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University Press of New England

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From Darkness to Dynasty

The First 40 Years of the New England Patriots

Jerry Thornton

Love them or hate them, what New England has been able to do over the past 15 years is nothing short of remarkable. Now, not only boasting four Super Bowl Championships, the Patriots also have the best coach in the league, a smart and savvy front office, and a future Hall of Fame quarterback who is internationally recognized as the face of the NFL. And as the Patriots continue to dominate, on the field as well as in the media and the American pop culture landscape, the harder it is for anyone to remember them as anything other than a model franchise and the ultimate paradigm of success and accomplishment.

Anyone, that is, except for Jerry Thornton. It wasn’t always sunshine and roses for the Patriots; in fact, for the bulk of their existence, it was exactly the opposite. Though difficult to fathom now, the New England Patriots of old were not just bad—they were laughably bad. Not too long ago, the Pats were not only the laughingstock of the NFL, but of the entire sporting world.

From Darkness to Dynasty reveals the unlikely history of the New England Patriots as it has never been told before. From their humble beginnings as a team bought with rainy day money by a man who had no idea what he was doing to that fateful 2001 season that saw them win their first Super Bowl, Jerry Thornton shares the wild, humiliating, unbelievable, and wonderful stories that comprised the first 40 years of what would ultimately become the most dominant franchise in NFL history.

Witty, hilarious, and brutally honest, From Darkness to Dynasty returns to the thrilling, perilous days of yesteryear—a welcome corrective for those who hate the Patriots, and a useful reminder, for those who love them, that all glory is fleeting.

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Getting Screwed

Sex Workers and the Law

Alison Bass

Alison Bass weaves the true stories of sex workers with the latest research on prostitution into a gripping journalistic account of how women (and some men) navigate a culture that routinely accepts the implicit exchange of sex for money, status, or even a good meal, but imposes heavy penalties on those who make such bargains explicit. Along the way, Bass examines why an increasing number of middle-class white women choose to become sex workers and explores how prostitution has become a thriving industry in the twenty-first-century global economy. Situating her book in American history more broadly, she also discusses the impact of the sexual revolution, the rise of the Nevada brothels, and the growing war on sex trafficking after 9/11.

Drawing on recent studies that show lower rates of violence and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in regions where adult prostitution is legal and regulated, Bass makes a powerful case for decriminalizing sex work. Through comparisons of the impact of criminalization vs. decriminalization in other countries, her book offers strategies for making prostitution safer for American sex workers and the communities in which they dwell.

This riveting assessment of how U.S. anti-prostitution laws harm the public health and safety of sex workers and other citizens—and affect larger societal attitudes toward women—will interest feminists, sociologists, lawyers, health-care professionals, and policy makers. The book also will appeal to anyone with an interest in American history and our society’s evolving attitudes toward sexuality and marriage.

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Ghost Riders of Baghdad

Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge

Daniel A. Sjursen

From October 2006 to December 2007, Daniel A. Sjursen—then a U.S. Army lieutenant—led a light scout platoon across Baghdad. The experiences of Ghost Rider platoon provide a soldier’s-eye view of the incredible complexities of warfare, peacekeeping, and counterinsurgency in one of the world’s most ancient cities.

Sjursen reflects broadly and critically on the prevailing narrative of the surge as savior of America’s longest war, on the overall military strategy in Iraq, and on U.S. relations with ordinary Iraqis. At a time when just a handful of U.S. senators and representatives have a family member in combat, Sjursen also writes movingly on questions of America’s patterns of national service. Who now serves and why? What connection does America’s professional army have to the broader society and culture? What is the price we pay for abandoning the model of the citizen soldier?

With the bloody emergence of ISIS in 2014, Iraq and its beleaguered, battle-scarred people are again much in the news. Unlike other books on the U.S. war in Iraq, Ghost Riders of Baghdad is part battlefield chronicle, part critique of American military strategy and policy, and part appreciation of Iraq and its people. At once a military memoir, history, and cultural commentary, Ghost Riders of Bahdad delivers a compelling story and a deep appreciation of both those who serve and the civilians they strive to protect. Sjursen provides a riveting addition to our understanding of modern warfare and its human costs.

