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We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

March 2016, Issue #203

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Guide to Contents this Page 

The Ecstasy of Letting Go: Surrender Practices to Empower Your Life – Audiobook, 2 CDs, running time 2 hrs, 6 mins by Judith Orloff MD (Sounds True)

ISIS (Library Binding) by Katie Marsico (Special Reports Series: Essential Library, ABDO Publishing)

Droids in Distress (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Rise of the Rebels (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough: Cookbook by Ella Leché (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Fine Gardening Easy-to-Grow Vegetables: Greens, Tomatoes, Peppers & More by Editors and Contributors of Fine Gardening (The Taunton Press)

What's Wrong With My Houseplant?: Save Your Indoor Plants With 100% Organic Solutions by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press)

Law at Little Big Horn: Due Process Denied by Charles E. Wright, with a foreword by Gordon Morris Bakken, with series editor John R. Wunder (Plains Histories Series: Texas Tech University Press)

We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace: Memoirs by Raïssa Maritain, edited by Michael O.P. Sherwin, with an introduction by Anne Carson Daley, translated from the French by Julie Kernan (St Augustine’s Press)

Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences edited by Ghada Ageel, with a foreword by Richard Falk (The University of Alberta Press)

Turning Texas Blue: What It Will Take to Break the GOP Grip on America's Reddest State by Mary Beth Rogers (St. Martin’s Press)

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, 1st edition by Christine A. Manville EdD OTR/L & Jeremy Keough MSOT OTR/L (Slack Incorporated)

Ancient Egyptian Magic by Eleanor Harris, with a foreword by Normandi Ellis (Weiser Books)

GlobalChurch: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches by Graham Hill, with a foreword by Scot McKnight (IVP Academic)

The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, 2nd edition by Meredith Gould (Liturgical Press)

America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis, with a foreword by Bryan Stevenson (Brazos Press)

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe edited by Luc Laporte & Christopher Scarre (Oxbow Books)

The Warmup Guy by Robert Perlow and Richard John Cummins, with a foreword by Alan Thicke (Pelican Publishing)

Reviews

Audio / Psychology & Counseling / Self-Help

The Ecstasy of Letting Go: Surrender Practices to Empower Your Life – Audiobook, 2 CDs, running time 2 hrs, 6 mins by Judith Orloff MD (Sounds True)

We may think ‘surrender’ means defeat – yet Dr. Judith Orloff has learned that surrender is the key to a powerful, effective, joyous way of being. "Surrender allows us to let go of our compulsion to over-think, doubt ourselves, and hold back from our complete experience of living," teaches Orloff.

Judith Orloff, MD, is a leading voice in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, and intuitive development. An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and New York Times bestselling author, her books include The Ecstasy of Surrender, Emotional Freedom, and Positive Energy.

With The Ecstasy of Letting Go, she presents a practice-based audio program to help listeners apply the insights of her breakthrough bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender to their everyday lives. Orloff offers essential insights, affirmations, and guided practices to help listeners learn the art of reading people, attract and surrender to a soul mate, explore the body's divinity through sexuality and the natural world, and ultimately embrace ecstasy.

In the two audio sessions in The Ecstasy of Letting Go (running time approximately 2 hours), Orloff presents insights and practices for surrendering to the flow of life by:

  • Releasing fear and judgment to build authentic self-esteem.
  • Receiving clear intuitive and emotional signals.
  • Enhancing relationships and attracting one’s soul mate.
  • Discovering one’s destiny – surrender as a path to success.

According to Orloff, the fear of losing control of life is based on the belief that we are in control. As she explains, “Letting go of this illusion leads us naturally to a state of joy – and into an ecstatic connection with ourselves, the natural world, and each other.”

The Ecstasy of Letting Go is a stunning accomplishment. Orloff masterfully explores the multiple facets of letting go and discovering personal and spiritual freedom. This is a wonderful program. – Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Defy Gravity

With The Ecstasy of Letting Go listeners join this renowned teacher for step-by-step guidance in the transformative art of surrender.

Children’s Books / Young Adult / Grades 6-12

ISIS (Library Binding) by Katie Marsico (Special Reports Series: Essential Library, ABDO Publishing)

#blacklivesmatter

#no2isis

#callmecaitlyn.

Today, there is a hashtag for just about every trending topic or tissue. But do we really understand the stories behind the hashtags? Keeping up with current events is more important than ever.

ISIS covers the history of the terrorist organization and what it stands for, how its leaders recruit more followers, and the importance of understanding the threat this organization poses for the rest of the world.

Chapters in ISIS include:

  1. A Menacing Message
  2. Origins of a Terrorist Organization
  3. New and Undeniably Dangerous
  4. Lasting Impacts
  5. Early Responses
  6. Campaign of Terror
  7. Winning Worldwide Support
  8. Evaluating ISIS's Future

The author is Katie Marsico, formerly an editor in school and library publishing, the author of more than 200 reference books for children and young adults. The content consultant is Austin Long, PhD, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs.

ISIS is part of the Special Reports Series, which takes readers beyond the headlines of some of the biggest issues and events in US and world news today. With this series, readers earn the background and history that allows them to distinguish between opinion and fact. The series is aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards.

Other volumes in the series include:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Cybersecurity
  • Ebola Outbreak
  • Religion and Free Speech
  • Transgender Rights and Issues
  • US-Cuba Relations
  • The Vaccination Debate

Children’s Books / Kindergarten – 4th Grade / Action

Droids in Distress (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Rise of the Rebels (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Both of these books are based on the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. These are Star Wars Saga Chapter books based on the animated television series. The reading level for this action-packed series with large lettering and illustrations is 5.0-5.7 (Grade 4).

Books in this series include:

Droids in Distress (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

In Droids in Distress, readers meet Ezra and the rebels crew. This book is based on stories by Simon Kinberg, Greg Weisman and Henry Gilroy.

Readers’ favorite Star Wars Rebels heroes are ready to fight the evil Empire. Kanan, Hera, and trusty old Chopper battle TIE fighters while Sabine uses her artistic talents to outsmart Stormtroopers. Zeb never misses an opportunity to take down troopers, and Ezra scores a special souvenir at the crash site of an Imperial fighter.

Part 1: Ezra’s Story

Part 2: Disrupted

Part 3: Old Masters

Rise of the Rebels (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

The Droids readers are looking for are in Rise of the Rebels. This book is based on stories by Greg Weisman, Henry Gilady and Simon Kinberg.

The heroes of Star Wars Rebels are back with more action-packed adventures. Readers follow them on their journey to save Wookiees as they narrowly escape a terrible Imperial trap. They also meet beloved droids R2-D2 and C-3PO – who are on a mysterious mission to help the Empire. Chopper proves that even a clunky old droid can play a big role in saving the galaxy. But one mission leads to the next for these rebel heroes, and they must ultimately face their biggest enemy yet – the Inquisitor.

Part 1: The Machine in the Ghost

Part 2: Art Attack

Part 3: Entanglement

Part 4: Property of Ezra Bridger

Cooking, Food & Wine

Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough: Cookbook by Ella Leché (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Energy, lightness, vitality – life without sugar is sweet indeed!
Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough is a practical, real-life approach to reducing sugar the healthy way so readers don’t feel deprived. This is not a sugar-detox book but an inspiring cookbook and guide to change readers’ relationship with the foods they love and address their cravings properly. There are over 100 delicious and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and yes, even dessert.
In Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough, author Ella Leché serves up over 100 whole-food recipes for every meal and occasion that are also healthy, plant-based, and sugar-free or low-sugar. Photographed by Leché, the book is an inspirational guide to the sweet life.

Leché, the voice behind the popular food blog Pure Ella, says she used to consider herself a healthful eater. She ate salads; she drank water. But like so many, she also looked forward to her daily sweet treats. It wasn’t until her health fell apart due to a rare illness that she began to make the food-health connection.
Back in 2008, just months after the birth of her first child, Leché developed debilitating weakness to the point where she collapsed numerous times. She had difficulty getting up from the bed and could barely breathe and eat. The diagnosis was myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular autoimmune condition for which there is no medical cure. The medication she was put on wasn’t helping, and she decided to try and heal through food. She treated candida and eliminated many culprits such as processed foods, wheat, dairy, and, most important, sugar. She found sugar was also triggering her frequent headaches, mood swings, and energy slumps.

Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough speaks directly from these experiences. Featuring full-flavored, high-nutrient, whole foods, it is a practical guide to changing readers’ relationship with what they eat. The book encourages readers to enjoy full health and vitality – without deprivation.

Recipes include both fan favorites as well as many all-new offerings, including:

  • Millet-Apple Breakfast Cake
  • Banana-Sweetened Blueberry Protein Pancakes
  • Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Rolls
  • Bittersweet Marinated Kale, Radicchio, & Blackberry Salad
  • Chickpea Flatbread Pizza with Roasted Garlic, Arugula, & Capers
  • Lentil Burgers with Spicy Tamarind Ketchup
  • Simply Divine Raw Chocolate Truffles
  • Chocolate-Dipped Almond & Cacao Nib Biscotti
  • Healthy Three-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding
  • Raw Berry Swirl Raw Cheesecake

Leché found that reducing the amount and type of sugar she ate drastically improved her health and lifestyle. In Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough, Ella shares her discovery that a plant-based, whole-food approach to meals, snacks, and desserts packs flavor and nutrition without the negative side effects of refined sugars.

Excess sugar is not healthy.… The problem is the approximately 140 pounds of sugar per person, per year, dumped into processed food. Excess sugar consumption not only can cause anxiety, depression, fatigue, and weight gain, it also is a major trigger for autoimmune disease, diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia, and heart disease.

The answer? It is not to make yourself feel guilty about enjoying pleasure. The answer is to learn how to enjoy pleasure healthfully. This is what Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough, the excellent book by Ella Lechéfd, does. Once you learn the helpful life skills in this book, you'll be able to have your cake – and enjoy it, too! – Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction, From Fatigued to Fantastic! and the Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! series

With emphasis on real, nutrient-dense whole foods – all presented deliciously and beautifully photographed by Leché herself and written in her encouraging, upbeat, grounded voice – Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough is an accessible guide to the sweet life. Filled with inspired advice, the book will appeal to both new and experienced cooks looking to nourish themselves and their families with whole, healthy meals and treats.

