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Born to Battleexamines the Civil War's complex and decisive western theater through the exploits of its greatest figures, Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest. These two opposing giants squared off in some of the most epic campaigns of the war, starting at Shiloh and continuing through Perryville, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga-battles in which the Union would slowly but surely divide the western Confederacy, setting the stage for the final showdowns of the bloody, protracted conflict. Grant is widely regarded as the man most responsible for winning the war for the Union, Forrest as the Confederacy's most fearsome defender in the West. Both men had risen through their respective hierarchies thanks to their cunning and military brilliance, and despite their checkered pasts. Grant and Forrest were both "lower"-born officers who struggled to overcome particular, dubious reputations (Forrest's as a semi-literate rustic and Grant's as a doltish drunkard). In time, however each became renowned for his intelligence, resourcefulness, and grit. Indeed, as Hurst shows, their familiarity with hardship gave both men a back-against-the-wall mindset that would ultimately determine their success-both on the battlefield, and off it. Beginning with the Union victory at Tennessee's Fort Donelson in February 1862 (when Grant handed the Union the largest force ever captured on American soil, refurbishing his reputation and earning himself the nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant"), Hurst follows both men through the campaigns of the next twenty months, showing how this critical period-and these two unequaled leaders-would change the course of the war. Again and again, Grant's hardscrabble tactics saved Federal forces from the disastrous decisions of his fellow commanders, who seemed unable to think outside of the West Point playbook. Just as often, Forrest's hot temper and wily, frontier know-how would surprise his Federal adversaries and allow him to claim astonishing victories on behalf of the Confederacy. But as Grant pressed south and east over the course of these twenty months, routing Confederate forces at such critical strongholds as Corinth, Vicksburg ("Gibraltar of the Mississippi"), and Chattanooga, the systemic differences between the North and South began to tell. The more inclusive, meritocratic Union allowed Grant to enter into the military's halls of decision, whereas the proudly aristocratic Confederate high command barred Forrest from contributing his input. As Hurst vividly demonstrates, that disparity affected, and possibly dictated, the war's outcome. Thoroughly disgusted with his disdainful superiors and their failure to save his home state of Tennessee from the clutches of the Union, Forrest eventually requested a transfer to a backwater theater of the war. Grant, by contrast, won command of the entire Union army following his troops' stunning performance at Chattanooga, and would go on to lead the North to victory over the forces of another exceptional Southern general: Robert E. Lee. An utterly American tale about class, merit, and their role in one of the most formative wars in the nation's history,Born to Battleoffers an impassioned account of two visionary Civil War leaders and the clashing cultures they fought-in some cases, quite ironically-to protect. Hurst shows how Grant and Forrest brought to the battlefield the fabled virtues of the American working-class: hard work, ingenuity, and intense determination. Each man's background contributed to his triumphs on the battlefield, but the open-mindedness of his fellow commanders proved just as important. When the North embraced Grant, it won a stalwart defender. When the South rejected Forrest, by contrast, it sealed its fate.
A primer from one of America's most esteemed and popular intellectuals
Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Glass half-full or half-empty? Do you look on the bright side or turn towards the dark? These are easy questions for most of us to answer, because our personality types are hard-wired into our brains. As pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Elaine Fox has discovered, our outlook on life reflects our primal inclination to seek pleasure or avoid danger-inclinations that, in many people, are healthily balanced. But when our "fear brain" or "pleasure brain" is too strong, the results can be disastrous, as those of us suffering from debilitating shyness, addiction, depression, or anxiety know all too well. Luckily, anyone suffering from these afflictions has reason to hope. Stunning breakthroughs in neuroscience show that our brains are more malleable than we ever imagined. InRainy Brain, Sunny Brain, Fox describes a range of techniques-from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy to innovative cognitive-retraining exercises-that can actually alter our brains' circuitry, strengthening specific thought processes by exercising the neural systems that control them. The implications are enormous: lifelong pessimists can train themselves to think positively and find happiness, while pleasure-seekers inclined toward risky or destructive behavior can take control of their lives. Drawing on her own cutting-edge research, Fox shows how we can retrain our brains to brighten our lives and learn to flourish. With keen insights into how genes, life experiences and cognitive processes interleave together to make us who we are,Rainy Brain, SunnyBrainrevolutionizes our basic concept of individuality. We learn that we can influence our own personalities, and that our lives are only as "sunny" or as "rainy" as we allow them to be.
