Posted on

Weekly Kindle Spotlight: June 25th

Now through July 19th, get these popular Kindle titles for just 3.99 on Amazon!

Solemn Duty in the Old Guard: From Arlington National Cemetery to the Pentagon on 9/11 in America’s Oldest Regiment

In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley, 1647-1663

Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance

Understanding the Pipe Organ: A Guide for Students, Teachers and Lovers of the Instrument

My Most Wanted Marijuana Mom: Growing Up in a Smuggling Family

Inside Gilligan’s Island: From Creation to Syndication

Evolution of Tolkien’s Mythology: A Study of the History of Middle-earth

Posted on

Newly Published: Discovering Musicals

New on our bookshelf:

Discovering Musicals: A Liberal Arts Guide to Stage and Screen
Marc Raymond Strauss

One of the few studies that cover both Broadway and Hollywood musicals, this book explores a majority of the most famous musicals over the past two centuries plus a select number of overlooked gems. Doubling as an introductory college and university text for musical, dance and theater majors and a guide for both musical connoisseurs and novices, the book includes YouTube references of nearly 1000 examples of dances and songs from musicals.

Posted on

Newly Published: Children in Prison

New on our bookshelf:

Children in Prison: Six Profiles Before, During and After Incarceration
Jerome Gold

Almost 330,000 children in America are in prison, in a detention center, on probation or parole, or otherwise under the control of the criminal justice system. In a time of nascent prison reform, these children are often left out of the conversation.

This book chronicles the experiences of six young people in Ash Meadow in Washington State. Written from the perspective of a prison rehabilitation counselor, this book provides a firsthand account of these children’s lives during and after their stay.

These accounts show how domestic violence, inequality and poor adult-modeling influence the decisions that children make later in life.

Posted on

Newly Published: David McCampbell

New on our bookshelf:

David McCampbell: Top Ace of U.S. Naval Aviation in World War II
David Lee Russell

This book explores the life and career of David McCampbell, the leader of the most successful naval air group in combat in WWII. An unequalled naval aviator, McCampbell shot down a total of 34 Japanese aircraft across numerous battles. Eventually awarded the Medal of Honor, he first served in the Atlantic as a carrier Landing Safety Officer, then as an air group leader in the Pacific theater. The author details McCampbell’s 31-year career, revealing an incredible diversity of leadership roles and service assignments. McCampbell commanded ships, training centers, aircraft squadrons and held a variety of Navy and Defense Department senior staff positions.

Posted on

Newly Published: Trumping Truth

New on our bookshelf:

Trumping Truth: Essays on the Destructive Power of “Alternative Facts”
Salvador Jiménez Murguía

When Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, coined the phrase “alternative facts” in January 2017, objectivity in public discourse—the long-held belief in a more or less agreed-upon set of verifiable truths—went into a tailspin. The use of alternative facts and narratives quickly became the go-to rhetorical strategy, especially among Trump’s administration and base. Rebuttals based on fact-checking and hard data were demoted to mere choices in a media bazaar where consumers are free to source their own versions of reality.

This volume explores the social and political disruption accompanying the loss of faith in objectivity, along with reflections on the disregard for truth and honesty, both within the Trump Administration and in contemporary popular culture.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ngaio Marsh

New on our bookshelf:

Ngaio Marsh: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction
Bruce Harding

Considered one of the “Queens of Crime”—along with such greats as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham—Ngaio Marsh (1895–1982) was a gifted writer and a celebrated author of classic British detective fiction, as well as a successful theater director. Best known for the 32 detective novels she published between 1934 and 1982, she received the Order of the British Empire in 1948 and was made a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in 1966. Based on years of original research by the curator of the Ngaio Marsh House in Christchurch, New Zealand, this book explores the fascinating literary world of Dame Ngaio.

Posted on

Newly Published: Robots in American Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Robots in American Popular Culture
Steve Carper

They are invincible warriors of steel, silky-skinned enticers, stealers of jobs and lovable goofball sidekicks. Legions of robots and androids star in the dream factories of Hollywood and leer on pulp magazine covers, instantly recognizable icons of American popular culture. For two centuries, we have been told tales of encounters with creatures stronger, faster and smarter than ourselves, making us wonder who would win in a battle between machine and human. This books examines society’s reactions to robots and androids such as Robby and Rosie, Elektro and Sparko, Data, WALL-E, C3PO and the Terminator in popular culture, particularly before and after World War II when the power of technology unfolded. It shows how robots evolved with the times and then eventually caught up with and surpassed them.

Posted on

Newly Published: Rocky Colavito

New on our bookshelf:

Rocky Colavito: Cleveland’s Iconic Slugger
Mark Sommer

Iconic ballplayer Rocky Colavito captivated fans during the 1950s and 1960s with his movie-star looks, boyish enthusiasm, powerful batting and cannon-like arm. This comprehensive biography of “the Rock”—the first in more than half a century—recounts his origins in an Italian immigrant family, his close friendships with Herb Score and Roger Maris, and his rise through the minors to become one of the Cleveland Indians’ most beloved players. Colavito retired with the third-most home runs by a right-handed batter in American League history.

The author tells the story of baseball’s perhaps most controversial trade—Colavito, the AL’s 1959 home run champion, for the Detroit Tigers’ batting champion, Harvey Kuenn. Colavito’s departure was a crushing blow to Indians fans and the team’s subsequent 34–year slump was dubbed “the Curse of Colavito.”

Posted on

Newly Published: The Rise of K-Dramas

New on our bookshelf:

The Rise of K-Dramas: Essays on Korean Television and Its Global Consumption
Edited by JaeYoon Park and Ann-Gee Lee

Korean dramas gained popularity across Asia in the late 1990s, and their global fandom continues to grow. Despite cultural differences, non-Asian audiences find “K-dramas” appealing. Diverse in both content and form, they range from historical melodrama and romantic comedy to action, horror, sci-fi and thriller.
Devotees pursue an immersive fandom, consuming Korean food, fashion and music, learning Korean to better understand their favorite shows, and travelling to Korea for firsthand experiences.

Examining the cultural impact of K-drama and its fandom, this collection of new essays focuses on the formation and transformation of identities in the context of regional and global dynamics and differing values and beliefs among social groups. Contributors discuss such popular series as Boys over Flowers, My Love from the Star and Descendants of the Sun.

Posted on

Newly Published: The North Carolina Symphony

New on our bookshelf:

The North Carolina Symphony: A History
Joe A. Mobley and John W. Lambert

From its beginnings during the Great Depression, the North Carolina Symphony has touched the lives of countless Tar Heels. One of the state’s premier cultural organizations and the oldest continuously state-supported orchestra in the nation, the “Suitcase Symphony” grew from a small group of volunteer players to the world-class orchestra it is today.

This book details the contributions of founder Lamar Stringfield, longtime conductor Benjamin Swalin and his wife, Maxine, current music director Grant Llewellyn, and other leaders of this iconic institution. The authors place the symphony’s story for the first time in the context of North Carolina’s cultural history and, in the process, reveal much about the musical traditions of the “Sahara of the Bozart” and about the trials and triumphs of maintaining a state symphony orchestra.

Posted on

Newly Published: Understanding Sabermetrics

New on our bookshelf:

Understanding Sabermetrics: An Introduction to the Science of Baseball Statistics, 2d ed.
Gabriel B. Costa, Michael R. Huber and John T. Saccoman

Interest in Sabermetrics has increased dramatically in recent years as the need to better compare baseball players has intensified among managers, agents and fans, and even other players. The authors explain how traditional measures—such as Earned Run Average, Slugging Percentage, and Fielding Percentage—along with new statistics—Wins Above Average, Fielding Independent Pitching, Wins Above Replacement, the Equivalence Coefficient and others—define the value of players. Actual player statistics are used in developing models, while examples and exercises are provided in each chapter. This book serves as a guide for both beginners and those who wish to be successful in fantasy leagues.

Posted on

Newly Published: Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin

New on our bookshelf:

Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin: Little Men, Big Auteurs
Jill Franks

The comic archetype of the Little Man—a “nobody” who stands up to unfairness—is central to the films of Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin. Portraying the alienation of life in an indifferent world with a mix of pathos, irony and slapstick, both adopted absurdist characters—Chaplin’s bumbling yet clever Tramp with his shabby clothes, and Allen’s fool with his metaphysical witticisms and proclivity to fall in love too quickly.

Both men were auteurs who managed to retain creative control of their work and achieve worldwide popularity. Both felt an attraction to young women. Drawing on psychoanalysis and gender-studies, this book explores their films as barometers of their respective cultural moments, marking the shift between modernism and postmodernism.

Posted on

Weekly Kindle Spotlight: June 17th

The Crouching BeastOur weekly Kindle spotlight is back! Through July 19th, get the following popular Kindle titles for just 3.99 on Amazon.

