Spying on Whales; The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures by NIck Pyenson. Viking 2018

Whales are truly the most awe-inspiring animals of our Anthropocene age. Hunted as a source of oil for lighting, whales  have, more or less, recovered from the whaling industry of the last several centuries.

Many whale species have gone extinct over the millennia. Those that have survived, Nick Pyenson argues, have evolved various characteristics that favor their survival. They have proven to be the right size to survive, neither too big nor too small. They have survived because they are one of the ocean’s greatest predators, and not picky eater. They have accommodated themselves to feeding on krill, zooplankton found on the water column. They occupy the first rung  of the ocean’s food chain. Whales have stayed global – adopting migratory behavior that provides insurance against regional calamities. And whales have acquired a resiliency by evolving a “culture” within their pod.

Whales are hardly ever seen, remaining at the bottom of the ocean for long periods of time. They are able to dive to impressive depths because they can reduce the amount of oxygen in their blood by holding their breath and thereby reducing their buoyancy.  Pyenson has obtained measurements of over 135 minutes without gulping any intake of oxygen.

Rather than teeth, many whale species have a substance called baleen, plates of bone on the upper jaw. Baleen is commonly found in land animals as well, forming hooves, feathers, claws, and finger nails. The fossil remains of whales suggest, however, that some of these species, at least, once had teeth.

Whales, like large land animals, elephants, for example, are characterized by what paleontologists call gigantism, greater size resulting from their global presence. This gigantism operates in much the same way that island environments have led to dwarfism.

Part of the reason that we don’t see a lot of the whales is because they were harvested for decades from the North Atlantic. Many of the whalers were from the Basque country of Spain and France. They mined right whales, bowhead whales, and other whale species they found along the Labrador Coast. The Basque whalers dominated the industry for five centuries. Remnants of that economy can still be seen in the abandoned warehouses in the Antarctic and lining the shore of salt-water habitats in the cold regions of the European continent.

There is good evidence from archeological sites that indigenous peoples have hunted these giant mammals for thousands of years. Fragments from New Zealand suggest a very old date for a whaling industry, one of the earliest industries known to humans. DNA bone fragments suggest that many different whale species were hunted.

The Anthropocene has, generally, not been kind to whales and whale populations. They were hunted down for their oil (blubber) that, when refined, was used for illumination. In the twentieth century alone some 325,000 blue whales were processed in whaling stations that lined Norwegian and other northern European shores. Fleets of factory ships once roamed the oceans in search of whales and whale-oil. Diesel-powered whalers have replaced the sailing ships of old. And they are much more efficient. The International Whaling Commission has attempted to regulate the industry with some success in reducing the numbers of whales that are harvested. But tourists can still view the remnants of this whaling industry on South Georgia and Antarctica.

Like horses, whales have grown larger and then smaller, at one time the size of a large domestic dog. Judging from their fossilized remains some extinct whale species once had four legs. During their sojourns on land, the whale’s closest relatives were the descendants of African hippos. Some whale species have transitioned from the sea and saltwater to fresh water habitats over the millennia.

Nick Pyenson explains that there are two hundred bones in a single whale skeleton, often scattered over the ocean floor, hence difficult to reconstruct. The best hunting for the fossil remains of these earlier whales is in Egypt.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of whale life is the whale song. Some whales use echolocation for hunting and navigation. The whale song consists of a repertoire of clicks and high-pitched sounds. The songs seem to be a unique pattern shared by “families’, or as Nick Pyenson calls them “acoustic clans.”

Whale evolution provides a fascinating example of the phenomenon of animal evolution. And the adversity caused by human interventions.

 

The Age of the Horse; An Equine Journey through Human History by Susanna Forrest. Grove Press, paper 2018.

The horse has been a remarkable companion throughout human history. Susanna Forest has celebrated that relationship, from the capture of wild horses on the dry Siberian landscape to the contemporary relegation of the horse to that of a pet. When the horse ran wild on that early environment, there were several horse species. The wild horses on our western plains are relatively recent, having been introduced by the Spaniards with their conquest of Mexico and Central America.

There is one species that remains a truly wild horse as opposed to domestic horses that have become wild, the Przewalski’s Horse. It was reintroduced into the steppes of Central Asia, but with little success.  The Przewalski’s Horse was last seen in the wild in 1966.

