Thursday, April 30, 2009

Congratulations to Louise Erdrich!

Erdrich’s novel, The Plague of Doves, won the Minnesota Book Award in the best novel category. This is the author’s fourth Minnesota Book Award! For additional information, including a complete list of the winners, you can visit:

And for you Erdrich fans who love her backlist (like us!), there is a new, updated edition of Love Medicine coming out this month. You can pre-order copies now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on The Daily Show

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and author of This Child Will Be Great, was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week. She discusses the book, including her amazing journey to the presidency. You can watch the whole interview below, including when President Sirleaf makes John Stewart a chief!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Don't Know Much About the First 100 Days: Then and Now

Today's guest blogger is Kenneth C. Davis, author of the bestselling America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation. Here, he gives us a historical perspective on the "First 100 Days" of our presidents.

As a yardstick of Presidential accomplishment, the “First 100 Days” is surely a faulty measure. Lincoln’s first one hundred days were miserable, and included the beginning of the Civil War.

But ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed sixteen pieces of major legislation and fundamentally altered the American political landscape during one hundred days back in 1933, the bar has been set very high for Presidents.

With the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt remade American government between March 9 and July 16, 1933, with a special session of Congress that closed the nation’s banks for a “holiday,” rammed through laws that created entirely new federal agencies, and radically altered the American economy. He even amended the Prohibition laws so Americans could have a beer. (Full repeal of Prohibition came a bit later.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trade Paperback Survey

If you are a teacher or professor, we'd like to know if you've assigned trade paperbacks to your students. Well, we'd also like to know if you haven't.

The survey won't take more than a minute--and you'll be able to choose a free trade paperback for your time and trouble.

The survey is here.

Case Studies from Peter Drucker--with Free Teaching Notes

The companion to Peter F. Drucker's newly revised seminal work Management, Management Cases has been completely revised and updated by Joseph A. Maciariello--a longtime Drucker colleague, collaborator, and eminent professor of management at Claremont Graduate University.

Management Cases, Revised Edition is a collection of thought-provoking case studies—each a timeless representative of a challenge that all managers will face at some point in their careers. Professor Maciariello has organized the material to be used in conjunction with Management, Revised Edition, making the book particularly useful in undergraduate, MBA, and executive education classrooms.

To make it even easier to incorporate Management Cases into your curriculum, Professor Maciariello has provided educators with free Teaching Notes for each of the case studies. These materials are password protected. To obtain the password, please e-mail us.

If you would like to consider Management Cases for your class, please order a $5.00 paperback examination copy. To consider, Management, Revised Edition for your class, please order a hardcover examination copy.

If you've already decided to assign either book, please request a desk copy.

Congratulations to Paula J. Giddings!

The 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded Friday evening in a ceremony at the Los Angeles Times building. Giddings’ Ida: A Sword Among Lions won the prize for best Biography of 2008.

For more information and a complete list of winners, please visit:

Friday, April 24, 2009

First food-blogging class

I don't know if it was just the first food-blogging class I taught, or if it was the first serious food-blogging class ever taught, but it happened Tuesday evening.

I'm not a real academic and I don't even like school, but now I find myself in the position of "professor" to a dozen students in this food-blogging seminar at the International Culinary Center here in New York City. So far it has been an amazing experience. These people are really here to learn, from me! Until now, I never truly realized the responsibility that teachers have.

You all probably knew that already.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

For those of you who didn't mark your calendars: Today is Shakespeare's 445th birthday--making it a good day to give your students some insight into Will's life.

In A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Columbia University professor James Shapiro allows students to trail after Shakespeare over the course of 1599--the year he wrote four of his most famous plays: Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet.
In 208 pages, Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: All the World's a Stage gives students a tour of current Shakespeare scholarship. With his trademark wit--Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself--and he takes on the Baconists--making a good case that Shakespeare wrote it all.
Chicago's mayor has declared today "Talk Like Shakespeare Day." For help, turn to Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions by Barry Edelstein.
Just for a bit of scholarly fun, take a look at The First Folio and Early Quartos of William Shakespeare online.

United Nations Launches World Digital Library

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the United Nations has launched the World Digital Library. The project gathers materials out of copyright from across the world. Included are historical manuscripts along with secondary literature describing them—translated into seven different languages. The library includes scanned documents from 27 libraries in 19 countries—and there's more to come.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Teaching Resources: The Vietnam Era

The Naperville Sun reported that Anderson's Bookshop was forced to cancel an April 8 appearance by 1960s radical William Ayers due to safety concerns. Ayers has admitted to participating in domestic bombings to protest the Vietnam War. The bookstore stated: "The hysterical and ugly comments about the appearance multiplied each day and we feared our customers and staff might be in physical jeopardy if we held the scheduled program." It's clear that emotions still run deep about the Vietnam Era's radicals.

How can you help your students understand this tumultuous period---a time when many young people vowed to overthrow the United States government by any means necessary?

Janis Hallowell's novel She Was offers a unique perspective: Spanning America, from coast to coast, over four decades, Hallowell tells the story of one young woman who, like many of her generation, tried to change the world and how, thirty-four years later, in a world that still needs changing, she must pay the consequences when her past is revealed.
If you'd like to consider She Was for your course, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to assign the book for your class, please order a desk copy.

In his memoir Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen, Mark Rudd tells his story--for the first time. "I've spoken and answered questions at scores of colleges, high schools, community centers, and theaters about why my friends and I opted for violent revolution, and how I've changed my thinking and how I haven't, and most of all, about the parallels between then and now," Rudd writes. Powerful and shocking, Underground sheds new light on this controversial time, which still haunts us as a nation.
If you'd like to consider Underground for your course, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to assign the book for your class, please order a desk copy.
Remember, you can sign up for daily updates from our blog.

Study Links Lower Grades to Facebook Use by College Students

Aryn Karpinski, a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University and co-author of the study, says, "We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying--but we did find a relationship there. . . . There’s a disconnect between students’ claim that Facebook use doesn’t impact their studies, and our finding showing they had lower grades and spent less time studying.

Facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.

In addition, users averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.

Still, we'd like you to be our fan on

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What to recommend for Summer Reading?

Need a good recommendation for high school summer reading? How about I Love You, Miss Huddleston? In the vein of Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, with a dash of some of the homegrown nostalgia of The Dangerous Book for Boys, humorist Philip Gulley tells of his coming of age in small-town Indiana.

Students will enjoy (and most-likely relate to) the uproarious story of Gulley’s young life, including his infatuation with his comely sixth grade teacher, his dalliance with sin-eating meat on Friday and inappropriate activities with a mannequin named Ginger. From beginning to end, Gulley recalls the hilarity (and heightened dangers) of those wonder years and the easy charm of midwestern life.

And you have to love the cover, right?

Celebrate Earth Day With Our Green Book Winners: YOU ARE HERE and THE GREEN COLLAR ECONOMY

Remember that line from the "Peanuts" comic strip about how "every day is Children's Day"? Ideally, that's how it should be with Earth Day which will be celebrated tomorrow--every day is Earth Day. Just in time for Earth Day we offer congratulations to our authors Thomas Kostigen and Van Jones. Both authors have been honored by The 2009 Green Book Festival for creating books that increase understanding, respect and positive action on the changing worldwide environment. Kostigen's You Are Here received the Non-Fiction award and Van Jones's The Green Collar Economy received an Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction category. This year’s winners will be honored in Los Angeles at a private Earth Day reception. For more information and a complete list of the winners, please visit the Green Book Festival website.

To help keep the spirit of Earth Day alive every day (and to spread the love of Mother Earth to your students), download our online Environmental Studies catalog that is featured on this page under the "Academic Catalogs" header. This catalog includes links to related resource content on the web to provide a fluid interactive experience that goes beyond the traditional printed catalog. And, of course, it is 100% green. Happy Earth Day!

Is One of Your Students the Next Mark Twain?

To celebrate the publication of Who Is Mark Twain?--a collection of previously unpublished pieces from Twain--HarperStudio and Borders are sponsoring a writing contest.

One of the pieces in the book was left unfinished by the great American writer, so HarperStudio wants to see who has what it takes to finish the story.

The contest ends on May 31st. For more details, visit I Am the Next Mark Twain!

