Monthly Archives: April 2008

Review: Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain

April 30, 2008
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Review: Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain

The UK’s Spectator magazine has published an excellent review of Andrea Weiss’s new book In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story, a biographical account of the lives of the two eldest children of renowned writer Thomas Mann. Though Thomas’s fame and prestige has often eclipsed the literary and intellectual achievements of his children, as the Spectator‘s Allan Massie notes, Weiss’s new book uncovers their significant contributions to the worlds of art and literature. Massie’s review begins:

The subtitle is The Erika and Klaus Mann Story, and the shadow is that cast by their father, Thomas Mann, the greatest German novelist of the 20th century.

Erika and Klaus were the oldest two of his six children, and, while it is fair to say they lived in his shadow, they were not obscured by it, being extraordinary people in their own right, Klaus at least a remarkable writer himself also. Andrea Weiss, an American film-maker as well as writer, an associate professor at the City College of New York, tells their story with enthusiasm, sympathy and insight, in a style mercifully free of the clotted jargon we tend, not always unfairly, to expect from American . . .

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A question and answer session with Lt. Col. John Nagl

April 28, 2008
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A question and answer session with Lt. Col. John Nagl

In the Washington Post‘s recently published Q&A session with Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, Nagl uses his expertise in U.S. counterinsurgency operations to respond to reader’s questions regarding the future of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. Nagl is author and contributor to several recent books on military counterinsurgency strategy including Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. He also currently commands the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor at Fort Riley, Kansas. From the Washington Post:

Little Rock, Ark.: We don’t get much information regarding the nation-building activities in Afghanistan. Did we meet the rebuilding commitments we made to them when we won the war there?

Lt. Col. John Nagl: Little Rock, the counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan has not received the attention it has deserved. I visited there a little more than a year ago, and was struck most by the abject poverty of the country, even in Kabul. Afghanistan is the fifth-poorest country in the world after three decades of war. It desperately needs international assistance, particularly infrastructure development (roads above all). The Taliban’s resurgence has made the development work even harder than . . .

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Marilyn Hacker on the FSG poetry blog

April 25, 2008
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Marilyn Hacker on the FSG poetry blog

Marilyn Hacker, award winning poet and translator of over twelve books of contemporary French poetry including Guy Goffette’s recent Charlestown Blues: Selected Poems, a Bilingual Edition, has posted a piece on the art of translation to the recently launched Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux poetry blog this week.

In her post she discusses her intimate engagement with the works she translates and her constant struggle to remain true to the original. Hacker writes: “The translator must be faithful to the text’s linguistic valence, its connotations, to its music as well as its meaning.” And perhaps nowhere else does the translator develop this synergy between sound and sense than in Georgetown Blues where her selection of Geoffette’s work all center around the notion of “blue”—the color and the emotion, as well as that quintessentially American style of musical performance. From Charlestown Blues:

“Blue Gold”

No, tears don’t stop flowing

on earth, nor cries resounding.

Hills and walls only protect us

from bodies that come with and come undone

and the wide, peaceful rivers, and thunderclouds

carry grief away. But as soon

as the house is closed up like a handkerchief

on its square of bitterness

how heavy the scalding cup of . . .

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How many Lee Siegels are there?

April 24, 2008
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How many Lee Siegels are there?

Published last week, Lee Siegel’s newest book, Love and the Incredibly Old Man: A Novel scores a long and appreciative review in the April 18th edition of the Times Literary Supplement. Remarking on the unique autobiographical element of Siegel’s fiction Stephen Burn’s article begins:

Students of American writing have to distinguish between two Lee Siegels. Perhaps the more famous of the two is the New York critic Siegel, who was suspended from the New Republic in 2006 when it was discovered that he had been posting comments on the internet proclaiming his own brilliance. Oddly enough, the other, currently less famous Siegel—who is a professor of religion at the University of Hawaii—has also spent the last ten years writing about himself. His four inventive and amusing novels feature a character, Lee Siegel, who, the author complains, “has consistently tried to pass himself off as me.”…

His new novel, Love and the Incredibly Old Man, belongs somewhere in the middle of a continuum running from the experiments of his first two novels to the more transparent style of Who Wrote the Book of Love?, but like all the earlier works it involves a story received from an old man. . . .

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Press Release: Calvin, Global Fever

April 24, 2008
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Press Release: Calvin, Global Fever

The symptoms are all around us: rising temperatures, increasingly destructive storms, shrinking animal populations, creeping deserts. The earth is slowly dying, poisoned by too much carbon dioxide—and it’s high time we called a doctor. Enter popular science writer and journalist William Calvin, who with Global Fever delivers a grim diagnosis and outlines a radically thorough course of treatment. In stark, straightforward language, Calvin warns us of the mortal danger we face from unanticipated feedback loops as rising temperatures kill off plants and dry up water, leading to ever-faster warming. Every day we put off serious action, the situation becomes more desperate and our possible solutions narrow. If we hope to avoid climate disaster and the scarcely imaginable social upheaval that would accompany it, Calvin argues that we must commit to an aggressive, worldwide effort to switch to clean technologies—from hot rock geothermal power to air-fueled cars—essentially jumpstarting what would amount to a new, green, industrial revolution. The time for half-measures is over; Global Fever is a blueprint for real, comprehensive action.

