Princeton University Press’s best-sellers for the last week

These are the best-selling books for the past week.

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline
4-10 Drezner_TheoriesZombies_cvr Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird
The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman
Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson & Sheila R. Colla
OnBullshit On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt
RoughCountry Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State by Robert Wuthnow
The Banker's New Clothes
The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig
Carlson_Tesla jacket
Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
The I Ching or Book of Changes edited by Hellmut Wilhelm

Hot off the Presses — Princeton University Press’s #NewBooks for this week

Books released during the week of September 2, 2014
After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History<br>Arthur C. Danto<br>With a new foreword by Lydia Goehr After the End of Art:
Contemporary Art and the Pale of History
Arthur C. Danto

With a new foreword by Lydia Goehr

“If you are seriously attentive to contemporary art, you are already aware of Danto and his general positions, and owe it to yourself to read this book. If you are not, but are genuinely curious, you would do well to follow him. . . . Throughout it is clear and direct; at best, it is brilliantly crystalline. . . . I know of no more useful single book on art today.”–Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World<br>Adrienne Mayor The Amazons:
Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World
Adrienne Mayor

“An encyclopedic study of the barbarian warrior women of Western Asia, revealing how new archaeological discoveries uphold the long-held myths and legends. The famed female archers on horseback from the lands the ancient Greeks called Scythia appeared throughout Greek and Roman legend. Mayor tailors her scholarly work to lay readers, providing a fascinating exploration into the factual identity underpinning the fanciful legends surrounding these wondrous Amazons. . . . Mayor clears away much of the man-hating myths around these redoubtable warriors. Thanks to Mayor’s scholarship, these fearsome fighters are attaining their historical respectability.”–Kirkus Reviews
The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle<br>Peter Baldwin The Copyright Wars:
Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle
Peter Baldwin

“Scholarly but accessible and lucid; essential for students or modern intellectual property law and of much interest to a wide audience of writers, journalists, publishers and ‘content creators’.”–Kirkus
A Deadly Indifference: A Henry Spearman Mystery<br>Marshall Jevons A Deadly Indifference:
A Henry Spearman Mystery
Marshall Jevons

New in Paperback!

“Readers will find themselves effortlessly picking up the economic principles strewn about by the authors as clues…. The corpse, when it appears, is a show stopper.”–Deborah Stead, The New York Times Book Review
Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter<br>Jonathan Marc Gribetz Defining Neighbors:
Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter
Jonathan Marc Gribetz

“The encounter between Jewish and Arab thinkers in Ottoman Palestine was subtler than we know. Jonathan Gribetz cannot redo the past, but his brilliant study of their mutual understanding gives us new language to use in this conversation going forward. An indispensable work.”–Ruth R. Wisse, professor emerita, Harvard University
Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?<br> A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain<br>Timothy Verstynen & Bradley Voytek Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?
A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain
Timothy Verstynen & Bradley Voytek

“In Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?, Verstynen and Voytek expertly unravel the mysteries of the zombie brain. Equal parts entertaining and informative, this important and brilliant must-read just might save the world someday. I gobbled it up like a zombie eating brains!”–Matt Mogk, author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Zombies
The Irrationals: A Story of the Numbers You Can't Count On<br>Julian Havil The Irrationals:
A Story of the Numbers You Can’t Count On
Julian Havil

New in Paperback!

“The insides of this book are as clever and compelling as the subtitle on the cover. Havil, a retired former master at Winchester College in England, where he taught math for decades, takes readers on a history of irrational numbers–numbers, like v2 or p, whose decimal expansion ‘is neither finite nor recurring.’ We start in ancient Greece with Pythagoras, whose thinking most likely helped to set the path toward the discovery of irrational numbers, and continue to the present day, pausing to ponder such questions as, ‘Is the decimal expansion of an irrational number random?’”–Anna Kuchment, Scientific American
Making Heretics: Militant Protestantism and Free Grace in Massachusetts, 1636-1641<br>Michael P. Winship Making Heretics:
Militant Protestantism and Free Grace in Massachusetts, 1636-1641
Michael P. Winship

New in Paperback!

“A major and refreshingly original study. . . . A remarkable portrait of how Puritanism generated and attempted and finally failed to control divergence from orthodoxy.”–Iain S. Maclean, James Madison University, Religious Studies Review
Murder at the Margin: A Henry Spearman Mystery<br>Marshall Jevons<br>With a new foreword by Herbert Stein and a new afterword by the author Murder at the Margin:
A Henry Spearman Mystery
Marshall Jevons

With a new foreword by Herbert Stein and a new afterword by the author

New in Paperback!

