Marrow of Tragedy -- The Health Crisis of the American Civil War by Margaret Humphreys, Johns Hopkins UPress '13, $34.95, 385 pages, ASIN #1421409992. Index, notes, no bibliography, b&w images sprinkled through text.
A brief excerpt:
"Imagine that on July 21, 1861, there you stand, an observer near Manassas Junction, VA. Out of the smoke and noise staggers a man, clutching his arm, calling out in pain as blood drips onto his boots. He falls on the bare ground at your feet. What can you do for him? Tear up your petticoat to make a tourniquet to stop the blooding? Cup some water in your hands from the nearby stream, for his dry lips? Search in vain for a doctor, for an ambulance, for any sort of official medical person?
"This is how it began. The calls for help were ultimately met by men and women on both sides who struggled to care for their soldiers, while at the same time taking advantage of the war's exigencies to promote agendas of reform, research, and progress.
"Themes of gender have run through this narrative. Health care has always been a predominantly female activity, even if men held the higher professional positions that brought prestige -- (at least until recently). Women knew how to care for the sick, and when war put men in hospitals instead of home sickrooms, those women pushed to assume their competent role at the bedside, either directly or through surrogates.
"The U.S. Sanitary Commission both 'channeled' this feminine force by organizing the conveyance of needed goods to the men and acted as a forceful nanny in teaching the men how to be clean and preserve their health. The best of Civil War hospitals, drawing on the work of Florence Nightingale, were healing environments precisely to the extent that the home sickroom could be recreated. Nutritious food and cheerful nursing were at least as important as the actions of physicians, and these essentials differentiate northern from southern success in healing the men."
Author Margaret Humphreys is the Josiah Charles Trent Professor in the History of Medicine, a professor of history, and a professor of medicine at Duke University. She has written several previous books.
Gardens of the Renaissance by Bryan C. Keene, Getty Publications '13, $19.95, 100 pages, ASIN #1606061437. Index, suggestions for further reading, in-text notes, dozens of color and b&w images sprinkled through text.
"This book celebrates the Renaissance garden, which inherited the traditions established by the medieval monastic cloister and provided the foundation for the extravagant gardens of the Baroque period, such as Louis XIV's renowned Versailles," writes Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
This volume draws upon a wide range of objects from the Getty's permanent collection made between 1400 and 1600, with a focus on the art of Renaissance book illumination. In the words of Director Potts, "Vines twist and wind through page borders, the Virgin Mary seeks tranquility amid flowers and blossoms, exotic specimens from faraway lands are delineated in detail, and members of the nobility wander through paintings, admiring their possessions."
Author Bryan C. Keene notes that while most gardens have changed or been lost since the Renaissance, "illuminated manuscripts of the period offer a glimpse into how people at the time pictured, used, and enjoyed these idyllic green spaces." The volume he describes "explores gardens on many levels -- from the literary Garden of Love and the biblical Garden of Eden to courtly gardens of the nobility -- and reveals the many activities both reputable and scandalous that took place inside."
Bryan C. Keene is a curatorial assistant in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum and an instructor in art history at Pepperdine University.
Apostles of Reason -- The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism by Molly Worthen, Oxford UP '13, $27.95, 376 pages, ASIN #0199896461. Index, selected bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w images.
"Evangelical Christianity is a paradox," writes author Molly Worthen. "Evangelicals are radically individualist, but devoted to community and family. They believe in the transformative power of a personal relationship with God, but are wary of religious enthusiasm. They are deeply skeptical of secular reason, but eager to find scientific proof that the Bible is true."
Among the topics Worthen discusses in her new book are: 1) How does one define evangelicalism?, 2) Is there an intellectual backstory of the rise of the Christian Right?, 3) How would you situate evangelical intellectual history in the context of the broader history of the Cold War battles of ideas?, 4) How have evangelical intellectuals who have been successful in inspiring broad cultural and political movements done so?
Molly Worthen, assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written one previous book and contributes regularly to notable magazines and newspapers.