The University Record, May 23, 1994


Editor’s Note: The following books have been published by the U-M Press.

The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History by Laurence Goldstein, professor of English. Goldstein offers us a new take on the history of 20th-century poetry. He proceeds chronologically and thematically, remarking on Hart Crane’s impressions of Charlie Chaplin, Delmore Schwartz’s and Sharon Olds’s meditations on Marilyn Monroe, Frank O’Hara’s visions of James Dean, and Louise Erdrich’s musings on John Wayne. The work of John Ashbery, Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, and Adrienne Rich, among many others, is interpreted in order to measure the sophistication and originality of their commentaries in verse about the movies. Throughout, Goldstein’s gift for lucid intelligent analysis, refreshingly light on academic jargon, invites us to see with new eyes the complex interactions of film and modern poetry.

Lake Country: A Series of Journeys by Kathleen Stocking, journalist, author and professional story teller. Stocking’s search for meaning and identity is elegantly wound throughout the 21 essays that encompass this highly personal investigation of contemporary American culture. Stocking’s reflections offer an uncomplicated but crystalline examination of the affinity between nature and humanity; her vivid appreciation of the Great Lakes States’ natural splendor provides a dramatic backdrop to the intimate accounts of those who live in this vestige of the frontier, where isolation has preserved some of our most cherished traditions of community.

Buckeye Legends: Folktales and Lore from Ohio by Michael Jay Katz, associate professor of bio-architectonics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. Ohio’s rich blend of midwestern and southern roots has made for a heritage abounding in lore and folk culture. Katz retells Ohio’s folktales with a homespun charm that will captivate the reader. He has drawn much of the material from anecdotes, history, and bits and pieces of oral folklore. Throughout the book Katz acts as narrator, winding his way through stories of treason, giants, land rights, murder, and more.

The Decline of Comity in Congress by Eric M. Uslaner, professor of government and politics, University of Maryland, College Park. Why do members of Congress resort to name-calling? In his provocative new book, Uslaner suggests that Congress is simply mirroring the increased incivility of American society. He points to the core values that have eroded from Congress since the 1960s, and argues that a lack of trust permeates members to the point where they would rather seek control than compromise. This, Uslaner contends, is the real cause of gridlock in Washington. The Decline of Comity in Congress demonstrates why institutional reform will not correct this problem and why Americans need to change before government can.

The People Speak!: Anti-Semitism and Emancipation in Nineteenth-Century Bavaria by James F. Harris, associate professor and associate chair, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park. This is the latest volume in the Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany series. InThe People Speak! Harris elucidates the historical roots of modern German anti-Semitism, tracing them to the era of emancipation and revolution of the 19th century—from the time of the 1848 revolution, when the Bavarian government proposed a bill to give Jews the same rights as Christians. This volume forces us to look back to explore the links between the treatment of Jews in 18th- and 19th-century Germany and anti-Semitism as practiced by the Nazis in the 20th century.