Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bible Basics for Students from Kristin Swenson

BIBLE BABEL by Kristin SwensonBible Babel, from religious studies professor Kristin Swenson, is a lively and very readable introduction to the Bible—what's in it, where it comes from, and how it is reflected in our culture today. Without promoting any specific belief, Professor Swenson gives students the basics of the Old and New Testaments so they can understand arguments about the Bible, appreciate artistic and literary references, and interpret the scriptures for themselves.

Bible Babel is a breath of fresh air in the musty library of introductions to the Bible. Kristin Swenson’s writing is brisk and lively. She has an informed sense of everything relevant to the Bible, from source criticism to the archaeological record, as well as an apt perception of what goes on in the biblical texts themselves. Keenly aware of how the Bible gets into popular culture and is also often distorted by it, she is an engaging corrector of misconceptions and a helpful guide to the common reader.”
—Robert Alter, author of The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary

To request a desk copy to consider for course adoption, please use this form.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Say You Want a (Business) Revolution? THE THANK YOU ECONOMY by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Crush It!, returns with The Thank You Economy, a bold and expansive look at the evolution of today's marketplace, revealing the essential factors defining and driving successful relationships between business and consumer

The Thank You Economy is about something big, something greater than any single revolutionary platform. It isn’t some abstract concept or wacky business strategy—it’s real, and every one of us is doing business in it every day. It’s the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. The Internet, where the Thank You Economy was born, has given consumers back their voice, and the tremendous power of their opinions via social media means that companies and brands have to compete on a whole different level than they used to.

Gary Vaynerchuk contends that the people and companies harnessing the word-of-mouth power provided by multiplatform media—those that can shift their outlook and operations to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly—will pull away from the pack and profit in today's markets. In The Thank You Economy, he dissects the companies on the leading edge, showing how they are succeeding—and sometimes failing. Laying out for your business students the ideas and insight that support this enormous change, Vaynerchuk explores these emerging connections—from consumer to consumer and business to business and everything in between. Passionate and persuasive, he reminds business students that surviving and thriving today takes more than just hard work—it takes a heartfelt thanks to those who make it possible.

Praise for The Thank You Economy:

“Gary Vaynerchuk has seen the future of marketing. The Thank You Economy shows how it’s built on both the time-honored techniques of listening to and appreciating customers and the newer services like Twitter that allow you to engage directly with customers at unprecedented scale and speed. The book, like Gary, is also a lot of fun and full of passion.”—Dick Costolo, Chief Executive Officer, Twitter

“Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those entrepreneurs who has discovered the secret to combining passion with business. He is always an inspiration and always entertaining. You owe it to yourself to read this book!”—Tony Hsieh, Chief Executive Officer,

Please let us know if you need a desk copy or examination copy of The Thank You Economy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Fifth-Century Political Battles that Forever Changed the Church

JESUS WARS by Philip JenkinsForbes called Philip Jenkins “one of America's top religious scholars” for very good reasons: Since 1980, he has taught at Penn State University, and currently holds the rank of Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. Dr. Jenkins has published 24 books, including the revolutionary The Lost History of Christianitywhich explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closest historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium.

Now, his renowned Jesus Wars is available in paperback—and we hope you'll consider making it required reading for one of your classes. In Jesus Wars, Dr. Jenkins reveals how official, orthodox teaching about Jesus was the product of political maneuvers by a handful of key characters in the fifth century. Jenkins argues that were it not for these controversies, the papacy as we know it would never have come into existence and that today's church could be teaching something very different about Jesus. It is only an accident of history that one group of Roman emperors and militia-wielding bishops defeated another faction to settle Christianity's greatest paradox: the dual nature of Jesus Christ, at both fully human and fully divine.

“Jenkins manages to explain very clearly why people in the early Christian era were so passionately concerned with issues of high theology.”—The Economist

Let us know if you'd like to consider Jesus Wars (9780061768934, paperback, $15.99) for one of your classes by using our desk copy form.*

For more books on this subject, please visit our Religion catalog. If you sign up for our catalog eBulletin, we'll let you know about new books and special offers for educators.

*No phone calls please. This offer is valid in the United States only and will expire on March 11, 2011. No more than one book per person. Ship to college address only. Proof of employment at college must be given upon request. Limited supply. Requests will be filled while supplies last. Our receipt of a request does not guarantee fulfillment.

Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK in the College Classroom

With a front cover sporting the golden seal of the 2009 Newbery Medal and the phrase "The #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the 2009 Hugo Award," I can't imagine that you would be surprised to find Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book in middle and high school classrooms. And, frankly, you shouldn't be surprised to find The Graveyard Book in college classrooms as well.

Yes, The Graveyard Book is taught in courses on adolescent literature and media in colleges such as Catholic University of America, East Tennessee State, and Loyola University of Chicago, alongside J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

The Graveyard Book has also earned its place in courses on science fiction, fantasy, and horror at such universities as Long Beach City College.

