Archives for July 2010

BOOK FACT FRIDAY

Feeling the heat? Well here’s the The Long ThawFACT: The basic physics of the greenhouse effect was described in 1827 by Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier. He made the analogy of a greenhouse, but the actual name “greenhouse effect” came later.

Believe in global warming? Yes? No? David Archer shows how just a few centuries of fossil-fuel use will cause not only a climate storm that will last a few hundred years, but dramatic changes that will last thousands. Check out the book, The Long Thaw.

Your New Reading List: Steve Ballinger’s Picks

Suffice it to say that Steve Ballinger gets more than his fair share of inclement weather – as PUP’s  Manager of the Northwest and Rocky Mountain States Sales Territory, Steve often has to endure rainy days.  Don’t think the weather’s bringing him down though – Steve enjoys the great indoors – and breaks a mental sweat – by reading books on religion, philosophy, and literature.

1.       “Walter Kaufmann’s Critique of Religion and Philosophy. It is made up of 100 related essays including a section of dialogues between Satan and a theologian, a Christian, and a philosopher. Arnold Toynbee gets trashed along the way. St. Thomas Aquinas is exposed as leaning towards the Inquisition. Kaufmann was a major part of the Princeton philosophy scene and this book is still on the list along with his major philosophical biography of Nietzsche. I’ve always thought the Coen brothers should do a movie about him.”

2.      “‘Selected Essays‘* by Hilaire Belloc. I found a 1958 Penguin version. Belloc writes a mixture of travel essays, Roman Catholic anger, and literary dream experiments. He always has one foot in the French countryside even when writing about England. He has one essay about saying farewell to his sailboat which makes one sigh.”

3.       “Walter Bagehot Literary Studies vols one and two. I found these two at The Strand in J.M. Dent editions from way back in the early 20th century. Bagehot is really great as a literary critic/historian.”

4.       “The Oxford Book of English Prose is my book to read from as I wait patiently for the computer to boot up. I’m reading it back to front and currently in the 1850’s. The editor of the book made great selections of 2-3 pages per piece. It’s one of those blue cloth old Oxford books with really thin pages. From Rupert Brooke on page 1062 to Thomas Love Peacock page 630 where I am now to John Trevisa This Realm, this England (1326-1402), page 1 in the original.”

*Links to Essays of a Catholic on Amazon.com

What do you think? Let us know by commenting on this post, posting on our Facebook wall, or following us on Twitter!

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal

We published this relatively academic book last fall to some interest, but here we are almost 9 months later in the middle of a media maelstrom. As you may recall from our earlier post about this, the book has rocketed back into attention thanks to this piece from Minding the Campus, this column in the New York Times, and this column from Pat Buchanan.

Based on these articles, it seemed as though No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal affirmed the existence of an admission bias against white students at the nation’s elite schools. The questions on everyone’s lips — Is white anxiety justified? Is it real? We quickly fielded calls from Time and Newsweek asking for interviews with Tom Espenshade to clear this all up.

Happy to report that both features are now available online. I urge you to check out Raina Kelley’s article at Newsweek and Katy Steinmetz’s interview for Time.

Also, if you would prefer to hear directly from the authors on this subject, Russ Douthat has also very generously posted a response from the authors on his blog here.

Ben Wildavsky on what will define the university of the future

I am going to steal one question from this terrific Q&A at Forbes.com featuring Ben Wildavsky, author of The Great Brain Race and contributor to the WorldWise blog at Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the complete (and much much longer) interview here.

Forbes: What then is going to come to define the university, or really, the higher education, of the future?

Ben Wildavsky: The first thing I would say it is dangerous to make predictions. Because we know that in the 19th century Germany pioneered research and teaching under one roof–in the first research university. Americans went to Germany to study the model and came back and eventually copied that model, i.e., John Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. We took it and perfected it, and after WWII we created the best research universities in the world. … Right now the Germans are coming to look at our model to improve their universities, which have fallen into mediocrity. A lot can happen in 100 or 150 years.

Sometimes in the United States we tend to mistakenly fall into the “us vs. them” mentality: “The Chinese are graduating more Ph.D.s. What are we going to do? We are losing the race? We have to be competitive.” It’s fine to be more competitive, but it is not a zero-sum game. So there are more smart people with Ph.D.s in China. That is good for us–it is not bad for us.

Knowledge is not a finite resource that everybody has to fight over to get their piece of the pie. It’s something that can grow. Economists often say that knowledge is a public good. When there is a research discovery in one country, you can’t keep it within national borders.

