Thursday, April 30, 2015

Building on 'God Help the Child'

Some scholars may know the satisfaction of having the themes of their work penetrate the mainstream news cycle. Our author Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman has watched acclaimed author Toni Morrison's new book coverage deal with the issues she has studied: colorism, racial hierarchy, and stigma in family and community. Here, Elizabeth writes about how both fiction and scholarship can contribute to a broad conversation about painful issues of race.

Musings on Toni Morrison's God Bless the Child
By Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman
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When I read early publicity that Toni Morrison’s newest book, God Help the Child, was a novel written about a dark-skinned black woman who is brutalized by her mother because of her color, it struck a chord. It resonated with me because my first book, The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families, is a sociological book that will be published later this year addressing similar issues. I relished in imagining that Morrison and I may have vibed on the same conceptual wavelength without knowing it, pondering questions of colorism in black families, and leading us to publish a book on similar topics in the same year. I eagerly pre-ordered Toni Morrison’s new book, with excitement and incredulity … and then fear crept in. As a fledgling sociologist, I thought that Morrison’s book could only mean one thing: the kiss of death for my book. But wait, this was no irrational fear. Anyone who has read Morrison’s work knows that when she gives a theme her treatment, she forfeits the necessity of any more words. She articulates with ease in 150 pages, what I can not accomplish with a modicum of the same impact in 350 pages. Visions of us intellectually vibing were now overcome with the sense that her book would render my book redundant and, at worst, mundane. I had the sinking feeling that Toni Morrison had stolen my thunder.

Immediately after this thought passed through my mind, I was overcome with laughter. A laugh that lasted several times longer than the original thought itself. A laugh that was borne out of how completely and utterly preposterous it was to imagine Morrison “stealing my thunder.” What thunder? All I could do was laugh at the absurdity of this idea, as my passion for reading, my desire to write, and my interest in colorism, all find themselves linked to the reverberations of Morrison’s thunder. My childhood memories of her books on my mother’s bookshelf, the same ones that later migrated to my own shelves trace a more accurate truth – my work is the sociological undulation, a mere residual of her oeuvre. Toni Morrison, literary genius and Nobel Laureate, does not and can not steal anyone’s thunder - She IS thunder! 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Yucatán Wins Two James Beard Awards


Last Friday night, the food world gathered in New York City for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony. Our very own David Sterling walked away with the top book award for Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. Chef Sterling was awarded two medals for his work, 2015 Cookbook of the Year and International Cookbook, and in his speech he confessed to being obsessed with the Amazon rankings of his 6.5 pound, 576-page tome and revealed that it was inspired by a meal of smoky pork belly on the Mexican peninsula.

Read Sterling's guest blog post here.


Listen to Chef Sterling on our podcast:




Well-deserved congratulations to Chef David Sterling! See the full list of winners below.


2015 Book & Journalism Award Winners

The James Beard Foundation would like to acknowledge the generous support of Breville.

Book Awards

Cookbook Hall of Fame

Barbara Kafka

Cookbook of the Year:

Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition
David Sterling
(University of Texas Press)


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hard Landings: Climate Change and Cheap Wine


In observation of the 35th Annual Earth Day on April 22, we asked award-winning writer Seamus McGraw, author of Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change, to combine his signature humor and measured approach to the climate change debate for a guest blog post.

'Hard Landings: A Tale of Cheap Wine, Broken Bones and Climate Change'
By Seamus McGraw

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It wasn’t until weeks later--long after the half-gallon of Carlo Rossi red I had swilled and the painkillers that came later in the night wore off--that I actually felt the impact. Sure, I had some vague recollection of the fall, of trying to hop up on the banister in the atrium of my college dorm, three floors above a flagstone foyer, and of missing it by a good six inches. If I racked my brain while recuperating in my bed at home, I could dimly recall a fleeting Wile E. Coyote moment of clarity as I realized that I had indeed missed. And if I really tried, I could even feel myself plunging ass-first through the air as if I were doing a cannonball down onto the stones.

