Featured Review: An Overview of Historical and Socio-economic Evolution in the Americas

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Colombo’s arrival in Hispaniola. Credit: L. Prang & Co., Boston.

An Overview of Historical and Socio-economic Evolution in the Americas is well titled because it prunes down a mountain of history to give students a solid understanding of which influences have affected meaningful change, both positive and negative, from pre-invasion to contemporary times.

This is achieved not by glossing over complex issues, but explaining the events that caused the creation of new cultures, all amalgamations of diversity ranging from reverence of nature, to earth-plundering capitalism.

The book shades toward a progressive/revisionist view of history, eschewing neo-conservative perspectives that skew the past to make the USA seem correct in its actions, no matter how draconian those actions may have been. But the book strides through a middle path, as it is not purely revisionist, akin to Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky.

By giving readers the impact, both positive and negative, of capitalist actions, a fair view of the repercussions of the majority of inhabitants of South and North America (but the majority living south of the USA) comes through. Canada has been spared the crippling military and bank actions that have worsened in the 20th century as the USA tried to gain and retain control over Central and South America.

American students will benefit quite a bit from this point of view. The writers and Editor of the volume offer a more truthful book that ties in philosophical, economic and cultural influences in a straightforward way, though the concepts may be complicated for high school students, they are not so rigorous as to lose their target audience.

This book could easily take up an entire high school year, or semester in college.  Though there are no study questions, teachers and professors should have no problem developing questions, and multiple projects based on the chapters.

Especially American students will profit from the book’s point of view, as that view has not made it to the mainstream of public education curricula where board members of public school systems rarely favor the truth over patriotism.  The generations-old idea that “the USA can do no wrong,” is challenged here not openly, but in a clever series of statistics and carefully chosen histories that provide answers to the question “how did we get to this point?”

A long list of basic facts at the beginning of each country’s chapter helps build the middle road perspective. The authors also use common sense that leads readers to the truth, or as close as one can get, in one volume that covers 26 countries and the native populations of the Americas from ancient times, but especially 1492 until 2010.

The best aspect is how the struggles between oppressors, slaves, and native populations have worked to form countries out of vastly different cultures.  This book forms the basis of a history class that is also concerned with sociology, anthropology and comparative social sciences.

Different researchers emphasize different aspects depending on the important happenings during certain periods. Chapter 4 is a deep look into the ancient cultures of Mexico, without a lot of information about wars, and politics, but with the importance of cultural gains in language, philosophy, art and even fashion. Chapter 3, by comparison, is about the US, where the study of war, slavery and inequality are aptly covered with a rightful emphasis on economic upheavals and less appointed to cultural advances.

It’s important to know that $25 billion per year is sent back to Mexico from workers in the United States. The recent upheavals in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador pale in comparison to what might happen if the money stopped flowing down to Mexico from workers who are more than willing to share in the gains they have made in the US. These types of facts are vital for students in the USA to know.

Chapter 17, about Puerto Rico, is an excellent example of how a short history can clarify so much. The struggle of an island nation to free itself from Spain (hundreds of years) only to find itself in geo-political limbo with the United States is presented with an escape hatch: technology used to create a better economy. Luis Muñoz Marín, a formidable statesman of Puerto Rico declared “Economic development is not an end in itself, but the basis for a good civilization. Political status is not an end in itself but a means to economic realization…” In a state/protectorate/country that has fought for some unique identity, and for a while, even attempted to become part of a bigger whole (USA statehood or not?) more smart thinkers like Marín are needed to lift people out of poverty.

The problems of civil wars, and extremist politics are in full bloom in the portrayal of Central and South America where the US belief in the outdated Monroe Doctrine has found bankers and marines alike sent in to either create conflict, resolve conflict, or instill a system that favors the owners of the means of production over their local employees, who often subsist on slave wages. This book quietly but fervently yearns for the day when brotherhood will prevail over greed and oppression.

