Jezebel of the Gawker media family has a piece up on In Fine Style, the exhibition for which the catalog was published this month by the Royal Collection Trust, and they would like us to remember that, “while the clothing is mind-bogglingly over the top and ornate, hygiene was different then, and these people probably smelled really, really bad.”
Designer Gareth Pugh’s interest in Tudor and Stuart fashion was first piqued when he was a small boy by an image of Elizabeth I wearing her customary ruff and sumptuous padded dress. In a talk with Royal Collection’s Anna Reynolds, author of In Fine Style, the designer talks about how this fascination with the “first power-dressers” still influences his collections today.
Photo by Mike McCune
Even with advances in technology, including Doppler radar and advance warning systems, is there anything else we can do to prepare for deadly tornados? Kevin Simmons, author of Deadly Season: Analysis of the 2011 Tornado Outbreaks, argues that as the news stories turn from “what happened?” to “why did this happen?” they offer a lesson in planning and preparation.
“Tornadoes are a normal part of life in the plains and sometimes the atmospheric conditions are conducive to creating a monster storm. If that storm races across an open field, it’s an interesting event to watch, from a safe distance. But if that storm strikes a populated area, buildings will be destroyed and people will suffer injuries and regrettably some will perish. Urban sprawl is not going away so the job of researchers is to search for ways to minimize those casualties.”
Simmons, who studies the economic and social effects of natural disasters, lived through the May 3, 1999 tornado that rocked Oklahoma. In a moving post, he explains what can be done to prepare for future storms and why these tornados are deeply personal: http://kevinmsimmons.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-very-sad-day-once-again-we-are.html.
The LSE Review of books just interviewed our friend at Policy Press, Kathryn King! It’s a great, short interview about Policy and publishing with a purpose.
“I had wanted to work with books in publishing since I was young. A voracious reader as a teenager, I adored books like The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James and Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth. Nowadays I feel lucky in my current role at The Policy Press to combine my love of books and publishing with its not-for-profit status and ‘making a difference’ social mission. It is immensely satisfying to know that, in a small way, we contribute to improving people’s lives through our publications.”
This question, posed in a review by the UK’s Times, isn’t entirely the one that Erik Butler is trying to answer in his new book, The Rise of the Vampire (though it might be one we all ask ourselves—no offense, Twihards). But no one can deny that we have been surrounded by bloodsucking demons for the past five years, and Butler is out to explain why (he does have some things to say about Twilight, too).
As the Times writes, “Just to say the word ‘vampire’ now is to make some readers shudder, and not for the right reasons. But reading a new study—Erik Butler’s The Rise of the Vampire—we realise that was is interesting isn’t just the vampires themselves but why they appear in the first place.”
Popmatters.com continues the praise. “The breadth of Butler’s sources is a particular strength throughout the book… . The vampire is held up as a mirror to the human psyche, representing not only the unknown in others but also that which is unknowable in ourselves. It is for this reason that vampires have been such an enduring construct, and one which we have felt compelled to flesh out and adorn.”
From the sea to the sky, the color blue is quite literally (and figuratively) all around us. Carol Mavor reflects on the color in her new book, Blue Mythologies, in which she “draws upon many artists and writers” in her exploration of all things blue. Publishers Weekly calls out its beautiful illustrations, adding, “This fine, multidisciplinary work explores the color’s aesthetic and emotional resonances from a fresh perspective.”
Ever wondered what some of the world’s foremost television personalities have said about breakfast?
“And who is the man who loves Humperdinck’s lumpy pumpernickel crumpets beyond all things?”—Scooter (as Porthos), The Muppets
“Mmmm, forbidden donut.”—Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
“Mmmm, noodle soup.”—Joey Tribbiani, Friends
“Okay, this cereal has lost all its molecular integrity. I now have a bowl of shredded wheat paste.”—Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
“I’m never gonna get used to the 31st century. Caffeinated bacon? Baconated grapefruit? ADMIRAL Crunch?”—Fry, Futurama
Okay, we jest a bit. But what all these foods has in common is that somewhere out there, they are eaten for breakfast (well, maybe not caffeinated bacon, but how amazing would that be?). In The Breakfast Book, Andrew Dalby tells the entire story of our morning meal, following the toast crumbs of its evolution throughout history—and, as Publishers Weekly writes in their review, it “presents a wonderful sampling of breakfasting around the world today, such as how they breakfast on churros in Spain or anise-flavored ground cereal in Libya… . Interesting details abound.”
“The author moves through history in a crablike fashion — from ancient and medieval stories to recent knowledge of the earth’s structure, but never through the shortest possible route of compare-and-contrast exposition. Alongside the fictional or legendary figures, more and more historical figures appear as the chapters proceed, bringing their speculations on stage.”
The Royal Collection’s app for Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist has been nominated for the 17th Annual Webby Awards! The winner will be announced on April 30th.
Download the app here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/leonardo-da-vinci-anatomy/id520564038?mt=8
And vote for the app here: http://pv.webbyawards.com/nominees/mobile-apps/tablet-and-all-other-devices/education-reference
Salvatore Babones at Truthout has written a great review of The Squeezed Middle, out recently from our friends at The Policy Press:
“For anyone who wants an all-in-one primer on the economic problems facing the middle class in America today, this is your book. The Squeezed Middle is full of data, but it is no academic tome. It is accessible to anyone who cares enough about deteriorating living standards to want to know how we got into this hole and what we can do to get out of it… . Books like The Squeezed Middle won’t solve our economic problems, but they do help give people like you and me the information we need to solve our problems.”
