The Double Life of Paul de Man by Evelyn Barish, Liveright '14, $35, 534 pages, ASIN #0871403269. Index, no bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w glossy images.
"A cultural giant of epic proportions in the 1970s and 1980s, Paul de Man no longer seems to exist," writes author Evelyn Barish in the Introduction to her comprehensive new book. "In the second decade of the 21st century, the onetime 'masters of thought,' intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, and Hannah Arendt, who by sheer force of mind made themselves the dispensers of great social power and influence, are gone, and have not yet been replaced. Paul de Man was just such a man, known by some as the 'father of deconstruction,' although he said the term was coined by Jacques Derrida. He was indeed a star.
"Born in 1919 into wealth in Belgium in the aftermath of World War I, he arived in the United States in 1948 as a penniless immigrant without connections or a profession. It would be one of the many paradoxes and reversals that marked his life that in just three decades de Man would create a new philosophy, a way of looking at the world that redefined America's cultural point of view. Influential in both the academic world and the broader social one, de Man wielded more influence on intellectual ideas than any other voice here or abroad."
Author Evelyn Barish is a professor emerita at City University of New York's Graduate Center and its College of Staten Island, and the author of Emerson: The Roots of Prophecy, for which she won the Christian Gauss Award.
Yankee Dutchmen Under Fire -- Civil War Letters from the 82d Illinois Infantry, translated and edited by Joseph R. Reinhart, Kent State UPress '14, $45, 384 pages, ASIN #1606351761. Index, bibliographic essay,
notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
"Thousands of volumes of Civil War letters are available, but little more than a dozen contain collections written by native Germans fighting in this great American conflict. Yankee Dutchmen under Fire presents a fascinating collection of 61 letters written by immigrants who served in the 82d Illinois Volunteer Infanty Regiment. The 82d Illinois was one of the 30 or so predominantly 'German Regiments' in the Union army, and one of only two Federal regiments containing a Jewish company. Fighting alongside the Germans was a company of Scandinavians, plus a scattering of immigrants from many other countries.
"The letters span nearly three years of war and include firsthand accounts of major battles: Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in the East and Missionary Ridge, Rsaca, New Hope Church, and Kolb's Farm in the West. The soldiers of the 82d Illinois also describe campaigning in East Tennessee, Sherman's Atlanta campaign and his March to the Sea, and the Carolinas campaign (including the Battle of Bentonville).
Joseph R. Reinhart is an independent scholar who has researched and written about Germans in the American Civil War for nearly 20 years.
Servants' Hall by Margaret Powell, St. Martin's Press '14 paperback. $14.99, 184 pages, ASIN #125004345X. No index, bibliography, notes or illustrations.
From the back cover:
"Margaret Powell's Below Stairs, a former kitchen maid's firsthand account of life in the great houses of England, became a sensation among readers reveling in the luxury and elegant class warfare of Downton Abbey. In Servants' Hall, another warm and funny memoir of her days as servant, Powell tells the true story of Rose, the Wardham family maid, who shocked people upstairs and downstairs by eloping with the family's only son, Mr. Gerald.
"As she went from rags to riches, Rose found herself caught up in a maelstrom of gossip among her fellow servants and subject to a rebuke from the master of the house: Mr. Wardham refused ever to have contact with the young couple again. Even after the couple left Redlands, the family home, and their marriage hit on bumpy times, Powell remembers thinking 'To us in the servants' hall, it was just like a fairy tale.'
"Once again bringing that lost world to life, Margaret Powell trains her pen and her gimlet eye on the life she lived when families like the Crawleys of Downtown Abbey and the Bellamys of Upstairs, Downstairs saved their first-born sons for the cream of English society. Margaret Powell was a true English treasure and Servants' Hall is Powell at her best.
Margaret Powell left school at age 13 to start working. She worked in a series of jobs in great houses before marrying a milkman called Albert. In 1968, the first volume of her memoirs, Below Stairs, was published to instant success and turned her into a celebrity. She died in 1984.