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Albert Camus

Elements of a Life

by Robert Zaretsky

"Like many others of my generation, I first read Camus in high school. I carried him in my backpack while traveling across Europe, I carried him into (and out of) relationships, and I carried him into (and out of) difficult periods of my life. More recently, I have carried him into university classes that I have taught, coming out of them with a renewed appreciation of his art. To be sure, my idea of Camus thirty years ago scarcely resembles my idea of him today. While my admiration and attachment to his writings remain as great as they were long ago, the reasons are more complicated and critical."-Robert Zaretsky

On October 16, 1957, Albert Camus was dining in a small restaurant on Paris's Left Bank when a waiter approached him with news: the radio had just announced that Camus had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Camus insisted that a mistake had been made and that others were far more deserving of the honor than he. Yet Camus was already recognized around the world as the voice of a generation-a status he had achieved with dizzying speed. He published his first novel, The Stranger, in 1942 and emerged from the war as the spokesperson for the Resistance and, although he consistently rejected the label, for existentialism. Subsequent works of fiction (including the novels The Plague and The Fall), philosophy (notably, The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel), drama, and social criticism secured his literary and intellectual reputation. And then on January 4, 1960, three years after accepting the Nobel Prize, he was killed in a car accident.

In a book distinguished by clarity and passion, Robert Zaretsky considers why Albert Camus mattered in his own lifetime and continues to matter today, focusing on key moments that shaped Camus's development as a writer, a public intellectual, and a man. Each chapter is devoted to a specific event: Camus's visit to Kabylia in 1939 to report on the conditions of the local Berber tribes; his decision in 1945 to sign a petition to commute the death sentence of collaborationist writer Robert Brasillach; his famous quarrel with Jean-Paul Sartre in 1952 over the nature of communism; and his silence about the war in Algeria in 1956. Both engaged and engaging, Albert Camus: Elements of a Life is a searching companion to a profoundly moral and lucid writer whose works provide a guide for those perplexed by the absurdity of the human condition and the world's resistance to meaning.

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Alias Olympia

A Woman's Search for Manet's Notorious Model and Her Own Desire

by Eunice Lipton

Eunice Lipton was a fledging art historian when she first became intrigued by Victorine Meurent, the nineteenth-century model who appeared in Edouard Manet's most famous paintings, only to vanish from history in a haze of degrading hearsay. But had this bold and spirited beauty really descended into prostitution, drunkenness, and early death-or did her life, hidden from history, take a different course altogether? Eunice Lipton's search for the answer combines the suspense of a detective story with the revelatory power of art, peeling off layers of lies to reveal startling truths about Victorine Meurent-and about Lipton herself.

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All Good Books Are Catholic Books

Print Culture, Censorship, and Modernity in Twentieth-Century America

by Una M. Cadegan

Until the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the stance of the Roman Catholic Church toward the social, cultural, economic, and political developments of the twentieth century was largely antagonistic. Naturally opposed to secularization, skeptical of capitalist markets indifferent to questions of justice, confused and appalled by new forms of high and low culture, and resistant to the social and economic freedom of women—in all of these ways the Catholic Church set itself up as a thoroughly anti-modern institution. Yet, in and through the period from World War I to Vatican II, the Church did engage with, react to, and even accommodate various aspects of modernity. In All Good Books Are Catholic Books, Una M. Cadegan shows how the Church’s official position on literary culture developed over this crucial period.

The Catholic Church in the United States maintained an Index of Prohibited Books and the National Legion of Decency (founded in 1933) lobbied Hollywood to edit or ban movies, pulp magazines, and comic books that were morally suspect. These regulations posed an obstacle for the self-understanding of Catholic American readers, writers, and scholars. But as Cadegan finds, Catholics developed a rationale by which they could both respect the laws of the Church as it sought to protect the integrity of doctrine and also engage the culture of artistic and commercial freedom in which they operated as Americans. Catholic literary figures including Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton are important to Cadegan’s argument, particularly as their careers and the reception of their work demonstrate shifts in the relationship between Catholicism and literary culture. Cadegan trains her attention on American critics, editors, and university professors and administrators who mediated the relationship among the Church, parishioners, and the culture at large.

