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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

November 2009, Issue #127

Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Emidio De Albentiis, with photography by Alfredo & Pio Foglia (Getty Publications)

Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art by Adam Duncan Harris (University of Oklahoma Press)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators by R. Mark Rogers (Alpha)

Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions by Michael Watkins (Harvard Business Press)

Marketing Your Product, 4th edition, with CD-ROM by Donald Cyr & Douglas Gray (Self-Counsel Business Series: Self-Counsel Press)

Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama's First Words to America by Barack Obama, illustrated by Greg Ruth (Harper)

The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures by Judy Young, with illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci (Sleeping Bear Press)

What's So Great About Granite? by Jennifer H. Carey, with photographs by Marli Bryant Miller (What's So Great About Geology? Series: Mountain Press)

Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, ‘The List’, and the Spirit of Southern Music by Michael Streissguth (Da Capo Press)

Our Boys in Blue and Gold edited by Tara Kaloz, with a foreword by Jim Tressel (Ringtaw Books – University of Akron Press)

Honoured Canadiens by Andrew Podnieks & The Hockey Hall of Fame (Fenn Publishing)

The Healing Power of Meditation: Your Prescription for Getting Well and Staying Well with Meditation by Gabriel Weiss (Basic Health Publications)

He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Secretary by Christa Schroeder, with an introduction by Roger Moorhouse (Frontline Books)

The Soldier from Independence: A Military Biography of Harry Truman by D. M. Giangreco (Zenith Press)

In the Heat of Battle: A history of those who rose to the occasion and those who didn't by Donough O'Brien (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

War Stories of D-Day: Operation Overlord: June 6, 1944 by Michael Green and James D. Brown (Zenith Press)

Nuclear Dawn: From the Manhattan Project to Bikini Atoll by James P. Delgado (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

Warman's Depression Glass: Identification and Value Guide, 5th Edition by Ellen T. Schroy (Krause Publications)

Knit 'N' Felt Bags: 20 Quick-and-Easy Embellished Bags by Bev Beattie (Trafalgar Square Books)

Your Eco-friendly Yard: Sustainable Ideas to Save You Time, Money and the Earth by Tom Girolamo (Krause Publications)

Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature by Ambreen Hai (Ohio University Press)

Inexorable Yankeehood: Henry James Rediscovers America, 1904-1905 by Robin P. Hoople, edited by Isobel Waters (Bucknell University Press)

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt (Alfred A. Knopf)

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature: Ethics and Otherness from Romanticism through Realism edited by Donald R. Wehrs & David P. Haney (University of Delaware Press)

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court by Amy Bach (Metropolitan Books)

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care by Sharon L. Edwards & Mimma Sabato (Churchill Livingstone)

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Impact of Generation, Gender, and Global Trends by Ellen Scherl MD & Marla Dubinsky MD (Slack, Inc.)

Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies edited by Laura Nasrallah & Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (Fortress Press)

Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk (Michael Glazier/Liturgical Press)

The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians: The World's Most Mysterious Secret Society by Tobias Churton (Inner Traditions)

Be the Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community by Thomas Linzey with Anneke Campbell (Gibbs Smith)

Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspective on Alloparenting across Human Societies edited by Gillian Bentley & Ruth Mace (Studies of the Biosocial Society, Volume 3: Berghahn Books)


Arts & Photography / History / Ancient / Archaeology

Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Emidio De Albentiis, with photography by Alfredo & Pio Foglia (Getty Publications)

Life and death are forever linked at Pompeii, and each makes you forget the other. – Roger Peyrefitte, Du Vésuve a l'Etna

The remains of the ancient city of Pompeii, frozen in time following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, have provided invaluable evidence of daily life, not only in Rome's provinces, but in its larger urban centers as well. The richness of the region and its unusually well preserved remains make it one of the most visited ancient sites in the world. Visitors to Pompeii feel an immediate connection to the ancients, wandering their stone-paved streets and alleyways, exploring the intimate spaces of their houses, and sitting on the steps of their amphitheater.
Secrets of Pompeii provides a look at how ancient Romans interacted in their public squares and marketplaces, how they worshipped, decorated their homes, and spent their leisure time – at the theater, in the gymnasium, and in the baths and brothels. Illustrated with photographs of architectural remains and details from a range of ancient artworks, including wall paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and carved reliefs, Secrets of Pompeii offers a glimpse into a lost world. The book was written by Emidio De Albentiis, a specialist in Pompeian studies who teaches art history at the University of Perugia. The photographers Foglia work extensively with the Soprintendenza Archeologica de Napoli e Pompei.

Contents of Secrets of Pompeii include:

I.                   The Forum – The Political, Economic, Judicial, and Religious Heart of the City; Elections and Election Propaganda

II.                Temples and the Religious Sphere – Religious Reasons and Ritual Methods for Blood Sacrifices; The Cult of Dionysos and Its Traces in Pompeii

III.             The Palestrae – Sports and Physical Fitness; Games and Gladiators

IV.             The Baths – A Day at the Baths

V.                The Theaters – The Theater and Its Genres; Music in Dramatic Spectacles and in Everyday Life

VI.             The Market, Shops, and Taverns – The Macellum in Pompeii, an Example of a Multiuse Building; Shops, Commerce, and Artisans' Workshops

VII.          Houses of Pleasure – In the Service of Venus: Brothels as Places of Business, Pleasure, and the Exploitation of Slaves

VIII.       The Houses – The Decoration of Houses at Pompeii; Life at Home

IX.             The Necropoli – To Die Rich: The Funeral as Status Symbol; Plan of Pompeii and Location of the Principal Structures

As told in Secrets of Pompeii, one can wander stone-paved streets and alleyways of Pompei and see where ancient wagons passed by over and over; explore the intimate spaces of a house as splendid as any Greek palace; enter a humble home with a jumble of small rooms and almost no light. One can sit on the steps in the amphitheater and imagine the chaotic excitement of the crowd as it watched the bloody contests between gladiators, or walk through all the different areas of one of the baths and almost feel the near-daily habits of hygiene and social interaction of the throngs of people who went there. One can walk through the Forum and take in all the buildings around it that once shaped the city's public life and religious rituals. One can study Pompeii's ingenious water-supply and plumbing systems and admire the refined and sophisticated painted friezes, the elegantly proportioned sculpture, the extraordinary furniture, and the harmoni­ous interior gardens of its noble houses. One can also visit an ancient house of ill repute, with its strange mix of small, squalid spaces and the pagan ability to enjoy fully the drunken pleasures of love.

It is the opportunity to be immersed so immediately into the reality of the streets and houses that were the backdrop to the lives of Pompeii's inhabitants some two thousand years ago that makes any visit to this ancient, unlucky city so unfor­gettable. These places were their physical and existential reality. Modern visitors feel this strongly, and the feeling leads naturally to reflections on the cultural and symbolic nature of the place. It is, in effect, as if the rediscovery of Pompeii at the end of the eighteenth century – that is, during the Enlightenment, the neoclassical period, almost seventeen hundred years after the enormous catastrophe of A.D. 79 – was in a sense an entirely human victory over nature's tragic unpredictability. For a while the ancient Pompeians seem to live on; they are reflected in enthusiastic admiration and in the conviction, supported by these ruins that seem so easy to read, that the uncertainty of life, then as now, is a fact of human existence that can somehow be overcome.

Secrets of Pompeii reveals another, complementary aspect of a visit to Pompeii. Although everything appears – and to a great extent is – accessible, the notion that one can share the experiences of the lives of the ancients in any real sense, or anything of their emotions, beliefs, dreams, or fears, is just an illusion. What Vesuvius did, essentially, was to freeze, tragically, one single instant in the time-space continuum in which the long-ago residents of Pompeii lived. Readers can make out a few of their secrets – an extraordinary thing in itself and worthy of intellectual efforts – but, inevitably, the larger part of their world eludes them, destined to remain as mysterious and inscrutable as every human life and every one of its adventures. The sense of victory over death, present in every corner of the city, is also illusory. The most important lesson Pompeii can teach readers is to see life and death, like love and death, as a pair in which one is impossible without the other.

With its superb illustrations and thoughtful text, Secrets of Pompeii brings wonder to readers, offering a glimpse into a lost world. Lavish architectural photographs, exquisite details of ancient artworks, and a lively narrative provide a fascinating look at the daily activities of Romans in the first century.

Arts & Photography / Museums & Collections / Biological Sciences / Wildlife

Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art by Adam Duncan Harris (University of Oklahoma Press)

The first European artist-naturalists to tour North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were awed not only by the continent's varying landforms but also by the animals they encountered: vast herds of buffalo, majestic horned stags, and a bewildering variety of birds. The earliest sketches depicting these fauna began the remarkable tradition of wildlife in American art, a tradition that evolved along with the United States as a nation and still thrives today.

For more than two decades, the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, has honored and sustained this tradition by assembling the most comprehensive collection of paintings and sculptures portraying North American wildlife in the world. Wildlife in American Art presents for the first time a generous sampling of the museum's holdings, charts the history of this enduring theme in American art, and explores the evolving relationship between Americans and the natural resources of this continent.

More than a museum catalogue, Wildlife in American Art offers descriptions of individual artists in the collection as well as essays about what the natural environment has meant to Americans over time – untamed wilderness, sublime creation, endless resource, and threatened habitat. Author and art historian Adam Duncan Harris, Curator of Art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, also describes how these meanings have played out in painting and sculpture over the past two centuries. More than 125 full-color illustrations highlight the entire range of the museum's collection, from the western wilds of George Catlin to the desert drama of Georgia O'Keeffe. Also included are elegant birdstones carved by ancient Americans, exquisite avian artwork by John James Audubon, epic western scenes by Albert Bierstadt, idealistic depictions of unspoiled wilderness by Carl Rungius, and modern takes on the subject by Andy Warhol, Paul Manship, and Robert Kuhn.

After more than twenty years of devoted collecting and programming, some might believe that the work at the National Museum of Wildlife Art has reached a culmination. Who would have thought in 1987 that this institution would have amassed, in such a short time span, a collection exceeding five thousand catalogued items, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and archival material? …

Wildlife in American Art renews the task of making the connections between ideas and art and places the National Museum of Wildlife Art in a special position to draw together community, nation, and environment for the future. It is the most comprehensive publication to issue from the museum to date, and we expect that it will be far from the last. – James C. McNutt, Ph.D. President and CEO National Museum of Wildlife Art

Wildlife in American Art, a lovely and lavishly illustrated volume, sets a high benchmark for the wildlife genre as mastered by American painters, sculptors, and printmakers. The essays have surprising depth. By bringing together and comparing works of unmatched beauty and majesty, Wildlife in American Art gives to a salient theme in American art the attention it has long deserved.

Business & Investing / Economics

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators by R. Mark Rogers (Alpha)

Readers know that they need to play a more active role in managing their investments to minimize the risks that are inherent in the market. But when it comes to mak­ing sense of all those economic reports and using them to make timely investment decisions, they're tempted to tuck their money under the mattress.

In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators an expert helps readers understand what the big economic picture means for their money – and how to respond. The book introduces the leading U.S. economic indicators and shows how to use them to make better investment decisions. Indicators covered include: national output; employment; consumer reports; housing and construction; and inflation.

The book was written by R. Mark Rogers, who spent 19 years with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is senior U.S. econo­mist with the firm Econoday and has taught economics at Emory and Clayton State Universities.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators explains all of the major factors that directly impact the financial sector – and how readers can invest wisely with this information. In this Complete Idiot's Guide, they discover how the marketplace is influenced by ...

  • The national output, including gross domestic product, durable goods orders, factory orders, and business inven­tories.
  • Employment, unemployment claims, and mass layoff statistics.
  • Consumer reports covering personal income and spending, retail sales, and outstanding credit.
  • Housing and construction details on both existing and new home sales.

Readers learn how

  • The business cycle works – and how to interpret the resulting data.
  • Consumer confidence affects the economy.
  • To recognize early inflation warnings in fuel, labor, gold, and other commodities.
  • To keep an eye of the real estate market for where homes are selling and for how much.
  • To read – and comprehend – manufacturing reports.
  • To understand the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators teaches readers to understand how finan­cial traders and economists think about economic indicators. They learn the big picture about how different sectors fit in with the economy. For each economic report, the book gives the key definitions and what to look for when news is released and impacts stocks, bonds, currencies and other financial markets.

This book is organized into six parts:

Part 1, "Economic Indicators and You" gives readers an overview of indicators tracked by traders. They learn about business cycles and about the indicator that pulls it all together – gross domestic product. And this section puts them in the game with websites that stay on top of financial markets and economic indicators and provide commentary on the status of the economy.

Part 2, "The Consumer in the Economy" explains the number one economic report on earth – the employment situation report. Plus, readers find out how to track what most businesses care about consumer spending – including whether households have the income to keep it up.

Part 3, "Inflation Numbers" focuses on consumer and producer prices. These reports play a big role in affecting interest rates and how far a paycheck goes. And this section covers special topics, including oil and gold prices which lead to constant chatter in the financial news.

Part 4, "Housing and Construction" gives readers the basics on the number one hous­ing report, housing starts, and shows them how to track home sales. Plus, there is extra emphasis on a topic that has risen in importance to bankers and investors – home prices.

Part 5, "Manufacturing and International Trade," explains how to track the manu­facturing sector – from new orders, to production, to inventories. And this section provides key insight into tracking exports and imports in the economy – something that affects everyone, but especially currency traders.

Part 6, "Fed Watching: The Best for Last," gives readers insight into how monetary policy is made in the United States. They find out who the key play­ers are, what they think about when deciding interest rates, how to understand Fed reports, and how to track how the financial markets view Fed policy.

Most books on economic indicators are too academic, aimed at professionals, and written before the financial crisis – not so The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators. The book helps readers manage their investments with an eye on the key factors affecting today’s markets. The chapters break down the various economic indicators into manageable pieces. After reading the book, readers will have the insight to understand why shifts occur. And they will know how economic news affects ongoing and future economic growth, including how it affects something that's near and dear to readers’ hearts – their retirement nest egg.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions by Michael Watkins (Harvard Business Press)

In business, especially today, readers are only as successful as their next career transition. Do well, and individuals will be on the fast track to even more challenging roles. Fail, and they could irreparably harm their career – and their organization. What's more, not all transitions are created equal. Getting promoted involves very different challenges, for example, than joining a new company. How can readers improve their odds as they prepare to make their next move?
In his international bestseller The First 90 Days; leadership transition guru Michael D. Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisers, a Newton, Massachusetts-based leadership development firm, outlined a set of principles for getting up to speed quickly in new leadership roles. Now, in Your Next Move he takes this model to the next level – showing how to apply these basic principles in different ways depending on the specific type of career move individuals are making. Watkins provides insights, strategies, and tools – including relationship reengineering, business systems analysis, and ‘organizational immunology’. Framed by real-world examples and filled with practical models and tools, Watkins illustrates the critical requirements – both personal and organizational – for accelerating their path to success in each type of transition. Based on their current career move, readers learn how to:

  • Adjust their approach to delegation.
  • Engineer existing relationships with colleagues and bosses.
  • Build the right political ‘wiring’ to forge strong alliances.
  • Focus their efforts on the right initiatives to secure early wins.
  • Tailor their leadership style to match the situation or culture.
  • Assess the health of multiple units and strategize accordingly.

Based on a decade of research, Your Next Move explores eight perennial transitions that executives will encounter at various stages of their career. The eight types are:

  • The promotion challenge – Moving to a higher level in the hierarchy and understanding what ‘success’ looks like at the new level, including issues of focus, delegation, developing leadership competencies, and demonstrating ‘presence.’
  • The leading-former-peers challenge – An important variant of promotion in which the leader is elevated to manage a team that were formerly his or her peers, with the associated challenges of establishing authority and altering existing relationships.
  • The corporate diplomacy challenge – Moving from a position of authority to one in which effectiveness in influencing others and building alliances are critical for getting things done.
  • The on-boarding challenge – Joining a new organization and grappling with the need to adapt to a new culture, develop the right political ‘wiring,’ and align expectations up, down, and sideways.
  • The international move challenge – Leading people in an unfamiliar ethnic culture while at the same time moving one's family and creating a new support system.
  • The turnaround challenge – Taking over an organization that is in deep trouble and figuring out how to save it from destruction.
  • The realignment challenge – Confronting an organization that is in denial about the need for change and creating a sense of urgency before emerging problems erupt in a crisis.
  • The business portfolio challenge – Leading an organization in which different parts are in different states – startup, turnaround, accelerated growth, realignment, and sustaining success – and figuring out where to focus and how to build momentum.

According to Watkins, this is by no means a definitive list of all the possible moves business leaders experience during their careers. The eight types are nearly universal in today's professional careers; their ubiquity and perpetual nature means leaders who can deal with them effectively will be much more successful overall.

This book teaches readers how to navigate and accelerate confidently through the classic career changes that virtually everyone faces on the road to success. Your Next Move offers the keen observations, management wisdom, and practical good sense for which Watkins is known. It is a resource for any manager or executive seeking to maintain career momentum.
Business & Investing / Marketing & Sales

Marketing Your Product, 4th edition, with CD-ROM by Donald Cyr & Douglas Gray (Self-Counsel Business Series: Self-Counsel Press)

Inventing a product without first checking if it is needed is similar to having the optometrist give his personal eyeglass prescription without first examining the person’s eyes. In a market-oriented organization the first priority is to find out if a product is needed before offering it. Marketing is more than just advertising; it helps decide if one is developing the right product for the right target market and using the right media and distribution methods.

Marketing Your Product, by Donald Cyr, MBA, experienced marketer and educator and Douglas Gray, LLB, lawyer, consultant, and businessman, explains how a company can carve a niche for its product in today’s competitive consumer environment. It describes customers’ buying impulses, how products satisfy those impulses, how to inform customers about the product, and what it takes to get the product to consumers.

Marketing Your Product answers questions such as:

  • Why do people choose one product over another?
  • How do readers plan a marketing strategy?
  • How do they do their own market research?
  • How do they develop a product to suit the market?
  • Which media should they use to market their product?
  • How do they price to sell?
  • How can they use the Internet to market their product?
  • What should they know about global marketing?
  • What legal considerations must they be aware of?

This 4th edition comes with numerous bonus forms to get readers started and keep them organized. All forms are included on CD-ROM.

Marketing Your Product is designed as a practical, step-by-step guide for the small business person. It will assist readers in maximizing their available resources by providing practical marketing strategies that work for small business. The text provides general theory and advice, and the ap­pendixes provide worksheets for developing a personalized marketing plan.