Horses also remain as a part of the sports world. That would include various forms of horse racing, including harness racing. Bull fighting is less than acceptable to many but the fancy of others. Polo is a horseback-mounted team sport and one of the world’s oldest sports. It remains a well-appreciated sport in South Asia. Riding schools and clubs are keeping Chinese horse enthusiasts in the saddle.

Horses remained an important source of military power until the mid-nineteenth century. Forrest tells us that the Germans rounded up 750,000 horses to power their invasion of Russia in June 1941– Operation Barbarossa. Those horses accompanied three million German and Allied soldiers. Barbarossa may prove to be the last horse-powered army. And certainly it involved the last cavalry charge.

For a time there was a considerable demand for horses for urban transport: First two-wheeled hansoms and then four-wheeled omnibuses. True, horse manure mixed with mud befouled our streets, but it might have been a better solution for supplying urban power than the coal- and oil-burning vehicles that replaced it.

City streets witnessed a lot of abuse of the horse. And that led to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Work remains, however.

Horsepower. The rate of power is given in terms of the horse; even steam engines, electrical motors, and automotive engines are rated in terms of a draft horse.

Horses have taken on the character of pet dogs and their numbers continue to grow. Susanna Forrest has us looking around for other instances horse survival. Circus performers, for example.

Circus horses were taught dances! But even that marginal use to entertain us has gone the way of the traveling circus. Buggy rides for tourists: Petting farms. Zoos. Clydesdales are still a part of many parades. Horses remain a prestigious animal to acquire, especially in China. Hence the world’s horse population may grow, along with the Chinese economy.  We – expensive automobiles, they – elaborately bedecked horses.

Mules and donkeys are relatives of the horse, and they held on longer in the world of advertising. Twenty mules pulled borax wagons out of the western dry lands. Borax was said to bring whiteness and color to the home washing machine. The Pony Express opened up cross-continental mail delivery. The TV show, Death Valley Days, among others kept the draft animal alive on television. And Forrest suggests that one third of the world’s beasts-of-burden are still horses.

Few of us eat horse meat and perhaps that is a major reason for the decline in numbers of horses. Probably one billion people eat horse meat. A lot of horse meat goes into the dogfood we feed to our most popular pet. Horsehair upholstery and leather belts continue. The age of the horse hangs on.

The old nag is generally “put out to pasture.” Halleluiah! The horse had not been treated well when working for mankind, so retirement is a likely improvement for our friend, the horse.

Salonica, City of Ghosts; Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950. By Mark Mazower. Vintage, Paper 2004.

Salonica is the second largest city in modern Greece. A port city on the Aegean Sea, it was an important center for the woolen industry, known for its carpets and embroideries. It is primarily known today for its tourism. Sadly for its tourist business, the old city was destroyed by fire in 1917. It was rebuilt in many styles: Renaissance, neo-Venetian, Morris, and toward the end Art Deco and Bauhaus. Fire and plague; Salonica suffered from the plague on three different occasions in the eighteenth century –1713, 1724, and 1762.

An older name, Thessalonika, is associated with the Christian apostle, Paul of Tarsus. Hence the Biblical texts, First and Second Thessalonians. Classical and Biblical. Like other cities where Paul preached, it had a large population of Jews.

Mark Mazower is most interested in the Medieval and Renaissance City. He does, however, describe the more recent centuries when its commercial life was dominated by Jews, coming from disrupted Jewish communities in Spain (the Marranos) and Italy. Jews were artisans, workmen, hamals (porters), fishermen, and peddlers, among other trades. They managed the popular sports halls, which were a source of accommodation between Greeks and Jews. Like Jews in many other cities, Salonica Jews participated in the rag-trade. Mazower sums up this varied immigrant population as ruled by Moslems, dominated by Jews, and surrounded by Christians.

A remarkable population exchange occurred over several years, 1933 to 1939, some voluntary some forced, a disaster fueled by a panic. It began when 40,000 Greeks fled Bulgaria. The Turks then expelled the remaining ethnic minorities. Maybe 30,000 Greeks and Armenians fled Asia Minor, harassed by Kemalist (Ataturk’s) forces. Another 200,000, responding to a panic fled Greece and other regions in the Eastern Mediterranean, despite a carefully negotiated agreement. The Greek refugees landed in poorly provisioned refugee camps. Typhus and cholera killed many of the refugees. One observer tells of a column 20 miles long, carts pulled by water buffaloes. A ship carrying 7,000 on board remained docked at the Salonica quay, “the Porte” as it was called. There was nowhere to go except to these camps.

