When Norton originally published Dumbing Down: Essays on the Stripmining of American Culture edited by Katharine Washburn and John Thornton, the book provoked this reaction from critic Neil Postman: it “provides the best picture we have of the declining and embarrassing condition of discourse in America.” Norton now has a paper edition of Dumbing Down [$13.95]. Princeton has republished William Stueck’s The Korean War: An International History in which Stueck argues that by its timing, course, and outcome, the war functioned as a substitute for World War III [$18.95 paper]. Virginia has launched a new series, The Virginia Bookshelf, featuring high quality paperback editions of classic works about the life, landscapes, and people of the Old Dominion. The first two nonfiction titles are respectively Ivor Noël Hume’s The Virginia Adventure; Roanoke to James Towne: An Archaeological and Historical Odyssey [$19.95]; and Donald McCaig’s essay collection, An American Homeplace about the Highland County farm the McCaigs bought after fleeing New York City in 1971 [$14.95]. Recent Yale paperbacks include L. Scott Miller’s An American Imperative: Accelerating Minority Educational Advancement [$40 cloth, $18 paper]; Michael X. Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter’s What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters [$45 cloth, $15 paper]; Inside CIA’s Private World, a collection of declassified articles from the Agency’s internal journal, 1955-1992, selected and edited by H. Bradford Westerfield [$40 cloth, $18 paper]; and Michael S. Sherry’s In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s [$40 cloth, $18 paper]. Louisiana has reprinted Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney’s America’s Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War with 13 color photographs [$14.95 paper].
St. Martin’s is offering a paper edition of Robert Langbaum’s Thomas Hardy in Our Time which critic J. Hillis Miller called “A major book” [$18.95]. North Point Press has come out with what it calls “a classic translation” of the four gospels and the revelation and acts and letters of the apostles in one paperback volume The New Testament translated by American classical scholar and lyric poet, Richard Lattimore [$16]. Yale has a paper edition of Alvin Kernan’s Shakespeare, the King’s Playwright: Theater in the Stuart Court, 1603—1613 [$35 cloth, $15 paper]. Applause Theatre Books has a new, expanded, revised paper edition of Arthur Sainer’s The New Radical Theatre Notebook [$19.95]. Toronto is out with a new edition of Zygmunt G. Baranski and Lino Pertile’s The New Italian Novel [$19.95 paper]. Louisiana has reprinted Donald Pizer’s American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment: Modernism and Place [$12.95].
When Robert Allen Rutland’s James Madison: The Founding Father was published by McMillan in 1987, it had this critical reaction from the Richmond News Leader: Rutland “has put together a one-volume work that is lively, fast-paced, and extremely revealing. At last Madison comes alive on the printed page!. . . Rutland’s story is biography at its best.” Rutland’s biography of Madison is now available as a Missouri paperback [$19.95]. Vespasiano da Bisticci (born 1421) was a Florentine bookseller known as the most celebrated dealer of books and manuscripts of his generation, but the invention of the printing press proved to be too much competition for Vespasiano and he retired to write his memoirs and biographical sketches of his friends and patrons which became The Vespasiano Memoirs: Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century. A new edition of the memoirs is available as part of the Renaissance Society of America Reprint Text series published by Toronto [$22.50]. Johns Hopkins has new editions of two books by the author it proclaims as “Baltimore’s bard of barbs,” namely the incomparable H.L. Mencken. Both are full of his stinging truths and pungent prejudices. The first is Treatise on the Gods and the second is Minority Report [$15.95 each paper]. Genghis Khan: The History of the World-Conqueror was written by a Persian Ata-Malik Juvaini who was in the service of the Mongol governors of northern Persia and knew personally many of the chief actors in the career of Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire (1206—27). Washington has published a paper edition of Genghis Khan translated and edited by J.A. Boyle with an introduction by David O. Morgan [$40 paper]. Recent Louisiana paperback reprints include Glen Jeansonne’s Gerald L.K. Smith: Minister of Hate, a biography of the stormy evangelist [$19.95]; Bruce Clayton’s W.J. Cash: A Life, a biography of the author of The Mind of the South [$13.95]; and David Kenyon Webster’s Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper’s Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich with an introduction by Stephen E. Ambrose [$12.95], Broadway Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell, is out with a paper edition of Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy which the San Francisco Chronicle described as “intimate as a lover’s whisper, honest and true, and [it] vividly captures a sense of place” [$13 paper]. Transaction has republished Milton Hindu’s Celine: The Crippled Giant with a new introduction by the author about the famous and ferocious French anti-Semitic pamphleteer [$18.95 paper]. A new Noonday Press offering is Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Love and Exile: An Autobiographical Trilogy combining three volumes of Singer’s memoirs which are respectively A Little Boy in Search of God; A Young Man in Search of Love; and Lost in America [$16 paper]. Yale has come forth with a paper edition of Elzbieta Ettinger’s Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger, the first book to tell in detail the story of the secret love affair between two of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century [$20 cloth, $10 paper]. Two additions to St. Martin’s Griffin paperback series are Margaret Drabble’s Angus Wilson: A Biography, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year [$19.95], and A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember edited by Mickey Pearlman [$12]. New Vintage books include William Langewiesche’s Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert [$13]. Texas A&M has published a paper edition of Carl Andrew Brannen’s Over There: A Marine in the Great War [$24.95 cloth, $15.95 paper].
