“Right Out of California: the 1930s and The Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism” by Kathryn S. Olmsted (New Press, $27.95, 336 pages). History department chair Kathryn S. Olmsted reexamines the labor disputes in Depression-era California that led California’s businessmen and media to create a new style of politics with corporate funding, intelligence gathering, professional campaign consultants and alliances between religious and economic conservatives.
“Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought” by David Biale (Princeton University Press, $24.95 248 pages). David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History, traces the rise of Jewish secularism through the visionary writers and thinkers who led its development. His books include "Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians" and "Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America."
“The Audacious Ascetic: What Osama Bin Laden's Sound Archive Reveals About al-Qa'ida” by Flagg Miller (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 320 pages). Professor of religious studies Flagg Miller uses Bin Laden’s recordings to detail how Islamic cultural, legal, theological and linguistic vocabularies shape militants’ understandings of al-Qa’ida.
“Eating Words: A Norton Anthology of Food Writing” by Sandra M. Gilbert (editor) with Roger J. Porter (editor) (W. W. Norton & Company, $35, 512 pages). Edited by distinguished professor emerita of English Sandra Gilbert, this book gathers food writing of literary distinction and historical sweep. Beginning with the taboos of the Old Testament and the tastes of ancient Rome, and including travel essays, polemics, memoirs and poems, the book is divided into sections such as “Food Writing Through History,” “Hunger Games: The Delight and Dread of Eating” and “Food Politics.” Gilbert is author of books of criticism, collections of poetry and a memoir and is recipient of the National Book Critics Circle's Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.
“The House of Twenty Thousand Books” by Sasha Abramsky (New York Review Books, $27.95, 336 pages). Sasha Abramsky, a continuing lecturer in the University Writing Program, examines the life of his grandfather Chimen Abramsky and his remarkable collection of books on Jewish life, history, communism and socialism. For more than 50 years Chimen and his wife, Miriam, hosted gatherings in their house of books that brought together many of the age’s greatest thinkers. Abramsky’s writing has appeared in The Nation, The American Prospect and The New Yorker online.
“Landfalls” by Naomi Williams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, 336 pages). Inspired by a map she purchased, Naomi Williams, a 2010 gradate of the creative writing program, recreates an actual doomed 18th Century attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Each chapter is told from a different point of view and set in a different part of the world. It is the Davis resident’s first novel.
"California's Wild Edge: the Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History” by Tom Killion and Gary Snyder (Heyday Books, $50, 208 pages). This volume captures the beauty of the California coast from Mendocino south to Santa Monica through 80 color prints and illustrations by Killion and prose by Gary Snyder. Snyder is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, author, scholar, cultural critic and professor emeritus of UC Davis.
“You Must Fight Them” by Maceo Montoya (University of New Mexico Press, $19.95, 200 pages). In this novella a short, bookish half-Mexican doctoral student returns to his hometown of Woodland, California, and tries to reconnect with Lupita Valdez, the girl he worshipped in high school. First he must come to terms with her three hulking brothers and his own identity. Montoya is an assistant professor in the Department of Chicano Studies.
“Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins” by Mark Twain, edited by Hsuan L. Hsu (Broadview Editions, $16.95, 275 pages) The two stories published together overflow with spectacular events: conjoined twins, babies exchanged in the cradle, cross-dressing, racial masquerade, duels and a murder mystery. Hsuan Hsu, an associate professor of English, provides an introduction that traces the history of literary critics’ response to these works, from the confusion of Twain’s contemporaries to the keen interest of current scholars.
“Bread from Stones: The Middle East & The Making of Modern Humanitarianism” by Keith David Watenpaugh (UC Press, $34.95, 272 pages). Watenpaugh, an associate professor in religious studies, analyzes genocide and mass violence, human trafficking and the forced displacement of millions in the Eastern Mediterranean as the background for this exploration of humanitarianism’s role in the history of human rights.
“Creative Sketching Workshop: 20 Sketch Crawl Ideas and Exercises” by Pete Scully (North Light Books, $24.99, 176 pages). Pete Scully, graduate coordinator in the statistics department, is an urban sketcher whose new book provides ideas and techniques for those who want capture the world with pen and pencil on pad.