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Amherst Books
8 Main Street  Amherst, MA 01002     413.256.1547    800.503.5865    books@amherstbooks.com
Local Authors

Recently arrived to teach in the M.F.A. program at the University of Massachusetts, Chris Bachelder‘s U.S.! is an unusual & enjoyable read: In Chris Bachelder‘s world, tireless—& long dead—muckraker Upton Sinclair is repeatedly exhumed (& miraculously resurrected) by beleaguered but optimistic leftists, & then assassinated by those seeking fame, fortune & American business as usual.   As he grows more & more politically & culturally insignificant, Sinclair keeps writing his embarrassingly bad novels & keeps risking his life for the Socialist revolution.   (2006)
Sheila Bair
Sheila Bair professor in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, has a new book for children, Rock, Brock, & the Savings Shock.   From the publisher‘s blurb: “Rock & Brock may be twins, but they are as different as two twins can be.   One day, their grandpa offers them a plan—for ten straight weeks on Saturday he will give them each one dollar—& another dollar for each one that is saved.   Rock is excited—there are all sorts of things he can buy for one dollar!   So each week he spends his money on something different—an inflatable moose head, green hair goo, white peppermint wax fangs.   But while Rock is spending his money, Brock is saving his.   And each week when Rock gets just one dollar, Brock’s savings get matched.   By the end of summer, Brock has five hundred & twelve dollars, while Rock has none.   When Rock sees what his brother has saved, he realizes he has made a mistake.   But Brock shows him that it is never too late to start saving.”   When Bair isn‘t writing children‘s books, she writes on the U.S. banking system.   (2006)
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Lynne Rudder Baker professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, has a new book, The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism.   In it Baker presents & defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View.   In contrast to leading metaphysical views that take everyday things to be either non-existent or reducible to micro-objects, the Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality.   Although they are ultimately constituted by microphysical particles, everyday objects are neither identical to, nor reducible to, the aggregates of microphysical particles that constitute them.   The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains & microscopes are fundamentally different kinds of things—all constituted by, but not identical to, aggregates of particles.   Baker supports her account with discussions of non-reductive causation, vagueness, mereology, artifacts, three-dimensionalism, ontological novelty, ontological levels & emergence.   The upshot is a unified ontological theory of the entire material world that irreducibly contains people, as well as non-human living things & inanimate objects.  (2007)
Local playwright, Richard Ballon, has a new collection of plays, stories & poems, Enough of a Little to Know the All.   Ballon has written & has performed over a dozen plays & teledramas, including In the Name of God.   His poetry has appeared in Social Anarchism, St. Anthony Messenger, The Haight Ashbury Review, Zuzu's Petals, The Lilliput Review, Fag Rag, & Visions International.   (2007)
Doris Bargen, professor of Japanese in the Asian Languages program at the University of Massachusetts, has a recent book, Suicidal Honor: General Nogi & the Writings of Mori gai & Natsume Sseki.   It explores the historical & literary legacies of Nogi, gai, & Sseki from an interdisciplinary perspective, illuminating Japan’s prolonged & painful transition from the idealized heroic world of samurai culture to the mundane anxieties of modernity.   Bargen's book will fascinate specialists in the fields of Japanese literature, history, & religion, & anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Japan’s warrior culture.   Bargen is also author of A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji.   (2006)
Mt. Holyoke College anthropology professor, Debbora Battaglia has edited a new book from Duke University Press, E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces.  It includes a piece by University of Massachusetts professor, David Samuels.   About the book: anthropologists have long sought to engage & describe foreign or “alien” societies, yet few have considered the fluid communities that share a belief in alien beings & UFO sightings & their effect on popular & expressive culture.   Opening up a new frontier for anthropological study, the contributors take these communities seriously.   They demonstrate that an E.T. orientation toward various forms of visitation—including alien beings, alien technologies, & uncanny visions—engages primary concepts underpinning anthropological research: host & visitor, home & away, subjectivity & objectivity.   (2005)
Pelham resident, Robert Bauver has a new book, Navajo & Pueblo Earrings.   It‘s the first book to explain & illustrate the different types of Native American earrings & the types of materials used.   The history of the Native earring in the Southwest & how they were used is shown with documentation through the last two hundred years.   Archival photos & new photos of the historic Native earrings give the reader examples of the over 300 pairs of earrings that originally made up this collection.   Bauver is also author of Navaho & Pueblo Jewelry.(2006)