By editing a strong collection of stories, and writing many himself, Alberto Ciferri offers young scholars a chance to take a fresh look at old problems, and those still simmering today.”

Our heartfelt thanks go to Doug Stuber for allowing us to reproduce his review. Doug is a visiting professor of English at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea.  He has published 12 volumes of poetry, including the recent collection Chronic Observer. He also comments widely on geo-politcal issues.

You can purchase or read an extract of An Overview of Historical and Socio-economic Evolution in the Americas on our website, by following this link.

Events in November: The Da Vinci Globe

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Demand to hear the research of Cambridge Scholars author Professor Stefaan Missinne has been growing exponentially after a number of events across Europe in 2019. Prof. Missinne, author of The Da Vinci Globe (2018), will be presenting the remarkable conclusions of his research at two more events in the near future.

The first event is being held at the prestigious Accademia Petrarca in Arezzo on November 20th at 17:30, and has been co-organised by the Muzeo dei Mezzi di Comunicazione. Details of this event can be found by clicking here. The second, taking place the following day, is at the University of Florence, and will be introduced by Professor Emeritus Dr Leonardo Rombai, an expert in the history of cartography. Commencing at 17:00, further information is available here. Both talks are part of events commemorating the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death.

The Da Vinci Globe takes the reader through a fabulous journey of scholars, maps, riddles, rebuses, iconographic symbols and enigmatic phrases to illuminate the story of the artefact. The study details 500 years of mystery, fine scholarship and expert forensic testing at numerous material science laboratories the world over.

Missinne’s fascinating discoveries were first praised back in 2014 by the late Prof. Dr. Carlo Pedretti, a revered scholar and international authority on da Vinci. Since then the critical acclaim has been widespread. You can read a selection of the praise for the book below:

“The account that Professor Missinne has presented on his remarkable discovery is absolutely overwhelming, so much so that I sincerely believe that it will soon become acknowledged as one of the most significant discoveries of the 21st century.”

(António de Almeida Ribeiro, Ambassador of Portugal to Austria)

“The iconographical evidence is quite a revelation. This volume will be welcomed by scholars of archival research, art, cartography, geography, history, spatial sciences, natural and physical sciences and it deserves a place on the bookshelf of personal and public libraries.”

(Prof. Dr. Vivian Louis Forbes, University of Western Australia)

Professor Stefaan Missinne received his PhD from the Economics University in Vienna in 1990. He is Laureate of the Prince Albert Foundation and Managing Director of the Ginkgo GmbH.

To purchase a copy of The Da Vinci Globe or to read an excerpt from it, please click here. If you would like any more information on the events mentioned above, please get in touch with us at james.brittain@cambridgescholars.com.

Happy reading!

Ralph F. Turner, a Criminal Forensic Scientist Pioneer

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Ralph F. Turner (left) has a few moments of down time at Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s Laboratory of Forensic Science. Photo credit: Michigan State University Archives and Collections.

When Ralph F. Turner began his studies at the University of Wisconsin in 1935, the field of criminal justice was in its infancy. His keen interest in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories would translate into a passion for justice which would see him make landmark and pioneering contributions in a distinguished career as a forensic scientist. By the time of his death in 1994, his achievements had helped solidify scientific rigour in law enforcement throughout the United States.

Frederick L. Honhart was a close friend and student of Turner, and his heartfelt and engaging study Ralph F. Turner, a Criminal Forensic Scientist Pioneer is a fitting testament to the life and work of “one of the kindest and most interesting individuals he has ever known”.

Turner was a founder of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the leading professional organization in the field. His work in developing standards for driving and alcohol was also the basis for drunk driving laws across the US. Turner established the Crime Laboratory at the Kansas City Police Department in the 1930s and ‘40s, before moving to Michigan State University, where he helped establish the School of Criminal Justice, one of the top such programs in the country.

