Cinco de Søren!

Happy 200th birthday to Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)! The nineteenth-century Danish philosopher is considered the father existentialism, as he held controversial and insightful contemporary views on life and theology. His unique concepts of love, religion, and self-awareness hold serious significance into the twenty first century, and remain central to discussions concerning not only philosophy and theology, but also fields such as social thought, psychology, contemporary aesthetics, and literary theory. Today, celebrate Søren by reading his own words (free chapter excerpts below!).

k7809Encounters with Kierkegaard: A Life as Seen by His Contemporaries
Collected, edited, and annotated by Bruce H. Kirmmse
Translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse and Virginia R. Laursen
This is a collection of every known eyewitness account of the great Danish thinker. Through many sharp observations of family members, friends and acquaintances, supporters and opponents, the life story of this elusive and remarkable figure comes into focus, offering a rare portrait of Kierkegaard the man.

Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography
Joakim Garff, Translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse
Read Chapter 1
“The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life–the intriguing secret of all the machinery–will be studied and studied.” Kierkegaard’s remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard’s life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Garff’s biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic j6784Dane who changed the course of intellectual history.

The Essential Kierkegaard
Edited by Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
This is the most comprehensive anthology of Søren Kierkegaard’s works ever assembled in English. The selections represent every major aspect of Kierkegaard’s extraordinary career. They reveal the powerful mix of philosophy, psychology, theology, and literary criticism that made Kierkegaard one of the most compelling writers of the nineteenth century and a shaping force in the twentieth. Together, the selections provide the best available introduction to Kierkegaard’s writings and show more completely than any other book why his work, in all its creativity, variety, and power, continues to speak so directly today to so many readers around the world.

k9988Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death (New in Paperback)
Søren Kierkegaard
Translated and with notes by Walter Lowrie, new introduction by Gordon Marino
Walter Lowrie’s classic, bestselling translation of Søren Kierkegaard’s most important and popular books remains unmatched for its readability and literary quality. Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death established Kierkegaard as the father of existentialism and have come to define his contribution to philosophy. Lowrie’s translation, first published in 1941 and later revised, was the first in English, and it has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to Kierkegaard’s thought.

The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology
Søren Kierkegaard
Edited and introduced by Thomas C. Oden
Check out the Introduction
Who might reasonably be nominated as the funniest philosopher of all time? With this anthology, Thomas Oden provisionally declares Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)–despite his enduring stereotype as the melancholy, despairing Dane–as, among philosophers, the most amusing. Kierkegaard not only explored comic perception to its depths but also practiced the art of comedy as astutely as any writer of his time. This k9987collection shows how his theory of comedy is integrated into his practice of comic perception, and how both are integral to his entire authorship.

The Seducer’s Diary (New in Paperback)
Søren Kierkegaard
Read Chapter 1
Edited & translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, foreword by John Updike
“In the vast literature of love, The Seducer’s Diary is an intricate curiosity–a feverishly intellectual attempt to reconstruct an erotic failure as a pedagogic success, a wound masked as a boast,” observes John Updike in his foreword to Søren Kierkegaard’s narrative. This work, a chapter from Kierkegaard’s first major volume, Either/Or, springs from his relationship with his fiancée, Regine Olsen.

A Short Life of Kierkegaard (New in Paperback)
Walter Lowrie
In this classic biography, the celebrated Kierkegaard translator Walter Lowrie presents a charming and warmly appreciative introduction to the life and work of the great Danish writer. Lowrie tells the story of Kierkegaard’s emotionally turbulent life with a keen sense of drama and an acute understanding of how his life shaped his thought. The result is a wonderfully informative and entertaining portrait of one of the most important thinkers of the past two centuries. This edition also includes Lowrie’s wry essay “How Kierkegaard Got into English,” which tells the improbable story of how Lowrie became one of Kierkegaard’s principal English translators despite not learning Danish until he was in his 60s, as well as a new introduction by Kierkegaard scholar Alastair Hannay.

The Quotable Kierkegaardk10061
Edited by Gordon Marino
Be sure to keep an eye out for this anticipated collection of quotes (October 2013). Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations (“Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward“) and obscure ones (“Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves’ clothing but inwardly are sheep–i.e., the phrasemongers”). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said, “my grief is my castle,” but who also taught that “the best defense against hypocrisy is love.” Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers.

