At age 60, Susan Hartzler has learned to accept, even love, the single life, provided she has good friends and a dog or two by her side. Always attracted to the quintessential bad boy with his good looks and charming ways, she was sure she could change “the one” into a devoted partner and loving father, but her compulsive giving and fixing behaviors went hand in hand with her disappointing and disastrous romantic relationships. On a purposeful trip to the pound, she hoped to find a dog to care for, one that would sniff out the bad guys, give her a sense of purpose, and help her find meaning in her crazy world. Thoughtful and funny, this memoir follows Susan’s life through the many ups and downs on her way to finding unconditional love. Her journey is a personal one, full of the hard decisions it took to learn to put herself first and stop entering and staying in unhealthy relationships. By saving a dog, she rescues herself, learning to love herself as much as her dog loves her.
In 1912, a Congressional committee met to investigate allegations that the Secretary of Agriculture had suppressed a report by J. O. Wright on drainage in the Florida Everglades. The following seven months of committee hearings uncovered a veritable horror-show of corruption, self-dealing, misuse of government personnel and property for private gain, the tarring of reputations in order to protect high-level officials, and outright blackmail within the Department of Agriculture and the state governments of Florida and North Carolina.
The “Wright Report Incident” is most commonly understood in its connection to the Everglades, and few histories have included its effects on the North Carolina Pocosin wetland and other coastal plain swamps. This book seeks fills that gap. It details the timeline, intricate politics, and webs of corruption that make up the story of the Wright Incident and, specifically, its connection to land management practices in coastal North Carolina that continue to impact the industries of the state almost 100 years later.
Women made 2020 a banner year for diversity and inclusivity. In sports, representation on and off the field erupted with the leadership of Kim Ng, Sarah Fuller and Katie Sowers. Scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna jointly earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. And in politics, women like Cori Bush, Sarah McBride, Yvette Herrell and others were elected to ever-diversifying legislatures, while Kamala Harris ascended to the highest elected position a woman has yet to hold. To honor Women’s History Month and to nurture the path forward, we’re offering 20% off our catalog through March 31st with coupon code WOMEN20.
New on our bookshelf:
Earth and its inhabitants face an unprecedented crisis–the human-caused destruction of the planet’s life support systems. Deteriorating climate bringing super storms, mass forest fires, melting glaciers, droughts, extreme heat and rising seas, a decline in food production, soil loss, water pollution and declining fisheries all threaten the future of life on earth with a looming extinction event not seen for 60 million years.
Beginning in the 17th century, we developed a civilization based on radical materialism, exploitation of natural resources and the myth of endless economic growth. For all its technological wonders, this “hypercivilization” has proven unsustainable. This book explores ways we can create an “ecocivilization” compatible with the laws and limits of nature–a new way of living already developing, with new technologies, new forms of social organization and a new story about ourselves and the Earth.
New on our bookshelf:
Doctor Who and Science: Essays on Ideas, Identities and Ideologies in the Series
Edited by Marcus K. Harmes and Lindy A. Orthia
Science has always been part of Doctor Who. The first episode featured scenes in a science laboratory and a science teacher, and the 2020 season’s finale highlighted a scientist’s key role in Time Lord history. Hundreds of scientific characters, settings, inventions, and ethical dilemmas populated the years in between. Behind the scenes, Doctor Who‘s original remit was to teach children about science, and in the 1960s it even had a scientific advisor.
This is the first book to explore this scientific landscape from a broad spectrum of research fields: from astronomy, genetics, linguistics, computing, history, sociology and science communication through gender, media and literature studies. Contributors ask: What sort of scientist is the Doctor? How might the TARDIS translation circuit and regeneration work? Did the Doctor change sex or gender when regenerating into Jodie Whittaker? How do Doctor Who‘s depictions of the Moon and other planets compare to the real universe? Why was the program obsessed with energy in the 1960s and 1970s, Victorian scientists and sciences then and now, or with dinosaurs at any time? Do characters like Missy and the Rani make good scientist role models? How do Doctor Who technical manuals and public lectures shape public ideas about science?
New on our bookshelf:
This book refutes the 21st-century notion that advancing technology is an unambiguous social good, and examines the effects of this uncritical acceptance and dependence. The author argues that technology has become the new religion for the digital age, and that elevating technology to nearly the status of a deity allows for the denial of problems created by reliance upon machines.
From the release of toxins into the environment to the unsustainable energy demands of the modern era, technological dependence is driving humanity near the brink of extinction.
