2011 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 2011 University Press Books Committee. "Outstanding" titles are defined as having exceptional editorial content and subject matter. They are essential editions to most library collections.


Luey, Beth

Expanding the American Mind: Books and the Popularization of Knowledge

University of Massachusetts Press

“An interesting look at the history of books. It explains how nonfiction writers are chosen, how they become experts in their topics, how they become popular and how the topics are chosen. This is a great resource for anyone.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Bloom, John

There You Have It: The Life, Legacy, and Legend of Howard Cosell

University of Massachusetts Press

“An informative look at the life and legacy of Howard Cosell. Bloom looks at both the positive and negative aspects of his life. Whether you liked or hated him, this book makes the reader realize the struggles, successes and how he affected and changed the sporting world including how it was broadcast.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Elliott, Carl

White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine

Beacon Press

“An incisive, entertaining expose of medicine gone astray: corrupt drug companies, colorful characters, medical consumerism, and the money-driven deceptions of medicine as business.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Ende, Werner and Udo Steinbach (Editors)

Islam in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society

Cornell University Press

“First published in German, this latest edition is an excellent addition to the reference shelf. Well documented in notes for each chapter, followed by a comprehensive bibliography. Most useful are the name index, the subject index, and the geographical index making research accessible to all levels of readers.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Taylor, John H. (Editor)

Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

Harvard University Press

“This magnificently illustrated volume will immediately engage students who are always fascinated by ancient Egypt. Drawn from the collections of the British Museum, this volume provides a comprehensive look at what ancient Egyptians believed about the afterlife and what they did to try to ensure a smooth journey from death to afterlife.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Gershon, Ilana

The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media

Cornell University Press

“Ilana Gershon, an Assistant Professor of Culture and Communication at Indiana University, shares the results of an ethnographic research project that grew out of her interactions with her own students. While the focus here is on the impact of social media on the relationships of undergraduate students, high school students and their teachers will also find this discussion to be fascinating and thought provoking.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Gershon, Ilana

The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media

Cornell University Press

“The medium is still the message, especially for breaking up romantic relationships in this engaging look at bad breakups. Singles groups for all interests—ethnicity, religion, age, sexual preference and more—encourage on-line ‘hook-ups.’ Gershon discovered that people’s ideas about how media should be used or what she termed ‘media ideologies’ shaped how they received the break-up message.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Lee, Jennifer and Frank D. Bean

The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in Twenty-First Century America

Russell Sage Foundation

“The concept of race remains a significant factor for immigrants and natives alike in intermarriage and multi-racial identification among Asians, Latinos and African-Americans. While intermarriage blurs some identification lines among Asians and Latinos, African-Americans intermarry at a lower rate. The effects on social mobility and economic advantage are examined through personal interviews and observations in this insightful and timely work.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Livingston, Sonja


University of Georgia Press

“This moving and inspirational memoir deserves to find the same popularity as Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle. Told in short vignettes, Sonja Livingston shares what it was like to grow up in poverty in the 1970’s. Educators as well as high school students will find many insights about the strength of the individual spirit.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Roman, Miriam Jimenez and Juan Flores (Editors)

The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States

Duke University Press

“Scholarly yet engaging examination of the prominent social divide between Latinos and African Americans. Black may be a shared skin color but it also represents highly diverse—and often divisive—ideas about culture and identity in a society dominated by whites. Arturo Alphonso Schomburg, for whom the New York Public Library’s Schomburg collection is named, is profiled as ‘<0x2026>one of the foremost collectors and bibliophiles of the African American experience<0x2026>and among the earliest proponents of Black studies.’”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Freed, Leonard

Black in White America

Getty Publications

“These classic photographs taken by Leonard Freed were originally published in 1967/68. Their power has not been diminished over time and this powerful volume makes these photos accessible to a new generation. Freed’s contemporaneous notes create a running text that expands and magnifies the power of the photographs.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Porter, Eric

The Problem of the Future World: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Race Concept at Midcentury

Duke University Press

“This critical re-examination of Dubois’ mid century writings in the 1940’s and the 1950’s demonstrates their timeliness in the context of the current social and political climate, including the election of the first African American President, and his approach to foreign relations. For Dubois, ‘<0x2026>war and peace critically informed his understanding of race and racism as phenomena deeply linked to imperial histories<0x2026>and social justice<0x2026>’ Dubois was prescient in his understanding of the phenomena of race. In this re-examination of his writings, we glimpse what his reactions may have been to current racialized phenomena.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Gambone, Philip

Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans

The University of Wisconsin Press

“Earthy and raw language explodes in some dialogue as the author, Philip Gambone, brings us 44 interviews with LGBTQ individuals. Unique stories emerge as the interviewees recount their childhood, how they came ‘out,’ and the path their lives have taken—among them poets, politicians, and an Episcopal priest. Compelling stories that will inspire LGBTQ teens, and educate those that are not.”—Sharron McElmeel (AASL)


Fellows, Will and Helen P. Branson

Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s

The University of Wisconsin Press

“Will Fellows does his homework and brings a fascinating and poignant story back to life. Helen Branson, writer of the book Gay Bar, ran her establishment during the heyday of Hollywood glamour and decadence, yet not much is written about her or her ‘boys’. In the 1950s homosexuality was vilified and those who ‘practiced’ it were thrown in jail or worse. She opened a club where gay men could be themselves without the pressure of outside scrutiny. I recommend this book to all libraries with LGBT collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)


Wright, Robin (Editor)

The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy

United States Institute of Peace Press

“As the Mid-East erupts, it is more imperative than ever that we learn what we can about Iran. The Iran Primer, edited by Robin Wright with contributions by top scholars and experts in the field is a great place to start. The fact that it contains open access with weekly updates at http://iranprimer.usip.org only makes this book more valuable.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)

“A page turning look at this important country that people rarely understand. Each essay is written by different experts in the field, their expertise gives the reader information for reference and analysis of the country and concise information about this country.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Biddle, Daniel R. and Murray Dubin

Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America

Temple University Press

“This book reminds us all that the Civil Rights movement got its start way before Rosa Parks sat down on the bus, before anyone sat at the lunch counter, and not just in the South. Octavius Catto and many like him showed the many injustices that freed blacks faced after the Civil War, including being kept away from July 4th celebrations.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Spagna, Ana Maria

Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey

University of Nebraska Press

“This was a beautiful book. What else is there to say? Ms. Spagna, through her writing brought her father and an era to life. She shows us that to effect change takes ordinary men and women who are willing to stand up and do what is right just because they should. Not for glory or any other justification.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


King, Martin Luther (Foreword by Coretta Scott King Introduction by Vincent Harding)

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Beacon Press

“A reprint of the last book written by Martin Luther King, Jr., with a new foreword by Vincent Harding. King describes his vision for America’s future: good jobs, decent housing, quality education—a message that still resonates today.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Haider-Markel, Donald P.

Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections, and Policy Representation

Georgetown University Press

“Gay and Lesbian Candidates are not always spoken about, except in [instances where they are associated with] sensational stories. This book looks at how this group is represented, and how LGBT people are afraid to admit this when they run for office. The author is successful in showing how this issue and their need to be represented has affected both past and current politics.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Fettweis, Christopher J.

Dangerous Times?: The International Politics of Great Power Peace

Georgetown University Press

“A thorough analysis of peace, war and how both impact the world. Fettweis compares the current world climate with our history. He successfully argues that compared to our past, the world is not as dangerous as we believe. The book contains numerous references to support his argument. As the world around us is changing everyone should read this book.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Schroth, Raymond A.

Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress

Fordham University Press

“Fascinating if for no other reason than the ability of one man to separate church and state...Written by a man who obviously loved his subject, this book is a biography of a complicated and dedicated man. Someone who loved his religion, loved his country, but loved mankind most of all.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)

“The biography of the first Catholic Priest elected to Congress. This biography chronicles his life before being a priest, his life as a priest, and the controversy that he was a priest and a political figure. An eye opening look at this man, the church, congress and how he was able to use his views and beliefs to change the world around him.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States; National Research Council and National Academy of Public Administration

Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future

The National Academies Press

“Presents in clear prose the results of a two-year study of the long-term fiscal problems facing the U.S. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, the National Research Council, and the National Academy of Public Administration collaborated on this study. The analytical firepower directed at the nation’s daunting economic challenges is impressive. What is even more impressive are the nonpartisan options plainly laid out for addressing the problems and the rationally described consequences of each of the various choices. An important, carefully reasoned treatment of a timely and vital topic.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Rajan, Raghuram G.

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy

Princeton University Press

“The author is one of the few economists who predicted the 2007 global financial crisis and in this well written and accessible book he explores the intersecting fault lines of individual choices in a global environment where the incentive to take on risk is out of proportion to economic realities. The role of the American consumer in powering the world economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the weak safety net given to citizens all need to be addressed to prevent the next global economic crisis.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)

“An economist who warned of the global financial crisis before it hit now sounds the alarm that a worse crisis is ahead unless systemic problems in the economy are fixed. Skewed incentives in the U.S. financial sector; the widening gap between the have’s and have-not’s; the fraying of the social safety net; and the resulting pressure for easy credit are among the factors putting us all in financial peril. In clear and readable prose, a distinguished economist describes the hard choices required to restore prosperity and fiscal stability.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Mayer, Robert

Quick Cash: The Story of the Loan Shark

Northern Illinois University Press

“Financial and consumer education is an emerging element in secondary curriculum, areas for which this title will provide important supplementary reading. The history of loan sharks from the 19th and early 20th centuries to pay day and title loan companies of today will expose students to many hard truths of personal finance as well as to the differing economies of the well to do and middle class versus the poor.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Dietrich, William

The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest

University of Washington Press

“First published in 1992, this story of logging in Forks Washington will have new relevance for teens that know Forks as the setting for the Twilight series. This title focuses on Forks self proclaimed role as “Logging Capital of the World” and the impact of logging on the environment and climate change. Newly updated with a new introduction and afterword providing information on where the principal players are now. The Final Forest will serve to supplement political science and environmental science classes as well as be recreational reading for teens.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Hoekstra, Jonathan M., et al. (Edited by Jennifer L. Molnar)

The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference

University of California Press & The Nature Conservancy

“Containing compelling information on the growing necessity of global conservation, this volume gives concrete solutions to environmental problems. The authors concisely explain the biomes of the world and the part humans have played in damaging the habitats for some of the world’s most endangered species and ways to take action now. Stunning color photographs, charts and maps abound in this authoritative work. Chapters are brief yet insightful. Each section is color-coded for quick reference. Extensive appendices are provided. I recommend this book for all public libraries.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“Stunning photographs and over 80 detailed full color maps will entice students to explore issues in conservation and to develop their own action plans. The volume begins with an exploration of ecoregions and then progresses to explorations of the challenges in specific habitats. Subsequent sections explore species, factors in environmental change, and ways in which to take action. The continued relevancy of this title is supported through links to a website which provides data on the issues discussed. Appropriate for biology and environmental science classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)

“This atlas is both descriptive and prescriptive. Chapters define and describe the world’s ecoregions and biomes, both on land and sea; habitats from grasslands to coral reefs; and species. Humans have altered the earth by sheer numbers, by consumption of resources, and by pollution. Suggestions for action to protect land and water include descriptions of specific projects. The book concludes with choices we can and must make for our future. Each section is illustrated with color photos, maps, and charts. The appendix contains suggestions for further reading, including online as well as print resources. This book is well-suited for public, elementary, and secondary school libraries.”—Nann Blaine Hilyard (PLA)

“Eminent scientists at The Nature Conservancy have created this appealing illustrated resource on the ecological state of Planet Earth today. With over 80 full-color maps and other graphics, the atlas offers views of terrestrial, marine, and freshwater biomes around the globe. Essays throughout by leading environmentalists provide context and the latest data on climate change, water use, deforestation, overfishing, and many other topics.”—Steve Norman (PLA)

“This amazing book chronicles the story of life on earth. The story is told through detailed maps, amazing photos and page turning stories. The writers show how our actions are affecting the world, how we have changed things, what we still have to change, and gives [us] hope that we can continue to make the world a better place.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Lebbin, Daniel J., Michael J. Parr, and George H. Fenwick

The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

The University of Chicago Press

“This title focuses only on those species that are endangered both in the United States and abroad. The images, maps and illustrations are engaging and the information is delivered in short, concise paragraphs. Sections include identification of endangered birds and their habitats, conservation needs and actions needed to preserve their species; threats; and international bird conservation. The section on threats includes both predatory threats; other birds, mammals and reptiles and environmental threats; disease, human development and pollution. I recommend this book for all library collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“The core of this title is a detailed classification of and analysis of threats to bird habitats in North America. Watchlists of birds who are threatened provide information on specific steps to protect them and their habitats. These lists are followed by descriptions of specific habitats and threats. Copiously illustrated with photos, drawings and charts, this title can be used by biology and environmental science classes as well by elementary and middle school science classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Pons, Silvio and Robert Service (Editors)

A Dictionary of 20th-Century Communism

Princeton University Press

“A comprehensive reference book on communism and its impact on the world. With the opening of archives in former communist states, scholars have new access to material that has informed and sometimes changed earlier understandings of communism as an ideological and political force. Encyclopedic and authoritative.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Coleman, William T.

