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Duchess of Palms
A Memoir
By Nadine Eckhardt
University of Texas Press, 2009

A “fifties girl” tells the fascinating story of her marriages to novelist Billy Lee Brammer and Congressman Bob Eckhardt, and how these relationships propelled her into the multifaceted life she led on her own terms.

Child of the Great Depression, teenage "Duchess of Palms" beauty queen, wife of an acclaimed novelist and later of a brilliant U.S. congressman, and ultimately a successful single working woman and mother, Nadine Eckhardt has lived a fascinating life. In this unique, funny, and honest memoir, she recounts her journey from being a "fifties girl" who lived through the men in her life to becoming a woman in her own right, working toward her own goals.

Eckhardt's first marriage to writer Billy Lee Brammer gave her entrée to liberal political and literary circles in Austin and Washington, where she and Brammer both worked for Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. She describes the heady excitement of LBJ's world—a milieu that Brammer vividly captured in his novel The Gay Place. She next recalls her second marriage to Bob Eckhardt, whom she helped get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as her growing involvement with the counterculture of social protest, sexual revolution, and drug use. Eckhardt honestly recounts how the changing times changed her perception of herself, recalling that "I didn't know how to achieve for myself, only for others, and I felt ripped off and empty." This painful realization opened the door to a new life for Eckhardt. Her memoir concludes with a joyful description of her multifaceted later life as a restaurateur, assistant to Molly Ivins, writer, and center of a wide circle of friends.


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Genera Palmarum
The Evolution and Classification of Palms
John Dransfield, Natalie W. Uhl, Conny B. Asmussen, William J. Baker, Madeline Harley, and Carl Lewis
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2008
Palms are iconic in our culture, representing everything from victory to vacation. And for nearly three decades, Genera Palmarum has been the stand-out reference for anyone interested in this economically and horticulturally important plant family. Now, this award-winning book has been completely updated and revised, bringing it in line with new research and newly discovered genera.
In this new edition, genus treatments now include complete descriptions, nomenclature, and etymology, as well as discussions of diversity, distribution, phylogeny, morphology, uses and ecology. All genera are fully illustrated with full-color photographs alongside analytic illustrations, distribution maps, and even electron micrographs of pollen. An updated introduction provides readers with essential background information via authoratative essays on the structure of palms, their chemistry, their history, and much more.
Fully revised for a new generation of researchers and gardening enthusiasts, Genera Palmarum continues to be the gold-standard reference work on palms.

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Harvest of the Palm
Ecological Change in Eastern Indonesia
James J. Fox
Harvard University Press, 1977

Paradoxically, at a time when hunting and gathering societies are almost a thing of the past, a subsistence system based on gathering is not only persisting but actually gaining ground in southeastern Indonesia. The economy of the small islands of Roti and Savu is centered on the intensive use of the lontar palm tree, whose juice is the staple of the people's diet and whose leaves, leafstalks, and trunks provide the wherewithal for their housing and most of their needs.

This economy, marvelously stable and adaptive, is described in detail by James Fox, and is contrasted with that of the large neighboring islands, Timor and Sumba; there slash-and-burn agriculture has led to steady ecological deterioration, in the wake of which the lontar economy of the smaller islands has gained a foothold and is gradually expanding. How these developments came about is revealed by an examination of the history of the islands over several hundred years and the effects of the policies of successive colonial governments. The historical perspective adds depth to the ethnographic presentation and is vital to the anthropological analysis of social change.

In preparation for the writing of this book the author spent three years in the Timor area, especially on Roti; learned Dutch, Indonesian, and several local island dialects; and had done intensive historical research in Indonesia and in archives in the Netherlands.


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Heart of Palms
My Peace Corps Years in Tranquilla
Meredith W. Cornett
University of Alabama Press, 2014
Heart of Palms is a clear-eyed memoir of Peace Corps service in the rural Panamanian village of Tranquilla through the eyes of a young American woman trained as a community forester.

In the storied fifty-year history of the US Peace Corps, Heart of Palms is the first Peace Corps memoir set in Panama, the slender isthmus that connects two continents and two oceans. In her memoir, Meredith Cornett transports readers to the remote village of Tranquilla, where dugout canoes are the mainstay of daily transportation, life and nature are permeated by witchcraft, and a restful night’s sleep may be disturbed by a raiding phalanx of army ants.

Cornett is sent to help counter the rapid deforestation that is destroying the ecosystem and livelihoods of the Panama Canal watershed region. Her first chapters chronicle her arrival and struggles not only with the social issues of language, loneliness, and insecurity, but also with the tragicomic basics of mastering open-fire cookery and intrusions by insects and poisonous snakes. As she grows to understand the region and its people, her keen eye discerns the overwhelming scope of her task. Unable to plant trees faster than they are lost, she writes with moving clarity about her sense of powerlessness.

