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Internet Bookwatch

Volume 31, Number 9 September 2021 Home | IBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Education Shelf
International Studies Shelf American History Shelf World History Shelf
Civil War Shelf Biography Shelf Art Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Western Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Psychology Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Automotive Shelf Business Shelf Architecture Shelf
Travel Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Library CD Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf
Music Shelf Parenting Shelf Jobs/Careers Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Railroading Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Science Shelf Mythology Shelf Sports Shelf
Language Studies Shelf Political Science Shelf Military Shelf
Holocaust Studies Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing
Andrew Ross
Metropolitan Books
c/o Henry Holt and Company
9781250804228 $27.99 print / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Today, a minimum-wage earner can afford a one-bedroom apartment in only 145 out of 3,143 counties in America. One of the very worst places in the United States to look for affordable housing is Osceola County, Florida.

Once the main approach to Disney World, where vacationers found lodging on their way to the Magic Kingdom, the fifteen-mile Route 192 corridor in Osceola has become a site of shocking contrasts. At one end, global investors snatch up foreclosed properties and park their capital in extravagant vacation homes for affluent visitors, eliminating the county's affordable housing in the process. At the other, underpaid tourist industry workers, displaced families, and disabled and elderly people subsisting on government checks cram themselves into dilapidated, roach-infested motels, or move into tent camps in the woods.

Through visceral, frontline reporting from the motels and encampments dotting central Florida, renowned social analyst Andrew Ross exposes the overlooked housing crisis sweeping America's suburbs and rural areas, where residents suffer ongoing trauma, poverty, and nihilism. As millions of renters face down evictions and foreclosures in the midst of the COVID-19 recession, Andrew Ross reveals how ineffective government planning, property market speculation, and poverty wages have combined to create this catastrophe. Urgent and incisive, Sunbelt Blues offers original insight into what is quickly becoming a full-blown national emergency.

Critique: Even though Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing especially focuses upon the housing crisis in Osceola, Florida (known for its proximity to Disney's Magic Kingdom), its eye-opening, up-close look at the housing crisis applies broadly to far too much of America. Here are real-life horror stories of working poor families staying week-to- week in bedbug-infested, live-in motels because their salaries are not high enough to afford both an apartment and food; people who live in wilderness tents and have to beware both wild animals and threats from other humans; and people who live in complexes that are bought up by private equity and left to deteriorate for lack of maintenance.

Why can a corporation buy up a property, collect all the rent, and assign any debts to a shell company that simply declares bankruptcy when fines are levied for building code violations or lack of repair? Why does the market push toward the construction of expensive vacation homes when so many of the full-time working local population endure homelessness or motel life? What can be done to make housing more affordable to ordinary, hardworking Americans? Sunbelt Blues examines the market forces and lax regulations that promulgate human suffering, and shows that treating housing as an investment rather than a basic human right has horrific, real-life consequences. Sunbelt Blues is highly recommended for public and college library collections, as well as the general public - since every human being needs a place to live! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Sunbelt Blues is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: Andrew Ross is a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University and a social activist. A contributor to the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Nation, he is the author of many books, including The Celebration Chronicles, Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City, and Nice Work if You Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times.

Treasured Lands
Q. T. Luong
Terra Galleria Press
9781733576000, $65.00, HC, 484pp

Synopsis: "Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America's National Parks" showcases an illustrative sampling of the millions of acres of protected wilderness and historical heritage in our country's 62 national parks, including the three (Gateway Arch, Indiana Dunes, White Sands) designated since the award-winning first edition was published in 2016.

Luong, who is featured in Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan's documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea, is the most prolific photographer working in the national parks and the only one to have made large-format photographs in each of them. In an odyssey that spanned more than a quarter-century and 300 visits, Luong focused his lenses on iconic landscapes and rarely seen remote views, presenting his journey in this sumptuous array of more than 600 breathtaking images.

Accompanying the collection of scenic masterpieces is a guide that includes maps of each park, as well as extended captions that detail where and how the photographs were made. Designed to inspire visitors to connect with the parks and invite photographers to re-create these landscapes, the guide also provides anecdotal observations that give context to the pictures and convey the sheer scope of Luong's extraordinary odyssey.

Including a foreword by author and documentary filmmaker Dayton Duncan, "Treasured Lands" is a rich visual tour of the U.S. National Parks and an invaluable guide from a photographer who hiked-or paddled, dived, skied, snowshoed, and climbed-each park, shooting in all kinds of terrain, in all seasons, and at all times of day. QT Luong's timeless gallery of the nation's most revered landscapes beckons to nature lovers, armchair travelers, and photography enthusiasts alike, keeping America's natural wonders within reach.

Critique: QT Luong has updated and expanded the new second edition of his acclaimed national parks book by adding 28 more pages, 32 new locations, and revising all the maps -- making "Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America's National Parks" a truly extraordinary coffee table style (12.5 x 2 x 10 inches) compendium that is an impressively informative and visual delight the is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Landscape Photography and National Park collections.

Editorial Note: QT Luong is a photographer and author known for being the first to photograph all 63 US National Parks in a large format. He is featured in the film The National Parks: America s Best Idea, and has been profiled in National Geographic Explorer, Outdoor Photographer, and Parks magazines. His photographs, which are the subject of four pictorial books, have appeared in Time, Life, Outside, Scientific American, GEO, numerous National Geographic publications, and hundreds of others worldwide. Luong's limited-edition prints are widely collected, and his ongoing traveling exhibition of large prints from all the national parks has shown in museums and galleries nationwide and abroad.

The Big Book of Facts
Terri Schlichenmeyer
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
9781578597628, $49.95, PB, 400pp

Synopsis: Strange science facts! Hilarious history facts! Informative and Fun! A treat of science and history stories and trivia that will inform and entertain anyone curious about the world! A compendium compiled by Terri Schlichenmeyer, "The Big Book of Facts" is comprised of astonishing, amazing and surprising science and history facts, along with the little-known stories hidden inside bigger science and history events.

"The Big Book of Facts" is a fascinating tour through the human body, the environment, atomic physics, and technology, as well as social, political, and cultural history. An absorbing guide to history and science, "The Big Book of Facts" is a veritable feast of facts and compelling stories that recount the physics and science that control the universe and the revolutionary ideas, acts, and inventions that changed the world.

Engrossing, engaging, and enlightening, "The Big Book of Facts" is an impressively informative resource for discovering scientific principles, history-makers, and the fun oddities that make up our world. Wide-ranging and fact-filled with nearly 150 illustrations, this information-rich volume also includes a helpful bibliography and an extensive index for those scrambling for more information.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Big Book of Facts" is a truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, highschool, college, and university library Trivia and General Informational Reference collections -- and as a bar trivia contest resource! It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and interested non-specialist general readers that "The Big Book of Facts" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781578597208, $19.95), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.49).

The Modern Explorers
Edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison and Robert Twigger
Thames & Hudson
9780500296325 $16.95 pbk

Synopsis: This book profiles forty modern explorers who have disproved the idea that there is nowhere left to discover. Some are experienced and celebrated worldwide, while others are just starting to make their mark.

The Modern Explorers delves into challenging and extraordinary expeditions to the remotest parts of the world by explorers from the United States, Australia, China, France, and beyond. Nine thematic sections cover all terrains: Polar, Desert, Rainforest, Mountain, Ocean, River, Under Sea, Under Land, and Lost Worlds. Written mainly by the explorers themselves, these accounts provide unique insight into what it is like to join an expedition, from being dragged through the top of the rainforest canopy in an inflatable raft suspended from a balloon to pedaling a boat across the Pacific to standing on the edge of an erupting volcano.

Critique: The Modern Explorers: Epic Journeys to the Ends of the World profiles forty extraordinary explorers and the travels they undertook to the most remote parts of the Earth. Here are true-life stories about journeys to the far reaches of the poles, deserts, rainforests, oceans, caves, and more. 22 striking, full-color photographs round out this utterly fascinating browse, highly recommended for public library collections and an ultimate pick for armchair travelers!

Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11
Joseph Pfeifer
c/o Penguin/Random House LLC
9780593330258, $27.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: When Chief Joe Pfeifer led his firefighters to investigate an odor of gas in downtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11, he had no idea that his life was about to change forever. A few moments later, he watched as the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Pfeifer, the closest FDNY chief to the scene, spearheaded rescue efforts on one of the darkest days in American history.

"Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is the unforgettable and intimate account of what Chief Pfeifer witnessed at Ground Zero, on that day and the days that followed. Through his eyes, we see the horror of the attack and the courage of the firefighters who ran into the burning towers to save others. We see him send his own brother up the stairs of the North Tower, never to return. And we walk with him and his fellow firefighters through weeks of rescue efforts and months of numbing grief, as they wrestle with the real meaning of heroism and leadership.

This gripping narrative gives way to resiliency and a determination that permanently reshapes Pfeifer, his fellow firefighters, NYC, and America. Ordinary Heroes takes us on a journey that turns traumatic memories into hope, so we can make good on our promise to never forget 9/11.

Critique: A fitting memoir to add to personal reading lists and library collections honoring the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America, "Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is an extraordinary read that is well written, organized and presented. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American History and Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old
Steven Petrow
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
9780806541006, $26.00, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: Soon after his 50th birthday, Steven Petrow (an award-winning journalist and author best known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on aging, health, and civility) began assembling a list of "things I won't do when I get old" -- mostly a catalog of all the things he thought his then 70-something year old parents were doing wrong. That list, which included "You won't have to shout at me that I'm deaf," and "I won't blame the family dog for my incontinence", became the basis of this rousing collection of do's and don'ts, wills and won'ts that is equal parts hilarious, honest, and practical.

The fact is, we don't want to age the way previous generations did. "Old people" hoard. They bore relatives (and strangers alike) with tales of their aches and pains. They insist on driving long after they've become a danger to others (and themselves). They eat dinner at 4pm. They swear they don't need a cane or walker (and guess what happens next). They never, ever apologize. But there is another way!

In "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong", Petrow candidly addresses the fears, frustrations, and stereotypes that accompany aging. He offers a blueprint for the new old age, and an understanding that aging and illness are not the same. As he writes, "I meant the list to serve as a pointed reminder to me to make different choices when I eventually cross the threshold to 'old.'"

Getting older is a privilege. "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old" is an essential DIY guide that reveals how to do it with grace, wisdom, humor, and hope -- and without hoarding!

Critique: An inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking read (and laced with humor) throughout, "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help and Aging collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.06).

A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers
Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis
Southern Illinois University Press
9780809338184, $24.50 pbk / $23.27 Kindle

Synopsis: In 2003 Fred Delcomyn imagined his backyard of two and a half acres, farmed for corn and soybeans for generations, restored to tallgrass prairie. Over the next seventeen years, Delcomyn, with help from his friend James L. Ellis scored, seeded, monitored, reseeded, and burned these acres into prairie. In A Backyard Prairie, they document their journey and reveal the incredible potential of a backyard to travel back to a time before the wild prairie was put into plow rows. It has been said, "Anyone can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie." This book shows us how.

The first book to celebrate a smaller, more private restoration, A Backyard Prairie offers a vivid portrait of what makes a prairie. Delcomyn and Ellis describe selecting and planting seeds, recount the management of a prescribed fire, and capture the prairie's seasonal parades of colorful flowers in concert with an ever-growing variety of animals, from the minute eastern tailed-blue butterfly to the imperious red-winged blackbird and the reclusive coyote.

This book offers a unique account of their work and their discovery of a real backyard, an inviting island of grass and flowers uncovered and revealed. We often travel miles and miles to find nature larger than ourselves. In this rich account of small prairie restoration, Delcomyn and Ellis encourage the revival of original prairie in our backyards and the patient, beauty-seeking soul sleeping within ourselves.

Critique: A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers is the true story of author Fred Delcomyn's decision to restore his two and a half acre backyard from farmland into the tallgrass prairie it once was. A Backyard Prairie tells of a long, involved process that included selecting and planting seeds, managing prescribed fires, and cultivating flowers that would in turn lure prairie insects and animals. Beautiful, full-color photographs on almost every page illustrate this wonderful journey and celebration, highly recommended especially for nature and environmental enthusiasts. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers is also available in a Kindle edition ($23.27).

Editorial Note: Both Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis serve on the board of directors of Grand Prairie Friends, a conservation organization in east-central Illinois involved in prairie restoration projects. Fred Delcomyn, a certified master naturalist and professor emeritus of the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois, is the author of Foundations of Neurobiology along with numerous scholarly articles on insects. James L. Ellis, a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, manages and maintains the University of Illinois Natural Areas . He has published extensively on prairie ecology, conservation, restoration, and management.

Ensemble!: Using the Power of Improv and Play to Forge Connections in a Lonely World
Jeff Katzman M.D., Dan O'Connor
North Atlantic Books
9781623176297, $16.95 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: I know what you're thinking: Hold on...improv? Like getting on a stage in front of an audience? What if that's not my thing?

Don't worry: This isn't a book about becoming an improv-theater expert, and it's not really a book about performing. It's a book about loneliness - about our feelings of disconnection and isolation, ones that we may have been experiencing since long before the pandemic. More importantly, it's a book about becoming unlonely - by borrowing from the collaborative and creative tools of improv.

Authors of Life Unscripted Jeff Katzman, a professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, and Dan O'Connor, multifaceted actor, writer, and director, have created a process they call ensembling that helps us build an ensemble of relationships in our lives and more deeply enjoy the groups we already belong to. This is a process of becoming a little vulnerable with each other, and of embracing the moment in which we find ourselves. Drawing on concepts from narrative improvisational theatre and depth psychology, the authors present us with the skills we need to connect with each other more actively and meaningfully. To ensemble or not to ensemble - that is not a question. With the rise of loneliness and isolation in an increasingly virtually connected society, we must find ways to come together. We must ensemble!

Critique: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, disconnection, isolation, and loneliness were widespread and unfortunate social ills of the modern world. Ensemble!: Using the Power of Improv and Play to Forge Connections in a Lonely World guides the reader to tap into the power of improvisation, mindfulness, emotional regulation and more, all to attune oneself to human dynamics and forge, rebuild, or maintain meaningful connections with others. In a world dominated by remote work and online engaging in improv games like a "scavenger hunt" (participants search for a common item in their own home, then suggest an item for the next participant), one-word-at-a-time games, and other engagements can help group members mesh with one another. Tips, tricks, and techniques from improv can bring family members closer together even when separated by geographic distance. Notes and an index round out this user-friendly resource for promoting community at work or at home. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Ensemble! is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Editorial Note: Jeff Katzman is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, serves as Vice Chair and director of an international program on psychological resilience training, and maintains a private practice. He previously directed Behavioral Health Care services at the New Mexico VA Health Care System and programs for veterans with PTSD in Los Angeles. He holds multiple leadership roles in the American Academy of Dynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis and is a board member of the Mentalizing Initiative in Los Angeles. Katzman has applied improvisational theatre with interdisciplinary hospital teams, psychiatric trainees, psychotherapists, and patients.

Dan O'Connor is a multifaceted actor, improviser, writer, and director working in television and stage around the world. He graduated from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has trained with the American Conservatory Theater and Keith Johnstone since 1986. O'Connor is the founder and producing artistic director of Impro Theatre, and co-founded BATS Improv in San Francisco and LA Theatresports. For 30 years, he has trained writers, actors, and directors in narrative storytelling, and has taught corporate clients to use improvisation as a tool for adaptation and change.

It's Your Funeral!
Kathy Benjamin
9781683692584 $16.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

It's Your Funeral! Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime - Before It's Too Late is an upbeat, consumable book designed to help the reader plan what will happen to them after their death. It's Your Funeral! surveys different possible funeral arrangements, including burial, cremation, or donating one's body; the funeral traditions of major religions; planning a eulogy and music for one's eulogy; potential legacies including one's epitaph, obituary, material legacy (who gets your stuff), digital legacy (what becomes of your digital assets), creating a "bucket list" to fulfill while alive, and much more. It's Your Funeral! is a user-friendly resource that approaches end-of-life matters in an upbeat, relaxing manner, and is highly recommended as a practical planner. It should be noted for personal reading lists that It's Your Funeral! is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher
John Schmidt
Path Publishing
9781891774959, $9.99, PB, 143pp

Synopsis: Comprised of hundreds of 'real world' practical tips based on and drawing directly from author/publisher John Schmidt's fifty years of experience and expertise, "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher: Making Book Publishing a Fun Adventure" is no ordinary 'how to' compendium of 'tips, tricks & techniques'. Rather it is a impressively informative combination of instructional and instructive insights into writing, publishing, and getting published.

The subjects covered are as practical and they are informative, ranging from General Advice about the Publishing Business; Submissions; Marketing; and Self-Publishing; to Computers and Tech Support People; Encouraging Other Authors and Yourself; and an Appendix (Definitions of Poem Forms) -- along with so much more!.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Tips to Writers from a Book Publisher: Making Book Publishing a Fun Adventure" is impressively 'reader friendly' in tone and commentary style -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended reading for any and all aspiring writers and novice publishers -- as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary Writing/Publishing collections.

The Education Shelf

The Essential 25
Marilee Sprenger
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
9781416630142, $31.95, PB, 202pp

Synopsis: Students may recognize the words determine, explain, and summarize in this standard, but would they understand and be able to apply these concepts? Students encounter these and other academic vocabulary words throughout their school years, but too often, they don't have a firm grasp of these words' meanings or what skills they require.

Enter vocabulary expert Marilee Sprenger, who in the pages of "The Essential 25: Teaching the Vocabulary That Makes or Breaks Student Understanding" has curated a list of 25 essential high-frequency words that students must know to be academically successful, especially on standardized tests, and be ready for college and career.

In this indispensable guide for all educators, she provides: Pre- and post-assessments to help you evaluate your students' understanding of the essential 25; A detailed entry for each word, including activities and strategies that will help students internalize the word's meaning and application; Retrieval games to help students practice the words in fun, engaging ways and reinforce the networks for those words in their brains; Downloadable blank templates for many of the strategies used throughout the book.

Every student needs to know and understand these words to perform at their best. If educators get behind this effort and make the essential 25 part of the fabric of their schools, students will be equipped to thrive in school and beyond.

Critique: Exceptionally and impressively well organized and presented, "The Essential 25: Teaching the Vocabulary That Makes or Breaks Student Understanding" is especially commended for school district, college, and university library Contemporary Education instructional reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of classroom instructors, student teachers, educational administrators, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Essential 25: Teaching the Vocabulary That Makes or Breaks Student Understanding" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.99).

Editorial Note: Marilee Sprenger is an international educational consultant in the fields of social-emotional learning, literacy, vocabulary, and brain research. She was a classroom teacher for 25 years, mainly at the middle school level. In 1992, she trained and traveled with author and brain-based-learning educator Eric Jensen and discovered her love for the brain. She has authored 13 books related to the brain, learning, and memory; written numerous articles; and developed DVDs, webinars, Quick Reference Guides, and online courses available through ASCD.

Microscopic Monsters and the Scientists Who Slay Them
Jason S. McIntosh
Prufrock Press
c/o Taylor & Francis Group
9781646320998, $45.00, PB, 125pp

Synopsis: The current COVID-19 pandemic has made children aware that is a germy world out there -- and students are naturally curious about this hidden world. "Microscopic Monsters and the Scientists Who Slay Them: Inquiry-Based Science Lessons for Advanced and Gifted Students in Grades 4-5" by Jason S. McIntosh (who is an experienced educator with 24 years in the field and is passionate advocate for gifted education), a 30-lesson interdisciplinary science unit.

"Microscopic Monsters and the Scientists Who Slay Them" is designed to teach high-ability fourth and fifth graders how to think like real-world epidemiologists; was designed using the research-based Integrated Curriculum Model.; features challenging problem-based learning tasks and engaging resources; includes detailed teacher instructions and suggestions for differentiation; and is winner of the National Association for Gifted Children's curriculum award.

In unit, students apply principles of epidemiology and microbiology to respond to a fictional epidemic and its effect on their town, all while building an understanding of the perseverance required to detect, track, and stop epidemics through the experiences of real-life epidemiologists and exploring career paths available in the diverse fields of medicine and microbiology. Suggestions and guidance are included on how teachers can adjust the rigor of learning tasks based on students' interests and needs.

Critique: Professional organized and exceptionally well presented, "Microscopic Monsters and the Scientists Who Slay Them: Inquiry-Based Science Lessons for Advanced and Gifted Students in Grades 4-5" a thoroughly 'user friendly' compendium ideal for curriculum planning -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to classroom teacher and school district Elementary School Science Class instructional reference collections.

Teaching with Clarity
Tony Frontier
9781416630074, $30.95 pbk / $22.49 Kindle

Synopsis: Feeling overwhelmed - constantly, on a daily basis - has unfortunately become the status quo among educators. But it doesn't have to be.

Schools need to stop adding more programs, strategies, activities, resources, projects, assessments, and meetings. Though they are often implemented with the best intentions, these things ultimately end up as clutter - that which inhibits our ability to help students learn.

Instead, teachers need more clarity, which emerges when we prioritize our efforts to do less with greater focus. This isn't simply a matter of teachers doing less. Rather, teachers need to be intentional and prioritize their efforts to develop deeper understanding among students.

In Teaching with Clarity, Tony Frontier focuses on three fundamental questions to help reduce curricular and organizational clutter in the interest of clarity and focus:

* What does it mean to understand?
* What is most important to understand?
* How do we prioritize our strategic effort to help students understand what is most important?

By prioritizing clear success criteria, intentional design, meaningful feedback, and a shared purpose, teachers can begin to clear away the curricular clutter that overwhelms the profession - and embrace the clarity that emerges.

Critique: Teaching with Clarity: How to Prioritize and Do Less So Students Understand More is a practical-minded guide written by an expert educator, for professionals in the field. The central message is that too many programs, strategies, activities, assessments, meetings and more distract attention and divide resources so much that students receive less benefit. Instead, Teaching with Clarity provides strategies for prioritizing the most important efforts, in order to better serve students. Chapters discuss how to formulate focused success criteria, gather meaningful feedback, and promote more responsive learning. " more developmental feedback than students can realistically use to improve simply overwhelms them with clutter. Don't ask students to immediately turn 'below basic' evidence into 'advanced' evidence; instead, guide them to take meaningful steps to move to the 'basic' level." Teaching with Clarity is a welcome supplementary resource for professional educators of all grade levels and college library Education shelves, highly recommended.

Editorial Note: Tony Frontier is an award-winning educator who works with teachers and school leaders nationally and internationally to help them prioritize efforts to improve student learning. With expertise in student engagement, evidence-based assessment, effective instruction, teacher reflection, data analysis, and strategic planning, Frontier emphasizes a systems approach to build capacity and empower teachers to improve each student's schooling experience. In addition to his work as an author and a consultant, Frontier serves as an associate professor of doctoral leadership studies at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he teaches courses in curriculum development, organizational learning, research methods, and statistics. As a former classroom teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, an associate high school principal, and the director of curriculum and instruction for the Whitefish Bay School District, Frontier brings a wealth of experience as a classroom teacher, building administrator, and central office administrator to his workshops, writing, and research.

Teaching and Learning Across Cultures
Craig Ott
Baker Academic
9781540963109, $32.99 pbk / $21.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Representing the fruit of a lifetime of reflection and practice, this comprehensive resource helps teachers understand the way people in different cultures learn so they can adapt their teaching for maximum effectiveness. Senior missiologist and educator Craig Ott draws on extensive research and cross-cultural experience from around the world. This book introduces students to current theories and best practices for teaching and learning across cultures. Case studies, illustrations, diagrams, and sidebars help the theories of the book come to life.

Critique: Teaching and Learning Across Cultures: A Guide to Theory and Practice is a thoughtful and scholarly examination of cultural differences in learning, written especially to help teachers adapt their methods for better results. Although these lessons have particular implications for theological education, they can be broadly applied to educating students in any field. Chapters analyze factors that are interconnected with cultural worldview, social connections (including the dynamics of individualism versus collectivism), the advantages and limitations of online learning, and much more. It's worth noting that what is commonly considered "cheating" varies between cultures; one example is of students from a more communal culture who determined that their course had too much busywork, and formed "homework cartels" to take turns and copy from the day's appointed homework doer! Teaching and Learning Across Cultures is a "must-read" for anyone tasked with instructing students belonging to an unfamiliar culture, and highly recommended especially for public and college library education collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Teaching and Learning Across Cultures is also available in a Kindle edition ($21.99).

Editorial Note: Craig Ott (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he also directs the PhD program in intercultural studies. He has written or edited numerous books, including The Church on Mission.

