Last Updated August 24, 2016
Edward Berger, author of Softly, with Feeling were featured in the "Books of Note" section of Marc Myers's JazzWax blog on August 22. [Scroll down]. The item read: "You know Joe Wilder's trumpet from his many recordings but you probably aren't familiar with the personality that went along with those high notes or how he climbed through the ranks of great players. In his new biography of the trumpeter, Ed Berger weaves together Wilder's career with extensive interviews that not only shed light on the life of an ambitious jazz musician but also exposes the hardships that African-American musicians faced. Each page offers insights and revelations, but ultimately, what you learn is that Wilder, in addition to being an extraordinary big-band and small-group trumpeter was a wise and gentle soul. Written free of the faux drama injected into some jazz biographies, the book is rich with judicious quotes from Wilder and it breaks new ground."
Upon the Ruins of Liberty, by Roger Aden, was reviewed in the May 2016 issue of The Public Historian. The review read, "Upon the Ruins of Liberty is a valuable addition to the scholarship on the history of slaveholding in the early republic and offers readers a linguistic perspective that will be useful to those interested in a nuanced analysis of the different ways in which people communicate about what sites of collective memory represent and how these sites should be interpreted."
Vanishing Eden, by Michael Maly and Heather Dalmage, was reviewed in the August/September 2016 issue of Planning magazine. The review read, "Sociologists Maly and Dalmage interviewed dozens of white people who grew up on Chicago's West and Southwest sides in the 1970s, when riots against black people and civil-rights demonstrations were commonplace.... Although the authors reject the idea of white racism as an individual pathology or 'prejudice,' in the end they come back to the need for cross-racial acquaintance and friendship.... Forging spaces where such conversations could take place might just be a planning issue."
Not from Here, by Allan Johnson, was reviewed on the blog Reading Like I'm Feasting on August 4. The review read, "This is a well crafted and extremely thoughtful memoir. Johnson doesn't shy away from the hard aspects of being identified as white (i.e. the complicated feelings about immigrants who made a life on land that was cleared for them) but doesn't rely solely on the white man's burden. He is, throughout the memoir, clearly making strange decisions through grief and the writing meanders and goes off into tangents but his main struggle is a relatable one--how can we truly understand another human being, history? His search for a place to place his father is his attempt at this and along the way, he learns more about himself. Johnson writes well and emotionally while refusing to accept simple explanations or reasons for anything. He is always examining concepts and feelings from multiple angles--fully embracing the complexity of lived experience and the ways that the dead and the living are interconnected."
Last Updated August 17, 2016
City in a Park, by James McClelland and Lynn Miller, was reviewed in Ticket, a syndicated Montgomery County, PA newspaper. The review read, "Some of the book's most riveting chapters document the myriad — and at one point, the authors call it overwhelming — examples of art in parks and other public places. Learn about the eclectic variety of statues on Kelly Drive, monuments at Laurel Hill Cemetery, the 1876 sculptures at Memorial Hall (now the Please Touch Museum), the Rodin Museum, the bronze Charles Dickens/Little Nell in Clark Park, the Claes Oldenberg "Clothespin" at Penn Center, and the colossally bizarre Catholic Total Abstinence Union Fountain close to the Mann Center. The nearly 150 photos are one of the book's strengths.... pretty impressive."
Last Updated August 10, 2016
Israel's Dead Soul, by Steven Salaita, was reviewed in Vol. 18, No. 66 of Al Jadid. The review read, "Salaita continues his unapologetic campaign against injustice, analyzing the moral contradictions of Zionism that lurk behind cultural assumptions often accepted on American college campuses as part of their multicultural programs.... Salaita complements thoughtful insight with a sense of humor.... Israel's Dead Soul belongs in the backpack of every graduate student concerned with multiculturalism for its abundance of quotable citations, along with its blend of rage, touch of irony, and academic rigor."
Greening Africana Studies, by Rubin Patterson, was reviewed in the July 2016 issue of Contemporary Sociology. The review read, "Rubin Patterson has written a book that represents an ambitious, innovative, and important undertaking: the development of a sound rationale for linking the fields of Africana Studies...and Environmental Studies.... [He] speak[s] with authority on this matter like very few others..... What readers will find even more engaging about this book are the concrete steps the author develops for making his vision achievable and for supporting its rationale.... The author makes a convincing case that not only is there a need for these sorts of commitments in these communities, but that the return on those investments would likely be quite significant and greatly beneficial to students seeking to build meaningful careers and to communities seeking environmental and economic resilience. At a historic moment when the climate crisis, pernicious and rising levels of social inequality, and the call of 'Black Lives Matter' are converging, the thesis, evidence, and analysis contained in Greening Africana Studies are timely and reflect the kind of dynamic and original thinking we need."
Last Updated August 3, 2016
The Parker Sisters, by Lucy Maddox, was reviewed (along with another title) in the August issue of Choice. The review read, "Maddox focus[es] on the kidnapping of free blacks in the pre-Civil War North, illuminating a little-known but tragic aspect of antebellum US history.... Maddox demonstrates that the resulting furor can mostly be attributed to Northern reactions to the infamous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the acrimony between Maryland and Pennsylvania over fugitive slaves and the kidnapping of free African Americans.... Maddox ha[s] performed Herculean tasks by scouring newspapers, court records, and secondary works to bring to light aspects of slavery and race relations that often pass unnoticed in most accounts of life in the antebellum US."
"I Hear America Singing" by Rachel Clare Donaldson, was reviewed in the June 2016 issue of The Journal of American Culture. The review read, "This book corrects the oversimplified notion that the folk-music revival was a midcentury fad that peaked in the 1960s and then vanished forever.... Donaldson concludes her survey by making a satisfying, and somewhat convincing, case that folk music lives on within national and regional folk festivals, where the people who live the tradition continue to play and sing their music to small appreciative audiences.... For fans of folk music, Donaldson does an outstanding job of distinguishing the major players in the folk revival: her book serves as a handy who's-who guide to them.... This book is an education for those who were never quite sure how the folksong revival got started or what happened to folk music once its pop-music boom ended. Donaldson is a knowledgeable critic."
The Spring 2016 issue of Ohio Valley History featured a review of Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis by Robert Gioielli. The review read, "Gioielli offers a compelling addition to calls expanding the boundaries of the modern environmental movement. Leveraging extensive archival research and contextualized within the literature of environmental history, Gioielli's Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis presents a revisionary account of the environmental politics of American cities in the last decades of the twentieth century.... Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis offers an interesting experience—the beginning and end of chapters are informal and accessible, often focused on charismatic individuals and recounting exciting vignettes.... Gioielli persuasively re-unites movements and activism that others would tend to split apart."
The Gender Knot, by Allan Johnson, was reviewed in The New Social Worker. The review read, "Johnson is a nationally recognized sociologist best known for his work on issues of privilege and oppression, especially in relation to gender and race.... In The Gender Knot, Johnson's goal is to make readers believe in and want to change the patriarchy.... Johnson's opinions are well constructed and explained.... Reading this book will open some eyes and challenge us to be agents of change."