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The Bachelet Government

Conflict and Consensus in Post-Pinochet Chile

Silvia Borzutzky and Gregory B. Weeks

Michelle Bachelet was the first elected female president of Chile, and the first women elected president of any South American country. What was just as remarkable, though less noted, was the success and stability of the political coalition that she represented, the Concertacion. Though Bachelet was the fourth consecutive Concertacion president, upon taking office her administration quickly faced a series of crises, including massive student protests, labor unrest, internal governmental divisions, and allegations of ineptitude and wrongdoing as a result of a major reorganization of Santiago's transportation system.

Candidate Bachelet promised not only different policies but also a different policymaking style--a style characterized by a kinder and gentler approach to politics in a country with a long tradition of machismo and strong male rulers. Bachelet promised to listen to the people and to return power to those who had been denied it in the past. Her attitude enhanced the influence of existing social movements and inspired the formation of new ones.

The Bachelet Government is the first book to examine the policies, political issues, and conflicts of Bachelet's administration, and the first to provide analyses of the challenges, successes, and failures experienced by the Concertacion since 1989.

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Back Channel Negotiation

Security in Middle East Peace Process

Anthony Wanis-St John

Wanis-St. John takes on the question of whether the complex and often perilous secret negotiations between principal parties prove to be instrumental paths to reconciliation or rather roadblocks that disrupt the process. Using the Palestinian-Israeli peace process as a framework, the author focuses on the uses and misuses of "back channel" negotiations. He discusses how top-level PLO and Israeli government officials have often resorted to secret negotiation channels even when there were designated, acknowledged negotiation teams already at work. Intense scrutiny by the media, pressure from constituents, and the reactions of the public all become severe constraints to the process, causing leaders to seek out such back channels. The impact of these secret talks within the peace process over time has largely been unexplored.

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Back Channel to Cuba

The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh

Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual hostility between the United States and Cuba--beyond invasions, covert operations, assassination plots using poison pens and exploding seashells, and a grinding economic embargo--this fascinating book chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. Now, LeoGrande and Kornbluh present a new and increasingly more relevant account. From Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Castro after the missile crisis, to Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Obama's promise of a "new approach," LeoGrande and Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future.

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Back Channel to Cuba

The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande

History is being made in U.S.-Cuban relations. Now updated to tell the story behind the stunning December 17, 2014, announcement by President Obama and President Castro of their move to restore full diplomatic relations, this powerful book is essential to understanding ongoing efforts toward normalization. Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual conflict and aggression between the United States and Cuba since 1959, Back Channel to Cuba chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh here present a remarkably new and relevant account, describing how, despite the intense political clamor surrounding efforts to improve relations with Havana, negotiations have been conducted by every presidential administration since Eisenhower's through secret, back-channel diplomacy. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a new approach, LeoGrande and Kornbluh uncovered hundreds of formerly secret U.S. documents and conducted interviews with dozens of negotiators, intermediaries, and policy makers, including Fidel Castro and Jimmy Carter. They reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, that provides the historical foundation for the dramatic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba ties.

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Back from Tobruk


In 1941 photographer Croswell Bowen joined American Field Service volunteer ambulance drivers and served alongside the British Eighth Army during World War II. As the war continued to escalate, he would have his mental, emotional, and physical well-being tested beyond anything he ever imagined. Back from Tobruk is the remarkable account of one man’s journey across a world torn apart, with only his camera and his moral convictions to guide him. As Bowen watched the number of wounded and dying soldiers grow, he struggled to understand the very nature of war itself. A lifelong Catholic and devoted pacifist, he tried to reconcile his commitment to nonviolence with his growing belief that the end of this war would finally bring peace to the world. As he spent time in hospitals and field dressing stations as both a caregiver and a patient, he witnessed soldiers reaching out to their former battlefield enemies, showing grace and compassion in a world seemingly bereft of both. “When the great leaders sit down at the peace table,” he wrote of his fellow servicemen, “they might take a lesson from those men.” Later a successful journalist and author, Bowen never forgot what he had witnessed during his time in Africa and the Middle East. Back from Tobruk documents the brutality of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

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Back from Westminster

British Members of Parliament and Their Constituents

Phillip Norton and David M. Wood

The British House of Commons has entered a period of substantial change, moving from a state of party cohesion and party leadership toward a more individualistic and active policy-making role. In the dynamic look at the British Parliament and its members, Philip Norton and David M. Wood highlight that change to more intensive constituency response and service on the part of individual members.

Like members of the U.S. Congress, British Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to represent geographical districts. The relationship between the MP and the constituency in Britain has become more important in recent years, but the major changes that have occurred in the relationship since the late 1960s have not been matched by extensive scholarly study. Some pathbreaking work has been done on the subject, but it remains overshadowed by the wealth of material focusing on MPs' activities within the legislative chambers at Westminster. This volume seeks to fill the gap by sketching and assessing the electoral significance of the MPs' constituency work and the broader political ramifications for the workings of the British Parliament. Its findings allow the MP to be seen in full.

