Contents this page:
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality and the Creative Self by Janet L. Ramsey and Rosemary Blieszner, with series editor Jon Hendricks (Society and Aging Series: Baywood Publishing Company)
Art / History / Religion & Spirituality / Christianity
Art as Spiritual Perception: Essays in Honor of E. John Walford edited by James Romaine, with a foreword by Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker (Crossway)
Making a critical contribution to the field of art history, Art as Spiritual Perception is a reader covering everything from sixth-century icons to contemporary art from a Christian perspective. Written by experts around the world, this book reflects the work of noted scholars, most especially John Walford and Hans Rookmaaker, as well as the richness of the history of Christianity and the visual arts.
Editor James Romaine, a New York based art historian, is cofounder of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art as well as an associate professor and chair of the department of art history at Nyack College.
Contributors to Art as Spiritual Perception include: James Romaine, Graham Birtwistle, William Dyrness, Linda Moskeland Fuchs, Marleen Hengalaar-Rookmaaker, Rachel Hostetter Smith, Ranchel-Anne Johnson, Henry Luttikhuizen, Kaia Magnusen, Matthew J. Milliner, Anne Roberts, Calvin Seerveld, Joel Sheesley, Jan Laurens Siesling, Linda Stratford, Matthew Sweet Vanderpoel, and James Watkins.
Over many years, John Walford has been an extraordinary and energetic scholar, writer, teacher, and artist. This festschrift is a fitting tribute to a man whose life has touched so many and in such profound ways. – Jeremy S. Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School; author, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music
Over the course of his distinguished career as an art historian, John Walford has given generations of students the gift of sight. Professor Walford has enabled us to perceive in the visible world the spiritual meanings inherent within works of art. This collection of essays displays the fruit of his labors through the work of scholars who have received his artistic insights and share his passion for close readings of visual imagery, clear expressions of doctrinal truth, and joyful experiences of aesthetic delight. – Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
Art as Spiritual Perception is a rich kaleidoscope of art historical essays all centered around one common theme of increasing importance today – the way in which artists’ views of the world, not least their religious beliefs, shape artistic perception and meaning. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to the impressive work and legacy of John Walford. – Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, coauthor, Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts; former senior member in philosophical aesthetics, the Institute for Christian Studies
It is with great delight that I herald the arrival of Art as Spiritual Perception in honor of Dr. Walford. James Romaine and his fellow scholars have created a fitting work in tribute to Walford and – perhaps more importantly – have added a significant new volume to the select canon of books on art and faith. This is a fantastic book. The chapter on Van Gogh alone is worth the price of admission. – Ned Bustard, editor, It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God; illustrator, The Church History ABCs
This wide-ranging collection of essays … is a fitting testimony to the career of John Walford, whose life and work have been characterized by faithfulness to his guild, faithfulness to his students, faithfulness to his college, and above all, faithfulness to God. – Lisa DeBoer, Professor of Art, Westmont College
Art as Spiritual Perception is a wide-ranging collection of essays that will be an encouragement and inspiration to all who love art and love God.
Arts & Literature / Biographies & Memoirs
The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain edited by Minnie M. Brashear and Robert M. Rodney, with an introduction by Edward Wagenknecht (University of Oklahoma Press)
Mark Twain (1835-1910) is revealed in The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain in an entirely new autobiographical light from his own writings as they reflect his career, his thinking, and his humor. This volume captures the grandeur that distinguishes Mark Twain as, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, ‘by far the greatest American writer.’
Made up of short stories and excerpts from Twain’s principal works, The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain demonstrates Twain’s artistry in handling anecdotes, tales, description, and characterization; the fervency of his ethical convictions; his effective use of irony, satire, burlesque, and caricature; and his essential humanity. Editors are Minnie M. Brashear, deceased professor of English at the University of Missouri and coeditor with Robert M. Rodney of The Birds and Beasts of Mark Twain, and Rodney, deceased professor of English at Northern Illinois University.
Here is the optimism of the young Twain responding to the rough and rugged vitality of the mid-nineteenth-century American scene, and the skepticism and pessimism of the older Twain reacting to the American democratic experiment of the late nineteenth century.
In the introduction to The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain, the editors ask, What, essentially, was Mark Twain? The editors believe that a close examination of the man's life and the reading of a representative cross section of his work will reveal that Twain was essentially a fine literary artist, within the limitations of certain literary media; that he was a great humorist, in the profoundest sense of that word; and that he was a shrewd observer of life and human nature and a provocative commentator on what Balzac called ‘the human comedy,’ but which Twain, with greater compassion, chose to call ‘the damned human race.’ Above all, the editors feel that Twain and his writings are a vital part of the American experience, an experience that the present generation cannot afford to overlook if they are to preserve their sense of the American past. Putting aside the biographers, the critics, and the interpreters after giving them due consideration, readers must, as a final resort, decide for themselves the meaning of that experience. This they can always do by going directly to Twain himself and sharing that experience with him.
The primary purpose of The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain is to introduce Twain to a new generation of readers, and to renew the acquaintance of older readers with much that they may have enjoyed but forgotten from their reading of earlier days. To the critics and other editors is left the satisfaction of speculating about what Twain might have been and what he might have accomplished if he had had a more conventional education, or if he had enjoyed a different milieu.
In the first part of The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain readers are offered selections from all of Twain's better-known works, together with extracts and short pieces from many of his less-well-known writings. The editors believe that these selections will persuade readers to accept the Missouri writer as something more than a mere humorist. The second part is a brief survey of Twain's contribution to the field of humor and an attempt to account for the Missouri origins of his humor. Following the shorter selections that exemplify Twain's early humor, the editors offer "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" and portions of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to demonstrate the transition from his earlier, more optimistic view of life to his later pessimism. Finally, selections from The Mysterious Stranger are intended to show the sardonic vein, the full expression of the humorist's despair over the plight of the human race. Underlying all of these writings, readers discern Twain's essential humanity. According to the editors, if these pages enable readers to enter Twain's world and discover that its creator contributed something significant not only to Americana but to world literature itself, The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain will have served its purpose.
A labor of love by two Twain experts.... With impressive skill they reveal the wit and wisdom of Twain in both domestic and foreign frames of reference. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
[In The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain] Miss Brashear and Mr. Rodney have remembered … that the whole vast body of Mark Twain's writings are autobiographical; they have chosen their contents accordingly from a vaster and aesthetically more impressive array of materials than Mr. Neider could command.
This is the kind of book that could only have been edited by people who really knew Mark Twain and his work.… The extracts from The Prince and the Pauper are in what I may call the autobiographical part of this book, though I am not sure that the editors have thought about their divisions in quite this way. At any rate there is a shift of emphasis in the second half, where the reader is asked to center his attention upon Mark Twain's works rather than upon Mark Twain. …
I hope the readers who first meet Mark Twain in this expertly guided tour will know how lucky they are. Speaking for myself, I envy them. – from the introduction by Edward Wagenknecht, deceased professor of English at Boston University and the author of Mark Twain: The Man and His Work.
By arranging the materials in chronological order and weaving them together with critical commentary, The Art, Humor, and Humanity of Mark Twain presents the many facets of Twain’s experience and his dynamic personality with greater continuity than in previous collections of Twain’s writings.
Arts & Photography / Folk Art
Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra De Puebla by Bryan J. Stevens (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.)
In the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz, old masked dances have survived in isolated mountain regions. These dances include wonderful masks of humans and animals, masks with beautiful, comic, or wicked faces. Created by Indigenous master carvers, mascareros, these masks and puppets appear during religious fiestas.
The Spanish conquerors strove to convert the Indian inhabitants of Mexico to Christianity. However, these converts secretly retained important deities from earlier times to accompany Christian elements, creating a poetic blend of beliefs. Given that these indigenous peoples have suffered many injustices, the masks, puppets, and dance dramas reflect many unresolved societal tensions along with veiled wishes for divine justice.
In Mexican Masks and Puppets over 700 color photos reveal these masks and puppets in all their glory. The text, written by Bryan Stevens, retired child psychiatrist and a collector of Mexican masks, answers the questions about who made these works of art, who these dance characters are, and the nature of the religion they represent.
Stevens in the introduction to Mexican Masks and Puppets describes buying an interesting mask on eBay and thereby being reintroduced to the seller, Vernon Kostohryz, a retired teacher living in San Miguel D'Allende, who is a collector and dealer in Mexican masks and antiques. Stevens says he had developed an interest in the broader context of Mexican masks. He liked seeing groupings of masks from a particular dance or from a particular mascarero. He was fascinated by the remarkable range of styles in Mexican masking, which involved local traditions and also the visions of individual carvers. So he wanted to learn everything he could about some of the unknown master carvers. It happened that Kostohryz 's approach and subsequent discoveries about mask carvers was provided exactly the sort of information that he wanted to learn.
He began to discuss such things with Kostohryz and a collaboration developed. Together they began to sharpen what was known or could be learned about individual carvers and their masks. Often one discovery would lead to others, as they developed the ability to identify mask features that could suggest the identity of the carver. Kostohryz noticed that each carver tended to develop an individual style for carving the ears on a mask. Other features like this included the use of painted designs, the handling of the eyes and vision slits, and the carving of the back of a mask. They began to develop an identification system.
Mexican Masks and Puppets tells how they were aided in this process by Carlos Moreno Vasquez. Vasquez is a Mexican national who has been working as an antiques dealer in rural Puebla for many years. With his help, tasks that would have been impossible became merely difficult and ultimately achievable. What emerged was an appreciation that there had been many talented carvers in this region; some were still carving and a number were long deceased. They encountered many older masks that seemed to be masterpieces, yet they remained the work of anonymous folk carvers in the eyes of many. It was shocking that so little was known or remembered about these men, though they had been dead for only a few years. Virtually none of these carvers had achieved the sort of prominence that might have led to their inclusion in such books as Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art (Fernandez de Calderon 1998) or Donald Cordry's Mexican Masks (1980).
As told in Mexican Masks and Puppets, prior to Stevens involvement, Kostohryz and Vasquez had surveyed an area of the Sierra de Puebla and the adjacent coastal plain in Puebla and Veracruz, specifically looking for dance masks and related material. Through this effort they had identified a band of towns where the use of masks and dances remained a vigorous part of the culture, and it was there that they began to identify carvers and to link specific masks to those artisans. Stevens used this body of knowledge, as the basis for further research, which then followed over a period of five years.
A beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched volume, Mexican Masks and Puppets supplies what is known about the dance masks of Sierra De Puebla.
Arts & Photography / Graphic Design
Fashion: Ads of the 20th Century by Jim Heimann and Alison A. Nieder for Taschen (365 Day-By-Day Series: Taschen)
I have always been inspired by the dream of America … weathered trucks and farmhouses; sailing off the coast of Maine; following dirt roads in an old wood-paneled station wagon; a convertible filled with young college kids sporting crew cuts and sweatshirts and frayed sneakers. – Ralph Lauren, as quoted in the book
A century's worth of fabulous looks to inspire readers daily is here in TASCHEN's perpetual calendars.
For those whose datebooks have been replaced by smartphones, TASCHEN has created the new 365 Day-By-Day series so that they can still enjoy the warm analog feeling of marking every day with the turn of a page. Fashion is the latest in that series. Others in the series are New York and Pinup.
Each day readers discover a new photo and a related quote, ensuring a constant source of inspiration right on their desktops. Ads are full color and full page. The book includes a built-in ribbon bookmark. At the end of the year, readers just turn back to the beginning and start again.
TASCHEN's latest calendar features 365 Fashion Ads from the last century – one for every day of the year (imagine that!)... there's no year attached, so you can use this calendar again and again and again. – NYMag.com, New York
Fashion features a year’s worth of quotes and iconic, nostalgic ads representing the century in fashion.
Arts & Photography / Mixed Media
My Life in The New York Times: An Artist and His Work by Ross Bleckner (Allworth Press)
From Bleckner comes this thought-provoking collection of more than one hundred collages assembled from clippings of New York Times articles.
It is a book and work of art at the crossroads of genres. Bleckner is an avid newspaper reader. For years he has clipped bits of news that move him – powerful obituaries, highly philosophical quotations – and collected them in his personal inspiration journal. The pages of this journal are planted seeds that over the years have blossomed into Bleckner's world-renowned paintings. In My Life in The New York Times these 100 pieces are brought together in a hardcover book for the first time.
Bleckner is an American artist and the current goodwill ambassador to the United Nations. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum had a major retrospective of his works in 1995, summarizing two decades of solo shows at internationally acclaimed exhibition venues such as SFMoMA, Contemporary Arts Museum, Stockholm Moderna Museet, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Works by Bleckner are also held in esteemed public collections throughout the world, including MoMA, MoCA, Astrup Fearnley, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Not only has Bleckner had a profound impact on the New York art world, his philanthropic efforts have enabled many community organizations to perform their vital work.
Chosen for their personal significance to Bleckner and for the ways in which they later affected his work, the fragments of text and image in some pieces are unadorned; in others, the artist has painted around the clippings in watercolor and then photographed them to create a timeless and meaningful work of art.
My Life in The New York Times is a book at the crossroads of genres and a Bleckner work of art in and of itself. Stunning and thought-provoking, a voyeur's insight into the mind of a creative genius, this book is a breathtaking tribute to the physicality of print, inviting readers to ask themselves: Is print really dead? ... or has it been reinvented? Young hopeful artists may be inspired for their own creative futures, while art lovers will treasure this innovative exploration of memory, change, and loss. It is a great gift for anyone with a creative spirit or interest.
