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New Books at PEOSTA

Recent Library Acquisitions by Fiscal Year and Subject Area


Click on a title below, or explore complete listings along the left-hand column of subject areas.

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Selected New Books @ Peosta

Have You Eaten Grandma?: or, The Life-Saving Importance of Correct Punctuation, Grammar, and Good English /

Reviewed: PW 24 June 2019 p. 164.
Description: Our language is changing, literary levels are declining, and our grasp of grammar is at a crisis point. From commas to colons, apostrophes to adverbs, there are countless ways we can make mistakes when writing or speaking. But do not despair! Great Britain’s most popular grammar guru has created the ultimate modern manual for English speakers on both sides of the Atlantic. In this brilliantly funny and accessible guide to proper punctuation and so much more, Gyles Brandreth explores the linguistic horrors of our times, tells us what we've been doing wrong and shows us how, in the future, we can get it right every time. Covering everything from dangling participles to transitive verbs, from age-old conundrums like “lay” vs. “lie,” to the confounding influences of social media on our everyday language, this is an endlessly useful and entertaining resource for all. (publ.)

Officer Clemmons: A Memoir /

Description: Details the incredible life story of François Clemmons, beginning with his early years in Alabama and Ohio, marked by family trauma and loss, through his studies as a music major at Oberlin College, where Clemmons began to investigate and embrace his homosexuality, to a chance encounter with Fred Rogers which changed the whole course of both men’s lives, leading to a deep, spiritual friendship and mentorship spanning nearly forty years. When he earned the role as “Officer Clemmons” on the award-winning television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Clemmons made history as the first African American actor to have a recurring role on a children’s program. A new, wide world opened for Francois–but one which also required him to make painful personal choic-es, and sacrifices. (publ.)

A Wave of Stars /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 12 July 2020 p. 18.
Description: Can a seal and a turtle ever become human? Mimbi and Kipo thought that was only a legend. (publ.)

Developing Clinical Judgment for Professional Nursing and the Next-Generation NCLEX-RN Examination /

Note: Faculty Request.
Description: This collection of practical thinking exercises has been developed to incorporate the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Clinical Judgment Model (CJM) and to emphasize the new item types that will be integral to the NCLEX-RN exam. Exercises range from basic to more complex and address all specialty areas to fully prepare you for all facets of the exam. (publ.)

Let’s Talk: How English Conversation Works /

Description: Banter, chit-chat, gossip, natter, tete-a-tete: these are just a few of the terms for the varied ways in which we interact with one another through conversation. David Crystal explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation. We tend to think of conversation as something spontaneous, instinctive, habitual. It has been described as an art, as a game, sometimes even as a battle. Whichever metaphor we use, most people are unaware of what the rules are, how they work, and how we can bend and break them when circumstances warrant it. (publ.)

Prisoners of History: What Monuments to World War II Tell Us About Our History and Ourselves /

Reviewed: PW 12 Oct. 2020 p. 66; TLS 27 Nov. 2020 p. 10.
Description: Keith Lowe, an award-winning author of books on WWII, saw monuments around the world taken down in political protest and began to wonder what monuments built to commemorate WWII say about us today. Focusing on these monuments, Lowe looks at World War II and the way it still tangibly exists within our midst. He looks at all aspects of the war from the victors to the fallen, from the heroes to the villains, from the apocalypse to the rebuilding after devastation. He focuses on twenty-five monuments including The Motherland Calls in Russia, the US Marine Corps Memorial in the USA, Italy’s Shrine to the Fallen, China’s Nanjin Massacre Memorial, The A Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, the balcony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and The Liberation Route that runs from London to Berlin. Unsurprisingly, he finds that different countries view the war dif-ferently. In monuments erected in the US, Lowe sees triumph and patriotic dedications to the heroes. In Europe, the monuments are melancholy, ambiguous and more often than not dedicated to the victims. In these differing international views of the war, Lowe sees the stone and metal expressions of sentiments that imprison us today with their unchangeable opinions. Published on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, Prisoners of History is a 21st century view of a 20th century war that still haunts us today. (publ.)

How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness /

Reviewed: LJ Aug. 2019 p. 114.
Description: In 1882, Jean-Martin Charcot was the premiere physician in Paris, having just established a neurology clinic at the infamous Salpetriere Hospital, a place that was called a “grand asylum of human misery.” Assessing the dismal conditions, he quickly set up to upgrade the facilities, and in doing so, revolutionized the treatment of mental illness. Many of Charcot's patients had neurosyphilis (the advanced form of syphilis), a disease of mad poets, novelists, painters, and musicians, and a driving force behind the overflow of patients in Europe's asylums. A sexually transmit-ted disease, it is known as “the great imitator” since its symptoms resemble those of almost any biological disease or mental illness. It is also the perfect lens through which to peel back the layers to better understand the brain and the mind. Yet, Charcot’s work took a bizarre turn when he brought mesmerism–hypnotism–into his clinic, abandoning his pursuit of the biological basis of illness in favor of the far sexier and theatrical treatment of female “hysterics,” whose symptoms mimic those seen in brain disease, but were elusive in origin. This and a general fear of contagion set the stage for Sigmund Freud, whose seductive theory, Freudian analysis, brought sex and hysteria onto the psychiatrist couch, leaving the brain behind. (publ.)

