Monthly Archives: September 2008

Seminary Co-op launches blog featuring UCP authors and editors

September 22, 2008
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Seminary Co-op launches blog featuring UCP authors and editors

Our friends at the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, 57th Street Books, and the Newberry Library Bookstore have launched an exciting new blog, The Front Table, and have already featured two University of Chicago Press personalities! Steve Tomasula, author of VAS: An Opera in Flatland, offers a reading list that includes our own Girly Man by L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poet-extraordinaire Charles Bernstein. And UCP assistant editor Rodney Powell contributes an essay on the making of Roger Ebert’s new book, Scorsese by Ebert. It’s a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes and a true testament to the labor of love that produced the book. . . .

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The Parker novels in Time Out Chicago

September 22, 2008
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The Parker novels in Time Out Chicago

This week’s edition of Time Out Chicago features a great story on the press’s re-publication of the Parker novels—a series of crime novels by Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark) that follow the exploits of a master thief known only as Parker. Jonathan Messinger talked to the press’s publicity manager, Levi Stahl, and Maggie Hivnor, the press’s reprints editor, about why they decided to get Stark’s classics back in print: Over the more than 40 years that Richard Stark has been writing his Parker noir novels, heavyweights have lined up to praise his work: Booker-winner John Banville called the books “among the most poised and polished fictions… of any time,” and Guggenheim fellow Luc Sante called them “a brilliant invention.” And yet, if you wanted to quantify how much these champions have done for their pet cause, neither of them would stack up to someone you’ve likely never heard of: Levi Stahl, publicity manager at the University of Chicago Press. Stahl, a rabid mystery fan, had read praise of the Parker novels but only recently decided to check them out.… “Last fall, I tried one,” he says. “They’re like candy. I read one, and suddenly I’m reading a dozen. I read . . .

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The power of a few plain jottings

September 19, 2008
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The power of a few plain jottings

A few days ago the New York Sun‘s staff reporter Adam Kirsch reviewed The Terezín Album of Mariánka Zadikow: The book itself could not be more ordinary: It is a high-quality facsimile, with translations, of an autograph album belonging to a teenage girl. As usual with such albums, it is full of her friends’ signatures and messages, along with the occasional poem or drawing. For page after page, reading it is just like reading a high school yearbook: “All the very best for the future, little cousin!” writes Marianka’s cousin Lotte; “Marianka! Should you be bored, remember your colleague,” writes Regina; “I wish you lots of happiness, Marianka!” writes Hana. What makes all this ordinariness so gripping is the fact that this particular album was kept by a Jewish prisoner in the Nazi camp at Terezin, known in German as Theresienstadt.… In these lines, you can already see the principle that writers like Primo Levi would establish as the cardinal rule of writing about the Holocaust. Only directness and simplicity are eloquent in this context; the more “impressive” the language, the less of an impression it makes. Read the full review on the New York Sun website. . . .

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Press Release: Falconieri, The Man Who Believed He Was King of France

September 18, 2008
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Press Release: Falconieri, The Man Who Believed He Was King of France

Replete with shady merchants, scoundrels, hungry mercenaries, scheming nobles, and maneuvering cardinals, The Man Who Believed He Was King of France proves the adage that truth is often stranger than fiction—or at least as entertaining. Cast against the divisive backdrop of the Hundred Years’ War, this book retraces the steps of Giannino di Guccio, the alleged lost heir to Louis X, who was reportedly switched at birth with the son of a Tuscan merchant. Once convinced of his birthright, Giannino claims for himself the name Jean I, king of France, and sets out on a brave—if ultimately ruinous—quest that leads him across Europe to prove his identity. From Italy to Hungry, then through Germany and France, the would-be king’s unique combination of guile and earnestness seems to command the aid of lords and soldiers, the indulgence of inn-keepers and merchants, and the collusion of priests and rogues along the way. With the skill of a crime scene detective, Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri digs up evidence in the historical record to follow the story of a life so incredible that it was long considered a literary invention of the Italian Renaissance. Read the press release. . . .

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Will Palin ride press deference to the White House?

September 18, 2008
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Will Palin ride press deference to the White House?

Regina G. Lawrence is a coauthor of When the Press Fails and, with Melody Rose, of the forthcoming Playing the Gender Card? Media, Strategy, and Hillary Clinton’s Run for the White House (Lynne Reinner Publishers). As such, she has deeper insight than most into the renewed prominence of gender issues in press coverage of the ongoing presidential campaign: Roughly two weeks after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was named as Senator John McCain’s running mate, McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis announced on Fox News that Palin would not interact with reporters “until the point in time when she’ll be treated with respect and deference.” Apparently, the McCain campaign is hoping that the new addition to the Republican ticket will get the same kind of media treatment that George W. Bush received in the early years of his presidency—particularly concerning his war agenda. As we document in When the Press Fails, the national media mostly tip-toed around the inconsistencies and holes in the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq (among other issues), unintentionally abetting the administration’s rush to war. . . .