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Allegories of America

Narratives, Metaphysics, Politics

Frederick M. Dolan

Allegories of America offers a bold idea of what, in terms of political theory, it means to be American. Beginning with the question What do we want from a theory of politics? Dolan explores the metaphysics of American-ness and stops along the way to reflect on John Winthrop, the Constitution, 1950s behavioralist social science, James Merrill, and William Burroughs.

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The Altruistic Imagination

A History of Social Work and Social Policy in the United States

by John H. Ehrenreich

Social work and social policy in the United States have always had a complex and troubled relationship. In The Altruistic Imagination, John H. Ehrenreich offers a critical interpretation of their intertwined histories, seeking to understand the problems that face these two vital institutions in American society.

Ehrenreich demonstrates that the emphasis of social work has always vacillated between individual treatment and social reform. Tracing this ever-changing focus from the Progressive Era, through the development of the welfare state, the New Deal, and the affluent 1950s and 1960s, into the administration of Ronald Reagan, he places the evolution of social work in the context of political, cultural, and ideological trends, noting the paradoxes inherent in the attempt to provide essential services and reflect at the same time the intentions of the state. He concludes by examining the turning point faced by the social work profession in the 1980s, indicated by a return to casework and a withdrawal from social policy concerns.

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The Ambiguities of Experience

by James G. March

"The first component of intelligence involves effective adaptation to an environment. In order to adapt effectively, organizations require resources, capabilities at using them, knowledge about the worlds in which they exist, good fortune, and good decisions. They typically face competition for resources and uncertainties about the future. Many, but possibly not all, of the factors determining their fates are outside their control. Populations of organizations and individual organizations survive, in part, presumably because they possess adaptive intelligence; but survival is by no means assured. The second component of intelligence involves the elegance of interpretations of the experiences of life. Such interpretations encompass both theories of history and philosophies of meaning, but they go beyond such things to comprehend the grubby details of daily existence. Interpretations decorate human existence. They make a claim to significance that is independent of their contribution to effective action. Such intelligence glories in the contemplation, comprehension, and appreciation of life, not just the control of it."—from The Ambiguities of Experience

In The Ambiguities of Experience, James G. March asks a deceptively simple question: What is, or should be, the role of experience in creating intelligence, particularly in organizations? Folk wisdom both trumpets the significance of experience and warns of its inadequacies. On one hand, experience is described as the best teacher. On the other hand, experience is described as the teacher of fools, of those unable or unwilling to learn from accumulated knowledge or the teaching of experts. The disagreement between those folk aphorisms reflects profound questions about the human pursuit of intelligence through learning from experience that have long confronted philosophers and social scientists. This book considers the unexpected problems organizations (and the individuals in them) face when they rely on experience to adapt, improve, and survive.

While acknowledging the power of learning from experience and the extensive use of experience as a basis for adaptation and for constructing stories and models of history, this book examines the problems with such learning. March argues that although individuals and organizations are eager to derive intelligence from experience, the inferences stemming from that eagerness are often misguided. The problems lie partly in errors in how people think, but even more so in properties of experience that confound learning from it. "Experience," March concludes, "may possibly be the best teacher, but it is not a particularly good teacher."

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Anatomy of the Red Brigades

The Religious Mind-set of Modern Terrorists

by Alessandro Orsini; translated by Sarah J. Nodes

The Red Brigades were a far-left terrorist group in Italy formed in 1970 and active all through the 1980s. Infamous around the world for a campaign of assassinations, kidnappings, and bank robberies intended as a "concentrated strike against the heart of the State," the Red Brigades' most notorious crime was the kidnapping and murder of Italy's former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978. In the late 1990s, a new group of violent anticapitalist terrorists revived the name Red Brigades and killed a number of professors and government officials. Like their German counterparts in the Baader-Meinhof Group and today's violent political and religious extremists, the Red Brigades and their actions raise a host of questions about the motivations, ideologies, and mind-sets of people who commit horrific acts of violence in the name of a utopia.

In the first English edition of a book that has won critical acclaim and major prizes in Italy, Alessandro Orsini contends that the dominant logic of the Red Brigades was essentially eschatological, focused on purifying a corrupt world through violence. Only through revolutionary terror, Brigadists believed, could humanity be saved from the putrefying effects of capitalism and imperialism. Through a careful study of all existing documentation produced by the Red Brigades and of all existing scholarship on the Red Brigades, Orsini reconstructs a worldview that can be as seductive as it is horrifying. Orsini has devised a micro-sociological theory that allows him to reconstruct the group dynamics leading to political homicide in extreme-left and neonazi terrorist groups. This "subversive-revolutionary feedback theory" states that the willingness to mete out and suffer death depends, in the last analysis, on how far the terrorist has been incorporated into the revolutionary sect.

