Press Releases

Press Release: Bass, Nature’s Great Events

May 18, 2009
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Press Release: Bass, Nature’s Great Events

In 2007, the landmark series Planet Earth made its American debut on the Discovery Channel, garnering massive critical acclaim and enthralling television audiences—and readers—nationwide. Featuring breathtaking sequences of predators and prey, lush vistas of forests from the tops of towering trees, and images of creatures from the ocean’s depths, Planet Earth brought unknown wonders from the natural world straight into our homes in high-def and forever changed the way we see the world. Enter the highly anticipated follow-up, Nature’s Most Amazing Events, which makes its television debut this spring along with its counterpart, Nature’s Great Events, the same documentary in illustrated book form. Exploring six of the most spectacular natural phenomena on our planet, this series and the book are epic in every sense, charting seasonal and annual events that transform entire ecosystems and the life experiences of the thousands of animals within them, from the largest mammals to the smallest microorganisms. Using groundbreaking filming techniques and state-of-the-art scientific and photographic technologies, Nature’s Great Events shows life in action and across the globe. The six events include the flooding of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, which turns sprawling swaths of desert into an elaborate maze of lagoons and swamps; the . . .

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Press Release: Bevington, This Wide and Universal Theater

May 15, 2009
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Press Release: Bevington, This Wide and Universal Theater

Now Available in Paperback— This Wide and Universal Theater explores how Shakespeare’s plays were produced both in his own time and in succeeding centuries. David Bevington brings Shakespeare’s original stagings to life, explaining how the Elizabethan playhouse conveyed a sense of place using minimal scenery, from the Forest of Arden in As You Like It to the tavern in Henry IV, Part I. Moving beyond Shakespeare’s lifetime, Bevington shows the lengths to which eighteenth- and nineteenth-century companies went to produce spectacular effects. To bring the book into the present, Bevington considers recent productions on both stage and screen, when character and language have taken precedence over spectacle. This volume brings a lifetime of study to bear on a remarkably underappreciated aspect of Shakespeare’s art. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Shane, Madison’s Nightmare

May 14, 2009
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Press Release: Shane, Madison’s Nightmare

Though he campaigned on a theme of change, in his first months in office, Barack Obama has already asserted inherent presidential power in ways reminiscent of his Republican predecessors. While abandoning some of the Bush Administration’s more audacious claims, President Obama has asserted the state secrets privilege in national security litigation, resisted judicial review of enemy combatant detention in Afghanistan, issued signing statements suggesting constitutional reservations about bills he has signed into law, and pursued the Bush Administration’s Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, even though it was never approved by Congress. With Madison’s Nightmare, Peter Shane shows how ambitious assertions of presidential power are the logical outcome of a decades-long trend that has seen presidents of both parties have waged an assault on the basic checks and balances of the U.S. government. Starting with Reagan and the elder Bush, continuing under Clinton, and culminating most spectacularly under the recent Bush administration, this “aggressive presidentialism” has diminished the role of the other branches of government and led to ideological, inappropriate, and sometimes downright illegal actions. If we want our government to work as the Founders intended, simply electing a new president is not enough: both liberals and conservatives must launch . . .

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Press Release: Heap, Slumming

May 14, 2009
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Press Release: Heap, Slumming

Greenwich Village. Harlem. Bronzeville. Even in this freewheeling, globalized age, the names of these iconic neighborhoods still conjure up an atmosphere of glamour, excitement, and illicit thrills. But long before today’s teens or even yesterday’s beatniks wandered their streets, these neighborhoods exercised a powerful attraction for upright members of the middle class looking for dissipation and disreputable fun. With Slumming, Chad Heap brings these early havens of hip to life, recreating the long-lost nightlife of early twentieth-century New York and Chicago. From jazz clubs and speakeasies to black-and-tan parties and cabarets, Heap packs Slumming with vivid scenes, fascinating characters, and wild anecdotes of a late-night life on the borders of the forbidden. And while he doesn’t ignore the role of exploitation and voyeurism in slumming—or the resistance it often provoked—he argues that the relatively uninhibited mingling it promoted across bounds of race and class helped to dramatically recast the racial and sexual landscape of burgeoning U.S. cities. The unforgettable tale of an urban past that continues to resonate in our day, Slumming is a late-night treat for all urbanites and fans of the demi-monde. Read the press release or read the introduction. . . .

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Press Release: Brown, Beyond the Frontier

May 1, 2009
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Press Release: Brown, Beyond the Frontier

In 2006 David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter, a sweeping intellectual biography of a man and his era, was published to great acclaim— E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post called it “the most important political book of the year that’s not about politics”—and definitively established the continuing importance of Hofstadter’s work and his legacy as a leader of the Eastern intellectual establishment. With Beyond the Frontier: The Midwestern Voice in American Historical Writing, Brown returns with a collective biography of the prominent intellectuals—including William Appleman Williams, Charles Beard, and Christopher Lasch—who publicly opposed Hofstadter and the growing interventionist consensus he represented among America’s postwar elite. Troubled by the burgeoning military-industrial complex and what they saw as America’s reckless fomenting of the cold war, they argued strenuously for a different path: a return to an older American tradition of progressivism and reform. Only that way, they believed, could the individual freedom and self-sufficiency that historically had represented the heart of American democracy survive. And while America’s imperial ambitions clearly remain strong, Brown shows how these ideas remain potent today, animating the work of prominent figures like William Cronon and Thomas Frank. A fascinating follow-up to Richard Hofstadter, Beyond the Frontier draws . . .

