Heide Slettedahl Macpherson
For the past twenty years, the law and literature movement has been gaining ground. More recently, a feminist perspective has enriched the field. With Courting Failure: Women and the Law in Twentieth-Century Literature, Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson adds a compelling voice to the discussion.
Courting Failure critically explores the representation of women, fictional and historical, in conflict with the law. Macpherson focuses on the judicial system and the staging of women’s guilt, examining both the female suspect and the female victim in a wide variety of media, including novels like Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, theatrical plays, movies such as "I Want to Live!" and "Legally Blonde," and the television series "Ally McBeal." In these texts and others, canonical or popular, Macpherson exposes the court as an arena in which women often fail, or succeed only by subverting the system. Combining feminist literary theory with the discourse of the law and literature movement, Courting Failure is a highly readable and analytically rigorous study of justice and gender on the page and screen.
In Half/Mask, Roger Mitchell goes in search of the magic that remains when the world is stripped down to “an inhospitable beauty.” Many of these starkly lyrical poems explore the human and natural communities found on tundra and borrow freely from the great narrative and sculptural traditions of the Inuit and other rugged people who have learned to live intensely under challenging conditions. Whether in the High Arctic or in different places “where human life . . . has a loose fit,” Mitchell discovers a land rich in imagery and metaphor for describing experience at a fundamental level, out at the edge of what we can know: “Alone and far away, remote, a step / or two beyond human, real being.” An effort to understand and sympathetically inhabit the earth drives these poems, even in the barren isolation of their settings, and gives to Half/Mask its emotional resonance.
Abe Zaidan and John Green
To understand Ohio politics is to understand American politics, a truth proven every two years in national elections. And no journalist has written more astutely or with greater zest about politics in the Buckeye State than Abe Zaidan. For more than forty years, he covered what could be called an age of giants, a tumultuous era dominated by larger-than-life politicians like the irrepressible Governor James Rhodes and by such wrenching events as the shootings at Kent State University.
Drawn from over three thousand news stories, columns, and feature articles written between 1964 and 2004, Portraits of Power presents ninety essays that, in Zaidan's witty and vivid style, shed light on this fascinating period of Ohio politics. Readers who lived through those years will be transported back to critical junctures in their lives, while those who did not will have a better understanding of the forces that helped to shape their world.
Portraits of Power is not only the “first draft of history.” In Abe Zaidan's shrewd and polished prose, it is also political literature that has outlasted the cause of its occasion.
“I am a native but not exactly at home,” says the speaker near the end of “The Song of the Weed Witch,” a declaration that echoes through Jeff Gundy's Spoken among the Trees. Gundy is restless in body and spirit—and in poetic form—a compulsive explorer through the flatlands of Ohio and Indiana. On one level, he seeks out “the green, astonishing world” abuzz with birds and water and wind through the trees. On another level, he looks to the immediate sensations of nature for spiritual clues, entrances into the realm beyond blue jays and pines. But, as he drolly says in “The Recovery of Imaginary Friends,” “The guidebook of holy places lacks directions.” Spoken among the Trees may hunger after moments of recognition and release, but not with the chill pallor of pietism. These poems mingle the romantic and ironic; they tell jokes and light up a scene with the flash of an incandescent phrase. Titles offer delights of their own, as in “June Report with Suppressed Geese and Sweatbees,” or this collision of the sublime and the mundane, “Soul Travel at the Electric Brew, Goshen, Indiana” (with another statement of Gundy's restless theme: “If I could, I would live everywhere for a little while”). Spoken among the Trees is a book to live with, companionable even as it challenges easy beliefs and resists the overly earnest with a warm wit. Jeff Gundy's intricate and musical poems are wise in their humility, as probing as they are sweetly reasonable.
Russ Musarra and Chuck Ayers
Walks around Akron: Rediscovering a City in Transition celebrates the simple pleasure of seeing a community at a slow pace from ground level. In March 1987, the Akron Beacon Journal began publishing a series of articles about Akron and its environs, written by Russ Musarra and illustrated by Chuck Ayers. These popular essays-with-art continued in the newspaper through the end of 2000 and can now be read in Akron City magazine.
