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Two Years in a Tiny House
In this second book in his Scratch Flat Chronicles, John Hanson Mitchell tells how he set out to recreate Henry David Thoreau’s two years at Walden Pond in a replica of Thoreau’s cabin. Mitchell lived off the grid, without running water or electricity, in a tiny house not half a mile from a major highway and in the shadow of a massive new computer company. Nevertheless, his contact with wildlife, the changing seasons, and the natural world equaled and even surpassed Thoreau’s.
Hugely popular with the international community of Thoreau followers when it was first published, this book will now be essential reading for the growing community of people who are interested in living in a tiny house, fully experiencing the natural world, or finding self-sufficiency in an increasingly plugged-in society.
Charles Ives, the Nostalgic Rebel
Mad Music is the story of Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954), the innovative American composer who achieved international recognition, but only after he'd stopped making music. While many of his best works received little attention in his lifetime, Ives is now appreciated as perhaps the most important American composer of the twentieth century and father of the diverse lines of Aaron Copland and John Cage. Ives was also a famously wealthy crank who made millions in the insurance business and tried hard to establish a reputation as a crusty New Englander. To Stephen Budiansky, Ives's life story is a personification of America emerging as a world power: confident and successful, yet unsure of the role of art and culture in a modernizing nation. Though Ives steadfastly remained an outsider in many ways, his life and times inform us of subjects beyond music, including the mystic movement, progressive anticapitalism, and the initial hesitancy of turn-of-the-century-America modernist intellectuals. Deeply researched and elegantly written, this accessible biography tells a uniquely American story of a hidden genius, disparaged as a dilettante, who would shape the history of music in a profound way.
Making use of newly published letters--and previously undiscovered archival sources bearing on the longstanding mystery of Ives's health and creative decline--this absorbing volume provides a definitive look at the life and times of a true American original.
Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)
Make Mine a Double pours together a collection of witty, intelligent, and provocative pieces about women and their beverages of choice. Edited by humorist and academic mahatma Gina Barreca, the twenty-eight original essays here come from a diverse community of voices from ages twenty-one to seventy-nine, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon, Wendy Liebman, Amy Bloom, Liza Donnelly, Nicole Hollander, Beth Jones, Dawn Lundy Martin, and many others.
Equal parts paean to spirits, an open discussion of drinking (or not drinking), and a call to feminists everywhere to say "salut," Make Mine a Double shimmers with thoughtfulness, humor, and self-examination. These tales of women's complex relationships with alcohol are the story of every woman's effort to find her independence and sense of belonging, be it at a college party, a high-powered cocktail party, or on a stool at the neighborhood watering hole.
Barreca and the writers have agreed that all their profits from the book will be donated to Windham Hospital's "Gina's Friends" fund, which aids women in need.
Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars
It was an enigma of the Vietnam War: American troops kept killing the Viet Cong--and being killed in the process--and yet their ranks continued to grow. When CIA analyst Sam Adams uncovered documents suggesting a Viet Cong army more than twice as large as previously reckoned, another war erupted, this time within the ranks of America's intelligence community. Although originally clandestine, this conflict involving the highest levels of the U.S. government burst into public view during the acrimonious lawsuit Westmoreland v. CBS. The central issue in the suit, as in the war itself, was the calamitous failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to ascertain the strength of the Viet Cong and get that information to troops in a timely fashion. The legacy of this failure--whether caused by institutional inertia, misguided politics, or individual hubris--haunts our nation. In the era of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden, Sam Adams' tireless crusade for "honest intelligence" resonates strongly today.
Toward a Sustainable Future
In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy.
Wessels explains his theory with his three laws of sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by Western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in both material and energy usage.
Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the laws of sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in a disregard for the laws of sustainability that is based on the myth of progress, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.
Eric Zencey’s frontal assault on the “infinite planet” foundations of neoconservative political thought Our planet is finite. Our political and economic systems were designed for an infinite planet. These difficult truths anchor the perceptive analysis offered in The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy. With wit, energy, and a lucid prose style, Eric Zencey identifies the key elements of “infinite planet” thinking that underlie our economics and our politics—and shows how they must change. Zencey’s title evokes F. A. Hayek, who argued that any attempt to set overall limits to free markets—any attempt at centralized planning—is “the road to serfdom.” But Hayek’s argument works only if the planet is infinite. If Hayek is right that planning and democracy are irreducibly in conflict, Zencey argues, then on a finite planet, “free markets operated on infinite planet principles are just the other road to serfdom.” The alternative is ecological economics, an emergent field that accepts limits to what humans can accomplish economically on a finite planet. Zencey explains this new school of thought and applies it to current political and economic concerns: the financial collapse, terrorism, population growth, hunger, the energy and oil industry’s social control, and the deeply rooted dissatisfactions felt by conservative “values” voters who have been encouraged to see smaller government and freer markets as the universal antidote. What emerges is a coherent vision, a progressive and hopeful alternative to neoconservative economic and political theory—a foundation for an economy that meets the needs of the 99% and just might help save civilization from ecological and political collapse.
Danger, Death, and Daring in the Mountains of the Northeast
An anthology of adventure and life-threatening dangers atop the peaks of the Northeast In the mountains, the difference between a pleasant day of hiking and a life-threatening disaster is as simple as a loose rock, a turned ankle, or a misjudged patch of ice. In an instant, even the most experienced and prepared of outdoorspersons can find themselves at the mercy of the elements (and their own choices) — and suddenly, sometimes tragically, the situation slips out their control. In this collection of over fifty tales of day hikes and long treks gone awry, the seasoned climber and writer Carol Stone White brings together some of her favorite tales of outdoor misadventure written by colleagues and fellow enthusiasts who have experienced the harsher side of climbing the peaks of New England and the Adirondacks. From freak falls to outrunning storms, from life-threatening hypothermia to the excitement of unlikely rescues, these tales inform as much as they entertain, teaching even the experienced climber that accidents can happen to anyone and that preparation and the ability to make split-second decisions can often mean the difference between life and death. Like sitting around the campfire sharing tales of terror and near death with your hiking buddies, this collection will appeal to the true outdoorsperson as well as the armchair adventurer.
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.