Press Releases

Press Release: Ekeland, The Best of All Possible Worlds

October 16, 2006
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Press Release: Ekeland, The Best of All Possible Worlds

Leading readers on a journey through scientific attempts to envision the best of all possible worlds, from Galileo to superstring theory, Ekeland explores the legacy of the theory of optimization—first proposed by French physicist Maupertius and later expanded on and revised by Leibniz—which holds that any system will always operate in the most efficient means possible. Here Ekeland—an able and masterly distiller of complex mathematics—traces the history of this profound idea and its influence on centuries of intellectual advances, from Bentham’s utilitarianism and Darwin’s natural selection to Einstein’s theory of relativity and John Nash’s game theory. The result is a dazzling display of erudition—The Best of All Possible Worlds will be essential reading for popular science buffs and historians of science alike. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Lewis, Cracking Up

September 25, 2006
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Press Release: Lewis, Cracking Up

Listen to Stephen Colbert’s controversial performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or take a look at recent Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, and you’ll see that humor has become much more than a laughing matter. In fact, as Paul Lewis argues in Cracking Up, American humor has grown ever more purposeful and embattled over the past thirty years. Covering topics that range from the revealing jokes of Jon Stewart to the deceiving one-liners of George W. Bush, and from the tongue-in-cheek sadism of Hanibal Lecter to the gentle humor of hospital clowns, Lewis shows that this purposeful comedy is both good and bad for Americans. In a culture that both enjoys and quarrels about jokes, it expresses our most nurturing and hurtful impulses, informs and misinforms us, and exposes as well as covers up the shortcomings of our leaders. In short, humor is delightful, relaxing, and distracting—and that’s precisely why we must recognize that by freeing us from the constraints of logic and the restraints of conscience, jokes and jokers can do real harm. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

September 25, 2006
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Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City is the first book to fully explore Burnham’s Plan, the defining document of American urban planning. As Smith relates, Burnham and his coauthor, Edward Bennett, were careful to leave no part of the city untouched. The Plan of Chicago called for an extensive greenbelt around Lake Michigan, recreational parks throughout the city’s limits, a streamlined transportation system, and cultural amenities like the Field Museum of Natural History. Streets were widened, bridges constructed, and even the Chicago River itself was straightened. Smith takes a closer look at Burnham as well as his contemporaries at the Commercial Club of Chicago, showing how their influence shaped the city itself. The Plan, Smith reveals, embodied their belief in the humanizing—or dehumanizing—effects of one’s environment. And at a time when everything essentially “American” was changing, The Plan suggested that human will could, in fact, change history. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Nelson, Economics for Humans

September 22, 2006
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Press Release: Nelson, Economics for Humans

The essence of economics is to provide goods and services for human well-being and survival. Yet, many see it as something less altruistic: a cold, heartless machine. Given that we govern our economic world, is it possible to imbue it with a heart and a soul? In short, can we make economics more human? In Economics for Humans, Julie A. Nelson discredits the deeply-embedded idea that our economic world should somehow be separate from our concerns for ethics and personal relationships. The major obstacle to a more considerate, equitable, and, indeed, more productive economic world, she argues, can be found in the prevailing notion of the economy as a machine. This idea, first popularized by Adam Smith, has blinded us to the qualities that make us work and care for one another—qualities that also make businesses thrive and grow. We can wed our desire for profits with our justifiable concerns for the environment and general social welfare. But we can only do so if we begin to think of economics not as a robot-like machine, but a living, beating heart that keeps the body running, while serving as an emblem of compassion and care. Read the press release. Read an . . .

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Press Release: Page, The Foreign Policy Disconnect

September 21, 2006
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Press Release: Page, The Foreign Policy Disconnect

American foreign policy profoundly affects the world’s most pressing issues. But as Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton forcefully argue, our government’s foreign policies are not affected enough by American public opinion, which is much more sensible than conventional wisdom suggests. With midterm elections fast approaching and international events setting the tone for this fall’s most important political races, The Foreign Policy Disconnect: What Americans Want from Our Leaders but Don’t Get couldn’t have arrived at a better time to support with hard evidence its contention that our leaders should finally give the American people what we’ve long wanted: a more balanced, consistent, and democratic approach to foreign policy. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Lipson, Cite Right

