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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.

Scrolling display items will link to catalog when fully processed.  Use categories on left to see more detailed status on specific items.

Selected 2017-2018 Peosta Library Acquisitions

How to Land a Plane /

Reviewed: TLS 22/29 Dec. 2017 p. 39
Description: So, hello! Welcome! Honestly, you look surprisingly relaxed. That’s great to see. Have a seat on the left side of the cockpit–that’s the captain’s seat. Yes, that’s right, you’re now the captain, and yes, that’s the runway down there. Fasten your seatbelt, order yourself a cup of tea, and let’s get cracking. (publ.)

The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America /

Description: What is fueling rural America’s outrage toward the federal government? Why did rural Americans vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump? And, beyond economic and demographic decline, is there a more nuanced explanation for the growing rural-urban divide? Drawing on more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, Robert Wuthnow brings us into America’s small towns, farms, and rural communities to paint a rich portrait of the moral order–the interactions, loyalties, obligations, and identities underpinning this critical segment of the nation. Wuthnow demonstrates that to truly understand rural Americans’ anger, their culture must be explored more fully. We hear from farmers who want government out of their business, factory workers who believe in working hard to support their families, town managers who find the federal government unresponsive to their communities’ needs, and clergy who say the moral climate is being undermined. Wuthnow argues that rural America’s fury stems less from specific economic concerns than from the perception that Washington is distant from and yet threatening to the social fabric of small towns. (publ.)

Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide /

Reviewed: NYRB 28 Sept. 2017 p. 16
Description: Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University, provides a succinct citizens’ guide to an essential tool of self-government. He illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people’s role in holding presidents ac-countable. … He describes how impeachment helps make sense of our constitutional order, particularly the framers’ controversial decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings. (publ.)

The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie /

Reviewed: PW 3 July 2017 p. 73
Description: Accessible and admiring portrait of industrialist and philanthropist. Was good for libraries even though he was a brutal union-crushing steel magnate in his day. His reputation has been somewhat remediated over time.

Totality: The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024 /

Description: A complete guide to solar eclipses for the general public with detailed coverage of the 2017 and 2024 total eclipses over the U.S. Well timed for the August 2017 eclipse over North America, it shows how, when, and where to see the coming total solar eclipses, how to photograph and video record them, and how to do so safely.

The Smile Stealers: The Fine and Foul Art of Dentistry /

Reviewed: LRB 29 June 2017 p. 29; Choice Nov. 2017 vol. 55 no. 3 (Highly Recommended; Recommended for community college libraries).
Description: This achingly jawdropping book follows the evolution of dentistry throughout the world from the Bronze Age to the present day, presenting captivating and grim illustrations of the tools and techniques of dentistry through the ages. Organized chronologically, The Smile Stealers interleaves beautiful and gruesome technical illustrations and paintings from the Wellcome Collection’s unique archive of material from Europe, America and the Far East with seven authoritative and eloquent themed articles from medical historian Richard Barnett. (publ.)
Contents: Introduction: you know the drill -- The natural and ancient history of the teeth -- Pulling teeth in Medieval Europe -- Fauchard and the dentistes -- Enlightened extractions -- A new era in tooth-pulling -- The skull beneath the skin -- The smile of success.

Why Poetry /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 49
Description: Award-winning poet Matthew Zapruder takes on what it is that poetry—and poetry alone—can do. Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. In lively, lilting prose, he shows us how that misunderstanding interferes with our direct experience of poetry and creates the sense of confusion or inadequacy that many of us feel when faced with it. (publ.)

Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed /

Reviewed: PW 3 July 2017 p. 69.
Note: Exhibition Catalog.
Note (2): Traveling exhibition at San Francisco (2017); New York (2017/18); & Oslo (2018).
Description: “…offers a fresh look at the exceptional works of Edvard Munch (1863-1944) by examining them in the light of his precarious mental state. Following a nervous breakdown in 1908, Munch underwent electroshock therapy, which prompted a marked change in his art work. …” (publ.).

Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants /

Description: When her herd suffers during a drought in Tanzania, Grandma Elephant leads Little Calf and the other elephants in a search for the watering hole she remembers from her youth. Back matter includes further information about the phenomenon of a herd of elephants that survived a drought, as well as fascinating elephant facts. A picture book based on a true story.

How Propaganda Works /

Description: The author examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Iraq: The Cost of War /

Reviewed: LRB 1 June 2017 p. 31
Description: Jeremy Greenstock was the UK ambassador to the UN during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and then the special envoy for Iraq based in Baghdad during the occupation. (LRB)

The Blue Lantern and Other Stories /

Note: Original collection not previous published.
Description: Story collection winner of the Russian Little Booker Prize. In the title story, kids in a Pioneer-camp tell terrifying bedtime stories; in “Hermits and Six-Toes,” two chickens are obsessed with the nature of the universe as viewed from their poultry plant; the young communist-league activists of “Mid-Game” change their sex to become hard-currency prostitutes; and “The Life and Adventures of Shed Number XII” is the story of a storage hut whose dream is to become a bicycle.

Drunks: An American History /

Reviewed: PW 7 Apr. 2017

Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend /

Reviewed: WSJ 15/16 July 2017 p. C9
Description: Bix Beiderbecke was one of the first great legends of jazz. Among the most innovative cornet soloists of the 1920s and the first important white player, he invented the jazz ballad and pointed the way to cool jazz. But his recording career lasted just six years; he drank himself to death in 1931 at the age of twenty-eight. (publ.)
Note: Both Beiderbecke & his biographer, Brendan Wolfe, grew up in Davenport, Iowa.

The Unreformed Martin Luther: A Serious and Not So Serious Look at the Man Behind the Myths /

Reviewed: PW 8 May 2017 p. 56
Description: In a series of chapters that can function as standalone vignettes, the author corrects popular misconceptions that have sprouted up around Luther.

Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier /

Reviewed: WSJ 15/16 July 2017 p. 8
Description: As a thirteen-year-old de Rosnay read and reread Rebecca, becoming a lifelong devotee of Du Maurier’s fiction. Now de Rosnay pays homage to the writer who influenced her so deeply, following Du Maurier from a shy seven-year-old, a rebellious sixteen-year-old, a twenty-something newlywed, and finally a cantankerous old woman. (publ.)
Note: Originally published as: Manderley For Ever (Paris: Albin Michel, 2015).

The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy /

Reviewed: LRB 13 July 2017 p. 21
Description: In this, a ground-breaking publication in the canon of non-Western women’s literary history, Paulina Chiziani -- the first woman from Mozambique ever to publish a novel -- lifts the lid on her country’s values and its hypocrisies. After 20 years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband has been living a double -- or rather, a quintuple -- life. After Tony is forced to marry the four other women, as well as an additional lover, according to polygamist custom, the rival lovers join together to declare their voices and demand their rights.