Chapter 1 gives an overview of product marketing. In Chapters 2 to 5 readers learn how to market and plan strategically, how to segment the market and identify consumer behavior, and how to apply market research tech­niques that work. In Chapters 6 to 9, readers learn how to develop their product, price it effectively, and advertise and promote it. How to get the product to the customer is covered in Chapter 10, and for those involved in retail marketing, Cyr and Gray have included Chapter 11 to point out the special marketing considera­tions for that type of merchandising.

Chapter 12 discusses marketing the prod­uct on the Internet. Chapters 13 and 14 discuss the competitive edge and management in a competitive world. Selling is an essential part of marketing and is discussed in Chapter 15. In Chapter 16, tips for implementing the market­ing plan are given, including advice on setting and staying on schedule and how to get back on course. Chapter 17 discusses mar­keting the product internationally. Finally, in Chapter 18, the book deals with the legal problems readers may encounter in product marketing and give tips on how to avoid some common pitfalls. Also, there is a question Section at the end of most chapters designed to help readers focus on key issues.

...resources that can help you get organized and launched. – Wall Street Journal

Well-thought-out and comprehensive reference guides. – Lynn Redl, host of business TV

Marketing Your Product combines the practical insights of small business marketers with the experience of consulting and academic marketing profes­sionals. The book helps people plan for business success, get updated information on the Internet, develop their competitive edge, and understand their customers. If readers follow the guidelines outlined and complete the worksheets in this book, they should enjoy increased profits and their cus­tomers should be more satisfied with them and their product.

Children’s / History / US / People & Places / Ages 9-12

Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama's First Words to America by Barack Obama, illustrated by Greg Ruth (Harper)

On this day,

We gather because we have chosen hope over fear,

Unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

The time has come

To reaffirm our enduring spirit.

On January 20, 2009, millions of people gathered at the Capitol in Washington, DC, and around televisions across the country and throughout the world to watch a new president take the oath of office. Afterward he delivered a speech, President Barack Obama's first words to America as her leader.

These are the words that make up Our Enduring Spirit. Inspirational, and mindful of the past while looking ahead to the future, President Obama's address conveyed a singular vision for a country united. Brought to life in stunning paintings by acclaimed artist Greg Ruth, Our Enduring Spirit is a record of this vision and a tribute to a people with the promise, the determination, and the hope to make it so.

Obama is a former senator, bestselling author, and the forty-fourth president of the United States. He was born in Hawaii, spent much of his life in Illinois, and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Washington, DC.

Let it be said by our children’s children

That when we were tested we refused to let this journey end,

That we did not turn back nor did we falter;

And with eyes fixed on the horizon

And God’s grace upon us,

We carried forth that great gift of freedom

And delivered it safely

To future generations.

Our Enduring Spirit commemorates and memorializes Obama’s inauguration and his inspirational words, with the printed words and images providing a vehicle for the repetition necessary to bring them home to children.

Children’s / Literature & Fiction / Mythology / Ages 4-8

The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures by Judy Young, with illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci (Sleeping Bear Press)

As B.B. Barnswhitten, the great animal scout, posed for this picture, what wandered about? – poem beneath illustration on back cover

Young readers are invited to spend the holidays traveling the world with explorer Basil Bernard Barnswhitten (B.B.B.) and discover if the creatures he is seeking are alive, extinct, or if they ever existed at all in The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures.

Barnswhitten (B.B.B.) has a list of creatures he needs to verify for an important report so he visits the Finchhaven Museum of Extraordinary Curiosities, Oddities & Improbabilities. But he finds that one of the glass exhibit cases is damaged – something appears to be missing.

To complete his report, B.B.B. travels around the world to track down each creature on his list, all the while asking three important questions:

  • Is it alive?
  • Is it extinct?
  • Did it ever exist?

By deciphering the clues in his journal, young explorers can accompany B.B.B. as he tries to locate each mysterious creature. But finding them won't be easy. Lush, detailed scenes serve not only as camouflage but also as habitats to other strange and fascinating marvels.

An Author's Note to Readers and Index provide detailed explanations of each creature, along with facts about its natural habitat and status in the world helping to guide readers through this wondrous quest and understand the plight of endangered species.

In addition to writing children's books, author Judy Young teaches poetry writing workshops for children and educators across the country. Illustrator Laura Francesca Filippucci was born in Milan, Italy, where she graduated in Illustration at the Istituto Europeo di Design, and later specialized in Children's Book Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

What better gift for this holiday season than a book that entertains as it educates? Kids of all ages will fall in love with The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures. And they will gain insight into the status of many endangered species as they make the call about whether each creature is alive, extinct, or if it ever existed at all.

Children (Young Adult) Science / Nature & Ecology

What's So Great About Granite? by Jennifer H. Carey, with photographs by Marli Bryant Miller (What's So Great About Geology? Series: Mountain Press)  

Granite may be common, but it's no ordinary stone.

What's so great about granite? One can walk on it barefoot, for starters, but it has many other wonderful qualities too. Unlike most other rocks, the average person can learn to recognize it from far away or up close. Many rocks are difficult to identify, even for geologists. They must get out their hand lens, bottle of acid, and hammer, and even take a sample back to the laboratory to analyze. But readers can identify a granite outcrop from a car window at 60 miles per hour because of the distinctive shapes it forms as it erodes. It is also common, so everyone has a chance to see it. More than thirty states have outcrops of granite, many of which are dramatic features of national and state parks.

But its brilliance goes far beyond its sparkle. Granite is a major part of the foundation of the continent, the solid mass known as bedrock that lies beneath the soil and unconsolidated sediments deposited by wind and water.

Even if they don't know much about rocks, most people can name at least one place they have encountered granite. As a rock, granite is speckled, sparkly, and beautiful, and it is used in products we encounter every day, including countertops, headstones, and flooring. In the natural world, granite forms random boulders in fields and many of the planet's loftiest peaks. Granite is everywhere – from Georgia to Alaska and Maine to California – most states have somewhere with granite formations. Now, with What's So Great About Granite? written by Jennifer Carey, everyone can learn more about this enigmatic stone.
The first title in the What’s So Cool About Geology Series, What's So Great About Granite? brings this rock to light, exploring some of its mysteries. Readers learn why some granite is pinkish while some is gray; why some granite crumbles in one’s hands while other granite can’t be crushed by a tank; and why some granite is solid and unbroken for miles while some is riddled with cracks. The book is illustrated with photographs and abundantly supplied with figures and silly cartoons.

Although some geologists have spent a lifetime studying the intricate details of this rock, there is still much to learn. The book uncovers a geologic story about magmas and the hidden processes at work inside the earth. By studying granite, geologists can discover how continents formed and what is happening deep beneath today's volcanoes.

Written with the non-geologist in mind, with lively and lucid prose and illustrated with crisp, stunning photographs and informative figures, What's So Great About Granite? is a must-have for anyone interested in one of the world's most fascinating rocks.

Entertainment / Music / Biographies & Memoirs

Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, ‘The List’, and the Spirit of Southern Music by Michael Streissguth (Da Capo Press)

When I think about The List, I think about that day in front of the kindergartners. It is always in the back of my mind that he didn’t just jot down this list off the top of his head, that this was something he had really given a lot of thought to and knew a lot about. – from the book

In 1973, Johnny Cash gave his daughter a list of 100 essential songs that he felt a young musician should know. More than thirty-five years later acclaimed singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash has recorded twelve of those songs on The List just out in stores – an album that has been greeted with both critical acclaim and commercial success. Always Been There, written by husband-producer Michael Streissguth, author of Johnny Cash. The Biography, who was with her every step of the way, tells the inside story of the album.

Based on original interviews conducted in the studio, at home in New York City, and on tour in Europe, Always Been There documents this pivotal episode in Rosanne Cash’s long and fascinating career. As she, along with Leventhal, painstakingly reconstructs what songs made ‘the list’ and why, readers gain an understanding of a longer musician continuum that includes the Carter Family and other fabled names of the Southern pantheon and their influence on her music and writing. Readers also see how Leventhal’s talents as an arranger and musician pair with Rosanne’s searching vocal performances to make these old songs new again.

Always Been There tracks Rosanne’s singular and storied career from her early commercial hits with albums like King’s Record Shop through her controversial split with Nashville tradition on albums like the mercurial Interiors to the sublime Black Cadillac. It paints a portrait in words and over 60 photographs of Rosanne confronting music making in the aftermath of serious brain surgery, her lifelong search for her legacy, and her unique creative partnerships.

Readers watch as Rosanne embraces her heritage while revisiting music that includes the Carter Family and other fabled names of the Southern pantheon, and experience her sophisticated reinterpretation of the classics in her first covers album.

Streissguth's moving and elegantly wrought portrait illuminates not only one of popular music's most enigmatic and singular artists, but also the mystery of the creative process itself. – Alanna Nash, author of The Colonel

Born into a tradition, Rosanne Cash has never feared the road less traveled. Michael Streissguth's intimate book illuminates the pleasures and travails, the intersections, dilemmas, and decisions that Rosanne Cash considers when making the art that defines her. – Robert Gordon, author of Can't Be Satisfied

Always Been There is an intimate and moving behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Rosanne Cash’s spirited album The List, linking her to her at-times-rejected heritage, generously illustrated.

Entertainment / Sports / Football

Our Boys in Blue and Gold edited by Tara Kaloz, with a foreword by Jim Tressel (Ringtaw Books – University of Akron Press)

Akron initially competed as BuchteI College (1891–1913) before playing as The University of Akron for the first time in 1914. Through the 1973 season, the team competed in the NCAA College Division. In 1974, The University of Akron moved to Division II and then, in 1980, became a Division I-AA program. Gerry Faust coached Akron's first season as a Division I-A school in 1987. In 1992, the team joined the Mid-American Conference.

Our Boys in Blue and Gold chronicles Zips football from the late 1800s until today. Stories from The Buchtelite have been selected to provide a complete picture of the university's crucial games and motley characters.
This is the first book to include:

  • An historical account of the team's journey from its inception in 1891 through the 2008 season.
  • Special Sections on the Zips and Zippy, the wagon wheel, the Acme-Zip game, the coaches, the marching band, the cheerleaders, and the playing fields and stadiums.
  • Over 50 news articles that provide a comprehensive portrait of Zips football.
  • Images from every decade dating back to 1891.
  • A foreword by Jim Tressel, who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at The University of Akron.
  • Extensively-researched selections from The University of Akron Archives, The University of Akron Athletics Department, The Buchtelite, and the Tel-Buch.
  • Feature articles about landmark games, historic contests, and traditions.
  • Season records dating back to the program's inception.

To write Our Boys in Blue and Gold, Tara Kaloz, a student in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts creative writing program at the University of Akron, trekked to the University's Archives over the course of several months. The Archives contained nearly all of the articles except for the ones provided by the Athletics department. She says that reading the articles certainly gave her a sense of pride in the University and its football team, and also provided a valuable case study in how newspapers have changed over time. The older Buchtelites were packed with articles, cartoons from all over the map, witticisms and jokes, ads for various items, services, and even smokes. It was especially interesting to note the differences in language and word choice, which readers will discover just as she did. She found that Akron's team has survived war, handed out its fair share of upsets, been upset, but always showed up the following Saturday.

As any follower of the sport knows, a team is also shaped by its fans, its rivals, and its coaches. There were many trips to distant cities in neighboring states for the sake of the game. Over time, the uniforms changed; leather helmets evolved into engineered headgear; the size and shape of the football varied over time; rules were evaluated and modified; and the opinions of the sport became more accepting.

Within Our Boys in Blue and Gold, readers will find games featuring prominent names from recent years such as Charlie Frye and Jason Taylor, as well as those of the past – John Heis­man played quarterback during his brief time in Akron. There are rivalries with Wooster, Kent State, and Western Reserve; notable Bowl opponents like Louisiana Tech, quarterbacked by future hall-of-famer, Terry Bradshaw; traditions such as the Cowbell, Wagon Wheel, and Acme-Zip games. Readers relive the final seconds and close calls with nationally-ranked opponents and find out the origin of ‘The Zips’ and how Zippy turned into a champion among mascots. They learn about the marching band and cheerleading, and they follow the team from Buchtel Field to the Rubber Bowl, from natural grass and muddy quagmires to synthetic surfaces.

The new home of the Zips, InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, provides a fresh beginning for the team, another chance for the football program to reinvent itself, to add to the legacy that began over a century ago. The location of the new stadium brings the program back to the heart of campus.

Our Boys in Blue and Gold uncovers the authentic pieces of a gridiron chronology as well as unique, carefully-selected stories. Historic images fill the pages with a timeline of the game itself. Kaloz’s countless hours of research seem to have paid off, she found fascinating stories about games, remarkable and ordinary, wins and losses.

Entertainment / Sports / Hockey

Honoured Canadiens by Andrew Podnieks & The Hockey Hall of Fame (Fenn Publishing)

On December 4, 2009, the Montreal Canadiens will celebrate the centennial of the team's birth. This is the oldest professional hockey team in existence and winner of 24 Stanley Cups. The Canadiens have sent 62 players and builders on to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Honoured Canadiens is an official publication celebrating this anniversary.

Through their 100 years, the Montreal Canadiens have demonstrated their will to succeed by capturing more Stanley Cups than any other team in hockey history. The Stanley Cup is the most recognized trophy in sports and the most coveted trophy in the hockey world. Montreal’s ability to win as many times as their history shows would not have been possible without the contributions made by their many talented members, and this book is dedicated to them.

Honoured Canadiens tells the story of the individuals who were part of the most storied team in hockey before their enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It celebrates their lives, and defines the scope of their contributions and remarkable successes. Written by Andrew Podnieks, who has written more than 45 books on hockey, the book profiles each of the 62 inductees, providing biographical information and photographs from the collections of the Hockey Hall of Fame. From early stars like Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat to Original Six stars such as Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard and Jacques Plante, to modern legends including Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson, the book provides the complete roster of Canadiens' greats in detail.

Honoured Canadiens is a dramatically red oversized volume, the official publication of the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens, sponsored by the Hockey Hall of Fame, providing riveting biographies and spectacular photographs. The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, houses the greatest collection of hockey history in the world. It is home to more than 300 enshrined Honoured Members – Players, Builders, and Officials who have contributed to the game, from the pioneers and innovators of the late 19th century to the present and most recently retired superstars of the modern era.

Health, Mind & Body / Alternative Medicine / Self-Help

The Healing Power of Meditation: Your Prescription for Getting Well and Staying Well with Meditation by Gabriel Weiss (Basic Health Publications)

Medical research now confirms something that Buddhists have maintained for centuries: meditation can cause physical changes in the brain and body.

As a medical intern thirty years ago, Gabriel Weiss, later to become founder and medical director of the Asclepius Wellness Center, observed that meditation healed symptoms of stress and was preferable to tranquilizers, which often cause adverse side effects. Since then, meditation has become an important part of Weiss’s practice, helping his patients recover from many medical conditions. Pain, heart disease, cancer, and depression are just a few of the common conditions meditation can help. Weiss says he often encounters patients with problems that won’t respond to medication, but will lessen or resolve with medication. In The Healing Power of Meditation, he shows how to unlock this self-healing power.

The book combines medical studies, neuroscientific research, clinical case histories, spiritual wisdom, jazz lyrics, poems, paintings, and Zen philosophy, weaving together a set of principles and meditative practices that readers can integrate into their daily lives. Each section incorporates simple exercises to help readers take the ideas and practices discussed to a deeper level.

Some section topics include:

  • Meditation and wellness: What meditation is; what health benefits result; how to meditate and extend positive energy into daily activities.
  • Healing illness: How the mind works during meditation, causing biological changes in the body; and specific meditation exercises for healing specific medical conditions.
  • Meditative strategies for the moment: A variety of meditative techniques to use, depending on their mood, the environment, work pressures, and other real-life variables.
  • Mindful art: Using music, art, and literature as a doorway to meditation land healing.
  • Advanced meditation practices and Zen concepts: Techniques and teachings to deepen readers’ understanding of meditation, and their commitment to its practice.

The last chapter of The Healing Power of Meditation, The Nature of Reality and Consciousness, compares a Western scientific understanding about the nature of reality and how the mind works to key aspects of meditation and Zen teachings. Evo­lution, feelings, consciousness, learning, and wisdom are some of the topics explored. The chapter ends with an explanation of the neuro­biology of how meditation works to heal the mind and body. This summation provides a scientific understanding of what is going on inside the brain during meditation and the mechanisms that give med­itation its power to heal.

… Enjoy this wonderful book and allow it to water the seeds of wisdom and compassion in you, which will bring healing and happiness to you and your beloved ones. – Thigh Nhat Hanh, Zen Master

Our shelves are filled with useful perspectives on meditation, but as a physician attempting to help others make practical use of this growing literature, it is clear that The Healing Power of Meditation fills a true need. No other contribution brings together specific medical problems with pragmatic instruction, while also showing us how the meditative, contemplative, and scientific traditions share a common biological basis. – Thomas J. Chippendale, M.D., Ph.D., Practicing Neurologist; Medical Director of the Neurosciences and Stroke Programs for Scripps Hospital, Encinitas, California

In his book, Dr. Gabriel Weiss, whom I have known for many years, gives a very descriptive and practical approach to meditation. I will be recommending this book as an important tool to be used in the healing process of patients and to anyone who wishes to decrease stress and anxiety in their daily life. –Daniel Vicario, M.D., Medical Oncologist; Founder, San Diego Cancer Center (SDCC); and Director, SDCC Integrative Medicine Program

The Healing Power of Meditation is more than a book about meditation. It is a practical, understandable, comprehensive guide for a philosophy of life that bridges current Western and ancient eastern Zen concepts. Dr. Weiss illustrates his principles with examples from his personal life and practice, and offers tips on implementing proposed exercises. The book also summarizes well the scientific evidence showing a benefit for using meditation to treat or prevent many illnesses, including diseases affected by the immune system such as asthma, infection, and cancer. Whether you are challenged medically, emotionally, or spiritually, or whether you just want to be a whole person, this book and its accompanying CD will enhance your life. – Richard T. Wold, M.D., specialist in arthritis and allergy; Board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist

Dr. Weiss provides a valuable introduction to the vital importance of the relationship between mind and body in the healing process. …a highly accessible guide for those interested in healing and wellness. Read the book, put his suggestions to the test your own life and share the beauty with others. – Frank Ostaseski, Founding Director, Zen Hospice Project and Metta Institute

Written for people with little time for formal daily meditation exercise, The Healing Power of Meditation shows readers how, with practice, they can learn to unlock and benefit from meditation’s healing power. Weiss has collected and digested the relevant research of others and blended it with his own insights, moving stories and his years of expertise and medical training. To this he has added a skillful and pragmatic presentation of the ancient wisdom and benefits of mindfulness meditation.

