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The Decarbonization Imperative
Michael Lenox, author
Rebecca Duff, author
Stanford Business Books
9781503614789, $28.00, HC, 288pp
Synopsis: It is now obvious for anyone watching the nightly news shows that time is of the essence, that climate change now looms as a malignant force that will reshape our economy and society for generations to come. If we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we are going to need to effectively "decarbonize" the global economy by 2050.
This doesn't mean a modest, or even a drastic, improvement in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. It means 100 percent of the cars on the road being battery-powered or powered by some other non-carbon-emitting powertrain. It means 100 percent of our global electricity needs being met by renewables and other non-carbon-emitting sources such as nuclear power. It means electrifying the global industrials sector and replacing carbon-intensive chemical processes with green alternatives, eliminating scope-one emissions (emissions in production) across all industries, particularly steel, cement, petrochemicals, which are the backbone of the global economy. It means sustainable farming while still feeding a growing global population.
Responding to the existential threat of climate change with the publication of "The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" by Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff proposes a radical reconfiguration of the industries contributing the most, and most harmfully, to this planetary crisis. Disruptive innovation and a particular calibration of industry dynamics will be key to this change.
"The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" analyze precisely what this might look like for specific sectors of the world economy (ranging from agriculture to industrials and building, energy, and transportation) and examine the possible challenges and obstacles to introducing a paradigm shift in each one. With regards to existent business practices and products, how much and what kind of transformation can be achieved? "The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" asserts that markets are critical to achieving the needed change, and that they operate within a larger scale of institutional rules and norms. "The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" concludes with an analysis of policy interventions and strategies that could move us toward clean tech and decarbonization by 2050.
Critique: Timely, pertinent, essential reading in the face of the growing impact climate change is even now having on our infrastructure, or agriculture, our economy, and our politics, both locally, nationally, and globally, "The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" is an essential, critically important, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Environmental Studies collections. It should be noted for students, academia, environmentalists, political activists, corporate and government policy makers, as well as the non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.60).
Editorial Note #1: Michael Lenox is the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. He is the coauthor of Can Business Save the Earth? Innovating Our Way to Sustainability (Stanford, 2018) and The Strategist's Toolkit (Darden, 2013).
Editorial Note #2: Rebecca Duff is Senior Research Associate with the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. She also serves as the managing director for Darden's Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative.
By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose
9780861540525, $35.00 / $15.99 Kindle
Synopsis: The rose is bursting with meaning. Over the centuries it has come to represent love and sensuality, deceit, death and the mystical unknown. Today the rose enjoys unrivalled popularity across the globe, ever present at life's seminal moments.
Grown in the Middle East two thousand years ago for its pleasing scent and medicinal properties, it has become one of the most adored flowers across cultures, no longer selected by nature, but by us. The rose is well-versed at enchanting human hearts. From Shakespeare's sonnets to Bulgaria's Rose Valley to the thriving rose trade in Africa and the Far East, via museums, high fashion, Victorian England and Belle Epoque France, we meet an astonishing array of species and hybrids of remarkably different provenance.
This is the story of a hardy, thorny flower and how, by beauty and charm, it came to seduce the world.
Critique: By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose is an in-depth reference, resource, and discussion of the rose as perceived and used in culture. Throughout history, the rose has symbolized love, death, mysticism, religious beliefs, and more. Chapters further examine how different types of roses have been cultivated and distributed worldwide. A fascinating and thoroughly accessible cultural study, By Any Other Name is highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that By Any Other Name is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.99).
Editorial Note: Simon Morley is a British artist and art historian. He is the author of several books and catalogue essays on modern and contemporary art, and his art reviews and essays have been published in numerous magazines and journals, including the TLS, Modern Painters, Tate Magazine, the Independent on Sunday, World Art and Third Text. Previously a lecturer at the Sotheby's Institute and at Winchester School of Art, he is now Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Dankook University, Republic of Korea. He is also a keen rose gardener.
The American History Shelf
Christopher W. Shaw
City Lights Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
9780872868779, $16.95, PB, 240pp
Synopsis: The fight over the future of the U.S. Postal Service has been a raging social issue for the past few decades. For years, corporate interests and political ideologues have pushed to remake the USPS, turning it from a public institution into a private business (especially during the Trump Administration) -- and now, with mail-in voting playing a key role in local, state, and federal elections, the attacks have escalated. Leadership at the USPS has been handed over to special interests whose plan for the future includes higher postage costs, slower delivery times, and fewer post offices, policies that will inevitably weaken this invaluable public service and source of employment.
Despite the general shift to digital communication, the vast majority of the American people and small businesses still rely heavily on the U.S. postal system, and many are rallying to defend it. "First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat" by author, historian, and policy analyst Christopher W. Shaw brings readers to the front lines of the struggle, explaining the various forces at work for and against a strong postal system, and presenting reasonable ideas for strengthening and expanding its capacity, services, and workforce.
Emphasizing the essential role the USPS has played ever since Benjamin Franklin served as our first Postmaster General, "First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat" warns of the consequences for the country (and for our democracy) if we don't win this fight.
Critique: For our American style democracy to survive its citizens must protect and defend the privatization of schools, libraries, and the U.S. postal system. All three of these institutions are necessary to insure that we have a literate and informed electorate that can beat back the totalitarian and authoritarian forces that would turn our democracy into an autocracy, that would restrict their freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and corruption free political elections to their economic and financial status. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat" is an essential and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Political Science and Contemporary Social Issues collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in protecting our U.S. Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic -- the latter especially with specific reference to our postal system.
The World History Shelf
Usurpers: A New Look at Medieval Kings
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526779502, $42.95, HC, 216pp
Synopsis: In the Middle Ages (approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries), England had to contend with a string of usurpers who disrupted the British monarchy and ultimately changed the course of European history by deposing England's reigning kings and seizing power for themselves. Some of the most infamous usurper kings to come out of medieval England include William the Conqueror, Stephen of Blois, Henry Bolingbroke, Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry Tudor. Did these kings really deserve the title of usurper or were they unfairly vilified by royal propaganda and biased chroniclers?
With the publication of "Usurpers: A New Look at Medieval Kings", author and historian Michele Morrical provides a detailed examination of the lives of these six medieval kings, the circumstances which brought each of them to power, and whether or not they deserve the title of usurper.
Along the way readers will also learn about some of the most fascinating people from medieval Europe, including Empress Matilda, the woman who nearly succeeded at becoming the first ruling Queen of England; Eleanor of Aquitaine, the queen of both France and England who stirred her own sons to rebel against their father, Henry II; the cruel and vengeful reign of Richard II which caused his own family to overthrow him; the epic struggle for power between Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, Richard of York, and Edward IV during the Wars of the Roses; the notorious Richard III and his monstrous reputation as a child-killer; and Henry VII who rose from relative obscurity to establish the most famous royal family of all time: the Tudors.
Critique: A masterpiece of academic scholarship that will prove of interest to both academia and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in Royal British History, and also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $25.00), "Usurpers: A New Look at Medieval Kings" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community, college, and university library British Monarchy Biography and History collections.
Editorial Note: Michele Morrical is an historical fiction & non-fiction writer with a particular affinity for researching and writing about medieval kings and queens in England, especially during the Wars of the Roses and the ensuing Tudor Dynasty. She maintains an informative website at: https://michelemorrical.com/
The Wars of Justinian I
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526760883, $34.95, HC, 304pp
Synopsis: Justinian I was the last great conquering Roman emperor, who dramatically increased the size of his realm although he never actually led an army in person. His long reign (527-565) was devoted to the challenging project of renovatio imperii, that is the renovation of Empire. His was the will and vision behind campaigns that saw the re-conquest of Italy and Rome itself from the Ostrogoths, North Africa from the Vandals, and parts of Spain from the Visigoths. These grand schemes were largely accomplished through the services of two talented generals, Belisarius and Narses. And all this in spite of the distractions of wars against the Persians in the east for most of his reign and the devastation caused by bubonic plague.
"The Wars of Justinian I" by Michael Whitby is the only history available that is particularly devoted to analyzing all of Justinian's campaigns on the basis of the full range of sources. Besides narrating the course and outcome of these wars, as the historian and author analyses the Roman army of the period, considering its equipment, organization, leadership, strategy and tactics, and considers the longer-term impact of Justinian's military ventures on the stability of the empire.
Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a four page Glossary, a twenty page Bibliography, and a nine page Index, "The Wars of Justinian I" is a masterpiece of historical scholarship and is recommended as a core addition to community, college, and university library Roman History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Roman History that "The Wars of Justinian I" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
Editorial Note: Michael Whitby is a Senior Naval Historian at the Directorate of History and Heritage, DND, and co-author of "The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War".
Isle and Empires
9781911487395, $30.00, HC, 480pp
Synopsis: The tumultuous story of the Romanovs and their enigmatic relationship with Britain is brought to life in Stephan Roman's analytical history, "Isle and Empires: Romanov Russia, Britain and the Isle of Wight", as he explores the misunderstandings, suspicions and alliances that created an uneasy partnership between two of the world's most powerful Empires.
As an island off the south coast of England that was intimately linked the British royal family and the Romanovs, The Isle of Wight was at the heart of this relationship. Peter the Great drew inspiration for the first Russian naval fleet from his sailing trips around the Island, and Alexander I was immortalised by a hilltop monument built for him on St Catherine's Down. Alexander II's beloved only daughter, Grand Duchess Marie, spent many years at Osborne House infuriating and irritating her mother-in-law, Queen Victoria.
In contrast to the Isle of Wight's imperial and royal connections, Russian revolutionaries also made it their home, establishing a summer colony of radical political thinkers and writers in Ventnor.
In August 1909 the Island hosted the Russian Imperial family during their visit to Cowes Week, then the most glamorous yachting regatta in Europe's social calendar. A new era of Anglo-Russian collaboration was dawning and seemed destined to become a dominant force in 20th century global politics. The Tsar's visit to Cowes was deliberately intended to set the seal on this new alliance.
