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How Red Turned Blue in the Green Mountain State
This is the story of one of the most exciting and important periods in Vermont history, and of the man most responsible for shaping it During Philip Hoff's six years as governor of the Green Mountain State (1963–1969), the politics, demographics, economics and government structure of Vermont changed in major and long-lasting ways, and a new liberal tradition took hold. He was an activist governor, pushing new ideas, concepts and programs and challenging the idea that Vermont governors should be caretakers in the way that his predecessors had been. Hoff very much believed that government was and should be the primary force in bringing about social change, saying that “Every significant decision of our time is going to be made in the governmental arena.” He was quick to support efforts to modernize government operations that he considered obsolete and inefficient. But his influence on the state was profound and long lasting. At the time he left office in January 1969, the Rutland Herald predicted that, “it will be impossible to turn back the clock to the political era of caretaker governors.” Hoff himself left office believing that his six years as an activist governor finally “got Vermont off the dime.” Bill Kearns put it more bluntly, saying that Hoff “picked up the state by the back of the neck and gave it a damned good, much needed shaking.”
Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and the Battle for the Soul of Modern Art
In the fateful year of 1913, events in New York and Paris launched a great public rivalry between the two most consequential artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. The New York Armory Show art exhibition unveiled Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, a "sensation of sensations" that prompted Americans to declare Duchamp the leader of cubism, the voice of modern art. In Paris, however, the cubist revolution was reaching its peak around Picasso. In retrospect, these events form a crossroads in art history, a moment when two young bohemians adopted entirely opposite views of the artist, giving birth to the two opposing agendas that would shape all of modern art.
Today, the museum-going public views Pablo Picasso as the greatest figure in modern art. Over his long lifetime, Picasso pioneered several new styles as the last great painter in the Western tradition. In the rarefied world of artists, critics, and collectors, however, the most influential artist of the last century was not Picasso, but Marcel Duchamp: chess player, prankster, and a forefather of idea-driven dada, surrealism, and pop art. Picasso and the Chess Player is the story of how Picasso and Duchamp came to define the epochal debate between modern and conceptual art--a drama that features a who's who of twentieth-century art and culture, including Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. In telling the story, Larry Witham weaves two great art biographies into one tumultuous century.
The porch, whether simple or grand, evokes feelings of welcome, comfort, and nostalgia in all of us, yet there has been little published on the history of this omnipresent architectural feature. This book examines how porches in their many forms have evolved in the United States and Canada through innovations, adaptations, and revivals. Covering formal porches and verandas, as well as the many informal vernacular types, this book proffers insights into broad cultural customs and patterns, as well as regional preferences and usage.
Lavishly illustrated with contemporary and historic photographs, Porches of North America provides a chronological and typological framework for identifying historic porches. All those who love to while away afternoons on a favorite porch will find this architectural history delightful as well as informative.
Environmental Loss and America's Iconic Fish
The angler's dream of fishing pristine waters in unspoiled country for sleek, healthy trout has turned fishing into a form of theater. It is a manufactured experience--much to the detriment of our rivers and streams. Americans' love of trout has reached a level of fervor that borders on the religious. Federal and state agencies, as well as nongovernmental lobbying groups, invest billions of dollars on river restoration projects and fish-stocking programs. Yet, their decisions are based on faulty logic and risk destroying species they are tasked with protecting. River ecosystems are modified with engineered structures to improve fishing, native species that compete with trout are eradicated, and nonnative invasive game fish are indiscriminately introduced, genetically modified, and selectively bred to produce more appealing targets for anglers--including the freakishly contrived "golden trout."
The Quest for the Golden Trout is about looking at our nation's rivers with a more critical eye--and asking more questions about both historic and current practices in fisheries management.
The Atlantic Monthly and Its Writers, 1857-1925
A record of Atlantic Monthly authors reads like a Who's Who of American literature. The magazine's stable of contributors included Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Frederick Douglass, Louisa May Alcott, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Henry Adams, Frank Norris, Jack London, Henry James, Owen Wister, Robert Frost, and many others.
In Republic of Words, Susan Goodman brilliantly captures this emerging culture of arts, ideas, science, and literature of an America in its adolescence, as filtered through the intersecting lives and words of the best and brightest writers of the day. Through this lens, Goodman examines the life of the magazine from its emergence in 1857 through the 1920s.