Good luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Student Travel & Personal Safety: Lessons from Beth Holloway

LOVING NATALEE by Beth HollowayAs the school year comes to a close, students will be off on class trips. Older students might spend part of the summer traveling with friends. Now is the time to teach them what they need to know about safe travel.
Beth Holloway's Loving Natalee: The True Story of the Aruba Kidnapping and Its Aftermath holds important lessons for parents, educators, and students. Beth Holloway—a veteran educator—is the mother of Natalee, the young woman who disappeared during a senior-class trip to Aruba. Beth's book is the basis for "Natalee Holloway," a Lifetime movie that premiered on April 19.
At the heart of Beth's reasons for writing Loving Natalee is the hope that no other child and no other parent will have to endure a similar tragedy. She wants all parents and their children to know how to maintain their personal safety when traveling.

To date, Beth has brought this message to tens of thousands of students and parents in high schools and colleges, and at national conventions with a 45-minute presentation. If you would like to have Beth speak at your school, please visit the website of
Executive Speakers Bureau.

Beth and her team also run half-day Travel-Ed Workshops about safe travel which are designed for educators, parents, and students of all ages. Each workshop can be tailored to a school's special needs (i.e. travel locations, age of student, etc.) For more information, please contact

Meanwhile, I encourage you to read Loving Natalee and to share it with your colleagues and students. It's an important book for young people and those who care for them. My hope is that it will find its rightful place on summer reading lists—where Beth's tragically-won wisdom will make a difference in the lives of students.
To consider Loving Natalee for your summer reading list, please order a $5.00 examination copy. If you've already decided to adopt Loving Natalee, please request a desk copy.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Columbine: 10-Year Anniversary

It's been ten years since Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold took over Columbine High School--killing 12 students and a teacher--and injuring 24 others--before killing themselves.

Other school shootings have followed. School authorities and psychologists continue to ask why.

Lionel Shriver's novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, provides vivid insights. It is told through the perspective of Eva--the mother of an unlovable boy who murdered seven of his classmates, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him. The Boston Globe said, "Impossible to put down . . . brutally honest. . . . Who, in the end, needs to talk about Kevin? Maybe we all do."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sexism, Agism, and Susan Boyle of "Britian's Got Talent"

I'm 47--the same age as Susan Boyle of Twitter, YouTube, and "Britain's Got Talent" fame.  And, like Susan--I've let my hair go gray. And, I neglect to tweeze my eyebrows for weeks--okay--months at a time.  

Sadly, there's been as much ado about Susan's looks as her glorious voice. Susan can hit all of the high notes. More over, she can imbue each of those notes with longing and emotion. Like Judy Garland--she LIVES the song. She's got a natural talent--finely honed over her 47 years. Yet, she had to play the self-depreciating clown until she got the chance to sing.

Susan's moment of glory forces me, you, and your students to ask important questions: How do we measure a woman's worth? By her talent? By the wisdom she's gained by her middle years? Or, by her surface value? 

I keep reeling  back to Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. I wonder what the feminists (I am young enough and old enough to think this isn't a dirty word) out there have to say about the world's reaction to Susan. Please let me know by commenting below.

Meanwhile, there's some heartening news: Susan and the show's judges want her to be who she is. There'll be no makeover--for now. It's a relief to know that she won't get thinner and blonder by the next show's air date.

And, if you're the only person in the world not to have seen the video tape of Susan, here it is.

HarperCollins & "The Office"

For those of you who are fans of NBC’s “The Office,” HarperCollins was featured as a paper customer of Dunder Mifflin!

You can watch the video
here. Keep your ears tuned for HarperCollins: the first mention is about ten minutes in. Enjoy!

Gay Marriage: A Historical Perspective from Kenneth C. Davis

Kenneth C. Davis, author of Don't Know Much About History and America's Hidden History, is our guest blogger today. Here, he reminds us of the 1967 Supreme Court ruling on "Loving v. Virginia," which declared state laws banning interracial marriages to be unconstitutional--and how it relates to the issue of gay marriage.

Gay Marriage: A Question of "Loving"

As historical anniversaries go, April 10, 1967 may not seem like a date we all should remember. But that was the day that the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Loving v. Virginia. On June 12, 1967, the Court issued its ruling in the case, striking down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage (“miscegenation”) in America.

Yes, a little over 40 years ago, Barack Obama’s parents could not have married legally in the home state of Washington, Jefferson and Madison.The Court ruled that that anti-miscegenation laws, such as those in Virginia, violated the Fifth Amendment’s “Due Process Clause” (“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” ) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (“nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …”).

