Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion on WGN’s Extension 720

November 30, 2009
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The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion on WGN’s Extension 720

WGN’s Milton J. Rosenberg recently invited several guests on his radio talk show Extension 720 to discuss the press’s recent publication of The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion—the definitive reference book for parents, social workers, researchers, educators, and others who work with children.

Listen in as editor-in-chief Richard A. Shweder, contributor Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon, and house editor Mary Laur, talk about their new book and field questions from callers on the WGN Extension 720 website.

Bringing together contemporary research on children and childhood from pediatrics, child psychology, childhood studies, education, sociology, history, law, anthropology, and other related areas, The Child contains more than 500 articles—all written by experts in their fields and overseen by a panel of distinguished editors led by anthropologist Richard A. Shweder—each providing a concise and accessible synopsis of the topic at hand. In addition to these topical essays, The Child also contains more than forty “Imagining Each Other” essays, which focus on the particular experiences of children in different cultures. Compiled by some of the most distinguished child development researchers in the world, The Child is an essential addition to the current knowledge on children and childhood.

To find out more navigate to this special website for . . .

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The Great Plains radical? Who knew?

November 24, 2009
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The Great Plains radical? Who knew?

The Huffington Post‘s Julia Moulden has written an article listing her top 10 gift suggestions for “new radicals”—a group she describes as “people who are putting the skills they acquired in their careers to work on the world’s greatest challenges.” (For a better definition one can consult the book she’s written on the subject.) Her list includes eco-friendly tableware, interfaith music for peace in the middle east, solar powered DIY robot kits as well as Michael Forsberg’s new book, Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild—perhaps not quite as radical as a new lamp made by the Wai Wai weavers of Guyana but nonetheless a book for which Moulden reserves quite a bit of praise. Moulden writes:

Award-winning photographer Michael Forsberg believes that we can save the Great Plains—the grasslands that stretch across western North America, second only to the Serengeti in size. His new book, America’s Lingering Wild, the most gorgeous coffee table book to come along in years, spells out what’s wrong and what we can do. Many of the stories in the book were written by Dan O’Brien, author of a number of books about the region.

You can see all ten of Moulden ‘s “New Radical Gifts” . . .

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The Great Chicago Book Sale

November 23, 2009
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The Great Chicago Book Sale

Attention all holiday shoppers, our annual sale catalog—featuring hundreds of general interest, scholarly, and award-winning books at up to 85% off—can now be accessed online. To take advantage of the discounts, browse our online catalog to find the book you want, and then use the promo code AD9256 when you check out through our secure shopping cart. (You can find more detailed instructions on our website.)

To get you started, here’s a list of some of our staff picks for some great savings on gift books this holiday season:

During the Renaissance, the Italian city of Urbino rivaled Florence and Siena as a center of art, culture, and commerce. Chances are you’ve never heard of it—but you should have. Raphael was born there. Piero della Francesca painted his famous The Flagellation there. And the city’s exquisite Ducal Palace, its twin towers piercing the sky, remains a striking monument to grace and power. Yet despite all its past glory and present charm, Urbino is practically unknown to tourists today.

With Urbino: The Story of a Renaissance City, art historian June Osborne brings to life not only the great city and its art, but also its turbulent history. With . . .

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Derrida goes rogue in our Quote of the Week

November 20, 2009
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Derrida goes rogue in our Quote of the Week

“The ‘rogue’, be it to do with elephant, tiger, lion, or hippopotamus, is the individual who does not even respect the law of the animal community, of the pack, the horde, of its kind. By its savage or indocile behavior, it stays or goes away from the society to which it belongs.”

—Jacques Derrida, from The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I translated by Geoffrey Bennington. The book launches a new series, edited by Geoffrey Bennington and Peggy Kamuf, of Derrida’s unpublished lectures. In The Beast and the Sovereign, Derrida deconstructs the traditional determinations of the human through an examination of the persistent association of bestiality or animality with sovereignty in western literature.

Jacques Derrida (1930—2004) was director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine.

. . .

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Wannabe U vs. Saving Alma Mater: Part II

November 19, 2009
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Wannabe U vs. Saving Alma Mater: Part II

This fall, the Press published two books on the current state of the American university. Gaye Tuchman’s Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University is an eye-opening exposé of the modern university that argues that higher education’s misguided pursuit of success fails us all. James C. Garland’s Saving Alma Mater: A Rescue Plan for America’s Public Universities, on the other hand, argues that a new compact between state government and public universities is needed to make schools more affordable and financially secure.

We asked these scholars debate the current state and future of American universities. Tuchman and Garland don’t agree on much, but their conversation sheds new light on the many problems and promises of the higher education system in this country. Yesterday, Tuchman began by responding to Garland’s review of her book. Today, Garland picks back up the debate on the subject of funding.

From: James C. Garland

To: Gaye Tuchman

The trouble with talking about markets is that the word itself has become so loaded. To conservatives, “markets” are the way to fight socialism and Big Government, while to liberals, they symbolize income inequality and runaway corporate malfeasance. Of course, markets are intrinsically neither good nor . . .

