Monthly Archives: November 2007

Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy

November 30, 2007
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Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy

Two articles on Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites’s No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy ran this month, both of which cite the book for its controversial look at some of the most influential images of the last century, and how such images have radically changed the political and social landscape of America. An article in the November 29 London Review of Books (only available to subscribers) begins with a critique of “one of the most reproduced photographs in American history”—Joe Rosenthal’s image of U.S. troops struggling to raise an American flag on top of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. The LRB‘s David Simpson writes:

The Pulitzer-prize winning photo of the Suribachi Summit… was actually of a second flag-raising, staged with a larger flag after the fighting had died down. Literally speaking it was not so much a struggle against military odds as a struggle against gravity. This was known at the time, and was a sufficiently sensitive issue for both Time and Life to refrain from publishing it until it had become so ubiquitous as to be beyond complex questioning. That happened very fast. The photo became more or less instantly . . .

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‘Tis the season to drink your orange juice

November 29, 2007
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‘Tis the season to drink your orange juice

Pierre Laszlo’s new book Citrus: A History has been featured in several articles this month, one in the November 22 issue of Nature and another in the November 25 issue of the UK’s Sunday Times. Both articles praise Laszlo’s book for its comprehensive historical account of the propagation of citrus fruits around the globe and both note that one of the most important reasons for its popularity is its medicinal value—an especially pertinent fact to keep in mind during these long winter months. From the Sunday Times:

Laszlo, a retired French chemist, takes us on a journey from the orangeries of Versailles, via the limes of the Royal Navy to the citriculture of modern Florida. It was only in the 1920s, he tells us, that orange juice became “an integral part of the American breakfast”, after the great flu epidemic of 1918-19. Laszlo shows that the citrus fruit “is a treasure trove of chemicals that are highly useful to humankind”—which also happens to taste wonderful.

And on a similar note from Nature magazine:

Citrus provides a colorful background of the literature, poetry and art associated with citrus fruits, as well as their pharmaceutical effects. Apparently, an ingredient . . .

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Press Release: Maestripieri, Macachiavellian Intelligence

November 29, 2007
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Press Release: Maestripieri, Macachiavellian Intelligence

Power. Sex. Status. That’s pretty much what human life boils down to: a vicious, grasping struggle to get ahead and stay there. We look out for number one, claw for every advantage, and aren’t above using—and even betraying—friends and family to get what we want. So just what is it that separates us from the higher primates? Dario Maestripieri would argue that it’s less than you may think, and with Macachiavellian Intelligence he draws readers deep into the social life of the world’s most common monkey, the rhesus macaque, to show just how much we can learn from them about human life.

Writing with a biting, sardonic wit, Maestripieri draws on primatology, evolutionary biology, economics, politics, and literature to present a wry, rational, and wholly surprising view of our humanity as seen through the monkey in the mirror.

Read the press release.

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Ashley Gilbertson on the toll of the Iraq war

November 28, 2007
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Ashley Gilbertson on the toll of the Iraq war

Ashley Gilbertson, author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War recently joined fellow photographer Nina Berman on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show to discuss their recent projects documenting the lives of American soldiers in Iraq and how they manage to cope with their experiences after they come home. As Lopate reveals in his interview, both books offer a candid look into the horrors of modern warfare soldiers are forced to endure and the toll it takes on them both physically and emotionally. Navigate to the WNYC website to listen to archived audio from the show as well as view two photo galleries featuring a small sampling of each photographer’s work.

Gilbertson was also recently interviewed by Sandip Roy for NPR’s UpFront radio to discuss Gilbertson’s personal experiences as a photographer in Iraq. You can find a transcription as well as archived audio of their conversation online at the UpFront website.

Finally, don’t miss the UCP’s own Whiskey Tango Foxtrot website where you can read more about Gilbertson’s book, place an order, and view our own video interview with Gilbertson.

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Review: Braude, The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations

November 27, 2007
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Review: Braude, The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations

In a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal, reviewer John Desio delivers an interesting critique of Stephen E. Braude’s new book The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations. While Desio, like most, might remain skeptical about the existence of the paranormal he applauds Braude’s book for its open minded approach to the subject as it works both to confirm as well as debunk a variety of extraordinary parapsychological phenomena. Desio writes:

The world of the paranormal is such a magnet for hustlers and charlatans that any book on the subject might seem at first like just another attempt to separate the curious or the desperate from their cash. But The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations is not a memoir from “Miss Cleo” of 900-number fame or advice from “cold reading” specialist John Edward on how best to contact your late Aunt Sophie. It is a strange work by Stephen E. Braude, a philosophy professor at the University of Maryland who believes in the existence of paranormal abilities in human beings—but who also, thank goodness, goes out of his way to address the concerns of skeptics and to shoot down fakers who populate the field.

The . . .

