Friday, December 31, 2010

Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce

Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-1680, Volume One: The Lands below the Winds
by Anthony Reid

The history of Southeast Asian societies, like those of East Asia, had developed greatly before European seafarers arrived. It was a region that ``was subject to many of the same climatic, physical, and commercial pressures and thus developed a very similar set of material cultures.'' Reid gives numerous contemporary foreign accounts of life in Southeast Asia on the eve of western imperialism and colonialism in a skillful, analytical, and critical way.

In The Lands Below the Winds--the first volume of a two-volume set chronicling the rise of Southeast Asian culture during the years from 1450 to 1680--Anthony Reid vividly explored everyday life in the different societies of the region, from diet, housing, commerce, and law to sexual and family relations, patterns of warfare, and popular entertainment. In doing so he enables us to perceive the underlying coherence and splendid variety in the complex mosaic of Southeast Asia.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Trade in Prehispanic Philippine Complex Societies"

"The Organization of Intra-Regional and Long-Distance Trade in Prehispanic Philippine Complex Societies"
by Laura Lee Junker

"In this paper, I have made a preliminary attempt to construct such a model through ethnohistoric analyses of Philippine lowland societies examining systems of social stratification, the nature of chiefly authority and regionally integrating political structures, and chiefly control over the regional economy, in the early to mid-second millennium. Focusing specifically on the central role of the chiefly political leader in coordinating and controlling both intra-regional and inter-regional systems of resource mobilization and exchange, I examined archaeologically testable predictions about the development of these economic systems, using data on regional settlement and artifact distribution patterns from one region of prehistoric complex society development in the Philippines."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Victors and Vanquished

Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico
edited by Stuart B. Schwartz

In 1519 Hernán Cortés and a small band of Spanish conquistadors overthrew the mighty Mexican empire of the Aztecs. Using excerpts primarily drawn from Bernal Diaz's 1632 account of the Spanish victory and testimonies — many recently uncovered — of indigenous Nahua survivors, Victors and Vanquished clearly demonstrates how personal interests, class and ethnic biases, and political considerations influenced the interpretation of momentous events. A substantial introduction is followed by 9 chronological sections that illuminate the major events and personalities in this powerful historical episode and reveal the changing attitudes toward European expansionism. The volume includes a broad array of visual images and maps, a glossary of Spanish and Nahua terms, biographical notes, a chronology, a selected bibliography, questions for consideration, and an index.

STUART B. SCHWARTZ is George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University. His scholary work concentrates on the early history of Latin America and the history of Brazil. He is the author of Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery (1992) and Sugar Plantations and the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia 1550-1835 (1985), which won the American Historical Association's Bolton Prize for the Best Work in Latin American History. Professor Schwartz is also editor of Implicit Understandings: The Encounter Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (1994) and a coeditor of The Cambridge History of Native American Peoples (1999). A former fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Council of Learned Societies, he is currently completing a work entitled The Rebellion of Portugal and the Crisis of the Iberian Empires, 1621-1668.

"Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino"

"Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino: Mistranslations and Misconceptions"
by William Henry Scott

This posthumously-published masterwork of the leading scholar of the pre-Spanish Philippines is a wonderful argument for the centrality of Philippine evidence for a reconstruction of Southeast Asian societies. Scott is very cautious himself about drawing parallels or larger pictures, confining himself to answering the question, "What did the Spaniards actually say about the Filipino people when they first met them?". As a long-term resident of the Philippines his primary aim is to correct popular Philippine misperceptions, especially the unfortunate Beyer "wave theory" of migration which enabled "Filipinos who had grown up under Spanish domination [to] consider themselves a different people from those who had not... It is precisely this social amnesia which today stigmatises as cultural minorities those Filipinos who resisted colonial acculturation"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Africa's Discovery of Europe

Africa's Discovery of Europe 1450-1850
by David Northrup

Brilliantly written and thoroughly engaging, this groundbreaking book examines the full range of African-European encounters from an unfamiliar African perspective rather than from the customary European one. Africa's Discovery of Europe, 1450-1850, concludes with an expanded epilogue that extends the themes of African-European commercial and cultural interaction to the present day. By featuring vivid life stories of individual Africans and drawing upon their many recorded sentiments, David Northrup presents African perspectives that persuasively challenge stereotypes about African-European relations as they unfolded in Africa, Europe, and the Atlantic world between 1450 and 1850.