Counsel for the Situation: Shaping the Law to Realize America’s Promise

Brookings Institution Press

“William Coleman broke down many racial barriers and had many ‘firsts’ in his life. He was the first American of color to clerk for the Supreme Court and to serve in a Republican cabinet. His autobiography is filled with great descriptions of pivotal events that began the civil rights movement and the intimate details that can only come from one who was actually a part of the unfolding dramas. His writing style is easy and comfortable—despite his many accomplishments and tribulations, he comes across as matter-of-fact and many times, inspiring. His body of work in the public service sector was quietly, but largely, influential to the country and should be shared—this book will do that.”—Trish Burns (PLA)


Foster, James C.

BONG HiTS 4 JESUS: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska’s Capital

University of Alaska Press

“A complete examination of a student’s free speech rights as the clash between school administrators and a student surfaces in Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007), commonly known as Bong Hits 4 Jesus. Highly readable, with copious notes and references, the author does much to help readers contemplate the impact of the decision in the first significant student free speech case since Tinker in the 1960s.”—Sharron McElmeel (AASL)


Whitehouse, Beth

The Match: “Savior Siblings” and One Family’s Battle to Heal Their Daughter

Beacon Press

“Young fans of Jodi Piccoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and the motion picture of the same name will be intrigued by this real life account of a family who chooses to conceive another child as a bone marrow donor for their four year old daughter with Diamond Blackfan Anemia. In addition to detailing the excruciating decision making process faced by the family, this title also provides discussion of the science and the social issues of ‘savior siblings’. Excellent title for science, biology, and social studies classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Dracos, Ted

Biocidal: Confronting the Poisonous Legacy of PCBs

Beacon Press

“Although outlawed since 1976 PCBs are the most widely distributed chemical contaminants in the world, with PCBs locked into the chemistry of each person on earth. Following an extensive examination of PCBs, their science and the corporate collusion that supported their spread, the author provides hope by describing ways in which PCBs can be removed from our environment. An excellent companion to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Antholis, William and Strobe Talbott

Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming

Brookings Institution Press

“Likening global warming to the planetary threat of nuclear holocaust, this brief and extremely readable title clearly and objectively details the science of climate change and provides a history of two decades of diplomacy on this critical issue. Identifying the current earth’s population as the first to know about global warming and the only one able to effect a substantial change, the authors outline specific tasks for governments and individuals as we rethink our ethical obligations to our potentially endangered species.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Bassett, Thomas J. and Alex Winter-Nelson

The Atlas of World Hunger

The University of Chicago Press

“The geography of hunger—the interplay of politics, economics, and agriculture—effects almost a billion people worldwide. This comprehensive atlas is divided into sections on locating hunger (the endpapers present a hunger vulnerability map) and the sources of hunger from national resources to technology to war and natural disasters. The extensive use of bar graphs and charts make this a natural title for integrated curriculum of mathematics, science, and social studies.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Smoot, Bill

Conversations with Great Teachers

Indiana University Press

“Interviews with teachers of various professions—K-12, higher education, the arts, trades, sports and politics. I almost wish that there had been a book on CD or a DVD so I could hear the voices of the teachers themselves. It was an important reminder that all people have something to teach and everyone still has something to learn.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)

“This wonderful title is full of surprises for any reader interested in education in the broadest sense of the term. Presented in a question/answer format, Bill Smoot has interviewed teachers whose vocations range from baking, to the Marines, to Tantra and to first grade.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Chura, David

I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup

Beacon Press

“This is another excellent entry to the ranks of gut-wrenching stories of marginalized teens, often so casually thrown away first by families, and later by a justice system eager to placate the public and punish not rehabilitate the kids. Yet, their ability to survive and thrive in the rubble of their complicated lives is inspiring.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Eder, Donna

Life Lessons through Storytelling

Indiana University Press

“You would think a title like this would be incredibly dry, but think again. I found it very engaging. The basic idea of drawing children’s ideas out through storytelling may not be new, but discussing their ethics, getting them to think about right and wrong in the context of stories and their own communities can have such a lasting impact on how they grow as citizens.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Darling-Hammond, Linda

The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future

Teachers College Press

“Schools need overhaul just like industry to survive in the 21st century and the new globalized society. This book describes the hard but necessary changes that must be made to improve our schools so that we can compete on the new global stage.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Anderson, Lynne Christy

Breaking Bread: Recipes and Stories from Immigrant Kitchens

University of California Press

“The recipes in this book take a backseat to the cultural and historical discussions by both the author and her subjects. The author includes an interview with her subjects in both her own words, and in the words of the subject—each chapter has two intertwined, but separate stories to tell. Family recipes from their country of origin are included in each chapter. The effect is that you’ve done research on the culinary background of each immigrant, but also sat at their table and ate with them while discussing memories of home.”—Trish Burns (PLA)

“Pick an immigrant cuisine and you’ll find a heart-warming story and a recipe in this volume. The foods of our culture speak to us on many levels. The photographs included don’t focus on the food as they do in a traditional cookbook. Instead they focus on individuals and family who are sharing their traditions in the pages of this wonderful title.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Weaver, William Woys

Culinary Ephemera: An Illustrated History

University of California Press

“This book contains a variety of ephemera from Almanacs and calendars, to broadsides and handbills to menus and postcards. Most, but not all, date from the latter part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. There are 362 illustrations in this book the author describes as an ‘amuse-bouche.’ Some of the items may invoke nostalgia but many more offer some insight into an evolving culture and shared history. This book needs to be promoted because it’s too good to miss.”—Saul Amdursky (PLA)


Fenichel, Marilyn and Heidi A. Schweingruber; National Research Council

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

The National Academies Press

“When I was young I was lucky enough to be able to have parents who took me to the American Museum of Natural History on a regular basis. My father would encourage me to bring a notebook, and in so doing, I learned so much at the museum. Today, there are many museums that have science exhibits. This book can only assist these museums to inspire others, and teach and excite children about a mysterious world that sometimes seems out of reach to them.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Nigge, Klaus