For general readers with an interest in neuroscience and psychology, this accessible volume on the science of the brain and mind examines the physiological basis for higher brain functions and explores the ways in which happiness can be evaluated and promoted through brain functions. Drawing on hard science, literature, and observations of the human condition, the work presents a readable narrative covering both physical and psychological aspects of happiness. Edelman is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and is the author of Computing the Mind: How the Mind Really Works. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Boehm (anthropology and biological science, U. of Southern California) explores different facets of moral behavior and human sociobiology to present an evolutionary account of altruism, shame, and virtue. Specific issues include how natural selection bears on generosity in both kin and extra-kin contexts, how we learn to police deviant behaviors in ourselves and others, the evolutionary success of egalitarian communities, social selection as "purposeful" natural selection, egotism, and reciprocity. A final chapter speculates on humanity and its future viability after several centuries that show a marked decline in sociality. Boehm writes for an intelligent lay audience rather than for specialists. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
This is a paperbound reprint of the highly praised 2007 popular science work. The authors state in their preface that their aim is ". . . to discover how these architectural marvels solve the ecological problems posed by each animal's habitat and niche, and. . . the ways decision making and apparent planning play a role in building and the ongoing evolution of species. " James L. Gould (ecology and evolutionary biology, Princeton U. ) and science writer Carol Grant Gould form an enthusiastic and knowledgeable writing team. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Beijing presents a clear and gathering threat to Washington-but not for the reasons you think. China's challenge to the West stems from its transformative brand of capitalism and an entirely different conception of the international community. Taking us on a whirlwind tour of China in the world-from dictators in Africa to oligarchs in Southeast Asia to South American strongmen-Halper demonstrates that China's illiberal vision is rapidly replacing that of the so-called Washington Consensus. Instead of promoting democracy through economic aid, as does the West, China offers no-strings-attached gifts and loans, a policy designed to build a new Beijing Consensus. The autonomy China offers, together with the appeal of its illiberal capitalism, have become the dual engines for the diffusion of power away from the West. The Beijing Consensusis the one book to read to understand this new Great Game in all its complexity.
A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education,The Death and Life of the Great American School Systemis a radical change of heart from one of America's best-known education experts. Diane Ravitch-former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum-examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today's most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril. Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America's schools: leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should belearning expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not "merit pay" based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores encourage family involvement in education from an early age The Death and Life of the Great American School Systemis more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.
Three decades ago, renowned literary expert Robert Alter radically expanded the horizons of biblical scholarship by recasting the Bible as not only a human creation but a work of literary art deserving studied criticism. InThe Art of Biblical Poetry, his companion to the seminalThe Art of Biblical Narrative, Alter takes his analysis beyond narrative craft to investigate the use of Hebrew poetry in the Bible. Updated with a new preface, myriad revisions, and passages from Alter's own critically acclaimed biblical translations,The Art of Biblical Poetryis an indispensable tool for understanding the Bible and its poetry.
Girls are cutting themselves with razors. Girls are convinced they're fat, and starve themselves to prove it. Other girls are so anxious about grades they can't sleep at night--at eleven years of age. What's going on? In Girls on the Edge, Dr. Leonard Sax provides the answers. He shares stories of girls who look confident and strong on the outside, but are fragile within. He shows why a growing proportion of teen and tween girls are confused about their sexual identity, or are obsessed with grades or Facebook. Dr. Sax provides parents with tools to help girls become confident women, along with practical tips on helping your daughter choose a sport, nurturing her spirit through female centered activities, and more. Compelling and inspiring, Girls on the Edge points the way to a new future for today's young women.
Poetry that precisely conjures images of the war in Vietnam by an award-winning author.