Crafts & Hobbies / Gardening / Outdoors

Fine Gardening Easy-to-Grow Vegetables: Greens, Tomatoes, Peppers & More by Editors and Contributors of Fine Gardening (The Taunton Press)

Easy-to-Grow Vegetables is a beginner's guide to growing vegetables easily and productively and contains great tips and techniques for even practiced gardeners. These surprisingly easy basics will have readers’ gardens filled with tomatoes, squash, peppers, and many more favorites.

Easy-to-Grow Vegetables is split into 7 chapters that teach readers how to plan a vegetable garden and how to get the most out of their plants. Chapters on Tomatoes, Peppers & Other Vines, Root Vegetables, Squash, Greens, and Herbs provide the information readers need to get growing. A Vegetable Index and the appendix offer readers charts and growing information.

Fine Gardening magazine offers sage advice to garden lovers of all kinds and skills from beginners and time-pressed individuals who wish to start small; to city dwellers and renters with tight, temporary plots; to accomplished gardeners who want to grow their expertise. Planting advice from across the nation will help readers grow a gorgeous garden in even the most challenging spaces and climates.

  • Essential tips, tricks, and techniques for growing their favorite vegetables – including tomatoes, peppers, beans, greens, squash, and herbs.
  • A chapter on how to plan and design their vegetable garden.
  • Solid, expert advice helps them to succeed in planting and caring for their vegetables.
  • More than 300 full-color photos and illustrations guide them from selection to planting to harvest.

Danielle Sherry, senior editor of Fine Gardening in Easy-to-Grow Vegetables, says she considers herself one of the lucky ones because her family actually had a vegetable garden while she was growing up.

Sherry says her family had a vegetable garden for several reasons: to save money, to know exactly where their food came from and how it was raised, and to become a little more self-sufficient. It wasn't until she was an adult that she would understand all the hard work that went into taking a small seedling and nurturing it into a plant covered in ripe tomatoes. In her own garden, she says, she has discovered that vegetable gardening isn't easy. Luckily, Easy-to-Grow Vegetables is filled with advice that will help readers get the harvest of their dreams – all without breaking the bank or their back. The farmers, gardeners, and plant experts in this book help readers select the right varieties for their region, amend their soil properly, battle pests and diseases organically, and know when their bounty is ready to be picked.

Easy-to-Grow Vegetables contains a great collection of design ideas, quick fixes, and planting solutions available from the experts at Fine Gardening magazine. Whether readers are looking to build a small raised bed in the driveway or cultivate an acre in the backyard, Easy-to-Grow Vegetables will guide them every step of the way.

Crafts & Hobbies / Gardening / Indoors / Reference

What's Wrong With My Houseplant?: Save Your Indoor Plants With 100% Organic Solutions by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press)

Houseplants add style, clean the air, and bring nature indoors. But they are often plagued with problems – aphids, mealybugs, mites, and thrips to name a few.

Are the fronds on that fern yellow?

Are there creepy crawlies on that begonia?

What's Wrong With My Houseplant? shows readers how to keep indoor plants healthy by first teaching them how to identify the problem. This guide includes plant profiles for 148 plants organized by type, visual keys to the most of common problems, and the related organic solutions that will lead to a healthy plant. This book is for anyone who loves and has struggled with their indoor plants.

Co-authors are David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. Deardorff, a botanist and research biologist, has lived and gardened in many environments, from the desert southwest to the maritime northwest to the tropics. He coordinated plant pathology research at the University of Hawaii and served as faculty advisor to the Master Gardener Program at Washington State University. Wadsworth, a writer, photographer, and naturalist, leads eco-tours around the world. Currently, she and Deardorff can be found presenting workshops around the U.S. on a wide variety of topics, from gardening to ecology.

What's Wrong With My Houseplant? tells readers exactly how much light water, and fertilizer more than 130 indoor plants need to thrive. Readers also learn how to identify common plant problems and how to choose the most effective, organic solutions.

Deardorff and Wadsworth say that houseplants are a relatively recent phenomenon. For most of human history we did not have glass windows, and the insides of homes were too dark for plants. But 150 years ago inexpensive pane glass became available for the first time, allowing ordinary homes to have large glass windows. That was during the Victorian era, the Age of Exploration, when botanical wonders from all over the world were brought back to England and Europe. Exotic palm trees and ferns from tropical climes were all the rage in Victorian parlors.

Why grow plants indoors? Houseplants satisfy the atavistic need many have for contact with green growing things, a need that is apparently encoded in our genes. Flowers beautify our personal spaces, brightening the home and lightening the heart.

Indoor plants also improve air quality. Chemicals that have an adverse effect on human health commonly outgas from plywood, carpets, upholstery, and cleaning products. Research shows that certain houseplants reduce exposure to these chemicals and filter pollutants from the air, providing clean air for people to breathe. A two-year study undertaken by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America identified several different houseplants that were able to remove the organic chemicals benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from indoor air. All the philodendrons and many other plants in What's Wrong With My Houseplant? are valued members of the household for their proven ability to remove chemicals from indoor air.

Tropical broadleaf evergreens adapted to low light and warm nights generally make the best houseplants. They are preadapted to grow well in our warm, dark homes because they evolved in similar habitats, such as the floor of tropical rainforests. As permanent members of the household, these plants succeed with minimal fuss.

Cacti and succulents that come from the tropical deserts of the world also make good houseplants. Their native habitat has full sun and warm nights, and many require bright light indoors.

Culinary herbs commonly grown on kitchen windowsills make acceptable houseplants. These temperate zone plants come from the Mediterranean, which makes them generally more temperamental than tropicals. Few temperate plants are able to tolerate warm night-time temperatures.

And finally, plants that function as ‘living bouquets,’ such as spring bulbs, florist azaleas, and Persian violets, can reside in our homes only temporarily. When their flowers fade, the plants go back outside or are discarded.

To flourish, houseplants need the right amount of light, the right temperature, the correct amount of water and humidity, and appropriate potting media and fertilizer. Like all other plants, they respond to the changing seasons of the year. The number of hours of daylight changes with the seasons, along with the temperature and humidity; these environmental cues signal the plant to respond with active vegetative growth and flowering, or dormancy and rest.

Concerned home gardeners seeking 100 percent organic solutions to houseplant woes will welcome this guide… Filled with full-color photos throughout and back-matter resources, conversion tables, and an index, this ecologically sensitive houseplant how-to will prove popular. – Booklist

With this book readers can keep their houseplants healthy and happy. What's Wrong With My Houseplant? is a helpful, easy-to-navigate guide that should be on their shelf. It will turn even the brownest thumbs green.

History / American West / Law

Law at Little Big Horn: Due Process Denied by Charles E. Wright, with a foreword by Gordon Morris Bakken, with series editor John R. Wunder (Plains Histories Series: Texas Tech University Press)

During the nineteenth century, the rights of American Indians were frequently violated by the president and ignored or denied enforcement by federal courts. However, at times Congress treated the Indians with good faith and honored due process, which prohibits the government from robbing any person of life, liberty, or property without a fair hearing before an impartial judge or jury. These due process requirements were in effect when President Grant launched the Great Sioux War in 1876 – without a formal declaration of war by Congress.
Charles E. Wright in Law at Little Big Horn analyzes the legal backdrop to the Great Sioux War, asking the hard questions of how treaties were to be honored and how the US government failed to abide by its sovereign word. Wright is a retired lawyer who spent fifty years practicing in Nebraska and Colorado. He has long been associated with Indian rights and has funded scholarships and organized a mentoring program for promising Indian students from recognized tribes to attend law school.

Gordon Morris Bakken in the foreword says Law at Little Big Horn is not just another Custer book. Though other authors have analyzed George Armstrong Custer's tactics and equipment, Wright is the first to do so against the legal and constitutional questions surrounding United States strategy in attacking the American Indians camped at the Little Big Horn.

Regardless of treaties, in 1876 the United States launched the Great Sioux War without a declaration of war by Congress. Congress had declared war against Great Britain in 1812 and against Mexico in 1846. It would declare war against Spain in 1898, Germany in 1917, Austria-Hungary in 1917, Japan in 1941, Germany in 1941, Italy in 1941, Bulgaria in 1941, Hungary in 1942, and Rumania in 1942. But no such declaration preceded the Great Sioux War.

Given the thousands upon thousands of words devoted to Little Big Horn and Custer, it is surprising that no legal and Constitutional history of the battle exists. There have been narrow monographs on the court martials that followed, but until now little attention has been focused on how this major event in the history of Western conflict has impacted American law.

As detailed in Law at Little Big Horn, the ruthless and illegal strategies of General Sheridan (and General Sherman) became the standard of conduct for the U.S. Army units assigned to carry out President Grant's overall strategic objective in the Great Sioux War – to attack the Indians and either kill or force them to relinquish their treaty lands and move them onto designated reservations – death or loss of liberty and their treaty lands – actions that involved the rights of the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which were also prohibited by the army's General Orders No. 100 and constituted the crimes of premeditated murder and genocide.

Were the ‘Indian Wars’ legal? In too many instances, the troubling answer is this: "No – the United States' use of military force violated the law of war." The legal analysis in this captivating case study concludes that America's use of force in the ‘Great Sioux War’ violated the constitutional, statutory, and treaty rights of the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, and it traces those who broke the law all the way to the White House. This is a must-read for everyone concerned about liberty, indigenous rights, and the rule of law. – Walter Echo-Hawk, author of In The Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided

In 1879, United States District Judge Elmer S. Dundy ruled that Chief Standing Bear and his Ponca followers were illegally imprisoned by the US Army in violation of their inalienable rights to life and liberty. Charles E. Wright demonstrates the necessity of prompt and effective enforcement of due process when peoples' lives and liberty are deprived without a fair hearing before an impartial court. – Warren K. Urbom, former United States District Judge for the District of Nebraska

An Army officer who divides and deploys his regiment when he has not made every effort to learn the location, strength, and disposition of the enemy should not be placed in command. Charles E. Wright's book describes how Custer led 210 troopers of the famous 7th Cavalry Regiment to their deaths on June 25, 1876. This book contains some of the best tactical analyses that I have read in years. – Paul E. Vallely, Major General, US Army, Ret.