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Christopher Benfey, who teaches English at Mt. Holyoke College, has a new book!   A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, & Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, & Martin Johnson Heade, “is an indispensable Baedeker to the American cultural landscape of the nineteenth-century.   [Benfey] accomplishes for literature & art what The Metaphysical Club did for philosophy & politics–establishing crucial linkages, both biographically & intellectually, among a diverse group of writers & artists whose work defined a vibrant new aesthetic in the years after the Civil War.   And who would have guessed that reclusive Emily Dickinson entertained a secret lover?   Romantic intrigue plays no small part in this absorbing tale, which follows a ‘route of evanescence’ through the studies & studios of Dickinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Martin Johnson Heade, & a handful of fascinating if less–well–known members of an expansive circle of friends, siblings, & spouses whose influence on each other & on the American spirit Benfey traces with uncanny insight." (Megan Marshall)   (2008)
Edited by Mt. Holyoke professors, Christopher Benfey & Karen Remmler, Artists, Intellectuals, & World War II: The Pontigny Encounters at Mount Holyoke College, 1942-1944 reprints essays from a conference held at Mt. Holyoke College in 2004 revisiting an extraordinary series of gatherings which took place at the College during the summers of 1942–1944.   Leading intellectuals in the arts & sciences—among them Hannah Arendt, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Claude Lvi–Strauss, Roman Jakobson, Marc Chagall, & Robert Motherwell—met at the college for urgent conversations about the future of human civilization in a precarious world.   Sixty years on, the conference itself had an extraordinary cast of participants, as the essays in this volume demonstrate—it includes contributions by Stanley Cavell, Jacques Derrida, Jed Perl, Mary Ann Caws, Jeffrey Mehlman, & Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, among others.   (2006)
picture%20of%20%20 Bo’s%20Arts
Bo (“the dog”) is celebrated by over fifty San Francisco Bay Area artists in this delightful book.   Bo & Bo’s human, Jamie Berger, are residents of Turners Falls though they are often seen on the streets of Amherst, where Berger is an M.F.A. student at the University of Massachusetts.   His writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeneys.net, The Sun Magazine, The Chicago Reader, Negative Capability, Columbia Magazine & Planet Magazine.
Joyce Berkman, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, is editor of a new book, Contemplating Edith Stein.   Controversy surrounding the beatification & canonization of Edith Stein, a Catholic convert of Jewish heritage who was murdered at Auschwitz, has eclipsed scholarly & public attention to Stein’s extraordinary development as a philosopher.   Divided into three sections—biographical explorations, Stein's feminist theory & pedagogy, & her creative philosophical contributions—the sixteen essays in this volume represent the first comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis in English of Stein’s life & philosophical writings.   (2006)
Northampton resident & City Councilor, Rita Bleiman has just had her first novel published, Dirty Tricks.   —What happens when a young, lonely, ambitious political idealist comes up against a handsome, brilliant, powerful, older, married Texas State Senator?   Ideals are dropped almost as quickly as clothes in this laugh-out-loud novel about sex & politics in the ’60s.   With a zany cast of characters that could only originate in the Lone Star State, or in the mind of someone who grew up there, Dirty Tricks presents an insider’s view of the perceived high stakes of grassroots politics & the lengths to which ordinary people will go in order to promote themselves & their causes once they are infected with the virus called power.   Bleiman left Texas in the sixties for Washington, D.C., where she worked for Senator Walter F. Mondale & the Carter White House.   (2005)
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Amherst High School English teacher & Ultimate Frisbee champion coach Tina Booth has written (with Michael Baccarini) a new book— Essential Ultimate: Teaching, Coaching, Playing.   The book introduces the basics of the sport & prepares one to teach, coach, & play it.   As a fun, cost–effective recreational sport, one of Ultimate’s appeals is in being self–officiated.   This requires players to participate in fair play, teamwork, & good sportsmanship, helping them develop responsibility & character.  With its thorough coverage of the sport, Essential Ultimate will also help players improve their skills—& aid coaches & teachers in applying the information in a variety of settings, thus making it an important resource for anyone interested in the world of Ultimate.   (2008)
Annie Boutelle, who teaches in the English Department at Smith College, where she founded the Poetry Center, is author of a new collection of poetry, Nest of Thistles.   Writing of Boutelle's book, which won the 2005 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, Eric Pankey observed that, “Boutelle’s eye for the revelatory detail, her ear for a craggy consonance & airy assonance, & her mind with its well-honed intelligence, reveal & explore the self, in particular a self wrought from history, myth, & tradition.   Line by line, her ‘articulate relishing & mastery of phenomena in general’ make a corporeal & tangible world out of the strata of yesterdays . . .”   (2005)
