Alexis de Tocqueville came to the United States in 1831 to investigate the country’s prison system. He did a great deal more than that, producing an eloquent and enduring study of a new democracy, one that remains as relevant today as it did in de Tocqueville’s time. As a part of its Vintage Classics Series, Vintage Books has issued a new edition of the de Tocqueville classic, Democracy in America, with a new introduction by Daniel J. Boorstin. The new edition is in two volumes [$8.95 each]. Vintage is also offering a reprint of Geoffrey Perret’s A Country Made by War: From the Revolution to Vietnam—the Story of America’s Rise to Power, which Eisenhower’s biographer, Stephen E. Ambrose, described as a “a classic work, easily the best single volume on the American military experience yet” [$14.95]. The Cambridge Paperback Library is offering George Dekker’s The American Historical Romance, deemed by The Times Literary Supplement to be “the most important book on the relations of American and British fiction to come out for many years” [$17.95]. A recent publication of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series is Eliot A. Cohen’s Citizens and Soldiers: The Dilemmas of Military Service [$12.95 paper]. Two other recent Cornell reprints are respectively Barry Schwartz’ George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, a study of the Washington cult [$12.95 paper]; and David Leverenz’ Manhood and the American Renaissance, a work contending such 19th-century American male writers as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Melville, were influenced more than realized by the popular model of the entrepreneurial “man of force” [$12.95 paper, $35.00 cloth], Louisiana has come out with a paper edition of Bertram Wyatt-Brown’s Yankee Saints and Southern Sinners in which the eminent historian argues that while slavery was the crucial issue of the conflict, other such moral concerns as honor and shame, conscience and guilt were inextricably a part of the dispute as well [$8.95]. Louisiana has also reissued Lauren C. Post’s Cajun Sketches: From the Prairies of Southwest Louisiana, a series of vignettes about one of the nation’s most colorful groups of people [$9.95 paper]. Kentucky has a new edition of Ronald E. Shaw’s Erie Water West: A History of the Erie Canal 1792—1854 [$30.00 cloth, $15.00 paper]. Yale has reissued in paperback Anne M. Boylan’s Sunday School: The Formation of an American Institution 1790—1880 tracing the social history of Protestant Sunday schools [$10.95, also available in cloth for $30.00]. A somewhat related work is being offered by California, namely R. Stephen Warner’s New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church, winner of the 1989 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion [$12.95 paper].
Barry Miles’ Ginsberg: A Biography has been called “a remarkably thorough examination of Ginsberg’s life and career. . . .a fascinating portrait of one of America’s most original artists” by one critic, and “an immense, unforgettable, moving work, with a feeling of lasting worth about it” by another. The Ginsberg biography is a recent addition to the Harper Perennial Books Series [$12.95 paper]. Another Harper Perennial is Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, which The Boston Globe deemed “a kind of spiritual Strunk & White, a small and brilliant guidebook to the landscape of a writer’s task” [$8.95]. Harper & Row has also reprinted Sam Keen’s To A Dancing God: Notes of a Spiritual Traveler, in which Keen tells his own story and examines his life experience in mythic and spiritual terms [$8.95 paper]. Vintage Books has republished Edward Behr’s Hirohito: Behind the Myth, in which the biographer argues that the Japanese emperor was something more than an unwilling puppet of his militarist entourage and was, instead, a leader who “adeptly rode the tiger of Japanese militarism” [$14.95]. Vintage also has a new edition of Sylvia Jukes Morris’s Edith Kermit Roosevelt, a portrait of the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt and her remarkable career [$15.95]. A recent Georgia paperback is Dear Master: Letters of a Slave Family, edited by Randall M. Miller and offering a firsthand look at the private life of the black American slave as seen through the letters of two groups dating from 1834 to 1865 [$15.95]. Frank Barlow’s Thomas Becket is a biography of the controversial clergyman murdered on Dec.29, 1170 by four knights of his former friend, King Henry II. A new edition of the Becket biography is available from California [$13.95 paper]. Johns Hopkins has reprinted Robert M. Slusser’s Stalin in October: The Man Who Missed the Revolution, a reassembling of the history of 1917 that explains why Stalin dropped out of the picture as the Bolsheviks seized power [$35.00 cloth, $15.95 paper]. Robert Sam Anson was only 24 when he was sent by Time to cover the Vietnam War, experiences he recounted in War News, a new edition of which is now available as a Touchstone Book [$9.95]. Fireside Books is offering a new edition of Harry Middleton’s The Earth Is Enough: Growing Up in a World of Trout and Old Men, a memoir about a boy growing up in the Ozark foothills and the old men who raised him [$8.95]. A recent Bison Book from Nebraska is Roger A. Caras’ Monarch of Deadman Bay: The Life and Death of a Kodiak Bear in which the author re-creates the seasons of the life of “a giant of venerable lineage” [$7.95]. Algonquin Books has published a paper edition of Alex Hawkins’ My Story (and I’m Sticking To It) which sportswriter Dan Jenkins considered “merely the funniest damn book that ever got wrote by an ex-athlete his ownself” [$8.95].
