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.
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.
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.
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.
Our spring 2019 new books catalog is now available—click here to browse our forthcoming titles!
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.
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!
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.
Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History
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.
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.
Our Fall 2018 catalog is now available—click here to see our authors’ forthcoming books!
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.
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).
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.
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.
Our Spring 2018 New Books catalog is now available—click to see what our authors have in store for the new year!
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.
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.
New on our bookshelf today:
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.