But that’s all. I had no recollection of hitting bottom, no memory of the thunder clap of savage pain that shot through my whole body as part of my hip snapped. What’s more, I had no memory at all of what happened next; how, in an astonishing display of the power of blind, late-adolescent stupidity, I got up, broken hip and all, and, I’m told by several witnesses, tried to run back upstairs, as if rolling the whole episode back to the beginning and doing exactly what I had done again, only this time a little more gracefully, would erase it.

And then, one night, weeks after the incident, while lying in bed half asleep, it all came back, all of it, unbidden-- the panic as I plummeted, the bone-crushing pain as I hit. It was as if it was happening right then and there. But it was, in a way, worse, because with it came a hot rush of shame, not just for being stupid and arrogant enough to do what I did in the first place, but for being such a coward that I wouldn’t even allow myself to fully feel what it was that I had done until I knew I was safe.
That was years ago, and, to the relief of everybody who knows me, I’ve long since given up the Carlo Rossi. But I’ve found myself thinking back to that event a lot in recent days. Most recently, it was when US Senator Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and perhaps that august body’s most strident voice against doing anything to combat anthropogenic global climate change, strutted into the Senate with a snowball in his hand.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Announcing Information & Culture Special Issue

Our journals department is proud to announce the Information & Culture Special Issue: The Histories of the Internet.


The current issue of Information & Culture—50(2), available in spring 2015—focuses on the topic “Histories of the Internet.” Guest editors Thomas Haigh, Andrew L. Russell, and William H. Dutton explain the purpose of this special issue:

We explore the gap between broad conceptions of the Internet common in daily life and the rather narrow framing of most existing work on Internet history. Looking at both scholarly histories and popular myths, we suggest that the expanding scope of the Internet has created a demand for different kinds of history that capture the development of the many technological and social practices that converged to create today’s Internet-based online world. Finally, we summarize the articles in this special issue that collectively demonstrate that there is more than one history of the Internet.

The six articles in this special issue answer the question: What is the history of the Internet the history of? Topics include popular histories of the Internet’s pioneers, social perceptions of the Internet, networked computing in education, the genesis and development of networks, and the free and open source software movement. One study concerns the case of a small town’s early adoption of computer networking and its ill-fated municipal fiber project. The authors are known area specialists, including Merav Katz-Kimchi, Christian Oggolder, Joy Rankin, Valérie Schafer, Nadine I. Kozak, and Kevin Driscoll.

Individuals can order the single issue 50(2) at a cost of US$22 within the United States, US$35 in Canada, and US$40 international. Annual subscription for Volume 50 (2015) includes four issues. For information on ordering, see: utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/journals/information-culture


Information & Culture publishes historical studies of topics that fall under information studies as it is practiced by the interdisciplinary information schools. The journal is edited at the School of Information at UT Austin. For more information about Information & Culture, see: infoculturejournal.org/



Friday, April 3, 2015

UT Press at the San Antonio Book Festival

On Saturday, April 11, the University of Texas Press and 8 of our authors will enjoy the 3rd annual San Antonio Book Festival at the Central Library and environs in downtown San Antonio. We'll have a booth in the Exhibitor Tent with tons of titles for sale at a great discount. There are a lot of great authors in attendance (Maureen Corrigan! Neal Pollack! Luis Alberto Urrea!), so we’ve distilled our authors' appearances into a single UT Press schedule.

Get The SABF App For Your Smart Phone. Just go the App Store on your device, download "Eventbase Free" and click on the San Antonio Book Festival tab.


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10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
The Face of Texas
Location: The Studio (Southwest School of Art, Ursuline Campus, across Augusta St. from Library)
Author: Michael O’Brien


A two-time recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged, Michael O’Brien has photographed subjects ranging from small-town heroes to presidents. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Life, National Geographic, Texas Monthly, the London Sunday Times, and the book Hard Ground, which pairs his portraits of the homeless with Tom Waits’s powerful poetry. O’Brien’s photographs are in the permanent collections around the United States, including the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Click here for more info about Michael O'Brien.