Less than ten years later the Romanovs had been overthrown, with the British government and royal family accused of betrayal and complicity in their deaths. "Isle and Empires" is an historical journey into a world of Imperial glory and power, family rivalry, wars, intrigue and alliances. It is also a story of Russia's revolutionaries, spies and terrorists, and the refugees fleeing Tsarist oppression who found shelter and safety both in mainland Britain and on the Isle of Wight. These events reverberate to the present day and much of what happened when the Romanovs ruled Russia continues to set the pattern for the current relationship between the two countries.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Isle and Empires: Romanov Russia, Britain and the Isle of Wight" is an extraordinarily informative and meticulously researched study that is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of illustrations and maps, a three page Family Tree, twenty-four pages of Notes on Bibliographic Sources, a four page listing of Acknowledgments, and a fifteen page Index. While especially and unreservedly recommended European History & Biography collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Isle and Empires: Romanov Russia, Britain and the Isle of Wight" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Stephan Roman studied History at the University of Oxford and trained in library and information science at the University of Sheffield. He has held senior positions in the British Council working in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He became a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 2012 and was awarded the Romanian Order of Merit for Services to Culture in 2004.
The Civil War Shelf
Passing Through the Fire
Brian F. Swartz
9781611215618, $14.95 pbk / $7.99 Kindle
Synopsis: As the brigade he commanded attacked a Confederate battery on a hill outside Petersburg in July 1864, a bursting shell blew Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain from the saddle and wounded his horse. After the enemy battery skedaddled, the brigade took the hill and dug in, and up came supporting Union guns.
Chamberlain figured the day's fighting ended. Then an unidentified senior officer ordered his brigade to charge and capture the heavily defended main Confederate line. Chamberlain protested the order, then complied, taking his men forward - until a bullet slammed through his groin and left him mortally wounded.
Miraculously surviving a nighttime battlefield surgery, he returned home to convalesce as a brigadier general following an impromptu deathbed promotion. Struggling with pain and multiple surgeries, Chamberlain debated leaving the army or returning to the fight.
His decision affected upcoming battles, his family, and the rest of his life.
Passing Through the Fire: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War chronicles Chamberlain's swift transition from college professor and family man to regimental and brigade commander. A natural leader, he honed his fighting skills at Shepherdstown and Fredericksburg. Praised by his Gettysburg peers for leading the 20th Maine Infantry's successful defense of Little Round Top - an action that would eventually earn him Civil War immortality - Chamberlain experienced his most intense combat after arriving at Petersburg.
Drawing on Chamberlain's extensive memoirs and writings and multiple period sources, historian Brian F. Swartz follows Chamberlain across Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia while examining the determined warrior who let nothing prevent him from helping save the United States.
Critique: Part of the "Emerging Civil War" series, Passing Through the Fire: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War is the saga of Union general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914). A survivor of grievous wounds and painful battlefield surgery, he convalesced as a brigadier general after being promoted on what could have been his deathbed. He debated leaving the army - yet his decision to return would profoundly impact history. Passing Through the Fire meticulously chronicles his crucial military decisions, his leadership, and his role in saving the Union. Illustrated with a wealth of vintage black-and-white photographs, Passing Through the Fire is a superb and highly recommended addition to personal and public library Civil War collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Passing Through the Fire is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
Editorial Note: Raised on Chamberlain Street in Brewer, Maine, Brian F. Swartz has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, and photographer for 34 years and has published several books. He writes the Maine at War blog post, published weekly at www.maineatwar.bangordailynews.com
Alexander B. Rossino
PO Box 4527, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
9781611215571, $32.95, HC, 312pp
Synopsis: Most students of the Civil War believe the story of Robert E. Lee's 1862 Maryland Campaign is complete, and that new studies must rely on interpretations long-since accepted and understood. But what if this is not the case? What if the histories previously written about the first major Confederate operation north of the Potomac River missed key sources, proceeded from mistaken readings of the evidence, or were influenced by Lost Cause ideology?
As Alexander B. Rossino, author of the acclaimed Six Days in September, demonstrates with the publication of "Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia from the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862", these types of distortions continue to shape modern understanding of the campaign.
Rossino reassesses the history of the Confederate operation in seven comprehensive chapters, each tackling a specific major issue including: Rebel Revolutionary: Did Robert E. Lee Hope to Foment Rebellion in Maryland in September 1862?; High Hope for Liberating Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia Crosses the Potomac River, September 4 - 7, 1862; Four Days on the Monocacy: Confederate Encampments Near Frederick City and the Implications for the Lost Orders Debate; Dreams Dashed on the Rocks of Reality: The Army of Northern Virginia's Mixed Reception in Maryland; Rebels Photographed in Frederick, Maryland: The Case for September 1862; The Army of Northern Virginia Makes a Stand: A Critical Assessment of Robert E. Lee's Defensive Strategy at Sharpsburg on September 15 - 16, 1862; A Very Personal Fight: The Role of Robert E. Lee on the Field at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.
Rossino addresses many important issues: Did supply problems in Virginia force Lee north to press the advantage he had won after the Battle of Second Manassas? What did Rebel troops believe about the strength of secessionist sentiment in Maryland, and why? Did the entire Army of Northern Virginia really camp at Best's Farm near Frederick, Maryland? Did D. H. Hill lose Special Orders No. 191, or is there more to the story? How did Maryland civilians respond to the Rebel army in their midst, and what part did women play? Finally, why did Robert E. Lee choose to fight at Sharpsburg, and how personally was he involved in directing the fighting?
Rossino makes extensive use of primary sources to explore these and other important questions. In doing so, he reveals that many long-held assumptions about the Confederate experience in Maryland do not hold up under close scrutiny. The result is a well-documented reassessment that sheds new light on old subjects and reinvigorates the debate on several fronts.
Critique: A masterpiece of meticulous and exhaustively researched scholarship, "Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia From the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862" is a particularly appreciated and valued contribution to the growing library of American Civil War histories. An impressively informative, exceptionally well presented, and thought-provoking study that is very highly recommended as an essential addition to community, college, and university library American Civil War collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, civil war buffs and historians that "Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia From the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
Editorial Note: Author and historian Alexander B. Rossino has also published a two-part series of historically accurate Civil War novels, Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee's Army in Maryland, 1862 (2017) and The Guns of September: A Novel of McClellan's Army in Maryland, 1862 (2021), as well as a groundbreaking study in Savas Beatie's Civil War Spotlight series titled The Tale Untwisted: George McClellan and The Discovery of Lee's Lost Orders, September 13, 1862 (2019), which he co-authored with Gene M. Thorp.
The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas
Randolph W. Farmer
c/o Histria Books
9781592110872, $39.99, HC, 420pp
Synopsis: The United States today is a divided nation and some say the country may be heading toward a possible second civil war. That attempted overthrow of a freely elected American president has happened before and the result was disastrous. As many as 750,000 Americans perished during the American Civil War (April 12, 1861 - May 9, 1865). A study of the causes of our last Civil War may help to prevent another.
The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) played a major role in starting the Civil War in the United States. Although intended to remain a secret organization of conspirators, it is perhaps the most well-documented conspiracy in United States history. The goal of the KGC was the creation of a new society separate from the United States dedicated to the preservation and expansion of slavery into Latin America.
The KGC existed in almost every state in the Union, but nowhere was it as powerful and successful as it was in Texas. Several governors, many senators and military leaders were members, having taken an oath to support the organization and their fellow members. Most of the documents generated by the KGC were destroyed after the war ended as its members feared execution for treason.
Not everything was destroyed, though. "The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas: How a Secret Society Shaped a State" by Texas author and historian Randolph W. Farmer relies on documents created by the organization and its members that have not previously been used by researchers. Many members of this organization remained in positions of authority in state affairs after the abolition of slavery. "The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas: How a Secret Society Shaped a State" goes far beyond previous published work in establishing the identities of the members of this organization who promoted and encouraged the most disastrous war in American history.
Critique: Those who do not know their history are often doomed to repeat it. Given today's American political climate, and a failed attempt at overthrowing a presidential election result on January 6, 2021, "The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas: How a Secret Society Shaped a State" is more than just another history book. It is a clarion example of what can go wrong in a body politic and the lethal consequences of an imperiled democracy. A model study of exhaustive and impeccable scholarship, "The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas: How a Secret Society Shaped a State" is especially recommended for community, college, and university library American History collections in general, and American Civil War studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Knights of the Golden Circle in Texas: How a Secret Society Shaped a State" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781592111572, $29.99).
The Biography Shelf
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526755308, $52.95, HC, 416pp
Synopsis: Justinian II (668/9 - 4 November 711 A.D.) became Roman emperor at a time when the Empire was beset by external enemies. His forces gained success against the Arabs and Bulgars but his religious and social policies fueled internal opposition which resulted in him being deposed and mutilated (his nose was cut off) in 695. After a decade in exile, during which he strangled two would-be assassins with his bare hands, he regained power through a coup d'etat with the backing of the erstwhile Bulgar enemy (an alliance sealed by the marriage of his daughter, Anastasia).
His second reign was seemingly harsher and again beset by both external and internal threats and dissension over doctrinal matters. An energetic and active ruler, his reign saw developments in various areas, including numismatics, administration, finance and architecture, but he was deposed a second time in 711 and beheaded.
Drawing on all the available evidence and the most recent research, with the publication of "Justinian II: The Roman Emperor Who Lost his Nose and his Throne and Regained Both", Professor Peter Crawford makes a long-overdue re-assessment of Justinian's colorful but troubled career and asks if he fully deserves his poor reputation.
Critique: Also readily available for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, "Justinian II: The Roman Emperor Who Lost his Nose and his Throne and Regained Both" is an exceptional, well written, exhaustively researched, and detailed biography that is very highly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Ancient Roman Biography & History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.
Editorial Note: Currently residing in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Dr Peter Crawford gained his PhD in Ancient History at Queen's University, Belfast under the tutelage of respected classicist Professor Brian Campbell. His previous books, "The War of the Three Gods" (2013) and "Constantius II" (2015) were also published by Pen & Sword.
The Real Leonardo Da Vinci
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526761057, $39.95, HC, 184pp
Synopsis: Leonardo Da Vinci was left-handed. That's probably why he wrote backwards from right to left to avoid smudging ink on his hand as he made notes on his latest works and visionary discoveries. His words could only be read with the help of a mirror making it taxing for anyone but himself to quickly decode his handwriting.
There are many theories exploring the reason why he kept using "mirror writing" in all his manuscripts. Some historians say that he was trying to make it more challenging for people to steal his ideas while others claim that it was a clever attempt to hide scientific findings from the intolerant Roman Catholic Church of the Renaissance.
Whatever the logic behind this, the constant association with mirror writing and studies on the human body anatomy, made him one of the most enigmatic figures of his and then of our century. A unique biography, "The Real Leonardo Da Vinci" by Rose Sgueglia investigates Leonardo and his different roles from anatomist to inventor, architect, painter, rumoured to be templar and scientific pioneer. Despite leaving several of his works incomplete, Leonardo managed to influence generations of artists and still today remains a highly regarded figure in both the artistic and scientific sector.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and informative read from beginning to end, "The Real Leonardo Da Vinci" is a unique study and a well deserved addition to the growing body of literature regarding one of the most influential men of the Renaissance era. While highly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library European Biography collections in general, and Leonardo Da Vinci supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Real Leonardo Da Vinci" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).
