Frankel, Valerie Estelle. Women in Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance. McFarland. Jul. 2014. 216p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786494163. pap. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781476615547. TV
Amid the passionate fervor that surrounds the popular HBO show, this text highlights a crucial point of contention with fans of the original source material: the treatment of its female characters. Readers will find deeper insight into the program’s hotly debated use of gratuitous nudity, the damaging male gaze, and the excessive instances of violence against women. Pop culture critic Frankel (Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey) expertly details the vast—and tragic—differences among the complexly layered and relatable characters George R.R. Martin initially imagined in his books and the clichéd archetypes portrayed on the show, easily fitting them into tired television tropes. Frankel explores the characters one by one, highlighting the ways in which their nuances have been stripped down in favor of one-note, male-centered representations. The book is also peppered with intriguing anecdotes of women throughout history and possible influences for Martin’s depictions, including pirates, duelists, and warriors. VERDICT Thoroughly researched and impressively analyzed, this is highly recommended reading for fans of both book and small-screen series who are interested in valid criticisms and the feminist viewpoint. Library Journal
Ingram, Catherine (text) & Peter Arkle (illus.). This Is Pollock. Laurence King. (This Is). 2014. 80p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781780673462. $15.95. FINE ARTS
The third book in the series by freelance art historian Ingram is a concise account of the life of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912–56). Ingram and Scottish illustrator Arkle portray their subject as a misunderstood victim of a fitful art world, addiction, depression, and other circumstances. The legendary “bad boy” stories about Pollock are not omitted; rather, Ingram recaps and explains the artist’s blunders in context, shedding light on some important details about his time, life, and personal affairs (including a formidable mother, an alcoholic father, and a clinical diagnosis of extreme introversion). The author’s sensitive perspective is positively augmented by Arkle’s youthful, graphic novel–like illustrations, which set this book apart from the many others about the too-brief existence of Pollock. What the title is not is a naïve dramatization. The erudite Ingram sticks to the facts while theorizing that politics and society played a role in both the rise and the downward spiral of the man. VERDICT A refreshing and honest book that implores readers to be sympathetic rather than disdainful of one of American’s greatest painters. While historically accurate, theoretical, and critical, this work is not for those looking for dense art history, theory, or criticism.
Turner, James. Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities. Princeton Univ. Jun. 2014. 544p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780691145648. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781400850150. LIT
Turner (Cavanaugh Professor of Humanities, Univ. of Notre Dame) has written an extensive work on the forgotten subject of philology. He explains that while philology has “fallen on hard times” it is the discipline in which many of the humanities and certain social sciences had their origins. While, according to Turner, the subject has become largely forgotten today because many view it as just the study of old texts. He illustrates that it has a much broader application and includes the study of the history, evolution, and structures of not only texts but also languages. In the author’s examples throughout history, he shows how philology’s methods of scholarship reached many different areas, from history to biblical research to literature studies. Turner’s work is very thorough and yet easy to read. VERDICT Scholars and students will find this a rewarding volume. Turner does a fantastic job of introducing how the history of philology is also, in turn, a chronicle of the various branches of the humanities and why looking at this connection might help demonstrate the humanities’ worth among academic disciplines.
King of Pop
Greenburg, Zack O’Malley. Michael Jackson, Inc: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire. Atria. Jun. 2014. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9781476705965. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476706382. MUSIC
Given that there is no shortage of biographical works about the late King of Pop, Greenburg’s focus on the business side of Michael Jackson’s life and death (1958–2009) is a wise choice. Starting with the early days of the Jackson 5, former child actor (Lorenzo’s Oil) Greenburg looks at Jackson’s ability to generate revenue and how he chose to spend his earnings. While the world often perceives Jackson as a puppet controlled by others, the author presents him not only as an artist who wanted to create the perfect record every time he entered the studio, but also as a shrewd businessperson when it came to marketing opportunities and record sales. Most of Jackson’s family members declined to comment for the book but there are many first-person accounts from his former business partners and legal advisers. It’s interesting that while many people were perhaps not treated fairly or lost out in some dealings not one of them has a bad thing to say about Jackson. VERDICT A very readable, enjoyable take on Jackson, both the man and the business, that should appeal to any Jackson or music fan.
Weisner, Ron with Alan Goldsher. Listen Out Loud: A Life in Music–Managing McCartney, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Lyons: Globe Pequot. Jun. 2014. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9780762791446. $24.95. MUSIC
A tasty nugget of insider information about Michael Jackson’s wardrobe influences draws the reader into the story of Weisner’s career in music, giving a singular glimpse into the industry and artistic process. There are tales of working as a manager for performers he loved, such as Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, Sha Na Na, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, and others, as well as a few he did not, including Madonna and John Mellencamp. The author’s success came from a desire and ability to help artists be their most creative and successful selves combined with his years of experience and knowledge of the music business and industry. One of the many highlights are descriptions of working with Jackson on recording his first two solo albums (Off the Wall and Thriller). Weisner assembled some incredible collaborators, including Quincy Jones, and helped foster creativity, hard work, experimentation, and musical genius. Some of his stories portray the seedier side of the industry but most are upbeat, highlighting the wonderful music Weisner was involved with, and how it is made. It’s like listening to a friend share incredible stories, swear words and all. VERDICT An eyewitness account that is not just gossip but a glimpse into the workings of the music industry from the 1960s through the 2010s.