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11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Texas on the Table: People, Places and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State
Location: The Central Market Cooking Tent (Southwest School of Art, in the southwest corner of the Ursuline Campus parking lot)

Author: Terry Thompson-Anderson

Thompson-Anderson is the author of several previous cookbooks, including the best-selling Cajun-Creole Cooking, Texas on the Plate, The Texas Hill Country: A Food and Wine Lover’s Paradise, and Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes, coauthored with Frances Strange. She also writes a regular wine feature for Edible Austin magazine. Thompson-Anderson has taught over 20,000 students at cooking schools all over the country and does restaurant/wine consulting and cooking events around Texas. Her latest book, Texas on the Table: People, Places & Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State has been nominated for a James Beard Award.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Q&A with New JHS Editor Annette Timm

Mathew Kuefler, the editor of the Journal of the History of Sexuality for the past ten years, is passing the torch to Annette Timm, an associate professor of history at the University of Calgary, Canada. A contributor to past issues of the JHS, Timm has published articles for other journals, chapters for books, and her own works, The Politics of Fertility in Twentieth-Century Berlin and Gender, Sex, and the Shaping of Modern Europe: A History from the French Revolution to the Present Day, which she co-authored with Joshua A. Sanborn. 
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Her current work in progress is Lebensborn: Myth, Memory, and the Sexualization of the Nazi Past. Timm has co-organized conferences such as the 2011 “Popular Sex: Mass Media and Sexuality in Germany,” which was combined with PopSex!, an exhibition of archives from Berlin’s early twentieth-century Institute for Sexual Science and original work by artists in Calgary and Berlin; and the 2007 “Democracy and Intimacy: Toward a Moral History of Postwar Europe.”

To help readers learn more about the new editor of the Journal of the History of Sexuality, I conducted an interview with Annette Timm. She discusses her scholarly background, the future of the journal, and the important role of academic journals.

Could you tell us about your academic background, and how your research has prepared you for your new role as editor of the Journal of the History of Sexuality?


I received my B.A. in history from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and both 

Annette Trim
my M.A. and Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Chicago. When I began writing my dissertation, I was most interested in the history of health care. (This certainly had something to do with the experience of being a Canadian in the U.S. during Clinton’s first administration.) But my interest in eugenics and population politics in Germany— the various efforts of twentieth-century regimes to increase the birth rate— quickly led me to issues of sexuality. I had chosen to focus the dissertation on all aspects of these policies before conception because I wanted to be able to employ a truly relational approach to gender with an equal focus on men and women. But focusing on everything leading up to conception of course meant focusing on sexual choices. I looked at venereal disease control and marriage counseling, because health officials believed that these were the areas of health care where they could exert the most influence on individual Germans’ choices about when, with whom, and with what intentions they should have sex. (Before penicillin, venereal diseases frequently caused sterility and congenital disease, and in my time period, marriage counseling was primarily eugenic.) In revising the dissertation into a book, I refined my argument to insist that these efforts to create a sense of duty around sexual choices were central to the social construction of the German citizen during most of the twentieth century. Turning the “personal is political” slogans of the sixties and seventies on their heads, I argued that it was only after sex was somewhat reliably separated from reproduction that the justification for the worst intrusions into private decisions in the sexual sphere ended. Sex, at least for heterosexuals, could become private again. In Germany, this story was intertwined with the process of overcoming two dictatorships and reestablishing rights to individual bodily integrity. But I believe that similar stories could be told elsewhere and that the demise of a notion of the duty to reproduce was one step on the road to sexual freedoms and family rights for gays and lesbians. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

William Goyen’s Six Women

It's been said that behind every great man is a great woman. For William Goyen, a Texas writer of startling originality whose work attracted the praise of Joyce Carol Oates, there were six women who deeply impacted his life of writing. In honor of Women's History Month, we asked author Clark Davis (It Starts With Trouble: William Goyen and the Life of Writing, May
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2015) to reflect on the strong women who influenced Goyen's life and work.

William Goyen’s Six Women

By Clark Davis, author of the forthcoming It Starts With Trouble: William Goyen and the Life of Writing

In the mid-1970s, at what was arguably the lowest point of his life, William Goyen began writing a letter to his old friend and fellow Texan, Margo Jones. Goyen and Jones had met in 1937 when he was a graduate student at Rice and Jones was assembling the group that would become the Houston Community Players. Their friendship continued through the 1940s and early 1950s when Jones made her reputation as an innovative Broadway director, most notably of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie and Summer and Smoke. By all accounts, they were very close—two East Texans (she from Livingston, he from Trinity), each with a high artistic drive and fervid personality.

