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The first major biography of V.S. Naipaul, the controversial and enigmatic Nobel laureate: a stunning writer whose only stated ambition was greatness, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred. Beginning in rich detail in Trinidad, where Naipaul was born into an Indian family, Patrick French skillfully examines Naipaul's life within a displaced community and his fierce ambition at school. He describes how, on scholarship at Oxford, homesickness and depression struck with great force; the ways in which Naipaul's first wife helped him to cope and their otherwise fraught marriage; and Naipaul's struggles throughout subsequent uncertainties in England, including his twenty-five-year-long affair.Naipaul's extraordinary gift--producing, uniquely, masterpieces of both fiction and nonfiction--is most of all born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastating insight.From the Trade Paperback edition.
As cool as its California surfer heroes, Don Winslow delivers a high velocity, darkly comic, and totally righteous crime novel.Every morning Boone Daniels catches waves with the other members of The Dawn Patrol: four men and one woman as single-minded about surfing as he is. Or nearly. They have "real j-o-b-s"; Boone, however, works as a PI just enough to keep himself afloat. But Boone's most recent gig-investigating an insurance scam--has unexpectedly led him to a ghost from his past. And while he may have to miss the biggest swell of his surfing career, this job is about to give him a wilder ride than anything he's ever encountered. Filled with killer waves and a coast line to break your heart, The Dawn Patrol will leave you gasping for air.From the Trade Paperback edition.
An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami's decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.From the Trade Paperback edition.playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in running.From the Hardcover edition.
Teasing, provocative, and very funny, Mohammed Hanif's debut novel takes one of the subcontinent's enduring mysteries and out if it spins a tale as rich and colourful as a beggar's dream.Why did a Hercules C130, the world's sturdiest plane, carrying Pakistan's military dictator General Zia ul Haq, go down on 17 August, 1988? Was it because of: 1. Mechanical failure 2. Human error 3. The CIA's impatience 4. A blind woman's curse 5. Generals not happy with their pension plans 6. The mango seasonOr could it be your narrator, Ali Shigri? Here are the facts: * A military dictator reads the Quran every morning as if it was his daily horoscope. * Under Officer Ali Shigri carries a deadly message on the tip of his sword. * His friend Obaid answers all life's questions with a splash of eau de cologne and a quote from Rilke. * A crow has crossed the Pakistani border illegally. As young Shigri moves from a mosque hall to his military barracks before ending up in a Mughal dungeon, there are questions that haunt him: What does it mean to betray someone and still love them? How many names does Allah really have? Who killed his father, Colonel Shigri? Who will kill his killers? And where the hell has Obaid disappeared to?From the Hardcover edition.
An astonishingly inventive, wonderfully exuberant novel that takes us from the shimmering dunes of ancient Egypt to the war-torn streets of twenty-first-century Lebanon. In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after many years in America to stand vigil at his father's deathbed. The city is a shell of the Beirut Osama remembers, but he and his friends and family take solace in the things that have always sustained them: gossip, laughter, and, above all, stories. Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching stories-of his arrival in Lebanon, an orphan of the Turkish wars, and of how he earned the name al-Kharrat, the fibster-are interwoven with classic tales of the Middle East, stunningly reimagined. Here are Abraham and Isaac; Ishmael, father of the Arab tribes; the ancient, fabled Fatima; and Baybars, the slave prince who vanquished the Crusaders. Here, too, are contemporary Lebanese whose stories tell a larger, heartbreaking tale of seemingly endless war-and survival. Like a true hakawati, Rabih Alameddine has given us an Arabian Nights for this century-a funny, captivating novel that enchants and dazzles from its very first lines: "Listen. Let me take you on a journey beyond imagining. Let me tell you a story."From the Hardcover edition.
