2009 University Press Books


Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries

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Outstanding-Rated Titles and Reviews

The following titles received ratings of "Outstanding" (O) by one or more members of the 2009 University Press Books Committee. "Outstanding" titles are defined as having exceptional editorial content and subject matter. They are essential editions to most library collections.


Nunn, Patrick D.

Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific

University of Hawai’i Press

“There is no shortage of good reasons for learning about vanished islands...But this entire field of scientific inquiry has been overwhelmed by a tidal wave of pseudoscience theorizing,” explains author Patrick Nunn. He dispels the falsehoods with historical, geological, and geographical documentation.”—Nann Blaine-Hilyard (PLA)


George, Mary W.

The Elements of Library Research: What Every Student Needs to Know

Princeton University Press

“This concise guide to library research will be useful in public libraries who serve nontraditional college students, as well as high schoolers. It is aimed at research, not literature-based term papers, and covers how to determine a topic, how to figure out what information to look for, and how to put it all together.”—Nann Blaine-Hilyard (PLA)


Kern, Jonathan

Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production

The University of Chicago Press

“An easy to read concise guide to radio broadcasting. The book gives detailed explanations about every job in radio including a typical day, problems you might face, and possible solutions. The author also gives examples of how to use technology to help you to expand your story. This is an outstanding book for people who are interested in or work in radio.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Krause, Jerelle

All the Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t): Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page

Columbia University Press

“This book looks at some of the artwork submitted to The New York Times Op-Ed. Some of the artists are well-known picture book illustrators including Peter Sis and Maurice Sendak. The book was written by one of the former editors of the section. It includes a critique of the artwork including if it was accepted or rejected and why, the opinion of the artist, if possible, and the editor of the time. This is an excellent resource about The New York Times Op-Ed Section.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Boethius (Translated by David R. Slavitt)

The Consolation of Philosophy

Harvard University Press

“In this newest translation of Boethius’, The Consolation of Philosophy, translator David R. Slavitt captures a remarkably memorable lamentation of human and material impermanence and the transitory nature of all things. Written after a death sentence, the imagery, passion, and universal lamentations for all of humanity are stunning and command attention. Woven into Consolation is the timeless message that our freedom is directly correlated with our integrity. Recommended for all collections be they academic, public, and special.”—Sonja Plummer-Morgan (PLA)


Pastoureau, Michel

Black: The History of a Color

Princeton University Press

Black: The History of a Color, by Michel Pastoureau, proceeds chronologically from cave painting to modern fashion and with a focus on mythology, heraldry, and religion. The author examines the color black through multiple dimensions. Could be used as an example for art students to study the history of their own color.”—Barbara Bahm (AASL)

“Outstanding hardly describes this invaluable and unique contribution to historical texts. The author of Black, Michel Pastoureau, scribes a broad and exceptional social history of the color black in Europe. Artistically illustrated with photography and pieces of artwork, Black is a must have for every collection.”—Sonja Plummer-Morgan (PLA)


The Jewish Publication Society

The Jewish Bible: A JPS Guide

The Jewish Publication Society

“One in a series of concise reference books on different aspects of Judaism, this includes a history of the Jewish scriptures, translations through the centuries, how to read the Bible, summaries of each book, and an extensive glossary.”—Nann Blaine-Hilyard (PLA)


Wagner, Walter H.

Opening the Qur’an: Introducing Islam’s Holy Book

University of Notre Dame Press

“The Qu’ran is difficult for non-Muslims to understand. The author, a Biblical scholar and religious historian, seeks to make the Qu’ran more accessible. He describes the historical and theological context. He explains specific passages and specific topics (such as the place of women; justice and jihad; and the hereafter).”—Nann Blaine-Hilyard (PLA)


Best, Joel

Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

University of California Press

“Joel Best presents this small volume in a field guide format and takes a look at various types of statistics and how these numbers can be misleading. Part One gives a brief overview of questionable numbers, statistical benchmarks and their severity and frequency. Part Two looks at a variety of dubious data divided into 6 sections: Blunders, Sources, Definitions, Measurements, Packaging and Debates. Each entry in this section contains a description, what to look for, and an example. Best draws his engaging examples from a broad range of subjects from teen pregnancy to business practices to medical research to war. Readers may be tempted to read aloud some of the more interesting and outrageous. Part Three offers a summary of each type of dubious data, characteristics of better data and suggestions for further study. High school students will find this book useful in a variety of subject areas including math, health, economics, as well as current and controversial issues. Teachers might use Stat-Spotting for reference and clarification. Stat-Spotting is very accessible and informational. I highly recommend this book.”—Suzanne Metcalfe (AASL)

“I’ve always been mystified by statistics and how they can tell different stories depending on how they are read or by whom they are read. Enjoyable and enlightening, this practical guide for recognizing dubious statistics is organized by questions the reader of statistics in the news should be asking—who compiled the data and why? What and how was counted? What do they tell us? What if they disagree? This easy to read book helps clear up the mystery.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)

“Numerical statistics are often misleading. Joel Best does his best to debunk them. This book is essential reading for any and all who read or watch what goes on in our world and sees the numbers spewing forth. Set up like a typical field guide, Stat-spotting will help wade through the mass of statistics that float by. Besides, it really is good fun.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)

Stat Spotting is an easily digestible guide to understanding how simple miscalculations, botched translations and inappropriate graphics misled the American public. This concise book helps readers understand how politicians and the media twist statistics to match the goals of their agenda. Author Joel Best describes how things like bloating figures by misplacing a decimal point or using enlarged graphics to visually distract readers from analyzing the data objectively. If you want a better understanding of the reality behind those charts and graphs you see in books, on television and in the media then you need to read this book.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


