Inspired by true events, The Brightest Place in the World traces the lives of four characters haunted by an industrial disaster. On an ordinary sunny morning in 2012, a series of explosions level a chemical plant on the outskirts of Las Vegas. The shock waves are felt as far away as Fremont Street. Homes and businesses suffer broken windows and caved-in roofs. Hundreds are injured, and eight employees of the plant are unaccounted for, presumed dead.
One of the missing is maintenance technician Andrew Huntley, a husband and father who is an orbital force in the novel as those who loved him grapple with his loss. Andrew’s best friend, Russell Martin—an anxiety-plagued bartender who calms his nerves with a steady inflow of weed—misses him more than he might a brother. Meanwhile Emma, Russell’s wife—a blackjack dealer at a downtown casino—tries to keep her years-long affair with Andrew hidden. Simon Addison, a manager at the plant who could have saved Andrew’s life, is afflicted by daily remorse, combined with a debilitating knowledge of his own cowardice. And then there’s Maddie, Andrew’s only child, a model high-school student whose response to the tragedy is to experiment with shoplifting and other deviant behavior.
Against the sordid backdrop of Las Vegas—and inspired by the PEPCON disaster of May 4, 1988—this engaging novel is a story of grief and regret, disloyalty and atonement, infatuation and love.
Discovering Successful Pathways in Children's Development provides a new perspective on the study of childhood and family life. Successful development is enhanced when communities provide meaningful life pathways that children can seek out and engage. Successful pathways include both a culturally valued direction for development and competence in skills that matter for a child's subsequent success as a person as well as a student, parent, worker, or citizen. To understand successful pathways requires a mix of qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic methods—the state of the art for research practice among developmentalists, educators, and policymakers alike.
This volume includes new studies of minority and immigrant families, school achievement, culture, race and gender, poverty, identity, and experiments and interventions meant to improve family and child contexts. Discovering Successful Pathways in Children's Development will be of enormous value to everyone interested in the issues of human development, education, and social welfare, and among professionals charged with the task of improving the lives of children in our communities.
"Stigma, shame and hardship---this is the lot shared by families whose young men have been swept into prison. Braman reveals the devastating toll mass incarceration takes on the parents, partners, and children left behind."
-Katherine S. Newman
"Doing Time on the Outside brings to life in a compelling way the human drama, and tragedy, of our incarceration policies. Donald Braman documents the profound economic and social consequences of the American policy of massive imprisonment of young African American males. He shows us the link between the broad-scale policy changes of recent decades and the isolation and stigma that these bring to family members who have a loved one in prison. If we want to understand fully the impact of current criminal justice policies, this book should be required reading."
-Mark Mauer, Assistant Director, The Sentencing Project
"Through compelling stories and thoughtful analysis, this book describes how our nation's punishment policies have caused incalculable damage to the fabric of family and community life. Anyone concerned about the future of urban America should read this book."
-Jeremy Travis, The Urban Institute
In the tradition of Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street and Katherine Newman's No Shame in My Game, this startling new ethnography by Donald Braman uncovers the other side of the incarceration saga: the little-told story of the effects of imprisonment on the prisoners' families.
Since 1970 the incarceration rate in the United States has more than tripled, and in many cities-urban centers such as Washington, D.C.-it has increased over five-fold. Today, one out of every ten adult black men in the District is in prison and three out of every four can expect to spend some time behind bars. But the numbers don't reveal what it's like for the children, wives, and parents of prisoners, or the subtle and not-so-subtle effects mass incarceration is having on life in the inner city.
Author Donald Braman shows that those doing time on the inside are having a ripple effect on the outside-reaching deep into the family and community life of urban America. Braman gives us the personal stories of what happens to the families and communities that prisoners are taken from and return to. Carefully documenting the effects of incarceration on the material and emotional lives of families, this groundbreaking ethnography reveals how criminal justice policies are furthering rather than abating the problem of social disorder. Braman also delivers a number of genuinely new arguments.
Among these is the compelling assertion that incarceration is holding offenders unaccountable to victims, communities, and families. The author gives the first detailed account of incarceration's corrosive effect on social capital in the inner city and describes in poignant detail how the stigma of prison pits family and community members against one another. Drawing on a series of powerful family portraits supported by extensive empirical data, Braman shines a light on the darker side of a system that is failing the very families and communities it seeks to protect.