Along with Michigan State University, he worked in South Vietnam on a highly controversial effort to support the South Vietnamese government. He was also one of the first persons to question the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of President Kennedy and was on the Robert F. Kennedy review panel.

Frederick L. Honhart received his PhD in American History from Case-Western Reserve University, USA, in 1972. After two years at the Ohio Historical Society, he came to Michigan State University in 1974, where he served as Assistant and then Director of the University Archives and Historical Collections until his retirement in 2009.

0901387_ralph-f-turner-a-criminal-forensic-scientist-pioneer_300He is a winner of the Society of American Archivists C. F. W. Coker Prize for Archival Description, and a Fellow of the same society. In addition to archival publications, he has written on historical subjects and the history of unlimited hydroplane racing. He was a member and President (2004-2006) of the Section on University and Research Institution Archives of the International Council on Archives.

 

To purchase your copy of the text or to read an extract of the book, you can visit its page at our website.

Alternatively, for more information, or for an exclusive 20% discount on the book, you can email james.brittain@cambridgescholars.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Partnership with Istanbul Commerce University

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce an exciting new collaboration with Istanbul Commerce University (ICU).

This non-exclusive arrangement encourages ICU staff to join us as Editorial Advisory Board members in their respective disciplines, and establishes Cambridge Scholars as the favoured publisher for English language monographs and edited collections.

Our Senior Commissioning Editor Rebecca Gladders had this to say on the recent memorandum of understanding:

“We’re delighted to be working with Dr Armando Aliu, Advisor to the Rector at ICU, and look forward to a successful collaboration. The commercial sciences – a field incorporating business, management, economics and finance – is one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant areas of global research and education. We’re excited to bring ICU’s research in this field and others to our global readership.”

ICU was established in 2001 by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, and is one of Turkey’s top private universities, with collaborative agreements worldwide including the Universities of Sheffield (UK), Boston (USA) and Salzburg (Austria).

Cambridge Scholars Publishing was established in 2001, and today is one of the world’s leading academic book publishers, with more than 700 titles published in 2018. We are currently exploring similar collaborative arrangements in China and North America.

Dr Armando Aliu is an editor of the collection Conceiving Migration and Communication in a Global Perspective, to be published by Cambridge Scholars in January 2020. The volume examines diversified approaches to migration and communication, and explores policy dialogues, migration governance, transnationalism, cross-border circular migration and many other viewpoints of importance today. The study will be available to pre-order from our website in the coming weeks.

Featured Review: Literary Pairs in Comparative Readings Across National and Cultural Divides

Today’s featured review is reprinted with thanks to VTU Review: Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In it Vakrilen Kilyovski details the strengths of Yarmila Nikolova Daskalova’s monograph Literary Pairs in Comparative Readings Across National and Cultural Divides (2018), a volume which offers an original and insightful reading of the literary text as a powerful means of both representing and shaping the inherent dialogism of different cultures.

You can read the review below:

“Even in the field of contemporary comparative literary studies, with its self-proclaimed interest in crossing cultural and linguistic borders and its adherence to a multi-faceted interdisciplinary approach to the literary text, seldom does a critical study appear that attempts to distort the balance of a comparative-contrastive dichotomy (in its analysis of texts and authors) in favour of the former rather than the latter. One such book is Yarmila Daskalova’s Literary Pairs in Comparative Readings Across National and Cultural Divides. The book is a kaleidoscopic collection of essays, covering a time period of two centuries, encompassing literary samples from Romanticism to postmodernism, dealing with the works of ten authors, writing in four different languages, coupled in eight “pairs.”

As the title suggests, it offers comparative readings of selected texts by authors from diverse literary, national, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Rather than matching peers (in the sense of writers belonging to a common national tradition or sharing the common aesthetics of a single literary movement or cultural period), Daskalova undertakes the arduous project of “pairing” seemingly diverse constellations of prominent literary figures (British, Irish, American, French, Russian and Bulgarian) on the basis of the “similar typological schemes, perceptions and literary strategies” utilized in their works (3). Under the seemingly random structure of the book, lurks a discernible hypertextual pattern, linking names of authors and intertwining cultural and mythological references into a complex postmodern poetic network.

