Arts & Humanities Reviews | November 1, 2013

redstar Herman, Luc & Steven Weisenburger. Gravity’s Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom. Univ. of Georgia. Dec. 2013. 224p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780820335087. $79.95; pap. ISBN 9780820345956. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780820346557. LIT

Herman (English, narrative theory, Univ. of Antwerp; coeditor, The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon) and Weisenburger’s (English, Mossiker Chair in Humanities, Southern Methodist Univ.; A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon’s Novel) analysis of Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow (GR) brilliantly parses the book’s nuanced exhibition of freedom amid culturally specific themes of domination. The authors use literary works and ideas that were influential upon the Long Sixties including German psychologist Erich Fromm’s notion of “negative freedom,” German philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s “repressive tolerance,” and Sigmund Freud’s “death drive” to explore trends relevant to the period in which Pynchon wrote the novel, such as the possibility (or lack) of revolution, obscenity laws, and the rise of the surveillance state post–World War II. Herman and Weisenburger then methodically draw in GR characters that best exhibit their thesis: Tyrone Slothrop and Dominus Blicero, for example. ­VERDICT This book is essential for Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49; V.) enthusiasts as well as for readers interested in niche history of the 1960s without the baggage of clichés tied to popular thinking about unsettled questions of freedom and politics in American history.—Jesse A. Lambertson, Arlington P.L., VA

Moore, Rowan. Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture. Harper Design. 2013. 400p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN . $30; ebk. ISBN 9780062277596. ARCH

Most recently the architecture critic for the Observer (London), Moore (Building Tate Modern: Herzog & De Meuron) leads the reader on an eclectic and far-ranging tour of the history of architecture. Along the way, he demonstrates a keen understanding of architecture and history by interweaving contemplations of design, form, and function—from ancient Rome to cathedrals of the European Middle Ages to the Louvre, and Soviet-era buildings. Moore even compares the functionality of two unique Massachusetts Institution of Technology buildings built 40 years apart and with significantly different impacts upon the users of these structures. A trained architect, the author explores the relationship between the act of building and the human condition over many centuries, infusing architectural design and construction with the wide variety of emotions resident in those who have designed lasting edifices. Through Moore’s eyes, one sees that buildings survive beyond the days of their designers, builders, and residents and that architecture is not simply a synthesis of reason and function but an expression of human desire. VERDICT An excellent in-depth study of the connection between human feeling and desire in the design of magnificent buildings that affect entire societies and civilizations, this title will appeal most to academic readers and to serious students of architectural history.—John Creech, Central Washington Univ. Lib., Ellensburg

Eaton, Rebecca & Patricia Mulcahy. Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS. Viking. Nov. 2013. 320p. index. ISBN 9780670015351. $29.95. TV

From its breakout hit Upstairs, Downstairs (1971) to the current phenomenon that is Downton Abbey, Masterpiece (both with and without the “Theatre”) has maintained an iconic standing among viewers and has served as the first step for countless Americans on the road to full-blown Anglophilia. Executive producer Eaton tells the series’ story with the help of dozens of the men and women who contributed, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, to its success. In addition to these sometimes charming, sometimes bawdy anecdotes, Eaton brings a strong personal element to the narrative. Whether responding to the sudden loss of corporate sponsorship, facing the challenge of replacing the one-and-only Alistair Cooke as host, or reflecting on the demands her career placed upon her family life, she is able to humanize what is sometimes seen as an impersonal area of the showbiz world. VERDICT A pleasing blend of memoir and retrospective with a wide audience appeal. Recommended for readers interested in the history of television and the business aspects of the creative process and, of course, PBS devotees.—Neil Derksen, Pierce Cty. Lib. Syst., Tacoma

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
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Govan, Michael & Christine Y. Kim (text) & Florian Holzherr (photos). James Turrell: A Retrospective. Prestel. 2013. 320p. illus. ISBN 9783791352633. $75. FINE ARTS

Greig, Geordie. Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain’s Great Modern Painter. Farrar. 2013. 272p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780374116484. $28. FINE ARTS

Kidd, Chip. Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. Workman. 2013. 160p. illus. ISBN 9780761172192. $17.95. GRAPHIC ARTS


redstar The Edge of the Precipice: Why Read Literature in the Digital Age? McGill-Queens Univ. 2013. 232p. ed. by Paul Socken. index. ISBN 9780773541788. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780773589889. LIT

Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World. Smart Pop: BenBella. Dec. 2013. 304p. ed. by Anne Jamison. notes. ISBN 9781939529190. pap. $14.95. LIT

Klíma, Ivan. My Crazy Century. Grove. Nov. 2013. 576p. tr. from Czech by Craig Cravens. ISBN 9780802121707. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780802193018. LIT

The Libertine: The Art of Love in Eighteenth-Century France. Abbeville. 2013. 496p. ed. by Michel Delon. illus. index. ISBN 9780789211477. $150. LIT

Rzepka, Charles J. Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 248p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781421410159. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421410166. LIT


Berger, Glen. Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History. S. & S. Nov. 2013. 416p. index. ISBN 9781451684568. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451684582. THEATER

Cooke, Mervyn. The Chronicle of Jazz. Oxford Univ. Nov. 2013. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9780199341009. $39.95. MUSIC

Huston, Anjelica. A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York. Scribner. Nov. 2013. 256p. photos. ISBN 9781451656299. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451656312. FILM

MacDonald, Laurence E. The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. 2d ed. Scarecrow. 2013. 605p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810890589. $115; pap. ISBN 9780810883970. $65. FILM

Malone, Aubrey. Maureen O’Hara: The Biography. Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. Nov. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780813142388. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780813142395. FILM

March, Richard. The Tamburitza Tradition: From the Balkans to the American Midwest. Univ. of Wisconsin. (Languages & Folklore of Upper Midwest). 2013. 318p. photos. index. ISBN 9780299296049. pap. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780299296032. MUSIC

Odenkirk, Bob & David Cross with Brian Posehn. Hollywood Said No! Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show. Grand Central. 2013. 288p. illus. ISBN 9781455526307. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781455526314. FILM


Eiland, Howard & Michael W. Jennings. Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life. Belknap: Harvard Univ. Jan. 2014. 704p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674051867. $39.95. PHIL


Randall, Margaret. The Rhizome as a Field of Broken Bones. Wings. 2013. 120p. ISBN 9781609402853. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781609402747. POETRY


redstar Blainey, Geoffrey. A Short History of Christianity. Rowman & Littlefield. Nov. 2013. 640p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781442225893. $32; ebk. ISBN 9781442225909. REL

Jacobs, Alan. The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography. Princeton Univ. (Lives of Great Religious Bks.). 2013. 248p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780691154817. $24.95. REL

MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Silence: A Christian History. Viking. 2013. 272p. notes. index. ISBN 9780670025565. $27.95. REL

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan. Strangers at My Door: A True Story of Finding Jesus in Unexpected Guests. Convergent. Nov. 2013. 224p. notes. ISBN 9780307731951. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780307731968. REL


Bodensteiner, Peter (text) & Peter Harholdt (photos). Art of the Classic Car. Motorbooks: Quayside. 2013. 224p. illus. ISBN 9780760344156. $55. SPORTS

Eichar, Donnie. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Chronicle. Nov. 2013. 288p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452112749. $24.95. SPORTS

Library of Congress & others. Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game. Abrams. 2013. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9780810997622. $30. SPORTS

Reynolds, Jan. High-Altitude Woman: From Extreme Sports to Indigenous Cultures—Discovering the Power of the Feminine. Inner Traditions. 2013. 304p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781594774850. pap. $19.95. RECREATION