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "an uncommon storyteller [with a] trademark ability to probe the layers of the human psyche," Patrick McGrath has written his most addictive and enthralling novel yet.Charlie Weir's family is comprehensively dysfunctional -- abandoned by his father, his mother ravaged by that betrayal, and his brother, Walt, a successful artist, less Charlie's ally than his rival. So it's hardly surprising that he should find a vocation in psychiatry in New York City, counseling traumatized war veterans returning home from Vietnam. Agnes Magill, the sister of one damaged soldier, soon becomes Charlie's wife. But the suicide of her brother, Danny, ends the marriage, leaving Charlie to endure a corrosive loneliness even as Manhattan grows steadily more dirty and dangerous around him.Then, in the haunting aftermath of Charlie's mother's death, Agnes returns to offer him the solace that he has never been able to provide for her. Almost simultaneously, he is presented with a quite different anodyne -- a volatile woman whose irresistible beauty, tinged though it is with an air of grievous suffering, jeopardizes everything he has hoped might restore his dwindling faith in his calling, his future and himself.As Charlie's hold on sanity weakens, and events conspire to send him reeling headlong toward the abyss, the themes of family, passion and madness - by now synonymous with Patrick McGrath's writing -- rightly assume "the inevitability of myth," as Tobias Wolff has written of his work, in "fiction of a depth and power we hardly hope to encounter anymore." A genuine psychological thriller, Trauma is an experience at once unnerving, unsettling and utterly riveting.From the Hardcover edition.
After twelve gloriously scandalous Flashman novels, the incomparable George MacDonald Fraser gives us a totally hilarious tale of derring-do from a different era. It's the turn of the seventeenth century (sort of) in the wild Borderlands of Scotland. The irresistible Lady Godiva Dacre and her "chocolate-box pretty" companion Mistress Kylie Delishe find themselves caught between the dashing Bonny Gilderoy (think Johnny Depp on a horse in a tunic) and Archie Noble (Steve McQueen in Elizabethan garb). A casket of jewels, an accidental murder, and an estate at risk are the order of the day. Amidst preposterous alliances and ridiculous complications of the heart, our heroines discover a fiendish Spanish plot to overthrow the king. What ensues is an utterly uproarious thrill ride filled with lecherous mischief, diabolical intrigue, and a cast of supporting characters that only George Fraser could deliver.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Game theory is central to understanding human behavior and relevant to all of the behavioral sciences--from biology and economics, to anthropology and political science. However, as The Bounds of Reason demonstrates, game theory alone cannot fully explain human behavior and should instead complement other key concepts championed by the behavioral disciplines. Herbert Gintis shows that just as game theory without broader social theory is merely technical bravado, so social theory without game theory is a handicapped enterprise. Gintis illustrates, for instance, that game theory lacks explanations for when and how rational agents share beliefs. Rather than construct a social epistemology or reasoning process that reflects the real world, game theorists make unwarranted assumptions which imply that rational agents enjoy a commonality of beliefs. But, Gintis explains, humans possess unique forms of knowledge and understanding that move us beyond being merely rational creatures to being social creatures. For a better understanding of human behavior, Gintis champions a unified approach and in doing so shows that the dividing lines between the behavioral disciplines make no scientific sense. He asks, for example, why four separate fields--economics, sociology, anthropology, and social psychology--study social behavior and organization, yet their basic assumptions are wildly at variance. The author argues that we currently have the analytical tools to render the behavioral disciplines mutually coherent. Combining the strengths of the classical, evolutionary, and behavioral fields, The Bounds of Reason reinvigorates the useful tools of game theory and offers innovative thinking for the behavioral sciences.
Game theory--the study of how people make choices while interacting with others--is one of the most popular technical approaches in social science today. But as Michael Chwe reveals in his insightful new book, Jane Austen explored game theory's core ideas in her six novels roughly two hundred years ago. Jane Austen, Game Theorist shows how this beloved writer theorized choice and preferences, prized strategic thinking, argued that jointly strategizing with a partner is the surest foundation for intimacy, and analyzed why superiors are often strategically clueless about inferiors. With a diverse range of literature and folktales, this book illustrates the wide relevance of game theory and how, fundamentally, we are all strategic thinkers. Although game theory's mathematical development began in the Cold War 1950s, Chwe finds that game theory has earlier subversive historical roots in Austen's novels and in "folk game theory" traditions, including African American folktales. Chwe makes the case that these literary forebears are game theory's true scientific predecessors. He considers how Austen in particular analyzed "cluelessness"--the conspicuous absence of strategic thinking--and how her sharp observations apply to a variety of situations, including U.S. military blunders in Iraq and Vietnam.Jane Austen, Game Theorist brings together the study of literature and social science in an original and surprising way.