It’s entirely possible that new universities in other countries will create knowledge that gets taken advantage of by American innovators and entrepreneurs, that they will create great new products from that knowledge. … We should embrace those forces of globalization in education just as the forces of globalization in the rest of the economy are very healthy.

We already have major research collaborations that are growing. We have all kinds of [university] partnerships across borders. There are whole new ways to organize universities. I mentioned the private sector, the for-profits. Those schools continue to grow. The online sector is very big; it’s natural for cross-border studies.

There’s John Sexton’s idea of a global network university or distributed university where you have different parts of the university in different parts of the world without necessarily a mother ship or satellite; in fact, they are co-equal parts of the university.

It might have an analog in business strategy, starting off on its own, then trading with other parts of the world, then perhaps creating branch offices in different parts of the world, then forging partnerships and perhaps ultimately developing multinational universities or fully globalized universities. The possibilities are pretty intriguing.

Your New Reading List: Eric Posner’s Picks

Eric A. Posner (Climate Change Justice) offers three succinct but compelling suggestions. Anyone interested in history, current events, or just learning something new should check out his list:

Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 by Christopher M. Clark provides a lucid history of that country, and is unusually well written.”

Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris details the life of Cicero through the eyes of Tiro, his slave (and confidant, according to Harris). Eric calls it “a trashy but painless way to learn about Roman constitutional law.” Sounds fun!

Eric describes Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 by Gary B. Gorton as “one of the most illuminating of the many books on the financial crisis.”

Leave a comment on Eric’s picks, or let us know what you’re reading on Facebook or Twitter.

“If you want to figure out a way forward for Afghanistan, fake history is not the place to start.” Great advice from Christian Caryl in Foreign Policy

We couldn’t have said it better. Understanding the real history of Afghanistan is imperative to make sensible decisions about the war. Yet fake history abounds. Myths and stereotypes, skewed historical facts, and manipulated versions of historical events get in the way of plotting the best way forward. The time has come to truly educate ourselves on the history of Afghanistan. This is our best bet at securing a good outcome for the war. And nowhere will you find a more comprehensive and authoritative history of that troubled country than in Thomas Barfield’s Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History.

Read Christian’s article here for a quick dose of real history, but make sure you check out Tom’s book for the complete story.

Here’s a quick summary of the key points in the article that are drawn from the book:

Fake History: Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires
Real History: This reputation isn’t borne out by the country’s long history.

“For most of its history Afghanistan has actually been the cradle of empires, not their grave,” writes Barfield.

Fake History: Afghanistan repelled powerful invading forces from England and the Soviet Union.
Real History: The history of these wars is much more nuanced.

Yes, it is true that the Afghans massacred all but 1 of 16,000 British troops in its initial invasion in the eighteenth century, but as Caryl notes, “Everyone tends to forget what happened after the rout of the British: In 1842 they invaded again, defeating every Afghan army sent out against them.”

As for the Soviet defeat, Caryl writes, “even the most skeptical historians concede that, around 1984 or so, the Soviets were actually getting the better of the mujahideen.” It was U.S. intervention and weapons that eventually allowed the Afghans to gain the upper hand.

Fake History: Afghans are untamable savages, incapable of being civilized.
Real History: While Afghans don’t conform to this misrepresentation, they may benefit from it.

This dangerous stereotype serves to mislead and dissuade foreign invaders. As Caryl notes, “Barfield contends that the Afghans have long understood the tendency of foreigners to view them as untamable savages and have been happy to leverage the stereotype to their advantage.”

Fake History: Afghanistan has always been at war.
Real History: If you focus only on the last 30 years of warfare, it is easy to underestimate the possibilities for Afghanistan’s future.The complete history of Afghanistan reveals a different story.

“Unfortunately, popular views of the place today are shaped by the past 30 years of seemingly unceasing warfare rather than substantive knowledge of the country’s history,” writes Caryl.

Fake History: Afghanistan is inherently unconquerable because of the “fierceness of its inhabitants and the formidable nature of its terrain.”
Real History: The reality is that “for 2,500 years it was always part of somebody’s empire, beginning with the Persian Empire in the fifth century B.C.” Afghanistan is winnable with the right strategy.

Fake History: As a tribal culture, Afghanistan has never known peace and never will.
Real History: There are long stretches in history where Afghanistan was peaceful in spite of tribal divisions and a fractured population.

Mark R. Cohen sets the bar by winning the first-ever Goldziher Prize

We’d like to congratulate PUP author Mark R. Cohen for winning the first-ever Goldziher Prize, presented by the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College, for Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages.