Combating deforestation leads Cornett into an equally fierce battle against her own feelings of fear and isolation. Her journey to Panama becomes a parallel journey into herself. In this way, Heart of Palms is much more than a record of her Peace Corps service; it is also a moving environmental coming-of-age story and nuanced meditation on one village’s relationship to nature. When she returns home two years later, Cornett brings with her both skills and experience and a remarkable, newfound sense of confidence and mission.

Writing with rueful, self-deprecating humor, Cornett lets us ride along with her on a wave of naïve optimism, a wave that breaks not only on fear and intimidation, but also on tedium and isolation. Heart of Palms offers a bracing alternative to the romantic idealism common to Peace Corps memoirs and will be valued as a welcome addition to writing about the Peace Corps and environmental service.

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In the Shadow of the Palms
More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua
Sophie Chao
Duke University Press, 2022
With In the Shadow of the Palms, Sophie Chao examines the multispecies entanglements of oil palm plantations in West Papua, Indonesia, showing how Indigenous Marind communities understand and navigate the social, political, and environmental demands of the oil palm plant. As Chao notes, it is no secret that the palm oil sector has destructive environmental impacts: it greatly contributes to tropical deforestation and is a major driver of global warming. Situating the plant and the transformations it has brought within the context of West Papua’s volatile history of colonization, ethnic domination, and capitalist incursion, Chao traces how Marind attribute environmental destruction not just to humans, technologies, and capitalism but also to the volition and actions of the oil palm plant itself. By approaching cash crops as both drivers of destruction and subjects of human exploitation, Chao rethinks capitalist violence as a multispecies act. In the process, Chao centers how Marind fashion their own changing worlds and foreground Indigenous creativity and decolonial approaches to anthropology.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient

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Life Under the Palms
The Sublime World of the Anti-colonialist Jacob Haafner
Paul van der Velde
National University of Singapore Press, 2019
Jacob Gotfried Haafner (1754–1809) was one of the most popular European travel writers of the early nineteenth century, writing in the Romantic mode. A Dutch citizen, Haafner spent more than twenty years of his early life living outside of Europe, in India, Ceylon, Mauritius, Java, and South Africa. Books like his popular Travels in a Palanquin were translated into the major European languages, and his essays against the work of Christian missionaries in Asia stirred up great controversy. Haafner worked to spread understanding of the cultures he’d come to know in his journeys, promoting European understanding of Indian literature, myth, and religion, translating the Ramayana into Dutch.
With the help of generous excerpts from Haafner's own writings, including material newly translated into English, Paul van der Velde tells an affecting story of a young man who made a world for himself along the Coromandel Coast, in Ceylon and Calcutta, but who returned to Europe to live the last years of his life in Amsterdam, suffering an acute nostalgia for Asia. This will be compelling reading for anyone interested in European response to the cultures of Asia.

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The Palms of New Guinea
William J. Baker, Anders S. Barfod, Rodrigo Camara-Leret, John L. Dowe, John Dransfield, Charlie D. Heatubun, Peter Petoe, Jessica H. Turner, and Scott Zona
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2024
A comprehensive study of New Guinean palms.

From exquisite palmlets to graceful canopy giants, palms dominate the rainforests of New Guinea, one of the last tropical wilderness areas on the planet. New Guinea is the world’s largest tropical island and a globally significant biodiversity hotspot. Its extraordinary flora and remarkable 250 species of palm are vital for the people of New Guinea, who depend on them for their survival.

Palms of New Guinea is the first comprehensive account of these immensely important plants, covering their taxonomy, identification, distribution, habitat, conservation status, and much more. Alongside over 650 photographs and 250 detailed maps, botanical artist Lucy T. Smith has illustrated all species featured in Palms of New Guinea. Written by nine scientific experts, this is an essential companion for anyone studying or working in the region.

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Sustainable Harvest and Marketing of Rain Forest Products
Edited by Mark Plotkin and Lisa Famolare
Island Press, 1992
Based on a Conservation International conference in Panama, Sustainable Harvest and Marketing of Rain Forest Products brings together the world's leading experts on rain forest development and sustainability.

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World Checklist of Palms
Rafaël Govaerts and John Dransfield
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2005
The palm family, considered to be second only to the grasses among monocotyledonous plants of economic importance, is of immense significance to man, especially among rural communities in the tropics, where wild palms are intensively utilised. The 'World Checklist of Palms' is the unique resource that lists all validly published names of palms, providing the source of their publication and indication of which names are currently accepted and which are synonyms. Geographical distribution is also included for all accepted species.

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