Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, February 7, 2014

 Week ending February 7, 2014

Del Conte, Anna. Gastronomy of Italy. 3d ed. Pavilion. 2013. 608p. illus. index. ISBN 9781862059580. $45. COOKING
The second edition of Del Conte’s classic reference divided history, terminology, ingredients, and recipes into separate sections. This beautifully redesigned and updated third edition returns to Del Conte’s original A–Z organization and provides excellent cross-indexing of terms within individual entries. Home cooks may be disappointed by the changes (there is no recipe index), but researchers and historians will be thrilled. Entries with corresponding recipes are denoted by spoon icons; all the recipes contain U.S. and metric measurements.
Verdict Highly recommended for culinary history and reference collections. New full-page color photographs make this especially coffee table–worthy for Italian food lovers.—Lisa Campbell, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor

Feldstein, Ruth. How It Feels To Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement. Oxford Univ. 2013. 296p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780195314038. $29.95. SOC SCI
Seeking to emphasize the importance of popular entertainment to the narrative of the civil rights movement, Feldstein (history, Rutgers Univ.; Motherhood in Black and White) considers the impact that a group of black female entertainers brought to the campaign. With analysis grounded in the legacy of Lena Horne as the first crossover black female entertainer in American popular culture, Feldstein argues that Horne’s move into civil rights activism in 1963 provides the turning point for five other prominent black female entertainers—Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, and Cicely Tyson—to engage that legacy and use it to form their own identities as political performers. Close analysis of the women’s performances highlight the ways in which the intersection of race and gender was at the core of their activism and the reception of their message to a public that by turns embraced and shunned them.
Verdict This book fills a narrow gap left by other biographies of black female performers, providing a direct link between the development of the civil rights movement and the role of these particular women within it. Fans of late 20th-century American history and popular culture and readers in African American studies will find this an captivating read.—Kathryn Wells, Providence P.L.

starred review starGates, Robert M. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. Knopf. 2014. 618p. photos. index. ISBN 9780307959478. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780307959485. AUTOBIOG
duty020714The title of this inside-the-beltway memoir is telling: Gates, who worked in eight different presidential administrations, focuses on his duty to serve. He recounts his tenure as defense secretary (2006–11) under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as entailing not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but also battles with Congress and the Pentagon. Gates argues that Congress looks best from a distance; he found testifying before congressional committees frustrating at best, and he sought to protect the interests of the Pentagon while at the same time trying to reform the largest bureaucracy in the federal government. His memoir is also moving in several passages as Gates recounts his attendance in war zones and at military hospitals and funerals. His candor and humanity are most on display when he writes of the emotional toll he suffers when composing condolence letters to fallen soldiers’ loved ones.
Verdict If you read only one book by a Washington insider this year, make it this one. It should be savored by anyone who wishes to know more about the realities of decision-making in today’s federal government. Highly recommended for all readers, especially those interested in the U.S. presidency, public policy, and national security.—Stephen Kent Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Coll., Nampa, ID

McQuiddy, Steve. Here on the Edge: How a Small Group of World War II Conscientious Objectors Took Art and Peace from the Margins to the Mainstream. Oregon State Univ. 2013. 326p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780870716256. $24.95. HIST
During World War II, many conscientious objectors (COs) were excused from military service but were required to do other kinds of service for the duration. They were usually assigned to civilian public service (CPS) camps, often administered by religious organizations. These camps were places to store discomfiting personalities out of the disapproving public eye. The men would build roads, plant trees, farm, or do other manual labor—50 hours a week with no pay. McQuiddy (writing, Lane Community Coll.) focuses on Camp #56 in Waldport on the Oregon coast, which had a creative bunch of misfits known as the Fine Arts Group who generated poems, plays, music, and art in between their labors. The author details these fractious outcasts from many primary sources. As he traces their days at the camp, his narrative is slow to build steam, but it expands well as he relates these men’s postwar pursuits. Many, e.g., poet William Everson and printer Adrian Wilson, moved into the underground arts movements of the 1950s, testing the limits of artistic and political theater and fronting a counterculture movement that revolutionized the American artistic scene.
Verdict Useful for tracing the origins of the social changes of the 1950s and 1960s, while reminding us of another side of World War II service. Recommended for collections on 20th-century social and cultural history.—Edwin Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS

Markgren, Susanne & Tiffany Eatman Allen. Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career. Information Today. 2013. 240p. index. notes. ISBN 9781573874793. pap. $39.95. PRO MEDIA
Markgren (digital services librarian, Purchase Coll., SUNY) and Allen (director, library human resources, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) have offered the advice column “Career Q&A with the Library Career People,” now found at librarycareerpeople.com, for over ten years. Here, they’ve organize a selection of their advice along the trajectory of a librarian’s career divided into three parts: setting the stage (job search, cover letter, résumé, and interviewing), staging your own set (networking, presenting, job change, job flexibility, and alternative jobs), and finishing stage (stepping into management, following trends, collaboration, and retirement). They also conducted a survey to gather thoughts, comments, advice, and experiences from others, presenting this information throughout the book in “Voice of Experience” sections and Q&As at the beginning of each chapter. Sections need not be read consecutively.
Verdict Both professional and paraprofessional librarians will gain insights from this book no matter where they are on their career path. Strongly recommended also for library school students.—William Garrett, Troy Univ. Lib., AL

Robertson, Chad. Tartine Book No. 3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole. Chronicle. 2013. 337p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452114309. $40. COOKING
Acclaimed baker and Tartine Bakery cofounder Robertson’s third cookbook is as visually impressive as its predecessors, Tartine and Tartine Bread. Its recipes, however, are far more challenging, providing spare instructions and assuming considerable technical knowledge. Robertson breaks up chapters of intriguing and innovative breads, crispbreads, and pastries (e.g., sprouted quinoa kamut bread, lemon-poppy-kefir pound cake) with accounts of baking-related travels in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France, and Mexico.
Verdict Like Hanne Risgaard’s Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry, this cookbook will expand readers’ knowledge of flours and flavor combinations. Since most recipes require something hard to find or time-consuming to produce, this book is best for advanced bread bakers.—Lisa Campbell, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor