Navigating between the Indian traditions they’ve inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In “A temporary matter,” a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice. –amazon.com
Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
In And their children after them, the writer/photographer team Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson return to the land and families captured in James Agee and Walker Evans’s inimitable Let us now praise famous men, extending the project of conscience and chronicling the traumatic decline of King Cotton. With this continuation of Agee and Evans’s project, Maharidge and Williamson not only uncover some surprising historical secrets relating to the families and to Agee himself, but also effectively lay to rest Agee’s fear that his work, from lack of reverence or resilience, would be but another offense to the humanity of its subjects. Williamson’s ninety-part photo essay includes updates alongside Evans’s classic originals. –amazon.com
Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. In a single volume, the author tells how America endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities. He demonstrates that the economic crisis of the 1930s was more than a reaction to the excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before the Crash, America’s unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, consuming capital and inflicting misery on city and countryside alike. Nor was the alleged prosperity of the 1920s as uniformly shared as legend portrays. Countless Americans eked out threadbare lives on the margins of national life. Roosevelt’s New Deal wrenched opportunity from the trauma of the 1930s and created a lasting legacy of economic and social reform, but it was afflicted with shortcomings and contradictions as well. The author details the New Deal’s problems and defeats, as well as its achievements. Yet, even as the New Deal was coping with the Depression, a new menace was developing abroad. Exploiting Germany’s own economic burdens, Hitler reached out the disaffected, turning their aimless discontent into loyal support for the Nazi Party. In Asia, Japan harbored imperial ambitions of its own. The same generation of Americans who battled the Depression eventually had to shoulder arms in another conflict that wreaked worldwide destruction, ushered in the nuclear age, and forever changed their way of life and their country’s relationship to the rest of the world. In the second installment of the chronicle, the author explains how the nation agonized over its role in the conflict, how it fought the war, and why the U.S. emerged victorious, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. The author analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.
Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for history.
Having proclaimed as a young composer that I would “never write a symphony,” I look with some surprise at the premiere of my second.
My thought then was that there were so many great symphonies in the repertoire that I could satisfy only my ego by writing yet another. Only the death of countless friends from AIDS prompted me to write in our largest orchestral form. Mahler once described writing a symphony as creating a world. My Symphony No. 1 was about world-scale tragedy and, I felt, needed a comparably epic form.
This second symphony has a different genesis. The Boston Symphony contacted my publisher with a request that I write a second symphony to honor the l00th anniversary of their justly famous Symphony Hall. At first I declined, stating my earlier reservations about writing in this form, and offered another kind of orchestral piece, but they were quite insistent.
I started thinking about what I could do that would feel truly symphonic, and my thoughts turned to the String Quartet I composed for the farewell tour of the Cleveland Quartet in 1996.
Two things about the quartet-as-symphony intrigued me. Firstly, the Quartet, like Symphony No. 1, drew from very intense human feelings. The symphony dealt with inadvertent loss: death. The quartet, written as it was as the valedictory piece for the disbanding Cleveland Quartet, dealt with chosen loss: farewell.
Secondly, I knew even as I was composing it that the string writing had acquired a very orchestral quality. Just as Beethoven’s Grossa Fuga stretches quartet playing past its limits, so does my quartet stretch the players’ range, dynamics, emotional energy and technique. And, interestingly, the Beethoven is often played by orchestral strings in the concert hall.
Once I decided that the quartet was indeed ripe for orchestral expansion, I wrestled with how that should best be accomplished. Rescoring it for full orchestra — or even strings and percussion — would certainly expand the piece’s timbrel palette. But wouldn’t that in fact diminish the intensity of the work, even as its dynamic range widened? Part of the intensity of strings derives from their relatively limited (say, compared to brass) dynamic range. Fortissimos must be achieved by intensity, not volume. If even the Grossa Fuga were redone for full orchestra, tension would yield to bombast. So my final choice was to leave the work in the strings, rewriting it when necessary and adding to it when the opportunity arose. And, to come full circle, this also satisfied my reservations about writing another symphony in a repertoire of masterpieces: the string symphony is another animal entirely, and there aren’t many of them.
. . .
The result of this is a work that deals with the string orchestra as a whole body of sound unique in itself, and this transforms the string quartet to symphony and the string section to string orchestra.
