Arts & Photography / Graphic Design
POP: How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture by Steven Heller (Allworth Press)
From the recreation of Yankee Stadium to how one infamous slimy green ogre is connected to the rise of Twitter, POP was written by prolific design and culture commentator Steven Heller. Heller is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program, co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism and MFA in Interaction Design programs at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and former art director at the New York Times. Focusing on how design shapes the popular cultures of art, entertainment, and politics, Heller addresses such subjects as:
Designed by renowned bad boy graphic designer James Victore, POP spans over 150 years during which popular culture has influenced mass perception and behavior.
"Pop is the initial spark and the long-term consequence of contemporary public art and design on people like you and me," says Heller. "For generations snap, crackle, pop has been a kind of alarm, like the sizzling of bacon and eggs in a frying pan, announcing breakfast time!"
Snap grabs attention. Crackle tickles the tongue. But pop is an uncontrollable burst of pent-up power. POP is also the title of this volume of essays. And in this context it refers to a burst that stimulates our collective cultural senses. Pop is short for popular culture, which, although ostensibly ephemeral, also implies long-term acceptance of certain contemporary ideas and artifacts that have influenced social and artistic life. Pop implies two fundamental characteristics: Pop is the initial spark and the long-term consequence of contemporary public art and design on people.
Heller says he views graphic design, illustration, and satiric and political art as building blocks of popular culture. How these forms and genres have influenced or have been influenced by one another, and how the broad expanse of popular culture was impacted by graphic design, illustration, and satiric and political art is essential in defining the verbal and visual languages of our society.
To truly appreciate how significantly applied art and design have contributed to our history, it is important to view contemporary graphics with an eye to the past and future, as well as the present. Heller looks at the snap, crackle, pop of those cultural issues and artifacts with narratives that extend beyond the things themselves and influence a broader sensibility (and sensitivity). For example, in POP he writes about the late-nineteenth-century satiric art magazine L'Assiette au Beurre, because it helped alter the aesthetics of both fine art and cartooning as well as informed the public with ideas that went counter to officialdom. He juxtaposes L'Assiette au Beurre with, among other stories on periodical publishing, an essay about the covers for Weirdo magazine, edited and illustrated by R. Crumb, who altered notions of comics and visual narrative. On another track, he discusses the recent reemergence of stencil type and lettering that has been emergent for dozens of years as an alternative history of type. He also dredges up how a forgotten series of Time Life paperback covers from the late 1960s were illustrated and designed in such a way that they are classics today. They are also so today it is important to view them as models of this so-called dying art of book publishing. While on the surface the fifty or so essays in POP may appear disparate, in fact, they are only separated by six or seven degrees.
Pop culture is often maligned as fleeting. But history shows that sometimes what is pop in one culture has time-honored resonance in later ones. Heller does not claim that all his subjects and themes should be so remembered, but this book shows that pop culture, especially as seen through the lens of design, illustration, and satiric and political art, is integral to a broader understanding of who we are and where we are going.
With POP, prolific commentator Heller provides a roadmap to understanding the broader culture. Illustrated with more than fifty images, the book will inspire both aspiring and experienced designers. Graphic, product, and interaction designers, as well as fans of visual and popular culture, will be surprised, amused, and intrigued by these powerful observations about how design influences our visual and verbal cultural landscape.
Business & Investing / Graphic Design / Job Hunting / Reference
Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers, 2nd Edition by Shel Perkins (Voices That Matter Series: New Riders)
The best business guide for design professionals just got better. This revised and expanded second edition of Talent Is Not Enough written by graphic designer Shel Perkins, teacher at California College of the Arts, the Academy of Art in San Francisco and the University of California, includes everything designers need besides talent to turn their artistic success into business success. Readers will find information on key issues facing designers, from freelancing to managing established design firms. A strong visual focus and to-the-point text take the fear factor out of learning about thorny business realities like staffing, marketing, bookkeeping, intellectual property, and more. These business practices are essential to success in graphic, Web, and industrial design. A few of the things readers learn:
Talent Is Not Enough provides a big-picture context for these and other challenges and shares practical, real-world advice. Since its first publication, the book has become an essential resource for both students and working professionals, covering design planning and strategy, corporate identity development, publication and editorial design, brand identity and packaging design, advertising and promotion design, marketing communications, environmental design, industrial design, motion graphics, interaction design, and information design.
In assembling Talent Is Not Enough, one of the biggest challenges according to Perkins was to sort out many topics that are largely interwoven and place them into one logical sequence. In arranging the chapters, He chooses to cover topics in the order in which they arise over the course of a designer's career. This means that each new chapter builds on the chapters that precede it, and a number of important topics (such as pricing) come up more than once. Each time a topic reappears, a different aspect of it is explored. As the table of contents indicates, the chapters are grouped into four general sections.
Career options. This section helps readers selected their career path and understand the many options available. It describes different ways to make a living as a creative professional, and it examines the key differences between a career as a designer and one as a fine artist. For those planning to become an employee either in a consultancy or in an in-house design department there is lots of job hunting advice. On the other hand, many people choose to work on projects as freelancers. To help readers understand this type of relationship, a sample independent contractor agreement is included. This first section ends with a review of income tax requirements for independent contractors and a process for calculating a freelance billing rate.
Small business. Many designers who start their careers as freelancers discover that they like being their own boss and start thinking about going after corporate clients directly. This section of Talent Is Not Enough covers the essentials of establishing and sustaining a successful firm. It helps readers choose the right legal format for their company, register a business name, become an employer, and stay on the right side of the law when it comes to business licenses and taxes. This section includes tips for effective marketing and self-promotional activities. Chances are that most of the client work will be done on a fixed-fee basis, so they will find instructions for calculating a fixed fee and preparing a compelling proposal document. They will also find information about licensing fees and royalties and the essential elements of smart project management are discussed in detail.
Legal issues. This section covers important legal issues that apply to creative services. It includes an explanation of intellectual property rights plus a discussion of defamation and the rights of privacy and publicity. To help readers avoid the most common pitfalls, this section includes the full text of the latest AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services. This section of Talent Is Not Enough closes with a few thoughts about the important ethical challenges and social responsibilities facing the design profession today.
Large firms. Over time, each successful small business will have opportunities to grow into a large business. If readers decide to become a larger firm, projects will become larger and more complex, requiring them to develop a broader range of resources. They will face the challenge of building and guiding larger and more diverse design teams. With more people on board and more money at stake, they will need to develop additional expertise in business planning and financial management. It will become more important to establish long-range targets and benchmark their financial performance against key indicators for their type of firm. All of these issues are discussed in Talent Is Not Enough.
And as the firm grows, they will be getting other people involved in new business development, and eventually they will hire at least one full-time salesperson. This will raise many issues about the evolving role of the founder and the need to develop a second generation of management. Effective long-range business planning includes thinking about ownership transition. Eventually, the founder of the company needs to create and implement a smart exit strategy. They will find detailed information about the process of valuing and selling a creative business, along with some tips for making a successful transition to the new owner. This section closes with a discussion of the challenges faced by design managers who are working inside large client organizations as leaders of in-house departments. In many respects, this closing chapter is a summation of all that has preceded it.
A detailed index is included to help readers find specific information very quickly. In addition, many chapters list Web sites, industry associations, and publications that will be useful to readers if they want to do further research.
It is rare to find one individual with such a wide range of knowledge in the design-related fields. And, because of his experience as a designer, Shel brings a sensitivity and understanding to administrative issues while still respecting the artistic side of our industry. Frank Maddocks, President, Maddocks & Company
If only I could give a copy of
Talent Is Not Enough to every graduating student! It's an
invaluable guidebook. I wish it had been around before I went
through my own education in the school of hard knocks. Louise
Sandhaus, Program Director, Graphic Design, California Institute of
This is a virtual encyclopedia of essential design business information. Ive practiced on both sides of the freelance/in-house fence for more than twenty-five years and it amazes me that theres not a single business question Ive encountered that doesnt have an in-depth answer in this book. Just as important as the range of advice is the fact that Shels conversational writing style makes all the information accessible and easy to understand. This is the go-to resource for all design business topics. Andy Epstein, Chair, AIGA Task Force on In-House Design, Author of The Corporate Creative: Tips and Tactics for Thriving as an In-House Designer
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that just about everything I know about running a design agency I learned from Shel and this book. Eric Heiman, Principal, Volume Inc.
Shel's book is a how-to for everyone in the business from start-up design firms to established agencies to in-house teams. I'm reading it again and I'm still learning things. It's the next best thing to an in-person consultation. Stanley Hainsworth, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Tether, Author of Idea-ology: The Designers Journey
As a first-time owner of a design studio, I find this book to be an invaluable reference guide. It provides options for challenges I face every day, and the security of knowing I can deal with the unexpected. This is a must-have for any design professional. Brian Jacobs, Founder, Brick Design
Shel has written an illuminating book that belongs on every designer's desk. Ann Willoughby, President & Chief Creative Officer, Willoughby Design Group
Talent Is Not Enough provides an essential resource to the design community on professional practice topics. No matter what stage of their career readers are in, they will find this book one of their most important tools for success. The book also serves as a quick reference for readers who are pressed for time.
Entertainment / Movies / Biographies & Memoirs /
African American Studies / Womens Studies / History / Americas
African American Actresses: The Struggle for Visibility, 1900-1960 by Charlene B. Regester (Indiana University Press)
African American Actresses addresses black women and Hollywood in the pre-civil rights era. Nine actresses, from Madame Sul-Te-Wan in Birth of a Nation (1915) to Ethel Waters in Member of the Wedding (1952), are profiled. Charlene Regester, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, poses questions about prevailing racial politics, on-screen and off-screen identities, and black stardom and white stardom. She reveals how these women fought for their roles, as well as what they compromised. Regester repositions these actresses to highlight their contributions to cinema in the first half of the 20th century, taking an informed theoretical, historical, and critical approach.
As told in the introduction to the book, black women during the first half of the twentieth century struggled to transgress the borders of Otherness and emerge as Hollywood actresses in their own right, while the mainstream cinema industry erased, marginalized, and devalued them, denied them cinematic voice, and reduced them to the body.
Though there were several films written, produced, directed, and financed by blacks during the first half of the twentieth century which obviously included black actresses notably the more than forty feature-length films between 1919 and 1948 by African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux African American Actresses is concerned not with these black films but with ones by the mainstream film industry.
In many of these films, the black actress's principal function was by contrast in language, costume, and behavior to illuminate or aggrandize the virtue, beauty, morality, sexuality, sophistication, and other qualities embedded in the whiteness of the white female actress and character. Even if she was a mulatto, which many were, the black actress was the dark self and usually a negative reflection of the white female Other. As the white female's opposite, her other self, in some instances she reflected the Other's (conscious or subconscious) repressed emotions and desires and moral and ethical deficiencies, weaknesses, and instincts. Typically cast in a minor role and usually as a maid/subservient, mammy, matriarch, or hypersexualized woman, she remained an indistinct figure, a shadow, in a film's background. By Even when moved to the foreground and assigned positive characteristics, as was Louise Beavers (the maid/subservient in Imitation of Life, 1934), Hattie McDaniel (the mammy in Gone with the Wind, 1939), and Ethel Waters (the matriarch in The Member of the Wedding, 1952), her form was still that of the dark side of the leading lady (visually conveyed in part through her darker complexion), though her function often was to reflect the positivity that the leading character should have and might have suppressed. In this regard, she frequently functioned as the leading character's moral conscience, as Mammy does for Scarlet in Gone with the Wind.
In the mid-1940s and later, prominent black actresses in Hollywood films (Lena Horne, Hazel Scott, and Dorothy Dandridge, for example) less often played a maid/subservient, mammy, or matriarch, yet they still functioned as a shadow for the leading white actress/character. Even in cameo appearances as entertainers disconnected from a film's storyline, their hypersexualized nature shadowed the leading white female character and focused on her normal sexuality.
African American Actresses focuses on selected and representative African American actresses who were commodified both on and off screen. It investigates how they responded to on-screen depictions of their race, gender, and sexuality, interrogates how their on-screen representations intersected with their off-screen lives, and, finally, examines how they were appropriated by Hollywood's white-male-dominated cinema industry. Moreover, as this study examines how these women were constructed on screen and how these cinematic constructions intersected with their off-screen lives, particular attention is paid to the way the press, both black and mainstream, covered the African American actress and contributed to her public profile, which influenced the actresses' own internal struggles.
