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Book Beat

‘The Orphan Scandal’ and the Muslim Brotherhood

November 20, 2014 | Book Beat, City College, Graduate Center

In her new book, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, City College history professor Beth Baron recounts the brutal beating of a 15-year-old Muslim girl by Christian missionaries in 1933 and tells how the incident spurred the growth of one of Islam’s most influential political organizations.

The Rise of Sunset Park

November 7, 2014 | Book Beat, Queens College

With a $100 million investment from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the arrival of artisanal businesses like Jacques Torres Chocolates, Sunset Park seems poised for a revival. But the transformation of this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood won’t be easy, says Queens College urban studies professor Tarry Hum. In her new book, Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, Hum traces historical struggles and new challenges including job development, environmental issues, an underground sex industry, gentrification and forging alliances between Chinese and Latino immigrant communities.

Food to Feed a Burgeoning 19th-Century New York

September 24, 2014 | Book Beat

In Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York, Cindy Lobel, an assistant history professor at Lehman College, serves up a richly detailed account of the origins of the food industry in a century that brought enormous changes to the city’s cultural, social and political life. Deftly written, with fine illustrations, Lobel’s cultural history takes us on a fascinating tour of the foodways, describing the farms and markets that supplied the kitchens of the burgeoning city. Lobel also explains how the explosion of restaurants — from posh dining rooms to sixpenny eating houses — helped establish New York’s roots as the world’s greatest culinary center.

Voices of Black America

August 7, 2014 | Book Beat, City College

In this impressive collection, Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations, City College professor Retha Powers documents the words and lyrics of legendary African-American voices from Malcolm X to Maya Angelou. Powers discusses her eight-year research project in compiling the book and her hope in educating young people on black written and oral tradition.

Foraging for Food — and Love

July 8, 2014 | Book Beat

While exploring Brooklyn backyards and New York City parks for edible plants, Ava Chin, associate professor of English at the College of Staten Island, reveals how foraging helped heal family wounds and mended a broken heart. Chin’s new memoir, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, weaves together lessons on finding nature, forgiveness and love in the most unexpected places.

Food, Art and Connections

July 7, 2014 | Book Beat

Would you like to know the recipe for Frida Kahlo’s Red Snapper? Or maybe you might prefer baking David Hockney’s strawberry cake? In her new work, The Modern Art Cookbook, Mary Ann Caws, a Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English and French at the CUNY Graduate Center, explores the delicious connection between art and literature and food.

The Scottsboro Boys’ Ordeal

June 18, 2014 | Book Beat

Few cases, if any, in American legal history can equal the injustice and racism suffered by the nine black teenagers who were falsely accused and wrongly convicted in Scottsboro, Ala., in 1931. In his book, The Scottsboro Boys in Their Own Words: Selected Letters, 1931-1950, Kwando Kinshasa, professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, examines how the boys were arrested and charged with raping two white girls on a freight train and found guilty by an all-white jury. By using their own words, the letters present an original and authentic representation of their nearly two decades of incarceration, as well as a forceful expression of their struggle to maintain a sense of dignity and hope.

The 1964-65 World’s Fair and a Changing America

May 28, 2014 | Book Beat

In Tomorrow-Land:The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America, Joseph Tirellla,Lehman College’s associate director of public relations, celebrates the fair’s 50th anniversary, writing of its turbulent background, Robert Moses’ role in its creation, and the fair’s subsequent financial failure. Juxtaposed against the country’s civil rights movement and the social, political and cultural changes of the time, Tirella helps us understand the appeal of the fair and why its theme, “Peace through Understanding” was so useful to the United States’ position as a world leader during the Cold War era.

Stereotypes of Italian Americans in Literature

May 12, 2014 | Book Beat

Stereotypes of Italian Americans in literature remain problematic argues Anthony Tamburri, author of Re-reading Italian Americana: Specificities and Generalities on Literature and Criticism and dean of CUNY’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. “We are still at a point in regard to the critical voice where we can’t afford to play to the stereotype,” says Tamburri.

Obama Defies Left-Right Dogma

May 5, 2014 | Book Beat

Since entering the White House, Barack Obama has been battered by criticism from both sides. In Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political Tradition, Ruth O’Brien, a political science professor at The CUNY Graduate Center, explains how Obama’s leadership style, more statesman than politician, is partly to blame and argues that he represents the values of a lesser-known third tradition in American political thought that defies the usual left-right categorization.