Acclaimed by students in classroom settings ranging from secondary schools to graduate colloquia, the text features thematically organized chapters that explore first impressions, religion and politics, commerce and culture, imported goods and technology, the Middle Passage, and Africans in Europe. In addition, Northrup offers a thoughtful examination of Africans' relations—intellectual, commercial, cultural, and sexual—with Europeans, tracing how the patterns of behavior that emerged from these encounters shaped pre-colonial Africa. The book concludes with an examination of the roles of race, class, and culture in early modern times, pointing out which themes in Africa's continuing discovery of Europe after 1850 were similar to earlier patterns, and why other themes were different.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The World

The World: A History: Combined Volume
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

The World gives students the whole story. It is a new kind of history text – not just a collection of facts and figures. World renowned historian, world respected scholar, successful author of more than 25 books translated into 22 languages, and exceptional writer, author Felipe Fernández-Armesto offers a truly holistic narrative of the world, from human beginnings to the present. All aspects of the text – from the exceptionally clear narrative that always places the story in time, to the unparalleled map program, to the focused pedagogical features – support the story. Because of the author’s breadth of vision, students will come away with a deep understanding of the fundamental interrelationships – among peoples and their environments – that make up the world’s story.

Developing a project like The World required the input of and counsel of hundreds of individuals. David Ringrose, respected World Historian from the University of California–San Diego, served as The World’s editorial consultant, and provided extensive teaching tips in the Instructor’s Guide to Teaching the World. Nearly 100 reviewers critiqued the manuscript, from the first edition to the final draft. Instructor focus groups were held throughout the country during the publication process.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
by Sir John Mandeville

Immediately popular when it first appeared around 1356, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville became the standard account of the East for several centuries—a work that went on to influence luminaries as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Swift, and Coleridge. Ostensibly written by an English knight, the Travels purport to relate his experiences in the Holy Land, Egypt, India, and China. Mandeville claims to have served in the Great Khan's army and to have journeyed to “the lands beyond”—countries populated by dog-headed men, cannibals, Amazons, and pygmies.

Sir John Mandeville claimed in his book to be an English knight who began his travels in 1322, but the book was originally written in French, and the truth of the author's identity—and whether in fact he actually traveled—is not known.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Barron's Management
by Patrick J. Montana Ph.D. and Bruce H. Charnov Ph.D.

Barron's Business Review Books make excellent supplements to college textbooks, and also serve as fine main texts in adult education courses or business brush-up programs. You'll find key business terms defined, important concepts reviewed, and pertinent examples of business transactions summarized. This up-to-date fourth edition of Management comprehensively covers the management curriculum as it is presented in leading business schools today. The authors describe and appraise contemporary trends and techniques employed in the management of both large and small companies.

Patrick J. Montana, Ph.D., is Professor of Management, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University., Hempstead, NY.

Bruce H. Charnov, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Management, Chairperson, Management and General Business Dept., Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: A Biography of Kentucky Soldier Jerome Clarke
by Thomas Shelby Watson with Perry A. Brantley

In 1864, George D. Prentice, editor of the pro-Union Louisville Daily Journal, created the persona of Sue Mundy, a Civil War guerrilla who was in actuality a young man named Marcellus Jerome Clarke. This volume offers an in-depth, historically accurate account of Clarke's exploits in Kentucky during the Civil War. The work begins with a summary of Kentucky's prewar position: primarily pro-Union yet decidedly anti-Lincoln. The author then discusses the ways in which this paradox gave rise to the guerrilla threat that terrorized Kentuckians during the final years of the war. Special emphasis is placed on previously unknown facts, names and deeds with dialogue taken directly from testimony in court-martial proceedings. While the main focus of the work is Clarke himself, other perpetrators of guerrilla warfare including William Clarke Quantrill, Sam Berry and Henry Magruder are also covered, as are guerrilla hunters Edwin Terrell and James Bridgewater. The last months of Quantrill's life in Kentucky and his final battle are discussed in detail. Previously unpublished photographs accompany this fascinating Civil War history.