A Combat Medic in Ramadi, Iraq
The National Guardsman, the citizen soldier called upon to fight for this nation in a time of war, is one of the least understood -- and perhaps one of the most compelling -- figures of the Iraq War. Saber's Edge is the story of a middle-aged Vermont firefighter called upon to be a soldier in the worst place on earth -- Ramadi, Iraq. In a few short weeks Thomas A. Middleton went from being a suburban dad to a combat medic traveling between platoons, filling in for other medics and engaging in some of the fiercest and most crucial fighting of the war.
This is the war as experienced from the ground level: days of tedium interspersed with the adrenalin of combat; moments of lighthearted laughter broken by the sorrow of loss. This is also the story of the unique wartime perspective of our guardsmen. Unlike the raw, unformed young recruit, the mature guardsman often comes with the burdens of family, experience, and a developed sense of self. Accordingly, Sgt. Middleton's story chronicles the inner conflict created by his long-time professional role as a healer and his newfound life as a warrior in the urban battlefields of Iraq. Thrust into a culture and theater of war that he is little equipped or trained for, the author tries to make sense of his actions. Coarsened by combat and increasingly disdainful of the local population, he receives solace and insight from his life-long faith and ultimately emerges as a man who understands his role in the world.
Saber's Edge is also the story of the Green Mountain Boys of Task Force Saber: a story of comradeship and communion amid fierce street fighting in a crucial theater of the Iraq War (the eventual site of the "Al Anbar Awakening"). Based on the author's first-hand experiences and interviews with other soldiers, Saber's Edge presents a riveting account of modern urban warfare and the inspiring story of one man reconciling his actions in warfare.
Women's Strategic Use of Humor
Published by Viking in 1991 and issued as a paperback through Penguin Books in 1992, Snow White became an instant classic for both academic and general audiences interested in how women use humor and what others (men) think about funny women. Barreca, who draws on the work of scholars, writers, and comedians to illuminate a sharp critique of the gender-specific aspects of humor, provides laughs and provokes arguments as she shows how humor helps women break rules and occupy center stage. Barreca's new introduction provides a funny and fierce, up-to-the-minute account of the fate of women's humor over the past twenty years, mapping what has changed in our culture--and questioning what hasn't.
The personal reflections and insights of one professor and writer on the experience of teaching at the “poorest college in America” Since 1986, Robert Klose has taught biology at a “small, impoverished, careworn” college in central Maine. Located on a former military base, the school became first the South Campus of the University of Maine, or SCUM, and later, Penobscot Valley Community College, then Bangor Community College, and most recently University College of Bangor. Despite its improved nomenclature, University College of Bangor remains an open-admissions environment at which “one never knows what’s going to come in over the transom.” Klose’s nontraditional students have included, in addition to single parents and veterans, the homeless, the abused, ex-cons, and even a murderer (who was otherwise “a very nice person”). Chronicling his experiences teaching these diverse students, Klose describes with equal doses of care and wry wit those who are profoundly unfit for college, their often inadequate command of the lingua franca, and the alacrity with which they seize upon the paranormal (the three-legged woman) while expressing skepticism about mainstream science. He reflects on the decline of reading for enjoyment and the folly of regarding email as a praiseworthy substitute for expository writing. He details what works in the classroom, identifies what has failed, and relates stories of the absurd, the sublime, and the unanticipated, such as one student’s outburst following a discussion of evolution: “For what you have taught today you shall be damned to everlasting fires of hell!” Tempering thoughtfulness with a light touch and plenty of humor, these essays prove that teaching, an “imperfect occupation,” remains a “special profession.”
Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy on Cape Cod
The Cape as evoked and experienced by a legendary literary couple Edmund Wilson (1895–1972) and Mary McCarthy (1912–1989), famed authors, literary critics, libertines, and leftists, were married for seven years and had one child together, Reuel K. Wilson. While bringing forward new biographical revelations, as well as texts that have never been published before, Reuel K. Wilson chronicles his parents’ lives on Cape Cod, together and apart, while examining their relationships with the landscape around them, both human and physical. The book combines biography, cultural history, and literary analysis in an effort to, as the author writes, “impart a sense of the two protagonists’ flesh, blood, nerves, and determination to make an artistic synthesis from observation and experience. If they recreate the place, my role has been to recreate them in it.”