Despite these problems, and existential issues such as artificial intelligence and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, many people have an unwavering belief in the ability of technology, particularly any device labeled “smart,” to create a perfect future—while denying the history of unmet promises and unintended consequences of technological innovation.
The author explores the psychological underpinnings of these beliefs from both a clinical and a cognitive perspective. The social and economic forces that maintain our reliance on, or addiction to, technology are critiqued as are the ethical and security issues associated with the control of advanced technology.
Community Eco-Gardens: Landscaping with Native Plants
Dennis Swiftdeer Paige
Part how-to, part personal narrative, this book provides a practical guide for creating native-species ecogardens. It chronicles the author’s 20-year journey of environmental awakening. With the help of the greater community, a neglected five-acre condominium landscape is transformed into a stunning range of multi-seasonal prairie, woodland and wetland micro-habitats. This illustrated account describes the process of ecological reconciliation and traces his discovery of the higher self along the way.
Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities
Charles Russell Coulter and Patricia Turner
Throughout history, humans have pondered the question of their existence. In nearly every society, part of the answer has included some form of god or goddess. For the Mayans, one such deity was Ajtzak, who tried to create humans from wood; for the Yorubas of Africa, Shango controlled the thunder and lightning. The Chinese of the Shang dynasty era worshipped Shang Ti. Evil deities were also part of the answer, as in the case of the Kuvera, the Hindu chief of evil in the Vedic period, and Tu, the Persian or Islamic demon of fatal accidents.
All of the known ancient gods, many heretofore obscure or known only from mythological literature, are included in this exhaustive reference work. The focus is on their origins, histories, and functions. The people who believed in each deity are identified, along with alternate names or spellings both old and modern. The descriptions that follow are of the functions, origins and physical nature of the deities. Extensive cross references are provided for alternate spellings and names.
War Pigeons: Winged Couriers in the U.S. Military, 1878–1957
Elizabeth G. Macalaster
For more than seven decades, homing pigeons provided the U.S. military with its fastest most reliable means of communication. Originally bred for racing in the early 1800s, homing pigeons were later trained by pigeoneers to fly up to 60 mph for hundreds of miles, and served the United States for almost 75 years, through four wars on four continents. Barely weighing a pound, these extraordinary birds carried messages in and out of gas, smoke, exploding bombs and gunfire. They flew through jungles, deserts and mountains, not faltering even when faced with large expanses of ocean to cross. Sometimes they arrived nearly dead from wounds or exhaustion, refusing to give up until they reached their objective.
This book is the first complete account of the remarkable service that homing pigeons provided for the American armed forces, from its fledgling beginnings after the Civil War to the birds’ invaluable role in communications in every branch of the U.S. military through both World Wars and beyond. Personal narratives, primary sources and news articles tell the story of the pigeons’ recruitment and training in the U.S., their deployment abroad and use on the home front.
The Carbon Boycott: A Path to Freedom from Fossil Fuels
Samuel C. Avery
The science is clear: by the mid-20th century human beings must stop burning coal, oil and natural gas. Reducing carbon emissions is not enough—they must be eliminated. Each individual “doing their part” is only a start. We heat our homes, light our rooms, power our cars, prepare our food, and produce and distribute consumer goods with the help of fossil fuels. A practical and visionary re-imagining of the future is needed.
Calling for a technical and spiritual ground-shift, this book proposes carbon boycotts as collective action, with groups and communities changing what products they consume and seeking new ways to work, live and play to steer aggregate demand towards solar, wind, geothermal and renewable energy alternatives.
Western Water Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court
James H. Davenport
Exploring the little-known history behind the legal doctrine of prior appropriation—“first in time is first in right”—used to apportion water resources in the western United States, this book focuses on the important case of Wyoming v. Colorado(1922). U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Willis Van Devanter, a former Chief Justice of Wyoming, ruled in that state’s favor, finding that prior appropriation applied across state lines—a controversial opinion influenced by cronyism. The dicta in the case, that the U.S. Government has no interest in state water allocation law, drove the balkanization of interstate water systems and resulted in the Colorado River Interstate Compact between Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.
The exhaustive research that has gone into this book has uncovered the secret that Associate Justice Van Devanter had waited eleven years to publish his opinion in this important, but politically self-serving, case, at last finding a moment when his senior colleagues were sufficiently absent or incapacitated to either concur or dissent. Without the knowledge of his “brethren,” save his “loyal friend” Taft, and without recusal, Van Devanter unilaterally delivered his sole opinion to the Clerk for publication on the last day of the Supreme Court’s October 1921 Term.
