The compelling essays in Bernard Quetchenbach’s Accidental Gravity move from upstate New York to the western United States, from urban and suburban places to wild lands. In the first section of the book, he focuses on suburban neighborhoods, where residents respond ambivalently to golf-course geese and other unruly natural presences; in the second section, he juxtaposes these humanized places with Yellowstone National Park. Quetchenbach writes about current environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone area—wildfire, invasive species, ever-increasing numbers of tourists—in the context of climate change and other contemporary pressures.
Accidental Gravity negotiates the difficult edge between a naive belief in an enduring, unassailable natural world and the equally naive belief that human life takes place in some unnatural, more mediated context. The title refers to the accidental but nonetheless meaningful nexus where the personal meets and combines with the universal—those serendipitous moments when the individual life connects to the larger rhythms of time and planet.
Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II, Ike Skelton dreamed of joining the military. That dream was shattered when he contracted one of the most dreaded diseases of the era: polio. Far from abandoning hope, Skelton, after treatment at Warm Springs, Georgia, overcame his disability and went on to become a college athlete, a celebrated lawyer, a Missouri state senator, and a U.S. Congressman. Achieve the Honorable is the deeply personal tale of Ike Skelton’s determined journey from the small town of Lexington, Missouri, to Capitol Hill.
During his years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Skelton became known as a bipartisan negotiator and a champion of the Armed Services. Throughout the decades, he helped steer the nation through its most dangerous challenges, from Communism to terrorism; took a leading role in the reform of the Department of Defense; dedicated himself to fulfilling the interests of his constituents; and eventually rose to become chair of the House Armed Services Committee during such pivotal events as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to detailing Skelton’s political career and its accompanying challenges and triumphs, Achieve the Honorable provides inside glimpses into the lives of political titans like Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Along the way, we are treated to Skelton’s engaging humor and shrewd insight into twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. politics.
When, in 1968, 19-year-old Tressa Bowers took her baby daughter to an expert on deaf children, he pronounced that Alandra was “stone deaf,” she most likely would never be able to talk, and she probably would not get much of an education because of her communication limitations. Tressa refused to accept this stark assessment of Alandra’s prospects. Instead, she began the arduous process of starting her daughter’s education.
Economic need forced Tressa to move several times, and as a result, she and Alandra experienced a variety of learning environments: a pure oralist approach, which discouraged signing; Total Communication, in which the teachers spoke and signed simultaneously; a residential school for deaf children, where Signed English was employed; and a mainstream public school that relied upon interpreters. Changes at home added more demands, from Tressa’s divorce to her remarriage, her long work hours, and the ongoing challenge of complete communication within their family. Through it all, Tressa and Alandra never lost sight of their love for each other, and their affection rippled through the entire family. Today, Tressa can triumphantly point to her confident, educated daughter and also speak with pride of her wonderful relationship with her deaf grandchildren. Alandra’s Lilacs is a marvelous story about the resiliency and achievements of determined, loving people no matter what their circumstances might be.
The personal history of journalist Henri Alleg is tied inextricably to the history of the French-Algerian Conflict. Best known for his book The Question, a first-hand account of his torture by French troops during the Algerian war for independence, Alleg is famous both for having brought the issue of French torture to the public eye and for his passionate work as a writer, a newspaperman, and a communist activist.
Beginning with his arrival in Algiers in 1939, when he fell immediately in love with the vibrant city, to his departure in 1965, after Boumédienne seized power, this is a critical work of history made devastatingly personal. Algerian Memoirs recounts his experience under the Vichy regime and such watershed moments in colonial history as the infamous Battle of Algiers. In these pages, he relives the violence and the summary executions, the communist struggle, and his party’s strained relations with the National Liberation Front. And, of course, he revisits in stark detail his arrest and torture by the French, his years in prison, and eventual escape to Czechoslovakia.
In the telling of his own story, Alleg explores some of the key events in the history of Europe and North Africa and in the history of the radical press. This is an irreplaceable document of colonialism and its tragic aftermath.
Shortly after his mother dies of breast cancer when he is ten years old, Michael Blumenthal discovers that she was not his biological mother, and that his aunt and uncle, immigrant chicken farmers living in Vineland, New Jersey, are really his parents.
