Archives for August 2009

Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet Continue to Intrigue

Albert Kahn, the French banker and philanthropist who decided to photograph the entire globe in 1909 using the latest autochrome technology, is endlessly fascinating for many reasons… including the incredible color photographs that still exist from the project. David Okuefuna‘s THE DAWN OF THE COLOR PHOTOGRAPH presents these beautiful images as well as some of the story behind Kahn. Richard B. Woodward writes about Kahn in the Wall Street Journal, and the article includes an incredible slideshow of images. Check out the article and slideshow here. James F. X. O’Gara writes a very interesting review of the book and the darker side of the project in The Weekly Standard.

Obama, Mao, Bob Shiller, and John Nash — PUP in esteemed company at 2009 Hong Kong Book Fair

PUP at Hong Kong Book Fair 2009 Our reps, distributors, and friends in Hong Kong, Aromix Books, recently sent this photo from the 2009 Hong Kong Book Fair.  They had a great week from July 22-28, with many people stopping by to say positive things about the Princeton University Press publishing program.  They liked the booth very much, from the decoration to the book selection.  I was just tickled to see our authors Bob Shiller, Ben Bernanke, and John Nash sharing a banner with Mao and Obama! 

Top Five Things you should know about the CIA Inspector General’s Interrogation Report by Amy Zegart

Amy Zegart, author of Spying Blind (now available in paperback) and the forthcoming book CIA 101, reads the CIA Inspector General’s Interrogation Report (an “eye-opener”) and posts her top five findings at Reality-Based Community.

1. The CIA was not a rogue elephant.
The Inspector General found that “there were few instances of deviations from approved [detention and interrogation] procedures.” (p.5) …The report also gives a picture of the agency repeatedly asking for– and getting — both authorization and reassurance from several NSC principals as well as the Department of Justice.

2. It’s the rules, not the exceptions, that alarm the IG. The IG was deeply concerned about the legal basis and political fallout of the detention and interrogation policies themselves.

3. We don’t know what interrogation methods work best.

4. All ten of the IG’s recommendations to improve detention and interrogation practices were redacted, which makes you wonder: are they blacked out because the CIA implemented them (making them current practice) or because the Agency didn’t?

5. Whither Congress? It seems that Congress has known about these practices AND about the violations that went beyond what DOJ authorized for at least three years, probably longer.

Click over to read the complete article.

Peter Moskos at Seaburn Books Tonight 6:30PM

Join sociologist Peter Moskos later this evening at Astoria’s Seaburn Books as he reads from Cop in the Hood, now available in paperback with a new afterword by the author. The event is free and open to the public.

Seaburn Books

33-18 Broadway

Long Island City, NY 11106

Trogon Quest — an adventure in Sumatra with Albert Earl Gilbert

We were following our excellent birding guide, Dennis Yong, through the leech-infested montane rain forest near Berestagi, Sumatra. We were searching for one of the rarest and most beautiful birds of the world, the Sumatran Trogon. We’d been hiking for miles, and the leeches were ferocious. I pulled off about 45 of them in 45 minutes of hiking, and then stopped counting. My companion, Rae Anderson, a submarine officer in WWII and Korea, was splattered in blood nearly head to foot and joked that he never looked so bad during the war. His grandson Christopher Anderson, an expert herpetologist, who was then a high school senior, took everything in stride, keeping a keen-eyed vigil for birds with his snake-stick in hand. Nonchalantly, Dennis claimed that wearing sandals allowed him to feel the leeches and remove them at once before they could bite – and his strategy worked!

Despite this irritation, we were in an enchanted forest – a botanical wonderland full of orchids and epiphytes featuring large bird’s nest ferns in nearly every tree. However, we had to walk about five miles through heavily logged forest to get to this area of undisturbed habitat.

Dennis Yong is famed for his ability to mimic bird songs. Usually when he called a bird, we could not tell the difference between his vocalization or the bird’s – and apparently neither could the birds. Because of the repetitious call of the Sumatran Trogon, Dennis saved his vocal chords and used a tape to play its distinctive song – a high-pitched whistling “wiwi…wheeer–lu” repeated every few seconds. We proceeded quite a while without a response. Then we finally heard a Trogon in the distance. The most heart-breaking moment of our expedition occurred when the Trogon’s song was drowned out by the sound of chain saws, operated by local timber cutters. This jarring jolt of reality seemed to crystallize the plight of Trogons in tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia. Dennis felt that this area of forest would be gone in about ten years.

