Monthly Archives: May 2016

Final May Sale

Mother’s day has passed, but there is still time to shop for dads and grads. Our final sale this month features two books of beautiful photography:

The Art of the Missouri Capitol and The Galápagos, both 30% off!

Use code PBH16 at our website or call 800-621-2736.

 Offer good for one week, May 23-31

Bob Priddy & Jeffrey Ball
270 illustrations
Hardcover, regularly $49.95, now $34.95

 

After fire destroyed Missouri’s capitol in 1911, voters approved a bond issue to construct a new statehouse. The tax to pay the bonds produced a one-million-dollar surplus, leaving a vast amount of money to decorate the new building. A special commission of art-minded Missourians employed some of the nation’s leading painters and sculptors to create powerful and often huge pieces of art to adorn Missouri’s most important new structure.

Priddy, a journalist, and Ball, an art historian, use a wealth of historical materials to connect the grand design of the capitol decorations with accounts of sometimes temperamental artists and meddling politicians. The authors provide historical and artistic context to explain the many surprising, controversial choices the artists made, and they use Missouri history to explain the tales depicted in the artwork, revealing the events—and inaccuracies—that the paintings bring to life.

 

The Galápagos: HessExploring Darwin’s Tapestry
John Hess
188 illustrations
Hardcover, regularly $49.95, now $34.95

With an extensive background in ornithology and evolutionary ecology, and a lifetime of experience as a naturalist and a photographer, John Hess has produced a celebration of these “Enchanted Islands.” After describing the islands’ origins and the complex of physical forces that make the Galápagos so remarkable, Hess turns his attention to the most prominent habitats on the islands and to the plants and animals found there. He then focuses on the animals most encountered by visitors, animals that Hess presents as Galápagos royalty: the flightless cormorant, the marine iguana, the Galápagos tortoise, and others. A photo essay for each of these species provides the reader with an intimate look at their physical and behavioral adaptations, and the accompanying text offers insight into their lives, showing that each of them is a unique and priceless evolutionary achievement.

The photographs are amazingly intimate, offering close-up views that bring readers into virtual contact with the animals, illustrating their behavior and apparent quirks: an albatross that takes its egg for a stroll, a seabird that can’t swim or land in the water, and a gull that has learned to fish for squid in the dark. For Hess, the Galápagos are more than a tourist attraction, more than a shrine to science—they are a place of breathless awe. His book invites readers to share his affection for the islands and his appreciation of the exquisite beauty of Darwin’s tapestry.

Little House, Big Sale

For Little House on the Prairie fans: don’t miss our third week of May sales!

We have three books on sale that explore different ways Laura Ingalls Wilder’s famous series has influenced American culture.

Get From Little Houses to Little Women, Little House, Long Shadow,
and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, all for just $50!

 Use code LH16 at our website or call (800) 621-2736

Offer good for one week: May 16-22

Nancy McCabe
Hardcover, regularly $29.95

Nancy McCabe, who grew up in Kansas just a few hours from the Ingalls family’s home in Little House on the Prairie, always felt a deep connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series. McCabe read Little House on the Prairie during her childhood and visited Wilder sites around the Midwest with her aunt when she was thirteen. She didn’t read the series again until in adulthood she decided to revisit the books that had so influenced her childhood. It was this decision that ultimately sparked her desire to visit the places that inspired many of her childhood favorites, taking her on a journey that included stops in the Missouri of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Minnesota of Maud Hart Lovelace, the Massachusetts of Louisa May Alcott, and even the Canada of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Traveling with McCabe as she rediscovers the books that shaped her and ultimately helped her to forge her own path, readers will enjoy revisiting their own childhood favorites as well.

Leading Wilder scholar Anita Clair Fellman offers a fresh interpretation of the Little House books that examines how this beloved body of children’s literature found its way into many facets of our culture and consciousness—even influencing the responsiveness of Americans to particular political views. Because both Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, opposed the New Deal programs being implemented during the period in which they wrote, their books reflect their use of family history as an argument against the state’s protection of individuals from economic uncertainty. She argues that the popularity of these books—abetted by Lane’s overtly libertarian views—helped lay the groundwork for a negative response to big government and a positive view of political individualism, contributing to the acceptance of contemporary conservatism while perpetuating a mythic West. Beyond tracing the emergence of this influence in the relationship between Wilder and her daughter, Fellman explores the continuing presence of the books—and their message—in modern cultural institutions from classrooms to tourism, newspaper editorials to Internet message boards.