Editorial Note: Rose Sgueglia is a writer and marketing consultant based in Cardiff, England. She is also the founder and director of Miss Squiggles, a magazine, marketing agency and online shop. As part of her role at Miss Squiggles, she works with clients on their social media, digital marketing and PR strategies. Additionally, Rose is also a freelance journalist. Her work has been published in different publications including GQ, La Repubblica, and Yahoo.
The Environmental Studies Shelf
c/o The GMC Group
9781784945572, $34.99, HC, 208pp
Synopsis: A complete and comprehensive guide to managing a small woodland based upon nearly 30 years of knowledge and experience from woodsman Ben Law and his unique home in Prickly Nut Wood, "Woodlander: A Guide to Sustainable Woodland Management" contains everything you need to know if you are managing, or intend to manage, a small woodland.
Ben's inspiring, forest-dwelling life has allowed him to put together a complete package of detailed information and practical examples based on his personal experience, giving this beautiful book an entirely authentic voice. Every page is infused with a deep respect for the traditions of the past while also embracing new ideas, methods and creative thinking.
Offering a holistic approach to woodland management, which looks at the entire place including the wildlife it supports, the natural cycles of growth and life, the precious products it creates and the communities that inhabit and surround it. All the while, understanding and emphasising that it is a balance of all these things that makes a healthy, biodiverse, resilient ecosystem.
Detailed sections cover different types of woodland, the rich history behind them, how to assess what you've got, practical maintenance, planning for the future, promoting wildlife and biodiversity, harvesting and extracting timber, the tools you will need, crafts, social forestry and an in-depth resources section. Dotted throughout are personal snippets, observations and insights from Ben's life at Prickly Nut Wood.
Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "Woodlander: A Guide to Sustainable Woodland Management" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. A thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional manual and guide, "Woodlander: A Guide to Sustainable Woodland Management" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Environmental Studies collections in general, and tree farming/natural resources supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular.
Editorial Note: A woodsman, craftsman, eco-builder, teacher and writer, Ben Law lives and works in Prickly Nut Wood in West Sussex, UK. The building of his unique woodland home was featured on Grand Designs in the UK and was voted by viewers as the most popular episode ever. Ben runs courses on sustainable woodland management and permaculture, runs a specialist eco-building company and trains apprentices. Ben Law is also the author of several books, including The Woodland House (Permanent Publications, 2005). The Woodland Year (Permanent Publications, 2008), and Woodsman: Living in a Wood in the 21st Century and Woodland Craft (GMC Publications, 2015). He maintains an informative website at www.ben-law.co.uk
Drought, Flood, Fire
Cambridge University Press
One Liberty Plaza, Fl. 20, New York, NY 10006
9781108839877, $24.95, HC, 332pp
Synopsis: Every year over the past three decades, increasingly severe droughts, floods, and fires impact hundreds of millions of people and cause massive economic losses. Climate change is making these catastrophes more dangerous. Now. Not in the future: NOW.
"Drought, Flood, Fire: How Climate Change Contributes to Catastrophes" by Chris Funk describes how and why climate change is already fomenting dire consequences, and will certainly make climate disasters worse in the near future. "Drought, Flood, Fire" deftly combines the latest science with compelling stories, providing a timely, accessible, and beautifully-written synopsis of this critical topic.
"Drought, Flood, Fire" also describes our unique and fragile Earth system, and the negative impacts humans are having on our support systems. It then examines recent disasters, including heat waves, extreme precipitation, hurricanes, fires, El Niņos and La Niņas, and their human consequences.
By clearly describing the dangerous impacts that are already occurring, "Drought, Flood, Fire" provides a clarion call for social change, yet also conveys the beauty and wonder of our planet, and hope for our collective future.
Critique: A timely, informative, and exceptionally well presented appeal for addressing the every growing menace of climate change before it is too late, "Drought, Flood, Fire: How Climate Change Contributes to Catastrophes" must be considered an essential addition to community, college, and university library Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, environmental activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Drought, Flood, Fire: How Climate Change Contributes to Catastrophes" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.17).
Editorial Note: Chris C. Funk is an internationally renowned climate hazard scientist who develops data sets and forecasts that routinely help save lives and livelihoods around the world. His publications focus on climate and climate change, highlighting how climate science can provide opportunities for predicting natural disasters, thus helping to alleviate their dire consequences. His research has been featured in Science, on TV, in mainstream print media, and on the radio.
Marie D. Jones
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
9781578597659, $46.95, HC, 300pp
Synopsis: When corporations legally bribe politicians through election fund contributions, should we really trust the government, Big Pharma, agribusinesses, factory farms, or the fossil-fuel industry with our safety?
We live in a world filled with plastics, heavy metals, food preservatives, processed foods, genetically modified organisms, drugs, ointments, medications, electromagnetic frequencies, radiation, treated water and all manner of substances alleged to make our modern lives easier. But are the chemicals we encounter, ingest, and breathe necessarily harmless?
From the millions of premature deaths caused by unchecked environmental pollution and weak government oversight of the safety of our food supply to social media driven fringe ideas like chemtrails, 5G fears, fluoride in our water supply, and various conspiracy theories, "Toxin Nation: The Poisoning of Our Air, Water, Food, and Bodies" looks at the truth and the schemes to allow toxins, poisons, and unproven substances to potentially harm our health.
"Toxin Nation" also reveals the huge profits that corporations make by selling unsafe products and the corrupting influence of money on politicians, government bureaucrats, others tasked with protecting our safety.
"Toxin Nation" is both a disturbing and illuminating expose shows how the government and industries affect our health, and how the choices we make and the products we purchase contribute to harming our bodies. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the safer and healthier you can become.
Critique: Extraordinarily informed and informative, "Toxin Nation: The Poisoning of Our Air, Water, Food, and Bodies" should be considered essential reading and a critically important addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary Environmental Issues collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. Filled with photos and other graphics, Toxin Nation: The Poisoning of Our Air, Water, Food, and Bodies" is profusely illustrated and enhanced with both a helpful bibliography and extensive index. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, environmental protection activists, government policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Toxin Nation: The Poisoning of Our Air, Water, Food, and Bodies" is also available in a paperback edition (9781578597093, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Technology Shelf
In AI We Trust
9781509548811, $25.00, HC, 200pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms" by Helga Nowotny (who is former President of the European Research Council and a Professor Emerita of Science and Technology Studies at ETH Zurich), we learn that one of the most persistent concerns about the future is whether it will be dominated by the predictive algorithms of AI -- and, if so, what this will mean for our behaviour, for our institutions and for what it means to be human. AI changes our experience of time and the future and challenges our identities, yet we are blinded by its efficiency and fail to understand how it affects us.
At the heart of our trust in AI lies a paradox: we leverage AI to increase our control over the future and uncertainty, while at the same time the performativity of AI, the power it has to make us act in the ways it predicts, reduces our agency over the future. This happens when we forget that that we humans have created the digital technologies to which we attribute agency. These developments also challenge the narrative of progress, which played such a central role in modernity and is based on the hubris of total control. We are now moving into an era where this control is limited as AI monitors our actions, posing the threat of surveillance, but also offering the opportunity to reappropriate control and transform it into care.
As we try to adjust to a world in which algorithms, robots and avatars play an ever-increasing role, we need to understand better the limitations of AI and how their predictions affect our agency, while at the same time having the courage to embrace the uncertainty of the future.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms" is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy of Science collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists, it should be noted that "In AI We Trust: Power, Illusion and Control of Predictive Algorithms" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.00).
The Science Shelf
Crab Wars, second edition
Brandeis University Press
c/o The University of Chicago Press (distribution)
9781684580767, $24.95 pbk / $19.95 Kindle
Synopsis: Because every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate, a multimillion-dollar industry has emerged involving the license to bleed horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. William Sargent presents a thoroughly accessible insider's guide to the discovery of the lysate test, the exploitation of the horseshoe crab at the hands of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, local fishing interests, and the legal and governmental wrangling over the creatures' ultimate fate.
In the end, the story of the horseshoe crab is a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences of scientific progress and the danger of self-regulated industries controlling a limited natural resource. This new edition brings the story up to date as companies race to manufacture alternatives to the horseshoe crab blood, which is now essential for testing vaccines such as those developed to counter COVID-19. However, horseshoe crab populations are still dwindling, with profound implications not only for the future of the crabs themselves but also for the ecosystems that depend on them.
Critique: Now in an updated second edition, Crab Wars: A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Ecology, and Human Health is a harrowing tale of dire unintended consequences. Since the blood of horseshoe crabs is required to test drugs certified by the FDA, a massive industry has arisen to capitalize upon horseshoe crabs and their breeding grounds. With the dire worldwide threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, horseshoe crabs have been used to test new vaccines and medications - but the population of these animals is dwindling, with harmful repercussions for the ecosystems in which they play a key part. Crab Wars is measured, thoughtful, informative, examining the crab's use in medicine from the 1950's to Operation Warp Speed (the final afterthoughts reach up to September 2020). Crab Wars is a "must-have" for both college and public library Science and Environmental Studies collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Crab Wars is also available in a Kindle edition ($19.95).
Editorial Note: William Sargent is a consultant for the NOVA Science Series and is the author of numerous books about science and the environment, including A Year in the Notch: Exploring the Natural History of the White Mountains and Storm Surge: A Coastal Village Battles the Rising Atlantic. Formerly director of the Baltimore Aquarium and a research assistant at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he has taught at the Briarwood Center for Marine Biology and at Harvard University.
Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars
9781643137872, $26.95, HC, 208pp
Synopsis: Does the Big Bang prove the existence of God? What's the Universe expanding into? Is Earth the only planet which supports life?
Space is the biggest, oldest, hottest, coldest, strangest thing a human can study. It's no surprise then, that the weirdest facts in science (not to mention the weirdest scientists themselves) are found in astrophysics and cosmology.
With the publication of "Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars: The Science of Space at its Strangest ", science teacher Tim James takes us on a tour of the known (and unknown) universe, focusing on the most-mind boggling stuff we've come across, as well as unpacking the latest theories about what's really going on out there.