History / Europe / Military / Biographies & Memoirs

He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Secretary by Christa Schroeder, with an introduction by Roger Moorhouse (Frontline Books)

It was my mistake to assume that I could unveil the true face of Adolf Hitler. It is simply impossible, because he had so many… He was a mixture of lies and truth, of faithfulness and violence, of simplicity and luxury, of kindliness and brutality, of mysticism and reality, of the artist and the barbarian.

Christa Schroeder was Hitler's personal secretary for twelve years in total. She worked as his secretary until his suicide in April 1945, living at the Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg. Her memoir Er War Mein Chef – now translated as He Was My Chief – was first published in 1985, a year after her death in Munich at the age of 76.

As secretary to the Führer throughout the time of the Third Reich, Schroeder was perfectly placed to observe the actions and behavior of Hitler, along with the most important figures surrounding him. Schroeder notes his bourgeois manners, his vehement abstemiousness and his mood swings. Indeed, she was ostracized by Hitler for a number of months after she made the mistake of publicly contradicting him once too often.

Schroeder was Hitler's secretary from 1933 through to her arrest on May 28, 1945. During that time she experienced first hand many of the key political and military events of the period. She witnessed Hitler's reaction to the Rohm Putsch of 1934 and accompanied him on his journey to Austria after its annexation in 1938; she saw the devastation of cities as she traveled around Europe on the Führer's Special Train and took notes as Hitler dictated orders of the day to troops. She was also present after the attempt on his life on July 20, 1944; and she spent time in the notorious bunker in the closing stages of the war. All are detailed in He Was My Chief.

The primary purpose of her memoirs was to recall Hitler as a man, and to provide an intimate view of the workings of his household. She recollects how he behaved while taking dictation and during evening tea sessions in the secretarial ‘Staircase Room’; and shows how he interacted with his inner circle at the Berghof and at Führer-HQs after nightly military conferences. She reveals Hitler's likes and dislikes, his daily routine and habits, his relationship with his family, the games he used to play – even his sense of humor.

In addition to her portrayal of Hitler, in this highly personal account she illuminates some of the characteristics and foibles of members of Hitler's entourage and closest colleagues. She recalls, for instance, that the relationship between Martin Bormann and his brother Albert (who was on Hitler's personal staff) was so bad that the two would only communicate with one another via their respective adjutants – even if they were in the same room. There is also light shed on the peculiar personal life and insanity of Reichsminister Walther Darre.

However, Schroeder claims in He Was My Chief not to have been interested in politics and to have known nothing of the horrors of the Nazi regime. There is nothing of the sense of perspective or the mea culpa that one finds in the memoirs of Hitler's other secretary, Traudl Junge – who concluded 'we should have known'. Rather the tone that pervades Schroeder's memoir is one of bitterness.

A rare and fascinating insight into Hitler's inner circle – Roger Moorhouse, author of Killing Hitler

It is utterly compelling... She makes you understand, better than anyone else I have read, exactly what it was like to be around the table in Hitler's dining room... As with so many memoirs by servants, the view from below proves far more revealing than the view from above or beyond. – Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday, May 2009

These are the memoirs of one of Hitler's secretaries and no one could be closer to the man than her. She describes all the great events of the Second World War from the perspective of his headquarters, including the invasions of Poland, France and Russia. Intriguing eye-witness material makes the book a fascinating insight into the dictator and his regime. – Military Illustrated, May 2009

An alternately adoring, clinical, fascinating and creepy take on one of history's most evil men. – The New York Post, May 2009

Christa Schroeder's memoir of the 12 years she spent working for the Führer gives a unique insight into his intelligence, temper and his personal quirks. – The Week Magazine, May 2009

Christa Schroeder provides a rare, fascinating insight into Hitler and his household. – The Sunday Telegraph

In her compelling memoirs Schroeder does not fail to deliver fascinating insights into the course of military and political events, the workings of Hitler's inner circle, and crucially into Hitler's personality and of those closest to him.

He Was My Chief is one of the last significant works by a figure close to Hitler that has not until now been translated into English, and its publication is long overdue. This is, without any doubt, one of the most important primary sources from the pre-war and wartime period. The Hitler that emerges is a three dimensional, surprising human character who cannot be regarded as a simple embodiment of evil. It is a portrayal which is shocking, compelling and will have an impact on any future studies of the Third Reich.

History / Americas / Military / Biographies & Memoirs

The Soldier from Independence: A Military Biography of Harry Truman by D. M. Giangreco (Zenith Press)
Ask most people about Harry Truman's military legacy and the answer invariably comes back the same: he was the president who made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. But while that watershed moment has gone down as one of the critical moments in American – and global – military history, it hardly represents the entire story of this America soldier and patriot.

Revealing the little-known facts of Truman’s remarkable military performance – as a soldier and as a politician – The Soldier from Independence adds a new dimension to the already fascinating character of the thirty-third president of the United States. Truman oversaw the end of the war, stood up to Stalin, and met the test of North Korea’s invasion of the south. He also had the fortitude to stand up to General Douglas MacArthur, one of America’s most revered wartime leaders, and ultimately fired the Far East commander who has been characterized as the American Caesar.

Author Dennis Giangreco shows how, as a field artillery battery commander in World War I, Truman was already making the hard decisions that he knew to be right, regardless of personal consequences. For example, Giangreco, former editor at Military Review, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, describes how Truman saved a neighboring infantry regiment from a surprise German attack, only to be rebuked by his regimental commander. Truman would have been court martialed, which certainly would have derailed any future career in politics, but for the intervention of commander of American forces in France General John J. Black Jack Pershing. The Soldier from Independence also recounts Truman’s activities as head of the Senate Armed Forces Committee during the build-up to and early years of WWII – activities that made him the most powerful man in military affairs next to President Roosevelt.

Truman's military career, whether as National Guardsman or reserve officer, profoundly affected his policy outlook as president. Deeply believing in the ideal of the citizen soldier, he doggedly pushed the politically no-win issue of universal military training. Skeptical of the hidebound professional officer corps he had seen in World War I, he slashed the standing armed forces and cut defense spending to the bone. He believed that in a national emergency, young men could be trained and equipped as he had been for eventual battle overseas. The result would play out unhappily in the Korean War.

Harry Truman's assessment of the importance of his own career as a soldier was thus accurate in ways both positive and negative. No scholar has examined it with the depth and creativity that D. M. Giangreco displays in The Soldier from Independence. – Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman, (from the Foreword)

Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, filling in the details behind world-changing events, The Soldier from Independence supplies a heretofore missing – and critical – chapter in the story of one of the nation’s most important presidents.

History / Military

In the Heat of Battle: A history of those who rose to the occasion and those who didn't by Donough O'Brien (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

Often people who rise to the occasion have a special flaw – impetuosity. – Donough O'Brien

The battlefield is a canvas on which is sometimes painted the virtues of bravery, sacrifice, and extraordinary leadership – and which is sometimes the scene of disgrace. There are those like Ross McGinness who throw themselves onto a grenade to save the lives of their squadmates and those like William Calley who panic under the strain and unleash the My Lai massacre. Part of the perennial fascination with military literature is the question every armchair general asks him or her self – what kind of soldier would I be under pressure?
In his new book, author Donough O'Brien, former officer in the Irish Guards, turns his attention toward military matters. In the Heat of Battle is comprised of seventy-five 800-1000 word vignettes highlighting soldiers who rose to the occasion and those who didn't.

In the Heat of Battle profiles well-known and not-so-well­ known leaders from history and categorizes them into one of ten categories: those who seized the moment, those who bucked the odds, those who had the courage of their convictions, those who showed a constant thread of valor, those who rose to the occasion without fanfare; those who were too confident by half, those who were destroyed by fatal inattention, those with incurable obsessions, the traitors, and those who showed a streak of cruelty.

Says O'Brien, "The battlefield is a canvas on which are imprinted the virtues of bravery, sacrifice, and extraordinary leadership, but which can also be the scene of disgrace. With this book I selected 75 of the most memorable stories from history. Their sole purpose is to inspire and to caution."

According to O’Brien in In the Heat of Battle, war imposes a unique kind of stress on those involved. The normal fear of failure is greatly increased by the very real danger of being killed, wounded, or captured by the enemy. Sometimes it is the junior ranks who seize the initiative and save the day, often with extraordinary acts of heroism. In contrast, sometimes those who fail are senior ranks and experienced, making their behavior even more disgraceful. Including heroes George Washington, Rommel, Elizabeth I and Horatius at the bridge and anti-heroes Custer, Mountbatten, Stalin, MacArthur and even Mark Antony, these stories span the history of warfare to entertain and provoke readers.

‘Seizing the Moment’ includes familiar battlefield heroes like Audie Murphy or ‘H’ Jones, together with less well-known characters like Corporal Graham, the bravest man at Waterloo, and the young Erwin Rommel, one world war and two decades before he became famous as the Desert Fox.

Those ‘Bucking the Odds’ to include Douglas Bader, Britain's flamboyant aircraft ace flying with his artificial legs, George Washington daringly crossing the Delaware, and John Paul Jones challenging the might of the Royal Navy. Joan of Arc was certainly one of those who had the ‘Courage of their Convictions’, while Sergeant York had to overcome his pacifist views in World War I France. There have been few better examples of the ‘Constant Thread of Valour’ than Joshua Chamberlain, the savior of the Union position at Little Round Top at the battle of Gettysburg, Michael Wittmann, the ultimate tank ace, or Albert Jacka, the Australian who many feel deserved not just one but three Victoria Crosses.

Among those who rose to the occasion, O’Brien in In the Heat of Battle says he has felt it only right to pay homage to those on the fringes of the actual fighting, ‘Without Fame and Fanfare’ – like the brilliant codebreakers Alan Turing and Captain Reginald Hall RN, photographic experts such as Constance Babington Smith, and medical pioneers like Napoleon's great surgeon Baron Larrey or ‘Weary’ Dunlop, Australia's hero of the Kwai railway. All had an influence on warfare as great as any warrior.

And those who didn't rise to the occasion?

Many were ‘Too Confident by Half’, like Saddam Hussein, who was to lead his country to ruin, the corpulent and boastful Hermann Goering, wrecking the plans of others at Dunkirk and Stalingrad, or even the inexperienced Jack Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Others simply display ‘Fatal Inattention,’ like France's Constable Charles D'Albret at Agincourt, or General Ledlie at the battle of the Crater. ‘Flaws and Obsessions’ can wreck the reputations of otherwise great men: Douglas MacArthur in Korea, Napoleon in Russia, Montgomery and Patton, due to their jealous feuding, and even Mark Antony who risked everything for such a non-military notion as love. Worst of all in warfare must be ‘Treachery and Rank Disobedience’: Mark Clark vaingloriously capturing Rome instead of trapping the Germans, Lord Sackville refusing to charge at Minden, Mountbatten persisting with his disastrous raid at Dieppe, and Benedict Arnold changing sides to try to hand over West Point, becoming America's symbol of the ultimate traitor.

And nothing can unravel all the best military and political efforts faster than ‘A Streak of Cruelty’: witness the results created by unfeeling generals like John Maxwell at Dublin's Easter Rising and Reginald Dyer at Amritsar.

Out of two thousand years of the history of combat Donough O'Brien has plucked seventy five extraordinary episodes, some well known, others much less or not at all. They describe the good, the bad and the downright incompetent; the best and the worst; the bravest and most craven, and each story is a small gem. A 'must' for Christmas. – Frederick Forsyth, author and political commentator

O'Brien uses his master story-telling skills to create a lively and informative compendium of bravery and humiliation. Written in an elegant, entertaining style, In the Heat of Battle is designed for general readers seeking to glean inspiration from the best and worst that history has to offer. Teachers, lawyers, business people, clergy, and of course military leaders will benefit from O'Brien's concise yet informative essays.

History / Military

War Stories of D-Day: Operation Overlord: June 6, 1944 by Michael Green and James D. Brown (Zenith Press)

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, issued his orders for the day to the troops, "You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed people of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely."

D-Day was the biggest amphibious operation in history. The Allied Forces undertook a massive invasion of the German-occupied coast of Normandy, France. First, there was the aerial onslaught by British and American airborne divisions, then the landing of the American, British, and Canadian seaborne troops. Over 150,000 Allied troops took the fight to the enemy, their incursion paving the way to their ultimate victory over the Nazis.

War Stories of D-Day tells the story of those who fought through this historic conflict. In first-person accounts of the Normandy landings, soldiers recreate the harrowing, world-changing drama of taking the beaches of France, dropping from the sky, wading out of landing craft, fighting to survive and, in the process, keeping alight the hopes of humanity. The book was written by Michael Green, freelance writer, researcher, and photographer who specializes in military, transportation, and law enforcement subjects, with more than ninety books to his credit; and James D. Brown, retired after twenty years in the U.S. Army as an armor officer, including a four-year tour as an assistant professor of engineering at the United States Military Academy.

According to the introduction to War Stories of D-Day, the operation was so large in scale and its outcome so important that both sides knew that it would be the most important single battle of the war. General Erwin Rommel (one of the few realists left in the German high command) and the Allied leaders knew that the landings would be repulsed on the beaches or they would not be stopped at all. Both sides knew that failure of the landings would result in an extension of the war by years and could even reshape the war's ultimate outcome. And because both sides had carefully weighed the battle and understood the consequences of losing it, they knew that casualties would be heavy. Both sides were right.

Overlord, the daring cross-channel attack on the German-occupied coast of Normandy, proved to be the biggest amphibious operation in history. It was more than just another attack. It was the maximum effort of the Western Allies in Europe, the consummation of the grand design to defeat Nazi Germany. Once ashore on the continent of Europe, the Allied armies were to drive across northwestern Europe and strike at the heart of Hitler's Third Reich to take the fight to the enemy's homeland.

The opening stage of the invasion began in the early hours of June 6 with a massive aerial onslaught by one British and two American airborne divisions dropped behind four invasion beach sites in order to secure routes of advance for the oncoming seaborne troops. These troops would begin their landing on the European continent at 6:30 a.m. The beach assaults would go well, except at the American beach codenamed Omaha. Despite early setbacks on Omaha, America's fighting men rose to the occasion and would not be pushed back into the sea by the German army.

The accounts in War Stories of D-Day are transcriptions of oral histories; the sentence structure and syntax are those of the speakers rather than writers. The editors have preserved the voices of these men and readers have an opportunity to hear them in their own words, to see the battlefield through their eyes. Most importantly, the book conveys the emotions these men felt as they entered battle as warriors and emerged as heroes who saved Western civilization.

History / Military / Weapons & Warfare / Nuclear

Nuclear Dawn: From the Manhattan Project to Bikini Atoll by James P. Delgado (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

James Delgado is one of the world's preeminent marine archeologists; he's also a terrific writer. – Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea

When President Obama and others say they want to end America's dependence on foreign oil, the vision is usually presented in terms of ‘a new Manhattan Project.’ So what really was the Manhattan Project? According to James Delgado in Nuclear Dawn, at the start of the project in 1942, the element plutonium only existed in microscopic quantities. By June 16, 1945, the date of the world's first nuclear bomb test, America had a fully-operational plutonium industry capable of producing hundreds of pounds of the fissionable material. In just three short years, nuclear weapon technology had progressed from infancy to the world stage.
Nuclear Dawn encompasses the development of the bomb from early attempts during the war to the aftermath of the Bikini tests, placing its technological development within the political and military context of World War II and the post-war years. As well as the technological development, historian Delgado also examines how the US Army Air Force had to develop the capacity to deliver the weapons, and examines the sites where development and testing took place in order to give a comprehensive history of the dawning of the nuclear age.

Delgado, the co-host of the National Geographic Television series "The Sea Hunters," President and CEO of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, tells the story of the Manhattan Project’s aftermath. While most previous authors have focused on either the scientific or the social history of the events, Delgado's is the first to spotlight the military and political phases of the atom bomb. He covers the background of the bomb in the labs in Europe, Britain, and America, but the story picks up speed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war by America.
Delgado's narrative also emphasizes Oppenheimer's role as master organizer and astute business manager. Los Alamos was run by army officers and financed by secret wartime military funds – to the tune of billions of dollars. The labs there were staffed by army engineers and scientists, and its very existence was made possible by army bureaucracy. Delgado also shows that without the army’s ordinance expertise, civilian scientists would not have been able to turn their nuclear technology into an effective bomb, powerful enough to end the war.

Several other unique aspects of Nuclear Dawn turn on the military's role in the project. For example, Delgado tells the full story of the army air force's 509th fighter battalion, which was headed by an iconoclastic colonel named Paul Tibbets. Tibbets' battalion consisted of over 1,200 pilots and crew dedicated to a singular task: delivering an atomic bomb to Japan. Delgado tells how as part of their training, the Utah-based crews would fly practice sorties to Cuba and back, over and over again.
Another little-known aspect of the Manhattan Project drawn out by Delgado is the post-war bickering that arose between the army and navy over who would control the bomb. Some in Washington and the press began to believe that navies had become obsolete in the nuclear age. Admiral James Forrestal was even questioned by congress about the future of the navy. In an act of survival, the seafaring service branch would soon conceive of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines capable of delivering a nuclear reprisal anywhere in the world.

Nuclear Dawn is a breathtaking story written in crisp, highly readable prose. Fully illustrated, this comprehensive book fills an important gap in our understanding of the enormous changes that the United States military underwent during World War II.

Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Reference

Warman's Depression Glass: Identification and Value Guide, 5th Edition by Ellen T. Schroy (Krause Publications)

Once a popular prize found in oatmeal boxes and used by movie houses and gas stations as a free gift with purchase, the history of Depression glass is as diverse as the pieces themselves.

Warman's Depression Glass, 5th edition not only provides readers with the tools they need to identify and make smart buying and selling decisions, it gives them an inside look at the history of this timeless style of collectible glass.

In this expanded fifth edition, readers will find:

  • More than 550 color photos.
  • Current values for each listing.
  • Line drawings of each pattern illustrating intricate details.
  • Thumbnail pattern guide for quick identification.
  • Special section on Depression glass fakes and reproductions by Mark Chervenka, renowned reproductions expert.
  • Tip sheets including company and color time lines, collector club information, glossary of glass terminology, and an index of patterns.

