Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, April 19, 2013

Week ending April 19, 2013

starred review starGriffin, Scott Tracy. Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration; The Stories, the Movies, the Art. Titan. 2012. 320p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781781161692. $39.95. GRAPHIC ARTS
Edgar Rice Burroughs expert Griffin’s love for the pulp writer’s work is evident in this exhaustive, beautifully produced book on the pop culture phenomenon Tarzan. Nothing has been spared in its production; its large format and glossy stock allow the many illustrations to be shown off to their best advantage. In particular, the book highlights the considerable skill and diversity of Tarzan illustrators from the pulp eras to recent Disney artists and web designers. Griffin deals with each of Burroughs’s 26 Tarzan adventures with detailed publishing histories, synopses, and discussion of themes and sources, as well as the subsequent comic strips, serials, and comic books. Griffin reviews other authorized Tarzan tales, covers Burroughs’s life (including his work beyond Tarzan), and discusses Tarzan fan clubs, collectibles, radio series, and the succession of film and television Tarzans from the silent era to the present.
Verdict Clearly a labor of love and much more than a coffee-table book, this volume should be the definitive resource for anyone with any level of interest in Tarzan. It’s also a fine collection of work from some of the best mass-market illustrators of the past century. Highly recommended.—Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

Ingalls, David S. Hero of the Angry Sky: The World War I Diary and Letters of David S. Ingalls, America’s First Naval Ace. Ohio Univ. (War & Society in North America). 2013. 387p. ed. by Geoffrey Rossano. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780821420188. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780821444382. HIST
Rossano (Stalking the U-Boat) deftly ties together the unpublished diaries, papers, and reminiscences of Ingalls (1899–1985), who was the U.S. Navy’s sole World War I aerial ace. The son of privilege, Ingalls entered Yale in 1916 but in his sophomore year joined the “First Yale Naval Aviation (Millionaires) Unit,” a coterie of young men learning to fly. Soon after he sailed for Europe and action, posted with the #213 British Squadron, where during eight weeks he downed five German planes and an observation balloon (five shared victories, one solo kill), all the while engaging in horrific ground-attack aviation. Ingalls’s remarkable record earned him British and American distinguished service medals and the French Legion of Honor award. Rossano’s introduction and afterword offer additional biographical details, e.g., about Ingalls’s long life after the war as an attorney, assistant secretary of the navy for aeronautics under President Hoover, service in World War II, etc. Principally, this book conveys a young patrician’s commitment to his country’s call to arms, indeed recalling the sons of Teddy Roosevelt, who likewise headed to war. Overall, this is a splendid acount of air conflict in World War I from a flyer’s personal perspective: training miscues, types of aircraft, furloughs, camp camaraderie and complaints, homesickness, and tactics in aerial combat.
Verdict Highest marks to editor Rossano for his lucid, compelling, and humane treatment of one of the Great War’s flying legends. Highly recommended.—John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland

Jenkins, Henry & others. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York Univ. 2013. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814743508. $29.95. COMM
Jenkins (communications, journalism & cinematic arts, Annenberg Sch. for Communication, Univ. of Southern California; Convergence Culture), Sam Ford (Peppercom Strategic Communications), and Joshua Green (strategist, Undercurrent; coauthor, YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture) have written a timely and accurate account of the current state of media in our networked culture. While referencing writers such as Howard Rheingold (The Virtual Community) and Andrew Keen (The Cult of the Amateur), the authors describe the problem with a traditional broadcast media paradigm that expects viewers to come to them and why instead meeting the audience where they are and creating valuable relationships is important. They discuss exemplars of independent media who already understand the need for spreadability—that content is easy to share and transform without reprisal—and echo messages like musician Amanda Palmer’s “We are the media,” whereby consumers decide what content is worth their time and how they contribute to and shape it.
Verdict This book covers topics that are relevant and accessible to anyone looking for a better grasp of how the communications environment is changing and seeking models for how to be successful within it. It will be especially meaningful for those in the media and communications fields, marketing, content creation, and advertising.—Rachel Hoover, Thomas Ford Memorial Lib., Western Springs, IL

Levine, Peter G. Stronger After Stroke: Your Roadmap to Recovery. 2d ed. Demos. 2012. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781936303472. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617051500. MED
Stroke recovery researcher Levine (former codirector, RehabLab, Ohio State Univ. Medical Ctr.) follows up his 2008 title on stroke recovery with this second edition. The effectiveness of rehabilitation methods in recovery after a stroke is a dynamic area, not least because brain architecture is involved and many fields of research are included when making treatment choices, e.g., psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience. Levine, whose interests lie in neuroplasticity and how it can help ameliorate the effect of strokes, works to educate stroke survivors, caregivers, and clinicians by using an effective, accessible mixture of academic and practical information. The book includes sections on stroke effects on people of different ages, tips for caregivers, and myriad clearly defined and described recovery options. Aware of how much information changes and the fast pace of this field of research, Levine highlights websites in the “Resources” section that collect the most recent and relevant information. He also offers a companion blog to the book—recoverfromstroke.blogspot.com.
Verdict This detailed road map to aid recovery employs the latest scientific and practical discoveries; Levine’s experience and passion help to make it easy to navigate. This second edition is an essential upgrade.—Elizabeth J. Eastwood, Los Alamos Cty. Lib. Syst., NM

Light, Alan. The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah.” Atria: S. & S. 2012. 272p. discog. ISBN 9781451657845. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451657869. MUSIC
Light (The Skills To Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys) provides an in-depth analysis of the song Bono once said “might be the most perfect song in the world.” The song, acclaimed singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” originally appeared on his 1984 album Various Positions but only found mainstream success after it was covered by other artists, most notably Jeff Buckley in 1994 and Rufus Wainwright in 2001. How can a song that includes the lyrics “she tied you to a kitchen chair, she broke your throne, she cut your hair” find its way to a Yom Kippur service, countless weddings, the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics, and American Idol? Versions have been recorded by hundreds of artists, from Justin Timberlake to k.d. lang to the Canadian Tenors. Light’s book is a fascinating analysis of a modern-day hymn and makes a fine companion to Sylvie Simmons’s excellent biography I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Verdict A fascinating look at one of our most recorded—and revered—contemporary songs.—Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR

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"