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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

April 2011, Issue #144

Contents this Issue:

Canon PowerShot G12: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Carlson (Peachpit Press)

Digital Alchemy: Printmaking Techniques for Fine Art, Photography, and Mixed Media by Bonny Pierce Lhotka (Voices That Matter Series: New Riders)

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management by Damon P.S. Andrew, Paul M. Pedersen and Chad D. McEvoy (Human Kinetics)

HBR's 10 Must-Reads on Change by Harvard Business Review (HBRs Must-Reads Series: Harvard Business Review Press)

Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry by Stephen Denny (Portfolio / Penguin)

Rediscovering Value: Leading the 3-D Enterprise to Sustainable Success by Geary A. Rummler, Alan J. Ramias and Cherie L. Wilkins (Jossey-Bass)

A Project Guide to Earth's Waters by Christine Petersen
A Project Guide to Wind, Weather, and the Atmosphere by Marylou Morano Kjelle
A Project Guide to the Solar System by Colleen Kessler
A Project Guide to Volcanoes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Earthquakes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Claire O'Neal
Earth Science Projects for Kids Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers

Little Baseball [Board Book] by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles (Little Sports Series: Sleeping Bear Press)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics, Windows 7 Edition by Joe Kraynak (Alpha)

Fine Cooking in Season: Your Guide to Choosing and Preparing the Season's Best by the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking Magazine, with photographs by Matthew Benson (The Taunton Press)

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom by Ted H. Hull, Don S. Balka, and Ruth Harbin Miles (Corwin Press)

Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema by David A. Kirby (MIT Press)

Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion by Robb Young, with a foreword by Pamela Golbin (Merrell Publishers)

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, 5th edition by Edmund J. Bourne (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook Series: New Harbinger Publications)

Authorship Revisited: Conceptions of Authorship around 1900 and 2000 edited by Gillis J. Dorleijn, Ralf Grttemeier and Liesbeth Korthals Altes (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change Series, Vol XXXVIII: Peeters)

Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems by N. Scott Momaday (University of New Mexico Press)

Rawls Explained: From Fairness to Utopia by Paul Voice (Ideas Explained Series, Vol 8: Open Court)

The Washington Haggadah copied and illustrated by Joel ben Simeon, introduction and translation by David Stern, introduction by Katrin Kogman-Appel (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

Judgment Day: the Struggle for Life on Earth by Paul Collins (Orbis Books)

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku (Doubleday)

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne, Series Editor David Fasenfest (Studies in Critical Social Sciences, Vol 28: Brill)

A Navajo Legacy: The Life and Teachings of John Holiday by John Holiday and Robert S. McPherson (The Civilization of the American Indian Press, Vol. 251: University of Oklahoma Press)

Moon Fiji, 9th edition by David Stanley (Moon Handbooks Series: Avalon Travel Publishing)

Tourist Trains Guidebook, 3rd edition by Editors of Trains magazine (Kalmbach Books)

Arts & Photography / Digital Photography

Canon PowerShot G12: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Carlson (Peachpit Press)

Although compact digital cameras have improved over the years, they still suffer from relatively slow shot-to-shot speeds and small imaging sensors (which often can't produce the quality of a photo shot with a DSLR). Those limitations have frustrated people who want to go the extra steps necessary to get great shots, but who don't want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on professional cameras. The Canon PowerShot G12 jumps into that middle area between compacts and DSLRs. With this camera users can shoot everything in automatic mode if they want, and when they are ready to move up to more complexity, advanced features are there.

Canon PowerShot G12 goes beyond a tour of the camera's features to show readers exactly how to use their cameras to take great pictures. Jeff Carlson, columnist for the Seattle Times and managing editor of the weekly electronic newsletter TidBITS, gives readers a blend of photography instruction and camera reference to take their images to the next level. The book is illustrated with large photos from Carlson and the Flickr community. Readers:

  • Learn the top ten things they need to know about shooting with the PowerShot G12.
  • Use the camera's Automatic modes to get better shots right away, and then take full control over the look and feel of their images with the Creative modes.
  • Master the photographic basics of composition, focus, and depth of field.
  • Learn tricks and techniques for getting great action shots, landscapes, and portraits.
  • Find out how to get the shot in low light.
  • Learn the basics behind shooting HD video and start making movies of their own.

Not all camera features are covered, just the ones Carlson feels readers need to know about in order to start taking great photos. The owner's manual covers every feature of the camera, but Carlsons book shows readers how to harness certain camera features to the benefit of their photography.

Canon PowerShot G12 is laid out to guide readers through the basics of photography as they relate to different situations and scenarios. By using the features of their cameras and this book, they learn about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, and many other photographic concepts. They also find plenty of full-page photos that include captions, shooting data, and callouts so they can see how all of the photography fundamentals come together to make great images. All the while, they learn how their camera works and how to apply its functions and features to their photography.

At the end of most chapters readers are shooting assignments, where Carlson gives suggestions as to how they can apply the lessons of the chapter to help reinforce what they just learned.

With practice, Canon PowerShot G12 helps readers transition from those who take snapshots to photographers who makes great shots. Beautifully illustrated, the book covers tricks and techniques and provides assignments to help the techniques sink in.

Arts & Photography / Digital Photography / Graphic Design

Digital Alchemy: Printmaking Techniques for Fine Art, Photography, and Mixed Media by Bonny Pierce Lhotka (Voices That Matter Series: New Riders)

Far from becoming obsolete, physical printing is taking on a whole new dimension of value that is based, precisely, on its physical, tangible, non-virtual nature. Bonny's lenticular prints, which have evolved as new software techniques and hardware materials have become available, are still state of the art: they can't be matched by any electronic display commercially available today. And she has pushed into fascinating and powerful techniques that enable printing on metal, wood, linen, marble, plexiglas, and other materials, thereby creating beautiful hard-copy objects where the substrate and the process are equal partners with the image in creating value. These techniques are the universe whose door is opened by this book. Alexis Gerard, former executive at Apple Computer, founder of Future Image, Inc., from the preface

In Digital Alchemy, acclaimed printmaker Bonny Pierce Lhotka shows readers how to turn their standard inkjet printer into a seemingly magical instrument capable of transforming their printed images into works of art. Using plenty of visuals and straightforward terms, Lhotka walks readers step by step through over a dozen projects. Forget printing on boring old paper, in Digital Alchemy readers learn how to transfer and print images to a variety of surfaces including metal, wood, fabric, stone, and plastic using the techniques Lhotkas spent years developing.
Recipient of the Smithsonian/Computerworld Technology in the Arts Award, inventor and innovator Lhotka is a co-founder of the digital artist collaborative, Digital Atelier, whose members research and develop techniques to leverage digital imaging in fine art application. Lhotkas enthusiasm for experimenting with unusual printing materials and processes has led her to create new transfer techniques, including one that resembles a Polaroid transfer on steroids. She also shows readers how to make prints using unexpected, everyday materials such as hand sanitizer and gelatin. Readers even learn direct printing, the technique for sending their custom substrate through their printer almost as if it were paper.
In Digital Alchemy, readers learn how to:

  • Transfer images to metal, wood, plastic, and other materials that will not feed through an inkjet printer.
  • Print directly on metal for a fraction of the cost of using a print service.
  • Simulate a print from an expensive UV flatbed printer using an inexpensive desktop printer.
  • Use carrier sheets and paintable precoats to print on almost any surface.
  • Achieve near-lithographic quality digital prints with transfer processes to uncoated fine art paper.

In addition to the tutorials in Digital Alchemy, readers can watch Lhotka in action on the included DVD-ROM, with over 60 minutes of video footage where they learn how to perform an alcohol gel transfer, transfer an image to a wooden surface, and use their inkjet printer to achieve remarkable prints.

According to Carol Pulin in the foreword, some come to Digital Alchemy looking for a way to create on paper (or cloth, wood, metal, plastic, etc.) a print that actually has the characteristics they already see in their mind's eye, while other artists want the techniques to spark their imagination and inspire them to see their pictures in new ways. In either case, they must remember that the greatest joys in printmaking come from letting the printmaking process itself inform the work. Each method brings with it a different set of qualities, a resonance with the materials that changes the appearance of marks and lines, colors, textures, even the reflectivity of light. Each affects the additive layers differently, requires compromises that strengthen the composition or expand the options. Each offers ways to turn a straight realistic photograph into ones own personal commentary, or change a drawing from a depiction of shapes into an exploration of the qualities of marks. The more one thinks of the transfer as an essential aspect of the creation of the artwork, the more they think like printmakers, the more they will transform the captured image into their own individual, freely translated expression of personal and universal values.

Bonny's reworking of her photographic files reveals her printmaker's aesthetic the mark-making, the quality of line, the shading and modeling, the graphic expression of values. Add the complexity of layers of translucent and opaque color to control the compositional emphasis, and you'll begin to see the reasons why I'm immediately drawn to these works, and why I come back to them again and again. But the most significant reason is how the transfer for me, the essential quality of all printmaking visibly alters the imagery, style, form, and meaning, the synthesis that creates a successful work of art. Bonny's creation of new transfer techniques allows the distinctive characteristics of printmaking to enrich both drawn and photographic imagery, both traditional and digital, with a wonderfully expanded range of materials, and the results really do expand the idea of print.Bonny shows you processes to transfer ink to a full range of papers using release films and gels, and what's more, she has also developed techniques and environmentally-safe chemistry to let printmakers transfer imagery to porous and nonporous materials of almost any shape. Dr. Carol Pulin, director of the American Print Alliance, from the foreword

Bonny has developed a spectacular array of tools and techniques that take inkjet printing out of the ho-hum world of machine-based printing into a world where the artists personality, patience, inventiveness, and hands-on skills all play a role. David Saffir, Photographer

If readers are photographers looking for new ways to personalize their work or digital artists who are ready to take their work to the next level, they will find all of the tools, techniques, and inspiration they need in Digital Alchemy. Using the printmaking techniques in this volume, each artist will develop their own unique art and techniques.

Business & Investing / Industries & Professions / Sports & Entertainment

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management by Damon P.S. Andrew, Paul M. Pedersen and Chad D. McEvoy (Human Kinetics)

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management explains research design, implementation, analysis, and assessment criteria with a focus on specific procedures unique to the discipline of sport management.

Organized in four parts, Research Methods and Design in Sport Management begins with an introduction to concepts in sport management research and a discussion of the ethical issues associated with research projects. The text outlines the steps to the research process, making it an easy-to-use guide for professionals undertaking a research project as well as students writing major term papers, theses, or dissertations. Analysis of research design with discussion of specific methods used in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research helps readers to determine and design the most appropriate research for their specific needs. This text teaches readers:

  • How to conduct a thorough literature review.
  • Theoretical and conceptual frameworks to guide the research process.
  • How to develop appropriate research questions and hypotheses.
  • Techniques for conducting qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research.
  • Methods for analyzing data and reporting results.

Multiple special elements in each chapter, including learning objectives, summaries, suggested advanced readings, and highlight boxes, guide readers through challenging concepts. A chapter dedicated to legal research in sport management provides a non-intimidating discussion of the unique elements evident in sport law research, such as legal precedence, case briefing, and special writing elements. Examples of published research in sport management illustrate ways in which various methodological tools and techniques can be used in answering research questions. Research in Action sections present excerpts from the Journal of Sport Management, which highlight research components mentioned in the text and assist students in learning how to read and evaluate research. Research examples provided throughout the text are specific to sport management, considering both sport industry settings and academic environments.

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management is written by Damon Andrew, professor and dean at Troy University in the College of Health and Human Services, Paul M. Pedersen, associate professor of sport management and the director of the sport management doctoral program at Indiana University at Bloomington, and Chad D. McEvoy, is an associate professor at Illinois State University, where he is the coordinator of the sport management graduate program.

The first two sections of Research Methods and Design in Sport Management are organized in a manner that allows readers to understand the research process from beginning to end before delving into the specific methods of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research that are presented in the last two parts of the book. Using their collective experience in teaching research methods classes, the authors incorporate multiple applied examples of past research by some of the leading sport management scholars in the world. Special attention is devoted to the process of reading and understanding research in the field so that readers are prepared to comprehend and apply research. Finally, in accordance with its applied focus, the book features step-by-step procedures for analyzing data, including SPSS statistical software procedures for quantitative analyses. At the end of each chapter readers find a feature called Research Methods and Design in Action. The journal articles in these features discuss terms that relate specifically to the concepts described within the chapter; the circled terms in the text excerpt section are those discussed within the chapter. These articles and the discussion questions that follow them teach readers how to effectively consume and evaluate research.

Part I of Research Methods and Design in Sport Management begins with an introduction to research in sport management along with a discussion of the ethical issues associated with research projects. Chapter 1 defines the concept of research and outlines five general themes in which research can be classified: application, objectives, type of information sought, presence of data, and the data source analyzed. In addition, two philosophical approaches to research are defined as well as four paradigms, or mindsets, of research inquiry. The evolution and status of sport management research are delineated. Chapter 2 addresses ethical issues in research by detailing the history of human subjects' protection and the development of the Nuremberg Code. The chapter also reviews commonly accepted ethical principles and guidelines for research, including beneficence and non-malfeasance, fidelity and responsibility, integrity, justice, and respect for people's rights and dignity. Topics such as the institutional review board, informed consent, and scientific dishonesty are explained.

Part II introduces the research process, a step-by-step process of addressing one or more research questions. The processes of selecting a topic, reviewing the literature, developing a conceptual framework, focusing research questions, and outlining hypotheses are covered in chapter 3. Chapter 4 describes the various types of research designs and how one would go about selecting a research design tailored to the research question. Specific issues including the selection of an appropriate sample size, sampling strategies, and establishing reliability and validity are also discussed. Chapter 5 focuses on data collection and analysis, including such topics as non-response bias, data preparation, scales of measurement, the concept of statistical significance, Type I and Type II errors, statistical power, effect size, and an overview of descriptive and inferential statistics. Finally, chapter 6 delineates the various research dissemination options, including academic presentations, scholarly journals, and research reports.

Part III introduces common research designs used by sport management students, scholars, researchers, and practitioners. A chapter is devoted to each of the following six common designs: surveys, interviews and focus groups, observation approaches, case studies, historical analysis, and legal analysis. Cumulatively, these designs allow for the assessment of data through quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approaches. Chapter 12 is particularly noteworthy because it serves as the first-ever description of sport law research methods, another void filled by Research Methods and Design in Sport Management.