Musarra and Ayers soon realized that many places shown in Ayers's artwork had disappeared or were permanently altered not long after the articles were published--they had been inadvertently documenting Akron in transition. Anyone who enjoys walking or discovering overlooked sites will appreciate the informative charm of these stories and pictures that embrace Akron's history, its downtown and neighborhood development, its institutions and parks, and interesting nearby communities. Musarra and Ayers take the reader along to explore familiar and out-of-the-way places, whether it's Canal Park baseball stadium in the snow, a tiny cemetery in Copley whose graves date back as far as 1818, or a blue heron rookery in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And readers can see all these things for themselves, using Walks around Akron as a guidebook for their excursions.
Kathleen L. Endres
While the men of Akron busied themselves laying the economic, legal, and industrial foundations, their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters were equally busy weaving the benevolent and cultural fabric of the growing city. It was a pattern replicated in scores of industrial centers across the nation.
This is the story of how it happened in Akron, Ohio. Akron's "Better Half": Women's Clubs and the Humanization of the City, 1825-1925 looks at how women brought much-needed services to the city, created health institutions that continue today, and built Akron's cultural and literary foundations. Akron's women seldom acted alone; they preferred to work with like-minded women through clubs, organizations, and societies, some of which still survive today.
This book covers the first 100 years of Akron's history, a time of enormous growth and change in the city. It was also a time of enormous energy and activism on the part of the women's clubs. It is a different perspective on the city, its history, and its institutions.
In Behind the Veil, Debra Johanyak weaves the personal with the historical in fascinating detail. Through her own story, a Midwestern woman married to an Iranian man and living in Iran during the hostage crisis, Johanyak provides the reader with sharp insights into similarities as well as differences between the two cultures. The memoir offers a thoughtful perspective on cultural chasms and the bridges we could build to conquer them. —Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls, a memoir, and Jumping Over Fire, a novel
Debra Johanyak, a young American wife with an Iranian husband, gives a moving account of her experiences in the early days of the Iranian revolution in 1979. She not only vividly recounts the fears that the hostage crisis ignited in her, but also fondly recalls the deep bonds she formed with her Iranian in-laws. Elegiac and informative, the work is essential reading for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding about Iran and its people.—Guity Nashat, professor of Middle Eastern history, University of Illinois at Chicago
These poems are conversational but endlessly skillful in the ways that keep the language vivid and fresh and surprising; they are equally skillful in the ways they evoke so much that is elemental, and essential, about our lives. As I read them again, the feeling I get is something like a pang of satisfaction. This is what it it's like, I believe, to be a fully living, thinking, feeling human being. This is what Auden meant when he described poetry as 'the clear expression of mixed feelings.' This is why we read. How We Spent Our Time is flush with pangs and satisfactions, abundant with wisdom and delight. Read it and see. —Robert Wrigley
In "Foreword," the opening poem of Clare Rossini's new book, the poet exclaims: "Don't tell me the tongue's / Not a magical place." And who would argue the point after reading these poems in which the body and spirit of language bring such joy, from a toddler's garbled imitations to the ripe lines of Shakespeare? Whether in the Midwest or New England, in elegies or celebrations, Rossini takes comfort in the miracle of words, where the homely and exotic can flourish at the same time, like the thought of flamingoes in Minnesota ("Rice Country Soliloquy"). Rossini treats both the human and the natural world with tenderness and good-hearted humor, her wit and compassion as impressive as the bravura of plainspoken poetry.
In her first book, Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields, Ashley Capps sounds like the voice of a fresh generation of poets, where the familiar turns suddenly elliptical, straight talk goes engagingly crooked, and the lyric negotiates with the matter-of-fact. Desperate for something solid to believe in, Capps still mistrusts authority, feeling disenchanted with God, family, eros, even her own impulsive self. And yet while the absence of faith hints at despair, these poems often achieve, almost in spite of themselves, an odd buoyancy.
If I looked for a single adjective to describe her poems, I would come up with the word “courageous.” She has already achieved a great deal.—Gerald Stern
Ashley Capps tackles the desolations of spirit and personal history with such astonishing vitality that the green tangle of music, sadness, and formal resourcefulness of this book seems not only redemptive, but heroic.—Dean Young
Again and again these stunning poems give testament to Thomas Moore’s famous dictum that the beast at the center of the labyrinth is also an angel. This book breaks my heart, even as it mends it.—Cathy Smith Bowers
Notorious Murders, Black Lanterns, and Moveable Goods: Transformation of Edinburgh's Underworld in the Early Nineteeth Century
Deborah A. Symonds
The year 1828, when William Burke, William Hare, and their wives murdered nearly a score of Edinburgh’s poor and sold their bodies, is a time when entrepreneurial criminals in Edinburgh’s Old Town flourished. Young thieves ransacked a warehouse for tea, women pretending to be prostitutes lifted gentlemen’s watches, and fine linens disappeared from washerwomen’s houses. What Symonds reveals is a shadow economy where the most numerous of all criminals and thieves practice their trade not out of poverty and misery, but because it is their means of earning a living. Laborers and immigrants struggled to make a few pennies, and some chose to prey on others to do so.