Guiding us through Einstein's relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory, "Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars: The Science of Space at its Strangest" delves into the baffling corners of the cosmos and tackles the biggest mysteries we face: from alien life to the zodiac; from white holes to wormholes; from quasars to quark stars. This is the science of space at its absolute strangest.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars: The Science of Space at its Strangest" is an exceptionally informative introduction to the science of astronomy that will have immense appeal to both astronomy students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99), "Astronomical: From Quarks to Quasars: The Science of Space at its Strangest" is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Astronomy collections and supplemental curriculum study lists.
Editorial Note: After graduating with a master's degree in chemistry, specializing in computational quantum mechanics, Tim James (who is also the author of "Fundamental and Elemental"), is a science teacher, YouTuber, blogger, and Instagrammer.
Pump: A Natural History of the Heart
Bill Schutt, author
Patricia J. Wynne, illustrator
PO Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225
9781616208936, $26.95, HC, 288pp
Synopsis: "Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" by academician and Museum of Natural History zoologist Bill Schutt is lively, unexpected look at the hearts of animals ranging from fish, to bats, to humans.
Telling a seemingly incredible story of evolution and scientific progress, "Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" is a tour that begins with the origins of circulation that are still evident in microorganisms today, then move on to the tiny hardworking pumps of worms, and then to the golf-cart-size hearts of blue whales.
Readers will learn of how horseshoe crabs are being harvested for their blood, which has properties that can protect humans from deadly illnesses. That when temperatures plummet, some frog hearts can freeze solid for weeks, resuming their beat only after a spring thaw.
"Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" also takes us through human history with respect to the heart as philosophers and scientists hypothesize (often wrongly) about what makes our hearts beat. Professor Schutt also traces humanity's cardiac fascination from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, who believed that the heart contains the soul, all the way up to modern-day laboratories, where scientists use animal hearts and even plants as the basis for many of today's cutting-edge therapies.
Critique: With great value for professionals, and ably written for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject, "Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" deftly blends evolutionary perspectives with cultural history. Exceptionally well presented, "Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" is especially recommended for community, college, and university library Physiology and Natural History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pump: A Natural History of the Heart" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781643753232, $17.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.18), and as a complete an unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781665110860, $39.99, CD).
Editorial Note: Bill Schutt is a vertebrate zoologist and author of six nonfiction and fiction books, including "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History". Recently retired from his post as professor of biology at LIU Post, he is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has studied bats all over the world. His research has been featured in Natural History magazine as well as in the New York Times, Newsday, the Economist, and Discover.
The Health/Medicine Shelf
Philip Shepherd, author
Andrei Yakovenko, author
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
9781623176679, $19.95, PB, 224pp
Synopsis: What most of us are taught about exercise, aerobics, and mental and physical fitness is either misleading or incomplete. Clinical research shows that we lose muscle mass as we age, and that preventing muscle loss through strength training (more than cardio, stretching, or flexibility) is the key to staying active, healthy, and well.
"Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week " by the team of Philip Shepherd and Andrei Yakovenko introduces a proven, new approach to building strength and whole-body health: Mindful Strength Training to Failure (MSTF). This science-based method reverses muscle loss and improves overall strength in just one or two 30-minute sessions a week.
MSTF exercises are simple and effective, and can be done at home with resistance bands and bodyweight, or with the machines at your local gym. Using slow reps, MSTF marries mindful body awareness with proven strength-training techniques to help you become stronger at any age.
With more than 30 full-color exercises, "Deep Fitness" explains the science behind MSTF. It also shows how the program boosts longevity and healthspan; aids weight loss and fat reduction; increases overall wellness and mental health; and can improve or reverse symptoms of: Prediabetes and diabetes; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolic syndrome; Alzheimer's and dementia; Chronic inflammation; Osteoporosis; and other chronic illnesses.
Appropriate for people of all ages and activity levels, the exercises and techniques in "Deep Fitness" are effective, straightforward, and sustainable, helping you enjoy the vibrant, fit, whole-body health you deserve.
Critique: Exceptionally well orgainzied and presented, "Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week" is the ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for achieving and maintaining maximum physical health and vitality. Enhanced with the inclusion of a four page Glossary, fourteen pages of Notes, a two page listing of Resources, and a six age Index, "Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week" is highly recommended for community, college, and university library Health & Fitness collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
Editorial Note #1: Philip Shepherd is the creator of The Embodied Present Process(TM) (TEPP), a modality that uniquely combines the two resources necessary for embodiment: effective practices (TEPP has over a hundred), and a deep understanding of our culture's blind spots, which tend to keep us in our heads. TEPP is based on Shepherd's two books (Radical Wholeness and New Self, New World) as well as his forty years' experience teaching embodiment techniques. He currently travels the world sharing workshops, and running year-long Facilitators Trainings with his co-director and wife Allyson Woodrooffe.
Editorial Note #2: Andrei Yakovenko is the founder of New Element Training and the creator of the NET Method training, which took him years of practical experience and multidisciplinary exploration of various scientific fields to develop. The NET method is the foundation of the book.
The Cookbook Shelf
The Vegan Butcher
Smith Street Books
300 Park Avenue South, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010
9781922417329, $40.00, HC, 304pp
Synopsis: "The Vegan Butcher: The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Meat " by Zacchary Bird is specifically intended for any vegans or vegetarians finding it difficult to avoid or forego meat (ranging from bacon to stake) when they decide what to eat. Whether you want to experiment with simple meat substitutes in everyday meals or make an entire vegan charcuterie board from scratch, "The Vegan Butcher: The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Meat" is here to shake up your perception of plants and reintroduce you to your favorite classics.
Veganism isn't about missing out -- it's about getting creative, and with Zacchary's ingenuity, meat's no longer forbidden (and we're not just talking jackfruit). Watermelon? Now it's a ham. Gluten flour? Turkey. Mushrooms - we think you mean steak.
Equal parts science and magic, "The Vegan Butcher" is a unique cookbook that explores the vast world of plant-based meat possibilities. From easy replacements to full-blown kitchen experiments, "The Vegan Butcher" offers recipes for cooks of every level, with substitutes for (almost) any dish you could think of. Let's face it: falafels are great, but sometimes we want an entire turkey, and with "The Vegan Butcher", we can now realize our guilt-free, home-cooked dream of plant based substitutes for meat that really do taste like the real thing.
Critique: Beautifully illustrated in full color throughly, "The Vegan Butcher: The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Meat" is ideal for planning vegan and vegetarian menus. A culinary treasure house of plant-based meat substitution ideas, "The Vegan Butcher: The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Meat" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections.
Editorial Note: Zacchary Bird is a writer and vegan recipe developer based in Melbourne, Australia. His first book, "Vegan Junk Food" was published with Smith Street Books in 2020.
The Parenting Shelf
What About Us?
Karen Kleiman, author
Molly McIntyre, illustrator
9781641705714, $16.99, HC, 128pp
Synopsis: The demands of a new baby can test a couple's relationship like nothing else! When we factor in sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, depression and anxiety, and different personalities, life with a newborn can feel a bit out of control. Often couples tend to misinterpret this rough patch as a sign that something is wrong with the relationship, but when couples take steps toward open communication and safeguard their relationship, they can face everything new parenthood throws at them together.
"What About Us?: A New Parents Guide to Safeguarding Your Over-Anxious, Over-Extended, Sleep-Deprived Relationship" by the team of author Karen Kleiman and illustrator Molly McIntyre is a new guidebook for struggling parents that is comprised of short essays, comics, and quick journal prompts about the stressful newborn stage, the struggles that so many new parents face, and the skills needed to successfully deal with them.
Critique: Practical, entertaining, informative, consoling, and sometimes inspiring, "What About Us?: A New Parents Guide to Safeguarding Your Over-Anxious, Over-Extended, Sleep-Deprived Relationship" is essential reading for new (and not so new) parents struggling with a new born addition to their family. While highly recommended as an invaluable and enduringly appreciated addition to community library Parenting collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What About Us?: A New Parents Guide to Safeguarding Your Over-Anxious, Over-Extended, Sleep-Deprived Relationship" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note #1: Karen Kleiman is a well-known international maternal mental-health expert with over thirty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist, teacher, and writer. As an advocate and author of several groundbreaking books on postpartum depression and anxiety, her pioneering work has influenced personal and professional populations within the perinatal mental health community for decades. In 1988, Karen founded The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training facility for prenatal and postpartum depression/anxiety disorders where she treats individuals and couples.
Editorial Note #2: Molly McIntyre is an artist, illustrator, and animator living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been featured in the upcoming Netflix series Worn Stories, the book Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts (Karen Kleiman, Familius), Bitch magazine, Everyday Feminism, Scary Mommy, and Psychology Today, and shown in exhibitions throughout the US and in Japan.
The Literary Studies Shelf
The Iliad and the Odyssey
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526779939, $34.95, HC, 312pp
Synopsis: The Iliad dealing with the final stages of the Trojan War and The Odyssey with the return and its aftermath were central to the Classical Greeks' self identity and world view. Epic poems attributed to Homer, they underpinned ideas about heroism, masculinity and identity; about glory, sacrifice and the pity of war; about what makes life worth living. From Achilles, Patroclus and Agamemnon in the Greek camp, Hektor, Paris and Helen in Troy's citadel, the drama of the battlefield and the gods looking on, to Odysseus' adventures and vengeful return - Jan Parker here offers the ideal companion to exploring key events, characters and major themes.
With the publication of "The Iliad and the Odyssey: The Trojan War: Tragedy and Aftermath", academician and historian Jan Parker provides a book-by-book synopsis and commentary discussing the heroes' relationships, values and psychology and the narratives' shimmering presentation of war, its victims and the challenges of return and reintegration. Essays set the epics in their historical context and trace the key terms; the 'Journey Home from War' continues with 'Afterstories' of both heroes and their women.
Critique: "The Iliad and the Odyssey: The Trojan War: Tragedy and Aftermath" will prove of immense interest and value to both academia and to the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject. While unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Ancient Hellenic Literature collections, "The Iliad and the Odyssey: The Trojan War, Tragedy and Aftermath" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
Editorial Note: Dr Jan Parker is a Senior Member of the Faculties of Classics and English, University of Cambridge, where she teaches and researches Classical Literature and the core Finals subject paper: 'Tragedy'. Dr Parker is also the Founder Editor of Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: an international journal of theory, research and practice.
Conversations with Colum McCann
Earl G. Ingersoll, editor
Mary C. Ingersoll, editor
University Press of Mississippi
3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211
9781496812940, $60.00, HC, 242pp
Synopsis: Conversations with Colum McCann brings together eighteen interviews with a world-renowned fiction writer. Ranging from his 1994 literary debut, Fishing the Sloe-Black River, to a previously unpublished interview conducted in 2016, these interviews represent the development as well as the continuation of McCann's interests.