Logged In and Stressed Out: How Social Media is Affecting Your Mental Health and What You Can Do About It /

Description: America is facing a mental health crisis. Studies show that the average American is spending more than 10 hours a day in front of their screens, suicide rates are at an all-time high, and mental health professionals are working hard to address social media’s role in this epidemic. … Too often, bad feelings from social media interactions linger, negatively affecting our off-line lives and worsening already present mental health is-sues. … By setting needed limits and embracing new practices, it is possible to improve mental health when using social media. Licensed psychologist Paula Durlofsky details the whys and hows of creating a safe digital space, cultivating digital and social media mindfulness, applying the techniques of metalizing while consuming social media, and decreasing social media and digital reactivity. She offers suggestions for how to use social media and digital technology to create meaningful social interactions and positive mental health and provides readers with practical steps to put these ideas into action. (publ.)

Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness /

Reviewed: PW 12 Oct. 2020 p. 64.
Description: For centuries, scientists and society cast moral judgments on anyone deemed mentally ill, confining many to asylums. In this work, an-thropologist Roy Richard Grinker chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental illness stigma from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today's hightech economy. Grinker infuses the book with the personal history of his family’s four genera-tions of involvement in psychiatry, including his grandfather’s analysis with Sigmund Freud, his own daughter’s experience with autism, and culminating in his research on neurodiversity. Drawing on cutting-edge science, historical archives, and cross-cultural research in Africa and Asia, the author explains how we are transforming mental illness and offers a path to end the shadow of stigma. (publ.)

Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 20 Dec. 2020 p. 14.
Description: In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman’s bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son’s birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life. No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women’s rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society. This is a mother’s searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story–and that of Afghan women–Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity. (publ.)

I Tried To Change So You Don’t Have To: True Life Lessons /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 23 August 2020 p. 7.
Description: The Emmy Award-winning cohost of Fox’s The Real and SiriusXM’s Café Mocha presents a memoir about learning to resist the pressures of conformity while unlocking personal potential through self-acceptance. Love grew up in housing projects in Detroit, more worried about affording her next meal than going on a diet. When she moved to Hollywood after graduating college with an engineering degree, seeking to break out in the entertainment world, she spent years trying to fit in. Here she tells the story of how she overcame the trap of self-improvement and instead learned to embrace who she was. In exploring her embarrassing mistakes and unexpected breakthroughs, Love shows how they taught her to take control of her destiny. (publ.)

The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 30 Aug. 2020 p. 15.
Description: When Florence Finch died at the age of 101, few of her Ithaca, NY neighbors knew that this unassuming Filipina native was a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, whose courage and sacrifice were unsurpassed in the Pacific War against Japan. Long accustomed to keeping her secrets close in service of the Allies, she waited fifty years to reveal the story of those dramatic and harrowing days to her own children. Florence was an unlikely warrior. She relied on her own intelligence and fortitude to survive on her own from the age of seven, facing bigotry as a mixed-race mestiza with the dual heritage of her American serviceman father and Filipina mother. As the war drew ever closer to the Philippines, Florence fell in love with a dashing American naval intelligence agent, Charles “Bing” Smith. In the wake of Bing’s sudden death in battle, Florence transformed from a mild-mannered young wife into a fervent resistance fighter. She conceived a bold plan to divert tons of precious fuel from the Japanese army, which was then sold on the black market to provide desperately needed medicine and food for hundreds of American POWs. In constant peril of arrest and execution, Florence fought to save others, even as the Japanese police closed in. With a wealth of original sources including taped interviews, personal journals, and unpublished memoirs, this story unfolds against the Bataan Death March, the fall of Corregidor, and the daily struggle to survive a brutal occupying force. Award-winning military historian and former Congressman Robert J. Mrazek brings to light this long-hidden American patriot. It is the story of the transcendent bravery of a woman who belongs in America’s pantheon of war heroes. (publ.)

Young Rembrandt: A Biography /

Reviewed: PW 1 June 2020 p. 52.
<>b<>uDescription: Rembrandt van Rijn’s early years are as famously shrouded in mystery as Shakespeare’s, and his life has always been an enigma. How did a miller’s son from a provincial Dutch town become the greatest artist of his age? How in short, did Rembrandt become Rembrandt? Seeking the roots of Rembrandt’s genius, the Dutch writer Onno Blom immersed himself in Leiden, the city in which Rembrandt was born in 1606 and where he spent his first twenty-five years. It was a turbulent time, the city having only recently rebelled against the Spanish. There are almost no written records by or about Rembrandt, so Blom tracked down old maps, sought out the Rembrandt family house and mill, and walked the route that Rembrandt would have taken to school. Leiden was a bustling center of intellectual life, and Blom, a native of Leiden himself, brings to life all the places Rembrandt would have known: the university, library, botanical garden, and anatomy theater. He investigated the concerns and tensions of the era: burial rites for plague victims, the renovation of the city in the wake of the Spanish siege, the influx of immigrants to work the cloth trade. And he examined the origins and influences that led to the famous and beloved paintings that marked the beginning of Rembrandt’s celebrated career as the paramount painter of the Dutch Golden Age. (publ.)

Becoming a Nurse /

Reviewed: PW 22 June 2020 p. 29.
Description: Becoming a Nurse takes you behind the scenes to find out what it’s really like, and what it really takes, to become a nurse. Acclaimed former New York Times reporter Sonny Kleinfield shadows veteran nurse Hadassah Lampert of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York to show how this in-demand job becomes a reality. Known for her mastery of technical skills and her heartfelt compassion for her patients, Lampert embodies the best of nursing. Go inside a hectic ER as veteran nurses work around the clock to treat incoming patients in a dazzling display of focus, skill, and bravery. Learn about their paths to the top of their field, from nursing school and clinical rotations to on-the-job realities like dealing with trauma and death. Gain insight about how this high-stakes job is actually practiced at the highest levels. As a nurse, expect the unexpected. (publ.)

Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty /

Reviewed: PW 22 June 2020 p. 26.
Description: Figuring out your next move after transitioning out of the military should start before your last day. Prepare your self emotionally and professionally to put those hard-earned skills in context of the civilian world. The transition from military to civilian life is more than just a title change; it is a whole new life experience with the sense of excitement and possibility that accompany a transition. Whether you’re preparing to retire or separate, Success After Service is written to help all veterans succeed in the civilian workplace. Consultant & author Lida Citroën provides the tools, resources and strategies to help you adapt to the civilian workplace and evaluate post-military career options. Whether you become an entrepreneur, move into the corporate world or pursue higher education, you will learn how to develop a portfolio of career assets, including your re-sume, elevator pitch, online profiles, interview acumen and professional network, empowering you to begin your new career with confidence and clarity. This book is a guide for transitioning military and veterans who seek a coherent set of strategies, resources and steps for building a mean-ingful, deliberate and rewarding post-military career. (publ.)

Telephone Tales /

Reviewed: NYT 7 Sept. 2020 p. C3.
Description: A collection of nearly seventy short and surreal stories told by Signor Bianchi, a traveling salesman, to his daughter over the telephone nightly.
Note: Originally published as: Favole al Telefono (Turin: Einaudi, 1962).
Awards: Hans Christian Anderson Award, 1970.

This is Your Time /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 27 Dec. 2020 p. 22.
Description: Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges–who, at the age of six, was the first African American to integrate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans–shares her story through text and historical photographs, offering a powerful call to action. (publ.)

I Have Something to Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection /

Reviewed: PW 22 June 2020 p. 140.
Description: In eleventh grade, John Bowe’s cousin Bill asked a classmate to prom. She said no. Bill responded by moving to the family basement–and staying there for the next forty-three years. But in 1992, at the age of fifty-nine, Bill surprised everyone who knew him: He got married. Bowe learned that Bill credited his turnaround to a non profit club he’d joined called Toastmasters International. Fascinated by the idea that speech training seemed to foster the kind of psychological well-being more commonly sought through expensive psychiatric treatment, and intrigued by the notion that words could serve as medicine–healing the shy, connecting the disconnected, and mending our frayed social fabric–Bowe sets out to learn for himself what he’d gathered from so many others: When you learn to speak in public, you undergo a profound transformation that has very little to do with standing at a podium. Through his own Toastmasters journey, Bowe learns much more than how to overcome the nervousness associated with giving a speech. He learns that public speaking is really about the audience–it’s the art of paying attention. Ultimately, Bowe finds that the key to eloquence, to overcoming shyness, is not mastering one’s self or one's fears, but honing one’s ability to empathize, pay attention to other people, and connect. (publ.)

Reading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and in the Classroom /

Reviewed: PW 12 Oct. 2020 p. 65.
Description: When racist curriculum “goes viral” on social media, it is typically dismissed as an isolated incident from a “bad” teacher. Educator Bree Picower, however, holds that racist curriculum isn’t an anomaly. It’s a systemic problem that reflects how Whiteness is embedded and reproduced in education. … Drawing on her experience teaching and developing a program that prepares teachers to focus on social justice and antiracism, Picower demonstrates how teachers’ ideology of race, consciously or unconsciously, shapes how they teach race in the classroom. She also examines current examples of racist curricula that have gone viral to demonstrate how Whiteness is entrenched in schools and how this reinforces racial hierarchies in the younger generation. With a focus on institutional strategies, Picower shows how racial justice can be built into programs across the teacher education pipeline–from admission to induction. By examining the who, what, why, and how of racial justice teacher education, she provides radical possibilities for transforming how teachers think about, and teach about, race in their classrooms. (publ.)

Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document that Changes Everything /

Reviewed: CHE 24 Sept. 2020 (online)
Description: William Germano & Kit Nicholls take a fresh look at this essential but almost invisible bureaucratic document and use it as a starting point for rethinking what students–and teachers–do. What if a teacher built a semester’s worth of teaching and learning backward–starting from what students need to learn to do by the end of the term, and only then selecting and arranging the material students need to study? Thinking through the lived moments of classroom engagement–what the authors call “coursetime”–becomes a way of striking a balance between improv and order. (publ.)

Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret /

Reviewed: NYT 15 Nov. 2020 p. SR2 (author op/ed); NYT/BR 27 Dec. 2020 p. 18.
Description: Catherine Flowers grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called “Bloody Lowndes” because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it’s Ground Zero for a new movement that is Flowers’s life’s work. It’s a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor, lack an affordable means of disposing cleanly of the waste from their toilets, and, as a consequence, live amid filth. Flowers calls this America’s dirty secret. In this powerful book she tells the story of systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that foster Third World conditions, not just in Alabama, but across America, in Appalachia, Central California, coastal Florida, Alaska, the urban Midwest, and on Native American reservations in the West. Flowers’s book is the inspiring story of the evolution of an activist, from country girl to student civil rights organizer to environmental justice champion at Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. It shows how sanitation is becoming too big a problem to ignore as climate change brings sewage to more backyards, and not only those of poor minorities. (publ.)

Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage: Selected Stories /

Reviewed: TLS 27 Nov. 2020 p. 19 (Blue in Chicago)
Description: This collection restores to the literary canon an extraordinarily gifted writer, who was recognized as a major talent before all but disappearing from public view for decades, until nearly the end of her life. Bette Howland (1937-2017) herself was an outsider–an intellectual from a working-class neighborhood in Chicago; a divorcée and single mother, to the disapproval of her family; an artist chipped away at by poverty and perfection. Each of these facets plays a central role in her work. Mining her deepest emotions for her art, she chronicles the tension of her generation. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage introduces a new generation of readers to a wry, brilliant observer and a writer of great empathy and sly, joyous humor. (publ.)