Check out the full review here: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/15639-the-squeezed-middle-the-title-says-it-all
And have a look at The Squeezed Middle here: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/S/bo15532010.html
David Mayhew of Yale University offers a great introduction to the paperback edition of Malcolm Dean’s Democracy under Attack, coming to North America in April from Policy Press. It’s a quick, illuminating read, and we have it for you below.
Britain always offers an apt comparison for American readers worried about democracy and policymaking. Throw in the media, and the comparison becomes irresistible. This work by Malcolm Dean offers all that. Informed by long duty as social policy expert for The Guardian, Dean traces the nexus of media (especially the newspapers), politicians and policy-making in Britain during the last half-century.
It is not a pretty evolution. It has some bright points. British policymaking is vastly more transparent that it used to be. Dean notes his surprise, once back from a stint in America in the 1960s, in finding how closed the British government was back then. But there are adverse trends, many of which echo US experience. Newspapers and traditional television channels have been losing audiences. Specialist reporting in such policy areas as housing has fallen off. On the media side, Dean sees a growing bent for sensation, scandal-mongering, pack journalism and adversarial coverage. Souped-up crises have been crowding out real societal problems.
As with the US presidency, the Prime Minister’s office has adapted to the 24-hour media cycle by centralising government power and deploying worldly-wise apparatchiks who are deft at ‘spin’ and ‘shaping the narrative’. These moves, a signal success under Tony Blair especially, have constituted both offence and defence in a public policy space that can all too easily degenerate into media tropes. ‘Keep Myra Hindley in prison’ (in the wake of gruesome murders) led a vibrant media life in the 1980s and 1990s. ‘Welfare scroungers’ have enjoyed a starring role. ‘One asylum claim every six minutes’ became a caption for refugees entering Britain. The media hyped ‘Herceptin the wonder drug’, a bogus cancer cure, but delegitimised through scare stories the MMR vaccine for children, a real pharmaceutical protection.
Are the British media worse than the American? Well, the media scene in the United States has evolved into radio shock-jocks, nasty bloggers, and off-centre news coverage by the Fox and MSNBC cable channels. There are problems. But at least the United States does not have tabloid newspapers that reach a nationwide audience. That seems to be a great blessing. In Dean’s account, British tabloids such as the The Sun and the Mail are truly awful. All by themselves they debase the public sphere. Lately, they have gotten themselves enmeshed in the phone-hacking scandal.
Democracy under Attack can be read as a policy history. I was struck by the trans-Atlantic similarities. As in the United States, poverty blossomed as a British concern in the 1960s. Law and order and tax-cutting ensued in the 1970s and 1980s. Drugs hit the charts: The Americans created a drug ‘czar’, the British a drug ‘tsar’. In sync with the Clinton era, Britain’s politicians keyed on child poverty and welfare reform. Then the ‘death tax’ made an appearance. In the 2000s came concerns about terrorism, immigration, inequality and school testing. The British focus was often different. Asylum seekers and traditional A-level school testing drew attention in Britain, for example; illegal immigrants and new Bush-era testing in the United States. But a good deal has moved in tandem. For Americans, there is much to be learned by peering across the ocean. This book allows that.
Professor David Mayhew is one of the most eminent political scientists in the US. As Sterling Professor in Yale University’s political science department, he has been awarded numerous visiting fellowships in the US and the UK. In 2004 he received the Samuel J. Eldersveld Award for lifetime achievement from the American Political Science Association.
F. Stuart Ross’s Smashing H-Block tells the story of all those who supported the hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981, showing how the protests outside the hunger strikers’ prison helped shape modern Irish republicanism.
Brendan Lynn wrote of the book in the Irish Literary Supplement: “The path from being on the political fringe of the political scene in Northern Ireland to its present position as the dominant voice of northern nationalism could not have been achieved without the events from 1976-1981. Ross has shed valuable new light on how this was achieved. For those attempting to understand Northern Ireland’s past and present, Smashing H-Block will prove to be a important contribution.”
Maria Power’s Building Peace in Northern Ireland examines the different kinds of work people have put toward bringing about a peaceful end to conflict in Northern Ireland since the 1960’s.
Glady Ganiel wrote: “The book constitutes a valuable contribution to scholarly debate on the role of civil society in conflict resolution, and a timely reminder that the hard work of building peace in Northern Ireland has only just begun… . Hopefully, the insights of the authors will inform policies to support and enhance the grassroots peacebuilding work that, while often taken for granted, has not been insignificant.”
Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid’s Seán MacBride examines this controversial figures republican activities as he rose through the ranks of the Irish Republican Army.
Ciara Meehan wrote: “Seán MacBride: A Republican Life is a welcome addition to the literature on twentieth-century Ireland in general and MacBride in particular. It makes a significant contribution to our understanding of his early years. The book is also essential reading for anyone interested in the revolutionary period and the IRA’s relationship with the new state after independence.”
Get prepped for St. Patrick’s day with a real look at this rich, complex region.
How well do you know your royal diamonds? Test your expertise with this quiz from the Chicago Tribune that draws on two Royal Collection titles: Diamonds by Caroline de Guitaut and The Queen’s Diamonds by Hugh Roberts.