The number and length of the later conversations attest to his star-power. Let the Great World Spin earned him the National Book Award and promises to become a major motion picture. His most recent novel, TransAtlantic, has awed readers with its dynamic yoking of the 1845-46 visit of Frederick Douglass to Ireland, the 1919 first nonstop transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown, and Senator George Mitchell's 1998 efforts to achieve a peace accord in Northern Ireland.
An extensive interview by scholar Cecile Maudet is also included, as is an interview by John Cusatis, who wrote Understanding Colum McCann, the first extensive critical analysis of McCann's work.
An author who actually enjoys talking about his work, McCann (b. 1965) offers insights into his method of writing, what he hopes to achieve, as well as the challenge of writing each novel to go beyond his accomplishments in the novel before. Readers will note how many of his responses include stories in which he himself is the object of the humor and how often his remarks reveal insights into his character as a man who sees the grittiness of the urban landscape but never loses faith in the strength of ordinary people and their capacity to prevail.
Critique: Informative, interesting, insightful and compelling, "Conversations with Colum McCann" is the newest addition to the University of Mississippi Press 'Literary Conversation' series. Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by the team of Earl and Mary Ingersoll, "Conversations with Colum McCann" is highly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the life and work of Colum McCann that "Conversations with Colum McCann" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781496837912, $25.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).
Editorial Note #1: Earl G. Ingersoll is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY College at Brockport. He has written, edited, and coedited many books, including Conversations with May Sarton, Conversations with Rita Dove, Conversations with Anthony Burgess, Conversations with Colum McCann, and Conversations with John Banville, all published by University Press of Mississippi.
Editorial Note #2: Mary C. Ingersoll was an elementary school teacher who specialized in teaching humanities to gifted students. She was also co-editor (with Earl G. Ingersoll) of Conversations with Anthony Burgess.
The Military Shelf
Alexander M. Bielakowski
University of North Texas Press
1155 Union Circle #311336, Denton, TX 76203-5017
9781574418392, $29.95, HC, 352pp
Synopsis: During the World War II, tens of thousands of African Americans served in segregated combat units in U.S. armed forces. The majority of these units were found in the U.S. Army, and African Americans served in every one of the combat arms. They found opportunities for leadership unparalleled in the rest of American society at the time. Several reached the field grade officer ranks, and one officer reached the rank of brigadier general. Beyond the Army, the Marine Corps refused to enlist African Americans until ordered to do so by the president in June 1942. The first African American Marine Corps officer was not commissioned until after World War II, but two African American combat units were formed and did see service during the war.
While the U.S. Navy initially resisted extending the role of African American sailors beyond kitchens, eventually the crew of two ships was composed exclusively of African Americans. Like the Navy, the Coast Guard had restricted African Americans to ships' galleys, but then became the first service to integrate -- initially with two shipboard experiments and then with the integration of most of their fleet. Finally, the famous Tuskegee airmen are covered in the chapter on air warfare.
No previous books or published studies have synthesized the African American combat experience throughout U.S. armed forces during World War II. In "Proud Warriors: African American Combat Units in World War II ", university professor Alexander Bielakowski redresses this omission and makes the case that the wartime experiences of combat units such as the Tank Battalions and the Tuskegee Airmen ultimately convinced President Truman to desegregate the military, without which the progress of the Civil Rights Movement might also have been delayed.
Critique: An original, meticulous and comprehensively researched study, "Proud Warriors: African American Combat Units in World War II" is impressively informative and exceptionally well written, organized and presented. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library World War II Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies textbooks, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Proud Warriors: African American Combat Units in World War II" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).
Editorial Note: A professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown, Alexander M. Bielakowsi is a former U.S. Army Reserve officer and the author of "From Horses to Horsepower: The Mechanization and Demise of the U.S. Cavalry, 1916 - 1950", "African American Troops in World War II"; and "U.S. Cavalryman 1891 - 1920".
Midnight Flight to Nuremberg
Marcus A. Nannini
c/o Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526792730, $32.95, HC, 224pp
Synopsis: The autobiography of C-47 pilot and instructor, First Lieutenant Harry E. Watson, Jr, USAAF., "Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi who put Adolf Hitler into Power" by journalist and biographer is the fascinating story of an American pilot who earned three Air Medals, seven Battle Stars and flew twenty-seven combat missions during the Second World War.
As a young U.S. pilot, Harry Watson, arrived in Britain as the Battle of Normandy was reaching its crescendo. Thrown immediately into the fray, Harry, along with more than 200 aircraft, set off to carry supplies to the troops fighting in France. But with visibility reduced to zero, the aircraft were ordered to turn back -- and all of them did except for Harry, who successfully delivered his life-saving cargo of blood and US Army nurses.
Harry continued to take risks, which resulted in many hair-raising episodes. This included almost being caught on the ground, while on an urgent fuel resupply mission for a platoon of General Patton's tanks, by a German Mk.IV panzer and a battalion of supporting infantry.
He flew throughout Operation Market Garden, losing a close friend to German anti-aircraft fire while taking some hits to his own plane. Thereafter he led a flight of five transports on a desperate mission to evacuate a mobile field hospital that was about to be over-run by the SS. Only four of the planes made it back as they came under direct fire just before they could take-off with scores of casualties and medical personnel crammed aboard each Dakota.
Around midnight, in early April 1945, he was sent on a secret mission to fly to a point near Nuremberg, which was behind enemy lines at the time. It was necessary for him to locate an empty meadow in the dark, land, load a party of US soldiers and their captives, and then take-off again. He pulled it off. Among those prisoners was Franz von Pappen, the man who had persuaded President Hindenburg to make Hitler Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Von Papen had been seized at his own home by First Lieutenant Thomas McKinley and his men from the US 194th Glider Infantry Regiment.
Based on his own recollections, as told to the author Marcus Nanni, "Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi who put Adolf Hitler into Power" is Harry Watson's exciting account of the air war told, unusually, through the words of a transport pilot.
Critique: A riveting and detailed military memoir, "Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi who put Adolf Hitler into Power" is an extraordinary and recommended addition to community, college, and university library World War II biographies. Of particular interest to academia and dedicated military history buffs, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Midnight Flight to Nuremberg: The Capture of the Nazi who put Adolf Hitler into Power" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
Along for the Ride
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781636240381, $34.95, HC, 288pp
Synopsis: During Hank Zeybel's first tour in Vietnam he flew 772 C130 sorties as a navigator. He volunteered for a second tour, requesting assignment to B26s so he could "shoot back." When B26s were removed from the inventory, he accepted a Spectre gunship crew slot, flying truck-busting missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He describes the terror of flying through heavy AA fire over the trail, and the heroics of the pilots in bringing their crews through.
Away from the war he recalls leave back in the US, his elderly father bewildered by his war-hardened attitude and black sense of humor. Contextualizing his time with Spectre gunships, he compares his experiences with those of other airmen, like Phil Combies and Robin Olds, and his broader Air Force career. He joined the air force upon graduating university in 1955 and his first operational assignment was as a B47 Stratojet navigator-bomber at Strategic Air Command -- trained to drop thermonuclear bombs with precision. From 1957 to 1963, he logged over two thousand hours as a radar-bombardier in B47 Stratojets and B52 C-models.
"Along for the Ride: Navigating Through the Cold War, Vietnam, Laos & More" is a memoir of Vietnam, his Air Force career, and his second career as a journalist and writer, Zeybel's admiration of the skill and bravery of pilots (many of whom who he depended on for his very survival) shines through his descriptions of combat missions and being "along for the ride."
Critique: A simply riveting, impressively informative, and exceptionally well written life story of an active American air force combatant, "Along for the Ride: Navigating Through the Cold War, Vietnam, Laos & More" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Military History & Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of military history buffs that "Along for the Ride: Navigating Through the Cold War, Vietnam, Laos & More" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).
Editorial Note: Henry Zeybel was born in Pittsburgh. He went to Penn State, graduating from there in 1955 and then he joined the Air Force. retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1976. A journalist and author, Zeybel has written three novels: "Spectre: Gunship of Death", "The First Ace", and "Wings of Fire" -- as well as dozens of magazine articles.
The Graphic Novel Shelf
Hamlet: Modern English Edition
Adapted by Crystal S. Chan
Illustrated by Julien Choy
Modern English Adaptation by Michael Barltrop
Part of the "Manga Classics" series that transforms literary works into black-and- white graphic novels with an artistic style resembling Japanese manga, Hamlet: Modern English Edition adapts William Shakespeare's classic play about a prince driven to pursue revenge at all costs. Captivating, dynamic art brings Shakespeare's harrowing saga of treachery and murder to life. This Modern English edition replaces Shakespeare's original text with modern English phrasing; this combined with the striking illustrations makes Hamlet: Modern English Edition an extraordinarily accessible and reader-friendly interpretation of Shakespeare's work. Hamlet: Modern English Edition is highly recommended as a new way to re-experience Shakespeare's saga, and as a choice pick for school library collections. Also highly recommended is the original "Manga Classics" version of Hamlet with the unabridged original text (9781947808126, $17.99).
The Audiobook Shelf
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022
Richard N. Bolles, author
Kathrine Brooks, author
Mel Foster, narrator
9781511311649, $29.99, MPW CD
Given today's challenging job market that has been so dramatically impacted by a global pandemic, as recent grads face a shifting economic landscape and seek work that pays and inspires, as workers are laid off mid-career, and as people search for an inspiring work-life change, the time-tested advice of What Color Is Your Parachute? is needed more than ever.
This new audio book edition (deftly narrated by Mel Foster) has been fully revised for 2022 by Vanderbilt University Career Center director Katharine Brooks, EdD, with modern advice on the job-hunt strategies that are working today, such as building an online resume, making the most of social media tools, and acing virtual interviews. Building on the wisdom of original author Richard N. Bolles, this edition updates the famed Flower Exercise (which walks job seekers through the seven ways of thinking about themselves) and demystifies the entire job-search process, from writing resumes to interviewing and networking.
With the unique and authoritative guidance of What Color Is Your Parachute?, job-hunters and career changers will have all the tools to discover (and land) their dream job.
This complete and unabridged MP3 audio book edition of "What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Jobs/Careers and Audio Book collections. Of special note is the inclusion of a reference guide PDF on this disk.