Breaking Barriers
Stanley S. Litow and Tina Kelley
Teachers College Press
9780807765586 $24.95 pbk / $18.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Breaking Barriers shows how to redesign high schools so that all students can move on to college and successful careers. In a negation of the American Dream, a child's zip code is currently a far better predictor of success than hard work, intelligence, or resilience. This book tells the story of a school model that focuses on equity and works to prove that all young people can achieve academic excellence given the right support. P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) combines public high schools and community colleges in partnership with employers, providing both opportunity and support for all students. This innovative and effective approach eliminates barriers to replication by engaging all stakeholders.

The first P-TECH, which opened in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, is now a model for school reform. Praised by President Obama and heads of nations, its story is told through the voices of students who have shattered the myths about which students can succeed.

Critique: Breaking Barriers: How P-TECH Schools Create a Pathway From High School to College to Career describes the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) model for education, created to help students earn a free associate degree in order to enter a career in a high-growth field. Breaking Barriers especially focuses upon ways to redesign high schools so that students can more easily move on to college and a successful professional life. The goal is to help students earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, and relevant work experience. Chapters address the rigorous coursework of the P-TECH model, support for learning such as extended schooling or tutoring, interactions with partners of the P-TECH model including colleges and businesses, the lessons that can be learned for broader reforms, and much more. Ultimately, Breaking Barriers is about improving education so that a child's future success is no longer primarily determined by their zip code (i.e., whether they live in a rich or poor area). Breaking Barriers is an invaluable study of a tested model with potential for improving countless lives, highly recommended especially for library Educational Studies shelves. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Breaking Barriers is also available in a Kindle edition ($18.99).

The Equity & Social Justice Education 50
Baruti K. Kafele
9781416630173, $27.95 pbk / $20.49 Kindle

Synopsis: How do you ensure that no student is invisible in your classroom? How do you make the distinction between equity as the vehicle versus equity as the goal for each of your students? What measures do you take to ensure that you are growing as a culturally relevant practitioner? Can your students, particularly your Black students, articulate, beyond emotional reactions, the injustices that surround them?

The foregoing are not trick questions. Rather, they are those that best-selling author Baruti K. Kafele poses and on which he suggests you deeply reflect as a teacher of Black students. The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 will help you understand the importance of having an equity mindset when teaching students generally and when teaching Black students in particular. It defines social justice education and sheds light on the issues and challenges that Black people face, as well as the successes they've achieved, providing you with a pathway to infusing social justice education into your lesson plans. And along the way, Kafele reveals personal experiences from his distant and recent pasts to highlight how important it is that your Black students see themselves in all aspects of education every day.

You, the teacher, play a critical role in your students' success. The questions that Kafele asks in this book will help enhance your own understanding of race, systemic racism, and racial justice and guide you in developing strategies and lessons that speak to Black students in ways that truly support their achievement.

Critique: The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students is written by a distinguished professional educator, for professional educators, and focuses especially on the challenges of helping students who tend to be "invisible", including and especially Black students. The "critical questions" exist to help one reexamine one's own perspectives of race, the harm caused by systemic racism, and adapt one's understanding to better help students of all races achieve their fullest potential. Some of the "critical questions" to explore include "What measures do I take toward increasing my cultural competence?" (this applies when teaching students of any culture other than one's own), "How knowledgeable am I on issues of social justice that directly impact my Black students and students of color?", "In what ways do I help my students find their 'voice' in my classroom?" and much more. A forward-thinking resource that encourages teachers to look critically at themselves and their methods, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 is highly recommended for especially for practicing and aspiring professional educators. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.49).

Editorial Note: Baruti K. Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher, he was named East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and he was a finalist for New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different New Jersey urban schools, including Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school to national recognition. He is the author of 12 books, including ASCD book The Aspiring Principal 50 and his six ASCD best sellers: The Assistant Principal 50, Is My School a Better School Because I Lead It?, The Teacher 50, The Principal 50, Closing the Attitude Gap, and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life.

The International Studies Shelf

New Perspectives on Middle East Politics: Economy, Society, and International Relations
Robert Mason, Editor
The American University in Cairo Press
9781617979903, $35.00 Paperback

Synopsis: This compelling volume examines important and cross-cutting themes in the study of contemporary Middle East and North African politics and international relations in the current climate. Drawing together contributions from scholars based within the region and beyond, it weaves together essential interdisciplinary, conceptually rich, and forward-looking content. Chapters cover population and youth, civil - military relations, soft power and geopolitical competition, regionalization and internationalization of conflict, the role of oil in reconstruction efforts, extra-regional actors, environmental politics, and specifically, the Israel-Palestine conflict. Students are supported with an extended and innovative glossary, including key concepts, actors and abbreviations. New Perspectives on Middle East Politics serves as an ideal primer and companion volume for scholars of contemporary Middle East Studies, as well as for policy professionals, journalists and the general reader engaging and re-engaging with the region.

Contributor affiliations:

Mohamed Abdelraouf, Gulf Research Centre, Jeddah, United Arab Emirates
Dina Arakji, Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Eyad AlRefai, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England and King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Philipp Casula, University of Basel, Switzerland
Ishac Diwan, Paris Sciences et Lettres and Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France
Seif Hendy, American University in Cairo, Egypt
Simon Mabon, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England
Robert Mason, Lancaster University, Lancashire, England
Neil Partrick, freelance consultant, UK

Critique: New Perspectives on Middle East Politics: Economy, Society, and International Relations is an anthology of erudite essays by expert authors discussing modern-day political issues affecting the volatile Middle East region. Individual writings include "The Regionalization and Internationalization of Conflict", "The Middle-Oil Country Curse of the Middle East", "The Fall and Rise of Extra-Regional Actors", "Environmental Politics in the Middle East" and much more. The expert-level writings, often supplemented with data and graphs from recent research offer invaluable insights for policy professionals, journalists, and any reader interested in a deep dive into the extreme complexities of the region. An index rounds out this thought-provoking collection. New Perspectives on Middle East Politics is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, governmental, college, and university library Contemporary Middle East Studies collections in general and supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Robert Mason is a Fellow of the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation project at Lancaster University and currently sits on the International Studies Association (ISA) Foreign Policy Analysis Section Executive Board. He was associate professor and director of the Middle East Studies Center at the American University in Cairo 2016-2019, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University in 2019, and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2016. He is author or editor of numerous books, including Reassessing Order and Disorder in the Middle East: Regional Imbalance or Disintegration? (2017), Egypt and the Gulf: A Renewed Regional Policy Alliance (2016), Muslim Minority - State Relations: Violence, Integration and Policy (2016), International Politics of the Arab Spring: Popular Unrest and Foreign Policy (2014) and Foreign Policy in Iran and Saudi Arabia: Economics and Diplomacy in the Middle East (2014).

Chasing the Chinese Dream
William N. Brown
9789811606533, $59.99, HC, 247pp

Synopsis: "Chasing the Chinese Dream: Four Decades of Following China's War on Poverty" by William N. Brown explores the historical, cultural and philosophical contexts that have made anti-poverty the core of Chinese society since Liberation in 1949, and why poverty alleviation measures evolved from the simplistic aid of the 1950s to Xi Jinping's precision poverty alleviation and its goal of eliminating absolute poverty by 2020.

"Chasing the Chinese Dream" also addresses the implications of China's experience for other developing nations tackling not only poverty but such issues as pandemics, rampant urbanization and desertification exacerbated by global warming.

The first of three parts draws upon interviews of rural and urban Chinese from diverse backgrounds and local and national leaders. These interviews, conducted in even the remotest areas of the country, offer candid insights into the challenges that have forced China to continually evolve its programs to resolve even the most intractable cases of poverty.

The second part explores the historic, cultural and philosophical roots of old China's meritocratic government and how its ancient Chinese ethics have led to modern Chinese socialism's stance that "poverty amidst plenty is immoral".

Dr. Huang Chengwei, one of China's foremost anti-poverty experts, explains the challenges faced at each stage as China's anti-poverty measures evolved over 70 years to emphasize "enablement" over "aid" and to foster bottom-up initiative and entrepreneurialism, culminating in Xi Jinping's precision poverty alleviation.

"Chasing the Chinese Dream" also addresses why national economic development alone cannot reduce poverty; poverty alleviation programs must be people-centered, with measurable and accountable practices that reach even to household level, which China has done with its "First Secretary" program.

The third part explores the potential for adopting China's practices in other nations, including the potential for replicating China's successes in developing countries through such measures as the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Chasing the Chinese Dream" also addresses prevalent misperceptions about China's growing global presence and why other developing nations must address historic, systemic causes of poverty and inequity before they can undertake sustainable poverty alleviation measures of their own.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Chasing the Chinese Dream: Four Decades of Following China's War on Poverty" is an extraordinary, detailed, and comprehesnive study that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, governmental, college, and university library Contemporary Chinese History, Culture, Political Science, and Economics collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, governmental foreign policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Chasing the Chinese Dream: Four Decades of Following China's War on Poverty" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9789811606564, $19.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. William N. Brown, at Xiamen University since 1988, is OneMBA academic director and professor of Leadership and Strategy. Fujian's first foreign PR, he has driven over 200,000 km around China exploring its development, co-written and hosted over 400 TV episodes and consulted with cities on urban and rural development. Honors have included China's "Friendship Award," "Honorary Citizen of Fujian" from then-governor Xi Jinping, "Top Ten Educator 1954-2014" and "CCTV's Moving China 2019" award.

Greater: Britain After the Storm
Penny Mordaunt, author
Chris Lewis, author
Biteback Publishing
9781785906091, $29.95, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Is the Britain of 2021 a nation hopelessly divided? Stuck in outmoded political convention and economically outclassed on the world stage? Penny Morduant and Chris Lewis don't think so. And neither should anyone else.

"Greater: Britain After the Storm" is ground-breaking polemic in which they argue that Britain is a country with still plenty to offer to ourselves and the world- a unique culture and history with endless economic opportunity and an unstoppable drive for innovation. It is an indispensable guide to the post-Brexit future for business, government and everything in between by two individuals with an unmatched experience of both.

Featuring a foreword by Elton John, "Greater: Britain After the Storm" is a manifesto for hope and optimism, a guide for the future in times that are not nearly as troubled and crisis ridden as many would have us believe. Delving insightfully into our culture, our business practices and political conventions, they demonstrate that Brexit is far from a disaster. It is a critically important opportunity for positive reform and preserving the values that can and will bring us together into a brighter future for all.

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought provoking, "Greater: Britain After the Storm" provides an undeniably erudite and reasoned perspectives on Great Britain's recent separation from the European Union. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary International Studies collections in general, and Brexit supplemental curriculum lists in particular, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, corporate executives, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Greater: Britain After the Storm" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Penny Mordaunt is a former UK Secretary of State for Defence. She was the first female to hold this post. She has been the British Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North since 2010. She served as Minister for Women and Equalities from 2018 to 2019 and Secretary of State for International Development from 2017 to 2019. During 2017 to 2019 she was the UK Governor of the World Bank. She has achieved global impact through her work on disability reforms and in cleaning up the aid sector after the Oxfam scandal.

Chris Lewis is a writer, entrepreneur and political adviser. He is the author of Too Fast to Think: How to Maintain Your Creativity in a Hyper-Connected Work Culture (KoganPage, 2016) and The Leadership Lab: Understanding Leadership in the 21st Century (KoganPage, 2018), which won Business Book of the Year and Leadership Book of the Year 2019.

The American History Shelf

Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021
Angela L. Williams
Omnigraphics, Inc.
9780780819573, $69.00 print / $62.00 Kindle

Synopsis: Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021 is a resource guide that provides historical context and helps people and organizations better understand the challenges women have faced and continue to face in the American workplace, along with opportunities and recently discovered and developing success stories. The guide covers significant movements and events in women's history, from the Rosie the Riveter to the #metoo movement, highlights the professional strides women have made over the past century, and provides key links to support organizations to help readers identify, manage and navigate both the subtle and overt barriers that women face in professional settings. Current challenges are also covered, including a look at millennial women in the workplace, and a forward-looking trajectory that takes into consideration how Covid-19 has changed the economic landscape for women.

Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021 expands on the dominant narrative surrounding women's work and is designed to provide education and resources around women's experiences in the workplace. The guide aims to support interests in career pursuits and programs in Women's Studies, Diversity and Inclusion, American History, Cultural Studies and Social Science. Included in this important and timely title is information on relevant legislation, historical movements, discrimination cases, the 19th Amendment/women's right to vote, Rosie the Riveter, the Equal Rights Amendment, disparity in pay issues, feminism, women in traditionally male roles, sexual harassment in the workplace, the #metoo movement, and more. It emphasizes the importance of gender equity in the workplace and highlights the important work accomplished by women like pioneering engineer Edith Clarke, who helped build the Hoover Dam, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Jane Fonda, Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Hedy Lamarr, and more.

Critique: Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021 is an in-depth history of American women in the workforce over the past century and more. Chapters address both the nuanced and blatant barriers that have affected the careers of working women, including disparate pay, workplace sexual harassment, and social resistance to women assuming traditionally male roles or professions. The effects of historical movements and court cases about discrimination, as well as feminism and the professional accomplishments of extraordinary women, are also presented. Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021 is highly recommended especially for public and college library American History or Reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Women in the Workplace in America, 1900-2021 is also available in a Kindle edition ($62.00).

A History of the Chicago Portage
Benjamin Sells
Northwestern University Press
629 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL 60208
9780810143906, $21.95, PB, 256pp

Synopsis: "A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America" by Benjamin Sells is an inherently fascinating and fully absorbing study that deftly explores the significance of the Chicago Portage, one of the most important (and neglected) sites in early US history.

The Chicago Portage is a seven-mile-long strip of marsh connecting the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers. The portage was inhabited by the earliest indigenous people in the Midwest and served as a major trade route for Native American tribes. A link between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Chicago Portage was a geopolitically significant resource that the French, British, and US governments jockeyed to control.

Later, it became a template for some of the most significant waterways created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The portage gave Chicago its name and spurred the city's success -- and is the reason why the metropolis is located in Illinois, not Wisconsin!

Critique: The definitive, comprehensive, and compelling story of a national American landmark, "A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America" is a unique, extraordinary, and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American History collections and supplemental study curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.85).

Editorial Note: Benjamin Sells is also the author of the "The Tunnel under the Lake: The Engineering Marvel That Saved Chicago" which is also published by Northwestern University Press. His other books include "The Soul of the Law"; "The Essentials of Style: A Handbook for Seeing and Being Seen"; "Order in the Court: Crafting a More Just World in Lawless Times"; and "The Soul of Sailing".

The World History Shelf

Who's Who in the Age of Alexander and his Successors
Waldemar Heckel
Greenhill Books
c/o Casemate Publishers
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781784386481, $39.95, HC, 554pp

Synopsis: "Who's Who in the Age of Alexander and his Successors: From Chaironeia to Ipsos (338-301 BC)" by Canadian historian Waldemar Heckel is a unique compilation of more than one thousand concise biographies of those involved in the campaigns of Alexander the Great, and the struggle for power after his death. From leading commanders in Alexander's army to the nobles of the Persian Empire, and the many other individuals he encountered throughout his life and reign, these complete and balanced biographies are drawn from the literary and epigraphic sources of the age.

Originally published in 2006, this new and updated edition of "Who's Who in the Age of Alexander and his Successors" has been expanded and substantially revised to widen the human and political landscape in which Alexander moved. The only work of its kind, "Who's Who in the Age of Alexander and his Successors" is an essential guide to a fascinating and pivotal historical era, and to one of history's most successful military commanders.

Critique: Exhaustively researched, exceptionally well written, impressively organized and presented, "Who's Who in the Age of Alexander and his Successors: From Chaironeia to Ipsos (338-301 BC)" is an extraordinary history that will have exceptional value and interest for both academia and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject. Of special note is the inclusion of a twenty-two page Bibliography and a five page Concordance. Simply stated, this truly unique compendium is unreservedly recommended for community, college, or university library Ancient History collections in general, and Alexander of Macedonia supplemental studies curriculum reference lists in particular.

Armies of the Thracians and Dacians, 500 BC to AD 150
Gabriele Esposito
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526772749, $42.95, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: The Thracians were an Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in antiquity. The Thracians resided mainly in the Balkans, but were also located in Asia Minor and other locations in Eastern Europe.

The Thracians are mentioned as early as in the epic poems by Homer and were fundamental in the evolution of the Greek military systems across the ages. They fought in the Persian Wars, were part of Alexander the Great's army, were used as mercenaries in many Hellenistic armies and resisted Roman conquest for a long time. In addition, they used some iconic weapons and had a distinctive panoply.

The Dacians were a mix of different cultures and were extremely influenced by some steppe peoples like the Sarmatians. They had a lot in common with the Thracians but had a different history. They formed one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms of antiquity, being a sort of super-power that dominated over the Balkans. Their wars against Trajan and the Roman Army were absolutely epic, the last campaigns of conquest in the history of the Western Roman Empire.

"Armies of the Thracians and Dacians, 500 BC to AD 150: History, Organization and Equipment" by Garbirele Esposito contains a rich collection of photos specifically made for it by some excellent groups of reenactors.

Critique: An extraordinarily informative and impressively detailed history the is remarkable enhanced throughout with full color illustrations and photography, "Armies of the Thracians and Dacians, 500 BC to AD 150: History, Organization and Equipment" is an essential, core addition to community, college, and university library Military History collections in general, and Thracian/Dacian supplemental curriculums in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Thracian/Dacian history that "Armies of the Thracians and Dacians, 500 BC to AD 150: History, Organization and Equipment" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Gabriele Esposito is an Italian researcher and a long-time student of military history, whose interests and expertise range widely over various periods. He is the author of numerous books on armies and uniforms and is a regular contributor to many specialized magazines in Italy, France, Netherlands and UK. His many previous works include "Armies of Early Colonial North America 1607-1713", published by Pen & Sword in 2018.

Rome's Great Eastern War
Gareth C. Sampson
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526762689, $34.95, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: Despite Rome's conquest of the Mediterranean, by the turn of the first century BC, it's influence barely stretched into the East. In the century since Rome's defeat of the Seleucid Empire in the 180s BC, the East was dominated by the rise of new empires: Parthia, Armenia and Pontus, each vying to recreate the glories of the Persian Empire. By the 80s BC, the Pontic Empire of Mithridates had grown so bold that it invaded and annexed the whole of Rome's eastern empire and occupied Greece itself. As Rome emerged from the devastating effects of the First Civil War, a new breed of general emerged, eager to re-assert Roman military dominance and carve out a fresh empire in the east, treading in the footsteps of Alexander. "Rome's Great Eastern War: Lucullus, Pompey and the Conquest of the East, 74 - 62 BC" by academician and historian Gareth C. Sampson analyses the military campaigns and battles between a revitalized Rome and the various powers of the eastern Mediterranean hinterland, which ultimately heralded a new phase in Roman imperial expansion and reshaped the ancient East.

Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of four Appendices, fourteen pages of Notes, an eleven page Bibliography, and a five page Index, "Rome's Great Eastern War: Lucullus, Pompey and the Conquest of the East, 74 - 62 BC" is an extraordinarily detailed and exceptionally well written military history that must be considered an essential and core addition to community, college, and university library Roman Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. Of special note is that "Rome's Great Eastern War: Lucullus, Pompey and the Conquest of the East, 74 - 62 BC" is also readily available for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Rome's Great Eastern War: Lucullus, Pompey and the Conquest of the East, 74 - 62 BC" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Historian Gareth C Sampson gained his PhD from the University of Manchester, where he taught history for a number of years. His previous books, The Defeat of Rome (2008), The Crisis of Rome (2010), The Collapse of Rome (2013), Rome Spreads Her Wings (2016) and Rome, Blood and Politics (2017) were also published by Pen & Sword.

Military History of Late Rome 518-565
Ilkka Syvanne
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781473895287, $52.95, HC, 464pp

Synopsis: The fourth volume in historian Ilkka Syvanne's series on Roman military history, "The Military History of Late Rome 518-565" provides a new, fresh analysis of the revival of Roman fortunes during the reigns of Justin I (518-527) and Justinian I (527-565). This historical study narrates in great detail the re-conquests of North Africa, Italy and southern Spain by Justinian's armies. It also explores the massive encounters between the Romans and Persians in the east, and the apocalyptic fights in the Balkans between the Romans and barbarians.

Professor Syvanne pays particular attention to the tactics and battles so there is detailed analysis of all of the period engagements, such as Dara, Satala, Callinicum, Ad Decimum, Tricamarum, Rome, Scalae Veteres, Antonia Castra, Gallica, Campi Catonis, Hippis River, Busta Gallorum, Mons Lactarius, Casilinum, Archaeopolis, Phasis, and others. The narrative features the military exploits of the great Roman heroes, such as Belisarius and Narses, while not forgetting the many other overlooked generals such as Germanus, Mundus, John the nephew of Vitalian, Martinus, Dagistheus and Sittas, not to mention the dashing hero John Troglita whose achievements were immortalized by the Roman epic poet Corippus.

Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of Plates, Maps, an Appendix (De scientia politica dialogues), nineteen pages of Notes, a five page Bibliography, and a twenty-six page Index, "Military History of Late Rome 518-565" is a well crafted, exhaustively researched, deftly organized and presented study which must be considered a core and essential addition to all community, college, and university library Roman Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should also be noted for the benefit of students, academia, Roman history buffs, and Military History enthusiasts that "Military History of Late Rome 518-565" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $32.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. Ilkka Syvanne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from the University of Tampere in his native Finland. Since then he has written extensively about ancient and medieval warfare and his publications include: 'The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636' (Tampere UP 2004), 'The Reign of Gallienus' (Pen & Sword, 2019), the multivolume 'Military History of Late Rome' published by Pen & Sword and the critically acclaimed Caracalla. He is the co-author with Professor Katarzyna Maksymiuk of the 'Military History of Third Century Iran' (Siedlce UP, 2018) and the 'Military History of Fifth Century Iran' (Siedlce UP, 2019). He was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies from 2007 until 2016. He has been an Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa since 2016.

The Civil War Shelf

The Summer of '63 Gettysburg
Chris Mackowski, editor
Dan Welch, editor
Savas Beatie
PO Box 4527, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
9781611215717, $29.95, HC, 264pp

Synopsis: Gettysburg, the largest land battle on the North American continent, has maintained an unshakable grip on the American imagination. Building on momentum from a string of victories that stretched back into the summer of 1862, Robert E. Lee launched his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia on an invasion of the North meant to shake Union resolve and fundamentally shift the dynamic of the war. His counterpart with the Federal Army of the Potomac, George Meade, elevated to command just days before the fighting, found himself defending his home state in a high-stakes battle that could have put Confederates at the very gates of the nation's capital.

The public historians writing for the popular Emerging Civil War blog, speaking on its podcast, or delivering talks at the annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge in Virginia always present their work in ways that engage and animate audiences. Their efforts entertain, challenge, and sometimes provoke readers with fresh perspectives and insights born from years of working at battlefields, guiding tours, presenting talks, and writing for the wider Civil War community.

Expertly compiled by the editorial team of Chis Mackowski and Dan Welch, "The Summer of '63: Gettysburg: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War" is a compilation of some of their favorites, anthologized, revised, and updated, together with several original pieces. Each entry includes original and helpful illustrations.

This critically important study, when read with its companion volume "The Summer of '63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma", contextualizes the major 1863 campaigns in what arguably was Civil War's turning-point summer.

Critique: Comprised of thirteen erudite and informative essays, "The Summer of '63: Gettysburg: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War" will prove a welcome addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library American Civil War collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, Civil War buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Summer of '63: Gettysburg: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.49).

Editorial Note: Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the online resource Emerging Civil War. A writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, Chris is also historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. The series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, he has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War, and his articles have appeared in major Civil War magazines.

Dan Welch is currently a primary and secondary educator with a public school district in northeast Ohio. Previously, he was the Education Programs Coordinator for the Gettysburg Foundation, the non-profit partner of Gettysburg National Military Park. Dan continues to serve as a seasonal Park Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has received his BA in Instrumental Music Education from Youngstown State University and a MA in Military History with a Civil War Era concentration at American Military University.

Grant's Left Hook
Sean Michael Chick
Savas Beatie
9781611214383 $14.95 pbk / $8.49 Kindle

Synopsis: Robert E. Lee feared the day the Union army would return up the James River and invest the Confederate capital of Richmond. In the spring of 1864, Ulysses Grant, looking for a way to weaken Lee, was about to exploit the Confederate commander's greatest fear and weakness. After two years of futile offensives in Virginia, the Union commander set the stage for a campaign that could decide the war.

