Press Director Peter Dougherty reflects on our August book releases — it’s going to be a hot month in more ways than one!

August will be a special month. Personally, it marks my 20th anniversary at PUP and my 40th year in publishing, but more to the point (and far more importantly), it represents the release of the best single month’s group of new titles I’ve seen in all my years on William Street. This cluster of offerings underscores our reason for being in this business and doing what we do.

The single most important August release is the fourth edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Recently described by a prominent poet and critic as a “compendium of all culture,” (that is, culture as reflected in language, and language as captured in literature and poetry), this book is significant as a statement of our vitality as a humanities publisher, as a global publisher, and as a best-selling publisher.

Another extremely important book is Peter Brown’s Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. This is the first of the new wave of “big histories” the Press plans to publish this year and in years to come and Brown’s book has “bestseller” written all over it.

It wouldn’t be a robust PUP list without an outstanding, breakout-worthy economics title, and this August’s entry is Justin Yifu Lin’s The Quest for Prosperity: How Developing Economies Can Take Off. The Enlightened Economist blog has already described this book as “a must-read for anyone interested in development economics, and for anyone interested in the role of industrial policy in developed economies too.” Development books are all the rage, including bestsellers from Dani Rodrik’s Globalization Paradox through Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion, Acemoglu and Robinson’s Why Nations Fail, and Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics. Lin’s book answers many of the questions raised in these volumes. If you haven’t read The New Yorker article on Lin, “Boom Doctor,” I recommend it wholeheartedly.

August also sees the debut of two PUP publishing innovations. The first is Brink Lindsay’s Human Capitalism, a $4.99 ebook that we are publishing in anticipation of the print book in the Spring 2013 season. And the second is an exciting chapter-by-chapter release of material for a project from Lynn Vavreck and John Sides that provides the first academic assessment of the Presidential election and will eventually be published as part of PUP book The Gamble.

Further demonstrating the depth of our August releases, we have new trade books including Chester Finn and Jessica Hockett’s Exam Schools: Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools and Ed Burger and Mike Starbird’s The Five Elements of Effective Thinking; the crossover academic trade book by Peter Wells, How Ancient Europeans Saw the World; paperback editions of five outstanding books: Bob Shiller’s The Subprime Solution, Patricia Churchland’s Braintrust, Noah Feldman’s Fall and Rise of the Islamic State, John E. Wills, Jr.’s Mountain of Fame, and Ian Buruma’s Taming the Gods; and excellent textbooks such as the revised edition of Langmuir and Broecker’s How to Build a Habitable Planet, Ethnography and Virtual Worlds by Tom Boellstorff and his colleagues, John Padgett and Woody Powell’s The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, Peter Marsden’s Social Trends in American Life, and Goertz and Mahoney’s A Tale of Two Cultures.

So there we have it: a killer selection of new August titles to issue in the new academic year.

Thanks, all.

Peter J Dougherty



  1. Ive started on the “5 elements of effective thinking”. Im finding its having an effect already. I run a driving school in Ireland and am native of New York. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get the most from their ideas. Peter has picked a good range of books for August.

  2. Despite the fact that Pete is my First Cousin, I heartily endorse his choices, although my motives are highly suspect due to my long association with his brother, Paul. That said, I can recommend a site favorite: The Aleppo Codex, which I have downloaded and am currently reading, without Pete’s recommendation, I might add, it’s a terrific book.

  3. What kind of effect is it having on your idea generation Tony? I’m actually really interested to read the title “The Quest For Prosperity.”

  4. Hi Jessica Pellien, thanks for the wonder write up. Now, it really opens my mind to new thoughts. I am really interested in the “The Quest For Prosperity” book. Will get one soon.