Dongola: A Novel of Nubia
Idris Ali University of Arkansas Press, 1998 Library of Congress PJ7812.I23D813 1998 | Dewey Decimal 892.736
The University of Arkansas Press Award for Arabic Literature in Translation, 1997
In this, the first Nubian novel ever translated, Awad Shalali, a Nubian worker in modern Egypt, dreams of Dongola—the capital of medeval Nubia, now lost to the flood waters of the Aswan High Dam. In Dongola, the Nubians reached their zenith. They defeated and dominated Upper Egypt, and their archers, deadly accurate in battle, were renowned as “the bowman of the glance.
Helima, Awad’s wife, must deal with the reality of today’s Nubia, a poverty-stricken bottomland. Men like Awad now work in Cairo for good wages while the women remain at home in squalor, dominated by the Islam of their conquerors and ignorant of the glory now covered by the Nile’s water. Left to tend Awad’s sick mother and his dying country, Halima grows despondent and learns the truths behind the Upper Egyptian lyric: “Time, you are a traitor—what have you done with my love?
Through his characters’ pain and suffering, Idris Ali paints in vibrant detail, with wit and a keen sense of history’s absurdities, the story of cultures and hearts divided, of lost lands, impossible dreams, and abandoned lives.
Working mothers, broken homes, poverty, racial or ethnic background, poorly educated parents—these are the usual reasons given for the academic problems of poor urban children. Reginald M. Clark contends, however, that such structural characteristics of families neither predict nor explain the wide variation in academic achievement among children. He emphasizes instead the total family life, stating that the most important indicators of academic potential are embedded in family culture.
To support his contentions, Clark offers ten intimate portraits of Black families in Chicago. Visiting the homes of poor one- and two-parent families of high and low achievers, Clark made detailed observations on the quality of home life, noting how family habits and interactions affect school success and what characteristics of family life provide children with "school survival skills," a complex of behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge that are the essential elements in academic success.
Clark's conclusions lead to exciting implications for educational policy. If school achievement is not dependent on family structure or income, parents can learn to inculcate school survival skills in their children. Clark offers specific suggestions and strategies for use by teachers, parents, school administrators, and social service policy makers, but his work will also find an audience in urban anthropology, family studies, and Black studies.
As a young, deaf Jewish woman living in a small town in Michigan in 1942, Sandra Horowitz felt deeply frustrated by her limited prospects. Even though she had just graduated from junior college, she knew that she had two strikes against her in fulfilling her dream to become a veterinarian. Better to marry Jacob Winter, her parents urged her, a deaf Jewish man who made a good living. Then, Sandra met Rudy Townsend, a hearing soldier on leave before shipping out to the war in Europe.
In just four days, both Sandra and Rudy’s worlds were turned upside down. Sandra’s parents feared him for being hearing and a Gentile, while Rudy’s parents expressed openly their bias against her ethnic background and her deafness. Even so, Sandra and Rudy soon realized that they had fallen in love, deeply and passionately. As they shared the brief time they had together, they learned about each other’s dreams for the future — Sandra’s desire to be a vet and Rudy’s determination to serve in Congress. Then, Rudy had to leave for the war.
Philip Zazove’s novel Four Days in Michigan captures perfectly the power of irrepressible love between two individuals from opposite backgrounds. The struggles they encounter in an era when such differences were never more sharply drawn also reveal great detail about deaf and hearing life. Despite all, their triumph comes ultimately because of their long-lasting individual respect and love.
A teen’s life is complicated. Add an overworked dad, a distraught mom.
Enter an old man from the wrong side of the tracks.
He knows things. He’s there when you need him.
This happens to someone; it’s not a maybe thing. People get hurt. People die. There’s a dad who loves his kid but works all the time. When he doesn’t work, he drinks. When he drinks he’s out of control.
There’s a mom. She knows dad is overworked, a good man carrying too much responsibility.