Arts & Photography / Music / History & Criticism / Sociology / Biographies & Memoirs
It Ain't Me Babe: Bob Dylan and the Performance of Authenticity (Great Barrington Books) by Andrea Cossu (Paradigm Publishers)
Since his arrival in New York in 1961, Bob Dylan has always been something of a mystery. He has worn a variety of masks that have delighted, puzzled, amused, and angered his many audiences. He has been poet, rocker, preacher, trickster, and prophet, and he has filled all these personas with songs and different voices. Nonetheless, Dylan has always been perceived as an authentic artist.
Andrea Cossu, an independent writer and a sociologist who most recently was a visiting fellow at Yale University, brings the making of Bob Dylan to center stage in It Ain't Me Babe, which offers a fresh explanation of Dylan and the changes he made throughout his career. Cossu's descriptions of key Dylan performances show readers how Dylan created his authenticity through performance, and how the many attempts to make Bob Dylan have often involved the interaction between the artist, his public image, and his many audiences.
Touching on four different periods and tours from his first days in Greenwich Village to his electric turn at Newport, from the Rolling Thunder Revue and Dylan's born-again years to his late career, It Ain't Me Babe offers a vision of how Dylan built his image and learned to live with its burden, painting a new portrait of the artist.
As described in the introduction, when Bob Dylan entered Columbia Studio A to record his first, eponymous album, it was November 1961, and he had just turned twenty. He looked young and scruffy, but he had allegedly lived many lives. Some of them had already been sealed and become part of the past before his arrival in New York, just a few months earlier. He had been a child reared in a Jewish, middle-class family in Minnesota; a daydreamer who spent his adolescence writing poetry, playing guitar and piano, or listening to country and western music; a teenage greaser who led badly rehearsed rock-and-roll bands, and whose main ambition was to ‘join Little Richard,’ as he wrote in his high school yearbook; a piano player for a famous act of the time, the kind of sideman who ultimately does not get the gig; a freshman and soon-to-be college dropout at the University of Minnesota, where he discovered the outsiderness of folk music in the clubs of the Dinkytown district of Minneapolis, the Twin Cities' response to the much more bohemian Greenwich Village; and a youngster who, very early on, decided to change his name and model a new persona. Those lives, however, had been lived by Robert Zimmerman, and becoming ‘Bob Dylan’ was perhaps one more act of creation, deception, and imagination.
Bob Dylan's biography had been, by all measures, much more turbulent. He was an outcast, rather than a dropout. He had left home at a young age; he was, perhaps, an orphan whose whereabouts could be anywhere between Minnesota and North or South Dakota; he had worked in a circus; he had learned the blues during hard traveling times in the company of a number of black singers, who passed down to him (as an act of acceptance and recognition) their chords and lyrics. He had crisscrossed the country in imitation of his idol, a folksinger, writer, columnist, and radio personality whose name was Woody Guthrie.
Dylan's move to New York was both a quest for success in the circles of the folk scene, which was blooming at the time, and a more private search for Guthrie – who at the time was hospitalized in New Jersey, progressively incapacitated by Huntington's chorea, a rare genetic disease that ultimately claimed his life in 1967. It took Dylan less than a week to meet his idol and make his first amateur appearance on a stage in Greenwich Village. It took three months to get his first professional booking and a little more than a year to record and finally release his first album. Things went fast, and they got even faster when Dylan became the voice of the folk revival – to some the voice of his generation, to others, the new voice of the youth who were rallying for civil rights and desegregation and hoping for a new frontier. It was enough, in other words, to be and be perceived as a poet, a revolutionary, a prophet, and ultimately an artist who has traveled a journey through fame that has spanned five decades.
There have been as many Bob Dylans over these fifty years as there were in the months when he was creating ‘Bob Dylan.’ Maybe he did not escape from home at "10, 12, 13, 15, 15½, 17 an' 18. I been caught an' brought back all but once," as he once claimed, but the general perception is that Dylan has tried restlessly to escape his myth, his audience, and the stories planted in the press. It has been a journey through fame, but also a journey made of surprises, turning points, detours, controversies, and praises that have shaped the public perception of the artist and his work.
As told in the introduction to It Ain't Me Babe, the idea of a ‘shape-shifting’ Dylan that has resulted from all these changes, indeed, is almost reassuring in its familiarity with our commonsense perception of genius and talent. Scholars and critics, as well as fans, have often referred to the archetypical figure of Proteus, the shape-shifting god, to describe the personae that Dylan has embodied during his career. Just as Proteus was able to transform himself into a lion, a serpent, a leopard, a pig, water, and trees, Dylan has been folk icon, rock star, country crooner, waning act ready for a Las Vegas casino, preacher warning that the new Apocalypse would bring fire, not water, aged idol in leather pants, and the leader of a cowboy band that seems to have come to town straight from a Mississippi steamer. Sometimes one gets the impression that the ‘Bob Dylan’ we see is a Dylan impersonator who approaches the idol-like figure with a sarcastic twist. It almost seems that, to understand Dylan – one of the most important products of popular culture – we need an archetype that predates history and has its feet firmly set on the muddy ground of myth.
Suggestive as it is, and very effective, the notion of a ‘protean’ Dylan can be complemented by the sociological vision of the artist and his fame, which develops in It Ain't Me Babe.
What Cossu focuses on is the interplay of social and cultural factors that has shaped the contemporary image of Bob Dylan (so fragmented and unidimensional at the same time). This sociological vision is counterintuitive: Indeed, isn't Dylan the visionary who ‘forced folk into bed with rock’ almost singlehandedly? The artist who rewrote the rules of popular music and songwriting? The one – the only one – who has ever been considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature? These are remarkable achievements, which testify to Dylan's peculiar position at the intersection of high culture and popular culture. But in singling Dylan out, they also silence the complex context in which his star originally rose, the reasons for the ups and downs of his career, and the cultural motives that lie behind Dylan's resurrection as an artist and icon over the past fifteen years or so. What we are left with is a Dylan myth – a complex social text – that echoes the notion of the Romantic genius as an independent source of his own seductive power and isolates the artist from the contexts of production and reception, which pose powerful constraints and open equally powerful opportunities for the emergence, consolidation, and transformation of the artistic reputation as a ‘genius.’
There is a centrality of performance that has often been overlooked in the consideration of the social construction of Dylan's fame. Among Dylan's boldest career moves were ‘going electric’ at Newport (which Cossu considers in Chapter 2), and ‘going gospel’ at the Warfield in 1979. Both were anticipated on record, but they made little sense (and people even thought that he was not that serious about plugging in or preaching about the Lord) until he performed on stage. Those turning points had to be dramatized in order to become part of the public perception of Dylan as an artist. Moreover, it often goes unnoticed – or taken for granted – that Dylan is always experienced through performance, be it the recorded performance of "Like a Rolling Stone," as it was sung and played in June 1965, or the lesser-known performance of "Shelter from the Storm" in Milan, 1994.
To anticipate some of the conclusions of It Ain't Me Babe, our consumption of stars and icons (and Dylan certainly is one of them) requires to some extent that the artist embody his aura. There is a conflict born of this necessity to embody the artistic aura, in that the artist is required to create and reinforce the mystery of his distance, his inaccessibility to his audience, while at the same time reducing this distance in the play between artist and audience, which creates a feeling of proximity whereby the audience feels that they ‘know’ and even ‘own’ the artist.
The focus of It Ain't Me Babe – on Dylan as performer and Dylan on stage – results from reflections about the dramaturgical nature of the process of construction and reproduction of ‘genius.’ In a case like Dylan's, where his words are often perceived to be as important as his music, and the traces of his text as more important than the actual encounter with the artist, Cossu’s choice seems both odd and promising.
The five chapters of It Ain't Me Babe deal primarily with four important tours and live experiences in Dylan's career: the making of Bob Dylan's reputation in the context of the folk revival of the early 1960s (Chapter 1); the electric turn of 1965-1966 (Chapter 2); the Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975 -1976 (Chapter 3); the Gospel Tour of 1979-1980 (Chapter 4); and finally the ongoing project of the Never Ending Tour (a label grudgingly disowned by Dylan and problematically accepted by the fans and the press) that has occupied the last decades of Dylan's career, starting in 1988 (Chapter 5).
Every chapter is also an exploration of both the dynamics that regulate the making of fame and the role that culture plays in the production of artistic reputation, especially that part of artistic reputation that is more closely related with the performance and the perception of authenticity. The relationship among performance, reputation, and the creation of authenticity is the thread that links the chapters together. The academic debate on these themes has spread in the past decades across the humanities and the social sciences, but Cossu in It Ain't Me Babe takes a more direct focus on the ways Dylan embodies authenticity, and on the way his performance of authenticity exposes him to critical evaluation and changes in his image and reputation. Yet the reasons Dylan is perceived to be authentic and the reasons audiences align with the way he performs or declares his own authenticity have often remained obscure, buried in narratives about his individual talent. Cossu argues that Dylan has been successful in embodying a perception of authenticity that comes from the margins of US vernacular culture, and he has been able to reach a synthesis between these features of authenticity and the debate about originality and creativity that constitutes much public discourse about art. What is interesting is the depth, extension, and precarious balance of this collective work and the part it plays in the definition of authenticity.
Be it about Dylan's relationship to collective American memories, the exploration of the dynamics of his success, or the clashes of genres, there is a complex environment into which Dylan's authenticity is made, unmade, and remade. This environment is the seemingly ‘soft’ stuff of culture, emotions, and expectations in which the artist is never a product of his own moves, but always a product of his relationship – within culture and sometimes against culture – with his publics, who constantly struggle to get close to the artist, while keeping him distant enough to allow his mystery to keep rolling on. Performance reveals this dynamic, and looking at performance is less a way to narrate the myth than to debunk the routes through which that myth is produced and embodied.
It Ain't Me Babe offers a strikingly fresh explanation and vision of how Dylan built his image and learned to live with its burden, a unique and coherent new portrait of the artist.
Audio / History / US / Biographies & Memoirs
Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas, read by Brian Troxell, unabridged, 11 CDs, running time 13 hours (Hachette Audio)
Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas (Little, Brown and Company)
Many saw Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) as a doddering lightweight with his bland smile and apparent simplemindedness. He assumed the presidency in 1953 at a time of unprecedented crisis. Americans longed for security and peace but regarded the Soviet Union as an imminent threat. Many had come to think of the Korean War as an awful mistake that resulted in thousands of needless American casualties. Ike was the benevolent grandfather everyone looked to for comfort – a retired general who spent his time playing golf and painting watercolors. Yet behind the scenes this reputation was astonishingly inaccurate. Ike's Bluff offers a startling reevaluation of Eisenhower's presidency, where nothing less than the fate of the world was in play.
In Ike's Bluff acclaimed historian Evan Thomas, drawing upon diaries and newly declassified papers, reveals how the underrated Eisenhower was a surprisingly acute tactician, cold-blooded and brilliant at manipulating others in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing. Thomas, who teaches writing and journalism at Princeton University and is the author of several bestselling works of history and biography, was a writer and editor at Time and Newsweek for more than 30 years and a frequent commentator on television and radio.
A genius at poker and bridge – after West Point he had to stop playing because he had left too many fellow army officers insolvent – Ike could be patient and ruthless, a master of both the slow con and the bold conjecture. He persevered through a heart attack, a stroke, and intestinal surgery while struggling with loneliness and the terrible burden of having the power to destroy civilization. And in an ultimate showdown with the Soviet Union, China, and his own generals – some of whom believed a first strike was the only means of survival – Eisenhower would make his boldest and riskiest bet yet, one of such enormity that there could be but two outcomes: the survival of the world, or its end.
Ike's Bluff is the story of how he won.
With grace, insight, and originality, Evan Thomas has written a
brilliant and engaging book about the most important of subjects:
how close we came to Armageddon in the seemingly placid 1950s.
Thomas's Eisenhower is a canny savior, a president who kept the
peace through feint and bluff. No one writes more astutely or more
honestly than Evan Thomas. This is the work of a master of
storytelling at his best. – Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson:
The Art of Power
Evan Thomas has written an insightful and penetrating study of my father, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dad was a hard man to know; he played it close to the chest. So despite my extensive exposure to him throughout forty six years, I still found myself learning new aspects, some of which, I must admit, are a bit painful. But the balance that Thomas achieves between Eisenhower the public servant and Eisenhower the man is, in my opinion, as close to the mark as we are likely to see. – John Eisenhower
Evan Thomas's profoundly important book shows how the card-playing general who did as much as anyone to win World War II became the president most adroit at preserving peace. Behind his open smile, Eisenhower was a secretive and subtle leader with quiet moral courage. By projecting confidence while keeping his intentions concealed, he became the model of a nuclear-age peacekeeper. Thomas has produced a fascinating history that is also a brilliant guide to great leadership. – Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
Dwight Eisenhower was a great general and President because he was a great leader, and Ike's Bluff uncracks the code. Evan Thomas's original and fascinating book is an immersion in the Eisenhower School of Leadership, with lessons not only for Presidents and military officers but leaders in other arenas of American life operating in moments of both tranquility and rapid change. Especially in these times, Thomas's book is an essential reminder that strong leadership can be exercised with kindness, morality and respect for opponents. – Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors
[Thomas is] a five-star biographer who blows apart that image [of Ike as a bumbling old man] with devastating detail. – Vanity Fair
A bustling, anecdotal book with a high-concept premise. [Thomas] approaches the ever more changeable Eisenhower legacy with new and intriguing questions. – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Well-researched and highly readable... Thomas' account is sure to appeal to older readers who can recall the mandatory duck-and-cover drills in the classroom and to others with an interest in a fascinating and pivotal period when the nation was in better hands than many at the time probably realized. – The Associated Press
Thomas has written a book that elucidates Eisenhower's wisdom for general readers. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
Ike's Bluff is a provocative examination of Ike’s White House years, revealing Eisenhower’s risk-taking, planning and bluffing skills. The audio version is read by Brian Troxell, an Atlanta-based actor and voice talent who performs with the Atlanta Radio Theater Company.