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Figuring out how to get there

November 26, 2007
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Figuring out how to get there

William Grimes had a roundup of books about maps and geography in the New York Times last Friday. “If 90 percent of life is showing up,” said Grimes, “the other 10 percent is figuring out how to get there.” That sounds about right, based on my excursion downstate over the holiday.

The books selected by Grimes range from a “throbbingly romantic novel” titled The Mapmaker’s Opera to “two books that size up the topography of the United States.” Since cartography is one of our publishing niches, we were not surprised—only relieved—to see that Grimes included Maps: Finding Our Place in the World edited by by James R. Akerman and Robert W. Karrow Jr. in his piece, as well as Hard Road West: History and Geology along the Gold Rush Trail by Keith Heyer Meldahl. Plus, he lassoes Peter Whitfield’s London: A Life in Maps which we distribute for the British Library.

If maps are often on your mind, you’ll enjoy our web feature for Maps: Finding Our Place in the World. We also have an excerpt from Hard Road West. More books about maps are in our cartography and geography catalog.

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Review: Shulman, Dark Hope

November 20, 2007
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Review: Shulman, Dark Hope

David Shulman’s Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine is currently being featured in a review for the December 6 issue of the New York Review of Books. A human rights activist and member of the peace group Ta’ayush, Shulman is an active participant in the group’s efforts to address the conflict between Israel and Palestine through non-violent means. With Dark Hope Shulman aims to further the revolutionary humanitarian goals of the organization through a first hand account of his work with the group bringing aid, rebuilding houses, and engaging in Ghandian acts of civil disobedience. Detailing Shulman’s unique approach to political activism. Israeli scholar Avishai Margalit writes for the NYRB:

Shulman attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.… His linguistic and cultural interests were mainly focused on South India. In 1987, when he was thirty-seven, he received a MacArthur Fellowship. He has published many translations of Indian poetry. Shulman’s language in his diary is fresh and uncontaminated by the lazy clichés often used to describe the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. By temperament and calling, Shulman is a scholar, not a politician. Recalling Auden’s lines on Yeats, we may say that mad Israel hurt him . . .

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in the NYT

November 19, 2007
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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in the NYT

When Ashley Gilbertson arrived in Iraq at the beginning of the U.S. invasion he was only twenty five years old and had no affiliation with any newspaper. Nevertheless, he was among the first photojournalists to cover the conflict for American audiences. Soon picked up as a freelance photographer for the New York Times, Gilbertson has since established himself as one of the most adept chroniclers of the conflict in the middle east.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a special piece in the Arts and Leisure featuring a selection of Gilbertson’s photographs of the war, all of which can be found in his new book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War. Dexter Filkins prefaces Gilbertson’s photos in the NYT saying:

Ashley Gilbertson, a freelance photographer for the New York Times, has followed the war in Iraq from its beginning through its most singular moments. In his new book… Gilbertson has compiled the best of those images, freezing the war’s most intense and dramatic moments… The heart of the book, graphically and emotionally, is the battle of Falluja in November 2004, when 6,000 marines and soldiers went into what was then a contested jihadi stronghold. Those . . .

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Review: Goldhill, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today

November 16, 2007
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Review: Goldhill, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today

The Literary Review is currently running a piece on Simon Goldhill’s new book, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today. As the Review‘s Fiona Macintosh notes, with new productions of Greek drama flooding the world of theater, Goldhill’s book makes a timely effort to address the challenges involved in updating these ancient masterpieces for the modern stage. Macintosh writes:

Since the 1960s there has been an explosion in the number of performances of ancient plays not just in Europe, but increasingly across the globe—in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In many ways, Goldhill’s new book is a response to this phenomenon. As he explains, directors or actors who are about to work with a Greek play regularly turn to scholars of ancient tragedy for assistance; and one frequent question concerns what they should read. Goldhill says his book grew out of one such query from Vanessa Redgrave, when she was having a difficult time in West End as the eponymous heroine of Euripides’ Hecuba, with a director she couldn’t abide and in a part which had just been played superlatively by Claire Higgins at the Donmar Warehouse…

The review continues:

As one would expect from Goldhill, author of a number . . .

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Press Release: Slobogin, Privacy at Risk

November 15, 2007
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Press Release: Slobogin, Privacy at Risk

The situation in our surveillance state is such that the government can monitor many of our daily activities, using closed-circuit TV, global positioning systems, and a wide array of other sophisticated technologies—without warning, and at any time. But despite the growing public awareness of these intrusions, our post-9/11 environment of fear makes people reluctant to question them. Yet, as Christopher Slobogin explains in Privacy at Risk, these shocking violations of privacy are often perpetrated by those in positions of power.

This ground-breaking book argues that courts should prod legislatures into enacting more meaningful protection against government overreach by applying the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Slobogin demonstrates how we can thus preserve rights guaranteed by the Constitution—without compromising the government’s ability to investigate criminal acts—in a book that will intrigue anyone concerned about privacy rights in the digital age.

Read the press release.

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