There are many key investigative questions with attendant answers that guide African American Actresses. Who were these women prior to the 1960s who took on the Hollywood establishment and fought for their place in the world of cinematic entertainment? How did the mainstream cinema industry utilize these women and how were they constructed on screen? How did these black actresses circumvent the racial politics that prevailed? How did they negotiate their dual roles as performers or entertainers who became screen actresses? How did they respond to their on-screen representations? How did they participate in constructing black stardom? How did their on-screen representations intersect with their off-screen lives? How were they constructed in the black press and in the mainstream press? In what ways did they appropriate themselves as black actresses attempting to penetrate the racial boundaries of white Hollywood? What did these black actresses contribute to the black screen image and to the public perceptions of their race? How did these black actresses accentuate the stardom often embodied by the white stars with whom they costarred? The book formulates answers to these questions through a combination of historical and critical examinations of selected black actresses from the cinematic era under consideration.
For African American Actresses, Regester selected nine black actresses that she considers representative of black actresses in Hollywood for the pre-1960 period: Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Nina Mae McKinney, Louise Beavers, Fredi Washington, Hattie McDaniel, Lena Horne, Hazel Scott, Ethel Waters, and Dorothy Dandridge. She chose these actresses based on their popularity, prominence, number of screen roles, and invisibility in Hollywood film histories and critiques. Their popularity and prominence, especially in the black community, were determined by the extensive coverage they received in the press, particularly the black press. While the mainstream press often diminished and sometimes ignored these actresses' professional careers in the cinema industry, the African American press, particularly newspapers with national circulations, provided extensive information, both positive and negative, about their professional careers and personal lives. The black press of this era thus contains a wealth of information about these actresses and their reception in the black community, information noticeably absent from histories and critical studies of the mainstream cinema industry that cover this period. The kind and amount of coverage these women received in African American newspapers of the period allows for a reconstruction of their lives, careers, and public personas.
Regester devotes chapter 1 of African American Actresses to Madame Sul-Te-Wan, who was one of the first African American actresses to garner a motion picture contract with the mainstream cinema industry during the silent era and who appeared in the infamous landmark film The Birth of a Nation (1915). Sul-Te-Wan was one of the few African American actresses to make the transition from the silent to the sound era of filmmaking, and she was awarded screen roles as late as the 1950s, a time when most white actresses whose careers began with hers were no longer marketable in the industry. As a screen actress, Sul-Te-Wan's early career is indicative of the invisibility imposed on black actresses in the industry and to which many black actresses who followed her in Hollywood were subjected. Sul-Te-Wan's vehement rejection of this invisibility, and of the typecasting (maids, exotics, wanton women) to which she and others of the era were subjected, established a pattern that some subsequent actresses followed and some failed to follow after the introduction of sound (talkie) pictures. Sul-Te-Wan is at the beginning of a long line of African American actresses whose screen roles projected the concept of racial Otherness, both in a film's plot structure as well as for white spectators to indulge their self-concepts and their racial and sexual fantasies.
Chapter 2 is devoted to Nina Mae McKinney, whose life and screen career epitomize the reinvention of the (black) self as the (white) Other. For McKinney, as for some other black actresses of this period, the reel and the real merged and assumed different configurations as conceptions of the self and the Other, of on-screen and off-screen personae, became intertwined under the rubrics of race (McKinney and Fredi Washington), sexuality (Dandridge is a prime example), and class (McDaniel and Ethel Waters). In some instances, the intertwining became an inverse relationship as the actress (such as Sul-Te-Wan and Louise Beavers) resisted becoming or being defined as the type of film character she usually played.
While most black actresses before the 1960s functioned on screen as a shadow for the leading white actress, this is not to say that no black actress in Hollywood films before Dandridge landed a role as costar of a film. Indeed, Louise Beavers, the subject of chapter 3 of African American Actresses, rose to this level in Imitation of Life, a film that has been the subject of numerous investigations and has been vigorously interrogated in terms of race, class, and gender (manifestations of Otherness), subjects germane to studies of African American actresses in mainstream cinema prior to the 1960s (and after). Imitation of Life and thus Louise Beavers holds a significant place in film history, feminist theory and criticism, and racial representation. This film and Beavers' performance in it sparked extensive controversy and coverage in the black press and in the black community, with one controversy being Hollywood's failure to acknowledge the outstanding performances of black actresses by bestowing on them the industry's most prestigious award, a controversy that reignited when the industry did recognize Hattie McDaniel's outstanding performance in Gone with the Wind.
Imitation of Life was indeed another pivotal moment in Hollywood film history, and thus another black actress in this film, Fredi Washington, put the discussion of race and mainstream cinema on another trajectory. The discussion already had begun with Nina Mae McKinney, the subject of chapter 2, who was the first African American actress to assume a leading role in a Hollywood film, although an all-black-cast film, Hallelujah (1929). McKinney was a mulatto and was projected on screen as an object of primarily white male spectators' sexual desire. The new trajectory that the race-sex-cinema nexus took with Fredi Washington, to whom chapter 4 is devoted, was passing. Washington's role as a black who passes for white contributed to a continuing fascination with this subject as well as heated and continuing discussion of the use of white actors and actresses in black roles to the neglect of black actors and actresses, a discussion that began as early as The Birth of a Nation. The concepts of mask and masquerade are integral to Fredi Washington's most notable screen role and to the psychological and social dilemmas she faced in her private life. Consistent with the idea of film as a fiction, the mask refers to a temporary camouflaging of the true self, and the masquerade refers to a sustained camouflaging of the true self. The chapter focuses on the concepts of masks and masquerades and interrogates the extent to which Washington, a white mulatto, did or did not internalize the role for which she is best known. The chapter also seeks to augment the relative paucity of information available on Washington in historical and critical venues.
Regester devotes chapter 5 to Hattie McDaniel, one of the most recognizable African American names in Hollywood cinema of this era. McDaniel's role in Gone with the Wind and other films is at the heart of the controversy over how and why the mainstream film industry has used and continues to use black actors and actresses in roles the black community finds demeaning. It is at the heart of a controversy that is not limited to films of this era or to roles as maids and mammies, but extends to post-1960s visual media to what is known as black exploitation films; to television shows; to the demeaning of black women as prostitutes and black men as thugs, criminals, and drug addicts all to the relative neglect of more redeeming and diverse representations.
Louise Beavers played a maid in Imitation of Life; Hattie McDaniel played a mammy in Gone with the Wind. The two roles and actresses in them are representative of distinctions the black community and the black press made about the negativity of black female images on screen. Both were acclaimed for how well they played the roles assigned to them, yet both were criticized for playing such roles. Yet such roles were marketable to those white viewing audiences that perceived the black race as subservient and certainly as inferior to whites. One principal criticism leveled against McDaniel was that in her Oscar-winning performance she centered the black (female in particular) as Other. Her rejoinder was that she subverted the Otherness embedded in her character and that she moved this character type from the margins to the center.
Also accused of commodifying Otherness (or blackness) through her role in The Member of the Wedding, Ethel Waters, to whom chapter 8 of African American Actresses is devoted, made a counterargument similar to McDaniel's. Beavers, McDaniel, and Water antithesis in several other ways represent, particularly physiologically, of what the mainstream film industry (then and now) considered and treated as a commodification of the black female body. Perhaps the irony is that these three actresses were among the few allowed to act in major roles in Hollywood films before about 1950 and the advent of Dorothy Dandridge's acting career.
Lena Horne and Hazel Scott, the subjects of chapters 6 and 7 respectively, are representative of those black actresses during the pre-1960 period who negotiated lucrative contracts with major Hollywood studios that excluded them from playing roles (particularly maids and mammies) that blacks considered demeaning of the race. They also are representative of Hollywood's accelerated commodification of the black body as a site for white males' sexual fantasies. In addition, these two actresses represent Hollywood's move to capitalize on black female entertainers of a certain physiological type (mulattoes though Scott may not necessarily be categorized as such) who had a built-in box office appeal. Neither was given extensive acting roles, though Horne was given more than Scott in that she was featured prominently in all-black-cast films, and typically they had roles not directly related to the film's storyline. Such roles were and could be edited from the films when they were shown in the South. Basically denied dramatic or even substantive acting parts roles Hollywood reserved for those black actresses who physiologically fit Hollywood's notion of maid, mammy, and matriarch Horne and Scott and other mulatto entertainers-turned-actresses were assigned essentially cameo roles that showcased not only their singing and dancing talents but also, and especially, their sexual appeal. It was this kind of exploitation that largely motivated Horne to reject Hollywood and that largely motivated Hollywood to reject Scott.
Though several African American actresses of the period publicly criticized Hollywood and the white American public for its treatment of blacks, Hazel Scott took the criticism to unprecedented levels for a black actress. In fact, one might say that Scott's representative significance for African American Actresses is that she was more an activist than an actress, actualizing and bringing to the fore the dismay and disgust that her fellow black actresses felt. Chapter 7 gives concentrated attention to Scott's activism, in part to reveal the complexity and magnitude of issues that centered on black actresses (race and sex in particular), radiated to society at large, and that were debated in the black press, in the black community, in Hollywood, and in American society at large during this era.
Dorothy Dandridge is the subject of this study's final chapter. Dandridge along with Lena Horne, Hazel Scott, and a few others belonged to what Hattie McDaniel characterized as the new Negro womanhood in the Hollywood of the period: a new generation of actresses that gradually replaced the group to which McDaniel belonged. An interrogation of Dandridge's life and career is a fitting conclusion to this study. Dandridge is on the border between periods of change and lack of change for black actresses in Hollywood, just before the surge in civil rights and women rights movements of the 1960s. She represents change in that she becomes Hollywood's dark star, a leading lady in films, many of which were with white male costars. She represents the lack of change in that Hollywood commodifies her body for sale to voyeuristic gazers, especially white male ones. Like some of her predecessors with similar Eurocentric features, she is cast in many roles that erase her racial identity as a black and project her on screen as some other racial minority. In several ways, Dandridge's chapter is a culmination of issues explored in previous chapters. Perhaps more than any other actress included in African American Actresses, Dandridge as actress and person warrants a psychological profile. Most of the black actresses who preceded Dandridge and who were contemporaneous with her functioned as shadows for their white co-stars, particularly female costars. Once her acting career accelerated, Dandridge was not cast as a shadow for a leading white female star. She became a star in her own right, though a dark one, and she became a shadow for herself.
Charlene Regester brings into focus the lives and careers of representative black women actresses in Hollywood across generational divides in order to reposition them beyond the confining shadow of otherness and marginality. The sum result is a retelling and correction of history. Audrey McC1uskey, Indiana University Bloomington
African American Actresses builds on the literature, but foregrounds how selected black actresses were positioned on screen, how they commodified race, how they negotiated the industry in order to establish themselves as black actresses in an industry over which they had little control, and how their off-screen lives sometimes intersected with their on-screen image. Whereas the mainstream cinema industry erased, marginalized, and devalued them, denied them cinematic voice, and minimized or erased their histories, the volume reclaims the space they were denied.
Entertainment / Sports
NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters: Inspiring Personal Accounts on Fatherhood from the Men of the NFL by Leslie Satchell (Triumph Books)
They might be tough on the football field, but National Football League (NFL) players clearly have a soft spot for their little girls. Despite their athletic prowess and success, these gridiron heroes realize that protecting their daughters can be difficult in a world that sometimes treats women harshly.
The NFL, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and the leading national organization against domestic and sexual violence toward women, A Call to Men, come together to produce NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters, a book celebrating the unique and indestructible bond between fathers and daughters. With the help of words and photographs, more than 70 current and former NFL players share what it means to be the father of a daughter and explain what men must do to stop violence against women. Some of NFL greats involved include:
NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters is a mix of personal accounts of fatherhood, photographs of NFL dads spending time with their daughters, and discussion about making the world a safer place for all women.
