Arts & Humanities Reviews | May 15, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Levine, Lee I. Visual Judaism in Late Antiquity: Historical Contexts of Jewish Art. Yale Univ. 2013. 592p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9780300100891. $75. FINE ARTS

In his highly regarded The American Synagogue: The First Thousand Years, Levine (classical archaeology, emeritus, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) traced the origins and development of the synagogue from the Hellenistic period through late antiquity. Now he focuses on the art of the Jewish people inside and outside the synagogue, from c. 1200 BCE to seventh century CE, using “the immediate social, cultural, and religious contexts as the main points of reference in interpreting Jewish art of Late Antiquity.” With meticulous scholarship and a judgment informed by a lifetime of study, Levine argues: “the picture that emerges from the archaeological remains of Late Antiquity is far more diverse, heterogeneous, and locally oriented than that derived from literary sources.” This sprang, he says, from Jewish communities’ “relationships vis-à-vis Byzantine-Christian society generally and specifically their willingness to integrate non-Jewish components into their daily lives.” VERDICT An academic masterwork that will be cherished by scholars of ancient Judaism as well as by general readers interested in Jewish culture, archaeology, and art history. Most highly recommended.—Marcia G. Welsh, Dartmouth Coll. Lib., Hanover, NH

Library Journal Reviews starred review The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World. Hudson Hills. 2013. 335p. ed. by Robert Cozzolino. illus. ISBN 9781555953898. $60. FINE ARTS

Before the 1980s, female art collectors were extremely rare, and few collectors, regardless of gender, focused exclusively on amassing art by women. Luckily for museum­goers, visionary Philadelphia-based art collector Linda Lee Alter had little regard for such conventions as she built a collection of woman-made art specifically to bequeath it to a public institution. This catalog was created in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Alter eventually donated her collection. The fully illustrated catalog features erudite, interesting essays by an internationally diverse group of scholars and curators who focus on Alter’s collection: 500 works of art from around the world (all by women artists of the past 50 years) that are stylistically and materially diverse, including paintings, photographs, drawings, watercolors, pastels, collage, prints, fabric pieces, ceramics, bronze, wood, and sculpture in other media.VERDICT This wonderful book is an inspiration; recommended for readers interested in contemporary art, collectors, and collecting, as well as feminism.—Jennifer H. Krivickas, Univ. of Cincinnati Lib.

Cossins, Peter & others. Tour de France 100: The Definitive History of the World’s Greatest Race. Octopus. May 2013. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9781844037421. $29.99. SPORTS

On the world stage, the Tour de France, the FIFA World Cup, and the Olympics represent the triumvirate of major sporting events. While for many Americans the race seems to live and die upon the name Lance Armstrong, authors Cossins (former editor, Procycling magazine), freelance journalists Isabel Best and Chris Sidwells (Bicycle Repair Manual), and Clare Griffith show that it’s bigger than Armstrong, doping, or scandal. The text, beautifully enhanced by a treasure trove of photos (evolving from black-and-white to color and GPS-detailed overviews) and visuals (including a route map, stats, and aerial views) culled from various sources, chronicles the year-by-year, stage-by-stage, drama-to-drama evolution of the race and its rules, as well as the riders, the rivalries, and the lengths explored to win (from the assault of riders in the countryside and shortcuts by alternative transport to technological advancements and performance-enhancing drugs) and reveals an event surely deserving of the title “the people’s race.” VERDICT An engaging overview of the tour (from 1903 to the present) pleasingly communicated by dynamic visuals, enhanced by a sidebarred, bulleted, pin-point-blurbed, and text-boxed narrative. Recommended for riders, tour enthusiasts, or the general sports fan’s coffee table.—Benjamin Malczewski, Toledo–Lucas Cty. P.L.