Be sure to check out our two PUP Kierkegaard series Kierkegaard’s Writings and Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks.

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

Today is believed to be the day of William Shakespeare’s birth (and death!). Born in 1564, Shakespeare occupies a universal position as one of the greatest literary figures of all time. In celebration of all of his contributions to drama, poetry, literary history and more, we’ve compiled a reading list of our best books on Shakespeare’s life and works. Today, let’s celebrate the man who enriched language and our imaginations, and think of him as we read his own words,  “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V).

Lectures on Shakespearek9557
W. H. Auden, Edited by Arthur Kirsch
Here’s Chapter 1
Reflecting the twentieth-century poet’s lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom
C. L. Barber, With a new foreword by Stephen Greenblatt
Check out Chapter 1
Revealing the interplay between social custom and dramatic form, the book shows how the Elizabethan antithesis between everyday and holiday comes to life in the comedies’ combination of seriousness and levity.

Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theoryk7024
Mary Thomas Crane
Here’s the Introduction
Crane reveals in Shakespeare’s texts a web of structures and categories through which meaning is created. The approach yields fresh insights into a wide range of his plays, including The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest.

Hamlet in Purgatory
Stephen Greenblatt
Winner of 2002 Erasmus Institute Book Prize
One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2001
Read Chapter 1
This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers.

Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Mythsk8633
Helen Hackett
Read the Introduction
Did William Shakespeare ever meet Queen Elizabeth I? There is no evidence of such a meeting, yet for three centuries writers and artists have been provoked and inspired to imagine it. This is the first book to explore the rich history of invented encounters between the poet and the Queen, and examines how and why the mythology of these two charismatic and enduring cultural icons has been intertwined in British and American culture.

Johann Gottfried Herder, Translated and edited by Gregory Moore
Here’s Chapter 1
One of the most important and original works in the history of literary criticism, this passionate essay pioneered a new, historicist approach to cultural artifacts by arguing that they should be judged not by their conformity to a set of conventions imported from another time and place, but by the effectiveness of their response to their own historical and cultural context.

k9582Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost
Margaret Litvin
Read the Introduction
Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, this book represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.

Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama
Tzachi Zamir
Here’s Chapter 1
Developing an account of literature’s relation to knowledge, morality, and rhetoric, and advancing philosophical-literary readings of Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear, Zamir shows how his approach can open up familiar texts in surprising and rewarding ways.

Happy Earth Day!

Today, all across the globe, we’re celebrating Earth Day. This year, Earth Day Network has declared its focus The Face of Climate Change. Each year on April 22, we acknowledge our appreciation for the amazing planet we call home and the take steps to protect it. What will you do today to celebrate Mother Earth? Here are some books to get you started. Get reading!

k8719The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate
David Archer
Check out the Prologue
Archer argues that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change–if humans can find a way to cooperate as never before. Revealing why carbon dioxide may be an even worse gamble in the long run than in the short, this compelling and critically important book brings the best long-term climate science to a general audience for the first time.

Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage (New Edition)
Kenneth S. Deffeyes
Read Chapter 1
One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2002
Honorable Mention, 2001 Association of American Publishers Award for Best
Professional/Scholarly Book in Geography and Earth Science

In this updated edition, Deffeyes explains the crisis that few now deny we are headed toward. Using geology and economics, he shows how everything from the rising price of groceries to the subprime mortgage crisis has been exacerbated by the shrinking supply–and growing price–of oil. Although there is no easy solution to these problems, Deffeyes argues that the first step is understanding the trouble that we are in.

The World’s Rarest Birdsk9823
Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash & Robert Still
Here are some Page Spreads
This beautifully illustrated book vividly depicts the most threatened birds on Earth. It provides up-to-date information from BirdLife International on the threats each species faces, and the measures being taken to save them. Today, 590 bird species are classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered, or now only exist in captivity. This landmark publication features stunning photographs of 515 species–including the results of a prestigious international photographic competition organized specifically for this book.

The White Planet: The Evolution and Future of Our Frozen World
Jean Jouzel, Claude Lorius & Dominique Raynaud
Here’s the Preface
One of Two Winners of The 2012 Vetlesen Prize of the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation
Scientifically impeccable, up-to-date, and accessible, The White Planet brings cutting-edge climate research to general readers through a vivid narrative. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the inextricable link between climate and our planet’s icy regions.

k9426Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living
Melissa Lane
Read Chapter 1
Honorable Mention, 2012 Green Book Festival, General Non-Fiction
Honor Book, 2012 NJCH Book Award, New Jersey Council for the Humanities

An ecologically sustainable society cannot be achieved without citizens who possess the virtues and values that will foster it, and who believe that individual actions can indeed make a difference. This book draws on ancient Greek thought–and Plato’s Republic in particular–to put forward a new vision of citizenship that can make such a society a reality.

