Archives for January 2012

Daniel A. Bell on Civicism and Confucianism at Hub Pavilion at WEF 2012

Daniel A. Bell, co-author of The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age with Avner de-Shalit, visited Hub’s Davos Pavilion and spoke with Hub Culture’s Executive Editor Edie Lush during his recent trip to the World Economic Forum. Professor Bell uses “I Heart NY” as the best known example of “civicism,” the term for urban pride he and de-Shalit coined in their recent PUP book, but from the looks of it, perhaps “I Heart Davos” is next:

This Week’s Book Giveaway

Banding Together:
How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music

by Jennifer C. Lena

Why do some music styles gain mass popularity while others thrive in small niches? Banding Together explores this question and reveals the attributes that together explain the growth of twentieth-century American popular music. Drawing on a vast array of examples from sixty musical styles—ranging from rap and bluegrass to death metal and South Texas polka, and including several created outside the United States—Jennifer Lena uncovers the shared grammar that allows us to understand the cultural language and evolution of popular music.

What are the common economic, organizational, ideological, and aesthetic traits among contemporary genres? Do genres follow patterns in their development? Lena discovers four dominant forms—Avant-garde, Scene-based, Industry-based, and Traditionalist—and two dominant trajectories that describe how American pop music genres develop. Outside the United States there exists a fifth form: the Government-purposed genre, which she examines in the music of China, Serbia, Nigeria, and Chile. Offering a rare analysis of how music communities operate, she looks at the shared obstacles and opportunities creative people face and reveals the ways in which people collaborate around ideas, artworks, individuals, and organizations that support their work.

“Jennifer Lena’s Banding Together unleashes a fierce and exacting take on the scattered and freewheeling territory of music, offering a soothing order to the wild scufflings of performers and fans alike, and inspiring a smarter, more forthright think on a crazy untrammeled scene. In other words, it has a beat and you can dance to it.”—Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket and accordionist with The Magnetic Fields

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here:

The random draw for this book with be Friday 2/3 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!

Mammals Monday

This week’s “featured creature” is the California Chipmunk, a member of the squirrel family. This particular species is normally found — you guessed it! — in California and and some Mexican states. Some chipmunks in captivity have lived up to nine years, but their life expectancy is around 3 years in the wild.

Chipmunks are known for their cuteness, and have played some starring roles in animated films — does anyone remember the original “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie?

For more information, check out our nifty Mammals of North America App, now available for iPhone and Android!

Previous Mammals Monday posts:

the American badger

the harp seal

the black bear

the chipmunk

the blue whale

the reindeer


PROSE Awards 2012: Live in Washington D.C.!

On Thursday, February 2nd, the 2012 PROSE Awards will be livestreamed from Washington D.C. Hopefully Princeton University Press will be bringing home some prizes! “The PROSE Awards annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over 40 categories. Judged by peer publishers, librarians, and medical professionals since 1976, the PROSE Awards are extraordinary for their breadth and depth.”

Check out the broadcast from 12-1:30 EST here:

Ancient Roman campaign wisdom in Los Angeles Times op-ed by Philip Freeman

Philip Feeman, the translator of our timely new book HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicans, had his recent op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.  Take a look to see which Republican candidate(s) would have done right by Quintus Cicero’s (Marcus’s lesser-known brother) advice.  The “advice” was originally from a letter sent to Marcus when he was in the running for the biggest job in Rome.


FACT: “On the night of July 7, 1937, skirmishes between Chinese and Japanese troops near Beijing’s Marco Polo Bridge broke out, marking the beginning of World War II in China. The fighting quickly spread, and by month end Japanese forces had consolidated control over the region. An all-out assault on Shanghai in August, followed by the December slaughter of civilians and soldiers in Nanjing, forced the Nationalist government to flee. Chiang Kai-shek led his troops and supporters first to Wuhan, then to Sichuan, where he set up a temporary capital in Chongqing in October 1938.”

Guilty of Indigence: The Urban Poor in China, 1900-1953
by Janet Y. Chen

In the early twentieth century, a time of political fragmentation and social upheaval in China, poverty became the focus of an anguished national conversation about the future of the country. Investigating the lives of the urban poor in China during this critical era, Guilty of Indigence examines the solutions implemented by a nation attempting to deal with “society’s most fundamental problem.” Interweaving analysis of shifting social viewpoints, the evolution of poor relief institutions, and the lived experiences of the urban poor, Janet Chen explores the development of Chinese attitudes toward urban poverty and of policies intended for its alleviation.