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The Golden Age of Boston Television

Terry Ann Knopf

There are some two hundred TV markets in the country, but only one—Boston, Massachusetts—hosted a Golden Age of local programming. In this lively insider account, Terry Ann Knopf chronicles the development of Boston television, from its origins in the 1970s through its decline in the early 1990s. During TV’s heyday, not only was Boston the nation’s leader in locally produced news, programming, and public affairs, but it also became a model for other local stations around the country. It was a time of award-winning local newscasts, spirited talk shows, thought-provoking specials and documentaries, ambitious public service campaigns, and even originally produced TV films featuring Hollywood stars. Knopf also shows how this programming highlighted aspects of Boston’s own history over two turbulent decades, including the treatment of highly charged issues of race, sex, and gender—and the stations’ failure to challenge the Roman Catholic Church during its infamous sexual abuse scandal.

Laced with personal insights and anecdotes, The Golden Age of Boston Television offers an intimate look at how Boston’s television stations refracted the city’s culture in unique ways, while at the same time setting national standards for television creativity and excellence.

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Good Naked

Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier

Joni B. Cole

In Good Naked, acclaimed author Joni B. Cole shows readers how to make the writing process not only more productive, but less maddening, more inviting, and even joyful, at least a good part of the time. She explains how sharing early drafts is “good naked”—you’re exposing your creative process in all its glory.

Through a mix of engaging stories and practical wisdom, all delivered with sheer good humor, Cole addresses the most common challenges writers confront and offers disarmingly simple but effective solutions. She debunks popular misconceptions about how we are supposed to write and replaces them with strategies that actually work to get us started and stay motivated. (Searching for your muse? Try looking in the fridge.) With a do-this-not-that directness, she sets writers free from debilitating attitudes, counterproductive practices, and energy-draining habits that undermine confidence and creativity.

Equipped with experience and a refreshing respect for anyone who wants to write, Cole also infuses every chapter with insights into craft and narrative technique—because the truly happy ending is not just that we write more, but that we write well.

If you have ever experienced a sense of dread or intimidation at any stage of the creative process, or even if you simply want to write more, write better, and be happier, this intelligent, funny, and generous guide will not only inspire you to head over to your desk, but will also cheer you on once you’re there.

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Granite, Fire, and Fog

The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia

Tom Wessels

Acadia National Park, on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, is among the most popular national parks in the United States. From the road, visitors can experience magnificent vistas of summit and sea, but on a more intimate scale, equally compelling views abound along Acadia’s hiking trails.

Tom Wessels, an ecologist, naturalist, and avid hiker, attributes the park’s popularity—and its unusual beauty—to the unique way in which earth, air, fire, and water—in the form of glacially scoured granite, winter winds, fire, and ocean fog—have converged to create a landscape that can be found nowhere else.

In this beautifully illustrated book, Wessels invites readers to investigate the remarkable natural history of Mount Desert Island, along with the unique cultural story it gave rise to. This account of nature, terrain, and human interaction with the landscape will delight those who like to hike these bald summits, ride along the carriage roads, or explore the island’s rugged shoreline. Wessels concludes with a guided tour of one of his favorite hikes, a ten-mile loop that will acquaint the reader with the diverse ecosystems described throughout his book.

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The Great Siege of Malta

The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John

Bruce Ware Allen

In the spring of 1565, a massive fleet of Ottoman ships descended on Malta, a small island centrally located between North Africa and Sicily, home and headquarters of the crusading Knights of St. John and their charismatic Grand Master, Jean de Valette. The Knights had been expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and now stood as the last bastion against a Muslim invasion of Sicily, southern Italy, and beyond. The siege force of Turks, Arabs, and Barbary corsairs from across the Muslim world outnumbered the defenders of Malta many times over, and its arrival began a long hot summer of bloody combat, often hand to hand, embroiling knights and mercenaries, civilians and slaves, in a desperate struggle for this pivotal point in the Mediterranean.