Whooping Crane: Images from the Wild

Texas A&M University Press

“Approximately 250 wild whooping cranes nest in Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada and winter in the Aransas National Wildlife refuge in south Texas. The photographer follows the activity of a single family of whooping cranes over two years documenting life in the salt marshes and in the Canadian wild. In his constructed blind, he watched as chicks hatched and the adults cared for their young as he witnessed the peace and perils of the cranes’ summer and winter havens.”—Teri Maggio (PLA)


Calaprice, Alice (Editor)

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein

Princeton University Press

“An excellent book that uses Einstein’s own words to show his life. The book includes quotes about and to his first wife, the cousin he left his wife for, about or to children including his children, and his views on life, death and everything in between. This book humanizes him and shows him for whom he was, warts and all. This volume also includes quotes from others about him and their feelings about him. This is a great read.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Fry, Julianne L., et al.

The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change: A Complete Visual Guide

University of California Press

“Fabulously, fun, [this is a] full-color book with lots of glossy photos, charts, maps and illustrations. This title is broken down into sections and a color-coding system runs throughout so you always know which section you are viewing. The sections include: the definition of weather, actions, extremes, watching, and climate and change. For example, [the section] action includes cloud formations and precipitation. Extremes include tornadoes, floods and draughts. The text is succinct and more useful for quick references and visual examples than in-depth study. I recommend this book for all libraries.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“The extensive and beautiful photographs in this title (over 3000 in all) will draw in readers of all ages. These photographs are complemented by explanations of the forces of weather and climate written by experts in each field. These easily comprehensive explanations include a discussion of Engine (basic of weather and air in motion); Action (water, clouds, precipitation, and optical effects); Extremes (tornados, floods, etc.); Watching (studying and tracking weather); Climate (basics of climate); and Change (History, Threats, and Reversing the Trend, etc.).”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)

“Weather buffs and science students alike will find information on nearly every weather and climate topic. Climate zones, extreme storms, types of clouds, and global warming are among the hundreds of topics. Each is presented on a two-page spread with world maps, charts, historical data, and color photographs. This is an essential purchase for public, elementary, and secondary school libraries.”—Nann Blaine Hilyard (PLA)

“This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is learning about or interested in weather. The book is divided into the following sections: engine, action, extremes, watching, climate and change. The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change: A Complete Visual Guide has excellent pictures to go with the text and clearly explains the different types of weather and how it affects the climate.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Baker, David and Todd Ratcliff

The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System

Harvard University Press

“A colorful and intriguing book that explores astonishing places in our solar system. One can travel to the tallest mountain, see impact craters, the deepest ocean, watch the longest storm still going, view alien objects, and much more with each turn of the page.”—Angela Green (PLA)

“As the world and climate around us changes, what is happening in our Solar System? This book looks at 50 extremes; some of them do not just happen in one place, but in various places. This book shows what is occurring in space, explains why it occurs, includes science experiments when possible; color pictures and the explanations’ are easy to understand. This is highly recommended to any reader.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Paul, Gregory S.

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs

Princeton University Press

“Thoroughly researched, this encyclopedic work offers in-depth descriptions of dinosaurs categorized by group and species. A timeline is provided as well as explanations for their decline and extinction. Each individual dinosaur description includes a depiction of their skeletal structure, location, habitat, social interactions and reproduction. Black and white drawings and color illustrations are provided for each entry as well as a variety of exquisitely detailed etchings of dinosaurs in their habitats. I recommend this book for all public and academic library collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)


Allen, Robert

Bulletproof Feathers: How Science Uses Nature’s Secrets to Design Cutting-Edge Technology

The University of Chicago Press

“This visually stimulating book describes how nature influences scientific discovery. Examples include studying geckos and flies to develop better gripping technology, how dolphins influence sonar technology underwater and in hospitals through acoustical imaging i.e. sonograms and ultrasounds, the study of Barn Owls to improve aerodynamics and the study of animals in conserving and dispersing heat. Nature also influences how we develop robotic technology including life-like prosthetics. I recommend this book for larger public libraries or libraries with strong science and technology collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“Biomimetics, the young science that designs human applications based on nature, is introduced to readers in this easy to read, extensively illustrated book. From architecture lessons from prairie dogs and termites to waterproof clothing designed to mimic the molecular arrangement of sharkskin, this book will fascinate young scientists. One of the most intriguing sections describes how we can learn cooperative strategies from birds, fish and insects.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Holmes, Martha and Mike Gunton

Life: Extraordinary Animals, Extreme Behavior

University of California Press

“Based on the BBS series, Life details the locations and animals filmed during the series. Beautiful color photographs cover every page with an accompanying page of text. Information is provided on ways each of these animals and plants survive and thrive in their environments. The book breaks down into different sections for plants, fish, birds, mammals and others. This book would make a fitting addition to those libraries with larger nature and science collections or those who own the BBS series on DVD.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“A companion volume to the Discovery Channel series, this book more than meets expectations for spectacular photography and brief, descriptive text. Sixty vignettes introduce animals ranging from the familiar polar bears and monarch butterflies to Australian bees. A great book for browsing as well as for reference.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)

Life is the spectacular companion volume to the new Discovery Channel/BBC series. This volume has beautiful images and outstanding facts that will leave you amazed at the diversity and splendor of nature and how species overcome challenges to prevail and procreate. In 60 captivating vignettes, grouped in categories like Extraordinary Sea Creatures, Fabulous Fish, Brilliant Birds and so on, the photography alone is worth the price.”—Teri Maggio (PLA)

“How do animals act? This look at their extreme behavior and how it affects the world around us is an absorbing read. This book has eye-catching pictures, and the stories that go with them are excellent in and of themselves. A must have.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Coombes, Allen J. (Edited by Zsolt Debreczy)

The Book of Leaves: A Leaf-by-Leaf Guide to Six Hundred of the World’s Great Trees

The University of Chicago Press

“The compilation is well organized and enjoyable. It contains beautiful photos and illustrations and the information is quick and easily digestible. The author offers up an informative explanation of what makes trees-trees and why leaves grow in certain shapes and patterns. Included are both Latin and common names of each tree and their typical locations and the best part; each leaf is shown in actual size. I found this book to be both interactive and fun and recommend it for all library collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“Backpackers and hikers in the wilds and strollers on urban and suburban streets will all find this extensively illustrated book of great value. A detailed guide to identifying tree leaves leads all levels of explorers to precise full color photographs of leaves. The photographs are accompanied by map, showing the range of the tree; charts detailing the size, shape and arrangement of the leaf as well as a description of the tree’s bark and flower; and a narrative describing the tree and identifying similar species. Great for biology students.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Johnson, Hugh

