Wednesday, November 17, 2010: Dedicated Issue: Palgrave Macmillan

Palgrave Macmillan: Lethal Warriors by David Philipps

Palgrave Macmillan: Jews and Money by Abraham H. Foxman

Palgrave Macmillan: My Family, A Symphony by Aaron Eske

Palgrave Macmillan: The Whistleblower by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn

Palgrave Macmillan: The Shah by Abbas Milani

Palgrave Macmillan: How Italian Food Conquered the World by John F. Mariani

Editors' Note

Palgrave Macmillan

With the help of the publisher, Shelf Awareness offers a look at Palgrave Macmillan, the 10-year-old house whose roots in scholarly and academic publishing provide the foundation for its vibrant trade program.


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Books & Authors

Palgrave Macmillan: Trade

Happy birthday to Palgrave Macmillan! The 10-year-old division was created when Macmillan Press in the U.K. merged with St. Martin's Scholarly & Reference division to form Palgrave. Two years later, when parent company Holtzbrinck Group was able to use the Macmillan name worldwide, the division was renamed Palgrave Macmillan.

From its founding in 2000, Palgrave Macmillan in the U.S. has published a mix of scholarly and trade titles. (Palgrave's roots are in the Palgrave family, who in 19th-century London were scholars and politicians and wrote and edited titles for Macmillan Publishers.) In the U.S., Palgrave Macmillan distributes the British Film Institute's titles, I.B.Tauris, Zed Books, Pluto Press and Manchester University Press. Palgrave Macmillan also includes a popular science list, Macmillan Science, that collaborates with Nature and Scientific American, two Macmillan Ltd. companies.

A jewel in the crown of Palgrave Macmillan in the U.S. is the trade program, which covers a range of territory. Many of its trade titles address difficult national and international issues and examine controversial historical figures of our time. For example, recent and forthcoming titles include biographies of the late Shah of Iran, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Bolivian president Evo Morales; books about the politics and conflicts in the Middle East; a look at what the arrest of historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on his porch says about race and class in America today; examinations of stereotypes involving Jews and money and the Jewish lobby in the U.S.; a critical examination of oil companies and energy policy by the former head of Shell Oil. At the same time, the house, which has headquarters in the historic Flatiron Building in New York City, will soon publish a tasty title about the Italian-American food culture and another book, co-written by Hustler founder Larry Flynt, about how the sex lives of U.S. presidents have affected history. Earlier this year, Palgrave Macmillan put out a title on the "curious" economics of the contemporary art market and The Adventurer's Handbook, about surviving unimaginable challenges in the wild.

The common threads for all these books: they are engaging, provocative, timely, often written by insiders and have high standards of scholarship. "It's all quality material and that's the key," said Palgrave Macmillan publisher and senior v-p Airié Stuart.

The trade program got into high gear when Stuart joined the division more than six years ago as editorial director. She began her publishing career working for editor Rick Horgan--first at HarperCollins, then at Warner--whose forte was celebrity titles. Then she went to Simon & Schuster, and during that time earned an MBA and became interested in business books. Her change of focus led her to John Wiley & Sons and finally to Palgrave Macmillan.

Stuart joined Palgrave Macmillan with the goal of developing "a vision for the trade program and expanding academic," she said. The scholarly part of the division had long been strong in politics, history, business, economics and literature. "So it was clear to me that we could build a fantastic, serious nonfiction trade program," she continued. "Trade and academic should work in tandem. They have a unifying strategy. The cross market capability of books is key to our identity." Through the invigorated trade program, Palgrave Macmillan has been "introducing" some of its academic authors into the broader marketplace.

Palgrave Macmillan authors aren't shy. "A lot of our books create debate and conversation in the intellectual and academic community" and are by authors "on the right and on the left," Stuart said. "As long as the work is of quality and there's rigor to it. Those are our main criteria."