Architecturally, the 35-minute work is in five movements that bear a superficial resemblance to the arch-form principles of Bartok’s fourth quartet (movements I and V are related and movements II and IV are related, with III as a central “night music”), but in fact all five movements of the symphony are also united by similar motives and thematic content. Specifically, the symphony is based upon a motto composed of even repetitions of a single tone, and a sequence of disjunct minor thirds. There are also four pitch centers recurring throughout the work: C, C-sharp, G and G-sharp.–John Corigliano
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for music.
Repair is body work in C. K. Williams’s sensual poems, but it is also an imaginative treatment of the consternations that interrupt life’s easy narrative. National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Williams keeps the self in repair despite love, death, social disorder, and the secrets that separate and join intimates. These forty poems experiment with form but maintain what Alan Williamson has heralded Williams for having so steadily developed from French influences: “the poetry of the sentence.” –amazon.com
Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
In this loving memoir Wayne Johnston returns to Newfoundland – the people, the place, the politics – and illuminates his family’s story . . .
Descendants of the Irish who settled in Ferryland, Lord Baltimore’s Catholic colony in Newfoundland, the Johnstons “went from being sea-fearing farmers to sea-faring fishermen.” Each generation resolves to escape the hardships of life at sea, but their connection to this fantastically beautiful but harsh land is as eternal as the rugged shoreline, and the separations that result between generations may be as inevitable as the winters they endure. Unfulfilled dreams haunt this family history and make Baltimore’s mansion a thrilling and captivating book. –amazon.com
Winner of the 2000 RBC Charles Taylor Prize.
Tracing the movement from its origins in the 1920s to its decline in the 1950s and 1960s, Durozoi tells the history of Surrealism through its activities, publications, and reviews, demonstrating its close ties to some of the most explosive political, as well as creative, debates of the twentieth century. Unlike other histories, which focus mainly on the pre-World War II years of the movement in Paris, Durozoi covers both a wider chronological and geographic range, treating in detail the postwar years and Surrealism’s colonization of Latin America, the United States, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Italy, and North Africa. Drawing on documentary and visual evidence–including 1,000 photos, many of them in color–he illuminates all the intellectual and artistic aspects of the movement, from literature and philosophy to painting, photography, and film. All the Surrealist stars and their most important works are here–Aragon, Borges, Breton, Buñuel, Cocteau, Crevel, Dalí, Desnos, Ernst, Man Ray, Soupault, and many more–for all of whom Durozoi has provided brief biographical notes in addition to featuring them in the main text.
Winner of the 2003 Robert Motherwell Book Award, sponsored by The Dedalus Foundation.
This major work offers a new interpretation of the witchcraft beliefs of European intellectuals between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, showing how these beliefs fitted rationally with other beliefs of the period and how far the nature of rationality is dependent on its historical context. –amazon.com
Winner of the 1997 Gladstone History Book Prize, sponsored by the Royal Historical Society.
Some 35,000 people were condemned to death in England and Wales between 1770 and 1830, and 7,000 were ultimately executed, the majority convicted of crimes such as burglary, horse theft, or forgery. Mostly poor trades people–weavers, clerks, whipmakers–these terrified men and women would suffer excruciating death before large and excited crowds. Indeed, crowds of three to seven thousand were normal, and for famous cases, the mob could swell to 50,000 or more (100,000 were said to have watched the hanging of murderers Holloway and Haggarty–so great a throng that 30 spectators were crushed to death). What brought people out for such a gruesome spectacle? How did they feel about the deadly justice meted out in their midst? These are some of the questions examined in The hanging tree, a fascinating history of public executions in their awful heyday in England.
Drawing on letters, diaries, ballads, and poignant appeals for mercy, Gatrell vividly recreates the social atmosphere and heated debate swirling about these cruel spectacles. He gives readers an unflinching look at what these executions were really like, paints a colorful portrait of the large crowds who gathered to watch, and describes the part the gallows played in the popular imagination (as reflected in flash ballads, Punch and Judy shows, and broadsides). Gatrell illuminates the debate over public execution that raged in polite society, discussing the commentary of writers such as Boswell, Byron, Thackeray, and Dickens, most of whom deplored the behavior of the crowd more than the inhumanity of the sentence (Macaulay denounced abolitionists as effeminate). And Gatrell also examines the attitudes of the judges, politicians, and monarch who decided who should be reprieved and who should hang (a mortal decision often delivered with the one-sentence formula: “Let the law run its course”). Throughout the book, Gatrell traces how attitudes to death and suffering changed as the century progressed (after 1837, for instance, only murderers were hung, and after 1868, public executions were abolished). Perhaps most surprising, Gatrell reveals that the demise of public hanging owed little to humanitarianism. In part, polite society simply preferred not to look at the ugly machine of justice that subtly served their interests. But ultimately, Gatrell contends, it was the unleashed passions of the scaffold crowd the unsettled the middle class: the crowd mirrored the state’s violence too candidly and gave the lie to middle-class pretensions of civility and humanity.
Panoramic in scope, authoritatively researched, and gripping from beginning to end, The hanging tree radically alters our sense of the past. It is not only a history of emotions, but also an emotional story, invested with the author’s own incredulity and anger over the merciless events he chronicles. Taking up the plight of those who felt the hand of justice at its heaviest, he recaptures the lived experience of people poorly served by their own criminal law.
Winner of the 1994 Whitfield Book Prize, sponsored by The Royal Historical Society.
Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter―from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas―is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The elegant universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
Winner of the 2000 General Prize from the Royal Society Winton Prizes for Science Books.
Middle-class family life in the 1950s brings to mind images of either smugly satisfied or miserably repressed nuclear families composed of breadwinning husbands, children, and housewives. Jessica Weiss delves beneath these mythic images and paints a far more complex picture that reveals strong continuities between the baby boomers and their parents. Combining interviews with American couples from the 1950s to the 1980s with a deft analysis of movies, television shows, magazines, and advice books from each decade, Weiss provides an unprecedented and intimate look at ordinary marriages in a time of sweeping cultural change.
Winner of the 2001 Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize from the Western Association of Women Historians.
It’s Spring Break week here at Minnesota State University Moorhead and the library hours are different because of it. They are:
March 6-10 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
March 12 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m
Be careful out there.
WHEREAS, America’s immigrants are strong and valuable part of the social fabric of this nation; and
WHEREAS, The ALA Library Bill of Rights states that a person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views; and
WHEREAS, The library community opposes all attempts at the local, state and federal level to restrict access to information by immigrants; and
WHEREAS, Restriction of access is a direct violation of the ALA Library Bill of Rights and Policy #60, Diversity, which states that “The American Library Association (ALA) promotes equal access to information for all persons and recognizes the ongoing need to increase awareness of and responsiveness to the diversity of the communities we serve”; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That ALA strongly supports the protection of each person’s civil liberties, regardless of that individual’s nationality, residency, or status; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That ALA opposes any legislation that infringes on the rights of anyone in the USA or its territories, citizens or otherwise, to use library resources, programs, and services on national, state, and local levels.”
“Film noir” evokes memories of stylish, cynical, black-and-white movies from the 1940s and 1950s—melodramas about private eyes, femmes fatales, criminal gangs, and lovers on the run. In More than night, James Naremore discusses these pictures, but he also shows that the central term is more complex and paradoxical than we realize. Film noir refers both to an important cinematic legacy and to an idea we have projected onto the past.
This lively, wide-ranging cultural history offers an original approach to the subject, as well as new production information and fresh commentary on scores of films, including such classics as Double Indemnity, The Third Man, and Out of the Past, and such “neo noirs” as Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, and Devil in a Blue Dress. Naremore discusses film noir as a term in criticism; as an expression of artistic modernism; as a symptom of Hollywood censorship and politics in the 1940s; as a market strategy; as an evolving style; as a cinema about races and nationalities; and as an idea that circulates across all the information technologies. Interdisciplinary in approach, this book has valuable things to say not only about film and television, but also about modern literature, the fine arts, and popular culture in general. In a field where much of what has been published is superficial and derivative, Naremore’s work is certain to be received as a definitive treatment.
An “honorable mention” in 2000 for the Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
The first comprehensive study of American war strategy in its domestic context. It shows how internal divisions – between political parties, presidents and Congress, elected representatives and bureaucrats, soldiers and civilians, and branches of the armed services – make the creation of strategy extraordinarily complex and explains why wartime goals, ways, and means were often disconnected. Warmaking and American democracy goes far beyond other accounts of U.S. military history by relating strategies and campaigns to policy goals and means. It invites serious reconsideration of how we wage war as it shows the complex nature of national security decision making in a democracy.
Winner of the 2000 Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government.
In 1976 Gelya Frank began writing about the life of Diane DeVries, a woman born with all the physical and mental equipment she would need to live in our society–except arms and legs. Frank was 28 years old, DeVries 26. This remarkable book–by turns moving, funny, and revelatory–records the relationship that developed between the women over the next twenty years. An empathic listener and participant in DeVries’s life, and a scholar of the feminist and disability rights movements, Frank argues that Diane DeVries is a perfect example of an American woman coming of age in the second half of the twentieth century. By addressing the dynamics of power in ethnographic representation, Frank–anthropology’s leading expert on life history and life story methods–lays the critical groundwork for a new genre, “cultural biography.”
Challenged to examine the cultural sources of her initial image of DeVries as limited and flawed, Frank discovers that DeVries is gutsy, buoyant, sexy–and definitely not a victim. While she analyzes the portrayal of women with disabilities in popular culture–from limbless circus performers to suicidal heroines on the TV news–Frank’s encounters with DeVries lead her to come to terms with her own “invisible disabilities” motivating the study. Drawing on anthropology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, narrative theory, law, and the history of medicine, Venus on wheels is an intellectual tour de force.
Winner of the 2000 Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology.
Challenging previous accounts, Geoffrey Megargee shatters the myth that German generals would have prevailed in World War II if only Hitler had not meddled in their affairs. Indeed, Megargee argues, the German high command was much more flawed than many have suspected or acknowledged. Inside Hitler’s High Command reveals that while Hitler was the central figure in many military decisions, his generals were equal partners in Germany’s catastrophic defeat.
Megargee also offers new insights into the high command crises of 1938 and shows how German general staff made fatal mistakes in their planning for Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Their arrogant dismissal of the Soviet military’s ability to defend its homeland and virtual disregard for the extensive intelligence and sound logistics that undergird successful large-scale military campaigns ultimately came back to haunt them.
In the final assessment, observes Megargee, the generals’ strategic ideas were no better than Hitler’s and often worse. Heinz Guderian, Franz Halder, and the rest were as guilty of self-deception as their Fuhrer, believing that innate German superiority and strength of will were enough to overcome nearly any obstacle. Inside Hitler’s High Command exposes these surprising flaws and illuminates the process of strategy and decision making in the Third Reich.
Winner of a 2001 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History.
As America’s need for productive workers increases, Hamilton explains how apprenticeship would exploit workplaces as learning environments, helping young people to make the crucial connections between school learning, community participation, and a satisfying, constructive life’s work.
Winner of the 1990 Society for Research on Adolescence Book Award for best authored (as opposed to edited) book.
“The Trump administration’s decision to revoke important protections for transgender students couldn’t conflict more with the library community’s fundamental values and the principles upon which libraries are founded. Transgender students deserve the right to use restroom facilities that are aligned with their gender identity. On average students spend 6-7 hours per day at school, and every student deserves to learn in an environment free from discrimination. We believe this federal policy must be reinstated because it ensures that all students are treated fairly nationwide.
“ALA, its members, all librarians and library professionals are committed to diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all human beings, and we will work tirelessly to ensure full representation of all members of society.
“ALA provides gender neutral restrooms at our conferences, and we will not hold our large and economically impactful meetings in states where ‘bathroom bills’ have been passed. Our Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) division canceled one such program in North Carolina last year.
“We stand with our transgender members, colleagues, families and friends, and we fully support the work of our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT), whose members continue to lead the fight to abolish intolerance for all of society.
“ALA will work closely with all of its partners for reinstatement of these protections as soon as possible.”
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
Unimaginable until the twentieth century, the clinical practice of transferring eggs and sperm from body to body is now the basis of a bustling market. In Sex cells, Rene Almeling provides an inside look at how egg agencies and sperm banks do business. Although both men and women are usually drawn to donation for financial reasons, Almeling finds that clinics encourage sperm donors to think of the payments as remuneration for an easy “job.” Women receive more money but are urged to regard egg donation in feminine terms, as the ultimate “gift” from one woman to another. Sex cells shows how the gendered framing of paid donation, as either a job or a gift, not only influences the structure of the market, but also profoundly affects the individuals whose genetic material is being purchased.
Winner of the 2012 Diana Forsythe Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Work.
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