Burd-Sharps, Sarah, Kristen Lewis, and Eduardo Borges Martins

The Measure of America: American Human Development Report, 2008-2009

Columbia University Press

“A distinctive report that presents the American Human Development Index and studies the United States in a variety of facets—by state, congressional districts, gender, and race. Using a human development, people-focused approach, this ground-breaking study not only shows statistical inequalities in the major societal issues of education, health, and living standards but it also gives the reader a entirely new way to examine the country’s shared and individual well-being. As a librarian in a community college that has a campus in a depressed urban area and another campus in a comfortable suburban area, I believe this will be a valuable resource for my students. This book, with its well-written narratives and understandable graphics, is a clear concise picture of our communities. Useful for a variety of research purposes, this holistic look at the country should be required reading for the current administration and public policy makers.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)

“This outstanding title fills in where other works like U.S. Census Demographics and Places Rated leave off. This well-organized book breaks down social and economic data into manageable bits like rating healthcare, education levels, financial rankings and crime statistics. The chapters are color coded for easy data retrieval. The text is written in plain English and chalk-full of charts and graphs that help the reader easily understand what would normally be very complex subjects. All of the statistical data is provided by governmental agencies and I found it to be the most current up-to-date information in print. I highly recommend this book for all public libraries.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


DeWolf, Thomas Norman

Inheriting The Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History

Beacon Press

“A companion book to the PBS documentary POV: Traces of the Trade, this is the memoir of the DeWolfe family’s learning and acknowledgement of their legacy in the African slave trade of American history. The family retraces the slave trade journey from the North, through Africa and the Caribbean, to the South. This story chronicles their journey, how they dealt with the shame of the family’s past, and how slavery in the United States has contributed to racism in the world today. As 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is a very fitting book, along with White Cargo (Jordan) for people learn about the need for all society’s to abolish slavery.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)

“How would you take the news if you learned that your ancestors were the most prolific slave-traders in American history? That is exactly what one of the descendants of Mark Antony DeWolf wanted to know. The author, Thomas DeWolf, together with several cousins decided to find out the true legacy of their ancestors slave-trading by journeying to Africa and the Caribbean to seek answers. The participants speak candidly and powerfully about their family’s legacy and its financial, emotional and historical ramifications. I highly recommend this book for all public libraries.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


Jordan, Don and Michael Walsh

White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America

New York University Press

“To supply its new American colonies with the labor it needed to work the plantations, England routinely swept its streets and prisons clean of children, women, and convicts. This practice continued for 170 years and resulted in over 300,000 Britons, who, as indentured servants, became slaves in the American colonies to be bought, sold, used, and abused. This book uses historical documents to tell a chronological history of atrocities committed primarily in Virginia and Maryland. During this time, convicts cost half as much as African slaves so England, profitably and readily, used its American colonies as the dumping place for its cast-offs until 1785. After that, Australia became the place where England sent its unwanted populations. As 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is a very fitting book, along with Inheriting the Trade (DeWolfe) for people learn about the need for all society’s to abolish slavery.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Zuckerman, Phil

Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment

New York University Press

“The premise of this book is that countries that are non-religious like Denmark and Sweden can still act as beacons of moral and social excellence in the world. Phil Zuckerman makes a very clear and concise argument in favor of secularity in governmental affairs by giving concrete examples of these nations ability to thrive in the absence of strong religious values. Zuckerman takes serious offence to several Christian Right members who say that a country without religion is tyrannical. He rebuts that claim with several examples of how these nations excel at such matters as healthcare, social progressiveness and equality. This book would be a welcome addition to larger libraries with strong religion or sociology collections.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


Kenney, David Ngaruri and Philip G. Schrag

Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America

University of California Press

“This is the story of a man’s journey from a troubled country, Kenya. Kenya may be a sought after travel destination, but it is still filled with crippling poverty and human rights issues that when confronted by David Kenney land him in jail. Seeking asylum in the United States, Kenney is faced with a country that doesn’t treat him much better. Asylum Denied takes the reader on a journey through an immigration process that will both amaze and horrify you.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Burhans, Dirk

Crunch!: A History of the Great American Potato Chip

The University of Wisconsin Press

“I grew up in a Midwest town with a Cain’s potato chip factory. While reading this book I smelled the scent of potato chips in the air, imagined the crunch of my favorite brand of potato chips and was enthralled by the history of this humble snack that started as a locally made and sold salty treat and rose to be a national snack food favorite. Who knew that regional brands had difficulties going national because of shelf life issues and regional tastes? Who knew that the Department of Justice investigated this industry for antitrust violations as the snack food industry grew? A wonderfully readable history that spans popular culture, local history, agriculture, economics, business and biography. Pass the chips please!”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Schwantes, Carlos A. and James P. Ronda

The West the Railroads Made

University of Washington Press

The West the Railroads Made recounts the stories of visionaries who imagined the railroad as an iron road through the West to the Orient. Many Americans imagined the West as a garden or a treasure chest of priceless minerals. Railroads could deliver the west into the hands of the modern world. Filled with contemporary accounts, illustrations, and photographs, The West the Railroads Made offers a fascinating look at what the iron road created.”—Barbara Bahm (AASL)

