Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Nonfiction

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
“Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees 'fortune beyond counting' in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter will soon become its first female college graduate. But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.”–Jacket.

Canuck Rock by Ryan Edwardson
“An invaluable resource and an absorbing read, Canuck Rock spans from the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s through to today's international recording industry. Ryan Edwardson combines archival material, published accounts, and new interviews to explore how music in Canada became Canadian music.” –Cover.

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters edited by Dan Wakefield
A compilation of personal correspondence written over a sixty-year period offers insight into the iconic American author's literary personality, his experiences as a German POW, his struggles with fame, and the inspirations for his famous books. –Summary.

Propaganda and Censorship During Canada's Great War by Jeffrey A. Keshen
Canadians entered World War One viewing armed conflict as a majestic affair. What they discovered was that life in the trenches was grim and the slaughter unimaginable. With victory hanging in the balance, officials at home began propping up notions of the conflict-and of the enemy-that sometimes had little to do with facts. –Summary.

Rastafari: Roots and Ideology by Barry Chevannes
Rastafari: Roots and Ideology is the first comprehensive work on the origins of the Jamaica-based Rastafaris and includes interviews with some of the earliest members of the movement. The book is a rich historical and ethnographic work which will be of interest to religion scholars, historians, scholars of black studies and a general audience interested in the movement of how Rastafarians settled in other countries. –Summary.

The Balfour Declaration by Jonathan Schneer
“Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of ‘a National Home for the Jewish people,’ and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.” –Cover.

The Black Death by Philip Ziegler
“A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history. Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume. The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.”–Cover.

The First Rasta by Helene Lee
In the 1920s Leonard Percival Howell and the First Rastas had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, that established the vision for the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century, Rastafarianism. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell established a Rasta community of 4,500 members. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell's message, and through Marley's visions, reggae made its explosion in the music world. –Summary.

The Gentle People: An Inside View of Amish Life by Joe Wittmer
This book, designed for non-Amish readers, examines the genuine virtues and values that best depict the Old Order Amish. Moving beyond their uniqueness, this book explores their religious beliefs, ceremonies, child rearing practices, and other aspects of their unique culture. –Summary.

The Great Mortality by John Kelly
“La moria grandissima began its terrible journey across the European and Asian continents in 1347, leaving unimaginable devastation in its wake. Five years later, twenty-five million people were dead, felled by the scourge that would come to be called the Black Death. The Great Mortality is the extraordinary epic account of the worst natural disaster in European history – a drama of courage, cowardice, misery, madness, and sacrifice that brilliantly illuminates humankind's darkest days when an old world ended and a new world was born.” –Cover.

The Kebra Nagast: The Lost Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica edited by Gerald Hausman
A sacred text to Ethiopian Christians and Jamaican Rastafarians, The Kebra Nagast tells of the relationship between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and their son Menyelik, who hid the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia.

Utopian Communities: Survival of Old Order Hutterite, Amish and Mennonite Groups by Elsie Hamel.
This book reviews religious and secular utopian sects to determine why three old order anabaptist groups have survived for four centuries and have thrived into the twenty-first century when hundreds of sects have failed.  –Summary.