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University of Iowa Press

Website: http://uiowapress.org/

Established in 1969, the University of Iowa Press is a well-regarded academic publisher serving scholars, students, and readers throughout the world with works of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. As the only university press in the state, Iowa is also dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the Midwest. For scholars and students, we publish reference and course books in the areas of archaeology, American studies, American history, literary studies, theatre studies, and the craft of writing.The UI Press is a place where first-class writing matters, whether the subject is Whitman or Shakespeare, prairie or poetry, memoirs or medical literature. We are committed to the vital role played by small presses as publishers of scholarly and creative works that may not attract commercial attention.


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University of Iowa Press

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Campaign Inc.

How Leadership and Organization Propelled Barack Obama to the White House

Henry F. De Sio., Jr.

It takes more than an excellent candidate to win elections; it takes an outstanding campaign organization, too. Campaign Inc. is the story of how leadership and organization propelled Barack Obama to the White House. As the chief operating officer of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Henry F. De Sio, Jr., was positioned to view this historic campaign as few others could. In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account, he whisks readers into Obama’s national election headquarters in Chicago to glimpse the decision-making processes and myriad details critical to running a successful and innovative presidential campaign. From the campaign’s early chaos to the jubilation and drama of winning the Iowa caucus, to the drawn-out Democratic nomination process, to Obama’s eventual election as president of the United States, De Sio guides readers through the challenges faced by the Obama for America campaign in its brief twenty-one-month lifespan.

De Sio shows readers that Obama himself was direct about his vision for the campaign when he instructed his staff to “run it like a business.” Thus, this is less the story of Barack Obama, candidate, and more the story of Barack Obama, CEO. Because campaigns are launched from scratch during every election cycle, they are the ultimate entrepreneurial experience. In the course of the election, the Obama campaign scaled up from a scrappy start-up to a nearly $1 billion operation, becoming a hothouse environment on which the glare of the media spotlight was permanently trained.

Campaign Inc. allows readers to peek behind the curtain at the underdog organization that brought down the Clinton campaign and later went on to defeat the Republican machine, while offering lessons in leadership and organization to innovators, executives, and entrepreneurs.

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Cardinal Points

Pettit, Michael

Strung throughout the book are poems based on the Scottish photographer Eadwaerd Muybridge's Animal Locomotion, a historic photographic document. Pettit uses these pioneering images as the basis for his poetic dreaming, and the result is a poignant, integrated sequence of highly moving poems, studded between other vivid lyrics.

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Carnival in the Countryside

The History of the Iowa State Fair

Chris Rasmussen

More than a century and a half after its founding, the Iowa State Fair is the state’s central institution, event, and symbol. New Jersey has the Shore; Kentucky has the Derby; Iowa has the Fair. The humble Iowa State Fairground ranks alongside the Great Pyramids at Giza and the Taj Mahal in the best-selling travel guide 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. During its annual run each August, the fair attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who make the pilgrimage to the fairground to see the iconic butter cow, to ride the Old Mill, to walk through the livestock barns, and to people-watch. At the same time that they enjoy fried candy bars and roller coasters, Iowans also compete to raise the best corn and zucchinis, to make the best jams and jellies, to rear the finest sheep and goats, the largest cattle and hogs, and the handsomest horses.

This tension between entertainment and agriculture goes back all the way to the fair’s founding in the mid-1800s, as historian Chris Rasmussen shows in this thought-provoking history. The fair’s founders had lofty aims: they sought to improve agriculture and foster a distinctively democratic American civilization. But from the start these noble intentions jostled up against people’s desire to have fun and make money, honestly or otherwise—not least because the fair had to pay for itself. In their effort to uplift rural life without going broke, the organizers of the Iowa State Fair debated the respectability of horse racing and gambling and struggled to find qualified livestock judges. Worried about the economic forces undermining rural families, they ran competitions to select the best babies and the “ideal” rural girl and boy while luring spectators with massive panoramas of earthquakes and fires, not to mention staged trainwrecks. In short, the Iowa State Fair has as much to tell us about human nature and American history as it does about growing corn.