When the World Trade Towers in New York City were erected at the Hudson's edge, they led the way to a real estate boom that was truly astonishing. Divided We Standreveals the coming together and eruption of four volatile elements: super-tall buildings, financial speculation, globalization, and terrorism. The Trade Center serves as a potent symbol of the disastrous consequences of undemocratic planning and development. This book is a history of that skyscraping ambition and the impact it had on New York and international life. It is a portrait of a building complex that lives at the convergence point of social and economic realities central not only to New York City but to all industrial cities and suburbs. A meticulously researched historical account based on primary documents,Divided We Standis a contemporary indictment of the prevailing urban order in the spirit of Jane Jacobs's mid-century classicThe Death and Life of Great American Cities.
The ever growing Internet both hosts a mishmash of socially and politically motivated opinions and offers a setting that allows science and business to grow and flourish like never before. Weinberger (Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, Harvard U. ) explores both of these phenomena, essentially making the point that knowledge has changed dramatically from the era of the book or journal. It is written in a casual style, but does contain a good number of references for further reading. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
The first years of human life are more important than we ever realized. InScared Sick, Robin Karr-Morse connects psychology, neurobiology, endocrinology, immunology, and genetics to demonstrate how chronic fear in infancy and early childhood- when we are most helpless-lies at the root of common diseases in adulthood. Compassionate and based on the latest research,Scared Sickwill unveil a major public health crisis. Highlighting case studies and cutting-edge scientific findings, Karr- Morse shows how our innate fight-or-flight system can injure us if overworked in the early stages of life. Persistent stress can trigger diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and addiction later on.
Appropriate for general readers, this new biography of Patrick Henry showcases the founding father's anti-federalist positions and focuses on his Christian faith as the foundation upon which his radical political beliefs were built. The volume includes earlier biographical information and explores in depth the post revolutionary period and his conflicts with former allies over the emerging constitution. Kidd is a professor of history at Baylor University specializing in Christian American history. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Livingston (history, Rutgers U. ), argues that increased consumer spending is needed to drive economic growth and that consumer culture is good for the environment as well as the soul. He suggests that saving and thrift will only prolong the economic downturn and that were employees paid higher wages, consumer spending could jumpstart the economy. An appendix outlining the work of Simon Kuznets on capital and the American economy is included. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Written in simple language for general readers in high school and up, this book chronicles President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decisions and actions in the 24 hours after the Japanese attack on the US Navy's base at Pearl Harbor, culminating in his declaration of war to Congress on the day after the attack. Even as he declared war, FDR kept the worst details of the attack from the American public and Congress in order to boost morale and head off criticism. Focusing on the first 24 hours allows the author to provide a new perspective on the inner workings of the presidency in the face of crisis. The book's type size is larger than many books, although not officially 'large print. ' The publication of the book coincides with a December 2011 TV special on The History Channel. Gillon (history, U. of Oklahoma) is resident historian for The History Channel. He has written eight other books on history for general readers. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Why did intellect and language evolve to include lies and self- deception? Trivers (anthropology and biological sciences, Rutgers U. ) presents a general theory based on evolutionary logic to answer this intriguing question. He argues that deception, which occurs even between our brain hemispheres, is closely tied to group conflict, courtship, neurophysiology and immunology, but can be overridden by awareness of it and its consequences. The accessible book is based on extensive reference material, and bears an endorsement by Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene). Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
These selections from the many writings of Thomas Sowell over a period of a half century cover social, economic, cultural, legal, educational, and political issues. The sources range from Dr. Sowell's letters, books, newspaper columns, and articles in both scholarly journals and popular magazines. The topics range from late-talking children to "tax cuts for the rich," baseball, race, war, the role of judges, medical care, and the rhetoric of politicians. These topics are dealt with by sometimes drawing on history, sometimes drawing on economics, and sometimes drawing on a sense of humor.
Speculation is rife that by 2012 the elusive Higgs boson will be found at the Large Hadron Collider. If found, the Higgs boson would help explain why everything has mass. But there's more at stake-what we're really testing is our capacity to make the universe reasonable. Our best understanding of physics is predicated on something known as quantum field theory. Unfortunately, in its raw form, it doesn't make sense-its outputs are physically impossible infinite percentages when they should be something simpler, like the number 1. The kind of physics that the Higgs boson represents seeks to "renormalize" field theory, forcing equations to provide answers that match what we see in the real world. The Infinity Puzzleis the story of a wild idea on the road to acceptance. Only Close can tell it.