The oracle and sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo at Delphi were known as the "omphalos"--the "center" or "navel"--of the ancient world for more than 1000 years. Individuals, city leaders, and kings came from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to consult Delphi's oracular priestess; to set up monuments to the gods in gold, ivory, bronze, marble, and stone; and to take part in athletic and musical competitions. This book provides the first comprehensive narrative history of this extraordinary sanctuary and city, from its founding to its modern rediscovery, to show more clearly than ever before why Delphi was one of the most important places in the ancient world for so long.In this richly illustrated account, Michael Scott covers the whole history and nature of Delphi, from the literary and archaeological evidence surrounding the site, to its rise as a center of worship with a wide variety of religious practices, to the constant appeal of the oracle despite her cryptic prophecies. He describes how Delphi became a contested sacred site for Greeks and Romans and a storehouse for the treasures of rival city-states and foreign kings. He also examines the eventual decline of the site and how its meaning and importance have continued to be reshaped right up to the present. Finally, for the modern visitor to Delphi, he includes a brief guide that highlights key things to see and little-known treasures.A unique window into the center of the ancient world, Delphi will appeal to general readers, tourists, students, and specialists.
"We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials."--The NSA Report This is the official report that is helping shape the international debate about the unprecedented surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. Commissioned by President Obama following disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, and written by a preeminent group of intelligence and legal experts, the report examines the extent of NSA programs and calls for dozens of urgent and practical reforms. The result is a blueprint showing how the government can reaffirm its commitment to privacy and civil liberties--without compromising national security.
Many of us are being misled. Claiming to know dark secrets about public officials, hidden causes of the current economic situation, and nefarious plans and plots, those who spread rumors know precisely what they are doing. And in the era of social media and the Internet, they know a lot about how to manipulate the mechanics of false rumors--social cascades, group polarization, and biased assimilation. They also know that the presumed correctives--publishing balanced information, issuing corrections, and trusting the marketplace of ideas--do not always work. All of us are vulnerable.In On Rumors, Cass Sunstein uses examples from the real world and from behavioral studies to explain why certain rumors spread like wildfire, what their consequences are, and what we can do to avoid being misled. In a new afterword, he revisits his arguments in light of his time working in the Obama administration.
In All I Want Is a Job!, Mary Gatta puts a human face on workforce development policy. An ethnographic sociologist, Gatta went undercover, posing as a client in a New Jersey One-Stop Career Center. One-Stop Centers, developed as part of the federal Workforce Investment Act, are supposed to be an unemployed worker's go-to resource on the way to re-employment. But, how well do these centers function? With swarms of new clients coming through their doors, are they fit for the task of pairing America's workforce with new jobs? Weaving together her own account with interviews of jobless women and caseworkers, Gatta offers a revealing glimpse of the toll that unemployment takes and the realities of social policy. Women#151;both educated and unskilled#151;are particularly vulnerable in the current economy. Since they are routinely paid less than their male counterparts, economic security is even harder for them to grasp. And, women are more easily tracked into available, low-wage work in sectors such as retail or food service. Originally designed to pair job-ready workers with available openings, the current system is ill fitted for diverse clients who are seeking gainful employment. Even if One-Stops were better suited to the needs of these workers, good jobs are scarce in the wake of the Great Recession. In spite of these pitfalls, Gatta saw hope and a sense of empowerment in clients who got intensive career counseling, new jobs, and social support. Drawing together tales from the frontlines, she highlights the promise and weaknesses of One-Stop Career Centers, recommending key shifts in workforce policy. America deserves a system that is less discriminatory, more human, and better able to assist women and their families in particular. The employed and unemployed alike would be better served by such a system#151;one that would meaningfully contribute to our economic recovery and future prosperity.
