First published by Johns Hopkins in 1979, Michael. O’Brien’s The Idea of the American South, 1920—1941 was deemed “a first-rate intellectual history” by the Journal of Southern History and “a brilliant study” by History magazine. O’Brien’s study analyzes how the idea of a unique Southern consciousness endured into the 20th century and how it affected the lives of prominent Southern intellectuals [$34.00 cloth; $14.95 paper]. Lay My Burden Down, “a folk history of slavery,” edited by B.A. Botkin was the result of a slave narrative program of the Federal Writers’ Project that recorded more than 2,000 interviews in the 1930’s with exslaves who ranged in age from 75 to 105. First published in 1945, Lay My Burden Down is considered one of the classic works of American folklore, containing nearly 300 of the narratives recorded by the FWP interviewers. Georgia recently came out with a new edition of this classic [$14.95 paper]. Another work dealing with black-white relationships is Bob Blauner’s Black Lives, White Lives: Three Decades of Race Relations in America, which Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles called “a wonderfully strong and compelling series of narratives, whose many different voices, in their sum, provide a picture of so many of us Americans—the ironies, complexities, ambiguities which inform our lives.” Blauner’s work is available in a new edition from California [$10.95 paper]. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Stetson Kennedy has devoted a lifetime to writing about human rights and social justice. And two of his works about the South are again available as paperbacks from Florida Atlantic. They are respectively, Jim Crow Guide: The Way It Was, a documentation of the system of legally imposed American apartheid that prevailed in the South from Reconstruction to the 1960’s [$14.95 paper]; and The Klan Unmasked, Kennedy’s account of his post-World War II years as an undercover agent in the Ku Klux Klan [$16.95]. Beacon Press is offering a paper edition of Melville J. Herskovits’ The Myth of the Negro Past, with a new introduction by Sidney W. Mintz. Originally published in 1941, Herskovits’ book debunked the racist myth that black Americans have no cultural past and recovered a rich African heritage in religious and secular life [$14.95]. Collier Books has reprinted Mortimer J. Adler’s Reforming Education: The Opening of the American Mind, in which the noted philosopher and teacher addresses the controversies about what should be taught in our elementary schools, high schools, and colleges [$8.95]. The lives of three families who ventured West in the mid-l9th and early 20th centuries are re-created in Far From Home: Families of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel, Byrd Gibbens, and Elizabeth Hampsten, a work recently reprinted in paper by Schocken Books [$11.95]. Chicago has issued a paper edition of Wayne Franklin’s Discoverers, Explorers, Settlers about the diligent writers of early America, such writers as Columbus, William Bradford, and Thomas Jefferson [$14.95]. Harlan Davidson has published a second edition of George T. McJimsey’s The Dividing and Reuniting of America, 1848—1877, a volume in the Forum’s American History Series [$14.95 paper].
Winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1958, Catherine Drinker Bowen’s The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke is a colorful history of the preeminent jurist during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James of England. Coke served as attorney general, speaker of the House of Commons, and chief justice of England in a time of constant controversy, conflict, and change, and this account of his turbulent era is again available from Little, Brown [$12.95 paper]. Nicholas I of Russia sought, as emperor, to create the epitome of an absolute monarchy such as that fashioned in France by Louis XIV, but the times were out of joint for Nicholas, who ruled not during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, but during the 19th after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution had brought a new order to the West. His life and times are recounted in W. Bruce Lincoln’s Nicholas I: Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russians, a new edition of which is now available from Northern Illinois [$12.50 paper]. Sor Juana, Octavio Paz’s interpretation of the life and work of the first great Latin American poet, received this reception from his fellow countryman, Carlos Fuentes, at the time of its publication in 1988: “Octavio Paz has wrought speech from silence; he has made a mute century speak at last.” Harvard, the original publisher, is now offering a new edition of Sor Juana [$29.95 cloth; $12.95 paper]. George F. Kennan’s Sketches From A Life was lauded by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. as “an exquisite book, vignettes of a tragic century beautifully rendered by one of the finest sensibilities of our time.” It is again available from Pantheon Books [$12.95 paper]. Yale has published a new edition of Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris by Claude-Anne Lopez, an engaging account of Franklin’s years in Paris and his numerous friendships and romantic conquests there [$40.00 cloth; $14.95 paper]. St. Martin’s has reprinted Margaret Forster’s Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Life and Loves of a Poet, which The Guardian considered “an intelligent and persuasive account of one remarkable woman’s efforts” [$13.95 paper]. John B. Judis’s William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives is the first full-scale biography of the noted editor of The National Review, and a new edition of this biography has been published as a Touchstone Book [$10.95]. California has a new edition of Patrick Seale’s Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East, an in-depth account both of the ruler of Syria and of Middle Eastern history and politics [$12.95 paper]. California has also republished The Letters of Thomas Mann 1889—1955, selected and translated by Richard and Clara Winston [$40.00 cloth; $12.95 paper]. A third California reprint is The Selected Correspondence of Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley, 1915—1981, edited by Paul Jay [$12.95 paper].
