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Winner of the 1997 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. This collection is filled with narrative and character grounded in the meaning and value the earth gives to human existence. In one story, a woman sleeps with the village priest, trying to gain back the land the church took from her family; in another, relatives in the Azores fight over a plot of land owned by their expatriate American cousin. Even apparently small images are cast in terms of the earth: Milton, one narrator explains, has made apples the object of a misunderstanding by naming them as Eden’s fruit: “In the Bible, no fruit is named in the Garden of Eden - and to this day apples are misunderstood. They were trying to tempt people not into sin but into listening to the earth more closely. . . . their white meal runs wet with the knowledge of the language of the land, but people do not listen.” Vaz’s beautiful, intensely conscious language often delicately slips her stories into the realm of the fado, the Portuguese song about fate and longing. “Listen for the nightingale that presses its breast against the thorns of the rose,” on character sings, “that the song might be more beautiful.” Such a verse might describe Vaz’s own motive behind her willingness to confront her subject’s ambiguities and her characters’ conflicts - the simultaneous joy and sorrow of some of life’s discoveries, the pain sometimes hidden within passion and pleasure.
The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb
North Korea's development of nuclear weapons raises fears of nuclear war on the peninsula and the specter of terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. It also represents a dangerous and disturbing breakdown in U.S. foreign policy. Failed Diplomacy: The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb offers an insider's view of what went wrong and allowed this isolated nation a charter member of the Axis of Evil to develop nuclear weapons. Charles L. "Jack" Pritchard was intimately involved in developing America's North Korea policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Here, he offers an authoritative analysis of recent developments on the Korean peninsula and reveals how the Bush administration's mistakes damaged the prospects of controlling nuclear proliferation. Although multilateral negotiations continue, Pritchard proclaims the Six-Party Talks as a failure. His chronicle begins with the suspicions over North Korea's uranium enrichment program in 2002 that led to the demise of the Clinton-era Agreed Framework. Subsequently, Pyongyang kicked out international monitors and restarted its nuclear weapons program. Pritchard provides a first-hand account of how the Six-Party Talks were initiated and offers a play-by-play account of each round of negotiations, detailing the national interests of the key players China, Japan, Russia, both Koreas, and the United States. The author believes the failure to prevent Kim Jong Il from "going nuclear" points to the need for a permanent security forum in Northeast Asia that would serve as a formal mechanism for dialogue in the region. Hard-hitting and insightful, Failed Diplomacy offers a stinging critique of the Bush administration's manner and policy in dealing with North Korea. More hopefully, it suggests what can be learned from missed opportunities.
Why Law Enforcement Resists Science
With the popularity of crime dramas like CSI focusing on forensic science, and increasing numbers of police and prosecutors making wide-spread use of DNA, high-tech science seems to have become the handmaiden of law enforcement. But this is a myth,asserts law professor and nationally known expert on police profiling David A. Harris. In fact, most of law enforcement does not embrace science—it rejects it instead, resisting it vigorously. The question at the heart of this book is why.<br /><br />»» Eyewitness identifications procedures using simultaneous lineups—showing the witness six persons together,as police have traditionally done—produces a significant number of incorrect identifications.<br /><br />»» Interrogations that include threats of harsh penalties and untruths about the existence of evidence proving the suspect's guilt significantly increase the prospect of an innocent person confessing falsely.<br /><br />»» Fingerprint matching does not use probability calculations based on collected and standardized data to generate conclusions, but rather human interpretation and judgment.Examiners generally claim a zero rate of error – an untenable claim in the face of publicly known errors by the best examiners in the U.S.<br /><br />Failed Evidence explores the real reasons that police and prosecutors resist scientific change, and it lays out a concrete plan to bring law enforcement into the scientific present. Written in a crisp and engaging style, free of legal and scientific jargon, Failed Evidence will explain to police and prosecutors, political leaders and policy makers, as well as other experts and anyone else who cares about how law enforcement does its job, where we should go from here. Because only if we understand why law enforcement resists science will we be able to break through this resistance and convince police and prosecutors to rely on the best that science has to offer.Justice demands no less.
White Men and Myth in the Post-Sixties American Historical Romance
In Failed Frontiersmen, James Donahue writes that one of the founding and most persistent mythologies of the United States is that of the American frontier. Looking at a selection of twentieth-century American male fiction writers—E. L. Doctorow, John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Gerald Vizenor, and Cormac McCarthy—he shows how they reevaluated the historical romance of frontier mythology in response to the social and political movements of the 1960s (particularly regarding the Vietnam War, civil rights, and the treatment of Native Americans). Although these writers focus on different moments in American history and different geographic locations, the author reveals their commonly held belief that the frontier mythology failed to deliver on its promises of cultural stability and political advancement, especially in the face of the multicultural crucible of the 1960s.Cultural Frames, Framing Culture
Why the U.S. Embargo against Cuba Could Never Work
For almost five decades, the United States has maintained a comprehensive economic embargo on Cuba. U.S.-based travel to the island is severely restricted, and most financial and commercial transactions with Cuba are illegal for U.S. citizens. In the 1990s the United States tightened the embargo further, seeking to promote change in Cuba by depriving the Castro government of hard currency revenues. And yet the stalemate remains.