How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Revised and Expanded Edition)
Charles H. Langmuir & Wally Broecker
Read the Preface
Honorable Mention, 2012 PROSE Award, Earth Sciences, Association of American Publishersk9691
Interweaving physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and biology, this sweeping account tells Earth’s complete story, from the synthesis of chemical elements in stars, to the formation of the Solar System, to the evolution of a habitable climate on Earth, to the origin of life and humankind. The book also addresses the search for other habitable worlds in the Milky Way and contemplates whether Earth will remain habitable as our influence on global climate grows. It concludes by considering the ways in which humankind can sustain Earth’s habitability and perhaps even participate in further planetary evolution.

Also, be sure to check out our Princeton Primers in Climate series. These primers reveal the physical workings of the global climate system with unmatched accessibility and detail. Princeton Primers in Climate is the ideal first place to turn to get the essential facts, presented with uncompromising clarity, and to begin further investigation–whether in the classroom or in one’s own reading chair.

Poem in Your Pocket Day

The Academy of American Poets declares today, April 18th, national Poem in Your Pocket Day! Today, choose a poem (or maybe a song) and carry it with you all day long. More importantly, share it with others throughout your day. You can share your chosen poem on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem. Today, our pocket poem, “Oyster,” is from Gary Whitehead’s new collection of poems A Glossary of Chickens.


Oyster I am and of course am not,
crammed betimes abed,
awake now and filter the world!

Here, in this wet
section, sucking away unread,
slaked where silt has quarreled

with silt, the as-yet
with now instead
of then, what has it availed

to live the clam, all shut
and somewhat dead,
all abductor-muscled,

flexed for no one but
yourself in your unlit head?
O, open! Be befooled,

three-chambered heart
full of colorless blood,
sharp shell unhandselled.

Better to be rent apart,
all jiggly and liberated,
than to fret an irk until it’s pearled.

Today, choose a poem, keep it in your pocket, and have it on hand to share with friends throughout your day. Don’t forget that the month of April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate in poem!

Celebrate National Library Week!

This year’s theme for National Library Week (April 14-20) is “Communities matter @ your library.” In light of this week and this year’s theme, we’re celebrating Leah Price’s How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain, a book that digs deep into the many uses, purposes, services of books and the ways in which whether displayed, defaced, exchanged, or discarded, printed matter participated, and still participates, in a range of transactions that stretches far beyond reading. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 “Reader’s Block”:

k9714Where the nineteenth-century general-interest press asked what uses of the book were acceptable, twenty-first-century scholars are likelier to ask what uses of the book are legible, and how the skills involved in reading texts (notably those possessed by literary critics and intellectual historians) differ from the skills required to describe objects (notably those possessed by all bibliographers and by some book historians). Closer to home, then, my question is how to situate literary interpretation vis-à-vis the social life of books more broadly understood—and also where different subcultures (from scholarly disciplines to religious traditions to political movements) have drawn the limits of that breadth.

Now that “the history of books and reading” has become a catchphrase, scholars in flight from lexical monotony refer to “the history of the book” interchangeably with “the history of reading.”31 It’s true that both demonize the same opponent: the idealism that literary history shares with the history of ideas—which should remind formalist critics that “history” is hardly the opposite term to “literature”). Yet the survey I’ve just offered of the metaphorization of “reading” and reliteralization of bibliographic terms suggests what gets lost in that lumping. Where late twentieth-century critics insisted that books are not the only thing that can be read, so early twenty-first-century scholars are rediscovering (like so many M. Jourdains) that reading is not the only thing that can be done to books. That some of those other operations can themselves be performed upon objects other than books creates a third methodological problem.