Forgotten Journey: [Stories] /

Reviewed: PW 15 July 2019 p. 48.
Description: In this, Silvina Ocampo’s first book of stories, we discover the purest form of what would become her signature style over the years: lyrical, oneiric, and menacing–and an atmosphere, both mundane and mysterious, bordering on the fantastical. Forgotten Journey takes its title from the story of a girl who struggles to recall the events of her birth in order to remember her identity. Another story follows a friendship between two girls, one poor and one wealthy, who grow up to appear identical to one another, enabling them to trade lives and families. In “The Enmity of Things,” a young man begins to suspect that his mundane possessions are conspiring against him. When he flees to his rural childhood home, the silent countryside proves only more sinister and mysterious. This collection of 28 short stories, first published in 1937 and now in English translation for the first time, introduced readers to one of Argentina’s most original and iconic authors. With this, her fiction debut, poet Silvina Ocampo initiated a personal, idiosyncratic exploration of the politics of memory, a theme to which she would return again and again over the course of her unconventional life and productive career. (publ.)
Note: Originally published as: Viaje Olvidado (Buenos Aires, Argentina: Sur, 1937).
Note (2): Silvina Ocampo is the younger sister of Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), best known as the publisher of the literary magazine, Sur.

Igifu /

Reviewed: PW 31 Aug. 2020 p. 20; NYT/BR 15 Nov. 2020 p. 26; PW 6 July 2020 p. 44.
Description: Scholastique Mukasonga’s autobiographical stories rend a glorious Rwanda from the obliterating force of recent history, conjuring the noble cows of her home or the dewswollen grass they graze on. In the title story, five-year-old Colomba tells of a merciless overlord, hunger or igifu, gnawing away at her belly. She searches for sap at the bud of a flower, scraps of sweet potato at the foot of her parent’s bed, or a few grains of sorghum in the floor sweepings. Igifu becomes a dizzying hole in her stomach, a plunging abyss into which she falls. In a desperate act of preservation, Colomba’s mother gathers enough sorghum to whip up a nourishing porridge, bringing Colomba back to life. This elixir courses through each story, a balm to soothe the pains of those so ferociously fighting for survival. (publ.)

Olav Audunssøn. Vol. 1: Vows /

Reviewed: PW 28 Sept. 2020 p. 39.
Description: This is the first new English translation of Nobel Prize-winning author Undset’s epic about medieval Norway. It is volume 1 of a 4-book series. As a child, Olav Audunssøn is given by his dying father to an old friend, Steinfinn Toressøn, who rashly promises to raise the boy as his foster son and eventually marry him to his own daughter, Ingunn. The two children, very different in temperament, become both brother and sister and betrothed. In the turbulent thirteenth-century Norway of Sigrid Undset’s epic masterpiece, bloodlines and loyalties often supersede law, and the crown and the church vie for power and wealth. Against this background and the complicated relationship between Olav and Ingunn, a series of fateful decisions leads to murder, betrayal, exile, and disgrace. In this first book in the powerful Olav Audunssøn tetralogy, Undset presents a richly imagined world split between pagan codes of retribution and the constraints of Christian piety–all of which threaten to destroy the lives of two young people torn between desires of the heart and the dictates of family and fortune. (publ.)

Sitcommentary: Television Comedies that Changed America /

Reviewed: PW 22 July 2019 p. 196.
Description: Television comedy has long been on the frontline in how America evolves on social issues. There is something about comedy that makes difficult issues more palatable–with humor an effective device for presenting ideas that lead to social change. From “I Love Lucy” which introduced the first television pregnancy to “Will & Grace,” which normalized gay characters, the situation comedy has challenged the public to revisit social mores and reshape how we think about the world in which we live. (publ.)

Developing Clinical Judgment for Professional Nursing and the Next-Generation NCLEX-RN Examination /

Note: Faculty Request.
Description: This collection of practical thinking exercises has been developed to incorporate the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Clinical Judgment Model (CJM) and to emphasize the new item types that will be integral to the NCLEX-RN exam. Exercises range from basic to more complex and address all specialty areas to fully prepare you for all facets of the exam. (publ.)

Dogs in Health Care: Pioneering Animal-Human Partnerships /

Description: Dogs have a storied history in health care, and the human-animal relationship has been used in the field for decades. Certain dogs have improved and advanced the field of health care in myriad ways. Registered nurse and therapy animal instructor Jill Schilp presents the stories of these pioneer dogs, from the mercy dogs of World War I, to the medicine-toting sled dogs Togo and Balto, to today’s therapy dogs. More than the dogs themselves, this book is about the human-animal relationship, and moments in history where that relationship propelled health care forward. (publ.)

Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War /

Reviewed: PW 21 Sept. 2020 p. 78.
Description: For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital. Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, Univ. of Nebraska history professor William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. (publ.)

Let My People Vote: My Battle to Restore the Civil Rights of Returning Citizens /

Reviewed: PW 24 Aug. 2020 p. 70.
Description: “You may think the right to vote is a small matter, and if you do, I would bet you have never had it taken away from you.” Thus begins the story of Desmond Meade and his inspiring journey to restore voting rights to roughly 1.4 million returning citizens in Florida–resulting in a stunning victory in 2018 that enfranchised the most people at once in any single initiative since women’s suffrage. This is the deeply moving, personal story of Meade’s life, his political activism, and the movement he spearheaded to restore voting rights to returning citizens who had served their terms. Meade survived a tough childhood only to find himself with a felony conviction. Finding the strength to pull his life together, he graduated summa cum laude from college, graduated from law school, and married. But because of his conviction, he was not even allowed to sit for the bar exam in Florida. And when his wife ran for state office, he was filled with pride–but not permitted to vote for her. Meade takes us on a journey from his time in homeless shelters, to the exhilarating, joyful night in November of 2018, when Amendment 4 passed with 65 percent of the vote. Meade’s story, and his commitment to a fully enfranchised nation, will prove to readers that one person really can make a difference. (publ.)

When Should Law Forgive? /

Reviewed: PW 15 July 2019 p. 67.
Description: Minow explores the complicated intersection of the law, justice, and forgiveness, asking whether the law should encourage people to forgive, and when courts, public officials, and specific laws should forgive. (publ.)

How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers /

Reviewed: PW 22 June 2020 p. 29.
Description: For the past five years, Rubenstein has spoken with the world’s highest performing leaders about who they are and how they be-came successful. Here he distills these revealing conversations into an indispensable leadership guidebook. These agents of change discuss how they got started and how they handle decision making, failure, innovation, change, and crisis. (publ.)

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War /

Reviewed: PW 3 Aug. 2020 p. 46.
Description: Long a site of peaceful resistance to the Assad regimes, Daraya fell under siege in 2012. For four years no one entered or left, and aid was blocked. Bombs fell on this place of homes and families. A group searching for survivors stumbled upon a cache of books; in a week they had six thousand volumes; in a month fifteen thousand. A sanctuary was born: a library to escape the blockade, offering Arabic poetry, American self-help, Shakespearean plays and more. Over text messages, Minoui came to know the young men who gathered in the library, exchanged ideas, learned English, and imagined how to shape the future, even as bombs kept falling from above. (publ.)

Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack /

Reviewed: PW 7 Sept. 2020 p. 48.
Description: Opening with the notorious bonfires of un-German and Jewish literature in 1933 that offered such a clear signal of Nazi intentions, Burning the Books takes us on a 3000-year journey through the destruction of knowledge and the fight against all the odds to preserve it. Richard Ovenden, director of the world-famous Bodleian Library, explains how attacks on libraries and archives have been a feature of history since ancient times but have increased in frequency and intensity during the modern era. Libraries are far more than stores of literature, through preserving the legal documents such as Magna Carta and records of citizenship, they also support the rule of law and the rights of citizens. Today, the knowledge they hold on behalf of society is under attack as never before. In this book, he explores everything from what really happened to the Great Library of Alexandria to the Windrush papers, from Donald Trumps deleting embarrassing tweets to John Murray’s burning of Byron's memoirs in the name of censorship. … From the rediscovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the desert, hidden from the Romans and lost for almost 2000 years to the medieval manuscript that inspired William Morris, the knowledge of the past still has so many valuable lessons to teach us and we ignore it at our peril. (publ.)

Understanding the Short Fiction of Carson McCullers /

Description: While McCullers’s longer work has received significant critical attention, her short fiction has not received the same treatment. This collection adds to analyses of McCullers’s better-known stories as well as considers those that have received little or no critical attention. McCullers's writing maintains lasting appeal because it captures both the joy and sadness of humanity, especially the meaning we draw from connections with others and the pain of isolation when we find it difficult to cultivate these relationships in modern culture. While critical assessment of McCullers's work has more often focused on her concern with loneliness and belonging, this collection depicts an author who was deeply invested in the social and political state of the world. Her short fiction includes interrogations of class-based, racial, and ableist prejudice, disconcerting portrayals of the social and political anxiety surrounding the Second World War, satirical eviscerations of some of the most oppressive social norms of the mid-twentieth century, and bold suggestions that lesbian desire, queer relationships, and female autonomy have a valid place in American culture. Through her depictions of differently-abled, sexually nonconforming characters, as well as characters of various races and classes, her short fiction redefines notions of belonging in the modern social context. (publ.)

Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest /

Reviewed: NYT 25 Aug. 2020 p. C5
Description: A leader of the 1960s folk revival, Odetta is one of the most important singers of the last hundred years. Her music has influenced a huge number of artists over many decades, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Kinks, Jewel, and, more recently, Rhiannon Giddens and Miley Cyrus. But Odetta’s importance extends far beyond music. Journalist Ian Zack follows Odetta from her beginnings in deeply segregated Birmingham, Alabama, to stardom in San Francisco and New York. Odetta used her fame to bring attention to the civil rights movement, working alongside Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, and other artists. Her opera-trained voice echoed at the 1963 March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery march, and she arranged a tour throughout the deeply segregated South. Her “Freedom Trilogy” songs became rallying cries for protesters everywhere. (publ.)

The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? /

Reviewed: PW 6 July 2020 p. 64.
Description: These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favor of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the American credo that “you can make it if you try.” The consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fueled populist protest and extreme polarization, and led to deep distrust of both government and our fellow citizens–leaving us morally unprepared to face the profound challenges of our time. Philosopher Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the crises that are upending our world, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalization and rising inequality. Sandel shows the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgment it imposes on those left behind, and traces the dire consequences across a wide swath of American life. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success–more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and solidarity, and more affirming of the dignity of work. (publ.)

Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 20 Dec. 2020 p. 13.
Description: A groundbreaking reassessment of America’s place in the world, drawing from McMaster’s long engagement with these issues, including 34 years of service in the U.S. Army with multiple tours of duty in battlegrounds overseas and his 13 months as National Security Advisor in the Trump White House. It is also a powerful call for Americans and citizens of the free world to transcend the vitriol of partisan political discourse, better educate themselves about the most significant challenges to national and international security and work together to secure peace and prosperity for future generations. (publ.)

The History of Buddhism: Facts and Fictions /

Description: Buddhism is practiced by millions of adherents around the world. Originating in ancient India, it spread throughout Asia and then to the West, and it exists in multiple traditions. Despite its popularity, it is also the subject of many misconceptions. This book examines those misconceptions along with the historical truths behind the myths. The book begins with an introduction that places Buddhism in its historical and cultural contexts. This is followed by chapters on particular erroneous beliefs related to the religion. Chapters explore whether Buddhism is a singular tradition, if it is a religion or a philosophical system, if it is rational and scientific, whether the Buddha was an ordinary human, and other topics. Each chapter summarizes the misconception and how it spread, along with what we now believe to be the underlying truth behind the falsehood. Quotations and excerpts from primary source documents provide evidence for the mistaken beliefs and the historical truths. The book closes with a selected, general bibliography. (publ.)

The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently /

Reviewed: PW 3 Aug. 2020 p. 54.
Description: The editors of The Jewish Annotated New Testament show how and why Jews and Christians read many of the same Biblical texts–including passages from the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Psalms–differently. Esteemed Bible scholars and teachers Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler take readers on a guided tour of the most popular Hebrew Bible passages quoted in the New Testament to show what the texts meant in their original contexts and then how Jews and Christians, over time, understood those same texts. Passages include the creation of the world, the role of Adam and Eve, the Suffering Servant of Isiah, the book of Jonah, and Psalm 22, whose words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” Jesus quotes as he dies on the cross. Comparing various interpretations–historical, literary, and theological–of each ancient text, Levine and Brettler offer deeper understandings of the original narratives and their many afterlives. They show how the text speaks to different generations under changed circumstances, and so illuminate the Bible’s ongoing significance. (publ.)

Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America /

Reviewed: TLS 12 Feb. 2021 p. 12.
Description: Wendy Woloson considers seriously the detritus of everyday consumerist Western lives–a category that comprises objects that function as art, jokes, tools, embodiments of fantasies, cultural signifiers, status symbols, and much more; a.k.a. “crap.” She seeks to use these possessions to illuminate our society, culture, and economy. Why do we–as individuals and as a culture–have these things? Where do they come from, and why do we want them? In her words, this investigation “brings together material culture, consumer culture, behavioral economics, cultural economics, the histories of industrialization, capitalism and international trade, among other disciplines.” (publ.)

Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas About Our Planet /

Reviewed: PW 22 June 2020 p. 138.
Description: Conspiracies and myths captivate imaginations and promise mystery and magic. Whether it’s arguing about the moon landing hoax or a Frisbee-like Earth drifting through space, when held up to science and critical thinking, these ideas fall flat. Retired geology & paleontology professor Donald R. Prothero demystifies these conspiracies and offers answers to some of humanity’s most outlandish questions. Applying his extensive scientific knowledge, Prothero corrects misinformation that con artists and quacks use to hoodwink others about geology–hollow earth, expanding earth, and bizarre earthquakes–and mystical and paranormal happenings–healing crystals, alien landings, and the gates of hell. By deconstructing wild claims such as prophesies of imminent natural disasters, Prothero provides a way for everyone to recognize dubious assertions. Prothero answers these claims with facts, offering historical and scientific context in a light-hearted manner that is accessible to everyone, no matter their background. (publ.)

Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women /

Reviewed: PW 15 June 2020 p. 50.
Description: In this critique, Cornell philosopher Kate Manne offers a radical new framework for understanding misogyny. Ranging widely across the culture, from the Kavanaugh hearings and “Cat Person” to Harvey Weinstein and Elizabeth Warren, Manne shows how privileged men’s sense of entitlement–to sex, yes, but more insidiously to admiration, medical care, bodily autonomy, knowledge, and power–is a pervasive social problem with often devastating consequences. In clear, lucid prose, she argues that male entitlement can explain a wide array of phenomena, from "mansplaining" and the undertreatment of women’s pain to mass shootings by incels and the seemingly intractable notion that women are “unelectable.” Moreover, Manne implicates each of us in toxic masculinity: It’s not just a product of a few bad actors; it’s something we all perpetuate, conditioned as we are by the social and cultural currents of our time. The only way to combat it, she says, is to expose the flaws in our default modes of thought, while enabling women to take up space, say their piece, and muster resistance to the entitled attitudes of the men around them. With wit and intellectual fierceness, Manne sheds new light on gender and power and offers a vision of a world in which women are just as entitled as men to our collective care and concern. (publ.)

Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 6 Sept. 2020 p. 13.
Description: After the election of Donald J. Trump, journalist Seyward Darby went looking for the women of the so-called “alt-right”–arguing that it is just white nationalism with a new label. The mainstream media depicted the alt-right as a bastion of angry white men, but was it? As women headlined resistance to the Trump administration’s bigotry and sexism, most notably at the Women’s Marches, Darby wanted to know why others were joining a movement espousing racism and anti-feminism. Who were these women, and what did their activism reveal about America’s past, present, and future? She researched dozens of women across the country before settling on three–Corinna Olsen, Ayla Stewart, and Lana Lokteff. Each was born in 1979, and became a white nationalist in the post-9/11 era. Their respective stories of radicalization upend much of what we assume about women, politics, and political extremism. … With acute psychological insight and eye-opening reporting, Darby steps inside the contemporary hate movement and draws connections to precursors like the Ku Klux Klan. Far more than mere helpmeets, women like those discussed have been sustaining features of white nationalism. Sisters in Hate shows how the work women do to normalize and propagate racist extremism has consequences well beyond the hate movement. (publ.)

