Nonfiction: Baby Food, Culture Travel, Assimilation, Jurgen Klopp, Slave Trade, Hoops, Women Skiers | Xpress Reviews

Week ending December 15, 2017

Al-Jabbouri, Kawn. Baby Food Universe: Raise Adventurous Eaters with a Whole World of Flavorful Purées and Toddler Foods. Fair Winds: Quarto. Oct. 2017. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781592337477. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781592338115. COOKING
Based in Denmark, Al-Jabbouri (founder, joins with registered dietician Gemma Bischoff to provide many healthy ideas for feeding the baby. Beginning with an overview of utensils, cooking methods (lillypots) and kitchen hygiene, she then launches into meal planning for the four- to 12-month period along with a section on the toddler one to two years old. A variety of multi-ingredient purees (zucchini, carrot, and fig; asparagus, chickpea, and sweet potato) and finger food (kale omelet roll, mashed-potato patties) are presented with beautiful color photos, cooking advice, and dietician tips. A helpful “when can I introduce?” chart is also featured, along with common allergic reactions and the importance of role modeling (for eating). Food shopping is taken into consideration while discussing what to avoid. This is a solid resource for aiding the new parent in feeding strategies through the different developmental stages. Public libraries should own a variety of items on this popular subject.
Verdict An appealing how-to manual for creating your own baby food.—Barbara Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO

Culture Trails. Lonely Planet. Oct. 2017. 320p. photos. maps. ISBN 9781786579683. $25. TRAV
For travelers looking for vacation ideas, Lonely Planet’s book offers trips designed around cultural themes. Covering 33 countries and 52 itineraries, each article has six pages of colorful photos, must-see features, and dual hotel, restaurant, and festival recommendations. This isn’t a guidebook, so no details on prices or addresses are included, but it’s more of a wish book for planning memorable travel. A pilgrimage to the birthplace of reggae legend Bob Marley, a steampunk festival in New Zealand, a taste of Finnish sauna culture, and the sights of Salman Rushdie’s Mumbai are some of the far-flung offerings. Of the five U.S. trips, the Deep South Blues Trail is a good example of the imaginative journeys readers can choose. Advice is couched in the usual Lonely Planet tone: dress to kill if you visit the Riviera, where to find a good camel burger, and drinking in establishments from dive bars to literary pubs.
Verdict Travelers real and armchair alike will delight in this opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. Smaller than a coffee-table book but larger than a pocket guide, this will appeal to travelers looking for a trek that’s different and memorable.—Susan Belsky, Oshkosh P.L., WI

Hahner, Leslie A. To Become an American: Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century. Michigan State Univ. Oct. 2017. 280p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611862539. $39.95. COMM
The existence of assimilating immigrants is not a new problem in American society, but it has historically generated anxiety during periods of significant immigration. From the 1890s to the 1920s, almost 23 million immigrants came to this country, mostly from Southern and Eastern Europe. Hahner (communication, Baylor Univ.) examines the Americanization programs of the early 20th century designed to encourage immigrants to identify as Americans. She argues that it is the power of rhetoric that forms identity and allegiances, and she uses rhetorical tools to analyze the strategies of various Americanization efforts. In a cross-disciplinary approach, she studies the use of visual media, the attempts to reform housing, the role of public celebrations, and the involvement of scouting organizations. The use of patriotic visual material such as photographs, posters, and films was expected to effect change in viewers and lead to an emotional attachment to the United Sates. Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls played a significant role in the Americanization of immigrant girls, teaching English as well as American customs. Scouting was also thought to reduce delinquency.
Verdict This fascinating and complex book will be appreciated by scholars in communication, American Studies, and history.—Judy Solberg, Sacramento, CA

Heaney, Katie. Would You Rather? A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out. Ballantine. Mar. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780399180958. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780399180965. BIOG
Heaney (a senior editor at BuzzFeed; Never Have I Ever) follows her first memoir about being a 25-year-old virgin lacking any relationship experience with a book about coming out and finding love with a woman three years later. Heaney hadn’t realized she was gay until she did some soul-searching and exploration with the help of friends and a therapist. Her story is not the standard coming-out narrative and fellow late bloomers, or any reader who is experiencing sexual ambivalence, will find it relatable. Heaney acknowledges that the relative ease of her coming out, given that she is a white woman living in New York, is a privilege compared to how fraught it is for so many others. While Heaney’s prose is conversational and frequently charming, her declarations often seem banal. The book lacks structure; a chapter devoted to the vagaries of Harry Styles fandom, which is justified because he “looks like a lesbian,” should have been excised.
Verdict The book will likely appeal to fans of Heaney’s first book, as well as fans of the new adult genre. However, this reviewer can’t escape the feeling that what could have been a series of blog posts was erroneously turned into a book.—Barrie Olmstead, Sacramento P.L., CA