With passion and clarity, Wright shows that Indian policy, especially that of the late nineteenth century, was not built on the bedrock of law that is the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Law at Little Big Horn is a thoroughly researched and powerfully presented work of history that merits a place in your bookshelf and warrants study of serious scholars and casual history buffs alike. – Charles E. Trimble, past executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and principal founder of the American Indian Press Association

Until now, little attention has been focused on how the events leading up to and during the Battle of Little Big Horn violated American law. Wright brings a level and form of analysis previously untried. While other authors have analyzed George Armstrong Custer’s tactics and equipment, Wright is the first to investigate the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the United States’ campaign against the American Indians. The contents of Law at Little Big Horn will surprise even the most accomplished Little Big Horn scholar.

History / Religion / French / Jewish / Biographies & Memoirs

We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace: Memoirs by Raïssa Maritain, edited by Michael O.P. Sherwin, with an introduction by Anne Carson Daley, translated from the French by Julie Kernan (St Augustine’s Press)

Now that seventy years have passed since the second volume of Raissa's autobiography appeared in 1944, it seems timely to publish a new edition.

Both volumes of the autobiography were originally translated by Julie Kernan (1901-1988), an American friend of the Maritains a generation younger than they. We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace retains Kernan's excellent translation, with only light revisions from the volume's editor, Fr. Michael Sherwin, O.P. He provides editorial comments – in brief footnotes and in longer endnotes – that either shed light on obscure passages or furnish information that has only subsequently become available.

Raissa Maritain (nee Oumansov) (1883-1960), best known as the wife of the famous French philosopher Jacques Maritain, was a remarkable person in her own right. A poet, philosopher, translator, and mystic, she was at the epicenter of French intellectual life in the first half of the twentieth century. Her autobiography in two parts, We Have Been Friends Together and Adventures in Grace, was originally published in two volumes. The two books are combined in We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace and are now being reissued for the first time. She chronicles not only her and her husband's lives but also those of their friends – an impressive circle of important French intellectuals, writers, artists, professors, and influential priests. In luminous prose Raissa recounts her childhood in Russia, her youth in Paris, and her momentous meeting with Jacques, followed by their conversion to Catholicism in 1906. She gives a vivid, personal account of the Thomistic Revival they helped to lead and describes the conversions of key figures in the French Catholic Renaissance – many of whom were the Maritains' close friends. However, the underlying subjects of her autobiography are God's goodness, the mysterious operation of grace in the soul, and the way that Raissa and others were transformed by their encounter with the Divine.

We Have Been Friends Together and Adventures in Grace are spiritual autobiographies written by a mystic with a difference. Raissa was totally God-focused, but, unlike most mystics, she was not religious by vocation. She attended the Sorbonne, married, and associated with the intellectual lights of Paris, New York, and Rome. She wrote a book for children, and published poetry, works on prayer, translations, and studies of modern authors. Raissa also played a key role in the conversion of many and knew, often intimately, intellectuals like Ernest Psichari and Charles Peguy, the playwright Cocteau, the authors Mauriac, Claudel, and Bloy, and a number of painters, including Georges Rouault.

Ann Carson Daly in the introduction to We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace says that Raissa Maritain, a mystic, poet, and philosopher, began writing her autobiography during World War II when she was living in exile in Manhattan. Almost fifty-seven years old, childless, and in poor health, she missed France terribly, feared for her country and friends, and worried incessantly – and with good reason – about the fate of the Jewish people. As news of the Nazi Reich's conquests flooded the airwaves and the Germans marched into Paris in June of 1940, Raissa's memory went back to the Great War a quarter-century earlier in which so many of her friends had died and which had served as a spiritual crucible for her and for her generation. Feeling profoundly dépaysée, far from her home in Meudon, her friends, and her country, Raissa conjured up the world of her Russian childhood and Parisian youth.

We Have Been Friends Together opens with descriptions of Raissa's early life, in which her affection for her family, closeness to her sister Vera, and love for education loom large. Born into a devout Jewish family in Rostov-on-Don in 1883, Raissa was a very talented student who had a mystical love for education even as a small child. She describes with reverence and love the devout religious practices of her childhood. She speaks with awe of ‘the sorrowful mysteries’ of the Passover which juxtaposed ‘the greatness of the promise’ of ‘divine favors’ with the "pathetic history of so many centuries of suffering which had not extinguished hope."

Only ten years old when her family immigrated to France, Raissa considered herself French not only by naturalization but also by allegiance. Raissa gloried in her French education, delighting in her encounter with Racine, Corneille, Pascal, and Victor Hugo. In 1900, at seventeen, she entered the Sorbonne, registering for the Faculty of Sciences. When she confided to one of her professors that what she wanted from Science was to know the causes, essence, and end of Nature, he indignantly exclaimed, "But that is mysticism!"

At this juncture, Raissa met Jacques Maritain whom she calls "The Greatest of My Friends." "A young man with a gentle face, a heavy shock of blond hair, a light beard and a slightly stoop-shouldered carriage," he asked Raissa to join a committee of students to protest the ill treatment of Russian Socialist students. From then on, they were, in Raissa's words, ‘inseparable’ – all the more so, because they were both studying for a degree in science. It was Maritain who introduced her to the world of painting and with whom she first went to the Louvre. He also introduced her to Ernest Psichari and Charles Peguy, two of his best friends, who became two of hers. She introduces both Psichari and Peguy to readers early in the first volume of her autobiography, We Have Been Friends Together, and mentions that they both died in 1914 "for the honor and ... liberty of France," but does not reveal their spiritual odysseys until the last chapter of volume one and throughout volume two. Recognizing that her autobiography does not always unfold in a linear manner, Raissa defends this mode of narration, saying, "I am allowing my memory to ride up and down the river of Time. And I welcome whatever each wave casts upon my shore."

Charles Peguy took them to a class taught by the renowned philosopher Henri Bergson at the College de France. Here was a man not in the grip of scientism, rationalism, and materialism. Bergson assured his students that they were ‘capable of truly knowing reality,’ that through intuition they could ‘attain to the absolute.’ Raissa writes that "we interpreted this as saying that we could truly, absolutely, know what is."

In 1904, after a two-year engagement, Jacques and Raissa married. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1905, they met the French Catholic author Leon Bloy, one of the most important influences in their lives. One year after meeting him, they were baptized into the Catholic faith. A month later, after completing a retreat at La Salette, they were confirmed at Grenoble, and moved to Heidelberg, where Vera, Raissa's sister, came to live with them. During this time (in 1907), Raissa, always in delicate health, had fallen dangerously ill and received the last rites, only to be restored to health, apparently miraculously, by the intervention of Our Lady of La Salette to whom Leon Bloy had a great devotion.

In June of 1905, they met Bloy for the first time – a meeting that transformed them and decisively altered their lives. Middle-aged, white-haired, and desperately poor, the author was, for them, as the scholar Ralph McInerny says, "the doorway into the Church ...; he would be their godfather when they became Catholics in June of 1906."

The first volume of Raissa's autobiography, We Have Been Friends Together, ends in 1909, "the point," she says, "at which I stop this part of my recollections, of certain men whose influence was to be so great in France and in the world: Bergson, Leon Bloy, Peguy, Psichari."

Volume two of Adventures in Grace begins – as does the first volume – with a prefatory note. This one is written from New York on July 31, 1944. In it, she confesses that when she had begun her autobiography four years earlier, it had been "in an effort to escape from the despair which gripped us in that summer made memorable by the disaster into which Europe and France ... very nearly sank." That despair had given way to hope – partly because of the very positive reception her work had received – but even more because of "the certainty of Allied victory, and of the liberation of France and of Europe." She speaks of her gratitude to the United States and to all the people and countries that fought to achieve this end. Then, Raissa introduces the subject matter of volume two, Adventures in Grace. Once again, she announces that her subject will be "the extraordinary spiritual flowering which in France preceded and followed the first world war."

The first chapter of Volume Two, entitled "The Angelic Doctor," begins in Germany in 1907-1908, a time Raissa characterizes as "a year of blessed solitude and one of profound inner activity." She tells readers that much of their time was devoted to going to daily Mass, learning from the liturgy, studying the ‘significance of its symbols,’ and decoding and internalizing the lessons of Scripture. Quickly the scene changes to Paris and to the Maritains' encounter, three years after they came into the Church, with Father Humbert Clerissac, who served as their spiritual director for the next five years.

Raissa then turns her attention to friends and family members. She devotes chapters – or large parts of them to the French artist, Georges Rouault, to Charles Peguy, to her father's final days and conversion, to Ernest Psichari's vocation and death, and to a variety of friends who are less well known today – like the actress Eve Lavalliere, as well as to the Maritains' early mentor, the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Raissa also touches on Henri Massis and Jacques Maritain's association with Action Francaise. It is a testimony to her love for her and Jacques' godfather, Leon Bloy, that she ends the second volume of her autobiography in 1917 with a very affecting depiction of his last days and death.

As Father Michael Sherwin, the editor of We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace, has written elsewhere, Raissa's autobiography is ‘without equal’ as "a chronicle of the Catholic revival in France." Her life story also, he claims, offers "nothing less than a theology of conversion and Christian vocation expressed in a narrative that traces the effects of God's mercy upon the lives of a generation searching for meaning." In that respect, Raissa's autobiography is of perennial interest to general readers. It also remains of special interest to those studying twentieth-century intellectual and spiritual life, modern women authors of note, and French philosophers, writers, and artists of the last century. The account of her life will also prove absorbing to scholars of autobiography, and to those who study conversion narratives, meditative poetry, and mysticism. Raissa's story, however, may mean the most to those who burn, as she did, with a love for Truth, those who want ‘to know what is,’ and those who want to unite themselves totally with God. Those who seek and are impelled by love will resonate most with her life story. As Judith Suther observes, Raissa "wrote out of love, as she lived by love – love of truth, of learning, of God, of human beings created by Him in His image, and of the world of nature as His handiwork".

This vivid personal account of the Thomistic Revival is written in luminous prose.

Readers interested in spiritual biography, in mystics, in modern women authors, in the psychology of conversion, in twentieth-century French intellectual life, and in the Thomistic revival will find We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace fascinating. Raissa's autobiography will also hold a special place in the hearts of all those who believe, as did her godfather Leon Bloy, "There is only one misery ... not to be saints."