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Whenever I travel from my hometown of New York to the West Coast one of the first things I do is hunt for an In-N-Out Burger restaurant. Yes, the burgers are that good. In-N-Out Burger does not have any restaurants outside of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah so it is such a treat to be able to eat one of these delectable burgers--and Scout's honor, I do not eat burgers from any other "fast food" chain. How beloved are these burgers? Even Eric Schlosser in his classic book on the evils of meat, Fast Food Nation, gave his seal of approval to the In-N-Out Burger, so that's really saying something.

In the new biography In-N-Out BurgerBusinessWeek writer Stacy Perman uses her investigative skills to uncover the story of a real American success story. It is not only a tale of a unique and profitable business that exceeds all expectations, but of the family-owned chain's struggle to maintain a sustainable pop empire against the industry it helped pioneer. Their business module is a lesson in a counterintuitive approach to doing business that places quality, customers, and employees over the riches promised by rapid expansion.

Teaching Women's History with Cokie Roberts

In Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts paid homage to the heroic women whose patriotism and sacrifice helped create a new nation. Now the renowned political commentator continues the story of early America's influential women with Ladies of Liberty. In a style that will appeal to your students, Roberts presents a colorful blend of biographical portraits and behind-the-scenes vignettes chronicling women's public roles and private responsibilities in our early national period.

Drawing on personal correspondence, private journals, and other primary sources—many of them previously unpublished—Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a better society. From first ladies to freethinkers, educators to explorers, this exceptional group includes Abigail Adams, Margaret Bayard Smith, Martha Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Catherine Adams, Eliza Hamilton, Theodosia Burr, Rebecca Gratz, Louisa Livingston, Rosalie Calvert, Sacajawea, and many other unsung heroines.

Washington Post Book World said, "What women these were! . . . [Roberts] is perfectly placed to observe the ins and outs of Washington women. . . . You'll enjoy this book."

If you are considering Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty for one of your classes, please order a
paperback examination copy.
If you've already decided to adopt one Cokie's books, please use the
desk copy form.

And, keep in mind that Cokie has revised and expanded her classic, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters--in which she offers tremendous insight into the opportunities and challenges that women encounter today.

You and your students can sit in while Cokie speaks about Ladies of Liberty at New York's 92nd Street Y.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

OCD: A Case Study

Thankfully, most of your students won't come across a client with as severe a case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as Ed's in their careers--but the story of Ed and his therapist will teach them many lessons.

Life in Rewind: The Story of a Young Courageous Man Who Persevered Over OCD and the Harvard Doctor Who Broke All the Rules to Help Him is a remarkable case study of OCD.

It would take Ed up to ten hours to walk across a room. If he heard a car passing or a dog bark--he'd have to go back and start again. His life was lived in the basement of his childhood home in Cape Cod. He couldn't open the door on his small world and walk out.

The perseverance of world-renowned OCD specialist and Harvard professor Michael Jenike broke through the dark prison created by Ed's isolating obsessions. It took a year--a year of long car trips between Boston and Cape Code, a year of waiting at a cellar door for Ed to be ready to trust and to begin healing.

You and your students can meet Ed Zine and Michael A. Jenike, M.D., in this video.


Today's the deadline: Your tax return must be filed. After you've paid your share--it's natural to ask: Where does the money go?

The editors of the award-winning nonpartisan website Public Agenda Online have the answer. In Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guide to the Federal Budget Crisis, they provide a candid look at the federal budget crisis that breaks down into plain English exactly what the fat cats in Washington are arguing about and how our tax dollars are spent.

For students of public administration and policy--and the rest of us--Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson decipher the jargon of the country's budget problem--covering everything from the country's $9 trillion and growing debt to the fact that, for thirty-one out of the last thirty-five years, the country has spent more on government programs and services than it has collected in taxes. They also explore why elected leaders on every side of the fence have so far failed to effectively address this issue and explains what you can do to protect your future.

Here are Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson talking to Bill Moyers about our national debt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Advocating for Children in the Foster Care System

As many of your students aspire to do--Andrew Bridge, former CEO/General Counsel of The Alliance for Children's Rights, has spent his adult life as a dedicated and vocal advocate for children living in poverty and in the foster care system.

