Thursday, February 19, 2015

The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City

As a kid growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father they called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line and ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood there. Decades later, Helmreich teaches university courses about New York, and his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever.

Putting his feet to the test, he decided that the only way to truly understand New York was to walk virtually every block of all five boroughs--an astonishing 6,000 miles. His epic journey lasted four years and took him to every corner of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Helmreich spoke with hundreds of New Yorkers from every part of the globe and from every walk of life, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayors Rudolph Giuliani, David Dinkins, and Edward Koch. Their stories and his are the subject of this captivating and highly original book.

We meet the Guyanese immigrant who grows beautiful flowers outside his modest Queens residence in order to always remember the homeland he left behind, the Brooklyn-raised grandchild of Italian immigrants who illuminates a window of his brownstone with the family's old neon grocery-store sign, and many, many others. Helmreich draws on firsthand insights to examine essential aspects of urban social life such as ethnicity, gentrification, and the use of space. He finds that to be a New Yorker is to struggle to understand the place and to make a life that is as highly local as it is dynamically cosmopolitan.

Truly unforgettable, The New York Nobody Knows will forever change how you view the world's greatest city. [Description provided by the publisher]


Walking New York: Reflections of American Writers from Walt Whitman to Teju Cole

In this idiosyncratic guidebook to New York, celebrated writers ruminate on questions that are still hotly debated to this day: the pros and cons of capitalism and the impact of immigration. Many imply that New York is a bewildering text that is hard to make sense of. Returning to New York after an absence of two decades, Henry James loathed many things about "bristling" New York, while native New Yorker Walt Whitman both celebrated and criticized "Mannahatta" in his writings.

Combining literary scholarship with urban studies, Walking New York reveals how this crowded, dirty, noisy, and sometimes ugly city gave these "restless analysts" plenty of fodder for their craft. [Description provided by the publisher]


By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action

Scholars and citizens alike have endlessly debated the proper limits of presidential action within our democracy. In this revised and expanded edition, noted scholar Phillip Cooper offers a cogent guide to these powers and shows how presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama have used and abused them in trying to realize their visions for the nation. [Description provided by the publisher]


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. [Description provided by the publisher]


The Twilight of Human Rights Law (Inalienable Rights)

In The Twilight of Human Rights Law--the newest addition to Oxford's highly acclaimed Inalienable Rights series edited by Geoffrey Stone--the eminent legal scholar Eric A. Posner argues that purposefully unenforceable human rights treaties are at the heart of the world's failure to address human rights violations. Because countries fundamentally disagree about what the public good requires and how governments should allocate limited resources in order to advance it, they have established a regime that gives them maximum flexibility--paradoxically characterized by a huge number of vague human rights that encompass nearly all human activity, along with weak enforcement machinery that churns out new rights but cannot enforce any of them. Posner looks to the foreign aid model instead, contending that we should judge compliance by comprehensive, concrete metrics like poverty reduction, instead of relying on ambiguous, weak, and easily manipulated checklists of specific rights.

With a powerful thesis, a concise overview of the major developments in international human rights law, and discussions of recent international human rights-related controversies, The Twilight of Human Rights Law is an indispensable contribution to this important area of international law from a leading scholar in the field. [Description provided by the publisher]


A Language and Power Reader: Representations of Race in a "Post-Racist" Era

A Language and Power Reader organizes reading and writing activities for undergraduate students, guiding them in the exploration of racism and cross-racial rhetorics. [Description provided by the publisher]


Sex Scene: Media and the Sexual Revolution

Sex Scene suggests that what we have come to understand as the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s was actually a media revolution. In lively essays, the contributors examine a range of mass media—film and television, recorded sound, and publishing—that provide evidence of the circulation of sex in the public sphere, from the mainstream to the fringe. They discuss art films such as I am Curious (Yellow), mainstream movies including Midnight Cowboy, sexploitation films such as Mantis in Lace, the emergence of erotic film festivals and of gay pornography, the use of multimedia in sex education, and the sexual innuendo of The Love Boat. Scholars of cultural studies, history, and media studies, the contributors bring shared concerns to their diverse topics. They highlight the increasingly fluid divide between public and private, the rise of consumer and therapeutic cultures, and the relationship between identity politics and individual rights. The provocative surveys and case studies in this nuanced cultural history reframe the "sexual revolution" as the mass sexualization of our mediated world. [Description provided by the publisher]


Screening Sex

For many years, kisses were the only sexual acts to be seen in mainstream American movies. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, American cinema “grew up” in response to the sexual revolution, and movie audiences came to expect more knowledge about what happened between the sheets. In Screening Sex, the renowned film scholar Linda Williams investigates how sex acts have been represented on screen for more than a century and, just as important, how we have watched and experienced those representations. Whether examining the arch artistry of Last Tango in Paris, the on-screen orgasms of Jane Fonda, or the anal sex of two cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, Williams illuminates the forms of pleasure and vicarious knowledge derived from screening sex. [Description provided by the publisher]