The kid turns to the handy man to learn a man’s skills. In the old man from the wrong side of the tracks, the kid finds unusual skills and terrible—but true—lessons. He finds that his own safety comes at a cost to his unfortunate friend. He finds growing up comes at a cost to himself. This is the story of such a kid, told by himself after he has lived much of his life, come to terms with his parents’ weaknesses, and learned that seemingly insignificant people carry more pain than he can imagine, though he has already seen plenty.
In a bizarre love triangle, a man becomes increasingly desperate for the attention of a woman obsessed with her little dog. A hapless unromantic develops an algorithm to help him succeed at dating. And a divorcee becomes consumed with jealousy when a man she likes begins to date her 60 year old mother. In these tales of love pursued, yet rarely caught, characters find themselves tripping, sometimes painfully, sometimes hilariously, toward self-revelation. Here is life in all of its clumsiness, humor, and beauty.
Islay: A Novel
Douglas Bullard Gallaudet University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3552.U4237I85 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Now, a new edition of the classic novel Islay promises to entertain a contemporary audience with its Deaf American dream first conceived by Douglas Bullard in 1986. Islay is the name of an imaginary island state coveted by Lyson Sulla, a Deaf man who is tired of feeling that “hearing think deaf means dumb, pat head.” Sulla signs this to his wife Mary in explanation of his desire to tum Islay into a state solely for Deaf people, with himself as governor. From there, his peripatetic quest begins.
Sulla initiates his plan by driving to Islay to survey the lay of the land. There, he meets Gene Owls, another Deaf man who also has designs on the island. Sulla then embarks on travels around the nation recruiting Deaf people to join his crusade. Along the way, he meets a Deaf doctor, a bowling alley owner, a family of peddlers, a Deaf minister, and a willing businessman. Far from a heroic character, Sulla engages in each encounter in an earthy, self-sewing fashion that sends up all parties involved, hearing and Deaf.
Islay uniquely blends classic English forms of satire with the direct, down-to-earth expression of American Sign Language ingenuously rendered throughout. Deaf himself, Bullard has created a wonderfully amusing story that features Deaf people seeking their American dream in a manner both serious and joyous at the same time.
The Last Mistress of Jose Rizal is a collection of stories that focuses on multigenerational tales of intertwined Filipino families. Set in the huge yet relatively overlooked and misunderstood Filipino diaspora in the United States, this book follows characters who live in the shadow of the histories of the United States and its former colony in Asia, the Philippines. The impact of immigration and separation filters through the stories as a way of communing with or creating distance between individuals and family, country, or history.
Roley’s work has been praised by everyone from New York Times literary critics to APIA author Helen Zia for his bare, poetic style and raw emotionalism. In the collection’s title story, a woman living with her daughter and her daughter’s American husband fears the loss of Filipino tradition, especially Catholicism, as she tries to secretly permeate her granddaughter’s existence with elements of her ancestry. In "New Relations," an American-born son introduces his mother to his Caucasian bride and her family, only to experience his first marital discord around issues of politesse, the perception of culture, and post-colonial legacies. Roley’s delicately nuanced collection often leaves the audience with the awkwardness that comes from things lost in translation or entangled in generational divides.
Anthony Varallo University of Iowa Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3622.A725L56 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation. Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world. The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.
Low-skilled women in the 1990s took widely different paths in trying to support their children. Some held good jobs with growth potential, some cycled in and out of low-paying jobs, some worked part time, and others stayed out of the labor force entirely. Scholars have closely analyzed the economic consequences of these varied trajectories, but little research has focused on the consequences of a mother's career path on her children's development. Making It Work, edited by Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Thomas Weisner, and Edward Lowe, looks past the economic statistics to illustrate how different employment trajectories affect the social and emotional lives of poor women and their children. Making It Work examines Milwaukee's New Hope program, an experiment testing the effectiveness of an anti-poverty initiative that provided health and child care subsidies, wage supplements, and other services to full-time low-wage workers. Employing parent surveys, teacher reports, child assessment measures, ethnographic studies, and state administrative records, Making It Work provides a detailed picture of how a mother's work trajectory affects her, her family, and her children's school performance, social behavior, and expectations for the future. Rashmita Mistry and Edward D. Lowe find that increases in a mother's income were linked to higher school performance in her children. Without large financial worries, mothers gained extra confidence in their ability to parent, which translated into better test scores and higher teacher appraisals for their children. JoAnn Hsueh finds that the children of women with erratic work schedules and non-standard hours—conditions endemic to the low-skilled labor market—exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression. Conversely, Noemi Enchautegui-de-Jesus, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, and Vonnie McLoyd discover that better job quality predicted lower levels of acting-out and withdrawal among children. Perhaps most surprisingly, Anna Gassman-Pines, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, and Sandra Nay note that as wages for these workers rose, so did their marriage rates, suggesting that those worried about family values should also be concerned with alleviating poverty in America. It is too simplistic to say that parental work is either "good" or "bad" for children. Making It Work gives a nuanced view of how job quality, flexibility, and wages are of the utmost importance for the well-being of low-income parents and children.