Animals and Ourselves: Essays on Connections and Blurred Boundaries
Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson Kathy Shepherd Stolley and Lisa Lyon Payne
The relationship between humans and animals has always been strong, symbiotic and complicated. Animals, real and fictional, have been a mainstay in the arts and entertainment, figuring prominently in literature, film, television, social media, and live performances. Increasingly, though, people are anthropomorphizing animals, assigning them humanoid roles, tasks and identities. At the same time, humans, such as members of the furry culture or college mascots, find pleasure in adopting animal identities and characteristics. This book is the first of its kind to explore these growing phenomena across media. The contributors to this collection represent various disciplines, to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, and healthcare. Their essays demonstrate the various ways that human and animal lives are intertwined and constantly evolving.
EcoComix: Essays on the Environment in Comics and Graphic Novels
Edited by Sidney I. Dobrin
Exploring image and imagination in conjunction with natural environments, the animal, and the human, this collection of essays turns the ecocritical and ecocompositional gaze upon comic studies. The comic form has a long tradition of representing environmental rhetoric. Through discussions of comics including A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, We3, Concrete, and Black Orchid, these essays bring the rich work of ecological criticism into dialogue with the multi-faceted landscape of comics, graphic novels, web-comics, cartoons, and animation. The contributors ask not only how nature and environment are portrayed in these texts but also how these textual forms inform how we come to know nature and environment–or what we understand those terms to represent. Interdisciplinary in approach, this collection welcomes diverse approaches that integrate not only ecocriticism and comics studies, but animal studies, posthumanism, ecofeminism, queer ecology, semiotics, visual rhetoric and communication, ecoseeing, image-text studies, space and spatial theories, writing studies, media ecology, ecomedia, and other methodological approaches.
Cyclone Country: The Language of Place and Disaster in Australian Literature
Chrystopher J. Spicer
The storm has become a universal trope in the literature of crisis, revelation and transformation. It can function as a trope of place, of apocalypse and epiphany, of cultural mythos and story, and of people and spirituality.
This book explores the connections between people, place and environment through the image of cyclones within fiction and poetry from the Australian state of Queensland, the northern coast of which is characterized by these devastating storms. Analyzing a range of works including Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria, Patrick White’s The Eye of the Storm, and Vance Palmer’s Cyclone it explains the cyclone in the Queensland literary imagination as an example of a cultural response to weather in a unique regional place. It also situates the cyclones that appear in Queensland literature within the broader global context of literary cyclones.
Chinese Women Writers on the Environment: A Multi-Ethnic Anthology of Fiction and Nonfiction
Edited by Dong Isbister, Xiumei Pu and Stephen D. Rachman
The stories, prose and poems in this anthology offer readers a unique and generous array of women’s experiences in China. In a world that is rapidly modernizing, these writings attempt to reconcile with the ever-changing people, plants, beasts and environment. After five years of painstaking collection and translation, the authors present these stories of strength and sadness, defiance and resilience, urban and village life, from the days of the cultural revolution to the present. Whether a house full of hawks and eagles, a stubborn cow, or a defiant elderly couple sabotaging a lumber operation, these stories express powerful visions of the earth interwoven with human memory.
Places to Bee: A Guide to Apitourism
Travelers are buzzing about apitourism—or “bee tourism”—as an opportunity to get close to bees and learn about the ecology and industry they support. Apitours invite visitors to see what takes place inside a hive, taste fresh honey and observe its journey from comb to bottle. Apitourists explore “bee culture” through diverse activities—watching films, creating art, building “bee hotels,” sampling mead, learning to plant pollinator gardens and documenting species in the wild. This guide presents an educational overview of apitourism, with an exploration of the fascinating world of bees and the sometimes controversial issues surrounding them.
Our fall New Titles catalog is now available, featuring 184 forthcoming books from our authors. Browse now!
The Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi: A History
Since 1866 the Ku Klux Klan has been a significant force in Mississippi, enduring repeated cycles of expansion and decline. Klansmen have rallied, marched, elected civic leaders, infiltrated law enforcement, and committed crimes ranging from petty vandalism to assassination and mass murder. This is the definitive history of the KKK in Mississippi, long recognized as one of the group’s most militant and violent realms. The campaigns of terrorism by the Klan, its involvement in politics and religion, and its role as a social movement for marginalized poor whites are fully explored.