The Crouching Beast: A United States Army Lieutenant’s Account of the Battle of Hamburger Hill, May 1969

Gwen Verdon: A Life on Stage and Screen

The Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe: Goddesses, Sacred Women and the Origins of Western Culture

Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures

The Art of Sprinting: Techniques for Speed and Performance

The Ore Knob Mine Murders: The Crimes, the Investigation and the Trials

Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the Declaration of Independence

Emily Dickinson as a Second Language: Demystifying the Poetry

From War to Peace: A Guide to the Next Hundred Years

Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History

Posted on

Newly Published: Creativity for Library Career Advancement

New on our bookshelf:

Creativity for Library Career Advancement: Perspectives, Techniques and Eureka Moments
Edited by Vera Gubnitskaia and Carol Smallwood

“Creativity is just connecting things,” observed Steve Jobs. In today’s diverse, ever-changing job market, creativity is more necessary than ever. In a profession offering a broad range of job opportunities, librarians are surrounded by myriad connections to be made. They are trained to recognize them.

This insightful collection of new essays covers a wide spectrum of methods for cultivating creativity as a skill for career fulfillment and success. Topics include learning through role-playing games, libraries as publishers, setting up and using makerspaces, developing in-house support for early-career staff, creating travelling exhibits, creative problem solving, and organizing no-cost conferences.

Posted on

Newly Published: Trail of Shadows

New on our bookshelf:

Trail of Shadows: The Unsolved Murders of Prohibition Agents Dale Kearney and Ray Sutton
Chuck Hornung and B. Lee Charlton

In the Summer of 1930, two federal prohibition agents were murdered. The first died in a hail of buckshot on a dark street in Aguilar, Colorado. Six weeks later, the second agent and his vehicle disappeared on a sunny afternoon along a New Mexico state highway south of Raton. These events occurred during the era when the government legislated a ban on alcohol manufacture, distribution, and sales within the United States. During their 50-year search, the authors sought answers to why no one was ever prosecuted for these crimes. This is the first book to correlate the two murders, identify how and why they occurred, name the parties involved and the roles they played. The authors interviewed many individuals associated with the events and discovered a trove of National Archives files containing incident reports, suspect interview notes, the dead agents’ daily activity logs and their personnel files. Building upon this base, they located the remaining documents generated by state and local law enforcement officers and additionally data mined private and public contemporary newspaper collections. The shadows along the trail lift as the light of truth is shown upon this mystery. Two federal agents can now rest in peace.

Posted on

Newly Published: Plants Go to War

New on our bookshelf:

Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II
Judith Sumner

As the first botanical history of World War II, Plants Go to War examines military history from the perspective of plant science. From victory gardens to drugs, timber, rubber, and fibers, plants supplied materials with key roles in victory. Vegetables provided the wartime diet both in North America and Europe, where vitamin-rich carrots, cabbages, and potatoes nourished millions. Chicle and cacao provided the chewing gum and chocolate bars in military rations. In England and Germany, herbs replaced pharmaceutical drugs; feverbark was in demand to treat malaria, and penicillin culture used a growth medium made from corn. Rubber was needed for gas masks and barrage balloons, while cotton and hemp provided clothing, canvas, and rope. Timber was used to manufacture Mosquito bombers, and wood gasification and coal replaced petroleum in European vehicles. Lebensraum, the Nazi desire for agricultural land, drove Germans eastward; troops weaponized conifers with shell bursts that caused splintering. Ironically, the Nazis condemned non-native plants, but adopted useful Asian soybeans and Mediterranean herbs. Jungle warfare and camouflage required botanical knowledge, and survival manuals detailed edible plants on Pacific islands. Botanical gardens relocated valuable specimens to safe areas, and while remote locations provided opportunities for field botany, Trees surviving in Hiroshima and Nagasaki live as a symbol of rebirth after vast destruction.

Posted on

Newly Published: George Foster and the 1977 Reds

New on our bookshelf:

George Foster and the 1977 Reds: The Rise of a Slugger and the End of an Era
Mike Shannon

The Cincinnati Reds are recognized as one of the great teams in baseball history. Left fielder George Foster—an integral part of the Reds’ back-to-back World Championships in 1975–1976—has never received proper credit for his contribution to their legacy.

In 1977, Foster became the most feared slugger in the National League, batting .320, with 52 home runs and 149 runs batted in to win the NL MVP Award, establishing a new single-season home run record for the Reds’ franchise that still stands. Yet Foster’s big year was not enough to stem the emergence of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who roared out of the gate and ran away with the NL West Division pennant.

This book tells the story of Foster’s record-setting season and puts his pre-steroid era achievements in proper perspective. The author chronicles the subsequent decline of the Big Red Machine and the rest of Foster’s big league career, including his disappointing tenure with the New York Mets.

Posted on

Newly Published: Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2018

New on our bookshelf:

Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2018
Harris M. Lentz III

The entertainment world lost many notable talents in 2018, including movie icon Burt Reynolds, “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, celebrity chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain, bestselling novelist Anita Shreve and influential Chicago blues artist Otis Rush.

Obituaries of actors, filmmakers, musicians, producers, dancers, composers, writers and others associated with the performing arts who died in 2018 are included. Date, place and cause of death are provided for each, along with a career recap and a photograph. Filmographies are given for film and television performers. Books in this annual series are available dating to 1994—a subscription is available for future volumes.

Posted on

Newly Published: Professionals in Western Film and Fiction

New on our bookshelf:

Professionals in Western Film and Fiction: The Portrayal of Doctors, Lawyers, Journalists, Clergymen and Others
Kenneth E. Hall

In American Westerns, the main characters are most often gunfighters, lawmen, ranchers and dancehall girls. Civil professionals such as doctors, engineers and journalists have been given far less representation, appearing as background characters in most films and fiction. However, in Westerns about the 1910 Mexican Revolution, civil professionals also feature prominently in the narrative, often as members of the intelligentsia—an important force in Mexican politics. This book compares the roles of civil professionals in most American Westerns to those in work on the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Included are studies on the Santiago Toole novels by Richard Wheeler, Strange Lady in Town with Greer Garson and La sombra del Caudillo by Martín Luis Guzmán.

Posted on

Newly Published: Playing on an Uneven Field

New on our bookshelf:

Playing on an Uneven Field: Essays on Exclusion and Inclusion in Sports
Edited by Yuya Kiuchi

We expect sports to be fair and equal—everyone who tries out has a chance to play and everyone who plays hard has a chance to win. But is that really true? In reality, female athletes are paid far less than their male counterparts. Youth sports often cost too much for many families to participate in. African American athletes continue to face discrimination both on and off the field. Adaptive sports are considered to be only for those with disabilities.

But there are signs of progress as sports organizations try to promote equality and fairness. This study explores the intricacies of inclusion and exclusion in sports.

Posted on

Newly Published: Words of a Monster

New on our bookshelf:

Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America’s First Serial Killer
Rebecca Frost

Decades before the coining of the term “serial killer,” H.H. Holmes murdered dozens of people in his now-infamous Chicago “Murder Castle.” In his own autobiography, Holmes struggled to define himself in the language of the late nineteenth century. As the “first”—or, as he labeled himself, “The Greatest Criminal of the Age”—he had no one to compare himself to, and no ready-made biographical structure to follow. Holmes was thus nearly able to invent himself from scratch. This book uses Holmes’ writings and confessions to inspect how the Arch Fiend represented himself. Although the legitimacy of Holmes’ personal accounts have been called into question, his biography mirrors the narrative structure of the true crime genre that emerged decades after his death.

Posted on

McFarland 40th Anniversary Sale

We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.

Posted on

Newly Published: Vietnam Veterans Unbroken

New on our bookshelf:

Vietnam Veterans Unbroken: Conversations on Trauma and Resiliency
Jacqueline Murray Loring

For 50 years, civilians have avoided hearing about the controversial experiences of Vietnam veterans, many of whom suffer through post-traumatic stress alone. Through interviews conducted with 17 soldiers, this book shares the stories of those who have been silenced. These men and women tell us about life before and after the war. They candidly share stories of 40–plus years lived on the “edge of the knife” and many wonder what their lives would be like if they had come home to praise and parades. They offer their tragedies and successes to newer veterans as choices to be made or rejected.

Posted on

McFarland Turns 40

On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.

McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin

McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s.  What to do?  Back to the land!  They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel).  Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op.  I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited.  Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.”  I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto).  They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County.  We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.

I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s.  He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee.  (I was born in Memphis.)

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name.  Founded in April 1979 right here.  I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!).  The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one.  Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times.  We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment.  Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting.  Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).

After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person.  Whew!  So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.

A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and  began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.

My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight.  Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on.  We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).

The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently.  Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel).  We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.

In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors.  Already!  And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard).  The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means.  (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.”  They stayed stacked for years…)  The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons.  (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s.  Lemme be him!)

McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years.  The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets.  He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc.  McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there.  In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters.  High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment.  Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).

Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection.  Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar.  We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.

By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road.  We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits.  We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.

We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher.  (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.)  Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes.  Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D.  We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide.  One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982).  This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print.  We were famous!  (Well, the author was…)

McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene.  (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.)  Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful.  Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).

I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed.  Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna.  When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.

McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size.  Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady:  director of finance and administration.  In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings.  We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…).  We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989.  Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism.  Authors from all over the world.  That part’s fun!  As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.

We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s!  Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves.  On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over):  “Ashe County through the Ages.”  Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990.  Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).

Cheryl and I love Ashe County.  We love the people.  We love the trees, the river.  (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!)  I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods).  The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges.  Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth.  McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented.  When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere.  Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!

The local merchants have become business partners.  Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices.  The restaurants are great for business lunches.  The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter!  Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job.  Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home.  I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning!  Ashe County, we’re for you!

McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th.  We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years.  Come one, come all!

Posted on

Newly Published: The Films of Robin Williams

New on our bookshelf:

The Films of Robin Williams: Critical Essays
Edited by Johnson Cheu

From his first appearance as Mork from Ork on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, Robin Williams was heralded as a singular talent. In the pre–cable television era, he was one of the few performers to successfully transition from TV to film. An Oscar-winning actor and preternaturally quick-witted comedian, Williams became a cultural icon, leaving behind a large and varied body of work when he unexpectedly took his own life in 2014.

This collection of new essays brings together a range of perspectives on Williams and his oeuvre, including beloved hits like Mrs. DoubtfireGood Morning, VietnamGood Will HuntingThe Fisher KingDead Poets Society and Aladdin. Contributors explore his earlier work (Mork and MindyThe World According to Garp) and his political and satirical films (Moscow on the HudsonToys). Williams’s darker, less well-known fare, such as Being HumanOne Hour PhotoFinal Cut and Boulevard, is also covered. Williams’s artistry has become woven into the fabric of our global media culture.

Posted on

Author Charles “Jerry” Juroe Receives France’s Legion of Honor

Charles “Jerry” Juroe, who ran publicity on 14 James Bond movies, starting with Dr. No in 1962, will be awarded France’s prestigious Legion of Honor award for excellence in military conduct on June 6th, 2019 during D-Day Celebrations in Normandy.  Juroe, 96, was part of the historic invasion on June 6th, 1944.  After his WWII service, Juroe had a long career in the film industry, starting out as a publicist for Paramount Pictures, then serving as the personal publicist for stars like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe when she was filming The Prince And The Showgirl in England.  Jerry was based in Europe for many years, working for every major studio. He worked with The Beatles on their UA movies, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, but is best known for his association with the Bond films and his fruitful working relationship with legendary producer, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. In 2018, he published his memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year with Marilyn: 50 Years as a Movie Marketing Man.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Star Gate Archives

New on our bookshelf:

The Star Gate Archives: Reports of the United States Government Sponsored Psi Program, 1972–1995. Volume 4: Operational Remote Viewing: Memorandums and Reports
Compiled and Edited by Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

During the Cold War, the U.S. government began testing paranormal claims under laboratory conditions in hopes of realizing intelligence applications for psychic phenomena. Thus began the project known as Star Gate––the largest in the history of parapsychological research, it received more than $20 million in funding and continued into the mid–1990s. This project archive includes all available documents generated by research contractor SRI International, and those provided by government officials.

Volume 4 focuses on selections from a vast body of U.S. Government documents that present a multifaceted view of its support of Star Gate. These materials show that the project was briefed to the President, Vice President, agency directors and Secretaries of the Armed Services, and other senior officials. The fact that the program ran for so many years, and that there were many returning end users, is offered as evidence of the utility of psi, and hence of its very existence.

Posted on

Newly Published: Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and Blackface in American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and Blackface in American Culture
Elizabeth L. Sanderson

Spike Lee’s challenging film Bamboozled (2000) is often read as a surface level satire of blackface minstrelsy. Careful analysis, however, gives way to a complex and nuanced study of the history of black performance. This book analyzes the work of five men, minstrel performer Bert Williams, director Oscar Micheaux, writer Ralph Ellison, painter Michael Ray Charles, and director Spike Lee, all through the lens of this misunderstood film. Equal parts biography and cultural analysis, this book examines the intersections of these five artists and Bamboozled, and investigates their shared legacy of resistance against misrepresentation.

Posted on

Newly Published: When the Heavyweight Title Mattered

New on our bookshelf:

When the Heavyweight Title Mattered: Five Championship Fights That Captivated the World, 1910–1971
John G. Robertson

The world heavyweight championship once transcended boxing and conferred global renown. This book gives detailed coverage to five legendary championship bouts that captivated audiences worldwide.

Coaxed out of retirement by the press, former champ James Jeffries challenged black titleholder Jack Johnson—universally despised by white audiences—in 1910, in hopes of returning the title to the white race. In 1921, dapper World War I hero and light-heavyweight champion Georges Carpentier hoped to upset heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey, widely considered a draft-dodger, in a fight that garnered the first “million dollar gate.” In perhaps the most politically charged bout ever, “Brown Bomber” Joe Louis, popular with both the white and black America, faced Nazi Germany’s Max Schmeling—the first ever to win the title by disqualification—at a sold-out Yankee stadium in 1936. A relentless brawler, undefeated Rocky Marciano in 1952 sought to bludgeon the title away from the stronger and savvier Joe Walcott, at 38 the oldest heavyweight champ in history. In a monumental clash of two undefeated world champions, Muhammad Ali—on the comeback trail after his title was stripped from him for refusing to be drafted during the Vietnam War—squared off with titleholder Joe Frazier in 1971.

 

 

Posted on

Three New Titles Reviewed in Choice

Infield Fly Rule Is in Effect: The History and Strategy of Baseball’s Most (In)Famous Rule
“This reviewer coached college baseball, and before reading this small treasure wrote down every conceivable argument for and against IFR. All of them and more are addressed here precisely, with wit, style, and evidence. One can ask for no more than that…highly recommended.”—Choice

The League That Didn’t Exist: A History of the All-American Football Conference, 1946–1949
“Thoroughly indexed…recommended.”—Choice

The Language of Popular Science: Analyzing the Communication of Advanced Ideas to Lay Readers
“Insightful analysis…this is a very readable and interesting book…recommended.”—Choice

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Finding God in the Devil’s Music

New on our bookshelf:

Finding God in the Devil’s Music: Critical Essays on Rock and Religion
Edited by Alex DiBlasi and Robert McParland

From the rise of the American Evangelical movement to the introduction of Eastern philosophies in the West, the past century has seen major changes in the religious makeup of Western culture. As one result, musicians across the world have brought both “new” and old religious beliefs into their works. This book investigates Rock music as an expression of religious inquiry and religious devotion. Contributors to this essay collection use a variety of sources, including artist biographies, record and concert reviews, videos, personal experience, rock music forums and social media in order to investigate the relationship of Rock music and religion from a number of perspectives. The essays also explore public interest in religion as a platform for expression and social critique, viewing this issue through the lens of popular Rock music.

Posted on

Newly Published: U.S. Navy Auxiliary Vessels

New on our bookshelf:

U.S. Navy Auxiliary Vessels: A History and Directory from World War I to Today
Ken W. Sayers

For more than a century, the U.S. Navy’s battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines and amphibious warfare vessels have depended on a small group of specialized auxiliary ships to provide fuel, food, ammunition, parts and other material support and services. Without these workhorse vessels, the U.S. Fleet could not have won in World War II and it could not today deploy and remain on station in the far distant waters of the world.

This book provides the rosters, histories, specifications and illustrations of 130 different auxiliary ship types in the last 100 years, including the little-known ones, the latest expeditionary fast transports and future towing, salvage and rescue ships.

Posted on

Newly Published: Opdycke’s Tigers in the Civil War

New on our bookshelf:

Opdycke’s Tigers in the Civil War: A History of the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Thomas Crowl

Organized in the fall of 1862, the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was commanded by the aggressive and ambitious Colonel Emerson Opdycke, a citizen-soldier with no military experience who rose to brevet major general.

Part of the Army of the Cumberland, the 125th first saw combat at Chickamauga. Charging into Dyer’s cornfield to blunt a rebel breakthrough, the Buckeyes pressed forward and, despite heavy casualties, drove the enemy back, buying time for the fractured Union army to rally. Impressed by the heroic charge of an untested regiment, Union General Thomas Wood labeled them “Opdycke’s Tigers.”

After losing a third of their men at Chickamauga, the 125th fought engagements across Tennessee and Georgia during 1864, and took part in the decisive battles at Franklin and Nashville.
Drawing on both primary sources and recent scholarship, this is the first full-length history of the regiment in more than 120 years.