Grant sent the 38,000-man Army of The James to Bermuda Hundred, to threaten and possibly take Richmond, or at least pin down troops that could reinforce Lee. Jefferson Davis, in desperate need of a capable commander, turned to the Confederacy's first hero: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. Butler's 1862 occupation of New Orleans had infuriated the South, but no one more than Beauregard, a New Orleans native.

This campaign would be personal. In the hot weeks of May 1864, Butler and Beauregard fought a series of skirmishes and battles to decide the fate of Richmond and Lee's army.

Historian Sean Michael Chick analyzes and explains the plans, events, and repercussions of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign in Grant's Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, May 5-June 7, 1864. The book contains hundreds of photographs, new maps, and a fresh consideration of Grant's Virginia strategy and the generalship of Butler and Beauregard. The book is also filled with anecdotes and impressions from the rank and file who wore blue and gray.

Critique: Part of the Emerging of Civil War series, Grant's Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign May 5-June7, 1864 is a scholarly, in-depth study of the Bermuda Hundred campaign, a series of battles fought at the town of Bermuda Hundred near Richmond, Virginia. The Union had superior numbers commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler, but the smaller Confederate forces commanded by General P.G.T. Beauregard used advantages in the terrain to completely halt the Union's advance. A wealth of black-and-white photographs intersperse the extensively researched text, peppered with anecdotes and impressions from rank and file soldiers of the era. Grant's Left Hook is a choice pick especially for public and college library Civil War shelves, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Grant's Left Hook is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.49).

Editorial Note: Sean Michael Chick is a New Orleans native and tour guide who gives one of the only guided tours of the French Quarter concentrating on the American Civil War and slavery. He also volunteers at the Historic New Orleans Collection, writes for NOLA Defender (, and contributes to Emerging Civil War ( His first book was The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864.

The Boy Generals
Adolfo Ovies
Savas Beatie
PO Box 4527, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
9781611215359, $34.95, HC, 480pp

Synopsis: "The Boy Generals: George Custer, Wesley Merritt, and the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac" by Adolfo Ovies is the first installment in a remarkable trilogy to examine the strategy, tactics, and relationships of the leading Union army's mounted arm and their influence on the course of the Civil War in the Eastern Theater.

George Armstrong Custer's career has attracted its fair share of coverage, but most Custer-related studies focus on his decision-making and actions to the exclusion of other important factors, including his relationships with his fellow officers. Custer developed his tactical philosophy within the politically ridden atmosphere of the Army of the Potomac's Cavalry Corps. His relationship with his immediate superior, Wesley Merritt, was so acrimonious that even Custer's wife Libbie described him as her husband's "enemy."

"The Boy Generals" examines in detail the steadily deteriorating relationship of two cavalrymen with opposing tactical philosophies, and how this relationship affected events in the field. Custer was a hussar (a firm believer in the shock power of the mounted saber charge) while Merritt was a dragoon, his tactics rooted in the belief that the purpose of the horse was to transport the trooper to the battlefield, where he could fight dismounted with his carbine. With these diametrically opposed belief systems, it was inevitable that these officers would clash. What has often been described as a spirited rivalry was in fact something much darker, an association that moved from initial distaste to acrimony, and finally, outright insubordination on Custer's part.

Author and American Civil War historian Adolfo Ovies has mined deeply Official Reports, regimental histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts, together with unpublished and little used primary sources of men who fought in their commands. The result is a rich and satisfying study exposes the depths of one of the most dysfunctional and influential relationships in the Army of the Potomac and how it affected cavalry operations in the Eastern Theater.

Critique: Notably well written, organized and presented, "The Boy Generals: George Custer, Wesley Merritt, and the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac" is an impressively informative and inherently fascinating read throughout -- making it an unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Civil War History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and American Civil War buffs that "The Boy Generals: George Custer, Wesley Merritt, and the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.09).

The Biography Shelf

Duty, Honor, Country: The Life of Arthur MacArthur Jr.
A. K. Brackob
Vita Histria
c/o Histria Books
9781592110247, $29.99, HC, 200pp

Synopsis: On September 15, 1906 Arthur MacArthur Jr. became the twelfth man in the history of the United States Army to be awarded the rank of Lieutenant General, the highest rank in the Army up to that time. This great honor, which marked the culmination of MacArthur's brilliant military career, included him in the ranks of such outstanding American military leaders as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Tecumseh Sherman, all of whom had previously held this rank. This bespeaks of the importance of Arthur MacArthur as a figure in American history, yet invariably when the name MacArthur is mentioned today it is almost immediately associated with his son Douglas. Arthur MacArthur is, however, equally deserving of recognition as a great military leader.

"Duty, Honor, Country: The Life of Arthur MacArthur Jr." by A. K. Brackob is an impressively detailed biography that is based on extensive archival research, revealing the remarkable career of this great patriot and his contribution to American history. This is all the more important because, to fully understand the career of his famous son, Douglas, who had such a profound impact on the military history of the United States in the twentieth century, it is essential to study the life and career of Arthur MacArthur Jr who began his military career as a mere boy fighting for the 23rd Wisconsin infantry regiment during the Civil War.

It should be noted that General Douglas MacArthur was himself conscious of the profound influence his father had upon his life. Douglas once said, "Of all men I have known my father was the one I most respected and admired."

Critique; An impressively detailed and exceptionally well crafted biography, "Duty, Honor, Country: The Life of Arthur MacArthur Jr." is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Military History & Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Duty, Honor, Country: The Life of Arthur MacArthur Jr." is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781592111169, $19.99).

Editorial Note: A.K. Brackob has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a specialist on the history of southeastern Europe during the Middle Ages and author of "Mircea the Old: Father of Wallachia, Grandfather of Dracula".

Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West
Jerry Enzler
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806168630, $29.95, HC, 384pp

Synopsis: iconic frontiersmen, Jim Bridger as what was known as a 'mountain man' of the American West, straddling the fur trade era and the age of exploration, he lived the life legends are made of. His adventures are fit for remaking into the tall tales Bridger himself liked to tell. "Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West" by Jerry Enzler is a definitive biography that finally gives this outsize character his due, taking this frontiersman's full measure for the first time -- and tells a story that would do Jim Bridger proud.

Born in 1804 and orphaned at thirteen, Bridger made his first western foray in 1822, traveling up the Missouri River with Mike Fink and a hundred enterprising young men to trap beaver. At twenty he "discovered" the Great Salt Lake. At twenty-one he was the first to paddle the Bighorn River's Bad Pass. At twenty-two he explored the wonders of Yellowstone. In the following years, he led trapping brigades into Blackfeet territory; guided expeditions of Smithsonian scientists, topographical engineers, and army leaders; and, though he could neither read nor write, mapped the tribal boundaries for the Great Indian Treaty of 1851. Enzler charts Bridger's path from the fort he built on the Oregon Trail to the route he blazed for Montana gold miners to avert war with Red Cloud and his Lakota coalition. Along the way he married into the Flathead, Ute, and Shoshone tribes and produced seven children.

Tapping sources uncovered in the six decades since the last documented Bridger biography, Enzler's book fully conveys the drama and details of the larger-than-life history of the "King of the Mountain Men."

Critique: The result of painstakingly exhaustive research and written with the narrative flair of a novelist, Jerry Enzler's biography of Jim Bridger is an extraordinary work of impeccable scholarship. Exceptionally well organized and presented, enhanced with the inclusion of thirty-six pages of Notes, a sixteen page Bibliography, and a sixteen page Index, "Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library American Biography collections, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: Jerry Enzler served as founding director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium for thirty-seven years. He has written and curated national exhibitions and films and has published historical articles on Jim Bridger, river history, and other topics.

George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life
Sandy Barnard
South Dakota Historical Society Press
9781941813232, $29.95 Hardcover

Synopsis: On 25 June 1876, a combined force of Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes defeated the troops of the Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment on the bluffs overlooking the Little Big Horn River in Montana. This disaster for the United States Army resulted in the deaths of 267 cavalrymen, including their famed commander, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Since his demise at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer has been a symbol for the federal government's bloody conquest of the Great Plains. Custer's military career, however, went beyond the Indian wars of the 1870s. In the Civil War, Custer made his name as a bold and aggressive cavalry commander. After 1865, he led troops during Reconstruction in the South and explored the Black Hills for the federal government in addition to his well\-documented conflicts with American Indians.

George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life explores Custer's life and highlights the complex nature of his experiences and legacy. Yet as Barnard makes clear, Custer was one of many army officers and soldiers who took part in these struggles. Still, Custer's role in the Indian wars of the late nineteenth century has turned him into a notorious figure. Barnard looks beyond the myths surrounding Custer to reveal the influence he had on the frontier army and the West in addition to his symbolic legacy.

Critique: George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life is a scholarly, military-history focused biography of George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876), one of America's most well-known (and infamous) cavalry commanders. Custer was a Union veteran of the Civil War, yet he is especially remembered for his ruthlessness in the Indian Wars, culminating in an attack upon a combined force of Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes that resulted in the disastrous Battle of the Little Bighorn, and Custer's own death. In recounting the events of history, George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life scrutinizes the complex forces at play, dissects myths, and examines the influence Custer had on the frontier army, and his legacy. George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life is highly recommended especially for public and college library military biography shelves, and for the personal reading lists of military historians.

Editorial Note: Sandy Barnard has written numerous publications on the history of the Civil War and Plains Indian Wars. He has especially focused on the life and legacy of George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh United States Cavalry in his writings. He has also worked as the editor of Greasy Grass, the annual magazine of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association, and on projects for the National Park Service at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation
Jeffrey S. Ahlman
Ohio University Press
9780821424520 $16.95 pbk / $7.99

Synopsis: A new biography of Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, one of the most influential political figures in twentieth-century African history.

As the first prime minister and president of the West African state of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah helped shape the global narrative of African decolonization. After leading Ghana to independence in 1957, Nkrumah articulated a political vision that aimed to free the country and the continent - politically, socially, economically, and culturally - from the vestiges of European colonial rule, laying the groundwork for a future in which Africans had a voice as equals on the international stage.

Nkrumah spent his childhood in the maturing Gold Coast colonial state. During the interwar and wartime periods he was studying in the United States. He emerged in the postwar era as one of the foremost activists behind the 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress and the demand for an immediate end to colonial rule.

Jeffrey Ahlman's biography plots Nkrumah's life across several intersecting networks: colonial, postcolonial, diasporic, national, Cold War, and pan-African. In these contexts, Ahlman portrays Nkrumah not only as an influential political leader and thinker but also as a charismatic, dynamic, and complicated individual seeking to make sense of a world in transition.

Critique: Part of the "Ohio Short Histories of Africa" series, Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation is a biography of Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, and an open advocate of Pan-Africanism who believed that tribalism harmed the prosperity of African nations. He abruptly lost political power in the wake of a violent coup in 1966, and never regained it. Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation explores Kwame Nkrumah's political vision for an independent, post-colonial nation of Ghana and continent of Africa, as well as Nkrumah's contributions to history and his legacy. Thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation is highly recommended especially for public and college Biography and World History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Editorial Note: Jeffrey S. Ahlman is an associate professor of history and director of African studies at Smith College. He is the author of Living with Nkrumahism: Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2017) and coeditor of the journal Ghana Studies.

Prelude to the Past
Rosie Graefenberg, author
Ernest Latham, editor
c/o Histria Books
9781592110377, $39.99, HC, 424pp

Synopsis: "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" written by Rosie Graefenberg and edited by Ernest Latham is the remarkable story of a young Jewish girl growing up in Germany during the years leading up to the First World War and who experienced adulthood during the tumultuous years between the two World Wars becoming one of the most important journalistic figures of the period.

Rosie Graefenberg was no ordinary woman. Born to a prominent German-Jewish family, Rosie enjoyed an adventurous life as she pursued her career in journalism. Her travels led her to spend several years in inter-war France, where she experienced first-hand the attempts at Franco-German rapprochement in the aftermath of the treaty of Versailles. She ventured to French Morocco, Soviet Russia, and into the French colonies in Africa, leaving vivid portrayals of her encounters with these diverse societies and with many of the major political and social figures of the day.

Her life of romance and adventure ultimately led her to marry Franz Ullstein, head of the most-powerful publishing dynasty and key representative of the democratic press establishment in pre-World War II Germany. But an unconventional marriage provoked family intrigues and political struggles that soon thrust Rosie into the greatest scandal the German Republic would endure during its death throes before the establishment of the Third Reich - the Ullstein Affair. Rosie Graefenberg now found herself at the center of European media attention, as accusations of her being a spy brought down the most powerful media mogul in Europe and led to a drawn out legal battle that exposed the weaknesses of the democratic press in Germany for all to see, helping lay the groundwork for the coming Nazi takeover.

In "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman", Rosie Graefenberg provides a masterful, impassioned account of these events, in a fast-paced narrative, revealing many of the surprising motives behind them. Now, for the first time in more than 80 years this tumultuous era comes to life through the eyes of a powerful, passionate, strong, yet vulnerable Jewish woman who not only recorded the events of the era but also helped to shape them

Additionally, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" provides a unique feminine perspective on a highly male-dominated era. With an informative introduction by Dr. Ernest H. Latham, the foremost scholar on the life and work of Rosie Graefenberg, and who later took the name R.G. Waldeck, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is essential reading for anyone interested in European society in the years preceding Hitler's domination of Europe.

Critique: Impressively informative, inherently fascinating, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library European Biography & Journalism collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781592110414, $24.99).

The Sensitive One: A Memoir
Susan F. Morris
She Writes Press
9781647421618, $16.95, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: At the age of fifty, Susan Morris is diagnosed with breast cancer. Desperate to pinpoint the cause, one night she decides to type a question into her search engine: "What are the risk factors of getting breast cancer?" She's surprised to discover research showing that long-term exposure to stress and traumatic childhood experiences can both increase the risk of breast cancer.

"The Sensitive One" is a deftly braided memoir that alternates between Morris's youth as a sensitive child and then as teenager who shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings as her dad's alcoholism tore at the threads of their home life, and finally as an adult who for a decade-plus has been living a trauma-free life with a caring husband and rewarding career in nursing .-- only to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The Sensitive One" is a story of personal redemption, of a woman who manages to escape harrowing circumstances and start anew. But this deftly crafted memoir is also a story of how our legacy lives within us, and how healing from the adverse effects of childhood can truly take a lifetime.

Critique: A compelling, insightful, informative, and ultimately inspiring read, "The Sensitive One: A Memoir" is a welcome and recommended addition to community library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sensitive One: A Memoir" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Christina Rice
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
9780813181080, $29.95, HC, 392pp

Synopsis: By the early 1950s, American actress, singer, and model Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 - February 28, 2011) should have been forgotten. Her career was launched on what is arguably the most notorious advertising campaign in cinema history, which invited film goers to see Howard Hughes's The Outlaw (1943) and to "tussle with Russell." Throughout the 1940s, she was nicknamed the "motionless picture actress" and had only three films in theaters. With such a slow, inauspicious start, most aspiring actresses would have given up or faded away. Instead, Russell carved out a place for herself in Hollywood and became a memorable and enduring star.

"Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend", Christina Rice (a librarian and archivist at the Los Angeles Public Library) offers the first biography of the actress and activist perhaps most well-known for her role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Despite the fact that her movie career was stalled for nearly a decade, Russell's filmography is respectable. She worked with some of Hollywood's most talented directors including Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh, Nicholas Ray, and Josef von Sternberg -- and held her own alongside costars such as Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, Clark Gable, Vincent Price, and Bob Hope. She also learned how to fight back against Howard Hughes, her boss for more than thirty-five years, and his marketing campaigns that exploited her physical appearance.

Beyond the screen, Rice reveals Russell as a complex and confident woman. She explores the star's years as a spokeswoman for Playtex as well as her deep faith and work as a Christian vocalist. Rice also discusses Russell's leadership and patronage of the WAIF foundation, which for many years served as the fund raising arm of the International Social Service (ISS) agency. WAIF raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, successfully lobbied Congress to change laws, and resulted in the adoption of tens of thousands of orphaned children. For Russell, the work she did to help unite families overshadowed any of her onscreen achievements.

On the surface, Jane Russell seemed to live a charmed life, but Rice illuminates her darker moments and her personal struggles, including her empowered reactions to the controversies surrounding her films and her feelings about being portrayed as a sex symbol. This amazingly informative and ground breaking biography offers a fresh perspective on a star whose legacy endures not simply because she forged a notable film career, but also because she effectively used her celebrity to benefit others.

Critique: A simply fascinating, exceptionally well written, and impressively informative biography of a major Hollywood icon, "Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Biography and American Cinematic History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of Jane Russell fans and cinema history buffs that "Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

The Art Shelf

Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line
Marian Bisanz-Prakken
J. Paul Getty Museum
c/o Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606061114, $49.95, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: The phenomenal draftsman and Austrian symbolist painter, Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 - February 6, 1918) occupies a unique place in modern art. His extant uvre comprises some 250 paintings and more than 4,000 works on paper. The study of the human figure (above all female) lies at the heart of the artist's activity as a draftsman, which he practiced assiduously.

Through his study of the poses and gestures of his models, Klimt repeatedly examined the essence of particular psychological and existential states of being. In his constant quest for the ideal solution, Klimt often went beyond the preparation of his paintings, which, particularly after 1900, were dominated by the themes of Eros, Love, Life, and Death. His art cannot be understood without carefully considering the drawings, which are characterized by an unsurpassed mastery of line, in all the phases of his artistic development ranging from Historicism, through Stilkunst around 1900, the Golden Period, and up to his freer late work.

"Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line" by Dr. Marian Bisanz-Prakken (who is the curator at the Albertina Museum, Vienna, and the reigning expert on Klimt drawings) is lavishly illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition organized by the Albertina Museum in Vienna (March 13 to June 10, 2012) and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (July 3 to September 23, 2012) to mark the 150th anniversary of Gustav Klimt's birth.

In both venues, the emphasis will be placed on showing not only the variety of his draftsmanship, but also the centrality of drawing to Klimt's artistic enterprise. Most of the works on display will come from the Albertina's outstanding collection, one of the most extensive and representative groups of Klimt drawings in the world, complemented by select Austrian and international loans.

Critique: Simply stated, this coffee table style (9.5 x 1 x 11 inches) edition of "Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line" published by the J. Paul Getty Museum is an absolute 'must' for the legions of Gustav Klimit fans and an critically important, essential, core addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Art History collections in general, and Gustav Klimit supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Anime Art Class
Rock Point
c/o The Quarto Group
9781631067648 $21.99 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: In her follow-up to Chibi Art Class, renowned Instagram artist Yoai is back to teach you how to draw the popular Japanese style of anime and manga like a pro.

In Anime Art Class, you will learn how to draw Yoai's signature cute characters, from their bodies and facial features to their dreamy eyes, trendy clothes and accessories, and fun hair.

The 20 tutorials, with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions, guide you from drawing characters in pencil and pen to coloring and shading them in with colored pencils, markers, and watercolor paints. With the addition of lots of drawing tips and tricks and inspiration galleries that you can also use as coloring pages, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique anime world. Anime Art Class is now in session!

Critique: Anime Art Class: A Complete Course in Drawing Manga Cuties lives up to its title as a guide to creating characters in the style of Japanese animation and comics, including facial features, hair styles, clothing and accessories, and more. There are twenty step-by-step tutorials with sample illustrations and instructions for sketching in pencil or pen, as well as coloring and shading. A medley of male and female sample characters show the techniques in practice. Anime Art Class is highly recommended for any aspiring artist interested in learning the basics of how to create delightful and appealing characters! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Anime Art Class is also available in a Kindle edition ($21.99).

Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations
Gabriel Kline
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781589239807, $30.00, HC, 176pp

Synopsis: Specifically written for the benefit of potter makers ranging from the novice to the professional, "Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations: 200+ Surefire Finishes for Low-Fire, Mid-Range, and High-Fire Pottery" by Gabriel Kline is an amazing DIY compendium replete with color-filled page of glazes throughout.

Readers will start by learning the keys to success when applying glazes, then choose the temperature range they want to explore first. Gabriel's collection of well-tested recipes draw on his decades of experience as an instructor and leader of a communal arts studio -- including current and past student favorites as well as a few timeless gems.

In addition to plentiful tiles showing off two-glaze combinations, Gabriel shares multi-glaze combinations developed through years of trial and error. From waterfall blues to eye-popping bursts of red, there's a rainbow of options. The showcased recipes have all been technically edited and each one has a photo. By controlling specific gravity and application, the goal is always getting the perfect coat of glaze recipe after recipe.

Special topics like majolica and raku firing provide welcome detours, and a variety of artist features serve as launching points for new explorations. Stunning galleries from today's top artists provide even more glazing ideas.

Critique: An ideal and unreservedly recommended textbook for pottery glazing curriculums, "Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations: 200+ Surefire Finishes for Low-Fire, Mid-Range, and High-Fire Pottery" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an ideal and invaluable addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Pottery & Ceramic Craft collections and supplemental studies lists.

Editorial Note: Gabriel Kline is a professional potter who has taught ceramics classes for nearly two decades. He is the founder and director of Odyssey ClayWorks, an educational institution affiliated with Highwater Clays -- one of the largest clay and ceramic materials companies in the United States. Gabriel serves as the resident artist program director, fostering connections with university programs and up-and-coming artists from around the world. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes and the 500 series.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe, artist
Catherine Millet, contributor
DAP/Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
9788417173494, $65.00, HC, 316pp

Synopsis: Georgia O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 - March 6, 1986) began her art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York. She moved to New York in 1918, and in 1924 married Alfred Stieglitz. From 1929, O'Keeffe began spending part of the year in the Southwest, which served as inspiration for her paintings of New Mexico landscapes. After Stieglitz's death, she lived permanently in New Mexico, in Abiqui, later moving to Santa Fe where she remained and painted until her death.

Offering a complete survey of Georgia O'Keeffe's illustrious career, "Georgia O'Keeffe", jointly published by DAP and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, is magnificent new study that ranges from the works produced between 1910 and 1920 that made her a pioneer of abstraction to her celebrated flower paintings and views of New York, which led to her recognition as one of the key figures in modern American art, and culminating with her paintings of New Mexico.

The selection of color plates is accompanied by quotes from O'Keeffe on her art and additional photographic material pertaining to the paintings. The sense of reverence for the world and its forms emerges vividly through O'Keeffe's words. "The unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is big far beyond my understanding - to understand maybe by trying to put it into form," she writes. "To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill."

Also featured are a biography and texts by and featuring erudite and informative commentaries by French art writer Catherine Millet, Georgia O'Keeffe expert Barbara Buhler Lynes, and seven other knowledgeable contributors who are curators from the venues to which the show travels, as well as scholars at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

A stunning beautiful volume showcasing the work of a truly iconic American artist, "Georiga O'Keeffe" is a coffee-table style compendium (3.7 pounds) that is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library 20th Century American Art History collections in general, and Georgia O'Keeffe supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.

Editorial Note: Barbara Buhler Lynes is the curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center. She is the leading expert on the art of painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

David Lynch, Someone Is In My House
David Lynch
Prestel Publishing
9783791387345, $45.00 PB, 320pp

Synopsis: David Lynch has always been in the spotlight as a filmmaker, directing some of the most iconic movies ever made, but as a visual artist, he is less widely known. Lynch delights in the physicality of painting and likes to stimulate all the senses in his work. Now a new coffee-table style (9.75 x 1.18 x 11.81 inches) paperback edition that brings together Lynch's paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture and installation, and stills from his films.

Many of these works reveal the dark underpinnings behind Lynch's often-macabre movies. Others explore his fascination with texture and collage. Throughout, Lynch's characteristic style (surreal, stylish, and even humorous) shines through. An introduction by music journalist and Lynch biographer Kristine McKenna, along with a thought- provoking essay by curator Stijn Huijts, offers fascinating new information and perspectives on Lynch's life and career. This edition of "David Lynch: Someone Is in My House" reveals an unexplored facet of Lynch's oeuvre and affirms that he is as brilliant a visual artist as he is a filmmaker.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of David Lynch fans, "David Lynch: Someone Is in My House" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, college, and university library Contemporary Art & Artists collections in general, and David Lynch supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Kristine McKenna is an American journalist, critic, and curator who has written for Artforum, The New York Times, ARTNews, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone Magazine. Stijn Huijts is the Artistic Director of the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht in the Netherlands.