[Notorious Murders, Black Lanterns, & Moveable Goods]…raises interesting questions about how crime is tolerated in poor communities and the collective reaction to deviance, community policing, and social justice. —Linda Mahood, Associate Professor, University of Guelph
Contemporary and controversial, Shannon Gilreath's Sexual Politics is an important update to the continuing debate over the place of the gay person in American law, politics, and religion. Gilreath skillfully navigates a number of complex issues, including the delicate balance between sexual privacy and public equality, the entwining of religion and U.S. law and politics, and gay marriage. He offers astute academic observations and a depth of personal reflections to create an unmatched critique of the gay person in American society. Ultimately, Gilreath argues for the further emergence of a gay and lesbian ethos of public attentiveness and the practice of "transformative politics," encompassing all those activites of the gay and lesbian person. Conversational and written with a compelling frankness, this book is vital for the serious legal and political student and the informed lay reader alike.
“This brave and honest book calls gay Americans and Americans generally to resistance to the injustice of American homophobia that blights our religion, our politics, and our constitutionalism. Its moving personal story and compelling analysis call for the importance of a more open gay voice as an urgent imperative of a personal and political life based on the values of justice all Americans share.” —David A. J. Richards, Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law, New York University
“Though the literature of gay and lesbian studies is growing exponentially, I am aware of no other book quite like this one: thoughtful, passionate social commentary with elements of a memoir added for good measure. Gilreath’s book should be read by anyone who wants to think about ‘the gay person in America today.’” —Michael J. Perry, Robert W. Woodruff Chair in Law, Emory University
Gilreath offers a timely retrospective and call for future action in this brilliant and provocative study of gay Americans’ interaction with contemporary politics and culture. He brings an important new voice to the field. —Bryan H. Wildenthal, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego
Beckian Fritz Goldberg
In her latest collection of poems, The Book of Accident, Beckian Fritz Goldberg invites the reader into a shadowy atmosphere where her language prowls among strange images; hummingbirds become a "fistful of violet amphetamines" and desire gnaws away like a "live rat sewed up inside us." Reading The Book of Accident is like entering a graphic novel with missing panels, a noir world of queasy glints and feral adolescents, "a world where no one has to love you." Characters go by odd names: Torture Boy, Skin Girl, Lala Petite, Wolf Boy (his body "pale as the plucked end of light"). They are punk kids fending for themselves in an expressionistic version of those old stories "that began, Let's take the children out to the woods / and leave them." And on every page, there's Goldberg's hard-edged wit, with the speed and flash of a video game. These poems show mercy but give no ground. They make you feel heartbroken and frightened and exhilarated at the same time.
Mentored by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis and published under the renowned Scribner editor Maxwell Perkins, Thomas Boyd attained only modest success as a novelist and biographer. He is known most widely for his World War I novel Through the Wheat, which critics, praising its realistic depiction of war and battle, compared to The Red Badge of Courage. How does a writer like Boyd, with his prominent literary friends, political ideals, professional aspirations, complicated personal life, and early death, fall so easily into obscurity? In this first full biography of Thomas Boyd, Brian Bruce explores the events of Boyd's life and rescues him from the realm of insignificance.
Edward C. Arn and Jerome Mushkat
This memoir of World War II, written by Edward C. Arn, an infantry captain who served in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, takes readers on a wartime journey in the European Theater of Operations through a clear and honest account of combat from the viewpoint of a sensitive and acute “civilian in uniform.” Arn entered combat and proved his worth in the hedgerows of Normandy, the Battle of Mortain, the push through northern France and the Netherlands, the Battle of the Bulge, the Ardennes Campaign, and the invasion of the German heartland to the Elbe River. During his eleven months on the front lines, Arn underwent a transformation from an apprehensive novice into a battle-tested veteran.
Arn writes in a straightforward and engaging manner that avoids false sentimentality or romanticism. Instead, he gives readers keen insights into the daily life of soldiers locked in gruesome events far beyond their experience and describes how it feels to be under fire, to suffer a wound, to agonize over the deaths of friends, to endure true suffering, to sacrifice, and to survive.
