Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, May 3, 2013

Week ending May 3, 2013

Cannon, James. Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life. Univ. of Michigan. Jun. 2013. 536p. index. ISBN 9780472116041. $35. BIOG
Cannon was a longtime journalist who became an aide to New York governor Nelson Rockefeller and then, when President Gerald Ford chose Rockefeller as his vice president in 1974, a domestic-policy adviser in the Ford administration. His authorized biography of Ford, Time and Chance, was published in 1998. After President Ford’s death in 2006, Cannon set out to present a completed and revised biography of him. Cannon had not quite finished it when he died in 2011; Scott Cannon, the author’s son, contributes a short afterword. There is considerable overlap between this book and Cannon’s earlier biography, not surprisingly, especially with regard to Ford’s early years. Furthermore, both books cover Ford in much the same fashion as Ford’s autobiography, A Time To Heal (1979), and neither adds a great deal to our knowledge or understanding of this “least celebrated of recent presidents,” a man whom Cannon, among other writers, considers a highly decent man who restored integrity to the presidency after Watergate.
Verdict As the complete edition of Cannon’s biography, this will have value for presidential biography collections beyond the earlier edition. General readers who know little about Ford will find this a satisfactory, if somewhat plodding, introduction to Ford’s life, but it’s not crucial for collections owning the previous books.—Robert Nardini, Niagara Falls, NY

Herscher, Andrew. The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit. Univ. of Michigan. 2012. 302p. photogs. ISBN 9780472035212. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780472029174. ARCH
Logically enough, this “unreal estate guide” to the city of Detroit is produced by the Detroit Unreal Estate Agency, which describes itself as an organization that engages in “feral research” on new ways in which the much diminished city can be reimagined and repurposed. A place that has seen a tremendous drop in population and a collapse of municipal finance, Detroit is nevertheless a hotbed of odd little organizations exploring the intersection of art, architecture, farming, and social organization. Agency cofounder Herscher (architecture, Univ. of Michigan; Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict) argues that the decay of existing materials can fuel the birth of new structures of social organization and is an antidote to the prevalent narrative describing Detroit as a hellish wasteland bereft of a future. He lists 57 projects or groups ranging from one-man art installations of found detritus (Heidelburg Project) to mobile vegetable trucks (Peaches and Greens) that supply neighborhood liquor stores that are some Detroiters’ only local food source. Along with berry foraging groups (Friends of Gorgeous Berries) and art galleries (Power House, Alley Culture), there are also nostalgic throwbacks like beer gardens (Tashmoo Biergarten) and the Carwash Cafe, an outgrowth of a car storage lot.
Verdict A fascinating and visually stimulating guide to the groups rethinking a postindustrial city.—David McClelland, Andover, NY

Jackson, Phil & Hugh Delehanty. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success. Penguin. May 2013. 368p. illus. index. ISBN 9781594205118. $27.95. SPORTS
Jackson, again with Delehanty, who coauthored Jackson’s previous book, Sacred Hoops, seems to have intended this as a memoir of how he became one of the most successful coaches ever in any sport. He starts by describing his early years as a basketball player and coach, but then the book becomes a series of short professional summaries of his years as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, mostly focusing on the respective teams’ playoff and championship runs. The facts of those games have been covered in the many books about Jackson, Michael Jordan, the Bulls, or the Lakers, yet Jackson offers few new insights here into his coaching or his relationships with his players; for example, he mentions his use of team meditation sessions but doesn’t go further to describe how, why, or whether that approach worked. Readers likewise may be left wondering how and why Jackson succeeded so extensively when most coaches are lucky to have one championship ring.
Verdict Even casual NBA fans will find few new stories here. It’s an okay introduction for those sports fans who know little about Jackson or the teams and players he coached. Most readers will do better with older books such as Sam Smith’s The Jordan Rules.—Derek Sanderson, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY

Morrison, Alethea. Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest. Storey. 2013. 160p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781603429948. pap. $14.95; ebk. 9781603428811. AGRI
Beekeeping has been moving from farm-centered spaces to urban rooftops, and beekeeper Morrison walks readers through the first year of the process of setting up a hive, from getting the colony together to honey extraction. Synopses of honey bee life cycles, equipment, and many firsts (i.e., first month, first season, and first honey harvest) are laid out, with examples from beekeepers all over the United State to highlight the ups and downs of this growing pastime. The last chapter reminds readers that beekeeping is not always a winning hobby or business, considering the rise of colony collapse disorder (CCD) and issues like starvation or varroa mites, yet Morrison demonstrates how keeping your own hive can be a worthwhile endeavor with numerous health and personal benefits.
Verdict As urban farming continues to grow, this simple beekeeping reference guide with a personal perspective will be a welcome addition to the shelves, both for novice apiarists or those just starting to explore the topic.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Williston Lib., Easthampton, MA

Olson, Pamela J. Fast Times in Palestine: A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland. Seal Pr. 2013. 256p. maps. ISBN 9781580054829. pap. $16. TRAV
When journalist Olson first came to the Middle East in 2003, she was your typical American tourist: unsure of herself, unaware of what was going on around her, and without much sense of the ancient region’s history, cultures, or languages. What she found while traveling and eventually working for the Palestine Monitor and as the foreign press coordinator for Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouthi’s campaign in Ramallah over two years was heartbreaking. She had learned something of the Palestinian perspective in the Israel-Palestine conflict—a perspective that most Americans are unaware of or unwilling to hear. Olson herself never seems to lose her American naïveté over how bad the political situation and violence are or how those she meets—including Muslims, Jews, Christians, communists, politicians, and soldiers—seem to accept the violence, death, and unfairness while embracing family, life, and hope in order to survive living in a war zone.
Verdict An ultimately heartwarming story about an American who learned to love a country and a people despite the trauma of the brutal, decades-old conflict she witnesses occurring around her.—Melissa Aho, Univ. of Minnesota Bio-Medical Lib., Minneapolis

Robbins, Anthony W. & the New York Transit Museum. Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark. Abrams. 2013. 224p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781584799948. $40. ARCH
Grand Central Terminal celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2013. Here the New York Transit Museum and writer Robins (former survey director, New York Landmarks Commission; Subway Style: 100 Years of Architecture & Design in the New York City Subway) provide an evenhanded overview, exploring the building’s multiple and historic uses without dwelling on some of the larger events that have been well documented in other books (most notably, the campaign to save the building during the 1950–70s). The book examines some of the structure’s detailed art and architecture, including the lost property room, the reservation bureau, the operations and control center, and the art galleries. The first part of the book sets the context for the construction of Grand Central Terminal and explains the expectations New Yorkers had for the building at the beginning of the 20th century. The text outlines the building’s history and provides names, facts, figures, and quotes from historical publications, but the images are the primary storytellers here: the monograph is richly illustrated with over 300 black-and-white and color photographs, illustrations, maps, and diagrams.
Verdict This book will be of interest to students studying the New York, architecture, and transportation history. Train and architecture enthusiasts will also find the book appealing.—Valerie Nye, Coll. of Santa Fe, NM

starred review starZichy, Shoya with Ann Bidou. Personality Power: Discover Your Unique Profile—and Unlock Your Potential for Breakthrough Success. AMACOM: American Management Assn. 2013. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780814421239. pap. $16.95. BUS
Authors Zichy (creator of Color Q personality profile system; formerly president of APTNYC, the Myers-Briggs Association of New York) and Bidou, both Career Match, set out to master disruptive discord in the workplace through a research-based system of color-coded personality typing. Based on the work of Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs community, and David Keirsey’s temperament research, Zichy derived a simplified system of identifying personality types (blue, gold, green, and red) and observed how each fits best in the workplace. She honed her system working in the banking industry and now teaches implementation of the system to major corporations. The book details the four personality types, the subtypes, and the effect of introversion and extroversion. An initial exercise allows type/color identification and details the optimum work environment. Cues are given for identifying the type/color of coworkers, with strategies to optimize work relationships among colors. Real-world examples highlight suggestions for guiding innovation, negotiation, confrontation, and collaboration.
Verdict Zichy presents a new kind of managing handbook with a practical, easy-to-learn system empowering managers with personality type insight applied to the workplace. Highly recommended.—Jane Scott, George Fox Univ. Lib., Newberg, 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"