Finally, given that the field of sport management relies heavily on statistical methods, part IV is dedicated to the presentation of these techniques according to their general purpose. Accordingly, part IV includes chapters that address analyses of structure, relationships between variables, significance of group differences, and prediction of group membership. In grouping the analyses by purpose, the goal is to create a user-friendly text through the acknowledgment that sport managers tend to use research to investigate an existing situation or provide solutions to an existing problem. Throughout part IV, the authors provide procedural steps for conducting each analysis by means of SPSS, a statistical software package that is used widely by sports management researchers, and at prominent universities and colleges. Chapter 13 discusses Cronbach's alpha, exploratory factor analysis, principal component analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis. Chapter 14 addresses bivariate correlation, simple linear regression, multiple regression, and path analysis. Chapter 15 covers the t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), factorial ANOVA, factorial ANCOVA, one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), one-way multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), factorial MANOVA, and factorial MANCOVA. Finally, chapter 16 addresses discriminant analysis, logistic regression, and cluster analysis.

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management offers readers the tools to engage in the broad spectrum of research opportunities in the growing discipline of sport management. As accreditation in sport management becomes more prevalent, the volume can assist students in gaining the knowledge and skills they need in order to compete in the job market and to contribute to their future careers. The text is an invaluable resource for students and practitioners in sport management because it focuses on applied research for organizational purposes and the qualitative and quantitative methodologies pertinent to the field of sport management. Research Methods and Design in Sport Management meets the needs of upper-level undergraduate and graduate sport management students and serves as a reference for sport management scholars and practitioners in the field. For professionals, the text offers tools to ensure the research they conduct and consume can accurately inform strategic business decisions. It also serves as an ideal tutorial for those embarking on a research project, thesis, or dissertation.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

HBR's 10 Must-Reads on Change by Harvard Business Review (HBRs Must-Reads Series: Harvard Business Review Press)

Most company's change initiatives fail, but they don't have to.
If readers read nothing else on change, they might want to consider reading these 10 articles. The editors have combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help readers spearhead change in their organizations.
HBR's 10 Must-Reads on Change inspires readers to:

  • Lead change through eight critical stages.
  • Establish a sense of urgency.
  • Overcome addiction to the status quo.
  • Mobilize commitment.
  • Silence naysayers.
  • Minimize the pain of change.
  • Concentrate resources.
  • Motivate change when business is good.

Chapters and their authors include:

  1. Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail John P. Kotter
  2. Change Through Persuasion David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto
  3. Leading Change When Business Is Good: An Interview with Same J. Palmisano Paul Hemp and Thomas A. Stewart
  4. Radical Change, the Quiet Way Debra E. Meyerson
  5. Tipping Point Leadership W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  6. A Survival Guide for Leaders Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky
  7. The Real Reason People Won't Change Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
  8. Cracking the Code of Change Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria
  9. The Hard Side of Change Management Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson
  10. Why Change Programs Don't Produce Change Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, and Bert Spector

HBR's 10 Must Reads series focuses on the core topics that ambitious managers need to know. Harvard Business Review selects only the most essential reading on each topic. Each title includes timeless advice that is likely to be relevant regardless of an ever-changing business environment. In the series:

  • HBR's 10 Must Reads: The Essentials
  • HBR's 10 Must-Reads on Change
  • HBR's 10 Must Reads on Leadership
  • HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing People
  • HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself
  • HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy

Classic ideas, enduring advice, the best thinkers: that is what readers get in HBR's 10 Must Reads. This paperback series is the definitive collection of books for new and experienced leaders alike. Leaders looking for the inspiration that big ideas provide, both to accelerate their own growth and that of their companies, should look no further.
Business & Investing / Management & Leadership / Marketing

Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry by Stephen Denny (Portfolio / Penguin)

It is part of our collective social consciousness we love it when upstarts rise up and topple the giants they face. We want to see the upset. We want the little guy to come out on top.

Everyone thought Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry were crazy to start Method, a new cleaning products company. The category had long been dominated by P&G, Unilever, and Colgate-Palmolive. Those giants had so much clout with the retail chains that their soaps had barely needed updating for decades. But by taking advantage of its underdog position, Method carved out a very profitable niche: environmentally sound products in stylish, innovative packaging. Despite having a far smaller marketing budget than their competitors, Method connected with a substantial minority of people who wanted to buy green but who also wanted high-quality products.
Marketing expert Stephen Denny argues in Killing Giants that, like Method, any brand can directly challenge the giant of its category and not only survive, but thrive. While it is inconvenient to be the little guy, it can also be a blessing in disguise. Giant-killers can afford to shake things up and take bold steps. They can be faster and nimbler than giants who are too slow and hidebound to make the painful but necessary changes to stay competitive. By the time they notice that slingshot, they're already keeling over.
During his two decades in the trenches, Denny has taken on quite a few giants. And he has interviewed more than seventy other giant-killers across industries from software to cosmetics to aviation for their most powerful techniques.

Killing Giants profiles over 30 upstart brands in over a dozen countries, from American upstarts like Method, the Boston Beer Company and Vibram to global competitors like New Zealand's 42Below vodka, Brazil's Oi Mobile, and China's Baidu. Beyond interviewing over 70 of the world's most effective business leaders, Denny brings in voices from places other than the corporate world from professional gamblers and war planners to screenwriters and hostage negotiators providing readers with a comprehensive analysis of what it takes to fight and win against bigger opponents.

In Killing Giants, Denny presents ten powerful strategies that will help them overcome stale business thinking and bureaucracy, including:

  • Lure the giant out over the Thin Ice of their own creation and say what the giant can't or won't say.
  • Eat the Bug and do the unthinkable, using structural advantages that allow you to go where the giant can't follow.
  • Fight dirty. Create awkward mismatches and fight them where they don't want to fight.
  • Polarize their customers on purpose, forcing them to make meaningful choices. Decide who they are and who they are not and choose to create a core cadre of hard core fans who thrive on the exclusivity of being insiders.
  • Put all the wood behind the arrows readers choose to shoot, creating tremendous functional expertise in areas the giant can't afford to spend time on.

Killing Giants is an essential manual for any company with a habit of fighting above its weight class. If you want to take on the big boys and win, this is required reading. Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid and The Think Big Manifesto
For Method, taking on Big Soap means moving fast, fighting dirty, and changing the game by flipping the giants' strengths against them. Now you have the playbook. Eric Ryan, cofounder of Method
A mind-clearing book for startup entrepreneurs, cash-strapped strategists, and other Davids armed only with their wits. Marty Neumeier, author of Zag
This book reconfirms, through insightful and diverse stories, what I've always believed: We are most creative under the greatest constraints. Karim Rashid, designer, author of KarimSpace and Design Your Self
Size and scale are not the only formula for success. With examples from around the world, Denny outlines powerful strategies that you can use to overtake larger competitors in any business and marketplace. David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR and Real-Time Marketing & PR
Chock-full of provocative marketing strategies, this book might just give you the stones to take out the Goliath in your industry. Roger von Oech, author of A Whack on the Side of the Head and The Creative Whack Pack
Learn why quick and dirty is better than shock and awe in this timely book. Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment and cofounder of Alltop
Killing Giants recounts the tales of successful entrepreneurs who started from scratch, became scrappy and innovative, and learned how to compete successfully in an arena of giants. The information here is practical, valuable, and actionable. Jim Koch, founder and brewer, The Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams

From the hypercompetitive world of social media to high-stakes business-to-business sales to the trenches of the retail sales floor, Killing Giants is The Art of War for a new era. It proves that size does matter the size of the fight in the dog.

Business & Investing / Management & Leadership

Rediscovering Value: Leading the 3-D Enterprise to Sustainable Success by Geary A. Rummler, Alan J. Ramias and Cherie L. Wilkins (Jossey-Bass)

When Improving Performance was published in 1990, it was acclaimed as the book that launched the process improvement revolution establishing a practical foundation for process improvement and management. In Rediscovering Value, Geary Rummler, Alan Ramias, and Cherie Wilkins establish a foundation for identifying and managing the oft obscured value in organizations. The predominant focus in most organizations is on resources the resource dimension. What often suffers, or is virtually invisible, is the complex system of work that delivers value to customers and thereby shareholders. The key to sustainable success is keeping these two dimensions in balance being able to make effective tradeoffs between efficient use of resources and sufficient delivery of value. Rummler, now deceased, was the founding partner of the Performance Design Lab (PDL). Prior to founding the PDL, Geary was the founding partner of the Rummler-Brache Group, president of the Kepner-Tregoe Strategy Group, and cofounder and director of the University of Michigan's Center for Programmed Learning for Business.

Ramias and Wilkins are both partners with PDL.

Most managers equate the management of resources to effective management believing value will result by default. It turns out that keeping the resource and value dimensions in balance and making the associated tradeoffs requires more than a subtle enhancement to the role of management in organizations. It requires a fundamental rethink of the act of management. Thus management itself becomes the third dimension of a sustainably successful enterprise the 3-D Enterprise.

Rediscovering Value presents the executive agenda for making the transition from a typical unbalanced approach, to managing organization performance, to a true 3-D Enterprise. The imbalance in the dimensions of organization performance is at the core of many of the hot button issues for executives and managers today including failed strategy execution; costly white space between functions, processes, continents, and partner companies; and the inability to improve top line performance. Organizations that can rediscover their value have an effective weapon with which to fight back.

The thinking of Rummler and his partners has continued to evolve and improve over the past two decades. The notions and methods around the 3-D Enterprise presented in Rediscovering Value expand on their systemic model of an organization and offer managers and executives a robust approach and toolkit for dealing with complex performance challenges in this extraordinary world in which we all now live.

Rummler, Ramias and Wilkins subscribe to the notion that organizations are like complex systems and operate according to systems principles along somewhat predictable paths. They believe that business leaders should be builders of organizational systems whose aim is production of lasting value, while also deploring the fact that in many organizations the systems in place tend to thwart organizational purpose. Their objectives in this subject area are twofold:

  • To describe the basic systems, or dimensions, inside organizations and their internal dynamics, because we think it's those dimensions of value and resources that are often misunderstood and become misaligned or unbalanced and thus at odds with each other, leading to irrational organizational practices.
  • To describe what can be done to change an unbalanced organizational system, providing as much practical advice and as many useful tools as possible without making this a recipe book or a technical manual.

They were part of the process revolution that began in the early 1980s. The impetus for that movement was the realization that in every industry, functional silos were a major impediment to organizational success. Their guiding metaphor was the white space between silos on organization charts, founded on the belief that redesigning the work that connects and transcends silos was key to delivering value in the eyes of customers.

But process improvement has never been enough by itself. Management has always been the critical element in conquering white space. And thus Rediscovering Value, which is about designing the dimension of management itself. They explain why they think creating a balance between value and resources and achieving sustainable success require a fundamental rethinking of the very act of organizational management. The result is what they call a 3-D Enterprise, an organization in which the dimensions of value and resources are kept in balance by the third dimension of effective management.

Rediscovering Value is organized into three parts.

In Part One they introduce the three dimensions and examine the effects of the current imbalance between the value and resource dimensions.

In Part Two they present and describe the executive agenda for making the transition to a 3-D Enterprise. Along the way, readers hear the story of Belding, Inc., and its new CEO who drives the move to a 3-D Enterprise. While Belding is fictitious, they say they have seen each of Belding's issues in numerous client companies, and everything that the CEO does to address the issues has been done in reality by their clients.

In Part Three readers who want more detailed assistance will find lengthy descriptions of the templates and tools they use to develop management systems for organizations, using content from the Belding case. And for those who want more of the story, they return to Belding and grant them a grand do-over in order to see how things would be different in a mature 3-D Enterprise.

To paraphrase a number of philosophers, the major challenge any executive or manager (and especially any CEO) faces is that his or her experience of the reality of the organization is not the same as the reality itself. How then does an executive: 1) develop a more accurate and complete representation of the organization, 2) identify critical business issues and improvement opportunities across this system, 3) design a way forward, and 4) install the feedback and measurement mechanisms necessary to ensure the organizational system delivers the performance and stays on course? This is where this book comes into its own. Michael DeNoma, president and CEO, Chinatrust Commercial Bank

Every CEO (or executive managing a business) should read and understand Rediscovering Value if they want to effectively lead and manage their company. Leading a company without an understanding of the value and resource dimensions and how to manage them is like flying an airplane without a navigation system. The team at PDL has done an unbelievable job of describing the principles of an organization and how to effectively organize, lead, and manage the enterprise. Our company used PDL's systems approach to planning and managing and it was like turning on the lights in a dark room. Our people became process- and work-focused and morale improved dramatically as we moved away from the silo approach of running a business. Rediscovering Value is a must-read for any executive. Steve Hassenfelt, CEO, Granville Capital, Inc.

Readers will appreciate the wealth of practical advice and useful tools found in this book.

Rediscovering Value is written for the executive and executive teams, because a journey such as this requires leadership from the very top. It is for the executive who must understand and lead the 3-D journey, and thus is meant to be less technical than White Space Revisited but more concentrated on the role and behavior of top executives and managers. Should this book inspire readers to lead their own organization on such a journey, the companion book White Space Revisited was written for the people inside the organization who can help

Childrens Books / Education / Science & Nature / Experiments & Projects / Ages 9-12

Earth Science Projects for Kids Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers
A Project Guide to Earth's Waters by Christine Petersen
A Project Guide to Wind, Weather, and the Atmosphere by Marylou Morano Kjelle
A Project Guide to the Solar System by Colleen Kessler
A Project Guide to Volcanoes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Earthquakes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Claire O'Neal
Earth Science Projects for Kids Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers

There are six titles in the Earth Science Projects for Kids Series. Designed for the fourth to seventh grade level, each contains 10-15 write ups and projects with photos, a list of materials and a step-by-step procedure to follow. For example, A Project Guide to Earth's Waters contains The Water Cycle, Desalination, Solubility, Groundwater, Waters Freezing Point, Specific Heat Capacity, Density, Acid Rain, Capillarity, Life in the Water, and Water Power, each of which has its own project. Each book in the series also recommends further reading and contains a glossary and an index. Each page has at least one full-color photo or diagram; many have more than one.

A Project Guide to Earth's Waters by Christine Petersen

Water is one of the most common substances in our lives. We drink it, cook with it, and bathe in it every day. Water covers approximately three-quarters of the surface of Earth, and makes up a large percentage of our own body weight. It is found in many places in the solar system, yet Earth is the only known place where water can be found as a solid, liquid, and gas.

These facts may be familiar, yet they only scratch the surface of water's remarkable properties. How do clouds form, and where does water go after it rains? What makes water stick to things, and does this characteristic serve any purpose? What effect does pollution have on the quality of water for humans and other living things? Can salt water be made drinkable? Is it possible to change aspects of water such as its freezing point or density? Using hands-on experiments, readers of A Project Guide to Earth's Waters can answer these questions and more as they learn about the substance that makes life possible on Earth water.