Jewish Pasts, German Fictions is the first comprehensive study of how German-Jewish writers used images from the Spanish-Jewish past to define their place in German culture and society. Jonathan Skolnik argues that Jewish historical fiction was a form of cultural memory that functioned as a parallel to the modern, demythologizing project of secular Jewish history writing. What did it imply for a minority to imagine its history in the majority language? Skolnik makes the case that the answer lies in the creation of a German-Jewish minority culture in which historical fiction played a central role. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Jewish writers and artists, both in Nazi Germany and in exile, employed images from the Sephardic past to grapple with the nature of fascism, the predicament of exile, and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust. The book goes on to show that this past not only helped Jews to make sense of the nonsense, but served also as a window into the hopes for integration and fears about assimilation that preoccupied German-Jewish writers throughout most of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, Skolnik positions the Jewish embrace of German culture not as an act of assimilation but rather a reinvention of Jewish identity and historical memory.
In the United States, we now take our ability to pay with plastic for granted. In other parts of the world, however, the establishment of a "credit-card economy" has not been easy. In countries without a history of economic stability, how can banks decide who should be given a credit card? How do markets convince people to use cards, make their transactions visible to authorities, assume the potential risk of fraud, and pay to use their own money? Why should merchants agree to pay extra if customers use cards instead of cash? In Plastic Money, Akos Rona-Tas and Alya Guseva tell the story of how banks overcame these and other quandaries as they constructed markets for credit cards in eight postcommunist countries. We know how markets work once they are built, but this book develops a unique framework for understanding how markets are engineered from the ground up#151;by selecting key players, ensuring cooperation, and providing conditions for the valuation of a product. Drawing on extensive interviews and fieldwork, the authors chronicle how banks overcame these hurdles and generated a desire for their new product in the midst of a transition from communism to capitalism.
This book examines the art and writings of Wassily Kandinsky, who is widely regarded as one of the first artists to produce non-representational paintings. Crucial to an understanding of Kandinsky's intentions is On the Spiritual in Art, the celebrated essay he published in 1911. Where most scholars have taken its repeated references to "spirit" as signaling quasi-religious or mystical concerns, Florman argues instead that Kandinsky's primary frame of reference was G. W. F. Hegel's Aesthetics, in which art had similarly been presented as a vehicle for the developing self-consciousness of spirit (or Geist, in German). In addition to close readings of Kandinsky's writings, the book also includes a discussion of a 1936 essay on the artist's paintings written by his own nephew, philosopher Alexandre Kojève, the foremost Hegel scholar in France at that time. It also provides detailed analyses of individual paintings by Kandinsky, demonstrating how the development of his oeuvre challenges Hegel's views on modern art, yet operates in much the same manner as does Hegel's philosophical system. Through the work of a single, crucial artist, Florman presents a radical new account of why painting turned to abstraction in the early years of the twentieth century.
One thing all mainstream economists agree upon is that money has nothing whatsoever to do with desire. This strange blindness of the profession to what is otherwise considered to be a basic feature of economic life serves as the starting point for this provocative new theory of money. Through the works of Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, and Max Weber, What Money Wants argues that money is first and foremost an object of desire. In contrast to the common notion that money is but an ordinary object that people believe to be money, this book explores the theoretical consequences of the possibility that an ordinary object fulfills money's function insofar as it is desired as money. Rather than conceiving of the desire for money as pathological, Noam Yuran shows how it permeates economic reality, from finance to its spectacular double in our consumer economy of addictive shopping. Rich in colorful and accessible examples, from the work of Charles Dickens to Reality TV and commercials, this book convinces us that we must return to Marx and Veblen if we are to understand how brand names, broadcast television, and celebrity culture work. Analyzing both classical and contemporary economic theory, it reveals the philosophical dimensions of the controversy between orthodox and heterodox economics.