I spoke of a turn away from metaphor, but the opposite case could also be made: that where the old historicism within literary criticism once invoked a metonymic logic to discuss commissioning, writing, editing, printing, and reading—whether upstream as in textual notes or downstream as in reception histories—book historians have substituted something more like metaphor. Reading is compared to other forms of consumption, or writing to other manual practices, or copyright to other forms of property. When Daston brackets the page with a comet, she looks both backward—to the long tradition which exalts reading to an art that other interpretive practices can only hope to emulate—and forward: to new forms of scholarship that reduce the book to one object among many. Where intellectual historians once studied the note-taking habits of individual thinkers, Ann Blair and Peter Stallybrass instead analyze scholarly note taking side by side with commercial record keeping; where an earlier generation of “law and literature” scholarship examined the image of lawyers in Romantic poetry, William St Clair juxtaposes the development of copyright with the changing legal regimes governing the sale of pharmaceuticals; where critics once narrated authors’ alcoholism or analyzed the literary figure of the drunkard, Paul Duguid traces the history of authorial signature in parallel to the history of wine branding (Blair, “Note Taking”; Blair and Stallybrass; Duguid, The Quality of Information; St Clair). In cutting across different objects (books and ledgers, books and bottles, books and pills) to identify parallel practices, this research topples the text from its taxonomic pedestal.

In some contexts, certainly, verbal content trumps material medium: for someone in search of political information, a newspaper and a radio broadcast have more in common than do a newspaper and a piece of plastic wrap. In others, however, the reverse is true (someone trying to wrap a sandwich can use the newspaper interchangeably with the clingfilm more easily than with the broadcast). At some moments, as we’ll see in chapter 6, a servant’s meddling with her mistress’s books looks similar to eavesdropping on conversations, but at others it bears more resemblance to breaking a china vase. What’s more, those attributes that set the book apart from other objects need to be disentangled from those that set some books apart from others (for example, literary from nonliterary texts or good works of literature from bad); because even the most unreadable book still differs from nontextual objects in the way it’s priced, cataloged, and handled, the exceptionalism of the book should be no less visible to economists than to literary critics. By the same token, few of the issues I’ve mentioned so far are unique to the book: the logic that exalts reading copies while mocking coffee-table volumes shares its structure with contrasts between showy and serviceable clothing, or even between food addressed to the palate and that designed to please the eye.

If Victorian policy-makers grappled with the special status of the book—should printed matter be mailed at different rates from botanical cuttings? should books be taxed or priced differently from other commodities?—scholars today face analogous questions. Is literary-critical training a help and/or a hindrance to studying the book? How does a library differ from a museum? How should verbal evidence of reception be cross-checked with nonverbal traces? Should textual and material evidence be used to corroborate, to complicate, or even to contradict each other?

In thinking of National Library Week this year, keep in mind the life of books: their purposes throughout history and their impacts on societies that range far beyond the act of reading. Be sure to check out the Introduction to How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain. Enjoy the week at your local library!

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is held every April with the help of schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, writers, and poets throughout the country who come together to celebrate the significance of poetry in our world. Check out AAP’s for 30 Ways to Celebrate poetry month this year. We’re celebrating PUP style with a reading list (and some free excerpts) of some of our favorite poetry books. Enjoy!

For the Time Beingk9415
W. H. Auden, Edited with an introduction by Alan Jacobs
Here’s the Preface
Check out our series W.H. Auden: Critical Editions

Carnations: Poems
Anthony Carelli
Read some sample poems: The Disciples | The Crucifixion | Agnus Dei

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492
Translated, Edited & Introduced by Peter Cole
Read the Introduction

k9677The Eternal City: Poems
Kathleen Graber
Here’s Chapter 1

The Two Yvonnes: Poems
Jessica Greenbaum
Check out Chapter 1

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman, Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer
Check out some sample entries on Electronic Poetry, Rhythm, Translation, and Verse & Prose

k9947Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem
Catherine Robson
Check out the Introduction

A Glossary of Chickens: Poems
Gary J. Whitehead
Read Chapter 1

Be sure to check out our PUP poetry series: Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets & Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation. Enjoy the month of April in poem!

The “Gate to Hell” Unearthed

Italian scientists have reportedly found the “Gate to Hell” among ancient ruins in southwestern Turkey. The discovery was recently announced at an archeology conference in Istanbul, Turkey, according to Discovery News. Commonly called “Pluto’s Gate,” or Plutonium in Latin, the cave was understood to be the portal to the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology, with its entrance filled with lethal vapors. According to the discovery team’s head, Francesco D’Andria, this extraordinary finding helps to confirm and clarify what we know from ancient literary and historic source material.

