Rebel Mother: My Childhood
Chasing the Revolution.
By Peter Andreas.
Apr. 2017. 336p. Simon & Schuster, $26
Working in clear-eyed prose, journalist, academic, and author Andreas shares the
unusual story of growing up with his Men-nonite-turned-Marxist-revolutionary mother.
Carol married young and had three children
before slowly rejecting a traditional housewife
role as the 1960s took hold.
After taking her sons to
Berkeley, California, she de-
cided to move to Chile and
bring Peter, the youngest,
with her. So begins a lengthy,
bitter custody battle, and an
adventure dictated by Carol’s
commitment to revolution,
feminism, and socialism. Conditions are hor-
rible and bug-ridden, Peter only sporadically
attends school, and he’s subjected to Carol’s
parade of lovers, including her possibly crazy
second husband, Raul. Through it all, however,
Carol’s love for Peter and belief in what she’s
doing are never in doubt. Andreas uses Carol’s
posthumously discovered diary to superb effect,
incorporating entries while maintaining the
child’s lens of his experience of the same events.
This is both a story of a mother and son’s fierce
devotion to one another, and a fascinating
portrait of a woman’s life spent committed to
radical ideas and politics, and how this affected
her closest ally and confidant. Those who en-
joyed Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle (2005)
will find much to admire here. —Kathy Sexton
The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGB TQ Studies.
Ed. by Abbie E. Goldberg.
3v. 2016. 1,480p. Sage, $595 (9781483371306). 306.7603.
After the American Psychological Association
withdrew its classification of homosexuality as
a mental disorder in 1974, academic research
on sexuality, gender identity, and related issues
expanded rapidly. As members of the diverse
and sometimes fractious LGBTQ community
have grown in visibility and, with the help of
allies, in strength, controversies over public
policy issues, such gays in military service and
North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” restricting
public restroom access, have also fueled na-
tional debate about variously interpreted civil
rights issues related to gender.
Written for an academic audience, this encyclopedia’s very substantive articles provide
background and analysis of the issues, drawing on social science theory and research.
Each article, signed by its authors (nearly all
academics) concludes with a bibliography for
further reading. Numerous see also references
indicate the complexity and inter-relatedness
among specific topics and reflect the articles’
depth. Most authors eschew specialized vocabulary, an invaluable approach to topics
such as “Racialized masculinity,” “BSDM,”
“Advanced healthcare planning,” “Elder
abuse,” and “Domestic violence,” all of which
extend beyond the LGBTQ population but
merit examination from its vantage point.
Subjects closely tied to gender expression and
experience, such as “Effeminacy,” “Sissyboy
experience,” and “Tomboy experience,” are
discussed in their cultural contexts. Despite
the encyclopedia’s breadth, an unexplained
and inexplicable omission from its table of
contents and index is male-to-female cross-dressing, an expression of gender identity that
has received attention in scholarly study and
popular culture. Those who identify as part of
the LGBTQ realm as well as those who study
it will expand their knowledge by dipping
into this encyclopedia. —James Rettig
Sustainability Made Simple: Small
Changes for Big Impact.
By Rosalyn Byrd and Laurèn DeMates.
Mar. 2017. 220p. Rowman & Littlefield, $36
(9781442269095); e-book, $35.99 (9781442269101).
Simply put, sustainability is the practice of
treating the environment with respect, of being conscious of the use and replenishment
of natural resources, and of incorporating
ecologically sound practices into every aspect
of modern existence. Well, maybe it’s not so
simple after all. What with climate change,
species extinction, resource depletion, and
environmental pollution, the challenges of
achieving a sustainable lifestyle may seem
overwhelming. By linking global concerns to
local implementation, Byrd and DeMates take
a comprehensive yet straightforward approach
as they debunk and demystify misconceptions
surrounding sustainability. Looking at such
regular activities as grocery shopping, household cleaning, gardening, and traveling, the
authors offer practical advice regarding small
but essential changes that can be easily adopted. Helpful sidebars list environmentally
sound companies and products, pinpoint specific behaviors, and highlight current trends.
With the potential for the reversal of current,
progressive environmental policies and regulations in the near future, individual actions
Buildings and Landmarks of Medieval
Europe: The Middle Ages Revealed.
By James B. Tschen-Emmons.
2016. 347p. illus. Greenwood, $105
A product of classroom experience
and skillful pedagogy, Tschen-Emmons’
architectural overview of medieval Europe
draws readers into the workings of society.
Central to theme and purpose, clear, unpedantic descriptions introduce elements
of the past, as with the map of Tintagel
Castle and a photo of the Assisi basilica.
Integral to entries are key terms (e.g.,
Romanesque, redoubt, motte, bailey) and
sidebars reviewing each term. The comprehensive study ranges from the Hagia
Sophia in Constantinople and the Doge’s
Palace in Venice to a cathedral lime-works
and an abbey privy. A masterful introduction to medieval times and places that is
a good choice for public, high-school, and
college libraries. —Mary Ellen Snodgrass
Fifty Ships That Changed the Course
of History: A Nautical History of the
By Ian Graham.
2016. 224p. illus. Firefly, $29.95 (9781770857193).
The latest in the Fifty series, focused
on ships, joins other similar titles covering
topics ranging from plants and animals
to machines and from trains to food and
sports. Like the others in the series, this
book presents four-to-six-page profiles of
ships that represent historic developments
in transportation, warfare, exploration,
and comfort. The ships are presented in
historical order, from 2566 BCE to 2009
CE. Familiar names, such as Santa Maria,
Mayflower, Beagle, Titanic, and Enter-
prise, are all included, along with those of
lesser-known ships, such as Isis, Sirius,
Rattler, and Ideal X. Each entry provides
the ship’s history and technical design but
concentrates primarily on its historical sig-
nificance. Well researched and illustrated,
this “reference-y” title will be a good ad-
dition to any collection covering seafaring
and transport. —David Tyckoson
Same-Sex Marriage: A Reference
Handbook. 2d ed.
By David E. Newton.
2016. 336p. ABC-CLIO, $60 (9781440850493);
e-book (9781440850509). 306.84.
The second edition of this title in the
Contemporary World Issues series focuses not only on the history, issues involved
with, and differing perspectives regarding
the topic but also focuses on the nature of
people’s changed views on same-sex marriage in recent history. At its first printing,
in 2010, only five states and the District of
Colombia allowed same-sex marriage in
the U.S., compared to all 50 states today.
Worldwide, seven nations have legalized
same-sex marriage, and all of them did
so within the last decade. This relatively
rapid change in public opinion makes this
a worthwhile and timely volume appropriate for high-school and college students.
REFERENCE BOOKS IN BRIEF