The U.S. Supreme Court declared racial segregation of the public schools unconstitutional in the famous Brown decision of 1945, but the battle for racial justice in the South was actually waged and won before a lower court of Southern judges, most of them Republican, namely, the U.S. Fifth Court of Appeals. These Unlikely Heroes, “who translated . . . the Brown decision into a revolution for equality,” were the subject of a book by South Carolina journalist Jack Bass originally published in 1981 and recently reprinted as a Touchstone Book [$6.25]. Lawrence A. Cremin’s American Education: The National Experience, 1783—1876 was hailed as “intelligent, readable and absolutely fascinating” by The Atlantic when it appeared in 1980. It is now available in paperback from Harper Colophon Books [$11.50]. Few 20th-century American writers were more prolific than H. L. Mencken and still fewer more provocative. And Vintage Books is currently offering two respective selections of writings by “the Sage of Baltimore.” One is A ]Mencken Chrestomathy, “his own selection of his choicest writings edited and annotated by H.L.M.” [$7.95], and the other is H. L. Mencken: The American Scene, a Reader selected and edited, with an introduction and commentary, by Huntington Cairns [$6.95]. Bison Books has four new selections: My Early Travels and Adventures in America by Henry M. Stanley of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” fame, who spent nine months traveling about the American West in 1867 [$19.50 cloth, $6.95 paper]; Cavalry Life in Tent and Field by Mrs. Orsemus B. Boyd, an account of Army life in the Southwest during the 1870’s and 80’s, with an introduction by Darlis A. Miller [$22.50 cloth, $7.50 paper]; and A Tramp across the Continent by Charles F. Lummis, who began walking from Ohio to California in the fall of 1884, with an introduction by Robert E. Fleming [$6.50 paper]; and Mountain Men and Fur Traders of the Far West, brief biographies of 18 representative Mountain Men originally edited by LeRoy F. Hafen and selected, with an introduction, by Harvey L. Carter [$8.95 paper]. Illinois has published a paperback edition of Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley by John Gaventa, a book which won several awards, including the Southern Regional Council’s Lillian Smith Book Award and the Southern Political Science Association’s V. O. Key Book Award [$7.95 paper]. Harvard has reprinted a revised cloth edition of The Harvard Book, a selection of essays about America’s oldest institution of higher learning ranging over three centuries, which was edited by William Bentinck-Smith and first published in 1953 [$20.00].
Youngblood, a first novel by John Oliver Killens chronicling the lives of a black family and their friends in Crossroads, Georgia, from the turn of the century to the Great Depression, had its initial publication in 1954 and is considered a pioneer work in the Neo-Black Arts Movement. A new edition of this “landmark novel of social protest” has been published by Georgia [$20.00 cloth, $7.95 paper]. Although it won the 1980 National Medal for Literature, Kenneth Burke’s novel Towards a Better Life actually was written in 1929, the year of the Great Crash, and published in 1932 at the depths of the Depression. Called “an aesthetic answer to conditions morally intolerable” by the London Times Literary Supplement, the novel was recently reissued by California [$19.50 cloth, $6.95 paperback]. Bison Books has republished Mari Sandoz” Capital City, a novel which made its initial appearance in the dark days just before World War II, involving working people trapped in the Depression [$20.00 cloth, $6.95 paper]. Schocken Books has paperback editions of two Elie Wiesel novels set amid the horrors of the Holocaust-The Town Beyond the Wall and The Gates of the Forest [$5.95 each]. Holt, Rinehart & Winston is offering an Owl Book paperback edition of Norman Mailer’s 1967 novel, Why Are We in Vietnam?, which The New York Times deemed “original, courageous, and provocative” [$6.25], Two recent additions to the Perennial Library set of paperbacks are both suspense novels, one being James Byrom’s Or Be He Dead [$2.95] and the other being Simon Troy’s Road to Rhuine [also $2.95]. Vintage Books has republished four Nicolas Freeling classics: Tsing Bourn, Arlette, Gun before Butter, and Valparaiso [$2.95 each]. Columbia has published a paperback edition of a Japanese novel, The Roof Tile of Tempyo, by Yasushi Inoué and translated by James T. Araki, a fictionalized account of how Buddhism was brought from India to China and thence to Japan in the 8th century [$9.50]. Guy Davenport’s first collection of fiction, Tatlin!, is now available as a Johns Hopkins paperback [$7.95]. Colophon Books has a paperback edition of Angela Carter’s Fireworks, a collection of Nine Stories in Various Disguises [$4.25].
Noel Stock’s The Life of Ezra Pound made its initial appearance in 1970 and was acclaimed by Library Journal as being “by far the fullest account of Pound’s life yet to appear.” That “fullest account” has now been put into an “expanded edition” and reprinted in paperback by North Point Press [$13.50]. Winston Churchill called her “ever splendid, ever glorious. . .the most noble of [France’s] saints,” and so the legendary Joan of Arc has seemed to countless other commentators. Too often, however, the legend has obscured the life of the Maid of Orleans, and that is what Marina Warner examines in Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, a work recently reissued as a Vintage Book [$9.95]. Bantam Books has republished Jean Strouse’s Alice James: A Biography, an account of the life of the younger sister of William and Henry James and a recipient of the Bancroft Prize [$4.95]. William Jay Smith’s Army Brat: A Memoir, the story of a boy’s life at a sleepy military base between the wars, is available as a Penguin Book [$5.95].
California has published a handsome, newly revised cloth edition of The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, edited by David V. Erdman, with commentary by Harold Bloom [$29.95]. In its York Medieval Texts series, California is also offering new editions of The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, edited by Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron [$10.95 paper] and William Langland’s Piers Plowman, edited by Derek Pearsall [$40.00 cloth, $11.95 paper]. Another recent California paperback is Seymour Menton’s The Spanish American Short Story: A Critical Anthology [$10.95]. Princeton has an expanded paperback edition of George Seferis’s Collected Poems, translated, edited, and introduced by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard [$10.95]. Yale has reprinted William C. Spengemann’s The Forms of Autobiography: Episodes in the History of a Literary Genre [$22.50 cloth, $7.95 paper]. Ohio has issued a paperback edition of Sarah B. Daugherty’s The Literary Criticism of Henry James [$8.95]. Wisconsin has republished David Hayman’s Ulysses: The Mechanics of Meaning, an edition that has been revised and expanded [$17.50 cloth, $6.95 paper], A recent Cambridge paperback is Jean Chothia’s Forging a Language: A Study of the Plays of Eugene O”Neill [$13.95]. Cornell has a paperback edition of Walter J. Ong, S. J. ‘s Interfaces of the Word: Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness and Culture [$8.95].