Children’s Books / Ages 3 and up / Family Life / Jewish
Room for the Baby by Michelle Edwards, illustrated Jana Christy (Random House Books for Young Readers)
What's a family to do when there's a baby on the way but no place to put a crib?
In Room for the Baby the big brother-to-be is worried.
His mom does have a sewing room, but its every nook and cranny is
stuffed with cast-off items and outgrown clothes that people have
given her to recycle and reuse – someday. Now that day has come –
because the new arrival will need someplace to sleep and something
to wear. So the resourceful mom gets to work, making new clothes
from old to outfit the baby-to-be.
Inspired by her creativity, the neighbors get involved, and soon everyone is stitching, snipping, sewing and knitting something. As the months go by and the family celebrates the Jewish holidays from Passover to Hanukkah, the room slowly empties.
Big brother helps his mom get ready, too. But things move slowly and he continues to worry: will there ever be room for the baby?
Michelle Edwards is the author/editor of more than a dozen books for children, including Chicken Man, which won the National Jewish Book Award. Illustrator Jana Christy has illustrated many children’s books.
Edwards's story about a family's labor of love is also an intriguing look at do-it-yourself and crafting, not only as creative activities but also as ways to go green and help the planet. May Room for the Baby inspire a new generation of readers to do it themselves, too!
Children’s Books / Ages 4 & up / Action & Adventure / Animals / Travel & Cultures
Little Bo in London: The Ultimate Adventure of Bonnie Boadicea by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton, illustrated by Henry Cole (Harper)
"There is perhaps something we can do ... though I must warn you, cherie, that you, too, could be in grave danger."
"Oh, I feel like such a scaredy-cat," Bo confessed.
Panache blinked at her fondly. "But you are a tower of strength, ma petite. Remember all the stories you have told me? The day you ran away in the snow and were chased by a vicious dog, but you got away…. And how you helped save the baby in the runaway pram, and stopped the car that was going to carry Lady Goodlad away!"
Bo nodded, remembering vividly each frightening incident.
"And your adventures with the lions at the circus – you were so brave! Then you learned to swim in the ocean. And there was the moment in the great Colosseum in Rome, when all the cats were threatening us...."
"You were brave, too," Bo reminded him gravely. "You fought Titus!"
"Yes. Well. I am asking you now to join me in being brave like that once again. Shall we try? Shall we steal the moment, little Boadicea?"
At the mention of her proper name, Bo suddenly remembered Papa and what he had said to her one night in the garden at home when she was very young. He had given her the name, saying, "Boadicea is a big, bold name that will help you face the world when times are bad. You can draw yourself up and say, `You don't scare me one bit, because I'm Boadicea – the warrior queen!'"
Bo took a deep breath, drew herself up just as Papa had instructed her to do, and nodded firmly.
"That's my girl," Panache said. "Alors! Here is what we are going to do....
And he leaned closer to whisper in her ear. – from the book, Chapter 2
For Little Bo, the tiny cat with an extraordinary spirit, and her friend Billy, life just keeps getting better and better in Little Bo in London. They have traveled from England to France, sailed with the crew of the motor yacht Legend to Italy, and now are enjoying a leisurely cruise through the Mediterranean. But a scuffle with pirates cuts their journey short and calls for the heroic efforts of Bo and Billy. Then a change of course means a triumphant return to England – and Little Bo's most amazing adventure yet!
Author Julie Andrews Edwards is one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment, best known for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries. She and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, an arts educator and theater professional, have coauthored over twenty books for young readers.
Julie Andrews Edwards's thrilling and poignant tale of a brave little seafaring cat has won the hearts of young readers everywhere. – Amazon. com
Children will come away with the moral that, like Bo, their size may be small, but they can accomplish big things. – Publishers Weekly
The writing for this charming story is at times lyrical, always readable, and the short chapters make it an inviting read-aloud choice. The illustrations are exceptionally appealing and poignant. – School Library Journal
With remarkable courage and the sweetest, deepest friendships, Little Bo's exciting journey brings her home again and offers a thrilling conclusion to her globe-trotting adventures in Little Bo in London.
Cooking, Food & Wine
Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes from Down East Kitchens by Sandra Oliver (Down East Books)
Residing on Maine's Islesboro Island, Sandra Oliver is a revered food historian with a vast knowledge of New England food history, subsistence living, and Yankee cooking. For the past five years, she has published her weekly recipes column, "Taste Buds", in the Bangor Daily News.
Collecting more than 300 recipes from her column and elsewhere, and emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, as well as the common ingredients found in most kitchens, Maine Home Cooking represents a new standard in home cooking.
Oliver brings the traditions and recipes of generations of Maine home cooks to life.
Oliver relates how in April 2006, Letitia Baldwin, then the style editor at Bangor Daily News, called her and asked if she would write a weekly column based on recipes garnered from newspaper readers in response to queries for how to make a certain dish. She said she would give it a try. Baldwin named the column "Taste Buds," which Oliver began by asking friends and neighbors if there was any recipe they wished they had. Sure enough, they did. Sometimes the query was for a recipe remembered from childhood, or one for something they ate somewhere and thought tasted good.
Letters came from all over eastern Maine, many from older women who had been cooking for their families for decades. Often they provided a bit of family history with the recipe, or told of a particular memory associated with the dish. Plus, they passed along advice on how to make the dish, and shared their experiences and kitchen wisdom.
Oliver says being a food writer has required her to pay attention to some aspects of professional food practices, but in her heart of hearts, cooking is how she takes care of family and friends, uses what she grow in her island garden, and lives responsibly on the earth.
Instead of trotting out recipes in the old usual soups, main dishes, and salads fashion, Oliver thinks readers will enjoy this cookbook organized according to themes.
The first chapter of Maine Home Cooking is about Maine's classic recipes, like chowder, baked beans, lobster stew, and whoopie pies, as they are still being made in Maine. She often adds bits of information about the history of the dishes. The next chapter of Maine Home Cooking is called "Homey Favorites" and is mostly about comfort foods, plain, tasty, home-cooked fare for families. This chapter provides simple recipes for basic dishes that even a new cook can follow painlessly. There's lots of advice from cooks who have years of practice with economical, uncomplicated, and popular dishes.
"Contemporary Maine Cooking" follows, and here are some dishes that have cropped up in the past thirty or so years, lots of ethnic contributions and new wrinkles of the sort that she encountered in middle age but never knew about in her youth. Some readers will have grown up with pesto, salsa, and sushi, but most of these recipes will not have appeared in, say, a charity cookbook in Maine before the 1970s.
After some homey favorites like scalloped potatoes and some modern fare like enchiladas, people want dessert. The "Desserts of Maine" chapter of Maine Home Cooking includes all sorts of cakes, cookies, pies, crisps, and puddings. Even though she no longer eats dessert as often, she turns to her collection all the time for recipes like the kick-butt Key Lime Pie or the Golden Glow Cake.
Because she cooks all the time from her garden and her winter-stored supply of vegetables, she offers a chapter called "Fresh and Seasonal" that walks readers through the year with recipes for all sorts of vegetables straight from the garden. That chapter is followed by "Well Preserved and in a Pickle." Oliver says she often finds herself in a pickle, especially when there are too many vegetables at once and she has to get them into jars or the freezer or feed the fruit flies.
The very last chapter is "Do It Yourself," with collected advice and wisdom for making home versions of some commercial products. Readers will also find some other good cooking ideas that Oliver’s readers have shared over the years.
Amen! A wonderful read: Real deal Maine home cooking as it was, is now, and (probably) ever shall be: comfort and practicality without end, from a warm, helpful –and very funny – expert on all things Down East. – Leslie Land, former New York Times garden columnist
This is the book I've been waiting for. It's packed with good food and good humor. Sandra has a contagious enthusiasm for our great cuisine – from whoopie pies to sour pickles, it's all in here. People from away will find tantalizing surprises here, while we old-timers will relive memories from our mothers' and grandmothers' kitchens. – Nancy Harmon Jenkins, cookbook author
Peppered with funny and useful advice from her island kitchen and garden, this book is chock-full of wisdom and stories. Whether readers need a quick weekday meal or are indulging in a verified New England feast, the more than one hundred and fifty recipes in Maine Home Cooking are a delicious way to eat well and experience the culinary heritage of Maine.
Home & Garden / Antiques & Collectibles / Reference
Fenton Art Glass: A Centennial of Glass Making, 1907 to 2007, 2nd edition by Debbie Coe and Randy Coe (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.)
In the last couple of years, Fenton family, employees and collectors have had a chance to celebrate the impact that the Fenton Art Glass Company has had on the collecting community. In 2005, Fenton marked their 100 years of being in business, quite an accomplishment.
Beautiful glass from 100 years of Fenton production are shared in Fenton Art Glass. Diversity is highlighted, showing over 4000 items. Detailed captions include descriptions with up-to-date values.
This expanded and revised edition continues with beautiful glass from all of Fenton's decades. This is the only Fenton book to highlight the diversity of Fenton's glass making for over 105 years. More than 1000 pieces have been added in this edition. With over 800 plus color photos, a lasting impression gives readers the creativity of Fenton's artists. There are hundreds of examples featuring: Art Glass, Burmese, Carnival, Chocolate, Favrene, Hobnail, Opalescent, Rosalene, Stretch, along with the many different animals and holiday related items. Debbie and Randy Coe, full time antiques dealers, provide a human touch to the art of glass making with additional photos of family, employees and artists. The book is divided into the twelve decades to show off the different types of glass as they were made through the years. A brief history is given along with information on the Fenton family, decorators and glass workers. Detailed captions include pattern number, pattern name, size, color, dates made and up-to-date values. Also provided are a detailed collector list, bibliography and index.
As the Coes were finishing with the updates for this new edition of Fenton Art Glass, Fenton made the announcement in July 2011, that they were ceasing glass making. Since then many changes have occurred at the factory. They include a last chapter to highlight the last items that were made, along with the special events that occurred at Fenton. They believe the heart and soul of Fenton's glass making can be credited to the family members and their employees.
Fenton Art Glass creates a lasting testament to the many beautiful different types of glass that Fenton produced in the last 100 years, providing a wide range of glass examples that were first produced when the factory opened and continue through the decades up to the present.
This new edition has something for everyone and will delight all collectors of Fenton, whether they want old or new glass. Both beginning and advanced collectors will find Fenton Art Glass a necessary reference source to stimulate their enjoyment of Fenton Glass. The detailed collector list and bibliography make this a convenient, useful and easy reference to use.
Home & Garden / Crafts & Hobbies
Working with Polymer Clay by Lori Wilkes (Absolute Beginners Guide Series: Kalmbach Books)
Welcome to the world of polymer clay! I use the term ‘world’ because polymer clay offers incredibly diverse possibilities, especially for jewelry making. From creating realistic faux stones to intricate millefiore patterns, polymer clay really does have something for everyone. It's also fun, forgiving, and satisfying. I've logged countless hours in my studio and I couldn't do that if I weren't enjoying myself. Mistakes are welcome in this world. Some of my best work has come from a foiled attempt to do something else. And, there is no waste. Polymer clay does not dry out and if stored properly, will be workable for a long time. – Lori Wilkes, from the book
If readers love the color, pattern, and texture of polymer clay beads but thought they could never make their own, they should think again. The 24 easy projects in Working with Polymer Clay will have them creating beautiful beads, pendants, and jewelry.
Following the successful format of The Absolute Beginners Guide series, this 5th book in the series is the perfect choice for beginners who want to expand their jewelry-making skills. In Working with Polymer Clay tips and instructions on the basics, tools, and color are followed by progressive projects that put techniques into action. The author, Lori Wilkes, a workshop teacher, has been published in Bead&Button, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and Polymer Cafe.
Budding artists will learn how to make and shape beads, add texture, develop faux techniques, and work with creative caning and pattern with these 24 easy, step-by-step projects. Each project builds on the techniques learned in the previous lesson.
Readers learn how to:
Projects in Working with Polymer Clay include:
With tips and instructions at the beginning level, jewelry makers will love experimenting with the easy projects in Working with Polymer Clay.
Literature & Fiction / Genre / Historical
Smoke Portrait by Trilby Kent (Alma Books)
Set in the lush tea fields of Ceylon and a small village in Belgium in 1936, Smoke Portrait, by young adult fiction writer Trilby Kent, traces the development of an unlikely friendship between a young Belgian teenager, Marten Kuypers, and Glen Phayre, a young English woman in her 20s. Glen has left England to live with her aunt, who runs a tea plantation in Ceylon and fills her days with good works, among them the task of writing letters to a Belgian prisoner. But the letters go astray, and are received instead by Marten, eager to discover the wide world outside his small village, and desperately missing his older brother Krelis, who has vanished and is presumed dead.
Marten decides to reply to Glen in the guise of the grown-up prisoner she is expecting to hear from who has committed ‘terrible crimes’, and as their correspondence evolves, they both assume identities that, while false in many respects, remain true to their own selves in essence. Gradually they come to depend on each other, and their pen-pal friendship proves to be crucial when events in their real lives take on a darker, more threatening significance in the shadow of the impending world war.