The General Fiction Shelf

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee
Wagih Abu-Rish
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781626348493, $21.95, HC, 296pp

Synopsis: A sweeping saga of a story, "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" by Palestinian-American author and activist Wagih Abu-Rish begins in 1940s Palestine where twins Rasheed and Rasheeda Dinar work in the family's inn. When Rasheed falls in love with Natalia, a Jewish woman, he applies what he learned from the Jesuit priest who mentored him in his budding relationship but by then relations between Arabs and Jews have become tense. And when those tensions come to a breaking point, Natalia mysteriously disappears, and Rasheed and Rasheeda are chased out of Palestine forced to flee to Beirut, Lebanon. As the years pass and the Dinar family expands and enters the 1970s, their convictions are tested. Until the family reunites and proves that the thin line separating people because of their differences is powerless against the strength of family, love, and loyalty.

Critique: Deftly crafted with impressive attention to historical detail and context, "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" is an inherently riveting read and one that will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to community library General Fiction in general, and Jewish/Palestinian Historical/Cultural Fiction collections in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Historical Fiction Shelf

Lafayette: Courtier to Crown Fugitive, 1757-1777
S. P. Grogan
Addison & Highsmith
c/o Histria Books
9781592110315, $29.99, HC, 370pp

Synopsis: In June, 1777, nineteen-year old Marquis de Lafayette landed in the American colonies to fight in their revolution, and the rest, as they say, is history. But over time many truths have been stretched, including, most recently, a singing role in a hit Broadway musical. Still, the great historical mystery remains: how did the character of the young Gilbert de Lafayette develop? Lafayette wrote his own words about his early life serving as an elder statesman in the French Chamber of Deputies, and, as such, they were shaded both to the heroic, as well as to the political climate of the day.

In the pages of his exceptionally original historical novel, "Lafayette: Courtier to Crown Fugitive, 1757-1777", author S. P. Grogan has blended historically accurate details with a deftly clever narrative storytelling style to create an inherently fascinating and compulsive page-turner of a read. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lafayette: Courtier to Crown Fugitive, 1757-1777" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781592110360, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.82).

Olympia: The Birth of the Games
John A. Martino, author
Michael P. O'Kane, author
Addison & Highsmith
c/o Histria Books
9781592110964, $29.99, HC, 228pp

Synopsis: In ancient Greece and across the Mediterranean, kingdoms endlessly competed for dominance. The great powers of Carthage and Egypt look on with avarice as the might of the Greeks is spent warring between themselves, oblivious to external dangers. Year in and year out, the people suffer at the hands of their rulers and the famine and pestilence that comes with conflict. The great rulers of the day are themselves helpless to end this cycle of destruction. While life on the battlefield is cheap, the slave trade flourishes through the years of interminable battle and death. Kings and queens pray to the gods and seek wisdom from the oracles, but the gods, it seems, prefer combat to diplomacy.

At Olympia, the peace of the temple precinct is an island of calm in a sea of turmoil. Here on this sacred soil grows the seed of a better future, yet even here there lurks danger and deceit as the forces of destruction reach into the sanctuary of the gods. For this seed to thrive, it will take more than prayers and goodwill.

Yet often hope springs from the most unlikely sources. There is one amongst the Greeks who sees light where others only perceive darkness. One who sees that there is another way to settle conflict - with honor and courage. One who will set aflame a torch that will burn for thousands of years, down through the ages. In an epoch of chaos and strife, a new force for peace is born.

"Olympia: The Birth of the Games" by Dr. Michael O'Kane (a published academic author who has worked extensively with Australian Aboriginal communities) and Dr. John A. Martino (who wrote his PhD in Classical History through Monash University and the University of Melbourne on martial violence in the Old World and the New) is the simply fascinating and dramatic story of how and why the Olympic games were established and experienced as seen through the eyes of those who were there.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Olympia: The Birth of the Games" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, community, college, and university library historical fiction collections.

Trial by Fire: A Novel
P. T. Deutermann
St. Martin's Publishing Group
9781250273048, $28.99 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: It's March 1945 and the war in the Pacific is approaching its apocalyptic climax. The largest wartime armada ever assembled, Task Force 58, is closing in on Okinawa; once taken, it will finally put American B-29 bombers in comfortable range of the home islands of Japan - and victory.

At the heart of the fleet are 14 Essex-class aircraft carriers, including the USS Franklin, known as "Big Ben" - a 27,000-ton behemoth, home to 3,600 crewmen and 100 aircraft. Just after dawn, while crewmen prepare for battle, a single Japanese Yokosuka D4Y bomber breaks through the clouds and drops a 500-pound semi-armor piercing bomb on Big Ben. The bomb rips through the wooden flight deck before exploding on the hangar deck, amidst two dozen fully fueled and armed fighter-bombers. The resulting explosion engulfs both the hangar deck and all the planes spotted on the flight deck. Bombs cook off and rockets howl in all directions, both on the flight deck and down in the hangar bays. Hundreds of men are forced to leap into the sea to escape the rivers of burning aviation gasoline, leaving the captain with only one third of his crew, of whom there are more dead, wounded and trapped men left onboard than able-bodied sailors.

Trial By Fire is the gripping novelization of how, against all odds, the sailors of the Franklin were able to save their ship, after 3 agonizing days of battling the flames that ultimately claimed the lives of 832 men and injured 300 more. Readers will be astounded and humbled by the heroic actions of a few extraordinarily brave sailors in the face of unending catastrophe.

Critique: Trial by Fire: A Novel is an intense, action-packed work of historical fiction that dramatically portrays the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. The story focuses upon the brave sailors of the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier with over 3,600 crewmen that suffered a severe bomb attack with catastrophic casualties. Here are recounted true tales of valor, firefighting, and desperation, as the USS Franklin's sailors fought to save their ship and the survivors. Trial by Fire keeps the reader's attention riveted to the very end! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Trial by Fire is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: P. T. Deutermann is the author of many previous novels including Pacific Glory, which won the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction. Deutermann spent twenty-six years in military and government service, as a captain in the Navy and in the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an arms-control specialist. He lives with his wife in North Carolina.

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Tainna: The Unseen Ones
Norma Dunning
Douglas & McIntyre
9781771622714 $16.95

Synopsis: Drawing on both lived experience and cultural memory, Norma Dunning brings together six powerful new short stories centered on modern-day Inuk characters in Tainna. Ranging from homeless to extravagantly wealthy, from spiritual to jaded, young to elderly, and even from alive to deceased, Dunning's characters are united by shared feelings of alienation, displacement and loneliness resulting from their experiences in southern Canada.

In Tainna - meaning "the unseen ones" and pronounced Da-e-nn-a - a fraught reunion between sisters Sila and Amak ends in an uneasy understanding. From the spirit realm, Chevy Bass watches over his imperilled grandson, Kunak. And in the title story, the broken-hearted Bunny wanders onto a golf course on a freezing night, when a flock of geese stand vigil until her body is discovered by a kind stranger.

Norma Dunning's masterful storytelling uses humor and incisive detail to create compelling characters who discover themselves in a hostile land where prejudice, misogyny and inequity are most often found hidden in plain sight. There, they must rely on their wits, artistic talent, senses of humor and spirituality for survival; and there, too, they find solace in shining moments of reconnection with their families and communities.

Critique: Tainna: The Unseen Ones is an anthology of literary short stories about modern-day Inuk characters living in southern Canada. Despite the variety in their ages, financial situations, and approaches to life, each one feels a shared sense of alienation, displacement, and loneliness. Tainna is a heartrending collection, portraying complex, three-dimensional characters who search for not only survival, but also for hope amid moments of family and community. Highly recommended, especially for public library Literary Fiction collections.

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Love Blooms
Jo McNally
c/o Harlequin Books
9781335949332, $9.99, PB, 352pp

Synopsis: Tonight should be the best night of Lucy Higgins's life. Tomorrow she's finally marrying Owen Cooper. She's been waiting to start a life of wedded bliss, like the happy marriage her parents have. Except she just learned her parents are divorcing and she's freaking out! Owen has been so distant lately, shutting her out. Suddenly this big wedding seems like a really bad idea. Packing up her car, Lucy bolts for Rendezvous Falls and finds work at a flower shop while she gets her life together. The last thing she expects is for Owen to show up, wanting her back.

Owen Cooper's carefully planned out life is ready to begin. He's home from the military to join the family business and marry the sweet girl who captured his heart -- until Lucy runs out on him. That was not part of the plan. Armed with an article that promises to help him win her back, Owen heads to Rendezvous Falls. But from the moment he sees her again, she seems different. Happier, more confident and at ease. Can he convince this new version of Lucy that he's become the man she deserves? He might need a little help from the local book club to accomplish this mission.

Critique: The fourth volume in romance author Jo McNally's acclaimed 'Rendezvous Falls' series, "Love Blooms" is a wonderfully engaging and fully entertaining read by a true master of the genre. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the growing legions of Jo McNally fans that "Love Blooms" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

All Night Long with a Cowboy
Caitlin Crews
St. Martin's Press
9781250750006, $7.99, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: One of the most notorious cowboys in Cold River, Jensen Kittredge always has willing women with sweet smiles vying for a place in his bed. So when the prissy high school librarian sidles up to him in the most disreputable bar in town with a scowl on her face, he has no idea what to make of it. Much less the attraction he feels toward the bespectacled creature who wants something from him... but not that. Yet.

Harriett Barnett doesn't care for dens of iniquity -- or the insolent cowboy she certainly shouldn't find attractive. But one of her students needs her help, and if she needs to corral the infamous Jensen to save him, she will. Trouble is, the town's favorite Kittredge brother is a lot more than she bargained for. Harriett's happy little life is orderly and neat, just how she likes it -- until Jensen blows it all apart with his particular brand of addictive passion. Can a modern-day schoolmarm really tame the wildest cowboy in town? Or is Harriet headed for a terrible fall?

Critique: A simply riveting read from first page to last, "All Night Long with a Cowboy" is the second novel in author/storyteller Caitlin Cres's new 'Kittredge Ranch' series of romance novels. Original and memorable, and while unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fans of romance that "All Night Long with a Cowboy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Western Fiction Shelf

Will Starr
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444847130, $22.50, PB, Large Print, 244p

Synopsis: On his way out West, Ben Tower rescues beautiful Mattie Sullivan, the lone survivor of a doomed wagon train. Ben and Mattie fall in love and plan to travel West to start a new life together. But the trail westwards is never easy? Wild animals, greedy ranchers, a crooked judge and lawyer, and flash floods are just some of the hazards they encounter, along with Ben's past catching up with him. Will they ever fulfill their dream of establishing their own little empire in the West?

Critique: A grand saga of a novel, "Empire" by western author Will Starr is an inherently fascinating read with several 'cliff hanger' moments. The stuff of which block buster movies are made, this large print paperback edition of "Empire" from the Linford Western Library series is a very highly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of dedicated western fans and community library Western Fiction collections.

Vigilante Law
Dale Graham
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444847147, $22.50, PB, Large Print, 240pp

Synopsis: Having escaped from a firing squad at the hands of the Mexican federales, Blue Creek Ben Chisum flees across the border into Texas. He is soon cast afoot when his horse breaks a leg. After wandering alone for a week he stumbles across a hanging and rescues a homesteader from ruthless vigilantes. The grateful man then offers him a half share in his prosperous farming business. But Ben is loath to become involved in a range war. He only accepts the offer after learning that his old partner Squint Rizzo, has been hired by Web Steiger, the leader of the vigilantes. It was Rizzo who had betrayed him to the Mexican authorities. But how can one man defeat a ruthless gang of land grabbers? With the help of another old pal and fellow gunslinger, and that of a ham-fisted, slow witted, but loyal brawler, Blue Creek sets out to prove that his reputation for fighting on the side of justice has been well earned.

Critique: A minor masterpiece of western action/adventure by a true master of the genre, "Vigilante Law" by Dale Graham is a terrific read from first page to last. This large print edition from the Linford Western Library series is an especially and strongly recommended addition to both the personal reading lists of all dedicated western fans, as well as community library Western Fiction collections.

Prodigal of Death
T. T. Flynn
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419713, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 408pp

Synopsis: "Prodigal of Death" is an anthology of five western short stories by that master of the genre, T. T. Flynn. In these five original stories originally published more than a half century ago in the pulp magazines of the day, Lonesome Lang and Tarnation Tucker watch a runaway buckboard hit a hairpin turn and vanish; Dave Worth is transported back to Lode City to be charged with murder - and finds a lynch mob waiting at the station; George Brandon and Rosie O'Grady find themselves in the middle of a criminal drama; Steve Cochrane seeks his friend Smoky Davis - but the law is searching for him too; Dike Kennedy's and Carole Lamar's courtship comes up against a murderous family feud.

Critique: Theodore Thomas ("T. T.") Flynn (August 8, 1902 - January 8, 1979) was an American writer of pulp fiction in multiple genres. Later in life he concentrated on Westerns. As an author, he is most famous for writing "The Man from Laramie" which was adapted to film starring actor James Stewart. Now in the pages of this newly published large print paperback edition of the "Prodigal from the Linford Western Library series comprised of five of his best western tales (Bush Wackers Die Hard; Killer's Guess; Smart Guy; The Pie River; Prodigal of Death) brings these classic stories to the attention of a grateful new generation of western action/adventure fans. Of special note is that each story is prefaced by an autobiography note of T. T. Flynn's writing career associated with that particular tale. Simply stated, "Prodigal of Death" is a great read from cover to cover and a welcome, recommended addition to personal and community library collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Girls Who Lie
Eva Bjorg Aegisdottier
Isis Large Print
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781913193737, $15.95, PB, Large Print, 276pp

Synopsis: When single mother Marianna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she's taken her own life -- until her body is found on the Grabrok lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Marianna's past - and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others...

Critique: An ideal example of what can be called 'Nordic Noir', "Girls Who Lie" by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir is a winning combination of complex psychological thriller and sophisticated police procedural. An inherently absorbing read from first page to last, "Girls Who Lie" will prove to be an enduringly welcome addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated crime fiction enthusiasts.

What the Cat Dragged In
Miranda James
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9780593199466, $26.00, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff's department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin's grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem, and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

Critique: A true mystery lover's 'whodunnit' delight, "What the Cat Dragged In" (part of novelist Miranda James' 'Cat in the Stacks Mystery' series), is an impressively clever, deftly crafted, inherently entertaining, and unreservedly recommended addition to all community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs and enthusiasts that "What the Cat Dragged In" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

A Woman of Intelligence
Karin Tanabe
St. Martin's Press
9781250231505, $27.99, HC, 384pp

Synopsis: A Fifth Avenue address, parties at the Plaza, two healthy sons, and the ideal husband: what looks like a perfect life for Katharina Edgeworth is anything but. It's 1954, and the post-war American dream has become a nightmare.

A born and bred New Yorker, Katharina is the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages. As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, she is a translator at the newly formed United Nations, devoting her days to her work and the promise of world peace -- and her nights to cocktails and the promise of a good time.

Now the wife of a beloved pediatric surgeon and heir to a shipping fortune, Katharina is trapped in a gilded cage, desperate to escape the constraints of domesticity. So when she is approached by the FBI and asked to join their ranks as an informant, Katharina seizes the opportunity. A man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy, but no one has been able to infiltrate his circle. Enter Katharina, the perfect woman for the job.

Navigating the demands of the FBI and the secrets of the KGB, she becomes a courier, carrying stolen government documents from D.C. to Manhattan. But as those closest to her lose their covers, and their lives, Katharina's secret soon threatens to ruin her!

Critique: a classic spy thriller set firmly in the Cold War, and providing a nuanced depiction of the female experience in those decades, "A Woman of Intelligence" by Karin Tanabe deftly blends intrigue and desire in an effective, entertaining, and narrative driven storytelling style. While unreservedly and especially recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense/Espionage fiction collection, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Woman of Intelligence" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Fatal Family Ties: An Ancestry Detective Mystery
S. C. Perkins
Minotaur Books
9781250789648, $26.99 hc / $13.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Lucy is just about to tuck into a plate of tacos at her favorite Austin joint, Big Flaco's, when she gets an unexpected visit from her former - and least-favorite - co-worker. Camilla Braithwaite hasn't gotten much friendlier since the last time Lucy saw her, but that doesn't stop her from asking a favor. In her hand is a newspaper feature on an ancestor, a civil war corporal - and a liar, according to the article. Charles Braithwaite is depicted as a phony and a deserter, and Camilla wants Lucy's help clearing his name.

Lucy would prefer to spend her free time with her new beau, special agent Ben Turner, but takes the case, making no promises that Camilla will like the outcome of her investigation. Camilla leads Lucy to the Texas History Museum, where their first clue is a triptych painting, passed down in the Braithwaite family for generations, one panel of which has disappeared. But before Lucy can get much further, a member of the Braithwaite family is murdered in his own bed, and another panel of the painting found missing.

There are no shortage of suspects among the Braithwaite clan - including Camilla herself. This case will take Lucy to Houston and back again as she works to find the truth, and catch an elusive killer.

Critique: Fatal Family Ties: An Ancestry Detective Mystery is a cozy mystery that begins when history-sleuth Lucy reluctantly accepts a request to determine whether the Civil War corporal ancestor of her client is truly a liar and a deserter, or unfairly maligned. The case becomes tangled when one member of distinguished family is suddenly murdered; the suspects include virtually all other family members, and Lucy's own client! Delightfully descriptive, tongue-in-cheek, and sure to keep the reader guessing to the very end, Fatal Family Ties is highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Fatal Family Ties is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).

Editorial Note: S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex. Her first book, Murder Once Removed, was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition, and an Agatha Award Nominee.

The Chase
Lisa Harris
c/o Baker Publishing Group
9780800737313 $15.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing--it's time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that's gone wrong--and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it's never been just about the money. It's about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else--someone close to them--gets hurt... or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn't an option.

Critique: The sequel to "The Escape", The Chase continues author Lisa Harris' "US Marshals" series following two partner US Marshals, Madison James and Jonas Quinn. Tasked with tracking down a suspect connected to a string of bank robberies, they cross paths with ruthless, armed and dangerous antagonists. Then a bank robbery escalates into a hostage situation. The Chase is a critically suspenseful page-turner that will keep connoisseurs of the genre riveted to the very end, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Chase is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Death in Castle Dark
Veronica Bond
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9780593335871, $7.99, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: Maybe it was too good to be true, but when Nora Blake accepted the job from Derek Corby, proprietor of Castle Dark, she could not see any downsides. She would sink her acting chops into the troupe's intricately staged murder-mystery shows, earn free room and board in the fairy tale - like castle, and make friends with her new roommates, which include some seriously adorable kittens.

But something sinister lurks behind the walls of Castle Dark. During Nora's second performance, one of her castmates plays the part of the victim a little too well. So well, in fact, that no one can revive him. He has been murdered. Not ready to give up her dream gig (or to be the next victim!) Nora sets out to see which one of her fellow actors has taken the role of a murderous real-life villain.

Critique: A deftly crafted 'whodunnit' mystery by an author with a particular flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that immediately engages the readers rapt attention, "Death in Castle Dark" by Veronica Bond is an extraordinarily entertaining mystery from first page to last. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99), this paperback edition of "Death in Castle Dark" is an especially recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife
Ashley Winstead
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
9781728229881, $26.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see -- confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby's murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she'd been closest to since freshman year.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather's murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night - and the years' worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Critique: A complex and deftly crafted psychological thriller of a mystery novel, "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" showcases author Ashley Winstead's remarkably impressive narrative driven storytelling style. Original, compelling, cogent, "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" is highly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery & Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Graveyard Fields
Steven Tingle
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643856865, $26.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Davis Reed is plagued by the three "A's": anger, alcohol, and anxiety. A former Charleston police officer, turned private detective, Davis hopes to gain some respect, self and otherwise, by writing a book. His subject: the true story of a B-25 bomber that crashed on Cold Mountain in western North Carolina just after the end of World War II.

From the comfort of a mountain cabin in Cruso, NC Davis spends his days popping anti-anxiety pills, drinking copious amounts of home brewed beer, and not writing a book. But when he discovers a set of keys on a mountain trail, he becomes curious, then obsessed, about finding the rightful owner. With the help of his friend Dale Johnson, a 275 pound local deputy who is full time ornery and part time clever, and Dale's cousin Floppy, a motor mouthed mechanic with a penchant for conspiracy theories and kleptomania, Davis works to uncover the mystery of the keys while navigating a world of small town secrets, shady characters, 80's heavy metal, and murder.

But Davis has his own secrets and even though he's escaped to the mountains some bad business in Charleston is beginning to catch up with him. For an anxiety riddled man looking for peace and quiet Davis somehow stumbles into more chaos and crossfire than any amount of beer and pills can alleviate.

Critique: A cleverly crafted and original novel that is a compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover, "Graveyard Fields" by Steven Tingle is the kind of private eye mystery blended with police procedural elements that makes for blockbuster movies. While especially recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Graveyard Fields" is also readily available in a digital format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666506143, $22.99, CD).

Murder by the Bookend
Laura Gail Black
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643858265, $26.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: The quaint warehouse district of Hokes Folly, NC, is hopping despite the drizzly November chill. The occasion? The mountain town's beloved antiquarian bookstore, Twice Upon a Time, is throwing a bash for its grand reopening. But bookseller Jenna Quinn's peace of mind is shattered when the local library's Director of Antique Books turns up dead in the parking lot with his head bashed in by a glittering pair of vintage glass bookends.

As they examine the murder scene, Jenna and her police detective boyfriend happen upon the only witness -- the victim's dog, who flees the scene leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind. If only dogs could speak, Jenna might be able to make quick work of the murder case and get back to stocking her bookcases.

Alas, finding the killer won't be so easy, even though this is not Jenna's first murder investigation -- indeed, she inherited Twice Upon a Time from her slain uncle. The suspect list is voluminous (the late librarian had not-so-friendly run-ins with numerous guests) but suspicion eventually centers on three unsavory individuals who left the party shortly before the victim did.

Now, Jenna must edit her inventory of suspects from three names to one, before the bloodthirsty bookend-wielder becomes the author of Jenna's own demise.

Critique: A 'whodunnit' mystery lover's delight from first page to last, author Laura Gail Black's "Murder by the Bookend" will prove to be an immensely and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. The second title in the author's acclaimed 'Antique Bookshop' mystery series, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of the growing legion of Laura Gail Black fans that "Murder by the Bookend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666518801, $22.99, CD).

Reading Between the Crimes
Kate Young
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643857428, $26.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: What better time than Halloween to dig into a bracing discussion of a diabolical murder mystery? And what better choice for the Jane Doe Book Club than Agatha Christie's Crooked House? Lyla Moody and her friends are soon embroiled in debate over whether the heroine's actions are particularly believable. But not long after the meeting, sleepy Sweet Mountain, Georgia, is rocked by a murder that uncannily echoes the novel in question.

When Lyla and her grandmother arrive at the charity event that Lyla's mother is hosting, they barely have time to hang up their fall jackets before they stumble upon a body in the library. Leonard Richardson, it seems, was robbed and then hit over the head with a brass candlestick--which throws suspicion on Harper Richardson, his young widow and a friend of the Jane Does.

Lyla and the rest of the Jane Does pool their prodigious intellects to clear Harper's name. Peculiarly, all of the clues seem to have been lifted directly from the plot of Crooked House. But as Lyla probes the pages of Christie's classic whodunnit for hints on catching the killer, she uncovers secrets from her mother's past -- secrets that suggest that Lyla's own house may be crooked as well.

Critique: Another 'Jane Doe Book Club Mystery' by novelist Kate Young (a recognized master of the 'whodunnit' crime fiction genre and a member of Sisters in Crime), "Reading Between the Crimes" is a wonderfully entertaining and compulsive page turner of a read. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Reading Between the Crimes" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Designs on the Dead
Emilia Bernhard
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643854540, $26.99, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: Having successfully solved two previous murders in that City of Lights known as Paris, self-proclaimed private detectives Rachel Levis and Magda Stevens are ready to take on the world. Or at least the 3rd arrondissement. Which is good news when renowned fashion designer Roland Guipure is found lifeless outside his own birthday party in that upscale neighborhood, dead from an apparent overdose.

Rachel thinks its murder, and when it turns out the police agree, the two Americans roll up their sleeves for another murder investigation. And there are plenty of suspects: the angry assistant designer promoted to the top spot as a result of Guipure's death; the lovelorn PA who was crushed by the designer's lack of interest in her; the former boyfriend who lost his meal ticket as a result of Guipure's successful stay in rehab. Not to mention that the designer's murder occurred a few days before that of an American tourist who seems to be connected to him in some mysterious way. Paris is beginning to feel crowded with corpses. Coincidence or just bad luck?

As the clues and suspects pile up, Rachel and Magda rush to find the murderer before another death is cut from the same cloth.