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Central Standard

A Time, a Place, a Family

Patrick Irelan

 Not so long ago, the Rock Island Railroad was a household name, the Great Depression was a recent memory, and family farms dotted the landscape. Today, the great railroads have nearly disappeared, the Depression is a chapter in history books, and family farms are hard to come by. Yet this time is not forgotten.

In Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family, Patrick Irelan vividly recaptures a remarkable era in midwestern history in twenty-four beautifully crafted and often witty essays. Beginning with his parents’ marriage in 1932 and continuing into the present, Irelan relates the many wonderful stories and experiences of his Davis County, Iowa, family. In “Country Living,” he describes his parents’ disheartening life as farmers during the worst years of the Depression. “The CB&Q” then relates the happiest years of his family’s life when his parents lived and worked in the Burlington Railroad depots of rural Nebraska.

Irelan’s tales of hard times and harder work, family meals and talkative relatives, depots and farmsteads paint a brilliant yet deceptively simple portrait of one rural, working-class family. At its heart, Central Standard carries a greater message: it reminds us of the enduring strength of the American family.

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Optimist Reformer

“These essays exemplify all the virtues of interdisciplinarity in consideration of that most multidisciplined of writers, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The contributors simultaneously clarify and complicate our understanding of some of the more vexed areas of Gilman's work by engaging saliently with her theories of ethnicity, class, prostitution, and the dynamics of gender; posing difficult questions to contemporary feminist scholars; and providing sensitive and insightful guidance to a well-chosen and wide range of texts.”—Janet Beer, author of Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction

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Chasing the White Whale

The Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today

The experimental artist Peter Fischli once observed, “There’s certainly a subversive pleasure in occupying yourself with something for an unreasonable length of time.” In this same spirit, David Dowling takes it upon himself to attend and report on the all-consuming annual Moby-Dick Marathon reading at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

      The twenty-five-hour nonstop reading of Melville’s titanic epic has inspired this fresh look at Moby-Dick in light of its most devoted followers at the moment of their high holy day, January 3, 2009. With some trepidation, Dowling joined the ranks of the Melvillians, among the world’s most obsessive literary aficionados, to participate in the event for its full length, from “Call Me Ishmael” to the destruction of the Pequod. Dowling not only survived to tell his tale, but does so with erudition, humor, and a keen sense for the passions of his fellow whalers.

     The obsession of participants at the marathon reading is startling, providing evidence of Ishmael’s remark that “all men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.” Dowling organizes his savvy analysis of the novel from its romantic departure to its sledge-hammering seas, detailing the culture of the top brass to the common crew and scrutinizing the inscrutable in and through Melville’s great novel.

 

Chasing the White Whale offers a case study of the reading as a barometer of how Melville lives today among his most passionate and enthusiastic disciples, who include waterfront workers, professors, naval officers, tattooed teens, and even a member of Congress. Dowling unearths Moby-Dick’s central role in these lives, and by going within the local culture he explains how the novel could have developed such an ardent following and ubiquitous presence in popular culture within our technology-obsessed, quick-fix contemporary world.

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Choreography Observed

For over twenty years Jack Anderson has been writing about dance performances. His essays and reviews have appeared in daily newspapers, specialist monthlies, and critical quarterlies. For the last ten years he has been a dance critic for the New York Times.

In Choreography Observed, Jack Anderson has selected writings that focus most directly on choreographers and choreography in order to illuminate the delights and problems of dance and to reveal the nature of this nonverbal but intensely expressive art form.

His essays and reviews deal with individual choreographers from Bournonville, Petipa, and Fokine to Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Meredith Monk, and Pina Bausch; individual works are also discussed in detail, such as Nijinsky's Afternoon of a Faun,Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire, Alvin Ailey's Flowers, and Kei Takei's Light. Other pieces focus on the Baroque dance revival, contemporary multimedia dance theatre, choreography for men, the complex relationship between ballet and modern dance, and how—and how not—to revive the classics.

No other book—especially no other selection from the work of a single critic—has dealt with choreography in such an original and focused way. Anderson brings his trained eye and wide experience in the arts to bear on dance while stressing the primacy of the choreographer as auteur. By refusing to get bogged down in highly technical terminology, he makes his insights available to a wide range of readers interested in expanding their understanding of this ever more popular art form.