There was nothing unusual, in other words, about Goyen writing to an old friend, particularly when he was in distress . . . except for the fact that Jones had died in 1955. Alcohol played a role in her early death, though the direct cause was carbon tetrachloride poisoning: she had fallen asleep on a newly cleaned carpet in her hotel in Dallas. (Goyen had been with her a few nights before and felt helpless and guilty in the face of her depression and drinking.) In the twenty years since, he himself had become an alcoholic and not long before writing Margo had attempted suicide in a hotel in Newport Beach, California. Now, as he remembered her “Texas-girl sweetness and . . . full-faced smile” he saw their lives as parallel: she was his “sister—demonic, rapturous insane in booze and in reverie and golden dream,” and writing to her was his chance “to speak amends of love.”

This letter to Margo Jones became part of Goyen’s never-completed autobiography, an interwoven collection of imagined correspondence addressed to several older women who had been vital presences in his life. “They were women of style and fashion, art, theatre, Letters,” he explained to one potential publisher; “all seemed . . . to be searching for, enjoying, or fleeing, an image of life that was counter to the conventional one of woman as Serving Wife, Listener Only, Mother.” The list included Frieda Lawrence, whom Goyen had come to know in Taos, New Mexico in 1946. A legendary and sometimes scandalous figure, she had left her husband and three children in 1912 for D. H. Lawrence, the author of The White Peacock, eventually moving to the US and settling with him at Kiowa Ranch, high on Lobo Mountain in Taos County. Some years after Lawrence's death in 1930 she began to spend most of her time at her house in El Prado, just a few miles from Taos Plaza.

Dorothy Brett, Frieda Lawrence, and Goyen in Taos.
Source: Harry Ransom Center, 
the University of Texas at Austin.
It was during this period that she met the thirty-one-year-old Navy veteran who was waiting tables at the Sagebrush Inn. In the winter of 1946 Goyen and Walter Berns, his fellow officer from the carrier USS Casablanca, planned to drive from Texas to California where they would live and write in the San Francisco area. They were captivated, however, by snow-covered Taos and decided to stay, attracted more by the landscape, as Goyen later admitted, than the literary community. When the manager of the restaurant introduced him as an aspiring writer to the table that included Frieda, Mabel Dodge Luhan, the printer Spud Johnson, and Tennessee Williams, Goyen was both embarrassed and captivated. A short time later Frieda invited him and Berns to dinner, letting them look through some of Lawrence’s manuscripts, and giving them advice that Goyen seems never to have forgotten. He described the scene in a letter to an old friend in Houston, explaining that Frieda was “a grand old woman, like a peasant Queen, a marvelous smiling face and deep husky Germanic voice, and she answers every question with a lusty and throaty, ‘Ya!’” She “was really inspired several times; and once, as a kind of valedictory, she leaned her head back, looked up toward the ceiling and said, ‘And now . . . I am old and you are young. I say to you that you must fight and refuse to compromise, refuse absolutely to compromise. I lived with a fighter and I know what it is to fight. . . .’”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

'Books that Made Me a Feminist'

To celebrate International Women's Day (and Pretty/Funny coming out in paperback), we're
re-blogging our friends at bookscombined.com to feature our author Linda Mizejewski on the most formative texts of her career as a gender studies scholar.

Books that Made Me a Feminist
By Linda Mizejewski
Originally posted on bookscombined.com

The books that made me a feminist were the books that got me into trouble. I lost a lover, alienated friends, angered students, got into arguments with teachers—all because of books that followed through on the clichés: something clicked, a light snapped on. But sometimes the click turns into a slammed door, and what we find in the bright light is something we hoped not to see.

When I was in college in the early 1970s, the women in my dorm were passing around books that nobody assigned in classes—Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963) and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying (1973). We were fascinated with the anger of the narrators who—unlike the heroines of our reading lists (Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Jane Eyre), didn’t believe that marriage or love or even sex (Jong’s famous “zipless fuck”) was the answer to their seething discontent.