Political Science / International / Middle East

Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences edited by Ghada Ageel, with a foreword by Richard Falk (The University of Alberta Press)

There are more than two sides in the conflict between Palestine and Israel. There are millions. Millions of lives, voices, stories behind the enduring struggle in Israel and Palestine. Yet, the easy binary of Palestine vs. Israel so often relied upon in the media effectively silences the multitudinous lived experience at the heart of this strife. For Apartheid in Palestine Ghada Ageel has sought leading experts from the margins – Palestinian and Israeli, academic and activist – to gather stories that humanize the historic processes of occupation, displacement, colonization, and, most controversially, apartheid. Ageel is visiting professor in the department of Political Science at the University of Alberta and a columnist for the Middle East Eye, an online news portal based in London, England. The book has 15 contributors.

According to Richard Falk in the foreword, from many points of view, the struggle between Jews and Arabs over historic Palestine, which has gone on for almost a century, is at a critical juncture. Although the United States may again try to push the parties to engage in direct negotiations, it would seem more for the sake of public relations than to find an end to the conflict.

Falk says that Ghada Ageel's edited volume Apartheid in Palestine will be positively received as a timely and welcome addition to the vast literature that addresses various facets of the Israel/Palestine unfolding reality. The book's most striking feature is how well calibrated the various chapters are to the latest phase of the struggle. The book is built around the central organizing principle that there are three vital perspectives that enable an understanding and appreciation of both the suffering endured in the past by the Palestinian people and their moral, political, and legal entitlements when contemplating the future.

By distinguishing between those Palestinians whose life story is dominated by the traumatizing experience of a lost homeland, those whose engagement with the Palestinian struggle for justice is a matter of core political identity, and those who are scholars and activists that seek to interpret the conflict from the academic perspectives of international law and international relations, Ageel has woven for readers a rich fabric of understanding. This understanding focuses on dispossession and displacement as the essential outcome of the Nakba of 1948, the catastrophe that drove as many as eight hundred thousand Palestinians from their homeland, a story long at the core of the Palestinian experience but only recently told to non-Palestinians in a persuasive manner. The activists and scholars represented in Apartheid in Palestine are not neutral purveyors of knowledge but individuals of diverse backgrounds who believe that peace will come to these two people if and only if justice is rendered by reference to Palestinian rights.

Agee in the foreword to Apartheid in Palestine says she and others came to Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) – an annual international event first held in Toronto in 2003 – in Edmonton in 2011 because they were committed to justice and equality and because they were eager to know more about the past and present conflict in Israel/Palestine and how to find a way forward. IAW participants came from academia and the wider community: faculty members and students from various departments, people from church and grassroots organizations, young and old – different faces, colors, and accents. The week-long series of presentations, workshops, film screenings, and cultural events aimed to educate people about the realties of Israel/Palestine and to raise awareness around the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement and its goal – respect for basic Palestinian rights under international law.

IAW was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Network (PSN) at the University of Alberta. The week was endorsed by many local groups, including the Alberta Public Interest Research Group, Independent Jewish Voices, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (University of Alberta branch), Cinema Political Edmonton, and the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism.

Ageel says the 2011 gathering of the IAW made her realize that there was an urgent need for a publication that would explore the analogy of apartheid in relation to Israeli practices, policies, and laws towards Palestinians so that public discussion could be well-informed, thoughtful, and respectful. After that she started thinking more about the structure and nature of the collection she intended to put together. She wanted it to be something that could communicate effectively with each person in the IAW audience, academic and non-academic alike. She wanted it to answer their questions and tell the story of the Palestinians – a full version of the story.

As editor, it seemed to her that book should bring together contributions that are normally kept separate, or, if they are combined, are brought together without drawing attention to their distinctive character as forms of knowledge production. Apartheid in Palestine would discuss, describe, and analyze in a new way the roots of a great problem – one that has now been making news for over sixty-seven years.

In the summer of 2014, Israel launched a new assault on Palestine (mostly Gaza) – its third major military offensive in five years. The deaths of a high number of Palestinians (2,310), the majority of whom were civilians, and the immense destruction of Gaza have been the focus of media attention and protest movements around the world, including Canada. Millions of people are now seeking to understand this very public war, and many of these people will welcome the essays in Apartheid in Palestine.

Within this single publication, three different kinds of authors – indigenous, activist, and academic – write bold and compassionate essays to introduce readers to the issues underlying the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to explain the present situation. A unique addition to the Israeli/Palestinian debate, the book flows from personal memoirs to political and historical analyses to activist yet scholarly essays to draw readers into the issues. The relations between the chapters and their overall connection with today's reality of apartheid emerge gradually. The essays in the first section describe a collective historical and generational experience and thus define Apartheid in Palestine's main issues: the experience of dispossession, discrimination, and living under a settler colonial regime that practices apartheid. The essays in the second section analyze the political, militarized infrastructure developed by Israel to establish this apartheid. This section also focuses on relevant political activism. The third and final section is characterized by the academic approaches it takes to many of the same issues raised in the first two sections.

Apartheid in Palestine gives us the pedagogic and activist tools we need to participate meaningfully and responsibly in the greatest of all unresolved colonial era struggles. It should be of interest to anyone concerned with overcoming oppression, seeking justice, and exploring the outer limits of non-violent struggle by a brave people who have endured generations of collective suffering. – Richard Falk, from the foreword

Of all the crimes to which Palestinians have been subjected through a century of bitter tragedy, perhaps none are more cruel than the silencing of their voices. The suffering has been most extreme, criminal and grotesque, in Gaza, where Ghada Ageel was one of the victims from childhood. This collection of essays is a poignant cry for justice, far too long delayed. – Noam Chomsky

Ghada Ageel was for some time the Guardian's ever brilliant, brave and astute fixer in Gaza. On a visit there I found her local knowledge and sense of history to be invaluable in understanding the Palestinian side of the intractable and endless conflict which has been a tragedy for so many. She brings those qualities to her writing, which is often informed by her own personal experiences, and those of her family and friends. – Alan Rusbridger
This book, edited by Ghada Ageel, is an intimate study of a people and place both central to, and isolated by, current international policy. The writing is personal and articulate, reflecting Ageel’s own history as a child of Gaza, a respected academic, and a gifted author. It should be read by all of us who love or want to better understand Gaza and the people who live there. – Craig and Cindy Corrie, Parents of Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003
This is an incisive anthology of scholars and activists that finally takes the conversation on Palestine a step further. This timely collection leaves behind stale and outdated paradigms and boldly offers a new one for looking at the past, the present of the future of the evergreen issue of Palestine. Its lucid structure, original contributions and above all the courageous guidance of its editor makes this book the most valuable contribution to the struggle for justice in Palestine. – Ilan Pappe, Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Historians, scholars and students of colonialism and Israel-Palestine studies, and anyone interested in more nuanced debate, will want to read Apartheid in Palestine. It demonstrates a richness and vitality of debate and invites both individuals and groups to leave their state of mute inaction, fear, and anxiety and to proceed to a confident ability to talk, understand, and act. The book's unique combination of personal and historical information, activists' calls for action, and political analysis will encourage readers to understand the complexities and the urgency of the problem and draw appropriate links between the issues of Nakba, apartheid, and settler colonialism.

Politics / US

Turning Texas Blue: What It Will Take to Break the GOP Grip on America's Reddest State by Mary Beth Rogers (St. Martin’s Press)

In the 2014 midterm election, Democrats in Texas did not receive even 40 percent of the statewide vote; Republicans swept the tables both in Texas and nationally. But even after two decades of democratic losses, there is a path to turn Texas blue, argues Mary Beth Rogers in Turning Texas Blue – if Democrats are smart enough to see and follow it.

Rogers is the last person to successfully campaign-manage a Democrat, Governor Ann Richards, to the statehouse in Austin. Rogers previously held the Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Business and Public Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin before becoming president and CEO of the PBS affiliate in Austin.

In Turning Texas Blue, Rogers tells the story of how Texas moved so far to the right in such a short time and how Democrats might be able to move it back to the center. And, argues Rogers, that will mean a lot more of an effort than simply waiting for the state's demographics to shift even further towards Hispanics – a risky proposition at best. Rogers identifies a ten-point path for Texas Democrats to win at the statewide level and to build a base vote that would allow Texas to become a swing-vote player in national politics once again. One part of that shift starts with local Democratic candidates in local Republican communities making the connection between controversial local issues or problems and the statewide Republican policies that ignore or create them. For example, in a 2014 election in Denton – a Republican suburb – voters approved Texas's first ban on hydraulic fracking. The next day, though, a Republican Texas agency official announced that Texas would not honor the town's vote to ban. No democratic candidate picked up the issue.

Texas, demographically typical of the future United States, could see modest improvements in Democratic representation in the 2016 election with one or two possible breakthroughs in 2018. Change won't come easily, says Rogers. But if Texas shifts to even a pale shade of purple, it changes everything in American politics today.

Turning Texas Blue is not solely about the 28th state to enter the Union; it is a book about national trends and implications. Whether it's Dick Armey's strong support for the Tea Party, Tom DeLay's successful redistricting scheme, or George W. Bush's wars in the Middle East, his mismanaged response to Hurricane Katrina, and No Child Left Behind legislation, Rogers says, if it's crazy and dangerous, most likely, it started in Texas.

