This is Week Two of our brand new series, PUP News of the World. Every week we will be posting a round-up of all of our most exciting national AND international reviews/interviews/events/etc. that took place in the last week.
To start, we have one of our top articles of the week! (Drum roll please…) The Guardian posted an article this past week titled “Writers and critics on the best books of 2013”, which includes an impressive resume of experts of literature who recommended some of the books that impressed them the MOST over this entire year. The list just happened to include FOUR of our Princeton University Press titles, including: Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman, Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985, and Kafka: The Years of Insight and Kafka: The Decisive Years, both written by Reiner Stach and translated by Shelley Frisch.
On top of that, Kafka: The Years of Insight was also included in the Wall Street Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide to Books, saying “[Stach’s] resplendent Kafka: The Years of Insight, tracking Kafka’s final eight years, meditates on the limits of the knowable even as it exhibits unparalleled dedication to the Kafka’s life and work.”
Next, Redeeming The Prince: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece by Maurizio Viroli received a glowing review from Michael Ignatieff at The Atlantic. He says that “Maurizio Viroli wants us to grasp that The Prince was not the cynically devious tract it seems, but rather a patriotic appeal for a redeemer politician to arise and save Italy from foreign invaders and its own shortsighted rulers.” Also, Strategy+Business‘ Theodore Kinni reviewed the title this past week, saying “[Viroli] makes a strong argument for rethinking widely held assumptions about The Prince.”
A blog post went up on our site a few days ago about the article written by our own Vickie Kearn (PUP Mathematics Editors) on Wild About Math, in which she defends Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner, which some critics have been saying was not actually written by Gardner before he passed away soon after the book’s completion. Wrong! Thanks for the help Vickie. Gardner’s book was also reviewed by this Saturday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, in which writer Jordan Ellenberg states: “For those of us who believe that the sciences and the humanities don’t have to be enemies, Martin Gardner is an inspiring model. Undiluted Hocus-Pocus reveals a man immersed in philosophy, religion and literature, even as he makes a career writing about science.”
Brian Bethune of Maclean’s Magazine said of The Book of Job: A Biography by Mark Larrimore: “Princeton University’s excellent series on the lives—meaning the changing interpretations—of great religious books continues with this study of the knottiest of all Biblical texts, a key work in Western culture’s eternal debate over why bad things happen to good people….[Larrimore] is subtle and superbly thorough as he navigates his way not just through Jewish, Christian and secular readings but also the uncertainties about the text and the misconceptions that have grown up around it.”
What W. H. Auden Can Do for You by Alexander McCall Smith received some attention this week from the Sydney Morning Herald, and from Jones Atwater of January Magazine, who said “For some people The Art of War is a touchstone. A guide to living and to life. For others it is Tao Te Ching or even The Tao of Pooh. In his latest book, number one detective Alexander McCall Smith has an admission to make: his own personal touchstone is Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden…..If you are a fan of Auden’s work, this is a must-read.” Plus, Barbara Berman at The Rumpus selected this book as one of her holiday books column picks, saying “McCall Smith makes an excellent case for a young generation to get acquainted with the life trajectory of Auden as poet and as struggling human.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed Would You Kill the Fat Man? The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong by David Edmonds in their holiday gift books section, saying: “David Edmonds’s vastly more ambitious ‘Would You Kill the Fat Man?’ has the cartoons—and just about everything else you could want in a thoughtful popular treatment of [the trolley problem]. A marvel of economy and learning worn lightly, Mr. Edmonds’s book ranges pleasurably back to Aquinas and forward into the future of robots, who will of course need an ethics just as much as people do.” The title was also an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times Book Review and Katherine Mangu-Ward reviewed it in Reason, saying: “Edmonds enjoyably traces the ever-expanding sub-genre of trolleyology through debates about language, abortion, cannibals, war, and a complicated love quadrangle involving the novelist Iris Murdoch and the philosopher Philippa Foot, offering insights on ethics, politics, and sex along the way.”
Beautiful Geometry by Eli Maor & Eugen Jost received an early review in Scientific American, in which stated: “Mathematicians sometimes compare well-constructed equations to works of art. To them, patterns in numbers hold a beauty at least equal to that found in any sonnet or sculpture. In this book, Maor, a math historian, teams with Jost, an artist, to reveal some of that mathematical majesty using jewel-like visualizations of classic geometric theorems….The result is a book that stimulates the mind as well as the eye.” The book also received mention from a blog called Lifelong Dewey in which the writer is trying to read a book from every Dewey Decimal Section.
Our theme this week seems to be group reviews as three of our titles were featured in The Observer’s “Books of the Year” column for The Guardian. The first, The Locust and the Bee: Predators and Creators in Capitalism’s Future by Geoff Mulgan, was called “[A] rare combination of breadth and detail” by Julian Baggini. The second, Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner, was chosen by Simon Singh, and the third, Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica by T. J. Clark, prompted John Banville to say “Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica, by TJ Clark (Princeton), is the best thing in a long time on this still contentious painter. Whether or not you agree with Clark’s take on Picasso, you will not look at his paintings in quite the same way ever again.”
The Leaderless Economy: Why the World Economic System Fell Apart and How to Fix It by Peter Temin & David Vines was reviewed by Diane Coyle in The Enlightened Economist blog. Of the book, she says: “I would make all political leaders read this book over the holidays – whether in December or a bit later for Chinese New Year – and hope that it prompts them to make a New Year resolution to show true leadership.”
The Enlightened Economist also reviewed The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present by David Runciman, calling it “superb”.
There was a discussion of The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei: Volume Five: The Dissolution translated by David Tod Roy on the BBC World Service’s Weekend program. Patricia Sieber of Ohio State University was interviewed about the collection, and the discussion starts about 46 minutes in.
In yet another group review, The Financial Times posted their Books of the Year, which included a long list of PUP titles:
- The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It by Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig “[T]he most important book to have come out of the financial crisis”
- Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change by Edmund Phelps “[E]xtraordinary… Phelps has addressed some of the big questions about our future”
- The War of the Sexes: How Conflict and Cooperation Have Shaped Men and Women from Prehistory to the Present by Paul Seabright “With characteristic brilliance, Seabright uses biology, sociology, anthropology and economics to explain the war of the sexes”
- Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History by Derek Sayer “[T]houghtful, witty and well-illustrated”
- The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History by Derek Sayer
- The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil “Steil’s book is an object lesson in how to make economic history entertaining and instructive”
- Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica by T. J. Clark “[A] brilliant art-historical analysis… The most original book on Picasso for years”