We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

January 2018, Issue #225

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From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean, 1st edition edited by Julie Hruby & Debra Trusty (Oxbow Books)

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged by Robert Gandt, narrated by Tom Perkins (Tantor Media)

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel – Hardcover by Robert Gandt (W.W. Norton & Company)

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books)

Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas by Dan L. Reinking (University of Oklahoma Press)

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status & Avoid IRS Problems, 5th edition by Stephen Fishman J.D. (Nolo)

The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa by Irene Yuan Sun (Harvard Business Review Press)

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon by Judy Young, with illustrations by Jordi Solano (Sleeping Bear Press)

The Self-Care Cookbook: A Holistic Approach to Cooking, Eating, and Living Well by Dr. Frank Ardito (Surrey Books, Agate)

Orvis From Lure to Fly: Fly Fishing for Spinning and Baitcast Anglers by Dave Karczynski (Lyons Press)

Finishing Wood by Editors of Fine Woodworking (The Taunton Press)

Class in the Composition Classroom: Pedagogy and the Working Class, 1st edition edited by Genesea M. Carter & William H. Thelin (Utah State University Press)

Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939 by Edgar Feuchtwanger, with Bertil Scali (Other Press)

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust: Between Destruction and Construction by Maddy Carey (Bloomsbury Academic)

God: A Human History by Reza Aslan (Random House)

The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser (St Martin’s Press)

A Hundred Small Lessons: A Novel by Ashley Hay (Atria Books)

American Horror Story and Philosophy: Life Is but a Nightmare edited by Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series, Vol 114: Open Court)

Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal, 2nd edition by Mark A. Yarhouse & James N. Sells (Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books: IVP Academic)

Beyond Gridlock, 1st edition by Thomas Hale & David Held et al. (Polity)


Archaeology / History

From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean, 1st edition edited by Julie Hruby & Debra Trusty (Oxbow Books)

Late Bronze Age Aegean cooking vessels illuminate prehistoric cultures, foodways, social interactions, and communication systems. While many scholars have focused on the utility of painted fineware vessels for chronological purposes, the contributors to From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean maintain that cooking wares have the potential to answer not only chronological but also economic, political, and social questions when analyzed and contrasted with assemblages from different sites or chronological periods. The text is dedicated entirely to prehistoric cooking vessels, compiles evidence from a wide range of Greek sites and incorporates new methodologies and evidence.

The editors are Julie Hruby and Debra Trusty. Hruby is Assistant Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College, where she teaches Greek archaeology. Trusty is a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her dissertation focuses on the ability of cooking vessels to identify specific characteristics of the Mycenaean political economy. The book has 17 contributors.

The contributors to From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean utilize a wide variety of analytical approaches and demonstrate the impact that cooking vessels can have on the archaeological interpretation of sites and their inhabitants. These sites include major Late Bronze Age citadels and smaller settlements throughout the Aegean and surrounding Mediterranean area, including Greece, the islands, Crete, Italy, and Cyprus. In particular, contributors highlight socioeconomic connections by examining the production methods, fabrics and forms of cooking vessels.

This volume begins to fill the need for a text that is entirely dedicated to Aegean Bronze Age cooking vessels. Each chapter focuses on cooking vessels from sites in Greece or in places impacted by prehistoric Greek ceramic culture. These sites include major citadels and smaller settlements throughout the Aegean and surrounding Mediterranean area, including the Greek Mainland, the Cycladic islands, Crete, Italy, and Cyprus. The primary goal is to investigate the potential for Minoan and Mycenaean cooking vessels to illuminate important economic, political and social issues in Mediterranean prehistory. These include craft production techniques, trade, and consumption on a range of different scales. Increasing attention to socioeconomic questions over the last few decades makes this an opportune time to reconsider prehistoric cooking vessels. Chapters within From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean utilize a variety of analytical techniques and methodologies to demonstrate the impact that cooking vessels can have on the archaeological interpretation of sites and of their inhabitants.

First, Debra Trusty (Chapter 2) surveys the history of scholarship on prehistoric cooking wares. Trusty contrasts the state of scholarship on prehistoric Aegean cooking wares with that of other contexts, including Classical Greek and Native American, noting that the scholarship of Aegean prehistorians has sometimes tended to lag.

Julie Hruby (Chapter 3) examines the development of class-differentiated cuisine over time, using specialized cooking pots as a proxy for the development of haute cuisine. She uses experimental approaches to investigate how culinary technologies functioned and therefore to understand how cuisine changed over time.

These articles precede a geographical look at individual sites around Greece and Crete. Starting in the west, Joann Gulizio and Cynthia Shelmerdine (Chapter 4) contrast two phases of cooking pot assemblages at Iklaina, those before and after the probable incorporation of the site into the Pylian state in LH IIIA2 early. They restrict their study to three specific vessel types (spit supports, griddles, and tripods) in order to demonstrate how the inhabitants of Iklaina experienced changes in cooking and eating habits at a time of political change. They find some evidence that might suggest a decrease in the frequency of spit support and tripod use after that transition.

Bartlomiej Lis (Chapter 5) compares cooking pots from three different sites in Central Greece and the Peloponnese: Mitrou, Tsoungiza, and the Menelaion. He observes shifts from the Early Mycenaean period to the Palatial period and from the Palatial period to the Post-Palatial period, with a trend toward increasing uniformity not only at the first transition but also, more surprisingly, at the second.

Walter Gauss, Evangelia Kiriatzi, Michael Lindblom, Bartlomiej Lis, and Jerolyn Morrison (Chapter 6) shift focus from the Mainland to the adjacent island of Aegina. Their discussion fills a chronological gap in the analysis of Aeginetan cooking pots, that from Late Helladic II through the Early Iron Age.

Evi Gorogianni, Natalie Abell, and Jill Hilditch (Chapter 7) turn readers’ attention to the island of Kea, where they use cooking vessels as a proxy for culinary technologies and provide much-needed information on cooking vessel fabric characteristics on a macroscopic scale. They argue for a more nuanced understanding of the process of Minoanization, arguing that it has been overstated due to a combination of biased discard practices and the incomplete description of Mainland vessels.

Salvatore Vitale and Jerolyn Morrison (Chapter 8) examine the culinary technologies of Kos, presenting an overview of the Bronze Age storage and cooking pot assemblages and evaluating the Late Bronze Age processes of Minoanization and Mycenaeanization.

Jerolyn Morrison (Chapter 9) surveys the evidence for cooking at Neopalatial and Final Palatial Mochlos. She sees shifts in ceramic types, such as the introduction of larger tripods and of new rim shapes on cooking dishes at the transition to the Final Palatial period, but she finds that even where the cooking and serving pot types (and so presumably the style of food production and consumption) shifted, the foodstuffs themselves apparently did not.

Elisabetta Borgna and Sara Levi (Chapter 10) examine the cooking vessels of Post-Palatial Crete and contemporaneous ones from Italy, finding that while Mycenaean ceramic forms are generally quite popular in Italy, the same is not true of cooking pots. The reverse is also partially true; only a limited number of Italian shapes appear in Cretan contexts.

Reinhard Jung (Chapter 11) shifts readers’ attention to the Fast, where he demonstrates that there is a substantial shift in Cypriot cooking ways at many sites between the Late Cypriot I-II period and the Late Cypriot III period. Cooking pots change in morphology with the introduction of several Mycenaean shapes and in manufacturing methods from handmade to wheelmade; hearths shift from relatively simple features that might be only flat spaces or shallow pits to elaborate built structures.

Mike Galaty (Chapter 12) provides From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean with its conclusion, in which he advocates for the definition of research questions as we shift from descriptive to interpretative perspectives. He uses Eastern North American strategies for analysis of cooking vessels as a comparandum, contrasting the cultural-historical and processual approaches that have taken root among archaeologists working in that region with the frequently descriptive approaches used in the Aegean. He recommends that all coarse pottery be kept that researchers develop and use a shared terminology and classification system, that summary data should be presented and statistical analysis undertaken, that they adopt hypothesis testing, and that they adopt a ceramic-ecological research framework.

The editors have done a wonderful job and inspired high-quality contributions that are beautifully illustrated with an abundance of illustrations and colour photos… this timely book has demonstrated that the future of cooking vessels studies is bright and full of possibilities. – Dr Ina Berg, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society

From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean is timely. Recent improvements in excavation techniques, advances in archaeological sciences, and increasing attention to socioeconomic questions make this is an opportune time to renew conversations about and explore new approaches to cooking vessels and what they can teach us. By using a wide variety of methods in the book and recognizing the issues and obstacles that need to be overcome, scholars can begin to collaborate to develop a better understanding of this under-researched class of Bronze Age Aegean functional ceramics.

Audio / History / Israel / Military

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged by Robert Gandt, narrated by Tom Perkins (Tantor Media)

Hardcover / History / Israel / Military

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel – Hardcover by Robert Gandt (W.W. Norton & Company)

Angels in the Sky tells the story of a ragtag band of volunteer airmen from around the world who fought for Israel during the war of independence. It is the gripping story of how an all-volunteer air force helped defeat five Arab nations and protect the fledgling Jewish state.

Author Robert Gandt is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and Pan American and Delta Air Lines captain and the author of eleven books on military and aviation subjects. Narrator of the audio version is Tom Perkins, an experienced audio engineer and narrator.

In 1948, only three years after the Holocaust, the newly founded nation of Israel came under siege from a coalition of Arab states. The invaders vowed to annihilate the tiny country and its 600,000 settlers.

As told in Angels in the Sky, outnumbered sixty to one, the Israelis had no allies, no regular army, no air force, no superpower to intercede on their behalf. The United States, Great Britain, and most of Europe enforced a strict embargo on the shipment of arms to the embattled country. In the first few days, the Arab armies overran Israel. The Egyptian air force owned the sky, making continuous air attacks on Israeli cities and army positions. Israel’s extinction seemed certain.

And then came help – young, idealistic, swaggering, noble, eccentric, courageous beyond measure. Many were Jews, a third were not. Most of them knowingly violated their nations’ embargoes on the shipment of arms and aircraft to Israel. They smuggled in Messerschmitt fighters from Czechoslovakia, painting over swastikas with Israeli stars. Defying their own countries’ strict laws, the airmen risked everything – their lives, careers, citizenship – to fight for Israel. Surrounded by Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese forces, Israel would have been crushed without the air support provided by the ‘angels in the sky.’

