Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, January 20, 2012

Week ending January 20, 2012

Boothe, Joan N. The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica’s Peninsula Region. Regent. 2011. 372p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781587902246. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9781587902185. $24.95. HIST
Boothe, a former business school professor, has long studied the Antarctic, traveling there many times. Now she presents a chronological history of the Antarctic Peninsula region, best known for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition aboard the ill-fated Endurance. In 19 well-organized chapters, Boothe describes the many explorers, scientists, etc., involved with the discovery and exploration of this forbidding ice-cloaked terrain over the last 500 years. Providing concise sections on all main expeditions and their participants, as well as relevant political context, information on whaling and sealing activities, and more recent developments, her history reads like a textbook on the area’s dramatic and eventful past. Boothe makes excellent use of quotes from original expedition accounts and similar archival sources, all of which are clearly footnoted. She also provides an appendix with a useful historical time line.
Best suited to researchers seeking a comprehensive historical chronicle focused on the Antarctic Peninsula region (i.e., not Antarctica or the South Pole) and to those wishing to look up a particular regional expedition. Recreational readers may prefer Roland Huntford’s The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole, while those interested in Shackleton’s survival saga should turn to Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.‚ Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI

starred review starBroadwell, Paula with Vernon Loeb. All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2012. c.352p. index. ISBN 9781594203183. $29.95. INT AFFAIRS
Broadwell, a former U.S. Army officer, presents a firsthand account of the appointment of General Petraeus as commander of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan in June 2010 and the subsequent challenges and successes he has faced. Written with formerly embedded journalist Loeb (Washington Post) and based on Broadwell’s doctoral dissertation, the book succeeds as both a biography of Petraeus and a history of the war in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to the present. Broadwell had access to Petraeus before and since his appointment, thus giving readers an insider’s narrative that is not based on printed sources but comes from her own experiences with key players right in Afghanistan as she studied Petraeus’s military innovations there. Her style is readable and refreshingly lacking in the gung-ho or gut-wrenching tones that many accounts of recent military activity include. She sticks to facts and does not glorify war. Broadwell makes it clear that it is too early to judge the ultimate effect of Petraeus’s oversight in Afghanistan or whether it will change the outcome of the war.
This full account is highly recommended to readers in military studies and current affairs and all who want a better understanding of the key players and engagements in the current U.S. war in Afghanistan.‚ Jenny Contakos, Wolford Coll. Lib., Naples, FL

Dyer, Geoff. Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room. Pantheon. Feb. 2012. c.240p. bibliog. ISBN 9780307377388. $24. FILM
Some films inspire devotion in viewers, while others spark obsession. Novelist and nonfiction author Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) has become obsessed with the 1979 Russian film Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Dyer gives the reader an impressionistic, deeply subjective tour of a cerebral film featuring a character who guides people through a forbidden wasteland zone. The author claims the work contains the quality of prophecy and has always invited allegorical readings. As he explicates the film, Dyer supplies lengthy, deliberate digressions on such topics as drinking in films, the annoying quality of coming attractions movie trailers, and his perceived similarities between Stalker and The Wizard of Oz‚ the latter film he admits he’s never seen and never intends to see. The book is a bit of a bumpy ride, not for all tastes.
Some readers might enjoy getting inside Dyer’s head, and his book is distinguished by his stylish if disjointed prose. However, because relatively few have seen the Tarkovsky film, this remains an optional purchase.‚ Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown Lib., PA

Freudenberger, Richard & BackHome Magazine Eds. The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money: Folk Wisdom for Keeping Your House Clean, Green, and Homey. Fair Winds: Quayside. 2011. c.256p. illus. index. ISBN 9781592334131. pap. $19.99. HOME ECON
Freudenberger (Alcohol Fuel: A Guide to Making and Using Ethanol as a Renewable Fuel) and the other editors of BackHome Magazine have produced a comprehensive guide, filled with information to help readers clear toxins and excess waste from their homes while gaining an appreciation for self-efficiency. The projects, recipes, and general practices have all been tested by the contributors, and each entry lists necessary materials and projected monetary savings. The guide is divided into three parts. All Around the House covers housekeeping practices, including instructions for making household cleaning products, as well as recipes and general advice for saving money on food preparation. This section is accessible to a wide audience, and most people could easily adopt these methods without any prior experience. Part 2, Those Special Interests That Make Life Special, focuses on crafts, pets, and holiday recipes and homemade gifts. Part 3, Heading Outside: The Great Outdoors, covers topics more suitable to experienced woodworkers or gardeners, but the instructions are clear and detailed enough for novices.
This is a versatile reference for sustainable housekeeping, gardening, and DIY projects.‚ Meagan P. Storey, Virginia Beach

Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance. Palgrave Macmillan. Jan. 2012. c.370p. index. ISBN 9780230114098. pap. $27. DANCE
This latest work by Gottschild (The Black Dancing Body) fills a large gap in dance research by highlighting an important teacher, fundraiser, and champion of black dance‚ Joan Myers Brown. During an era marked by racial segregation and discrimination, Brown realized the traditional dance world was not ready for a black ballerina. After becoming successful as an entertainment dancer, she was determined to provide black dancers with the opportunities she missed. Brown started the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts in 1960 and the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) ten years later. Still active and often described as maternal yet demanding, Brown has high expectations for her students and choreographers. Rigorous training, structured practice, and a passionate, professional attitude are required. Even with its extensive detail and ample references to interviews and historical documents, the book reads well as a personal narrative. The history of Philadelphia and of black dance provide a framework for Brown’s life and career.
Those interested in Philadelphia or African American histories as well as dance enthusiasts and biography buffs will enjoy reading this detailed work.‚ Shannon Marie Robinson, Univ. of the Arts, Philadelphia

Green, Aliza (text) & Steve Legato (photogs.). Making Artisan Pasta: How To Make a World of Handmade Noodles, Stuffed Pasta, Dumplings, and More. Quarry: Quayside. Jan. 2012. 176p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781592537327. pap. $24.99. COOKING
James Beard Award winner Green teams up again with photographer Legato (after The Fishmonger’s Apprentice) to produce a beautifully photographed directory on how to make all types of pasta in your own kitchen, with just a few kitchen tools. And don’t think only of Italian‚ there are a few representative recipes from other countries, such as pot stickers, pierogi, and udon noodles. Recipes vary by shape, flour type, and flavoring. By following the easy, step-by-step instructions and hundreds of photographs, readers will be inspired to make their own delicious creations. The book contains many useful extras such as nutrition information, resources, and a glossary, but those who want to serve a homemade sauce along with their pasta fresca may need to consult another resource.
This is a terrific choice for any library as it will be useful for both experts and novices alike. Mangia!‚ Jane Hebert, Mount Juliet, TN

Holford, Patrick. Say No to Diabetes. Piatkus, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Feb. 2012. 368p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780749955892. pap. $19.95. HEALTH
British nutritionist Holford (founder, Inst. for Optimum Nutrition; The New Optimum Nutrition Bible) asserts that the current global rise in diabetes diagnoses is fueled by the increase in obesity across populations. He enumerates the costs of diabetes on both the individual and society and argues that common nutritional advice for a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet only compounds the problem. He describes the mechanics of diabetes and metabolic syndrome and explains how carbohydrates impact both weight and blood sugar levels, thus increasing the severity of the disease. Holford presents his low-glycemic-load diet as a safer, healthier way to lower weight and lessen the need for diabetic medicines. He lists food groups he considers at-risk, warns against food addictions, and makes detailed recommendations for foods and supplements. Sample menus and recipes are included. Appendixes provide additional information on the glycemic loads of specific foods through charts and other resources.
The British viewpoint, language, and measurements may prove challenging to American readers. A better choice would be Meri Raffetto’s The Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies.‚ Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hosp., Tampa

Kelly, Wendy (text) & Dean Young (illus.). Buji and Me: 7 Lessons from the Dog Who Rescued Me. Medallion. 2011. 256p. illus. ISBN 9781605421117. pap. $12.95. SCI
Animal behaviorist, dog trainer, and former psychotherapist Kelly (founder, Pawsitive Life Fdn.) expounds on the seven principles her pitbull Buji taught her. Buji was a seemingly incorrigible, aggressive dog scheduled for euthanasia at a local shelter. Using patience and positive training methods, she transformed Buji into a good pet and an outstanding therapy dog. Buji returned the favor. First, he saved Kelly’s life by detecting breast cancer at a very early stage‚ fixating on the site of the tumor‚ long before doctors found it. Buji’s persistence drove Kelly to seek second and third opinions till she, and her dog, were proven right. Then, he taught her how to live as dogs do: with honesty, love, compassion, optimism, and joy. Humorous cartoons by comic strip Blondie illustrator Young enhance the text.
A combination memoir and motivational title similar to Trixie Koontz’s Life Is Good, Lessons in Joyful Living, edited by her owner, Dean Koontz. Self-help aficionados as well as dogoir readers will demand this book.‚ Florence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY

Knight, George W. The Holy Land: An Illustrated Guide to Its History, Geography, Culture and Holy Sites. Barbour. 2011. 288p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781602606449. pap. $14.99. TRAV
A colorful and easy-to-read book, this illustrated guide to the Holy Land offers a brief description of major places, including cities, towns, mountains, valleys, buildings, roads, rivers, pools, and churches from the Bible. Knight (Illustrated Bible Handbook Series) arranges the book geographically from south to north, devoting a few chapters along the way to the city of Jerusalem. For every place listed, the book provides a meaning, pronunciation, and location, as well as a key to where readers will find it on the book’s various maps. Filled with quotations from scripture (and more modern sources), photos, illustrations, and maps, this book gives readers a basic understanding of this important area.
While Knight does a good, if basic, job of exploring the holy places and sites from the Bible, he writes with a negative undertone that some readers might find offensive when explaining Israel’s current political situation or discussing other religions. For readers who want to combine travel and religion.‚ Melissa Aho, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis

Larsen, Linda Johnson. The Starter Cook: A Beginner Home Cook’s Guide to Basic Kitchen Skills & Techniques. Lyons: Globe Pequot. 2011. 328p. illus. index. ISBN 9780762774487. pap. $21.95. COOKING
Wondering what a mandolin is? Larsen (The Everything Potluck Cookbook) explains its uses (cuts julienne style) and includes a photo. Aptly titled, this culinary reference covers myriad basic cooking topics such as how to stock a kitchen, necessary supplies, and safety. Larsen defines a wide range of food categories, including meat, fish, vegetables, and dairy, and explores their qualities. She even offers disaster fixes in case you encounter a problem like lumpy mashed potatoes. Scattered throughout are tips on budget, health, and more. Freezing strategies, cooking rules, and organizing methods are presented.
Packed with information, this guide includes a glossary, conversion chart, and handy lists on the life span of foods. Ideal for the novice cook, it provides a solid background as you learn your way around a kitchen.‚ Barbara Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO

Laufer, Peter. No Animals Were Harmed: The Controversial Line Between Entertainment and Abuse. Lyons: Globe Pequot. 2011. 272p. index. ISBN 9780762763856. $22.95. PETS
Laufer (James N. Wallace Chair in Journalism, Univ. of Oregon; Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets) examines the line between animal use and abuse and poses pressing moral and ethical questions for people who work with animals in a variety of environments. Where is the line between use and abuse drawn for animals that are seemingly well cared for, as compared to those in obvious distress? Are the best interests of the animals really being considered? How often do people placate themselves by thinking animals happy (with or without anthropomorphizing them) in the environments in which they find themselves? Laufer conducts interviews with individuals involved in a variety of animal activities, which helps to balance his arguments and encourage readers to think critically about the topics at hand.
Many readers will be abhorred by some of the abuses that Laufer reports occur on a daily basis. This book asks its audience to reflect upon their own actions and, with greater awareness, perhaps some of the most blatant abuses will cease. A compelling read.‚ Kyrille Goldbeck-DeBose, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Lib., Blacksburg

Morhaim, Dan, M.D. The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World. Johns Hopkins. Feb. 2012. c.160p. index. ISBN 9781421404189. pap. $18.95. MED
As a practicing physician, Morhaim (health medicine & policy, Johns Hopkins Univ.; delegate, Maryland General Assembly) has watched the detrimental effects that end-of-life procedures have on dying patients, their families, and the medical personnel who care for them. He has made it his personal mission to urge patients to prepare advance directives‚ legal documents that convey decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time‚ to improve the comfort and quality of a dying patient’s care. Using real-life examples and minimal medical jargon, he describes in detail how many common emergency procedures, like CPR, are implemented and comments on the pros and cons of each. A resource list provides links to general resources on palliative care, hospice, organ donations, and alternative funerals. Also included is a state-by-state list of advance directive resources.
Morhaim’s book should take some of the mystery out the critical care and end-of-life process. Though a bit pricey, this slim volume can be read in a few hours. A good introduction not bogged down with detail, this book will prepare readers to discuss this very important topic.‚ Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.

