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Book Beat

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.

Walking Every Block of New York

April 1, 2014 | Book Beat

When City College sociologist William Helmreich found that no one had ever thoroughly explored all five of New York City’s boroughs, he decided to walk the entire city, block by block. By the end of his four-year adventure, he had walked more than 6,000 miles, worn out nine pairs of shoes and chronicled his project in the wildly popular book, The New York Nobody Knows.

Shirley Chisholm–Remembering a Hero

March 24, 2014 | Book Beat

Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress and one of Brooklyn College’s most famous alumni. Yet many people under 40 know little of her, says Brooklyn College professor Barbara Winslow. Hoping to raise awareness of the political trailblazer, Winslow penned the new biography, Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change.

The Art and History of Women’s Tattoos

March 24, 2014 | Book Beat

Examined here are not the scary images we feared as children, but some of the most intricate, beautiful, poignant and thought-provoking tattoos that cover women’s bodies, dating back to Victorian society. In her third edition of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoos, Margot Mifflin, associate professor of English at Lehman College, explores the economic independence of female tattoo artists, the power in creating unique art on a different canvas, and the change in some medical insurance practices that now allow payment for women who have had mastectomies and who use tattooing as a sign of courage and healing.

John Lindsay’s New York

March 24, 2014 | Book Beat

New York City’s 103rd mayor, John Lindsay, had a two-term administration of highs and lows during a period of racial unrest, antiwar protests, fiscal problems and municipal strikes — one of which greeted him on his first day in office. Editor and essayist, Joseph Viteritti, professor of public policy at Hunter College, and other writers use Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream, to provide an in-depth analysis of a mayoralty that, while filled with such challenges, also showed New Yorkers’ pride in their city and in Lindsay, who, at times, was not above picking up litter in the streets.