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CONFERENCES: Upcoming MLA and PCA events

McFarland is exhibiting at a number of regional and national conferences in the coming months, and conferees are encouraged to take the opportunity to peruse our books and meet an editor.  Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (Layla Milholen, Gary Mitchem, or Dré Person), or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with an editor.

Popular Culture Association in the South Sept 26-28, Wilmington, NC, Layla Milholen
Association for the Study of African American Life and History Oct 3-5, Charleston, SC, Dré Person
Midwest Popular Culture Association Oct 10-13 Cincinnati, OH, Layla Milholen
American Folklore Society Oct 16-19, Baltimore, MD, Gary Mitchem
South Central Modern Language Association Oct 24-26, Little Rock, AR, Gary Mitchem
Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Nov 7-9, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, Gary Mitchem
Film and History Nov 13-17, Madison, WI, Dré Person
National Women’s Studies Association Nov 14-17, San Francisco, CA, Layla Milholen
South Atlantic Modern Language Association Nov 15–17, Atlanta, GA, Gary Mitchem
American Philosophical Association Jan 8-11, Philadelphia, PA, Dré Person
Modern Language Association Jan 9-12, Seattle, WA, Gary Mitchem


Cinema & Media Studies


Comics & Graphic Narratives


Literature

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Newly Published: Technology and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

New on our bookshelf:

Technology and the Doctor-Patient Relationship
D.C. Lozar, M.D.

Medicine is an ancient profession that advances as each generation of practitioners passes it down. It remains a distinguished, flawed and rewarding vocation—but it may be coming to an end as we know it.

Computer algorithms promise patients better access, safer therapies and more predictable outcomes. Technology reduces costs, helps design more effective and personalized treatments and diminishes fraud and waste. Balanced against these developments is the risk that medical professionals will forget that their primary responsibility is to their patients, not to a template of care.
Written for anyone who has considered a career in health care—and for any patient who has had an office visit where a provider spent more time with data-entry than with them—this book weighs the benefits of emerging technologies against the limitations of traditional systems to envision a future where both doctors and patients are better-informed consumers of health care tools.

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Newly Published: Presidents by Fate

New on our bookshelf:

Presidents by Fate: Nine Who Ascended through Death or Resignation
F. Martin Harmon

Throughout the history of the United States, only nine men were elevated to the White House by the death or failure of a sitting president, and their legacies are as mixed as their circumstances. This book evaluates the similarities and distinct differences of these men, their varying degrees of ambition and readiness, and how each handled their suddenly enormous duties. Some became presidential legends, while others are counted among the worst. Their shared stories shed light on America’s political development during the last two centuries.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Newly Published: General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs

New on our bookshelf:

General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs: A Passion for Hounds, from the Civil War to Little Bighorn
Brian Patrick Duggan

General George Armstrong Custer and his wife, Libbie Custer, were wholehearted dog lovers. At the time of his death at Little Bighorn, they owned a rollicking pack of 40 hunting dogs, including Scottish Deerhounds, Russian Wolfhounds, Greyhounds and Foxhounds. Told from a dog owner’s perspective, this biography covers their first dogs during the Civil War and in Texas; hunting on the Kansas and Dakota frontiers; entertaining tourist buffalo hunters, including a Russian Archduke, English aristocrats and P. T. Barnum (all of whom presented the general with hounds); Custer’s attack on the Washita village (when he was accused of strangling his own dogs); and the 7th Cavalry’s march to Little Bighorn with an analysis of rumors about a Last Stand dog. The Custers’ pack was re-homed after his death in the first national dog rescue effort. Well illustrated, the book includes an appendix giving depictions of the Custers’ dogs in art, literature and film.

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Newly Published: Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb

New on our bookshelf:

Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb: A Complete History of the Trinity Test Site
William S. Loring

It was not Robert Oppenheimer who built the bomb—it was engineers, chemists and young physicists in their twenties, many not yet having earned a degree. The first atomic bomb was originally conceived as a backup device, a weapon not then currently achievable. The remote Trinity Site—the birthplace of the bomb—was used as a test range for U.S. bombers before the first nuclear device was secretly detonated. After the blast, locals speculated that the flash and rumble were caused by colliding B-29s, while Manhattan Project officials nervously measured high levels of offsite radiation.

Drawing on original documents, many recently declassified, the author sheds new light on a pivotal moment in history—now approaching its 75th anniversary—told from the point of view of the men who inaugurated the Atomic Age in the New Mexico desert.

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Newly Published: Snakes in American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
Jesse C. Donahue and Conor Shaw-Draves

The literature on snakes is manifold but overwhelmingly centered on the natural sciences. Little has been published about them in the fields of popular culture or the history of medicine.