starred review starPowell, Neil. Search Dogs and Me: One Man and His Life-Saving Dogs. Blackstaff. Feb. 2012. 262p. photogs. ISBN 9780856408670. pap. $23.95. PETS
This book of a trainer and his rescue dogs reads like an adventure novel. Northern Irish dog trainer Powell has worked with dogs for over 30 years. His dogs are prepared for mountain search and rescue, water searches for drowning victims, searches of collapsed structures, and drug detection. Powell introduces the reader to each of his dogs and recounts his experience training them. Each dog has a unique personality and each is best suited for a particular type of rescue work. They are not just working dogs, though‚ Powell has a close bond with each, and they are clearly part of his family. The book includes plenty of humorous dog-related incidents, which will keep readers smiling and remind them that even well-trained dogs have their moments.
No prior knowledge of the work of a search and rescue dog is needed to enjoy the heartwarming canines introduced here. Powell is a good storyteller, and when he writes about his search-and-rescue activities, his readers join in the experience. This riveting book is recommended for dog enthusiasts everywhere.‚ Deborah Emerson, Central New York Lib. Resources Council, Syracuse

Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places To See Before You Die: The New Full-Color Second Edition. Workman. 2011. 1200p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 9780761156864. pap. $19.95. TRAV
Since the first edition of this best-selling title was published in 2003, the popular concept of the bucket list has spawned many rosters of things to achieve or places to go in a lifetime. Its second edition boasts 500 color photographs, 200 new entries, 28 additional countries, and more details on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do, especially for budget-minded tourists. Schultz (1,000 Places To See in the USA and Canada Before You Die) organizes the book into eight sections: Europe; Africa; the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands; Latin America; the Caribbean; and the United States and Canada. The entries will whet readers’ appetite for visiting, but experienced travelers may want greater detail. This work is well indexed; readers are directed to www.1000places.com/indexes to access 12 additional thematic indexes, e.g., Gorgeous Beaches and Getaway Islands and Unrivaled Museums. Book purchasers can also download the 1,000 Places app free of charge.
This handy, well-formatted, and well-organized book is a boon to seasoned and novice travelers alike.‚ Elizabeth Connor, The Citadel, Military Coll. of South Carolina Lib., Charleston

Smith, Patti. Patti Smith: Camera Solo. Yale Univ. 2011. ed. by Susan Talbott. photogs. ISBN 9780300182293. pap. $25. PHOTOG
Punk icon and National Book Award winner Smith (Just Kids) calls her new book a diary entry of her life. This book of photographs accompanies an exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT‚ the first major show of Smith’s photography. It showcases 70 intimate, elegant black-and-white photographs from this multifaceted artist’s life, including her world travels and celebrity friendships. With a vintage Polaroid instant camera, Smith shoots photographs that connect her interests in literature and poetry, including images simple yet profound of objects like the slippers of Robert Mapplethorpe, the bed of Virginia Woolf, and the spoon of Arthur Rimbaud. Such photographs, loaded with meaning for both the photographer and the viewer, are strangely compelling. Smith’s choice of instant film helps capture the fragility of each object, turning them into shrines for the departed. An interview with Smith by editor Talbott (dir., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art) adds insight into the artist’s life and work.
Recommended for fans of Smith and anyone with an interest in photography, literature, and popular culture.‚ Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA

Van Overtveldt, Johan. The End of the Euro: The Uneasy Future of the European Union. Agate. 2011. 208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781932841619. $24.95. ECON
Many member nations of the European Union‚ which envisioned the euro as a monetary tool for peace, stability, trade, and prosperity‚ are now disillusioned with their common currency. Several major debt crises have wreaked havoc on the entire monetary system, and the aftermath has included volatile financial markets and declining wealth on a global scale. Owing to inherent structural problems, reforms cannot easily be implemented. Van Overtveldt (The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers Who Revolutionized Economics and Business) presents strong arguments why he thinks Germany will be the first E.U. nation to cease use of the euro and cause the currency’s end. Chief among these is the staggering hyperinflation that afflicted the country during 1920‚ 24, an episode of economic chaos that still haunts its cultural memory. Therefore, the German government’s primary goal is to maintain economic stability at any cost.
This economic history is perfect for business students. Because the events in European markets have a global impact, especially on U.S. markets, this book should be an essential title for any reader with investments or interest in financial instruments.‚ Caroline Geck, Peshine Ave. Prep. Sch. Lib., Newark, NJ

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Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"


  1. Tiffany Harris says:

    If you enjoyed “Buji and Me,” you should check out “Rex and the City,” by Lee Harrington. It’s a great story about the impact adopting a rescue dog had on one couple. If you’re into “dogoirs,” you’ll definitely enjoy it. Here’s a link to the book’s website if you’d like more info on the book, the author or shelter dogs: http://www.rexandthecity.net/
    Thanks for the review!