In the News, April 2014
Posted 04.17.14: Eric Jager's Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris is one of “Ten Brilliant Books That Grab You From Page One” on a list from Kirkus Reviews and the Huffington Post.
Posted 04.15.14: The New Yorker reviews Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero by James Romm in this week's issue: "Romm adeptly expounds the puzzle of the philosopher's life: Seneca, revered for centuries as a pristine moral voice, was despised by many contemporaries as a hypocritical, profiteering lackey. He was Nero's tutor, got rich serving in the Emperor's degraded regime, and may have hoped to be emperor himself. In Nero's purge of the aristocracy, he stood by, then killed himself when death seemed inevitable. Stoicism has a power that outlasted Seneca and Nero; but where, Romm asks, is the line between peace and perversity, complacency and complicity?"
Posted 04.08.14: Logan Beirne is the winner of the 2014 William E. Colby Award for his book, Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency. The Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the understanding of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs.
Posted 04.07.14: Nicholas Basbanes's On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History is one of three finalists short-listed for the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction awarded by the American Library Association.
Posted 04.01.14: "The next crash will fall like the recent landslide in Washington state, where a 1999 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study warned of the risks of a 'large catastrophic failure.' And then it happened. In the next crash, when you hear someone claiming that it wasn't foreseeable, remember a new book by award-winning financial reporter Bob Ivry: The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis. In it, he details the many financial crimes that have occurred not before but after the 2008 financial crisis. He writes about too-big-to-fail banks only becoming larger. He writes about private-equity firms buying up foreclosed homes, turning them into rentals and then issuing bonds on the revenue streams—schemes that sound like 2004 all over again. He writes about wrongful foreclosures and the economic squeeze on ordinary Americans. Mr. Ivry claims this is all quite deliberate: 'We called it a financial crisis, but what happened in 2008 was really a leveraged buyout of the United States.' He claims things have only gotten worse. The nation is now more in debt, and its people are now more impoverished, making America more vulnerable to the next big crash."—Al Lewis, The Wall Street Journal
Posted 03.20.14: "In a vague sort of way, most people are aware that Wall Street crashed the economy and rode out of town scot-free, collecting unimaginably huge bonuses along the way. But vagueness breeds passivity. Fortunately, we now have Bob Ivry's The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis as an indispensable guide for tracking down live villains and unburied bodies. By the time you reach the end, all the sheer fury anyone with the merest flutter of a moral pulse felt back in 2008 and 2009 at the sight of bankers and their apologists blaming the cratering of the global economy on 'people buying houses they couldn't afford' wells up again, white hot."—Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine
Posted 03.19.14: Nicholas Basbanes's On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History has been long-listed for the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, which recognizes the best nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. Choice magazine's review in its March issue said, "Basbanes has produced a significant treatment of paper as a phenomenon…. The book is a pleasant, personal survey and travelogue treating the history of paper—its invention, production, and travel through centuries, common and special uses, and current resurgence of its role in society…. The author's skill ties all this together in a way that keeps the reader reading…. Highly recommended."
Posted 03.19.14: The Virginia Quarterly Review has awarded David Lehman the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry for his translation of Apollinaire's “Zone.” The award is a VQR staff decision regarding the best work of poetry published in its pages in the preceding year. The translation appeared in the Spring 2013 issue.
Posted 03.16.14: "Fans of true crime and procedural mysteries will find special pleasure in Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris…. Jager, a professor of medieval studies at UCLA and the author of several popular histories set in this era, is spare and meticulous in sifting his evidence. The pleasure of his narrative—and the devil that points to the duke's killer—lies in the details of daily life in Paris in the early 1400s: the topography of the streets, the particulars of renting a house, and what it took to secure water for a band of horses. What Jager conveys so memorably here is the night atmosphere of medieval Paris—the walls within walls, the angling, unlit streets where a galloping troop of men can rouse an entire neighborhood—and a few streets later melt into darkness."—David Walton, Dallas Morning News
Posted 03.12.14: Terry Teachout's Duke is one of six finalists for the $10,000 Marfield Prize, an annual award presented by the Arts Club of Washington.
Posted 03.12.14: Kirkus Reviews on The Seven Sins of Wall Street by Bob Ivry: "A reporter for Bloomberg News, no enemy of capitalism, reads a fiduciary riot act to the bankers and hedge fund managers of the world…. Ivry's larger message is to show how these sins fuel a scheme in which risk is socialized, spread out among the taxpayers, while profit is most definitely privatized, kept out of the hands of the people who made it possible. Ivry writes with high indignation punctuated by occasional light touches, and he has a talent for deconstructing financial jargon. Yet his intent is utterly serious, and his book ought to become a standard text for the Occupy Wall Street and similar movements."
Posted 03.05.14: We mourn the death of Sherwin B. Nuland, a great man and magnificent writer. His wonderful books include How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter; The Wisdom of the Body / How We Live; The Mysteries Within: A Surgeon Reflects on Medical Myths; Lost in America: A Journey with My Father; The Uncertain Art: Thoughts on a Life in Medicine; The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside; The Doctor's Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis; as well as brief studies of Leonardo da Vinci and Maimonides.
Posted 02.28.14: "Though we think of the detective story as a modern-day invention, UCLA professor Eric Jager proves a good whodunit can be set in the muck and the mire of more barbaric times, away from the shining lights of a lab. In his new book, Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris, the academic chronicles the true story of a grisly Medieval murder, and the brilliant, tenacious police chief solved it without help from fancy forensic tools…. This whodunit is a gruesome tour de force, rich with scenes from the royal court, public gibbets, and monasteries where things aren't as pious as they seem…. Thoroughly researched and lyrically written, this sinister-but-informative period piece certainly beats watching reruns of CSI."—Jessica Leigh Hester, New York Daily News
Posted 02.12.14: A starred review from Booklist for On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes: "Basbanes' renowned books about books, from A Gentle Madness (1999) to Every Book Its Reader (2005), are shaped by his investigative journalist's curiosity and skill as well as a penchant for the underappreciated. In his latest lassoing inquiry, he unfolds the two-thousand-year story of paper…. Combining crisp technical explanations with vivid historical and contemporary profiles... Every facet of this celebration of paper is engrossing and thought-provoking, leading up to the dramatic conclusion."
Posted 01.29.14: The American Library Association has selected On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes as one of the winning titles for its 2014 Notable Books List—an annual literary award that identifies outstanding and noteworthy fiction, nonfiction and poetry for adult readers.
Posted 01.28.14: "The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman, should be standard reading in every Philosophy 101 course, and on the short list of 'must read' books for any educated adult."—Bill Frezza, Forbes