Posted on

Newly Published: Embracing Philanthropic Environmentalism

New on our bookshelf:

Embracing Philanthropic Environmentalism: The Grand Responsibility of Stewardship
Will Sarvis

This book addresses urban ecology, green technology, problems with climate change prediction, groundwater contamination, invasive species and many other topics, and offers a guardedly optimistic interpretation of humanity’s place in nature and our unique caretaker role.

Drawing upon scholarly and media sources, the author presents a common-sense analysis of environmental science, debunking eco-apocalyptic thinking along the way. Compromised science masquerading as authoritative is revealed as a fundraising and policy-influencing crusade by the environmental elite, overshadowing unambiguous problems like environmental racism.

Posted on

Newly Published: Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse

New on our bookshelf:

Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror
Steven J. Kirsh

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike.

Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.

Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.

Posted on

Newly Published: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

New on our bookshelf:

The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914: How Faulty Reconnaissance Exposed the Weakness of the Schlieffen Plan
Dennis Showalter, Joseph P. Robinson and Janet A. Robinson

If wars were wagered on like pro sports or horse races, the Germany military in August 1914 would have been a clear front-runner, with a century-long record of impressive victories and a general staff the envy of its rivals. Germany’s overall failure in the first year of World War I was surprising and remains a frequent subject of analysis, mostly focused on deficiencies in strategy and policy.
But there were institutional weaknesses as well. This book examines the structural failures that frustrated the Germans in the war’s crucial initial campaign, the invasion of Belgium. Too much routine in planning, command and execution led to groupthink, inflexibility and to an overconfident belief that nothing could go too terribly wrong. As a result, decisive operation became dicey, with consequences that Germany’s military could not overcome in four long years.

Posted on

Newly Published: Folk Music and the New Left in the Sixties

New on our bookshelf:

Folk Music and the New Left in the Sixties
Michael Scott Cain

Artists have often provided the earliest demonstrations of conscience and ethical examination in response to political events. The political shifts that took place in the 1960s were addressed by a revival of folk music as an expression of protest, hope and the courage to imagine a better world. This work explores the relationship between the cultural and political ideologies of the 1960s and the growing folk music movement, with a focus on musicians Phil Oaks; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul and Mary; Carolyn Hester and Bob Dylan.

Posted on

Newly Published: The New York Yankees in Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf:

The New York Yankees in Popular Culture: Critical Essays
Edited by David Krell

How did Reggie Jackson go from superstar to icon? Why did Joe DiMaggio’s nickname change from “Deadpan Joe” to “Joltin’ Joe”? How did Seinfeld affect public perception of George Steinbrenner?

The New York Yankees’ dominance on the baseball diamond has been lauded, analyzed and chronicled. Yet the team’s broader impact on popular culture has been largely overlooked—until now. From Ruth’s called shot to the Reggie! candy bar, this collection of new essays offers untold histories, new interpretations and fresh analyses of baseball’s most successful franchise. Contributors explore the Yankee mystique in film, television, theater, music and advertising.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ernie Banks

New on our bookshelf:

Ernie Banks: The Life and Career of “Mr. Cub”
Lew Freedman

Ernie Banks is perhaps the most popular ballplayer in the history of the Chicago Cubs—a man as famous for his personality and trademark phrases as for his accomplishments on the field. Nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” Banks won two National League Most Valuable Player awards and slugged 512 home runs, all while battling discrimination and poverty. His conduct away from the field was so exemplary he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Based on extensive research and personal interviews conducted by the author, this biography details the life of the Texas-born shortstop and first baseman, from his childhood playing softball to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame to his death in 2015.

Posted on

Newly Published: Literary Journalism in British and American Prose

New on our bookshelf:

Literary Journalism in British and American Prose: An Historical Overview
Doug Underwood

The debate surrounding “fake news” versus “real” news is nothing new. From Jonathan Swift’s work as an acerbic, anonymous journal editor-turned-novelist to reporter Mark Twain’s hoax stories to Mary Ann Evans’ literary reviews written under her pseudonym, George Eliot, famous journalists and literary figures have always mixed fact, imagination and critical commentary to produce memorable works.

Contrasting the rival yet complementary traditions of “literary” or “new” journalism in Britain and the U.S., this study explores the credibility of some of the “great” works of English literature.

Posted on

Newly Published: Anatomy of the Slasher Film

New on our bookshelf:

Anatomy of the Slasher Film: A Theoretical Analysis
Sotiris Petridis

The term “slasher film” was common parlance by the mid–1980s but the horror subgenre it describes was at least a decade old by then—formerly referred to as “stalker,” “psycho” or “slice-’em-up.” Examining 74 movies—from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) to Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)—the author identifies the characteristic elements of the subgenre while tracing changes in narrative patterns over the decades.

The slasher canon is divided into three eras: the classical (1974–1993), the self-referential (1994–2000) and the neoslasher cycle (2000–2013).

Posted on

Two New Titles Reviewed in Booklist

Too Funny for Words: A Contrarian History of American Screen Comedy from Silent Slapstick to Screwball
“Spirited discussion… Kalat’s knowledgeable and conversational style makes the work accessible to all readers not just the cineastes among us. Film fans, students, and researchers will applaud  this lively and impassioned look at a turning point in American film history.”—Booklist

Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
“With a broad range of examples, this examination of humanity’s artificial counterparts offers plenty to delve into for sf fans and everyone interested in a rich context for AI.”—Booklist

Posted on

Newly Published: To Deprave and Corrupt

New on our bookshelf:

To Deprave and Corrupt: Obscenity Battles in British Law and Culture
Catherine Scott

Thousands have run afoul of Britain’s Obscene Publications Act—from Victorian erotica presses to 21st-century dominatrices. At a time when the internet has made sexually explicit material ubiquitous, why are British traditional media still regulated by a vaguely worded law from 1857?

This comprehensive analysis of obscenity in British culture explores what is considered obscene, who gets to decide, and how class, race and gender inform laws regarding adult content. The author describes how obscenity laws disproportionately affect the BDSM subculture, the LGBT community and feminist porn performers.

Posted on

Newly Published: Democratic Repairman

New on our bookshelf:

Democratic Repairman: The Political Life of J. Howard McGrath
Debra A. Mulligan

As governor of Rhode Island, J. Howard McGrath oversaw the passage of social legislation aimed at improving the lives of his constituents during the dark days of World War II. As a Rhode Island senator he served as the Democratic National Committee Chairman during the contentious 1948 presidential election, when few believed Harry Truman could defeat New York governor Thomas R. Dewey.

Following Truman’s victory, McGrath could easily have written his own ticket to further political success—but his career was cut short in 1952 when he was forced to resign as Attorney General amid a cloud of scandal. This biography traces the rise and fall of a politician who achieved notable success yet ultimately fell victim to his appetite for power, fame and fortune.

Posted on

Newly Published: Edwin Forrest

New on our bookshelf:

Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History
Arthur W. Bloom

Edwin Forrest was the foremost American actor of the nineteenth century. His advocacy of American, and specifically Jacksonian, themes made him popular in New York’s Bowery Theatre. His rivalry with the English tragedian William Charles Macready led to the Astor Place Riot, and his divorce from Catharine Sinclair Forrest was one of the greatest social scandals of the period. This full-length biography examines Forrest’s personal life while acknowledging the impossibility of separating it from his public image. Included is a historical chronology of every known performance the actor gave.

Posted on

Newly Published: That’s Rufus

New on our bookshelf:
That’s Rufus: A Memoir of Tar Heel Politics, Watergate and Public Life

A farm boy from the mountains of North Carolina, Rufus Edmisten could not have been prepared for the halls of power in Washington, D.C., during the Vietnam War era, as young men burned their draft cards and pro-cannabis factions held “smoke-ins” in the capital.

A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill graduate, he earned a law degree at George Washington University and landed a job as counsel to U.S. senator Samuel J. Ervin, Jr. This led to Edmisten’s appointment as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee—he personally served Richard Nixon the first ever subpoena of a sitting president by Congress.

Returning to North Carolina, he served as Attorney General and Secretary of State before retiring from public life to practice law and participate in charitable activities. Written with humor and candor, his memoir recalls the cultural contrasts of American life in the 1970s and 1980s, and affirms that the business of government is to enable us to live together peacefully.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Cold War Defense of the United States

New on our bookshelf:
The Cold War Defense of the United States: Strategy, Weapon Systems and Operations
John E. Bronson

During the Cold War, as part of its defense strategy against the Soviet Union, the U.S. was forced to establish means of massive long-range attack in response to Soviet advancements in weaponry. These defenses detected and tracked manned bomber aircraft, hostile submarines and missiles launched from the other side of the world. This book shows how these defenses evolved from fledgling stop-gap measures into a complex fabric of interconnected combinations of high-tech equipment over 40 years. Maps illustrate the extent of the geographic coverage required for these warning and response systems and charts display the time frames and vast numbers of both people and equipment that made up these forces.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Pokémon Go Phenomenon

New on our bookshelf:

The Pokémon Go Phenomenon: Essays on Public Play in Contested Spaces
Edited by Jamie Henthorn, Andrew Kulak, Kristopher Purzycki and Stephanie Vie

Pokémon Go is not just play—the game has had an impact on public spaces, social circles and technology, suggesting new ways of experiencing our world. This collection of new essays explores what Pokémon Go can tell us about how and why we play.