As fate would have it, his adoptive father, a German-Jewish refugee raised by a loveless and embittered stepmother after his own mother died in childbirth, has inflicted on his stepson a fate uncannily—and terrifyingly—similar to his own: Having first adopted Michael, in part, to help his dying wife, he then imposes on him the same sort of penurious and loveless stepmother whom he himself had had to survive. With these revelations, the "mysteries" that seem to have permeated Michael's childhood are laid bare, triggering a quest for belonging that will infiltrate the author's entire adult life.
In June 1939 Annemarie Schwarzenbach and fellow writer Ella Maillart set out from Geneva in a Ford, heading for Afghanistan. The first women to travel Afghanistan’s Northern Road, they fled the storm brewing in Europe to seek a place untouched by what they considered to be Western neuroses.
The Afghan journey documented in All the Roads Are Open is one of the most important episodes of Schwarzenbach’s turbulent life. Her incisive, lyrical essays offer a unique glimpse of an Afghanistan already touched by the “fateful laws known as progress,” a remote yet “sensitive nerve centre of world politics” caught amid great powers in upheaval. In her writings, Schwarzenbach conjures up the desolate beauty of landscapes both internal and external, reflecting on the longings and loneliness of travel as well as its grace.
Maillart’s account of their trip, The Cruel Way, stands as a classic of travel literature, and, now available for the first time in English, Schwarzenbach’s memoir rounds out the story of the adventure.
Praise for the German Edition
“Above all, [Schwarzenbach’s] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung
Sarah Gillespie Huftalen led an unconventional life for a rural midwestern woman of her time. Born in 1865 near Manchester, Iowa, she was a farm girl who became a highly regarded country school and college teacher; she married a man older than either of her parents, received a college degree later in life, and was committed to both family and career. A gifted writer, she crafted essays, teacher-training guides, and poetry while continuing to write lengthy, introspective entries in her diary, which spans the years from 1873 to 1952. In addition, she gathered extensive information about the quietly tragic life of her mother, Emily, and worked to preserve Emily's own detailed diary.
In more than 3,500 pages, Sarah writes about her multiple roles as daughter, sister, wife, teacher, family historian, and public figure. Her diary reflects the process by which she was socialized into these roles and her growing consciousness of the ways in which these roles intersected. Not only does her diary embody the diverse strategies used by one woman to chart her life's course and to preserve her life's story for future generations, it also offers ample evidence of the diary as a primary form of private autobiography for individuals whose lives do not lend themselves to traditional definitions of autobiography.
Taken together, Emily's and Sarah's extraordinary diaries span nearly a century and thus form a unique mother/daughter chronicle of daily work and thoughts, interactions with neighbors and friends and colleagues, and the destructive family dynamics that dominated the Gillespies. Sarah's consciousness of the abusive relationship between her mother and father haunts her diary, and this dramatic relationship is duplicated in Sarah's relationship with her brother, Henry, Suzanne Bunkers' skillful editing and analysis of Sarah's diary reveal the legacy of a caring, loving mother reflected in her daughter's work as family member, teacher, and citizen.
The rich entries in Sarah Gillespie Huftalen's diary offer us brilliant insights into the importance of female kinship networks in American life, the valued status of many women as family chroniclers, and the fine art of selecting, piecing, stitching, and quilting that characterizes the many shapes of women's autobiographies. Read Sarah's dairy to discover why "all will yet be well."
In Almost Home, H. B. Cavalcanti, a Brazilian-born scholar who has spent three decades working and living in the United States, reflects on his life as an immigrant and places his story within the context of the larger history of immigration.
Due to both his family background and the prevalence of U.S. media in Latin America, Cavalcanti already felt immersed in U.S. culture before arriving in Kentucky in 1981 to complete graduate studies. At that time, opportunities for advancement in the United States exceeded those in Brazil, and in an era of military dictatorships throughout much of Latin America, Cavalcanti sought in the United States a nation of laws. In this memoir, he reflects on the dynamics of acculturation, immigrant parenting, interactions with native-born U.S. citizens, and the costs involved in rejecting his country of birth for an adopted nation. He also touches on many of the factors that contribute to migration in both the “sending” and “receiving” countries and explores the contemporary phenomenon of accelerated immigration.
With its blend of personal anecdotes and scholarly information, Almost Home addresses both individual and policy-related issues to provide a moving portrait of the impact of migration on those who, like Cavalcanti, confront both the wonder and the disorientation inherent in the immigrant experience.
