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New Books: February 2012
A selection from the most recent titles added to the SMCM Library
Americans are fixated on the idea of choice. Our political theory is based on the consent of the governed. Our legal system is built upon the argument that people freely make choices and bear responsibility for them. And what slogan could better express the heart of our consumer culture than "Have it your way"? In this book, the author poses unsettling questions about the choices we make ... He taps into scholarship on topics ranging from brain science to economics, political theory to sociology.
How has a liberating principle of the Enlightenment - the right to pursue happiness - become the unavoidable and burdensome responsibility to be happy? How did we become unhappy about not being happy - and what might we do to escape this predicament? This book considers these questions.
Surveys the history of warfare from ancient Mesopotamia to the Gulf War in search of an understanding of the origins of Western warfare and the reasons for its eminence today. This title explores the experience of war around the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.
In this history, the author offers a new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson’s "Battle Cry of Freedom." Where past scholars have limned the war as a triumph of freedom, this author sees it as America’s greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second Great Awakening surged through America, political questions became matters of good and evil to be fought to the death. The price of that failure was horrific, but the carnage accomplished what statesmen could not.
In this bold contribution to our understanding of the Communist underground in the United States, Thomas Sakmyster offers the first biography of controversial spymaster J. Peters, a shadowy figure in the American Communist party in the 1920s through the 1940s. Using Peters's unpublished memoir as well as multilingual sources from the United States, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and the Soviet Union, Sakmyster traces Peters's activities from his arrival in the United States to the dawn of the Cold War and his deportation back to Hungary.
In May 1853, Charles Dickens paid a visit to the 'savages at Hyde Park Corner,' an exhibition of thirteen imported Zulus performing cultural rites ranging from songs and dances to a 'witch-hunt' and marriage ceremony. This title provides the overview of these human exhibitions in nineteenth-century Britain.
El Narco draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico's cartels and how they have radically transformed in the past decade. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands, from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-covered mountains. The conflict spawned by El Narco has given rise to paramilitary death squads enlisting tens of thousands of men-at-arms ready to do battle from Guatemala to the Texas border (and sometimes beyond.) Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico covering the drug war from the front lines. This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with firsthand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but the United States is very much a part of the battleground.
The ideas of capitalism’s most vigorous and eloquent enemy have been enlightening in every era, the author contends, and our current historical situation of free-market extremes suggests that reading Marx may be more important now than ever. Hobsbawm begins with a consideration of how we should think about Marxism in the post-communist era, observing that the features we most associate with Soviet and related regimes--command economies, intrusive bureaucratic structures, and an economic and political condition of permanent was--are neither derived from Marx’s ideas nor unique to socialist states.
A captivating full-length book derived from a widely read and much beloved New Yorker piece about Wickenden's grandmother and her grandmother's best friend who left their affluent East Coast lives to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916.
Offers new and cutting-edge essays on the most important and compelling issues and topics in the growing, interdisciplinary field of musical-theater and film-musical studies. Taking the form of a "keywords" book, it introduces readers to the concepts and terms that define the history of the musical as a genre and that offer ways to reflect on the specific creative choices that shape musicals and their performance on stage and screen. The handbook offers a cross-section of essays written by leading experts in the field, organized within broad conceptual groups, which together capture the breadth, direction, and tone of musicals studies today.
Offers an original account of Modernism. This title provides not only a survey but also a reassessment of Modernism itself. Illuminating individual achievements and locating them within the intersecting histories of experiment, this book places the transformations of culture alongside the agitations of modernity
Borinsky discusses the works of writers in exile, including Vladimir Nabokov, writing in English in the United States, Julio Cortázar in Paris, and Witold Gombrowicz in Buenos Aires, as well as Jorge Luis Borges, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Oscar Hijuelos, Cristina Garcia, Junot Diaz, and Clarice Lispector
Dance and the Hollywood Latina asks why every Latina star in Hollywood history, from Dolores Del Rio in the 1920s to Jennifer Lopez in the 2000s, began as a dancer or danced onscreen. While cinematic depictions of women and minorities have seemingly improved, a century of representing brown women as natural dancers has popularized the notion that Latinas are inherently passionate and promiscuous. Yet some Latina actresses became stars by embracing and manipulating these stereotypical fantasies.
[This work] helps readers better understand how the United States grapples with race, gender, and sexuality through dancing bodies on screen.
This book book focuses exclusively on struggles to define the "single girl" character in TV and film during a transformative period in American society. The author has scoured a wide range of source materials, unstudied film and television scripts, magazines, novels, and advertisements to demonstrate how controversial female characters pitted fears of societal breakdown against the growing momentum of the women's rights movement. The book focuses on the "single girl", an unmarried career woman in her 20s or 30s, to show how this character type symbolized sweeping changes in women's roles.
Continuing the celebration of female unruliness she began in The Unruly Woman, Karlyn explores how representations of mothers and daughters in popular films and television shows both reflect and contribute to current debates within and about feminism.
Combining in innovative ways the tools and approaches of postcolonial and popular culture studies as well as comparative literary analysis, this is an ambitious, interdisciplinary study that develops - across several related discursive sites - an argument about the centrality of time travel in the Latin American and Caribbean imagination.
Mark Peterson makes an extraordinary claim in this fascinating book focused around the life and thought of Galileo: it was the mathematics of Renaissance arts, not Renaissance sciences, that became modern science. Painters, poets, musicians, and architects brought about a scientific revolution that eluded the philosopher-scientists of the day.
The Big Bang is all but dead, and we do not yet know what will replace it. Our universe’s “beginning” is at an end. What does this have to do with us here on Earth? Our lives are about to be dramatically shaken again—as altered as they were with the invention of the clock, the steam engine, the railroad, the radio and the Internet.