Critique: The third volume in novelist Emila Bernhard's 'A Death In Paris' mystery series, "Designs on the Dead" is another of those deftly crafted 'whodunnit' stories replete with the kind of unexpected plot twists and turns that make for a fully entertaining and compulsive page turner of a read for dedicated mystery buffs from first page to last. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to any and all community library Contemporary Mystery collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Designs on the Dead" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

The Pale Tiger
Mike Harrison
Matthew James Publishing
9781913230074, $17.61, PB, 480pp

Synopsis: Just what is 'The Pale Tiger' Is it a myth? Is it an almost-forgotten sheet of A4 gathering dust in the vaults beneath Beijing? Or is it a a ruthlessly audacious plan to wreak deadly revenge on America with breath-taking historical symmetry?

From the steaming jungles of Hong Kong to the hard-edged clamour of New York and the Autumn chill of the grey streets of London, "The Pale Tiger" by Mike Harrison is a riveting contemporary crime fiction novel that shines the spotlight on some of the existential challenges facing the world today. A full-throated suspense thriller of a read, "The Pale Tiger" plunges its characters into the dark heart of that toxic nexus where power and money warp the best of intentions and fan the worst of them.

Critique; A deftly crafted read by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that is impressively compelling from first page to last, "The Pale Tiger" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Pale Tiger" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Clark and Division
Naomi Hirahara
Soho Crime
c/o Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
9781641292498, $27.95, HC, 312pp

Synopsis: Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki's older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family's reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.

Aki, who worshiped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose's death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.

Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime fiction plot with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

Critique: A deftly crafted suspense thriller of a mystery novel by an author with a particularly effective narrative driven storytelling style, "Clark and Division" by Naomi Hirahara is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Clark and Division" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Red Deception
Gary Grossman, author
Ed Fuller, author
Beaufort Books
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011
9780825309465, $26.95, HC, 532pp

Synopsis: When terrorists bomb bridges across the country and threaten the Hoover Dam, the vulnerability of America's infrastructure becomes a matter of national security. But Dan Reilly, a former Army intelligence officer, predicted the attacks in a secret State Department report written years earlier -- a virtual blueprint for disaster, somehow leaked and now in the hands of foreign operatives.

With Washington distracted by domestic crises, Russian President Nicolai Gorshkov sends troops to the borders of Ukraine and Latvia, ready to reclaim what he feels is Russia's rightful territory. Tensions in Europe threaten to boil over as a besieged American president balances multiple crises that threaten to upend the geopolitical order. With the US at the mercy of an egomaniacal leader, and reporters and covert agents on his tail, Reilly may be the one man who can connect the dots before an even bigger catastrophe unfolds.

Critique: The second volume in the second book in authors Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller's the Red Hotel series, "Red Deception" is another deftly crafted suspense thriller/action adventure novel from first page to last -- and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense/Espionage/Terrorism fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Red Deception" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Vortex: An FBI Thriller
Catherine Coulter
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
9780063004085, $28.99, HC, 400pp

Synopsis: Seven years ago, Mia Briscoe was at a college frat rave with her best friend, Serena, when a fire broke out. Everyone was accounted for except Serena, who was never seen nor heard from again. Now an investigative journalist covering the political scene in New York City, Mia discovers old photos taken the night of Serena's disappearance and begins to uncover a sinister string of events going all the way back to that disastrous party. Working with Sherlock, the secrets begin to unravel. But some very powerful (and very dangerous!) people will do anything to keep them from learning the truth.

CIA Operative Olivia Hildebrandt is a team leader on a mission in Iran to exfiltrate a betrayed undercover operative. She's nearly killed by an exploding grenade and saved by a team member. But by the time Olivia is released from Walter Reed Hospital, that team member and a critical flash drive he was carrying have disappeared. When Olivia is attacked on her first night home, Savich suspects that the strike is a direct result of the compromised mission and the missing team member and flash drive. But what intelligence was at stake and who betrayed them?

Critique: A deftly crafted thriller of a read from first page to last, "Vortex: An FBI Thriller" by novelist Catherine Coulter will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Suspense/Thriller collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Vortex: An FBI Thriller" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780063019959, $9.99), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Butcher Pen Road
Kris Lackey
Blackstone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781982689278, $25.99, HC, 200pp

Synopsis: On Oklahoma's Big Rock Prairie, a deaf boy finds a body in Pennington Creek. Johnston County Deputy Hannah Bond and Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Sergeant Bill Maytubby find a crime scene where nothing seems to fit -- from the dead angler's oversize waders to the kind of fish in his creel. They scour the creekside brush, then hit the road for Texas in a widening search for the killer.

On the Big Rock, a towering bearded man is building a limestone replica of Roman Jerusalem for a Christian passion play. His cronies, who are in league with an interstate fraud ring, want the boy to disappear now.

Flying an ancient rented Cessna, Maytubby takes fire from a suspect he is tailing, while Bond combs river trails for traces of the killer.

While Maytubby and Bond try to protect the deaf boy and his mother from the crime ring, an improbable ally materializes from the prairie oak thickets, wielding a monstrous shotgun.

Critique: An original, entertaining, deftly crafted Bill Maytubby and Hannah Bond mystery by Kris Lackey, "Butcher Pen Road" is a riveting read from beginning to end. Laced with cliff-hanger plot twists and unexpected turns, "Butcher Pen Road" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of police procedural mystery fans that "Butcher Pen Road" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Ben Bova
Tor Books
c/o Tor/Forge Books
9781250296627, $28.99, HC, 240pp

Synopsis: In the future, humanity has spread throughout the solar system, on planets and moons once visited only by robots or explored at a distance by far-voyaging spacecraft. No matter how hostile or welcoming the environment, mankind has forged a path and found a home.

In the far reaches of the solar system, the outer planets (billions of miles from Earth, and which were unknown for millennia) are being settled. Neptune, the ice giant, is swathed in clouds of hydrogen, helium, and methane and circled by rings of rock and dust. Three years ago, Ilona Magyr's father, Miklos, disappeared while exploring the seas of Neptune. Everyone believes he is dead - crushed, frozen, or boiled alive in Neptune's turbulent seas.

With legendary space explorer Derek Humbolt piloting her ship and planetary scientist Jan Meitner guiding the search, Ilona Magyr knows she will find her father (alive!) on Neptune. But her plans are irrevocably altered when she and her team discover the wreckage of an alien ship deep in Neptune's ocean, a discovery which changes humanity's understanding of its future -- and its past.

Critique: Another resurrected gem of a novel by the now legendary science fiction author, Ben Bova, "Neptune" is an absolute 'must read' for the legions of Ben Bova fans and will be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to all community and academic library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans that "Neptune" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Benjamin William Bova (November 8, 1932 - November 29, 2020) was an American writer. During a writing career of 60 years, he was the author of more than 120 works of science fact and fiction, six-time winner of the Hugo Award, an editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, an editorial director of Omni; he was also president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. (Wikipedia)

The Serpent
David Drake
Baen Books
9781982125578, $25.00, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: Jon of Dun Add has created a civilization where before there had only been isolated pockets of humanity in a shattered cosmos.

Young knight Pal is one of the most respected members of Lord Jon's Hall of Champions. But Pal's greatest talent lies not on the field of battle, though he's no slouch there. He is also a Maker, one who can repair the tools the Ancients had left -- sometimes. Moreover, he has learned to use his warrior dog's ability to predict motion better than any human could, an ability that has saved his skin and won the day more than once.

Now, Pal will need all his talent as a fighter, as a Maker, as a Champion to deal with the monsters the Waste throws at him -- and to deal with his fellow humans. For there are those who would destroy Dun Add, and Lord Jon's vision of a humanity united in peace, from within

Critique: Another deftly crafted science fiction action-adventure story by a true master of the genre, "The Serpent" by David Drake will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of David Drake fans that "The Serpent" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1188, Wake Forest, NC 27588

Five new Baen publications are highly recommended reading for sci-fi enthusiasts.

The Freehold milieu was created by Michael Z. Williamson, but it's expanded in Freehold Defiance (9781982125363, $16.00) by short stories contributed not just by its creator, but by Kevin J. Anderson, Jason Cordova, and other Baen authors who build upon the theme. Here the UN has invaded the Freehold of Grainne, a libertarian world, requiring it to fight against oppressors even though they are outnumbered and outgunned. They are doing what they do best, because war is in their blood and defiance their way of dealing with threats. Military sci-fi readers who enjoy short stories will find this a rousing series of confrontations that expand Williamson's world and its foundations.

John Ringo works with Gary Poole in We Shall Rise (9781982125585, $25.00), which gathers stories from such notable writers as Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, and Brendan DuBois about the zombie uprising. After the Black Tide Apocalypse, the world has changed and nations have fallen. The human race faced extinction, but survived another winter and have largely beaten back the infected. Fans of Ringo's Black Tide Rising series will find plenty of new action and adventure stories in this fine, diverse collection of events.

Eric Flint, well known for his timeslip alternate history 1637 series, is back with another, working with Griffin Barber in 1637: The Peacock Throne (9781982125356, $25.00). Here, an assassinated emperor, the Mughal Empire's resulting struggle over the Peacock Throne, and the time-transplanted Americans who side with Pricess Jahanara face deeping conflict even as the princess becomes enamored with Afghan general Salim Gadh Yilmaz. The survey of political influences, personal harem experiences and Indian backdrop, and special dilemmas created by Jahanara's efforts makes for a story replete with many satisfying twists and turns.

James L. Cambias's The Godel Operation (9781982125561, $16.00) will attract readers interested in AI stories set in the far future. Daslakh is an AI whose favorite human, Zee, loves a woman who is not real. The human race has expanded so far that Zee is convinced his infatuation must be over a real woman who exists somewhere. When he helps Adya, a different girl, escape from a gang of cooks, the two search for an old weapon, with Daslakh helping them in an effort that could threaten humanity if it goes awry. A fine blend of romance and political and social conflict evolves nicely.

David Weber and Richard Fox's Governor (9781982125400, $27.00) tells of Rear Admiral Terrence Murphy, one of the Five Hundred elite members of the Heart Worlds who reside far from the attacks and battles of humans in other regions of the universe. They lead a wealthy, sheltered life in comparison, but Murphy's rise to power sends him into military service elsewhere, there to find that his "governorship" leads him to an effort to stop the killing and change the world around him. Can he attack a status quo position and change his own destiny in the process? Military readers will find this an involving story.

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

The Cocktail Workshop
Steven Grasse, author
Adam Erace, author
Running Press
9780762472970, $27.50, HC, 216pp

Synopsis: Now even the most novice of aspiring bartenders can learn to craft a perfect, classic drink, or workshop that creation into a unique, flavor-forward spin with "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own", an indispensable guide to foundational cocktails and the tools to elevate them into master-level creations by cocktail professionals Steven Grasse and Adam Erace.

In this richly illustrated instructional guide, this two-man team behind Philadelphia's beloved Art in the Age guides aspiring mixologists through the fundamentals of 20 essential cocktails. Then, each foundational drink is spun off into creative and customizable riffs on flavors, techniques, and ingredients, called Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master versions. Each classic drink is concluded by a Workshop: how to take your at-home bar efforts to the next level with aging, infusing, garnishing, and more.

Drawing on the building blocks of iconic cocktails like the daiquiri and the old-fashioned, readers will grow their knowledge base as they move through each drink, taking away real skills for their home bar (like the proper way to dry-shake an egg white cocktail or carve a manicured lime twist) and an understanding of the fundamentals of cocktailing: how drinks are created, related, and integrated.

Critique: Enhanced with recipes by Lee Noble, "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own" is the ideal DIY guide to making all manner of cocktails at home or professionally. While highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Steven Grasse has created some of the most outrageous booze brands of the twenty-first century: Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Art in the Age Craft Spirits-all seemingly out of thin air. He is the part-owner and creative mastermind behind Narragansett beer, and his agency, Quaker City Mercantile, has brought similar success to beer icons Pilsner Urquell, Guinness, and, most recently, Miller High Life. His first distillery, Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile, opened in 2015 and gained international press and awards within its first year. Steven is also the author of Colonial Spirits: A Toast To Our Drunken History, The Good Reverend's Guide to Infused Spirits, and Evil Empire.

Adam Erace is a food and travel writer, restaurant critic, recipe developer, and co-author of the cookbooks Laurel: Modern American Flavors in Philadelphia and Dinner at the Club: 100 Years of Stories and Recipes from South Philly's Palizzi Social Club. He contributes to more than 50 publications, including Fortune, Men's Journal, Travel + Leisure, and Food & Wine, and his work has been recognized with awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Association of Food Journalists.

Fever-Tree Easy Mixing
Fever-Tree Limited
Mitchell Beazley
Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784727833, $19.99, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: "Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" showcases some 150 cocktails and mixed drinks that even the most novice of aspiring amateur bartenders can make at home in no more than 3 minutes. This means simple ingredients, not too many of them, and things you will have in your cupboard and fridge without having to trawl the internet or specialty drinks aisles.

In a further twist, many recipes offer three variations - simple, sassy and sophisticated -so you can choose whether to go for the speediest when you are short of time, or the souped-up version when you are in the mood to experiment.

Chapters such as Mojitos and Mules offer brilliant spins on familiar classics, No-Low has lots of ideas for alcohol-free drinks and Pitcher Perfect is packed with easy recipes that you can batch and make in quantity to serve to a crowd.

"Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" is a compendium of all the simple, speedy and delicious ideas you would expect from the world's leading premium mixer brand.

Critique: Fever-Tree was founded in 2005 by Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow. The business is founded on a simple premise: to restore taste to mixers by using the highest quality natural ingredients. Profusely and beautifully illustrated in full color throughout, "Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library collections.

The Psychology Shelf

Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy, second edition
Mitchell Kossak
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
2600 South First Street, Springfield, IL 62704
9780398081362, $34.95, PB, 184pp

Synopsis: This newly published second edition of "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy: Toward an Understanding of Embodied Empathy" by Professor Mitchell Kossak addresses how the arts in practice and in therapeutic contexts offer expanded ways of being attuned to emotional states and life conditions with individuals, relationships, groups, and communities. Each chapter clearly articulates how to utilize the arts in order to tune in to self, other and a larger mystical, sacred or spiritual presence.

"Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy" allows the reader to intimately enter into the core essence of what artists and arts based therapists experience in their studios and in the practice of expressive arts therapy. Through a solid theoretical grounding that draws on an interdisciplinary understanding of how rhythm, resonance, improvisation, relational-attachment, intimacy, developmental play, transpersonal psychology and multiple intelligences contribute to an embodied experience of empathy, poignant stories from the Professor Kossak's 35 years as an artist and therapist come alive, allowing the reader to experience the spirit and essence of how the arts have been used throughout history to maintain healthy physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Spontaneity, heightened sensitivity to inner states, deep connectivity to self and other, and an awareness of energetic and embodied shifts in consciousness are some of the common links that are explored. "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy" is essential reading for anyone who is interested in how to create shared communal spaces that can help to transcend individual and community trauma, malaise and anxieties, leading to more integrative and meaningful experiences in order to creatively find ways to collectively engaging with the complexities this life continually offers.

Critique: Notably well written, organized and presented, "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy: Toward an Understanding of Embodied Empathy" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, and Popular Psychological collections in general, and supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Mitchell Kossak, Ph.D., LMHC, REAT, is an associate professor in the Expressive Therapies department at Lesley University. He has been the executive co-chair/president of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) since 2010. He has been a licensed mental health counselor since 1994, and a registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) since 2009. He is the associate editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health and fellow of the Institute for Arts and Health at Lesley University.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The Earth Cries Out
Gary Gardner
Orbis Books
9781626984110 $25.00 pbk / $20.50 Kindle

Synopsis: The Earth Cries Out describes best practices of faith communities responding to the impending climate and sustainability emergency, and presents the next steps for people of belief. Twelve sustainability challenges, ranging from energy and water consumption to land use and socially responsible investing, are each introduced by the cutting-edge sustainability practices of a faith tradition, followed by discussion of the issue's global importance. Far from a litany of sustainability woes, the book is inspired by a vision of communities of faith that are models of sustainable living.

Critique: The Earth Cries Out: How Faith Communities Meet the Challenges of Sustainability is a thoughtful and thought- provoking guide about environmental and global sustainability issues, and the role of faith communities in promoting sustainable practices that will benefit future generations. In addition to keeping the environment from degradation, means to reach out and benefit impoverished communities across the globe are discussed. The Earth Cries Out is a welcome resource in today's modern era, where environmental conservation values of both conscience and faith are needed more than ever. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Earth Cries Out is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.50).

The Land is Not Empty
Sarah Augustine
Herald Press
9781513808291 $16.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: In The Land Is Not Empty, author Sarah Augustine unpacks the harm of the Doctrine of Discovery--a set of laws rooted in the fifteenth century that gave Christian governments the moral and legal right to seize lands they "discovered" despite those lands already being populated by indigenous peoples. Legitimized by the church and justified by a misreading of Scripture, the Doctrine of Discovery says a land can be considered "empty" and therefore free for the taking if inhabited by "heathens, pagans, and infidels."

In this prophetic book, Augustine, a Pueblo woman, reframes the colonization of North America as she investigates ways that the Doctrine of Discovery continues to devastate indigenous cultures, and even the planet itself, as it justifies exploitation of both natural resources and people. This is a powerful call to reckon with the root causes of a legacy that continues to have devastating effects on indigenous peoples around the globe and a call to recognize how all of our lives and our choices are interwoven.

What was done in the name of Christ must be undone in the name of Christ, the author claims. The good news of Jesus means there is still hope for the righting of wrongs. Right relationship with God, others, and the earth requires no less.

Critique: The Land Is Not Empty is a Christian repudiation of an abhorrent set of laws known as the "Doctrine of Discovery", created in the fifteenth century to bestow Christian governments to seize "discovered" lands that were already inhabited by indigenous peoples. The Land Is Not Empty calls for the generational and systemic wrongs done in the name of Christ to be undone in the name of Christ. Chapters outline strategies consistent with the good news of Jesus, to heal the scars of history and forge a stronger societal relationship with God. A thought-provoking, deeply faithful testimony, This Land Is Not Empty is highly recommended especially for community and church library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that This Land Is Not Empty is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

God Is Your Defender
Rosie Rivera
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9780785237723, $24.99, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: The desire for revenge is one of our most basic of human emotions. When we have been hurt or when something has been stolen from us, whether that be our innocence or our good name or a loved one, the desire to retaliate is irresistible. But is it the right response of a follower of Jesus?

As a survivor herself, Rosie Rivera has walked in this tension, a sojourner in the search for healing and wholeness in the light of horrific wrongs. She has wrestled the desire to defend herself, her reputation, and her family while also wanting to let God be her Defender.

"God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is about understanding the motives behind your thoughts and behaviors toward those who have wronged you. It is about the conditions you might have put on forgiveness. It is also about fighting the urge to take over instead of trusting God. As well as learning how to truly rest in the Lord as the One who defends you and actively abiding in his peace.

Backed by biblical examples and personal stories, "God Is Your Defender" guides you to a place of healing as you: Learn the difference between a vengeful spirit and a heart of advocacy; Stop the self-destructive cycle of the desire for revenge; Discern effectively when to take a righteous stand and when to stand back and let God defend you; Experience how to move from an "eye for an eye" mentality to an "I for an I" by exchanging "I am hurt" for "I am healing"; Let go of the pain of the past without ignoring what happened.

"God Is Your Defender" equips you to respond to hurtful situations, from the most minor to some of the most difficult, from a place of empowerment and peace.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is an inspiring, thought-provoking, and spiritually enhancing read that is especially commended to all members of the Christian community seeking to emulate the example of Jesus within the context of their own daily lives. While a strongly recommended addition to community, church, and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists tht "God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Rosie Rivera is an author, entrepreneur, and the testamentary executor of Jenni Rivera Enterprises, as well as an international speaker, author and an influential public figure. Rosie uses her platform to lift up, motivate, and give hope to sexual abuse victims as a survivor and counselor. Rosie has also co-hosted the top Spanish morning shows such as Despierta America and Un Nuevo Dia and co-hosts along with her husband a marriage podcast called The Power of Us on Revolver Podcast. Additionally, Rosie has participated and starred in reality shows such as I Love Jenni, The Riveras, Mira Quien Baila, and Rica Famosa Latina currently on Netflix.

Brave Church
Elizabeth Hagan
Upper Room Books
PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0003
9780835819367, $15.99, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: In today's deeply divided world where discussions can quickly become heated and uncivil, churches need to learn how to talk about sensitive issues. Our society needs brave churches where people can talk about the real struggles they are experiencing without fear of being dismissed, shamed, or judged.

"Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together" by pastor Elizabeth Hagan was written to help Christian congregations talk about controversial topics with sensitivity to those who see the world and have experienced life differently from themselves. "Brave Church" guides readers to think through how they can foster conversations about such challenging topics as infertility/miscarriage, mental health, domestic violence, racism, and sexuality.

In this 6-week small-group study, pastor Hagan weaves personal and theological reflections with scripture, discussion questions, and real-world examples to move readers from exploration to action. Of special note is that this edition of "Brave Church" includes a Leader's Guide and suggests resources for further reading and action.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together" is an ideal study guide for individual as well as Christian Discipleship small group instruction. While highly recommended for church and seminary library Adult Christian Education collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Brave Church" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Hagan is an ecumenical pastor at heart who has most recently served the Palisades Community Church in Washington, DC, as senior minister. Though first ordained as an American Baptist, Hagan has served United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian (USA), and Disciples of Christ congregations in various pastoral roles. She is a graduate of Samford University and Duke Divinity School. She is also the author of Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility and the executive director of Our Courageous Kids, a foundation serving young adults who grew up in international orphanages with educational and mental health support. She maintains an informative website at

Just Rest
Sonja Corbitt
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
9781646800865, $16.95, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: The desert wanderings of God's 'Chosen People' (and the spiritual lessons and encouragement they offer to us today) come alive in scripture teacher Sonja Corbitt's five-week Bible study on the Exodus account.

"Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is a dynamic study will help you to apply the spiritual lessons of the Exodus into your own life, identify areas of desolation and need, and better understand God's greater purposes in times of adversity and dryness. In so doing, you will experience what it means to invite Jesus to nourish your spirit and guide you to the kingdom promised to all who enter into his rest.

Breaking open both the Exodus and overview of it found in Hebrews 3-4, Corbitt shows how the event is also a powerful metaphor for the spiritual life: everything we need - spiritual, emotional, and physical rest and replenishment - is found not at the end of our journey but in the desert itself. .Everything God desires for us may be found in the "Dew of Heaven," Jesus.

Corbitt reveals that the heavenly sustenance God provided to the Chosen People in the desert is available to us today if we open ourselves to it. Whatever your questions, you will find the answers you seek as you come to understand how God delivered the Chosen People from their waywardness and blessed them with everything they needed to reach the Promised Land. And he will do the same for us if we ask.

Each of the five chapters of this study explores a different facet of the desert experience: Rest in the wandering - God's ways are desert ways: entering the desert; Thoughts at rest: testing in the desert; Emotions at rest: conquering the desert; Body and spirit at rest: emerging from the desert; and the blessings of rest: entering the Promised Land. Each chapter contains summary points, an invitation to respond, and Corbitt's LOVE the Word lectio exercises.

Critique" Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is informative, thoughtful, inspiring, and unreservedly recommended as an individual or small group Old Testament study guide. While appropriate for church and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.10).

Editorial Note: Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic author and speaker who has produced several multimedia Bible studies, including Unleashed, Fearless, and Exalted. She also created the LOVE the Word Bible study method. Corbitt is also the host of Evangelista Bible Study on CatholicTV and the Bible Study Evangelista Show on radio and podcast. She is in formation as a Third Order Carmelite. Corbitt is a columnist at The Great Adventure Bible Study blog and a contributor to Magnificat. She has served as director of religious education at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Gallatin, Tennessee, and as executive director of Risen Radio in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Samuel
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
9789657766231, $49.95, HC

Synopsis: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel offers an innovative and refreshing approach to the Hebrew Bible. By fusing extraordinary findings by modern scholars on the ancient Near East with the original Hebrew text and a brand new English translation. The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel clarifies and explains the Biblical narrative, laws, events, and prophecies in context with the milieu in which it took place. It features stunning visuals of ancient civilizations including artifacts, archeological excavations, inscriptions, and maps, along with brief articles on Egyptology, geography, biblical botany, language, geography, and more. By showcasing material that was unknown to previous generations of Torah scholars, The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel opens a new view into the revolutionary impact of the Tanakh, published for the first time in English.