In an English class, a professor told us that novels about women ended with the main characters married or dead. That was the larger cultural sentiment about women, too. But this was also the era of free love and the birth control pill. The Bell Jar and Fear of Flying struck a chord because these heroines were caught up in mixed messages. One of my all-time favorite literary images is Plath’s alter-ego character Esther tossing designer clothes from a rooftop in Manhattan. The things in her life that were supposed to make her pretty and special instead were making her crazy. The arguments started when I went to graduate school and was told these books weren’t “real” literature.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Five Myths about Corpus Christi

What U.S. state has the most tall tales and great American legends? Of course Texans would say Texas, with our colorful history full of personalities like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie at the Alamo, but often myths and legends need the tempering of history to get to the truth. We asked Professor Alan Lessoff to draw from his new book Where Texas Meets the Sea: Corpus Christi and Its History to dispel some of the myths about Corpus Christi.

Five Myths about Corpus Christi
by Alan Lessoff, author of Where Texas Meets the Sea: Corpus Christi and Its History

I subtitled my book Corpus Christi and Its History because I was less interested in recounting the city in a narrative and detached way than I was in understanding the many
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ways that Corpus Christians write, talk, and argue about their history and how those varied perspectives shape the city now. Sophisticated historians know that their job is not merely to use facts to disprove myths, though one has to do that sometimes. Myths are themselves historical forces that require study, since they serve as vehicles through which people express their identity, values, and goals. Anyone who has taken a halfway decent sophomore humanities class knows that true stories take on mythic qualities when people wrap them in epic grandeur. Much of Corpus Christi’s significance to Texas history starts from its having been a place where Texas’s two largest true myths came against one another: the south-to-north Hispanic Texan epic of explorers and empresarios and the east-to-west Anglo Texan lore of the frontier, ranchers, rangers, and town boosters. Within the context of those two epics, numerous other stories have appeared, some of which veered into myths in the sense of misconceptions that need clearing up. Where Texas Meets the Sea treats each of these misconceptions respectfully, because they meant a lot to the people who adhered to them and revealed much about them and their city:



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Explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda named Corpus Christi Bay on Corpus Christi Day in 1519. This story, which one still sometimes finds in tourist publications, is believable only if one discards all normal rules of historical evidence. No written record of the Álvarez de Pineda expedition has survived. The first Spanish document that refers to the bay by name dates from the 1740s, and that document assigns it another name. The earliest documented use of “Corpus Christi Bay” dates from 1766, in connection to the colonizing expedition that finally set up a continuous Spanish presence in the vicinity. In a 2011 article, the Corpus Christi librarian and historian Herb Canales summarized the evidence pointing to the reasonable conclusion that someone in that 1760s expedition named the bay. On top of all that, before the 1920s, local accounts sometimes claimed that members of France’s ill-fated LaSalle expedition named the bay on Corpus Christi Day in 1685, a provenance only slightly more plausible than Álvarez de Pineda. As my book recounts, Anglo promoters, in keeping with the early twentieth-century fashion for Spanish colonial romance, spread the Álvarez de Pineda story in the 1920s and 1930s. Decades later, Hispanic heritage activists became the story’s guardians, in part as a vehicle for expressing ethnic pride and dramatizing Hispanics’ prior claim upon the region. In print—and on the Pineda monument in Westside Corpus Christi—supporters have usually been careful to label the story a “legend,” but through the 1990s, people would tell one in conversation that they believed it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Austin’s Homegrown Sound

"Like a playlist that charts the musical arc of a certain time and place," writes arts critic Jeanne Claire van Ryzin of the Austin American-Statesman, “Homegrown provides the visual soundtrack to an Austin as it emerged into a progressive music town." Well, now 
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there's an actual soundtrack to accompany the book and exhibitionHomegrown: Austin Music Posters 1967 to 1982. Our Spotify playlist is like a crash course in the diverse music scenes of Austin's heyday.

When most people think about the Austin music scene of the late 1960s and 70s, they think of psychedelia, classic rock, or progressive country, but the music posters covered in Homegrown include lesser-known Austin scenes like blues and punk. So, yes, of course Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Doug Sahm are on our playlist, but so are acts like Big Joe Williams, Walter Page, and Clifton Chenier.