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Circling Back

Chronicle of a Texas River Valley

Joe C. Truett

 “There was so much space.” These words epitomize ecologist Joe Truett's boyhood memories of the Angelina River valley in East Texas. Years and miles later, back home for the funeral of his grandfather, Truett began a long meditation on the world Corbett Graham had known and he himself had glimpsed, a now-vanished world where wild hogs and countless other animals rustled through the leaves, cows ate pinewoods grass instead of corn, oaks and hickories and longleaf pines were untouched by the corporate ax, and the river flowed freely. Truett's meditation resulted in this clear-sighted portrait of a place over time, its layers revealed by his love and care and curiosity.Truett celebrates his family's heritage and the unspoiled natural world of the Piney Woods without nostalgia. He recreates an older, simpler, more worthy age, but he knows that we have lost touch with it because we wanted to: he laments the loss but understands it. What makes his prose so moving and so redeeming is this precise combination of honesty and sorrow, overlaid by a quiet passion for both the natural and the human worlds.

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Civil War Nurse Narratives, 1863-1870

Daneen Wardrop

Civil War Nurse Narratives, 1863–1870, examines the first wave of autobiographical narratives written by northern female nurses and published during the war and shortly thereafter, ranging from the well-known Louisa May Alcott to lesser-known figures such as Elvira Powers and Julia Wheelock. From the hospitals of Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, to the field at Gettysburg in the aftermath of the battle, to the camps bordering front lines during active combat, these nurse narrators reported on what they saw and experienced for an American audience hungry for tales of individual experience in the war.

As a subgenre of war literature, the Civil War nurse narrative offered realistic reportage of medical experiences and declined to engage with military strategies or Congressional politics. Instead, nurse narrators chronicled the details of attending wounded soldiers in the hospital, where a kind of microcosm of US democracy-in-progress emerged. As the war reshaped the social and political ideologies of the republic, nurses labored in a workplace that reflected cultural changes in ideas about gender, race, and class. Through interactions with surgeons and other officials they tested women’s rights convictions, and through interactions with formerly enslaved workers they wrestled with the need to live up to their own often abolitionist convictions and support social equality.

By putting these accounts in conversation with each other, Civil War Nurse Narratives productively explores a developing genre of war literature that has rarely been given its due and that offers refreshing insights into women’s contributions to the war effort. Taken together, these stories offer an impressive and important addition to the literary history of the Civil War.

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Classical Greek Theatre

New Views of an Old Subject

Clifford Ashby

Many dogmas regarding Greek theatre were established by researchers who lacked experience in the mounting of theatrical productions. In his wide-ranging and provocative study, Clifford Ashby, a theatre historian trained in the practical processes of play production as well as the methods of historical research, takes advantage of his understanding of technical elements to approach his ancient subject from a new perspective. In doing so he challenges many long-held views.

Archaeological and written sources relating to Greek classical theatre are diverse, scattered, and disconnected. Ashby's own (and memorable) fieldwork led him to more than one hundred theatre sites in Greece, southern Italy, Sicily, and Albania and as far into modern Turkey as Hellenic civilization had penetrated. From this extensive research, he draws a number of novel revisionist conclusions on the nature of classical theatre architecture and production.

The original orchestra shape, for example, was a rectangle or trapezoid rather than a circle. The altar sat along the edge of the orchestra, not at its middle. The scene house was originally designed for a performance event that did not use an up center door. The crane and ekkyklema were simple devices, while the periaktoi probably did not exist before the Renaissance. Greek theatres were not built with attention to Vitruvius' injunction against a southern orientation and were probably sun-sited on the basis of seasonal touring. The Greeks arrived at the theatre around mid-morning, not in the cold light of dawn. Only the three-actor rule emerges from this eclectic examination somewhat intact, but with the division of roles reconsidered upon the basis of the actors' performance needs. Ashby also proposes methods that can be employed in future studies of Greek theatre. Final chapters examine the three-actor production of Ion, how one should not approach theatre history, and a shining example of how one should.

Ashby's lengthy hands-on training and his knowledge of theatre history provide a broad understanding of the ways that theatre has operated through the ages as well as an ability to extrapolate from production techniques of other times and places.

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