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine /

Reviewed: PW 10 July 2017 p. 89
Description: Based on a set of unfinished Mark Twain notes for a children's story, this is the tale of Johnny, a young boy with a magical ability to speak to animals who sets off to rescue a stolen prince. (publ.)

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival /

Reviewed: TLS 7 July 2017 p. 35
Description: Adrift in a frigid sea, no land in sight, Doaa Al Zamel floated with a small inflatable water ring around her waist and clutched two children who had been thrust into her arms by their drowning relatives. Once an average Syrian girl, her life was upended in 2011 by the events of the Arab Spring, and the sinking of the overcrowded refugee boat was where her struggle for survival really began. Fleming uses Zamal's diaries to shed light on the most pressing humanitarian crisis of our time. (publ.)

The Fix: How Bankers Lied, Cheated and Colluded to Rig the World’s Most Important Number /

Reviewed: TLS 14 July 2017 p. 9
Description: Vaughan and Fitch make it clear that the Libor affair was not just the result of the activities of a single individual who was intelligent enough to subvert the entire financial system. Rather, the banks themselves were complicit in providing the environment in which such activities could take place. (TLS)

Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era /

Reviewed: WSJ 10 July 2017 p. A15
Description: “Dunmore’s War quieted the American frontier for the two critical years in which the colonies united to fight a national war for independence.” (WSJ) The 1774 campaign against a Shawnee-led Indian confederacy in the Ohio Country marked the final time an American colonial militia took to the field in His Majesty’s service and under royal command. Led by John Murray, the fourth Earl of Dunmore and royal governor of Virginia, a force of colonials including George Rogers Clark, Daniel Morgan, Michael Cresap, Adam Stephen, and Andrew Lewis successfully enforced the western border established by treaties in parts of present-day West Virginia and Kentucky. The campaign is often neglected in histories, despite its major influence on the conduct of the Revolutionary War that followed. … As an immediate result of Dunmore’s War, the frontier remained quiet for two years, giving the colonies the critical time to debate and declare independence before Britain convinced its Indian allies to resume attacks on American settlements. (publ.)

The Fracking Debate

The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 30
Description: Directly addresses the most common questions and concerns associated with fracking, including: What is fracking? Does fracking pollute the water supply? Will fracking make the United States energy independent? Does fracking cause earthquakes? How is fracking regulated? Is fracking good for the economy? Having visited every major U.S. oil- and gas-producing region, the author highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.

Value of Everything: Who Makes and Who Takes from the Real Economy /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 32
Description: Argues that American companies have for too long been valued according to the amount of wealth they capture for themselves rather than for the value they create for the economy. In fact, Pfizer, Amazon, and countless other companies that claim to drive innovation are actually hopelessly dependent on public money, spend their resources on boosting share prices and executive pay, and reap ever-expanding rewards without offering the market real value. Author Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation & Public Value at University College London.

The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir /

Description: The Inheritance of Shame details the six years author Peter Gajdics spent in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to “cure” him of his homosexuality. Kept with other patients in a cult-like home in British Columbia, Canada, Gajdics was under the authority of a dominating, rogue psychiatrist who controlled his patients, in part, by creating and exploiting a false sense of family. Juxtaposed against his parents' tormented past -- his mother’s incarceration and escape from a communist concentration camp in post-World War II Yugoslavia, and his father's upbringing as an orphan in war-torn Hungary – Gajdics’ story explores the universal themes of childhood trauma, oppression, and inter-generational pain. Told over a period of decades, the book shows us the damaging repercussions of conversion therapy and reminds us that resilience, compassion, and the courage to speak the truth exist within us all. (publ.)

The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition /

Reviewed: PW 28 Aug. 2017 p. 119
Description: By legitimizing bigotry and redefining so-called American values, a revived Klan in the 1920s left a toxic legacy that demands reexamination today. A new Ku Klux Klan arose in the early 1920s, a less violent but equally virulent descendant of the relatively small, terrorist Klan of the 1870s. Unknown to most Americans today, this “second Klan” largely flourished above the Mason-Dixon Line—its army of four-to-six-million members spanning the continent from New Jersey to Oregon, its ideology of intolerance shaping the course of mainstream national politics throughout the twentieth century. (publ.)

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 86
Description: The Little House books were not only fictionalized but brilliantly edited, a profound act of myth-making and self-transformation. 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 biography, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books and uncovering the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life. (publ.)

Unaccompanied: [Poems] /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 100
Description: Javier Zamora was nine years old when he traveled unaccompanied 4,000 miles, across multiple borders, from El Salvador to the United States to be reunited with his parents. This dramatic and hope-filled poetry debut humanizes the highly charged and polarizing rhetoric; assesses borderland politics, race, and immigration on a profoundly personal level; and simultaneously remembers and imagines a birth country that's been left behind.

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 107
Description: Is there still a place for the farm in today’s America? The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm—and their entire way of life—are under siege. (publ.)

The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 108
Description: Ed Asner, a self-proclaimed dauntless Democrat from the old days, figured that if the right-wing wackos are wrong about voter fraud, Obama’s death panels, and climate change, they are probably just as wrong about what the Constitution says. There’s no way that two hundred-plus years later, the right-wing ideologues know how to interpret the Constitution. On their way home from Philadelphia the people who wrote it couldn’t agree on what it meant. … (publ.)

The Aliens Among Us: How Invasive Species Are Transforming the Planet–and Ourselves /

Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 120
Description: With tales of pythons in the Everglades, Asian carp and lam-prey in the Great Lakes, Japanese knotweed seemingly everywhere, and the invasive organisms we don’t see—pathogens and microbes such as the Zika virus—this book rivets attention on a new ecological reality. Award-winning science journalist Leslie Anthony leads readers on adventures physical and philosophical as he explores how and why invasive species are hijacking ecosystems around the globe. He introduces field researchers and managers who seek to understand the biological, social, and economic aspects of this complex issue, and whose work collectively suggests the emergence of a global shadow economy centered on invasives. (publ.)

DNA is Not Destiny: The Remarkable, Completely Misunder-stood Relationship Between You and Your Genes /

Reviewed: TLS 9 June 2017 p. 34
Description: Do you fear what might be lurking in your DNA? Well, now you can find out, and you most likely will. Scientists expect one billion people to have their genomes sequenced by 2025, and as the price drops it may even become a standard medical procedure. Yet cultural psychologist Steven J. Heine argues that the first thing we’ll do upon receiving our DNA test results is to misinterpret them completely. (publ.)