Rogers draws off the wisdom of a lifetime in Texas politics to write a timely lesson about how in the world we got to this place. Pulling no punches, this is a must-read for anyone doing the hard work to restore a state government that represents all Texans. – Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Rogers... offers suggestions to Democrats in her new book, Turning Texas Blue… which include finding the right leader, running a whole-state campaign, and spreading the word about what she calls 'Republican extremism.’ – San Angelo Standard-Times

It’s not easy being blue. It is easy, though, to find Democratic lamentations in Texas politics... Mary Beth Rogers is done with all that... Rogers lists 10 things Democrats might do to turn things around, including this one: 'Assume the role of a Republican strategist.' – The Texas Tribune

Rogers has a message for Democrats in Turning Texas Blue: Get smart... what she offers bears attention, whether you’re a Democratic or a Republican strategist. – The Austin American Statesman

Compelling... Rogers provides a useful road map for how Democrats can help beleaguered Texans reclaim their state from the far right and usher in a politics that can fulfill the untapped potential of the state’s cultural and economic diversity. – Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog

A blueprint for turning Texas blue, or at least giving Democrats a fighting chance. – Texas Observer

Everyone who seriously wants Texas to become a two party state needs to stop whining and read this book. – Paul Stekler, Director of Emmy Award Winning Documentary, George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire

There is a certain kind of Texas woman: strong, caring, steady and fun-loving. Mary Beth Rogers is such a ‘can-do’ person and in reading her book, Turning Texas Blue, you will understand the best and worst of Texas politics. You will also learn Texas history and laugh out loud at many of her stories. When you finish you will know that you have been in the presence of an astute political observer, a loyal Democrat and a true patriot. – Bill Bradley

Will appeal to political junkies on both the left and right. Rogers, a veteran political operative and confidante of the late Democratic governor Ann Richards, swiftly and entertainingly recounts Texas political history... She’s a clever, concise writer, unafraid to share her own experience of triumph and disappointment as Richards’s career waned, and brisk and scornful as she indicts 'clowns, crackpots, and Christian crusaders' on the Texas right for choosing small-government ideology over effective governance. – Publishers Weekly

Rogers provides genuinely sharp insight into where the Democrats went wrong [in Texas]... Readers ... who want change should pay attention and get started on the author's to-do lists. She knows the territory, and she wants it back. – Kirkus Reviews

A longtime political strategist, Rogers is the ideal expert to study what may be the biggest challenge in national politics: how the Democrats can engineer a victory in the reddest of all states. In Turning Texas Blue, Rogers’ lively narrative makes clear the lessons Democrats must absorb if they really want to win in Texas.

Professional & Technical / Medicine & Health Sciences / Mental Health / Occupational Therapy

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, 1st edition by Christine A. Manville EdD OTR/L & Jeremy Keough MSOT OTR/L (Slack Incorporated)

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant is a comprehensive text that delineates the role of the occupational therapy assistant in the delivery of mental health services.
Christine A. Manville and Jeremy Keough provide information and learning activities that enable students to build knowledge of mental health practice, incorporating approaches used in the traditional medical model, as well as the community. The impact of mental illness on occupational performance across the lifespan is also examined.
Manville, EdD, OTR/L, is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and the OTD Residency Coordinator at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her professional experience includes 34 years working in the practice area of mental health. Manville held the position of pioneer Program Director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at the Community College of Rhode Island from 1997 to 2006 and has been employed at Belmont University since 2007. Keough, MSOT, OTR/L, is currently a staff occupational therapist for Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, Tennessee. Previously Keough served as the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Director at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and instructed students in mental health coursework and in a nontraditional level-II fieldwork setting.

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant guides readers in how to analyze the service environment, including cultural, societal and political factors; explore the client’s participation in age-appropriate, meaningful occupations; and, under supervision of the occupational therapist, provide treatment that includes 1:1 and group interventions. Each chapter in Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant is structured to provide an enhanced approach to student learning by incorporating concepts from Bloom’s Taxonomy. Current and emerging trends in mental health practice are discussed, as well as service provision in the traditional medical model. The appendices include a discussion of additional factors that impact the provision and efficacy of therapy services, including pharmacology and ethical and legal issues.
Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant:

  • Provides an overview of the DSM-5 and the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health.
  • Describes the use of general educational strategies to enhance the teaching/learning process in the provision of occupational therapy services.
  • Uses terminology from the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, 3rd edition to enhance the development of clinical reasoning and practice skills.
  • Provides information on how to communicate effectively with clients.
  • Views mental health practice across the lifespan.
  • Includes Instructor’s materials – PowerPoint presentations, student study sheets, tests questions, and application questions – for each chapter.

Chapters in Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant include:

  1. Scope of Practice in Mental Health Occupational Therapy
  2. Standards of Practice in Mental Health Occupational Therapy
  3. A Public Health Approach to Children's Mental Health in Occupational Therapy
  4. Development and Participation in Occupation: The Early Lifespan
  5. Occupational Therapy Intervention: Promoting Occupational Participation
  6. Occupational Environment of the Mid-Lifespan
  7. Development and Participation in Occupation: The Mid-Lifespan
  8. Intervention Strategies: Combining Performance and Skills
  9. Occupational Environment of the Late Lifespan
  10. Participation in Occupation in the Late Lifespan
  11. Improving Occupational Performance During the Late Lifespan
  12. Therapeutic Rapport: Applications of the Intentional Relationship Model
  13. Use of Therapeutic Groups in Occupational Therapy Treatment
  14. The Group Leader

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant is an excellent, comprehensive, side-by-side resource for occupational therapy assistants, occupational therapists, and all practitioners working in a mental health setting.

Religion & Spirituality / Ancient / Egyptian

Ancient Egyptian Magic by Eleanor Harris, with a foreword by Normandi Ellis (Weiser Books)

Written for beginners, yet enticing to more experienced practitioners, Ancient Egyptian Magic celebrates the world-renowned mystery, tradition, and ceremonial prestige of Egyptian magic. This book takes readers step by step through Egyptian religions, magical philosophy, techniques of divination, and magical formulae thousands of years old. This new edition of the Weiser classic features a foreword by Normandi Ellis, author of Awakening Osiris.

No previous experience with the subject is necessary – Eleanor Harris explains the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of magical tools, amulets, words of power, divination, ceremony, and spells. Advanced practitioners will find instruction on actual Egyptian magical script as found in the ancient papyri such as The Leyden Papyrus, The Papyrus Ani (the Egyptian Book of the Dead), and other important works.

Harris has studied and practiced Egyptian divination and magic for more than 20 years. She inherited interest in Egyptian religion and magic from her father. Harris earned her title Qematet en Tehuti, "Priestess of Thoth," by authoring literary works, lecturing, and providing workshops for interested students.

In Ancient Egyptian Magic Harris reveals such secrets as how to invoke Egyptian gods and spirits for divination and magic; scry with fire, oil, and water; evoke messengers and spirits of the dead; and cast spells for love, protection, and healing. Also included are detailed how-to instructions for making authentic Egyptian clothing and amulets to evoke the magic of ancient Egypt.

In Ancient Egyptian Magic, readers learn words of power and what makes the magic soar, which is aligning oneself to the creative source, willingness, discrimination, and an understanding of the natural laws of karma, thought, and vibration. Harris sets readers off on the right foot by introducing them to the many ways in which to make, develop and maintain an active (rather than passive) relationship with the many manifestations of the divine as the gods and goddesses of the ancient Egyptians. The magical, meditative recipes Harris details derived from ancient manuscripts show the novice in the mysteries how to increase focus through magical means and practice.

Harris’ chapter on words of power underscores the maxim behind all magic: Thoughts (and words) are things. "Words are a map of the will," she says, "and ceremony is the emphasis." Her analysis of symbol and of trance states in divination offers a comprehensive understanding of psychic or altered states and how the brain accesses intuitive information. Then her practical ideas lead readers into the realm of evocative communication with the spiritual world.

Ancient Egyptian Magic provides contemporary students with a practical collection of Egyptian divination and magical instruction. Readers:

  • Explore the Egyptian religious and magical philosophies that are suitable for their own spiritual and magical quest today.
  • Discover how the Egyptians developed their magical practices and why they were successful.
  • Find out how the ancient temples and priesthoods functioned and how they can create their own working environment today.
  • Create and wear ancient priesthood clothing, and learn how to make and use the ritual tools of Egyptian magicians.
  • Examine the use of amulets, figures, pictures, written magic, spells, words of power, and more magical items and techniques to empower their magic.
  • Come to understand the format and purpose of Egyptian magical ceremony and how to design their own.
  • Learn how to fire, water, and oil scry, have dream visions, shapeshift into a god-form, sound the secret names of the deities to acquire their awesome power, conjure dead spirits, make and use ancient eye-paint to see invoked deities, understand and write their own Egyptian magical formulas, make and use amulets, work defensive magic; cast love, protection, and healing spells; evoke spirits into statues and other magical objects, use sex magic, bring good fortune, and more exciting acts of sorcery.
  • Revive the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians through work with dreams, prognostications, and transformations.

The instructions include original formulas of divination and magic that readers can use immediately. This alleviates tedious research to compile working data from ancient magical papyri and other historical literature.

Perhaps you came to this book wanting to learn something about how to make magic – and you will. The most important thing Eleanor Harris will teach you, however, is how to make relationship, because ultimately that is what all magic-making is about…. One reason magic works is through the focus of the mind. As metaphysicians one must develop both focused intention on that which we will manifest, but also atten­tion, which is the receptive opening of consciousness that operates through true communication with the numinous. As with any relationship, the more you put into it the more you get out of it…. I happily recommend this book and its author to all who seek an understanding of how and why the ancient Egyptian magical path is still relevant to practical metaphysicians in the 21st century. – Normandi Ellis, from the foreword

Everything readers need to start practicing ancient Egyptian techniques is in their hands with Ancient Egyptian Magic. Well-researched and spiced with entertaining stories of magical doings, the book brims over with Harris’ insights, some little-known facts and practical applications. With this book as their guide, readers can learn to use the ancient and potent magical arts that captured the fascination of ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Roman writers.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Global

GlobalChurch: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches by Graham Hill, with a foreword by Scot McKnight (IVP Academic)

Christianity seems to be in decline in the West. But many churches in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other parts of the Majority World are growing rapidly. Western Christianity can no longer claim to be the center of the global church. Before long, two-thirds of Christians will live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. What does this mean for global Christian mission? What does it mean for worship, theology, faith and evangelism in the West?

In GlobalChurch, Graham Hill engages with more than one hundred high-profile Majority World Christian leaders to find out what they can teach the West about mission, leadership, hospitality, creation care, education, and worship. Hill teaches practical theology at Morling College in Sydney, Australia, where he is also the vice principal. A former church planter and pastor, he is a member of the Baptist World Alliance International Commissions on Ministry and Evangelism.
Hill in GlobalChurch challenges the Western church to move away from a Eurocentric and Americentric view of church and mission, and he calls the church to construct global missional conversations. The book engages with the work and thought of Majority World theologians and missiologists including Simon Chan, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Samuel Escobar, Ajith Fernando, Makoto Fujimura, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Emmanuel Katongole, Nelson Mandela, Vishal Mangalwadi, C. René Padilla, Lamin Sanneh, Sadhu Sundar Singh, Vinoth Ramachandra, and Amos Yong.

Hill in the introduction to GlobalChurch says that majority World Christians are those in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Oceania. He uses the term Majority World because the majority of the world's population is in those cultures today. The majority of the church is in those cultures too. He doesn't use the terms non-Western or Third World or Developing World. These terms use Western cultures as their point of reference.