Follow this playlist on Spotify for an indispensable aural history of Austin from the late 1960s up until the 1980s. As we all know, the music of the eighties is an entirely different story.



"Starvation"Golden Dawn: This cult-status psychedelia band from Austin still plays Psych Fest.

"Rainy Sunday Morning"
—The Thingies: An obscure band that was only in Austin for about five months before their manager got in trouble with the IRS.

"Mojo Hand"—Lightnin' Hopkins: This Texas bluesman recorded more albums than any other blues musician. Read all about his life and music in the award-winning book Mojo Hand by Timothy J. O'Brien and David Ensminger.

"You're Gonna Miss Me"
—The 13th Floor Elevators: Often credited as one of the first psychedelic bands in the history of rock n' roll (according to Wikipedia), this seminal band featured guitarist and vocalist Roky Erickson and influenced acts from ZZ Top to Primal Scream. This song leads the High Fidelity soundtrack. They're playing their 50th year reunion on May 10! Visit austinpsychfest.com for more information.

"Homesick Armadillo Blues"—Shiva's Headband: House band of the Vulcan Gas Company of the 1960s and part founders of the Armadillo World Headquarters, these guys still perform in Austin and were crucial to Austin's legendary music scene.

"CIA Man"—The Fugs: The Fugs protested war through satirical songs and staged "The Real Woodstock Festival" to fight against the commercialization of Woodstock '94. This song is featured in the Coen brother's movie Burn After Reading.

"Sunday Morning"—The Velvet Underground: Andy Warhol challenged Lou Reed to write a song about paranoia and this is Reed's answer to Warhol's challenge. It's a pretty fitting subject for the heady Sixties.


http://utexaspress.tumblr.com/post/111488414402/far-out-man-from-homegrown-austin-music-posters

"Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo"—Johnny Winter: This earlier version was later recorded by Rick Derringer and hit #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Johnny Winter originally thought this song was a little corny, but Winter's version is certainly bluesier than Derringer's.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Book that Outraged a Nation

There's a new book blog that we're thrilled to have our authors contributing to: Books Combined. Started by Combined Academic Publishers, the goal of the blog is to facilitate a conversation among scholars about the importance of books. From bookscombined.com:
This blog isn’t about selling books – it’s about understanding the power of books. 
Better than anyone, we think scholars understand books’ potential, and how books, as repositories for ideas, can change us, and our perspective on the world. In bookscombined.com we’re asking scholars to write about the books that have had a significant impact on their lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In their latest post, our author Lance deHaven Smith (Conspiracy Theory in America, 2013) has written about the biggest influences of his career: a shocking story his grandfather told him as a child, and a pioneering American conspiracy scholar, Charles Beard, who confirmed the controversial conspiracy theory behind America's entry into World War II.


Bullet holes remaining from the 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor.
Photo taken by Howard Gribble

The Book that Outraged a Nation
By Lance deHaven-Smith
Originally posted on bookscombined.com

I began to study conspiracy theories after learning that many of them have turned out to be true. One of the most shocking is that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew when and where Japan was going to strike in the Pacific but intentionally failed to warn U.S. military commanders at Pearl Harbor.

In letting Japan surprise U.S. forces, Roosevelt’s motive was to bring the United States into World War II and foment social panic and outrage to fuel support for the war effort.

My grandfather told me about this when I was five years old. He had been wounded in World War II at Anzio during the U.S. invasion of Italy. He thought America’s top leaders cared little about the nation’s ordinary soldiers. In high school, I learned by happenstance that my grandfather’s story was not mere speculation. I came across a book by Charles Beard that explained and documented Roosevelt’s intrigue and deceit.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring 2015 Preview

This spring and summer, UT Press will publish significant works in photographyfilm and media studies, architecture, Latin American StudiesMiddle Eastern Studies, and Latina/o Studiesincluding a compelling chronicle of the dangers, fears, shared histories and aspirations that bind Mexicans and Americans despite the U.S./Mexico border walls.
  
Below is a preview of our spring books, with videos and interior images. Browse our full catalog here or below:

By Seamus McGraw

"This title deserves a wide and varied readership; it has the power to change minds.”