The World of Trees

University of California Press

“This book is absolutely gorgeous. The images are vibrant and inspiring and the text is equally enlightening. This book is not a field guide, but instead it is a useful compilation of tree discoveries and cultivation, tree characteristics and usefulness, strategies for proper care and maintenance of selected species and a wonderful calendar for spring-summer bloom times and fall foliage colors. The book is also indexed extensively by both Latin and Common names. I recommend this book for libraries with strong gardening and landscaping collections.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)

“This revised edition of the classic International Book of Trees is a lushly photographed and illustrated volume of tree varieties and cultivars. The well-written narrative text offers histories of how particular trees evolved, including their origins in other lands. The Weeping Willow, Salix babylonica, for example, came not from Babylon but from China. The detailed text is accessible to readers of many levels and makes the book an excellent addition to a circulating or to a reference collection.”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Harasewych, M. G. and Fabio Moretzsohn

The Book of Shells: A Life-Size Guide to Identifying and Classifying Six Hundred Seashells

The University of Chicago Press

“This is a beautiful and easily referenced title. The images are vibrant allowing readers to give their full attention to the beauty of each individual shell. The limited text is informative and the simplicity by which the information is delivered makes this book easily readable for all ages. Each of the 600 shells includes both the Latin and common names as well as a brief categorization of facts including family, size range, location and frequency. I recommend this book for all library collections”—Christina Beaird (PLA)


Moffett, Mark W.

Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions

University of California Press

“Six different species of ants are introduced in this title that is copiously illustrated with stunning photographs. Cleverly written, the ants chronicled are described in section headings such as ‘African Army Ant: Raiders on the Swarm’ and ‘Amazon Ant, the Slavemaker’. Chapters describe the ways in which ants dominate their environment through division of labor, engineering, and aggression. A great supplementary title for biology and sociology classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Pepperell, Julian

Fishes of the Open Ocean: A Natural History and Illustrated Guide

The University of Chicago Press

“The open ocean that extends down to 200 meters is the part of the ocean inhabited by the fish with which humans are most familiar-tunas, mackerels, sharks and rays. Each section begins with a discussion of the ecosystem of each species and then provides an encyclopedia entry for specific fish. A great reference title for elementary through high school.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Spitzer, Mark

Season of the Gar: Adventures in Pursuit of America’s Most Misunderstood Fish

The University of Arkansas Press

“This title demonstrates the magic woven when a talented writer is passionate about his subject. In laugh-out-loud essays, Spitzer shares folklore, science, history, and his own passion to provide detailed information of this misunderstood creature from the age of the dinosaurs. An excellent addition to creative writing or science classes, this title also illustrates how to critically analyze and critique long held theories. And the inclusion of Gar recipes is a bonus for Home Economics classes!”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Dunbar, Robin

How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks

Harvard University Press

“Subtitled Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks, this title presents concepts related to evolution in an engaging, reader-friendly way. Consisting of a series of short chapters originally published as essays, this makes sophisticated, complex research accessible and interesting.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Yancey, Toni

Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time

University of California Press

“Advocating for ten minute breaks in schools, churches, stadia, offices, and other public venues, the author presents her concept for building a fit nation through narrative, poetry, and her vision of how adoption of ‘instant recess’ can change the face of the nation. Initiating her treatise through a discussion of the impact of a sedentary America, the author builds her case by describing the evolution of her idea, how to market the idea, and its impact on the waistline and the bottom line. Appropriate for physical education, health, and social studies classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Tye, Diane

Baking As Biography: A Life Story in Recipes

McGill-Queen’s University Press

“Part cookbook, part memoir, part social discussion on women’s issues of the time, this book discusses folklore and foodways and how everyday foods tell unintentional stories. Don’t buy it for the recipes, buy it for the commentary on how, why and what women cook for their families.”—Trish Burns (PLA)


Goodwin, Raymond

Sawdusted: Notes from a Post-Boom Mill

The University of Wisconsin Press

“This memoir of 20 months of employment in a Michigan sawmill post lumber boom 1979 is filled with humor and poignancy that demonstrates a deep understanding of the human condition. Descriptions of the mill itself and individual chapters that delineate the colorful workers at the mill—the foreman, the tattoo man, the tree lover, the stoics—provide an enduring portrait of a little recorded time and venue in history. Appropriate as supplementary reading for history, economics, and creative writing classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Barkan, Leonard

Michelangelo: A Life on Paper

Princeton University Press

“An intimate look into the great Michelangelo’s life through his own words. Readers are privileged to view Michelangelo’s own notes on his masterpieces, memos to his assistants—clearly including personal expressions of ambitions and thoughts not meant for the eyes of others. Magnificently and profusely illustrated, well researched and superbly written examination of this multi-faceted artist.”—Sharron McElmeel (AASL)


Cooper, Emmanuel

Ten Thousand Years of Pottery

University of Pennsylvania Press

“This work is a classic and comprehensive color survey of ceramic art and production from prehistory to the current time. Pottery is one of the earliest and most widespread of human activities and can be traced back to the Stone Age. The breathtaking wealth of illustrations drawn from major collections across the globe include examples of all major styles, materials and forms from all periods.”—Teri Maggio (PLA)


Reesman, Jeanne Campbell, Sara S. Hodson, and Philip Adam

Jack London, Photographer

University of Georgia Press

“Jack London remains one of the most widely read American writers but many of his readers were unaware of his memorable portraits of individuals throughout the world. Who could have imagined that his eye would be so powerful? The text and captions add significantly to the understanding of the author. These magnificent photographs have remained unpublished until now.”—Teri Maggio (PLA)

“Few people realize that this well known author was a talented photographer. This book brings his talent to life. The author explains in detail, his life, photography, how it influenced his writing and describes the camera he used. The book is beautifully detailed including: London’s photographs, ones taken of him, and detailed explanations of how he composed his pictures. His photos manage to depict the true people of the time and areas he used to take pictures. His work humanizes the subject instead of placing the subject in a photograph that people think the world wants to see.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Flukinger, Roy

The Gernsheim Collection

University of Texas Press

The Gernsheim Collection is a detailed look at the photographic collection of Helmut and Alison Gernsheim. This book details the collection as if it is an encyclopedia including information on the photographers whose work appears in the collection. This book also manages to successfully trace their careers as collectors and their life. It is a gripping look at the photography of the time.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Siegel, Marcia B.