They were a small group, fewer than 150. In the crucible of war they became brothers in a righteous cause. They flew, fought, died, and, against all odds, helped save a new nation. The saga of the volunteer airmen in Israel’s war of independence stands as one of the most stirring – and untold – war stories of the past century.

Fascinating. – Jewish Press
An excellent nonfiction choice for aficionados of military thrillers. General readers seeking an accessible history of the Israeli war of independence will also enjoy. – Library Journal
Compelling… both an exciting account of aerial combat as well as a frequently touching collection of warrior profiles. – Booklist
Astounding.... An exciting military chronicle packed with well-documented, intimate portraits of a group of brave pilots. – Kirkus
Angels in the Sky reads like a World War II thriller, only better because every word is true. The saga of Israel’s fledgling air force and the motley crew of heroes who saved the Jewish state is one of the great untold stories of history. Robert Gandt has brought it vividly, unforgettably to life. – Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire
In 1948 a group of ragtag aerial warriors from the four corners of the earth helped save the newborn state of Israel from the armed forces of five Arab states – a David facing Goliath. Improbably, Israel won the war in a miraculous military victory. Books like Angels in the Sky come along once in a generation. You must read it. – Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of Flight of the Intruder
These are the forgotten ‘Flying Tigers’ who stepped forward when the world turned away, to fly and fight for the highest stakes – the survival of Israel. A cinematic mélange of heart-pounding history, Angels in the Sky does justice to an epic, unsung story. – Adams Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call
It is always so rewarding to read a book about combat flying written by an author who obviously knows the subject firsthand! Robert Gandt’s latest book on the infant Israeli Air Force fills a real need and shines new light on one of the most heroic battles in history. The prowess of the IAF in recent years has caused us to forget just how precarious was its beginning, and how joyfully the battle was joined by a wide variety of pilots flying airplanes better suited for a museum than combat. – Walter Boyne, former director of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
Bob Gandt understands pilots and he understands flying, which are not always the same thing. Angels in the Sky is … an enjoyable, balanced description of the origin of one of the world’s leading air forces. Strap in tight, turn up the oxygen, and set the gun sight for ‘pegged range’ because it’s a wild ride. – Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind: The Air War against Japan, 1942-1945
Angels in the Sky is the best of Bob Gandt. He details the extreme measures that were required to get aircraft out of the United States, Britain and other countries and into Israel in 1948. But more importantly, he gives life to the aircraft buyers, mechanics and pilots that were to make up what would become one of the most formidable air forces in the world. Bob shows us the joy, sorrow, comradeship and trust that was shared by the foreign and Jewish members of the group. A terrific read for anyone. – Dave North, former Editor-in-Chief, Aviation Week & Space Technology

Briskly written and based on first-person interviews and extensive archival research, Angels in the Sky is a modern-day David-and-Goliath tale and popular history at its best.

Biographies & Memoirs

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books)

Prairie Fires is the first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books.

Millions of readers of the Little House books believe they know Laura Ingalls – the pioneer girl who survived life on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the saga of her life has never been fully told.

The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty.

Born 150 years ago in 1867, Wilder was the real-life pioneer girl who survived wildfires, tornadoes, malaria, blizzards, and near-starvation on the Great Plains in the late 1800s. Her books have sold over sixty million copies in forty-five languages, were reincarnated in the 1970s and 1980s as one of the longest-running, most popular shows in television history, which is still in syndication.

Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser – the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series – fills in the gaps in Wilder's story with Prairie Fires.

Set as it was against nearly a century of dramatic change, Wilder's life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance, and is both stranger and darker than her books. After a brutally hard childhood on the frontier, Wilder found herself married at 18 and a mother a year later.

After a series of personal tragedies, including the loss of a child and her husband's crippling stroke, Wilder uprooted herself and moved with her husband seven hundred miles south, and began a long climb out of poverty accomplished through grit and hard work. At the age of sixty, after losing nearly everything in the Depression, Wilder turned to children's books, partially on the urging of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who had found success in the literary trade herself. Fraser's examination of Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her daughter in Prairie Fires sets the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books.

An absorbing new biography [that] deserves recognition as an essential text.... For anyone who has drifted into thinking of Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books as relics of a distant and irrelevant past, reading Prairie Fires will provide a lasting cure.... Meanwhile, ‘Little House’ devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser devotes to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth. – The New York Times Book Review (front page)

The definitive biography... Magisterial and eloquent... A rich, provocative portrait. – Star Tribune
Impressive... Prairie Fires could not have been published at a more propitious time in our national life. – The New Republic

Unforgettable... A magisterial biography, which surely must be called definitive. Richly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is a compelling, beautifully written story.... One of the more interesting aspects of this wonderfully insightful book is its delineation of the fraught relationship between Wilder and her deeply disturbed, often suicidal daughter. But it is its marriage of biography and history – the latter providing such a rich context for the life – that is one of the great strengths of this indispensable book. – Booklist (starred review)

A fantastic book. We’ve long understood the Little House series to be a great American story, but Caroline Fraser brings it unprecedented new context, as she masterfully chronicles the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family alongside the complicated history of our nation. Prairie Fires represents a significant milestone in our understanding of Wilder’s life, work, and legacy. – Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie

Meticulously researched, feelingly told, Prairie Fires is the definitive biography of a major writer who did so much to mold public perceptions of the Western frontier. Once again, Caroline Fraser has shown that she is a master of the careful art of sifting a life, finding meaning in the large and small events that shaped an iconic American figure. Prairie Fires is a magnificent contribution to the literature of the West. – Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

… Elegantly written and impeccably researched, Prairie Fires is a major contribution to environmental history and literary biography. – Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature and Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
Engrossing… Exhilarating… Lovers of the series will delight in learning about real-life counterparts to classic fictional episodes, but, as Fraser emphasizes, the true story was often much harsher. Meticulously tracing the Ingalls and Wilder families’ experiences through public records and private documents, Fraser discovers failed farm ventures and constant money problems, as well as natural disasters even more terrifying and devastating in real life than in Wilder’s writing. She also helpfully puts Wilder’s narrow world into larger historical context. – Publishers Weekly

Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.

Biology / Ornithology / Guides

Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas by Dan L. Reinking (University of Oklahoma Press)

Illustrated with color photographs, maps, graphs, and tables, the Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas offers ornithologists and amateur birders alike a wealth of information about the status of bird species in Oklahoma. A companion to the Oklahoma Breeding Bird Atlas, this volume by biologist Dan L. Reinking provides a detailed portrait of more than 250 species, from the oft-spotted Red-tailed Hawk, Dark-eyed Junco, and Northern Flicker to the rarely seen Blue-headed Vireo, Cassin’s Finch, and Verdin.
Reinking is a biologist at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. A birder since age twelve, he is president of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society.

The atlas – one of the first of its kind for winter birds – uses a combination of species accounts, grouped by scientific order, and illustrations to provide a systematic inventory of winter bird distribution across Oklahoma’s counties. Each species account includes a photograph of the featured bird in winter plumage, along with a brief description outlining the times of year it appears in the state, its habitat, its distribution across the state’s counties, and its behavior. Maps indicate surveyed locations in which the species was spotted, while charts and tables further describe the bird's abundance.
The data compiled in Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas represent the work of more than 75 volunteers who conducted bird counts in both early and late winter for the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center. The data span five winters, 2003 to 2008, and 577 blocks of land.

For a variety of reasons likely including interesting territorial, courtship, nest-building, incubation, and chick-rearing behaviors, the obvious importance of nesting habitat to reproduction and population size, and perhaps even the more pleasant seasonal weather, studies of bird distribution using atlas methodology have thus far taken place largely during the nesting season.

Reinking in Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas says that as the first Oklahoma breeding bird atlas project wound down, and he and the other staff members of the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center were considering future projects, they proposed to conduct a similar survey instead focused on winter bird distribution in Oklahoma. Bird distributions that change over time can change in the winter season as well as in the nesting season, and such changes may be important to understanding population trends.

In brief summary of some of the survey results, the most widely distributed species was Red-tailed Hawk, which was recorded in 551 blocks (over 95 percent of surveyed blocks). Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Northern Cardinal, and American Kestrel were also among the most widely distributed species. The type and intensity of stratified random samples used in this project are most effective for detecting species of high to moderate distribution and abundance, but this survey effort was clearly intensive enough to pick up a number of species of very limited winter occurrence in the state such as Blue-headed Vireo, Cassin's Finch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, and Verdin. Not surprisingly, there were also a few species known to have very limited distribution in the state that surveys did not record, including Bushtit, Pinyon Jay, and Red-cockaded Woodpecker. As is typical of any large-scale effort to get skilled observers in the field and reporting their observations, several unusual (outside of normal winter range) records were unearthed, including a Green-tailed Towhee and Gray Catbird in central Oklahoma, a Sage Thrasher and Rufous Hummingbird in the northeast, a Say's Phoebe in the southeast, and a Pyrrhuloxia and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the southwest.

While the distribution maps included in the species accounts were the main objective of this project and were gathered through carefully designed, standardized surveys to ensure that the data were robust and the methods repeatable, Reinking also recognized that having skilled observers in the field provided an opportunity to collect additional data that, while less structured, could still be of value. Two types of additional data were collected: (1) Because atlas survey blocks selected for sampling represented only about one-twelfth of Oklahoma's total geographic area, all or parts of many of Oklahoma's major reservoirs did not fall within the boundaries of survey blocks. This could have led to an incomplete picture of the distributions of many water-bird species (such as ducks, gulls, grebes, etc.) from the survey block data. To help overcome this limitation, observers were asked to visit Oklahoma lakes and record the aquatic-associated species present. These lake surveys were a voluntary side project and therefore varied in number and location each winter, but about 100 water bodies were surveyed at least once during the five years of fieldwork, and nearly 80 species were recorded. (2) Many species with very local distributions or that occur in only small numbers are not well recorded with atlas-style surveys. A list of such species was provided to project volunteers and staff, with a request that sightings of these species anywhere in the state be reported, along with any more-common species that were found outside their normal range.

Additional objectives for the project included evaluating year-to-year variations in distribution and abundance of irruptive species, and looking for any changes in distribution from early winter to late winter in cold-sensitive species. Mountain Bluebird, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Townsend's Solitaire all showed strong patterns of year-to-year variation in their frequency of occurrence.

Beautifully illustrated, this landmark volume offers a wealth of easy-to-read information. Comprehensively researched and thoughtfully presented, the Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas will prove an invaluable resource for evaluating trends in bird populations that change over time due to such factors as urban expansion, rural development, and climate change.

Business & Economics / Taxes / Law / Self-Help / Reference

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status & Avoid IRS Problems, 5th edition by Stephen Fishman J.D. (Nolo)

Nonprofits enjoy privileges not available to other organizations. But these privileges come at a price: Nonprofits must comply with special IRS rules and regulations to maintain their tax-exempt status.
Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide is for those who have a nonprofit that is up and running, whether it's been one day or one decade. They have dealt with the IRS already because they have their tax-exempt status. Now they are wondering what else the IRS has in store for them and their nonprofit? The answer is: "A lot."

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide explains ongoing and annual IRS compliance requirements for nonprofits, including:

  • A detailed look at Form 990.
  • Line-by-line instructions for Form 990-EZ.
  • Conflicts of interest and compensation rules.
  • Charitable giving rules.
  • Unrelated taxable business income rules.
  • Lobbying and political activity restrictions.
  • Nonprofit bookkeeping.
  • Other key tax rules.

Stephen Fishman is the author of many Nolo books, including Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes, Every Landlord's Tax Deduction Guide and Home Business Tax Deductions: Keep What You Earn – plus many other legal and business books. He received his law degree from the University of Southern California and after time in government and private practice, became a full-time legal writer.

Fishman says that in the past, the IRS was relatively lax about monitoring and enforcing nonprofit compliance with tax rules. However, in response to widespread publicity about abuses by nonprofits and Congressional calls for better enforcement, the IRS is more closely monitoring nonprofits. The last thing a nonprofit wants to do is pay an accountant or a lawyer to deal with IRS compliance issues. Fortunately, readers can handle all or most compliance tasks themselves or with minimal help. Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide can help. It contains step-by-step guidance on:

  • How to file annual information returns with the IRS.
  • What types of records a nonprofit is required to keep.
  • Classifying workers as employees or independent contractors and dealing with employment taxes.
  • How to comply with the tax laws governing the use of volunteers.
  • The deductibility of charitable contributions.
  • When they must provide written substantiation for contributions.
  • Avoiding IRS taxes or penalties due to conflicts of interest, payment of excessive compensation, insider transactions, and other prohibited behavior.
  • How to avoid having to pay taxes on side businesses their nonprofit conducts to earn extra income.
  • What types of lobbying are and are not allowed.
  • How to steer clear of the prohibition on political activity.

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide is written for Section 501(c)(3) organizations that qualify as public charities and it does not cover the special tax rules applicable to private foundations.

Whether you are just starting your nonprofit or are well established, you’ll find all the information you need to avoid the most common issues nonprofits run into with the IRS.

[Nolo’s]… material is developed by experienced attorneys who have a knack for making complicated material accessible. – Library Journal
Nolo is a pioneer in both consumer and business self-help books and software. – Los Angeles Times

Nonprofits need to take ongoing compliance with IRS rules and regulations more seriously than ever before. Practical, comprehensive, and easy to understand, Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide is the essential tax reference book for nonprofits. Readers can turn to this book whenever they have a question about IRS rules or nonprofit compliance issues.

Business & Economics

The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa by Irene Yuan Sun (Harvard Business Review Press)

China is now the biggest foreign player in Africa.

It's Africa's largest trade partner, the largest infrastructure financier, and the fastest-growing source of foreign direct investment. Chinese entrepreneurs are flooding into the continent, investing in long-term assets such as factories and heavy equipment.

Considering Africa's difficult history of colonialism, one might suspect that China's activity there is another instance of a foreign power exploiting resources. But as author Irene Yuan Sun shows in The Next Factory of the World, it is really a story about resilient Chinese entrepreneurs building in Africa what they so recently learned to build in China – a global manufacturing powerhouse.

Sun co-leads McKinsey & Company's work on Chinese economic engagement in Africa and is the lead author of McKinsey's research report on this topic. Previously, she taught secondary school in rural Namibia.

Chinese investment gives rise to a tantalizing possibility: that Africa can industrialize in the coming generation. With a manufacturing-led transformation, Africa would be following in the footsteps of the United States in the nineteenth century, Japan in the early twentieth, and the Asian Tigers in the late twentieth. Many may consider this an old-fashioned way to develop, but as Sun argues in The Next Factory of the World, it's the only one that has proven to raise living standards across entire societies in a lasting way. And with every new Chinese factory boss setting up machinery and hiring African workers – and managers – that possibility becomes more real for Africa.

In Nigeria, the course of industrialization is shaped by reports from a free press; in Lesotho, by a strong union movement; in Kenya, by tribal and ethnic loyalties – all of which are largely absent in China. According to Sun, in the encounter between Chinese investors and a whole host of local African actors – workers, suppliers, distributors, governments, media – new types of organizations, partnerships, and power structures will be invented. Through this process, Africa has the chance not only to repeat the sort of industrialization that has come before, but to improve on it.

The Next Factory of the World is divided into two parts. Part one is about the realities of what it looks and feels like to be inside Chinese factories in Africa, and part two is about the possibilities – economic, political, and social – that these factories are unleashing. Part one starts with the basics of Chinese manufacturing investment in Africa: what sorts of factories exist, who owns them, what they make, how they came to be there, how they make money. Readers meet the Chinese entrepreneurs who run these factories and understand the business models that have allowed them to thrive so far from home. The entrepreneurs Sun met are tough, gritty, unglamorous people living out adventure stories – a reminder that the boldest forms of entrepreneurship exist far from the air-conditioned offices of Silicon Valley.

Part two of The Next Factory of the World explores the possibilities that industrialization is bringing to Africa: full employment, a new crop of homegrown factory owners, a more effective set of institutions, a path to prosperity for the marginalized. The lives of the Africans readers meet – from workers doing shifts on the assembly line to high-level government officials crafting national policy – show that industrialization is a process that is experienced, negotiated with, and enacted, all at the same time.

Within its two-part structure, The Next Factory of the World delves into four countries in particular: Nigeria, Lesotho, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Sun brings in continent-wide statistics throughout the book, but it's the stories from these four very different countries that allow readers to understand Africa's vast diversity without losing the specificity of its characters.

Taken together, these four countries by no means constitute a representative picture of Africa, but they do give a flavor across several important dimensions: big, medium, and small countries; eastern, western, and southern Africa; resource-rich, resource-poor, and somewhere-in-between economies. Despite these different contexts, one thing is common: Chinese factories are taking root. People need to pay attention.

Irene Sun's stunning new book on the rise of Chinese manufacturing in Africa takes us far from the superficial picture of Chinese investors as 'new colonialists.' Combining a journalist's pen and a business analyst's training, Sun grounds her astonishingly detailed portrait in extensive fieldwork and data, but most vividly in stories of the Chinese and African pioneers who just may be kick-starting Africa's industrial revolution. – Deborah Brautigam, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and founding Director, China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies
I agree with Irene Yuan Sun that Africa is on a clear path to industrialization and becoming the next factory of the world. This well-researched book provides practical lessons and raises pertinent questions. I highly recommend it to policy makers, entrepreneurs, academics, or anyone interested in the future of the global economy. – Aliko Dangote, Chairman and CEO, Dangote Group
This book is a vivid account of how China is reshaping the future of Africa. It is written in an accessible way while preserving its analytical rigor. I recommend it as an antidote for pessimism. – Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard Kennedy School; author, Innovation and Its Enemies
Impressively intertwining personal stories with the epic industrialization movements in China and Africa, this important book both increases our big-picture understanding and sheds needed light on factory floors dotted across the continent. We are fortunate to be able to peek into this fascinating world with Sun's sharp eyes and analysis. – Yinuo Li, Director, China Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A remarkable book. With fascinating and moving human stories along with incisive business and economic analysis, The Next Factory of the World will make readers rethink both China's role in the world and Africa's future in the globalized economy.

Children’s Books / Ages 6- 9 / Grades 1-4

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon by Judy Young, with illustrations by Jordi Solano (Sleeping Bear Press)

Comfort comes from the most unlikely of places in Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon.

Many centuries ago, there were two boys. One lived in the Forbidden City. At nine years of age his father died, leaving him emperor of China. The other was a nine-year-old peasant boy named Hu Wan.

Outside Beijing, China, in the year 1572, Hu Wan tends the vegetable garden with his Grandfather. It is full of jewel-colored vegetables but most special to Hu Wan are the gourds that are made into ladles and bowls and sold in the village market.

Each year, one special gourd is made into a cricket cage. This year, it is Hu Wan's turn to grow and carve the special gourd. When Hu Wan makes a small error, his grandfather tells him that, "...mistakes can be made into masterpieces." Carefully, Hu Wan crafts a sleeping dragon from the small gourd. Later when transporting goods to sell at the market, he learns that the young emperor is sad after the death of his father, and that the Imperial Guards are seeking gifts to cheer him up. Hu Wan knows what he needs to do. But will his simple gift be good enough for the emperor of China?

Author Judy Young is the award-winning author of more than twenty children's books, including A Book for Black-Eyed Susan, the Digger and Daisy beginning reader series, and The Wild World of Buck Bray middle-grade series. Illustrator Jordi Solano was born in Barcelona and although he still lives there, he enjoys traveling around the world. He studied fine arts and illustration and has been illustrating books for the last ten years. Recent projects include Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark and iDoyle: The Interactive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – A Scandal in Bohemia, an interactive book.

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon explores the ancient Chinese tradition of carving cricket cages, as well as the comfort a simple gift can make to someone in need.