Life is A Kind of Dream. So is the art we make in response to life. In A Kind of Dream, five generations of an artistic family explore the ups and downs of life, discovering that for an artist even failure is success, because the work matters more than the self. The selves in this book include Nina, a writer, and her husband, Palmer, a historian, who, having settled into marriage and family life, are now faced with the bittersweetness of late life; BB and Roy, who make a movie in Mongolia; Tavy, Nina's adopted daughter, a painter in her twenties who meets her birth mother for the first time; and Tavy's young daughter, Callie, a budding violinist. Other vivid characters confront the awful fact of violence in America; try to cope with political ineptitude; and one devises his own code of sexual morality. Perhaps the most important character is Nina's dog, a salt-and-pepper cairn terrier of uncommon wisdom. Fame, death, rash self-destruction, laughter, the excitement of making good art, love, marriage, being a mother, being a father, the appreciation of beauty, and always life#151;life itself, life in all its shapes and guises#151;it's all here. A Kind of Dream is the culminating book in a trilogy Kelly Cherry began with My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers and The Society of Friends. Each book stands alone, but together they take us on a Dantean journey from midlife to Paradise. Cherry's prose is hallmarked by lyric grace, sly wit, the energy of her intelligence, and profound compassion for and understanding of her characters. Set in Madison, Wisconsin, A Kind of Dream reveals a surprisingly wide view of the world and the authority of someone who has mastered her art. It is a book to experience and to reflect upon.
Roughly 1. 7 million people died in Cambodia from untreated disease, starvation, and execution during the Khmer Rouge reign of less than four years in the late 1970s. The regime's brutality has come to be symbolized by the multitude of black-and-white mug shots of prisoners taken at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of #147;enemies of the state" were tortured before being sent to the Killing Fields. In Archiving the Unspeakable, Michelle Caswell traces the social life of these photographic records through the lens of archival studies and elucidates how, paradoxically, they have become agents of silence and witnessing, human rights and injustice as they are deployed at various moments in time and space. From their creation as Khmer Rouge administrative records to their transformation beginning in 1979 into museum displays, archival collections, and databases, the mug shots are key components in an ongoing drama of unimaginable human suffering.
A taboo-breaker and a great provocateur, George L. Mosse (1918-99) was one of the great historians of the twentieth century, forging a new historiography of culture that included brilliant insights about the roles of nationalism, fascism, racism, and sexuality. Jewish, gay, and a member of a culturally elite family in Germany, Mosse came of age as the Nazis came to power, before escaping as a teenager to England and America. Mosse was innovative and interdisciplinary as a scholar, and he shattered in his groundbreaking books prevalent assumptions about the nature of National Socialism and the Holocaust. He audaciously drew a link from bourgeois respectability and the ideology of the Enlightenment--the very core of modern Western civilization--to the extermination of the European Jews. In this intellectual biography of George Mosse, Karel Plessini draws on all of Mosse's published and unpublished work to illuminate the origins and development of his groundbreaking methods of historical analysis and the close link between his life and work. He redefined the understanding of modern mass society and politics, masterfully revealing the powerful influence of conformity and political liturgies on twentieth-century history. Mosse warned against the dangers inherent in acquiescence, showing how identity creation and ideological fervor can climax in intolerance and mass murder--a message of continuing relevance.
Focusing on the creation and misuse of government documents in Vietnam since the 1920s, "The Government of Mistrust" reveals how profoundly the dynamics of bureaucracy have affected Vietnamese efforts to build a socialist society. In examining the flurries of paperwork and directives that moved back and forth between high- and low-level officials, Ken MacLean underscores a paradox: in trying to gather accurate information about the realities of life in rural areas, and thus better govern from Hanoi, the Vietnamese central government employed strategies that actually made the state increasingly illegible to itself. MacLean exposes a falsified world existing largely on paper. As high-level officials attempted to execute centralized planning via decrees, procedures, questionnaires, and audits, low-level officials and peasants used their own strategies to solve local problems. To obtain hoped-for aid from the central government, locals overstated their needs and underreported the resources they actually possessed. Higher-ups attempted to re-establish centralized control and legibility by creating yet more bureaucratic procedures. Amidst the resulting mistrust and ambiguity, many low-level officials were able to engage in strategic action and tactical maneuvering that have shaped socialism in Vietnam in surprising ways.