And, happily, The Graveyard Book was chosen as one of Western Michigan University's First-Year Seminar Fall 2010 Common Read Selections.

Shouldn't you consider making The Graveyard Book (9780060530945, paperback, $7.99) required reading in one of your courses? To request a desk copy, please use this form.*

*No phone calls please. This offer is valid in the United States only and will expire on March 11, 2011. No more than one book per person. Ship to college address only. Proof of employment at college must be given upon request. Limited supply. Requests will be filled while supplies last. Our receipt of a request does not guarantee fulfillment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One And Done: Kenneth C. Davis Explores the Makings of One Term Presidents

With President’s Day less than a week away, and discussion of the next presidential election already building momentum, Kenneth C. Davis has begun exploring the idea of two-term presidents, and why some of our nation’s past leaders have failed to be re-elected. In his blog post, “Would you like one term or two?”, Davis provides a historical analysis of the common themes that have limited some presidents to 1,461 days in office (one term) rather than 2,922 that goes with two. Some of the factors preventing re-election include:

  • Following a widely popular president
  • Not winning the popular vote
  • An "ineffective" term
  • A poor economy

For more fun—yet incrediblyinformative—looks into our nation, its history, and how it runs, be sure to check out Kenneth C. Davis' Blog, as well as his widely popular Don't Know Much About History.

Understanding the Civil War 150 Years On

APRIL 1865 by Jay WinikDON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR by Kenneth C. DavisMANHUNT by James L. SwansonThe 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War is being marked in 2011. The following books will help your students understand the explosive conflict dubbed the War Between the States.

It was a month that could have unraveled the nation. Instead, it saved it. The gripping, panoramic narrative of April 1865 is a breathless ride through these tumultuous thirty days, showing that the nation’s future rested on a few crucial decisions and twists of fate.

Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis

“Highly informative and entertaining . . . propels the reader light years beyond dull textbooks and Gone with the Wind.”—San Francisco Chronicle

How to Lose the Civil War: Military Mistakes of the War Between the States by Bill Fawcett

With a tongue-in-cheek style How to Lose the Civil War chronicles the thrilling history of the many disastrous decisions made by both sides, and is chock full of trivia, history, and fascinating looks at the War Between the States.

From the pages of Howard Zinn’s compelling classic A People’s History of the United States, a detailed and gripping history of the American Civil War “from the bottom up.”

From the pages of Paul Johnson’s authoritative classic, A History of the American People, a compelling account of Americans great and small during their nation’s most desperate hour.

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson

Combining magnificent historical research with a thrilling story, Manhunt describes the hour-by-hour details of the twelve days after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination when various factions within the United States government—and even some outside it—hunted for the President’s killer, John Wilkes Booth.

With Malice Toward None: A Biography of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen B. Oates

This classic definitive one-volume biography on the life of Abraham Lincoln masterfully follows Lincoln’s bitter struggle with poverty, his self-made success in business and law, his early disappointing political career, and his legendary leadership as president during one of America’s most tumultuous periods.

The Confederate Nation: 1861-1865 by Emory M. Thomas

The Confederate Nation has yet to be superseded as the standard title on the subject. Emory Thomas has left an indelible mark on the historiography of the Confederacy.”—Journal of Southern History

Please let us know if you need a desk copy or examination copy of any of the aforementioned books.

Stanley Fish Teaches Students How to Write a Sentence

HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE by Stanley FishNew York Times columnist and world-class professor Stanley Fish has long been an aficionado of language—and in How to Write a Sentence, he reminds composition professors and students to pay serious attention to form.

Like a seasoned sportscaster, Fish marvels at the adeptness of finely crafted sentences and breaks them down into digestible morsels, giving students an instant play-by-play. His vibrant analysis takes students on a tour of great writers throughout history—from William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Henry James to Martin Luther King Jr. , Antonin Scalia, and Elmore Leonard. Indeed, How to Write a Sentence is both a spirited love letter to the written word and a key to understanding how great writing works; it is a book that will stand the test of time.

“Both deeper and more democratic than The Elements of Style.”—Financial Times

College professors who wish to consider How to Write a Sentence (9780061840548, hardcover, $19.99) for possible course adoption may request a copy by using this form.*

*No phone calls please. This offer is valid in the United States only and will expire on February 28, 2011. No more than one book per person. Ship to college address only. Proof of employment at college must be given upon request. Limited supply. Requests will be filled while supplies last. Our receipt of a request does not guarantee fulfillment.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dolen Perkins-Valdez's WENCH: A Hidden History of Slavery

WENCH by Dolen Perkins-ValdezThe true novelist discovers an important story that hasn't been told, and the historian collects the pieces of our past that should never fade from our historical memory. In her debut novel Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez has done both.