Named for the 19th century Islamicist, Ignác Goldziher, a Hungarian Jew “who revered Islam and Muslim people and validated Islamic studies in the 19th century European university context,” the prize announcement was made at an event at the Muslim American Society of Boston’s Islamic Cultural Center.  An official presentation will take place at a dinner at Brandeis University on October 6, 2010.

As the original recipient of the prize, Mark is setting a precedent for all those to follow.  Under Crescent and Cross is also a National Jewish Honor Book in Jewish History.

Find out more about the 2010 Goldziher Prize here.

For a complete list of recent award-winning Princeton University Press books, please click here.

“I lean and loafe at my ease…”

Don’t I wish!  (Don’t we all?)  Oh Walt Whitman, you tease me so.

The end of July brings wistful thoughts of all that summer loafing we had planned to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.  We flip our calendars ahead.  Suddenly, we’re greeting August and the first reluctant thoughts of Labor Day.  Then – gasp – back to school and the hubub that ensues, year after year, another unfinished check-list.  Another summer gone.

The season is fleeting and no one knows this better than publicists and book review editors who operate in a desperate effort to maintain control over seasonal trajectories and timeliness of book pitches/reviews.  We’re date obsessed.  Ask our families.  We plan six months in advance…for EVERYTHING.

As the Princeton campus still teems with day campers instead of undergraduates,  I was pleasantly surprised to find a lovely breath of fresh air from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Karen Long wrote a piece this past Sunday on reading “Leaves of Grass” which  mentions our very own ON WHITMAN and makes me long for a little more loafing for all.  (For further reading, check out Michael Robertson’s WORSHIPPING WALT.)

So hop to it, people!  We’re at the midsummer point and there are too many books left unread to take scheduling too seriously.

“Loafe. Loafe,  I say. ”  Thus spake Young Whitman (at right).  Amen.

What Killed Alexander the Great?

Adrienne Mayor, author of The Poison King, looks at what may have been the cause of Alexander the Great’s death. When Alexander suddenly became ill and never recovered over 2,000 years ago, his friends thought he might have been poisoned. Did bacteria from the River Styx have a role in his death? DiscoveryNews reports the interesting possibilities at:  http://bit.ly/ate2al

For more information about the River Styx poison from a working paper written by Adrienne Mayor, please visit the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics at:

The Deadly Styx River and the Death of Alexander

Also by Adrienne Mayor:
The Poison King:
The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy

Also Available:
Alexander the Great and His Empire:
A Short Introduction

By Pierre Briant
Translated by Amélie Kuhrt

The Chronicle’s PageView blog spreads some PUP love

A belated thank you to Nina A. and Evan G.  at The Chronicle of Higher Education for not one, but TWO great posts last week featuring recent/forthcoming PUP releases.

Wednesday brought a fantastic Q&A with Marnia Lazreg, author of Questioning the Veil (PUP 2009) following the recent French ruling which outlawed wearing burquas in public.  My colleagues have been vigorously pitching the Princeton veil books  (read Bowen, John) so we were thrilled to see a feature by PageView.

Thursday’s post continued to route blog traffic our way with a nice piece on Jill Lepore’s drop-in title.  It drew lots of attention from the media and sent several top tier interview requests my way…for which I say, bless you PageView, bless you.

You make our lives a little brighter here in PUP publicity!

Happy Birthday, C.G. Jung!

Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist, was born July 26, 1875 and became the founder of analytical psychology. Jung’s well known concepts about archetype, the collective unconscious and synchronicity continue to marvel modern readers.  Princeton University Press is the proud publisher of  C.G. Jung and many titles about Jung.  For more information about Jung and his works, check out these links:

Collected Works of C.G. Jung
The first collected edition, in English translation, of the writings of the late Swiss psychologist.
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/bscwj.html

Jung Seminars
A selection from the transcripts of Jung’s unpublished private Seminars given during the 1920s and 1930s, with editorial notes that explain allusions and correlate the material with the Collected Works.
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/bsjs.html

Jung Extracts
Paperback editions of C.G. Jung’s writings chosen from the Collected Works. The excerpts are selected and grouped thematically to introduce Jung’s writings on issues and themes of contemporary interest.
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/bsjex.html

Encountering Jung
Encountering Jung presents selections from all the published works of C. G. Jung on subjects of continuing interest to contemporary readers, especially in the areas of psychology, spirituality, and personal growth. The texts have been chosen and presented by leading Jungian writers and analysts with the purpose of introducing Jung’s thought to a new generation of readers.
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/ej.html

Fault Lines is a Bestseller at UChicago Bookstore

Fault Lines by Raghuram G. Rajan is the #3 bestseller this month at the UChicago Bookstore!

Read about in Summer Sales: The UChicago Bookstore doesn’t die during the warmer months