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have a new translation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, the Russian writer’s last towering novel, one long regarded as a zenith of Western art, as well as a story of inexorable power and timeless appeal. Dostoevsky biographer, Joseph Frank, recommends the new translation “to any reader who wishes to come as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as it is possible to reach in another language.” The new edition of The Brothers is a North Point Press publication [$29.95 cloth]. Viking is offering a special 50th anniversary edition of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory with an introduction by John Updike in which Updike notes that this is the novel “generally agreed to be Graham Greene’s masterpiece, the book of his held highest in popular as well as critical esteem” [$25.00 cloth]. The latest addition to the Cambridge Edition of the works of Joseph Conrad is The Secret Agent, edited by Bruce Harkness & S.W. Reid, originally published in 1907 and offering a tale of espionage and terrorism set in Victorian London [$49.50 cloth]. St. Martin’s has published a paperback edition of The Fred Chappell Reader, a collection of narrative and lyrical fictions including a complete novel, Dragon, and substantial portions of four other novels by the North Carolina writer [$13.95]. Louisiana has reprinted The Collected Stories of Caroline Gordon with an introduction by the late Robert Penn Warren, a collection bringing together all the short fiction of a writer whose literary career began in the 1920’s [$16.95 paper]. As a part of its Black Women Writers Series, Beacon Press has a new edition of Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral in which Fauset assays the cultural, racial, and sexual politics in 1920’s New York [$11.95 paper]. A recent Harper Perennial is Armistead Maupin’s Sure of You, a work acclaimed as “remarkable . . .delectable, addictive” by The New York Times Book Review [$10. 95]. As a Bison Book, Nebraska has reprinted Jan Fridegard’s Sacrificial Smoke as translated by Robert F. Bjork, the third volume of a trilogy about Viking times [$9.95]. A recent Fireside Book is Ninotchka Rosca’s State of War: A Novel of Life in the Philippines [$9.95]. Vintage Books has new editions of Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction [$8.95], and Losing Battles [$8.95]. Other recent Vintage reprints include Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, winner of England’s prestigious Booker Prize [$9.95]; Vladimir Nabokov’s The Defense, the third novel by the Russian writer [$8.95]; and Rebecca Goldstein’s The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind [$8.95].
The first edition of Handbook of Russian Literature edited by Victor Terras was published by Yale in 1985 and was the first encyclopedia of its kind in English, covering ten centuries of literature and including nearly 1,000 entries by 106 leading scholars. Said Robert Taylor in his Boston Globe review: “The Handbook is an Eden for browsers, . . .a dependable, illuminating guide.” Yale is now offering a paper edition of the Handbook [$24.95, also available in cloth $55.00]. Another 1985 publication was Louisiana’s The History of Southern Literature edited by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Blyden Jackson, Rayburn S. Moore, Lewis P. Simpson, and Thomas Daniel Young containing some 70 articles by dozens of prominent scholars on every aspect of Southern literature from the mid-1500’s to the early 1980’s. It was the first book of its kind in almost 40 years and is now available in a paperback edition [$16.95]. Harvard has a new edition of The Literary Guide to the Bible, edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, which George Steiner, writing in The New Yorker, called “enlightening, convincing, and finely argued” [$29.95 cloth, $14.95 paper]. Another Harvard publication is Roman Jakobson’s Language in Literature, a study of 20th-century poetics and semiotics [$25.00 cloth, $14.95 paper].
Two classics of the ancient world are Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s The Aeneid, and the translations of each by Robert Fitzgerald are considered among the best ever done. As a part of its Classic Series, Vintage Books has new editions of both Fitzgerald translations [The Odyssey, $7.95; The Aeneid, $7.95]. In the same series Vintage is offering Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, who published his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, in 1926 and launched a renaissance of black writing in America [$9.95]. North Point Press has a new edition of Paul Celan’s Last Poems translated by Katharine Washburn and Margret Guillemin [$9.95 paper]. The latest edition to the Penquin Poets Series is Michael Ryan’s God Hunger, containing what the New York Times Book Review called “thirty-eight masterly poems” [$9.95]. Henry Holt, as a part of its Owl Book Series, has reissued The Garden: New and Selected Poetry and Prose by Russian poet Bella Akhmadulina, translated by F.D. Reeve [$14.95 paper].
The civilization of Spain’s Andalucia is the oldest in the Western World, and it is the subject of Allen Josephs’ White Wall of Spain: The Mysteries of Andalusian Culture. In his foreword in the new edition published by the University of West Florida Press/Pensacola, James A. Michener says, “This book will offer many surprises to those who think they know Andalucia” [$12.95 paper]. Spain is also the subject of J.H. Parry’s The Spanish Seaborne Empire, a classic study of the impact of Spain on the Americas with the Spanish empire in the Western Hemisphere lasting from 1492 until the early 19th century. California recently published a new edition of this history [$12.95 paper].