Edited and annotated by Jerome Mushkat, this memoir is an exceptional account of a man who came of age during the World War II generation.
Kurt Brown, Meg Kearney, Estha Weiner, and Donna Reis
Blues for Bill celebrates the life and work of poet William Matthews through his own language, that of poetry. While poems of William Matthews are well known and remembered, this collection of poems ensures that the world will remember Bill himself: his graciousness, intelligence, knowledge, style, good humor, capacity for friendship, immense talent, and wit. In this anthology, the editors memorialize the character and soul of this most unique man. The poems included are written by people who knew Bill in a variety of ways, under myriad circumstances: as friend, both old and new; as mentor and teacher; as colleague; as father. Their poems are remarkable, true testaments to Bill and his art.
Sharmila Voorakkara’s family poems are tough-minded, sometimes angry, often elegiac, detailing the sad fate of her father who sells vacuum cleaners door to door, or serves as a night watchman, or takes up the holy life as an ascetic with begging bowl. An uncle takes a knife to his wife’s face: “What mirror didn’t throw back the reminder / of what he could do if / he willed it?”
"Don’t look here for traditional lyricism. A transvestite, some circus freaks, a man splintering windshields with a baseball bat, a howling woman insane with grief salt and pepper this collection." —Maxine Kumin
"In Sharmila Voorakkara’s Fire Wheel, we meet a cast of characters not so much deranged as charged with an energy and longing of scant use to them or the world. Hapless and haunted, anguished and angry, they dance from hope to despair…Stand back, from these pages a wild and beautiful singing bursts forth." —Gregory Orr
John Blakeman’s The Bible in the Park is an in-depth study of federal district court policymaking and litigation trends in First Amendment cases concerning religious speech and expression in public places. District courts play an important policymaking role in the federal judicial system, and Blakeman’s book contributes to our understanding of that role, especially in the context of religious liberty and free speech disputes. As the courts of first instance in the federal judicial system, district courts are charged with interpreting and applying First Amendment law at the trial level.
“Blakeman explores the delicate intersection between the Establishment Clause law and First Amendment rights to political speech in public places. By focusing on cases decided by federal district courts, he turns our attention away from doctrines and principles eminating from appellate courts, and to the concrete and very local situations in which these controversies arise. His careful attention to data about who brings cases, against whom they are brought, the venues of conflict, and the role of judges taught me a great deal about law, politics and religion in the United States, and will change the way I teach these topics in the future.” —Bette Novit Evans, associate professor of political science, Creighton University
Young lawyers are morosely unhappy by every conceivable standard. They arrive at our law schools brimming with enthusiasm, but a decade later they are reporting staggering levels of anxiety, drug addiction, and depression. In legal circles there is talk about a “crisis of professionalism” and a “decline in civility,” but the problem goes much deeper. Through ignorance and greed, the legal profession has designed a complicated system of education, licensing, and practice that drives young lawyers into fear, alienation, and self-hatred.
The author of this book—a law professor and practicing attorney—argues that young lawyers face a series of institutional absurdities built into the fabric of law school, the bar exam, and law firm practice. The current system is churning out a tidal wave of disaffected and bitter lawyers who see the legal system as a Byzantine maze, an endless artificial game totally disconnected from considerations of justice. The Destruction of Young Lawyers shows how these struggles can be reversed through massive structural change and is the first step toward diagnosis and treatment of the specific problems facing young lawyers.
John C. Green
The essays in this collection are the product of a conversation among scholars, spanning national borders and disciplinary boundaries, about the increasing integration of Canada, Mexico, and the United States and the development of a “continental perspective.” This conversation has been underway for some time, reflecting the causes, challenges, and consequences of economic, cultural, and political integration in North America. The conjunction of national elections in all three of the great North American democracies in 2000 offered us the opportunity to deepen this conversation and engage in scholarly discourse from a “continental perspective.” Taken together, the essays in this book provide a vivid portrait of North American democracies at the turn of the century.
Peter John Brobst
The “Great Game” described Britain’s efforts to maintain India as a base from which to defend the Persian Gulf and southeast Asia against rival empires. As British India’s leading geostrategist during the end of imperial rule, as well as the last British governor on the Afghan frontier, Sir Olaf Caroe saw the future of the Great Game. He predicted with remarkable acuity how the struggle for mastery in South Asia’s borderlands would play out beyond the end of the Raj.