For your students who want to work with children, Andrew's memoir, Hope's Boy, provides a perspective that comes from inside the foster care system: He was removed from the care of his loving--but mentally ill--mother Hope when he was only seven years old. He spent the next eleven years in foster care--spending time in a notoriously bad children's facility and in a loveless foster family that never accepted or nurtured him. He never stopped longing for his mother. Andrew turned to academics and the kindness of teachers. Although only 2% of foster children go to college, Andrew earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, went on to Harvard Law School, and became a Fulbright Scholar.

As your students gain more experience, they will learn that Andrew's childhood in the foster care system was not unusual. However, Andrew's resilience--his ability to transcend his own circumstances and his focus on helping others--is exceptional--proving that he will always be--in all ways--Hope's boy.

"A must for students and professionals in the child welfare field."--Duncan Lindsey, Professor at UCLA, Editor-in-Chief, Children and Youth Services Review

If you would like to consider Hope's Boy for one of your courses, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to adopt Hope's Boy, please use our desk copy form.

You and your students can meet Andrew in this video interview.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Muslim Woman at the Crossroads: THE WRITING ON MY FOREHEAD: A NOVEL

From childhood, willful intelligent Saira Qader broke the boundaries between her family's traditions and her desire for independence. A free-spirited and rebellious Muslim-American of Indo-Pakistani descent, she rejected constricting notions of of family, duty, obligation, and fate, choosing instead to become a journalist, the world her home.

Five years later tragedy strikes, throwing Saira's life into turmoil. Now the woman who chased the world to uncover the details of other lives must confront the truths of her own. In the acclaimed debut novel from Nafisa Haji, The Writing on My Forehead, Saira looks to the stories of those who came before--her grandparents, a beloved aunt, her mother and her father. 

"A moving meditation on the meaning of family, tradition, and the ties that bind. The Writing on My Forehead is lyrical and touching."--Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pirates: A Historical Perspective

Edith Gelles, Senior Scholar at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research and author of Abigail & John: Portrait of a Marriage, contributes an article on piracy in our early national period.

About 250 miles off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean, a crippled twenty-four foot lifeboat is afloat with four passengers, a hostage, the American Captain Richard Smith, and three pirates. Surrounding the little boat are U.S. naval vessels dispatched to rescue Captain Smith. The situation is real, but it shocks us.

Piracy is the stuff of adventure films, and pirates are generally heroes. This is a scenario that belongs to a time long past.

But piracy in the twenty-first century hasn't changed greatly since its golden age in the eighteenth. Its method is that of the weak confronting the strong. Its motives are mercenary. And it can be an immensely successful strategy.

In the eighteenth century piracy provoked debate at the highest level of diplomacy, for pirates obstructed traffic and trade on the Mediterranean. No less statesman than John Adams and Thomas Jefferson engaged the dilemma of what to do about the Barbary Pirates.

While both men, then ministers respectfully to England and France, agreed that piracy was noxious, they came to different conclusions about how to deal with the Barbary Pirates. Their debate was typical of the differences in their general political stance.

Adams, ever the realist, believed that his fledgling country was in no position to begin another war in 1783, having just concluded the Revolution. Therefore, the nation should pay tribute (or bribe money) to purchase its freedom on the seas. Jefferson, the idealist, was outraged by the provocation against the integrity of nation's right to navigate the open seas and favored going to war.

In the end, neither man prevailed. The country could neither afford to pay tribute nor to wage war in the 1780s and the latter solution had to await Jefferson's administration in 1801, when he engaged in the first Barbary War.

In Honor of Our 800th Twitter Follower

In celebration of our 800th follower on Twitter, we made a wordcloud of our followers.

It's nice to see a very large teacher in the cloud.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flutter vs. Twitter: You Decide

Earlier today with much anxiety, I clicked on the "Edit HTML" button on this website. Why? I wanted to add a "Tweet This" button to our blog pages. Why again? It seemed important because my little academic marketing department uses Twitter to connect to teachers and professors: Getting a Retweet is a gold star that tells us we've said something of value. Plus, every other blog I follow has this widget so it was a matter of pride.

Keep in mind that I started working before fax machines. (Yes, I have vivid memories of a time when telex machine operators were in demand.) So, imagine my joy when I made "Tweet This"  appear at the bottom of our blog pages in a Blogger-hosted blog--not a Typepad or WordPress blog where my research tells me it's easy as pie. It's not as pretty as I would like--but I did it!
Now--only a few hours after my small techie triumph--I realize that I am behind the curve--as usual. Isn't a 140-character message excessive? Aren't  26 characters enough to say what you have to say? Will microblogging be replaced by nanoblogging? Will I be adding a "Flutter This" widget to our site next week?
Watch this video--and decide for yourself. (No matter which way you go, I'd appreciate an RT; see widget below!).