Author Christine Petersen is a freelance writer and environmental educator who lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota. A former middle school teacher, she has written more than thirty books for young people that cover a wide range of topics in social studies and science.

A Project Guide to Wind, Weather, and the Atmosphere by Marylou Morano Kjelle

We cant control the weather, but the weather surely controls us. What we do, where we go, what we wear, and even what we eat depend to some extent on the weather. Theres no doubt about it: weather plays a big role in our lives. But what exactly is weather, and what causes it? Why is it sunny one day and cloudy the next? What are hail and fog?

A Project Guide to Wind, Weather, and the Atmosphere explains how events that occur miles above Earths surface produce different types of weather. Simple experiments give a hands-on approach to studying sunlight, air temperature, and atmospheric pressure. Also included are directions for making meteorological instruments, including a precipitation gauge and barometer. There may be no way to control the weather, but readers can find out how to predict weather events and how to prepare for them.

Author Marylou Morano Kjelle is a freelance writer, photojournalist, and writing instructor who lives and works in central New Jersey. She is the author of dozens of books. She holds an M.S. degree in Science from Rutgers University and has taught science courses to college students.

A Project Guide to the Solar System by Colleen Kessler

From ancient times, people have wanted to learn about the sky. The stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies have been observed for centuries, and theories have changed as the equipment used has improved. Though we now know that the Sun is the center of our solar system, and planets and other objects move around it, we still have a lot to learn. What is a comet made of? Why is Pluto now called a dwarf planet? What causes a solar eclipse? A lunar eclipse?

A Project Guide to the Solar System helps readers answer these questions and more. Whether they try the experiments and activities in this book for fun or for a school project, they will discover why so many people are fascinated by our solar system.

Author Colleen Kessler is the author of science books for kids, including A Project Guide to Reptiles and Birds and A Project Guide to Sponges, Worms, and Mollusks. A former teacher of gifted students, Kessler now satisfies her curiosity as a full-time nonfiction writer.

The other three books in the Earth Science Projects for Kids Series are all written by Claire ONeal. ONeal has written over a dozen books, including Projects in Genetics and Exploring Earths Biomes in the series Life Science Projects for Kids in addition to scientific papers. She holds degrees in English and biology from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington. She lived in the shadow of Mt. Rainier for five years. She experienced the 6.8M Nisqually Earthquake in Washington on February 28, 2001, diving under a desk during her chemistry class. As a kid, ONeal enjoyed collecting rocks and minerals with her brother. Her favorite specimen was a big purple fluorite octahedron she collected from a mine in southern Illinois. She secretly loved rocks so much, ONeal grew up and married a geologist.

A Project Guide to Volcanoes by Claire O'Neal

Mysterious and powerful, volcanoes remind us that nature is in charge. We watch in awe as they erupt with fiery rivers of lava or with explosions that bury whole towns in ash. Volcanoes literally turn the earth inside out, bringing hot molten rock from deep inside the earth to the surface. Readers learn more about the spectacular geology behind volcanoes with twelve science projects they can do themselves. They will think like volcanologists as they build a model volcano that really erupts, recreate the formation of Hawaii, and make their own power station using the heat that powers volcanic eruptions.

A Project Guide to Earthquakes by Claire O'Neal

Our planet shakes with over one thousand earthquakes every day. The strongest ones destroy buildings, roads, and lives. They trigger killer tidal waves called tsunamis. Yet most earthquakes are too weak to feel. What causes earthquakes? And what makes the difference between a killer quake and a harmless one? Readers learn more about earthquakes with these thirteen experiments they can do themselves. They will think like seismologists as they build models of faults, study earthquake-proof structures, and even try to predict the next big one.  

A Project Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Claire O'Neal

Rocks and minerals shape our world. Nature uses rocks and minerals to create the landscape around us. People also depend on these important resources to make the buildings in which they work and play, the roads on which they drive, and even products such as jewelry, electronics, and medicines. Readers learn more about rocks and minerals with these fifteen science experiments they can do themselves. They will think like geologists as they start their own rock collection, learn about earth processes, explore the properties of minerals, and even grow their own crystals.

This colorful book from the Earth Science Projects for Kids series presents basic information about rocks and minerals within suggested projects, encouraging readers to learn about topics such as the formation, layering, and weathering of rocks and their density, porosity, and specific gravity. Projects include using heat and pressure to form crayonite from crayon shavings, creating a layered Jell-O dish that mimics sedimentary rock, making 3-D paper models of geometric crystal shapes, and growing crystals in a jar or, geode-like, inside an egg shell. Although the projects seem well designed and practical, the books intended audience is puzzling. Its polysyllabic vocabulary seems better suited to high-school than elementary-school readers, but the activities frequently call for an adults help, and the photos occasionally show a young child. And indeed, while many of the activities could be done by young children with help from adults, they would also make good projects for older students. A good supplemental source of science projects. Grades 4-7. Carolyn Phelan

These are amazing books, full of simple and fun hands-on experiments requiring a minimum of assistance from teachers or parents, especially to be recommended to home-schooling parents.

Childrens Books / Sports & Activities / Young Children

Little Baseball [Board Book] by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles (Little Sports Series: Sleeping Bear Press)

When does a child learn to read? Many would answer kindergarten or first grade. But researchers have found strong evidence that children can begin to learn reading and writing in their early years, long before they go to school. National Institute for Literacy

Riddle 4:          Round and white and full of stitches,

this is what the pitcher pitches.

Answer:            Baseball. from the book

Designed specifically for the younger set, in thick, board book format, Little Baseball will be a home run with the youngest of sports fans. Young children will revel in the rhyming riddles surrounded by brightly hued clues. Sized small to fit little hands, a four-line riddle and illustrations provide a clue, and with just a turn of a page the answer comes into view.

Author Brad Herzog's first job as a newspaper sports reporter allowed him to travel with the Cornell University football team. He has been writing about the game ever since. A past Grand Gold Medal Award winner, Herzog is a three-time award recipient from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and has published more than two dozen books, including a 400-page compendium of the 100 most important figures in U.S. sports history. Some sports titles include A is for Amazing Moments in Sports, K is for Kick, H is for Home Run, T is for Touchdown, P is for Putt, R is for Race, and E is for Extreme: An Extreme Sports Alphabet. Little Baseball is illustrated by Doug Bowles, who has been a freelance illustrator for 25 years.

Even the smallest of fans can enjoy a book about their favorite sport with Little Baseball. Rhyming riddles accompanied by colorful artwork playfully introduce the games simplest, most basic elements.

Computers & Internet

The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics, Windows 7 Edition by Joe Kraynak (Alpha)

For something designed and promoted to be so user-friendly, sometimes a personal computer can seem very intimidating. Whether readers want to send and receive e-mail, import and print photos of their grandchildren from their digital camera, or learn to Google their favorite author, it helps to have a road map.

To master the high-tech world of computers and electronic gadgets, readers must first master the basics. They need to know their way around a computer, how to point and click with a mouse, how to run programs in Windows, and how to enter commands.

For those with a blank slate when it comes to computer know-how, The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics teaches them how to get started on a PC, including: easy instructions on starting, setting up, and organizing the PC; navigating the Windows 7 desktop and folder system; getting up and running with email; working with music, photos, and video; plus an introduction to Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, eBay, blogging, and instant messaging. Written by Joe Kraynak who has taught hundred of thousands of novice computer users how to master their computers and their software, the book focuses on software and the practical and fun things new users want to do with their PCs.

Packed with everything readers need to know about their Windows 70 PC, The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics leads readers step by step through their computer's folders and files, from the initial startup to navigating Windows 7 and having some fun with popular software. In it, readers get:

  • An easy introduction to the PC setting it up, learning about its features, using e-mail, and getting online.
  • Tips for personalizing Windows installing programs, creating and printing letters, working with photos and video, and other common tasks.
  • Advice on using the PC to organize their finances, set up and manage accounting spreadsheets, and pay bills online.
  • Information on connecting with friends and family on Facebook, watching videos on YouTube, and even creating their own blog.
  • Simple directions for maintaining their computer and troubleshooting when things go wrong.

To provide some structure for this hodgepodge of computer skills and techniques, Kraynak divides The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics into six parts:

Part 1, Getting Started, covers the bare minimum: buying a PC, setting it up and turning it on, using their mouse and keyboard to make it respond to their every command, and getting around in Windows.

Part 2, Taking Control of Your PC, shows readers how to take control of the Windows desktop, install and run programs, upgrade their PC with new hardware, share their computer peacefully with others, manage their files and documents, and network their computers so they can share valuable and often expensive resources.

Part 3, Getting Down to Business, teaches them everything they need to know to type a letter and other documents, add clip art and other graphics to their documents, and print documents and mailing labels. They also learn their way around spreadsheet and personal finance programs.

Part 4, Tapping the Power of the Internet, launches readers into the world of telecommunications. In this part, they find out how to connect to the Internet, surf the World Wide Web, find just about anything on Google, send and receive e-mail, connect with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter, share videos on YouTube, shop online, chat and videoconference with others, and create their own website or blog.

Part 5, Going Digital with Music, Photos, and Video, takes readers on a tour of the wonderful world of digital audio, imaging, and video. Here they learn how to copy music clips from CDs and from the Internet to burn their own custom CDs and transfer music clips to a portable music player, buy a digital camera and use it to snap and print photos and e-mail them to their friends and family, and use video-editing software to splice their home movie clips into a full-length motion picture and burn it to a DVD they can watch on TV.

Part 6, Maintaining and Troubleshooting Your Computer, acts as their PC maintenance and repair guide. Here readers learn how and when to clean their PC, give it regular tune-ups to keep it running like new, troubleshoot common problems, and find additional technical support when all else fails.

The down and dirty basics for computer newbies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics helps people get the skills they need for todays world of computing. After readers have mastered a few basics, as explained in the first few chapters of this book, they will be well prepared to explore and exploit the full power of their computer and the Internet as they proceed through later chapters.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Fine Cooking in Season: Your Guide to Choosing and Preparing the Season's Best by the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking Magazine, with photographs by Matthew Benson (The Taunton Press)

With the season's changing readers will all no doubt be hitting their local farmer's market hoping to score some of the freshest produce possible. As much as the idea of delicious seasonal produce appeals, do readers ever think "what am I going to do with these beautiful fruits and vegetables?"

Todays home cooks want to embrace the bounty of every season and cook with unusual ingredients or use their tried-and-true options in creative ways. Featuring 100 ingredients and 300 recipes arranged by season, in Fine Cooking in Season readers will enjoy both the thrill of discovering new flavors as well as learning different methods of preparing common fresh produce. Each ingredient is accompanied by a beautiful photograph and in-depth details on how to choose it at its peak and keep it fresh, as well as preserving ideas and surprisingly delicious pairings. Plus, each ingredient features multiple recipes from the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking, tested by the Fine Cooking test kitchen staff so home cooks will get sure-to-work, delicious results from their fresh bounty. Fine Cooking in Season is an opportunity to share the most interesting things about more than 90 different kinds of produce, along with fruit-and-vegetable-centric recipes from more than 16 years' worth of seasonal cooking. Orange Salsa

There's nothing more exciting to a cook than discovering a new ingredient or finding an interesting new way to use an old favorite. In Fine Cooking, the editors share shopping hints and buying advice, storage information, and preparation tips on everything from apricots to nopales and tomatillos. Fine Cooking in Season is a comprehensive collection of that culinary advice, featuring over 85 different types of produce organized by season, because cooking with foods at their seasonal peak is the best possible way to ensure real flavor. Accompanied by mouth-watering photos and recipes that highlight peak produce in unique ways, this collection will inspire cooks to explore farmer's markets and supermarkets in new, adventurous ways.

Starting in the spring and continuing through the summer months and into winter as the produce changes, so do the recipes. Some of the delectable recipes included are:

  • Spring: Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Bacon Tart; Cinnamon Rhubarb; Muffins; Sauted Fiddleheads and Morels; Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
  • Summer: Steamed Artichokes with Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette; Braised Fennel with Tomato Green Olives and Capers; Blackberry Grunt; Grilled Chicken Breasts with Green Olive Relish
  • Fall: Pancetta-Wrapped Endive with Salsa Verde; Brown Rice Salad with Basil and Pistachios; Wild Mushroom Risotto; Gingerbread-Pear Cobbler

Winter: Broiled Grapefruit with Honey, Vanilla, and Cardamom; Spiced Shrimp and Avocado Toasts; Gingery Sauted Carrots; Sear-Roasted Halibut with Blood

With over 250 recipes for every meal of the day plus hundreds of other recipe ideas Fine Cooking in Season will be a guide to seasonal cooking.

Fine Cooking in Season is like having an expert and friend guide you from the farmers market to your kitchen, helping you make the most of the delicious bounty available throughout the year. Focusing on produce at its peak is not only flavorful and inspiring, but also a natural way to get a variety of healthy food into your life. Ellie Krieger, host of Healthy Appetite on the Food Network and author of The Food You Crave

Fine Cooking in Season is for readers with an avid interest in creating delicious meals, and provides tips, tools, and advice to help them reach their highest cooking potential. Detailed recipes and colorful photos inspire readers to be better cooks. Readers will love the thrill of discovering new flavors as well as learning different methods of preparing common fresh produce.

Education / Mathematics / K-8

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom by Ted H. Hull, Don S. Balka, and Ruth Harbin Miles (Corwin Press)

Seeing is believing with this interactive approach to math instruction.

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom asks, Do you ever wish your students could read each other's thoughts? Now they can and so can you! Veteran mathematics educators Ted Hull, Don Balka, and Ruth Harbin Miles explain why making students' thought processes visible is the key to effective mathematics instruction. For thinking to be visible, both teachers and students must be equally engaged in learning activities. In this book, they show teachers how to achieve this classroom condition and use visible thinking to increase student learning.

Hull completed 32 years of service in public education before retiring and opening Hull Educational Consulting; Balka, a former middle school and high school mathematics teacher, is professor emeritus in the Mathematics Department at Saint Marys College, Notre Dame, Indiana; and Miles, who coaches rural, suburban, and inner-city school mathematics teachers, coordinated the K-12 Mathematics Teaching and Learning Program for the Olathe, Kansas Public Schools for over 25 years.

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom contains numerous grade-specific sample problems and instructional strategies for teaching essential concepts such as number sense, fractions, and estimation. The authors provide instructional strategies for maximizing students mathematics comprehension through interactive visual thinking. Features include vignettes, relevant word problems, classroom scenarios, sample problems, lesson adaptations, and easy-to-follow examples of each strategy in action. The authors also explain how students can demonstrate their thinking using calculators and online tools.