Historically, women have been at the forefront of addressing matters of domestic violence, but it is the belief of A Call to Men that well-meaning men those who avoid abusive relationships have a role in prevention. Inspired by their daughters, the concept for NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters was born. The men of the NFL volunteered to share their thoughts and opinions on what it means to be a real man in today's society. These feelings are interwoven throughout with personal accounts of fatherhood and photographs of their daughters. Much like the players, the NFL Players Association and the National Football League hope that those who read the genuine expressions of these influential men will be encouraged to find their own voice and to stand up and speak out on this important issue with the same fervor and passion.
I commend the men of the NFL for taking on this responsibility and tackling the issue of violence against women. Tony Porter, Co-founder of A Call to Men
the NFLPA and the NFL want to share a different side of our players. With this book, we want to give you a peek into the lives and the character of the men who make the game of football great.
Our NFL Dads love all of their children, but this book is truly Dedicated to Daughters. In the spirit of this special, treasured father-daughter relationship and in an attempt to affect the world in which they live, this book showcases some of the most devoted fathers in our league. Their candor is refreshing, their devotion to family is steadfast, and their love for their daughters knows no boundaries. Leslie Satchell, Manager, Player Development, NFLPA
Thanks to this special collaborative project, fans discover a different side of their favorite players in NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters. The book is filled with heartwarming photos and thoughtful discussion.
Health, Mind & Body / Relationships / Social Sciences / Race Relations
Racing across the Lines: Changing Race Relations through Friendship, 2nd edition, with DVD by Deborah L. Plummer (The Pilgrim Press)
In 2004, The Pilgrim Press published Racing across the Lines by Deborah L. Plummer, psychologist and diversity solutions thought leader, which swiftly became a bestseller. After five successful years, it is now revised and updated and includes a DVD.
Some posited that the election of President Barack Obama marked the formal ending of the civil rights era. Dr. Martin Luther King's dream had now been realized and race no longer mattered in our country.
Let it be declared, says Plummer, that more than forty years after the Civil Rights Act, more than fifty years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and during the administration of an African American president of the United States, race remains a prickly topic for discussion.
If we are to formally end the civil rights era, declare Dr. King's dream a reality, and erase Black History Month from our calendars, then we must get beyond the prickly and act out of our core. Racing across the Lines aims to support readers by peeling back the layers and discussing the core principles of our humanity. It tells the stories of America's friendship and socializing patterns discussed through the lens of race and conceptualized from a spiritual framework. It explores patterns of cross-racial socializing and friendships, and their challenges and supports. Although it is primarily a book about patterns of friendships across racial lines, it is more importantly a book of personal, professional, and spiritual growth.
Today, as a psychologist and diversity management professional, Plummer incorporates the many formal and informal lessons learned over the years about managing differences into her professional and personal life. She believes that the only way to really develop personally, to improve community race relations, is by socializing across racial lines. Having friends whose skin color, hair texture, shape of eyes and nose, lip size, cultural values, and worldviews differ from our own is the key to fuller personal and professional lives.
Plummers experience tells her that we just don't do much socializing in mixed-race settings. As a diversity professional, she has talked to many people about this topic. They have had some interesting conversations, so much so that she felt impelled to write about the topic and widen the scope of the audience.
Racing across the Lines is an invitation to enter into a dialogue about socializing across racial lines. It is a conversation that has become even more critical since the first edition of this book was written in 2004. Public discussions of race are usually well orchestrated, as were President Clinton's national dialogue on race and the impact race was having across the country in 1997. Race discussions that are not scripted usually quickly move to debate even with the best facilitation. Thus, most sane people generally shy away from informal public discussions of race relations unless they are magnificently skilled in group dynamics, or they enjoy the adrenaline rush of a Jerry Springer-type conversation. However, people are quite deft at avoiding discussions and having honest conversations about racial differences. Thus, knowing how to enter into the topic of race through the art of dialogue has become a difficult but necessary competency in our increasingly multicultural world.
Dialogue takes time and requires trust. Despite the fact that Plummer has conducted hundreds of training sessions on managing diversity for organizations, she does not believe that race relations in America will progress until what we do after five o'clock and on the weekends, especially in our churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, includes a bit of diversity. We need these competencies, not only to support more productive workforces, but to survive as fully functioning human beings. Cross-racial friendships and socializing are spiritual acts.
In Racing across the Lines, she reports on this topic and shares with readers some of her own experiences of cross-racial socializing. Plummer begins the dialogue by developing the case for why we need to move beyond monoracial friendship lists. Then she looks at an explanation of the racial identity development and resolution process. She explores the discomfort people feel in mixed-race settings, the personal struggle to be their true self in mixed-race settings, and the positive results of cross-race risk taking.
Racing across the Lines ends by presenting the challenges and benefits of socializing across racial lines gleaned from the voices of these differing perspectives. Each chapter ends with a "Journalogue" questions for reflection on racial identity in a personal journal and guide questions for a group dialogue session, as well as suggestions for spiritual practice.
Plummer offers a valuable personal testament to her journeys across America's racial divide. But more than that, she provides a thoughtful look at the importance of interracial relationships and at the possibilities they offer all of us. In this America of the 21st Century, as Plummer makes clear, Americans no longer have the luxury of being racial isolationists. For those searching for a path that leads to a brighter, more enlightened tomorrow, Plummer is a most reliable guide. Ellis Cose, author of The Rage of a Privileged Class, Bone to Pick, and Color-Blind
Plummer's book is an excellent lesson in reality and reason as we struggle to overcome the evil of racism which is almost omnipotent. It is a book that can be used constructively by youth and adult, individuals, groups and institutions, and I highly recommend it. Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., senior emeritus pastor, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Wow! What an eye opener! As a white man living and ministering within the Black community for over 20 years, Plummer's observations are quite refreshing. In a world where `differences' are sometimes considered `deficiencies,' it is a blessing to see that differences can be highlighted and celebrated. Rev. John S. Breslin, former pastor, St. Ailbe Catholic Church, Chicago
Congratulations, Debbie, on capturing the true essence of diversity and its valued importance. Halle Berry, Academy Award winning actress
Through a series of personal and shared experiences, Plummer suggests that all Americans make a conscious effort to establish new friendships beyond their own racial group, or work even harder to maintain those interracial friendships they already have.... If we follow Plummer's advice, we will stop being as separate as fingers. The Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, pastor, Antioch Baptist Church; professor, Ashland Theological Seminary; author, Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
This combination memoir/discussion guide is solidly based on Plummer's professional and scholarly understanding of diversity issues. She challenges readers to think beyond the workplace to examine personal relations across racial boundaries as one step toward achieving a just society. Adrienne Lash Jones, emeritus associate professor of African American Studies, Oberlin College
A timely, relevant, and important book for all of us filled with thoughtful insight that reaches both the head and heart. In addressing topics such as contact theory, racial identity development, and white privilege, Plummer shares concrete tools to help us navigate the complex arena of authentic racial discourse. She draws us into her narrative through the lens of real individuals, and demonstrates that the true work in racial dialogue is the journey and effort we put into it. The book communicates this message with tremendous grace and wisdom! Mark Swaim-Fox, director, Cleveland region, Facing History and Ourselves
A thoughtful look at the importance of interracial relationships and the possibilities they offer all of us. Ellis Cose, author, columnist and contributing editor, Newsweek
Racing across the Lines provide readers with some tools to get beyond the prickly topic of race. It tells the stories of America's friendship and socializing patterns discussed through the lens of race and conceptualized from a spiritual framework. It supports readers in examining their friendship patterns and their connection to their spiritual life. And it supports readers by peeling back the layers and discussing the core principles of our humanity.
History / Americas
Architects of Power: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and the American Century (Brief Encounters) by Philip Terzian (Encounter Books)
The United States is not a preternaturally
inward-looking nation, and isolation is not the natural disposition
of Americans. The real question is not whether Americans are prone
to isolation or engagement, but how their engagement with the world
has evolved, how events have made the United States a superpower,
and how these developments have been guided by political leadership.
Indeed, the great debates on foreign affairs in American history
have not been about whether to have debates on foreign affairs; they
have been between the competing visions of American influence in the
In Architects of Power, Philip Terzian examines two public figures in the twentieth century who personify, in their lives, careers, and philosophies, the rise of the United States of America to global leadership: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Terzian examines how these two leaders devoted themselves to the service of the United States and guided their country to its embrace of global responsibility and superpower status.
Roosevelt is remembered as the inventor of the American welfare state while Eisenhower is embraced only for his valedictory warning against the military industrial complex. This does not merely misconstrue what these two men said and did; it misinterprets the meaning of their lives. Not only is Architects of Power a story of two influential presidents, it is a demonstration of how their lives and legacies are considerably more connected than is commonly believed.
Among the topics covered:
Terzian, political and cultural journalist for nearly forty years, former Literary Editor of the Weekly Standard, in Architects of Power reveals how both men recognized and acted on the global threats of their time and questions whether America can rise to the same challenges today.
The volume may be slender, but the ideas with which it grapples are as large as the American Century. This shrewd, persuasive double portrait captures two of the century's most influential and elusive leaders. Moving beyond stale debates over FDR's health at Yalta and the subtlety of Ike's Cold War policies, Terzian recasts each man as an architect of the world we inhabit. Compelling history, gracefully written and hard to put down. Richard Norton Smith, Former head of five presidential libraries and scholar-in-residence at George Mason University
Some books are most needed at certain times. And this is the right time to read of Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, widely dissimilar men of similar conviction and political talent. Philip Terzian's elegant essay weaves their lives into a fascinating story of how they guided America into global dominance. Stephen Hess, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Brookings Institution and former Special Assistant to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Terzian, literary editor of the Weekly Standard, describes the impact of Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower on the dramatic transformation of the United States from a relatively quiet secondary position in the world to its current hyperpower status. Though vastly different in upbringing and early experiences, Roosevelt and Eisenhower shared, says Terzian, a firm belief in American resources and American capabilities. Each managed to direct his personal ambition toward projecting and protecting the best interests of his country and, through intelligence, ability, and charm, provided leadership to a world in need of fresh ideas and firm responses. Roosevelt understood that American prosperity depended not only on American security but on the security of the world as a whole, and Eisenhower grasped the fact that calm analysis of various crises and a meaningful doctrine of peace through strength would ensure the continuation of that security. This regrettably too brief essay makes its point that the 20th century was indeed the American century and that America's rise to leadership, even with the flaws inherent in that leadership, has produced great benefits for the global community. Publishers Weekly
Architects of Power is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how American power came to dominate the globe, and why we must maintain it. Without Terzian's clear window into the stricken world that Roosevelt inhabited and Eisenhower understood, we are unlikely to recognize the perils and challenges of the world we have inherited.
Home & Garden / Arts & Photography
Saratoga in Bloom: 150 Years of Glorious Gardens by Janet Loughrey (Down East Books)
Saratoga Springs is colorful not only culturally and historically, but also literally. Come spring and summer, the historic resort town is filled with lush plantings in the public parks, around private homes from the grandest to the most modest, at the Saratoga Race Course grounds and the Skidmore College campus, and even throughout the business district along Broadway. Rather than discouraging Saratoga's green thumbs, the challenging northern climate inspires residents to celebrate the return of warm weather and the horse racing season each year with joyful displays of gardens, fountains, and flower-filled containers of every description.
Many Spa City residents may be aware that fabulous floral displays once graced grand estates, but award-winning photographer and gardening writer Janet oughrey in Saratoga in Bloom brings readers old images of the elaborate gardens that once commanded the attention of passersby. She has weeded through old newspaper and magazine clippings, followed little glimmers of stories, and talked with the people who remember stories about gardens and gardeners now gone. There are quirky tales, sad stories, and admirable accounts.
According to Natalie Walsh in the foreword to Saratoga in Bloom, the area's geologic history includes the petrified sea gardens, the sandy soils that are the perfect habitat for the endangered Blue Kamer butterfly, and, of course, the springs that brought the first crowds to partake of the waters during the Victorian age. Saratoga Springs is fortunate to have these distinctive assets of the past still present today. There are grand old mansions, wide streets, the country's oldest race course, pavilions protecting bubbling springs, and places in Saratoga State Park where readers can still collect mineral water in bottles. It is a city where the past and present are both valued.