Norton and Wood argue that the constituency role has gained in importance in recent decades as MPs have become more career-oriented than their forerunners in mid-century. But a by-product of greater professionalism and careerism has been an expanded job description that may take MPs' time and energies away from playing a more effective role in helping to shape the broader policy alternatives for the United Kingdom.

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Back Home

Journeys through Mobile

After twenty years in New York City, a prize-winning writer takes
a "long look back" at his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

In Back Home: Journeys through Mobile, Roy Hoffman
tells stories--through essays, feature articles, and memoir--of one of
the South's oldest and most colorful port cities. Many of the pieces here
grew out of Hoffman's work as Writer-in-Residence for his hometown newspaper,
the Mobile Register, a position he took after working in New York
City for twenty years as a journalist, fiction writer, book critic, teacher,
and speech writer. Other pieces were first published in the New York
, Southern Living, Preservation, and other publications.
Together, this collection comprises a long, second look at the Mobile of
Hoffman's childhood and the city it has since become.

Like a photo album, Back Home presents close-up
portraits of everyday places and ordinary people. There are meditations
on downtown Mobile, where Hoffman's grandparents arrived as immigrants
a century ago; the waterfront where longshoremen labor and shrimpers work
their nets; the back roads leading to obscure but intriguing destinations.
Hoffman records local people telling their own tales of race relations,
sports, agriculture, and Mardi Gras celebrations. Fishermen, baseball players,
bakers, authors, political figures--a strikingly diverse population walks
across the stage of Back Home.


Throughout, Hoffman is concerned with stories and their
enduring nature. As he writes, "When buildings are leveled, when land is
developed, when money is spent, when our loved ones pass on, when we take
our places a little farther back every year on the historical time-line,
what we have still are stories."

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Back in No Time

The Brion Gysin Reader

Jason Weiss

Brion Gysin (1916–1986) was a visual artist, historian, novelist, and an experimental poet credited with the discovery of the ‘cut-up’ technique -- a collage of texts, not pictures -- which his longtime collaborator William S. Burroughs put to more extensive use. He is also considered one of the early innovators of sound poetry, which he defines as ‘getting poetry back off the page and into performance.’ Back in No Time gathers materials from the entire Gysin oeuvre: scholarly historical study, baroque fiction, permutated and cut-up poetry, unsettling memoir, selections from The Process and The Last Museum, and his unproduced screenplay of Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch. In addition, the Reader contains complete texts of several Gysin pieces that are difficult to find, including “Poem of Poems,” “The Pipes of Pan,” and “A Quick Trip to Alamut.”

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Back in the Game

Political Party Campaigning in an Era of Reform

Chronicles changes in American political party behavior between 1996 and 2008.

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Back on Track

American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1965–2015

Mark Aldrich

Throughout the early twentieth century, railroad safety steadily improved across the United States. But by the 1960s, American railroads had fallen apart, the result of a regulatory straightjacket that eroded profitability and undermined safety. Collisions, derailments, worker fatalities, and grade crossing mishaps skyrocketed, while hazmat disasters exploded into newspaper headlines. In Back on Track, his sequel to Death Rode the Rails, Mark Aldrich traces the history of railroad accidents beginning in 1965, when Congress responded to bankrupt and scandal-ridden carriers by enacting a new safety regime. Aldrich details the federalization of rail safety and the implementation of a massive grade crossing program. He touches on post-1976 economic deregulation, which provided critical financing that underwrote better public safety. He also explores how the National Transportation Safety Board acted as a public scold to shine bright lights on private failings, while Federal Railroad Administration regulations reinforced market incentives for better safety. Ultimately, Aldrich concludes, the past 50 years have seen great strides in restoring railroad safety while enhancing industry profitability. Arguing that it was not inadequate safety regulation but rather stifling economic regulation that initially caused an uptick in train accidents, Back on Track is both a paen to the return of more competitive railroading and the only comprehensive history of the safety of modern American railroads. Praise for Death Rode the Rails "A masterful study of the complex evolution of railroad safety."—American Historical Review "Students of rail safety, and today's Class I railroad managers, need to read this volume."—Trains "Aldrich has created a masterpiece. His research is extensive, drawing on a rich variety of obscure yet relevant sources."—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society "One of the first large-scale scholarly studies of railroad safety in America."—Railroad History "A thought-provoking and well-grounded contribution to the history of American economic development."—Journal of American History "Pioneering . . . A central message of Aldrich's book is that 'little accidents' played a crucial though until now largely hidden role in the gradual evolution of a risk society."—Technology and Culture "A work of merit . . . essential reading for historians of transport safety, business, and technology."—Journal of Transport History "Impressive and thoroughly researched . . . Demonstrates how railroad safety evolved from the intersection of market pressures, technology, and public sentiment."—Journal of Southern History

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