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom is organized into four parts. In Part I, Tull, Balka and Miles establish the foundation for understanding the purpose and rationale for visible thinking. Chapter 1 explains and defines visible thinking and offers supporting research for the concept. Chapter 2 offers the current research on thinking and learning with several themes that thread their way through effective teaching and learning practices. Chapter 3 provides the current reality of mathematics instruction and how some current initiatives may actually hinder thinking.

Part II focuses on how to promote visible thinking in mathematics classes. Chapter 4 explains the relationships among instructional strategies, the resulting actions, and the classroom conditions, all of which directly depend on visible thinking to be effective. Chapter 5 offers specific suggestions for planning and achieving long-term instructional improvements in mathematics classrooms. These long-term goals are followed by short-term objectives offered in Chapter 6. The chapter provides a sequential and developmental way for teachers and leaders to effectively initiate and sustain change. Chapter 7 describes the instructional model designed to support long-term goals and short-term objectives.

The three chapters in Part III show how to implement the instructional model at different grade levels. Each chapter offers three problems and supporting lessons based on making thinking visible. Chapter 8 focuses on kindergarten through Grade 2 mathematics, Chapter 9 on Grades 3 through 5, and Chapter 10 on Grades 6 through 8. Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom concludes with Part IV, in which Chapter 11 offers advice for ensuring that visible thinking is initiated in mathematics classrooms and that leaders and administrators are working to assist teachers in achieving mathematics success for every student.

To show how thinking can be made visible, throughout Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom the authors have provided numerous examples and scenarios using mathematics problems. The examples not only demonstrate for teachers, leaders, and administrators what visible thinking looks like in mathematics classrooms, but also guide teachers in adapting traditional problems to promote visible thinking. The scenarios present situations in which visible thinking leads to immediate and effective teacher intervention strategies.

This book is a crucial tool for meeting NCTM mathematical content and process standards. Through the useful problems and strategies presented within, teachers will know with certainty how well their students comprehend math content. If comprehension is an issue in your class, this book is a must-have! Therese Gessler Rodammer, Math Coach Thomas W. Dixon Elementary School, Staunton, VA

The author gives an excellent overview of what visual thinking is, why it is important, and how to implement it in the classroom. The text offers great advice for addressing many of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Habits of Mind, including making sense of problems and communicating mathematical reasoning. Frederick L. Dillon, Mathematics Teacher
This book will help you, your students and your school. The author merges what we know works in mathematical problem solving, metacognition, social learning theory, and formative assessment. The examples display grade-specific ways to help individual students tackle brainteasers, whole-class concepts, and adaptations of traditional textbook exercises. Alan Zollman, President of School Science and Mathematics Association

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom shows how making thinking visible in mathematics classrooms is doable; Tull, Balka and Miles offer a sequential and developmental plan for beginning with current practices whatever these may be and gradually, but steadily, initiating successful instructional changes into mathematics classrooms.

Entertainment / Science / History & Philosophy

Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema by David A. Kirby (MIT Press)

Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968, is perhaps the most scientifically accurate film ever produced. Kubricks scientific verisimilitude in 2001 came courtesy of his science consultants including two former NASA scientists and the more than sixty-five companies, research organizations, and government agencies that offered technical advice. Although most filmmakers dont consult experts as extensively as Kubrick, films ranging from A Beautiful Mind and Contact to Finding Nemo and The Hulk have achieved some degree of scientific credibility because of science consultants. In Lab Coats in Hollywood, David Kirby examines the interaction of science and cinema: how science consultants make movie science plausible, how filmmakers negotiate scientific accuracy within production constraints, and how movies affect popular perceptions of science.
According to Kirby, accurate science is only important to filmmakers if they believe it generates entertainment value. Scientific expertise, Kirby points out, is most valuable to filmmakers as a tool to help them utilize their own creative expertise. Drawing on interviews and archival material, Kirby, Lecturer in Science Communication Studies at the Centre for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Manchester, examines such science consulting tasks as fact checking, shaping visual iconography, advising actors, enhancing plausibility, creating dramatic situations, and placing science in its cultural contexts. Kirby in Lab Coats in Hollywood finds that cinema can influence science as well: Depictions of science in popular films can promote research agendas, stimulate technological development, contribute to scientific controversies, and even stir citizens into political action.

For example, in 1992 Michael Braverman, executive producer of the pioneering television program Life Goes On (1989-1993), convened an unusual meeting bringing together the writers, director, and actors, as well as science consultant Wayne Grody of UCLA's School of Medicine and HIV/AIDS consultant Rod Garcia, an HIV-positive activist. The meeting's subject was the storyline for HIV-positive character Jesse McKenna. Garcia recommended that Jesse forego the standard treatment of antiretroviral pills in favor of alternative therapies such as acupuncture and a macrobiotic diet. Grody's argument for keeping the fictional Jesse on his medicine was not about maintaining scientific realism. If Jesse ceased taking his medicine his actions would have influenced thousands of real-world AIDS patients to do the same, which, in turn, would have drastically reduced the number of volunteers available for the clinical studies needed to establish the new cocktail therapies' efficacy. In the end, the television producers put their trust in the expertise of their science consultant and Jesse continued taking his antiretroviral medicine.

Grody's successful battle to ensure that a fictional character continued taking his antiretroviral medicine illustrates the substantial influence that science consultants can have on the depiction of science, technology, and medicine in entertainment products.

Lab Coats in Hollywood is an attempt to uncover science consultants' backstage role in entertainment production. It is also about the reciprocal relationship of how fictional texts in turn impact real-world science. A growing belief within the entertainment industry that scientific verisimilitude translates into bigger box office receipts and higher television ratings has led to an ever-increasing reliance on science consultants to examine scripts, participate in preproduction meetings, and serve as on-set advisors. It would be rare indeed to find a contemporary science-based television or film production that lacked a science consultant in some capacity.

The focus of Kirbys Lab Coats in Hollywood is not on scientists whose advice shapes the technology itself, but rather on the second category of science consultants, whose advice shapes the narrative and visual content of specific cinematic texts. These consultants are brought in to comment on scientific matters involving the script, the actors, the sets, the props, and any other relevant factor during production. Previous research on science in entertainment media tends to treat media texts as discrete entities (content) that are isolated from the act of production (process). It is always important to keep in mind that the content of media texts is determined entirely by choices made during production. When a high-profile film like Deep Impact (1998) or The Day After Tomorrow (2004) makes an obvious intrusion into scientific culture we cannot attribute their influence to a disembodied movie. These texts are the sum total of filmmaking and consulting decisions made during production and we need to acknowledge the agency of those who made these decisions. In Lab Coats in Hollywood Kirby moves beyond approaches based on close textual analysis and cultural analyses in order to explore entertainment media as vehicles of communication.

We all know or think we know what science consultants do on Hollywood films: they check accuracy. Hollywood wants a landscape of verisimilitude, an elaborately produced naturalness, and legitimization of their image of the future. For their part, scientists can alter the public status of their fields and gain a powerful hand in articulating visions of how their own fields might work, from supercomputing to genetic alteration. This is an original study of a field that combines real knowledge of Hollywood films, scientist-consultants and science studies. It is fun to read, taking you to the back and forth between science and film everywhere from 2001 to Contact and Minority Report. I recommend it with enthusiasm. Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in History of Science and Physics, Harvard University, and Producer/Director, Secrecy
Kirby makes a compelling case that scientists and filmmakers need each other. I know of no other book like it. David Saltzberg, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA, and Television Science Consultant
In the gap between science fact and science fiction stands the motion picture and television science consultant. In this brisk, lively account, David Kirby provides us with a history of these often unheralded scientific ambassadors to Hollywood and the critical role they play in shaping how film and television makers depict science depictions which in turn shape how science is understood by the public at large. Zack Stentz, writer/producer (Thor, X-Men: First Class, Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
There have been many books written on the intersection of science and Hollywood. But David Kirbys excellent tome is the first to examine seriously the role of the science consultant in the movie-making process and assess its potential impact. Lab Coats in Hollywood is essential reading for anyone who shares Kirbys passion for bringing science into the service of storytelling for the silver screen. Jennifer Ouellette, science writer and former director, National Academy of Sciences Science and Entertainment Exchange
Kirby convincingly shows us that the interaction between science and cinema is not limited to the portrayal of scientists and science themes in the media, but can significantly contribute to shaping a movies core concepts and even more interestingly scientists own activity in the research sphere. Massimiano Bucchi, Professor of Science and Technology in Society, University of Trento

The ascent of the expert throughout the twentieth century has paralleled the commodification of knowledge in our society. By examining science consultants' impact on entertainment media Lab Coats in Hollywood addresses salient questions in science studies concerning the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge, the deconstruction of expertise as a concept for both scientists and filmmakers, and the relationships linking media, science, and society.

Fashion & Beauty / Design

Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion by Robb Young, with a foreword by Pamela Golbin (Merrell Publishers)

Fashion is a language not an oral one, but a highly sophisticated and structured visual language that allows for a personal form of expression. In constant movement and perpetual change, fashion is inherently based on ingrained codes of the new and the next. Fashion is used to convey gender and power, respect and authority, modernity and authenticity, making it a sartorial billboard that disseminates clear-cut messages to an array of audiences, from intimate to global. For many, fashion evokes sleek catwalk shows and glamorous red-carpet events, but for power dressers worldwide, clothing is a persuasive communication tool that not only announces party rhetoric but also, and most importantly, expresses how they wish to be perceived. In politicians' and first ladies' efforts to form potential voters and reassure faithful supporters, fashion has the power to enhance or distract from the objectives at hand.

Whatever their views, women in politics know they will be judged by how they dress more than their male counterparts. In Power Dressing, London-based fashion journalist Robb Young offers his perspective on the ability of style to influence the careers of women politicians and first ladies. Concise thematic chapters are interspersed with profiles of more than 50 serving and former women presidents, prime ministers, MPs, royals and wives from over 30 countries, ranging from such contemporary figures as Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Queen Rania of Jordan to such iconic women as Eva Pern, Imelda Marcos and Margaret Thatcher.

Power Dressing is the first major work to explore the role of fashion and style in the careers of first ladies and women politicians around the world. Combining portraits with sharp sartorial analysis and hundreds of photographs that shed light on political context, and quotes from prominent figures commenting on each woman's style, this book reveals fashion milestones and the rules of the political fashion game.

Young, contributor to the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune and Vogue.co.uk, says that whether they acknowledge it or not, all political figures partake in the act of power dressing from the first time they stand before an audience seeking a leadership role. Certainly, not all are successful at it; some may be passive participants, and tactics vary wildly from person to person. But everything these individuals wear has an impact on their careers in politics, and therefore on society at large.

Power dressing becomes even more intriguing when it is examined from three often conflicting angles: intention, perception and instigation. In other words, it is a matter of what political figures intend to convey with their external image: how their colleagues and the public perceive it; and what it triggers in terms of coming to power, retaining it and governing along the way.

According to Young, power dressing for first ladies and power dressing for women politicians are essentially two distinct issues that overlap only in certain circumstances. Only in the first and final chapters are the experiences of both first ladies and women politicians presented. The remaining chapters are devoted purely to women politicians, who also make up the bulk of the profiles featured in Power Dressing, since it is in their own right that they wield their power.

In terms of the criteria used for the selection of the women, they were based partly on instinct. The primary consideration was that there be a compelling perspective on, or critical analysis of, a particular woman's power-dressing experiences. But diversity was also an important factor. Young tries to be representative of what one finds in politics and human nature: the good, the bad, the bold, the boring, the beautiful, the ugly and nearly everything in between. In order to demonstrate how many commonalities and differences there are around the world, he features women from various cultures and of different ages, ideological points of view and degrees of popularity. This allows Young to underscore how necessary it is to understand the broader context and environment that a political woman inhabits before attempting to conclude anything about her particular brand of power dressing.

As told in Power Dressing, the trouble began in the early 1990s, when the designers who had made a fortune from power dressing moved on to something else. Power dressing seemed to have been invented with political women in mind, so, with no alternative on offer, many female politicians continued to wear Giorgio Armani's style of the wedge-shaped jacket, or diluted matronly versions of Chanel and Gianni Versace's big-buttoned, nipped-waist power suits with inflated shoulder pads in attention-seeking colors, long after they had gone out of fashion. While they clung to this pastiche of power dressing, their peers in the business world had taken to Donna Karan's comfortable capsule dressing, Anne Klein's pared-down version of corporate wear and Armani's new soft tailoring aesthetic.

While it is true that the most basic interpretation of power dressing for political women has been stuck in a time warp for millennia, the past twenty-five years (which, after the initial historical chapter, serve as the window of time that frames the selection of individual women to be profiled) have gradually ushered in many important changes. What really motivated Young to chronicle the topic is the fact that only in the past few years have we begun to witness a major paradigm shift in power dressing itself. Some political women no longer feel the need to abandon the sorts of clothes once considered too feminine for the job. 'Fashion' may continue to be a dirty word for many in parliaments and presidential palaces, but it is not nearly as profane as five years ago. More political women are now engaging with contemporary fashion, integrating its whims into what was for too long a wornout power-dressing uniform and rewriting the rules in the process. This, in turn, has profound effects on how the fashion establishment and, more importantly, the general public views political (meaning powerful) women.

With Power Dressing, Robb Young brilliantly demonstrates through critical and rigorous analysis the weight and influence of power dressing. This is a book that will finally enlighten us about the connections between two seemingly opposing disciplines that are central to our modern culture. Pamela Golbin, Curator in Chief, Musee de la Mode et du Textile, Paris, from the foreword

Engaging and entertaining, Power Dressing reveals the milestone fashion moments' as well as the unspoken rules of the political fashion game.

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

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, 5th edition by Edmund J. Bourne (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook Series: New Harbinger Publications)

From broad issues such as economic recession, environmental breakdown, political polarization, and multiple wars to more immediate problems with the health care system, schools, urban congestion, the food industry, and technological complexity, we all live in increasingly stressful times.

Through its four previous editions, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook has helped over one million readers make a full and lasting recovery from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety-related issues. Packed with effective skills for assessing and treating anxiety, this workbook can be used alone or as a supplement to therapy to help readers develop a full arsenal of skills for quieting worried thoughts and putting themselves back in control.

This new edition has been updated with the latest anxiety research and medications, and includes new therapeutic techniques that have been proven effective for the treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related conditions.

Worksheets in The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook help readers learn the skills they need to manage their anxiety and start living more freely than they ever thought possible. Author Edmund J. Bourne, clinical psychologist, and Director of the Anxiety Treatment Center in Santa Rosa, gives readers a range of proven methods for overcoming anxiety:

  • Relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Challenging negative self-talk and mistaken beliefs.
  • Imagery and real-life desensitization.
  • Making lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise changes.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy.
  • Skills for preventing and coping with panic attacks.