The book, written by Ellen T. Schroy, one of the leading experts in pricing and identification, urges readers to take the time to celebrate this classic collectible and its rich history. Warman's Depression Glass, 5th edi­tion is designed to assist collectors, appraisers, auctioneers, and those trying to identify that special piece of heirloom Depression-era glassware. A selection of over 170 of the most popular patterns of American glass dinnerware manufactured between the 1920s and 1970s is included. The fifth edition includes the standard Adam to Windsor patterns, including the patterns most sought after by the collectors of this colorful dinnerware.

Each pattern is represented by a color photograph and line drawing to help with the identification process. A list­ing of known manufactured items and current prices assists in helping to establish the value. When known, the original manufacturer's language has been used to identify the name of the piece. A glossary is included in this edition to help explain some of those terms. The pattern name list­ed is the one given by the manufacturer, except in the case of numbered patterns, which have now developed more easily recognizable names. A Shape Library has been included to give readers an idea of the myriad shapes plates were manufactured during this period of American glassware production. A quick identification guide has also been developed, which sorts Depression-era glassware by motif, such as circles, fruits, florals, etc.

Schroy says in the introduction to Warman's Depression Glass that it is called ‘Depression glass’ because collectors generally associate mass-produced glassware found in pink, yellow, crystal, or green with the years surrounding the Great Depression in America. Actually, the major manufacturers involved in making Depression-era glass, such as Federal, Hazel Atlas, and U. S. Glass, had established their businesses well before the Depression set in. In the case of U. S. Glass, they formed a consortium of many smaller glasshouses in the late 1890s and combined factories, companies, and technologies for producing early American pattern glass. Later some of these factories went on to produce the glass patterns associated with the Depression era. Collectors cannot easily pick a date and say this is when Depression-era glass started; rather it was a gradually easing of the American glassware industry into modern mechanical advancements, allowing for the creation of inexpensive, quickly made colorful glassware.

As told in Warman's Depression Glass, the housewives of the Depression-era were able to enjoy the wonderful colors offered in this new inexpensive glass dinnerware often because they received pieces of their favorite patterns packed in boxes of soap, or as premiums given at ‘dish night’ at the local movie theater. Merchan­disers, such as Sears & Roebuck and F. W. Woolworth, en­ticed young brides with the colorful wares that they could afford even when economic times were harsh. Because of advancements in glassware technology, Depression-era patterns were mass-produced and could be had for a fraction of what cut glass or lead crystal cost. As one manufacturer found a pattern that was pleas­ing to the buying public, other companies soon followed with their adaptation of a similar design. Patterns included several design motifs, such as florals, geometrics, and even patterns that looked back to Early American patterns like Sandwich glass.

As America emerged from the Great Depression and life became more leisure-oriented again, new glassware patterns were created to reflect the new tastes of this gen­eration. More elegant shapes and forms were designed, leading to what is sometimes called ‘Elegant Glass.’ Often made by ‘finer’ companies such as Heisey or Fostoria, these glassware patterns were made with formulas that created clearer glass, and the patterns no longer had to be designed to hide inconsistencies found so often in in-expensively mass-produced glass. Many companies went back to finishing pieces by hand, raising the quality and the price. A timeline that highlights the beginnings, major events, and endings of American glassware manufacturers is in­cluded in this edition to show the scope of the companies that helped produce glassware in this era. Also included in Warman's Depression Glass is a color timeline that is designed to help identify colors and when they were manufactured. Com­bining all these clues, along with the pattern identification sketches helps determine when a pattern was made, by whom, when, and in what colors.

The prices in Warman's Depression Glass have been estab­lished by careful research and compiling data for months from various sources. These sources include advertisements of glassware listed for sale in such sources as Antique Trader Weekly, and other trade publications. Visits to auctions, an­tiques shops, malls, and flea markets yielded still another source of pricing data. Many specialized Depression-era glassware shows and general antique shows were visited. The newest and probably most up-to-date pricing venue is the Internet. Several sites were visited daily to observe what was being offered for sale. A careful eye was used to determine which patterns were being offered, as well as which colors seemed most popular, and which forms were being offered for sale. A huge database was created in the computer to track what was being offered for sale as well as what was not be­ing offered at this point in time. Regional differences, condition, and desirability are all factors that have affected the pricing included in Warman's Depression Glass.

Depression-era glassware, as defined by this edition, designates ‘patterns’ produced between 1920 and the late 1970s. Such an expansive time span allows patterns to be included from many manufacturers. The patterns selected reflect dinnerware patterns as opposed to elegant patterns or stemware-only patterns. To be included in Warman's Depression Glass, a pattern had to meet several criteria. It has to:

  • Be readily available on the marketplace.
  • Include a basic place setting, such as a cup and saucer, plates.
  • Be manufactured during the time frame estab­lished.
  • Be manufactured in America.
  • Be eagerly sought by collectors.

Several patterns were included that are considered ‘handmade,’ such as Fostoria's American and Tiffin's Flower Garden with Butterflies. These patterns actually cross over into the elegant glassware associated with Depression glass. Because these patterns are currently very popular with collectors, they were chosen to be included along with the machine-made patterns.

Very expensive items have been included in some patterns to give collectors a comparable value. Depression-era collectors are referred to other volumes that list rare and expensive Depression glass, to firmly establish prices on those very rare items. As in some other areas of the antiques and collectibles marketplace, rare does not always equate to a high dollar amount. And some more readily found items command lofty prices because of high demand or other factors, not because they are necessarily rare. Depression glass collecting depends upon a collec­tor finding a piece they wish to add to their cupboards and a dealer willing to sell. When these two parties meet and decide on a fair price, a deal is struck. Using a price guide such as Warman's Depression Glass will allows each party to have a basic reference point to start negotiations. But like the stock market of 2008-2009, prices can and do go up and down, and bargains can be found if collectors have the pa­tience to seek them out.

To maintain the fine tradition of extensive descriptions typically found in Warman's price guides, as much infor­mation as possible has been included as far as sizes, shapes, colors, etc. Whenever possible, the original manufacturer's language was maintained. A glossary is included to help readers identify some of those puzzling names. Collectors and dealers today face the constant challenge of identifying not only the pattern, but also understanding the original usage. It takes careful attention to detail to be able to discern the differences between berry, dessert, fruit, sauce, and cereal bowls.

With the speed of the Internet to research items, good reference books are still essential to the Depression-era glassware collector. Having information about patterns, who made them, and in what forms is important, as is having clear images to help show forms and colors. Warman's Depression Glass, 5th edi­tion is an exciting reference volume encouraging readers to take the time to celebrate this classic collectible and its rich history. Schroy provides authoritative pricing and invaluable identification guides in the definitive reference for collectors, appraisers, auctioneers and all those trying to identify a special piece of heirloom Depression-era glassware. Using the new quick identification guide, readers will be able to discern the pattern they are trying to identify.

Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies

Knit 'N' Felt Bags: 20 Quick-and-Easy Embellished Bags by Bev Beattie (Trafalgar Square Books)

Knitting and felting is one of the most rewarding handcrafts readers can master. The easy process of felting, whether by hand or machine, virtually erases seams (and mistakes!), and the resulting garment or accessory provides the perfect base for further creative embellishment.

Knit 'N' Felt Bags offers three fundamental bag patterns that can be adapted in a variety of ways. Taking knitters step-by-step and start-to-finish – beginning with how to knit the purses, then how to felt them, and ultimately how to embellish them with buttons, beads, weaving, needle-felting, and embroidery – Knit 'N' Felt Bags helps readers personalize accessories, either to match individual personalities or even outfits. Tips for circular and double-pointed needles make the bags appear seamless, giving them a professional finish, as dropped stitches disappear under forgiving felt techniques.

Knitting specialist Bev Beattie, owner of a yarn-importing business, understands the allure of the quick-and-easy ‘knit-n-felt’ project, and she has gathered together 20 of her favorite original handbag designs for readers to test and perfect their skills. There are round-based bags with fringe, beads, and flowers; square-based bags with bobbles, embroidery, and buttons; and shaped bags of different textures and styles to suit a variety of outings and occasions. All are knitted with 100-percent wool combined with natural and synthetic fancy yarns to be hardwearing while still fashionable. And every design leaves room for modifications according to individual taste and imagination.

With Sections on basic knitting, felting, and embellishing techniques; necessary materials and equipment; and getting started with wools, yarns, handles, and fastenings, Knit 'N' Felt Bags meets the needs of both beginners with little-to-no experience, and curious experts who wish to add to their knitting skill set. The step-by-step instructions and color photos help readers get professional-looking results.

The book contains unique purse and handbag designs which are affordable, fashionable, and easy-to-make. Both stylish and sturdy, these purses are perfect for crafters looking for new ways to explore their creativity or for those new to knitting and felting yarn.

This is a handy, fun reference, and the step-by-step instructions make it easy to get professional-looking results.

Home & Garden / Gardening / Outdoors & Nature / Conservation

Your Eco-friendly Yard: Sustainable Ideas to Save You Time, Money and the Earth by Tom Girolamo (Krause Publications)

The average suburban lot uses more pesticides, more water, more fossil fuel and more time for maintenance per acre than even the most intensely managed agricultural land. For those readers who have a standard lawn and landscape, the amount of energy and time that goes into maintaining this landscape will exceed the amount of energy and time required to build their home plus the ongoing maintenance costs of the home. How can this be? Because the value of the area outside the home has been ignored and misunderstood. Low-cost energy has allowed our society to make decisions about their property based on whims of the moment. But things are changing – there's no time to lose in making the change to an eco-friendly yard.

Readers of Your Eco-friendly Yard can start now with a sustainable landscape investment that they can see, use, smell, control and play in every day. They will have the security of actually owning it, and know that they will make the best decisions for how it will be used. The best part is, no one can take this away. Readers will discover 20 projects, such as selecting appropriate native plants for their region, practicing water efficiency and conservation, and proper placement of trees and vegetation, mulching and composting, constructing a natural outdoor shower, using solar panels for energy efficiency, and growing their own fruits and vegetables.

Your Eco-friendly Yard helps readers create the yard of their dreams by breaking down projects to please four different types – perfectionists, fun-loving, easy-going, or bold and adventurous. Putting economical and sustainable techniques to use, permaculture expert Tom Girolamo teaches readers how to make positive property decisions that reflect their personality, meet the needs of their lifestyle, and protect the earth. More than 20 projects, accompanied by step-by-step photos, demonstrate how to use existing resources in the yard to create a healthier ecosystem, while incorporating simple, yet sustainable practices.

In Your Eco-friendly Yard, readers learn how to integrate their yard and home into an efficient habitat that will benefit them for a lifetime with tips and techniques to:

  • Use run-off water to irrigate fruits and vegetables that they harvest and use to make family meals, while saving money and benefiting from healthy pesticide-free food.
  • Create outdoor entertainment areas to escape from the stresses of work and provide a place for friends to get together, while saving time and money by avoiding fuel costs, battling traffic and outside entertainment expenses.
  • Turn scrap wood into rustic furniture; fuel for their fire pit, home heating or brick oven; mulch for fertilizer and a home for wildlife.

These are just a handful of ideas readers will find in Your Eco-friendly Yard that provide them with sustainable benefits. Readers learn to take their biggest asset, their property, and turn it into a powerhouse of benefits that they can use everyday. The book provides knowledge to develop long-term self-sufficiency through traditional skills, energy-efficient technology and eco-friendly environmental applications with step-by-step instructions that will save them time and money.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism

Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature by Ambreen Hai (Ohio University Press)

Why should Salman Rushdie describe his truth telling as an act of swallowing impure ‘harem’ flesh from which the blood has not been drained? Why should Rudyard Kipling cast Kim, the imperial child-agent, as a body/text written upon and damaged by empire? Why should E. M. Forster evoke through the Indian landscape the otherwise unspeakable racial or homosexual body in his writing?

In Making Words Matter, Ambreen Hai argues that these writers focus self-reflectively on the unstable capacity of words to have material effects and to be censored, and that this central concern with literary agency is embedded in, indeed definitive of, colonial and postcolonial literature. Hai, an associate professor of English literature and language at Smith College, contends that the figure of the human body is central to the self–imagining of the text in the world because the body uniquely concretizes three dimensions of agency: it is at once the site of autonomy, instrumentality, and subjection.
Making Words Matter consists of six chapters, two on each writer. Chapter 1 examines Kipling's Indian short stories (primarily 1886-1902) to trace how Kipling con­structs a telling colonial imaginary in which he casts his own writing as a hy­brid, interracial bodily product. Like the ‘Anglo-Indian’ children in his stories (British but breast-fed by Indian women), these bicultural and bilingual prod­ucts, he suggests, are capable of both perpetuating and subverting imperial power, for which they can be censored or killed. Historicizing Kipling's con­cerns in the context of censorship in British India, Hai argues that the obsessive re­currence of child-death and censorship in his stories bespeaks an anxiety about literary agency that becomes a form of muted and oblique, though not always consistent, imperial critique. Yet Kipling suggests that as a bodily living thing, his writing can survive by telling colonial truths under cover of lies. Chapter 2 reads Kipling's most important novel, Kim (1901), as a cautionary double nar­rative that tells two parallel stories at once: a tale about Kipling's text and a tale of the adolescent body of Kim, the interracial product of empire conscripted into imperial service. In charting Kim’s change process, Hai argues, the novel separates itself, both articulating its anxiety about agency as a child of empire, and exposing that process of destruction. For Kipling, the body of the Anglo-Indian child – multiparented, imagined as at once preter­naturally powerful and vulnerable – centers his anxiety about the predicament of his own fiction.

Chapter 3 examines Forster's fourteen-year hiatus in his novel-publishing career, to argue that this crisis of writ­ing was produced by a conjoint anxiety about the political efficacy of language and the desire to incorporate the body in that language. From his first short story, "The Story of a Panic," in which English bourgeois complacency is vio­lently disrupted by the emergence of the god Pan who brings truth, to A Passage to India, Forster uses coded language as an agent of political intervention. To be effective, language for Forster must speak that proscribed body, make it ma­terialize, with the hope of changing language and of promoting social transformation. In this chapter Hai analyzes his letters, Indian travel writings, and Maurice to trace a new mode of speaking the body that he developed together with an anti-imperialist politics in the course of his travels and writings from India. Hai shows how Forster's understanding of interracial and (homo)sexual desire changed crucially over this period, so that although his Indian writings enabled Maurice, the change also led to a split in his unpub­lished and published work: in one, he allowed himself to explore this uncom­fortable dynamic; in the other, he maintained silence. Chapter 4 then reads A Passage to India, his last and most renowned novel, as shaped and underwritten by the issues that produced his crisis. Unlike post-structuralist readings that cast its concern with language as a measure of the failure of language in general, or postcolonial readings that emphasize politics and history but ignore that con­cern, Hai’s reading argues that language is a central subject of the novel and is inextricable from its anti-colonial and sexual politics. Grounded upon Forster's belated understanding of interracial and sexual relations, the novel critiques colonial (specifically, Anglo-Indian) language and epistemology and incorpo­rates the outlawed body and homoerotic desire into his language to suggest the resistant power of that conjoint racial and sexual force. Hai then shows how that silenced but resistant body is mapped onto the Indian landscape – in particular, the Marabar Caves.

Chapter 5 of Making Words Matter examines Rushdie's recurrent concern with bodies, body parts, and bodily effluvia to suggest that through it he constructs a new idiom to ren­der the agency of his postcolonial narrative, both to recast colonial legacies and to reimagine a postcolonial community or nation. It concentrates on his two foundational novels of nationhood, Midnight's Children and Shame, showing how Rushdie emphasizes the materiality and constitutive power of his language through three specific modes. Drawing upon the anthropologist Mary Douglas's argument that social hierarchies are built on the perception of bodily effluvia as ‘dirt’ or ‘matter out of place,’ it argues that Rushdie's excremental language serves to disorder those boundaries as a form of political intervention within the social body politic. It concludes with a reading of the pivotal but neglected episode of the Sundarbans as Rushdie's rewriting of the repressed trauma of the 1971 genocide committed by the Pakistan army in Bengal, enabled through the three modes of bodiliness identified in this chapter.

Having established how Rushdie presents the bodiliness of his language to contend that his writing can act and have material effects, Hai in Making Words Matter then examines, in chapter 6, Rushdie's efforts at truth-telling (about the past) and truth making (of a viable postcolonial future) as ways of creating reality in and through his nar­ratives. This chapter focuses on two (related) issues – truth-telling and dreams. First is a consideration of how Rushdie indicts national myth making as a form of bodily violence, as a ‘rite of blood,’ while insisting on both the partiality and the contingency of his more salutary truth-telling, as well as on the falsity of such nationalist histories. Hai reads Rushdie's dreams as a mode of truth-telling, as another register of the bodily, to argue that Rushdie constructs dream-endings in all his major novels as a form of resistance to closure, not to heighten the end, as narrative theory predicts, but rather to defer the end and open up pos­sibilities that often defy logic, thereby creating terms to make such postcolonial futures materially possible. It seems even more important for Rushdie as a post-colonial writer to build a language that can approximate the sheer fleshiness, materiality, relationality, and vulnerability of the human body. Only through such a language can he fulfill the ardent hope that underpins his seminal work: to make words matter, in every sense; to enable them to have powerful material, political, and social effects; to ‘leak’ into nations and communities and hence transform organically how they imagine themselves as well as others.

This book is the most assiduous to date, and may one day be recognized as the most assiduous ever, on the central colonial/postcolonial dynamic of word and body, the body words, and making them matter, and – the tables turned – words themselves having a hand in materially creating and substantially shaping, though sometimes disfiguring and even destroying, bodies of various kinds. – Brian May, author of The Modernist as Pragmatist: E. M. Forster and the Fate of Liberalism

This book enriches our appreciation of three of the most important writers of the twentieth century, while forwarding an original thesis with potential applicability to many postcolonial writers. – Carey Snyder, author of British Fiction and Cross-Cultural Encounters: Ethnographic Modernism from Wells to Woolf

Hai’s work exemplifies a new trend in postcolonial studies: to combine aesthetics and politics and to offer a historically and theoretically informed mode of interpretation that is sophisticated, lucid, and accessible. Making Words Matter is the first study to identify and examine the rich convergence of issues and to chart their dynamic. Hai opens up the field of postcolonial literary studies to fresh questions, engaging knowledgeably with earlier scholarship and drawing on interdisciplinary theory to read both well known and lesser-known texts in a new light.