The first great revolution of the 20th century began in Mexico with the overthrow of the caudillo Porfirio Diaz in 1910, and it was a revolution like most of those in this century—bloody, brutal, and bitter. Perhaps the best account of it in English is Alan Knight’s two-volume history, Volume 1 being The Mexican Revolution: Porfirians, Liberals and Peasants and Volume 2 being The Mexican Revolution: Counter-revolution and Reconstruction. The two-volume work won the Albert Beveridge Prize of the American Historical Association in 1986 for the best history of the post-1492 Americas and the Bolton Prize of the Conference on Latin American History in 1987. Knight’s monumental work has now been published in a paper edition by Nebraska [Volume 1 $14.50; Volume 2 $15.50]. In its Bison Book Series, Nebraska has also launched a new series called “History of the Art of War,” the first two volumes having recently been published. They are both by Hans Delbruck, translated by Walter J. Renfroe, Jr. The first volume is Warfare in Antiquity, a reconstruction of celebrated battles stretching from the Persian Wars to the Peloponnesian War and finally to the triumph of the Roman legions and Julius Caesar [$16.95] and The Barbarian Invasions, an examination of the decline of the Germanic-Romanic military system in the Middle Ages and the rise of the feudal system [$15.95]. Yale has a paper edition of Marianne Elliott’s Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France, an account of the attempt by the United Irish Society to use French military assistance to overthrow English rule in Ireland [$16.95]. California has reissued A.P. Kazhdan and Ann Wharton Epstein’s Change in Byzantine Culture in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, a discussion of the Byzantine empire as an integral part of the 11th- and 12th-century world [$12.95 paper]. A new edition of Michael Grant’s From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World is available from Collier Books [$14.95]. Two recent Touchstone Books are Richard Severe and Lewis Milford’s The Wages of War: When America’s Soldiers Came Home—From Valley Forge to Vietnam [$10.95] and B. Bruce-Briggs’ The Shield of Faith: Strategic Defense from Zeppelins to Star Wars [$10.95].
Christopher Ricks’ Tennyson was acclaimed throughout the academic and literary world after its first publication in 1969. A second edition published in 1987 consolidated Ricks’ reputation for having produced a major achievement of editorial scholarship. Now for the first time this famous edition has been published in paperback, on a scale amounting to half the length of the three-volume edition and entitled Tennyson: A Selected Edition. It includes all four of Tennyson’s long poems: “The Princess,” “In Memoriam,” “Maud,” and “Idylls of the King.” It is available from California [$16.95]. The poems of another great Victorian poet— Robert Browning—have been reprinted in a two-volume edition in the Penguin English Poets Series edited by the late John Pettigrew [each volume is $14.95]. If there is a work that might be considered the American Iliad, it is Stephen Vincent Benét’s John Brown’s Body, the monumental poem of the American Civil War, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and an American classic. A new edition of Benét’s epic poem is available from Elephant Paperbacks [$10.95]. North Point Press has come out with new editions of the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke. They are New Poems  [$9.95 paper] and New Poems : The Other Part [$9.95 paper]. Southern Illinois has published a new edition of Sandra M. Gilbert’s Acts of Attention: The Poems of D.H. Lawrence, a work Harold Bloom considers “much the best treatment of Lawrence’s verse now available . . .” [$16.95 paper]. Johns Hopkins has reissued Mark W. Edwards’ Homer: Poet of the Iliad, a general introduction and detailed commentary of the great Greek poem [$29.50 cloth; $11.95 paper]. Collier books has reprinted Laurence Lieberman’s The Creole Mephistopheles: A Collection of New Poems [$9.95]. Harvard has a new edition of A Sor Juana Anthology translated by Alan S. Trueblood with a foreword by Octavio Paz, a selection of poems by a Mexican nun considered the first great Latin American poet [$29.50 cloth; $10.95 paper].
Cleanth Brooks’ William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Country was first published in 1963, and a companion volume, William Faulkner: Toward Yoknapatawpha and Beyond appeared in 1978. Both were originally published by Yale. Now Louisiana has come out with paperback editions of the two critical commentaries [$16.95 each]. Georgia has a second edition of Donald Greene’s The Politics of Samuel Johnson, a work first published in 1960 and considered one of the most significant studies of Johnson ever written [$45.00 cloth; $20.00 paper]. Cornell is offering a paper edition of Tobin Siebers’ The Ethics of Criticism, an investigation of the moral character of contemporary literary theory building on an analysis of the moral legacies of Plato, Kant , Nietzsche, and Freud [$8.95]. A recent addition to the Perennial Library is Ursula K. Le Guin’s Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places, a collection of essays ranging from modern literature to menopause by a noted figure in the field of women’s studies [$8.95].