Twenty-one years have passed since The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook was first published as a broad summary of the diverse approaches for treating anxiety disorders. In the past few years, a new approach has been gaining prominence and research support in the field: acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This new approach differs from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in emphasizing mindfulness toward anxious feelings and thoughts, rather than challenging and changing fear-producing thoughts, as in CBT.

Readers familiar with the fourth edition of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook will find some noticeable changes in this fifth edition. Two new chapters have been added. Chapter 11 examines the nature, causes, and treatment of ten common phobias. Bourne says it was written in response to readers and clients requesting more specific information on some particularly common phobias. Chapter 19 explores acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment approach to anxiety, including a number of exercises for implementing this approach. Other changes in the fifth edition of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook include:

  • Updated material on each of the major anxiety disorders (chapter 1)
  • Updated information on the neurobiology of certain anxiety disorders (chapter 2)
  • Updated material on the use of CDs and MP3 downloads (rather than audiotapes) for relaxing visualizations (chapter 4)
  • Updated information on nutrition (chapter 15)
  • Augmented information on medications to include descriptions of a few newer medications used to treat anxiety disorders such as Cvmbalta, Pristiq, and Lyrica (chapter 17)

This book excels not only in explaining the cause and nature of anxiety disorders and phobias but also in describing treatments.This is truly a workbook, with exercises designed to facilitate recovery, either through private use or in conjunction with professional therapy. if your collection lacks a good lay reader's book on anxiety and phobia, this is an excellent choice. Jennifer Amador, Central State Hosp. Medical Lib., Petersburg, Va., Library Journal

Any who've struggled with panic attacks and fears will find this packed with self-help exercises and guidelines to overcoming anxiety and stress, from understanding how to assert oneself to creating a positive recovery strategy. This focuses on handling feelings, including plenty of tips on handling life problems. Midwest Book Review

concise, practical, and comprehensive. A highly regarded and widely known resource. Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health, revised edition

A great resource for a holistic approach. Reid Wilson, author of Don't Panic

Extremely well done. Christopher McCullough, author of Managing Your Anxiety

This workbook offers a practical and comprehensive guide to anyone struggling to cope with the many-faceted manifestations of panic and anxiety. Child and Behavior Therapy

As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins, the causes of anxiety in contemporary society are legion. The collective level of anxiety in society is even more pressing and stressful than ten years ago. Thoroughly updated, the variety of interventions offered in The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook provides readers a wide range of resources to better cope with anxiety in all the forms in which it can show up. Readers learn to relieve their anxiety and start living without fear.

Humanities / Literary Criticism

Authorship Revisited: Conceptions of Authorship around 1900 and 2000 edited by Gillis J. Dorleijn, Ralf Grttemeier and Liesbeth Korthals Altes (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change Series, Vol XXXVIII: Peeters)

How do conceptions of the literary author change throughout history, and how do they function in specific contexts? The present volume aims to investigate debates on the concept of authorship as a struggle of participants writers, critics, and scholars over different conceptions of interpretation. In this struggle, all kinds of literary and non-literary norms appear to be at stake. Authorship Revisited compares the time span around 1900 and 2000, and contrasts the French situation with conditions in other cultures and 'minor literatures.'

It addresses the following questions: how did the processes of group-constitution, professionalization, and (de-)autonomization of authorship around 1900 and 2000 offer new positionings and roles for writers, and affect conceptions of the author? To what extent can such conceptions of authorship projected or defended by writers as well as by critics and scholars be analyzed as strategies to claim and legitimize a position in the literary field, respectively in the scholarly field? What light does the analysis of debates about authorship shed on how the social, political or moral relevance of both literature and criticism are defined and defended?

Editors are Gillis Dorleijn, Professor of Modern Dutch Literature at the University of Groningen; Ralf Grttemeier, Professor of Dutch Literature at the Carl-von-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg; and Liesbeth Altes, Professor of General and Comparative Literature and Modern French Literature at the University of Groningen.

According to the editors in the introduction to Authorship Revisited, the author clearly is back on the agenda of literary studies, as a shortlist of some recent book publications on authorship shows. In response to the obituary pronounced by Roland Barthes in his 1967 article on The Death of the Author, metaphors triumphantly proclaim the author's `return' or 'resurrection'. So why yet another volume on this issue?

It is the contention of Dorleijn, Grttemeier and Altes that particular conceptions of authorship cannot themselves be justified or rejected on the basis of a general theory of literature, since they correspond necessarily to normative presuppositions. What they do in Authorship Revisited is to reconstruct the different views that authors, critics, and scholars take on authorship. This implies both accounting for the social, political, and institutional context of these views and analyzing them as strategic routes that serve to claim and legitimize a position in the literary (or in the scholarly) field.

Authorship Revisited concentrates on several closely related topics. The editors focus in particular on the ongoing process of group constitution, professionalization, and autonomization of authorship in the last two centuries. These processes have to do with all kinds of material, social, and legal conditions, but also with the ways authors position and present themselves. Different deontologies are progressively defined in the course of the period under scrutiny, affecting authors' behavior and the appreciation of their work in the public and literary sphere. These authorial posturings, as well as the ways in which authors' intentions are constructed and considered to be relevant for the interpretive process, can be analyzed as having strategic dimensions in the ongoing discussion and negotiation that constitute literary culture.

By paying special attention to the time span around 1900, Authorship Revisited examines for different geographical situations to what extent this period is indeed crucial for the rise of a new type of author and new conceptions of authorship, as has been suggested in previous research. By contrasting the inquiry into this period with the period around 2000, they sharpen the historical perspective and shed more light on issues at stake in contemporary conceptions of authorship. Moreover, by contrasting the French situation quite heavily researched in a number of seminal studies that have strongly determined the global theoretical models on these issues with precise studies of conditions in other cultures, in particular those corresponding to `minor literatures', the editors contribute to the testing and fine-tuning of these models.

Around 1900 a new type of authorship appears to come into being and some aspects of this process are central to Authorship Revisited. Authors began to present and organize themselves as professional and relatively independent players in the literary field and the market. Writers could emerge as a distinct group of actors within society. In addition, there had been a huge growth of the market for books in large parts of Europe during the eighteenth century. In her contribution to Authorship Revisited, Gisele Sapiro shows how the notion of responsibility was redefined from the nineteenth century onwards through a number of trials, to the effect that authors came to be presented as independent intellectuals who defended the values of truth and justice.

The process of the author's emancipation and autonomization is not necessarily linked to norms with a universal scope. The same process may take place in less institutionalized `weaker' literary fields like Croatia and Poland, with respect to claims of national identity, for instance. Accordingly, Gun-Britt Kohler argues in her contribution that the shaping of the modem author around 1900 in Croatia is connected to what she calls a secular-pragmatic national disposition, as opposed to the sacral-aesthetic national disposition she discerns in Poland around the same time.

The starting point of the earliest tradition, the Anglo-American copyright-tradition, is the 1709/1710 law `For the encouragement of learning', which protected printed books for a period of fourteen years. On the continent the tradition of the droit d'auteur prevailed in France, where a 1777 royal decree recognized literary production as work for which authors deserved an income. This view was adapted in 1793 as a result of the French Revolution and made its way through Europe.

So even without formal training and diplomas, even without professionalization in the strict sense, there are strong indications during the nineteenth century that authors increasingly perceived themselves as a 'professional' group, as distinct from amateurs for whom writing was a leisure activity. The most obvious signal for this tendency was the establishment of professional associations. Hans Vandevoorde and Christophe Verbruggen show in their contribution to Authorship Revisited how these dynamics took shape in Belgium, where in 1907 the Flemish Vereeniging van Letterkundigen (vvL) was founded, with the assistance of the Dutch vvL, founded in 1905. The founding of these associations partly signal that authors made an effort to articulate professional interests and increase their autonomy.

It is surprising that relatively little research has been done on the way authors actually made a living at the time. In his exploratory research for the Dutch situation from the end of the nineteenth century until the Second World War, Gillis Dorleijn shows a far from clear-cut picture: not a single poet could live from his books alone. To be an acknowledged poet had nothing to do with having a `professional' income position as a poet. Symbolic capital status, recognition, and reputation called the tune in defining the poet, and poets positioned themselves accordingly.

An author had to keep up the appearance of not being a dilettante, while at the same time avoiding the impression of featuring for the market. Jerome Meizoz demonstrates the usefulness of the notion of posture, by which he refers to the ways authors craft an image of themselves and try to impose that upon their audiences (not just the literary). In his contribution to Authorship Revisited Meizoz describes the shaping of modem authorship as emancipation from the `masters', with Rousseau as an exemplary case.

In the actual negotiation of meanings and values occasioned by literature, inferences about an author's posture as well as ethos appear to play a decisive role. Liesbeth Korthals Altes analyses the connection between conventional writer postures and expectations about the ethos of the author constructed by a writer himself, and by his or her critics. She argues that such inferences function as frames for the ways critics classify, understand and evaluate literary works, especially in the case of controversial, ironic, or engage literature.

Criticism often forgets that authors not only have to earn money to live, but they also have bodies, invested with cultural meanings and values. Britta Herrmann demonstrates that a historical analysis of the author's ideal body gives excellent insight into `the laws of symbolic power relations' as well as the competing and shifting cultural codes defining the relation between body, gender, style, and creativity.

Concepts of authorship and self-presentation are also at stake in two contributions that shed light on different media around 1900 and 2000, respectively. As Marieke Dubbelboer shows, Alfred Jarry in his almanacs from around 1900 uses various `strategies of anonymity, collaboration, collage and intertextuality'. His work thus pinpoints in a playful and highly ambiguous way crucial issues at stake in the notion of authorship. Sabine Schlickers analyses the hybrid genre of aut(h)o(r)fiction ('auto- and author-fiction'), in which the author `crosses his novel with an autobiography', resulting in equivocity: oscillation between authentification and fictionalization effects, between emphasizing the autobiographical and the anonymization of the author.

In the light of Authorship Revisited, these positionings offer ample space for the critic's professional interpretations, while simultaneously they impose on the critic the task to perform that clarification under rules set up by the author. Several contributions touch upon the fact that there seems to have been a close institutional alliance between author and critic in their struggle for professionalization and for the autonomization of the literary field. As Anton Kirchhofer argues in his contribution, the gradual disappearance of the author based on modernist poetics is a catalysis that leads to `additional questions about the precise, the complex, the difficult relation between author and work' and all these burning questions are then to be answered by the critic. Bringing the concept of authorial intention into further historical perspective, Ralf Grttemeier shows that Schleiermacher's ideas on criticism can be considered as a decisive turn. This better-understanding-of-the-author view forms a conceptual break with the traditional concept of intention, in which authorial intention, the intention distilled from the text, and the intention which the reader gathers from both normally were regarded as a continuum and a unity; discrepancies between these appeared as errors or lack of knowledge on the side of readers.

Finally, complementing the previous historical analyses which relativized apodictic statements about the `death of the author', Tom Kindt and Tilmann Koppe demonstrate the meta-theoretical approach that Authorship Revisited would like to advance, with their systematic scrutiny of the recent debate on authorial intention in recent Anglo-American aesthetics. Any programmatic statement about the role of authorial intention, they conclude, should be considered in the light of the critics' conception of literature: if one decides to explore authorship and its functions with regard to interpretation one cannot avoid evaluating conceptions of authorial intention and varieties of intentionalist approaches.

The contributions collected in Authorship Revisited share the idea that statements by writers and critics should not be taken at face value, but be considered as strategic position-taking acts. This volume not only makes conceptions of authorship more complex, but also clarifies aspects of the author's poetics and activities in the literary field, shedding some light on the author's complexion.

Authorship Revisited not only contributes to a more precise analysis of the actual historical and culturally diversified functioning of conceptions of authorship, but also offers inspiring methodological approaches for such research.

Literature & Fiction / Poetry

Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems by N. Scott Momaday (University of New Mexico Press)

My principal objective as a poet is to write directly from my mind and heart in the traditions that are my heritage. To trade in the wonder of words and to be acquainted with those whose best expressions have sustained us, that is literature. N. Scott Momaday, from the Foreword

Although highly regarded as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and drama, Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday considers himself primarily a poet. The first book of his poems to be published in over a decade, Again the Far Morning comprises a varied selection of new work along with the best from his four earlier books of poems: Angle of Geese (1974), The Gourd Dancer (1976), In the Presence of the Sun (1992), and In the Bear's House (1999).

To read Momadays poems from the last forty years is to understand that his focus on Kiowa traditions and other American Indian myths is further evidence of his spectacular formal accomplishments. His early syllabic verse, his sonnets, and his mastery of iambic pentameter are echoed in more recent work, and prose poetry has been part of his oeuvre from the beginning. Again the Far Morning includes the elegies and meditations on mortality that one expects from a writer whose career has been as long as Momaday's, but it also includes light verse and sprightly translations of Kiowa songs.

"I believe that the poem is the highest form of verbal expression," writes Momaday in the Foreword to Again the Far Morning.

Momaday also says that the oral tradition of the American Indian is very important to him, and it has informed much of his writing. My Kiowa father sang and told stories to me from the Kiowa oral tradition from the time I was a young child. That tradition has been largely influential in the determination of my literary voice. My mother, who was predominately English, was a writer, and she gave me a deep love of, and respect for, the English language.

The poem, in the strict sense of the word, does not exist in the Kiowa tradition, but song and story are indispensable and highly developed. Both are infused with poetic character. Moreover, the song in oral tradition is invested with a belief in the intrinsic power of language. That power is definitive, and it informs the best of poems including those in Again the Far Morning.

Clearly Momaday experiments with the mythos and metric syllabics of Native American verse rhythms crossing into modernist forms.... With a true sense of Pound's Oriental ideogram, this Kiowa poet then weds generic rhythms, Oklahoma and New Mexico, to twentieth-century formal acculturations, beyond the wasteland. Kenneth Lincoln, Sing with the Heart of a Bear: Fusions of Native and American Poetry

Inscrutable, the way poetry is.

Philosophy / Political

Rawls Explained: From Fairness to Utopia by Paul Voice (Ideas Explained Series, Vol 8: Open Court)

The perspective of eternity is not a perspective from a certain place beyond the world of a transcendent being; rather it is a certain form of thought and feeling that rational persons can adopt within the world. And having done so, they can, whatever their generation, bring together into one scheme all individual perspectives and arrive together at regulative principles that can be affirmed by everyone as he lives by them, each from his own standpoint. Purity of heart, if one could attain it, would be to see clearly and act with grace and self-command from this point of view. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

We live in a world that is increasingly unjust. In many liberal democratic societies the gap between the best-off and the worst-off grows larger. Other societies pursue economic growth while remaining blind to their citizens' political rights and freedoms. The citizens of some other societies are so bereft of basic resources that they struggle to maintain their human dignity.