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Press Release: Page and Jacobs, Class War?

April 28, 2009
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Press Release: Page and Jacobs, Class War?

“Some people are vengeful, calling for jail, public humiliation, or even revolution,” the New York Times reported in March, adding to innumerable accounts of outrage at the news that insurance giant A.I.G. planned to use millions of federal bailout dollars for employee bonuses. Punctuated by such anger, the economic crisis has shone a stark light on the growing chasm between America’s haves and have-nots. Striking a timely note of unity, Class War? reveals that both sides of this class divide actually agree to a surprising—and heartening—extent about what government should do to close it. In fact, Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs argue that at every income level and across geographical and ideological lines, most Americans favor public intervention to narrow the gap between rich and poor and create equal economic opportunities for all. Drawing on more than 70 years of opinion studies, they show that majorities support not only higher minimum wages, improved public education, and greater access to healthcare, but also the use of taxation to fund such programs. As lawmakers battle over how to heal our ailing economy, Class War? provides undeniable proof of the popular consensus their constituents have been building for decades: that our government must . . .

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Press Release: Burns, The Death of the American Trial

April 20, 2009
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Press Release: Burns, The Death of the American Trial

From the trial of O. J. Simpson to classic films like 12 Angry Men and the seemingly endless incarnations of Law & Order, jury trials real and imagined continue to play a powerful role in American culture. Their role in American justice, however, is shrinking rapidly, as juries decide a smaller fraction of criminal and civil cases with each passing year. In The Death of the American Trial, Robert Burns warns that this decline could lead not only to the loss of a vaunted institution, but also to the dangerous erosion of American democracy. The trial, Burns argues, is one of our greatest public achievements. Demonstrating how trials have always provided a defense against encroaching secrecy and bureaucracy, he lays out the profound consequences of losing an institution that so perfectly embodies democratic governance. As one federal judge put it, the jury is the ”canary in the mineshaft; if it goes, if our people lose their inherited right to do justice in court, other democratic institutions will lose breath too.“ An impassioned and eloquent case for resuscitation, The Death of the American Trial makes clear that to ensure the future health of the nation, the trial’s unique role must continue . . .

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Press Release: Brague, The Legend of the Middle Ages

April 20, 2009
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Press Release: Brague, The Legend of the Middle Ages

For decades now, in volume after volume, the celebrated French thinker Rémi Brague has delved deep into the past and emerged, again and again, with fresh insights that sharply illuminate the present. In his acclaimed The Wisdom of the World, for example, Brague showed how modernity stripped the universe of its ethical and sacred wisdom. The Law of God, his last work, added depth and context to current debates about God’s role in worldly affairs. And now, The Legend of the Middle Ages proceeds in Brague’s characteristically brilliant style to unknot the long-tangled strands of our ideas about this misunderstood age. Recently, the Middle Ages have emerged as the model for a harmonious future—a time when different religions and cultures peacefully coexisted and exchanged ideas. This legend, Brague argues, comes no closer to telling the full story than the Enlightenment-era portrayal of the Middle Ages as a benighted past from which the West had to evolve. Here, in a penetrating interview and sixteen essays, he marshals nuanced readings of medieval religion and philosophy to reconstruct the true character of this complicated and intellectually rich period. Brague’s vibrant portrait—of an age neither dark nor devoid of conflict—not only makes for compelling . . .

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Press Release: Three Parker Novels by RICHARD STARK

April 17, 2009
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Press Release: Three Parker Novels by RICHARD STARK

According to the New York Times, Donald Westlake was “one of the most successful and versatile mystery writers in the United States,” with over 100 books to his name. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the early volumes of his Parker series, written under the pseudonym Richard Stark, to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to. Stark’s ruthless antihero is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his taut realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose-style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing urgency—Richard Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. “Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.” —Elmore Leonard Parker … lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels scattering dead bodies like peanut shells.… In a complex world makes things simple.” —William Grimes, New York Times Read the press release or read an interview with the author. . . .

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Press Release: Schultz, No One Was Killed

April 16, 2009
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Press Release: Schultz, No One Was Killed

While other writers contemplated the events of the 1968 Chicago riots from the safety of their hotel rooms, John Schultz was in the city streets, being threatened by police, choking on tear gas, and taking in all the rage, fear, and confusion around him. The result, No One Was Killed, is his account of the contradictions and chaos of convention week—the adrenaline, the sense of drama and history, and how the mainstream press was getting it all wrong. “A more valuable factual record of events than the city’s white paper, the Walker Report, and Theodore B. White’s Making of a President combined.” —Book Week “High on my short list of true, lasting, inspired evocations of those whacked-out days when the country was fighting a phantasmagorical war (with real corpses), and police under orders were beating up demonstrators who looked at them funny.” —Todd Gitlin, from the foreword Read the press release or read an excerpt. . . .

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