When Gina Oliva first went to school in 1955, she didn’t know that she was “different.” If the kindergarten teacher played a tune on the piano to signal the next exercise, Oliva didn’t react because she couldn’t hear the music. So began her journey as a “solitary,” her term for being the only deaf child in the entire school. Gina felt alone because she couldn’t communicate easily with her classmates, but also because none of them had a hearing loss like hers. It wasn’t until years later at Gallaudet University that she discovered that she wasn’t alone and that her experience was common among mainstreamed deaf students. Alone in the Mainstream recounts Oliva’s story, as well as those of many other solitaries.
In writing this important book, Oliva combined her personal experiences with responses from the Solitary Mainstream Project, a survey that she conducted of deaf and hard of hearing adults who attended public school. Oliva matched her findings with current research on deaf students in public schools and confirmed that hearing teachers are ill-prepared to teach deaf pupils, they don’t know much about hearing loss, and they frequently underestimate deaf children. The collected memories in Alone in the Mainstream add emotional weight to the conviction that students need to be able to communicate freely, and they also need peers to know they are not alone.
Will Evans's writings should find a special niche in the small but significant body of literature from and about traders to the Navajos. Evans was the proprietor of the Shiprock Trading Company. Probably more than most of his fellow traders, he had a strong interest in Navajo culture. The effort he made to record and share what he learned certainly was unusual. He published in the Farmington and New Mexico newspapers and other periodicals, compiling many of his pieces into a book manuscript. His subjects were Navajos he knew and traded with, their stories of historic events such as the Long Walk, and descriptions of their culture as he, an outsider without academic training, understood it. Evans's writings were colored by his fondness for, uncommon access to, and friendships with Navajos, and by who he was: a trader, folk artist, and Mormon. He accurately portrayed the operations of a trading post and knew both the material and artistic value of Navajo crafts. His art was mainly inspired by Navajo sandpainting. He appropriated and, no doubt, sometimes misappropriated that sacred art to paint surfaces and objects of all kinds. As a Mormon, he had particular views of who the Navajos were and what they believed and was representative of a large class of often-overlooked traders. Much of the Navajo trade in the Four Corners region and farther west was operated by Mormons. They had a significant historical role as intermediaries, or brokers, between Native and European American peoples in this part of the West. Well connected at the center of that world, Evans was a good spokesperson.
Amazons: A Love Story
E. J. Levy University of Missouri Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3612.E93685A83 2012 | Dewey Decimal 918.104
When E.J. Levy arrived in northern Brazil on a fellowship from Yale at the age of 21, she was hoping to help save the Amazon rain forest; she didn’t realize she would soon have to save herself.
Amazons: A Love Story recounts an idealistic young woman’s coming of age against the backdrop of the magnificent rain forest and exotic city of Salvador. This elegant and sharp-eyed memoir explores the interaction of the many forces fueling deforestation—examining the ecological, economic, social, and spiritual costs of ill-conceived development—with the myriad ones that shape young women’s maturation.
Sent to Salvador (often called the “soul of Brazil” for its rich Afro-Brazilian culture), a city far from the rain forest, Levy befriends two young Brazilians, Nel, a brilliant economics student who is estranged from her family for mysterious reasons, and Isa, a gorgeous gold digger. When the university closes due to a strike, none of them can guess what will come of their ambitions. Levy’s course of study changes: she takes up capoeira, enters cooking school (making foods praised in Brazilian literature as almost magical elixirs), gains fluency in Portuguese and the ways of street life, and learns other, more painful lessons—she is raped, and her best friend becomes a prostitute.
When Levy finally reaches the Amazon, her courage—and her safety—are further tested: on a barefoot hike through the jungle one night to collect tadpoles, she encounters fist-sized spiders, swimming snakes, and crocodiles. When allergies to the antimalarial drugs meant to protect her prove life-threatening, she discovers that sometimes the greatest threat we face is ourselves. Eventually, her work as a “cartographer of loss,” charting deforestation, leads her to realize that our relationships to nature and to our bodies are linked, that we must transcend the logic of commodification if we are to save both wilderness and ourselves.
The Amazon is a perennially fascinating subject, alluring and frightening, a site of cultural projection and commercial ambition, of fantasies and violence. Amazons offers an intimate look at urgent global issues that affect us all, including the too-often abstract question of rain forest loss. Levy illuminates the burgeoning sex-tourism trade in Brazil, renewed environmental threats, global warming, and the consequences of putting a price on nature. Accounts of the region have most often been by and about men, but Amazons offers a fresh approach, interweaving a personal feminist narrative with an urgent ecological one. In the tradition of Terry Tempest Williams, this timely, compelling, and eloquent memoir will appeal to those interested in literary nonfiction, travel writing, and women’s and environmental issues.
