New books for summer reading on the Murrell Memorial Library bookshelves include:
THE INVENTOR AND THE TYCOON by Edward Ball
392 pages, Doubleday, 2013
Any book that is about early photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who also was tried for murder, is bound to be intriguing. The subtitle of the book is “A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures.”
This book is about Muybridge, an English immigrant, and railroad tycoon Leland Stanford, former California governor and the founder of Stanford University, who bankrolled a lot of Muybridge’s work. Stanford wanted the answer to the age-old question of whether the four hooves of a running horse ever left the ground all at once. Muybridge, with his still cameras (before the age of film), catching every moment of movement, proved that it could be so.
While Muybridge is seen as a photographic innovator with the advent of movies, his personal life is pretty insane, such as his remorseless killing of his wife’s lover, who he believes is the real father of a son that Muybridge shuns from his young wife. In the 1875 trial, he uses the defense of justifiable homicide, citing the sanctity of marriage. How does it turn out? He wins his case. But, of course, that’s in a past gilded age and wouldn’t work in the modern court of law.
Also interesting are the stories of his photos, often a series of photographs, capturing motion through moment-to-moment sequence. To put all of the photos together and flip rapidly through them provides the sense of motion pictures and story-telling through movement. Muybridge used lots of nudes in his work: To show a woman getting into bed, a woman bathing, two women waltzing, two men wrestling, a man hitting a baseball, a male acobat doing a backflip, and even self-portraits of himself, also naked, throwing a discus or swinging a pick. In 1879, Muybridge modified a magic lantern, which threw still images on a screen, into a moving picture projector.
The lives of Muybridge the photographer, Stanford the tycoon, and others as well, including son Florado Muybridge, make this book an interesting read.
PRIESTS OF OUR DEMOCRACY–THE SUPREME COURT, ACADEMIC FREEDOM, AND THE ANTI-COMMUNIST PURGE by Marjorie Heins
283 pages, New York University Press, 2013
This books tells the historical story of teachers and professors who became targets of 1950s “witch hunts” for Communists and
their battles that led to landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions about First Amendment academic freedom.
THE END OF SEX by Donna Freitas
197 pages, Basic Books, 2013
The book looks at how the hookup culture “is leaving a generation unhappy, sexually unfulfilled, and confused about intimacy.”
SPREADABLE MEDIA by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green
305 pages, The New York University Press, 2013
This book is subtitled, “Creating value and meaning in a networked culture.”
THOSE ANGRY DAYS by Lynne Olson
464 pages, Random House, 2013
Subtitled “Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s fight over World War II, 1939-1941,” the books tells of the conflict between the interventionists, led by President Franklin Roosevelt, and the isolationists, led by aviator hero Charles Lindbergh. In the meantime, Britain has become the only country still battling Hitler’s Germany which has vanquished most of Europe. The American political confict becomes intense.
WATERLOGGED–THE SERIOUS PROBLEM OF OVERHYDRATION IN ENDURANCE SPORTS by Tim Noakes
390 pages, Human Kinetics, 2012
The book is about what athletes really need to drink to train and peform their best, according to the author who is also a doctor.
MAKING A KILLING–THE BUSINESS OF GUNS IN AMERICA by Tom Diaz
209 pages, The New Press, 1999
Gun sales is a $1.4 billion industry in the United States. Diaz says the real story behind the steady rise in gun violence in America is “the systematic increase in lethality by manufacturers.” Diaz is a former NRA member. The book gives a fascinating look at a secretive industry that becomes better at what it does–selling guns and earning profits–as the years go by.
CHASING GIDEON, THE ELUSIVE QUEST FOR POOR PEOPLE’S JUSTICE by Karen Houppert
264 pages, The New Press, 2013
The book tells the story of trying to make good on the promise of indigent defense in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right to counsel. Clarence Gideon also has a Missouri connection.
BLOOD SISTERS–THE WOMEN BEHIND THE WARS OF THE ROSES by Sarah Gristwood
325 pages, Basic Books, 2013
The Wars of the Roses were “cousins” wars. The book looks at the series of dynastic conflicts that tear apart a royal family in 15th century England. It was a family feud that women helped to end.
And there are many other new books on the library shelves, as well as documentaries and movie DVDs.