Plutonium is documented in the description of ancient Hierapolis within Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (1976), which notes:

Adjoining the temple on the SE is the Plutoneion, which constituted the city’s chief claim to fame. It was described by Strabo (629-30) as an orifice in a ridge of the hillside, in front of which was a fenced enclosure filled with thick mist immediately fatal to any who entered except the eunuchs of Kybele. The Plutoneion was mentioned and described later by numerous ancient writers, in particular Dio Cassius (68.27), who observed that an auditorium had been erected around it, and Damascius ap. Photius (Bibl. 344f), who recorded a visit by a certain doctor Asclepiodotus about A.D. 500; he mentioned the hot stream inside the cavern and located it under the Temple of Apollo. There is, in fact, immediately below the sidewall of the temple in a shelf of the hillside, a roofed chamber 3 m square, at the back of which is a deep cleft in the rock filled with a fast-flowing stream of hot water heavily charged with a sharp-smelling gas. In front is a paved court, from which the gas emerges in several places through cracks in the floor. The mist mentioned by Strabo is not observable now. The gas was kept out of the temple itself by allowing it to escape through gaps left between the blocks of the sidewalls.

D’Andria and his team are currently creating a digital reconstruction of the ancient site. In the meantime, we thought it might be useful to brush up on our own ancient world knowledge. Here’s a quick reading list to get you going:

k235When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth
Elizabeth Wayland Barber & Paul T. Barber
Check out Chapter 1

Myth and History in Ancient Greece: The Symbolic Creation of a Colony
Claude Calame, Translated by Daniel W. Berman
Read Chapter 1

The Mythic Image
Joseph Campbell
One of Princeton University Press’s Notable Centenary Titles

k6773Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God
Amos Nur, With Dawn Burgess
Here’s the Introduction

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
Edited by Richard J. A. Talbert
Winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Multivolume Reference Work in the Humanities
One of Princeton University Press’s Notable Centenary Titles

Maria Sibylla Merian: Celebrating Flora & Fauna Illustration

Today’s Google doodle is a birthday tribute to Maria Sibylla Merian, one of the greatest naturalist and scientific illustrators of her time, who was born 366 years ago today. Maria Sibylla Merian revolutionized the fields of botany, entomology, and zoology. In her lifetime, Merian chronicled the metamorphosis of approximately two hundred different insect species. Her most influential work, Insects of Surinam (1705), is a lavishly illustrated work that helped to establish her reputation as both an illustrator and as a scientist. In honor of Merian’s contributions, we’re celebrating all of our illustrated flora and fauna books.

k7713Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
Whitney Cranshaw
This is the most comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the common insects and mites affecting yard and garden plants in North America. Through full-color photos and concise, clear, scientifically accurate text, it describes the vast majority of species associated with shade trees and shrubs, turfgrass, flowers and ornamental plants, vegetables, and fruits–1,420 of them, including crickets, katydids, fruit flies, mealybugs, moths, maggots, borers, aphids, ants, bees, and many, many more.


k9533Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World
Bob Gibbons, With a foreword by Richard Mabey
This book showcases the most spectacular displays of wild blooms on the planet, from infrequent flowerings in the Mojave and other deserts to regular but no less stunning alpine wildflower “events” in Italy, South Africa, and Australia. This magnificently illustrated volume features 200 panoramic, full-color photographs as well as a color map for every site and at-a-glance information panels that highlight the kinds of flowers at each location and the best times to see them in bloom.


k9668Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History
Carol Gracie, With a foreword by Eric Lamont
This exquisitely illustrated volume provides an in-depth look at spring-blooming wildflowers of the Northeast, from old favorites to lesser-known species. Featuring more than 500 full-color photos in a stunning large-sized format, the book delves deep into the life histories, lore, and cultural uses of more than 35 plant species. Covers topics such as the naming of wildflowers; the reasons for taxonomic changes; pollination of flowers and dispersal of seeds; uses by Native Americans; related species in other parts of the world; herbivores, plant pathogens, and pests; medicinal uses; and wildflower references in history, literature, and art.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees (Second Edition)k9970
David More & John White
Popular, award-winning, and unrivaled for its coverage and beauty, this is a magnificent illustrated guide to nearly 2,000 tree species and cultivars found in North America and Europe. David More spent over a decade painting these illustrations from real specimens, and fellow tree expert John White’s informative text describes key facts about each. The result is an extraordinary reference that will continue to be prized by nature enthusiasts, gardeners, landscapers, and foresters.


