Derek Sayer’s Prague, winner of 2014 George L. Mosse Prize, American Historical Association

pragueThe American Historical Association recently announced its 2014 prize winners, and congratulations are in order (again) for Derek Sayer and his book Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History. 

Prague will be the recipient of the George L. Mosse Prize, an award given to “an outstanding major work of extraordinary scholarly distinction, creativity, and originality in the intellectual and cultural history of Europe since 1500.” The award ceremony will be held at AHA’s Annual Meeting in New York on Friday, January 2nd.

For the full list of 2014 prize winners, click here. Again, congratulations to Derek Sayer on yet another noteworthy (and blog worthy) achievement!

Derek Sayer’s Prague receives honorable mention for the 2014 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize

pragueThe Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize is awarded to the “most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline in the humanities or social sciences,” by The Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).

This year, Derek Sayer, author of Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History, received an honorable mention for the award, along with Valerie Kivelson for her book Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (Cornell University Press). Kate Brown and Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press) took home first place.

For the list of winners and honorable mentions for other ASEEES awards, click here. Congratulations to Derek Sayer on the noteworthy achievement!

PUP News of the World, January 24, 2014

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Each week we post a round-up of some of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles–this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!


News of the World Jan 24

THIS WEEK IN REVIEWS

We start this week across the pond from our Princeton, NJ, office to the home of our Woodstock office. We saw some great reviews in UK publications recently and have included two here.

If Walter Benjamin dubbed Paris “the capital of the nineteenth century,” which city takes that title during the much darker twentieth century? Derek Sayer’s new book argues that Prague, with its astonishingly vibrant and always surprising human landscape, is that city. Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement by Marci Shore, who called the book “[a] pleasure to read, luscious in a sultry kind of way.” Learn more about this book–which was named one of the Financial Times‘ Best History Books of 2013–and view the introduction here.

Next, we turn to Francisco Bethencourt’s Racisms, the first comprehensive history of racism, from the Crusades to the twentieth century. The New Statesman reviewed the title calling it “[an] impressive book.” Joanna Bourke of the New Statesman points out the importance of Bethencourt’s work as a lens for current debates about events like George Zimmerman’s acquittal after the killing of Trayvon Martin. She writes:

Bethencourt addresses the “scientific” turn in racial classification systems. There is a vast literature on the ideas of influential men such as […] Charles Darwin and many others. However, Bethencourt’s summary is the clearest and most sophisticated to date.

View the book’s introduction here.

We return stateside for the next PUP book. Check out this interview with Eswar Prasad, author of The Dollar Trap. He speaks with the Wall Street Journal‘s Jon Hilsenrath about why the dollar didn’t collapse after the events of the past few years and what this means for the future.

You can check out the preface here. Visit Eswar Prasad’s website for more information about the book, including a book trailer.

The WSJ‘s China RealTime blog also featured a question and answer piece with Prasad, who gives more explanation for his argument that no currency can rival the dollar.

PUP author and Princeton professor Jacob N. Shapiro writes his own piece this week for the Boston Globe. His piece, entitled “108 Terrorist Memoirs, Analyzed,” discusses how Shapiro prepared to write his book The Terrorist’s Dilemma and the surprising things that his research uncovered. He read 108 memoirs of terrorists, or former terrorists, in order to get to the bottom of what makes them tick. Shapiro writes:

Collectively, they form a valuable window into one of the core security challenges facing the world today. They help clarify what drives individuals to participate, expose groups’ internal conflicts to public scrutiny, and illuminate the political thinking behind their campaigns. The memoirs can occasionally be chilling for their sheer callousness towards human life. But reading them is surprisingly reassuring, because they reveal something else as well: the ordinariness and the incompetence that are common hallmarks of terrorist life.

Check out the full piece for more on the details that Shapiro’s reading revealed, and take a look at the first chapter of The Terrorist’s Dilemma.

Two for Tuesday – Kafka

Kafka-series-covers.inddIntroducing Reiner Stach’s acclaimed and definitive biography of Franz Kafka from Princeton University Press. Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was an influential writer of the 20th century and Reiner Stach spent more than a decade working with over four thousand pages of journals, letters, and literary fragments, many never before available, to re-create the atmosphere in which Kafka lived and worked. This impressive biography was translated by Shelley Frisch. We invite you to read the sample chapters linked below.

Kafka: The Decisive Years
This period from 1910-1915, which would prove crucial to Kafka’s writing and set the course for the rest of his life, saw him working with astonishing intensity on his most seminal writings–The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Man Who Disappeared (Amerika), and The Judgment. These are also the years of Kafka’s fascination with Zionism; of his tumultuous engagement to Felice Bauer; and of the outbreak of World War I. It is at once an extraordinary portrait of the writer and a startlingly original contribution to the art of literary biography.

We invite you to read the Introduction online:
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9994.pdf

Kafka: The Years of Insight
This volume tells the story of the final years of the writer’s life, from 1916 to 1924–a period during which the world Kafka had known came to an end. Stach’s riveting narrative, which reflects the latest findings about Kafka’s life and works, draws readers in with a nearly cinematic power, zooming in for extreme close-ups of Kafka’s personal life, then pulling back for panoramic shots of a wider world scarred by World War I, disease, and inflation.

In these years, Kafka was spared military service at the front, yet his work as a civil servant brought him into chilling proximity with its grim realities. He was witness to unspeakable misery, lost the financial security he had been counting on to lead the life of a writer, and remained captive for years in his hometown of Prague. The outbreak of tuberculosis and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire constituted a double shock for Kafka, and made him agonizingly aware of his increasing rootlessness. He began to pose broader existential questions, and his writing grew terser and more reflective, from the parable-like Country Doctor stories and A Hunger Artist to The Castle.

A door seemed to open in the form of a passionate relationship with the Czech journalist Milena Jesenská. But the romance was unfulfilled and Kafka, an incurably ill German Jew with a Czech passport, continued to suffer. However, his predicament only sharpened his perceptiveness, and the final period of his life became the years of insight.

We invite you to read the Prologue online:
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9943.pdf

The first volume, covering Kafka’s childhood and youth, is forthcoming.