One Emphasis: the Middle East

The Middle East is a prime example of Palgrave Macmillan's range of scope and its eagerness to tackle controversial subjects. Its authors who write about the region and related subjects include such political polar opposites as Abraham Foxman, a stout defender of Israel (more about his new book, Jews & Money, below), and Juan Cole, who advocates engaging with the Muslim world. While many of the stable of authors whose work touch on the region deeply disagree on many issues, they respect each other, Stuart said. If logistics were better, she continued, "Our fantasy is to have a group of our authors on a Middle East panel together."

Recent works by that dream panel include:

Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why It Matters by James Zogby, published last month. The founder and president of the Arab American Institute and a senior advisor to Zogby International, the polling firm founded by his brother, John, Zogby here presents data about attitudes in the Arab world culled from a comprehensive, new Zogby International poll. He aims to "bring into stark relief the myths, assumptions, and biases that hold us back from understanding this important people."

Engaging the Muslim World by Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan, Middle East expert and popular blogger, was published last year and is now out in trade paperback. Cole emphasizes taking "the true Muslim perspective into account when looking at East-West relations" and makes a variety of recommendations about how the U.S. can move forward "on fundamental issues like religion, oil, war and peace."

Obama and the Middle East by Fawaz Gerges, which the division will publish next year. A professor at the London School of Economics, Gerges appears regularly on CNN, CBS, ABC, NPR, the BBC and Al Jazeera.

The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise from its Ashes by Avraham Burg, published last December. A leader in the Israeli Labor Party and One Israel Party, Burg argues that Israel needs to move on from the understandable trauma caused by the Holocaust in order to live in peace with its neighbors and the world at large.

Very Current Affairs

Palgrave Macmillan's current affairs titles aim to be on the cutting edge of the news. As Airié Stuart put it: "We choose our current affairs titles really carefully. We try to predict the future and be the first out with a book on an important subject."

One example of this ability to anticipate events was the first major English-language biography of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. by Nikolas Kozloff, which Palgrave Macmillan published in 2006, just as Chavez became a focal point for Bush administration ire and was featured in news reports in the U.S.

This past July the division published Evo Morales: The Extraordinary Rise of the First Indigenous President of Bolivia by Martin Sivak about the Chavez ally who has received ever more press in the past year, including during the recent dramatic rescue of Chilean--and one Bolivian--miners.

Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider by John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil from 2005 to 2008. This title appeared last May, just after the BP oil spill began. In connection with the spill and book, Hofmeister appeared on a range of national shows.

In April 2009, Palgrave Macmillan published The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled by Vincent Bzdek, which appeared just four months before the death of Edward Kennedy.

In After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader by Brian Latell, published in 2005, the longtime CIA analyst predicted that Raul Castro would become president, succeeding his older brother, Fidel Castro. Just such a shift happened on a temporary basis in 2006 and became formal in 2008.


Palgrave Macmillan: Chasing Shadows by Fred Burton with John Bruning

Book Brahmin: Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree is a professor at Harvard Law School, the founder of the school's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice and an author, commentator and advocate on racial issues. He taught both Barack and Michelle Obama and is a friend of the First Family. In 2009, when Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who is black, was arrested at his house in Cambridge, Mass., by a white police officer, Ogletree acted as Gates's lawyer and as an intermediary and advisor on the matter and its consequences to President Obama, Harvard University and the city of Cambridge. In June, Palgrave Macmillan published Ogletree's book about the case, The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Race, Class and Crime in America. Ogletree was the keynote speaker at ALA and drew large crowds during his book tour. Here he answers a few questions from Shelf Awareness:

On your nightstand now:

Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway.

Your top five authors:

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Barack Obama, John Hope Franklin.

Book you've faked reading:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The series of books by Walter Mosley.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

Book that changed your life:

The Holy Bible, King James Version.

Favorite line from a book:

In Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress, Mouse Alexander says, "You said don't shoot him, right? Well I didn't. I strangled him. If you didn't want me to kill him, why did you leave me alone with him?"

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown.


Palgrave Macmillan: Behind the Dream by Clarence B. Jones and Stuart Connelly

Palgrave Macmillan: Pick of the Lists

A major fall Palgrave Macmillan title is Jews & Money: The Story of a Stereotype by Abraham H. Foxman, longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League, published last week. The book is a cultural and political survey of the caricatures of Jews as greedy global capitalists, wealthy secret communists and cheapskates who use money to control the economy, the media and society. The roots of these wildly contradictory stereotypes are deep-seated and pervasive anti-Semitism, Foxman argues. In fact, Jewish tradition, religious teaching, the Hebrew Scriptures and the concept of tzedaka, or charity and justice that is "a social obligation to our fellow humans," are the opposite of the stereotype. In Jews & Money, he writes, "Among the world's great religions, Judiasm is the one that places the greatest emphasis on moral behavior in relation to money."

The idea for Jews & Money came during a conversation that Stuart and Foxman had over lunch, after Stuart saw a 60 Minutes story about a Florida community destroyed in the Bernie Madoff scandal. "People didn't want to talk about the disaster because it was fodder for the stereotype," she said. "It was so touchy and upsetting to them and they feared what it meant for the Jewish people." Foxman, who had published The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control with Palgrave Macmillan in 2007, eagerly undertook the project.

"It's a timely topic and Abraham Foxman is the right person to address it," Stuart said, which has come up yet again in the past several years because of Madoff, the collapse on Wall Street and "the way people see President Obama and Israel."


Another major fall title is Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home by David Philipps, which was published last week.

Philipps, a features writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette, details the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on the 506th Infantry Regiment, the famous "Band of Brothers" who renamed themselves "Lethal Warriors" after two particularly harrowing tours of duty in Iraq. Of the 500 men in the battalion who returned to Fort Carson in Colorado from those tours, 10 were arrested for murder, attempted murder and manslaughter; others for violent crimes. Several more committed suicide. In an effort to understand why this happened, Philipps interviewed "soldiers, sergeants, officers, mothers and fathers, brothers, lawyers, and police. I listened to the stories of men in prisons, trailer parks, parents' basements, and wherever they had washed up after combat."

Philipps emphasizes that while many combat veterans from previous wars have struggled with what has been called variously shell shock, battle fatigue and combat stress, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan take even greater emotional tolls on soldiers than warfare in the past. "Real enemies on this unconditional battlefield are hard to identify, and every target appears in a cloud of doubt. Enemy or innocent?" he writes. "Many soldiers understandably begin to mistrust and hate the people they are charged with protecting, extending their fears to the entire population." In addition, improvements in armor, equipment and medical care have meant that many fewer wounded soldiers die compared to past wars and that many soldiers survive traumatic experiences on the battlefield physically unscathed. But treatment for emotional problems lags. One measure of these trends: "By 2009," he writes, "while the United States was engaged in two separate wars, more soldiers died from suicide, drugs, and alcohol than died by the hand of the enemy."

Philipps's conclusion: "The nation needs to press for the safety, well-being, and healing of combat veterans, even after the bullets have stopped flying. Doing this for the sake of the soldiers themselves would be enough to justify the cost and effort, but as the story of the Lethal Warriors shows, it is not just the soldiers who pay the ultimate price for neglect. We all do."

Lethal Warriors is based on the author's Casualties of War series that ran in the Colorado Springs Gazette and won the Livingston Prize for National Reporting and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The book was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.


My Family, A Symphony: A Memoir of Global Adoption by Aaron Eske (December).