Mirrors and Scrims: The Life and Afterlife of Ballet

Wesleyan University Press

“Right from the start I was struck by the beauty of Ms. Seigel’s prose. A critic who does not always stick to ballet, the book includes non-classical productions, like Cirque du Soleil, etc. Siegel looks at the history of ballet through specific productions making it all the more engaging. Her writing is like drinking a good glass of wine.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Wiggins, David K. and R. Pierre Rodgers

Rivals: Legendary Matchups That Made Sports History

The University of Arkansas Press

“Sports rivalries can be just as exciting for the spectator as the athletes themselves. The essays in this book reminded me of all the times I was on the edge of my seat watching an event sometimes unable to look. The writing brought the rivalries to life.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Dubois, Laurent

Soccer Empire: The World Cup and The Future of France

University of California Press

“The interrelationship of empire and sport is detailed in this history of World Cup soccer from 1930’s Africa, and the Caribbean, and to the colonial powers. Centered around the story of Zinedine Zidane, the French son of Algerian immigrants, who was the hero of the 1998 World Cup and then retired in ignominy following his head butt of an Italian player in the 2006 World Cup. The rising interest in World Cup soccer will make this account of the relationship between sport and politics a valuable adjunct to high school political science and world history classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Dobrow, Marty

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream

University of Massachusetts Press

“Heartbreak, tedium, and the support of family and friends permeate the dreams and experiences of six minor league players during the 2005-2008 seasons. The author reflects the feelings of the players, the commitment of their wives, girlfriends, and families; and the meaning of minor league teams to communities. This title will appeal to students who have their own aspirations of athletic stardom.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Craft, Jerry

Our White Boy

Texas Tech University Press

“Integration of sports is usually addressed only in terms of minorities entering all white leagues. Jerry Craft tells the other side of the story in the memoir of his two seasons as a white player for the West Texas Colored League. His two seasons revealed much about prejudice and discrimination from multiple viewpoints. His co-author, Sports Literature scholar Kathleen Sullivan places Craft’s story in a larger societal context. A strong resource for social studies that provides a perspective and appeal to sports fans.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Hauser, Thomas

Boxing Is...: Reflections on the Sweet Science

The University of Arkansas Press

“Boxing gets its due from writer Thomas Hauser. He brings to life, the people who box, who watch, and who train. His love for the sport comes through on every page. As a non-boxing fan, I can appreciate its art when I look at it through Hauser’s eyes.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Browdy de Hernandez, Jennifer, et al. (Editors)

African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices

The University of Wisconsin Press

“Four women, through similar endeavors, meet and decide to create a book that explains the challenges and oppressions faced by African women. The stories are written in many forms including poems, narratives, short plays, interviews, testimonies, short stories, folktales, and lyrics. The authors provide an opportunity for African women to have their voices heard so that others may learn, understand, cope, or experience these issues.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Berman, Jeffrey

Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C. S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin

The University of Wisconsin Press

“Many people lose a spouse and overcoming the grief can be a very difficult process. Companionship in Grief provides memoirs from five well-known figures who have lost a spouse and how they dealt with the situation—the good and the bad.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Parker, Robert Dale

Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930

University of Pennsylvania Press

“Robert Dale Parker intertwines poetry with a description of history to explain Native American poetry and culture. In doing this, the reader has a better understanding of the poetry and its meaning while learning much about the culture of Native Americans.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Dickinson, Emily (Selected and introduced by Jo Miles Schuman and Joanna Bailey Hodgman)

A Spicing of Birds: Poems by Emily Dickinson

Wesleyan University Press

A Spicing of Birds brings together poetry and artistic drawing. Emily Dickinson wrote poems about 26 species of birds and each one is presented with the amazing drawings of the birds from eight artists who lived at least partially during the nineteenth century.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Banerjee, Neelanjana, Summi Kaipa, and Pireeni Sundaralingam

Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry

The University of Arkansas Press

“South Asian American poetry varies amongst the poets and the different time periods, but they consider all of them to have one characteristic in common: America. Indivisible is a collection of these South Asian American poets biographical information and their poems.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Walsh, Michael

The Dirt Riddles: Poems

The University of Arkansas Press

“Michael Walsh uses poetry to describe the animals, the land, his family, and the work involved on a farm. An intriguing read for those who may be unfamiliar with farms or a trip down memory lane for those who lived on a farm.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Evans, Arthur B., et al. (Editors)

The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction

Wesleyan University Press

“More than 150 years’ worth of the finest science fiction is arranged chronologically and also with a listing by theme (Alien Encounters, Apocalypse and Post-apocalypse, and so on). The major luminaries (Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Ursula LeGuinn, Arthur C. Clarke) are here, plus the less well known. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’ leads off the collection. Great fun!”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Keeble, John

Broken Ground: A Novel

University of Washington Press

“A novel originally published in 1987, Broken Ground is the story of a prison-for-profit construction project in the Oregon desert. The prison is funded by a multinational corporation under government contract and is meant to incarcerate felons, illegal immigrants, and—as is eventually learned—political prisoners from Latin America. The main character supervises the construction of the prison and struggles to escape the despair that has held him since his daughter’s death. A good story, strongly written, foreshadowing (among other things) Abu Ghraib and the creeping privatization of public enterprises.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Carr, Pat

One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life

Texas Tech University Press

“The writer Pat Carr’s memoir written in one-page installments. A light but shadowed glimpse into academia, the craft and business of writing, and Pat Carr’s personal journey. Hard to put down.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Kaldas, Pauline

The Time between Places: Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America

The University of Arkansas Press

“Beautifully written collection of short stories that opens a window into the lives of Egyptian immigrants and other characters still in Egypt. The tensions surrounding the immigrant experience are presented in lyrical, powerful prose.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Twain, Mark (Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith)

The Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1

University of California Press

“Outstanding in that it is the autobiography of one of the quintessential American writers/characters, coming back to life after being dead for one hundred years. The book is huge (730 total pages) and unwieldy and physically daunting to hold and read comfortably. However, the content is a treasure trove of new material.”—Trish Burns (PLA)

