front cover of Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery
Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery
Sheramy D. Bundrick
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
A lucrative trade in Athenian pottery flourished from the early sixth until the late fifth century B.C.E., finding an eager market in Etruria. Most studies of these painted vases focus on the artistry and worldview of the Greeks who made them, but Sheramy D. Bundrick shifts attention to their Etruscan customers, ancient trade networks, and archaeological contexts.

Thousands of Greek painted vases have emerged from excavations of tombs, sanctuaries, and settlements throughout Etruria, from southern coastal centers to northern communities in the Po Valley. Using documented archaeological assemblages, especially from tombs in southern Etruria, Bundrick challenges the widely held assumption that Etruscans were hellenized through Greek imports. She marshals evidence to show that Etruscan consumers purposefully selected figured pottery that harmonized with their own local needs and customs, so much so that the vases are better described as etruscanized. Athenian ceramic workers, she contends, learned from traders which shapes and imagery sold best to the Etruscans and employed a variety of strategies to maximize artistry, output, and profit.
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front cover of The Dervish Bowl
The Dervish Bowl
The Many Lives of Arminius Vámbéry
Anabel Loyd
Haus Publishing, 2024

front cover of The Many Lives of Carbon
The Many Lives of Carbon
Dag Olav Hessen
Reaktion Books, 2018
In its pure form, carbon appears as the soft graphite of a pencil or as the sparkling diamond in a woman’s engagement ring. Underneath the surface, carbon is also the basic building block of the cells in our bodies and of all known life on earth. And at a molecular level, carbon bonds with oxygen to create carbon dioxide—a gas as vital to our life on this planet as it is detrimental at high levels in our atmosphere. As we face the climate change crisis, it’s now more important than ever to understand carbon and its life cycle.

The Many Lives of Carbon is the story of this all-important chemical element, labeled C on our periodic tables. It’s the story of balance—between photosynthesis and cell respiration, between building and burning, between life and death. Dag Olav Hessen is our guide as we discover carbon in minerals, rocks, wood, and rain forests. He explains how carbon is studied by scientists, as well as its role in the greenhouse effect, and, not least, the impact of manmade emissions. Hessen isn’t afraid to ask the difficult questions as he confronts us with the literally burning issue of climate change. How will ecosystems respond to global change, and how will this feed back into our climate systems? How bad could climate change be, and will our ecosystems recover? What are our moral obligations in the face of excess carbon production? Neither alarmist nor moralistic, Hessen takes readers on a journey from atom to planet in informative, compelling prose.
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front cover of The Many Lives of Cy Endfield
The Many Lives of Cy Endfield
Film Noir, the Blacklist, and Zulu
Brian Neve
University of Wisconsin Press, 2015
Cy Endfield (1914–1995) was a filmmaker who was also fascinated by the worlds of close-up magic, science, and invention. After directing several distinctive low-budget films in Hollywood, he was blacklisted in 1951 and fled to Britain rather than “name names” before HUAC, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Un-American Activities Committee. The Pennsylvania-born Endfield made films that exhibit an outsider’s eye for his adopted country, including the working-class “trucking” drama Hell Drivers and the cult film Zulu—a war epic as politically nuanced as it is spectacular. Along the way he encountered Orson Welles, collaborated with pioneering animator Ray Harryhausen, published a book of his card magic, and co-invented an early word processor that anticipated today’s technology.
            The Many Lives of Cy Endfield is the first book on this fascinating figure. The fruit of years of archival research and personal interviews by Brian Neve, it documents Endfield’s many identities: among them second-generation immigrant, Jew, Communist, and exile. Neve paints detailed scenes not only of the political and personal dramas of the blacklist era, but also of the attempts by Hollywood directors in the postwar 1940s and early 1950s to address social and political controversies of the day. Out of these efforts came two crime melodramas (what would become known as film noir) on inequalities of class and race: The Underworld Story and The Sound of Fury (also known as Try and Get Me!). Neve reveals the complex production and reception histories of Endfield’s films, which the critic Jonathan Rosenbaum saw as reflective of “an uncommon intelligence so radically critical of the world we live in that it’s dangerous.”
            The Many Lives of Cy Endfield is at once a revealing biography of an independent, protean figure, an insight into film industry struggles, and a sensitive and informed study of an underappreciated body of work.