The Library CD Shelf
Heart Dance Records
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3
Connections is the third solo flute album released in the "Naked Flute" series by talented and experienced performer Sherry Finzer. The peaceful music fosters stress relief, and makes an excellent accompaniment to meditation or simply unwinding after a long day. Connections is rapturously beautiful, and highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. The tracks are Resilience, Distant Rivers, Pete's Journey, Homecoming, Ephemera, Peace at Home, Through the Veil, Red Hawk Hill, A New Day, Connections, Bella's Moon, Highland Waterfall, Wind Spirit, Ever Same, Greatest Blessings, The Crossing Place, and Journey with Spirit.
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3
Colors is an immersive solo piano album of emotional music, representing the memories and experiences of a year. Pianist and composer Stephen Wallack draws upon both formal and self-taught experience to portray a rich, vibrant, evocative soundscape. Colors is highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Birch Lake, Josh, Colors, Stunning, Brave, Dreams, Earth, Hope, Marlon, and Midnight.
$14.98 CD / $9.49 MP3
Jazz Christmas is a mostly instrumental anthology of holiday-themed jazz music, by a diverse variety of performers. Many of the songs transform timeless favorites into smooth-flowing soundscapes, whether performed by a traditional jazz band or on the piano. Jazz Christmas is a delightful holiday music pick for both personal and public library collections, highly recommended. The tracks are "Winter Wonderland", "The Christmas Song", "Angels We Have Heard on High", "Let It Snow", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Blue Christmas", "Christmas Time In New Orleans", "Silver Bells", and "Bringing In a Brand New Year".
The General Fiction Shelf
Other People's Children
R. J. Hoffmann
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781982159092, $27.00, HC, 384pp
Synopsis: What makes a family? -- When Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried -- once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail's desire for a child overwhelms her.
Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to college and getting out of her mother's home. When she makes the gut-wrenching decision to give her baby up for adoption, she chooses the Durbins. But Carli's mother, Marla, has other plans for her grandbaby.
In a novel by R. J. Hoffmann, "Other People's Children", three mothers make excruciating choices to protect their families and their dreams -- choices that put them at decided odds against one another. You will root for each one of them and wonder just how far you'd go in the same situation.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Other People's Children' is author R. J. Hoffman's debut as a novelist, this is an impressively well written, inherently entertaining, and thought provoking exploration of love and family. While "Other People's Children" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99), and that it is also available from Simon & Schuster in a paperback edition (9781982159108, $18.00) in April 2022, and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797119014, $39.99, CD).
The Literary Fiction Shelf
Quntos KunQuest, author
c/o Agate Publishing
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
9781572842823, $18.00, PB, 250pp
Synopsis: "This Life" is the story of Lil Chris, who is just nineteen when he arrives at Angola as a prisoner. He's got a life sentence with no chance of parole, but he's also got a clear mind and sharp awareness -- one that picks up quickly on the details of the system, his fellow inmates, and what he can do to claim a place at the top.
When he meets Rise, a mature inmate who's already spent years in the system, and whose composure and raised consciousness command the respect of the other prisoners, Lil Chris learns to find his way in a system bent on repressing every means he has to express himself.
Lil Chris and Rise channel their questions, frustrations, and pain into rap, and author Quntos KunQuest's debut novel, "This Life" flows with the same cadence that powers their charged verses. It pulses with the heat of impassioned inmates, the oppressive daily routines of the prison yard, and the rap contests that bring the men of the prison together.
"This Life" is told in a voice that only a man who's lived it could have -- a clipped, urgent, evocative voice that surges with anger, honesty, playfulness, and a deep sense of ugly history. Angola started out as a plantation (and as "This Life" makes clear, black inmates are still in a kind of enslavement there.
Critique: An inherently riveting and original novel populated with memorable characters and a exceptionally effective, narrative driven, storytelling style, Quntos KunQuest's "This Life" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "This Life" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
The Highlander's Inconvenient Bride
Mills & Boon
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9780263289695, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 384pp
Synopsis: Betrothed by duty to his enemy as a political strategy to strengthen an alliance between their clans, future chieftain of the mighty Cameron Clan, Robbie Cameron, must marry Sheena MacLerie. Only she is the last person he would have picked after her betrayal of him some years ago. Now she is as infuriatingly elusive as ever -- and, worse, she seems intent on breaking their betrothal! Just what is his inconvenient bride hiding? Uncovering her secrets means earning her trust -- but that also ignites a simmering passion!
Critique: Of particular interest to fans of historical highlander romances, "The Highlander's Inconvenient Bride" by Terri Brisbin is an inherently riveting read from first page to last. Memorable characters, entertaining plot twists and turns, an original storyline, "The Highlander's Inconvenient Bride" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Historical Romance collections as one of those deftly crafted and original stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the novel is finished and set back upon the shelf.
Captivating The Cynical Earl
Mills & Boon
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9780263289718, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 384pp
Synopsis: For Jack Beresford, the cool and aloof Earl of Hawkenden, emotional entanglements are the path to pain. But when his brother brings his new wife and her enchanting best friend to his country home everything changes. Lady Cecily Thornhill is both vibrant and beautiful, and Jack finds himself increasingly captivated by her sunny nature. Yet he must resist her charms, for in a month she'll be gone -- unless his frozen heart thaws before then!
Critique: Historical romance at its very best, "Captivating The Cynical Earl" by Catherine Tinley reads like one of those BBC movies -- elegant, fascinating, and memorable. An inherently engaging read from beginning to end, this large print paperback edition of author Catherine Tineley's "Captivating The Cynical Earl" is very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated historical romance fans and will be a popular and appreciated addition to community library Romance Fiction collections.
The Western Fiction Shelf
Borders To Cross
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419515, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 240pp
Synopsis: While it becomes clear that Dan Mason had a hand in killing his cousin Bill in order to gain control of the family ranch, the Lazy M. Still, Cal Holland is determined to steer clear of another man's fight - until the fight is brought to his doorstep.
Mason sends Lew Dawson, a hired killer, after him. And when that fails, a strange little man named Peewee Foster. And if this wasn't already enough to stir him to action, Cal discovers that the life of Bill's sister Nancy is also threatened by Dan's ambitious greed, as is an English (and incompetent) rancher owner named Woodforde who hires Cal to help him against the rapacious Dan Mason. The result is gunplay and bodies on the ground.
"Borders to Cross" is a true western action/adventure fans' compulsive page turning delight from cover to cover. Highly recommended for personal and community library collections, this large print paperback edition from the Linford Western Fiction library brings back into print for the benefit of a new general of appreciative readers one of author Parker Bonner's best western novels.
Ride The Red Trail
Lewis B. Patten
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419720, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 368pp
Synopsis: Lewis Byford Patten (January 13, 1915 - May 22, 1981) was a prolific author of American Western novels. He often published under the names Lewis Ford, Lee Leighton and Joseph Wayne. He used the last two names when writing in collaboration with Wayne D. Overholser. "Ride The Red Trail" is comprised of a trio of the best of Patten's western novellas.
In the title story, "Ride The Red Trail", Lew Harvey was forced to leave home because of a shooting incident. Now a letter from his former girlfriend has summoned him back. His parents are about to be driven off their spread and they need his help, but his father hasn't forgiven Lew...and more gun trouble may be on the way.
In "Summer Kill," a man seemingly without enemies is murdered on a nighttime trail ride, and it falls to his two sons to track down the killer.
"Rustler's Run" tells the story of young Burt Norden, who has been doing a man's job running the N Bar Ranch since his father's death. But now he may really have to prove himself. Rustlers have swept into the area and there's a confrontation brewing with a local hardcase.
Critique: As an author, Lewis B. Patten was able to create Western adventures 'so real you can almost feel the trail dust'. Now from Linford Western Library comes a new edition of "Ride The Red Trail, introducing a new generation of western novel fans to one of the genre's most accomplished writers. This large print paperback edition of "Ride The Red Trail" is especially recommended for the personal reading lists of western action/adventure enthusiasts and will prove to be a welcome addition to community library Western Fiction collections.
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
A Cotswold Christmas Mystery
Isis Large Print
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419829, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 300pp
Synopsis: It's Christmas, and things are looking good at the Slocombe house. Thea's daughter Jessica has come to stay, much to her stepdaughter Stephanie's delight. But then things take a turn for the worse. A local family, the Frowses, find themselves increasingly harassed by an aggressive landlord. When Beverley Frowse goes missing, Thea and Stephanie both feel they should do their best to help her husband and son solve the mystery. Then Christmas Day arrives. There are presents, a turkey, and general goodwill, despite Thea's suppressed hankering to be involved in events at the Frowses' house - where a dead man has been discovered!
Critique: A 'whodunnit' mystery lovers delight, this deftly written, large print, paperback edition Rebecca Tope's "A Cotsworld Christmas Mystery" is a great read laced with unexpected plot twists and a roster of engaging characters -- making this a high value and recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections.
Black Reed Bay
Thorpe/Charnwood Large Print
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444848113, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 408pp
Synopsis; When a young woman makes a distressing call to 911 in the early hours of the morning, running for her life from a pursuer in a quiet, exclusive oceanfront neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything seems to point towards a domestic incident. Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn't sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case. And then the first body appears!
Critique: A deftly crafted police procedural suspense thriller of a read, "Black Reed Bay" showcases author Rod Reynolds' originality, storytellers mastery of surprising plot twists that leave the reader compelled from first page to last. This large print paperback edition will prove to be an extraordinary and popular addition to the personal reading lists and an enduringly welcome acquisition for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.
The Return of the Pharaoh
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
9781250788207, $25.99, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D." in 1974, author and Sherlock Holmes scholar Nicholas Meyer brought to light a previously unpublished case that reinvigorated the world's interest in the first consulting detective. Now, many years later, Meyer is given exclusive access to Dr. Watson's unpublished journal, wherein he details a previously unknown case and has published it under the title "The Return of the Pharaoh: From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.".
In 1910, Dr. John Watson travels to Egypt with his wife Juliet. Her tuberculosis has returned and her doctor recommends a stay at a sanitarium in a dry climate. But while his wife undergoes treatment, Dr. Watson bumps into an old friend -- Sherlock Holmes, in disguise and on a case. An English Duke with a penchant for Egyptology has disappeared, leading to enquiries from his wife and the Home Office.
Holmes has discovered that the missing duke has indeed vanished from his lavish rooms in Cairo and that he was on the trail of a previous undiscovered and unopened tomb. And that he's only the latest Egyptologist to die or disappear under odd circumstances. With the help of Howard Carter, Holmes and Watson are on the trail of something much bigger, more important, and more sinister than an errant lord.