Howard L. Terry wrote a novel between 1917 and 1922, which he donated to the Gallaudet University Archives in 1951. There it rested until a resurgence of interest in Deaf literature led to its recent rediscovery. Mickey’s Harvest: A Novel of a Deaf Boy’s Checkered Life recounts the rollicking tale of a young deaf man and how he learned to survive and thrive at the advent of the 20th century.
Mickey Dunmore’s story begins with the sinking of his father’s merchant sailing ship and ends with a cliffhanger in World War I. In school, after an illness caused his deafness, Mickey finds himself constantly fighting the hearing boys and later competing with the signing students when he attends a residential school for deaf students. In college, he and his best friend Dick Wagner leave early to travel the nation with the hobos, carnies, and grifters. In one town, they outfox a barker who was using a deaf girl to “read” the minds of their marks. Further on, they meet Bunny, the Mighty Mite deaf man who helps expose a hearing woman posing as deaf to scam sympathetic people. Mickey faces his greatest challenge when he falls in love with Marion Carrel, a deaf girl whose hearing father forbids their romance on eugenics grounds.
Terry, who became deaf at the age of 11, states from the outset that he means for his novel to reveal the biases confronting deaf people at the time. As a tonic, he populates Mickey’s Harvest with artistic, talented deaf individuals who engage readers in an earlier, colorful time as they “show their stuff.”
A Milwaukee Inheritance
David Milofsky University of Wisconsin Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3563.I444M55 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Successful Yale Law School grad Andy Simonson returns to Milwaukee if not in triumph, at least thinking he is better off than his blue-collar upbringing. However, coming home again proves to be less than it’s cracked up to be. A childhood friend lands him an associate gig at a big downtown firm. He settles into a lakeside mansion with his mercurial wife, Moira. Then his mother exacts a deathbed promise that he take over as landlord of her rundown duplex on the East Side—complete with delinquent occupants.
Moira is becoming obsessed with starting a family; Andy is becoming obsessed by thoughts of her friend Patsy. An unwinnable domestic dispute involving his shady tenant (and former classmate) Frankie “The Pin” Pignatano takes over more and more of his life. As tensions rise at home, at work, and in the duplex, Andy is forced to decide which vows he can honor.
This slow-burning, finely textured portrait of family dynamics pivots on secrets between generations and how the shadows of the past can darken the future.
In 1791, Mary Wollstonecraft drew upon her experiences as a governess as well as her understanding of the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to publish this popular collection of moral tales for children. Not surprisingly, the woman who would later write A Vindication of the Rights of Women had strong views on children's education. Wollstonecraft desired nothing less than liberating children, both girls and boys, from what she believed were irrational modes of education in late eighteenth-century European culture. Her hyper rational stories became influential models for expressing particular philosophies of education through children's literature.
This beautiful facsimile of the 1791 edition includes the original illustrations by William Blake. A commentary by Eileen Hunt Botting puts the text in context and hints at influences on Wollstonecraft's daughter Mary Shelley and the pedagogical philosophy behind Shelley's novel Frankenstein.
Like all volumes in the Women in Print series, Original Stories from Real Life is provided as an open access book and downloads to a wide variety of platforms and online e-readers.
Lee Martin The Ohio State University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3563.A724927Q35 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In Quakertown, Lee Martin travels back in time to 1920s Texas to tell the story of a flourishing black community that was segregated from its white brethren—and of the remarkable gardener who was asked to do the unimaginable.