Best Five Books of the Year list, Iranian 24 Monthly, London UK

“Make[s] a case for [Endfield’s] distinctive voice while tracing the way struggle, opposition, and thwarted ambition both defined his life and became the powerful themes of his best work.”—Cineaste
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front cover of The Many Lives of Eddie Rickenbacker
The Many Lives of Eddie Rickenbacker
Andrew Speno
Ohio University Press, 2020

The life story of a daredevil who became a war hero will fascinate adventurous young readers with its tales of survival.

At age thirteen, following the death of his father, young Eddie dropped out of school and joined the workforce. Through a combination of smarts, hard work, and perseverance, Rickenbacker would grow up to become an automobile mechanic, a race car driver, a fighter pilot, an entrepreneur, a war hero, a business executive, and a staunch advocate for hard work and personal responsibility.

Along the way he lived on the line between recklessness and courage. He survived dozens of accidents, coming close to death more than once. During the earliest years of American automobile racing, Rickenbacker was “the most daring and withal the most cautious driver” on the circuit. How could he have been both daring and cautious? This book invites young readers to decide for themselves as they follow Rickenbacker on his many hair-raising adventures.

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front cover of On Earth or in Poems
On Earth or in Poems
The Many Lives of al-Andalus
Eric Calderwood
Harvard University Press, 2023

“With extraordinary linguistic range, Calderwood brings us the voices of Arabs and Muslims who have turned to the distant past of Spain to imagine their future.”
—Hussein Fancy, Yale University


How the memory of Muslim Iberia shapes art and politics from New York and Cordoba to Cairo and the West Bank.

During the Middle Ages, the Iberian Peninsula was home not to Spain and Portugal but rather to al-Andalus. Ruled by a succession of Islamic dynasties, al-Andalus came to be a shorthand for a legendary place where people from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe; Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace. That reputation is not entirely deserved, yet, as On Earth or in Poems shows, it has had an enduring hold on the imagination, especially for Arab and Muslim artists and thinkers in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

From the vast and complex story behind the name al-Andalus, Syrians and North Africans draw their own connections to history’s ruling dynasties. Palestinians can imagine themselves as “Moriscos,” descended from Spanish Muslims forced to hide their identities. A Palestinian flamenco musician in Chicago, no less than a Saudi women’s rights activist, can take inspiration from al-Andalus. These diverse relationships to the same past may be imagined, but the present-day communities and future visions those relationships foster are real.

Where do these notions of al-Andalus come from? How do they translate into aspiration and action? Eric Calderwood traces the role of al-Andalus in music and in debates about Arab and Berber identities, Arab and Muslim feminisms, the politics of Palestine and Israel, and immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. The Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish once asked, “Was al-Andalus / Here or there? On earth … or in poems?” The artists and activists showcased in this book answer: it was there, it is here, and it will be.

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front cover of Sub Culture
Sub Culture
The Many Lives of the Submarine
John Medhurst
Reaktion Books, 2022
A deep dive into the significance of submarines, across everything from warfare and politics to literature and film.
 
Sub Culture explores the crucial role of the submarine in modern history, its contribution to scientific progress and maritime exploration, and how it has been portrayed in art, literature, fantasy, and film. Ranging from the American Civil War to the destruction of the Russian submarine Kursk in 2000, the book examines the submarine’s activities in the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War, and in covert operations and marine exploration to the present day. Citing the submarine, particularly the nuclear submarine, as both ultimate deterrent and doomsday weapon, Sub Culture examines how its portrayal in popular culture has reinforced, and occasionally undermined, the military and political agendas of the nation-states that deploy it.
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