Pretty/Funny by Linda Mizejewski

PN 1590 .W64 M59 2014

“Women in comedy have traditionally been pegged as either “pretty” or “funny.” Attractive actresses with good comic timing such as Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Julia Roberts have always gotten plum roles as the heroines of romantic comedies and television sitcoms. But fewer women who write and perform their own comedy have become stars, and, most often, they’ve been successful because they were willing to be funny-looking, from Fanny Brice and Phyllis Diller to Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett. In this pretty-versus-funny history, women writer-comedians – no matter what they look like – have ended up on the other side of “pretty,” enabling them to make it the topic and butt of the joke, the ideal that is exposed as funny.

Pretty/Funny focuses on Kathy Griffin, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen DeGeneres, the groundbreaking women comics who flout the pretty-versus-funny dynamic by targeting glamour, postfeminist girliness, the Hollywood A-list, and feminine whiteness with their wit and biting satire. Linda Mizejewski demonstrates that while these comics don’t all identify as feminists or take politically correct positions, their work on gender, sexuality, and race has a political impact. The first major study of women and humor in twenty years, Pretty/Funny makes a convincing case that women’s comedy has become a prime site for feminism to speak, talk back, and be contested in the twenty-first century.” – publisher description

Comics Art

Comics Art

Comics Art by Paul Gravett

PN 6710 .G7378 2013

“Comics have never been a more dynamic and challenging art form than in the 21st century. The phenomenal growth of graphic novels and manga and the explosion of comics on the internet and other platforms have given their creators unprecedented freedom to innovate. Many can enjoy widespread acclaim in the art world, in literary circles and through their multimedia adaptations. Comics Art takes an international approach by tracing lines of influence around the world to give historical contexts and contemporary perspectives for this huge current interest in the medium.

Richly illustrated with many images taken from original artwork and rare artifacts, Comics Art gives a fascinating, accessible guide to some of the special properties of sequential art, such as panels, page layouts, speech balloons and wordless or ‘silent’ narration. It addresses concerns about how comics perpetuate stereotypes and support the status quo, while assessing their growing significance, notably through autobiography and reportage, as vehicles for provocative voices often silenced in other media. Comics Art also explores the diversity of styles, media and approaches now possible in the medium and exciting developments in digital comics and in comics conceived for galleries and installations.

Hailed by the Times of London as ‘the greatest historian of the comics and graphic novel form in this country’, Paul Gravett has been the director of Comica, London’s premier international comics festival, since 2003. A curator of exhibitions of comics art, he is the author of several books on the subject, including Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics (2004), and Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life (2005), and editor and co-author of 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die (2011).”
– publisher description

The Rush

The Rush

The Rush: America’s Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853 by Edward Dolnick

F 865 .D65 2014

“The story of the gold rush is American history on fast-forward. In a frenzied five-year span, crucial themes – movement west, the belief in luck and pluck and a fresh start, clashing of cultures, a focus on material success – all burst forth in a fever whose aftereffects the country is still shaking off. The Declaration of Independence gave U.S. citizens the right to pursue happiness; the gold rush promised them the chance to catch it.

Americans lost their minds, and so did people the world over. Hundreds of thousands of men and women left their families, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves – for the first time ever – to imagine a future of ease and splendor.

Drawing upon a rich trove of diaries and letters, award-winning writer Edward Dolnick tells a story of the gold rush that is more intimate and engaging than any previous account. We are in the wagons during the treacherous westward journey, and we sit amid the hectic clamor of the goldfields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing into jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, The Rush is a fascinating – and rollicking – telling of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.

But it is more than a tale of individuals caught up in a fever dream. The gold rush transformed America. And in an era of IPOs, Wall Street riches, and the belief that we are all only a lottery ticket away from our own gold rush, Dolnick’s brilliant history is more relevant than ever.”
– publisher description

The Jet Sex

The Jet Sex

The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon
by Victoria Vantoch

HD 8039 .A43 V36 2013

“In the years after World War II, the airline stewardess became one of the most celebrated symbols of American womanhood. Stewardesses appeared on magazine covers, on lecture circuits, and in ad campaigns for everything from milk to cigarettes. Airlines enlisted them to pose for publicity shots, mingle with international dignitaries, and even serve (in sequined minidresses) as the official hostesses at Richard Nixon’s inaugural ball. Embodying mainstream America’s perfect woman, the stewardess was an ambassador of femininity and the American way both at home and abroad. Young, beautiful, unmarried, intelligent, charming, and nurturing, she inspired young girls everywhere to set their sights on the sky.

