Brando's Smile -- His Life, Thought, and Work by Susan L. Mizruchi, Norton '14, $27.95, 469 pages, ASIN #0393082865. Index, notes, appendix, b&w images sprinkled through text.
"Marlon Brando loved watching people, a habit that supported a genius for impersonation and characterization," writes author Susan Mizruchi in her latest work. "Though it came naturally, he pursued it with an almost scientific zeal. 'The face is an extraordinary subtle instrument,' he noted. 'I believe it has 155 muscles in it. The interaction of those muscles can hide a great deal, and people are always concealing emotions.
"Some people have very non-expressive faces....In such cases I try to read their body posture, the increase in the blink rate of their eyes, their aimless yawning or a failure to complete a yawn -- anything that denotes emotions they don't want to display. Brando made a lifelong study of emotions and the differences of personality and culture that inhibited their expression, which he managed to exploit in a remarkable variety of film roles."
Author Susan Mizruchi, a professor of English at Boston University, specializes in American literature, cultural history, and film. She lives in Boston.
The Rag Race -- How Jews Sewed Their Way to Success in America and the British Empire by Adam D. Mendelsohn, New York UPress '14, 396 pages, ASIN #1479847186. Index, notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust cover:
"The majority of Jewish immigrants who made their way to the United States during 1820 and 1924 arrived nearly penniless, yet today their descendants stand out as exceptionally successful. Other ethnic groups have prospered in the United States, but none quite like the Jews. How have they risen so far and so fast? Have Jews prospered because of cultural features distinct to them as a group, or because of the particular circumstances that they encountered in America? And can their recipe for success be distilled and reproduced by the nation's newest immigrants?
"The Rag Race argues that the Jews who flocked to the United States during the age of mass migration were aided appreciably by their association with a particular corner of the American economy: the rag trade. From humble beginnings, Jews rode the coattails of the clothing trade from the margins of economic life to a position of unusual promise and prominence, shaping both their societal status and the clothing industry as a whole. In few other areas of the modern economy did Jews play such a central role."
Author Adam D. Mendelsohn is Director of the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture and Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston.
The First Lady of Radio -- Eleanor Roosevelt's Historic Broadcasts, Edited by Stephen Drury Smith, with a foreword by Blanche Wiesen Cook, The New Press '14, stated First Printing. $25.95, 249 pages, ASIN #1620970422. Notes, unillustrated.
"No matter how limited your time or talents, you can give what you have to give to your country by knowing your own community and advocating such laws as will help to make democracy worthwhile for every individual. The diligent living of your citizenship, from day to day, may mean success for democracy in the world of the future, or absolute failure for our ideals."
Eleanor Roosevelt -- June 20, 1940 radio broadcast
"Sunday at the White House began much like any other," writes Editor Stephen Drury Smith in his latest work. "First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt described it as a 'quiet' morning, although the staff was preparing for a luncheon of 30 guests, including close friends, visiting relatives, and government officials. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would take lunch privately in his study with his most trusted adviser, Harry Hopkins.
"Tensions had been steadily mounting between the United States and the increasingly belligerent Japanese. The President had been up late the night before, drafting a message to the Japanese emperor, so on Sunday, FDR was enjoying a few moments of private relaxation with Hopkins, his Scotty dog, Fala, and his stamp collection. ER was 'disappointed but not surprised' that her husband passed on the big luncheon crowd.
"It was December 7, 1941."
About the Editors:
Stephen Drury Smith is the executive editor and host of American Radio Works (ARW), the national documentary series from American Public Media. He lives in St. Paul, MN, and Boston, MA. Blanche Wiesen Cook is professor of history at John Jay College at the City University of New York. She lives in New York.