k9538Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East
Dennis Paulson
This is the first fully illustrated guide to all 336 dragonfly and damselfly species of eastern North America–from the rivers of Manitoba to the Florida cypress swamps–and the companion volume to Dennis Paulson’s acclaimed field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of the West. Features hundreds of color photos that depict all the species found in the region, detailed line drawings to aid in-hand identification, and a color distribution map for every species–and the book’s compact size and user-friendly design make it the only guide you need in the field.


k9843The Unfeathered Bird
Katrina van Grouw
With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, this is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art.


k7939Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History
David L. Wagner
Many caterpillars are illustrated here for the first time. Dozens of new foodplant records are presented and erroneous records are corrected. The book provides considerable information on the distribution, biology, and taxonomy of caterpillars beyond that available in other popular works on Eastern butterflies and moths.



k9420Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner, Dale F. Schweitzer, J. Bolling Sullivan & Richard C. Reardon
This lavishly illustrated field guide features more than 800 species of the most common, interesting, beautiful, and important owlet (noctuid) caterpillars found in eastern North America. More than 2,100 color photographs include numerous stunning images, and the guide’s introductory sections offer a wealth of information on noctuid natural history, morphology, larval diets, natural enemies, and classification; suggestions for finding and rearing owlet caterpillars; and much more.


Visit our Birds and Natural History Site to view more illustrated field, identification, and photographic guides.

Today is World Water Day

Each year, World Water Day is held on the 22nd of March as an international means of emphasizing the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of Earth’s water resources. According to UN Water, this year’s theme is International Year of Water Cooperation. Celebrations all over the globe are in full swing today. Check out the World Map of Events to get involved!

Want to broaden your understanding of water systems and sustainability? Our Princeton Primers in Climate series are the ideal first place to turn to get the essential facts and to begin further investigation–whether in the classroom or in one’s own reading chair.

k9635The Cryosphere by Shawn J. Marshall

Introduction to the cryosphere and the broader role it plays in our global climate system. Looks at each component of the cryosphere and how it works–seasonal snow, permafrost, river and lake ice, sea ice, glaciers, ice sheets, and ice shelves. Marshall describes how snow and ice interact with our atmosphere and oceans and how they influence climate, sea level, and ocean circulation.


RandallAtmosphere, Clouds, and Climate by David Randall

David Randall looks at how the atmosphere regulates radiative energy flows and transports energy through weather systems such as thunderstorms, monsoons, hurricanes, and winter storms. Randall explains how these processes work, and also how precipitation, cloud formation, and other phase changes of water strongly influence weather and climate.


Vallis - oceansClimate and the Oceans by Geoffrey K. Vallis

Offers a short, self-contained introduction to the subject. This illustrated primer begins by briefly describing the world’s climate system and ocean circulation and goes on to explain the important ways that the oceans influence climate. Topics covered include the oceans’ effects on the seasons, heat transport between equator and pole, climate variability, and global warming.


Celebrate World Water Day! Today, enlighten yourself and inform others about the sustainable management of the world’s water supply.


Ring in Spring!

Spring has officially sprung! Although a bit chilly this morning (at least in Princeton, NJ), the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the plants are budding, and the earth is humming to the tune of Spring. Today, we can dream of bird songs, buzzing bees, and blooming gardens. We’ve selected a few books to spark your imagination. Click on the images below to learn more:




Visit our Birds and Natural History Site to view more field, identification, and photographic guides.

Ten Years Later: Reading the Iraq War

Ten years ago today, on March 20, 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq. Among several other issues, the human toll on both sides and the exponential cost of the war has been the subject of critical discussion since troops invaded Iraqi borders. After the Iraq War’s official end and the last American forces withdrew on December 15, 2011, eight years, eight months, three weeks and four days later, many questions remain regarding the serious effects of war. Today, we’ve compiled a reading list of various books that discuss the many aspects of the Iraq War. Reflect, remember, read.

k9084War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War
Matthew A. Baum & Tim J. Groeling
Read Chapter 1

Baum and Groeling take an in-depth look at media coverage, elite rhetoric, and public opinion during the Iraq war and other U.S. conflicts abroad. They trace how traditional and new media select stories, how elites frame and sometimes even distort events, and how these dynamics shape public opinion over the course of a conflict.

Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict
Michael W. Doyle, Edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo
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Tackling one of the most controversial policy issues of the post-September 11 world, Michael Doyle argues that neither the Bush Doctrine nor customary international law is capable of adequately responding to the pressing security threats of our times.

k8933.gifWhat They Think of Us: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11
Edited by David Farber
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A remarkable group of writers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America describe the world’s profoundly ambivalent attitudes toward the United States–before and since 9/11.

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building
Noah Feldman
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“[P]art theoretical treatise, part political analysis, part memoir–Noah Feldman . . . makes the case that when the United States invaded Iraq, it not only toppled a tyrant but also undertook a ‘trusteeship’ on behalf of the Iraqi people.”–New York Times Book Review

k9963Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts
Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver & Jason Reifler
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Providing a wealth of new evidence about American attitudes toward military conflict, this book offers insights into a controversial, timely, and ongoing national discussion.

Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community
Kenneth T. MacLeish
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Making War at Fort Hood offers an illuminating look at war through the daily lives of the people whose job it is to produce it. Kenneth MacLeish conducted a year of intensive fieldwork among soldiers and their families at and around the US Army’s Fort Hood in central Texas. He shows how war’s reach extends far beyond the battlefield into military communities where violence is as routine, boring, and normal as it is shocking and traumatic.

k8886.gifA Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World
Emile Nakhleh
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The CIA’s former point man on Islam makes a vigorous case for a renewal of American public diplomacy in the Muslim world. Offering a unique balance between in-depth analysis, personal memoir, and foreign policy remedies, the book injects much-needed wisdom into the public discussion of long-term U.S.-Muslim relations.

The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes
Michael E. O’Hanlon
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O’Hanlon explains how the military budget works, how the military assesses and deploys new technology, develops strategy and fights wars, handles the logistics of stationing and moving troops and equipment around the world, and models and evaluates battlefield outcomes.

k9015My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing
Christoph Reuter
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“Against the violent Manichean rhetoric of the times, and its brute interventionism, Reuter offers a counter-narrative: suicide attacks in Israel-Palestine will stop when Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories; more generally across the region, the West should keep out.”–Jacqueline Rose, London Review of Books

The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment
Edited by Julian E. Zelizer
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Each chapter tackles some important aspect of Bush’s administration–such as presidential power, law, the war on terror, the Iraq invasion, economic policy, and religion–and helps readers understand why Bush made the decisions he did. History will be the ultimate judge of Bush’s legacy, and the assessment begins with this book.

Beware the Ides of March!

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Rome’s greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic’s highest office at a time when his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. What did he have to say of the death of Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.? Here’s an excerpt from Cicero’s How to Run a Country on Tyranny:

People submit themselves to the authority and power of another person for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they do it because of goodwill or gratitude for favor shown to them. Sometimes they do it because of the dignity of a person or because they hope to profit from the act. Some people subordinate themselves fearing that if they don’t, the other person will make them submit anyway. Sometimes people surrender their freedom because of gifts or promises. Finally, as has so often been the case in our own country, people submit to the power of another because of outright bribes.

The best way for a man to gain authority over others and maintain it is through genuine affection. The worst way, however, is through fear. Wise Ennius once said: “People hate the man they fear—and whomever they hate, they want to see dead.” Just recently we’ve learned, as if we didn’t know it already, that no amount of power can stand up to the hatred of the people. The death of Caesar, who ruled the state through armed force (and whose legacy still rules us) shows better than anything the terrible price paid by all tyrants. You will have a difficult time finding any despot who doesn’t end up like him. I say it again, using fear to maintain power simply doesn’t work. But the leader who keeps the goodwill of his people is secure.

Those rulers who wish to keep their subjects under control by force will have to use brutal methods, just as a master must when dealing with rebellious slaves. Whoever tries to govern a country through fear is quite mad. For no matter how much a tyrant might try to overturn the law and crush the spirit of freedom, sooner or later it will rise up again either through public outrage or the ballot box. Freedom suppressed and risen again bites with sharper teeth than if it had never been lost. Therefore remember what is true always and everywhere and what is the strongest support of prosperity and power, namely that kindness is stronger than fear. That is the best rule for governing a country and for leading one’s own life.

Eager to read more? Check out Philip Freeman’s Introduction to How to Run a Country. You might also want to have a look at How to Win an Election, Quintus Tullius Cicero’s no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign for his brother Marcus. Here’s the Introduction.