Whitfield, Bill & Javon Beard. Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days. Weinstein: Perseus. Jun. 2014. 320p. index. ISBN 9781602862500. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781602862517. MUSIC
Love him or loathe him, Michael Jackson is indisputably one of the most intriguing and enigmatic entertainers of the 20th and 21st centuries. With a career spanning early childhood to his disturbing descent into a reclusive adulthood, he is a global icon. While much is known about his life (his humble beginnings, plastic surgeries, sex abuse allegations, etc.), very little is known about the “true” man. Although his former bodyguards Whitfield and Beard’s first-person vignettes provide little-known facts about Jackson, this title raises more questions than can be gleaned from their two-and-half-year security detail. Written with Tanner Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black), this book attempts to showcase Jackson’s “humanity” while leading the reader to speculate about those things that kept him imprisoned by paranoia and isolation. Colby augments the bodyguards’ narratives by providing background information about the artist’s success and decline—a combination that is likely to make readers frustrated and wondering why the singer’s life deteriorated so rapidly and why he behaved as he did. Whitfield and Beard present Jackson as a “normal eccentric” who craved stability and relationships while remaining distrustful of most; a childlike, doting father whose naïveté in certain situations (e.g., finances) is both baffling and fascinating. VERDICT Recommended primarily for Michael Jackson fans.
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Brown, Andrew. Art & Ecology Now. Thames & Hudson. 2014. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9780500239162. $50. FINE ARTS
Comer, Stuart & others. Whitney Biennial 2014. Whitney. 2014. 416p. illus. ISBN 9780300196870. pap. $55. FINE ARTS
Hall, James. The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History. Thames & Hudson. 2014. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500239100. $35. FINE ARTS
Jolles, Adam. The Curatorial Avant-Garde: Surrealism and Exhibition Practice in France, 1925–1941. Pennsylvania State Univ. 2014. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780271064154. $74.95. FINE ARTS
McGuirk, Justin. Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture. Verso. Jun. 2014. 288p. index. ISBN 9781781682807. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781781682814. ARCH
Andrews, Chris. Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction: An Expanding Universe. Columbia Univ. Jul. 2014. 304p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780231168069. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780231537537. LIT
Corman, Avery. My Old Neighborhood Remembered. Barricade. Jun. 2014. 192p. photos. ISBN 9781569805183. $19.95. LIT
Johnson, Barbara. A Life with Mary Shelley. Stanford Univ. (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics). Jul. 2014. 192p. ed. by Judith Butler & Shoshana Felman. notes. ISBN 9780804790529. $70; pap. ISBN 9780804791250. $22.95. LIT
Sorrentino, Paul. Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Jun. 2014. 520p. ISBN 9780674049536. $39.95. LIT
Tolkien, J.R.R. Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary. Houghton Harcourt. 2014. 448p. notes. ed. by Christopher Tolkien. ISBN 9780544442788. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780544442795. LIT
Audissino, Emilio. John Williams’s Film Music: Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style. Univ. of Wisconsin. (Wisconsin Film Studies). Jun. 2014. 332p. photos. filmog. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780299297343. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780299297336. FILM
Heyman, C. David. Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love. Emily Bestler: Atria. Jul. 2014. 448p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439191774. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781439191798. FILM
Murphy, Gareth. Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 416p. bibliog. ISBN 9781250043375. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466841741. MUSIC
Brown, Wendy & Rainer Forst. The Power of Tolerance: A Debate. Columbia Univ. (New Directions in Critical Theory). Jun. 2014. 104p. ed. by Luca Di Blasi & Christoph F.E. Holzhey. notes. ISBN 9780231170185. $45; pap. ISBN 9780231170192. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780231537964. PHIL
Kaufman, Ellen. House Music. Able Muse. 2014. 94p. ISBN 9781927409251. pap. $17.95. POETRY
Spirituality & Religion
Lanier, W. Mark. Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith. IVP. Jun. 2014. 240p. illus. notes. ISBN 9780830836673. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780830896349. REL
Vermes, Geza. The True Herod. Bloomsbury Academic. 2014. 181p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780567575449. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780567186577. REL
Wiebe, Phillip H. Visions and Appearances of Jesus. Leafwood. Jul. 2014. 240p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780891126089. pap. $14.99. REL
Sports & Recreation
Randolph, Willie. The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching, and My Life in Baseball. Dey: HarperCollins. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780061450778. $26.99. SPORTS
Williams, Claudia. Ted Williams, My Father. Ecco: HarperCollins. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9780062259561. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780062298836. SPORTS
Zirin, Dave. Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy. Haymarket. Jun. 2014. 240p. photos. notes. ISBN 9781608463602. pap. $16 ; ebk. ISBN 9781608464333. SPORTS