teacher of philosophy, reveals the forces that have repeatedly moved the Abrahamic faiths away from belligerence and intolerance to a higher moral plane. He shows how these forces could today let these faiths reassert their deep proclivity toward harmony and reconcilia­tion. What's more, his analysis raises the prospect of a second kind of reconciliation: the reconciliation of science and religion.

Using the prisms of archaeology, theology, history, and evolutionary psychology, Wright in The Evolution of God repeatedly overturns conventional wisdom:

  • Contrary to the belief that Moses brought monotheism to the Middle East, ancient Israel was in fact polytheistic until after the Babylo­nian exile.
  • Jesus didn't really say, "Love your enemies," or extol the Good Samaritan. These misquotes were inserted in scripture decades after the Crucifixion.
  • Muhammad was neither a militant religious zealot nor a benign spiritual leader but a cool political pragmatist, at one point flirting with polytheism in an attempt to build his coalition.

Wright says ‘materialist’ is a not-very-misleading term for him. In fact, he thinks the origin and development of religion can be explained by reference to concrete, observable things – human nature, political and economic factors, technologi­cal change, and so on.

But Wright doesn't think a ‘materialist’ account of religion's origin, history, and future precludes the validity of a religious worldview. In fact, he contends that the history of religion presented in The Evolution of God, materialist though it is, actually affirms the validity of a religious worldview; not a traditionally reli­gious worldview, but a worldview that is in some meaningful sense religious.

It sounds paradoxical. On the one hand, he thinks gods arose as illusions, and that the subsequent history of the idea of god is, in some sense, the evolution of an illusion. On the other hand: (1) the story of this evolution itself points to the existence of something one can meaningfully call divinity; and (2) the ‘illusion,’ in the course of evolving, has gotten streamlined in a way that moved it closer to plausibility. In both of these senses, the illusion has gotten less and less illusory.

He concedes that the kind of god that remains plausible, after all this streamlining, is not the kind of god that most religious believers currently have in mind.

There are two other things that he hopes will make sense by the end of The Evolution of God, and both are aspects of the current world situation. One is what some people call a clash of civilizations – the ten­sion between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim world, as conspicuously manifested on September 11, 2001. Ever since that day, people have been wondering how, if at all, the world's Abrahamic religions can get along with one another as globalization forces them into closer and closer contact.

The second aspect of the current world situation is another kind of clash – the much-discussed ‘clash’ between science and religion. Like the first kind of clash, this one has a long and instructive history outlined in The Evolution of God

There have been many such unsettling (from religion's point of view) discoveries since then, but always some notion of the divine has survived the encounter with science. The notion has had to change, but that's no indictment of religion. After all, he says science has changed relentlessly, revising if not discarding old theories, and none of us think of that as an indictment of science. On the contrary, we think this ongoing adaptation is carrying science closer to the truth. Maybe the same thing is happening to religion. Maybe, in the end, a mercilessly scientific account of our predicament is actually compatible with a truly religious worldview, and is part of the process that refines a religious worldview, moving it closer to truth.

These two big ‘clash’ questions can be put into one sentence: Can religions in the modern world reconcile themselves to one another, and can they reconcile themselves to science? Wright thinks their history points to affirmative answers.

In The Evolution of God Wright asks: What would religions look like after such an adaptation? First, they have to address the challenges to human psychologi­cal well-being that are posed by the modern world. (Otherwise they won't win acceptance.) Second, they have to highlight some ‘higher purpose’ – some kind of larger point or pattern that we can use to help us orient our daily lives, recognize good and bad, and make sense of joy and suffering alike. (Otherwise they won't be religions.)

Now for the really hard questions. How will religions manage these feats? (Assuming they do; and if they don't, then all of us – believers, agnostics, and atheists alike – may be in big trou­ble.) How will religions adapt to science and to one another? What would a religion well suited to an age of advanced science and rapid globalization look like? What kind of purpose would it point to, what kind of orientation would it provide? Is there an intellectu­ally honest worldview that truly qualifies as religious and can, amid the chaos of the current world, provide personal guidance and comfort – and maybe even make the world less chaotic? Wright doesn't claim to have the answers, but clear clues emerge in the course of telling the story of The Evolution of God.