Eco-Vampires: The Undead and the Environment
This work studies the ways vampiric narratives explore the eco-friendly credentials of the undead. Many of these texts and films show the vampire to be an essential part of a global ecosystem and an organism that can no longer tolerate the all-consuming forces of globalization and consumerism. Re-examining Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a range of other vampire narratives, primarily films, in a fresh light, this book reveals the nosferatu as both a plague on humankind and the eco-warriors that planet Earth desperately needs.
The Hallmark Channel: Essays on Faith, Race and Feminism
Edited by Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell
Originally known as a brand for greeting cards, Hallmark has seen a surge in popularity since the early 2010s for its made-for-TV movies and television channels: the Hallmark Channel and its spinoffs, Hallmark Movie Channel (now Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and Hallmark Drama. Hallmark’s brand of comforting, often sentimental content includes standalone movies, period and contemporary television series, and mystery film series that center on strong, intuitive female leads. By creating reliable and consistent content, Hallmark offers people a calming retreat from the real world.
This collection of new essays strives to fill the void in academic attention surrounding Hallmark. From the plethora of Christmas movies that are released each year to the successful faith-based scripted programming and popular cozy mysteries that air every week, there is a wealth of material to be explored. Specifically, this book explores the network’s problematic relationship with race, the dominance of Christianity and heteronormativity, the significance placed on nostalgia, and the hiring and re-hiring of a group of women who thrived as child stars.
This book explores the technological innovations and management practices of evangelical Christian religions. Beginning from the late 19th century, the author examines the evangelical church’s increasing appropriation of business practices from the secular world as solutions to organizational problems. He notes especially the importance of the church growth movement and the formation of church networks.
Particular attention is paid to the history of evangelical uses of computer technology, including connections the Christian Right has made within Silicon Valley. Most significantly, this book offers one of the first academic explorations of the use of cybernetics, systems theory and complexity theory by evangelical leaders and management theorists.
As awareness of climate change grows, so do the number of cultural depictions of environmental disaster. Graphic novels have reliably produced dramatizations of such disasters. Many use themes of dystopian hopefulness, or the enjoyment readers experience from seeing society prevail in times of apocalypse.
This book argues that these generally inspirational narratives contribute to a societal apathy for real-life environmental degradation. By examining the narratives and art of the environmental apocalypse in contemporary graphic novels, the author stands against dystopian hope, arguing that the ways in which we experience depictions of apocalypse shape how we respond to real crises.
Virtual Tribe: Indigenous Identity in Social Media
Steven C. Dinero
In the post-colonial era, tribal peoples are particularly vulnerable to new technologies and industrialization, which threaten their cultures, homelands and ways of living. However, there is a surprising exception to this trend in the form of social media.
This book explores how tribal and indigenous peoples across the globe are using social media such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in fresh and inventive ways unique to their values and lifestyles.
These platforms help tribal peoples to communicate across boundaries and barriers as never before, and are helping to strengthen communal identity and development in the global age.
The following titles are now available on Kindle:
A Century in Uniform: Military Women in American Films
African American Entertainers in Australia and New Zealand: A History, 1788–1941
Apocalypse TV: Essays on Society and Self at the End of the World
Apocalyptic Ecology in the Graphic Novel: Life and the Environment After Societal Collapse
Autogenic Training: A Mind-Body Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain Syndrome and Stress-Related Disorders, 3d ed.
Baseball in Europe: A Country by Country History, 2d ed.