In 2004, The Lausanne Forum for World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand, voted unanimously – that the phrase Majority World Church replace other terms. People from all over the globe participated in this forum.

Strikingly, the first-century church – by divine design – was not locked into a culture the way we can be today. The apostle Paul's vision, which he called at times the ‘mystery,’ was to expand God's old people, Israel, not by abandoning Israel or by imposing on Israel but by adding to Israel God's new people who were Gentiles. The heartbeat of the apostle Paul, then, was a missiology of new creation in which Paul would have to learn to express the gospel in new contexts, see what God created in new contexts and keep all these people in one fellowship. His vision was breathtakingly radical and seen as foolhardy by more than one people group, including the apostle Paul's own countrymen.

Hill asks readers to return to the New Testament era so they can learn how to be the church of divine intent. He is asking to change the conversations from monolithic and monocultural to multicultural exchanges. Gone will be the paternalism of previous generations and up will arise a whole new conversation where the ‘Majority World’ churches will contribute to the Euro-shaped cultures. What Hill does is offered a challenge, not least in taking what has become a famous line about American elitism from the days of the founding fathers – a ‘city set on a hill’ – and turning it into a multicultural, global ecclesiology and mission: the city set on a hill, he proposes, is the global church in its mission.

In typical missiology, missions and missional classes Christians ask one another to read and discuss the standard Eurocentric theologians of brilliance – but Hill discusses in GlobalChurch theologians many of readers never assign or even read. Readers enter into Paul's ‘mystery’ when they become a fellowship of ‘differents’ by listening to their brothers and sisters in their lived theology around the world.

The aim of GlobalChurch is to help Western churches rediscover what it means to be salt, light and a city by engaging in global missional conversations. To do this, Western Christians need to enter into conversation with Majority World and indigenous Christians. Listening to others helps Western Christians grow in their understanding and practice of mission and church and theology.

This aim shapes GlobalChurch's structure, which is:

Part 1. Salt: Reshaping Our Conversations

Part one shows how Western conversations are impoverished and insufficient in isolation from indigenous and Majority World Christians. Christians enhance their ‘saltiness’ through local-global (‘glocal’) exchanges. To do this they must reshape their conversations. They need global and local exchanges that they characterize by mutuality, respect, partnership and symbiosis. Such exchanges help them learn from one another, whether they are in Western, indigenous, or Majority World settings. It enables them to pursue global missional theology and practice. Globally and locally, they can pursue missional vitality and be ‘the salt of the earth.’

Part 2. Light: Renewing Our Mission

In part two, Hill explores how indigenous and Majority World Christians teach Christians to renew mission. They renew mission through contextualization, liberation, hospitality, Spirit empowerment, creation care, ethics and the transformation of neighborhoods.

Part 3. City: Revitalizing Our Churches

In part three, Hill demonstrates how indigenous and Majority World Christians teach Christians to revitalize churches. They revitalize churches by indigenizing faith, devouring Scripture, renewing education, practicing servantship (servant leadership), recovering community and developing spirituality and discipleship. They inspire their churches when they develop their theology and practices relating to beauty and the arts.

In the final chapter, Hill wraps things up by addressing an important question: In light of all the material covered in GlobalChurch, what would it now look like to engage in global missional theology, ecclesiology, interpretation, history, pneumatology, worship and education?

In GlobalChurch Hill says he could have consulted the work of many thousands of indigenous and Majority World thinkers and writers and practitioners. But he limited himself to a sample of those who speak directly to its themes. These African, Asian, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Latin American, First Nation and indigenous thinkers challenge Western readers. They dare them to examine their theologies and missions and churches. And they inspire them to renew the worship and community and mission of Jesus' church. They stir them to think in fresh ways about what it means to be salt, light and a city. They help Christians become a global missional church – a truly GlobalChurch.

It is long past time those of us from the West learned how to learn from our global colleagues. Graham Hill leads us across a large and varied terrain of glocalized Christian holistic reflection and action, helping us see not simply how to listen but to learn and grow from the insights, actions and priorities of the Majority World church. Western Christians absolutely need this book. I pray that God will use it to spark a movement toward genuine servanthood among those who have been privileged to glean from the wise counsel Hill has gathered and brought to the table. At the same time, Majority World Christians also absolutely need this book. I pray that for them it will affirm the central role they have in contributing to God's work in every nook and cranny of our globalized planet and spur them on to continue living and reflecting on God's word in their own contexts for the benefit of all of us. – Scott Moreau, associate dean, professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College Graduate School
Graham Hill has gone to the ends of the earth and back – crossing theological traditions, cultures, and even oceans and continents – to bear witness to the gospel through the many perspectives of world Christianity at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Here is a missional heart that is wide open to the winds of God's Spirit coming from and going in unexpected directions. GlobalChurch unfolds the many tribes, languages, peoples and nations that anticipate the coming reign of God. Here is a discerning guide to what all this means today. – Amos Yong, professor of theology and mission, Fuller Theological Seminary

GlobalChurch is an indispensable guide for the church as it navigates the unique global experiences of the twenty-first century. The book makes it clear that to engage in global missional conversations, Western Christians need to enter into conversation with Majority World and indigenous Christians. Listening to others helps them grow in their understanding and practice of mission and church and theology.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Social Media

The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, 2nd edition by Meredith Gould (Liturgical Press)

If readers are responsible for managing digital communications in their parishes, staying current with trends in the rapidly changing world of social media can seem like an overwhelming task. Which social medium platforms make sense for the church community? How can they make them an effective tool for ministry?
As a veteran social media expert, author, and sociologist, Meredith Gould has helped answer these questions and more in the 1st edition of her best-selling book The Social Media Gospel. In this 2nd edition, Gould provides an easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide to digital ministry for those wishing to embrace new technologies to build community and deepen faith. Meredith Gould, PhD, is a sociologist with well over a decade of hands-on experience with communications at all levels of church across denominations. She is the founder and lead moderator of the weekly ecumenical Twitter-based chat about church social media (#chsocm), founder and comoderator of the monthly Health & Spirituality chat (#hlthsp), and Platinum Fellow of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network.

In this expanded edition of The Social Media Gospel Gould delivers new content with humor, helpful tips, and counsel anchored in practical experience. She focuses on key topics for effective church communication, including:

  • Building and ministering to online communities.
  • Privacy and self-disclosure in the digital age.
  • Integrating communications across digital platforms.
  • Managing and monitoring social media.
  • Faith storytelling with visual social media.
  • Hashtag development and live-tweeting.

Gould says her big plan was to write what publishers call an ‘evergreen’ book, so-called because the content is durable over time – a wild goal, given how swiftly and often social media platforms change. Still, she pretty much accomplished that in the 1st edition of The Social Media Gospel by focusing on the strategic and tactical uses of social media, rather than nitty-gritty ‘how-to’ tips. And yet here she is, two years later, with a 2nd edition. Current reality: issues about adopting, adapting, and using digital online tools persist within the world of church, despite near-ubiquitous use by secular organizations. Additional reality: mobile technology has transformed how we receive, perceive, and process online content and conversation.

In this 2nd edition of The Social Media Gospel Gould provides even more – and more specific – guidance about how to think through the whys and whens of using online digital tools to be church beyond the building. In new chapters and boxed content, readers find information about:

  • Crafting tactics – when and how to connect – more effectively for the audience(s).
  • Online community development, management, and monitoring.
  • ‘Not strictly social’ platforms that, thanks to mobile technology, must be added to their ministerial toolkit.
  • Shifting from narrative to visual content.
  • Using Titter to its – and the church's – best advantage.
  • Best practices, especially when it comes to online sharing with discretion, honesty, and authenticity.

Based on reader feedback and questions that have come her way online as well as during workshops and talks, Gould says she has added these appendices:

  • DIY Digital Audit: While hiring an outside auditor is still best, this is a checklist to complete a Do-It-Yourself Digital Audit.
  • Some Boilerplate to Use or Tweak: Readers can use it to establish parameters for social media use.
  • Church Social Media Positions: Even if they don't have the resources to hire someone, these are the abilities, skills, competencies, and experiences needed by anyone responsible for managing social media presence.

Meredith Gould's The Social Media Gospel is a go-to text for my course on digital media and ministry, and it has been very well received by students. Pastoral ministry students value its practicality, its keen awareness of digital culture, and its warm, accessible and authentic tone. Part of the challenge of ministry formation in our digital culture is that it can seem like an overwhelming context. Gould's book makes the overwhelming not only accessible but enjoyable as she readily brings herself and her valuable practical experiences to this text. I am #grateful for the second edition, which acknowledges the changing shape of our digital culture, even in two short years since the first book. Hope there is a third, fourth and more down the line. – Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catechesis and Evangelization, Loyola University New Orleans

This book's themes are pretty straightforward: church is more than a building, online life mirrors offline life, strategic thinking guides wise decisions. The gift of The Social Media Gospel lies in Meredith's frank and accessible advice for putting those principles to work in a ministry landscape we can all find overwhelming. I can’t wait to share this expanded edition with new cohorts of seminarians and practicing ministers. – Kyle Matthew Oliver, digital missioner in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary

Meredith Gould has provided an excellent resource to those who believe that the future of mission lies in a world where networked lives and amplified humans await the proclamation of the Gospel. The Social Media Gospel offers a road map for those leaving the Church of the modern era behind for the adventurous missionary landscape of a social-structured world. – The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Texas

For those beginning to explore new technologies, those regularly engaging with social media, or for anyone who wants to communicate the good news to a new generation – The Social Media Gospel is crucial. – Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church and Reframing Hope

Meredith Gould has poured her training as a sociologist, experience as a magazine writer, omnivorous appetite for social media, and passion for the Gospel into a book that should appeal to just about anyone who thinks about digital ministry. The Social Media Gospel is a valuable contribution from one of the best known thinkers in the field. – Jim Naughton, founder of Episcopal Cafe and coauthor of Speaking Faithfully: Communications as Evangelism in a Noisy World

In the world of social media where so many proclaim themselves as 'how to' gurus, Meredith Gould breaks through the clutter and jargon. She uses simple language to help churches and pastors understand why social media is important and how to effectively use it as a tool for ministry. This book is for the beginner or those looking to go further with social media. – Rev. Alan Rudnick, pastor, author, blogger, and social media practitioner

The Word is active and alive via social media, connecting minds and hearts through shared faith. While some church leaders fear exploring the digital mission field, people like Meredith Gould write groundbreaking books like this one, fearlessly and wisely leading the way to a truly new evangelization. – Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Catholic writer and lay minister blogging at There Will Be Bread

Meredith Gould answers the questions many church leaders and ministers have about the use of social media for ministry in her new book, The Social Media Gospel. A ministry insider and experienced user of social media, Meredith overcomes objections and eases fears with knowledgeable insights, good humor, and excellent end-of-chapter reflection questions. The Social Media Gospel is a delightfully warm and welcoming invitation to share the Good News in new ways. – Sister Susan Wolf, SND, Founder and President of Catholic Web Solutions

The Social Media Gospel is an easy-to-understand guide to digital ministry. Frank, accessible and enjoyable, the book is written with humor, helpful tips, and simple language; the practical experiences make an especially valuable contribution.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / US / Social Justice / Activism

America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis, with a foreword by Bryan Stevenson (Brazos Press)

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

America's problem with race has deep roots, with the country's foundation tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another.
"It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis in America's Original Sin.