In his illuminating book, The Moral Animal, Wright introduced evolutionary psychology and examined the ways that the morality of individuals might be hard-wired by nature rather than influenced by culture. With this book, he expands upon that work, turning now to explore how religion came to define larger and larger groups of people as part of the circle of moral consideration. … He finds in this evolution of religion, however, that the great monotheistic (he calls them Abrahamic, a term not favored by many religion scholars) religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism – all contain a code for the salvation of the world. Using game theory, he encourages individuals in these three faiths to embrace a non-zero-sum relationship to other religions, seeing their fortunes as positively correlated and interdependent and then acting with tolerance toward other religions. Regrettably, Wright's lively writing unveils little that is genuinely new or insightful about religion. – Publishers Weekly
On any list of nonfiction authors that many people may not know but should, Robert Wright would rank high. . . . taken together, The Moral Animal, Nonzero, and The Evolution of God represent a powerful addition to modern thought. If biology, culture and faith all seek a better world, maybe there is hope. – Wall Street Journal, Gregg Easterbrook
Can religions in the modern world reconcile themselves to one another, and can they reconcile themselves to science? Robert Wright – journalist, philosophy professor, and author of the acclaimed books, Nonzero, and The Moral Animal – ardently believes the answer is yes. In this meaty account, the result of 10 years of scholarly research, he attempts to do so, drawing on evolutionary psychology, archaeology, and game theory to trace a common pattern in the world's monotheistic faiths. It's a thoroughly materialist account of religion and yet is ultimately allied with one of religion's basic goals: to provide guidance and comfort in a chaotic world. – Seed Magazine
The Evolution of God gives me hope.... The tone of the book is dry skepticism with a dash of humour; the content is supple, dense and layered...fresh and necessary. – The Times, Andrew Sullivan

Vast in ambition and brilliant in execution, breathtaking and sweeping, The Evolution of God will alter our understanding of God and where He came from – and where He and we are going next.

Religion & Spirituality / Literature

In Bed With the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics by Daniel Coleman (The University of Alberta Press)

In Bed With the Word sparks with every conceivable enticement for those who worry about living in a culture of distraction and who long to reconnect with something deeper.

While reading is a deeply personal activity; paradoxically, it is also fundamentally social and outward-looking. Daniel Coleman, a lifelong reader and professor of literature, combines story with meditation to reveal this paradox and illustrate why, more than ever, we need this special brand of ‘quiet time’ in our lives.

Coleman was born and raised in Ethiopia and came to Canada to go to college. After BEd and MA degrees from the University of Regina, and a PhD from the University of Alberta, he went on to teach Canadian and Diasporic literatures in the Department of English at McMaster University His wide-ranging interests are reflected in other writing projects, including a memoir about his youth (The Scent of Eucalyptus), and a critical exploration of the literary past (Recalling Early Canada: Reading the Political in Literary and Cultural Production).

In In Bed With the Word Coleman muses about the bookishness of religion – not just Christianity, but most of the world's major religions, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Why are so many religious folks, ‘People of the Book,’ to borrow a loaded phrase from the Koran. Why is it that when people want to pray, to worship, to reconnect with their spirits, more often than not they open a book? Obviously, plenty of people in the world have developed sophisticated spiritual traditions without being literate, so there is no absolute or necessary connection between the reading and writing of books and the capacity for spiritual life. And, there arc other forms of expression that are very closely associated with prayer and worship – espe­cially various art forms such as music, painting, sculpture, and architecture. But over and over again, we find that when we strip away the stained glass, incense, prayer beads, or gilded domes of religious expression and peel it down to its basic core, we will find an open book. Why? What is it about reading that is so conducive to spiritual life? What does reading do? What kind of experience does it make that so many people have found it to be fundamental to spiritual awareness?

By spirituality, Coleman says he means something that clearly flows through our religious impulses and experiences, but it is not identical with them, for it also flows through our psychology and physical sensibility, as well as through our social and political lives. By spirituality, he means a drive or energy in ourselves that is outward-reaching, that is a kind of longing to be meaningfully connected. Coleman means what finally moves us, what propels our actions and sparks our imaginations. He means a recognition of ourselves as connected to others, to the surrounding world, and – within or beyond the sensory world – to the Creator.

This understanding of spirituality makes it not just an inner feeling or a psychic state, nor is it merely inner work or the process of interior discernment. It involves these things, but it also requires outward attentiveness to the direc­tions and movements of the world beyond our own minds and hearts. Thus, spirituality is the way we live out our relationships with our environment and with other people, as well as with our secret selves.

Coleman in In Bed With the Word says that reading pushes readers beyond the starting point of their own minds and into the larger world. Reading exercises and gives shape to the outward-reaching energy within us that is our spirituality. In this sense, reading is erotic and like all Eros, it leaps with energy and passion; it compels focus; it reaches out toward an Other.