In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, American memoirists have wrestled with a wide range of anxieties in their books. They cope with financial crises, encounter difference, or confront norms of identity. Megan Brown contends that such best sellers as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell teach readers how to navigate a confusing, changing world.
This lively and theoretically grounded book analyzes twenty-first-century memoirs from Three Cups of Tea to Fun Home, emphasizing the ways in which they reinforce and circulate ideologies, becoming guides or models for living. Brown expands her inquiry beyond books to the autobiographical narratives in reality television and political speeches. She offers a persuasive explanation for the memoir boom: the genre as a response to an era of uncertainty and struggle.
Anita Reynolds Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E185.97.R49A3 2014 | Dewey Decimal 791.43028092
This is the rollicking, never-before-published memoir of a fascinating African American woman with an uncanny knack for being in the right place in the most interesting times. Actress, dancer, model, literary critic, psychologist, and free-spirited provocateur, Anita Reynolds was, as her Parisian friends nicknamed her, an American Cocktail.
An American Engineer in Afghanistan was first published in 1948.The legend of Afghanistan as “The Forbidden Country” grew chiefly from a warning of the British Indian Government which once guarded the Afghan frontier north of the Khyber Pass -- “It is absolutely forbidden to cross this border into Afghanistan.” A glance at the endsheet map in this book will recall its strategic position in the Middle East.When A. C. Jewett entered in 1911 with an escort supplied for his safe transportation to Kabul, he was the first American permitted to live in the country since 1880. He was employed by Habibullah Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, to take charge of installing a hydroelectric plan, and it was during this stay that the first attempts toward modernization were made in Afghanistan. Although he came for only a year, it was eight years before his work was completed. Electrical apparatus had to be hauled over rough mountain passes. The work elephants’ harnesses had to be made by hand. Labor was not skilled and whenever crops were harvested, his deliveries of supplies stopped!Written in a lively, readable style, Jewett’s letters and journal notes tell the story of the land of the Afghans. An isolated country of ancient caravan trails, mull-walled caravansaries, and villages -- it was little touched by Western ideas in the last days of the old monarchy. But forces have been unleashed in Asia which even remote Afghanistan is unlikely to escape. Jewett’s entertaining story will help westerners to understand coming events.
American Imperialism in the Image of Peer Gynt was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This is the life story of an economic historian whose distinguished career has included nine years of service as a United States government official in various capacities, both military and civilian, around the world. It is a revealing and often disturbing account, evoking in the author's mind, as he reflects on his own experiences and those of other American emissaries abroad, the image of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, who wandered over the earth thinking he was doing good, only to find when he returned home that both his virtues and his sins were so insignificant that his soul was scheduled by the buttonmolder to be cast into limbo in the form of a little lead button.
Professor Johnson's book is much more than an autobiography. From the vantage point of his experiences and observations he provides a critical evaluation of American efforts abroad. He discusses cultural factors that have shaped American preconceptions and attitudes over the last half century and attempts to explain why a generation of presumably well-equipped Americans has been singularly incapable of materializing the hopes and aspirations of both the American people and the world community.
Colorful and lively personal essays about life in the wilds of Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta
Among the Swamp People is the story of author Watt Key’s discovery of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. “The swamp” consists of almost 260,000 acres of wetlands located just north of Mobile Bay. There he leases a habitable outcropping of land and constructs a primitive cabin from driftwood to serve as a private getaway. His story is one that chronicles the beauties of the delta’s unparalleled natural wonders, the difficulties of survival within it, and an extraordinary community of characters—by turns generous and violent, gracious and paranoid, hilarious and reckless—who live, thrive, and perish there.
There is no way into the delta except by small boat. To most it would appear a maze of rivers and creeks between stunted swamp trees and mud. Key observes that there are few places where one can step out of a boat without “sinking to the knees in muck the consistency of axle grease. It is the only place I know where gloom and beauty can coexist at such extremes. And it never occurred to me that a land seemingly so bleak could hide such beauty and adventure.”
It also chronicles Key’s maturation as a writer, from a twenty-five-year-old computer programmer with no formal training as a writer to a highly successful, award-winning writer of fiction for a young adult audience with three acclaimed novels published to date.
In learning to make a place for himself in the wild, as in learning to write, Key’s story is one of “hoping someone—even if just myself—would find value in my creations.”
“Thirty-seven years ago, I vowed to write a truthful book about raising a deaf child.” Rebecca Willman Gernon followed through on her promise with her deaf daughter Amy Willman in this extraordinary new narrative. Many stories have been told about a parent’s struggle to help her deaf child succeed in a mostly hearing world. Amy Signs marks a signature departure in that both Rebecca and Amy relate their perspectives on their journey together.
When she learns of 11-month-old Amy’s deafness in 1969, Rebecca fully expresses her anguish, and traces all of the difficulties she endured in trying to find the right educational environment for Amy. The sacrifices of the rest of her family weighed heavily on her, also. Though she resolved to place four-year-old Amy in Nebraska’s residential school for deaf students, the emotional toll seemed too much to bear.
Amy’s view acts as the perfect counterpoint. Interwoven with her mother’s story, Amy’s account confirms that signing served her best. She summarizes life in boarding school as “laughter and homesickness.” She laughed with all of her deaf friends, though felt homesick at times. Amy thanks her mother for the gift of sign, asserting that a mainstream education would never have led her to earn a master’s degree and later teach American Sign Language at the University of Nebraska. Amy Signs is a positive albeit cautionary tale for parents of deaf children today whose only choice is a mainstreamed education.
And No Birds Sing
Pauline Leader Gallaudet University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3523.E124Z46 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Originally published in 1931, this memoir offers an unflinching look at the life of a deaf woman struggling with poverty and isolation in the bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village. In harrowing yet lyrical prose, Pauline Leader recounts her experience growing up as the daughter of Jewish immigrants in a small New England mill town. Born in 1908, Leader was exposed to frequent verbal and physical abuse. She became deaf at the age of 12, following a long illness. As a teenager, she ran away to New York City, where she found work in factories and sweatshops, and spent time in a home for “wayward girls.” As she sought community among the artists and eccentrics of the Village, Leader’s strong will and fierce independence were often thwarted by hardship and self-doubt. But through it all she found solace in her writing.
This edition is accompanied by a new introduction and afterword that provide a scholarly framework for understanding Leader and her times. She persevered and became a published poet and novelist, often drawing on the experiences offered up here. Compelling and evocative, And No Birds Sing deftly reveals a complex, intelligent spirit toiling in a brutal world.
From the book:
I insisted to myself that I could still hear. I heard in my mind the sounds of streams as I passed them. I knew the sound the river made, that river that I had known always, the river by the marble house. In my mind the river washed with a low intimate sound. I had no need to hear as the people heard. True intimacy needs no ears. I knew the sound of birds; I heard them as they hopped about. I knew the sound of words also. It was words that I most intensely heard. I had not always the river and the birds—they appeared far away at times. I did not always want river and birds, but I always wanted words, and I always had them. I would have been terribly lonely without them. With them always in my mind, I could not be truly lonely. I played with them; I set them to music; I achieved endless variations with them. They were never weary, as other things could sometimes be weary.
To lend weight to his charge that the public school teacher has been betrayed and gravity to his indictment of the educational establishment for that betrayal, Jurgen Herbst goes back to the beginnings of teacher education in America in the 1830s and traces its evolution up to the 1920s, by which time the essential damage had been done.
Initially, attempts were made to upgrade public school teaching to a genuine profession, but that ideal was gradually abandoned. In its stead, with the advent of newly emerging graduate schools of education in the early decades of the twentieth century, came the so-called professionalization of public education. At the expense of the training of elementary school teachers (mostly women), teacher educators shifted their attention to the turning out of educational "specialists" (mostly men)—administrators, faculty members at normal schools and teachers colleges, adult education teachers, and educational researchers.
Ultimately a history of the neglect of the American public school teacher, And Sadly Teach ends with a plea and a message that ring loud and clear. The plea: that the current reform proposals for American teacher education—the Carnegie and the Holmes reports—be heeded. The message: that the key to successful school reform lies in educating teacher’s true professionals and in acknowledging them as such in their classrooms.