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Wannabe U vs. Saving Alma Mater: Part I

November 18, 2009
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Wannabe U vs. Saving Alma Mater: Part I

This fall, the Press published two books on the current state of the American university. Gaye Tuchman’s Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University is an eye-opening exposé of the modern university that argues that higher education’s misguided pursuit of success fails us all. James C. Garland’s Saving Alma Mater: A Rescue Plan for America’s Public Universities, on the other hand, argues that a new compact between state government and public universities is needed to make schools more affordable and financially secure.

Last month, Garland reviewed Tuchman’s book on his blog. We asked Tuchman to respond to Garland, and what follows is a long conversation about the current state and future of American universities. Tuchman and Garland don’t agree on much, but their debate sheds new light on the many problems and promises of the higher education system in this country. What follows is the first half of the exchange. The conclusion will be posted tomorrow.

From: Gaye Tuchman

To: James C. Garland

I read your comments on my book with amusement and despair. Sometimes the same passage prompted both feelings. So, I wind up amused that a bright fellow like you did not understand that I was . . .

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A history of preservation

November 18, 2009
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A history of preservation

While we might take for granted the notion that animal species can become extinct—and that, occasionally, humans are the direct cause—among the early pioneers of natural science, the idea that any link in the great chain of being could be broken took a while to sink in. As the Washington Times‘ Claire Hopley notes in a recent review of Mark V. Barrow Jr.’s Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction From the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology:

18th- and early-19th-century scientists and thinkers believed that the world was created with a complete inventory of humans, animals, birds and vegetation, forming a chain of being.

The idea that a link in this chain could disappear undermined this fundamental concept. As Jefferson wrote, “Such is the economy of nature, that no instance can be produced of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken.” He put the mammoth first in his list of American mammals because he expected that a living example would be discovered as explorers moved westward and encountered wildlife unknown in the east.

The existence of uncharted territories, . . .

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Lose your academic innocence early

November 17, 2009
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Lose your academic innocence early

Like other recent analyses of academic careers, Joseph Hermanowicz’s Lives in Science: How Institutions Affect Academic Careers delivers some rather brutal news for all those wanna-be tenure track professors out there hoping to leave their mark on their discipline—it probably ain’t gonna happen. As Beryl Lieff Benderly writes in a recent review of Hermanowicz’s book for Science Career Magazine:

Many aspirants to research careers lack an accurate idea of where they’re headed. In fact, Hermanowicz writes, accepting an unrealistically rosy image of one’s future is a basic step on the road to becoming an academic scientist.

That image traditionally includes a pantheon of the greats of one’s discipline, faith in the high intrinsic value of research, and belief that recognition by the scientific community is a valid measure of worth. This image also implies that, with talent and dedication, any young scientist has a chance of making a distinguished contribution.… as the great majority of faculty members learn … the opportunity to do important science and gain major recognition only ever exists for a relative few—overwhelmingly those educated and employed at the most prestigious universities.

Yet, as Benderly points out, this certainly isn’t the most surprising revelation Hermanowicz . . .

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The birth of environmentalism in the Lake District

November 16, 2009
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The birth of environmentalism in the Lake District

Seemingly but one of the many placid bodies of water carved out of the glaciated rock that inhabits the heart of England’s Lake District, the man-made Thirlmere—which since the late nineteenth century has been supplying water to the city of Manchester more than 160 km away—was once the focus of one of the first conflicts pitting industrial progress against a burgeoning conservation movement. In her new book, The Dawn of Green: Manchester, Thirlmere, and Modern Environmentalism, Harriet Ritvo offers the fascinating tale of Thirlmere’s construction and the struggles to stop it, all while delivering an insightful analysis of how this conflict can inform modern environmental and conservation campaigns.

In a recent review of the book for The Independent, Emma Townshend writes:

Ritvo’s account of this confrontation between industrial commerce and early environmentalism is clear and utterly readable. Thirlmere was the first modern conflict between these two camps, so difficult to reconcile. Ideas about natural beauty versus the need for modern utilities were discussed here in detail for the first time. But the consequent history of big-dam making has proved equally controversial—such as at Hetch Hetchy in the US, a parallel turn of the century project to bring water supplies . . .

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Soldier Field and its city

November 13, 2009
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Soldier Field and its city

On Wednesday, the U.S .observed Veterans Day, honoring the men and women who have fought for our country. On Thursday, Liam Ford stopped by the WGN studios to discuss a Chicago monument that serves as a memorial to American soldiers who have perished in war.

Soldier Field, as sports fans nationwide know, is the home of the Chicago Bears. For decades its signature columns provided an iconic backdrop for gridiron matches. But few realize that the stadium has been much more than that. Ford’s book Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City explores how this amphitheater evolved from a public war memorial into a majestic arena that helped define Chicago.

Chicago Tribune staff writer Ford led the reporting on the stadium’s controversial 2003 renovation—and simultaneously found himself unearthing a dramatic history. As he tells it, the tale of Soldier Field truly is the story of Chicago, filled with political intrigue and civic pride. Designed by Holabird and Roche, Soldier Field arose through a serendipitous combination of local tax dollars, City Beautiful boosterism, and the machinations of Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson. The result was a stadium that stood at the center of Chicago’s political, cultural, and sporting life for nearly sixty . . .

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