“The railroad was foreground, everything else was background,” as the authors describe how our American West developed. Sprinkled throughout with marvelous reproductions of photos, maps, artwork and railroad memorabilia, this book highlights a fascinating era in our history. It covers everything from the bold and brash dreams that were realized; the innovations that standardized time and changed work habits; and the power of marketing which changed our western lands from open prairies and pristine mountains to farms, ranches, mines, railroad towns (then ghost towns) and vacation destinations. A stunning work using well chosen archival resources to tell the story.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Sageman, Marc

Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century

University of Pennsylvania Press

“This book approaches terrorism in a new light. It shows the changes that have been made since 9/11. The idea of a central figure/organization isn’t the way it works anymore. It is much more fluid now. Individuals influence others and draw them in. As the title says, a leader isn’t needed anymore. The group mentality has taken over. Immensely readable, Leaderless Jihad will hopefully change the way many people think about terrorism.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Wilson, Bee

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee

Princeton University Press

“In this day and age of tainted milk, pet food and genetically altered food, Bee Wilson has given us an immensely readable history from the 1820’s to the 21st century. Timely and purposeful, this book should bring many people to the whole foods world.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Aaron, David

In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad: Compilation and Commentary

RAND Corporation

“This compilation gives voice to the ideology, motives, and plans of Islamic fundamentalists. This is a small group of ideologues, many recruited at their most vulnerable. The statements included here show where they come from, how they got where they are and how they are taught to carry out their missions. While it is scary to read, it does give insight into this very real threat.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Power, Max S.

America’s Nuclear Wastelands: Politics, Accountability, and Cleanup

Washington State University Press

“One of the few books that approaches the nuclear issue from the other end, the waste end. What to do with what is left over after the bombs are made, and then no longer needed? What to do with the contaminated water or the polluted soil? How did intelligent people let this happen? How did a country create so much waste without a thought to where it would end up—in their backyards? This book is a look at the problem that is as eye opening as it is readable.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Mehlmann, Gloria

Gifted to Learn

University of Alberta Press

“Gloria Mehlmann writes about what challenges she faced as a Native American teacher in Regina in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Despite this, Mehlmann gets to the bottom of what teaching is about—the truth—which is her love for students and teaching. Mehlmann shows herself to be an uplifting individual and a gifted writer.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Martin, Roger H.

Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again

University of California Press

“A college president leaves his school and goes to a small college to become a freshman again. This book is a look through his eyes at the freshman year in college. It includes real students and their trials, however he also includes advice about what help is available at colleges to help students with this transition year. This would be great for any student who is looking at colleges or struggling through their first year. Dr. Marlin includes his difficulties and how he worked through them.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL) “Roger Martin personifies life-long learning in his personal odyssey from college president, to cancer patient, to college student. With uplifting prose, Martin gives fresh perspectives on the lives of a man who battles a deadly disease, forgoes his career, and begins again sitting in the classroom as a student learning from his professors, his assignments, his peers, and himself. This is a book to share.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Anderson, Lee. W.

Congress and the Classroom: From the Cold War to “No Child Left Behind”

Penn State University Press

“Definitive coverage of federal involvement in public education in America over the last hundred years, to the present No Child Left Behind Legislation. Easy to read and informative. Every education student should be required to read this book.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Compiled by Christine A. Lindberg

Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, 2nd Ed.

Oxford University Press

“Content is attractively laid out; entries list synonyms by relevancy and include numerous example sentences. Special features are graphically distinguished. Choose the Right Word notes provide additional examples to help differentiate meanings. Word Toolkits distinguish synonyms by providing words commonly used with them. Word Spectrums list shades of meaning between a word and its opposite, e.g. kind to cruel. Many of the Usage Notes are by the author of Garner’s Modern American Usage. Unique are the Word Notes, written by ten contemporary writers, including Zadie Smith and Simon Winchester, who give their thoughts on particular words. In sum, this thesaurus is an excellent resource for every writer.”—Christine Owens (PLA)


Ulanski, Stan

The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic

The University of North Carolina Press

“From ocean currents to blue fin tuna to pirates to the settling of the New World, this introduction to the Gulf Stream beautifully merges oceanography with history. The Gulf Stream is as important today for its biological life, trade and sport as it was in our past as curious humans explored what was beyond the horizon and then colonized the New World. It still amazes this reviewer how captains of those small wooden ships found the strong currents in the huge bathtub of the Atlantic Ocean and navigated their way to new lands. This book makes these amazing feats more understandable but no less dramatic.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Nadkarni, Nalini M.

Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees

University of California Press

“This book lives and breathes the author’s lifelong passion for trees. From climbing trees as a young girl, to her career choice as a scientist who studies trees, to sharing her joy for trees with others and showing them how trees are intertwined in their daily lives, to sharing all things trees in literature, culture and religion this book has something for everyone. Nadkarni’s very readable prose is a gift that connects us to our natural world. Plant a tree in your yard and marvel at its contribution to our planet.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Rodd, Tony and Jennifer Stackhouse

Trees: A Visual Guide

University of California Press

“The work of Tony Rodd and Jennifer Stackhouse is a horticultural delight, featuring a plethora of trees ranging from timber and pharmaceuticals to shade trees. Photographs in this work have been taken with care and consist entirely of color plates. This is an excellent work for students studying botanical species of trees that are found throughout the world. Contents of this work cover form and function of trees, diversity, and the impact mankind is having on a variety of species throughout the earth. A must order for anyone building a botanical collection.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)

“This visual guide covers it all from botany to the effects of pollution to the many uses of wood through beautiful photos and an easy to use format. Trees from across the globe are highlighted in sections that focus on the art of naming trees; tree structure including bark, wood, cones, fruits and nuts, and growth stages; types of trees with an identification guide; the various biomes such as savannas, boreal forests and temperate woodlands; uses of trees in our human world and the need for conservation. This comprehensive visual guide is a great companion to Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees by Nalini M. Nadkarni, also reviewed in this bibliography.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Hillyard, Paul