“The first of 3 volumes collected by the Mark Twain project on the 100th anniversary of his death. Written in Twain’s own words, the timeline of events meanders from observation to anecdote void of chronology between past and present. A treasure trove of information for fans of this great American writer.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)

“Mark Twain made many attempts to write his life story, but it was not until 1906 that he began a nearly daily dictation. Over the following three years he augmented the dictation with the manuscripts from the false starts, newspaper clippings, letters he received, and other documents. The work was completed in December, 1909. Twain stipulated that it should not be published in its entirety until a century after his death, which occurred in April, 1910. This long-awaited centennial edition has extensive commentary. Photographs include facsimiles of Twain’s manuscript. This is an indispensable addition to Twain scholarship and is an important purchase for public and high school libraries.”—Nann Blaine Hilyard (PLA)


Loving, Jerome

Mark Twain: The Adventures of Samuel L. Clemens

University of California Press

“One of the latest volumes that have been published in celebration of the 100th year of Clemens death, this book surveys the entire career of Mr. Clemens, from the origins of ‘Mark Twain’ to his death and shows how Twain used comedy to get his point across on various social and political points of his era.”—Sabrina Carnesi (AASL)

“In the century since his death more than a score of scholarly biographies have been written about Mark Twain. Source material continues to turn up. Jerome Loving uses previously unpublished or archival materials as the basis for his critical retelling of Twain’s life and work. He begins the story in Hannibal, Missouri, and follows Twain to the frontier West, then back East, and abroad. Twain became famous as a young man and spent the rest of his life promoting and burnishing his image—a life ‘as long and as twisted as the Mississippi River,’ as Loving writes. Public and high school libraries should make room in their collections for this comprehensive, readable biography.”—Nann Blaine Hilyard (PLA)


Trethewey, Natasha

Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

University of Georgia Press

“A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, the author interweaves narratives and poetry of the impact of hurricane Katrina with information about the decades of wetlands destruction and impact of the move to tourism and casinos on the already marginalized population of Gulfport. Most poignantly, the author describes the isolation of her grandmother who survives the hurricane only to succumb to the loss of her lifelong home. Appropriate to creative writing and social studies classes.”—Jo Ann Carr (AASL)


Totaro, Rebecca

The Plague in Print

Duquesne University Press

“‘Ring around the Rosie’—At first glance I thought this book was too specialized for a public library. Then I looked again. This book was worth that second look. It is a fascinating book about a plague that infested Elizabethan England and the written sources that helped the people to deal with it.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Austen, Jane (Edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks)

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition

Harvard University Press/Belknap Press

“Lush and beautifully published. The descriptions of Regency customs and terminology have completely transformed a book I thought I knew inside out. As a standard in schools, this is a wonderful addition for public libraries.”—Hilary Albert (PLA)


Garrett, Greg

One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter

Baylor University Press

“This is an excellent critique and companion to promote a deeper understanding of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. Rowling’s remarkable work is often mistaken for black magic, but instead, the author argues, Rowling actually constructed a ‘voluminous fairy tale<0x2026>a serious story about the power of death—and the much greater power of love.’”—Barbara Morrow Williams (PLA)


Williams, Glyn

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

University of California Press

“This is an authoritative volume on a maritime subject that has always been fascinating. There are many books on the subject but the scope of this one takes us from Frobisher to Amundsen and beyond. The writing is clear and accessible and the research is impeccable. This is an excellent choice for most public libraries.”—Saul Amdursky (PLA)


Williams, Glyn

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

University of California Press

“The account of the centuries long quest to find a northwest passage (a route over the top of North America as a short cut to Asia) is both a story of discovery and of adventure. Glyn Williams tells of the very earliest explorers (1700s), the crushed ships, hardships caused by too little food, extremely cold weather, and even cannibalism. The account culminates with the efforts of the twentieth-century adventurers who finally open the Passage. A thrilling narrative based on meticulous research, (and many primary sources).”—Sharron McElmeel (AASL)


Starr, William W.

Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster: Traveling through Scotland with Boswell and Johnson

The University of South Carolina Press

“The premise of the book is William Starr’s recreation of literary lions James Boswell and Samuel Johnson’s famous journey around the still wild and unknown Scotland in 1783. Fast-forward more than 200 years later to William Starr. Starr is both witty and entertaining. His irreverent take on both modern and historic Scotland, as well as his ability to laugh at both he and his surroundings, made this a book I didn’t want to put down. I recommend this book for any library travel or Scottish history collection.”—Christina Beaird (PLA)


Moorhead, Sam

AD410: The Year that Shook Rome

Getty Publications

“What happened to life in Rome following the invasion of the Goths in 410? The story of this dramatic year in the Roman Empire is told through many illustrations and a fast-paced narrative.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


Grafton, Anthony, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis

The Classical Tradition

Harvard University Press

“With entries written by a who’s who of scholars, this fascinating volume examines the wide-ranging impact of the classical cultures of Greece and Rome. For example, the entry on Ptolemy provides highlights of his life, but then goes on to discuss the impact of his writing and philosophy on later scholars such as Copernicus, providing a fresh look at why the classical era remains relevant to the 21st century.”—Judith Repman (AASL)


The American University in Cairo Press

The New Atlas of the Arab World

The American University in Cairo Press

“What is included in the ‘Arab World’? This book provides that answer through the usage of colorful maps, satellite photos, and data about each country. A quick reference source for those unfamiliar with the Arab World.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Baum, Richard

China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom

University of Washington Press

“This memoir provides an exceptional account of Richard Baum’s experiences studying and watching the People’s Republic of China and its doings for the past forty years. He describes his reactions as well as many reactions of the Chinese to most of the major events that occurred in Chinese history from the height of Maoism to today’s globalization.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Jones, Seth G. and C. Christine Fair

Counterinsurgency in Pakistan

RAND Corporation

“A detailed look at what works and does not work in terms of counterinsurgency in Pakistan. This book explained the problems through maps, detailed descriptions, and graphics. The use of all three reinforce the authors point. This is not only educational, but interesting.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Jervis, Robert

Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War

Cornell University Press

“Communication errors, rivalry, personal dislikes, lack of understanding, bad information can all lead to a failure in the intelligence world. [Robert Jervis] explains that intelligence failures are not always bad, but the intelligence field must learn from those that can have altering effects on events like the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Sorley, Lewis