An intriguing story of deception, revelation, and redemption. – Booklist
Readers will be swept from vividly brutal scenes of hatred to tender moments of love and will likely remember Kent’s sensitively drawn characters and artful prose long after closing the book. – Library Journal
A fascinating, gripping novel that shares little-heard perspectives from World War II, Smoke Portrait will entrance fans of historical fiction – and the good old-fashioned love story.
Parenting & Relationships / Special Needs
Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families: Narrative Interviews by Barbara Bodner-Johnson and Beth Sonnenstrahl Benedict (Gallaudet University Press)
Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families emphasizes the importance of family support for deaf members, particularly through the use of both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken and/or written English. Research has shown how these factors influence such areas as a child’s development, performance in school, and relationships with brothers and sisters. In Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families, authors Barbara Bodner-Johnson and Beth S. Benedict concentrate on the vital, positive effects of bilingualism and how families that share their experiences with other families can enhance all of their children’s achievement and enrichment. Bodner-Johnson is Professor Emerita of Education, Gallaudet University and Benedict is Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Gallaudet University, Washington DC.
Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families describes the experiences of ten families who have at least one deaf family member. In five of the families, the parents are hearing and they have a deaf child; two of the children in these families have cochlear implants. In three families, both the parents and children are deaf. In one family, the parents are deaf and their daughter is hearing; and in one family, the parents and one child are deaf and they all have cochlear implants, and the deaf child’s twin is hearing.
The interviews were conducted in the families’ homes using set topics and questions. The family discussions cover a wide range of subjects: cochlear implants, where they live, their thoughts about family relationships, how they participate in the Deaf community, how they arrive at certain decisions, their children’s friendships, and the goals and resiliencies they have as a family.
In Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families, Bodner-Johnson and Benedict offer readers a view into the developmental and educational needs of young deaf children. They provide the key pieces of evidence to lead society from its first flash of insight to fundamental conceptual change. From their theoretical understanding of the interdependence of the individual and the individual's society, the authors reveal a crucial factor that contributes to a young child's healthy linguistic, cognitive, and social-emotional growth. Through personal discussion with ten families, and described through the families' own words, the authors reveal the ways that families with deaf children live their daily lives.
According to Laura-Ann Petitto in the preface, Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families brings readers a new, clear understanding and vision for the future: Early exposure to a natural signed language, in particular, early exposure to two languages – for example, ASL and English – is not harmful to young deaf children and instead affords stunning learning and social-emotional advantages.
In chapter 1, Bodner-Johnson and Benedict describe their perspective on families who are deaf and present the conceptual framework and theoretical contexts that guided the work and informed the development of the book. Chapter 2 describes the project and details what the researchers did. General descriptive and demographic information about the families is included; additional family information is provided in each family's chapter. Chapter 2 explains the interviewing approach they used and the procedures for videotaping the interviews and taking family photographs.
According to the authors in the introduction, all of the participants in the ten families shared their experiences, beliefs, and perceptions of the world through their responses to their questions and in the discussions and stories they initiated. The next ten chapters (chapter 3 through chapter 12) include each of the family interviews. The order in which they present them is based on the age of the children: The family with the youngest children is presented first; they decided to place the family with the deaf parents and hearing child in chapter 12 so readers would have access to the content articulated in the experiences and perceptions of the families with deaf children first and could then integrate this family's story. Each family's ‘voice’ is presented in text form as closely as possible to how the conversation unfolded in the interviews. Bodner-Johnson and Benedict developed and included topic questions to help organize and present the conversations. Then, after each family story, they present a brief reflection written as a reaction or response to the content. These reflections highlight a particular family experience, ponder a specific question, or point out relationships that they observed.
Chapter 13 provides the findings of the qualitative analysis they conducted to look for common themes in the interviews. Chapter 14 presents their final thoughts about the families who participated in the study. They note some of the values and strategies that stand out as particularly useful in the families' efforts to live a balanced life and to respond to their own particular needs.
… Contrary to old fears that sign exposure harms a young child, it turns out that facilitating a deaf child's establishment and use of fingerspelling, sign-phonetic, and sign-syllabic organization appears to be an excellent means for promoting and successfully teaching reading to young deaf children in English!
In returning to the choices that contemporary parents are facing regarding the education of their young deaf children – and in light of the truly urgent, life-altering nature of these choices for deaf children, their families, and society – [Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families] provides us with vivid clarity. Here, we see first-hand how early life bilingual ASL-English exposure leads to cognitive, linguistic, and social advantages – indeed, we witness the emerging steps, how the advantages take shape in everyday life. This new knowledge is empowering for parents and leads to perspective-changing knowledge, both for education and for society. – Laura-Ann Petitto, co-principal investigator, from the preface
Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families enriches the knowledge that professionals can bring to their practices. Bodner-Johnson and Benedict and their colleagues contribute to the making of history with this pioneering book. With astute knowledge, and impressive scholarship, Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families reveals the stunning cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional advantages when deaf children grow up with both a signed language and a spoken language. The families' accounts provide unique evidence – evidence that is rendered especially poignant through the use of these living examples that show the benefits of early bilingual ASL-English language exposure.
Political & Social Science / Government / US / History / Middle East / Military
The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (Pantheon Books)
The Endgame, by New York Times' chief military correspondent Michael Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, draws on classified documents and interviews with key U.S. and Iraqi officials to present the first comprehensive, inside account of the Iraq War.
A work of investigative journalism and historical reconstruction ranging from 2003 to 2012, The Endgame draws on highly classified, still-secret documents, as well as interviews with key figures in both White Houses, the military, the State and Defense Departments, and the intelligence community. Gordon, chief military correspondent for The New York Times, has covered the Iraq and Afghan wars, the Kosovo conflict, the Russian war in Chechnya, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and the American invasion of Panama; and Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, was a military correspondent for The New York Times, director of the National Security Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1990 to 1996, and a military analyst for NBC during the Iraq War.
The Endgame is not only based on still-secret government
documents but is also informed by access to key figures in the White
House, the military, the State and Defense departments, the
intelligence community, and, most strikingly, by extensive
interviews with both Sunni and Shiite leaders, key Kurdish
politicians, tribal sheikhs, former insurgents, Sadrists, and senior
Iraqi military officers, whose insights about critical turning
points and previously unknown decisions made during the war have
heretofore been conspicuously missing from the media’s coverage of
As told in the prologue, no one book can capture an event as complex as a war, especially a nine-year war in a distant nation that from its outset was permeated by tribal, religious, ethnic, local, and regional politics. Nonetheless, The Endgame seeks to provides the most comprehensive account to date of the United States’ involvement in Iraq.
From the start, Gordon and Trainor set out to cover Iraq’s halting political development as well as the military battles. They gave attention to decisions in Baghdad as well as Washington. And they covered the clashes and political maneuvering from the early days of the American-led occupation, through the descent into sectarian violence, the surge that pulled Iraq back from the brink of civil war, and the vexing aftermath.
This was an ambitious project, but they have been covering the Iraq War from the start. Through two American presidents, a succession of Iraqi prime ministers, and a variety of United States commanders, they tracked events on the ground in Iraq and in Washington. They were present for many of the ferocious battles in Anbar, Diyala, Mosul, and Sadr City. They saw American and Iraqi blood spilled, and they interacted with the generals, diplomats, and politicians on whose shoulders the decisions of the war rested.
Too many American accounts of the war in Iraq have left out the Iraqis, or cast them as little more than a backdrop for dramas that were played out in Washington or among American commanders in Baghdad. But they are essential actors in their own nation’s drama. For this reason, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and rivals like Ayad Allawi, Massoud Barzani, and Adil Abd al-Mahdi share the list of the hundreds of interviews they conducted along with Iraqi generals, police commanders, tribal sheikhs, and student protesters. They also interviewed myriad American and British generals, as well as officers and enlisted troops down to the platoon level.
Gordon and Trainor in The Endgame wanted to weave together battles fought by the troops with closed-door Green Zone and White House meetings from the conflict’s earlier days through the military withdrawal in December 2011. And they sought to explain not just what happened when and where, but why. They received unprecedented access to classified documents that chronicle the war as it was seen from the American embassy in Baghdad, from the White House, from military headquarters across Iraq, and from the command posts of special operations and intelligence units. The troves of secret documents on which they were able to draw shed light on corners of the Iraq story that would otherwise have remained dark for years.
Internal military and State Department reports provided them glimpses of roads not taken and opportunities missed. Firsthand after-action reports and cumulative briefings chart and bring to life the nighttime campaign waged in Iraq by the Joint Special Operations Command, the headquarters overseeing America’s most elite and secretive commando units, both against Sunni insurgents and later against Shiite militias and even the Quds Force, Iran’s operations and intelligence arm in Iraq. Still-classified oral histories show the war as commanders recounted it. CIA and other intelligence reports helped complete the mosaic.
Other documents provide rare glimpses of the war through the eyes of those who fought against the United States and the Iraqi government. Detailed reports on the interrogations of Qais and Laith al-Khazali, two Iraqi Shiite militants captured by the British Special Air Service in 2007, offer an inside view of Iraq’s Sadrist political movement and militias and its ties to Iran. Transcripts of the interrogations of Sunni insurgents captured by American troops, along with internal reports by insurgent commanders recovered from hard drives and flash drives, helped them understand the activities of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the local franchise of the global terrorist group that was the United States’ main antagonist for much of the war.
Heavily classified embassy cables, internal Red Team analyses organized by the American military command, notes of critical meetings in Washington and Baghdad, and classified assessments and war plans commissioned by the generals who prosecuted the war round out their account.
The Endgame is a riveting blow-by-blow chronicle of the fighting as well as a complete look at American, Iraqi, and Iranian objectives, and the diplomatic intrigue and political struggle within Iraq since the American invasion. It deftly pieces together the puzzle of the prosecution of American, Iraqi, and Iranian objectives, and the diplomatic intrigue and political struggle within Iraq since the American invasion. Prodigiously researched, it is also relentlessly revealing.
Politics & Social Science / Government / US / Philosophy
Plotting Justice: Narrative Ethics and Literary Culture after 9/11 by Georgiana Banita (University of Nebraska Press)
Have the terrorist attacks of September 11 shifted the moral coordinates of contemporary fiction? And how might such a shift, reflected in narrative strategies and forms, relate to other themes and trends emerging with the globalization of literature? Plotting Justice pursues these questions through works written in the wake of 9/11 and examines the complex intersection of ethics and narrative that has defined a significant portion of British and American fiction over the past decade.
Don DeLillo, Pat Barker, Aleksandar Hemon, Lorraine Adams, Michael Cunningham, and Patrick McGrath are among the authors Georgiana Banita considers. Their work illustrates how post-9/11 literature expresses an ethics of equivocation – in formal elements of narrative, in a complex scrutiny of justice, and in tense dialogues linking this fiction with the larger political landscape of the era. Through a broad historical and cultural lens, Plotting Justice reveals links between the narrative ethics of post-9/11 fiction and events preceding and following the terrorist attacks – events that defined the last half of the twentieth century, from the Holocaust to the Balkan War, and those that 9/11 precipitated, from war in Afghanistan to the Abu Ghraib scandal. Challenging the rhetoric of the war on terror, Plotting Justice honors the capacity of literature to articulate ambiguous forms of resistance in ways that reconfigure the imperatives and responsibilities of narrative for the twenty-first century.
Banita is an assistant professor of North American literature and media at the University of Bamberg and Honorary Research Fellow at the United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney.
In Plotting Justice Banita explores the complex intersection of ethics and narrative that has defined a considerable portion of English-language fiction over the past decade in relation to the events of September 11, 2001. She investigates how narrative strategies in post-9/11 fiction resonate with issues of race, spectatorship, profiling, torture, and mourning that circle around 9/11 and its aftermath. She suggests ways of adapting established theories of narrative ethics to the new challenge of engaging with media representations of terrorism, to the increasing popularization and the political implications of psychoanalytical discourse and psychotherapy, as well as to the effects of transnational warfare and global surveillance systems on contemporary fiction. The formal features of these fictions and their emplotment of ethical thought, dovetail with an increased anxiety about what it means to assume or defy the responsibilities that emerged in the wake of the terrorist attacks. She has chosen a set of texts in which a genealogy for this anxiety may be traced and which recontextualize the terrorist attacks as one in a series of twentieth-century events (from the Holocaust to the Balkan civil war) that have challenged our assumptions about living with cruelty and terror.
The overall argument charts a development in post-9/11 fiction from a focus on implicitly international modes of representation (particularly visual and news media) toward a more overtly globalized understanding of the 9/11 events and their aftermath through the lens of world-historical memory and trauma. In this sense, Plotting Justice expands the theoretical field of reading post-9/11 fiction, yet without imposing a single framework for analyzing what is still a heterogeneous group of texts. It ranges more widely than existing discussions, which tend to emphasize distinctions among literary genres in representing the posttraumatic experience (Versluys, Out of the Blue; Gray, After the Fall). It also avoids regarding the fictions as a monolithic block that can be used to illustrate one specific critical approach. To that extent, a broad methodology informed by ethics seems especially suitable in teasing out both the textual and the political implications of this literature. Loose ends are left in, suggestive ambiguity being preferred to neat categorization of a literary field that is still burgeoning and unsettled. Banita suggests that it is precisely because post-9/11 narratives puzzlingly problematize and redefine notions of alterity (through acts of witnessing, racial scapegoating, transnationalism, and surveillance) that they acquire ethical meaning beyond the jingoistic, moralizing discourses that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Rather than merely stating that literary ambiguity creates a resistant counter-discourse to the overbearing reliance on certitude in the War on Terror, Plotting Justice scrutinizes how certainty and justice are brought into being through a set of narrative strategies operating across national borders and time scales.
