NEW BOOKS: Florida.

Challenge and Change; Right-Wing Women, Grassroots Activism, and the Baby Boom Generation by June Benowitz. University of Florida Press, 2017 paper. Conservative women, mostly white and middle-class, took up the cause of anti-communism. Look for them today at Tea Party events where they are more interested in reforming healthcare, etc.

Saving Florida; Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century by Leslie Poole. University of Florida Press, 2016. How conservative women in the 1950s helped to lay the foundation for a new-right.

Florida Disasters; True Stories of Tragedy and Survival by E. Lynne Wright. Globe Pequot, 2017 paper. The citrus freeze of 189t, a tidal wave in 1935, the Apollo fire in 1967, and the Challenger disaster of 1986. There are more – deadly but also very expensive to the state and its citizens.

Florida’s Civil War; Terrible Sacrifices by Tracy Revels. Mercer, 2016. Floridians, slave and free, participated in the Civil War on both the Confederate and Union sides.

Remembering Florida Springs by Tim Hollis. Seaside Publishing, 2017 paper. When tourists first began visiting Florida, they were drawn to our springs, Silver, Wakulla, Rainbow, and Homosassa. They got to the springs on steam-powered riverboats. Hence the state and its springs were both a tourist mecca and a wildlife wonderland.

St. Augustine in History by Rodney & Loretta Carlisle. Pineapple Press, 2017 paper. Florida’s oldest city has long been a focal point for Florida’s major industry, tourism.

The Gulf; The Making of an American Sea by Jack Davis. Liveright, 2017. An explanation of plate tectonics, Indian settlements before the arrival of Europeans, hurricanes, oil pollution – and the future.

A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions by Doug Alderson. Pineapple Press, 2016 paper. Florida’s tourist industry dates back to the late nineteenth century, but its clientele has changed.

Guide to Florida Pioneer Sites by Rodney Carlisle & Loretta Carlisle. Pineapple Press, 2017 paper. Florida’s historic pioneer and cracker villages.

Barrier Islands of The Florida Gulf Coast Peninsula by Richard Davis, Jr. Pineapple Press, 2017, paper. There are thirty barrier islands along the Gulf Coast of Florida this is a geological history and the interventions of human life.

Biohistory of Florida by Francis Zettler. Pineapple Press, 2017 paper. Prehistoric Florida to the present-day with some reckoning of the future.

Key West in History by Loretta Carlisle & Rodney. Pineapple Press, 2017 paper. A two-hundred-year history of this unique town at the tip of peninsular Florida.


NEW BOOKS: Religion. Philosophy.

The Cross; History, Art and Controversy by Robin Jensen. Harvard University Press, 2017. Perhaps Christianity’s most revered symbol. And a humiliating execution for a messiah and savior. How could that have happened?

The Idea of the Muslim World; A Global Intellectual History by Cemil Aydin. Harvard University Press, 2017. It is a misconception to think of the 1.5 billion Moslems as constituting a single religious-political entity. Just as would be the case of view all Christians as one body.

After Buddhism; Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age by Stephen Bachelor. Yale University Press, 2017 paper. Gainesville, Florida – secular – has been blessed with a beautiful statue of the Buddha from Vietnam.

Poets of the Bible; From Solomon’s Song of Songs to John’s Revelation by Willis Barnstone. W.W. Norton, 2017. Barnstone restores the poetic language of both New and Old Testaments, and helps of think through more carefully the intentions of Biblical authors.

Who Made Early Christianity?; The Jewish Lives of the Apostle Paul by John Gager, Jr. Columbia University Press, 2017 paper. Argues against the argument that Paul rejected Judaism, in favor of this new religion and that he also introduced what became Christian anti-Judaism.

The Political Pope; How Pope Francis is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning conservative Catholics by George Nuemayr. Center Street Press, 2017. Nuemayr is critical, but what if Francis is doing what he thinks right, given the present state of religious abandonment?