The book should be of interest internationally to students and scholars in a variety of fields including British, Victorian, modernist, colonial, or postcolonial literary studies, queer or cultural studies, South Asian studies, history, and anthropology.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / World Literature

Inexorable Yankeehood: Henry James Rediscovers America, 1904-1905 by Robin P. Hoople, edited by Isobel Waters (Bucknell University Press)

I have always my eyes on my native land. – Henry James to William James, May 1, 1878

Inexorable Yankeehood analyzes the reciprocating collision between Henry James and American journalism during his 1904-1905 tour.

Although much recent scholarship ex­plores James's critique in The American Scene and his troubled relationship with journalism as revealed in his fiction, none analyzes the clash between James and the press during his visit. Inexorable Yankeehood redresses that omission, focusing not only on his travels along the Eastern littoral but also on his little-studied visits to the Midwest and California, wherein his dismay deepens even as his understanding of the cul­tural void clarifies. Supplementing press response with James's correspondence, Robin P. Hoople contends that the deteriorating relationship between James and the press influenced not only James's public per­sona and subsequent writings, but also American journalism itself.

Hoople (-2006) taught at Sari Dania State University and Iowa Wesleyan College before accepting a position at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where he taught American Literature and American Studies for more than thirty years. Hoople was a founding co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Mosaic and served as president of the Canadian Association for American Studies. The Editor, Isobel Waters, is Senior Instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

Drawing on articles in the contemporary press and supplemented by a neglected visual archive, Inexorable Yankeehood charts James' progress as he gathers the impressions upon which he will base his ‘theory of America’. If James arrives as a 'restored absentee' seeking a renewed relationship with his homeland, the press greets his return with reverence for his status combined with disdain for his prose.

The stage is set for a clash: James longing for the mythical ‘hillside of my youth’ and the power to write an im­portant book; and journalism caught be­tween an equally abject longing for a verdict of cultural authenticity and a defi­ant stance of achieved greatness. As James comes before the public in print and in person, his critique unfolds in a rising arc. Press reaction follows its own trajectory, acknowledging if not always admiring the Balzac lecture, recoiling from the New England essays, and defending against James's attacks in the Bryn Mawr address. Response divides between reviling the messenger and considering the justice of his message. At the apex of his critique, James's ‘alphabet of impressions’ – a uni­fying thread in Inexorable Yankeehood – anticipates the charges of the era's radical journalists. Its ‘informing and characteristic’ words dis­pel the bewilderments of James's American experience by spelling out his ‘final answer’: in the stewardship of culture and of land, the American experiment has failed. James's clash with the press thus reveals rents in the fabric of American polity, while exposing the institutions that compromise American ideals. Yet throughout, James's multivalent narrative persona threatens to dissolve into the re­viled ‘businessman face,’ suggesting his uneasy complicity with the very culture he seems to despise.

As told in the preface to Inexorable Yankeehood, much had changed in the intervening decades since he had left. If James had gained immeasurably in literary stature, he had repeatedly voiced his antipathy to the fifth estate in his fiction. At once international celebrity and imperfectly revered social critic, James occupied an uneasy position. American society, as expressed through its journalistic arm, was no less uncomfortable. Mired in cultural adolescence, it was boisterously assertive of its powers yet abashed by the strivings of its hormone storms. In anticipation of James's arrival, some press quarters extolled the country's virtues, defying James to find fault, while others anxiously examined the nation's progress, as projected through his penetrating gaze (chapter 2). After the initial politeness evinced by both sides wore off, the ensuing skirmishes between James and the press reflected their mutual unease not only in signs of whim, ill temper, and blasé indifference, but also in episodes of earnest inquiry that moved the contenders to sudden insights and stunning moments of self-criticism. The early encounters between James and American journalism are treated in chapter 3, with the later, maturing responses in subsequent chapters.

Inexorable Yankeehood considers the disjunctions within and be­tween contending camps in this remarkable historical event, en route to supplying a missing chapter in America's cultural biog­raphy at the dawn of the high modern era. For The American Scene, as its working titles of "Return of the Native" and "Return of the Novelist" suggest, is what Sacvan Bercovitch might call James's ‘anti jeremiad,’ documenting his errand into the American cul­tural wilderness, with the purpose of exposing rather than mytholo­gizing its defining ethos. Like Isabel the ‘archer’ in The Portrait of a Lady (1881), he will hunt down impressions as prey; but James as subject will also become the prey he seeks. As Hopple discusses in the introduction, James is searching for a defining Race-Figure to confer cogency to the bewildering landscape.

His is no unified vision, seen through no single pair of eyes. The elusive ‘I’ alternates with the ‘Author’ and a plethora of other voices, necessitating an exacting look at the book's narrative technique. By declaring that he will ‘let my impression[s] stand’ but then offering competing impressions that threaten to cancel each other out, James challenges readers to judge the Author's own commitment to the work's seriousness. The I-narrator, as deputized by the ‘Author,’ carries much of the burden of responsibility for conveying the book's vision, but by shad­ing off into subordinate speakers, James's narration alerts the reader to the multiple perspectives needed to encompass the setting. Chapter 1 explores James's narrative method, in conjunction with his major device for processing and presenting his responses: the alphabet of impressions. James's alphabet ‘makes sense’ of his impressions by using extravagant metaphors to reveal generaliza­tions about the state of America, generalizations he is determined to expose even to a resistant public. The alphabet emerges as the Rosetta Stone unlocking the twin enigmas of James's fragmented narration and his tangled cultural critique.

Inexorable Yankeehood coaxes the American ethos from journal­ism's labyrinth of commentary, thereby restoring to James studies the archive of contemporary press responses. Despite the impor­tance accorded James's attitudes toward the press by seminal works such as Richard Salmon's Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (1997b), little attention has been paid to James's 1904-1905 tour as his most sustained showdown with the press, and arguably his most prolonged publicity stunt. Hoople redresses that omission by bringing both cultural and literary perspectives to bear on Henry James's ‘rediscovery’ of America as it entered its century of hegemony. Hoople’s focus is the clash with the press occasioned by James's actual physical pres­ence in America and the nonfictional works that emanated from it. As counterpoint to his public utterances, he draws out James's evolv­ing attitudes from his voluminous correspondence.

An intriguing and evolving American perception of James emerges from the burgeoning visual archive (chapter 6). While responding to and stimulating the public's curiosity, these photographs and car­icatures bespeak an anti-intellectual bias against James that would build in intensity during his stay. The verbal representations of him, including Witter Bynner's interview in Critic and H. M. Fielding's Reader article, both in February 1905, offered important glimpses into James's private life and compositional methods, prompting further revisions of his public and private personae (chapter 6). The April ‘interview’ Julian Hawthorne confected from their conversa­tion – oddly downplayed in the critical literature – betrayed James's concerns with the desecration of both the body politic and the body geographic, adding fuel to the growing firestorm of discontent between James and an increasingly resentful public (chapter 9).

Compared with his trip down the Eastern littoral (chapters 4 and 5), James's travels to the Midwest (chapter 7) and Far West (chapter 9) have been largely ignored in biographical and critical accounts. Yet these experiences, while not captured in a sequel, inevitably conditioned the attitudes expressed in The American Scene and deserve more attention. Journalism's responses to the New England essays, published from April to June 1905, are treated together in chapter 8 to trace the growing defiance and suspicion that these essays spawned in some quarters and deepening, if chagrined, ap­preciation in others. James's compromised authority as a sympa­thetic social critic was further undermined on literary grounds by William Brownell's Atlantic Monthly article in April 1905 (chapter 9). Responses to the Balzac lecture and The Golden Bowl are con­sidered both early and late (chapters 3 and 10), as indicators not only of the press's efforts to understand James's literary theory and practice but also as testaments to their changing attitudes toward his enigmatic persona over the course of his visit. James's parting salvo, the Bryn Mawr address, was nothing less than a full battle cry and occasioned his most dramatic confrontation with the press (chapter 11). The gloves were most definitely off by this late junc­ture, and the press unleashed the full force of its animosity. James's denouncement of the journalistic messenger as well as the Ameri­can message furnished ample grounds for the press to declare him an antagonist. And yet, despite the deepening conflict, moments of convergence presented opportunities for synthesis. The conclusion considers what was arguably the greatest creative (if eccentric) outcome for James from this process: his theory of America.

Just as it charts the progress of James's journey against the back-drop of his deteriorating relationship with the press, Hoople’s book faces its own narrative dilemma. James limits the geography of The American Scene to the Eastern littoral, excluding his excursions to the Midwest and Far West. If it were to follow the book's implicit chronology, Inexorable Yankeehood would necessarily adhere to the time line imposed by the ‘Author,’ thereby pursuing an arbi­trary path that would risk deflecting the importance of the critique developing concurrently at the hands of journalism. Instead, Hoople fol­lows the chronology of James's actual travels, which crossed and re-crossed its own path during his ten-month sojourn. Within this loose framework, he allows the text its own deviations as needed to document the generating double critique of America by James and of James by the press. The result is a narrative of collisions and an account of concussions, with an examination of the points of tan­gency and evolved harmonies between the two.

By supplying a missing chapter in America's cultural history, Inexorable Yankeehood will interest scholars of American literature and American studies, as well as those concerned with the dy­namic interplay between journalism and literature in the genesis of American culture at the birth of the high modern era.

Literature & Fiction / World Literature / Literary / Historical

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt (Alfred A. Knopf)

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Possession, the award-winning A.S. Byatt, comes The Children's Book, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, which spans the Victorian era through the World War I years. Byatt encompasses the paradigm shift from Victorian to modern England in a sweeping tale of four families.

Taking readers from the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, The Children's Book is the story of a singular family, played out against the great, rippling tides of the day. The story centers around a famous children's book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.
It is the story of two deeply troubled families of the British artistic intelligentsia: the Fludds and the Wellwoods. Olive Wellwood, the matriarch, is an author of children's books, and their darkness hints at hidden family miseries. When Olive's oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum – a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive's magical tales – she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.
But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house – and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children – conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. As these lives – of adults and children alike – unfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.
There are other children in The Children's Book besides Philip – and Olive's seven with blustery banker husband Humphry – the Wellwood cousins; Julian, son of a keeper at the South Kensington Museum; the family of brilliant but selfish master potter Benedict Fludd, who takes in the talented Philip as an unpaid apprentice. Like the children in Olive's stories, these children have their notions quietly disabused; one small instant – say, a parent's overheard comment – and life is changed forever. But the deeper subject is the complex, not always benign bond that attaches children to adults.

Byatt's overstuffed latest wanders from Victorian 1895 through the end of WWI, alighting on subjects as diverse as puppetry, socialism, women's suffrage and the Boer War, and suffers from an unaccountably large cast. …The novel's moments of magic and humanity, malignant as they may be, are too often interrupted by information dumps that show off Byatt's extensive research. Buried somewhere in here is a fine novel. – Publishers Weekly
Masterly . . . A girl places some diminutive folk she's discovered into her doll house, then is imprisoned by a giant. A prince discovers that he alone has no shadow. …It's the late 1800s, with new ideas in the air – and it's all rushing toward World War I. Pitch perfect, stately, told with breathtakingly matter-of-fact acuteness, this is another winner for Byatt. – Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, starred
Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, The Children's Book tells the tale of a Victorian-era children's book author who takes an artistic runaway into her London home. This act of charity, however, reveals a household that is coming apart at the seams. Byatt takes her characters into World War I, along the way showing how the world both inside and outside their home is disintegrating. – New York Post
Easily the best thing A. S. Byatt has written since her Booker-winning masterpiece, Possession . . . A panoramic cavalcade of a novel [and] a work that superlatively displays both enormous reach and tremendous grip. – Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times (London)

Gripping and often deeply affecting . . . Magnificent . . . Lavish . . . A narrative tour de force. – Pamela Norris, Literary Review
Intricately worked and sumptuously inlaid . . . The Children's Book seethes and pulses with an entangled life, of the mind and the senses alike. – Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
This is [Byatt's] Middlemarch. – Sam Leith, The Guardian
The Children's Book has a richness of pictorial décor which reminds one of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. – John Sutherland, Evening Standard
Compelling . . . Fascinating . . . Clear-sighted and evocative . . . An intricate tale, energetically fashioned from sturdy strands of material, by an indefatigable storyteller . . . never less than the real thing.– Patricia Craig, The Irish Times
A consummate work of art . . . Through the fictional Olive Wellwood, Byatt conjures the period of Peter Pan and H. G. Wells, Fabianism and Wind in the Willows. – Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday
Intellectually fizzing . . . Remarkable, peerless, and willfully and delightfully and unapologetically intellectual, the kind of writer who makes you marvel at what she manages to put on the page. – Alan Taylor, The Herald (Glasgow)
Byatt writes [about World War I] with a power equal to that of Erich Maria Remarque and Ford Madox Ford. . . . Like Possession, [The Children's Book] carries off the feat of being both a dazzling novel of ideas and an emotionally compelling page-turner, a historical work with a remarkably contemporary feel. One of our best writers has surpassed herself. – Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette

Spellbinding, sweeping and intimate, The Children's Book is deeply affecting, although perhaps not the all-out literary achievement the British have been gushing about.

Literature & Fiction / History & Criticism / World Literature

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature: Ethics and Otherness from Romanticism through Realism edited by Donald R. Wehrs & David P. Haney (University of Delaware Press)

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature presents nine essays that analyze major nineteenth-century literary texts in light of the post-deconstruction philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. The first Section pursues in essays on Wordsworth, Coleridge, De Quincey, and Baudelaire connections between Levinas' radical rethinking of subjectivity and Romantic innovation. The second Section explores how Levinas' analysis of totalizing thought may illuminate how Poe, Emerson, Hawthorne, Douglass, Susan Warner, and Melville grapple with American experience and culture. The third Section considers the relevance of Levinas' work for reassessments of the realist novel through essays on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot.

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature is edited by Donald R. Wehrs, Associate Professor of English at Auburn University and David P. Haney, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor of English at Appalachian State University. Essay authors are A.C. Goodson, David P. Haney, E.S. Burt, Alain Paul Toumayan, N.S. Boone, Lorna Wood, Donald R. Wehrs, Melvyn New, and Rachel Hollander.

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature rereads British, American, and European nineteenth-century literary texts, from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Dickens and Eliot, in light of Emmanuel Levinas's groundbreaking ethical philoso­phy, reconsidering issues central to nine­teenth-century studies in relation to Levin­asian post-deconstructive themes while tracing his concerns with language, material historicity, and selfhood back to nineteenth-century writers, genres, and debates.

In the first Section, "Levinas and Romantic Subjectivity," A. C. Goodson considers the ‘wise passiveness’ of Wordsworth's ‘poetics of recognition’ in relation to Levinasian ethical subjectivity, editor Haney links Coleridge's and Levinas's re­flection upon tensions between an ethics of recognizing otherness and a politics of valorizing equal treatment of all. E. S. Burt suggests that De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium-Eater may be read as an essay in Levinasian autobiography, and Alain Paul Toumayan delineates how Levinas's con­sideration of art illuminates and builds upon Baudelairean poetics.

In the second Section, "Levinas, Literary Form, and the American Experience," N. S. Boone notes how Levinas's analysis of totalizing thought allows Poe's short stories to be read as contesting American culture's unqualified valorization of free­dom, especially as articulated in Emersonian philosophy, and Lorna Wood suggests that Levinas's thought permits an aesthetic theo­ry capable of reclaiming the category of literary value in ways that transcend im­passes facing postmodern discussions of the canon, as she demonstrates through discus­sions of Douglass, Hawthorne, Susan Warner, and Melville.

In the third Section, "Levinas and the Nineteenth-Century Novel," editor Wehrs argues that Levinas attunes readers to notice how Austen's indirect free style dramatizes ethical responsibility to the Other motivating the sense and directions of dis­course. Melvyn New brings Levinas's ethi­cal account of passivity to bear upon a reconsideration of Dickens's apparent senti­mentality and melodrama, and Rachel Hollander traces how Daniel Deronda's critique of traditional morality intersects with Levinas's work in ways that help explain the novel's two-plot structure and its ethical unease with conventions of realism.

While the last twenty years have wit­nessed an explosion of Levinas scholarship, little has been done connecting him with nineteenth-century concerns, although he al­ludes constantly to nineteenth-century ideas and texts, and often acknowledges in interviews his intellectual and personal debts to nineteenth-century European literature. Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature shows the nineteenth-century roots of the problems he addresses and uncovers how nineteenth-century literature begins to devel­op responses to the problems that establish a mutually enriching, cross-period, interdisci­plinary dialogue.

Professional & Technical / Law

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court by Amy Bach (Metropolitan Books)

It is time, Amy Bach argues in Ordinary Injustice, to institute a new method of checks and balances that will make injustice visible – the first and necessary step to any reform.

In a sweeping investigation that moves from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi, Amy Bach reveals a deeply compromised judicial process. Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who brings almost no cases to trial; the court that works together to achieve a wrong verdict. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Bach identifies an assembly-line approach that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants to keep the court calendar moving and the collusion between judge, prosecutor, and defense that puts the interests of the system above the obligation to the people.

Bach, a member of the New York bar, has written on law for The Nation, The American Lawyer, and New York magazine, among other publications. For her work in progress on Ordinary Injustice, Bach received a Soros Media Fellowship, a special J. Anthony Lukas citation, and a Radcliffe Fellowship.

Ordinary Injustice examines how state criminal trial courts regularly per­mit basic failures of legal process, such as the mishandling of a statu­tory rape allegation. The point of departure for each chapter in Ordinary Injustice is the story of one individual who has found himself condemned in this way. What these examples show is that pinning the problem on any one bad apple fails to indict the tree from which it fell. While it is convenient to isolate misconduct, targeting an individual only obscures what is truly going on from the scrutiny change requires. The system involves too many players to hold only one accountable for the routine injustice happening in courtrooms across America.

Ordinary Injustice is based on the premise that it takes a community of legal professionals to let a sleeping lawyer sleep. Over the years, there have been quite a few reports of lawyers who literally dozed off during trial, but the one that made international headlines featured Joe Frank Cannon. His client, Calvin Burdine, was convicted of murder for shooting a man dur­ing a convenience-store robbery in Texas; for the crime, he was sentenced to death. In 2001, a panel of federal appellate judges vigorously debated whether Cannon had violated the Constitution by falling asleep repeat­edly during the trial. The panel considered whether a sleeping lawyer can adequately represent someone at trial, as if the problem was about setting an appropriate legal standard and a particular lawyer whose performance had been sub-par. Although the panel reviewed the issue through a narrow legal appellate lens, it gave commentators an opening to condemn the state's vigorous use of the death penalty in such an obviously flawed system. But this criticism missed the point: How was it possible that a defense lawyer could fall asleep during a mur­der trial, and yet no judge, defendant, juror, or member of the bar sitting in the courtroom, no witness, not even the prosecutor, objected?