The Private Life of Spiders

Princeton University Press

The Private Life of Spiders covers at least 100 different families and 40,000 individual species, including spiders from all parts of the world. The work contains more than 100 photographs, many full-page color plates. Hillyard is an authority on spiders as evidenced in this comprehensive and thorough work. His photographs are engaging and intricately detailed. The text is written to engage students and those looking for a detailed study of arachnids. The illustrations cover spider anatomy, behavior, reproduction, social organization, hunting and web construction techniques and can be easily utilized for academic study. An excellent reference for spiders from all parts of the world.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)

“Did you know that humans have not produced anything as strong, light or elastic as spiders’ silk used to weave spider webs, or that spiders are highly adaptable living almost everywhere from rainforests to the Arctic tundra? The life of spiders from around the world is highlighted through stunning photographs and a very accessible text by a leading authority on spiders in this awesome book. See and read about the various types of webs spiders weave; how they hunt, mate and breed; how they use venom; and why we should be vigilant for spider conservation. A stunning work.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Davies, Hazel and Carol A. Butler

Do Butterflies Bite?: Fascinating Answers to Questions about Butterflies and Moths

Rutgers University Press

“What does a jumping bean have to do with moths and butterflies? How do butterflies survive harsh weather? How many eggs do butterflies lay? Using a Q & A format, the authors share the science, natural history and interesting facts about butterflies and moths. Find tips for photographing butterflies and learning if it’s a good idea to release butterflies at your wedding. Includes lists of nectar and host plants so you can attract Lepidoptera to your yard and other relevant web and print resources.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Merrill, Gary F.

Our Marvelous Bodies: An Introduction to the Physiology of Human Health

Rutgers University Press

“Respected physiologist Gary F. Merrill has spent his entire academic career as a professor and researcher at Rutgers University. His book makes the “perfect teaching tool.” Each chapter covers one of the systems of the human body: nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, reproductive, and immune. Using person stories, he stresses the importance of keeping accurate medical records. There are a few choice charts and diagrams but no traditional illustrations such as color photos. A helpful glossary makes this scientific text more readable. For healthcare professionals, scientists, and patients.”—Kay Ikuta (PLA)


Greene, Gayle


University of California Press

“This book is probably the most comprehensive work on this ignored and misunderstood disorder. Because the author is a lifelong sufferer, her perspective is unique. Ms. Greene not only presents her research about medication and therapies, she also interviews neurologists, sleep researchers, doctors, psychotherapists and many insomniacs. Interested readers can to the website www.SleepStarved.org for a longer version of the backnotes in this book and for an ongoing discussion of insomniac issues. Has a detailed index.”—Kay Ikuta (PLA)


Binion, Denise B., et al.

Macrofungi Associated with Oaks of Eastern North America

The West Virginia University Press

“Although this is a region-specific work, the content is superb. There are color photos on every page, making the work suitable as a field guide; additionally, this guide includes a scientific organization and layout making it suitable for any reference collection. The content focuses on a variety of habitats as well as detailed descriptions of each organism. The scholarship is concise and well-written.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)

“This is a beautifully published and easy to use identification guide that serves both generalists and specialists. A generalist can use this guide easily on a walk in the woods because the layout for each entry shows an exquisite photograph(s) of the macrofungi and the details for it on the facing page. Each entry includes: it’s common name, if the mushroom has one, and it’s Latin name; what time of year it can be found; what it looks like; whether it is edible and other comments about the mushroom (its use as a dye for wool or its toxicity for example) all in a consistent outline.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Chalker-Scott, Linda

The Informed Gardener

University of Washington Press

“This is a really good book for gardeners. The author challenges a number of gardening myths while touching on subjects like fabric versus mulch in weed control, and using native plants in sustainable landscaping. While this is not the most conveniently organized gardening book the information is valuable and well worth the time to read.”—Saul J. Amdursky (PLA)


Vileisis, Ann

Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Our Knowledge of Where Food Comes From and Why We Need to Get It Back

Island Press

“This book speaks to our increasing lack of knowledge about the food we eat and where it comes from. Historically there was a real knowledge about this topic and the author explains how it has been lost and why it is important to get it back. The book is well written and accessible.”—Saul J. Amdursky (PLA)


Mullins, Paul R.

Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut

University Press of Florida

“Mullins’ informative and entertaining book discusses the history of doughnut production, marketing and consumption from antiquity to the present day, focusing primarily on how that history reflects many 20th century historical and social patterns. His examination of the relationship between doughnut marketing and demand provides insight into North American culture and society. The author also explores doughnut morals and the love/hate relationship consumers have with this delicious but unhealthy food. What the doughnut is able to tell us about who we are, why we eat the way we do, and our consumer culture is interesting and surprising.”—Christine Owens (PLA)


Ward, Gerald

The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials & Techniques in Art

Oxford University Press

“This A-Z compendium of nearly every medium and technique used to create art will be useful for all students and patrons of art. Articles encompass usage and history of methods and materials. For example, the article on textiles covers threads (vegetable, animal, metal, and man-made), fabric production (woven and non-woven), patterns, and conservation. Many articles are supplemented with black/white illustrations and a series of 16 colored plates can be found in the middle of the book.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Chang, Gordon H., Mark Johnson, and Paul Karlstrom

Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970

Stanford University Press

“A sign of an outstanding book is that it contributes to the learning of its reader. Asian American Art is such a book. This history opens up the neglected world of Asian American art in a series of 10 essays that explore artistic achievement throughout the United States by Asian Americans, despite or because of discrimination, racial stereotyping, and internment. This volume illustrates the work of fine artists, sculptors, and photographers with over 400 illustrations. Especially helpful are the in-depth biographical entries, the chronology, and the name and subject index.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Malaguzzi, Silvia (Translated by Brian Phillips)

Food and Feasting in Art

Getty Publications

“The art of food and feasting, in the Old and New Testaments and through the 20th century, is described and pictured in this volume from Getty’s Guide to Imagery series. A visual handbook which informs the reader about rituals, places of dining, etiquette, all manners of foods, the table and its furnishings (even toothpicks) as depicted in art this book is fun to browse through.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Furlotti, Barbara and Guido Rebecchini (Translated by A. Lawrence Jenkens)

The Art of Mantua: Power and Patronage in the Renaissance

Getty Publications

“This book is a richly illustrated history of one family’s dream to make the city of Mantua a center for Italian art. From the 1300s through the 1700s, the Gonzaga family supported some of the most well known artists of their times—Mantegna, Pisanello, Romano, and Rubens. The text, describing the history, art, and politics of Mantua, is abundantly supported by a wealth of high quality photographs of modern views of the city, the architecture, paintings, frescoes, and sculptures. This volume includes both name and place indexes.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Giorgi, Rosa (Translated by Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia)

European Art of the Seventeenth Century

Getty Publications

“Like the other books in the Art Through the Centuries series, this volume begins with an introduction to the key terminology and influences of the seventeenth century. The second and third parts of the book are looks into the important places and artists of the time. Throughout the book, features of the artwork are pointed out as though one is a student in an art history class.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Tarabra, Daniela (Translated by Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia)

European Art of the Eighteenth Century

Getty Publications

“Another richly illustrated book from the Art Through the Centuries series, this title answers questions about the arts from the Rococo through the Neoclassical periods. Art, theatre, furniture, leading people, important places, and cultural influences are all touched upon with just enough information for the reader who is curious about this time period.”—Karen Pangallo (AASL)


Inglis, Erik

Faces of Power and Piety

Getty Publications

“A fascinating explanation for generalists of medieval portraits using illuminated manuscripts from the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and The British Library by Oberlin College art history professor Erik Inglis. Illustrations are beautifully reproduced and matched with interesting facts highlighting the differences of medieval portraiture from today’s approach to portrait painting. An enlightening art history lesson in a book with fewer than 100 pages.”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Umland, Anne.

Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937

The Museum of Modern Art

“Miro’s work is presented with concise attention to detail from the artist’s passion for painting. Stripped to its essence, this work captures Miro’s artistic roughness, while covering most of his best work. His passion for detail in the mediums he chose to present his art is reflected in the Dutch painters as well as those of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Entirely represented in color, the book’s plates aptly represent paintings on all kinds of mediums from unprimed canvas to still life on mesonite backdrops. The book is printed and bound on museum-quality paper, with a multiplicity of color plates representing the artist’s work. A must-have for any library collection.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)


Benson, Richard

The Printed Picture

The Museum of Modern Art

“Richard Benson, a master teacher, has transferred his extensive knowledge into a well-balanced work of history, practical information, and excellent photographic and print reproductions of all kinds. The book, with its 325 illustrations, couples Benson’s expertise with his practical applications such as early photograph in silver, non-silver processes, modern photography, photography in ink, and even the digital process. This work surpasses the role of simple academics by presenting journalistic insights into printing costs as well as photographic theory and presentation. Benson has done a superb job of tracing the history of picture-making from the Renaissance to the present.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)


Hischak, Thomas S.

The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television

Oxford University Press

“This book has over 2000 articles arranged alphabetically. The content covers stage and screen musicals, performers, composers, lyricists, producers, choreographers and more. Ranging from historical productions to contemporary (including High School Musical), articles include illustrations and timelines and include cross-references. This is a must have for any school’s reference collection!”—Terri L. Lent (AASL)

“This is an essential reference source for public libraries. It is more comprehensive than other single volume works on the subject. The encyclopedic format makes this book easy to use.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Hinton, Milt, David G. Berger, and Holly Maxon

Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton’s Life in Stories and Photographs

Vanderbilt University Press

“More than just a biography and more than a photography book. This is an excellent selection for any library music collection. It opens up the world of jazz as well as a time in African-American history that isn’t always pleasant to remember.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Brown, Jayna

Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern

Duke University Press

“This book will be a good addition to popular culture collections. The author explores the racial and performance barriers black women encountered between the late 19th and late 20th centuries. This is an interesting book on an unusual subject.”—Saul J. Amdursky (PLA)


Dixon, Wheeler Winston and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

A Short History of Film

Rutgers University Press

“This book provides an overview of the last hundred plus years of international film history. For a compact volume, 384 pages of text, is provides surprisingly comprehensive coverage. A good and affordable reference guide for students of film.”—Saul J. Amdursky (PLA)


Vance, Jeffrey

Douglas Fairbanks

University of California Press

“A beautifully and extensively researched study of one of cinema’s earliest megastars, Douglas Fairbanks. Wonderfully illustrated, a must for any cinema buff.”—Barbara Bahm (AASL)

“This dynamic actor led an interesting life. This book explains his family life and things he did as a child that lead to his career. The book included photos form his career, an explanation of his film and filmmaking interest and how he was always trying to keep people happy.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Walsh, John Evangelist