“Writing pseudonymously, [William Breit and Kenneth Elzinga] have created Henry Spearman, a Harvard economist (actually a “Chicago’ economist affiliated with Harvard), who utilizes the economic way of thinking literally to figure out “whodunit.’ If there is a more painless way to learn economic principles, scientists must have recently discovered how to implant them in ice cream.”–John R. Haring, Jr., Wall Street Journal
Mythematics: Solving the Twelve Labors of Hercules<br>Michael Huber Mythematics:
Solving the Twelve Labors of Hercules
Michael Huber

New in Paperback!

“The figures and diagrams are well chosen, the mathematics is presented attractively, the pace is appropriate. Unobtrusively, the general level of mathematical sophistication tends to rise as the book progresses. This book offers ideas to teachers seeking topics on which to pin some abstract maths, and could encourage students to think imaginatively about their subject, and where it might arise in unexpected circumstances.”–John Haigh, London Mathematical Society Newsletter
Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia<br>John Garrard & Carol Garrard Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent:
Faith and Power in the New Russia
John Garrard & Carol Garrard

New in Paperback!

“At the heart of the book is a masterful biography of Alexy himself. . . . An important and meticulously researched book.”–Thomas de Waal, Times Literary Supplement
Zombies and Calculus<br>Colin Adams Zombies and Calculus
Colin Adams”If you’re dying to read a novel treatment of calculus, then you should run (don’t walk!) to buy Zombies and Calculus by Colin Adams. You’ll see calculus come alive in a way that could save your life someday.”–Arthur Benjamin, Harvey Mudd College

Congratulations to Derek Sayer, author of Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century

Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History by Derek Sayer has received a special mention for the 2014 F. X. Šalda Prize.

This prize is awarded annually by the Institute for Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic, for “exceptional contribution to art history/criticism.” What is particularly notable and particularly worth celebrating is that this special mention for Prague is the first time a foreign-language book has been honored in 17 years of the award!

Congratulations, indeed!


 

bookjacket Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century:
A Surrealist History
Derek Sayer

This book was also previously selected by the Financial Times (FT.com) as one of the Best History Books of 2013

Grab your M&Ms and ace math this year with Math Bytes

In this segment from WCCB in Charlotte, NC, Tim Chartier shows how math can be both educational and delicious! This experiment is taken directly from his recent book Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing. There are lots of other hands-on experiments that are suitable for aspirational mathematicians of all ages in the book.


bookjacket Math Bytes:
Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing
Tim Chartier

#StoryTime with Bill T. Jones — #125

159b

 

j10299[1]Click the image above to read Story #125 from Bill T. Jones’s Story/Time: The Life of an Idea.

Birds of New Guinea sneak peek (#BirdsofNewGuinea)

You’re entering the “summer is almost over” doldrums, when what should happen? Someone drops a copy of the 2nd edition of The Birds of New Guinea, fresh from the printer, one of only two of its kind in America, on your desk. This book has been hugely anticipated in the birding community for well over a decade and the final product is worth every second of that wait. These photos won’t do the book justice, but they give you an idea of what you’re in for when the books arrive in our warehouse and begin to ship later this fall.

We’ll sample some more plates in the coming weeks.

photo

photo 1

photo 4

BvqixKmCAAA_cfL

This is a photo of the original gouache painting of the birds of paradise plate in the book above. Hopefully this photo gives you some sense of what it’s like in person.


bookjacket Birds of New Guinea:
Second Edition
Thane K. Pratt & Bruce M. Beehler
Illustrated by John C. Anderton & Szabolcs Kókay

Book Trailer for The Amazons by Adrienne Mayor


bookjacket The Amazons
Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World
Adrienne Mayor

Quick Questions for Ian Roulstone and John Norbury, co-authors of Invisible in the Storm

Ian Roulstone (top) and John Norbury (bottom) are authors of Invisible in the Storm: The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather and experts on the application of mathematics in meteorology and weather prediction. As we head into hurricane season along the Eastern coast of the United States, we are still not fully recovered from Hurricane Sandy, empty lots still dot the stretch between Seaside and Point Pleasant and in countless other beach communities. But it could have been worse without the advance warning of meteorologists, so we had a few questions about the accuracy of weather prediction and how it can be further refined in the future.

Now, on to the questions!

Ian RoulstoneNorbury

 

What inspired you to get into this field?