In the long tradition of biography-in-poetry collections, Annie Boutelle’s first collection probes the layered life of one of nineteenth-century America’s most popular poets, who is now almost forgotten.   The Celia Thaxter who speaks these poems disturbs the placid myth created around her public persona, & focuses on the fierce mysteries & ironies that frame her.   Boutelle carefully reveals Thaxter’s childhood on the stark Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast; the trap of a Victorian marriage; the struggle to invent herself as writer & painter; & her celebrated circle of friends, including Nathaniel Hawthorne & Childe Hassam.   Gerald Stern, writing of Becoming Bone said, “the poems are stark, original, lovely, the poetic knowledge terrific.   Read this fine book.”   (2005)
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University of Massachusetts economics professor Jim Boyce, along with Sunita Narain & Elizabeth Stanton, has edited new collection of studies— Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice & Ecological Restoration.   In the book Boyce has assembled articles by leading environmental thinkers from across the globe whose work explores the relationship betwen the natural world & human activities.   The authors draw inspiration & lessons from diverse experiences, from community–based fishery & forestry management to innovative strategies for combating global warming.   Contributors include local authors Matthew Riddle & Krista Harper.   (2007)
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Brian Breed, a professor of classics at the University of Massachusetts, has a new book: Pastoral Inscriptions: Reading & Writing Virgil’s Eclogues.   In it, Breed examines the tension between representations of orality in Virgil’s pastoral world & the intense textuality of his pastoral poetry.   The book argues that separation between speakers & their language in the Eclogues is not merely pastoral preciosity.   It shows rather how Virgil uses representations of orality as the point of comparison for measuring both the capacity & the limitations of the Eclogues as a written text that will be encountered by reading audiences.   (2006)
Malian’s Song is a new children’s book by Marge Bruchac.   Bruchac—an Abenaki Indian, is an instructor at the University of Massachusetts, performer, & historical consultant who works to decolonize representations of northeastern Native peoples from the 17th century to the present by disseminating more accurate historical information & deconstructing stereotypes in museums & the academy.   This book illustrates the Abenaki experience of the attack conducted by Major Robert Rogers on the St. Francis Abenaki community in 1759.   Malian’s account of Rogers’ Raid, passed down through generations of Abenaki descendants through oral tradition, reveals that many people actually survived the attack that destroyed their village; this fact stands in direct contrast to Rogers’ journal records.   Jeanne Brink, a modern–day Abenaki descendant living in Vermont, told the little–known version of the brutal attack to the Vermont Folklife Center.   In a text that interweaves Abenaki & English, Bruchac presents a story of a people’s strength & fortitude in the face of unspeakable loss.   With the author’s aid, illustrator William Maughan has used a range of visual reference material about the 18th century Abenaki to draw the most authentic portrait of their life & environment to date.   (2006)
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In her new book, In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence, Amherst College political science professor Kristin Bumiller argues that the feminist campaign to address sexual violence has evolved into a problematic alliance with the neoliberal state.   She chronicles this evolution by examining the history of that campaign, the production of cultural images about sexual violence, professional discourses on intimate violence, & the everyday lives of battered women.   Bumiller also scrutinizes the rhetoric of high–profile rape trials & the expansion of feminist concerns about sexual violence into the international human–rights arena.   In the process, she reveals how the feminist fight against sexual violence has been shaped over recent decades by dramatic shifts in welfare policies, incarceration rates, & the surveillance role of social–service bureaucracies.   (2008)
University of Massachusetts history professor Brian Bunk has a new book, —Ghosts of Passion: Martyrdom, Gender, & the Origins of the Spanish Civil War   In Ghosts of Passion Bunk argues that propaganda related to the revolution of October 1934 triggered the Spanish Civil War by accentuating existing social tensions surrounding religion & gender.   Through careful analysis of the images produced in books, newspapers, posters, rallies, & meetings, Bunk contends that Spain’s civil war was not inevitable. &nsbp; Commemorative imagery produced after October 1934 bridged the gap between rhetoric & action by dehumanizing opponents & encouraging violent action against them.   (2007)
Postcards from the Brain Museum
Postcards from the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds by Brian Burrell, professor of mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, relates the story of the first scientific attempts to locate the sources of both genius & depravity in the physical anatomy of the human brain.  As Martin Gardner wrote, reviewing the book, "Like explorers searching for the Fountain of Youth, scientists undertake their own quixotic quests.  Brian Burrell details the fascinating but so far frustrating search for the brain bases of genius, criminality, & madness."   (2005)

Last updated 16 October, 2008 Site Map