Focusing primarily on American culture and history from the 1800s, this study draws on a wide range of sources—including newspaper archives, medical journals, and archives from the Smithsonian Institute—to examine the complex relationship between snakes and humans.

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Biographies and Memoirs Catalog and Sale

McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes.  On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.

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Newly Published: The Advance of Neuroscience

New on our bookshelf:

The Advance of Neuroscience: Twelve Topics from the Victorian Era to Today
Lori A. Schmied

Neuroscience, like psychology, has a short history but a long past. Although the mind-body relationship has been studied for a long time, it is only in the last fifty years that the term “neuroscience” has been applied to the academic disciplines focusing on brain and behavior.
This book explores topics on the brain, psychoactive drugs, and a variety of human behaviors and experiences—such as music and sleep—taking into consideration the importance of historical roots of neuroscience, which have been largely unexamined before now. It looks particularly at the importance of the Victorian era in the development of theories of the nervous system, which are still visible in today’s discourse on brain and behavior.

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Newly Published: The Language of Popular Science

New on our bookshelf:

The Language of Popular Science: Analyzing the Communication of Advanced Ideas to Lay Readers
Olga A. Pilkington

If you read (or write) popular science, you might sometimes wonder: how do the authors manage to make subjects that once put you to sleep in science class both so entertaining and approachable? The use of language is key.

Based on analyses of popular science bestsellers, this linguistic study shows how expert popularizers use the voices and narratives of scientists to engage readers, demonstrating the power of science and portraying researchers as champions of knowledge. By doing so they often blur the lines between nonfiction and fiction, inviting readers to take part in thought experiments and turn ordinary scientists into omnipotent heroes.

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Newly Published: Electric Motorcycles and Bicycles

New on our bookshelf:

Electric Motorcycles and Bicycles: A History Including Scooters, Tricycles, Segways and Monocycles
Kevin Desmond

Beginning in 1881, isolated prototypes of electric tricycles and bicycles were patented and sometimes tested. Limited editions followed in the 1940s, but it was not until the lithium-ion battery became available in the first decade of this century that urban pedelecs and more powerful open-road motorcycles—sometimes with speeds of over 200 mph—became possible and increasingly popular.

Today’s ever-growing fleets of one-wheel, two-wheel and three-wheel light electric vehicles can now be counted in the hundreds of millions. In this third installment of his electric transport history series, the author covers the lives of the innovative engineers who have developed these e-wheelers.

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Holiday 2018 Sale—Get 25% Off All Books!

The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!

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Newly Published: Stopping by Woods

New on our bookshelf today:

Stopping by Woods: Robert Frost as New England Naturalist
Owen D.V. Sholes

Robert Frost was a practicing farmer, a skilled naturalist and one of America’s best-loved poets. His body of work provides a vivid and compelling narrative of New England’s changing environment—though it can be hard to discern when its parts are scattered through hundreds of different poems, voices and moods.

This book pieces together Frost’s environmental commentary, examining his poems thematically and in a logical order. In them, homesteads are carved out of the forest, families make their living from an obdurate land, property is abandoned when it fails to sell, and plants and animals reclaim deserted farms. Frost bemoaned the loss of people from the land but also celebrated the flora and fauna that thrived in fallow fields and empty barns.

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Newly Published: Electric Airplanes and Drones

New on our bookshelf today:

Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History
Kevin Desmond

Attempts at electric powered flight date to well before the 19th century. Battery weight and low energy output made it impractical until the 1990s, when the advent of lightweight materials, more efficient solar power, improved engines and the Li-Po (lithium polymer) battery opened the skies to a wide variety of electric aircraft.

The author describes the diverse designs of modern electric flying machines—from tiny insect-styled drones to stratospheric airships—and explores developing trends, including flying cars and passenger airliners.

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Newly Published: The Lives of Justine Johnstone

New on our bookshelf today:

The Lives of Justine Johnstone: Follies Star, Research Scientist, Social Activist
Kathleen Vestuto

As a Ziegfeld Follies girl and film actress, Justine Johnstone (1895–1982) was celebrated as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her career took an unexpected turn when she abruptly retired from acting at 31. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to medical research and social activism. As a cutting-edge pathologist, she contributed to the pre-penicillin treatment of syphilis at Columbia University, participated in the development of early cancer treatments at Caltech, and assisted Los Angeles physicians in oncology research. As a divorced woman in the 1940s, she adopted and raised two children on her own. She later helped find work for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters and became a prominent participant in social and political causes.

The first full-length biography of Johnstone chronicles her extraordinary success in two male-dominated fields—show business and medical science—and follows her remarkable journey into a fascinating and fulfilling life.

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Newly Published: The Chinese Information War

New on our bookshelf today:

The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests, 2d ed.
Dennis F. Poindexter

China’s information war against the United States is clever technically, broadly applied and successful. The intelligence community in the U.S. has publicly stated this is a kind of war we do not know how to fight—yet it is the U.S. military that developed and expanded the doctrine of information war.