It is also a city that takes pride in looking good. Beds of blooms line sidewalks, abundant baskets hang from the lampposts, and window boxes decorate storefronts. Just as the socialites don fancy hats and frocks for the track season and summer galas, the city dresses up for the summer crowds. Loughrey introduces readers to some of the people behind all this beauty, from the century-old floral business that grows the seedlings that will decorate the Saratoga Race Course clubhouse and grounds, to the city's flower power downtown displays, to the welcoming entrance gardens at Saratoga Spa State Park, the roses at Yaddo, and the private gardens of some of the accomplished gardeners who live and garden in Saratoga in Bloom.
Colorful tour of outstanding public and private gardens in the famous resort town that once rivaled Newport as the nation's social capital. Main avenues and the grounds around the famous race track are lavishly planted, and historic estate gardens are open to the public. In 2007, Saratoga Springs won an America in Bloom national award for its beautification efforts. Includes glimpses into seldom-seen private gardens.
Saratoga's first-ever garden book delights the reader with
down-to-earth stories and dazzling photos. Janet Loughrey uncovers
the stories behind the fabulous flora of the Saratoga Race Course
and Saratoga Spa State Park and peeks over the garden gates of
elegant mansions and historic homes. From the picturesque Saratoga
Farmers Market to
the stately Avenue of Pines, it's an unforgettable journey not only for gardeners but also for anyone who loves Saratoga in the summertime. Karen Bjornland, Saratoga Living magazine
As a north country native, Janet appreciates how challenging it is to nurture a garden here. When you look at the photographs, and realize this is northern New York, zone 5, you can't help marveling at the gardens and the great efforts of the gardeners who created them despite beastly winters and hail-wielding summer thunderstorms. Everyone has heard of Saratoga Springs for its place in the Revolutionary war, its healing waters, or its historic race track. Now thanks to Saratoga in Bloom, they'll get to know its gorgeous gardens. Natalie Walsh, from the foreword
Photographer and writer Loughrey in Saratoga in Bloom has captured the essence of what makes Saratoga Springs the summer destination that it is. In this celebration of the region's gardens and the people who create them, she shows readers that horticulture should be added to the citys health, history, horses motto. Written with passion, the book doesn't just tell readers about the city and its gardens, it shows them.
Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles
Rifles by Jim Supica & Doug Wicklund (Thunder Bay Press)
In 15th century Europe, the battlefields were rife with inaccurate weapons; canons and muskets often missed their targets completely and needed to be cleaned after each shot. Soldiers began to experiment with grooved barrels, which required less cleaning and had the added benefit of hitting targets with greater precision. These rifled barrels quickly caught on, and the rifle was born.
Rifles explores how rifles changed over time, and how the requirements of the battlefield brought about new developments, including the advent of the semi-automatic rifle during World War I. Readers travel back in time to explore the earliest firearms and their ignition systems, percussion systems, and self-contained cartridges. They discover the role of the buffalo rifle in the Old West. They learn more about the birth of the modern rifle and meet one of the greatest firearms inventors, John Moses Browning, whose designs are still being used today.
Filled with over 200 full-color photographs of rifles, this artful book showcases beautiful antique models as well as extreme modern weapons. Rifles features the most popular models from over thirty of the world's greatest firearms manufacturers, from Anschtz to Winchester. Readers see all of the rifles made by top manufacturers, including Browning, Marlin Firearms, Winchester, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt and Remington. They learn about different action types, including bold-action, pump-action, and semi-automatic rifles. Rifles also includes helpful information about safe handling and storage solutions for gun owners.
Authors are Jim Supica, director of the National Rifle Association's National Firearms Museum, founder and former president of Old Town Station, Ltd and former president of both the Smith & Wesson Collectors Association and the Missouri Valley Arms Collectors Association and Doug Wicklund, senior curator of the National Firearms Museum, and a fourth-generation NRA life member.
With its riveting, comprehensive history and compelling full-color images, Rifles will fascinate all marksmen and weapons enthusiasts.
Law / Reference / Practical Guides / Real Estate
The Complete Landlord and Property Manager's Legal Survival Kit by Diana Broadman Summers (Sphinx Publishing)
People who are facing the prospect of becoming landlords, either
by design or because they have been unable to sell their property,
have two things in common: concerns about how to be a good landlord
and questions about where to turn for help. This book is designed to
help with both of these concerns.
The Complete Landlord and Property Manager's Legal Survival Kit, written by Diana Broadman Summers, an arbitrator for both the Cook and DuPage County mandatory arbitration programs, with a law practice in Lisle, Illinois, provides legal information for landlords and property managers. The book prepares landlords for the landlord/tenant relationship. Summers presents an all-around reference book that provides direction to both the seasoned landlord and the brand-new landlord. This is a plain English guide for solving tenant problems before they start. Readers learn how to:
The book contains ready-to-go forms with step-by-step instructions, including essential documents readers need to:
The Complete Landlord and Property Manager's Legal Survival Kit is divided up into sections with multiple chapters in each section. A section is an individual issue that has multiple topics which explain the issue. The chapters discuss topics that need further clarification.
Section 1 contains an overview of the past financial history of real estate, how the major problems in the economy have been influenced by the real estate industry, how legislators have stepped in to correct these problems, how this all affects landlords, and what landlords can expect in the future.
Section 2 looks at the general types of landlords and the primary help available for each type. The next chapters discuss property managers, attorneys, trades people, and how the landlord can deal with each of these groups like an expert.
Section 3 looks at the laws that impact renting. It explores the federal laws on discrimination, EPA hazards, and other protection issues. It looks at the impact of state and local laws, and help the landlord find these laws in his or her own location. Finally the chapter discusses what landlords need to do if they are accused of a legal violation, with an emphasis on the most common violation housing discrimination.
Section 4 is all about the lease. It talks about where readers can get a lease, how they can write their own lease, and what clauses are important for a lease. In addition to creating a lease, it provides information on changing the lease and on the ceremony of signing the lease.
Section 5 is about everyone's favorite subject, getting money or being paid rent. It looks at the rental payment from how to determine how much to charge, to the actual collection of rent, to a variety of rent modifications that a landlord may run into.
Section 6 discusses preparing the property for the tenant. This includes coming to grips with renting out the family home and what readers should do to protect their family's belongings. It discusses renting out a vacation home and what readers can do to make their property a great place for vacationers. It discusses insurance and the changes needed when property is rented. Finally it talks about marketing the rental.
Sections 7 and 8 of The Complete Landlord and Property Manager's Legal Survival Kit are all about the tenants. Section 7 is about the good tenants, how to screen people to get good tenants, the benefits of renting to tenants with companion animals, and keeping a good relationship with tenants. Section 8 is about the problem tenants. It starts with the extra people who do not pay rent, then it moves on to subleasing and other common tenant problems. It ends with ways to deal with tenants who want out, tenants the owner wants out, and evictions.
Section 9 is devoted to one of the most misunderstood issues in renting, the security deposit. It covers the basics of security deposits, how to calculate what the tenant gets back, the legal explanation of this fund, and what to do when the property is sold.
Section 10 covers the landlord's duty of safety, duty of maintenance, and right of entry.
Finally, Section 11 addresses the concerns of tenants, which helps landlords see what information is important to the tenant.
All the sections have references to forms in Appendix C, websites of general interest in Appendix B, and websites for each state in Appendix A. Links to landlord/tenant laws are included.
Their legal survival guides are dynamite and very readable. Small Business Opportunities
Explaining the way the law works. Daily Herald
Sphinx [legal guides] are staples of legal how-to collections. Library Journal
The Complete Landlord and Property Manager's Legal Survival Kit gives readers up-to-date advice and everything they need to protect themselves and their property while taking the mystery out of the law. The area of landlord/tenant laws and procedures is huge, but this little book sifts out the important issues and presents them in an easy-to-read format.
Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice / Training & Education
Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect: Transforming Law Enforcement and Police Training by Jack L. Colwell and Charles Huth (CRC Press)
Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect has succeeded where I have failed. This book and these principles hold the power to do more than transform law enforcement. These same principles hold tremendous value for success in the boardroom or success in the war room. Adopting Unconditional Respect for the agency holds the potential to improve organizational effectiveness; efficiency, morale, and communication. This approach will reduce court time, internal investigations, citizen complaints, and law suits and it will cost the agency and the individual almost nothing to implement. In these troubling times there is no greater return on investment then reading this book and embracing these principles. Frank J. Marsh, Deception Detection Instructor, from the foreword
Every day, police officers face challenges ranging from petty annoyances to the risk of death in the line of duty. Coupled with these difficulties is, in some cases, lack of community respect for the officers despite the dangers these men and women confront while protecting the public. Exploring issues of courage, integrity, leadership, and character, Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect examines ways to effect organizational change that helps police officers inspire community trust and support with every citizen contact. The book is written by Jack L. Colwell, cofounder and co-instruction of the Regional Police Academy, Leadership Academy for the Kansas City Police Department and Charles Huth, national trainer and vice president of the National Law Enforcement Training Center and sergeant with the Kansas City Police Department.
The book begins by discussing why courage is often lacking in a bravery rich culture such as law enforcement. It demonstrates how personal integrity is the foundation for unconditional respect, and provides reasons why having and maintaining integrity are some of the most difficult struggles for individuals and law enforcement officers in particular. It enumerates some of the tactical benefits of unconditional respect as well as interpersonal benefits.
The book explains the concept of anima-based leadership core competencies. It examines how unconditional respect affects law enforcements interaction with the communities in which it operates and describes how it creates and builds high character. Finally, Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect explores way to influence an organizational culture toward unconditional respect.
a must-read for anyone serious about exploring leadership in
policing and creating positive paradigm shifts within police
organizations. This content can save an officers career, improve
overall effectiveness and efficiency within a department, and build
community trust and relations even in minority communities, where
typically, trust is lowest and relations are most strained. very
progressive in its discussion of typically sensitive topics. Major
Randy Hopkins, Executive Officer, Administration Bureau, Kansas
City, Missouri, Police Department
This important and even unsettling book is a clarion call to rethink how the police serve the public. Dr. Gary Armstrong, Professor of Political Science, William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri
The concepts of integrity, courage, and unconditional respect for all are critical elements in the development of law enforcement professionals, yet they reflect a gap in many of todays law enforcement training programs. This book is a positive step towards filling that gap. Brian Willis, President, Winning Mind Training
This book inspired me; all Americans should read it. Debra Sheffer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, History Chair, University Assessment Committee, Park University
Colwell and Huth seek nothing less than to effect a transformation of how we educate and train police officers. Their argument is well grounded, well supported, and compelling. This will be a classic in leadership education for first responders and any who seek to serve and protect. Colonel Gregory Fontenot, U.S. Army (Retired), Former Director of the School of Advanced Military Studies, Director of the University of Foreign Military Studies, coauthor of On Point: The US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom
I have undergone a training regimen this year that includes the precepts taught in this text, and I approve of it without reservation. This attitudinal recognition will make you a better police officer and a safer one. Every enlightened law officer should read this book and then live it. Col. Hugh L. Mills Jr. (U.S. Army Ret.), Sheriffs Office, Jackson County, Missouri, coauthor, Low Level Hell: A Scout Pilot in the Big Red One
The authors offer a thorough assessment of the law enforcement community and the underlying problems that impede career excellence. Their provocative exploration into the human psyche encourages officers to more completely understand themselves, all the while providing empirical data that link this self-awareness to officer safety. Kay White, MS, Forensic Psychology Associates, Psychologist for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department
These widely respected authors in Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect ask hard questions about the implications and effects of this type of training upon the culture of law enforcement and the communities they serve. The book has the power to transform law enforcement.
Literature & Fiction
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel by Ellen Bryson (Henry Holt and Company)
Set in the New York of 1865, a time when carriages rattled down cobblestone streets, raucous bordellos near the docks thrived, and the country was mourning the death of President Lincoln, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a novel about human appetites and longings. First time novelist Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.
Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by Barnum's cast of freaks and oddities Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of constant work, he finds his sense of self, and his contentment within the walls of the museum, flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman rumored to be a new performer Fortuno's curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside down. Why is Barnum so obsessed with this woman? Who is she, really? And why has she taken such a hold on the hearts of those around her?
As Fortuno searches for the truth in The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno, the other performers face trials of their own: Small fires keep erupting in the halls of the museum, and while alert residents quickly dowse them with water, an arsonist clearly lives among them. As the fires grow in size and number, it seems to be only a matter of time before their home will burn down, and so the hunt for the fire setter is on.