So far 9/11 scholarship has focused on fiction that portrays the terrorist attacks overtly at the expense of more oblique intimations of a post-9/11 world, with its global risks and permutations. Banita’s readings of post-9/11 fiction elucidate the textual appearances and disappearances of the terrorist attacks as well as their narrative role in each case, a question that becomes gradually more penetrating as the analysis progresses and the texts qualify less and less explicitly as 9/11 literature. Notwithstanding their increasingly oblique association with the events in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania these texts mutually illuminate each other across a wide thematic and geographical spectrum. As for the narratives Banita discusses in Plotting Justice – a mixture of canonical and underrated works by DeLillo, Art Spiegelman, Helen Schulman, Patrick McGrath, Michael Cunningham, and others – she says she has selected them for their explanatory, predictive, and normative value. They illustrate the broad palette of post-9/11 literary discourse, from its most soothing to its most rancorous tones. Some of these texts foreshadowed, at the time of publication, political events they couldn't realistically have foreseen. And they have set the tone for what literature ought to be after 9/11. At times forswearing their ethical burden, sometimes openly embracing it, these texts puzzle readers into a painful awareness of moral crisis and sanction the operative task of narrative in defining a post-9/11 ethical agenda. This impulse might stem from the suspicion that post-9/11 literature can only be a short-lived phenomenon and another ‘post-‘ will soon interfere to derail it. But even as new catastrophes demand literary attention, 9/11 is likely always to partake of their significance. Most new fiction about the Iraq War and the global financial crisis – the two key milestones of the post-9/11 era – acknowledges the terrorist attacks as the political Ground Zero of the twenty-first century. A critical vision of contemporary literature that doesn't pay tribute to that event is, by now, virtually unthinkable.
Banita groups the novels under discussion according to the ways their narrative form and plot structure invites an ethical reading. Each chapter thus elaborates on a specific trope: narrating images in chapter 1; cruelty, violence, and psychoanalytic discourse, as well as narrative unreliability in chapter 2; the narrativization of risk in chapter 3; deterritorialized emplotment in chapter 4; and data mining as a reading strategy in chapter 5. The overall vision and progression of Plotting Justice rests on this important continuity.
Careful readers will note that although Banita begins by differentiating her stance from posttraumatic approaches to 9/11 literature, some of her textual readings overtly employ the apparatus of trauma theory and psychoanalysis. Her focus in Plotting Justice is on fetishism and transference, two concepts that are deeply lodged in trauma discourse. Although posttraumatic approaches have been useful in addressing early works on the terrorist attacks, fiction has gradually moved away from introspective accounts of how Americans are ‘working through’ the effects of 9/11, toward a vivid interest in the human impact of the War on Terror on diasporic communities and in the larger implications of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. To reflect the complexities of this dynamic, Banita structures the entire book around the development in 9/11 fiction away from narratives of mourning and toward a complex elucidation of psychoanalytic issues and social dynamics. This by no means entails a dismissal of trauma as a concept or heuristic, nor does it imply that she is trying to replace it with something else entirely. Rather, in focusing as she does in the book on the Other (the foreign, the remote, the unknowable) instead of the self, she suggests that it might be more productive to explore the shift in literature from a posttraumatic consciousness (driven by memory and self-reflection) to one of responsibility and engagement.
Professional & Technical / Medicine / Clinical / Radiology
The Practice of Interventional Radiology, with Online Cases and Video: Expert Consult Premium Edition – Enhanced Online Features and Print by Karim Valji (Elsevier Saunders)
The Practice of Interventional Radiology, by Dr. Karim Valji, MD, Professor of Radiology, Chief of Interventional Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, presents a comprehensive approach to help trainee clinicians master the latest techniques.
Online case studies teach a wide range of interventional techniques, such as chemoembolization of tumors, venous access, angioplasty and stenting. Clinicians get print and online access to a state-of-the art review of IR with over 1500 images, detailed procedural videos, and more than 100 unknown case studies. With coverage of neurointerventional procedures, image-guided non-vascular and vascular procedures, and interventional oncologic procedures – plus access to the full text, case studies, images, and videos online – trainee clinicians have everything they need to offer more patients a safer alternative to open surgery.
With The Practice of Interventional Radiology clinicians are able to:
Contents of The Practice of Interventional Radiology include:
SECTION I BASIC PRINCIPLES AND TECHNIQUES
SECTION II AORTA AND PERIPHERAL ARTERIES
SECTION III VISCERAL ARTERIES AND VEINS
SECTION IV PULMONARY VASCULATURE AND VENOUS SYSTEMS
SECTION V MISCELLANEOUS VASCULAR INTERVENTIONS
SECTION VI NONVASCULAR AND ONCOLOGIC INTERVENTIONS
The Practice of Interventional Radiology is largely based on the second edition of Valji’s previous text, Vascular and Interventional Radiology, published in 2006. Why the title change? Many hospital radiology divisions and even the American Board of Radiology still use the more traditional term, but almost all trainees and an increasing number of patients around the world call the specialty (in their own native language), quite simply, ‘IR’: interventional radiology.
This retitled edition presents the entire spectrum of vascular and nonvascular image-guided interventional procedures in a rigorous but practical and concise fashion. Two new chapters have been added to fill gaps in the previous work – one covering neurointerventional procedures and a second devoted to interventional oncology. The one deleted chapter was on lymphangiography. The introductory section of The Practice of Interventional Radiology provides a foundation for the discipline, including chapters on the pathology of vascular diseases (the historic core of IR), the fundamentals of patient care, and basic interventional techniques. The bulk of the remaining chapters are clustered in sections and cover each of the major vascular beds. The final section contains material on nonvascular interventional procedures (organized by organ system) and a final chapter on oncologic interventions. Disease pathogenesis and natural history, relevant aspects of imaging studies, specific IR techniques and their expected outcomes, and the relative merits of various treatment modalities are emphasized throughout. For every procedure, Valji summarizes the best available evidence to support – or occasionally refute – the value of a particular therapy. The technical details of many procedures are described in some depth.
The Practice of Interventional Radiology includes over 1500 illustrations, many of them new. When appropriate, color has been added to radiographic images. All of the line drawings were redone in color to improve clarity. References have been updated. The citations are extensive but not exhaustive; they direct readers to the most important current – as well as classic or historic – publications covering each topic. For many of them, hyperlinks are included in the web-based version of the book that allow direct access to the actual journal articles.
The online book format has allowed several new features. Users can access a digital form of the text through the publisher's website for use on a computer (or, ultimately, an electronic reader). As an e-book, readers will be able to highlight, dog-ear, and otherwise personalize the content to make it an enduring study guide. A major new element is the online library of over 100 unknown IR case studies that encompass the essential diseases and procedures that should be familiar to all imagers and interventionalists. The clinical cases and procedures are completely distinct from those found in the body of the text. The modules are interactive – questions are posed on each screen about the findings on the images presented, the differential diagnosis, characteristics of the particular disease, and possible treatment options. More advanced technical questions are aimed at actual IR practitioners. Each case is ultimately linked to the appropriate section of the main online text, giving readers more detailed information about the subject under study. The other notable addition is a collection of short videos comprised of fluoroscopic sequences and/or movies taken at the interventional table. These subtitled clips illustrate many basic and some more complex interventional techniques.
A superb addition to interventional radiology educational resources... Purchase of the book gives access to an additional 100 case studies viewed online as well as an online digital version of the text to allow electronic reading... There are six sections to the book, covering basic principles, all forms of vascular imaging and intervention, non-vascular and oncological interventions... this is a first class textbook that is excellent for both the trainee in IR and the established consultant who requires more information in any area of interventional radiology. – RAD Magazine, Aug 2012
The Practice of Interventional Radiology presents the entire spectrum of vascular and nonvascular image-guided interventional procedures in a rigorous but practical, concise, and balanced fashion. It is of primary value for trainees in diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology. The case library is geared to residents who do not intend to practice the specialty but need to gain a basic understanding of the nature of and indications for IR procedures to become competent practicing diagnostic radiologists. For interventionalists finished with primary training, the book serves as a comprehensive review of the current state of the field and also as a reference source for occasional consultation. It is also of value to physicians in other specialties who have an interest in performing selected IR procedures; however, it can supplement but not replace extensive formal training in these subjects.
With The Practice of Interventional Radiology trainees and clinicians can enhance their skills in interventional radiology and reduce patient risk. For a specialty that is so image-rich and procedure driven, the web-based features of this book will appeal to all learners. Newcomers learn all they need to prepare for practice and experienced providers learn the most up-to-date interventional techniques that they need.
Professional & Technical / Medicine / Internal / Infectious Diseases / Immunology
Vaccinology: Principles and Practice edited by W. John W. Morrow, Nadeem A. Sheikh, Clint S. Schmidt and D. Huw Davies (Wiley-Blackwell)
Covering all aspects of vaccine research and development in one volume, Vaccinology takes a comprehensive and systematic approach to the science of vaccinology. This resource focuses not only on basic science, but also on the many stages required to commercialize and navigate the regulatory requirements for human application, both in the United States and Europe.
Clinicians, researchers and fellows will find that Vaccinology:
Editors include W. John W. Morrow, Seattle, Washington; Nadeem A. Sheikh, Dendreon, Inc., Seattle, Washington; Clint S. Schmidt, NovaDigm Therapeutics, Inc., Grand Forks, North Dakota; and D. Huw Davies, University of California at Irvine.
‘Vaccinology’ is a term that encompasses the whole process of producing vaccines – from basic research and preclinical demonstration of efficacy, to approval and clinical trial in humans. While there are many excellent books that detail the various steps, such as antigen discovery or delivery systems, there are fewer that also cover so called ‘downstream development,’ such as the design of clinical trials, or their regulation in the United States and the European Union. Vaccinology does that job.
To tackle the vast subject, the editors have organized the chapters of Vaccinology into sections. The book starts with an examination of the concept and scope of modern vaccines. It proceeds with the basic tenets of the immune system that govern our thinking about vaccines, with chapters on innate immunity, antigen processing and presentation, mucosal immunity, immunological memory in T and B cells, and the utility of mouse and nonhuman primate models for testing vaccine efficacy. The following section explores antigen discovery in the postgenomic era, during which there has been remarkable progress in proteomic mining for potential vaccine antigens, and powerful predictive algorithms and high-throughput assay and display technologies. This is followed by a selection of chapters on antigen engineering and delivery: attenuated microbe vaccines, virus-like particles, recombinant viruses (orthopox, avipox, lentivirus, and adenovirus) and bacteria, DNA vaccines, and artificial cells. Vaccinology explores methods for antigen delivery, with chapters on transcutaneous vaccination, needle-free jet delivery, and oral vaccines. The need to potentiate otherwise inert proteins is the subject of the next section, with chapters on designing adjuvants, particulate delivery systems such as PLGs and microspheres, co-administration of co-stimulatory moieties, and the role of TLR signaling in adjuvanticity. It then transitions from basic research to vaccine implementation. The first of these sections discusses regulatory considerations, with chapters on working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), developmental pipelines, the design of clinical trials, immune monitoring and biomarkers, and vaccine safety. This is followed by chapters on mass immunization strategies, and mathematical models and epidemiological monitoring.
Contents of Vaccinology chapter by chapter include:
Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 Principles of Vaccine Design
Part 3 Antigen Discovery
Part 4 Antigen Engineering
Part 5 Delivery Systems
Part 6 Regulatory Considerations
Part 7 Evaluating Vaccine Efficacy
Part 8 Implementing Immunizations/Therapies
Vaccinology provides an invaluable and authoritative resource for clinicians, scientific and medical researchers, lecturers and postdoctoral fellows working in the field of vaccines. The book fills a gap by providing readers with a comprehensive and authoritative reference that describes the design and construction of vaccines from first principles to implementation. It will appeal both to scientists engaged in vaccine research and development and to clinicians, or indeed anyone, with an interest in the opportunities and challenges facing the development of new vaccines.
Religion & Spirituality / New Age
Confessions of a Rebel Angel: The Wisdom of the Watchers and the Destiny of Planet Earth by Timothy Wyllie (Bear & Company)
Confessions of a Rebel Angel reveals a rebel angel’s observations from her half-million years on Earth and her perspective on the spiritual journey of her human charge. The book:
According to Timothy Wyllie, writer, artist and musician
specializing in nonhuman intelligencies, more than two hundred
millennia ago the high angel Lucifer launched a revolution among the
angelic hierarchy, which led to the quarantine of 37 planets,
including the earth, from the rest of the Multiverse. Now, after
eons of isolation, the rebel angels are being redeemed and welcomed
back into the benevolent and caring Multiverse with a massive
transformation of consciousness and a reconnection to their
Writing through Wyllie, rebel angel ‘Georgia’ in Confessions of a Rebel Angel describes her half a million years stationed on Earth as a watcher. Arriving 500,000 years ago as part of the first angelic expedition to Earth – sent to prepare the indigenous inhabitants for higher consciousness – she details the archaic roots of humanity and explains the connections between the 7 dimensions of intelligent life and the chakras as well as how beauty and creativity are vehicles for angelic inspiration. Interweaving her story with parallel observations of Wyllie’s youth in World War II England and his spiritual journey beginning with the Process Church, ‘Georgia’ explains the motivations behind Lucifer’s uprising and the lasting impact it has had among the angels on Earth and on humanity’s natural spiritual development.
Revealing that there are more than 90 million rebel angels currently incarnated on Earth – almost all of whom are unaware of their previous celestial lives – ‘Georgia’ in Confessions of a Rebel Angel explains they now have an opportunity to redeem the past and contribute their particular talents to the world. She calls on all, especially these incarnate angels, to wake up to who they are and embrace their spiritual heritage as earthly vessels for God’s presence. In this way they can prepare for the imminent transformation of global consciousness and embrace the destiny facing the world.
