Arts & Humanities Reviews, August 2012

starred review starManbo, Bill (photogs). Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II. Univ. of North Carolina. Aug. 2012. 136p. ed. by Eric L. Muller. photogs. index. ISBN 9780807835739. $35. PHOTOG

In 1942, Manbo (1908–1992) and his family were uprooted from their home in Hollywood and moved into a Japanese-American internment camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. While living there, Manbo made a series of photographs in Kodachrome, which was then a relatively new and little-used color slide film. In muted colors, he captured the beauty, resilience, and vitality of people—family and friends—forced to make a new life for themselves in that bleak place. Muller (Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics, Univ. of North Carolina Sch. of Law; American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II) selected the 65 images included in the book and the four essays, one of which he contributed. ­VERDICT The strength of this title is the photography: Manbo documents a people who rose above persecution and injustice to carry on traditions and form a community in a barren landscape. Anyone interested in documentary photography and American social and cultural history will appreciate this book. Highly recommended.—Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL

starred review starTrethewey, Natasha. Thrall. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780547571607. $23. POETRY

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize (for Native Ground) and current U.S. poet laureate, Trethewey again places racial identity at the conceptual center of her finely crafted verse, in particular the depiction of mixed-race peoples as filtered through the lens of her own biracial heritage and the passing of her father, from whom she had long been estranged (“a history that links us—white, father, black daughter/—even as it renders us other to each other”). A number of ekphrastic poems deconstruct centuries-old artworks—“miracle transplant” paintings in which black donors sacrifice limbs for white recipients (“a body in service, plundered”), the Casta paintings of colonial Mexico, even a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, “rendered two-toned…as if the artist meant to contrast/his bright knowledge, its dark subtext”—as Trethewey’s acute understanding of how “the past holds us captive” leads to insightful and often moving interactions between public and private histories. VERDICT Though several elegies for her father are unremarkable, the lion’s share of Thrall conveys a wise and revelatory urgency appropriate to one of the vital social concerns of our time. Recommended for most collections.—Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca NY

starred review starTabor, James D. Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. S & S. Nov. 2012. c.320p. index. ISBN 9780684076072. $26. REL

Many readers of the New Testament (NT) are so used to the progress of its books—first the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then the Acts of the Apostles, then various letters gathered together in Epistles, and concluding with the Book of Revelation—that they may not recognize that the only parts actually written by a person who lived when Jesus did are Paul’s epistles, which were written as he kept in touch with Mediterranean communities he had visited in preaching the meaning of Jesus’s life, death, and, significantly, his resurrection. Other scholars have explored Paul’s crucial role in shaping the concept of Jesus Christ in the decades after Jesus’s death, but few writers have so clearly done so as Tabor (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte; The Jesus Dynasty). Using the NT itself as his chief source, Tabor clearly shows us how we can see Paul breaking with Jesus’s original Jewish followers in Jerusalem and influencing the subsequently written gospel accounts, most notably Luke and Acts, thus making Pauline Christianity, rather than Jesus’s original Jewish message, fundamental to the NT canon. VERDICT Highly recommended to all interested in the historic roots of Christianity, whether or not they are believers. After Tabor, you will never read the NT in quite the same way.—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal

The following titles are reviewed in the August print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Balfour-Paul, Jenny. Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans. Firefly. Sept. 2012. 264p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781554079896. pap. $39.95. DEC ARTS

Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. Verso, dist. by Norton. 2012. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 9781844676903. pap. $26.95. FINE ARTS

Gunn, Tim with Ada Calhoun. Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet. Gallery: S. & S. Sept. 2012. c.288p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781451643855. $28. DEC ARTS

Perenyi, Ken. Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger. Pegasus. Aug. 2012. c.352p. illus. ISBN 9781605983608. $27.95. FINE ARTS

Rayner, Geoffrey & others. Artists’ Textiles 1940–1976. Antique Collectors’ Club. 2012. 304p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781851496297. pap. $49.95. DEC ARTS

Grit Lit: A Rough South Reader. Univ. of South Carolina. Sept. 2012. c.336p. ed. by Brian Carpenter & Tom Franklin. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611170825. $59.95. LIT

Hart, Jeffrey. The Living Moment: Modernism in a Broken World. Northwestern Univ. Aug. 2012. c.208p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810128217. pap. $18.95. LIT

Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures. Univ. of Chicago. 2012. c.224p. illus. index. ISBN 9780226402031. $35. LIT

Johnson, Joyce. The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. Viking. Sept. 2012. c.512p. index. ISBN 9780670025107. $32.95. LIT

Popoff, Alexandra. The Wives: The Women Behind Russia’s Literary Giants. Pegasus. Oct. 2012. c.336p. illus. index. ISBN 9781605983660. $27.95. LIT

Wald, Alan M. American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War. Univ. of North Carolina. Oct. 2012. c.416p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780807835869. $45. LIT

starred review starWebster, Leslie. Anglo-Saxon Art: A New History. Cornell Univ. Nov. 2012. 256p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801477669. pap. $29.95. FINE ARTS

Ziff, Larzer. All-American Boy. Univ. of Texas. (Discovering America). Oct. 2012. c.144p. illus. index. ISBN 9780292738928. $20. LIT

Performing Arts

Burr, Ty. Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame. Pantheon. Sept. 2012. c.448p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307377661. $28.95. FILM

Denby, David. Do the Movies Have a Future? S & S. Oct. 2012. c.304p. index. ISBN 9781416599470. $27. FILM

starred review starErdman, Andrew L. Queen of Vaudeville: The Story of Eva Tanguay. Cornell Univ. Sept. 2012. c.304p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801449703. $29.95. THEATER

Sarantakes, Nicholas Evan. Making Patton: A Classic War Film’s Epic Journey to the Silver Screen. Univ. of Kansas. Sept. 2012. c.280p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780700618620. $34.95. FILM


starred review starHadas, Rachel. The Golden Road. Triquarterly. Nov. 2012. c.80p. ISBN 9780810128590. pap. $16.95. POETRY

Le Guin, Ursula K. Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems 1960–2010. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. c.208p. ISBN 9780547858203. $22. POETRY

Nurkse, D. A Night in Brooklyn. Knopf. 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780307959324. $26. POETRY

starred review starOlds, Sharon. Stag’s Leap. Knopf. Sept. 2012. c.112p. ISBN 9780375712258. pap. $16.95. POETRY

starred review starThe Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. Univ. of Chicago. Oct. 2012. c.224p. ed. by Don Share & Christian Wiman. ISBN 9780226750705. $20. POETRY



Berlinerblau, Jaques. How To Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. c.336p. index. ISBN 9780547473345. $26. REL

Vatican II: The Essential Texts. Image: Crown. Sept. 2012. c.416p. ed. by Norman Tanner. ISBN 9780307952806. pap. $16. REL