Hiding the Truth for Community’s Sake: The Danger of Small Town Dynamics

Amy_Jo_Burns-by-Jen Zilaby Amy Jo Burns, author of Cinderland: A Memoir (Beacon Press, September 2015)

From Steubenville to State College to Missoula, small towns often step into the spotlight where sex crimes are concerned. After the stark details get spun through the news cycle, the towns are left to themselves again, usually divided, impenitent, and often unable to determine what role the community itself played in perpetuating the violence or the criminalization of the victims. As a young woman involved in a small town scandal myself, I can testify to the communal damage that lasts long after journalists and reporters have moved on to the next big story. Continue reading

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To Be Young, Latina, and Bisexual

daisyhernandez-Jorge RivasBy Daisy Hernández, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir (Beacon Press)

People often ask if it was hard for me, as a journalist, to write a memoir. It wasn’t. In many ways, the people I interviewed over the years for news stories—many of them immigrants, many of them poor—taught me to trust the power of personal stories. One of them was Alaaedien. He drove cabs in New York City, and one day, he picked up a man outside of Grand Central Station. The man was young, and he wanted Alaaedien to take him to upstate New York. The cab ride would cost almost a thousand dollars, Alaaedien explained. That was fine. The young man’s new girlfriend lived upstate. He would pay Alaaedien when they got there. Continue reading

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Violence, Justice & Imagination: A Visionary Paradigm

9780807091913By Michael Bronski and Kay Whitlock, authors of Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics (Beacon Press, January 2015).

Terrible things happen all the time. Everybody knows that. They happen to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, as in the deaths of Trayvon Martin or Matthew Shepard, or the murder of nine parishioners in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina, society has come up with a special classification to explain—and punish—some acts. We call them “hate crimes” because they are seen as being caused by the “hate” of the people who commit them. But are they caused only by “hate?” Or are they symptoms of deeper, widespread, or even commonplace forms of violence? Continue reading

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Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder Brings the Holocaust Under New Scrutiny

9781101903452By Timothy Snyder, author of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Tim Duggan Books, September 2015).

Many of us want, need, or are simply required to teach the history of the Holocaust. But how should we do so? One problem, at least on American campuses, is that the Holocaust, in its very intensity and horror, seems too intense to be history, eluding context and thus understanding. Students can be left with images and memories, but with no clear sense as to how such an event took place. I wrote Black Earth in the hope that the Holocaust could be understood as part of global history, and that students interested in the wider world of the past could read the book as part of that journey. Continue reading

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Free Reader Copies of The Full Catastrophe: Travels Among the New Greek Ruins by James Angelos Available

9780385346481Over the last three years, tiny Greece, normally associated with ancient philosophers and marble ruins, whitewashed island villages and cerulean seas, has repeatedly brought world financial markets into panic and has cast the 60-year project of cultivating European unity into question. In The Full Catastrophe, journalist James Angelos makes sense of these two images of Greece and explains how and why Greece became the corrupt, socially fractious and bankrupt nation it is today. With vivid narratives and engaging reporting, he brings to life some of the causes of the country’s financial collapse, and examines the changes emerging in its aftermath.

The Full Catastrophe was published on June 6th, 2015. Please email rhacademic@penguinrandomhouse with your name, college and course information to request a complimentary copy.

Click here to read to about the book in The New York Times Book Review

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Fighting the Stigma of Sex Work: Burlesque, Beyonce, and sex-positive feminism

9780807061237By Melinda Chateauvert, author of Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk (Beacon Press, March 2015)

My mother kind of freaked out when I told her about the proposal for Sex Workers Unite! I never thought of her as a prude. When I was growing up, she rarely seemed embarrassed about sexuality matters, and her several non-traditional relationships definitely influenced my critique of the whole white picket fence family idea. But for her daughter to write about prostitutes’ rights threw her for a loop. Continue reading

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The Psychological Forces That Undermine Our Criminal Justice System

9780770437763by Adam Benforado, author of Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice (Crown, June 2015)

The death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and his killer’s subsequent acquittal, led many to condemn our criminal justice system as fundamentally broken. And in the wake of high-profile cases in New York, Cleveland, and Ferguson, questions about how the law reflects—and exacerbates—racial and economic disparities have continued to dominate the national conversation. As a society, we are desperately trying to make sense of rampant gun violence, police brutality, overcrowded prisons, and widening inequality. Continue reading

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