In the aftermath of 9/11, much as Caroe foretold, flashpoints continue to light up from Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf to Nepal and Burma; threats range from terrorism and insurgency to naval expansion and nuclear rivalry. India commands the vital center, its power key to the overall stability and defense of Asia.
This book examines Caroe’s thinking to illuminate both the geopolitics behind India’s independence in 1947 and the historical precedents of contemporary South Asian strategy.
“This is a superb book that will be of interest to historians of Britain and India as well as general readers wanting to know how the Great Game continues today in the Middle East.” —Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas
“This work marks a timely and original contribution to recent work on decolonization and the making of the modern world and does so with a commendable level of clarity." —Douglas M. Peers, University of Calgary
Jonathan E.D. Richmond
Transport of Delight is a true interdisciplinary work, and includes a thorough analytical assessment of the Los Angeles rail program, with a focus on the Long Beach Blue Line light rail. This insightful book develops a novel theory of myth to explain the construction of rail passenger transit in Los Angeles, a city of automobiles, an area that could have been better served by developing a regional bus system. The author found that a network of symbols, images, and metaphors, instead of solid evidence, led to the notion that light rail was the answer to the transportation problem.
Provocative metaphors—of the need to connect communities and to restore a mythical balance to a dysfunctional transportation system—and symbols—of escape from the pressure cooker of poverty, of urban success, power and, indeed sexual acumen—resulted in the very human need to transcend complexity by providing mythical creations that appear to offer easy answers to society's deepest problems.
The poems in Dennis Hinrichsen's Cage of Water explore collisions of spirit and matter, that thorn-and-thistle bath as he states in the book's final poem, where the limitations and entanglements of the flesh give over to a provisional and sometimes fractured radiance and everlasting. This radiance takes many forms: an uncle with Down Syndrome calling the makes of cars through the "hrsh lght, Gds lght, faltring ner th crwn of the skul"; a woman's neck cords flaring, leaping out in muscular form, fluted/ arc/ briefly held instant; his father sleeping, bird cry/ pouring/ out of him/ like string/ or/ knotted rain as the narrator resists waking him and lets mosquitoes feed. Confronted with the natural world, Hinrichsen peers closely at such things as mules standing in the rain, the flight of a swallowtail, or cloudwork lighting the weave of trout, and fashions uncanny threadings of self and other.
During the four-plus years that Robin Yocum was the police reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, he covered more than 1,000 deaths. Some were flukes; some were deserved. He interviewed decorated cops and transvestites, pimps, prostitutes, and pushers, killers and child molesters. He went on drug, porn, and moonshine raids. He waded through cornfields looking for missing planes and children, a county landfill in a vain search for child pornography, through a squalid home with knee-high trash and a flooded basement where a family of ducks had taken up residence. He ruined so many slacks and shoes that he began wearing Sansabelt and cowboy boots because he needed something he could hose off at the end of his shift.
Dead Before Deadline…and Other Tales from the Police Beat chronicles Yocum’s years on the police beat for the Dispatch. The tales are sometimes sad, sometimes fun, and sometimes an odd combination of both. Yocum takes the reader into the life behind the byline and into the gritty world of crime reporting. It is not a rehash of old headlines, but Yocum explores his interactions with people who made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He tells of a prison interview with a 17-year-old who had murdered both parents; recounts the words of a mother who lost her son to senseless violence; and details a grieving father’s plan to kill his former son-in-law.
The police beat is not without its humor, and Yocum captures the personalities of the oddball set of characters. Yocum has woven together these vignettes into a compelling book that will fascinate and enthrall readers.
In Delicate Bait, Roger Mitchell explores the small histories of the self in the larger world, intent on giving everything its just place and name. The poems roam over field and seashore and city, “inventing a world so similar to the world itself / it becomes the world.” Whether musing on the past or searching for “something even memory can’t reach,” Mitchell faces up to “the wobble of most things human,” with a combination of stoicism and wonder and a language as supple as the spoken word.
“Not many poets now writing have as wide a range as he does, both in terms of subject matter and form. His poems are rich in detail, masterly in execution, and always a good read. He is savvy about the way we Americans live and tries to make sense of our lives in this moment in history.” —Charles Simic
The University of Akron Press publishes a variety of books. They are listed here for your convenience. The books are listed by publication year, title, and author.
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