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Newly Published: Quizzing America

Quizzing AmericaNew on our bookshelf today:

Quizzing America: Television Game Shows and Popular Culture in the 1950s
Mark Dunn

The 1950s television game show was a cultural touchstone, reflecting the zeitgeist of a flourishing modern nation. The author explores the iconography of the mid–20th century U.S. in the context of TV watching, game playing and prize winning. The scandals that marred the genre’s reputation are revisited, highlighting American’s propensity for both gullibility and winking cynicism.

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New today—The Half-Game Pennant of 1908

New on our bookshelf today:

The Half-Game Pennant of 1908: Four Teams Chase Victory in the American League
Charles C. Alexander

The 1908 American League pennant race was described as a “a fierce and fluctuating fight.” With five games left in the season, each of the league’s four westernmost teams still had a shot at the championship. It was the height of the Deadball Era, noted for its spectacular pitching, low scoring, quickly played games, and memorable characters. It was also a time when professional baseball truly came into its own as America’s national pastime. This lively account details a neglected chapter in the game’s history.

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Newly Published: Quintessential Jack

New on our bookshelf today:

Quintessential Jack: The Art of Jack Nicholson on Screen
Scott Edwards

After several years of small roles and experimental screenwriting during his early career, Jack Nicholson got his big break in 1969 with Easy Rider. The next year Five Easy Pieces made him a star. Since then the 12-time Academy Award nominee has won Best Actor twice (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good as It Gets).

This critical study examines each of Nicholson’s film roles, as well as his screenwriting and directorial efforts. Fascinating personal insights are provided through interviews with stars such as Mews Small, James Hong, Millie Perkins, Michael Margotta, Shirley Knight, Joe Turkel, Ed Nelson, Hazel Court, the Monkees, several Apollo astronauts, Hell’s Angel Sonny Barger, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, and many more.

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Newly Published: Victory at Midway

New on our bookshelf today:

Victory at Midway: The Battle That Changed the Course of World War II
James M. D’Angelo
Foreword by William S. Dudley

In the five months after Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy won a string of victories in a campaign to consolidate control of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. In June of 1942, Japan suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Midway and was never again able to take the offensive in the Pacific.

Bringing fresh perspective to the battle and its consequences, the author identifies Japan’s operational plan as a major factor in its Navy’s demise and describes the profound effects Midway had on the course of the war in Europe.

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Newly Published: Encyclopedia of Television Shows

New on our bookshelf today:

Encyclopedia of Television Shows: A Comprehensive Supplement, 2011–2016
Vincent Terrace

This is a supplement to the author’s Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925–2010. It covers 1,612 series broadcast between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2016. Major networks—ABC, CBS, the CW, Fox and NBC—are covered along with many cable channels, such as AMC, Disney, Nickelodeon, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, TNT, Comedy Central and History Channel. Alphabetical entries provide storylines, casts, networks and running dates. A performer index is included.

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Newly Published: The Great Sports Documentaries

The Great Sports DocumentariesNew on our bookshelf today:

The Great Sports Documentaries: 100+ Award Winning Films
Michael Peters

Sports and competition have been film subjects since the dawn of the medium. Olympic sports documentaries have been around nearly as long as the games themselves; films about surfing, boxing, roller derby, motorcycle racing and bodybuilding were theatrical successes during the 1960s and 1970s.

The author surveys the history of the sports documentary subgenre, covering more than 100 award-winning films of 40+ different competitions, from traditional team sports to dogsled racing to ballroom dancing.

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Newly Published: The Trunk Dripped Blood

The Trunk Dripped BloodNew on our bookshelf today:

The Trunk Dripped Blood: Five Sensational Murder Cases of the Early 20th Century
Mark Grossman

A trunk dripping blood, discovered at a railway station in Stockton in 1906, launched one of the most famous murder investigations in California history—still debated by crime historians. In 1913, the dismembered body of a young pregnant woman, found in the East River, was traced back to her killer and husband, who remains the only priest ever executed for homicide in the U.S. In 1916, a successful dentist, recently married into a prestigious family, poisoned his in-laws—first with deadly bacteria, then with arsenic—claiming the real murderer was an Egyptian incubus who took control of his body.

Drawing on court transcripts, newspaper coverage and other contemporary sources, this collection of historical American true crime stories chronicles five murder cases that became media sensations of their day, making headlines across the country in the decades before radio or television.

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Newly Published: “We used to eat people”

“We used to eat people”New on our bookshelf today:

“We used to eat people”: Revelations of a Fiji Islands Traditional Village
R.M.W. Dixon

Living in a reed hut on Taveuni—the “garden isle” of Fiji—the author studied the native language and carefully observed their traditions until he was accepted as a (somewhat unusual) member of the village.

Despite five cyclones the summer of 1985, daily life was idyllic. Cannibalism has been abandoned, reluctantly, at the behest of the new Christian God. But the old religion survived beneath the facade and priests danced naked on the beach beneath the full moon. The village pulsated with factions and feuds, resolved by the stern but benevolent chief, whose word was law. Legends told of a princess born as a bird, who was killed and thus became a comely maiden—but the murderer had to be cooked and eaten.

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Newly Published: The First 50 Super Bowls

New on our bookshelf today:

The First 50 Super Bowls: How Football’s Championships Were Won
Ed Benkin
Foreword by Mike Curtis

The Super Bowl redefined American sports. Over the past half century, the NFL’s championship game has grown from humble beginnings to the biggest sporting event of the calendar year—an event that creates legendary stories, from Len Dawson’s conversation with the president to Jim O’Brien’s game-winning kick and Randy White’s post-game duet with Willie Nelson. Covering 50 Super Bowls, from 1966 through 2016, this book gives an insider’s view of each game, with recollections from the people who participated, many told for the first time.

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New in Softcover: Western Film Series of the Sound Era

Western Film Series of the Sound EraNow available in softcover:

Western Film Series of the Sound Era
Michael R. Pitts

The western genre touched on ideals of honor, conquest, and freedom of spirit, and its stories packed cinemas of the early sound era. This volume covers 30 western film series produced from the mid 1930s to the early 1950s. Included are such long-running series as Hopalong Cassidy, The Durango Kid and The Three Mesquiteers as well as those that had moderate or brief runs like The Singing Cowgirl and The Texas Rangers. Major genre stars like John Wayne, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, Buck Jones and Johnny Mack Brown headlined the popular Saturday matinee fare. The book contains a plot synopsis and analysis of each series’ place in cinema history, many photographs and illustrations and a detailed filmography.