It was raining.

Many of these refugees had left their homes in a rush and failed to grab the necessary papers. And without those papers, they could not be part of the formal exchange of Greeks and Turks.  Vacant houses were looted. As were many of Salonica’s churches. Moslem populations were fairly well protected by the Kemalists; Jews would soon suffer a different fate.

For many centuries Salonica had been a major trading and manufacturing city in the Ottoman Empire. It was connected by railroad with Istanbul in 1890. Salonica began receiving populations of Turks, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Albanians, Armenians (Starving Armenians), and various other national and religious minorities in Macedonia. In addition to the various mosques and minarets that shared the early twentieth-century city, there were several grand churches. Being a port city, its quay was lined with handsome warehouses and other testimonies to its industriousness. The Ottoman Empire kept a good census; in 1831 the city had 150,000 souls. By 1913, 180,000.

In a first-year course in European History, you learned about “the sick man of Europe.” About the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. One of the features was the declining livelihood of the Jews. But Jewish livelihoods recovered and Jews, mostly Sephardic Jews, came to dominate the life of the rebuilt central city.

Jews resisted assimilation. They were slow to learn Greek. They continued to maintain their support for the Zionists and a Jewish “homeland” within the Ottoman lands.

The Ottoman Empire had fought beside the Allies in the Great War, but joined Germany in World War II. The Germans occupied Salonica in 1941. Hence the Jews of Salonica. They were one of the largest remaining Jewish populations in the eastern Mediterrranean. In 1943 Adolf Eichmann sent in his henchmen and in January 1943 the “final solution” began. Jews were deported to labor and extermination camps. The Jews of Salonica met much the same fate as the Polish Jews. And thus ended centuries of Jewish life in Salonica.

 

Spying on Whales; The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures by Nick Pyenson. Viking, 2018.

Whales are truly the most awe-inspiring animals of our Anthropocene age. Hunted as a source of oil for lighting, whales  have, more or less, recovered from the whaling industry of the last several centuries.

Many whale species have gone extinct over the millennia. Those that have survived, Nick Pyenson argues, have evolved various characteristics that favor their survival. They have proven to be the right size to survive, neither too big nor too small. They have survived because they are one of the ocean’s greatest predators, and not picky eater. They have accommodated themselves to feeding on krill, zooplankton found on the water column. They occupy the first rung  of the ocean’s food chain. Whales have stayed global – adopting migratory behavior that provides insurance against regional calamities. And whales have acquired a resiliency by evolving a “culture” within their pod.

Whales are hardly ever seen, remaining at the bottom of the ocean for long periods of time. They are able to dive to impressive depths because they can reduce the amount of oxygen in their blood by holding their breath and thereby reducing their buoyancy.  Pyenson has obtained measurements of over 135 minutes without gulping any intake of oxygen.

Rather than teeth, many whale species have a substance called baleen, plates of bone on the upper jaw. Baleen is commonly found in land animals as well, forming hooves, feathers, claws, and finger nails. The fossil remains of whales suggest, however, that some of these species, at least, once had teeth.

Whales, like large land animals, elephants, for example, are characterized by what paleontologists call gigantism, greater size resulting from their global presence. This gigantism operates in much the same way that island environments have led to dwarfism.

Part of the reason that we don’t see a lot of the whales is because they were harvested for decades from the North Atlantic. Many of the whalers were from the Basque country of Spain and France. They mined right whales, bowhead whales, and other whale species they found along the Labrador Coast. The Basque whalers dominated the industry for five centuries. Remnants of that economy can still be seen in the abandoned warehouses in the Antarctic and lining the shore of salt-water habitats in the cold regions of the European continent.

There is good evidence from archeological sites that indigenous peoples have hunted these giant mammals for thousands of years. Fragments from New Zealand suggest a very old date for a whaling industry, one of the earliest industries known to humans. DNA bone fragments suggest that many different whale species were hunted.

