Posted 12.17.10: Diane Ravitch has been selected as this year's recipient of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize, created by the American Academy of Political and Social Science to honor those individuals whose careers in the academic or public arena have been dedicated to the use of social science research to improve public policy. Her latest book is the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Posted 12.08.10: Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, has been named chair of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. He is the author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, the Scribe Award from the American Bar Association, and other prizes, and was named a “Best Book of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times , Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post.
Posted 12.01.10: The New York Times Book Review selected Terry Teachout's highly praised Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong ("definitive," "a classic," "a masterpiece") as a "Notable Book of 2010."
Posted 11.30.10: Publishers Weekly on Irving Kristol's The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009, Edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb: “An allergy to dogma, an openness to debate, a readiness to change one's mind are the hallmarks of these sparkling essays by Kristol (1920–2009), late founding father of neoconservatism…. Kristol's vigorous prose and trenchant arguments can be read with pleasure and profit by readers of all political stripes.”
Posted 11.30.10: The Best American Poetry 2010 is #1 on Poetry Foundation's anthology bestseller list. Amy Gerstler is guest editor of this year's edition of David Lehman's annual series. At #5 is Harold Bloom's Best Poems of the English Language, published in 2004.
Posted 11.25.10: In this Sunday's New York Times Book Review, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture by Ishmael Jones is classified as "fascinating, disturbing reading," shining "a bright light on the agency's darkest secret of all, its inability to do its job at the most basic level." Alex Berenson writes about the book in the Review's "Essay."
Posted 11.10.10: David Lehman's A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs is a winner of the 42nd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for an outstanding book on music. Publishers Weekly described the book as “Nostalgic and deeply moving, Lehman achieves a fine, lasting tribute to the American songbook.”
Posted 10.13.10: Two early reviews of Open Heart: The Radical Surgeons Who Revolutionized Medicine by David K. C. Cooper, M.D. From Booklist: “In this well-researched history of heart transplants, surgeon Cooper shares his interviews with more than 60 sources, including his former colleague, Christiaan Bernard, who performed the first human heart transplant…. Overall this is a fascinating account of the colorful men who pioneered what is now a common surgical procedure.” From Library Journal: “This is not just a technical account of surgical breakthroughs; to enhance his narrative, Cooper interviewed many surgeons from the early years, often provoking candid—and sometimes eyebrow-raising—comments…. [A] comprehensive, well-crafted history.”
Posted 10.07.10: "Books about the Apostle Paul arrive regularly at my desk, in such profusion as to strain the carrying capacity of a Kindle.... Now and then, though, something wonderfully unexpected appears. Earlier this year, Pantheon Books published Sarah Ruden's Paul Among the People. Ruden is a translator of Greek and Latin; her Englishing of The Aeneid was published in 2008 to considerable acclaim. She is the translator for The Landmark Julius Caesar (coming down the road in a bit), and in the coming academic year, as a Guggenheim Fellow and a visiting scholar in classical studies at Wesleyan University, she will translate The Oresteia of Aeschylus. You may be thinking that Ruden doesn't have the background of the typical Pauline scholar. You would be right. Herself a poet as well as a translator of classical texts, she approaches the subject from a fresh angle."—John Wilson in Christianity Today's September issue
Posted 10.06.10: “That acknowledged genius-guru of retail marketing, Paco Underhill, provides witty and utterly convincing answers to one of the oldest questions in recorded history: what do women want? Not surprisingly, he learns what half of the human race—the female half—have sensed all along: nearly everything that men want, and a little more. Behind its utterly captivating and often amusing prose lurks a serious psychological and economic study, an essential guide for future trends. Not only should every woman want this book; so should every merchant, mall and visitor attraction.”—Emily K. Rafferty, President, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on What Women Want
Posted 09.21.10: Till I End My Song gets a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Harold Bloom may be the most famous poetry critic in the English language. As he approached his 80th birthday, he turned his critical faculties toward the subject of death: this surprisingly enjoyable anthology contains the last poems—or the poems that most profoundly contemplate 'lastness'—by 100 poets, from Edmund Spenser (d. 1599) to Agha Shahid Ali (d. 2001). Bloom seeks to show, through his selections and commentaries on each poem, that death can be as much an inspiration as a terror.... Throughout, Bloom's brief prose comments illuminate and entertain."