Thus, in the first essay William Butler Yeats is “paired” with his predecessor – the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The second essay compares the “one-man modernist” Edgar Allan Poe and his self-proclaimed French counterpart, the poet of modernité, Charles Baudelaire, on the basis of their “acute perceptibility of the weird and bizarre” and their shared predisposition to the “supernatural and melancholy aspects of life,” “the sinister and the macabre” (24). The third essay offers a comparative critical reading of works by the nineteenth-century American minuscule lyrique Emily Dickinson and the twentieth-century Russian avant-gardist poet Marina Tsvetaeva. In it Daskalova traces “overlapping recurrent themes, visions, imagery and messages” in their verse, as well as “similar devices and approaches” employed by both authors for expressing their unique individualities.

In the fourth essay, the “pair” of voyagers, W. B. Yeats and Charles Baudelaire, undertakes an “inner exilic,” “dislocating” journey through the “menacing vastness of the sea” (99). Whether lacking a particular destination in time and space (as in Baudelaire’s case) or directed to a particular location as “home,” masked as a nostalgic longing for some “other world” (Yeats’s “News for the Delphic Oracle”) both trips lead their travellers to a modern existential “elsewhere” (99). In the fifth essay, Daskalova’s “comparison and parallelism” strategy draws on the “haunting gothicisms” and “obsessive dark imagery and somnambulist daydreaming” that pervade the works of Edgar Allan Poe and the Bulgarian poet Peyo Yavorov and “mark their destinies of poètes maudits (115).

In the sixth essay, through an intertextual reading of texts by W. B. Yeats and Peyo Yavorov, Daskalova analyses their attempts to create a “sacred mythopoeic image of the motherland” (4). The former mythologizes his native Ireland, inspired by ancient Greek and Celtic mythology, while the latter draws on Bulgarian folk traditions to do the same. The seventh essay contrasts the “intranational” perspective on the “concept of Irishness” of W. B. Yeats as exhibited in his works to the “transnational” one of the American-Palestinian critic Edward Said, developed in his essay “Yeats and Decolonization.”

The last essay “com-pairs” two postmodern novels by contemporary Bulgarian writers: Svetlozar Igov’s Elenite and Emil Andreev’s The Glass River. It focuses on the representation of “otherness” and “the foreign” within a specific Bulgarian cultural context. Insightful, illuminating and poetic itself, this book is a valuable contribution to the field of comparative literary studies. A pleasure to read, it will appeal to scholars and the general public alike.”

To purchase your copy of the text or to read an extract, you can click here.

Happy reading!

Rites of Spontaneity: Communality and Subjectivity in Traditional Irish Music Sessions

“Kind friends and companions, come join me in rhyme
Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine
Come lift up your voices, all grief to refrain
For we may or might never all meet here again.”1

Picture the scene. You’re sitting in the cosy gloom of a pub. Some musicians are facing each other, playing play well-known traditional Irish tunes on flutes, tin whistles, and fiddles. Each of them plays the melodic line, adding their own variations and grace notes at will. Some musicians are just listening; others are cracking jokes. The crowd nearby is composed of friends, occasional patrons, a regular audience, and curious tourists. Some seem not to care; some are drawn closer to listen or perhaps even participate. This is called a “session”.

It is a scene which can be found the world over, from Dublin to Boston and Rome. It is also the subject of Augusto Ferraiuolo’s forthcoming book Rites of Spontaneity: Communality and Subjectivity in Traditional Irish Music Sessions. Ferraiuolo is a Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at the Department of Anthropology of Boston University whose work focuses on ritual and performances in a transnational and diasporic perspective.

