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At the heart of the journey, and the novel itself, is Truman Stroud, the quick-witted, cantankerous owner of the crumbling Sabbath Creek Motor Court, where Lewis and his mother are stranded by car trouble. His budding friendship with the ninety-three-year-old black man is his only reprieve from the mysteries that haunt him. Despite his prickly personality and the considerable burden of his own personal tragedies, Stroud becomes the boy's best hope for a father figure as he teaches Lewis the secrets of baseball and the secrets of life.
Sabbath Creek is more than a coming-of-age novel. And while Mitcham provides a nuanced look at the relationship between a white adolescent boy and a black old-timer, his second novel transcends the tired theme of race relations in the South. This compassionate, smart, powerful work of fiction touches the pulse of the human spirit. It travels from the ruined landscape of south Georgia and takes us all the way through the ruined landscape of a broken heart.
This book is a critical study of the mystical celebration of Sabbath in the classical period of Kabbalah, from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries. The Kabbalists’ re-reading of the earlier Jewish tradition has been called a model of “mythopoeic revision,” a revision rooted in a world-view that stressed the interrelation of all worlds and levels of being. This is the first work, in any language, to systematically collect and analyze all the major innovations in praxis and theology that classical Kabbalah effected upon the development of the Rabbinic Sabbath, one of the most central areas of Jewish religious practice.
A Combat Medic in Ramadi, Iraq
The National Guardsman, the citizen soldier called upon to fight for this nation in a time of war, is one of the least understood -- and perhaps one of the most compelling -- figures of the Iraq War. Saber's Edge is the story of a middle-aged Vermont firefighter called upon to be a soldier in the worst place on earth -- Ramadi, Iraq. In a few short weeks Thomas A. Middleton went from being a suburban dad to a combat medic traveling between platoons, filling in for other medics and engaging in some of the fiercest and most crucial fighting of the war.
This is the war as experienced from the ground level: days of tedium interspersed with the adrenalin of combat; moments of lighthearted laughter broken by the sorrow of loss. This is also the story of the unique wartime perspective of our guardsmen. Unlike the raw, unformed young recruit, the mature guardsman often comes with the burdens of family, experience, and a developed sense of self. Accordingly, Sgt. Middleton's story chronicles the inner conflict created by his long-time professional role as a healer and his newfound life as a warrior in the urban battlefields of Iraq. Thrust into a culture and theater of war that he is little equipped or trained for, the author tries to make sense of his actions. Coarsened by combat and increasingly disdainful of the local population, he receives solace and insight from his life-long faith and ultimately emerges as a man who understands his role in the world.
Saber's Edge is also the story of the Green Mountain Boys of Task Force Saber: a story of comradeship and communion amid fierce street fighting in a crucial theater of the Iraq War (the eventual site of the "Al Anbar Awakening"). Based on the author's first-hand experiences and interviews with other soldiers, Saber's Edge presents a riveting account of modern urban warfare and the inspiring story of one man reconciling his actions in warfare.
With their spectacularly enlarged canines, sabertooth cats are among the most popular of prehistoric animals, yet it is surprising how little information about them is available for the curious layperson. What’s more, there were other sabertooths that were not cats, animals with exotic names like nimravids, barbourofelids, and thylacosmilids. Some were no taller than a domestic cat, others were larger than a lion, and some were as weird as their names suggest. Sabertooths continue to pose questions even for specialists. What did they look like? How did they use their spectacular canine teeth? And why did they finally go extinct? In this visual and intellectual treat of a book, Mauricio Antón tells their story in words and pictures, all scrupulously based on the latest scientific research. The book is a glorious wedding of science and art that celebrates the remarkable diversity of the life of the not-so-distant past.
The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country
Mann offers an absorbing and richly detailed look at the life of Sacajawea’s people before their first contact with non-Natives, their encounter with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early nineteenth century, and their subsequent confinement to a reservation in northern Idaho near the town of Salmon. He follows the Lemhis from the liquidation of their reservation in 1907 to their forced union with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation to the south. He describes how for the past century, surrounded by more populous and powerful Native tribes, the Lemhis have fought to preserve their political, economic, and cultural integrity. His compelling and informative account should help to bring Sacajawea’s people out of the long shadow of history and restore them to their rightful place in the American story.
Louisa May Alcott, Edith Wharton, and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism
Written a generation apart and rarely treated together by scholars, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868) and Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (1905) share a deep concern with materialism, moral development, and self-construction. The heroines in both grapple with conspicuous consumption, an aspect of modernity that challenges older beliefs about ethical behavior and core identity.
Placing both novels at the historical intersection of modern consumer culture and older religious discourses on materialism and identity, Sarah Way Sherman analyzes how Alcott and Wharton rework traditional Protestant discourses to interpret their heroines' struggle with modern consumerism. Her conclusion reveals how Little Women's optimism, still buoyed by otherworldly justice, providential interventions, and the notion of essential identity, ultimately gives way to the much darker vision of modern materialistic culture in The House of Mirth.