Worked Over: How Round-the-Clock Work is Killing the American Dream /

Reviewed: PW 6 July 2020 p. 66.
Description: After declining for a century through hard-fought labor movement victories, average annual work hours increased approximately 8 percent for all working adults from 1979 to 2016. In Worked Over, sociologist Jamie McCallum reveals how the battle over time on the job has been central to conflicts over capitalism from the beginning, how overwork is at the heart of the inequities and injustices in America’s economy today, and why workers must fight to take control of the time they spend working. From Amazon warehouses to Silicon Valley campuses, from late night Uber deliveries to later night strip clubs, from factories in Ohio to retail floors everywhere, McCallum explains how the contemporary American workplace exploits workers’ time and constrains their lives. Whether it’s the manager’s stopwatch, the scheduling algorithm’s dispassionate authority, or our own internal clock that pushes us because we’re afraid of falling behind or losing our jobs, ordinary people have lost much say over when and how much we work. Work, more than anything else, dictates when we sleep, eat, raise our kids, and live the rest of our lives. Popular discussions of overwork tend to focus on striving professionals, but as McCallum demonstrates, it’s the hours of low-wage workers have increased the most, and it’s their working lives that remain the most precarious and unpredictable in a service-oriented, on-demand economy. What’s needed is not individual solutions but collective struggle. Throughout this book, McCallum offers inspiring stories of how the battle to win back control of time has been renewed today by those most vulnerable to the capitalist society’s electronic whip. (publ.)

My Name is Selma: The Remarkable Memoir of a Jewish Resistance Fighter and Ravensbrück Survivor /

Reviewed: TLS 20 Nov. 2020 p. 25.
Description: Selma van de Perre was seventeen when World War Two began. Until then, being Jewish in the Netherlands had been of no consequence. But by 1941 this simple fact had become a matter of life or death. Several times, Selma avoided being rounded up by the Nazis. Then, in an act of defiance, she joined the Resistance movement, using the pseudonym Margareta van der Kuit. For two years “Marga” risked it all. Using a fake ID, and passing as Aryan she traveled around the country delivering news-letters, sharing information, keeping up morale–doing, as she later explained, what “had to be done.” In July 1944 her luck ran out. She was transported to Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp as a political prisoner. Unlike her parents and sister–who, she would later discover, died in other camps–she survived by using her alias, pretending to be someone else. It was only after the war ended that she was allowed to re-claim her identity and dared to say once again: My name is Selma. Now, at ninety-eight, Selma remains a force of nature. Full of hope and courage, this is her story in her own words. (publ.)

Survivors: Children’s Lives After the Holocaust /

Description: Drawing on archives and interviews, Clifford charts the experiences of these child survivors and those who cared for them–as well as those who studied them, such as Anna Freud. Survivors explores the aftermath of the Holocaust in the long term, and reveals how these children–often branded “the lucky ones”–had to struggle to be able to call themselves “survivors” at all. Challenging our assumptions about trauma, Clifford’s powerful and surprising narrative helps us understand what it was like living after, and living with, childhoods marked by rupture and loss. (publ.)

The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women–and Women to Medicine /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 1/24/2021 p. 9.
Description: The vivid biography of two pioneering sisters who, together, became America’s first female doctors and transformed New York’s medical establishment by creating a hospital by and for women. Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for greatness beyond the scope of “ordinary” womanhood. Though the world recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity won her the acceptance of the all-male medical establishment and in 1849 she became the first woman in America to receive a medical degree. But Elizabeth's story is incomplete without her often forgotten sister, Emily, the third woman in America to receive a medical degree. Exploring the sisters' allies, enemies and enduring partnership, Nimura presents a story of both trial and triumph: Together the sisters founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. Both sisters were tenacious and visionary; they were also judgmental, uncompromising, and occasionally misogynistic–their convictions as 19th-century women often contradicted their ambitions. From Bristol, England, to the new cities of antebellum America, this work of rich history follows the sister doctors as they transform the nineteenth century medical establishment and, in turn, our contemporary one. (publ.)

Women Can’t Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art /

Description: In 2013 Georg Baselitz declared that “women don’t paint very well.” While shocking, his comments reveal what Helen Gørrill argues is prolific discrimination in the artworld. In a groundbreaking study of gender and value, Gørrill proves that there are few aesthetic differences in men and women’s painting, but that men’s art is valued at up to 80 per cent more than women’s. Indeed, the power of masculinity is such that when men sign their work it goes up in value, yet when women sign their work it goes down. Museums, the author attests, are also complicit in this vicious cycle as they collect tokenist female artwork which impinges upon its artists’ market value. An essential text for students and teachers, Gørrill’s book is provocative and challenges existing methodologies while introducing shocking evidence. She proves how the price of being a woman impacts upon all forms of artistic currency, be it social, cultural or economic and in the vanguard of the “Me Too” movement calls for the artworld to take action. (publ.)