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DVD: Rise of the Hackers

Examine the fast-paced world of cryptography and meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe.
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank, and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious and cybercriminals want it. Now, NOVA goes behind the scenes of the fast-paced world of cryptography to meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe. They are experts in extreme physics, math, and a new field called "ultra-paranoid computing," all working to forge unbreakable codes and build ultra-fast computers. From the sleuths who decoded the world's most advanced cyber weapon to scientists who believe they can store a password in your unconscious brain, NOVA investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science all to stay one step ahead of the hackers. [Description provided by the owner of the rights to this item]


DVD: The Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe's art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War. In a journey through seven countries, the film takes the audience into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But young art professionals as well as ordinary heroes, from truck drivers to department store clerks, fought back with an extraordinary effort to safeguard, rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures.The Rape of Europa begins and ends with the story of artist Gustav Klimt's famed Gold Portrait, stolen from Viennese Jews in 1938 and now the most expensive painting ever sold.Today, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war. Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.  [Description provided by the owner of the rights to this item]


DVD: The Face: Jesus in Art

Narrated by Mel Gibson, Edward Herrmann, Star Herrmann, Stacy Keach, Juliet Mills, Ricardo Montalban, Bill Moyers, and Patricia Neal, this Emmy-winning program, as seen on public television, traces the dramatically different ways in which Jesus has been represented in art by people throughout history and around the world. Spanning the early 3rd century to the present, this sweeping program is an unprecedented travelogue of art and monuments. State-of-the-art digital technology virtually reconstructs precious works that were destroyed or lost.   [Description provided by the owner of the rights to this item]


DVD: Let the Fire Burn

In the astonishingly gripping Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial Black Power group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.  [Description provided by the owner of the rights to this item]


DVD: Let the Right One In

Oscar, a 12-year-old fragile and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl he befriends, who moves into his building.   When Oscar discovers that Eli is a vampire it does not deter his increasing feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent.  When Eli loses the man who protects and provides for her, and as suspicions are mounting from her neighbors and police she must move on to stay alive.  However when Oscar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can. [Description provided by the owner of the rights to this item]


Islam in Liberalism

In the popular imagination, Islam is often associated with words like oppression, totalitarianism, intolerance, cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia, while its presumed antonyms are Christianity, the West, liberalism, individualism, freedom, citizenship, and democracy. In the most alarmist views, the West’s most cherished values—freedom, equality, and tolerance—are said to be endangered by Islam worldwide.

Joseph Massad’s Islam in Liberalism explores what Islam has become in today’s world, with full attention to the multiplication of its meanings and interpretations... [Description provided by the publisher.]


1995: The Year the Future Began

A hinge moment in recent American history, 1995 was an exceptional year. Drawing on interviews, oral histories, memoirs, archival collections, and news reports, W. Joseph Campbell presents a vivid, detail-rich portrait of those memorable twelve months. This book offers fresh interpretations of the decisive moments of 1995, including the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web in mainstream American life; the bombing at Oklahoma City, the deadliest attack of domestic terrorism in U.S. history; the sensational “Trial of the Century,” at which O.J. Simpson faced charges of double murder; the U.S.-brokered negotiations at Dayton, Ohio, which ended the Bosnian War, Europe’s most vicious conflict since the Nazi era; and the first encounters at the White House between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a liaison that culminated in a stunning scandal and the spectacle of the president’s impeachment and trial. As Campbell demonstrates in this absorbing chronicle, 1995 was a year of extraordinary events, a watershed at the turn of the millennium. The effects of that pivotal year reverberate still, marking the close of one century and the dawning of another. [Description provided by the publisher.]


Talking 'Bout Your Mama: The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap

From Two Live Crew's controversial comedy to Ice Cube's gangsta styling and the battle rhymes of a streetcorner cypher, rap has always drawn on deep traditions of African American poetic word-play, In Talking 'Bout Your Mama, author Elijah Wald explores one of the most potent sources of rap: the viciously funny, outrageously inventive insult game known as "the dozens."

So what is the dozens? At its simplest, it's a comic chain of "yo' mama" jokes. At its most complex, it's an intricate form of social interaction that reaches back to African ceremonial rituals. Wald traces the tradition of African American street rhyming and verbal combat that has ruled urban neighborhoods since the early 1900s. Whether considered vernacular poetry, aggressive dueling, a test of street cool, or just a mess of dirty insults, the dozens is a basic building block of African-American culture. [Description provided by the publisher.]