Little Red Riding Sheep /

Reviewed: PW 5 June 2017 p. 52
Description: Arnold the sheep is an avid reader who never sees characters like him take center stage (PW). … In conversation with the author, Arnold has suggestions on how to make the story of Little Red Riding Hood better, by taking a staring role along with some of his friends.

I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad /

Reviewed: NYT 12 June 2017 p. C5
Description: The daughter of a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, Mekhennet was born and educated in Germany and has worked for several American newspapers. Since the 9/11 attacks she has reported stories among the most dangerous members of her religion. When she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. In this book, she seeks to answer the question, “What is in the minds of these young jihadists, and how can we understand and defuse it?” She has unique and exclusive access into the world of jihad and sometimes her reporting has put her life in danger. (publ.)

The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die /

Description: Today’s inequality is on a scale that none of us has seen in our lifetimes, yet this disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. Psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically, but also has pro-found consequences for how we think, how our cardiovascular systems respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral ideas such as justice and fairness. (publ.)

The Core of the Sun /

Reviewed: TLS 23 June 2017 p. 8
Description: Set in an alternative historical present, in a “eusistocracy”–an extreme welfare state–that holds public health and social stability above all else, it follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

Integrating the US Military: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation since World War II /

Reviewed: Choice Nov. 2017 vol. 55 no. 3 (Highly Recommended; recommended for community college libraries)
Description: An edited collection that examines the US Army’s role and place in progressive social change through the lens of the military experience of African Americans, women, and gays since World War II. By making this long overdue comparison, the editors argue this anthology demonstrates how the challenges launched against the racial, gender, and sexual status quo in the years after World War II transformed overarching ideas about power, citizenship, and America’s role in the world. … Sheds new light on a broad range of issues that affected civilian society, such as affirmative action, integration, marriage laws, and sexual harassment. (publ.)

Al Capone’s Beer Wars: A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago During Prohibition /

Reviewed: CHE 28 July 2017 (new books)
Description: Although much has been written about Al Capone, there has not been–until now–a complete history of organized crime in Chicago during Prohibition. This exhaustively researched book covers the entire period from 1920 to 1933. …A major focus is how the Capone gang–one of twelve major bootlegging mobs in Chicago at the start of Prohibition–gained a virtual monopoly over organized crime in northern Illinois and beyond. Binder also describes the fight by federal and local authorities, as well as citizens’ groups, against organized crime. In the process, he refutes numerous myths and misconceptions related to the Capone gang, other criminal groups, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and gangland killings. (publ.)

Dance of the Jakaranda /

Reviewed: TLS 23 June 2017 p. 8
Description: Set in the shadow of Kenya’s independence from Great Britain, Dance of the Jakaranda reimagines the special circumstances that brought black, brown, and white men together to lay the railroad that heralded the birth of the nation. … With its riveting multiracial, multicultural cast and diverse literary allusions, Dance of the Jakaranda could well be a story of globalization. Yet the novel is firmly anchored in the African oral storytelling tradition, its language a dreamy, exalted, and earthy mix that creates new thresholds of identity, providing a fresh metaphor for race in contemporary Africa. (publ.)

Permanent State of Emergency: Unchecked Executive Power and the Demise of the Rule of Law /

Description: After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US launched several initiatives that are either at the outermost limit of what international human rights law allows or over that limit. These involved systematic violations of non-derogable rights like the right not to be killed without due process, not to be subjected to indefinite arbitrary detention, and not to be tortured. The President of the United States now signs unreviewable death warrants authorizing drone strikes against the nation’s citizens; Congress and the courts have declined to review these decisions or curtail this practice, setting a precedent for executive immunity. Do these violations of constitutional law signify a qualitative transformation of the legal order of the United States? … The demise of the rule of law in the United States details the long-term consequences of the acceptance of these assertions of executive supremacy. (publ.)
Contents: The minimum requirements of the rule of law -- The historical development of the rule of law in the United States -- Overbroad authority given to and appropriated by the executive after the 9/11 attacks -- The re-sponse of the judiciary to executive overreaching, 2003-12 -- Judicial selec-tion and executive branch dominance -- Congress's failure to exercise over-sight.

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us /

Reviewed: LR June 2017 p. 46
Description: We live in the age of the individual. We are supposed to be slim, prosperous, happy, extroverted and popular. This is our culture’s image of the perfect self. We see this person everywhere: in advertising, in the press, all over social media. We’re told that to be this person you just have to follow your dreams, that our potential is limitless, that we are the source of our own success. But this model of the perfect self can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell? Novelist and journalist Will Storr tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately – our self.

Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty /

Reviewed: WSJ 1/2 July 2017 p. C5
Description: Once seen as the most influential American champion of liberty and democracy, Jefferson is now remembered largely for his relationship with his slave Sally Hemings, and for electing not to free her or most of the other people he owned. In this biography, the eminent scholar John B. Boles does not ignore the aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today, but strives to see him in full, and to understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. (publ.) “…Jefferson became a pre-revolutionary spokesman for the American cause—which he saw as a fight for self-rule against new efforts of the British to impose control over the colonies. It is hard for us to grasp today how bold it was to assert the rights of the governed against the encroachments of imperial authority.” (WSJ)

The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir /

Reviewed: WSJ 24/25 June 2017 p. C9
Description: Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer, and Linda Ronstadt. … Classics such as “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” “All I Know,” and “MacArthur Park” were all recorded by some of the most important voices in pop before Webb’s twenty-fifth birthday. Now, in his first memoir, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970. (publ.)

Niccolò Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography /

Description: Corrado Vivanti, who was one of the world’s leading Machiavelli scholars, provides an intellectual biography that demonstrates the close connections between Machiavelli’s thought and his changing fortunes during the tumultuous Florentine republic and his subsequent exile. (publ.)
Note: Originally published as: Niccolò Machiavelli: I Tempi della Politica (Rome: Donzelli, 2008).

Against Labor: How U.S. Employers Organized to Defeat Union Activism /

Reviewed: CHE 16 June 2017 (new books)
Description: Against labor highlights the amazingly successful efforts by employers to control workers while simultaneously shaping themselves into a new class. Ranging across a spectrum of understudied issues, essayists explore employer anti-labor strategies and offer incisive portraits of companies that aggressively opposed unionization. Other contributors examine the anti-labor movement against a backdrop of larger forces, such as the intersection of race and ethnicity with anti-labor activity, and anti-unionism in the context of neoliberalism. (publ.)

Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim /

Reviewed: WSJ 23 June 2017 (author op/ed)
Description: The story of the making of an American is also a timely meditation on religion and culture. Beginning with a sweetly funny, moving account of an arranged marriage in Pakistan that would become a love match lasting forty years, Threading My Prayer Rug is the story of many journeys: from Pakistan to America, from which her husband-to-be returned to wed and collect her while he completed his medical residency; from masters candidate to young bride and mother; from secular Muslim in an Islamic society to devout Muslim in a society ignorant of Islam; from liberal to conservative to American Muslim; and finally from Pakistani immigrant intending to stay for only a couple of years to an American of Pakistani origins, a successful businesswoman, grandmother, community leader who helped found a mosque, advocate for interfaith understanding, and co-founder of the New York chapter of a national organization. (publ.)

Black Men on the Blacktop: Basketball and the Politics of Race /

Description: What is it about basketball that makes it “the black man’s game?” And what about pickup basketball in particular: can it tell us something about the state of blackness in the United States? Reflecting on these questions, Rafik Mohamed presents pickup games as a text of the political, social, and economic struggles of African American men. In the process, he tells a story about race in its peculiarly American context, and about how the politics of race—and resistance—are mediated through sports. A. Rafik Mohamed is professor of sociology and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at California State University San Bernardino.

Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto /

Reviewed: TLS 2 June 2017 p. 35
Description: “…No traction will be gained, Crispin argues, by politely accommodating contemporary feminists who beg men for leniency and good treatment or fetishize self-empowerment and self-care. …She argues against mainstreaming and commercialization of Feminism, the dilution of its message and the requirement that feminism be sold to the masses the way every product is: by conventionally pretty, young, white women who assure consumers of ‘my approachability, my reasonable nature …my love of men and my sexual availability …’” (TLS)
Contents: Introduction -- The problem with universal feminism -- Women do not have to be feminists -- Every option is equally feminist -- How feminism ended up doing patriarchy's work -- Self empowerment is just another word for narcissism -- The fights we choose -- Men are not our problem -- Safety is a corrupt goal -- Where we go from here.

Hell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five Holocaust Memorials /

Reviewed: WSJ 17/18 June 2017 p. C6
Description: In a meditation on memorial and loss, Victor Ripp recounts his journey to hundreds of Holocaust memorials throughout Europe in an attempt to find affirmation of his lost family members. (publ.) “…Mounted on 80 lamp posts over several blocks [in a Berlin neighborhood] are two-sided plaques that tell the step-by-step story of the laws passed to marginalize, persecute and, ultimately, annihilate the Jews. One side of each plaque shows a pictogram (swim trunks, for instance), with the other side displaying the text of the Nazi-era law banning Jews from yet another ordinary activity (in this case, the dictate that Jews could no longer use Berlin pools). … ‘When we first put up the signs, some people took them to be new government rules,’ [the memorial designer] recounted. ‘Apparently these people believed that it was perfectly reasonable for Nazi policies to be put back into practice. Finally we had to attach a small disk to each sign to tell people that they were looking at art.’” (WSJ)

Girl on a Wire: Walking the Line Between Faith and Freedom in the Westboro Baptist Church /

Reviewed: PW 12 June 2017 p. 60
Description: It wasn't until Libby Phelps was an adult, a twenty-five year old, that she escaped the Westboro Baptist Church. She is the granddaughter of its founder, Fred Phelps, and when she left, the church and its values were all she'd known. She didn't tell her family she was leaving. It happened in just a few minutes; she ran into her house, grabbed a bag, and fled. (publ.) “Phelps now finds ways to ‘undo the legacy of hate’ she helped to create, including by volunteering with Equality House, the LGBT-advocacy office located across from Westboro Baptist Church.” (PW)

David Wiesner & the Art of Wordless Storytelling /

Reviewed: Locus 8/2017 p. 24
Description: Features dozens of lavish color plates, from early work to the exquisitely wrought watercolors that are the basis of 3-time Caldecott Medal winner Wiesner’s best-known books, along with pages excerpted from his forthcoming first graphic novel, Fish Girl. Also included are works by some of the artists most influential to Wiesner, including Marvel comic book legends, Surrealist and avant-garde masters, and mid-20th-century graphic artists. (publ.)

Exonerated: A History of the Innocence Movement /

Reviewed: CHE 9 June 2017 (new books); Choice Nov. 2017 vol. 55 no. 3 (Highly Recommended)
Description: Provides the first in-depth look at the history of this movement through interviews with key leaders such as Barry Scheck and Rob Warden as well as archival and field research into the major cases that brought awareness to wrongful convictions in the United States. (publ.)

Evolution’s Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Highly Recommended; Recommended for community college libraries)
Description: Describes how a tooth’s “foodprints”–distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear–provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking re-search in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors, what Ungar calls the biospheric buffet. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence–and the scars on our teeth–Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans. (publ.)

Heading Out: A History of American Camping /

Reviewed: CHE 9 June 2017 (new books)
Description: Who are the real campers? Through-hiking backpackers traversing the Appalachian Trail? The family in an SUV making a tour of national parks and sleeping in tents at campgrounds? People committed to the RV lifestyle who move their homes from state to state as season and whim dictate? Terence Young would say: all of the above. Camping is one of the country’s most popular pastimes—tens of millions of Americans go camping every year. Whether on foot, on horseback, or in RVs, campers have been enjoying themselves for well more than a century, during which time camping’s appeal has shifted and evolved. In Heading Out, Young takes readers into nature and explores with them the history of camping in the United States. (publ.)

The Fourth Amendment in an Age of Surveillance /

Reviewed: CHE 30 June 2017 (new books)
Description: New and emerging surveillance technologies allow government agents to track us wherever we go, to monitor our activities online and offline, and to gather massive amounts of information relating to our financial transactions, communications, and social contacts. In addition, traditional police methods like stop-and-frisk have grown out of control, subjecting hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens to routine searches and seizures. In this work, David Gray uncovers the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment to reveal how its historical guarantees of collective security against threats of “unreasonable searches and seizures” can provide concrete solutions to the current crisis. (publ.)

Revolving Door Lobbying: Public Service, Private Influence, and the Unequal Representation of Interests /

Reviewed: CHE 7 July 2017 (new books)
Description: Rather than promote a corporate or industry agenda, authors Pira and Thomas suggest that lobbyists instead seek to prevent government from harming their clients. The goal therefore is to keep government from accomplishing things, rather than to encourage a specific policy outcome. It is insight into the political process that is exploited, not necessarily connections a former politician has to his or her previous agency of employment.