Bruce Ware Allen’s The Great Siege of Malta describes the siege’s geopolitical context, explains its strategies and tactics, and reveals how the all-too-human personalities of both Muslim and Christian leaders shaped the course of events. The siege of Malta was the Ottoman empire’s high-water mark in the war between the Christian West and the Muslim East for control of the Mediterranean. Drawing on copious research and new source material, Allen stirringly recreates the two factions’ heroism and chivalry, while simultaneously tracing the barbarism, severity, and indifference to suffering of sixteenth-century warfare.

The Great Siege of Malta is a fresh, vivid retelling of one of the most famous battles of the early modern world—a battle whose echoes are still felt today.

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Guy Wolff

Master Potter in the Garden

Suzanne Staubach

If you mention Guy Wolff to a serious gardener, that gardener will almost certainly admit to either owning a Guy Wolff flowerpot or coveting one. Wolff's pots--some small and perfect for a sunny windowsill, others massive and just right for a favorite outdoor spot--are widely considered to be the epitome of gardenware. Their classical proportions, simple decoration, and the marks of Wolff's hands all combine to make plants look their best. His pots possess an honesty and liveliness that machine-made flowerpots lack.

Wolff is probably the best-known potter working in the United States today. In gardening circles, he is a highly revered horticultural icon; gardeners flock to his lectures and demonstrations. His work also appeals to lovers of design and fine arts: visit the personal gardens of landscape designers, and you will see Guy Wolff pots. Step inside the gates of estate gardens, and you will see Guy Wolff pots. Yet he is a potter's potter. He's a big ware thrower, a skill few have today. He thinks deeply about what he calls the architecture of pots and the importance of handmade objects in our lives.

Whether you are a longtime collector of Wolff's pots, anxious to buy your first one, or simply intrigued by the beauty and practicality of hand-crafted goods in our fast-paced era, you'll want to add this richly illustrated book to your library.

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A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

Joseph M. Bagley

History is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Though not the most popular construction project, Boston’s Big Dig has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the city’s archaeological history than any other recent event. Joseph M. Bagley, city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents. Each artifact is shown in full color and accompanied by description of the item’s significance to its site location and the larger history of the city. From cannonballs to drinking cups and from ancient spears to chinaware, A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts offers a unique and accessible introduction to Boston’s history and physical culture while revealing the ways objects can offer a tantalizing entrée into our past.

Packed with vivid descriptions and art, this lively history of Boston will appeal to all manner of readers, locals and visitors alike.

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A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks

Stewart Gordon

Roman triremes of the Mediterranean. The treasure fleet of the Spanish Main. Great ocean liners of the Atlantic. Stories of disasters at sea fire the imagination as little else can, whether the subject is a historical wreck—the Titanic or the Bismark—or the recent capsizing of a Mediterranean cruise ship. Shipwrecks also make for a new and very different understanding of world history. A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks explores the ages-long, immensely hazardous, persistently romantic, and still-ongoing process of moving people and goods across far-flung maritime worlds.

Telling the stories of ships and the people who made and sailed them, from the earliest ancient-Nile craft to the Exxon Valdez, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks argues that the gradual integration of localized and separate maritime regions into fewer, larger, and more interdependent regions offers a unique window on world history. Stewart Gordon draws a number of provocative conclusions from his study, among them that the European “Age of Exploration” as a singular event is simply a myth—many cultures, east and west, explored far-flung maritime worlds over the millennia—and that technologies of shipbuilding and navigation have been among the main drivers of science and technology throughout history. Finally, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks shows in a series of compelling narratives that the development of institutions and technologies that made terrifying oceans familiar, and turned unknown seas into sea-lanes, profoundly matters in our modern world.

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