Sleeping dragons. Singing crickets. And, `mistakes' that turn into masterpieces. Judy Young carves out a heartwarming tale set in ancient China that will inspire today's young readers to see the power and beauty of simple things and acts of kindness. – Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, author of PoPo's Lucky Chinese New Year

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon is fable-like tale reminding readers of all ages how the healing powers of empathy and compassion can cross boundaries, an important message for the Chinese New Year, also known as the ‘Spring Festival’ in modern China, and every other day of the year.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Health / Self-Help

The Self-Care Cookbook: A Holistic Approach to Cooking, Eating, and Living Well by Dr. Frank Ardito (Surrey Books, Agate)

The Self-Care Cookbook, written by health and wellness expert Dr. Frank Ardito, explores the intersection of cooking, eating, health, and wellness by offering 130 recipes designed to help readers improve every aspect of their lives. Ardito, who has spent his career helping people achieve their wellness goals, has put together a cookbook that showcases his more than two decades of experience in health and wellness science.
Ardito currently serves as professor and department chair of health and wellness promotion at College of Lake County in suburban Chicago. Ardito has worked with hundreds of organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society, and has coached or consulted with several Olympic athletes and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Unlike most diet and health cookbooks, The Self-Care Cookbook acknowledges that eating well means sometimes eating ‘bad.’ Ardito doesn’t believe in bad food, restrictions, or denial. True wellness – complete wellness – addresses both ends of the spectrum: fresh, light dishes that strengthen our bodies and wonderful indulgences that feed our souls.
The first of its kind, The Self-Care Cookbook is divided into 10 chapters, each of which focuses on one dimension of personal wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional, environmental, intellectual, nutritional, protectoral, social, occupational, and financial. Each chapter includes beautiful full-color photography and 13 recipes that support well-being through carefully selected ingredients and cooking methods. For example, the intellectual wellness chapter includes foods that improve cognition and kitchen techniques that challenge the brain.

The Self-Care Cookbook encourages readers to prepare these recipes by themselves, for themselves, as a way to create a sense of wholeness and satisfaction they may otherwise lack.

Each chapter includes recipes for starters, mains, sides, and desserts, such as:

  • Roasted Lemon Shrimp with Pan-Fried Grit Cakes
  • Apple Cake with Chocolate Chips       
  • Saffron Risotto
  • Ginger-Glazed Carrots
  • Savory Vegetable Crumble with Oats
  • Rib Chops with Pomegranate Marinade
  • BLT Baguette
  • Asian Chicken Wraps
  • Chicken Thigh Mole
  • Immunity Smoothie

While health is not a choice, wellness is always a choice. The Self-Care Cookbook teaches readers the 10 dimensions of wellness and helps them understand how to eat ‘well’ based on their own goals, plans, and aspirations. Many health and diet cookbooks focus on what not to eat and how to avoid doing so, but Ardito doesn't believe in restrictions or denial. Instead, he shows readers how to prepare and eat meals that promote specific wellness goals – even if that means eating chocolate cake for dessert.

As a coach I constantly remind my athletes that high-performance is affected by more than just physical practice. If athletes pay attention to all aspects of holistic wellness, their performance is sure to improve. Dr. Ardito’s book reminds us that cooking and nutrition is a fun and important part of total health, and it provides an easy to follow road map to help us feed and maintain all aspects wellness. – Mike Gattone, MS, CSCS, senior international coach, USA Weightlifting
This book awakens your senses with beautiful recipes and photos and your realization that feeling well is the best sensory pleasure of all. – Margaret Moore, cofounder of the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital
This book is a gem! In an insightful and meaningful way, Dr. Ardito perfectly combines cooking healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes with eating and wellness. Love it! – Dr. Kim Rostello, exercise physiologist, Chicago Blackhawks
I love how Dr. Ardito’s book shares the important role food plays in our overall well-being. It teaches the difference between dieting and a diet focused on supporting self-care. – Mary Jane Clark, MS, RN, CHES, wellness coordinator, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network
Looking for a book that provides concise and accurate information on how to improve personal wellness through making simple food choices? This self-care book does the job. – Dr. John W. Munson, former president, National Wellness Institute
Integrating unique aspects of wellness into delicious recipes is such a wonderful way to bridge our well-being with one of our most basic needs – food. – Scott Morcott, MD, FAAFP, chief medical officer, PathFinder Health

These recipes support every dimension of readers’ well-being and help them decide what kind of meal they need – and how to make it at any given moment. The Self-Care Cookbook is a must-read for anyone interested in taking charge of his or her own wellness.

Crafts & Hobbies / Fishing

Orvis From Lure to Fly: Fly Fishing for Spinning and Baitcast Anglers by Dave Karczynski (Lyons Press)

Standing on the shore, I once more cast my line into the stream, and I found the dream to be real, and the fable true. – Henry David Thoreau

What makes Orvis From Lure to Fly different from other entry-level fly fishing texts is that it speaks directly to anglers who are already proficient with conventional fishing tackle – spinning and baitcasting gear.

Rather than take a start-from-scratch approach to fly fishing Orvis From Lure to Fly helps anglers translate and transfer their existing knowledge base and skill set as it introduces and reinforces core fly fishing concepts. Covering bluegill, bass, trout, steelhead, salmon, pike, muskie and even carp, each chapter gives new fly anglers the tools they need for chasing their favorite species with a fly rod.
According to Dave Karczynski, no matter how old readers are, coming to fly fishing from conventional fishing is the best education they can have for fly fishing. In fact, Karczynski says, some of the very best saltwater fly anglers he knows started as commercial fishermen. Readers are already more than halfway there. Fly fishing is not some arcane black art. It’s just another way of sticking a hook in a fish’s mouth.
Karczynski is a writer and photographer specializing in sporting culture and narrative.

Readers of Orvis From Lure to Fly are joining someone they will come to feel is their fishing buddy. Karczynski takes them on a journey without condescension, and explains all the silly fly-fishing jargon. He references similarities and differences to conventional fishing. He speaks their language – starting with panfish.

Everybody associates fly fishing with trout, but if readers begin fly fishing by chasing trout they will quickly become discouraged and frustrated. Trout are hard to catch, unless they find wilderness brook trout or cutthroats that have seen minimal fishing pressure. So readers are advised to take fly-rod fishing in the order he presents it in the book and try not to be impatient. They have the rest of their lives to enjoy fly fishing alongside all the other methods of fishing readers enjoy.

Dave Karczynski could write about a puddle of mud drying out and make it interesting. When his work crosses my desk, I read it right now. And it’s always a treat. – Greg Thomas, former editor, Fly Rod & Reel

Perhaps because of his sharp photographic sense, Dave Karczynski has a way of looking at fly fishing from the inside out, then uncovering original and practical ways of addressing its challenges. An engaging and energetic writer, he holds the attention as few popular writers can. – Marshall Cutchin, publisher, MidCurrent

Whether readers prefer wading small rivers or fishing big water from a boat, Orvis From Lure to Fly is a gateway to the fascinating world of fly fishing. It is a groundbreaking book, ideal for any angler who wonders: "What's this fly fishing thing all about?"

Crafts & Hobbies / Woodworking / DIY

Finishing Wood by Editors of Fine Woodworking (The Taunton Press)

A great finish can make even a simple project look terrific. A bad finish can ruin the most well-built, sophisticated piece of furniture.

Finishing can be a daunting and mystifying task to many woodworkers and DIYers who fear wrecking their projects at this late stage in the process. Finishing Wood is a collection of articles from Fine Woodworking bringing together the best information on a rich variety of finishing techniques. Fine Woodworking has been publishing the best woodworking information for small shop woodworkers since 1975.

Finishing wood doesn't just embrace fine clear finishes like shellac and French polishing, but also bright pigmented lacquers, dyes and stains, milk paint, and ‘crackled’ paint. Finishing Wood features a whole section on the hot new trend of coloring wood. Also included is timeless information on preparing a surface before readers apply a finish (a critical first step) as well as tried-and-true methods for applying all the traditional finishes, whether by brush or by spraying.

Readers learn how to:

  • Sand between coats for a flawless finish.
  • Get great results with polyurethane.
  • Apply a tabletop finish with a hand-rubbed feel.
  • Accentuate carvings with color.
  • Spray water-based finishes.
  • Revive a worn finish.

Finishing Wood covers all the bases, from the basics and beyond. Readers start by understand­ing the common terms and why wood needs a finish, and learn about all the finishes available – including when they go bad. They also learn why surface prep is the most important part of the job. After all, a finish is meant to enhance the wood, and it will do the same for any defects left behind.

Readers get tips and techniques for applying the most common finishes, including shellac, polyurethane, oil, wax – even soap. Plus they get professional advice on the best ways to color wood. And if readers are looking for ways to finish fast, they will find it in the spraying section of the book, which includes expert buying advice and techniques that will guarantee success.

So, as readers are advised, don't fly blindly into the finishing steps. In Finishing Wood, readers get all the information they need to pick and apply the perfect finish for their projects.

Education / Higher / Writing

Class in the Composition Classroom: Pedagogy and the Working Class, 1st edition edited by Genesea M. Carter & William H. Thelin (Utah State University Press)

As community colleges and universities seek more effective ways to serve working-class students, and as educators, parents, and politicians continue to emphasize the value of higher education for students of all financial and social backgrounds, conversations must take place among writing instructors and administrators about how best to serve and support working-class college writers. 

Class in the Composition Classroom considers what college writing instructors should know about their working-class students – their backgrounds, experiences, identities, learning styles, and skills – in order to support them in the classroom, across campus, and beyond. In this volume, contributors explore the nuanced and complex meaning of ‘working class’ and the particular values these college writers bring to the classroom.

The real college experiences of veterans, rural Midwesterners, and trade unionists show that what it means to be working class is not obvious or easily definable. Resisting outdated characterizations of these students as under-prepared and dispensing with a one-size-fits-all pedagogical approach, contributors address how region and education impact students, explore working-class pedagogy and the ways in which it can reify social class in teaching settings, and give voice to students’ lived experiences.

Editors are Genesea M. Carter and William H. Thelin. Carter is associate director of composition at Colorado State University, and Thelin is professor of English at the University of Akron. The book has 21 contributors.

