Book Beat

Travels to Prison

May 11, 2016 | Book Beat, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Baz Dreisinger started a pioneering program that brings college courses to people in prison and admits them to CUNY colleges after their release. The experience led the English professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to spend two years on a very personal journey to prisons around the world. The result, “Incarceration Nations,” is […]

Staten Island’s Poet Laureate

March 17, 2016 | Book Beat, The College of Staten Island

Cate Marvin possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, and in 2015 the College of Staten Island English professor was a awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. The speakers in her third collection of poems, “Oracle,” are haunting, passionate and sometimes bitingly funny women—and they’re all denizens of the borough where she’s taught and lived for a decade.

Precision, Pomp and Cultural Touchstone: The Marching Band

February 29, 2016 | Book Beat, Queensborough Community College

Jules Allen spent five years traveling the country photographing African-American marching bands. What he saw through his lens was “a precision art form” as public spectacle and a culture that “breathes the soul and spirit of Africa within the modern world.” The result is the simply titled “Marching Bands.” It’s the fourth book by the long-time Queensborough Community College art and design professor, whose photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian and the National Gallery.

Not So Easy for Models

January 8, 2016 | Book Beat, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Fashion models lead a glamorous life, right? Far from it, says Elizabeth Wissinger, associate professor of sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College and of fashion studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. In This Year’s Model: Fashion, Media and the Making of Glamour from New York University Press, she paints a disturbing picture of hard-working 21st-century models who must continually remake their bodies to attain an ever-shifting “right look.”

How Art Becomes Iconic

December 11, 2015 | Book Beat, Queens College

Think of some famous works of art. Chances are you’ll name a few that are on everyone’s list – if not coffee mug – like Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa,” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” John B. Nici, who teaches art at Queens College, looks at how those and other works reached rock-star status in his book, “Famous Works of Art — and How They Got that Way.” Hint: It doesn’t always have to do with artistic quality.

The Irish and the Italians: A New York Story

September 22, 2015 | Book Beat

They were two of 20th Century New York’s largest, most influential–and most contentious–immigrant populations. In his new book, “An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians,” Brooklyn College journalism professor Paul Moses weaves together a great cast of characters to tell the story of an intense rivalry that became a fine romance.

Growing Up, up in the Bronx

August 12, 2015 | Book Beat, Hunter College

Arlene Alda interviewed dozens of fellow natives of her home borough for “Just Kids from the Bronx.” The Hunter graduate, clarinetist, photographer, author and wife of Alan Alda sat down with generations of Bronxites from Al Pacino to Grandmaster Melle Mel. She reminisces with us about reminiscing with them.

Occupying The South

August 11, 2015 | Book Beat

Most people think the Civil War ended at Appomattox in 1865 when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. But that was just the start of a military occupation of the South that in some states lasted to 1871. In “After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War,” City College historian Gregory P. Downs explores how the North carried out martial law and used it as leverage to convince southern states to approve three constitutional amendments that were designed to safeguard the lives and rights of formerly enslaved people.

Why Julia de Burgos Matters

August 4, 2015 | Book Beat, Brooklyn College

  Brooklyn College professor Vanessa Pérez Rosario examines the life of Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos and her growing legacy in New York City. Her book, “Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon,” has been hailed as the first study on the poet’s life written in English.

The Little-Known Black Migration

June 8, 2015 | Book Beat, New York City College of Technology

Marta Effinger-Crichlow’s book, “Staging Migrations Toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones”, delves into a century of westward migration by African-American women – migration that’s both physical and symbolic. She chairs African-American Studies and is associate professor of theater and literature at New York City College of Technology.