This new study of James Madison, from the popular biographer and documentarian Richard Brookhiser, showcases the career of the father of the Constitution and America's first political partisan, highlighting the role of the Virginia delegate in the documentation of the nation's birth, the development of party politics and later, his leadership as President during the period of insecurity surrounding the War of 1812. The work is presented in a narrative style appealing and accessible to general readers. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
In 2010, pioneering sociologist Catherine Hakim shocked the world with a provocative new theory: In addition to the three recognized personal assets (economic, cultural, and social capital), each individual has a fourth asset--erotic capital--that he or she can, and should, use to advance within society. In this bold and controversial book, Hakim explores the applications and significance of erotic capital, challenging the disapproval meted out to women and men who use sex appeal to get ahead in life. Social scientists have paid little serious attention to these modes of personal empowerment, despite overwhelming evidence of their importance. In Erotic Capital, Hakim marshals a trove of research to show that rather than degrading those who employ it, erotic capital represents a powerful and potentially equalizing tool--one that we scorn only to our own detriment.
Laughlin (physics, Stanford U. and Nobel Laureate) offers a readable case for where energy will come from when the world's oil is gone. He considers the economic, ecological, and geopolitical implications of a variety of probable alternatives in a somewhat comforting upbeat tone tempered with a good amount of common sense. Some of the options he sees: solar and wind, geothermal, biofuels (such as animal waste, vegetable matter), and nuclear power. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
For the past twenty years, pioneering psychologist Stephen Joseph has worked with survivors of trauma. His studies have yielded a startling discovery: that a wide range of traumatic events-from illness, divorce, separation, assault, and bereavement to accidents, natural disasters, and terrorism-can act as catalysts for positive change. Boldly challenging the conventional wisdom about trauma and its aftermath, Joseph demonstrates that rather than ruining one's life, a traumatic event can actually improve it. Drawing on the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the insights of evolutionary biologists, and the optimism of positive psychologists,What Doesn't Kill Usreveals how all of us can navigate change and adversity- traumatic or otherwise-to find new meaning, purpose, and direction in life.
In New York and Baltimore, police cameras scan public areas twenty-four hours a day. Huge commercial databases track you finances and sell that information to anyone willing to pay. Host sites on the World Wide Web record every page you view, and "smart" toll roads know where you drive. Every day, new technology nibbles at our privacy. Does that make you nervous? David Brin is worried, but not just about privacy. He fears that society will overreact to these technologies by restricting the flow of information, frantically enforcing a reign of secrecy. Such measures, he warns, won't really preserve our privacy. Governments, the wealthy, criminals, and the techno-elite will still find ways to watch us. But we'll have fewer ways to watch them. We'll lose the key to a free society: accountability. The Transparent Societyis a call for "reciprocal transparency. " If police cameras watch us, shouldn't we be able to watch police stations? If credit bureaus sell our data, shouldn't we know who buys it? Rather than cling to an illusion of anonymity-a historical anomaly, given our origins in close-knit villages-we should focus on guarding the most important forms of privacy and preserving mutual accountability. The biggest threat to our freedom, Brin warns, is that surveillance technology will be used by too few people, now by too many. A society of glass houses may seem too fragile. Fearing technology-aided crime, governments seek to restrict online anonymity; fearing technology-aided tyranny, citizens call for encrypting all data. Brins shows how, contrary to both approaches, windows offer us much better protection than walls; after all, the strongest deterrent against snooping has always been the fear of being spotted. Furthermore, Brin argues, Western culture now encourages eccentricity-we're programmed to rebel! That gives our society a natural protection against error and wrong-doing, like a body's immune system. But "social T-cells" need openness to spot trouble and get the word out. The Transparent Societyis full of such provocative and far-reaching analysis. The inescapable rush of technology is forcing us to make new choices about how we want to live. This daring book reminds us that an open society is more robust and flexible than one where secrecy reigns. In an era of gnat-sized cameras, universal databases, and clothes-penetrating radar, it will be more vital than ever for us to be able to watch the watchers. With reciprocal transparency we can detect dangers early and expose wrong-doers. We can gauge the credibility of pundits and politicians. We can share technological advances and news. But all of these benefits depend on the free, two-way flow of information.
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