Press Director Peter Dougherty reflects on our October book releases

October brings with it the next big wave of Princeton University Press fall titles.

First and foremost among a promising flurry of new books are a couple of recently released titles by acclaimed authors: Jill Lepore’s The Story of America: Essays on Origins, and James Scott’s Two Cheers for Anarchism. Lepore has written several prize-winning national best-sellers and is well-known to readers of The New Yorker as their history columnist. The essays collected here reveal the ways history is told, taught, used to create the story of America. Scott is author of two of the most widely-read works in social science, Seeing Like a State and Weapons of the Weak (both from Yale University Press). In Two Cheers for Anarchism, he examines the positive sides and outcomes of anarchy. We are also delighted to see the first copies of Robert Geddes’s book, Fit: An Architect’s Manifesto, which is a major new statement about the purpose and aesthetics of architecture. Fans of these writers will not be disappointed with these timely books for general readers.

And our more specialized books also provide much to intrigue and inform readers. First among a new cluster of October offerings in the social sciences, celebrated Stanford economist David Kreps returns to PUP with Microeconomic Foundations I: Choice and Competitive Markets. Having helped reshape the field of economic theory with his 1990 PUP book, A Course in Microeconomic Theory, a best-selling economic textbook, Kreps’s new Princeton book will appeal to economists and students alike all over the world.

Two vitally important October entries come from the familiar PUP field of physics: William Bialek’s recently released Biophysics: Searching for Principles, and later this month, Eric Heller’s Why You Hear What You Hear: An Experiential Approach to Sound, Music, and Psychoacoustics. Both books are stellar contributions to their respective fields and should quickly become the first choice of physicists teaching courses in each respective area.

From our history and reference lists, a duo of extremely timely titles that speak directly to political headlines all over the world also appears this month. Europe and the Islamic World: A History by John Tolan, Gilles Veinstein, and Henry Laurens, tells the story of how Muslims and Europeans have interacted from the Middle Ages until today, making the point that only by understanding the past can we truly appreciate present events. And later in the month, we will be publishing the long-awaited Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, the first reference book of its kind documenting ideas, institutions, and leading thinkers and actors in the Islamic world from its origins to today.

Thanks to the continuing efforts of editor Diana Buchwald and her team at the Einstein Papers Project, we are pleased to present the 13th volume in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. This landmark book covers Einstein’s writing and correspondence from January 1922 through March 1923, documenting Einstein’s first trip to the Far East and revealing the consequences of his relatively new-found celebrity status.

October also welcomes two new titles from our series, The Lives of the Great Religious Books, Ronald Hendel’s The Book of Genesis: A Biography, and J.J. Collins’s The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography. This brings the total published titles in the series to seven with a dozen more planned in the coming years. The format of the series, biographies of religious books, allows the authors to explore the surprising origins and movements of these books through history, culture, and religion, whether addressing origin stories of The Bible or the controversies surrounding the discovery and translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thanks to my colleagues for delivering these (and all the other) excellent new Princeton books with style and spirit.

Peter J Dougherty