I was eventually able to sketch several Sumatran Trogons at close range in a nearby location. Dennis called them up and Chris immediately spotted them, enabling me to be, most likely, the first artist to correctly paint their true colors which rapidly fade in captive birds. The Sumatran Trogon is restricted to a narrow altitudinal range in montane forest on that island and nowhere else in the world. If recent observations in other parts of its range match my own observations, this Trogon may now have reached threatened status due to the accelerating rate of timber cutting which is descimating its habitat.

The Trogon family including the Quetzals has a distribution that roughly coincides with the world’s rainforests. I made several expeditions to tropical America, Africa and Southeast Asia to draw Trogons from life to illustrate the newly published, limited edition book, Trogons, a Natural History of the Trogonidae by Joseph M. Forshaw. My color plates depict each species in its natural habitat, and Forshaw’s comprehensive text highlights the need to protect these birds by safeguarding the tropical forests so critical to their survival.

“I was able to sketch several wild birds in the area, and carefully noted that all had bright yellow flanks without traces of orange. This painting, perhaps the first drawn from life, also shows the diagnostic maroon-chestnut lower back of the male. The upper tail can appear iridescent blue or green, depending on the angle of light.”

Harpactus mackloti AMNH 633878 adult male

Here is a slide show of photographs from Al Gilbert’s experience in the Sumatran rain forest

Peter Moskos on “Conversations with Carlos Watson”

Sociologist and Cop in the Hood author Peter Moskos joined fellow Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member Neill Franklin on MSNBC’s Conversations with Carlos Watson. Both men served as Baltimore City police officers and co-authored an op-ed published earlier this week in the the Washington Post.

Here’s the clip of the interview with Carlos Watson:

Keywords From a Librarian @ Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed is expanding the number of blogs they publish and we’re pleased that one of our authors, Mary W. George, recently launched Keywords From a Librarian.

The blog, according to George, is written, “not from the dead, but from the depths, that murky blob marked library on your campus map, that innocent but somehow chilling link on your institution’s home page, that awkward corner of uncertainty in your otherwise confident professional psyche.”

In the introductory post, George solicits library research assignments “that don’t seem to be working.” In addition to analyzing these assignments, she promises the blog will contain “general musings on what it means to be an information seeker in today’s world; consideration of library research concepts and tools that deserve more attention in the curriculum; responses to some of the Frequently UNasked Questions researchers, especially novices, have about how academic libraries function or about how one discovers ‘what’s out there’; and occasional exhortations.”

The blog is a natural extension of George’s professional work as acting head of reference and senior reference librarian at Princeton University Library and also complements her recently published book The Elements of Library Research: What Every Student Needs to Know.

Robert Shiller interviewed on VoxEU

Robert Shiller was recently interviewed by Romesh Vaitilingam of VoxEU (the policy portal set up by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, UK) about his work and, in particular, Animal Spirits the book he co-authored with George Akerlof.    Click here to listen in full.

Recipe of the Month: The Evolution of Maia’s Complexity Mango-Cranberry Nut Bread

The recipe of the month is taken from COOKED BOOKS, a cookbook featuring recipes from the staff of Princeton University Press. Enjoy!

The Evolution of Maia’s Complexity Mango-Cranberry Nut Bread

Maia Reim

This is a recipe I concocted when I had lots of ripe mangoes I wanted to use up. To make 1 cup of mango pulp you will probably need 2 large mangoes, but the exact amount is not critical— applesauce or mashed bananas, or whatever you have to work with, can be substituted for mangoes.

½ cup skim, soy, almond, or rice milk, blended with 2 teaspoons vinegar to make “buttermilk”
½ cup canola oil
1 cup puréed mango pulp
1 cup sugar (I like to use brown sugar for ¼ of this)
2 eggs (or ½ cup Eggbeaters)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1¾ cups flour
¼ cup wheat germ or bran
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup chopped raw cranberries or raisins
2 tablespoons fresh grated citrus peel (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

Blend together the milk, oil, mango pulp, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

In separate large bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon, walnuts, cranberries, and citrus peel. Add liquid ingredients to the dry, and blend until just moistened.

Pour into 2 medium-sized or one large greased loaf pan; bake in oven for 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Serves many. Freezes well. Makes great muffins too.
It is nice to keep one loaf at home and bring one to the kitchen at PUP. (this blog editor says, “Indeed, Maia feel free to bring one in at any time!”)

