All posts by D. Davis

Censorship and Corruption in Kansas and Kansas City

A Fool There Was (1915)Directed by Frank Powell Shown: Theda Bara

$24.95 • Paper: 978-0-8262-2110-0

Just over 100 years ago, Kansas became one of only a handful of states to establish its own film censorship board. This board controlled screen content in the state for more than 50 years – if you caught a movie in Kansas before the 1970s, you’re likely to have seen a different version than did the rest of America. Gerald Butter’s Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966 examines the unique political, social, and economic factors that led to the establishment of the censorship board in Kansas, and examines why censorship legislation was enacted, what the attitudes of Kansans were toward censorship, and why it lasted for half a century.

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$24.95 • Paper: 978-0-8262-2114-8

Around the same time that the Kansas Board of Censorship was formed, the notorious political boss, Thomas J. Pendergast, was just getting involved in Kansas City politics. In 1911, Pendergast became  head of the Goats, a faction of the Kansas City Democrats. Over the next fifteen years, he created a powerful political machine that used illegal voting and criminal enforcers to gain power. In 1925, Pendergast took control of Kansas City and ran it as his own personal business. In the 1930s, he received over $30 million annually from gambling, prostitution, and narcotics. In Pendergast! Lawrence Larsen and Nancy Hulston have provided – through extensive research, including use of recently released prison records and previously unavailable family records – a clear look at Pendergast’s life and rise to power.


Banned in Kansas and Pendergast! are both available at Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes&Noble, and on our website, or by calling 800-621-2736.

 

A Fool There Was (1915) Directed by Frank Powell Shown: Theda Bara

BANNED IN KANSAS
Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966
Gerald R. Butters, Jr.
$24.95 • Paperback: 978-0-8262-2110-0
368 pp. • 14 illus. • 6.13 x 9.25

 

 

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PENDERGAST!
Lawrence H. Larsen & Nancy J. Hulston
$24.95 • Paperback: 978-0-8262- 2114-8
256 pages • 35 illus. • 6 x 9

Fall and Winter Catalog

Our 2017 Fall and Winter catalog is now available! This season’s books cover history, philosophy and literature and include topics such as the early, unpublished stories of playwright Lanford Wilson, a history of the founding of the CIA, and a biography of Omar Nelson Bradley. Too see the full array of what’s available, click the image below.

F17 catalog cover

 

The Desk

Our final excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice, “The Desk,” is about the experience of organizational space as symbol and metaphor.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


After Bob departed Frank had the office to himself. Frank’s experience of this space was how dominant Bob’s huge desk was in the space. The desk was very large and had two large extensions attached to it, making a U shape. The desk filled the room, leaving only a four foot aisle around the desk where eight armless metal chairs were lined up against the walls—four in the front and four to the right side. The desk on the left side was near a window, and it was a few feet from the back wall to allow walking around the desk to enter the U-shape. Frank’s experience of the desk in this space was one of sitting in a commanding position where everything else and everyone else were diminished, relegated to the thin strip of small chairs around the sides. Add to this a large high back chair and the feeling was one of power, dominance and mastery—a lord of the universe. When Frank replaced the desk with modern office furniture in the corner opposite the door to the room, the room turned out to be large and easily accommodated a small conference table for meetings in addition to having a welcoming sense of openness.

For more on the ideas behind the book, read a discussion with the authors.


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THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

On sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Sell

Today’s excerpt, from the story “The Sell,” focuses on the powerful influence destructive leaders can have on an organization. For more on the book, read this conversation with the authors: reading guide.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


The chairman introduced the speaker with much fanfare. All the physicians in the department, many of them new, had been required by the chairman to attend this talk. It was a “command performance.” Tom, a tenured basic scientist, was also there and sat and listened to the speaker deliver his talk. The speaker described the medical center and how he envisaged the department would interface with the center and how this relationship building and corporatization would make the department more profitable and competitive.

As he spoke, Tom realized that a continuous strand unifying his talk was how wonderful the present were, how superb the department was, and how by comparison inept and “bad” other departments like surgery were. The speaker made a number of comparisons where the department was portrayed as looking good compared to the other clinical departments that were said to be inept, selfish, unreliable, and possessing a number of other negative qualities.

As his talk proceeded, Tom found himself becoming increasingly ill at ease with this approach. In paying attention to his thoughts and feelings, he was beginning to wonder why he was so upset and angry. He eventually realized that he felt that he and those present were being blatantly seduced. The constant flattery seemed to be leading everyone present to becoming ensnared in a trap the speaker was setting. Tom had a gnawing sense that what the speaker was advocating would hurt the department. When he finished his talk, the audience politely applauded. The speaker invited everyone to ask questions. Tom could hardly restrain himself.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Warehouse

“The Warehouse,” today’s excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice is about the truly dark side of the workplace, where protecting one’s ego becomes the primary consideration for decision making.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


The next day Bob met with the owner, a surgeon who had been recruited to the area because there were few healthcare providers. The surgeon not only owned the plant, but he also owned a car dealership that he said might soon go bankrupt due to a major embezzlement. As the meeting began the owner was looking through a stack of index cards. He explained that he was financially strapped and that he had to find hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a new warehouse. The index cards were names of patients who might be talked into having different types of elective surgery–the answer to his cash flow problem.

Bob eventually mentioned to the surgeon/owner that the warehouse was full of spoiled inventory–about 40%, based on a quick count of linear shelf space that he had done in a few minutes after the tour. Bob suggested that if he sold the inventory to big discount store down the street for cost of materials, he would not have to build a warehouse, and he would in fact have a major cash infusion. The owner, being a surgeon, was dependent on the plant manager and a nearby university faculty member who served as a consultant to run the plant efficiently. He was surprised but also ecstatic about the possibilities and he immediately gave the order to his sales manager to sell the spoiled inventory. In a few days the sale was made and trucks delivered the inventory, clearing out the warehouse.

Bob returned home feeling as though he had made a timely contribution to problem solving, albeit passing the problem onto the discount store, not noted in all instances for selling high quality products. Within a week, however, he was informed that he was being terminated. When he inquired about this with the sales manager, he was told that the idea to sell the spoiled inventory had embarrassed both the plant manager and the university professor/consultant. They had lost face with the owner and were furious. His head had to roll.

For more, read a discussion with the authors: Dysfunctional Workplace reading guide


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Temps

Our second story excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice is “The Temps.” This story makes it clear that things are not always rational in the workplace.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.


As the calls poured in the supervisors made their best effort to train and supervise the temps. However, this work was made much more difficult by the fact the temps only stayed a few weeks or months and were moved to other jobs by the temp agency. After all they were temps and not permanent employees. This continuous turnover undermined the ability to train them to meaningfully answer patient questions, because each new temp had to learn the job anew, “from scratch.”

After a few months of this the CEO understood he had to hire full-time employees. He had been avoiding doing this because of the expense. The temps and their marginal productivity were cheaper than recruiting and hiring qualified people. It was at this point that the poor customer support on the contracts began to attract negative attention of the two large employers. They began to threaten to pull their contracts. The fear of losing the contracts brought the hiring process to a halt before full-time employees were hired. The temps would have to do. This created a self-fulfilling prophecy and the contracts were ultimately lost.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The Empty Office


Today, we present the first in a five-day series of story excerpts from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice by Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein. Their book – which uses a psychodynamically informed perspective to help readers understand why colleagues and bosses can behave in destructive ways – is on sale all week!

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

The following excerpt is from “The Empty Desk” in the chapter, “The Geography of Organizational Darkness.”


While consulting with a computer company, an organizational consultant, Robert, had an interview with one of the company’s financial managers, Joan. The subject was her experience of a recent downsizing. Joan was almost out of breath as she spoke. There was panic in her voice. Her story goes as follows.