Posted 09.20.10: Booklist on Till I End My Song by Harold Bloom: "Literary critic and scholar Bloom has a passion for literary assemblages. He is also ardent in his articulation of the psychological, philosophical, and spiritual roles literature, especially poetry, plays in life, and in coping with death. So who better than Bloom to gather poets' last poems?... Bloom introduces each poet and poem with his signature blend of knowledge, ardor, and, facing his eightieth year, poignancy. These are poems that embrace change, time, life, the self, and death. Poems that have lasted and that will 'reverberate into the coming silence.' A collection of surpassing splendor and resonance." Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems is just published by HarperCollins.
Posted 09.19.10: Publisher's Weekly on The Best American Poetry 2010, Edited by Amy Gerstler and David Lehman, "This year's annual roundup of poems published in literary magazines includes the usual big names (John Ashbery, Billy Collins, Adrienne Rich, Charles Simic) and a sampling of lesser known, newer writers (Sandra Beasley, G.C. Waldrep, Mark Wunderlich) as well as a few true newbies like Matthew Yeager.... In her introduction, Gerstler extols poetry's capacity to serve joyful as well as 'darker, maybe more complicated needs.' As usual, this anthology has something for every kind of poetry reader, and serves as a helpful introduction for newcomers curious about the contemporary poetry landscape.
Posted 09.18.10: "Elegant and erudite." Foreign Affairs magazine on The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern by Victor Davis Hanson:
Posted 07.09.10: The Wall Street Journal on What Women Want, "Mr. Underhill once studied with the urban anthropologist William H. Whyte, and he has made his name as a purveyor of retail insights—those little (and sometimes large) strategies that companies can pursue to turn idle browsers into active shoppers. He revealed some of his discoveries in Why We Buy, which drew on his two decades of observing the in-store traffic patterns and buying preferences of consumers.... Mr. Underhill also runs a consulting firm, Envirosell, which advises clients such as Target, Wal-Mart and Estee Lauder…. In What Women Want, Mr. Underhill shows himself to be both an amiable and a knowledgeable guide to the shifting retail landscape.”
Posted 06.10.10: Edward N. Luttwak in The American Interest on Grand Strategies by Charles Hill: “A truly masterful synthesis of 'Literature, Statecraft and World Order', in the words of the subtitle. Hill has drawn from a career in diplomacy, a thorough grounding in classical and modern philosophy and a rich appreciation of great literature to produce a kaleidoscopic masterpiece that illuminates all it surveys.”
Posted 06.02.10: A starred review in Library Journal for Wes Denham's Arrested: What to Do When Your Loved One's in Jail, "Denham turns years of experience as an investigator for a criminal defense law firm into no-nonsense advice. His book amounts to a valuable extended checklist for those coping with the incarceration of a family member or significant friend, from the time the phone rings with news of the arrest onward. Denham shares the jargon, procedures, tricks, and traps in his coverage of jail visits, bail, public defenders, jail medical care, and legal and jail costs, and he outlines a decision-making process that considers the well-being of the entire family…. VERDICT: Hard-hitting, blunt, and practical, this book is packed with inside knowledge of the jail experience. It's a necessary purchase for criminal justice collections in public libraries."
Posted 05.07.10: Some recent sales: Maximum Brainwidth: How to Challenge the Brain for Health and Wisdom by Shlomo Breznitz and Collins Hemingway to Ballantine Books; Michael Grabell's Great American Stimulus: Obama's $1 Trillion Plan to Rebuild the Economy to Public Affairs; Irving Kristol's previously uncollected essays, The Neoconservative Persuasion, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, to Basic Books; Charles J. Sykes's A Nation of Moochers to St. Martin's Press; and a biography of Duke Ellington by Terry Teachout to Gotham Books.
Posted 05.07.10: Sandra Beasley is the subject of a profile in Washingtonian magazine. She recently won the Barnard Women Poets Prize and is writing Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life for Crown.
Posted 05.04.10: “In his new tour de force, Palestine Betrayed, Efraim Karsh ... confirms his status as the preeminent historian of the modern Middle East writing today.”—Daniel Pipes, National Review