In this context John Rawls challenges readers to see the world through the lens of fairness. Injustice can only be effectively challenged if we can articulate, to ourselves and to others, both why a situation is unjust and how we might move towards justice.

John Rawls (1921-2002) was arguably the most important political philosopher of the 20th century. Barely a word of political philosophy is written today that is not indebted to the philosophical paradigm that Rawls bequeathed. Rawls Explained sets out the thinker's complex arguments in a way that makes them accessible to first-time readers of his hugely influential work. The book also attends to the variety of objections that have been made to them.

Written by Paul Voice, who teaches philosophy at Bennington College, the book is divided into three parts corresponding to the three great books that form the core of John Rawls's theory: A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism (1993), and The Law of Peoples (1999). Rawls Explained sets out Rawls's ideas in the form of a critical exposition that elaborates the central themes and philosophical background of his arguments. Each section of the book ends with a survey of some of the main criticisms of the arguments coupled with Rawls's strongest counterarguments.

Part of the reason for Rawlss unearned obscurity is his reluctance to participate in public and political life. Another reason is that his work is not easily accessible either in content or style to readers unfamiliar with its intellectual context and its somewhat arcane vocabulary. On his death at age eighty-one, his obituaries, written by some of the leading figures in Western philosophy, placed him alongside John Locke and Immanuel Kant in the canon of Western political philosophers. His colleague, the philosopher Hilary Putnam, said: "His work is not going to be forgotten for decades, I think, for centuries."

The purpose of Rawls Explained is to introduce readers to the political philosophy of Rawls. Voice explains the basic ideas of Rawls's theory of justice and guides readers through his arguments. A Theory of Justice is a sophisticated, deeply complex, and revolutionary theory of justice for democratic societies. It moves between discussions of morality to problems of rational choice, economic theory, and developmental psychology among many other topics. But it always keeps its focus on the central question: What are the principles that ought to govern the institutions of a just and stable democratic polity? It is the complexity of Rawls's thought and the systematic exposition of his arguments, coupled with his clarity of focus, that makes reading A Theory of Justice so rewarding. Furthermore, careful readers cannot come away from time with this text without a sense that something very important has been said and also with the desire to engage critically with Rawls's arguments, the desire to wrestle with the ideas and to see how firmly they stand up to scrutiny.

Aside from the intrinsic merits of the work, A Theory of Justice was first published at a Rawls's philosophy takes seriously the role of institutions in making social justice possible and it directly addresses inequalities of wealth, income, rights, and opportunities. Furthermore, rather than reconciling us to the justice of these inequalities, Rawls advocates principles that would, if practically implemented, radically change the shape of society and the prospects of its citizens. In many ways, political philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition since 1971 has been a footnote to A Theory of Justice, including Rawls's own later works.

As Voice explains in Rawls Explained, Rawls's second main text, Political Liberalism, was published twenty-two years after A Theory of Justice in a very different academic and political environment. Rawls had helped establish liberalism as the predominant political philosophy. Through the 1980s its main challenger was communitarianism, a view that challenged liberalism's commitment to individualism and its claims to universal justification. The aim of Political Liberalism is to demonstrate how justice is possible in a society in which citizens adhere to and advocate incompatible conceptions of the good. The problem of the plurality of conceptions of the good in democratic societies was not fully understood or addressed in A Theory of Justice. However, in confronting this problem Rawls makes clear that he intends the scope of the justification of his principles of justice to extend only to societies that have a history of democratic institutions and to persons who share a conception of the good that includes a particular understanding of the nature of persons as free and equal.

Rawls himself is very clear that A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism are theoretically continuous, a point he makes abundantly clear in the final book, Justice as Fairness. Voices approach is to treat Rawls's work as a single theory and to read A Theory of Justice in light of the ideas and arguments in Political Liberalism. This approach enriches and clarifies the ideas in the former text.

The third and final book that Rawls Explained examines is The Law of Peoples, published in 1999. It is based on ideas Rawls developed in a lecture and short article in the early 1990s. While Rawls's previous work was devoted to the problem of justice within democratic societies The Law of Peoples examines the problem of international justice. His approach to the issue is provocative and deeply controversial among liberal political thinkers. Taking the value of toleration as foundational he declines the temptation to argue for the application of the principles of justice he advocates for liberal democratic polities to all societies. He goes on to make a number of distinctions between, for example, nation-states and peoples, and between liberal and decent societies. Given the general preoccupation with the problems of globalization Rawls's contribution stands at the center of the debate, even if it receives a great deal of criticism and is often misunderstood.

Rawls Explained is a marvelous introduction to the work of John Rawls. Voice's writing is lucid and sophisticated, and his analyses are always informative, insightful and cogent. The book eminently succeeds in showing why Rawls is one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Patrick Hayden, author of Political Evil in a Global Age: Hannah Arendt and International Theory

Written with elegance and clarity, Voice's book admirably synthesizes and critically probes the thinking of John Rawls in his three major works, A Theory of Justice, Political Liberalism, and The Law of Peoples. Rawls Explained will prove invaluable for students approaching Rawls's work for the first time and remarkably even those who know Rawls's work well will benefit from Voice's insightful discussion of the texts. Darrel Moellendorf, author of Cosmopolitan Justice

In Rawls Explained Voice offers as much complexity as is required for a firm grasp of the theory to provide readers with an understanding of what Rawls is up to. Underlying Rawlss steel-like arguments is an abundantly evident interest in changing the world and a belief in the possibility of making a difference. Both clear in its exposition of Rawls' ideas and true to the complex purposes of his arguments, Voice conveys Rawlss ideas with something of a sense of wonder. He conveys his ability to connect the abstract world of philosophical argument with immediate and practical concerns. Voice explains Rawls's ideas, not engaging in the more arcane debates that interest only a few scholars.

Religion & Spirituality / Judaism / History / World / Arts & Photography / Medieval

The Washington Haggadah copied and illustrated by Joel ben Simeon, introduction and translation by David Stern, introduction by Katrin Kogman-Appel (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

After the Bible, the Passover haggadah is the most widely read classic text in the Jewish tradition. More than four thousand editions have been published since the late fifteenth century, but few are as exquisite as the Washington Haggadah, which resides in the Library of Congress. Now, a stunning facsimile edition, The Washington Haggadah, meticulously reproduced in full color brings this beautiful illuminated manuscript to a new generation.

Joel ben Simeon, the creator of this unusually well-preserved codex, was among the most gifted and prolific scribe-artists in the history of the Jewish book. David Sterns introduction reconstructs his professional biography and situates this masterwork within the historical development of the haggadah, tracing the different forms the text took in the Jewish centers of Europe at the dawn of modernity.

In the introduction to The Washington Haggadah Katrin Kogman-Appel, Associate Professor of the Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and David Stern, Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature at the University of Pennsylvania., show how ben Simeon, more than just a copyist, was an active agent of cultural exchange. As he traveled between Jewish communities, he brought elements of Ashkenazi haggadah illustration to Italy and returned with stylistic devices acquired during his journeys. In addition to traditional Passover images, realistic illustrations of day-to-day life provide a rare window into the world of late fifteenth-century Europe.

The Washington Haggadah this facsimile edition of the Washington Haggadah takes its name from its final home, the Hebraic Section in the Library of Congress of the United States of America, in Washington, D.C. This title is a recent one. It marks the final destination in a lengthy journey that this volume has taken in the course of its life as a book. Completed "on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Shevat in the year 238 according to the short enumeration" (January 29, 1478) as the book's colophon states by one of the most important and prolific scribes and illustrators in the history of the Jewish book, Joel ben Simeon, this unusually well preserved and beautifully illustrated haggadah marks an important moment in the history of Jewish culture.

In its life as a book, the Washington Haggadah also exemplifies the lives of Jewish books more generally. After being written in Germany, the Washington Haggadah traveled to Italy. Then, after passing through the hands of a series of owners, it was finally brought to America in circumstances that themselves bear remembering. In these circuitous journeys, the Washington Haggadah is like many Jewish books that similarly have wandered across continents and through the lands of the Diaspora with their Jewish owners.

Finally, as a Passover haggadah, the Washington Haggadah bears within itself the religious and literary history of its genre. The life of any haggadah begins much earlier than the moment of its own production. It begins with the formulation of its text, a process that took at least ten centuries; and that text itself derives from a ceremony, a ritual, that goes back to the earliest beginnings of the Israelite nation. In tracing its history, then, we traverse nearly the entirety of Jewish history.

The Passover Seder, the festive banquet that it accompanies, is arguably the single most popular Jewish observance, celebrated by Jews throughout the world in remarkably similar ways since the early Middle Ages, and one of the few classic Jewish religious rituals to have maintained its centrality to Jewish culture despite all the upheavals of modernity and secularization, albeit often in a radically transfigured and reinvented form. Since the beginning of Jewish printing in the late fifteenth century, more than four thousand separate editions of the haggadah have been published, and these editions, especially during the last century, chart the many transformations and changes experienced by modern Judaism. Yet before print and the inevitable standardization that went along with the printing revolution there existed a variety of haggadot in manuscript form, that is, written by hand. These distinct traditions vividly reflect the vicissitudes of Jewish history and the diasporic cultures in which they were produced.

The Passover haggadah also holds a special place among Jewish books because it is the classic Jewish text devoted to the idea of redemption. In the classical period, this idea was closely associated with the traditional messianic hope; in more modern times, it has become a cipher for every conceivable type of religious, ideological, political, and sexual liberation. In either case, the most striking feature of the haggadah perhaps its most distinctively Jewish feature is the way it intertwines the dream of future redemption with the memory of the past (specifically of Israel's enslavement in Egypt and miraculous liberation) and collapses past and future into a present that invariably has been colored by the diasporic culture in which the specific haggadah has been produced. The history of the haggadah, as a text and as a book, can be charted, virtually step-by-step, as its Jewish producers have moved deeper and deeper, as it were, into their various Diasporas and places of geographical and historical exile from Roman Palestine to Parthian Babylonia, from Babylonia to the European centers of Ashkenaz and Sepharad, and from those centers to all the later homes of Jews in North Africa, Arabia, Eastern Europe, the Americas, and, finally, to the State of Israel. As we follow these journeys, we see how closely linked in the Jewish experience are exile and redemption; the imagining of the latter is inevitably shaped by the experience of the former. It is this linkage that most profoundly informs the haggadah's history. The Washington Haggadah captures one specific moment in that history, which is also the story of the Jewish imagination.

The Washington Haggadah provides a rare window into the world of its producers and readers, the Jews of late fifteenth-century Europe. It faithfully preserves the original text, with the Hebrew facsimile appearing in the original right-to-left orientation. It will be read and treasured by anyone interested in Jewish history, medieval illuminated manuscripts, and the history of the haggadah.

Religion & Spirituality / Outdoors & Nature / Environment

Judgment Day: the Struggle for Life on Earth by Paul Collins (Orbis Books)
Most people are surprised to hear about the Vatican's carbon neutrality, but it is a sign that the church is beginning to take the world environmental crisis seriously. Without doubt Catholicism specifically, and Christianity generally, have a long way to go in the process of coming to grips with what is happening to the natural world, but at least a beginning has been made.

The purpose of Judgment Day is to push that recognition further. While his background and inspiration are specifically Catholic, what Paul Collins argues applies equally to all those who call themselves Christian, to believers of any of the great religious traditions, and to people of goodwill. It also has relevance to people who see the ecological crisis as a profound spiritual and moral issue.

The recent Gulf oil spill is just the latest depredation against the planet. From every direction come signs of global warming and other forms of ecological disaster that threaten the future of all living beings. In Judgment Day, historian and broadcaster Collins examines the nature of this crisis and how we got here including a review of the mental habits of thought and religious worldviews that have contributed to the dilemma and continue to inhibit effective action. According to Collins, if religious ideas have contributed to the problem, there are also powerful resources within the Christian tradition that can help both in scripture, and in the work of prophetic geologians like Thomas Berry and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Drawing on these resources, Collins lays out the elements of a theology aimed at saving the earth and humanity. The book consists of four parts:

  1. Seeing Ourselves in Perspective
  2. The Facts
  3. The Best and the Worst
  4. The Christian Response

Fifteen years ago Collins published a book entitled God's Earth: Religion as if matter really mattered (1995), in which he made his first foray into environmental theology. Judgment Day takes the application of theological and moral categories to ecology further. He says that global warming is now a reality that looms over us all. More and more species are becoming extinct. The world's population continues to increase. Industrialization, based on non-renewable pollutants such as coal and petroleum, continues to fuel the old industrial world as well as the new, expanding economies such as those of India, China and Brazil. Pollution levels continue to increase.

But the picture is not all bad: there is increasing public awareness of environmental concerns throughout communities in the Western world. Environmental issues have reached the mainstream, although it is still very difficult to get politicians to take them seriously. While they indulge in ecological rhetoric and there is a lot of environmental window-dressing, governments still have a long way to go before one could claim that they are taking this issue seriously. In the European Union some good work has been done in developing ecological awareness and a legislative framework, but the United States under former President George W. Bush was opposed to any form of environmental legislation and saw global warming as a myth.

The Christian churches, including many evangelicals and even some fundamentalists, have also realized that environmentalism is an important issue facing us all. The Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Bartholomew I, is often called the `green patriarch', and he has certainly influenced Pope Benedict XVI, who speaks increasingly often about the environmental challenge we face. Many Catholic bishops' conferences and the mainstream Protestant churches have also taken up the challenge. The other great world religious traditions have joined in the struggle to increase the importance of environmentalism in their ethical and belief agendas.

Part of the problem, according to Judgment Day, is that many people have still not really been grabbed at the gut level by the dire threat that global warming poses, and many are still hoodwinked by the kind of propaganda put out by well-funded climate change deniers. The polluting industries still have a massive amount of clout with governments, media and opinion makers as they threaten the loss of jobs through taking their operations overseas, or attempt to persuade governments to wait for action by other countries before acting. In order to grasp what global warming is about, readers need to be able to comprehend a very big picture. They need to know a fair amount of weather history to see it in perspective. But many people are the products of an education system that offered them few critical tools, little in terms of powers of discrimination between the significant and the trivial, and a distrust of what might be called overarching narratives or big picture issues such as global warming. They almost delight in maverick opinions, so they listen to climate change deniers who present themselves as a persecuted minority overwhelmed by a gullible majority of scientists who, they argue, only support the global warming push because they want funding for their research, or are too afraid to oppose the dominant opinion. The deniers snipe from the sidelines. The tragedy, according to Judgment Day, is that uncritical people tend to take them far more seriously than they deserve.