Contents include:

  1. Reading and Longing
  2. Reading as Counterculture
  3. Posture
  4. The Structure of Absence
  5. Eating the Book

This is a rare manuscript. In my view it has perfect pitch, a generous openness, and makes demands on the reader that are eagerly engaged by the lively mind. In style, content, and argument, it is lovely. – David J. Goa, Director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Lift

Reading is not solely an exercise to feed one's inner life. Rather; eating the book – not just nibbling at it, or having a little taste here and there, but eating it wholesale – produces a changed person, an empowered person, a different kind of person, and changed people means social and political change, too, not just personal change. – Daniel Coleman

In Bed With the Word is the perfect companion for those who worry about living in a culture of distraction and who long to reconnect with something deeper.

Travel / Arts & Photography / Agricultural Science

Hudson River Valley Farms: The People and the Pride behind the Produce by Joanne Michaels, with photographs by Rich Pomerantz, with a foreword by Maurice Hinchey (Globe Pequot Press)

Published for the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s September 1609 journey up the river that today bears his name, Hudson River Valley Farms celebrates the local farms – and farmers – in one of the country’s most scenic and storied regions, once known as the Breadbasket of America.

Hudson River Valley Farms brings to life the renaissance of food producers who have re-created the region as a source of artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef, and first-rate organic fruits and vegetables. With an emphasis on photography and short essays the book takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey to forty-four farms from Westchester County to the Capital District of Albany, and features the colorful maverick entrepreneurs behind the striking scenery. The book, written by Joanne Michaels, former editor in chief of Hudson Valley Magazine and host of a cable television talk show, also includes a directory of nearly 100 local farmers’ markets, directions to the featured farms, and an introduction by the region’s popular Congressman, Maurice Hinchey.

Hinchey in the introduction says that he hopes Hudson River Valley Farms will impart to its readers a better understanding of the natural resources the Hudson Valley has to offer, as well as a greater appreciation and incentive to support what is being locally grown. The Hudson River Valley captivates people with its rich his­tory, natural wonders, and vibrant culture. Farming has been deeply rooted in the heritage of this region, playing a vital role in the development of the area since its earliest settle­ments. Today the Hudson River Valley continues to be home to a devoted farming community, produc­ing a variety of goods from hay and honey to fresh produce and dairy products. The rural beauty of the Hudson River Valley has not gone unrecognized; it has been the creative muse for countless artists. Farm­ing is no exception when it comes to enhancing the splendor of the region. Vegetables grow as far as the eye can see; greenhouses are filled with flowers and cows dot the countryside. The farmers market, a long-standing regional tradition, gives people the opportunity to come together while learning more about their neighbors and the cornucopia of goods the Valley has to offer. There is no question of the addition this makes to the cultural affluence of the area.

Michaels is the author of two guidebooks to the Hudson River Valley, and she says she has continually traveled throughout the region. Over the years, as she drove around the Valley, she passed through stretches of pastoral countryside, often seeing herds of cows at the side of the road, acres of apple orchards, silos bursting with corn, and tractors moving in the distance. She grew curious about the people behind the crops and machinery. Just who was out there? How did they decide to farm? What challenges have they faced now that agribusiness has largely taken over food production in America?

So she set out on a journey that has taken her from Congers, Sleepy Hollow country, and Pine Island, to Ghent, Preston Hollow, and Castleton­on-Hudson. The forty-four firms included in the book represent hundreds of others. Hudson River Valley Farms follows the Hudson River from the south (Rockland and Westchester Counties), north to the Albany/ Rensselaer County region.

Interestingly, few farms are located along the Hudson River. After Hendrik Hudson's exploration in 1609, and the English colonization in the latter part of the seventeenth century, acres of land along the river were granted to wealthy nobles. Farming burgeoned, and for centuries, life on these farms remained self-sustaining and relatively unchanged. In the mid-1970s, with the advent of agribusi­ness, the price of milk dramatically plummeted. Many of the farms she visited that had been dairy operations were now transformed into diverse busi­nesses. Out of necessity, dairy farmers were forced to make changes; the alternative was to sell off their acreage to developers.

The owners of some farms took a risk: They began to grow organic produce as well as raise free-range chickens and hormone-free livestock. In recent years they watched their market grow as the number of people in quest of high-quality milk, cheese, meat, and produce has increased dramatically. These busi­ness owners figured out how to maximize their profits from their new niche, often leaving their farms and going where the market is – whether it is to Manhattan, Brooklyn, or a parking lot by the local train station.