It must have been something, America at the end of the Civil War, and debut novelist Bryson imagines it beautifully in her inspired drama about freaks, showmen and the forces that twist our insides. Bartholomew is a wonderful character who doesnt struggle against his self-image but revels in it, challenging audiences with his bravado. A rich tapestry of romance, illusory science, criminal trickery and human intrigue. Let the show begin. Kirkus Reviews
Ellen Bryson has found a doozy of a story to tell, and she tells the hell out of it. Earnest, accurate, entertaining this book lets us peek into the life of a great circus, and the great circus of life itself Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You and Chang and Eng
Ellen Brysons The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is an atmospheric and enthralling story of one of the great, lost legends of New York. Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row and Dreamland
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno brings alive the curious world of P. T. Barnums American Museum in 19th century New York, transforming in the process the freaks and prodigies into heart-breaking people. Bryson is bedazzling, a real writer of extraordinary bravado. Keith Donohue, author of Angels of Destruction and The Stolen Child
Ellen Bryson is a truly gifted storyteller whose debut novel transports the reader through time and into history itself, into characters with strange bodies but all-too-human hearts. I was hooked by every act, all the way to the novels big reveal. Like Barnums museum, this book deserves a plethora of visitors looking for educational entertainment. Cathy Day, author of The Circus in Winter
I cannot remember another first novel as deftly written, as emotionally charged, as transporting as this one. Ellen Bryson's breathtaking debut makes us all believe anew in the power of love. Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle
Water for Elephants meets Geek Love in The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno, a riveting first novel, an enchanting love story set in P. T. Barnum's American Museum in 1865 New York City. Moving, with pitch-perfect prose, the book transports readers back in time to gilded age New York.
Literature & Fiction / Political
Buddha's Orphans: A Novel by Samrat Upadhyay (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Called a Buddhist Chekhov by the San Francisco Chronicle, Samrat Upadhyay's writing has been praised by Amitav Ghosh and Suketu Mehta, and compared with the work of Akhil Sharma and Jhumpa Lahiri. Buddha's Orphans spans half a century of Nepali history, with characters whose lives are intertwined across the generations.
Buddha's Orphans, uses Nepal's political upheavals of the past century as a backdrop to the story of an orphan boy, Raja, and the girl he is fated to love, Nilu, a daughter of privilege.
Its destiny Raja and Nilu have both been abandoned he through his mother's suicide in a public pond, she through her mother's constant escape into drink. Raja has grown up on the streets; Nilu in a crumbling mansion. And yet they find each other, again and again. First when they are children, then when they are young lovers, and finally after they both fear they have lost their marriage. But Raja and Nilu's story is not only their own.
Their love story scandalizes both families and takes readers through time and across the globe, through the loss of and search for children, and through several generations, hinting that perhaps old bends can, in fact, be righted in future branches of a family tree.
Buddha's Orphans is a novel permeated with the sense of how we are irreparably connected to the mothers who birthed us and of the way events of the past, even those we are ignorant of, inevitably haunt the present.
In this novel, Upadhyay has masterfully blended history, tragedy, politics and romance to create the arresting story of a family that is at once unique and universal, set against the backdrop of a vibrant, complicated, modern Nepal that will fascinate readers. Chitra Divakaruni, author of One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions
Buddha's Orphans is an extraordinary achievement. It has the sweep and romantic grandeur of a great old-fashioned Russian novel, and, at the same time, the precision and intimacy of a beautiful collection of linked stories. Samrat Upadhyay has created a remarkable work, one to be savored and remembered. Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply
Buddha's Orphans is Upadhyays masterly second novel, an engrossing, unconventional love story, a seductive and transporting read. The book is further evidence that the award winning Upadhyay is one of our finest writers, thoroughly deserving of his acclaim.
Literature & Fiction / Romance
32 Candles: A Novel by Ernessa T. Carter (Amistad)
And on top of the usual business of life, I was ugly. I knew this, because I lived in Glass, a little town in western Mississippi, where people aren't ever afraid to tell you how they feel especially if they're women. In fact, it's impossible for a Southern black woman not to state a thing as she sees it. from the book
32 Candles is the story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesnt stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams.
Davie an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi is positive her life couldnt be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, shes pretty sure shes ugly. Just when shes resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesnt imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname Monkey Night, and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.
Davie is finally a million miles from where she started until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davies astonishment, James doesnt recognize her, and she cant bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as theyre about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davies dreams and break her heart again.
32 Candles author is Ernessa T. Carter, who has worked as an ESL teacher in Japan, a music journalist in Pittsburgh, a payroll administrator in Burbank, and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. This is her first novel.
This debut novel of longing for family, love, and acceptance finds some interesting territory before settling too early into inevitability. Davidia Jones, a nerdy child of poverty, is abused by her alcoholic mother and despicable father and is the subject of merciless taunting at her high school. But it's the Molly Ringwald Ending that guides this fragile 15-year-old when she bolts town with a lesbian trucker named Mama Jane and lands a gig as a '40s-style chanteuse in L.A. With a little Hollywood stardust, she redefines herself and begins living the life she's dreamed of until James, the rich golden boy she had a crush on back home, walks into her nightclub. Not knowing their connected past, James promptly goes gaga for the overhauled Davie, whose need for sweet revenge adds a welcome dark edge to an otherwise predictable trajectory toward self-empowerment. New Agey embellishments (an atonement list) seem like a misstep for a spirited heroine stuck in a middling narrative. Publishers Weekly
A debut tragicomic romance. . . . Potent and well rendered.
First-time novelist Ernessa T. Carter has created a quirky and likable character in Davidia Davie Jones. Network Journal
32 cheers for Ernessa T. Carter! Shes created one of the freshest, funniest characters Ive ever read about. . . . 32 Candles is a charmer. Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey
[A] captivating debut. . . . With all the charm of a clever romantic comedy and peopled by appealing, memorable characters, Carters first novel is a winner on all fronts. Booklist, starred review
I super heart Davie Jones. . . . Shes perfectly imperfect, and you wont want her lively, hysterical, what-looks-like-crazy-on-an-ordinary-day story to end. A thoroughly, totally, ridiculously addictive read! Denene Millner, coauthor of The Vow
The author creates a heroine that is multifaceted, quirky, humorous and above all, endearing. . . . 32 Candles [is] a laugh-out-loud read thats never disheartening or too depressing. . . . Hang on for the ride. The Afro-American Newspapers (DC/Baltimore)
First there was Stella and she got her groove back, then there was Bridget Jones and she managed to find love despite her own lovable neuroses. Now there is Davie Jones. 32 Candles, at last, is the answer to the question What should I read next? Erica Kennedy, author of Feminista and Bling
This summers juiciest beach read. . . . Carter winds up this disarmingly moving tale with not one but many surprises, in which both Davie and you will win. Essence
Refreshing and sassy, 32 Candles introduces a new voice in fiction with smarts, attitude, and sassiness to spare. With original characters and a cinematic storyline, Carter crafts an engaging underdog story about following ones heart and falling in love at any age.
Politics / History / Literature
10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Impostor by Benjamin Wiker (Regnery Press)
Benjamin Wiker, author of 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read says Americans must understand that socialism threatens not only this country's economy but its character. "This isn't just an economic crisis. It's a moral crisis," says Wiker, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.
Offering a conservatives guide to some of the most important literary works of our time, Wiker turns his gaze from the great texts that he feels have done so much damage to Western Civilization to the great texts that could help rebuild it. 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read features a range of works from classics such as Democracy in America and The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, to more pop classics like Sense and Sensibility and The Tempest. Through these works, Wiker reveals lessons for our time as well as the meaning of conservatism.
Readers of his rollicking 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didnt Help demanded this sequel, and now they have it ten books that could make the world better, plus four bonus books not to miss, and a warning about one celebrated book that has unfortunately led some conservatives astray. Readers are told:
Readers learn which conservative works shaped:
The list of ten books includes Politics by Aristotle, The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Anti-Federalists, Democracy in America by Alexis Tocqueville, Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, The Science of Politics by Eric Voegelin, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, The Servile State by Hilaire Belloc, The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Haye, and The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. The list of four not to miss includes The Bible, The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien, and the one impostor is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Because of too much TV and too little decent schooling, too many Americans are unread in the classics that have defined our culture. Thats why Wikers 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read is so important: it provides a shopping list for those who want to understand what makes America and the West exceptional. Brett M. Decker, Editorial Page Editor, Washington Times
Benjamin Wiker illuminates some of the great books of our civilization with an insightful simplicity that is not only breathtaking but potentially life changing. Joseph Pearce, author of biographies of Chesterton, Belloc, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien
Controversial, enlightening, and thought-provoking, Wikers 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read is sure to dominate conservative conversation for years to come. Written with an educational purpose and witty tone, this is a must-read for conservatives, Republicans, and book lovers everywhere.
Professional & Technical / Health Care Delivery / Politics / Health, Mind & Body
Chasing Polio in Pakistan: Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail by Svea Closser (Vanderbilt University Press)
The current era of vastly increased funding for improving the health of the world's poor is one of great potential. But to harness the power of all that money, we need delivery systems that work. from the book
From remote villages and nomadic encampments to World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters, Chasing Polio in Pakistan is ethnography of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
The number of global polio cases has fallen dramatically and
eradication is within sight, but despite extraordinary efforts,
polio retains its grip in a few areas. Author Svea Closser,
assistant professor of anthropology at Middlebury College, follows
the trajectory of the polio eradication effort in Pakistan, one of
the last four countries in the world with endemic polio. Journeying
from vaccination campaigns in rural Pakistan to the center of global
health decision making at the WHO in Geneva, Closser explores the
historical and cultural underpinnings of eradication as a public
health strategy, and reveals the culture of optimism that
characterizes and sometimes cripples global health institutions.
Closser describes the complex power negotiations that underlie the eradication effort at every level, tracking techniques of resistance employed by district health workers and state governments alike. Chasing Polio in Pakistan offers an analysis of local politics, social relations, and global political economy in the implementation of a worldwide public health effort, with broad implications for understanding what is possible in global health, now and for the future.
"The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the largest public health project in history, is currently on the brink of either landmark success or historic failure," says Closser. Though the number of global polio cases has fallen dramatically, polio retains its seemingly unbreakable grip in Pakistan.
The polio eradication initiative, a twenty-year, six-billion-dollar project that has employed over two million people, is history's largest coordinated mobilization in the cause of public health. In 2001 alone, the Polio Eradication Initiative vaccinated about 575 million children against polio in ninety-four countries, most of them multiple times, and most by teams going door to door.
The program is in trouble. After twenty years of work, the goal of eradicating polio has not been met. The program has made dramatic progress, reducing the number of new polio cases from hundreds of thousands per year in 1988 to around eight hundred in 2003. However, in the last few years the project has been unable to make significant headway in reducing the case count to zero; in fact, the number of new polio cases seen each year has increased. In 2008, there were around 1,600 cases of polio in the world. Polio transmission stubbornly persists in four countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. With the two target dates set for eradicating polio already missed 2000, and then 2005 the possibility may be slipping away.
The central question Chasing Polio in Pakistan asks is: Why does the effort to eradicate polio seem to be failing in Pakistan? Closser says she thought she might already know the answer to this question when she began her research. She thought that polio eradication officials would know little about local cultures, and she thought they would use local cultural beliefs as a scapegoat for failures of implementation. But her preconceived ideas were wrong.
It is a truism in medical anthropology that health projects often fail because they are based on insufficient knowledge of the cultures of the people they aim to assist. A common theme throughout the medical anthropology literature is the necessity of understanding local culture and beliefs in order to successfully implement health projects and effect behavior change. But the difficulties the Polio Eradication Initiative faces cannot be blamed on a lack of local knowledge. She was consistently impressed and humbled by how well Polio Eradication Initiative officials in Islamabad, and even Geneva, understood the complexities of local communities' attitudes toward polio immunization and the knotty dynamics of vaccination campaign implementation in district health systems in a variety of contexts across Pakistan.