Twitter in the Classroom

Today's generation of students is the most technologically savvy that the world has ever known--and teachers are using blogs, wikis, and Twitter to engage them.

Daisy Pignetti, an Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, is using Twitter in her English classes. She says, "“I had students create an account and use it as an active reading exercise.” And, student reaction has been positive.

How do I know this? I follow Professor Pignetti on Twitter!

You can learn more about how Professor Pignetti has incorporated Twitter into her classes by watching this video.

Holocaust Resources for Teachers

April is National Holocaust Month--a time to remember the victims of the European genocide and to teach your students about the causes, circumstances, and lessons of the Holocaust.

Here are essential resources for educators:

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum commemorates the Days of Remembrance with a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda--and they provide information on organizing local events as well as resources for educators.

The University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust Studies gives educators slides, film, video, and audio tapes for use in Holocaust and genocide education.

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute provides educators with online exhibits, lesson plans, documentary films, and a host of other resources.

Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1945, an abridged edition of Saul Friedländer's definitive Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume history of the Holocaust, is an essential study of this dark and complex history and a valuable tool for educators. The New York Times Book Review said, it "establishes itself as the standard historical work on Nazi Germany's mass murder of European Jews.... An account of unparalleled vividness and power that reads like a novel.... A masterpiece that will endure."

The original volumes from Saul Friedländer are still available: Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 and The Years of Extermination: Volume 2: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945.

Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland is a "remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior...This meticulously
researched book…represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.” (Newsweek)

In 176 pages, historian Sybille Steinbacher offers a cogent and penetrating study of the mutation of a city into a place that has become synonymous with evil in Auschwitz: A History.

Educators who would like to consider any of these titles for course use should order an examination copy. If you've already decided to adopt one of these books, please request a desk copy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Uncovering AMERICA'S HIDDEN HISTORY with Kenneth C. Davis

We have said it many times before, but we love Ken Davis! And, his New York Times bestselling book, America's Hidden History, is now available in paperback—and ready to be adopted for the fall semester.

Ken Davis is one of our most popular historians and author of the phenomenal Don't Know Much About series. In
America's Hidden History, Ken does what he does best—bringing to light fascinating facts about history. This time he focuses on America's early history, and he shows students little-known people and events that were crucial in shaping our nation.

If you'd like to consider America's Hidden History for one of your courses, please order an examination copy.

Now—you can "friend," "follow," and keep up with Ken on his
Don't Know Much About blog!

Using Flip Video Cameras in the Classroom

Here's an informative video of Amy Bowllan, Director of Diversity and Educational Technology at The Hewitt School in New York City, talking about her students using flip video cameras for an African-American history project. My favorite quote is: "When I put the flip video cameras in their hands, they realized that the story was now theirs."

Video in the Classroom is filled with more terrific ideas for digital storytelling projects.

Have your students created video projects?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

History of the Mother Tongue: THE STORY OF YIDDISH

On this Passover eve I find myself sentimental for my late parents since the last time I truly partook in an authentic seder was when they were still alive. When I think about my parents one of the sweetest memories I have of them was how they used to speak Yiddish around the house when they didn't want me and my brothers to figure out what they were saying about us (eventually we caught on). Both of my parents were first generation American children of predominantly Russian-Lithuanian immigrants. My father didn't even speak English until he was five-years old--his mother tongue was Yiddish--so I admit that I have a soft spot for this crazy-sounding yet beautifully expressive language. If you would like to learn more about this quirky dialect, Neal Karlen's The Story of Yiddish is the perfect place to start:  a unique, brashly entertaining, yet thoroughly researched telling of the language's story and how it is an unlikely survivor of the ages, much like the Jews themselves.

For a taste of the rhythm of the Yiddish language watch the video clip below of "Seinfeld" dubbed into Yiddish. Perfect!

Teaching California Literature: The John Fante Centennial

Two weeks ago, I got an email from a friend:

ES: I'm heading out to Los Angeles for a very long weekend. What should I read?
DB: Ask the Dust by John Fante. You'll see all the glamour spots and eat in fancy restaurants. Fante writes about the L.A. you'll only see flash by on the highway.