Based on the true story of a shameful episode in north Texas history, Quakertown draws on the rich texture of the South—the Pecan Creek running along the edges of Quakertown, the remarkable and rare white lilac, and the rising tensions marking each nod and greeting. With strength and a deep wisdom of heart, Martin carves out the delicate story of two families—one white and one black—and the child whose birth brought a gift of forgiveness.
Suffused with Martin’s deep compassion and profound humanity, Quakertown is an unforgettable novel from a master of American prose.
European and American scholars from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries thought that all societies passed through the same developmental stages, from primitive to advanced. Implicit in this developmental paradigm—one that has affected generations of thought on societal development—was the assumption that one could "read history sideways." That is, one could see what the earlier stages of a modern Western society looked like by examining contemporaneous so-called primitive societies in other parts of the world.
In Reading History Sideways, leading family scholar Arland Thornton demonstrates how this approach, though long since discredited, has permeated Western ideas and values about the family. Further, its domination of social science for centuries caused the misinterpretation of Western trends in family structure, marriage, fertility, and parent-child relations. Revisiting the "developmental fallacy," Thornton here traces its central role in changes in the Western world, from marriage to gender roles to adolescent sexuality. Through public policies, aid programs, and colonialism, it continues to reshape families in non-Western societies as well.
In this historical narrative, Swedish novelist Agneta Pleijel follows the lives of two ancestors, a sister and brother, each of whom played a role in the cultural life of Stockholm in the 19th century. Using old letters, records, and stories passed down through her family, Pleijel imagines the lives of her great-grandfather, Albert Berg (1832–1916), and his younger sister, Helena Berg Petre (1834–1880), who were born into a prominent musical family. Albert was born deaf, dashing his father’s hopes of a musical career for him. He was sent to Stockholm’s Manilla School for the Deaf, where he learned sign language. He later studied art and became a painter of seascapes. His interest in improving the lives of deaf people led him to become an advocate for the Deaf community and to cofound the Stockholm Deaf Association.
Helena showed early musical talent and, trained by her father, was a gifted singer. She lived in Paris for a time and enjoyed popular success. She fell in love with a musician but was plunged into despair when he died from cholera. Her father persuaded her to give up singing and marry a cold industrialist, who was one of the wealthiest men in Sweden, in order to provide financial support for the family. Helena struggled in the loveless marriage and battled depression throughout her life.
Despite their disparate lives, Albert and Helena faced similar struggles with communication, autonomy, and self-determination. Albert’s story traces the development of his own sense of identity as well as the development of Swedish Deaf culture, while Helena’s life reflects the silencing and oppression endured by women. In Sister and Brother, Pleijel’s literary treatment of their lives sheds light on the cultural and social norms that shaped the experiences of deaf people and women in the 19th century.
Sunland: A Novel
Don Waters University of Nevada Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3623.A8688S86 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Sid Dulaney, in his mid-thirties, between jobs and short on funds, has moved back to Tucson to take care of his beloved grandmother. To hold down the cost of her prescriptions, he reluctantly starts smuggling medications over the border. His picaresque misadventures involve the lovable eccentrics at her retirement village, Mexican gang threats, a voluptuous former babysitter, midnight voicemails from his exasperated ex-girlfriend, and, perplexingly, a giraffe. This first novel by the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award proves Waters is an important new voice in American fiction. A big, rollicking, character-filled novel, Sunland is an entertaining and humane view at life on the margins in America today.
Katherine Zlabek The Ohio State University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3626.L33A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
A bull’s heart simmers in a crockpot, echoing the household’s tension in a retelling of Biblical Jacob’s trials. A priest observes his congregation’s descent into madness and wonders at his own role. An elderly woman imagines herself into her boomtown’s history and eventual abandonment at the height of the Gold Rush. Towns and people vanish, daughters return, women prepare escapes, and animals invade. In this collection of stories situated within the mythology of the Midwest, the past is always present, tangible and unrelenting, constantly asking these characters whether they will be a sacrifice or a martyr, daring them to give in without a fight. Here, transcendence is a tonic hard-earned by the battered soul.
The atmospheric stories in When illuminate the customs of rural America, a part of this country that’s been asked to risk the best of itself in order to survive, revealing with humor and weight fears about wealth, worth, and the dignity of home.