Critique: This multilingual edition of "The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Samuel" by the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is an impressively erudite, informative and insightful extended commentary and a welcome, highly recommended addition to personal, synagogue, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

The Aesthetics of Solidarity
Nichole M. Flores
Georgetown University Press
9781647120917, $49.95 pbk / $47.45 Kindle

Synopsis: Latine Catholics have used Our Lady of Guadalupe as a symbol in democratic campaigns ranging from the Chicano movement and United Farm Workers' movements to contemporary calls for just immigration reform. In diverse ways, these groups have used Guadalupe's symbol and narrative to critique society's basic structures - including law, policy, and institutions - while seeking to inspire broader participation and representation among marginalized peoples in US democracy.

Yet, from the outside, Guadalupe's symbol is illegible within a liberal political framework that seeks to protect society's basic structures from religious encroachment by relegating religious speech, practices, and symbols to the background.

The Aesthetics of Solidarity argues for the capacity of Our Lady of Guadalupe - and similar religious symbols - to make democratic claims. Author Nichole M. Flores exposes the limitations of political liberalism's aesthetic responses to religious difference, turning instead to Latine theological aesthetics and Catholic social thought to build a framework for interpreting religious symbols in our contemporary pluralistic and participatory democratic life. By offering a lived theology of Chicanx Catholics in Denver, Colorado, and their use of Guadalupe in the pursuit of justice in response to their neighborhood's gentrification, this book provides an important framework for a community of interpretation where members stand in solidarity to respond to justice claims made from diverse religious and cultural communities.

Critique: Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, linked to an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary enshrined within the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The Aesthetics of Solidarity: Our Lady of Guadalupe and American Democracy is a scholarly analysis of why Catholics in Latin American countries have used Our Lady of Guadalupe as a symbol in calls and rallies for democracy. A keen-minded, scholarly analysis enhanced with a bibliography and an index, Our Lady of Guadalupe is highly recommended especially for college and university Religion/Spirituality collections. "Guadalupe's religious, cultural, and political implications invite a specification of the symbol's significance for a modern democracy. What is the political significance of Guadalupe for US Latinx communities engaged in liberative political projects within the context of a twenty-first-century US democracy?" It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Aesthetics of Solidarity is also available in a Kindle edition ($47.45).

Editorial Note: Nichole M. Flores is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of several scholarly articles and is a contributing writer for America magazine. She was the recipient of the 2015 Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award for the best academic essay in Catholic theology from the Catholic Theological Society of America.

The Automotive Shelf

Drag Racing in the 1960s
Doug Boyce
9781613255827, $35.99 pbk / $27.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The 1960s were a fascinating decade on the race scene. Relive the memories today through this wonderful new book.

Drag racing has a long and storied history. Many have said that the first drag race happened shortly after the second car was made. While that may or may not be true, racing prior to World War II was mostly centered around dry-lake activities and top-speed runs. After the war, drag racing became organized with the formation of the NHRA, and during the 1950s, many tracks were built across America to accommodate the racers. Technology in the 1950s centered on the manufacturers updating old flathead designs into newer overhead-valve designs, and the horsepower race really started to heat up.

In many forms of racing, the 1960s brought technological evolution. The decade began with big engines in even bigger stock chassis and ended with purpose-built race-only chassis, fiberglass bodies, fuel injection, nitro methane, and blowers. Quarter-mile times that were in the 13-second range in the beginning of the decade were in the 7-second range by the end. New classes were formed, dedicated cars were built for them, and many racers themselves became recognized names in the sports landscape.

In Drag Racing in the 60s: The Evolution in Race Car Technology, veteran author Doug Boyce takes you on a ride through the entire decade from a technological point of view rather than a results-based one. Covered are all the classes, including Super Stocks, Altered Wheelbase cars (which led to Funny Cars), Top Fuelers, Gassers, and more.

Critique: Drag Racing in the 1960s: The Evolution In Race Car Technology is an extraordinary tour of what the sport of drag racing was like decades ago. Drag Racing in the 1960s specifically focuses on a decade of technological evolution, beginning with big engines and gigantic stock chassis and concluding with chassis built exclusively for racing. Vintage black-and-white and color photography brings some of the more eye-popping classic racing cars to vivid life, while the descriptive text dives deeply into the technical details of these cars and the races that pitted them against one another. Drag Racing in the 1960s is highly recommended especially for automotive enthusiasts and racing history collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Dragon Racing in the 1960s is also available in a Kindle edition ($27.99).

Editorial Note: Doug Boyce has written numerous club and magazine articles related to drag racing's golden years. He has an ongoing love of drag racing and the way it used to be. He is the author of Grumpy's Toys, Junior Stock, Drag Racing's Quarter-Mile Warriors: Then & Now, Match Race Mayhem, and 1001 Drag Racing Facts, all best-selling CarTech titles.

Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify
Eric LaClair, author
Susan Anderson, author
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613255476, $36.95, PB, 176pp

Synopsis: If ever a car rolled off the factory floor in the form of a blank slate, the Volkswagen Beetle is it. In fact, after taking delivery of their beloved Bug, many owners began modifications and customizations to personalize their favorite German compact.

Perhaps the most charismatic automobile ever, the Volkswagen Beetle was the longest-running, most-manufactured automobile on a single platform in automotive history. From 1938 to 2003, more than 21.5 million Bugs were assembled, distributed, and sold on nearly every continent in the world. If there's a component that owners can modify, they'll do it, and each custom touch makes them love their Beetle even more.

Airkooled Kustoms, a Volkswagen restoration and modification shop in Hazel Green, Alabama, has served all kinds of classic Volkswagen owners. For those who venture into the world of customization, no modern or historic trend is off-limits. These Volkswagen experts introduce and walk you through some of the most glorious customizations that Beetle owners can make to their rides. In this instructive DIY pages of "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" there is a wealth of practical inspiration, instruction, and more modifications than most owners could ever tackle in a lifetime.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" by the team of Eric LeClair and Susan Anderson is impressively comprehensive and exceptionally well organized, making it an ideal DIY instruction manual for VW owners. While also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99), "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and trade school auto shop instruction manual collections.

Editorial Note: As with the 2019's edition of "How to Restore Your Volkswagen Beetle", for this updated project, Susan Anderson's fingers did the typing. Her mind formed the words after translating the thoughts and expertise of the "real" authors into layman's terms. The 'real author' is Eric "Spook" LeClair, the artist behind the rolling sculptures coming out of the Airkooled Kustoms shop in Hazel Green, Alabama. The expert contributors to this edition of "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" also included John Alba of Grumpy's Metal, Jason Fields of Rare Air, Mfg., Steve "Fish" Fisher of Doug's Buggs and Bunnies, Kerry Pinkerton of Imperial Wheeling Machines, Pete Skiba of Airkewld, LLC, and Don West of West Coast Wipers.

The Business Shelf

Beyond Collaboration Overload
Rob Cross
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
9781647820121, $30.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: All too often corporate organizations have created always-on work contexts that are burning people out and hurting performance rather than delivering productivity, innovation and engagement. Collaborative work consumes 85% of employees' time and is drifting earlier into the morning, later into the night, and deeper into the weekend. The dilemma is that we all need to collaborate more to create effective organizations and vibrant careers for ourselves. But conventional wisdom on teamwork and collaboration has created too much of the wrong kind of collaboration, which hurts our performance, health and overall well-being.

Through landmark research with more than 300 organizations, in-depth stories, and tools, "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" by Rob Cross (who is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and the cofounder and Chief Research Scientist of the Connected Commons business consortium) solves this paradox by showing how top performers who thrive at work collaborate in a more purposeful way that makes them 18-24% more efficient than their peers. Good collaborators are distinguished by the efficiency and intentionality of their collaboration -- not the size of their network or the length of their workday.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" must be considered essential reading for any corporate executive charged with the responsibility of maintaining an effective work force at all levels of their business. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Human Resources, Time Management, Business Motivation/Self Help, and Time Management instructional reference collections.

The Observant Leader
Donald Ruhl
Peter E. Randall Publisher
9781937721756 $19.95

Synopsis: The leaders of smaller not-for-profit organizations, because of their limited resources, have to pay continuing attention to issues of the first importance. The Observant Leader provides you with insights into the inner workings of successful leadership in smaller not-for-profit organizations that you can utilize in your own practice as a successful leader irrespective of the organizational setting in which you work.

Critique: The Observant Leader: Warning Signals That Can Cost You Your Job and What to Do About Them is a guide for business leaders and career professionals, drawn from the firsthand experience of smaller non-profit organizations, including but not limited to many chambers of commerce. The Observant Leader lives up to its title with tips, tricks, and techniques of warning signals to watch out for, and how to effectively respond to problems. For example, some warning signs to beware include "Lack of Accurate and Balanced Feedback", "The Board is Large and the Executive Committee is Ambitious", "An Overabundance of Rumors", and much more. The Observant Leader is a "must-read" for any career professional pursuing advancement, and especially for executives!

Editorial Note: Dr. Donald Ruhl is an organizational consultant specializing in not-for-profit organizations. In addition to his teaching experience in two-year and four-year colleges and in universities, Dr. Ruhl has more than thirty years of experience working in leadership positions in not-for-profit organizations. These experiences, along with his chairmanship and membership on a variety of not-for-profit boards, has given him on the firing line expertise to write The Observant Leader. Dr. Ruhl is also the author of two other books: Survival Fundraising and The Happy Volunteer.

The Architecture Shelf

Buildings in Print
John Hill
Prestel Publishing
9783791387123, $60.00, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: John Hill is the editor-in-chief of's International Magazine and is the founder of the blog now called A Daily Dose of Architecture. His articles have appeared in Architect Magazine, The Architect's Newspaper, Evolo, and other journals. A registered architect, Hill is the author of 100 Years, 100 Buildings; 100 Years, 100 Landscape Designs; and NYC Walks: Guide to New Architecture, all published by Prestel.

In his hugely influential architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture he recently shifted course to focus entirely on architecture books of all kinds. That is how selection for his seminal and ground-breaking volume, "Buildings in Print: 100 Influential & Inspiring Illustrated Architecture Books" came to span centuries, continents, and genres to include Le Corbusier's Towards a New Architecture, Project Japan by Rem Koolhaas, Atlas of Another America: An Architectural Fiction by Keith Krumwiede, X-Ray Architecture by Beatriz Colomina and Thomas Wolfe's From Bauhaus to Our House.

The books selected and included are organized into the categories of Manifestos, Histories, Education, Housing, Monographs, Buildings, Exhibitions, Building Cities, and Critiques, and each one has a reproduction of the book's cover along with selected spreads which are accompanied by Hill's informed, personal, and engaging take on what makes the title unique and indispensable.

In addition, sidebar "Top 10" lists from many of today's leading critics and architects are scattered throughout. Capturing the best of Hill's insightful and curious mind, this invaluable resource will broaden the world of anyone interested in

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Buildings in Print: 100 Influential & Inspiring Illustrated Architecture Books" will prove to be a welcome, unique, and unreservedly recommended contribution to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Architectural Studies & Reference collections.

Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930
Jeannine Love
Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781611863499, $59.95, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: An informative and impressively researched study, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful " by Jeannine Denobel Love (an independent art historian focusing on American art and architecture from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century) is a detailed and elegant history of the architectural transformation of Cleveland during its "golden age" -- roughly the period between post - Civil War reconstruction and World War I.

By the early twentieth century, Cleveland, which would evolve into the fifth largest city in America, hoped to shed the gritty industrial image of its rapid-growth period and evolve into a city to match the political clout of its statesmen like John Hay and wealth of its business elites such as John D. Rockefeller.

Encouraged by the spectacle and public response to the Beaux-Arts buildings of the Chicago World's Exposition of 1893, the city embarked upon a grand scheme to construct new governmental and civic structures known as the Cleveland Plan of Grouping Public Buildings, one of the earliest and most complete City Beautiful planning schemes in the country.

The success of this plan led to a spillover effect that prompted architects to design all manner of new public buildings with similar Beaux-Arts stylistic characteristics during the next three decades. With the group plan realized, civic leaders (with the goal of expanding the city's cultural institutions to match the distinction of its civic center) established its counterpart in University Circle, creating a secondary group plan, the first cultural center in the country.

Critique: Ground-breaking, unique, comprehensive, informatively illustrated, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library American Architectural History collections. Indeed, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful" would well serve as a template for architectural histories of other major American cities.

Architectural Missionary
Steven C. Brisson
Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781611863970, $46.95, HC, 278pp

Synopsis: The first and most prolific professional architect to reside permanently in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, D. Fred Charlton used the local Lake Superior sandstone to craft the distinctive style found in buildings throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Born in England and trained there as a civil engineer, Charlton came to Detroit in the late 1870s, seeking work as a draftsman. Much like his peers of the time, he had no formal training as an architect and learned his trade by working at several prominent firms. The last, Scott & Company, sent him to Marquette in 1887 to open a branch office. Three years later, Charlton opened his own firm, and over the next twenty-eight years, he designed more than four hundred buildings, including residences, commercial structures, schools, courthouses, and churches throughout the region, which offer an invaluable insight into the tastes of Americans before the World War I and provide a unique vantage point for studying the evolution of the architectural profession.

Deftly adapting national trends, he provided the communities of the Upper Peninsula with modern structures worthy of any place in the nation. Many of his buildings remain to this day, monuments to the skill of this English-born architect who made a place for himself upon the shores of Lake Superior.

Critique: An exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented combination of biography and architectural history, "Architectural Missionary: D. Fred Charlton in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 1887 - 1918" by Steven C. Brisson (who is the director of Mackinac State Historic Parks, and vice chair of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History) will prove to be a welcome study in the architectural history of the upper Midwest. While especially recommended for professional, community, college, and university library American Architectural History collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Architectural Missionary" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $44.60).

The Travel Shelf

How to Suffer Outside
Diana Helmuth, author
Latasha Dunston, illustrator
Mountaineers Books
9781680513110, $18.95, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Part critique of modern hiking culture and part how-to guide, "How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking and Backpacking" is for anyone of any age and background who wants to hit the trail without breaking the bank. Author and experienced hiker Diana Helmuth offers real advice, opinionated but accessible and based on in-the-field experiences. She wins readers' hearts and trust through a blend of self-deprecating humor and good-natured heckling of both seasoned backpackers and urbanites who romanticize being outdoorsy, plus a helpful dose of the actual advice a novice needs to get started.

Featuring illustrations by artist and illustrator Latasha Dunston, each individual chapter focuses on a critical topic: gear, food, hygiene, clothing, and more, along with useful checklists and resources. Humorous, philosophical, and practical, "How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking and Backpacking" teaches casual walkers, hikers, and campers of all stripes how to venture outdoors with confidence.

Critique: An ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for aspiring hikers and novice backpackers, "How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking and Backpacking" is especially 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, content, organization and presentation. While highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking and Backpacking" is also readily available in an digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Diana Helmuth has hiked extensively throughout the western US, Europe, and Chile. She studied cultural anthropology at University of California - Berkeley and the American University in Cairo. An illustrator and painter, Latasha Dunston earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. Her clients include Otterbox, Range magazine, Craghoppers, SNEWs, and the Denver Art Museum.

100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die
John W. Brown and Amanda E. Doyle
Reedy Press
9781681062983 $19.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Missouri is called the Show-Me State for a good reason. From cosmopolitan rooftop bars to breathtaking mountain views, there are so many amazing things to do here that you could spend a lifetime exploring and still not cover it all. Make your goal easier with 100 Things to Do in Missouri Before You Die, a curated collection of the best from every corner of the state.

Discover architectural wonders beyond the Arch, outdoor escapes like scuba diving in the Bonne Terre Mine, and museums and festivals celebrating everything from ragtime to road trips. Take the time to experience the legacy of George Washington Carver, Daniel Boone, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Harry S. Truman.

Find ideas for exploring the Ozark mountains, Missouri's big cities, unique small towns, and even prehistoric caves. Don't miss insider tips to world-famous attractions, distinctive food and nightlife scenes, cultural creatives in fashion and the arts, and where to shop for everything from fine furniture to fine whiskey.

Local authors John W. Brown and Amanda E. Doyle invite you to buckle up for this nonstop adventure ride around their home state. Special features such as seasonal and themed itineraries make planning a snap, so there should never be a reason for you or your family to say, "I have nothing to do!"

Critique: 100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die lives up to its title with one hundred suggested attractions to visit, culinary delights to enjoy, historical sites to admire, and quality local shops browse. Missouri tourists and residents alike will discover a plethora of places, activities, and delights worthy of a lifelong "bucket list"! Photographs, an index, and a state region-specific suggested itinerary round out this excellent traveler supplement, highly recommended especially for anyone seeking to make the most of a Missouri trip. It should be noted for personal reading lists that 100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781838690403, $24.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: When the pandemic becomes history, just where should you go on your next visit to Europe? Packed full with trip recommendations for every time of year - curated with weather, seasonal costs, crowds and events in mind - "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" from Lonely Planet covers every flavor of the European travel experience, from culture-rich city breaks and sun-kissed beach escapes to scenic road trips and adrenaline-fueled adventures.

With more than 300 suggestions for destinations across Europe and the best time of year to experience them, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" fully illustrated, 304-page compendium is the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year. It features unique interactive flow chart in each month's chapter to help you refine your interest. Find out how to escape the crowds in the pastel-hued villages of Italy's Cinque Terre, discover why the slopes of Moritz are the place to be come winter time, and get to know when to explore the highlands and islands of Scotland for the best weather.

Destinations are divided by months of the year, and a key describes where on the continent is best to enjoy adventure, culture and food and drink, where is best to spot species of wildlife, the best places to kick back and relax, and where you get the best bang-for-your-buck. Ultimately, whether you want to wander through sky-high mountain ranges or lose yourself wandering through quaint and cobbled city streets, this trusty and expert-led book will have you covered.

Critique: Deftly organized on a monthly calendar from January through December, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is extraordinarily 'user friendly' for planning everything from day trips, to extended vacations, to year long excursions. Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, packed with basic information, as well as tips, tricks and techniques for getting the most out of on-site visits, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is also a delight for the armchair traveler to simply browse through. Simply stated, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library European Travel Guide collections.

Guide to Western National Monuments
Mike Endres
Colorado Mountain Club Press
c/o Mountaineers Books (distribution)
9781937052553, $26.95, PB, 344pp

Synopsis: "Guide to Western National Monuments" author Mike Endres showcases 70 of the nation's national monuments across the western United States. These are the best places to visit if you want to hike and camp in spectacular scenery with relatively few people (compared to national parks). The 70 national monuments featured in this guide were chosen for their fascinating history, diverse flora and fauna, as well as opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and camping.

This exceptional guidebook includes: 70 national monuments in 11 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming; Full color maps and stunning photographs; Information on things to do and see, facilities, driving directions, and useful contacts.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, this edition of "Guide to Western National Monuments" from the Colorado Mountain Club Press is an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' resource for planning visits to the selected and showcased national monuments that are true gems in American's national parks and monument system. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Travel Guide collections, it should be noted for travelers and monument visitors that "Guide to Western National Monuments" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.95).

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The History of Tarot Art
Holly Adams Easley, author
Esther Joy Archer, author
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760371244, $49.50, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: "The History of Tarot Art: Demystifying the Art and Arcana, Deck by Deck" is a coffee table compendium that is a profusely illustrated history of how the tarot morphed from a fifteenth century card game to a popular modern activity. Students of the tarot will learn more about the stories behind the art of tarot's most influential decks, like Rider-Waite-Smith and Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot, as well as the female artists whose work was often overshadowed in their time.

"The History of Tarot Art" also takes a close look at the Visconti, Sola-Busca, Tarot de Marseille, Aquarian, Morgan-Greer, Motherpeace, Cosmic, Druidcraft, Wild Unknown, and Deviant Moon decks, alongside dozens of contemporary decks. In many cases, "The History of Tarot Art" reveals how tarot art reflects its era. The Morgan-Greer deck, for example, could only have been born in the 1970s. More recent decks, such as Black Power Tarot and Fifth Spirit Tarot, aim to represent more diverse experiences in regard to race, gender, and sexuality.

"The History of Tarot Art" also provides a wealth of tips for doing your own tarot readings and a cheat sheet on the meanings of the Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, and Tarot de Marseille cards.

Critique: Guided by tarot experts Holly Adams Easley and Esther Joy Archer (who are the co-hosts of the popular Wildly Tarot podcast), "The History of Tarot Art: Demystifying the Art and Arcana, Deck by Deck" is deluxe collector's book that provides a fresh look at the influence of tarot from its beginnings to today. The elegant slipcase, 24 removable Sola-Busca tarot cards, and illustrated fold-out timeline with important dates in tarot development make this package a must-have for any tarot fan. Whether a longtime tarot practitioner or a newcomer to the practice, "The History of Tarot Art" provides a compendium of fascinating new insights -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Tarot supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Iconic Tarot Decks
Sarah Bartlett
Frances Lincoln
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711251717, $25.00, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: The tarot is a treasury of divination, symbolism and self-knowledge. But who created its mysterious art and meaning, and why? What were they seeking? Does it originate in ancient esoteric wisdom or is this a vain fancy of the occultists? How has the interpretation and meaning of the cards evolved?

In the illustrated pages of "Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks", tarot expert Sarah Bartlett presents 50 of the most iconic tarot decks while telling the powerful stories of how each was devised and designed and showcasing their most exemplary cards. Each of the fifty-six decks showcased in this informative compendium holds its own unique symbolism and mystical beginnings: from Visconti-Sforza, the fifteenth-century deck that reveals the fates of two Italian dynasties, to the Sola Busca Tarot, with its esoteric alchemical codex; from the pioneering Rider-Waite-Smith deck to the occult riddles of English Magic Tarot.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, and featuring an inherently interesting introduction to reading tarot, as well as useful tips on deciphering the cards "Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks" is the perfect book for collectors, cartomancers, designers, tattoo artists and anyone interested in the art and mystery of tarot. Very highly recommended for professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Tarot supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted that "Iconic Tarot Decks" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $21.37).

Editorial Note: Sarah Bartlett (D. Psych Astrol) is the author of The Tarot Bible. As astrologer she has worked on Steve Wright in the Afternoon (BBC Radio 2), Cosmopolitan (UK), She and London Evening Standard. Sarah is the author of many books, including The Little Book of Practical Magic, The Witch's Spellbook, The Tarot - Reconnect with You and Secrets of the Universe in 100 Symbols.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Cutting Edge
Francesco Dimitri, author
Mario Alberti, illustrator
Titan Comics
9781787734265, $29.99, HC, 208pp

Synopsis: Scientists, artists, entrepreneurs they are the best of humanity. They are the Cutting Edge! That's why a financial company offers an exclusive group of such pioneers an incredible challenge that will not only push them to their limits but will put their very lives at risk. Only by completing it will these intrepid men and women know what it was all for, and uncover the truth of a deadly conspiracy that threatens the world and involves a struggle between powers they are hard pressed to comprehend. This is where history is changed forever -- at the Cutting Edge!

Critique: The superbly crafted artwork of illustrator Mario Alberti brings author/storyteller Francesco Dimitri's graphic novel with its elements of mystery, fantasy and science fiction come alive in the mind's eye of the reader -- making "Cutting Edge" an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Graphic Novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of dedicated graphic novel fans that "Cutting Edge" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $19.99).

Old Gods & New
John Morrow with Jon B. Cooke
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490984, $26.95,

Comic history collections with a special interest in illustrator Jack Kirby will find this 80th issue of the Jack Kirby Collector magazine focuses on the 50th anniversary of Kirby's best creation. Four different comics on this theme created in 1970 (New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle, and Jimmy Olsen) were left unresolved. Here, they receive fine inspection as this series companion considers Kirby's own words and that of artists and publishers he worked with to consider how Kirby would have wrapped up the series before it was cancelled by DC Comics. Fans of Fourth World scenarios will find this presentation extensively researched, packed with color and insights into hundreds of Kirby's characters and ideas, and absolutely essential reading for both Kirby fans and any definitive comic history collection.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Madness of Crowds
Louise Penny, author
Robert Bathurst, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250810670 $39.99, 12 CDs

Synopsis: While the residents of the Quebec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro and share meals together, the Chief Inspector finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request.

He's asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university.

While he is perplexed as to why the head of homicide for the Surete du Quebec would be assigned this task, it sounds easy enough. That is until Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture.

They refuse, citing academic freedom, and accuse Gamache of censorship and intellectual cowardice. Before long, Professor Robinson's views start seeping into conversations. Spreading and infecting. So that truth and fact, reality and delusion are so confused it's near impossible to tell them apart.

Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold. Abigail Robinson promises that, if they follow her, ca va bien aller. All will be well. But not, Gamache and his team know, for everyone.

When a murder is committed it falls to Armand Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team to investigate the crime as well as this extraordinary popular delusion.

And the madness of crowds.

Critique: Now in an unabridged audiobook edition superbly performed by Robert Bathurst, The Madness of Crowds is a psychological thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, on holiday in a quaint, snowy village in Quebec, Canada. When Armand is asked to provide security for a visiting Professor of Statistics, he is shocked to discover the professors horrific views, and begs the university to cancel the lecture. The lecture proceeds in the name of academic freedom, and somehow professor's reality-distorting views aggressively seep into the hearts, minds, and everyday conversations of the local populace, escalating into a murder that Gamache must solve despite being surrounded by the madness of crowds. Intense, gripping, and all too heartrendingly close to modern-day reality, The Madness of Crowds is highly recommended. 12 CDs, 15 hours. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Madness of Crowds is also available in hardcover from Minotaur Books (9781250145260, $28.99) and in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

The Library CD Shelf

Songs From My Father
Gerry Gibbs
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos of America (distribution)
$24.99 CD

Multitalented musician Gerry Gibbs presents Songs From My Father, a 2-CD album of his father's original compositions (except for "Tango For Terry", which is composed by Chick Corea). A jazz celebration honoring the lifetime achievements of Gerry's father, Terry Gibbs, this album reinterprets Terry's songs through Gerry's rearrangements, and is a rousing, emotional, and rapturous audio tour. Highly recommended, especially for jazz connoisseurs! The songs are Kick Those Feet, Smoke 'em Up, Bopstacle Course, Nutty Notes, Take It From Me, Sweet Young Song of Love, The Fat Man, Lonely Days, and Hey Chick on disc 1, and Townhouse 3, T & S, 4 a.m., Waltz For My Children, Hippie Twist, Lonely Dreams, For Keeps, Pretty Blue Eyes, Gibberish, and Tango for Terry on disc 2. 1 hour, 36 min., 47 sec.

Under Cover
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $7.99 MP3

Under Cover is an album of reimagined jazz favorites and rearrangements of beloved art-pop and folk ballads. Esbe showcases the songs that inspired her music career, and takes listeners on a wondrous tour through reinvented classics. Highly recommended! The tracks are Yesterday, A Taste of Honey, Don't Explain, Night and Day, The Sound of Silence, Eleanor Rigby, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Amazing Grace, Summertime, and Silent Night.

Borrowed Time
Joe Troop
Free Dirt Records
$14.98 CD / $8.99 MP3

Joe Troop, the Grammy-nominated bandleader of Che Apalache, presents his new album Borrowed Time, inspired by Joe Troop's travels in South America and his upbringing in rural North Carolina. Both English and Spanish lyrics are present in different pieces of music. Joe isn't also shy about expressing his political affiliations; he is both an American patriot and a forward-thinking progressive, who protested the Trump administration and tapped into his banjo talent to encourage rural America to vote in 2020. The music of Borrowed Time reverberates with hope, inspiration, and solidarity; Borrowed Time is highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of quality multicultural music and masterful banjo playing. The tracks are Horizon, Love Along the Way, The Rise of Dreama Caldwell, Hermano migrante, Sevilla, Purdy Little Rainbows, Monte oscuro, Red White & Blues, Prisionero, Mercy for Migrants, Django's Palace, and Heaven on Earth.

Mad Twenties
Taylor Rae
Privately Published
$15.00 CD

Mad Twenties is an album of original songs created and performed by Taylor Rae. Elements of jazz, blues, and folk are present; Taylor Rae showcases her talent for vocals and acoustic guitar with accompaniment from Dave Francis on bass, Wayne Killius on drums, David Flint on guitar and mandolin, and Chris Note on piano. The songs are emotionally moving and touch upon themes ranging from relationships to the uncertainty of finding one's own path in life. Mad Twenties is highly recommended for connoisseurs of inspirational, soul-searching music. The tracks are Window, Home on the Road, Fixer Upper, Sink or Swim, Letting Go, Never Gonna Do, 5:25, Just Be, Something Familiar, Forgiveness, Wait and See, and Taking Space.

Dave Zinno with Unisphere
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos of America (distribution)
$16.99 CD

Fetish is an original music album created by Dave Zinno and his Unisphere bandmates (Mike Tucker, Eric Benny Bloom, Leo Genovese, Tim Ray, and Rafael Barata) during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. The titular song "Fetish" was inspired by pandemic-related isolation; Zino has jokingly referred to the complex bass of the piece as "Bass Fetish" before it was transformed into a whole song. Fetish is a testimony to collaborative creativity that shines through despite the challenges inherent in adhering to pandemic restrictions. Highly recommended! The tracks are Fetish, Out of the Hole, Unknown Mystery, The Golden Age, So Close So Far, Beatriz, Future History, Melancholy Daydream, Over the Horizon, Into the Whole, Nile, and Meu Fraco e Cafe Forte. 76 min., 26 sec.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Resetting the Scene: Classical Hollywood Revisited
Philippa Gates and Katherine Spring, editors
Wayne State University Press
9780814347799, $36.99, Paperback
B08VD5VPCF, $27.99, Kindle

Synopsis: More than a century after its emergence, classical Hollywood cinema remains popular today with cinephiles and scholars alike. Resetting the Scene: Classical Hollywood Revisited, edited by Philippa Gates and Katherine Spring, showcases cutting-edge work by renowned researchers of Hollywood filmmaking of the studio era and proposes new directions for classical Hollywood studies in the twenty-first century.

Resetting the Scene includes twenty-six accessible chapters and an extensive bibliography. In Part 1, Katherine Spring's introduction and David Bordwell's chapter reflect on the newest methods, technological resources, and archival discoveries that have galvanized recent research of studio filmmaking. Part 2 brings together close analyses of film style both visual and sonic with case studies of shot composition, cinematography, and film music. Part 3 offers new approaches to genre, specifically the film musical, the backstudio picture, and the B-film. Part 4 focuses on industry operations, including the origins of Hollywood, cross-promotion, production planning, and talent management. Part 5 offers novel perspectives on the representation of race, in regard to censorship, musicals, film noir, and science fiction. Part 6 illuminates forgotten histories of women's labor in terms of wartime propaganda, below-the-line work, and the evolution of star persona. Part 7 explores the demise of the studio system but also the endurance of classical norms in auteur cinema and screenwriting in the post-classical era. Part 8 highlights new methods for studying Hollywood cinema, including digital resources as tools for writing history and analyzing films, and the intersection of film studies with emergent fields like media industry studies.

Intended for scholars and students of Hollywood film history, Resetting the Scene intersects with numerous fields consonant with film studies, including star studies, media industry studies, and critical race theory.

Critique: Resetting the Scene: Classical Hollywood Revisited is an anthology of scholarly essays by a variety of learned authors about the classical Hollywood films and their history. Individual writings include "Resettling the Score: Musical Recycling in the Hollywood Studio System", "Censoring Racism: The Production Code and Hollywood's Chinese Americans", "MGM: Landmarks in the Decline of a Major Hollywood Studio", "The Video Essay and Classical Hollywood Studies" and much more. Resetting the Scene is an erudite contribution to public and college library Theatre/Cinema shelves, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Resetting the Scene is also available in a Kindle edition ($27.99).

Editorial Note: Philippa Gates is Professor of Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. Her research and writing focuses on representations of gender and race in Hollywood genre films. Her 2011 book, "Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film" was nominated for a 2012 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

The Total FilmMaker
Jerry Lewis
Michael Wiese Productions
9781615933204, $29.95, PB, 226pp

Synopsis: Now republished by Michael Wiese Productions in a new 50th anniversary edition of the classic 1971 book, "The Total FilmMaker" by Jerry Lewis (March 16, 1926 - August 20, 2017) is now being released for a new generation of aspiring filmmakers by the Jerry Lewis Estate and features all-new, never-before-seen photos of Jerry on set and with his family and friends, as well as a new foreword by film critic and historian Leonard Maltin.

"The Total FilmMaker" was originally written and based on over 480 hours of Jerry's guest lecture series at USC Film School in 1966, where his then-students included aspiring young filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. From script to post-production, it covers the complete arc of filmmaking as taught by one of the first and most original of Hollywood's writer/director/producer/actors.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Total FilmMaker" by comedian, actor, singer, filmmaker, and humanitarian Jerry Lewis is a 'must read' for the legions of Jerry Lewis fans, as well as an essential addition to film school curriculums, and all aspiring filmmakers. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45), "The Total FilmMaker" will prove to be an enduringly important and core addition to personal, professional, community, film school, college, and university library Movie/Video Direction & Production instructional reference collections.

Star Trek: Starfleet Is... Celebrating the Federation's Ideals
Robb Pearlman
Smart Pop
c/o Benbella Books
9781637740194 $16.00 hc / $8.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Fully authorized and filled with full-color images spanning the entire canon, Star Trek: Starfleet is... celebrates of Roddenberry's vision. This commemorative book highlights 50 of the key traits of the Star Trek universe and demonstrates, through memorable images and beautiful artwork, how these ideals are personified by everyone from Kirk and Spock, to Picard and Janeway, to Burnham and Mariner, and their voyages to everywhere from Earth to Vulcan, from Q'onoS to the Delta Quadrant, and even to the Mirror Universe and back in time - and how they are actively and sincerely lived by the Star Trek fans themselves.

What is Starfleet? Starfleet is fun. Starfleet is not always logical. Starfleet is adventure. Starfleet is brave. Starfleet is compassion. Starfleet is diverse. Starfleet is evolving.

And it is by sharing their passions, supporting one another through difficult times, celebrating one another's successes, and boldly going into a bright and hopeful future that Star Trek fans show that, above all, Starfleet is family. Starfleet is forever.

A portion of the proceeds from Starfleet Is... will benefit ALS research.

Critique: Starfleet Is... Celebrating the Federation's Ideals is a tribute book in honor of the ideals embodied in the Federation of the science-fiction franchise of Star Trek. Each page of this fully authorized collection reads "Starfleet Is..." followed by a single word, and showcases an appropriate image - usually a full-color screenshot featuring a memorable events or characters from the Star Trek television shows. For example, "Starfleet Is... Diplomatic" is paired with a picture of the less-than-thrilled Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deanna's smiling, notoriously overbearing, high-ranking diplomat mother.

Secrets of the Force
Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
St. Martin's Press
9781250236876, $29.99 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: For the past four decades, no film saga has touched the world in the way that Star Wars has, capturing the imaginations of filmgoers and filmmakers alike. Now, for the first time ever, Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, the bestselling authors of The Fifty-Year Mission, are telling the entire story of this blockbuster franchise from the very beginning in a single exhaustive volume. Featuring the commentaries of hundreds of actors and filmmakers involved with and impacted by Star Wars, as well as writers, commentators, critics, executives, authors, film historians, toy experts and many more, Secrets of the Force, will reveal all in Altman and Gross's critically acclaimed oral history format from the birth of the original film through the latest sequels and the new televisions series.

Critique: Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars lives up to its title as an in-depth compendium about the history of the pop culture phenomenon that is Star Wars. Chapters focus intensely upon the Star Wars movies, including the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the sequels including "The Force Awakens", "The Last Jedi", and "The Rise of Skywalker". Secrets of the Force is expressly an oral history; virtually every page consists of quoted passages from the cast, production crew, pop culture historians, film critics, and others connected to the movies. Secrets of the Force is an absolute "must-have" for Star Wars fans and connoisseurs, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Secrets of the Force is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: Edward Gross has an extensive history of covering film and television as a member of the editorial staff of a wide variety of magazines, including Cinescape, Starlog, Cinefantastique, Sfx, Femme Fatales, Movie Magic, Life Story and Sci-fi Now. He has written numerous non-fiction books and, along with the Fifty-year Mission coauthor Mark Altman, has written more about Star Trek over the past 35 years than just about anyone else.

Mark A. Altman has been hailed as "the world's foremost Trekspert" by the Los Angeles Times. Altman is a former journalist for such publications as the Boston Globe, Cinefantastique and Geek. He is also the writer/producer of the beloved romantic comedy, Free Enterprise, starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack as well as the hit TV series Agent X, Castle, Necessary Roughness and Femme Fatales.

The Music Shelf

Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City, 1964-1972
Carolyn Glenn Brewer
University of North Texas Press
9781574418231, $24.95 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The New Yorker recently referred to Pat Metheny as "possibly the most influential jazz guitarist of the past five decades." A native of Lee's Summit, Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City, Metheny started playing in pizza parlors at age fourteen. By the time he graduated from high school he was the first-call guitarist for Kansas City jazz clubs, private clubs, and jazz festivals. Now 66, he attributes his early success to the local musical environment he was brought up in and the players and teachers who nurtured his talent and welcomed him into the jazz community.

Metheny's twenty Grammys in ten categories speak to his versatility and popularity. Despite five decades of interviews, none have conveyed in detail his stories about his teenage years. Beneath Missouri Skies also reveals important details about jazz in Kansas City during the sixties and early seventies, often overlooked in histories of Kansas City jazz. Yet this time of cultural change was characterized by an outstanding level of musicianship.

Author Carolyn Glenn Brewer shows how his keen sense of ensemble had its genesis in his school band under the guidance of a beloved band director. Drawn from news accounts, archival material, interviews, and remembrances, to which the author had unique access, Beneath Missouri Skies portrays a place and time from which Metheny still draws inspiration and strength.

Critique: Pat Metheny (b. 1954) is a jazz guitarist whose astounding musical accomplishments include twenty Grammys in ten categories. Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City, 1964-1972 is an in-depth examination Pat Metheny's formative years in music with particular emphasis on the environment and mentors who influenced his early years. Chapters explore the origin of Metheny's passion for the guitar, the records he first listened to, and the jazz history of Kansas City itself. Beneath Missouri Skies is extensively researched in addition to the author's own interviews with Pat Metheny; endnotes, a bibliography, and an index round out this welcome contribution to personal and public library music biography collections. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Beneath Missouri Skies is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: Carolyn Glenn Brewer is a retired band director and active social historian. She has written for Jam Magazine and previously published Changing the Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival with UNT Press. She has played clarinet in bands, chamber groups, and orchestras throughout the Kansas City area.

Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal
Maxwell, author
Alt236, author
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781788403375, $39.99, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: More than any other genre of music, Heavy Metal is steeped in a rich world of symbolism. From death and the devil to mythology and fantasy, its record covers are awash with iconography that carries a complex deeper meaning.

In "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal", more than 80 of these visual themes are explored and explained, accompanied by 300 of metal's most incredible album covers, including Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Rammstein and more. With bespoke illustrations from Rammstein collaborators Fortifem, this unique guide decodes the genre's imagery, ranging from serpents and demons to sigils, castles, zombies, dragons and more.

Packaged in a stunning leather-effect case with foil finishes, "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal" is a beautiful object in its own right, and essential reading for any metalhead.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, informative, illustrated, thoughtful and thought-provoking coffee-table style volume (8.6 x 10.6 inches) showcasing Heavy Metal cover art, "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal - The Hidden Meanings Behind Metal's Greatest Album Covers" is a unique, memorable, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, college, and university library American Music History collections.

Editorial Note: Maxwell is a metal journalist, Youtuber and former presenter of Hellfest TV. Alt236 is a Youtuber with 180k subscribers - his videos decoding the visual symbols of the paranormal garner upwards of 500k views. Together, Maxwell and Alt236 directed the documentary The Art of Metal.

The Parenting Shelf

Digital for Good
Richard Culatta
Harvard Business Review Press
9781647820169 $28.00 hc / $15.39 Kindle

Synopsis: When it comes to raising children in a digital world, every parent feels underprepared and overwhelmed. We worry that our children will become addicted to online games, be victims of cyberbullying, or get lost down the rabbit hole of social media. We warn them about all the things they shouldn't do online, but we don't do nearly enough to teach them the skills of digital well-being.

It's time to start a new conversation. In Digital for Good, EdTech expert Richard Culatta argues that technology can be a powerful tool for learning, solving humanity's toughest problems, and bringing us closer together. He offers a refreshingly positive framework for preparing kids to be successful in a digital world - one that encourages them to use technology proactively and productively - by outlining five qualities every young person should develop in order to become a thriving, contributing digital citizen:

Be balanced: understand when and how much tech use is healthy
Stay informed: discern between true and false information
Be inclusive: treat others with respect and kindness online
Be engaged: use tech to strengthen family relationships and community connections
Stay alert: exercise caution and create safe digital spaces for others

This practical guide will help parents and children discover the path to becoming effective digital citizens, all while making our online world a better place.

Critique: Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World is a parenting book for twenty-first century. While concerns about the potential harm that the internet can cause (cyberbullying, online game addiction, excessive social media consumption and worse) are widespread, the internet's potential for enriching well-being is less commonly shared. Digital for Good emphasizes five principles of online interaction that need to be instilled in children: being balanced (not letting fascination with tech overwhelm real life responsibilities or activities), staying informed (learning to discern truth from falsehoods online), being inclusive (and respectful to others), being engaged (how technology can empower family relationships and community connections) and staying alert (exercising caution, and taking measures to protect oneself from cybercriminals and worse). Digital for Good is a "must-read" especially for parents, and highly recommended for public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Digital for Good is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.39).

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Handbook of Research Methods in Careers
Wendy Murphy, editor
Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, editor
Edward Elgar Publishing
9 Dewey Court, Northampton, MA 01060-3815
9781788976718, $200.00, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Wendy Murphy (Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Professor of Organizational Behavior, Babson College, USA) and Jennifer Tosti-Khara (Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Management Division, Babson College, USA), "Handbook of Research Methods in Careers" ably serves as a comprehensive guide to the methodologies that researchers use in career scholarship. Presenting detailed overviews of methodologies, the expert contributors offer numerous actionable best practices, realistic previews, and cautionary tales based on their vast collective experience of research in the discipline.

Individual chapters informatively showcase diverse and interdisciplinary approaches to studying careers across the spectrum of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Providing an in-depth illustration of established methods and current trends in careers research, "Handbook brings together top international authors to discuss the opportunities and limitations of both design and analysis choices.

Offering cutting-edge methods from established and emerging experts, "Handbook Of Research Methods In Careers" is essential reading for scholars at all levels who are currently studying, or wish to study, careers. It will also be useful for institutions coordinating large research projects on careers, as well as consultants and organizational psychologists providing research support for employee development.

Critique. Comprised of fifteen erudite articles organized into three major sections (Measurement and Design; Quantitative Methods; Qualitative and Mixed Methods), "Handbook of Research Methods in Careers" must be considered an unreservedly recommended and core addition to personal, professional, corporate, college and university library Human Resources & Personnel Management reference collections and supplemental studies curriculums.

Measure Up
Josh McAfee and Trisha Garek Harp
Morgan James Publishing
9781631953033 $16.95 pbk / $8.49 Kindle

Synopsis: For those considering career transition, Measure Up helps them create compelling and consistent messaging, resumes, and profiles that will attract the right leaders, peers, and hiring authorities. Within, readers learn how to identify and leverage companies hiring leaders, influencers, and peers in their career search and how to leverage process and technology to connect and communicate. By the end of Measure Up, readers will be able to identify and qualify for potential opportunities and be able to show their value from communication, networking, interviewing to ultimately getting hired at the best career opportunity possible.

Measure Up teaches those considering career transition how to discover lucrative job prospects before anybody else does and gives them the tools and exercises to build their confidence and help them understand, appreciate, and "sell" their true value in the job marketplace.

Critique: Written by expert entrepreneurs, Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss is a "must-have" for every employee in America's modern-day workforce. Chapters help the reader create a better resume and profile, discuss tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication, discuss how to engage in productive networking, and much more. "Every week or two, refresh the resumes you've posted on all the job boards [LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, and so on]. Your resume is heavily ranked based on a timestamp it gets when you submit or post it. So if you posted your resume two weeks ago, then everyone who has submitted a resume since then is going to be listed ahead of you in line. Your resume ends up getting stale. Keep your resume on the first couple of pages of the board resume search results by just changing a couple of words and re-saving it." Measure Up is just as valuable to the gainfully employed as to the job- seeking unemployed, since building one's career can and often does include moving on to better opportunities as they arise! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Measure Up is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.49).

Editor's Note: In addition to being a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss, three-time founder, entrepreneur, tech investor, board member and advisor to high growth companies, Josh McAfee has spent almost thirty years in the recruiting and coaching world consulting with and placing thousands of leaders, sales, and tech-savvy people into high-growth companies. He founded, built, and sold a national tech staffing company and has helped countless leaders of high-growth companies grow their teams with the right people to have a positive impact on their products, culture, and, ultimately, their customers.

Trisha Harp, M.S., C.P.C., is an entrepreneur, researcher, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss, and coach. She has spent the past two decades working with couples, teams, and individuals on mastering advanced communication techniques with the goal of strengthening their relationships both at home and at the office through her company, The Harp Family Institute. To date, Trisha has written five books and is in the process of writing three more. She has been featured in Inc. Magazine,,, Medium, Women 2.0, and the Wall Street Journal.

The Cookbook Shelf

Dreena's Kind Kitchen
Dreena Burton
BenBella Books
9781950665921, $24.95, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: For more than 20 years, Dreena Burton has been creating plant-based whole-food recipes. Home cooks have long known that they could trust her recipes to work -- and to be delicious! Now with the publication of "Dreena's Kind Kitchen: 100 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy Every Day" there need be no more scouring social media, sifting through food blogs, or flipping through every book on the shelf for palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitche cook friendly recipes for dishes that are reliable, flavorful, and healthy.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout and showcasing an impressive diversity of vegetarian/vegan recipes that range from Sunny Curry Dressing; Summer Chickpea Salad; and Pressure Cooker Qucken Noodle Soup; to Baked Onion Rings; Quinoa-Lentil Stir-Fry; and Nummy Brownie Bites, "Dreena's Kind Kitchen: 100 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy Every Day" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library Vegan/Vegetarian cookbook collections.

Ruby Bell and Milly Bagot
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784727482, $19.99, HC, 176pp

Synopsis; For being able to serve delicious, nutritious meals to hand when a busy schedule creates time pressures on a family cook, "Freeze: Super nourishing meals to batch cook, freeze and eat on demand" is a culinary compendium that offers the perfect solution by providing brilliantly healthy and nourishing batch cook recipes that will fill a freezer and be enjoyed as if fresh at little to no notice.

With smart meal-prep solutions, Ruby Bell and Milly Bagot have developed the very best ways to get the most out of food when it is frozen, and offer a wealth of practical tips, hacks and suggestions to ensure freezer cooking is fool-proof for even the most novice of family cooks. With DIY instructions on how best to defrost, reheat or cook direct from the freezer, "Freeze" embodies convenient cooking that will enable the whole family to eat well -- especially when they have little time to spare for healthy meals every single day of the week, without none of the usual time limiting stress.

Critique: Offering an impressive variety of beautifully illustrated and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' recipes for all occasions, "Freeze: Super nourishing meals to batch cook, freeze and eat on demand" will prove to be an especially welcome and popular addition to family, professional and community library cookbook collections. For personal use it should be noted that "Freeze: Super nourishing meals to batch cook, freeze and eat on demand" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: ByRuby is a nationwide healthy freezer meal delivery service run by two women in the UK - Ruby Bell and Milly Bagot - and Ruby is a Leith's trained chef. They are committed to offering nutritious and convenient freezer meals and making freezer cooking fool-proof for everyone.

Compiled and edited by Gert Coleman
International Herb Association
9780578822419, $21.95, PB, 262pp

A team of experts contribute to the 'Herb of the Year' nomination of parsley for 2021, creating a culinary and grower's guide that embraces the history of parsley cultivation and usage in recipes and insights gathered from a wide range of sources. There are recipes such as Parsley Jelly (from Pat Crocker's book Preserving); Susan Belsinger's article about sauces where parsley plays a leading role, accompanied by recipes for Italian-Style Salsa Verde and Mexican-style renditions of the same; and educational cooking show host Cooper T. Murray's article on "Partnering With Parsley" which profiles parsley in unusual ways, as in a Strawberry and Parsley Salad or a Parsley-Poached Chicken Salad. The wealth of recipes and culinary and growing insights into this herb creates a blend of history, gardener's guide and cookbook which is peppered with black and white photos and filled with information.

The Railroading Shelf

Christopher Valkoinen
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500021675, $75.00, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the first railway was established in Great Britain, contributing to the country's dramatic social and economic revolution. Detailed plans were created of locomotives, carriages, wagons, stations, bridges, and tunnels to facilitate the manufacturing process and maintenance of the railway network. Miraculously, about one million of these exquisite drawings have survived and are housed at the National Railway Museum, York. In "Railways: A History in Drawings", Christopher Valkoinen has selected over 130 examples from the museum's collection that illustrate the innovative history of Britain's railway.