The Andrew Carnegie Reader
Joseph Frazier Wall University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992 Library of Congress CT275.C3A25 1992 | Dewey Decimal 338.7672092
“Andrew Carnegie is the only American entrepreneur who could have won distinction as an author, even if he had never seen a steel mill,” writes Joseph Frazier Wall. A skillful and prolific writer, Andrew Carnegie published sixty three articles in major magazines of his time, such as The North American Review, and eight books. Although he is best remembered today for the radical philosophy expressed in the title essay of his book The Gospel of Wealth, his other writings are readable and provocative.
The Andrew Carnegie Reader is the first anthology to bring together in a single volume a representative selection of Carnegie’s writings which show him as a shrewd businessman, celebrated philanthropist, champion of democracy, and eternal optimist. Carnegie’s first letter to the editor at the age of seventeen was the beginning of a lifelong attempt to satisfy an insatiable journalistic desire. Always voluble and candid, Carnegie was as active with his pen as with his tongue.
This intriguing collection covers sixty years of the industrial giant’s life, from his letters to his cousin George Lauder, written in 1853, to the final chapter od his autobiography, completed in 1914. In his own simple, abrupt style, colored with fierce optimism, Carnegie captivated his audience.
Although most of the selections were penned for an audience now long gone, today’s reader will be intrigued by the pertinence and timelessness of Carnegie’s hopes for world peace, his views on labor, and his concern for better race relations in America and their continuing applicability to humankind. A brief essay by the editor introduces each selection.
This gripping memoir is both a personal story and a portrait of a distinctive New England place—Fall River, Massachusetts, once the cotton cloth capital of America. Growing up, Joseph Conforti’s world was defined by rolling hills, granite mills, and forests of triple-deckers. Conforti, whose mother was Portuguese and whose father was Italian, recounts how he negotiated those identities in a city where ethnic heritage mattered. Paralleling his own account, Conforti shares the story of his family, three generations of Portuguese and Italians who made their way in this once-mighty textile city.
In her prologue to Another Way Home, Ronne Hartfield notes the dearth of stories about African Americans who have occupied the area of mixed race with ease and harmony for generations. Her moving family history is filled with such stories, told in beautifully crafted and unsentimental prose. Spanning most of the twentieth century, Hartfield's book celebrates the special occasion of being born and reared in a household where miscegenation was the rule rather than the exception—where being a woman of mixed race could be a fundamental source of strength, vitality, and courage.
Hartfield begins with the early life of her mother, Day Shepherd. Born to a wealthy British plantation owner and the mixed-race daughter of a former slave, Day negotiates the complicated circumstances of plantation life in the border country of Louisiana and Mississippi and, as she enters womanhood, the quadroon and octoroon societies of New Orleans. Equally a tale of the Great Migration, Another Way Home traces Day's journey to Bronzeville, the epicenter of black Chicago during the first half of the twentieth century. Here, through the eyes of Day and, ultimately, her daughter, we witness the bustling city streets and vibrant middle-class culture of this iconic black neighborhood. We also relive crucial moments in African American history as they are experienced by the author's family and others in Chicago's South Side black community, from the race riots of 1919 and the Great Depression to the murder of Emmett Till and the dawn of the civil rights movement.
Throughout her book, Hartfield portrays mixed-race Americans navigating the challenges of their lives with resilience and grace, making Another Way Home an intimate and compelling encounter with one family's response to our racially charged culture.
A vivid archive of memories, Beth Alvarado’s Anthropologies layers scenes, portraits, dreams, and narratives in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Bringing her lyrical tenor to bear on stories as diverse as harboring teen runaways, gunfights with federales, and improbable love, Alvarado unveils the ways in which seemingly separate moments coalesce to forge a communal truth. Woven from the threads of distinct family histories and ethnic identities, Anthropologies creates a heightened understanding of how individual experiences are part of a larger shared fabric of lives.
Like the opening of a series of doors, each turn of the page reveals some new reality and the memories that emerge from it. Open one door and you are transported to a modest Colorado town in 1966, appraising animal tracks edged into a crust of snow while listening to stories of Saipan. Open another and you are lounging in a lush Michoacán hacienda, or in another, the year is 1927 and you are standing on a porch in Tucson, watching La Llorona turn a corner.
With vivid imagery and a poetic sensibility, Anthropologies reenacts the process of remembering and so evokes a compelling narrative. Each snapshot provides a glimpse into the past, illuminating the ways in which memory and history are intertwined. Whether the experience is of her own drug use or that of a great-great-grandmother’s trek across the Great Plains with Brigham Young, Alvarado’s insight into the binding nature of memory illuminates a new way of understanding our place within families, generations, and cultures.