The 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina following the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia became notorious for "ethnic cleansing" and mass rapes targeting the Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population. Postwar social and political processes have continued to be dominated by competing nationalisms representing Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, as well as those supporting a multiethnic Bosnian state, in which narratives of victimhood take center stage, often in gendered form. Elissa Helms shows that in the aftermath of the war, initiatives by and for Bosnian women perpetuated and complicated dominant images of women as victims and peacemakers in a conflict and political system led by men. In a sober corrective to such accounts, she offers a critical look at the politics of women's activism and gendered nationalism in a postwar and postsocialist society. Drawing on ethnographic research spanning fifteen years, "Innocence and Victimhood" demonstrates how women's activists and NGOs responded to, challenged, and often reinforced essentialist images in affirmative ways, utilizing the moral purity associated with the position of victimhood to bolster social claims, shape political visions, pursue foreign funding, and wage campaigns for postwar justice. Deeply sensitive to the suffering at the heart of Bosnian women's (and men's) wartime experiences, this book also reveals the limitations to strategies that emphasize innocence and victimhood.
He published his only novel more than fifty years ago. He has hardly been seen or heard from since 1965. Most writers fitting such a description are long forgotten, but if the novel is The Catcher in the Rye and the writer is J. D. Salinger . . . well, he's the stuff of legends, the most famously reclusive writer of the twentieth century. If you could write to him, what would you say? Salinger continues to maintain his silence, but Holden Caulfield, Franny and Zooey, and Seymour Glass-the unforgettable characters of his novel and short stories-continue to speak to generations of readers and writers. Letters to Salinger includes more than 150 personal letters addressed to Salinger from well-known writers, editors, critics, journalists, and other luminaries, as well as from students, teachers, and readers around the world, some of whom have just discovered Salinger for the first time. Their voices testify to the lasting impressions Salinger's ideas and emotions have made on so many diverse lives. Contributors include Marvin Bell, Frederick Busch, Stephen Collins, Nicholas Delbanco, Warren French, Herbert Gold, W. P. Kinsella, Molly McQuade, Stewart O'Nan, Robert O'Connor, Ellis Paul, Molly Peacock, Sanford Pinsker, George Plimpton, Gerald Rosen, Sid Salinger, David Shields, Joseph Skibell, Melanie Rae Thon, Alma Luz Villanueva, Katharine Weber, and many others
The La Follettes of Wisconsin--Robert, Belle, and their children, Bob Jr. , Phil, Fola, and Mary--are vividly brought to life in this collective biography of an American political family. As governor of Wisconsin (1901-06) and U. S. Senator (1906-25), "Fighting Bob" battled relentlessly for his Progressive vision of democracy--an idealistic mixture of informed citizenry and enlightened egalitarianism. By contrast, the private man suffered from intense, isolated periods of depression and relied heavily on his family for survival. Together, "Old Bob" and his beloved wife, Belle Case La Follette--a lawyer, journalist, and Progressive leader in her own right--raised their children in the distinctly uncompromising La Follette tradition of challenging social and political ills. Fola became a campaigner for women's suffrage, Phil was governor of Wisconsin, and "Young Bob" became a U. S. senator.
In Sharing the Dance, Cynthia Novack considers the development of contact improvisation within its web of historical, social, and cultural contexts This book examines the ways contact improvisers (and their surrounding communities) encode sexuality, spontaneity, and gender roles, as well as concepts of the self and society in their dancing. While focusing on the changing practice of contact improvisation through two decades of social transformation, Novack's work incorporates the history of rock dancing and disco, the modern and experimental dance movements of Merce Cunningham, Anna Halprin, and Judson Church, among others, and a variety of other physical activities, such as martial arts, aerobics, and wrestling.
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