Every day millions of clouds form, grow, and move above us, blown by the restless winds of our ever-changing atmosphere. Sometimes they bring rain and sometimes they bring snow – nearly always in an erratic, non-recurring way. Why should we ever be able to forecast weather three days or a week ahead? How can we possibly forecast climate ten years or more in the future? The secret behind successful forecasting involves a judicious mix of big weather-satellite data, information technology, and meteorology. What inspired us was that mathematics turns out to be crucial to bringing it all together.

Why did you write this book?

Many books describe various types of weather for a general audience. Other books describe the physical science of forecasting for more specialist audiences. But no-one has explained, for a general readership, the ideas behind the successful algorithms of the latest weather and climate apps running on today’s supercomputers. Our book describes the achievements and the challenges of modern weather and climate prediction.

There’s quite a lot about the history and personalities involved in the development of weather forecasting in your book; why did you consider this aspect important?

When reviewing the historical development of weather science over the past three centuries, we found the role of individuals ploughing their own furrow to be at least as important as that of big government organisations. And those pioneers ranged from essentially self-taught, and often very lonely individuals, to charming and successful prodigies. Is there a lesson here for future research organisation?


“We can use mathematics to warn us of the potential for chaotic behaviour, and this enables us to assess the risks of extreme events.”


Weather forecasts are pretty good for the next day or two, but not infallible: can we hope for significant improvements in forecasting over the next few years? 

The successful forecasts of weather events such as the landfall of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey in October 2012, and the St Jude Day storm over southern England in October 2013, both giving nearly a week’s warning of the oncoming disaster, give a taste of what is possible. Bigger computers, more satellites and radar observations, and even cleverer algorithms will separate the predictable weather from the unpredictable gust or individual thunderstorm. Further improvements will rely not only on advanced technology, but also, as we explain in our book, on capturing the natural variability of weather using mathematics.

But isn’t weather chaotic?

Wind, warmth and rain are all part of weather. But the very winds are themselves tumbling weather about. This feedback of cause and effect, where the “effects help cause the causes”, has its origins in both the winds and the rain. Clouds are carried by the wind, and rainfall condensing in clouds releases further heat, which changes the wind. So chaotic feedback can result in unexpected consequences, such as the ice-storm or cloudburst that wasn’t mentioned in the forecast. But we can use mathematics to warn us of the potential for chaotic behaviour, and this enables us to assess the risks of extreme events.

Are weather and climate predictions essentially “big data” problems?

We argue no. Weather agencies will continually upgrade their supercomputers, and have a never-ending thirst for weather data, mostly from satellites observing the land and sea. But if all we do is train computer programs by using data, then our forecasting will remain primitive. Scientific ideas formulated with mathematical insight give the edge to intelligent forecasting apps.

So computer prediction relies in various ways on clever mathematics: it gives a language to describe the problem on a machine; it extracts the predictable essence from the weather data; and it selects the predictable future from the surrounding cloud of random uncertainty. This latter point will come to dominate climate prediction, as we untangle the complex interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, ice-caps and life in its many varied forms.

Can climate models produce reliable scenarios for decision-makers?

The models currently used to predict climate change have proved invaluable in attributing trends in global warming to human activity. The physical principles that govern average global temperatures involve the conservation of energy, and these over-arching principles are represented very accurately by the numerical models. But we have to be sure how to validate the predictions: running a model does not, in itself, equate to understanding.

As we explain, although climate prediction is hugely complicated, mathematics helps us separate the predictable phenomena from the unpredictable. Discriminating between the two is important, and it is frequently overlooked when debating the reliability of climate models. Only when we take such factors into account can we – and that includes elected officials – gauge the risks we face from climate change.

What do you hope people will take away from this book?

From government policy and corporate strategy to personal lifestyle choices, we all need to understand the rational basis of weather and climate prediction. Answers to many urgent and pressing environmental questions are far from clear-cut. Predicting the future of our environment is a hugely challenging problem that will not be solved by number-crunching alone. Chaos and the butterfly effect were the buzzwords of the closing decades of the 20th Century. But incomplete and inaccurate data need not be insurmountable obstacles to scientific progress, and mathematics shows us the way forward.

 

bookjacket Invisible in the Storm
The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather
Ian Roulstone & John Norbury

 

 

#StoryTime with Bill T. Jones — #159

159b

 

j10299[1]Click the image above to read Story #159 from Bill T. Jones’s Story/Time: The Life of an Idea.