The 1st section of Class in the Composition Classroom, The Working-Class Student: Region, Education, and Culture, examines a range of students' identities from home literacies to gender and sexual identities to access issues. This section highlights the diversity of students with working-class backgrounds or experiences while dovetailing pedagogy with students' voices. These stories illustrate previously unexplored definitions of working class while also celebrating and appreciating the wealth of knowledge working-class students bring with them into the classroom.

The 2nd section, Pedagogy in the Composition Classroom, provides readers – instructors, teaching assistants, program directors, scholars, and others invested or interested in composition pedagogy and practice – with stories that illuminate the ways in which writing instructors develop classroom curriculum, practice, and strategies to support the working-class students in their classrooms, colleges, and universities. The contributors do not advocate for an easy importation of curriculum from one institution to another, but their essays provide insight into how pedagogical practices can be used to bolster students' identities, experiences, and needs.

Carter and Thelin say students' voices are a vital part of pedagogical inquiry. Without including them in the work, instructors cannot adequately refine their pedagogical practices, develop new curriculum, and impact programmatic policy. Therefore, in the 3rd section of Class in the Composition Classroom, What Our Students Say, the contributors share their classroom and programmatic research as a means toward publicly sharing their students' voices. In addition, these essays offer thoughtful research questions writing instructors may want to adapt and explore within their own classrooms.

Carter and Thelin look at the collection of essays in Class in the Composition Classroom as a start of a broader conversation about the importance of valuing the class component of marginalized student populations. They say much care must be incorporated into pedagogies and curricula so as to respond to students' identities and students' needs. The teaching of writing is difficult even among affluent populations. The contributors have delved into the recesses of working-class pedagogies. Their struggles should inspire everyone. There are no easy answers.

A real contribution to knowledge, in terms of theory of social class and working class, in terms of research on these subjects, and in terms of pedagogical practice. This is the perfect handbook for the new professor of writing. – James Zebroski, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, University of Houston

Class in the Composition Classroom will help writing instructors inside and outside the classroom prepare all their students for personal, academic, and professional communication. The collection gives concrete evidence for what a working-class ethos can produce in terms of practice and scholarship. And it contributes to an examination of the myriad factors influencing what teachers do as instructors of writing – and how students perceive the efforts.

History / Germany / Biographies & Memoirs

Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939 by Edgar Feuchtwanger, with Bertil Scali (Other Press)

In Hitler, My Neighbor an eminent historian recounts the Nazi rise to power from his unique perspective as a young Jewish boy in Munich, living with Adolf Hitler as his neighbor. Author Edgar Feuchtwanger was born in Munich in 1924 and immigrated to England in 1939. He studied at Cambridge University and taught history at the University of Southampton until he retired in 1989. Bertil Scali is a French journalist.

Feuchtwanger came from a prominent German-Jewish family – the only son of a respected editor and the nephew of a best-selling author, Lion Feuchtwanger. He was a carefree five-year-old, pampered by his parents and his nanny, when Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party, moved into the building opposite theirs in Munich. 
In 1933 the joy of this untroubled life was shattered. Hitler had been named Chancellor. Edgar's parents, stripped of their rights as citizens, tried to protect him from increasingly degrading realities.
Hitler, My Neighbor tells of Feuchtwanger's experience as a young boy, watching Hitler from inside the windows of his home as the world around him crumbles.

With a delightful and innocent voice of a child, Feuchtwanger chronicles the Nazi regime's rise in Germany and the way the world around him changes. As a young schoolboy, he loses friends whose parents are in support of Hitler and is eventually alienated when most of his classmates join the Hitler Youth. His schoolteacher instructs the children to draw swastikas and salute Hitler in support of Germany's growing power on a global scale. At home, his parents become increasingly paranoid and depressed. His mother practically becomes a recluse and his father eventually loses his job as an editor. His uncle, Lion, the famous author who frequently called out Hitler and the Nazi party's racist and damaging ideology, is forced to flee Germany and find exile in France. Even Edgar's live-in nanny is no longer allowed to work for his family as she not a Jewish woman and Jewish families are unable to employ staff with ‘German blood.’ While Germany begins to ridicule and outlaw its Jewish citizens, Feuchtwanger keeps a watchful, frightened eye on the mastermind behind it all, next door.

In 1939 Edgar was sent on his own to England, where he would make a new life, start a career and a family, and try to forget the nightmare of his past – a past that came rushing back when he decided, at the age of eighty-eight, to tell the story of his buried childhood and his infamous neighbor. Hitler, My Neighbor is an intimate portrait of life in Nazi Germany as Edgar bears witness to the turmoil surrounding the Night of Long Knives, the Anschluss, and Kristallnacht. Jews are banned from public spaces, arrested, and his own father is imprisoned at Dachau concentration camp.

The title says it all. A young Jewish boy growing up in Munich in the 1930s, Feuchtwanger writes about living across the street from Hitler, the future mass murderer he could see through his window. – New York Times Book Review
An intimate look at the horror wrought by Hitler. – Kirkus Reviews
Feuchtwanger is an excellent writer. He wisely focuses on the senses, an especially significant technique for authors of childhood experiences. He sees the world through the eyes of a child, yet delivers from the aspect of an adult trained in writing history. The result is an exceptionally powerful and emotionally charged story. – New York Journal of Books
Hitler, My Neighbor is a rare look at the conflicted, often horrifying childhood of a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany. – Bookreporter
Edgar Feuchtwanger’s captivating memoir brings an enigmatic and terrifying neighbor – glimpsed through a child’s eyes – into the heart of a Jewish family’s home life, where discussions revolve around how to make sense of Germany’s descent into fascism and, ultimately, how to survive it. – Despina Stratigakos, author of Hitler at Home

The narrative, presented in a rigorous and pleasant way... harmoniously blends the account of the everyday life of this wealthy, refined, and cultivated Jewish family... and that of political events as they unfolded under their windows. – Le Figaro

A deeply affecting autobiography that shows the damage one leader can have on both a national and global scale, Feuchtwanger's story is one that provides a small lens into the life of Adolf Hitler, and Hitler's evil strikes a personal cord on each page of Feuchtwanger's account. Now an award-winning historian, Feuchtwanger's life story is one of miraculous perseverance, and Hitler, My Neighbor exposes the courage, heart, and determination it took to survive Nazi Germany and to live to share that experience with the rest of the world.

History / Jewish

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust: Between Destruction and Construction by Maddy Carey (Bloomsbury Academic)

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust explores, for the first time, the impact of the Holocaust on the gender identities of Jewish men. Drawing on historical and sociological arguments, it specifically looks at the experiences of men in France, Holland, Belgium, and Poland.
The author is Maddy Carey, an independent scholar who completed her PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust starts by examining the gendered environment and ideas of Jewish masculinity during the interwar period and in the run-up to the Holocaust. The volume then goes on to explore the effect of Nazi persecution on various elements of male gender identity, analyzing a wide range of sources including diaries and journals written at the time, underground ghetto newspapers and numerous memoirs written in the intervening years by survivors. Taken together, these sources show that Jewish masculinities were severely damaged in the initial phases of persecution, particularly because men were unable to perform the gendered roles they expected of themselves. More controversially, however, Carey also shows that the escalation of the persecution and later enclosure – whether through ghettoization or hiding – offered men the opportunity to reassert their masculine identities. Finally, Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust discusses the impact of the Holocaust on the practice of fatherhood and considers its effect on the transmission of masculinity.

The Holocaust resulted in the deaths of around ninety percent of Polish Jewry, including 254,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto in two months of 1942, eighty percent of Dutch Jewry and nearly fifty percent of Belgian Jewry; yet historians know little or nothing about the impact that this had on the gender identities of half of these people: the men. Beyond a series of assumptions and some limited research, historians have paid little attention to the detail of these lives including the role of men in the home and in public, the significance of fatherhood and parenting and the multiple and diverse masculinities practiced by Jewish men in this period.

If we accept that this period, despite being one of unimaginable hardship, was also one in which Jewish people continued to develop their identities influenced by gender, class and race, then it is clear that understanding the detail of those lives constitutes a valuable historical study. It enhances our knowledge of the victims of the Holocaust, our understanding of Jewish identity and, more broadly, the role of gender in managing extreme and catastrophic experiences.

The outcomes of this relative neglect of male gender history in the Holocaust have been wide-ranging, but Carey in Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust focuses on three key concerns and their impact on the way in which we currently understand Jewish masculinity in this period: the marginalization of the male experience, the malformation of conclusions about male history and the narrowing of understanding of the spheres in which masculinity is formed and practiced.

A background study of masculinity is central to the credibility of Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust, as only through a detailed definition of what masculinity is and how it can be inferred from sources in which it is never explicitly mentioned, can it be possible to begin to draw meaningful conclusions. This book, therefore, will open with an analysis of three central bodies of theory and research: the primarily sociological study of masculinity, the historical application of masculinity theory and the history of Jewish masculinity.

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust is underpinned by an analysis of the theoretical study, both in sociology and history, of Jewish masculinity, very little of which relates specifically to the period covered by this book. This rigorous theoretical underpinning, which forms the basis of Chapter 1, is necessary precisely because of the limited research that exists in the field of masculinity in the Holocaust and because of the degree of extrapolation often required to understand the impact of gender on sources in which it is never specifically referenced. Having established this framework for study, Chapters 2, 3 and 4 lay out the substance of the book, analyzing and understanding a wide range of sources relating to Jewish masculinity in the Holocaust, looking not only at diaries written during the Holocaust and preserved often in extreme circumstances, but also at testimonies written and recorded in the years since the war, either as published books and unpublished manuscripts or as oral interviews, and collective sources.

Importantly, these chapters take the approach of dividing the Holocaust into two distinct periods, which Carey calls `deconstruction' and `enclosure.’ Chapter 2 discusses the period that Carey calls the deconstruction, and focuses on the initial stages of persecution, where Jewish men lost their jobs and their places in society as their lives were deconstructed piecemeal, but for the most part retained a certain freedom of movement and continued to live with their families and communities. In contrast, Chapter 3 focuses on the period which followed in which Jewish men and families were enclosed: enclosure being here defined loosely as a period spent by an individual, family or community in a space which they were not free to leave, either owing to German regulations or for their own safety and security. Necessarily, Chapter 3 concentrates largely on ghettoization and the experiences of Jewish men living in Poland but also includes examples from Belgium, Holland and France of families who spent periods in hiding. While these two chapters, covering the deconstruction and enclosure, are broadly chronological, neither period has a fixed beginning or end and what divides them is not a point in time, a date or an event, but a shift in circumstances, which came to different families and communities, for various reasons, at very different times.