Who Killed Berta Cáceres?: Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet /

Reviewed: TLS 15 Jan. 2021 p. 22.
Description: In 2015, Cáceres won the Goldman prize, the world’s leading environmental award, for leading a campaign to stop construction of an internationally funded dam on a river sacred to her indigenous Lenca people. Less than a year later she was dead. Lakhani tracked Cáceres’s remarkable career in the face of years of threats as friends and colleagues in Honduras were killed defending basic rights; the journalist endured threats and harassment herself as a result of investigating the murder. She was the only foreign journalist to attend the 2018 trial of Cáceres’s killers, where state security officials, employees of the dam company and hired hitmen were found guilty of her murder. Many questions about who ordered and paid for the killing remain unanswered. Drawing on more than a hundred interviews, confidential legal filings, and company documents during years of reporting in Honduras, Lakhani paints an intimate portrait of an extraordinary woman in a state beholden to corporate powers, organised crime, and the United States. (publ.)

The Failures of Philosophy: A Historical Essay /

Description: Taking the long view of the history of philosophy, emeritus professor of history of philosophy and history of science at the University of Sydney Stephen Gaukroger shows how philosophy has in fact collapsed several times, been completely abandoned, sometimes for centuries, and been replaced by something quite different from philosophy. The book focuses on what are historically the most significant failures of philosophy: attempts to provide an account of “the good life” and how to live; to establish philosophy as a discipline that can stand in judgement over and assess other forms of thought; attempts to establish philosophy as a theory of everything; and attempts to construe it as a discipline that parallels or rationalizes the empirical and mathematical sciences, building up technical credentials that mimic those of science. The central argument of the book is that examination of these failures tells us much more about the nature of philosophical enquiry, and about the ultimate point of the exercise, than its successes possibly could. Examination of its failures shows us the significant differences in the way in which philosophers have conceived of the point at different times, and why they have been obliged to shift focus. It tells us why philosophy has been thought to bring distinctive skills to questions, and whether these are actually fruitful skills. And, above all, it allows us to open up the question whether philosophy has anything to offer over and above other ways of engaging cognate questions. (publ.)

The Poet’s Mistake /

Reviewed: NYRB 11 Feb. 2021 p. 22.
Description: This book explores mistakes in poems–and critics’ generous responses to them–in order to reveal a crucial tension between thinking about poetry’s errors as common failures in craft and honoring them as moments of unintended creativity. It makes the case for calling a mistake a mistake, arguing that when readers deny poets the possibility of error, they undermine the very process of creation that they aim to celebrate. The novel, as a genre, has always been given to mistakes, as John Sutherland and others have shown. But poetry, an art form that accepts accident and surprise as qualities somehow integral to its aesthetic practice, seems inherently immune to the possibility. Most of its flaws appear felicitous. Accordingly, critics of poetry have tended to allow mistakes in poems–solecisms, misused words, factual errors–to inform and sometimes even govern their readings. For instance, Keats’s use of “Cortez” when surely he means “Balboa” in “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer” is a historical mistake that, despite having produced an array of justifications from critics (of nearly all methodological persuasions), may have more to say about what we believe poetry to be capable of doing than about the poem to which it belongs. Keats’s readers feel a responsibility to make right what his poem got wrong. This book begins by asking: why should it be so? By uncovering different kinds of mistakes that poets have made from Romanticism onward, when notions of selfhood become more closely linked with the lyric voice, and, more important, by analyzing their reception, the book by Erica McAlpine raises certain questions about intentionality. For instance, is there a difference between an accident and a mistake? Does the word mistake imply authorial intention? Is it possible for a poet to err without meaning to, either consciously or unconsciously? (Even Freud differentiates mistakes “deriving from repression” from those that “are the result of real ignorance.”) In answering these questions using specific examples from poets including William Wordsworth, John Clare, Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heaney, and Paul Muldoon, this book identifies certain readings of mistakes as unnecessary justifications and uses the impulse to justify as a way of defining the qualities of poetry that distinguish it from other modes of writing (publ.)

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing–What Birds are Doing, and Why /

Reviewed: NYRB 25 Feb. 2021 p. 33.
Description: “Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds–blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees–it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin. David Sibley’s exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. (For most species, the primary illustration is reproduced life-sized.) (publ.)

A Unified Theory of Cats on the Internet /

Description: Western culture has used cats for centuries as symbols of darkness, pathos, and alienation, and the communities that helped build the internet explicitly constructed themselves as outsiders, with snark and alienation at the core of their identity. Thus cats became the sine qua non of cultural literacy for the Extremely Online, not to mention an everyday medium of expression for the rest of us. ... Internet cats can differ in dramatic ways, from the goth cats of Twitter to the glamourpusses of Instagram to the giddy, nonsensical silliness of Nyan Cat. But they all share common traits and values. Bringing together fun anecdotes, thoughtful analyses, and hidden histories of the communities that built the internet, Elyse White shows how japonisme, punk culture, cute culture, and the battle among different communities for the soul of the internet informed the sensibility of online felines. Internet cats offer a playful–and useful–way to understand how culture shapes and is shaped by technology. (publ.)

Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 31 Jan. 2021 p. 16.
Description: Mathew Salesses argues that the traditional writing workshop was established with white male writers in mind; what is called craft is informed by their cultural values. In this bold and original examination of elements of writing–including plot, character, conflict, structure, and believability–and aspects of workshop–including the silenced writer and the imagined reader–Salesses asks questions to invigorate these familiar concepts. He upends Western notions of how a story must progress. How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces? Drawing from examples including One Thousand and One Nights, Curious George, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, and the Asian American classic No-No Boy, Salesses asks us to reimagine craft and the workshop. In the pages of exercises included here, teachers will find suggestions for building syllabi, grading, and introducing new methods to the classroom; students will find revision and editing guidance, as well as a new lens for reading their work. Salesses shows that we need to interrogate the lack of diversity at the core of published fiction: how we teach and write it. (publ.)

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