Monday, September 26, 2011

Milan Kundera's ENCOUNTER

ENCOUNTERS: Essays by Milan KunderaEncounter: Essays—now available in paperback—is the latest addition to Milan Kundera’s acclaimed body of literary criticism—of which John Simon wrote, “I can't imagine reading this book without being challenged and instructed, amused, amazed and aroused, and ultimately delighted.” (New York Times Book Review)

Encounter, that is to say: spark; flash; chance.” As its title suggests, Encounter is a product of Milan Kundera’s deep engagement with illuminating points of intersection—between art and history, memory and forgetting, the artist and his times. The distinguished writer reflects on his signature themes and old loves (Rabelais, Fellini, Janacek, Malaparte), on literature, mortality, and the transformation of civilization as we know it, in an elegant, startlingly original, and beautiful book.

Milan Kundera is a writer of unparalleled erudition, but this is no dry academic account. With rare intimacy, he shares his experiences of reading and writing—describing his discovery of the work of Aimé Césaire as a young man, or the fresh insights he discovered upon a recent rereading Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. He reconsiders from unexpected and rewarding angles the work of such major novelists as Dostoyevski, Céline, and Philip Roth. And with disarming honesty, he looks back on a literary life that took him from young, committed Communist to celebrated author in exile.

If you would like to consider Encounter (Harper Perennial: 9780061894435, paperback, $13.99) for one of your classes, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

And, you’ll find all of Milan Kundera’s works here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Girls, Media, and the Princess Phenomenon

In 1968, I was the proud owner of a Cinderella watch with a light-blue leather band and a china figurine. I don’t know where either are today—but my seven-year-old self thought both were incredibly beautiful and the best gifts I’d received to date. I also wore corduroy overalls, played for hours outside with the other kids on the block, and I wasn’t allowed to watch more than a few hours of television a week. Even going to the movies was a very, very big deal that didn’t happen very often. I didn’t live in a media-saturated world like girls today. I thought Cinderella was great—but she didn’t loom especially large in my imagination.

When my nieces were toddlers—I was reintroduced to the cast of Disney princesses—with a few new characters added into the mix. Thank goodness that I also discovered Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Peggy—author of the bestsellling Schoolgirls—was as dismayed I was by all the pink and glitter being pushed at young girls—and—in Cinderella Ate My Daughter, she reveals the dark side of all that sparkle.

The rise of the girlie-girl, Peggy warns, is not that innocent. Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. The pursuit of physical perfection been recast as the source of female empowerment. Commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

As a parent, Peggy wondered, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-sized wedding gown? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway—especially given girls’ successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from ealry sexualization—or prime them for it? Could today’s little princess become tomorrow’s sexting teen?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. The stakes turn out to be higher than she—or I—ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable—yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents, teachers, (and aunts) can effectively counterbalance its influence.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter will be available in paperback (9780061711534, $14.99) in February 2012. However, if you would like to consider it for possible course adoption, I'll be happy to send you a hardcover (9780061711527, $25.99) edition now. Please let me know if you'd like a copy by filling out our desk copy form.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bestsellers: Chemistry

PERIODIC TALES by Hugh Aldersey WilliamsIt’s really wonderful to see Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Periodic Table, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams on Library Journal's Best Sellers in Chemistry list.

In his prologue, Hugh Aldersey-Williams writes: “Like the alphabet or the zodiac, the periodic table of the elements is one of those graphic images that seem to root themselves in our memories. . . . If I were to reassemble my periodic table now, I would still want to include a specimen of each element, but I would also want to trace its cultural journey. I feel that the elements leave great streaks of color across the canvas of our civilization. The black of charcoal and coal, the white of calcium in chalk and marble and pearl, the intense blue of cobalt in glass and china slash boldly through place and time, geography and history. Periodic Tales is the start of that collection.”

After reading a bit more of Periodic Tales, I think you’ll agree with the reviews:

“The author’s personal engagement is at its most infectious in the experiments he undertakes in the course of his research.”—Wall Street Journal

“[F]ascinating and beautiful. . . . If only chemistry has been like this at school. . . . [A] rich compilation of delicious tales.”—Matt Ridley, Prospect magazine

Periodic Tales is available now in hardcover. The paperback edition will publish in March 2012.

Educator Special Offer: WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE by Brian Cox

We are very excited about Wonders of the Universe by Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University and CERN. This unprecedented exploration of the cosmos, complete with gorgeous illustrations and images, is an explanation of the scientific workings of the Universe for a new generation, making even the most complex concepts clear and engaging.