Finally, Chapter 4 is a study of Jewish fatherhood during the Holocaust. It considers whether Jewish fathers understood and managed their masculinity in the same way as Jewish men more broadly, or whether the effect of children, questions of paternal respect and the often enhanced importance of providing and protecting changed male gender identities and practices. Many sources pertaining to fatherhood are written by children about their fathers, often those who were teenagers during the Holocaust. Whilst this presents some theoretical questions for a study of fatherhood, it also highlights interesting conclusions concerning the masculinity of youth and its formation, as well as the transmission of masculinity from father to son. Together, these offer an interesting addendum to the central conclusions of earlier chapters. Ultimately, a trajectory of collapse and rejuvenation can be charted for Jewish masculinity, and these nuances of fatherhood illustrate some important exceptions and reflections.

The conclusions of Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust are not universal and do not purport to be. Nonetheless, by beginning the work of understanding the normative Jewish identities of this period and the ways in which men enacted them, by analyzing some of the individual elements of these masculinities and by forming a picture of how men during the Holocaust succeeded and failed in performing their masculinities on a daily basis, we begin to be able to say something about the way in which the gender identities of Jewish men met and responded to the horrors of the Holocaust.

By combining gender theory with a thorough analysis of a wide range of sources, this study makes an important contribution to the still under-researched topic of masculinity in both Jewish history and Holocaust history. – Kim Wunschmann, DAAD Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Sussex, UK
A study that hones in on the experiences of Jewish men during the Holocaust as a 'gendered experience' is long overdue, and Maddy Carey's work fills this lacuna. Skillfully, and with a firm grasp on gender theory, she offers a rich and nuanced picture of how Jewish men negotiated their roles at home and in public at the onset of the Holocaust and during their enclosure in the ghettos. Wisely, Carey limits herself to four specific countries. Her original analysis will surely open the doors for more studies to follow that analyze Jewish men's experiences in other places and circumstances. The book ends with a compelling chapter on young Jewish men writing about their fathers during the Shoah. – Bjorn Krondorfer, Director of the Martin-Springer Institute and Endowed Professor of Religious Studies, Northern Arizona University

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust is an important study breaking new ground in its coverage of gender and masculinities and it is an important text for anyone studying the history of the Holocaust.

History / Social

God: A Human History by Reza Aslan (Random House)

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot explores humanity's quest to make sense of the divine, and sounds a call to embrace a deeper, more expansive understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, God, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large. Aslan is an acclaimed writer and scholar of religions.

God narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in the brain, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.”
But this projection is not without consequences. People bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature – compassion, thirst for justice – but all that is bad in it: greed, bigotry, penchant for violence. All these qualities inform religions, cultures, and governments.
More than just a history of the understanding of God, God is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality.

Aslan contends that this inborn compulsion has made religion a force for both good and bad throughout human history. In his telling, people justify most of the religious conflicts that continue to roil the world with the assumption that God's agenda mirrors their own.

The history of human spirituality outlined in Aslan's book closely mirrors his own faith journey from a spiritually-inclined child who thought of God as an old man with magical powers, to a devout Christian who imagined God as the perfect human being; from a scholastic Muslim who rejected Christianity in favor of a view of God as Divine Unity, to a Sufi forced to admit that the only way to remedy the problems of religion that derive from this ‘humanizing impulse’ is to ‘dehumanize’ God and instead adopt a pantheistic view of God as one and the same as the universe.

More than just a history of the understanding of God, God is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality.

Seeing the concept of God as an expression of the self, Asian... takes readers on a historic journey to trace the idea of God from prehistoric times to the rise of Islam. His contribution to this well-trodden path is to see God as a mirror of the believer. Not only does he advocate for theories that humans anthropomorphize God because of genetic or evolutionary predispositions to do so, but he goes so far as to embrace this as a form of belief – pantheism – that ‘God’ is indeed present in all creation. – Kirkus Review

The book showcases Asian's signature style – verging on academic but always accessible – and his methodological agnosticism as he sets aside claims of truth about ‘God’ in order to explore theories on how humans have come to believe in gods, humanize them, deify humanity, and conceive of gods across the ages. – Publishers Weekly

Breathtaking in its scope and controversial in its claims, God shows how humans from time immemorial have made God in their own image, and argues that they should now stop. Writing with all the verve and brilliance we have come to expect from his pen, Reza Aslan has once more produced a book that will prompt reflection and shatter assumptions. – Bart D. Ehrman, author of How Jesus Became God
Reza Aslan offers so much to relish in his excellent ‘human history’ of God. In tracing the commonalities that unite religions, Aslan makes truly challenging arguments that believers in many traditions will want to mull over, and to explore further. This rewarding book is very ambitious in its scope, and it is thoroughly grounded in an impressive body of reading and research. – Philip Jenkins, author of Crucible of Faith

In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, God explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of the understanding of God. Whether readers believe in one God or many gods or no god at all, the book will transform the way they think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

History / US

The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser (St Martin’s Press)

From acclaimed historian and biographer Rebecca Fraser comes a narrative history of the Mayflower and of the Winslow family, who traveled to America in search of a new world. Fraser, reviewer and broadcaster, daughter of noted British historian Lady Antonia Fraser, was President of the Brontë Society for many years.

As told in The Mayflower, the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly-equipped group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They had eighty casks of butter and two dogs but no cattle for milk, meat, or ploughing. They were ill-prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers. Fraser in The Mayflower traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America.

Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer, fled England and then Holland for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. Despite the intense physical trials of settlement, he found America exotic, enticing, and endlessly interesting.

Fraser describes the voyage to America as well as the trajectory the Winslow family took once they settled. Life for the Puritan settlers demanded a lot. They all had to become traders, explorers, and linguists. Yet, each settler also maintained unique ties to their former lives. Winslow named his home in America ‘Careswell’ after the home the Winslows once owned in Worcestershire. Even as a future of their own making called, they felt the pull of the past. Winslow would go on to have a special relationship with Massassoit, chief of the Wampanoags. It would become part of the legend of the first Thanksgiving. Ultimately, the peace would not last. Edward's son Josiah became the commander in chief of the New England militias that waged war against Massassoit's son in King Philip's War.

The families who crossed an ocean to make a new life in America are a source of endless fascination. Fraser takes readers into the lives of one of those families in The Mayflower. Fraser's extensive research took her to both New England and England's National Archives. The Mayflower represents a great deal of archival and new material that sheds fresh light on the ties that settlers maintained with their homeland. In telling the story of the Winslows, Fraser provides a British and European dimension to contextualize their journey. Fraser also provides valuable insights into the domestic lives of the fearless women who carved a space for themselves in the new world.

Rebecca Fraser brings the Pilgrims to vivid life. – Christian Science Monitor
Superbly written and enthralling … The Mayflower reads as though it were historical fiction, with a varied cast of characters and perspectives, fine details, background histories, and a holistic approach. – Booklist Fraser’s smooth storytelling provides a revealing look into the development of the [Plymouth] colony. The story of the Winslows is an effective way to experience the emotions and fears of the small band who dauntlessly sailed off to the New World. – Kirkus Reviews

Rebecca Fraser tells this familiar story with wonderful immediacy; the Winslows come across not as strange characters from the distant past, but as real people with passions and anxieties familiar to us all.... Fraser’s account of the Pilgrims’ progress will disappoint those who like their history simple. Hers is not a story of virtuous Pilgrims fighting to survive in a hostile land, nor is it about noble Native Americans duped by perfidious Albion. It is, though, a story of how friendships and community are destroyed by greed and vanity. – The Times (UK)
Epic in scope and pacing, this account of survival feels intimate, connecting readers to both groups in a refreshing way.... The author’s inclusion of indigenous history along with the struggles of women pilgrims and their importance to the community’s success is both appreciated and necessary... An engaging popular history. – Library Journal
Captivating, scholarly and addictively readable... Rebecca Fraser has the rare gift of being able to marshal and communicate a mountainous quantity of often original research in such a deft and elegant manner that it never becomes indigestible or irrelevant. – Financial Times (UK)

A superb account... This book stands as a significant contribution to the already well documented field of Pilgrim history... a must read for those interested in the unique beginnings of America. – Cynthia Hagar Krusell, historian and author of The Winslows of Careswell in Marshfield

Rebecca Fraser’s exquisitely researched book seems to offer something new to learn – and wonder over – on every page.... The Pilgrims believed that ‘the world could begin afresh in America,’ this gifted historian writes. As, eventually, it did. Deftly, indelibly, Fraser shows us the human cost. – Penelope Rowlands, Journalist and author of Aaron Burr's Second Act

The author puts the reader into the period with a front-row seat as the story unfolds... Fraser’s attention to historical detail is excellent and enhances this riveting book! – Judith H. Swan, Former Governor General, General Society of Mayflower Descendants

A well written and far ranging perspective on the Pilgrims and seventeenth century New England by a noted student of English history. – Francis J. Bremer, Coordinator, New England Beginnings and author of Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism

The Mayflower, a riveting narrative history, is a highly-readable account of a family that responded uniquely to the challenges of making a life in America.

Literature & Fiction

A Hundred Small Lessons: A Novel by Ashley Hay (Atria Books)

Perhaps it matters, at the moment, to make the most of these rich and private stories of ourselves. Perhaps it matters to celebrate the tiny points of being and doing and connecting that make us who we are, and make us human. – Ashley Hay

From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman’s Wife comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.
In A Hundred Small Lessons when Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie’s life with Lucy.
In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life – the moments she can’t bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.
Over the course of one hot summer, these two families’ stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways. Through the stories of two mothers from two different generations – one newly arrived in motherhood, the other prepared to leave it – this enchanting novel delivers an unforgettable and poignant message about how decisions form a life that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

A warmhearted and tender novel infused with a sense of dreaminess, shot through with clashes of reality, A Hundred Small Lessons explores the seemingly trivial decisions and invisible moments that come to make a life. Through the richly entwined narratives of these ordinary, extraordinary women, Hay weaves an intricate, intelligent observation of the human psyche.

If you haven’t read anything by Ashley Hay, you are in for a treat: her language is lyrical, the lives she creates are authentic, her words are a delight to read. This is another delightful book from a very talented writer. – WAMC Radio
This contemplative novel explores the emotions of saying goodbye to a life of familiarity and embracing the unknown… Readers who loved the quiet introspection of Anita Shreve’s The Pilot’s Wife and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge will enjoy the detailed emotional journeys of Hay’s characters. Their stories will linger long after the final page is turned. – Library Journal
If home is where the heart is, when does a house become a home – or, conversely, stop being one? Two women struggle to find the answer… Elsie’s aging memories give the book a timeless sense of marriage and motherhood and perhaps a flicker of what Lucy may find in her future. The home that Elsie must give up with regret, Lucy must learn to love. This is typical of Hay who slowly weaves a tale of past and present lives, exploring the sense that the gap between the two women is not impervious to sensitive souls. Both Elsie and Lucy are finely and sympathetically drawn, and their lives highlight issues that affect many women. A cerebral tale, slow-moving but profound. – Kirkus
A Hundred Small Lessons is a reflective, mystical meditation on interconnectedness and shared experiences. With parallel narratives and quietly evocative prose, Ashley Hay (The Railwayman's Wife) unfolds the similarities between two women of different generations, alongside their shifts in identities and expectations, as they grow as mothers amid the familiar questions, decisions and insecurities. – Shelf Awareness

Engaging… Hay’s perceptive prose illuminates both Elsie’s and Lucy’s lives, resulting in a rich dual character study that spans generations. – Publishers Weekly
Her intricately layered story, bolstered by perspectives of an old mother and a young one, tackles the thorny questions of what it means to become a parent and how it feels to be no longer needed as one. Lyrical and tenderhearted…. – Booklist

Hay truly encapsulates how our lives are interwoven. We are sent on a journey through the decades as small events and echoes of memories overlap, intersect and suddenly converge into a beautiful portrait spanning the past, present and future. Every word has a purpose and resonates… Readers will fall in love with the vivid landscapes of Brisbane and the impeccable, lyrical language that seeps from the pages. – RT Book Reviews
A book that overflows with gratitude for the hard, beautiful things of this world, and for the saving worlds of our imagination. – Helen Garner, award-winning author of Everywhere I Look
A luminous evocation of ordinary lives and the city that shapes them. Ashley Hay brings a pointillist eye to the daily miracles of love, of chance, of belonging. – Kristina Olsson, award-winning author of Boy, Lost

A Hundred Small Lessons is a story that everyone can connect to, from the emotional attachments we build to physical locations that become part of our lives, to the difficulty of saying goodbye to them. Through the richly intertwined narratives of two ordinary, extraordinary women, Hay weaves an intricate, big-hearted story of what it is to be human. Written in her extraordinary poetic prose and with the keen emotional insight, A Hundred Small Lessons explores the beauty and impact of small moments that accumulate over many years.

Philosophy / Art / TV & Film

American Horror Story and Philosophy: Life Is but a Nightmare edited by Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series, Vol 114: Open Court)

In American Horror Story and Philosophy, philosophers with varying backgrounds and interests explore different aspects of this popular ‘erotic thriller’ TV show, with its enthusiastic cult following and strong critical approval. The result is a collection of intriguing and provocative thoughts on deeper questions prompted by the creepy side of the human imagination.

American Horror Story and Philosophy is Volume 114 in the series, Popular Culture and Philosophy, with Series Editor George A. Reisch. Editors are Richard Green and Rachel Robison-Greene. Greene is Professor Philosophy at Weber State University. Robison-Greene is the co-editor of Orange Is the New Black and Philosophy: Last Exit from Litchfield and Girls and Philosophy: This Book Isn't a Metaphor for Anything. The book has 17 contributors.

The book is organized around the seasons of the show. As an ‘anthology show,” American Horror Story has a unique structure in the horror genre because it explores distinct subgenres of horror in each season. As a result, each season raises its own set of philosophical issues.

The show’s first season, Murder House, is a traditional haunted house story. Philosophical topics expounded in American Horror Story and Philosophy’s first season include: the moral issues pertaining to a mass murderer as one of the season’s main protagonists; the problem of other minds. And whether it is rationally justified to fear the Piggy Man.
Season Two, Asylum, takes place inside a mid-twentieth-century mental hospital. Among other classic horror subgenres, this season includes story lines featuring demonic possession and space aliens. Chapters inspired by this season include such topics as: the ethics of investigative reporting and whistle-blowing; personal identity and demonic possession; philosophical problems arising from eugenics; and the ethics and efficacy of torture.
Season Three, Coven, focuses on witchcraft in the contemporary world. Chapters motivated by this season include: sisterhood and feminism as starkly demonstrated in a coven; the metaphysics of traditional voodoo zombies; the uses of violent revenge; and the metaphysics of reanimation.
Season Four, Freak Show, takes place in a circus. Philosophical writers in American Horror Story and Philosophy look at life under the Big Top as an example of ‘life imitating art’; several puzzles about personal identity and identity politics; the ethical question of honor and virtue among thieves; as well as several topics in social and political philosophy.
Season Five, Hotel, is, among other disturbing material, about vampires. Chapters inspired by this season include: the ethics of creating vampire progeny; LGBT-related philosophical issues; and existentialism as it applies to serial killers.
Season Six, Roanoke, often considered the most creative of the seasons so far, partly because of its employment of the style of documentaries with dramatic reenactments, and its mimicry of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Among the philosophical themes explored in the season are what happens to moral obligations under the Blood Moon; the proper role of truth in storytelling; and the defensibility of cultural imperialism.

Much to the surprise of many thoughtful people, it turns out that demons, ghosts, zombies, and vampires actually can teach us quite a bit about the real world. American Horror Story and Philosophy shows us how to think about big picture issues. It's what good philosophy does. Whether it's ethics, evil, the human condition, or even something as grandiose as the meaning of life, it's scary how much fine philosophy is buried inside this highly entertaining volume. – Jack Bowen, author of If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers and The Dream Weaver: One Boy's Journey Through the Landscape of Reality

American Horror Story and Philosophy shows us the philosophical significance of the alluring terrors upon which this addictive TV show is based – and it shows us the ways in which American Horror Story can help us interpret our own stories. Be of like mind! Join us! – Dam Doll, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Delta College, Michigan

The dead do tell tales. Gothic tales on steroids – it's an uncanny world after all. American Horror Story and Philosophy truly is to die for. It masses the tropes and immerses the reader in sagas of vampires, specters, witches, and zombies. And what would au currant horror be without a crazed clown or two? – Ron Hirschbein, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, California State University, Chico

With a delightfully insane contemplation of demonic possession, American Horror Story and Philosophy routinely captures the essence of harrowing secrets that drives a terrific and terrible truth knocking on all of our doors! – Brian A. Kinnaird, Chair of Criminal Justice, Bethany College

What constitutes personal identity over time? Are there souls that exist separate from bodies? What can we say about demons? The Devil? God? What's the true nature of evil? You might not be pondering these fairly deep questions while watching episodes of American Horror Story, but after you read this book, you won't be able to help but reflect upon them. And your appreciation for this profound show will grow exponentially, I assure you. – Robert Arp, author of 1001 Ideas that Changed the Way We Think

Philosophers of occult lore have conspired to prepare a simmering cauldron of tasty yet toxic intellectual morsels. American Horror Story and Philosophy gives readers astounding new insights into the blood-curdling yet endlessly addictive TV show, American Horror Story.

Psychology & Counseling / Christianity / Reference

Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal, 2nd edition by Mark A. Yarhouse & James N. Sells (Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books: IVP Academic)

In Family Therapies, 2nd edition, Mark A. Yarhouse and James N. Sells survey the major approaches to family therapy and treat, within a Christian framework, significant psychotherapeutic issues. Yarhouse is the Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology at Regent University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and is a core faculty member in the doctoral program in clinical psychology. Sells, professor of counseling and director of the PhD program in counselor education and supervision at Regent University, is a licensed psychologist.

This volume was written for those studying counseling, social work, psychology, or marriage and family therapy. Fully updated and revised, this second edition includes new chapters on cohabitation and LGBTQ+ marriage and family formation. Other issues covered include:

  • Crisis and trauma.
  • Marital conflict.
  • Separation, divorce, and blended families.
  • Substance abuse and addictions.
  • Gender, culture, economic class, and race.
  • Sexual identity.

Yarhouse and Sells conclude Family Therapies by casting a vision for an integrative Christian family therapy and offer timely wisdom for therapeutic practice in the midst of a diverse and rapidly changing global context.

While the first edition of this book has made a significant contribution in the education of family clinicians – particularly within the Christian faith community – this edition provides opportunity for an update, a chance to think again of the understanding of marriages and families and how the mental health professions and the church become trained to conduct intervention. It also provides opportunity to address how the church and the community of Christian counselors might respond to the rapid shifts in social attitudes and behaviors pertaining to marriage and family structures and perspectives. Yarhouse and Sells in Family Therapies say they have taken what was and remains needed for the training of family counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals and added more of the twenty-first century.

Family Therapies is divided into four parts. Part one (chaps. 1-2) sets the stage for discussing the first-generation models of family therapy. Chapter one explores a distinctively Christian perspective on the family. Chapter two is a discussion of the field of family therapy, how it developed, and some key terms that help readers better understand the field.

Part two of the book (chaps. 3-12) devotes one chapter apiece to the major models of family therapy developed in what is sometimes referred to as the first generation of family therapists (e.g., structural family therapy). If each approach to family therapy is a ‘map’ for getting families from a place of some kind of dysfunction to a place of better functioning, then each chapter in this section contains an explanation of the map, followed by a discussion of the theoretical and philosophical assumptions and practical implications. Yarhouse and Sells then focus on Christian critique and engagement of the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings and the practical issues involved in using specific techniques associated with that theory. They also provide brief reflections that tie back to the three foundational themes introduced in chapter one: family identity, family functioning, and family relationships. The closing chapter of this section of Family Therapies (chap. 12) introduces a framework for integrative Christian family therapy.

