We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

July 2016, Issue #207

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Guide to Contents this Page 

Inspired by the National Parks: Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato (Harvard Business Review Press)

Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, 4th edition by Martin S. Remland (Sage Publications, Inc.)

Performing Politics: Media Interviews, Debates and Press Conferences, 1st edition by Geoffrey Craig (Polity Contemporary Political Communication Series: Polity Press)

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks by Bhavani Thuraisingham, Satyen Abrol, Raymond Heatherly, Murat Kantarcioglu, Vaibhav Khadilkar & Latifur Khan (Auerbach Publications, CRC Press)

Smokin' Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Human Rights and Schooling: An Ethical Framework for Teaching for Social Justice by Audrey Osler (Multicultural Education Series: Teacher’s College Press)

Basics of Classical Syriac: Complete Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon by Steven C. Hallam (Basics Series: Zondervan)

Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s by Meg Jacobs (Hill & Wang)

A Game for All the Family: A Novel by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow)

Cape Hell: A Page Murdock Novel by Loren D. Estleman (Page Murdock Novels: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC: Forge Books)

Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals: Identification, Values and Lapidary Uses, 3rd edition by Patti Polk (Krause Publications)

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East by Kirk J. Beattie (Seven Stories Press)

Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, 2nd edition edited by G. Michael Steelman & Eric C. Westman (CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group)

Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, 19th edition edited by Dennis L. Kasper, Anthony S. Fauci, Stephen L. Hauser, Dan L. Longo, J. Larry Jameson, & Joseph Loscalzo (McGraw Hill Education/Medical)

Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years: Their Nature, Complexity, and Role in Health and Illness edited by Jamila Bookwala (American Psychological Association)

New Testament Theology and Ethics, Volume 1 by Ben Witherington III (IVP Academic)

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized edited by Michael J. Kruger, with a foreword by J. Ligon Duncan III (Crossway)

1 & 2 Kings by Peter J. Leithart (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Series: Brazos Press)

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette (Quercus Publishing)

Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese, 4th edition by Rick Steves (Avalon Travel Publishing)


Arts & Photography / Quilting / Outdoors & Nature / Travel

Inspired by the National Parks: Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

National parks are special places to visit. They inspire some to a vocation dedicating their whole lives to preserving and protecting the parks. They also inspire artists.

Inspired by the National Parks reveals individual glimpses into the passionate commitment to preserve, protect, and enjoy these special places. A colorful celebration of the 59 US National Parks, this collection of 177 original art quilts depicts the widely varying landscapes, flora, and fauna of the parks. Basic facts about each of these parks from Acadia in Maine, to Voyageurs in Minnesota, to Yosemite in California, to Haleakal in Hawaii are included, along with short writings from 64 park rangers and other personnel.

Author Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto has been a quilt maker for more than twenty years, and her work has appeared in numerous exhibits and publications.

Gary Bremer, Park Ranger in the preface to Inspired by the National Parks says some things haven't changed, like the role artists play in protecting national parks. Photographers and painters are joined by sculptors, potters, dancers, musicians, and those who take the folk art of quilting to an entirely new level. The quilts in Inspired by the National Parks are not Grandma's bed coverings. Art quilts are a separate breed; their creators use fabric and thread, but they do so in a seemingly limitless number of ways.

DeSoto in the introduction to Inspired by the National Parks asks: What happens when a project such as this challenges a group of artists to create original fiber art pieces to honor each of the national parks? They grew misty-eyed, they swooned, some even loved this idea so much they wanted to make two, and soon so many wanted to participate that there was a waiting list. The artists were given a few parameters. They could choose a park, and one of three categories to depict: landscape, flora, or fauna. The landscape quilts could be either vertical, 20 by 44 inches, or horizontal, 44 by 20 inches; the flora and fauna quilts had to be 20 by 20 inches. By disallowing photo transfer, and encouraging original work rather than the use of commercially-available patterns, DeSoto challenged participants to dig deep and come up with creative ways of portraying their subjects. As readers look through the art quilts in Inspired by the National Parks and read the artist statements, they see how artists are inspired by national parks.

What happens when a project such as this gives park rangers an opportunity to tell their point of view about their vocation, and about the places where they live and work? They come through with a unique perspective. Readers read their stories, their thoughts and philosophies, and the bonus is they have an opportunity to get to know them. Park rangers heard about this project, and were eager to provide their insights to accompany this collection of art quilts. They use the word ‘love’ to describe their day jobs, over and over again. It is clear they do what they do, what they love, because they are inspired by national parks.

As a result of reading Inspired by the National Parks, readers may seek out opportunities, near or far, to visit our parks. And on the other hand, Inspired by the National Parks is a book to savor and enjoy long after one’s park visits have become memories.

Business & Economics / Management / Communication / Graphics / Design

Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato (Harvard Business Review Press)

In a world governed by data, in knowledge economies where ideas are currency, visualization has emerged as our shared language. Charts, graphs, maps, diagrams – even animated GIFs and emojis – all transcend text, spoken languages, and cultures to help people understand one another and connect.

According to dataviz maven Scott Berinato in Good Charts, just as the consumerization of technology adoption and the widespread use of social media changed business, the ubiquity of dataviz in our lives is driving demand for good charts in unit meetings, sales presentations, customer research reports, performance reviews, entrepreneurs' pitches, and all the way up to the boardroom. Increasingly, when an executive sees a line chart that's been spit out of Excel and pasted into a presentation, she wonders why it doesn't look more like the simple, beautiful charts on her fitness-tracker app.

Berinato is a self-described ‘dataviz geek’ and a Senior Editor at Harvard Business Review. In addition to creating the successful “Vision Statement” department in the magazine, he has written and edited many articles for HBR and other top business and tech-related print and web publications.

For a long time ‘dataviz’ was left to specialists – data scientists and professional designers. No longer. A new generation of tools and massive amounts of available data make it easy for anyone to create visualizations that communicate ideas far more effectively than generic spreadsheet charts ever could.
In Good Charts, Berinato provides a guide to how visualization works and how to use this language to impress and persuade. Berinato lays out a system for thinking visually and building better charts through a process of talking, sketching, and prototyping. The book is more than a set of static rules for making visualizations. It taps into both well-established and cutting-edge research in visual perception and neuroscience, as well as the emerging field of visualization science, to explore why good charts (and bad ones) create ‘feelings behind our eyes.’ Along the way, Berinato also includes engaging vignettes of dataviz pros, illustrating the ideas in practice.

If you wish to be fluent in the modern world of data, then visualization is an essential language to be learned. Good Charts offers an in-depth approach to using that language to communicate clearly and effectively. – Tim Brown, President and CEO, IDEO; author, Change by Design
Data visualization isn’t a secret art, but a skill you can learn. In Good Charts, Scott Berinato demonstrates this, impressively distilling the history and mechanics of dataviz into a clear and powerful argument about the importance of understanding and making good charts in your own work. A must-have manual in today's workplace. – Alex “Sandy” Pentland, cocreator, MIT Media Lab; author, Social Physics
Static and busy Excel charts are a nonstarter in today's workforce. In this enlightening yet deeply practical book, Scott Berinato highlights the growing importance of data visualization literacy for a new generation of business intelligence. Written in an accessible style, Good Charts reveals new insights and best practices that will improve your understanding of visual data and help you create better charts yourself. – Jack Parmer, CEO, Plotly
Berinato is not afraid to confront myths and conventional wisdom peddled by some popular visualization gurus. At the same time, he provides needed history and introduces us to some of the best thinkers in the field. Most important, he gives us clear guidelines for producing effective displays. This eloquent book should be the entry point for anyone wanting to learn about data visualization. – Leland Wilkinson, Vice President, Statistics, Tableau Software
In today’s information-overloaded, disruptive, and culturally diverse world, the new language of business and commerce is visual. In this smart, timely, and exceptionally lucid book, Scott Berinato shows how to create meaningful and persuasive visuals that cut through the noise and connect with your target audience. An essential guide no matter what business you’re in. – Steve J. Martin, coauthor, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

An essential guide, Good Charts helps readers turn plain, uninspiring charts that merely present information into smart, effective visualizations that powerfully convey ideas.

Communication Studies

Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, 4th edition by Martin S. Remland (Sage Publications, Inc.)

Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, 4th edition, is a comprehensive introduction to the subject of nonverbal communication. Renowned author Martin S. Remland introduces nonverbal communication in a concise format that connects concepts, theory, and new research findings to familiar everyday interactions. Remland is professor of communication studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Presented in three parts, Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life offers coverage of the functions, channels, and applications of nonverbal communication. This approach not only gives students a strong foundation, but also allows them to appreciate the importance of nonverbal communication in their personal and professional lives.

Features include:

  • Engaging exercises and self-assessments such as Try This exercise boxes allow students to experience the significance of nonverbal communication through practical application.
  • A unique chapter on nonverbal communication and media provides expanded coverage of how nonverbal communication influences the success of political campaigns, the effectiveness of advertising, various uses of social media, and the spread of popular culture.
  • Find Out More research boxes prompt students to learn more about a particular study by going online to see the full text of the study.
  • Can You Relate to This personal experience boxes ask students to reflect on something that happened to another student.
  • A brief discussion of nonverbal communication research approaches is located in the Appendix for further student exploration.

This 4th edition of Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life endeavors to present the latest developments in the field. Written for a wide audience, instructors can use this book as the primary text in any undergraduate course that introduces students to the subject of nonverbal communication, regardless of whether that course is taught at the freshmen/sophomore level, or at the junior/senior level. In addition, graduate-course instructors can use the book as a supplementary text, providing a basic foundation, a conceptual framework, and an extensive up-to-date review of the literature, particularly for students with little or no background in the subject.

According to Remland, by far the biggest challenge in writing new editions of Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life is the need to make difficult choices about what to include, what to add, and what to delete from previous editions. Remland says he tries to make these choices guided by his belief in the need to include the seminal works most often cited in other introductory textbooks, along with his own judgment of what is most interesting, relevant, and useful to readers. Remland also says he believes that it is vital to provide balanced coverage of the foundations, codes, functions, and applications of nonverbal communication.

Part I of Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, Foundations, consists of two chapters that give readers the general background needed to appreciate the significance of nonverbal communication in everyday life. It also introduces many of the key concepts and principles needed to understand the material presented in subsequent chapters. The first chapter addresses the key issues involved in defining nonverbal communication and differentiating it from verbal communication; it also introduces and discusses the four basic functions of nonverbal communication as well as the connection between each nonverbal communication code (i.e.. physical appearance, eye contact, touch, personal space, facial expression, voice, and gesture) and its primary function. The second chapter introduces the concept of nonverbal communication skills and discusses the various types of sending and receiving skills. It also reviews the research on the development of these skills from infancy into adulthood and includes important studies of how individuals differ in the development of nonverbal communication skills and the impact of education and training.

While other textbooks tend to organize the subject according to either (1) the codes (channels) of nonverbal communication (e.g., physical appearance, gestures, personal space, voice, etc.) or (2) the functions of nonverbal communication (e.g., signaling identity, expressing emotion, building relationships, etc.), Part II of Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life integrates codes and functions by showing how each of four nonverbal signaling systems serve a different primary function. Chapter 3 focuses on physical appearance primarily as a way of signaling identity; Chapter 4 highlights the use of personal space, eye contact, and touch (i.e., contact codes) as a means of building relationships; Chapter 5 stresses the emotion function of facial expression; and Chapter 6 focuses on how voice and gesture replace speech and work in tandem to facilitate speech (i.e., the delivery function).

Part III, Applications, offers an in-depth treatment of how nonverbal communication is relevant in everyday life. This part of the text contains five chapters focusing on non-intimate encounters (Chapter 7), intimate encounters (Chapter 8), deceptive encounters (Chapter 9), workplace encounters (Chapter 10), and mediated encounters (Chapter 11).

To assist readers in understanding and retaining the information presented in Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, Remland uses plain English instead of academic jargon. In addition, each chapter contains an abundance of definitions, explanations, concrete examples, and vivid illustrations. To further assist readers, each chapter also contains an outlined preview of main topics, a list of key terms that are boldfaced in the chapter, and a summary of main ideas at the end of each chapter. A new feature in this edition is a list of specific learning objectives that follow the chapter outlines.

An instructor's resource manual is also available. The manual provides sample course syllabi, guidelines for assigning and evaluating a research project, and useful Internet websites. Also, for each chapter, it includes a detailed topic outline, test questions, in-class activities, recommended readings, instructional videos, and relevant feature films.

This 4th edition of Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life continues to reflect the changing landscape of the field. Readers of previous editions will find new discoveries and applications in every chapter. The book is the most thoroughly researched and up-to-date introduction to the subject of nonverbal communication available today. Remland introduces nonverbal communication in a concise and engaging format that connects foundational concepts and new research findings to familiar everyday interactions. Appropriate for a wide audience, it presents research in a way that is highly readable without sacrificing the need to be comprehensive and critical. Communication Studies / Media / Politics / Journalism

Performing Politics: Media Interviews, Debates and Press Conferences, 1st edition by Geoffrey Craig (Polity Contemporary Political Communication Series: Polity Press)

In Performing Politics, Geoffrey Craig looks at the interrogative exchanges between politicians and journalists. The power struggles and evasions in these encounters often leave the public exasperated, but it is the politicians’ negotiation of these struggles that determines success. Craig is Professor of Communication Studies and Head of Research in the School of Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Drawing on analyses of the language and performances of leaders such as Barack Obama and David Cameron, Craig examines the particular kinds of interactions that occur across political interviews, debates, conferences, and talk shows. The political games that take place between politicians and journalists, he argues, constitute the true theatre of politics.

The public performance of politics is significantly practiced through interrogative exchanges in the media. These encounters are a vital means by which politicians promote themselves and are subject to scrutiny. Political leaders must express in a dramatic yet authentic way an individual identity or subjectivity, and their performances are realized by the successful negotiation of the power struggles that occur between the politicians themselves and the journalists they encounter.

Performing Politics highlights broadcast interviews, leaders' debates and press conferences as fundamentally contestable encounters and argue that this `dialogical' and `agonistic' quality is integral to political subject formation and democratic process. This argument is in contrast to research and public discourse that assesses how the conventions of interaction across types of mediated political interrogative exchanges fail to facilitate ideals of mutual understanding and truth production. In this sense, Performing Politics argues that public consternation over the `games' of contemporary political communication must be reoriented to appreciate how interviews, debates and press conferences represent necessary struggles over the meanings of important public issues. It does not offer a `solution' to the crisis of political communication: rather, it argues that readers should understand that the `games' that are played in interviews, debates and press conferences are the necessary `play' of politics. People need to develop greater media and political literacy about such interrogative exchanges specifically, and political and media relations more generally.

Craig in Performing Politics says that journalism researchers identify the importance of interviews, but such discussion is usually limited to the practice and mechanics of interviewing. The first two chapters outline the theoretical framework of Performing Politics. The opening chapter provides a comprehensive theorization of the mediated and televisual contexts of interviews, debates and press conferences and the importance of individual performance and style in political and journalistic practice, in contrast to political communication research which sees media and public focus on image and performance as a distraction from more substantive political realities. The second chapter discusses the idea of the `game' that accounts for the discursive and institutional struggles between journalists and politicians in interrogative encounters. The chapter sets out the methodological approaches that inform the analyses in the book.

The succeeding chapters offer a textual analysis of a range of interview genres, leaders' debates and press conferences. This is supplemented with discussion of how such interactions are manifesta­tions of broader struggles between the media and political fields for public authority. The case studies in chapters 3 to 7 of Performing Politics draw on interrogative exchanges with high-profile political leaders across the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Chapter 3 offers analyses of political interviews with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on The Andrew Marr Show and the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Insiders and the 7.30 Report. Chapter 4 provides analyses of leaders' debates in the 2010 United Kingdom election campaign and the debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the 2012 US presidential campaign. Chapter 5 examines press conferences through case studies involving US Presi­dent Barack Obama, both a solo press conference and a joint press conference between Obama and the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Chapter 6 examines current affairs forum television, where politicians appear on a panel of public figures and are questioned by members of the studio audience. The case study involves the high-profile Australian program Q&A. Chapter 7 deals with political celebrity interviews and features an analysis of Barack Obama's performances (including with his wife, Michelle) on the daytime talk television program The View. A conclusion brings together these analyses of different interrogative exchanges and offers some judgments about the nature of the political games that take place between politicians and journalists, including the production of identity and the power struggles that occur between the journalistic and political fields.

One advantage of Performing Politics is that readers can observe the contrasts and similarities of political performance across the communicative genres. It is acknowledged that is difficult for systematic conclusions about political interviews, leaders' debates, press conferences, current affairs forum television, and political celebrity interviews to be derived from a study that is limited to one or two case studies in each chapter, and Performing Politics highlights the range and flexibility of political performances.

How politicians perform seems to matter as much as what they claim to believe in. Crucial to the success of politicians' performances is media representation. Geoffrey Craig's analysis of this process of making political subjectivities visible is both highly perceptive and rigorously systematic. This book makes an important contribution to the growing literature on the cultural sociology of political performance. – Stephen Coleman, University of Leeds

Geoffrey Craig's study of broadcast political performance is a welcome addition to an expanding literature on the mediation of political communication and journalism. His cases and analyses will be essential reading for students of political communication in the age of mediation. – Brian McNair, Queensland University of Technology

Engaging and insightful, Performing Politics will appeal to students and scholars of journalism, politics, linguistics, and media studies, as well as anyone concerned about the quality of contemporary political communication. The book is a contribution to the field of political communication, and it is hoped that it will encourage further research on political performance across these communicative genres.

Computers & Internet / Information Technology / Social Networking

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks by Bhavani Thuraisingham, Satyen Abrol, Raymond Heatherly, Murat Kantarcioglu, Vaibhav Khadilkar & Latifur Khan (Auerbach Publications, CRC Press)

According to Analyzing and Securing Social Networks, recent developments in information systems technologies have resulted in the computerization of many applications in various business areas. Data has become a critical resource in many organizations, and therefore, efficient access to data, sharing the data, extracting information from the data, and making use of the information has become an urgent need. As a result, there have been many efforts at not only integrating the various data sources scattered across several sites, but extracting information from these databases in the form of patterns and trends has also become important.

The services paradigm has evolved into providing computing infrastructures, software, data-bases, and applications as services. The emergence of such powerful computing technologies has enabled humans to use the web not only to search and obtain data but also to communicate, collaborate, share, and carry out business. These applications have resulted in the design and development of social media systems, more popularly known as online social networks. During the past decade, developments in social media have exploded.

As the demand for data and information management increases, there is also a critical need for maintaining the security of databases, applications, and information systems. Data and information have to be protected from unauthorized access as well as from malicious corruption. With the advent of the cloud and social media, it is even more important to protect the data and information as the cloud is usually managed by third parties and social networks are used and shared by over a billion individuals. Therefore, we need effective mechanisms to secure the cloud and social networks.

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks reviews the developments in social media and discuss concepts, issues, and challenges in analyzing and securing such systems. The authors also discuss the privacy violations that could occur when users share information. In addition to the concepts, they discuss several experimental systems and infrastructures for analyzing and securing social media that the authors have developed at UTD.

The authors have written two series of books for CRC Press on data management, data mining and data security. The first series consists of 10 books. The second series consists of four books so far. Book 1 is Design and Implementation of Data Mining Tools. Book 2 is Data Mining Tools for Malware Detection. Book 3 is Secure Data Provenance and Inference Control with Semantic Web. Book 4, the current book, is Analyzing and Securing Social Networks. For this series, the authors are converting some of the practical aspects of their work with students into books.

Authors are Bhavani Thuraisingham, the Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. distinguished professor of computer science and the executive director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD); Murat Kantarcioglu, professor of computer science at UTD; Latifur Khan, full professor in the computer science department at UTD; Vaibhav Khadilkar, who after working as a systems administrator for a few years, joined UTD for his PhD; Satyen Abrol, senior member of the technical staff at VMware, San Francisco Bay Area; and Raymond Heatherly, lead data scientist at SHYFT Analytics, in the Greater Boston Area.

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks focuses on the two major technologies that have been developed for online social networks (OSNs): data mining technologies for analyzing these networks and extracting useful information such as location, demographics, and sentiments of the participants of the network, and security and privacy technologies that ensure the privacy of the participants of the network as well as provide controlled access to the information posted and exchanged by the participants.

The authors explore security and privacy issues for social media systems, analyze such systems, and discuss prototypes they have developed for social media systems whose data are represented using semantic web technologies. These experimental systems have been developed at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). The material in Analyzing and Securing Social Networks, together with the numerous references listed in each chapter, has been used for a graduate-level course at UTD on analyzing and securing social media. Several experimental systems developed by graduate students are also provided.

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks is divided into nine main sections: (1) supporting technologies, (2) basics of analyzing and securing social networks, (3) the authors’ design and implementation of various social network analytics tools, (4) privacy aspects of social networks, (5) access control and inference control for social networks, (6) experimental systems designed or developed by the authors on analyzing and securing social networks, (7) social media application systems developed by the authors, (8) secure social media systems developed by the authors, and (9) some of the authors’ exploratory work and further directions.

The authors explain that in general, data management includes managing databases, interoperability, migration, warehousing, and mining. Data could be in files, relational databases, or other types of databases such as multimedia databases. Data may be structured or unstructured. They repeatedly use the terms data, data management, and database systems and database management systems in Analyzing and Securing Social Networks. Data management systems include database systems, data warehouses, and data mining systems. Data can be structured data such as data found in relational databases, or it could be unstructured such as text, voice, imagery, and video.

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks explores security and privacy issues for social media systems and analyzes such systems. For much of the discussion, the authors assume that social media data is represented using semantic web technologies. They also discuss the prototypes they have developed for social media systems whose data are represented using semantic web technologies.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Barbecue

Smokin' Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Melissa Cookston, the only female barbecue world champion, and author of Smokin' in the Boys' Room, is bringing the heat with her second cookbook. Smokin' Hot in the South explores how to use fire in all its forms to craft more than 85 Southern-influenced recipes enhanced with the cultural flavors of Mexico, France, and Asia.
With the grill and smoker as her go-to tools, chef Cookston – named "One of the most influential pitmasters in America" by Fox News, and one of the '25 Super Women in Business' by the Memphis Business Journal in 2015 – shares her modern interpretations of traditional Southern ingredients and recipes. Cookston co-owns and is the pitmaster at Memphis Barbecue Company restaurants (3 locations across the Southeast), headquartered in Horn Lake, Mississippi.

Cookston in Smokin' Hot in the South explains how the culinary traditions of the South – long a bastion of slow-simmered vegetables and deep-fried everything – have expanded in the last decade. The nine chapters venture beyond the competition and barbecue principles of her first book and focus on instilling flavor with fire, using fresh herbs, and diversifying seasoning components in recipes that reflect the New South. She fire-roasts homegrown green tomatoes for a spicy take on a traditional pizza sauce and uses a barbecue smoker to add Southern nuance to porchetta. Also includes recipes for Butterbean Pate, Asian Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Pickles and Minted Watermelon Salad, Deep South Burgers with Pimento Cheese and Fried Green Tomatoes, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Blood Orange-Jalapeno Glaze, and Mini Sage Biscuits with Homemade Sage Butter. She also covers the tools, techniques, and ingredients needed to be successful grilling or smoking at home.

Cookston says Southern food is much more than ‘soul food’ and biscuits. The chefs bring out the best of natural goodness around them, because many of them have a great appreciation of it. She says she was taught to value the bounty of the land and appreciate the work of others; Southern culinary traditions do the same – they sprang from necessity coupled with imagination. Take the leftovers, the inexpensive, the plentiful, and the everyday and combine them with cooking methods and seasonings that leave the palate happy and the soul fulfilled.

Smokin' Hot in the South shares the joy Cookston gets in grilling and smoking some of her favorite recipes. She injects new twists into old traditions, shaking them up with different flavors and spices, such as charring fresh okra to give it a unique texture and flavor. Some of it comes from cooking dishes, normally made inside a kitchen, outdoors, like her Caramelized Fig Clafoutis.

She says that food is personal; nothing illustrates this better than the humble side dish coleslaw. When she was working on her restaurants' recipes, she had to make a dish that would not only stand on its own but also complement a pulled-pork sandwich, which regional tradition dictates be served topped with slaw. There are other factors she has to consider for every restaurant recipe, such as ease of preparation and consistency, but the main focus is how it will be served and what it will be served with. However, people in the South like slaw (or potato salad) the way their mother made it. In this book, as an example, her Grilled Lime-Cilantro Slaw is certainly not like anyone’s mother's, and it brings a fresh take to a common dish.

Dishes like Grilled Duck Breast and Collard Greens with Bacon offer a new take on what are essentially Deep South staples. Smokin' Hot in the South is about cooking outside on the grill or smoker, and although she does occasionally revert to a ‘tried and true’ Southern cooking method, she believes there are very few items that can't be improved with the addition of some smoke or fire.

Smokin' Hot in the South allows readers to create great dishes, sometimes built on tradition, sometimes out of their comfort zone, by removing the intimidation factor. When that dish just comes together, readers get a great sense of fulfillment from bringing something new and unique to the table. No recipe in Smokin' Hot in the South is incredibly difficult. Cookston urges readers to push the boundaries of what is ‘normal’ to find their creativity. New and experienced cooks will enjoy experimenting with these recipes. The chapters in this book include everything the home cook needs to be successful grilling or smoking. Smokin' Hot in the South will leave no one hungry and everyone eager to fire up the grill.

Education & Training / Curricula / International / Ethics

Human Rights and Schooling: An Ethical Framework for Teaching for Social Justice by Audrey Osler (Multicultural Education Series: Teacher’s College Press)

Most of the struggles for equitable schooling, including multicultural curricula and culturally responsive teaching, have taken place on a local or national stage, with little awareness of how international human rights standards might support these struggles.

Human Rights and Schooling explores the potential of human rights frameworks to support grassroots struggles for justice and examines the impact that human rights and child rights education can make in the lives of students, including the most marginalized. The author, Audrey Osler, examines the theory, research, and practice linking human rights to education in order to broaden the concept of citizenship and social studies education. Osler is professor of education at the University of South East Norway and at the University of Leeds, UK where she was founding director of the interdisciplinary Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights Education (CCHRE).

Bringing scholarship and practice together, the text uses concrete examples to illustrate the links between principles and ideals and actual efforts to realize social justice in and through education. Osler anchors her examination of human rights in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.
Human Rights and Schooling:

  • Supports teachers in their everyday struggles for social justice.
  • Contributes to theory and practice in human rights education.
  • Advocates for greater international solidarity and cooperation in multicultural education.
  • Explores how the concept of child rights can strengthen education for democracy.

With her analysis and examples, Osler conceptualizes human rights as an issue within all communities, institutions, societ­ies, and nations. She maintains that human rights issues exist for students and teachers in families, local communities, the classroom, and the school. Consequently, one of the salient points made in Human Rights and Schooling is that human rights is not about the other in distant lands but it is about all of us and the everyday lives of students and teachers. Osler also provides teachers and students with a legal and moral framework that can be used to guide the analysis of human rights issues in classroom discussions and deliberations. This book provides students and teachers with a new conception of human rights that focuses on their everyday experiences, struggles, and possibilities. It emphasizes how the experiences of people in the Global North are connected to – rather than disparate from – the lives of people in Global South nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

In addition to providing a visionary and transformative conception of human rights, Osler in Human Rights and Schooling describes what human rights look like ‘on the ground’ and in the lives of teachers and students. The ways in which she concretizes human rights is an antidote to the nebulous ways in which the concept is often used, especially within political discourse. Osler uses practical and engaging anecdotes to illustrate how human rights are actualized and violated. She describes protests by high school students against national examinations in South Korea to illustrate how students in a highly developed and Westernized nation can take action to push for human rights. This book includes myriad examples of how teachers can make human rights education engaging, practical, and effective.

Human Rights and Schooling is a volume in the Multicultural Education Series at Teachers College Press, Columbia University. The books in the Multicultural Education Series provide research, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the behaviors and learning characteristics of students of color, language minority students, low-income students, and other minoritized population groups, such as LGBTQ youth. Osler's book is a significant and timely one to add to the Multicultural Education Series because the most cutting-edge issues related to multicultural education, diversity, and human rights today have international dimensions and require global solutions.

This book demonstrates, once again, that Osler is one of the world's most eloquent, authoritative, and compassionate voices that speaks for human rights education. I am pleased to welcome her book to the Multicultural Education Series and hope that it will attain the wide readership and influence that it deserves. – James A. Banks, from the foreword

Audrey Osler offers timely and relevant insights into education for human rights and social justice. The book examines complex global realities and the power of narrative to create a grounded and critical cosmopolitanism. – Monisha Bajaj, associate professor, International and Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco

Educators specializing in social studies/civic education, multicultural, comparative, and/or social justice education will find Audrey Osler's Human Rights and Schooling a fascinating read. It is filled with practical strategies for teaching about, in and for human rights. In her wide-ranging discussion of concepts such as cosmopolitan citizenship, intersectionality and identity, and narrative, Osler draws on examples from across the globe to show how educators can foster solidarity with human rights struggles near and far as they empower youth to take action for social justice at home and abroad. – Carole L. Hahn, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Educational Studies, Emory University

One of the most important, original, and creative contributions of Human Rights and Schooling is the broad and inclusive way in which Osler conceptualizes and theorizes human rights. Timely and visionary, this insightful and compassionate book, with its compelling analysis and examples, also provides a powerful legal and moral framework that can be used to guide the analysis of human rights issues in classroom discussion.

Education & Training / Foreign Language

Basics of Classical Syriac: Complete Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon by Steven C. Hallam (Basics Series: Zondervan)

Basics of Classical Syriac by Steven C. Hallam is a beginning Syriac grammar, workbook, and lexicon all in one and can be used by independent learners or in a classroom setting.

Of the early translational languages of the New Testament, none is more important than Syriac. A working knowledge of Syriac provides a lens from which to study the early texts of the Greek New Testament, the Peshitta (the Syriac translation of the Bible), and various early church history texts and commentary, thus Basics of Classical Syriac is useful for students across a range of disciplines. Workbook exercises for each chapter enable students to know whether they are grasping the fundamentals of the language.

Author Steven C. Hallam is Assistant Professor and Chair of the General Studies department at Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, AK. He has taught Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac at the graduate level, and is a recipient of the Zondervan award in Biblical Greek.

Basics of Classical Syriac follows the same easy-to-understand style found in other widely used books in the Basics Series, including Basics of Biblical Greek, Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Basics of Biblical Aramaic, and Basics of Ancient Ugaritic.

Basics of Classical Syriac includes everything readers need to learn Syriac:

  • Provides beginning students with essential grammatical explanations, examples, workbook exercises, and a concise lexicon.
  • Encourages students to become familiar with both pointed and unpointed manuscripts.

The grammar introduces the concepts of Syriac in a format that is easy for beginners to understand. It is with this goal in mind that the grammar has been purposefully written with several characteristics that may appear somewhat odd to seasoned readers:

  1. The script that is used in this text is a mix of Estrangela script with Western vowel pointing. Beginners should note that this is not a typical combination of text and vowel pointing.
  2. As this grammar is written primarily with the biblical text in mind, all of the exercises have the biblical references provided. It is suggested that students translate what they can, and then utilize other resources when necessary.
  3. The (qussaya) and (rukkaka) (dots above or below the begadkepat letters, which are omitted in this review) have been left out of the paradigms, but not the actual biblical text cited in homework and examples.
  4. The soft and hard pronunciations are not marked in the transliterations (a soft pronunciation is denoted with a line under the letter) in order to promote a simplified form of the phonetics. The more precise pronunciation is obtained from reading the text.

Basics of Classical Syriac gets students into the biblical text as quickly as possible, and it is important to note the limitations of this particular endeavor. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the Syriac language, but rather to be an accessible generalization of the language.

Basics of Classical Syriac can be broken into four parts. The first part (chapters 1-6) covers the basics of the noun and adjective and familiarizes students with simple sentences. The second part (chapters 7-11) introduces the basic structure of the Syriac verbal system according to the peal stem. The third part (chapters 12-16) addresses the derived stems, and the fourth part (chapters 17-23) familiarizes students with the function and form of the weak verbs.

The exercises have two purposes. First, the particular passages have been chosen because they highlight the aspect of Syriac grammar that is being covered in the chapter or as a review for material covered in previous chapters. The other purpose of the exercises is to build familiarity with the language. The best way to do this is simply through translating large amounts of text and therefore, each exercise was chosen in order to maximize the familiarity with Syriac through as much translation as possible.

Six appendices have been included. Reading Eastern and Western Texts serves as additional information to these two distinct Syriac scripts. Following this is a brief introduction to numbers and dates. Next Steps offers some direction for students who have just finished the grammar and are looking for resources and guidance to continue sharpening their Syriac. Also included is a brief Syriac-Hebrew comparison chart offering a quick glance at the two languages side by side. Following this are charts of the peal verb with pronominal endings. Finally, Hallam includes a concise Syriac-English lexicon that covers the vocabulary words found in the grammar.

To assist professors and instructors Basics of Classical Syriac has been divided with a two-semester timeline in mind – chapters 1-11 (nouns and verbs) are intended for use in a first semester class and chapters 12-23 (derived stems and weak verbs) are intended for use in a second semester class.

Basics of Classical Syriac is a beginner's Syriac grammar, workbook, and lexicon in one. It is an ideal first step into the Syriac language and focuses on getting students into text translation as quickly as possible. Hopefully the book will spark learning of an often neglected and beautiful language.

History / US / Politics

Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s by Meg Jacobs (Hill & Wang)

In Panic at the Pump, Meg Jacobs shows how a succession of crises beginning with the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted American politicians to seek energy independence, and how their failure to do so shaped the world we live in. Jacobs teaches history and public affairs at Princeton University.

From the iconic photos of impossibly long gas station lines to cardigan sweaters and dark Christmas trees, the energy crisis of the 1970s has become a cultural touchstone for a generation of Americans. Today it's the snapshots from everyday life that persist in the collective memory – thermostats turned to 68 degrees (Nixon's instructions) or 65 degrees (Carter), constant talk on radios and bulky TV sets about ‘energy independence.’ But as Princeton University historian Jacobs argues in her new book, Panic at the Pump, the energy crisis was also a transformative event in American politics – the hidden catalyst of the Reagan revolution.

When the crisis hit, the Democratic Party was divided, with older New Deal liberals who prized access to affordable energy squaring off against young environmentalists who pushed for conservation. The Arab members of OPEC announced an embargo on the export of all oil products to the United States in retaliation for Nixon's support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Prices soared. In the ensuing panic, a violent trucker strike that led to shootings on America's highways – Americans looked to their government for help. But the government was bitterly divided. On the right, free market true Believers – Alan Greenspan, Donald Rumsfeld, and a young Dick Cheney among them – were on the rise, insisting that the only way out of the crisis was for the government to step back and let the market work. The result was a stalemate in Washington and panic across the country: miles-long gas lines, Big Oil conspiracy theories, even violent strikes by truckers.

Jacobs in Panic at the Pump argues that the energy crises of the 1970s became, for many Americans, an important object lesson in the limitations of governmental power. Washington proved unable to design a national energy policy, and the inability to develop resources and conserve only made the United States more dependent on oil from abroad. The fierce political battles over how to solve America's energy crisis would play a major role in shaping the domestic and foreign policies of the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations, and would trigger a seismic shift rightward in American politics. Yet surprisingly, there has never been a book about this pivotal moment in American political life until now.

Panic at the Pump offers the definitive history of the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Jacobs offers lively portraits of key figures, from Nixon and Carter to the zealous energy czar William Simon and the young Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Jacobs's chronicle ends with the 1991 Gulf War, when President George H. W. Bush sent troops to protect the free flow of oil in the Persian Gulf.

In 1973, 'oil shock' engulfed the United States as the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries embargoed exports. Historian Meg Jacobs incisively chronicles the ensuing policy war... That battle, Jacobs argues, reverberates in fracking and climate-change policy today, and offers lessons for the transition to a fossil-free future. – Nature

Public policy expert Jacobs provides a keen-eyed history and analysis of what went wrong... Jacobs’ well-written account faithfully recreates the period’s turmoil and demonstrates how governmental missteps more than 40 years ago still affect our energy policies today. – Carl Hays, Booklist

In this intriguing and important book, Meg Jacobs successfully traces the roots of much of our current political and economic life to the energy debates of the 1970s. Anyone seeking to understand the way we live now will do well to consult Jacobs's incisive account of a decade at once remote and resonant. – Jon Meacham, author of Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George H. W. Bush

The energy crisis of the 1970s created a political perfect storm, hastening the crisis of an already divided Democratic Party and clearing the way for the age of Ronald Reagan. In retelling that story, Meg Jacobs’s wonderfully detailed and lucid Panic at the Pump is a major contribution to late twentieth century U.S. history, describing a convergence of social and economic as well as political forces that transformed the nation, with resounding effects down to our own times. – Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy and The Age of Reagan

Meg Jacobs has written a lively, incisive, and important narrative of how the energy crisis flummoxed presidents and policy-makers of the 1970s and 1980s and eroded the public's faith in government. – Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies

Through copious research and clear, vivid writing, Meg Jacobs has made a persuasive case that the politics of oil is the key to understanding a generation’s worth of high-level American diplomacy and economic policy. In so doing she makes our recent history feel absolutely fresh, and absolutely relevant in meeting our next set of challenges. – Nicholas Lemann, professor of journalism and dean emeritus at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

In Panic at the Pump, Jacobs weaves together history, politics, and culture with unusual narrative skill to engage the reader in a good story while explaining why U.S. energy policy has so often fallen flat on its face. – Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs, Princeton University, and co-editor of Climatic Change

[A] neatly paced examination of recent history that sheds light on even more recent events. – Kirkus Reviews

Panic at the Pump is an absorbing and authoritative history of the energy crises of the 1970s and the world they wrought. For a nation beset by climate change, fierce debates about fracking, deregulation, and ‘Big Government,’ as well as misadventures in the Middle East, this oft-overlooked chapter of American history is essential reading.

Literature & Fiction / Thriller / Psychological

A Game for All the Family: A Novel by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow)

In A Game for All the Family a woman must find the truth in order to protect her daughter and save her own life in this standalone thriller from the bestselling author Sophie Hannah.

Hannah is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 27 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie.

The story begins with Justine Merrison leaving the city – and the career that nearly destroyed her – for a fresh start. But soon after the move, her daughter starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine goes to the school to ask the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn't been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.

Who is lying? What is real?

As Justine searches for answers, the anonymous calls begin: a stranger, who insists that Justine and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens her life and the lives of her family.

Who is in danger? Who is in control?

Pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets and lies, Justine must find the truth in order to outwit a cunning opponent, protect her family and save her own life. With A Game for All the Family, Hannah once again proves why she is at the top of the field when it comes to smart, suspenseful psychological thrillers.

As Justine Merrison moves from London to Speedwell House in Devon, leaving her grueling job in television production, she looks forward to doing nothing. Instead, her world turns increasingly surrealistic until finally she must do something.
... Hannah has become renowned for her psychological thrillers and has never been more imaginative than she is here, in a plot all the more unsettling, as madness shades into evil, for its quotidian setting. – Booklist

A Game for All the Family is a dazzling psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, from the author whose work Tana French describes as “like watching a nightmare come to life.”

Literature & Fiction / Westerns / Thrillers

Cape Hell: A Page Murdock Novel by Loren D. Estleman (Page Murdock Novels: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC: Forge Books)

Cape Hell is a western novel by award-winning author Loren D. Estleman.

Estleman, winner of four Shamus Awards, five Spur Awards, three Western Heritage Awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Western Writers of America, has written more than seventy books – historical novels, mysteries, and westerns, including the Amos Walker, Page Murdock and Peter Macklin series.

In Cape Hell, U. S. Deputy Page Murdock is ordered by Federal Judge Harlan A. Blackthorne to Cape Hell, Mexico, to verify a report that former Confederate Captain Oscar Childress is raising an army to take over Mexico City – and then intends to turn north to rekindle the Civil War.

Childress, it seems, has the weapons, wealth, and moral compass to do it. Unable to talk himself out of the mission, Murdock heads south on a steam train named El Espanto – The Ghost.

With only Hector Cansado, an engineer who can't be trusted, and Joseph, a Native American fireman with a few secrets of his own, Murdock hurtles through the murderous desert of a foreign land toward a man bent on wholesale massacre ... unless Murdock can stop him.

When Page Murdock shuffles the words, deal me in. – The New York Times Book Review

A sort of homage to Heart of Darkness set in the 1880s… fine hallucinogenic writing with appeal across several genres. – Booklist

Cape Hell is a thrilling journey across the Old West from a modern master of the genre.

Outdoors & Nature / Crafts & Hobbies / Guides

Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals: Identification, Values and Lapidary Uses, 3rd edition by Patti Polk (Krause Publications)

The world of minerals, precious stones, and fossils has intrigued people for thousands of years. The search for a lustrous crystal or a colorful agate is a worthwhile and satisfying recreational activity. This endeavor requires intensive work that broadens the collector's know-how with the use of tools, equipment and skills needed. A wonderful advantage is the contact with other like-minded people and the supportive camaraderie that develops.

This revised and expanded edition of Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals is designed with beginners in mind, yet filled with valuable technical information for seasoned collectors. The guide takes readers from being simply someone who enjoys rocks to a knowledgeable enthusiast and features:

  • A quick reference format arranged by category and color of stone.
  • 800+ beautiful color photographs.
  • Values and tips for locating, buying and collecting.
  • Both lapidary and mineral display materials.
  • Decades of rock-collecting know-how.

Author Patti Polk is recognized as one of the top agate collectors in the world. She has been collecting, cutting and polishing rocks for jewelry and display for more than 20 years. She has been published in Rock & Gem magazine and numerous other periodicals; she speaks at rock and mineral club programs and frequently serves as a trail guide for visitors to Arizona.

Polk in Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals says that her greatest passion in life is in collecting rocks, primarily agates, and that once seemingly innocent childhood pastime has gradually accelerated over her lifetime into the full blown addiction that she now pursues through bad weather, dangerous roads, rough terrain, and sometimes, long lonely journeys to find that ever-elusive next agate, jasper, or mineral specimen that will be the most wonderful and beautiful one for her collection. Over the years, she says she has been involved with many rock clubs and associations, and have had the good fortune to get to know many top-notch rock, gem, and mineral collectors, geologists, and lapidaries who have educated her, knowingly or unknowingly, in the finer points of collecting, identifying, and working with rocks and minerals.

Polk in writing Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals creates a book that combined the many different aspects of the rock and mineral collecting fields into one cohesive work. There are many books about collecting rocks, identifying minerals, the lapidary arts and so forth, but they are generally written as completely separate subjects and often as technical texts that are daunting to people who are just getting started in mineral collecting. Polk says she has found that many people who are interested in the earth sciences often have overlapping interests and like to collect not only rocks in the field for lapidary use, but also may collect or buy mineral specimens for display or study purposes. People also need to know the value of different types of rocks and minerals so if they wish to buy or sell a piece they will have a good idea of what things cost so they don't wind up overpaying for their materials.

The goal of Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals is for it to be used as a hands-on reference guide to refer to when readers are out at a gem and mineral show and want to identify and price a specimen or at home considering an Internet purchase and would like to compare prices with the online values. At the same time, Polk in Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals gives the beginning collector some ideas about how to start a collection, whether they choose to try their hand personally collecting rocks and minerals in the field, or by purchasing them. She also encourages them to explore the unlimited possibilities of what can be done with any of the rocks and minerals that are available within the field of the lapidary arts.

In order for a rockhound to be able to excite and motivate people of all ages it is necessary to have a lot of experience, specialized knowledge, and one's own excitement for minerals and stones. Patti Polk, the author of Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals, combines these requirements in an exemplary fashion. I remember one of our collecting trips together in the Arizona desert where, with a glimmer in her eyes, she very knowledgeably and purposefully was able to find agates even when they were completely hidden. Her jewelry is admirable because it demonstrates the connection between the initial find of the natural treasure, which she has usually found herself, and the completed beauty of the artistic piece.

May this fantastic book give many people support and encouragement to achieve a successful, happy and long-lasting alliance with these wonderful stones and minerals. – Johann Zenz, from the foreword

Due to the extensive scope of the rock, gemstone, and mineral collecting field, the focus of Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals is primarily on the rocks and minerals that the majority of people would be interested in collecting for jewelry or lapidary use or for mineral specimens to display. As Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals is intended to be used as a field guide; ease of use is a priority, with special emphasis on the beginning collector. Lavishly illustrated, the book is a rockhound's must-have resource. Polk puts the information together in a way that is uncomplicated and easy to understand for the beginning collector and useful for the more advanced collector too. She also injects her own enthusiasm for this hobby into the writing and shares the fun and playful aspects to collecting.

Politics / US / Middle East / History

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East by Kirk J. Beattie (Seven Stories Press)

How does one explain US Middle East policy? When Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer wrote their bestselling book The Israel Lobby, they attributed our pro-Israel policy to the power of the lobby itself. Others have criticized this approach as overly simplistic. Longtime Middle East watcher Kirk J. Beattie in Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East provides a profound assessment of Congress’s role by examining the vetting of congressional candidates, campaign financing, congressional staffing, bipartisan alliances within the Senate and the House, and the agenda-driven allocation of foreign aid and policymaking. Beattie addresses the many internal and external pressures that impact such processes.

Beattie, a professor at Simmons College in the Political Science and International Relations Department, specializing in comparative politics with regional expertise in Middle East and West European politics, has taught at Harvard, Wellesley, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the University of Michigan.

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East is an in-depth look at how the inner workings of Congress and the influence of special interest groups affect the US's role in the Arab-Israeli (A-I) conflict. Beattie’s findings, based on roughly two hundred interviews with congressional staffers, lobbyists, members of Congress, and foreign embassy officials across years of research, untangle the issue to show readers how Congress really works.

In Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East, he examines the behavior of members of the US Congress with respect to the major Middle East conflicts involving Israel. Beattie says he has steadily tracked US policies – adopted by both the executive and legislative branches – that deal with these Middle East conflicts. His interest and concern for doing so was greatly reinforced by the events of September 11, 2001, and ensuing US government efforts to defeat Islamist extremism because of its connection to the A-I conflict. After all, the man who conceived the September 11 plan and sold the idea to Osama bin Laden – Khalid Sheikh Muhammad – was motivated heavily by his hatred of US support for Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians and other Arab nations. And as is well known, the hatred of US government policies by bin Laden himself, as well as by Ayman al-Zawahiri – the Egyptian doctor who served as bin Laden's eminence grise and replaced bin Laden as head of al-Qa'eda – was kindled by events such as Israel's crushing defeat of Arab forces in the 1967 war. Israel's aggressive policies would be far less likely without the unwavering military and economic assistance provided by the US government, in which the US Congress has played a major contributing role. Although successive US presidents hold considerable responsibility for these policies, the US Congress has proven an even more consistent, unrelenting agent in making Israel a regional behemoth impervious to worldwide criticism of its long-lasting violations of international law. Congress has become something akin to a win-at-all-costs horse trainer, ‘doping’ his horse, Israel, to perform powerfully, but in a manner that is both illegal and potentially injurious to the long-term wellbeing of ‘the horse’ itself.

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East's primary objective is to explain congresspersons' behavior with regard to Middle East policy formulation, with greatest attention given to policies affecting Israel's Mideast (IME) conflicts. As his research progressed, Beattie says, the book acquired a secondary objective. The more he studied congressional policymaking on IME conflicts, the more he came to see that policymaking as impaired by many of the same factors plaguing congressional activity across a broad range of issue areas. For many years, numerous issues have fueled perceptions of Congress as broken and dysfunctional.

With the partial exception of the two chapters dealing with candidates' election and reelection to Congress, the material in the book is based heavily on interviews with congressional staffers, ‘off-the-Hill’ lobbyists, and congressional cognoscenti. To gain permission to interview congressional staffers, Beattie says in Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East, he had to promise them anonymity. In most offices, anonymity was imposed on the staffers as part of standard operating procedure in their offices. During his initial survey, he contacted a total of 334 House offices, out of which he was able to conduct 106 interviews with House staffers. In 68 of the offices that he contacted, the staffers declined to cooperate due to ‘office policy.’ In another 160 offices, contact was established, but no interviews were completed due primarily to his own time and financial constraints. In only a very small number of offices did individuals decline to participate because of the sensitivity of the issue area, although he did encounter some people who were circumspect. On the Senate side of the Hill, he entered all 100 Senate offices. During his 2005-2006 rounds of interviews, he was granted interviews in 29 Senate offices, with 16 rejecting his request on the basis of ‘office policy,’ and 55 left ‘untapped’.

For one week in February 2011, and for two weeks each in the spring of 2012 and 2013, he conducted additional interviews. In many of those offices there were already new staffers in place. During this second round, he conducted an additional 30 House interviews and 10 additional Senate staff interviews. In addition to the interviews conducted with congressional staffers, in all of the aforementioned time frames he also interviewed key individuals in numerous lobbies, interest group associations, think tanks, other US governmental institutions, three foreign embassies (Egypt, Iraq, and Syria), and the formal representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to hear their perspectives. Last but not least, he also interviewed several members of Congress and several US diplomats, both active and retired, as part of his data collection effort.

All told, Beattie believes these data have enabled him to arrive at many solid observations, generalizations, and assertions with regard to the questions under analysis. Chapter one offers a view of what goes on during congressional elections, with particular attention to the role played by ‘special interests.’ Chapter two is comparable, but focuses on congresspersons' reelection concerns. Chapter three examines House offices and House staffers and how they tackle Middle East issues; chapter four looks at how these matters are taken care of in Senate offices by Senate staffers. Chapter five involves an analysis of House and Senate members' behavior. Chapter six focuses on how House members legislate on IME issues; chapter seven does the same for the Senate. In both of these chapters, particular attention is paid to the roles played by their foreign affairs committees. Chapter eight presents a view of how House and Senate Appropriations Committee members and staffers deal with IME issues. Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East ends with a brief conclusion.

Kirk Beattie’s Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East is a stunning achievement. His extensive in-depth interviews and careful empirical analysis offer a convincing portrait of how various special interest groups operate on Capitol Hill, and Beattie shows exactly why the influence of the 'Israel lobby' is so persistent there. Anyone who wants to understand why US Middle East policy stumbles so often should read this thoughtful, compelling, and well-researched book. – Stephen Walt, coauthor of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
Kirk Beattie is among the first to conduct systematic research on the role of the legislative branch in US foreign policy, and on the impact of the Israel lobbies. Specialists have theorized on this issue, but Beattie's careful fieldwork delivers the goods. – Juan Cole, author of The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East and former president of the Middle East Studies Association

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East is a great academic resource for political science professors and Middle Eastern studies professors. Beattie provides a unique format with a concise timeline of important events in the Middle East conflict and how the US Congress responded internally to these events. The power and influence of pro-Israel special interest groups is analyzed on every level in this unique piece of congressional commentary by an expert on the history and modern complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. From campaign funding and other influencers on congressional elections, to the bipartisan alliances within the Senate and the House, the many internal and external pressures faced by congresspersons and staffers, and the complex process of allocating foreign aid, all sides of the US Congress's role in the Middle East is examined in straightforward, journalistic prose.

Professional & Technical / Medicine & Health Sciences / Clinical

Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, 2nd edition edited by G. Michael Steelman & Eric C. Westman (CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group)

Obesity is considered a complex and multifactorial disease. Its treatment must also be multimodal and tailored to meet the needs of each patient.

Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, 2nd edition presents a wide spectrum of practical treatment protocols for obesity including exercise, pharmacology, behavior modification, and dietary factors, from the point of view of the practicing physician.

Obesity includes information about the new pharmacotherapy available for the treatment of obesity. It also includes a chapter on medical treatment of pediatric obesity that identifies the special needs of children and outlines approaches for managing the obese child. A chapter on binge eating disorder has been added to this 2nd edition and the information on pharmacology of bariatric medicine has been updated. Obesity addresses various dietary interventions while also exploring the comorbidities of obesity.

Written by prominent members of the Obesity Medicine Association and a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers, a total of 16 contributors, Obesity showcases successful treatment methods by including personal key points by clinicians in each chapter. Editors are G. Michael Steelman, MD, FASBP, formerly Medical Director of Eating Disorders at Mercy Health System of Oklahoma, who has worked in private practice for over 30 years and runs the renowned Steelman Clinic in Oklahoma City and Eric C. Westman, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine and director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Health System in Durham, North Carolina.

Addressing a growing modern-day epidemic, this 2nd edition of Obesity explores practical treatment protocols for obesity. These include exercise, pharmacology, behavior modification, and dietary factors, presented from the point of view of the practicing physician. The book:

  • Showcases successful treatment methods.
  • Includes information about the new pharmacotherapy available for the treatment of obesity.
  • Explores obesity comorbidities such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and Type II diabetes.

According to Steelman and Westman in Obesity, the obese individual is not simply a lazy, metabolically normal adult with too much adipose tissue; rather, he or she is a metabolically complex individual who may respond differently to nutritional intake and exercise/activity. This book discusses the essential clinical guidelines and standards of each treatment option, from dietary interventions to bariatric surgery, as well as the bariatrician's role in this treatment option. Dietary intervention is the mainstay of bariatric treatment. In order to individualize treatment, the physician needs to be familiar with various approaches, including low calorie diets, low-carbohydrate diets, and very-low-carbohydrate diets (VLCD). Nutritionists and dieticians will benefit from the detail and level of discussion of these dietary interventions in addition to the bariatric physician. Exercise is an important part of weight loss efforts and is probably essential for long-term weight maintenance. It provides numerous benefits in addition to its effect on weight.

The authors of Obesity, 2nd edition have updated pertinent chapters. The chapters on the legal aspects of bariatric medicine and residential treatment of obesity have been dropped, and a new chapter on binge eating disorder and an appendix containing a portion of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians Algorithm for the Treatment of Obesity have been included.

… it's nice to have a book, Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, which covers it all. It's written primarily by practicing bariatricians who make their living treating patients with obesity problems. There are also chapters by academicians who have been doing research involving human obesity for quite some time and also chapters by experts on exercise, behavior modification, and nutrition. Overall, you have an outstanding group of experts who bring it all together. This book is an excellent read for those of us who have been treating the obese for years and need to be updated. It's especially beneficial for doctors who have got into, are get­ting into, or thinking about getting into bariatric medicine. In essence, this book is a must read for practicing bariatricians. – W. L. Asher, MD, FASBP Past President, ASBP, from the foreword

Obesity, 2nd edition, will play a role in helping promote serious and ultimately more successful understanding and treatment of this fascinating but stubborn disease. Obesity is a comprehensive resource, an invaluable, user-friendly tool for bariatric physicians and surgeons, endocrinologists, diabetologists, nutritionists, and dieticians, as well as all other professionals who currently treat obesity.

Professional & Technical / Medicine & Health Sciences / Clinical / Internal / Reference

Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, 19th edition edited by Dennis L. Kasper, Anthony S. Fauci, Stephen L. Hauser, Dan L. Longo, J. Larry Jameson, & Joseph Loscalzo (McGraw Hill Education/Medical)

Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, 19th edition is a concise, small format resource derived from content found in Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th edition. Designed for use at the point of care, the Manual presents clinical information covering key aspects of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and treatment of the major diseases that are likely to be encountered in medical practice. The 19th edition of Harrison’s Manual of Medicine is available in print and in portable format for the smartphone and tablet.

Presented in full color and incorporating a blend of succinct text, bullet points, algorithms, and tables, Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, 19th edition covers every area of clinical medicine, including:

  • Etiology and Epidemiology
  • Clinically Relevant Pathophysiology
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Physical and Laboratory Findings
  • Therapeutics
  • Practice Guidelines

Editors of Harrison’s Manual of Medicine are Dennis L. Kasper MD, MA(HON), William Ellery Channing Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Director, Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Anthony S. Fauci, MD Sc(HON), Chief Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda; Stephen L. Hauser, MD, Robert A. Fishman Distinguished Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco; Dan L. Longo, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Deputy Editor, New England Journal of Medicine, Boston, Adjunct Investigator, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda; J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Robert G. Dunlop Professor of Medicine, Dean, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Executive Vice-President, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia; and Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Chairman, Department of Medicine, Physician-in-Chief, Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, Boston. The book has 14 contributors including the 6 editors and 6 associate editors.

Sections and chapters in Harrison’s Manual of Medicine include:

  1. CARE OF THE HOSPITALIZED PATIENT – Electrolytes/Acid-Base Balance; Diagnostic Imaging in Internal Medicine; Procedures Commonly Performed by Internists; Principles of Critical Care Medicine; Pain and Its Management; Assessment of Nutritional Status; Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition; Transfusion and Pheresis Therapy; Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  2. MEDICAL EMERGENCIES – Cardiovascular Collapse and Sudden Death; Shock; Sepsis and Septic Shock; Acute Pulmonary Edema; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Respiratory Failure; Confusion, Stupor, and Coma; Stroke; Subarachnoid Hemorrhage; Increased Intracranial Pressure and Head Trauma; Spinal Cord Compression; Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy; Status Epilepticus; Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Coma; Hypoglycemia; Oncologic Emergencies; Anaphylaxis; Bites, Venoms, Stings, and Marine Poisonings
  3. COMMON PATIENT PRESENTATIONS – Fever, Hyperthermia, and Rash; Generalized Fatigue; Weight Loss; Chest Pain; Palpitations; Dyspnea; Cyanosis; Cough and Hemoptysis; Edema; Abdominal Pain; Nausea, Vomiting, and Indigestion; Dysphagia; Diarrhea, Malabsorption, and Constipation; Gastrointestinal Bleeding; Jaundice and Evaluation of Liver Function; Ascites; Lymphadenopathy and Splenomegaly; Anemia and Polycythemia; Azotemia and Urinary Abnormalities; Pain and Swelling of Joints; Back and Neck Pain; Headache; Syncope; Dizziness and Vertigo; Acute Visual Loss and Double Vision; Weakness and Paralysis; Tremor and Movement Disorders; Aphasia; Sleep Disorders; Dysuria and Bladder Pain    
  4. OTOLARYNGOLOGY – Sore Throat, Earache, and Upper Respiratory Symptoms   
  5. DERMATOLOGY – General Examination of the Skin; Common Skin Conditions
  6. HEMATOLOGY AND ONCOLOGY – Examination of Blood Smears and Bone Marrow; Red Blood Cell Disorders; Leukocytosis and Leukopenia; Bleeding and Thrombotic Disorders; Myeloid Leukemias, Myelodysplasia, and Myeloproliferative Syndromes; Lymphoid Malignancies; Skin Cancer; Head and Neck Cancer; Lung Cancer; Breast Cancer; Tumors of the Gastrointestinal Tract; Genitourinary Tract Cancer; Gynecologic Cancer; Prostate Hyperplasia and Carcinoma; Cancer of Unknown Primary Site; Paraneoplastic Endocrine Syndromes; Neurologic Paraneoplastic Syndromes       
  7. INFECTIOUS DISEASES – Infections Acquired in Health Care Facilities; Infections in the Immunocompromised Host; Infective Endocarditis; Intraabdominal Infections; Infectious Diarrheas; Sexually Transmitted and Reproductive Tract Infection; Infections of the Skin, Soft Tissues, Joints, and Bones; Pneumococcal Infections; Staphylococcal Infections; Streptococcal/Enterococcal Infections, Diphtheria, and Infections Caused by Other Corynebacteria and Related Species; Meningococcal and Listerial Infections; Infections Caused by Haemophilus, Bordetella, Moraxella, and HACEK Group Organisms; Diseases Caused by Gram-Negative Enteric Bacteria and Pseudomonas; Infections Caused by Miscellaneous Gram-Negative Bacilli; Anaerobic Infections; Nocardiosis, Actinomycosis, and Whipple's Disease; Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Infections; Lyme Disease and Other Nonsyphilitic Spirochetal Infections; Rickettsial Diseases; Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella Species, and Chlamydia pneumoniae; Chlamydia trachomatis and C. psittaci; Herpesvirus Infections; Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus Infections; Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Diseases; Rubeola, Rubella, Mumps, and Parvovirus Infections; Enteroviral Infections; Insect- and Animal-Borne Viral Infections; HIV Infection and AIDS; Fungal Infections; Pneumocystis Infections; Protozoal Infections; Helminthic Infections and Ectoparasite Infestations       
  8. CARDIOLOGY – Physical Examination of the Heart; Electrocardiography; Noninvasive Examination of the Heart; Congenital Heart Disease in the Adult; Valvular Heart Disease; Cardiomyopathies and Myocarditis; Pericardial Disease; Hypertension; Metabolic Syndrome; ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction; Unstable Angina and Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction; Chronic Stable Angina; Bradyarrhythmias; Tachyarrhythmias; Heart Failure and Cor Pulmonale; Diseases of the Aorta; Peripheral Vascular Disease; Pulmonary Hypertension         
  9. PULMONOLOGY – Respiratory Function and Pulmonary Diagnostic Procedures; Asthma; Environmental Lung Diseases; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Pneumonia, Bronchiectasis, and Lung Abscess; Pulmonary Thromboembolism and Deep-Vein Thrombosis; Interstitial Lung Disease; Diseases of the Pleura and Mediastinum; Disorders of Ventilation; Sleep Apnea  
  10. NEPHROLOGY – Acute Renal Failure; Chronic Kidney Disease and Uremia; Dialysis; Renal Transplantation; Glomerular Diseases; Renal Tubular Disease; Urinary Tract Infections and Interstitial Cystitis; Nephrolithiasis; Urinary Tract Obstruction        
  11. GASTROENTEROLOGY – Peptic Ulcer and Related Disorders; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Colonic and Anorectal Diseases; Cholelithiasis, Cholecystitis, and Cholangitis; Pancreatitis; Acute Hepatitis; Chronic Hepatitis; Cirrhosis and Alcoholic Liver Disease; Portal Hypertension
  12. ALLERGY, CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY, AND RHEUMATOLOGY – Diseases of Immediate-Type Hypersensitivity; Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Other Connective Tissue Diseases; Vasculitis; Ankylosing Spondylitis; Psoriatic Arthritis; Reactive Arthritis; Osteoarthritis; Gout, Pseudogout, and Related Diseases; Other Musculoskeletal Disorders; Sarcoidosis; Amyloidosis     
  13. ENDOCRINOLOGY AND METABOLISM – Disorders of the Anterior Pituitary and Hypothalamus; Diabetes Insipidus and Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone; Thyroid Gland Disorders; Adrenal Gland Disorders; Obesity; Diabetes Mellitus; Disorders of the Male Reproductive System; Disorders of the Female Reproductive System; Hypercalcemia and Hypocalcemia; Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia; Hypercholesterolemia and Hypertriglyceridemia; Hemochromatosis, Porphyrias, and Wilson's Disease      
  14. NEUROLOGY – The Neurologic Examination; Seizures and Epilepsy; Dementia; Parkinson's Disease; Ataxic Disorders; ALS and Other Motor Neuron Diseases; Autonomic Nervous System Disorders; Trigeminal Neuralgia, Bell's Palsy, and Other Cranial Nerve Disorders; Spinal Cord Diseases; Tumors of the Nervous System; Multiple Sclerosis; Acute Meningitis and Encephalitis; Chronic and Recurrent Meningitis; Peripheral Neuropathies, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome; Myasthenia Gravis; Muscle Diseases            
  15. PSYCHIATRY AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE – Psychiatric Disorders; Psychiatric Medications; Eating Disorders; Alcohol Use Disorder; Narcotic Abuse
  16. DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH MAINTENANCE – Routine Disease Screening; Cardiovascular Disease Prevention; Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer; Smoking Cessation; Women's Health    
  17. ADVERSE DRUG REACTIONS – Adverse Drug Reactions

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (HPIM), the premier medical textbook for students and clinicians, provides a detailed body of information important to an understanding of the biological and clinical aspects of quality patient care. Harrison’s Manual of Medicine fulfills a different need: As a concise, fact-rich resource for bedside care, the Manual presents clinical information drawn from the 19th edition of HPIM, covering the key features of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and treatment of the major diseases that are likely to be encountered on a medical service.

First published in 1988, the Manual has become ever more useful with the rapid expansion of medical knowledge and the increasing time constraints associated with heavy patient-care responsibilities in modern health care settings. The Manual's popularity and value reflect its abbreviated format, which has proven useful for initial diagnosis and management in time-restricted clinical settings. In particular, the book's full-color format allows readers to locate and use information quickly. In addition, numerous tables and graphics facilitate decisions at the point of care.

Harrison’s Manual of Medicine is designed for easy and seamless reference to the full text of the 19th edition of HPIM. Although not a substitute for in-depth analysis of clinical problems, the Manual serves as a ready source of informative summaries that will be useful ‘on the spot’ and that will prepare readers for more in-depth analysis through more extensive reading at a later time. Like previous editions, this latest edition of Harrison’s Manual of Medicine keeps up with the continual evolution of internal medicine practices. Every chapter from the prior edition has been closely reviewed and updated, with substantial revisions and new chapters provided where appropriate.

As a concise resource, the Manual covers the key features of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and treatment of the major diseases that are likely to be encountered on a medical service. With its efficient blend of succinct text, bullet points, algorithms and tables covering every area of clinical medicine, it is ideal as a bedside resource.

Professional & Technical / Psychology / Aging Studies

Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years: Their Nature, Complexity, and Role in Health and Illness edited by Jamila Bookwala (American Psychological Association)

Older couple relationships are recognized to be complex, multidimensional, and vital to health and well-being. With life expectancy at its highest levels and the baby-boom generation's entry first into the midlife years and now into late adulthood, scholars, clinicians, and society at large have shown an ever-increasing interest in understanding couple relationships as people age.

What factors influence the nature and quality of today's older couple relationships, and what are the complex links between relationships and health? In Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years the authors present the latest theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives in the field of middle-age and older couple relationships. The chapters cover a broad range of topics, including the impact of health concerns, loneliness, chronic disease management, couple negotiation of everyday tasks, coping across the lifespan, and the prevalence and visibility of nontraditional older couple relationships such as same-sex relationships and ‘living-apart-together’ relationships. Implications for couples therapy and policy are included.

The editor, Jamila Bookwala, PhD, is professor and head of the Department of Psychology and chair of Aging Studies at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. The book has 39 contributors.

The chapters in Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years cover a broad range of topics central to older couple relationships: the quality of these relationships and their evolving nature and definition in contemporary society; older couples' loneliness, sexual intimacy, relationship history, and role equity and how these factors are linked to relationship quality and well-being; the role of major life transitions such as retirement and illness in shaping older couple relationships; and dyadic influences on health, cognitive function, and coping with and managing illness.

Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years is organized into two broad sections. Part I characterizes the nature, characteristics, and quality of couple relationships among middle-aged and older adults in today's society. Both positive (marital satisfaction) and negative (marital discord) dimensions of relationship quality in older couples are considered, as well as factors that can play a role in improving or diminishing relationship quality (e.g., the allocation of roles, sexual satisfaction, the retirement of one and/or both partners, and the occurrence of a long-term illness). Although the loss of a spouse or partner is clearly linked to a high risk of loneliness, this section offers insights into how older individuals can experience loneliness in an ongoing relationship. Part I also includes chapters on less traditional but equally significant older couple relationships that are gaining in prevalence (living-apart-together [LAT] relationships) and visibility (same-sex relationships).

An area that has witnessed perhaps the most prolific theoretical and empirical advances in the field of older couple relationships is their integral role in health and well-being. The chapters in Part II of Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years address a variety of topics at the intersection of marriage and health as individuals age. The beneficial role of married status in late-life health is widely established; this section covers the emerging importance of individuals' cumulative marital history for their health during the midlife years and beyond. Other topics include the significant role of couples' negotiations in improving cognitive performance on daily tasks and the potential mechanisms that can explain convergence that is seen on health indicators within couples. Part II also focuses on the challenge for the dyad as a unit when a spouse becomes chronically ill, a normative life transition and stressor as people age. Related chapters discuss useful emotion regulation strategies in the context of spousal care-giving when one spouse requires care due to illness, review the essential role of dyadic coping in the face of a stressor such as chronic illness, consider the developmental bases of dyadic coping from a lifespan perspective, and describe ways that spouses can hinder, promote, and be trained to enhance adaptation to and management of chronic illness.

Overall, the 16 chapters in Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years offer critical analyses of relevant theory and empirical findings in specific areas of research on mid- and late-life couple relationships. They identify existing limitations in and future directions for research on older couple relationships, offering recommendations that can enhance current understanding about their nature and complexity and how they can shape and be shaped by intra- and interpersonal contexts. Recognizing the importance of high-quality couple relationships in aging well, the chapters in this volume also consider clinical and policy issues relevant to maintaining and enhancing older couple relationships. Although the chapters in the volume mostly focus on marital relationships in midlife and late life, reflecting the vast majority of existing research on older couple relationships, the volume also addresses nontraditional adult couple relationships as feasible based on the extant literature.

Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years notes that significant gaps still exist in the literature. Notably, there is a rela­tive paucity of research on older same-sex marriages and nonmarital heterosexual and same-sex relationships; research that uses the dyad as the unit of analysis; and research that examines the cultural, ethnic, and demographic influences on the nature and quality of couple relationships. There is also an ongoing need for the use of sophisticated methodologies (e.g., observational research, longitudinal studies, time sampling techniques) in studying older couple relationships, methodologies that can provide a more granular level of analysis. Nonetheless, tremendous strides have been made in the field of research on older couple relationships. In this cutting-edge volume, the authors present the latest theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives in the field of middle-age and older couple relationships.

Collectively, the chapters in Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years offer a multilayered and comprehensive view on the nuances and complexities that characterize couple relationships as people age and on the integral role of older couple relationships in health and well-being. The volume provides a rich, topical, and comprehensive resource for those who study and work with adults and couples in the mid- and late-life years.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / New Testament / Theology / Ethics

New Testament Theology and Ethics, Volume 1 by Ben Witherington III (IVP Academic)

All too often, argues Ben Witherington III, the theology of the New Testament has been divorced from its ethics, leaving as isolated abstractions what are fully integrated, dynamic elements within the New Testament itself. As Witherington stresses, "behavior affects and reinforces or undoes belief." Previously published as The Indelible Image, Witherington offers the first of a two-volume set on the theological and ethical thought world of the New Testament. New Testament Theology and Ethics, the first volume, looks at the individual witnesses, while the second examines the collective witness. The New Testament, says Witherington, is "like a smallish choir. All are singing the same cantata, but each has an individual voice and is singing its own parts and notes. If we fail to pay attention to all the voices in the choir, we do not get the entire effect.... If this first volume is about closely analyzing the sheet music left to us by which each musician's part is delineated, the second volume will attempt to re-create what it might have sounded like had they ever gotten together and performed their scores to produce a single masterful cantata." What the New Testament authors have in mind, Witherington contends, is that all believers should be conformed in thought, word and deed to the image of Jesus Christ – the indelible image.

Witherington is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. A prominent evangelical scholar, he is also on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

This edition of New Testament Theology and Ethics includes revised headings throughout for greater clarity of organization and content. Witherington'st governing dictum remains that to read the New Testament well we must take theology and ethics, belief and behavior together.

Is there not an ethical dimension to New Testament theology and theologizing? If we say that the New Testament theologians were obligated to tell the truth about Jesus Christ, are we not making an ethical claim? Is there not both a theological basis and character to New Testament ethics and an ethical basis and character to New Testament theology? And after all, since all of the New Testament writers, or almost all of them, were Jews, why in the world would we think that they were not much interested in orthopraxy, indeed as interested in orthopraxy as orthodoxy? Take the teaching of Jesus, for instance. All those parables, aphorisms, maxims and stories have both a theological and an ethical character, edge and punch line.

Witherington in New Testament Theology and Ethics says that as he has read through volume after volume on New Testament theology or ethics, one of the things that keeps coming to mind is that the subject is being treated like ‘a patient etherized upon a table’ – to borrow from T. S. Eliot. But, he says, when he reads the New Testament, this is not at all what he encounters. He encounters a living, breathing revelation from a living God.

But do we really need another large volume or two on New Testament theology or New Testament ethics or both? Actually, we do, for several good reasons. First, the relationship between theology and ethics has seldom been adequately treated in either New Testament theology or New Testament ethics volumes. Second, some of the key terms in the New Testament are both theological and ethical. Third, the Reformation, despite its many good effects on Christendom, had as one of its unfortunate side effects that ethics took a back seat to theology, indeed was severed from theology, and salvation was deemed to be all about theology, and in particular about the human position in relationship to God rather than the human condition.

Witherington lets the first volume, New Testament Theology and Ethics, especially be expositional in character, dealing with theology and ethics as we find them intertwined in contexts offered by the individual witnesses. He offers core samplings of the theologizing and ethicizing of Jesus and each of the New Testament writers with an emphasis on understanding the meaning of what they are saying in their various contexts.

Witherington gives readers a sampling of the doing of theology and ethics in the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, honoring them as individual witnesses on these subjects. Some scholars will call New Testament Theology and Ethics an example of exegetical or contextual theological and ethical analysis. He does not organize the material according to later biblical or systematic theological categories (e.g., justification and sanctification), or according to later ethical categorizations (e.g., virtue ethics separated from sexual ethics). Also, since most New Testament theologies tend to focus on the so-called major witnesses, such as Paul or the author of the Johannine literature, he goes out of his way to do justice to some of the less-discussed portions of the New Testament while not neglecting the ‘major witnesses.’

Witherington steers us on a solid course with skill, clarity and an eye on what is important. He also notes what dangers lurk in taking a wrong course. In sum, here is a solid introduction to how theology and ethics work together in the New Testament. Enjoy the tour and linger in spots. It will be worth it. – Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

Ben Witherington is a skilled historical exegete who has, probably uniquely in our generation, pursued his passion far the theological and ethical message of the New Testament through commentaries on every one of the New Testament books.… A magnificent climax to Witherington's work. – Richard Bauckham, University of St. Andrews

This is no ordinary theology of the New Testament. From start to finish it is creative and insightful. The entire approach is refreshing, based on an appreciation of the distinctive voices that make up what we might call the theological choir of the early church.... Beginning students and veteran scholars alike will appreciate this remarkable achievement. I give it my highest recommendation. – Craig A. Evans, Acadia Divinity College

By insisting that theology be placed in conversation with ethics, Witherington offers numerous insights on the necessary intersection of faith and works, church and society. He and I may disagree on the particulars of Jewish tradition and women's roles in antiquity, but I have learned much from his canonically comprehensive, evangelically committed, historically informed and engagingly presented way of doing theology. – Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt University

New Testament Theology and Ethics is a uniquely comprehensive New Testament theology, presented with evangelical clarity and conviction by a skilled exegete. The revised headings throughout this edition make for greater clarity of organization and content.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology / Bible Studies

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized edited by Michael J. Kruger, with a foreword by J. Ligon Duncan III (Crossway)

Featuring contributions from nine respected evangelical scholars, A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament introduces each New Testament book in the context of the whole canon of Scripture, helping anyone who teaches or studies the Bible to apply it to the church today.

The volume is edited by Michael J. Kruger, president and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.

J. Ligon Duncan III, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary says in the foreword to A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament that as we approach the five hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation of the Christian church, Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) is entering its fiftieth year. Since the founders of RTS were connected to a global evangelical network, the seminary was able to have a worldwide reach from the beginning. Over the years, RTS has served over eleven thousand students from some fifty denominations, including Presbyterian, Reformed, Baptist, Anglican, and Congregational.

In an effort to pass along their world-class, faithful, consecrated scholarship to the next generation, the Old and New Testament professors at RTS – both past and present – have put together two new volumes: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised, edited by Miles V. Van Pelt, and A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament. There are several unique features and aspirations of these volumes. First, they are aimed at pastors and interested Christian readers, rather than fellow scholars. RTS values and produces resources intended for a scholarly audience, but the aim of these volumes is churchly edification, hence they are designed for accessibility. Second, they are written by scholars of biblical studies who are unafraid of and appreciative of dogmatics. Third, these volumes unashamedly come from the standpoint of biblical inerrancy and Reformed theology. A high view of Scripture and a warm embrace of confessional Reformed theology are hallmarks of RTS, and these ideals shine through these books. Fourth, these introductions are designed to be pastoral and helpful. Preachers, ministry leaders, Bible teachers, students, and others engaged in Christian discipleship are in view.

As professors at RTS (both past and present), all the contributors to this volume have devoted the bulk of their scholarly efforts, over the course of many years, to the study of the twenty-seven books that form the New Testament. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament was motivated not simply by a desire to advance their personal knowledge of God's Word, but it has been motivated primarily by the commitment to pass along the fruits of that study to the next generation of pastors, leaders, missionaries, and Christian thinkers. The book is an attempt to take the core material from these courses and put it into a different medium – the medium of a book.

What is distinctive about A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament? In many ways, this new volume is not distinctive. Like many of the volumes that have come before, it is designed to accomplish the same basic task: namely, to introduce readers to the major historical, exegetical, and theological issues within each of the twenty-seven books. In other ways, however, this volume is distinctive:

It is accessible. Generally speaking, New Testament introductions have tended to focus on historical-critical issues related to the background of each of the twenty-seven books. The present volume makes the discussion of background issues more streamlined.

It is theological. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament is committed to spending more time on theological and doctrinal issues. Because this volume is designed primarily to help pastors and Bible study leaders prepare their sermons or lessons, a higher priority is placed on exploring the message of each New Testament book.

It is redemptive-historical. This volume is committed not only to exploring the theological message of individual New Testament books, but also to placing the message of each book within God's unfolding redemptive plan. The goal is more than extracting timeless truths from these books. The authors also want to discover how these books functioned within the timeline of the larger canonical story – how an author's message contributes to our overall understanding of the work of Christ.

It is Reformed. The contributors to this volume, all current or past professors of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, have a high view of the authority of Scripture and are all committed to the foundational doctrines born out of the Reformation.

It is multiauthored. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament is distinctive because of the quantity of individual authors (nine) and because the readers are told which authors composed which portions.

It is pastoral. The purpose of this volume is to help Bible study leaders, pastors, and Christian leaders teach and apply the Word of God to their respective audiences.

A scholar can make a meaningful contribution to his field and, at the same time, apply his scholarly efforts to the local church setting. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament is a demonstration that the two are not mutually exclusive. In this sense, its contributors really are pastor-scholars.

Seminary-level New Testament introductions are plentiful. But this one provides what others do not: a consistent hermeneutical orientation as articulated by a top-tier roster of nine different scholars associated with Reformed Theological Seminary throughout its history. In addition to chapters covering all the New Testament books, valuable appendices treat canon, text, the synoptic problem, and more. Addressing both spiritual and academic issues with a view to pastoral equipping and biblical exposition, this wide-ranging compendium will benefit readers in both classroom and personal settings. – Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

With the right mix of academic integrity and purposeful accessibility, this New Testament introduction will serve time-crunched pastors, ministry-minded students, and church members looking to better understand their Bibles. What makes this new volume unique is the emphasis on examining the theological themes in each book of the New Testament, rather than focusing on arcane debates prompted by liberal scholarship. The result is an insightful and impressive resource, one I will use in my own studies and often recommend to others. – Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan

While introductions to the New Testament abound, this volume is a rare gem. It admirably combines depth of scholarship and theological exegesis within a biblical-theological framework – all couched in highly readable prose, offered for the sake of the church. It will no doubt instruct and edify. Well done. – Constantine R. Campbell, Associate Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This biblical-theological introduction walks readers through key biblical themes and issues concerning the backdrop to the 27 books of the New Testament. It is judicious, informative, and also quite accessible, making it profitable for students and pastors alike. – Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center, and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Aimed at pastors and interested Christian readers, this biblical-theological introduction to the New Testament is a welcome addition to the introductory literature on the New Testament. The volume, a collaborative effort by nine different authors, is written within a framework of biblical theology and based on a commitment to biblical inerrancy and Reformed theology. Highly recommended! – Andreas J. Köstenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Students and pastors, not to mention laypeople, usually find introductions to the New Testament writings to be rather dry and sterile. But this introduction by RTS authors has a different quality since it focuses on the theology and content of the New Testament. Those who study the New Testament want to gain a better understanding of its message, and thus this volume will prove to be an immense help for pastors, students, laypeople, and even scholars. – Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Solid authors construct a biblical theology by providing thematic summaries of each book of the New Testament. While I would not agree with every point made by the authors, many readers will find this an extremely helpful and useful introduction to the teaching of the New Testament. – Peter J. Gentry, Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, the Hexapla Institute

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament, accessible and highly readable, makes it possible for readers to read the New Testament from a biblical-theological perspective, helping anyone who studies the Bible to apply it to the church today.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Theology / Bible Studies

1 & 2 Kings by Peter J. Leithart (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Series: Brazos Press)

The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive lineup of authors is very well situated for the attempt. – Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame, ref the Theological Commentary on the Bible Series

1 & 2 Kings, like each volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Series, is designed to serve the church – through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth – and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible. The author of 1 & 2 Kings, Peter J. Leithart, is professor of theology and literature at New Saint Andrews College and pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho.

1 & 2 Kings is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of 1st and 2nd Kings. It divides the entire text of both books into sections. Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. The introduction to reading 1 & 2 Kings from a Christian perspective which begins this commentary sets the tone for the rest of the book. This commentary will appeal particularly to Reformed Christians, since it serves as an exercise in redemptive-historical interpretation and covenant theology, two mainstays within that tradition. Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts.

While the Brazos Theological Commentary Series is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point where volumes in the series have no substance, which is commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps.

1 & 2 Kings is the third installment in Brazos's projected forty-volume series of theological commentaries on the Bible. Jaroslav Pelikan led the series with a masterful study of the book of Acts (2005), Matthew Levering explored Ezra and Nehemiah (2007), and Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University tackled the gospel of Matthew (2007).
1 & 2 Kings begins with Solomon's ascension to power and ends with Judah's banishment to Babylon, which means that Leithart makes a panoramic sweep of roughly 400 years of salvation history in Israel. For him this story of the politics of God and the politics of humanity is not merely historical or prophetic, but rather and especially it is a ‘gospel text’ that has practical applications to our ecclesial experiences today. There is the inseparable interplay between a king's private life and his public office. Idolatry, of course, looms large in these stories. The partition of Israel and Judah is redolent with applications for post-Reformation divisions in the church and the nature of genuine ecumenicity. There's the prominent role of ‘outsiders’ like the Gentile Naaman among the ‘insider’ elect of Israel. The providence of God over the history of humanity is a major theme in this ‘court history’ of Israel's kings.

Leithart's theological conclusions about the book of Kings are diverse and interesting. He demonstrates a breadth of reading and knowledge of theological matters and brings that knowledge to bear upon the book of Kings.... For the biblical scholar, this volume is a fitting reminder that the text should be read holistically and theologically.... For the pastor, Leithart's commentary provides a succinct summary of each chapter or section that is most helpful in preaching through the book. For the theologian, Leithart shows how even the book of Kings makes weighty theological statements based upon a text-imminent, Christian reading of the book. Moreover, for all, it is a delightful read. – Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature
Both content and structure contribute to the value of the commentary for sermon preparation and lay use. Chief among the distinguishing features of Leithart's work is the way he travels from the text to multiple disciplines that benefit from the narrative theology described therein.... [Leithart's] aspiration of bringing the OT to the church as an ongoing source of revelation is refreshing. In a discipline felt by many to have become increasingly distant from the church, theology, and even exegesis, biblical studies is in need of 'reform.' Like Elijah, Leithart attempts to address the problem from within, rather than casting aspersions from a distance. For this, as well as for his engaging style and challenging observations, his contribution is welcome. – Amber Warhurst, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Leithart's work [is] stimulating in its unabashedly theological interpretive stance. Such a starting point for the exegetical task inquires differently of the text and renders fresh applications and observations. The two disciplines of biblical and theological studies can only benefit from cross-disciplinary engagement and, certainly, Leithart demonstrates that both disciplines can be used critically and in service of the Church. – Lissa M. Wray Beal, Toronto Journal of Theology
[Leithart's] introduction, '1-2 Kings as Gospel,' is well worth reading and will be a great help in preparing to preach through these books, which are not often chosen for expository series. This commentary will be a great supplement to other tools when preaching in 1-2 Kings. – Preaching

The user-friendly commentary in 1 & 2 Kings provides an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. The book, like others in the series, provides just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be.


Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette (Quercus Publishing)

Perhaps for a visiting writer, the most troubling words of all come from a UN adviser, the Australian, Gordon Weiss, writing at the end of the war: ‘I was warned before going to Sri Lanka that when I left I would know the country less well than when I arrived, and in a sense this is true.’ For me, this was a daunting thought. What lay ahead was not the search for comprehension but a battle with perplexity. – from the introduction

Sri Lanka is a small island with a long, violent and enthralling history. Home to thousands of wild elephants, this is a place where natural beauty has endured, indifferent to human tragedy.
Journeying through its many regions – some haunted by war, many rarely seen by our eyes – award-winning travel writer John Gimlette in Elephant Complex interviews ex-presidents and cricketers, tea planters and terrorists, negotiating the complex relationships of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities and the more sinister forms of tourism. Gimlette, the winner of the Shiva Naipaul Prize for Travel Writing has traveled to over eighty countries, has published four previous books, and practices as a barrister in London.

Each city in Sri Lanka raises the ghosts of old colonies: Portuguese, Dutch and British armies striving to claim the most significant ports in the southern seas; each site resurrects a civilization that preceded, and sometimes, outfaced them. The political families of Colombo lead Gimlette through recent years of turmoil, survivors of the tsunami tell of their recovery and, tale by tale, scrap by scrap, the thorny truths of the civil war emerge – a war whose wounds have yet to heal.
As he walks in the steps of old conquerors, follows the secret paths of elephants and marches alongside pilgrims, Gimlette in Elephant Complex seeks the soul of a country that is struggling to free itself from trauma and embody an identity to match its vitality, its power and its people.

Gimlette is in the highest class. – Daily Telegraph

The reader in search of a thoughtful adventure is in good hands. Gimlette brings a brisk barrister-like inquisition to proceedings, allied with amiable good humour and a searching interest in the history of peoples and places... Intrepid to the last, Gimlette wanders among mountains and jungles, drawing his journey to a close among the wreckage of the civil war... Rich in humour, full of insight and humanity, Elephant Complex is a very fine tribute to this enigmatic island nation. – Spectator

Brilliant... It displays his gift for graphic imagery and his eye for the absurd. But it is, perhaps, his darkest book yet... Along with the swimming trunks and the sunblock, I'd pack a copy of Elephant Complex. – Telegraph

A gripping account of an under-reported island – Sara Wheeler, Spectator, Book of the Year

Insightful and interesting... holistic observation of humanity as entangled in acryptic webbing of mortality, immortality and matter that Gimlette offers us... The great appeal of this book is that we travel alongside him. – Ceylon Today

A quest to understand the country, and not a mere description of it. This is what sets the book apart from the legion of Ceylon and Sri Lanka travelogues... Sri Lankans themselves will find Gimlette's renditions of places from Colombo to the desolate Wanni inspiring and evocative... While many travel writers on Ceylon often tended to trim and twist the country to fit it into their own neat narrative, Gimlette does not hide the incongruities and bafflements he encountered Sri Lanka. – Sunday Times Book of the Year

The 'elephant complex' of the title refers to ancient paths that the creatures have always followed on the island. Gimlette believes he must trace similar historical paths to get under the skin of Sri Lanka. He does so with wit and the occasional scrape with the authorities. – The Times

An intrepid journey to the famously reclusive island unearths a paradise amid trauma and obfuscation... An effortless, elegant writer, Gimlette chronicles the stories of these truculent, traumatized people... An exuberant, eye-opening travel quest – Kirkus

As for Mr. Gimlette, it is hard to think of a more astute and sympathetic companion for a journey around the island and into Sri Lanka's episodic bouts of madness. He is beguiled by the place and its people, for a start. He writes beautifully, all freshness and verve. And he is also very funny. – Wall Street Journal

To read Elephant Complex is to get the most accurate and thorough modern history of Sri Lanka – and to read it is to understand what it is that makes it so magical, in spite of its recent ugliness. – Kristin Fritz, Everyday ebook

He brings the open mind, the erudition and the eye for telling detail... no rogue is denied a fair hearing; no hint of the absurd escapes his attention and no metaphor misfires... Admirable in its candour... Elephant Complex has a sting in its tail. – John Keay, Times Literary Supplement

Well written, gripping, Elephant Complex digs deep into this dark and traumatized country.

Travel / Greece / Guidebooks

Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese, 4th edition by Rick Steves (Avalon Travel Publishing)

The ancient Greeks – who reached their apex in the city of Athens – have had an unmatched impact on European and American culture. For many North American travelers, coming to Greece is like a pilgrimage to the cradle of civilization.

A century and a half ago, Athens was a humble, forgotten city of about 20,000 people. Today it is the teeming home of nearly four million Greeks – nearly half of the 10 million people in all of Greece. Athens is famous for its sprawl, noise, graffiti, and pollution. The best advice to tourists has long been to see the big sights, then get out. But over the last decade or so, the city has made a concerted effort to curb pollution, clean up and pedestrianize the streets, spiff up the museums, and invest in one of Europe's better public transit systems. All of these urban upgrades reached a peak as Athens hosted the 2004 Olympic Games.

And yet, the conventional wisdom still holds true: Athens is a great city to see... but not to linger in. Rick Steves Greece also includes the best Greek destinations outside the capital, including the highlights of the Peloponnese – Greece's heartland peninsula, the site of the ancient oracle at Delphi, and the castaway islands of Hydra, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Author Rick Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. With the help of his staff of 80 at Europe Through the Back Door, Steves's mission is to make European travel fun, affordable, and culturally broadening for Americans. More than just reviews and directions, a Steves guidebook is a tour guide in the pocket.

With the self-guided tours in Rick Steves Greece, travelers stroll in the sandaled-steps of Socrates, from the Ancient Agora up to the Acropolis, capped by the evocative Parthenon. They take a spin through art history at the National Archaeological Museum. They dive into a Greek feast and sip ouzo at a rollicking taverna in the Plaka. They delve into Greece's heartland, the Peloponnesian Peninsula. They line up at the starting block at Olympia's historic stadium, test the acoustics at the ancient theater of Epidavros, and set sail for the idyllic islands of Hydra, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Steves's candid, humorous advice guides travelers to good-value hotels and restaurants. He helps readers plan where to go and what to see, depending on the length of their trip. They get up-to-date recommendations on what is worth their time and money. They learn how to get around Greece like a local.

The destinations covered in Rick Steves Greece include a comfortable mix of cities and villages, ancient sites and Byzan­tine churches, great museums and relaxing beaches. While readers find the predictable biggies (such as the Acropolis and ancient Olympia), Steves also mixes in a dose of ‘Back Door intimacy’ (workaday towns such as Kardamyli, rustic seaside viewpoints, and neighborhood tavernas where travelers will enjoy a warm welcome).

Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese is organized by destinations. Each is a mini-vacation on its own, filled with exciting sights, strollable neighborhoods, affordable places to stay, and memorable places to eat.

Travelers can count on Steves to tell them what they really need to know when traveling to Greece. With this travel guide, travelers get all the information and opinions necessary to wring the maximum value out of their limited time and money. If they plan two weeks or less in this part of Greece and have a normal appetite for information, this book is all they will need. If they are travel-info fiends, Rick Steves Greece sorts through all the superlatives and provides a handy rack upon which to hang their supplemental information.



Contents this Issue:

Inspired by the National Parks: Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato (Harvard Business Review Press)

Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life, 4th edition by Martin S. Remland (Sage Publications, Inc.)

Performing Politics: Media Interviews, Debates and Press Conferences, 1st edition by Geoffrey Craig (Polity Contemporary Political Communication Series: Polity Press)

Analyzing and Securing Social Networks by Bhavani Thuraisingham, Satyen Abrol, Raymond Heatherly, Murat Kantarcioglu, Vaibhav Khadilkar & Latifur Khan (Auerbach Publications, CRC Press)

Smokin' Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Human Rights and Schooling: An Ethical Framework for Teaching for Social Justice by Audrey Osler (Multicultural Education Series: Teacher’s College Press)

Basics of Classical Syriac: Complete Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon by Steven C. Hallam (Basics Series: Zondervan)

Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s by Meg Jacobs (Hill & Wang)

A Game for All the Family: A Novel by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow)

Cape Hell: A Page Murdock Novel by Loren D. Estleman (Page Murdock Novels: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC: Forge Books)

Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals: Identification, Values and Lapidary Uses, 3rd edition by Patti Polk (Krause Publications)

Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East by Kirk J. Beattie (Seven Stories Press)

Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials, 2nd edition edited by G. Michael Steelman & Eric C. Westman (CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group)

Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, 19th edition edited by Dennis L. Kasper, Anthony S. Fauci, Stephen L. Hauser, Dan L. Longo, J. Larry Jameson, & Joseph Loscalzo (McGraw Hill Education/Medical)

Couple Relationships in the Middle and Later Years: Their Nature, Complexity, and Role in Health and Illness edited by Jamila Bookwala (American Psychological Association)

New Testament Theology and Ethics, Volume 1 by Ben Witherington III (IVP Academic)

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized edited by Michael J. Kruger, with a foreword by J. Ligon Duncan III (Crossway)

1 & 2 Kings by Peter J. Leithart (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Series: Brazos Press)

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette (Quercus Publishing)

Rick Steves Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese, 4th edition by Rick Steves (Avalon Travel Publishing)