The Vietnam War: An Assessment by South Vietnam’s Generals

Texas Tech University Press

“Different people and cultures view events differently and the Vietnam War is no different. At the end of the war six South Vietnamese military officers penned several monographs with the assistance of the United States. This book is a compilation of many of the monographs so that others may have an understanding from a different perspective of the Vietnam War, particularly concerning South Vietnam and its military.”—Angela Green (PLA)


Hayes, Derek

Historical Atlas of the North American Railroad

University of California Press

“This is a stunningly beautiful book with a collection of maps that will appeal to railroad buffs. The text is clear and the illustrations are excellent. There will definitely be an audience for this book in public libraries across the country.”—Saul Amdursky (PLA)

“An absolutely absorbing illustrated account of American railroad history, traced from its origins in the United Kingdom. The Historical Atlas of the North American Railroad is a conducive resource to the American K-12 curriculum in its explanation of how the railroad transformed the economic and social life of a continent, and served as a catalyst in changing joining the North America east of the Mississippi River with North America west of the Mississippi”—Sabrina Carnesi (PLA)

“Derek Hayes is a geographer who collects and researches historical maps and associated ephemera. ‘North American Railroads’ is the most recent compilation by geographer Derek Hayes who collects and researches historical maps. North American railways began with steam engines that provided power for manufacturing and industries of all kinds. Steam power was applied to maritime transportation and then to land transportation. In 1825 Col. John Stevens ran a ‘steam wagon’ on a track at his estate in New Jersey. A decade later there were four lines out of Boston. Development of Canadian railways was not far behind. Railroads moved goods and people between cities in the East and the forests, farmland, and mines of the West. They had strategic importance in the Civil War. Though railroads lost dominance to automotive and air transport in the second half of the twentieth century, they continue to move tons of raw materials and freight efficiently. In addition to dozens of maps there are photographs and images of ephemera including train schedules, dining car menus, and advertisements. This is a treat for rail fans and American history buffs. It is accessible for upper elementary students as well as young adults. It is a ‘must’ purchase for public, middle school, and high school libraries.”—Nann Blaine Hilyard (PLA)


Paine, Thomas (Introduction by Alan Taylor)

Common Sense

Harvard University Press/Belknap Press

“This is a reprint of the pamphlet that changed the American Revolution. This edition includes a detailed introduction that looks at Paine’s life and the trials he encountered. There is information about the original publication, how he felt about his payment for this pamphlet, where he wanted the money he earned to go, and a timeline of his life. Not only is Common Sense enlightening, but so was the information about his life.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Adams, Abigail and John Adams (Edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor)

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams

Harvard University Press/Belknap Press

“The art of letter writing has all but been forgotten in today’s world. This title not only brings to light important historical letters between the Adams’s, but also lets the reader in on the partnership and romance between the two. The letters are full of historical details of a chaotic time in American history, sharing personal, professional, and political discussions between the couple.”—Trish Burns (PLA)


Burton, Brian K.

Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles

Indiana University Press

“An extensive look at the Seven Days Battles. The author includes notes, extensive bibliography and index. This was not only thoroughly researched but it was well written. The text actually reads more like a story than the chronicle of a war. The author also includes detailed maps. This book is a great asset to any collection.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


King, Martin Luther (Foreword by Coretta Scott King and Marian Wright Edelman)

The Trumpet of Conscience

Beacon Press

“Five lectures delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in November and December 1967, as well as ‘A Christmas Sermon for Peace,’ which was broadcast live from Ebenezer Baptist Church on Christmas Eve of 1967. The book includes a CD with recordings of the lecture ‘Conscience and the Vietnam War’ and ‘A Christmas Sermon for Peace.’ The book presents King’s final testaments on racism, poverty, and war. A valuable addition to any library.”—Steve Norman (PLA)


Berry, Mary Frances and Josh Gottheimer

Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House

Beacon Press

“How do you make a speech that will inspire people? This book gives the reader stories about the creation of President Obama’s speeches, including interviews with the speech writers. The book includes 18 of his speeches. Power in Words chronicles his most memorable speeches and will inspire and assist everyone in their ability to speak in public.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Khan, Yasmin Sabina

Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty

Cornell University Press

“How was the Statue of Liberty created? This page turning book beautifully describes the creation, the rumors of the artists’ inspiration and how the statue fits not only American ideals from when it was created, but also present day ideals. It brings the statue from the beginnings to how it affects America today. The book shows how human rights also affected the creation of the statue.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Euchner, Charles

Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington

Beacon Press

“A fresh, well-researched look at the men and women who came together to plan, and participate in, an epic event in American history. The book truly is a people’s history; the author interviewed over 100 people who were at the march, both famous and unknown. In addition to the well-known names, it is the contributions of the regular citizens who walked, hitched, or rode buses and trains to attend that makes this book outstanding.”—Trish Burns (PLA)

“A page turning look at the 1963 March on Washington. This book tells the story of the march through the organizers, participants and eyewitnesses. The book brings the march to life and makes the history of it come alive. Euchner creates an account that brings the march to life including the organizers concerns before the march, and how people worried as they traveled to the march. This book made the reader feel the excitement and nervousness that the people involved in the march felt, including how Dr. King worried about his speech.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Brown, Robert L.

Defining Moments: Historic Decisions by Arkansas Governors from McMath through Huckabee

The University of Arkansas Press

“How can one state influence the country? Arkansas has affected the U.S. and politics both inside the U.S. and [around the world]. It is an interesting eye-opening look at the politics in Arkansas and how it has changed the world. The book looks at governors from McMath through Huckabee, their decisions, how they debated the decisions they made and how their decisions not only affected Arkansas, but the world.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Cody, Robin

Another Way the River Has: Taut True Tales from the Northwest

Oregon State University Press

“A thought provoking, page turning book about the rivers of the Pacific Northwest and the people that inhabit them. The author looks at and discusses the people in the Northwest in an honest straightforward way. He does not shy from his own fears and insecurities in the telling of the story, or hide the limitations of those around him. Cody also discusses the good he finds in those he encounters. A thought provoking tale that makes you reconsider the people around you while reading about his world.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)


Hess, Evelyn Searle

To the Woods: Sinking Roots, Living Lightly, and Finding True Home

Oregon State University Press

“Evelyn Searle Hess has created an excellent, page turning story of a woman who lives simply in the woods. She does not lecture that everyone should lead life as she does, but rather educates the reader on her choice to live this way, the problems she encounters, why she chooses to live this way and how she feels she is changing the world. Inspiring to read.”—Elizabeth Willoughby (AASL)

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