Monday, November 30, 2015

"Dangerous Digestion"

New from the University of California Press: Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice by E. Melanie DuPuis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Throughout American history, ingestion (eating) has functioned as a metaphor for interpreting and imagining this society and its political systems. Discussions of American freedom itself are pervaded with ingestive metaphors of choice (what to put in) and control (what to keep out). From the country’s founders to the abolitionists to the social activists of today, those seeking to form and reform American society have cast their social-change goals in ingestive terms of choice and control. But they have realized their metaphors in concrete terms as well, purveying specific advice to the public about what to eat or not. These conversations about “social change as eating” reflect American ideals of freedom, purity, and virtue.

Drawing on social and political history as well as the history of science and popular culture, Dangerous Digestion examines how American ideas about dietary reform mirror broader thinking about social reform. Inspired by new scientific studies of the human body as a metabiome—a collaboration of species rather than an isolated, intact, protected, and bounded individual—E. Melanie DuPuis invokes a new metaphor—digestion—to reimagine the American body politic, opening social transformations to ideas of mixing, fermentation, and collaboration. In doing so, the author explores how social activists can rethink politics as inclusive processes that involve the inherently risky mixing of cultures, standpoints, and ideas.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Instructions for the End of the World"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain.

About the book, from the publisher:

He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man-except for the one that struck.

When Nicole Reed's father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole's father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow's disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?

Jamie Kain's Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Visit Jamie Kain's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Absolution"

New from Harper: The Absolution: A Novel by Jonathan Holt.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this mesmerizing finale to the revolutionary Carnivia Trilogy—following The Abomination and The Abduction—Venetian police captain Kat Tapo and U.S. Army intelligence analyst Holly Boland embark on their most dangerous and disturbing journey yet.

On Venice’s popular Lido beach, a man is found lying on the shore, his throat slit and his tongue viciously torn out, and his face covered by an unusual antique mask.

Superiors inside the Venice Carabinieri have finally given Captain Kat Tapo permission to run her first murder case. But when she learns that the mask is a Masonic “hoodwink”—and that the circumstances of the man’s death are eerily similar to the Masonic punishment for betrayal—she suspects that her appointment has darker implications. As a woman, she cannot penetrate the closed world of Italian freemasonry.

The dead man is identified as a senior partner in a small Catholic bank currently engaged in negotiations with one of Italy’s richest men. Yet Kat knows that, when it comes to Venice’s most powerful and influential, money isn’t the only motive for murder.

While she focuses on her investigation, American intelligence analyst Holly Boland finds a document among her father’s possessions that offers evidence of a shocking Cold War cover-up. The deeper the second lieutenant digs into what her father knew, the more she begins to wonder: Was her father silenced before he could expose the truth?

Reclusive genius Daniele Barbo, creator of the anonymous virtual world, makes a chilling discovery of his own: his website has been contaminated by a malevolent virus that will cripple Italy unless he can break his own encryption and prevent catastrophe.

As the three cases merge, the trio of allies uncover a conspiracy involving the security services, the Church, and the CIA—a devastating plot stretching back decades that could destroy all three of them . . . but not without a fight.
Learn more about the book and author at the Carniva website.

The Page 69 Test: The Abduction.

Writers Read: Jonathan Holt.

My Book, The Movie: The Abduction.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley.

About the book, from the publisher:

The secrets of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise, may be destined to remain hidden forever. What was so dangerous about this artistic, tempestuous royal that her life has been documented more by rumor and gossip than hard facts? When Lucinda Hawksley started to investigate, often thwarted by inexplicable secrecy, she discovered a fascinating woman, modern before her time, whose story has been shielded for years from public view.

Louise was a sculptor and painter, friend to the Pre-Raphaelites and a keen member of the Aesthetic movement. The most feisty of the Victorian princesses, she kicked against her mother's controlling nature and remained fiercely loyal to her brothers-especially the sickly Leopold and the much-maligned Bertie. She sought out other unconventional women, including Josephine Butler and George Eliot, and campaigned for education and health reform and for the rights of women. She battled with her indomitable mother for permission to practice the "masculine" art of sculpture and go to art college-and in doing so became the first British princess to attend a public school.

The rumors of Louise's colorful love life persist even today, with hints of love affairs dating as far back as her teenage years, and notable scandals included entanglements with her sculpting tutor Joseph Edgar Boehm and possibly even her sister Princess Beatrice's handsome husband, Liko. True to rebellious form, she refused all royal suitors and became the first member of the royal family, since the sixteenth century, to marry a commoner. She moved with him to Canada when he was appointed Governor-General.

