Staff Pick

If religion often seems one more factor dividing people, history also shows that people are united in their sense that communal beliefs and ritual practices—especially surrounding birth and death—are essential to defining a society. In addition, as Neil MacGregor shows in Living With the Gods (Knopf, $40), his wide-ranging catalog of objects drawn from the British Museum’s collections, these foundational systems themselves share similar concerns and images, most prominently the need to tell stories to explain forces we don’t fully understand. Organized thematically, the book emphasizes variations among global cultures and faiths rather than differences. MacGregor pairs the stone-age passage tomb at Newgrange, designed to bring the light of the winter solstice deep into the Earth, with Japanese myths of the solar goddess Amaterasu to illustrate the basic human need to believe in life after death. Aided by the commentary of experts including Karen Armstrong, Amartya Sen, Marina Warner, Mary Beard, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, and Eamon Duffy, MacGregor also explores such universal matters as burial rites, the relation of humans and nature, sacrifices, festivals, prayer, music, and pilgrimage.

Living with the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9780525521464
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf - October 30th, 2018

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Staff Pick

“As a graduate student…I sent [Romare Bearden] questions,” Mary Schmidt Campbell notes in An American Odyssey (Oxford, $34.95), her masterful study of Bearden’s life and work. She includes a facsimile of the handwritten letters he sent back—adding a collagist flourish to her heartfelt and thorough book. Known primarily for his work as a collage artist, Bearden (1911-1988) started as a political cartoonist, moved into social realism, abandoned the figurative for the abstract, then returned to the figure. He was also a writer and collaborated with a pantheon of other artists  on dances, music, and plays. These different endeavors reflect Bearden’s ongoing struggle with questions about the responsibilities of black artists. If in 1934 he believed that "authentic art comes from a connection to the world as it is lived and experienced by people in their everyday lives,” by 1946 he was more influenced by the European modernists than by the Mexican muralists. Campbell is skilled at reading the visual vocabulary of popular culture and she puts Bearden’s work within the larger frame of ads, posters, postcards, photos, films, and TV. Her story of Bearden is also the story of “American visual politics” as a battlefield where “representation [of the black body] was a matter of life and death, not just art."

An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden Cover Image
$34.95
ISBN: 9780195059090
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 5th, 2018

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Staff Pick

Writing about her work in It’s What I Do, Lynsey Addario, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who has dedicated her life to telling the stories “most people were not covering,” memorably described experiences such as being kidnapped three weeks into the Libyan uprising of 2011.She also conveyed the deep passion for justice and for “doing justice to the stories of people who…opened their doors and hearts for me,” that compels her to stay in this dangerous, “brutally competitive,” and overwhelmingly male profession. Her new book, Of Love & War (Penguin Press, $40), lets us see that passion in action. The album presents nearly 250 photos from across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, along with accompanying essays by Dexter Filkins, Suzy Hansen, and Christy Turlington, and Addario’s own field notes, letters, and contact sheets. Together these pictures and words document both a wide range of humanitarian issues and the crucial role of witness Addario plays. Named one of the five most influential photographers of the past twenty-five years by American Photo Magazine, Addario is noted for her ability to frame shots that are both dramatic and personal.

Of Love & War Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9780525560029
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Press - October 23rd, 2018

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