The Anthropocene has, generally, not been kind to whales and whale populations. They were hunted down for their oil (blubber) that, when refined, was used for illumination. In the twentieth century alone some 325,000 blue whales were processed in whaling stations that lined Norwegian and other northern European shores. Fleets of factory ships once roamed the oceans in search of whales and whale-oil. Diesel-powered whalers have replaced the sailing ships of old. And they are much more efficient. The International Whaling Commission has attempted to regulate the industry with some success in reducing the numbers of whales that are harvested. But tourists can still view the remnants of this whaling industry on South Georgia and Antarctica.

Like horses, whales have grown larger and then smaller, at one time the size of a large domestic dog. Judging from their fossilized remains some extinct whale species once had four legs. During their sojourns on land, the whale’s closest relatives were the descendants of African hippos. Some whale species have transitioned from the sea and saltwater to fresh water habitats over the millennia.

Nick Pyenson explains that there are two hundred bones in a single whale skeleton, often scattered over the ocean floor, hence difficult to reconstruct. The best hunting for the fossil remains of these earlier whales is in Egypt.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of whale life is the whale song. Some whales use echolocation for hunting and navigation. The whale song consists of a repertoire of clicks and high-pitched sounds. The songs seem to be a unique pattern shared by “families’, or as Nick Pyenson calls them “acoustic clans.”

Whale evolution provides a fascinating example of the phenomenon of animal evolution. And the adversity caused by human interventions.

 

The Fiery Trail; Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner. W.W. Norton. Paper.

            When Erick Foner introduces us to Abraham Lincoln, the future president is in his mid-career. He has been elected by the Illinois voters to their Lower House. In the 1840s he had served for one term as an up-and-coming Whig. Lincoln had also established himself as a successful lawyer in Springfield, the capital of Illinois. By 1860, he was in a position to seek elected office as the Senator representing his home state. At this point in our constitutional history, U.S. Senators were not elected directly by the voters, but rather by the State Senates.

            Politicians of all strips, at this point in time, needed to establish themselves in relation to the most important issue of the day, the future of slavery in the American polity. Lincoln was not a fervent abolitionist. He was primarily concerned about the institution spreading into new territories that would subsequently enter the Union as slave states. That was an issue, because the land west of the Mississippi River, acquired in the Mexican War (1846-1848), was filing up with settlers.

As a result of the Missouri Compromise (1820), the question of whether slave or free was to be determined by a popular vote. The admissions were in pairs –one a “free state” paired with one ”slave.” That hadn’t worked out in recent admissions, particular Kansas. Journalists and knowable politicians talked about “bleeding Kansas.”

            Lincoln’s father and mother were from Kentucky. Their arrival in Illinois was an opportune time in terms of the economic history of Illinois. Most of the trade and immigration had been on an east to west pattern, and mostly raw cotton and other agricultural products traded for industrial goods produced in or imported into states along the Atlantic seaboard. But with the acquisition of lands on both sides of the Mississippi River, trade patterns shifted to a north-south pattern. New Orleans and Galveston became the most important ports in exporting cotton to the New England and European textile mills.

Slavery was the major labor force in the production of raw cotton. Without this “peculiar institution” to provide agricultural labor, a new supply would have to be found. Hence the labor supply remained problematic and would have to require some thought  from the state’s politicians. Lincoln had also to keep in mind the importance of the South as a market for Northern manufactures. Politicians had to seek out a solution to slavery short of interfering with that market.

            There must also be a concern for the unity of the nation, avoiding succession and civil war. Lincoln would not support any resolution that could lead to a division of the country into slave and free. Slavery, it was assumed, would eventually die a natural death. The country was changing rapidly; it would be a matter of time and eventually abolition would come as a natural resolution of the labor constraint.

            Abraham Lincoln ultimately became a political legend, and thus the students of history are particularly interested in significant events in his career, such as the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates. They brought both men to the notice of the northern states and both became figures of national prominence.   

            Those German and Irish immigrants were being utilized in the newly established mill sector in the North. That north-south dichotomy was also true of the state of Illinois, the southern part being pro-slave, the north (including the Chicago and the Great Lakes) was becoming more-and-more pro-emancipation in their political views.

            Well, what to do with Illinois’s slave population if and when it was emancipated. One resolution of that quandary was to establish colonies in Africa. They would, however, have to be supported financially by the U.S. government. The leadership of the emancipation movement pointed out, however, that former black slaves, while not necessarily equal to whites in the scheme of things, were long since not Africans, and hence colonization was not an appealing alternative for them, though Lincoln did for a time espouse that option.