Critique: A delightfully entertaining and deftly crafted Sherlock Holmes 'whodunnit' novel, "The Return of the Pharaoh: From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D." is a 'must' for the ever expanding legions of Sherlock Holmes fans -- and is an especially welcome and recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Return of the Pharaoh: From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D." is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).
The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole
c/o Penguin Random House
9780440000273, $26.00 hc / $13.99 Kindle
Synopsis: A frantic late-night phone call from her right-hand woman Dolly Jolly brings Lee Woodyard to the scene of a break-in at the Warner Pier jewelry store next door to TenHuis Chocolade. To her shock, the suspect being held at gunpoint by police is Dolly's boyfriend, Mike Westerly, who was recently hired as a night watchman specifically to prevent break-ins. Dolly hopes Lee can help straighten out the crazy misunderstanding.
Even crazier? The thieves took nothing of value from the jewelry store, only swiping some snacks. It's another in a series of break-ins by burglars the media has dubbed the Cookie Monsters. They've been hitting shops selling everything from sunglasses to shoes but stealing only sweets: lollipops, cookies, even chewing gum!
It all seems pretty funny--until the discovery of a dead body. With her friends and community in danger, Lee must stop one very sour killer before someone else comes to a bitter end.
Critique: Part of the popular Chocoholic Mystery series, The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole is a culinary mystery extraordinaire. A string of unusual business break-ins where the thieves only take sweet snacks seems almost humorous - until a dead body is discovered. Chocolatier Lee Woodyard becomes involved in an attempt to clear the boyfriend of an employee. The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole has tasty twists and turns of the plot, as well as morsels of chocolate trivia, and no calories! Highly recommended, especially for personal and public library cozy mystery collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).
Editorial Note: JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym for a multi-published mystery writer. She is the national bestselling author of the Chocoholic Mysteries, including The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha and The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans.
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Travis S. Taylor & Les Johnson
9781982125509, $25.00 hc / $9.99 Kindle
Synopsis: The year is 2072. At the lunar farside radio observatory, an old-school radio broadcast is detected, similar to those broadcast on Earth in the 1940s, but in an unknown language, coming from an impossible source, and originating at an equally impossible location - Proxima Centauri. While the nations of Earth debate making first contact, they learn that the Proximans are facing an extinction-level disaster, forcing a decision: will Earth send a ship on a multiyear trip to provide aid?
Interstellar travel is not easy, and by traveling at the speeds required to arrive before disaster strikes at Proxima, humans will learn firsthand the effects of Einstein's Special Relativity and be forced to ponder the ultimate questions: Are we alone in the universe? What does it mean to be human?
Critique: Saving Proxima is a science fiction novel about potential first contact between Earth and an alien civilization on Proxima Centauri. In the year 2072, Earth is capable of sending a starship to provide aid to the Proximans, who are at risk for extinction, but such a charitable act carries an array of dire risks. The theory of Einstein's Special Relativity comes into play, as do the dangers of interfering with another culture - and yet, to do nothing as a sentient species dies out would be inhuman. Saving Proxima is fascinating from cover to cover, as it grapples with both speculative fiction and humanitarian conundrums, and highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Saving Proxima is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
Editorial Note: Dr. Travis S. Taylor heads up the cast of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch and can be seen on The Machines that Built America on the History Channel. He has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past twenty years. His expertise includes advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed-energy systems, future combat technologies, and next-generation space launch concepts. Taylor is also the author of pulse-pounding, cutting-edge science fiction novels, including the highly popular One Day on Mars, Tau Ceti Agenda, and the groundbreaking Warp Speed series. He is a regular on the History Channel's Life After People and The Universe series.
Les Johnson is a physicist and author. He is the author of The Spacetime War, Mission to Methone; Rescue Mode, coauthored with Ben Bova; Saving Proxima coauthored with Travis S. Taylor; and coeditor of the science/science fiction anthologies Going Interstellar and Stellaris: People of the Stars. He was technical consultant for the movies Europa Report and Lost in Space and has appeared in numerous documentaries on the Discovery and Science channels. Les was also the featured "Interstellar Explorer" in National Geographic Magazine and interviewed for Science Friday. By day, he serves as solar sail principal investigator of NASA's first interplanetary solar sail missions and leads research on various other advanced space propulsion technologies at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.
The God Is Not Willing
c/o Tor/Forge Books
9780765323590, $27.99, HC, 496pp
Synopsis: Many years have passed since three warriors brought carnage and chaos to Silver Lake. Now the tribes of the north no longer venture into the southlands. The town has recovered and yet the legacy remains.
Responding to reports of a growing unease among the tribes beyond the border, the Malazan army marches on the new god's people. They aren't quite sure what they're going to be facing. And in those high mountains, a new warleader has risen amongst the Teblor. Scarred by the deeds of Karsa Orlong, he intends to confront his god even if he has to cut a bloody swathe through the Malazan Empire to do so.
Further north, a new threat has emerged and now it seems it is the Teblor who are running out of time. Another long-feared migration is about to begin and this time it won't just be three warriors. No, this time tens of thousands are poised to pour into the lands to the south. And in their way stand only a single company of Malazan marines.
Critique: A deftly crafted and brilliantly entertaining read from cover to cover, "The God Is Not Willing" by Steven Erikson is a simply riveting novel of swords & sorcery. The first book in dark fantasy author Steven Erickson' thrilling Witness sequel trilogy, and also readily available in a trade paperback edition (Bantam Press, 9781787632875, $20.00), as a mass market paperback (9780765363442, $9.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "The God Is Not Willing" is an unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy fans, as well as an enduringly popular acquisition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections.
Editorial Note: Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His Malazan Book of the Fallen series, including The Crippled God, Dust of Dreams, Toll the Hounds and Reaper's Gale, have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award. The second novel, Deadhouse Gates, was voted one of the ten best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site.
The Art Shelf
The Wyvern Collection
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500024560, $95.00, HC, 480pp
Synopsis: Compiled with commentary by academician P:aul Williamson, "The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Enamels and Other Works of Art " is the fourth and newest catalog devoted to the Wyvern Collection -- an exceptional private collection of medieval and Renaissance art. Works of art in enamel are among the most attractive, colorful, and revealing objects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Enamel embellished a broad array of objects, including reliquary caskets, crosses, book covers, croziers, censers and pyxes for the church, and a wide range of tableware for the secular market.
Among the highlights in this coffee-table style volume (9.1 x 1.9 x 11.2 inches) are two extremely rare Romanesque enamels c. 1160 - 70 from the Meuse Valley: the reliquary triptych probably originally belonging to the Bishop of Liege, and a beautiful phylactery with scenes from the story of the True Cross, said to have come from the abbey of Lobbes. Limoges enamels of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are particularly well represented, and the later painted enamels of Limoges, from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, include remarkable examples of the work of the principal enamelers, most notably Pierre Reymond.
"The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Enamels and Other Works of Art" also includes other outstanding works of art such as an important Anglo-Carolingian chrismatory of the ninth century, a small group of enigmatic twelfth-century drinking cups, and sumptuous examples of German late medieval goldsmiths' work. Stained and painted glass roundels, Italian Renaissance ceramics, luxurious textiles and tapestries, and German and Italian armor are also featured. An appendix presents several important pieces, recently acquired, which supplement those published in the first two volumes.
With more than 250 objects, all specially photographed, ""The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Enamels and Other Works of Art" is a beautiful addition to the collection of catalogs documenting one of the greatest private collections.
Critique: Comprised of some 400 color illustrations and an informed and informative commentary, "The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Enamels and Other Works of Art" is an informative delight to simply browse through and would be a valued and appropriate selection for library Memorial Fund collections. Of special relevance to both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in medieval and renaissance art history, "The Wyvern Collection: Medieval and Renaissance Enamels and Other Works of Art" is an ideal acquisition for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections.
Editorial Note: Paul Williamson is Keeper Emeritus and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His many books include Gothic Sculpture, 1140-1300; Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque; and Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550.
The Egyptology Shelf
The Treasures of Tutankhamun
Garry J. Shaw
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500052181, $16.95, HC, 192pp
Synopsis: "The Treasures of Tutankhamun" is a compact and beautifully illustrated book that brings to life the greatest treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Fifty of the most important objects discovered in the tomb are accompanied by short, easy-to-understand texts that explain the historical importance of these incredible ancient artifacts while instilling a sense of wonder.
With the publication of "The Treasures of Tutankhamun", Egyptologist Garry Shaw gives an insightful and informative overview of the world of Ancient Egypt into which Tutankhamun was born, as well as the key events of his short life. Each of the carefully selected objects comprising "The Treasures of Tutankhamun" is presented with a full-page color image accompanied by an explanation of its symbolic importance, intended use, as well as the reasons why it would have been buried with the pharaoh.
Beyond the included artifacts, "The Treasures of Tutankhamun" also depicts the dramatic events leading up to the discovery of the tomb in 1922. This pocket-sized guide is the perfect companion for anyone fascinated by the child pharaoh, or anyone who plans to visit the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Cairo, or any of the Tutankhamun exhibitions touring the world today.
Critique: Showcasing 65 color illustrations of items taken fromTutankhamun tomb, "The Treasures of Tutankhamun" is best described as a visual feast accompanied by an informative commentary giveing each item an historical context -- making this an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Egyptology collections.
Editorial Note: Garry J. Shaw is an Egyptologist and travel writer who regularly writes for the Art Newspaper and has contributed to Apollo magazine, History Today, Current World Archaeology, and Timeless Travels. He is also the author of "The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends".
The Archaeology Shelf
Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs
Ann Williams, editor
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426221989, $35.00, HC, 512pp
Synopsis: Archaeology is the key that unlocks our deepest history as human beings. Ruined cities, golden treasures, cryptic inscriptions, and ornate tombs have been found across the world, and yet these artifacts of ages past often raised more questions than answers. But with the emergence of archaeology as a scientific discipline in the 19th century, everything changed.
Illustrated throughout with dazzling full color photographs, ""Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World" features an enlightening narrative that showcases the story of human civilization through 100 key expeditions, spanning six continents and more than three million years of history. Each individual account relies on firsthand reports from explorers, antiquarians, and scientists as they crack secret codes, evade looters and political suppression, fall in love, commit a litany of blunders, and uncover ancient curses.
The pivotal discoveries comprising "Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World" include: King Tut's tomb of treasure; Terracotta warriors escorting China's first emperor into the afterlife; The glorious Anglo-Saxon treasure of Sutton-Hoo; Graves of the Scythians (the real Amazon warrior women); New findings on the grim fate of the colonists of Jamestown -- and so much more!