Confessions of a Rebel Angel is Timothy Wyllie’s Magnum Opus.
This saga is brilliant, arresting, and fulfilling, a true story of
the esoteric secrets that fester in the human heart that are now
awakening the human spirit. Georgia, a juicy and witty Rebel Angel,
comes to us through Wyllie’s engrossing and engaging prose – a
totally balanced story of humankind’s evolution and struggles with
the forces of the dark and the light. If you want the real truth
about the Fallen Angels, read this book! – Barbara Hand Clow, author
of Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a
New Era of Creativity
Timothy Wyllie’s books have come to be recognized as the foremost spiritual autobiographies of the age. In this latest installment Timothy steps aside to allow a companion angel to rejig the narrative from her viewpoint. Fulfilling Geoffrey Hodson’s century-old prediction of The Brotherhood of Angels and Men, this book unveils the portal through which that brotherhood can emerge, and does so with style, humor and grace. – Gordon Phinn, author of An American in Heaven and Eternal Life and How to Enjoy It
Religion & Spirituality / Self-Help / Gerontology
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality and the Creative Self by Janet L. Ramsey and Rosemary Blieszner, with series editor Jon Hendricks (Society and Aging Series: Baywood Publishing Company)
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging offers a corrective to anxious, dichotomized visions of aging that either deny the realities of growing old (leading to exclusion, patronization, and labeling) or present unrealistic views of aging (leading to romanticizing of older persons and their lives). It demonstrates how narrative theory can increase an appreciation for implicit themes, roles, and tones in the stories of resilient older adults. And it also shows how research and theologically informed analysis can increase gerontologists' understanding of older adults' spiritual resources. Spiritual Resiliency and Aging contributes to theorizing a positive psychology of aging by highlighting the importance of spirituality as a core resource in the lives of older adults, and contributes to the area of religion and aging by focusing on specific aspects of spiritual resiliency not previously explored.
Authors are Janet L. Ramsey, Pastor, George Weinman Chair of Pastoral Theology and Ministry, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, and Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia.
Realizing that contemporary society is highly individualistic and frequently ageist, Ramsey and Blieszner theorize on direct quotations from the life stories of strong, courageous elders in the United States and Germany who are deeply anchored in their communities and not only have coped well with aging but have transcended the numerous losses in their lives. Through the use of narrative theory as their primary conceptual lens, and aided by a variety of developmental theories, the authors explore the dynamic intersection of gerontology and spirituality within the meta-narrative of one particular religious tradition, Lutheranism. Acknowledging the necessary tension, in the human experience of aging, of hope versus reality, interconnected personhood versus self-differentiation, and creative change versus stability, the authors use these polarities to structure their exploration of themes in resiliency. Chapter topics include personal and communal emotions, forgiveness, the creative self, spiritual practices, hope and gratitude, rediscovering vocations, and the practice of critiquing self and community. Two chapters are in-depth case studies. Each chapter concludes with specific suggestions for scholars, educators, and practitioners.
As told in the foreword by Susan H. McFadden, Spiritual Resiliency and Aging is all about the polarities of life and the ways that spiritually resilient elders negotiate these polarities creatively while avoiding false dichotomies. Their resiliency holds the polarities in tension, and the creative outcome shines through in their narratives. These elders do not deny the vulnerability they share with all human beings. Instead, they have learned to live with it while also remaining hopeful. They can do this because their lives are centered in spiritual community, and they embrace the fundamental human need for meaningful relationships with other persons.
Many people who read Spiritual Resiliency and Aging will be familiar with qualitative research in gerontology. Like all good qualitative researchers, Ramsey and Blieszner have carefully disguised their interviewees' identities, and yet they never disguise their humanity. All 16 of these spiritually resilient people understand that aging brings a new vocation – a call to act creatively in the inter-subjective space between the self and others, and between the self and God. These are not 16 disembodied voices hidden behind a curtain of a distancing interpretive schema. Rather, they appear to reach out intentionally through the authors to the persons who read the book, viewing whatever they might share about the triumphs and hardships of their lives as reflecting their spiritual calling to ‘give back.’ One way they do this is by telling the stories of how they have been sustained and embraced within spiritual communities. At the same time, readers find in their stories evidence of how their spiritual communities have enabled them to sustain and embrace others through difficult times.
In addition to attending to the polarities of life that become so acutely present in old age, Ramsey and Blieszner are bridging two other culturally constructed gaps: between the humanities and the social sciences, and between researchers and practitioners. Despite the fact that gerontology might be the most interdisciplinary of any field of study, nevertheless, it often defaults to old habits of disciplinary boundaries. However, 21st-century gerontology demands a new vision about aging, old age, and older people. This new vision must fully embrace a life span perspective, for older people cannot be understood apart from the contexts of their lives through time. This is true for the researchers who gather and analyze data from older adults about myriad topics, as well as for the practitioners who counsel them as they struggle to come to terms with their lives and to face the future with courage, hope, love, and imagination. The 16 elders in Spiritual Resiliency and Aging all experienced the losses and deprivations of World War II, with eight of them living through wartime in Germany, and eight living in the United States. The insights just about this issue make this book unique. Here are older people who lived on opposite sides of a terrible conflict but who also shared core beliefs about what makes life meaningful and good. These beliefs were rooted in their common Lutheran heritage.
So often in gerontology, we capture elders in time, freeze-framing them as if they had no past that might shape the present, nor any imagination about what the future might hold. Although most gerontologists dutifully call for longitudinal studies, and increasingly compare data collected from persons at different times and at different ages, nevertheless, the existential questions about living in time often evaporate amidst the piles of data. What endures in the present and into the future when so much from the past has been lost? Ramsey and Blieszner in Spiritual Resiliency and Aging invite readers to participate with them in ‘gracious encounters’ with elders who have wrestled with this question and who feel called to share how they live with imagination, love and respect for others, and hope for the future, despite knowing that in human time, that future is constricted and might be laden with more suffering.
Drs. Ramsey and Blieszner bring a fresh and profound perspective to the question of how to age well. They offer a theoretically grounded, incisive analysis of elders' narratives. They broaden our understanding of essential aspects of resiliency that are often missed, including the crucial roles of community, religious framing of life's evolving narrative, and ongoing vocation. – Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC, Author, Jewish Visions for Aging: A Professional Guide to Fostering Wholeness, Founding Director, Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
This book integrates psychosocial and theological aspects of spirituality and aging at an unusually deep level, and thus contributes to a growing body of scholarship on religion and healthy aging. The importance of community over a purely individual understanding of spirituality, and the use of narrative and object relations theories, add to the book's significance. The authors analyzed and interpreted rich interview data within a compelling, systematic, and original conceptual framework. They provide useful recommendations for professionals in every chapter. Although this book is based on research with older adults, the results are relevant for adults of all ages. – Harold G. Koenig, MD, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center
The term that Ramsey and Blieszner use, ‘spiritually resilient aging,’ is a wonderful, positive image of aging that flies in the face of the ageism rampant in our society. The ‘thick’ narrative developed by the authors' excellent research methodology is not only illuminating but also inspiring, with stories of those who survived World War II. The use of narrative approaches is key in giving voice to elderly people, who link for the reader recovery, resistance, resiliency, and reconfiguration. The balance for these older adults is between agency and community and understanding the communal aspects of spirituality. In addition, we come to appreciate the importance of healthy aging through a sense of vocation and meaning in life. In summary, this is a solid, comprehensive book on a topic that will touch every single one of us – aging. It's a must-read. – Abigail Rian Evans, MDiv, PhD, LHD, Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Practical Theology Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, Scholar-in-Residence, Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University, Washington,
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging does a good job of analyzing the data on aging after World War II within the Lutheran tradition. The elders exude gratitude for God's unfolding grace in their lives, and readers will feel grateful to Ramsey and Blieszner for sharing their wisdom and resiliency with them.
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging is designed for instructors and students in gerontology/aging studies, religious studies, pastoral counseling, congregational leadership, psychology of aging, family studies, lifespan human development, marriage and family therapy, social work, health promotion, geriatric medicine and nursing, long-term care and community-based care, recreation therapy/activities, and intergenerational programming. Clinicians/professionals including pastoral counselors, family therapists, clinical psychologists and geropsychologists, licensed professional counselors, social workers, gerontology practitioners, clergy and older adult program ministers, hospice workers, activities directors, long-term care administrators, and health care providers.
Science / Astronomy / Cosmology / Evolution
The Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars by Jacob Berkowitz (Prometheus Books)
In 1957, as Americans obsessed over the launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite, another less noticed space age was taking off. That year, astrophysicist Fred Hoyle and colleagues solved a centuries-old quest for the origin of the elements, from carbon to uranium. The answer they found wasn't on Earth, but in the stars. Their research showed that we are literally stardust. The year also marked the first international conference that considered the origin of life on Earth in an astrophysical context. It was the marriage of two of the seemingly strangest bedfellows – astronomy and biology – and a turning point in what award-winning science journalist Jacob Berkowitz calls The Stardust Revolution. Berkowitz is the bestselling author of Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (and Others) Left Behind, winner of a 2007 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award.
Three great scientific revolutions have shaped our understanding of the cosmos and our relationship to it. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed the Copernican Revolution, which bodychecked the Earth as the pivot point of creation and joined us with the rest of the cosmos as one planet among many orbiting the Sun. Three centuries later came the second great scientific revolution: the Darwinian Revolution. It removed us from a distinct, divine biological status to place us wholly in the ebb and flow of all terrestrial life.
Now, Berkowitz describes how we're in the midst of a third great scientific revolution, five centuries in the making: The Stardust Revolution. It is the merging of the once-disparate realms of astronomy and evolutionary biology, and of the Copernican and Darwinian Revolutions, placing life in a cosmic context.
The Stardust Revolution takes readers on a grand journey that begins on the summit of California's Mount Wilson, where astronomers first realized that the universe is both expanding and evolving, to a radio telescope used to identify how organic molecules – the building blocks of life – are made by stars. It is an epic story told through a scientific cast that includes some of the twentieth century's greatest minds – including Nobel laureate Charles Townes, who discovered cosmic water – as well as the most ambitious scientific explorers of the twenty-first century, those racing to find another living planet.
These intrepid scientists have often faced an establishment that dissuaded them from pursuing their work and ridiculed their research as impossible.
Our ancestors are stars in this 'extreme genealogy,' which follows the history of discoveries that blossomed into a new field…. Berkowitz gracefully chronicles the work and passion of physicists, chemists, and other 'stardust scientists' who probe the universe for signs of life. – Scientific American
[An] intriguing look at ... 'stardust science,' a surprising blend of astronomy and evolutionary biology.... With an engaging tone and accessible science, Berkowitz shows how the current search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars could also reveal [other life-forms] born of the same dust that made us. – Publishers Weekly
With a delightfully readable style, Jacob Berkowitz illuminates the greatest scientific story of our time: the search for humanity's origin and place in the cosmos. – Steven J. Dick, former NASA chief historian and author of Life on Other Worlds
In his lively and meticulous book, Berkowitz tells the incredible story of how we're discovering our true cosmic origins – reflected in every atom, molecule, and grain of matter in the universe. Read it and you'll never look at the night sky, or yourself, the same way again. – Dr. Caleb Scharf, director of astrobiology at Columbia University and author of Gravity's Engines
In this captivating story Berkowitz weaves together the latest research results in this revolution to reveal a dramatic new view of the twinkling night sky – not as an alien frontier, but as our cosmic birthplace. Accessible and engaging, like opening a long-hidden box of old family letters and diaries, The Stardust Revolution offers readers a new view on where we've come from, and our journey from stardust to Homo sapiens.
Science / Health & Fitness / Nutrition / Cooking, Food & Wine
Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods edited by Dilip Ghosh, Shantanu Das, Debasis Bagchi and R.B. Smarta (CRC Press)
The focus of food science and technology has
shifted from previous goals of improving food safety and enhancing
food taste toward providing healthy and functional foods. Today’s
consumers desire foods that go beyond basic nutrition – foods
capable of promoting better health, or even playing a
disease-prevention role. To meet this need for innovation, academic
research must be combined with the development and commercialization
strategies of industry.
Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods brings together this
knowledge, with contributions from experts in biological science,
food science, engineering, marketing, regulation, law, finance,
sustainability, and management.
Focusing on functional foods that have components added – such as omega-3, probiotics, and protein – to provide health benefits, Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods presents various aspects of the innovation process. These include consumer insights, trends in developed and developing markets, and technological advances in functional foods and ingredients. It also addresses the key drivers of food industry innovation – affordability, sustainability, and tightening government regulations. Chapters cover characteristics of various markets around the world; consumer perception; food processing, packaging, and ingredients; innovation in functional ingredients; and functional ingredient delivery.
Given the importance and challenges of getting functional food products into the marketplace, this book also covers the business aspects of innovation in food science, including marketing, financial implications, and commercial feasibility. Additionally, contributors provide insights into future trends, such as food tourism, nanotechnology, sustainability, and globalization. Bringing together expertise from academia and industry, Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods provides an overview of contemporary food science, with wisdom and know-how in both innovation and commercialization, placing functional foods in a broader context for readers.
The four editors are Dilip Ghosh, a director at Nutriconnect in
Shantanu Das, who works as a product development manager at Riddet Institute (Centre for Research Excellence in Food and Nutrition), Massey University, New Zealand; Debasis Bagchi, a professor in the Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Houston and director of Innovation & Clinical Affairs of Iovate Health Sciences International Inc., Oakville, Ontario; and Raja B. Smarta, founder and managing director of Interlink Marketing Consulting Pvt. Ltd, and a faculty member in leading management institutions.
Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods includes topics that have been researched in academia but have the potential to be applied in the food industry. Innovation in functional and healthy foods can be carried out successfully only by a cross-functional team who can integrate their expertise in various subjects. To be able to deliver the innovation process to the food industry, the contributors of this book were identified carefully to make sure that they bring various skills and experiences including biological science, food science, engineering, marketing, regulatory, legal, financial, sustainability, and management. In an era of open innovation, all these skills do not need to be situated in one organization; various organizations, commercial businesses, and research institutions can work together to lead to innovation. In the spirit of open innovation, the book brings together experts from both industry and academia.
Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods pulls together various aspects of innovation processes, consumer insights and trends in developed and developing markets for functional and healthy foods as well as a range of technological developments in functional foods and ingredients. Also, the book addresses three key drivers of future innovations in the food industry. These drivers are affordability, sustainability, and tightening of government regulation. A total of 34 chapters have been written by renowned experts from around the world and edited by the editorial team.
Section I gives an overview of innovation in the food industry, focusing on safe, healthy, and functional foods.
Sections II and III discuss various aspects of the opportunities and scope in different markets for functional foods. Section II provides characteristics of the markets in different continents (the United States, Europe, Asia, and around the world) in terms of functional and healthy foods. Section III provides some insights in consumer perception of functional foods and ingredients.
Sections IV and V discuss various technological aspects associated with innovations in the food industry. Section IV focuses on innovations in food processing, packaging, and functional ingredient delivery technology, whereas Section V focuses on various functional and nutritional food ingredients.
Section VI deals with the connection between innovation and other parts of the business, such as marketing, sales, regulatory and finance, and analyzes commercial feasibility.
Section VII provides some insights into future trends such as food tourism, nanotechnology, sustainability, and globalization.
Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods is intended for a broad audience associated with food and allied industries, with the intention of an overview of the contemporary food innovation. This book will be useful for professionals working in universities and research institutions, food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries as well as for the students studying food technology and food business. Also, this book is a good resource for the entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in food and nutrition industries.
Science / History / Biographies & Memoirs
Darwin: Portrait of a Genius by Paul Johnson (Viking)
Historian Paul Johnson provides a succinct portrait of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), one of history's most influential figures. Darwin brings the gentleman-scientist and his times into focus. Darwin is arguably the most influential and debated scientist of all time. His Origin of Species forever changed our concept of the world’s creation. Johnson is an acclaimed historian of extraordinary range with many bestselling books, who has written for The Spectator, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, among others.
From Darwin’s birth into great fortune to his voyage aboard the Beagle, to the long-delayed publication of his masterpiece, Johnson in Darwin delves into what made this Victorian gentleman into a visionary scientist – and into the tragic flaws that later led Darwin to support the burgeoning eugenics movement.
Johnson doesn't shy away from critiques of Darwin. He praises Darwin for the passionate curiosity that drove his discoveries and the pleasure he took in his botanical and quasi-botanical studies, but also reminds readers that Darwin, for all his brilliance as a scientist, was a poor anthropologist who didn't bring to his observation of humans the same care and objectivity he demonstrated when studying animals and plants. It was this weakness, Johnson argues, that prevented Darwin, who gave the world the why of natural selection, from uncovering its enigmatic how. Accidentally or intentionally, it was this weakness in the study of humans that created a platform for the discussion of and experimentation with eugenics around the world.
With the utmost respect for both the great scientist and historical accuracy, Johnson paints this honest portrait of a man whose flaws do not distract from his legacy, but add significant dimension to our understanding of his mind, the era in which he existed, and the everlasting impact of his discoveries upon our world.
Never has a scientist been so favored by fortune, observes Johnson. Darwin came from a line of gifted intellectuals, with great wealth on both sides of his family. He went to the best schools but was a mediocre student. Though he struggled with studies in medicine and, later, the ministry that his father insisted on, Darwin was rescued by a professor's recommendation that he serve as the scientist on the HMS Beagle. He set off on the five-year voyage, and by the time they reached the Galapagos Islands, he wrote that "we seem to be brought near the great fact – the mystery of mysteries – the first appearance of new beings on this earth."
As told in Darwin, Darwin kept postponing publication of his groundbreaking theory because he feared society's – and his wife's – disapproval. Only when Darwin realized that another eminent scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace, was pursuing similar ideas and was about to publish them did Darwin race to produce a popular treatment of the theory. As Johnson notes, "In what we have seen to be a remarkably lucky life, this was the greatest stroke of good fortune he enjoyed." The Origin of Species sealed Darwin's fate as the discoverer of the theory.
Johnson sees it as tragic that Darwin moved beyond the realm of plants and animals, where his observational skills were extraordinary, into the realm of humans, where his less astute anthropology informed The Descent of Man, which provided support for the period's burgeoning eugenics movement and the Social Darwinist ideology.
A provocative ... probing, well-written overview of Darwin's impact. – Kirkus
This little sketch reminds us why Darwin's theory of natural selection endures and continues to provoke controversy. – Publishers Weekly
Darwin is a rich, insightful, and succinct portrait of arguably the most influential and debated scientist in Western history. Marked by the astute observation, spectacular wit, and highly readable prose, the book brings the gentleman-scientist and his times into focus. As always, Johnson makes "his subjects human and fallible enough that readers would, indeed, recognize them instantly while also illuminating what made them heroes" (The Washington Post). Johnson’s many admirers as well as history and science buffs will be grateful for this superb account of Darwin and the everlasting impact of his discoveries.
Social Sciences / Philosophy / Ancient
The Archaeology of the Soul: Platonic Readings in Ancient Poetry and Philosophy by Seth Benardete, Ronna Burger and Michael Davis (St. Augustine’s Press)
The Archaeology of the Soul is a testimony to the extraordinary scope of Seth Benardete’s thought. Some essays concern particular authors or texts; others range more broadly and are thematic. Some deal explicitly with philosophy; others deal with epic, lyric, and tragic poetry. Some of these authors are Greek, some Roman, and still others are contemporaries writing about antiquity. All of these essays, however, are informed by an underlying vision, which is a reflection of Benardete’s life-long engagement with one thinker in particular – Plato. The Platonic dialogue presented Benardete with the most vivid case of that periagoge, or turn-around, that he found to be the sign of all philosophic thinking and that is the signature as well of his own interpretations not only of Plato but also of other thinkers.
The late Benardete (1930-2001), was an outstanding teacher and scholar in classical literature and philosophy and taught at New York University; editors are Ronna Burger, who teaches philosophy at Tulane University and Michael Davis, who teaches philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College.
The core of The Archaeology of the Soul consists of a set of essays Benardete produced in his last years; the collection provides at the same time an entry into that world through some of Benardete’s earliest articles on Plato and on Greek poetry. Benardete’s earlier path of close textual analysis always reflected his intimate philosophic dialogue with the thinker in whose work he was immersed; later, he drew on resources of erudition acquired over a lifetime to present a broader picture, on a theme like the dialectics of eros or freedom and necessity.
In his late work Benardete was not only engaged in putting together in more general form material he had worked out earlier; he was still on the trail of new discoveries, above all, by extending his Platonic understanding of philosophy to pre- and post-Platonic thinkers. He had become increasingly aware that the discovery of philosophy through the ‘Socratic turn’ was really the rediscovery of an understanding already present in some form in the Greek poets and that awareness guided his last years of study of the pre-Socratic philosophers. According to the standard view of the history of Greek philosophy, the Socratic turn, with its focus on ‘the human things,’ marks a point of radical change in philosophy’s history. Benardete’s late studies led him to the conclusion that the kind of pivotal reorientation thought to be Socratic is in fact the mark of what it means to think philosophically, and Heraclitus or Parmenides is a genuine philosophic thinker precisely to the extent that a Socratic turn can be found in some form within his own thought.
At the same time that he was pursuing a track backward, from Plato to the poets and pre-Socratic philosophers, Benardete was also proceeding on a forward path, from Plato to the Latin writers, who adopt the Platonic way of thinking with full understanding of what it means to be ‘post-Platonic.’ As the essays collected in The Archaeology of the Soul demonstrate, the Platonic notion of a ‘second sailing’ gave Benardete a key to the relation between Greek and Latin thought – and with that to a comprehensive understanding of antiquity – as it did to the relation between poetry and philosophy as such.
According to the preface, The Archaeology of the Soul contains essays on eros, freedom, and poetry in antiquity; on Hesiod, Pindar, Aeschylus and Sophocles; on Heraclitus and Parmenides; on several Platonic dialogues and on Aristotle. It contains as well essays on Horace, Vergil, Apuleius, and Cicero; and on Jacques Derrida and Leo Strauss. Some essays concern particular authors or texts; others range more broadly and are thematic. Some deal explicitly with philosophy, others with epic, lyric, and tragic poetry. Some of the authors are Greek, some Roman, and still others are contemporaries writing about antiquity.
Given the independent origin of each of these essays and the remarkable diversity they display, it is reasonable to ask whether The Archaeology of the Soul constitutes a whole, and if so, what the principle of its unity is. The title of this volume points to that difficulty as well as to its resolution: the underlying vision that informs all these essays is a reflection of Benardete's life-long engagement with one thinker in particular – Plato. Only because Plato seemed to him to come so close to the truth of things could he hope to learn so much by unearthing Platonic resonances in other thinkers – whether earlier or later, poetic or philosophic. Accordingly, Benardete could make the startling claim that "What philosophy is seems to be inseparable from the question of how to read Plato." To read a Platonic dialogue one must attend to its action, which "both explains the inadequacies of the argument and deepens the argument." This relation between argument and action reflects the linking of soul and logos. Plato's psychology is the way to Plato's ideas. It was his deep understanding of this path that led Benardete to discover an ‘archaeology of the human spirit’ in all the thinkers he studied.
Benardete's ongoing conversation with Plato is manifest in the characteristic features of interpretation present throughout the essays in The Archaeology of the Soul. By calling readers’ attention to neglected details that sit concealed on the surface of a text, Benardete spurs observations that illuminate its central concerns. The deceivingly superficial brings a text to light "in such a new and yet convincing way that the reader is forced to experience simultaneously a shock of surprise and a sense of recognition." The Platonic dialogue presented Benardete with the most vivid case of that periagoge, or turn-around, that he found to be the sign of all philosophic thinking and that is the signature as well of his own interpretations not only of Plato but also of other thinkers. If Benardete's initial claims are frequently at odds with the ‘obvious,’ it is because such claims provide the occasion for a periagoge in our thought. In following the movement produced by such a turn-around – the action of the argument – Benardete articulates a new argument, which, rather than reinforcing the explicit argument of a text, undermines it in such a way as to compel one to rethink things from the beginning. Benardete thus reproduces in his own writing the ‘second sailing’ of the Platonic dialogues that requires philosophic thinking to begin in error. In recognizing our error, we learn that certain things cannot be seen at all without first having been missed.
The core of The Archaeology of the Soul consists of a set of essays written after the previously published collection of Benardete's essays in The Argument of the Action. It provides at the same time an entry, through some of Benardete's earliest work, into the world of his later thought, whose difficulty results in part from his sustained reexamination of challenging texts over the course of many years, building on earlier layers of understanding without repeating them. The present volume makes available Benardete's first articles on the dialogues to which he repeatedly returned – the Sophist, Statesman, and Timaeus. Some particularly concrete and helpful keys to his understanding of how to read Plato are to be found in a set of brief articles, written near the start of his career, reprinted in The Archaeology of the Soul. In "The Right, the True, and the Beautiful," for example, he begins to uncover the philosophic significance of the seemingly casual responses of Socrates' interlocutors, by which they unwittingly add so much to the argument of the dialogue. Benardete's early articles on Plato show the mark of a gifted scholar; but they also indicate already what it means for him to have found in Plato a measure of genuine thinking. He holds others up to that standard, as in this collection when he allows Derrida to reveal himself in his reading of the Phaedrus, Strauss in his reading of the Republic.
The body of work Benardete produced in his last years is in several ways strikingly new. His earlier path of close textual analysis always reflected his intimate philosophic dialogue with the thinker in whose work he was immersed; later, he drew on resources of erudition acquired over a lifetime to present a broader picture. This is especially evident in three pieces. In "Socrates and Plato: The Dialectics of Eros," Benardete moves freely about the entire Platonic corpus to indicate why "Eros is central to Plato in a way that it is not for any other philosopher." In "Freedom: Grace and Necessity" Benardete turns first to Livy and then to Thucydides, Herodotus, Plato, Homer, the Greek tragedians, Tacitus, and Longinus to enter into a meditation with them on the necessity of self-opacity for human freedom. In "The Poet-Merchant and the Stranger from the Sea" Benardete reflects on the way "the relation between the local and the universal, between the law and the transcendence of the law, which is at the heart of ancient poetry, recurs in the element of philosophic reflection in Plato."
In his late work Benardete was not only engaged in putting together in more general form material he had worked out earlier; he was still on the trail of new discoveries, above all, by extending his Platonic understanding of philosophy to pre- and post-Platonic thinkers. From the beginning, Benardete was following the traces of Platonic themes he discovered in Homer, Greek tragedy, and Herodotus. Later this approach became more conspicuous, for example, in the essay included in The Archaeology of the Soul, "On Reading Pindar Platonically," or in the book he subtitled "A Platonic Reading of the Odyssey." Benardete came to see that the discovery of philosophy through the ‘Socratic turn’ was really the rediscovery of an understanding already present in some form in the Greek poets.