The prosecutor claimed he was too focused on the witnesses to no­tice what was happening at the defense table. The judge said he was busy watching the witnesses testify, taking notes, and drafting the charge to the jury. But the jury foreperson saw Cannon dozing and so did two other jurors. The court clerk, whose job is to assist the judge, said she had seen the lawyer sleep on other occasions, too, not just during long portions of this trial. "I knew that he had this problem;" the clerk testi­fied when the sleeping became an issue on appeal. Another attorney, who had worked with Cannon before on a capital murder trial, said as much. So at least one court official knew what was happening, although no one in the trial had bothered to wake the lawyer.

As told in Ordinary Injustice, one could argue that the American trial process within the adversarial system is meritocratic. The best ar­gument and most compelling application of the law wins. Having one set of lawyers that investigates the facts and says, "He did it;" while another set tests that assertion and says, "He did not" should ideally create a self-checking mechanism. The contest in the courtroom is, in theory, the end result of the tireless work – depicted in so many movies, hit TV shows, and books – of legal troops who scope out crime scenes, pick through garbage, and employ cutting-edge technology to tap a phone or match saliva through DNA evidence. Even if facts get distorted or a lawyer has performed incompetently, each party is assured the opportu­nity to present its side of the story and focus attention on the evidence and applicable law.

A person accused of a crime is guaranteed certain rights to ensure a fair process that produces a just outcome. Those rights include trial by jury of one's peers, the right to have one's lawyer cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses to test the truthfulness of testimony, and the right to present testimony that may show innocence. In a perfect world, these rights make certain that facts are subjected to tests, which serve to counterbalance the lopsided battle between the state (represented by the prosecutor) and the individual (represented by the defense). The struc­ture aims to protect against foibles such as laziness and the temptation of professionals to collude.

Collegiality and collaboration are considered the keys to success in most communal ventures, but in the practice of criminal justice they are in fact the cause of system failure. When professional alliances trump adversarialism, ordinary injustice predominates. Judges, defense lawyers, and prosecutors, but also local government, police, and even trial clerks who process the paperwork, decide the way a case moves through the system, thereby determining what gets treated like a criminal matter and what does not. Through their subtle personal associations, legal players often recast the law to serve what they perceive to be the interest of their wider community or to perpetuate a ‘we've-always-done-it-­this-way’ mind-set. Whether through friendship, mutual interest, indif­ference, incompetence, or willful neglect the players end up not checking each other and thus not doing the job the system needs them to do if justice is to be achieved. Ordinary Injustice shows what happens when the the­ory behind the adversarial system is not realized.

One case at a time, we see in each chapter how daily collaboration within the system can undermine this adversarial mechanism. When a lawyer is forced to choose between performing vigorously in his role as an adversary and maintaining easy and necessary professional and institutional relationships, he often opts for the path of least resistance, which undermines justice for some.

Lax adversarialism, a condition that lets cases and defendants pass through the system unchecked, often begins well before a case gets to court. Prosecutors have crushing workloads; they don't want to waste their time on a matter that might not end in conviction. At times, legal teams develop a shorthand calculus for predicting which cases will end up in the ‘lost’ column on their scorecards. The assessment is not based on the actual facts but often on ste­reotypes or on the stature of the victim. Consequently, entire categories of crime, like domestic violence, might go unpursued for decades.

On the flip side, when everyday cases do get to court, incentives to keep caseloads manageable and moving drive the process. Prosecutors negotiate plea deals without having interviewed the victims or wit­nesses; instead they rely on a few details scribbled in a police report and hope the defense lawyers will overlook any inaccuracies. Defense attor­neys, for their part, are also overwhelmed, and often collude, sometimes unknowingly, with prosecutors to abandon cases that don't seem worth their time. Teamwork like this pushes cases through the system at a rapid clip. The point here is not that every case warrants an extensive trial. Plea bargaining is an accepted, condoned practice, as is exercising the prosecutorial discretion not to bring a case to trial. The concern is that ordinary injustice flourishes in the shadows where these deals are cut and decisions are made.

At times, according to Ordinary Injustice, judges abandon their neutrality and step into the adver­sarial void, acting like prosecutors, forcing defendants either to take a deal or wait in jail for a trial date. That, or they deny a defendant his rights altogether. During her research, Bach says she saw many defendants plead guilty without a lawyer present. In some cases, they had been in jail for months without counsel. In others, they had no idea what they were pleading guilty to or they accepted sentences higher than the legal maximum. Some sentences may seem small at the time, but they can have catastrophic unanticipated consequences for landing a job, obtaining public housing, maintaining an immigration status, or for the punishment of a crime that occurs later.

Alongside the easy manner in which such slack justice is carried out is the opposite problem, one of excess adversarialism, in which legal pro­fessionals over-prosecute, usually at the insistence of a community that feels threatened by a headline-grabbing crime. A prosecutor wants to show the community that the crime will be redressed and order restored. It is for these cases, which take on a ‘show trial’ quality, that the system saves its ammunition. The state marshals its forces and will not let up. Defendants who are wrongfully convicted are living proof of the extent to which the state will go to demonstrate the system's vigor, even when presented with evidence that contravenes its case.

Ordinary injustice is virtually always rooted in an incomplete story. Ordinary Injustice attempts to fill in the incomplete stories. Each chapter begins with one of the key players in the adversarial model (the defense at­torney, the judge, or the prosecutor) and examines the circumstances that have allowed injustice to thrive in his particular court location: Greene County, Georgia; Troy, New York; Quitman County, Mississippi; and Chicago, Illinois. While Bach says she chose stories that occurred in state trial courts – because that is where most people experience the criminal jus­tice system – the specific settings matter less than the overarching issue of how America holds court. North or south, rich or poor, urban or ru­ral, black or white, ordinary injustice cannot be explained away by any one variable.

Encouraging to Bach was the participation of the four lawyers at the center of Ordinary Injustice: Robert Surrency in Georgia, Hank Bauer in New York, Laurence Mellen in Mississippi, and Tom Breen in Illinois. While they were, or had been, mostly blind to the problems they had aided and abetted, they did not attempt to hide them. The very people who have helped perpetrate ordinary injustice met with her repeatedly, for countless hours, to talk about their roles and answer questions they might well have preferred to ignore. In their transparency, we can see the outlines for change.

… compelling is her portrayal of the people hurt in this system – the victims of crimes, the falsely convicted and the defenders, prosecutors and judges whose own humanity is undermined when they lose sight of the justice they supposedly serve. – Publishers Weekly

Ordinary Injustice takes the reader to unexamined fiefdoms across the country and brings them deep into the heart of the way justice truly happens on a day-to-day level. It shows how dangerous it is when any one of the clearly defined roles in the system malfunctions. No one concerned with the state of this country’s democracy can afford to ignore this necessary book. – Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of The Innocence Project, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

This is a magnificent work, a crusading call for reform. … With her remarkable skills as a reporter and her masterful storytelling ability, Amy Bach provides a fascinating range of individual stories to reveal the systemic, everyday problems in our courts that must be addressed if justice is truly to be served. This groundbreaking book deserves widespread attention. – Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

This is a very important book for any one seriously concerned about the continuing struggle for civil rights in this nation. … As I read through these revealing and shocking pages, I was saddened, angered and outraged. I hope outrage will push citizens everywhere to demand fulfillment of the birthright of every American: equal justice under the law. – Reverend Joseph E. Lowery, Co-Founder and President Emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Every judge, prosecutor, and defense lawyer should read Ordinary Injustice. I hope it will compel us to reevaluate the injustice that occurs with impunity and regularity in our criminal justice system and I recommend it with great enthusiasm to anyone concerned about inequality and the law. – Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice

Moving, illuminating, damning. Bach gets beyond the usual suspects, exposing a corrosive culture. It is a tribute to its honesty that Ordinary Injustice will make readers squirm. – Steve Bogira, author of Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse

From an award-winning lawyer-reporter, here is a radically new explanation for America’s failing justice system. Full of gripping human stories, sharp analyses, and a crusader’s sense of urgency, Ordinary Injustice is a major reassessment of the health of the nation’s courtrooms.

Professional & Technical / Medical / Nursing

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care by Sharon L. Edwards & Mimma Sabato (Churchill Livingstone)

Are you starting work in critical care?

This small, pocket-sized book provides an introduction to aspects of care and management in critical care. A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care contains not only information on patient assessment, ventilation, haemodynamic monitoring, emergencies, critical care interventions, common conditions and pharmacology, all clearly relating to critical care, but also psychological, professional practice issues, palliative care and caring for relatives. It provides the factual information needed to assist nurses in providing holistic care in the critical care environment, in an accessible format. Features of the book include:

  • Handbook format makes the book portable and easy to use.
  • Warning boxes and tips for practice.
  • Diagrams clearly explain difficult concepts.
  • Pull-out boxes highlight hints and tips for practice.

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care helps readers organize their job and themselves, assess patients, get clinical information on a wide range of conditions, important principles, procedures and investigation, drugs in critical care, and what to do in an emergency. The book is written by Sharon Edwards MSc DipN(Lon) EGCEA RGN, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Society and Health, Buckinghamshire New University and Mimma Sabato BSc(Hons) MA PgDL RGN, Barrister.

Contents include:

Section 1 – General principles of critical care: Introduction; Emergencies and life-threatening complications.

Section 2 – Patient assessment and investigations: Identification of patient needs/problems; Assessment; Haemodynamic monitoring; Diagnostic procedures.

Section 3 – Critical care interventions: Medium-technology life-support interventions; High-technology life-support interventions; Caring for a critical care patient; Intubation and ventilation; Transfer of critical care patients.

Section 4 – Common conditions/reasons for admission: Principles of cellular death, injury and repair; Neurological; Endocrine disorders; Respiratory; Cardiovascular; Renal; Gastrointestinal (GIT); Immunological; Surgery; Burns; Poisoning/overdose.

Section 5 – Psychological and ethical care: Mental effects of critical care; Palliative care in critical care; Professional practice issues.

Section 6 – Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; Classification of drugs used in critical care; Drug calculations; Nurse prescribing.

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care provides insight into the critical care arena and highlights the important physiological, psychological and social areas, alongside legal issues and ethical and moral dilemmas that health care practitioners may face on a daily basis. This book is not the sole textbook of choice within critical care but acts in a supportive and informative way for the novice critical care practitioner and provokes further reading and use of current literature within the specialty.

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care helps bridge the theory-practice gap by underpinning current knowledge and ensuring that an understanding is gained before starting a critical care placement or embarking on a career in critical care. In view of the fact that critical care is now opening up to all disciplines, the book is aimed not only at student and qualified nurses but also at student and qualified midwives, student and qualified operating department practitioners, paramedics, physiotherapists, medical students, and occupational therapists. Question boxes have been inserted throughout the book to stimulate discussion and thought processes and promote the inquisitive side of the health care professional.

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care is an indispensable guide to daily procedures and problems faced by nurses working in critical care nursing. It helps open the doors to this nursing specialty and empowers readers to spend a number of years uncovering, understanding and enjoying this specialist area. The focus is on the patient and not the technology. In addition, the pocket-book format makes the information portable and easy to use.

Professional & Technical / Medicine / Health, Mind & Body

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Impact of Generation, Gender, and Global Trends by Ellen Scherl MD & Marla Dubinsky MD (Slack, Inc.)

The authors and editors should be congratulated for their accomplishment. They have assimi­lated a textbook that is likely to be in press for a long time and with many forthcoming editions. This book is a ‘must have’ for people who desire a book focused on these specific aspects of IBD. – Gary R. Lichtenstein, Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Director, Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology – from the preface

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease looks to continue the progress made in recent years in the treatment given to patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by creating a timeline and individualized plan of action beginning with the onset of the disease and continuing throughout the life cycle of the patient. The purpose of the text is to describe the exciting advances in the understanding of disease pathogenesis, epidemiology, natural history, the life cycle of disease, and the population it impacts in the context of rapidly changing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease also battles the tough questions such as the age of onset, the influence of the environment, and genetic factors. Authors are Ellen J. Scherl, Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University Medical School; and Marla C. Dubinsky, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA and Director, Pediatric IBD Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. Scherl and Dubinsky are joined by over 20 of the world’s leading experts in IBD.
Contents include:

Section I – Introduction to the Life Cycle of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  1. Epidemiology of the Life Cycle of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Developing World: A Rapid Evolution of Global Epidemiology
  3. Immune Development and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Section II – Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Pediatric Patient

  1. Why Children Get Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Genetic Influences of Early-Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  3. Natural History and Prognosis of Pediatric-Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  4. Medication Responsiveness in Children
  5. Bone and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Adolescent
  7. Transition of Care

Section III – Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Young Adult

  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Relationships/Sexual Health: An Overview
  2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Fertility
  3. Pregnancy and Postpartum
  4. Maintaining Femininity After Surgery

Section IV – Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Elderly

  1. The Effect of Menopause and Other Issues in the Older Patient with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Aging: Special Considerations and Management

Section V – Special Considerations in the Management of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Life Cycle

  1. Chronic Care of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Surgical Treatment of Crohn's Disease Through the Life Cycle
  3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Current World: Controversies in Management
  4. The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Management: The Impact of New Therapies on Old Strategies

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), specifically Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, represent chronic idiopathic inflammatory intestinal disorders marked by cyclical periods of symptomatic intestinal inflammation and remission. Since the initial identification and description of IBD, much has been learned about these two disorders. Both occur worldwide and spare no socioeconomic group. These diseases have been estimated to afflict nearly 1.4 million people in the United States and 2.2 million Europeans. There is no known cure for these chronic and potentially debilitating diseases, although patients with ulcerative colitis can undergo a total colectomy to remove the affected organ. Colectomy is not curative in patients with Crohn's disease since inflammation can recur anywhere throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and most often recurs post-surgically at the site of the anastomosis. Current medical therapy for IBD is aimed at alleviating symptoms and inducing a state of remission. Recent scientific and technological advances have not only promoted a greater understanding of the pathogenesis underlying these disorders, but have also led to the discovery and use of new medica­tions for the treatment of IBD.

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease focuses on the patient life cycle as it relates to IBD. Scherl and Dubinsky cover the con­tinuum of inflammatory bowel disease from the pediatrics to the elderly. First they provide an overview of the epidemiology and immunology of IBD. Then, they highlight areas of intense interest to readers – sex, fertility, pregnancy, and even menopause. Additionally, they focus upon pediatric and adolescent patients as related to the natural history of disease, medical therapy, genetics, and bone disease.

A vast amount of clinical trial literature in IBD is evidence based. The use of an evidence-based approach to objectively evaluate the quality of clinical research by critically assessing techniques reported by researchers in their publications has been the primary approach. Scherl and Dubinsky venture into arenas where controlled trial data are sparse yet clinical experience is rich; they rely on the experience and the ability of their nationally recognized expert authors to recount personal experiences and in this manner they offer clinical guidance to the readership for manage­ment of specific clinical scenarios.

According to Scherl and Dubinsky, with increasing and ever changing medical and surgical options for patients living with IBD and for physicians managing IBD, the best approach is a multidisciplinary and interactive col­laboration. In select patients with moderate-to-severe disease, an earlier aggressive approach is indicated; in other patients with mild-to-moderate disease, stepping back and challenging the diagnosis, deescalating medication dose, and stressing adherence to therapeutic regimens are in order. Identifying immunologically vulnerable subsets of patients with emerging serologic mark­ers, biomarkers, and ultimately genotyping may allow for stratification of therapeutic responses and personalized medicine.

With the changing diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the greatest challenge for clinicians is to move from symptom-oriented step-up strategies toward proactive preventive-oriented (early intervention) approaches aimed at altering the natural history of IBD. Major progress has been made in both the diagnosis and treatment of IBD, resulting in a better quality of life for individuals affected by Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Despite these advances, many questions remain unanswered regarding the developmental history, epidemiology, pathogenesis, genetic and immune mechanisms of these diseases, and dis­ease-modifying potential of IBD therapies.

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is the definitive resource for the diagnosis, treatment, and individualized management plan for IBD throughout the life of each patient. This unique and necessary textbook is comprehensive. It especially features new information on early onset, as well as the female patient’s journey, describing the exciting advances being made, and using anecdotal data as well as clinical trial data to give a full picture.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Church History

Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies edited by Laura Nasrallah & Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (Fortress Press) Visit Amazon's A.S. Byatt Page

While scholars of the New Testament and its Roman environment have recently focused attention on ethnicity and gender, the two questions have often been discussed separately – and without reference to the contemporary critical study of race theory. This interdisciplinary volume addresses this lack by drawing together new essays by prominent scholars in the fields of New Testament, classics, and Jewish studies. The essays examine the intersection of three worlds: first, the construction of gender and race under the Roman Empire; second, the crucible of nineteenth-century thinking about race and empire in which New Testament and classical studies were given definitive form; and third, the contemporary theoretical frameworks and methods that hold greatest promise for a renewed understanding of the New Testament and early Christian history.
Editors of Prejudice and Christian Beginnings are Laura Nasrallah, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor of Scripture and Interpretation, both at Harvard Divinity School.

The book describes how the book brings together the critical and con­structive explorations of leading scholars who have already made sig­nificant contributions either to the study of the intersection of race, ethnicity, and critical feminist theory with Early Christian Studies or to the investigation of how race, gender, ethnicity, and empire shaped early Christian or classical texts. It explores how Early Christian Studies can benefit not only from the diverse methodological approaches already developed within the field, but also from interactions with insights from classics, from the history of antiquity, from the study of religion and theology, and from critical theory – especially critical race, feminist, and postcolonial theories.

Recently, according to Fiorenza, scholars of classical antiquity as well as of canonical and post-canonical Early Christian literatures have turned their attention to ethnicity in the ancient world. They have been slow, however, to engage this research with critical theories of gender, on the one hand, and criti­cal race theory, on the other. Hence, Prejudice and Christian Beginnings brings together the work of important scholars in the fields of Christian Testa­ment Studies, Classics, early Christian history, and Jewish Studies. By proposing the study of race, gender, empire, and ethnicity as an entry point or theoretical lens, these essays make contribu­tions to rethinking how we read ancient texts, including the Christian Scriptures, as well as to reconceptualizing the field of Early Christian Studies. The chapters address topics such as gender, ethnicity, and race under the Roman Empire; the crucible of nineteenth-century thinking about race, gender, and empire that has shaped Classics as well as Early Christian Studies; and the theoretical frameworks and methods by which such studies can best proceed in their analysis of race, gender, and ethnicity in the ancient worlds.

Contents and authors include:

Part I. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christianity: Theorizing the Field of Inquiry

  1. Be Not Afraid of the Dark: Critical Race Theory and Classical Studies – Shelley P. Haley
  2. The Knidian Aphrodite in the Roman Empire and Hiram Powers's Greek Slave: On Ethnicity, Gender, and Desire – Nasrallah
  3. "From Every Nation under Heaven": Jewish Ethnicities in the Greco-Roman World – Cynthia M. Baker
  4. Mimicry and Colonial Differences: Gender, Ethnicity, and Empire in the Interpretation of Pauline Imitation – Joseph A. Marchal
  5. "To the Jew First and Also to the Greek": Reading Romans as Ethnic Construction – Sze-kar Wan

Part II. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity: Shaping the Discipline of Early Christian Studies

  1. God's Own People: Specters of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Christian Studies – Denise Kimber Buell
  2. Race, Aesthetics, and Gospel Scholarship: Embracing and Subverting the Aesthetic Ideology – Shawn Kelley
  3. Race as Incarnational Theology: Affinities between German Protestantism and Racial Theory – Susannah Heschel
  4. Religion, Ethnicity, and Ethnoreligion: Trajectories of a Discourse in German-Speaking Historical Jesus Scholarship – Gabriella Gelardini
  5. "No Modern Joshua . . .": Nationalization, Scriptures, and Race – Vincent L. Wimbush
  6. Poetics of Minority Biblical Criticism: Identification and Theorization – Fernando F. Segovia

With ‘prejudice and domination’ as its primary theoretical lens, Prejudice and Christian Beginnings seeks to continue the conversation begun at a conference on "Race, Gender, and Ethnicity" held at Harvard Uni­versity Divinity School in 2007. It explores a number of significant avenues of inquiry that push scholarship forward in several direc­tions. First, it seeks to further the theoretical discussion on criti­cal race theory and the intersection of race with class, gender, and empire in the study of religion in general and in that of early Chris­tianity in particular. Second, while classicists have investigated race and ethnicity in antiquity, there has been less scholarship specifi­cally directed toward the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, and empire in Early Christian Studies. This study seeks to address that gap.

Third, Prejudice and Christian Beginnings engages in explicit conversation about the the­oretical frameworks and methodologies by which Early Christian and Early Jewish Studies might proceed in the analysis of race, gender, and ethnicity. Early Christian Studies are caught between the longstand­ing authority of the historical critical method, which insists that such inquiry be limited to the first centuries C.E., on the one hand, and critical theory, hermeneutics, epistemology, cultural studies, ethnic­ity studies, and literary studies, on the other, which insist that all interpretations and readings are shaped by contemporary intellectual frameworks and sociopolitical locations. Work investigating race, gen­der, or colonialism in the Christian Testament is often marginalized, and students who want to address the topic of race, gender, or domi­nation often do double or triple work as they must ‘master’ a set of scholarly tools that does not allow them to investigate the problems that initially drew them to the field.

Finally, the significant analytics of feminist, postcolonial, and critical race theories have developed alongside each other but have not been integrated to accomplish an intersectional analysis of early Christian literature and history. While scholars of early Christianity have quickly embraced the study of ethnicity or empire in antiquity, including the important question of how ethnicity and empire shape religion and religious practices, they have been slower to address the question of how race and gender are involved in social and ideological constructions of Christianity. This is more than surprising, since a rich body of critical feminist work on the intersectionality of race, gender, class, ethnicity, and empire has existed for quite some time.

Prejudice and Christian Beginnings contributes to a rhetoric of inquiry and an ethic of interpretation that seeks not only to deconstruct the kyriar­chal structures of racism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism, and imperialism inscribed in early Christian writings and modern Early Christian Studies but also to find religious memories, resources, and visions for a more just world. The book opens up an intellectual space for further exploration and inquiry not only into the kyriarchal intersections and prejudices inscribed in early Christian writings and beginnings but also in the possibilities for articulating elements of an early Christian and a scholarly ethos that fosters appreciation, tolerance, and justice.

This interdisciplinary volume makes a great contribution to rethinking how we read ancients texts. Highly attuned to questions of social location and interpretive method, these essays push against the marginalization of race and ethnicity studies and put the received wisdom of New Testament studies squarely in the foreground. The volume sets the agenda for a new methodology in New Testament studies.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Catholicism / Theology

Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk (Michael Glazier/Liturgical Press)

Christopher Pramuk Visit Amazon's Christopher Pramuk PageFind all the books, read about the author, and more.

She smiles, for though they have bound her, she cannot be a prisoner. – Thomas Merton, Hagia Sophia, in Emblems of a Season of Fury

While numerous studies have celebrated Thomas Merton's witness as an interfaith pioneer, poet, and peacemaker, there have been few systematic treatments of his Christology as such, and no sustained exploration to date of his relationship to the Russian ‘Sophia’ tradition. Christopher Pramuk, assistant professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, in Sophia looks to Merton as a ‘classic’ theologian of the Christian tradition from East to West, and offers an interpretation of his mature Christology, with special attention to his remarkable prose poem of 1962, Hagia Sophia.

Pramuk says that his first encounter with Thomas Merton (1915-1968) came some thirty years ago as a teenager, when he happened across an old copy of The Sign of Jonas on his mother's bookshelf. It wasn't until his late thirties – around two years after September 11, 2001, and in the charged atmosphere surrounding the launch of the second Iraq War – that Merton reemerged with some force for him as a locus of interest for the most pressing issues in contemporary Chris­tology, above all, how to speak of Christ in an age of pluralism, and an age of increasing violence between cultures and nations.

According to Pramuk, to do Christology as Merton reflexively understood and practiced the term is not only to "become fully impregnated in our mystical tradition, it is also to ‘bring out clearly the mystical dimensions of our theology, hence to help us to do what we must really do: live our theology . . . , fully, deeply, in its totality.’" This is perhaps the most enduring lesson he says he has learned from Merton, and which he has tried to bring to the writing of Sophia. The more he tried to force-fit Merton's Christology into preconceived or abstract conceptual categories, the more he found that that was assuredly ‘not it.’ Yet the more he listened, meditated, and pored over Merton’s writings, the more he discerned an unmistakable music, a kind of unifying harmonic key, awakening in him the remembrance of God, a sense of a real Presence, and stirring dormant seeds of hope.

Sophia traces the emergence of Sophia in Merton's life and writings as a Love and a Presence that breaks through into the world. It responds to the question of Merton's mature Christology by advancing the following thesis: it was Sophia, the ‘unknown and unseen Christ’ within all things, who both centered and in many respects catalyzed Merton's theo­logical imagination in a period of tremendous social, political, and religious fragmentation. Drawing intuitively from sources in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well as from non-Christian sources, and inspired especially by the Sophia tradition of Russian Orthodoxy – or ‘sophiology,’ as known in its speculative form – the Wisdom tradition became Merton's most vivid means of expressing ‘a living experience of unity in Christ which far transcends all conceptual formulations.’

Above all it was the prose poem Hagia Sophia, by far the most realized, lyrical, and daring of Merton's meditations on Sophia, which drew his imagination back into itself. That sublime text, the flowering in Merton of years of study and meditation on the Bible, patristic and Russian theology, and Zen, seemed at once to multiply and silence all his questions. Sophia looks especially to Hagia Sophia as the culmination of a mystical the­ology construed under the light of Wisdom, a classic marriage of Eastern and Western spirituality, and a bold rendering of the Catholic sacramental imagination. Hagia Sophia is Merton's consummate hymn to the theological dignity of humankind and of all creation. The remembrance of Sophia, he suggests in the book, with Merton's life as witness, opens onto an integral spirituality of engagement in the world.

Because she remains largely unknown to readers in the West, even close readers of Merton, the book begins by recounting in broad strokes the story of Merton's awakening to Sophia, a narrative that weaves through the last decade of his life. Chapter 1 takes up this introductory task and then attempts to situate Merton's writings within the broader horizon of modern (and postmodern) Catholic theology. The central question posed in chapter 1 is this: what is it in Merton's mystical or sapiential approach to theology, and especially in his reception of Russian sophiology, that merits sustained consideration by the church and its theo­logians today? Readers less familiar with the broad contours of Merton's life and writings should find here enough touch-points to be on firm ground for the remainder of Sophia.

Chapter 2 builds a case for the validity of Merton's approach to theology through an analysis of the pivotal role of the imagination in religious episte­mology and theological method. Here the study looks to the respective epistemolo­gies and semantic strategies of Newman and the great philosopher-poet of Judaism, Abraham Joshua Heschel, to argue that theology today will remain much impoverished without ‘a poetic dimension of theological thinking or even a theological literature in search of a poetic form and voice.’ Crucial to any understanding of Merton's mature period is its increas­ingly prophetic and global content, a turning to the world shaped not only by his friendship with Heschel but also by his living relationship, as a Trap­pist monk, with the revelatory word of the Bible. Chapter 3 explores a wide range of texts, seeking to get inside the ‘archaeology’ of Merton's expansive religious imagination, and above all, to probe his basic confidence in, and fluency with, the sacramental power of language. This chapter sets the stage for the second half of Sophia by framing the breakthrough of Sophia into Merton's consciousness in terms of his desire to remember and name God anew on the other side of his revolutionary awakening to the world beyond the monastery.

Chapter 4 chronicles the dawn of Wisdom in Merton's theological con­sciousness, beginning with the pivotal influence of four key mentors during the late 1950s, D. T. Suzuki, Herakleitos the Obscure, Maximus Confessor, and Boris Pasternak, followed by his study of Russian Orthodox sophiology. From the much-discussed epiphany at Fourth and Walnut in March of 1958 to his climactic pilgrimage in Asia, Sophia emerges as a kind of unify­ing presence and theological wellspring in Merton's life, both centering and catalyzing his outreach to others in friendship, dialogue, and peacemaking. The book comes to the Christological heart of things in chapter 5, which offers an interpretation of three of Merton's most formally and brilliantly realized sophiological texts: The New Man (1961), New Seeds of Contemplation (1962), and Hagia Sophia (1962). A description of events surrounding the composi­tion and publication of Hagia Sophia sets the stage for a close theological reading of the text.

Chapter 6 takes up questions of a more historical, systematic, and constructive nature, questions that Merton himself never fully addressed. Not least of these is the contested place of Sophia in traditional Christology and Trinitarian theology. Who is Sophia? Is Russian sophiology trustworthy? Most compelling to Pramuk: Why did Sophia capture the imagina­tions of this small (and subsequently marginalized) group of thinkers who lived amid the ashes of World War I, the Bolshevik revolution, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, the Watts race riots, and the Vietnam War – a century in which theology had every reason to lose its nerve? Might Sophia be grasped against this fractured horizon as a kind of apocalyptic figure? All these questions may be boiled down to one: why Sophia – and not simply a vigorous renewal of the more familiar terms of Christological or Trinitarian discourse?

Chapter 6 advances the case that Russian sophiology – or more broadly, the ‘sophiological tradition;’ from the Russians in the East to Merton in the West – represents a distinctive response to both the profound challenges of modernity and a century of unspeakable violence, breaking open and potentially revitalizing theology and spirituality. Drawing from striking resonances in the spiritual biographies of Merton and the Russian theologians, the chapter concludes by exploring the apocalyptic, or the sanctification of time. Indeed, the apocalyptic tenor of both Russian theology and Merton's mature period suggest that sophiology is in many respects a theology of crisis, a bold attempt to retrieve the biblical vision of manifold creation and the diverse human community as essentially one, bound together in the life story of God from the beginning.

The conclusion looks back to reprise Sophia's major arguments and then attempts to assess the shape of the whole, considering how the sophiological perspective casts new light on some of the most pressing theological and spiritual questions of our time. Here he asks whether, and in what ways, the remembrance of Sophia might be brought to bear in Christian theology, liturgical life, and spirituality today.

For Merton and the Russians, Sophia is also a kind of real symbol and revealed Name for what Orthodox theology calls ‘divinization;’ meaning the fullness of participation in the life of God. Sophiology responds to the dehumanization of a blood-soaked century by daring to speak of the humanization of God, a certain humanness in God, made possible by God's free act of love-humility in the incarnation. Sophia is the eros of God become one with creation.

Pramuk's work is, far and away, the most sophisticated theological study ever done on the writings of Thomas Merton. It sets a very high bar for anyone else who intends to comment on the writings of the monk whose writings, nearly a half century after his death, still exert such a powerful influence on contemporary religious seekers. – Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien, Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame

Sophia is a luminous, even mesmerizing, essay on the very nature of theology itself. Pramuk illuminates not only Merton's profound Christological vision, but places that in thought-provoking conversation with the great Russian theologians who – during a century of bitter strife – were irradiated by the mysterious figure of Wisdom. This work will be of deep interest to students of Christology, of Merton, of contemporary theology, and to all who pause in wonder before the recovering encounter of theology and the mystical. – Mark A. McIntosh, Van Mildert Professor of Divinity, The University of Durham, UK

Christopher Pramuk's Sophia is, dare it be said, a gorgeous book. Its beautifully crafted pages are full of insight about Merton and his 'sapiential' theological method, the poetical and mystical manner in which he lived into the rich symbolic matrix of faith and drew from it living wisdom, made luminous by his engagement with non-western religions, Eastern Orthodox thought, and the kataphatic and apophatic modes of knowing of his own tradition. Moreover, Sophia invites the reader into a compelling meditation on the doing of theology in the contemporary world. It affirms the need for a bold theological imagination and a faith intensely aware of Sophia, the divine presence alive in the world. – Wendy M. Wright, Professor of Theology, John C. Kenefick Faculty Chair in the Humanities, Creighton University

Many books have appeared on Thomas Merton in the four decades since his untimely death, but this illuminating interpretation of his theology breaks completely new ground. Readers who love Merton will meet him again as never before in this wise and balanced commentary. New readers encountering Merton for the first time will discover why this passionate Trappist monk is rightly considered one of the spiritual giants of our age. And best of all, in Christopher Pramuk we encounter the spiritual depth, intellectual acuity, and compassionate humanity of Merton himself. – Kevin F. Burke, SJ, Dean, Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, Berkeley Campus

Sophia is a study of uncommon depth and scope, inspired throughout by Merton's extraordinary catholicity. Bringing Merton's mystical-prophetic vision fully into dialogue with contemporary Christology, Russian sophiology, and Zen, as well as figures such as John Henry Newman and Abraham Joshua Heschel, Pramuk carefully but boldly builds the case that Sophia, the same theological eros that animated Merton's religious imagination in a period of tremendous fragmentation and violence, might infuse new vitality into our own.

No matter what else Sophia may or may not accomplish, its pages reflect something of Merton's own spirit of intellectual openness and inquiry, a ‘way of seeing’ that has left, as he himself says, an immeasurable impact on Pramuk’s own imagination.

Religion & Spirituality / New Age / Mysticism

The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians: The World's Most Mysterious Secret Society by Tobias Churton (Inner Traditions)

What began as a game became a religion. The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians shows how and why it happened. This first historical and philosophical investigation into the ‘invisible fraternity’ of the Rosicrucians contains the latest research on the origins of the Rosicrucian movement.

For nearly 400 years, incredible myths and stories have been woven around the ‘invisible’ Brothers of the Rose Cross, the Rosicrucians. It is said that they possessed the secret of man and God, that they could turn lead into gold, that they governed Europe in secret, that theirs was the true philosophy of Freemasonry, and that they could save – or destroy – the world. In The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians, Tobias Churton, lecturer on Rosicrucianism and freemasonry at Exeter University, a ‘perfected’ Knight of the Rose Croix and the Pelican (18th degree, Ancient and Accepted Rite), presents the first definitive historical and philosophical view of this mysterious brotherhood.
Starting at its beginnings in Germany in 1603, Churton unveils the truth behind the complex story that underlies the Rosicrucian movement. He explains its purpose, the motives of its earliest creators, and the manifestos ‘accidentally’ published in the 17th century that emerged at precisely the time when modern science was emerging. He details the people who influenced its development – including Johannes Kepler, Robert Fludd, and Sir Francis Bacon – and the ties between the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, and Templars. He also shows how Rosicrucianism shaped the mythology and spiritual consciousness of both North and South America and reveals that there are many Rosicrucian fraternities still active throughout the world today.
The Rosicrucian tradition itself can be investigated and traced from its origins in the very early sev­enteenth century, its curious journey to the present day. However, the movement's dominant writings claimed to go back even further, to the adventures of a runaway monk from the fourteenth century who had escaped the narrow-mindedness of his cloister to explore the limitless vistas of the Middle East. The movement began with a fantasy, a story that seemed to ring true in the minds of some outstanding men and women.

Then, there was another dimension. The fantasy suggested that this particular manifestation of wisdom – the House of the Holy Spirit founded by frater C.R. – was only an instance of a much older tradi­tion. The older tradition, revealed to fratres R.C. by the wise men of ‘Damcar’ in Arabia (according to the first ‘Rosicrucian manifesto’), had, it was alleged, provided the secret language of a pristine, angelic religion, unspoiled by fallen human hands. The Rosicrucian tradition, then, was not only a historic movement, it was also an example of a secret meta-history manifesting through time, glimpsed by many but understood by only a few.

In 1985, Churton began work on the TV series Gnostics. In the course of research he says he had the good fortune to encounter a wealthy Dutch businessman, a man with a fabulous Gnostic library – and, to cap it all, a practicing Rosicrucian. Joost Ritman encouraged by a much deeper – and challenging – acquaintance with the Rosicrucian tradition. Through his association with his unique library, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam, Churton was able to encounter at close quarters the cutting edge of global Rosicrucian research.

The Rosicrucian story itself began with a fiction, a game, even a naughty alternative history. History is often made by the operation of actualized myths, potent forces that link into unconscious life. Myths are powerful.