When the Laughing Stopped: The Strange, Sad Death of Will Rogers

University of Alaska Press

When the Laughing Stopped recalls the events of the day and the plane crash that ended with the sudden death of renowned American entertainer, Will Rogers. Walsh tells the moving details about the families and their struggle with grief. This gripping retelling of a moment in American history and culture, not unlike the death of Lincoln, will fascinate readers of any age. From those who lived it to those who are studying it.”—Barbara Bahm (AASL)


Guest, Barbara

(Edited by Hadley Haden Guest)

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest

Wesleyan University Press

“Barbara Guest (1920-2006) was one of the most notable women poets of the New York School. This publication is a compilation of all her published and a few unpublished poems.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Spicer, Jack (Edited by Peter Gizzy and Kevin Killian)

My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer

Wesleyan University Press

“West Coast poet Jack Spicer (1925-1965) died at the age of forty, but left an abundance of writings. He greatly influenced the American literary scene of the fifties and sixties. This publication is considered to be a collection of his life work.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Liebler, M. L.

Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream

Wayne State University Press

“Beautiful, simple, multifaceted, lyrical poetry that speaks of how vital it is for contemporary society to interact with each other instead of laboring in our TV, DVD, CD, LED, iPod sate.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Oliver, Mary

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays

Beacon Press

“Pulitzer Prize winning author Mary Oliver has written a wonderful book of poetry and essays focusing on the natural wonderment of animals in their natural environment.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Alcott, Louisa May, and May Alcott

(Edited by Daniel Shealy)

Little Women Abroad: The Alcott Sisters’ Letters from Europe, 1870-1871

University of Georgia Press

“Documents the 14-month European travels of Louisa May and Abby May Alcott after Louisa May’s Little Women was an international success. This is a compilation of all the letters written by the sisters on their trip and all of Abby May’s drawings. This is a valuable addition to the field of travel literature and 19th Century transatlantic studies, and gives input into the mind’s eye of a very famous and lasting American author.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)

“Charming book of letters renowned American author Louisa May Alcott and artist sister May Alcott sent home to their family during a fourteen-month tour of Europe. Wonderful perspective of the time-period and European travel through the eyes of a writer and an artist. The biographical piece at the beginning of the book is highly interesting.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Champion, Laurie and Bruce A. Glasrud

Unfinished Masterpiece: The Harlem Renaissance Fiction of Anita Scott Coleman

Texas Tech University Press

“Wonderful, truly personal short stories about living as an African American woman in the southwest during the Harlem Renaissance. Clearly illustrates the plight of these women entering a universal change of status yet continuing to live their daily lives.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Elster, Jean Alicia

Who’s Jim Hines?

Wayne State University Press

“Striking biographical book about a successful black businessman in the 1930’s living in Detroit. The story is told through the eyes of his young son. Clearly illustrates the prejudice prevalent in America. Nonetheless, the ending comes as a disappointing surprise. Perfect for a book discussion with teens.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Kauffman, Janet

Trespassing: Dirt Stories & Field Notes

Wayne State University Press

“A short story collection book with a clear message about controversy, advocacy and the loss of dreams and the people touched by that.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Rochelson, Meri-Jane

A Jew in the Public Arena: The Career of Israel Zangwill

Wayne State University Press

“This outstanding work outlines the biography of an authoritative literary and political writer. Zangwill is mostly remembered for his scintillating novel of Jewish life in 1892 titled Children of the Ghetto as well as his moving play, The Melting Pot. Biographer Meri-Jane Rochelson achieves excellence in her biographical research and writing as she weaves a richly infused backdrop of Jewish everyday life. Zangwill is portrayed as a gifted author and a man who understood the essence of feminism, cultural nuances and the growing forces of pre-war anti-Semitism. A good companion piece to Children of the Ghetto.”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)


Marston, Elsa

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Indiana University Press

“Comprehensive and engaging with a clear perspective of teens and relationships with others in the Arab World. No matter the country a teen is native to there is no difference in their hearts, minds and spirit. A must have for all public and school libraries.”—Sally Sambor-Holt (PLA)


Allaby, Michael, et al.

The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual Guide

University of California Press

“This work is superbly illustrated and written in encyclopedic style. It presents the most up-to-date information about planet Earth in a way that will appeal to educators and students alike. There are photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps too numerous to count. The text is written by a team of international experts. All parts of the globe are well represented with fact-files providing in-depth information for the reader. The encyclopedia offers new visual interpretations of many concepts and topics that are divided into six distinct sections. An absolute must-have for any reference collection!”—Barbara Bertoldo (AASL)

“Dip into this exquisite and comprehensive visual encyclopedia of our planet at any point and find interesting facts, photographs, charts, computer cutaways or illustrations to explain the topic of each entry. Broad chapters include Birth, Fire, Land, Air, Water and Humans. Learn specifically about glaciers, lightening, salt water, falling water tables, the human impact on the planet and much more. A great book for the classroom, the family room and the public library reading room!”—Therese Feicht (PLA)


Cohen, Saul Bernard

The Columbia Gazetteer of the World, 2nd Ed.

Columbia University Press

The Columbia Gazetteer of the World, 2nd edition, updates the excellent work started with the first edition. This edition includes new information in specific categories, such as natural disasters, physical features, advances in transportation, city development, and military bases. Overall, it adds approximately 7,000 new entries and revises the existing entries to offer a superb reference work for libraries.”—Dr. Janice M. Krueger (AASL)


Oxford University Press

Oxford Atlas of the World, 15th Ed.