A Brief History of Sunday; From the New Testament to the New Creation by Justo González. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. The long history of Sunday observation in the ancient church. Then on to the Middle Ages and the Puritanism of the New Enlightenment.

An Oasis in Time; How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life by Marilyn Paul. Rodale, 2017. It might as well be Sunday. Or perhaps using a day off for a day of solid reading.

Just Immigration; American Policy In Christian Perspective by Mark Amstutz. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. What are the responses of Christian groups, Catholics, evangelicals, and main-line Protestants?. Do they look upon them as refugees? Homeless? Needing a helping hand.

The Whole Church Sings; Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg by Robin Leaver. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. Looks at the Wittenberg hymnal of 1526 to suggest how the Lutheran Reformation was expressed in its congregational singing.

Martin Luther; Rebel in an Age of Upheaval by Heinz Schilling & Rona Gordon. Oxford University Press, 2017. This is the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s nailing his ninety-five theses on the Wittenberg parish church.

Eleanor; A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Woman by Harold Smith. Westminster John Knox, 2017 paper. Eleanor was mostly thought of as a social activist, but her good works were also inspired by her spiritual life.

Set in Stone; America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments by Jenny Joselit. Oxford University Press, 2017. Was it Cecil B. DeMille’s epic film and those stone tablets that sparked ongoing popular demands for posting stone and other representations of these divine laws, usually under the nose of legislators.

NEW BOOKS: Science. Medicine.

The Diagnostic System; Why the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Is Necessary, Difficult, and Never Settled by Jason Schnittker. Columbia University Press, 2017. The DSM, its complicated authority, and the many determinants of the naming business.

Mistreated; Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care and Why We’re Usually Wrong by Robert Pearl. The CEO of Kaiser Permanente argues that we are receiving substandard care and need to demand more from the dispensers of health care.

Eclipse; Journey’s to the Dark Side of the Moon by Frank Close. Oxford University Press, 2017. A natural phenomenon that over the eons has provoked many different human responses.

In the Shadow of the Moon; The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses by Anthony Aveni. Yale University Press, 2017. An anthropologist looks at the effects that cosmic events such as eclipses have hand on human history.

Mask of the Sun; The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses by John Dvorak. Pegasus, 2017.  How and why eclipses occur and various explanations throughout history. In anticipation of the total eclipse of the sun this coming fall.

Darwin’s First Theory; Exploring Darwin’s Quest for a Theory of Earth by Rob Wesson. Pegasus, 2017. The landscape that absorbed Charles Darwin and led him to conceive of his theory of plate tectonics and then onto evolution.

How the Zebra Got Its Stripes; Darwinian Stories Told Through Evolutionary Biology by Léo Grasset & Barbara Mellor. Pegasus, 2017. Explains why elephants prefer dictators and buffaloes democracy. Long-necked giraffes and zebra stripes.

Weird Dinosaurs; The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew by John Pickrell. Columbia University Press, 2017. New fossils and new thoughts about these ancient animals.

The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism by Mark Hamm & Ramon Spaaji. Columbia University Press, 2017. The authors find that there is a combination of personal and political grievances involved. These lone wolves then turn to online sympathizers and await their opportunity to impress that audience with their prowess.

Ordinarily Well; The Case for Antidepressants by Peter Kramer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017 paper. He asks Why this growing distrust of antidepressants among his colleagues in the medical establishment and the broader public?

The Paper Trail; An Unexpected History of a Revolutionary Invention by Alexander Monro. Vintage, 2017 paper.  How this Chinese invention two thousand years ago has facilitated our communications over generations.

The Grid; The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke. Bloomsbury, 2017 paper. Our national power grid is ageing rapidly. On the other hand its continued existence discourages us from a massive – but very expensive – shift to other energy alternatives.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. W.W. Norton, 2017. One of our great natural resources faces ecological calamity.