The following titles are reviewed in the May 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Heeger, Susan & Bernard Trainor. Landprints: The Landscape Designs of Bernard Trainor. Princeton Architectural Pr. 2013. 192p. photogs. ISBN 9781616891305. $50. ARCH

Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Thames & Hudson. 2013. 256p. ed. by Nathalie Herschdorfer & Lada Umstätter. photogs. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500544228. $60. ARCH

Nicholson, Jon. Seaside Polaroids. Prestel. 2013. 96p. photogs. ISBN 9783791347301. $29.95. FINE ARTS

Oakland Museum of California. Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu. Univ. of California. 2013. 216p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780520275218. $60. FINE ARTS

Library Journal Reviews starred review The Picasso Project. Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: Spanish Civil War; 1937–1939. 2d 304p. ISBN 9781556603365.
Library Journal Reviews starred review The Picasso Project. Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: Europe at War; 1939-1940.2d 272p. ISBN 9781556603341.
Library Journal Reviews starred review The Picasso Project. Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: Nazi Occupation; 1940-1944.2d 440p. ISBN 9781556603334.
ea vol: Alan Wofsy. (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue 1885–1973). 2013. illus. bibliog. $150.

Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome. Getty Museum. 2013. 288p. ed. by Claire L. Lyons & others. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781606061336. $60. FINE ARTS


Abbott, Alysia. Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. Norton. Jun. 2013. 272p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780393082524. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393240528. LIT

Library Journal Reviews starred review Gura, Philip F. Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel. Farrar. 2013. 400p. notes. index. ISBN 9780809094455. $30. LIT

In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means. Columbia Univ. May 2013. 288p. ed. by Esther Allen & others. index. ISBN 9780231159685. $89.50; pap. ISBN 9780231159692. $29.50; ebk. ISBN 9780231535021. LIT

Le Clezio, J.M.G. The African. David R. Godine. 2013. 128p. tr. from French by C. Dickson. photogs. maps.ISBN 9781567924602. $22.95. LIT

Thoreau, Henry David. Essays: A Fully Annotated Edition. Yale Univ. May 2013. 480p. ed. by Jeffrey S. Cramer. illus. index. ISBN 9780300164985. $35. LIT

Woolf, Virginia & Quentin Bell. The Charleston Bulletin Supplements. British Library. Jun. 2013. 144p. ed. by Claudia Olk. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780712358910. $18. LIT


Cohen, Mark. Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman. Univ. Pr. of New England. (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life). May 2013. 280p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611682564. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781611684278. COMEDY

Streissguth, Michael. Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville. It: HarperCollins. Jun. 2013. 304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780062038180. $26.99. MUSIC

Wall, Duncan. The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey into the Wondrous World of the Circus, Past and Present.Knopf. 2013. 336p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307271723. $26.95. THEATER


Hofstadter, Douglas & Emmanuel Sander. Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking.Basic Bks: Perseus. May 2013. 608p. illus. ISBN 9780465018475. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780465021581. PHIL

Ko ł akowski, Leszek. Is God Happy? Selected Essays. Basic Bks: Perseus. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780465080991. $28.99. PHIL


O’Hara, Frank. Poems Retrieved. City Lights. (Grey Fox). May 2013. 280p. ISBN 9780872865976. pap. $18.95. POETRY

Orr, Gregory. River Inside the River. Norton. Jun. 2013. 160p. ISBN 9780393239744. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393240443. POETRY


Harrison, Guy P. 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian. Prometheus. 2013. 350p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781616147273. pap. $18. REL

Krattenmaker, Tom. The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians.Rowman & Littlefield. May 2013. 232p. notes. ISBN 9781442215443. $38; ebk. ISBN 9781442215467. REL

Smith, James K.A. Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. Baker Academic. ( Cultural Liturgies 2). 2013. 194p. notes. index. ISBN 9780801035784. pap. $22.99. REL

Turner, Denys. Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait. Yale Univ. May 2013. 312p. notes. index. ISBN 9780300188554. $28. REL



  1. Hani Davis says:

    Regarding Marcia Welsh’s lovely review of Levine’s Visual Judaism: Please note (and hopefully correct here) the title of Levine’s first book to: The ANCIENT Synagogue (and not as cited above).

    Hani Davis