            The problem of labor was already on the way to a solution, Irish and German immigrants were filling a new industrial work force. And soon southern Negroes were beginning to move north and to join that work force. Industrial labor was also – at least males – made it clear that they had political agendas that were separate from other minorities.   

            Citizenship for African-Americans was not an alternative, at least not at this time. Lincoln was never in favor of bringing about a social equality, let alone a political one.  Though five states did allow black males to vote.

            The issue of slavery was complicated by U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In the Dread Scott case, the Court had ruled that because the northern states had mostly ended slavery, a slave passing through those states would automatically become a free man –leaving aside whether she or he was equal in all senses of the term.

Lincoln was not a radical abolitionist, but rather, like other Illinoisans, being forced to consider alternatives. 

 

London’s Triumph; Merchants, Adventurers, and Money in Shakespeare’s City by Stephen Alford. Penguin, 2018 paper.

            Tudor England became a major player in the expansion of European trade, but it had some catching up to do. In the early seventeenth century, it was behind in its trade with the rest of the world, behind the great port city of Antwerp and other Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish cities. (But not the French!)  In the course of the sixteenth century, London began its expansion into new opportunities in the Mediterranean and Central Asia. That expansion then merged with London’s growing trade in the Indian Ocean.

            Antwerp was the great medieval commercial city of Western Europe, located fifty-miles inland from the North Sea. It was Dutch speaking with a substantial Jewish community. Like other cities in northern Europe, its entry into international trade began with a well-established medieval fair. And these fairs created trading patterns that eventually became international.

            As a major trade center, London also became a focus for the mapping and charting of the globe. It’s rivalry with other trading countries encouraged it to seek out alternative sea routes to these other opportunities. That led to encounters with Muscovy – Russia, and through Russia on to Persia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and then to the fabled Cathay – China. Medieval Danzig became a stopping off place between Russia and London’s trading community.

These English and Belgian merchants maintained the first contacts with the various indigenous Central Asian groups that Russia had long sought to over-power.  Information was traded amongst London’s mercantile elite. These “international” traders then became important financial sources for English merchants. Several large English banking houses also furnished capital.

            London was nearly destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1666.  The commercial area was rebuilt thanks to the presence of rich benefactors, including wealthy merchants but also landed gentry. However there remained a shortage of housing. London was being flooded by immigrants from the prosperous countryside north of the River Thames. A disproportionate number of those immigrants were younger sons of the English landed class. The mercantile elite were drawn from knights, esquires, royal customers, officers, and other classes who had initially flocked to the neighborhood abutting the Thames to serve in the Tudor bureaucracy. Privy councilors, earls, countesses, barons evolved into this mercantile elite that soon dominated the private sector and took on the flavor of the existing class structure.  

Like all medieval British towns and cities, London also suffered from outbreaks of the plague and from food scarcities. In the last years of the sixteenth century, England experienced four failed harvests. Destitute vagabonds and ex-soldiers crowded into the merchant quarter. Stephen Alford quotes figures – 0.87 baptisms for every burial. There needed to be an influx of population, especially young males, to keep the population from shrinking.

One item always in short supply, capital to finance London’s trade. That essential investment to keep the trade going could be borrowed from the crown’s wealth. But that gave the Tudor monarchs leverage over the mercantile interests. The church was also a source of capital, but here a long-running difficulty kept the financial sector from tapping the church’s wealth; there was a ban on usury, though it was possible to raise funds by allowing the repayment to include interest owed on loans extended by the church.

The leading exports from the Thames basin were English cotton cloth, tin, and other natural resources. London merchants also acted as distributors for a variety of imports: cordage, yarn, silk cloth, calf and other skins used in expensive leather products. Rhubarb and spices of all kinds. Brits also processed silver ore, from which the precious metal was obtained. Its merchant networks developed the trade with powerful Indian states, Fatehpur Sikri, Bijapur, Agra, and others.  Another important result of this English trade was the discovery and exploration of the New World and colonies in Virginia and New England.   

Stephen Alford has used a dozen or so Englishmen to illuminate the lives and deaths of both the rich and the poor in Tudor London. This network of trade and processing along the banks of the Thames was an early version of what later became the British Empire. 