In The Jet Sex, Victoria Vantoch explores in rich detail how multiple forces – business strategy, advertising, race, sexuality, and Cold War politics – cultivated an image of the stewardess that reflected America’s vision of itself, from the wholesome girl-next-door of the 1940s to the cosmopolitan glamour girl of the Jet Age to the sexy playmate of the 1960s. Though airlines marketed her as the consummate hostess – an expert at pampering her mostly male passengers, while mixing martinis and allaying their fears of flying – she bridged the gap between the idealized 1950s housewife and the emerging “working woman.” On the international stage, this select cadre of women served as ambassadors of their nation in the propaganda clashes of the Cold War. The stylish Pucci-clad American stewardess represented the United States as middle class and consumer oriented – hallmarks of capitalism’s success and a stark contrast to her counterpart at Aeroflot, the Soviet national airline. As the apotheosis of feminine charm and American careerism, the stewardess subtly bucked traditional gender roles and paved the way for the women’s movement. Drawing on industry archives and hundreds of interviews, this vibrant cultural history offers a fresh perspective on the sweeping changes in twentieth-century American life.” – publisher description

Diagnosing Giants

Diagnosing Giants

Diagnosing Giants: Solving the Medical Mysteries of Thirteen Patients Who Changed the World by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD

RC 71 .M33 2013

“Our yesterdays have determined who we are today, and knowledge of our past has the potential to enhance both our understanding of the present and our predictions of the future. Diagnosing Giants traces the history of medicine through the illnesses of some of the most influential figures of the past. Standard biographies all too often pay scant attention to the health issues that affected their subjects. Yet, the diseases suffered by these figures had profound effects on their lives and their legacies.

Each chapter opens with a detailed medical history of a famous patient. Facts relevant to the historical figure’s life and legacy are woven into the case summary, and the mystery patient’s identity is revealed at the conclusion of the case summary. The author then analyzes the medical history, offers a differential diagnosis and a final diagnosis. Where relevant, the potential effects of the subject’s medical problems on his or her life and legacy are discussed. Diagnosing Giants is a must-own volume for medical professionals and history buffs alike.” – publisher description

The Secret Rescue

The Secret Rescue

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines
by Cate Lineberry

D 810 .S45 A44 2014

“This mesmerizing account of the courage and bravery of ordinary women and men reveals for the first time an astonishing true story of heroic struggle and endurance.

When twenty-six Army Air Force flight nurses and medics boarded a military transport plane in November 1943 on a mission to evacuate wounded and sick troops, they didn’t anticipate a crash landing in Nazi territory.

Emerging from their battered aircraft, the Americans found themselves in Albania, a country rife with chaos and danger. With hunger and sickness as their constant companions, they hid at night with courageous villagers who shared what little food they had, risking death at Nazi hands by doing so. For months, they prayed desperately to be rescued while doing everything they could to survive.” – publisher description

Gruesome Spectacles

Gruesome Spectacles

Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty
by Austin Sarat

HV 8699 .U5 S268 2014

“In America, when the state seeks to execute people judged guilty of heinous crimes, the condemned must be put to death humanely, with as little pain as possible. As the Supreme Court has decreed, when the state kills, its executions should involve no more than “the mere extinguishment of life.” So what happens when executions go wrong?

Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty uncovers the history of botched, mismanaged, and painful executions that took place in America from 1890-2010. During this time, an estimated three percent of all American executions were botched in one way or another. Austin Sarat, author and renowned expert on the death penalty, recounts the stories of some of the men and women whose executions were marked by technological failure – stories obscured by history and to some extent by the popular press.

Chronicling the American desire to harness technical efficiency in the service of capital punishment, Sarat narrates our continued effort to “perfect” state killing in the twentieth century as the country debated the advantages of hanging, electrocution, the gas chamber, and lethal injection. He shows how executions have gone dreadfully wrong as we moved from one method of death to another.

This powerful book demonstrates the ways botched executions have propelled changes from one method of execution to another but also reveals why these terrible moments have not played a large role in the campaign to end capital punishment itself.”
– publisher description