In fact, the U.S. military is at a disadvantage because it is part of a democratic, decentralized system of government that separates the state from commercial business. China’s political systems are more easily adapted to this form of warfare, as their recent land seizures in the South China Sea demonstrate. We call this annexation, when it is a new form of conquest.

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Newly Published: Biology Run Amok!

New on our bookshelf today:

Biology Run Amok!: The Life Science Lessons of Science Fiction Cinema
Mark C. Glassy

Science fiction movie audiences may sometimes wonder how fictitious the science in a film really is. Yet for many—call them the “Jurassic Park generation”—film and popular media can present a seemingly plausible melding of science and fiction that forms a distorted understanding of scientific facts and concepts. Recognizing that film is both the dominant entertainment medium and an effective tool for teaching, this book—featuring articles originally published in the magazine Scary Monsters—separates biological reality from fantasy in dozens of science fiction films, including The Island of Lost Souls (1933), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), War of the Worlds (1953), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Scanners (1980), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1987) and Outbreak (1995).

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Newly Published: Women in STEM on Television

New on our bookshelf today:

Women in STEM on Television: Critical Essays
Edited by Ashley Lynn Carlson

Women remain woefully underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Negative stereotypes about women in these fields are pervasive, rooted in the debunked claim that women have less aptitude than men in science and math. While some TV series present portrayals that challenge this stereotype, others reinforce troubling biases—sometimes even as writers and producers attempt to champion women in STEM.

This collection of new essays examines numerous popular series, from children’s programs to primetime shows, and discusses the ways in which these narratives inform cultural ideas about women in STEM.

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Newly Published: The Story of a Forest

New on our bookshelf today:

The Story of a Forest: Growth, Destruction and Renewal in the Upper Delaware Valley
Robert Kuhn McGregor

The re-established forests of the Upper Delaware exist as a living reminder of centuries of both exploitation and good intentions. Emerging after the last glaciation, they were first modified by Native Americans to promote hunting and limited agriculture. The forests began to disappear as Europeans clear-cut farmland and fed sawmills and tanneries.

The advent of the railroad accelerated demand and within 30 years industry had consumed virtually every mature tree in the valley, leaving barren hillsides subject to erosion and flooding. Even as unchecked cutting continued, conservation efforts began to save what little remained.

A century and a half later, a forest for the 21st century has emerged–an ecological patchwork protected by a web of governmental agencies, yet still subject to danger from humans.

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Newly Published: Japan’s Green Monsters

New on our bookshelf today:

Japan’s Green Monsters: Environmental Commentary in Kaiju Cinema
Sean Rhoads and Brooke McCorkle

In 1954, a massive irradiated dinosaur emerged from Tokyo Bay and rained death and destruction on the Japanese capital. Since then Godzilla and other monsters, such as Mothra and Gamera, have gained cult status around the world.
This book provides a new interpretation of these monsters, or kaijū, and their respective movies. Analyzing Japanese history, society and film, the authors demonstrate various ways in which this monster cinema tackles environmental and ecological issues—from nuclear power and industrial pollution to biodiversity and climate change.

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Newly Published: Sex and the Scientist

New on our bookshelf today:

Sex and the Scientist: The Indecent Life of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753–1814)
Jane Merrill

One of the preeminent natural philosophers of the Enlightenment, Benjamin Thompson started out
as a farm boy with a practical turn of mind. His inventions include the Rumford fireplace, insulated clothing, the thermos, convection ovens, double boilers, double-paned glass and an improved sloop. He was knighted by King George III and became a Count of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Thompson’s popularity with women eclipsed his achievements, though. He was married twice and had affairs with many other prominent women, including the wife of Boston printer Isaiah Thomas and that of a doctor who would crew the first balloon to cross the English Channel. He even fathered a child by the court mistress of the Prince Elector and had affairs with several other German noblewomen. Drawing on Thompson’s correspondence and diaries, this book examines his friendships and romantic relationships.

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Newly Published: Scientifical Americans

Scientifical AmericansNew on our bookshelf today:

Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers
Sharon A. Hill

In the 21st century, reality television and the Internet have fed public interest in ghosts, UFOs, cryptozoology and other unusual phenomena. By 2010, roughly 2000 amateur research and investigation groups formed in the U.S.—ghost hunters, Bigfoot chasers and UFO researchers, using an array of (supposedly) scientific equipment and methods to prove the existence of the paranormal.

American culture’s honorific regard for science, coupled with the public’s unfamiliarity with scientific methods, created a niche for self-styled paranormal experts to achieve national renown without scientific training or credentials. The author provides a comprehensive examination of the ideas, missions and methods promoted by these passionate amateurs.