Press Releases

Press release: Johnson, The Lavender Scare

April 28, 2006
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Press release: Johnson, The Lavender Scare

From 1950 to 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy and his infamous list of "Reds" were at the center of every major congressional debate. These days, most Americans know that hundreds of government employees faced professional and personal devastation as a result of his rampant accusations. But few of us know of the lavender scare that McCarthy’s charges also engendered—a witch hunt against "sex perverts" who had apparently infiltrated government agencies. The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government traces the origins of contemporary sexual politics to this Cold War hysteria.… Read the press release. Read an interview with the author. . . .

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Press release: Adamczyk, When God Looked the Other Way

April 27, 2006
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Press release: Adamczyk, When God Looked the Other Way

A memoir of a childhood spent in unspeakable circumstances, When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption illuminates one of the darkest periods of European history—the Soviet Union’s quiet yet brutal campaign against Polish citizens during World War II. Wesley Adamczyk’s gripping memoir now gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Press release: Lanham, Economics of Attention

April 27, 2006
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Press release: Lanham, Economics of Attention

Economics, as you may remember from ECON 101, is about the allocation of scare resources. There is an irony, therefore, to the overused phrase information economy, because information is hardly in short supply. From Google to Wikipedia to the dramatic rise of the blogosphere, we’re not lacking information, we’re drowning in it. What’s really scarce in our age of information is the attention necessary to make sense of it all. Enter Richard Lanham, author of the critically acclaimed The Electronic Word, a 1993 New York Times notable book of the year that was prescient in the way it forecasted our epochal move from page to screen and the profound effects of the Internet on the way we read, write, and communicate to one another. According to Lanham, in order to understand our latest regime, we need to think of it as an economics of attention—one in which the essential commodities of our time are no longer things or stuff, but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media. With all the verve and erudition of Lanham’s earlier work, The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information tackles . . .

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Press release: Wright, Financial Founding Fathers

April 26, 2006
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Press release: Wright, Financial Founding Fathers

When you think of the founding fathers, you think of men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—exceptional minds and matchless statesmen who led the colonies to a seemingly impossible victory over the British and established the constitutional and legal framework for our democratic government. But the American Revolution was about far more than freedom and liberty. It was about economics as well. In Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich, Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen chronicle how a different group of founding fathers forged the wealth and institutions necessary to transform the American colonies from a diffuse alliance of contending business interests into one cohesive economic superpower. From Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Jackson, the authors focus on the lives of nine Americans in particular—some famous, some unknown, others misunderstood, but all among our nation’s financial founding fathers.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Press release: Miller, Reluctant Capitalists

April 26, 2006
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Press release: Miller, Reluctant Capitalists

In a time when the arrival of yet another Starbucks, Best Buy, or Borders to a neighborhood is viewed as routine, the presence of the chain bookstores is still challenged by a formidable contingent of book buyers who consider the association between books and mass consumerism as crass. In Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption, Laura J. Miller explores what it is about books that elicit such passions in consumers, and why the business of selling books is viewed with such skepticism by book lovers.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

April 25, 2006
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Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

The author of The American Political Tradition and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Richard Hofstadter was one of the most celebrated and respected historians of twentieth-century America—and certainly one of its most influential public intellectuals. His championing of the liberal politics that came out of the New Deal, his fierce opposition to McCarthyism and then the acolytes of Barry Goldwater, and the many ideas that he introduced to our nation’s political conversation shaped not only the way we think of the historian’s role in civic life, but steered the direction of American politics as well. Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography explores Hofstadter’s remarkable life story in the context of the rise and fall of American liberalism.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Press release: Leon R. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom

March 30, 2006
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Press release: Leon R. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom

Examining Genesis in a philosophical light, Kass presents it not as a story of what happened long ago, but as the enduring story of humanity itself. He asserts that the first half of Genesis contains insights about human nature that "rival anything produced by the great philosophers." Kass here reads these first stories—from Adam and Eve to the tower of Babel—as a mirror for self-discovery that reveals truths about human reason, speech, freedom, sexual desire, pride, shame, anger, and death. Taking a step further in the second half of his book, Kass explores the struggles in Genesis to launch a new way of life that addresses mankind’s morally ambiguous nature by promoting righteousness and holiness.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Press release: Lawrence Weschler, A Wanderer in the Perfect City

March 28, 2006
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Press release: Lawrence Weschler, A Wanderer in the Perfect City

"There is something both marvelous and hilarious," writes Lawrence Weschler, "in watching the humdrum suddenly take flight. This is, in part, a collection of such launchings." Indeed, the eight essays collected in A Wanderer in the Perfect City do soar into the realm of passion as Weschler profiles people who "were just moseying down the street one day, minding their own business, when suddenly and almost spontaneously, they caught fire, they became obsessed, they became intensely focused and intensely alive." With keen observations and graceful prose, Weschler carries us along as a teacher of rudimentary English from India decides that his destiny is to promote the paintings of an obscure American abstract expressionist; a gifted poker player invents a more exciting version of chess; an avant-garde Russian émigré conductor speaks Latin, exclusively, to his infant daughter; and Art Spiegelman composes Maus. But simple summaries can’t do these stories justice: like music, they derive their character from digressions and details, cadence and tone. And like the upwelling of passion Weschler’s characters feel, they are better experienced than explained.… Read the press release. . . .

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Press release: Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, The Politics of Small Things

March 27, 2006
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Press release: Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, The Politics of Small Things

Entering the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primary, Howard Dean’s candidacy figured to be a brief one. For one, Dean had zero experience in national politics and emerged, at least politically-speaking, from a relatively inconsequential state. Worse, he was viewed as an outsider by major donors to the party, all but ensuring that his would be a minimally funded venture. Yet, powered by grassroots Internet initiatives like MoveOn.org and Meetup.com, Dean, in a remarkably short period of time, would not only generate an unprecedented amount of campaign donations, but emerge as the party’s frontrunner. Given what we thought we knew about presidential politics, Dean’s ascent as a viable candidate was not only improbable, but also revelatory and inspiring. How did this rapid accumulation of political momentum occur? For Jeffrey Goldfarb, the secret to the Dean campaign was its recognition of power latent in the "politics of small things"—the human interactions that take place within our homes, workplaces, schools, churches, and elsewhere in our everyday lives.… Read the press release. . . .

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Press release: Michele de La Pradelle, Market Day in Provence

March 23, 2006
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Press release: Michele de La Pradelle, Market Day in Provence

An institution as old as time, the outdoor farmers’ market has experienced a renaissance in recent decades as consumers have sought an alternative to chain supermarkets and pre-packaged goods. For patrons of these street markets, the tomatoes are always redder, the lettuce greener, the melons larger, and the meat and fish more fresh. But are they? In Market Day in Provence, the late Michèle de La Pradelle (1944-2004) lifts the curtain behind the traditional farmers’ market once and for all in her award-winning study of the street market of Carpentras, France One of the oldest and most celebrated markets, Carpentras is the model for its more modern cousins. But they are all alike, according to de La Pradelle, in that above all else, money rules. On any Friday, several hours before dawn, trucks file in along the cobblestone streets of the city bearing goods not brought in from farmers but from wholesalers—many of whom supply the superstore chains surrounding the city. The vast majority of produce, meats, dairy products, and fruit here is of the same quality and price as elsewhere in the city. But the products at the market appear different, even fresher—a tribute to the market’s spectacle of . . .

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