Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American South by Byran Giemza, Louisiana UPress '13, stated First Printing. $49.95, 361 pages, ASIN #0807150908. Index, selected bibliography, notes, unillustrated.
Writing about the folkways of America, humorist Irvin S. Cobb writes: "The North excells in business, but the South leads in romance. The North opens wide the door of opportunity to every man who comes to its borders with willing hands and eager brain. The South opens a door, too, but it is the door of hospitality, and it bids the stranger enter in, not so much for what he can give, but for what he can take in the way of welcome. I think there is a reason, aside from topography and geography and climate and environment, for these difrerences between the common divisions of our great country.
"The reason," concludes Cobb, "is the Irish. With an impresario's glee, he shredded cherished notions of Anglo-centric southern identity, launching into the turning tale of his family's origins: his mother, 'of the breed of Black Douglas of Scotland, as Scotch as haggis, and rebels, all of them, descendants of men who followed the fortunes of Bonnie Prince Charles, and her mother lives in a county in North Carolina, one of five counties where up to 1820, Gaelic was not only the language of the people in the street, but was the official language of the courts.' His father's line 'ran back straight and unbroken to a thatched cottage on the green side of a hill in the Wicklow Mountains, and his people likewise had some kinsmen in Galway, and some in Dublin.' It seemed he 'descrended from a group of men who went from New England to Kentucky and the names of these men were Lyon and Cobb, which is a Danish corruption of O'Connor, and Machen, and Clendenin, and O'Hara, and Glenn, which is a corruption of Glynn.' 'What a hot bunch of Anglo-Saxons!," he declared, to the laughter of his audience."
Author Bryan Giemza teaches American literature at Randolph-Macon College and is an editor, co-author and assistant editor of many publications.
India -- A Short History by Andrew Robinson, Thames & Hudson '14, $24.95, 248 pages, ASIN #0500251991. Index, list of illustrations, further reading, chronology, maps, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the front cover:
"Over four millenia India has had many histories and provided a kaleidoscope of experiences to its neighbors, invaders and trading partners. To pilgrims coming from ancient China, India was the birthplace of the Buddha. To Alexander the Great, it was a land of clever naked philosophers and massive armies mounted on elephants -- which eventually forced the Greek army to retreat. To ancient Rome, it was a source of luxuries.
"At the height of the Mughal empire in 1700, India boasted nearly 25% of the world economy, but then, under British rule, its economy declined. Colonial India was known for its extremes of wealth and poverty, epitomized by the Taj Mahal and famines, maharajas and untouchables, and for its spirituality: many-armed Hindu gods, Sufi saints and Buddhist philosophy, Mahatma, Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, Today, India is enjoying a resurgence of global importance."
Author Andrew Robinson is a King's Scholar of Eton College and holds degrees from Oxford University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He has written 25 books in the arts and sciences, nine of them on aspects of Indian history and culture.
Eden in Winter -- A Novel by Richard North Patterson, Quercus '14, $26.99, 388 pages, ASIN #1623651476..
From the dust cover:
"Two months after the suspicious and much-publicized death of his father on Martha's Vineyard, Adam Blaine bends his will to the task of suturing the deep wounds the tragedy has inflicted upon him and his family -- even as the court inquest casts suspicion on the entire Blaine clan. Though Adam is a trained CIA operative with extensive field experience, coping with the fallout from the death of his combustible and very famous father, author Benjamin Blaine, proves a challenge even for someone with his talents.
"But the sternest test of all is Adam's proximity to Carla Pacelli, his late father's much younger mistress, who is pregnant with Adam's brother. A beautiful woman to whom Adam finds himself increasingly drawn, she distracts him from the unraveling of his family. Yet the closer he gets to this alluring woman, the closer he comes to revealing secrets about his family that could endanger everyone he's fought to hard to protect."
Author Richard North Patterson has written 20 bestselling novels, and his articles on politics, literature and law have been published in leading newspapers on both sides of the Pond. He lives on Martha's Vineyard, Cabo San Lucas, and San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.