Spirited and lively, Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter is richly packed with arguments, intrigues, scandals, and secrets, and is a vivid portrait of a princess desperate to escape her inheritance.
Visit Lucinda Hawksley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 28, 2015

"Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire"

New from Random House: Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire by Roger Crowley.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Empires of the Sea and City of Fortune, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley established himself as our generation’s preeminent historian of the great European seafaring empires, and the go-to author for post-Crusade clashes of East and West. Now, in Conquerors, Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy.

Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life the personalities of the enterprising and fanatical house of Aviz. Figures such as King Manuel “the Fortunate,” João II “the Perfect Prince,” marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune. Also central to the story of Portugal’s ascent was its drive to eradicate Islamic culture and establish a Christian empire in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade.

The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order. For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal. In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. At Crowley’s hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told.
Visit Roger Crowley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fighting God"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World by David Silverman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman--a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News--discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent.

Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals:

- All religion is cafeteria religion and almost all agnostics are atheists.
- American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers.
- Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women's rights, and gay rights.
- The notion of "atheist Jews" is a lie forced on us by religion.
- It is not "Islamophobia" to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam.
- Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle.

Fighting God is a provocative, unapologetic book that takes religion to task and will give inspiration to non-believers and serve as the ultimate answer to apologists.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 27, 2015

"Written in Stone"

New from Pegasus Books: Written in Stone: A Journey Through the Stone Age and the Origins of Modern Language by Christopher Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:

Witty and erudite, Written in Stone is the first etymology book to reveal how the English language is based on original Stone Age words.

Half the world’s population speaks a language that has evolved from a single, prehistoric mother tongue. A mother tongue first spoken in Stone Age times, on the steppes of central Eurasia 6,500 years ago. It was so effective that it flourished for two thousand years. It was a language that spread from the shores of the Black Sea across almost all of Europe and much of Asia. It is the genetic basis of everything we speak and write today—the DNA of language.

Written in Stone combines detective work, mythology, ancient history, archaeology, the roots of society, technology and warfare, and the sheer fascination of words to explore that original mother tongue, sketching the connections woven throughout the immense vocabulary of English—with some surprising results.

In snappy, lively and often very funny chapters, it uncovers the most influential and important words used by our Neolithic ancestors, and shows how they are still in constant use today—the building blocks of all our most common words and phrases.
Visit Christopher Stevens's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Relic Master"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Relic Master: A Novel by Christopher Buckley.

About the book, from the publisher:

From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley, “one of the funniest writers in the English language” (Tom Wolfe), a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, Albrecht Dürer, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin.

The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic.

On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.
Visit Christopher Buckley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"America Dancing"

New from Yale University Press: America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk by Megan Pugh.

About the book, from the publisher:

The history of American dance reflects the nation’s tangled culture. Dancers from wildly different backgrounds learned, imitated, and stole from one another. Audiences everywhere embraced the result as deeply American.

Using the stories of tapper Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, ballet and Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille, choreographer Paul Taylor, and Michael Jackson, Megan Pugh shows how freedom—that nebulous, contested American ideal—emerges as a genre-defining aesthetic. In Pugh’s account, ballerinas mingle with slumming thrill-seekers, and hoedowns show up on elite opera house stages. Steps invented by slaves on antebellum plantations captivate the British royalty and the Parisian avant-garde. Dances were better boundary crossers than their dancers, however, and the issues of race and class that haunt everyday life shadow American dance as well. Deftly narrated, America Dancing demonstrates the centrality of dance in American art, life, and identity, taking us to watershed moments when the nation worked out a sense of itself through public movement.
Visit Megan Pugh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"After the American Century"

New from Columbia University Press: After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East by Brian T. Edwards.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Henry Luce announced in 1941 that we were living in the "American century," he believed that the international popularity of American culture made the world favorable to U.S. interests. Now, in the digital twenty-first century, the American century has been superseded, as American movies, music, video games, and television shows are received, understood, and transformed.

How do we make sense of this shift? Building on a decade of fieldwork in Cairo, Casablanca, and Tehran, Brian T. Edwards maps new routes of cultural exchange that are innovative, accelerated, and full of diversions. Shaped by the digital revolution, these paths are entwined with the growing fragility of American "soft" power. They indicate an era after the American century, in which popular American products and phenomena—such as comic books, teen romances, social-networking sites, and ways of expressing sexuality—are stripped of their associations with the United States and recast in very different forms.

Arguing against those who talk about a world in which American culture is merely replicated or appropriated, Edwards focuses on creative moments of uptake, in which Arabs and Iranians make something unexpected. He argues that these products do more than extend the reach of the original. They reflect a world in which culture endlessly circulates and gathers new meanings.
--Marshal Zeringue