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One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War
In April 1969, Linda Moore-Lanning watched her husband, Lt. Michael Lee Lanning, board a Greyhound bus that would take him to a military flight scheduled to deposit him in Vietnam. As he boarded the bus, Lee told her, "It’s only for a year." Moore-Lanning struggled to believe her husband’s words. Waiting: One Wife’s Year of the Vietnam War is the deeply personal account of Moore-Lanning’s year as a waiting wife. The first-ever book from the perspective of a wife on the home front during the Vietnam War, Moore-Lanning’s telling is both unflinching in its honesty and universal in its evocation of the price exacted from those who were left behind. During her "waiting year," Moore-Lanning traveled far, in both distance and perspective, from the small West Texas town of Roby where she had grown up and met her husband. Through her eyes, we experience the agony of waiting for the next letter from Lee; the exhilaration of learning of her pregnancy; the frustration of dealing with friends and family members who didn’t understand her struggles; and the solace of companionship with Susan Hargrove, another waiting wife. Because of her insistence that Lee give her an honest account of his experiences, Moore-Lanning also affords readers a gut-wrenching view of Vietnam as narrated by an infantry commander in the field. Unfolding with the gripping narrative of a novel, Waiting will captivate general readers, while those interested in military history and home front perspectives—especially from the Vietnam War—will deeply appreciate this impressive addition to the literature.
A Story of Emigration
In 1987 a young Jewish man, the central figure in this captivating book, leaves Moscow for good with his parents. They celebrate their freedom in opulent Vienna and spend two months in Rome and the coastal resort of Ladispoli. While waiting in Europe for a U.S. refugee visa, the book’s twenty-year-old poet quenches his thirst for sexual and cultural discovery. Through his colorful Austrian and Italian misadventures, he experiences the shock, thrill, and anonymity of encountering Western democracies, running into European roadblocks while shedding Soviet social taboos. As he anticipates entering a new life in America, he movingly describes the baggage that exiles bring with them, from the inescapable family traps and ties to the sweet cargo of memory. An emigration story, Waiting for America explores the rapid expansion of identity at the cusp of a new, American life. Told in a revelatory first-person narrative, Waiting for America is also a vibrant love story in which the romantic main character is torn between Russian and Western women. Filled with poignant humor and reinforced by hope and idealism, the author’s confessional voice carries the reader in the same way one is carried through literary memoirs like Tolstoy’s Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, or Nabokov’s Speak, Memory. Babel, Sebald, and Singer—all transcultural masters of identity writing—are the coordinates that help to locate Waiting for America on the greater map of literature.
In "Michael Kohler," Kromer's unfinished novel, the harsh existence of coal miners in Pennsylvania is told in a committed, political voice that reveals Kromer's developing affinity with leftist writers including Lincoln Steffens and Theodore Dreiser. An exploration of Kromer's proletarian roots, "Michael Kohler" was to be a political novel, a story of labor unions and the injustices of big management. Kromer's other work ranges from his college days, when he wrote a sarcastic expose of the bums in his hometown titled "Pity the Poor Panhandler: $2 an Hour Is All He Gets," to the sensitive pieces of his later life--short stories, articles, and book reviews written more out of an aching understanding of suffering than from the slick formulas of politics.
Waiting for Nothing remains, however, Kromer's most powerful achievement, a work Steffens called "realism to the nth degree." Collected here as the major part of Kromer's oeuvre, Waiting for Nothing traces the author's personal struggle to preserve human virtues and emotions in the face of a brutal and dehumanizing society.
Reflections at the Turning of the Year
In Israel, the High Holiday cycle marks the transition from summer to the rainy season. In Waiting for Rain, the acclaimed teacher Bryna Levy offers a compelling collection of meditations that examine the biblical and liturgical readings associated with the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Simhat Torah. Based on a series of lectures given in Jerusalem at Matan – the Women's Institute for Torah Studies, and known as "The Hoshana Rabbah Lectures," Levy's readings of the traditional texts echo the natural and spiritual tenor of this season. Waiting for Rain joins the field of biblical interpretation known as parshanut ha-mikrah. It offers fresh insights into traditional rabbinic interpretation, together with the author's perspective as a modern Orthodox woman bible scholar. Levy explores the psyches of the biblical characters and addresses issues such as our connectedness to others, the tragedy of wasted opportunity, confronting evil, the denial of death, faith and doubt, personal and communal responsibility, universalism versus particularism, the challenge of leadership, sin and atonement, and the efficacy of prayer. The result is a highly personal approach to the meaning of the High Holidays that resonates with our own modern lives. Stories about heroes and heroines, love, faith, hope, and dreams make this book a moving and engaging source for study and reflection as well as an excellent companion to the traditional High Holiday prayer services.