Am I glad to see you today! Robert, the strangest thing happened Monday. I was off sick Friday. I came in to work on Monday morning and the office next to me was cleared out. There was a desk, a chair, a computer, a couple of file cabinets and bookcases, a wastebasket. And that’s it. Empty. I still can’t believe it, and it’s already Friday. It’s like there’s a big hole in this place. I knew the guy ten years. His name is Don. He was one of our number crunchers. A quiet guy who and just did his work. It seemed like he was always here, always working. He is a computer whiz anyone in the unit could go to for a computer glitch. We aren’t–maybe I should say weren’t, since he’s gone–weren’t exactly friends, but we worked together a lot on projects. He was kind of part of the furniture.

It’s so eerie. I’m numb over it. I keep going next door to look in his office expecting to see him. Maybe I’m imagining that he’s gone, and he’s not. But the place is so empty.


allcorn-stein_dysfunctional_72

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL WORKPLACE
Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

Now on sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

Spycraft and John le Carré

Intelligence and counter-intelligence, leaks and wiretaps, hackers, a dossier, and a trail  of dead Russians: the topic of espionage has been front and center in the news since reports of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Commentary on the various angles and off-shoots of the evolving story can be heard nightly on cable news, given by ex-KGB operatives and former FBI double agents.

Snyder - John le Carres Post-Cold War Fiction 72 dpi

Hardcover: 978-0-8262-2099-8 $50.00

This might be a good time to read up on who CIA agents (using pseudonyms) rate as the most realistic spy writer: John le Carré.

An ex-intelligence officer himself, le Carré quit MI6 to write full time after the success of his third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. As author Robert Lance Snyder says in an interview with Spy Write,

It does make sense … that a career devoted to generating cover stories and fictional scenarios for the sake of expediency should prompt many real-life spooks to become writers. Rare, though, is the intelligence agent who, like Maugham in Ashenden (1928) or Greene in The Confidential Agent (1939) and Our Man in Havana (1958) or of course le Carré, can make something more of the genre—expose its element of imposture and self-betrayal.

Snyder’s John le Carré’s Post–Cold War Fiction frames le Carré’s ten post–Cold War novels as a distinctive subset of his espionage fiction in their response to the momentous changes in geopolitics, particularly the “War on Terror” and transnationalism. In the same interview, Snyder explains his interest in writing this book: 5614180531_cc3a33ebb7_b

I was annoyed that few if any mainstream scholars seemed to respect the evolving coherence of his ten post-Cold War novels after The Secret Pilgrim (1990), particularly as they address the mired complexities of George W. Bush’s vaunted “War on Terror” in an age of transnationalism, surveillance, and globalization. Given these complexities, with which le Carré wrestles in all of his post-Cold War fiction, my study proposes that he is one of the preeminent ethicists in contemporary literature, given his concern for human rights and social justice.

During this time when spies are in the spotlight instead of the shadows, in addition to the swirling conspiracy theories and fake news, the ways in which deception misleads and ultimately betrays us is especially clear and le Carré is particularly relevant. Espionage in the end, as le Carré has said on more than one occasion, is a metaphor for the ruses by which we deceive ourselves.


Praise for John Le Carré’s Post–Cold War Fiction

“Snyder convincingly makes the case that le Carré’s work is far more significant than mere genre fiction. In this respect Snyder links le Carré’s liberal humanism with that of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Graham Greene.”—Myron Aronoff, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Political Science, and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University, author of The Spy Novels of John le Carré: Balancing Ethics and Politics

“Snyder skillfully directs us toward Le Carre’s central revelation:  that the various whirlwinds that Western democracies have inherited since the Wall’s fall have been sown by their own arrogance, ignorance, and complacency.”—Cates Baldridge, Middlebury College, author of Graham Greene’s Fictions: The Virtues of Extremity

“Brilliant, insightful, and very, very comprehensive.”—David R. Willingham, publisher, Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres

Snyder - John le Carres Post-Cold War Fiction 72 dpi
John Le Carré’s Post–Cold War Fiction
Robert Lance Snyder
Hardcover • ISBN: 978-0-8262-2099-8
$50.00 • 280 pp. • 6 x 9

Black Chicago’s First Century

Chicago mapChristopher Robert Reed’s Black Chicago’s First Century, 1833-1900, is now available in paperback.