Oxford University Press

The Atlas of the World, 15th edition, continues the longstanding tradition of an excellent, authoritative, affordable work for libraries. The current, up-to-date information is enhanced through the many maps, images, charts, and tables. This work should be part of a reference collection in any public, academic, middle school, and high school library.”—Dr. Janice M. Krueger (AASL)


Shaw, Ian and Paul Nicholson

The Princeton Dictionary of Ancient Egypt

Princeton University Press

“This is a new edition of a book originally published in 1995. Entries have been updated to incorporate new discoveries. Many entries have bibliographies, which have also been updated. There are many illustrations, maps and diagrams. This is a valuable addition to any reference collection.”—Nann Blaine-Hilyard (PLA)


Hurt, R. Douglas

The Great Plains during World War II

University of Nebraska Press

“Hurt presents a readable but comprehensive survey of the social and economic history of the Great Plains during World War II. He discusses the initial isolationist attitude of residents and how that attitude changed over time. He looks at the impact of the war on women, farmers and ranchers, laborers, and Indians as well as the communities with internment or prisoner-of- war camps and military installations. In doing so, he analyzes the contribution those individuals and communities made to the war effort. This excellent, well-researched account allows the reader to gain an in-depth understanding of the wartime experiences of those living in this geographic region.”—Christine Owens (PLA)


Sloan, Kay

Not Without Honor: The Nazi POW Journal of Steve Carano

The University of Arkansas Press

“As a POW in Nazi Germany, life was not easy. Steve Carano’s journal documents his life as a POW and those that were with him. He looks at how men from other countries were treated, the day to day life and how the Red Cross helped them. The journal, which was given to the prisoners by the Red Cross, includes his artwork, addresses of the men that were with him and details about himself and other prisoners on the camp. A gripping true tale.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Pocock, Geoffrey A.

Outrider of Empire: The Life and Adventures of Roger Pocock

University of Alberta Press

“Pocock’s adventures and misadventures as related by the author (no near relationship) are interesting and entertaining. Welsh by birth, Pocock’s service in Canada’s North-West Police, a military stint in South Africa and travels to Greenland and Russia led to his major claim to fame: the founding of the Legion of Frontiersmen, a volunteer paramilitary organization whose mission was to protect and defend the “frontiers” of the British Empire. His time in the Canadian and American West and other travels also launched a long writing career. Pocock was an adventurer at heart and very much a man of his time. This biography does justice to a most intriguing individual.”—Christine Owens (PLA)


Fritzsche, Peter

Life and Death in the Third Reich

The Belknap Press/Harvard University Press

“Hitler came into power even though he was not well liked. This book looks at his rise to power, life as a member of the Third Reich and how he lost power. A concise one volume book that explains what happened in Germany and the areas surrounding German before and during World War II.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Herrin, Judith

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Princeton University Press

“Full of interesting details and events, this scholarly work is written in a manner that high school students will find compelling and comprehendible. Based on primary sources such as letters and journals, the book covers almost 1,000 years of the Byzantine Empire’s history and introduces the reader to many fascinating figures. The scholarship behind the work is first rate but, even better, the writing makes the history and people of Byzantium come alive!”—Terri L. Lent (AASL)


Gandhi, Rajmohan

Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire

University of California Press

“This book will probably remain on library shelves for years to come as the “definitive” biography of Gandhi. The author, Gandhi’s grandson used family archives and very thorough research to show the complicated man who was filled with contradictions. Not only are we allowed to see the great man, but we see the flaws as well. Dense and not always the easiest read, it still belongs on all public library shelves.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Mitchell, Carol Spencer

(Edited by Ellen Spencer Susman)

Danger Pay: Memoir of a Photojournalist in the Middle East, 1984-1994

University of Texas Press

Danger Pay is perfect for a public library or high school. The memoir, while about the 1980s and 1990s, speaks with timeliness in both job and history. Both of these are difficult, the job of photojournalist in a dangerous area and a historical land that has a continuous cycle of violence. The saddest thing of all is 15 years later, it hasn’t changed at all.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Morgan, Susan

Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of The King and I Governess

University of California Press

“Fans of The King and I will quickly pick up this entertaining account of the “real life” of Anna Leonowens. Others interested in women’s history and in women who were ahead of their times will also be fascinated by this volume. The author, an English professor, has turned her extensive research into a book that brings a “particularly fascinating and formidable woman” to life.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)


Martínez, Elizabeth “Betita”

500 Years of Chicana Women’s History (Bilingual Edition)

Rutgers University Press

“This unique and outstanding title deserves a place in every middle and high school collection. The carefully selected illustrations, accompanied by approachable text in English and Spanish, will provide students with many insights into the critical role Chicana women have played in history. An excellent bibliography will lead students to a wealth of additional resources.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)


Harris, Robert L., Jr. and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn

The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939

Columbia University Press

“Every high school will want to add this affordable one-volume resource to its collection. Part II, which identifies key themes in African American history since 1939, includes signed essays on topics ranging from “Naming ourselves: the politics and meaning of self-designation” to “Black business development”. The brief, authoritative entries in Part IV (A-Z) will be invaluable for ready-reference. An extensive bibliography, including print items, historic sites listed by state, and relevant web sites is also included.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)


Kaminski, John P.