Like Edward P. Jones's The Known World, Wench takes students back to America in the years before the Civil War and explores the moral complexities of slavery. Based on a little-known fact, Wench follows the lives of four women at a resort popular among slaveholders who bring their enslaved mistresses.
Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly nice in the summer when the Southern humidity is too much to bear. Most importantly, it provides privacy, which best suits the needs of the Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their black, enslaved mistresses. It's an open secret.

Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at
Tawawa House. They have become friends over the years as they reunite and share developments in their own lives and on their respective plantations. They don't bother too much with questions of freedom, though the resort is situated in free territory—but when truth-telling Mawu comes to the resort and starts talking of running away, things change.

Named a Best Book of 2010 by Library Journal, Wench has received much praise:

“Drawing on research about the resort that eventually became the first black college, Wilberforce University, the novel explores the complexities of relationships in slavery and the abiding comfort of women’s friendships.”—Booklist

“A finely wrought story that explores the emotional lives of four slave women caught in the web of the Peculiar Institution.”—Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River

And, here is what a fellow educator wrote to Ms. Perkins-Valdez's editor:

Hi Dawn,

I just finished reading Wench. Thank you very much for publishing this book.
It was such a powerful novel, not least of which was the lack of either
preaching or political stance. The novel simply unfolded.

Take care.
David Unger
Div. of Hum.
City College of New York
And, this from Charles Larson, Professor of Literature at American University: “Perkins-Valdez's first novel, Wench, published a year ago and now available in paperback, fits nicely with the moral and humanistic questions a number of black writers have made central to their work. In Beloved, Toni Morrison centered her masterpiece on a slave mother's murder of her child in order to make certain that that child would never become a slave. In The Known World, Edward P. Jones asked how it was possible that freed African-Americans could become slave-owners. Perkins-Valdez asks a similarly complicated question: will slave women who are mistresses of their white owners abandon the children of those liaisons and escape into freedom, given the opportunity?”
Please let us know if you'd like to consider Wench (9780061706561, paperback, $14.99) for one of your classes by filling out our desk copy form.

And, here's Ms. Perkins-Valdez talking about and reading from Wench.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eugene Peterson’s THE PASTOR: Paying Attention to the Calling

The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson

In The Pastor: A Memoir, Eugene Peterson—professor emeritus at Regent College and author of The Message and over thirty other books—shares his journey to becoming a pastor. This candid reflection shows students of ministry the experiences and people influential in shaping Peterson’s path and growth as a minister.

With great humility and honesty, Eugene Peterson—explores the difficulties and challenges he experienced in trying to figure out what the essence of being a pastor was—and he captures the heart of this noble calling by stressing the importance of “paying attention and calling attention to ‘what is going on right now’ between men and women, with each other and with God,” rather than the numbers filling the pews every week.

This memoir from “the pastor to pastors” is sure to be a must read for those entering the ministry for years to come.

Praise for The Pastor:

“Eugene Peterson excavates the challenges and mysteries regarding pastors and church and gives me hope for both. This is a must-read for every person who is or thinks they are called to be a pastor and for every person who has one.”William Paul Young, author of The Shack

“If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!”Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline

Please let us know if you need a desk or exam copy of The Pastor.

Friday, February 4, 2011

All the President's Women—THE WOMEN JEFFERSON LOVED by Virginia Scharff

THE WOMEN JEFFERSON LOVED by Virginia ScharffThroughout his life, Thomas Jefferson constructed a seemingly impenetrable wall between his public legacy and his private life, a tradition upheld by his family and his biographers. Now, in The Women Jefferson Loved, Virginia Scharff, breaks down the barrier between these two spheres to offer an intriguing new portrait of this complicated and influential figure, seen through the lives of the most important people in his life: the women he loved.

For the first time in one volume, Scharff brings together the stories of these diverse women separated by race but related by blood, including his mother Jane Randolph; his wife, Martha, and her half sister; Sally Hemings, his slave mistress; his daughters; and his granddaughters. “Their lives, their Revolutions, their vulnerabilities shaped the choices Jefferson made, from the selection of words and ideas in his Declaration, to the endless building of his mountaintop mansion, to the vision of a great agrarian nation that powered his Louisiana Purchase,” Scharff writes. Based on a wealth of sources including family letters, and written with empathy and great insight,
The Women Jefferson Loved is a welcome new look at this legendary American that offers a fresh twist on American history itself.

Virginia Scharff is Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico and the author of several scholarly works and textbooks. She was a Beinecke Research Fellow in the Lamar Center for Frontiers and Borders at Yale University, and is Women of the West Chair at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and a Fellow of the Society of American Historians. She has also served as president of the Western History Association.

