Books At A Glance

Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression
Graduate Center distinguished professor of English and theatre Morris Dickstein
W.W. Norton & Co.Inc.

In this timely cultural history of the 1930s, Morris Dickstein explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans at a time of dire economic dislocation. Bringing together a staggering range of materials from epic Dust Bowl migrations and sharecropper photographs to zany screwball comedies, wildly popular swing bands and streamlined Deco designs, he highlights the pivotal role of culture and government intervention in hard times. The book shows how our worst economic crisis, as it eroded American individualism and punctured the American dream, produced some of the greatest writing, photography and mass entertainment in this country.

The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace
Graduate School of Journalism and Brooklyn College professor of journalism Paul Moses
Doubleday Religion

Paul Moses captures the lives of St. Francis and Sultan al-Kamil and illuminates the political intrigue and religious fervor of their time, revealing a startlingly timely story of interfaith conflict, war and the search for peace. More than simply a dramatic adventure, athough it does not lack for colorful saints and sinners, loyalty and betrayal and thrilling Crusade narrative, the book brings to life an episode of deep relevance for all who seek to find peace between the West and the Islamic world.

Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows
John Jay College librarian Kathleen Collins

Since the first black-and-white TV sets appeared in American living rooms in the late 1940s, we have been watching people chop, sauté, fillet and serve food on the small screen. More than just a how-to or an amusement, cooking shows are also a social barometer. Their legacy corresponds to the transition from women at home to women at work, from eight-hour to 24/7 workdays, from cooking as domestic labor to enjoyable leisure and from clearly defined to more fluid gender roles. This book illuminates how cooking shows have reflected and shaped significant changes in American culture and explores why it is that just about everybody finds them irresistible.

Twenty Minutes in Manhattan
City College distinguished professor of architecture and director of the Graduate Urban Design Program, Michael Sorkin
The University of Chicago Press

From the social gathering place of the city stoop to Washington Square Park, Michael Sorkin's walk takes the reader on a wry, humorous journey past characters, neighborhood stores and bodegas, landmark buildings and overlooked streets. His perambulations offer him and the reader opportunities not only to engage with his surroundings but to also consider a wide range of issues that fascinate Sorkin as an architect, urbanist and New Yorker. Whether despairing at street garbage or marveling at elevator etiquette, the book offers a testing ground for Sorkin's ideas of how the city can be newly imagined and designed, addressing such issues as the crisis of the environment, free expression and public space, historic preservation and the future of the neighborhood as a concept.

UN Ideas That Changed the World
Graduate Center presidential professor of political science and director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies Thomas G. Weiss, Graduate Center senior research fellow Louis Emmerij and University of Sussex honorary professor and research associate of the Institute of Development Studies Richard Jolly
Indiana University Press

Ideas and concepts have been a driving force in human progress, and they may be the most important legacy of the United Nations. This book draws upon findings of the other 14 in the acclaimed United Nations Intellectual History Project Series. The authors not only assess the development and implementation of UN ideas regarding sustainable economic development and human security but also apply lessons learned to suggest ways in which the UN can play a fuller role in confronting the challenges of human survival with dignity in the 21st century.

Anna In-Between
Medgar Evers College Provost Elizabeth Nunez
Akashic Books

Anna, this novel's main character, has a successful publishing career in the United States and is the daughter of an upper class Caribbean family. While on vacation in the island home of her birth, she discovers that her mother, Beatrice, has breast cancer. Beatrice rejects all efforts to persuade her to go to the United States for treatment, although it is, perhaps, her only chance of survival. Anna and her father, who tries to remain respectful of his wife's wishes, must convince her to change her mind. Nunez tells a story that explores our longing for belonging to a community, the age-old love-repulsion relationship between mother and daughter, the Freudian overtones in the love between daughter and father and the mutual respect that is essential for a successful marriage.

Contested Space: Anglo-American Relations in the Persian Gulf, 1939-1947
Bronx Community College associate professor of history Simon Davis

This book fills a gap on the Persian Gulf in accounts of global Anglo-American rivalries during the Second World War. It goes beyond existing country, oil and Cold War strategic studies to trace a broad ideological as well as material contest between two variants of overseas capitalism: neo-corporatist British "guided development" and American "new deal internationalism." Frictions over how, respectively, to order or liberate the region and its peoples continued into the Cold War era, with the "special relationship" contingent on one power's sublimation to the other.