Booklist starred review

“Seamus McGraw takes on an immense and cacophonous subject—climate change—and does so in a way that avoids the usual polarities of denial versus panic. He does an excellent job of seeking out interested American parties who don’t typically have a voice in the debate and makes a case that leadership on the issue probably won’t come from the conventional class of ‘leaders’ (namely, Congress). . . . His pragmatism and his refusal to live in a world of ideals make this a worthy project. . . . It deserves an audience of good readers.”

—Tom Zoellner, author of Train: Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World and The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire
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Music ]
By Eddie Huffman

“Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs.”
—Bob Dylan, Huffington Post

“The unlikely success of the reluctant performer makes for fascinating reading.”
Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Beyond the Forest Q&A with Loli Kantor

To mark the start of Hanukkah, we asked photographer Loli Kantor to answer some questions about her new book, Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004–2012. Kantor is the daughter of Polish Jews who met and married in Munich after the war. Born in France and raised in Israel, she has spent the last thirty years living stateside in Fort Worth, Texas. In the early 2000s, she was compelled to set out in search of her roots. In the book's introduction, Anda Rottenberg sets up the devastating details that spurred Kantor's travels in Eastern Europe over an eight-year period:
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"The face of her mother, who died in childbirth, is something familiar only from photographs. Of her father, she knows his place of birth and his short, professional CV, most likely written for the U.S. State Department and thus omitting the details of his war experiences....she knew little of the historical landscape from which her parents emerged, the territory of Central-Eastern Europe—stretching from the western borders of prewar Poland to the line connecting Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kursk in the east, Tallinn in the north, and Crimea in the south—and aptly described by Timothy Snyder as the 'bloodlands.' From 1933 to 1945 this region witnessed the deaths of 14 million innocent people, including women, children, and the elderly. Up until 1948 it also experienced mass forced displacement of whole populations (Jews, Roma, Poles, Germans, and Rusyns), as well as the “voluntary” exile of those who hoped to save their lives or improve their fate."
Kantor's photo-essay is a very moving account of her personal journey to reconcile incredible loss with hope, faith, and community. Given recent events in the area, we took the opportunity to ask her about what Jewish communities now under Russian rule  in the Crimea region are coping.

We wish you and yours a Happy Hanukkah. Chag Chanukah sameach!


Q: The plates in the book progress from stark black-and-white images to colorful, people and food–filled scenes, almost winter to spring. How does that evoke what you experienced in your travels and time spent in these communities?

The transition from black-and-white to color, from stark to bright does reflect my disposition at the beginning of the project. I made my first trip in November 2005, purposefully to have this stark, cold, and snowy atmosphere in the works, using black-and-white film. This was partly intentional and was also my state of mind about the place of Jewish presence and absence in Eastern Europe.

Block 11 | Auschwitz, 2005 | Poland

Thursday, December 11, 2014

5 Things You Need to Know about "Boyhood"

**Update: Congratulations to the entire Boyhood team for the three Golden Globe wins! **

To celebrate Boyhood's five Golden Globe nominations, here are five very important things that you need to know about Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Congratulations to Rick Linklater (nominated for Best Director, Best Screenplay), Patricia Arquette (nominated for Best Supporting Actress), Ethan Hawke (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), and to the entire cast and crew for the Best Motion Picture, Drama nomination. We'll be watching on January 11!

1
The Beatles' The Black Album is real. Late in the film, Ethan Hawke’s father character presents Mason (Ellar Coltrane) with “a family heirloom that money couldn’t buy,” The Beatles’ The Black Album. A three-volume mega mix-tape that collects the best of McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr from their solo careers. Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater collaborated on making the track list of The Black Album a reality. Here’s a sample of the first few songs:

     Disc 1: 
1. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Band on the Run” 


2. George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord” 


3. John Lennon feat. The Flux Fiddlers & the Plastic Ono Band, “Jealous Guy” 


4. Ringo Starr, “Photograph”


For the complete list check out Indiewire’s full write up on The Black Album: The Post-Beatles Black Album From Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Follow us on Spotify for our 3-part playlist! 