Honigstein, Raphael. Bring the Noise: The Jurgen Klopp Story. Nation: Perseus. Feb. 2018. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9781568589572. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781568589589. SPORTS
The rise of Jurgen Klopp (b. 1967) to managing within European football’s English Premiere League was an unconventional, if not unlikely, path. Journalist and German soccer expert Honigstein (Das Reboot) chronicles Klopp’s career from player and then manager of Bundesliga 2’s Mainz 05 to his current role as manager of Liverpool. At every stop along the way, Klopp brought dynamism and drive that led to his earning a reputation for creating winners out of teams that were not expected to do well, as evidenced by the advancement of Mainz 05 to the top tier of the Bundesliga, and Borussia Dortmund’s two titles under Klopp’s direction. Honigstein credits (in the acknowledgements, no notes or bibliography) dozens of interviews with family, friends, and colleagues as he presents this interesting if at times intimate portrait of one of European football’s most dynamic figures. Occasionally, he borders on hagiography. Also, the overall organization of the text suffers from jumps back and forth along the chronology that appear to be random and detract from the narrative.
Verdict Not as readable as Elmar Neveling’s Jurgen Klopp: The Biography and will likely appeal only to dedicated Bundesliga and/or Liverpool fans.—Michael C. Miller, Austin P.L. & Austin History Ctr., TX

Jordan, Jim. The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, The Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade. Univ. of Georgia. Feb. 2018. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780820351964. $32.95. HIST
Jordan, author of two novels on Savannah, discovered and edited 70 letters, from 1855 to 1861, written by Charles Lamar of Savannah—a sometime slave trader, adventurer, speculator, and scoundrel—that reveal Lamar’s tangled business practices, legal troubles, and personal failings while engaged in slave trading. Lamar’s principal claim to our interest was his investment and involvement in the yacht The Wanderer, which was seized by U.S. marshals for illegal trafficking in African slaves in November 1858. The case of The Wanderer involved the disposition of the enslaved Africans, most of whom were sold; the issue of reopening the African slave trade, which excited national debate; and the commitment of the United States to its treaty obligations to help end the African slave trade, which proved irregular. Jordan provides a detailed history of Lamar’s life and the case, which sometimes loses the reader in a labyrinth of asides and unnecessary facts, but the real strength of the book is the well-annotated collection of letters, which offer a rare view into the intricacies of the illegal traffic.
Verdict A useful book for academic collections wanting an insider’s take on slave trading.—Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph’s Univ., Philadelphia

Serrano, Shea. (text) & Arturo Torres (illus.). Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated. Abrams Image. Oct. 2017. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781419726477. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781683350934. SPORTS
Serrano (The Rap Year) poses a series of 26 questions about the modern NBA, from the serious (What was Michael Jordan’s best season?) to the absurd (What is the draft order of fictional basketball characters?). Answers are both thoughtful and hilarious as he includes statistics, NBA history, and his own opinions to make his arguments. The best chapters balance Serrano’s sense of humor with his hoops knowledge. Chapters on ranking the most important NBA finals, the rules of pickup basketball, and the disrespectful dunk Hall of Fame are the highlights here. Some chapters do fall flat, most notably a plot treatment for an action movie starring NBA superstar James Harden. Readers will be able to relate to Serrano’s childhood recollections of playing or rooting for his favorite team. Torres’s unique and stylized illustrations, such as a giant squid defending Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins dunking on Jesus, accentuate Serrano’s writing.
Verdict An original work that captures the spirit of basketball. Highly recommended for die-hard NBA fans.—Chris Wilkes, Tazewell Cty. P.L., VA

Shinn, Peggy. World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team. Univ. Pr. of New England. Feb. 2018. 248p. photos. ISBN 9781512600650. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781512601817. SPORTS
Women’s cross-country skiing has a momentary spotlight at the Winter Olympics every four years, but otherwise competitors are fairly anonymous. The breakout success of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team that formed in 2012 inspired sports journalist Shinn (Deluge) to spend time at training camps and competitions, with the athletes along with their coaches, trainers, families and friends, and even Ski Team alumni, in an effort to understand how the team became larger than the sum of its parts. Her detailed history shows how team members united against gender bias, funding challenges, injuries, and the ever-present specter of doping in their sport to create their own internal support system. More emphasis on how to help manifest that team spirit would make this a useful guide for trainers and coaches; still, it is a comprehensive account of the ski team that serves as a reminder that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters most.
Verdict Fans of winter sports and unusual Olympics stories will enjoy learning how eight diverse and talented skiers and their coach bonded to push themselves to unexpected success on the world stage.—Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT

Simthsimon, Gregory. Cause:…And How It Doesn’t Always Equal Effect. Random. Jan. 2018. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9781612196763. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781612196770. SOC SCI
Cause expands on sociologist Smithsimon’s (September 12: Community and Neighborhood Recovery at Ground Zero) exploration of received truths and how society responds to challenging issues. The author’s own challenge is that he casts a wide net on subjects such as climate change, racial discrimination, and terrorism. His descriptions are engaging, though, and backed by scholarly evidence; his call for more lucid thinking by grassroots organizations is encouraging if not too idealistic.
Verdict Recommended for laypersons; more specialized readers will want to read it in the context of other books about how we make choices, such as Albert O. Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and the State and Susan Neiman’s Moral Clarity.—Ellen Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

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