Chasing Polio in Pakistan explores the levels of the Polio Eradication Initiative, from vaccinators going door-to-door in rural Pakistan to planners preparing PowerPoints for donors in Geneva. In each place, she explores the culture, politics, and power relations that shape what people do. Ethnographic vignettes between the chapters illustrate how people at a variety of levels from high-level officials in Geneva to mothers of young children relate to the Polio Eradication Initiative. Polio is a tough disease to eradicate, but in theory, stopping transmission across the globe is feasible.
Chapter 2 introduces eradication as a concept, and the history and structure of the Polio Eradication Initiative. It also introduces the Polio Eradication Initiative's culture of optimism, which Closser argues both sustains and hobbles the project.
Chapter 3 is an ethnographic description of her participation in an immunization campaign in a Punjabi district. Through a narrative of specific events, it brings up a number of issues that she explores more theoretically later: the role of the foreign consultant, patron-client relations in district health systems, and the techniques of resistance that district health staff use against supervision by UN agencies.
Chapter 4, which functions as a companion chapter to Chapter 3, explores these issues in theoretical terms. Closser looks at the ways district-level health staff resist the mandates of the Polio Eradication Initiative, including falsification and lying; the use of patron-client relationships; and corruption. Staff resist for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction over low pay and their belief that polio eradication will never be achieved. In an attempt to cut through this resistance, UN employees use what she calls everyday techniques of power, including propaganda, surveillance, and the construction of a parallel bureaucracy. Ultimately, however, these strategies of exerting power are insufficient to counter the effects of health staffs strategies of resistance, resulting in ongoing polio transmission in much of Pakistan.
Chapter 5 focuses on power relationships in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. It explores the tension between the ideal that polio eradication is a Pakistani government project, and the reality that it is conceived, funded, and implemented by wealthy countries and UN agencies, with somewhat reluctant Pakistani government involvement. It explores the way that government employees at the national level resist UN mandates, and the techniques of power that the UN agencies use in attempts to get the Pakistani government to do what they want. While wealthy countries and UN agencies had sufficient power to get Pakistan to adopt the ambitious program of polio eradication, they are unable to make it the first priority in a country swamped with other problems.
Chapter 6 focuses on Geneva, dominated by the culture of global health, which vaunts collaboration and partnership as the key to solving the world's major public health problems. As a comparison case to the current quagmire in polio eradication, she describes the methods used in the successful Smallpox Eradication Program and argues that collaboration and partnership may not be enough to realize a goal as ambitious as eradication. She argues that the culture of optimism in Geneva, driven in part by a desire to keep donors giving, masks power relations and prevents honest and public discussion both about the problems facing the Polio Eradication Initiative and about what would be necessary to achieve eradication.
Chapter 7 of Chasing Polio in Pakistan presents her conclusions. She introduces the concept of political feasibility as an important determinant of the possibility of eradicating a given disease. Closser also suggests concrete steps to foresee and plan for problems like the ones polio eradication is facing.
Svea Closser tells a compelling story of the well-intentioned global initiative to eradicate polio from all countries, and presents an exceptionally well-researched and balanced analysis of why this goal remains elusive despite unprecedented global effort and financial investment. Although this work is based in Pakistan, the research findings are broadly applicable, providing many insights into the relationship between international organizations, national governments, and local health workers; these conclusions extend beyond health and are relevant to global development initiatives in general. This book will be of interest to the global health and development communities, making a major contribution to the literature in anthropology, public health, policy and development studies, foreign assistance, and the new field of global health sciences, among others. Judith Justice, author of Policies, Plans, and People: Foreign Aid and Health Development
With a keen ethnographic eye, Closser vividly portrays the culture that both helps and inhibits the eradication of polio in Pakistan. It also demonstrates the important contribution anthropologists can make to global health.
Chasing Polio in Pakistan is the recipient of the annual Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize for the best project in the area of medicine.
Politics / History / World
My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas across the Islamic World by Philip Smucker (Prometheus Books)
Written for an American audience, Philip Smuckers My Brother, My Enemy examines the threat of terrorism and the challenges of winning the peace through candid interviews with US military officers, diplomats, and regional experts. In this kaleidoscopic tour behind the frontlines of the war of ideas, veteran investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker Smucker the author of the acclaimed Al Qaeda's Great Escape assesses US efforts to persuade Muslims that Americans respect their rights and interests, while we fight wars and promote our interests. He draws on extensive travels in the Muslim world through interviews with a crosssection of the population including students, intellectuals, insurgents and politicians.
Smucker's undercover reporting in various areas of conflict has given him an unadulterated perspective on how Muslims view us. What do they think about America's involvement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? How do they think we should proceed? And how does the United States' backing of oppressive, authoritarian regimes mesh with our national cry for democracy and human rights? With his no-holds-barred exploration, Smucker describes turmoil within the Islamic realm and our efforts to project soft power into a world that remains misunderstood. He assesses both our failures and successes in Israel and Palestine, Egypt, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saharan Africa.
Smucker in My Brother, My Enemy asserts that language, such as, for example, our war with Islamic fascism, targeting a would-be enemy has only aided and abetted al Qaeda's recruiting drive and hardened attitudes against America among average Muslims.
Several themes resonate through Smucker's interviews. One is that the Muslim world is looking for consistent engagement from the United States, particularly in regard to Israeli-Palestinian peace. After decades of paying lip service to the ideal of peace in the Middle East, Smucker says it is crucial for the Obama Administration to push forcefully for a two-state solution. Another is that the US must discontinue its policy of backing authoritarian regimes that oppress their people. In the eyes of everyday Muslims, such tactics make a mockery of our claim to be the champion of individual liberty. Muslims, many of whom already support democratic change, will only be convinced of America's good will, says Smucker in My Brother, My Enemy, if our actions speak louder than our words. Finally, Smucker makes the case that as long as Americans and Muslims view one another with blanket suspicions and as potential enemies, neither side can hope to persuade his brother to see the world in another light. Though there are no silver bullets, pacification, development, and democratic progress should be approached through shifts in American foreign policy, he argues.
My Brother, My Enemy is a riveting, first-hand account of the war on terror and what has gone wrong with it since 9/11. Philip Smucker has met, talked to, and even lived with Jihadists from Yemen to Iraq, Timbuktu to Waziristan. He tells the story of what happens when America goes abroad 'in search of monsters to destroy.' Paul Wood, BBC Mideast Correspondent, Jerusalem
Philip Smucker makes an impassioned argument for understanding and reconciliation. Traversing a broad swath of the world's great Islamic societies, from northern Africa to Indonesia, he mingles a multitude of personal experiences with insights and analysis. The ultimate goal is peaceful resolution of the great 'war on terror' that pits U.S.-led forces against a wide range of enemies. He avoids demonizing either or any side in a search for a better way of both waging war and making peace. As the title suggests, our enemies also are our brothers, and the war will end only when we recognize our common bond as people with similar yearnings, hopes, and fears.... The author himself sides only with a desire to resolve conflict. He suggests how in a final section devoted to sensitive and colorful first-person reporting from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan. Moving from there to the plain at West Point, he offers criticism and advice that those closest to the war zone may want to consider seriously. Donald Kirk, Asia expert, correspondent, Christian Science Monitor, author of Korea Betrayed
Philip Smucker has drawn upon his many years of on-the-ground reporting in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to craft a practical and astute assessment of America's standing in the Islamic world. He disdains the hyperbolic and fear-mongering rhetoric that so many politicians and pundits favor about the clash between America and Islamic extremists, and instead offers a reasoned analysis of America's challenge. Moreover, he correctly identifies the key to any potential American success in its 'battle of ideas' brokering an even-handed solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Michael K. Bohn, former director of the Reagan White House's Situation Room and author of The Achille Lauro Hijacking: Lessons in the Politics and Prejudice of Terrorism
Philip Smucker has written a deeply reported and engaging account of his long journey across the worlds of Islam from Iraq to Indonesia (and even to Timbuktu!). During that journey he delivers a lively account of the state of play between the West and the 'Muslim world' that will be of great interest to readers of all types. A terrific read with many wise things to say about the often difficult nature of the Western-Islamic relationship. Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know
My Brother, My Enemy is a revealing, vividly told, and engaging narrative by a daring and experienced journalist with firsthand knowledge of the events and people in conflict areas. It offers insights into the Muslim world's hopes and fears as well as our own crucial diplomatic overtures and military campaigns across the Islamic world.
Religion & Spirituality / Philosophy / Theology / Cosmology
The Rhythm of Being: The Gifford Lectures by Raimon Panikkar (Orbis Books)
At a time of a much-heralded postmodern return to religion, much of it still vague and tentative, Panikkar actually offers bold alternatives that attempt to diagnose our religious condition and meet our spiritual needs. It is a mark of the sad insularity and provincialism of the modern Western academy that many of its practitioners are largely unaware of the vast body of religious thinking in other parts of the world. They could do worse than study Panikkar, a thinker with whom Martin Heidegger had conversations for over twenty years, but about whom he was characteristically silent in his published work. from the foreword by Joseph Prabhu
Twenty years after he delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures, Raimon Panikkar's The Rhythm of Being is finally published. One of the world's most important philosophers of religion reveals the unity of cosmic Mystery in this distillation of the wisdom of East and West, North and South. The Rhythm of Being had its origin in the Gifford Lectures, delivered in Edinburgh in 1989 under the title "Trinity and Atheism: The Dwelling of the Divine in the Contemporary World." The long gestation allowed him to incorporate issues of Christology and theological anthropology that he pursued in his Christophany: The Fullness of Man, as well as questions about God published as The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery, to mention only two of his recent publications in English.
One of the world's leading proponents of interreligious dialogue, Panikkar, who has doctorates in chemistry, philosophy and theology, has taught in Europe, Asia, and North America, including at Harvard University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, for at least sixty years of his life has engaged in center-to-center unions between no fewer than four traditions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and modern science. While in The Rhythm of Being he writes in a largely philosophical register, he also makes clear that the ground and springboard of his thought is spiritual experience filtered through metaphysical reflection.
According to Joseph Prabhu in the foreword, one reason why reading Panikkar is as challenging as it is rewarding is because of his mastery of different disciplines and multiple cultural idioms expressed at a high level of philosophical abstraction. It is nonetheless worth the effort because he deploys his vast learning and religious experience to meet some of the urgent challenges of our age in a daring and almost prophetic manner.
What for long has driven and unified Panikkar's thinking has been his cosmotheandric vision of reality, what he calls the trinity of cosmic matter, human consciousness, and divine presence in co-constitutive relationality. These three basic and irreducible dimensions of reality interpenetrate one another and exist only in relation to one another:
There is a kind of perichoresis, dwelling within one another, of these three dimensions of Reality: the Divine, the Human, and the Cosmic.
Panikkar's use of the theological term perichoresis, taken from the discussions about the Trinity by the Greek Fathers and paralleling in a loose manner the three moments of the eternal dance of Siva Nataraja creation, destruction, and preservation, is deliberate and is designed to articulate four closely related aspects of reality: (1) its trinitarian structure, (2) its differentiated unity, (3) the open-ended character of reality, and (4) its essentially rhythmic quality.
The trinitarian structure of reality not only allows for but invites differentiation and diversity. Nonetheless, the Trinity is unbroken because the three dimensions of reality in their relationality do not fragment or break up reality into parts. The life of the Whole courses through each and every one of its manifestations. This is the basis of the distinction Panikkar makes between the pars pro toto (the part standing for the whole, which it obviously cannot because it is a part) and the totum in parte, the Whole expressed and manifested in the part, which Panikkar's notion of full-fledged relationality tries to capture. He takes pains to distinguish his holism from what he calls the totalitarian temptation. To speak of reality as a whole is not to speak of the whole of reality. It is rather the attempt to discern the unity that underlies the differentiation. Likewise, the cosmotheandric intuition is the awareness of the undivided reality of the whole.
In The Rhythm of Being, Panikkar offers readers a Nietzschean genealogy of theism, tracing its origin to the Parmenedean equation of Thinking and Being, developed further in the laws of non-contradiction and the excluded middle, and receiving one of its clearest expressions in Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason.
According to Prabhu, one of Panikkar's signal contributions in this area is to insist on the prevalence of such intuition not only in well-known mystics, but also in common experience. Mystical insight is a potential everyone has, but under the sway of a rationalistic culture the ability is sadly underdeveloped.
The perspective of The Rhythm of Being is twofold. First, it tries to overcome the monoculturalism of our present times, even though Panikkar uses the words of western tradition in order to make sense to most readers. His horizon is mainly that of the indo-European world from which he draws most examples and the majority of the words. Vast fields of human experience remain outside this angle of vision in spite of his efforts to make some sense of the sensibilities of peoples belonging to other cultures. He makes clear from the very beginning that words like World, Being, and God claim to have a universal meaning, but this is not the case; such words convey only one vision.
According to Panikkar, interculturality does not mean that we deal mainly with the problems of other cultures as we see them, but that we try to integrate the ways of thinking of other peoples into a contemporary intelligible language, as much as this is possible. The other perspective of The Rhythm of Being is that it is a contemplative work. The long delay in publication helped Panikkar delete any sentence that was not the fruit of an experience.
Simply to follow Panikkar as he sweeps across times and cultures and languages in the attempt to nuance each detail of his thinking is demanding enough. But more humbling than his erudition, which is without equal among twentieth-century theologians, is the way Panikkar allows the core ideas of his book to make light of his own attempts to grasp them. Only such a humor of wealth and poverty is worthy of the rhythms of being and of the extraordinary musician who has spent his life on this unfinished score. James W. Heisig, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture
Raimon Panikkar is a unique thinker of our age a philosopher, theologian and mystic; a Christian who has also internalized central moments in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This book, a product of years of deep reflection, is his most accessible and his most moving. I highly recommend it to all philosophers, theologians and religious seekers. David Tracy, University of Chicago
For over half a century, Raimon Panikkar has been developing a world-view and vision of reality weaving together the most profound experiences and insights of eastern and western religious traditions. This book offers a distinctly clear and systematic exposition of Panikkar's unique method, central ideas and original concepts .... The Rhythm of Being will be a source of inspiration not only for Panikkar's many fans and followers, but for anyone in search of a vision of reality transcending the confines of a particular cultural or religious system of thought. Catherine Cornille, Boston College
I could not read this book. I had to keep putting it down to ponder it, to feel it, to let it sink in. This is Panikkar at his best. In language that is as philosophically profound as it is poetically engaging, Panikkar creatively and sometimes playfully draws on his multi-religious identity and knowledge to present his vision which is really his experience of the triune inter-being of the Divine, the world, and humanity. Paul F. Knitter, Union Theological Seminary
In The Rhythm of Being one of the world's most important philosophers of religion reveals the unity of cosmic Mystery in this distillation of the wisdom of East and West, North and South. It is a tour de force of profound insights gleaned from a lifetime of connecting the worlds of religion, philosophy, science, and revelation. The volume offers scholars and students, philosophers and seekers a challenging and breathtaking voyage into the very heart of human belief and meaning.
Sciences / Biological Science / Botany / Ecology / Reference
Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research by James H. Speer (The University of Arizona Press)
Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) is a method of scientific
dating based on the analysis of tree-ring growth patterns. As James
Speer notes in
Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research, trees are remarkable
bioindicators. Although there are other scientific means of dating
climatic and environmental events, dendrochronology provides the
most reliable of all paleorecords. Trees record any environmental
factor that directly or indirectly limits a process that affects the
growth of ring structures from one season to the next, making them a
useful monitor for a variety of events.
Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research introduces the fundamental principles, concepts, and methods of dendrochronology and provides the basic instruction, theoretical framework, and biological and ecological background for the practitioner of tree-ring research. Speer compiles this knowledge into a user manual and reference book that covers the breadth of the field.
The book includes a history of the discipline, principles of the field, basic scientific information on the structure and growth of trees, the complete range of dendrochronology methods, and a description of each of the relevant subdisciplines. Individual chapters address the composition of wood, methods of field and laboratory study, dendroarchaeology, dendroclimatology, dendroecology, dendrogeomorphology, and dendrochemistry. Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research also provides thorough introductions to common computer programs and methods of statistical analysis. In the final chapter, the author describes frontiers in dendrochronology, with an eye toward future directions in the field. Speer, associate professor of geography and geology at Indiana State University, the organizer of the Annual North American Dendroecological Fieldweek, and the current president of the Tree-Ring Society, concludes with several useful appendixes, including a listing of tree and shrub species that have been used successfully by dendrochronologists. Throughout, photographs and illustrations visually represent the state of knowledge in the field.
Dendrochronology is one of the most important environmental recording techniques for a variety of natural environmental processes and a monitor for human-caused changes to the environment such as pollution and contamination. Dendrochronology examines events through time that are recorded in the tree-ring structure or can be dated by tree rings. Because the tree becomes the instrument for environmental monitoring, it serves as a long-term bioindicator that extends for the lifetime of the tree. Dendrochronology can be applied to very old trees to provide long-term records of past temperature, rainfall, fire, insect outbreaks, landslides, hurricanes, and ice storms, to name only a few applications. Wood from dead trees can also be used to extend the chronology of tree rings further back in time.
According to Speer in the introduction to Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research, the discipline of dendrochronology is used to mark time or record environmental variability in the structure of the wood from trees growing in seasonal climates, such as in the mid and high latitudes, and some tropical trees growing in environments with a pronounced wet or dry season. Because many environmental variables can affect tree growth, different records can be gained from a variety of tree species on a site and on a variety of sites in a region. Dendrochronologists have been able to develop interesting records that contribute to many areas of modern culture, from boundary disputes to forensic science. For example, Sellards et al. in 1923 used tree rings to settle a boundary dispute between the states of Oklahoma and Texas along the Red River. Tree rings have been used to help elucidate strange atmospheric events such as the Tunguska Event in Siberia, the largest impact event in the written history of the Earth, that occurred on June 30, 1908.
One of the most remarkable stories involves the Stradivari violin called the Messiah with a label date of 1716. This instrument would be valued between 10 and 20 million dollars if it could be authenticated as the true Messiah violin, but if it was made by a copyist in the 1800s, it would be worth far less. Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer of the University of Tennessee pulled together a team of experts to examine the rings and demonstrated that the last rings in the instrument date to 1687, which is consistent with two other instruments made by Stradivari: the Archinto (dating to 1686) and the Kux/Castelbarco violas (dating to 1684).
Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research presents a comprehensive history of dendrochronology that incorporates old world and new world pioneers. Chapter 3 contains a more complete history of dendrochronology that draws from European, American, Russian, and Asian dendrochronologists up to the 1950s. Speer provides a primer on the aspects of wood growth and structure that underlie the study of tree rings in chapter 4. The core of the book is the field and laboratory methods that are incorporated in chapters 5 and 6. He presents a basic gounding in field practices and provides some greater depth in working with the programs and statistics that are important to dendrochronology. Broad overviews and useful starting points for all of the major subfields in dendrochronology are given in chapters 7-11. Each chapter describes some specialized methods in each subfield, and the bibliography includes entries for the subfields as a starting point for research. Finally, chapter 12 describes what Speer sees as some frontiers in dendrochronology where researchers are gaining the most ground.
The breadth of this book surpasses any existing texts in the field. It is a very valuable resource because many researchers use tree rings to address a variety of answers rather than remaining exclusively within one subdiscipline. Carolyn A. Copenheaver, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research is an easy to use primer and reference manual addressing all of the subjects that readers new to the field need to know. It is a welcome reference for practitioners and laypeople at all levels. No previous volume presents a comprehensive history of dendrochronology that incorporates old world and new world pioneers in dendrochronology. Speer cites most of the pertinent literature throughout the text and leads readers to useful internet resources in dendrochronology.
Science / Biotechnology / Health, Mind & Body
The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution by David Stipp (Current, The Penguin Group)
After watching elderly mice on resveratrol perform like rodent Olympians in an endurance test, I came away convinced that the long, weird quest to extend life span a 5,000-year trek during which hopelessly hopeful seekers tried everything from transfusing youths' blood into their aged veins to injecting minced dog testicles was finally getting somewhere. from the book
Even before the first person set off to find the Fountain of
Youth, people have been searching for a way to live longer. But
promises of life extension have long reeked of snake oil, and
despite wishful thinking not to mention the number of vitamins we
pop, cups of ginkgo tea we drink, or miles we jog few believe we'll
live to see 100, much less set a longevity record.
Scientists, too, have long been skeptical, often dismissing gerontology, the study of aging, as little more than a front for charlatans. Aging's daunting complexity has often led to more questions than answers, and opportunists have always been quick to cash in on any development, no matter how dubious.
But now scientists say they are closing in on true breakthroughs in anti-aging science. Compounds that dramatically extend the health spans and longevity of animals, including mammals, have recently been demonstrated in the lab, and gerontologists now generally agree that drugs that slow human aging and greatly boost health in later life are no longer a distant dream in fact, candidates supported by reams of data are already at hand.
David Stipp, a veteran science journalist, in The Youth Pill tells the story of these momentous developments and the scientists behind them. He takes readers behind the scenes and introduces them to the key players who are experimenting with the most promising cutting-edge research.
Stipp, former senior writer for Fortune and former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, in The Youth Pill reveals how seemingly unconnected findings on gene mutations that can double animals' life spans, the life-extending effect of near-starvation diets, the link between dwarfism and longevity, the secrets of weirdly long-lived animals, and the special genes behind human centenarians' radical resistance to the ravages of time are coming together to spark an anti-aging revolution.
The possibility of even a decade more of healthy longevity still makes for an engaging study of recent breakthroughs in gerontology. Former Wall Street Journal science reporter Stipp surveys contending theories of aging such as antioxidants and their pitfalls before focusing on promising research into the so-called CR mimetics, drugs that mimic the possibly life-extending benefits of calorie restriction without the unpleasant semistarvation. (Lab mice, rejoice: the CR mimetic resveratrol may even prevent cancer and keep your coat glossy.) The book morphs into a business potboiler, with researchers forming biotech startups and selling IPOs adding hype but little light to the story. But if this is a more conventional and prosaic account than Jonathan Weiners in Long for This World, Stipps lucid and spry exposition of the science is tantalizing enough on its own. Publishers Weekly
David Stipp is the ideal ambassador to the sometimes surreal landscape of life extension. How is it possible to understand so much, to explain it sc clearly, to tell a story so engagingly and so well? I hope he keeps writing books until he's 300 years old. (And guess what? It's not entirely out of the question!) Mary Roach, bestselling author of Stiff, Spook, and Bank
The Youth Pill is an entertaining, easily read, and scientifically accurate description of the history and future possibilities for finding a pill that will slow down aging. Stipp's coverage of the subject is outstanding! Arlan Richardson, director, Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies
The Youth Pill is an urgent report from the front lines of longevity research. David Stipp pulls back the curtain on scientific explorations that just might successfully slow aging in our lifetimes and help stave off a worldwide tsunami of old-age diseases. Daniel Perry, president and CEO, Alliance for Aging Research
Before you attend 'the great Woodstock in the sky' I recommend reading the entertaining and informative The Youth Pill to learn why genes kill you, and why some exciting new science and drugs may delay this but do not partake of the latter until they're proven effective and safe. Life's a bummer, but there may be some partying to come before you leave the place. Phillip A. Sharp, Nobel laureate, MIT Institute Professor, The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Well-researched, excellent book on the progress of the biology of aging. Robert N. Butler, founding director, National Institute on Aging, president and CEO, International Longevity Center
Writing for nonscientists, Stipp in The Youth Pill provides a definitive, engaging account of some of the most exciting, and sometimes controversial, advances that promise to change the way we live forever.
Science / History & Philosophy
Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us And How to Know When Not to Trust Them by David H. Freedman (Little, Brown and Company)
There is always a well-known solution to every human problem neat, plausible, and wrong. H.L. Mencken
If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts.... Francis Bacon
Even when the experts all agree they may well be mistaken. Bertrand Russell
No lesson seems to be as deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. Lord Salisbury
Our investments are devastated, obesity is epidemic, blue-chip companies circle the drain, and popular medications turn out to be ineffective and even dangerous. What happened? Didn't we listen to the scientists, economists, doctors, management gurus, psychologists, and other experts who promised us that if we followed their advice, all would be well?
