Monthly Archives: June 2006

Chicago interviews McCloskey

June 30, 2006
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Chicago interviews McCloskey

Chicago Magazine‘s June issue features a candid interview with Deirdre N. McCloskey, author of The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce.

Q: During the last decade you have tackled a major personal change—your gender reassignment—and a major professional undertaking, the writing of Bourgeois Virtues, a sweeping defense of capitalism. Which did you find most challenging?

A: I’ve been working on the book for 12 years. Finishing it was very satisfying. But the biggest challenge was the gender change. Of course, there was opposition to both. I had to go out on thin ice in both cases.

Read the entire interview.

Read an excerpt from The Bourgeois Virtues; we also have an excerpt from McCloskey’s memoir, Crossing.

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The best baseball book ever

June 29, 2006
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The best baseball book ever

What’s the best baseball book ever written? If you ask Karl Cicitto, who has roughly 4,000 baseball books in his house, it’s Veeck As in Wreck, Bill Veeck’s uproarious autobiography. Cicitto and his massive book collection are profiled in Steve Rushin’s column in the June 26 issue of Sport’s Illustrated. “The first book Cicitto would save in a fire is his signed early edition of Veeck As in Wreck.”

If you’ve never read this classic of the national pastime, start with our excerpt, an account of the short but memorable career of Eddie Gaedel.

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Audio interview with Richard Lanham

June 27, 2006
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Audio interview with Richard Lanham

Chris Gondek has an audio interview with Richard A. Lanham on The Invisible Hand, his weekly podcast devoted to management and business topics.

In The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information, Richard A. Lanham traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media.

We also have our own interview with Lanham and an excerpt from the book.

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Review: Smith, Reading Leo Strauss

June 26, 2006
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Review: Smith, Reading Leo Strauss

In yesterday’s New York Times Book Review Robert Alter reviewed Steven B. Smith’s Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism. In his review, Alter examined Leo Strauss’s dubious legacy as the intellectual father of neoconservatism, asking how Strauss came to be viewed as "a sinister presence in contemporary politics." In recent years, for example, the media has perpetuated the idea that Strauss’s work influenced neoconservative foriegn policy hawks in the Bush administration. Alter praised Smith’s "admirably lucid, meticulously argued book" for "persuasively setting the record straight on Strauss’s political views and on what his writing is really about.…his intellectual enterprise, as Smith’s careful exposition makes clear, repeatedly argued against the very idea of political certitude that has been embraced by certain neoconservatives.…he strenuously resisted the notion that politics could have a redemptive effect by radically transforming human existence. Such thinking could scarcely be further from the vision of neoconservative policy intellectuals that the global projection of American power can effect radical democratic change."

Read an excerpt from the book.

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Audio from Laura J. Miller’s BookExpo appearance

June 26, 2006
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Audio from Laura J. Miller’s BookExpo appearance

At one of the panel presentations at BookExpo America, the annual book publishing trade show, Publishers Weekly editor-in-chief Sara Nelson interviewed Laura J. Miller, author of Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. Miller responded to questions from Nelson and the audience on the history of bookselling, the conflict between chain and independent bookstores, and her sense of where the industry is headed.

The audio of the discussion is available on a BookExpo site that collects podcasts from the show.

Miller earlier wrote an essay for our blog. We also have an excerpt from her book.

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On the Voting Rights Act

June 22, 2006
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On the Voting Rights Act

Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights held hearings on the extension of the Voting Rights Act. David T. Canon, author of Race, Redistricting, and Representation: The Unintended Consequences of Black Majority Districts testified at the hearing. Based on empirical evidence from his studies of Congressional elections, Canon concludes that the Voting Rights Act "should be renewed and strengthened."

Another author, Richard M. Valelly, wrote a piece for our website in which he argued from a historical perspective for the strengthening of the Voting Rights Act. Valelly is the author of The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement.

If not renewed, the VRA expires in August 2007. Unexpectedly, the House leadership has postponed consideration of renewal.

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Louise Knight interview on Progressive Radio

June 21, 2006
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Louise Knight interview on Progressive Radio

Louise W. Knight, author of Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, recently discussed her new book with Matt Rothschild, host of Progressive Radio and editor of The Progressive. The interview is available as an audio file on The Progressive Web site.

Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Citizen, Louise W. Knight’s masterful biography, reveals Addams’s early development as a political activist and social philosopher. In this book we observe a powerful mind grappling with the radical ideas of her age, most notably the ever-changing meanings of democracy.

Read an excerpt.

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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

June 21, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

The Sunday Telegraph featured a review of Mark Monmonier’s From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Lawrence Norfolk wrote: "The direct relevance of this book to anyone besides mapping administrators is not immediately obvious. It is, though, a treasure-trove of geographic factoids, ranging from ‘trap streets’ (fictitious features inserted in maps to guard against copyright infringements) to the importance of inverted commas in Hawaiian place names. But an enticing practical narrative lies buried in these pages: a civil activist’s handbook on how to change the toponyms around you. Or, to be blunt, how to get something named after you.… From anecdotal evidence (gathered in From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow and elsewhere), this reviewer suggests the surest route to toponymic immortality is becoming the President of the United States of America. Then being shot."

Read an excerpt.

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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

June 21, 2006
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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

Tonight at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park at the Harold Washington Library. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. The event is free and open to the public.

Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s reading was chosen by the Chicago Reader as its Critic’s Choice of the week. Harold Henderson wrote, "The story of Millennium Park, as told by Loyola historian Timothy J. Gilfoyle in Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, is three uplifting tales in one: the site, up from the lake and the post-Fire rubble; the politics, up from a landfill’s worth of failed plans; and the culture, up from a conservative vision of merely filling out the north end of Grant Park to a tightly packed series of walkways, sculptures, and theatrical spaces.… This impressively organized and lavishly illustrated book itself wouldn’t exist without financial support from the Minow Family Foundation. Those uncomfortable with the project’s delays, cost overruns, privatized process, or jangly outcome get their say, but the mayor has the last word."

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Review: Schneider, Into the Cool

June 20, 2006
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Review: Schneider, Into the Cool

Physics Today recently reviewed Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan’s Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life. Christopher Jarzynski wrote: "Into the Cool shows that there is much more to thermodynamics than Carnot cycles and phase diagrams. The book delivers an engaging, non-technical introduction to a variety of topics, with some interesting speculations along the way, and an excellent bibliography for those interested in learning more. Although I have not been converted to Schneider and Sagan’s point of view, the book left me thinking long after I had closed its pages."

Scientists, theologians, and philosophers have all sought to answer the questions of why we are here and where we are going. Finding this natural basis of life has proved elusive, but in the eloquent and creative Into the Cool, Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan look for answers in a surprising place: the second law of thermodynamics. This second law refers to energy’s inevitable tendency to change from being concentrated in one place to becoming spread out over time. In this scientific tour de force, Schneider and Sagan show how the second law is behind evolution, ecology,economics, and even life’s origin.

Read an excerpt.

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