Making It; Why Manufacturing Still Matters by Louis Uchitelle. The New Press, 2017. The loss of an industrial base means also the loss of a skill set and a skilled laboring class.

Collecting Evolution; The Galapagos Expedition That Vindicated Darwin by Matthew James. Oxford University Press, 2017. A collecting expedition from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco that proved much of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary thesis.

The Story of Be; A Verb’s-Eye View of the English Language by David Crystal. Oxford University Press, 2017. This verb is packed with different meanings, forms, and uses than any other very be the English language.

NEW BOOKS: Nature.

The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas by Agnia Grigas. Harvard University Press, 2017. We are aggressively expanding our exports of liquefied natural gas and will soon be a major supplier of energy. It comes from our shale gas production and that has enormous environmental consequences.

The Enigma of the Owl; An Illustrated Natural History by Mike Unwin, et alii Yale University Press, 2017. No other creature has such a wonderful stare, and it always seems that the gaze has intelligence behind it.

Mining North America; An Environmental History since 1522 by John McNeill & George Vrtis. University of California Press, 2017 paper. Five hundred years of digging and shaping nature.

 Wonderlandscape; A Cultural History of Yellowstone National Park by John Clayton. Pegasus, 2017. How this and other National Parks are being shaped by the visitors they attract and their expectations.

Tree by Matthew Battles, Christopher Schaberg, and Ian Bogost. The authors argue that we should have more respect for trees. They are our oldest allies on this earth, and yet we cut them down as though they were a nuisance.

Weird Dinosaurs; The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Though We Knew by John Pickrell. Columbia University Press, 2017. A wonderful travel opportunity: a world tour of new finds, such as a group of dwarf dinosaurs and a crocodile-snouted carnivore dinosaur bigger than T. Rex which once lurked in North African waterways.

Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Haupt. In May 1784 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came upon a flirtatious starling who sang an improvised version of a theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. A charming story; these days we would consider the starling an invasive.

The Evolution of Beauty; How Darwin’s Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World and Us. By Richard Prum. Doubleday, 2017.  Prum looks more carefully at Darwin’s theory of adaption of natural selection. Darwin referred mating preferences as a “taste for the beautiful.”

The Sensational Past; How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses by Carolyn Purnell. W.W. Norton, 2017. The theories of the eighteenth century Enlightenment and how they had an effect on an array of social institutions. 

Woolly; The True Story of the De-Extinction of One of History’s Most Iconic Creatures by Ben Mezrich. Atria Books, 2017. Can we restore the woolly mammoth, long lost to Earth but whose DNA was recovered from the Siberian tundra.

NEW BOOKS: Art. Architecture. Photography. Performing Arts.

Seurat’s Circus Sideshow by Richard Thomson, et alii. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017 paper. The mystery, color, and magic of the circus in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Georges-Pierre Seurat has captured the circus in all of its vitality.

Obsolescence; An Architectural History by Daniel Abramson. University of Chicago Press, 2017 paper. Our buildings must be newer, more grand, more efficient; otherwise they are due for demolition. New York is one of the worst offenders. But what about adapting a building to new uses?

The Sagrada Familia; The Astonishing Story of Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece by Gijs van Hensbergen. Bloomsbury, 2017. A celebration of Gaudi’s famous church a mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau.

Figures in Stone; Architectural Sculpture in New York City by Robert King. W.W. Norton, 2018 paper.  Quirky faces, figures, and creatures that adorn the architecture of New York City.

Looking Backward; A Photographic Portrait of the World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century by Michael Lesy. W.W. Norton. Glimpses of daily life a century ago.

Wood by William Hall. Phaidon, 2017. Wooden structures dating from the ancient world to contemporary times.

Divine Pleasures; Painting from India’s Rajput Courts; The Kronos Collections by Terence McInerney, et alii. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 29016 paper. Paintings from Hindu Rajput courts between the sixteenth and eighteenth-centuries.