Travelling to the North Pole, Professor Cox demonstrates how spinning worlds create electrical currents and magnetism; he looks at the South Pacific Ocean to explain how the Universe communicates and moves in waves; he shows us how the water of the Angel Falls waterfall in Venezuela behaves exactly like the light does around a black hole. The same laws of light, gravity, time, matter and energy that govern us here on Earth are the same as those applied in the Universe.

Using  his expert knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm, Professor Cox shows us that if we can understand the impact of these governing laws on Earth it will bring us a step closer to an understanding of our Universe.

While the book, on its own, is wildly impressive, it also accompanies a documentary special of the same title produced by Discovery’s Science Channel. You can sample the program (which originally aired in the United Kingdom on BBC) on YouTube:

-          Seeing Andromeda
-          Black Holes

Here is some of the praise that Wonders of the Universe has received:

"It's as wonderful as the universe"—Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

“Cox brings a magical enchantment to this life-changing book. . . . Mindblowing . . . . I swear that you will never be the same again after you turn the last page of this unique and irresistible book.”—Sunday Express (London)
“Cox effortlessly explains the most complex and fundamental scientific truths. . . . His aim it to get all of us to understand our place in the cosmos.”—Sunday Times (London)

We are confident that this book would be a welcome and helpful resource for you and your students, which is why—for a limited time—we’re going to offer a special educators discount of 50% off*. To take advantage of this offer, you will need to:
1.    Call our customer service representatives at 1-800-331-3761
2.    Tell them you are responding to the 50% off offer for one copy of Wonders of the  Universe
3.    Provide the promo code “D91211”
4.    Give a campus mailing address

*Limited time offer; expires October 14, 2011. One copy per customer, while supplies last.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An indispensable passport to the stars*

In Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Lisa Randall—Frank J. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard and expert in both particle physics and cosmology—introduces students to the latest developments in physics—which will radically revise their understanding of the world: its makeup, its evolution, and the fundamental forces that drive its operation.

With Lisa Randall as their guide, students will explore how to decide which scientific questions to study and how to go about answering them. They will examine the role of risk, creativity, and uncertainity, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking through provocative conversations with leading figures in other fields, and they’ll get a tour of the largest machine ever built: the Large Hadron Collidor.

Along the way, students will come to understand that the biggest scientific questions we face and how answering them could ultimately tell us who we are and where we came from.

“Science has a battle for hearts and minds on its hands. . . . How good it feels to have Lisa Randall’s unusual blend of top flight science, clarity, and charm on our side.”—Richard Dawkins

“Dazzling ideas. . . . Read this book today to understand the science of tomorrow.”—Steven Pinker


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wheelock's Latin: 7th Edition

Wheelock's Latin 7th Edition is now available. This new edition of Wheelock's Latin has all the features, many of them improved and expanded, that have made it the bestselling single-volume beginning Latin textbook:

  • 40 chapters with grammatical explanations and readings drawn from the works of Rome’s major prose and verse writers;
  • Self-tutorial exercises, each with an answer key, for independent study;
  • An extensive English-Latin/Latin-English vocabulary section;
  • A rich selection of original Latin readings—unlike other textbooks, which contain primarily made-up Latin texts;
  • Etymological aids, maps, and dozens of images illustrating aspects of the classical culture and mythology presented in the chapter readings
  • Also included are expanded notes on the literary passages, comments on vocabulary, and translation tips; new comprehension and discussion questions; and new authentic classical Latin readings, including Roman grafitti in every chapter.

WHEELOCK'S LATIN 7th EDITION by Richard A. LaFleurTo see even more titles in the Wheelock's Latin series, please take a look at our Latin catalog.

If you would like to consider Wheelock's Latin (9780061997228, paperback, $21.99) for your course, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

To request the answer key, please fill out this form.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Galley Giveaway: John Brockman's THIS WILL MAKE YOU SMARTER

ALL OF OUR GALLEYS HAVE BEEN GIVEN AWAY! Please visit us again for new giveaways.
John Brockman posed the following question to 150 of the worlds brightest and influential minds: "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" The result of their answers is This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking. Brockman, publisher of, collects contributions from some of the leading experts including:
  • Steven Pinker on positive-sum games
  • Nassim Nicolas Taleb on anti-fragility
  • and Richard Dawkins on the double-blind control experiment
While this thought provoking collection doesn't go on sale until February 2012, 5 educators can get an early look right now, and see if it could be helpful to their students!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2011: Hot Air, The Estrogen Dilemma, and The Trouble With Scientists!

THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2011 edited by Rebecca Skloot, Floyd Skloot, and Jesse Cohen
With the eleventh installment of the popular annual series, HarperCollins is pleased to present The Best American Science Writing 2011.  Edited by New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and award-winning science writer Rebecca Skloot, her father—award winning poet and author Floyd Skloot—and longtime series editor Jesse Cohen, this volume features 20 thought-provoking, compelling, and timely essays from some of America’s leading scientists and writers. 
This year’s contributors include Michael S. Rosenwald, Katy Butler, John Colapinto, Charles Homans, Carl Zimmer, Julia Whitty, Cynthia Gorney, Charles Siebert, Amy Harmon, Cari Beauchamp, Judy Balaban, John Brenkus, Alan Schwarz, Deborah Blum, Ed Yong, Tim Folger, Burkhard Bilger, Kristin Ohlson, Michael Specter, Mark Bowden, Peter J. Boyer, and Andrew Curry.

The topics explored this year cover the entire scientific spectrum, ranging from “Earth on Fire” to “Gut Bacteria in Japanese People Borrowed Sushi-Digesting Genes from Ocean Bacteria.”; from biochemistry, physics, and astronomy, to genetics, evolutionary theory, and cognition. Your students will be exposed to the best examples of scientific and technical writing that 2011 has to offer while also providing a comprehensive overview of the year’s most compelling, relevant, and exciting scientific developments.

Praise for The Best American Science Writing:
“It is rare to be offered such a diverse collection of science writing, even more, one that can be enjoyed by laymen, scientists, and writers alike.”—Nature
“Contemporary science’s best answers to . . . eternal riddles.”—Fortune
If you’d like to consider The Best American Science Writing 2011 (paperback, $14.99) for one of your classes, please fill out our online desk copy form.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happiness on Campus

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen RubinThis month, Harvard reached out to incoming students with a Happiness Awareness Day to promote well-being-focused resources on campus—especially to the freshman class, a group that is very vunerable to stress and anxiety.

In an ongoing effort to promote happiness at Harvard, there is also a student-driven initiative “to promote student prioritization of wellbeing and fun” called The Happiness Project—and—happily, one of the resources they recommend is Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project and their website has a link to her Happiness Project Toolbox.

This isn’t the first time that students have recommended Gretchen’s book to their peers or to their professors. And, doesn’t that solve one of the biggest problems professors have with their students? Here is a book your students will READ!

Plus, The Happiness Project is a book that professors are reading and recommending. Here’s a terrific article by Natalie Houston, associate professor of English at the University of Houston, from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

If you would like to consider The Happiness Project (Harper Paperbacks: 978-0-06-158326-1, $14.99) for one of your classes—or—perhaps for your entire freshman class to read, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

From a Region in Turmoil: Gerry Hadden's NEVER THE HOPE ITSELF

In Never the Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti Gerry Hadden, former NPR Correspondent for Mexico, Latin America, and Haiti, tells the story behind the stories, putting your students in the middle of the action as he reports on a region in great turmoil. Hadden tells interspersing stories of Mexicans attempting deadly border crossings, Guatemalans fighting well-funded gun smugglers, and Haitians searching for hope amid a bloody and destructive coup.

With journalistic prowess, Hadden works his beat even after the region is largely abandoned and most foreign bureaus are shut down in the wake of 9/11. During this time, he documents overlooked and extraordinary events, striving to unearth the real story that Americans needed to hear. Your students will be hard-pressed to find a better example of what life as a foreign correspondent in a war torn region is like than with Never the Hope Itself.

Here’s a few examples of the kind of praise Never the Hope Itself has received:

“Radio news won’t be the same again. Suddenly, the voice has a face, and it’s unforgettable. Former NPR reporter Gerry Hadden reminds us that the back story to the news story has its own narrative and one that’s more revealing, compelling and honest, than the stuff we hear and see out of some box. Never the Hope Itself is a welcome antidote to the bullshit of the bullets-and-balls memoirs oozing out of so many journalists these days.”—Rory Nugent, author of Down at the Docks

“Hadden brings his formidable storytelling and reporting skills to bear, whether he’s facing off against migrant-robbing thugs in a deserted train station or finding himself staring straight into the front of a drug war. Some of the visions in this book are scary and bleak, but Hadden always manages to find examples of human generosity and unexpected kindness. He shows his subjects in all their humanity, capturing the worst and best of the human spirit along the way.”—Dan White, author of The Cactus Eaters

Be sure to check out the video below of Hadden describing some of the exciting adventures chronicled in the book, paired with powerful pictures collected along the way:

If you would like a print copy of Never the Hope Itself (ISBN: 9780062020079, paperback, $14.99) to review for possible course adoption, please fill out our online desk copy form.