Twenty-first-century readers might assume that a comprehensive history of early Chicago’s multifaceted African American population has existed for a while now. However, it was not until Christopher Reed published his book in 2005 that a written history became available. Now this history is available in paperback too.

“Christopher Robert Reed has gone through old Reed guardsnewspapers (including hard-to-find African American papers), oral histories, and a range of archival sources to provide an extraordinary overview of African American life in Chicago from the moment Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable settled his family by the Chicago River at roughly the location where present-day Michigan Avenue crosses it to the point in 1898 when African American troops marched out of the city on their way to fight in the Spanish-American War. The result is a complex look at a long and complicated history.”—Journal of American History

Reed on PBSSee Dr. Reed, a consultant on PBS’s documentary DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis, talk about Chicago’s first settler, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable’s French and entrepreneurial influence on the city.

Christopher Robert Reed is retired Professor of History at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His most important credential is his connection to the heart and soul of Chicago—its people and their history. He is a native Chicagoan who attempts to blend a love of place with a holistic, scholarly view of what made Chicago and its citizens behave as they have done and presently do—that is, dynamically. An original resident of the South Side’s historic Bronzeville community, he is a permanent resident of the city where he is active in civic, community and political affairs.

A Baatan Death March Survivor: The Firsthand Account of an American POW, 75 Years Later

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David L. Hardee, 1918

Seventy-five years ago the U.S. armed forces took aggressive action in both the European and Pacific Theaters of World War II. One of the men serving in the Pacific, Colonel David L. Hardee, endured the little rations, long Bataan Death March, and years of monotonous work. After liberation, while returning to the United States from April to May 1945, Hardee dictated an account of his war experiences and time as a prisoner of war. This candid narrative, written while events were fresh in his mind, details the grim realities facing the American and Filipino forces on Bataan, the depravity of Japanese treatment of prisoners, and the complex relationship between the American POWs and their Japanese captors. This memoir has now been edited by Frank A. Blazich, Jr. and published as Bataan Survivor: A POW’s Account of Japanese Captivity in World War II.

On September 24, 1941, Lieutenant Colonel David L. Hardee received orders assigning him to help mobilize and train one of ten reserve divisions of the Philippine Army.

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American troops huddled in a foxhole in Bataan

Hardee had barely settled in Manila before the Japanese launched simultaneous attacks on American military forces in Hawaii and the Philippines. At Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Pacific Fleet sustained heavy losses. On the island of Luzon, Japanese air attacks caught the bulk of the Far East Air Force (FEAF) on the ground. The attacks destroyed half of the American aircraft, effectively eliminating FEAF. On December 10, the first Japanese forces landed on northern Luzon, and two days later an additional force landed in the south. The destruction of the FEAF and the swift advance of the Japanese forced General MacArthur to withdraw his forces to the Bataan peninsula.

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Prisoners walking from Bataan to Camp O’Donnell

Hardee and the regiment remained on the front lines of Bataan for over two months, withstanding air and artillery attacks. Outmanned, outgunned and unsupplied, the Americans and Filipinos were overwhelmed by the Japanese. Despite General MacArthur’s orders to never surrender, General King surrendered at the Japanese 14th Army headquarters near Lamao on April 9, 1942. This surrender is now known as the Bataan Death March when American and Filipino forces moved north to Camp O’Donnell during a ten-day march and movement by rail. It was an 85-mile journey.

Hardee arrived at Camp O’Donnell on April 25. He remained there for forty days until “about June 5, 1942 when I, with many more of my group, was moved to Cabanatuan,” Hardee wrote. He was a POW at Cabanatuan until October 26. Then on November 8 he arrived at Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) and spent 19 months there.

While picking coffee in March 1943, Colonel Hardee suffered a severe abdominal hernia. He became debilitated; as each day passed, his body grew weak. Hardee, said that his hernia kept him from getting transferred to Japan, which most likely also kept him alive. A majority of POWs transferred to Japan died en route.

On June 26, 1944 Hardee arrived at Bilibid Prison. Then on February 4, 1945, the American infantry from the 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry moved towards Bilibid. Hardee and the other POWs were now freed.

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