John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy (editors)
Atlas of the Great Irish Famine
(Cork : Cork University Press, 2012)
With more than 150 maps, and essays by a wide variety of scholars from many disciplines, and including detailed case studies of particular areas and institutions, including one of the Cork Workhouse, this fine book brings us as near as we can get to the Great Famine, or as it was termed in Irish, An Drochshaol, the Bad Times.
Gerhardt, Uta, and Karlauf, Thomas (editors)
The Night of Broken Glass : eyewitness accounts of Kristallnacht
(Cambridge : Polity, 2012)
Published in Germany in 2009, these harrowing testimonies are a timely reminder of the evil consequences of casual and careless racism, which is never far from the surface in societies everywhere. Kristallnacht refers to the night of November 9th 1938, when the homes and businesses of Jews in Germany were attacked and burned on the orders of the German government, ostensibly in revenge for the shooting dead by a Polish Jew of a German diplomat in Paris. The testimonies are selected from an archive originally collected by the Harvard sociologist Edward Hartshorne in 1939.
New collected poems
(Oldcastle, Co. Meath : Gallery Press, 2012)
John Montague was born in Brooklyn in 1929, but was raised by his aunts on a farm in Garvaghy, Co. Tyrone. He was for many years a lecturer in the English Department in University College Cork, where he was a major positive influence on the poets and writers who studied there in the 1970s. This volume offers a welcome chance to revisit his poetry, starting with the collection entitled The rough field, published in 1972, which includes one of my favourite opening lines 'Like dolmens round my childhood, the old people'
Meander : east to west along a Turkish river
(London : Chatto & Windus, 2012)
Seal makes his journey in a one-man canoe from source to sea, and it is an arduous task, with many digressions, since the river Meander gives its name to the geographical feature denoting a particularly winding course for a river, and metaphorically, a rambling and leisurely discourse. This is travel-writing at its best, a worthy successor to Seal's earlier book on Turkey A fez of the heart.
Connectome : how the brain's wiring makes us who we are
(London : Allen Lane, 2012)
Seung is a rising star in the field of neuroscience and here he argues that personality, identity, intelligence and memory, not to mention health, lie not in our genes but in how our brain cells are connected, each human being with his own particular wiring, or as he terms it, his 'connectome'. Seung is engaged in research which might ultimately enable us to upload our brains, as connectomes, on to a computer, making us in effect immortal. Whether that is a good or bad thing is another question...
The IRA on film and television : a history
(Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland, 2012)
Most of us have seen the movie The wind that shakes the barley, a scene from which is on the cover of this book, but many other films have dealt with the Troubles in Ireland, those of the 1920s and the more recent Troubles in the North of Ireland, and some of them have become classics. Among them are John Ford's The informer, Carol Reed's Odd Man Out from 1947, Neil Jordan's Angel and The crying game, and the Michael Fassbender film Hunger. Connelly's is a fascinating study, appealing alike to film buffs and lovers of history.
Raphael : a passionate life
(London : Polity, 2012)
In school textbooks Raphael always played second fiddle to Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, partly bcause it was supposed that his life lacked the passion and the more tragic dimensions of those tortured souls. Forcellino restores him to his rightful place in the Renaissance triumvirate. Arriving in Rome in 1508, Raphael died at the early age of 37. He is best known for his many studies of the Madonna and Child, and his portraits of the Roman nobility. This work is translated from the Italian.
Help your kids with science : a unique step-by-step visual guide
(London : Dorling Kindersley, 2012)
As children return to school for the Autumn term, this is a timely addition to stock, which will be an invaluable aid to parents when homework questions arise. Covering biology, physics and chemistry, it is fully illustrated in the style of the 'Eyewitness' travel guides. Vorderman is a TV presenter well known for her enthusiasm for all things scientific, mathematical and technological, and has presented Tomorrow's World, and Countdown.
The Second World War
(London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012.)
Beevor has written extensively on aspects of the Second World War, most notably in his books Stalingrad and Berlin - the Downfall. This latest publication is the first general history of the war for many years, and is written with his usual flair, which incorporates genuine historical expertise with an eye for a good story.
The golden door : letters to America
(London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012)
The Sunday Times and Esquire columnist has, like most of us, American relatives, and he uses their story as a start-off point for this study of the American soul, de-bunking many of the myths currently fashionable...the stupid Americans, the insular Americans, the trigger-happy Americans, the shallow Americans. As the blurb for this book says, America is the culmination of the dreams of millions of immigrants...and one of the most interesting places on earth.
Prince William : born to be king : an intimate portrait
(London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2012)
We are all royalists now since Her Majesty's visit last year, and this biography of her grandson, with its mixture of true love and tragedy, is a pleasant read. Penny Junor is a safe pair of hands at royal biography, having already tackled the Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Read it in conjunction with Lady Colin Campell's biography of the Queen Mother, The Queen Mother : the untold life of Queen Elizabeth, which promises and delivers plenty of juicy scandals and society gossip.
Darwin's ghosts : in search of the first evolutionists
(London : Bloomsbury, 2012)
Evolution is now in the mainstream of science, but prior to the nineteenth century, such beliefs were at the edge of discourse and could indeed be deadly dangerous to the holders. Nevertheless there were many scholars and thinkers drawn to the study of life's origins, and Stott traces their history right back to Aristotle, including along the way Leonardo da Vinci, the French philosopher Diderot, and Al-Jahiz, who published his Book of Living Beings in ninth-century Baghdad. Rebecca Stott is a novelist and historian. Her novel Ghostwalk won a number of awards, including the Jelf First Novel Award.
Banksy : the man behind the wall
(London : Aurum, 2012)
Banksy is a celebrated graffiti artist from Bristol in England who resolutely refuses to reveal his real identity, and is always masked and hooded in his media appearances. Nevertheless a new 'Banksy' on a wall in Britain is a national news event and thousands queued to view a three-month long exhibition of his work in Bristol. Ellsworth-Jones explores the contradictions in the story of an anarchic artist who has become part of the mainstream. Banksy is the man behind the wall-paintings which are now quite valuable, and simultaneously the man who hides behind a metaphorical wall of his own construction.
Living, thinking, looking
(London : Sceptre, 2012)
This is a collection of essays written between 2006 and 2011,arranged in three themed sections reflecting the three-pronged title. Hustvedt is a novelist and essayist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her novels include The Blindfold and The Summer without Men, both available in Cork City Libraries.
Frances and Edward Mayes
The Tuscan sun cookbook
(New York : Clarkson Potter, 2012)
This beautifully-illustrated cookbook, leavened with anecdotes of the Mayes's life in sunny Tuscany, is a real escape in this wet and fairly miserable summer. Frances and Edward are the authors of several bestsellers about the couple's life as ex-pats in 'Bella Tuscany'. The photographs are by Steven Rothfeld.