The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era

The University of Virginia Press

“The increasing popularity of primary sources in the study of history gives this volume high appeal for high school collections. Covering 30 of our founding fathers and mothers (Abigail Adams and Martha Washington are included), the editor brings these figures to life through their own words and the words of their contemporaries. From entertaining (James A. Bayard notes that John Adams is “liable to gusts of passion little short of phrenzy”), to thought-provoking (the Marquis de Lafayette writes that “Our general [Washington] is a man truly made for this revolution, which could not succeed without him”), these selections bring immediacy and personality to the study of the early years of what would become the United States.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)


Lemay, J.A. Leo

The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 3: Soldier, Scientist, and Politician, 1748-1757

University of Pennsylvania Press

“Franklin biographer J.A. Leo Lemay presents a monumental series of one of our founding fathers. There will probably never be a more detailed, thoroughly documented and well-written biography of Benjamin Franklin. Many illustrations (letters, maps, mezzotints, sketches and drawings). The nine appendixes are actually interesting, e.g. #8 is entitles “Franklin’s Wealth, 1756.” Ends with abbreviations used, notes, and an index.”—Kay Ikuta (PLA)


McPherson, James M.

Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life

Oxford University Press

“James McPherson, well known for his scholarly writing on Abraham Lincoln, decided that the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth offered the perfect opportunity to create “a brief biography that captures the essential events and meaning of Lincoln’s life without oversimplification or overgeneralization.” Despite its brief 79 page length (which even includes notes and a bibliography) McPherson is able to convey Lincoln’s place in American history.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)

“Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson’s short biography of Lincoln could be the ideal assigned reading for students at every level. Concise but inclusive this biography of our most popular president is readable and needs no index. With ‘Notes’ and a bibliography in narrative format, this work should be in every school and public library.”—Kay Ikuta (PLA)


Rugh, Susan Sessions

Are We There Yet? The Golden Age of American Family Vacations

University Press of Kansas

“This engaging study of the family vacation road trip as a uniquely American cultural artifact will attract many high school readers. Rugh takes an in-depth look at adventures (think Knotts Berry Farm and Disneyland), back to nature trips (Yellowstone and camping), and summer in the country (Minnesota Lakes and the Catskills). Vacation photos interspersed with the text are sure to lead to discussions of family memories.”—Judith Repman, PhD (AASL)


Frick, Daniel

Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of an American Obsession

University Press of Kansas

“No other president in the modern era has been so despised and yet has haunted our subconscious more than Richard Milhous Nixon. Influential but disgraced, we remember his accomplishments as well as his downfall. These perceptions permeate our culture. The award-winning play and subsequent film Frost/Nixon are still enjoying a successful run. The book has fast-paced writing, many illustrations (some cartoons), a “Notes” section, a detailed bibliography and an adequate index.”—Kay Ikuta (PLA)


Dunwell, Frances F.

The Hudson: America’s River

Columbia University Press

“The authors masterfully compiled a thorough and thought provoking history of one of America’s most famous rivers. The text is replete with ways in which the Hudson River has affected American History. As waterway, tourist destination, artist’s backdrop and transportation hub the Hudson has always held an almost mythical place in America’s hearts. The chapter on the Hudson River Valley School of painting is superb. The author pays special attention to the dynamics between the river as a resource and the river as a tourist destination and helps readers understand how important it is to conserve the landscape and history of the river for future generations. I recommend this book for all public libraries.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


Sumler-Edmond, Janice L.

The Secret Trust of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault: The Life and Trials of a Free Woman of Color in Antebellum Georgia

The University of Arkansas Press

“Fabulously documented biography of a 19th Century free black in Savannah, Georgia, Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault. Mirault’s secret agreement with a young white Georgian led to her family’s success and shows how through the efforts of all people, our American culture has prevailed and we have survived as a people.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Beineke, John A.

Going Over all the Hurdles: A Life of Oatess Archey

Indiana Historical Society Press

“The biography of a college track star who, with a university degree, had to take a custodial job with his hometown school system, due to racism, before later rising to become a beloved teacher, coach, sheriff, and FBI agent. The word “hurdles” is both literal and symbolic. It represents the hurdles Archey had to master in his college track career and the hurdles he had to overcome in life.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Ravage, John W.

Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier

University of Utah Press

“This is a much needed documentation of Black American’s major contribution to the development of the Old West. Features many of the notable characters in the William Loren Katz publications, but also provides an abundance of new personalities.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)

“This book sheds ample light on a time and culture in American history lacking detail. Individual African Americans are often overlooked in history books because all too often the writers choose to focus on the broad strokes of African American history instead of the personal history. The author’s use of photographs accompanied by lively and engrossing narrative histories of dozens of black families offers two things. First, it humanizes the images and makes the reader want to find out more about the subject(s) in the photograph and second it offers insight into what everyday life was like for a large section of the population where few resources currently exist. I highly recommend this book for all public library collections.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)


Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee

The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition

University of Nebraska Press

“Exquisite documentation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes and history of the tribal nation that aided them in the northwest. Based on three decades of research, events in this richly illustrated text are the first in a series of books to be published by the University of Nebraska Press documenting tribal Nations of North America.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)


Scheuerman, Richard D. and Michael O. Finley

Finding Chief Kamiakin: The Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot

Washington State University Press

“Engrossing is the best way to describe this book. The images and narrative are precise, easy to read, and above all; interesting. There is no doubt that the writers of this book have a tremendous respect for their local native culture and have researched both Chief Kamiakin, his family and the surrounding tribes with diligence, forethought and pride. The history of Chief Kamiakin is interwoven with a broader western history and the authors seamlessly integrate both personal anecdotes about Kamiakin with those of other leaders. While this book is of regional interest, I do recommend it for any library with a strong Native American collection.”—Tina Maria Beaird (PLA)

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