Paul Collins presents the political, economic, scientific, and spiritual aspects of the ecological crisis convincingly and brilliantly. Hans Kiting, Global Responsibility: In Search of a New World Ethic

A courageous book. Paul Collins deploys his considerable skills as a historian, theologian, and journalist to convince the reader of the magnitude of the crisis now threatening the Earth. Sean McDonagh, The Greening of the Church

A sobering assessment of our condition, Judgment Day is a powerful warning of the perils of global warming and a mobilization of the Christian conscience to change our thinking, our ways of acting, and so to save our planet.
Science & Mathematics / Physics / Computers & Internet

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku (Doubleday)
In Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible, physics professor at CUNY Graduate center and cofounder of string field theory, gives readers a vision of the coming century based on interviews with over three hundred of the worlds top scientists who are already inventing the future in their labs. The result is the most authoritative and scientifically accurate description of the revolutionary developments taking place in medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy production, and astronautics.
In all likelihood, by 2100 we will control computers via tiny brain sensors and, like magicians, move objects around with the power of our minds. Artificial intelligence will be dispersed throughout the environment, and Internet-enabled contact lenses will allow us to access the world's information base or conjure up any image in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism.
According to Physics of the Future, using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases. Millions of tiny DNA sensors and nanoparticles patrolling our blood cells will silently scan our bodies for the first sign of illness, while rapid advances in genetic research will enable us to slow down or maybe even reverse the aging process, allowing human life spans to increase dramatically. In space, radically new ships needle-sized vessels using laser propulsion could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars. Advances in nanotechnology may lead to the fabled space elevator, which would propel humans hundreds of miles above the earths atmosphere at the push of a button.
But these astonishing revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy. He addresses the key questions: Who are the winner and losers of the future? Who will have jobs, and which nations will prosper?
Physics of the Future illuminates the scientific principles, examining the rate at which certain technologies are likely to mature, how far they can advance, and what their ultimate limitations and hazards are. Kaku's predictions are grounded in science, though many sound more like science-fiction. Kaku takes readers on a step-by-step progression of science's likely achievements in the next thirty, seventy, and one-hundred years and shows why his forecasts are realistic and, in many cases, inevitable. Kaku also explains how concepts found in the movies, like Star Wars, Gallatica, and Jurassic Park, are not as far-fetched as one might think or that distant from actual scientific findings and discoveries.

Kaku (Physics of the Impossible), a professor of physics at the CUNY Graduate Center, gathers ideas from more than 300 experts, scientists, and researchers at the cutting edge of their fields, to offer a glimpse of what the next 100 years may bring. The predictions all conform to certain ground rules (e.g., "Prototypes of all technologies mentioned... already exist"), and some seem obvious (computer chips will continue to get faster and smaller. Despite the familiarity of many of the predictions to readers of popular science and science fiction, Kaku's book should capture the imagination of everyday readers. Publishers Weekly

Following in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne, Kaku, author of a handful of books about science, looks into the not-so-distant future and envisions what the world will look like. Kaku, a physics professor and one of the originators of the string field theory (an offshoot of the more general string theory), draws on current research to show how, in a very real sense, our future has already been written. The books lively, user-friendly style should appeal equally to fans of science fiction and popular science. David Pitt, Booklist

Kaku looks closely at current research and trends and offers fact-based predictions on how the world may look ten to 100 years in the future... His strength is translating potentially difficult concepts into easily understandable information and exciting stories of the future. Library Journal

Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, Physics of the Future is a thrilling, provocative and exhilarating ride through the next 100 years of breathtaking scientific revolution.

Social Sciences / Anthropology / History / Ancient / Early Civilization

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne, Series Editor David Fasenfest (Studies in Critical Social Sciences, Vol 28: Brill)

According to Richard Duchesne, lecturer in Social and Political Thought, York University and Professor of Sociology at The University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada, the roots of the West's superior intellectual and artistic creativity should be traced back to the aristocratic warlike culture of Indo-European speakers. Extensively researched, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, argues that the development of a libertarian culture was an indispensable component of the rise of the West. Among the many topics discussed are: the ascendancy of multicultural historians and the degradation of European history; China's ecological endowments and imperial windfalls; military revolutions in Europe 1300-1800; the science and chivalry of Henry the Navigator; Judaism and its contribution to Western rationalism; the cultural richness of Max Weber versus the intellectual poverty of Pomeranz, Wong, Goldstone, Goody, and A.G. Frank; change without progress in the East; Hegel's Phenomenology of the [Western] Spirit; Nietzsche and the education of the Homeric Greeks; Kojeve's master-slave dialectic and the Western state of nature; Christian virtues and German aristocratic expansionism.

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization has five closely related objectives. First, it traces the ideological sources behind the multicultural effort to provincialize the history of Western civilization. It argues that the devaluation of Western culture that swept the academic world starting around the 1960s was part of a wider and newly emerging intellectual movement that included the rise of anthropological relativism, critical theory, dependency theory, evolutionary materialism, post-modernism, feminism, and identity politics.

Second it assesses the empirical adequacy of a highly influential set of revisionist works published in the last two decades dedicated to the pursuit of dismantling the Eurocentric consensus on the rise of the West. The focus is on explicating, interpreting, connecting, systematizing, supplying background information, and refuting the arguments of multicultural revisionists who claim that there were surprising similarities between the West and the non-Western world as late as 1800-30 and that the Industrial Revolution was the one transformation that finally set Europe on a different path of development. The Uniqueness of Western Civilization demonstrates that the entire revisionist school is founded on tendentious claims in its attempts to rewrite the history of the West. The questionable pursuit of the revisionist school is addressed by means of a conscientious analytical and detailed review of a vast body of secondary sources and findings.

The third objective argues that the traditional Eurocentric historiography on the rise of the West still holds much significance despite the unrelenting criticisms it has faced in the last few decades. The standard historiography includes the classical exponents of Europe's uniqueness as well as scholars whose primary interests are directed towards debating the causes of Europe's ascendancy. In defending their perspectives, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization also goes beyond them by considering numerous additional sources from historians of Europe who have written about Western achievement from the ancient Greeks to the present. The central contention is that the West has always existed in a state of variance from the rest of the world's cultures. For example, some of the most significant divergences would include the Greek miracle; the Roman invention of the legal persona, the Papal revolution, the invention of mechanical clocks, the Portuguese voyages of discovery, the Gutenberg revolution, the Cartographic revolution, the Protestant reformation, the rational mercantilist state, and the industrial enlightenment. The main question is why the great accomplishments in the sciences and arts have been overwhelmingly European.

The fourth objective insists that the development of a liberal-democratic culture was an indispensable component of the rise of the West. There is more to a modern agent in Western culture than a scientific or industrialized person who performs specialized roles based on effort and merit. The ideals of freedom and the reasoned pursuit of truth were cultivated and realized in the course of Western time.

Finally, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization argues that the roots of the West's restless creativity and libertarian spirit should be traced back to the aristocratic warlike culture of Indo-European speakers. The Indo-Europeans were a distinctively pastoral, horse-riding, mobile, and war-oriented culture governed by a spirit of aristocratic egalitarianism. The book demonstrates the primordial basis for Western uniqueness lay in the ethos of individualism and strife.

Contents of the chapters include:

  1. The Fall of Western Civilization and the Rise of Multicultural World History Early World Historians and the Idea of Progress; Termination of the Western Civilization Course; World History Texts from the 1920s to the 1940s; World History Texts in the 1960s; Rise of Dependency Theory; Wallerstein's World-System and Critical Theory; Franz Boas's Relativism and Marvin Harris's Cultural Materialism; The Conversion of William McNeill: From Rise of the West to Interactive Webs; Cultural Relativism, Scientific Materialism, and Humanism Combined; The Exclusion of Sociobiology; Kant's unsocial sociability; Progress and the State of Nature; Dynamic Man versus Reactive Man; The Ascendancy of Multicultural World Historians; Patrick Manning: It Takes an African Village to Write World History; Disparaging the West: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
  2. Eurocentrism over Sinocentrism The Basic Empirical Claims of the Revisionists; The Two Arguments of Re-Orient; One Asian World System?; The Role of Colonial Profits; Trade, Power, and Liberty: the Secret of British Imperial Success; China's high-level equilibrium trap; The Geographical Limits of China's Post-1400 Extensive Growth; Was Eighteenth Century Europe following a Malthusian path?; Was traditional China a Low Fertility Regime?; Conclusion
  3. Whence the Industrial Divergence? The Basic Propositions of Pomeranz's Great Divergence; Malthus was Born too Late in a World too New; End of the Old Malthusian Regime in England; Standard-of-Living Debate; New World Resources versus European Resources; Was Cheap Coal Sufficient or Necessary?; Dynamic Rather than Static Comparisons; China's Ecological Endowments and Imperial Windfalls     
  4. The Continuous Creativity of Europe Hobson and the Eastern Origins of the West; Eurocentric Historians; Imitation, Innovation, and Invention; Revolution in Time; The Printing Revolution; The Science and Chivalry of Henry the Navigator; Columbus and the Cartographic Revolution; The Industrial Enlightenment; Goldstone's Happy Chance versus Jacob's Scientific Ethos; Contingency versus Long Term Patterns; Europe's Solo Act: A Mercantile-Militaristic State?; Military Revolutions in Europe 1300-1800; The Inter-State System; Greek Hoplites and the Western Way of War; Mercantilism and the Birth of Political Economy; Liberty and the States System           
  5. The `Rise' of Western Reason and Freedom; The West is more than Wealth and Power; The Cultural Poverty of the Revisionists; The Cultural Richness of Max Weber; Judaism and its Contribution to Western Rationalism; Schluchter on the Genetic Developmental Dynamic of the West; Habermas and the Rationalization of Substantive Values; The Liberal Democratic Ideals of the West and its Historiography    
  6. The Restlessness of the Western Spirit from a Hegelian Perspective Change without Progress in the East; Measuring Human Accomplishments; The Historiography of Europe's Revolutions; Phenomenology of the Western Spirit; Hegel and the Geographical Basis of the infinite thirst of the West; Hegel and the Beginnings of Western Reason; Hegel on the desire of World-Historical Individuals; The Master-Slave Dialectic and its Historical Reference; Hegel's Account of the State of Nature; Kojeve and the fight to the death for pure prestige; Spengler and the Faustian Soul of the West; McNeill and the Indo-European Roots of the West's Warrior Ethos
  7. The Aristocratic Egalitarianism of Indo-Europeans and the Primordial Origins of Western Civilization The Founding Fathers of the West: Democratic Citizens or Aristocratic Warriors?; Indo-Europeans as the Other of World History; The Distinctive Indo-Europeanization of the West; Chariots, Mycenaeans, and Aristocratic Berserkers; Aristocratic and Martial Traits; The Impact of Indo-Europeans on the Civilizations of the East; Big Man Feasting and the Origins of Inequality; Prestige-Seeking Chiefs; From Simple to Paramount Chiefdoms; Eastern Group-Oriented and Western Individualizing Chiefdoms; City-States: Sumerian versus Greek; The Autocratic Character of Mesopotamia and Egypt; The Epic of Gilgamesh is not a Heroic Tragedy
  8. The Emergence of the Self from the Western `State of Nature' and the Conciliation of Christianity and Aristocratic Liberty Fukuyama and the Megalothymia of the first men of the West; Why Hegel's Master Must be Aristocratic; Kojeve and the first appearance of Self-Consciousness; Charles Taylor and Plato's Self-Mastery; The Beginnings of Genuine Personalities in History; Nietzsche's Homer on Competition; Arete and the Education of the Greeks; The Roman Aristocratic Link; The Germanic Barbarian Rejuvenation of the West; Feudalism: an Aristocratic Type of Rule; Charlemagne's Continuation of the Western Tradition; Christian Virtues and Aristocratic Expansionism; Aristocratic liberty and the Rise of Representative Institutions     

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization's clear admiration for Western civilization, its higher cultural legacy, and its aristocratic roots will likely satisfy none of the politically sensitive and motivated orthodoxies currently in vogue in academia. As he readily admits, Duchesne makes arguments about areas of history he knows little about. However the book is thoroughly researched and he pays serious attention to the most pertinent, intelligent, and prominent secondary sources available. The book should add to the fruitful controversy over this inexhaustible subject.

Social Sciences / Biography / Native Americans

A Navajo Legacy: The Life and Teachings of John Holiday by John Holiday and Robert S. McPherson (The Civilization of the American Indian Press, Vol. 251: University of Oklahoma Press)

My name is John Holiday. This is what I think. I am getting old. Many of our great ancestors were very knowledgeable in many areas, but they did not leave us these important teachings about and within these four sacred mountains, our land. Our ancestors took it all with them when they died. So presently, we live as if we are blind and deaf. This is the reason why I think I will not let this happen. I will not depart from this life without leaving my teachings behind. I want to be remembered through my life story and teachings.

My life story interviews begin from the time I was born and taken in a cradleboard [to Tuba City], to being a toddler, through adolescence, to my present life. In my interview, I told my life story and everywhere I have been. I want this to be my autobiography, in my name, and to be remembered forever by all those who read [A Navajo Legacy]. This is what I had in mind, and that is why I agreed to do the interview with this white man.

[A Navajo Legacy] consists of my life's teachings, how to make a living the past, present, and future. I talked about many of our important people of the past, their names, where they lived, and what they did. I also talked about many geographical names of this area and how my stories are associated with each site. I told about what names we have given to our mesas and land formations around here. I want all this important information to be available to all. This is why I agreed to do the interview. from the book

A Navajo Legacy is a portrait of the life of a traditional twentieth-century Navajo medicine man. For more than ninety years, John Holiday has watched the sun rise over the rock formations of his home in Monument Valley, Utah. Holiday is a practicing traditional Navajo medicine man. At an early age, Holiday began an apprenticeship with his grandfather to learn the Blessingway ceremony, and as a youth, he performed rainmaking ceremonies and practiced healing.

Holiday experienced the invasion of Monument Valley by whites and later participated in the early filmmaking industry, working with director John Ford and actor John Wayne. Robert S. McPherson, teacher at Utah State University-San Juan, interviewed Holiday extensively to record his full and fascinating life. Holiday tells his grandparents stories of the Long Walk era, discusses attitudes about the land, relates Navajo religious stories, and recounts his training as a medicine man. A Navajo Legacy reflects the thoughts of a traditional practitioner who has found in life both beauty and lessons for future generations.