He has published several books and articles in both English and Italian, including The Tammorra: Dance and Music of Southern Italy (2016) and Religious Festive Practices in Boston’s North End: Ephemeral Identities in an Italian-American Community (2009). He also served as a consultant for the Alan Lomax compilation Italian Treasury: Folk Music and Song of Italy (1999). Since 2011, he has been the Director of the Intimate Lens International Ethnographic Film Festival. He is also a musician who has performed in many sessions in Ireland, Italy, and the USA. His most recent recording is Riverrun, with the Irish-Italian band Àr Meitheal.

During the last forty years the practices and the appreciation of this particular music, and of this particular setting, have moved decisively from local arenas into the global marketplace. Ferraiuolo adopts a transnational perspective in documenting and celebrating these contexts in the work, resulting in a book that will appeal to a very wide range of readers, from musicians and aficionados to scholars and students.

From an anthropological point of view, sessions are not just a musical environment. They are a combination of social interactions, suggesting specific dynamics between community, subjects and cultural items. As the author notes in the introduction, the book focuses in on “an extraordinary world, made by extraordinary people, with its laughs and tensions, engagements and conflicts, rivalries and emulations.” Most of all, though, it is about music – and good music, at that.

Augusto Ferraiuolo’s Rites of Spontaneity: Communality and Subjectivity in Traditional Irish Music Sessions is now available to pre-order on our website. For more information on the book or to secure your copy, you can also get in touch with james.brittain@cambridgescholars.com.

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A session at Tommy Doyle’s in Cambridge, MA. Photo courtesy of Sara Piazza.

1. From Here’s a Health to the Company, a traditional song performed by Kevin Conneff and recorded by The Chieftains (1989, RCA Victor, B008OZJNDS).

The History of Wine as a Medicine: From its Beginnings in China to the Present Day

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Hellenistic mosaic depicting Dionysus, god of wine, discovered close to the city of Paphos. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Today’s featured book, The History of Wine as a Medicine: From its Beginnings in China to the Present Day, is the first scholarly volume to describe mankind’s 5,000 year history of using wine as a medicine. As the principal author Dr Phillip Norrie notes, “wine is our oldest, most documented and best preventative medicine.”

According to the research contained in the book, it can substantially reduce the rate of death from all causes (for example, by minimising vascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes by up to 50%).

The book rewrites the history of wine by showing that the first grape wine was actually made in China and not Georgia, as current theory suggests. It contains a unique detailed chronology of wine as a medicine from 9,500 years ago in China until today, and details some interesting stories about wine, such as its use to help keep convicts alive during their long voyage to Australia and its use in Australian lunatic asylums.

The book also contains a chapter on one of the main health components of wine, resveratrol. The section is written by Professor Joseph Maroon, the famous American neurosurgeon for the American NFL who is an expert on concussion injuries and a great advocate for the use of resveratrol to delay the aging process.

Cambridge Scholars are offering a 20% discount on the study, an offer which you can redeem by using the code ‘WINE20’ at checkout on our website. If purchased in conjunction with Campania’s Wine on the Net: A Translational-Terminological Analysis of Winespeak by Francesco Nacchia, you can get a 30% discount on both texts. For the double offer, check out with the code ‘WINE30’.

Dr Philip Anthony Norrie is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales and the University of Newcastle, Australia. He is also a Research Fellow at Western Sydney University and the Vice Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at the Northern Cancer Institute, Sydney. He has published 17 books about wine and medical history, and, after completing his PhD, decided to take the topic of wine and health one step further through making wine even healthier by inventing the world’s first full strength Resveratrol Enhanced Wine.

Dr Joseph Maroon, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, conducts research on the use of natural products to treat pain and inflammation. He is also the author of The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life (2009). Jeff Bost, a Neurosurgical Physician Assistant and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is also a contributor to the book. He has a special interest in minimally invasive spine and brain surgery, and has conducted clinical research on resveratrol and other natural products used to advance health and longevity. He is recognized as an expert in the field.

You can click here to purchase the book or to read an extract.

Happy reading!