Charles Darwin developed his evolutionary theories by looking at physical differences in Galapagos finches and fancy pigeons. Alfred Russell Wallace investigated a range of creatures in the Malay Archipelago. Laurel Braitman got her lessons closer to home—by watching her dog. Oliver snapped at flies that only he could see, ate Ziploc bags, towels, and cartons of eggs. He suffered debilitating separation anxiety, was prone to aggression, and may even have attempted suicide. Her experience with Oliver forced Laurel to acknowledge a form of continuity between humans and other animals that, first as a biology major and later as a PhD student at MIT, she’d never been taught in school. Nonhuman animals can lose their minds. And when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness.
Bob Dylan turned 73 this year, and his music has spawned more than a half-century of enjoyment, argument, scholarship, social change and bewilderment. Often, fan interest has crossed the line over to obsession unique to Dylan fans, many of whom think the meaning of life might be buried somewhere on Self Portrait.
This week's Book Picks come from Connie Brooks of Battenkill Books in Cambridge, NY.
List: The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War by Jacqueline Winspear A History of the Future: A World Made by Hand Novel by James Howard Kunstler (Event 9/12/14) Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alistair Bonnett Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families Who Share the Tomlinson Name - One White, One Black by Chris Tomlinson Travels with Casey by Benoit Denizet-Lewis Conversion by Katherine Howe Anna & Solomon by Elaine Snyder and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Event 7/31/14)
Despite the utopian proclamations that we are now live in a color-blind, postracial country, the grim reality is that implicit racial biases are more entrenched than ever.
In Wrongs of the Right, Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks set postracial claims into relief against a background of pre- and post-election racial animus directed at Obama, his administration, and African Americans.
On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.
At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own “Golden Bible”—the Book of Mormon—he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.
In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.