John E. Miller, one of America’s leading authorities on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, explores the collaborative process of these women and shows how their books reflect the authors’ distinctive views of place, time, and culture. Interpreting these writers in their larger historical and cultural contexts, Miller reconsiders their formidable artistic, political, and literary contributions to American cultural life in the 1930s. He looks at what was happening in 1932—from depression conditions and politics to chain stores and celebrity culture—to shed light on Wilder’s life, and he shows how actual “little houses” established ideas of home that resonated emotionally for both writers. These nine thoughtful essays expand the critical discussion of Wilder and Lane beyond the Little House. Miller portrays them as impassioned and dedicated writers who were deeply involved in the historical changes and political challenges of their times.

Give in to the Pull of the Road

Take a journey with our second sale of May: a deal on Blue Highways Revisited and Writing Blue Highways.

Buy both Blue Highways Revisited and Writing Blue Highways for $34.95! That’s two books for the price of one!

Use code BHR16 at our website or call (800) 621-2736

Offer good for one week, May 9-15

Edgar I. Ailor III, Photography by Edgar I. Ailor III and Edgar I. Ailor IV, Foreword by William Least Heat-Moon
Hardcover, regularly $34.95

In 1978, William Least Heat-Moon made a 14,000-mile journey on the back roads of America, visiting 38 states along the way. In 1982, the popular Blue Highways, which chronicled his adventures, was published. Three decades later, Edgar Ailor III and his son, Edgar IV, retraced and photographed Heat-Moon’s route, culminating in Blue Highways Revisited. A foreword by Heat-Moon notes, “The photographs, often with amazing accuracy, capture my verbal images and the spirit of the book. Taking the journey again through these pictures, I have been intrigued and even somewhat reassured that America is changing not quite so fast as we often believe. The photographs, happily, reveal a recognizable continuity – but for how much longer who can say – and I’m glad the Ailors have recorded so many places and people from Blue Highways while they are yet with us.”

William Least Heat-Moon
Hardcover, regularly $24.95

The story behind the writing of the best-selling Blue Highways is as fascinating as the epic trip itself. More than thirty years after his 14,000-mile, 38-state journey, William Least Heat-Moon reflects on the four years he spent capturing the lessons of the road trip on paper—the stops and starts in his composition process, the numerous drafts and painstaking revisions, the depressing string of rejections by publishers, the strains on his personal relationships, and many other aspects of the toil that went into writing his first book. Along the way, he traces the hard lessons learned and offers guidance to aspiring and experienced writers alike. Far from being a technical manual, Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened is an adventure story of its own, a journey of “exploration into the myriad routes of heart and mind that led to the making of a book from the first sorry and now vanished paragraph to the last words that came not from a graphite pencil but from a letterpress in Tennessee.”

Catch the Sale: Thomas Hart Benton

May is Moms, Dads, and Grads Month!
In celebration, we are having four weeks of special offers.

To start off the month of sales, Henry Adam’s
Thomas Hart Benton: Discoveries and Interpretations is 50% off!

Use code THB16 at our website or call (800) 621-2736
Offer good for one week, May 2-8

“Unfailingly interesting, this book should be a basic text for students in American art and cultural studies. It should also be required reading for anyone interested in the history of ideas (even mistaken ones) and the tangled interfaces between art, politics, and living. The Benton who emerges here—cultivated, emotional, a bit of a hick, an aesthetic experimenter—is a new Benton, a towering figure in the history of American painting. He’s Harry TrCatalogue pageuman and an old master muralist rolled into one, a movie star and a one-man show.”—Karal Ann Marling, author of Designs on the Heart: The Homemade Art of Grandma Moses

In these provocative essays, premier Benton scholar Henry Adams examines the many aspects of Benton as an artist alongside the pitched battles of his long career: the fight that raged over the subject matter of his murals, the real reasons for his feud with the radical left and his fall from grace in the New York art world, and his tumultuous, 36-year-long love-hate relationship with the student with whom he worked most closely, another iconic artist of the 20th century, Jackson Pollock.