According to the acclaimed business and science writer David H. Freedman, 'experts' professional wisdom about everything from what to eat, to how to raise our children, to the medicine we take, to school improvement, to how to run a business, usually turns out to be incorrect often wildly so. Wrong reveals the dangerously distorted ways in which experts come up with this advice, and why the most heavily flawed conclusions generally get the most attention all the more so in the online era. Freedman exposes the biases and career pressures that twist and corrupt research, the sloppiness and manipulation underlying the gathering and analysis of data at top institutions, and the foolish thinking behind our most trusted management, dieting, and parenting wisdom.
Freedman explains the flaws in research, including deliberate fudging of data and downright fraud. Fellow journalists, more interested in flashy copy than accuracy, come in for their share of the blame. Google and other Internet search engines add to the problem, sending unfounded facts to millions of computer users. Wrong spells out the means by which every individual and organization can do a better job of unearthing the crucial bits of rightness within a vast avalanche of misleading pronouncements.
Freedman (coauthor of A Perfect Mess) makes the case that scientists, finance wizards, relationship gurus, health researchers, and other supposed authorities are as likely to be wrong as right. Drawing from personal interviews with experts on experts, he leads the reader on a merry chase down the road of skepticism, uncovering conflicting solutions to how to sleep better, lose weight, avoid heart attacks, build a financial nest egg, lower cholesterol, etc. after pulling the rug from under the reader's feet on every imaginable topic from the relationship of body fat to dementia, the effect of Tylenol on dogs, and how to prevent inflation, Freedman provides 11 never-fail rules for not being misled but of course, he admits, he could be wrong. Publishers Weekly
An expos of the multiple ways that society's so-called experts
let us down, if not outright betray us. It's a chunk of spicy
populist outrage, and it can be a hoot.... It's news you can use.
New York Times Dwight Garner
This is by far one of the most interesting non-fiction books to have come out in recent times. David H. Freedman reveals why and how a lot if not all expert advice is either misleading, manipulated as to mislead, or just plain wrong. Freedman, a journalist by profession, pierces through the shell of intellectual confidence in studies scientific or otherwise and exposes 'expert advice', 'studies reveal' and 'survey says' as false catch-phrases designed to fool people into believing that we humans know more about the world around us than we actually do. The Malay Mail Amir Hafizi
A revealing look at the fallibility of experts, and tips on how to glean facts from the mass of published misinformation.... Informative and engaging, if not groundbreaking news to more cynical readers. Kirkus Reviews
An engaging polemic against the neat-police who hold so much sway over our lives. The Wall Street Journal
A groundbreaking antidote to the accepted wisdom that experts know best, Freedman explains the flaws that all too easily worm their way into research. In accessible language, Wrong is an eye-opening exploration of why experts are constantly misleading everyone and what we can do about it.
Social Sciences / Archaeology / Anthropology
Inside Ancient Kitchens: New Directions in the Study of Daily Meals and Feasts edited by Elizabeth A. Klarich (University Press of Colorado)
The anthropology of food is an area of research in which economic, social, and political dynamics interact in incredibly complex ways. Using archaeological case studies from around the globe, Inside Ancient Kitchens edited by Elizabeth A. Klarich, assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Pukara Archaeological Project, presents new perspectives on the comparative study of prehistoric meals from Peru to the Philippines. Contributors include: Carlo Colantoni, David J. Goldstein, Amy Groleau, George Gumerman, William H. Isbell, Arthur A. Joyce, Laura Lee Junker, Lisa J. LeCount, Donna J. Nash, Lisa Niziolek, James M. Potter, Izumi Shimada, and Jason A. Ur.
Inside Ancient Kitchens builds upon the last decade of feasting studies and presents two unique goals for broadening the understanding of prehistoric meals. First, the volume focuses on the study of meal preparation through the analysis of temporary and permanent kitchen areas. This move to focus 'behind the scenes' is aimed at determining how, where, and by whom meals were financed and prepared. Secondly, data from these preparation contexts are used to differentiate between household-level and suprahousehold-level meals in each case study, resulting in more nuanced typologies of daily meals, feasts, and other food-related events.
Suprahousehold meals are clearly a popular research topic within anthropology, as reflected by the number of journal articles, books, and edited volumes filled with case studies of prehistoric and ethnographic feasts published over the last decade. The broadest definition of feasts "public ritual events of communal food and drink consumption ... that differ in some way from daily consumption practices" includes contexts as diverse as hunting and gathering societies and those organized at the state level. The anthropology of food be it from an ecological, structuralist, practice-oriented, or other theoretical approach is an exciting arena in which subsistence, technology; social dynamics like gender and status, labor organization, etiquette, personal preference, ritual, and politics intersect and interweave in incredibly complex ways. Within archaeological approaches, the primary focus has been to determine the significance of food and beverages in the construction of political power and the links between domestic and political economies.
The contributors to Inside Ancient Kitchens build upon a rich body of case studies and synthetic feasting frameworks. In case studies, evidence of feasting typically includes the presence of exotic and/or high-quality foodstuffs, high percentages of serving vessels, and concentrations of large storage vessels. These comparative frameworks effectively serve as a general guide and checklist for the initial identification and classification of feasting events in a variety of archaeological contexts.
Inside Ancient Kitchens seeks to refine and expand the analysis and interpretation of prehistoric suprahousehold meals through focusing on the context of their preparation. Details of how, where, and by whom the meal was orchestrated often remain unaddressed in archaeological research. Using cuisine to guide the categorization of food and beverage preparation holds potential for a variety of reasons. This approach counters an archaeological bias in feasting studies toward ceramic and faunal evidence by incorporating additional data sets from activity areas (e.g., technological and botanical evidence from hearths). In other words, the presence of large cooking and storage pots does not necessarily reflect suprahousehold meals, nor are such meals necessarily feasts.
In order to determine the social, economic, and political significance of suprahousehold meals in these diverse case studies, several of the authors focus on identifying who picked up the bill and financed the organization and preparation of the meals within each context. In Inside Ancient Kitchens, the dimension of scale is used to differentiate among feasts financed, organized, and prepared by household, extended household, or community levels of participation, not simply as a measure of the size of the feast and the number of people involved. This approach provides valuable insight into the mobilization of labor, collection of food and other resources, and management of the completion of related tasks.
The contributions in Inside Ancient Kitchens include both Old and New World case studies, with the majority from the latter, and focus primarily on middle-range and complex societies. In order to develop a baseline for each case study, a variety of methods are employed to systematize the characterization of food and beverage preparation. In exploring the economic, political, and social dynamics of suprahousehold meals, the case studies can be grouped by three major themes: building prestige through big meals, evaluating the ubiquity of work party feasts, and exploring the social identities of those preparing suprahousehold meals. The relationship between suprahousehold meals and prestige building is the theme of both Old World case studies, with the former focusing on regional political economy and the latter on local urban political economy. First, in the Tanjay region of the Philippines, Laura Lee Junker and Lisa Niziolek integrate rich historical, ethnographic, and archaeological evidence to outline the social dynamics involved in the preparation of competitive feasts of merit (Chapter 2). Since chiefly power was tied to the ability to mobilize labor, competitive feasts were used to build alliances and expand political networks. The financing of these feasting events, particularly the increase in production costs, resulted in major social and economic shifts as marriage patterns changed, the slave trade escalated, and status-seekers attempted to increase their social networks across the region.
Moving much earlier in time, Jason Ur and Carlo Colantoni explore the relationship between the hosting of commensal events and the intensification of household production within urban settlements in northern Mesopotamia during the third millennium BC (Chapter 3). Through a synthesis of data from household excavations, landscape archaeology, and ancient textual sources, the authors model the cycle of agricultural and pastoral production; the storage, preparation, and consumption of these products; and their final discard. In contrast to traditional models for centralized control of surplus production in the region, Ur and Colantoni conclude that motivations existed for households of all scales to intensify production without the influence of the ruling institutions of the state.
The second theme involves evaluating the ubiquity of work party feasts within the category of suprahousehold meals. This type of feast is documented in both highly stratified societies, where they are often state-sponsored, and in ideologically egalitarian societies, where hosts use them to create spiraling asymmetries in economic and symbolic capital. In Inside Ancient Kitchens, two case studies from the Andes compare their local data with well-documented evidence of massive, state-sponsored Inca work party feasts in order to explore regional and temporal variability in Andean feasting practices.
In Chapter 4, Donna Nash explores the relationship between feasting and political control during the Wari Empire of the Middle Horizon (AD 550-1000). She synthesizes extensive excavation data from both residential quarters and monumental structures at the Wari sites of Cerro Baal, a provincial center, and Cerro Mejia, a more modest site located nearby in the Upper Moquegua drainage of Peru. The quality, manner of food and beverage preparation, and details of both production and consumption areas (e.g., atmosphere) are outlined in detail for four different contexts: daily meals, ample meals, festive meals, and grand feasts. Based on the architectural and artifact data recovered from various residential areas, Nash argues that households across the political hierarchy participated in Wari feasting. On the Peruvian North Coast, George Gumerman IV presents food-preparation evidence from several sites in order to document and interpret the variety of suprahousehold meals prepared and consumed by the Moche (AD 200-800) (Chapter 5). Excavation data from the sites of El Brujo, Ciudadde Dios, Santa Rosa Quirihuac, and the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna include evidence of industrial-scale cooking features, including supersized ceramic vessels, which are clearly differentiated from facilities used to prepare household-level meals. Evidence does not support centralized control over production or preparation of these events, nor of the subsequent distribution of foodstuffs and beverages.
The third theme of Inside Ancient Kitchens involves exploring the social identity of the individuals and groups responsible for the preparation and financing of suprahousehold meals. In the Maya region, Lisa LeCount investigates the organization of food and beverage preparation sponsored by rulers at the site of Xunantunich (AD 600-800) (Chapter 6). LeCount concludes that attached occupational specialists staffed palace kitchens, preparing meals primarily for private parties in the ruler's residence and occasionally for public feasts. In terms of social identity, were these meal-preparation specialists considered artisans in their own right?
Returning to the Peruvian North Coast, David Goldstein and Izumi Shimada compare plant remains from suprahousehold food-preparation areas associated with metal- and ceramic-production areas to document the nature of multi-craft interactions at Huaca Sialupe during the Middle Sican period (AD 950-1050) (Chapter 7). The authors analyze data from firing features, faunal remains, and botanical micro-remains to determine what foods were being prepared and how suprahousehold (or extra-household) meal production was related to other economic activities at the site. Goldstein and Shimada conclude that large-scale meals were an integral element of complex economic and social negotiations between different types of producers at Huaca Sialupe. The relationship between meal preparation and social identity is further investigated through the analysis of a unique burial context at the Wari site of Conchopata (AD 550-1000) in the Peruvian highlands (Chapter 8). William Isbell and Amy Groleau describe in detail the burial of a woman, several infants, and their accompanying grave goods recovered from a room in a moderately sized residential complex. Based on the archaeological evidence, it appears that the tomb was revisited in order to make additional offerings many times after it was originally sealed. The authors argue that this venerated woman was a brewer of corn beer (chichi), utilizing this exceptional burial context to explore the relationship among feasting activities, practices of commemoration, and notions of gender in the Wari Empire.
Inside Ancient Kitchens concludes with commentaries by Arthur Joyce, a Mesoamericanist, and James Potter, a Southwestern archaeologist, who provide valuable insights into the place of each case study and the volume as a whole in the expanding literature on prehistoric feasting. Joyce concludes by suggesting further consideration of the symbolism of food preparation and consumption (e.g., gods eating people at death) that would enrich our understanding of the significance of prehistoric meals beyond economics and politics. In the final chapter, Potter places Inside Ancient Kitchens into historical perspective, emphasizing both the unique contributions of each chapter and their potential to influence future directions in the study of prehistoric meals. According to Potter, the primary methodological contributions of the volume are a movement away from the trend of consumption-centric studies of feasting and a greater emphasis on archaeological data versus ethnographic data in the individual case studies.
Inside Ancient Kitchens presents an important step in the development of new methodological and theoretical approaches within the anthropology of food and will be of great interest to scholars studying the social dynamics, labor organization, and political relationships underlying prehistoric meals. Through analysis of event financing, the contributors provide solid evidence for suprahousehold meals as integral elements of competitive feasting, work parties, funerary rituals, craft economies, and various types of social negotiations. Each study establishes the archaeological signatures of household versus suprahousehold meals in their respective regions and then contextualizes these different types of meals within the goals of the volume.