The fundamental approach taken in The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians is that of an investigation. The book is a narrative of questions as well as statements of evidence and comparisons of interpretation. Churton tries to take nothing for granted, and to give the chief players their own voice, wherever pertinent and possible. Much of Rosicrucian history has until recently consisted of little more than a perpetual (and sometime shameless) accretion of mythology, as a series of scenarios shaped by dominant individuals. Following the impact of those dominant minds on sympathetic groups, we may observe those groups working with and reacting to the inherited knowledge and traditions. From those groups have emerged new dominant individuals to continue the process of tradi­tion, reaction, innovation, and development.

The work and motives of both individuals and groups are, where evi­dence permits, open to investigation. The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians thus represents a critical investigation into that evidence.

Another unusual challenge to be encountered when writing on this subject lies in the fact that we are investigating the activity of so-called Invisibles. This word does not apply only to commonly held superstitions regarding the Rosicrucians themselves while in this world, but also to numinous figures frequently held to be pulling the strings from another dimension. There are numerous invisible factors inseparable from the fab­ric of the historical record.

The Rosicrucian movement is essentially a spiritual movement; its hold on the human imagination has been from within. The movement's appeal is rooted deeply in the unconscious dimensions of the mind. This mysterious aspect of the story poses all kinds of interesting problems for the rational narrative-maker.

There is a tendency in some ‘Rosicrucian’ minds to assume a position as far apart from material reality as possible. This position, stronger in some Rosicrucian traditions than others, is open to criticism even from within the movement's own traditional premises. Surely, the foundation documents of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood maintain that its principal raison d'etre was to acquire a universal knowledge whose implicit ben­efit included the ability to heal the sick. There has always been in Rosicrucian traditions a world-reforming role. Such a role requires con­stant interplay with the world and its weaknesses, so long as it exists, even if the good work should be cloaked in invisibility.

There was a lot of science in the first Rosicrucian movement. However, when the science has been confused with theologi­cal categories, the result has often been a kind of spiritual anemia: and theosophical systems that short-circuit the brain and render remote the voice of the soul. The result is an arrogant intolerance of the created world and its foolish denizens. It is little wonder, then, that the abode of the ‘secret Chiefs’ is often sited in the remotest parts of the world – the once impenetrable Himalayas, for example. Any ‘Secret Chief’ worth his salt today had better get on the streets if he wishes to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, it appears that the Invisibles, like their servants, are just born romantics, preferring the tower, the cavern, and the desert fastness to the teeming malls, private estates, government housing projects, slums, and back streets of sinful humankind.

In fact, these imaginary locales of the superhuman tell us everything about the nature of Rosicrucianism; these are interior landscapes belong­ing to inner planes of consciousness. The mountain, the cavern, and the desert place are archetypal images of divine – or demonic – encounter.

We have every reason to be wary of supposed Masters of the Universe. There is a real, possibly universal, need at the root of the Rosicrucian myth. If the brotherhood did not exist, we should have to invent it. The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians is based on extensive research, and it throws open a window on a vista of previously unseen history and experience. The mysterious story of Rosicrucianism, told through its dominant characters, reveals much that is significant with regard to all our pasts and much about ourselves, our truly human nature.

Social Sciences / Politics / Activism

Be the Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community by Thomas Linzey with Anneke Campbell (Gibbs Smith)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Inspired by five true case studies of communities tired of corporate political power entitlements running roughshod over their townships, Be the Change offers solutions showing how to stand up and take back their local governments.
With assistance from Thomas Linzey and the cutting-edge methodology of his Democracy School, this book teaches readers how to achieve true self-governance and help provide ecosystems with the inalienable right to exist and flourish. It makes the claim that approximately 350,000 people are now living under the new laws and frameworks described in this book.
Be the Change was written by Thomas Linzey, a graduate of Widener University School of Law, cofounder of both the Daniel Pennock Democracy School and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, with the help of Anneke Campbell, writer and documentary filmmaker.
According to the book, in a time where the current, established system of government does not protect the community, it has become essential that individuals take a stand to protect their rights and create a place they want to be. In Be the Change, Linzey and Campbell help individuals transform into fighters for their community and advocates for local self-government. The book shows them how to reclaim their voice at a grassroots level, find a support group that will aid their fight, and prevent unwanted decisions from being made.

In Be the Change, readers meet people from all walks of life who have left their comfort zones to become commu­nity leaders. They meet Gail Darrell from New Hampshire, who left gardening to stop water-withdrawal corporations from taking her town's water, and Michael Vacca, from western Pennsylvania, who pours concrete by day and tries to stop coal corporations from destroying his community by night. They meet Cathy Miorelli, a local elected official and nurse who, at a diminutive five feet, has fearlessly led her borough council in taking on some of the larg­est waste corporations in the state of Pennsylvania. And they meet Rick Evans, a Spokane, Washington, member of the Laborers Union, who is working with others to protect the constitutional rights of workers. These people know that they have the inalienable right to alter, reform, or abolish their government in order to achieve a better, stronger community. And they're willing to devote their lives to making it happen.

None of these activists waited for someone to give them permission to act in defense of their communities. They didn't wait for an environmental group to come along and try to save them, or for a state or federal agency to intervene. And they refused to listen to anyone who told them there was nothing they could do to keep their communities from being damaged or destroyed. According to Linzey, they just did it – because they had run out of hope that anyone else would. And so they stood up and began reprogramming their local governments. They demanded that their elected officials find a new way to protect the rights of residents. In so doing, they have transformed the members of their local governments from mere administrators into the lead wave of a movement toward sustainability through local self-governance. They were bringing their local governments in line with the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence. And the one principle from the Declaration that has been driven into every single state constitution is this: governments exist primarily to protect the rights of people and communities, and when they stop doing so, they must be changed or abolished.

Giving up hope that someone else would do it for them freed them to do whatever they need to do – which includes slam­ming themselves up against 140 years of well-settled law. Giving up hope liberated them to take whatever steps they need to take – declaring that ecosystems have rights that need to be defended within their communities, forcing their local elected officials to resign when they refuse to do the will of community majorities, and getting sued for challenging court proclamations which claim that corporations have more rights than the commu­nities in which they do business.

Readers may be surprised to learn that most of the people who appear in Be the Change don't know each other. These people are convinced – from the things they've seen, heard, and experienced – that nothing short of a complete overhaul will solve the problems they face in their communities. And the results of their battles will eventu­ally determine the course of a much larger challenge: whether we will continue to allow others to destroy our communities and the planet, or whether we will somehow find a way to align our governance and law with sustainable living.

It's time to take up the call in the community by creating smaller and more sustainable forms of interaction, trade, and locally supported economies. Farmers' markets, co-ops, alternative energy companies, and social justice organizations are pioneering new models that will need new forms of law.

Be the Change is a book to incite readers to activism. The authors say something quite simple: Readers, it is time to give up on the hope that others will help. In taking action, readers will become part of a group that, when joined with others, will create a movement that will be impossible to stop.

Social Sciences / Parenting & Families

Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspective on Alloparenting across Human Societies edited by Gillian Bentley & Ruth Mace (Studies of the Biosocial Society, Volume 3: Berghahn Books)

From a comparative perspective, human life histories are unique and raising offspring is unusually costly: humans have relatively short birth intervals compared to other apes, childhood is long, mothers care simultaneously for many dependent children (other apes raise one offspring at a time), infant mortality is high in natural fertility/mortality populations, and human females have a long post-reproductive lifespan. These features conspire to make child raising very burdensome. Mothers frequently defray these costs with paternal help (not usual in other ape species), although this contribution is not always enough. Grandmothers, elder siblings, paid allocarers, or society as a whole, help to defray the costs of childcare, both in our evolutionary past and now. Studying offspring care in various human societies and other mammalian species, a wide range of specialists such as anthropologists, psychologists, animal behaviorists, evolutionary ecologists, economists and sociologists have contributed to Substitute Parents, offering new insights into one of the key areas of human society.
Authors of the volume are Gillian Bentley, biological anthropologist and reproductive ecologist and a Royal Society Research Fellow and Ruth Mace, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, both at University College London.

According to Sarah B. Hardy in the Prologue to Substitute Parents, maternal commitment to young is the best single predictor of their survival. For two hundred million years, till the very recent discovery of pasteurized milk and baby bottles, breast milk was, so far as baby mammals were concerned, the only brand in town and mothers the only source of safety. It would be hard to overstate the importance of the emotional bonds between baby mammals and their mothers. That said, Western cultural traditions have gone beyond these facts.

Moralists and psychologists alike focus on the presumed ‘naturalness’ of paren­tal – and especially maternal – care, to the exclusion of considering care by others. Matricentric thinking has long been deeply entrenched in scientific as well as popu­lar world views. In Substitute Parents, Helen Penn and Alma Gottlieb each discuss how such moralistic presumptions have spilled over into supposedly dispassionate and objective assumptions underlying psychological theories of child development.

Large literatures in developmental psychology have been built upon the presump­tion that throughout hominid evolution, mothers were exclusively responsible for nur­turing offspring, and that, like chimps, baboons and macaques, early human mothers remained in nearly continuous skin-to-skin contact with their babies. In the process, scientists grossly underestimated the sustained effort it requires to rear healthy human children. Anthropologists cal­culate that in a hunter-gatherer setting it may take around thirteen million calories, along with incalculable hours and opportunity costs, to nurture a child from birth to nutritional independence around age eighteen or older. Since this is far more than a gathering woman by herself, particularly one with other children, can provide, it was assumed that shortfalls in the material needs of woman the nurturer and her children were made up by man the hunter. Yet matricentric models are far from the whole story. As Nancy Solomon explains in Substitute Parents, some mammals, including humans, are cooperative breeders, where group members other than genetic parents help to rear young. Ancestral human populations almost certainly fell among those species with shared care.

To explore the role of care by others, Bentley and Mace convened a conference on Alloparenting in Human Societies held in London, May 7-8, 2003. It brought together for the first time researchers from biology, soci­ology, anthropology, economics and psychology to examine what alloparents meant in the evolutionary past to explore what they mean across societies, including modern industrial ones at the present time.

Prodded by sociobiological studies of other species with cooperative rearing of young, by the end of the twentieth century evolutionary anthropologists were expanding hypothetical models of family life during the Pleistocene to include contributions by group members other than parents. The individual helped is typically a close relative, but not necessarily. If for example, inexperienced young females gain valuable practice from caring for another's infant (as is true in some species of monkeys), or if help is proffered in exchange for some other benefit (such as group membership), benefits may outweigh the cost no matter how closely the infant is related. Once alloparents have evolved to be sensitive to signals of need from immatures, care of non-kin may persist even without fitness benefits, which is why adoption of unrelated infants tends to be so successful among primates generally, including humans. Nevertheless, as David Howe in Substitute Parents points out, the probability of success tends to be higher with very young infants, possibly because this more nearly simulates genetic relatedness in the social environ­ments in which our species evolved.

Long before biologists started talking about ‘alloparents’ or discussing the possibility that humans evolved as ‘cooperative breeders’, historians of the family, social workers, and sociologists were aware of the advantages to human children from living in extended families. Helen Penn's descriptions of South African family life (Substitute Parents) emphasizes the importance of communities in traditional child-rearing. Humans everywhere are pre-disposed to tolerate and nurture youngsters in their vicinity, and human immatures seek out such attention, and thrive on receiving it. Noting the benefits, social scien­tists took kindness towards immatures for granted.

Family support takes many forms and affects child well-being in myriad ways ranging from cognitive and emotional functioning, to survival (Sear and co-authors this volume). As demonstrated by the pioneering work of Mark Flinn in Substitute Parents alloparental support also affects a child's response to stress, and through stress, immune functioning. For children potentially at risk as is sometimes the case for children living with stepfathers, the role of alloparents can be especially significant. Allopa­rental support also impacts on maternal commitment and the quality of mothering, especially in the pre- and immediately post-partum period. Allomaternal interventions, be it from a grandmother, an older sibling, an uncle, or a schoolteacher, can be critical for children considered ‘at risk’ from poverty, paternal defection or maternal neglect. Intervention from real or ‘fictive’ kin, be they godparents, adoptive parents, teachers, or fellow ‘soccer parents’, can have lasting effects. Findings such as the value of even intermittent visits by trained nurses raise important but little asked questions about the shift from kin-based to institutional care in schools and daycare centers (chapter by Berry Mayall in Substitute Parents), as well as vexing questions about how such programs are to be paid for.

Human behavior not only evolves, it develops in specific ecological, economic, cultural and historical contexts. In her chapter describing the Toba people of Northern Argentina, Claudia Valeggia provides the first detailed study of the transformation of childcare from more traditional kin-based care with a great deal of assistance pro­vided by maternal grandmothers, to more matricentric caretaking in settled, wage-earning communities. Babies in settled communities come at a much faster pace, and grandmoth­ers with still-nursing infants of their own may be unavailable to caretake. Thus the diminished proximity of committed alloparents is a common concomitant of mod­ernization. Causes range from increased maternal fertility and shorter birth intervals, to the demands of wage economies, greater mobility, and increasingly compartmen­talized families, rendering children especially vulnerable to other disruptions, includ­ing divorce (chapter by Margaret Robinson, Lesley Scanlan and Ian Butler in Substitute Parents). Lorraine Young's chapter focuses on a rapidly spreading new source of family attrition that is decimating parents and alloparents alike, HIV/AIDS. Young's chapter focuses on the current acute crisis in South Africa/st1:place>.

In their chapter, Rebecca Sear and Ruth Mace analyze data on maternal and child well-being that were collected in the middle of the last century from a West African population in the Gambia. Their analysis reveals how significant alloparental care is in promoting child survival (and with it, maternal reproductive success) under con­ditions with high rates of child mortality. Not surprisingly, mothers in this Gambian population were critical for child survival during the first two years of life, but thereafter, other kin mattered more. For children under five but past the age of weaning, those with older sisters or maternal grandmothers on hand grew larger, grew faster, and, remarkably, were almost twice as likely to survive.

Several chapters, including the one by Sear and Mace and the one by Karen Kramer on caretaking patterns among the Yucatec Maya, stress the importance of the local ecological and customary context, and caution against extrapolating from kin effects in one society to societies with very different local ecologies. As Kramer points out, the Mayan mothers in her study received the most help from their older children, their mothers and their siblings, but fathers also made important contribu­tions to the well-being of their children. The more universal truth to emerge here has less to do with just who cared than with how long it takes human juveniles to become independent and the massive amount of help mothers require to rear succes­sive offspring. Where that help comes from varies with local circumstances, and such circumstances may change through time, sometimes quite rapidly, as is happening in the Maya case, among the Toba people studied by Claudia Valeggia, as well as in AIDS-stricken South Africa.

Substitute Parents offers new insights into and a better understanding of parenting and substitute parenting. The chapters illustrate the extraordinary flexibility of the human species regarding who provides care. Contributors are informed by an understanding of the fundamental and relatively nonnegotiable need of vulnerable and slow-maturing children for responsive care. The volume marks a shift in paradigms of human development as psychologists move beyond matricentric assumptions to recognize that human infants evolved to elicit help from multiple caretakers. As Gottlieb makes clear, children can feel secure and prosper in a world populated by many different alloparents when they are never far away from familiar kin. There is a critical difference between the daycare settings that Belsky rightly criticizes, and a world of familiar and responsive alloparents. Thomas Linzey (Author) › Visit Amazon's Thomas Linzey PageFind all the books, read about the author, and more.See search results for this author

 

Contents this Issue:

Secrets of Pompeii: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Emidio De Albentiis, with photography by Alfredo & Pio Foglia (Getty Publications)

Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art by Adam Duncan Harris (University of Oklahoma Press)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economic Indicators by R. Mark Rogers (Alpha)

Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions by Michael Watkins (Harvard Business Press)

Marketing Your Product, 4th edition, with CD-ROM by Donald Cyr & Douglas Gray (Self-Counsel Business Series: Self-Counsel Press)

Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama's First Words to America by Barack Obama, illustrated by Greg Ruth (Harper)

The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures by Judy Young, with illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci (Sleeping Bear Press)

What's So Great About Granite? by Jennifer H. Carey, with photographs by Marli Bryant Miller (What's So Great About Geology? Series: Mountain Press)

Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, ‘The List’, and the Spirit of Southern Music by Michael Streissguth (Da Capo Press)

Our Boys in Blue and Gold edited by Tara Kaloz, with a foreword by Jim Tressel (Ringtaw Books – University of Akron Press)

Honoured Canadiens by Andrew Podnieks & The Hockey Hall of Fame (Fenn Publishing)

The Healing Power of Meditation: Your Prescription for Getting Well and Staying Well with Meditation by Gabriel Weiss (Basic Health Publications)

He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Secretary by Christa Schroeder, with an introduction by Roger Moorhouse (Frontline Books)

The Soldier from Independence: A Military Biography of Harry Truman by D. M. Giangreco (Zenith Press)

In the Heat of Battle: A history of those who rose to the occasion and those who didn't by Donough O'Brien (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

War Stories of D-Day: Operation Overlord: June 6, 1944 by Michael Green and James D. Brown (Zenith Press)

Nuclear Dawn: From the Manhattan Project to Bikini Atoll by James P. Delgado (General Military Series: Osprey Publishing)

Warman's Depression Glass: Identification and Value Guide, 5th Edition by Ellen T. Schroy (Krause Publications)

Knit 'N' Felt Bags: 20 Quick-and-Easy Embellished Bags by Bev Beattie (Trafalgar Square Books)

Your Eco-friendly Yard: Sustainable Ideas to Save You Time, Money and the Earth by Tom Girolamo (Krause Publications)

Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature by Ambreen Hai (Ohio University Press)

Inexorable Yankeehood: Henry James Rediscovers America, 1904-1905 by Robin P. Hoople, edited by Isobel Waters (Bucknell University Press)

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt (Alfred A. Knopf)

Levinas and Nineteenth-Century Literature: Ethics and Otherness from Romanticism through Realism edited by Donald R. Wehrs & David P. Haney (University of Delaware Press)

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court by Amy Bach (Metropolitan Books)

A Nurse's Survival Guide to Critical Care by Sharon L. Edwards & Mimma Sabato (Churchill Livingstone)

The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Impact of Generation, Gender, and Global Trends by Ellen Scherl MD & Marla Dubinsky MD (Slack, Inc.)

Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies edited by Laura Nasrallah & Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (Fortress Press)

Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk (Michael Glazier/Liturgical Press)

The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians: The World's Most Mysterious Secret Society by Tobias Churton (Inner Traditions)

Be the Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community by Thomas Linzey with Anneke Campbell (Gibbs Smith)

Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspective on Alloparenting across Human Societies edited by Gillian Bentley & Ruth Mace (Studies of the Biosocial Society, Volume 3: Berghahn Books)