George Washington: A Life in Books /

Reviewed: CHE 14 July 2017 (new books)
Description: George Washington has never been taken seriously as an intellectual. Indeed, John Adams once snobbishly dismissed him as “too illiterate, unlearned, unread for his station and reputation.” Yet Adams and most of the men who knew Washington were unaware of his regular devotion to reading as a program of self-improvement. Based on an exhaustive amount of research at the Library of Congress, the collections at Mount Vernon, and rare book archives scattered across the country, Kevin J. Hayes draws on juvenilia, letters, diaries, pamphlets, and the close to 1,000 books owned by Washington to reconstruct the active intellectual life that has gone largely unnoticed in conventional narratives of the first US president. (publ.)

Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century /

Reviewed: NYRB 17 Aug. 2017 p. 33
Description: A constitutional scholar traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have attempted to legislate sexual behavior from the ancient world to today, citing the agitators, moralists, lawmakers, and Supreme Court justices who have shaped some of the most divisive sexual debates. (publ.)

The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letter Project /

Description: The average American farmer is fifty-eight years old, and the 40 percent of farmland owners who lease their land to others are even older: sixty-six on average. Five times as many farmers are over sixty-five as are under thirty-five. What will happen to this land? Who will own it? What if one child wants to farm but can’t afford to buy out the nonfarming siblings? What if keeping the farm in the family means foregoing the significant profits that could be earned from selling it? These sometimes painful and divisive questions confront many farmers and farmland owners today. How they answer them will shape their families and the land for generations to come. The Farm Legacy Letters project, developed by the member-driven nonprofit Practical Farmers of Iowa, is designed to help farmers and farmland owners think about their farm's future and talk about it with their families. … this book gathers the letters and stories of midwestern families about the land they cherish–how they acquired it, what they treasure most about it, and their hopes for its future. (publ.)

The Small-Town Midwest: Resilience and Hope in the Twenty-First Century /

Description: Sets out to illuminate the lives and hopes of these small-town residents. The people featured live—by choice or circumstances—in one of nine small communities in five states in the Midwest and Great Plains: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Daily they witness people moving out, heading to more urban areas, small businesses closing down, connected infrastructure drying up, entrepreneurs becoming discouraged, and more people thinking about leaving. This is the story we hear in the news, the story told by abandoned farms, consolidated schools, and boarded-up Main Streets. But it’s not the whole story. As Couch found in her travels throughout the Midwest, many people long to return to these towns, places where they may have deep family roots or where they can enjoy short commutes, familiar neighbors, and proximity to rural and wild places. (publ.)

Public Enemies /

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochrane, Billie Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, John Ortiz, Giovanni Ribisi, & David Wenham.
Description: 1933. It is the fourth year of the Great Depression. For John Dillinger, Alvin Karpis and Baby Face Nelson, it is the golden age of bank robbery. After serving a ten-year prison sentence, John Dillinger embarks on a cross-country bank-robbing spree with help from his associates: faithful driver Red Hamilton, cocky lookout Homer Van Meter, and murderous hothead Baby Face Nelson. He relocates to Chicago, where he meets hatcheck girl Billie Frechette and falls in love, but struggles to reconcile his new romance with his life on the run. Meanwhile, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover has enlisted Special Agent Melvin Purvis to use the latest techniques and equipment to catch Dillinger-Public Enemy Number One–even as Purvis realizes that doing so may stretch his principles to the breaking point.
Note: Based on the book: Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, by Bryan Burrough (New York: Penguin, 2004).

Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Essential; recommended for community college libraries)
Description: An account of both the historical and current struggle of Native Americans to recover sacred objects that have been plundered and sold to museums. Museum curator and anthropologist Chip Colwell asks the all-important question: Who owns the past? Museums that care for the objects of history or the communities whose ancestors made them? (publ.)

No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Highly Recommended; Recommended for community college libraries)
Description: Even those who find time for a family meal are cut off from the people who grew, harvested, distributed, marketed, and sold the foods on their table. Few ever break bread with anyone outside their own socio-economic group. So why does Michael Carolan say that that no one eats alone? Because all of us are affected by the other people in our vast foodscape. We can no longer afford to ignore these human connections as we struggle with dire problems like hunger, obesity, toxic pesticides, antibiotic resistance, depressed rural economies, and low-wage labor. Carolan argues that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food. (publ.)

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating /

Reviewed: LR July 2017 p. 47
Description: Never before have we had so much information available to us about food and health. There’s GAPS, paleo, detox, gluten-free, alkaline, the sugar conspiracy, clean eating ... Unfortunately, a lot of it is not only wrong but actually harmful. So why do so many of us believe this bad science? Biochemist turned chef Anthony Warner unravels the mystery of why sensible, intelligent people are so easily taken in by the latest food fads. (publ.)

Arguments for Welfare: The Welfare State and Social Policy /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Highly Recommended; Recommended for community college libraries)
Description: The critics argue that welfare states are illegitimate, that things are best left to the market, and that welfare has bad effects on the people who receive it. …With examples from around the world, the book explains why social welfare services should be provided and explores how the principles are applied. Most importantly, it argues for the welfare state’s continued value to society. (publ.)

A History of Mexican Literature /

Reviewed: Choice Sep. 2017 vol. 55 no. 1 (Highly Recommended; Top 75 Titles recommended for community college libraries)
Description: Featuring a comprehensive introduction that charts the development of a complex canon, this history includes extensive essays that illuminate the cultural and political intricacies of Mexican literature. Organized thematically, these essays survey the multilayered verse and fiction of such diverse writers as Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Mariano Azuela, Xavier Villaurrutia, and Octavio Paz. (publ.)

The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Top 75 Titles recommended for community college libraries)
Description: What is the world’s most endangered habitat? A tropical rain forest? A coral reef? Guess again—only two percent of America’s tallgrass prairie has “survived the plow.” Once extending from southeast Manitoba to southern Texas, roughly along the 97th meridian, only tiny fragments remain. Restoring prairie and gaining converts who love the prairie as much as she does is the author’s passion. The dual purpose to inform (ecology) and appreciate (aesthetics) are intertwined. (Choice)

Turtles as Hopeful Monsters: Origins and Evolution /

Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Essential; Top 75 Titles Recommended for community college libraries)
Description: Where do turtles hail from? Why and how did they acquire shells? These questions have spurred heated debate and intense research for more than two hundred years. Weaving evidence from the latest paleontological discoveries with an accessible, incisive look at different theories of biological evolution and their proponents, Turtles as Hopeful Monsters tells the fascinating evolutionary story of the shelled reptiles. … Turtle issues fuel a debate between proponents of gradual evolutionary change and authors favoring change through bursts and leaps of macromutation. (publ.)

Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship /

Reviewed: PW 17 July 2017 (starred)
Description: Two boring, intellectual sheep meet an illiterate wolf poorly disguised as a sheep and teach him how to read. Friendship blossoms, but the wolf doesn’t like a certain character in the fairy tale he’s learning to read.

Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies: The Life of Gore Vidal /

Description: An intimate yet frank biography of Gore Vidal, one of the most accomplished, visible and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century. The product of thirty years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini’s biography probes behind the glittering surface of Vidal’s colorful life to reveal the complex emotional and sexual truth underlying his celebrity-strewn life. But there is plenty of glittering surface as well – a virtual Who’s Who of the American century, from Eleanor Roosevelt on down. (publ.)

Trans Voices: Becoming Who You Are /

Description: Drawing on over one hundred interviews with individuals, this book is a compilation of the voices of those who have decided to undergo transition–both male-to-female and female-to-male. The book details the diverse experiences and challenges faced by those who transition, exploring a range of topics such as hormone treatments; reassignment surgeries; coming out; sex and sexuality; physical, emotional and mental health; transphobia; discrimination; and hate crime, as well as highlighting the lives of non-binary individuals and those who cross-dress to form a wider understanding of the varied ways in which people experience gender. (publ.)

Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect /

Description: Helps readers understand the foundations of and principles behind social media; manage and participate within online communities; and succeed in the changing field of modern public relations. (publ.)

Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know /

Reviewed: FA 96(5) Sept./Oct. 2017 p. 185
Description: Sadly, most Americans if asked would probably think this is an international studies book. Acquired by the United States from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico has a peculiar status among Latin American and Caribbean countries. As a Commonwealth, the island enjoys limited autonomy over local matters, but the U.S. has dominated it militarily, politically, and economically for much of its recent history. Though they are U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans do not have their own voting representatives in Congress and cannot vote in presidential elections (although they are able to participate in the primaries). The island’s status is a topic of perennial debate, both within and beyond its shores. In recent months its colossal public debt has sparked an economic crisis that has catapulted it onto the national stage and intensified the exodus to the U.S., bringing to the fore many of the unresolved remnants of its colonial history. This is an accessibly written survey for general audiences. (publ.)

The Drunken Duchess of Vassar: Grace Harriet Macurdy, Pioneering Feminist Classical Scholar /

Reviewed: TLS 4 Aug. 2017 p. 30.
Description: Barbara McManus recovers the intriguing life story of Grace Harriet Macurdy (1866-1946), Professor of Greek at Vassar College and the first woman classicist to focus her scholarship on the lives of ancient Greco-Roman women. Fondly known as "the Drunken Duchess," although she never drank alcohol, Macurdy came from a poor family with no social, economic, or educational advantages. Moreover, she struggled with disability for decades after becoming almost totally deaf in her early fifties. Yet she became an internationally known Greek scholar with a long list of publications and close friends as renowned as Gilbert Murray and John Masefield. Through Macurdy’s eyes and experiences, McManus examines significant issues and developments from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, such as the opening of higher education to women, the erosion of gender and class barriers in the professions, the delicate balancing act be-tween personal and professional life required of women, the marginalized role of women’s colleges in academic politics, and changes in the discipline and profession of Classics in response to the emerging role of women and new social conditions. (publ.)

Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World /

Reviewed: TLS 18/25 Aug. 2017 p. 3
Description: 2016 marked the dawn of the post-truth era. The year saw two shock election results, each of which has the potential to reshape the world: the UK's decision to leave the EU, and the elevation of Donald Trump to the office of US President. The campaigns highlighted many of the same issues in their home countries: social division, anger at the elite, anti-immigration sentiment and more--but, more than anything, they heralded an unprecedented rise of bullshit. (publ.) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Ball has worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post.

Post Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back /

Reviewed: TLS 18/25 Aug. 2017 p. 3
Description: In this timely book, Post Truth is distinguished from a long tradition of political lies, exaggeration and spin. What is new is not the mendacity of politicians but the public’s response to it and the ability of new technologies and social media to manipulate, polarize and entrench opinion. Where trust has evaporated, conspiracy theories thrive, the authority of the media wilt and emotions matter more than facts . (publ.) Matthew d'Ancona is a British journalist and broadcaster.

Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It /

Reviewed: TLS 18/25 Aug. 2017 p. 3
Description: Low-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting–from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us “your call is important to us.” How did we get to a place where bullshit is not just rife but apparently so effective that it’s become the communications strategy of our times? (publ.) Award-winning broadcaster Evan Davis is a presenter of the BBC2 current affairs program, Newsnight, and formerly was the Economics Editor of the BBC, the most senior economics reporter in the corporation.

The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy /

Reviewed: TLS 18/25 Aug. 2017 p. 19.
Description: The Syrian civil war and the humanitarian catastrophe it has produced constitute the most urgent geopolitical crisis of the twenty-first century. For the last six years, we have been confronted with images of colossal human suffering and a moral dilemma that remains unresolved, with no end in sight. Yassin al-Haj Saleh, the intellectual voice of the Syrian revolution, describes with precision and fervor the events that led to the uprising of 2011, the metamorphosis of the popular revolution into a regional war, and the “three monsters” Saleh sees “treading on Syria’s corpse”: the Assad regime and its allies, ISIS and other jihadists, and the West. (publ.)

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice From the Silence of Autism /

Reviewed: Economist 12 Aug. 2017 p. 68.
Description: Naoki Higashida wrote The Reason I Jump as a 13-year-old boy. Now, he shares his thoughts and experiences as a 24-year old young man with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, he explores education, identity, family, society and personal growth. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it's raining outside. Introduced by award-winning author David Mitchell …this book is part memoir, part critique of a world that sees disabilities ahead of disabled people. It is a self-portrait-in-progress of a young man who happens to have autism, and who wants to help us understand it better. (publ.)
Holdings: NICC has author’s earlier book, The Reason I Jump; call no. 616.85 Hig (Peosta).

No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 27 Aug. 2017 p. 15
Description: In medical charts, the term “N.A.D.” (No Apparent Distress) is used for patients who appear stable. The phrase also aptly describes America’s medical system when it comes to treating the underprivileged. Medical students learn on the bodies of the poor–and the poor suffer from their mistakes. Rachel Pearson confronted these harsh realities when she started medical school in Galveston, Texas. Pearson, herself from a working-class background, remains haunted by the suicide of a close friend, experiences firsthand the heartbreak of her own errors in a patient’s care, and witnesses the ruinous effects of a hurricane on a Texas town’s medical system. In a free clinic where the motto is “All Are Welcome Here,” she learns how to practice medicine with love and tenacity amidst the raging injustices of a system that favors the rich and the white. (publ.)

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News /

Reviewed: PW 14 Aug. 2017 p. 63
Description: Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon—the legacy of P.T. Barnum’s “humbug” culminating with the currency of Donald J. Trump’s “fake news.” Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, with race being the most insidious American hoax of all. He chronicles how Barnum came to fame by displaying figures like Joice Heth, a black woman whom he pretended was the 161-year-old nursemaid to George Washington, and What is It?, an African American man Barnum professed was a newly discovered missing link in evolution. (Publ.)
Local Interest: Read about the 9-year-old poet-prodigy Fern Gravel, declared “the lost Sappho of Iowa” … (PW)

Women Talk More Than Men: ...And Other Myths About Language Explained /

Reviewed: The Economist 24 June 2017 p. 76 (referenced)
Description: Do women talk more than men? Does text messaging make you stupid? Can chimpanzees really talk to us? This fascinating book addresses a wide range of language myths, focusing on important big-picture issues such as the rule-governed nature of language or the influence of social factors on how we speak. Case studies and analysis of relevant experiments teach readers the skills to become informed consumers of social science research, while suggested open-ended exercises invite students to reflect further on what they've learned. (publ.)

Teaching Children to Love Problem Solving: A Reference from Birth Through Adulthood /

Description: This book was developed with the caring and concerned adult in mind and is a one-stop for anyone who would like to help a child develop problem solving thinking. They will become adept at the use of problem solving strategies over the course of their development from birth. For each age range, this book provides developmental information, relevant mathematical concepts, sample problems with multiple solutions, and finally activities to engage with as a family in order to develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skill. (publ.)

Patricia A. McKillip and the Art of Fantasy World-Building /

Description: This first book-length study of critically acclaimed novelist Patricia A. McKillip’s lyrical other-worlds analyzes her characters, environments and legends and their interplay with genre expectations. The author gives long overdue critical attention to McKillip’s work and demonstrates how a broader understanding of world-building enables a deeper appreciation of her fantasies. (publ.)

Partition: The Story of Indian Independence and the Creation of Pakistan in 1947 /

Reviewed: TLS 11 Aug. 2017 p. 12.
Description: Between January and August 1947 the conflicting political, religious and social tensions in India culminated in independence from Britain and the creation of Pakistan. Those months saw the end of ninety years of the British Raj, and the effective power of the Maharajahs, as the Congress Party established itself commanding a democratic government in Delhi. They also witnessed the rushed creation of Pakistan as a country in two halves whose capitals were two thousand kilometers apart. From September to December 1947 the euphoria surrounding the realization of the dream of independence dissipated into shame and incrimination; nearly 1 million people died and countless more lost their homes and their livelihoods as partition was realized. The events of those months would dictate the history of South Asia for the next seventy years, leading to three wars, countless acts of terrorism, polarization around the Cold War powers and to two nations with millions living in poverty spending disproportionate amounts on their military. (publ.)

Keeping It Halal: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys /

Reviewed: CHE 8 Sept. 2017 (new books)
Description: This book provides a uniquely personal look at the social worlds of a group of young male friends as they navigate the complexities of growing up Muslim in America. Drawing on three and a half years of intensive fieldwork in and around a large urban mosque, John O’Brien offers a compelling portrait of typical Muslim American teenage boys concerned with typical teenage issues—girlfriends, school, parents, being cool—yet who are also expected to be good, practicing Muslims who don’t date before marriage, who avoid vulgar popular culture, and who never miss their prayers. (publ.)

Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History /

Reviewed: CHE 15 Sept. 2017 (new books)
Description: Offers a bold new look at the history of homesteading, overturning what for decades has been the orthodox scholarly view. The authors begin by noting the striking disparity between the public’s perception of homesteading as a cherished part of our national narrative and most scholars’ harshly negative and dismissive treatment. Homesteading the Plains reexamines old data and draws from newly available digitized records to reassess the current interpretation’s four principal tenets: homesteading was a minor factor in farm formation, with most Western farmers purchasing their land; most homesteaders failed to prove up their claims; the homesteading process was rife with corruption and fraud; and homesteading caused Indian land dispossession. Using data instead of anecdotes and focusing mainly on the nineteenth century, Homesteading the Plains demonstrates that the first three tenets are wrong and the fourth only partially true. In short, the public’s perception of homesteading is perhaps more accurate than the one scholars have constructed. Homesteading the Plains provides the basis for an understanding of homesteading that is startlingly different from current scholarly orthodoxy. (publ.)

Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books /

Reviewed: CHE 15 Sept. 2017 (new books)
Description: Racism is resilient, duplicitous, and endlessly adaptable, so it is no surprise that America is again in a period of civil rights activism. A significant reason racism endures is because it is structural: it’s embedded in culture and in institutions. One of the places that racism hides–and thus perhaps the best place to oppose it–is books for young people. Philip Nel presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children’s literature tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. (publ.)

Rural Poverty in the United States /

Reviewed: CHE 15 Sept. 2017 (new books)
Description: America’s rural areas have always held a disproportionate share of the nation’s poorest populations. Rural Poverty in the United States examines why. What is it about the geography, demography, and history of rural communities that keeps them poor? In a comprehensive analysis that extends from the Civil War to the present, this book looks at access to human and social capital; food security; healthcare and the environment; homelessness; gender roles and relations; racial inequalities; and immigration trends to isolate the underlying causes of persistent rural poverty. (publ.)

Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats /

Reviewed: NPR 10 Sept. 2017 (brief note and excerpt) Big Chicken: The Medical Mystery That Traced Back To Slaughterhouse Workers.
Description: What you eat matters—for your health, for the environment, and for future generations. In this investigative narrative, McKenna dives deep into the world of modern agriculture by way of the chicken: from the farm where it’s raised directly to your dinner table. Consumed more than any other meat in the United States, chicken is emblematic of today’s mass food-processing practices and their profound influence on our lives and health. (publ.)

Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands Versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change /

Description: Taking the Grand Canyon as its key example, and using on-the-ground reporting as well as science research, the book makes plain that accelerating climate change will dislocate wildlife populations and vegetation across hundreds of thousands of square miles of the national landscape. So what’s the plan, as the next phase of our political history begins? Consolidating protected areas and prioritizing natural systems over mining, grazing, drilling and logging will be essential. But a growing political movement, well financed and occasionally violent, is fighting to break up these federal lands and return them to state, local and private control. That scheme would foreclose the future for many wild species, part of our irreplaceable natural heritage, and it leads directly to the ruin of our national parks and forests. The author also documents the current federal mismanagement of public land, which often favors private interests over natural systems and endangered species. (publ.)