With this thought in mind Benardete turned in his last years to the pre-Socratic philosophers. His final graduate seminars were devoted to Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Plato's Parmenides. As he always had in the past, Benardete sat down at the end of each semester to write up the understanding he had developed in the course, leaving readers with three brilliant essays, which undercut the standard view of the history of Greek philosophy. According to this view, the Socratic turn, with its focus on ‘the human things,’ marks a point of radical change in philosophy's history: it transforms the prior stage of philosophic thought by turning inquiry for the first time away from direct observation of the beings to their indirect examination through the opinions or appearances that come to light in speeches. Through his careful study of the pre-Socratics, Benardete arrived at a different conception: the kind of pivotal reorientation thought to be Socratic is in fact the mark of what it means to think philosophically, and Heraclitus or Parmenides is a genuine philosophic thinker precisely to the extent that a Socratic turn can be found in some form within his own thought.
At the same time that he was pursuing a track backward, from Plato to the poets and pre-Socratic philosophers, Benardete was also proceeding on a forward path, from Plato to the Latin writers, who adopt the Platonic way of thinking with full understanding of what it means to be ‘post-Platonic.’ Benardete was not so much interested in these thinkers as Platonic epigones – he was no stranger to the philosophical difficulties of various historical ‘Platonisms.’ He developed instead a series of intriguing and illuminating analyses of Horace, Cicero, Vergil, and Apuleius with a view to uncovering the self-understanding these authors have of themselves as Platonic thinkers who were not present at the beginning, who could, therefore, never be for Rome what Homer was for Greece. Vergil means readers to understand him in light of Homer. Not only Cicero's Laws but also Apuleius's Metamorphoses is self-consciously modeled on Plato's Phaedrus. As Benardete's readings indicate, Latin authors, given their historical situation, are particularly well-placed to understand the degree to which all genuine thinking is rethinking.
The Platonic notion of a ‘second sailing’ thus gave Benardete a key to the relation between Greek and Latin thought and with that to a comprehensive understanding of antiquity – as it did to the relation between poetry and philosophy as such. Taken individually and bound together as a whole, the essays in The Archaeology of the Soul map that understanding, which Benardete developed, with Plato as a guide, over a lifetime of philosophic reflection on the human soul.
Social Sciences / Politics / Business & Investing / Energy Policy
Energy and Empire: The Politics of Nuclear and Solar Power in the United States by George A. Gonzalez (SUNY Press)
What set the United States on the path to developing commercial nuclear energy in the 1950s, and what led to the seeming demise of that industry in the late 1970s? Why, in spite of the depletion of fossil fuels and the obvious dangers of global warming, has the United States moved so slowly toward adopting alternatives?
In Energy and Empire, George A. Gonzalez, associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, presents a clear argument demonstrating that economic elites tied their advocacy of the nuclear energy option to post-1945 American foreign policy goals. At the same time, these elites opposed government support for other forms of energy, such as solar, that cannot be dominated by one nation. While researchers have blamed safety concerns and other factors as helping to arrest the expansion of domestic nuclear power plant construction, Gonzalez points to an entirely different set of motivations stemming from the loss of America's domination/control of the enrichment of nuclear fuel. Once foreign countries could enrich their own fuel, civilian nuclear power ceased to be a lever the United States could use to economically/politically dominate other nations. Instead, it became a major concern relating to nuclear weapons proliferation.
In his previous book, Urban Sprawl, Global Warming, and the Empire of Capital, Gonzalez explained how and why urban sprawl arose as a lead strategy/means to stabilize the U.S. economy in the 1930s, and later as a lynchpin for the world economy in the post World War II period, and remains as such. In addition to growing the world capitalist economy, urban sprawl also greatly pushes up energy demand because it creates an energy-intense transportation infrastructure (i.e., automobile dependency) and an energy-intense housing stock (low-density urban development expands energy use to heat/cool and power the appliances that fill the relatively large multiroom households that are characteristic of such development). Energy and Empire emphasizes the supply side of the U.S. energy equation.
The United States meets its massive energy demand mostly through fossil fuels, which in turn leads to massive greenhouse emissions. There is another important component to U.S. energy consumption: nuclear power – about 20 percent of its electricity coming from this source. The U.S. development and political sponsorship of nuclear power is the focus of Energy and Empire. During the 1950s, the U.S. government made the strategic decision to support nuclear power as the energy of the future, neglecting the promise of solar energy (i.e., passive solar, photovoltaic, wind, and wave power). The United States pursued nuclear power in spite of its obvious public health and environmental dangers, including the nuclear reactors. U.S. foreign policy has been virtually schizophrenic on the matter of other countries developing a domestic nuclear power capacity. In the 1950s, through its Atoms for Peace program, the United States internationally promoted civilian nuclear power. In the 1970s, the Carter administration (1977-1981), because of weapons proliferation concerns, made it a political priority to limit the global trade in civilian nuclear technology.
The Bush and Obama administrations' stance on Indian and Iranian nuclear civilian power programs is particularly contradictory, if not perplexing. Notwithstanding its selective diplomacy on nuclear weapons and energy, it was the United States that opened the door to nuclear weapons and energy. What makes U.S. diplomacy on nuclear energy particularly unviable and self-defeating is that the United States cannot offer an alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power. Thus, as fossil fuels deplete in a country like Iran, it is left with one of two alternatives: develop nuclear power in an effort to attain energy independence or become dependent on an international fossil fuel market that is dominated by fewer and fewer producing countries and will be increasingly volatile as more and more of these finite resources are consumed.
According to Gonzalez in Energy and Empire, the thinking on energy supply that dominates the U.S. polity is rather unique. This uniqueness results from the position America holds in the global economic/political system. It is the prime leader of the capitalist world system and undertook the goal of actively maintaining it. One of the key points of Urban Sprawl, Global Warming, and the Empire of Capital is that the U.S. government relied on its domestic stocks of fossil fuels in an effort to resuscitate the American economy from the Great Depression. Subsequent research shows that this approach of using urban sprawl as an economic stimulus was initialized in the early 1920s after an economic downturn following World War I (Chapter 4 of this book). Consumers in the United States (not counting businesses and government) today are the leading purchasers of the world. They take in roughly 20 percent of the globe's total production of goods and services. Therefore, urban sprawl and the demand it creates for consumer durables in the United States have profound implications for the capitalist world system and its stability/viability.
Energy supply and national security in the United States are not linked in the conventional sense of minimizing energy use in an effort to shield the domestic economy from the exporting decisions of nations that control surplus energy. (This is the approach that the countries of Western Europe and Japan adopt.) Instead, urban sprawl in the United States has been a center of gravity for the American-led world system (i.e., for the American Empire) – drawing in allies with access to the economic demand created by urban sprawl and punishing/destroying adversaries by denying access. Thus, oil depletion is not simply an economic phenomenon, but implies the end of U.S. global empire and the world political system as we know it. It is this need for surplus power that is ostensibly driving the nuclear energy revival in the United States. It also explains why there has been an increase in spending on solar power and biofuel by the U.S. government. Thus, energy supply politics in the United States is the politics of global hegemony.
As told in Energy and Empire, the U.S. decision in the 1950s to back nuclear energy was accompanied by the decision not to make a major public investment in solar energy. The result is that solar energy science and engineering are substantially behind where they otherwise would be. With the threats of global warming and fossil fuel exhaustion, nuclear power made a political comeback – with Germany, for instance, extending the legal life of its seventeen nuclear power plants by seventeen years in 2010 and the United States planning the construction of fourteen new reactors. Nevertheless, given the liabilities of nuclear power (e.g., the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster), the world remains dangerously and unsustainably dependent on fossil fuels. The central argument of Energy and Empire is that economic elites are directly behind all the decisions. This sponsorship was evident in the 1920s (i.e., the President's Conference on Unemployment) (Chapter 4). By the 1950s, when the policy of urban sprawl was well entrenched, prompting the United States to consume profligate sums of fossil fuels, economic elites (particularly Lewis Strauss) backed major federal subsidies for civilian nuclear power. Economic elites also rejected public subsidies for solar energy (Chapter 3). Chapter 5 describes how economic elites backed profligate petroleum use and how the United States continued its excessive oil consumption even after the petroleum shocks of the 1970s. By contrast, the countries of Europe sought to curb their exposure to the world fossil fuels market, in part with the expansion of nuclear power (just when the United States was winding down its nuclear-building efforts).
The United States continues to reject conservation as a strategy to cope with the crises of global warming and energy/oil depletion. Instead, the global economic elite advocates technology (i.e., ecological modernization) in response to these mortal environmental crises. The U.S. and the global commitment to addressing climate change and fossil fuel depletion through alternative fuels and technology are evident with the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, the US-China Clean Energy Forum, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) (Chapter 6). There are no current technological solutions to the climate change and energy crises, and as a result, there is no global strategy to address climate change or energy supply issues.
According to the conclusion of Energy and Empire, U.S. oil/automobile dependency has broad global implications. First, the United States consumes about 20 percent of the world's goods and services. A dramatic spike in oil prices, or a major disruption in petroleum supply, will send the world economy into depression/recession. Of even more profound concern is global warming. While the United States insists on consuming large amounts of fossil fuels through its sprawled urban zones, no international strategy/ agreement on climate change is seemingly possible. Global warming science indicates that humanity does not have much time left before anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions lead to catastrophic climate change.
With the United States facing the dilemmas of global warming, oil depletion, and global political instability, the American government has taken initial steps to build additional nuclear power plants and made tentative moves toward solar energy. Whether these efforts to more greatly diversify the American economy away from fossil fuels are in time (or sufficient) to prevent the worst aspects of petroleum exhaustion and/or global warming from striking the United States and the world, only time will tell. What is definite is that U.S. historic urban sprawl and energy policies have steered the world toward a climate and economic precipice.
Consistent with economic elite theory, Gonzalez argues throughout Energy and Empire that these policies have been driven by economic elites through policy discussion groups: the Rockefeller Foundation, the Panel on the Impact of the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, the Association for Applied Solar Energy, the President's Conference on Unemployment, the President's Emergency Committee on Housing, the Twentieth Century Fund task forces of the 1970s, Vice President Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group, the New American Century, the WBCSD, and the ICC. Collectively, these groups, and the economic elites who have led them, historically championed U.S. urban sprawl (and continue to do so) as well as nuclear energy as a foreign policy device and opposed major government support for solar energy.
Travel / Europe / Travel Guides
Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 by Rick Steves (Avalon Travel Publishing)
Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Roman Colosseum. Yodeling in the Alps, biking down cobblestone paths, and taking a canal ride under the stars. Michelangelo's David and ‘Mad’ King Ludwig's castles. Sunny Riviera beaches, medieval German towns, and Spanish streets that teem with people at night. Pasta and bratwurst, strudel and scones, Parisian crepes and Tuscan grapes....
Europe offers a rich smorgasbord of cultures. To wrestle it down to a manageable size, Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 breaks Europe into its top destinations. It then gives travelers all the information and opinions necessary to wring the maximum value out of their limited time and money in each location.
Travelers can count on Rick Steves to tell them what they need to know when planning a Grand Tour of Europe. In Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013, Steves covers the best of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Steves’ candid, humorous advice guides travelers to good-value hotels and restaurants. They learn how to find the right bus in Rome, an inexpensive crêpe in Paris, and which museums and sights are worth their time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Steves guidebook is a tour guide in their pocket.
Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. He produces a public television series, a public radio show, and an app and podcast; writes a bestselling series of guidebooks and a nationally syndicated newspaper column; organizes guided tours that take thousands of travelers to Europe annually; and offers an information-packed website. With the help of his staff of 80 at Europe Through the Back Door – in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle – Steves’ mission is to make European travel fun, affordable, and culturally broadening for Americans.
Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 is balanced to include a comfortable mix of exciting cities and cozy towns: from Paris, London, and Rome to traffic-free Italian Riviera ports, alpine villages, and mom-and-pop chateaux. It covers the predictable biggies and mixes in a healthy dose of Back Door intimacy. Along with Leonardo in the Louvre, travelers enjoy Caterina in her cantina. Steves has been selective. For example, rather than listing countless medieval towns, he recommends only the best.
Contents of Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 include:
Introduction – Planning, Practicalities, Money, Sleeping, Traveling as a Temporary Local, Back Door, Travel Philosophy
Belgium – Bruges – Sleeping, Eating
Germany – Bavaria (Germany) and Tirol (Austria)
Great Britain – London – Sleeping, Eating
Spain – Barcelona – Sleeping, Eating
Switzerland - Gimmelwald and the Berner Oberland
Appendix – Embassies and Consulates, European Calling Chart, Transportation, Resources, Conversions, Packing Checklist, Hotel Reservation Form, Index, Map Index
If readers only have a week to ‘see’ Europe, according to Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 … they can't, of course, but if they are organized and energetic, they can see the two art-filled cultural capitals of London and Paris plus Europe's most magnificent landscape – the Swiss Alps. Whether they have just a week, or longer, here are Steves’ recommended priorities. These itineraries are fast-paced, but doable by car or train, and each allows about two nights in each spot. Most work best if they fly in and out of different cities.
If travelers have...
If travelers plan to stay for two months or less in Europe, Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2013 is all they need for a blitz trip; it features the crème de la crème of places featured in Steves’ country guidebooks. After three decades of travel research, Steves has developed a sixth sense for what travelers enjoy. With this volume, he passes on to travelers the lessons he has learned, updated for 2013.
Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality and the Creative Self by Janet L. Ramsey and Rosemary Blieszner, with series editor Jon Hendricks (Society and Aging Series: Baywood Publishing Company)