New Titles. Art. Architecdture. Spring 2019.

As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians.

The Man in the Glass House; Phillip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century by Mark Lamster. Little, Brown. Johnson made his mark as one of the country’s leading architects with his Glass House in New Cannan Connecticut and his controversial AT &T Building in New York City.

Moroni; The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture by Aimee Ng, et al. Scala Arts Publishing. Accompanies an exhibition at The Frick Collection this coming spring. Moroni is considered one of the great portraitists of the sixteenth-century.

Chihuly by Suzanne Rus, et al. W Books. Creations from glass from by Chihuly. He has been working in that medium for over fifty years.

Dutch Self-Portraits of the Golden Age by Ariane van Suchtelen. National Book Network. Popular genre in the seventeenth century, particularly amongst Dutch painters. 

New Titles. The Great War, 1914-1818. Spring 2019 2

Peace at Last; A Portrait of Armistice Day, 11 November 1918 by Guy Cuthbertson. Yale University Press. A portrait of this much anticipated day when the fighting in Western and Central Europe ceased. The Great War was finally over.

Grand Illusions; American At and the First World War by David Lubin. Oxford University Press. Paper. Our participation in World War I resulted in a pervasive influence of the conflict on American visual culture.

Dublin’s Great Wars; The First World War, the Easter Rising, and the Irish Revolution by Richard Grayson. Cambridge University Press. Dubliners served in the British army during the Great War. Upon their return to civilian life, these Irish men became involved in  the Irish civil conflict.

The Great War in America; World War I and Its Aftermath by Garrett Peck. Pegasus. Europe drew much of the world into its conflict; four empires and their royal houses had fallen, the map of the Middle East was redrawn, and the US emerged as a global power.

Hellfire Boys; The Birth of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service and the Race for the World’s Deadliest Weapons by Theo Emery. Back Bay Books. Paper. In 1915 the Germans introduced new weaponry, including the first successful gas attack. The race was on.

Wasteland; The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror by Scott Poole. Counterpoint. The birth of horror as a genre in popular fiction is rooted in the destruction and carnage of WWI.

TR’s Last War; Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy by David Pietrusza. Lyons Press. Roosevelt’s crusady for military preparedness as we fitfully stumbled into the conflict.

The Escape Artists by Neal Bascomb. HMH. A band of daredevil infantry and the greatest prison break of the Great War.

How American Won World War I by Alan Avelrod. Lyons Press. The U.S. Military Victory in the Great War.

The Polar Bear Expedition; The Heroes of America’s Forgotten Invasion of Russia by James Nelson. Morrow. Five thousand American doughboys were dispatched to norther Russia in 1918 to support opponents of the Russian Revolution.

A Supernatural War; Magic, Divination, and Faith During the First World War by Owen Davis. Oxford University Press. A belief in the supernatural was widespread during the Great War.

Army of Empire; The Untold Story of the Indian Army in World War I by George Morton-Jack. Indian sepoys made a significant contribution to the allied cause in Africa and in Europe.

WW1 Crusaders; A Band of Yanks in German-Occupied Belgium Help Save Millions from Starvation as Civilians Resist the Harsh German Rule, August 1914 to May 1917 by Jeffrey Miller. Perhaps America’s greatest humanitarian efforts.

Wasteland; The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror by W. Scott Poole. Counterpoint, Paper. Millions killed, captured, or wounded in a sea of mud and blood.  

The Last Palace; Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Civilizing torture. Crown. One historic Prague building and its notable residents.

 

 

New Titles. People. Spring 2019

As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians.

The Man in the Glass House; Phillip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century by Mark Lamster. Little, Brown. Johnson made his mark as one of the country’s leading architects with his Glass House in New Cannan Connecticut and his controversial AT &T Building in New York City.

Moroni; The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture by Aimee Ng, et al. Scala Arts Publishing. Accompanies an exhibition at The Frick Collection this coming spring. Moroni is considered one of the great portraitists of the sixteenth-century.

Chihuly by Suzanne Rus, et al. W Books. Creations from glass from by Chihuly. He has been working in that medium for over fifty years.

Dutch Self-Portraits of the Golden Age by Ariane van Suchtelen. National Book Network. Popular genre in the seventeenth century, particularly amongst Dutch painters.