Monthly Archives: February 2018

60th Anniversary: Day 3

Day three of the 60th anniversary, 60% off book special features The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice by Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein.  Read an excerpt from a Q and A with the authors below.

“One of the true strengths of this book is the careful and clear explanation of particular aspects of psychoanalytic theory. It is rare in the field of organizational behavior to find these topics presented in a way that can be easily understood and immediately practiced.”—Aaron J. Nurick, Bentley University, author of The Good Enough Manager: The Making of a GEM

Use code 60SALE on our website or by calling (800)-621-2736.
Offer expires December 31st, 2018.

Regularly $45 • Now $18
9780826220653 • hardcover • 244 pp. • 3 illus.
Advances in Organizational Psychodynamics

Allcorn and Stein use a psychoanalytically informed perspective to help readers understand why a leader, colleague, or friend behaves in ways that are destructive of others and the organization and provides a basis for organizations to survive and thrive in a dysfunctional workplace. The book is organized around illustrative stories arranged by theme and concludes with an exploration of the implications of research and analytic practice.

This guide has more information about the book and includes a conversation with the authors and a reading guide.  Here is an excerpt from the Q and A:

Q: The idea of rationality and the fact that so many organizations (or individuals) do not behave rationally is important to your book. One way you describe rational behavior is working to efficiently make a profit or working in one’s own economic interest. You also point out that it is difficult to have people’s emotional needs met in the workplace. Could the goal of making a profit be an unsatisfying goal? Could you see capitalism itself as contributing to dysfunction?

SA: The book focuses on trying to understanding a vast array of dysfunctions (35 stories) from the perspective of psychology or more specifically a psychoanalytically informed perspective. Organizations actually do not do anything – people do. And people often only do what they are told by the CEO types. Sometimes, as in recent events, loyalty is considered to be very high value – submission to the CEO must preferably be complete.  Given this perspective that people in the workplace make decisions and take actions then we might say words like capitalism, corporatism, communism, Catholicism and so on are meaningless until people operationalize them. So given this appreciation, capitalism does not do anything and neither does a hydrogen bomb sitting on the top of a missile. Someone has to pull the trigger and someone has to give an order to do so. The book then encourages us to not look to reification (the organization did something) as an explanation but rather that the leader and the employees did something – people are responsible. From this perspective capitalism or the bomb merely exist as potentialities and are not per se good or bad until leaders and followers make them that way.

HS: The business ideology of rationality serves as a defense against realizing how irrational, unconsciously-driven workplace thought, feeling, and behavior are. There are many forms of capitalism; not all are as soul-destroying as the form that has prevailed since the 1980s with “managed social/organizational change.”

60th Anniversary: Day 2

The second book of our 60th anniversary, 60% off deal is Adam Arenson’s The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War. Listen to the author discuss the book in a podcast below.

“A beautifully written and strikingly original interpretation of the causes, conduct, and consequences of the war. From the perspective of St. Louis, the Civil War was not simply a political struggle between North and South over the future of slavery in the territories. Instead, it involved the aspirations, prejudices, and tensions between rival ethnic, racial, and regional groups.”—H-Net Reviews

Use code 60SALE on our website or by calling (800)-621-2736.
Offer expires December 31st, 2018.


Arenson PPBK cover.pdfRegularly $25 • Now $10
9780826220646 • paperback • 352 pp. • 22 illus. • 2 maps

“In this short book, Arenson manages to identify an overwhelming array of issues that defined the American cultural ethos between the years 1848–1877. Arenson produces a highly provocative thesis that captures and explains regional alliances through a cultural prism. Arenson has something new to add to the literature of the Civil War, and he does so with a wonderfully nuanced argument and deft pen. Sure to have an enduring impact, this book delivers.”—The American Historical Review

Adam Arenson is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Urban Studies Program at Manhattan College in the Bronx. He writes about the history and memory of North America and the global nineteenth century, concentrating on the cultural and political history of slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, as well as the development of cities. Arenson has also written for The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Here, he discusses this book with the Midwestern History Association:


It’s Our 60th Anniversary!

The University of Missouri Press was founded in 1958, which makes this year our 60th anniversary! With the crocuses just up and the robins out, we are ready to celebrate. For the next five days, we will feature five of our books at the extraordinary price of 60% off!

Use code 60SALE on our website or by calling (800)-621-2736.
Offer expires December 31st, 2018.

ValentiWe kick off the week with Patricia Dunlavy Valenti’s Sophia Peabody Hawthorne: A Life Vol. 2. A Q and A with the author is featured below.

Regularly $39.95 • Now $16
978-0-8262-2047-9 • hardcover • 15 illus.