Michaels hopes Hudson River Valley Farms sparks the curiosity of readers to know their farmers and find out where their food comes from. The idea of eating locally grown foods is particularly appealing, so she includes a directory of farmers markets to make shopping directly from local farms easier. In the spirit of agri-tourism, she hopes readers will discover new places to visit, like the Rogowski Farm in the Black Dirt region (Orange County) and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills (Westchester County) – two strik­ingly different farms. She hopes these small slices of farm life pique readers’ interest and lead them on this journey.

[Hudson River Valley Farms] is not only a tribute to the farms that have enhanced our area but also recognition of the farmers who make it all possible. … It is wonder­ful that the benefits of agriculture in the region are being documented in a book, enlightening readers about the fantastic effects farming has on the area.… Agriculture has added both to the pastoral beauty of the area and to the enhancement of the local culture and economy. This book is a moving portrayal of the magnificent farms and farmers of the Hudson River Valley. – U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey

Hudson River Valley Farms is a celebration of the wealth and abundance cultivated in the soil along the Hudson River. The book reminds one a wee bit of an agri-tourism sales pitch – support your local New York-New Jersey farmers. The essays are evocative and Rich Pomerantz’s stunning and dramatic wall-to-wall photography is a real asset.

Travel / Individual Sports

Cycling Britain, 2nd edition by Etain O'Carroll, Aaron Anderson & Marc Di Duca (Lonely Planet)

Lonely Planet knows Britain. – slogan from the book

Gloriously green and riddled with implausibly picturesque villages, historic cities, wild moors and windswept dales, Britain is a rich and varied land. It's the kind of place where cutting edge public art can be found alongside festivals of obscure and, at times, ridiculous tradition. Readers can go ecstatic over medieval castles and ruined abbeys, coo over thatched cottages and honey-colored villages, feel the thrill of achievement on mountain roads or take in some culture in the trendsetting clubs and galleries of Britain's biggest cities.

Cycling Britain steers readers along Britain’s best cycling routes, to great pubs and attractions and the coziest places to stay and eat. Readers can find a tour to suit them – a leisurely day trip, a week-long tour or the epic 20-day Land’s End to John O’Groats ride.

120 days of Britain’s best cycling. Cycling Britain tells readers where to eat – from pubs to cafes, curry-houses and restaurants, where to stay – from camping to B&Bs and luxury hotels, on-the-road maintenance tips and recommended bike shops, what to see and do, in and out of the saddle, and how to pack and transport their bikes.

Contents include:

  • Highlights
  • Table of Rides
  • What to Bring
  • Costs & Money
  • Environment
  • London
  • The Southwest
  • Suffolk & Norfolk Coast
  • A Cotswolds Triangle
  • Brecon Beacons Gap
  • Northumbria Coast & Castles
  • Highlands Circuit
  • Land's End to John O'Groats Transport
  • Your Bicycle
  • Health & Safety

Cycling Britain is all about slowing down and getting off the beaten track. Experienced authors Etain O'Carroll, Aaron Anderson & Marc Di Duca show readers how – from the estuaries of East Anglia to the wild uplands of the Peak District, from Wales' magnificent medieval castles to the mountains and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. Whether cyclists want to cruise from village to village sampling the warmth and conviviality of British pubs, or test themselves with long steep climbs across the moors, this guide gives them the best of Britain on two wheels.

Despite the dense population and complex web of roads, it's not difficult to get away from the crowds and the traffic. According to Cycling Britain, cycling is enjoying a real renaissance in Britain and there's an ever-increasing network of dedicated cycle routes, trails and tracks weaving their way across the country, and with them a greater understanding of the lure of the open road and the facilities that cyclists need.

This isn't the place for grueling tales of hardship or woe; it's unlikely that travelers will contract malaria or find themselves stuck hundreds of miles from the nearest puncture repair kit. Cycling here means taking short hops rather than large and lonely jumps.

With a bicycle it's easy to leave the crowded main roads behind and find oneself in an idyllic country setting with an astonishing complex of minor roads that links thousands of cities, towns, and villages. And Britain is also a land of many hills but few mountains, which makes it easy to take in the scenery or history or meet the locals. There are plenty of wide, open spaces, isolated trails and off-road routes if that's what readers are after. But they still won't be far from a historic pub, cozy guesthouse or hip cafe by the end of the day.

… The Lonely Planet guidebook has a wide range of itineraries and tours for riders of all abilities, with detailed maps and excellent directions for each, from a Sunday ride past London's best-known sites to a ten-day journey through the Highlands, islands, and quiet roads of Scotland.