Critique: A history lover and archaeology enthusiasts delight, "Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. As inherently fascinating, as it is impressively informative, "Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World" must be considered an essential and core addition to community, college, and university library History and Archaeology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).
Editorial Note: As a General Editor for the National Geographic magazine, Ann Williams specializes in writing about the ancient world and cultural heritage preservation. A writer for more than three decades career for National Geographic, she reports on new discoveries and the latest research in archaeology around the world.
The Mathematics Shelf
Introduction to Linear Algebra
Rita Fioresi, author
Marta Morigi, author
Chapman & Hall
c/o CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9780367626549, $79.96, HC, 264pp
Synopsis: Central to almost all areas of mathematics, Linear Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerning linear equations and their representations in vector spaces and through matrices. Linear Algebra is also used in most sciences and fields of engineering, because it allows modeling many natural phenomena, and computing efficiently with such models. For nonlinear systems, which cannot be modeled with linear algebra, it is often used for dealing with first-order approximations, using the fact that the differential of a multivariate function at a point is the linear map that best approximates the function near that point. (Wikipedia)
Offering a straightforward introduction to linear algebra that requires a minimal mathematical background to read and engage with, "Introduction to Linear Algebra" by professors Rita Fioresi and Marta Morigi is primarily aimed at students in applied fields (e.g. Computer Science and Engineering), providing them with a concrete, rigorous approach to face and solve various types of problems for the applications of their interest.
Critique: With a brief, informative and engaging style, "Introduction to Linear Algebra" is an ideal curriculum textbook for a wide broad range of undergraduates and comprises many worked examples and exercises. While highly recommended for highschool, college, and university library Higher Mathematics & Algebra collections, it should be noted for students and academia that "Introduction to Linear Algebra" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $74.99).
Editorial Note: Rita Fioresi and Marta Morigi are professors at the University of Bologna and teach linear algebra courses to students of all majors. Their research publications are centered into algebra with some applications - for example: R. Fioresi Lie theory & machine learning, M. Morigi Group theory.
Introduction to Lattice Algebra
Gerhard X. Ritter, author
Gonzalo Urcid, author
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9780367720292, $120.00, HC, 432pp
Synopsis: A lattice is an abstract structure studied in the mathematical subdisciplines of order theory and abstract algebra. It consists of a partially ordered set in which every pair of elements has a unique supremum (also called a least upper bound or join) and a unique infimum (also called a greatest lower bound or meet). An example is given by the power set of a set, partially ordered by inclusion, for which the supremum is the union and the infimum is the intersection. Another example is given by the natural numbers, partially ordered by divisibility, for which the supremum is the least common multiple and the infimum is the greatest common divisor. (Wikipedia)
Lattice theory extends into virtually every branch of mathematics, ranging from measure theory and convex geometry to probability theory and topology. A more recent development has been the rapid escalation of employing lattice theory for various applications outside the domain of pure mathematics. These applications range from electronic communication theory and gate array devices that implement Boolean logic to arti?cial intelligence and computer science in general.
"Introduction to Lattice Algebra: With Applications in AI, Pattern Recognition, Image Analysis, and Biomimetic Neural Networks" lays emphasis on two subjects, the first being lattice algebra and the second the practical applications of that algebra. This university level textbook is intended to be used for a special topics course in arti?cial intelligence with a focus on pattern recognition, multispectral image analysis, and biomimetic arti?cial neural networks. "Introduction to Lattice Algebra" is self-contained and (depending on the student's major) can be used for a senior undergraduate level or ?rst-year graduate level course. "Introduction to Lattice Algebra" is also an ideal self-study guide for researchers and professionals in the above-mentioned disciplines.
"Introduction to Lattice Algebra" is filled with instructive examples and exercises to help build understanding, making it eminently suitable for researchers, professionals and students, both in mathematics and computer science. Of special note is that every chapter comprising "Introduction to Lattice Algebra" consists of exercises with solution provided online at www.Routledge.com/9780367720292
Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Introduction to Lattice Algebra: With Applications in AI, Pattern Recognition, Image Analysis, and Biomimetic Neural Networks" by the team of Gerhard X. Ritter and Gonzalo Urcid is an ideal textbook and should be considered as an essential, core addition to professional, college, and university library Abstract Algebra, Graph Theory, and Computer Vision/Pattern Recognition collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and academia that "Introduction to Lattice Algebra: With Applications in AI, Pattern Recognition, Image Analysis, and Biomimetic Neural Networks" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $113.89).
Editorial Note #1: Professor Ritter has written more than 140 research papers in subjects ranging from pure and applied mathematics to pattern recognition, computer vision, and artificial neural networks. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Mathematical Imaging and Vision, and founding member and first chair of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Activity Group on Imaging Science (SIAG-IS).
Editorial Note #2: Gonzalo Urcid is an Associate Professor in the Optics Department at INAOE. His research interests include digital image processing and analysis, artificial neural networks based on lattice algebra, and lattice computing applied to artificial intelligence and pattern recognition.
The Language Studies Shelf
Explore Latin: Ludi Scaenici
1000 Brown Street, Unit 301, Wauconda, IL 60084
9780865168794, $21.00, PB, 80pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Explore Latin: Ludi Scaenici" by Christopher Bungard, students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with a knowledge of basic Latin can now experience the world of ancient drama entirely in Latin! Using just over one-hundred unique Latin words, this Explore Latin reader offers an immersive introduction to the theater, particularly comedy, of Greece and Rome.
Readers will discover the connections between theater and religion; consider how architecture could enhance theatrical productions; meet some ancient playwrights as well as the stock characters that appear in their work. Copious color photographs support the Latin text, helping to make information readily comprehensible to novice learners.
The topics introduced in "Explore Latin: Ludi Scaenici", are of interest in their own right, while also prepare readers to transition to more complex Latin in the Encounter Latin novella series from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers.
Critique: An ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional introduction to the Latin language, "Explore Latin: Ludi Scaenici" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, college, and university library Latin Studies collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.
The Education Shelf
How to Enhance Your Research
Don J. Webber
Edward Elgar Publishing
9 Dewey Court, Northampton, MA 01060-3815
9781788978088, $130.00, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: Accessible in its style, comprehensive in content, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "How to Enhance Your Research: 100 Practical Tips for Academics" is a truly groundbreaking combination of instructional guide and DIY manual that provides students and researchers with a wealth of practical advice on how academics can enhance their research practices. It also highlights the fundamental role of research leaders and how their support can prove invaluable to academics in improving their research methodology.
With the publication of "How to Enhance Your Research: 100 Practical Tips for Academics" Professor Don Webber (University of Sheffield, UK) expertly compiles responses from different research environments and practices across a range of universities, succinctly summarising those that achieve better quality research output. Highlighting collective practices as well as individual ones, he further illustrates the responsibilities placed upon academics for their own research alongside those of their peers and how these can have considerable mutual benefits.
This invigorating read will be an excellent resource for new academics who wish to learn best practice and experienced academics who may have lost their way and are wanting to get their research back on track. Research leaders who wish to have a high performing department will find "How to Enhance Your Research: 100 Practical Tips for Academics" insightful in gaining ideas on how to enable their colleagues to achieve their full potential.
Critique: Whether as a curriculum textbook for Study Skills Improvement classes, or a comprehensive DIY 'how to' instructional for novice and experienced academic researchers alike, "How to Enhance Your Research: 100 Practical Tips for Academics" will prove to be of extraordinary value for personal, professional, community, highschool, college, and university library collections.
The Architecture Shelf
Thingstatten: The Relevance of the Past for the Present
Katharine Bosse, editor
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
9783735606990, $65.00, HC, 256pp
Synopsis: Between 1933 and 1936, dozens of Thingstatte, or amphitheaters, were erected as propagandistic open-air theaters and meeting places by the Nazi regime. While many of these amphitheaters are barely known today, they can still be found throughout Germany, Poland and Russia. With the publication of "Thingstatten: The Relevance of the Past for the Present" showcasing the legacy of Nazi Germany's architectural relics, historians, architects and artists can assess in detail the relevance of these architectural specimens for future generations.
Critique: Exceptionally well illustrated in support of an informed and informative commentary, "Thingstatten: The Relevance of the Past for the Present" is an extraordinary architectural history that will be especially appreciated as an addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library 20th Century European Architectural History collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.
The Native American Studies Shelf
Lincoln and Native Americans
Michael S. Green
Southern Illinois University Press
9780809338252, $24.95 hc / $14.72 Kindle
Synopsis: President Abraham Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution of Indigenous people in American history, following the 1862 uprising of hungry Dakota in Minnesota and suspiciously speedy trials. He also issued the largest commutation of executions in American history for the same act. But there is much more to the story of Lincoln's interactions and involvement, personal and political, with Native Americans, as Michael S. Green shows. His evenhanded assessment explains how Lincoln thought about Native Americans, interacted with them, and was affected by them.
Although ignorant of Native customs, Lincoln revealed none of the hatred or single-minded opposition to Native culture that animated other leaders and some of his own political and military officials. Lincoln did far too little to ease the problems afflicting Indigenous people at the time, but he also expressed more sympathy for their situation than most other politicians of the day. Still, he was not what those who wanted legitimate improvements in the lives of Native Americans would have liked him to be.
Critique: Lincoln and Native Americans is a critical and evenhanded look at how Abraham Lincoln interacted with Native Americans. Author Michael Green (Associate Professor of History, University of Nevada in Las Vegas) evaluates that, while Lincoln did sometimes express sympathy toward Native Americans (in contrast to the openly hostile attitudes held by many political leaders and military officials of his era), Lincoln's policies as President did very little to ease the hardships suffered by indigenous peoples. Chapters examine Lincoln's federal policies toward Native Americans before and during the Civil War; how Lincoln's patronage appointments affected Indian affairs; and how white settlement expanded under Lincoln. Perhaps most fascinating is the speculation of how Native American history would have been different if Lincoln had lived beyond the end of the Civil War. Lincoln and Native Americans is a thoroughly fascinating scrutiny of Lincoln's views and actions toward people of color who were not African-American, and a welcome contribution to personal and public library American History shelves. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Lincoln and Native Americans is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.72).
Editorial Note: Michael S. Green, an associate professor of history at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is the author or editor of three books on the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Election of 1860 (Southern Illinois University Press) and Politics and America in Crisis: The Coming of the Civil War, and several books on Nevada, as well as dozens of articles and essays. He is on the editorial advisory board of the University of Nevada Press and is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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