New Publications

George M. Eberhart

The American Northern Theater Army in 1776, by Douglas R. Cubbison (316 pages, January 2010), discusses the catastrophic defeat of the Continental Army during its invasion of Canada and its remarkable reconstruction at Fort Ticonderoga in 1776 by Generals Horatio Gates and Phillip Schuyler. The recuperated, reinforced, and refortified troops managed to discourage a British invasion through Lake Champlain that year and, though Fort Ti fell a year later, set the stage for the British defeat at Saratoga and ultimate victory for the Americans. Cubbison cites a remarkable amount of original sources to support his narrative. $45.00. McFarland. 978-0-7864-4564-6.

American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, by Kyle William Bishop (239 pages, January 2010), investigates the origins and characteristics of zombie cinema, focusing especially on George Romero’s “Dead” series and the extraordinary fascination with the walking dead in post–9/11 America. Bishop points out that the zombie is a unique cinematic monster in that it developed from Haitian folklore, rather than European literature, making it a distinctly New World creation. Zombie films reflect viewers’ fears of an unsettled afterlife, a complete breakdown in the social order, uncontrollable epidemics, terrorist attacks, and enslavement by an alien culture—elements that identify them as postmodern contributions to the Gothic literary tradition. Bishop also looks at zombie comedy films (“zombedy” or “splatstick”) such as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009) that dare the audience to see zombies as empathetic characters. $35.00. McFarland. 978-0-7864-4806-7.

For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America, by John Curl (487 pages, December 2009), examines the rich legacy of social and labor cooperatives in the United States. Curl, a professional woodworker who has been active in the Heartwood Cooperative Woodshop in Berkeley for more than 30 years, describes these movements as a way for individuals to liberate themselves from the abuses of wage slavery, prejudice, and social injustice. Largely forgotten by mainstream history, these groups played a prominent role in the development of the frontier, unionism, modern small businesses, progressive thought, and sustainable energy in America. $28.95. PM Press. 978-1-60486-072-6.

The Last Leaf: Voices of History’s Last-Known Survivors, by Stuart Lutz (370 pages, March 2010), brings together first-hand accounts by people who were the last-living witnesses to historical events, disasters, technological milestones, and sports and entertainment legends. Lutz spent ten years traveling to 17 states to conduct interviews with these 39 “last leaves”—a metaphor taken from a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes—among them the last two Confederate widows, the final witness to the 1923 Rosewood Race Riots in Florida, the last suffragette to march for women’s rights, the last survivor of the General Slocum fire of 1904, one of the last escapees from the Sobibor death camp in 1943, the final witnesses to the first commercial radio broadcast in 1920 and the first TV broadcast in 1927, the last pitcher to give up a home run to Babe Ruth in 1927, and the last living participant of the 1920 Antwerp Olympics who (at age 102) could still balance a hockey stick on his head. The youngest interviewee was in his 90s, and most died before this book was published. Their stories are filled with the excitement, humor, and fascinating details that only primary participants can provide. $26.00. Prometheus. 978-1-61614-162-2.

Love and the Erotic in Art, by Stefano Zuffi (383 pages, February 2010), is the 16th title in Getty’s Guide to Imagery series, which analyzes specific themes and vocabularies in Western art. This volume covers the artistic symbols, gestures, objects, and settings of love and eros. Numerous examples, from the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf to Robert Mapplethorpe’s nudes, are arranged topically and annotated with comments that point to key elements within the artwork. A final section looks at famous couples in art, from Adam and Eve to Othello and Desdemona. $24.95. J. Paul Getty Museum. 978-1-60606-009-4.

The Mississippi: A Visual Biography, by Quinta Scott (404 pages, February 2010), records the 2,320 miles of the Mississippi River from its source to the Gulf of Mexico in 200 stunning photos taken by the author from 1993 to 2008. Scott starts out by explaining the geology of the river and how it was shaped by the retreat of the Wisconsinan ice sheets, then examines our attempts to reengineer its banks—at first for navigation and flood control and later for restoration and wetlands conservation. Her description of the levee failures in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (“the culmination of everything we have done to change the river since 1718”) and her frank assessment of the actions of the U.S. Corps of Engineers are on the mark. The photos accompany detailed descriptions of each ecological section of the river. $75.00. University of Missouri. 978-0-8262-1840-7.

The Politics of Cocaine: How U.S. Foreign Policy Has Created a Thriving Drug Industry in Central and South America, by William L. Marcy (356 pages, February 2010), documents American counternarcotics policies from Nixon to Bush that have proven ineffective in halting the flow of cocaine into the country. Marcy contends that excessive militarization of U.S. antidrug efforts and conflation of drug trafficking with leftist politics in Latin America have complicated, perpetuated, and even institutionalized the War on Drugs. $26.95. Lawrence Hill Books. 978-1-55652-949-8.

Prospero’s America: John Winthrop Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606–1676, by Walter W. Woodward (317 pages, February 2010), chronicles the little-known life and philosophy of John Winthrop Jr., colonial governor of Connecticut and son of the founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop was no narrow-minded Puritan—he was a cosmopolitan intellectual, a founding member of the Royal Society, and a protoscientist convinced that a Christian-based study of alchemy could lead to a transformation of the human condition. Woodward reveals that in the 1640s, Winthrop intended to create a plantation at the site that soon became New London, Connecticut, to serve as an alchemical laboratory where a colony of natural philosophers could work on refinements in agriculture, medicine, and metallurgy. Although the research center never quite got off the ground, Winthrop’s knowledge of alchemical medicine and natural magic made him one of the most sought-after physicians in New England and allowed him to take a moderate approach to accusations of witchcraft that helped Connecticut avoid such excesses as occurred at Salem. A fascinating interpretation of New England history that challenges the traditional narrative. $45.00. University of North Carolina. 978-0-8078-3301-8.

Copyright © American Library Association, 2010

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