The Fight to Stop Election Fraud in Arkansas
Waiting for the Cemetery Vote begins with an overview chapter of Arkansas election fraud since the nineteenth century and then moves on to more specific examples of fraudulent activities over a dozen or so years that coincide with the onset of the modern progressive era in Arkansas. Author Tom Glaze, who was a trial lawyer battling election fraud during this time, is the ideal chronicler for this topic, bringing a memoirist’s intimate insight together with a wealth of historical knowledge. Glaze describes the manipulation of absentee ballots and poll-tax receipts; votes cast by the dead, children, and animals; forgeries of ballots from nursing homes; and threats to body or livelihood made to anyone who would dare question these activities or monitor elections. Deceptive practices used to control election results were disturbingly brazen in the gubernatorial elections in the 1960s and were especially egregious in Conway and Searcy Counties in the 1970s and in special elections for the state senate in Faulkner, Conway, and Van Buren Counties. A clean-election movement began in the early 1970s, led not by party or political leaders but by individual citizens. These vigilant and courageous Arkansans undertook to do what their public institutions persistently failed to: insure that elections for public office were honest and that the will of the people was scrupulously obliged. Prominent and colorful among these groups was a small band of women in Conway County who dubbed themselves the “Snoop Sisters” and took on the long-established corrupt machine of Sheriff Marlin Hawkins.
Englishness in 1852
Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England’s response to the Duke’s death. The Wake of Wellington considers Wellington’s spectacular funeral pageant in the fall of 1852—an unprecedented event that attracted one and a half million spectators to London—as a threshold event against which the life of the soldier-hero and High-Tory statesman could be re-viewed and represented. Canvassing a profuse and dramatically proliferating Wellingtoniana, Sinnema examines the various assumptions behind, and implications of, the Times’s celebrated claim that the Irish-born Wellington “was the very type and model of an Englishman.” The dead duke, as Sinnema demonstrates, was repeatedly caught up in interpretive practices that stressed the quasi-symbolic relations between hero and nation. The Wake of Wellington provides a unique view of how in death Wellington and his career were promoted as the consummation of a national destiny intimately bound up with Englishness itself, and with what it meant to be English at midcentury.
Feminist Voices in Children's Novels
The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.
Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.
Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.
Although Thoreau would never have encountered the Japanese haiku tradition, the way in which the most important ideas in Walden find expression in the most haikulike language suggests that Thoreau at Walden Pond and the haiku master Basho at his "old pond" might have drunk at the same well. Walden and the tradition of haiku share an aesthetic that embodies ideas in natural images, dissolves boundaries between self and world, emphasizes simplicity, and honors both solitude and humble, familiar objects. Marshall examines each of these aesthetic principles and offers a relevant collection of "found" haiku. In the second part of the book, he explains his process of finding the haiku in the text, breaking down each chapter of Walden to highlight the imagery and poetic language embedded in the most powerful passages.
Marshall's exploration not only provides a fresh perspective on haiku, but also sheds new light on Thoreau's much-studied text and lays the foundation for a clearer understanding of the aesthetics of American nature writing.
Essays on Thoreau
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved from his parents' house in Concord, Massachusetts, to a one-room cabin on land owned by his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. After 26 months he transformed his stay in the woods into one of the most famous events in American history. In Walden x 40, adopting Thoreau's own compositional method, Robert B. Ray takes up several questions posed in Walden. Thoreau developed his books from his lectures, and his lectures from his almost-daily journal notations of the world around him, with its fluctuating weather and appointed seasons, both forever familiar and suddenly brand new. Ray derives his 40 brief essays from the details of Walden itself, reading the book in the way that Thoreau proposed to explore his own life—deliberately. Ray demonstrates that however accustomed we have grown to its lessons, Walden continues to be as surprising as the November snowfall that, Thoreau reports, "covered the ground... and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter."