Saturday, January 31, 2009

Immigrant Voices

Immigrant Voices: New Lives in America 1773-1986
edited by Thomas Dublin

Dublin here offers a collection of first-person immigrant accounts of life in the United States. This book grew out of Dublin's desire to provide his undergraduates (he teaches history at SUNY-Binghamton) with a reader showing how immigrants saw and understood their own experiences. Dublin draws from a wide range of already published classic immigrant recollections, ranging from "The Diary of John Harrower" to "The Nguyen Family: From Vietnam to Chicago." There is a balance between accounts by men and women; two of the ten chapters are written by the children of immigrants. The selected bibliography is a particularly useful list of book-length first-person accounts. Although all the readings are available elsewhere, the editing of this work warrants its inclusion in most undergraduate collections.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Age of Reason

"The Age of Reason"
by Thomas Paine

Paine's years of study and reflection on the role of religion in society culminated with this, his final work. An attack on revealed religion from the deist point of view — embodied by Paine's credo, "I believe in one God, and no more" — its critical and objective examination of Old and New Testaments cites numerous contradictions.

Rights of Man, Part I

Rights of Man, Part I
by Thomas Paine

Rights of Man presents an impassioned defense of the Enlightenment principles of freedom and equality that Thomas Paine believed would soon sweep the world. He boldly claimed, "From a small spark, kindled in America, a flame has arisen, not to be extinguished. Without consuming ... it winds its progress from nation to nation." Though many more sophisticated thinkers argued for the same principles and many people died in the attempt to realize them, no one was better able than Paine to articulate them in a way which fired the hopes and dreams of the common man and actually stirred him to revolutionary political action.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Cuckoo's Egg

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
by Cliff Stoll

A 75-cent discrepancy in billing for computer time led Stoll, an astrophysicist working as a systems manager at a California laboratory, on a quest that reads with the tension and excitement of a fictional thriller. Painstakingly he tracked down a hacker who was attempting to access American computer networks, in particular those involved with national security, and actually reached into an estimated 30 of the 450 systems he attacked. Initially Stroll waged a lone battle, his employers begrudging him the time spent on his search and several government agencies refused to cooperate. But his diligence paid off and in due course it was learned that the hacker, 25-year-old Markus Hess of Hanover, Germany, was involved with a spy ring. Eight members were arrested by the West German authorities but all but one were eventually released. Although the book will be best appreciated by the computer literate, even illiterates should be able to follow the technical complexities with little difficulty.

The Indians of California

The American Indians: The Indians of California
edited by Time-Life Books

Stories of the vastly diverse peoples of the area now known as California and their interactions with Europeans and gold-diggers are told in admirable detail, often through first-person accounts. Rarely seen, superb archival photographs are abundant throughout, and there are full-color photo essays on the land, types of houses, the White Deerskin Dance of the Hupa people, basketry, mission artwork, the blending of Christian and native religions, the Cupeno struggle for their homeland, and the tragic story of Ishi. An outstanding overview of a complex region, supported by an up-to-date bibliography and thorough index.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace
by John Knowles

Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Marshall Frady

As a young journalist in the South in the 1960s, Marshall Frady walked the hot sidewalks, sat in crowded churches and courtrooms, and interviewed prominent civil rights leaders. Now the critically acclaimed biographer joins the bestselling Penguin Lives series to profile the man whose spiritual and political leadership has gained him an indelible place in twentieth-century history. In the masterly and riveting Martin Luther King Jr., Frady draws on his twenty-five years of award-winning commentary on American race relations to give an inspiring portrait of this amazing leader and the turbulent era in which he lived.

Martin Luther King Jr. deftly interweaves the history of the civil rights movement with King's rise to fame and influence and includes fascinating insight into factions within the movement itself. Frady explores the complexities of King's relationship with the Kennedy and johnson administrations, J. Edgar Hoover's relentless pursuit of King's demise, and King's own anticipation of his death. Above all, Frady's spellbinding voice brings to new life the ambitious, pious son of an Atlanta Baptist minister thrust onto a national platform of moral grandeur and shows, in vividly recalled scenes, recalling how both King and his country reacted to those cataclysmic years.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Common Sense

"Common Sense"
by Thomas Paine

Published in 1776, Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Nation of Immigrants

A Nation of Immigrants
by John F. Kennedy

Throughout his presidency, John F. Kennedy was passionate about the issue of immigration reform. He believed that America is a nation of people who value both tradition and the exploration of new frontiers, people who deserve the freedom to build better lives for themselves in their adopted homeland. This modern edition of his posthumously published, timeless work—with a new introduction by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and a foreword by Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League—offers the late president's inspiring suggestions for immigration policy and presents a chronology of the main events in the history of immigration in America.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall: Supreme Court Justice
by Joe Nazel

Attorney Thurgood Marshall led the civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka to a successful hearing at the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. He became the court's first African-American justice 13 years later. The descendant of slaves, Marshall graduated from all-black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1930, then received a law degree from Howard University in 1933. He opened his own law practice in Baltimore and became known as a lawyer who would speak up for the rights of African-Americans; this led him to a job with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1936. He spent more than two decades with the NAACP, gaining his greatest fame for the case of Brown v. Board of Education from 1952-54. When the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," Marshall and the NAACP won a great victory for civil rights. Marshall was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals (Second Circuit) in 1961, then appointed to the post of solicitor general in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court itself in 1967, where he served for 24 years before he retired in 1991. Marshall, known as a liberal throughout his tenure, was replaced on the court by conservative African-American Clarence Thomas (appointed by President George H. W. Bush). Marshall died of heart failure two years later.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Immigrant Kids

Immigrant Kids
by Russell Freedman

Text and contemporary photographs chronicle the life of immigrant children at home, school, work, and play during the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

As Flip As I Want To Be

As Flip As I Want To Be
by George Estrada

As Flip As I Want to Be is a collection of columns from Estrada’s work with the Philippine Times of Las Vegas. Here you will hear the pounding rains of Quezon City, feel the mass exultation of a U.S. citizenship ceremony, ponder the beauty of fake Rolex watches, listen to Tom Cruise speaking in Russian, and meet a Filipino NFL quarterback. You will rock out with a Filipino heavy-metal god, meet a Filipino rapper, and go all-in in a high stakes poker tournament. Saddle up and take another wild ride through the Filipino American experience.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What It Means To Be A Libertarian

What It Means To Be A Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation
by Charles Murray

For the legions of Americans expressing or exploring libertarian beliefs, Charles Murray has created a radical, compassionate blueprint for solving today's most urgent social and political problems.

Murray believes that America's founders had it right -- that strict limits on the power of the central government and strict protection of the individual are the keys to a genuinely free society. In What It Means to Be a Libertarian, he proposes a government reduced to the barest essentials: an executive branch consisting only of the White House and trimmed-down departments of state, defense, justice, and environmental protection; a Congress so limited in power that it meets only a few months each year; and a federal code stripped of all but a handful of regulations. Combining the tenets of classical libertarian philosophy with his own provocative thinking, Murray shows why less government advances individual happiness and promotes more vital communities and a richer culture.