“Patricia Valenti’s elegantly written new biography gives a fresh—often startling, always compelling—view of the endlessly fascinating Sophia Peabody Hawthorne as mother, wife, artist, and political creature. A must-read for anyone who cares about the education of children, it is wise, knowledgeable, and impossible to put down.”—Diane Jacobs, Author of Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters

Patricia Dunlavy Valenti is Professor Emerita in the Department of English, Theatre, and Languages at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She grew up in New York City where her education nurtured a love for literature and history that flourishes in writing biography. Although her doctoral dissertation at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill focused on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fiction, Valenti soon discovered her real interests: the lives of the Hawthorne women. To Myself A Stranger: A Biography of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (Louisiana State University Press, 1991), Valenti’s first book, focused on Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s youngest child who became a Roman Catholic, left her husband, and founded an order of nuns devoted to caring for terminal cancer patients. Valenti’s two-volume Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, A Life (University of Missouri Press, 2004, 2015) presents an artist, writer, editor, adventurous traveler, passionate wife, mother and friend who deservedly emerges from the shadow cast by her husband. In this biography, as well as in numerous scholarly articles, Valenti explores the domestic politics of authorship, the term she uses to describe subtle familial and marital influences upon imagination, artistic originality, and intellectual property.

Q. Did your research and writing of this volume uncover anything completely unexpected?

A. I knew the issues that would dominate Sophia’s life between 1848 and 1871, when she died in England, but I had been unaware of the scope and significance of some of them. In terms of specifics, I had no idea that The Marble Faun, the last novel Nathaniel published, required so much of Sophia’s effort. Her life was entwined with his for nearly twenty-six years, and after his death, she lived another seven years with the burden of his bad financial decisions and failures as a writer during last decade of his life. Looking at Nathaniel Hawthorne from Sophia’s perspective reveals a side to him that was entirely ignored by his biographers.

Q. Are you saying that Sophia saw her husband in an unflattering light?

A. No, I’m not.  She was optimistic to the core. She persisted in seeing Nathaniel, their children, and her marriage as the epitome of domestic bliss. Among her surviving thousands of pages of letters and journals, not one word criticizing her husband can be found. But actions tell a different story than words.

Q. What do you mean?

A. Sophia’s emotional appetite was not satisfied by marriage and motherhood. She and Nathaniel spent a good deal of time apart. Their lack of money sometimes forced them to live separately, and when they had money to spare, Nathaniel took regular summer vacations without her. While the Hawthornes were living in England, Sophia developed a pulmonary problem and went to sunny, warmer Portugal to live in the home of John Louis O’Sullivan. She became alarmingly fond—from her husband’s point of view–of this vexing figure in America history. Then, when the Hawthornes lived in Italy, Nathaniel frequently remained in their apartment while Sophia enjoyed Rome’s museums and historic sites with a group of women who were part of a thriving lesbian community. Sophia also became deeply attached to General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, who had been appointed by President Lincoln to oversee the return of prisoners during the Civil War.

Q. You make her sound like a scarlet woman, or like Hawthorne’s character who wore the scarlet letter.

A. That would be a huge over-simplification of Sophia’s very complex and nuanced relationships. But there is no doubt that Nathaniel Hawthorne incorporated many of her traits into his female characters, particularly into one of the best-known female characters in American literature. Like Hester Prynne–who wished that her timid, secret lover would proclaim his love publicly–Sophia bristled at the secrecy Nathaniel imposed upon their lengthy engagement. While Nathaniel was writing The Scarlet Letter, Sophia was the breadwinner, earning money for their household expenses by selling her decorative arts, a prototype for Hester’s ability to support herself and her child with needlework. And among other parallels, Sophia’s tenacious protection of her children suggests Hester’s behavior with Pearl.

Q. Why did Sophia need to protect her children?

A. All mothers need to protect their children, but at Sophia’s particular moment in history, medicine did little to prevent childhood mortality. Religious belief in the afterlife was waning and no longer provided mothers like Sophia with consolation when a child died. Sophia attempted to stave off illness and other harm through diet and hygiene; she wanted her children to develop moral character without the scare tactics of Calvinism. She refused to use any form of corporal punishment. In many ways, her story as a mother is a very contemporary one. She was a helicopter mother before helicopters were invented. The sad truth is, that even with the best intentions, there are unfortunate consequences.

Q. How so?

A. You’ll have to read both volumes of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne: A Life for the full answer.

There is a first volume of this book.  Sophia Peabody Hawthorne: A Life, vol. 1, covers the first half of her life.  From 1809 through 1847.  The second volume picks up from there. Volume 1 of this biography concludes with Sophia’s negotiation of the Hawthornes’ departure from the Old Manse and the birth of their second child. This period also coincides with the conclusion of Nathaniel’s major phase of short story writing.  This book isn’t apart of the 60% off deal but it is still an interesting read.  ISBN: 978-0-8262-1528-4 and is 306 pages in Hardcover at $39.95.


Celebrating Black History Month

In honor of Black History month, we are celebrating three of our authors! Robert Guillaume (may he rest in peace) with Guillaume: A Life, which is now $24.95 in paperback, ISBN: 9780826221612. Christopher Reed with Black Chicago’s First Century: 1833-1900, which is $45 in paperback, ISBN: 9780826221285. Lastly, Gary Kremer with George Washington Carver: In His Own Words, Second Edition, which is $29.95. ISBN: 9780826221391.

Guillaume paperback coverReed paperbackKremer cover cropped

Also see our African American Studies Catalog.  Featuring works from Langston Hughes to W.E.B. Du Bois, and topics from slavery to literary criticism, there are plenty of stories here that represent what black history is about.