September 20, 2006
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Press Release: Lipson, Cite Right

Charles Lipson demystifies the process of preparing citations in research writing in his latest book, Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. With the humorous, no-nonsense approach he is known for, Lipson offers sound advice for citing in every major style, including Chicago; MLA; APA; CSE (biological sciences); AMA (medical sciences); ACS (chemistry, mathematics, and computer science); physics, astrophysics, and astronomy; Bluebook and ALWD (law); and AAA (anthropology and ethnography). Using simple, easy-to-understand examples from a wide range of courses in the arts, law, and medicine, Cite Right offers an unparalleled range of information on how—and why—it’s so important to cite correctly. At $10 in paperback, no student or researcher can afford to write without it. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Brown, Economic Turbulence

September 12, 2006
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Press Release: Brown, Economic Turbulence

National economies are naturally turbulent and ours is no exception. On any given day, companies come and go and jobs are lost and created. But it’s the lost jobs that create a buzz. Evening news reports from folks like Lou Dobbs and others routinely paint a gloomy picture of lost “good” jobs and a middle class shrinking in size and fortune. But, according to three leading labor economists, volatility may not necessarily be a bad thing. Julia Lane, John Haltiwanger, and Clair Brown set out on a rigorous research project to find out what the true effect of all this turbulence is on American jobs and firms. Their conclusions, presented here in Economic Turbulence, will astound many of those who have grown accustomed to the popular view that this cycle of creation and destruction is harmful to the economy. Read the press release. Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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Press Release: Scientific American, Evolution

September 5, 2006
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Press Release: Scientific American, Evolution

Drawing from the pages of Scientific American—one of the most respected science magazines in the world—Evolution contains more than thirty articles written by some of the world’s most respected evolutionary scientists. An accessible and timely collection of the most exciting research and thinking on evolution in the past ten years, the book is organized into four sections—the universe, cells, dinosaurs, and humans—with articles, reproduced here in their entirety, that shed light on topics such as the search for life in our solar system and cybernetic cells to the evolution of feathers and the design of the human body and whether it was meant to last. In all, Evolution will be a reference for any reader curious about what’s motivating the science of evolution at present—and where it’s likely to go from here. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Bernstein, Girly Man

September 3, 2006
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Press Release: Bernstein, Girly Man

“Cofounder of the journal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, from which language poetry takes its name, as well as the online poetics list and the audio poetry archive PENNsound, Bernstein is also a prolific critic and a consummate poet, as he shows again in this collection of seven discrete chapbooklike works. After the invocational four-poem opening of ‘Let’s Just Say,’ the book moves to ‘Some of These Daze,’ Bernstein’s prose dispatches in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and on to the acerbic intimacies of ‘World on Fire,’ which critiques clichés like ‘what are we fighting for?’ ‘In Parts’ takes up the serial form Bernstein perfected in the classic Islets/ Irritations (1983) to examine the pieces of ‘a world in which there are no narratives in which to believe// simultaneous double negative// flop flip.’ A fascination with the sloganlike rhetoric of Tin Pan Alley runs through the collection, culminating in the title poem: ‘So be a girly man/ & sing this gurly song/ Sissies & proud/ That we would never lie our way to war.’”—Publishers Weekly Read the press release. “Report from Liberty Street,” one of the prose pieces included in the section “Some of These Daze,” was originally published on the UCP Web site . . .

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Press Release: Kercher, Revel with a Cause

August 27, 2006
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Press Release: Kercher, Revel with a Cause

Revel with a Cause is the first comprehensive history of the satiric humor that flourished during the postwar era—an era that greatly resembles our own politically conservative times. Much like the War on Terror, the Cold War and the fears and anxieties it inspired were used to justify a crackdown on political dissent under the guise of patriotism. But, as Kercher here shows, an impressive range of creative humorists—from incisive cartoonists like Walt Kelly to outragous rebels like Lenny Bruce—responded with defiant wit. These non-conformisats were a crucial voice of criticism and dissent, attacking the supression of civil liberties, Cold War foreign policy, a seething racial crisis, and stifiling social conformity. Revel with a Cause will be indispensible to anyone fascinated by the intersection of popular culture and politics—or anyone who simply wants to relish some great American humor. Read the press release. Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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