Orsini makes clear that this political-religious concept of historical development is central to understanding all such self-styled "purifiers of the world." From Thomas Müntzer's theocratic dream to Pol Pot's Cambodian revolution, all the violent "purifiers" of the world have a clear goal: to build a perfect society in which there will no longer be any sin and unhappiness and in which no opposition can be allowed to upset the universal harmony. Orsini's book reconstructs the origins and evolution of a revolutionary tradition brought into our own times by the Red Brigades.

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And the Sparrow Fell

A Novel

Robert J. Mrazek

And the Sparrow Fell is a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Former U.S. Congressman Robert J. Mrazek tells the story of a wealthy family on the north shore of Long Island in the spring of 1967. Cornell undergraduate Rick Ledbetter goes through a rocky journey of self-discovery as both his family and his country disintegrate around him. Rick is a young rake in the mold of his father, Travis Ledbetter, a Medal of Honor–winning World War II navy pilot. Rick has been accepted into the swift boat program at Naval Officer Candidate School and will be heading for combat in Vietnam.

Rick’s brother Tom, also a Cornell undergraduate, is a young man of true conscience who, because of his Christian faith, is morally opposed to the war. He has rejected conscientious-objector status. Rick meets and falls in love with Kate Kurshan, who is Tom’s girlfriend. She is also a Cornell student who opposes the war. Their three lives intersect as Rick, who becomes a war hero, discovers the human cost of war, while Tom, who has great moral courage, puts his life on the line in protest of the Vietnam War at a terrible personal cost.

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Anthropologies of Unemployment

New Perspectives on Work and Its Absence

edited by Jong Bum Kwon and Carrie M. Lane

Anthropologies of Unemployment offers accessible, theoretically innovative, and ethnographically rich examinations of unemployment in rural and urban regions across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The diversity of case studies demonstrates that unemployment is a pressing global phenomenon that sheds light on the uneven consequences of free-market ideologies and policies. Economic, social, and cultural marginalization is common in the lives of the unemployed, but their experience and interpretation are shaped by local and national cultural particularities. In exploring those differences, the contributors to this volume employ recent theoretical innovations and engage with some of the more salient topics in contemporary anthropology, such as globalization, migration, youth cultures, bureaucracy, class, gender, and race.

Taken together, the chapters reveal that there is something new about unemployment today. It is not a temporary occurrence, but a chronic condition. In adjusting to persistent, longstanding unemployment, people and groups create new understandings of unemployment as well as of work and employment; they improvise new forms of sociality, morality, and personhood. Ethnographic studies such as those found in Anthropologies of Unemployment are crucial if we are to understand the broader forms, meanings, and significance of pervasive economic insecurity and discover the emergence of new social and cultural possibilities.

Contributors
Josh Fisher, High Point University
David Karjanen, University of Minnesota
Ann E. Kingsolver, University of Kentucky
Jong Bum Kwon, Webster University
Carrie M. Lane, California State University, Fullerton
Caitrin Lynch, Olin College
Daniel Mains, University of Oklahoma
John P. Murphy, Gettysburg College
Mariano D. Perelman, University of Buenos Aires
Frances Abrahamer Rothstein, Montclair State University
Claudia Strauss, Pitzer College

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Anti-Americanisms in World Politics

Anti-Americanism has been the subject of much commentary but little serious research. In response, Peter J. Katzenstein and Robert O. Keohane have assembled a distinguished group of experts, including historians, polling-data analysts, political scientists, anthropologists, and sociologists, to explore anti-Americanism in depth, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The result is a book that probes deeply a central aspect of world politics that is frequently noted yet rarely understood.

Katzenstein and Keohane identify several quite different anti-Americanisms-liberal, social, sovereign-nationalist, and radical. Some forms of anti-Americanism respond merely to what the United States does, and could change when U.S. policies change. Other forms are reactions to what the United States is, and involve greater bias and distrust. The complexity of anti-Americanism, they argue, reflects the cultural and political complexities of American society. The analysis in this book leads to a surprising discovery: there are as many ways to be anti-American as there are ways to be American.

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