Navajo biography and autobiography is a small but growing genre. In The Journey of Navajo Oshley, McPherson outlined a brief summary of some of the more important works, with others having since been added, most notably Charlotte J. Frisbie's Tall Woman. Each person's life history is unique, of course, but McPherson believes John Holiday's to be an important contribution to Navajo studies for two reasons; first is the way he approached the task. Holiday is as much a philosopher, teacher, and advocate as he is an elder, medicine man, and traditionalist. There is little doubt how he feels about a topic, and he instructs accordingly. McPherson says he has found in working with medicine men that as a general rule, their interpretation of events and understanding spring from the training and world view associated with their ceremonial knowledge. Why something happens, its importance, and its aftereffects are explained from a religious perspective, and Holiday does this beautifully. What make Holiday's account important are the unvarnished explanations and the voice with which he describes what he saw taking place, based on his religious perspective. Other Navajo autobiographies are excellent works, wonderful additions to understanding daily Navajo life, but the narrators do not philosophize or ruminate over their experiences in the same way that Holiday does.

McPherson works to maintain presence in Holiday's story by preserving Navajo thought with its holistic, religious perspective. His voice is clear and vision sharp as he explains his rational world based on traditional teachings. Although this world may be discordant with beliefs from the twenty-first-century scientific world, Holiday's views make sense.

The information in A Navajo Legacy reflects how Holiday was taught and how he views his world. The vast majority of time spent in the initial interviews was under was his direction and not based on a series of preconceived questions derived by the interviewers. Holiday had a clear idea of what he considered to be important, what he wanted to say. Not until McPherson returned with a number of points that needed clarification did the interviews take a question-and-answer format. Even then, Holiday found opportunities to share new insight. McPherson says he knows that what appears in this book is only the surface of his teachings, which go in many directions with greater depth.

Holiday chose to leave out some elements. Readers may find it surprising, for example, that there is so little mention of his family. When asked whether he would like to include more in A Navajo Legacy, he decided not to, and so their story will be left for them or others to write. McPherson believes the reason for this is that Holiday wished to make sure that his grandfather's, his father's, and his own teachings remained central and undiluted. His story is primarily a story of men, of ceremonial practitioners, and of teachings that have been passed down through his family line. It was his responsibility to see to its preservation, which became a personal task.

The second reason A Navajo Legacy is an important contribution to Navajo studies is its emphasis on local history and culture. McPherson says that Holiday understood the Navajo map of the past. Today, people pass through Monument Valley and southeastern Utah oblivious to the names bestowed upon the land by previous generations. When listening to older Navajos talk, one cannot help but be impressed with the rich ethnographic understanding associated with what seems like every rock, mesa, spring, and mountain. Whatever the reason, this identification system was clearly specific, varied, and pervasive for Navajos in the past.

The information from this understanding is powerful. As readers absorb the text and notes in A Navajo Legacy, they encounter a rich understanding of what the land meant to Navajos in the past. The land is personalized and instructive, the teachings from which need to be preserved as much as any other type of cultural information.

McPhersons hope is that someday in the not-too-distant future, these places can be named on maps by elders who remember. This knowledge needs to be put in the hands of young people, not just as a school project, but as a tangible tool that pries open the doors of the past to a wealth of understanding.

A Navajo Legacy, in addition to being about the life of a man, is a history of the Monument Valley community. Holiday experienced so much over the past eighty years that he is, in a sense, a representative figure, a spokesperson for those now gone. His family teachings hearken to before the Long Walk (early 1860s) and Fort Sumner (1864-1868) periods and the Navajos' return to their land. He describes daily life in the livestock industry, livestock reduction, work for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and war industry during World War II, movie making in the John Ford years, and uranium mining. Woven throughout these everyday and landmark events are his training and practice as a medicine man in the context of daily life with the people, a way of life that changed rapidly from one that evolved over hundreds of years to one that dramatically shifted within two decades in the twentieth century.

The second half of A Navajo Legacy consists of Holiday's teachings about the land, self-discipline, traditional culture, ceremonies, and the future. Didactic at times, always a storyteller, Holiday discusses what he sees happening today. He is concerned about, but not yet ready to pass the torch to, the younger generation. The loss of language and traditional values, a fragmented work ethic, weakening self-discipline, and decreasing ceremonial knowledge seem to be fulfilling the prophecies of earlier generations that these changes would eventually happen with catastrophic results. He is very much aware of what is to transpire before, as he describes, the medicine men are placed in the mountains, but he also hints that it is not too late to reverse the loss. His words are offered to other Navajos as a means of reversing this trend.

Navajo life histories are an important means of communicating perspectives about the Din world. This book is destined to occupy a prominent place in that literature. Peter Iverson, author of Din: A History of the Navajos

Like Walter Dyk's Son of Old Man Hat, Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony, and McPherson's earlier work, The Journey of Navajo Oshley, A Navajo Legacy is destined to become a classic in Native American studies. Utah Historical Quarterly

A Navajo Legacy is a vivid portrait of a Navajo medicine man, of great valuable as ethnography and also valuable for tracing genealogical roots. McPherson maintains Holidays presence in the story by preserving Navajo thought with its holistic, religious perspective. Readers receive a powerful glimpse into this perception. Holiday certainly assists McPherson in understanding the complex flow of people and events so much a part of traditional culture. Holiday shows readers what a web of relations means. His insider view provides immediacy, fabric to the culture, as he tells, for example, of real people making a living in the livestock economy of the 1920s and 1930s and in the uranium industry of the 1950s.

Travel Guides / Fiji

Moon Fiji, 9th edition by David Stanley (Moon Handbooks Series: Avalon Travel Publishing)

David Stanley has spent much of the past three decades on the road. He has crossed six continents overland and visited 213 of the planet's 245 countries and territories. His travel guidebooks to the South Pacific, Micronesia, Alaska, Eastern Europe, and Cuba opened those areas to budget travelers for the first time.

With white sandy beaches, crystal blue oceans, coral reefs, and a vibrant culture, Fiji is a traveler's dream. In the new edition of Moon Fiji, South Pacific expert and veteran travel writer Stanley suggests the best ways to experience this beautiful and vast group of islands. Whether it's making the most of one of the world's premiere diving spots or getting away from it all in lesser-known villages, Moon Fiji provides resources for a variety of travelers. For those looking for trip inspiration, Stanley offers several trip itineraries.

Packed with information on swimming the reefs, taking day-long boat cruises, and sampling Fijian specialties, Moon Fiji gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience. The book features more than 50 easy-to-use maps and brilliant color photographs.

Suggestions on how to plan a trip that's perfect for the traveler, include:

  • The 10-Day Best of Fiji.
  • Island-Hopper Special.
  • The Real Fiji.
  • Fiji's Finest Beaches.
  • The Life Aquatic.
  • For Nature Lovers Only.
  • The firsthand experience and unique perspective of author Stanley.

Once notorious as the Cannibal Isles, Fiji is now the colorful crossroads of the South Pacific. Of the 322 islands that make up the Fiji group, more than 100 are inhabited by a rich mixture of Melanesians, Indo-Fijians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Chinese, and Europeans, each group with a cuisine and culture of its own. Here Melanesia mixes with Polynesia, ancient India with the Pacific, and tradition with the modern world. Fijians preserve an amazing variety of traditional customs and crafts, such as the presentation of the whale's tooth, fish driving, turtle calling, tapa beating, and pottery making.

The landforms and seascapes of Fiji are just as diverse and just as dramatic. The cartoon-shipwreck sandbars of the Mamanucas, the grassy volcanic hilltops of the Yasawas, and the impenetrable rainforests of Taveuni are all concentrated in a relatively small area. The two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are among the largest in the region. Strewn like a halo around these giants are scattered island chains, which require time and effort to visit.

Most visitors experience Fiji through the resorts and aquatic activities of the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, and many Coral Coast resorts have a family-friendly reputation. Fiji's intriguing history comes alive in the old colonial capital, Levuka, where the main street recalls the whaling days of a bygone century. Savusavu on Vanua Levu is an old coconut plantation town with the feel of the American Deep South, while the big sugar mill towns, Lautoka and Labasa, are rough and ready. Suva, the capital, is the stage on which the country's modern history is acted out.

As shown in Moon Fiji, Fiji is a traveler's country par excellence. Travelers meet vibrant, outgoing people whose knowledge of English (one of two official languages, the other being Fijian) makes communicating a breeze. Unlike areas where travelers are mere spectators, in Fiji they are encouraged to participate. They swim along reefs rich in marine life and coral, hike over grassy ridges with half of Fiji at their feet, and surf waves meeting land for the first time since Antarctica. The bite of spicy Indian curries will awaken their taste buds, while Fijian specialties like diced raw tuna marinated in lime juice or whole reef fish baked in coconut cream will make them feel they have arrived in heaven.

America's finest travel guidebook series ... extensively researched, engagingly written, intelligently indexed, and packed with helpful maps and sidebars. Money Magazine

Stanley does not simply list the properties in alphabetical order and expect the reader to determine what's best. Based on personal visits and feedback from visitors, he will offer you an opinion and the straight facts. Rob Kay of FijiGuide.com

Moon Handbooks give readers the tools to make their own choices, with can't-miss sights, activities, restaurants, and accommodations.

In Moon Fiji Stanley provides great trip ideas for a variety of travelers. Packed with information on swimming the reefs, taking day-long boat cruises, and sampling Fijian specialties, the travel guide offers the tools needed to explore this one-of-a-kind South Pacific country.

Travel / US / Transportation

Tourist Trains Guidebook, 3rd edition by Editors of Trains magazine (Kalmbach Books)

Boasting more full-page reviews than previous years and thoroughly updated, this third edition of the Tourist Trains Guidebook, gives train fans and those who like to travel a detailed look at 175 of the most popular train attractions in North America. The guidebook also lists 300 additional train rides, museums and historical depots of interest. Regional maps showing the location of the sites are also included.

Sharing a love of trains, the authors reviewed the sites from first-hand experience. A railroad discount card, which offers savings at more than 70 attractions, is included.

Tourist Trains Guidebook that takes readers into the exciting world of heritage railroading. This guide is designed to spur the imagination and spark curiosity to go and explore. Readers learn where to find real operating steam locomotives. Readers discover trains that travel over historic rails, journey into the wilderness, or provide rare scenic vistas. Written by the knowledgeable staff and contributors of Trains magazine, each review explains what a site offers, the best times to go, and what else readers can do in the area. Some take travelers to see tall timber or dazzling vistas. Others are there so they can enjoy a meal, a play, or music on board or as a destination. Travelers find museums that are the keepers of our rich railway history from the days of steam to those having sleek streamliners. They discover trains that run within sight of, or right through, some of our land's greatest national parks. They find trains that take them to see wildlife up close, relive history, or provide rafting or biking adventures. They discover where they can step inside a genuine roundhouse, learn about narrow gauge trains that once went in search of riches, and find places that tell the story of man and machine vs. mountains. Some museums even have programs that allow them to run a locomotive.

In this edition, 24 additional sites have been reviewed and 30 new sites have been added as shorter listings.

Trains still run wild in the imagination, even as society pushes them to the side for other methods. Now in a newly updated and expanded second edition, Tourist Trains Guidebook is a guide to the world of the train throughout the United States and Canada. Covering train sites from still active railroads, historic train-related sites, top dinner cars that still run today, museums, and so much more, it presents more than four hundred and fifty articles to whet the appetite of any train lover. Tourist Trains Guidebook is the perfect gift for railroading enthusiasts, as well as vacation and/or business travelers. Midwest Book Review

Packed with useful information, this one-of-a-kind guidebook is for anyone seeking a unique travel experience as well as for diehard train fans. With the updated Tourist Trains Guidebook 3rd edition, train lovers can plan vacations centered around railroading or beef up the itinerary of an existing trip with a train ride or visit to a train-centric site. The book takes readers to fascinating train rides, museums, trolleys, depots, and dinner trains across the United States and Canada, featuring informative and entertaining reviews of leading tourist trains and museums.

 

 

Contents this Issue:

Canon PowerShot G12: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Carlson (Peachpit Press)

Digital Alchemy: Printmaking Techniques for Fine Art, Photography, and Mixed Media by Bonny Pierce Lhotka (Voices That Matter Series: New Riders)

Research Methods and Design in Sport Management by Damon P.S. Andrew, Paul M. Pedersen and Chad D. McEvoy (Human Kinetics)

HBR's 10 Must-Reads on Change by Harvard Business Review (HBRs Must-Reads Series: Harvard Business Review Press)

Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry by Stephen Denny (Portfolio / Penguin)

Rediscovering Value: Leading the 3-D Enterprise to Sustainable Success by Geary A. Rummler, Alan J. Ramias and Cherie L. Wilkins (Jossey-Bass)

A Project Guide to Earth's Waters by Christine Petersen
A Project Guide to Wind, Weather, and the Atmosphere by Marylou Morano Kjelle
A Project Guide to the Solar System by Colleen Kessler
A Project Guide to Volcanoes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Earthquakes by Claire O'Neal
A Project Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Claire O'Neal
Earth Science Projects for Kids Series: Mitchell Lane Publishers

Little Baseball [Board Book] by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles (Little Sports Series: Sleeping Bear Press)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to PC Basics, Windows 7 Edition by Joe Kraynak (Alpha)

Fine Cooking in Season: Your Guide to Choosing and Preparing the Season's Best by the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking Magazine, with photographs by Matthew Benson (The Taunton Press)

Visible Thinking in the K-8 Mathematics Classroom by Ted H. Hull, Don S. Balka, and Ruth Harbin Miles (Corwin Press)

Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema by David A. Kirby (MIT Press)

Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion by Robb Young, with a foreword by Pamela Golbin (Merrell Publishers)

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, 5th edition by Edmund J. Bourne (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook Series: New Harbinger Publications)

Authorship Revisited: Conceptions of Authorship around 1900 and 2000 edited by Gillis J. Dorleijn, Ralf Grttemeier and Liesbeth Korthals Altes (Groningen Studies in Cultural Change Series, Vol XXXVIII: Peeters)

Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems by N. Scott Momaday (University of New Mexico Press)

Rawls Explained: From Fairness to Utopia by Paul Voice (Ideas Explained Series, Vol 8: Open Court)

The Washington Haggadah copied and illustrated by Joel ben Simeon, introduction and translation by David Stern, introduction by Katrin Kogman-Appel (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

Judgment Day: the Struggle for Life on Earth by Paul Collins (Orbis Books)

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku (Doubleday)

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization by Ricardo Duchesne, Series Editor David Fasenfest (Studies in Critical Social Sciences, Vol 28: Brill)

A Navajo Legacy: The Life and Teachings of John Holiday by John Holiday and Robert S. McPherson (The Civilization of the American Indian Press, Vol. 251: University of Oklahoma Press)

Moon Fiji, 9th edition by David Stanley (Moon Handbooks Series: Avalon Travel Publishing)

Tourist Trains Guidebook, 3rd edition by Editors of Trains magazine (Kalmbach Books)