Wallis, who teaches at Georgetown University, is an activist, preacher, and pastor. He is a bestselling writer, convener of faith-inspired movements for justice and peace both outside and inside politics, public theologian in a secular culture, renowned speaker in the United States and abroad, and international media commentator on ethics and public life. He is the founder and leader of Sojourners, a publishing platform and global network whose mission is to put faith into action for social justice. Willis says that fifty years ago he was driven away from his faith by a white church that considered dealing with racism to be taboo. His participation in the civil rights movement brought him back when he discovered a faith that commands racial justice.
In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians – particularly white Christians – urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.
According to Wallis, the families of the Charleston victims have spoken grace and truth, and their example could inspire us to acknowledge and change the truths about race in America. Their grace will test the integrity of our truth and our response. For example, we have seen and heard painful revelations about how police – and, even more systematically, the criminal justice system – too often mistreats young men and women of color. What happened in these incidents? And are they just ‘incidents,’ or is there a pattern here? Is there really just one criminal justice system for all of us – equally – or are there actually different systems for white Americans and for Americans of color?

Are we hiding behind untruths that help make us feel more comfortable, or are we willing to seek the truth, even if that is uncomfortable?

The title of this book, America's Original Sin, is itself unsettling and, for many, provocative. The language of ‘America's original sin’ helped Wallis understand that the historical racism against America's Indigenous people and enslaved Africans was indeed a sin, and one upon which this country was founded. This helps to explain a lot, because if we are able to recognize that the sin still lingers, we can better understand issues before us today and deal with them more deeply, honestly, and even spiritually.

Wallis says he wrote America's Original Sin to talk honestly about America's original sin and how it still lingers in the criminal justice system and too many other areas of American life. To treat these issues as sin – which can be repented of and changed – is a deeper, more effective way to solve these problems than just seeing them as political issues in an illusory ‘postracial’ America.

The painful and combustible connection between poverty, crime, and hopelessness is another of our lingering national sins. Joblessness leads to hopelessness; if we don't do a better job of educating all our children, they will struggle to find decent jobs, and without education and jobs it's very hard to build the strong families that all humans so critically need.

One of the most central lingering sins that Wallis focuses on in America's Original Sin is white privilege. He is a white man in America, and he writes this book as a white male, a white dad, and a white Christian. For most of his adult life he has lived in low-income neighborhoods that have been predominantly black. Confrontation with white racism in his childhood in Detroit and in white churches has been the primary converting experience in his own faith history. It set him on a path that has defined his understanding of faith ever since – a story this book lays out. Allies and companions in black churches and communities have been principal shapers of his direction and vocation.

But no matter where you go as a white person in American society, no matter where you live, no matter who your friends and allies are, and no matter what you do to help overcome racism, you can never escape white privilege in America if you are white. Wallis says he benefits from white privilege (and male privilege as well) every single day, and he doesn't have any more say in that than black men and women who experience the opposite. What white responsibility means, in the face of these benefits, is a central theme of the book.

Wallis says he wrote America's Original Sin because he believes truth-telling about America's original sin of racism must not be left to people of color alone. Crossing the bridge to a new America will be a multiracial task and vocation.

Jim Wallis has grasped with amazing clarity and insight the persistent pain and sin of racism in America. In America's Original Sin we have not only a recounting of the pain of racism and xenophobia but also a hope-filled cartography for a new, reconciled reality. As a Latino evangelical, I have found in Jim Wallis a key ally and fellow visionary for a racially reconciled America. – Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; pastor, Lamb's Church
Jim Wallis is a clarion voice our nation desperately needs right now, especially the parents and grandparents raising our next generation of children. Only the truth will set us free. – Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund
Jim Wallis is a visionary veteran in the struggle against white supremacy. In this powerful book, he calls for a new conversation and action on the ground -- in our homes, churches, sports arenas, and schools – in order to be true to the best of who we are! – Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary; author of Race Matters
Every so often a leader addresses the pressing crisis of his or her day with the clarity, passion, and conviction that offers not only critique but hope that can only be forged in the trenches of faithful struggle and engagement. Jim Wallis has done just that by confronting the injustice of racism in our nation. –
Noel Castellanos, CEO & president, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Jim Wallis marches among our hardiest and most steadfast pioneers on the path to a more perfect union and a more vibrant faith. America's Original Sin is a powerful act of Spirit-led truth telling and a loving disruption of the status quo. Wallis calls us to transcend racial categories and to see in one another the image of God. He points out the structural realities of sinful racism and makes clear that to be redeemed, we must do more than deny it. This is required reading for all who believe in the promises of God, hope for the American democracy, and long to see the power of a justice ethos grounded in love. – Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president, North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; author of The Third Reconstruction
I have been waiting a long time for this book. I have been waiting for a white, male, evangelical Christian to say what Jim Wallis has the courage to say. Jim, in his own inimitable way, invites us into a conversation about America's original sin that is long overdue. America, the church, the criminal justice system, and, indeed, all of us, need to engage in the level of truth telling that he is calling for in this book.
– Cynthia L. Hale, senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, Georgia
For decades, Jim Wallis has steadfastly spoken, written, and lived as one committed to racial justice and reconciliation. This book is a consummate distillation of those themes that leans back to remember 'America's original sin,' principally to rivet our attention and commitment to a different future. This is a sobering and motivating act of hope. – Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, America's Original Sin shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.

Science / Archaeology / Europe

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe edited by Luc Laporte & Christopher Scarre (Oxbow Books)

Megalithic monuments are among the most striking remains of the Neolithic period of northern and western Europe and are scattered across landscapes from Pomerania to Portugal. Antiquarians and archaeologists early recognized the family resemblance of the different groups of tombs, attributing them to maritime peoples moving along the western seaways. More recent research sees them rather as the product of established early farming communities in their individual regions. Yet the diversity of the tombs, their chronologies and their varied cultural contexts complicates any straightforward understanding of their origins and distribution.

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe focuses on the construction and design of European megalithic tombs – on the tomb as an architectural project. It shows how much is to be learned from detailed attention to the stages and the techniques through which tombs were built, modified and enlarged, and often intentionally dismantled or decommissioned. The large slabs that were employed, often unshaped, may suggest an opportunistic approach by the Neolithic builders, but this is far from the case. Each building project was unique, and detailed study of individual sites exposes the way in which tombs were built as architectural, social and symbolic undertakings. Alongside the manner in which the materials were used, it reveals a store of knowledge that sometimes differed considerably from one structure to another, even between contemporary monuments within a single region.

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe brings together regional specialists from Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, France, Belgium and Iberia to offer a series of authoritative studies. Results of recent fieldwork are incorporated and much of the material is published in this volume for the first time in English.

Editors are Luc Laporte and Chris Scarre. Laporte is Directeur de Recherche in the CNRS and is based at the Laboratoire Archeosciences at the Universite de Rennes. He is currently directing field projects on megalithic monuments in western France and Senegal. Scarre is Professor of Archaeology at Durham University and specializes in the Neolithic monumentality of the Atlantic facade of Europe. He has excavated at megalithic monuments in western France, Portugal and the Channel Islands. The book has 30 contributors.

According to Laporte and Scarre in the preface to The Megalithic Architectures of Europe, megalithic monuments are defined essentially by the unusually large stones employed in their construction. The impressive dimensions have led to recurrent speculation as to how they were built. Popular histories and beliefs frequently attributed them to giants or other mythical beings.

While speculation will continue to govern some elements of the debate, recent decades have seen new attention devoted to the direct evidence of constructional techniques afforded by the monuments themselves. This includes detailed observations of the surface of the megalithic blocks and the manner in which the raw materials have been deployed. It also extends to the sources of the stones and the quarries from which the blocks were extracted. A series of separate studies from the Portuguese Alentejo to Denmark and Sweden has revealed new evidence for the ways in which the materials were quarried and used. The incorporation of recycled elements has drawn attention to the multiphase nature of many of these monuments, products of successive episodes of remodeling, extension and occasionally destruction. Hence despite the durability and scale of the materials used in megalithic monuments, they are increasingly understood as dynamic structures, continually in flux throughout their use-lives, with biographies that extend up to the present day.

Along with new interest in the constructional techniques goes a new awareness of the social context in which these monuments were created. A number of scholars have emphasized the contingent and sometimes haphazard nature of the megalithic building project, arguing that the undertaking itself may have been more important than the finished product. At the same time, excavation evidence and structural analysis have revealed the level of skill required to build a megalithic tomb, and the repetitive features of the work that suggest regionally embedded traditions of knowledge, and perhaps expert builders.

The megalithic monuments of western Europe comprise tombs, stone settings and individual standing stones or menhirs. The study of megalithic tombs focused for many years on the funerary space, but enquiry has subsequently extended to the entirety of the monumental structure, including the mound of cairn, and to its physical, chronological and human setting. In the light of new information acquired over the past 20 years it is timely to revisit the notion of the architectural project. In analyzing the intentions that can be attributed to the Neolithic builders researchers must consider what evidence can be drawn from the construction process, and therefore from the building site. Researchers must also ask what can be learned from the evidence of constructional sequences, and from the additions and modifications through which each generation reappropriated the unique significance of a specific site.