While the author was growing up in Nebraska, his parents adopted four children from India and Korea, all of whom had various major disabilities and traumatic experiences before they were adopted. Eske, who admits to having had mixed feelings about his adopted siblings, went off to study at the London School of Economics, where he received a master's degree in global politics and development. Afterward, in an effort to understand his siblings back home better, Eske traveled to the orphanages where they had lived, spoke with people who knew them, then met with others involved in international adoptions. In My Family, A Symphony, Eske tells of his findings and his new insights into the lives of his siblings. The book is "very honest and very realistic," Stuart said.

Eske is donating 25% of his royalties from My Family, A Symphony to the orphaned children in Holt International's care.


The Shah by Abbas Milani (January 2011).

The head of the Iranian studies program at Stanford University, co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution and a board member of MIT's Iranian Study Group, Milani spent a decade working on this biography of Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlevi, the much-reviled last Shah of Iran, who was overthrown in 1979 and died in 1980. The book recounts how Iran became a global power under the Shah, his nationalization of industries, his modernization programs and his social reforms that included increased equality for women. The author also traces the Shah's political intolerance and his indecisiveness at key moments. As Milani writes, "For the Shah, character was destiny and many of his weaknesses as a leader were his virtues as a human being." In the end, Milani finds the Shah "deeply paranoid but with his heart in the right place," Stuart said.

Milani also highlights many contradictions in Iran, in particular how repressive regimes continue to rule in such an open, rich culture.


Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation by Clarence Jones and Stuart Connelly (January 2011).

Jones was the writer of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. He was also a longtime advisor to King. Here he tells the behind-the-scenes story of the speech as well as how the civil rights movement developed. As Stuart noted, "There is so much more to this book than the speech." She stressed, too, that this is Jones's first public discussion of the era, saying, "It's amazing he hasn't written about this before."

Jones is now scholar-in-residence and visiting professor at Stanford's Martin Luther King Jr. Institute. Connelly is a screenwriter, author and filmmaker and blogs on the Huffington Post.


How Italian Food Conquered the World by John F. Mariani, with a foreword by Lidia Bastianich (March 2011).

Entertaining, stylish and informative, How Italian Food Conquered the World is a history of "the rise of Italian cuisine in America, from red sauce to haute cuisine," as Stuart described it. It includes dollops of recipes and many spicy, engaging stories of important people in the business--restaurateurs, food and wine critics--who, Stuart said, "all know and love Mariani."

Mariani is quite the foodie: he is food and travel correspondent for Esquire, wine columnist and reporter for Bloomberg News, a contributing editor at Wine Spectator and food columnist for Diversion. He also has a newsletter with more than 40,000 subscribers. He's well-connected in the food world and is, as Stuart said, "a colorful character, a veteran and kind of controversial figure."

In his introduction, Mariani calls himself "an attentive witness [during the past 40 years] to the rise in status of Italian food from a low-class, coarse ethnic food to the most recognizable, stylish, and influential in the world. How that happened has as much to do with changing ideas of ethnicity and a surging interest in wholesome ingredients as it does with taste and fashion. And it is a story full of suffering, endurance, acceptance, and triumph well beyond the basic sustenance of people for whom food must nurture the soul as well as the body."


One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Shaped America by Larry Flynt and David Eisenbach (May 2011).

One Nation Under Sex covers a hot subject with serious intent, telling how the sometimes convoluted sex lives of presidents and their wives changed the course of history. At the same time, the book traces "the evolution of American morality and tells some amazing stories," Stuart said. "Yes, it's Larry Flynt, but it's real solid history."

Among the highlights: during World War I, Warren G. Harding had an affair with a German spy who blackmailed the Republican Party when he ran for president, and a love affair between President James Buchanan and Senator William King aided the secession movement in the years just before the Civil War.

The always provocative Larry Flynt is the founder and president of Larry Flynt Publications and founder of Hustler magazine and has fought several extensive First Amendment legal battles. Eisenbach is a historian, professor and the host of a show on the History Channel. He makes regular appearances on other shows and was the host and writer of The Beltway Unbuckled, a special on how the sex lives of several U.S. presidents shaped history. 


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