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Allan Meltzer on the bailout

September 18, 2008
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Allan Meltzer on the bailout

Allan H. Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University professor of political economy and the author of several books on monetary policy and economic history, including his multi-volume A History of the Federal Reserve, was interviewed yesterday on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. In the interview Meltzer discusses the Fed’s recent decision to bailout the failing insurance giant AIG, and “what the tumultuous week on Wall Street means for the country’s financial health.” Download the archived video at the News Hour website. The next volume of Meltzer’s award-winning history of the Federal Reserve will be published next fall. Volume 1 appeared in 2003. . . .

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Tim and Tom’s Chicago homecoming

September 17, 2008
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Tim and Tom’s Chicago homecoming

Monday night at Gibsons Steakhouse, Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen kicked off a whirlwind week of publicity in the town that gave them their start. As a bevy of Chicago notables—including Mayor Richard M. Daley, actor Dennis Farina, restaurateur Richard Melman, and Chicago Bears Tom Thayer and Tim Wrightman—looked on, Tim and Tom recounted performing at Mr. Kelly’s, the legendary Chicago nightclub that occupied the spot on Rush Street where Gibsons now stands. Taking turns on the mic, they told of the surprise and anger they encountered from audiences in their early days as a duo; the long, hard road they followed to eventual success as solo performers; and the unbreakable bond they forged in their years as a team. To cheers, toasts—and, of course, laughter—Chicago welcomed Tim and Tom home. (For more about the party check out the latest posting on the official Tim and Tom blog.) Yesterday during morning drivetime, Tim and Tom were interviewed on WGN Radio’s Spike O’Dell Show. Both audio and video are available for that interview. In last Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times, reporter Mike Thomas delivered a nice synopsis of the duo’s groundbreaking career. Nodding to a few other Chicago celebrities, Thomas writes that Tim . . .

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The Frontier of High Energy Particle Physics

September 17, 2008
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The Frontier of High Energy Particle Physics

Since the successful launch of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN last week, all eyes have been on Switzerland. But closer to home, Fermilab, in Batavia, Illinois, houses the Tevatron, a landmark particle accelerator. In anticipation of the publication this fall of the definitive history of the laboratory, Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience, we asked Lillian Hoddeson, Adrienne W. Kolb, and Catherine Westfall to reflect on what the LHC means for Fermilab and for the future of physics: Congratulations to CERN for the successful launch of the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider, the latest excursion into the frontier of high energy particle physics! For more than 25 years the energy frontier machine has been Fermilab’s Tevatron, the 1983 superconducting extension of the 1972 Main Ring. Now the LHC will be the machine at the energy frontier. The LHC will enable high energy physicists from around the world to explore deeper into the unknown frontiers of the universe. While the times and technology are vastly different in 2008, much of the same excitement and drama of the turn on of CERN’s LHC was felt by physicists at the turn on of Fermilab’s Main Ring and the superconducting Energy Doubler/Saver, now . . .

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Press Release: Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen with Ron Rapoport, Tim and Tom

September 17, 2008
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Press Release: Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen with Ron Rapoport, Tim and Tom

Though the 2008 presidential election campaign serves to remind all of us that race remains a potent issue in American life, it’s important to realize just how far we’ve come as a nation in a few short decades. Back in the late 1960s, the riots and violence stemming from simmering racial inequities threatened to forever rend American society. And it was at that moment that two young men—one white, one black—took to stages across the country and helped America confront its racial divide … by laughing at it. The story of America’s first and only interracial comedy team, Tim and Tom presents that turbulent era through the eyes of Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen, two young men who trekked from nightclub to nightclub just looking for a laugh—and hoping to make it big. As they delivered frank (and funny) jokes about race, they met with skepticism, resistance, and even violence, and though they won over audiences night after night, they eventually came to realize that they were simply ahead of their time. An unforgettable mix of showbiz and social change, humor and history, Tim and Tom resurrects a lost chapter in American comedy. Read the press release. Also read an . . .

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Books for tough financial times

September 16, 2008
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Books for tough financial times

Those charged with trying to stabilize markets in the wake of the stock market’s worst daily loss in seven years might do well to take a look at The Risks of Financial Institutions, a National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report that examines the various risks affecting financial institutions and explores a variety of methods to help institutions and regulators more accurately measure and forecast risk. Meanwhile, for those wondering what these turbulent times mean for workers, their jobs, and their companies, this excerpt from Economic Turbulence: Is a Volatile Economy Good for America? could help to make sense of an economy in constant flux; in which, every day, a business shuts down while another starts up, jobs are created while others are cut, and workers are hired while others are laid off. History, too, in the insightful hands of Mary Poovey, can provide some valuable and timely perspective on how participating in this economy—by banking, borrowing, investing, and even losing money—became a set of routine, everyday activities in the first place. And if, in the end, you’re more in the mood for an economic perspective that that offers some cause for hope, you might consider the findings of another . . .

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