Accompanied by lively and insightful commentary, as well as contemporary photographs and posters, featured plans range from Queen Victoria's royal saloon, Stephenson's Rocket, and the Flying Scotsman to the boiler for the famous John Bull (the oldest surviving steam locomotive in the United States) and modern experiments with hovertrains. Perfect for train and engineering enthusiasts and anyone interested in British history, this compendium of drawings gives unparalleled insight into all aspects of the design and operation of the British railway system from the early nineteenth century to the 1970s.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Railways: A History In Drawings" is impressively informative, large sized volume (13.3 x 1.2 x 9.7 inches) is enhanced with some 300 illustrations. An ideal selection as a memorial fund acquisition, "Railways: A History In Drawings is a unique, seminal, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Railroading History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Christopher Valkoinen has worked at the National Railway Museum's Search Engine library and archives since 2010 where he is responsible for the digitization of the archives. His passion is engineering drawings and his mission is to see them recognized for the artistic skill of the draughtsmen that created them, and for the fascinating stories they can illuminate about our history. Christopher is also a qualified steam locomotive fireman and has fired/driven locomotives including Flying Scotsman, City of Truro, Olton Hall (aka Hogwarts Castle) and the working Rocket replica.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Integrated Dog Training
Michael Wombacher
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608686520, $19.95, PB, 192pp

Synopsis: Designed for quick reference while working with any breed of dog, "Integrated Dog Training: The Commonsense Visual Guide to Training Any Dog" by Michael Wombacher is large-format guidebook features the full gamut of step-by-step training exercises, each of which are fully illustrated with photos and clear instructions.

"Integrated Dog Training" offers a wealth of ways to approach various dogs and scenarios, whether you're training a puppy to sit or correcting training issues in a mature dog. Wombacher is a trainer with decades of experience who knows all the competing dog training theories but also knows that in reality, it is a range of methods that gets dogs and their humans where they need to be.

Wombacher's "Integrated Dog Training" offers a much-needed commonsense approach that avoids cookie-cutter dictates and recognizes the individuality of each dog. He includes straightforward discussions of situation-specific equipment, treats, and commands, as well as a variety of age- and environment-variable approaches. Easy-to-use, image-driven, and immediately applicable, "Integrated Dog Training" is a truly unique, invaluable resource that gets people and dogs in sync and happy lifelong.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Integrated Dog Training: The Commonsense Visual Guide to Training Any Dog" is an ideal and comprehensive DIY instruction guide that will enable even the most novice of dog owners will be able to get the most out of their canine companion. While unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Pets/Wildlife collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Integrated Dog Training: The Commonsense Visual Guide to Training Any Dog" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).

The Science Shelf

Introducing Volcanology: A Guide to Hot Rocks, second edition
Dougal Jerram
Dunedin Academic Press
c/o ISBS (dist.)
9781780460901, $16.50 Paperback

Synopsis: Volcanoes have an endless fascination. Their eruptions are a regular reminder of the power of nature and our vulnerability to this raw geological phenomenon; however, volcanic activity and its plumbing from beneath is an essential element of the forces that shaped and constantly reshape our planet.

Dougal Jerram answers the questions: What are volcanoes? What other volcanic activity is there? How do volcanoes relate to plate tectonics and the movement of continents? What are eruptions and why do they occur? How have volcanoes affected the earth's climate? Can we predict eruptions? He also describes the most notable eruptions in history and their effect. Copiously illustrated throughout, Introducing Volcanology is a concise and accessible introduction to the science of hot rocks for those with an adult curiosity and for those contemplating a course of formal study. As with sister volumes, technical terms are kept to a minimum and a glossary is provided covering the whole subject from ash to zeolites.

Critique: Now in an updated second edition, Introducing Volcanology: A Guide to Hot Rocks is a fascinating, reader- friendly scientific guide, illustrated with at least one full-color photograph or diagram on almost every two-page spread. Although a wealth of technical and scientific terminology is used, a handy glossary makes Introducing Volcanology thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Introducing Volcanology is highly recommended especially for volcano enthusiasts and public library Science and Geology collections.

Editorial Note: Dougal Jerram is an academic Earth Scientist, and has a wide experience in both modern and ancient volcanoes and their products. An expert and enthusiastic geological communicator, he has been involved in scientific television programmes for the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery and History channels.

Introducing Hydrogeology
Robins Nicholas
Dunedin Academic Press
c/o ISBS (dist.)
9781780460789, $24.50

Synopsis: Hydrogeology is an important and vibrant sub-set of geology. It deals with the distribution and movement of water, groundwater, in the soil and rocks of the Earth. Groundwater transport is one part of the overall hydrological cycle; water is transferred by evaporation from the oceans into the atmosphere. Some falls to land as precipitation, some percolates underground, much of it to become groundwater. Groundwater travels from areas of high elevation to discharge points such as springs or to lower surface waters. On its way, it acquires its own distinct chemical signature, while its period underground can vary between only a few weeks to tens of thousands of years.

Hydrogeology interacts with a variety of diverse disciplines beyond geology, not least hydrology, climatology and socio-economics. Nick Robins describes the basic concepts of groundwater flow analysis in simple language and avoids burdening the reader with overmuch analytical detail. All facets of hydrogeology, physical and chemical, are described, so the book places hydrogeology in its important role, underpinning our increasing demands on the environment. A variety of topical issues are considered, including climate change impact, water scarcity, nuclear waste repositories and oil shale fracking.

As with other titles in the series, Introducing Hydrogeology will appeal to the non-scientist interested in learning more about this important topic; to those staring on or contemplating a career in hydrogeology; and to those studying related topics, such as civil engineering, who require a sound overview of this branch of earth science.

Critique: A handy glossary makes Introducing Hydrogeology thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Full- color photographs or diagrams on almost every page enrich this thoughtful, scientific discussion of interactions between sediment and water, including aquifer properties and groundwater flow, groundwater pollution or protection, the challenges of coastal aquifers and small islands, problems related to floods or droughts, and more. Introducing Hydrogeology is a "must-read" for not only for prospective professionals in the field, but also for policymakers involved in any issue related to groundwater! Highly recommended.

Editorial Note: Dr Nicholas Robins worked for much of his career as a hydrogeologist with the British Geological Survey. He worked both at home and overseas with extensive periods in Africa and the Middle East as well as in Asia and Central America. He was also at one time based at Harwell in Oxfordshire involved with research into radioactive waste disposal. Robins is author or editor of a number of books and is currently Editor-in-Chief for the International Association of Hydrogeologists.

Introducing Tectonics, Rock Structures and Mountain Belts, second edition
Graham Park
Dunedin Academic Press
c/o ISBS (dist.)
9781780460949, $24.50

Synopsis: Introducing Tectonics, Rock Structures and Mountain Belts is written to explain the key concepts of tectonics and rock structures to students and to the interested non-specialist, especially those without a strong mathematical background. The study and understanding of geological structures has traditionally been guided by the rigorous application of mathematics and physics but, in this book, Graham Park has avoided mathematical equations altogether and has reduced the geometry to the minimum necessary. The application of plate tectonic theory has revolutionised structural geology by giving the study of rock structures a context in which they can be explained. Since the large-scale movements of the plates ultimately control smaller-scale structures, the study of tectonics is the key to understanding the latter. The reader is thus introduced to large-scale Earth structure and the theory of plate tectonics before dealing with geological structures such as faults and folds.

Studies by structural geologists of the movement history of rock masses relative to each other, as revealed by the study of fault systems and shear zones, has helped to integrate rock structures with plate tectonics, and this has been emphasized in the book. One of the most exciting aspects of geology is the study of the great mountain ranges, orogenic belts. The final three chapters of the book explain how knowledge of plate tectonic theory, geological structures, and the processes of deformation may be employed to understand these orogenic belts. Whilst excessive use of terminology is avoided, all technical terms are in a Glossary and, as with all books in this series, the text is illustrated profusely.

Critique: Now in an updated second edition, Introducing Tectonics, Rock Structures and Mountain Belts emphasizes large- scale geologic structures and plate tectonic theory. Full-color photographs and diagrams on almost every page, as well as an extensive glossary, help make Introducing Tectonics, Rock Structures and Mountain Belts accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Introducing Tectonics, Rock Structures and Mountain Belts is a choice pick for high school and public library science collections, as well as for anyone interested in this fascinating branch of science about the not-so-solid Earth beneath our feet. Highly recommended!

Editorial Note: Graham Park is Emeritus Professor of Tectonic Geology at the University of Keele and author of the popular Introducing Geology, the title that initiated the successful 'Introducing' series.

The Mythology Shelf

Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume 1
Joseph Campbell
New World Library
9781608687251, $29.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: n this first volume of The Masks of God, the world's preeminent mythologist explores and illuminates the wellsprings of myth. Showing his exemplary combination of scholarly depth and popular enthusiasm, Joseph Campbell looks at the expressions of religious awe in early humans and their echoes in the rites of surviving primal tribes. Campbell shows how myth has informed our understanding of the world, seen and unseen, throughout time. As he explores and shares archetypal mythic images and practices, he also points to how these concepts inform our personal lives.

Upon completing the monumental Masks of God series, Campbell found that his work affirmed "the unity of the race of man, not only in its biology, but also in its spiritual history." He likened this unity to a symphony in which various parts create a "great movement." Perhaps more than ever before, Campbell's insight is not only illuminating but also inspiring.

Critique: The first of a four-volume series originally published in 1959 by celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904- 1987), Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume 1 is now available in a "Collected Words of Joseph Campbell" revised edition with up-to-date science and new illustrations. Chapters explore myth as a tool of nascent civilizations in prehistory, including the nature of mythology favored by primitive planters or primitive hunters, and the archaeology of myth. Endnotes, a Joseph Campbell bibliography, and an index round out this classic text, highly recommended especially for public and college library Mythology shelves. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God, Volume 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Editorial Note: Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and, after earning a master's degree, continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, and the Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, introduced his views to millions of people.

The Sports Shelf

Injury-Free Running, second edition
Tom Michaud
North Atlantic Books
9781623176310, $19.95 pbk / $13.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Each time your foot hits the ground while running, an impact force averaging three times your weight travels through your body at more than 200 miles per hour, causing your bones to vibrate and tendons to stretch. When you consider that the average runner strikes the ground more than 10,000 times per hour, this translates into a remarkable amount of force that needs to be absorbed, and explains why nearly 50% of recreational runners are injured each year.

The purpose of this book is to show you that impact forces are not necessarily harmful. By modifying your running form and doing specific exercises to improve tendon resiliency, not only can you effectively absorb these forces, but you can also store and return a significant percentage of them in the form of elastic recoil. Besides reducing your risk of injury, efficiently storing and returning energy can allow you to run faster with less effort.

Critique: Featuring more than 200 illustrations and 300 references, Injury-Free Running: Your Illustrated Guide to Biomechanics, Gait Analysis, and Injury Prevention is now in an updated second edition with expanded information on how to perform an at-home gait analysis, identify problems with neuromotor coordination, treat the 25 most common running-related injuries, select the best running shoe for one's needs, and more. Injury-Free Runnings is an absolutely invaluable resource not only for sports medicine professionals, but also runners and joggers of all backgrounds, as well as public and college library collections. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that the second edition of Injury-Free Running is also available in Kindle format ($13.99).

Editorial Note: In addition to lecturing on clinical biomechanics internationally, Dr. Michaud has served on the editorial review boards for Chiropractic Sports Medicine and The Australasian Journal of Podiatric Medicine. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Michaud has maintained a busy private practice in Newton, Massachusetts, where he has treated thousands of elite and recreational runners.

The Language Studies Shelf

Under His Father's Wing
Emma Vanderpool
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers
9780865168763, $15.00 pbk

Synopsis: Marcus, a young Roman boy, has been struggling to show his father Titus that he is simply not cut out for life as an augur. Why can't he seek adventure and glory as a soldier? Titus, in turn, can't quite get Marcus to understand the importance of augury, especially its role in keeping Roman soldiers safe. Titus has seen the dangers of war firsthand and fears for his son's future. By telling Marcus stories of legendary Greek and Roman augurs, Titus hopes to convey some tough truths about military life - and why divining the gods' will is essential. Along the way, he also reveals how augury has been woven into the fabric of Rome's very existence.

Using fewer than two hundred unique Latin words, this Encounter Latin novella further develops themes and topics introduced in Augury Is for the Birds. Evocative illustrations and a variety of text supports make the story readily comprehensible to novice learners. An introduction by Dr. Robert Patrick, drawing on his decades of experience teaching Latin, explains the pedagogical underpinnings of the text and describes how novellas can be used to further language acquisition.

Critique: Interspersed with simple black-and-white illustrations, Under His Father's Wing is a novella set in ancient Rome, written entirely in Latin with a Latin-to-English glossary, a brief grammatica, and suggestions for further reading. By using fewer than two hundred unique Latin words, Under His Father's Wing is an extremely accessible read for novice Latin learners. Under His Father's Wing is an excellent tool for introductory Latin teaching or for self-study, and highly recommended especially for college library Language Studies collections.

Editorial Note: Emma Vanderpool has been teaching Latin since 2017. Among her awards, Vanderpool is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award from UMASS Amherst (2019) and was honored as the Lincoln Laureate for Monmouth College (2017). She serves on the Executive Board for Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute and the Classical Association of New England and is an organizer for Lupercal. She has self-published nine novellae and is pleased to be an author for Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers - Explore Latin: Aves (2020) and Encounter Latin: Augury Is for the Birds: Marcus de Avibus Discit (2020).

The Political Science Shelf

Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim
Peter Russell
University of Toronto Press
9781487509095, $29.95 hc / $28.45 Kindle

Synopsis: To be effective, sovereignty must be secured through force or consent by those living in a territory, and accepted externally by other sovereign states. To be legitimate, the sovereignty claim must have the consent of its people and accord with international human rights.

In Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim, Peter H. Russell traces the origins of the sovereignty claim to Christian Europe and the attribution of sovereignty to God in the early Middle Ages. Transcending a narrow legal framework, he discusses sovereignty as a political activity including efforts to enshrine sovereignty within international law. Russell does not call for the end of sovereignty but makes readers aware of its limitations. While sovereignty can do good work for small and vulnerable peoples, it cannot be the basis of a global order capable of responding to the major existential threats that threaten our species and our planet.

A brisk, often humorous, and personal exploration, Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim will interest specialists and general readers alike, offering fresh insights on the limitations of sovereignty and the potential of federalism to alleviate these limitations now and in the future.

Critique: Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim seeks to provide a scholarly answer to the loaded historical and political question "What is sovereignty?" In modern political theory, sovereignty describes legitimate and legal authority over a territory. Chapters of Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim explore the concept's origins to Christian Europe and how sovereignty was attributed to God in the Middle Ages, then proceed to recount the evolution of the concept in politics. From sovereignty as a tool for European imperialism, to sovereignty claimed by pioneers and settlers, to the rise of Federalism in sharp contrast to sovereignty, Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim reveals that sovereignty as a political concept has strict limitations without wholly rejecting the idea. (Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim does not have much to say about modern-day "Sovereign Citizens" movements, some of which include people that the FBI has classified as domestic terrorists.) Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim is a valuable addition to public and college library Political Science shelves, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Sovereignty: The Biography of a Claim is also available in a Kindle edition ($28.45).

Editorial Note: Peter H. Russell is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has written extensively on issues related to the Canadian Constitution and Canadian politics in general. His other books include: Canada's Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests, Constitutional Odyssey: Can Canadians Become a Sovereign People, and Recognizing Aboriginal Tile: The Mabo Case an Indigenous Resistance to the English-Settler.

Russell was the 2012 winner of the American Political Science Association's Mildred A. Schwartz Award. He is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.

The Military Shelf

Psychiatric Casualties
Mark C. Russell and Charles Figley
Columbia University Press
9780231187770 $40.00 pbk / $19.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The psychological toll of war is vast, and the social costs of war's psychiatric casualties extend even further. Yet military mental health care suffers from extensive waiting lists, organizational scandals, spikes in veteran suicide, narcotic overprescription, shortages of mental health professionals, and inadequate treatment. The prevalence of conditions such as post - traumatic stress disorder is often underestimated, and there remains entrenched stigma and fear of being diagnosed. Even more alarming is how the military dismisses or conceals the significance and extent of the mental health crisis.

The trauma experts Mark C. Russell and Charles Figley offer an impassioned and meticulous critique of the systemic failures in military mental health care in the United States. They examine the persistent disconnect between war culture, which valorizes an appearance of strength and seeks to purge weakness, and the science and treatment of trauma. Instead of reckoning with the mental health crisis, the military has neglected the needs of service members. It has discharged, prosecuted, and incarcerated a large number of people struggling with the psychological realities of war, and it has inflicted humiliation, ridicule, and shame on many more. Through a far-reaching historical account, Russell and Figley detail how the military has perpetuated a self-inflicted crisis. The book concludes with actionable prescriptions for change and a comprehensive approach to significantly improving military mental health.

Critique: Psychiatric Casualties: How and Why the Military Ignores the Full Cost of War examines the failure of America's military mental health care to properly treat veterans suffering from PTSD and worse. The crisis is evident in suicides among veterans, narcotic overprescription, horrendous waiting lists, abuses of the legal system to manage mental health problems, and more. Psychiatric Casualties examines "dark side" strategies used by the military to deny soldiers the health care they need - often under the guise of discouraging desertion or "freezing" in battle - and explore possible options to make the military more resilient and responsible to the people who serve. Exhaustively researched and persuasively presented, Psychiatric Casualties is highly recommended especially for public and college library Psychology and Military Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Psychiatric Casualties is also available in a Kindle edition ($19.99).

Editor's Note: Mark C. Russell is core faculty in the PsyD Program at Antioch University Seattle, where he is establishing director of the Institute of War Stress Injury, Recovery, and Social Justice. He is a former U.S. Navy commander and military clinical psychologist with over twenty-six years of military service.

Charles Figley is the Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health; professor of social work; and director of the Traumatology Institute at Tulane University. He is the author of many books, the first of which, Stress Disorders Among Vietnam Veterans (1978), contributed to the diagnosis of PTSD. He served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Recce: Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines
Koos Stadler
9781636240480, $24.95 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

Synopsis: A gripping first-hand account of the combat operations and life of a member of the secretive and elite South African Special Forces, known as 'Recces'.

South African Special Forces, known as the 'Recces', are an elite group of soldiers that few can aspire to join. Shrouded in secrecy due to the covert nature of their work, the legendary Recces have long fascinated, but little is known about how they operate. Now one of this select band has written a tell-all book about the extraordinary missions he embarked on and the nail-biting action he experienced in the Border War.

Shortly after passing the infamously grueling Special Forces selection course in the early 1980s, Koos Stadler joined the so-called Small Teams group at 5 Reconnaissance Regiment. This sub-unit was made up of two-man teams and was responsible for numerous secret and highly dangerous missions deep behind enemy lines.

With only one other team member, Stadler was sent to blow up railway lines and enemy fighter jets in the south of Angola. As he crawled in and out of enemy-infested territory, he stared death in the face many times.

Critique: Author Koos Stadler, a 30-year career officer of the South African national Defence Force, offers an unforgettable glimpse into his harrowing and deadly service in Recce: Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines. Stadler gives personal testimony of operations in the 1980s that took him to the south of Angola to blow up railway lines and enemy fighter jets. Recce is a gripping read from cover to cover as well as an invaluable resource, and highly recommended for personal, public, and college library Military History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Recce is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Pioneers of Irregular Warfare
Malcolm Atkin
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
9781526766007, $42.95, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: Covert operations and ingenious weapons for irregular warfare were developed rapidly and with great success by the British during the Second World War, and the story of the most famous organizations involved like SOE, the SAS and Section D of SIS is now well known, but Military Intelligence (Research), the smallest but one of the most influential of these units is relatively unknown.

Malcolm Atkin's "Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department of the Second World War" provides an intriguing, meticulously researched, groundbreaking account that describes their role at the heart of the War Office in trying to develop a 'respectable' arm of irregular warfare and their innovations ranging from the early Commandos, sticky bombs, limpet mines, booby traps, and even helicopters to the creation of the MI9 escape organization. They were an 'ideas factory' rather than an operational body but the book describes their worldwide operations including Finland, Norway, Romania, the Middle East and Central Africa.

"Pioneers of Irregular Warfare" is also a story of conflicting personalities between Jo Holland, the visionary but self-effacing head of MI(R) and his ambitious deputy, Colin Gubbins (later head of SOE), and the latter's private war with SIS.

Critique: Painstakingly researched, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, enhanced with a multi- paged section of historical photos, "Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department of the Second World War" is a unique and welcome addition to the growing library of World War II histories - - making it an especially recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

Editorial Note: Malcolm Atkin is a former head of the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service for Worcestershire. After becoming a leading authority on the English Civil War, he has more recently made a special study of home defense and the development of British intelligence during the Second World War. His many publications include Cromwell's Crowning Mercy: The Battle of Worcester, The Civil War in Evesham: A Storm of Fire and Leaden Hail, Worcestershire Under Arms, Worcester 1651, Fighting Nazi Occupation: British Resistance 1939-1945, Myth and Reality: the Second World War Auxiliary Units and Section D for Destruction: Forerunner of SOE.

Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City
Peter Harmsen
Casemate Publishers
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781612009803, $24.95, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: The infamous Rape of Nanjing looms like a dark shadow over the history of Asia in the 20th century, and is among the most widely recognized chapters of World War II in China. By contrast, the story of the month-long campaign before this notorious massacre has never been told in its entirety. "Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City" by Peter Harmsen fills this gap.

"Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City" is the follow-up to Harmsen's WWII history, "Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze", and begins where that book left off. In stirring prose, it describes how the Japanese Army, having invaded the mainland and emerging victorious from the Battle of Shanghai, pushed on toward the capital Nanjing in a crushing advance that confirmed its reputation for bravery and savagery in equal measure.

While much of the struggle over Shanghai had carried echoes of the grueling war in the trenches two decades earlier, the Nanjing campaign was a fast-paced mobile operation in which armor and air power played mayor roles. It was blitzkrieg two years before Hitler's invasion of Poland. Facing the full might of modern, mechanized warfare, China's resistance was heroic, but ultimately futile.

As in Shanghai, the battle for Nanjing was more than a clash between Chinese and Japanese. Soldiers and citizens of a variety of nations witnessed or took part in the hostilities. German advisors, American journalists and British diplomats all played important parts in this vast drama. And a new power appeared on the scene: Soviet pilots dispatched by Stalin to challenge Japan's control of the skies.

This epic tale is told with verve and attention to detail by Harmsen, a veteran East Asia correspondent who consolidates his status as the foremost chronicler of World War II in China with this path-breaking work of narrative history.

Critique: Originally published in 2015 and now available in a new paperback edition, "Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City" is an extraordinary and detailed account that is firmly and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library World War II history collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military history buffs, and any other non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Nanjing 1937: Battle for a Doomed City" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Peter Harmsen, a foreign correspondent in East Asia for two decades, has worked for Bloomberg, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the Financial Times. A fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Harmsen is also the former bureau chief in Taiwan for French news agency AFP. His book "Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze" inspired a US Public Television documentary by three-time Emmy Award winner Bill Einreinhofer, which started airing in the fall of 2018, reaching 80 percent of the American television audience.

The Holocaust Studies Shelf

The Dressmakers of Auschwitz
Lucy Adington
HarperCollins Publishers
9780063030923, $26.99, HC, 400pp

Synopsis: At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (mainly Jewish women and girls) were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers.

This fashion workshop (called the Upper Tailoring Studio) was established by Hedwig Hoss, the camp commandant's wife, and patronized by the wives of SS guards and officers. Here, the dressmakers produced high-quality garments for SS social functions in Auschwitz, and for ladies from Nazi Berlin's upper crust.

Drawing on diverse sources that including interviews with the last surviving seamstress, "The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive" follows the fates of these brave women. Their bonds of family and friendship not only helped them endure persecution, but also to play their part in camp resistance. Weaving the dressmakers' remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, historian Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of World War II and the Holocaust.

Critique: Showcasing yet one more aspect of the Holocaust, "The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive" is an extraordinary and inherently fascinating story. A compelling and informative read from first page to last, "The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive" is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university Holocaust collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive" is also available in a paperback edition (9780063030930, $17.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798200741878, $30.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Yorkshire, UK, Lucy Adlington is a British novelist and clothes historian with more than twenty years' experience researching social history and writing fiction and nonfiction.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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