Covering a range of topics from mobile hardware and classroom applications to social conflict and urban planning, the contributors approach Pokémon Go from both practical and theoretical angles, anticipating the impact play will have on our digitally augmented world.

Posted on

Newly Published: Seeing the Beat Generation

New on our bookshelf:

Seeing the Beat Generation: Entering the Literature through Film
Raj Chandarlapaty

Beat generation writers dismantled mainstream America. They wrote under the influence of psychedelic drugs; they crossed and navigated multicultural boundaries and questioned the American dream; and they explored homosexuality, feminism and hyper-masculinity, redefining America’s marital and familial codes. Teaching such a history can be daunting, but film adaptations of Beat literature have proven to engage students. This book looks closely at the film adaptations of works by such authors as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as they relate to American history and literary studies.

Posted on

Newly Published: Fat Talk

New on our bookshelf:

Fat Talk: A Feminist Perspective
Denise Martz

Women have unintentionally become their own worst enemies through their engagement in “fat talk”—critical dialogue about one’s own physical appearance, and “body snarking” or criticism towards other women’s bodies. Not only does this harsh judgment pervade our psyches and societies, it also contributes to the glass ceiling in a variety of professions, including politics representing feminist activism. This book reviews and analyzes the origins and effects of fat talk and body snarking, and provides potential solutions that include evidence-based personal therapies and community interventions.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Ages of The Flash

New on our bookshelf:

The Ages of The Flash: Essays on the Fastest Man Alive
Edited by Joseph J. Darowski

While many American superheroes have multiple powers and complex gadgets, the Flash is simply fast. This simplicity makes his character easily comprehendible for all audiences, whether they are avid comic fans or newcomers to the genre, and in turn he has become one of the most iconic figures in the comic-book industry. This collection of new essays serves as a stepping-stone to an even greater understanding of the Flash, examining various iterations of his character—including those of Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen—and what they reveal about the era in which they were written.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Golden Age of Disaster Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

The Golden Age of Disaster Cinema: A Guide to the Films, 1950–1979
Nik Havert

From the 1950s through the 1970s, disaster movies were a wildly popular genre. Audiences thrilled at the spectacle of these films, many of which were considered glamorous for their time. Derided by critics, they became box office hits and cult classics, inspiring filmmakers around the globe. Some of them launched the careers of producers, directors and actors who would go on to create some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

With more than 40 interviews with actors, actresses, producers, stuntmen, special effects artists and others, this book covers the Golden Age of sinking ships, burning buildings, massive earthquakes, viral pandemics and outbreaks of animal madness.

Posted on

Newly Published: Peanuts and American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Peanuts and American Culture: Essays on Charles M. Schulz’s Iconic Comic Strip
Peter W.Y. Lee

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century.

Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.

Posted on

Newly Published: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 50-Year Quest

New on our bookshelf:

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 50-Year Quest: Music to Change the World
Robert McParland

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, with their distinct vocal harmonies, blending of rock, jazz, folk, and blues, and political and social activism, have remained one of the most enduring musical acts of the 1960s. This book examines their songs and themes, which continue to resonate with contemporary listeners, and argues that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young reflect part of the broader story of American culture. This appreciative volume contextualizes their work within the political climate of the late 1960s, and makes the case that the values and concerns expressed in their music thread through the American experience today.

Posted on

Newly Published: Medieval Crime Fiction

New on our bookshelf:

Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview
Anne McKendry

Combining elements of medievalism, the historical novel and the detective narrative, medieval crime fiction capitalizes upon the appeal of all three—the most famous examples being Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (one of the best-selling books ever published) and Ellis Peters’ endearing Brother Cadfael series.

Hundreds of other novels and series fill out the genre, in settings ranging from the so-called Celtic Enlightenment in seventh-century Ireland to the ruthless Inquisition in fourteenth-century France to the mean streets of medieval London. The detectives are an eclectic group, including weary ex-crusaders, former Knights Templar, enterprising monks and nuns, and historical poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer.

This book investigates the enduring popularity of the largely unexamined genre and explores its social, cultural and political contexts.

Posted on

McFarland Expands with New Imprint, Toplight Books

JEFFERSON, North Carolina – May 10, 2019 – Scholarly publisher McFarland has announced the launch of Toplight Books, a new imprint with a focus on the body, mind and spirit.

“We hope to offer a wide array of books that explore these basic, essential components of being human that in the pace and pressure of modern life are too often relegated to the periphery of our consciousness,” said acquiring editor Natalie Foreman.

The first season of releases, planned for fall 2019, includes titles about migrating for medical marijuana, effective communication alternatives for the autistic, and a comprehensive guide to being an injury-free runner.  In Migrating for Medical Marijuana, University of Colorado professor Tracy Ferrell shares unique insights into a social, political and medical revolution, including personal accounts from doctors and patients.  Communication Alternatives in Autism chronicles the experiences of ten autistic self-advocates, covering effective but controversial communication methods.  In The Durable Runner, author Alison Heilig–an RRCA running coach, yoga teacher, corrective exercise specialist, and NASM personal trainer–maps out proven strategies for a lifetime of healthy and happy running.

“We’re excited about this eclectic debut of titles for Toplight Books. The neglect of our physical, mental and spiritual selves diminishes our capacity to respond to life and each other, to the great detriment of personal and planetary well-being, and we hope to counter the trend with well-researched books covering any or all of the three core human dimensions, in original and inspiring ways,” said Foreman.

Toplight’s interests include uplifting and positive books about psychology and mindfulness, religious studies and spirituality, and alternative health treatments.  Submissions from authors and literary agents are invited, and should be directed to Foreman’s attention at [email protected].  Foreman welcomes proposals for books as wide ranging as reincarnation and the soul, yoga and meditation guides, nature’s relationship to well-being, explorations of neurodiversity, and scientific studies on the nature of qi.  For more information about the imprint, go to Toplight Books.

Posted on

Newly Published: Black Classical Musicians and Composers, 1500-2000

New on our bookshelf:
Black Classical Musicians and Composers, 1500-2000
Rodreguez King-Dorset

Much has been written about the work of black musicians and composers yet little attention has been given to the long history of black influence on classical music. Covering the lives and works of such composers as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Scott Joplin and Margaret Alison Bonds, this book examines the black classical music legacy with profiles of key artists who made valuable contributions that impacted classical music from the 16th through the 21st centuries.

Posted on

Newly Published: Lessons Drawn

New on our bookshelf:
Lessons Drawn: Essays on the Pedagogy of Comics and Graphic Novels
Edited by David D. Seelow

Imagine a classroom where students put away their smart phones and enthusiastically participate in learning activities that unleash creativity and refine critical thinking. Students today live and learn in a transmedia environment that demands multi-modal writing skills and multiple literacies. This collection brings together 17 new essays on using comics and graphic novels to provide both a learning framework and hands-on strategies that transform students’ learning experiences through literary forms they respond to.

Posted on

Newly Published: Electra

New on our bookshelf:
Electra: A Gender Sensitive Study of the Plays Based on the Myth, 2d ed.
Batya Casper

Shakespeare’s Hamlet—written 1,000 years after the classical Greek period—follows a narrative pattern similar to that of the Greek Electra myth, and it isn’t the only story to do so. We see signs of Electra’s influence again in the 20th-century works of Oscar Wilde, Eugene O’Neill and T.S. Eliot, among others.

This revised and updated edition will look more closely at the influence of Electra on popular culture throughout history and the questions it poses regarding oppositions such as logic versus instinct, night versus day and repression versus freedom.

Posted on

Newly Published: The International Harvester Company

New on our bookshelf:
The International Harvester Company: A History of the Founding Families and Their Machines
Chaim M. Rosenberg

Ancient farmers used draft animals for plowing but the heavy work of harvesting fell to the humans, using sickle and scythe. Change came in the mid-19th century when Cyrus Hall McCormick built the mechanical harvester. Though the McCormicks used their wealth to establish art collections and universities, battle disease, and develop birth control, members of the family faced constant scrutiny and scandal. This book recounts their story as well as the history of the International Harvester Company (IHC)—a merger of the McCormick and Deering companies and the world’s leader in agricultural machinery in the 1900s.