How effective has the embargo been in achieving its main goal? Paolo Spadoni dispassionately answers, "Not very." By extending his analysis to non-state actors (including multinational corporations, migrants, international travelers, indirect investors, and food exporters), Spadoni demonstrates that the United States has not only been unable to stifle the flow of foreign investment into Cuba but has actually contributed to the recovery of the Cuban economy, particularly from the deep recession it entered following the demise of the Soviet Union.
Failed Sanctions is a must-read book for those who closely follow Cuban-U.S. relations and for anyone interested in the efficacy of economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool.
America's Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy
Today the United States has one of the highest poverty rates among the world's rich industrial democracies. The Failed Welfare Revolution shows us that things might have turned out differently. During the 1960s and 1970s, policymakers in three presidential administrations tried to replace the nation's existing welfare system with a revolutionary program to guarantee Americans basic economic security. Surprisingly from today's vantage point, guaranteed income plans received broad bipartisan support in the 1960s. One proposal, President Nixon's Family Assistance Plan, nearly passed into law in the 1970s, and President Carter advanced a similar bill a few years later. The failure of these proposals marked the federal government's last direct effort to alleviate poverty among the least advantaged and, ironically, sowed the seeds of conservative welfare reform strategies under President Reagan and beyond.
This episode has largely vanished from America's collective memory. Here, Brian Steensland tells the whole story for the first time--from why such an unlikely policy idea first developed to the factors that sealed its fate. His account, based on extensive original research in presidential archives, draws on mainstream social science perspectives that emphasize the influence of powerful stakeholder groups and policymaking institutions. But Steensland also shows that some of the most potent obstacles to guaranteed income plans were cultural. Most centrally, by challenging Americans' longstanding distinction between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor, the plans threatened the nation's cultural, political, and economic status quo.
The G.I. Bill and the Vietnam Generation
The original 1944 G.I. Bill holds a special place in the American imagination. In popular mythology, it stands as the capstone of the Greatest Generation narrative of World War II, a fitting reward for the nation’s heroes. Given the almost universal acclaim afforded the bill, future generations of warriors might well have expected to receive similar remuneration for their sacrifice. But when soldiers of the Vietnam conflict shed their fatigues and returned home to civilian life, they found that their G.I. Bills fell well short of what many of them believed they had earned.
In this first legislative history of the G.I. Bill during the Vietnam Era, Mark Boulton takes the story of veterans’ politics beyond the 1944 G.I. Bill as he seeks to uncover the reasons why Vietnam veterans were less well compensated than their predecessors. In crafting their legislation, both conservative and liberal politicians of the Vietnam era wrestled with fundamental questions about the obligations of American citizenship. What does it mean to serve one’s country? What does society owe those civilians it puts in uniform? Repeatedly, in answering those questions, lawmakers from both ends of the political spectrum found reasons to curb the generosity of the benefits offered.
The G.I. Bills should play a central role in our understanding of the Vietnam veteran’s post-service lives, just as they do for World War II veterans. Taking the story of the G.I. Bills beyond the World War II generation allows for a more complete understanding of the veteran experience in America.
The Story behind America's Broken Economy
In Failure by Design, the Economic Policy Institute's Josh Bivens takes a step back from the acclaimed State of Working America series, building on its wealth of data to relate a compelling narrative of the U.S. economy's struggle to emerge from the Great Recession of 2008. Bivens explains the causes and impact on working Americans of the most catastrophic economic policy failure since the 1920s.
As outlined clearly here, economic growth since the late 1970s has been slow and inequitably distributed, largely as a result of poor policy choices. These choices only got worse in the 2000s, leading to an anemic economic expansion. What growth we did see in the economy was fueled by staggering increases in private-sector debt and a housing bubble that artificially inflated wealth by trillions of dollars. As had been predicted, the bursting of the housing bubble had disastrous consequences for the broader economy, spurring a financial crisis and a rise in joblessness that dwarfed those resulting from any recession since the Great Depression. The fallout from the Great Recession makes it near certain that there will be yet another lost decade of income growth for typical families, whose incomes had not been boosted by the previous decade's sluggish and localized economic expansion.
In its broad narrative of how the economy has failed to deliver for most Americans over much of the past three decades, Failure by Design also offers compelling graphical evidence on jobs, incomes, wages, and other measures of economic well-being most relevant to low- and middle-income workers. Josh Bivens tracks these trends carefully, giving a lesson in economic history that is readable yet rigorous in its analysis. Intended as both a stand-alone volume and a companion to the new State of Working America website that presents all of the data underlying this cogent analysis, Failure by Design will become required reading as a road map to the economic problems that confront working Americans.
International Norms, Domestic Politics, and Unachievable Commitments
In this timely work, Loren R. Cass argues that international norms and normative debates provide the keys to understanding the evolution of both domestic and international responses to the threat of global climate change. Ranging from the early identification and framing of this problem in the mid 1980s through the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force in 2005, Cass focuses on two normative debates that were critical to the development of climate policy—who should bear primary responsibility for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and what principles would guide these reductions. He examines why some nations, but not others, have met their commitments, and concludes that while many states affirmed the international norms, most did not fully translate them into domestic policy. Cass offers an index to measure the domestic salience of international norms and compare the level of salience across states and within states over time, and uses it to assess the European Union, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.