Chen concentrates on Beijing and Shanghai, two of China’s most important cities, and she considers how various interventions carried a lasting influence. The advent of the workhouse, the denigration of the nonworking poor as “social parasites,” efforts to police homelessness and vagrancy–all had significant impact on the lives of people struggling to survive. Chen provides a crucially needed historical lens for understanding how beliefs about poverty intersected with shattering historical events, producing new welfare policies and institutions for the benefit of some, but to the detriment of others.

Drawing on vast archival material, Guilty of Indigence deepens the historical perspective on poverty in China and reveals critical lessons about a still-pervasive social issue.

“In this surprising and creative book, Janet Chen shows that early twentieth-century Chinese intellectuals, officials, philanthropists, and police in China’s cities came to see poverty and the poor very differently from their late imperial predecessors–with often drastic consequences for those so categorized. Meanwhile, beggars, refugees, orphans, and others not only struggled to survive, but to make themselves heard in ways that might lead to help, or at least avert punishment–and Chen captures those struggles in prose that is both poignant and analytically powerful. Sensitive to details and ever mindful of the big picture, this is social history of the highest caliber.”–Kenneth Pomeranz, author of The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy

We invite you to read the Introduction here:

Paul Seabright, “On Lying, Risk-Taking and the Implosion of the Euro”


We are delighted to announce that Professor Paul Seabright will deliver the second annual Princeton University Press in Europe lecture during the London Book Fair.

This year’s lecture, which marks our annual celebration of the Princeton University Press European Advisory Board, will take place on Wednesday 18th April at Goodenough College in London, under the title: “On Lying, Risk-Taking and the Implosion of the Euro”.

Paul Seabright is Professor of Economics at the University of Toulouse, and the author of two PUP books: The Company of Strangers (2nd edition, 2010) and The War of the Sexes (forthcoming, May 2012).

For more information on this event and how to attend, please contact Hannah Paul.

David Scheffer on BBC R3 Nightwaves

David Scheffer, the first US ambassador for war crimes, has recently published All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals with Princeton University Press. In the book, he discusses bringing some of the most notorious war criminals to justice. David was interviewed on BBC Radio 3 NightWaves on 25th January and the interview is now available to listen again here.

Capitalists against the Super Rich

“Are the champions of the capitalist system now turning against the super-rich? And if they are, what will they now do about it? How can change be achieved without undermining the logic of capitalism?” Raghuram Rajan, author of Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy joins a panel to discuss these issues on Analysis on BBC Radio 4. The interview is now available to listen to online on the Analysis website.

Book Trailer for In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman

Yeah, We’ve Got a Book on That — solar flares edition

Think solar flares are going to wreak havoc now? Wait till you read what happened in the 19th century:

“In September of 1859, the entire Earth was engulfed in a gigantic cloud of seething gas, and a blood-red aurora erupted across the planet from the poles to the tropics. Around the world, telegraph systems crashed, machines burst into flames, and electric shocks rendered operators unconscious. Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist….Nobody knew what could have released such strange forces upon the Earth–nobody, that is, except the amateur English astronomer Richard Carrington who had observed a mysterious explosion on the surface of the Sun…”

Read The Sun Kings to learn more about Carrington and the solar flares of 1859..

This Week’s Book Giveaway (on Google+!)

Are you following PUP on Google+ yet? If not, today’s the day to add us to your circle—we’re giving away a copy of Magical Mathematics by Persi Diaconis & Ron Graham, along with a Magical Mathematics deck of cards to practice your magic tricks! Follow us by Friday to win!

Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks
by Persi Diaconis & Ron Graham, with a foreword by Martin Gardner

Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of amazing, fun-to-perform card tricks—and the profound mathematical ideas behind them—that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today’s mathematical knowledge. For example, the Gilbreath Principle—a fantastic effect where the cards remain in control despite being shuffled—is found to share an intimate connection with the Mandelbrot set. Other card tricks link to the mathematical secrets of combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, topology, the Riemann hypothesis, and even Fermat’s last theorem.

“Finally a book that celebrates the math involved in magic. This is quite simply the most brilliant book ever written on this mind-blowing, highly secretive field.”—David Blaine, illusionist

“[F]ascinating. . . . Magical Mathematics [is] a dazzling tour of math-based magic tricks. . . . Lovers of recreational mathematics, and especially fans of the late Martin Gardner, who contributed the foreword, will find many pleasures in Magical Mathematics. And while exposing magic secrets in a book intended for the general public may raise hackles among some old-guard magicians, exploring the math behind these tricks will, in truth, only deepen the mystery. For, as the authors remind us, sometimes the methods are as magical as the tricks themselves.”—Alex Stone, Wall Street Journal

The random draw for this book with be Friday 1/27 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to check out our Google+ page and add us to your circle to be entered to win!