I find it difficult to believe that Ask the Dust--published in 1939--is 70 years old. Even more mind-blowing is the fact that 2009 is the 100th anniversary of John Fante's birth. Even today, you're likely to run into an Arturo Bandini--Fante's fictional alter ego and a struggling writer--at any number of dive bars in Los Angeles.

Fante's work still resonates--having found a place in courses on ethnic literature, working-class studies, and the literature of California--and in the hearts of literary hipsters everywhere. Not bad for a book with a first print run of 2,200 copies that went out of print in 1954--until Charles Bukowski convinced Black Sparrow Press to reissue it in 1980. In his introduction, Bukowski wrote, "Fante was my god."

Fittingly, Los Angeles is ground zero for the centennial celebrations of its adopted son. The Los Angeles Times reported on a panel hosted by Zócalo Public Square in honor of Fante. With David Kipen, director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, as moderator--the panel included Fante biographer and editor of The John Fante Reader Stephen Cooper, KCRW's Frances Anderton and Richard Schave, co-founder of the literary-historical bus tour Esotouric.

In October, Ask the Dust will join the Harper Perennial Modern Classics imprint--a list that includes classics such as Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. That's the kind of company John Fante is keeping these days.

And, John Fante's legacy continues in another way: His son, Dan Fante, will publish his novel 86'd with Harper Perennial in September--and three of Dan's novels (Chump Change, Mooch, Spitting Off Tall Buildings) will be reissued in December.

If you'd like to consider one of John Fante's books for your course, please order an examination copy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Harper Perennial Original: RIGHT OF THIRST: A NOVEL

Shattered by his wife's death, and his own role in it, successful cardiologist Charles Anderson volunteers to assist with earthquake relief in an impoverished Islamic country in a constant state of conflict with its neighbor. But when the refugees he has been promised do not appear and artillery begins to fall in the distance along the border, the story takes an unexpected turn.

Rendered in spare yet elegant prose, Right of Thirst offers an intensely personal and timely exploration of the many forces that have given rise to the dramatic events of recent years--the tension between poverty and wealth, the ethics of intervention in all its forms, and the uneasy marriage of deep cultural differences and essential human similarities that both divide and unite the world.

The video below features author Frank Huyler speaking about his novel, Right of Thirst. Interesting facts about Huyler:  he works as an emergency physician in Albuquerque, New Mexico and he grew up in Iran, Brazil, and Japan.

Monday, April 6, 2009

ARTISTS IN EXILE: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts

I can't imagine American cinema without many of my favorite movies—Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, The Apartment, and Some Like It Hot. What do they have in common? Billy Wilder—a refugee from Hitler's Europe.

Now in paperback, Joseph Horowitz's Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts is a history of the “intellectual migration” that relocated thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States, including some of Europe’s supreme performing artists, and makers of film, theater, and ballet. For many of Europe's premier performing artists, America proved to be a destination both strange and opportune.

Featuring the stories of George Balanchine, Kurt Weill, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Igor Stravinsky, and many others, Artists in Exile explores the impact that these famous newcomers had on American culture, and that America had on them.

"A masterful study of how the Russian Revolution, the rise of European Fascism, and the Second World War all transformed the American performing arts."—The Economist

"Heroically researched . . . chock-full of fascinating vignettes, stunning quotations, and shrewd insights on the fly."—New York Times

If you're considering Artists in Exile for one of your courses, please order an
examination copy.

Letting Go

It is that time of year again. As high school seniors are getting their acceptance letters and preparing for college, their teachers, parents and counselors are gearing up to do all they can to help them make that important transition. Here to assist in that process is the fifth edition of Letting Go. This classic parents’ guide and college orientation staple has been thoroughly revised and updated by the authors to reflect the realities of college in the 21st century. This guide to the college years will forecast the problems and concerns parents inevitably face as they send their children to college and help both parents and students begin the process of “letting go.”

Also available are Letting Go workshops for High School Guidance Counselors and College Orientation Directors. These workshops are designed to help reduce anxiety and increase communication between parents and students, and to help students and parents develop more realistic expectations about college and foster the process of separation and “letting go.” Materials are available for these workshops in the Teaching Materials section of this blog underneath Academic Resources.