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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.
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.
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.
Selected Stories of Desmond Pacey
From the Canadian Short Story Library, twelve stories from Desmond Pacey, a major figure in Canadian Literature and criticism. The twelve stories are typical of Pacey's story-telling technique and what emerges from them is a distinctive, even powerful optimism, charity, tolerance and deep understanding of human nature. The sombre side of life is honestly portrayed and juxtaposed against the importance of love as a unifying force. These stories, presented in a simple straightforward manner, reveal man as he is: fragile, vulnerable, capable of crude, selfish and irrational behaviour, subject to defeat and despair; but also, heroic, enlightened, capable of strength, wisdom, hope and joy.
“I had a clock it woke all day,” writes Jonathan Thirkield at the outset of The Waker’s Corridor, a book that charts an assiduous attempt to recover lost time. Housed in elaborate and varied formal architectures, these poems navigate the disorder and gaps left by the violence of loss. All measures of time—psychological, personal, historical, numerical—collide and overlap in intensely lyrical verse. What results is a journey that winds through shifting lands and interiors, across theatrical stages and city streets, into voices and objects that emerge in sudden, vivid relief, and just as quickly disappear. By turns dreamlike and sternly rational, arcane and contemporary, intimate and dramatic, it is a book of blinding, austere, and beautiful awakenings.
Yes, it’s safe to go back to poetry. In fact, it’s highly recommended, thanks to Rex Wilder and his engaging first book of poems. Waking Bodies has already been praised by luminaries as diverse as the metrical Richard Wilbur and the asymmetrical Billy Collins for its qualities of pure enjoyment. The highly popular Collins, a Two-Term Poet Laureate of the United States, says, "In Rex Wilder's poetry, the tired English of everyday use comes back to us refreshed and full of its original surprise. In a world glutted with poetry, that Wilder has found a new way to say the old things is a notable achievement."