Big Questions Tackled By Big Thinkers

John Brockman, editor of, is a man who has made a habit of asking intriguing questions, and in Culture: Leading Scientists Explore Societies, Art, Power, and Technology, John Brockman is true to form:
  • Why do civilizations rise and fall?
  • What are the origins and purpose of art?
  • How does technology shape society?
  • Did culture direct human evolution?
  • Is the Internet an agent of democracy or dictatorships?

As usual, John Brockman gets answers from some of the world’s leading thinkers and scientists:

Jared Diamond on why societies collapse and how we can make better decisions to protect our own future • Denis Dutton on the origins of art • Daniel C. Dennett on the evolution of cultures • Jaron Lanier on the ominous impact of the Internet • Nicholas Christakis on the structure and rules of social networks, both “real” and online • Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov on the new political reality of the digital era • Brian Eno on what cultures value • Stewart Brand on the responsibilities of human power • Douglas Rushkoff on the next Renaissance • W. Daniel Hillis on the Net as a global “knowledge web”

John Brockman still isn’t satisfied. He wants to know:
  • Who am “I”?
  • How is happiness achieved?
  • What is the key to memory?
  • How do babies become adults?
  • Is personality determined?
  • What function do emotions serve?
  • Are we hardwired to be moral?

And, the result is Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness, a collection of accessible essays from influential scientists and thinkers about the essential aspects of human consciousness and the complex workings of the brain:

Steven Pinker on how the human brain works • Martin Seligman on happiness and what it means to live a good life • Philip Zimbardo on the impact of environment on personality • V. S. Ramachandran on the question of self—who “you” are • Simon Baron-Cohen on the innate differences between boys and girls • George Lakoff on the role of the body and brain on different types of reasoning • Alison Gopnik on why human children are the best learning machines in the universe • Jonathan Haidt on the connection between emotions, morality, and religious belief

Interested in considering Mind (Harper Perennial: 978-0-06-202584-5, paperback, $14.99) or Culture (Harper Perennial: 978-0-06-202313-1, paperback, $14.99) ? Let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

And, don’t forget that this isn’t the first time that John Brockman has asked questions and gotten answers from leading thinkers:

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?
This Will Change Everything
What We Believe But Cannot Prove
What Are You Optimistic About?
What Is Your Dangerous Idea?

What will
John Brockman ask next?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Think Straight About Animals?

SOME WE LOVE, SOME WE HATE, SOME WE EAT by Hal Herzog Hal Herzog’s Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals is a favorite of the academic marketing department. We admire it because Hal Herzog, Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University, is thoughtful, rational, and often funny as he shows us how illogical we are in our relationships with animals. In the words of Irene M. Pepperberg, associate research professor at Brandeis University and author of Alex & Me, Hal “deftly blends anecdote with scientific research to show how almost any moral or ethical position regarding our relationship with animals can lead to absurd consequences.”

Drawing on more than two decades of research in the emerging field of anthrozoology, the science of human–animal relations, Hal guides students through an exploration of the fierce moral conundrums we face every day regarding the creatures with whom we share our world. It’s not a polemic. It’s a book that will foster thoughtful debate and conversation between the carnivores, vegetarians, pet lovers, and
Maru fans in your classroom.

Robert M. Sapolsky of Stanford University said, “It’s a wonderful book—wildly readable, funny, scientifically sound, and with surprising moments of deep, challenging thoughts.”

And, here's even more praise:

“Hal Herzog does for our relationships with animals what Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma did for our relationships with food. . . . The book is a joy to read, and no matter what your beliefs are now, it will change how you think.”
—Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

“Everybody who is interested in the ethics of our relationship between humans and animals should read this book.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human

“A fascinating, thoughtful, and thoroughly enjoyable exploration of a major dimension of human experience.”
Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct

It’s already been adopted in hardcover in all sorts of courses from composition and rhetoric (ENG 1060 Composition II: "Us and the Critters") to ethics and anthropology.

Now, it’s available in paperback. If you'd like to consider Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat (978-0-06173085-6, paperback, $14.99) for one of your courses, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

For more books in this subject area, take a look at the
ethics section of our Philosophy catalog.

What Are the 25 Essential Books for the Christian Devotional Life?

25 BOOKS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD READ by RenovareIn 25 Books Every Christian Should Read, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Tickle, Chris Webb, and a diverse editorial board of authors and speakers from a variety of Christian traditions—including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—have identified the most helpful and historic books for Christians, and they've created a resource that will lead educators and students on a journey of discipleship.
These are the 25 books that should be shaping the church, faith, and every Christian's engagement in the world. From classics like The Imitation of Christ to unexpected selections such as Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, 25 Books Every Christian Should Read provides historical background for each work, explains its importance for modern Christians, and includes excerpts from every book to get students started. In addition, each chapter ends with discussion questions to the work.

And, educators will find even more resources—including a free sample chapter to download—at Renovaré.

Please let us know if you would like to consider 25 Books Every Christian Should Read (HarperOne: 978-0-06-084143-0, paperback, $18.99) for one of your classes by filling out our desk copy form.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mathematics from a Christian Perspective

MATHEMATICS THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH by James Bradley and Russell HowellMathematics Through the Eyes of Faith—one in a series of books cosponsored by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities—is designed to help students and teachers understand how the interplay of mathematics and Christian belief can enrich the study of both.

With respect for the history and ever-changing applications of mathematical principles, James Bradley and Russell Howell, along with a team of fellow scholars, invite students to reconsider the generally-held belief that mathematics is all about numbers and formulas, with no religious significance—an attitude that belies the faith-based work of thinkers from Plato to Newton.

Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith invites students to reawaken their sensitivity to the spiritual matters raised by the study of mathematics by exploring such questions as:
  • What is the relationship between chance and divine providence?
  • Do concepts like infinity point beyond themselves to a higher reality?
  • Is mathematics discovered or invented, and why is it effective in the sciences?

If you would like to consider Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith (HarperOne: 978-0-06-202447-3, paperback, $19.99) for one of your courses, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

Other books in the series are Biology Through the Eyes of Faith, Business Through the Eyes of Faith, History Through the Eyes of Faith, Literature Through the Eyes of Faith, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith, and Sociology Through the Eyes of Faith.

To receive quarterly updates about new books, please sign up for our catalog ebulletin.

New from Peter Watson: GERMAN GENIUS

GERMAN GENIUS by Peter WatsonPeter Watson, author of Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud, turns his attention to the development of German intellectualism and its tremendous influence on the Western world.

In German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century, Peter Watson presents a lively and accessible review of more than 250 years of German intellectual history. Goethe, Mozart, Schopenhauer and einstein are just a few of the many German scientists, philosophers and artists who came to dominate their respective fields. Following the devastating effects of the Third Reich and World War II, German thinkers have once again begun to make significant contributions to the world of ideas.

“A compilation of essential German contributions to philosophy, theology, mathematics, natural and social science, and the arts. . . . Watson enshrines a vast pantheon of creative thinkers.”—New York Review of Books

If you would like to consider German Genius (978-0-06-076023-6, paperback, $19.99) for one of your classes, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

To receive quarterly updates about new books, please sign up for our catalog ebulletin.

New in Paperback: SEX AT DAWN

SEX AT DAWN by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda JethaWith reviews like these, it wasn't a surprise that Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá was one of the most popular books in our exhibit booth at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting:

Sex At Dawn is the single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948.” —Dan Savage

“This paradigm-shifting book is a thoroughly original discussion of the origins and nature of human sexuality... These authors have a gift for making complex material reader-friendly, filling each chapter with humor and passion as well as dozens of revolutionary insights.” —Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
“Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá have written the essential corrective to the evolutionary psychology literature...”—Stanton Peele, Ph.D.

If you would like to consider Sex at Dawn (9780061707810, paperback, $15.99) for one of your classes, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

Friday, September 2, 2011

THE MEANING OF THE BIBLE--Coming in November

Although it won’t be published until November, I have two preprints of The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us by Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine that I will give to the first two people who email us. Remember to give us your mailing address—and the offer is good only in the United States.

Meanwhile, let me tell you why we’re so excited about The Meaning of the Bible: Two leading Biblical scholars and professors from Vanderbilt University Divinity School guide students through the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament as Christians call it, highlighting the themes with which all of us continue to struggle:
  • human evil and God's response
  • war, law, and politics
  • women and sexuality
  • Israel and other nations
  • practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision
Knight and Levine open students’ eyes to the riches of one of the greatest collections of literature—showing how it is as relevant today as it was 2,500 years ago.