Posted on

Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero Wins Koppelman Award at PCA

Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero: Essays on Gender, Trauma and Addiction in the Netflix Series received the 2018 Susan Koppelman Award, the Popular Culture Association announced. Presented annually, the Koppelman Award honors the best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies in popular and American culture. Congratulations to editors Tim Rayborn and Abigail Keyes, and to all contributors!

Two other McFarland books were also honored at the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association. Craig Martin Gibbs’ Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901-1943 was selected as the second runner-up for the Ray and Pat Browne Award for the best reference/primary source work in popular and American culture. When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry, edited by Roseanne Welch, was selected as the runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award.

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Hitchcock and Humor

New on our bookshelf:

Hitchcock and Humor: Modes of Comedy in Twelve Defining Films
Wes D. Gehring

Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery has been described as “a kind of Rear Window for retirees.” As this quote suggests, an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s methodical use of comedy in his films is past due.

One of Turner Classic Movies’ on-screen scholars for their summer 2017 online Hitchcock class, the author grew tired of misleading throwaway references to the director’s “comic relief.” This book examines what should be obvious: Hitchcock systematically incorporated assorted types of comedy—black humor, parody, farce/screwball comedy and romantic comedy—in his films to entertain his audience with “comic” thrillers.

Posted on

Newly Published: Marie Marvingt, Fiancée of Danger

New on our bookshelf:

Marie Marvingt, Fiancée of Danger: First Female Bomber Pilot, World-Class Athlete and Inventor of the Air Ambulance
Rosalie Maggio

Marie Marvingt (1875–1973) set the world’s first women’s aviation records, won the only gold medal for outstanding performance in all sports, invented the airplane ambulance, was the first female bomber pilot in history, fought in World War I disguised as a man, took part in the Resistance of World War II, was the first to survive crossing the English Channel in a balloon, worked all her life as a journalist, spent years in North Africa and invented metal skis. Her life story was so unusually rich in exploits and accomplishments that some dismissed it as a hoax.

This biography explores the life of “the most incredible woman since Joan of Arc” and investigates the reasons she has been forgotten. Known as the “fiancée of danger,” she was the model for the silent film series The Perils of Pauline.

Posted on

Newly Published: Tom Petty

New on our bookshelf:

Tom Petty: Essays on the Life and Work
Edited by Crystal D. Sands

Rock and Roll hall-of-famer Tom Petty had a musical career that spanned four decades with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and also notably included the co-founding of supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. As a songwriter and rock star, Petty was among the most successful of his time.
His work appealed across socioeconomic boundaries to a diverse group of fans, and this collection of new essays explores this phenomenon. Other topics include Petty’s writing process, his political stances and the psychology behind his music.

Posted on

Newly Published: Astor Pictures

New on our bookshelf:

Astor Pictures: A Filmography and History of the Reissue King, 1933–1965
Michael R. Pitts

Founded by Robert M. Savini in 1933, Astor Pictures Corporation distributed hundreds of films in its 32 years of operation. The company distributed over 150 first run features in addition to the numerous re-releases for which it became famous. Astor had great success in the fields of horror and western movies and was a pioneer in African-American film productions. While under Savini’s management, Astor and its subsidiaries were highly successful, but after his death in 1956 the company was sold, leading to eventual bankruptcy and closure. This volume provides the first in-depth look at Astor Pictures Corporation with thorough coverage of its releases, including diverse titles like La Dolce Vitaand Frankenstein’s Daughter.

 

Posted on

Newly Published: A True Child of Papua New Guinea

New on our bookshelf:

A True Child of Papua New Guinea: Memoir of a Life In Two Worlds
Maggie Wilson

Maggie Wilson was born in the highlands of Papua New Guinea to Melka Amp Jara, a woman of the highlands, and Patrick Leahy, brother of Australian explorers Michael and Daniel Leahy, who were among the first Australian explorers to encounter people in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, during an expedition in search for gold. Maggie’s life serves as a window into the complex social and cultural transformations experienced during the early years of the Australian administration in Papua New Guinea and the first three decades after independence. This ethnography—started as an autobiography and completed by Rosita Henry after Maggie’s death in 2009—tells Maggie’s story and the stories of those whose lives she touched. Their recollections of Maggie Wilson offer insights into life in Papua New Guinea today.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Civil War from Its Origins to Reconstruction

New on our bookshelf:

The Civil War from Its Origins to Reconstruction
James S. Pula

The period of Sectionalism, Civil War and Reconstruction was the most traumatic in American history. The outcome changed the foundations of the nation, with effects still felt today. While most Civil War histories focus on specific topics―military history, economics, politics―this book presents the narrative as it unfolded against a broader historical background. Drawing on direct quotations from actual participants, the author provides an interpretive overview of the issues and events that divided and then devastated the United States.

Posted on

Newly Published: George Stevens

New on our bookshelf:

George Stevens: The Films of a Hollywood Giant
Neil Sinyard

“George Stevens could do anything,” said veteran Hollywood producer Pandro S. Berman, “break your heart or make you laugh.”

Winner of two Best Director Oscars—for A Place in the Sun (1951) and Giant (1956)—Stevens excelled in a range of genres, gave luster to some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and was revered by his peers. Yet his work has been largely neglected by critics and scholars.

This career retrospective highlights Stevens’ achievements, particularly in his sweeping “American Dream” trilogy (A Place in the SunShane (1953) and Giant). His recurrent themes and characteristic style reveal a progressive attitude towards women’s experiences and highlight the continued relevance of his films today.

Posted on

Newly Published: Social Justice and Activism in Libraries

New on our bookshelf:

Social Justice and Activism in Libraries: Essays on Diversity and Change
Edited by Su Epstein, Carol Smallwood and Vera Gubnitskaia

In a rapidly changing world with myriad conflicting voices, the library’s role as a place of safety and inclusion and as a repository of knowledge cannot be overstated. Librarians must serve as community leaders with a mission to educate and inform, ready to model the principles they support. The question for many is: how?

Experienced librarians offer ideas and guidance in seeking new creative paths, working to support change in library organizations and reexamining principles that may be taken for granted. Theoretical foundations are discussed, along with practical ideas such as the creation a book groups for the intellectually disabled and partnership with social workers or advocates for employees with disabilities.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom

New on our bookshelf:

The Sacred in Fantastic Fandom: Essays on the Intersection of Religion and Pop Culture
Edited by Carole M. Cusack, John W. Morehead and Venetia Laura Delano Robertson

To the casual observer, similarities between fan communities and religious believers are difficult to find. Religion is traditional, institutional, and serious; whereas fandom is contemporary, individualistic, and fun. Can the robes of nuns and priests be compared to cosplay outfits of Jedi Knights and anime characters? Can travelling to fan conventions be understood as pilgrimages to the shrines of saints?

These new essays investigate fan activities connected to books, film, and online games, such as Harry Potter-themed weddings, using The Hobbit as a sacred text, and taking on heroic roles in World of Warcraft. Young Muslim women cosplayers are brought into conversation with Chaos magicians who use pop culture tropes and characters. A range of canonical texts, such as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sherlock—are examined in terms of the pleasure and enchantment of repeated viewing. Popular culture is revealed to be a fertile source of religious and spiritual creativity in the contemporary world.

Posted on

Newly Published: Diagnosing Churchill

New on our bookshelf:

Diagnosing Churchill: Bipolar or “Prey to Nerves”?
Wilfred Attenborough

The posthumous diagnosis of Winston Churchill as manic-depressive has been drawn entirely from biographical information, which, though significant to understanding his life and mind, has often been misused or misunderstood. This book investigates how such materials have been interpreted (and misinterpreted) in relation to Churchill’s mental health, taking a particularly close look at his association with nerves or “neurasthenia.” Included are appendices on Churchill’s remedies for worry and mental overstrain and an investigation of his mental state after losing the 1945 general election.

Posted on

Newly Published: Lincoln’s Greatcoat

New on our bookshelf:

Lincoln’s Greatcoat: The Unlikely Odyssey of a Presidential Relic
Reignette G. Chilton

Brooks Brothers crafted Abraham Lincoln’s greatcoat in honor of the president’s second inauguration. The coat’s wool was “finer than cashmere” and its silk-embroidered lining read, “One Country, One Destiny.” Lincoln was wearing the garment when he was assassinated on April 14, 1865. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Lincoln gave the greatcoat to a faithful White House doorkeeper. More than a century after her bequest, the coat was returned to Ford’s Theatre, but not before it underwent a mysterious and exciting journey. This book recounts that journey as a reminder of the 16th president and his call to “bind up wounds” and care for others.