Shorebirds take center stage at Audubon Magazine’s blog

Spurred by the annual Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festiva, Wayne Mones at Audubon compiles a list of three must-have shorebird guides and surprise surprise, two of them are PUP books.  So, why shorebirds? According to Wayne:

I got hooked on shorebirds in the early 1980s when you could still see 50,000 Red knots gorging on horseshoe crab eggs on the Delaware Bay. I love them because of their mystique as super-long-distance fliers. Because their lives depend on the right timing of migration, mating, fledging, and return migration. And because they are so damned hard to identify — even after all these years. Peeps are hard to sort out even in breeding plumage. On the return trip you have to work through worn plumage, transitional plumages, and fresh juveniles.

These are the books featured in the article:

Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A Photographic Guide by Richard Chandler

Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide by Dennis Paulson

Lynn Vavreck on why “The Message Matters” in presidential campaigns

UCLA has posted a great article about Lynn Vavreck’s new book The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns.

A quick excerpt, though the rest of it really is worth a read:

In pursuing the project, Vavreck said she was inspired by two seemingly conflicting situations in American politics: the staggering costs of presidential elections and research that has shown economic forecasting models predict the outcomes of U.S. presidential races with an 80-percent accuracy rate.

“If we can predict the election in advance, then why do we spend a billion dollars in a campaign?” Lynn Vavreck said. “That was the puzzle that kept me up at night. I wanted to figure out whether all those things people say in campaigns really add value, and the answer is yes, the message matters, but so does the economic context.”

PUP Editor Ian Malcolm reflects on the life of G.A. Cohen

G. A. (Jerry) Cohen died of a stroke early on the morning of August 5. Poignantly, an advance copy of his newest publication, the pocketbook Why Not Socialism?, reached his office only a few hours later. Though he never saw it finished, he’d been delighted with its progress and especially with its cover, which shows the red rose of socialism rising up from the “Y” of the title’s “WHY.” It’s a fittingly positive image for an optimistic, or at least sunnily determined, work. Despite the very real obstacles in socialism’s way, Cohen writes: “I do not think the right conclusion is to give up.” It’s also a suitably uplifting image for Cohen himself.

Cohen was born in Montreal in 1941 to Jewish parents who worked in the rag trade, and was raised and initially educated in a staunchly communist environment. He always held fast to the egalitarian ideals of his childhood. Over his long academic career, mainly at University College London and Oxford, he became one of the world’s leading philosophical explorers and exponents of socialist ideas. Along with Jon Elster, he pioneered the application of analytical (he called them “no-bullshit”) methods to Marxism. And he produced penetrating analyses of the concepts of equality and justice that underlie socialism, and what they require of us if we care about them. With many articles and five books—most notably Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence and 2008’s Rescuing Justice and Equality—he became a giant of political philosophy, a thinker to stand alongside Rawls, Nozick, and Dworkin, with whose views he deeply and publicly disagreed.

He never wavered in his core convictions, but he did at least slow down in his academic life. In his final year, his only year of retirement, he said that he had done almost all that he wished to do, that he had few new ideas to work on and looked forward to a new phase of life, harvesting. At his valedictory lecture, he said that the line from Tennyson that he recited to himself almost weekly—“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”—lately sounded better to him rewritten as: “To strive, to seek, to find, and then to yield.”

Obituaries (links below) make his place in the canon of political philosophy clear. They also make plain what an extraordinary man he was, crackling not just with intelligence, but a dazzling, almost superhuman wit that, mischievous as it could be, was cotton-padded by his exceptional personal warmth. He was a professional philosopher, but he could have been a professional comic, and was renowned for his regular stand-up routines in Oxford and for the entertainment that peppered his lectures. Two links below convey his combination of brilliance and zaniness (one is hard to hear, but it’s worth persevering, especially for his 10-minute imitation of a lecture by Isaiah Berlin).

He published two books with Princeton, Karl Marx’s Theory of History and Why Not Socialism? We’re lucky to have them on the lists. Those of us who worked with him are even luckier to have known him.

The Times
The Guardian
The Independent
The Montreal Gazette
Crooked Timber
Crooked Timber

Jerry Cohen in action:
Jerry Cohen’s closing comments at a conference held earlier this year–Rescuing Justice and Equality: Celebrating the Career of G.A. Cohen
Jerry Cohen’s retirement speech in 2008

Additional links of interest:
Simon Tormey interviews Jerry Cohen for Contemporary Political Theory
Nicholas Vrousalis offers a “a rough summary of Jerry Cohen’s intellectual voyage”

(9/2/09 – we corrected the number of books in the piece above per the comment below)