Lonely Planet provides in one book all the information a cyclist will need for a tour of Britain, including Wales and Scotland. ‘Facts for Cyclists’ provides practical information on when to ride, a checklist of what to bring, information on buying or renting locally, a list of cycling events, and Internet resources. There's a detailed introduction to the British cycle-touring scene, with tips on how to get to and from Heathrow Airport and how to use the excellent rail network to cover more of the island. There are tips for senior, disabled, and gay and lesbian cyclers, and those riding with children, as well as lists of which airlines are bicycle friendly and how to pack and transport your bike. … With the inclusion of a chapter on bicycle maintenance and repair, this is one excellent, all-purpose guide. Be sure to make room for it in your pannier. – Lesley Reed, Amazon.com

Cycling Britain is an essential guide steering travelers along Britain’s best cycling routes, to great pubs and attractions and the coziest places to stay and eat. The book provides everything readers need to know to get prepared and enjoy their trip. Bike maintenance tips keep travelers on the road and comprehensive listings for sleeping, eating and facilities along the way help them get off the road.

 

Contents this Issue:

Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America by Brian Vanden Brink, with an introduction by Howard Mansfield (Down East Books)

IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain by Peter Weill & Jeanne W. Ross (Harvard Business Press)

I Don't Want to Go To School! by Stephanie Blake (Random House Children)

Brand New Emily by Ginger Rue (Tricycle Press)

A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert & Michael Ruhlman (Artisan)

The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet by Pamela Compart & Dana Laake (Fair Winds)

Learning Culture and Language through ICTs: Methods for Enhanced Instruction edited by Maiga Chang & Chen-wo Kuo (Premier Reference Source Series: Information Science Reference)

Teaching the Female Brain: How Girls Learn Math and Science by Abigail Norfleet James (Corwin Press)

Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music . . . from Hank Snow to The Band by Jason Schneider (ECW Press)

Bear With Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears by Patrick McCaskey, with Mike Sandrolini (Triumph Books)

The Real Truth about Aging: A Survival Guide for Older Adults and Caregivers by Neil Shulman, Michael A. Silverman, & Adam G. Golden (Prometheus Books)

Kiss the Kids for Dad, Don't Forget to Write: The Wartime Letters of George Timmins, 1916-18 edited by Y. A. Bennett (University of British Columbia Press)

Great Commanders Head to Head: The Battles of the Civil War by Kevin J. Dougherty (Thunder Bay Press)

Love in an Envelope: A Courtship in the American West edited by Daniel Tyler, with Betty Henshaw (University of New Mexico Press)

SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men by Pete Scholey (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

The Surge: A Military History by Kimberly Kagan (Encounter Books)

World War II by H.P. Willmott, Charles Messenger & Robin Cross with an introduction by Richard Overy (DK Publishing)

In the Valley of Mist: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World by Justine Hardy (Free Press)

African Inspirations in Embroidery by Mary Sleigh (Batsford)

The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork: 500 Full-Color How-to Photos by Vivian Carli Kistler (Creative Publishing International)

The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call (The Devotional Series: Quarry Books)

Silver Clay Keepsakes: Family-Friendly Projects by Katie Baum & Judi L. Hendricks (Kalmbach Books)

Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed Media Techniques by Rebekah Meier (C&T Publishing)

Requiem of the Human Soul by Jeremy Lent (Libros Libertad)

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner (Bantam Books)

Recent Mammals of Alaska by Stephen O. MacDonald & Joseph A. Cook (University of Alaska Press)

Race, Crime, and Delinquency by George E. Higgins (Pearson Prentice Hall)

Healthcare Transformation: A Guide for the Hospital Board Member by Maulik S. Joshi & Bernard J. Horak, with a foreword by John R. Combes (American Hospital Association: Productivity Press/CRC Press)

Pharmacy Student Survival Guide, 2nd edition by Ruth E. Nemire & Karen L. Kier (McGraw Hill Medical)

Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians by Ambrosiaster, translated and edited by Gerald L. Bray, with series editors Thomas C. Oden and Gerald L. Bray (Ancient Christian Texts Series: IVP Academic)

The Disciples: A Struggle for Reformation by D. Duane Cummins (Chalice Press)

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright (Little, Brown and Company)

In Bed With the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics by Daniel Coleman (The University of Alberta Press)

Hudson River Valley Farms: The People and the Pride behind the Produce by Joanne Michaels, with photographs by Rich Pomerantz, with a foreword by Maurice Hinchey (Globe Pequot Press)

Cycling Britain, 2nd edition by Etain O'Carroll, Aaron Anderson & Marc Di Duca (Lonely Planet)