Louis Zukofsky (1904—1978) was a native New Yorker who lived there nearly all his life. He was a close friend and younger contemporary of William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, and Ezra Pound, but he received little public attention during his lifetime, though he was regarded by his literary contemporaries as one of the finest writers in the U.S. In recognition of his talent, Johns Hopkins has come out with a paperback edition of Zukofsky’s Complete Short Poetry with a foreword by Robert Creeley [$19.95]. Counterpoint has published a paper edition of Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End, an epic of geology, pre-history, and mythology [$13.50]. Penguin Books has reissued Robert Fagles’ acclaimed translation of Homer’s The Odyssey with an introduction and notes by Bernard Knox [$14.95]. Other recent Penguin books include The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry edited with an introduction by John Silkin [$12.95]; Stephen Dobyns’ Cemetery Nights, a winner of the Melville Cane Award [$14.95]; two additions to the Penguin Classics series are Virgil’s Aeneid translated by John Dryden [$14.95] and Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Complete Poems, edited by William Keach [$15.95]. Oxford has made three additions to its World’s Classics paperback series, respectively John Milton: Selected Poetry [$9.95]; Oscar Wilde: Complete Poetry [$9.95]; and Lord Byron: Selected Poetry [$8.95]. Noonday has a paper reprint of Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott’s Homage to Robert Frost [$11]. Syracuse has published Gay Wilson Allen’s A Reader’s Guide to Walt Whitman [$16.95 paper].
Laura Esquivel’s The Law of Love is described by its publisher, Three Rivers Press, as “a Mexican Midsummer Night’s Dream, a romantic adventure that stretches from the fall of Montezuma’s Mexico to the 23rd century” with an accompanying compact disc that integrates music into the story itself [$16 paper]. A recent addition to Scribner’s Paperback Fiction series is Abigail Thomas’ An Actual Life set in the summer of 1960 [$11]. Berkeley Books has a paper edition of Sherwood Kiraly’s California Rush, which the St. Louis Post Dispatch described as “A rare treat. . .whimsical and delightful” [$12]. An addition to Vintage books is A.S. Byatt’s Babel Tower, in which the Booker prize-winner interweaves the private passions of a large number of characters in 1960’s England [$14]. New additions to Louisiana’s Voices of the South paperback series include Nancy Lemann’s Lives of the Saints [$10.95]; William Humphrey’s The Ordways [$14.95]; Ellen Douglas’ A Family’s Affair [$14.95]; and Max Steele’s Debby [$13.95]. Riverhead Books is offering a special edition of William Golding’s classic 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies with the 1962 introduction by E.M. Forster and biographical and critical notes by E. L. Epstein [$11 paper]. Mariner Books has issued a paper edition of Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop about a widow opening a bookstore in an English seaside town [$11]. Garrett Epps’, The Shad Treatment, a vivid account of Virginia politics during the decline of the Byrd regime in the 1970’s, is the first novel to appear in Virginia’s new paperback series, The Virginia Bookshelf. Epps’ work, published in 1977, received the Lillian Smith Award of the Southern Regional Council [$17.95]. Missouri has reprinted Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s The Bedquilt and Other Stories, edited and with an introduction and afterword by Mark J. Madigan [$16.95 paper]. Recent Noonday Books include Carlos Fuentes’ The Old Gringo [$23].