Posted on

Newly Published: Fred Reinfeld

New on our bookshelf:

Fred Reinfeld: The Man Who Taught America Chess, with 282 Games
Alex Dunne

Fred Reinfeld—his name used to be known to almost every chess player in the United States. Not so well known are his accomplishments. One of the strongest players of his time, he ranked just below Reuben Fine and Samuel Reshevsky (against whom he had a plus score). He was the accomplished author of some of the best chess books of the 1930s and 1940s, and a respected numismatist, recognized as a pioneer in the field. He was an editor or major contributor to almost every major chess magazine through the 1940s—Chess Review, Chess Correspondent and Chess Life.

This first book on Renfield covers his remarkable contributions to the chess world, with many of his ideas and writings quoted in their original context and with many of his famous annotations preserved for the modern reader.

Posted on

Newly Published: Robots That Kill

New on our bookshelf:

Robots That Kill: Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality
Judith A. Markowitz

This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein’s monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.

Posted on

Newly Published: From 4-F to U.S. Navy Surgeon General

New on our bookshelf:

From 4-F to U.S. Navy Surgeon General: A Physician’s Memoir
Harold M. Koenig, M.D.

In 1959, Harold M. Koenig was discharged after his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy because of progressive hearing loss and went on to college, then medical school. In 1965, the draft board notified him that upon completion of his internship in 1967 he would be drafted despite his disability—as the conflict in Vietnam escalated, many doctors with previously disqualifying medical conditions were reclassified as eligible to serve. Rather than wait to be drafted, Koenig volunteered for a Navy program that made him an ensign and paid all expenses for his final year of medical school. His memoir recounts his remarkable career path from 4-F midshipman to vice admiral and his service in the most senior positions in military medicine.

Posted on

Newly Published: British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War

New on our bookshelf:

British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War
Joseph McKenna

Perhaps more than all the campaigns of the Union armies, the Union naval blockade—covering all major Southern ports along 3,500 miles of coastline for the duration of the war—brought down the Confederacy. The daring exploits of Confederate blockade runners are well known—but many of them were British citizens operating out of neutral ports such as Nassau, Havana and Bermuda.

Focusing on British involvement in the war, this history names the overseas bankers and manufacturers who, in critical need of cotton and other Confederate exports, financed and equipped the fast little ships that ran the blockade. The author attempts to disentangle the names and aliases of the captains—many of whom were Royal Navy officers on temporary leave—and tells their stories in their own words.

Posted on

Newly Published: Author in Chief

New on our bookshelf:

Author in Chief: The Presidents as Writers from Washington to Trump
Michael B. Costanzo

With the publication of his Personal Memoirs in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant established what is today known as the presidential memoir. Every U.S. president since Benjamin Harrison has written one and many have turned to other forms of writing, as well.

This book covers the history of works—including autobiographies, diaries, political manifestos, speeches, fiction and poetry—authored by U.S. presidents and published prior to, during or after their terms. The writing was easy for some, harder for others, with varying success, from literary comebacks and bestsellers to false starts and failures.

Posted on

Newly Published: Too Funny for Words

New on our bookshelf:

Too Funny for Words: A Contrarian History of American Screen Comedy from Silent Slapstick to Screwball
David Kalat

American silent film comedies were dominated by sight gags, stunts and comic violence. With the advent of sound, comedies in the 1930s were a riot of runaway heiresses and fast-talking screwballs. It was more than a technological pivot—the first feature-length sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927), changed Hollywood.

Lost in the discussion of that transition is the overlap between the two genres. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd kept slapstick alive well into the sound era. Screwball directors like Leo McCarey, Frank Capra and Ernst Lubitsch got their starts in silent comedy.

From Chaplin’s tramp to the witty repartee of His Girl Friday (1940), this book chronicles the rise of silent comedy and its evolution into screwball—two flavors of the same genre—through the works of Mack Sennett, Roscoe Arbuckle, Harry Langdon and others.

Posted on

Newly Published: Decoding Dylan

New on our bookshelf:

Decoding Dylan: Making Sense of the Songs That Changed Modern Culture
Jim Curtis

Taking readers behind Bob Dylan’s familiar image as the enigmatic rebel of the 1960s, this book reveals a different view—that of a careful craftsman and student of the art of songwriting. Drawing on revelations from Dylan’s memoir Chronicles and a variety of other sources, the author arrives at a radically new interpretation of his body of work, which revolutionized American music and won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Dylan’s songs are viewed as collages, ingeniously combining themes and images from American popular culture and European high culture.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Homophones and Homographs

Now available in softcover:

Homophones and Homographs: An American Dictionary, 4th ed.
Compiled by James B. Hobbs

This expanded fourth edition defines and cross-references 9,040 homophones and 2,133 homographs (up from 7,870 and 1,554 in the 3rd ed.).

As the most comprehensive compilation of American homophones (words that sound alike) and homographs (look-alikes), this latest edition serves well where even the most modern spell-checkers and word processors fail—although rain, reign, and rein may be spelled correctly, the context in which these words may appropriately be used is not obvious to a computer.

Posted on

Newly Published: British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War

New on our bookshelf:

British Blockade Runners in the American Civil War
Joseph McKenna

Perhaps more than all the campaigns of the Union armies, the Union naval blockade—covering all major Southern ports along 3,500 miles of coastline for the duration of the war—brought down the Confederacy. The daring exploits of Confederate blockade runners are well known—but many of them were British citizens operating out of neutral ports such as Nassau, Havana and Bermuda.
Focusing on British involvement in the war, this history names the overseas bankers and manufacturers who, in critical need of cotton and other Confederate exports, financed and equipped the fast little ships that ran the blockade. The author attempts to disentangle the names and aliases of the captains—many of whom were Royal Navy officers on temporary leave—and tells their stories in their own words.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Star Gate Archives

New on our bookshelf:

The Star Gate Archives: Reports of the United States Government Sponsored Psi Program, 1972–1995. Volume 3: Psychokinesis
Compiled and Edited by Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Star Gate is the largest funded program in the history of psi research receiving about $19.933 million in funding from 1972 to 1995. Researchers from SRI International, and later at Science Applications International Corporation, in association with various U.S. intelligence agencies participated in this program.

Using the remote viewing method, research focused on understanding the applicability and nature of psi in general but mostly upon informational psi. Volume 1: Remote Viewing (1972–1984) and Volume 2: Remote Viewing (1985–1995) include all aspects of RV including laboratory trials and several operational results. Volume 3: Psychokinesis focuses on laboratory investigations. Volume 4: Operational Remote Viewing: Government Memorandums and Reports includes an analysis of the applied remote viewing program and a selection of documents that provide a narrative on the behind the scenes activities of Star Gate.

In a total of 504 separate missions from 1972 to 1995, remote viewing produced actionable intelligence prompting 89 percent of the customers to return with additional missions. The Star Gate data indicate that informational psi is a valid phenomenon. These data have led to the development of a physics and neuroscience based testable model for the underlying mechanism, which considers informational psi as a normal, albeit atypical, phenomenon.

The Star Gate data found insufficient evidence to support the causal psi (psychokinesis) hypothesis.

Posted on

New in Softcover: The American Steam Locomotive in the Twentieth Century

Now available in softcover:

The American Steam Locomotive in the Twentieth Century
Tom Morrison

Between 1900 and 1950, Americans built the most powerful steam locomotives of all time—enormous engines that powered a colossal industry. They were deceptively simple machines, yet, the more their technology was studied, the more obscure it became. Despite immense and sustained engineering efforts, steam locomotives remained grossly inefficient in their use of increasingly costly fuel and labor. In the end, they baffled their masters and, as soon as diesel-electric technology provided an alternative, steam locomotives disappeared from American railroads. Drawing on the work of eminent engineers and railroad managers of the day, this lavishly illustrated history chronicles the challenges, triumphs and failures of American steam locomotive development and operation.

Posted on

Newly Published: Black Baseball, 1858–1900

New on our bookshelf:

Black Baseball, 1858–1900: A Comprehensive Record of the Teams, Players, Managers, Owners and Umpires
James E. Brunson III

This is one of the most important baseball books to be published in a long time, taking a comprehensive look at black participation in the national pastime from 1858 through 1900. It provides team rosters and team histories, player biographies, a list of umpires and games they officiated and information on team managers and team secretaries. Well known organizations like the Washington’s Mutuals, Philadelphia Pythians, Chicago Uniques, St. Louis Black Stockings, Cuban Giants and Chicago Unions are documented, as well as lesser known teams like the Wilmington Mutuals, Newton Black Stockings, San Francisco Enterprise, Dallas Black Stockings, Galveston Flyaways, Louisville Brotherhoods and Helena Pastimes.

