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African American Studies

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Newly Published: The Great War from the German Trenches

New on our bookshelf today:

The Great War from the German Trenches: A Sapper’s Memoir, 1914–1918
Artur H. Boer Translated and edited by Bertil van Boer and Margaret L. Fast

Life in the trenches for German soldiers during World War I was every bit as hellish as it was for Allied troops. Arthur Boer survived almost four years of continual fighting on both the Eastern and Western fronts as a sapper (combat engineer) who found himself in the thick of major battles. He laid barbed wire in no-man’s-land under machine gun fire, bet money on aerial combat above the trenches between Baron von Richthofen and the English, faced starvation and crushing boredom. His war diary describes all in gritty detail, including the horror of gas warfare, doomed vainglorious charges and his return home to a ruined Germany.

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Newly Published: Saints in the Broken City

New on our bookshelf today:

Saints in the Broken City: Football, Fandom and Urban Renewal in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Casey Schreiber

Telling the story of Saints football in New Orleans is a way to understand larger social, political and economic conditions during pivotal moments of the city’s history. This book is the first to explore the team’s role in rebuilding the city following Hurricane Katrina. The author documents New Orleans’ initial efforts to attract professional football, the Katrina disaster and some successes and failures during 10 years of post-disaster recovery. The narrative of community recovery and cohesion crafted by Saints fans transcends racial divides and illustrates the relationship between professional sports and the American city. The voices of female fans—largely overlooked in the study of sports—compel a more inclusive definition of football fandom.

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Let's talk about Stranger Things!


Who’s excited about a second season of Stranger Things? We are! The popularity of Stranger Things—and other series that inspire you to spend a summer weekend indoors chain-watching Netflix—caused some of us to ask, “How soon is too soon for a book?” Is there sufficient scholarly interest in a book about season one of Stranger Things?

Let us know your thoughts! And if you’re working on a manuscript about Stranger Things (or any other current series), tell us about it on our Facebook page! And be sure to check out our resources on becoming a McFarland author.

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Newly Published: Japanese Film and the Floating Mind

New on our bookshelf today:

Japanese Film and the Floating Mind: Cinematic Contemplations of Being
Justin Vicari

Japanese film is enduringly fascinating, challenging and rewarding. This book provides a cultural, historical and philosophical study of Japanese film, from the silent era to the present-day, focusing on its expansive consciousness. The author examines masterpieces by Ozu, Mizoguchi, Oshima and many other directors, discussing their influence on the Japanese culture of esoteric Zen Buddhism and relating them to recent neuroscientific theories of brain trauma.

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Newly Published: The Crash of Piedmont Airlines Flight 22

New on our bookshelf today:

The Crash of Piedmont Airlines Flight 22: Completing the Record of the 1967 Midair Collision Near Hendersonville, North Carolina
Paul D. Houle

Against a backdrop of inadequate funding, misplaced priorities and a lack of manpower, American commercial aviation in the 1960s was in a perilous state. In July 1967, when a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 727 collided with a Cessna 310 over Hendersonville, North Carolina, killing 82 people, the industry was in crisis. Congress called hearings on aviation safety and government and union officials pressured President Lyndon Johnson to request increased funding for aviation safety.

But the National Transportation Safety Board’s probe into the crash was flawed from the start. The investigative team was made up of individuals whose companies had certain interests in the outcome. The lead investigator was the brother of the vice president of Piedmont Airlines. In an effort to shift blame from the government and Piedmont, critical conversations recorded on tape never made it into the NTSB’s report. Maintenance and training records, as well as industry warnings of the 727’s operational limitations, were also omitted. This book reveals the true story of the investigation: what was left out and why.

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Newly Published: Legal Executions in Georgia

New on our bookshelf today:

Legal Executions in Georgia: A Comprehensive Registry, 1866–1964
Daniel Allen Hearn

In the state of Georgia, 1025 men and women are known to have been hanged or electrocuted for capital crimes in the century after the Civil War. Based on more than twenty years of investigative research, this chronological record of these legal executions was pieced together from diverse sources in and outside of the state, with many details never before made public. The author documents the facts as they occurred without delving into the politics of capital punishment.

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December 2015 Choice Reviews

This month’s issue of Choice features reviews of five McFarland books. Read excerpts below!

Alice Paul, the National Woman’s Party and the Vote: The First Civil Rights Struggle of the 20th Century
“Innovative… particularly useful for DC history and public history courses… recommended.”

The Music of Counterculture Cinema: A Critical Study of 1960s and 1970s Soundtracks
“A smart examination… recommended.”

Palliative Care: The 400-Year Quest for a Good Death
“A valuable contribution… recommended.”

Theater of War and Exile: Twelve Playwrights, Directors and Performers from Eastern Europe and Israel

Playing Harry Potter: Essays and Interviews on Fandom and Performance
“Reveals the wide range of fan culture that has built up around the Harry Potter books… recommended.”


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A Hospital for Ashe County Booksigning

We’d like to thank all of our local friends who made Janet Pittard’s booksigning such a success on Friday night. The Florence Thomas Art School in downtown West Jefferson was packed the entire evening, and we nearly sold out of books!

Copies of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, are still available here, and from local Ashe County retailers.

Janet Pittard signs a copy of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, at the Florence Thomas Art School
Janet Pittard signs a copy of her book, A Hospital for Ashe County, at the Florence Thomas Art School



















Author Janet Pittard with McFarland founder and editor in chief Robert Franklin
Author Janet Pittard with McFarland founder and editor in chief Robert Franklin









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Newly Published—Not Just Batman's Butler

New on our bookshelf today:

Not Just Batman’s Butler: The Autobiography of Alan Napier
By Alan Napier with James Bigwood

In January 1966, Alan Napier became a household name on ABC’s hit series Batman (1966–1968) as Alfred Pennyworth, loyal butler to the show’s title character. This “overnight success” came after 16 years of stage work (and the occasional film) in his native England and 26 years of film and television work (and the occasional play) in the United States.

In the early 1970s, Napier wrote an autobiography, detailing his childhood as a “poor relation” of the famous Birmingham political family the Chamberlains (Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was a cousin), and his collaborations over the years with the likes of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, George Bernard Shaw, Noël Coward, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger and Alfred Hitchcock.

Almost 30 years after Napier’s death, James Bigwood, who first read the manuscript in 1975 when interviewing him for a Films in Review profile, was asked by the actor’s daughter to arrange for its publication.

This is Alan Napier’s story in his own words, annotated and updated, with dozens of rare photographs.