Chasing the Bounty: The Voyages of the Pandora and Matavy
Colonels in Blue—Missouri and the Western States and Territories: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary
Electric Trucks: A History of Delivery Vehicles, Semis, Forklifts and Others
Ethics After Poststructuralism: A Critical Reader
Film History Through Trade Journal Art, 1916–1920
Final Battles of Patton’s Vanguard: The United States Army Fourth Armored Division, 1945–1946
George “Mooney” Gibson: Canadian Catcher for the Deadball Era Pirates
Girl of Steel: Essays on Television’s Supergirl and Fourth-Wave Feminism
Hollywood’s Hard-Luck Ladies: 23 Actresses Who Suffered Early Deaths, Accidents, Missteps, Illnesses and Tragedies
Italian Crime Fiction in the Era of the Anti-Mafia Movement
Japan’s Spy at Pearl Harbor: Memoir of an Imperial Navy Secret Agent
Joe Quigley, Alaska Pioneer: Beyond the Gold Rush
John Derek: Actor, Director, Photographer
Kenny Riley and Black Union Labor Power in the Port of Charleston
Managing Organizational Conflict
Nick McLean Behind the Camera: The Life and Works of a Hollywood Cinematographer
Parenting Through Pop Culture: Essays on Navigating Media with Children
Philip K. Dick: Essays of the Here and Now
Quaker Carpetbagger: J. Williams Thorne, Underground Railroad Host Turned North Carolina Politician
Rhode Island’s Civil War Dead: A Complete Roster
Rosalie Gardiner Jones and the Long March for Women’s Rights
Rosenblatt Stadium: Essays and Memories of Omaha’s Historic Ballpark, 1948–2012
Sacred and Mythological Animals: A Worldwide Taxonomy
Sailing Under John Paul Jones: The Memoir of Continental Navy Midshipman Nathaniel Fanning, 1778–1783
Section 27 and Freedman’s Village in Arlington National Cemetery: The African American History of America’s Most Hallowed Ground
Sicily on Screen: Essays on the Representation of the Island and Its Culture
Springsteen as Soundtrack: The Sound of the Boss in Film and Television
Taking Fire!: Memoir of an Aerial Scout in Vietnam
The 6th Michigan Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster
The Civil War in the South Carolina Lowcountry: How a Confederate Artillery Battery and a Black Union Regiment Defined the War
The General Aviation Industry in America: A History, 2d ed.
The Man Who Made Babe Ruth: Brother Matthias of St. Mary’s School
The Showgirl Costume: An Illustrated History
The USS Swordfish: The World War II Patrols of the First American Submarine to Sink a Japanese Ship
The Women of City Point, Virginia, 1864–1865: Stories of Life and Work in the Union Occupation Headquarters
Themes in Latin American Cinema: A Critical Survey, 2d ed.
Understanding Nazi Ideology: The Genesis and Impact of a Political Faith
Virtual Tribe: Indigenous Identity in Social Media
Why the Axis Lost: An Analysis of Strategic Errors
Sacred and Mythological Animals: A Worldwide Taxonomy
From the household cat to horses that can fly, a surprisingly wide range of animals feature in religions and mythologies all across the world. The same animal can take on different roles: the raven can be a symbol of evil, a harbinger of death, a wise messenger or a shape-changing trickster. In Norse mythology, Odin’s magical ravens perch on his shoulders and bring him news.
This compendium draws upon religious texts and myths to explore the ways sacred traditions use animal images, themes and associations in rituals, ceremonies, texts, myths, literature and folklore across the world. Sections are organized by the main animal classifications such as mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians and insects. Each chapter covers one significant grouping (such as dogs, cats or horses), first describing an animal scientifically and then detailing the mythological attributes. Numerous examples cite texts or myths. A final section covers animal hybrids, animal monsters and mythical animals as well as stars, constellations and Zodiac symbols. An appendix describes basic details of the religions and mythologies covered. A glossary defines uncommon religious terms and explains scientific animal names.
The Digital Dystopias of Black Mirror and Electric Dreams
This critical examination of two dystopian television series—Black Mirror and Electric Dreams—focuses on pop culture depictions of technology and its impact on human existence. Representations of a wide range of modern and futuristic technologies are explored, from early portrayals of artificial intelligence (Rossum’s Universal Robots, 1921) to digital consciousness transference as envisioned in Black Mirror’s “San Junipero.”
These representations reflect societal anxieties about unfettered technological development and how a world infused with invasive artificial intelligence might redefine life and death, power and control. The impact of social media platforms is considered in the contexts of modern-day communication and political manipulation.
Deep Space Warfare: Military Strategy Beyond Orbit
John C. Wright
Since the Cold War, outer space has become of strategic importance for nations looking to seize the ultimate high ground. World powers establishing a presence there must consider, among other things, how they will conduct warfare in orbit. Leaders must dispense with “Buck Rogers” notions about operations in space and realize that policies there will have serious ramifications for geopolitics.
How should nations view space? How should they fight there? What would space warfare look like and how should strategists approach it? Offering critical observations regarding this unique theater of international relations, a military professional explores the strategic implications as human affairs move beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
McFarland is exhibiting at the 2020 Eastern Division conference of the American Philosophical Association January 8-11 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You are invited to meet with assistant editor Dré Person. Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with Dré.
The Apocalypse, Ethics and Philosophy
Sustainability, Ethics and Philosophy
Pop Culture and Philosophy
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
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.
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.
Our Fall 2019 new books catalog is now available—browse our authors’ new and forthcoming titles today!
Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.