Barrie Jean Borich The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3552.O7529A66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
From award-winning author Barrie Jean Borich comes Apocalypse, Darling, a narrative, lyric exploration of the clash between old and new. Set in the steel mill regions of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, the story centers on Borich’s return to a decimated landscape for a misbegotten wedding in which her spouse’s father marries his high school sweetheart. The book is a lilting journey into an ill-fated moment, where families attempt to find communion in tense gathering spaces and across their most formative disappointments. Borich tells the story of the industrial heartland that produced the steel that made American cities, but also one of the most toxic environmental sites in the world.
As concise as a poem and as sweeping as an epic novel, Apocalypse, Darling explores the intersection of American traditional and self-invented social identities and the destruction and re-greening of industrial cityscapes. Borich asks: can toxic landscapes actually be remediated and can patriarchal fathers ever really be forgiven? In a political climate where Borich is forced to daily re-enter the toxic wastelands she thought she’d long left behind, Apocalypse, Darling is an urgent collision of broken spaces, dysfunctional affections, and the reach toward familial and environmental repair.
Appalachia North: A Memoir
Matthew Ferrence West Virginia University Press, 2018 Library of Congress F106.F47 2019 | Dewey Decimal 917.404
Appalachia North is the first book-length treatment of the cultural position of northern Appalachia—roughly the portion of the official Appalachian Regional Commission zone that lies above the Mason-Dixon line. For Matthew Ferrence this region fits into a tight space of not-quite: not quite “regular” America and yet not quite Appalachia.
Ferrence’s sense of geographic ambiguity is compounded when he learns that his birthplace in western Pennsylvania is technically not a mountain but, instead, a dissected plateau shaped by the slow, deep cuts of erosion. That discovery is followed by the diagnosis of a brain tumor, setting Ferrence on a journey that is part memoir, part exploration of geology and place. Appalachia North is an investigation of how the labels of Appalachia have been drawn and written, and also a reckoning with how a body always in recovery can, like a region viewed always as a site of extraction, find new territories of growth.
Rated Outstanding by the American Association of School Libraries
This is the first book to be written by autistic college students about the challenges they face. Aquamarine Blue 5 details the struggle of these highly sensitive students and shows that there are gifts specific to autistic students that enrich the university system, scholarship, and the world as a whole.
Dawn Prince-Hughes presents an array of writings by students who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, showing their unique ways of looking at and solving problems. In their own words, they portray how their divergent thinking skills could be put to great use if they were given an opportunity. Many such students never get the chance because the same sensitivity that gives them these insights makes the flicker of fluorescent lights and the sound of chalk on the board unbearable For simple—and easily remedied—reasons, we lose these students, who are as gifted as they are challenged.
Aquamarine Blue 5 is a showcase of the strength and resilient character of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. It will be an invaluable resource for those touched by this syndrome, their friends and families, and school administrators.
When a natural disaster strikes, one imposing obstacle always impedes recovery: the need to rebuild. Not just homes, schools, and other buildings but also lives must be reconstructed. Yet amid the horror there is also the opportunity to build back better, to create more resilient buildings and deeper human connections.
After Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, architect Paul E. Fallon wanted to help rebuild the magic island he had visited the previous summer. Over the next three years, he made seventeen trips to design and supervise construction of an orphanage and a school in Grand Goâve. In the process, he confronted the challenges of building in a country with sparse materials and with laborers predisposed toward magic over physics.
Architecture by Moonlight is about much more than construction, however. Readers will also experience the many relationships Fallon developed as he balanced the contradictory demands of a boisterous American family constructing a memorial for their deceased daughter and Evangelical missionaries more interested in saving souls than filling bellies. Dieunison, a wily Haitian orphan, captured Fallon’s heart and exemplifies both Haiti’s tragedy and its indomitable spirit.
Fallon’s personal experience is an eloquent tale of “an ensemble of incomplete people struggling in a land of great trial and great promise, trying to better understand their place on Earth.” He reveals how, when seemingly different people come together, we succeed by seeking our commonality. Architecture by Moonlight illustrates our strength to rise above disaster and celebrate recovery, perseverance, and humanity.