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe asks: What kinds of evidence and what telltale signs can document the progress and operation of megalithic building sites? What can we learn of the sequence or series of phases within each construction project and the intentions that lay behind it? Were these long-term building projects, undertaken by a small group of people during the slack season, or were they coordinated and continuous? If continuous, were shelters provided to accommodate the whole of the work force during the work? Or should we instead envisage periodic assemblies of people, enhancing the cohesion of the group through a collective undertaking that tied the individual into the wider community? The organization of work at the building site must indirectly reflect the social organization of the groups involved just as does the number of people whose bodies were deposited within the burial chambers, or whose bones were arranged and stored there. Speculative discussions have explored a wide range of possibilities, but material evidence that might allow more specific insights in individual cases remains relatively rare.

A conference on the theme of "Megalithic Architectures" was held at the Musee de Bretagne at Rennes, from 10 to 12 May 2012. The first two days were devoted to conference presentations in the Champs Libres auditorium at the museum. The third and final day of the meeting was occupied by an excursion to sites in the region around Rennes including the dolmen angevin of La Roche-aux-Fees at Esse, the menhirs of Champ Dolent at Dol and La Tremblaye at Saint-Samson-sur-Rance, and the allée couverte of La Maison des Feins at Tresse. The papers in The Megalithic Architectures of Europe derive from those originally presented at this meeting.

The aim was to bring together speakers from as many of the relevant countries as possible, and to bridge the different national traditions of research. The resulting volume, The Megalithic Architectures of Europe, is organized in three sections that correspond to the major themes of the conference. The first presents a series of case studies from individual sites that reveal details of constructional techniques and also provide insight into the organization of the building projects and the intentions of the builders. The second section broadens the spatial envelope to consider groups of sites and regional traditions, while the third section addresses chronological questions and special issues concerning the construction of these monuments. A fourth and final section brings together a famous non-European example and two summary papers reviewing the west European megalithic phenomenon as a whole from a northern and a southern perspective.

Using uniquely authoritative studies, The Megalithic Architectures of Europe provides an invaluable overview of the current state of research on European megalithic tombs. In particular, it provides new insight by focusing on the tomb as an architectural project.

Science / Genetics

The Mysterious World of the Human Genome by Frank Ryan (Prometheus Books)

The latest studies of the human genome are revealing exciting new discoveries.

The Mysterious World of the Human Genome explains that we are on the cusp of an amazing era of disease treatment and eradication.

The human genome is indeed a mysterious world, but, as The Mysterious World of the Human Genome shows, its vital secrets are now being uncovered. The latest studies are revealing exciting new discoveries, such as how the DNA and related chemical compounds in cells work together. Scientists are not only unraveling how life evolved in the ancient past, but are also finding the keys to creating a healthier future.
How does the minuscule chemical cluster in each of our 100 trillion cells accomplish the amazing feat of creating and maintaining the human body? Frank Ryan, a physician and an evolutionary biologist, in The Mysterious World of the Human Genome describes the complex ways in which the genome operates as a holistic system and not solely through genes coding for proteins – the building blocks of life. Also involved are elaborate switching mechanisms that regulate and control portions of our DNA, as well as the interplay of retroviruses and bacteria.
Ryan is the bestselling author of The Forgotten Plague – a New York Times Book of the Year – and Darwin’s Blind Spot. A consultant physician based in Sheffield, an honorary Senior Lecturer in the Academic Unit of Medical Education, and a Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians, Ryan pioneered the evolutionary concepts of ‘viral symbiosis’ and ‘genomic creativity’ and has contributed to the modern understanding of the evolution of the human genome.

An up-to-date history that will be definitive.... Ryan conducts thoughtful interviews, describes experiments in precise detail, and takes care to include the inevitable politics, personalities, frustrations, and controversies.... An enlightening account of past and present knowledge and the future possibilities of human heredity. – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A valuable resource for nonscientists who are trying to gain an understanding of a complex but important discipline. – Library Journal

Frank Ryan has written the ultimate DNA memoir. In a lively, entertaining voice, Ryan takes us back to a time when no one knew where our hereditary information was kept, and then he puts us on a rollicking ride to the present. On the way, we learn about the evolution of genomes, the genomes of our ancestors, epigenetics, how DNA works, and how although most DNA doesn’t code for proteins, this does not make it junk DNA. This is a great read for both nonscientists and scientists who had their biology classes more than ten years ago. – Marc Zimmer, author of Illuminating Disease: An Introduction to Green Fluorescent Proteins
A first-class introduction to one of the greatest scientific projects and discoveries of our time. On this informative, balanced, and truly exciting journey, we are taken through our inner biology and on to such important topics as our relationship to other members of our family tree. Well worth reading and well worth passing on to students. – Michael Ruse, PhD, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University, and author of Defining Darwin: Essays on the History and Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology
Frank Ryan’s fascinating book tells the story of our genome in an elegantly straightforward way that anyone can understand. Hop on board the magical train tracks of the chromosomes and enjoy! –
Barbara Oakley, PhD, author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend and A Mind for Numbers
Ryan’s book should have a great appeal to non-scientists and could become a significant instrument in policy formation… Spellbinding, intellectually adventurous, difficult to put down. – Nature
Extremely well written… Frank Ryan has the page-turning and spine-chilling ability of a good novelist. –
Matt Ridley, Sunday Telegraph
Very good at making technical matters comprehensible to the lay reader but more impressive still is the way he conveys the intellectual excitement and elation of scientific discovery. – Literary Review
Ryan takes us through the drama of discovery and challenges the notion that certain questions are too appalling to contemplate. – New Scientist

The Mysterious World of the Human Genome is a groundbreaking book using illuminating metaphors and reader-friendly language to show how the DNA and related chemical com­pounds in our cells work together to direct the processes of life.

Sports & Entertainment / Comedy / Biographies & Memoirs

The Warmup Guy by Robert Perlow and Richard John Cummins, with a foreword by Alan Thicke (Pelican Publishing)

It's the rare performer who can legitimately claim to have created a new entertainment category, but Bob Perlow did. In The Warmup Guy, he reveals his personal tales from Hollywood and divulges secrets – from the good and the bad to the outrageous.

A comedy show where no one is laughing is anything but funny, so from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, stand-up comedian Perlow made it his mission to keep the energy flowing on television stages. He perfected his routine as a warmup guy on the sets of some of television’s most popular shows, including Friends, Growing Pains, Cheers, Full House, Mork & Mindy, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. From an improv class with Robin Williams to a heated encounter with Tim Allen, Perlow saw it all. In The Warmup Guy he uses his trademark humor to reveal personal recollections from both behind and in front of the camera.

Perlow is a comedic entertainer who creates, produces, writes, and stars in taped performances. A product of TV, he grew up with the medium and spent more than thirty-five years as a warmup comedian. During that time he also received writing credits for Who’s the Boss?, Laverne & Shirley, and many other well-known comedies. Perlow is the star of a one-man multimedia show, Tales from Hollywood, which chronicles his career in entertainment. Co-author Richard Cummins is a music and puppetry enthusiast and has written for Hit Parader and several other music magazines.

There's more to warming up a TV studio audience than an initial pre-show rah-rah cheerleader session to get the folks in the bleachers revved up. That was the way it once worked, but Perlow changed that forever when, for a whopping $50 a week, he agreed to warm up the audience for the first tapings of Laverne & Shirley. And the rest is history.

Bob Perlow is the best warmup guy in the business. In the field where most guys last thirteen weeks before being fired or moving on to another program, Bob was with me for almost my entire run of The Tonight Show.... Besides, I couldn't fire him – he knew all the secrets! – Jay Leno

One of the best. – Garry Marshall

Bob Perlow is an acquired taste that once acquired is impossible to shake. His unique voice made him a legend­ary warmup guy – the prototype and one of the pioneers, in fact, of that job description. – Alan Thicke

A must read for anyone wanting an insider’s look at comedy, TV, and celebrities. – Fred Willard

You’re going to like Bob Perlow. It is impossible not to like him. He tells a great tale, spins a great joke, and will get under your skin before you know he’s there. – Jason Alexander

In The Warmup Guy, readers get a VIP pass to the on-set antics that didn’t make it to television screens. Audacious and side-splitting, The Warmup Guy is a trip down memory lane as only Perlow could tell it.

 

Contents this Issue:

The Ecstasy of Letting Go: Surrender Practices to Empower Your Life – Audiobook, 2 CDs, running time 2 hrs, 6 mins by Judith Orloff MD (Sounds True)

ISIS (Library Binding) by Katie Marsico (Special Reports Series: Essential Library, ABDO Publishing)

Droids in Distress (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Rise of the Rebels (Library Binding) by Michael Kogge (Star Wars Rebels Series: Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough: Cookbook by Ella Leché (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Fine Gardening Easy-to-Grow Vegetables: Greens, Tomatoes, Peppers & More by Editors and Contributors of Fine Gardening (The Taunton Press)

What's Wrong With My Houseplant?: Save Your Indoor Plants With 100% Organic Solutions by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press)

Law at Little Big Horn: Due Process Denied by Charles E. Wright, with a foreword by Gordon Morris Bakken, with series editor John R. Wunder (Plains Histories Series: Texas Tech University Press)

We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace: Memoirs by Raïssa Maritain, edited by Michael O.P. Sherwin, with an introduction by Anne Carson Daley, translated from the French by Julie Kernan (St Augustine’s Press)

Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences edited by Ghada Ageel, with a foreword by Richard Falk (The University of Alberta Press)

Turning Texas Blue: What It Will Take to Break the GOP Grip on America's Reddest State by Mary Beth Rogers (St. Martin’s Press)

Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, 1st edition by Christine A. Manville EdD OTR/L & Jeremy Keough MSOT OTR/L (Slack Incorporated)

Ancient Egyptian Magic by Eleanor Harris, with a foreword by Normandi Ellis (Weiser Books)

GlobalChurch: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches by Graham Hill, with a foreword by Scot McKnight (IVP Academic)

The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, 2nd edition by Meredith Gould (Liturgical Press)

America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis, with a foreword by Bryan Stevenson (Brazos Press)

The Megalithic Architectures of Europe edited by Luc Laporte & Christopher Scarre (Oxbow Books)

The Warmup Guy by Robert Perlow and Richard John Cummins, with a foreword by Alan Thicke (Pelican Publishing)