Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire

Genghis Khan

Excellent reading for those interested in a concise, rich text, with contributions from archeology to biological anthropology and dendrochronology. Presented in five parts beginning with the historical conditions of the inner Asian steppe prior to the rise of Genghis Khan, continuing with Genghis’ times, the Mongolian western states and Yuan China, and concluding with Genghis’ legacy from the decline of the Yuan dynasty to the present day. Findings from excavations in Khara Khorum include proof of the north-south Boulevard and extensive evidence of handicraft production and metalwork. The book’s clear prose, beautiful design, and wide-ranging illustrations will fascinate general readers as well as scholars.

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

From the two-term Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins comes his first compilation of new and selected poems in twelve years. Aimless Love combines more than fifty new poems with selections from four previous books—Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry, Ballistics, and Horoscopes for the Dead. Collins’s unmistakable voice, which brings together plain speech with imaginative surprise, is clearly heard on every page, reminding us how he has managed to enrich the tapestry of contemporary poetry and greatly expand its audience. His work is featured in top literary magazines such as The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Atlantic, and he sells out reading venues all across the country. Appearing regularly in The Best American Poetry series, his poems appeal to readers and live audiences far and wide and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. By turns playful, ironic, and serious, Collins’s poetry captures the nuances of everyday life while leading the reader into zones of inspired wonder. In the poet’s own words, he hopes that his poems “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.” Touching on the themes of love, loss, joy, and poetry itself, these poems showcase the best work of this “poet of plenitude, irony, and Augustan grace” (The New Yorker).

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

This Republic of Suffering

More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today’s population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation, describing how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief in a benevolent God. Throughout, the voices of soldiers and their families, of statesmen, generals, preachers, poets, surgeons, nurses, northerners and southerners come together to give us a vivid understanding of the Civil War’s most fundamental and widely shared reality.

Food: A Very Short Introduction

Food: A Very Short Introduction

In this Very Short Introduction, Prof Lord John Krebs provides a brief history of human food, from our remote ancestors 3 million years ago to the present day. By looking at the four great transitions in human food – cooking, agriculture, processing, and preservation – he considers a variety of questions, including why people like some kinds of foods and not others; how your senses contribute to flavor; the role of genetics in our likes and dislikes; and the differences in learning and culture around the world.

In turn he considers aspects of diet, nutrition, and health, and the disparity between malnutrition in some places and overconsumption in others. Finally, he considers some of the big issues – the obesity crisis, sustainable agriculture, the role of new technologies such as genetic modification of crops, and ends by posing the question: how will it be possible to feed a population of 9 billion in 2050, without destroying our natural environment?

Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill

Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill

“Ohio Congressman Bob Ney pled guilty to federal charges of corruption and falsification of federal documents in connection with Jack Abramoff, a Washington super lobbyist-turned criminal. As a six-term member of congress, Bob found himself caught up in a culture of greed, backstabbing, and corruption that eventually destroyed his career. In his new book, Bob recounts the events leading up to his resignation, his own guilt, and how a powerful member of congress and the Bush Administration officials played leading roles in both the Abramoff scandal and Bob’s own downfall.”

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Blindspot

I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.

These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

“Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

The title’s “good people” are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and “outsmart the machine” in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds.

Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come.

Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War

Five Came Back

In Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris turned the story of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 into a landmark work of cultural history, a book about the transformation of an art form and the larger social shift it signified. In Five Came Back, he achieves something larger and even more remarkable, giving us the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood, through the prism of five film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens.
It was the best of times and the worst of times for Hollywood before the war. The box office was booming, and the studios’ control of talent and distribution was as airtight as could be hoped. But the industry’s relationship with Washington was decidedly uneasy?hearings and investigations into allegations of corruption and racketeering were multiplying, and hanging in the air was the insinuation that the business was too foreign, too Jewish, too ?un-American” in its values and causes. Could an industry this powerful in shaping America’s mind-set really be left in the hands of this crew? Following Pearl Harbor, Hollywood had the chance to prove its critics wrong and did so with vigor, turning its talents and its business over to the war effort to an unprecedented extent.

No industry professionals played a bigger role in the war than America’s most legendary directors: Ford, Wyler, Huston, Capra, and Stevens. Between them they were on the scene of almost every major moment of America’s war, and in every branch of service?army, navy, and air force; Atlantic and Pacific; from Midway to North Africa; from Normandy to the fall of Paris and the liberation of the Nazi death camps; to the shaping of the message out of Washington, D.C.

As it did for so many others, World War II divided the lives of these men into before and after, to an extent that has not been adequately understood. In a larger sense?even less well understood?the war divided the history of Hollywood into before and after as well. Harris reckons with that transformation on a human level?through five unforgettable lives?and on the level of the industry and the country as a whole. Like these five men, Hollywood too, and indeed all of America, came back from the war having grown up more than a little.

Reconstructing Appalachia: The Civil War’s Aftermath

Reconstructing Appalachia: The Civil War's Aftermath

Bringing together a group of Appalachian historians, Slap (history, East Tennessee State U.) compiles 13 essays on the effects of the Civil War on the land and people of the diverse communities of Appalachia (including Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania) and the reconstruction of these communities after the war. The essays describe racial reconciliation, tension between former Unionists and Confederates, violence, destruction caused by the armies, the Ku Klux Klan, economic development, the evolution of post-Civil War memory, stereotypes of Appalachia, and alterations in the perceptions of race, gender, and economic status. Women’s lives changed, African Americans had new freedoms, and the region faced economic collapse in former slave-holding states and rapid industrialization and urbanization that threatened traditional ways of living and depleted natural resources and the environment. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

The Travels of Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo

The newest volume in Sterling Signature’s successful Illustrated Edition series takes readers on a fascinating journey into a world once unknown. Marco Polo almost single-handedly introduced fourteenth-century Europe to the civilizations of Central Asia and China. Now this stunningly illustrated volume, edited by renowned historian Morris Rossabi, offers the complete text of Polo’s travelogue (in the respected Yule-Cordier translation), enhanced with more than 200 images–including illuminated manuscripts, paintings, photographs, and maps. Sidebars and dozens of informative footnotes combine to present Polo and his travels in a captivating new light.

Private Enterprise and Public Education

Private Enterprise and Public Education

Hess (American Enterprise Institute) and Horn (executive director of education, Innosight Institute) include 10 scholarly chapters from 11 contributors that effectively and conclusively enlighten policy makers, professors, school administrators, education scholars, researchers, and graduate students of school administration on the existing debate over the role business should play in operating K-16 public education schools. For-profit institutions are a part of the American education fabric, and their roles in procuring school equipment and supplies, publishing, creating tests and assessments, and providing transportation are widely accepted. The primary source of concern about and criticism of privatization is the operation of schools for profit. The editors and contributors separate fact from fiction in a very objective and meaningful way to help policy makers and educators understand the appropriate role that for-profits have to play in K-16 education schools. This book is an absolute must read for anyone desiring an in-depth, no-nonsense examination of the role that private enterprise can play in public education. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. General Readers; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. H. J. Bultinck Northeastern Illinois University Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

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