In Art for the Ladylike, Whitney Otto limns the lives of eight pioneering women photographers—Sally Mann, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Ruth Orkin, Tina Modotti, Lee Miller, Madame Yvonne, and Grete Stern—to in turn excavate her own writer’s life. The result is an affecting exploration of what it means to be a woman, what it means to be an artist, and the perils and rewards of being both at once. In considering how feminism, career, and motherhood were entangled throughout her subjects’ lives as they tirelessly sought to render their visions and paved the way for others creating within the bounds of domesticity, Otto assesses her own struggles with balancing writing and the pulls of home life. Ultimately, she ponders the persistent question that artistic women face in a world that devalues women’s ambition: If what we love is what we are, how do those of us with multiple loves forge lives with room for everything?
Concerned about aspects of her romantic relationships, Donna McDonald consulted with a psychologist who asked, “Your hearing loss must have had a big impact on you?” At age 45, with a successful career in social work policy, McDonald took umbrage at the question. Then, she realized that she never had addressed the personal barrier she had constructed between her deaf-self and her hearing persona. In The Art of Being Deaf, she describes her long, arduous pursuit of finding out exactly who she was.
Born in 1950s Australia, McDonald was placed in an oral deaf school when she was five. There, she was trained to communicate only in spoken English. Afterwards, she attended mainstream schools where she excelled with speechreading and hard work. Her determination led to achievements that proved her to be “the deaf girl that had made good.” Yet, despite her constant focus on fitting in the hearing world, McDonald soon realized that she missed her deaf schoolmates and desired to explore her closed-off feelings about being deaf.
When she reconnected with her friends, one urged her to write about her experiences to tell all about “the Forgotten Generation, the orally-raised deaf kids that no one wants to talk about.” In writing her memoir, McDonald did learn to reconcile her deaf-self with her “hearing-deaf” persona, and she realized that the art of being deaf is the art of life, the art of love.
Many arts organizations today find themselves in financial difficulties because of economic constraints inherent in the industry. While other companies can improve productivity through the use of new technologies or better systems, these approaches are not available in the arts. Hamlet requires the same number of performers today as it did in Shakespeare’s time. The New York Philharmonic requires the same number of musicians now as it did when Tchaikovsky conducted it over one hundred years ago. Costs go up, but the size of theaters and the price resistance of patrons limit what can be earned from ticket sales. Therefore, the performing arts industry faces a severe gap between earnings and expenses. Typical approaches to closing the gap—raising ticket prices or cutting artistic or marketing expenses—don’t work. What, then, does it take to create and maintain a healthy arts organization? Michael M. Kaiser has revived four major arts organizations: the Kansas City Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and London’s Royal Opera House. In The Art of the Turnaround he shares with readers his ten basic rules for bringing financially distressed arts organizations back to life and keeping them strong. These rules cover the requirements for successful leadership, the pitfalls of cost cutting, the necessity of extending the programming calendar, the centrality of effective marketing and fund raising, and the importance of focusing on the present with a positive public message. In chapters organized chronologically, Kaiser brings his ten rules vividly to life in discussions of the four arts organizations he is credited with saving. The book concludes with a chapter on his experiences at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, an arts organization that needed an artistic turnaround when he became the president in 2001 and that today exemplifies in practice many of the ten rules he discusses throughout his book.
The Attic: A Memoir
Harnack, Curtis University of Iowa Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3558.A62474Z463 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In The Attic, his sequel to the classic We Have All Gone Away, Curtis Harnack returns to his rural Iowa homeplace to sift through an attic full of the trash and treasures left behind by the thirteen children in two generations who grew up in the big farmhouse.
The adult Harnack had been making pilgrimages to his past from various parts of the country for thirty-plus years; now the death of an uncle and the disposal of an estate bring him home once more. The resonant diaries, church bulletins, photos, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia in the attic allow him to rediscover both personal and universal truths as he explores the enduring legacies of home, family, and community.
Finally, discovering a cache of letters written home while he was in the Navy in the mid 1940s, he confronts a stranger—his younger self. Harnack’s “dream-pod journey . . . from who I am now to how it once was for me” tells the life story of a close-knit family and extends this story to our own journeys through our own memory-filled attics.
Autobiography of My Hungers
Rigoberto González University of Wisconsin Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3557.O4695Z46 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the second of his trio of acclaimed memoirs, Rigoberto González looks at his past through a startling lens: hunger. A childhood of neglect, adolescent yearnings, and adult desire for a larger world, another lover, a different body—all are explored by González in a series of heartbreaking and poetic vignettes.