2
There's more to the haircut scene than you might think. In preparation for a scene midway through the movie, Richard Linklater asked Ellar Coltrane to refrain from cutting his hair for a year.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Life in the Bronx by Martin Dones





The Bronx of the 1970s and '80s is not the Bronx of today, but the issues affecting urban youth—poverty, drug abuse, violence, and police aggression—haven't magically gone away. Recent racial tensions between police and minority communities in the aftermath of Eric Garner and Michael Brown have brought widespread media attention to the problematic ways some law enforcement behave in urban neighborhoods across the country.

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Photographer Stephen Shames' new book Bronx Boys includes an arresting essay by Martin Dones, a Puerto Rican kid who insured Shames gained the trust he needed to photograph life in the Bronx. Dones painfully articulates the truth of trying to survive and have a life in a rough area rife with gang violence. His story is a powerful account of the brutal cycle the young and marginalized find themselves trapped in: no money, little access to quality education, and no trust in the police. We have excerpted part of his essay below. There is much more to his story, and an additional essay by José "Poncho" Muñoz in the book.

We're so proud that Bronx Boys was named one of the 27 photobooks that defined 2014 by Time Magazine: TIME Picks the Best Photobooks of 2014 

My Memories
By Martin Dones

I don’t know if you remember this cop from the Bronx named Officer Jet. President Clinton gave him an award. Well, it was in the news and everything. A journalist ran around with him. The New York Times Magazine wrote an article about our block and they gave them all nicknames, like Beefcake, Beefhead. He told how bad they were. He said that they made $100,000 a week. They made enough money, but not that much. He told the story the way he thinks the story went. It’s just what he assumes.

This is the real story on how everything happened. How they cut the crack. How the drugs came out of LO’s mother’s house. About their machine guns—their AK47s and M16s. How they had their hands on some real high-power ammunition. How they had enough for a war if anybody came down for it.

This is my story. I’ve been on the street, got tangled in drugs, been in the gangs. I lived through violence—murder, stabbings, fights. The streets helped me learn all the mistakes that I had to learn. I’m sorry that I had to learn them that way, but I had to.

I was a dead man who got lucky.

It’s hard to get out of the ghetto. The ghetto could be fine. You could be raised there and go to college. It’s just the violence—the way things evolved from fistfights to gunfights. Eventually it soaks into you. You learn what you live.

My childhood contributed—the drugs that my mother did. To this day she does drugs. I don’t have a mother. I just have a “mother” who gave birth to me. I have a father, but I’ve only known him since I was twenty-three. As a kid I was mad at my mom. I was mad at the things around me. I’d go out in the street, knowing that I can’t hit my mother, and want to punch somebody in the face—just to get the anger off of me. It’s like you’re locked in a room and you have to do something.

Then again, I had people who were showing me go to school. Telling me, “Do what you have to do. Forget about the streets.”

I’ve known Steve since I was ten years old, and I’m forty-five now. He played a major part in keeping me alive. So did my godparents, Rocky and Connie of the Boys Club, teaching me woodworking and magic, taking me into their home, sometimes giving me the only meal I had that day.

So I had two directions. I had to choose which way I wanted to go. Whether I wanted to go to jail and die or live my life and be happy with my family.

I chose to go with my family and just be a normal person.

Connie once told me, “That’s what life is all about. We’re doing nothing else in life but collecting memories, because after all is said and done, when we’re gone, what do you remember?”

These are my memories.

My First Memory


My first memory is still as clear as a picture: my cousin being murdered. I didn’t actually see him being murdered, but I heard the thud of his body hitting the pavement. That death sound is the first thing I remember. Thud. I jump awake, startled, and everybody is screaming. My mother lies disheveled next to me on the bed, fainted. Everybody is on top of her: “Give her air.” I hop out of bed and run toward the window. That’s where all the action is.

My four-year-old eyes see the playground of the school I will soon attend, every day walking past my memories. A white blanket lies on the black asphalt. A cop lifts the blanket off a body and my cousin’s face, black and blue and all swelled up. He is naked. My mother screams, “Get away from the window.” That is all, but it is enough to fill my head. I still dream about it.

It comes like a flash, without warning while I’m watching TV or walking. Flash. I see his bruised, swollen face, his naked body as the cop pulls off the blanket. It will be with me till the day I die. It is my first memory, one of my highlights growing up.