Imaginary Cities; a Tour of Dream Cities, Nightmare Cities, and Everywhere in Between by Darren Anderson. University of Chicago Press, 2017 paper. Ideas drawn from real and imaginary cities around the global and arguing that this imaginary tour has influenced the shape of real cities.

Hokum!; The Early Sound Slapstick Short, and Depression-Era Mass Culture by Rob King. University of California Press, 2017 paper. Its Depression-era development against a background of changes in the film industry practices, the public’s comedic tastes, and the movie-going culture. Take a look at the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Robert Benchley.

Tokyo Boogie-Woogie; Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents by Hiromu Nagahara. Harvard University Press, 2017. Emerging in the inner-war years, the Japanese pop scene had its admirers but also provoked a contentious debate about its merits and suitable for Japan.

The Children’s Film; Genre, Nation, and Narrative by Noel Brown. Wallflower Press, 2017 paper. Films for children and young people have been around since the beginning of cinema; here is an introduction to that sub-genre its recurrent themes and ideologies, common narrative, and stylistic evolution.

The Voice of America; Lowell Thomas and the Invention of Twentieth-Century Journalism by Mitchell Stephens. St. Martin’s Press, 2017. A famous radio journalist whose voice I can still remember. What about Hans von Kaltenborn’s voice?

Chasing the Last Laugh; How Mark Twain Escaped Debt and Disgrace with a Round-the World Comedy Tour by Richard Zacks. Anchor, 2017 paper. In 1895 at age sixty, Mark Twain was dead broke; he wasn’t making money on his writing. So he decided on a five-year lecture tour that would take him around the world.

When the World Stopped to Listen; Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph, and Its Aftermath by Stuart Isacoff. Knopf, 2017. What Harvey Van Cliburn’s triumph meant to all of us transcended the Cold War. Wasn’t it sad that many who were engaging in that rhetoric missed the opportunity to get beyond Cold Wars?

NEW BOOKS: History. Other Places. (continued)

Hero of the Empire; The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millary. Anchor, 2017 paper. This twenty-four year-old arrived in South Africa with crates of vintage wine to fight the Boers. He managed to get himself captured, managed to escape, and that became the basis for a political career back home.

Theresa May; A Biography by Rosa Prince. Biteback Publishing, 2017. Britain’s new Prime Minister, now dealing with a briar patch of problems, Brexit, etc.

Victoria; The Queen; An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird. Random House, 2017. There has been much about Victoria’s lengthy mourning of her husband’s early death. Actually she was a strong woman and effective ruler of an expanding empire.

The Demon in Democracy; Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies by Ryszard Legutko. Encounter Books, 2017 paper. A Pole, he suffered under communism for decades. Having now lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, he now understands that they have a lot in common. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity.

The Crime of Complicity; The Bystander in the Holocaust by Amos Guiora. Ankerwycke Press, 2017. The legal culpability of a bystander to not act to prevent a death in situations during the Holocaust, the German occupation of Holland, the death marches, and the German occupation of Hungary.

My Battle Against Hitler; Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich by Dietrich von Hildebrand, et alii. Image, 2017. A defiant German Catholic thinker and teacher who took on the role of an antagonist, was part of the resistance for a time, made his way to Portugal with his family and then U.


The Cultural Revolution; A People’s History, 1962 to 1976 by Frank Dikötter. Macmillan, 2017 paper. The concluding volume of Dikötter’s triology. The Cultural Revolution’s goal was to purge China of bourgeois capitalists, and their activity created a vacuum of power which was used to resurrect a market economy.

Unlikely Partners Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China by Julian Gewirtz. Harvard University Press, 2017. China’s transition from Marxist central planning to the “socialist market,” borrowing (without credit) from American free-market economics.

Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior by Peter Tinti & Tuesday Reitano. Oxford University Press, 2017. As millions seek escape from violent conflicts, their movement north is being enabled, even encouraged, by criminal networks that are taking advantage of the situation to amass billions of dollars by facilitating their transport.