Player biographies trace their connections between teams across the country. Essays frame the biographies, discussing the social and cultural events that shaped black baseball. Waiters and barbers formed the earliest organized clubs and developed local, regional and national circuits. Some players belonged to both white and colored clubs, and some umpires officiated colored, white and interracial matches. High schools nurtured young players and transformed them into powerhouse teams, like Cincinnati’s Vigilant Base Ball Club. A special essay covers visual representations of black baseball and the artists who created them, including colored artists of color who were also baseballists.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Horror Films of the 1990s

Now available in softcover:

Horror Films of the 1990s
John Kenneth Muir

This filmography covers more than 300 horror films released from 1990 through 1999. The horror genre’s trends and clichés are connected to social and cultural phenomena, such as Y2K fears and the Los Angeles riots. Popular films were about serial killers, aliens, conspiracies, and sinister “interlopers,” new monsters who shambled their way into havoc.

Each of the films is discussed at length with detailed credits and critical commentary. There are six appendices: 1990s clichés and conventions, 1990s hall of fame, memorable ad lines, movie references in Scream, 1990s horrors vs. The X-Files, and the decade’s ten best. Fully indexed, 224 photographs.

Posted on

Game of Thrones Sale

Winter is finally here. To prepare for the Long Night, we’re offering 20% off our Game of Thrones titles. Now through April 19th, use coupon code “THRONES20” at checkout on our website when purchasing any of the books included in our gallery. And remember, as Tyrion Lannister once said, “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

Browse our Game of Thrones gallery here.

Posted on

Newly Published: Happy Holidays—Animated!

Happy Holidays—Animated!: A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Cartoons on Television and Film
William D. Crump

Since the early 20th century, animated Christmas cartoons have brightened the holiday season around the world—first in theaters, then on television. From devotional portrayals of the Nativity to Santa battling villains and monsters, this encyclopedia catalogs more than 1,800 international Christmas-themed cartoons and others with year-end themes of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year.

Explore beloved television specials such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, theatrical shorts such as Santa’s Workshop, holiday episodes from animated television series like American Dad! and The Simpsons, feature films like The Nutcracker Prince and obscure productions such as The Insects’ Christmas, along with numerous adaptations and parodies of such classics as A Christmas Carol and Twas the Night before Christmas.

Posted on

Newly Published: Duet with the Past

Duet with the Past: A Composer’s Memoir
Daron Hagen

Composer, conductor and operatic polymath Daron Hagen has written five symphonies, a dozen concertos, 13 operas, reams of chamber music and more than 350 art songs. His intimate, unsparing memoir chronicles his life, from his haunted childhood in Wisconsin to the upper echelons of the music world in New York and Europe. Hagen’s vivid anecdotes about his many collaborators, friends and mentors–including Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Gian Carlo Menotti, Paul Muldoon, Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson and Gore Vidal–counterpoint a cautionary tale of the sacrifices necessary to succeed in the brutally unforgiving business of classical music.

Posted on

Now in Softcover: A Hospital for Ashe County

Now available in softcover:

A Hospital for Ashe County: Four Generations of Appalachian Community Healthcare
Janet C. Pittard

When Ashe County Memorial Hospital opened in November 1941, it was the realization of a dream for the poor, sparsely populated county in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina. Building a hospital is a major undertaking for any community at any time. Accomplishing this in the waning days of the Great Depression and on the brink of World War II, while scant local resources were taxed by catastrophic floods and severe snows, was a remarkable feat of community organization.

This is the story of the generations of supporters, doctors, nurses, emergency personnel and others whose lives are interwoven with regional health care and the planning, building and operation of (the “new”) Ashe Memorial Hospital. This legacy, brought to life through 114 photographs and personal interviews with 97 individuals, traces the development of health care in a remote Appalachian community, from the days of folk remedies and midwives, to horseback doctors and early infirmaries, to the technological advances and outreach efforts of today’s Ashe Memorial Hospital.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Wives of the American Presidents, 2d ed.

Now available in softcover:

Wives of the American Presidents, 2d ed.
Carole Chandler Waldrup

Their personalities often set the tone for Washington society, from Julia Tyler’s open hospitality to Sarah Polk’s somber religious devotion. Some, like Abigail Adams, had little formal schooling. Others, such as Pat Nixon and Hillary Clinton, earned college degrees. There were those who outlived their spouses as well as women who died before seeing their husbands realize their presidential dreams. In spite of differing circumstances, these presidential wives influenced—sometimes overtly and often inadvertently—everything from domestic political agendas to foreign policy through their relationships with their husbands.

This book discusses the lives and circumstances of the women who have been married to an American president. It emphasizes the relationship each wife had with her husband and the ways in which this contributed to the success or failure of his presidency. Details include birthplace, upbringing, political viewpoints and final resting place. Chapters are also included on women such as Hannah Van Buren and Jane Wyman, who although married to men who eventually became president, never became first lady.

Posted on

New in Softcover: The Great Monster Magazines

Now available in softcover:

The Great Monster Magazines: A Critical Study of the Black and White Publications of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter

This is a critical overview of monster magazines from the 1950s through the 1970s. “Monster magazine” is a blanket term to describe both magazines that focus primarily on popular horror movies and magazines that contain stories featuring monsters, both of which are illustrated in comic book style and printed in black and white.

The book describes the rise and fall of these magazines, examining the contributions of Marvel Comics and several other well-known companies, as well as evaluating the effect of the Comics Code Authority on both present and future efforts in the field. It identifies several sub-genres, including monster movies, zombies, vampires, sword-and-sorcery, and pulp-style fiction. The work includes several indexes and technical credits.

Posted on

Newly Published: Primal Roots of Horror Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

Primal Roots of Horror Cinema: Evolutionary Psychology and Narratives of Fear
Carrol L. Fry

Why is horror in film and literature so popular? Why do viewers and readers enjoy feeling fearful? Experts in the fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology posit that behaviors from our ancestors that favored survival and adaptation still influence our actions, decisions and thoughts today.

The author, with input from a new generation of Darwinists, explores six primal narratives that recur in the horror genre. They are territoriality, tribalism, fear of genetic assimilation, mating rituals, fear of the predator, and distrust or fear of the Other.

Posted on

Newly Published: Historic Nevada Waters

New on our bookshelf:

Historic Nevada Waters: Four Rivers, Three Lakes, Past and Present
Hunt Janin and Ursula Carlson

The Great Basin is a hydrographic region that includes most of Nevada and parts of five other Western states. The histories of four of the Western rivers of the Great Basin—the Walker, the Truckee, the Carson and the Humboldt—are explored in this book, along with three of the western lakes of the Great Basin: Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and Walker Lake. Drawing on a range of sources, the coauthors address both the natural and the human aspects of the history and likely futures of Great Basin waterways.

Posted on

Newly Published: Louis Paulsen

New on our bookshelf:

Louis Paulsen: A Chess Biography with 719 Games
Hans Renette

Louis Paulsen (1833–1891) was one of the 19th century’s strongest chess players and a world record holder in blindfold chess. He maintained an unbeaten record in matches, created several opening systems and was an originator of the positional approach to the game. This extensive biography—the first in English—explores Paulsen’s life and career and includes 719 of his games, presented here with both contemporary and modern comments.

Posted on

Newly Published: Women’s College Softball on the Rise

New on our bookshelf:

Women’s College Softball on the Rise: A Season Inside the Game
Mark Allister

Sidestepping the inflated egos and scandal that have infiltrated many men’s sports, college female softball players exhibit power and grace on the field as well as camaraderie, high achievement and vulnerability off the field. This balance not only makes the game compelling to watch, but it also elevates women’s softball as an aspirational model for other sports. Focusing on the 2018 season, this book explores gender performance and sexuality in softball, how the influx of money from the sport’s growth has reshaped expectations of success, and traditional media coverage of women’s sports.

Posted on

Newly Published: A Jet Powered Life

New on our bookshelf:

A Jet Powered Life: Allen E. Paulson, Aviation Entrepreneur
Donald J. Porter

Raised on a bankrupt farm along the Mississippi River, Allen E. Paulson would become owner of the Fortune 500 aerospace empire Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. He began his career as an airplane mechanic, later setting world records as a pilot and developing unique military and civilian jets.

Paulson was ambitious and reticent, generous and frugal, confident and dogged by self-doubt. His friends included U.S. presidents, Hollywood celebrities and famous aviators. He toasted and tangled with such business titans as Lee Iacocca and Teddy Forstmann—until life took him in another direction. Paulson played by the rules and took each success and setback in stride, always with a keen ethical sense and an unflagging entrepreneurial spirit.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Electric Car in America

New on our bookshelf:

The Electric Car in America, 1890-1922: A Social History
Kerry Segrave

The electric vehicle seemed poised in 1900 to be a leader in automotive production. Clean, odorless, noiseless and mechanically simple, electrics rarely broke down and were easy to operate. An electric car could be started instantly from the driver’s seat; no other machine could claim that advantage.

But then it all went wrong. As this history details, the hope and confidence of 1900 collapsed and just two decades later electric cars were effectively dead. They had remained expensive even as gasoline cars saw dramatic price reductions, and the storage battery was an endless source of problems. An increasingly frantic public relations campaign of lies and deceptive advertising could not turn the tide.