Read the press release.

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Press Release: Melograni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

April 24, 2008
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Press Release: Melograni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

New in Paperback—Piero Melograni here offers a wholly readable account of Mozart’s remarkable life and times. This masterful biography proceeds from the young Mozart’s earliest years as a wunderkind—the child prodigy who traveled with his family to perform concerts throughout Europe—to his formative years in Vienna, where he absorbed the artistic and intellectual spirit of the Enlightenment, to his deathbed, his unfinished Requiem, and the mystery that still surrounds his burial.

Read the press release.

Also read an excerpt.

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Press Release: Siegel, Love and the Incredibly Old Man

April 24, 2008
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Press Release: Siegel, Love and the Incredibly Old Man

What Herman Melville did for the whale, Lee Siegel did for the Kama Sutra with his first critically acclaimed and enormously successful novel, Love in a Dead Language. Here Lee Siegel—no not THAT Lee Siegel, this is the other Lee Seigel, the nice Lee Siegel, the novelist, magician, and sex obsessed Lee Siegel—does the same for eternal love. The premise of this gem of a book is this: down on his luck in both letters and love, a reluctant Lee Siegel is summoned to a remote south Florida town by the conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon, who contrary to both history and legend not only discovered the Fountain of Youth, but has savored its waters for the past 540 years. But Ponce de Leon’s time is short—and it’s his dying wish that Lee Siegel ghostwrite his autobiography, chronicling his numerous romantic conquests, exploits, and misadventures. The result is everything readers have come to expect from this Lee Siegel: a tender, witty, and salacious picaresque of sorts that falls somewhere between Don Quixote, Don Juan, and in a perverse sort of way, Don DeLillo in its evocation of empire’s twilight, the lure of the libertine, and one hopeless romantic’s eternal . . .

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Press Release: Kusch, Battleground Chicago

April 24, 2008
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Press Release: Kusch, Battleground Chicago

2008 marks the fortieth anniversary of a black mark on American history: the 1968 Democratic Convention and its notorious example of police brutality against demonstrators. The provocative Battleground Chicago offers a new perspective on this tragic event by revealing how-and why-the police attacked antiwar activists at the convention. Working from interviews with eighty former Chicago police officers who were on the scene, Frank Kusch uncovers the other side of the story of ’68, deepening our understanding of a turbulent decade.

Read the press release.

Also read an excerpt.

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The business of books in the digital age

April 23, 2008
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The business of books in the digital age

Along with nearly every other facet of life, in the last decade the digital revolution has transformed the book publishing industry. As North America’s largest university press, Chicago has been one of the leaders in advancing the use of digital technology in publishing—a fact acknowledged in the cover story of this month’s Book Business magazine. Touching on everything from our short-run digital printing program, to the digital publishing services offered by BiblioVault, our digital content repository, Book Business‘s James Sturdivant talks to UCP director Garrett Kiely and Chicago Digital Distribution Center manager Jeanne Weinkle to learn how Chicago has extended its digital publishing initiatives into the twenty-first century. James Sturdivant writes for Book Business:

Garrett Kiely a 20-year industry veteran who came on as the UCP’s 15th director in September 2007. Kiely arrived after an eight-year stint as president of Palgrave Macmillan, where he oversaw e-book conversion projects and other pioneering digital initiatives for a division focused on scholarly and reference titles.

Such experience is crucial to the press’s innovative strategy for content distribution. The press offers print-on-demand and digital distribution to a range of academic publishers through its Chicago Distribution Services, positioning itself as the entity best able . . .

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Press Release: Bloomfield, The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science

April 23, 2008
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Press Release: Bloomfield, The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science

Last year’s report from the National Science Foundation dolefully confirmed what many researchers have suspected for years: while the number of PhD graduates in the sciences continues to increase, tenure-track positions have remained static since the early 1980s. And after spending years in the post-doc trenches, this glut of PhDs is enough to make many would-be scientists wonder about their next steps.

As the founders of their university’s first office for postdoctoral affairs, Victor A. Bloomfield and Esam E. El-Fakahany have first-hand experience with the challenges young scientists face. Together, they’ve mentored thousands of students, and now they’ve combined that experience in teaching, counseling, and research to create The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science. From preparing a CV and resume, to writing grants and scientific papers, to networking with fellow scientists, The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science truly is a “toolkit” for aspiring scientists—helping them not just cope but excel at this critical phase in their careers.

Read the press release.

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