Part three (chaps. 13-20) extends the discussion by taking topics that are commonly addressed in family therapy and inviting Christians to interact with the relevant materials. It introduces readers to the issues (e.g., crisis and trauma, marital conflicts) and then review the literature in that area, followed by Christian engagement in light of what Yarhouse and Sells see as particularly valuable from the first-generation models of family therapy and in light of what they propose for an integrative Christian family therapy. In the second edition of Family Therapies they add a chapter on cohabitation and significantly revised the chapter on LGBT+ couples and families. Cohabitation is an increasingly popular entryway into marriage, and it is a relationship status in and of itself. They want to help readers grapple with that reality. An additional reality is the success of the marriage equality movement and the likelihood that Christian clinicians will work with LGBT+ couples and families in the years to come. They also want readers to be familiar with those cultural shifts and to think deeply and well about some of the concerns that arise.

Part four (chap. 21) reflects their desire to cast a vision for integrative Christian family therapy/counseling/ministry. In particular, they see the need for local family therapy to be influenced by a shrinking, global world in which therapists will need to expand their understanding of family structure and relationships.

Yarhouse and Sells have created a masterpiece work analyzing approaches to family therapies. This is going to be a new classic, matching the accomplishment of Jones and Butman's analysis of psychotherapies in their book, Modern Psychotherapies. – Everett L. Worthington Jr., professor of psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Mark Yarhouse and James Sells have written a very helpful book that is comprehensive, biblically based and well-written. I highly recommend it as an excellent text for those interested in a Christian approach to family therapy. – Siang-Yang Tan, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and senior pastor, First Evangelical Church of Glendale, California
In Family Therapies, Yarhouse and Sells provide an important resource for Christian scholars and therapists. The first two sections provide a thoughtful foundation and Christian critique of existing therapy models, reminiscent of what Stanton L. Jones and Richard E. Butman accomplished in their classic book, Modern Psychotherapies, but with a focus on models of family therapy. The third section, which could have been a book on its own, looks at contemporary issues in relation to a Christian perspective on family therapy. The final section casts a vision for an integrative model of family therapy. This is a significant book that will help shape the training and practice of Christian therapists. – Mark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPP, professor of psychology, George Fox University, and coauthor of Integrative Psychotherapy
Yarhouse and Sells have written a practical, concise, invaluable, one- of-a-kind resource that integrates biblical, theological, psychological, theoretical, clinical and practical resources in ways that help the reader look at the family and family therapy through different lenses and better understand the individual in the context of their broader family system. This book will be read and reread by a broad audience. – Gary J. Oliver, Th.M., Ph.D., professor of psychology and practical theology, John Brown University

A landmark work, Family Therapies, 2nd edition, is an indispensable resource for those in the mental health professions, including counselors, psychologists, family therapists, social workers, and pastors.

Social Science / Politics / International / Public Policy / Global

Beyond Gridlock, 1st edition by Thomas Hale & David Held et al. (Polity)

It is now conventional wisdom to see the great policy challenges of the 21st century as inherently transnational. It is also common to note the failures of the international institutions the world relies on to address such challenges. As the acclaimed 2013 book Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When We Need It Most argued, the world increasingly needs effective international cooperation, but multilateralism appears unable to deliver it in the face of deepening interdependence, rising multipolarity, and the growing complexity and fragmentation that characterize the global order.

The Gridlock authors say they have now partnered with a group of leading experts to offer a trenchant reassessment of elements of the argument. Comparing anomalies and exceptions to multilateral dysfunction across a number of spheres of world politics, Beyond Gridlock explores seven pathways through and beyond gridlock. While multilateralism continues to fall short, Beyond Gridlock identifies systematic means to avoid or resist these forces and turn them into collective solutions.

The primary authors are Thomas Hale and David Held. Hale is Associate Professor of Public Policy (Global Public Policy) at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Held is Master of University College, and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University. The book has 13 contributors.

According to Hale and Held in the preface, there are increasing signs that the liberal international order after 1945 now verges on collapse.

How the existential challenges in the book are governed, and why their governance has been so inadequate, has preoccupied us for many years. Over the last three years Hale and Held say they have explored and examined the exceptions, and tried to understand the balance between the pressures of gridlock, on the one side, and pressures for change, on the other.

Beyond Gridlock is distinctive in two ways. First, it offers a unique and comprehensive insight into political stasis and change at the global level – what works, and why, and where. Second, it has been written in an innovative way. Hale and Held brought a group together twice, for far-ranging and intense discussions in which expertise on specific topics came into dialogue with arguments concerning cross-cutting global trends. This process laid the foundations for the work on Beyond Gridlock, which began as an edited volume of essays but ended as a highly integrated, multi-authored text that deploys jointly developed theoretical and analytic tools. The result is an original and comparative analysis of the fundamental challenges of global governance in the twenty-first century.

Beyond Gridlock takes the dominant trends that cause gridlock and stagnation in international cooperation as a starting point, but, at the same time, asks if there are systematic pathways through or beyond gridlock that we can detect and build on. The goal is not just to assess gridlock, but to learn something more general about the patterns through which, and conditions under which, multilateral blockages are created, adapted to, and potentially overcome in contemporary world politics.

To achieve this, Beyond Gridlock compares different issue areas. It explores gridlock, and systematic exceptions to it, in global governance and uses the results of that analysis to evaluate prospects for more effective global governance going forward. Hale and Held focus on a significant range of policy sectors in order to explore whether and how change is possible. By identifying pathways through and beyond gridlock in these sectors, the book shows which pathway (or pathways) explain change in which policy sectors, and why. It allows a comparison of what works where, and thereby helps illuminate which pathways are most likely to yield significant policy shifts in the direction of a more effective governance, and under what circumstances.

The introduction begins by recalling the thesis set out in the 2013 book Gridlock. The sections highlight the debate about this book and criticisms leveled at it; identify exceptions and anomalies that compromise, qualify, or enrich the argument; and explore the steps needed to examine how gridlock can be overcome. The dynamics discussed in the chapters do not overturn the relevance of the core gridlock argument; rather, they explore and highlight how global governance can adapt, modulate, and even succeed despite – and even, in some cases, because of – gridlock. In this way, Beyond Gridlock seeks to create an evidence base for more effective management of global challenges in the twenty-first century.

Each chapter is structured by an initial assessment of gridlock, and then goes on to evaluate the particular pathways through and beyond gridlock in the given field. The main contours of the institutional architecture and its relevant history are traced. Following an assessment of the presence or absence of gridlock, the chapters consider those pathways through or beyond it that can be observed in existing arrangements or current processes of change. The chapters also consider, prospectively, what pathways may come to play a role – or not – in the future. The last chapter of Beyond Gridlock draws together these observations about past, present, and prospec­tive governance arrangements in the issue area, and the causal logics that govern them.

In the conclusion, Hale and Held summarize their findings and develop their implications. In particular they assess the pressures generating gridlock and the opportunities for moving beyond it. They note that gridlock metastasizes by feeding into anti-global backlashes in national politics, reactions that further reduce our ability to cooperate internationally. But they also argue, drawing on the comparative analysis in the chapters, that numerous paths forward can be detected. Many of these offer incremental steps, and some promise more fundamental transformations. Even small steps through gridlock can point to avenues beyond it. And larger transformations, noted by some authors, offer the promise of new paradigms for problem solving.

Beyond Gridlock is a powerful, authoritative, timely, and ultimately sobering sequel to Gridlock… Required reading for all scholars and practitioners aiming to strengthen the global cooperation that is vital for the world’s survival and sustainable development. – Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University

Hale and Held's overarching vision, and their collaborators' deep-dive into specific challenges, provide the frontier, key statements on global gridlock. Everyone needs to read Hale and Held. – Danny Quah, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS

Getting us beyond current gridlock will require every good idea we can muster. This book shows the way forward. – John Gerard Ruggie, Harvard University

Hale and Held unfold a fascinating map of multiple pathways of change that are never prescribed, sometimes mutually reinforcing, always challenging. – Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UNFCCC 2010-2016

Beyond Gridlock offers a vital new perspective on world politics as well as a practical guide for positive change in global policy. Overall, the book offers a comprehensive assessment of the relevance of the gridlock argument and pathways through or beyond it, in critical areas of world politics. It is not an overstatement to say that the pathways through and beyond gridlock mapped in Beyond Gridlock guide us towards an understanding of how to change the world.


Contents this Issue:

From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean, 1st edition edited by Julie Hruby & Debra Trusty (Oxbow Books)

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged by Robert Gandt, narrated by Tom Perkins (Tantor Media)

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel – Hardcover by Robert Gandt (W.W. Norton & Company)

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books)

Oklahoma Winter Bird Atlas by Dan L. Reinking (University of Oklahoma Press)

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status & Avoid IRS Problems, 5th edition by Stephen Fishman J.D. (Nolo)

The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa by Irene Yuan Sun (Harvard Business Review Press)

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon by Judy Young, with illustrations by Jordi Solano (Sleeping Bear Press)

The Self-Care Cookbook: A Holistic Approach to Cooking, Eating, and Living Well by Dr. Frank Ardito (Surrey Books, Agate)

Orvis From Lure to Fly: Fly Fishing for Spinning and Baitcast Anglers by Dave Karczynski (Lyons Press)

Finishing Wood by Editors of Fine Woodworking (The Taunton Press)

Class in the Composition Classroom: Pedagogy and the Working Class, 1st edition edited by Genesea M. Carter & William H. Thelin (Utah State University Press)

Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1939 by Edgar Feuchtwanger, with Bertil Scali (Other Press)

Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust: Between Destruction and Construction by Maddy Carey (Bloomsbury Academic)

God: A Human History by Reza Aslan (Random House)

The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser (St Martin’s Press)

A Hundred Small Lessons: A Novel by Ashley Hay (Atria Books)

American Horror Story and Philosophy: Life Is but a Nightmare edited by Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series, Vol 114: Open Court)

Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal, 2nd edition by Mark A. Yarhouse & James N. Sells (Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books: IVP Academic)

Beyond Gridlock, 1st edition by Thomas Hale & David Held et al. (Polity)