The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur /

Reviewed: WSJ 28 Sept. 2017 p. A15
Description: When President James Garfield was shot, no one in the United States was more dismayed than his Vice President, Chester Arthur. For years Arthur had been perceived as unfit to govern, not only by critics and his fellow citizens but by his own conscience. A comprehensive biography of Chester A. Arthur, our virtually forgotten 21st president, who unexpectedly occupied the nation’s highest office and surprised everyone with his moral character and reformist policies. (publ.)

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right /

Reviewed: Economist 30 Sept. 2017 p. 75
Description: Sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country–a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets–among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident–people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.
Note: National Book Award Finalist (Nonfiction) for 2016.

Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America /

Description: The first consumer credit bureaus appeared in the 1870s and quickly amassed huge archives of deeply personal information. Today, the three leading credit bureaus are among the most powerful institutions in modern life—yet we know almost nothing about them. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are multi-billion-dollar corporations that track our movements, spending behavior, and financial status. This data is used to predict our riskiness as borrowers and to judge our trustworthiness and value in a broad array of contexts, from insurance and marketing to employment and housing. (publ.)

The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Hope, and Friendship in an American Classroom /

Reviewed: PW 2 Oct. 2017 p. 128
Description: Follows the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers through-out the course of the 2015-2016 school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado, in an English Language Acquisition class created specifically for them. Speaking no English, unfamiliar with American culture, their stories are poignant and remarkable as they face the enormous challenge of adapting. These newcomers, from fourteen to nineteen years old, come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Many come directly from refugee camps, after experiencing dire forms of cataclysm. Some arrive alone, having left or lost every other member of their original family. (publ.)

Do the Geneva Conventions Matter? /

Reviewed: CHE 13 Oct. 2017 (new books)
Description: Case studies of the famed protocols in relation to the Korean War, the French in Algeria, the U.S. in Vietnam, post-break-up Yugoslavia, Russia in Chechnya, the Israeli Defense Forces, the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, private military and security companies, and peacekeeping missions. (CHE)

You’re Not Dead ’til I Say You’re Dead: A Nurse’s Reflections on Death, Dying, and the Near-Death Experience /

Reviewed: LJ 1 Nov. 2017 p. 94
Description: Memoir of a nurse who has cared for the very ill and dying for over 30 years.

The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 12 Nov. 2017 p. 10
Description: More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. Since then he’s covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people’s belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy. In The Long Haul, Murphy offers a trucker’s-eye view of America on the move. Going far beyond the myth of the American road trip, he whisks readers down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and through the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings. (publ.)

The Way Home in the Night /

Reviewed: NYT/BR 12 Nov. 2017 p. 25 (Best Illustrated Books of 2017).
Description: A mother rabbit and her young bunny are on their way home in the dark night. The young bunny ponders the activities of his neighbors in their homes, he wonders about the sights, smells, and sounds coming from the neighbors going about their evening. When they reach home, the father rabbit tucks the bunny into bed as he enjoys the comforts of nighttime in the city. (publ.)
Note: Translated from the Japanese; Originally published as: Yoru no Kaerimichi = よるのかえりみち (Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 2015).

Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century /

Description: This book makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantanamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective. (publ.)

That’s the Way It Crumbles: The American Conquest of English /

Reviewed: TLS 1 Dec. 2017 p. 38.
Description: Are we [i.e., some British dude] tired of hearing that fall is a season, sick of being offered fries and told about the latest movie? Yeah. Have we noticed the sly interpolation of Americanisms into our everyday speech? You betcha. And are we outraged? Hell, yes. But do we do anything? Too much hassle. Until now. (publ.)

The Jewish Annotated New Testament: New Revised Standard Version Bible Translation /

Description: First published in 2011, The Jewish Annotated New Testament was a groundbreaking work, bringing the new Testament’s Jewish background to the attention of students, clergy, and general readers. In this new edition, eighty Jewish scholars bring together unparalleled scholarship to shed new light on the text. This thoroughly revised and greatly expanded second edition brings even more helpful information and new insights to the study of the new Testament. (publ.)

Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American /

Reviewed: TLS 5 Jan. 2018. p. 33
Description: Okey Ndibe’s funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential–but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency–African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American. (publ.)

Cockroaches /

Reviewed: NYRB 22 Feb. 2018 p. 27
Description: Imagine being born into a world where everything about you–the shape of your nose, the look of your hair, the place of your birth–designates you as an undesirable, an inferior, a menace, no better than a cockroach, something to be driven away and ultimately exterminated. Imagine being thousands of miles away while your family and friends are brutally and methodically slaughtered. Imagine being entrusted by your parents with the mission of leaving everything you know and finding some way to survive, in the name of your family and your people. Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda–the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bittersweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on. Sweet, funny, wrenching, and deeply moving, Cockroaches is a window onto an unforgettable world of love, grief, and horror. (publ.)
Note: Originally published as: Inyenzi, ou, Les Cafards (Paris: Gallimard, 2006).

Collected Stories /

Reviewed: TLS 6 Apr. 2018 p. 16.
Description: An authoritative new translation of the complete fiction of Bruno Schulz, whose work has influenced writers as various as Salman Rushdie, Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Safran Foer, Philip Roth, Danilo Kiš, and Roberto Bolaño. … This comprehensive volume brings together all of Schulz’s published stories–Cinnamon Shops, his most famous collection (sometimes titled The Street of Crocodiles in English), The Sanatorium under the Hourglass, and an additional four stories that he did not include in either of his collections. … Bruno Schulz (1892–1942) was a Polish Jew born in Drohobych, at the time a city in Austrian Galicia. He published two volumes of short fiction during his life. Shot in the street by a Nazi officer in German-occupied Drohobych, Schulz achieved posthumous fame as one of the most influential European fiction writers of the twentieth century. (publ.)

If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Staying Together /

Reviewed: NPR (“Weekend Edition” 4/8/2018)
Description: After dealing with more than a thousand clients whose marriages have dissolved over everything from an ill-advised threesome with the nanny to the uneven division of carpool duties, he also knows all of the what-not-to-dos for couples who want to build–and consistently work to preserve–a lasting, fulfilling relationship. Described by former clients as a “courtroom gunslinger” and “the sociopath you want on your side,” Sexton tells the unvarnished truth about relationships, diving straight into the most common marital problems. These usually derive from dishonest–or nonexistent–communication. Even when the alleged reason for separation is one spouse’s new “personal trainer,” there’s likely a communication problem that predates the fitness kick. Symptom and root cause get confused all the time. Sexton has spent his career working with spouses-to-be-no-longer. Reverse engineering a relationship can help to identify and fix what does not work. (publ.)

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest That Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood /

Reviewed: NPR (10/26/2015)
Description: Explores the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s fictional Hundred Acre Wood, South-East England's Ashdown Forest, and how it influenced the author’s famous works. (publ.)

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