Stolen Girls; Survivors of Boko Haram Tell Their Story by Wolfgang Bauer & Trump Eric. The New Press, 2017. One night in April 2014 the Boko Haram raided a small town in northeast Nigeria and abducted 276 young girls. Their story is related here and in a special photographic exhibit at Gainesville’s Harn Museum of Art.

The Ba’thification of Iraq; Saddam Hussein’s Totalitarianism by Aaron Faust. University of Texas Press, 2017 paper. Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for nearly a quarter century before his regime collapsed in 2003. The Ba’th Party was only one of his sources of power; he was also enormously popular. What accounts for his long years of power?

The Crimean Nexus; Putin’s War and the Clash of Civilizations by Constantine Pleshakov. Yale University Press, 2017. Advocates for NATO expansion have stoked Russian resentment and insecurities, which partially explains Russian annexing the Crimea.

NEW BOOKS: History. Other Places.

Castles; Their History and Evolution in Medieval Britain by Marc Morris. Pegasus, 2017. Britain’s castles – who built them, who lived in them, and why.

Four Princes; Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent by John Norwich. All were born in the last decade of the fifteenth century and they collectively shaped Europe and the Middle East in the next.

Russia; The Story of War by Gregory Carleton. Harvard University Press, 2017. It should be remembered that Russians have long thought of themselves as surrounded by enemies, fighting off invader after invader, and yet at the same time destined to play the role as the guardian of Europe.

Far-Right Politics in Europe by Jean-Yves Camus, et alii. Harvard University Press, 2017. There are similarities between those challenges posed by the right wing and its ideologies – nationalism, socialism, anti-Semitism – and the authoritarianism following WWI and the present.

Holy Rus’; The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia by John Bugess. Yale University Press, 2017. After a century of militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church is reasserting itself and at the same time helping to restore a civic culture.

The Invention of Russia; From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky. Penguin, 2017 paper. From the opportunities created by the breakup of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev to the counter revolution in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

The Rise of Athens; The Story of the World’s Greatest Civilization by Anthony Everitt. Random House, 2017. “Greatest” becomes “most influential” in the dust jacket copy. Better; fewer historians would quarrel with the latter.

Hannibal by Patrick Hunt. Simon & Schuster, 2017. Hannibal Barca was born in Carthage. Long a rival to Rome, Hannibal led an army across North Africa and then Spain to confront the Romans in their home base.

Hannibal’s Oath; The Life and Wars of Rome’s Greatest Enemy by John Prevas. Da Capo, 2017. Hannibal the man and military leader, his ultimate failure and humiliation at the hands of the Romans.

The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire by Richard Carrier. Pitchstone, 2017 paper. Social history of scientists in the Roman era. What was an ancient scientist thought to be and to be doing?

The Trouble with Tea; The Politics of Consumption in the Eighteenth-Century Global Economy by Jane Merritt. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017 paper. Attitudes toward tea imports and its taxation reflects American views of its colonial master, Great Britain.

Among the Living and the Dead; A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe by Inara Verzemnieks. W.W. Norton, 2017. Latvians and Latvian-Americans revisiting a contested borderland during World War II.

The Euro; How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph Stiglitz. W.W. Norton, 2017 paper. Critical of the role of a common currency, in part because Stiglitz doesn’t agree with the austerity formulas they are using to discipline its members.

How to Read a Dress; A Guide to Changing Fashion from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century by Lydia Edwards, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017 paper. I always imagined fashion to be a whim, rather than an analytic.

Must We Divide History Into Periods? By Jaques Le Goff & Malcolm DeBevoise. Columbia University Press, 2017 paper. He illustrates this quandary with how to separate the Renaissance and the Middle Ages (sometimes referred to as the Dark Age). He suggests various ways to resolve the naming phobia.