“Knight and Levine have written a winsome, accessible introduction to the theological thought of the Hebrew Bible. With a congenial exhibit of critical scholarship, they remain, in their thematic approach, at a descriptive level. But they allow room for and affirm the ways in which the biblical text can fund and form on-going interpretations in faith, both Jewish and Christian. This sort of irenic, thoughtful linkage of criticism and interpretation within a confessing tradition is exactly what we most need in Scripture reading.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A brilliant new translation: THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF SOPHOCLES

THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF SOPHOCLES translated by Robert Bagg and James Scully Harper Perennial has published a wonderful new translation of The Complete Plays of Sophocles by two award-winning poets and playwrights—Robert Bagg and James Scully.

The effectiveness and timeliness of Sophocles's dramas depend on translations such as these to resonate—intellectually and emtionally—with contemporary students. And, with this in mind, the editors of the distinguished Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume One have chosen to refresh the third edition by including Robert Bagg’s translations of Oedipus the King and Antigone.

Richard Wilbur, former United State Poet Laureate and winner of the National Book Award, has this to say about the Bagg/Scully translations: “Bagg’s Oedipus plays and Scully’s remarkable Aias are as finely wrought as one could desire. . . they have a spare impact which gets across the moment-by-moment of the plays, and makes plain the moral or political themes at issue.”

Included in The Complete Plays of Sophocles are Aias, Women of Trakhis, Philoktetes, Elektra, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone. In addition to providing a general introduction that gives students insights into ancient Greek theater, Sophocles's life and legacy, and the choices they made as translators, Robert Bagg and James Scully introduce each play—stressing its relevance to contemporary students.

If you would like to consider The Complete Plays of Sophocles (Harper Perennial: 9780062020345, paperback, $16.99) for one of your classes, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

Please note that Robert Bagg's translations of the three Oedipus plays (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone) will be published in a separate edition entitled The Oedipus Cycle (Harper Perennial: 9780062119995, paperback, $13.99) in March 2012!

For more resources, visit—where you'll find additional teaching resources from Robert Bagg and James Scully.


Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterward the two Germany's reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder's Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall brings students extraordinary tales of real lives in the former East Germany. Funder meets Miriam, who tried to escape to West Berlin as a 16-year-old; and hears the heartbreaking story of Frau Paul, who was separated from her baby by the Berlin Wall. She also meets the Stasi men themselves, still proud of their surveillance methods. Funder's powerful account of that brutal world makes Stasiland a contemporary classic your students will find riveting.

Praise for Stasiland:

"Brilliant. . . . A masterpiece of investigative analysis, written almost like a novel, with a perfect mix of compassion and distance."—Elena Lappin, Sunday Times (London)

"Anna Funder explores, in the most human and sensitive ways, lives blighted by the East German Stasi. She allows ex-Stasi operatives an equal chance to reflect on their achievements, and finds—to her dismay and ours—that they have learned nothing."—J. M. Coetzee

If you would like to consider Stasiland (Harper Perennial: 9780062077325, paperback, $15.99) for one of your courses please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.

Now in Paperback: THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM by Archie Brown

THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM by Archie BrownTwenty years ago—over Labor Day weekend—I was the lone staff member at our exhibit booth at the American Political Science Association's annual meeting when the Soviet Parliament voted to suspend the activities of the Communist Party in the USSR—following the failed coup by party officials attempting to remove Gorbachev from office. The exhibit hall was buzzing with excitement—and local reporters flooded the hall to speak to the experts who were—very conveniently—meeting in Washington, DC.

I don’t know if Archie Brown, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University, attended APSA that year—but he is one of the experts those reporters would have sought out for a comment. In The Rise and Fall of Communism, Brown draws on more than forty years of research on a wealth of new sources to trace the story of Communism from its 19th-century roots to its expansion and decline in the 20th century.

The Rise and Fall of Communism—now in paperback—has already received great praise:

“Only Archie Brown, with his unsurpassed knowledge of the theory, history, and comparative practice of Communism throughout the world, could have written the masterful, indispensible
—Alfred Stepan, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University

“It is easy to be polemical about communism. Mr. Brown strives to be fair-minded. . . . As a single-volume account of mankind's biggest mistake, Mr. Brown’s book is hard to beat.”
The Economist

If you would like to consider The Rise and Fall of Communism (Ecco: 9780061138829, paperback, $19.99) for one of your courses, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.