In the Interest of Others named co-winner of 2014 Best Book Award, The Labor Project of the American Political Science Association

j10147[1]We are delighted to extend our congratulations to John S. Ahlquist & Margaret Levi. They are co-authors of In the Interest of Others: Organizations and Social Activism which has just been named a co-winner of the 2014 Best Book Award from The Labor Project of the American Political Science Association.

According to their web site, “The Labor Project is a related group of the American Political Science Association. Related groups promote teaching and research in political science, assist in the professional development of political scientists, and sponsor panels and roundtables at the APSA’s Annual Meeting. The Labor Project stands committed to advancing those goals. We support continued research on relevant issues such as the role and influence of organized labor in U.S. elections, Iraq reconstruction, federal whistle-blowing laws, local and state U.S. political representation of workers, neoliberalism, guestworker programs, advocacy efforts, new union strategies, court decisions affecting work, federal policies regarding employment, changes in union politics, political organizations, and labor, work, and employment issues.”

Cheers!

What’s in a name? Amazons explained

We have an Amazons personality quiz on PlayBuzz, here’s a bit more about the results! For more Amazon names and their meanings, please visit our Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/princetonupress/the-amazons/

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions17

The meaning of Harman Dali is “Crazy-Brave”. Harman Dali was a beguiling berserker in the Turkmenistan region who thrived on killing would-be suitors who accepted her famous challenge: “I’ll only marry the man who beats me at wrestling and I chop off the heads of the losers.” She issued this challenge to Koroglu, a bandit hero, and in the course of their wrestling, he is overcome with desire and gives up. He sings for Harman Dali and she not only spares his life, but invites him to share her bed for one night.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions18

Though Kepes appears on a 6th-century Circassian vase, little other than the meaning of her name is known. However, when the meaning of your name is “Hot Flanks/Eager Sex,” perhaps that is enough.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions21

The meaning of Penthesilea is “She Who Brings Grief”. When Troy was under attack, they sent forth requests for help. One such request was sent to Penthesilea–a legendary warrior queen whose name would strike terror into the hearts of the Greeks. Penthesilea did have a starring role in the legendary Trojan War, though she did die there, struck down by Achilles.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions22

The meaning of Sanape is “From Wine Country.” In Greek thinking, extreme passion for warfare went hand in hand with compulsive drinking, so it is not surprising that tipsy Amazons could be synonymous with war-loving Amazons. Sanape’s name is derived from a Circassian word for wine, though whether this was because she was from a wine-producing region or because she was a drunk is unknown. What we do know is that the Sinopeans celebrated their Amazonian history by issuing coins with Sanape’s image and held a bacchanalian procession on the city walls of women dressed as armed warriors.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions23

The meaning of Sisyrbe is “Shaggy Goat-Skin”. Little is known of Sisyrbe, but given the meaning of her name, she must have cut a striking figure in the Ancient World. Actually, the reality is a little less hairy. Herodotus reported that several of the Libyan nomad tribes practiced free love, like the Amazons and the Massagetae, and noted that the women dressed in goat leather. In all likelihood, Sisyrbe is one of these nomad women.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions25

The meaning of Pantariste is “Best of All,” so you have earned bragging rights. Use them wisely.

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions36

The meaning of Hypsicratea is “High or Mighty Power.” Hypsicratea was married to Mithradates, the famed Poison King, and they are often depicted riding together on horseback. “The queen Hypsicratea loved her husband Mithradates with boundless affection,” wrote Valerius Maximus. “She was happy to trade her splendid beauty for a masculine style, for she cut her hair and accustomed herself to riding horses and using weapons so that she could participate in the king’s toils and share his dangers.”

 

Amazons Playbuzz Quiz Questions15

The meaning of Atalanta is “Equal, Balanced.” Atalanta is the original Amazon, selected to accompany Hercules on his quest for the Golden Fleece. Self-reliant, with a “fiery, masculine gaze,” she wrestled like a bear and could outrun any animal or man.


Mayor_TheAmazonsThis information is taken from Adrienne Mayor’s new book The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World. You can read a free excerpt from the book here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s10302.pdf

Change They Can’t Believe In wins the 2014 Best Book Award, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

Parker_Change_S13Our heartfelt congratulations go out to  Christopher S. Parker & Matt A. Barreto. Their book Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America has just been named the 2014 Best Book Award, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. This prize is given to a book that has demonstrated “superiority in scholarship on the studying of race, ethnicity, and politics, nominated work should focus substantially or entirely on developments in the U.S. context.”

For information about the award: http://www.apsarep.org/section-awards.html