Along with all of our new books, each season we release paperback editions of dozens of titles that were first published in cloth a year or two earlier. When a paperback comes out it can be a nice reminder of a favorite work from seasons past, but it can also be an occasion to take a new look at a book that may have escaped notice the first time through. For the books themselves it can be a second chance at a first impression. With that in mind, we’ve collected here the first crop of Fall paperbacks, and excerpted the first few sentences of each. Maybe you’ll find something you didn’t even know you’d missed.
This book is a somewhat primitive book. It has a very straightforward purpose: to relate a selection of moments in European history when, in the very heart of countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Hungary, Muslims and Christians collaborated and co-operated with one another to fight against a common enemy–often an enemy also composed of Muslims and Christians. The book does not really do much more than this. It is not some vast overview of Muslim-Christian relations since 1100, nor an in-depth analysis of inter-cultural exchange between Islam and Christianity. It does not offer profound gems of philosophical insight into how human beings can learn to love one another, nor moving moments of idealism concerning the common humanity which can overcome all political/social/religious divisions, etc., etc. The book’s very modest aim, on the contrary, is to show how Muslims do not belong to an ‘other’ civilisation, but rather to the essence of a ‘Europe’ we are quickly in the process of forgetting.
Historical accounts of events and developments that took place in the Atlantic world began to appear almost as soon as contacts were established between Europe and the Americas in the late fifteenth century. But Atlantic history itself—that is, the evolving history of the zone of interaction among the peoples of Western Europe, West Africa, and the Americas—was first seen as a distinct and cohesive subject of historical inquiry in the years immediately after World War II.
Daniel Bodansky, The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law
One evening a few years ago, a volunteer for a well-known environmental organization rang my doorbell to solicit a contribution. I declined, saying that I disagreed with the organization’s positions on various issues. The volunteer demanded to know which ones.
Anthony F. D’Elia, A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome
The year was 1468. On Fat Tuesday, the last and most extravagant night of carnival in Rome, Pope Paul II sat attentively watching the races from his throne high above the boisterous crowd, when suddenly a scuffle broke out. The papal guards had stopped someone who was loudly insisting on speaking with the pope urgently about a matter of life and death. The man, his beard and dark eyes barely discernible under his hood, was dressed like a philosopher. Seeing that he had captured the pope’s attention, the “philosopher” broke free of the guards and intoned: “Holy Father! You are in great danger!” The pope sat up, leaned forward, and beckoned the stranger to approach and explain. What he heard made him tremble and turn pale.
Chrystal N. Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching
This is a history of two southern women, Rebecca Latimer Felton (1835–1930) and Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), and the thousands of women who joined their campaigns against rape and for women’s rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries during the height of lynching in the American South. Felton was born in 1835 to a prosperous slaveholding family in De Kalb, Georgia. Wells, the daughter of slaves, was born in 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Despite differences in their age, race, class, and status, they both, in very different contexts, took radical stances on rape and lynching. Together, their struggles against sexual violence—Wells advocated on black women’s behalf and Felton mostly fought for the protection of poor white women—brought to southern politics the concerns of women who historically had been excluded from debates about rape and protection. Although both campaigned for women’s safety, they confronted the problem of lynching in completely different ways. While Wells became internationally known for her radical anti-lynching crusade, it was Felton’s notorious plea to “lynch a thousand a week” that thrust her into the national spotlight. From different sides of the color line, Felton and Wells were women’s rights pioneers who negotiated and challenged the racial and sexual politics of the New South.