A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
A Marginal Revolution Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year
A Seminary Co-op Notable Book of the Year
A Times Higher Education Book of the Week
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
Marco Santagata’s Dante: The Story of His Life illuminates one of the world’s supreme poets from many angles—writer, philosopher, father, courtier, political partisan. Santagata brings together a vast body of Italian scholarship on Dante’s medieval world, untangles a complex web of family and political relationships for English readers, and shows how the composition of the Commedia was influenced by local and regional politics.
“Reading Marco Santagata’s fascinating new biography, the reader is soon forced to acknowledge that one of the cornerstones of Western literature [The Divine Comedy], a poem considered sublime and universal, is the product of vicious factionalism and packed with local scandal.”
—Tim Parks, London Review of Books
“This is a wonderful book. Even if you have not read Dante you will be gripped by its account of one of the most extraordinary figures in the history of literature, and one of the most dramatic periods of European history. If you are a Dantean, it will be your invaluable companion forever.”
—A. N. Wilson, The Spectator
From the day he was born, Patrick McCullough faced hardships and reacted with untempered anger. His mother, a soon-to-be-divorced military wife, was late to realize that he was deaf and never learned how to handle his outbursts. Eventually, she abandoned him by petitioning for him to be a ward of the state. Stints in mental institutions and dismissals from several schools punctuated the rest of McCullough’s early years. Despite this severe childhood, no one could have predicted the outcome of his life described in Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer.
Authors McCay and Marie Vernon present a compelling story about McCullough, a strikingly handsome man with a winning personality. His charm was endearing, but his incendiary temper resulted in increasing aggression and abuse. Eventually, he was convicted for the murder of two men. Yet, McCullough ingratiated himself with the court and served only seven years in prison. Once free again, he resumed his pattern of sweetness and mayhem. He beguiled sympathetic women whom he then abused and stalked. Finally, his rage culminated in a crescendo of destruction. Deadly Charm depicts a deaf serial killer driven by frustration and violence and leaves much to consider. Did McCullough’s deafness exacerbate his lethally violent nature? Perhaps his vicious impulses could have been constrained if his time in mental institutions had been more productive than his time in prison.
In 1935, during the wind-swept years of the Dust Bowl, three people went missing on separate occasions in the rugged canyon country of southeastern Utah, a place “wild, desolate, mysterious.” A thirteen-year old girl, Lucy Garrett, was tricked into heading west with the man who had murdered her father under the pretense of reuniting with him. At the same time, a search was underway for Dan Thrapp, a young scientist on leave from the American Museum of Natural History. Others were scouring the same region for an artist, Everett Ruess, who had disappeared into “the perfect labyrinth.”
Intrigued by this unusual string of coincidental disappearances, Scott Thybony set out to learn what happened. His investigations took him from Island in the Sky to Skeleton Mesa, from Texas to Tucson, and from the Green River to the Red. He traced the journey of Lucy Garrett from the murder of her father to her dramatic courtroom testimony. Using the pages of an old journal he followed the route of Dan Thrapp as he crossed an expanse of wildly rugged country with a pair of outlaws. Thrapp’s story of survival in an unforgiving land is a poignant counterpoint to the fate of the artist Everett Ruess, which the New York Times has called “one of the most enduring mysteries of the modern West.” Thybony draws on extensive research and a lifetime of exploration to create a riveting story of these three lives.
Autobiography of jazz elder statesman Frank “Doc” Adams, highlighting his role in Birmingham, Alabama’s, historic jazz scene and tracing his personal adventure that parallels, in many ways, the story and spirit of jazz itself.
Doc tells the story of an accomplished jazz master, from his musical apprenticeship under John T. “Fess” Whatley and his time touring with Sun Ra and Duke Ellington to his own inspiring work as an educator and bandleader.
Central to this narrative is the often-overlooked story of Birmingham’s unique jazz tradition and community. From the very beginnings of jazz, Birmingham was home to an active network of jazz practitioners and a remarkable system of jazz apprenticeship rooted in the city’s segregated schools. Birmingham musicians spread across the country to populate the sidelines of the nation’s bestknown bands. Local musicians, like Erskine Hawkins and members of his celebrated orchestra, returned home heroes. Frank “Doc” Adams explores, through first-hand experience, the history of this community, introducing readers to a large and colorful cast of characters—including “Fess” Whatley, the legendary “maker of musicians” who trained legions of Birmingham players and made a significant mark on the larger history of jazz. Adams’s interactions with the young Sun Ra, meanwhile, reveal life-changing lessons from one of American music’s most innovative personalities.
Along the way, Adams reflects on his notable family, including his father, Oscar, editor of the Birmingham Reporter and an outspoken civic leader in the African American community, and Adams’s brother, Oscar Jr., who would become Alabama’s first black supreme court justice. Adams’s story offers a valuable window into the world of Birmingham’s black middle class in the days before the civil rights movement and integration. Throughout, Adams demonstrates the ways in which jazz professionalism became a source of pride within this community, and he offers his thoughts on the continued relevance of jazz education in the twenty-first century.
Dream Reaper follows Mark Underwood, farmer and inventor, and his salesman cousin as they strive to perfect and market Mark's breakthrough invention, the Bi-Rotor combine.
"This intriguing tale weaves together the creativity and ingenuity of an inventor and the hurdles he and his partner face in selling and producing what appears to be an amazingly efficient Bi-Rotor combine."—Science News
"Canine writes with style and flourish. . . Dream Reaper is a riveting journey into America's heartland, where necessity is the mother of invention—and hard work, conviction, and sacrifice are its lifeblood."—People Magazine
"Canine deftly interweaves the story of the two men's struggles with a history of the mechanization of agriculture. This lively account of men working under pressure, improvising repairs and demonstrating the new machine, is also a story of courage that illustrates the barriers facing an independent inventor."—Publishers Weekly
"Craig Canine's Dream Reaper is a delight. It's an important book, rich with history and stories. It brings our most essential industry—farming—into new perspective. Reading it made me want to get out a crop."—Bobbie Ann Mason
A volume in the Sloan Technology Series. The series presents to a general audience highly readable accounts of the development of 20th century technologies and the ways these have shaped and are shaped by society.