“Scharff's approach to Jefferson allows her to paint a portrait of a man who was passionate, vulnerable and charming but also hypocritical, difficult and demanding. The Women Jefferson Loved adds to our understanding of one of the most fascinating personalities of the American Revolution.
”—New York Times Book Review

“A smart, eye-opening, vividly written saga of Monticello. It's an indispensable portrait of Thomas Jefferson like none other. Highly recommended!
Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History, Rice University, and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

Please let us know if you need a desk copy or an examination copy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Now In Paperback: Fox’s New York Times Best Selling THE MYTH OF THE RATIONAL MARKET

In The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, Justin Fox explores the world’s most influential investing idea—the “efficient market” theory—bringing to life the people and ideas that forged modern finance.

The efficient market hypothesis—long part of academic folklore but codified in the 1960’s at the University of Chicago—has evolved into a powerful myth. It has been the maker and loser of fortunes, the driver of trillions of dollars, the inspiration for index funds and vast new derivatives markets, and the guidepost for thousands of careers. The theory holds that the market is always right, and that the decisions of millions of rational investors, all acting on information to outsmart one another, always provide the best judge of a stock’s value. That myth is crumbling.

The Myth of the Rational Market chronicles the rise and fall of what Yale professor Robert Shiller calls “one of the most remarkable errors in the history of economic thought,” while also uncovering the new ideas that will drive the market for years to come.

Praise for The Myth of the Rational Market:

“Do we really need yet another book about the financial crisis? Yes, we do—because this one is different. Fox’s book is not an idle exercise in intellectual history, which makes it a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the mess we’re in.”— Paul Krugman,
New York Times Book Review

“His analysis is singularly compelling, and the rare business history that reads like a thriller . . . . A must-read for anyone interested in the markets, our economy or government, this dense but spellbinding work brings modern finance and economics to life.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Please let us know if you need a
desk or exam copy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Now Available in Trade Paperback—SHADOW TAG: A NOVEL by Louise Erdrich

SHADOW TAG:  A NOVEL by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich’s Shadow Tag is now available in trade paperback—and I hope you’ll consider adopting it for one of your classes.

Named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year for 2010, Shadow Tag explores the complex nature of love and the fluid boundaries of identity through the marriage of Irene and Gil. When Irene discovers that Gil has been reading her “Red Diary,” she begins to write the truth of her life and marriage in her carefully hidden “Blue Notebook.” The “Red Diary,” still tucked away where her husband can find it, becomes a carefully calculated farce. Ms. Erdrich deftly alternates between Irene’s twin journals and an objective third-person narrative—giving students an unflinching portrait of a marriage.

Praise for Shadow Tag:

“Clear, urgent, deep as a swift river. . . . Shadow Tag accomplishes the literary miracle of making a reader ravenous to finish it, while stinging with regret at how soon it must end. . . . A reader feels caught up, breathless, bewitched by the danse macabre. . . . My heart was beating hard as, against my own resolve, I pushed past my daily ration toward the book’s necessary, fitting, yet startling conclusion.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A fast-paced novel of exceptional artistic, intellectual, and psychological merit. . . . While the writing is fiercely disciplined, with a poet’s polish, every line is unpredictable. . . . Nowhere have love’s complications been better illustrated than in the raw honesty of Shadow Tag.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“A masterpiece . . . a captivating work of fiction . . . exquisite . . . tightly focused . . . arresting . . . a taut tale. . . . Shadow Tag is a devastating portrayal of the circular insanity of romantic obsession. . . . This profoundly tragic novel captures that lament in some of Erdrich’s most beautiful and urgent writing.”—Washington Post

The works of Louise Erdrich have proven throughout the years to repeatedly be a popular choice for course adoption: our most popular Erdrich titles in academia are Love Medicine and Tracks.

Love Medicine is the stunning first novel in Louise Erdrich’s compelling Native American series. Written in her uniquely poetic, powerful style, it tells the story of two families—the Kashpaws and the Lamartines—that is a multigenerational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and healing.

Praise for Love Medicine:

“A wondrous prose song.”—New York Times Book Review

“A remarkable first novel that stares more boldly at many of the truths of Native American life in this country than any fiction I’ve read. . . . It is a deeply, if ironically, spirited novel.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power.”—Toni Morrison

“A powerful piece of work. . . . Louise Erdrich is the rarest kind of writer, as compassionate as she is sharp-sighted.”—Anne Tyler

Set in North Dakota at a time in the 20th century when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance—yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender.

Praise for Tracks:

Tracks is a rare book. It is both a wonderful story that borders upon myth and a stylistic masterpiece . . . a beautiful work for a gifted writer working in her prime.”—Baltimore Sun

“Fleur Pillager [is] one of the most haunting presences in contemporary American literature. . . . Tracks may be the story of our time.”—Los Angeles Times

Please let us know if you need a desk copy or examination copy of any of the aforementioned Louise Erdrich books.